VATICAN INSIDER: EWTN, THE CHURCH AND VR – COURT RULES FOR EWTN IN HHS MANDATE CASE – ON THE PAPAL AGENDA TODAY – VATICAN CITY/HOLY SEE JOIN SINGLE EURO PAYMENTS AREA

VATICAN INSIDER: EWTN, THE CHURCH AND VR

My guest this week on Vatican Insider is one of EWTN’s own in Rome – Ben Crockett – or, as the Register described him in a headline “Meet the Millennial Who Is Taking Virtual Reality to the Front Lines of the Church. Harvard graduate student pursues his dreams in Rome.”

Ben is one of the most amiable, talented, hard-working and creative people of the many like people on EWTN’s Rome staff! In the fairly short time he has been with us, he has revolutionized so much in the area of social media, but especially his expertise in VR – virtual reality. You’ve surely seen some of his amazing VR work and maybe did not know he was responsible for it. Well, this weekend you will have the chance to meet this remarkable young man by tuning in to Vatican Insider! (EWTN photos)

Ben in Malawi with JRS – Jesuit Refugee Service

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

COURT RULES FOR EWTN IN HHS MANDATE CASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A court ruling yesterday ensures Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the world’s largest religious media network, can freely follow the religious teachings that drive its mission. In Eternal Word Television Network v. Azar, the previous administration’s HHS mandate tried to force the Catholic network to provide services such as the week-after pill in its healthcare plan. Yesterday’s decision, which comes on the heels of a settlement with the federal government, ends EWTN’s seven-year legal battle.

To read more: https://www.becketlaw.org/media/worlds-largest-religious-media-network-wins-right-follow-faith/

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/ewtn-wins-lawsuit-over-hhs-contraception-mandate

ON THE PAPAL AGENDA TODAY

Friday was a busy day for the Pope as he met with various groups including some youngsters with cancer from Wroclaw, Poland and members of the International Theological Commission.

Pope Francis also met with members of the “Shahbaz Bhatti Mission Association, expressing the hope that they can extend their activity to those areas of Pakistan where Christians and other minorities continue to be discriminated against. In March 2011 Shahbaz Bhatti, a Pakistani politician and the country’s first Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs was assassinated in Islamabad for his struggle to promote human equality, social justice and interfaith harmony in Pakistan. Inspired by the thought and vision of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Association was founded to continue the tireless he did as a politician to create a society where everyone can live with dignity and respect.

The Holy Father also met with members of the Sardinia United Service Center for Volunteers, encouraging them to give a human and Christian touch through volunteer service. He expressed his appreciation for their efforts to help some of the poorest people in the world and the welcome they extend to newcomers in Sardinia.

Also Friday: The Vatican released Pope Francis’ letter to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I for the November 30 feast of St. Andrew, patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The letter was given to the patriarch by Cardinal Kurk Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who led the Holy See delegation to ceremonies in Istanbul, Turkey. Despite differences between Catholics and Orthodox Christians, said a Vatican news story, Pope Francis said the two communities are called to be a sign of hope by working together for peace, human dignity and care of creation.

VATICAN CITY/HOLY SEE JOIN SINGLE EURO PAYMENTS AREA

A communique today from the Holy See Press Office announced that Vatican City State/Holy See join the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA):

The Board of the European Payments Council (EPC) approved last week the extension of the geographical scope of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) to Vatican City State and the Holy See. It is foreseen that as of 1 March 2019, the SEPA schemes are open to the financial institutions of the Vatican City State/Holy See, once they have joined. SEPA harmonises the way electronic euro payments are made across Europe. It allows European consumers, businesses and public administrations to make and receive credit transfers as well as direct debit under the same basic conditions and makes all cross-border payments in euro as easy as domestic payments. As of 1 March 2019, the geographical scope of the SEPA schemes will consist of the following 36 countries: the 28 EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, the Principality of Andorra and the Vatican City State/Holy See. “The successful application to SEPA is a very positive sign” said René Bruelhart, President of AIF (Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria). “It helps to facilitate payments and harmonises such services. Furthermore, it demonstrates the Holy See’s efforts to enhance financial transparency.”

POPE TO RECTORS OF SHRINES: KEEPING POPULAR PIETY ALIVE – THREE CHRISTMAS “GIFTS” FOR SYRIA

Here’s a great video of the little boy who interrupted the general audience yesterday – the little boy from Argentina who is mute: https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2018/nov/28/pope-francis-chuckles-as-boy-runs-around-swiss-guard-video

POPE TO RECTORS OF SHRINES: KEEPING POPULAR PIETY ALIVE

From November 27th to the 29th, at Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University,the 1st International Conference for Rectors and Shrine Operators took place on the theme “The Shrine is open for the new evangelization.” At the end of the conference on Thursday morning, in the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace, the Pope received the participants of the conference.

Pope Francis encouraged shrine rectors and pastoral workers to make pilgrims feel “at home” and to help them enrich their popular piety.
By Seàn-Patrick Lovett (vaticannews)

A Shrine is a church, or other sacred place, which is visited by people who come as pilgrims to pray, or to seek grace and consolation. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of such locations all over the world. And the tradition of visiting and praying at a Shrine is as old as the Church itself.

Shrines are irreplaceable
Reflecting on the contemporary importance of Shrines, the Pope described them as places where people gather “to express their faith in simplicity, and according to the various traditions that have been learned since childhood.” In this sense, he said, “Shrines are irreplaceable because they keep popular piety alive.”

Places of welcome
Shrines must always be places of welcome, said Pope Francis, and pilgrims must always be made to feel at home, “like a long-awaited family member who has finally arrived.” Many people visit a Shrine, said the Pope, because of its works of art, or because it is located in a beautiful natural environment. “When these people are welcomed,” he said, “they become more willing to open their hearts and let them be shaped by Grace.”

Places of prayer
Above all, said Pope Francis, the Shrine is a place of prayer. Most of our Shrines are dedicated to Our Lady: “Here the Virgin Mary opens the arms of her maternal love to listen to the prayer of each and every one”, he said. “Here she smiles, offering consolation. Here she sheds tears with those who weep… Here she becomes the companion on the road of every person who raises their eyes to her asking for grace, and certain of being heard.”

Places of reconciliation
No one visiting a Shrine should feel like a stranger, said the Pope, especially when they come weighed down by sin. “The Shrine is a privileged place to experience mercy that knows no boundaries,” he said. “When mercy is experienced, it becomes a form of real evangelization, because it transforms those who receive it into witnesses of mercy.” Praying in silence, or with pious formulas and gestures learned as a child, “each one must be helped to express themselves in personal prayer.”

It is this prayer, concluded Pope Francis, that makes Shrines such fruitful places “where popular piety is nourished and grows.”

THREE CHRISTMAS “GIFTS” FOR SYRIA

The Pontifical Foundation “Aid to the Church in Need” has launched their Christmas campaign: three new projects to help Christians remain in Syria.
By Francesca Merlo (vaticannews)

7 years and 552,000 deaths later, the war in Syria is still not over. As the country is being destroyed, the small Christian communities which, before the war broke out made up around 10% of the population, are trying to survive.

“Aid to the Church in Need” in Italy has launched their Christmas campaign. Three “gifts”, as an effort to help these Christians in th hope that Christianity does not disappear completely from the Middle East. The gifts tackle three difficult areas that have been affected by the war in Syria: Food, Sanitation and Education.

Food
The first involves the distribution of 1,725 food parcels to Christian families living in absolute poverty. 1,090 of these live in their own homes – though they have been severely damaged by the war. The remaining 635 families live without any roof over their heads.

Sanitation
The second project aims to help 700 people in Aleppo who are suffering medically. Due to the incessant warfare, the number of people in need of medical assistance, whether to tend to wounds or illnesses, is huge. The war has not only caused the illnesses and wounds, it has also destroyed over half of the health facilities that would have previously provided assistance. The war has caused poverty, and when poverty stops you from being able to feed your family, it also prevents you from being able to buy medicine.

Education
The third project is aimed at children, those who are suffering most from this war. The Pontifical foundation in Aleppo is providing the money necessary to rebuild and render functional a nursery, destroyed by bombs, that welcomes 15 autistic children. Here, Sisters from the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, will be able to once again assist and love those who need them.

This Christmas, Aid to the Church in Need in Italy has found a way to make a difference for these Christians who are suffering as a consequence of others’ indifference.

YOU GOTTA LOVE HIM! – THE 10 COMMANDMENTS ARE “A GUIDE TO AN AUTHENTIC HUMAN LIFE” – POPE FRANCIS EXPRESSES CLOSENESS TO “MARTYRED LAND OF SYRIA”

YOU GOTTA LOVE HIM!

A young boy upstaged Pope Francis on Wednesday, escaping from his mother and running onto the papal podium at a general audience, tugging on the hand of a Swiss guardsman and playing behind the pontiff’s chair. (Reuters story and photo)


The boy’s mother briefly spoke to the pope as she tried to pull the child away, saying that he was mute. Pope Francis told her to let him carry on playing.

“This child cannot speak. He is mute. But he can communicate,” the pope told hundreds of pilgrims. “And he has something that got me thinking: he is free. Unruly … but he is free,” he added to laughter.

“Let’s ask the grace (of God) that he may speak.”

The mother told the pope that the family came from his native Argentina. As she left the stage, a smiling Francis leaned towards Archbishop Georg Gaenswein sitting next to him and whispered: “He is Argentinian. Undisciplined.”

THE 10 COMMANDMENTS ARE “A GUIDE TO AN AUTHENTIC HUMAN LIFE”

Pope Francis concluded his catechesis on the Ten Commandments during the Wednesday general audience, reflecting on them in the light of Christ.
“Dear brothers and sisters, “ he began. “In this, our final catechesis on the Ten Commandments, we reflect on how, in the light of Christ, the Decalogue should be seen not as a series of rules, but rather the guide to an authentic human life that comes to fulfilment in the love, joy and peace born of obedience to the Father’s will. Our Lord came not to abolish the Law but to fulfil it.”

Francis noted that, “the Holy Spirit, by enabling us to live a new life in Christ, takes away our hearts of flesh and opens them to the holy desire to abandon sin and to be conformed to Jesus’ own heart, his love and his desires.”

The Holy Father explained that, “the Ten Commandments invite us first to enter into a faithful and loving relationship with God our Father, to reject every false idol that enslaves us, and to find our authentic rest in the freedom of Christ and the Holy Spirit. They then teach us how to live redeemed lives, marked by fidelity, integrity and honesty towards our neighbor.”

In conclusion, Pope Francis said, “the commandments show us the face of Christ and open the door to the new life of grace; by accepting God’s offer of saving love, we find our true selves and the source of a joy that will never end.”

POPE FRANCIS EXPRESSES CLOSENESS TO “MARTYRED LAND OF SYRIA”

Pope Francis sends a letter to the Franciscans stationed in Syria, saying the Church sees Jesus’ suffering in the trials and poverty of the Syrian people.
By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

In a letter sent to Franciscan friars in Syria, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the “martyred land of Syria.”

“I wish to share in your sufferings and tell you that I am close to you and to the Christian communities which are so tried by the pain experienced in their faith in Christ Jesus.”

The Pope’s letter was addressed to Fathers Hanna Jallouf and Louai Bsharat, OFM.
Pope Francis reflected on the great suffering, poverty, and pain that Jesus experiences in the Syrian people. “It is Jesus! This is a mystery. It is our Christian mystery. In you and in the inhabitants of our beloved Syria, we see Jesus suffering.”

Martyrdom
Pope Francis compared their sufferings to martyrdom. “Nothing more than martyrdom can mark the Christian’s way of participating in humanity’s salvation history.”

He said martyrs advance the Kingdom of God and “sow Christians for the future.”
Calling them “the true glory of the Church and our hope”, the Holy Father said the witness of martyrs is “a warning not to get lost even in the midst of the storm.”

“Not a few times the sea of life has a storm awaiting us, but out of the existential waves we receive an unexpected sign of salvation: Mary, the Mother of the Lord, looking in astonishment and silence at the innocent, crucified Son who fills life and salvation with meaning.”

Pain into hope
Pope Francis assured the Franciscan friars stationed in Syria that he remembers them constantly during Mass and prays that their “unspeakable pain” may be transformed into divine hope.

He then quoted Paul’s Letter to the Romans: “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.”

Finally, Pope Francis prayed that the Virgin Mary guard the Franciscans in Syria “under her Cloak of Grace” and that she intercede for them to receive “the gift of perseverance.”

POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT: DIALOGUE WITH THE JEWS, NOT MISSION – VATICAN TO HOST CONFERENCE ON ADDICTIONS

In the OOPS column: The Vatican news site today announced the Pope’s appointment of a new bishop for Monterey, California, stating: “Bishop Daniel Garcia, Auxiliary Bishop of Austin, Texas since 1915, has been appointed by Pope Francis as the Bishop of Monterey in California. Bishop Garcia was born in Cameron, Texas in 1960.” I’m sure you saw the error: apparently he has been a bishop long before his own birth and before the Pope who named him was born!

In the GOOD NEWS column: I’m delighted to bring you the first story below – some words from Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. It is always great to hear from this wonderful, gentlemanly, erudite, holy man!

POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT: DIALOGUE WITH THE JEWS, NOT MISSION

The Pope emeritus “corrects” an article by theologian Michael Böhnke and rejects as “absolutely false” the insinuation that Benedict has called into question the foundations of Jewish-Christian dialogue.
By Vatican News

In a “correction” sent to the German monthly Herder Korrespondenz, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI affirmed that Christians are called to a “dialogue” with the Jews, rather than a “mission.” The Pope emeritus was responding to an article by theologian Michael Böhnke of Wuppertal. In the September issue of the journal, Böhnke had commented disapprovingly on statements made by Benedict concerning the relationship between Jews and Christians.

A completely false insinuation
Judaism and Christianity, said Benedict, are “two ways of interpreting the Scriptures.” For Christians, the promises made to Israel are the hope of the Church, and “those who abide by it are in no way questioning the foundations of the Jewish-Christian dialogue.” The accusation contained in the article, he continued, is “grotesque nonsense and has nothing to do with what I said about it. I therefore reject his article as a completely false insinuation.”

Böhnke had argued that Benedict XVI, in an article for the theological journal Communio, had demonstrated a problematic understanding of Judaism, and had ignored the suffering Christians had inflicted upon Jews.

Not “mission,” but “dialogue”
In his “correction,” Benedict also addressed – among other theological issues – the delicate question of the “mission” to the Jews; that is, the question of whether the Church should proclaim the Good News of Christ to the Jews. Benedict wrote: “A mission to the Jews is not foreseen and not necessary.” At the same time, it is true that Christ gave His disciples a mission to all peoples and all cultures. For this reason, Benedict affirms, “the missionary mandate is universal – with one exception: a mission to the Jews was not foreseen and not necessary because they alone, among all peoples, knew the ‘unknown God’.”

For Israel, then, it was not a mission, but a dialogue about whether Jesus of Nazareth was “the Son of God, the Logos,” for whom, according to the promises made to His people, Israel, and the whole world without knowing it, was waiting. Taking up this dialogue anew, Benedict said, is “the duty given us at this time.”

Benedict’s “correction” appeared in the December issue of Herder Korrespondenz, and was signed “Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI.”

Reflecting on Relations with the Jews
The original article in Communio, critiqued by Böhnke, was intended as an in-depth study of a document published in 2015 by the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, entitled, “The Gifts and the Calling of God Are Irrevocable (Rom 11:29): A Reflection on Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic– Jewish Relations on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of ‘Nostra aetate’ (no.4).”

The sixth heading of that document, “The Church’s mandate to evangelize in relation to Judaism” deals precisely with the questions raised by Böhnke:

“It is easy to understand that the so–called ‘mission to the Jews’ is a very delicate and sensitive matter for Jews because, in their eyes, it involves the very existence of the Jewish people. This question also proves to be awkward for Christians, because for them the universal salvific significance of Jesus Christ and consequently the universal mission of the Church are of fundamental importance. The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelisation to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views. In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews. While there is a principled rejection of an institutional Jewish mission, Christians are nonetheless called to bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ also to Jews, although they should do so in a humble and sensitive manner, acknowledging that Jews are bearers of God’s Word, and particularly in view of the great tragedy of the Shoah.”

VATICAN TO HOST CONFERENCE ON ADDICTIONS

A two-day conference in the Vatican will examine different aspects of addictions as well as possible treatments and prevention techniques.
By John Waters (vaticannews)

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human development will host a conference entitled “Drugs and Addictions, an obstacle to Integral Human development” from 29 November to 1 December in the Vatican’s Synod Hall.

Presentations will be given on a number of subjects and areas of concern, especially addictions to drugs, gambling, sex and pornography as well as best practices for treatment and prevention

When announcing the conference, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human development quoted Pope Francis’ address to drug enforcement officers in 2015. The Pope described the spread of drugs as being driven by a “shameful market that crosses national and international borders.” The Dicastery went on to detail the alarming statistic that almost 5% of the world’s population have, at some point, taken drugs. Of those 5%, “29.6 million of those users suffer from drug disorders. This means that their drug taking is harmful to the point that they experience drug dependence and require treatment.”

Another cause for alarm is the fact that many drugs are now perceived by society as a form of leisure, recreational activity or even as a sign of wealth and status.
During the discussions and presentations the spotlight will also be on the implications of legalizing various substances. Noting that a number of countries have recently legalized cannabis use, the conference organisers point out that this solution may, ultimately, cause further problems.

“Internet addiction, pornography and sex addiction, as well as pathological gambling, or ludopathy, have for some time been a rampant scourge that further diversify addictions. The legalization of gambling, even when it is supported by the intention of unmasking its criminal management, exponentially increases the number of pathological players.”

Speakers at the conference will include Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Italian Health Minister Giulia Grillo. There will also be representatives from the World Federation against Drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the carabinieri, one of Italy’s police forces.

On Friday 30 November, conference participants will take part in an evening Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. On 1 December the conference will conclude with an audience with Pope Francis.

ANGELUS: POPE FRANCIS RECALLS UKRAINE HOLODOMOR FAMINE – CARDINAL O’MALLEY: “FEBRUARY MEETING WILL BE AN IMPORTANT MOMENT” – ABP SCICLUNA: PROTECTION OF MINORS IS A GLOBAL, SYNODAL ISSUE

Pope Francis on Monday spent the morning in a meeting with the heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia. This occurs several times a year and there are usually no Vatican statements following those meetings.

Yesterday, as you know, the Church celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King, instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI to respond to growing secularism. In a note about this feast, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote: “In 2018, the Church faces pressures from without and crisis from within. In addition to the challenges that Christians in a secular society must confront, the body of Christ must also tend to the wounds inflicted on the Church by priests and bishops who either committed acts of sexual abuse themselves or failed to respond to abuse with justice when they had the opportunity.”

Relative to the sex abuse scandal, over the weekend in Rome, the Vatican announced that an organizing Committee has been instituted in view of the February 21-24 meeting in Rome on this crisis. Pope Francis named Cardinals Blase J. Cupich, of Chicago and Oswald Gracias of Bombay (India), Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, President of the Center for the Protection of Minors at the Gregorian University as leading members. The meeting will include bishops, men and women religious and lay experts in the field.

Holy See Press Office director Greg Burke said: “The February meeting is unprecedented” and “shows that Pope Francis has made the protection of minors a fundamental priority for the Church.”

While many episcopacies already have guidelines for disciplining priests guilty of sex abuse, little exists on how bishops are to be held accountable or disciplined. It is hoped this will be a focus of the February meeting. Currently only the Pope may discipline bishops, although in a May 2010 update of Church child abuse laws, Benedict XVI gave the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the authority to judge cardinals and bishops, as well as priests and deacons.

Following are comments on that February 2019 meeting by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, and Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta. Scicluna worked for many years at the CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) and headed its clerical sex abuse section. Pope Francis recently appointed him adjunct secretary of the CDF while maintaining his position as archbishop of Malta. Abp. Scicluna was assigned by the Pope earlier this year to look into the cases of reported clerical sex abuse in Chile, reports that convinced Pope Francis that he had been wrong in his earlier estimates of stories told by sex abuse victims as not being believable.

ANGELUS: POPE FRANCIS RECALLS UKRAINE HOLODOMOR FAMINE

Following the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis remembered the man-made famine that struck Ukraine in 1932-1933 and the anniversary of the event that occurred on Saturday.

The famine is known as “Holodomor” in Ukrainian, which means “to kill by starvation”.

Pope Francis called it “a terrible famine instigated by the Soviet regime which caused millions of people to die.”

Though the final death toll is unknown, most estimates put the number of people killed between 3.3 and 7.5 million, most of whom were ethnic Ukrainians.

Vatican City State is one of 16 countries to consider Holodomor an act of genocide carried out by the Soviet government.

“The image is painful,” the Pope said. “This terrible wound of the past is an appeal for all people to ensure that these tragedies never happen again.”

Pope Francis invited the faithful to pray for Ukraine “and for its long-sought-after peace.” (By Devin Watkins – vaticannews)

CARDINAL O’MALLEY: “FEBRUARY MEETING WILL BE AN IMPORTANT MOMENT”

Cardinal O’Malley, President of the Commission for the Protection of Minors, says he is grateful for the announcement of the formation of an organizing committee in view of the February meeting on the protection of minors in the Church.
By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp (vaticannews)


In a statement released on Friday afternoon, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, and President of the Vatican Commission for the Protection of Minors, says he is grateful for the announcement that Pope Francis has appointed a commission to prepare for the February meeting on the protection of minors in the Church.

Who proposed the February meeting?
Cardinal O’Malley disclosed in the statement that the “proposal” for the February meeting “was developed by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, was reviewed by the Council of Cardinals and subsequently accepted by the Holy Father”. He is both pleased that Pope Francis has called for the meeting and he says he looks forward to participating in it.

Role of the Pontifical Commission
The Cardinal explained that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is an “advisory body to the Holy Father, making recommendations on best practices for the universal Church for education and prevention programs regarding the crime of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults”. In view of this mission, he said that the Commission will be a resource for the committee in its work of preparing for the meeting in February. The Commission’s regularly hosts face to face meetings with survivors and newly appointed bishops, he said. This practice provided the Commission with the inspiration that “calling the bishops to Rome for a similar high-impact meeting would be very important in addressing the clergy abuse crisis globally”.

Commitment to zero tolerance
Cardinal O’Malley calls the meeting in February “a critical moment for the universal Church in addressing the sexual abuse crisis”. Diocese around the world will then be part of “developing a clear path forward” toward the implementation of the Church’s zero tolerance policy. He reiterated that the “support and pastoral care of survivors” is the Church’s first priority.

He concluded his statement saying: “This is a life-long journey that is now part of the fabric of the Catholic family and requires a partnership between the laity and clergy in responding to the failures of episcopal leadership by holding bishops accountable for the crimes against children and vulnerable adults.”

ABP SCICLUNA: PROTECTION OF MINORS IS A GLOBAL, SYNODAL ISSUE

Newly appointed to the organising Committee for a February meeting of Church leaders from around the world, Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna says he hopes the Church will begin to take a global approach to protecting minors and confronting clerical sexual abuse.
By Christopher Wells (vaticannews)

In an exclusive interview with Jesuit periodical America, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta described the upcoming meeting as “the beginning of a new approach that I hope will be global, because it concerns the whole Church.” But, he continued, “it will also have a very important local context, because safeguarding is not something up-there, it has to be lived in every parish, in every school, in every diocese.”


A new phase
With the announcement on Friday of an organising Committee, preparations for February’s summit on the protection of minors in the Church has entered a new phase. In addition to Abp Scicluna, the organising Committee is composed of Cardinals Blase Cupich and Oswald Gracias, and child protection expert Father Hans Zollner, SJ.

In the interview with America, Abp Scicluna emphasised the importance of the upcoming meeting, which he called “quite significant,” precisely because it involves bishops from around the world, coming together in dialogue with Pope Francis, in order “to get them on the same page with the Holy Father.”

A crisis in how we approach ministry
Archbishop Scicluna described the main goals of the meeting as making bishops “realise and discuss together the fact that the sexual abuse of minors is not only an egregious phenomenon in itself and a crime, but it is also a very grave symptom of something deeper, which is actually a crisis in the way we approach ministry.” In this context, Abp Scicluna placed accountability in the context of good “stewardship,” and described the cover-up of abuse which has plagued the Church as “the antithesis of stewardship.”

We have to move away from panic-driven policies that put the good name of the institution above all other considerations,” he said, noting that “in the end, those policies do reputational damage to the institution; they are actually also counterproductive.”

At the top of the Church’s agenda
Archbishop Scicluna said that the February summit meeting was called by Pope Francis precisely because “he realises that this issue” – the issue of abuse of minors in the Church – “has to be at the top on the Church’s agenda.” Pope Francis, he said, realises that this is a “global issue which the Church would want to approach with a united front, with respect for the different cultures, but with a united resolve, and with people being on the same page.”

The February meeting, Abp Scicluna said, will send an “important message” that “the prevention of abuse and protection and safeguarding of our children and young people is not a question only of the bishops; it is a synodal issue. It is something that involves the whole Church and everyone in the Church around the world; it concerns one and all.”

A TRULY GOOD SHEPHERD’ DEAD AT 71

How sorely missed Bishop Molino will be! Though the following is an obituary, it is also a beautifully written tribute to this good Shepherd, his life and his teachings. Now we must pray that Madison receives an equally superb pastor.

A TRULY GOOD SHEPHERD’ DEAD AT 71

Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino, the fourth bishop of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, died Saturday night November 24 after suffering a “cardiac event” the day before Thanksgiving. A priest for more than 44 years and a bishop for nearly 20, Morlino died at 9:15 p.m. Saturday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. He was 71.


News of Morlino’s death came only a few hours after Diocese of Madison Vicar General Msgr. James Bartylla put out an urgent call for prayers for the ailing bishop. Bartylla asked the faithful to invoke the intercession of Venerable Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, the great Dominican pioneer and explorer who established dozens of Catholic churches in Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. In addition to prayers for a miracle, Bartylla said the faithful should pray that Morlino “be given the grace of a happy death.”

Morlino was undergoing planned medical tests in Madison on Nov. 21 when he was stricken with cardiac trouble. Per Morlino’s preference, decision was made to delay announcement of his health crisis until after Thanksgiving. The diocese released a statement on Morlino’s health on Friday, Nov. 23.

The diocese was holding an all-night vigil for Morlino at Holy Name Heights in Madison. Father Richard Heilman, pastor of St. Mary of Pine Bluff Catholic Church, was praying before the Blessed Sacrament when he felt an urgent need to go to St. Mary’s Hospital. “…I rushed down to the hospital,” Heilman wrote on Facebook. “Just as I arrived, Bishop passed. I was there. Isn’t that always the way? When you are close to someone, you know. You just know.”

Heilman, one of the vicars in the Diocese of Madison, described Morlino as “a saint in our midst” and a “St. Athanasius against the rampant modernism in our times.” Heilman said Morlino was “a dad to me and countless others.”

Morlino was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Madison on May 23, 2003 and installed on Aug. 1, 2003. He succeeded retiring Bishop William H. Bullock. Morlino just celebrated the 15th anniversary of becoming Madison bishop on Aug. 1 at St. Mary of Pine Bluff Catholic Church near Madison. The 11-county diocese covers south-central and southwestern Wisconsin.

Morlino was previously the ninth bishop of Helena, Mont., named to that post by Pope St. John Paul II in July 1999. A native of Scranton, Pa., Morlino was ordained to the priesthood in the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus on June 1, 1974. He taught at Loyola College in Baltimore, St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, Boston College, the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College. He held a variety of positions in the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Mich., and was rector of St. Augustine Cathedral before being named a bishop.

Morlino had a reputation for being staunchly pro-life and anti-modernist. He supported development of the Traditional Latin Mass in the Diocese of Madison, and often celebrated the Pontifical Mass at the Throne at the diocesan chapel and various churches around the diocese. He ordered that the tabernacles in all the churches of the diocese be moved to a central place of prominence. He encouraged the faithful to receive Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling.

Morlino was steadily working toward restoring the sacred to Catholic worship, Heilman said, with a minimum of collateral damage. “Bishop knew that the rich treasury of our Catholic Church is what, ultimately, will lead people to a deep and strong faith,” Heilman said late Saturday. “In this sense, he was a true shepherd.”

Morlino did much to build up vocations to the priesthood, raising $44 million in pledges for the “Priests for Our Future” endowment fund. Morlino’s goal had been $30 million. “His great mission was vocations to the priesthood,” Heilman said. “He worked very hard at this. When he was named Bishop of Madison, there were six men studying for the priesthood. In the last half of his 15 years, the numbers have hovered around 30 men studying. It’s one of the highest per capita in the country.”

Morlino often drew the ire of progressives in the liberal city of Madison and across the United States for defending church teaching on abortion, marriage and sexuality. In the wake of the sexual abuse scandal surrounding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Morlino condemned the “homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church” in a letter to his flock in August 2018.

Morlino condemned the sexually predatory actions of priests and bishops as evil “that cries out for justice and sin that must be cast out from our Church.” He said the seeming acceptance of sin by some in the Church, and the cover-ups of scandal by others, must be met with just punishments and a clarion call to sanctity.

“We must be done with sin,” Morlino wrote. “It must be rooted out and again considered unacceptable. Love sinners? Yes. Accept true repentance? Yes. But do not say sin is okay. And do not pretend that grave violations of office and of trust come without grave, lasting consequences.”

Diocesan spokesman Brent King said funeral arrangements for Morlino are pending.

https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/11/24/bishop-robert-c-morlino-dead-at-age-71/

 

UPDATE: FEBRUARY VATICAN MEETING ON CLERICAL SEX ABUSE, PROTECTION OF MINORS – INTERVIEW WITH HANS ZOLLNER, S.J., PRESIDENT OF CENTER FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS

UPDATE: FEBRUARY VATICAN MEETING ON CLERICAL SEX ABUSE, PROTECTION OF MINORS

From Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke today:

“The February meeting is unprecedented, and one that shows Pope Francis has made the protection of minors a fundamental priority for the Church.

This is about keeping children safe from harm worldwide. Pope Francis wants Church leaders to have a full understanding of the devastating impact that clerical sexual abuse has on victims.

The meeting is primarily one for bishops – and they have much of the responsibility for this grave problem. But lay men and women who are experts in the field of abuse will give their input, and can help address especially what needs to done to ensure transparency and accountability”.

In addition, the following information was published in the today’s press office bulletin:

The Holy Father has designated as members of the organizing committee for the meeting on the protection of minors in the Church to be held in the Vatican from 21 to 24 February 2019: Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago (USA); Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay (India) and President of the Bishops’ Conference of India; the Most Reverend Charles Scicluna, Archbishop of Malta and Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and the Reverend Hans Zollner, S.J., President of the Centre for the Protection of Minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, whom he has named contact person for the committee.

Taking part in the meeting, at which His Holiness will be present, will be the Heads of the Oriental Catholic Churches; the Superiors of the Secretariat of State; the Prefects of the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the Oriental Churches, for Bishops, for the Evangelization of Peoples, for the Clergy, for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life; and of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life; the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences; and representatives of the Union of Superiors General and of the International Union of Superiors General.

Involved in the preparatory work for the meeting will be, among others, Dr Gabriella Gambino, Undersecretary for the Section for Life, and Dr Linda Ghisoni, Undersecretary for the Section for the Lay Faithful of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life; the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and some victims of abuse by members of the clergy.

INTERVIEW WITH HANS ZOLLNER, S.J., PRESIDENT OF CENTER FOR PROTECTION OF MINORS

Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, President of the Center for the Protection of Minors at the Pontifical Gregorian University speaks about the preparatory work of the organizing Committee for the February meeting on the protection of minors.

An organizing Committee for the meeting next February in the Vatican on the protection of children in the Church has been established. The Holy See Press Office released a statement on Friday announcing this decision on the part of Pope Francis.

Vatican News and L’Osservatore Romano interviewed Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, the contact person of the committee, and member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

What is the Committee’s goal?
Everything needs to be prepared. And in order to prepare everything well, there needs to be someone to shoulder the burden. The meeting in February is an important event; it’s very important for the Church. It is necessary that it be prepared well, and that it involve all of the Episcopal Conferences right away. Information, reflections, the spirit of prayer and penance and proposals for new concrete action needs to be shared immediately. It is necessary that the awareness of a synodal journal be shared — cum Petro et sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter). We must do everything that we can, as the Holy Father said in his letter to the People of God “to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated”. Organizing the meeting well will help to put together the analysis, the awareness, the shame, the repentance, prayer, and discernment regarding actions to be undertaken and decisions to be made in justice and in truth.

Because of this, the consultations that we will have with victims, with groups of experts, with the laity, with educated men and women is also important. This work will be done together with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, headed by Cardinal O’Malley, of which I am also a member.

Concretely, what will you do from now until the February meeting?
In concrete terms, the Committee will take care of preparing for next February’s meeting in logistic terms as well as in terms of content, according to the directives given by the Holy Father. In view of this, we will be sending a questionnaire to those invited to participate. It is important that there be a sharing of experiences, of the difficulties as well as of the possible solutions to face this terrible scandal. It seems to us that, even by proceeding in this way, the synodal dimension which Pope Francis has called for so many times, will be expressed.

What structure will the February meeting take on?
The structure provides for the freest and most fruitful encounter possible. And at the same time, one that must be prayerful and reflective, of analysis and proposals. So that the meeting might be fruitful, as I have already said, we believe that it is very important that there be a consultation phase, which we will launch soon. The Holy Father has assured that he will be present at the work sessions during the meeting, something that will recall the synodal experience.

Will there be preparatory material?
Certainly one of the Committee’s tasks is that of preparing base documentation for the participants so that February’s meeting might be set within the journey accomplished so far.

Where does the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors fit in with respect to this new Committee?
There will be a close collaborative rapport. I think the fact that I, a member of the Pontifical Commission, was named to coordinate the activities of the organizing Committee demonstrates precisely this and emphasizes, on the Holy Father’s part, the recognition of the work done up till now by the Pontifical Commission. In addition, the Committee will make use of the Commission in the consultative phase that I spoke of earlier, which will be fundamental in order to adequately prepare the meeting in February.

Some are saying that the expectations for the February meeting are too high. What do you think the Pope expects from this meeting?
We are aware that there are high expectations, and it is understandable that this is so, given the gravity of the scandal that has shocked and wounded so many people, believers and non-believers, in so many countries. As the Holy Father wrote in the letter to the People of God, “we feel shame when we realize that our style of life has denied, and continues to deny, the words we recite. With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives.”

The Holy See reiterated this clearly: “Both abuse and its cover-up can no longer be tolerated and a different treatment for Bishops who have committed or covered up abuse, in fact represents a form of clericalism that is no longer acceptable.”

And the Holy Father has convoked the meeting in February – an unprecedented decision – precisely because he is aware that the protection of minors is a fundamental priority for the Church, for its mission, and not only for its credibility. For this reason, he wants the encounter between the presidents of episcopal conferences and the other participants in the meeting to be free, without conditions, animated by prayer and by a spirit of parresia (frankness, boldness) which he has particularly at heart.