Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Scotland to legalize gay marriage by 2015

Scotland has announced it will allow same-sex weddings as early as 2015, becoming the first country in the United Kingdom to do so. 

"We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal, and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships," said Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who made the announcement on Wednesday (July 25).

The Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church were against the move, but gay-friendly Christian groups said they were "relieved" by the announcement.

The Rev. Fiona Bennett, minister of Augustine United Reform Church (Protestant) in Edinburgh, said, "We're delighted. It's been some time coming."

Sturgeon said that religious groups and individuals opposed to same-sex marriage will not be punished for not performing them.

"The Scottish government," she said, "will take all necessary steps to protect churches and individuals within those churches who do not wish to conduct same sex weddings if they do not agree with them."

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church said: "The Scottish government is embarking on a dangerous social experiment on a massive scale."

The Rev. Rod Thomas, chairman of Reform, a conservative evangelical network within the Church of England, said, "God designed marriage to be the union of one man and one woman, reflecting the union of Christ as bridegroom and the Church his bride. God is not a person with whom even U.K. prime ministers can negotiate a more congenial set of commands."

The announcement came as British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a meeting of prominent gay leaders at his London home, 10 Downing Street.

"I am absolutely determined that this coalition government will follow in that tradition by legalizing gay marriage in this Parliament," he said.

Scotland: Catholic Church challenged on reduced gay life expectancy claim

The co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie MSP has challenged the Scottish Catholic Church to produce evidence for its claim that gay relationships harm life expectancy.

The Catholic Church has said it will respond later this week.

Appearing on Scotland Tonight last week to discuss the Scottish government’s plans to legislate for same-sex marriage, spokesman Peter Kearney said: “There is a link between same-sex sexual practice and early death. That’s not something that the Catholic Church believes; there is an overwhelming body of medical evidence to suggest that. One study has shown that the life expectancy of a practising homosexual man will be reduced by something between 12 and 20 years. We only need to imagine the complex infections, diseases and illnesses that are caused. I think we’re all aware of it. We tend to indulge ourselves in a willful fantasy that there are no dangers, that it’s not harmful. That’s not a particularly compassionate response for a society to take.”

Now, Scottish Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie has called for Mr Kearney to substantiate his claims.

In an open letter to the Catholic spokesman, Mr Harvie writes of the suggestions: “Whether this line of argument has any bearing on the same sex marriage debate is unclear; I am sure you were not implying that poor health should be a legal barrier to marriage or civil partnership for anyone, regardless of their sexuality. However it is important that those of us in the privileged and powerful position of speaking on these issues in the national media don’t confuse proper scientific evidence with some of the distortions which circulate online or in the wilder imaginations of some campaigners in the very polarised debate in the US. I am sure that you will be aware of some of the studies which have been misused in this way. The work of the avowedly anti-gay campaigner Paul Cameron for example, has been thoroughly discredited by the American and Canadian Psychological Associations and by the American Sociological Association and although it is based merely on a sampling of obituaries in gay newspapers it continues to be cited by some campaigners as though it is based on robust science. Similarly, research by Hogg et al published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (which was designed to make an assessment from limited available data about the impact of HIV in urban Vancouver in the days prior to modern antiretroviral therapy) has been misused to such an extent that the authors have had to issue a statement to clarify the actual meaning of their work and to oppose “the use of our research in a manner that restricts the political or human rights of gay and bisexual men or any other group.”

Mr Harvie, who worked in HIV prevention and equality campaigns at the Gay Men’s Project at PHACE Scotland before his election added: “I very much hope that you have not mistaken such distortions of science for the real thing, or worse still decided to repeat the deliberate distortions and untruths being peddled by certain campaigners in the US. I would therefore like to offer you the opportunity to clarify your comments from the programme, and to give clear references to the “vast array”, or “overwhelming body of medical evidence” to which you referred.”

PinkNews.co.uk first asked the Catholic Media Office for clarification on its use of the studies mentioned above in December 2011 when Mr Kearney cited them in support of the position.

Today, Mr Kearney said he would be responding to Mr Harvie later this week and stressed a distinction between gay relationships and gay sexual activity.

The Catholic Church in Scotland has facing criticism after footage surfaced of the Archbishop-elect of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia drawing a link between homosexuality and the early death of a gay Catholic MP last year.

A charity, the David Cairns Foundation, named for the MP and set up after his death said the 
Catholic Church had made “scurrilous” and “hurtful insinuations”.

It said: “David died in tragic circumstances due to complications arising from acute pancreatitis. A gallstone blocked his pancreatic tract leading to further infection acquired during the two months he spent in hospital prior to his death. To suggest that his death was in some way connected to his sexuality is totally erroneous and made purely for political gain to somehow influence the debate on Equal Marriage.We take exception to the comments made by both Bishop Tartaglia, subsequently re-enforced by Mr Kearney in his television interview. Despite the half- hearted apology offered by the Bishop on Tuesday evening, Mr Kearney continued to support the Bishop’s comments in a manner that we and many others would consider to be homophobic. Whilst we do not wish to stifle the debate in Scotland and the rest of the UK concerning Equal Marriage, we would implore leaders of faith groups to use language more befitting their office. We can state that a more considered and pastoral approach from both the Bishop and Mr Kearney would likely not have caused the injury felt by David’s partner, friends and family.”

Jack Drescher, a member of the World Health Organisation’s Working Group on the Classification of Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health told the Scotsman: “There are no reputable scientific studies that show gay men, in general, die earlier than heterosexual men. Unfortunately, there are individuals known to oppose gay civil rights who create their own ‘data’ and reach questionable conclusions about gay men’s lifespans. Although these ‘studies’, more like pseudo-studies, have little or no basis in empirical science, some choose to publicise them to the general public and use them as political scare tactics.”

New book urges radical rethink on priesthood

A new book, which will be published later this week, calls for a radical rethink on the priesthood and the structuring of its training, in order to embrace a wider body of men.

Where Do We Go From Here: The Crisis in Irish Catholicism, by Fr Brendan Hoban, one of the founders of the Association of Catholic Priests, calls for a return of the tradition of ordaining ‘viri probati’- men who have proven their worth in terms of their standards and values, and may be married or unmarried.

Such candidates would provide support for parishes which otherwise will be left without the Mass, Fr Hoban suggests.

Speaking to ciNews about his book, Fr Hoban said it was written in the context of the “catastrophic” decline in vocations to the priesthood that will make itself felt in the Irish Church in the next 10-15 years.  

If current trends continue, the diocese of Killala, where he serves, will have just eight priests in 2032, all of whom will be in their 60s or 70s.

Fr Hoban warned that the Irish Church is facing, “a Eucharistic famine,” unless it realistically addresses this shortage of priests.

Discussing his call for the ordination of ‘viri probati’, he explained, “We are going to leave our people without the Eucharist, and if there is no Mass there is no Church.  So we have to have priests.  I am suggesting as a first measure that we should look seriously at ordaining these men who may be married or unmarried.”

He added that there would be no need for the men who are selected to train for the priesthood to do the full course of study, which is currently undertaken by seminarians.  

Rather, he said, any course should be tailored to enable candidates to do it on a part-time basis in a shorter length of time, as is currently the case with those training to be deacons.

“At the moment, the reaction to the decline in vocations is to cluster parishes and create bigger parish units with fewer priests and declining numbers of priests in specific parishes.  The result of that is that priests are getting older and they are working harder because they are covering more ground and more parishes.  This is very much a short term solution,” he stated.

"Nobody believes at this stage that the numbers of vocations are going to increase significantly.  So there is going to be a huge need for priests in parishes in 10-15 year’s time," he added.

The book is divided into three parts.  “The first part is about saying where are we.  In other words, let’s be real about what is happening ; let’s name the truth even though it is very difficult and people don’t want to name it."

Fr Hoban said the easier reaction is to fly away from the problem. 

"But there is no point in flying back to the 19th century or the Latin Mass as some kind of refuge from the world.  We need to be real about what the situation is in terms of vocations, the actual numbers that are involved and that will be involved in 10-15 years’ time."

He called on the Church to be realistic about the fact that, "we are still bleeding parishioners in terms of religious practice and the fact that people are older and parishes are declining.”

Discussing his book, he said, “The second part is about the possibilities.  If we look at what is happening around us in parishes and the changing attitudes of people; there are real possibilities.  The third part is where do we go from here.”

He added that what he is suggesting is that in a crisis situation, all members of the Church must work together: bishops, priests and lay people.  

“We have to first of all recognise what the problems are and then we have to together in a spirit of ‘communio’."

He added, "I would like to see a conversation or debate between the different elements in the Church, not in terms of who is in charge and who is not in charge, but in terms of focusing on the problem.  What we can realistically do about the problem now.  There is no point in kicking the can down the road and saying God will provide or this happened before,” Fr Hoban said.

Pilgrims rise to challenge and scale Croagh Patrick summit

Barefoot pilgrims mingled with tourists, hill-walkers and fitness fanatics as some 12,000 people made the journey up Croagh Patrick yesterday, marking Reek Sunday.

Among the pilgrims was the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown (52) who was greeted by thousands as he made his way up the mountain to celebrate mass at the summit at 9.30am.

This was the first time Archbishop Brown had climbed Croagh Patrick.

Speaking during his short Mass, the Papal Nuncio said the climb -- which he did in a sturdy pair of hiking boots while carrying a wooden stick -- was like a pathway to life.

The American archbishop spent almost five hours on the mountain, hearing confessions and chatting with pilgrims. He was so impressed by the event that he hopes to complete it again in the future.

Archbishop Brown was accompanied by the Archbishop of Tuam, Galway, Dr Michael Neary. 

Fr Charles McDonnell, administrator of Westport parish of Mayo, also climbed the mountain.

This pilgrimage ended a busy week for the nuncio who had been involved in ordinations in Cork last Sunday.

In his homily at the summit, Archbishop Neary said he hoped the legacy of the International Eucharistic Congress would be to make people more aware of the faith that still existed around the country.

"There is so much good here that has been swallowed up in criticism. There is still a vibrant faith expressed by the many people who trek to daily Mass, those who go out to care for the poor and all those who direct their energies to deprived children and the forgotten elderly," he said.

The pilgrimage, which has been carried out uninterrupted for more than 1,500 years, saw many leave their shoes at home, while others sported their county colours in the hope of some divine intervention.

John Dunleavy and his five-year-old daughter Sorcha took part in the pilgrimage.

This was Sorcha's first climb but she will have a long way to go if she plans to beat her father's record. Mr Dunleavy has made the pilgrimage over 30 times.

Diarmuid MacConville from Dublin made the pilgrimage in his bare feet. But his decision wasn't religiously motivated, he's a fan of barefoot running.

"I read 'Born to Run' by Christopher McDougall and it inspired me. It wasn't very tough. I just took it easy. I've been promised a foot massage when I get home," he added.

Thomas Halloran (13) from Cross in Co Mayo was a minor casualty of the climb. The teen had been doing great until a slip on the way down left him with a bloody knee.

He and his family do the climb each year and Thomas insisted the slight injury wouldn't be putting him off in future.

"Coming down I slipped on the gravel and fell. It's not so bad," he said.

His father Tommy Halloran has been doing the climb each year for the past 25 years. He and his wife Concepta have taken each of their children on the climb from the age of seven on. 

This year was the first time for Rebecca (7) who was eager to come back again.

Despite the good weather, the numbers taking part in the climb were lower than in previous years. However, the sight of thousands walking up the mountain was still impressive enough for some visitors.

Matthias Thurmann (23) from Germany was left speechless by the sight of 12,000 people making their way up the mountain.

"It's kind of insane that there really would be thousands of people from all over the world all coming here just to climb this mountain," he said.

Judge hits at colleague over priest killing case

AN eminent former judge has added his voice to the growing chorus of disquiet about the killing of Fr Niall Molloy -- the priest found dead in an Offaly mansion in the 1980s.

James O'Sullivan said he was "amazed" that the judge who presided over the priest's manslaughter trial took the case -- because he was a "great friend" of the families involved.

Mr Justice Frank Roe heard the trial in June 1986 shortly after being appointed President of the Circuit Court. 

Amid huge controversy, he halted the hearing in less than four hours and ordered the jury to acquit the accused Richard Flynn.

It was the most sensational killing and trial of the 1980s.

In July 1985, the popular Roscommon priest was found battered to death in the Offaly mansion of his socialite friends Therese and Richard Flynn, the day after their daughter's wedding.

The post-mortem concluded that the 52-year-old cleric had been punched and kicked in the head at least five or six times and died as a result of acute brain swelling caused by his injuries.

He did not die instantly but was left for up to six hours after the initial attack before the gardai were called.


The actions of some garda officers in the initial investigation have also been called into question. They allowed vital evidence to be contaminated and many witnesses were never interviewed.

It is widely believed that another individual and not Richard Flynn killed Fr Molloy.

Nearly two years ago, the garda cold case unit launched a new examination following an Irish Independent investigation.

The newspaper produced new evidence that other people were present in the house on the night of the killing.

But the family of Fr Niall said they were deeply disappointed at the slow pace of this probe and are calling on Justice Minister Alan Shatter to establish a commission to answer questions that surround the killing.

Speaking for the first time about the trial, Judge O'Sullivan said: "I was very friendly with Frank Roe. I was amazed at him for taking the case because I always looked on him as a most honourable man. I couldn't believe that he took the case or his actions throughout. He should never have said what he said to the jury. They had no choice but to follow his instructions."

Newest priest (26) describes first week as 'best of my life'

IRELAND'S newest cleric has hailed his first week as a priest as "the best of my life".

Fr Damien Lynch (26) -- who is the fourth youngest priest in Ireland -- was ordained in Ballyvourney, Co Cork, last Sunday. He has now been assigned to Fermoy parish in the Diocese of Cloyne though he won't take up duties for several weeks.

"The past week has been absolutely incredible -- it wasn't just my ordination but celebrating my first Mass and then having the community throw a party for me," Fr Damien said.

The Ballyvourney and Cuil Aodha parish staged a special party in Fr Damien's honour. His first Mass was celebrated in Seipeal Chuil Aodha -- with more than 300 people packed into the church and almost 200 more standing outside.

Fr Damien said he never once reconsidered his determination to be a priest despite the scandals that have rocked the church in Ireland for the past decade.

His new diocese still lacks a bishop after Dr John Magee resigned before the publication of the Cloyne Report into how clerical abuse allegations were handled. 

"Quite clearly some very significant human mistakes were made on the part of the church authorities," he said. "But it never altered my faith or trust in God and his church. I always wanted to be a priest. That never changed for a moment."

FG will resist Labour plans to bring in new abortion law

GROWING numbers of Fine Gael ministers and TDs believe there won't be legislation introduced on abortion but that the regime will be regulated instead.

A failure to legislate would cause divisions within the Coalition as the Labour Party promised to bring in laws to deal with the X case.

The Government is awaiting an expert group report on how to respond to a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on the abortion regime.

But ministers and backbenchers alike now believe the abortion regime will be dealt with by regulations setting out in what circumstances abortions are allowed.

Fine Gael TDs have threatened to vote against any abortion legislation -- in line with a pre-election promise by their party.


The Government is obliged to present an "action plan" to an EU body by late October, following the receipt of a report by the expert group in September.

Fine Gael and Labour are divided on the necessity to allow abortions if a woman's life is in danger.

Health Minister Dr James Reilly faced firm threats a fortnight ago from Fine Gael TDs who said they would vote against the Government on any attempt to legislate for abortion.

In a heated debate at a party meeting of Fine Gael TDs and senators, Dr Reilly was warned by a junior minister that the issue could "rip the party apart".

The backlash followed comments by the Fine Gael deputy leader that the coalition would not become the seventh government to refuse to deal with the X case.

Fine Gael backbenchers feel the Health Minister got the hint and now realises he can't bring forward legislation as it would cause too much division.

"If it can be dealt without legislation, it's not a problem. If it can be done that way, then fine," a party TD said.

But some ministers and TDs believe the backbench revolt was counterproductive as it merely caused consternation over something that wasn't going to be a problem.

"The God squad in the Fine Gael party is getting upset. It'll be regulation. People are putting up a fight about something that mightn't ever happen," a minister said.

And there are also conspiratorial suggestions that the stirring up of emotions within the party on the issue is motivated by a desire to undermine Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Moreover, there is a view the Fine Gael parliamentary party is extremely conservative and won't tolerate implementing abortion laws.

A briefing in recent weeks by a group lobbying against abortion attracted 56 TDs and senators, with two-thirds of them coming from Fine Gael.

"If you speak to any of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, the vast majority would be all singing off the same hymn sheet," another TD said.

"You only legislate for things when necessary. The nub of it is there is no compulsion to legislate on the basis of a judgment from the European Court of Human Rights," a veteran TD said.

Watchdog defends failure to act on anti-abortion ads

http://www.asai.ie/images/newtopbanner.jpgThe advertising watchdog has defended its failure to act on anti-abortion ads which have been branded as "offensive and inaccurate".
The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) has discussed the advertising campaign by Youth Defence with the office of Pat Rabbitte, the communications minister.

The ASAI said it is constitutionally prevented from taking any action against them which could constitute a breach of freedom of speech.

It is to carry out a review of the remit later this year which, according to Mr Rabbitte, "offers all stakeholders the opportunity to engage with them on this difficult issue".

The authority said it has received over 100 complaints about the ads, which show images of young, distraught women and foetuses.

They carry slogans such as "Abortion tears her life apart" and "There’s always a better answer", with the word "always" underlined.

The ASAI’s chief executive, Frank Goodman, said people have expressed frustration that they have not been able to do anything about the adverts.

"It’s not a matter of ducking, we just don’t have any option of looking at it," he said.

"We have a particular remit and the legal advice is we can’t go outside that."

The authority is independent of the Government and was set up and financed by the advertising industry. Its remit does not extend beyond commercial advertising because to do so could constitute a breach of freedom of expression.

"We would be subject to judicial review if we acted outside the rules," said Mr Goodman.

Mr Rabbitte’s office has received about 10 letters in recent weeks complaining about the ads — some from Oireachtas members.

He has responded by saying that people should address their concerns to the Department of Health.

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik recently told the Seanad there needed to be an expansion of the remit of the ASAI so it could consider complaints about the type of advertising currently on display by Youth Defence.

"My concern is that there doesn’t appear to be any way for people to complain," Ms Bacik said.

"So I have written to the minister asking can we establish a route of complaint for individuals about these ads."

Socialist Party TD Clare Daly has also asked Mr Rabbitte to deal with what she described as "highly offensive and inaccurate youth defence advertisements".

Mr Rabbitte responded that his department "has informally raised the question of remit with the ASAI".

He said: "I am informed that they had considered the matter at an earlier juncture but decided against any attempt to extend their remit to cover non-commercial advertising on the grounds that any such measure could raise profound constitutional and freedom of expression issues."

"I understand that the ASAI intend to review their remit later this year, which offers all stake-holders the opportunity to engage with them on this difficult issue," Mr Rabbitte added.

Three airlifted during pilgrimage

An estimated 12,000 pilgrims climbed Croagh Patrick
Three people were airlifted to safety while taking part in the annual pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick.

An estimated 12,000 people took part in the traditional Reek Sunday trek up the 765-metre high mountain in Co Mayo.

Mayo Mountain Rescue said 19 injured casualties were stretchered off the mountain or walked to safety. An 83-year-old woman, a teenage boy and an Italian man in his 30s were also airlifted by the Air Corps helicopter.

Rescue spokesman Shane Maguire said no-one suffered life-threatening injuries.

"The morning was very cloudy and the afternoon was clear but it was very blustery," he said.
"There wasn't the usual throngs of people today, but a couple of thousand people did the climb yesterday and a lot of people climbed it last night. We could see the torches in the dark."

Croagh Patrick has more than 100,000 visitors annually, with 20,000 taking part in the national pilgrimage in recent years. It is associated with St Patrick who, in 441, spent 40 days and nights fasting on the summit and has been carried out uninterrupted for over 1,500 years.

The climb was led by Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary and the papal nuncio to Ireland, Charles Brown.

The Defence Forces said at about 11am a pensioner was airlifted from the mountain side and brought to the Order of Malta field hospital operating at the base of the mountain. 

Almost immediately after a second call was received to medivac a teenage boy who had fallen and banged his head. He was transported directly to Castlebar hospital.

At approximately 2pm an Italian man with hypothermia was airlifted from halfway up the mountain and taken to the Order of Malta field hospital operating at the base of the Mountain. 

All three are being treated in hospital.

Homily of Archbishop Michael Neary for annual Reek Sunday Mass on Croagh Patrick

“Looking down from the summit of Croagh Patrick today we can see again a beautiful country and a revitalised Church stretching her arms out to all who want to come home.  This Mass will end with a blessing as the Lord sends us out on mission.  May you be a blessing to others, welcoming them home” Archbishop Neary

We get a different perspective on life and land from the top of a mountain.  

On this mountain of Saint Patrick in the year of the Eucharistic Congress in Ireland perhaps we might see the beauty in the rich inheritance of our faith despite the shadow of recent darker days.

Our ancestors were not gullible people who risked their lives as they made their way to some hidden glen to gather around the Mass rock.  They felt deeply the need to celebrate the Eucharist. Their strength lay in their closeness to God and to each other.  They learned their prayers around the fire and turned to God in those same words in days of joy and nights of pain, sorrow and loneliness.  

Words learned in small holdings here in the West of Ireland found voice in the city churches of England, America and Australia.  Old catechism classes held in poorly heated classrooms found echo in the tropics and in the Far East as Irish missionaries brought the news of Christ to these distant shores.

The Eucharistic Congress held in Dublin in 1932 helped to bring unity, forgiveness and peace to a nation just emerged from the Civil war.  We pray that the legacy of this year’s Congress, eighty years later, might be the gift of peace, forgiveness and understanding to this Church and this land of ours.

There is so much good here that has been swallowed up in criticism.  There is still a vibrant faith expressed in the many people who trek to daily Mass, those who go out to care for the poor and all those who direct their energies to deprived children and the forgotten elderly. 

The Eucharistic Congress made us aware of the good that is being done by generous people.  Many tributes have been paid to the courtesy and kindness of the volunteers.  This generosity is replicated in every parish and community throughout the land.  It finds expression in the availability of people for Boards of Management of Schools, in various ministries and Church-related, as well as community and sporting organisations.  

It is so much in evidence in local areas at times of difficulty when volunteers come to provide support as in the tragedy at Union Hall on the Cork coast earlier this year.  Our people go on contributing through Trócaire in hard days at home, to the starving millions existing in desert waste famine lands.

We must begin again at home to strive for the restoration of strong neighbourhoods so as to bring back again the great sense of justice and courtesy to each other which in the past, marked the gentler side of this nation.  In a world where strife and wars are the feature of all our news casts we must not forget that this country designed a peace process which is ranked among the best in the world.

At the heart of all this lies Christ, the peace giver, the same Christ who offers us table friendship with him at every Eucharist.  A lasting contribution from the Second Vatican Council way back in those years of 1962 to 1965 was the renewal of the Church with its emphasis on the central themes of both the Eucharist and Mission to the life of the Church and the inseparable bond between them.  Mission is the outreach from the altar. This led to the theme of this year’s celebration “Communion with Christ and with one other”.  The Eucharist gathers us in order to scatter us so that we go out and live like Jesus.

After each Mass the risen Christ becomes a real presence under the appearance of flesh and blood of sinners like you and me.  Some who will not find the presence of God in his Word or Sacrament may come to know Him only in the very human and weak flesh and blood of the one who holds out hands of welcome, forgiveness and love.

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI underlines the Mission of the Church like this: “the love that we celebrate in the Eucharist is not something we can keep to ourselves.  By its very nature it demands to be shared with all” (Sacramentum Caritatis 84).  

Again Pope Benedict reflecting on the variety of people, the rich, the poor, the invalid, the athletic, the young and the old who gather at the altar says “thanks to the Body and Blood of Christ, they have become truly one.  In the Eucharistic Christ they become blood relations and thus, true brothers and sisters, thanks to the Word and body and blood of the same Jesus Christ”.

Some, sadly, in these days do not find any attraction in their faith.  They may have abandoned the Mass because they find it repetitive, structured or as many people describe it as boring.  Maybe this is because we have emphasised too often the ritual and rubrics or the notion of celebration without drawing attention to the task or mission of the Mass.  

I heard of one elderly priest with no hang-ups about liturgy or new translation, would end the Mass with ‘Ite Missa es’ off with you now and live the Mass and that may mean some sacrifice”.

The young generation must be challenged to change themselves, the Church and the whole nation in their giving and their time. There is, of course, the on-going miracle of bread and wine becoming the real presence of Christ but all of us leaving the altar must work the miracle of changing our flesh and flood into the real presence of the risen Christ in the world which we live.  

A hospital Chaplain tells of an old man dying in pain and loneliness who said he missed the altar because he was a daily Mass-goer, but, then touching his bed, he added that the bed was probably his altar now.

We, gathered at this altar today, are invited to become the leaven for a whole batch of people so that faith will rise in them.  Every Mass, like this one, ends with the congregation being sent out on the Mission to be a source of hope to others who feel broken, isolated or at the margins of life.

Hope goes on looking for the good in people instead of harping on the worst.

Hope recognises that the world is not always a good place that; there is much to be done to improve it.

Hope does not resort to hysteria.

Hope opens doors when depression or despair tries to close them.

Hope pushes ahead when it would be much easier to quit.

Hope is the hidden spring of fresh well water.

A French writer says “inside every wilderness there is a spring. This is what makes the desert beautiful”.

Looking down from the summit of Croagh Patrick today we can see again a beautiful country and a revitalised Church stretching her arms out to all who want to come home.  

This Mass will end with a blessing as the Lord sends us out on mission.  

May you be a blessing to others, welcoming them home.

God draws greater good from evil acts, Aurora priest says at funeral

In his funeral homily for a parishioner killed in the July 20 shooting in Aurora, Father Martin Lally said God allows evil things to happen in order to allow and inspire good.
“While none of us can know precisely the mind of God, it is ... consistently proven that the response to evil acts is more powerful acts of kindness, compassion and courage,” Fr. Lally said July 28.

“Our presence here is a true sign that love is more powerful that evil; that a gentle presence is stronger than bullets.”

Parishioner Alexander (A.J.) Boik was one of 12 victims killed by a gunman who opened fire at a midnight showing of the newest Batman film, “The Dark Knight Rises.”

The 18-year-old graduated from high school in May and planned to start classes next month at a Denver art school.

Boik's family also released a statement, recalling how he dreamed of teaching art and opening his own studio.

“He was a talented young man ... with a warm and loving heart,” the family said.

Fr. Lally said he “can't help but smile” at memories of Boik, who loved life so much he “wanted to teach others how to create art that would beautify and enhance (it).”

“Those memories are treasures to family and friends,” Fr. Lally said. “Let us ... hope that our greatest testimony to AJ's life will be that we will, as he did, have high ambitions and firmness of purpose in our lives.”

Boik is survived by his parents, grandparents and a brother.

Catholic group seeks second injunction against contraception mandate

Lawyers representing a Catholic businessmen’s group are seeking a separate injunction against the HHS mandate in federal court on Wednesday, days before the controversial rule takes effect Aug. 1.

The Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center filed the injunction as part of its lawsuit on behalf of Legatus, the largest Catholic business leader organization in the U.S., the Ann Arbor-based Weingartz Supply Company and its president Daniel Weingartz, a Legatus member.

“Without the court's intervention, the HHS mandate effectively penalizes their free exercise of religion,” Thomas More Law Center attorney Erin Mersino said July 26.

She said the injunction is needed to prevent “immediate injury to our clients’ right of conscience.”

The Department of Health and Human Services mandate requires all employers with 50 or more employees to provide insurance coverage including sterilization, contraception and abortion-causing drugs.

Its narrow religious exemption does not include many Catholic health systems, charities and colleges, despite Catholic objections to covering the procedures and drugs.

Catholic employers who run secular businesses have even fewer protections in the mandate regulations.

The motion for an emergency injunction was filed before Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Maryland. It says the mandate violates rights guaranteed by the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

Mersino told CNA July 27 that the mandate would have an “enormous impact” on Weingartz and his company.

“If you look at the 170 employees that he has, and at minimum the $2,000 fine (per employee) he faces annually, he’s looking at in excess of over $300,000 a year in fines for non-compliance.”

She expects a ruling on the injunction request before Aug. 1.

A federal judge in Colorado on July 27 issued an injunction against the mandate in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Hercules Industries. That injunction only protects the Colorado-based company and its owners.

Mersino said the attorneys’ arguments on behalf of Weingartz and his company are similar to those made in the Colorado case.

“Our clients are similarly situated. They are both for-profit business owners who are Catholic. They oppose the mandate for the same reasons.”

She said if the judge follows the arguments, he will rule the same way but there is “no guarantee” he will.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, criticized the federal rule.

“The Obama administration deliberately declared war on the Catholic Church by promulgating the HHS mandate,” he said July 26. “And contrary to what they want you to believe, this case is not about contraception. It is about the religious freedom of Christians, in this case Catholics, to peaceably practice their faith free from government coercion.”

He warned that if the government succeeds, “the religious freedom of all Christians is in danger.”

Lawyers for Marriage organization formed to support Marriage Protection Amendment

“Lawyers for Marriage,” an organization of Minnesota attorneys in support of the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment on the November ballot, has been formed to campaign in support of the amendment. 
The organization was formed to be a resource for understanding the legal and social importance of Minnesota’s existing legal definition of marriage. 
“There are many important legal issues surrounding the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment,” said Kevin Conneely, chairman of Lawyers for Marriage and an attorney with the Leonard, Street and Deinard law firm. 
“Unfortunately, there is some confusion about what the amendment will and will not do. Many are also unaware of the Benson v. Alverson case seeking to have Minnesota’s traditional marriage law — the state’s Defense of Marriage Act — struck down.  The Benson plaintiffs argue that limiting marriage to one man and one woman amounts to bigotry. If the marriage amendment does not pass, and the Benson plaintiffs prevail, those who refuse to acknowledge marriage redefinition will be treated as bigots in law and, increasingly, in the culture. Our organization can serve as a resource for the media and the public in understanding the issues and how they impact all Minnesotans.” 
The organization of local attorneys will serve as an adjunct to Minnesota for Marriage, the campaign committee leading support for the Marriage Protection Amendment. 
Other members of the organization’s executive committee include Roger Magnuson of Dorsey & Whitney; Teresa Collett of the University of St. Thomas School of Law; William A. LeMire of Arthur Chapman Kettering Smetak and Pikala; and Evan Wilson of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. 
“We are very pleased to have this distinguished group of attorneys from across the state come together to support the marriage protection amendment,” said Jason Adkins, executive committee member of Minnesota for Marriage and executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference. 
“Legal experts on both sides of the marriage debate acknowledge that, if marriage is redefined, there will be major legal implications for individuals, public and private educators, businesses of all sizes, as well as churches and religious organizations. The new organization of legal experts will play an important role in helping voters understand these issues.” 
Conneely said that attorneys across the state are invited to join the organization and to participate in their communities to get out the word about the reason Minnesota needs this constitutional amendment to reinforce what marriage means for all citizens of our state. 
Community outreach and speaking events on the legal dimensions of both the marriage amendment and redefining marriage will be the main purpose of the organization, but it is also an opportunity to network with other lawyers who support marriage between one man and one woman. 
Those attorneys interested in joining can sign up at www.minnesotaformarriage.com/lawyers.

Tourists welcome posting of priests in Vatican Museums

http://mv.vatican.va/1_CommonFiles/media/objects/Menu_EN/Menu_home_en.jpgThe decision to make priests available inside the Vatican Museums to offer spiritual comfort to visitors has been generally welcomed by tourists in Rome.
“I think it’s a good idea because they could answer a lot of questions if anybody is inspired and has questions about their faith,” 25-year-old Molly Sullens from San Diego told CNA as she exited an afternoon tour of the museums on July 27.

“I think it’s a great idea, too,” said her boyfriend 27-year-old Nick Fandel, also from San Diego, who found the Sistine Chapel particularly “awe inspiring.”

“I mean if you want to talk to somebody rather than just see the art, you should definitely have that option.”

The new initiative will begin at the start of August when two priests will be available for any tourists who wish to chat.

“There is nothing institutional or pretentious about the initiative,” said Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State, in the July 26 edition of L’Osservatore Romano newspaper.

“The priests will simply be on hand with a table and two chairs at two strategic points on the normal itinerary visitors follow, and anyone who wishes may approach them to exchange a few words or to reflect together,” Bishop Sciacca said.

In 2011, the Vatican Museums broke its own attendance records with just over 5 million people entering its doors. That makes them one of the most visited museums in Europe, on a par with the British Museum in London, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Prado in Madrid.

Bishop Sciacca reaffirmed that the Vatican Museums “welcome everyone, whatever their beliefs or origins,” while at the same time “reminding each of them -- through a statue, a piece of gold, a painting or a fresco -- of the goal for which we were created.”

This is because, he said, the museums “are not afraid to show that they, in fact, represent a way through which the good news of God-made-man can be announced to the world.”

The museums were founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century. They are now home to some of the most renowned classical sculptures and Renaissance art in the world.

Among the most popular exhibits for visitors are the four “Raphael Rooms,” painted by the Italian Renaissance artist and his workshop, and the Sistine Chapel created by Michelangelo.

Bishop Sciacca described the Vatican Museums as “a precious casket in which, thanks to their wisdom and love of ‘beauty,’ the Roman Pontiffs have gathered together what are perhaps the most exalted works that human genius has produced over the course of the centuries.”

Insurance company files lawsuit against Helena diocese involving coverage

An insurance company says it didn't sell policies to the Helena-based Catholic Diocese of Montana and is not responsible for covering costs involved in defending former nuns and priests accused of child abuse ranging from the 1930s through the 1970s.
The Independent Record reports (http://bit.ly/PGyWAH) that Arrowood Indemnity Company has filed a federal lawsuit against the diocese seeking a declaratory judgment that it isn't obligated to defend the diocese.

"Although the diocese presented Arrowood with over 700 pages of documents . there is not a single document that refers in any way to any general liability policy of insurance being issued by (Arrowood and its affiliates) ." the lawsuit states.

Church and insurance company officials declined to comment about the specifics of the lawsuit. 

Two lawsuits have been filed in Lewis and Clark District Court contending the Helena diocese employed and protected clergy the diocese should have known were engaging in sexual abuse.

Court documents say the diocese also sought a defense from other insurance companies. It said Arrowood or one of its predecessors sold general liability insurance from 1940 through 1960 that covers the diocese for the abuse lawsuits.

Diocese spokeswoman Renee St. Martin Wizeman, while not commenting on the lawsuit by the insurance company, said the diocese's attorney would seek to put the lawsuit on hold while both entities research historic documents.
"Arrowood is one of 16 insurance companies that we tendered claims to," Wizeman said. "We are trying to go through our files, which are in various locations, looking to see what our records are as far as coverage goes."
In the district court lawsuits against the diocese, individuals contend both male and female clergy engaged in abusive acts that included fondling, forced sodomy and an offer of cash for sex from the 1940s to the 1970s.

The Diocese of Helena has said that no priests currently at the diocese are named in the suits. 

Most of those accused are believed to be dead.

The Swiss glacier that responded to the power of prayer … finally

You have got to hand it to the Catholic church, sometimes its methods work.

In 1678, the inhabitants of Fiesch in the Swiss canton of Valais, exasperated with the glaciers that loomed ever larger over their village, swallowing up their pasturage, inaugurated an annual pilgrimage. 

The hope was to banish the ice forms with chants, prayers and holy water. 

Several centuries later, their prayers appeared to have been answered.

Unfortunately, the glaciers have carried on retreating, and it's not just the Fiesch and Aletsch ones, which happen to be the two largest in the Alps. 

Swiss glaciers are currently shrinking, on average, by 10 metres a year, and the consequences of this are proving dire for some. 

The Giesen glacier in the Jungfrau massif has developed a large crack, and risks collapsing, potentially unleashing floodwaters on the village of Lauterbrunnen, while a melting glacier in the region of Zermatt has forced the Swiss and Italian authorities to renegotiate their frontier. 

The new one, which is expected to shift about 100 metres in Switzerland's favour, will be announced later this year.

A few years ago, on behalf of Fiesch and other villages now deprived of the glaciers' shadow, as well as the Valaisan tourist board, the Bishop of Sion petitioned the Vatican to authorise a change in the processional liturgy (which still takes place each year) so that the villagers could ask God to stop the ice shrinking instead. 

The Holy See cogitated for a year before agreeing, and the modified prayers will get their first airing at the procession on Tuesday.

On the off-chance they aren't effective, however, residents might cheer themselves with the news that some groups have found positive uses for the disappearing glaciers – Swiss environmentalists have proposed that turbines powered by the meltwater replace nuclear as a source of energy and archaeologists are having a field day, as the receding ice reveals treasures, including the wreck of a bombardier B17 belonging to the US air force that came to light last year in a valley above Klosters. 

It was damaged in a raid on Munich in 1944, and crashed on the return leg, killing the pilot and three members of the crew.

Pope appeals to international community for peace in Syria

Pope Benedict XVI blesses pilgrims gathered in Castel GandolfoBenedict XVI made another heartfelt appeal in response to the "tragic and growing episodes of violence in Syria with their sad trail of deaths and injuries, including civilians, and large number of people displaced internally and refugees in neighbouring countries."

At the end of today's Angelus at the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, the pope said that he was following events in Syria "with apprehension," urging "God to give the wisdom of the heart, particularly to those who have the greatest responsibilities, so that no effort is spared in seeking peace, including the international community, through dialogue and reconciliation, for a proper political settlement of the conflict."

Benedict XVI also turned his thoughts to "the dear nation of Iraq, which has been hit by numerous, serious attacks which have caused many deaths and injuries. May this great country find once again the path toward stability, reconciliation and peace."

The pope also expressed concern for the situation of the ILVA steel mill in Taranto (Italy), which was closed by court order because of pollution problems going back decades, a decision opposed by workers who would lose their jobs and the tens of thousands of families that would lose their main source of income.

"I would like to express my closeness to the workers and their families, who are going through this difficult time with apprehension," the pope said. "Whilst I ensure you my prayers and the Church's support, I call on everyone to show a sense of responsibility. I encourage national and local governments to make every effort to find a fair solution to the issue, one that would uphold people's right to health, as well as the right to work, especially at such a time of economic crisis."

Amid so many sad stories, Benedict XVI noted that "a year from now, at this time, the 28th World Youth Day shall take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [. . .] It will be a precious occasion for many young people to experience the joy and beauty of belonging to the Church and living the faith," the pontiff said. "I look forward with hope to this event, and I encourage and thank the organisers, especially the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, for working diligently to welcome young people from around the world to this important Church meeting."

Before the Angelus, Benedict XVI talked about this Sunday's Gospel (John, 6:1-15). 

This is what he said:

"Dear brothers and sisters,

"This Sunday, we have begun reading the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, which starts with the multiplication of the loaves. Jesus speaks about it at the synagogue of Capernaum, describing Himself as the 'bread' that gives life. Jesus' actions parallel those of the Last Supper, when 'Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining' (Jh, 6:11). The insistence on the topic of 'bread', which is shared, and on giving thanks (v.11, eucharistesas in Greek), are references to the Eucharist, Christ's Sacrifice to save the world.

"The Evangelist notes that Passover was near (cf v 4). The gaze turns to the Cross, total gift of love, and towards the Eucharist, which perpetuates this gift. Christ becomes the bread of life for men. As Saint Augustine said, 'Who is the Bread of heaven, but Christ? But in order that man might eat Angels' Bread, the Lord of Angels was made Man. For if He had not been made Man, we should not have His Flesh; if we had not His Flesh, we should not eat the Bread of the Altar' (Sermon, 130:2). 

The Eucharist is the great permanent meeting with God, in which the Lord becomes our nourishment and gives Himself to transform us in Him.

"In the scene of the multiplication, the presence of a boy is noticed. Given the difficulty of feeding so many people, he offered to share the little he had-five loaves and two fish (cf Jn, 6:8). The miracle did not come from nothing but from an ordinary boy's desire to share what he had. Jesus does not ask us what we do not have, but shows us that if each of us offers what little we have, a miracle can always take place again. God is able to multiply every one of our small deeds of love and make us share in his gift. The crowd is struck by the wonder. It sees in Jesus a new Moses, worthy of power, and the new manna, its future assured, but stops at the material aspect. The Lord 'knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king [. . .] withdrew again to the mountain alone' (Jh, 6:15). Jesus is not an earthly king who rules, but a king who serves, who bends to man's level to meet not only his material hunger, but the deeper one, the one for God.

Dear brothers and sisters, we call on the Lord to make us see the importance of rediscovering the importance of nourishing ourselves with the body of Christ, participating with faithfulness and great awareness to the Eucharist, to be ever more intimately united with Him. In fact, 'It is not the Eucharistic food that is changed into us, but rather we who are mysteriously transformed by it. Christ nourishes us by uniting us to himself; .he draws us into himself. (Esort. Apost. Sacramentum caritatis, 70)'. At the same time, we want to pray that no one may lack the necessary bread for a life of dignity, and that all inequalities be removed, not through the weapons of violence, but through sharing and love. 

Let Us entrust ourselves to the Virgin Mary as we invoke upon ourselves and our loved ones her maternal intercession."

Many Irish priests now using iPads at the altar and at mass

A growing number of priests are taking their iPads to the altar.

According to TheJournal.ie, priests are using the devices to do everything from reading the gospels to downloading blessing and even updating their Twitter accounts.

“It’s very handy,” says Fr Fintan Monaghan, secretary to the Archbishop of Tuam. “There’s an application for the breviary, for example” the book which contains the prayers for saying mass. 

“In the past you had to lugg the three distinct volumes of it around with you. Now I can store them all in one place.”

“It’s also great for Twitter” he adds.

“My Twitter account says I am a Liverpool and Munster fan, so you are as likely to see me tweeting about that as anything profound” says Fr Ger Molony, a priest with the Redemptorist order.  ”In fact, you’re less likely to see anything profound on it.”

He adds that he is still “trying to figure out" his recently purchased iPad.

“I had it 5 weeks before everyone else” says Fr Rushe in Dundalk, Co Louth, who got a couple honeymooning in New York to buy him an iPad on their way home to Ireland.

"Normally I would put everything, the opening remarks, readings for the day and notices for the church bulletin, in a black folder. With the iPad everything is done in one place."

He also points to the iMissal app, which contains all the liturgical material that priests need for saying mass.

“It’s dead handy really," he says.

But it’s not just the gadget enthusiasts who are adopting iPads.

While there are no official figures on how many priests are using iPads in church, Fr Sean McDonagh, a spokesperson for the Association of Catholic Priests, told TheJournal.ie that a large number of younger ones are using it.

“There’s a growing number who would be more clued in than old fogies like me. But why wouldn’t they when they can get the prayers, canon all there in front of them.”

However, opposition to iPad use in church is also growing in some quarters. Bishops in New Zealand have declared that only the official printed copy of the Roman Missal may be used at Mass and at the Church’s other liturgies.

“The Missal is reserved for use during the Church’s liturgy. iPads and other electronic devices have a variety of uses, e.g. for the playing of games, using the Internet, watching videos and checking mail. This alone makes their use in the liturgy inappropriate,” they said.

Despite the opposition, Irish Catholic priests say they will continue using it.

“I’m not quite sure what they are making such a song and dance about,” said Fr Molony. “It’s going a bit far.”

Said Cox: “You have to ask, is it the message or the medium that is more important?”

However, he said: “I know some would disagree with me, but I think you should be discreet”

Cox, who hides the Apple logo in a black folder, added: “Otherwise what’s the next step? Sponsorship on vestments?"

Pastor alleges sex abuse, sues Roman Catholic organizations for $3M

Michael Zenker has filed a $3-million lawsuit against several Roman Catholic organizations alleging they failed to protect him from sexual abuse by a priest at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Waterloo, background, when he was 11 years old.A local pastor is suing several Roman Catholic Church organizations for allegedly failing to protect him from being sexually abused by a priest in Waterloo more than three decades ago.

Michael Zenker says he was 11 years old when a priest at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Waterloo began abusing him. It lasted three years, he says.

The lawsuit’s statement of claim filed in a court in Hamilton, in August 2011, contains allegations that have not been proved in court.

According to the statement of claim Father Wilfrid Systerman, who is now dead, forced the boy into sexual acts including fondling, masturbation and oral sex.

Zenker, 43, who now lives in Elmira, says he met Systerman as a Record newspaper carrier delivering the paper to the St. Agnes church office.

The priest was sent from Germany to be a minister to German-speaking Catholics at St. Mary Catholic church in Kitchener. He lived at the manse attached to St. Agnes.

Systerman often gave Zenker tips when he knocked on the office door to collect the money owed for the paper, Zenker said in an interview. The priest brought him into his office and invited him to sit on his lap.

“His hands started to wander,” Zenker said. “It happened all the time. He had his hands down my pants almost every time I went to see him.”

Zenker reported the alleged abuse to Waterloo regional police in 1990. After police began an investigation, Systerman was transferred to Germany where he died in 1996.

“We were unable to conclude the investigation because the priest was transferred to Germany,” said Sgt. Sig Peters. “He left the country before we could interview him.”

Police notified Interpol and issued a Canada-wide warrant in case Systerman ever returned to Canada.

Peters said Zenker’s story was “very believable — very authentic. At the time, his concern was there might be other kids. We tried very hard to come up with other young fellows,” Peters said.

Zenker thought the case was closed. But he decided to go to a lawyer 2 1/2 years ago after reading an article about the abuse of boys by Catholic priests.

“I started reading stories of coverup from the Catholic church. Something in me woke up,” said Zenker, who went on to become pastor of Hope Fellowship, a non-denominational congregation in Waterloo. “My life has been affected by this. We’re suing the church for negligence, for not dealing with this. They knew what happened and protected him and did nothing.”

Zenker launched a $3-million lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, the Catholic religious society to which the priest belonged (known as the Pallottines), and the organization that took over that group.

The Hamilton Diocese denies the allegations. In its statement of defence, the diocese says Systerman was an ordained Pallottine priest under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Pallottines, an independent religious institute.

The Diocese said it had jurisdiction only over diocesan priests of the Diocese of Hamilton.

In its statement of defence, the Pallottines say they did not know about any improper conduct by the priest. They learned of the allegations only in 2010 through Zenker’s lawyer.

The society’s officials say Zenker is not legally entitled to take action so long after the alleged abuse.

“The plaintiff’s unreasonable and inexcusable delay in pursuing this action in a timely way has resulted in severe prejudice to the Pallottines and its ability to properly defend this action,” their statement of defence says.

The lawsuit says the Diocese and the Pallottines should be punished for helping Systerman leave Canada “in the face of rumours, allegations and/or suspicions of Systermmans’ (sic) sexual misconduct…’’ and for failing to co-operate with the police investigation of Zenker’s allegations.

The Diocese and the Pallottines indirectly helped the priest avoid justice in Canada, the lawsuit states.

“He was magically returned to Germany,” said Zenker’s lawyer, Rob Talach. “I suspect … his religious order decided that was the best way to get him out of Dodge.”

He calls it an international obstruction of justice.

“They’ll have to justify why he was magically transferred as soon as police started snooping around,” he said.

Talach said courts usually allow lawsuits related to historical sexual abuse to proceed. It’s common for many victims not to come forward until their 40s or 50s, he said.

“People will avoid it, bury it, try not to deal with it. In mid-life they decide to confront it. In Canada, there’s no statute of limitations to charge someone or sue someone” in these kinds of cases, he added.

Zenker recalls Systerman as an “overweight senior man” who was kind and gentle.

He was always smiling, like a “happy Friar Tuck,” he said.

Like Systerman, Zenker’s background is German.

Zenker’s parents trusted someone “from the homeland,” he said.

A religious child who grew up in the German Baptist Church, Zenker liked the priest because he talked about God.

“I loved God,” he said. “To me, the God thing was really important. I was an innocent hungry kid wanting to know more. He was an authority. He was teaching me about God.”

Zenker attended Catholic education classes. He went on an overnight trip to Hamilton where classes were being held.

There, he recalls a boy named Jamie telling him, ‘Keep your doors locked.’

“Then it started to dawn on me,” Zenker said. “I quit the paper route.”

Systerman also took him to a cottage in Grand Bend for a beach vacation.

Zenker thought the sexual abuse hadn’t affected him. But looking back, he was kicked out of three Kitchener high schools and he made poor financial decisions. He says he was suicidal and his marriage was affected.

Talach says the Diocese can’t wash its hands of the priest simply because he was ordained by the religious society.

“He would have been (among) a handful of priests in the parish that’s run by the Diocese. He’s on loan to the Diocese of Hamilton,” Talach said.

But the Diocese said it did not supervise the priest who was not employed by the Diocese.

The Diocese is cross-suing the Pallottines organization, called The Society of Catholic Apostolate — Western Canadian Delegate.

The Diocese says that if Zenker did suffer any damages, they were caused by the negligence of the Pallottines who should pay any damages that may be ordered.

Responsibility for the society was transferred in 2009 to a similar Catholic organization, with headquarters in India, called The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province of the Society of Catholic Apostolate.

Giovanna Asaro, the lawyer for the Diocese, declined to comment since the matter is in litigation.