COME BACK, ANNE, THE CHURCH NEEDS YOU! FR ROBERT BARRON ISSUES AN APPEAL TO NOVELIST ANNE RICE PAGE 14
33 DAYS TO THE PAPAL VISIT
Cardinal criticises US ‘culture of vengeance’
BY SIMON CALDWELL
CARDINAL Keith O’Brien has defended the 2009 decision to free the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing and said US politicians should not try to interfere in the domestic affairs of his country.
The Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh said that, given the “steady rate” of executions in the United States, American lawmakers should “turn their gaze inwards, rather than scrutinising the working of the Scottish justice system”.
He said Scotland’s legal system had allowed Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to release Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi last August “on compassionate grounds, following due process and based on clear medical advice”.
“It was a decision for Scottish Ministers and no others to make,” the cardinal wrote in the Scotland on Sunday newspaper.
“Scotland’s justice system has embedded, alongside punishment, the idea of reform,” he said. “It is one reason why the finality of the death penalty has rightly been rejected.”
Then, accusing the United States of adopting a “conveyor belt” approach to capital punishment, he added: “I would rather live in a country where justice is tempered by mercy than exist in one where vengeance and retribution are the norm.”
The cardinal’s comments were made in support of Mr MacAskill and First Minister Alex Salmond, who declined an invitation to give evidence to a hearing of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The hearing was called in response to speculation that al-Megrahi’s early release had been arranged so that BP, the oil company, would be allowed to explore fields in Libya, a charge that BP has denied.
Al-Megrahi, a former intelligence officer, was sentenced in 2002 to a minimum of 27 years in jail for the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am
Flight 103 over Lockerbie. The bombing killed 270 people, including 189 Americans and 11 people on the ground.
He was released on August 20 last year, just seven years into his sentence, after physicians concluded he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer and had just months to live.
Al-Megrahi remains alive nearly a year on, however, leading Prime Minister David Cameron to concede during a visit to the US in late July that his release was a “mistake”.
Cardinal O’Brien said, however, that he thought that at the “basis of the dispute” between US senators and Scottish Ministers was a “clash of cultures”.
He said that in recent years Scotland had cultivated a “culture of compassion”, whereas many parts of the United States had adopted a “culture of vengeance” in their approach to justice.
He said that although the Lockerbie bombing was an act of “unbelievable horror” it would be a mistake to show a similar “disdain” for human life and civilised values.
He wrote that there had been 1,221 people executed in American states since 1976, a number surpassed only by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and China.
“These are not countries known for placing human rights on a pedestal,” he wrote. “It is certainly invidious company for the world’s leading democracy to find itself in.”
He said the stream of executions suggested that “judicial killing” was failing as a deterrent against crime in the United States. He cited multiple cases, including the June 18 execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner in Utah, after 25 years on death row, as symptomatic of an unduly harsh system.
“His death will not prevent other violent murders,” Cardinal O’Brien wrote. “His death simply brought to an end a life of utter misery and darkness. Perhaps the consciences of some...
Continued on Page 3
August 13 2010 £1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
Find time for silence, Pope urges faithful
Benedict XVI visits the shrine of Our Lady of the Needy on Mount Serra Secca in central Italy CNS photo
BY STAFF REPORTER
SUMMER holidays should include time for quiet and prayer, Pope Benedict XVI told a boisterous crowd at his villa south of Rome on Sunday.
The Pope welcomed hundreds of pilgrims to the courtyard of the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo on Sunday, two days after he had made an unannounced visit to a mountain shrine and visited two cardinals who were staying nearby.
In his Angelus address Pope Benedict commented on the day’s Gospel reading in which Jesus tells his disciples: “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
The message of the Gospel, he said, is that the expectation of the coming of God’s kingdom must inspire Christians to “live a more intense life, full of good works”.
Storing up riches in heaven rather than on earth “is a call to use things without selfishness or a thirst to possess or dominate”, the Pope said.
The blessings people have been given should be used with attention to others according to “the logic of love”, the Pontiff said.
“Today’s Gospel reminds us that by God’s goodness much has been given to us and much will be required of us.
“During these quiet days of summer, let us thank the Lord for the many blessings we have received and draw ever closer to him in prayer, in fidelity to his commandment of love and in communion with his body, the Church,” the Pope told the pilgrims.
Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters that Pope Benedict left Castel Gandolfo on Friday last week for a morning drive to visit the little shrine of Our Lady of the Needy on Mount Serra Secca in central Italy.
After visiting the shrine, he and his private secretary and members of his security detail drove to the town of Carsoli, where they had lunch with retired Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini at a convent in the town.
In the afternoon they drove to Rocca di Mezzo in Abruzzo to visit Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, who is on holiday in the town.
Fr Lombardi said the Pope visited the church of San Leucio, which was damaged in the earthquake that struck Abruzzo in 2009.
Vatican Notebook: Page 4
Give children First Communion at younger age, suggests cardinal
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A place of welcome in a beau ful space A invita on to come apart from the distrac ons of every day life A variety of programmes for groups or individuals or me for yourself A possibility to join community life for a few days, if you wish An ideal venue for small working groups An opportunity to create your own quiet sabba cal Forthcoming Retreats Who cares for the carers? Minsteracres Team A me of peace and relaxa on for those currently caring for a loved one. We warmly invite carers to have some me to themselves to find inner peace and strength. Tuesday 5 (3pm) - Thursday 7 October (2pm) 2010 £83 Beginners Retreat Minsteracres Team This weekend oﬀers a gentle introduc on to an Individually Guided Retreat. The retreat is in silence and the programme is flexible according to the needs and wishes of the individual retreatant. There is a daily personal mee ng with the retreat guide to reflect on each day and to help the person see where and how God is working in his/her life. Friday 22 (7pm) - Sunday 24 October (2pm) 2010 £93 Spirituality in the Workplace Mar n Bell & Minsteracres Team This retreat oﬀers an opportunity to begin reflec on on the rela onship between spirituality and the workplace. The aim is to nurture spiritual awareness in the workplace by highligh ng issues that are relevant to the work environment. All people interested in examining the connec on between spirituality and the workplace are welcome, irrespec ve of the role the person has, or whether the work is paid or unpaid. Mar n Bell has held various managerial posts and is a qualified career coach. His career has spanned the private, public and charity/voluntary sectors. Friday 24 (7pm) - Sunday 26 September (2pm) 2010 £93 Families and Friends of substance misusers Minsteracres Team A break for people who are living under the stress and strains of someone else’s substance misuse. We oﬀer peace, space, relaxa on and the opportunity to discover our inner peace and strength. Friday 29 (3pm) - Sunday 31 October (2pm) 2010 £83 For a full programme please visit www.minsteracres.org or contact the Retreat Administrator for further informa on and bookings on email@example.com or 01434 673248
BY CINDY WOODEN IN ROME
CHILDREN are maturing so quickly under so many different influences that it might be time to allow them to receive First Holy Communion before their seventh birthday, the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments has said.
Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera said: “A child’s first Communion is like the beginning of a journey with Jesus, in communion with him, the beginning of a friendship destined to last and to grow for his entire life.”
Today, he said, “children live immersed in a thousand difficulties, surrounded by a difficult environment that does not encourage them to be what God wants them to be”.
“Let us not deprive them of the gift of God,” the cardinal wrote in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
His article marked the 100th anniversary of the decree of Pope Pius X, Quam Singulari
Christus Amore (“How Special is Christ’s Love”), which reversed the decades-old practice of delaying Communion until a child was 10 or 12.
St Pius said that delaying until long after the child reaches “the age of reason”, generally accepted to be about seven years of age, was the result of the erroneous belief that “the most holy Eucharist is a reward rather than a remedy for human frailty”.
Cardinal Cañizares said that the pope’s insistence on the careful preparation of children to receive first Communion still stands, but so does his concern that children have access to the grace that will help them be good and to mature into strong Christians.
“The encounter with Jesus is the strength we need in order to live with happiness and hope,” he wrote. “We cannot, by delaying first Communion, deprive children ... of this grace.”
Editorial comment: Page 13
Pope wanted to become a librarian
Carol Vorderman to host Hyde Park vigil
BY SIMON CALDWELL
POPE BENEDICT XVI wanted to become a librarian 13 years ago but his request to quit Vatican high office was rejected, it has emerged.
His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, denied him his wish to spend his “last years” as the archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives and as a librarian of the Vatican Library.
At the time the future Pope Benedict was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position he found “burdensome”.
He asked the Pope if he could step down when he turned 70 in April 1997.
The news was revealed by the incumbent librarian and archivist Cardinal Raffaele Farina in Inside the Vatican magazine. He did not explain why John Paul declined Cardinal Ratzinger’s request.
Editorial comment: Page 13
BY TOM BROOKS-POLLOCK
CAROL VORDERMAN, the former star of Countdown famed for her speedy arithmetic, will compère the prayer vigil for Pope Benedict XVI at Hyde Park, London.
Miss Vorderman, 49, who was baptised and raised in the Catholic Church, will introduce performances of music, dance and drama before the arrival of the Holy Father at the massive outdoor event on
Saturday, September 18.
Frank Cottrell Boyce,
the renowned screenwriter, will co-host the event.
Between 1982 and 2008 Miss Vorderman featured on Channel 4’s popular game show.
She attended Blessed Edward Jones Catholic School in Rhyl before going to Cambridge University.
DON’T MISS: THREE NEW SHRINES FOR CARDINAL NEWMAN P8