Archive of March 13, 2014

Falsely accused Irish priest returns to ministry with joy

Derry, Northern Ireland, Mar 13, 2014 (CNA) - A priest exonerated of sexual assault charges against a teen girl will return to his parish with “great joy,” almost four years after he left public ministry, and two years after his acquittal.

“It is with a sense of great joy and anticipation that I return to public ministry in my parish of Cappagh with my good name and standing in the Church fully restored,” Fr. Eugene Boland told the Tyrone Herald March 9.

He said his exoneration was a “long and painful” journey that involved both a civil and a canonical process.

Fr. Boland will be reinstated as pastor at an anticipated Mass March 15 at St. Mary’s Church in Killyclogher, in Northern Ireland. Fr. Boland is a priest of the Diocese of Derry, which straddles the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“I am eagerly looking forward to celebrating the sacraments with my parishioners once again and being involved with all the ministries for which I was ordained 44 years ago,” he said. “I ask God and his Blessed Mother to continue to bless and guide me in the priestly ministry amongst his holy people.”

Fr. Boland was accused in 2010 of five charges of indecent assault on a 14-year-old girl on unknown dates between June 1990 and June 1992. He stepped down as parish priest of Cappagh.

He was acquitted after an eight-day trial in 2012. After his acquittal, he told BBC News he had been “devastated” by the case, but forgave his accuser.

“My faith was strong and I always believed the truth would come out in the end.”

With the conclusion of the canonical process, the priest voiced his gratitude to Archbishop Eamon Martin, coadjutor archbishop of Armagh, who was previously vicar general of the Derry diocese, the Tyrone Herald reports.

Fr. Boland thanked the diocese’s chancellor, Fr. Paul McCafferty, and also expressed his “heartfelt thanks” to Fr. Francis Bradley, the diocesan administrator, whom he said “worked tirelessly” to conclude the case.

Fr. Bradley commented, “I entrust Fr. Eugene and all involved to prayer and the protection of God our Father. I warmly welcome Fr. Eugene’s return to Cappagh.”

“Throughout this journey I have been sustained and encouraged by the countless prayers and support of my family, colleagues, parishioners past and present and many friends,” he told the Tyrone Herald.

“In all of this, I only had one goal in mind, namely to return as soon as possible to my parish of Cappagh and resume the priestly ministry.”

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Nun empowers Northern India's women with education, hope

Rome, Italy, Mar 13, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - In a local culture prone to viewing women as property, Sister Daphne Sequeira has dedicated her life to offering education and a hopeful future to those in Northern India's rural villages.

Seeing a girl “whose potential is suppressed, her freedom, her desires are suppressed, I say, this is such disrespect to God, who created in his image, who created us as man and woman in his image, who promised us to have life to its fullest,” lamented Sr. Daphne at a recent Voices of Faith event on March 9.

The Sister of the Sacred Heart had been invited to share her experience at the Vatican venue celebrating the work of women in the Church. “Education is important, but it is significantly important to women, because we all know that when a woman is educated, when a girl child is educated, there’s a ripple effect. She is the one who nurtures the child when he is growing. She's the one for all practical purposes, who manages the household,” the Indian sister explained.

“I'm convinced that girls and women have to be educated,” she told CNA on March 9.

Sr. Daphne, who works with the Torpa Women's Development Society for Women, travels to Northern India’s remote villages, offering literacy and life skills classes to women and girls who have been denied an education. She also helps the women receive microcredit loans to grow their families’ businesses.

Despite India's “good programs and good policies” for education, such as the government's decision in 2012 to offer free education for girls, “there is no conducive environment, and there is also no mechanism to implement all these things,” noted the Sister.

“And so especially where poverty is concerned, the poor families…it's very easy for them to keep girls behind so that a girl – while her brothers are being educated, while her parents have gone to the field to work – the girl is managing the family.”

Tragically, in “tribal dominated areas,” human trafficking is not uncommon, added Sr. Daphne.

“Tribal girls are supplied to metropolitan cities for cheap domestic labor work...poverty is such that the parents feel that it’s an easy way to get rich – send a girl to the metropolitan city, then she works there and the money will come home. In many cases it doesn’t happen: the girl gets lost. Or when she comes back, she comes pregnant. And for these reasons quite often the education is suppressed.”

Sr. Daphne works hard to change this cultural norm. By offering women a basic education, she finds that they have “an instrument of empowerment, to their family, to the community, and to the society.”

The Sister of the Sacred Heart shared one of the many success stories of her program. Lilly, a 26-year-old mother of three, living in a “joint family” of 12 in a remote village, survives off her family's sole livelihood of agriculture. They raise goats and forage in the forest for root vegetables to sell at the market.

Very often, the six kilometer walk to the market is dangerous. Men wait in the forest to steal from the women bringing their goods to sell. One day at Christmas time, Lilly was entrusted with the family's fattened goat.

“Lilly was one kilometer away from the market when a man stopped her, took the goat from her, and produced a 500 rupee note for her,” Sr. Daphne said.

Although she refused the money, insisting it was not enough, the man persisted in his offers, adding ten rupee notes to the offer until he reached 580 rupees.

When Lilly returned home, she was severely scolded, as the goat was worth 2,000 rupees.

Lilly's husband narrated this incident to Sr. Daphne.

“I said, ‘how is that, that Lily when she gets many notes of 580 rupees, that she thinks its a lot of money and does not realize the value of it, but you know the value of that money?’ And he said, ‘Sister, I have passed the 10th standard grade. She is illiterate.’ So I said, ‘whose fault is it?’”

“This is what is the situation of many women there. They are cheated, exploited, and then, quite often, they get scolded or their voices are suppressed by family members who are so-called educated.”

The next month, Sr. Daphne asked Lilly to share her experience at a meeting in the village. The other women quickly expressed empathy. “For them it was common, and they came up with each one of their stories, and they said, ‘oh I am not allowed to talk in the family. Whenever I open my mouth they say, “you don’t understand, you keep quiet.” Our opinion is not taken.’”

Many women expressed their desire to be educated as children, but they had been kept away to look after siblings or see to the domestic work.

“I said, 'the time and opportunity is not lost. Would you like to be educated?'” recounted Sr. Daphne.

“In one voice, they all said 'yes! We would like to be!'”

In that village, they began classes for 1.5 hours a day, six days a week. For eight months, the women were taught about alphabets and numbers, monetary notes, how to read bank books, and how to write accounts. They were also exposed to government documents and instructed in how to fill out a government application.

“Today, Lilly is the secretary of that group,” said Sr. Daphne.

“The whole life had changed in that village. These women themselves, when the village meetings are held, they go - they sit there for the meetings. If there are some important issues which are ignored, they themselves bring it (up).”

The results of Sr. Daphne’s efforts are tangible and widespread.

“In the past three years, these women have motivated 600 women for this literacy program…In all the 12-13 villages where these women are educated, the whole life had changed. In the livelihood, the cheating is minimized. Their relationships are better; the health status is better. The important thing is that every child from this village now is going to school.”

Sr. Daphne hopes that the Church, which “is working really selflessly in the corners of the nation where our government has not reached,” can continue offering help to women and through them, the wider culture.

If “one Lilly” is “promoted in every village, our nation will see very different things,” she concluded.

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Stupak urges Supreme Court to affirm conscience protections

Washington D.C., Mar 13, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Former congressman Bart Stupak wrote a column Tuesday in support of the owners of for-profit companies who object to providing contraceptive drugs which can cause abortions.

“I'm proud to stand with the Green and Hahn families and their corporations, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, in seeking to uphold our most cherished beliefs that we, as American citizens, should not be required to relinquish our conscience and moral convictions in order to implement the Affordable Care Act,” Stupak wrote March 11 in USA Today.

The Supreme Court is due to hear oral argument in the corporations' cases – filed against the Health and Human Services department – March 25. Both challenge the department’s federal mandate, issued under the Affordable Care Act, that employers offer health insurance plans covering contraception and sterilization, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.

A pro-life Democrat, Stupak, who represented Michigan's first congressional disctrict from 1993 to 2011, voted for the Affordable Care Act only after President Obama promised to sign an executive order barring federal funding of abortion through the act.

Stupak wrote in his column: “I was eager to see many of the reforms in the act, including its provision to lower health care costs for women by increasing access to affordable preventive care.”

“I continue to believe the Affordable Care Act is critical to reforming our health care markets and providing a critical safety net for millions,” he said, adding that his objection “is that the preventive care provisions force businesses and their owners to extend health insurance coverage to methods of contraception that may cause the abortion of new embryos: new human beings.”

“It is possible to support the president's signature legislation and still object to the way the preventive care provisions have been applied by the Department of Health and Human Services.”

Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are both owned by Christians, who object to abortion. The U.S. government has argued that neither the First Amendment right to religious freedom nor the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, extends to owners of for-profit businesses as they make decisions for their companies.

The business owners have argued that their faith affects all aspects of their lives, and forbids them to “check their beliefs at the door” when they go to work. They say that both the Constitution and federal law protect a broad exercise of religious freedom.

“The Greens and the Hahns cannot, in good conscience, risk subsidizing actions that may take human life,” wrote Stupak. “As they have for years, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga's owners will comply with the Affordable Care Act's requirements that they provide quality health insurance for their employees, including a broad spectrum of preventive services for women. They ask only that they not be required to provide four out of the 20 FDA-approved contraceptives that can destroy life in its earliest stages.”

The former congressman noted their position on conscience protection dates “back to our nation's founding, when Quakers were exempted by General George Washington from bearing arms in the Revolutionary War,” adding that presently, pacifists are exempted from military service, anti-death penalty doctors from assisting in executions, and pro-life nurses from helping with abortions.

“We must honor the abortion conscience principle which the Green and Hahn families are fighting to uphold as well as like-minded Americans who wish to continue to provide health care coverage and preventive care for their employees,” he said.

“The Affordable Care Act struck an important balance between improving health care options and respecting conscience, a moral conscience that no one can violate, not even the federal government…I urge the Supreme Court to recognize and uphold this balance.”

Stupak and the Democrats for Life of America have filed a brief in the Supreme Court cases supporting Hobby Lobby and Conestoga; this joins them to hundreds of individuals and groups from a broad range of religious and political backgrounds who have filed such briefs.

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Fr. Lombardi: Pope is spending anniversary in prayer

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - In light of the Pope Francis’ first anniversary as Bishop of Rome, the Vatican has stated that the pontiff is doing nothing special to celebrate other than pray, as he is currently participating in his Lenten retreat.

“Today the Pope is not doing anything special or different from other days. He is praying,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told reporters in a March 13 statement.

Fr. Lombardi’s comment came in wake of numerous phone calls and emails he had received from journalists inquiring about the Holy Father’s plans for the day of his anniversary.

Having left Rome on Sunday afternoon with members of the Curia to spend their annual Lenten retreat in the hillside town of Ariccia, thus breaking from the tradition of holding it inside of the Vatican, Pope Francis is spending his anniversary in deep reflection and prayer.

During the retreat the Pope and curia members begin everyday with Mass, breakfast and a meditation given by Msgr. De Donatis, which is followed by lunch and a period of free time before a second meditation is given at 4p.m. After this they pray Vespers, have Eucharistic adoration, and eat dinner.

Msgr. De Donatis, who oversees a parish in the center of Rome and is highly regarded as a spiritual director for both priests and seminarians, is in charge of preaching during this year’s Lenten retreat, and has chosen to reflect on the theme of “the purification of the heart.”

On Friday the Pope and Curia members will conclude their retreat, and return from Ariccia by bus, the same means of transport he used to travel to the hill town on Sunday.

No special accommodations have been made for their return trip, as the bus is a regular motor coach, and is one of several owned by the Vatican.

In a message tweeted earlier this morning on Pope Francis’ twitter account, @Pontifex, the pontiff asked only one thing on the occasion of his anniversary: “Pray for me.”

The Pope’s twitter account currently has over 12 million followers worldwide, including 5 million in the Spanish language, close to 4 million in English, 1.5 million in Italian, almost 1 million in Portuguese, 248,000 in French, 177, 500 in German and 116,000 in Arabic.

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Pope will succeed in reforming Roman Curia, cardinal expects

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has discussed the reform of the Roman Curia being carried out by Pope Francis, saying he trusts that it will be completed effectively.

“It is a difficult journey, but I believe that Pope Francis is a man of decision, and so I believe he will succeed,” Cardinal Bertone, emeritus secretary of state, told CNA March 7.

He served as the Vatican’s secretary of state under Benedict XVI from 2006, and briefly resumed as Pope Francis’ secretary of state until his retirement Oct. 15, 2013.

A longtime collaborator of Benedict, he had also served as secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for seven years while Ratzinger was its prefect.

While he was head of the congregation, Ratzinger perfected a collegial method which he had taken directly from the Second Vatican Council and which he also applied as Pope, according to Cardinal Bertone.

“Benedict is the last Pope who directly participated in the Second Vatican Council, so I would say that he has drunk the spirit of collegiality that was proper to the Council, and wanted to bring -- and brought -- this spirit of collegiality to the Roman Curia, even to the governance of the universal Church.”

“Let us remember, also,” Cardinal Bertone continued, “that Francis wishes to focus on collegiality: in this there is a connection, a continuity, a perfect continuity, between the two Popes.”

As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger’s method was one “of participation, a method of involvement, and this is how he wanted the other departments to work,” according to Cardinal Bertone.

“He focused heavily on unity, on the collaboration of all the departments toward shared objectives; that they wouldn’t work in watertight compartments. It is a difficult job, this.”

Cardinal Bertone then added, “Pope Francis is thinking of reforming the Curia, of reducing the ministries. Certainly the departments have grown ... think of every Pope, think of the departments created by John Paul II ... but even Pope Benedict created a department specifically in relation to that for which Pope Francis has called -- going out of the Church into the peripheries: the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.”

Benedict XVI also “tried to unify the activities of the ministries; with some difficulty, as we know, because every department has its mission, its purpose,” he reflected.

“Each department wants to offer its goals in the documents that will remain in history, and this increases the variety of documents, and increases the difficulty of the reception of the documents of the Holy See, in the central government of the Church.”

“These are problems that Pope Benedict dealt with, and Pope Francis is trying to deal with.”

According to Cardinal Bertone, Pope Francis is treading the path of collegiality as well.

“In one of his first acts, Pope Francis created the council of eight cardinals to support him. In the end, just as in every department the ultimate decision rests with the prefect, in the universal Church the ultimate decision rests with the Pope and falls on his shoulders. But he shares, he is supported in his decisions, by the assistance of the cardinals.”

While these problems must weigh on him, Cardinal Bertone believes that Pope Francis will succeed in achieving a reform, even if “it is a long job, a job that requires thought, requires comparison, requires consultation.”

Editor's Note: This is the last of three articles to be published featuring material from CNA's March 7 interview with Cardinal Bertone. To read the first two installments, please click here and here.

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Speaker Boehner invites Pope Francis to address Congress

Washington D.C., Mar 13, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Speaker of the House John Boehner has extended an open invitation to Pope Francis to address a joint meeting of Congress, praising the Pope’s advocacy for the vulnerable.

“Pope Francis has inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manner and servant leadership, challenging all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity, and humble service,” Speaker Boehner said March 13.

“His tireless call for the protection of the most vulnerable among us—the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, the unborn—has awakened hearts on every continent.”

Speaker Boehner said such an address from the Pope would “honor our nation in keeping with the best traditions of our democratic institutions” and would be an opportunity for the American people and the world to “hear his message in full.”

Boehner, an Ohio Republican who is Catholic, said the Pope’s pastoral message “challenges people of all faiths and political parties.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who is Catholic, joined the invitation.

“Whether inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, who cared for all of God’s creation, or by St. Joseph, protector of the church, Pope Francis has lived his values and upheld his promise to be a moral force, to protect the poor and the needy, to serve as a champion of the less fortunate, and to promote love and understanding among faiths and nations,” she said in a separate statement.

The invitation came on the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ election to the papacy.

No Pope has ever addressed Congress, the U.S. House Historian’s office told USA Today.

Speaker Boehner said Pope Francis’ social teachings are rooted in “the joy of the gospel” and have prompted “careful reflection and vigorous dialogue” among people of all political and religious views, “particularly among those who champion human dignity, freedom and social justice.”

He said the Pope’s principles are “among the fundamentals of the American Idea.”

“And though our nation sometimes fails to live up to these principles, at our best we give them new life as we seek the common good,” he said.

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Priest lauds Catholic class offerings at largest state school

Irvine, Calif., Mar 13, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Arizona State University's partnership with a Catholic college providing theology courses to students won praise from scholar Father Robert Spitzer as “an experiment in the logic of complementarity.”

“Theological studies enhance the entire liberal arts curriculum. They can't help but do so,” Fr. Spitzer, S.J., told CNA March 13.

The Jesuit priest served as president of Washington state's Gonzaga University for more than ten years. He now heads the Magis Center of Reason and Faith in Irvine, Calif., which explores religious faith's relationship to physics and philosophy.

Fr. Spitzer said the partnership between Arizona State and North Dakota's University of Mary breaks down an older model that created an “artificial separation” between the public university and religious studies that could come from within a specific church.

“I don't really see any drawbacks. But I do see that every Catholic student at Arizona State can benefit tremendously from it,” he said.

In March 2012, the two universities announced a partnership allowing Arizona State University students to take University of Mary classes in Catholic studies and Catholic theology through Arizona State's Newman Center, which is located across the street from the Tempe, Ariz. campus.

Around 25 percent of the population is Catholic in Arizona.

Arizona State, which enrolled over 76,000 undergraduate and graduate students in 2013, offers various classes in religious studies, Jewish studies and Chicano studies but no theology courses.

The University of Mary, based in Bismarck, has about 3,100 students at its home campus.

Arizona State students who take the Catholic-focused courses pay tuition to the University of Mary. Class credit for many of the courses will transfer to Arizona State. The courses are open to non-ASU students and all students regardless of religion.

Coursework includes the study of Christology, church history, the Bible, faith and justice, Catholic church architecture, and the role of St. Benedict and Benedictine monasticism. Other courses examine the search for happiness, the interaction between faith and reason, and the Catholic perspective on sexual difference.

Fr. Spitzer said that theological studies have much to offer the university, citing Cardinal John Henry Newman’s seminal work “The Idea of the University.”

He noted that a transcendent perspective based in a sense of the human being's “eternal dignity” and “eternal destiny” is something that “transforms your whole way of looking at the human person.” This perspective helps counter “fundamental errors” that are “very reductionistic” and tend to underestimate human dignity.

“When you start viewing the human being as mystery instead of problem, as transcendent in worth instead of immanent in worth… only good can come from this,” he said. “It’s always better to overestimate human worth and dignity than to underestimate it.”

He said every university with a strong liberal arts curriculum has some religious studies offerings and transcendent perspectives already have a place at the university

“Already these kinds of intersections between science and spirituality are taking place at mainstream educational campuses,” he said. These intersections of dialogue between physics, neuroscience and religious studies are attempting to examine “the mystery of human consciousness” and its seeming irreducibility to computer models or animal consciousness.

He noted a conference on consciousness recently took place at the University of California-Berkeley. While most of the attendees were experts in neuroscience, artificial intelligence, or physics, some were experts in religious studies who are “interested in looking at how spirit can be linked to matter through quantum theory.”

“Religion has a role, a legitimate academic role, in the dialogue,” Fr. Spitzer said.

He acknowledged that partnerships between public and Catholic universities must have “clear lines” separating taxpayer money and support. He stressed that course offerings must be of high academic quality and must follow proper methodology.

“You want it to be academically respectable,” he said. The partnership between a public university and a Catholic university is “an acknowledgment that religious studies can be complementary.”

These partnerships help students who want such courses to be “more completed in their education,” he added. He voiced hope that anyone who wants to take a religion course can do so through partnerships with other Christian churches and other religious universities.

“If somebody from Hebrew University wants to teach some courses at Arizona State University that have academic legitimacy, good for them!” Fr. Spitzer said.

He said a complementary approach to education has “always taken culture to far, far, far greater heights than the logic of exclusion.”

The Arizona State-University of Mary partnership followed the release of Arizona State president Michael Crow’s strategic plan that aims to create a university that is “deeply engaged in the immediate needs of the people of the community.” Crow’s openness to partnering with all interested parties prompted the University of Mary's president Fr. James Shea to inquire about cooperation, Fr. Shea told CNA in February 2012.

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Cardinal Marx elected president of German bishops' conference

Munich, Germany, Mar 13, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Reinhard Marx was elected head of the German bishops’ conference Wednesday, succeeding Robert Zollitsch, Archbishop Emeritus of Freiburg im Breisgau.

“It is a great sign of the confidence of the bishops in Cardinal Marx that they have transferred to him this responsibility in a time of great challenge for the Church,” Fr. Peter Beer, vicar general of Cardinal Marx’ Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, said March 12, shortly after the vote.

“The entire archdiocese received this choice with pride and joy … we wish him God’s blessing and assistance in this task.”

Cardinal Marx, 60, is considered a “rising star” among the German bishops. He was made Archbishop of Munich and Freising in 2008 and elevated to the cardinalate two years later.

Under Pope Francis, he has been named both a member of the council of eight cardinals advising on curial reform, as well as being named Coordinator of the newly-established Council for the Economy, part of the economy secretariat at the Vatican.

He is also president of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, or COMECE.

Cardinal Marx was ordained a priest of the Paderborn archdiocese in 1979, and served as its auxiliary bishop from 1996 until he was made Bishop of Trier, where he served from 2002 until his transfer to the Munich archdiocese.

In his first speech as president of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Marx underscored that he will not be able to undertake all the charges of his new posts, announcing he is willing to delegate some tasks.

He added that he wants to help make the voice of Catholics in Germany heard again, saying that “we have new momentum, and that has to grow,” according to Deutsche Welle.

At their assembly in Muenster, the German bishops also confirmed Fr. Hans Langendoerfer, a Jesuit, as their general secretary – which could place Cardinal Marx in continuity with the work of Archbishop Zollitsch.

At the same time, Cardinal Marx is considered by German insiders to be strong enough to contrast with the Central Committee of German Catholics, a lay organization. The committee is described by some as the “executive arm” of We Are Church, an association which calls for, among other things, “the admission of women to all Church ministries.”

Yet We Are Church issued a statement March 12 welcoming Cardinal Marx’ appointment, in which they said the Church “can only be seen as an authentic bearer of Jesus' message if it seizes the encouraging impulse led by Pope Francis” and that the Church in Germany does not face a crisis of faith, but rather poor management by bishops.

When he addressed the Central Committee of German Catholics in 2011 during his apostolic journey to Germany, Benedict XVI noted that were a foreigner to spend a week with a typical German family, they would find “poverty in human relations and poverty in the religious sphere,” as well as a pervasive relativism.

“The Church in Germany is superbly organized,” the Pope from Bavaria noted. “But behind the structures, is there also a corresponding spiritual strength, the strength of faith in the living God? We must honestly admit that we have more than enough by way of structure but not enough by way of Spirit. I would add: the real crisis facing the Church in the western world is a crisis of faith. If we do not find a way of genuinely renewing our faith, all structural reform will remain ineffective.”

In 2010, 150 German theologians had signed a document called “Church 2011, a necessary turning point,” calling for several structural reforms, including the admission of the divorced and remarried to Communion.

In 1993, the bishops of the Rhine region signed a document advocating such admission, and the e Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then led by Cardinal Ratzinger, called them back to obedience.

The calls have been renewed in the last year – primarily by German bishops.

In October, the Freiburg archdiocese issued a document saying that some of those who are divorced and remarried may be re-admitted to Holy Communion.

The following month, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote a letter to Archbishop Zollitsch clarifying that “no pastoral directions are sanctioned which are in opposition to Church teaching,” and he had made the same point in an essay published at L'Osservatore Romano the preceding month.

Now that Archbishop Zollitsch is no longer head of the German bishops’ conference, it remains to be seen how Cardinal Marx will handle the debate taking place within and without the Church in Germany.

But when Cardinal Mueller’s letter to Archbishop Zollitsch was made public, Cardinal Marx stated that the prefect “cannot stop the discussions” about admitting persons who are divorced and remarried to Communion.

“We will see that it is discussed very broadly; as for the result, I do not know,” stated the Munich archbishop.

And according to a German insider who spoke with CNA March. 12, Cardinal Marx “will not distance himself that much from Archbishop Zollitsch’s positions concerning Communion for the divorced and remarried,” and “he will keep his distance from Cardinal Mueller, since they do not get on well together.”

“Cardinal Marx’ appointment,” the source maintains, “proves that things are not going to change for the Church in Germany.”

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