Two years ago this month, Pope Francis issued a sweeping new church law on bishop accountability, establishing a global system for investigation allegations against bishops of abuse or its cover-up.
Known as Vos estis lux mundi ("You are the light of the world"), the norms encourage — but do not mandate — the involvement of lay experts in the process of investigating allegations against bishops. When it was signed into law, Vos estis was adopted for a three-year period "ad experimentum."
To date, there are at least six known authorized Vos estis investigations into U.S. bishops by the Vatican. Since taking effect, several other bishops have also come under investigation, although the Vatican has used different processes for handling their cases.
While many canon law experts believe the norms in Vos estis represent a turning point in the church's efforts to hold bishops accountable, others believe much could be improved upon, including greater transparency on disclosing when an investigations are taking place, the need to mandate the use of lay experts and clarity on the status of bishops removed from office following an investigation.
Pope Francis issued the new laws for the Catholic Church on the investigation of clergy sexual abuse May 9, 2019, mandating for the first time that all priests and members of religious orders worldwide are obligated to report any suspicions of abuse or its cover-up.
Studies increasingly show connections between physical and mental health and access to natural settings — although there's a shortage of studies from parts of the world where urban overcrowding is greatest. Throw in the past year's COVID-19 lockdowns, with teleworking and online classes, and it's no wonder people talk about having a "nature deficit."
As COVID-19 vaccination rates rise and summer approaches, people in the U.S. will probably have more opportunities for outdoor activities. But large parts of the world are still in lockdown, and not everyone in the U.S. has access to outdoor spaces.
So what can you do to stay connected with the natural world if you're shut in, locked down or living in a place with very little green space? EarthBeat asked six people how they stay spiritually rooted in the natural world even in the middle of the city or inside an apartment.
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At Global Sisters Report, read about Casa Corazón de la Misericordia in Honduras, which has served more than 1,000 HIV-positive children who have come through its doors since it was established in 1995 by Mercy Srs. Masbely Del Cid and Sandra Hernández.
An academic statement published by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research alleges inconsistencies in the Vatican's arguments against same-sex relationships, and urges the church to review its stance in light of modern research.
NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters wonders what if prominent Catholics guest hosted "Jeopardy" and had a part in the selection of the categories.
ICYMI: In a commentary, John Gehring writes about how bishops have every right to challenge Catholic politicians on abortion, but deploying Communion as a bludgeon to selectively sanction elected officials on a single issue is not the answer.