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Morning Catholic must-reads: 18/01/13

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church

By on Friday, 18 January 2013

Primate of all Ireland Cardinal Brady will lead the Consecration ceremony  (PA)

Primate of all Ireland Cardinal Brady will lead the Consecration ceremony (PA)

The Vatican has appointed Mgr Eamon Martin, administrator of the Diocese of Derry, as the successor to Cardinal Seán Brady as Archbishop of Armagh.

Former papal butler Paolo Gabriele is expected to take up a new post at the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome.

Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has appointed Mahmoud Mekki, the country’s last vice-president, as ambassador to the Holy See.

Fr Tissa Balasuriya, the Sri Lankan theologian who was briefly excommunicated, has died aged 89.

The American author John Powers, who wrote extensively about his Catholic upbringing, has died at the age of 67.

The National Catholic Reporter attacks Vatican Cardinal Mauro Piacenza’s “treacly” letter to priests’ mothers.

And Tim Drake discusses the new pro-life film Crescendo with Justin Bieber’s mother.

Follow me on Twitter @lukecoppen for updates throughout the day.

  • Nat_ons

    The National Catholic Reporter attacks Vatican Cardinal Mauro Piacenza’s “treacly” letter to priests’ mothers.

    “With no intent to diminish the significance of priestly vocation, it is nonetheless distressing to hear once again from a Vatican official the kind of thinking that echoes from past centuries and, in this case, reinforces what is so very wrong with the clerical culture.” 

    Well, well! There we all are, now. The American N.’C’. sic R. dismisses the past centuries as “distressing”, and warm thanks to the nurturing culture of Catholic mothers as part of “what is so very wrong with the clerical culture”. In reality, this is simply a scarcely veiled assault on the Post-Vatican I arrangement of episcopal selection (accidental for the greater part, as secular states rushed to give up their controls over local episcopal election by firing them into the stateless Vatican’s lap): thus, a (rather intelligent if not wholly sensible) leading Swiss abbot (Peter Von Sury, abbot of the Mariastein Abbey) called for a change in how bishops are selected, he wants the nomination process once again to include greater local input, also bishops and theologians to join him in pressing for the change.

    “We are faced with serious systemic problems in our church. For me, as a canon lawyer, solving these systemic problems has absolute priority, as our other problems can only be solved if the structures are consistent and the procedures transparent.”

    Of course, as a canon lawyer, he is spot on; the shift to ever greater influence/ control from Rome (since the 11th/ 12th centuries of the Christian Era) has had detrimental effects .. as well as (usually unrecorded) beneficial effects. As an abbot, I have no doubt he is also aware of the wide benefits of having many “local” voices involved in his selection and consistent and transparent procedures for his successor’s elevation, which may or may not be disruptive to (and disrupted by) local politics. Yet, in reality, what he seems to asking for is merely a sense of participation in selecting oversight of local people by these local people (or at very least for theologians, um-oh-er, and bishops); and that is certainly an intelligent or apt call, even in the light of local political shenanigans (cf. Sean Cardinal Brady, above) inside the church catholic and outside it; however, what the NCP appears (among others) to want is “We Are Church” campaigns, primaries, elections, open-to-all democratic (sic) style politics (e.g. “Meanwhile, members of the Swiss Parish Initiative, which was founded in September 2012 and is modeled on the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, is calling for far-reaching church reforms, such as intercommunion.”)