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For once, an exposé that helps the Vatican bank

  • “Earthquake at the Vatican Bank,” a story in the Oct. 3 edition of l’Espresso
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Steamy magazine exposés are rarely good news for the people or institutions featured in them. That’s probably especially true for the troubled Vatican bank, which over the years has been the church’s premier magnet for conspiracy theories and scandals of every imaginable sort.

On Friday, however, the bank finally caught a break.

There was yet another gossipy piece in an Italian newsmagazine, in this case l’Espresso, featuring ominous storm cloud art, which was full of unnamed sources describing an “earthquake” related to the bank. (The place is technically the “Institute for the Works of Religion,” often referred to by the Italian acronym IOR.)

Immediately after it appeared, the piece had phone lines buzzing inside the Vatican, in part because after last summer’s leaks scandal, the perception that insiders are spilling the beans to reporters usually means going to Defcon 1.

Yet despite the melodramatic flourishes in the piece, its overall effect is probably to burnish, rather than erode, the bank’s new image. 

Explore our print edition, featuring our annual Health & Well Being special section.

That’s because the “earthquake” to which the title refers is a growing sense of shock that bank officials aren’t just talking about transparency, but actually implementing it – beginning with insisting that Vatican personnel, including those at the very top of the food chain, explain where the money they have parked at the bank comes from and what they’re doing with it.

“In the Vatican, the unthinkable is happening,” the article reports. “A deadly tightening up has been imposed … in the name of legality and absolute transparency.”

For most outsiders, the application of tighter controls probably seems less unthinkable than long overdue. Aside from its checkered historical past, such as the celebrated scandals involving Roberto Calvi and the Banco Ambrosiano in the 1980s, the IOR has recently stumbled through a series of embarrassments:

Read the rest here: http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/once-expos-helps-vatican-bank

After Years of Decline, Catholics See Rise in Number of Future Priests

    

seminary
Faculty and candidates for graduation assemble in the Bruening-Marotta Library of Saint Mary Seminary in Wickliffe, Ohio, on May 8, 2013. (Photo by Renata M. Courey / courtesy Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology and Diocese of Cleveland)

After decades of glum trends—fewer priests, fewer parishes—the Catholic Church in the United States has a new statistic to cheer: More men are now enrolled in graduate-level seminaries, the main pipeline to the priesthood, than in nearly two decades.

This year’s tally of 3,694 graduate theology students represents a 16 percent increase since 1995 and a 10 percent jump since 2005, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).

Seminary directors cite more encouragement from bishops and parishes, the draw of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and the social-justice-minded Pope Francis, and a growing sense that the church is past the corrosive impact of the sexual abuse crisis that exploded in 2002.

Ultimately, it was “a calling in my heart,” says Kevin Fox.

He walked away from his electrical engineering degree and a job in his field, working with CT scanners, to enter St. Mary Seminary in Wickliffe, Ohio, in his home diocese, Cleveland, this fall.
“I always had an inkling that I might want to be a priest and my parish priest told me he thought I might be called,” said Fox, 24. “But I put it aside.”

With a fresh degree from Case Western Reserve and his first post-graduation job, Fox soon realized the secular path “wasn’t filling my soul with joy.”

Now, after years of pure science, Fox is immersed in pure theology–and loving it. The challenges of the culture, such as crude jokes from strangers about the abuse crisis, have not dissuaded him.

Read the rest here: http://www.charismanews.com/world/41158-after-years-of-decline-catholics-see-rise-in-number-of-future-priests

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – September 30, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on September 30

4:00 – Kresta Comments – Reza Aslan’s “Five Myths About Jesus”

4:20 – The Testimony and Writing of Elizabeth Ficocelli
Elizabeth Ficocelli is a best-selling, award-winning author of fourteen books for adults and young people, including Seven From Heaven: How Your Family Can Find Healing, Strength and Protection in the Sacraments; Lourdes: Font of Faith, Hope & Charity; Shower of Heavenly Roses: Stories of the Intercession of St. Thérèse of Lisieux; and The Imitation of Christ for Children. She here in Southeast MI today and stops into the studio to talk about her faith journey, her writing, and her passion for the Faith.

5:00 – Kresta Comments – Reza Aslan’s “Five Myths About Jesus”

5:20 – Kresta Comments – “Miss World” Pageant in Bali And The Muslim Reaction

5:40 – Partnering for Catholic Education in Kenya
Two schools – Embul-Bul Catholic Schools and St. Andrew Nkaimurunya are both located in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya where the unemployment rate is 40%, half of the population lives below the poverty line, life expectancy is just 63 years and infant mortality rate is 43 deaths  for every 1,000 births. Though Kenya offers free public education, in reality too few public schools exist — most are full and turn children away. They also turn away children who are academically behind for the ironic reason that they were previously unable to attend school. But Embul-Bul and St. Andrew welcome children off the streets and provide them with a quality education, daily nutritious lunches and a firm grounding in Catholic moral values. Jim Cavnar of Cross Catholic International Outreach is here to talk about their partnership with Ave Maria Radio to provide scholarships for Kenyan children.

Are We Obsessed?

     

Dr. Ed Peters’ blog

St. Dominic Chapel
From Providence College’s website:
“The Catholic and Dominican character of Providence College precisely as a college is most evident in its approach to faith and reason.”
About Drs. John Corvino and Dana Dillon, and about Providence College, I know next to nothing, and so can say next to nothing; about the ‘gay marriage’ debate—or at least about some Catholic principles applicable to the ‘gay marriage’ debate—I know something and so can say something.

Inviting a speaker to a college campus to address a volatile issue and offering (if belatedly) to provide a rebuttal speaker, but then cancelling the whole event apparently because management doesn’t like the views to be expressed by the original speaker, is the stuff of which higher education public relations disasters are made. But while Providence College works through its image problems (and, given the institutional identification with the Catholic Church, while the Church faces yet another PR mess not of her own making), it might help to step back and ask, what exactly was to be debated at the Providence ‘gay marriage’ debate in the first place?

Considering her age (+2,000 years), her membership (+1,000,000,000), and her range of concerns (eternal salvation and human civilization), the Catholic Church has a remarkably short list of non-negotiable assertions. Some of these non-negotiable assertions deal with dogma (e.g., Jesus is divine and human, or, there are exactly seven sacraments) and some of these non-negotiable assertions deal with doctrines (e.g., the Church has no power to ordain women to priesthood, or Thomas More is a saint) but in both cases, the assertion being made is, Catholics hold, being made with infallible certainty.

Now, among the assertions made by the Church with infallible certainty, I have argued, is this one: God made marriage to exist between one man and one woman. Catholics could debate, say, whether this assertion is a dogma to be believed or a doctrine to be held, or whether the assertion is knowable by reason alone or requires the gift of faith. Catholics could even debate whether civil unions of one sort or another between two persons of the same sex are good for society or bad. But Catholics cannot, I suggest, argue whether true marriage exists only between one man and one woman. To debate whether marriage can exist between two persons of the same sex is to imply that some Catholic non-negotiables can be negotiated by Catholics.


Dr. Ed Peters, canon lawyer

Read the rest here: http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/what-was-there-to-debate-at-providence/

Photo: Ted Cruz Kneels in Prayer Outside the White House

CBN News: The Brody File
Friday, September 27, 2013 1:00 PM

Here’s a shot of Sen. Ted Cruz praying in front of The White House yesterday.

No, he’s not praying that Barack Obama will overturn Obamacare and no, he’s not praying that he will occupy the presidency one day. Instead, he’s alongside Rev. Rob Schenck (from Faith and Action) and Rev. Frazier White (a Democrat and Obama supporter) praying for Saeed Abedini, who has been in an Iranian prison for one year. He is being persecuted for his faith to Jesus Christ.
Who says Ted Cruz isn’t bipartisan?

I have not only interviewed Ted Cruz many times, but I have spent time with him and his family. He is true Bible-believing Christian who is not ashamed of the Gospel. Of course the liberals don’t want to hear that nonsense. They’ll now be busy trying to figure out how to distort this picture in Adobe Photoshop.

Below are the words of Rev. Rob Schenck, the man who organized the prayer.

“In the image you see me at the center with my prayer stole as we intercede in Jesus’ name for our brother in Christ and imprisoned pastor, Saeed Abedini, who has suffered in an Iranian prison for one year because of his faithful witness to Christ. Kneeling with me on my left (the significance of the placement should be noted) is the U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a tea party Republican from Texas. Sen. Cruz just made wall-to-wall headlines for his 20+ hour filibuster opposing Obamacare, the President’s signature legislative achievement.

On my right (again, note the orientation) is Rev. Frazier White, a Democrat community organizer from my neighborhood of Capitol Hill, and a huge supporter of President Obama. At the moment the photo was taken, though, the politically polar opposite positions of the Senator and the Pastor were irrelevant.

We were bowed before the Holy, the Supernal, the highest Lord in the universe, and the One and Only Eternal King. Everything else: party labels, policy positions, job descriptions, accents, zip codes, skin color, filibusters and organizing, were all utterly and completely dwarfed. In that moment of prayer–especially for a fellow Christian, a persecuted believer, whose circumstances are for most us unimaginable–our political and cultural squabbles seemed petty.

Pastor White, Sen. Cruz, Rev. Pat Mahoney, Jordan and Anna Sekulow, myself, and so many others, were there in front of the White House to do the really and truly important business of crying out to God for one of our own that was suffering for his faith.”

Source: http://blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/archive/2013/09/27/photo-ted-cruz-kneels-in-prayer-outside-the-white-house.aspx

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