Category Archives: Faith & Reason

The Sexual Abuse of Minors: A Multi-faceted Response to the Challenge, Cardinal William Levada’s address



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Today, in Rome,
there is a Gregorian University sponsored Symposium entitled “Towards Healing
and Renewal.” It is a four day gathering of professionals and clergy-types who
have responsibility for working with victims and family members of sexual
abuse. While not personally in attendance, Pope Benedict XVI was present
through his personal message sent to participants and with the presence of
several cardinals and bishops, Including William Cardinal Levada, 76, Prefect of
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal Levada’s address,
“The
Sexual Abuse of Minors: A Multi-faceted Response to the Challenge,”
follows.

The Pope’s message iterates in this context, as he has done in the
past, his hope and life’s work that “healing for abuse victims must be of
paramount concern in the Christian community,” with “a profound renewal of the
Church at every level.” Further, he “supports and encourages every effort to
respond with evangelical charity to the challenge of providing children and
vulnerable adults with an ecclesial environment conducive to their human and
spiritual growth” and he urges the participants in the Symposium “to continue
drawing on a wide range of expertise in order to promote throughout the Church
a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support.”

The Sexual
Abuse of Minors: A Multi-faceted Response to the Challenge Toward Healing and
Renewal” is the title given to this Symposium for Catholic Bishops and
Religious Superiors on the Sexual Abuse of Minors. For leaders in the Church
for whom this Symposium has been planned, the question is both delicate and
urgent. Just two years ago, in his reflections on the “Year for Priests” at the
annual Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict XVI spoke in
direct and lengthy terms about priests who “twist the sacrament [of Holy
Orders] into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly
wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime.”
I
chose this phrase to begin my remarks this evening because I think it important
not to lose sight of the gravity of these crimes as we deal with the multiple
aspects the Church’s response.

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The priority renewal of the faith

The full body of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the Pope on Friday, 27 January, to discuss his conviction that no other work of the Church, particularly this congregation, takes precedence to the work of evangelization. Everyone ought to be committed “to bringing God back into this world and to opening to all men access to the faith.”

Benedict see now as the opportune moment “to point out to all the gift of faith in the Risen Christ, the clear teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the invaluable doctrinal synthesis offered by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” Recently, the Pope said that “we are facing a profound crisis of faith, a loss of religious meaning which constitutes the greatest challenge to the Church” (Message for World Mission Day).

Other things that concern us, the Pope noted were:



1. the unity among Christians:  maintaining “coherence in the ecumenical task with the Second Vatican Council and the whole of Tradition”;

2. warned of the dangers of “a shallow moralism”;

3. to promote “the logic” contained in the conciliar teaching: “the sincere search for the full unity of all Christians is a dynamism animated by the Word of God”;

4. a need for a “discernment between Tradition with a capital letter and the traditions”: “There exists,” he said, “a spiritual wealth in the different Christian confessions, which is an expression of the one faith and gift to share” (reflecting the recent work done for the full communion of Anglicans).

The last concern of Benedict was that the entire Church speak with one voice with Peter.

Law and the Gospel of Life –Archbishop Dolan addresses a NY crowd

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Fordham Law School’s Institute on Religion, Law & Lawyer’s Work hosted Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan, PhD, for an inaugural address in the Law and the Gospel of Life series. 

Sadly, it didn’t make the news, well not much was said around the area about it. Fordham University published this brief press release read here. The crowd exceed initial expectations and a change of venue was made. Cardinal-designate Dolan centered his comments on Blessed John Paul II landmark encyclical, the Evangelium Vitae (1995). An excerpt of Dolan’s remarks follows, below is the link to his entire text:

The Gospel of Life proposes an alternative vision of law and culture, one that provides an antidote to the pragmatic nihilism that produces a Culture of Death. It seeks to recapture the essential relationship between the civil law and the moral law, and to foster a culture in which all human life is valued and authentic human development is possible.

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Christ’s desire for unity, a communio

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The Papal General Audience given in the Paul VI Hall today, Benedict spoke of the desire for unity that our Lord expressed in his priestly prayer at the Last Supper (John 17):

Against the backdrop of the Jewish feast of expiation Yom Kippur, Jesus, priest and victim, prays that the Father will glorify him in this, the hour of his sacrifice of reconciliation. He asks the Father to consecrate his disciples, setting them apart and sending them forth to continue his mission in the world. Christ also implores the gift of unity for all those who will believe in him through the preaching of the apostles.

Sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition and now echoed by Pope Benedict, believes that Christ’s priestly prayer is understood as His instituting the Church, the community of faith, the communio found  explicitly in a church that is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Taking the Pauline manner of thinking, we are disciples of Christ who, through faith in Christ, are one and share in His saving mission:

In meditating upon the Lord’s priestly prayer, let us ask the Father for the grace to grow in our baptismal consecration and to open our own prayers to the needs of our neighbors and the whole world. Let us also pray, as we have just done in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, for the gift of the visible unity of all Christ’s followers, so that the world may believe in the Son and in the Father who sent him.

“Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization” explained

Earlier today, Monsignor Paul Tighe, the Secretary to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, talked about the Pope’s 2012 message for World Communications Day (May 20, 2012). 

To some the combination of silence and word as a path to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is a contradiction, mutually exclusive and not an adequate response to making the Name of the Lord known and loved. Not at all. God reveals Himself in words and deeds but He also speaks to us in silence. Indeed, in silence. Wonder and awe before the Divine Mystery is only lived in silence. The Church Fathers knew this; medieval saints and theologians knew this, and so does the contemporary Church. Father Jean-Pierre Ruiz of St John’s University (Queens, NY) speaks to the perceived contradiction here.
“Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization” is the 46th message of the pope’s speaking in favor of social communications. It is terrific, it is necessary, read it!!!!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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