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FEBRUARY 24 2012 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Nuncio says Pope is resolute on abuse
BY ED WEST AND MICHAEL KELLY
THE NEW Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland has described Benedict XVI’s response to the clerical abuse crisis as “relentless” and “resolute” at a Mass in Dublin.
Archbishop Charles Brown said during a Mass formally welcoming him as the Pope’s representative that Benedict XVI understood “that these recent years have been difficult for Catholic believers in Ireland”.
He said the Pope was “scandalised and dismayed as he learned about the tragedy of abuse perpetrated by some members of the clergy and of religious congregations.” He said he felt deeply the wounds of those who had been harmed and who so often had not been listened to.”
Archbishop Brown, a former official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said: “I can tell you from my personal experience that he [Pope Benedict] has always had – and he continues to have – a great love for the people of Ireland and a high regard for the Catholic Church in Ireland, with its history of missionary richness and tenacious faith.”
Referring to the Pope’s previous role as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Brown said that, “from the beginning, Pope Benedict was resolute and determined to put into place changes which would give the Church the ability to deal more effectively with those who abuse trust, as well as to provide the necessary assistance to those who had been victimised.
“Pope Benedict has been relentless and consistent on this front, and I assure you that he will continue to be,” he said.
Earlier the new nuncio had presented his credentials to Ireland’s president.
Presenting his letters of credence to President Michael D Higgins in a ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the Irish head of state, Archbishop Brown said that the Pope had asked him to convey his personal esteem to the president as well as his “best wishes and sincere af
Ireland’s new nuncio presents his credentials to the president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins
PA photo fection” for the Irish people.
He also promised to do everything in his power to “solidify and strengthen” as well as “confirm and deepen” the relationship between the Holy See and Ireland.
The message from the nuncio came after a period of tension in the relationship between the two states, culminating in the government’s decision to close its Irish embassy to the Holy See.
Reading a prepared statement the nuncio said: “It is an honour, indeed a source of joy, for me to bring you heartfelt greetings from his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
“The Holy Father has asked me to convey in a particular way his esteem for you as president of this great nation as well as his best wishes and sincere affection for all the people of Ireland.
“His Holiness assures you, and all the Irish people, of remembrance in his prayers.
“I am very pleased to present to you the letters of credence by which Pope Benedict XVI accredits me as Apostolic Nuncio in Ireland and to deliver the letter of recall of my predecessor, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, who is now serving the Holy See in another nation.
“At this very significant moment in my mission here in Ireland, I wish to assure you that it is Pope Benedict’s fervent desire that I, as his representative, will do everything in my power to solidify and strengthen the relations between the Holy See and Ireland.
“These diplomatic relations have enjoyed fruitful and uninterrupted stability since 1929 and they testify to the enduring relationship between the people of this nation and the successor of the Apostle Peter, stretching back some 1,500 years.
“In requesting your kind support and that of the government of Ireland in the discharge of my mission I pledge my wholehearted efforts to confirm and deepen this mutually beneficial and historic relationship,” the nuncio concluded. Editorial Comment: Page 13
VATICAN officials reminded British ministers of the importance of religious freedom and the need to defend marriage and the family, according to a communiqué released last week.
The communiqué, issued jointly by the Holy See and the British Government, focused on development, disarmament and climate change. It called for international efforts to help end the conflicts in Somalia and Syria.
The statement followed a high-level delegation hailed by Archbishop Vincent
Vatican reminds ministers to protect marriage BY STAFF REPORTER
Nichols of Westminster as a “high point” in relations between Britain and the Holy See.
The delegation, which included Baroness Warsi, marked the 30th anniversary of the restoration of full diplomatic relations between the two states.
The party included Jeremy Hunt, Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, and Alan Duncan, Minister for International Development.
The delegation was accompanied by Archbishop Nichols. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, however, had not been invited. A spokesman for the Scottish Church called it an “unfortunate oversight” and said that Scotland’s interests had not been fully represented.
According to the communiqué issued last week, the Holy See “emphasised the need to ensure that institutions connected with the Catholic Church can act in accordance with their own principles and convictions and stressed the necessity of safeguarding the family based on marriage, religious freedom and freedom of conscience”.
On development, the communiqué said that “much progress” had been made over the last 10 years in improving global health.
“However,” the communiqué said, “there are still significant gaps and challenges in the long and complex path towards ensuring integral human development for everybody.
“Too many people are still hungry, too many people do not have access to education and to decent work, too many women die in childbirth.
“In view of these challenges we recognise a shared obligation to achieve a fair international financial and trade framework. And we will strive for a better future for all humanity, taking into particular account care for the poorest people in the world,” the communiqué said.
The statement said that Britain and the Holy See also shared a commitment to push for “conflict prevention, disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation” at the UN.
Countries caught up in the Arab Spring must undertake “real reforms”, the communiqué said. It stressed the role Christians could play and the importance of interreligious dialogue.
The communiqué called for a “coherent strategy” on
Somalia and “an immediate end to violence in Syria”.
The statement also said that officials talked about “developing Britain’s collaboration with the Vatican Museums”.
In 2010 the Vatican Museums loaned four Raphael tapestries to the V&A Museum in London.
The loan, which coincided with the papal visit, for the first time brought together the 494-year-old tapestries, woven in Brussels, with the cartoons Raphael had drawn as the basis for them. Vatican Notebook: Page 4
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Catholics urged to house needy Olympic athletes
BY SIMON CALDWELL
CATHOLICS who live in cities hosting events for the 2012 Olympic Games have been urged to show hospitality to athletes who cannot afford to stay in hotels.
They are being encouraged to register with the Athlete Family Homestay Programme and to open their homes for eight days or more to Olympic and Paralympic competitors and their families from poor nations.
James Parker, the Catholic Church’s executive coordinator for the 2012 London Olympic Games, said the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales saw the initiative as an act of solidarity.
“It is estimated that approximately a third of all official Olympic and Paralympic athletes and coaches will be from a Catholic background,” Mr Parker said.
“With this in mind, the Catholic community, alongside other Christians and those of other faiths and no faiths, wishes to offer a tangible way of ‘welcoming the stranger’ to our shores by offering free board and lodging for limited periods during the games,” he said.
The homestay programme is being organised by More Than Gold, the Churches’ umbrella charity that serves the games.
Mr Parker said that the charity, of which the Catholic Church is a member, is focusing in particular on athletes’ family members and friends
A Brazilian gymnast prays at a qualification event PA
“who come from the developing world who could never afford to stay in Britain”.
“We believe that they, as much as anyone, have the right to see first-hand their loved ones display the fruit of what has often been years of ongoing commitment,” he said. “Anyone linked to the 2012 Games’ athletes and officials qualifies to apply, irrespective of their financial situation, so we want the wider Olympic family to know that Britain welcomes them with open arms.”
Mr Parker said that the presence of relatives “can dramatically affect an athlete’s performance on the day” and “the whole world wants to encourage the best performance from each competitor”. Catholics who sign up to the programme will be expected to collect and welcome up to two guests from a hospitality centre, then provide them with bed and breakfast for eight days or more during the July 27 to August 12 Olympics or the August 29 to September 9 Paralympics.
They will be asked to be “caring and helpful hosts”, dropping off guests at a transportation hub each day.
Most hosts will be sought in London, where most of the events will take place and where hotel prices will be most expensive. But they will also be required in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and Cardiff.
According to the More Than Gold website at previous Olympic Games Christians have provided more than half of all the homes needed to host athletes’ family members.
Catholic Voices-style group set up in Ireland
BY ED WEST
AN IRISH equivalent of the lay group Catholic Voices has been established.
Catholic Comment, like its British equivalent, has been formed to prepare a team of lay people to speak about the Catholic faith in the media. It is currently looking for potential speakers. Those selected will be offered media training and briefings on topical issues as they prepare for television and radio appearances.
Its directors include independent senator Rónán Mullen, former management consultant Catríona Curran, theology student Maura Garrihy and barrister Lorcán Price.
Petra Conroy, the project coordinator, said: “Despite the challenges and crises of recent years, the Catholic faith matters to very many people in Ireland. There are thousands of people with a sincere commitment to the mission and teachings of the Church. Yet the media often has a hard job finding people who can speak confidently.”
Miss Conroy said that the group had received unofficial support already. “We are not an official body,” she said. “But we aim to support the Church’s own communications efforts by offering a team of wellinformed lay people. The Eucharistic Congress will be a time of heightened interest in Catholicism and we will assist journalists looking for people of faith who are ready and able to speak.”
NEWSBULLETIN Bishop Hollis tells faithful: I see my cancer as a gift THE BISHOP of Portsmouth has said in a pastoral letter to his diocese that his cancer has been “a moment of grace” and that throughout his illness “the loving face of Christ has been there for strength and comfort”.
with so many who suffer and the Lord has enabled me to witness, even in suffering, to His loving and gentle care. I believe that in my sickness I have been able to touch many – or so I have been told.”
Bishop Crispian Hollins wrote: “My illness has been a gift to me – I really believe that with all my heart. It has brought me into solidarity
The bishop wrote that since his diagnosis he had been trying to come to terms with his illness. “I have been graced enough to see God’s hand in it all,” he said.
Catholics pray for stabbed vicar A FORMER parish priest in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, has led prayers for the town’s Anglican vicar who was stabbed to death last week.
Fr Alex McAllister, now the British provincial of the Salvatorian Order, described the Rev John Suddards as “a man of intelligence and sensitivity” and a “successful and able pastor”.
In a homily at the Church of Christ the King Fr McAllister said: “At this stage we do not know precisely what happened to John that morning but our heart goes out to him and to those close to him.
“We do what John would have wanted us to do which is to pray for the repose of his soul, asking God to welcome his servant into his Kingdom.”
Mr Suddards, a former barrister who became a vicar in 2006, was appointed to Thornbury only last year.
LMS names six new patrons COMPOSER James MacMillan and former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore are among six new patrons named by the Latin Mass Society.
Other patrons include Prince Rupert Loewenstein, Lord Gill, the second most senior judge in Scotland, composer Colin Mawby and Sir Adrian FitzGerald, former chairman of governors at Cardinal Vaughan school, west London.
School bans condom dress A CATHOLIC school in Leamington, Warwickshire, has stopped a pupil from displaying a dress made out of condoms at a school art show.
Jim Ferguson, head teacher at Trinity School, said the design was “not in keeping with our ethos”.
A pupil had made the dress after being asked to illustrate the theme of “contagion” for her GCSE art project.
Paisley priest is given rare honour MGR CHARLES BURNS of the Diocese of Paisley is to become the first ever Scottish priest to be invested as a canon of St Peter’s Basilica.
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