MEETING ON PROTECTION OF MINORS: RESPONSIBILITY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY

MEETING ON PROTECTION OF MINORS: RESPONSIBILITY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY

Pope Francis, following the Angelus on Sunday, spoke of the “Protection of Minors in the Church” meeting that starts this week – February 21 – in the Vatican. The presidents of the world’s Episcopal Conferences will attend, in addition to many other invitees for a total of 190 participants.

The four-day meeting will include plenary sessions, working groups, moments of common prayer, listening to testimonies, a penitential liturgy, and a final Eucharistic celebration. Francis invited the faithful in St. Peter’s Square to pray for the meeting, saying he wanted it “as an act of strong pastoral responsibility in the face of an urgent challenge of our time,” clerical sex abuse.

This morning there was a press conference to present the meeting on protecting minors. Participants included Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, member of the Organizing Committee; Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, member of the Organizing Committee; Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, moderator of the meeting; and Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, president of the Center for the Protection of Minors of the Pontifical Gregorian University, member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors; Also present was American Pauline Sr. Bernadette Reis, assistant to the press office director.

Interim press office director Alessandro Gisotti moderated.

The press conference opened with brief statements by all of the participants for a total of 45 minutes. Cardinal Cupich said, “we at the conference must give a voice to the voiceless, to the minors, to the victims of abuse.” He announced that people who wanted to follow the meeting could refer to a website that would be launched right after today’s press conference.

That website is: http://www.pbc2019.org twitter.com/pbc2019

Archbishop Scicluna, quoting Pope Francis on the trip back from Panama for World Youth Day, said “we all need to be more aware of this problem, we know it’s important that we know what we need to do.” Scicluna added, “It is important that we pray. We must remember the flock is not our own, it is the flock of Jesus Christ. We all need it to be on the same page and just coming together is a big step.” (Scicliuna on left)

The Maltese archbishop thanked the media for the investigative work that has brought this topic where it belongs by bringing stories to light, and encouraged them to continue to collaborate.

Fr. Federico Lombardi outlined the three days of work sessions, as well as the penitential liturgy on Saturday afternoon and the closing Mass with the Pope on Sunday. Those last two events will be in the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace, whereas the other meetings are in the new Synod Hall. (Lombardi on right, next to Gisotti)

There will be a specific theme for each of the three days of work: responsibility accountability and transparency. Fr. Lombardi outlined the specifics of each day’s morning and afternoon sessions, including speaker

Fr. Hans Zollner noted that a questionnaire was sent to all participants with five questions. There was an astonishing 89% response. Some of the questions included how would you describe sex abuse by clerics in your country? What is the level of awareness among the public? What are the greatest risk factors in your country/ cultures?

Fr. Zollner said this survey will help to create a synodal church and will help even more so in the follow up to this week’s meeting. He then announced the website whereby everyone can follow this meeting: pbc2019.org PBC stands for Presidents Bishops Conference. The site will be continually updated and will eventually serve to tailor the responses for bishops as they do a follow-up in their home countries.

In the question and answer session, which lasted over an hour, Cardinal Cupich was asked when what message he will bring to Chicagoans when he returns. He responded that he wants to make it clear that bishops have to take responsibility on sex abuse issues, that loopholes have to be closed, and that concrete steps – especially for bishops – will be in place. Cupich said he hopes that people see this as a turning point, and that they know that the three themes – responsibility accountability and transparency – will keep children safe. He emphasized that bishops will be held accountable.

In response to a journalist who noted that Archbishop Scicluna was the first to have the courage to use the word “omerta”, a mafia word for silence, vis a vis the Church, Scicluna replied by saying silence can never exist in clerical sex abuse cases. He said, “denial is a natural but a primitive response” adding, there is great need to break any and all codes of silence.

The organizers were asked if they will be addressing “the question of abuse of vulnerable adults, of seminarians,” to which Scicluna immediately responded “other types of misconduct will be addressed.”

Cardinal Cupich, addressing that question, said “it is our intention at this meeting to focus on those who do not have a voice, that is to say and minors.”

A journalist asked Archbishop Scicluna how we felt Pope Francis had evolved on this issue.

In fact, Scicluna was asked last year to be a point man for the Pope in events in Chile after the Pope had he denied the veracity of earlier reports of victims and later, admitted he, Francis, was part of the problem.

The archbishop said “we have to look at Francis where he is now. He no longer hides from reality. The Pope says we need to make things right and the 190 people here for the meeting all want to do that. We are also going to start follow-up procedures immediately after the meeting.” He added he was greatly impressed by Pope Francis’ humility. He added, “If something goes wrong, we need to make it right.”

Another question was asked about accountability. If the Church is asking Episcopal conferences to be accountable for clerical sex abuse cases in their jurisdiction, why is the Vatican not being held accountable to the same standard?

Cardinal Cupich said, “yes, that has to be looked at.” He noted there are reports that say homosexuality is not a cause of abuse of minors, and reports, like CARA, that say reports of cases have declined greatly in the United States since measures were taken to look at how seminaries screen young men.

Another journalist asked how seminarians get ordained, much less move up the ladder to becoming a bishop or beyond. Where are the protocols for selecting a bishop based on behavior, past activity or inclinations, psychological evaluation, etc.

Archbishop Scicluna said the Congregation for Bishops is working on guidelines similar to those in seminaries for evaluating a person nomination for the Episcopal office.

Another journalist asked if there should not be in more input from women, noting that there are only about 10 at this weeks meeting.

Cardinal Cupich agreed and said that, in his 20 years as a bishop the voices and input from women have been very valuable and had helped him very much.

The question was asked: why did the Pope try recently to lower expectations for this conference! Archbishop Scicluna said, “the higher the expectations, the higher the frustrations will be. The Pope has said let’s start with reasonable expectations. It will actually be the follow up everywhere that will be the most watched.

Cardinal Cupich was asked about the alleged Vatican interference in the November meeting of bishops in the US. He said the Holy See actually did us a favor in November by asking us to wait. This is part of the synodality the Pope wants, working together with others.”

Members of the organizing committee have been asked by the Pope to stay in Rome for a few days after the event ends Sunday.

 

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WHAT DID THE VATICAN KNOW AND WHEN? THE BISHOP ZANCHETTA CASE

WHAT DID THE VATICAN KNOW AND WHEN? THE BISHOP ZANCHETTA CASE

The following was released early this afternoon by the Holy See Press Office:

“In response to the questions raised by a few journalists on the matter pertaining to Bishop Zanchetta, the ad interim director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, has affirmed:

“In reference to the articles published recently by several news sources, as well as to some misleading reconstructions, I resolutely repeat what was stated this past 4 January. In addition, I emphasize that the case is being studied and when this process is over, information will be forthcoming regarding the results.”

Here is Gisotti’s full January 4 statement about the case of Argentinean Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta:

“Bishop Zanchetta was not removed from the diocese of Oran (Argentina). It was he who resigned. The reason for his resignation is linked to his difficulty in managing relations with the diocesan clergy and very tense relations with the priests of the diocese. At the time of his resignation there had been accusations of authoritarianism against him, but there had been no accusation of sexual abuse. The problem that emerged then was linked to his inability to govern the clergy.

“After his resignation he spent a period of time in Spain. After the period in Spain, in consideration of his capability for management, he was appointed councilor of APSA [Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See].

“No charges of sexual abuse had arisen at the time of appointment as advisor. The accusations of sexual abuse date back to this fall (2018). On the basis of these accusations and the news recently reported by the media, the bishop of Oran has already assembled some testimonies that are yet to come to the Congregation for Bishops. If the elements to proceed are confirmed, the case will be referred to the special commission of the bishops. During the investigation, Msgr. Zanchetta will abstain from work.”

This January 21 CNA/EWTN report from Buenos Aires in the National Catholic Register challenges the time line in the above press office statement:

“In an exclusive report from The Associated Press, the former vicar to Argentine Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta said that the Vatican had had information about sexual-abuse allegations against Bishop Zanchetta for several years.

“This contradicts a Vatican statement made just weeks ago in which it was said that the Holy See had only gained knowledge of sexual-abuse allegations against Bishop Zanchetta a few months ago.

“Bishop Zanchetta resigned as bishop of Orán, Argentina, on Aug. 1, 2017, slightly more than four years after his appointment there. At the time, he cited health problems and “difficulty in managing relations with the diocesan clergy and in very tense relations with the priests of the diocese” and “an incapacity to govern the clergy.”

“About four months after his resignation, Bishop Zanchetta was appointed by Francis to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) in December 2017. The APSA manages the Holy See’s assets and real estate holdings.

“On January 4, 2019, the Vatican announced that it had first received accusations of alleged sexual misconduct against Bishop Zanchetta only a few months ago, in the fall of 2018.

“Alessandro Gisotti, interim Holy See press officer, said Jan. 4 that, ‘at the time of his resignation, there had been against (Bishop Zanchetta) accusations of authoritarianism, but there had been against him no accusation of sexual abuse. … The accusations of sexual abuse date to this autumn (2018)’.

“But Father Juan Jose Manzano, Zanchetta’s former vicar, told the AP that the Vatican received complaints against Bishop Zanchetta in both 2015 and 2017 for alleged “obscene behavior,” misconduct and sexual harassment of adult seminarians and naked selfies found on his phone.

“Father Manzano, who now is a parish priest in Argentina, told the AP that he and several other diocesan officials alerted the Vatican in 2015 of Bishop Zanchetta’s concerning behavior. He said he sent the Vatican the naked selfies and other compromising images that had been found on the bishop’s phones.

“’In 2015, we just sent a ‘digital support,’ with selfie photos of the previous bishop in obscene or out-of-place behavior that seemed inappropriate and dangerous’,” he told the AP. The 2015 complaint against Bishop Zanchetta was not issued as an official canonical complaint, Father Manzano noted.

“It was an alarm that we made to the Holy See via some friendly bishops. The nunciature didn’t intervene directly, but the Holy Father summoned Zanchetta, and he justified himself saying that his cell phone had been hacked and that there were people who were out to damage the image of the Pope.”

“Father Manzano said that, for a time after being summoned to the Vatican, Bishop Zanchetta’s behavior seemed to improve. But then it worsened, and he would allegedly visit the seminary “at all hours,” get drunk with seminarians, and travel with them alone, often without the permission of the rector of the seminary.

To continue reading; http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/former-vicar-vatican-knew-about-sex-abuse-allegations-against-argentine-bis

NEW APPOINTMENTS IN HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE

NEW APPOINTMENTS IN HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE

The Dicastery for Communication made the following announcement today on the new organization structure of the Holy See Press Office:

As announced last December 31, the prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, Paolo Ruffini started a process to form a new organizational structure of the press office of the Holy See after the appointment of the interim director Alexander Gisotti.

The prefect then named as a senior advisor to the director, Romilda Ferrauto from France, retired manager of the French section of Vatican Radio and assistant to the press office for the last five General assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.

In addition, the prefect has entrusted the role of assistant to the director to Sister Bernadette M Reis, FSP, from the United States, a journalist for Vatican News and consultant for the communications commission of the UISG, and Raul Cabrera Perez from Peru, long time journalist for Vatican Radio and collaborator on the Information Commission for the Synod of Bishops on Young People.

Lastly, the role of office manager for the press office has been entrusted to Thaddeus M. Jones from the United States, member of the coordinating team in the Vatican News portal office and former official of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

HOLY SEE INVESTIGATING ARCHBISHOP MCCARRICK CASE

Below is the long-awaited Vatican statement issued today about its investigation in the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. It does leave a few questions, but the Holy See has at last spoken in a summary fashion to some of the accusations issued in two letters in August and September by former nuncio the United States, Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò. One of those accusations was that the Holy Father knew of the scandal involving the former cardinal and never did anything about it, instead making him an important part of Vatican diplomacy, sending him on missions,. including one to China.

More to come as the statement does say, “The Holy See will, in due course, make known the conclusions of the matter regarding Archbishop McCarrick.”

Read the Holy See statement first and then watch the following, absolutely riveting video of Raymond Arroyo’s interview with Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that aired on Thursday on “The World Over” – 40 minutes you’ll never forget! I found myself holding my breath at a few points. He talks of the McCarrick case (very interesting once you have read today’s Vatican statement!), the abuse scandal, the China deal, the synod on youth, the papal document on the synod, Episcopalis communio, and much more! You will learn a great deal! Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin appears after the cardinal so stay tuned for that !

HOLY SEE INVESTIGATING ARCHBISHOP MCCARRICK CASE

After the publication of the accusations regarding the conduct of Archbishop Theodore Edgar McCarrick, the Holy Father Pope Francis, aware of and concerned by the confusion that these accusations are causing in the conscience of the faithful, has established that the following be communicated:

In September 2017, the Archdiocese of New York notified the Holy See that a man had accused former Cardinal McCarrick of having abused him in the 1970s. The Holy Father ordered a thorough preliminary investigation into this, which was carried out by the Archdiocese of New York, at the conclusion of which the relative documentation was forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In the meantime, because grave indications emerged during the course of the investigation, the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Archbishop McCarrick from the College of Cardinals, prohibiting him by order from exercising public ministry, and obliging him to lead a life of prayer and penance.

The Holy See will, in due course, make known the conclusions of the matter regarding Archbishop McCarrick. Moreover, with reference to other accusations brought against Archbishop McCarrick, the Holy Father has decided that information gathered during the preliminary investigation be combined with a further thorough study of the entire documentation present in the Archives of the Dicasteries and Offices of the Holy See regarding the former Cardinal McCarrick, in order to ascertain all the relevant facts, to place them in their historical context and to evaluate them objectively.

The Holy See is conscious that, from the examination of the facts and of the circumstances, it may emerge that choices were taken that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach to such issues. However, as Pope Francis has said: “We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead” (Philadelphia, 27 September 2015). 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.

The Holy Father Pope Francis renews his pressing invitation to unite forces to fight against the grave scourge of abuse within and beyond the Church, and to prevent such crimes from being committed in the future to the harm of the most innocent and most vulnerable in society. As previously made known, the Holy Father has convened a meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences from around the world for next February, while the words of his recent Letter to the People of God still resonate: “The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God. This awareness of being part of a people and a shared history will enable us to acknowledge our past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness that can allow us to be renewed from within” (20 August 2018).

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE ON ABUSE SCANDAL REPORT IN U.S.

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE ON ABUSE SANDAL REPORT IN U.S.

(ARRIVED IN MY EMAIL AT 10 PM)

English language

Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow. The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced. The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.

The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.

Most of the discussion in the report concerns abuses before the early 2000s. By finding almost no cases after 2002, the Grand Jury’s conclusions are consistent with previous studies showing that Catholic Church reforms in the United States drastically reduced the incidence of clergy child abuse. The Holy See encourages continued reform and vigilance at all levels of the Catholic Church, to help ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults from harm. The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.

The Holy Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirt of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and in all of society.

Victims should know that the Pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent.

Spanish Translation

Ante el informe que se ha hecho público en Pensilvania esta semana, hay dos palabras que pueden expresar los sentimientos frente a estos horribles crímenes: vergüenza y dolor. La Santa Sede toma muy en serio el trabajo del Investigating Grand Jury de Pensilvania y el largo Interim Report que ha elaborado. La Santa Sede condena inequívocamente el abuso sexual de menores.

Los abusos descritos en el informe son criminales y moralmente reprobables. Estos hechos han traicionado la confianza y han robado a las víctimas su dignidad y su fe. La Iglesia debe aprender duras lecciones de su pasado, y debería haber asunción de responsabilidad (accountability) tanto por parte de los abusadores como por parte de aquellos que permitieron que se produjera.

La mayor parte del informe se refiere a abusos cometidos antes de los primeros años 2000. No habiendo encontrado apenas casos después de 2002, las conclusiones del Grand Jury son coherentes con estudios precedentes que muestran cómo las reformas hechas por la Iglesia Católica en Estados Unidos han reducido drásticamente la incidencia de los abusos cometidos por el clero. La Santa Sede empuja a estar en constante reforma y vigilancia en todos los niveles de la Iglesia Católica, para garantizar la protección de los menores y de los adultos vulnerables. Subraya también la necesidad de obedecer a la legislación civil, incluida la obligación de denunciar los casos de abusos a menores.

FRANCIS EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO PARENTS OF ALFIE EVANS – POPE PRAYS FOR ‘NUCLEAR-FREE’ KOREAN PENINSULA AND FOR NIGERIAN CHRISTIANS – HOLY FATHER, 3 VICTIMS OF SEX ABUSE MEET IN VATICAN – VATICAN OFFICIALS, GERMAN PRELATES TO DISCUSS COMMUNION IN MIXED MARRIAGES

Recent papal tweets:
April 28: I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.

April 29: Do we really want peace? Then let’s ban all weapons so we don’t have to live in fear of war.

April 30: Be one with Christ when you pray, take care of your most vulnerable brothers and sisters, and work for peace.

I am fascinated by the news of the visit by German prelates to officials in the Vatican on the question of whether or not the Eucharist can be given to non-Catholic spouses in a mixed marriage.

I certainly thought I knew the teaching on this question.

In addition to what I had been taught, we have guidelines for the reception of communion in the Missalettes available to the faithful at Mass which basically states: Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to holy Communion. Non-Catholic faithful are then invited, if they wish, to approach the Eucharist with their arms folded over their chest to receive a blessing from the celebrant.

Here is what Canon law says:

For starters, we have Canon 842 §1. A person who has not received baptism cannot be admitted validly to the other sacraments.

And Canon 844:
Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and ⇒ can. 861, §2.
§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.
§3. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.
§4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.
§5. For the cases mentioned in §§2, 3, and 4, the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops is not to issue general norms except after consultation at least with the local competent authority of the interested non-Catholic Church or community.

The German bishops’ decision to offer the Eucharist to the non-Catholic member of a mixed marriage has been inspired by their desire to implement certain provisions of “Amoris Laetitia,” the same document that has caused such angst by suggesting that, under certain circumstances, communion may be given to a couple who, validly married in the Catholic church but civilly divorced (thus, still married for the Church but in an adulterous union) and remarried in a civil ceremony.

The German prelates-Vatican officials meeting will be very interesting to watch.

FRANCIS EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO PARENTS OF ALFIE EVANS

Pope Francis received the news Saturday morning, April 28, of the death of Alfie Evans, and tweeted the following: “I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.”

Pope Francis had been following Alfie with particular attention. He met with Thomas Evans, Alfie’s father, on the 18th of April, and made several appeals on his behalf. He had also expressed the desire that Alfie Evans be brought to the Vatican’s pedriatic hospital, Bambino Gesù, to be cared for.

POPE PRAYS FOR ‘NUCLEAR-FREE’ KOREAN PENINSULA AND FOR NIGERIAN CHRISTIANS

Sunday at the Regina Coeli, Pope Francis hailed the positive outcome of the Inter-Korean Summit and said he is praying for a future of peace for Koreans and for the world. He also mentioned the violence against Catholic communities in Nigeria and prayed for the achievement of harmony and peace there.
By Linda Bordoni (Vaticannews.va)

Calling for continued collaboration between the leaders of North and South Korea, Pope Francis said he is praying that their courageous commitment may achieve “a path of sincere dialogue for a Korean Peninsula that is free of nuclear weapons.”

Speaking after the Regina Coeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, the Pope hailed the positive outcome of Friday’s Inter-Korean Summit and said he is praying so that “the hope for a future of peace and more fraternal friendship will not be disappointed, and that collaboration will continue to bear fruit for the beloved Korean people and for the whole world.”

Pope Francis has repeatedly prayed for dialogue and peace between the Koreas and for the historic Summit on Friday in which North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in agreed to work to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

The Pope also turned his attention to and offered his prayers for Christians in Nigeria that, yet again, have come under attack.

“Last week the Christian community of Nigeria was attacked again, and a group of faithful were killed, including two priests,” he said. “I entrust these brothers of ours to the mercy of God, and pray so that those severely tested communities may find harmony and peace.”

Finally, the Pope looked ahead to the Marian month of May inviting all Christians to join him in praying in particular for peace in Syria. He said that Tuesday, May 1, a holiday in the Vatican and Italy, he will make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love where he will pray the Rosary, “praying in particular for peace in Syria and throughout the world.”

HOLY FATHER, 3 VICTIMS OF SEX ABUSE MEET IN VATICAN

Elise Harris/CNA/EWTN News

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis began individual meetings with three survivors of clerical sexual abuse from Chile following a major apology earlier this month. The encounters, which have no time limit, went throughout the weekend and into Monday.

The survivors – Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Andres Murillo – were invited by the Pope to stay at the Vatican’s St. Martha guesthouse, where he has lived since his election in 2013.

In an April 27 statement (in Spanish) from the Vatican, spokesman Greg Burke said there will be no official statements on the encounters, as Francis’ primary intention is “to listen to the victims, ask them for forgiveness and respect the confidentiality of these meetings.”

“In this climate of trust and of reparation for suffering,” Bruke said, “the desire of Pope Francis is to allow those invited to speak for as long as needed, such that there are no fixed schedules or predetermined content.”

Cruz, Hamilton and Murillo were each victims of abuse carried out by Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, who in 2011 was found guilty by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of sexually abusing several minors during the 1980s and 1990s and sentenced to a life of prayer and solitude.

The Pope invited the three men to come to the Vatican after receiving a 2,300-page report from Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who is highly regarded as the Vatican’s top abuse investigator and who traveled to the United States and Chile in February to investigate allegations of cover-up.

To continue reading: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-meets-with-three-survivors-of-clerical-sexual-abuse-from-chile

VATICAN OFFICIALS, GERMAN PRELATES TO DISCUSS COMMUNION IN MIXED MARRIAGES

From the Holy See Press Office – April 30, 2018:

On May 3, a group of German cardinals and bishops will meet in the Vatican with several heads of dicasteries and officials of the Roman Curia to confront the theme of eventual access to the Eucharist for the non-Catholic spouses in a mixed marriage.

The German delegation is composed of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of München und Freising and president of the German Episcopal Conference; Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of Co of Munster; Bishop KarlHeinz Wiesemann, of Speyer and president of the Doctrinal Commission of the German Episcopal Conference; of Regensburg, Vice President of the Doctrinal Commission; Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg and president of the Commission for Ecumenism of the German Episcopal Conference; Fr. Hans Langendörfer, S.J., secretary general of the German Episcopal Conference.

The dicastery heads and curial officials are: Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF); Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Msgr. Markus Graulich, S.D.B., under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Fr. Hermann Geissler, F.S.O., bureau chief of the doctrinal section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

You may remember my post several days ago, a piece written for the National Catholic Register by my EWTN colleague, Edward Pentin. Here is the first part of that post as background to today’s statement from the press office.

Complete Letter of Seven German Bishops on Holy Communion for Protestant Spouses Published

The Register obtained a copy of the March 22 missive which expresses serious concerns about the recent German bishops’ decision to give Holy Communion to Protestant spouses in some cases. Sources say the seven bishops’ call for clarification, which is being fiercely opposed by the German episcopal conference, has the full support of Benedict XVI.

by Edward Pentin

In the March 22 letter, published for the first time in English below, the seven bishops say they “do not consider” the German bishops’ decision on Feb. 20 to allow Protestant spouses to receive Holy Communion in some cases to be “right” because they do not believe the issue to be a pastoral one but rather a “question of the faith and unity of the Church which is not subject to a vote.”

The letter is signed by Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg, Bishop Gregor Hanke of Eichstätt, Bishop Konrad Zdarsa of Augsburg, Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz, Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg, and Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau.

The German bishops voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal at their spring plenary meeting in Ingolstadt on Feb. 20, and the letter’s signatories affirm that out of the 60 bishops present, “13 voted no, including at least seven diocesan bishops.”

The majority of German bishops decided that permission could be granted to a Protestant spouse if, after having made a “serious examination” of conscience with a priest or another person with pastoral responsibilities, the partner “affirms the faith of the Catholic Church,” wishes to end “serious spiritual distress,” and has a “longing to satisfy a hunger for the Eucharist.”

At the time, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference, said the guide would be a “pastoral handout” and that the intention was not to “change any doctrine.” He said the proposal also ruled out any path for Protestant spouses to conversion, otherwise known as an “ecumenism of return.” It also left much discretion to the local bishop.

The proposal caused considerable concern, also in Rome: Cardinals Francis Arinze, Gerhard Müller, Walter Brandmüller, and Paul Cordes all decried the move. Cardinal Müller called the proposal a “rhetorical trick” pulled on believers, most of whom he noted are not theologians and stressed that interdenominational marriage is “not an emergency situation.” Cardinal Brandmüller said the German bishops’ weak opposition to the proposal was a “scandal, no question.”

In their letter, the seven bishops lay out four points calling for clarification: They question whether such a proposal is pastoral matter or one concerning the faith and Church unity; why a person who shares the Catholic faith on the Eucharist should not become Catholic; whether “spiritual distress” is really exceptional or simply part of striving for unity; and if a bishops’ conference should be making such a decision without reference to the universal Church.
They add that they have “many other fundamental questions and reservations” about the proposal and so prefer to seek a solution within the field of ecumenical dialogue which is “viable for the universal Church.”

“We ask for your help, in the light of our doubts, as to whether the draft solution presented in this document is compatible with the faith and unity of the Church,” the bishops say in closing.

The March 22 letter was sent to Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (he was not informed of the Feb. 20 vote either before or after it took place),Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, and the apostolic nuncio to Germany, Archbishop Nikola Eterović.

More here: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/full-text-of-seven-german-bishops-letter-on-intercommunion-for-protestant-s

POPE TO RECEIVE CHILEAN ABUSE VICTIMS THIS WEEKEND

POPE TO RECEIVE CHILEAN ABUSE VICTIMS THIS WEEKEND

In response to questions by journalists about an encounter of the Holy Father Francis with several victims of abuse in Chile, Holy See press office director Greg Burke this morning declared the following:

“This coming weekend the Holy Father will receive at the Santa Marta residence three victims of abuse committed by clergy in Chile; respectively Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and José Andres Murillo.

The Pope thanks them for having accepted his invitation. During these days of personal and fraternal encounter he wants to ask pardon of them and to share their pain and His shame for what they have suffered, and above all listen to all their suggestions with the scope of avoiding that such terrible facts repeat themselves.

The Pope will receive victims individually, allowing each one to speak for all the time they need.

The Holy Father asks for prayers for the church in Chile in this very sad moment, expressing the hope that these encounters can take place in a climate of serene trust and that they might be a fundamental step to remedy and to avoid for all time abuses of conscience, power and, in particular, sexual abuse in the heart of the Church.”