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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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LLO URDE S THE CATHOLIC HERALD OCTOBER 28 2011
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Widdecombe challenges Cameron over aid policy
Former Minister tells Coalition: persecuted Christians deserve same protection as gay people
BY DAVID V BARRETT
THE GOVERNMENT is tougher on countries that persecute gay people than on those that persecute Christians, Ann Widdecombe has said.
Speaking at the annual conference of international charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) last Saturday, Miss Widdecombe accused the British Government of double standards in its international relations.
In her keynote speech in Westminster Cathedral Hall the Catholic convert and former Conservative minister said: “David Cameron’s Government has threatened to cut the overseas aid budget for countries which persecute homosexuals. Fair enough. But what about Christians? When do we qualify for such protection? Or don’t we?”
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell cut Britain’s aid to Malawi after two gay men were sentenced to 14 years hard labour, she said, and cited newspaper reports that the Government has threatened to reduce British aid to other African countries accused of persecuting gays.
Yet there has been no Government reaction to the recent killing of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and Britain’s aid is set to double in Pakistan, where Christian labourer Asia Bibi is threatened with execution for blasphemy, a charge which she denies.
“If David Cameron is tough on governments which persecute gays, why can’t he be tough on those who persecute Christians?” Miss Widdecombe asked.
“I’m patron of the Hedgehog Protection Society and it’s very easy to get people excited about the fates of hedgehogs – and I regularly do so – but try exciting people about the persecution of Christians,” she said.
“First of all there is a great degree of ignorance. Second, there is a great degree of shrug, because people tend to say, ‘Well they must bring it on themselves, they don’t have to be overt do they?’... But if as a country we shrug then we actually deny help. So we need to be galvanised and we need to start to take action.”
Miss Widdecombe told the conference that there had to be a build-up of awareness.
“In the last 10 years, how many debates have there been on the persecution of Christians, how many government statements on the subject?”
According to a report by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, 75 per cent of all religious persecution in the world is directed against Christians. Other research by Massimo Introvigne of the Centre for Studies on New Religions, based in Turin, claimed that tens of thousands of Christians are killed every year for faith-related reasons.
Miss Widdecombe appealed to the British public to call on the Government to make
Miss Widdecombe said it was easier to get people excited about the fate of hedgehogs than the persecution of Christians www.acnuk.org defence of religious freedom a foreign policy priority.
“Today we should all begin to act. Each of us should pick one country, pray for it, donate to the Church there, write to William Hague and our local
MP,” she said. “We should make it our business to follow reports about persecuted Christians - especially through the work of Aid to the Church in Need.”
Miss Widdecombe became
Special Envoy to ACN on Religious Freedom in March this year. The conference, entitled “The Arab Spring: A Spring or Autumn for Christians?” addressed the problem of sustaining the Christian presence in regions where church-goers are emigrating en masse. In Iraq, ACN say, the Christian population has plummeted from 1.4 million to barely 150,000, while according to a report last month more than 100,000 Christians have fled Egypt since the fall of President Mubarak in February following an increase of violence against religious minorities.
“Everywhere we look today, across the world, Christians are being asked to take up their cross. And we should not imagine for one moment that persecution is limited to those countries where there are fundamentalist Islamic regimes and only a very tiny proportion of the population is Christian - it is vastly more widespread than that,” Miss Widdecombe said.
She said that in Belarus, where 73 per cent of thev population is Christian, the state is transforming churches acquired during Communism into secular buildings such as hotels. Visas for visiting clergy are difficult to acquire and there are fines for holding religious events in your home.
“In Saudi Arabia people have been arrested for taking part in a private Mass,” she said. “It’s an objection to private practice that can result in action by the state.”
In response to Ann Widdecombe’s speech a Government spokesperson said: “The British Government is at the forefront of work to promote human rights around the world, and regularly criticises governments which violate those rights. This includes working to end religious intolerance, and persecution and discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexuality.
“As the Development Secretary has stated, our new approach, set out in detail in July this year, means we only provide aid directly to governments when we are satisfied that they share our commitments to reduce poverty, respect human rights, improve public financial management, fight corruption and promote good governance and transparency.”
Doctor advises Catholics on how to avoid assisting vasectomies
BY SIMON CALDWELL
CATHOLIC TRAINEE doctors may be able to avoid assisting in vasectomies by using European human rights laws, or by telling their employers that they are willing to take a pay cut, new advice claims.
As part of their training junior physicians are obliged to work for four months in a hospital urology department where men wish to be sterilised. But the Catholic Church teaches that sterilisation, unless for medical necessity, is “against the moral law”, bringing such trainees into conflict with the demands of their profession. A senior Catholic doctor is now offering his junior counterparts a blueprint of how to avoid onthe-job training sessions.
Dr Mike Delany tells them to be open about their conscientious objections from the outset and by spelling out their positions in a letter to the consultant urologist they will be sent to work with.
They are advised to accept a loss of pay for any hours of operative or pre-operative care they miss but promise to undertake all the class work and to look after patients after their operations.
They should also inform their employer that their r ights to conscientious objection are upheld by the European Convention on Human Rights, Dr Delany said. Writing in the November edition of the Catholic Medical Quarterly, Dr Delany said: “It is pretty inevitable that you will f ind yourself working for a consultant who regularly performs vasectomy as part of NHS services.
“You do have the option, of course, to ‘duck and dive’, dealing with problems as they arise but experience has shown that this is generally an imprudent strategy which will irritate or anger your boss who, quite understandably, may view you as obstructive, not to say inconsiderate and discourteous,” he says in the article entitled “How Do I Avoid Assisting in Vasectomies?”
Instead, Dr Delany, who works as a GP in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, recommends a letter explaining the belief of the trainee that a vasectomy would not be in the best interest of the patient.
In a draft letter he has prepared, junior doctors should say they are “aware that a disruption to the day- to- day working of the firm might be anticipated by virtue of my employment and that it might seem that I expect a lighter workload”.
“However, I would be quite prepared to take a commensurate pay cut in respect of the services I would not be providing while continuing to work the same hours as other junior doctors of my grade,” the letter says.
It adds: “My sincerely held beliefs are based upon scientific, philosophical and religious positions which I understand to be compatible with the r ights afforded to me by the European Convention on Human Rights.”
Trainee doctors are reassured that “most, if not all” consultants would see their position as a “non-issue” and would grant their requests.
“One benefit of the l iberal times we live in is that there are many true liberals in consultant posts who will view your position as simply one more among many,” Dr Delany said.
Both the Catholic and Anglican Churches held traditional moral objections to sterilisation and contraception, but the Church of England reversed its position in the 1920s. In 1968 Pope Paul VI, against the wishes of his advisers, published Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical forbidding married couples from regulating their fertility by such practices.
Doctors did not have a right to object to involvement in vasectomies until the passage of the 2010 Equalities Act, which gives legal protection to “philosophical beliefs”.
Earlier this year an NHS Trust backed down from trying to force two Catholic nurses from assisting in chemical abortions after their lawyers invoked the provisions of the 2010 Act in defence of their “pro-life” convictions and thr r ight to freedom of conscience.
Congregation elects first British head in 300 years BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
A BRITISH NUN has been elected general superior of the Congregation of Jesus for the first time since the 18th century.
The worldwide congregation elected Sister Jane Livesy on Sunday, with more than 60 members gathering in the sanctuary of St Ignatius, in Loyola, Spain. Representatives of the congregation came from orders in Argentina, Zimbabwe, Mongolia and Cuba.
The Congregation of Jesus described the day of Sister Jane’s election as one of “gratitude and joy”.
Sister Jane said: “These are exciting times for us. With challenging opportunities opening up in parts of the world where the need for evangelisation is urgent.
“With vocations beginning to pick up in Mary Ward’s own country as well, it feels good to be part of a religious life that is open to the call of today and tomorrow.”
Prior to the election, delegates prayed in silence for half an hour in order to discern with Christ the best person “suitable today to carry this weight of responsibility for the future”.
Before becoming provincial superior in Britain, Sister Jane was headmistress of St Mary’s School in Shaftesbury, Dorset, between 1985 and 1998. The independent Catholic boarding school is founded on the principles of Mary Ward. On its website their mission staement declares: “We are concerned with all that a girl is and could become.”
The society’s noviciate in England is based at the Bar Convent in York, where the sisters have been dedicated to the northern city for over 300 years.
The order was founded in 1609 by Yorkshire woman Mary Ward, who was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, the first step on the road to sainthood. The last English women to be general superiors of the Congregation of Jesus were Anna Barbara Babthorpe (1697-1711) and her sister Mary Agnes (1711-1720). Both were related to Mary Ward’s cousin and early companion, Barbara Babthorpe of Osgodby, Yorkshire.
Mary Ward’s foundation exists today worldwide under two names – the Congregation of Jesus and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The societies have approximately 3,000 members, with Sisters in 44 countries and across five continents.
Do you share our love for small human beings? Are you creative? Could you produce a short video [1 – 3 mins] expressing your enthusiasm for early human life?
The ProLife Alliance invites you to enter
A Christmas 2011 Pro-Life SHORT FILM CONTEST Celebrating early human life any time from conception to a baby’s first birthday
1st prize £1,000 2nd prize £250 3rd prize £100
Just pick up your camera and get going * It is all up to your imagination and creativity but we suggest some of you might like to look at the prize-winning film ‘Babies’ to get an idea of how absolutely delightful small human beings can be. There are no other rules. Anybody can enter. Launch: 27 October 2011
Entries by 15 December 2011 Winners will be announced on 31 January 2012
*Each entry must last between 1-3 minutes. Only original entries accepted. No copyright infringements. And of course absolute respect for human life and dignity. Please look at our website [prolife.org.uk] for more information and rules of entry.
ProLife Alliance, PO Box 13395, London, SW3 6XE
t: 020 7581 6939 e: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook/PLAChildLike and twitter @PLAChildLike
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CIEL UK Annual High Mass and Conference at The Oratory, Brompton Road, London SW7
on Saturday 19 November 2011
12 Noon: High Mass in the Usus Antiquior
Break for lunch
2.30 pm (in St Wilfrid’s Hall): Conference with principal speaker, Fr Cassian Folsom OSB, Prior of the flourishing new Benedictine Abbey in Norcia, Italy.
Fr. Cassian’s topic:
“The Roman Missal, organic growth and development, 1570 to 1962; the changes in the 1970 Missal and the Pope’s motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum”. Our second speaker will be Revd Dr Alcuin Reid, from the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon,
who will speak on “Refining ‘The Organic Development of the Liturgy’ the fundamental principle for assessing the reform of the 1970 Missale Romanum”.
(Also, a special one-day outing to the historic and architecturally outstanding chapel at Wardour will be announced for next Spring.)
Cost: £5.00 payable at the door. All are welcome
5.00 pm (in The Little Oratory): Benediction Followed by an informal gathering with wine for all in St Wilfrid’s Hall.
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