James Le Fanu Our public sector could be great again
CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20
Roderick O’Donnell Why we all owe a great deal to Pugin
COMMENT, PAGE 12
David Alton Shahbaz Bhatti: the new Romero
COMMENT, PAGE 12
Cardinals to report on Medjugorje this year
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
BOSNIAN Cardinal Vinko Puljić has announced that a Vatican commission will present its findings on alleged apparitions at Medjugorje to the Pope later this year “so that he may express his judgment”.
In March 2010 Pope Benedict XVI established a commission, led by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, to investigate the authenticity of alleged apparitions at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Cardinal Vinko Puljić, who is a member of the commission, said during a press conference: “Within the year we want to finish our work and give our opinion to the Pope so that he may express his judgment.
“We cannot talk about what the commission is doing, because we are bound to secrecy. Our work is continuing. But we need to finish it this year.”
Reports of apparitions in Medjugorje first occurred in 1981 and although the site has not been officially recognised by the Vatican it is estimated that as many as 30 million pilgrims have visited the site.
The first apparition is alleged to have taken place on June 24 1981 on the Feast of St John the Baptist. Schoolchildren claimed that they saw the Virgin Mary standing on a hill holding an infant who they recognised as Jesus. Ever since reports of Marian apparitions have continued to take place.
In April 1991 the Yugoslav Episcopal Conference issued a statement, known as the Zadar Declaration.
It said: “On the basis of studies made so far, it cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations. Yet the gathering of the faithful from various parts of the world to Medjugorje, inspired by reasons of faith or other motives, require the pastoral attention and care, first of all, of the local bishop ... so that ... a healthy devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the teachings of the Church may be promoted.”
Editorial Comment: Page 13
Catholics asked to fast for Middle East peace
THE LATIN Patriarch of Jerusalem has urged Catholics around the world to fast for peace in the Middle East during Lent.
Patriarch Fouad Twal told Vatican Radio that the situation in the Holy Land was “not encouraging”. He said: “We have these two dimensions that we are called and invited to live: the dimension of sacrifice, in reflection of Our Lord’s Sacrifice,
and the dimension of hope, in the hope of our Resurrection one day. In my message I write that despite all of our sacrifices we must look forward to the Resurrection.”
February 24 2012 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Bishop urges faithful to face ‘the reality of hell’ in Lent
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE BISHOP of Shrewsbury will urge Catholics to confront the “terrifying reality” of hell in a Lenten pastoral letter this Sunday.
Quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Bishop Mark Davies will remind his flock of the “terrifying reality of which the Gospel repeatedly speaks: ‘immediate and everlasting damnation’”.
“For ‘to die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love,’ the Catechism explains, ‘means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice.’ Yes, this is the real and everlasting choice of our lives,” he will say.
Bishop Davies will also encourage the faithful to regain their “perspective of eternity” during Lent.
He will say: “Being aware of this limited time on earth and all that is to follow – our judgment, our purgatory, heaven or hell forever – becomes an urgent invitation to conversion in our lives.”
The bishop will also note the observation of Blessed Pope John Paul II in his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, that many have lost a sense of the “Last Things”, the body of teaching that deals with death, judgment, the destination of immortal souls and bodily resurrection.
“This is the urgency to which Lent and Easter now recalls us with the poignant mark of ashes,” he will say. “It is the realisation of what the Psalmist calls ‘the shortness of lives’ which helps shape our priorities and gives each day a new urgency in the light of all eternity before us.”
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of West-
Being aware of this limited time on earth and all that is to follow becomes an urgent call to conversion
For the latest
Catholic news, visit CatholicHerald.co.uk minster has asked Catholics to remember their call to holiness during Lent. Speaking about the launch of a Lenten booklet entitled Sparks of Light Archbishop Vincent Nichols said: “My desire is that this faith-sharing resource will help you to see that ‘saintly’ living is as much for you as it has been for anyone, and that you will explore how in the seeming ordinariness of daily living you can be an effective agent, a spark of light, in the Church’s mission today.”
The booklet features a “road map to sainthood” to aid self-examination among Catholics. It explores the virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance through the lives of the saints.
Small groups of Christians will meet in their homes and parish halls to use the booklet, sharing their insights on the theme of holiness today.
The booklet will be used in parishes in the Diocese of Westminster as well as in the Diocese of Motherwell. It is also being used by parishes in other parts of England and Scotland. It features St Gianna Molla, who died after refusing to give up her unborn child, and St David Roldan-Lara, a young man who died by firing squad under the anti-Catholic Calles regime in 1920s Mexico.
Dr Mark Nash, editor of the booklet and member at the Diocese of Westminster’s Agency for Evangelisation, said: “The team hope that many people will benefit from meeting in small groups to reflect and pray on the lives of four models for saintly living. Each one of the four models died in living memory and each typifies one of the human virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude and moderation.”
Lenten reflection: Page 9
Archbishop backs new coalition opposing same-sex marriage plan BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE ARCHBISHOP of Southwark has welcomed the formation of a coalition opposing plans to legalise same-sex marriage.
In a statement following the launch of the Coalition for Marriage, Archbishop Peter Smith said: “The Government’s imminent consultation on changing the definition of marriage is of great concern to many people in our society, and we will be encouraging Catholics to participate in the consultation and to make their objections known.
“We welcome the formation of the Coalition for Marriage as a grassroots movement to campaign for the current definition of marriage to remain in English law. A change is not needed because the Civil Partnerships Act provides for the civil rights of same-sex couples already. Nor is a change desirable because it would fundamentally change the legal purpose of marriage by removing any reference to the begetting and rearing of children.”
He continued: “Marriage is a fundamental social institution and neither the state nor the Church has the right to redefine its meaning. Together with the Church of England and the new Coalition for Marriage we will be encouraging people to sign the petition registering their opposition to a change in the law on marriage.”
As The Catholic Herald went to press the Coalition for Marriage had gathered 23,886 signatures.
The coalition is comprised of different individuals and organisations who oppose changing the legal definition of marriage. Its website, C4m.org.uk, states: “The Coalition draws upon a substantial body of evidence showing that marriage... is beneficial to society, and that changing its definition would undermine that benefit.”
Top ballerina reveals debt to St Philomena BY GRETCHEN CROWE
THE FIRST American to join the prestigious Mariinsky Ballet Company in St Petersburg has spoken of how she prays a litany and a novena to St Philomena every morning.
Keenan Kampa, from Virginia, said that she also says Hail Marys while stretching and “doing splits”.
She told the American
Catholic News Service that the prayers reminded her that her “whole reason for living is not to be a professional dancer”.
Rather, she said, her goals are to grow closer to God, to be a “good Christian example” to those around her and “to get to heaven”.
Miss Kampa said she grew most in her faith when she first moved to Russia aged 17.
Nun, 73, to return to Oscars after 50 years BY ED WEST
MOTHER Dolores Hart, who gave up a career in Hollywood to join a Benedictine Abbey, will attend the Oscars on Sunday dressed in full habit.
Mother Dolores is the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary short, God Is the Bigger Elvis, which chronicles her life as a co-star with Elvis Presley and Anthony
Quinn, as well as her 50 years at Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. The 73year-old last attended the Academy Awards in 1962.
She said: “I have such respect for the [Academy], and they have given me a way of being a part of Hollywood within the monastic enclosure. This will be a wonderful opportunity I will never enjoy again.”
Dom Henry Wansbrough Lent doesn’t have to be miserable PAGE 9
Fr Dwight Longenecker The US ordinariate has a wider reach PAGE 12
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