Skip to Content

Catholic Telegraph

Syndicate content
The site of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Updated: 1 hour 24 min ago

Mass for the permanent diaconate: Area deacons celebrate at the cathedral

08/29/2018 - 10:15am
Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr posed with many of the permanent deacons who attended a Mass at the cathedral for the 50h anniversary of the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the United States. (CT PHOTO/DAVID MOODIE)

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr celebrated Mass at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral for more than 80 permanent deacons and their families Aug. 11. The Mass marked the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the United States. For more information about the anniversary, area permanent deacons and their ministries, what the permanent diaconate is, and how the role of permanent deacons has changed in our archdiocese, see the special section in our September edition or type “permanent deacon” in the search box.

Permanent deacons process out of church following the Aug. 11 Mass. (CT PHOTO/DAVID A. MOODIE) Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr delivers his homily at the Mas. (CT PHOTO/DAVID A. MOODIE) Deacon David Shaffer, left, and Deacon Michael Brock  chat as they prepare for Mass. (CT PHOTO/DAVID A. MOODIE) Permanent deacons from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati stand as they renew their vows during the Mass. (CT PHOTO/DAVID A. MOODIE)

Golden wedding mass at the cathedral

08/29/2018 - 10:14am
Jubilarians extend their wedding rings forward for a blessing from Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr for the Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains, Aug. 4. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)

Couples marking their golden wedding anniversaries in 2018 celebrated in August with Masses in Cincinnati and Dayton. Cincinnati’s couples renewed their vows at Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains.

Jubilarians, including Bill and Yvonne Tieke, hold hands as Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr blesses them. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard) Ramon Ruiz de Luzuriaga gives the second reading. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard) Adolfo and Chita Titong hold hands as Archbishop Dennis Schnurr blesses the jubilarians. (CT Photo/E.L. Hubbard)

Lunch Bunch: St. I’s Food Rescue Squad tackles waste

08/29/2018 - 10:12am
Body + Soul

By Erin Schurenberg

The slogan for St. Ignatius Loyola School in Monfort Heights is: “Starts with I and ends with US.” 

     Such a slogan definitely applies to their Food Rescue Program, started during the 2016-17 school year, and growing in popularity ever since. The collective efforts of the “us” at St. Ignatius are curbing food waste and feeding the hungry.

     With more than 1,000 students enrolled in the grade school, cafeteria workers and volunteer helpers noticed untouched food going to waste by the time lunch had ended. Beth Reynolds, cafeteria manager, spoke to then-Principal Tim Reilly about the cafeteria team’s desire to save the unwanted food from the garbage. Together, they discovered a program started in Indiana by former teacher John Williamson, who was troubled by the amount of food being wasted in our country. 

     Ten years ago, with the help of businessman Scott Dorsey, Williamson set up a non-profit organization called Food Rescue. Today, its popular K-12 Food Rescue Program operates in 500 schools across the country and helps to distribute some of the estimated 1 billion unwanted, unpeeled, and unwrapped food items wasted annually in American schools. Students in the program also work to curb food waste through their Student Leader Entrepreneurial Initiative (SLEI), which encourages high school students to lead their peers into a new “food is not trash” mindset.

     The single largest source of household trash is unused food, yet one in six Americans experiences food insecurity, defined by the USDA as the lack of access, at times, to enough food for all household members. The movement Williamson started is keeping three million food items out of landfills each year in Indiana alone; diverting them instead to food pantries or similar agencies.

     Armed with guidance from Food Rescue, staff members at St. Ignatius set up a donation table complete with a cooler for items that should be kept refrigerated. “If there is a packaged, unopened food product that a student does not want to eat or drink, they can put these items on the donate table,” explained St. Ignatius staffer Patty Thomas. “At the end of the lunch periods, a Food Rescue Squad sorts and counts the donations. Once a week, folks from the Corpus Christi Food Pantry come to pick up these donations.”

     Forty years ago, one of the founders of the Corpus Christi Food Pantry was Reynold’s mother, the late Mary Annis. Not only is this connection inspiring for Reynolds, but she also sees how positively affected the students are who crew the Food Squad. The original crew consisted of sixth graders Joseph Boling, Owen Hardig, Nikolas Essen, Owen Kramer, Benjamin Weber and Jack Hardig, most of whom will stay involved as counters or in training the next Food Squad this year.   

     More than 2,900 meals were rescued last school year. “This work has opened the students’ hearts and engaged these kids in a way that is exciting,” said Reynolds. 

The original members of the St. Ignatius Food Squad pose by the table where students can leave uneaten, wrapped items from their packed lunches. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Campaign collects $100 million; already making a difference

08/29/2018 - 10:10am
Director of Stewardship David Kissell

By Steve Trosley

David Kissell always has a smile on his face, but none so big as the one he displayed recently when the “One Faith, One Hope, One Love” effort registered $100 million in pledge payments having been paid to the campaign.

   Kissell, director of the archdiocesan Stewardship Office, has much to say about the generosity of the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, but he has even more to say about his ministry and how the strong vein of stewardship allows him and his team members to bring the fruits of Christ’s church to its people.

   “We’re truly a ministry that can teach the faithful that everything is a gift from God and when we share those gifts with others, we are bringing them the message of salvation Jesus entrusted us with,” Kissell said.

   The campaign, initiated in 2015, attracted $165 million in pledges, donations and bequests. The goal had been $130 million, Kissell said. The money goes into the Catholic Community Foundation, a separate entity, with a board of directors who see to it the funds are invested and distributed according to the stated purposes of the campaign.

   For example, twice a year the Education Foundation distributes scholarships — $4 million total, thus far — to assist families sending their children to Catholic schools. Qualifications are vetted by an outside third party and awarded accordingly.

   Money set aside for fostering vocations — 12 percent of the total — has funded “chairs,” (professorial positions), air conditioning for the seminary’s St. Gregory the Great Chapel, and reduced tuition for lay students in the pastoral ministry program.

   “You can see it happening,” Kissell said. “When I used to go to class at the Athenaeum, I would see three to five students in a class. Then, after the discounts, I was seeing 12 to 15, due to the tuition discount funded by the endowment.”

   Kissell, who learned his trade the hard way — “as a parish development director, fresh out of college” — has high praise for his team: Ryan Lopez, director of development operations; Leslie Odioso, donor relations manager; Maureen Griffin, campaign and appeal assistant; and Toni Alander, campaign assistant.

   The team members play a role in the active ministry as well, he said. “A large percentage of the pledges has been paid by credit card or electronic fund transfers. Sometimes the card expires before the final payment and Leslie or Maureen will need to call to get that updated. This is not just about collecting money. They often visit with donors when calling and ask them what’s going on in their lives, and they open up to us.

   “We get to know them better and we can tell them how their sacrifice is making a real difference in people’s lives,” Kissell said. “Everything we have is a gift from God and He wants us to make the most of what He’s given us. This gives us an opportunity to shine a light on those gifts and God’s work. It also helps us stay in contact.”

   Parishes are also benefitting from the historic campaign, as 20 percent of donations go back to the parish for its own local priorities. If a parish exceeds its campaign goal, 60 percent of over-goal contributions are returned.

   Meanwhile, the stewardship department was able to celebrate another goal-busting performance of the Catholic Ministries Appeal, the annual drive that funds annual budgets for numerous ministries in the archdiocese.

   In addition to this annual $5 million plus appeal, the parishes are receiving funds collected over their endowment campaign goal.

   ‘The pastors really made a difference in our efforts for this campaign,” Kissell said. “They realized the need and they recognized how important it was for them to invite their families to participate.”

   Kissell foresees a continuing stewardship character in the archdiocese, even as the current group of contributors age and retire.

   “We’re seeing younger families come forward,” he said. “They want to transform the world and they see this as a way to do that. The very programs this money funds — the School of Faith and Vocare, for example — will bring stewardship full circle back into the younger age group. We will also use the power of social media to help them make the connection to us.”

   The Stewardship Office is looking forward to a special project, “Giving Tuesday,” Nov. 27, that will use social media to reach out to the faithful in the archdiocese. Kissell foresees an energized youth participation in that project, about which there will be more information coming in the next month.

   To learn more about One Faith, One Hope, One Love, the CMA annual appeal, and stewardship ministry in the archdiocese, visit: Catholiccincinnati.org/ministries-offices/stewardship.

Rosary Garden blooms in Reading

08/29/2018 - 10:09am
Matthew Smeal’s Eagle Scout project is this rosary garden outside St. Nicholas Academy. For what the site looked like before, see the end of the story. (COURTESY PHOTO)

By Gail Finke

While our summer Mary Garden photo contest showed you scores of home gardens dedicated to the Blessed Mother, one reader’s more ambitious project deserves special notice.

Matthew Smeal, a member of Evendale Boy Scout Troop 598, created a Rosary Garden for St. Nicholas Academy and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish in Reading as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Before Matthew started to work, a raised bed in the school’s lawn featured an unpainted statue of Mary holding the infant Jesus. A small brick pedestal and a few rose bushes in a raised bed gave the statue a neat, but modest, setting.

The new Rosary Garden designed and built by Smeal and his team features stone benches, a stone wall in place of the original brick holding the raised bed, and a wide circular bed planted with flowers and low bushes is surrounded by a gravel path. Stone pavers set into the fine gravel mark the beads of the rosary. Visitors can walk the path or sit on the benches to pray.

Smeal also painted the statue, which is now lit at night so that it can be seen 24 hours a day.

“It’s a beautiful garden,” said Matthew’s father, Scott Smeal. “And it’s used often by our parishioners and SNA students.”

To see all our Mary Garden photos, visit the gallery at our Facebook page.

 

The “before” photo shows an unpainted statue and a small raised bed for rose bushes. (COURTESY PHOTO) Now painted, the statue of Mary and the infant Jesus are also lit at night. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Catholic psychologist, abuse survivor, offers abuse advice for families

08/28/2018 - 4:45pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Clodagh Kilcoyne, Reuters

By Zita Ballinger Fletcher

WASHINGTON (CNS) — After recent reports describing clergy sex abuse, Paul Peloquin, a Catholic clinical psychologist and a clergy abuse survivor, shared advice for victims and their families.

“For Catholics who have been abused by a priest or clergy, it’s doubly difficult because they have not only been psychologically traumatized, but spiritually traumatized,” Peloquin told Catholic News. “Unless that is addressed, healing is very difficult.”

His work as a Catholic psychologist is tied to his own journey as an abuse survivor.

“I’m a survivor myself,” said Peloquin, who is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “I left the church for over 30 years. I thought I had the perfect justification. I totally rejected the church and walked away.”

Peloquin overcame the effects of the abuse by reclaiming his faith and helping fellow victims in his professional life as a psychologist. Once suffering from spiritual doubt, he now works to promote spiritual healing.

“If one says, ‘the Catholic Church is bad’ or ‘all priests are bad,’ that’s too broad of a brushstroke. They’re not,” said Peloquin, who struggled with his beliefs for a long time. “I thought that way for a while.”

His decision to return to Catholicism was difficult. It resulted from experiences that changed his perspectives over time.

“I came to a point in my life where I came to my senses and realized I wasn’t finding what I was looking for in life — that there was a great spiritual void,” Peloquin said. “My heart started to soften over a period of time. It took many years.”

He started going to church while escorting his terminally ill father to daily Mass. Peloquin did not attend to worship, but attended out of a sense of duty and obligation.

As time passed, Peloquin sought out a one-on-one experience with God — not in a busy parish, but in the isolation of a Benedictine monastery in the mountains. He said he was able to develop his personal faith in God while experiencing the beauty of nature.

Peloquin said that going to a church can trigger traumatic memories for victims. He advised survivors to seek spiritual healing in a place where they feel peace.

“If people can find a way to be quiet and still, the Lord wants to reach out to them,” he said.

He said that while many survivors feel the need to vent their anger, it is only a first step in the healing process. Peloquin also does not believe that money awarded in damages can restore victims to spiritual and emotional wholeness.

“If people say, ‘Well, I’m just going to get money,’ that’s not going to heal anything,” Peloquin said. “We’re talking about a psychological and spiritual wound.”

He advised parents to seek help from police or professional counselors if their child discloses sexual abuse.

“I would recommend that the parents get a consult with someone who is familiar with this, to see if they could ask the right questions, how they should react and how they are reacting,” he said. “Don’t go off and attack a priest or a teacher without getting the support of a professional.”

Professionals trained to interview children can often uncover details that parents cannot, while still being sensitive to the needs of the child.

“Oftentimes abuse is committed by someone that is known by the family members,” he said.

While most parents react emotionally because of disbelief or anger, Peloquin said it is important to keep calm. Open-mindedness, a caring demeanor and good listening skills prevent a child from “shutting down,” he explained.

Many children hesitate to come forward because of fear that no one will believe them. Children who have been seduced over a period of time also feel guilty about being abused. Peloquin said parents must not allow their religious or personal views get in the way of listening to their child.

“The child needs to feel that they’re respected and protected in all things,” he said.

The psychologist said children should be educated about appropriate and inappropriate types of touching. Kids also should be encouraged to speak to a parent, teacher or other responsible adult if they feel uncomfortable with a particular adult. Doing so, Peloquin said, will enable children to recognize inappropriate behavior and not be seduced into an unwanted relationship. Children should also be encouraged to vocalize their concerns to others.

In advice to fellow Catholics who are struggling emotionally because of clergy sex abuse, Peloquin said panic is not the right response.

“Most priests are good people, but there are some who aren’t,” he said. “We need the priests. We don’t have the sacraments without the priests. But we need good priests, who want to live the life of the priesthood and as servants.”

Peloquin said that during his years as a professional psychologist, he has never seen any harm resulting from parents supporting and listening to their child. Problems arise, he said, when parents are close-minded.

“If parents deny it and say, ‘this can never happen,’ that’s very harmful.”

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Catholic psychologist, abuse survivor, offers advice for families

08/28/2018 - 4:45pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Clodagh Kilcoyne, Reuters

By Zita Ballinger Fletcher

WASHINGTON (CNS) — After recent reports describing clergy sex abuse, Paul Peloquin, a Catholic clinical psychologist and a clergy abuse survivor, shared advice for victims and their families.

“For Catholics who have been abused by a priest or clergy, it’s doubly difficult because they have not only been psychologically traumatized, but spiritually traumatized,” Peloquin told Catholic News. “Unless that is addressed, healing is very difficult.”

His work as a Catholic psychologist is tied to his own journey as an abuse survivor.

“I’m a survivor myself,” said Peloquin, who is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “I left the church for over 30 years. I thought I had the perfect justification. I totally rejected the church and walked away.”

Peloquin overcame the effects of the abuse by reclaiming his faith and helping fellow victims in his professional life as a psychologist. Once suffering from spiritual doubt, he now works to promote spiritual healing.

“If one says, ‘the Catholic Church is bad’ or ‘all priests are bad,’ that’s too broad of a brushstroke. They’re not,” said Peloquin, who struggled with his beliefs for a long time. “I thought that way for a while.”

His decision to return to Catholicism was difficult. It resulted from experiences that changed his perspectives over time.

“I came to a point in my life where I came to my senses and realized I wasn’t finding what I was looking for in life — that there was a great spiritual void,” Peloquin said. “My heart started to soften over a period of time. It took many years.”

He started going to church while escorting his terminally ill father to daily Mass. Peloquin did not attend to worship, but attended out of a sense of duty and obligation.

As time passed, Peloquin sought out a one-on-one experience with God — not in a busy parish, but in the isolation of a Benedictine monastery in the mountains. He said he was able to develop his personal faith in God while experiencing the beauty of nature.

Peloquin said that going to a church can trigger traumatic memories for victims. He advised survivors to seek spiritual healing in a place where they feel peace.

“If people can find a way to be quiet and still, the Lord wants to reach out to them,” he said.

He said that while many survivors feel the need to vent their anger, it is only a first step in the healing process. Peloquin also does not believe that money awarded in damages can restore victims to spiritual and emotional wholeness.

“If people say, ‘Well, I’m just going to get money,’ that’s not going to heal anything,” Peloquin said. “We’re talking about a psychological and spiritual wound.”

He advised parents to seek help from police or professional counselors if their child discloses sexual abuse.

“I would recommend that the parents get a consult with someone who is familiar with this, to see if they could ask the right questions, how they should react and how they are reacting,” he said. “Don’t go off and attack a priest or a teacher without getting the support of a professional.”

Professionals trained to interview children can often uncover details that parents cannot, while still being sensitive to the needs of the child.

“Oftentimes abuse is committed by someone that is known by the family members,” he said.

While most parents react emotionally because of disbelief or anger, Peloquin said it is important to keep calm. Open-mindedness, a caring demeanor and good listening skills prevent a child from “shutting down,” he explained.

Many children hesitate to come forward because of fear that no one will believe them. Children who have been seduced over a period of time also feel guilty about being abused. Peloquin said parents must not allow their religious or personal views get in the way of listening to their child.

“The child needs to feel that they’re respected and protected in all things,” he said.

The psychologist said children should be educated about appropriate and inappropriate types of touching. Kids also should be encouraged to speak to a parent, teacher or other responsible adult if they feel uncomfortable with a particular adult. Doing so, Peloquin said, will enable children to recognize inappropriate behavior and not be seduced into an unwanted relationship. Children should also be encouraged to vocalize their concerns to others.

In advice to fellow Catholics who are struggling emotionally because of clergy sex abuse, Peloquin said panic is not the right response.

“Most priests are good people, but there are some who aren’t,” he said. “We need the priests. We don’t have the sacraments without the priests. But we need good priests, who want to live the life of the priesthood and as servants.”

Peloquin said that during his years as a professional psychologist, he has never seen any harm resulting from parents supporting and listening to their child. Problems arise, he said, when parents are close-minded.

“If parents deny it and say, ‘this can never happen,’ that’s very harmful.”

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

NRB: Change in church’s culture, including bishops, needed to end abuse

08/28/2018 - 4:38pm

IMAGE: CNS photo illustration/Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) — More committees are not the answer to stop the abuse of children and vulnerable adults by clergy, said an Aug. 28 statement by the National Review Board, which is charged with addressing clerical sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church.

“What needs to happen is a genuine change in the church’s culture, specifically among the bishops themselves,” the board said. “This evil has resulted from a loss of moral leadership and an abuse of power that led to a culture of silence that enabled these incidents to occur.

“Intimidation, fear, and the misuse of authority created an environment that was taken advantage of by clerics, including bishops, causing harm to minors, seminarians, and those most vulnerable,” the NRB said. “The culture of silence enabled the abuse to go on virtually unchecked. Trust was betrayed for the victims/survivors of the abuse; the entire body of Christ was betrayed in turn by these crimes and the failure to act.”

The purpose of the NRB, established in 2002 as part of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, is to work collaboratively with the U.S. bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People in preventing the sexual abuse of minors in the United States by persons in the service of the church.

But even the charter that created the NRB is wanting, the board’s statement said.

“The members of the NRB have on numerous occasions pointed out the weaknesses in the charter given its deliberate ambiguity and its lack of inclusion of bishops. During the most recent revision process of the charter, many of the recommendations made by the NRB to strengthen the charter were not incorporated for a variety of reasons. These recommendations need to be reconsidered in light of the current situation, as well as the inclusion of bishops in the charter,” the NRB said.

“The National Review Board has for several years expressed its concern that bishops not become complacent in their response to sexual abuse by the clergy. The recent revelations make it clear that the problem is much deeper.”

The statement said, “The episcopacy needs to be held accountable for these past actions, and in the future, for being complicit, either directly or indirectly, in the sexual abuse of the vulnerable. Holding bishops accountable will require an independent review into the actions of the bishop when an allegation comes to light.”

The statement added, “The NRB also believes that the statement of Episcopal Commitment is ineffective and needs to be revised into a meaningful, actionable commitment.

“In particular, the notion of ‘fraternal correction’ must outline concrete steps that will be taken when a bishop is alleged to have committed sexual abuse or has failed to respond immediately and without hesitation when a cleric is accused of sexual abuse,” it said.

“To ensure that bishops undertake their obligation to act decisively when they have knowledge of incidences of sexual abuse committed by the clergy or their brother bishops, there must be substantive formation of newly appointed bishops on their responsibility as moral leaders within the church, especially in responding to sexual abuse, something which is currently lacking.

The NRB offered itself as the body with which to entrust an independent review of allegations against bishops, as outlined by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. bishops.

“The NRB, composed exclusively of lay members, would be the logical group to be involved in this task,” it said. “An anonymous whistleblower policy, as is found in corporations, higher education and other institutions in both the public and private sector, that would be independent of the hierarchy with participation by the laity, perhaps the NRB, who would report allegations to the local bishop, local law enforcement, the nuncio and Rome, needs to be established immediately.”

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Trinidad’s First Peoples were also nation’s first Catholics

08/28/2018 - 4:14pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Laura Ann Phillips

By Laura Ann Phillips

ARIMA, Trinidad (CNS) — Past small family-owned businesses and homes tightly packed into well-worn streets, a procession of just over 300 St. Rose of Lima devotees snaked through the semi-rural borough of Arima, 45 miles southeast of the capital.

In its middle, a five-foot statue of the saint rode, elevated on a wooden, rose-framed litter at the back of a flatbed truck. For centuries, St. Rose has been a bridge between the Catholic Church and Trinidad’s First Peoples — an assortment of Amerindian tribes that inhabited the island for at least 6,000 years before Christopher Columbus stumbled upon them in 1498.

A wizened woman, a blend of East Indian and one of the nearly disappeared Amerindian tribes, walked in front of the saint-bearing truck as closely as the safety marshals allowed, holding aloft a matte-cream, plastic vase crammed with oversized pale pink artificial blooms.

Several names, neatly handwritten in fine black marker, covered the vase’s surface: people alive and dead for whom she needed the saint’s favors. When the statue was returned to its home in the St. Rose Parish Church, that vase was the first to be ensconced at the saint’s feet.

“Santa Rosa is like mother to them,” explained First Peoples Chief Ricardo Bharath Hernandez. “The faith and devotion people have placed in this saint has worked miracles for them.”

Devotion some find objectionable, since Catholicism was brought by the Spanish, who decimated most of the island’s indigenous tribes.

The Spanish didn’t settle in Trinidad until 1592. About 40,000 indigenous people of varying tribes lived on the island, and there was light trading and a tenuous peace for some time. But, when Spain’s encomienda system was introduced around 1644, Amerindian labor was seized.

The Nepuyo tribe of Arima mounted the strongest resistance, their Chief Hyarima leading a force effective enough to slow Spanish occupation of the island’s north for decades.

Some Amerindians, though, were converted early by the Capuchins who staffed missions erected throughout the island, each dedicated to a particular saint; Arima’s was dedicated to St. Rose. The newly baptized doffed their traditional names for that of their estate owner or the baptizing priest. This is why so many local Amerindian descendants carry Spanish names, said Hernandez. Records recovered from the missions have helped some people trace their tribal roots.

Still, it is nearly impossible to find pure-blooded descendants of any of the original tribes today; some think none exist. What was left of them dissolved, over the centuries, into Trinidad’s myriad ethnicities.

Some find it difficult to wholeheartedly embrace the Catholic Church and its practices. Others find power in both.

“My Lord and my savior is Jesus Christ, his son, and that will never change,” said Hilary Bernard, a dentist and First Peoples descendant.

In First Peoples’ prayer, she noted, “The name Tamushi is given to almighty God. It’s Taino, which is one of the Arawak languages, and it means, ‘creator of the universe’, ‘almighty God.'”

Bernard is also a member of the Catholic charismatic prayer group that’s heavily involved in youth ministry and social outreach.

“There’s no separation for me, really. There’s nothing to reconcile.”

The First Peoples’ “commitment to prayer and allowing prayer to transform and inform their lives is a very important thing,” said Msgr. Christian Pereira, a former St. Rose parish priest for several years.

“They have a very deep relationship to the earth and the universe, which is their essential relationship of the Divine Spirit of the Holy One.”

Western religions have allowed themselves to “become divorced from the universe,” Msgr. Pereira said. “Pope Francis has tried to pull us back in “Laudato Si’,” to remind us that the (Creator is present in all elements of the) earth, and the universe is the seat of the Creator.”

The Amerindian devotion to St. Rose can be traced to a 17th-century legend which some call a miracle, others the oppressor’s cunning.

Amerindian hunters were in the hills and found a girl alone there. She was dumb, so they took her back to the village. That night, she disappeared, but she was found again in the forest the next day. They brought her back to the settlement, but she disappeared that night, too. The next day, when she was found, the people took her to the mission priest. He told them the mysterious girl was the manifested spirit of St. Rose and, after that night, would not return. Sure enough, the girl was never seen again.

The daughter of Chief Hyarima later became Catholic, followed by many of their peoples. The First Peoples’ Carib queen, the community’s titular head throughout the years, is said to be her descendant.

“Now, there are oral traditions, and there is the practical thing,” stated Chief Hernandez, “because there are similar stories in other indigenous communities of the region where the Catholics took possession.”

Still, he defends his community when their devotion to the saint and Catholicism are criticized by internal and external groups.

“I tell them we must remember that, for over 200 years, this has become part of the people’s tradition and culture,” said Hernandez. “The Santa Rosa festival allowed them a space to practice their indigenous culture.”

For more than 230 years of the feast’s celebration, following the Mass and procession, all assembled at the park in front of the church, where the First Peoples share their traditional dances, rituals, food, games and craft. Today, it is a modest food and craft operation run jointly by the parish and First Peoples with a more modern lean.

Still, their community’s festival preparations are robust. On Aug. 1, a conch shell — the shell of a large ocean mollusk — is blown, a religious ceremony performed in the hills, and cannons fired. During the weeks following, the women prepare decorative roses, buntings and flags, with separate duties for the men. The community also participates in the parish novena.

“The First Peoples existed long before Jesus Christ was born,” said Msgr. Pereira. “They hold the presence of the Great Spirit in nature all around them in reverence and, to this day, recognize God’s presence in wider creation, as well as the particular presence of God in the person of Jesus Christ in our Catholic Church.”

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Communion issues clarified in revised booklet

08/28/2018 - 3:34pm
Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion role explained; more

By Gail Finke

The need to reprint a decades-old handbook for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs) gave the archdiocese’s Office of Divine Worship and Sacraments the chance to clarify a few issues that have arisen in the 30 years since its production.

     The new booklet reaffirms basics, such as the norms for receiving communion in the United States (standing, although every communicant has the option to kneel, and offered under both species), and adds new information, such as that low-gluten hosts are permitted for communion in any parish but “gluten-free” hosts are not. It also addresses three situations that the office’s director, Karen Kane, wants every layperson and priest to know.  

     The first regards taking communion to the sick and homebound. While this important work has been taken up by many lay people, Kane said, over time many parishes began instructing EMHCs to give consecrated hosts to anyone who came forward with a pyx (the special carrier for consecrated hosts). In the worst case, this opens communion to abuse. But the problem parishes were seeing, Kane said, was not knowing who was sick and who was receiving communion outside Mass.

     The booklet now outlines a recent directive from the archbishop for parishes to ensure that pyxes are brought up to the altar before Mass and filled after the consecration. “After communion, a priest or deacon will call them forward,” Kane said. The addition takes only a few seconds and, as well as helping the pastor to keep track of the people being served, “it also reminds us all to pray for the sick and homebound, who are still members of our community even though we don’t see them.”

    The second issue is with the number of hosts, and the amount of wine, consecrated at Mass. In some parishes, Kane said, priests had gotten into the habit of consecrating too many hosts – so many that they provided all the hosts needed for a number of subsequent Masses. And while consecrated wine can’t be saved, many EMHCs have been reluctant to drink it, worried that doing so amounts to communing too often or treating the Precious Blood with too little reverence. The new guidelines remind priests and EHMCs that the hosts consumed at each Mass are to be consecrated at each Mass – “the sacrifice is for the people, not just for the priest,” Kane said – and that drinking any remaining Precious Blood is not abuse, but “the best way of caring for and showing reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.”

     The final issue is a purely pastoral one: providing EMHCs with guidance about what to do when people who are not Catholic approach them during Communion with their hands crossed over their chests, expecting a blessing or greeting. 

     “It’s a practice some people have picked up, and parishes don’t know how to respond,” Kane said. Rome hasn’t provided formal guidance, so dioceses have created their own responses. “What we have done is said that EMHCs can make a cross on the person’s foreheads, but without any words,” she said. “It’s based on a gesture that lay people can make – for instance, parents blessing their children – but it’s not a final answer. It’s a pastoral solution until there’s a definitive answer.”

     The 40-page booklet, “This Holy and Living Sacrifice: A Formation Resource for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion,” provides a wealth of other information about choosing and forming EMCHs, the tasks they can do before and after Mass, and more, as well as essays about the theology of the Eucharist. Copies are $4 (bulk pricing available). To order one, visit Catholiccincinnati.org/ministries-offices/worship/ and click on “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.”

 

Obituary: Reverend Joseph Michael Stefanelli, S.M.

08/28/2018 - 9:56am

Rev. Joseph M., Stefanelli was born on November 24, 1921 in Cincinnati, OH.

He made his first profession of vows as a Marianist August 25, 1940, perpetual vows on August 15, 1944, ordained July 22, 1951 in Fribourg, Switzerland. Entered into eternal life on August 16, 2018. Son of the late Michael and Cesarina (Cambi). Survived by his dear sister Ann Herking in Cincinnati and loving nieces Susan Herking of Cincinnati and Diana Kruse of Dayton OH.

After his initial years of ministry as a high school teacher of history and English Father Joe moved into a long tenure of formation ministry and leadership/administration including the General Administration in Rome and as Provincial of the Province of the Pacific from 1973 to 1981.

As a scholar in Marianist studies Father Joe was a founding member of the North American Center for Marianist Studies (NACMS) in Dayton. He was the author of several books on the founders of the Marianist Family and a noted retreat preacher on Marianist themes. Services were held at the Chapel of the Marianist Center, followed by interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

Today’s Video: The Life of Saint Augustine

08/28/2018 - 5:59am

St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions. His complete turnaround and conversion has been an inspiration to many who struggle with a particular vice or habit they long to break. Learn about St. Augustine in today’s video:

USCCB president seeks papal audience, answers to former nuncio’s questions

08/27/2018 - 7:20pm

By

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said he was “eager for an audience” with Pope Francis to gain his support for the bishops’ plan to respond to the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

In an Aug. 27 statement, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston also said that the questions raised by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former nuncio to the United States, in a letter published by two Catholic media outlets “deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence.”

“Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusations and the guilty may be left to repeat the sins of the past,” the cardinal said.

In his 11-page letter, published Aug. 26, Archbishop Vigano accused church officials, including Pope Francis, of failing to act on accusations of abuse of conscience and power by now-Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick. Archbishop Vigano claimed he told Pope Francis about Cardinal McCarrick in 2013.

Archbishop Vigano, who served as nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016, wrote that he was compelled to write his knowledge of Archbishop McCarrick’s misdeeds because “corruption has reached the very top of the church’s hierarchy.”

In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo reiterated an Aug. 16 call for an apostolic visitation, working with a national lay commission granted independent authority, to investigate the “many questions surround Archbishop McCarrick.”

He also said he convened members of the USCCB Executive Committee Aug. 26 and that they “reaffirmed the call for a prompt and thorough examination into how the grave moral failings of a brother bishop could have been tolerated for so long and proven no impediment to his advancement.”

The plan earlier outlined by Cardinal DiNardo also called for detailed proposals to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier and improve procedures for resolving complaints against bishops.

Cardinal DiNardo again apologized to abuse survivors and their families. “You are no longer alone,” he said.

The statement explained how since 2002, professionally trained staff have worked with the U.S. church to support survivors and prevent future abuse. He pointed to the steps the church has put in place in response to abuse including the zero-tolerance policy regarding clergy abuse: safe environment training in diocesan offices, parishes and schools, background checks for church workers and volunteers working around children, victim assistance coordinators, prompt reporting to civil authorities and diocesan lay review boards.

“In other ways, we have failed you. This is especially true for adults being sexually harassed by those in positions of power, and for any abuse or harassment perpetuated by a bishop,” Cardinal DiNardo said.

“We will do better. The more she is buffeted by storms, the more I am reminded that the church’s firm foundation is Jesus Christ. The failures of men cannot diminish the light of the Gospel.”

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Puerto Rico getting back on feet ‘step by step,’ but long road remains

08/27/2018 - 3:57pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Knights of Columbus

By Julie Asher

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Nearly a year ago, Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm, and afterward 11-year-old Marco Lebron’s first thought was about the monks who teach at his school, Benedictine-run San Antonio Abad School and Abbey in Humacao.

“A few days after the hurricane I just think my school is in the middle of the forest, they’re monks, and they’re elderly, they’re retired,” Marco said. “And I just told my dad, ‘Hey, let’s see if they’re OK.'”

The monks have their own well but without electricity they couldn’t get water from it, said Benedictine Abbot Oscar Rivera. “It was hurricane like I’ve never seen before. Basically, all your fundamental necessities, like water, were gone. … We felt totally helpless.”

Helping the monks get water was one of the first things Marco and his father, Jose Lebron-Sanabria, set out to do in those first days after Maria; that and take care of their own family’s water needs. Lebron-Sanabria and his wife, Christina, also have a daughter, Natalia, 2.

He had even more people to help as a member of the Knights of Columbus and general insurance agent for the fraternal organization.

“We are getting back on our feet step by step,” Lebron-Sanabria told Catholic News Service in a phone interview from Humacao. As of Aug. 14, nearly 11 months after the storm, 100 percent of the customers who lost power have had electricity restored, ABC News reported.

But the needs are still great, especially for food, water and major home repair, he said. “Everybody is doing a lot — church, government, entities from around the world coming to help us.” By mid-summer, he saw real improvement. “But we still have a long way to go,” he added.

Lebron-Sanabria, Marco and Abbot Rivera recalled what conditions were like immediately after Maria hit Sept. 20 in interviews for a Knights of Columbus video in its “Everyday Heroes” online series. The Knights were among the entities donating funds for Puerto Rico’s recovery; relief for the island was part of the $7.5 million the organization gave in disaster aid in 2017.

In the video other Knights describe what life is like post-Maria and the kind of material help they and others have pitched in on to help their fellow residents.

“All Puerto Ricans will live differently after Hurricane Maria,” said one. “It felt as though something had been taken from us. It was though we had lost something.”

In a report to Congress in August, Puerto Rican officials put the death toll at 1,427, with most of the deaths coming in the days and weeks after the storm. With emergency services stretched and transportation hindered by downed power linings blocking the roads, people could not get needed medical attention and perished.

Lebron-Sanabria has been a Knight since 2011 and became an insurance agent in 2014. Three years later the Knights named him general agent for Puerto Rico. In that role he became a central leader in relief efforts after Maria.

“My job as general agent is to take care of people with good financial advice so they can protect their family’s economic future,” he said. “The first thing I had to do after the hurricane was to make sure the members were alive, that they were safe and that my field agents were well enough to take care of the other members.”

Jose’s brother, Hector Lebron-Sanabria, who is one of those field agents, said in the “Heroes” video that since Hurricane Maria, “every week we are cooking 500, 600, 400 hot dinners for the affected people here in Patillas.”

Added Hector Lebron-Lopez: “There is still a lot of poverty in the mountain area of Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria emphasized that even more. For people who do not have usually have easy access to food and supplies it has now become even more difficult to have access to them.”

Jose Lebron-Sanabria told CNS he has never experienced anything before like Hurricane Maria and the devastation is caused to the island. “(What) we’ve been through is very difficult to express,” he said.

He feels his lifelong Catholic faith has helped him stay strong and truly believes feels Knights founder Father Michael McGivney has been looking out for all of them.

Son Marco also motivated him. “(He) was the guy who that pushed me through all of this. He’s a Boy Scout — he wanted to help with everything.”

Last but not least is wife Christina. “I don’t know what would happen if she was not side by side with me in this crisis,” he said. “She is the real hero.”

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Father Mike Schmitz on the current abuse scandal

08/27/2018 - 3:02pm

This talk is difficult for Fr. Mike to give, but sadly, it is also necessary. Since the Pennsylvania Report was released, practically every headline with the word “Catholic” in it has been about the report, which covers seventy years and gives accounts of three hundred priests who allegedly abused over one thousand minors over. Indignation is not the main message Fr. Mike wants to express here—although he feels that too. More than anything, he wants his viewers to know that now—more than ever—we need to live virtuous and holy lives and become the saints the Church needs.

President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Renews Commitment for Greater Effectiveness and Transparency in Disciplining Bishops

08/27/2018 - 2:30pm

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued the following statement.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

“In communion with the Holy Father, I join the Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in taking upon ourselves his exhortation, ‘this open wound [of abuse] challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice.’

“On August 1st, I promised that USCCB would exercise the full extent of its authority, and would advocate before those with greater authority, to pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick. On August 16th, I called for an Apostolic Visitation, working in concert with a national lay commission granted independent authority, to seek the truth. Yesterday, I convened our Executive Committee once again, and it reaffirmed the call for a prompt and thorough examination into how the grave moral failings of a brother bishop could have been tolerated for so long and proven no impediment to his advancement.

“The recent letter of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò brings particular focus and urgency to this examination. The questions raised deserve answers that are conclusive and based on evidence. Without those answers, innocent men may be tainted by false accusation and the guilty may be left to repeat sins of the past.

“I am eager for an audience with the Holy Father to earn his support for our plan of action. That plan includes more detailed proposals to: seek out these answers, make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier, and improve procedures for resolving complaints against bishops. Inspired by his recent letter to the people of God, and his motu proprio of two years ago, As a Loving Mother, I am confident Pope Francis shares our desire for greater effectiveness and transparency in the matter of disciplining bishops. We renew our fraternal affection for the Holy Father in these difficult days.

“To the survivors of abuse and the families who have lost a loved one to abuse, I am sorry. You are no longer alone. Since 2002, hundreds of professionally trained staff across the country have been working with the Church to support survivors and prevent future abuse. Nationwide, the Church has a zero-tolerance policy toward priests and deacons who abuse, safe environment training, background checks for those working around children, victim assistance coordinators, prompt reporting to civil authorities, and lay review boards in dioceses.

“In other ways, we have failed you. This is especially true for adults being sexually harassed by those in positions of power, and for any abuse or harassment perpetrated by a bishop. We will do better. The more she is buffeted by storms, the more I am reminded that the Church’s firm foundation is Jesus Christ. The failures of men cannot diminish the light of the Gospel. Lord, by the help of your mercy, show us the way to salvation.”

Today’s Video: The Life of Saint Monica

08/27/2018 - 11:54am

Saint Monica, also known as Monica of Hippo, is St. Augustine of Hippo’s mother. She was born in 331 A.D. in Tagaste, which is present-day Algeria. Learn about her life in today’s video:

Pope says he trusts people to judge archbishop’s claims about him

08/26/2018 - 11:30pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM DUBLIN (CNS) — Pope Francis said Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s long document calling on him to resign is written in a way that people should be able to draw their own conclusions.

“I read the statement this morning and, sincerely, I must say this to you and anyone interested: Read that statement attentively and make your own judgment,” he told reporters Aug. 26. “I think the statement speaks for itself, and you have a sufficient journalistic ability to make a conclusion.”

Speaking to reporters traveling back to Rome with him from Dublin, the pope said his lack of comment was “an act of faith” in people reading the document. “Maybe when a bit of time has passed, I’ll talk about it.”

Asked directly when he first learned of the former Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual abuse, Pope Francis said the question was related directly to Archbishop Vigano’s report and he would not comment now.

Archbishop Vigano, the former nuncio to the United States, claimed he told Pope Francis about Cardinal McCarrick in 2013.

In June, the Vatican announced that the pope had ordered the former Washington archbishop to live in “prayer and penance” while a canonical process proceeds against him. The pope later accepted Archbishop McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals.

The issue of clerical sexual abuse and other crimes and mistreatment of minors and vulnerable adults by Catholic priests and religious and the attempts by bishops and superiors to cover up the facts dominated the news coverage of the pope’s trip to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.

The pope said his meeting Aug. 25 with survivors of abuse was “very painful,” but it was very important “to listen to these people.”

Marie Collins, a survivor and former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told reporters after the meeting that she is still concerned that the pope has not established a tribunal to investigate and hold accountable bishops accused of failing to protect minors and covering up abuse.

Pope Francis said while he likes and admires Collins, “she is fixated” on the accountability tribunal, and he believes he has found a more efficient and flexible way to investigate and try suspected bishops by setting up temporary tribunals when needed.

The pope then went on to describe how “many bishops” had been investigated and tried, most recently Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana, Guam. In March an ad hoc apostolic tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found him guilty of “certain accusations.”

Pope Francis said the archbishop has appealed the conviction and, while he has asked some canon lawyers for input, he plans to make the final judgment on the archbishop’s case himself.

But the archbishop was accused of sexually abusing minors; the tribunal Collins was talking about was supposed to look specifically at bishops accused of covering up cases of abuse.

The pope immediately welcomed one of the suggestions made during the meeting with survivors: that he ask publicly and very specifically for forgiveness for the abuse that took place in a variety of Catholic institutions. The result was a penitential litany at the beginning of the Mass he celebrated in Dublin Aug. 26 to close the World Meeting of the Families.

Pope Francis said the survivors’ meeting was the first time he had heard details about the church-run homes for women who were pregnant out of wedlock. Many of the women were forced to give their babies up for adoption and were even told that it would be a “mortal sin” to go looking for their children.

The now-notorious St. Mary’s home for unmarried mothers and their children in Tuam was a specific case brought to the pope’s attention personally by Katherine Zappone, Irish minister for children and youth affairs.

Pope Francis told reporters that Zappone had given him a memo about a “mass grave” found on the site of one of the homes and “it appears that the church was involved.”

In May 2014 a local amateur historian in Tuam claimed that between 1925 and 1961, 796 infants died in St. Mary’s home. She found burial records only for two of the children. The rest, she believed, were buried in a common grave on the site, including in a former septic tank. The home was run by the Bon Secours congregation of nuns.

The Irish government is still in the process of trying to determine the best way to remember the victims and decide what to do with the Tuam site.

Asked by reporters what lay Catholics can do about the clerical abuse scandal, Pope Francis responded, “When you see something, say something immediately,” preferably to someone with the authority to investigate and stop it.

The role of the media is important for getting the truth out, he said, but journalists should be careful to write about accusations “always with the presumption of innocence, not a presumption of guilt.”

He pleaded with Catholic parents to listen to their children, even if the thought of a priest abusing them is horrifying. Stating again that he often meets on Fridays with survivors of abuse, he told reporters, “I met a woman who has suffered with this wound for 40 years because her parents would not believe her.”

During the inflight news conference, Pope Francis also was asked about Ireland’s legalization of gay marriage and what advice he would give the parent of a gay child.

“What would I say to a parent whose son or daughter had that tendency? I would say first, pray. Don’t condemn. Dialogue, understand, make room for that son or daughter, make room so he can express himself,” the pope said.

“I would never say silence is a remedy,” he said. And “to ignore one’s son or daughter who has a homosexual tendency is a failure of fatherhood or motherhood.”

– – –

Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Update: Pope begins Mass in Dublin with penitential plea for abuse scandals

08/26/2018 - 4:21pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

DUBLIN (CNS) — Before celebrating Mass in a Dublin park, Pope Francis solemnly asked forgiveness for the thousands of cases of sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by Catholics in Ireland.

“We ask forgiveness for the abuse in Ireland, abuse of power and of conscience, sexual abuse” by clergy and religious, he said Aug. 26. “In a special way, we ask forgiveness for all the abuse committed in the different institutions run by religious men and religious women and other members of the church.”

In a litany of recognition and prayers for the Lord’s mercy, Pope Francis formally asked forgiveness for the forced labor that even children were forced to perform in church institutions.

And, responding to a request made by two survivors he had met Aug. 25, the pope asked forgiveness for all the babies taken from their unwed mothers and put up for adoption without their mothers consent.

The mothers were told later it would be a “mortal sin” for them to try to find the children, but the pope said explicitly: “It is not a mortal sin. It is the Fourth Commandment,” which states, “Honor your father and your mother.”

“We apologize for some members of the hierarchy who did not own up to these painful situations and remained silent,” he said. “We ask for forgiveness.”

The pope’s penitential plea followed the introductory remarks of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, who told the pope, “The Church in Ireland has gone through challenging times. People have been wounded in the depth of their being by church people; people’s faith has been challenged and the church of Jesus Christ has been wounded.”

“Faith in Ireland is strong,” he said, and “faith in Ireland is fragile,” but that is not necessarily a surprise. “There is an intrinsic fragility in faith can steer us away from arrogance and self-centeredness.”

The Mass was the official closing of the World Meeting of Families, and Pope Francis used his homily to urge families from around the world to harness their joy and use it to transform the world into a place where all people feel loved, welcomed and supported in their commitments to each other.

“The church as a whole is called to ‘go forth’ to bring the words of eternal life to all the peripheries of our world,” the pope told tens of thousands of people gathered in a slightly sodden Phoenix Park.

A view of the crowd from the altar was that of a mosaic of brightly colored rain gear flapping in the wind. But even close to the altar platform there were large open spaces set aside for people who never arrived.

At the end of his homily, Pope Francis urged each person present — “parents and grandparents, children and young people, men and women, religious brothers and sisters, contemplatives and missionaries, deacons and priests” — to share “the Gospel of the family as joy for the world!”

The Catholic teaching on marriage and family life is often challenging and not universally accepted, he said, but Jesus himself promised that his words “are spirit and life.”

In fact, he said, it is the Holy Spirit who “constantly breathes new life into our world, into our hearts, into our families, into our homes and parishes. Each new day in the life of our families, and each new generation, brings the promise of a new Pentecost, a domestic Pentecost, a fresh outpouring of the Spirit, the paraclete, whom Jesus sends as our advocate, our consoler and indeed our encourager.”

The world needs such encouragement, the pope said, and laypeople in families are the best ones to give it.

In St. Paul, in his Letter to the Ephesians, describes marriage as “a sharing in the mystery of Christ’s undying fidelity to his bride, the church,” he said. “Yet this teaching, as magnificent as it is, can appear to some as a ‘hard saying.’ Because living in love, even as Christ loved us, entails imitating his own self-sacrifice, dying to ourselves in order to be reborn to a greater and more enduring love.”

That self-giving love, he said, is the only thing that “can save our world from its bondage to sin, selfishness, greed and indifference to the needs of the less fortunate.”

Self-giving love is what Christians learn from Jesus. Self-giving love “became incarnate in our world through a family,” he said, and “through the witness of Christian families in every age it has the power to break down every barrier in order to reconcile the world to God and to make us what we were always meant to be: a single human family dwelling together in justice, holiness and peace.”

Pope Francis said participants, filled with enthusiasm after the World Meeting of Families, also need to “humbly acknowledge that, if we are honest with ourselves, we, too, can find the teachings of Jesus hard.”

For instance, he said, “how difficult it is always to forgive those who hurt us; how challenging always to welcome the migrant and the stranger; how painful joyfully to bear disappointment, rejection or betrayal; how inconvenient to protect the rights of the most vulnerable, the unborn or the elderly, who seem to impinge upon our own sense of freedom.”

But that is when Catholics must affirm that they believe and will follow the Lord, Pope Francis told them.

– – –

Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden.

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Former U.S. nuncio alleges broad cover-up of McCarrick’s misdeeds

08/26/2018 - 3:14pm

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A former apostolic nuncio to the United States accused church officials, including Pope Francis, of failing to act on accusations of abuse of conscience and power by now-Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick.

In an open letter first published by Lifesite News and National Catholic Register Aug. 26, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who served as nuncio to the United States from 2011-2016, wrote that he was compelled to write his knowledge of Archbishop McCarrick’s misdeeds because “corruption has reached the very top of the church’s hierarchy.”

Archbishop Vigano confirmed to the Washington Post Aug. 26 that he wrote the letter and said he would not comment further. Despite repeated requests from journalists, the Vatican had not responded to the allegations by midday Aug. 26.

Throughout the 11-page testimony, which was translated by a Lifesite News correspondent, the former nuncio made several claims and accusations against prominent church officials, alleging they belong to “a homosexual current” that subverted church teaching on homosexuality.

Citing the rights of the faithful to “know who knew and who covered up (Archbishop McCarrick’s) grave misdeeds,” Archbishop Vigano named nearly a dozen former and current Vatican officials who he claimed were aware of the accusations.

Archbishop Vigano criticized Pope Francis for not taking action against Cardinal McCarrick after he claimed he told the pope of the allegations in 2013. However, he did not make any criticism of St. John Paul II, who appointed Archbishop McCarrick to lead the Archdiocese of Washington and made him a cardinal in 2001.

According to the former nuncio’s testimony, the Vatican was informed in 2000 of allegations that Archbishop McCarrick “shared his bed with seminarians” by two former U.S. nuncios — Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo and Archbishop Pietro Sambi. This corresponds to remarks by Father Boniface Ramsey, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church Yorkville in New York City, who told Catholic News Service earlier in August he had written a letter “and it didn’t seem to go anywhere.”

Archbishop Vigano said that in 2006, as the official in the Secretariat of State that coordinated relations with nunciatures around the world, he sent two memos recommending that the Holy See “intervene as soon as possible by removing the cardinal’s hat from Cardinal McCarrick and that he should be subjected to the sanctions established by the Code of Canon Law.”

“I was greatly dismayed at my superiors for the inconceivable absence of any measure against the cardinal, and for the continuing lack of any communication with me since my first memo in December 2006,” he said.

The former nuncio claimed that Pope Benedict XVI later “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis.”

“I do not know when Pope Benedict took these measures against McCarrick, whether in 2009 or 2010, because in the meantime I had been transferred to the Governorate of Vatican City State, just as I do not know who was responsible for this incredible delay,” he said.

Then-Cardinal McCarrick, he said, “was to leave the seminary where he was living” which, at the time, was the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Archbishop McCarrick, he added, was also “forbidden to celebrate Mass in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel, with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance.”

However, no such sanctions, which normally are made public, were announced by the Vatican at the time.

The alleged sanctions, he said, continued to be in effect when Archbishop Vigano became apostolic nuncio to the United States in 2011 and were relayed to then-Cardinal McCarrick.

“I repeated them to Cardinal McCarrick at my first meeting with him at the nunciature. The cardinal, muttering in a barely comprehensible way, admitted that he had perhaps made the mistake of sleeping in the same bed with some seminarians at his beach house, but he said this as if it had no importance,” Archbishop Vigano wrote.

Archbishop Vigano also said that Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., was the first prelate informed of the sanctions against McCarrick. He said he spoke directly to Cardinal Wuerl on several occasions and that Cardinal Wuerl “failed to acknowledge receipt of my two letters, contrary to what he customarily did.”

“His recent statements that he knew nothing about it, even though at first he cunningly referred to compensation for the two victims, are absolutely laughable. The cardinal lies shamelessly and prevails upon his chancellor, Msgr. Antonicelli, to lie as well,” the archbishop wrote.

He apparently was referring to Msgr. Charles V. Antonicelli, vicar general and moderator of the curia. The Washington Archdiocese chancellor is a layman, Kim Viti Fiorentino.

Contacted by Catholic News Service, Edward McFadden, secretary for communications for the Archdiocese of Washington, said: “In spite of what Archbishop Vigano’s memo indicates, Cardinal Wuerl did not receive any documentation or information during his time in Washington, regarding any actions taken against Archbishop McCarrick.”

He also alleged that several U.S. prelates were aware or should have known about then-Cardinal McCarrick’s behavior, including retired Bishop Paul Bootkoski of Metuchen; retired Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark; Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, head of the Vatican office for laity and family and former auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C., and Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Cardinal Farrell told Catholic News Service July 24: “I was shocked, overwhelmed; I never heard any of this before in the six years I was there with him.”

In a June 20 statement, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark said: “The Archdiocese of Newark has never received an accusation that Cardinal McCarrick abused a minor. In the past, there have been allegations that he engaged in sexual behavior with adults. This Archdiocese and the Diocese of Metuchen received three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements.”

In a July 29 statement, Cardinal Wuerl said: “When the first claim against Archbishop McCarrick was filed in the Archdiocese of New York, the Archdiocese of Washington reviewed its own files and found no complaints of any kind made against Archbishop McCarrick. Further, the confidential settlements involving acts by Archbishop McCarrick in the Diocese of Metuchen and the Archdiocese of Newark were not known previously to Cardinal Wuerl or the Archdiocese.”

Cardinal O’Malley has apologized for what he described as an administrative communication failure in which his secretary did not relay to him a 2015 letter from Father Ramsey about allegations against Archbishop McCarrick.

Archbishop Vigano himself has been accused of suppressing an investigation into alleged homosexual activity committed by retired Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

In a 2014 memo to St. Paul-Minneapolis Auxiliary Bishop Lee A. Piche. In the memo, Father Dan Griffith, a former delegate for Safe Environment for the archdiocese, said the former nuncio’s call to end the investigation against Archbishop Nienstedt and to destroy a piece of evidence amounted to “a good old-fashioned cover-up to preserve power and avoid scandal.”

Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Piche resigned in 2015 after the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office filed criminal and civil charges against the archdiocese in its handling of sexual abuse perpetrated by former priest Curtis Wehmeyer in 2008-2011.

– – –

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.