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Bishop Finn investigation is another sign that accountability is on Pope Francis' agenda

The news that the Vatican is investigating the pastoral leadership of Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., is another sign that Pope Francis is willing to tackle the problem of bishops’ accountability in a new way. The National Catholic Reporter reported that, at the Vatican’s request, Canadian Archbishop Terrence Prendergast visited the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese for several days last week, asking more than a dozen interview subjects questions about Finn’s leadership abilities. A spokesperson for the diocese later confirmed the investigation and said Finn was “cooperating with the process.” Two years ago, a civil court convicted Finn on misdemeanor charges of failing to

War of words heats up as Vatican counts down to synod

Journalists often exaggerate conflict at the Vatican. But it’s no exaggeration to say that sharp battle lines are being drawn for the October Synod of Bishops, in particular on the issue of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. This week saw several leading cardinals and Vatican officials weigh in on the “No” side, with the imminent publication of two new books on the topic. Among them were two leading Roman Curia officials – German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Australian Cardinal George Pell, head of the Vatican’s new Secretariat for the Economy. Specifically, they took issue with Cardinal Walter Kasper, who was selected b

Theologians warn of spiritual crisis, ‘pastoral breakdown’ over sex abuse cases in St. Paul

Theology professors at the University of St. Thomas have warned of a “pastoral breakdown” following sex abuse revelations in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. They said Archbishop John Nienstedt needs to take a series of bold new public steps to heal the wounds and salvage his own leadership role. (UPDATE: See below Archbishop Nienstedt’s response to the letter, in which he said he has already taken many of the steps proposed by the theologians. He also asked those who signed the letter for a meeting and discussion.) A sharply worded letter signed by 12 tenured members of the university’s theology department and delivered to Nienstedt on Saturday called on the archbishop to “leave the

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