Ryan Bomberger How I’ve changed hearts on abortion INTERVIEW, PAGE 7
John Gummer Why I disagree with Cardinal Pell
FEATURE, PAGE 9
Fr Kevin Doran There is hope for the Irish Church
COMMENT, PAGE 12
December 9 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Cardinal says leaders must tackle climate ‘apartheid’
Ukrainian Christmas tree arrives at Vatican
BY ED WEST
THE FAILURE to address climate change is “moral apartheid”, the president of Caritas Internationalis has said.
Speaking in Durban Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of Catholic relief and development agencies, said that “just as South Africa’s apartheid era policies sought divisions along race lines, today the world’s environment and energy policies divide man from nature”.
“Don’t we realise that the climate is out of control?” he said in a Sunday homily in Emmanuel Cathedral, Durban. “How long will countless people have to go on dying before adequate decisions are taken?”
After a reading from the book of Isaiah, the Honduran cardinal, who is Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, said: “It’s true that in faith we wait ‘for the new heavens and the new earth’ as the second reading told us, but this does not mean indifference or complicity with those who destroy this land where we live. ‘Living holy and saintly lives’ means living in justice with creation and the environment, and especially with the poor people who are the primary victims of this serious problem.
“In the desert John ‘cried out’ the need to prepare a way for the Lord. Today, in the desert of our planet earth, and in the desert of our hearts, the same voice is ringing out. This conference of delegates from so many countries cannot remain as a voice silenced by economic power.” At the UN conference, which was organised to secure a global agreement to replace those made at Kyoto in 1997, the cardinal said that
Our economic system and its search for money above all have dehumanised human beings
For the latest Catholic news, visit CatholicHerald.co.uk excessive focus on money was dehumanising people and that religious communities have a duty to call attention to the importance of the human person, who is “at the centre of creation”.
Officials from nearly 200 countries are in Durban for the climate change talks, with the cardinal leading a 20strong Caritas delegation calling for a reduction of emissions by more than 40 per cent by 2020 and for an agreement on behalf of poor countries that have been severely affected by climate change.
In a panel discussion last week Cardinal Rodríguez said: “Our economic system and its search for money above all have dehumanised human beings. Religious groups have a duty to humanise them again.” The panellists, who represented Christianity, Judaism and other religions, argued that climate change was a moral issue, not just an environmental concern.
Cardinal Rodriguez said that climate talks two years ago in Copenhagen failed even to focus on the environment and instead only debated economic issues. “Our tendency to search for money is destroying the environment,” he said. Writing in The Catholic Herald this week Lord Gummer argued that tackling climate change is a Christian imperative. The former Conservative Minister said: “The Pope, the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Canterbury have been joined by religious leaders all over the world to call for us to act now before it is too late. There has rarely been a clearer or more consistent call.”
He was responding to a speech made by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney in Westminster in October in which he expressed “deep scepticism” about manmade climate change.
The Vatican’s Christmas tree was placed in St Peter’s Square on Monday.
The 100ft tree, described by a Vatican spokesman as “majestic”, was donated by the Ukrainian government,
and came from the Carpathian mountains.
The tree will be decorated with 2,500 gold and silver balls and will be lit during a ceremony on December 16 to be attended by prelates from both the Catholic Church and Orthodox churches in Ukraine.
John Paul II began the tradition of erecting a tall Christmas tree in the square in 1982.
Bishop: it is harder than ever to find God
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THERE are now more obstacles preventing young people from practising their faith than at any time since Catholics were persecuted in Elizabethan times, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has said.
Preaching at a Youth 2000 Mass at St Mary’s church in Middlewich, Cheshire, Bishop Mark Davies said: “Never since the days of persecution have so many obstacles been put in front of a generation to prevent you finding your way to Him. And it isn’t so much Sunday working, Sunday shopping, social lives which block out Saturday nights and Sunday mornings but losing sight of Jesus Himself which eclipses Sunday, not knowing where He is found which leaves it empty.
He added: “It isn’t the incidentals of music or style which draw or deter you from finding your way to Him. Those things may help or hinder us but they’re not why we’re ever here. We are here because we know in the words of St John Vianney that ‘He is here, the One who loves us so much He is here.’ May we find our way to Him where we know He will always be found.”
The bishop told his young congregation that to follow the Lord faithfully they must put Mass at the centre of their lives.
He said: “As the women and the Apostles had made their way in the first light of Easter Sunday morning to that meeting with the Lord so we are called on the first day of the week to meet the same Lord truly present with us now in the Eucharist.
“You will sometimes hear people say: ‘What would Jesus have done? What would Jesus have said?’ as if He were some distant figure of history whose words and actions we can now only guess at.”
The bishop also said that the older generation often failed to instruct young people in the faith. He said: “For a generation before you so often failed to pass on those directions, the fullness of our Catholic faith which in Isaiah’s words at every crucial turn of our lives tells us: ‘This is the way, follow it!’ ” Editorial Comment: Page 13
Visionary who reported eight apparitions of Mary dies aged 90 BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE GIRL who saw apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Banneux, Belgium, died last week at the age of 90.
Mariette Beco reported eight apparitions of the Virgin Mary between January 15 and March 2 1933, in the small town south-east of Liège.
A statement on the website of the shrine of Our Lady of Banneux said: “Mariette’s last years were those of most elderly persons with both joys and sufferings. The rector of the shrine of Banneux, Fr Leo Palm, had several encounters with Mariette. He remembers her as a person loved by her family and attached to her son and her grandchildren. Mariette also mourned her two daughters, one who died in her childhood, the second who died in 2008, aged 61.”
Bishop Louis-Joseph Kerkhofs of Liège recognised the apparitions of Banneux in 1949, marking the official recognition by the Church.
Mariette led a very quiet life after the apparitions and did not make any further public comments.
In 2008, the year of the official ceremonies of the 75th anniversary of the apparitions, she asked Fr Joseph Cassart, then rector of the shrine, to publish a letter in which she made her final statement about the apparitions.
She said: “I was no more then a postman who delivers the mail. Once this has been done, the postman is of no importance any more.” Mariette reported her first apparition on the evening of Sunday, January 15, as she stood at the kitchen window in her home in Banneux.
It was then that she said she saw the Virgin Mary beckon to her from the garden but her mother was afraid and stopped her daughter from going outside. Seven apparitions followed, during which Our Lady of Banneux said: “I am the Virgin of the Poor” and “I come to relieve suffering.”
Christians are in a minority at the BBC BY ED WEST
LESS than a quarter of BBC staff are Christian, it has been disclosed, despite Christians making up two thirds of the British population.
The Corporation, which has often been accused of bias in faith matters, employs more non-believers than Christians, who comprise just 22.5 per cent of the workforce.
The beliefs of BBC staff were disclosed after the Corporation carried out a costly audit earlier this year to comply with the 2010 Equality Act.
The census by pollsters Ipsos MORI was voluntary, but the BBC said the figures provided “a good indication of our employees’ comparative religious identity profile”. Editorial Comment: Page 13
Vatican stamp marks papal visit to Britain BY ED WEST
A STAMP depicting the Pope’s visit to Britain last year has been issued by the Vatican City.
The stamp shows Blessed John Henry Newman and Westminster Abbey with Pope Benedict and is part of a set marking the apostolic journeys made by Benedict XVI last year. The €1.60 stamp also features the Union Flag.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said: “The papal visit to Britain remains a moment of great importance and a vivid memory. This stamp helps many people to reflect further on the role of faith today.”
He added that the depiction of Blessed John Henry Newman alongside Pope Benedict XVI signalled “an affinity of mind”.
Fr Anthony Symondson The luxury books of Catholic England PAGE 14
Bishop David McGough Follow Mary through the financial crisis PAGE 16
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