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OCTOBER 28 2011 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Vatican asks bishop to investigate Ealing Abbey
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE VATICAN has ordered an Apostolic Visitation of Ealing Abbey following reported incidents of child abuse alleged to have occurred over the past 20 years.
In a historic move the Vatican has appointed Bishop John Arnold of Westminster and Richard Yeo, president of the English Benedictine Congregation, to conduct the Apostolic Visitation and report back to the Vatican, amid scandal surrounding Ealing Abbey and its neighbouring school, St Benedict’s.
Scrutiny of the abbey has intensified since the jailing of Fr David Pearce in October 2009 for indecent assault of pupils and the recent disappearance of Fr Laurence Soper following allegations of offences against children.
Fr Martin Shipperlee, Abbot of Ealing Abbey, told the Times: “The visitors and the Holy See will want to know that child protection is a priority here and that we’ve done all we can to ensure that what has happened in the past does not recur.”
Embarrassment for the abbey has been exacerbated by the disappearance of Fr Laurence Soper in March after the allegations came to light.
The former abbot of Ealing Abbey, aged 80, was bailed from Rome to a west London police station but failed to turn up and has been missing since.
Fr Shipperlee posted the following statement on the Abbey’s website two weeks ago condemning Fr Soper’s failure to co-operate with police investigations and asking people to pray for his victims. He wrote: “Many of you will have read news reports concerning my predecessor as abbot, Fr Laurence. Accusations have been made against him concerning offences against children. Early in March he left the monastery in Rome where he had been living to travel to London for an appointment with the police.
“Unfortunately he failed to keep that appointment and we have heard nothing from him since and all efforts to contact him have been without success.
“On previous occasions he had returned by arrangement to meet with the police and he was trusted to do so. I cannot comment on the details of the police investigation but I must condemn without reservation his failure to cooperate with them.
“I have not made any statement about this before at the request of the police.
“Please keep in your prayers all those who have been hurt by what Fr Laurence has done.”
St Benedict’s School has already commissioned Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, to conduct a report into the school’s handling of former head teacher, Fr David Pearce, who admitted 10 indecent assaults and one sexual assault on five boys between 1972 and 2007. Fr Pearce was head of the independent school until 1993 and afterwards resided in Ealing Abbey.
The report by the Liberal Democrat peer will be published at the end of the month and will be given to the Department for Education, Charity Commission and Independent Schools Council.
A spokesman for Ealing Abbey told The Catholic Herald they would comment further on the apostolic visitation following the release of Lord Carlile’s report on child protection at St Benedict’s school.
The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission reported a doubling in accusations of clerical abuse between 2009 and 2010 in July of this year, which they traced to the courage victims gained from the Pope’s visit to Britain last year.
The Vatican’s direct intervention into the handling of clerical abuse marks a setback for the Church, given that the latest report by Baroness Cumberlege in 2007 concluded that the tackling of sex abuse in the Catholic Church in England and Wales had improved. The Vatican’s decision to investigate may prompt wider questions concerning the policies that are currently in place.
But a spokesman for the Diocese of Westminster said that the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults was a priority for the Catholic Church. He said: “An Apostolic Visitation is a meeting with the superiors and members of a religious community. It provides an opportunity to examine community and religious life.
“The effective safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is a priority for the Catholic Church and Ealing Abbey’s safeguarding policies and procedures formed part of the remit of the Apostolic Visitation.”
In May last year the Vatican announced Apostolic Visitations throughout the Church in Ireland.
Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Roche and Pierpaolo Finaldi
Photo courtesy of Mr Finaldi
Bishop of Leeds presents new altar missal to Benedict XVI
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN AND MARK GREAVES
BISHOP ARTHUR Roche of Leeds last week presented Pope Benedict XVI with a specially made white version of the new Roman missal.
Bishop Roche, chairman of the In t e rnational Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), opened and showed the missal to the Pope, who then leafed through it, pausing on the illustrated pages.
Bishop Roche spoke enthusiastically about their meeting and described the new missal as a landmark in the life of the Church. He said: “At the end of Pope Benedict's visit to Great Britain he spoke about the then forthcoming new translation of the Roman Missal. It is therefore with great pleasure that today we are able to present him with a special edition of the missal which has been approved for use in England and Wales, Scotland and Australia.
“The publication of the Missal is a significant landmark in the life of the Church in England and Wales. It will help us to respond to the Holy Father’s call to deepen our knowledge and faith in the Eucharist and renew our liturgical celebration. I am grateful to the Catholic Truth Society for producing the magnificent edition for t he Holy Father but a l so t he general high quality of the missals which will soon be gracing our altars.”
The missal presented to the Pope was a specially bound version of the Catholic Truth Society (CTS) altar missal that will be used by priests across Britain and Australia.
Accompanying Bishop Roche was Mgr Bruce Harbert, former executive director of ICEL, Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne and Pierpaolo Finaldi, commissioning editor at the CTS.
According to Mr Finaldi, the Pope immediately asked how the new English translation had been received in parishes and remarked on the importance of beauty in liturgical books. Bishop Roche sa i d t he t r anslation had been received well.
Mr Finaldi, who oversaw the production of all the new CTS missals, said it was “like handing in your homework after 10 years”.
He said: “It was John Paul II who set the ball rolling in 2001 [with Liturgiam authenticam], so it was great to be able to bring it back with the job done.”
For a year and a half Mr Finaldi has overseen the entire production of the Roman Missal with great attention to detail. He has examined the artwork, the design of the paper, the width of the paper and even the type of grain in the leather cover.
The altar Missal, which costs £230, contains illustrations from t he Ingeborg Psalter, a 12thcentury illuminated manuscript. The CTS altar Missals arrived in parishes on Tuesday.
The Missal given to the Holy Father has b i nding f eaturing uniquely shaped boards and handtooling for the cover, marbled endpapers and a dedicatory inscription to His Holiness. It was bound in top-grade white leather using a technique known as German binding which is said to be a particular favourite of the Pope’s.
Earlier in the year Mr Finaldi said the CTS had for a long time sought to improve the aesthetic value of its books. The new altar missals are designed to be both beautiful and sturdy.
“The most beautiful thing in the world is the love of Christ for us, for h i s Church. So t h i ngs presented for the Church should always be beautiful. They are made for God to raise people’s spirits to God,” he said.
By December every parish in Britain will have a copy.
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Catholic charity for the homeless appeals for £9m My conscience is clear, says priest criticised by judge
BY DAVID V BARRETT
AN AWARD-WINNING east London homeless charity has launched a £9.3 million appeal. Anchor House is launching a “Home and Hope Appeal” to redevelop its 50-year-old centre and provide new education, training and rehabilitation facilities for its homeless residents and local community.
Formerly a seaman’s mission, Anchor House was established in 1962 by the Catholic London InterDiocesan Council of the Apostleship of the Sea. It is based in Canning Town, the most deprived ward in Newham, the third most deprived borough in the country.
The appeal will fund the development of 25 new transitional “move-on” studio flats to help Anchor House residents through the transition back into independent living, and a new training kitchen for people to gain catering qualifications.
Keith Fernett, director of Anchor House, said: “Mental health, drug and alcohol abuse from as early as eight years old, reoffending and escape from war and rape from the Eritrean army – these are the types of problems our residents are facing. While the local community continues to contend with soaring unemployment, high levels of deprivation, teenage pregnancy and a second generation out of work.
“Our waiting list for new residents grows longer every day, but this development will ensure that over the next 50 years we will be able to support an extra 20,000 people in the community to turn their lives around.”
High-profile patrons supporting the appeal include Lord Patten, Ann Widdecombe, the Archbishops of Westminster and Southwark, the Bishop of Brentwood and Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank.
Despite it being a small charity Anchor House's results are astounding, said its chairman Mgr John Armitage.
“Last year 58 of our residents moved on to independent living, 32 were in employment and we trained more than 1,249 locals within the community,” he said.
“Anchor House is a charity worthy of investment, not only because it succeeds and makes a difference, but because it is focused on helping society’s most marginalised and vulnerable who are often overlooked.”
Last year the charity was recognised as a National Centre of Excellence and was awarded five National Training Awards by the UK Skills Council.
BY DAVID V BARRETT
THE PRIESt who was criticised last month for not reporting the abuse of Baha Mousa, the Iraqi detainee who died after brutal treatment by British soldiers, claims he is innocent of any wrong behaviour.
Baha Mousa, a hotel receptionist and father of two, died in 2003 while he was detained by British troops. His body showed 93 separate injuries.
A Government report by retired appeal court judge Sir William Gage condemned the “serious, gratuitous violence” to Mr Mousa, which left “a very great stain on the reputation of the Army”.
The 1,400-page report concluded that Fr Peter Madden, who was chaplain to the 1st Battalion of the Queens Lancashire Regiment in Iraq, “must have seen the shocking condition of the detainees”.
Detainees were forced to stand in stress positions for hours, and were kicked and punched if they relaxed, the report said. They were subjected to hooding and sleep deprivation. Fingers were pressed into their eye sockets, water was squeezed into their mouths and they were kicked in the genitals.
Sir William said: “He ought to have intervened immediately or reported it up the chain of command, but it seems he did not have the courage to do either.” He continued: “I found Madden to be a poor witness, particularly in relation to inconsistencies as to whether he felt any responsibility for the welfare of detainees.”
But Fr Madden told the Observer newspaper last Sunday: “William Gage’s criticism of my actions and evidence is mistaken. My conscience is entirely clear.” He said the reason he said nothing was because he did not know of the abuse; he was not at the detention centre when the abuse was taking place.
He said he was sorry his evidence had not helped to establish the real version of events at the detention centre but he had cooperated fully with the inquiry.
Fr Madden, who is now priest at St Mary Immaculate church in Warwick, recently had a meeting with Archbishop Bernard Longley and the vicar general of Birmingham. According to a diocesan spokesman the archbishop had wanted “to meet with the priest and talk with him in a private way” and the meeting was “relaxed”. “The Archdiocese of Birmingham will not be saying anything more on this matter at the present time,” he said. It is understood that the Ministry of Defence is still conducting its own enquiries.
NEWSBULLETIN Catholics urged to join Assisi prayer for peace ARCHBISHOP EMERITUS Kevin McDonald of Southwark has said Pope Benedict’s trip to Assisi will be an appropriate day to mark with silence and a prayer for world peace.
meeting of world religions called by Pope John Paul II in 1986.
Pope Benedict was to travel to Assisi yesterday for a day of reflection, dialogue and a prayer for peace and justice. The day commemorates the 25th anniversary of a historic
Archbishop McDonald said: “God of Peace, as religious leaders gather in Assisi on their pilgrimage for peace, we ask you to make this meeting a blessed and fruitful one, and to grant all your children the will and the ability to live with each other in peace.”
ʻSouth faces vocations crisisʼ THE CHAIRMAN of the Vocations’ Directors Conference of England and Wales has urged southern English dioceses to face up to an imminent decline in priestly vocations rather than avoiding the problem.
Responding to a report in The Tablet, which predicted a significant decline in priests expected in the north of England over the next decade, Fr Stephen Langridge said that this shortage would also occur in the south but was currently masked by the number of foreign priests studying there.
He said: “If anything the figures should serve as a warning to the south that it is a mistake to overcome the problem by going around it.” He said that the “immigrant priests are taking the initiative and applying to dioceses where they think they will be accepted or where they have a place to study. This leads to a greater concentration in the south.”
Judge allows exhumation A JUDGE has ruled that the body of Fr Jozef Jarzebowski can be exhumed from the grounds of Fawley Court. Despite appeals from Poles, Lady Justice Hallett said the exhumation was done for the right reason, so he could be reunited at the Fair Mile cemetery with other members of his order.
Faiths unite on abortion centre DOZENS OF Christians and Muslims joined together last Saturday to protest against a newly opened British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) abortion centre in Stratford, east London. The demonsration was organised by 40 days for Life and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).
Win a copy of The Way on DVD WE have five DVDs of Emilio Estevez’s film The Way to give away. To win one of the five copies, kindly provided by Icon and its official media partner Premier Christian Media, send us a postcard marked “The Way competition” telling us which pilgrim route is featured in the film. The winners will be announced next month.
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