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THE CHRISTIAN WHISTLEBLOWERS MEET THE MEN WHO RAISED THE ALARM ABOUT THE BANKING CRISIS PAGE 8
Vatican backs controversial ‘anti-Israel’ UN meeting
April 24 2009 £1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
Bishop O’Donoghue presents Fit for Mission to Pope Benedict XVI
BY ED WEST
THE HOLY SEE faced criticism this week for attending a United Nations racism conference largely seen as an attack on Israel.
The second World Conference Against Racism took place in Geneva eight years after an antiracism conference in Durban, South Africa, degenerated into a series of angry denunciations of Israel.
Eight countries boycotted the event, including the United States, Germany and Israel, and almost every other European country walked out on the first day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a speech calling Israel “a totally racist government”. But the Vatican delegation, led by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, decided to stay.
Later on Monday Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, told Vatican Radio that “statements like those of the Iranian president do not go in the right direction, because even if he did not deny the Holocaust or the right of Israel to exist, he expressed extremist and unacceptable positions”.
The following day Fr Lombardi said in a statement: “The Holy See deplores the use of this United Nations forum for the adoption of political positions of an extremist and offensive nature against any state. This does not contribute to dialogue and it provokes an unacceptable atmosphere of conflict.”
However, the Vatican’s attendance threatened to strain JewishCatholic relations a month before the Pope was due to visit Israel.
Rome’s chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, said: “By participating, the
Vatican has given its endorsement to what is being prepared there [against Israel].”
Shimon Samuels, head of the European office of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, said the Vatican was “giving a seal of approval in the hate campaign” against Israel.
Sir Sigmund Sternberg, the Jewish philanthropist who helped to negotiate the Holy See’s recognition of Israel, said he had asked the Papal Nuncio of Great Britain to explain the reasons for the Vatican’s support of the conference and was awaiting a reply.
On Sunday Pope Benedict said the conference was needed to combat racial intolerance around the world. He said it would help “put an end to every form of racism, discrimination and intolerance”.
Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi defended the Holy See’s presence and said a disputed conference text, seen as anti-Israeli, had been improved in recent weeks.
“This is an international conference promoted by the United Nations and the Holy See. Just because some important countries are not attending does not mean that the Holy See cannot have a positive and constructive dialogue there,” he said.
The Pope, speaking after the Regina Caeli on Sunday, said the conference was important because, despite the lessons of history, racist attitudes and actions were still present. He encouraged participants to take “firm and concrete action, at the national and international levels, to prevent and eliminate every form of racism and intolerance”.
“For its part, the Church teaches
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Editorial Comment: Page 13
Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster presents the Pope with Fit for Mission. The bishop said the meeting was ‘a wonderful experience’
BY DAVID V BARRETT
BISHOP Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster presented Pope Benedict XVI with two of his three groundbreaking works at the Vatican last week.
The bishop gave the Pontiff copies of Fit for Mission? Schools and Fit for Mission? Church, and a letter briefly introducing Fit for Mission? Marriage: A Preparation Course , published by the Catholic Truth Society that day.
Pope Benedict departed from protocol to spend some minutes going through both documents with Bishop O’Donoghue, and expressed his delight at the wideranging scope of the work.
The bishop told Benedict XVI that the objective of the documents was to propose practical ways of balancing continuity of faith with change in an increasingly secular world. They concentrated on fostering an authentic Catholic identity in schools and a correct interpretation of the Second Vatican Council in parishes, he said.
He stressed that the initiative was an attempt to encourage all to think clearly about what it is to be a Catholic today.
Bishop O’Donoghue’s meeting with His Holiness took place at the end of the papal general audience at St Peter’s Square last week. With them were Mgr Georg
Gänswein, the Pope’s private secretary, and Archbishop James Harvey, prefect of the papal household.
The Pope personally thanked Bishop O’Donoghue, just weeks before his retirement, for all his work of renewal in his diocese over the last eight years.
Bishop O’Donoghue said: “It was a wonderful experience. He looked marvellous and was in great form. He was in remarkable spirits and tremendously welcoming. He was very open and there was no limit on the time. He was very, very interested in the works.” When he mentioned to the Pope that he was about to retire, Pope Benedict told him:
“You’re much younger than I am.”
Bishop O’Donoghue is returning to his home area of West Cork, where he plans to be a supply priest.
About his eight years in the Lancaster diocese he said: “I’ve had a wonderful time, and a challenging time.”
The first two Fit for Mission? documents, which addressed crises in the Church in England and Wales, have already received many endorsements from the Vatican. Only a few weeks ago the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, known in Spain as “Little Ratzinger”,
praised the bishop’s second report, Fit for Mission? Church . This followed commendations from the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and Clergy, and the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, and the Family.
“I am so grateful for having the opportunity to personally explain to the Holy Father what we have been attempting to achieve through our Fit for Mission? initiative in the Diocese of Lancaster,” said Bishop O’Donoghue.
“His interest and enthusiasm confirms my conviction that over the past two years – despite the difficulties and controversies – we have been on the right track,” he said.
John Paul II’s advice to married couples published for first time
BY ANNA ARCO
A PREVIOUSLY unpublished text by the future Pope John Paul II, which served as a rule for married couples in Krakow, has now resurfaced.
Due to be released this Friday, the newly discovered text sets out to help couples deal with the rules about sexual morality which were reaffirmed in Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae.
The news of the booklet’s
existence – it was never published outside the Archdiocese of Krakow – came from the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero last week. The paper printed an extract of the book, known simply as The Rule For Spouses, which had been found by a student at the John Paul II Institute for Life and Family in Rome. The newspaper published a version of the Italian translation last week. Written by Karol Wojtyła, the booklet is based on the
then Archbishop of Krakow’s pastoral experiences with couples and was written at approximately the same time as the publication of the encyclical Humanae Vitae . He suggested couples should become members of Humanae Vitae groups.
In the foreword he wrote: “The rule is directed to married couples in their entirety and not for single consorts. It is important, in fact, that it is adopted and put into practice by the spousal couple
and not by the husband or by the wife, without the commitment of the respective consorts.”
He said Church teaching on marriage could not be followed “without a certain degree of asceticism ... Spouses belonging to Humanae Vitae groups ought to therefore reflect on how to put into practice the spirit of the counsel of the Gospels.”
It is unclear whether an English translation will be available.
Sparrow reveals Pontiff’s daily life
‘Miracle’ is attributed to Mary MacKillop
BY DAVID V BARRETT
AFTER lunch each day the Pope walks on the rooftop terrace – where no one can see him except for a sparrow named Max, from his perch on St Peter’s Basilica.
Max is a faithful witness of the Holy Father’s daily routine and tells his tale in Max and Benedict , a new illustrated children’s book from the creators of the 2007 book
Joseph and Chico , which described the Pope’s early years through the eyes of a tabby cat.
Max and Benedict was published last week to coincide with Pope Benedict’s 82nd birthday. The Pope spent the day quietly with his older brother Mgr Georg Ratzinger.
His routine, according to Max, begins with Mass at 7am with his secretaries and aides. In the evening he has dinner “like that of a little bird” and then, according to Max, watches the news or relaxes with a book or some music.
BY DAVID V BARRETT
A POSSIBLE miraculous healing attributed to Blessed Mary MacKillop could advance her Cause for canonisation.
Irishman David Keohane lay in a coma for eight months after being “bashed on a Sydney street” last August, according to the Australian newspaper The Age . The 29year-old flooring contractor
was flown home to Cork last September and regained consciousness on St Patrick’s Day. His family had prayed every day to Blessed Mary MacKillop and attribute his healing to her intercession. The Aus
tralian nun, who died in 1909, was the founder of
the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart in 1866.
She was beatified in 1995 after the
she had cured
a woman of leukaemia.
NEW ARCHBISHOP BRINGS JOY TO NEW YORK PAGE 5