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College of Cardinals to discuss Anglican converts, clerical abuse
College of Cardinals to discuss Anglican converts, clerical abuse

.- On the eve of the consistory to create 24 new cardinals, the princes of the Church will examine the entry of Anglicans into full communion with the Church and the Holy See's response to sex abuse in the Church. Pope Benedict XVI's successor at the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, will present the themes.

Capping a "day of reflection and prayer," the cardinals will take a look at three current and particularly sensitive themes.

The announcement came in a statement to journalists from the Holy See which outlined the schedule for the Nov. 19 retreat of the College of Cardinals. The schedule for the day before the highly anticipated cardinal-creating consistory includes discussions about religious freedom and "the liturgy in the life of the Church today."

After praying vespers, the cardinals and cardinal-designates will examine three important issues in today's Church. The first theme, proposed by prefect and cardinal-designate Angelo Amato, will reflect on 10 years since the publication of the "Dominus Iesus," the declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the universal salvation offered by Jesus Christ and the Church.

The second and third themes will be presented by Cardinal Levada. One of them will address Benedict XVI's Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum coetibus," which offers Anglicans a way to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church in the form of personal ordinariates. Ordinariates are special jurisdictions within the Church that allow members to worship according to a specific traditions.

The first ordinariate is expected to be created quite soon in the U.K. Five Anglican bishops announced their resignations on Nov. 8 in pursuit of full communion with the Catholic Church.

The second presentation by Cardinal Levada is titled "The response of the Church to cases of sexual abuse." The theme is unprecedented, at least publicly, among cardinals' collegial discussions.

The Holy See released a "Guide to Understanding Basic CDF Procedures concerning Sexual Abuse Allegations" last April. The Nov. 19 discussions, however, will take place behind closed doors.

Pre-consistory retreats are not a novelty in Pope Benedict's pontificate, according to Vatican analyst Sandro Magister. Before the last consistory in 2007, cardinals examined ecumenical dialogue and general issues in the Church. In 2006, themes included the mission of retired bishops, full communion with the Society of St. Pius X, liturgical reform and Catholic-Muslim relations.

The College of Cardinals is currently composed of more than 200 members. The 24 newly-elected members will be made cardinals on Nov. 20.

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