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A framed photo of the happy couple on their wedding day stands on a living room table, the bride in a traditional white gown, the groom in a tux. They live in a cozy house with a white picket fence, flowers and a big dog. The wife serves coffee and cheerfully disappears.
February 5, 2014 | By Tom Kington
ROME - The Roman Catholic Church has "systematically" protected predator priests, allowing tens of thousands of children to be abused, a United Nations committee said Wednesday in a scathing report that cast the first shadow over Pope Francis' honeymoon period as pontiff. The panel called on the Vatican to remove all suspects from their posts immediately and to open its confidential archives "to hold abusers accountable. " "The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators," the report says.
February 15, 1986 | Associated Press
Latin remains the official language of the Roman Catholic Church, but fewer and fewer churchmen read, speak or write it. "Latin is dying in the church, it is doomed," said Father Reginald Foster, who as one of six papal Latinists writes Pope John Paul II's speeches and letters as well as Vatican documents in Latin.
December 26, 2013 | Times staff and wire reports
Kelly Clark, an Oregon attorney who won a nearly $20-million judgment for a sex abuse victim against the Boy Scouts of America and forced the organization to release secrets on pedophiles contained in its so-called perversion files, has died. He was 56. A resident of Portland, Ore., Clark died Dec. 17 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said Paul Mones, Clark's friend and co-counsel in the case. Doctors were in the process of diagnosing Clark's condition when he died. Clark was one of the most prominent American attorneys who fought for childhood victims of sexual abuse - bringing and winning cases against the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America.
The road to sainthood is never sure and simple. For some, heaven can wait. During his papacy, Pope John Paul II has given priority to recognizing saints, raising men and women of heroic virtue to the highest altar for emulation by the faithful. But the process can be long, controversial, tricky and filled with delicate political issues--especially when the saintly candidate touches a sensitive nerve in public opinion.
The outrage of Sister Claire Murphy flickered to life 25 years ago in a remote Nigerian village where she found herself teaching school as a lonely missionary. The Biafran war had just begun when the young Irish nun received an unexpected package from the church. "The Vatican had sent me a whole cupboard full" of birth control pills, Sister Claire recalled with a thin-lipped smile. "It was OK to protect the nuns against rape by the soldiers, but not the girls in our school."
Here in western Guatemala, where the eternal battle of land and wind has left the mountains a defeated jumble of rocks and ravines, another conflict, between people, is littering the countryside with the spiritual, social and political wreckage of a religious war. It is a war of Christian against Christian, and it is transforming nearly every aspect of life--not only in Guatemala, where the battle has gone on the longest and is the most intense, but elsewhere in Central America.
March 21, 2012 | By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico this year took the unusual step of issuing guidelines on how Mexicans should vote in the upcoming presidential election: Candidates should value marriage as a bond between a man and a woman and should place prime importance on "the right to life, starting at conception. " Both ideas were clearly aimed at leftist parties and others who have backed same-sex marriage and abortion, legalized in recent years in Mexico City. Pope Benedict XVI arrives Friday to a Mexico that, officially, is a strictly secular nation.
May 31, 2013 | Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
A self-described "loud-mouthed Irish priest" ("And may they carve it on my gravestone!" he once quipped), the Rev. Andrew M. Greeley rejected a conventional definition of his vocation. Denied a parish, the Roman Catholic priest created his own pulpits as a sociologist whose groundbreaking research corrected misimpressions of American Roman Catholics and as a bestselling novelist whose works - "The Cardinal Sins," "Thy Brother's Wife" and more than 50 other titles - made readers blush and church superiors fume.
June 4, 2006 | David Haldane, Times Staff Writer
Like Catholic priests everywhere, Bishop Peter Hickman dons a white tunic each Sunday to celebrate Mass in a sanctuary laden with incense and crosses. Unlike most, he'll often have lunch with his wife and children afterward. "Marriage promotes growth," says Hickman, 50, who has fathered five children, been married three times and divorced twice. "People who've never been married have a hard time knowing themselves."
December 11, 2013 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - Just nine months into his pontificate, Time magazine has named Pope Francis its Person of the Year, reflecting the energy and the new, overwhelmingly positive image that the former Argentinean archbishop has brought to the scandal-weary Roman Catholic Church. The magazine credited Francis, who turns 77 next week, with restoring a common touch to the papacy and with “balancing judgment with mercy.” Since his election to replace the retiring Benedict XVI in March, the first Latin American pope has delighted Catholics and non-Catholics alike with his humility, his evident love of people, his outspoken comments against greed and unbridled capitalism, and his rebuke of a church too obsessed with topics such as abortion and homosexuality . “Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly - young and old, faithful and cynical - as has Pope Francis,” Nancy Gibbs, Time's editor, wrote in an essay explaining the choice.
December 10, 2013 | By Karin Klein
The Roman Catholic Church complains that it has been unfairly characterized as anti-gay. Let's leave that discussion for another time, because a recent incident - involving the firing of a gay teacher at a Catholic school in Pennsylvania - is less about whether the church is anti-gay than whether it has a coherent or consistent position on the subject. Michael Griffin, a 12-year language teacher at Holy Ghost Preparatory School, said administrators had known about his sexual orientation for years.
December 7, 2013
Re "A path to upheaval," Dec. 1, and "Into the light," Dec. 2 As a survivor of child sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic priest in Los Angeles, I have mixed feelings about the articles on Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the retired archbishop of Los Angeles who went to great lengths to prevent priests accused of assault from being turned over to police. On the one hand, I'm grateful that you are revealing Mahony's shameful acts. On the other, I, like other victims, am re-victimized every time these articles appear.
December 5, 2013 | By Tom Kington
ROME - In his first formal response to one of the biggest challenges facing the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis is establishing a commission to look at how the church can better protect children from sexual abuse by its priests. The group's formation was announced Thursday by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, and instantly denounced as inadequate by organizations representing victims of sex abuse by priests. At a Vatican news conference, O'Malley said the panel would look at pastoral responses to child abuse, not just judicial ones, but said it would be largely up to individual Catholic jurisdictions around the world to decide how to go about stopping the scourge and disciplining those responsible.
December 3, 2013
Re "Pope's manifesto calls for decentralized church," Nov. 27 Contrary to Pope Francis' comments, capitalism has done more to empower people and raise living standards than any other force in history. As Milton Friedman pointed out years ago: "The only cases in which the masses have escaped from … grinding poverty … in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it's exactly in the kind of societies that depart from that.
November 30, 2013 | By Soumya Karlamangla
As gay marriage legislation picks up momentum across the country, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said the Roman Catholic Church is losing the fight because it's been "caricatured as anti-gay. " Dolan, a charismatic cardinal who until recently was president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, talked about gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act with David Gregory on NBC's "Meet the Press" in an interview scheduled to air Sunday.  "Regardless of the church teachings, do you think this is evolving in such a way that it's ultimately going to be legal everywhere?"
October 23, 1986
The New York diocese of the Episcopal Church adopted a resolution implicitly criticizing the Roman Catholic Church as restricting free inquiry and expression. The Roman Catholic Church and specific actions are not mentioned in the resolution, but the resolution's author, the Rev. Christopher L. Webber, said he wrote it in response to the disciplining of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle and Father Charles Curran of Catholic University.
When the holy water flows over a child's head in baptism, it is believed that all sins are washed away. For devout Catholics like Guadalupe Gutierrez, baptism points to the mystery at the heart of her deep faith, the promise of eternal salvation. Because her grandchildren had not been christened as infants, Gutierrez was desperate to have them baptized and receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church.
November 26, 2013 | By Tom Kington
ROME - Eight months into his headline-grabbing papacy, Pope Francis issued a wide-ranging manifesto Tuesday in which he sharply criticizes the excesses of capitalism and says he wants a decentralized Roman Catholic Church that is "bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets. " Francis' 84-page Apostolic Exhortation, titled "The Joy of the Gospel," gathers together a number of the causes he has championed in speeches and homilies since being elected in March, including the need for "a conversion of the papacy," to reverse the "excessive centralization.
October 2, 2013 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- The Roman Catholic Church in El Salvador has abruptly closed its important human rights and legal aid office, which for years, and sometimes at great risk, denounced and investigated the most egregious atrocities surrounding that country's civil war. The surprise decision became known Tuesday, when employees showed up for work at the Tutela Legal office in the capital, San Salvador, and found padlocks on the doors and guards who...
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