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Ireland: Statistics of the Church as Pope Francis Prepares to Visit

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:06 AM

Statistics of the Catholic Church in Ireland as of 31 December 2016 (from the Central Office for Church Statistics)

Table 1 – Population and ecclesiastical structure

Table 2 – People engaged in activities of the apostolate

Table 3 – Indicators of pastoral workload

Table 4 – Priestly Vocations

Table 5 – Educational centers owned/managed by ecclesiastics or religious

Table 6 – Charitable and social centers owned/managed by ecclesiastics or religious

The following are some statistical data relating to the situation of the Catholic Church in Ireland as of 31 December 2016:

Table 1 – Population and ecclesiastical structure

Area (km2) 84,405 Population (in thousands) 7,005 Density (inhabitants/km2) 83 Catholics (in thousands) 5,331 Catholics per 100 inhabitants 76.1 Ecclesiastical circumscriptions 26 Parishes 1,359 Other pastoral centers 40 Catholics per pastoral center 3,811

Table 2 – People engaged in activities of the apostolate

Bishops1 56 Diocesan priests 2,542 Religious priests 1,793 Total priests 4,335 Permanent deacons 132 Men religious (other than priests) 59 Professed women religious 764 Members of secular Institutes 97 Lay missionaries – Catechists 2,357 [1] Situation on 31.12.2017

Table 3 – Indicators of pastoral workload

Catholics per priest 1,230 Catholics per pastoral worker 683 Priests per pastoral center 3.1 Priests per 100 people engaged in activities of the apostolate 56.3

Table 4 – Priestly vocations

Minor seminarians 10 Major seminarians 150 Major seminarians per 100,000 inhabitants

  2.14 Major seminarians per 100,000 Catholics 2.81 Major seminarians per 100 priests 3.46

Table 5 – Educational centers owned/managed by ecclesiastics or religious

Schools: Pre-school and primary 3,375 Lower middle and secondary 599 Higher and university 9 Students in: Pre-school and primary schools 526,640 Lower middle and secondary schools 318,030 Higher and university institutes 22,775

Table 6 – Charitable and social centers owned/managed by ecclesiastics or religious

Hospitals 21 Clinics – Leper colonies – Homes for the elderly and disabled 36 Orphanages and nurseries 33 Family consultation centers 57 Special centers of social education or rehabilitation 8 Other institutions 3

 

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Archbishop Follo: Eating the Bread of Heaven to be Able to Love as we are Loved

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 9:31 AM

XX Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B – August 19, 2018
Roman Rite
Pr 9,1-6; Ps 34; Eph 5.15-20; Jn 6,51-58

Ambrosian Rite
2Cr 36, 17c-23; Sal 105; Rom 10: 16-20; Lk 7: 1b-10
XIII Sunday after Pentecost

1) The bread of heaven to eat and to share.

In this XX Sunday in Ordinary Time the liturgy makes us read the continuation of Saint John Gospel’s chapter 6 which is all centered on the Eucharist. On the previous Sundays, we contemplated the gift of bread made by Jesus on the shore of the lake of Tiberias where the people were satiated and twelve full baskets were filled with the remains. We see that people are looking for the Messiah because they want bread and that Christ explains that the most important thing is not the bread of the earth. The true bread that Christ wants to give is Himself, the Bread of Heaven that puts us in communion with the Father and with our brothers and sisters.

This bread gives eternal life. This bread is the eternal life, which is to dwell in God in peace and joy. Even today, Christ says: “I am the living bread come down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world … This is the bread that came down from heaven; it’s not like what the fathers ate and they died. Whoever eats this bread will live forever “(Jn 6: 51.58).

With these statements, Jesus reaches the heart of his teaching on the bread of life and reveals that whoever has faith in him, the Messiah sent by the Father, not only professes his faith in him but is nourished by it and receives life forever.

Throughout more or less recent history, there have been “experts” who have taught that Jesus was thinking only in symbolic terms and that the bread was not his real body, but only the bread that symbolized his body. This is a wrong interpretation. Jesus speaks very clearly and uses the verb “to eat”, the same verb that is used for describing an earthy lunch.

Hearing Christ speaking like this and learning that they would have to eat his body, his disciples were perplexed, and they were not the only ones… They were almost scandalized. Probably, we too would be scandalized if we did not have the experience of the Christ risen with his true body and the Magisterium of the Church that constantly re-proposes this teaching of Christ.

Thanks to the liturgy of this Sunday, the Lord even today shows us that his old but never extinguished desire is to live among the men he loves and to become real food, a heavenly one but no less true and real than the earthly one. Jesus is not like the manna of the desert. He is the true manna of heaven for the journey towards the fullness of life which we can only find in Him.

At this point, one wonders: “What are the conditions required to eat this bread full of life?”. The first is to cultivate in us the hunger of God. Only those who do not stifle the desire of God can respond to the invitation to the heavenly banquet and be fed by God. The second is to have a contrite heart that begs for life and the food that nourishes it, asking for forgiveness for having sought it far from him and for trying to satisfy the hunger of infinity by filling us with infinite things.

Let us pray to the Lord that with the Eucharist he will enable us to lead an existence in which we are always witnesses to the truth of his words, and to live in him, for him, and because of him. Finally, let us pray that together with all Christians we know how to receive Jesus not only in the Eucharistic bread but also in the sick, the needy, the poor, the suffering and in all the brothers and sisters in humanity.

2) Words that elicit a discussion.Why?

The scene that today’s Gospel describes is dramatic. The reaction of the listeners to the words of Jesus who wants to donate himself is to talk bitterly among themselves. Those present argue among themselves but in the end, they take position toward Christ and his words. For the Jews who hear Christ in the synagogue of Capernaum, there is an impassable barrier, and it is precisely the flesh of Jesus. They believe to know him, to have seen him grow up, and to know everything about his family. Jesus of Nazareth has a story that is exactly the same as theirs. One like them cannot save them, the flesh of the body of Christ is flesh like theirs, it can not give life. Their eyes, their thoughts, their hearts stop at the door of the house, they can not enter it. They remain at the surface of things and do not understand the gift that Jesus gives. Certainly, it is a gift that surpasses every human imagination: it is the Gift of Himself, as food of Life.

It is a gift that the Jews could not understand and welcome, therefore they discussed animatedly.

What about us?

We too struggle to understand how the flesh of Christ can be food of the spirit. We can understand quite easily the extraordinary nature of a miracle that heals the body. We can also understand that particular grace which, through the sacrament of Confession, helps us to grasp the greatness of the Heart of God, who gives his mercy, creating in us the desire for conversion by canceling our faults.

But “to understand” and to accept the phrase of Christ: “Whoever eats my flesh will have eternal life”, was hard for the disciples of that time and for us, the disciples of today, who oscillate between a Communion lived in a habitual way and a distance from Mass, because we advance the justification of not having time or think that it does not change our lives.

If the world and many Christians do not know the truth and the beauty of life, it is precisely because they do not know and do not welcome the Bread of Life.

Let’s do an examination of conscience to see what is the place that the Eucharist has in our life. In this sacrament Jesus reveals a wonderful mystery: He is food of true life, which leads us to live for him, in him, with him and with our brothers and sisters loved in him. Christ is the bread of true life “through whom we are already transported and introduced by the rapid flow of time to the shore of eternity “(Paul VI, June 5, 1969) The Eucharist is not a mere devotion, but God himself who becomes our

  • food, to give us the strength to be pilgrims in the world walking into the exodus of life,
  • medicine, to treat wounds of life
  • a friend, to converse with us as he did with the disciples of Emmaus.

Let us make our Eucharists a time and an area of authenticity and faith, of beauty and praise, so that no one can help to participate in it.

On the tables of our houses, there is all we need for the life of the body, on the “table” of our heart let’s put the bread necessary for the life of the spirit: Jesus Christ. He is the only Bread that really satisfies our hunger for happiness, for the infinite, and for eternity accompanying us in our suffering existence towards the only lasting goal: the House of the Father.

In the Eucharist, by giving himself, the Son of God gives peace and joy to the “trade of living” to which we are called.

Living as Eucharistic women, the consecrated Virgins remind us that Christ the Bridegroom in the Eucharist is first of all Communion

  • with Him who is God from God, Light from Light, Love from Love, alive, true, substantially and sacramentally present,
  • with Him who is the Lamb sacrificed for our salvation, a refreshing manna for eternal life, friend, brother and – sorry if I repeat -the bridegroom with whom to dwell in the heart of the Father.

In the Eucharist, the consecrated Virgins find inspiration and food for their total dedication to Christ. Thanks to the Eucharist, they can be faithful images of the Bride Church and testify that, if it is true that the Eucharist is a great mystery that the mind does not understand, it is equally true that the love that shines in it can be accepted living the Eucharistic life as the gift of the Body of Christ received, as thanksgiving for being loved by him, and as a chaste sharing of this love.

 

Patristic reading

Saint Augustin of Hippo (354  – 430)
Sermon LXXXI

On the words of the gospel, Jn 6:53“Except ye eat the flesh,” etc., And on the words of the apostles. And the psalms. Against the pelagians.
Delivered at the Table of the Martyr St. Cyprian, the 9th of the Calends of October, —23 Sept., on the Lord’s day.

1. We have heard the True Master, the Divine Redeemer, the human Saviour, commending to us our Ransom, His Blood. For He spake to us of His Body and Blood; He called His Body Meat, His Blood Drink. The faithful recognise the Sacrament of the faithful. But the hearers what else do they but hear? When therefore commending such Meat and such Drink He said, “Except ye shall eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, ye shall have no life in you; “1 (and this that He said concerning life, who else said it but the Life Itself? But that man shall have death, not life, who shall think that the Life is false), His disciples were offended, not all of them indeed, but very many, saying within themselves, “This is an hard saying, who can hear it? “2 But when the Lord knew this in Himself, and heard the murmurings of their thought, He answered them, thinking though uttering nothing, that they might understand that they were heard, and might cease to entertain such thoughts. What then did He answer? “Doth this offend you?”“What then if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before?”3 What meaneth this? “Doth this offend you?” “Do ye imagine that I am about to make divisions of this My Body which ye see; and to cut up My Members, and give them to you? ‘What then if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before?’” Assuredly, He who could ascend Whole could not be consumed. So then He both gave us of His Body and Blood a healthful refreshment, and briefly solved so great a question as to His Own Entireness. Let them then who eat, eat on, and them that drink, drink; let them hunger and thirst; eat Life, drink Life. That eating, is to be refreshed; but thou art in such wise refreshed, as that that whereby thou art refreshed, faileth not. That drinking, what is it but to live? Eat Life, drink Life; thou shalt have life, and the Life is Entire. But then this shall be, that is, the Body and the Blood of Christ shall be each man’s Life; if what is taken in the Sacrament visibly is in the truth itself eaten spiritually, drunk spiritually. For we have heard the Lord Himself saying, “It is the Spirit That quickeneth, but the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken unto you, are Spirit and Life. But there are some of you,” saith He, “that believe not.”4 Such were they who said, “This is a hard saying, who can hear it?” It is hard, but only to the hard; that is, it is incredible, but only to the incredulous.

2. But in order to teach us that this very believing is matter of gift, not of desert, He saith, “As I have said unto you, no man cometh unto Me, except it were given him of My Father.”5 Now as to where the Lord said this, if we call to mind the foregoing words of the Gospel, we shall find that He had said, “No man cometh unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him.”6 He did not lead, but draw. This violence is done to the heart, not the body. Why then dost thou marvel? Believe, and thou comest; love, and thou art drawn. Do not suppose here any rough and uneasy violence; it is gentle, it is sweet; it is the very sweetness that draweth thee. Is not a sheep drawn, when fresh grass is shown to it in its hunger? Yet I imagine that it is not bodily driven on, but fast bound by desire. In such wise do thou come too to Christ; do not conceive of long journeyings; where thou believest, there thou comest. For unto Him, who is everywhere we come by love, not by sailing. But forasmuch as even in this kind of voyage, waves and tempests of divers temptations abound; believe on the Crucified; that thy faith may be able to ascend the Wood. Thou shalt not sink, but shalt be borne upon the Wood. Thus, even thus, amid the waves of this world did he sail, who said, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”7

3. But wonderful it is, that when Christ Crucified is preached, two hear, one despiseth, the other ascendeth. Let him that despiseth, impute it to himself; let not him that ascendeth, arrogate it to himself. For he hath beard from the True Master ; “No man cometh unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.” let him joy, that it hath been given; let him render thanks to Him who giveth it, with a humble, not an arrogant heartlest what he hath attained8 through humility, he lose through pride. For even they who are already walking in this way of righteousness, if they attribute it to themselves, and to their own strength, perish out of it. And therefore Holy Scripture teaching us humility saith by the Apostle, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”9 And lest hereupon they should attribute ought to themselves, because he said, “Work,” he subjoined immediately, “For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”10 “It is God who worketh in you;” therefore “with fear and trembling,” make a valley, receive the rain. Low grounds are filled, high grounds are dried up. Grace is rain. Why dost thou marvel then, if “God resist the proud, and giveth grace unto the lowly “?11 Therefore, “with fear and trembling;” that is, with humility. “Be not high-minded, but fear.”12 Fear that thou mayest be filled; be not high-minded, test thou be dried up.

4. But you will say, “I am walking in this way already; once there was need for me to learn, there was need for me to know by the teaching of the law what I had to do: now I have the free choice of the will; who shall withdraw me from this way?” If thou read carefully, thou wilt find that a certain man began to uplift himself, on a certain abundance of his, which he had nevertheless received; but that the Lord in mercy, to teach him humility, took away what He had given; and he was on a sudden reduced to poverty, and confessing the mercy of God in his recollection, he said, “In my abundance I said, I shall never be moved.”13 “In my abundance I said.” But I said it, I who am a man said it; “All men are liars, I said.”14 Therefore, “in my abundance I said;” so great was the abundance, that I dared to say. “I shall never be moved.” What next? “O Lord, in Thy favour Thou gavest strength to my beauty.” But “Thou turnedst away Thy Face from me, and I was troubled.”15 “Thou hast shown me,” saith he, “that that wherein I did abound, was of Thee. Thou hast shown me Whence I should seek, to Whom attribute what I had received, to Whom I ought to render thanks, to Whom I should run in my thirst, Whereby be filled, and with Whom keep that whereby I should be filled. ‘For my strength will I keep to Thee;’16 whereby I am by Thy bounty filled, through Thy safe keeping I will not lose. ‘My strength will I keep to Thee.’ That Thou mightest show me this, ‘Thou turnedst away Thy Face from me, and I was troubled.’ ‘Troubled,’ because dried up; dried up, because exalted. Say then thou dry and parched one, that thou mayest be filled again; ‘My soul is as earth without water unto Thee.’17 Say, ‘My soul is as earth without water unto Thee.’ For Thou hast said, not the Lord, ‘I shall never be moved.’ Thou hast said it, presuming on thine own strength; but it was not of thyself, and thou didst think as if it were.”

5. What then doth the Lord say? “Serve ye the Lord in fear, and rejoice unto Him with trembling.”18 So the Apostle too, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who worketh in you.” Therefore rejoice with trembling: “Lest at any time the Lord be angry.” I see that you anticipate me by your crying out. For you know what I am about to say, you anticipate it by crying out. And whence have ye this, but that He taught you to whom ye have by believing come? This then He saith; hear what ye know already; I am not teaching, but in preaching am calling to your remembrance; nay, I am neither teaching, seeing that ye know already, nor calling to remembrance, seeing that ye remember, but let us say all together what together with us ye retain. “Embrace discipline, and rejoice,” but, “with trembling,”19 that, humble ye may ever hold fast that which ye have received. “Lest at any time the Lord be angry;” with the proud of course, attributing to themselves what they have, not rendering thanks to Him, from whom they have. “Lest at any time the Lord be angry, and ye perish from the righteous way.” Did he say, Lest at any time the Lord be angry, and ye come not into the righteous way “? Did he say, “Lest the Lord be angry, and He bring you not to the righteous way “? or “admit you not into the righteous way? Ye are walking in it already, be not proud, lest ye even perish from it. ‘And ye perish,’ saith he, ‘from the righteous way.’” “When His wrath shall be kindled in a short time”20 against you. At no distant time. As soon as thou art proud, thou losest at once what thou hadst received. As though man terrified by all this were to say, “What shall I do then?” It follows, “Blessed are all they that trust in Him:” not in themselves, but in Him. “By grace are we saved, not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God.”21

167 6. Peradventure ye are saying, “What does he mean, that he is so often saying this? A second and a third time he says it; and scarcely ever speaks, but when he says it.” Would that I may not say it in vain! For men there are unthankful to grace, attributing much to poor and disabled nature. True it is, when man was created he received great power of free-will; but he lost it by sin. He fell into death, became infirm, was left in the way by the robbers half dead; the Samaritan, which is by interpretation keeper, passing by lifted him up on his own beast;22 he is still being brought to the inn. Why is he lifted up? He is still in process of curing. “But,” he will say, “it is enough for me that in baptism I received remission of all sins.” Because iniquity was blotted out, was therefore infirmity brought to an end? “I received,” says he, “remission of all sins.” It is quite true. All sins were blotted out in the Sacrament of Baptism, all entirely, of words, deeds, thoughts, all were blotted out. But this is the “oil and wine” which was poured in by the way. Ye remember, beloved Brethren, that man who was wounded by the robbers, and half dead by the way, how he was strengthened, by receiving oil and wine for his wounds. His error indeed was already pardoned, and yet his weakness is in process of healing in the inn. The inn, if ye recognize it, is the Church. In the time present, an inn, because in life we are passing by: it will be a home, whence we shall never remove, when we shall have got in perfect health unto the kingdom of heaven. Meanwhile receive we gladly our treatment in the inn, and weak as we still are, glory we not of sound health: lest through our pride we gain nothing else, but never for all our treatment to be cured.

7. “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”23 Say, yea say to thy soul, “Thou art still in this life, still bearest about a frail flesh, still “doth the corruptible body press down the soul;”24 still after the entireness of remission hast thou received the remedy of prayer; for still, whilst thy weaknesses are being healed, dost thou say, “Forgive us our debts.”25 Say then to thy soul, thou lowly valley, not an exalted hill; say to thy soul, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”26 What benefits? Tell them, enumerate them, render thanks. What benefits? “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities.”27 This took place in baptism. What takes place now? “Who healeth all thy weaknesses.” This takesplace now; I acknowledge. But as long as I am here, “the corruptible body presseth down the soul.” Say then also that which comes next, “Who redeemeth thy life from corruption.”28 After redemption from corruption, what remaineth? “When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is thy contention?” There rightly, “O death, where is thy sting?”29 Thou seekest its place, and findest it not. What is “the sting of death”? What is, “O death, where is thy sting?” Where is sin? Thou seekest, and it is nowhere. For “the sting of death is sin.” They are the Apostle’s words, not mine. Then shall it be said, “O death, where is thy sting?” Sin shall nowhere be, neither to surprise thee, nor to assault thee, nor to inflame30 thy conscience. Then it shall not be said, “Forgive us our debts.” But what shall be said? “O Lord our God, give us peace: for Thou hast rendered all things unto us.”31

8. Finally, after the redemption from all corruption, what remaineth but the crown of righteousness? This at least remaineth, but even in it, or under it, let not the head be swollen that it may receive the crown. Hear, mark well the Psalm, how that crown will not have a swollen head. After he had said, “Who redeemeth thy life from corruption;” he saith, “Who crowneth thee.” Here thou wert ready at once to say, “‘Crowneth thee,’ is an acknowledgment of my merits, my own excellence hath done it; it is the payment of a debt, not a gift.” Give ear rather to the Psalm. For it is thou again that sayest this; and “all men are liars.”32 Hear what God saith; “Who crowneth thee with mercy and pity.” Of His mercy He crowneth thee, of His pity He crowneth thee. For thou hadst no worthiness that He should call thee, and being called should justify thee, being justified glorify thee. “The remnant is saved by the election of grace. But if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. For to him that worketh, the reward shall not be reckoned according to grace, but according to debt.”33 The Apostle saith, “Not according to grace, but according to debt.” But “thee He crowneth with pity and mercy;” and if thy own merits have gone before, God saith to thee, “Examine well thy merits, and thou shalt see that they are My gifts.”

9. This then is the righteousness of God. As it is called, “The Lord’s salvation,”34 not whereby the Lord is saved, but which He giveth to them whom He saveth; so too the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord is called the righteousness of God, not as that whereby the Lord is righteous, but whereby He justifieth those whom of ungodly He maketh righteous. But some, as the Jews in former times, both wish to be called Christians, and still ignorant of God’s righteousness, desire to establish their own, even in our own times, in the times of open grace, the times of the full revelation of grace which before was hidden; in the times of grace now manifested in the floor, which once lay hid in the fleece. I see that a few have understood me, that more have not understood, whom I will by no means defraud by keeping silence. Gideon, one of the righteous men of old, asked for a sign from the Lord, and said, “I pray, Lord, that this fleece which I put in the floor be bedewed,35 and that the floor be dry.”36 And it was so; the fleece was bedewed, the whole floor was dry. In the morning he wrung outthe fleece in a basin; forasmuch as to the humble is grace given; and in a basin, ye know what the Lord did to His disciples. Again, he asked for another sign; “O Lord, I would,” saith he, “that the fleece be dry, the floor bedewed.” And it was so. Call to mind the time of the Old Testament, grace was hidden in a cloud, as the rain in the fleece. Marc now the time of the New Testament, consider well the nation of the Jews, thou wilt find it as a dry fleece; whereas the whole world, like that floor, is full of grace, not hidden, but manifested. Wherefore we are forced exceedingly to bewail our brethren, who strive not against hidden, but against open and manifested grace. There is allowance for the Jews. What shall we say of Christians? Wherefore are ye enemies to the grace of Christ? Why rely ye on yourselves? Why unthankful? For why did Christ come? Was not nature here before? Was not nature here, which ye only deceive by your excessive praise? Was not the Law here? But the Apostle says, “If righteousness come by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain.”37 What the Apostle says of the Law, that say we of nature to these men. “If righteousness come by nature, then Christ is dead in vain.”

10. What then was said of the Jews, the same altogether do we see in these men now. “They have a zeal of God: I hear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.”38 What is, “not according to knowledge”? “For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and wishing to establish their own, they have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”39 My Brethren, share with me in my sorrow. When ye find such as these, do not hide them; be there no such misdirected40 mercy in you; by all means, when ye find such, hide them not. Convince the gainsayers, and those who resist, bring to us. For already have two41 councils on this question been sent to the apostolic see; and rescripts also have come from thence. The question has been brought to an issue; would that their error may sometime be brought to an issue too! Therefore do we advise that they may take heed, we teach that they may be instructed, we pray that they may be changed. Let us turn to the Lord, etc.

1 (Jn 6,53
2 (Jn 6,60
3 (Jn 6,61-62.
4 (Jn 6,63-64.
5 (Jn 6,65
6 (Jn 6,44
7 (Ga 6,14).
Meruit.
9 (Ph 2,12
10 (Ph 2,13
11 (Jc 4,6
12 (Rm 11,20
13 (Ps 29,6 Sept. (xxx. English version).
14 (Ps 116,11
15 (Ps 29,8 Sept. (xxx. 7, English version).
16 (Ps 58,10 Sept. (lix. 9, English version).
17 (Ps 142,6 Sept. (cxliii. English version).
18 (Ps 2,11 Sept.
19 (Ps 2,12 Sept.
20 (Ps 2,13 Sept.
21 (Ep 2,8).
22 (Lc 10,30 etc.
23 (Ps 103,1
24 (Sg 9,15
25 (Mt 6,12
26 (Ps 103,2
27 (Ps 103,3
28 (Ps 103,4
29 (1Co 15,54-55.
30 Titillet.
31 (Is 26,12 Sept.
32 (Ps 116,11
33 (Rm 11,5-6 Rm 4,4.
34 (Ps 3,9 Sept. (iii. 8, English version)).
35 Compluatur.
36 (Jg 6,37
37 Gal 2,21.
38 (Rm 10,20
39 (Rm 10,3
40 Perversa.
41 Of Carthage and Milevis which are among the Epistles of St. Augustin, 175, 176. And the rescripts of the Roman Pontiff, Innocent (A.D. 417), in the Epistles 181, 182. Ben. ed. note.

 

 

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Vatican on PA Grand Jury Report: ‘Condemns Abuses Unequivocally’, ‘Criminally, Morally Reprehensible,’ Church Wants to Listen to Victims ‘to Root Out Tragic Horror’ Destroying Lives of Innocent

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 7:37 AM

The Holy See ‘condemns unequivocally’ sexual abuse of minors … the Church is determined to listen to victims ‘to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent’ … Victims, the Pope is on your side…

This was at the heart of the Vatican’s August 16, 2018, response in the wake of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report that found 300 priests have engaged in abuse of more than 1,000 victims. The statement was issued by Vatican Press Office Director, Greg Burke, noted that faced with this crisis, two words come to mind: ‘sorrow’ and ‘shame.’

Burke stressed that “victims should know that the Pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent.

“The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced. The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.”

Burke said the abuses described in the grand jury report are both “criminal and morally reprehensible” and were “betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of the dignity and their faith.”  He said the Church must learn “hard lessons” from its past and called for accountability not only for abusers and for those who allowed the abuse to occur.

Noting that the grand jury report includes mostly cases from before the early 2000s, Burke suggested the reforms in the United States have reduced the incidence of abuse.  But he said reform must continue.

“The Holy See encourages continued reform and vigilance at all levels of the Catholic Church, to help ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults from harm,” the statement said. “The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.

“The Holy Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirit of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and in all of society.”

With Deborah Castellano Lubov

***

Greg Burke’s full statement:

Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow.

The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced.The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.

The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.

Most of the discussion in the report concerns abuses before the early 2000s. By finding almost no cases after 2002, the Grand Jury’s conclusions are consistent with previous studies showing that Catholic Church reforms in the United States drastically reduced the incidence of clergy child abuse. The Holy See encourages continued reform and vigilance at all levels of the Catholic Church, to help ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults from harm. The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.

The Holy Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirit of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and in all of society.

Victims should know that the Pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent.

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Letter to the Archdiocese of Denver on the Abuse Crisis, by Archbishop Aquila

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 7:32 AM

The following is a letter from Archbishop Aquila of Denver to his diocese. Published Aug. 13, 2018 it is from the site of the Archdiocese of Denver:

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Letter to the Archdiocese of Denver on the abuse crisis

At its root, this is a spiritual crisis that requires fidelity, reparation, and reliance on Christ for the grace and path to true, lasting freedom.

En Español

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This past week I was on my annual silent retreat and the accusations against Archbishop McCarrick were a part of my prayer. Faithful have written to me and have asked questions about the situation. Some have felt that the Lord has abandoned the Church. Other bishops have spoken out on this tragedy, and today I offer to you, the faithful of the archdiocese and my brother priests and deacons, the following reflections.

As noted by Cardinal DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, the revelations about Archbishop McCarrick have caused both bishops and the laity “anger, sadness, and shame.” Personally, I am deeply sorry that both laity and clergy have had to experience this type of betrayal. In response, I am asking every priest in the archdiocese to offer a Mass each month in reparation for the sins committed by cardinals, bishops, priests and deacons, and for all sins committed by clergy and lay people against the commandments of our Lord, as well as to pray for healing for the victims of sin. This Mass is to be announced publicly so the lay faithful can attend and offer prayers in reparation for these grave sins that have wounded so many and for their own sins.

The staff of the Archdiocese of Denver and I strive to make every effort to ensure that such things do not occur here. Our preventative measures include: background checks, safe environment classes, mandatory reporter training, creating a conduct response team that is primarily made up of lay people, an annual independent audit of our abuse reporting structures, having a laywoman (Christi Sullivan, 303-715-3241 or Christi.Sullivan@ArchDen.org) serve as the coordinator of our Safe Environment Office, which deals with all cases of any type of abuse against minors by clergy or laity, and providing psychological screening for candidates for the priesthood.

We also have a Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, Jim Langley, Psy.D., who can be contacted at 720-239-2832 or Victim.Assistance@ArchDen.org. If anyone in the archdiocese has an abuse situation concerning any member of the clergy or a lay employee of the archdiocese with a minor or the elderly, they may contact one of them. Both Bishop Rodriguez and I take these matters with the utmost seriousness.

During my retreat, my director encouraged me to pray with the calls of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Samuel. In praying with the call of Samuel, I was struck by the Lord’s words to Samuel concerning Eli. The Lord told Samuel to tell Eli, “…I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house from beginning to end. And I tell him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons were blaspheming, and he did not restrain them. (1 Samuel 3: 12-13, emphasis added). Too many seminarians, priests and bishops knew of Archbishop McCarrick’s behavior and did not restrain him.

Due to this, I call on the U.S. bishops’ conference to ask for and allow an independent investigation that includes members of the lay faithful and those clergy who had nothing to do with the matter. Since the oversight of bishops and cardinals falls under the jurisdiction of Rome, I humbly ask Pope Francis to conduct an independent investigation like he did in Chile.

Like Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, so have I wept for the Church and for the innocent victims. I remember when I visited Auschwitz for the first time in 1988. As I walked with horror in my heart over the palpable evil present, pondering how could human beings do this to other human beings, I heard in prayer, only Jesus Christ and he alone can redeem this evil. The same is true with the sexual abuse crisis of today, as well as with the emptying of our pews, and the abandonment of God by the world. So, what must we do?

We must recognize that complacency about evil and sin is present both in the Church and the world and has led us to where we are today. This culture of complacency among clergy and laity must come to an end!

We have also failed to recognize that the spiritual battle is real. Some say the Lord has forsaken the Church, but this is not true. Rather, there are some within the Church who have forsaken Jesus and the Gospel. Pope Francis speaks often in his homilies of the devil and his workings. The devil is real and pulls us away from the ways of Jesus and the love of the Father. The devil uses confusion, chaos, discouragement, and negative thinking to draw us away from Jesus. When one looks at salvation history one sees, beginning with Adam and Eve, moving through the Old and New Testaments, and down through the centuries to now, that it is human beings who abandon the ways of God. When the ways of God are abandoned, God lets human beings go their own way and there are always dire consequences.

Jesus tells his disciples in John 15 that “apart from me you can do nothing” and he further tells us that if we separate ourselves from the vine, Jesus, we will wither. Perhaps the reason for our empty pews, the sharp decline of the faith in Europe and the west, the decimation of many religious orders, and the sexual abuse crisis is that we are not attached to Jesus, the true vine. At the heart of this crisis today is a spiritual crisis that depends more on the solutions of men than on the Gospel and Jesus. The cost of discipleship is real and it includes dying to ourselves, a complete surrender to Jesus, who loves us and desires only our good and joy (Lk 9: 23-26; Lk 14: 25-35; Mt 16: 24; Jn 15:11).

Thus, our response to this complacency must be a return to the ways of God, which lays out the path of grace that preserves us from the real dangers of sin and the attacks of the evil one. The Father has given us his son Jesus, the Beatitudes, the Gospels, the truth, and his commandments out of love for us to keep us on the narrow way of love. He is merciful in all that he has given to us. Charity and truth must always go together. A disciple should never lead someone into sin or condone sin. Jesus never condoned sin! But rather taught that for the unrepentant, the consequence for doing so is hell (Mk 9:42, Lk 17: 1-4). Just as a parent provides boundaries for their children for their own good and protection, so has the Lord provided for us.

All of us within the Church, including the Holy Father, cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated and laypersons need to examine our consciences and ask ourselves: Do I truly know, love and serve the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? And do I follow the ways of Jesus or the ways of the world? In the formation of my conscience do I listen to the voice of God, the voice of the world, or my own voice, and do I test the voice I hear to make sure that it is in accord with the Gospel? Have I personally put my faith in Jesus Christ, and in this time of tribulation do I keep my eyes fixed on “Jesus the leader and perfecter of faith” (Heb 12: 2)? Do I know where I have come from; that God loves me and knew me before I was born (Ps 139)? Do I know where I am going, that I am created for eternal life and to know the Father, as Jesus knows him (Jn 8:14)? Do I truly believe that intimacy with Jesus can heal the wounds of my sins, weakness, or brokenness? And finally, as Jesus so frequently reminds his disciples in John 14 and 15, those who love him keep the commandments, just as he kept the Father’s commandments. Do I do that?

Pope Francis and every pope since Blessed Paul VI, has called us to a deeper encounter with Jesus Christ. This encounter leads to faith in Jesus Christ and a deep personal relationship with him, who in turn leads us to the Father and the Holy Spirit. His desire is for each disciple to be one with the Father and him. Once we put our faith in Jesus, love him and keep the commandments, then the Father and the Son will make their home in our hearts (Jn 14:23). Each one of us must pray for a deeper faith in Jesus each day, the faith that will move mountains (Mt 17:20) and make us into missionary disciples. With God “all things are possible,” (Mk 10:27) and that includes the forgiveness of our sins, the healing of our wounds, becoming a saint, and living a life of holiness and virtue, including chastity. And that brings me to another important aspect of this crisis.

Cardinal DiNardo noted in his statement that “the Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality” and it is not just the Church, it is the world. Sadly, too many, both clergy and lay, have listened more to the world than to Christ and the Church when it comes to human sexuality. The consequences of the worldly approach to sexuality are clear in the distortion of this precious gift and the confusion about sexuality that grows daily.

The teaching of the Church on human sexuality has been clear over the centuries, and St. John Paul II helped tremendously with his positive message about the Theology of the Body. Furthermore, those who have received the teaching of the Church and have been accompanied in a loving and merciful way, both young and old, have testified to the truth contained in this teaching, as well as the healing, freedom and joy it brings. This is observed in many of the young people whom I have encountered through the Fellowship of Catholic University Students program, those who have walked in the Neocatechumenal Way, those who have shared in Living Waters or Courage retreats, or participated in Sexaholics Anonymous. Their witness, joy and freedom are real, and it embraces the truth of who they are in the merciful eyes of the God. The God who heals and restores order.

Amidst the darkness of the sexual revolution and all that it has brought about, the Church must decisively return to the truth, dignity and beauty of human sexuality.

We must teach that every sexual act that takes place outside of a marriage between a man and woman, is not in keeping with God’s plan for our happiness. When one separates the procreative aspect from sex, one can justify just about any sexual act. As Blessed Paul VI noted in Humanae Vitae, this separation has had and will continue to have negative consequences on the Church and society.

We must also teach that, according to the Sacred Scripture and tradition, “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law and they “do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357).

We must also be sure to carefully form seminarians, as we have been doing in the archdiocese for quite some time. However, all seminaries need to devote special attention to the formation of our future priests and their education in chastity, so that they can develop an authentic maturity, and embrace celibacy for the Kingdom of God, respecting and fostering the nuptial meaning of their bodies (Pastores Dabo Vobis, 44). Chastity is a great good that needs to be lived!

The sexual revolution occurring in our culture, which essentially says, “Anything goes if adults consent to it,” is not the way of God and only leads to where we are today. We must be willing to accompany people into the truth of Jesus Christ who will set them free to live the virtues, which bring true freedom, peace and joy.

In closing, I ask all of us to remember to pray and stay close to the heart of Jesus, to ask for the humility of Jesus and the gift of loving others as Jesus loves (Jn 13:34). Every disciple must pray for the gift of faith and a deeper trust and confidence in Jesus, most especially in his healing power. We must pray for all victims of sexual abuse in our culture today, for their healing and their encounter with Jesus Christ, who can bring healing to them.

We must pray for the clergy of the Church, the Pope, cardinals, bishops, priests and deacons, that the Holy Spirit will stir into flame the gifts he has bestowed on them, help them to be faithful to Christ and the Gospel, and to be true servants of the faithful with the heart of Christ. We must pray for the Church, our Mother, that is holy, though having sinners in her midst, and suffers for the offenses of all her members.

Let us pray for the virtue of hope, so that we come to the awareness that we can do all things in Christ, who gives us the strength to be saints (Phil 4:13). Let us ask for the gift of piety, so that we truly behave as God’s children and reverence our own and each other’s bodies as temples of the Spirit. Let us beg for the grace to have pure hearts (Mt 5: 7).

Finally, as those who belong to Jesus, we must pray for our enemies and those who persecute us. We can never wish evil or seek vengeance on another (PV 24:29; Mt 5: 44-48; Col 3:13; Rom 12:19-21). Every human being is a sinner whom Jesus loves and is in need of the mercy of Jesus. Jesus forgave every human being from the Cross when he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” No matter how egregious the sin, the Lord is willing to forgive us if we “repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15). This forgiveness, like his love, must be received.  He reminds us to be merciful as his Father is merciful and that the Father loves both the just and unjust (Mt 5:44-48). In this time of darkness, may we put our faith, trust and love in Jesus who is our Savior and Redeemer, the one who will free us, and may we live in his truth and light!

With the love of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.L.

Archbishop of Denver

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Link to original post:  https://archden.org/letter-to-the-archdiocese-of-denver-on-the-abuse-crisis/

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Cardinal Dolan on the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 7:16 AM

The following is a reflection of Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, on the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. Published on Aug. 15, 2018, it is from Cardinal Dolan’s blog available on his website:

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Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

August 15, 2018

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Dear Member of the Family of the Archdiocese,

Yesterday’s report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury that investigated cases of the sexual abuse of minors committed by priests and deacons once again brought forward the pain and suffering of those who experienced that abuse, and the shameful way that those in positions of authority, including bishops, responded – or failed to respond – when informed of the abuse, and in many cases permitted it to continue and new victims to be harmed. I am sure that everyone, particularly victim-survivors and their families, but also the laity, good and faithful priests and deacons, and, yes, even bishops and cardinals, is feeling nauseous, hurt, and betrayed by the details contained in the report.

Although the report focused on six dioceses in Pennsylvania, we have thus far found three clerics from this archdiocese mentioned in the report. In case you have not seen the report itself, I wanted to share with you what the report contains, and let you know the status of each of these cases.

  1. Fr. James McLucas was alleged to have sexually abused a 14 year old girl. However, we have an affidavit from the woman involved who states that a sexual relationship did not begin until she was in her 20’s and in college. This does not excuse the behavior in any way, which is unquestionably and categorically wrong, but it is not a case of abuse of a minor. McLucas has not had an assignment since this came to our attention.
  2. Deacon James Rush was alleged to have had an inappropriate relationship with a 14 year old girl. He was ordained a deacon for the Archdiocese of New York in 1979, but has not served here since 2002. He has been living and working in the Diocese of Harrisburg since that time. The Diocese of Harrisburg determined that there was no sexual abuse, but that grooming had taken place. Rush was suspended canonically by the Diocese of Harrisburg in 2016, and the Diocese then alerted the Archdiocese of New York to the suspension. The archdiocese immediately suspended him as well.
  3. Ed Parrakow was a priest of this archdiocese who, in the 1980’s, was found to have committed multiple acts of abuse of minors. He was sent away for treatment, and then given an assignment in the Diocese of Greenburg, where he continued to abuse. As much as it pains us to admit it, this is clearly an example of the wrong way that these cases were handled in the past. Parrakow was eventually suspended, and then laicized.

While I have not had time to read the entire report, it clearly lays out the pain experienced by victim-survivors, pain which continues to this day, and the terribly wrong way that these incidents were usually handled by the Church in the past which contributed to their suffering. While it is true that the abuse of minors was badly handled by all segments of society, if there is one segment that should have done a better job, it is the Church. And while the Church in the past may have been an example of what not to do, today I believe it is a model of what to do to prevent sexual abuse, and how to respond when an accusation comes to light.

Although the situation in the Church is very different today, especially since the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, that does not mean that we can become complacent or think this is all behind us. We must continue to do all that we can to address the pain and suffering that victim-survivors continue to feel. That is the reason that the archdiocese instituted the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), as way to help bring a sense of healing for those who were harmed. We must also continue to be ever rigorous in performing background checks and safe environment training, so that, as much as possible, we can prevent abuse from happening again in the future.

I believe that the recent case involving Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, as gut-wrenching as it was, exemplifies the progress that has been made in dealing with such cases. When the Archdiocese of New York received the complaint, we followed our normal protocol as we would for any priest, and everyone involved – from the Vatican on down – agreed that we must deal with the case openly and honestly. It is hard to imagine that such would have been the case 30 years ago.

Let me close by not only offering an apology to those who were harmed by such abuse and the response they may have received when coming forward, but also my gratitude that they did come forward, especially those who testified before the grand jury, participated in our IRCP process, or otherwise made their voices heard. And I would invite other victim-survivors in this archdiocese to come forward, to notify law enforcement, and contact our victim assistance coordinator (victimsassistance@archny.org). I assure them that they will be met with respect, compassion, and understanding.

Our God can make good out of evil. He proved that most dramatically on that first Good Friday. It surely feels as if we are experiencing another Good Friday today. Fortunately, we know that the darkness of Good Friday did not have the last word, and that the light of Easter Sunday was not far behind.

Faithfully in Christ,

Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan

Archbishop of New York

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Link to Original Blog post: http://cardinaldolan.org/index.php/pennsylvania-grand-jury-report/

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Archbishop Carlson of St. Louis: To Confront Crisis, Background Checks, FBI Investigations, & Psychological Evaluations Entering Seminary

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 6:35 AM

Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, released the following statement regarding the recent sexual abuse findings:

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The recent allegations of sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults by Catholic clergy as revealed by a grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania are extremely disturbing. Priests are called to be spiritual fathers to their people, and bishops are called to be shepherds of their flock, to protect the people in their care. We know that in many cases that has not happened. The trust of the faithful has been violated.

We must act on behalf of the victims of this abuse in order to bring to them the love, healing, and light of Christ.

Our own Archdiocese of St. Louis has not escaped the scourge of clergy sexual abuse over the past few decades. Since 2002, the archdiocese has renewed its efforts and made every attempt to protect those who cannot protect themselves and to ensure that the light of Christ is present everywhere—especially where children or vulnerable people are present.

I pledge my continued commitment to the protection of children and young people. Our archdiocesan policy regarding the protection of children is stringent, thorough, and includes multiple points of accountability. All clergy, seminarians, employees, and volunteers whose service in the Church brings them into contact with children must have a regular background check. Since 2002, over 100,000 adults who are employed by or volunteer in our parishes and institutions have participated in the professionally developed program, “Protecting God’s Children.” The program equips those who serve the Church to foster a safe environment for our children and vulnerable adults.

In the fall of 2017, a former member of the FBI conducted a complete review of our child protection and Review Board policies and procedures. Our program was judged to be thorough and comprehensive.

Established in 2002, the Archdiocesan Review Board currently consists of a majority of lay members not employed by the archdiocese who review every allegation of clergy sexual abuse and provide me with advice concerning allegations. I have always followed the advice of this board. The board includes lay members with backgrounds in law enforcement, medical ethics, psychology, psychiatry, and a medical doctor whose expertise is in the diagnosis and treatment of juvenile sexual abuse.

Our seminary’s admission process involves a thorough psychological evaluation, which includes detailed knowledge of the man’s mental and psychological health. The seminary has two full-time lay psychologists to assist in human development, and each man meets regularly with an in-house spiritual director and formation advisor. In addition to all these points the faculty, administration, formation advisors, and psychologists gather three times a year to discuss the progress of each seminarian in every dimension of his formation, so that any potential problems can be identified and addressed.

Today no clergy against whom a substantiated claim of abuse of a minor has been made have permission to conduct priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I support and encourage anyone with an allegation to contact law enforcement.

The Church relies on the help of God’s grace to remain firm in Her resolve and effective in Her action to protect children and young people. I will be inviting the priests of the Archdiocese of St. Louis to join me in offering Masses for all victims of sexual abuse. I pray that we may always express the pure love of Christ particularly for children and the most vulnerable in our midst.

#CatholicSTL

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Cardinal Sean O’Malley: There Are Times When Words Fail Us…Clock Ticking for Change

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 6:02 AM

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, made the following statement on August 16, 2018. It was issued by the Archdiocese of Boston:

There are times when words fail us – when they do not capture the depth of overwhelming situations we sometimes face in life. For the Church in the United States this is one of those times.

The Pennsylvania Grand Jury’s report and the first-hand expressions of horror and devastating pain experienced by survivors once again wrench our hearts with the unimaginable that tragically is all too real for those who carry this pain. Once again we hear each excruciating word they share. We remain shamed by these egregious failures to protect children and those who are vulnerable and affirm our commitment that these failures will never be repeated.

While many perpetrators have been held accountable in one way or another for their crimes, we have yet to establish clear and transparent systems of accountability and consequence for Church leadership whose failures have allowed these crimes to occur. The Church must embrace spiritual conversion and demand legal transparency and pastoral accountability for all who carry out its mission. This transformation is not easily achieved, but in all aspects it is imperative. The way we prepare priests, the way we exercise pastoral leadership and the way we cooperate with civil authorities; all these have to be consistently better than has been the case. As I have stated previously, there are immediate actions that we can and must take. The clock is ticking for all of us in Church leadership, Catholics have lost patience with us and civil society has lost confidence in us. But I am not without hope and do not succumb to despondent acceptance that our failures cannot be corrected. As the Church we have the responsibility to help people not to lose hope, that was Jesus’ message to all those he ministered to, especially in times of great trial. There is too much good in the Church and in our faith to lose hope. Often it is survivors who courageously teach us we cannot lose hope.

Although “zero tolerance” of sexual abuse has been declared and pursued and programs of advocacy and protection of children have been adopted in dioceses throughout country, the memory, the record, the burden carried by survivors and every other fact of sexual abuse stay with the Church. We can never become complacent, this is a life-long ongoing work that demands the highest levels of our constant awareness and attention.

The crisis we face is the product of clerical sins and clerical failures. As a Church, the conversion, transparency and accountability we need is only possible with the significant involvement and leadership of lay men and women in our Church, individuals who can bring their competence, experience and skills to the task we face. We need the help of the laity to address this scourge on our people and Church. If the Church proceeds with deep recognition of these realities the future can hold the opportunity to earn back trust, confidence and support from the community of Catholics and our society. We must proceed quickly and with purpose; there is no time to waste.”

Archdiocese of Boston Office of Pastoral Support and Child Protection

To survivors in the Archdiocese of Boston who struggle to process their pain and whose wounds are opened especially wide with the reports from Pennsylvania, please know that Vivian Soper, Director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Pastoral Support and Child Protection and her colleagues stand ready to provide assistance, We encourage you to contact Vivian at 617-746-5985. To the survivors and their loved ones, we must again apologize and ask forgiveness. While much has been accomplished in the protection of children with the participation of the laity, there remains much more to be done. We are committed to the fulfillment of this responsibility as a continuing priority for the work of the Church.

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About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of 1.8 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 289 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 38,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach. Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit www.BostonCatholic.org.

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Vatican on PA Grand Jury Report: ‘Condemn Unequivocally’, Church Wants to Listen to Victims ‘to Root Out Tragic Horror’ Destroying Lives of Innocent

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 3:34 AM

The Holy See ‘condemns unequivocally’ sexual abuse of minors … the Church is determined to listen to victims ‘to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent’ … Victims, the Pope is on your side…

This was at the heart of the Vatican’s August 16, 2018, response in the wake of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report that found 300 priests have engaged in abuse of more than 1,000 victims. The statement was issued by Vatican Press Office Director, Greg Burke, noted that faced with this crisis, two words come to mind: ‘sorrow’ and ‘shame.’

Burke stressed that “victims should know that the Pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent.

“The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced. The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.”

Burke said the abuses described in the grand jury report are both “criminal and morally reprehensible” and were “betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of the dignity and their faith.”  He said the Church must learn “hard lessons” from its past and called for accountability not only for abusers and for those who allowed the abuse to occur.

Noting that the grand jury report includes mostly cases from before the early 2000s, Burke suggested the reforms in the United States have reduced the incidence of abuse.  But he said reform must continue.

“The Holy See encourages continued reform and vigilance at all levels of the Catholic Church, to help ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults from harm,” the statement said. “The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.

“The Holy Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirit of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and in all of society.”

With Deborah Castellano Lubov

***

Greg Burke’s full statement:

Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow.

The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced.The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.

The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.

Most of the discussion in the report concerns abuses before the early 2000s. By finding almost no cases after 2002, the Grand Jury’s conclusions are consistent with previous studies showing that Catholic Church reforms in the United States drastically reduced the incidence of clergy child abuse. The Holy See encourages continued reform and vigilance at all levels of the Catholic Church, to help ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults from harm. The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.

The Holy Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirt of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and in all of society.

Victims should know that the Pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent.

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US Bishops: Announce Plan to Address ‘Moral Catastrophe,’ Will Invite Vatican to Make ‘Apostolic Visitation’

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 2:29 AM
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is resolved to address what it calls the “moral catastrophe” described in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, according to an August 16, 2018 statement by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the USCCB. The statement came after a meeting of the USCCB executive committee, which established three goals in dealing with the crisis:  1) an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; (2) an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and (3) advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints. These goals will be pursued according to three criteria: proper independence, sufficient authority, and substantial leadership by laity. A more developed plan will be presented to the full body of bishops at their general assembly meeting in Baltimore in November.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

“Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Two weeks ago, I shared with you my sadness, anger, and shame over the recent revelations concerning Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Those sentiments continue and are deepened in light of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. We are faced with a spiritual crisis that requires not only spiritual conversion, but practical changes to avoid repeating the sins and failures of the past that are so evident in the recent report. Earlier this week, the USCCB Executive Committee met again and established an outline of these necessary changes.

The Executive Committee has established three goals: (1) an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; (2) an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and (3) advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints. These goals will be pursued according to three criteria: proper independence, sufficient authority, and substantial leadership by laity.

We have already begun to develop a concrete plan for accomplishing these goals, relying upon consultation with experts, laity, and clergy, as well as the Vatican. We will present this plan to the full body of bishops in our November meeting.  In addition, I will travel to Rome to present these goals and criteria to the Holy See, and to urge further concrete steps based on them.

The overarching goal in all of this is stronger protections against predators in the Church and anyone who would conceal them, protections that will hold bishops to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

Allow me to briefly elaborate on the goals and criteria that we have identified.

The first goal is a full investigation of questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick. These answers are necessary to prevent a recurrence, and so help to protect minors, seminarians, and others who are vulnerable in the future. We will therefore invite the Vatican to conduct an Apostolic Visitation to address these questions, in concert with a group of predominantly lay people identified for their expertise by members of the National Review Board and empowered to act.

The second goal is to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier. Our 2002 “Statement of Episcopal Commitment” does not make clear what avenue victims themselves should follow in reporting abuse or other sexual misconduct by bishops. We need to update this document.  We also need to develop and widely promote reliable third-party reporting mechanisms. Such tools already exist in many dioceses and in the public sector and we are already examining specific options.

The third goal is to advocate for better procedures to resolve complaints against bishops. For example, the canonical procedures that follow a complaint will be studied with an eye toward concrete proposals to make them more prompt, fair, and transparent and to specify what constraints may be imposed on bishops at each stage of that process.

We will pursue these goals according to three criteria.

The first criterion is genuine independence. Any mechanism for addressing any complaint against a bishop must be free from bias or undue influence by a bishop. Our structures must preclude bishops from deterring complaints against them, from hampering their investigation, or from skewing their resolution.

The second criterion relates to authority in the Church. Because only the Pope has authority to discipline or remove bishops, we will assure that our measures will both respect that authority and protect the vulnerable from the abuse of ecclesial power.

Our third criterion is substantial involvement of the laity. Lay people bring expertise in areas of investigation, law enforcement, psychology, and other relevant disciplines, and their presence reinforces our commitment to the first criterion of independence.

Finally, I apologize and humbly ask your forgiveness for what my brother bishops and I have done and failed to do. Whatever the details may turn out to be regarding Archbishop McCarrick or the many abuses in Pennsylvania (or anywhere else), we already know that one root cause is the failure of episcopal leadership. The result was that scores of beloved children of God were abandoned to face an abuse of power alone. This is a moral catastrophe. It is also part of this catastrophe that so many faithful priests who are pursuing holiness and serving with integrity are tainted by this failure.

We firmly resolve, with the help of God’s grace, never to repeat it. I have no illusions about the degree to which trust in the bishops has been damaged by these past sins and failures. It will take work to rebuild that trust. What I have outlined here is only the beginning; other steps will follow. I will keep you informed of our progress toward these goals.

Let me ask you to hold us to all of these resolutions. Let me also ask you to pray for us, that we will take this time to reflect, repent, and recommit ourselves to holiness of life and to conform our lives even more to Christ, the Good Shepherd.”

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Cardinal O’Malley No Longer Able to Go to Dublin for World Meeting of Families

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 10:15 AM

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, will no longer be able to go and partake in the World Meeting of Families in Dublin.

In a statement from the Archdiocese of Boston on Aug. 15, 2018, it was explained that the Cardinal cannot leave Boston for the encounter given his various responsibilities tied to his ordering an investigation of St. John Seminary in his city. In an Aug. 10 statement, the Cardinal stated the current rector will effectively be on ‘sabbatical’ until after the investigations are completed.

“Earlier this week,” his statement began, “I was informed that two former seminarians of St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston had posted allegations on social media sites including the Archdiocese’s Facebook page that during their time at the seminary they witnessed and experienced activities which are directly contrary to the moral standards and requirements of formation for the Catholic priesthood. ”

At this time, he stated he was not able to verify or disprove these allegations.

“As Archbishop of Boston, with responsibility for the integrity of the seminary and its compliance with the Church’s Program for Priestly Formation,” he continued, “I am committed to immediate action to address these serious matters and have made the following decisions regarding St. John’s Seminary: First, I have asked Msgr. James P. Moroney, Rector of St. John’s, to go on sabbatical leave for the Fall Semester, beginning immediately, in order that there can be a fully independent inquiry regarding these matters. Second, I have appointed Rev. Stephen E. Salocks, Professor of Sacred Scripture, to serve as Interim Rector at St. John’s.”

Cardinal O’Malley stressed that he directed this group “to proceed with due seriousness of their assignment and as soon as possible to submit to me the findings of the inquiry and a set of recommendations to assure appropriate standards of professional behavior in compliance with Church teaching at all levels of seminary life.” The faculty, staff and students at the seminary, he had noted, would be advised of his expectation that they will fully cooperate with the inquiry. “The allegations made this week are a source of serious concern to me as Archbishop of Boston. The ministry of the Catholic priesthood requires a foundation of trust with the people of the Church and the wider community in which our priests serve,” he said, concluding: “I am determined that all our seminaries meet that standard of trust and provide the formation necessary for priests to live a demanding vocation of service in our contemporary society. “ In the Aug. 15 statement on the World Meeting of Families, it was expressed: “The World Meeting of Families is a significant event in the life of the Church in Ireland and the occasion of Pope Francis’ first pastoral visit to that country. Cardinal O’Malley joins the universal Church in prayer for the success of this events and the Holy Father’s visit.” Below is the full text of the Archdiocese-provided statement:

***

Statement of Archdiocese of Boston Regarding

World Meeting of Families in Dublin 

BostonCatholic.org

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

“Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston and Chair of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children, unfortunately will not be able to participate in the World Meeting of Families to be held in Dublin, Ireland from August 21-26.

Though previously scheduled to moderate a panel presentation and discussion at the World Meeting of Families, important matters pertaining to the pastoral care of St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston and the seminarians enrolled in the formation program there require the Cardinal’s personal attention and presence.

Cardinal O’Malley has great confidence in Baroness Sheila Hollins, Ms. Marie Collins, Ms. Barbara Thorp and Gabriel Dy-Liacco, Ph.D., going forward with the World Meeting panel “Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults.” While the Cardinal will not be able to join them at that time he will closely follow the proceedings from the Archdiocese of Boston.

The World Meeting of Families is a significant event in the life of the Church in Ireland and the occasion of Pope Francis’ first pastoral visit to that country. Cardinal O’Malley joins the universal Church in prayer for the success of this events and the Holy Father’s visit.”

***

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of 1.8 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 286 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 36,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach.  Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit  www.BostonCatholic.org

 

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Venezuelan Bishops Warn about the Deterioration of Justice in the Country

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 10:02 AM

The following is the press release issued on August 13, 2018, by the Presidency of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (VEC), regarding the deterioration of justice in the country.

* * *

  1. The Country is going through a very delicate situation: there is a desire to establish a spiral of violence and the breaking of Justice is promoted, particularly when all that has to do with it is going beyond the control of the laws and of legal procedures, to be framed in arbitrariness that leads to the physical persecution, intimidation and disregard of the State of Law. As a people, we must affirm that violence, no matter where it comes from, carried out on persons, institutions or the people themselves, must be rejected in all its manifestations. With peace we achieve everything, with violence destruction.
  2. Last week the VEC’s Justice and Peace Commission affirmed: the apprehensions of parliamentarians, functionaries or citizens based on allegations or presumptions of criminal responsibility, do not entail arbitrary detentions, cruel or inhuman treatment, tortures or forced disappearances, suppositions that in any event attempt against the physical and psychic integrity of Venezuelans.”
  3. We must remind that in a State of Law, one who is deprived of his freedom is entitled to rights that refer to different spheres (rights regarding physical and psychological integrity, family and social relations, moral integrity, etc.). Hence, this excludes not only all sorts of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, but the conditions of reclusion themselves in a situation of isolation, the total impossibility of communication and the lack of contact with other human beings, which in most cases cause grave psychic and physical sufferings to one deprived of freedom. The dignity of a person and his inherent fundamental rights can never be denied. This is the ultimate essence of justice, which implies fundamentally recognizing that every person — regardless of his origin and condition, race, thought and behaviour –, by the fact of being a person, has the same fundamental dignity.
  4. Sadly those in the country who feel they have power are using the only weapon of which they have no right: repressive violence. They are violating laws, articulated in the National Constitution and Human Rights, to exercise it. Arbitrary persecution, subjection and prosecution is the component that is being observed, while there is a multitude of people asking for food, medications, electric light, public transport, gas, worthy salaries, <and> a stop to inflation. However, none of this is happening; on the contrary, there is a desire to exercise social control and to promote a stop to dissidence.
  5. Despite all this painful reality, we cannot succumb either as citizens with rights  or as a society seeking well-being. The civic protest, the communal organization, the unity as people, the legitimate claim for the good functioning of the public services that belong to the people, are actions that are advancing. Therefore, we must continue to foment reconciliation and peace, the search for truth and a spiritual discernment that will enable us to assess all information and events that can occur in the country. The task of all is to seek the truth.
  6. We exhort the State’s security organizations to change their attitude, to understand that we are living moments of great sacrifices and sufferings of our people, their families and their children. Do not repress but, rather, accompany these people who have no other alternative than to seek to be heard in their needs.

May Mary Most Holy, Virgin of reconciliation and peace, look after our people.

Caracas, August 13, 2018

With our blessing.

+Monsignor Jose Luis Azuaje Ayala

Archbishop of Maracaibo, President of VEC

+ Monsignor Mario Moronta Rodriguez

Bishop of San Cristobal, 1st Vice-President of VEC

+Monsignor Raul Biord Castillo

Bishop of La Guaira, 2nd Vice-President of VEC

+ Monsignor Jose Trinidad Fernandez Angulo

Auxiliary Bishop of Caracas, Secretary General of VEC

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Young People of Poland, You Are “Born for Greater Things!”

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 9:53 AM

“Be courageous! The world needs your independence of mind, your confident regard of the future, your thirst for truth, goodness and beauty,” said Pope Francis to Poland’s young people.

The Holy Father addressed a Message to Bishop Piotr Libera of Plock, Poland, on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the death of Saint Stanislaus Kostka (1550-1568), a Jesuit novice. The anniversary coincides today with the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“May Saint Stanislaus teach you not to be afraid of risk or dreams of true happiness, whose source and guarantee is Jesus Christ,” wrote the Pope, quoting his address at Krakow for the 2016 World Youth Day. “Jesus is the Lord of risk, He is the Lord of the ever ‘further.’ [. . . ] He wants your hands to continue to build today’s world. He wants to build with you.”

The Pontiff gave young people the program of the young Polish Saint’s motto: “From Heaven, may Saint Stanislaus inspire you and his motto inspire you: ‘Ad maiora natus sum’ – ‘I was born for greater things.’”

Born into a great Polish family in 1550 at Rostkow, Stanislaus devoted himself  to classical studies at Vienna beginning in 1564. Invited by the Virgin to enter the Society of Jesus, in order to prevent his father’s opposition, he fled from his home in 1567, walking all over Germany.

Arriving in Rome, he was admitted to the noviciate by Saint Francis Borgia. He died there on August 15, 1568, having reached a high degree of holiness. Benedict XIII canonized him in 1726.

Here is a Zenit translation of the Message the Holy See published in Polish and Italian on August 15.

* * *

Pope Francis’ Message

To My Dear Brother

Monsignor Piotr Libera

Bishop of Plock

Today, on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the 450th anniversary of the death of Saint Stanislaus Kostka. At the age of only 18 years, due to a grave illness, this student of the Jesuit noviciate in Rome, and one of the most excellent sons of your country and of the Society of Jesus, ended his earthly pilgrimage. It’s the reason why, on commemorating his entrance into the glory of the Lord, I unite myself to the thanksgiving prayer of the faithful of the diocese of Plock and of the whole Church of Poland, which will soon witness the main celebrations of the year dedicated to him at Rostkowo, the Saint’s birthplace.

I take this occasion and would like first of all to address myself to the young people, of whom Saint Stanislaus is the Patron. I wish to recall the phrase that Saint John Paul II pronounced in the church of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, when he venerated his relics. “The itinerary of his short life, which began at Rostkowo of Mazowsze, passing by Vienna up to Rome, can be compared to a great country race towards the objective of the life of every Christian, which is holiness” (November 13, 1988).

Dear young friends, I know that many among you will undertake, in September, the pilgrimage on foot from Przasnysz to Rostkowo, from the place of his Baptism to his birthplace. It is, so to speak, the first stage of Stanislaus’ race to sanctity. I encourage you to remember, not only during this march, but on all the paths of your daily life, that you are also capable of undertaking this “race.” You too are pushed by the love of Christ and strengthened by His grace. Be courageous! The world needs your independent mind, your confident regard of the future  <and> your thirst for truth, goodness and beauty.

May Saint Stanislaus teach you to seek always first of all friendship with Jesus, to read and meditate His word and to welcome in His Eucharist, His merciful and powerful presence, to resist the conditioning of the worldly mentality.

May Saint Stanislaus teach you not to be afraid of risk or of dreams of true happiness, whose source and guarantee is Jesus Christ. ”Jesus is the Lord of risk, He is the Lord of the always ‘further.’ [. . . ] He wants your hands to continue to build today’s world. He wants to build with you” (Cf. Address at the WYD Vigil, Krakow, July 30, 2016).

From Heaven, may Saint Stanislaus inspire you, and his motto inspire you: “Ad maiora natus sum” – “I was born for greater things.”

Dear Brother, by the intercession of Saint Stanislaus, I invoke the divine protection on you, on all the Bishops and priests, on the faithful and especially on the young people of the Church of Poland. I ask you to pray for me and I give you my heartfelt blessing, in the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

From the Vatican, August 15, 2018

FRANCIS

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Archbishop Auza: Take Into Account People’s Needs, Preserve ‘Irreplaceable’ Ocean Floor

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 9:48 AM

The Vatican’s Permanent Observer at the UN postulated several principles that should help create a regulatory structure. These regulations should take into account people’s needs and preserve, as well, the ocean floor, which is “irreplaceable.”

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and the Holy See’s Permanent Observer at the UN, took part in the 24th Session of the International Assembly of Ocean Floors, held on July 24, 2018, in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.

Archbishop Auza stressed in the Assembly that there are several questions and interests involved in the mining of the ocean floor. However, above all “It’s crucial to remember that people are at the center of our decisions and actions when we formulate regulations … Good law flows from putting people above short-term profits,” said the Prelate.

There are, inevitably, people that will be directly and immediately impacted by the mining of the ocean floors. Therefore, the Archbishop said it was imperative that these people take part in the decisions related to the regulatory structure. “These people must take part actively so that their interests are taken duly into account,” said the Archbishop.

The Holy See’s Permanent Observer reminded the Assembly that the great majority of mining activities occur in a commercial context. These contexts are “areas outside the national jurisdiction.” To create an effective regulatory structure, the regulatory authorities “must invite these entities to talk,” stressed Archbishop Auza.

“To include trading companies should not impede the Authority from examining the industrial process from beginning to end . . . but help to minimize the harmful consequences and reduce the risks and the inherent consequences of mining,” he noted.

By way of concluding his comments, Archbishop Auza reminded the Assembly that its objective is “to seek a more effective long-term sustainable management of the resources and the safety of people and the environment.”

As Pope Francis points out, balancing the needs of different groups and interests through an open dialogue will help to create a stronger regulatory structure, which works for “global common goods.”

 

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US Bishops Respond to Pennsylvania Abuse Report

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 4:49 AM

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is hosting a series of meetings this week responding to the broader issue of safe environments within the Church. An update will be offered upon their conclusion, the USCCB announced on August 14, 2018.

In response to the August 14, 2018,  Pennsylvania grand jury report, Cardinal DiNardo joins Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette in Indiana, in issuing the following joint statement. Bishop Doherty is Chairman for the USCCB’s Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The full statement follows:

The report of the Pennsylvania grand jury again illustrates the pain of those who have been victims of the crime of sexual abuse by individual members of our clergy, and by those who shielded abusers and so facilitated an evil that continued for years or even decades. We are grateful for the courage of the people who aided the investigation by sharing their personal stories of abuse. As a body of bishops, we are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops.

We are profoundly saddened each time we hear about the harm caused as a result of abuse, at the hands of a clergyman of any rank. The USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and the office of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection will continue to offer avenues to healing for those who have been abused. We are committed to work in determined ways so that such abuse cannot happen.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report covers a span of more than 70 years. In 2002 the U.S. Catholic bishops adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which commits us to respond promptly and compassionately to victims, report the abuse of minors, remove offenders and take ongoing action to prevent abuse. This Charter was revised and updated in 2011 and again in 2018. We pledge to maintain transparency and to provide for the permanent removal of offenders from ministry and to maintain safe environments for everyone.  All policies and procedures regarding training and background check requirements are made publicly available by dioceses and eparchies.

We pray that all survivors of sexual abuse find healing, comfort, and strength in God’s loving presence as the Church pledges to continue to restore trust through accompaniment, communion, accountability, and justice.

Other Statements in Response to the Pennsylvania Report 

Diocese of Scranton

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Diocese of Greensburg

Diocese of Erie

Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown

Diocese of Allentown

Diocese of Harrisburg

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Ireland: Twitter Creates Special Emoji for Papal Visit

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 2:19 AM

The Pope will be welcomed to Ireland in many ways and participants in the World Meeting of Families have many ways to get information and stay connected.  Twitter has created a special emoji for the visit.

This unique emoji can be triggered using a number of hashtags including #PápaInÉirinn,(Irish) #WMOF2018 and #FestivalOfFamilies.

Quoted in Vatican News, Brenda Drumm, media & communications manager for the World Meeting of Families 2018, said, “This pope emoji is a wonderful way to connect the conversation on Twitter about Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland for our global gathering of families at WMOF2018.”

Karen White, Twitters’ Director of Public Policy for Europe, said: “The visit of Pope Francis is one of the biggest events happening in Ireland this year and naturally many people will be using Twitter to discuss his time here.”

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Pope Mourns Victims of Genoa Bridge Collapse

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 8:26 AM

Pope Francis is mourning and praying for the victims of the bridge collapse in the northern Italian port city of Genoa that took place Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

“I’m thinking in particular of all those that were tried and whose lives were lost in the tragedy that happened yesterday in Genoa,” the Pope said, after reciting the Angelus today, August 15, 2018, to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square on the occasion of the Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary.

The Morandi Bridge collapsed yesterday causing some 40 vehicles to fall 45 meters (148 feet). The cause for the collapse–which has, according to the death toll this morning, so far claimed 39 lives, including three children–is still under investigation.

“While I entrust to God’s mercy the persons that lost their life, I express my spiritual closeness to their families, to the wounded, to the displaced and to all those that suffer as a result of this tragic event.”

Invite the faithful to join him in prayer for the victims and their dear ones, the Holy Father called on those present to recite together with him the Hail Mary.

 

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ANGELUS: On the Feast of the Assumption

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 7:29 AM

Below is a translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after the recitation of the Angelus prayer today at noon to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Feast of the of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

* * *

Before the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In today’s Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the holy faithful people of God express with joy their veneration of the Virgin Mother. They do so in the common liturgy and also in a thousand different ways of piety; and thus, the prophecy of Mary herself comes true: “All generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48), because the Lord has regarded His humble handmaid.

The Assumption into Heaven, in soul and body, is a divine privilege accorded to the Holy Mother of God because of her particular union with Jesus. It’s a corporal and spiritual union, which began with the Annunciation and matured throughout Mary’s life, through her singular participation in her Son’s mystery. Mary always went with her Son: she went behind Jesus, and so we say she was His first disciple.

Our Lady’s existence unfolded as that of any woman of her time: she prayed, managed the family and the home, went to the Synagogue . . . However, she did every daily action in total union with Jesus. And this union reached its apex on Calvary in love, in compassion and in the suffering of the heart. Therefore, God gave her full participation in Jesus’ Resurrection. The Holy Mother’s body, as that of the Son, was preserved from corruption.

The Church invites us today to contemplate this mystery: it shows us that God wills to save the whole man, namely, save his soul and body. Jesus resurrected with the body He assumed of Mary, and He ascended to the Father with His transfigured humanity. With the body, a body like ours, but transfigured. The Assumption of Mary, human creature, confirms to us what our glorious destiny will be. The Greek philosophers had already understood that man’s soul is destined for happiness after death. However, they disdained the body — considered the soul’s prison — and they didn’t conceive that God had disposed that man’s body be united to the soul in the celestial beatitude.  Our body, transfigured, will be there. This — the “resurrection of the flesh” — is an element proper of Christian revelation, a pivot of our faith.

The stupendous reality of Mary’s Assumption manifests and confirms the unity of the human person, and it reminds us that we are called to serve and glorify God with all our being, soul and body. To serve God only with the body would be an action of slaves; to serve God only with the soul would be against our human nature. Around the year 220, Saint Irenaeus, a great Father of the Church, affirmed that “the glory of God is man fully alive, and man’s life consists in the vision of God” (Against the Heresies, IV, 20, 7). If we have lived thus, in the joyful service of God, which is also expressed in generous service to brothers, on the day of the resurrection our destiny will be similar to that of our heavenly Mother. Given then will be the full realization of the Apostle Paul’s exhortation: “Glorify God in your body!” (1 Corinthians 6:20), and we will glorify Him forever in Heaven.

Let us pray to Mary that, with her maternal intercession, she may help us to live our daily journey in the active hope of being able one day to reach her, with all the Saints and our dear ones — all in Paradise.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

After the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

To Mary Consoler of the afflicted, whom we contemplate today in the glory of Paradise, I would like to entrust the anxieties and torments of those that, in so many parts of the world, suffer in body and in spirit. May our celestial Mother obtain for all comfort, courage and serenity.

I’m thinking in particular of all those that were tried by the tragedy that happened yesterday in Genoa, which caused victims and loss in the population. While I entrust to God’s mercy the persons that lost their life, I express my spiritual closeness to their families, to the wounded, to the displaced and to all those that suffer as a result of this tragic event. I invite you to join me in prayer for the victims and their dear ones. Let us recite together the Hail Mary.

I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from different countries! I thank you for your presence and I wish you a happy feast of Our Lady’s Assumption. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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Pope Names New Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretary of State

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 7:19 AM

Pope Francis on August 15, 2018, appointed Msgr. Edgar Peña Parra, Titular Archbishop of Telepte, until now Apostolic Nuncio in Mozambique, as Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretary of State.

This appointment was announced in a bulletin this morning, noting this will go into effect on October 15.

Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, on March 6, 1960. With the presbyteral ordination, which took place on August 23, 1985, he was incardinated in the Diocese of Maracaibo. Having graduated in Canon Law, he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See on April 1, 1993, and subsequently worked diplomatically for the Holy See in Kenya, Yugoslavia, the United Nations Office in Geneva, and the Apostolic Nunciatures in South Africa, Honduras and Mexico. Appointed titular Archbishop of Telepte on January 8, 2011, he received episcopal ordination on February 5, 2011, holding the office of Apostolic Nuncio in Pakistan from 2001 to 2014 and Apostolic Nuncio in Mozambique from February 21, 2015.

He knows Spanish, Italian, English, French, Portuguese and Serbo-Croatian.

The Venezuelan archbishop succeeds Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, who had been serving as the Substitute. Pope Francis on May 26, 2018, appointed Becciu, who was among the newly-created cardinals at the June 29 consistory, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

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Pennsylvania: Court Releases Report on Abuse in Six Dioceses

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 5:45 AM

The much-anticipated grand jury report on clerical abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses was released August 14, 2018.

The document – more than 1,350 pages long – cites credible accusations of abuse against more than 300 priests, with more than 1,000 victims involved. The study took two years and was overseen by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

“The cover-up was sophisticated. And all the while, shockingly, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the cover-up. These documents, from the dioceses’ own ‘Secret Archives,’ formed the backbone of this investigation,” he said at a news conference in Harrisburg, according to Associated Press.

“Most of the victims were boys, but there were girls too. Some were teens; many were prepubescent. Some were manipulated with alcohol or pornography,” the report said. “… all of them were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all.”

The report continued: “We know that the bulk of the discussion in this report concerns events that occurred before the early 2000’s. That is simply because the bulk of the material we received from the dioceses concerned those events. The information in these documents was previously kept hidden from those whom it most affected. It is exposed now only because of the existence of this grand jury.

“That historical record is highly important, for present and future purposes. The thousands of victims of clergy child sex abuse in Pennsylvania deserve an accounting, to use as best they can to try to move on with their lives. And the citizens of Pennsylvania deserve an accounting as well, to help determine how best to make appropriate improvements in the law.

“At the same time, we recognize that much has changed over the last fifteen years. We agreed to hear from each of the six dioceses we investigated so that they could inform us about recent developments in their jurisdictions. In response, five of the bishops submitted statements to us, and the sixth, the bishop of Erie, appeared before us in person. His testimony impressed us as forthright and heartfelt. It appears that the church is now advising law enforcement of abuse reports more promptly. Internal review processes have been established. Victims are no longer
quite so invisible.”

The grand jury made the following specific recommendations:

  1. Eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children.
  2. Create a two-year “civil window” for child sex abuse victims who couldn’t file lawsuits
    before.
  3. Clarify the penalties for a continuing failure to report child abuse.
  4. Prohibit “non -disclosure” agreements regarding cooperation with law enforcement.

Read the Full Report Here

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Australia: Archbishop Wilson Will Serve Sentence in House Arrest

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 4:45 AM

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide on August 14, 2018, was assigned by Newcastle Magistrate Robert Stone, to one year of house arrest. He will serve the sentence in his sister’s home, wear a tracking device, and not be eligible for parole for six months.

Pope Francis on July 30, 2018, accepted the resignation of the archbishop. The archbishop was convicted in May of covering up abuses by Fr. James Fletcher in the 1970s. On July 2, 2018, the archbishop was sentenced to a jail term of 12 months.

Two altar boys, 10 and 11 at the time of the incidents, said they told the archbishop that Fr. Fletcher had abused them, but he did nothing.  Fr. Fletcher was convicted of abuse in 2004 and died in prison in 2016.

With his resignation, Archbishop Wilson became the highest-ranking Catholic cleric to resign for his role in hiding abuse.  The archbishop is 67, and suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, said during his trial that he had no recollection of the cases. Ironically, when  Wilson was bishop of the Diocese of Wollongong, he gained a reputation as a “healing bishop” for handling child-abuse scandals.

Archbishop Wilson grew up in Cessnock, in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales and served as a priest in nearby Maitland.

He was ordained a bishop in 1996 when he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Bishop of Wollongong. Five years later, he became the eighth Archbishop of Adelaide after Archbishop Leonard Faulkner retired.

In 2006, Archbishop Wilson was made President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, was re-elected in 2008 and also served a further two-year term concluding in 2012.

In 2012 he was elected Vice-President of ACBC and also elected Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Justice Ecology and Development.

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