Monday, October 31, 2011

Inquiry into State role in laundries to end by summer

THE INTERDEPARTMENTAL committee to establish the facts of State involvement in the Magdalene laundries intends to conclude its work by the middle of 2012, according to an interim report published last Tuesday.

The four religious congregations involved in running the 10 laundries, where women were detained between 1922 and 1996, have agreed to give the committee full access to relevant records.

“Appropriate safeguards” have been put in place to enable the congregations do so “within the law and while fully respecting the sensitivity and confidentiality of the records”. 

An order was made by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter “to authorise the disclosure of sensitive personal data to and processing of such data by the committee”.

The religious congregations involved are the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, the Religious Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

The interim report said that “in no case would such sensitive personal data be published or made available to the public without the consent of the data subject”, and that this was so whether the person concerned was living or dead.

“The names or personal data of former residents of the Magdalene laundries will not be published or otherwise released to the general public,” it said.

Also, an archive of the committee’s work will not include “personal and sensitive personal data”, all of which will be “destroyed and/or returned to the relevant religious order upon conclusion of the committee’s work and publication of its report”.

The committee, under the independent chairmanship of Senator Martin McAleese, includes officials from five Government departments, with another official from the Department of Foreign Affairs advising Mr McAleese.

The report pointed out that as the committee’s role is “a fact-finding one”, “any information provided will be used for the purpose of the committee’s investigations into the facts of State involvement only”.

Fidelity crucial to society, says primate

LOVE AND fidelity are vital to the stability of society, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.

Speaking in Dublin in a lecture to the conservative think tank the Iona Institute on “Marriage and the Common Good”, Archbishop Martin said: “Love and fidelity are at the essence of marriage and are also fundamental values for society."

“The State cannot but be a supporter of that love and that fidelity which couples bring to the human and ethical enrichment of society and which are vital contributions to the stability of society,” he added.

He also said the record of services provided by the State “is rarely a good one. It works well only in specific situations.”

“The State, however, is not society; it is part of society; it is a function within society. Society to be effective requires participation. It requires that the subjectivity of society be made real by the active participation of its citizens as subjects and not as objects of policies and entitlements.”

He said a society “with a dominant individualistic inspiration” would find it very difficult to support marital fidelity, a term that cannot be understood within an individualistic philosophy alone, because by its nature it implies mutuality.

“The danger is that the State and public opinion will distance themselves from fostering such values because these values are not realised by everyone in society,” he said. The proposed children’s referendum was “at times presented in terms of a clash between the role of the family and the rights of the child”, he said.

Yet both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child “stress not just the importance of the family but also the responsibilities of the State to support the family”, he said.

He said, “the inherent tension between the rights of the child and the rights and responsibilities of the family will remain whatever the constitutional provisions. Decisions made in the best interests of the child will not always be easy to determine."

“The successful resolution of these tensions between the respective rights of the child and the family depends on the resolution of another tension: the tension between the rights of the family and the role of the State.”

One could “understand that in today’s Ireland where the role of the church in delivering social and educational services had become so dominant, that the pendulum will now swing in the direction of the State wishing to assume the responsibility for providing a wide variety of services directly,” he said. 

But the record of the State in that context was “rarely a good one”, he added.

Church’s asset portfolio included 10,700 properties

AT its height, the Catholic Church in Ireland owned or occupied more than 10,700 properties across the country and controlled nearly 6,700 religious and educational sites.

The asset portfolio included schools, houses, halls, churches, convents, parks, sports fields, hospitals, farms, warehouses, shops and tracts of land.

This left a complex and restricted asset portfolio which cash-strapped dioceses, parishes and religious orders have had difficulty tapping into as they seek to adapt a number of difficulties facing the Church.

An investigation by the Irish Examiner looked at over 1.5 million individual property parcels in all counties excluding Dublin. This included a historical analysis of the relevant owners and leaseholders.

It revealed:

*At one point, one in every 100 rateable properties in the state was linked to the Catholic Church.

*The largest class of owners within this portfolio were individual priests rather than parish or diocesan bodies.

*20% of all Church properties were listed as houses.

*Despite selling over €667 million worth of land in the last 10 years, the 18 religious orders covered under the redress scheme retained much of their historical portfolio.

The information was gleaned from records in use up to the end of the 1970s, when homeowners still paid rates. This was supplemented with up-to-date data on commercial premises. The analysis was only possible through the recent computerisation of the Valuation Office.

The historical spreadsheet showed 56% of the Church’s property, which was not held by religious orders, was owned by individual priests.

The Catholic Communications Office said that parishes and dioceses were preparing registers of assets to meet industry standards. The majority of dioceses were transferring properties under the scope of general trusts.

Where properties were in another name, it said, they were held in trust for dioceses who would manage them into the future.

"As the number of priests working in parishes declines, some parish properties become vacant. Normally, their use is then determined by the bishop, the diocesan trust and the parish pastoral council."

On top of sites listed in the name of dioceses, orders, parishes or specific priests, there were 2,080 churches or chapels where it was unclear if the owners were Catholic. This excluded over 400 places of worship held by other faiths.

There were also 2,600 primary schools where the owner was not obvious.

Message of Pope Benedict XVI for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2012

Migration and the New Evangelization

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Proclaiming Jesus Christ the one Saviour of the world “constitutes the essential mission of the Church. It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present-day society make all the more urgent” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14). Indeed, today we feel the urgent need to give a fresh impetus and new approaches to the work of evangelization in a world in which the breaking down of frontiers and the new processes of globalization are bringing individuals and peoples even closer. 

This is both because of the development of the means of social communication and because of the frequency and ease with which individuals and groups can move about today. 

In this new situation we must reawaken in each one of us the enthusiasm and courage that motivated the first Christian communities to be undaunted heralds of the Gospel’s newness, making St Paul’s words resonate in our hearts: “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16).

“Migration and the New Evangelization” is the theme I have chosen this year for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, and it arises from the aforesaid situation. The present time, in fact, calls upon the Church to embark on a new evangelization also in the vast and complex phenomenon of human mobility. This calls for an intensification of her missionary activity both in the regions where the Gospel is proclaimed for the first time and in countries with a Christian tradition. Blessed John Paul II invited us to “nourish ourselves with the word in order to be ‘servants of the word’ in the work of evangelization ... [in] a situation which is becoming increasingly diversified and demanding, in the context of ‘globalization’ and of the consequent new and uncertain mingling of peoples and cultures” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 40). Internal or international migration, in fact, as an opening in search of better living conditions or to flee from the threat of persecution, war, violence, hunger or natural disasters, has led to an unprecedented mingling of individuals and peoples, with new problems not only from the human standpoint but also from ethical, religious and spiritual ones. 

The current and obvious consequences of secularization, the emergence of new sectarian movements, widespread insensitivity to the Christian faith and a marked tendency to fragmentation are obstacles to focusing on a unifying reference that would encourage the formation of “one family of brothers and sisters in societies that are becoming ever more multiethnic and intercultural, where also people of various religions are urged to take part in dialogue, so that a serene and fruitful coexistence with respect for legitimate differences may be found”, as I wrote in my Message last year for this World Day. 

Our time is marked by endeavours to efface God and the Church’s teaching from the horizon of life, while doubt, scepticism and indifference are creeping in, seeking to eliminate all the social and symbolic visibility of the Christian faith.

In this context migrants who have known and welcomed Christ are not infrequently constrained to consider him no longer relevant to their lives, to lose the meaning of their faith, no longer to recognize themselves as members of the Church, and often lead a life no longer marked by Christ and his Gospel. Having grown up among peoples characterized by their Christian faith they often emigrate to countries in which Christians are a minority or where the ancient tradition of faith, no longer a personal conviction or a community religion, has been reduced to a cultural fact. 

Here the Church is faced with the challenge of helping migrants keep their faith firm even when they are deprived of the cultural support that existed in their country of origin, and of identifying new pastoral approaches, as well as methods and expressions, for an ever vital reception of the Word of God. 

In some cases this is an opportunity to proclaim that, in Jesus Christ, humanity has been enabled to participate in the mystery of God and in his life of love. Humanity is also opened to a horizon of hope and peace, also through respectful dialogue and a tangible testimony of solidarity. In other cases there is the possibility of reawakening the dormant Christian conscience through a renewed proclamation of the Good News and a more consistent Christian life to enable people to rediscover the beauty of the encounter with Christ who calls Christians to holiness wherever they may be, even in a foreign land. The phenomenon of migration today is also a providential opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world. 

Men and women from various regions of the earth who have not yet encountered Jesus Christ or know him only partially, ask to be received in countries with an ancient Christian tradition. It is necessary to find adequate ways for them to meet and to become acquainted with Jesus Christ and to experience the invaluable gift of salvation which, for everyone, is a source of “life in abundance” (cf. Jn 10:10); migrants themselves have a special role in this regard because they in turn can become “heralds of God’s word and witnesses to the Risen Jesus, the hope of the world” (Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, 105).

Pastoral workers – priests, religious and lay people – play a crucial role in the demanding itinerary of the new evangelization in the context of migration. They work increasingly in a pluralist context: in communion with their Ordinaries, drawing on the Church’s Magisterium. 

I invite them to seek ways of fraternal sharing and respectful proclamation, overcoming opposition and nationalism. For their part, the Churches of origin, of transit and those that welcome the migration flows should find ways to increase their cooperation for the benefit both of those who depart and those who arrive, and, in any case, of those who, on their journey, stand in need of encountering the merciful face of Christ in the welcome given to one’s neighbour. 

To achieve a fruitful pastoral service of communion, it may be useful to update the traditional structures of care for migrants and refugees, by setting beside them models that respond better to the new situations in which different peoples and cultures interact with one another. Asylum seekers, who fled from persecution, violence and situations that put their life at risk, stand in need of our understanding and welcome, of respect for their human dignity and rights, as well as awareness of their duties. 

Their suffering pleads with individual states and the international community to adopt attitudes of reciprocal acceptance, overcoming fears and avoiding forms of discrimination, and to make provisions for concrete solidarity also through appropriate structures for hospitality and resettlement programmes. All this entails mutual help between the suffering regions and those which, already for years, have accepted a large number of fleeing people, as well as a greater sharing of responsibilities among States.

The press and the other media have an important role in making known, correctly, objectively and honestly, the situation of those who have been forced to leave their homeland and their loved ones and want to start building a new life. 

Christian communities are to pay special attention to migrant workers and their families by accompanying them with prayer, solidarity and Christian charity, by enhancing what is reciprocally enriching, as well as by fostering new political, economic and social planning that promotes respect for the dignity of every human person, the safeguarding of the family, access to dignified housing, to work and to welfare.

Priests, men and women religious, lay people, and most of all young men and women are to be sensitive in offering support to their many sisters and brothers who, having fled from violence, have to face new lifestyles and the difficulty of integration. The proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ will be a source of relief, hope and “full joy” (cf. Jn 15:11). 

Lastly, I would like to mention the situation of numerous international students who are facing problems of integration, bureaucratic difficulties, hardship in the search for housing and welcoming structures. Christian communities are to be especially sensitive to the many young men and women who, precisely because of their youth, need reference points in addition to cultural growth, and have in their hearts a profound thirst for truth and the desire to encounter God.

Universities of Christian inspiration are to be, in a special way, places of witness and of the spread of the new evangelization, seriously committed to contributing to social, cultural and human progress in the academic milieu. They are also to promote intercultural dialogue and enhance the contribution that international students can give. If these students meet authentic Gospel witnesses and examples of Christian life, it will encourage them to become agents of the new evangelization.

Dear friends, let us invoke the intercession of Mary, “Our Lady of the Way”, so that the joyful proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ may bring hope to the hearts of those who are on the move on the roads of the world. 

To one and all I assure my prayers and impart my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 21 September 2011

Sir Roy Strong donates black vestments to Hereford Cathedral

Writer, gardener and historian Sir Roy Strong has donated a new set of vestments to Hereford Cathedral.

The beautiful black vestments were made by Croft Design and will be worn for the first time in a service to remember departed loved ones on All Souls Day on November 2.

During the service, the cathedral choir will sing Gabriel Fauré's masterpiece, Requiem and members of the congregation will be invited to light a candle in remembrance.

Sir Roy said: “My wife, Julia Trevelyan Oman, died eight years on 10 October and this is always a difficult period of the year for me. I have noticed the growing popularity of the annual All Souls service when those who wish to give thanks and mourn for loved ones corporately gather together in remembrance and celebration.”

The Dean of Hereford, the Very Rev Michael Tavinor welcomed the new gift.

He said: "Often these days, black is used less in services of remembrance as it is felt to be too solemn. Sometimes it’s more appropriate to use the colour white for such services, when there is an emphasis on the joy of resurrection. I think there is still very much a place for the reflection on our own mortality, which the colour black encourages."

The vestments will also be used on Remembrance Sunday on November 13 for the 10.00am Requiem, when the music of Duruflé will be sung.

Pope to call for new evangelization of world's migrants

Pope Benedict XVI will mark January’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees with a call for the “new evangelization” to extend to migrant workers, refugees and international students.

“The phenomenon of migration today is also a providential opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel in the contemporary world,” the Pope will say in his message, a preview of which was released by the Vatican Oct 25.

Pope Benedict noted that “Men and women from various regions of the earth, who have not yet encountered Jesus Christ or know Him only partially, ask to be received in countries with an ancient Christian tradition.”

The text of his address was unveiled at a Vatican press conference last Tuesday morning.

Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, explained that the Pope’s message will be divided into three parts dealing with each migrant group: migrant workers, refugees and international students.

“Faced with this challenge, the Church is impelled to reconsider her methods, forms of expression and language, so as to renew her missionary efforts,” said Archbishop Veglio, adding that a “new” evangelization “does not affect the contents and the value of the missionary mandate, as handed down by Holy Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.”

The latest figures show that in 2009 there were 38.5 million immigrants to the U.S. In terms of country of origin, a third arrive from Mexico, followed by the Philippines, India, China, El Salvador and Vietnam.

While recognizing the opportunities for evangelization, the Pope also notes that migration can sometimes undermine the faith of Catholics. This is particularly true, he says, when the Catholic migrant worker move to parts of the world where efforts to “efface God and the Church’s teaching from the horizon of life” are taking place.

“Having grown up among peoples characterised by their Christian faith they often emigrate to countries in which Christians are a minority or where the ancient tradition of faith, no longer a personal conviction or a community religion, has been reduced to a cultural fact,” says the Pope.

In response, the Church needs to help migrants “keep their faith firm” even when they are deprived of its previous cultural support. The Church must also find “new pastoral approaches” for the “ever vital reception of the Word of God,” the Pope writes.

As for asylum seekers, the Pope says that those “who fled from persecution” stand “in need of our understanding and welcome,” as well as an “awareness of their duties.”

According to statistics of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 80 percent of the world’s refugees are currently hosted in developing countries. The Pope said host populations should adopt “attitudes of reciprocal acceptance, overcoming fears and avoiding forms of discrimination.”

Lastly, Pope Benedict turns his attention to international students who, he observes, often face problems of “integration, bureaucratic difficulties, hardship in the search for housing and welcoming structures.”

He calls upon Christian communities – and in particularly Catholic universities – to welcome and support such student and to see their time in education as an opportunity to evangelize. 

“Universities of Christian inspiration are to be, in a special way, places of witness and of the spread of the new evangelization,” he says, “seriously committed to contributing to social, cultural and human progress in the academic milieu.”

In this way, Pope Benedict observes, international students can be drawn closer to the Church by meeting an “authentic Gospel witnesses and examples of Christian life.”

He concludes by entrusting all three groups of migrants to the intercession of “Mary, 'Our Lady of the Way',” so that “the joyful proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ may bring hope to the hearts of those who are on the move on the roads of the world.”

X Factor star gives credit for success to his Catholic mom

Even though he is only 17 years old, Emmanuel Kelly has taken Australia by storm this fall with his X Factor performances. 

But he says all of his success could not have happened without his Catholic mom, Moira Kelly.

“My hero would have to be my mother. She worked extremely hard to change my life hugely,” Emmanuel told X Factor judges before his first performance in September.

Moira, 47, has given her adult life to helping disadvantaged children around the world, including working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta.

“Moira is very determined, very single-minded and, sometimes, challenging too,” chuckles Margaret Smith, a good friend of Moira’s for over 27 years, who also serves as chief executive of her charity, the Children First Foundation.

“Her Catholic faith has been her driving force to keep going and keep doing all this in New York’s Bronx, Calcutta, the Kalahari, Western Australia and all around the world.”

The Foundation describes its mission as transforming “the lives of children who need us most by giving hope, exceptional care and pathways to a brighter future.” Their “Miracle Smiles” program brings children in need of life-saving or life-changing surgery from the developing world to Australia to receive the care they need.

Because of her desire to help children in such dire straights, Moira went to war-torn Iraq in the mid 1990s. 

While she was there Moira came across Emmanuel and his brother Ahmed in an orphanage run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.

The baby boys had been found by the nuns in a shoe box in a Baghdad park. 

Both were suffering from limb deficiencies because of chemical warfare. 

“It was like looking at an angel when mum, Moira Kelly, walked through the orphanage door,” Emmanuel told the talent show judges. “She brought us both to Australia for surgery originally and then mum sort of fell in love with both of us.”

Soon thereafter, Moira became legal guardian for both boys.

“I think one of the most wonderful things about Moira is that she accepts every child is accepted for who they,” said her friend Margaret. “It takes a gutsy person to devote their life in this way rather than go out and earn a big salary.”

With the love and support of Moira, 19-year-old Ahmed has now set his sights on a swimming gold in the 2012 Paralympics in London. 

Meanwhile, Emmanuel is contemplating a music career, despite his exit this month from X Factor.

“Moira is thrilled to bits. We all are,” said Magaret, “it’s been a wonderful exercise for him. He knows he’s going to have to work at it very hard but we’ve always knows he’s got a wonderful voice.” 

Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph Facing New Lawsuit

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is facing a new legal worry. It's part of an ongoing priest sex scandal. Punitive damages based on a new court filing.

In a five page motion, attorney Rebecca Randles says the Diocese  lied in a press statement to cover up the existence of sex crimes by its clergy. On October 11, the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City -St. Joseph issued a statement concerning a  lawsuit alleging abuse by former priest Francis McGlynn.

In the statement the Diocese says it received the first complaint of sexual misconduct involving McGlynn in april 2002. However attorney Rebecca Randles say the church was aware McGlynn's touched children inappropriately back in the 1960's and she says she has a deposition to prove it.
"The deposition clearly states that Father McGlynn admitted he engaged in inappropriate touching of females in the 60"s and 70"s and that it was brought to the attention of the Diocese and the Diocese moved him as a result of that," Randles said.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph says april of 2002 was the first time someone file a complaint with the church against McGlynn. Robert Bates settled his sexual abuse case with the church in 2008 and he says he would like to see the church and bishop finn do the right thing.

"You are a representation of God and people respect you and they look up to you and they trust you," said abuse victim Robert Bates. "You have a duty and an obligation to protect those children who attend your parishes."

The allegations against the church saddens Robert Gamez who says he loves the Catholic faith and believes Bishop Finn's spiritual depth is to deep for him to realize what's happening in the church.

"The unfortunate thing is he is so focused in my opinion as a Catholic on the hereafter and on our salvation that at times it can appear that he is not in touch with our earthly life," said Robert Gamez.

Attorney James Wyrsch who represents Francis McGlynn says he has no comment on this matter other than- Father McGlynn intends to vigorously defend himself in court.

Bishop attends gay marriage talks

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has discussed proposals to legalise same-sex marriage with a Catholic bishop.

Ms Sturgeon met Bishop of Paisley Philip Tartaglia in Edinburgh to talk about the Scottish Government's consultation on allowing same-sex couples to marry.

The Government launched its 14-week consultation on the subject last month, asking if marriage in Scotland should be allowed for gay people through a civil or religious ceremony. 

Currently same-sex couples can enter a civil partnership which carries full legal rights but the ceremony cannot be conducted in a church or other religious premises.

Ministers said the proposals would ensure religious organisations do not have to register same-sex marriages against their will, but the idea was met with outcry from the Catholic Church.

Bishop Tartaglia has already sent a strongly-worded submission to the Scottish Government. 

He said that governments "do not have the authority to say what marriage is or to change its nature or to decree that people of the same sex can marry".

He also put his concerns to First Minister Alex Salmond during a recent meeting.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Sturgeon said: "When I launched the consultation on same-sex marriage, I made clear that in addition to carefully considering the written responses, we intended to meet a wide range of organisations, including churches and faith groups.

"I also made clear that while ministers tend towards the initial view that same-sex marriage should be introduced, faith groups and their celebrants should not be obliged to solemnise same-sex marriage.

"We also gave an assurance that all views will be listened to, no final views have been reached and no decisions have been taken. I therefore welcome today's meeting with the Catholic Church which gave me an opportunity to hear the church's views and concerns about the consultation, while also enabling me to repeat such assurances."

Ms Sturgeon thanked the church for raising awareness of the consultation, and said her "door would be open" for further discussions.

Vatican sexual abuse inquiry into Ealing Abbey given short shrift

Alleged victims of sexual abuse have reacted coolly to the news of a Vatican investigation into a London abbey, and have called for inquiries into other Roman Catholic institutions where children are claimed to have been mistreated.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome has ordered an "apostolic visitation" to uncover the scale of abuse at Ealing abbey, where monks and lay teachers have been accused of mistreating children at a neighbouring school, St Benedict's, over decades.

It is the first inquiry of its kind into sexual abuse in Britain. Father David Pearce, a priest at Ealing abbey, was jailed in 2009.

Groups supporting alleged victims have questioned the effectiveness and integrity of an internal inquiry, especially given that its findings will remain secret.

The abuse is alleged to have dated from the 1960s to 2009.

Pete Saunders, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said it was a public relations exercise and akin to "putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank".

Anne Lawrence of Ministry and Clerical Sexual Abuse Survivors, said although the Ealing inquiry showed the Catholic hierarchy was beginning to understand the concept of institutional responsibility, there were other schools and other places that warranted investigation. There were, she alleged, "more than 20 schools where there was systematic abuse and we would like to see inquiries into all of them".

Relations between the church and survivor groups are already under strain. 

Earlier this month the Guardian revealed that victim support groups had pulled out of discussions led by the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) and the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS).

They described them as shambolic, toothless and unlikely to achieve anything by May 2012, when the pope's deadline for a progress report expires.

The talks were intended to come up with a care package for survivors of clerical sexual abuse.
Graham Wilmer, who heads the Lantern Project and says he was abused by a Catholic priest as a teenager, said: "We were prepared to talk to [the institution] that had harmed us, even though it was uncomfortable … [But] we can't trust them. What has effectively has happened is nothing."

The Catholic church in England and Wales has not suffered the same fate as those in Ireland and the US, which have been left reeling by abuse allegations.

It has defended its child protection procedures, describing them as robust, and has apologised for past behaviour. But there is evidence to suggest that for all its commitment to healing and contrition, old attitudes prevail.

Two civil cases show the church continuing to engage in a war of attrition with victims who were abused as children.

It has denied responsibility for the alleged sexual abuse of a Portsmouth woman by one of its priests, saying the cleric was not an employee. Should the church win, it will avoid having to pay compensation to victims in the future.

In another case, involving more than 150 former pupils suing for an estimated £8m for sexual and physical abuse they claim to have suffered at St William's boys home in Market Weighton, Yorkshire, the diocese of Middlesbrough is contesting a court ruling that it is jointly liable with the De La Salle Brotherhood, a Catholic order of lay teachers, for the alleged abuse. 

St William's was owned by the diocese but many of the staff were members of the Brotherhood.

Claims were first launched in 2004 when the home's former principal, Brother James Carragher, was jailed for 14 years for abusing boys. 

The appeal will be heard next July in the supreme court.

Bishop Morris responds to bishops' statement

Bishop Emeritus of Toowoomba, William Morris has released a statement claiming that he did not resign, in a response to the statement released by the Australian bishops at the end of their ad limina visit, reports Catholic

"The Statement made by the Australian Bishops invites me to tell my story which I will publish in the foreseeable future," Bishop Morris said in his response.

The Australian bishops' statement had expressed support for Pope Benedict's decision to remove Bishop Morris from his diocese.

"What the Holy See did was fraternal and pastoral rather than juridical in character," they said, and added that Pope Benedict had decided to remove Bishop Morris from office not for any misconduct, but because the bishop's public statements on matters such as the ordination of women, and his pastoral practice regarding questions such as general absolution, compromised the unity within the Catholic hierarchy.

In his response released on the weekend, Bishop Morris reiterated the contents of his original statement to the Australian Catholic Bishops, dated May 2.

In it, he said he had been removed without adequate cause or explanation. The process leading up to his removal, he said, was one of "denying me natural justice without any possibility of appropriate defence and advocacy on my behalf."

He has also said he had never seen a report submitted by Archbishop Charles Chaput, who was sent by the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation of the Toowoomba diocese. He added that the Pope's complaint about his public advocacy of women's ordination was based on "a total misreading and misinterpretation of what my pastoral letter is saying."

Latin Mass makes popular return

The Latin Mass - which was largely abandoned by Catholics during the 1960s - is back by popular demand in Londonderry, it has emerged. 

Bishop of Derry Seamus Hegarty has sanctioned a monthly Tridentine Mass in Latin at the Bogside's Long Tower Church.

The Mass will be reintroduced after Pope Benedict XVI announced churches would now have the option to bring it back.

The first Latin Mass will take place next month.

Rev Roland Colhoun from the Glendermott Parish said St Columba's Church, Long Tower, was chosen for the ancient rite as it has retained its original altars and all of its ornate features.

"The Mass will take place on the first Sunday of the month, every month, at 2pm," he said.

Donegal priest prayed for Gadafy

FORMER LIBYAN dictator Muammar Gadafy was prayed for at Mass in a Donegal church, it has emerged.

The prayers were said on Sunday in St Eunan’s Church, Raphoe, by parish priest Fr Dinny McGettigan (72).

The popular priest surprised parishioners when he was praying for local people who had recently died.

The last name he read out was that of Muammar Gadafy.

Asked by the Donegal News, afterwards why he had prayed for the ruthless dictator who had earned the nickname “Mad Dog”.

“I would pray for anyone, so I have no problem whatsoever praying for Muammar Gadafy,” Fr McGettigan said.

Asked if he thought it was all right to pray for the soul of a man who murdered, maimed and oppressed Libyan citizens for four decades, Fr McGettigan said. “That’s all the more reason to pray for him. They all need our prayers no matter who they are.”

One parishioner, who did not wish to be named, told the Donegal News: “It bothered no one. 
Fr Dinny is a very Christian man and would pray for anyone. He was stabbed during a break-in at the parochial house 10 years ago. When the matter went to court, Fr McGettigan stood up and pleaded with the judge not to send the man to jail. That’s just the kind of person he is.”

Cork priest who did pioneering speech therapy celebrated

The life and work of a priest who did pioneering work in speech therapy is being celebrated in an exhibition at University College Cork. His techniques were particularly successful in helping people who stammered.

In January 1961, the BBC televised a programme, It Happened to Me, which recounted the life of Fr Christy O’Flynn, an 80-year-old parish priest of Passage West, who had by then become a legend in his native Cork.

More than 30 years earlier, Fr O’Flynn had opened a school of drama, music and philosophy, next to Shandon steeple in Cork city, which became known as the Loft.

The Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at UCC recently hosted an exhibition to celebrate the priest’s work and the progress made in the last few decades in providing speech and language therapy for the people of Cork.

The exhibition features images from Fr O’Flynn’s life, panels describing his work in the Loft, a bust and artefacts such as handwritten notes.

It was officially launched at the Jennings Gallery, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, UCC, and runs until November 4th.

Gilmore stands by criticism of Holy See but greets 'constructive dialogue'

THE GOVERNMENT has not invited, nor does it plan to invite Pope Benedict to visit Ireland next year, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has said.

Welcoming the Vatican statement last month that it was sorry and ashamed for the terrible sufferings which victims of abuse and their families had endured, Mr Gilmore said the Government maintained that a 1997 letter to Ireland’s Catholic bishops from the then papal nuncio allowed some clergy to avoid co-operation with civil authorities in dealing with child abuse.

That “strictly confidential” letter he referred to described the 1996 child protection Framework Document, published by the Irish bishops, as “merely a study document” and expressed “serious reservations of a canonical and moral nature” at its directive that there be mandatory reporting of such crimes to civil authorities.

The Tánaiste was writing in response to a question from Independent TD Catherine Murphy.

He said that “having considered carefully the Cloyne Report and the response of the Holy See, the Government of Ireland remains of the view that the content of the confidential letter in 1997 from the then Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Storero, to the Irish bishops, regardless of whether or not it was intended to do so, provided a pretext for some members of the clergy to evade full co-operation with the Irish civil authorities in regard to the abuse of minors”.

He said: “The Government of Ireland must point out that the comments made by the Taoiseach and other political leaders accurately reflect the public anger of the overwhelming majority of Irish people at the failure of the Catholic Church in Ireland and the Holy See to deal adequately with clerical child sexual abuse and those who committed such appalling acts.”

It was the Government’s hope that, “in spite of outstanding differences, lessons have been learned from appalling past failures. In this regard, it welcomes the commitment in the concluding remarks of the Holy See’s response to a constructive dialogue and co-operation with the Government,” he said.

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.


Rosary Prayer For October

This short invocation to Mary, the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, is an appropriate prayer for the Month of the Holy Rosary, as well as for reciting at the end of the rosary.

To Our Lady of the Rosary

In this prayer to Our Lady of the Rosary, we ask the Virgin Mary to help us to cultivate a habit of interior prayer through the daily recitation of the rosary. 

This is the object of all of our prayers: to arrive at the point where we can "pray without ceasing," as Saint Paul tells us to do.

To the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary

This theologically rich prayer to Mary, the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, calls to mind our Blessed Mother's protection of the Church - as, for example, at the Battle of Lepanto (October 7, 1571), when the Christian fleet defeated the Ottoman Muslims through the intercession of the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.

For the Crusade of the Family Rosary

This prayer for the Crusade of the Family Rosary was written by Francis Cardinal Spellman, the cardinal archbishop of the archdiocese of New York in the mid-20th century. 

The Family Rosary Crusade was originally an organization, founded by Fr. Patrick Peyton, dedicated to convincing families to recite the rosary together daily.

Today, we can pray this prayer to spread the practice of the daily recitation of the rosary.

In that vein, it is especially appropriate to add this prayer to our daily prayers for the Month of the Holy Rosary.

Prayer For The Unemployed

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, 
You wanted all who are weary
To come to You for support. 
Lord, I am worn out 
By my inability to find work. 

Guide my steps to a righteous path; 
Give me the patience 
To find opportunities with a future. 
Calm my worries and fears 
As my financial responsibilities mount. 
Strengthen my resolve; 
Embolden my heart to open doors; 
Open my eyes to see life beyond rejections. 
Help me believe in me. 

Let me realize other ways
To bring about Your kingdom on earth. 
Let me grow as a person
That I may be worthy
For Your greater glory. 
In the name of the Father.


Prayer To Saint Matthew

O Glorious Saint Matthew, in your Gospel you portray Jesus as the longed-for Messiah who fulfilled the Prophets of the Old Covenant and as the new Lawgiver who founded a Church of the New Covenant. 
Obtain for us the grace to see Jesus living in his Church and to follow his teachings in our lives on earth so that we may live forever with him in heaven.

Naomh An Lae - Saint Of The Day

Blessed Dominic Collins (1566-1602) Irish martyr, Jesuit brother

When the Desmond Rebellion was put down in Munster, Ireland, in 1583, Dominic Collins of Youghal became a professional soldier in the Catholic armies of Europe. Ten years later he joined the Jesuits in Santiago de Compostela. Sent back to Ireland in 1601 as a companion to Fr James Archer SJ with the Spaniards going to Kinsale, he was eventually captured and put to death for his faith. 

Early life: a soldier of fortune

Dominic Collins was born into a leading Catholic family in Youghal, Co Cork, in 1566. Both his father and his brother served as mayor in the town.and he may have attended the Jesuit school set up in the town in 1577.

The local people recognised Elizabeth of England as Queen in Ireland, but did not want Anglicanism as the new religion. So when the Desmond Rebellion was crushed (1583), there was little else for a young Catholic man of ambition to do but to seek a career on the continent. 

Sailing to France, Dominic enlisted in the Catholic army of the Duke of Mercoeur and quickly became a military governor. He later transferred to the Spanish army and was in the garrison at La Coruña.

Joins the Jesuits 

Here in 1598 he met the Jesuit priest, Father Thomas White from Clonmel, who had earlier founded the Irish College at Salamanca and had come to La Coruña to hear the confessions of Irish soldiers during Lent. Dominic confided in Fr White his intention of joining the Jesuits. Fr White explained the difficulties of studies for the priesthood. Dominic said was happy to be a Jesuit brother.

The Jesuits were reluctant to accept him, feeling that a battle-hardened soldier would not settle into religious life, but Dominic persevered and was admitted to the novitiate in Santiago de Compostela. Here he proved his mettle when the Jesuit College was struck by a plague. 

Dominic tended the victims, nursing some of them back to health and comforting the others in their last hours.

A report sent to Rome at this time describes him as a man of sound judgment and great physical strength, mature, prudent and sociable, though inclined to be hot-tempered and obstinate.

Battle of Kinsale

At this time Ireland was in turmoil. O'Neill and O'Donnell had revolted in Ulster and in 1601 King Philip III of Spain decided to send an army to help them. An Irish Jesuit, Father James Archer, who was acting as O’Neill’s envoy with Rome and Spain, asked that Dominic, who knew the needs of soldiers, be sent with him to Ireland.

Siege of Dunboy Castle

After the shock defeat of the Irish and the Spanish at the Battle of Kinsale, Fr Archer went back to Spain. Dominic went with O'Sullivan Beare’s men to the Beara peninsula and was along with a group of 143 soldiers under the command of Richard McGeoghegan, who took refuge inside Dunboy Castle. This was a small square fortress on the mainland overlooking Beare Island. Here Lord Carew, the president of Munster and an army of 4,000 soldiers besieged them for several months.

During the siege, Dominic, though a veteran of many battles, could not as a religious take part in the fighting, but he could and did give bodily and spiritual assistance to the wounded and the dying. Knowing too how keen Carew would be to capture a Jesuit, he thought that by handing himself over as a hostage he could negotiate an honourable cease-fire. 

But Carew refused any negotiations and the besieged surrendered. Carew ordered Dominic and two others to be kept prisoners while the rest were hanged in the market-place, fifty-eight on that day, and the remaining twelve four days later. A plaque on the ruins of Dunboy Castle today commemorates their brave struggle.

Interrogation and torture

The three surviving prisoners were brought to Cork for interrogation. As the other two had little to reveal, they were soon executed. But Carew interrogated Collins, hoping he could persuade him to become a Protestant and thus gain a propaganda victory.  He alternately tortured Dominic and made him primises of preferment to high ecclesiastical office. Some of Dominic’s own family visited him, urging him to save his life by pretending a conversion which he could afterwards repudiate. But Dominic would have none of it, and clearly made a choice of a martyr's death.


Taken to Youghal on 31st October 1602, he was marched by a troop of soldiers through the streets to the place of execution - the first time he had seen his home town in fifteen years. He wore his black Jesuit gown and addressed the crowd in Spanish, Irish and English, cheerfully telling them that he had come to Ireland to defend the faith of the Holy Roman Church, the one true path to salvation. So moved were the crowd that the hangman fled and a passing fisherman was forced to do the job.


Left hanging on the gallows, the rope eventually broke and Dominic’s body fell to the ground. 

Under cover of darkness, local Catholics took his body away and buried him with respect in a secret place. 

From that day he was venerated as a martyr in Youghal and his fame quickly spread throughout Ireland and Europe. 

In the Irish Colleges of Douai and Salamanca the Jesuits showed his portrait and many favours and cures were attributed to his intercession. 

Although used to the rough life of the army camp, Dominic always kept a strange innocence and gentleness. He is one of the most attractive of all the Irish martyrs.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dean seeks backing for national cathedral plan

ECUMENICAL INITIATIVE: ALL PRESIDENTIAL candidates were sent a letter by the Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin asking that they support his proposal that it be made a national cathedral for all Irish Christians.

Dean Robert MacCarthy has said that “whether we like it or not, we are now in a situation where the majority of Christians in Dublin and possibly in the State attend no place of worship. We all know some of the reasons why this is so and I for one regret it.

“But there may now be an opportunity to make St Patrick’s into a national cathedral not merely for the Church of Ireland but for all Irish Christians. This was the vision of the late Michael Hurley SJ which he wrote about as long ago as 1970,” he said.

Dean McCarthy said the matter had now become more pressing “and we have already made a modest start in that a Roman Catholic priest and a Presbyterian minister have already been elected to membership of the Cathedral Chapter and preach in their turn alongside the other canons”.

Dean McCarthy was referring to the former professor of moral theology at St Patrick’s College Maynooth, Fr Enda McDonagh, whose installation as an ecumenical canon at St Patrick’s in July 2007 was the first such for a Catholic priest there since the Reformation.

The former moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rev Dr Ken Newell, was installed as an ecumenical canon at St Patrick’s just days previously.

In his letter to the presidential candidates Dean MacCarthy continued that despite this “there has been little interest in making St Patrick’s a national place of worship on the part of the leadership of the churches - the idea of having a Roman Catholic Mass celebrated regularly in the cathedral has not been acceptable”.

On the other hand he had “encountered a great deal of interest and support from lay people and clergy”.

He noted too that non-Anglican preachers were “quite frequent” at St Patrick’s. 

These have included the late cardinal Cahal Daly, the current Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, the Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor Anthony Farquhar, the former Catholic bishop of Killaloe Willie Walsh, while Baroness Nuala O’Loan is to preach there on St Patrick’s Day next year, he said.

The dean told the presidential candidates that “my sense now is that an effort to reposition St Patrick’s into a role consistent with both its history and the changes now taking place in Ireland require a transcending initiative from non-church sources.”

It was “an area where the leadership of the president of Ireland could be crucial and appropriate”, he said.