|The Church, which screams it's all about freedom of religion and human rights, has a real problem with the concept when it applies to them.|
If the LCWR wants a glimpse of what's in store for them all they need do is read what the Vatican has determined constitutes 'dialogue' with Caritas Internationalis. The following is an excerpt from John Allen's post at this morning's NCR.
Vatican imposes new controls on charity federation
by John L Allen Jr on May. 02, 201 ROME -- After moving last year to block the re-election of the first laywoman to head Caritas Internationalis, the Rome-based confederation of Catholic charitable agencies around the world, over an alleged “lack of coordination” with papal aides, the Vatican today imposed sweeping new rules that effectively tightens its control over Caritas' finances and global operations.
Among other points, the rules require the top officials of Caritas to make promises of loyalty before a Vatican official, including "Christian obedience" to church leaders.
Aside from its direct importance for Catholic charities, today’s Vatican move is also interesting for the recently decreed overhaul of the Leadership Conference for Women Religious in the United States, the country’s main umbrella group for superiors of women’s orders.
Like LCWR, Caritas Internationalis is a juridical person under church law recognized by the Vatican. The new rules are thus a further indication that the Vatican is in earnest about tightening its grip over groups that enjoy official status and, in some sense, represent the church.
The rules came in the form of a “General Decree,” released today in the name of Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State.
Composed of nine articles, the rules specify that:
- The Vatican office which oversees Caritas is the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and it has the power to approve in advance “any text with doctrinal or moral content or orientations,” which may also be submitted to the review of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
- Cor Unum will appoint an ecclesiastical assistant to Caritas, whose role will be to “promote its Catholic identity.”
- Cor Unum must approve any cooperative agreements between Caritas and non-governmental organizations, except in cases of dire humanitarian emergencies. (In the past, Caritas had been criticized for entering into agreements with NGOs whose approach to issues such as population control differs from that of the Catholic church.)
- Caritas officials are required to report any contact with foreign governments or diplomatic missions to the Secretariat of State. (Also in the past, Caritas has been criticized for conducting a sort of "parallel diplomacy" alongside the Vatican's official diplomatic apparatus.)
- Cor Unum, in consultation with the Secretariat of State, must approve various sectors of Caritas’ financial operations, such as wages, contracts and the review of budgets.
- Top officials of Caritas Internationalis must pronounce loyalty oaths before the president of Cor Unum, who is currently Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea. The officials are required to vow “always to conserve communion with the Catholic church, both in word and in mode of acting,” to preserve and transmit “faithfully the deposit of faith, rejecting any doctrine contrary to it,” and to “observe Christian obedience to what the Sacred Pastors declare as authentic doctors and teachers of the faith, or stabilize as leaders of the church.”
What's next arm bands with the Vatican coat of arms? A special salute for our papal ruler? If this wasn't so sad, I'd think it was some sort of Monte Python parody.
Somebody in the Vatican is really afraid of something or someones. Caritas Internationalis was effective precisely because it had autonomy to deal with situations on the ground in ways which would actually help and the freedom to make cooperative agreements with other NGO's as needed. I can't wait for the Vatican to define 'humanitarian emergency'. Undoubtedly it will involve some notion that no humanitarian emergency ever justifies Caritas moving on it's own with out their supervision. My God a condom might slip through under the smokescreen of an 'humanitarian emergency'.
It also won't surprise me in the least if Caritas loses access to politically sensitive areas because it most certainly won't be seen as a-political any longer. It will be seen as a papal lackey, an agent of papal politics and that would be the truth.
If the Vatican is hell bent on tainting everything good about Catholicism with it's own heavy handed fascist stench, they are doing a very thorough job of it. I hope Caritas leadership votes to separate themselves from any Vatican association. It's the only way they can keep their integrity because the instant they raise their hands and take that oath, they have none when it comes to their mission. They will have given up all their autonomy.
This is most certainly the kind of 'reform' the LCWR can look forward too in their future. The first thing they will now have to do is to change their vows to their congregational superiors and take up a new one of obedience to the Pope and his representatives. I wonder how many of them will take such an oath.
This is no longer a Church in which primacy of conscience has any meaning what so ever except to maybe find the nearest exit door. It's getting harder to stay and feel like one has any kind of integrity at all. But I guess that's not surprising since personal integrity takes such a very back seat to obedience and loyalty when it comes to the culture of the Vatican.
For all it's bluster about the loyalty oath of the Legion of Christ, the concept sure does seem the be a hit with Pope Benedict. Wonder why that is. And finally, if one reads the mandated oath, one will see that fidelity to Jesus Christ or fidelity to the Gospels, is conspicuously absent, but fidelity to our 'Sacred Pastors" is the definition of Christian obedience. Seriously, it is truly getting harder and harder to even find the name Jesus without having to look behind all the clerical skirts. Enough already.