LONDON (CNS) -- Catholics in England and Wales will be obliged to abstain from meat every Friday under a new rule brought by the bishops.The whole story is here. Via A Momentary Taste of Being who calls this a welcome restoration, with which I agree. Though at our house this would be more of "business as usual" as when I read about the requirement for Friday penance many years ago, I had to agree with the comment (in the Catechism maybe?) that giving up meat was one of the easiest to remember to do. And, certainly, it is one that makes one think throughout the day as we realize how much meat there is in our every day diets.
The "act of common witness" will take effect Sept. 16, the first anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain.
The rule, announced at a news conference in London in mid-May, reverses a relaxation of the Friday penance regulations introduced in England and Wales in 1984. This allowed Catholics to choose their own form of Friday penance -- such as offering additional prayers, attending Mass or abstaining from alcohol.
Independent Study Shows That Homosexuality, Celibacy Didn't Cause Abuse Scandal
WASHINGTON — Researchers commissioned by Roman Catholic bishops in the U.S. to analyze the pattern of clergy sex abuse have concluded that homosexuality, celibacy and an all-male priesthood did not cause the scandal.Read the entire story here. This by no means excuses such behavior or more especially the behavior of many bishops who protected the guilty at the expense of the innocent. However, it is interesting and I like the fact that it was an independent study.
The study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York instead said that the problem was largely the result of poor seminary training and insufficient emotional support for men ordained in the 1940s and 1950s, who were not able to withstand the social upheaval they confronted as pastors in the 1960s. Crime and other deviant behavior increased overall in the United States during this period, when the rate of abuse by priests was climbing.
"The rise in abuse cases in the 1960s and 1970s was influenced by social factors in society generally," the report's authors said. "Factors that were invariant during the time period addressed, such as celibacy, were not responsible for the increase or decline in abuse cases over this time."
Update: Whispers in the Loggia has links to the full report pdf and more.