Sunday, April 29, 2007

An Focal Scóir - April 2007

April began with Palm Sunday which signified the beginning of Holy Week and the lead into Easter. The month opened with a reflection and coverage of the Papal liturgy in the Vatican with Il Papa presiding.

The whole issue of CSA reared its head again when the diocese of San Diego named clergy guilty of abuse, with a student of a facility where abused received $41 million in damages and then a RC was told that they cannot withhold their church tax as a form of protest at RC Church abuse.

In Poland, the new Archbishop was installed in Warsaw, only for the same country start tearing itself apart over new laws requiring citizens disclose any links they may have had with the secret police or face loss of job. Then the papal number 2 in the Vatican decided to condemn the media and its coverage of the RC Church CSA scandal over the last few years...and then th most prolific media friendly pope of all time is remembered on the 2nd Anniversary of his death with the news that John Paul II is close to sainthood.

The UN advances the rights of the homosexual, Pope Pius XII has helped Jews flee Holocaust, a question as to Canterbury capitulating to the Pope, but Millingo is in Brazil and is not by any means capitulating to the Pope, with the making public of the list of requirements as issued by the Irish Nuncio in seeking a new bishop for Down and Connor diocese.

A full tribute as requested and guided by my bloggies was posted during Holy Week 2007 in memoriam of the late Pope, a wrongly accused boy freed, Mexico legalising abortion gets closer, while a bishop compares gay rights to incest, and other bishops oppose giving adequate time to CSA victims prepare legal action against RC Church.

Gadaffi goes religious, Mugabe gets blasted by RC clerics, Russian compendium of cathechism published, questions over Egan retirement, Cardinal blasts suicide Bill, and the mother of a son of CSA is remembered at her funeral.

Flagellation, raping and murdering priest, bishop with memory loss at CSA case, Anglicanism not in hurry to Rome, Latin Mass on way back, Williams must face homophobia in Anglican Church, Solomon Islands suffer in cyclone, Spanish priests refuse to leave their parish, Coca Cola forces closure of Easter film, time for women RC priests, bishop who claimed gays were incestuous under police protection.

Papal and Patriarch meet, Anglican Church not equal towards women, pope book due, new camerlengo appointed in Vatican, bishops worried about living wills, Australian chocolate Jesus, Joan of Arc not found, Il Papa wants theologians to keep asking questions, 2 Australian priests killed in accident, clergy take risks with their jobs, encyclical that upset Hitler, Pope Joan gets Goodman sued, and into Easter Triduum.

Modern day slavery, Il Papa washes feet, lesbian couple denied communion, conservative stamp by Il Papa on his papacy, encourages priests in their roles, and then Easter Sunday.

Iraq slaughter lamented, Urbi et Orbi message, cardinal slips, pope wrote seeking sailors releases, Vatican then threatens to sue Indymedia, RC Church warned not to interfere in Ukranian politics, cardinals go green, RC Church weakened by CSA allegations, diocese of Down and Connor (anglican) unhappy at no bishop selection.

Anglican Primate in USA does u-turn on same sex rights and beliefs, sex claims in murder trial, G8 another failure, Judas story told, Saint making factory in Vatican in full swing, Archbishop condemns gangland murder in Dublin, Ireland loses Saints & Scholars reputation, Il Papa puts foot in it with Iraq, yet his failure to assist CSA victims becomes public knowledge, and Diocese of Dublin now facing 100+ clerical abuse claims minimum.

Zimbabwe bishop calls for uprising, whilst another defies Vatican teaching on condoms, Mass in jail causes a problem, abortion debate in Brazil, RC Church in Switzerland criticised, papal message for China nearly ready, whilst 2 priests are imprisoned and thousands are baptised, Portugal permits abortion.

Fashionasta pope, Spanish church faces turmoil, Latin Mass again, prostitution, debate in Thailand over religion, real Da Vinci Code revealed, womens rights and wrongs, Anglican church is 'cool', more nuns on the run with priceless icons, papal 80th birthday.

Warning to brides, 5 million free condoms in NYC, unmanly church leaders, Vatican fears gay marriage in Italy, Il Papa -v- Kung round 2, trouble between Vatican and Israel over Pius XII, priest jailed for cocaine possession, papal novel published, 1960's to blame for CSA claims cardinal, Brazil to get own saint, women called to priesthood, sisters back in fashion, no more shortcuts to canonisation of late pope, Polish witchhunt continues, Vatican snubs Israel, but it is resolved to permit envoy attend ceremony.

This second half of April opens with the papal birthday celebrations, opposition to a mosque,German RC Church gets more money but no thanks to Il Papa, protestant church tries to rebrand religion, Eamon Casey tells his story, church returned to Czech state, World Bank deletes contraception.

Anglican Church discusses sex, increase in Irish marital breakdown, Pope meets Curia leaders, woman raped for reading Bible, Irish bishop gets in on land sales, bishop missing in China, disconnected catholics consultation, papal infallibility in pope book, Virginia Tech massacre.

Right wing pope, crowds up to see pope, fisticuff nuns (again), Archbishop turbulence in Zimbabwe, RC-Jewish dialogue in Israel, new Anglican bishop in Down and Connor, gay rights difficulties in Anglican church, bible publishers killed in Turkey, invite to UN of pope, beheaded Christian in Kashmir, womens ordination.

Dissenters saint, papal global agenda, Irish bank assists in CSA payout in USA, RC official in piracy arrest, Christianity on decline in NZ, Christians fearful in Turkey, Chinese bishop dies, limbo now gone.

80th birthday for Eamon Casey, praying pointless says Aussie priest, priestly purveyor of porn, anti-semitism in Israel, Il Papa gets new shoes, women likely to become Canadian Anglican Primate, Lutherans likely to also elect female, Mexico bomb threats, protests and excommunication.

Church collusion in Croatia, new Galway parish created, Latin Mass documnet on way (yawn), Anglican bishops support Mugabe, dioceses prepare for loss of clergy, death of Yelstin, Iraqi Christians under threat, Scottish bishop attacks Government, Vatican calls gay marriage evil and abortion terrorism, 2nd warning to bridesmaids, gospel of Judas not endorsed by Vatican.

Abortion legalised in Mexico, bias battle by RC teachers, Church of Scotland admits homophobia, UK vocations on rise, mutual recognition of baptisms by German churches, synod called for next year, Il Papa visit to Mexico, Polish says gays bad for society.

Curial changes imminent, Il Papa the latin lover, Irish paedophile priest loose in Ireland, Archbishop of Dublin on the move, Casey birthday cancelled, Vocations Sunday, Anglican Church apologises for CSA, Church of Ireland Synod to begin in May, examining CSA and finish with a memoriam for those who died in Virginia Tech....
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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Examining Church Sex Abuse (Contribution)

David Hoehne still fights an emotional and spiritual battle 27 years after he was sexually abused by the priest of his Catholic parish.

Hoehne was 12 when it happened. He remembers that the headboard of the bed where the abuse occurred was against the western wall.

The comforter on the bed was white. He remembers where he sat, where his molester stood, where the abuser's hand went.

"These memories never leave or fade away," the 39-year-old Akron man told about 150 people on Saturday at a sexual abuse conference at Xavier University's Cintas Center.

Issues surrounding the church's sex-abuse crisis won't go away, either. That was a key message of the daylong conference, titled "A Gathering for Justice: Sexual Abuse, Secrecy and Healing." It was presented by the Cincinnati chapter of Voice of the Faithful, a national organization formed in response to the clergy sex-abuse scandals.

"It's not just a Catholic issue," said Christi Eisenberg, chairwoman of Cincinnati Voice of the Faithful. "We want all of society to be aware of (sexual abuse) and do something about it."

David Hoehne, his wife, Brenda, and his parents, Larry and Ginny Hoehne, all spoke.

But David's talk was particularly emotional.

As a result of the abuse, "I lost my religion. I lost my faith in God," he said. His first marriage lasted only a year.

Hoehne said he was abused in a rectory of a parish in west-central Ohio, where his parents still live. He didn't muster the courage to tell them until 15 years later.

"The thought that a man of God, someone we trusted above all men on this planet, would hurt my child was almost more than my mind could grasp," Ginny Hoehne said.

The priest admitted the abuse in 2002 and was permanently removed from priestly ministry by the Vatican, according to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Hoehne sued the priest, but the case was dismissed.

Hoehne had filed the suit after the statute of limitations had expired.

Saturday's conference came two weeks after a report was released on the Roman Catholic Church's child protection reforms. It said the number of clergy sex-abuse claims received by the nation's Catholic bishops and religious orders has dropped.

There were 1,092 abuse claims in 2004, 783 in 2005 and 714 in 2006. The vast majority of the allegations date back decades. The survey, which included nearly all 195 U.S. dioceses and non-geographic districts, was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati says there were 23 abuse allegations brought forward in 2004; 44 in 2005; and two in 2006.

The Hoehnes want people to know that the anguish of abuse, for them and for many others, continues.

Ginny Hoehne said that "for us, justice does not mean a monetary settlement, although I believe all victims are deserving of that. Rather, for us, justice comes in the form of accountability, truthfulness, openness and financial transparency from the bishops, cardinals and pope."

Hoehne and other conference speakers said church leaders have been slow to deal with abusers and make changes to safeguard children. She criticized church officials for lobbying against a provision in an Ohio Senate bill last year that would have allowed victims of sexual abuse to sue their abusers up to 35 years after the offense.

Church officials said it made little sense to reopen decades-old cases that would be difficult to prove. The provision was dropped from the bill.

Thomas Doyle, a Dominican priest from Virginia and one of the conference's keynote speakers, said policy changes that Catholic bishops have made have come about only because of pressure from courts, legislatures and the news media.

Doyle, co-author of "Sex, Priests and Secret Codes," also criticized the lack of pastoral outreach to victims. "A letter that says, 'We're sorry this happened' does nothing but insult (people)."

Reached at home, Dan Andriacco, the spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, said: "Archbishop (Daniel) Pilarczyk on many occasions has met with victims who are willing to meet with him. I don't think we can ever do enough."

One positive thing that's come from the sex-abuse crisis, Doyle said, is that people are discovering they don't need to rely on an institution; rather, "the reality (is) that the kingdom of Christ is within (each of) us."

David Hoehne discovered that. In the years after being abused, he drifted further from God. But he eventually met Brenda, his second wife. He's now a stepfather of three.

"Although I am no longer Catholic," he said, "it has been with (my family's) love and support that I have been able to begin my journey back to God."

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Partial-Birth Bigotry (Contribution)

Almost 50 years ago, a young presidential candidate named John F. Kennedy declared, "I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me."

Americans put aside worries about his Catholic faith and elected him to our nation's highest office.

But for many liberals today, what's good enough for a Kennedy in the White House isn't good enough for a Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

Earlier this month Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the 5-4 majority opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart upholding the 2003 Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, which prohibits an abortion procedure that partially delivers a living fetus and then kills it.

Liberal critics just can't believe that a majority of Americans find this procedure immoral. Nor can they understand why many think the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade is muddle-headed and misguided for conjuring a woman's right to abortion out of a constitutional guarantee of "due process."

Nor do they appreciate that many think the Supreme Court has usurped the democratic process by choosing to decide the correct balance between the rights of a pregnant woman and an unborn child.

Instead, pro-choice liberals resort to the claim that the decision in Carhart must come not from reason, but from the justices' personal religious beliefs. Geoffrey Stone, former dean of the University of Chicago Law School, claims the justices upheld the ban because they're Catholic.

"It is too obvious, and too telling, to ignore," he writes on his law school's Web site. "By making this judgment, these justices have failed to respect the fundamental difference between religious belief and morality."

Mr. Stone's view apparently is shared by Rosie O'Donnell, who asked on ABC's "The View": "How about separation of church and state in America?" Similarly, a pro-choice coalition of religious leaders issued a statement saying the five justices in the majority "decided they could better determine what was moral and good than the physicians, women and families facing difficult, personal choices in problem pregnancies."

These accusations rely on one truth. The five justices in the Carhart majority--Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito--are Catholic. But as a critique of the Supreme Court's work, the claim is plain silly, if not sad.

No one thinks religious belief explains the views of the dissenting justices. Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it seems, are Jewish, while Justices John Paul Stevens and David Souter presumably are Protestants. Do liberals think their four votes are corrupt because Jewish or mainline Protestants leaders support a constitutionalized right to abortion?

Liberals did not raise religion when Justice Kennedy voted in Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992) to reaffirm Roe, nor when he parted ways last week with his Catholic brethren who wanted to uphold three death sentences (the Church opposes the death penalty).

Playing the religion card is worse than silly because it shows how intellectually lazy the liberal defense of Roe has become. There are many reasons why the court upheld the federal partial-birth abortion law, but not a state ban that it struck down in 2000. The court found the state law too vague, while the federal law is more specific about the prohibited procedures.

The court may have been demonstrating more respect for the judgment of Congress than that of the states. Or the court may have been following public opinion: Polls show that a majority of Americans agree with the partial-birth abortion ban.

Almost two-thirds of the Senate, including Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy and Harry Reid voted for it. Four years ago, today's critics didn't ask whether Mr. Leahy's and Mr. Reid's votes were inspired by their Catholic or Mormon faiths.

Rather than develop reasoned responses to the court or the arguments of conservatives, liberal critics resort to the mystical for easy answers. They suggest that irrational religious faith or pure Catholic doctrine handed down from the Vatican drives the Justices. It is much easier to dismiss your opponents as driven by mysterious forces than to do the hard work of developing arguments built on human reason.

This religious critique recalls the nativist fear of Catholicism that too often appears in U.S. history. Senate Democrats appealed to the same bias when they filibustered judicial nominees for their "deeply held" religious beliefs, as Sen. Charles Schumer said of now-circuit judge William Pryor.

Now that liberals want to keep count of these matters, I should disclose that I am not Catholic.

I did clerk for Justice Thomas, but I didn't know if he was Catholic at the time. To confuse matters, I agree with the late law professor John Hart Ely (religion unknown) who wrote that Roe v. Wade was wrong "because it is not constitutional law and gives no sense of an obligation to try to be."

But if the court ever returned the issue to the states, I would probably vote for a woman's legal right to an abortion in California. And I fully agree with my liberal colleagues who like to make sport of Justice Kennedy's opinions: He often seems more interested in his power on the court as the crucial fifth vote than in consistently advancing a coherent view of constitutional law.

I don't know how all of this would fit on the critics' religious scorecard, but it is a score that most Americans won't keep.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Anglican Ireland General Synod To Be Held In Kilkenny

The Church of Ireland General Synod will take place from Tuesday 8th to Thursday 10th May in the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny.

The annual meeting of elected lay and clerical members, and the House of Bishops will discuss reports of various church committees, and hear presentations on the new structures envisaged for ministry training and on the work of the Hard Gospel Committee.

Bills to be debated include the reform of synodical representation, a church copyright scheme for reproducing hymns and the creation of ecumenical canons of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, to be chosen from other churches.

It will be Archbishop Alan Harper's first synod in the chair, and he will also be the preacher at the Synod Service in St Candice's Cathedral.

There will be a civic reception for synod members in Kilkenny Castle, and the synod will be the occasion for the launch of the new-look Church of Ireland website, which finally gets an extensive revamp.




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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Ill Bishop Necessitates Confirmation By Priests

The Archdiocese of Dublin is presently a little overstretched in this typically busy season with confirmation which tends to run from March to May due to the illness of one of the auxiliary bishops, Fiachra Ó Ceallaigh (pic'd here).

Seemingly, the bishop has been unwell for some time and when the archdiocese were contacted about a priest having to confer the sacrament of confirmation as the bishop was too unwell to be present, she denied it having happened.

However, it has happened and in a relatively recent time also, which is permitted under Canon Law (RC Church Law) if for some reason the bishop is not in a position to officiate. This also permits Monsignors to intercede and perform as it does priests.

We earnestly hope and pray for the bishop at this time and God speed his recovery.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Vocations Sunday 2007

A Prayer for Vocations

Loving God,

You speak to us and nourish us
through the life of your church community.

In the name of Jesus, we ask you to send
your Spirit to us that men and women among us,
young and old, will respond to your call to
service in the church.

We pray especially in our day,
for those who hear your invitation
to be a priest, sister or brother.

May those who are opening their
hearts and minds to your call be encouraged
and strengthened through
our enthusiasm in you service.

Amen.

Vatican Will Not Be Consulted Over New Bishop - China

A China church official says authorities of the church in China will not discuss with the Vatican the appointment of a bishop for Beijing Diocese because there is no formal China-Vatican diplomatic link.

After the funeral of Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan on April 27, Anthony Liu Bainian, vice chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), told UCA News that Beijing Diocese has capable priests to succeed the late prelate and there will be no discussion of the matter with the Vatican.

China and the Vatican have not reached diplomatic ties, Liu said, because the Vatican still maintains "so-called diplomatic relations with Taiwan."

Without diplomatic ties, he continued, the church in China has no official link with the Vatican, so it can hardly say if the church in China should report or not report episcopal candidates to the Vatican.

Liu also said the church will move up the meeting day for the National Catholic Representative Congress to elect new presidents for the CCPA and the government-recognized Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC).

In the meantime, Liu added, he and Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, secretary general of the BCCCC will oversee the daily operations of those two church bodies, respectively.

Bishop Fu, 76, died of lung cancer on April 20. At that time, he was bishop of Beijing Diocese as well as chairman of the CCPA and acting president of the BCCCC, after Bishop Joseph Liu Yuanren of Nanjing died on April 20, 2005.

Since Bishop Fu was a vice chairperson of the National People's Congress, China's legislature, with the rank of a state leader, his funeral was honored as that of a state leader at Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery, the main burial ground for revolutionary heroes and high government officials.

Funeral services were held in three sessions. The first, beginning at 8:30, was a memorial service only for members of the NPC including its chairman, Wu Bangguo. President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other high-ranking state and social organization leaders attended the second session.

The third session, a Catholic prayer service led by Bishop Pius Jin Peixian of Liaoning, began at 10:30. Fourteen other bishops from various dioceses, about 150 priests and some 2,000 nuns, seminarians and laypeople attended the liturgy. Since the hall could not accommodate them all, most of the laypeople stayed outside the hall and remained calm during the liturgy.

When the service ended with Catholics queuing up to pay their last tributes to the deceased prelate, some began to sob. They told UCA News they did so because they felt sad to see Bishop Fu, who once had a stocky body and chubby face, look so small and skinny. Some said they missed their kind and warmhearted bishop.

Security was tight in and outside the cemetery. Only Catholics holding an obituary card issued by the CCPA, BCCCC and Beijing Diocese could enter the hall for the service.

Since Bishop Fu had reached the highest political status among all religious leaders in the communist regime, his coffin was covered with a national flag before the body was sent for cremation.

The ashes of the late bishop's body are to be transferred to Immaculate Conception of Our Lady Cathedral (Nantang, or South Church), where a memorial Mass will be offered at 9:30 a.m. on April 28. Thereafter, UCA News has learned, the ashes will be kept at the Babaoshan cemetery until renovation of the Catholic graveyard is completed.

Bishop Fu was born in 1931 in Qingyuan county, Hebei province. After studies in Beijing seminaries 1941-56, he was ordained in 1956. In 1979, he became the first "self-elected and self-ordained" bishop, without papal approval, after China began economic reforms and an open-door policy the year before.

Attending the funeral were Bishops Johan Fang Xingyao of Linyi, Paul Jiang Taoran of Shijiazhuang, John Liu Jinghe of Tangshan, Joseph Li Mingshu of Qingdao, Joseph Liu Xinhong of Anhui, Francis Lu Xinping of Nanjing, Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, Anthony Tu Shihua of Puqi, John Wang Renlai of Xuzhou, Joseph Xu Honggen of Suzhou, John Baptist Ye Ronghua of Ankang, Vincent Zhan Silu of Mindong and Joseph Zhao Fengchang of Linqing. Auxiliary Bishop Peter Fang Jianping of Tangshan also attended.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Archbishop of Canterbury says sorry for child abuse errors

In the wake of the conviction of a choirmaster from Hampshire, who was able to continue committing sex offences against boys because a church let him go with a warning 17 years ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued what is effectively an apology for its past mistakes.

Dr Rowan Williams today spoke of his "deep sorrow" over the suffering experienced not just in the case involving Peter Halliday, aged 61, but in other child abuse cases connected to the Church.

The leader of the Church of England confirmed that the Church had developed much greater awareness and expertise since the late 1980s, and now had stringent procedures in place.

But he added that continuing vigilance was crucial.

Dr Williams declared: “Any case in which the Church has failed to prove itself a safe place for children is deplorable. This is one such case, and we can only express our keen awareness of the damage and deep sorrow for the suffering caused.”

He continued: “The principle that the welfare of the child must always take priority has sometimes been misunderstood to mean that a child should not be put through the distress of public legal procedures. It appears to me that this misunderstanding may have been involved in this instance."

Concluded the Archbishop: “Since these sad events occurred, the Church - like other public bodies – has developed greater expertise and far more stringent procedures. This does not help victims of an earlier era, but the awareness of the cost they have borne is something that underlines the imperative need to keep all our procedures in the strictest working order.”

Dr Williams' strong statement is the most forthright comment to come from the Church of England since the publicity surrounding Halliday, and a continuing case against a vicar in Bristol.


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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Pope: 22 new priests, images of the Good Shepherd, in the joy of their mission

Twenty two young men from Italy, but also from the Philippines, Peru, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Slovakia were ordained today by Benedict XVI in a suggestive ceremony in St Peters Basilica, concelebrated by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope’s Vicar for the diocese of Rome, along with various auxiliary bishops.

Some of the newly ordained hail from Roman collages and seminaries, others are students from seminaries run by the Neocathecumenal movement (Redemptoris Mater) or Legion of Christ.

Their initiation to the priesthood took place on the very day the universal Church celebrates “Good Shepherd Sunday” (IV Sunday of Easter) and the 44th world day of prayer for vocations.

In his homily Benedict XVI underlined first and foremost the profound unity between the priest and the Good Shepherd, “the Son of man who wanted to share the human condition in order to gift them new life and guide them to salvation”, defined as “good” (kalos), a sign of definitive beauty and goodness “since messianic times”.

One’s relationship with Christ “is a deep and personal relationship; knowledge of the heart of he who loves and is loved; of he who is faithful and in turn has faith; knowledge of love because of which the Shepherd invites his to follow him”. This relationship is also “a source of constant consolation and indestructible hope”. Because “Christ never abandons us” and “no obstacle can ever impede his universal plan of salvation”.

“The Sacrament of Holy Orders which you are about to receive – continued the Pontiff as he turned to the candidates – will make you participants in Christ’s mission; you will be called to sow the seeds of his Word, the seeds which contain the Kingdom of God, to dispense divine mercy and feed the faithful at the banquet of his Body and his Blood. In order to worthy ministers you must continually feed yourselves of the Eucharist, source and summit of Christian life. Stay close to the altar, your daily school of holiness, to renew the sacrifice of the Cross, renew your own discovery of the richness of the Divine Master’s love, which today has called you to an even more intimate friendship with Him. If you listen to him carefully, if you follow him faithfully, you will learn to translate your lives and your pastoral mission into his love and passion for the salvation of souls. Each one of you my dear Ordinates, with God’s help will become a good shepherd, ready to give, if necessary, even your lives for Him”.

An element that the pope deliberately underscored is the joy of priesthood, even in the midst of difficulties. Citing a passage from the Acts of the Apostles, in today’s reading, Benedict XVI said: “ “The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit (13,52). In spite of the misunderstandings and contrasts, Christ’s apostle does not loose that joy, no; he is the witness of that joy which is born of being with the Lord, from love for Him and his brothers”.

Commenting then on the theme of the world day of prayer for vocations (“Vocations at the service of Church communion”), the pope underlined that a growth in vocations depends strongly on prayer, formation and the attention of the family and entire Christian community.

Turning to the families and friends of the newly ordained the pope advised: “Let us surround, these our Lord’s brothers, with our spiritual solidarity. Let u spray that they remain faithful to the mission which the Lord entrusts to them today, and that they are ready to renew each and every day their ‘yes’ to God, there ‘Here I am’ without any reserves. Let us ask the Lord of the mass, on this day dedicated to vocations, that he continues to evoke many holy presbyteries, wholly dedicated to the service to the Christian people”.

The last thoughts of the homily went to the Ordinates: “Jesus says to you today – said the pope – ‘I no longer call you servants, but friends’. Welcome and nurture this divine friendship with ‘Eucharistic love’! Mary, celestial Mother of Priests accompanies you; She who beneath the Croce joined herself to Her Sons sacrifice, and who after His resurrection in the Cenacle welcomed His gift of the Holy Spirit together with the apostles and the other disciples, helps all of us and each one of you, my dear friends in the Priesthood, to allow ourselves be transformed inside through the grace of God. Only in this way is it possible to become faithful images of the Good Shepherd; only in this way can the mission to know, love and lead the flock which Christ won with the price of his blood, be carried out with joy. Amen!”.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Saturday, April 28, 2007

NOMINATIONS NOMINATIONS NOMINATIONS

My dear bloggies, yet again this site has found itself being nominated for another competition and this one is perhaps a hell of a lot more balanced than the Irish Blog Awards that of which there would be no doubt!!!

Just click on the Blog Award Badges opposite and it will take you to the site where you can vote to you hearts content as to whether it deserves an award for being a good religion site or is nicely designed or perhaps even both.

The necessary button will bring you to the vopting site and you can nominate there and I will keep you briefed as to how it proceeds and it is refreshing to see that it takes outsiders to appreciate the work of a stranger!!

Get nominating and thank you!!!

Bonking Bishop Birthday Bash-ed

Bishop Emeritus of Galway, Dr Eamon Casey, who turns 80 this week, and was due to have a small familial gathering to celebrate the occasion, incapacitated himself thereby preventing himself from being in a position to attend.

Seemingly, according to our sources, the retired bishop was in Gort, Co Galway, which is only a short distance from his current abode in the parish of Beagh/Shanaglish when the accident occurred.

He was visiting a shop when he tripped and fell, injuring his hip in what is believed to be a serious way, thereby necessitating the cancellation of 3 separate functions to mark his birthday including the family gathering, one with the parish and the 3rd being with Trócaire of which Casey was chairman from 1973 and 1992 when he retired.

No doubt, in good time, these celebrations will happen again, and all here at Clerical Whispers wish Dr Casey a speedy recovery and belated birthday greeting.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Martin On The Move

The Vatican has announced the appointment of Dublin Archbishop, Diarmuid Martin (pic'd here) to be its representative at key talks with the World Council of Churches, the General Secretary being Dr Rev Sam Kobia who will meet with Dr Martin in Dublin tomorrow.

This adds to the speculation that Dublin will indeed receive the cardinal's red hat which may happen as soon as this coming June.

As also mentioned here, as early as last December, it may also mean that Dr Martin be called back to Rome or Geneva, having worked in the Curia for 30 years or so as it is.

If that being the situation, it leaves the situation whereby the Archdiocese of Dublin will be requiring a new incumbent and Bishop Eamon Walsh who handled the Ferns Report may well succeed Dr Martin and receive the title of Archbishop as accorded in such a move.

This would be, as oft stated here a poisoned chalice for Dr Walsh as he would then have to deal with the serious fallout of the Archdiocesan Investigation currently ongoing by the Irish State in Child Sex Abuse which is causing some very serious headaches at present.

The experience gained as a barrister by Dr Walsh will certainly come in very useful if so appointed and perhaps he is considering his own position on that particular matter and who could possibly blame him?

Dr Martin will begin in his new posting sooner rather than later and his term will run until 2013, after which he may return to Ireland and still aged 68, may be given the posting of Armagh which would be vacated by Archbishop Seán Brady in 2014, and as Dr Martin would already hold the title of cardinal, it would be a simple matter of installation.

As to whether Archbishop Brady will receive a red hat is up for debate with Il Papa perhaps hesitant in according two holders of such an office for a country the size of Ireland but considering that Dr Martin would not be then normally resident here, who knows how Il Papa will handle this?

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Irish Paedophile Priest O'Grady Claims Registered With Gardaí

ONE of Ireland’s most notorious paedophiles, Oliver O’Grady, jailed in the US in the 1990s, has claimed he is voluntarily registered with gardaí as a sex offender.

Disgraced former priest Oliver O’Grady, whose confessions about molesting up to 25 children in the US forms the basis of the Oscar-nominated documentary Deliver Us From Evil, has made contact with a Dublin residents’ group through his legal representation.

The priest is living in the Phibsboro area of Dublin and residents had expressed grave concerns that he poses risks to children in a primary school which is just yards from his residence.

Local residents were so worried that they posted a notice of alert in their latest residents’ association newsletter.

It was thought that O’Grady was not on the sex offenders register as it only came into existence under the Sex Offenders Act 2001, and the disgraced priest returned to Ireland in 2000 after a seven-year prison sentence served in the US.

However, in a letter to Kieran Collins of the Rathdown Road and District Residents Group, O’Grady’s solicitor said: “Mr O’Grady is in fact registered with the gardaí as a sexual offender on a voluntary basis.

“This step was taken on Mr O’Grady’s own initiative and it is quite true that there is no legal requirement on him to register.

“The position is that Mr O’Grady has a specific garda contact with whom he is in touch as required.

“There is therefore no question of the gardaí being unaware of Mr O’Grady’s whereabouts at any time.”

Gardaí have refused to comment on the reporting arrangements O’Grady has to follow while resident here as they do not comment on individual cases.

For those of you interested in the film about O'Grady entitled Deliver Us From Evil, click on the link hereunder and view a trailer to this film...





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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Building Up To Sainthood

Deep in the heart of the Vatican, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins (pic'd here) has been mulling a delicate issue; should he give the nod to Pope Benedict XVI to make Antoni Gaudi a saint?

The Portuguese prelate heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints and decides who should be recommended for membership of the most exclusive club, sainthood.

The Pontiff gets the final say.

Recommending a person for this honour is not a decision any self-respecting cardinal can take lightly.

Hence he has been considering Gaudi's candidature for the past four years since receiving a petition to beatify the devout architect, who died under a tram 81 years ago.

A pile of documents gathered by the then Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Ricard Maria Carles, was sent to the Vatican as proof of Gaudi's ability to intercede with God on behalf of those who pray to him.

"God's architect", as the monk-like Gaudi is famously known, left this world with his life's work, the Sagrada Familia cathedral, less than half completed.

But campaigners for the beatification of Gaudi are quietly confident that the Vatican has been convinced of their argument and their hero will soon be on the fast track to receive the Lord's greatest honour.

They rest their case on the argument that Gaudi's Sagrada Familia was not simply the work of a visionary architect.

The Association for the Beatification of Gaudi, which has been gathering up to 80,000 supporters from around the world for the past 25 years, believes it also inspires unbelievers. Archbishop Carles has said: "Can anyone acquainted with [Gaudi's] work believe that all which one contemplates could possibly have been produced only by cold thought?"

Campaigners also believe Gaudi's legendary piety is also reason enough to lift him up among St Peter and St Paul.

Gaudi was obsessively pious, especially in his old age. He used to shuffle the streets of his native Barcelona nibbling on crusts of bread and seeking alms for the building of the Sagrada Familia.

He hated liberalism and was devoted to everything most penitential and reactionary in Spanish Catholicism.

When he was hit by a tram in Barcelona's Gran Via in 1926, he was so dishevelled taxi drivers refused to take him to hospital, believing he was a tramp. He died days later in a paupers' hospital, after his friends had at first failed to recognise him.

Jose Manuel Almuzara, an architect and president of the Association for the Beatification of Gaudi, said: "We do not see any serious obstacles to him becoming canonised. His greatest creation has made faith accessible to the average person and inspired thousands who were not Catholics before they visited."

Almuzara is among thousands who pray to Gaudi, whose life is seen by supporters as exemplary.

They believe an image of the architect should be placed among the other saints on the facade of the Sagrada Familia, which was begun in 1883 and is not due to be finished until 2020.

If Gaudi were to be canonised it would create something of a precedent. No architects have previously been needed in the celestial city. The last "creative" to be made a saint was Luke, who was a painter. But he was one of the Apostles.

For Cardinal Saraiva Martins, however, the decision to create a St Antoni Gaudi may not be so easy for other reasons.

The normal practice is that for a person to be canonised they need to have demonstrated they inspired miracles.

Campaigners make no secret of the fact they cannot pretend any workmen have fallen from the walls of the Sagrada Familia and been miraculously saved.

The best they have managed so far is a student who believed Gaudi had helped her pass her exams and a woman who claimed that after praying to Spain's most famous architect, she had been cured of a kidney stone. Gaudi is said, however, to have inspired apparitions.

Stephanie Pfeil, a German artist living in Barcelona, does claim to have woken one morning to see a young version of Gaudi in her flat.

"He wanted to tell me something very important about the way the Sagrada Familia worked. But I could not hear him as I had earplugs in," she says.

"When I took them out, he disappeared. I am convinced it was him."

Meanwhile, another more earthly problem may bedevil those behind Gaudi's bid for sainthood.

The Sagrada Familia, on which campaigners have based their campaign for his beatification, faces a new threat from plans for a railway tunnel just a few feet from its foundations.

Architects, geologists and the authorities that run the Sagrada Familia oppose the route of the high-speed AVE train from Madrid, which is due to start operating later this year.

The cathedral's crypt and Nativity facade are Unesco World Heritage Sites and campaigners want to mobilise international pressure to force the authorities to change the route of the AVE train.

Architect Jordi Bonet, whose father Luis Bonet worked with Gaudi said: "This will amount to cultural vandalism. The Sagrada Familia is something which is supposed to last centuries for people around the world to enjoy and this train is only designed for about 40 years. But from the studies we have made and seen, the train will do irreparable damage to the structure of the building."

The expert Spanish geologist Oriol Riba said: "They urgently need to change the route away from the Sagrada Familia. The towers are already in danger because of the pressure which they have to support from the weight of the building. This tunnel will further endanger them, not only by the building work but every time there is a train running underneath."

Father Antoni Llompart, the parish priest of the Sagrada Familia, said: "If Gaudi were alive today he would say it is not worth endangering such a building, which is known all over the world."

But the Spanish Government and Barcelona's city council support the current plans to run the train through the city centre within a few feet of the eccentrically-designed cathedral. Xavier Casas, Barcelona's deputy mayor, has said that all the alternative routes were "unviable".

The rail plans were drawn up in the Eighties to unite Madrid with Barcelona.

But years of political squabbling between the former conservative government of Jose Maria Aznar and the regional government in Barcelona made up of Socialists and Catalan nationalists delayed the ambitious scheme.

This new threat to the Sagrada Familia comes just as builders were finally predicting they may finish the seemingly never-ending works. After 127 years, the cathedral could be finished in 20 years - though some realists think 40 is closer to the mark.

In 1883, Gaudi took over the Sagrada Familia project after a dispute between the church's original architect and its founder. Then aged 31, he was already considered a brilliant artist who drew his inspiration from nature and, soon after, from God.

"He found everything in nature," said his biographer Joan Bassegoda. "He would look at an insect or a duck and find interesting forms that he would transfer into architecture. After Gaudi, there were no Gaudi schools. Because Gaudi always said,'Don't copy me, copy nature'."

With funding restrictions, Gaudi was forced to beg donations from Barcelona's richest families when he ran out of money for the building work. He died in 1926 without detailing the final plans so that the team in charge of realising his dream now have to partly guess how the building should look.

The building later survived attacks by anarchists who burnt the original plans in the Spanish Civil War. The building will eventually have 18 spires, many decorated with colourful ceramic baubles, crosses or words praising God. The tallest spire will reach 170m.

As campaigners wait for the Vatican's decision, one cannot help wondering what Gaudi himself would have made of being canonised? Father Luis Bonet, rector of the Sagrada Familia, dismisses any thought that if Gaudi were alive today he would be a little embarrassed.

"It would seem to Gaudi like getting another prize, like receiving an Oscar," he says.
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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Pope Benedict XVI: The 'Latin Lover'

Pope Benedict XVI may have raised a few eyebrows with his red Prada shoes and Father Christmas-like "camauro" hat but the German-born pontiff is no revolutionary on Catholic Church matters.

No one was surprised then when the German-born Pope Benedict XVI issued strict rules on how to celebrate Mass and reaffirmed the importance of the celibacy rule for priests this month.

However, there was one minor aspect of this apostolic exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis (Sacrament of Charity), that will likely make waves: His decision to encourage the use of Latin in Church.

"I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant," the pope wrote in his message to clergymen and ordinary Catholics.

The traditional Tridentine Mass in Latin was replaced with updated liturgies in local languages by the Second Vatican Council of 1965.

That decision contributed to a schism within the Church led by Marcel Lefebvre, an ultra-conservative French archbishop who was later excommunicated by the late Pope John Paul II.

Since then, congregations wishing to celebrate Mass in Latin are forced to seek permission from Rome or from their local bishops.

The language of CiceroIn his apostolic exhortation, published last month, Benedict made it clear that he was endorsing a proposal made by a 2005 Synod of Bishops and that it was in line with directives issued by the Second Vatican Council.

I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant.

Pope Benedict XVI

He also noted that he was thinking primarily of international gatherings, where the language of Cicero would be used as a sort of lingua franca (universal language) and help "express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church".

"The papal document is a step towards more dignity during the divine service and Latin can play a role in this," a Vatican Radio journalist, who asked not to be named, told dpa. "I really see the pope's words as a guideline only, not as a directive," he added. So exalted

More than a few Catholics and churchgoers, especially in southern Europe, admit that the old rite in good old Latin had been so "much more solemn, much more exalted."

After all, they argue, "Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei" sounds so much nicer than "This is the chalice of my blood" while "pater noster, qui es in caelis" has a much better ring to it than "our father, who art in heaven."

According to a recent report in the Sunday Times, Benedict, who is fluent in Latin and openly criticised the decision to drop Latin when he was still a cardinal, plans to bring back the old Tridentine Mass despite opposition from some senior cardinals.

The Language Of Cicero

Vatican sources quoted by the British paper said the pope was considering publication of a papal "motu proprio" (of his own initiative) on the matter. This would do away with the need for approval from Church bodies.

Latin loversMeanwhile, the Vatican's "Latin lovers" have hailed the document, which experts see as a first step towards a possible "counterrevolution."

A return to Latin would please traditionalists, such as adherents to the Lefebvre movement, as well as Latin experts inside the Vatican, who have been bemoaning the decline of the classical language for years.

"Who can still speak Latin nowadays?" complained Father Reginald Foster, an American priest known as the "Pope's Latinist," in an interview published a few years ago.

"The priests don't know it any more, and not even the bishops do - it's terrible. Some can't even read the inscriptions on gravestones. It's a scandal," he said.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Pope Accepts Invitation to U.N.

Benedict XVI has accepted an invitation to visit the United Nations in New York, although no date has been set. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon extended the invitation to the Pope during an audience in the Vatican April 18.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi confirmed the Pope's acceptance of the invitation Thursday.

"The Pope accepted the invitation in general terms, saying he was available to visit U.N. headquarters. But no date has been set and there are no definite plans, as yet, for the visit," the director of the Vatican press office said.

Pope John Paul II visited the U.N. headquarters twice, in 1979 and 1995

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Subtle Signs Of Change In The Roman Curia

Vatican-watchers suspect that Pope Benedict XVI may eventually undertake a major reform of the Roman Curia.

Maybe he does.

But two years into his pontificate, the Holy Father has established a fairly clear pattern: he prefers a quiet administrative approach, eschewing dramatic change.

So rather than wait for a complete reshuffling of the Curia, or a thorough overhaul of Vatican personnel, I'm inclined to look for more subtle changes in the way the current staff operates.

We have not seen any major changes in personnel recently. But have we seen noteworthy shifts in performance?

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Polish PM: More Gays Bad for Society

Poland's conservative prime minister rejected European Union criticism Thursday of a proposal to fire teachers for "homosexual propaganda," saying it was not in the interest of society to have more gay people.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said homosexuals did not face discrimination in his country, responding to an EU parliament vote to send a mission to Poland to investigate recent anti-gay comments by senior officials.

"Nobody is limiting gay rights in Poland," Kaczynski told reporters hours after the vote.

"However, if we're talking about not having homosexual propaganda in Polish schools, I fully agree with those who feel this way," he said. "Such propaganda should not be in schools; it definitely doesn't serve youth well."

"It's not in the interest of any society to increase the number of homosexuals _ that's obvious."
Last month, Deputy Education Minister Miroslaw Orzechowski said teachers deemed to be promoting "homosexual culture" in schools would be fired, and the ministry announced it would draw up corresponding legislation.

The ministry has not defined what it means by efforts to promote homosexuality and has yet to submit the legislation, according to the parliamentary press office.

The EU parliament called on Polish authorities to publicly condemn and take measures against declarations by officials "inciting discrimination and hatred based on sexual orientation."

The assembly asked the EU's anti-racism center in Vienna to look into "the emerging climate of racist, xenophobic and homophobic intolerance in Poland," and to determine whether the bloc's anti-discrimination rules were being violated.

The resolution _ sponsored by the Socialists, Liberals and Greens but largely opposed by conservative lawmakers _ was likely to strain EU-Poland relations further.

Since joining the EU in 2004, Poland has clashed with the bloc on a variety of issues, from the environment to the economy.

The vast majority of Poland's 38 million people are members of the Roman Catholic church, which considers homosexual behavior sinful. Kaczynski's Law and Justice party, which won parliamentary elections in September 2005, has stressed Catholic values.

The party governs with the small, right-wing League of Polish Families, which is militantly anti-abortion and anti-gay rights.

Robert Biedron, the head of Poland's Campaign Against Homophobia, condemned Kaczynski's statements, calling them "old homophobic comments, full of hatred and intolerance toward homosexuals."

"It's an old tune from this government," he said.

During a visit to Germany earlier this year, Education Minister Roman Giertych, the leader of the League of Polish Families, said "one must limit homosexual propaganda so that children won't have an improper view of family."

Human Rights Watch has sent a letter to Kaczynski saying it fears the measure would bar safe sex education and lead to the expulsion or dropping out of gay students.

President Lech Kaczynksi _ the prime minister's brother _ refused to grant parade permits for gay rights marches while he served as mayor of Warsaw, although a gathering was held anyway, in front of his office.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Catholic Church Always Expresses "Hatred of Homosexuals"

Italy's Giusto Catania (pic'd here), launched an attack on the Catholic Church from the floor of the European Parliament Wednesday.

Catania, a Member of the European Parliament, joined in a debate on homophobia to say that the European governing body must stop intolerance.

"We cannot allow these signs of intolerance," said Catania, "we cannot allow such statements to be made as made by the Polish Minister."

Those statements he referred to were those of Polish Education Minister Roman Giertych, who has proposed legislation to forbid promotion of homosexuality in schools.

"One must limit homosexual propaganda so that children won't have an improper view of family," said Giertych.Catania said that the necessity to stop such intolerance "is true for politics but also for the Clergy and the Church."

Despite the fact that the Catholic Church officially teaches it sinful to hate anyone, enemy or friend, sinner or saint, Catania claimed the Church hates homosexuals.

Catania said the Clergy and the Church, "never miss an opportunity to express their hatred of homosexuals and they harass these people and regard them as sinners."

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Friday, April 27, 2007

Sotto Voce...

Dear brothers and sisters, I write to you all to advise of a few matters which I need to share with you all at this time....

Firstly, may I thank you all for taking the time to visit this site and indeed, there are at present over 37,000 of you to thank for this and to each and all of you every blessing.

Secondly, I have been updating the site and adding the archive features of the Reflection pieces and also of the Verbum Ulitimus which can now be easily accessed by clicking on the date piece itself. This is in response to the many requests received as so so many of you found the Lent reflections helpful to your own personal journey at that sacred time of the liturgical year.

Thirdly, I have added a feature here for a trial period and I ask for you to submit your comments as per usual and it is called Sonific Songpost and all you have to do when you click on to this blogspot is click on the play link and it shall play away and u even get to control whether you wish to have it play or not and also adjust the control for yourself if you do.

The piece chosen is Amazing Grace and over the next few days I will change it to different ethnic and religious pieces just to vary it for you and hopefully make your visit all the more enjoyable.

The fourth point is that I am taking some away time beginning next Sunday until mid week or so, and will resume posting at that time. In the interim, please do feel free to submit as before your pieces no matter what they be, and I will read through them and post them once deemed possible.

Finally, next Monday is no blog day as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives so unnecessarily in Virginia Tech and I shall observe it as indeed are so many fellow bloggers around the world.

May I ask you all that you remember them in your own way and please God that America will get the goddamn sense it needs to abandon its gun laws in their present form. Surely to God life is far more important than their ill guided view that they need to be armed to the back teeth.

Anyway, we can but pray for one and all that day, and I wish you all a pleasant few days in my absence.

Sotto Voce

RC Bishops Take Up Anti-Semitism At 2008 Meeting

The need to step up the fight against anti-Semitism will be a key issue for the world's Roman Catholic bishops at a meeting at the Vatican next year.

An entire section of a preparatory document released by the Vatican on Friday is devoted to the Church's relationship with Jews, noting the "close associations of the two in faith" and calling for efforts "to overcome every form of anti-Semitism."

The 60-page document, which was approved by Pope Benedict XVI, outlines the suggested topics and includes a questionnaire to be answered by local bishops.

After asking if priority is given to dialogue with the Jews, the questionnaire calls on bishops to investigate the use of biblical texts to "ferment attitudes of anti-Semitism."

"Much has already been done, but everything must be done to dispel every shadow," the synod's general-secretary, Bishop Nikola Eterovic, said during a news conference to present the agenda for the October 2008 meeting.

The 1965 document of the Second Vatican Council, "Nostra Aetate," marked a new era in Catholic-Jewish relations. It deplored anti-Semitism in every form and repudiated the "deicide" charge that blamed Jews as a people for Christ's death.

Subsequent landmarks have included visits to synagogues by Popes John Paul II and Benedict.

The general theme of the meeting is an examination of the way scripture is studied and taught in the Church, and how the word of God can be influential in contemporary society.

In particular, while the document encourages individual and group study of the Bible, it warns against the dangers of an arbitrary or literal interpretation of the Scriptures, which it says could lead to fundamentalism.

During the synod, bishops from around the world gather in Rome for two weeks to discuss the pre-established theme in general sessions and private groups.

The body of bishops has no decision-making power, but can only present suggestions to the pope, who will then decide on them.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Govt "Canonised" Economy, Manning Claims

In a renewed attack against federal industrial relations laws, Parramatta Bishop Kevin Manning says that "the Government has canonised the economy" through WorkChoices, as Broome Bishop Christopher Saunders releases a statement to mark the feast day of St Joseph the Worker.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Bishop Manning said Australians appeared to be tolerating or rewarding those aiming to create a society and climate "which makes the economy the barometer of human fulfilment".

"It's like the Government has canonised the economy, the economy is almost like God," he told the Herald.

"We say put people before profit. The Prime Minister appears to be putting the economy before people where wages are reduced and conditions reduced for the sake of the economy."

In an address to Catholic leaders last week, Bishop Manning contradicted the Prime Minister's assertions that there was no Catholic position on industrial relations.

An encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, exhorted that the interest of the economy be subordinated to the interests of the community, he said."There is nothing wrong with an AWA provided that the worker is highly skilled and has sophisticated capacity for negotiation," Bishop Manning said.

"In the workplace, some but by no means all, workers will have skills of sufficient marketability, and the capacity to negotiate an AWA suits them, but the fact remains that the majority will not. As an instrument of work relations, the AWA does not guarantee balance of fairness."

In a separate statement to Catholics marking the feast day of St Joseph the Worker, Bishop Saunders called on the Government to release data on the terms and conditions of individual workplace agreements in order to assess the impact of labour market changes on working families.

"It is worrying to hear that there has been a substantial reduction of overtime and penalty rates in individual workplace agreements registered under WorkChoices and that a majority of these agreements abolish or reduce meal breaks and public holiday payments and shiftwork loadings," said the chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.

In the Bishop's letter, "Keeping Time - Australian families and the Culture of Overwork", Bishop Saunders said there had been a massive encroachment of work into family time over the past two decades.

He says there were anecdotal reports that overtime and penalty rates had been substantially eroded under the workplace agreements, The Age added.

"This could mean less pay, but also more irregular hours for low-paid and vulnerable workers," he said.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Benedict XVI's First Visit to Latin America

It is autumn in Sao Paolo and at the shrine of the Aparecida in Brazil, on the Tropic of Capricorn, and the temperatures are mild.

But his upcoming visit to that land, from May 9-14, will be a trial by fire for Benedict XVI.

In the two years of his pontificate, neither Brazil nor Latin America has ever appeared at the center of his attention, in spite of the fact that five hundred million Catholics live there – almost half of the one billion, one hundred million Catholics worldwide.

Joseph Ratzinger displayed flashes of passion for this continent in the first months after his election as pope.

He was the one who chose, for July 7, 2005, the theme of the fifth general conference of the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean: “Disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ.”

It is the fifth after the meetings in Rio de Janiero in 1995, in Medellín in 1968, in Puebla in 1979, and in Santo Domingo in 1992. It was he who wanted that the other phrase of the title – “That all may have life” – should end by specifying: “in Him.”

And that the statement of Jesus himself should be added: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He was the one who established the date and the place.

In October of 2005, during the synod of bishops, meeting with some of the South American cardinals he asked them point blank what was the most frequented Marian shrine in Brazil.

“L’Aparecida,” they answered him. And the pope: “That’s where you will meet. In May of 2007. And I’ll be there.”

But he then completely delegated the preparatory phase to others: in the curia to cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the congregation for the bishops and president of the pontifical commission for Latin America, and across the Atlantic to cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago, Chile, and the current president of CELAM, the Latin American episcopal council.

Cardinal Re has been for years the chief architect of the appointment of new bishops in Latin America, with this pope and the previous one.

So it is due in large part to him if the Latin American episcopate is so sorely lacking today in outstanding figures and reliable, visionary guides.

The exceptions are rare.

Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is one of these: but since the beginning of preparations for the conference in Aparecida, he has kept his distance and has put up insurmountable opposition to Benedict XVI’s own request that he move to Rome to become head of a curia dicastery.

Last October, the pope brought to the Vatican the archbishop of Sao Paolo, Brazil, cardinal Cláudio Hummes, as prefect of the congregation for the clergy.

But this has had no visible effect so far. Hummes knows from direct experience that the clergy is one of the critical points for the Church on that continent.

Except in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina, there are very few native priests – one for every fifteen thousand baptized persons – ten times fewer than in Europe or North America.

Apart from being very few in number, the priests are poorly educated. Concubinage is a common practice in the rural areas and in the Andes. In many churches and parishes, the Sunday Mass is celebrated rarely, and typically in a haphazard manner: this explains the low rates of regular participation at Mass on the continent, even though it is so thoroughly Catholic.

The seminaries are also very uneven in quality. In the places where vocations to the priesthood are on the rise – in some of the more vibrant dioceses, in some of the Charismatic communities – the greatest difficulty for the bishop or head of a community is that of finding a trustworthy seminary.

All of this is very well known, but in the preparatory documents for the conference in Aparecida, and even in the draft of the lengthy concluding document, already in secret circulation in the Vatican offices, there is only the faintest trace of these issues.

On January 20 of this year, and then on February 17, Benedict XVI gave the only two speeches that he has dedicated to the topic so far: the first was addressed to the members of the pontifical council for Latin America, and the second to the nuncios of that continent.

Both were routine speeches, produced in the offices of cardinal Re, without any passages displaying the pope’s own hand and mind, which are very recognizable in his own personal writing. Just as routine was the appointment of the 266 participants for the conference in Aparecida, including member bishops, guests, observers, and experts.

Of the sixteen that were to be chosen by Benedict XVI, eleven were obligatory insofar as they are the heads of offices in the curia. The only one who stands out among the remaining five is cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Québec, who despite being Canadian is much more competent in this area than many of his Latin American colleagues.

But there are very strong reasons why the Aparecida conference should enter into history, just as did – for other reasons – two of the continental meetings that preceded it: the one in Medellín, Colombia in 1968, and the one in Puebla, Mexico in 1979.

The address that John Paul II delivered in Puebla had a strong impact, inaugurating the decade-long battle that Rome would fight and win, with the unyielding support of then-cardinal Ratzinger, against the Marxist utopianism disguised as liberation theology.

But a great deal has changed since then.

When Karol Wojtyla set foot in Mexico in 1979, and in Brazil the following year, there were reactionary and even bloody regimes in various countries on the continent.

Today, the Church faces the opposite challenge – and in certain ways a more arduous one. Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina are headed by the progressive parties of Lula, Michelle Bachelet, Vázquez, and Kirchner, the bearers of a secularist view similar to the one in the northern regions of the world.

Meanwhile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua are dominated by the populism of Chávez, Morales, Correa, and Ortega. The Marxism dear to liberation theology is holding out only in Cuba.

The religion of the new regimes is, if anything, that of nativism, and the myths of pre-Christian America. But equally drastic changes have taken place on the religious terrain.

In 1980, when John Paul II went to Brazil for the first time, Catholics had a near monopoly with 89 percent of the population.

In the 2000 census, they had fallen to 74 percent, and today in Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, and the urban areas, they are under 60 percent.

At the same time, there has been a rise in the number of people with no religion at all – from 1.6 percent in 1980 to 7.4 percent in 2000 – but above all in the number of Pentacostalist Protestants. These latter have gone from 5 percent in 1980 to 15 percent, and above 20 percent in the urban areas.

But there’s more: the spirit of Pentacostalism is also drawing a growing number of followers among Catholics who are remaining members of their Church.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, in a detailed survey conducted in 2006, found that this tendency can be ascribed to one out of every three Catholics in Brazil.

This tendency to a large extent opposes the pressure of secularization and aligns itself with a form of Christianity that is puritanical, communitarian, taking its inspiration from above; a defender of life and the family, active on the public stage, and displaying a strong missionary spirit.

In Santo Domingo in 1992, John Paul II branded the Pentecostal Protestant communities as “ravenous wolves,” and in effect they are often aggressively hostile toward the symbols of Catholicism, from the Virgin Mary to the pope.

Ratzinger himself, in a conference on May 13, 2004, accused the United States of promoting “the protestantization of Latin America and the dissolution of the Catholic Church.”

But as pope, last February 17, he instead called upon the Church to examine itself.

If so many faithful are abandoning this and going to the Penetecostal communities – a phenomenon also found on a wide scale in Africa, Asia, and North America – it is because they are thirsty for a living, real Jesus whom the Church proclaims too feebly.

Such as the humanized and politicized Jesus in the books by Jon Sobrino, the liberation theologian condemned last winter by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith.

For Benedict XVI, Jesus is decidedly the central issue, including for Latin America.

Who knows how, in Sao Paolo and Aparecida, he will finally be able to speak to the continent, and to touch its heart?

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Don't Leave Climate Change To Scientists: Cardinal Martino

Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace head, Cardinal Renato Martino says that everyone needs to be concerned about climate change, not just scientists.

The International Herald Tribune reports that Cardinal Martino made the comments following a closed door Vatican seminar on climate change last week.

Experts, politicians and religious authorities from around the world have been invited to take part in discussions about climate change and development.

"Those with greater resources to deal with these changes can be calmer, while those which don't have these resources have more reason to worry," Cardinal Martino told Vatican Radio.

"Certainly in this field, we appeal ever more for international solidarity.""It is important not to leave (these problems) only to scientists, but we must also question ourselves about it and thus understand how all of us" can contribute to solving and containing the situation, Martino said in the radio interview.

Martino cited statistics indicating wealthy nations use a far higher proportion of energy than more populous, poorer nations.

"Thus there are some clear imbalances," and lifestyle changes are needed as part of the solution, he said.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

1,000 People At Fu Tieshan’s funeral

The religious and state funerals of Michele Fu Tieshan, Patriotic Bishop of Beijing were held this morning.

Fu died on April 20th last and in his role as vice president of the Patriotic Association received a state burial.

Fu’s body wrapped in the Chinese flag was laid to rest in Babaoshan cemetery west of Beijing, and was saluted by President Hu Jintao, premier Wen Jiabao, Wu Bangguo (president of the NPA) and Zeng Qinghong, member of the permanent commission of the Politburo.

Xinhua refers that 10 bishops 150 priests and about 1000 faithful participated in the religious funeral, also held in Babaoshan.

According to some Catholics, the turnout was low.

At the funeral of msgr Antonio Li Duan, archbishop of Xian, on May 31 2005, over 20 thousand people attended. At the funeral of Beijing’s underground bishop msgr. Mattia Pei Shangde, in 2002, despite police controls non residents from attending, more than 3 thousand people turned out.

Fu Tieshan was president of the Patriotic Association, the organisation which aims to create a Church independent of Rome. Because of this the capital’s Catholics distanced themselves from him, preferring priests and bishops in communion with the Holy See.

Fu Tieshan body will be cremated tomorrow, and according to indiscretions, will be buried in the Catholic cemetery in Shibaiwanlu.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

A Synod To Deepen Our Encounter With The Word Of God

A pastoral synod by exploring doctrinal reasoning aims to extend and strengthen the practice of our encounter with the Word of God.

That is the objective of the next general assembly of the synod of bishops, which will be dedicated to the theme of “The Word of God in the life and the mission of the Church”.

Today the secretary and undersecretary of the synod, Msgr. Nicola Eterovic and msgr Fortunato Frezzi presented the “Lineamenta”, in short the draft working copy of the questions regarding the issue which are presented to bishops all around the world.

Due to be held from October 5th to 26th October 2007, this assembly follows the previous session dedicated to the “Eucharist as the source and summit of the life and mission of the Church” and seeks to highlight the direct link between the Eucharist and the Word of God.

Moreover continues the document, “modern man in many ways shows that he has a great need to listen more closely to the Word of God and to speak with Him.

Today there is a growing passion within the Christian community for the Word of God, as the source of life and grace in man’s encounter with God”.

In other words, “the human person is in need of the Revelation”.

For its part, 40 years on the Church also feels the need to question itself on the fruits of the council document, “Dei Verbum”, which was dedicated to the Word.

“There have been positive results among the people of God, such as the renewal of the Bible in liturgical, theological and catechetical areas as well as the diffusion and practice of the Sacred Book”.

“But other aspects remain open and problematic. The grave phenomenon of diffused ignorance and uncertainty regarding the same doctrine of the Revelation of God’s Word; the notable distancing of many Christians from the Bible and the permanent risk of its’ incorrect use; without the truth of the Word the relativism of thought and life become increasingly insidious”.

Thus, the document underlines, while it is positive that single groups of the faithful read and interpret the Word of God, it must also be underlined that this exercise brings with it some “risks”, such as the “reductive and arbitrary interpretation, which is seen in fundamentalism”.

Questions posed to the world’s bishops occupy a large part of the 58 page document.

These questions range from the knowledge of the Word of God in countries across the world, and how this is lived by the faithful, as to what sort of initiatives are taken to “transmit the complete and integral doctrine to the single believer and the community as a whole”, to the impact that the Word of God has “on the spiritual life of the lay faithful”, “the clergy” and “consecrated people”.

Questions also address the announcing of the Gospel in an ecumenical context – underlining the particular importance of that it has in dialogue with the Jews – and the request for greater information on “experiences in dialogue based on Christian Scripture with those who posses their own sacred books”.

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Mob & Police Torture Catholic Man Accused Of Blasphemy

A mob of Muslims tortured a Catholic man on April 13 in Kotri, Sindh province, accusing him of writing blasphemous words against Muhammad. When the Police intervened, it arrested the tortured man.

In prison he was tortured again in order to get him to “confess.”

According to the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), Sattar Masih, a 28-year-old Catholic man, was arrested by police despite the lack of evidence, put in jail and tortured to get his confession.

He was supposed to get married the following day.

Instead, Maulana Mohammad Umer, imam at a local mosque, filed a complaint against Mr Masih under Section 295–A and 295–C (commonly known as the blasphemy law) of the Pakistan Penal Code. Penalties include the death sentence for anyone who offends Islam’s prophet and sacred texts.

The Police also arrested Sattar Masih’s 60-year-old uncle, Mushtaq Masih, and his son, who was later released. Mushtaq Masih, who is employed as a sweeper by the municipal administration, is still in the lock up in the same police station for investigation but was suspended from his job because of his arrest under suspicion of blasphemy.

In piecing together the events that led to the arrest of the two Masih, APMA found that it all started when a group of Muslim men came to Sattar Masih’s house with a piece of paper that had Masih’s picture on it and blasphemous words written against Muhammad in the Urdu language.

Although Sattar Masih rejected the allegations, his accusers did not believe him but still they went away.

Later that day Imam Mulana Umer announced during Friday prayers that the mosque had found a sacrilegious paper against the prophet Muhammad in the donation box.

The imam then showed the paper to worshippers with Sattar Masih’s photo and address.

Many Muslim worshippers were enraged and marched on Sattar Masih’s house, stormed it and tried to kill him.

But before they could act the Kotri police intervened and took Sattar into custody.

In jail he was charged with blasphemy and tortured.

APMA chairman Shahbaz Bhatti slammed the police for acting without evidence and before conducting a full investigation into the affair.

“How could any sensible person write those words against the prophet and then leave name and photo, when he knows that punishment of such an act is death,” Mr Bhatti told AsiaNews.

In reality, “Christians and other religious minorities are being subjected to false accusations under the blasphemy law,” he explained.

“Often they are murdered in extra judicial killings or languish in prison for years. Victims’ families are forced out of their homes as a result of threats, harassment and a sense of insecurity.”

The situation is such that “religious extremists take the law in their own hands and don’t even wait for the courts’ decisions.”

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Disclaimer

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce