Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dominicans suppress their most famous monastery

"The final decision could come at any moment, amid the distraction of the summer. And it will concern the life or death of the most famous Dominican convent in the world, the convent of San Marco in Florence.

What is at stake smacks of the incredible. It is as if the Franciscan friars were to decide to close the convent of Assisi. And yet this is what could happen, at the behest of the order of Saint Dominic itself, if the superior general of the order, Fr. Bruno Cadoré, should put into effect the decision that the chapter of the Dominican province of central Italy, named after Saint Catherine of Siena, made in the autumn of 2013: the decision, that is, to suppress the “house," meaning the convent of San Marco in Florence."

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Cathcon: Pure idiocy.....a complete betrayal of their heritage.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Greek Orthodox representation in Brussels to shut

The Orthodox Church of Greece is imminently to close their EU permanent representation in Brussels. The news agency KNA reports. There have been indications of this step for some time with the deterioration in relations between Athens and Brussels since the beginning of the Greek debt crisis. Now, the church has moved the head of the representation of the Archbishop of Athens to the European Union, Metropolitan Athanasios Chatzopoulos, "immediately" and "until further notice" from Brussels. In the parlance of the Greco-Byzantine church diplomacy this means the imminent closure of the EU Representation of Greece Church, or at least its downgrade to low level.

In Athens, ecclesiastical circles emphasized that the dismissal of Metropolitan Chatzopoulos was not directed against his person. There is nothing to complain about in the administration of the representation. By contrast, the Church of Greece wanted to express their unease about the European attitude in the face of the hardships of the Greek people. In addition, cost savings play a role. The money for the Brussels office would better benefit the poor in Greece.


Cathcon: Met the Metropolitan on a few occasion. Very charming and very good at his job. Oxford educated.

Bishop set to be sued for millions by his former diocese.

Facing a demand for millions?: Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, then still bishop of Limburg, at the end of 2012 in the chapel of the Episcopal Residence

The Diocese of Limburg presses the former Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst for damages. To this end, the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese appointed by Pope Francis, Bishop Manfred Grothe previously of Paderborn, has made an application to the competent court of the Roman Catholic Church, the Roman Rota. An opening of the proceedings has not yet been decided on according to information given to this newspaper. Because of the scope of that decision, however, it is to be expected that, the dean of the Rota, the Italian canon Pio Vito Pinto will consult with the Congregation of Bishops who are responsible for Tebartz-van-Elst. The former Limburger bishop could soon lose their support.

Tebartz-van Elst, formerly auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Münster abandoned the office of the Bishop of Limburg after only six years in March 2014. Then as now, he feels like a victim of Church intrigues and media campaigns, although a commission appointed by the Vatican and the German Bishops' Conference has come to the conclusion that the bishop in the financing of a new Episcopal residence on the hill of Limburg Cathedral in conjunction with close associates massively violated the standards set by canon law for asset management.

After the retirement of Bishop Franz Kamphaus in winter 2007, the cathedral chapter had insisted on the construction of a new Episcopal residence, so that the successor had no longer to live in the seminary. The initial cost estimates for the construction of a new Episcopal residence in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral led the Cathedral Chapter in February 2008 to cap "at two million euros, after intensive consultation with our Bishop, the budget for the previously non-existent residence of the Limburg bishop and the requisite restoration of the historic and listed timbered building standing next to it as offices". A little later, however, reserves to the level of EUR 2.5 million were made to absorb cost increases.

Fictitious construction costs for the public

As the Episcopal residence was officially handed over at the end of June 2013, Tebartz-van Elst let it be known that construction costs amounted to 9.85 million euros. However, only the specific decisions of the so-called asset administration council of the Episcopal See were non-existent. The sum itself soon proved to be as fictitious. The staff responsible for the construction employees of whom some are still in office had long since realized that the cost of planning and construction, had exceeded by at least a factor of two if not three the publicly disclosed sum. Over the summer, the web of lies that Tebartz-van Elst had erected around the building collapsed under the pressure of intense media scrutiny. At the beginning September 2013 the former papal nuncio in Germany, Giovanni Cardinal Lajolo prompted a commission headed by Grothe, a financial professional, to review the behaviour of the bishop and his staff.

After several months of investigation, the Commission concluded in February 2014 that Tebartz-van Elst had spent 31.5 million euros on the construction of the Bishop house - and largely illegally. The commercial-law depreciation of the building has been in recent years to an extent of about 3.9 million euros. Not quantified is the damage to the assets of the Episcopal see which grew as a result of the many extravagant and extremely costly works.

Tebartz-van Elst lives in Rome

The Limburg prosecutor refused last year to initiate an investigation for breach of trust against the former bishop. In this case, the prosecutor's office appealed to ecclesiastical self-determination and thus followed the reasoning of a legal opinion that the Limburg bishopric leadership had commissioned at the insistence of Rome. The decision of the Limburg prosecutor is not beyond dispute. The Hessian Attorney General has least one complaint.

Tebartz-van Elst has lived for several months in Rome, with the highest possible retirement salary of the diocese of Limburg and the title of "delegate" within the "Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization". Among his supporters, he can continue to count on the support of the Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith and that of the Congregation for Bishops, the Cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Müller and Marc Ouellet, and the Head of the Papal Household and secretary of Pope Benedict XVI., Archbishop Georg Gänswein. There is conflicting information about the extent to which Pope Francis is familiar with the details of the Tebartz-van Elst case.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hospital chapel into Muslim prayer room

"For years it has served as a place for reflection for the Roman Catholic relatives and friends of sick patients.

So a plan to turn the hospital chapel into a Muslim prayer room has outraged worshippers.

Bosses at North Manchester General say the switch is under consideration because they have to offer facilities for Muslims praying for loved ones."

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