Ever since the University of Notre Dame announced that President Obama would receive an honorary degree and speak at its May 17 commencement ceremony, debate among American Catholics has grown increasingly heated.
In March, when Pope Benedict XVI, on a flight to Cameroon, declared that the use of condoms is not the answer to the AIDS epidemic in Africa—that, on the contrary, it “increases the problem”—I thought immediately of Francis Ntowe. I met Ntowe years ago when he came to the U.S. from Cameroon. He became an elder in the Presbyterian Church.
The Vatican plans to investigate leaders of women’s religious congregations in the U.S. to ensure their fidelity to Catholic teaching on controversial questions having to do with ecumenism, homosexuality and the all-male priesthood.
When Americans discuss the great crisis facing the Roman Catholic Church, they usually are thinking of the notorious sex abuse scandals. Vatican authorities, though, worry more about another crisis, one with potentially far graver implications for the church—the explosive growth of Protestant and Pentecostal numbers in what has always been the solidly Catholic stronghold of Latin America.
Servants of the Paraclete founder warned church leaders
May 05, 2009
A Catholic priest who specialized in treating sexually abusive priests strongly advised church leaders—including Pope Paul VI—that abusers should be defrocked and possibly exiled to a Caribbean island, according to correspondence recently unearthed by an independent Catholic newspaper.
The Vatican’s top bioethics official said the two Brazilian doctors who performed an abortion on a nine-year-old rape victim do not merit excommunication, since they acted to save her life. The statement by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, appeared as the lead article in the March 15 issue of the official Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
During a weeklong visit to Africa in March, Pope Benedict XVI told journalists accompanying him on the papal plane to Cameroon that making condoms widely available “increased the problem” of AIDS. The remark, similar to the Vatican’s longstanding emphasis on sexual abstinence, revived controversy over how best to stem the global AIDS epidemic that has devastated sub-Saharan Africa.