The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Britain next month was always liable to cause controversy, not least because of his alleged personal involvement in the handling of so many cases of child abuse. Many Irish Catholics are less than totally enthusiastic about attending any of the papal events in Britain, and it seems that British Catholics are not contributing to the funds needed for the event.
The Tablet also reports that thousands of tickets for major events during Pope Benedict’s visit are being returned to organisers because dioceses have not found enough people to take up their allocation. At least seven dioceses have each sent back hundreds of tickets, known as “pilgrim invitations”, for the Hyde Park prayer vigil and Beatification Mass of Cardinal Newman in Cofton Park, Birmingham.
The decision not to accept the resignations of two Irish auxiliary bishops implicated in the Murphy Report on child sex abuse in Dublin is, at the very least, confusing to non-Catholics. Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field tendered their resignations as auxiliary bishops of Dublin eight months ago, some weeks after Dr Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, made it clear that he no longer had confidence in them. The Pope’s decision to decline their resignations must be incomprehensible to the survivors of abuse, especially if the church hopes to be seen as serious about making significant changes to its way of conducting its affairs in the aftermath of the report.
Many of these issues have raised concerns about the direction of the Catholic Church is travelling under Pope Benedict. These are explored in a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor. The author argues that any liberalising trends of recent decades have been reversed, and that Josef Ratzinger has been a leader in these moves. This article raises the question of whether Vatican II has actually made any difference to the Roman Catholic Church. The whole article is here and is quoted in full below the fold. Continue reading “Papal issues”