Posts Tagged ‘Pope Benedict XVI’

Warm Wishes from the Anti-Defamation League

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Recently, the Anti-Defamation League released a warming statement to the press on Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, expressed his appreciation for His Holiness.

Here is an excerpt from Mr. Foxman’s statement:

In his tenure as pope, Benedict pledged that he would always stand with the Jewish people against anti-Semitism.  He strongly condemned Holocaust denial.  He made it a point early in his papacy to visit Israel, going to Yad Vashem and the Western Wall, thus cementing the historic act of his predecessor for future generations and strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Vatican.  He became the first pope to visit a synagogue in the United States.  And he also visited the synagogue in Rome, institutionalizing these visits.

You can read the entire press release and statement here.

World Communications Day

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

For the 47th World Communications Day, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI offered his message on spreading the word of God through social media.

Here is the full text:

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS
POPE BENEDICT XVI
FOR THE 47th WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY

“Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization.”

[Sunday, 12 May 2013]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As the 2013 World Communications Day draws near, I would like to offer you some reflections on an increasingly important reality regarding the way in which people today communicate among themselves. I wish to consider the development of digital social networks which are helping to create a new “agora”, an open public square in which people share ideas, information and opinions, and in which new relationships and forms of community can come into being.

These spaces, when engaged in a wise and balanced way, help to foster forms of dialogue and debate which, if conducted respectfully and with concern for privacy, responsibility and truthfulness, can reinforce the bonds of unity between individuals and effectively promote the harmony of the human family. The exchange of information can become true communication, links ripen into friendships, and connections facilitate communion. If the networks are called to realize this great potential, the people involved in them must make an effort to be authentic since, in these spaces, it is not only ideas and information that are shared, but ultimately our very selves.

The development of social networks calls for commitment: people are engaged in building relationships and making friends, in looking for answers to their questions and being entertained, but also in finding intellectual stimulation and sharing knowledge and know-how. The networks are increasingly becoming part of the very fabric of society, inasmuch as they bring people together on the basis of these fundamental needs. Social networks are thus nourished by aspirations rooted in the human heart.

The culture of social networks and the changes in the means and styles of communication pose demanding challenges to those who want to speak about truth and values. Often, as is also the case with other means of social communication, the significance and effectiveness of the various forms of expression appear to be determined more by their popularity than by their intrinsic importance and value. Popularity, for its part, is often linked to celebrity or to strategies of persuasion rather than to the logic of argumentation. At times the gentle voice of reason can be overwhelmed by the din of excessive information and it fails to attract attention which is given instead to those who express themselves in a more persuasive manner. The social media thus need the commitment of all who are conscious of the value of dialogue, reasoned debate and logical argumentation; of people who strive to cultivate forms of discourse and expression which appeal to the noblest aspirations of those engaged in the communication process. Dialogue and debate can also flourish and grow when we converse with and take seriously people whose ideas are different from our own. “Given the reality of cultural diversity, people need not only to accept the existence of the culture of others, but also to aspire to be enriched by it and to offer to it whatever they possess that is good, true and beautiful” (Address at the Meeting with the World of Culture, Bélem, Lisbon, 12 May 2010).

The challenge facing social networks is how to be truly inclusive: thus they will benefit from the full participation of believers who desire to share the message of Jesus and the values of human dignity which his teaching promotes. Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important. The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young. Social networks are the result of human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships: a considered understanding of this environment is therefore the prerequisite for a significant presence there.

The ability to employ the new languages is required, not just to keep up with the times, but precisely in order to enable the infinite richness of the Gospel to find forms of expression capable of reaching the minds and hearts of all. In the digital environment the written word is often accompanied by images and sounds. Effective communication, as in the parables of Jesus, must involve the imagination and the affectivity of those we wish to invite to an encounter with the mystery of God’s love. Besides, we know that Christian tradition has always been rich in signs and symbols: I think for example of the Cross, icons, images of the Virgin Mary, Christmas cribs, stained-glass windows and pictures in our churches. A significant part of mankind’s artistic heritage has been created by artists and musicians who sought to express the truths of the faith.

In social networks, believers show their authenticity by sharing the profound source of their hope and joy: faith in the merciful and loving God revealed in Christ Jesus. This sharing consists not only in the explicit expression of their faith, but also in their witness, in the way in which they communicate “choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically” (Message for the 2011 World Communications Day). A particularly significant way of offering such witness will be through a willingness to give oneself to others by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence. The growing dialogue in social networks about faith and belief confirms the importance and relevance of religion in public debate and in the life of society.

For those who have accepted the gift of faith with an open heart, the most radical response to mankind’s questions about love, truth and the meaning of life – questions certainly not absent from social networks – are found in the person of Jesus Christ. It is natural for those who have faith to desire to share it, respectfully and tactfully, with those they meet in the digital forum. Ultimately, however, if our efforts to share the Gospel bring forth good fruit, it is always because of the power of the word of God itself to touch hearts, prior to any of our own efforts. Trust in the power of God’s work must always be greater than any confidence we place in human means. In the digital environment, too, where it is easy for heated and divisive voices to be raised and where sensationalism can at times prevail, we are called to attentive discernment. Let us recall in this regard that Elijah recognized the voice of God not in the great and strong wind, not in the earthquake or the fire, but in “a still, small voice” (1 Kg 19:11-12). We need to trust in the fact that the basic human desire to love and to be loved, and to find meaning and truth – a desire which God himself has placed in the heart of every man and woman – keeps our contemporaries ever open to what Blessed Cardinal Newman called the “kindly light” of faith.

Social networks, as well as being a means of evangelization, can also be a factor in human development. As an example, in some geographical and cultural contexts where Christians feel isolated, social networks can reinforce their sense of real unity with the worldwide community of believers. The networks facilitate the sharing of spiritual and liturgical resources, helping people to pray with a greater sense of closeness to those who share the same faith. An authentic and interactive engagement with the questions and the doubts of those who are distant from the faith should make us feel the need to nourish, by prayer and reflection, our faith in the presence of God as well as our practical charity: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1).

In the digital world there are social networks which offer our contemporaries opportunities for prayer, meditation and sharing the word of God. But these networks can also open the door to other dimensions of faith. Many people are actually discovering, precisely thanks to a contact initially made online, the importance of direct encounters, experiences of community and even pilgrimage, elements which are always important in the journey of faith. In our effort to make the Gospel present in the digital world, we can invite people to come together for prayer or liturgical celebrations in specific places such as churches and chapels. There should be no lack of coherence or unity in the expression of our faith and witness to the Gospel in whatever reality we are called to live, whether physical or digital. When we are present to others, in any way at all, we are called to make known the love of God to the furthest ends of the earth.

I pray that God’s Spirit will accompany you and enlighten you always, and I cordially impart my blessing to all of you, that you may be true heralds and witnesses of the Gospel. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15).

From the Vatican, 24 January 2013, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales.

BENEDICTUS XVI

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and Sister Mary Angeline Teresa Declared Venerable

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Wonderful news!  The Holy Father has declared two people with very close ties to the Archdiocese of New York to be “Venerable,” meaning that they lived lives of recognized heroic virtue, and  are now on their formal way to possible beatification and canonization.

One you probably know – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, buried below the altar at Saint Patrick’s.  The other new “Venerable” you may not be as familiar with, Sister Mary Angeline Teresa, the foundress of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirmed.

Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa was born in Ireland, and joined the Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order dedicated to caring for the destitute aged.  Her congregation sent her to work in the Bronx, where she felt an urge to do more for the aged in her care.  She sought the advice of the then Archbishop of New York, Patrick Cardinal Hayes, who encouraged her to care for the elderly throughout all of New York City and the United States.  With the Cardinal’s blessing, she founded what eventually became known as the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirmed.  Their ministry has had a profound impact on many elderly men and women who get the very best care in a loving, dignified, environment.   Many of you have heard of the Mary Manning Walsh home here in New York, for instance, one of the many excellent nursing homes founded by Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa, and still served by her Carmelite Sisters. Sister died in 1984, and is buried at their Motherhouse in Germantown, New York, which is part of the Albany diocese.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, which is spearheading the cause for his sainthood.  But, Archbishop Sheen was also very intimately linked with New York, where he lived and worked for most of his life, becoming “Preacher to the World” – as he was called by Pope John Paul II – through his many years of working in radio, television, and for the missions, before being named Bishop of Rochester.

Father Andrew Small, OMI, one of Archbishop Sheen’s successors as President of the National Society for the Propagation of the Faith, commented today, “As head of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966, the Venerable Fulton Sheen was heroic in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ far and wide – from Peoria to Pretoria; New York to New Delhi. He teaches us still that the Church is missionary by her very nature.”

In my homily in 2009 on the 30th Anniversary of his death, I had this to say about Archbishop Sheen:

“Fulton J. Sheen wanted to get to heaven.

Fulton J. Sheen wanted to bring all of us with him.

Fulton J. Sheen wanted to be a saint.

Fulton J. Sheen wanted us to be saints, too.

His pivotal insight, central to revelation, was that Jesus Christ was the way to heaven, the truth about how to get there, the life we hope to share for all eternity.”

Today’s announcement from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints about these two newly declared Venerables, each very much in tune with today’s world, show that Archbishop Sheen and Sister Mary Angeline Teresa are still hard at work helping show us the way to heaven.

Meditations on Corpus Christi from Ireland

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

I am sorry that I will not be in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral this Sunday to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ – also known as Corpus Christi.  (The solemnity is actually today, June 7 – the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.  In the United States, we have moved the observance of the solemnity to the following Sunday, this year June 10.)  I’ve got a good excuse, though, for my absence.  You see, I am leading a group of pilgrims from the Archdiocese of New York to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress that is being held this week in Dublin, Ireland.

About fifty of us from the archdiocese are here to join with hundreds of thousands of Catholics from all over the world in for prayer, adoration, study, and celebration of the Eucharist.

While in Ireland, we will visit other sites as well, like the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in the Archdiocese of Armagh, the Primatial See of Ireland.  But the real purpose of our visit is to participate in the Eucharistic Congress and to be with the family of faith in our communal savoring of the Eucharist.

A Eucharistic Congress occurs every four years, and provides a wonderful occasion for the Church to ponder and deepen her belief in the mystery of our faith we call the Eucharistic. The last one was held in Quebec City, Canada in 2008., and the Holy Father has appointed Cardinal Marc Oullete, former Archbishop of Quebec and the current Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops as Papal Legate – that is, his official personal envoy – to this Eucharistic Congress. 

So, hundreds of bishops, thousands of priests, deacons, sisters, brothers, and seminarians, and tens of thousands of faithful women, men, and children from all over the Church universal, are gathering in Dublin for what promises to be a very spiritually uplifting occasion.

Our faith, of course, is internal.  “The kingdom of God is within you,” as Jesus Himself taught.  The essence of our faith is an interior, sincere acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior, and of all the truths He and His Church have revealed.  The soul is the arena of faith.

Yet, our faith is also external, because our internal acceptance of Christ has profound exterior effects.  An interior adhesion to Christ results in a conversion of heart which has significant social, communal effects.

Thus, as we internally profess our faith in the Eucharist, we are moved to manifest that externally.  Think about it:

– we genuflect as we enter Church as a sign that we adore Jesus really and truly present in the tabernac

– we say out loud, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof” before approaching the altar, publicly indicating our sorrow for sin and desire to be cleansed, a desire that would result in sacramental confession when we are conscious of mortal sin;

– we bow before we receive our Lord at Holy Communion;

 – we say Amen, meaning, yes, when the priest, deacon, or extraordinary minster proclaims “The Body of Christ,” “The Blood of Christ”;

– we dress modestly, appropriately, for the Eucharist, giving a public sign that this is an event more sublime than playing tennis or lounging at the pool;

– on occasion, we publicly express our interior faith in the Eucharist through processions, Eucharistic exposition, and forty hour devotions;

– and, every four years, the Church universal sponsors a Eucharistic Congress as a corporate, ecclesial act of faith on behalf of the entire Church.

 We see so many signs of a revived appreciation for the Eucharist in the Church:

 – enhanced participation in the liturgy;

 – more opportunity for our sick and homebound to receive Holy Communion because of the generous apostolate of our Extraordinary ministers;

 – the growing popularity of Eucharistic adoration (in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, we have Eucharistic adoration about 5 ½ hours every day – about 10 hours on First Friday);

 – an increased awareness of the social demands inherent in the celebration of the Eucharist, acknowledging that the Eucharist has implications “beyond the walls” of our Church buildings;

 – a heightened sensitivity to the necessity of a worthy reception of Holy Communion; and that our partaking of the Eucharist indicates a communion not only with our Lord but with His Church.  Thus, we would not dare violate integrity by receiving the Eucharist if we are conscious of being separated from the unity of the Church by sin or dissent from clear Church teaching.

It was at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia, 1976, that we first sang “You satisfy the hungry heart with gift of finest wheat.

You are very much on my mind and in my prayers at the Eucharistic Congress as I praise God for the gift and mystery of the Blessed Eucharist!

A Gift from Pope Benedict XVI

Friday, January 6th, 2012

On this “Twelfth Day of Christmas” the traditional celebration of the Epiphany, I have received a gift from Pope Benedict XVI, as he announced just a couple of hours ago at the end of Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica that I would be among those to become a cardinal in Rome at the consistory of February 18th.

Yes, I am honored, humbled, and grateful, …but, let’s be frank: this is not about Timothy Dolan; this is an honor from the Holy Father to the Archdiocese of New York, and to all our cherished friends and neighbors who call this great community home.

It’s as if Pope Benedict is putting the red hat on top of the Empire State Building, or the Statue of Liberty, or on home plate at Yankee Stadium; or on the spires of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral or any of our other parish churches; this is the successor of Saint Peter saying to the clergy, sisters, brothers, lay faithful of this archdiocese, and to all of our friends and neighbors of New York: Thank you! Keep up the good work! You are a leader, an inspiration, to the Church and to the world.

Over the Christmas holy days I finished a biography of President Kennedy, and recalled his reply to someone who sincerely congratulated him on the honor of the presidency.

“Thanks,” John Kennedy replied, “but I don’t look at it so much as an honor as a call to higher service.”

My sentiments exactly. This is not about privilege, change of colors, hats, new clothes, places of honor, or a different title.  Jesus warned us about all that stuff.

No: this is about an affirmation of love from the Pope to a celebrated archdiocese and community, and a summons to its unworthy archbishop to serve Jesus, His Church universal, His vicar on earth, and His people better.

I’ll try to do that…but I sure need your prayers.

Adding to our sense of joy, is the news that another native New Yorker,  my brother bishop and good friend, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, until recently Archbishop of Baltimore and now the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher,  has also been elevated to the cardinalate.  The Cardinal-designate was ordained a priest for this Archdiocese in 1965, and he is still warmly remembered for his service here as a priest, secretary to Cardinals Cooke and O’Connor, Rector of Saint Joseph’s Seminary, and auxiliary bishop.

Thanks so much for your good wishes.

Pastoral Challenges

Friday, November 4th, 2011

I almost passed up reading it, an article on a recent meeting Pope Benedict XVI had with his brother bishops from the African nations of Angola and São Tomé.

The headline indicated that the Holy Father had spoken to them of three pointed pastoral challenges in Africa.  Nothing here applicable to me, I concluded.  But I’m sure glad I read on . . .

The first challenge facing these brave African bishops, observed the Successor of St. Peter, was that many Catholic couples were “living together” instead of pledging a lifelong, loving, faithful, life-giving union in the sacrament of matrimony.  Not that good for the couple, the children, the Church, or society, concluded the Pope.

Problem number two, the Pontiff went on, was that, while more and more Africans were, thank God, converting to Jesus and His Church, many were having trouble leaving behind sinful, destructive practices of the dominant culture, such as, tragically, abortion, infanticide, and killing of fragile elders.

Three, Pope Benedict worried about a sense of “exclusion and division” in African life in these two nations.  Seems as if ethnic and tribal loyalties can trump the Christian emphasis on the unity of God’s children and our sacred duty to embrace and welcome people different from us.

Well, well, well . . .  after reading the papal address to his brother bishops from Angola, I concluded, “We’re not that different from Africa!”  The Holy Father could make those same three points to us when we bishops from America begin our ad limina visits to him this very week!

Yes, for one, we worry about the “dumbing down” of marriage in American society:  cohabitation, divorce, lack of fidelity, a contraceptive mentality, attempts to redefine the very essence of marriage.  We worry about this as people of faith, since it’s contrary to our Creator’s design; we worry about this as American citizens, since the crumbling of marriage and family is the major cause of social ills.

Two, we Catholics in America, apparently, like our brothers and sisters in Angola, often take our cues from culture rather than from Jesus and His Church.  The very scourges mentioned by the Pope as anti-gospel, potent cultural forces in Africa — extermination of babies (pre-born and just-born) and fragile elderly (euthanasia) — are present here, too.

Finally, I’ll be: the Africans aren’t the only ones, Holy Father, who need a warning about “exclusion.”  I’m afraid we Americans are busy knocking down the Statue of Liberty here, as those candidates who most blister the immigrant and refugee in their stump speeches get the most lusty applause.  The American hand traditionally extended in a welcome has now been turned into a fist.

Holy Father, we bishops of New York will be with you in Rome in two weeks.  You could actually dust off the excellent address you gave our brothers from Angola a couple of weeks ago and give it to us as well.  We need to hear it, too!

Holy Father’s Visit to Germany

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Did you follow in the press or media any of the Holy Father’s visit to his homeland of Germany last weekend?

I didn’t think so.  Neither did I.  Because, as a matter of fact, there was hardly any coverage at all.

(I’m talking, of course, about the “secular” press; Catholic TV, radio, and press did a grand job of reporting it.)

There was, however, quite a bit of attention given to Pope Benedict’s visit before the trip last weekend.  That coverage predicted a disaster: protests against him, boycotting the visit, a walkout by politicians when he addressed Bundestag, a petition demanding radical change in the Church that was supposed to garner widespread support, and so on.  The only optimistic reports before the trip was that it would be a big flop.

Of course, none of this happened.  If you have been fortunate enough to find a report on what actually happened those glorious four days in the Pope’s homeland, you know that the protests were fizzles, the crowds large, reverent, receptive, and welcoming, the address at the Bundestag a hit — with a standing ovation led by the Greens, who were supposed to be walking out on him — the petition a failure.

The naysayers were wrong.  So, the media here at home ignored the trip when it turned far more successful than even the most ardent fan of Pope Benedict could have hoped.

At least Des Spiegel had the guts to report it.  They were the leading forecasters of doom before the trip, but they had to admit that the Pope was warmly received, and that his message was thoughtful, substantial, and timely.

By now we should be used to it, I suppose.  The narrative seems pre-written: the Pope is out of touch; his people resent him; he’ll chide and castigate; he won’t listen; he’ll talk about celibacy, no-to-women’s ordination, condoms, abortion, sexual license, and birth control, and leave a dispirited Church behind.

None of this happened, of course.  So, the story is ignored.

The Pope is a winner in clear, substantive teaching, challenging without cajoling; in reaching out to other Christians, the Jewish community, and Islam; attentive to academics; sparkling with the young; uplifting with politicians; sensitive in meeting with victims of clergy sexual abuse; and winsome in his humble, shy, demeanor.

He has just done it in Germany, as he did a year ago in England.

Six weeks ago I was in Madrid for World Youth Day.  There was Benedict XVI again, this time with 1.5 million young people, from all over the world, who prayed with him, sang with him, listened to him attentively, and cheered him affectionately.

When I got home to review the coverage here in America, I was not surprised to see this huge event pretty much ignored.  One of the few articles I did see gave as much ink to the thirty-seven protestors (I counted them) as they did the nearly two-million young pilgrims.

The real news is that an eighty-four year old man, shy and cerebral by nature, can capture the heart of a nation that describes itself as anti-Church and nearly agnostic, with profound words about God, prayer, the Church, virtue, religious freedom, a civilization of love and a culture of life, a nation whose movers and shakers had told him to stay home because he wasn’t welcome.

But, don’t expect to see much of that story.

John Paul II Priests

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Here’s an excerpt from a piece I wrote for the Knights of Columbus published at Headline Bistro:

For John Paul II, Jesus Christ is the answer to the question asked by every human life. His existence on earth was a daily response to the invitation given the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, “Come, follow me.”
Thanks to his Christ-centered life, millions more made Jesus the focus of their lives. They would converse with the Lord in prayer, gaze upon Him in the Eucharist, serve Him in the poor, find His other disciples in the Church, and ask Him what He wanted them to do with their lives. For a number of them, the reply was, “be a priest.”

You can read the rest here.

Milwaukee Update

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Just to give you a head’s up…

Over the upcoming weeks, you might hear frequent accusations about my seven years as Archbishop of Milwaukee by tort attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who is representing claimants in the current bankruptcy proceedings in that wonderful archdiocese.

Those who are familiar with Anderson’s usual tactics tell me we can figure to hear repeated charges about my “irresponsibility.”  It seems he believes that it helps his case if my name is muddied, no matter how unjustly.

You may have already seen two of his preposterous charges have already made headlines here and in Milwaukee.

One claims I “hid” $130 million of archdiocesan assets.  As I commented when I heard of this incredible slur, I did no such thing.  Yes, I returned – at the insistence of our auditors and lay finance council — $70 million of parish savings (not archdiocesan money) back to the people to whom it belonged.  And, yes, I made sure the $60 million of “perpetual care funds” for our Catholic cemeteries was, as demanded by state law, secure.

Two, he finds fault with me for asking the Vatican to laicize an abusive priest.  Seems I acted “too slowly” – even though the priest had already been removed from ministry long before, and was not allowed to act as a priest – and that I was only worried about “scandal” – even though the perpetrator’s victims had told me they were, in fact, “scandalized” that the priest had not been laicized.  He includes the now-obligatory punch to the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, even though the future pope “defrocked” the abuser at my request.  Can’t win!

Keep in mind that some of those now lined-up against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee have stated in the past that they would “sue the s—“ out of the archdiocese, and would not stop until an “out of business” sign was posted in front of every parish, school, and church charitable center.

Given such motives, don’t be surprised by further frequent attacks on me.  Although, sadly, some media here and in Milwaukee seem to give these groundless attacks immediate publicity, I do not intend to spend a lot of time responding to them.

I’d be happy to provide the truth to the respected bankruptcy judge, if so asked.

Sorry to bother you with all of this, but I want to keep you posted.

Thanks.  A blessed Lent!

Insights from John Allen Jr.

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Although this appeared in National Catholic Reporter several weeks ago, I thought you might want to read one of the most insightful pieces that I have come across in a while. John Allen Jr. gives an excellent overview of the press coverage of the 2010 sexual abuse crisis.

Here is an excerpt:

Under the best of circumstances, the Vatican and the secular media struggle to understand each other, and the first half of 2010 was hardly the best of times. As a new wave of the sexual abuse crisis swept across Europe and raised critical questions about Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican officials accused the press of bias, while news reports and editorial pages blasted the Vatican for dishonesty and denial.

Now that the dust has begun to settle, thoughtful figures on both sides realize the need to take a dispassionate look back. Many in the news business want to know if they got the story right, and at least some in Rome — not to mention frustrated Catholics elsewhere — wonder if the Vatican’s crisis management strategy, such as it was, backfired.

You can read the whole post here.