Since the Iraq
crisis erupted, a string of political heavyweights, including Joschka Fischer,
Tariq Aziz, Kofi Annan, Tony Blair and Jose-Maria Aznar, beat a path to
the pope’s door. As it turns out, this flurry of diplomatic activity was
not enough to avert war, but it did convert the papacy into one of the
most significant poles of opposition on the world stage.
the flock of high-profile visitors, it was easy enough to miss Jim Douglass,
a mild-mannered, bespectacled figure in a red ball cap, who quietly passed
several days under the pope’s window in mid-March.
Blair, and the other VIPs were whisked in for private sessions with the
pope, while the closest Douglass came was watching John Paul deliver his
March 16 Sunday Angelus address, just another face in the crowd. Douglass
observed a nine-day, water-only fast sitting in St. Peter’s Square, with
just a spiral notebook, a water bottle, and a cap bearing the “CPT” logo
(for “Christian Peacemaking Teams”) keeping him company.
is likely that none of those diplomats and heads of state who arrived in
St. Peter’s Square, however, had thought longer or harder about matters
of war and peace than Jim Douglass. He represents an uncompromising Christian
pacifist option that, whatever its intellectual or political merits, stands
out for its attempt to take the gospel seriously.
up with Douglass on March 18, his last day in St. Peter’s square. That
afternoon, he was set to leave for a rendezvous with nine other members
of the Christian Peacemaking Teams movement in Amman, Jordan, their last
pit stop on their way to Baghdad. In the very moment in which most Westerners
are scrambling to get out of Iraq, Douglass and the others were
desperate to get in.
he does not use the term, Douglass, 64, was on his way to become a “human
shield,” putting himself in harm’s way as a witness for peace.
adherent of the Catholic Worker philosophy, Douglass had opted to prepare
himself spiritually by passing some time in Rome, charging his batteries,
so to speak, with the pope’s words and witness. One senior Vatican official,
a man who knows Douglass from his anti-war activism over the years, sought
him out twice in St. Peter’s Square, encouraging him to press on.
who was born in Princeton, British Colombia, and who now hails from Birmingham,
Alabama, is the author of several books on pacifism and Christian thinking
on war, including The Nonviolent Cross (Macmillan , 1968) and Resistance
and Contemplation (1972).
the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Douglass found himself in Rome as
a lay student at the Gregorian University, and became part of a small group
of Catholic pacifists pushing the bishops to take an anti-war stance. This
informal pacifist “lobby” included luminaries such as Eileen Egan, Jean
and Hildegard Goss-Mayr, Dorothy Day and, at a distance, Thomas Merton.
Douglass was close to council fathers such as Bishop John Taylor of Sweden
and Archbishop George Flahiff of Canada.
the council, Douglass felt drawn to extend his commitment to non-violence
beyond the realm of the merely theoretical. Early on, it was clear he was
not going to last long in a traditional ecclesiastical or academic environment.
In 1972, for example, he landed a one-year job at the University of Notre
Dame as part of a program dedicated to the study and practice of non-violence.
He organized a “resistance Mass” to the war in Vietnam, celebrated by Archbishop
Thomas Roberts of Bombay, India, and a number of Notre Dame priests. The
climax came in the offertory, when Douglass and six others ripped up draft
cards and placed them in the chalice as part of the presentation of the
was, as Douglass puts it, “the beginning of the end” of his academic career.
the small world of faith-based advocacy of pacifism and non-violence, Jim
and his wife Shelley are legends for this kind of stuff. (Shelley grew
up in a CIA family posted in the 1950s to Switzerland, Pakistan and Germany,
and is a convert to Catholicism, lured in part by the Catholic Worker tradition).
The two co-founded the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, next to
the Trident nuclear submarine base near Seattle, Wash., to coordinate resistance
to the nuclear weapons establishment. Jim has passed some one and a half
years behind bars for various acts of opposition to the Trident site, including
penetrating the most secure zone on the base in order to pray for disarmament.
two currently run a Catholic Worker house, called “Mary’s House,” in Birmingham.
This will be Jim’s fifth trip to Iraq.
do they hope to accomplish in Baghdad, in the middle of the Second Gulf
be with the people,” Douglass told me. “We can’t stop the attack, but we
can help those who are under attack. Most of them stand between two forces,
their own government and the U.S. government now invading their country,
and they are caught in the middle.”
purpose is to be with the Iraqi people, and to report what we see to the
rest of the world, especially to Americans who don’t know the whole story,”
out that we were having this conversation in a week in which a fellow American
“human shield,” 23-year-old Rachel Corrie, was killed in the Gaza Strip.
Douglass must know he and his wife are courting death. How do they come
to such a choice?
the gospel,” Douglass said. “Jesus’ central call is to agape, to
self-giving love, which is God’s love. We need to be with the people who
are under the bombs. That’s Jesus’ teaching.”
Christian Peacemaking Teams movement, the umbrella under which Jim and
Shelley are travelling, was born in 1984, when an American Protestant theologian
and social activist named Ronald Sider sought to spur Christians to a more
we ...are ready to start to die by the thousands in dramatic, vigorous
new exploits for peace and justice ... we dare never whisper another word
about pacifism to our sisters and brothers in those desperate lands filled
with injustice,” Sider has said. CPT is the response of the Church of the
Brethren, the Friends United Meeting, and Mennonite congregations in Canada
and the United States to his call.
group began by dispatching delegations to war-torn areas in the early 1990s;
today it sends trained volunteers and members of its full-time Christian
Peacemaker Corps to live in zones of conflict. Funded by individual and
church donations, CPT maintains projects in Hebron, the Chiapas region
of Mexico, and northern Colombia, as well as with several native American
groups in Canada and the United States.
said that he was catalyzed to make the trip by the recent experience of
hearing Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama address a group of schoolchildren
near Birmingham. Shelby showed a map, Douglass said, and in a sort of “Mr.
Rogers in reverse,” talked about what a “dangerous neighborhood” the Middle
East is. All the time, Douglass said, he thought about the Iraqi children,
some 500,000 by UNICEF estimates, who have died under the impact of United
Nations-imposed sanctions after the first Gulf War in 1991.
does not mince words in speaking about the possible impact of a war in
could well be the end of the United States of America,” he told me, forecasting
a backlash of anger around the world that will lead to explosions of terrorism
and anti-American protest. “So far as the Muslim world goes, it will create
a real inferno,” Douglass said.
the same time, Douglass said he found the burgeoning anti-war activism
around the world “a dramatic sign of hope.” He said John Paul II has been
“inspiring,” “a spiritual voice speaking the truth.”
can perhaps find Douglass’ analysis of the consequences of war extreme,
his choice to “stand in the gap” foolhardy. But one cannot help but admire
the gritty, literal fidelity to the gospel of Jesus Christ — the whole
gospel, including the tough stuff — that drives Jim Douglass.
Jim Douglass and his team
reached Amman, Jordan, but due to the start of hostilities were unable
to proceed to Baghdad. They are presently considering other plans. One
possibility is to go to the Gaza Strip.
* * *
Paul II is not a man who goes off script much these days. In the vast majority
of his public appearances, the pope limits himself to reading a prepared
text, keeping the crowd hooked with a wave, a smile, at most a small quip,
perhaps a refrain or two from a favorite Polish folk song.
last Sunday’s Angelus address, when the pope spoke in ad-lib fashion
from his own biography about the danger of war in Iraq, is yet another
measure of his deep personal anxiety about the U.S. assault. The pope’s
voice boomed, and his right hand chopped the air, reflecting a level of
vigor that had not been seen in years.
a certain point of view, one could say that the papal appeal fell on deaf
ears. Yet John Paul has always been addressing multiple audiences, one
of which is the Islamic street. His last-ditch appeals have been, in part,
designed to hammer home the point that this war is being waged by George
Bush and Tony Blair, not by Western Christianity. A less overt, but equally
compelling, aim is to protect Christians scattered across the Islamic world.
Catholics, especially those sympathetic to the Bush administration on the
war, wish the pope would premise his opposition more straightforwardly
on the fate of Christian minorities.
the pope were to say that an attack by Western countries on Iraq would
not augur well for Christians in that country, everyone would (at the least)
appreciate the good sense of his position,” American Catholic conservative
Tom Bethell recently wrote in his column for Beliefnet.
“But here, as so often in his papacy, the pope seems to subordinate the
welfare of the church he presides over to the promotion of a woolly theistic
humanism. It is the whole world that he is concerned with, not these merely
parochial concerns. All too often, he sounds as though he would rather
be, instead of pope, a one-man United Nations, filled with caring for the
material welfare of all the people in this world,” Bethell wrote.
only for their eventual historical value, it’s worth recording John Paul’s
words, the strongest and most dramatic of what are by now more than twenty
papal statements on Iraq in recent weeks.
have to say, I belong to the generation that remembers well, that lived
through — and, thanks to God, survived — the Second World War,” John Paul
added halfway through his prepared remarks.
this reason I have the duty to remind all these young people, younger than
me, who have not had this experience, I have the duty to say to them: ‘War
never again!’ as Paul VI said in his first visit to the United Nations.
We all know that it is not possible to demand peace at any cost, but we
also know that how great, how very great, is our responsibility for this
decision,” the pope said.
his hand again, he exhorted his listeners to “prayer and penance!”
pope’s prepared remarks for the Angelus, hammered out on this occasion
in collaboration with his top diplomats, contained pleas for both the Iraqis
and the Americans.
coming days will be decisive for the outcome of the Iraq crisis,” John
responsible political authorities in Baghdad have the urgent duty to collaborate
fully with the international community, to eliminate every reason for an
armed intervention. To them is addressed my pressing appeal: the fate of
their citizens must always take priority!”
would also, however, like to remind the members of the United Nations,
and in particular those who make up the Security Council, that the use
of force represents the last recourse, after having exhausted every pacific
solution, according to the well-known principles of the United Nations
political logic to the contrary, John Paul insisted there was still time
to avoid bloodshed.
the tremendous consequences that an international military operation would
have for the peoples of Iraq and for the entire Middle East region, which
has already endured so much, as well as for the extremism which could derive
from an attack, I say to all: there is still time to negotiate; there is
still space for peace; it is never too late for understanding and for continuing
pope added one final remark, seemingly directed above all at President
reflect on one’s duties, to involve oneself in difficult negotiations,
does not mean to humiliate oneself, but to work with responsibility for
peace,” he said.
Bush set a final ultimatum for Saddam Hussein to go into exile, signaling
abandonment of any hope of securing United Nations backing for the war,
the Vatican put out a terse statement.
decides that all the peaceful means made available under international
law are exhausted assumes a grave responsibility before God, his conscience
and history,” said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.
thing is certain: future historians will not be able to dissect a papal
“silence” on this war.
* * *
among the speakers at a March 19 conference on world hunger sponsored by
Rome’s Lay Centre and the Vincent Pallotti Institute, two first-class operations
run by American lay scholar Donna Orsuto. Though the conference was scheduled
well before we knew that the war in Iraq would begin just hours later,
the coincidence offers a useful reminder that despite a suffocating media
focus on the war, other crisises equally worthy of our attention will not
simply go away.
Spearman of the World Food Program recited a now-familiar litany of data
on global hunger. Roughly 840 million people, she told the gathering of
diplomats, activists and journalists, are chronically hungry — not just
missing the occasional meal, but hunger serious enough to threaten life.
Of that number, 799 million of the chronically hungry are in the developing
the United Nations-sponsored World Food Summit in 1996, the international
community committed itself to cutting that figure in half by 2015. That
aim was built on the realization that a relatively modest investment of
resources, split between direct relief to crisis situations and longer-term
investments in rural infrastructure and agriculture, could work wonders.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the cost of such an
effort at roughly $24 billion.
way of scale, industrialized nations spend some $300 billion each year
on agricultural subsidies, i.e., propping up their own national agricultural
operations. The United States alone has private agricultural sales each
year of $56 billion, and spends $38 billion on domestic hunger relief (by
way of comparison, the U.S. contributes about $2 billion annually to global
sense of scale may come from a team of Australian researchers, who recently
pegged the negative global economic consequences of a short war in Iraq
— in other words, the opportunity cost of the war — at roughly $600 billion.
They based the estimate on models of the economic after-effects from the
1991 Gulf War.
the context of a global economy whose cash flows are measured in the trillions,
economist Jeffrey Sachs has said that the $24 billion needed for hunger
relief could be considered a “rounding error.”
the investment has not been forthcoming. In fact, from 1992-2000, the number
of hungry people in the world dropped only 2.5 percent. At that rate, the
goal of cutting the number in half would not be reached until 2150, some
100 years late. Even this slight progress masks backward steps in some
places. In 47 nations across the globe, an additional 96 million people
have become hungry since the 1996 goals were set.
in a world of plenty is a scandal,” Spearman said. “We must not allow it
money, or its absence, is not the only cause of hunger. Spearman identified
a lack of rural infrastructure, disasters both man-made and natural, drought,
governmental corruption and incompetence, and HIV/AIDS as important factors.
Still, substantial progress on hunger relief is to some extent a question
observers made the point that in a world concerned about the possibility
that war in Iraq may trigger conflicts elsewhere, a serious program of
hunger relief could help ease tension.
of America’s three ambassadors in Rome took part in the event. U.S. Ambassador
to the Holy See James Nicholson offered an unusually personal response,
noting that as a young man growing up in Iowa, one of seven children of
an alcoholic father who was frequently absent from the family, he knew
what it is like to go hungry. As a result of that experience, he said,
he feels a special passion on the hunger issue.
argued that in the context of the crisis of global hunger, opposition in
some quarters, especially Western Europe and Africa, to genetically modified
food is “irresponsible.” Forty percent of the corn that Americans eat and
75 percent of soy beans, Nicholson said, are the result of GMOs, so far
without a single stomach ache or allergic reaction.
opposition to GMOs, he suggested, has more to do with protecting their
agricultural markets than with any real concern about the health consequences
of these crops. Yet the effort to generate concern about so-called “Frankenstein
food” has been effective. Nicholson noted, for example, that Catholic leaders
in Zambia had supported a government decision not to distribute American-donated
maize because it was genetically modified.
rejected criticism that a “capitalist exploitive interest” was behind the
push for GMOs.
other American ambassador at the conference was Tony P. Hall, who represents
President George Bush at the Food and Agriculture Organization. A former
Democratic congressman from Ohio, he is the only Democrat in Bush’ ambassadorial
a non-Catholic, spoke of his strong Christian faith and how addressing
the hunger issue allows him to “bring the scriptures into my work.” He
spoke of watching hungry people die during a 1984 fact-finding trip to
Ethiopia as a member of congress, and the challenge of convincing the people
of his Dayton, Ohio congressional district that the global hunger issue
ought to be of concern to them too.
stunning figure Hall cited is that the United States wastes some 110 million
tons of food each year. While still in Congress, Hall launched a project
to “glean” this food and redirect it to the hungry.
part of a media panel that reflected on why the world press covers this
issue only episodically, failing to create the kind of sustained interest
that leads to action.
the Vatican was not a main player in the conference, it was nevertheless
represented through the presence of two heads of curial offices. American
Archbishop John Foley, who heads the Pontifical Council for Social Communications,
offered an opening Mass and then chaired a morning session, while Nigerian
Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship,
chaired the afternoon session and then led a vespers service.
his homily, Arinze reflected on St. Joseph, given that March 19 was his
feast. He argued that Joseph’s leadership of the Holy Family offers a model
for anti-hunger efforts, which must always be based on “recognizing, respecting
and protecting” the family.
children should ordinarily not be fed from a central kitchen, bu*t by their
own families,” he said, describing the nuclear family as the most “natural,
* * *
my U.S. speaking tour March 14-15 in Jackson, Tennessee, where I was able
to indulge two of the great passions of my life: Vatican analysis and barbeque.
I’m outside Rome, I wake up dreaming about buccatini all’amatriciana,
but when I’m not in the States, it’s always visions of BBQ ribs that dance
in my head. Several distinguished eateries across Western Tennessee provided
exactly the culinary fix I needed to fortify me for the return across the
in Jackson to lead a weekend seminar at Lambuth University, a small liberal
arts college affiliated with the Methodist denomination. My audience was
strikingly ecumenical — Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, and a cross-section
of other traditions — but uniformly engaged and informed. Everyone seemed
to concur that the policy choices facing the Roman Catholic Church, whether
on ecumenism, or the war in Iraq, or the American sex abuse crisis, are
of obvious relevance for all Christians.
prepare for the Lambuth visit, I rang up a friend of mine, Fr. Donald Bolen,
who staffs the desk for relations with Anglicans and Methodists in the
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Bolen gushed about the
Roman Catholic/Methodist dialogue, calling it “a joy to work on,” saying
it has always been marked by “tremendously friendly relations.”
and Charles Wesley, founders of the spiritual movement that came to be
known as Methodism, were adherents of Anglicanism. Their low-church ecclesiology,
however, has meant that the theological distance between Catholics and
Methodists is commonly regarded as greater than that separating Catholics
and Anglicans. Ironically, Bolen said, that distance has in some ways been
an asset in the dialogue, which is not “burdened with the expectations”
that sometimes weigh down other relationships.
dialogue is organized in five-year cycles, with each cycle ending in the
presentation of a report before the international gathering of the World
Methodist Council. The most recent document, presented in 2001 in Brighton,
England, was entitled “Speaking the Truth in Love” and examined the role
of teaching authority in the church. It’s a sensitive subject, and not
only because it has been for centuries one of the flashpoints separating
Catholics from other branches of Western Christianity. The fault lines
also run through Methodism, since British Methodists do not have bishops,
for example, while other branches of the church do. Even where Methodists
have retained an episcopacy, however, their understanding of the bishop’s
office often departs from the Catholic view.
the Truth in Love” did not resolve these differences, but it placed them
into clearer relief and identified areas for future conversation.
dialogue has now turned to an even more sensitive project: an ecclesiological
assessment of each side by the other. That is, Roman Catholics participants
will produce a list of the essential elements of church, and then examine
Methodism employing that list. The Methodists will do the same thing for
the Roman side. The idea is to clarify the major ecclesiological differences
in the two traditions.
is, as Bolen said, a “very delicate” exercise, yet one that is unfolding
with “complete calm” because of the respect and good will on both sides.
first meeting for the project took place last October in France, near Strasbourg,
and the second will take place this coming October in York. In the meantime,
several members of the dialogue on both sides are working on preparatory
essays, with a document expected in 2006.
Bolen’s compliments to the Methodists in Jackson, expressing the gratitude
of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity for three and a
half decades now of brotherly relations. Based on the hospitality and graciousness
shown me in Jackson, I understand what Bolen is talking about.
* * *
pope’s forthcoming encyclical on the Eucharist is expected to be issued
on April 17, or Holy Thursday, and is carrying the working title Ecclesia
de Eucharistia (“The Church of the Eucharist”). Some press reports
have suggested that it will be accompanied by disciplinary documents from
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
sources tell me, however, that the accompanying materials will actually
be issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of
the Sacraments, the agency responsible for liturgical matters. The congregation,
sources say, is working on a follow-up to the encyclical that will deal
with the importance of observing the rites of the Church in the Eucharist.
It will also provide a standard menu of abuses in this area, inviting bishops
to greater vigilance of liturgical practices.
indication of curial attitudes on the subject came March 15 in Civiltà
Cattolica, the Jesuit-edited journal whose pages are reviewed by the
Secretariat of State before publication. In that issue, Jesuit Fr. Giuseppe
de Rosa penned an editorial decrying the practice of “Eucharistic hospitality,”
or admitting non-Catholics to the Eucharist in defiance of church discipline.
Such a practice, de Rosa argued, forces the issue by suggesting a unity
that does not yet exist. In the end, he said, it might even set back efforts
for ecumenical progress.
* * *
the wake of the American sex abuse crisis, the canonical issues surrounding
involuntary laicization of priests have become a matter of unusually broad
public interest. Some Catholics have forgotten, however, that these are
not the only offenses for which the pope imposes the canonical equivalent
of the death penalty. A reminder of the point came March 13with the forced
laicization of an Italian priest named Franco Barbero.
outcome was not a bolt out of the blue. Barbero, 64, has long been an irritant
to ecclesiastical authorities. He is one of five well-known priests profiled
in the March 2003 book Preti Contro by Italian journalist Corrado
Zunino, all of whom have repeatedly found themselves in hot water.
Barbero’s bishop, Pier
Giorgio Debernardi of the Pinerolo diocese, announced last September that
Barbero was “no longer in communion with the Church,” in part for his views
on the Eucharist and the virginity of Mary, but above all for his practice
of blessing gay unions. At last count, Bernardo has celebrated 43 same-sex
marriages (three with lesbian couples, 40 with males). Debernardi said
at the time that Barbero’s actions had already disqualified him as a priest,
and did not rule out that the Vatican might take further action.
Barbero the evening of March 19 in Rome, where he spoke on the subject
of gay marriage. The talk was held at the Waldensian church in the Piazza
Cavour, ironically a frequent gathering spot for progressive Catholic activity
in Rome. (I’ve often remarked that, if nothing else, you have to admire
the Waldensian sense of humor. This tiny Protestant island in a vast Roman
Catholic sea has as its logo the image of a single candle under the slogan,
lucet in tenebris: “A light shines in the darkness”).
is a diminutive, bespectacled figure with thinning gray hair and a constant
smile, very much the image of a country Italian pastor. Unfazed by the
drama of recent days, he told me he has no plans to appeal the pope’s decree,
since it states specifically that it is “unappealable.” Instead, he said,
he wants to pursue a “theological and ecclesiological reflection” on the
grounds for his removal.
told his listeners that he does not believe “anyone can take from my heart
the ministry to which God has called me,” indicating that he will continue
to lead his small base community in Pinerolo.
“I didn’t think I needed
ecclesiastical permission to recognize a gift from God,” Barbero said.
“Where there is love, God blesses it, and the church has no choice but
to welcome it.”
one makes of Barbero’s argument, his case is noteworthy because the pope
rarely removes a man from the priesthood against his will. The number of
such disciplinary acts may rise in coming months as American sex abuse
cases make their way through the new judicial system established in the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Hence it is of interest to
read the language of Barbero’s decree of dismissal; clergy guilty of sexual
abuse in the United States may be seeing similar decrees soon.
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE
OF THE FAITH
(dismissal from the clerical
state and dispensation from obligations)
Prot. N. 26/82
Mr. Franco Barbero
from the diocese of Pinerolo
25 January 2003
The Sovereign Pontiff
John Paul II, having heard the report of the secretary of this congregation
concerning the grave mode of acting of the above-cited priest of the diocese
of Pinerolo (Italy), and having seen to all the preliminaries, in a supreme
decision with no possibility of appeal, has decreed that upon the above-cited
priest is imposed the penalty of dismissal.
To the same presbyter he has
also conceded a dispensation from all the duties connected with sacred
ordination, with the following criteria:
+1 The dismissal and the dispensation enter into vigor from the moment
of the decision of the Roman Pontiff.
+2 The decree of dismissal
and of dispensation will be communicated to the presbyter by the competent
ordinary of the place, to whom it is prohibited to ever separate these
two elements. The same is valid for any eventual absolution from censure.
+3 The news of the dismissal
and dispensation will be noted in the books of the baptized of the parish
of the above-cited presbyter.
+4 For that which concerns
the eventual celebration of a canonical matrimony, the norms established
by the Code of Canon Law are to be applied. The ordinary should
in any event handle the matter so that it takes place with circumspection
and without publicity.
+5 The ecclesiastical
authority whose task it is to communicate the decree to the above-said
priest, should exhort him vividly so that, in conformity with his new condition,
he participate in the life of the people of God, giving edification and
demonstrating himself a good son of the Church. At the same time, he will
communicate what follows:
the dismissed priest automatically loses the rights of the clerical state,
all dignities and ecclesiastical offices; he is no longer held to the other
obligations connected with the clerical state;
+b) he remains excluded from the exercise of sacred ministry, and neither
may he have a directive role in a pastoral environment;
+c) equally, he may not perform any office in seminaries or equivalent
institutes. In other institutes of study at the higher levels that depend
in any way upon ecclesiastical authority, he may not have a directive office
or teaching role;
+d) even in institutes of study at the higher levels that do not depend
upon ecclesiastical authority, he may not teach any theological discipline;
+e) in institutes of study at lower levels that depend upon ecclesiastical
authority, he may not have any directive function or teaching role. The
dismissed and dispensed presbyter is held to the same law regarding the
teaching of religion as in institutes that do not depend upon ecclesiastical
The ordinary of the place should take an interest in the dismissed presbyter,
so that he does not give scandal to the faithful due to an absence of necessary
At an opportune time, the ordinary will report to the congregation concerning
the outcome of the notification, and in the case of any astonishment among
the faithful, he should proceed to a prudent explanation.
anything even minimally to the contrary.
From the seat of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith, January 25, 2003.
+ Joseph Ratzinger, prefect
+ Angelo Amato, S.D.B.,
titular archbishop of Sila, secretary
The e-mail address for John L. Allen Jr. is
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