Our Directors and staff thank you for the many Christmas greetings, prayers and contributions we have received. Your generosity makes it possible for the Foundation to offer assistance to those faithful Catholics whose rights are threatened or violated.
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I promise that our most popular feature, “Straws in the Wind,” will return to its usual place in the next issue. We could have made what appears on pages 5 through 8 of this issue a separate insert so as to provide space for “Straws;” but this would have involved additional expense.
We want to keep our friends and supporters informed about the Foundation’s work without burdening them with minutiae. Your comments are always welcome.
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The manner in which ecclesiastical power is wielded in Rome baffles many Americans, including me. The late Malachi Martin, author of the bestselling account of Roman intrigue, The Jesuits, defined the word that has become synonymous with it in this way: “Romanitá rests upon one basic principle: If you can outwait all, you can rule all. The hallmark of romanitá is understatement in action and in all forms of expression. It is, in a way, power in whispers. Essential to it are a sense of timing reamed with patience, a ruthlessness that excludes the hesitation of emotions, and an almost messianic conviction of ultimate success. Few are born with it. Most genuine “Romans” who flourish must learn it over time” (The Jesuits, p. 80). Allowing for the author’s characteristic hyperbole, I believe his definition is on the mark and that the practice of romanitá is alive and well today. There is no doubt that Rome remains the place where one can observe romanitá exercised in its purest form with true Italian finesse, although variations of it exist elsewhere, including here in North America. Two examples come to mind.
First, I think that it is fair to say that it goes a long way toward explaining the apparent inability of many ecclesiastical authorities to deal with a problem in a straightforward and effective way. The way in which they successfully deflected accusations of the sexual abuse of children ― until Judge Constance Sweeney breeched the wall of silence and the sordid mess became public ― clearly bears the imprint of romanitá.
Second, ever since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973, faithful Catholics have been scandalized by the inability or unwillingness of the bishops, with a few honorable exceptions, to call to account those Catholic politicians who flaunt their religion at election time while scornfully rejecting its teaching on the sanctity of human life and sexual morality ― as well as other issues. Without threats of civil litigation, as in the sexual abuse catastrophe, there is a possibility that those Church authorities who prefer to do little or nothing may indeed be able to wait out the storm. I pray that the last chapter has not been written.
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On April 11, the School of Canon Law and the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America will sponsor a one-day introductory course on canon law for attorneys. It has been approved for 6 MCLE credits in Virginia and for 6.5 credits in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Although the course is intended for lawyers, non-lawyers may find it interesting as well. For more information, you can visit the course web site http://canonlaw.cua.edu/workshops/CLE/CLE2007.cfm.
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Please remember the Foundation in your prayers and be sure that you are in ours.