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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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Bishop: raise your voices in defence of marriage BY DAVID V BARRETT
GOD, NOT PARLIAMENT, is the author of marriage, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury said last weekend in an attack on Government plans to introduce same-sex marriage.
In his homily at the diocesan celebration of marriage at St Wilfred’s church, Northwich, Cheshire, Bishop Davies said that Government proposals to redefine marriage were “a seismic shift in the foundations of our society”.
The very meaning, purpose and identity of marriage is about to be challenged, the bishop said, and he urged Catholics to raise their voices and Christian politicians in the Commons and Lords to rebel against proposed changes to the law which would allow same-sex marriage. “When earth tremors shake the walls of our homes people then give serious thought to the foundations on which their homes rest secure,” he said. “This I believe is such a moment for the British people as for the first time in our history a Government is proposing to change the meaning of marriage and to redefine its identity as the life-long union of one man and one woman. What the Government now proposes to legislate into law constitutes nothing less than a seismic shift in the foundations of our society.
“For politicians of Christian conscience this will be a moment to resist the leadership of their own political parties together with every parliamentarian who recognises the Judeo-Christian foundations on which our society rests.”
The bishop was speaking to couples who were giving thanks for 25, 40, 50. 60 and, in one case, 70 years of married life.
“I am sure each of you today can glimpse how those promises of love and faithfulness, and of openness to the gift of family, made in the morning of your youth, became the foundation for so great a good, not least the upbringing and security of your children and grandchildren,” he said.
“Experience and research speak of how vital this marriage commitment of yours is for the well-being of new generations and for society as a whole.”
It was the very heart of this marriage commitment that was being challenged by the Government’s proposals to allow civil marriage for gay couples, the bishop said.
A formal consultation process will begin in March, according to Coalition Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, which means that the law could be changed, and marriage redefined, before the next general election.
All three main parties support the change to the law, though 100 Conservative MPs are said to be against it. Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he is “emphatically in favour” of it. He told the Tory party conference last autumn that he supported gay marriage “because I am a Conservative”.
In the same week that saw a judge ruling against prayers during council meetings Bishop Davies said: “We face a mindset which sees progress only as a continuous shifting of our society further and further from its Christian foundations until we have nothing left for family and society to be founded upon than changing, political fashions of thought.
“It is surely then that we hear the cry of the Psalmist: ‘Foundations once destroyed, what can the just do?’ For the ‘vocation to marriage’ is not the invention of any passing parliament or political or legal system but is, as the Christian faith declares, ‘written into the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator’.
“Marriage is not merely a human institution made or unmade by any generation. God himself is the author of marriage.”
Despite the many variations marriage has undergone throughout history in different cultures and social structures, the bishop said, the stability and the greatness of the marriage union and its identity has always remained.
“Christ our Lord unequivocally taught this original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning and raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament.
“The meaning and greatness of marriage can be recognised from the natural law even without the light of faith. Indeed, many who do not share our Christian faith see in this timeless institution of marriage not only the source of the greatest good for the family but one of the key foundations on which the whole of society ultimately depends,” he said.
Bishop Davies urged Catholics to speak out in defence of marriage. “Our voices must now be raised as clearly as they can be, in order to proclaim the Godgiven meaning of marriage not only for the sake of this generation, but for the sake of all generations to come,” he said.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke on his visit to Britain in 2010 of a mentality which today threatens to obscure “the unchanging truth” about our nature, our destiny and our ultimate good, the bishop said.
“The Holy Father urged us at Glasgow: ‘I appeal in particular to you, the lay faithful, in accordance with your baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith in public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom in the public forum.’”
Coalition rules out marriage tax break
Archbishop Nichols builds ties with Armenian Orthodox Church
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE COALITION Government has ruled out plans to introduce a tax break for married couples in next month’s budget.
Chancellor George Osborne angered backbenchers by ruling out keeping the Conservatives’ 2010 manifesto promise to introduce a transferable tax allowance worth £150 a year to married couples and those in civil partnerships. It was also among the Coalition’s pledges upon taking power in May 2010.
Catholic MP Edward Leigh sought to introduce tax breaks for married couples by amending the Finance Bill in July last year but was defeated.
Addressing the House of Commons he said that such breaks were “the key policy response to the challenge of social breakdown, the ‘broken Britain’ phenomenon.”
He went on to urge the Government to “fulfil the pledge they made solemnly in the manifesto, that they put in the Coalition agreement and which we are still waiting for”.
Other backbench MPs have expressed their frustration at the Treasury’s decision.
Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, told the Daily Telegraph that delaying the introduction of marriage tax breaks represented a “failure of leadership” by Mr Cameron. “I urge George Osborne to reconsider this decision,” he said. “There is a great deal of evidence that shows marriage has many economic and other benefits to society.
“Not to introduce this feels like kowtowing to the Liberal Democrats. Our supporters say they want this and they put us where we are. We need to deliver what they want.”
The tax breaks agreed by the Coalition have proved controversial with Liberal Democrats and the libertarian section of the Conservative Party, which the Chancellor is thought to naturally sympathise with.
During last October’s Conservative Party conference David Cameron reiterated the Coalition Government’s commitment to introducing tax breaks for married couples.
ARCHBISHOP Vincent Nichols of Westminster met Bishop Vahan Hovhannesian, the Primate of the Armenian Orthodox Church in the UK and Ireland, last week.
Bishop Hovhannesian, who was ordained bishop last November, has a PhD in Biblical Studies from
Fordham University, New York, and is the author of several books on the Bible. He became Primate of the Armenian Church in Britain in 2009.
Dr Harry Hagopian, the bishops’ conference’s consultant on Middle Eastern and North African affairs, said: “This meeting was a way of further extending our relations and seeing if we could work more closely together in the future on the ministries of the Church, to collaborate together.
“The Armenian Orthodox Church has a very rich ecumenical outreach. Pope John Paul II had good relations with [the church], and so has Pope Benedict XVI. We are enhancing these relationships.”
Dr Hagopian and Fr Marcus Stock, general secretary of the bishops’ conference, were also at the meeting.
Wembley Arena to host young Catholics
BY ED WEST
THE CATHOLIC Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed) is hoping to fill the 11,000 capacity Wembley Arena for the Flame Congress next month.
The organisers have already sold 7,000 tickets for the event, which will be hosted on March 24 and will link sport and faith before the Olympic Games this summer.
The event was inspired by the success of the papal visit of September 2010, in which large numbers of young people were present at Westminster Cathedral, Hyde Park and at “the Big Assembly” at Twickenham.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster and 10 other bishops will be among the speakers, alongside Sister Catherine Holum, a former Olympic speedskater, Barry and Margaret Mizen and Paschal Uche, who spoke during the papal visit. There will be talks on the themes of “friendship, excellence and respect”, while the music will be composed by Edwin Fawcett, who was heavily involved in the music for the 2010 papal vigil in Hyde Park.
Such is the demand for the Flame Congress, which takes its name from St Paul’s Letter to Timothy – “Fan into a Flame the gifts that God gave you” – that Hexham and Newcastle Diocese has hired a train to Wembley, and filled it already.
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Faithful donate £100,000 to fund the ordinariate BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE PERSONAL Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has received approximately £100,000 in charitable donations in the space of seven months.
Since the establishment of its charitable arm, called the Friends of the Ordinariate, the group has received generous donations from supporters and friends.
The majority of recent donations have been in the form of one-off gifts, although annual standing orders have accounted for £24,000 of the total recorded sum.
Two charitable trusts have also made significant donations, one of £3,000 and one of £5,000.
Mgr Keith Newton, ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate, said: “I cannot thank everyone enough who has supported the Friends of the Ordinariate. The needs of the ordinariate are great and growing rapidly as the number of priests joining us increases. We are urgently in need of additional funds not least for the formations of seminarians and the development of the ordinariate.”
He added: “In particular I would like to thank the publishers and staff of The Catholic Herald for the free advertising space in the paper.”
Last September the Friends of the Ordinariate organised a reception attended by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster.
Last month the ordinariate celebrated Evensong at St James, Spanish Place, London, to mark its one-year anniversary. It was created following Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, which invited groups of Anglicans to enter into full communion with Rome while retaining their own Anglican traditions and liturgy.
The nature of the ordinariate has made funding the project exceptionally challenging given that many of its clergy are married with children. Furthermore, through joining the Catholic Church the newly ordained have sacrificed pensions, salaries and homes which the Anglican Church formerly provided.
The annual costs of running the ordinariate have been estimated at £1 million with the number of members expected to increase.
The ordinariate received a £1 million donation from the Anglo-Catholic group the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament last year, but the donation is now being investigated by the Charity Commission after it attracted criticism from Anglicans. Editorial Comment: Page 13
WILL YOU HELP A PRIEST
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IN THE MISSIONS
THE LITTLE WAY ASSOCIATION receives many requests from missionary priests for help to roof or repair their chapels. In mission villages there are thousands of chapels waiting to be roofed. The grass roofing, which in many cases is the only overing for the chapel which the local people can afford, is easily destroyed by severe storms, or is eaten by termites.
£900 will provide a permanent roof for a chapel
The sum of £900 will enable a missionary priest to buy sufficient corrugated iron sheets to provide a decent and permanent roof for his chapel. In mission lands it is often extremely difficult to build up a Christian community without a chapel. A chapel gives a status to a missionary and his community, acting as a parish or village centre during the week, and constantly in use for catechism and prayer. Often it is the only solid building in the area so villagers can find protection within its walls from typhoons, cyclones, floods, etc. Please will you help a missionary to provide a worthy setting for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Your gift, however small, will be gratefully received and sent WITHOUT DEDUCTION to a priest in the Missions to enable him to roof or repair his chapel.
Crossed POs and cheques should be sent and made payable to: THE LITTLE WAY ASSOCIATION, CH/02/17 119 Cedars Rd, Clapham Common, London SW4 0PR (Registered Charity No. 235703) Tel. 020-7622 0466 I enclose £ ...............to be allocated for: £........ CHAPELS IN THE MISSIONS £........ FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY £........ MASS STIPENDS (please state no. ) £........ LITTLE WAY ADMIN. EXPENSES
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THE HUNGRY Missionaries worldwide plead with us for help to relieve the pangs of starvation of countless children and adults. Your donation will be forwarded intact to a missionary who will be happy to put it speedily to use to save lives and alleviate the misery of hunger. £25 would keep a person alive for one month; £300 for a whole year
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HOLY MASS is offered each day in the Missions for the intentions of all Little Way benefactors and friends.