Vatican walks tightrope on China, comes on strong with Germany and confession

Crux | 7/2/2019 | Staff
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ROME - Now that we’re in the dog days of summer, this year featuring record high temperatures across Europe, one might think the Vatican would be entering a “mad dogs and Englishmen” sort of lull. However, that’s not the nature of the Pope Francis era, in which down time is a relic of the past.

Just the last few days have brought several important developments, including another papal missive to the Catholics of China, a strong defense of the seal of confession, and a remarkable papal shot across the bow to the Catholic Church in Germany.

Herewith - Reflections - Stretch

Herewith, brief reflections on another busy stretch.

When Francis removed Italian Cardinal Mauro Piacenza as head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy in 2014, in tandem with taking American Cardinal Raymond Burke off the Congregation for Bishops, it was one of those early signs that Francis was moving in a different direction from St. John Paul II and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

Today - Piacenza - Apostolic - Penitentiary - Vatican

Today Piacenza heads the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal dealing with the “internal forum,” meaning situations where something can’t be demonstrated publicly through a judicial process but where there may be confidential reasons for mercy, such as the lifting of excommunications.

Though Piacenza has flown below radar for a while, he came back strong Tuesday with a document defending the seal of the confessional at a time when it’s under assault from California to Australia due to the clerical abuse crisis.

Secrecy - Confession - Divine - Law - Roots

“The inviolable secrecy of confession comes directly from revealed divine law and the roots of the very nature of the sacrament are immersed in it, to the point of not permitting any exception within the ecclesial ambit nor, all the more, in the civil sphere,” Piacenza wrote.

Generally, when the Vatican addresses some sort of external threat such as a push to roll back the confessional seal, it’s...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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