Cardinal Angelo Scola Family is an amazing source of strength NOTEBOOK, PAGE 12
Freddy Gray It’s not so easy to reform the Church CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20
Melanie McDonagh Now is the time to gorge on chocolate FEATURE, PAGE 9
Cardinal takes on Dawkins on live TV
BY ED WEST
CARDINAL George Pell took part in a debate with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins live on Australian television on Monday.
The Archbishop of Sydney and the New Atheist, author of The God Delusion, debated such matters as evolution, Resurrection and eternal damnation in an often bad-tempered debate, called “a title fight of belief” by host Tony Jones.
Cardinal Pell angered Mr Dawkins by saying Charles Darwin was a theist because he “couldn’t believe that the immense cosmos and all the beautiful things in the world came about either by chance or out of necessity’’.
After Mr Dawkins said this was “just not true’’, Cardinal Pell replied: “It’s on page 92 of his autobiography. Go and have a look.’’
The prelate defended Church teaching on marriage, but said that evolution was “probably’’ right, and that atheists could “certainly’’ get to heaven.
Asked if he believed in the existence of an actual Garden of Eden with an Adam and Eve, Cardinal Pell said it was not a matter of science but a beautiful mythological account.
“It’s a very sophisticated mythology to try to explain the evil and the suffering in the world,” he said.
Mr Dawkins said he was “trying to be charitable’’ by suggesting there was no way Cardinal Pell meant the body would literally be resurrected. He also dismissed Cardinal Pell’s claim that people would return after death in physical form, saying: “The brain is going to rot. That’s all there is to it.”
Cardinal Pell replied: “Mr Dawkins, I don’t say things I don’t mean. I believe it because I believe the man who told us that was also the Son of God. He said: ‘This is my body, this is my blood.’ And I’d much prefer to listen to Him and take his word than yours.’’
After the debate, 76 per cent of the audience voted in favour of a motion that said religion did not make the world a better place. Editorial Comment: Page 13
Resurrection changed the world, says Pope
POPE BENEDICT XVI, who turns 85 on Monday, spent the week relaxing at the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo, outside Rome, after the intense schedule of the Easter Triduum.
On Easter Sunday, he told tens of thousands of people gathered in St Peter’s Square that Christ’s Resurrection “changes the state of humanity and the world”. He also offered prayers for persecuted Christians in the Middle East, particularly in
Syria. “May there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation,” the Pope said. Full Easter coverage: Page 6
April 13 2012 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Vatican moves against leader of association of Irish priests
BY ED WEST
THE CONGREGATION for the Doctrine of the Faith is reportedly investigating the founder of an Irish priests’ group calling for the liberalisation of Catholic teaching amid claims that Rome is launching a new crackdown on dissent within the Church in Europe.
According to reports, the Congregation has ordered Fr Tony Flannery, founder of the Association of Catholic Priests, to stop writing his column in Reality magazine, a monthly publication of the Irish Redemptorists.
It is also understood that Fr Gerry Moloney, the magazine’s editor, has been told by his superiors that he should not publish articles that question Church teaching.
Neither Fr Flannery nor Fr Moloney have confirmed the reports, but in a statement the Association of Catholic Priests said it was “disturbed that Fr Tony Flannery, a founding member of the association, is being ‘silenced’”.
It said the issues raised by the group were “an important reflection by an association of over 800 Irish priests – who have given long service to the Catholic Church in Ireland – on issues surfacing in parishes all over the country”.
They protested that the association was not a “small coterie of radical priests with a radical agenda” and that they wished “to remain at the very heart of the Church, committed to putting into place the reforms of the Second Vatican Council”.
On Holy Thursday, the Pope publicly criticised a group of Austrian clergymen who launched a “Call to Disobedience” last year, asking for an end to compulsory celibacy for priests, the ordination
Our association is not a coterie of radical priests with a radical agenda
For the latest
Catholic news, visit CatholicHerald.co.uk of women and removal of restrictions on re-married people receiving Communion. The group claims to have the support of 400 priests. In his Chrism Mass homily, the Pope responded directly to the appeal, saying: “We would like to believe that the authors of this summons are motivated by concern for the Church, that they are convinced that the slow pace of institutions has to be overcome by drastic measures, in order to open up new paths and to bring the Church up to date. But is disobedience really a way to do this?”
The Pope, who as prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1981 until 2005 was responsible for doctrinal enforcement, said such disobedience challenged “definitive decisions of the Church’s Magisterium”.
Fr Flannery, an author and retreatgiver, has written a column for Reality magazine for 14 years. The Vatican was said to have been dismayed last summer when he backed Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s outspoken attack on the Vatican in the Dail. Mr Kenny accused it of “dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and narcissism”.
The Irish Catholic newspaper, which broke the story that Fr Flannery was being investigated, said that while he was supposed to have the support of his Redemptorist superiors, the Vatican had also expressed concern about some of his articles. Fr Flannery has questioned Church teaching on women’s ordination, priestly celibacy and birth control.
The crackdown comes weeks after Apostolic Visitators pointed to “fairly widespread” dissent from Church teaching among clergy in Ireland. Vatican Notebook: Page 4 Editorial Comment: Page 13
Revealed: the multi-millionaire who saved Benedictine treasures BY ED WEST
THE MAN who saved the ecclesiastical treasures from the former Benedictine Abbey in Ramsgate is a former Muslim convert to Catholicism and football club owner from Lancashire, it emerged this week.
Catholic philanthropist Ilyas Khan is a merchant banker and owner of Accrington Stanley Football Club, who converted in his 20s after discovering Hans Urs von Balthasar, the
20th-century Swiss theologian, as well as third-century Christian scholar Origen.
Mr Khan was the principal supporter of the Abbot of Farnborough in his efforts to save the Ramsgate treasures for the Church, among them a monstrance and a silver chalice, after they were put up for auction. They will now be housed in the Benedictine Farnborough Abbey.
Mr Khan also helps the Christian Heritage Centre Trust, which aims to raise £10
to £15 million for a Catholic Heritage Centre in Stonyhurst, and has the support of Lord Nicholas Windsor, Lord Guthrie and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.
Mr Khan recently spoke to National Catholic Register about his path to Catholicism.
Raised closed to the Ribble Valley in Lancashire, he said his first interest in the Catholic faith came from his Irish Catholic grandmother, who raised him until he was three. He also benefited, he said, from growing up in England’s Catholic heartland.
He said: “There was a library in Netherhall [an Opus Dei house in London] where I started reading theology. That’s where I came across Origen, and... where I was able to study and appreciate St Augustine.
“Both my parents were still alive at the time, and part of my reticence was my unwillingness to cause them hurt.” By the time he graduated, he said, he was almost “a closet Catholic”.
Pope good at washing up, says his brother
BY DAVID V BARRETT
POPE BENEDICT XVI cannot cook, according to his older brother, but he knows how to do the washing up. When the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was still prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith he would return home to Regensburg in Germany several times a year, and the brothers would meet at the cardinal’s house for dinner prepared by nuns.
“Fortunately the nuns would put something in the fridge because neither of us cook well,” said Mgr Georg Ratzinger this week in an interview with the La Repubblica newspaper, promoting his new book My Brother the Pope.
“After dinner he would wash the plates and I would dry,” Mgr Ratzinger said.
Pontiff gives chocolate egg to young offenders BY ED WEST
POPE BENEDICT XVI has given a 40-stone Easter egg to inmates at a young offenders institute.
The Pontiff received the colourful seven-foot egg, a gift from Italian chocolate maker Tosca, last week. The brilliant yellow and blue wrapper was decorated with the Pope’s coat of arms, flowers and doves. The Pope donated the egg to young offenders in Rome’s Casal del Marmo institute, according to Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
The Pope visited the prison in 2007, meeting detainees and giving his blessing. The youths said they were moved by his visit. Before leaving, the Pope promised to keep them in his prayers. Melanie McDonagh: Page 9
Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith My simple recipe for avoiding ‘pew rage’ PAGE 12
Mary Kenny I’d wear a cross if only I could find one I liked PAGE 12
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