- Monday, 06 February 2012 15:45
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,”
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.”
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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- Friday, 06 January 2012 15:51
Today the Pope ordained, or consecrated, if you will, two priests as bishops of the Holy Roman Church. Noteworthy is the New York native, now Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, Charles John Brown, 52, until now an official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. May I note that among other things Archbishop Brown is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Rome’s Benedictine school, Sant’Anselmo (places close to my heart)! A snippet of the Benedict’s homily follows:
… how can we fail to recognize in all this certain essential elements of episcopal ministry? The bishop too must be a man of restless heart, not satisfied with the ordinary things of this world, but inwardly driven by his heart’s unrest to draw ever closer to God, to seek his face, to recognize him more and more, to be able to love him more and more. The bishop too must be a man of watchful heart, who recognizes the gentle language of God and understands how to distinguish truth from mere appearance. The bishop too must be filled with the courage of humility, not asking what prevailing opinion says about him, but following the criterion of God’s truth and taking his stand accordingly – “opportune – importune”. He must be able to go ahead and mark out the path. He must go ahead, in the footsteps of him who went ahead of us all because he is the true shepherd, the true star of the promise: Jesus Christ. And he must have the humility to bend down before the God who made himself so tangible and so simple that he contradicts our foolish pride in its reluctance to see God so close and so small. He must devote his life to adoration of the incarnate Son of God, which constantly points him towards the path.
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- Friday, 07 October 2011 06:22
Amy Sullivan of Time magazine wrote a piece today, “Why Catholic Bishops are Targeting Obama on Religious Freedom.” I don’t particularly think Sullivan’s article is not all that informative, in fact, I think she needs to review it again and republish it. She does, however, indirectly say that Catholics –indeed all people of faith– better wake up today and get with the program: the current presidential administration of the US government is narrowing an understanding and practice of religious freedom. Catholics, unlike the Jews or the Muslims are too often slow to know the horizons of the debate. Catholics don’t often go up to Mount Nebo to survey the geography or their own history. Whether recent events are the most egregious in 30 years is a matter of opinion, but the trampling (or reduction) of religious freedom harms everybody, atheist and the Legion of Mary member alike.
It’s time to get fluent in the terms of religious freedom, pun intended.
This is not a Catholic issue. This is an issue for all people who live a life of faith.
- Thursday, 15 September 2011 08:01
Newly ordained bishops are invited to Rome for a baby bishops’ camp each year. This year more than 100 new bishops came together for a series of workshops sponsored by the Congregations for Bishops and Eastern Churches on the theme of the Holy Spirit in the life of the bishop and the Church. The pope addressed the new bishops today. He exhorted them to live a balanced Christian life of prayer, study, work and rest. Moreover, he reminded the bishops that they are pastors of souls –not CEOs– and have to be concerned for the eternal destiny of those they are called to serve asking them at the same time to welcome the gifts the laity bring to the life of the Church. Every baptized person is brought into the inner life of the Trinity. In other words, the Pope told the bishops don’t act arbitrarily and be human: clericalism has no place in pastoral leadership.