The spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Rowan Williams, backed gay people becoming bishops on Saturday as long as they remain celibate, risking more divisions within the Church on the issue.
Three Roman Catholic bishops in Belgium, reacting to damaging sexual abuse scandals in their ranks, have taken the rare step of urging their Church to consider easing its ban on married men in the priesthood.
(Photo: Pope Benedict in his popemobile before Mass in Glasgow, 16 Sept 2010/Nigel Roddis)
Addressing an open air Mass in Glasgow on Thursday, Pope Benedict warned against a “dictatorship of relativism” and urged Catholics to oppose attempts to “exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty.” He stressed the importance of ecumenical cooperation and urged bishops, priests and young people to lead holy lives.
Following the crisis of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Belgium is like watching a rudderless ship in a storm. The Church hierarchy seems overwhelmed by the scandal that has engulfed it. The state seems unable to intervene after its spectacular raid on Church offices last June backfired on it. Left hanging are at least 475 victims who have no idea what to expect next.
Belgium’s Catholic Church responded to an abuse scandal with plans to create a reconciliation centre and set new rules for priests, but victim groups called the moves insufficient. “The past months have been very difficult for the Church and for us. We are fully committed to tackling this problem in a new way,” Archbishop André-Joseph Leonard told a news conference. “It causes us pain. Coming out of such a crisis is not easy.”
The former head of Belgium’s Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, has admitted he made mistakes in dealing with a case of sexual abuse and should have demanded the resignation of the bishop involved.
(Photo: Cardinal Danneels arrives at federal police headquarters in Brussels July 6, 2010 for questions about allegations of sexual abuse by priests/Stringer)
The world’s first female Lutheran bishop, Maria Jepsen of Germany, resigned on Friday following a report she had allowed a pastor accused of sexual abuse of teenagers in her diocese continued contact with youngsters.
A messy dispute has broken out in Germany’s Catholic Church after a bishop accused of abusing minors said his superiors had tricked Pope Benedict into retiring him and he might ask the Vatican to be reinstated.
Fallout from the Catholic child sex abuse scandal spread across Europe on Thursday as the Vatican retired an Irish bishop, a German offered to step down and prelates in England and Wales apologised for the “terrible crimes” of priests.