Sunday, July 31, 2011

Litany Of The Most Precious Blood

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy

Christ, have mercy
Christ, have mercy

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy

Christ, hear us
Christ, hear us

Christ, graciously hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us

God the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us

God, the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us

Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us 

Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the eternal Father,
save us
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word or God,
save us
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament,
save us
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in Agony,
save us
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging,
save us
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns,
save us
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross,
save us
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation,
save us
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness,
save us
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls,
save us
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy,
save us
Blood of Christ, victor over demons,
save us
Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs,
save us
Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors,
save us
Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins,
save us
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril,
save us
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened,
save us
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow,
save us
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent,
save us
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying,
save us
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts,
save us
Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life,
save us
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory,
save us
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor,
save us
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us, O Lord
V. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy Blood.
R. And made us, for our God, a kingdom.

Almighty and eternal God,
Thou hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son
the Redeemer of the world and willed to be appeased by his blood.
Grant, we beg of Thee,
that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation
and through its power
be safeguarded from the evils of the present life
so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven.
Through the same Christ our Lord.


Naomh An Lae - Saint Of The Day

ignatiusloyolaSt Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) founder of the Jesuits

Pope Benedict XVI has said of Ignatius: "He was first and foremost a man of God who in his life put God, his greatest glory and his greatest service, first".

Through his Spiritual Exercises, he has shown how to discern where God is leading the disciple in apostolic spirituality.  


Iñigo was born at the castle of Loyola near Azpeitia in the Basque country of Spain. Baptised Iñigo after a local saint, Iñigo (Eneco) of Ona (d. 1057), the change in name seems to have occurred when he went to live in France and Italy. He was the youngest of thirteen - eight brothers and four sisters. Both his parents were of distinguished families, but his mother died when he was a child and his father when he was about sixteen.

A solitary

He was only seven years old in 1498 when Martin, his next to oldest brother and heir to the family estate, married Magdalena, and she took charge of the house of Loyola. Iñigo grew up alongside his brother's children, probably distancing himself from them because he felt older and identifying with the adults, with whom he didn't really fit in either. This may explain why basically he was a solitary man, who for most of his life was a searcher, a kind of wandering adventurer.


When he was fifteen he became a page in the house of the contador mayor (chief treasurer) to the Reyes Catolicos Ferdinand and Isabella, called Juan Velazquez de Cuellar, at Arévalo, between Avila and Valladolid. Here he received a courtly education, read books of chivalry and romance and was involved in all the usual escapades of a courtier.


When King Ferdinand died in 1516, Velazquez de Cuellar lost his position. Iñigo went to Pamplona and spent five years in the army of the viceroy of Navarre, to whom he was related. 

In 1521 the French invaded Navarre and besieged Pamplona.

Iñigo refused to surrender and was hit by a connon ball, which badly broke one leg and injured the other. Crude surgery made it worse and left him with a limp for life.


During his convalescence at home in Loyola, Iñigo asked to read novels of chivalry, but instead was given a copy of Legenda Aurea (a book of lives of the saints) by James of Voragine. From the ideals of the saints like Francis and Dominic, he fantasised about becoming a knight of Christ. Doing penance was the start of this and he began to plan a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Montserrat and Manresa

Setting off for Jerusalem, he made a general confession at the monastery of Montserrat and seems to have been dissuaded from going further till he became more settled in his converted life. He spent ten months as a hermit at nearby Manresa, in prayer and penance. Here he experienced the alternations of desolation and consolation in prayer. He came away at peace and with the germs of the Spiritual Exercises in note form. It became a practical manual of apostolic spirituality. It shows the way for those who, like Iñigo, seek discernment as to where God is leading them and how to live "for the greater glory of God".


He did go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem (1523), begging as he went, but the Franciscans there dissuaded him from a project for converting Muslims, and he came back asking himself quid agendum? (Autobiography 50), what he ought now to do. Eventually he resolved to study, in order to be of greater help to others. He spent eleven years - one third of the remaining years of his life - studying.


Iñigo first went to Barcelona, then to Alcalá de Henares near Madrid, Salamanca and finally Paris (1528), where he studied philosphy for three years, graduating in 1534 as master of arts. In Paris he gathered six disciples to whom he gave the Spiritual Exercises; they took vows of poverty and chastity and promised to serve the Church either by preaching in Palestine or in other ways the Pope thought fit.


Unable to get to the Holy Land, the companions met at Venice in 1537 and went on to Rome, where they resolved to become a new religious order. By now they had all been ordained priests. They became involved in works of charity, such as teaching the young and uneducated, as well as in missions to the new colonies. Pope Paul III (Alessandro Farnese) (1534-49) approved the Society of Jesus. Ignatius was chosen as the first Superior General.


For the next fifteen years he inspired and directed the expanding order. Francis Xavier sailed to Goa in 1541 and in 1549 was in Japan. Colleges were opened in major Italian cities, and in 1551 the Collegio Romano; this eventually became known as the Gregorian University (after Pope Gregory XIII Ugo Buoncompagni, 1572-85). Less than a decade after his death there were Jesuit colleges in Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, India, Brazil and Japan.

Death and canonisation

Ignatius died suddenly on 31 July 1556 and his remains were enshrined in what is now the church of the Gesù in Rome. He was canonised in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV (Alessandro Ludovisi) along with Teresa of Avila, Philip Neri, Francis Xavier, and the humble St Isidore the farmer from Spain. With over 18,000 members, the Society is the largest religious order in the world.

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.

Bishop Hollis is diagnosed with bowel cancer

Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth has announced in a letter to his clergy that he has been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

The 74-year-old bishop, who is soon to retire, had been diagnosed with the disease after a CT scan in mid-June at the Queen Alexandria Hospital, Portsmouth.

Bishop Hollis said the scan had revealed a cancer “which is probably malignant”. A biopsy and MRI scan will be carried out in early August, he said.

The bishop will most likely have to undergo major surgery to help treat the disease, which would take place later this September.

He has said that before then he would still hope to join the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes from August 21 to 27.

Previously struggling with other health problems during the year, the bishop said he has already been spending much of his time in hospital.

Bishop Crispian said in his letter: “I would be very grateful for your support and prayers, together with prayers of all in the diocese.”

Crispian Hollis, born in Bristol, followed the footsteps of his grandfather, an Anglican bishop, and was appointed as auxiliary bishop of the Oxfordshire area in 1987.

Two years later he was assigned to Portsmouth.

Bishop Hollis has served as Bishop of Portsmouth for 22 years. 

The road outside St John’s Cathedral was renamed Bishop Crispian Way earlier this year to mark his nearing retirement.

His letter to clergy
Dear Brothers,
You will all know that I have been struggling a bit this year with health problems and I seem to have been spending a great deal of time in surgery waiting rooms and the QA hospital.
To cut a long story short, I was given a CT scan at the QA in the middle of June and I have now received the results, which are not very good.
The scan has revealed cancer of the bowel, which is probably malignant, though that has yet to be definitively confirmed by biopsy on Monday August 1st and an MRI scan on August 2nd.
Whatever the results of the tests may be, it is likely that I will have to face major surgery sometime in September.
Between now and then, I will be spending my time between Portsmouth and Somerset though I hope to join the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes from August 21st till August 27th.
I will, of course, keep you as informed as I can about what is happening, but, in the meantime, I would be very grateful for your support and prayers, together with the prayers of all in the diocese.
With my love and blessings to you all,
Bishop Crispian

Perpetual Adoration planned for Olympic Games

Twenty-four hour exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will be held in St Francis of Assisi’s church, Stratford, east London, throughout the Olympic Games, it has been announced.

Not just in London but throughout the country the Church is gearing up for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Priests and religious will be on hand in the Olympic Village for athletes, coaches and officials, with chaplains available for visitors to the Games. 

Spiritual and pastoral hospitality centres at St Francis’s church and at Westminster Cathedral will offer Masses in different languages, talks by priests, and will also provide a place for volunteers at the Games to “chill out”, according to Frank van Velzen, assistant Catholic coordinator of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Church is a leading participant in More Than Gold, an ecumenical venture to involve Christians in the Olympics, supporting competitors and visitors with “outreach”, hospitality and service. 

Every parish is being encouraged to become involved, providing a Gold Champion who will be a link between More Than Gold and the local Christian community.

There will be festivals both in London and around Britain, and Christian witness on the streets, with “street pastors” at stations around London. 

In just one of many activities being planned, four Christian theatre groups will put on plays related to the Olympics.

The Church will also be promoting Christian activity at sports fields around the country. Mr van Velzen said: “Sports mission is about taking the Church outside the building in the hope of getting people back into it. It’s meeting the people where they’re at.”

Major sporting events often lead to an increase in prostitution, and with the Olympics thousands of athletes, journalists and spectators will converge on London – as will people traffickers. 

More than Gold will raise awareness of this issue and provide safe havens.

Vox Clara works on liturgical translations not included in new missal

As English-speaking parishes around the world await delivery of the new translation of the Roman Missal, the Vatican's Vox Clara Committee already is at work on additional texts.

The committee, which advises the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments on English translations, met in Rome July 24-26. 

A committee statement released July 27 said members spent most of their time on a new translation of the prayers bishops use for the chrism Mass, the Holy Week liturgy where the oils used in the sacraments throughout the year are blessed.

In the United States and Canada, the bishops' prayers for blessing the oils were included in the old missal, which will go out of use on the first Sunday of Advent 2011.

To avoid a situation in which bishops would need to pull the old missal off the shelf for the solemn Mass in 2012, the congregation commissioned its own draft translation of the prayers.

The translation was reviewed by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy -- which normally drafts the translations -- and was revised in consultation with Vox Clara, the statement said. 

The new text "should be available in the first months of 2012," it said, and bishops' conferences can decide whether to adopt the new text for use in their countries, a Vatican official said.

Also at their July meeting, members of Vox Clara "approved plans for several future publications on behalf of the congregation, most notably an interim edition of the 'Roman Pontifical,'" which contains prayers and rites usually reserved to bishops. In most countries, the chrism Mass blessing of oils is included in the book, rather than in the missal.

The statement said the committee also supported the congregation's authorization of several editions of the "Missale Parvum," an abridged version of the Missal traditionally used by priests who are traveling.

"Finally, the commission adopted plans for the revision of the 'Ratio Translationis' for the English language," a translation style guide, "and approved the scope of work in the continuing revision of the translations of the Latin liturgical books of the Roman rite," the statement said.

The new Roman Missal contains all of the prayers used at Sunday and weekday Masses throughout the year, as well as special Mass prayers for saints' feast days.

However, the missal does not include texts such as the rite of matrimony, confirmation, baptism or ordination or the text of the Liturgy of the Hours -- all of which, eventually, will be translated.

Mexican archbishop calls for greater modesty at Mass

The Archbishop of Leon, Mexico is calling on Catholics to dress modestly at Mass.

“If you have any respect for this place (a church), dress appropriately,” Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago told reporters after Mass on July 24.

Criticism of the archbishop’s comments came after local newspapers featured photos of posters at some parishes in Leon that said, “Respect God’s house. Don’t come dressed like this.” The posters said women should not come to church dressed in miniskirts, sleeveless shirts, or low-cut blouses.

According to the newspaper Correo, the archbishop said women ought to know what they should wear and when. 

“They know that for a wedding or a quinceanera they should dress one way, and for a trip to the beach they should dress another.” 

The archbishop also said men need to dress appropriately at Mass as well.

“Some men show up at church dressed in way that is undignified, wearing shorts or sandals. The place they are in requires something else,” he said.

Archbishop Martin Rabago said the media should not focus exclusively on what the Catholic Church says about how people should dress, as many evangelical churches require their congregations to come to church in a suit and tie.

He dismissed charges that his comments were misogynistic. 

“This is not a misogynist attitude of any sort. I am simply asking for the dignity and decorum that this place calls for, that is all.”

Fourth Catholic Charities agency joins lawsuit against Illinois

The Diocese of Belleville announced July 26 that it will join three other Illinois dioceses in a lawsuit against the state, after its adoption and foster care programs face being shutdown over a recent civil unions law.

Gary Huelsmann, director of Catholic Social Services affiliated with the Belleville diocese, said on Tuesday that halting these programs goes against “the best interest of the many children we serve and will deny vital choices for foster parents and children.”

The Belleville diocese joins Catholic Charities groups from the dioceses of Springfield, Peoria, and Joliet in fighting the attempts of the Illinois Attorney General's Office and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to stop the charities' foster care and adoption programs.

Catholic Charities' dispute with the state centers on the recently-enacted Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act, which gave legal status to same-sex partnerships or unmarried opposite-sex couples.

The four dioceses maintain that their Catholic Charities offices remain free, under that law, to place foster children only with married couples and single individuals without live-in partners. 

In June 2011, Catholic Charities sued the state of Illinois, seeking to confirm its status as a foster care agency under the new legislation.

Illinois' Department of Children and Family Services had stated in a July 8 letter that it was ending its relationship with Catholic Charities in the dioceses over the Church ministries' alleged refusal to comply with the civil union law.

On July 12, Judge John Schmidt issued a preliminary injunction extending the foster care contract between Illinois and Catholic Charities, which the state refused to renew after it expired in June.

The injunction ordered that business between the state and Catholic Charities should proceed as it did prior to the contract's expiration.

However, both the Chicago Tribune and the Associated Press soon after reported that the state would be stopping referrals, despite the Judge Schmidt's contract extension.

Shortly before a July 18 hearing that would have tested the legality of the state's move, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan reversed course and agreed not to go forward with the plan to discontinue referrals to Catholic Charities, while continuing to pay the organization under its existing contract.

Catholic Charities will continue to provide foster care and adoption services until a hearing scheduled for August 17, which will decide the merits of the diocesan charities' complaint against the state.

In recent years, the Catholic Charities of Illinois have been ranked at or near the top when measured against the performance other comparable state agencies.

The four dioceses' adoption and foster care programs have over 2,000 children in placement with foster families as well as 1,933 families under their supervision.

World Youth Day will not cost Spanish tax payers $75 million, confirms official

The executive director of World Youth Day Madrid 2011, Yago de la Cierva, has explained that the event will not cost tax payers in Spain $75 million.

He said that government assistance will only come in the form of permission to use public facilities.

De la Cierva said World Youth Day is covering the expenses associated with the event. In the case of public schools being used for various activities, he confirmed that World Youth Day workers and volunteers will be responsible for cleaning up both before and after the event.

He pointed out that government agencies will be drawing from their existing budgets to handle expenses associated with World Youth Day. 

In fact, the associate director for Tourism in Madrid, David Martin Vallesa, said World Youth Day would have “zero cost” for the city of Madrid, which has not allocated a special budget for the event. 

The director of World Youth Day's press office, Marieta Jaureguizar, noted that the event is paying for itself through donations—which make up 30 percent of the budget—and sign-up fees—which constitute the remaining 70 percent. 

The person responsible for handicapped services for the event underscored that a climate-controlled tent will be set up at Madrid’s central park at no cost thanks to a donation from the Adecco Foundation. 

The Order of St. John of God, the International Federation for the Blind, and other organizations will provide services to those with disabilities at the tent to demonstrate how the Church cares for the handicapped and the infirm. 

‘Encouraging’ survey shows Americans supportive of abortion restrictions

A new survey suggests that “large majorities” of Americans favor several types of abortion restrictions, including waiting periods, parental notification and informed consent laws. 

However, they are less likely to support a ban on federal funds for abortion providers or opt-out laws for pro-life pharmacists and health providers.

“We have known for some time that the American public is supportive of restrictions and understand that those restrictions are necessary to protect women and the unborn,” said Mailee Smith, staff counsel for Americans United for Life.

It was “affirming and encouraging” that Americans support some of the restrictions, she added.

A July Gallup survey of 1,020 U.S. adults asked their opinions of several abortion laws.

Eighty-seven percent favored requiring doctors to inform patients about possible risks of abortion before performing the procedure, while 71 percent favored requiring parental consent for women under 18 for any abortion. 

Sixty-nine percent favored a 24-hour waiting period before a woman has an abortion, while 64 percent favored a ban on “partial birth abortion,” except to save the life of the mother.

However, only 50 percent favored requiring that a woman be shown an ultrasound image of her unborn child at least 24 hours before an abortion. 

Fifty-one percent opposed a law allowing pharmacists and health providers to decline providing medicine or surgical procedures that result in abortion, while 57 percent opposed a prohibition on federal funds for health clinics that provide abortion services.

Smith said it was “a little discouraging” that a majority of respondents do not support conscience protections and bans on federal funding for abortion providers.

She suggested more education efforts are needed in those areas.

“There is a lot of mistaken understanding and misinformation about the so-called abortion rights in political and judicial circles. There is a misunderstanding of how harmful abortion is to the woman,” she continued.

“There tends to be a general belief that women need abortion in order to advance a career or have the type of life that they want to have, and that pregnancy takes away from that.”

“Study after study after study has demonstrated that not only the physical risks of having an abortion, but the psychological risks, and the consequences involved,” she said, citing the “substantial risk” of pre-term birth in a subsequent pregnancy of a woman who has had an abortion.

There are now more abortion restrictions than there were in 1973 when the Supreme Court imposed permissive abortion laws nationwide, Smith noted.

“Contrary to the time when Roe v. Wade was decided, now 31 states now have informed consent laws in place. Thirty-seven states have parental involvement laws in place, such as parental consent or parental notification,” she said. 

“Thirty-eight states have fetal homicide laws, which punish as a crime the homicide of an unborn child, separate from the abortion issue.”

“As states enact these laws, the rate of abortion goes down in these states,” Smith added, noting that the abortion rate declines between 13 to 25 percent in a state with parental involvement restrictions.

“We see that these restrictions are having a very positive effect on the number of women who are getting the proper facts before abortion and choosing to carry their children to term.”

Gallup found a significant partisan difference in respondents. 

Republicans were much more likely to favor restrictions on abortion, while independents were somewhat less likely to favor such laws. 

Democrats were most opposed to abortion restrictions.

“The partisan breakdown would not be unexpected,” Smith said.

However, she noted that some restrictions, even the partial-birth abortion ban, were supported by a majority of Democrats.

“If the general public, if the politicians, if Republicans and Democrats and independents, understood how harmful abortion is for women, there would be more support for abortion restrictions.”

Only 35 percent of respondents to a June Gallup survey said abortion should be illegal in the first three months of pregnancy, a figure which rose to 71 percent in the second three months of pregnancy and to 86 percent in the last three months, a June Gallup survey said.

Church's condoning of evil goes way back (Contribution)

THE “DYSFUNCTION, disconnection and elitism” which Enda Kenny said “dominates the culture of the Vatican to this day” did not start with the investigation into clerical sex abuse in the Cloyne diocese.

It has been the defining characteristic of the Catholic Church throughout history and abuses of an even greater scale than clerical child sex abuse have been a feature of that history throughout most of its existence.

The Catholic Church has been an advocate for slavery, for the subjugation of people in Africa, North and South America and Asia, for acts bordering on genocide and for the most appalling cruelties.

Its supreme achievement is that this record is almost obliterated from public memory and the organisation is regarded as the repository of truth and morality by hundreds of millions of its adherents.

Let me explain.

A papal bull, Dum Diversas , issued on June 18th, 1452, by Pope Nicholas V, declared: “We grant you (kings of Spain and Portugal) by these present documents, with our Apostolic Authority, full and free permission to invade, search out, capture and subjugate the Saracens [Muslims] and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, countries, principalities and other property . . . And to reduce their persons into perpetual slavery.”

This was no aberration. 

Three years later the same pope issued another papal bull, Romanus Pontifex, confirming the conquest of lands and peoples by the king of Portugal and asserted the sole right of this King Alfonso to the territories captured by him. 

In doing so, the pope specifically invoked the claim that popes derive their authority from Jesus.

It said: “Since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso – to invade, search out, capture, vanquish and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to . . . convert [these properties] to himself and his successors [and these possessions] do of right belong and pertain to the said King Alfonso and his successors”.

These were followed by further papal bulls along similar lines by his successors.

Thereby popes gave divine sanction to the brutal colonisation of large tracts of the world, through murder, pillage and terror. 

Yes, the means of colonisation were not spelt out and specifically sanctioned, but wasn’t it obvious what the means would be? These very papal bulls were invoked by an authority of a different kind in a different era and with significant consequence.

That other authority was the supreme court of America in a 1823 case known as Johnson v McIntosh.

In that case, the court ruled that the lands “discovered” by Europeans were owned by the colonisers, not by Native Americans, and that the authority for that law with the Law of Nations, the basis for which were the papal bulls.

This remains the law of the United States. Native Americans have requested the Vatican in the last few years to reverse these papal bulls, to no effect.

There are numerous instances of special depravity in the history of this institution.

One of these was the slaughter of hundreds of Inca warriors under the guise of their failing to convert to Christianity on being challenged to do so by a priest wearing clerical garb, with which the Incas would hardly have been familiar.

Others would have been the atrocities of the Inquisition, crusades instigated and sponsored by the church, specifically authorised by another papal bull, and massacred Muslims, in one instance hundreds of defenceless men, women and children in the mosque at Jerusalem.

Yes, there have been “acts of contrition” by the Vatican for some of these atrocities but these have been couched in the most tentative of terms and then the golden alibi: the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ and, being the impersonation of Jesus Christ, it is immune from institutional defect.

No acknowledgment that its foundation document, the Bible, is suffused by incitements to genocide, intolerance.

It has also been one of the primary cultural instruments of the subjugation of women. The very claim that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is ordained by the divine, in the person of Jesus, gives added venom to that injustice.

Catholicism is a fundamentalist religion, believing unswervingly in its own divine origin and, as a consequence, its essential holiness.

Injustice, slavery and atrocity are viewed within “the bigger picture” and, as such, diminished in the shadow of it being the vehicle of humankind’s “salvation”.

What significance in that context has the wholesale clerical rape of thousands of children and the institutional cover-up of that wholesale rape, the massacre of a few thousand innocents, the enslavement of entire peoples?

And anyway look at the good the Catholic Church has done.

It will all be okay in the next world.

Government u-turn: Bangalore "Mother Teresa" can stay in India

The "Mother Teresa" of Bangalore will remain with her leprosy sufferers in India: the Indian Minister of the Interior P. Chidambaran yesterday renewed Sister Jacqueline Jean McEwan’s visa "indefinitely". 

At the news, the nun said she was "overjoyed" to be able to stay with her patients, from whom she has cared for 29 years. 

The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) has thanked the Government Minister for having responded to the complaints of the Christian minority and patients at the Sumnahalli Society, where the religious works.

Sister Jean was to leave the country within a month, because the government had denied the annual renewal of her visa. 

Immediate reactions of the GCIC and Fr. George Kannanthanam, director of the centre where the English missionary works.

Minister Chidambaran admitted that the warning to leave India issued by the Foreign Regional Registration Office (Frro), was a mistake, perhaps caused by the lack of some documents.

Jerusalem post for Glenstal priest

THE ELECTION of Benedictine Fr Gregory Collins of Glenstal Abbey, Co Limerick as sixth Abbot of Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem has been warmly welcomed by the Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor.

“I send him my congratulations and those of the people of Belfast, the city he was born in. I send him my good wishes and blessings as he takes up his appointment in Jerusalem,” Bishop Treanor said yesterday.

Fr Collins was born in 1960 and studied at Queen’s University Belfast, gaining a doctorate in Byzantine studies in 1991. 

He made his profession at Glenstal in 1994 and was ordained a priest in 1995.

Between 1998 and 2002 he was headmaster at Glenstal Abbey School, after which he spent six years teaching at the Benedictine university of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome before returning to Glenstal. 

In recent years he has been preaching retreats and writing. 

He produced The Glenstal Book of Icons (Columba Press, 2002).

Call to pray for persecuted Christians during Ramadan

Open Doors USA is asking Christians in the West to pray alongside persecuted believers in predominantly Muslim countries during Ramadan.

From August 1 to the end of the month, Muslims around the world will be fasting from dawn to sunset and praying.

Open Door USA has produced a Ramadan calendar suggesting a different prayer focus for each day during Ramadan, such as forbearance, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

“Ramadan is a time when Christians are especially isolated in some Muslim-dominated countries,” said Dr Carl Moeller, President and Chief Executive of Open Doors USA.

“This is why it is so important for us to unite in prayer with persecuted Christians throughout the world.

“I urge you to use the Open Doors resources to pray with our brothers and sisters.”

Largely Muslim countries dominate the top 10 world’s worst persecutors of Christians, as listed in this year’s Open Doors World Watch List.

The 10 worst persecutors included eight Muslim-dominated societies, among them Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Somalia.

There are difficulties for Christians even in countries considered more moderate, such as Egypt, where Christians have been killed in church attacks by extremists.

Open Doors warned that the observance of Ramadan could “increase pressure” on believers in Muslim-majority countries.

The end of Ramadan will be followed a fortnight later by the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Michele Miller, Director of Open Doors Prayer Ministries, said it was vital that the church pray for both Christians and Muslims during the 9/11 anniversary.

“Prayer has changed the hearts of millions, so it is also important to pray past the month of Ramadan," she said.
To download the prayer calendar, visit

Spanish archbishop calls for conversion to overcome crisis

Archbishop Julian Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, Spain recently explained that an “attitude of conversion” is needed to “find the elements necessary for overcoming the crisis” that society faces.

The archbishop drew attention to “those most affected by the crisis” and to those who have been victims of terrorism. 

He offered prayers for all political leaders and “for all those who are making their best effort” to “respond to the demands of the common good and to build a better society.”

The archbishop spoke during his homily on July 25, the feast of St. James the Apostle.

He also encouraged families to devote themselves to the “noble task of teaching the youngest generations and encouraging them to build a society in which moral and spiritual principles are practiced and the sacred respect for the person is guaranteed.”

The role of God has “disappeared”
“We must obey God before men,” the archbishop continued. He criticized “today’s culture” in which “human autonomy has become the greatest value, progress has replaced providence and the role of God, in large measure, has disappeared from consciences.”

“God will never deprive man of his freedom,” he said, even though “acting with a purpose that is contrary to the good of his human nature is not true freedom, as freedom orders him toward the good.”

Any law that contradicts the truth about man and not only fails to recognize his fundamental rights, but even tramples upon them, the archbishop concluded.

Peruvian cardinal: Life and the family must be protected

Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima, Peru has issued a special call to protect human life and the family from the threats of abortion and same-sex marriage.
He denounced the “foreign” agenda of abortion, euthanasia and gender ideology. 

“I don’t want that agenda to destroy the Peruvian family. I would like our agenda to be one that respects life from conception, one that respects the family consisting of a man and a woman, and the stability of the family. We should not be so concerned about these other side issues,” he said, during his radio program, Dialogue of Faith.

Cardinal Cipriani said families deserve to live in an atmosphere of respect for human dignity and that more attention should be paid to the formation of a moral conscience, as Peru’s President-elect, Ollanta Humala, prepares to take office on July 28.

“I am worried about the family, the education of children and morality,” the cardinal continued. “Salary increases, contract renewals and GDP growth are all fine, but the human being is not a consumption machine. He is a being that loves, and the great motivating factor for working is to provide for his family,” he stated.

“We can’t be turning out kids who get involved in drugs or gangs because of poor education, nor can we lead young people to think that everything is just fun and games, booze, careers and sex,” he said.

Cardinal Cipriani encouraged parents to provide a decent education for their children and to help them avoid falling into drugs and violence. “All these issues are linked,” he said.

The Peruvian cardinal also thanked outgoing President Alan Garcia for his five years of service to the country.

“Above and beyond the polls, I think an important era is coming to an end.  The relationship with the Church has been one of respect. The relationship with the country has been one of improvement and growth.” 

He added that there is always work to be done, but warned against focusing only on the negative.

Cardinal Cipriani also offered his best wishes to the new administration and his hopes that it would “promote unity, peace, order and moral growth.”

“My best wishes and prayers of thanksgiving to Dr. Alan Garcia and that the Lord enlighten and strengthen Mr. Ollanta Humala.  The Church never sides with any government, but at the same time she hopes that the Peruvian family will maintain its Christian roots and that development will take place in the area of morality as well,” he said.

Media groups name change doesn't satisify Vatican

Two Vatican officials said the newly formed International Catholics Organization of the Media is simply a new name for a group that lost its official recognition as a Catholic organization.

Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, issued a joint statement on the name change of the International Catholic Union of the Press.

The statement, posted on the social communications council's website July 21, said the new group has "misappropriated the intellectual, economic and historical patrimony" of the former International Catholic Union of the Press, known by its French initials, UCIP.

"After many decades of effective service to evangelization through print media," the statement said, UCIP "in recent years has experienced a progressive crisis management."

"The Holy See has repeatedly expressed to the authorities of UCIP its bewilderment at the unacceptable lack of transparency and accuracy in the management of this association, under the control of its secretary general. These facts led the Pontifical Council for the Laity on March 23 to revoke the canonical recognition of UCIP as a Catholic association," the statement said.

Cardinal Rylko and Archbishop Celli said UCIP's only reaction to the Vatican's move was to transform UCIP into the International Catholics Organization of the Media, keeping the UCIP logo and website.

The clerics said the councils of the laity and social communications were "studying new ways of forming an association of journalists who wish to remain in communion with the Catholic Church."

A statement emailed from the new organization July 25, said consultations were held in March and April among members who continued to pay their dues to UCIP.

"More than 75 percent of the voting members said a clear 'yes'" to changing the name and rewriting the statutes of the organization, the statement said.

A general assembly is scheduled for November to vote on new bylaws, it said.

Members chose the noun "Catholics" in the organization's title instead of the descriptive "Catholic," giving "the members greater autonomy," it said. The statement also said the organization is "preparing to establish a new relationship with the Holy See."

In the meantime, the Pontifical Council for the Laity has invited some Catholic journalists and communicators to the Vatican in late September to discuss the possibility of forming a new association recognized by the Vatican.

In a letter to invitees, Cardinal Rylko said, "the Catholic apostolate within the media continues to be a valid and most necessary mission."

"In today's global age, more than ever we strongly believe that journalists have a major role" to play in promoting the truth and informing consciences, he said. Catholic journalists "can be all the more effective if they are united in their efforts to permeate the media with the truth of the Gospel."

Following God's Calling, Not Man's

Historically, a number of brave women have established themselves as a catalyst for change, dedicating their lives to a cause that becomes so compelling that they’re willing to risk everything they know to achieve their goal. 

One such woman is Lexington resident and peace activist Janice Sevre-Duszynska. 

As a member of the Roman Catholic Women Priests, she and others like her relentlessly challenge the church’s dogma including their right to be ordained as priests. 

Her story and those of many other determined women have been featured in Pink Smoke Over the Vatican, a documentary that played at the Esquire Theatre earlier this month. 

Although Sevre-Duszynska remains committed to her quest for reform, the bigger question remains: Will members of a church steeped in tradition and conservative values ever recognize women as priests? 

The calling to join the priesthood emerged around the time of her first communion, Sevre-Duszynska says. 

Growing up in a predominantly Polish-Catholic neighborhood in Milwaukee, she says at age 10 she was ask to help tidy the sanctuary (the part of the church where the alter is located). 

While cleaning, she says she lived her dream by pretending to celebrate mass as a priest. Her ambitions almost drove her to step into the sanctuary as an ‘alter girl’ during a mass, a rite reserved only for young boys, but she stopped short fearing she would get her superior in trouble. 

Reading the gospels at a young age, Sevre-Duszynska realized Jesus also loved women and saw them as equals, not inferior members of the church. She pays homage to her mother for passing on the sense of liberation theology that caused her to question Catholic dogma and the role of women. 

After mass, Sevre-Duszynska's mother would question the homily pointing out male priest’s disconnect to women lives as well as the real world.

“My mother was dropping this little seed in me, saying not only do they not have the lived experience of raising a family, they don’t know what is a woman’s lived experience,” she says. 

“My mother taught me what’s really important is my relationship to God and my relationship to others.” 

Her desire lay dormant for many years until a series of events reshaped her life. 

In the 1980s, she and her family moved from Milwaukee to Lexington, Ky. A few years later, one of her two sons was killed in an automobile accident, and subsequently her marriage of nearly 25 years ended in divorce.

Experiencing such devastating loss motivated her in more spiritual directions.

In 1998, Sevre-Duszynska made national news when she interrupted an ordination ceremony at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Lexington. 

“I walked up there and said, 'I am called upon by the holy spirit to present myself for ordination — my name is Janice, I ask this for myself and all women,’ and I prostrated myself on the alter like a male candidates for priest,” she says.

“So, I’m down on the ground and Bishop Williams says, 'Get back to your seat you’re disrupting the service.' Well, I always say it wasn’t disrupting it was interrupting.”

In 2000, Sevre-Duszynska garnered media attention yet again during a U.S. bishop’s conference in Washington, D.C., where she made a public announcement during the gathering calling for the ordination of women priests. 

After organizers silenced her microphone, she refused to leave the meeting until police escorted her out of the hotel.

Two years later, Sevre-Duszynska was arrested and charged with trespass after she refused to leave a diaconate ordination in Atlanta where she and several others protested sexism in the church. 

In 2001, she hung a banner in Rome during a bishop meeting that called for the ordination of women priests in eight languages. 

“I was known as the sign lady and the banner lady and I headed up the ministry of irritation,” she says. 

Her journey began to see fruition in 2006, when she was ordained a deacon of the church by the order of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Pittsburgh. She continued her preparation by studying theology at Lexington Theological Seminary working toward her doctorate, adding to her master's degree in theater from the University of Kentucky.

In 2008, Sevre-Duszynska was ordained a “womanpriest” by the order at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Lexington. With more than 150 people in attendance, she celebrated the joyous event with family, friends, fellow peace activists and supporters of the women’s ordination movement including three male priests in good standing. 

The Rev. Roy Bourgeois delivered the homily, an act that would have lasting repercussions. After sending invitations to a number of male priests, Bourgeois called to tell her he would be proud to attend and deliver the homily.

“I said, 'I know you know what you’re doing — but do you know what you’re doing?' ” she says. 

The two met as peace activists in their shared quest to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga. — an organization accused of training paramilitary assassins for militant groups in South America.  

During a 2001 protest, Sevre-Duszynska crossed into the base, resulting in a sentence of three months in federal prison. 

The School of the Americas, recently renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) is believed to be responsible for several deaths in El Salvador including those of Catholic priest and activist Oscar Romero, six Jesuit priests and four Catholic nuns, two of whom were members of the Maryknoll order. 

As a Catholic priest in the order of the Maryknolls, a division of the Catholic Church that helps poor and repressed people overseas, Bourgeois was friends with the two women.

“For the next year, I was full-time building a movement calling for the closing of School of the Americas and the training of all of these soldiers coming from El Salvador and all of these other countries, all paid for by our tax money,” Bourgeois says. 

“I was zigzagging all over the country talking about this injustice in El Salvador and the injustice in the school of the Americas and then I discovered an injustice much closer to home in my church.” 

With a sincere ring in his voice, Bourgeois recalls how he wrestled with his conscience over his own beliefs. While away on missions, he met a number of women like Janice who received a calling from God to be priests. 

Until then, he never really questioned church tradition, but tells how he was unable to reconcile one question that continued to haunt him. 

“As Catholics, we do profess that God created men and women of equal dignity — and as Catholic priests, we always say the call to be a priest comes from God,” he says. 

“So I began to ask a very important and basic question, 'Who are we as man to reject God’s call of women? How can we as men say that our call from God is authentic but God’s call of women is not?' ” 

After returning home from Sevre-Duszynska’s ordination ceremony, Bourgeois received a call from Maryknoll headquarters requesting a meeting with the superior general and general council in order to explain his actions. 

Two months later, he received ‘the letter’ from the Vatican stating he had 30 days to recant his belief and public statements for the ordination of women or be excommunicated from the church.

During his visit to headquarters, Bourgeois says he posed the question to the Maryknoll council and other priests in the church; their response, he says, was silence. 

After crafting a lengthy and passionate letter to the Vatican, Bourgeois says he received no response or even acknowledgment of its receipt. 

By ultimately following his conscience, Bourgeois says he refused and continues to refuse to remain silent about the issue and gives talks around the country in support of ordaining women priests. 

As a result, two months ago — a little more than two years since he attended Sevre-Duszynska's ordination — Bourgeois received another summons to Maryknoll headquarters in New York. 

Superiors ordered him to recant his statement within 15 days or receive expulsion from the Maryknolls, his family and community for more than 39 years.

Bourgeois says he visits the mailbox every day expecting the final letter. 

He likes to joke that his chances of winning the Georgia State Lottery are better than his chances of being allowed to remain in the order. 

But a small glimmer of hope arrived recently in a copy of a letter sent to the Vatican. 

Bourgeois says it was signed by more than 100 priests in good standing supporting his position to honor his conscience. 

Bourgeois believes hope lies in sheer numbers, with more and more people in the church coming forward in support. 

Many of them have supported female ordination for some time but are afraid to come forward because of harsh repercussions. 

He particularly questions the church’s stand on excommunication for supporters of women priests in relation to some other scandals that rocked the church.

“How many priests has the Vatican kicked out or excommunicated for their crimes against children?” he says. 

“There’s none — not a single one. They have not excommunicated them or the bishops who have covered up the crimes. That continues to be a big issue in the Catholic Church.” 

To date, the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement boasts 120 female priests with branches in in Eastern and Western Europe, Eastern and Western Canada and the United States, says womanpriest Bridget Mary Meehan. 

In addition, Meehan says she recently ordained the first woman in South America expanding the order to yet another continent. 

She explains the grassroots movement continues to play by church rules, a measure necessary to gain credibility. 

She says of the seven womenpriests originally ordained on the Danube in 2002, two were later ordained secretly by a male bishop in good standing. 

As part of apostolic succession in the Catholic religion, the church only recognizes priests ordained by chosen bishops in good standing; an act that was completed under the veil of secrecy, but carried out nonetheless, Meehan says. 

“That means they recognize apostolic succession and a male bishop would need to ordain us,” Meehan says. 

“We got that, and that’s the part that they hate. They take the movement seriously and they’ve done everything they could to punish us because they see it as a direct threat to the all-male, patriarchal dominant model. It’s a threat to the male authority power structure of the church.” 

The movement includes more reforms than simply ordaining women, Meehan adds. 

The grassroots movement looks to reinvent the church into a more egalitarian, circular model where all members participate and feel empowered. 

The group believes the Catholic Church in its current state bears little resemblance to the vision of Jesus.

She tells of how in all four gospels, Jesus appears after his resurrection to Mary Magdelene, who is still widely believed to be the apostle to the apostles. 

When traditionalists question her right to be a priest, she counters with historic evidence of women priests in the church more than 1,200 years ago. 

“Women priests are reclaiming our ancient tradition of women in ordained ministry,” Meehan says.

“People who are guardians of the tradition and traditionalist Catholics should celebrate that women are taking their rightful place following the example of Jesus, who had male and female disciples — all they have to do is read the gospels.”  

Pink Smoke Over the Vatican, the award-winning documentary directed by Jules Hart, follows the lives of several women, including Sevre-Duszynska, and their quest for ordination. 

With all the adversity these women face in the Catholic Church, the question arises why don’t women like Meehan and Sevre-Duszynska simply embrace another faith that ordains women as church leaders — why fight the fight?

For Sevre-Duszynska, she simply professes Catholicism to be her religion since birth and her religion of choice. 

Other churches have approached her, but she still feels connected to her roots.

She says while reform needs to occur within the church, she can’t help but love the institution based on the gospels and filled with patron saints that has always been a part of her life. 

“Why should I leave the richness and all of my experiences in the church that I worked to and was called upon to speak out and challenge it?” she asks.

“I feel like a daughter of the church, why would I want to leave it?”