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HER POWERFUL NEW STORY ABOUT A FAMILY FACING A TERRIBLE DILEMMA PAGE 9 CRISTINA ODONE
Dioceses to fund lost adoption agencies
December 122008£1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Pope honours the Immaculate Conception with roses
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FOURDIOCESES are planning to hold collections to raise money for former Catholic adoption agencies which have cut ties with the Church to comply with new gay rights laws, it emerged this week. The dioceses of Southwark, Arundel and Brighton and Portsmouth will continue to support the Cabrini Children’s Society, formerly their joint Catholic Children’s Society, despite having cut ties with it earlier this year. Clifton diocese will also seek to support its adoption agency in spite of a split with the Church. The adoption agencies severed ties so they could conform to the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs) which will come into effect on New Year’s Day. The law requires the agencies to assess same-sex couples as adopters or foster parents. The bishops resigned as trustees and relinquished control of the society earlier this year. The Cabrini Children’s Society is listed in the 2009 Catholic Directory and also appears under the diocesan collections section of Southwark’s directory for the next year. Both the Lenten alms collection and the crib collection at Christmas will go to the society, which is described as “a regional social care agency”. The directory says “the society relies almost entirely on the generosity of our Catholic supporters for voluntary income”. Clarifying the diocesan position, the directory said that no Catholic funds would be used for adoption work.
Canon Martin Lee, the Southwark diocesan financial secretary, said: “The bishops decided that they would put the interest of the children first before all other considerations, so rather than close down the children’s society they wanted it to continue to provide services to children with disabilities, in schools and for people with other needs which we want to see continued. “There are also the many Catholic families which have contributed to the society and have adopted children and who use the services it provides who have an interest in keeping the society alive.” Canon Lee said he would continue to sit on the advisory committee of the agency and be able to safeguard funds for non-adoption services. The Clifton Children’s Society, formerly the Catholic Children’s Society, also continues to be advertised in churches around the diocese after Bishop Declan Lang and Mgr Gabriel Leyden resigned as trustees in 2006. Although the agency had cut ties with the diocese when the SORs were passed two years ago, the diocese has continued including it in the diocesan directory. A spokesman for the diocese said: “Clifton Children’s Society remains a separate charity to the Clifton diocese. The society continues to function with the paramount best interests of children at its core. The bishop has had no role on the board of trustees of the Clifton Children’s Society for several years.” Continued on Page 2
Pope Benedict XVI, right, near the Spanish Steps, kneels during the traditional prayer before a statue of the Virgin Mary AP Photo
LAYINGABASKET of white roses at the foot of a statue of Mary, Pope Benedict XVI said on Monday that Catholics can lay everything at the feet of their heavenly mother. “Symbolically, these roses can express everything beautiful and good that we have done during the year,” the Pope said during his visit to Rome for the traditional ceremony alongside the statue of the Immaculate Conception near the Spanish Steps. “But, as the saying goes, ‘every rose has its thorn’, and the stems of these stupendous white roses are not lacking thorns, which represent the difficulties, sufferings and ills that have marked and still mark the lives of people and of our community.”
Under brilliantly sunny skies, thousands of Romans and tourists jammed the square around the Spanish Steps to see the Pope and pray with him. Offering the roses to Mary, the Pope also entrusted to her his special prayers for children, particularly those who are sick, disadvantaged or suffering because of family problems. He prayed for elderly people living alone, for the sick, for immigrants struggling to build a new life in a new country, for families who barely make ends meet and especially for people who recently have lost their jobs. “Mary, teach us to be in solidarity with those who are in difficulty, to bridge the increasingly vast social disparities; help us cultivate a
livelier sense of the common good,” Pope Benedict prayed. He said the beauty of Mary, conceived without sin, “assures us that the victory of love is possible; in fact, it is certain. It assures us that grace is stronger than sin and therefore it is possible to be redeemed from any form of slavery.” The example of Mary’s life helps Christians believe in goodness, graciousness, service, non-violence and the power of truth, he said. “She encourages us to remain wakeful, not to give in to the temptation of easy escapes, but to face reality with all its problems with courage and responsibility.” The Pope said that, looking up at Mary, Christians experience the same sensation a child has when looking up at his or her mother
“and, seeing her smile, forgets every fear and pain”. He said: “Turning our gaze to Mary, we recognise in her the smile of God, the immaculate reflection of divine light, and we find new hope even in the midst of the problems and dramas of our world.” Earlier in the day the Pope recited the Angelus with visitors gathered in St Peter’s Square. He said the feast of the Immaculate Conception reminds Catholics of two basic Church teachings: the existence of original sin and the fact that, through Christ, God has redeemed those who believe. He noted that December 8 marked the end of the year-long celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes.
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Pope and Cardinal due to discuss Westminster succession in Rome
CARDINAL Cormac MurphyO’Connor was due to meet the Pope yesterday amid speculation that he will retire soon. The Cardinal, 76, hopes Pope Benedict XVI will name his successor in the next three months. He offered his resignation when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 in August last year but the Pontiff asked him to remain in office until a suitable candi
date was found to replace him. A terna, or shortlist, has now been drawn up by Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the papal nuncio to Great Britain, who will deliver it to the Vatican before Christmas. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is making very few diary appointments after that time, while arrangements are in place for him to retire to a house in Chiswick, London. The purpose of the Cardinal’s visit to Rome was to at
tend meetings of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, of which he is a member. But he was due to speak privately with the Pope yesterday in a meeting in which, according to sources, it was very likely that the succession would be discussed. The Cardinal might press the Pope to draw up a timetable so that the next Archbishop of Westminster can be installed at Easter. He will become the first cardinal to retire since the
English hierarchy was re-established in 1850. All of his predecessors have died in office. He will continue to serve on Vatican councils and will be able to vote in conclave to elect popes until he turns 80. He is also considering working as an adviser to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham remains 13/8 favourite with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power to become the next Archbishop of Westminster.
‘Little Ratzinger’ to be head of worship
Controversy over Cherie invitation
POPEBENEDICT XVI has accepted the resignation of Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and has named Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Toledo to succeed him. Cardinal Arinze retired after six years as head of the CDW and a total of 23 years at the
Vatican. He celebrated his 76th birthday on November 1 and the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination three weeks later. Cardinal Cañizares, dubbed “little Ratzinger”, is a specialist in catechesis and has served as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1995 when the office was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He is also a member of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which oversees the pastoral care of Catholics attached to the use of the extraordinary form Mass.
A PONTIFICAL university in Rome has caused controversy by inviting Cherie Blair to speak about women’s rights. Sister Helen Alford, dean of the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, said she had received about 200 complaints. She said she “never expected such a backlash”. Pro-lifers are angry because Mrs Blair has often made her support for con
traception clear. Mgr Ignacio Barreiro, head of the Rome office of Human Life International, said he had written to Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, who is in charge of the Vatican universities, to urge him to cancel the talk, scheduled for today. Si s t er Helen Alford said Mrs Blair was speaking only in an “academic capacity”.
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