THE CATHOLIC HERALD FEBRUARY 10 2012
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THE IRISH Church is not ready for a papal visit, the Archbishop of Dublin has said.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was speaking about the forthcoming International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in June.
Archbishop Martin said that although a papal visit was unlikely this year, Pope Benedict XVI would visit Ireland “soon rather than later” and was “actively considering” an invitation from the Church in Ireland.
But the archbishop said the Irish Church was not ready for a papal visit.
It had been hoped that Pope Benedict would be in Dublin for the Eucharistic Congress this summer, as popes have in the past
Archbishop: Irish Church is not ready for a papal visit BY ED WEST
always attended previous events held in Europe.
But last Sunday Archbishop Martin said that such a trip was unlikely owing to various problems, including the Pope’s reduced traveling schedule and the clerical abuse scandal that still needed a “healing process” for victims.
Archbishop Martin told the Irish Independent newspaper: “The Pope is in his 80s. His travel will have to be reduced and there’s a very big event on the week beforehand to which he is certainly going, so we’ll just wait and see.”
He said there were “still many steps to be taken” and that a papal visit would only be seen as appropriate once they were finished.
He said: “It would require a lot of work, ensuring that people who feel wounded by the Church would have the opportunity for healing, and I don’t think this would be something that was imposed.”
Archbishop Martin also told RTÉ television that a papal visit was unlikely while “many of these issues of our past” remained to be addressed.
“Short-circuiting that renewal process probably wouldn’t bring the fruits that a papal visit would bring. I’m not sure that we are at that stage yet,” he said.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the congress, and the Church has still made contingency plans for a papal visit. There will be 20,000 people at daily events at the Royal Dublin Society in Ballsbridge every day from June 10, and 80,000 for the closing ceremony in Croke Park on Sunday, June 17.
Archbishop Martin said the Pope had told him he was open to coming to the Eucharistic Congress and would give it “serious consideration”.
Archbishop Martin said: “But he said – and this I agree with – that his coming would have to fit in with the overall programme and timetable of the renewal of the Church in Ireland.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told Archbishop Martin and Cardinal Seán Brady of Armagh that the government would be willing to invite Pope Benedict.
Last week Mr Kenny also reassured Fine Gael backbenchers that the decision to close down Ireland’s embassy to the Holy See would be reviewed.
At a meeting of the ruling party’s parliamentary representatives Mr Kenny spoke of his personal good relations with the Catholic Church, despite the very public fall out last summer over the Cloyne Report.
He also gave public support to Lucinda Creighton, junior minister for European affairs, who said that the closure of the embassy would be reviewed.
At the meeting more than 30 TDs and ministers spoke in favour of a motion by Sligo-North Leitrim TD Tony McLoughlin to review the closure and there were no dissenters.
But Mr Kenny has said that there would be no change in the government’s decision to close Ireland’s embassy to the Vatican in the short term.
Mr Kenny also emphasised that the closure of the embassy was unrelated to his speech on the Cloyne Report last July, in which he strongly criticised the Vatican for allegedly failing to co-operate with state investigations into clerical sexual abuse. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he insisted.
Last July Mr Kenny told the Dáil that the Cloyne Report illustrated “the dysfunction, disconnection and elitism that dominates the culture of the Vatican to this day”.
Any review of the decision is likely to lead to difficulties with Fine Gael’s coalition partners, Labour, which tends to be more hostile to the Church.
Last week a Labour backbencher apologised for supporting a constituency proposal that senior public servants be screened to ensure they do not show “inappropriate deference” to the Church. Party activists in the Dublin North Central constituency of Aodhán Ó Riordáin had issued a report on schools which argued that: “All senior official appointments in state bodies which are likely to have to deal with the Catholic Church should be screened to ensure that they will not show inappropriate deference to the Catholic Church.
It was reported that Mr Ó Riordáin planned to bring a motion on the issue to April’s Labour Party conference. But he has since said: “I admit it, I didn’t read it. I do not support or endorse this recommendation in any way and it will not appear in any motion at the National Labour Conference in April.”
Canonesses are blocked from selling sculptures
BY ED WEST
ENGLISH HERITAGE has blocked an application by the Augustinian Canonesses of the Mercy of Jesus to remove and sell Greek and Roman marbles from its home in Ince Blundell Hall to raise funds for renovations.
The Sisters, who have run a nursing home at the hall for 50 years, applied to Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council for Listed Building Consent to remove the embedded marbles, which are deteriorating due to climatic conditions.
The application is to remove, conserve and replicate the artefacts with the aim of selling them to a public buyer.
Any funds raised will be used to renovate two listed buildings in the grounds – the Old Hall and the Stable Block – which are near the top of the Heritage at Risk Register and are used to provide nursing care.
Initially English Heritage gave its support to the application, but then imposed conditions, to which the Sisters agreed. English Heritage has now refused the application.
The Sisters bought Ince
Blundell Hall in 1959 and converted the house into a nursing home. The hall had been the ancestral home of the Blundell family, and still housed a collection of 600 Roman and Greek marbles acquired by Henry Blundell during the 18th century.
In 1959 the Weld-Blundell family and the Sisters arranged for Liverpool Museum to take the marbles, the museum removed 500 pieces between 1959 and 1961. About 70 bas reliefs embedded in the walls of the buildings were left behind with a few minor pieces in the grounds, most of which have since been stolen.
A spokesman for the order said the Sisters were “fully aware” of the significance of the sculptures and were distressed to witness their deterioration.
“The reliefs are now in danger of deteriorating to the point that it will no longer be possible to conserve them. Those on the outside of the Pantheon are crumbling and their condition is so poor that they ‘sugar’ on touch,” the spokesman said. Last year English Heritage said that the Sisters had been “excellent custodians” of the Hall.
Ireland caps benefits to families for First Holy Communions
THE IRISH government has cut grants to families on benefits to cover the cost of First Holy Communion and Confirmation expenses, writes Ed West.
Until now 14,000 families were paid €242 (£200) each to cover the cost of the events, which could include a white dress, veil, shoes and bag, but might cover additional expenses for a professional haircut and, in some cases, make-up, a spray tan and fake nails.
But last week the Department of Social Protection said the payment would now be capped at €110
euros (about £91). “They are designed to meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenses,” a spokeswoman for the department said.
Irish First Holy Communion and Confirmation celebrations have become commercialised, with some families spending large sums on clothes and parties. The Irish Church said in a statement: “The primary focus of First Holy Communion is the reception of the Body of Christ by the child for the first time; and, on the continued growth of the spiritual life of the child.”
Queen’s cousin: 1967 Act ‘doomed’BYDAVIDVBARRETT
ABORTION is “the great elephant in the room in our culture” and the 1967 Abortion Act was “defeatist, unjust and doomed to fail horribly in the long run”, Lord Nicholas Windsor, a cousin of the Queen, has said.
Lord Nicholas has become a pro-life campaigner in recent years. He came to public attention when he argued that abortion was a bigger threat to Europe than al-Qaeda in an article in the American journal First Things.
In an interview with The Catholic Herald this week Lord Nicholas says: “The death of so many unborn children, a good part of my generation, is the great elephant in the room in our culture. It is no good us going on thinking we are a compassionate, caring society when we accept what is really a tyranny, the abortion licence, thinking it’s a settled question and frowning on any questioning of it.”
In 2001 Lord Nicholas Windsor became the first male blood member of the royal family to convert to Catholicism, following the conversion of his mother the Duchess of Kent in 1994. The turning point, he said, was the voice of Blessed Pope John Paul II.
“He was my entry point. Obviously there was something extraordinary about him.” Lord Nicholas said. Interview: Page 7
Television series about Catholics to air on BBC BY DAVID V BARRETT
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The three documentaries, produced by acclaimed filmmaker Richard Alwyn, will focus on priests, women and children.
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The Latin Mass Society
The first, entitled “Priests”, and based on six months’ filming at the Allen Hall seminary in London, focuses on men who are called to the priesthood. One, Rob Hunt, is a former roadie for a heavy metal band who ignored his faith for many years before deciding that his life was off course – though, with little education, he says he thought he had as much chance of becoming a priest as an astronaut.
In contrast Andrew Gallagher, who previously worked for a City law firm, says he had a lifelong calling, even being known as “priest” at school.
The second film, “Children”, focuses on St Mary’s primary school in the village of Chipping, Lancashire, in an area with a strong Catholic heritage. Filmed through Lent and into last summer, the film follows six of the school’s 33 pupils as they prepare to make their First Holy Communion. The children are encouraged to celebrate the riches of the natural world, to remember those less fortunate than themselves, and to reflect on
Christ’s death and resurrection.
The third documentary, “Women”, concentrates on the female staff, volunteers and congregation at Westminster Cathedral, exploring how Catholicism shapes women’s lives. One, Rose, is secondin-charge of the Cathedral’s sacristy, preparing the altar for the six daily Masses and ensuring that the priests have all they need to minister to the faithful. A convert, Rose is responsible for the smooth running of the Cathedral’s worship and devotional life. In contrast, a retired doctor finds herself alienated by the Church’s teachings and unable to practise her faith, though her Catholic identity is still strong.
Mr Alwyn, whose previous documentaries have been nominated for Bafta Awards, and who won a Prix Italia for his 2005 documentary on the Beslan school siege in Russia, said: “It’s inevitably been a very troubled time for the Catholic Church in recent years. So we are particularly proud of the access that we have gained to make films which reveal the complex reality of being Catholic away from the tabloid headlines.
“Catholic Christianity is at the very centre of many of the western world’s cultural and institutional sensibilities and yet Catholics today can feel at times like they are set apart from mainstream society,” Mr Alwyn said.
HELP THE LITTLE WAY GIVE NEEDY CHILDREN A BETTER
START IN LIFE
THE LITTLE WAY ASSOCIATION receives many appeals throughout the year from missionary Sisters who have dedicated their lives to working with needy families and children in developing countries and who plead for funds to provide nourishing meals and healthy housing for them. Lack of adequate food, water or shelter are hard to bear at any stage of life, but for a small child they quickly become life threatening, and even if survived, they can cause weakness and ill-health for many years to come. There are schools run by Sisters where the youngsters have their one and only full meal of the day. We hear of families where children have to take it in turns to go to school because they do not have enough clothes for each child to attend the school together. It is hard to imagine how a child can study even basic subjects in these circumstances. Sometimes the Sisters ask for help to buy desks or other essentials, and water and sanitation is sometimes lacking in remote areas. There are many ways that we can help missionary Sisters give needy children a better start in life, but to do so we need your help.
“More than ever I realise that the smallest happenings of our lives are guided by God.” St Therese
£25 will provide a child with a uniform, books and pens,
school fees and a daily meal Please send us a gift for needy children and we will send it, WITHOUT DEDUCTION, where it is needed most.
Crossed POs and cheques should be sent and made payable to: THE LITTLE WAY ASSOCIATION, CH/02/10 119 Cedars Rd, Clapham Common, London SW4 0PR (Registered Charity No. 235703) Tel. 020-7622 0466 I enclose £ ...............to be allocated for: £........ NEEDY CHILDREN / £........ WATER AND SANITATION £........ FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY £........ MASS STIPENDS (please state no. ) £........ LITTLE WAY ADMIN. EXPENSES
DONATIONS FOR THE MISSIONS ARE SENT WITHOUT
DEDUCTION FOR ANY EXPENSES.
Name (Rev. Mr. Mrs. Miss) (Block letters please) Address
WATER Missionaries constantly appeal to The Little Way for funds to sink wells in order to provide clean water, the lack of which causes much illness and many medical needs.
The sum of £1,500 would enable a missionary to supply a whole village with water for drinking, washing and irrigation. HOLY MASS is offered each day in the Missions for the intentions of all Little Way benefactors and friends.