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On economic battleground, the pope finds ‘radical’ ally

Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein will be a featured speaker at a Vatican conference this week to follow up on Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment. In fact, Klein will join Cardinal Peter Turkson Wednesday at a press conference to launch the Vatican event. I had heard the news a couple days ago, but almost didn’t believe it until I saw the notice posted on the Vatican press office bulletin board today. For those unfamiliar with Klein, she is one of the most influential critics of corporate capitalism, and has argued – as the pope did in his encyclical – that many of the root causes of climate change are economic. This is from the website of her latest book, This Changes Everyt

‘Laudato Sì’ calls for radical new approach to ecology, global economics

Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology delivers a strongly worded indictment of the global economic system’s “compulsive consumerism,” and warns that catastrophic consequences can only be avoided through “ecological conversion” at every level of social life. Throughout the text of Laudato Sì (Praise be to you), the pope emphasizes that a true understanding of Christian ethics – as developed from the Old Testament right on through the recent teachings of popes – demands a change from a modern lifestyle that, in many ways, has become unsustainable and unjust. The document lays down stark challenges to both policy-makers and individuals, and is particularly tough on the architects of global financ

A new day in St. Paul-Minneapolis

The resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt in St. Paul-Minneapolis came after nearly two years of patience at the Vatican, which generally prefers a bishop to put his diocese in order rather than be yanked from office. Despite Nienstedt’s efforts to make some changes, it was clear that the problems were not going away. Filing for bankruptcy four months ago was bad, but worse came 10 days ago, when a local prosecutor announced he would bring charges against the archdiocese for failing to protect children. That meant the drumbeat of bad news would continue for the foreseeable future. On Minnesota Public Radio this morning, I took a long look at the implications of the resignation and possibl

How the Vatican will hold bishops accountable on protection of minors

Pope Francis has approved a system of reporting and judging bishops who fail to protect minors, a critical development in the Vatican’s actions on sexual abuse. Announced June 10, the move authorizes three Vatican offices to receive and investigate complaints against bishops, and establishes a special tribunal under the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to determine whether a bishop is guilty of “abuse of office.” The pope still has the ultimate say in requesting a bishop’s resignation, but as a Vatican spokesman said, the tribunal’s findings would normally be accepted and acted upon by the pope. For years, bishops’ accountability has been the missing element in the Vatican’s approa

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