Monday, September 30, 2013

Meath and Kildare Diocesan Synod Address 2013 Michael JacksonThe Diocesan Synod for the Dioceses of Meath & Kildare took place on Saturday 28 September. 

The Archbishop of Dublin, The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, gave the following Presidential Address::

‘…Heritage and Response …’

Wilson’s Hospital School, in the heart of the Diocese of Meath, welcomes us today as we come from right across the United Dioceses of Meath and Kildare not simply to attend, but to be the Diocesan Synod. We congratulate Wilson’s Hospital – its Warden, staff and pupils – on the recent official opening of The Preston Extension. This part of the school bears testimony to the coming together of two schools in these dioceses for the education of children, irrespective of personal affiliation or religious belonging, in a state of the art modern school, proud of both heritages of schooling, where the Anglican tradition is unashamedly woven into the ethos which forms the daily life of the school itself.

Preston School, as you all know, was in Navan. As today’s Wilson’s shows us, coming together in this confident way undoubtedly brings tangible benefits and dividends in the present for the future. The benefits are before us, for all of us to see and to enjoy. If this were not a church context, I might even dare to call it: amalgamation! All you need to do is to look around. This level of accommodation and practical provision enables a much greater number of people to be in the same place, doing the same things with confidence and flourishing as individuals. This, in large part, comes about through a deeply felt willingness on the part of those who carry responsibility for the school to co–operate with those who make educational decisions at national level as part of their public duty and service.

And so, as the future comes to meet us, we meet it here, in these superb facilities, without fear and we find ourselves open to the new opportunities and possibilities which the future gives. And so I am forced to ask: Why is the church so reluctant to take this leap of faith if a school which has been nurturing the lives of young people over a quarter of a millennium has the integrity and the imagination to do so? And I am, regrettably, lost for an answer. You I suspect will offer me the following range of possibilities:
lack of adventure; aren’t we better off with what we have; loss of status; collapse of numbers; on–going sectarianism; social exclusivity; discipleship without confidence; it will do us for our day …. and many others. We are left watching ourselves standing still. This is not an enviable position in which to be.


A number of components come together in the formation, nurturing and sustaining of a diocese. At its most basic, a diocese is a group of people, priests and bishop all of whom share a common discipleship, ministry and life; the test and the proof of this are to be found in the ways in which these people relate to and care for the community beyond them, even more than they do so for the people who form their own community. Christianity is designed to be outward–looking and outward–moving. And so identity finds its compass points in those who are the neighbour and the stranger, every bit as much as they do in those who are the existing members, young and old. The outside and the inside bounce off one another. It is this relationship of elasticity and of bounce which keeps a religious community alive and compassionate, creative and active in all of its thinking, planning, praying and doing. This is the pivotal relationship through God between the church and the world.

There is another and perhaps even more obvious way in which this understanding of a diocese works. It has to do with the relationship between the individual and the community and therefore with the ways in which this very relationship is enhanced by the need to give and the need to receive. Viewed from this perspective, we are perhaps reminded of the vivid and visual words with which archbishop Robert Runcie began the 1988 Lambeth Conference: an arch is the strength of two weaknesses coming together. By this he meant that the two sides of the arch could not stand upright without needing and having each other. Viewed from another perspective, we are the stronger for the combination of the gifts and talents which a shared spiritual life brings – and were it not for our needs, that life might never have come to bear fruit– but it has, and it will continue to do so.


I am sure that you would wish to pay tribute to archbishop Richard Clarke in and through this Diocesan Synod. He was bishop of these Dioceses for sixteen years, during a period where a significant sense of solidarity was built up within them. Leaving a diocese, even if it is followed swiftly by arriving in another diocese, is difficult and painful as well as offering time for remembering and reflecting. Many in this brace of dioceses have been touched personally by the ministry which Richard exercized here. Today is your first Diocesan Synod without him in the chair as President for a very long time. We all continue to wish him what is best in his new diocese and his responsibilities locally, nationally and internationally.

The Electoral College for Meath and Kildare met twice in 2013. Following the outcome of such successive Meetings, the decision passed to the Bishops and, as we know, the Reverend Patricia Storey has been appointed bishop of Meath and Kildare. I know that you will welcome Pat as your bishop and I myself look forward to the Service of Ordination in Christ Church Cathedral Dublin. Between the two Meetings of the Electoral College and the Election by the bishops, there was an important event, indeed the first of its kind, in St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare and I shall speak of it later in more detail. I have always thought that this cathedral church of St Brigid is a colossal resource to these United Dioceses, ever since the time when the road from Cork took me right past it en route to Dublin. But as the years have moved on and as I have sought to keep pace with them, I have been more and more impressed by the missional courage of this cathedral and what it stands for.

It has the patronage of an Irish woman and is proud of it; it grapples with the overlap of spiritual and secular power and authority as we today must continue to do so; it goes even deeper than this because it witnesses to the Christian conviction that we must be where paganism and Christianity meet, however painful, creative or honest this exchange may be. Again, this is a very contemporary challenge which is not to be confined or committed to the dreamy mists of a Celtic dawn. Today there is no scope in Christian witness for the all–too–familiar and all–too–attractive brick wall of self–pity whereby sentimentality masquerades as tradition; whereby containment masquerades as identity; whereby sectarianism, however well–dressed and well–manicured, masquerades as witness; all of these paganisms within the church of today corrupt and distort the in–breaking of the Kingdom of God.

Like me, ladies and gentlemen Members of Synod, you will discern that it is church people who far too often trumpet what is the negative side of what I outlined above and who all too often enjoy it. We are called to more principled action, to more generous thoughts and to more welcoming hearts as children of God and as disciples of Jesus Christ than this. The life of any diocese is in the hands of its people, whether they be lay or ordained, every bit as much as it is in the hands of its bishop. The bishop depends on the honesty and the loyalty to God and the church of the people of the communities of the diocese. And the people depend on the ministry of compassion and healing, of teaching and of decision–making of the bishop in turn.

But I should like to bring you back to the evening of Tuesday, September 3rd and to St Brigid’s Cathedral. More than fifty people from the United Dioceses gathered to talk through – argumentatively, biblically, prayerfully – matters and concerns which they carried on their heart about events surrounding the two meetings of the Electoral College for these Dioceses which had taken place. I am indebted to The Reverend Dr David Tuohy SJ for facilitating that memorable evening; I am indebted also to the many people who came and participated in the evening, truthfully and hopefully. Many, many good things were said and it was in fact a first for the Church of Ireland to do this. Again, my hope and prayer would be that together with your new bishop you will all now flourish under God and develop fresh initiatives of outreach, creative friendships across the community and an ever–deepening relationship with God and neighbour.


It would indeed be remiss of me not to draw proper attention to the initiatives for good which are now woven into the diocesan life of Meath and Kildare. At a time when much of the rest of the Anglican Communion was, in the opinion of many, over–exercizing itself about homosexuality and then human sexuality, in 1998, following a request which issued from The Lambeth Conference, Meath and Kildare was one of the first dioceses to give 0.7% of annual income towards the eradication of world debt. The United Dioceses have sought to grapple creatively and positively with ideas which have flowed from the Church of Ireland’s Commission on Ministry, through the development and implementation of a lay training programme which seeks to match personal gifts and diocesan needs. Out of this has come a range of ministries for and by lay people – listening, communication and facilitation; liturgical assistants; administration and pastoral studies. All of this reinforces the point I sought to make earlier: the priority of discipleship and service over clericalism and excessive dominance in the expression of ministry.

The former bishop’s interest in and commitment to the Community of Sant’Egidio has clearly been taken up in the DREAM Programme in Malawi, in which courageous and compassionate attempts are made to lessen the impact of HIV infection. There is also a parallel Project in Umbombo Children’s Care Village, South Africa which sponsors a programme for food and a specialized diet for children with AIDS. Another initiative is the Farming Project in Haiti promoting self–sufficiency among Haitian farmers, not least after the earthquake. Together with this, the Dioceses consciously encourage youth work at both parochial and diocesan level. These initiatives have been sustained and enhanced over the period since archbishop Clarke left Meath and Kildare for Armagh.


I am sure that I am not alone here in visiting and enjoying Kildare Village. It is not a secret kept and preserved by and for the Dioceses of Meath and Kildare! You may, however, not think that it has much theological significance or importance. However I leave you with this thought. You can find it the point where you take your leave of Kildare Village and make your way into town, passing the ruins of Grey Abbey, the House of the Franciscan Grey Friars. 

On a display board there is the following quotation from the Kildare Poems of the fourteenth century, easily missed but it goes like this:

Always remember in your heart these three things:

Whence you come

Who you are

What is to become of you.

In the context of our Diocesan Synod today it comes across to me first and foremost as an invitation to be courageous and hopeful. We all have a personal history and we long and yearn to be proud of it. We all have personal individuality and we long and yearn for this to be nurtured, challenged and stretched. We all have a future, and for us as members of the church and disciples of Jesus it is a shared way of life with God and with our neighbour. Of course, it involves our being worldly–wise; of course, it involves our arguing the toss and not taking: No! for an answer when we should not do so. Christianity is a life within a life, not a life without a life. And it is also a life beyond life as we currently know life. But it calls us forward to witness to things and to decisions which are for the good of others before they are for ourselves. It calls us to restrain and to refute the latent instincts for superiority and exclusivity which distort the witness in faith and render it incomprehensible to others. Most of all it calls us to allow God to bind us together and to lead us forward in truth and in love, in forgiveness of each other and in recognition of a shared future. In God truth and love are the same thing; the invitation is that they be equally so in us.

It has been a great pleasure and an equal privilege to journey in some small way with you in the period between one diocesan bishop and the next. For my part I should like to thank personally all of those who are known to you yourselves over a long period and have become well known to me as dear friends in our shared work in a short time. I think of both Karen and David Seaman who contribute so much to the life of these United Dioceses. I think of Leslie Stevenson your archdeacon who has borne a heavy care and concern in so many ways, along now with personal bereavement, over the year past. I think of John Clarke who has been a willing Commissary and Gerald Field who stepped into this role for a brief period during the summer past. I think also of the people and clergy who have sustained the life of home, parish and community day by day and week by week. I consider it a great honour to preside over your Diocesan Synod today here in Wilson’s Hospital.

Interesting and fruitful times lie ahead of you and I wish you everything that is best as you embrace those days, under the service and leadership of your bishop, with confidence and with joy.

1 John 3.2: Dear friends, we are now God’s children; what we shall be has not yet been disclosed, but we know that when Christ appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

Vatican clears embattled German bishop of any wrongdoing

Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst  (Photo: PA)Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg has been cleared of wrongdoing by the Vatican, after priests and lay Catholics accused him of personal extravagance and a lack of accountability.

Stephan Schnelle, Limburg diocesan spokesman, said that, for the bishop, “obtaining the loyalty of priests and lay Catholics will be a big problem. … but the bishop has gone through a rough time and seems quite delighted with this outcome”.

Mr Schnelle said the bishop was subject to a campaign of “lies” that started with comparisons between him and his predecessor. 

The spokesman told the American Catholic News Service that most Catholics in the diocese now hoped for a “positive end” to the controversy.

The 53-year-old bishop, appointed in November 2007, was accused of exorbitant spending on a diocesan centre and episcopal residence when other church premises were being closed in a structural reform.

In June Germany’s Der Spiegel weekly said the complex, whose estimated cost has tripled to around 15 million euros (£12.5 million), resembled a “monstrous luxury complex”.

The weekly also accused Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, who chairs the German bishops’ marriage and family commission, of submitting a false affidavit after flying first-class for a January 2012 visit to slums in India. Prosecutors are investigating the incident.

A former Vatican nuncio, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, visited the diocese earlier this month. 

In a statement, the two said all bills and records for the diocesan complex would be checked and disclosed by a bishops’ conference commission, specially convened by Bishop Tebartz-van Elst.

Speaking at the close of an autumn plenary meeting in Fulda, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, the bishops’ conference president, expressed support for Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, adding that he counted on Limburg Diocese to find a “forward-looking approach” to its problems.

Pope: peace and joy, not perfect organization, signs of God’s presence in Church“Peace and joy” are the true signs of God’s presence in the Church – not perfection in its organization and planning. 

That’s what Pope Francis told the faithful gathered early Monday for the private daily mass in the Vatican guest house Santa Marta.

The disciples were enthusiastic, making plans for the future and discussing how the new-born Church should be organized. They debated who was the greatest amongst them and restricted to themselves the number of people wishing to do good in Jesus’ name. But Jesus, explains the Pope, surprises them – turning the focus of the discussion from “organization” to “children:” “He in fact, who is the smallest among all of you…is great!”

Drawing on the reading from the Prophet Zecharia, the Pope spoke in his homily of the signs of God’s presence: not in “fine organization” nor in “ a government that moves ahead, all clean and perfect,” but in the elderly sitting in the squares and in children playing .

“The future of a people is right here…in the elderly and in the children,” he said. “A people who does not take care of the elderly and children has no future because it will have no memory and it will have no promise! The elderly and children are the future of a people!”

Pope Francis warned that it is all too easy to shoo a child away or make them calm down with a candy or a game – or to tune out the elderly and ignore their advice with the excuse that “they’re old, poor people.”

And the disciples didn’t understand this either, stressed the Pope.

“The disciples wanted efficacy; they wanted the Church to go forward without problems and this can become a temptation for the Church: the Church of functionalism! The well-organized Church! Everything in its place, but without memory and without promise! This Church, in this way, cannot move ahead. It will be the Church of the fight for power; it will be the Church of jealousies between the baptized and many other things that occur when there is no memory and no promise.”

The “vitality of the Church,” then, does not come through documents and planning meetings- these are necessary, yes, but they are not “the sign of God’s presence.”

“The sign of God’s presence is this, so says the Lord: ‘Old men and old women will sit again in the squares of Jerusalem, each with a cane in hand for their age. And the squares of the city will swarm with young boys and girls playing…Playing makes us think of joy: it is the Lord’s joy. And these elderly people sitting with a cane in hand, calm: they make us think of peace. Peace and joy. This is the air of the Church!”

NY Deacon Removed From Church Following Abuse Allegations

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The Archdiocese of New York has removed a deacon from the church over allegations that he abused minors. 

Albert Mazza was removed from the Holy Name of Mary Parish in Croton-on-Hudson, NY., after an investigation by police revealed that there was evidence he had allegedly abused minors, according to a statement from church officials.
The announcement was made by Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan in a letter to the parishioners of Mazza's church. 

The letter was read during Sunday mass by Father Edward Weber, the director of priest personnel for the Archdiocese of New York.

According to Dolan's letter, an investigation by the Westchester district attorney found credible evidence of abuse, but prosecutors were "precluded by state law" from bringing charges.

Dolan said charges were made against Mazza that he had "engaged in immoral and illegal conduct with minors" many years ago.

Calls made to a number listed to Albert Mazza were not immediately successful.

Mazza has been a permanent deacon at the parish since 1996.

"As you know, the Church learned a painful lesson in not communicating the abuse of minors to the faithful as soon as it became aware of it," wrote Dolan. "Now, the Church leads the way with action and transparency, with this sad situation here at this parish serving as an example."

Dolan came under fire in 2012 after it was revealed that his old diocese, the archdiocese of Milwaukee, had paid individual sums of $20,000 to priests accused of molesting children while under his leadership.

The church put Mazza on administrative leave immediately after it received the victim's complaint. 

According to Dolan, two other priests from the same parish have been removed due to allegations that they had abused minors previously.

Catholic church collapses in northern Mexico, kills 10-year-old boy, injures 24 church goers mayor in northern Mexico says heavy rains caused a half-built church in a suburb of Monterrey to collapse during Mass, killing a 10-year-old boy and injuring 24 church goers.
Juarez Mayor Rodolfo Ambriz says the injured were taken to local hospitals where the severity of the wounds is still unclear. 

The boy died on his way to the hospital.

The Roman Catholic Church of Santa Clara de Asis was under construction and a tarp had been put up as a roof. 

Authorities say a cold front brought heavy rains to the northern state of Nuevo Leon that apparently brought down the tarp Sunday morning and the concrete structure with it.

Catholic Church makes history with ordination of lay deacons was made in the Archdiocese of Armagh yesterday when the Primate of All Ireland ordained the first five Catholics to become permanent deacons in the ancient see of St Patrick.

Welcoming the five men, all married with children, into the ministry, Archbishop of Armagh Cardinal Sean Brady described it as an occasion of "great joy".

Addressing 700 family members, priests and the Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Eamon Martin, described the five as bridge builders between the laity, priests and bishops.

He told them that as married fathers and grandfathers "you will continue as ordained men to make a living in the world".

Archbishop Martin said they were in a "unique position" as "a particular point of contact with the lay faithful in your workplaces and in the community".

Juggling full-time jobs, families and their ministry will be demanding, the five acknowledged, but they have been told that their first priority is their wives and families, second is their work to support their families and third is their ministry as deacons.

One deacon, 46-year-old John Taaffe from Drogheda, has three children ranging in age from nine to 21, and he is also grandfather to one-year-old Jordan.

He said that he had re-found his faith in 1999 after being a non-practising Catholic for years.
He currently works as the co-ordinator of the Irish Bishops' Drug Initiative. He became an addiction counsellor after his conversion and sold his sales and marketing business to pursue this dream.

The first ever permanent deacons, who are either lay single or married men, to be ordained by the Irish church began ministry in the archdiocese of Dublin in 2011.

Martin Barlow (45) from the Parish of Drumcree in Portadown is married to Ursula, and has two sons, Shea who starts university next week and Oisin who is in secondary school.

Although drawn to the priesthood while at school, he opted to go to art college and trained as a graphic designer. Marriage followed. Then in 2006, he experienced "a renewal of faith".

"I made a promise to God that I would no longer be a Sunday Catholic but I didn't realise that it would lead to ministry seven years later," he said.

The five deacons, who include care worker Benignus Ndubuisi from Dundalk, begin their ministry after four years of study.


Armagh's new Catholic deacons will be referred to as 'Rev Mr' and they will serve on a part-time basis in their appointed parishes, assisting with baptisms and funerals at the weekends and some administrative duties during the week.

Deacons cannot celebrate Mass or hear confessions.

All five men had to obtain the permission of their wives to go ahead with their studies for ministry.

Pope: Communication to be at the service of an authentic culture of encounter age of globalization is making communication possible even in the most remote parts of the world, but it is also important "to use modern technologies and social networks in such a way as to reveal a presence that listens, converses and encourages." 

It is with these words that the Pontifical Council for Social Communications announces the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the World Day of Social Communications in 2014, "Communication at the service of an authentic culture of encounter"

The Holy Father's message for World Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers (January 24). 

Below the full text of the communiqué. 

The capacity to communicate is at the heart of what it means to be human. It is in and through our communication that we are able to meet and encounter at a meaningful level other people, express who we are, what we think and believe, how we wish to live and, perhaps more importantly, to come to know those with whom we are called to live. Such communication calls for honesty, mutual respect and a commitment to learn from each other.

It requires a capacity to know how to dialogue respectfully with the truth of others. It is often what might be perceived initially as 'difference' in the other that reveals the richness of our humanity. It is the discovery of the other that enables us to learn the truth of who we are ourselves. In our modern era, a new culture is developing advanced by technology, and communication is in a sense "amplified" and "continuous". We are called to "rediscover, through the means of social communication as well as by personal contact, the beauty that is at the heart of our existence and journey, the beauty of faith and of the beauty of the encounter with Christ." 

(Address of Pope Francis to participants at the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 21 September 2013). 

In this context, each one of us should accept the challenge to be authentic by witnessing to values, Christian identity, cultural experiences, expressed with a new language and shared with others.

Our ability to communicate, reflected in our participation in the creative, communicative and unifying Trinitarian Love, is a gift which allows us to grow in personal relationships, which are a blessing in our lives, and to find in dialogue a response to those divisions that create tensions within communities and between nations. 

The age of globalization is making communication possible even in the most remote parts of the world, but it is also important "to use modern technologies and social networks in such a way as to reveal a presence that listens, converses and encourages." 

(Address of Pope Francis to participants at the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 21 September 2013), so that nobody is excluded.

The Message for World Communications Day 2014 will explore the potential of communication, especially in a networked and connected world, to bring people closer to each other and to co-operate in the task of building a more just world. 

World Communications Day, the only worldwide celebration called for by the Second Vatican Council ("Inter Mirifica", 1963), is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost (June 1st in 2014). 

The Holy Father's message for World Communications Day is traditionally published in conjunction with the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers (January 24).

Pope establishes a "Council of Cardinals " to help govern the Church and reform the Curia

With a Chirograph , Pope Francis has officially established the Council of Cardinals , whose members were announced 13 April and which has the task of helping the Pope in governing the Church and in the revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus on the Roman Curia. 

The number of components may vary "as deemed appropriate". 

The group "will be a further expression of Episcopal communion and auxiliary service to munus petrinum that the Bishops scattered around the world can offer." 

Below is the full text of the Chirograph.

Among the suggestions that emerged during the course of the General Congregations of Cardinals prior to the Conclave, was the convenience in instituting a small group of Members of the Episcopate, from different parts of the world, that the Holy Father could consult with, either individually or collectively, on particular issues . Once elected to the Roman See , I had occasion to reflect often on this subject , believing that such an initiative would be of considerable help in carrying out the pastoral ministry of the Successor of Peter, with which I was entrusted by my brother Cardinals.

For this reason, on 13 April I announced the establishment of the aforementioned group , indicating, at the same time , the names of those who had been called to become part of it. Now, after mature reflection , I consider it opportune, through this Chirograph, to officially instituted as a " Council of Cardinals ' , whose task is to help in the government of the universal Church and to study a draft revision of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus on the Roman Curia. 

It will be composed of the same persons mentioned above and may be consulted, both individually and as a Council , on matters I feel worthy of attention . Said Council, the number of components of which I reserve the right to configure as deemed adequate, will be a further expression of Episcopal communion and auxiliary service that the Bishops around the world can offer to munus petrinum.
Rome, at Saint Peter's, September 28th of 2013 , the first of my Pontificate.


Civil partnership couples a decade older than those marrying average age of gay couples entering civil partnerships was more than a decade older than the average age of heterosexual couples marrying , figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) for 2011 haves shown.

The figures released today are the first detailed statistics relating to the 2011 introduction of civil partnerships for gay couples in Ireland. 

Ceremonies began in April of that year.

It shows the average age of partners in the 536 couples entering civil partnership was 44.3, (44.7 for men and 43.8 for women). 

This compares with 34.6 years for a groom entering marriage and 32.5 years for bride.

The average age of marrying couples has continued to increase and in 2011 rose by half a year since 2010.

The CSO figures show that the number of marriages has continued to fall and reached the lowest level since 1998 to 4.3 per 1,000 of the population. There were 19,855 marriages registered in 2011 and 20,594 in 2010.

Of the 536 civil partnership ceremonies held in 2011, 335 were male unions and 2011 were female unions the figures show.

Over 70 per cent of couples who entered civil partnerships in 2011 lived in Leinster. 

Of the couples living in Leinster a third lived in Dublin city, almost a fifth in the greater Dublin area. 

Outside of the capital, Cork had the highest number of civil partnerships in 2011 (6 per cent). 

Just one civil partnership was registered in each of North Tipperary and Monaghan.

Over 95 per cent of civil partners were previously single with 4 per cent divorced and others widowed.The figures show a 1 to 4 year difference in ages in a third of male partnerships and in 43 per cent of female partnerships. 

In heterosexual marriages in 2011 the couples joined by civil ceremony tended to be older than those going through a Roman Catholic ceremony. 

In civil marriages the average age of the groom and bride were 37.9 years / 35 years respectively compared with 33.1 years/31.3 years respectively for the average age of a Roman Catholic groom and bridge.

In 2011, civil marriages were the most common form of marriage ceremony for grooms aged 45 (69 per cent) and for brides aged 40 and over (67per cent). 

In Dublin almost 43 per cent of couples had civil marriages compared with just a fifth in the border region.

The proportion of different types of marriage ceremony remained broadly similar in 2011 with two thirds Roman Catholic, 29 per cent civil marriages .

The figures also showed a continued decline in the number of divorces registered with the courts, which fell by almost a tenth (9 per cent) since 2010. 

There were 2,819 divorces granted, a decrease of 294 on 2010. 

It was a third less than the number of divorces granted in 2008.

Pope tells cardinals to 'rip up' Vatican's rule-book ROMAN Catholic cardinal has said that a group of senior church figures handpicked by the Pope to shake up the Vatican's murky and autocratic bureaucracy would "rip up and rewrite" the constitution which apportions power at the Holy See.

The eight cardinals, who were appointed by Pope Francis in April, have been briefed to revise the constitution, known as Pastor Bonus and drawn up in 1988 by Pope John Paul, in a bid to give greater voice to bishops around the world.

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the group's leader, said that at tomorrow's meeting they would go much further than just change "this and that".

"No, that constitution is over," he said in a television interview. "Now, it is something different. We need to write something different," he added.

The suggestion of drastic reforms to the Vatican's constitution follows several reformist comments by the Pope. He has said it was not up to him to "judge" homosexuals and that atheism and agnoticism are tolerable if people retain a good consience.

Gerard O'Connell, a Vatican analyst, said that the proposed rule changes were a "rupture after a century of increasing centralisation".

"Cardinal Maradiaga is hinting that the Pope is asking the fundamental question: 'What can be decided in Rome and what at local level? How can the Roman Curia serve bishops instead of being an office of censure and control?'"

Mr O'Connell cited Japanese bishops as examples of victims of the Vatican's centralisation. 

"They must ask advice from Rome on the correct Japanese to use in their liturgies, yet you would think they would be the best judge."

Over the weekend, Pope Francis gave another clear indication that he sees the Vatican as a hotbed of intrigue and power struggles when he suggested Vatican policemen should crack down on gossip as well as looking out for intruders.

Defining gossip as the devil's work, "a forbidden language" and "a war waged with the tongue", he told gendarmes gathered for Mass to tell any gossipers: "Here, there can be none of that: walk out of St Anne's Gate. Go outside and talk there!"

Cardinals gathering in Rome before Pope Francis was elected in March complained that Vatican officials had become a self-serving elite indifferent to the needs of dioceses worldwide.

Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga said his group had received suggestions on Vatican reform from around the world, including 80 pages of suggestions from Latin America.

The convergence on a few main themes suggested God's will was at work, he said. "You cannot have millions of Catholics in the world suggesting the same unless the Holy Spirit is inspiring."

Simon says it cannot take further funding cuts

The country’s largest homeless charity has warned the sector can not take any further funding cuts in the upcoming budget.
Simon Communities say cuts signalled by the Department of the Environment in last year’s budget turned out to be far worse than expected. 

While a central budget cut of 3.3% to homeless services was announced, the charity says when filtered down to local level, this turned out to be as high as 12% in the Midlands, 8% in Cork, and 7% elsewhere.

Head of policy Niamh Randall said the problem was exacerbated by the fact that charities were only being notified of the scale of the regional cuts now.

“We’re talking about 2013 funding, but it’s September, so be told at this stage that there’s even less money than anyone thought and to have to make those savings in the last three or four months of the year is very difficult.”

Ms Randall said funding from the HSE, the other main source of finance for the homeless sector, had fallen 20% since 2010.

“What we really need from this year’s budget is for funding to be restored to, at the very least, 2012 levels. Anything less and it’s going to impact very badly on our ability to continue providing services.”

The cuts come as Simon Communities, an affiliation of nine regional Simon services, faces increasing demands on its support network. Up to 5,000 individuals and families are helped by the communities every year, but Dublin Simon last week reported an 88% increase in rough sleepers over the past year.

In its pre-budget submission published today, Simon Communities urges caution in regard to the rent supplement for people on social welfare in private rented accommodation. They say the supplement is not keeping pace with increasing rents and warn against any further increase in the minimum contribution recipients have to make to their rent.

They also call for a speeding up of the transfer of Nama-managed properties to the social housing sector.

Simon Communities supports the Government’s target of eliminating homelessness by 2016 and says it remains achievable but only if a concerted effort is made.

The charity is running a series of awareness events this week, including it’s Home For Good campaign which includes an online petition for members of the public. 

Details are on

CSO: Marriage rates fall in 2011

The number of people getting married is on the decline, according to the Central Statistics Office.

A new report from the CSO recorded 19,855 marriages in 2011, down 3.6% on the previous year.

Newly married couples are on average 10 years younger than couples who enter a civil partnership.

Figures on weddings in 2011 show that in a marriage the groom is on average 34.6 years old and the bride 32.5, both six months older than the previous year.

For couples in same-sex relationships the average age is 44.3, with men at 44.7 and women 43.8.

It was the first year of civil partnerships in Ireland after legal recognition of same-sex relationships came into force on January 1, 2011.

Records showed 536 civil partnerships in the first year of the reform, 335 involving men and 201 for women.

The east of the country was the most popular area for same-sex marriages with a third of the total in Dublin and more than 70% in Leinster.

Meanwhile, the CSO report on marriages and civil partnerships revealed that the courts granted 2,819 divorces in 2011, a fall of 294 or 9% on the previous year.

July was the most popular month for marriage and January the least popular, while Friday and Saturday were the most popular days with seven out of 10 marriages on these days.

Civil ceremonies accounted for 29% of marriages, the same rate as in 2010. But they were the most common form of ceremony for grooms aged 45 and over and brides aged 40 and over.

There were 2,272 marriages involving at least one divorced person in 2011.

Of the 1,072 individual partners who entered a civil partnership, 1,018 or 95% were previously single while 48 were divorcees and six were widowed.

Pope Francis: we must never resign ourselves to the pain caused by war

Pope Francis on Monday addressed participants of the International Meeting for Peace in the spirit of Assisi organised by the Rome-based Community of Saint Egidio.

The meeting, held from September 29 to October 1 sees the participation of religious leaders of all denominations and of men and women who are committed to building peace in the world.

In his address, the Pope referred to the theme of this year’s event which is “The Courage to Hope” and noted that it follows in the steps of the historic 1986 meeting in Assisi that the Blessed John Paul II convened, inviting religious leaders of different Churches to pray together for peace. And he thanked the St. Egidio Community for continuing in this path, increasing the momentum, engaging in and promoting meaningful dialogue between personalities and representatives of all religions and secular humanists.

And the Pope pointed out that in the past few months it has become evident that the world needs the "spirit" that sparked that historic meeting. He said “we must never resign ourselves to the pain of entire peoples who are hostages of war, poverty, exploitation. We must not stand by helpless and indifferent before the tragedy of children, families and elderly people who are affected by violence. We can not allow terrorism to imprison the heart of a few violent people and to sow so much death and pain. Let us all say out loud, without interruption, that there can be no religious justification for violence; in whatever way it manifests itself. As Pope Benedict XVI pointed out two years ago, on the 25th anniversary of the Assisi meeting, all forms of religiously motivated violence must be stamped out, and together we must make sure the world does not fall prey to that violence that is contained in every project of civilization which is based on a "no" to God”.

“As leaders of the different religions we can do much. Peace is everyone's responsibility. Praying for peace, working for peace! A religious leader is always a man of peace, because the commandment of peace is inscribed in the depths of the religious traditions we represent. But what can we do?”

This meeting – the Pope said - suggests the way to go: “the courage of dialogue which gives hope”.

In the world, in society – he continued - there is little peace also because there is no dialogue, it is hard to look beyond the narrow horizon of one’s own interests and be open to a true and sincere exchange. Peace - he said – needs a dialogue that is tenacious, patient, strong and intelligent. Dialogue can win over war. Thanks to dialogue people of different generations, who often ignore each other, can live together; just as citizens from different ethnic backgrounds and different beliefs can live together if there is dialogue. Dialogue is the way of peace. Because dialogue encourages understanding, harmony and peace. That’s why dialogue must grow and spread among people of every condition and conviction, like a network of peace that protects the world and the most vulnerable.

Pope Francis concluded his message calling on religious leaders to be true “partners in dialogue". To be active in building peace, not as intermediaries, but as authentic mediators. “Intermediaries” – he said - “seek to grant discounts to all parties in order to obtain gains for themselves. Mediators are the ones who keep nothing for themselves, but expend themselves generously, in the knowledge that the only true gain is that of peace”. Each of us – he said - is called to be an artisan of peace, uniting and not dividing, extinguishing - not conserving - hatred, opening the paths of dialogue, not erecting new walls! And he urged them to “talk and meet to establish the culture of dialogue, the culture of encounter, in the world”.

Finally the Pope remembered the legacy of that first Assisi meeting that continues to be nurtured year after year thanks also to the work of the Saint. Egidio community. He said it shows how dialogue is intimately linked to prayer. “Dialogue and prayer grow or perish together”. And he recalled that Pope Paul VI spoke of "the transcendent origin of dialogue" saying: "Religion is by nature a relationship between God and man. Prayer expresses this relationship through dialogue" (Encyclical Ecclesiam suam , 72) .

“Continue to pray for the peace of the world, in Syria, in the Middle East, in many countries of the world. May this courage of peace give the courage of hope to the world, to all those who suffer in war, to young people who look with concern to their future. Almighty God, who listens to our prayers, support us in this journey of peace.

Date set for canonisation of John Paul II and John XXIII John Paul II and John XXIII will be declared saints on April 27th next year.
Pope Francis announced the date during a meeting with cardinals inside the Apostolic Palace today.

Francis announced in July that he would canonise two of the 20th century’s most influential popes together, approving a miracle attributed to John Paul’s intercession and bending Vatican rules by deciding that John XXIII did not need one.

Analysts have said the decision to canonise them together was aimed at unifying the church since each has his own admirers and critics.

In July, Francis approved a second miracle attributed to John Paul, opening the way to the fastest canonisation in modern times.

He also approved sainthood for John, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and who oversaw sweeping reforms to modernise the Church, even though he has only been credited with one miracle since his death.

Francis is clearly a fan of both: on the anniversary of John Paul’s death this year, he prayed at the tombs of both men — an indication that he sees a great personal and spiritual continuity in them.

Francis' “G8” on Curia reform to join Pope on his trip to Assisi“We will be joining the Pope in Assisi and praying with him at St. Francis’ tomb,” Vatican City Governor, Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello said, confirming his attendance on the papal trip. 

Bertello is the only Curia member among the group of eight cardinals the Pope appointed to advise him on Curia reform and church government. 

The group will be holding their first meeting in the Vatican at the beginning of October and Francis had also wanted him to join him on the papal trip to the “Poverello’s” city.

The group will go to the “city of peace” on 4 October, as Vatican Insider reported on 26 April. Some of the members of the “council of peace” are currently in Rome for the plenary sessions being held by their respective congregations. 

The group of eight cardinals who will meet in the Vatican on 1, 2 and 3 October was set up to advise the Pope and not to take decisions, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi stressed. 

He added that other meetings would follow after this initial meeting and that participants were expected to respect the confidentiality of the consultations.

At 1pm on Monday, the director of the Holy See Press Office will give a briefing on the Pope’s meeting with the group of eight cardinals, with information regarding the nature of the meeting, the preparation work around it and the time frame. 

The “G8’s” members are: Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello of Italy, President of the Government of the Vatican City State; Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa of Chile, the retired archbishop of Santiago; Cardinal Oswald Gracias of India, archbishop of Bombay and President of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences; Reinhard Marx, the Archbishop of Munich and Freising (Germany); Laurent Monswengo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo); Sean Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston (U.S.); George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney (Australia) and Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa and coordinator of Fransis’ advisory council.

 There is a great deal of suspense ahead of the council’s work so the Curia has warned the public to hold their horses: “This is the first of a series of meetings. Don’t expect everything all at once.” 

Is it unthinkable to supplement their work with a secular agency that is completely outside the church orbit?” Jesuit historian of Christianity John O’Malley asks in an article published in Italian news magazine Il Regno. According to O’Malley, “such an agency is much more likely to ask questions that do not even occur to church members.” 

O’Malley pointed out two issues that should be born in mind regarding “the reform of the Curia towards greater collegiality” (one of the issues that has aroused many expectations in the first months of Francis’ pontificate): First is the fact that men and women today do not easily accept the idea that what they perceive to be a distant and faceless elite body can claim the right to tell them what to think and how to behave. Second, there is the difficulty today of finding a theological justification for the Curia—or, put more concretely, there is the difficulty of finding a theologically credible connection between Peter the simple fisherman of Galilee and Peter, prince of the apostles, heading a large bureaucratic central office.”
Some of the areas that need to be remedied according to the American Jesuit and Professor at Georgetown University, Washington, include: the “lack of communication among the congregations, tribunals, secretariats and other offices within the Curia”; “the process of recruiting the personnel of the Curia, which sometimes seems to function more as a system of patronage than a system based on merit—a long-standing problem in the Curia.”; “a mechanism needs to be devised to ensure that the heads of the different bureaus are held accountable for fulfilling their duties.” 

O’Malley recalled that the doctrine on collegiality became the lightening rod of the Council. No other doctrine met more unrelenting opposition,” seeing as though “its enemies grasped its radical character and implications.” In the end, the ratified the doctrine, but only after “a higher authority” attached a “preliminary note” (nota praevia) to the “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church” (1964).” Collegiality, O’Malley pointed out “holds immense implications for the Curia” because it “means the Curia should operate not as a set of agencies in charge of the church but as agencies that serve lower agencies by helping them do what they are supposed to do.” The Secretary is the Bishop of Albano, Mgr. Marcello Semeraro, who was Special Secretary at the 2001 Synod. 

First and foremost, the group must advise the Pope on the “government of the universal Church”; second, it must “study a project of revision of the Apostolic Constitution “Pastor Bonus” on the Roman Curia”. This was promulgated by John Paul II on 28 June 1988 and split the Curia into five main sections: the Secretariat of State, whose central and pre-eminent role has given other Vatican circles many a bellyache; the Congregations; the ecclesiastical Tribunals; the Pontifical Councils and offices and bodies. 

There have been 3 major reforms in the Roman Curia over the past 110 years: Pius X’s “Sapienti Consilio” (1908) which adjusted the structures of the Curia to the disappearance of the Pontifical State in 1870; Paul VI’s “Regimini Ecclesiae Universae” (1967) which adjusted it to the Second Vatican Council and John Paul II’s “Pastor Bonus” (1988) which adjusted the Curia according to the Code of Canon Law of 1984.