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FEBRUARY 17 2012 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Archbishop visits parish after priest is convicted
BY DAVID V BARRETT
JESUS CHRIST brings wholeness and healing into our lives. That was the message of Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham to the parishioners of St Giles, Cheadle, last Sunday.
St Giles was one of the parishes served by Bede Walsh, the priest who was convicted last week of 21 sexual offences against eight boys between the 1970s and the early 1990s.
In his homily Archbishop Longley said that many things had happened in the year since he had last celebrated Mass in the parish, “many events and celebrations that will have brought great joy into the life of this parish community – and at the same time the unfolding of some events that have undoubtedly brought their share of confusion, sadness and suffering.”
He said: “I know that you will understand and appreciate that it cannot be my purpose in the course of preaching God’s Word during this Mass to enter into great detail about all the events or news that have been so disturbing over recent days.
“But neither is it helpful to our spiritual well-being to try to block such things out entirely from our prayers and our worship in God’s presence.”
The archbishop continued: “Today’s Gospel emphasises that Jesus Christ is the one who brings wholeness and healing into our lives, and the lives of all those who suffer as individuals or as communities.
“Sometimes a wound has to be exposed to the light of day before it can begin to heal. The leper in St Mark’s Gospel had to come to Jesus and show himself to the Lord before he could be healed. We are strengthened and reassured when we see the compassion of Christ and his readiness to reach out with his healing touch: ‘Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him.’”
In a statement last week Archbishop Longley spoke of the offences committed by Walsh.
“These are horrendous crimes, and I first want to express my deep sense of shame at what has taken place. It is the most serious betrayal of trust.
“I also want to express my profound sorrow, and deep regret to each of the victims, then children, now adults, for the abuse perpetrated by Fr Bede Walsh, whom they and their families trusted as a priest.”
To the victims the archbishop said: “I realise that this has been an indescribably difficult and distressing time for you, your families and friends. I recognise that these crimes can cause deep and lasting damage. It is my sincere hope that as a result of this conviction, and with the help of God, you will now be able to begin to take up again the rebuilding of your lives.”
He continued: “Because of the seriousness of the offences committed by Bede Walsh, I will begin immediately the process of laicisation, which will lead to his removal from the clerical state.
“This is an horrific case that has shocked and appalled me, and it has cast a shadow over the lives of many people: victims and their families, fellow priests, and also the people of the parishes where he has served as a priest.”
Archbishop Longley will be visiting All Souls Parish in Coventry, this Sunday. In his homily last Sunday the archbishop told the congregation that he was offering the Mass especially for their intentions at a most difficult moment in the life of their parish.
He said: “Yet it is also a moment when your witness as a Christian community is more than ever important. It is never easy to be under scrutiny or to know that we are being watched critically by others, and yet it is in these very circumstances that we can reflect most powerfully the love of God that we ourselves have received, and the faith that sustains us.
“This moment offers an opportunity to demonstrate our confidence in Christ’s healing power, our trust in his forgiveness and our own compassion for all those who suffer.”
He concluded by quoting Pope Benedict’s words from his homily in Westminster Cathedral during the Papal Visit in September 2010.
“I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers. Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ’s grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives,” the Pope said.
Fr Bede Walsh will be sentenced on March 9.
Mother Mary Edmund Campion, who died on January 31 Photo courtesy of Tyburn Convent
Tyburn mourns nun who ‘lived for the glory of God’
BY SIMON CALDWELL
BENEDICTINE NUN Mother Mary Edmund Campion died at Tyburn Convent in London, on January 31, aged 93, in the 63rd year of her religious profession.
Born Avarina Mary Bodger in Wanstead, Essex, on September 10 1918, Mother Edmund was raised an Anglican but converted to the Catholic faith in the mid-1940s.
She joined the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre OSB – the Tyburn Nuns – in 1949 at the novitiate house in Royston, Hertfordshire.
As a novice she took the name Edmund Campion after the Elizabethan Jesuit Tyburn martyr. She took her perpetual vows in 1953.
During her monastic life Mother Edmund served as sub-prioress, prioress, novice mistress, secretary general, general councillor and also as assistant general. Her fellow Sisters gave her the nickname “the Rock of Gibraltar” because of the way, through her love for the Cross, she steadfastly and heroically bore both personal trials and those of her community.
Mother M Xavier McMonagle, the Mother General at Tyburn Convent, said that in many ways Mother Edmund’s character was similar to that of St Edmund Campion.
“Hers was a strong, direct personality, very self-disciplined yet warm and outgoing to those around her, and ever ready to help those in any need,” she said.
“Her mode of responding to her contemplative vocation was that of fruitful faithfulness in everything she did – whether it was her prayer life, daily duties in the ordered round of each monastic day, or a glad selfsurrender to the will of God in every unexpected circumstance in community life. She was always at the ready to keep the ship afloat with a resilient sense of humour.”
She added: “She lived in a continual state of intimacy with God in self-surrender to his holy will. Her response to the divine will was like a song of spiritual jubilation: her living faith ensured that God’s will was her sole, unique point of reference in all her decisions and dedication to duty.
“She exemplified in a high degree all the virtues inherent in the living out of the Rule of St Benedict.
“Her daily life expressed her gratitude – faithful and fruitful – for her monastic vocation to be lived for the glory of God in small things as well as great.
“She loved God with all her heart and cherished all her fellow sisters in our monastic family with great esteem and dedication.”
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Archbishop says more financial reform is needed Pop group pays tribute to slain Pakistani leader
BY DAVID V BARRETT
THE FINANCIAL sector still has “a long way to go” in its reform and its rebuilding of trust, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has said in a lecture at Cambridge University.
The lecture, entitled “God in the City”, was hosted by the Woolf Institute and held at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, last week.
The archbishop said: “Over the last two years there has been much discussion and debate about the need for reform of the financial sector and the need to rebuild trust. There also remains a deep ambivalence about the private sector more generally with an enduring suspicion that the tendency of business is to exploit people rather than serve them.
“So many have a deep yearning to see in a more morally responsible and socially driven business model that situates business life within the wider frame of promoting the common good and the justice that entails.”
This is the perspective of Catholic social teaching, he said.
“It includes the systematic working out of what it means to place the good of the human person at the heart of the social project, from the micro level of personal and family relationships right through to the macro level of social, economic and political relationships and structures, nationally and globally.”
He quoted Pope Benedict XVI in his 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate: “Economy and finance as instruments can be used badly when those at the helm are motivated by purely selfish ends.”
Individuals, their moral conscience and their personal and social responsibility must be called to account, said the Pope. “The economic sphere is neither ethically neutral nor inherently inhuman and opposed to society. It is part and parcel of human activity and precisely because it is human, it must be structured and governed in an ethical manner.”
Archbishop Nichols spoke of his discussions with senior financiers about the papal encyclical.
But the archbishop said: “As is clear from the continuing and justifiable public controversy about the financial sector there is still a long way to go. In issues such as the lack of effective accountability and the disconnect between performance outcomes and reward there must be real and evident change before public trust is regained.”
Last November Archbishop Nichols said that the Occupy Movement “giving voice to profound concerns” about the financial sector.
BY DAVID V BARRETT
A CATHOLIC pop group has recorded a song in honour of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani minorities minister who was shot dead last March, in the week that one of his alleged killers was caught.
Mr Bhatti was the only Christian minister in the Pakistan cabinet when he was murdered in Islamabad last March 2. The 42-year-old had received frequent death threats for challenging Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws, and had campaigned for the release of blasphemy law victim Asia Bibi. The banned Islamist group Tehrik-e-Taliban claimed responsibility for the assassination.
The London-based pop group Ooberfuse wrote their song “Blood Cries Out” fo a rally and peace concert that will take place in Trafalgar Square on March 10, organised by the British Pakistani Christian Association.
The song lyrics pay tribute to Mr Bhatti as “the voice for those that couldn't speak...”
Vocalist Cherrie Anderson said: “We were very touched to have been asked to participate in the rally and concert. “It proved to be a grave and solemn undertaking to capture musically the sense of outrage which the spilling of innocent blood naturally arouses. We had to balance these feelings with a heartfelt cry to those forces in the world that feed on violence.
“A positive message of peace and reconciliation is contained in the song. We hope it will help to defuse the rage that fuels such atrocities and abominations.”
Another member of the band, Hal St John, said: “In our research for the song we looked at extremely disturbing footage. Shahbaz’s car, after a visit to his elderly mother's house, was riddled with bullets and spattered with blood following his assassination.
“We also watched an interview with Shahbaz weeks before he was killed in which he anticipates further suffering and continuing death threats. The song, “Blood Cries Out”, samples a phrase from the interview in which Shahbaz says he has experienced already the suffering of the Cross.
“It is a tragic irony that Shahbaz’s message to those who would listen was Christ’s very own: ‘Do not kill in the name of religion, but love each other.’”
In a new development this week Interpol have reportedly captured one of Shahbaz Bhatti’s two alleged killers. The two men escaped from Pakistan and fled to Bahrain, where Ziaur Rehman was arrested. Following legal formalities he will be extradited back to Pakistan. The second man is still at large.
NEWSBULLETIN Archbishop marks 50th anniversary of ordination ARCHBISHOP Patrick Kelly of Liverpool is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood this week.
(1953-1956). Also present was Archbishop Kelly’s predecessor, the then Mgr Derek Worlock.
Born in Morecambe in 1938, he was ordained on February 18 1962 in the chapel of the Venerable English College, Rome, by Cardinal William Godfrey, himself a former Archbishop of Liverpool
Archbishop Kelly will mark the anniversary on Saturday February 18 when he celebrates Mass with the Carmelite Sisters at the Carmelite Monastery, Liverpool. He was installed as Archbishop of Liverpool on July 3 1996.
Diocese promotes environment THE CARE OF God’s creation is the focus of a new leaflet about the environment which has been produced for the Diocese of Westminster’s 214 parishes in London and Hertfordshire.
“Our Environmental Mission” provides suggestions on how Catholics can learn more about the Catholic faith and its message for creation. It also includes a range of practical ideas on caring for the natural world through living simply and sustainably.
The leaflet quotes Pope Benedict XVI. In his message for World Peace Day in 2010 he said: “The environment must be seen as God’s gift to all people, and the use we make of it entails a shared responsibility for all humanity, especially the poor and future generations.”
“It is right that we honour creation through prayer and liturgy. It is also important to link faith with action,” Bishop John Arnold writes in the introduction.
Maryʼs Meals receives boost TELEVISION presenter Dermot O’Leary, has backed a campaign by Scottish Catholic charity Mary’s Meals.
The “Big Blue Mug” campaign invites people to buy a bright blue mug for £7, the cost of feeding a child in Malawi for a year.
Mr O’Leary said: “This is a fantastic way to raise awareness of what a difference a mug of porridge can make to the lives of so many hungry children.”
Priest queries site eviction THE PARISH priest closest to the Dale Farm Travellers site in Essex has said that last summer’s eviction was a mistake.
Fr Dan Mason of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Wickford, said: “The Travellers are not happy... the residents are not happy, given that the site was supposed to be restored as green belt but it now looks like something out of the First World War. And the council are not happy.”
Clifton Mass celebrates marriage More than 80 couples joined Bishop Declan Lang last Saturday for a Mass celebrating marriage at Clifton Cathedral.
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