Vatican Roundup

Call for debate on Amoris Laetitia

Cardinal Peter Turkson has suggested a full debate on the papal encyclical Amoris Laetitia between all those prominently linked to the row surrounding it as a means of reaching common ground.

Speaking to the National Catholic Register, the prefect of the dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development said: “For all of these people who’ve said things, written things, each in their own different contexts, a great thing that could happen is have them all on stage…together, to listen to what each other had to say, and to see: How would they respond and react to each other?”

Since the publishing of a letter containing questions – dubia – on Amoris Laetitia by Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner, Pope Francis has not been drawn to directly address concerns surrounding his encyclical. Similarly, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has refused to enter the row. In the absence of these voices, individual prelates have offered varying shades of opinion but no firm answer that satisfies all on those questions originally posed around issues concerning the family and the issuing of communion to divorced-and-remarried Catholics.

The latest to intervene has been Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop in Astana, Kazakhstan, who declared in a TV interview that “we are witnessing today a bizzare form of schism” which is causing a crisis “only comparable to the general confusion of the Arian crisis in the 4th Century.”

Accusing figures whom he refused to name directly of breaking with Catholic tradition to promote a “gospel of sexual liberty”, Bishop Schneider added, “These ecclesiastics want to make use of evil means, that is to say ruses, deceptions, masterful rhetoric and dialectic, and even the tactic of intimidation and moral violence, in order to attain their goal of admitting the so-called ‘remarried’ divorcees to Holy Communion without the latter fulfilling the condition of living in perfect continence, a condition required by divine law.”


Vatican reaffirms homosexual bar for priestly ministry

The Vatican has reaffirmed that actively homosexual men may not be admitted to the priestly ministry. 

In a new instruction on the training of seminarians from the Congregation for the Clergy, The Gift of the Priestly Vocation, it is stated that the Church “cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called ‘gay culture’”. The document goes on to reiterate the 2005 policy statement from the Congregation for Catholic Education: “If a candidate practises homosexuality or presents deep-seated homosexual tendencies, his spiritual director as well as his confessor have the duty to dissuade him in conscience from proceeding towards ordination.”

The Gift of the Priestly Vocation is the first directive on priestly ordination issued by the Vatican since 1970.


Vatican abuse watchdog launches website

The Vatican’s abuse watchdog has launched a new website containing guidelines for the prevention of sexual abuse. 

The site, , has been officially launched by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and, while currently available only in English, will eventually include Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French. In addition to a template for local guidelines in tackling abuse, the site also contains resources for a day of prayer for victims of abuse and a mailing address for contact with commission members.