‘HE WHO DRINKS MY BLOOD I WILL RAISE UP’ FR CHARLES DILKE ON THE ENORMOUS POWER OF HOLY COMMUNION PAGE 9
www.catholicherald.co.uk June 4 2010 £1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
Pope sends in apostolic visitors to Ireland Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor given senior role in inspections of Irish Church
BY DAVID V BARRETT
THE VATICAN has named Cardinal Cormac MurphyO’Connor among a high-ranking group of apostolic visitors to Ireland following the child abuse scandal that has devastated the Church there.
The emeritus Archbishop of Westminster will be the apostolic visitor to the Archdiocese of Armagh, historically the most important diocese in the Irish Church.
He said: “The Apostolic Visitation will provide the Holy See with a thorough analysis of the Catholic Church in Ireland and its safeguarding procedures and protocols. Putting the safeguarding of children and all vulnerable people at the heart of every aspect of the Church’s life is essential.”
A decade ago the cardinal was himself at the centre of an abuse scandal when it emerged that he had assigned Fr Michael Hill as chaplain to Gatwick airport in spite of receiving credible allegations against him. The priest went on to re-offend.
The criticism of the cardinal was so severe that he ordered Lord Nolan to reform child abuse procedures in the English and Welsh Church which are now considered to be the most rigorous of any British institution.
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor will be among nine apostolic visitors to Ireland beginning this autumn.
The review of the Church was announced by Pope Benedict in late March in a letter to the Irish Church on the subject of clerical abuse.
The seniority and experience of the visitors is an indication of the importance of the visitation.
They also include Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston who will act as the visitor for the Archdiocese of Dublin, Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto who will serve in the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, and Archbishop
Archbishop Timothy Dolan: Cleaned up clerical abuse crisis in Milwaukee
Terrence Thomas Prendergast of Ottawa who will be the visitor in the Archdiocese of Tuam.
They will report to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. After the archdioceses the visitation will be extended to some other dioceses, as yet unnamed.
Cardinal O’Malley, a Franciscan, is experienced in child protection because he took over the troubled diocese of Boston from Cardinal Bernard Laws, who resigned in disgrace over his mishandling of sexual abuse cases. “The Church must be unfailingly vigilant in protecting children and young people,” he said.
“It will be important to respond to the concerns of the Catholic community and survivors in the manner that will promote the process of healing.”
The 2,600-page Ryan report by the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse, published in May last year, revealed far more abuse than most people had imagined. Over 2,000 people told the nine-year-long commission that they had suffered abuse in Catholic schools, reformatories and workhouses.
The Murphy Report into
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor: Commissioned the Nolan report into abuse and child protection Cardinal O’Malley: Instituted zero-tolerance policy for clerical abuse in Boston archdiocese the abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Dublin, published in November scandalised Irish society because it showed how Church leaders covered up instances of sexual abuse.
In his letter to Irish Catholics the Pope told priests who had abused minors that they would answer to God for their sins. He said that bishops had made serious mistakes in responding to allegations of abuse, and he encouraged them to implement the new Church norms against abuse in Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the
Catholic Church in Ireland, a document prepared by the Irish Church’s safeguarding board and to cooperate with civil authorities in such cases.
Three bishops resigned in the wake of the scandal.
Announcing the names of the visitors, a Vatican spokesman said: “Through this visitation, the Holy See intends to offer assistance to the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful as they seek to respond adequately to the situation caused by the tragic cases of abuse perpetrated by priests and religious upon minors. It is also intended to contribute to the desired spiritual and moral renewal that is already being vigorously pursued by the Church in Ireland.”
The apostolic visitors will set out to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims. They will monitor the effectiveness of the current procedures for preventing abuse and seek possible improvements to them, taking as their points of reference the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela and the new Church norms.
Dolan of New York, former rector of the North American College in Rome, has been named apostolic visitor to the Irish seminaries, including the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.
Archbishop Dolan said: “My love for the faith of Ireland, and my own background in priestly formation, make me grateful for this assignment, and I look forward to close cooperation with my brother bishops, priests, religious, and the faithful of Ireland.”
The Congregation for Catholic Education will coordinate the visitation to the seminaries “in its desire to accompany the process of renewal of houses of formation for the future priests of the Church in Ireland”, said the Vatican spokesman.
“While special attention will be given to the matters that occasioned the apostolic visitation, in the case of the seminaries it will cover all aspects of priestly formation.”
The apostolic visitors to Irish religious orders for men will be Fr Joseph Tobin, former superior of the Redemptorist order, and Jesuit Fr Gero McLaughlin, promoter of Ignatian spirituality for the British Province of the Jesuits. Former Vatican official Sister Sharon Holland of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Sister Mairin McDonagh of the Religious of Jesus and Mary will lead the visitation for religious orders for women. Their visitation will be organised by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in two phases.
First it will send a questionnaire to the superiors of all the Irish religious institutes, with the aim of “providing an accurate picture of the current situation and formulating plans for the observance and improvement of the norms contained in the ‘guidelines’”. In the second phase the four visitors “will carry out a careful study, evaluating the results obtained from the questionnaire and the possible steps to be taken in the future in order to usher in a season of spiritual rebirth for religious life on the island”.
The Pope asked Catholics in Ireland to support the visitation with their prayers, a Vatican statement said. He blessed the visitors and said he hoped the visitation would be an “occasion of renewed fervour in the Christian life, and that it may deepen their faith and strengthen their hope in Christ our Saviour.”
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Oberammergau Passion play sees fall in ticket sales in Britain and US
BY STAFF REPORTER
THE OBERAMMERGAU Passion play has been hit by the recession, with fewer tickets to this year’s spectacle sold.
Sales for the play in the Bavarian village of Oberammergau have suffered as a result of the financial crisis, organisers have said, with the number of visitors from overseas dropping by between 20 and 30 per cent.
The hugely popular Passion play is performed every 10
years in the mountain village as the result of a vow made by villagers during a plague epidemic in 1633. If they were spared death, they would perform the mystery play in thanksgiving. The first production took place in 1634. In the late 19th century the play started getting a wider audience with 35,000 visitors in 1870, and by 1950 there were 480,000 visitors.
According to the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung Werner Herrlinger, Oberammergau’s sales manager, said that demand from visitors in the United States and Britain had declined. While there were still over 100,000 Americans and 40,000 to 50,000 Britons due to attend the play, organisers are considering marketing more heavily in Catholic European countries, as well as East Asia, when it takes place again in 2020.
Organisers are still hoping that sales will pick up in the five months the play is performed in the remote village.
In 2000, the last time the Passion play was performed by the villagers of Oberammergau, half a million visitors came to watch the production.
Villagers make up the cast for the play – in the tradition of the medieval mystery play – and auditions take place two years before the performance. Members of the cast have to have lived in the village for 20 years and be of good standing. The play lasts for five hours.
Irish priest imposes ban on limousines
Television show ends with Catholic twist
BY STAFF REPORTER
A BAN on limousines for ferrying children to their First Holy Communion has been ignored by parents in Ireland.
Fr David Bradley imposed the ban in order to combat a growing trend consisting of parents transporting their children to the parish church for their First Communions in outlandish equipages such as limos or horse-drawn carriages. He asked parents to eschew the vehicles which have become popular in Ireland because of limited parking space.
But parents of Holy Family church in Ballsgrove, Drogheda, County Louth, ignored the requests and several children were seen arriving in stretch limousines and other extravagant means of transport. They also included a pink limo and a glass “Princess” horse-drawn carriage which caused a minor traffic disruption.
BY MIGUEL CULLEN
THE SERIES finale of television programme Lost has been hailed for its strong Catholic overtones.
The cult show drew to a close on May 24. The final episode, set in a church, depicted a character seemingly passing from purgatory to heaven. The programme features a cast of characters, including John Locke (played by Terry O’Quinn, right) living on a tropical island following the crash of Oceanic Flight 815.
The Washington Post, the Economist and Spanish daily La Razon have commented on the symbolism. According to an article in La Razon, the final episode contained key themes of forgiveness, sacrifice and love. It said: “Love was not only understood as eros, possessive love, but as agape, the love that seeks the good of the other.”
DON’T MISS: ATHEISM IS DOOMED, SAYS ACADEMIC PAGE 7