Sunday, May 31, 2009

Prayer During Recession

In this time of recession,
we remember all those who have financial
problems and are finding life difficult.

We hold before You, O Lord,
all those who are fearful for their jobs,
all those who are desperately looking for work
and all those who have become depressed and
have given up looking.

May Your Holy Spirit
come among us to heal the tensions
of this time and
calm the many fears.

And with Christ by our side,
make us aware of each other's troubles
so that we may
reach out our hands with
His friendship and give unstintingly
of His love.


A Prayer for Healing - Victims of Abuse

God of endless love,
ever caring, ever strong,
always present, always just:
You gave your only Son
to save us by the blood of his cross.

Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace,
join to your own suffering
the pain of all who have been hurt
in body, mind, and spirit
by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.

Hear our cries as we agonize
over the harm done to our brothers and sisters.
Breathe wisdom into our prayers,
soothe restless hearts with hope,
steady shaken spirits with faith:
Show us the way to justice and wholeness,
enlightened by truth and enfolded in your mercy

Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts,
heal your people's wounds
and transform our brokenness.
Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace
so that we may act with justice
and find peace in you.

We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Prayer to St Mark the Evangelist

(traditional language)
Almighty God, who by the hand of Mark the evangelist hast given to thy Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank thee for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

(contemporary language)
Almighty God, who by the hand of Mark the evangelist have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Pauline Year (29th June 2008/09) Prayer

Glorious Saint Paul,
Apostle full of zeal,
Martyr by Christ's love,
obtain for us a profound faith,
a firm hope,
a burning love for the Lord
so that we can say with you:
"It is no longer I but the Christ who lives in me."

Help us to become apostles
who serve the Church with a pure conscience,
witnesses of its greatness and its beauty
amid the darkness of our time.

With you we praise God our Father,
"To Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ
from age to age forever."

Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost Definition and Summary

Pentecost, also known as Whitsunday, celebrates the birthday of the Christian Church, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in the Book of Acts.

Pentecost is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

Christian Pentecost differs from the Jewish celebration.

In 2009, Pentecost falls on May 31 in the Catholic Calendar.

Basic Facts About Pentecost

Liturgical Color(s): Red
Type of Holiday: Feast
Time of Year: 50 days after Easter
Duration: One Day (or an entire octave in older custom)
Celebrates/Symbolizes: The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and the founding of the Church
Alternate Names: Whitsunday
Scriptural References: Acts 2:1-11; The Book of Acts


Pentecost, the 50th and final day of the Easter Season, celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles in the book of Acts, ushering in the beginning of the Church.

50 Days after Jesus' resurrection (and 10 days after Jesus' Ascension), the apostles were gathered together, probably confused and contemplating their future mission and purpose.

On the day of Pentecost, a flame rested upon the shoulders of the apostles and they began to speak in tongues (languages), by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thus Pentecost is a time for many Catholics and other Christians to celebrate two important realities: the Holy Spirit and the Church.

Pentecost has long been a very important feast in The Catholic and Orthodox Churches because it celebrates the official beginning of the Church. It is one of the twelve Great Feasts of the Eastern Church, second only in importance to Pascha (Easter).

Pentecost always falls on a Sunday, fifty days after Easter Sunday (inclusive of Easter Sunday), and occurs during mid-to-late Spring in the Northern hemisphere, and mid-to-late autumn in the Southern hemisphere.

The summer season of Ordinary Time begins on the Monday immediately following Pentecost Sunday.

Pentecost is also the Greek name for Jewish Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), falling on the 50th day of Passover. It was during the Feast of Weeks that the first fruits of the grain harvest were presented (see Deuteronomy 16:9).

New Testament references to Pentecost likely refer to the Jewish feast and not the Christian feast, which gradually developed during and after the Apostolic period.

In the English speaking countries, Pentecost is also known as Whitsunday. The origin of this name is unclear, but may derive from the Old English word for "White Sunday," referring to the practice of baptizing converts clothed in white robes on the Sunday of Pentecost.

In the English tradition, new converts were baptized on Easter, Pentecost, and All Saints Day, primarily for pragmatic purposes: people went to church these days. Alternatively, the name Whitsunday may have originally meant "Wisdom Sunday," since the Holy Spirit is traditionally viewed as the Wisdom of God, who bestows wisdom upon Christians at baptism.

In other parts of the world, Pentecost has other names, including "Green Sunday" in the Ukraine and "Green Holiday" in Poland. These names are derived from Pentecost customs that involve taking green plants into homes and churches as symbols of new life. These customs also may hearken back to the harvest festival themes of the Jewish Pentecost.


As with the term Pascha, in Pentecost Christians borrowed a Jewish term and applied it to their own festivals. Tertullian (3rd century) knew of Christian Pentecost, and the Apostolic Constitutions (4th century) speak of the Pentecost feast lasting a week.

In the Western Church the vigil of Pentecost became second only to the Easter Vigil in importance. Eventually in the West, Pentecost became a Sunday set aside for baptisms. Pentecost was not kept with an octave (an 8 day celebration) until a later date, although now that practice has been largely abandoned.

For the most part, Pentecost is now in Western churches celebrated for only a Sunday.

Traditionally, the Sundays between Pentecost and Advent have been designated "Sundays After Pentecost."

However, this has been dropped in the West, although it continues in the East.

The date of Pentecost is determined based on the date of Easter, and since Western churches calculate Easter differently than Orthodox Christians, usually Western and Eastern Christians celebrate Pentecost on different dates.

Using the Western Easter calculation, the earliest possible date for Pentecost is May 10, and the latest possible date is June 13.

Vatican making great strides in recycling

Surrounded by a city that just started a pilot recycling program in one small neighborhood, the Vatican's efforts to separate and recycle its garbage reportedly are making great strides.

"It is new, but it is moving forward seriously," said Bishop Renato Boccardo, secretary of the office governing Vatican City State.

"It has been difficult because it is a matter of education and of a certain culture and we were starting from zero," he said in late May, about 18 months after the Vatican started systematically sorting its trash and just three months after the city of Rome began doing so in the Trastevere neighborhood.

Since the beginning of 2008, the Vatican has designated 42 percent of its industrial-size trash collection containers to recyclables. The little city-state's roads and alleys are dotted with 120 containers for generic trash, 30 containers for paper, 25 for glass, 18 for plastic and 15 for aluminum and tin cans, said Elio Cortellessa, the Vatican gardener in charge of garbage collection.

In January, the Vatican newspaper interviewed Cortellessa and emphasized the fact that with the gardeners overseeing the trash pickup, care for the natural environment is a priority.

In fact, much of the material the Vatican recycles each year consists of garden waste -- pine cones, needles, leaves, palm fronds and grass clippings. Gardens and lawns cover almost half of the Vatican's 108 acres.

With a small gem to protect and the price of hauling trash to landfills continually increasing, the Vatican is trying to get its employees "to reflect a minute before throwing anything away," Bishop Boccardo said.

The next step is to get the millions of people who visit the Vatican each year to do the same, he said, adding that his office is planning to provide separate bins for plastic water bottles and for soft drink cans in the Vatican Museums and in St. Peter's Square, the two main tourist spots.

The governor's office does not, however, take care of garbage collection and recycling for the many Vatican congregations, pontifical councils and other offices located outside the Vatican walls. Even the Vatican press office, just across the street from St. Peter's Square, has to make do with the sanitation services offered by the city of Rome.

Fortunately, on the street behind the press office, the city has placed a jumbo-sized collection bin for paper alongside its regular trash receptacles.

"I take the paper out personally," said Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the press office.

Leftover copies of the daily press bulletin, newspapers and the daily press clipping service mean the priest gets plenty of exercise. However, he said, the press office is making a concerted effort to reduce its waste paper by getting Vatican officials to read the daily press clipping service online instead of in printed form.

Printing on all that paper also means the press office uses a significant amount of toner and ink, and those cartridges are picked up on a regular basis by a cooperative that recycles them, Father Benedettini said.

The priest said introducing the recycling measures was not much of a challenge; "there is great sensitivity here," he said.

While the press office produces an impressive pile of recyclable paper, it's nothing compared to the mountain of paper discarded each day by the Vatican printing press, which is responsible for printing the daily Vatican newspaper, its weekly editions in six languages as well as books, calendars, papal Mass programs, greeting cards and postcards.

Getting rid of all that paper costs very little and sometimes, depending on the market value of paper, even earns the Vatican money; the Vatican newspaper reported that sales of the waste paper often generate more money than it costs to hire a truck to take it away.

But paper and garden waste are not the only garbage the Vatican produces on an industrial scale, said Cortellessa.

The Vatican has separate contracts with companies that haul away and treat with environmental sensitivity the byproducts of the popular butcher's counter in the Vatican supermarket, expired medications from the Vatican pharmacy and biomedical waste from the Vatican health service, Cortellessa said.

Even though the Vatican is set in a garden and has fewer than 500 residents, he said there was a house-by-house and office-by-office effort to break the practice, common in Rome, of setting garbage bags and broken household appliances on the street corners in the hopes that a garbage collector would pick them up.

Now, he said, Vatican residents and employees call a number, and a truck arrives to collect and properly dispose of broken appliances, discarded furniture, old car batteries and tires, large packing materials and florescent light bulbs -- none of which go into the regular recycling containers.

Then, when the Vatican's annual trash haul is added together and divided by 365, statistics show it produces an average of about 13,000 pounds of trash each day. But the statistic gives the mistaken impression that Vatican employees and residents are major garbage generators, Cortellessa said.

The fact is, he said, "when there are large (public) ceremonies, the quantity of refuse triples."

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Source (CNS)


Book of Common Prayer marks 460th birthday

The English separation from the Holy Roman Catholic Church famously came during the reign of Henry VIII.

However, the Church of England continued to use the Latin liturgies throughout his rule, as it had for a milennium.

It wasn't until 1549, two years after Henry VIII's death, when Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, is believed to have written the Book of Common Prayer, the first complete liturgy for the English Church.

The historical work contains the calendar of daily morning and evening prayers as well as epistles and "gospelles" in the old English" style.

It includes the traditional Church of England instructions for the celebration of the "lordes Supper and Holy Communion through the yere, with proper Psalmes and Lessons, for diverse feastes and dayes."

"It is the basis of worship for Anglicans of all kinds throughout the world," said the Rev. Arthur Woolley of St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Church in Frederick .

In celebratation of the 460th birthday of the Book of Common Prayer, St. Michael the Archangel will use the 1549 edition of this volume, written in the beautiful language of Renaissance England, at its service this weekend.

First introduced on Whitsunday, also called Pentecost, during the reign of King Edward VI, the Book of Common Prayer formally brought together the forms of service for daily and Sunday worship.

Whitsunday falls on May 31 this year and the public is invited to attend the St. Michael the Archangel's service.

Five hundred years before Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s called for Catholic Mass to be said in the native language of its faithful, Woolley noted, Cranmer translated the Bible and holy Communion celebration so that the educated and uneducated alike could comprehend God's words.

The Archbishop explained why in the Common Book of Prayer's preface: "And moreover, whereas s. Paule (St. Paul) would have suche language spoken to the people in the churche, as they mighte understande and have profite by hearyng the same; the service in this Churche of England (these many yeares) hath been read in Latin to the people, whiche they understoode not; so that they have heard with theyr eares onely; and their hartes, spirite, and minde, have not been edified thereby."

The Book of Common Prayer became one of the most influential works ever written in English, preceeding the King James Bible and the works of Shakespeare by six decades.

"It has been so widely used, and for so long, that it has given the English language many of its common sayings and phrases, such as 'the apple of my eye,' 'out of the mouth of babes,' and 'little lower than the angels,'" said Judy Warner, a member of St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Church.

Much of the prayer book's marriage service, she added, is familiar. For example, "forsaking all others ... so long as you both shall live" ... "to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health ... till death us do part"... "with this ring I thee wed."

"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust" is thought by some to be in the Bible, Warner said, "but although the idea is biblical, the words come from the burial service of the Book of Common Prayer."

These phrases, and other parts of the Book of Common Prayer, have been used for centuries and have been adopted by other Christian denominations.

"The English is even older than Elizabethean English, the language, especially the spelling, had not settled down as much," as when even Shakespeare began writing, Woolley said. "We'll be using a version with updated spelling for the service, otherwise I don't think we wouldn't be able to get through it."

However, he did point out that one young couple in the congregation has decided they want to use the original Common Book of Prayers vows for their wedding ceremony this summer.

Woolly read: "With his ring I thee wed; this gold and silver I thee give, with my body I thee worship and with all my worldly goods I thee endow. In the name of the Father and the Son and Holy Ghost. Amen."

"The spelling is often archaic," Woolley said, "but the writing is remarkable."

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Source (FNPO)


Drop in income forces Madison diocese to cut costs

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison is cutting costs amid a controversy over its leadership.

The diocese announced this week that it will cut some employees' pay, reduce staff and close its Catholic Multicultural Center, which helps the needy.

The diocese says the recession and a drop in investment income are mostly responsible for the cuts.

But some church members say they are not giving to the diocese because they are unhappy with Bishop Robert Morlino.

John Yrios of Cross Plains says he didn't donate to the diocese last year and he probably won't this year.

A diocese spokesman didn't respond directly to such comments but said a "great many" have given "generously."

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Source (CTC)


Cruel and usual

The Vatican was on the sidelines but reportedly ready to intervene as Ireland continued to reel this week in the wake of a shocking report on the abuse of children by religious orders in orphanages and industrial schools.

The orders, 18 in total, have refused to increase their €128 million contribution to a compensation fund for victims of the abuse that is graphically detailed in the exhaustive report.

But they might have to do just that if ordered to by Pope Benedict.

Meanwhile, as authorities look at the prospect of possibly filing criminal charges, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has said that anyone responsible for abusing children in Catholic-run institutions must be held to account.

Cardinal Sean Brady's unprecedented calls came followed the publication last week of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse report which probed widespread and systematic abuse of children in state-owned institutions administered by religious orders.

The commission, chaired by Mr. Justice Sean Ryan, concluded that thousands of children suffered physical and sexual abuse over several decades in residential institutions run by religious congregations.

The commission heard from more than 500 witnesses who said they had been sexually abused and there were also many reports of injuries including broken bones, lacerations and bruising.

The report, which makes for shocking reading, describes how children lived in "a climate of fear" in the institutions and finds that "sexual abuse was endemic in boys' institutions."

Cases of sexual abuse were hidden by the congregations that ran the institutions and offenders were transferred to other locations where they were free to abuse again, the report said.

Eight chapters in the report are devoted to the Christian Brothers, the largest provider of residential care for boys in Ireland.

More allegations were made against the Christian Brothers than all other male orders combined.

The report also sharply criticized the Irish government's department of education for failing to carry out proper inspections.

"The deferential and submissive attitude of the Department of Education towards the congregations compromised its ability to carry out its statutory duty of inspection," the report stated.

The inquiry commission, which was set up in 1999, investigated industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages, institutions for children with disabilities and ordinary day schools.

It heard evidence covering the period from 1914 to the present, but the bulk of its work addressed the period from the early 1930s to the early 1970s.

More than 1,700 men and women gave evidence of the abuse they suffered as children in institutions, with over half reporting sexual abuse.

Accounts of abuse given in relation to 216 institutions are detailed in the report, which runs to nearly 3,000 pages.

More than 800 priests, brothers, nuns and lay people were implicated. The final cost of the commission may be over €100 million.

Responding to the report, the Catholic primate, Cardinal Seán Brady, said he was "profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed that children suffered in such awful ways."

He stated: "Children deserved better and especially from those caring for them in the name of Jesus Christ."

The minister for education, Batt O'Keeffe said "the wrongs of the past" could not be undone.

"However, as a responsible and caring society, we must fully face up to the fact that wrong was done and we must learn from the mistakes of the past," he said.

Speaking in the Dáil, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the government would "carefully study the findings and recommendations."

The Christian Brothers, who are severely criticized in the report, also issued an apology.

"We are deeply sorry for the hurt caused. We are ashamed and saddened that many who complained of abuse were not listened to," a statement said.

"We appreciate that no healing is possible without an acknowledgement of our responsibility as a congregation for what has happened."

The Catholic archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said the stories of abuse were "stomach-churning."

Despite this, the findings will not be used for criminal prosecutions, in part because the Christian Brothers successfully sued the commission in 2004 to keep the identities of all of its members, dead or alive, unnamed in the report.

The order issued an apology Tuesday saying it "accepted with shame" the findings of the commission.

No real names, whether of victims or perpetrators, appear in the final document.

The report has sparked a mixed reaction from victims groups.

The "One in Four" organization, which offers support to victims of abuse, said publication of the report marked a "shameful day" for Ireland.

Child welfare organizations called for a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of the child.

Fergus Finlay, chief executive of the charity Barnardos said: "we must guarantee that the voices of children are never silenced again."

The report recommends an overhaul of the inspection system for childcare services to include unannounced inspections and objective national standards. It also proposes the erection of a memorial to victims of abuse in the institutions.

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse is separate from the Residential Institutions Redress Board, which has received some 15,000 applications for financial compensation.

It is expected the total cost of awards by the board will exceed €1 billion, of which €128 million has been contributed by 18 religious congregations.

In the days following the publication of the report, counseling services throughout Ireland reported a significant rise in calls from people seeking help.

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Source (IEO)


Irish Govt has 'no plans' to reduce Vatican embassy

Relations between Ireland and the Vatican will not be scaled down as part of a widespread Government review of diplomatic spending, The Irish Catholic has learned.

The news comes just days after Department of Foreign Affairs announced the closure of the Consulate in Cardiff as part of a planned reduction in spending on Irish representation overseas.

Other embassies and representatives overseas are also set for the chop over coming months.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs told The Irish Catholic: ''In the Government's Smart Economy document, published at the end of 2008, the Department of Foreign Affairs committed to reviewing its network of missions abroad, in order to ensure that they are operating at an optimum level of efficiency, are delivering tangible services and outcomes for the benefit of Ireland and its citizens, and that resources are aligned with strategic objectives.


''While all missions come within the scope of this review, the Department does not have any specific plans to alter the scale or resource base of Ireland's Embassy to the Holy See,'' the department official added.

Currently the Embassy to the Vatican, housed in the recently-restored Villa Spada on the city's Janiculum Hill, is staffed by an Ambassador and one other Irish diplomat as well as a number of locally-hired staff.


It is understood that costs incurred by the Holy See Embassy are significantly less than those incurred by many Irish embassies overseas.

Ireland first established relations with the Vatican in 1929 and the Holy See was one of the first States targeted by the emerging Free State government for diplomatic relations.

Ambassadors accredited to the Holy See have frequent meeting with senior Vatican officials and act as conduits between their sponsoring-governments and the Church's central administration on a range of diplomatic and ecclesiastical issues.

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Source (IC)

SV (3)

State ethics office investigates Connecticut diocese as lobbying group

In response to its efforts to fight a bill that would have redefined the financial and pastoral structure of the Catholic Church in Connecticut, the Diocese of Bridgeport is now being investigated by the Office of State Ethics (OSE) for acting as a lobbying group without registering as one.

The diocese filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the investigation.

According to the Diocese of Bridgeport, a letter was received on April 23, 2009 from Thomas K. Jones, Ethics Enforcement Officer for the OSE, who informed the diocese that it was "the subject of an Office of State Ethics evaluation."

The Church is suspected to have violated several Connecticut General Statutes (1-94, 1-95 and 1-96) which deal with “failing to register as a lobbyist in Connecticut,” “failing to submit all other appropriate lobbyist filings” and “failing to follow all applicable registration procedures."

The letter from the OSE argues that the diocese acted as a lobbying organization by participating in a rally at the State Capitol opposing Bill 1098 and using its website to encourage members to contact their elected representatives to oppose proposed legislation.

Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport reacted to the investigation earlier today, saying, "Following the surprise introduction of Bill 1098, a proposal that singled out Catholic parishes and would have forced them to reorganize contrary to Church law and the First Amendment, our Diocese responded in the most natural, spontaneous, and frankly, American, of ways: we alerted our membership – in person and through our website; we encouraged them to exercise their free speech by contacting their elected representatives; and, we organized a rally at the State Capitol.

“How can this possibly be called lobbying?" he asked.

Over the weekend, all parishes in the Bridgeport Diocese will hear a letter read to them from Bishop Lori addressing the investigation. In his letter, the bishop explains what he believes the consequences of the state requiring to register as a lobbying organization would be.

“Once again,” writes Lori, “we should be outraged. 'Lobbying'? Exhortations from the pulpit, information posted to the world wide web, a rally in the middle of the day on the State’s most public piece of property? This cannot possibly be what our Legislature had in mind when it enacted lobbying laws to bring more transparency and oversight to a legislative process that has been corrupted by special interests and backroom deals.

“Let’s be clear: we violated no law.” Bishop Lori states in his letter.

In response to the investigation, the diocese announced on Friday afternoon that it had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Thomas Jones, OSE Ethics Enforcement Officer, and against Carol Carson, Executive Director of the OSE. The Bridgeport Diocese is seeking a court order to prevent further action against it by the Office of State Ethics.

"I believe that an order from the Court barring Mr. Jones and his colleagues at the OSE from applying the lobbying laws to the Diocese in this manner is necessary to enable the Diocese to continue to carry out its mission without fear of incurring civil penalties, exposure to possible criminal prosecution, burdensome administrative requirements, and intrusive oversight by the State," Bishop Lori said.

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Source (CNA)


Gays in showdown with archbishop about Pentecost communion

A group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics won’t be receiving communion at the Cathedral of St. Paul this Pentecost Sunday, according to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Members of the Rainbow Sash movement, they will attempt to receive the Eucharist on Sunday anyway, in hopes of starting a dialogue with Archbishop John Nienstedt about the role of gays and lesbians in the church.

But Nienstedt had strong words for the group, saying he won’t debate church teachings.

Rainbow Sash movement members, LGBT Catholics and friends, wear a rainbow sash each Pentecost to identify themselves as LGBT church members and supporters.

If they are denied the Eucharist they go back to the pews and remain standing as acknowledgment of being denied.

If they do receive the Eucharist, they kneel as they are expected to.

The archdiocese, which says the group is merely about disruptive protest, released this statement on Wednesday:

The archdiocese has received word that a group dissenting from the church’s teaching on sexuality will be wearing signs of protest (rainbow sashes) at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Pentecost Sunday during the noon Mass. Those wearing such sashes will not be allowed to receive Holy Communion, since they have publicly broken communion with the teachings of the church.

The Holy Eucharist should never be politicized by protesters in this way. Theirs is a sign of disrespect and irreverence to the body and blood of Jesus.

But Rainbow Sash members insist the sashes are not a protest.

“We cannot repeat too often that we attend Mass on Pentecost to celebrate who we are, not to protest,” said a statement on their website, which was part of a letter sent to Nienstedt. “We participate in Mass in the same way we do all the other days of the year. But on Pentecost we come out of the closet as LGBT Catholics, family and friends to remind our fellow Catholics that we too are part of God’s loving family.”

The group said it only seeks a dialogue with the archbishop. Nienstedt, who also urges other churchgoers to refrain from sharing communion with those wearing sashes, said the matter is not up for debate. In a letter to the group, he wrote:

With regard to the dialogue you request, it would first be essential that you state clearly that you hold with the conviction all that the Church teaches on matters of human sexuality. If you do not believe, then there cannot be dialogue, but only debate. The truths of our faith are not open to debate.

In the past, however, the issue has been up for debate.

In 2004, former Archbishop Harry Flynn offered the group communion, setting off a firestorm among conservative members of the church. Flynn said it was part of pastoral care.

“We all stand very strong in our teaching concerning human sexuality, and what is right and what is wrong, and the teaching of the church concerning homosexuality, the teaching of the church concerning marriage between one man and one woman,” he said in 2004.

“Then as you step away from the strong articulation of the teachings, you get into the pastoral practice of what do you do in some of these very difficult and challenging situations.”

But in 2005, he changed his mind and from then on LGBT Catholics who visibly identify themselves as such are denied the sacrament.

Those who identify themselves with the sashes do so for various reasons, as Lisa Nilles found when compiling a collection of responses from Rainbow Sash members on why they participate in the movement’s Pentecost observation each year. Many of them were parents or friends of LGBT church members.

“I have a son who is 6′2″ with dark curly hair, marvelous design skills, who is a plain old fashioned good person who just happens to be gay,” one parent said. “I am tired of ‘my’ Church ignoring his many qualities in order to focus on the mystery of his sexuality which, because they cannot understand, they chose to condemn. So I thought this a good way to show my unconditional support for him and all who share this mystery.”

Another parent spoke of wearing the sash “to celebrate the intrinsic goodness of my lesbian daughter and every other GLBT child of God. If solidarity with the marginalized is perceived as resistance to Church teaching, so be it.”

“This is, I think, the fourth year my wife and I attended this Pentecost service [at the cathedral],” he continued. “We are involved in a number of social justice issues and solidarity with GLBT persons is an important extension of that outreach, made more personal to us because we have a lesbian daughter. My daughter is right when she says, ‘My folks would be involved even if they didn’t have me because that’s who they are.’

“I am proud of that and will do anything nonviolently to counter the prejudice and bigotry of the Catholic Church.”

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Wikipedia excommunicates Church of Scientology (Contribution)

They've been told off countless times, and now Wikipedia has finally popped its foot down and banned those at Church of Scientology HQ from adding or editing entries.

The Register reports that all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church and its associates have been blocked from contributing to the site (unless they apply for special dispensation).

Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee voted 10 to 0 (and one voter abstained) to place an immediate ban on the Church.

The ban is an attempt to prevent the self-serving edits that Wikipedia alleges the Church uses to push its own agenda.

The online encyclopedia makes it clear that contributers should not work for or be affiliated with any company or organisation that they write about, and has always tried to maintain what it calls a "neutral point of view".

Individuals are often banned, but this apparently unprecented step has meant that a blanket ban Scientology IPs has been put in place.

Wikipedia has found it hard to police edits to Scientology-related entries because multiple editors have been working from various IPs with ever-changing addresses.

It's unclear if there are lots of different editors, or if a few editors are using multiple accounts in a system known as "sock puppeting".

One Arbitration Committee member wrote:

"Our alternatives are to block them entirely, or checkuser every 'pro-Scientology' editor on this topic. I find the latter unacceptable. It is quite broad, but it seems that they're funneling a lot of editing traffic through a few IPs, which make socks impossible to track."

Scientology-related posts have long been troubling to Wikipedia, since many anti-Scientology editors have also been banned over the years. But Wikipedia has come under criticism for the rulings of its committee, which was once known for allowing full freedom of speech.

It's hard not to feel that banning IPs in this way is a rather drastic approach, which certainly doesn't sit well with a company that has always been associated with self-moderation, free-speech and a general air of goodwill.

But with so much time and effort spent on dealing with what is just a tiny part of this enormous resource, I can't bring myself to condemn them entirely.

What do you think?

Is this the thin end of the wedge. or does this action only go to strengthen Wikipedia's position as the web's greatest collaborative project?

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Source (TTUK)


Bishops: We have already said sorry to abuse victim

Catholic bishops in Christchurch say they have already apologised to a victim of alleged abuse who has written a book called Say Sorry.

Ann Thompson's book, which goes on sale on Monday, tells of physical, mental and sexual abuse she suffered as a child at St Joseph's Catholic Orphanage for Girls and Nazareth House in Christchurch.

Now aged 68 and a Christchurch mother of three, Thompson told the Press newspaper she had written the book "so the Catholic Church would come forward, admit this has happened and apologise".

She claimed she was thrashed regularly at Nazareth House and nuns would shove her head down the toilet because she was born out of wedlock.

This week, she said that although some members of the church would remain in denial about her claims, she was confident they would be believed by others once they had read the book, a Penguin publication.

But the Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, Barry Jones, said yesterday that both he and and his predecessor, John Cunneen, had apologised to Thompson on separate occasions.

Bishop Jones said the Christchurch diocese participated in mediation in 2001 between Thompson and the religious orders responsible for the orphanages.

"Everyone, including Mrs Thompson, signed up to indicate their satisfaction with the terms of the settlement," he said.

The Press reported it had seen documents last year showing she received a package worth more than $44,000 following mediation.

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Source (NHCN)


Monterey diocese settles abuse case for $1.2 million

The Diocese of Monterey agreed Friday to pay a former Salinas man $1.2 million for years of sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of two priests.

Bishop Richard Garcia will meet with the man and his family to formally apologize for the diocese's actions.

The settlement, which does not include a confidentiality clause, heads off a trial that was set to start Monday.

The victim's attorney, John Manley of Newport Beach, said his client got what he set out to obtain.

"What he always wanted was an apology and for the documents to come out," Manley said, referring to the diocese's agreement to release all records and depositions that do not reveal the victim's identity.

Manley said the documents will reveal the diocese "has blood on its hands." Because church leaders failed to notify local law enforcement when they learned the boy was assaulted, he said, one of his abusers went on to molest the boy's brother and others.

The priest, the Rev. Juan Guillen, is serving a 10-year sentence in Arizona for the subsequent molestations. The other priest, the Rev. John Velez, is believed to be serving the church in Latin America.

Manley said his client, who is 29, accepted the deal Friday so his mother would not have to testify at what promised to be an arduous and painful trial.

"It's all about his mom," said Manley, adding that the year after "John Doe" filed his lawsuit against the dioceses of Monterey and Tucson, Ariz., he donated a portion of his liver to save his mother's life.

The woman, a devout Catholic who migrated between Salinas and Yuma, Ariz., entrusted her son to priests in both parishes.

According to court records, Guillen began molesting the boy in Arizona shortly after he immigrated to the United States as an 8-year-old in 1988. After the boy's family moved to Salinas, Guillen continued to visit the family. He was so trusted, he was allowed to sleep in the boy's bed.

Velez began molesting the boy in 1991, when Velez was assigned to St. Mary of the Nativity Catholic Church in Salinas. Ironically, it was Guillen who reported Velez to local church officials after the boy told him about Velez's abuse.

Monsignor Charles Fatooh, who was heading the Monterey diocese at the time, admitted in a pretrial deposition that neither he nor anyone else in the diocese did anything to alert police, protect the boy or find out if there were other victims.

Instead, he said, he called the diocese's attorney, Albert Ham. According to court documents, Ham and Father Gregory Sandman, then pastor of St. Mary of the Nativity Church, met with the victim's mother and told her the abuse was the "sort of thing that happens to a lot of kids" and "not a big deal." She said they turned down her request for money to pay for her son's counseling.

Fatooh removed Velez from the parish and placed him in a retreat house in San Juan Bautista, where he tried to commit suicide. After he recuperated at the Catholic-owned Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, he was turned over to officials from the Marist order of Mexico and ushered out of the country.

Fatooh was later forced to resign after it was reported that another suspected pedophile priest, Robert Trupia, was living in his Maryland condominium. Fatooh and now-retired Bishop Sylvester Ryan hired Trupia to do canon law work in the diocese while he was under investigation for molestations in Arizona.

Fatooh is now a parish priest in Cayucos.

Friday's settlement was negotiated for the diocese by San Francisco attorney Paul Gaspari. While agreeing that the diocese would pay John Doe and apologize to him and his family, he reiterated a contention made in an op-ed piece in Friday's Herald.

"No priest with a credible allegation of sexual misconduct is in ministry in the diocese," he said.

The diocese promptly suspended the sacramental duties of the Rev. Antonio Cortes in April when he was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy. Cortes, pastor of St. Mary of the Nativity, is also charged with possessing child pornography and faces a preliminary hearing next week.

Gaspari told Judge Lydia Villarreal on Friday he agreed to open most of the documents and depositions in the case, with the exception of records that could identify the victim.

Dressed in jeans and a black linen blazer, John Doe left the courthouse without comment Friday after embracing his attorneys and shaking hands with Gaspari.

Manley said he was "really happy" for his client, who received a $600,000 settlement from the bankrupt Diocese of Tucson.

His total settlement of $1.8 million is well over the average $1.4 million paid out by the church to thousands of other clergy-abuse victims since 2003, he said.

"He's a courageous boy," Manley said. "He hung in there for six years and took the best shots the oldest multinational entity in the world could give him, and he's still standing."

Susan Mayer, general counsel for the diocese, referred requests for comment to the diocese spokesman, Warren Hoy. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Source (MCTH)


Central African Republic: Church in Crisis as Two Catholic Bishops Quit

The Catholic Church in the Central African Republic is grappling with a crisis brought by the resignation of two senior bishops and a strike by priests.

The Vatican on Tuesday announced the resignation of Archbishop Paulin Pomodimo of Bangui, 54, less than two weeks after the departure on May 16 of Bishop Francois-Xavier Yombanje of Bossangoa, president of the bishops' conference.

Media reports say the resignation of Archbishop Pomodimo followed an investigation into priests of Bangui who live more or less openly with women and had fathered children.

Catholic News Service reported that following Archbishop Pomodimo's exit, more than 40 priests launched a one-day strike to protest the appointment of a new apostolic administrator. The priests from the Archdiocese of Bangui resumed celebrating Mass on Thursday a.

The Bangui archdiocesan chancellor, Fr Brad Mazangue, told CNS that arrangements were being made for the new apostolic administrator, Fr Dieudonne Nzapa-La-Ayinga, to address the priests on the matter as soon as possible.

When announcing the resignation of Archbishop Pomodimo, the Vatican said the prelate quit under the terms of Canon 401.2 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that "a diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfil his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office."

Other reports quoted Passionist Fr Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office, as saying that Archbishop Pomodimo resigned because of "insurmountable difficulties in running the diocese."

Fr Mathurin Paze Lekissan, a Bangui archdiocesan priest, told CNS by telephone that the Bangui clergy had invited priests in other dioceses to join them in protesting the resignation of the two bishops.

The news agency Africa News had reported Monday that Archbishop Pomodimo and several priests in his archdiocese would be sanctioned "for adopting a moral attitude which is not always in conformity with their commitments to follow Christ in chastity, poverty and obedience."

The agency said Guinean Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, had visited the Central African Republic and "concluded that many local priests have official homes, children and have accumulated private properties."

Archbishop Sarah told CNS on Tuesday that he had travelled to the Bangui Archdiocese, but could not comment further.

Africa News also reported that priests from nine of the country's dioceses accused the Vatican of being "discriminatory, partial and selective in the assessment of the situation since white priests and bishops are also guilty of the same practices."

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Source (AAC)


Pope Benedict XVI to visit Czech Republic

The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI will make a three-day pilgrimage to the Czech Republic in September.

The 82-year-old pope plans to visit the capital, Prague, as well as the cities of Brno and Stara Boleslav on the Sept. 26-28 trip.

The Holy See said Saturday the pontiff was taking up invitations from both the Czech president and the country's bishops conference.

Details will be released at a later date.

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Source (AP)


Pope says difficult to understand why God chose him

Pope Benedict said on Saturday he still had difficulty understanding why God had chosen him to lead the Catholic Church worldwide, recalling his isolated upbringing in a rural community of southern Germany.

The 82-year-old pontiff, whose past in wartime Germany once again came under scrutiny during a visit to Israel this month, said that as a boy he never dreamed of becoming pope.

"I must say that even today I have difficulty in understanding how the Lord was able to think of me, choose me for this mission," Benedict told a meeting with thousands of children from the Church's Missionary Childhood society.

"But I accept it from his hands, even if it's surprising and appears far beyond my forces. But the Lord helps me."

Benedict said growing up in a poor region of southern Bavaria, he and his peers did not think of the outside world.

He was "a rather naive boy in a small village very far from the center, in a forgotten province," the pope said.

"Naturally, we knew, venerated and loved the pope -- it was Pius XI -- but for us he was unobtainably noble, in almost another world: Our father, but still inhabiting a reality far superior to ours."

The pope's German upbringing was thrust into the spotlight during the pilgrimage to the Holy Land this month, aimed at mending ties with the Jewish community strained by his re-admission of a Holocaust-denying bishop.

Some Jewish leaders, who criticized the pope's speech at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial as too detached and lacking in emotion, raised his teenage membership of the Hitler Youth.

In "Salt of the Earth," a 1996 book of autobiographical and religious reflections based on interviews with German journalist Peter Seewald, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said he was automatically enrolled in the Hitler Youth as a seminarian but played no active part.

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Source (TWP)


The 18 orders: what they do now

Orders at the centre of the abuse controversy are involved in running schools and hospitals

SOME OF the 18 religious orders that signed the indemnity deal with the State are still involved in education in a significant way, with the Irish Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Mercy accounting for a large number of schools.

However, the numbers of religious in the 18 orders have fallen greatly in recent years and the majority are now reaching or have passed retirement age.

Sisters of Mercy

The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy ran 26 industrial schools during the period investigated by the commission, making them the largest providers of care by nuns at that time. The order was founded by Catherine McAuley in 1831.

The Sisters of Mercy are still one of the key providers of education with involvement in more than 60 pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools around the State. The order has associations with four community schools and has had a long involvement with the third-level Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.

The Sisters are also involved in working with educational bodies such as the National Centre for the Liturgy in Maynooth, An Tobar Resource Centre in Marino, Dublin, and the Education in the Prison Service scheme run by the VEC.

The order is also involved with hospitals such as the Mater, Temple Street Children’s Hospital and the National Rehabilitation Hospital.

Through Sr Consilio Fitzgerald, it founded addiction centres all over Ireland, the best known of which is the Cuan Mhuire centre in Athy, Co Kildare.

The Sisters of Mercy is an international congregation, with 2,750 members in Ireland, South America, Africa, and the US. Some 2,283 of these are working in Ireland, while 90 are in the US and 32 in South Africa.

Christian Brothers

Some eight chapters in the Ryan report were devoted to the Christian Brothers, the largest provider of residential care for boys in the State at that time.

The order had its beginnings in Waterford city in 1802, when Edmund Ignatius Rice opened a school for poor children. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse described the growth of the order as “remarkable”. In 1831, there were only 45 Christian Brothers but by 1960, that had increased to 4,000.

Today, there are about 250 Christian Brothers in Ireland. Like most religious orders, the majority of the Brothers are aged over 60.

The Edmund Rice Schools Trust, set up last year, is responsible for 96 Christian Brothers schools in the State. Some 59 are second-level and 37 are primary schools. About 35,000 students attend these schools and are taught by more than 2,700 teachers.

The Christian Brothers trustees formally handed on its network of nine schools in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Edmund Rice Schools Trust in January. The Northern Ireland trust has operational responsibility for 5,500 students and more than 320 teachers.

Irish Christian Brothers can also be found all over the world, particularly in Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the US.

Presentation Brothers

The Presentation Brothers, which ran St Joseph’s Industrial School in Greenmount, Cork, is currently involved in numerous primary and post-primary schools around the State.

There are six in Cork city as well as schools in Cobh, Co Cork, Birr, Co Offaly, Bray, Co Wicklow, and Miltown and Killarney, Co Kerry. The Brothers are involved in a range of other activities, including the Immigrant Support Unit at Mount Sion, Waterford, and the Glór na hAbhann ecology and spirituality centre in Waterford.

The order was set up by Edmund Rice in Waterford in 1808 and was first known as the Society of the Preservation.


The Institute of Charity, known as the Rosminians, was praised by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse for its acceptance of responsibility for what happened in its schools.

The order was founded in Italy in 1828 and came to Ireland after it was invited to run a new reformatory school in Upton, Co Cork in 1860. It opened a number of other houses in the following years, many of which have since closed. The order has about 30 members in Ireland, with 300 worldwide.

The Upton reformatory school closed in 1966 and later reopened as a centre for adults with mental disabilities. The order has handed the school to the State, but it continues to have a pastoral role there.

It also ran St Joseph’s Industrial School in Ferryhouse, Clonmel, Co Tipperary. The order also transferred ownership of the property to the State, but retains a pastoral presence there.

The order is probably best known today for the Rosminian House of Prayer in Glencomeragh. It has scaled back on its involvement in education for the visually impaired in Drumcondra, Dublin, but it is represented on the board of St Joseph’s School for the Visually Impaired.

Its members run parishes in Clonmel, Co Tipperary and Faughart, Co Louth and also serve as missionaries, most notably in east Africa.

Daughters of Charity

The Irish province of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul has almost 30 houses around the State and in Kenya.

It came to Ireland from France, in 1855 and operated industrial schools, orphanages, centres for people with an intellectual disability, a hospital and a mother and baby home during the period investigated by the commission.

It is still involved involved in education from pre-school upwards as well as services for people with intellectual disability and services for older people.

The order runs St Vincent’s Trust, a community education service in the north inner city. This includes a nursery, a high support school and adult education.

The order has a presence in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Belfast, Drogheda and in Carnew, Co Wicklow.

Good Shepherd Sisters

The Good Shepherd Sisters, which originated in France, ran four industrial schools in the south and a reformatory school in Limerick.

Today, the Irish Sisters are primarily involved in activities such as working with women involved in prostitution.

It has strong links with the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge and in 1989, the orders jointly founded Ruhama, which works with women involved in prostitution.

It also provides sheltered accommodation, supports victims of domestic abuse and does parish and youth work.


The Oblates of Mary Immaculate ran Daingean Reformatory School in Co Offaly and a detention school at Scoil Ard Mhuire in Lusk, during the period investigated by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

Founded in Ireland in the 1850s, the Oblates are now best known for their missionary work in countries such as Sri Lanka and Congo. They also run some parishes in Dublin and work with community groups in disadvantaged areas. There are about 50 Oblates in Ireland, with some 4,000 internationally.

Hospitaller Order

The Hospitaller Order of St John of God contributed to the redress fund because it ran a day and residential school for children with learning disabilities at St Augustine’s in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

The order still runs this school and also provides mental health services, care for older people and services for children and adults with disabilities in Ireland. Up to 3,000 individuals receive support every year through services operated by over 2,000 staff and volunteers, including 36 members of the order. Worldwide, the order runs more than 250 hospitals and centres in 48 countries.

Sisters of Charity

The Religious Sisters of Charity ran five industrial schools, including St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s in Kilkenny and a group home, Madonna House, in Dublin.

It was founded by Mary Aikenhead in 1815 “to give to the poor what the rich could buy with money”.

The order now has almost 150 communities in Ireland, England and Scotland, North and South America, Australia, Nigeria, and Zambia. It has 264 sisters here, with an average age of 74 years.

It is probably best known for its hospice work and its work with marginalised people such as homeless people, prisoners, immigrants and those with addictions.

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, president of Focus Ireland, is one of its most prominent members.

The order founded St Vincent’s Hospital and St Vincent’s Private Hospital and took over St Michael’s Hospital in Dún Laoghaire from the Sisters of Mercy in 2001.

It also has a presence in a large number of healthcare facilities including convalescent and nursing homes, where it provides chaplaincy and pastoral care and does voluntary work.

De La Salle Brothers

The De La Salle Brothers had long experience of residential care in England before getting involved in residential care here in 1972 when St Laurence’s School in Finglas, Dublin, was opened. They ceased involvement in that school in 1994.

The De La Salle Brothers now runs two primary schools in Waterford and Dublin and about 10 post-primary schools around the country. It also runs two retreat centres in Dublin and Portlaoise. There are about 80 De La Salle Brothers in Ireland with a further 20 doing missionary work abroad.

Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge ran an industrial school in Drumcondra and a reformatory school in Kilmacud during the period investigated by the commission. It is a relatively small order with an aged profile in Ireland.

It was founded in Normandy, France in 1641 and invited into Ireland in the late 1800s to provide a refuge for fallen women. Like the Good Shepherd Sisters, it got involved in the Magdalene laundries, most notably, in High Park in Drumcondra. It later went on with the Good Shepherd Sisters to found Ruhama, which works with prostitutes.

Sisters of St Clare

The Sisters of St Clare ran an industrial school in Cavan and an orphanage with an attached school in Harold’s Cross during the period investigated by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

The French order’s presence in Ireland started in 1629 when a convent was set up in Dublin by a number of Irish women who had entered a Poor Clares convent in Belgium. In 1973, it was decided that the order would become known as the Sisters of St Clare to avoid confusion with the enclosed Poor Clares.

The Sisters closed the Harolds Cross Orphanage in 1981. The majority of the 24 sisters are now retired but a small number continue to work in the community in areas such as voluntary counselling and early school leaving projects.

Sisters of St Louis

The Sisters of St Louis ran St Martha’s Industrial School in Bundoran, Co Donegal and Sisters also worked in St Joseph’s Orphanage in Bundoran, which was under diocesan management.

Today, the order is best known for its work in primary and post-primary education, but its involvement has been scaled back greatly in recent years.

However, it has retained trusteeship of schools in Monaghan town, Carrickmacross, Dundalk and Rathmines. Care for aged Sisters has become a large part of its work.

Presentation Sisters

The Presentation Sisters ran St Francis’s Industrial School in Cashel and St Bernard’s Industrial School in Dundrum, Co Tipperary.

The sisters still have strong involvement in dozens of primary and post-primary schools around the State.

It also works with students with special needs, including pre-school children. Sisters also do work in areas such as counselling, palliative care and hospital chaplaincy.

There are 726 sisters in 123 communities around Ireland.

Dominican Fathers

The Dominican Fathers have a long tradition of education in Ireland. They ran St Saviour’s Boys Home in Dominick Street, Dublin and decided to participate in the redress scheme after receiving some complaints from former residents.

The order is still involved in education and it supplies friars to hospitals, prisons, schools, universities and the Defence Forces. A large number of friars conduct retreats at home and abroad.

Daughters of the Heart of Mary

The Daughters of the Heart of Mary ran St Joseph’s Orphanage in Dún Laoghaire from 1860 to 1985. It also ran a school, retreat house and two guest houses for retired women.

The order was founded in France during the revolution in 1790. Mary Ann O’Farrell from Co Kildare joined the order in Paris and in 1856 she set up the orphanage in Dún Laoghaire.

The Sisters have been involved in education in Ireland since 1860 and the order is patron of St Joseph’s Primary School in Dún Laoghaire.

It is also involved in social work and prayer groups.

Brothers of Charity

The Brothers of Charity ran two schools for children with learning disabilities, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Lota in Cork and Holy Family School in Renmore, Co Galway, during the period investigated by the commission.

The Brothers of Charity Services was founded in Belgium in 1807 by Canon Peter Triest. The brothers opened their first services in Ireland in 1883 to provide for mental health needs.

Today the congregation is the largest provider of services for people with an intellectual disability in the State, with facilities in the west and south of the country.

Sisters of Nazareth

The Sisters of Nazareth ran Nazareth House, a residential home for children in Sligo town and also provided services for the elderly at the time under investigation by the commission.

Some 1,851 children passed through the home between 1910 and its closure in 1993. It later became a nursing home.

The Sisters of Nazareth, which is a small order in Ireland, is now involved in care of the aged, including care of its own members.

The order was founded by French woman Victoire Larmenier in London in the 1850s to care for the aged poor and it later extended its remit to children.

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Source (IT)

SV (3)

Former nun now working as a gardener at rehab facility

A FORMER nun who is prominent in the child abuse report and whose 1999 conviction for the rape of a girl in her care was later declared a miscarriage of justice has been tracked down to a rehabilitation centre.

Nora Wall's "alarming" and "disastrous" management of children in her care in Waterford in the 1980s is extensively outlined in the Ryan report.

Ms Wall, given the pseudonym Sr Callida in the report, is now living and working as a gardener at Cuan Mhuire in Athy, Co Kildare, a rehabilitation centre for people "suffering from addictions".

Ms Wall declined to comment on the findings of the commission when contacted. "I do not want to talk to you," she said.

The report's chapter on St Michael's Industrial School in Cappoquin is dominated by Ms Wall's tenure at the home, when she was known as Sr Dominic.

In July 1999, she had her conviction for the rape of a 12-year-old girl quashed after it emerged that a crucial witness had given evidence after the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that she should not be called. A miscarriage of justice was declared in 2005.

The Ryan report tells how Ms Wall was put in charge of one of the homes which replaced the industrial school in 1975 and later became resident manager.

Her behaviour there is described as "inappropriate and dangerous".

The commission heard that she went absent for days without notice. She allowed children to sleep in her bedroom, and often shared her room with the convent superior.

In the late 1970s, her superior asked a nun, given the pseudonym Sr Melita, to keep an eye on matters but Sr Melita was compromised when she and Ms Wall developed "a close intimate relationship".

The report also heard of parties in the home, men who stayed overnight, and older boys who sexually abused younger ones.

"There was never a time when I was out of order or didn't know my place or was falling all over the place. I dispute that," Ms Wall told the commission.

Ms Wall was removed as the home's resident manager in 1990.

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Source (II)

SV (4)

Bishop calls for Orders reorganisation

The auxillary Bishop of Down and Connor has said the church needs to reorganise in a way that is suited to the 21st century.

Bishop Donal McKeown said many of the religious orders that ran the institutions featured in the Ryan report were set up in the 19th and 20th centuries, and what worked then will not work now.

Earlier, the 18 Catholic religious congregations criticised by the Child Abuse Commission have said they do not see a role for the broader church in examining their failures in their duty of care to children.

After meeting yesterday in Dublin, the 18 orders cited by the Commission promised to continue examining its finding that they had failed to listen to children abused in their institutions.

Belfast-based Bishop Noel Treanor said last Sunday that this would require an inter-disciplinary discussion with Catholics and others, and would involve the abused themselves.

Sr Elizabeth Maxwell, a spokeswoman for the 18 orders, has told RTÉ News that she did not see how other church bodies here could become involved because the congregations concerned were autonomous.

Meanwhile, the HSE's national counselling service for survivors of abuse has seen its waiting lists more than double over the past seven days.

The service has been extended during what the HSE calls 'this critical time'.

It operates via the National Freephone information number at 1800 235 234 during working hours on weekdays, and 1800 235 235 from Wednesday to Sunday (6pm to 10pm).

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SV (3)

Calls for Vatican to issue statement on abuse

THE Vatican should break its silence and come clean on what it knew about systemic clerical child abuse in Ireland, Labour foreign affairs spokesman Micheal D Higgins has demanded.

More than a week after the publication of the Ryan report, which catalogued decades of systematic child abuse by the clergy and their attempts to cover up their crimes, the Vatican has yet to issue an official statement on the scandal.

The only comment from a senior Vatican official on the Irish abuse cases came on Thursday.

Incoming prefect of the congregation for divine worship and discipline of the sacraments Cardinal Antonio Canizares told Spanish TV that "what happened at some schools cannot be compared with the millions of lives that have been destroyed by abortion".

He also described the abuse as "totally condemnable" and "we have to ask forgiveness".

But Spanish health minister Trinidad Jimenez said it was "very serious" and "irresponsible" by the cardinal to make an "inadequate" comparison between "two completely different things".

Commenting on the Vatican’s official silence, Mr Higgins said: "There are issues that the Vatican must address. This goes right back to the Kennedy Report of 1970 [report on industrial schools], the Vatican must examine what attempts were made in cannon law to deal with these issues."

He added: "Through the nuncio they should clarify what possible protections were offered under canon law to those that may have been guilty under the civil law. No principle of canon law should serve as a shelter from the law of the land. There is also a question of what information was transmitted to the Vatican on this issue.

"But in the end it is the responsibility of the conservative ethos of this state which allowed the Church control in areas such as education and health that allowed this to happen. These services must certainly now, come under the full control of the state."

Independent senator and former teachers union leader Joe O’Toole said the Vatican can no longer hide from its responsibilities towards those abused in Irish industrial schools.

"The religious congregations reported to the Holy See, the Pope should have shown leadership on this issue, by their silence they showed a tolerance of this matter and the congregations’ slow response."

He added: "For a Vatican official to now smokescreen further the issue of the abuse that went on by attempting to confuse it, and dilute it, with the issue of abortion is disgraceful. They are two completely separate issues and must be dealt with as such, this would seem to be a transparent attempt to escape responding to the core issue."

Last summer Pope Benedict XVI offered an apology for child sex abuse by Catholic clergy in Australia and demanded punishment for those guilty of the "evil".

A similar apology has also been offered to American victims of Catholic church abuse.

He has yet to make a similar statement in connection to the larger scale abuse that took place in Ireland.

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