He hugged me. He kissed me. He said don’t forget about the poor. And that’s how in my heart came the name Francis of Assisi.Pope Francis • Discussing the conversation he had with his close friend, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, regarding the inspiration for his name, which came during this week’s conclave. Francis of Assisi is fitting for this naming approach, as he was known for his missionary work.
»Chris@SFB says: We received a comment on this post we wanted to be sure to address, regarding our use of the phrase “the Catholic Church’s woeful history” as relates to child sex predation. The commenter argues that the phrase is an unfair generalization — that it’s the clergy that suffers with these “issues,” not the Church, and that it’s improper to call it a “woeful history” because this wasn’t a problem that existed before Vatican II. On the first point, this seems both a distinction without a difference, as well as factually incomplete. In truth, child sex abuse committed by members of the Catholic clergy was reliably facilitated by Church officials and higher-ups, who aided in moving violators to different parishes and concealing their heinous crimes. As to the post-conciliar point, I’d only say that I’m unaware of any provable assertion that molestation and sex abuse only became issues for the Church after Vatican II, but even were that true, the past fifty years on their own rise to the level of a “woeful history,” temporally and semantically.
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» Paying the price: Philadelphia monsignor William Lynn will serve three to six years in prison, following sentencing today for covering up a priest’s pedophilic abuse in his diocese. Lynn was the secretary for clergy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and is the first Catholic Church official to be convicted for such a crime in the United States. Lynn’s conviction came over his failure to report now-imprisoned former priest Edward Avery, who is serving a two-and-a-half year to five-year sentence for sexually assaulting an altar boy in 1999. Lynn’s lawyers have sought leniency in their client’s case, arguing he shouldn’t have to serve more time than Avery himself.
I honestly thought I was going to jail … I was wrong for what I did. I wanted to bring attention to the cause.California resident William Lynch • Discussing the verdict reached in his assault case, which involved him punching Jerold Lindner, a former priest whom Lynch says abused him as a child, in a 2010 incident. Lynch was acquitted of felony assault and elder abuse in the case, but the jury deadlocked on a misdemeanor assault charge. Jurors, speaking anonymously, said that they could not convict Lynch based on his dramatic testimony in court. Lindner, now in his late 60s, denies abusing Lynch.
» A modest throng of protesters have descended on Federal Plaza in Chicago today, rallying against the mandate in the Affordable Care Act dictating that employers must cover birth control in their employees’ health insurance plans. The original dustup on this issue came about because the law, while it did exempt churches from the mandate, did not have an exemption for other religiously-backed institutions (such as Catholic hospitals). The Obama administration thus compromised, tweaking the rules so that insurers themselves would have to foot the bill, not directly the religious institutions, but that hasn’t quelled a testy opposition.
May the risen Christ grant hope to the Middle East and enable all the ethnic, cultural and religious groups in that region to work together to advance the common good and respect for human rights. Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community.Pope Benedict XVI • Speaking during his Easter Sunday mass at the Vatican, specifically bringing up the Syrian conflict. The pope’s words may not be proving effective in Syria, after government officials said they would not lay down their weapons without written guarantees rebel groups would do the same.