Benedetto XVI Forum


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3/26/2010 12:07 PM
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A new nail on the Cross that Benedict XVI has to bear! The New York Times today turned its two-front witch hunt against Joseph Ratzinger from Milwaukee to Munich with a new allegation on the Father H case. A new allegation was inevitable and predictable given that, inexplicasbly, the Archdiocese of Munich has not volunteered any further information of the kind that is 'discoverable' by any determined sleuth - in this case because the existence of a document is alleged, and because muckrakers will always find some insider who can be made to say the expected conditional statements "if", "may", 'possibly' - from a distance of 30 years!, as reported here.

John Allen has good reason to say today "I told you so!", along with those of us who can look at this situation objectively but with sincere concern for how Joseph Ratzinger is portrayed.

Pope was told pedophile priest
would get transfer


March 26, 2010

MUNICH — The future Pope Benedict XVI was kept more closely apprised of a sexual abuse case in Germany than previous Church statements have suggested, raising fresh questions about his handling of a scandal unfolding under his direct supervision before he rose to the top of the Church’s hierarchy.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope and archbishop in Munich at the time, was copied on a memo that informed him that a priest, whom he had approved sending to therapy in 1980 to overcome pedophilia, would be returned to pastoral work within days of beginning psychiatric treatment. The priest was later convicted of molesting boys in another parish.

[What he approved, as this story itself confirms later below, and as the Archdiocese stated from the very beginning, was parish accommodations for the priest, not the therapy, which was already pre-arranged apparently by the Diocese of Essen.]

An initial statement on the matter issued earlier this month by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising placed full responsibility for the decision to allow the priest to resume his duties on Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy, the Rev. Gerhard Gruber.

But the memo, whose existence was confirmed by two church officials, shows that the future pope not only led a meeting on Jan. 15, 1980, approving the transfer of the priest, but was also kept informed about the priest’s reassignment.

What part he played in the decision making, and how much interest he showed in the case of the troubled priest, who had molested multiple boys in his previous job, remains unclear.

But the personnel chief who handled the matter from the beginning, the Rev. Friedrich Fahr, “always remained personally, exceptionally connected” to Cardinal Ratzinger, the Church said.
[The church? Or their 'insider sources'??? This is the first time Fahr's name has come up! Notice the deliberate misdirection. The writer could have specifically said 'the archdiocese' not 'the church'!]

The case of the German priest, the Rev. Peter Hullermann, has acquired fresh relevance because it unfolded at a time when Cardinal Ratzinger, who was later put in charge of handling thousands of abuse cases on behalf of the Vatican, was in a position to refer the priest for prosecution, or at least to stop him from coming into contact with children.

The German Archdiocese has acknowledged that “bad mistakes” were made in the handling of Father Hullermann, though it attributed those mistakes to people reporting to Cardinal Ratzinger rather than to the cardinal himself.

Church officials defend Benedict by saying the memo was routine and was “unlikely to have landed on the archbishop’s desk,” according to the Rev. Lorenz Wolf, judicial vicar at the Munich Archdiocese. But Father Wolf said he could not rule out that Cardinal Ratzinger had read it.

According to Father Wolf, who spoke with Father Gruber this week at the request of The New York Times, Father Gruber, the former vicar general, said that he could not remember a detailed conversation with Cardinal Ratzinger about Father Hullermann, but that Father Gruber refused to rule out that “the name had come up.”
[Of such general statements are insinuations built!]

Benedict is well known for handling priestly abuse cases in the Vatican before he became Pope. While some have criticized his role in adjudicating such cases over the past two decades, he has also won praise from victims’ advocates for taking the issue more seriously, apologizing to American victims in 2008.

The future Pope’s time in Munich, in the broader sweep of his life story, has until now been viewed mostly as a steppingstone on the road to the Vatican. But this period in his career has recently come under scrutiny — particularly six decisive weeks from December 1979 to February 1980.

In that short span, a review of letters, meeting minutes and documents from personnel files shows, Father Hullermann went from disgrace and suspension from his duties in Essen to working without restrictions as a priest in Munich, despite the fact that he was described in the letter requesting his transfer as a potential “danger”

In September 1979, the chaplain was removed from his congregation [in Essen] after three sets of parents told his superior, the Rev. Norbert Essink, that he had molested their sons, charges he did not deny, according to notes taken by the superior and still in Father Hullermann’s personnel file in Essen.

On Dec. 20, 1979, Munich’s personnel chief, Father Fahr, received a phone call from his counterpart in the Essen Diocese, Klaus Malangré.

There is no official record of their conversation, but in a letter to Father Fahr dated that Jan. 3, Father Malangré referred to it as part of a formal request for Father Hullermann’s transfer to Munich to see a psychiatrist there.

Sexual abuse of boys is not explicitly mentioned in the letter, but the subtext is clear. “Reports from the congregation in which he was last active made us aware that Chaplain Hullermann presented a danger that caused us to immediately withdraw him from pastoral duties,” the letter said. By pointing out that “no proceedings against Chaplain Hullermann are pending,” Father Malangré also communicated that the danger in question was serious enough that it could have merited legal consequences.

He dropped another clear hint by suggesting that Father Hullermann could teach religion “at a girls’ school.”

On Jan. 9, Father Fahr prepared a summary of the situation for top officials at the diocese, before their weekly meeting, saying that a young chaplain needed “medical-psychotherapeutic treatment in Munich” and a place to live with “an understanding colleague.” Beyond that, it presented the priest from Essen in almost glowing terms, as a “very talented man, who could be used in a variety of ways.”

Father Fahr’s role in the case has thus far received little attention, in contrast to Father Gruber’s mea culpa.

Father Wolf, who is acting as the internal legal adviser on the Hullermann case, said in an interview this week that Father Fahr was “the filter” of all information concerning Father Hullermann. He was also, according to his obituary on the archdiocese Web site, a close friend of Cardinal Ratzinger. [Ergo, he would have discussed his routine parish duties with the cardinal in detail????]

A key moment came on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 1980. Cardinal Ratzinger presided that morning over the meeting of the diocesan council. His auxiliary bishops and department heads gathered in a conference room on the top floor of the bishop’s administrative offices, housed in a former monastery on a narrow lane in downtown Munich.

It was a busy day, with the deaths of five priests, the acquisition of a piece of art, and pastoral care in Vietnamese for recent immigrants, among the issues sharing the agenda with item 5d, the delicate matter of Father Hullermann’s future.

The minutes of the meeting include no references to the actual discussion that day, simply stating that a priest from Essen in need of psychiatric treatment required room and board in a Munich congregation. “The request is granted,” read the minutes, stipulating that Father Hullermann would live at St. John the Baptist Church in the northern part of the city.

Church officials have their own special name for the language in meeting minutes, which are internal but circulate among secretaries and other diocese staff members, said Father Wolf, who has a digitized archive of meeting minutes, including those for the Jan. 15 meeting. “It’s protocol-speak,” he said. “Those who know what it’s about understand, and those who don’t, don’t.”

Five days later, on Jan. 20, Cardinal Ratzinger’s officereceived a copy of the memo from his vicar general, Father Gruber, returning Father Hullermann to full duties, a spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed.

Father Hullermann resumed parish work practically on arrival in Munich, on Feb. 1, 1980. He was convicted in 1986 of molesting boys at another Bavarian parish.

This week, new accusations of sexual abuse emerged, both from his first assignment in a parish near Essen, in northern Germany, and from 1998 in the southern German town of Garching an der Alz.

Father Fahr died two years ago. A spokesman for the diocese in Essen said that Father Malangré was not available for an interview. Father Malangré, now 88, recently had an accident and was confused and unreliable as a witness when questioned in an internal inquiry into the handling of Father Hullermann’s case, said the spokesman, Ulrich Lota. [HOW CONVENIENT FOR THE TIMES! Now, no one directly involved can rebut their insinuations!]

Father Gruber, who took responsibility for the decision to put Father Hullermann back into a parish, was not present at the Jan. 15 meeting, according to Father Wolf, and has not answered repeated interview requests.

All of the 'facts' - not the speculation, by the Times or by the 'witnesses' they interviewed - reported in this story could have been disclosed harmlessly beforehand by the Archdiocese to show transparency and good faith, and in the best interests of Benedict XVI. But no! they chose not to - which makes seemingly harmless routine business 'discovered' later by with-hunting investigators sound sinister as an indication, even if not proof, of possible 'guilt'!

In short: What this story claims is that according to an archdiocese official, Cardinal Ratzinger could have known about Hullermann's assignment to pastoral duties because his office was copy-furnished a memorandum to that effect.

Obviously, the Times sleuths have so far failed to find someone who wprked in Archbishop Ratzinger's office at the time who could tell them that yes, he/she remembers having shown the memo to the cardinal himself, but you can bet they are working on that.

If I were a reporter working on this case [or his/her editor], I would also try to find out routine information, such as how the Archdiocese of Munich handled the matter of parish assignments in Cardinal Ratzinger's time and whether it changed with Archbishops Wetter and Marx; how a comparable diocese the size of Munich generally handles the matter of pastoral assignments and how involved the archbishop gets to be in the minutiae of these assignments; get someone in Rome to find out how Cardinals Ruini and Valli handled these matters, how Cardinal Martini did it when he was Archbishop of Milan for almost two decades, how a large diocese in the USA does.

If you have time to dig about in toilet grouting with a toothpick in order to unlodge anything that could possibly be damaging to Cardinal Ratzinger, you should have the time to provide a comparable context for what you are seeking to smear him with!

NOTE WELL! None of what the Times and other muckrakers have come up with so far about Archbishop Ratzinger's role in the Hullerman case is a 'smoking gun' in any sense, but their ability to control the news and public opinion by choosing to reveal their 'discoveries' little by little is a tried and true way to ensure public interest in following the story to find out 'what next?', in other words, creating the very same conditions with which they treat a 'juicy scandal' in the secuular world.

The point that they are driving home meanwhile is that despite everything Benedict XVI has been saying and doing lately against sexual abuse of children by priests, his 'record' in the Hullermann case would seem to indicate that he himself had harbored and tolerated a known sex offender in his diocese, and knowingly or not, made possible his assignment to pastoral duties that allowed the priest to go on and commit further sex offenses.

That, so far, is their smoking gun.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/26/2010 1:01 PM]
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3/26/2010 12:45 PM
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One must give the Times of London some credit for providing the space to Archbishop Nichols for this eminently sensible presentation that contrasts with the persistent almost hysterical anti-Catholic tone that habitually marks its staff coverage and commentary on the Catholic Church.

The Church is not trying
to cover up anything

Catholics are shamed by child abuse allegations,
and the Pope has taken strong action

Archbishop of Westminster
Catholic Primate of England

March 26, 2010

The child abuse committed within the Roman Catholic Church and its concealment is deeply shocking and totally unacceptable. I am ashamed of what happened, and understand the outrage and anger it has provoked.

That shame and anger centres on the damage done to every single abused child. Abuse damages, often irrevocably, a child’s ability to trust another, to fashion stable relationships, to sustain self-esteem.

When it is inflicted within a religious context, it damages that child’s relationship to God. Today, not for the first time, I express my unreserved shame and sorrow for what has happened to many in the Church.

My shame is compounded, as is the anger of many, at the mistaken judgments made within the Church: that reassurance from a suspect could be believed; that credible allegations were deemed to be “unbelievable”; that the reputation of the Church mattered more than safeguarding children.

These wrong reactions arise whenever and wherever allegations of abuse are made, whether within a family or a Church. We have to insist that the safety of the child comes first because the child is powerless.

Serious mistakes have been made within the Catholic Church. There is some misunderstanding about the Church, too.

Within the Church there is a legal structure, its canon law. It is the duty of each diocesan bishop to administer that law. Certain serious offences against that law have to be referred to the Holy See to ensure proper justice. Some of these offences are not criminal in public law (such as profanation of the sacraments), others (such as offences against children) are.

The role of the Holy See is to offer guidance to ensure that proper procedures are followed, including the confidentially needed to protect the good name of witnesses, victims and the accused until the trial is completed. It is no different from any other responsible legal procedure.

This “secrecy” is nothing to do with the confidentiality, or “seal” of the confessional, which is protected for reasons of the rights of conscience.

The relationship between the administration of church law and the criminal law in any particular state is a point of real difficulty and misunderstanding.

Nothing in the requirement of canon law prohibits or impedes the reporting of criminal offences to the police. Since 2001 the Holy See, working through the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, has encouraged that course of action on dioceses who have received evidence about child abuse and which the diocesan authorities are responsible for pursuing.

The canonical procedure is best put on hold until the criminal investigation is complete, whatever its outcome. This is what is needed. That it has not happened consistently is deeply regrettable.

In England and Wales, since 2001, the agreed policy followed by the bishops has been to report all allegations of child abuse, no matter from how far in the past, to the police or social services.

By doing so and by having clear safeguarding procedures in place in every parish as well as independent supervision at diocesan and national level, we have built good relationships with those authorities in these matters, including, in some areas, co-operation in the supervision of offenders in the community.

What of the role of Pope Benedict? When he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith he led important changes made in church law:
- the inclusion in canon law of internet offences against children,
- the extension of child abuse offences to include the sexual abuse of all under 18,
- the case by case waiving of the statue of limitation and
- the establishment of a fast-track dismissal from the clerical state for offenders.

He is not an idle observer. His actions speak as well as his words.

Every year since 2002 the Catholic Church in England and Wales has made public the exact number of allegations made within the Church, the number reported to the police, the action taken and the outcome. As far as I know, no other organisation in this country does this. It is not a cover-up; it is clear and total disclosure.

The purpose of doing so is not to defend the Church. It is to make plain that in the Catholic Church in England and Wales there is no hiding place for those who seek to harm children. On this we are determined.

One more fact. In the past 40 years, less than half of 1 per cent of Catholic priests in England and Wales (0.4 per cent) have faced allegations of child abuse. Fewer have been found guilty.

Do not misunderstand me. One is too many. One broken child is a tragedy and a disgrace. One case alone is enough to justify anger and outrage. The work of safeguarding, within any organisation and within our society as a whole, is demanding but absolutely necessary. The Catholic Church here is committed to safeguarding children and all vulnerable people.

Having to wake up to see the New York Times unload its latest crap on the public does not lend itself to trying to follow my Forum routine in an orderly way, much less the chance - nor the appetite - to go too far afield to find more animal droppings left off elsewhere by the media. But an Italian agency offers its swift overview of the German press vis-a-vis the Murphy story:

The German press and
the Murphy story

BERLIN, March 26 (Translated from AGI) - The German press, with the exception of Der Spiegel, which is now asking for the Pope's resignation, has decided to ignore the New York Times 'accusations' against Benedict XVI in connection with the now deceased Fr. Lawrence Murphy of Milwaukee.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the largest German newspaper [????], reported it on Page 7 without a line of comment.

The two progressive Berlin enwspapers, Tagesspiegel and Berliner Zeitung, ignored it completely.

Only the conservative [???] Frankfuerter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), which devoted a few column inches to a summary of the Times story on page 5, wrote a brief comment in defense of the Pope.

FAZ posed the question "How many cases have been reported to which Vatican authorities, and how many times and in what way did these authorities react?" The fact, it said, that "it took 25 years before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was even notified [of this particular case] fits in with the image of a national Church (ie, the Church in the USA), that has always preferred to keep its distance from the Vatican".

On the other hand, the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel is now speculating on a possible resignation by Benedict XVI.

"When is it time that a Pope must resign?", it asks, claiming that the Pope's authority "is evaporating almost daily". [Saying so does not make it so! Or only to you and the rest of the chastising chattering classes, who believe you far outweigh the world's 1.2 billion Catholics on the matter of respect for the Pope!]

Spiegel claims that the German Pope "has done more damage than service to the Church" because he has "many times made relations with the Jews more difficult [Guys, the world has 14 million Jews all told! That doesn't make them any less respectable but it does place a perspective on your exaggerated, most likely German guilt-ridden' concern for their sensibilities!]; with his lecture in Regensburg which played fire with the relationship between Muslims and Catholics [as if they had ever been good before then, and as if they have not markedly improved since then!]; offended the Indians during his visit to Latin America [who are probably scratching their heads now, trying to recall, "Hmm, what was that about exactly?"] ;irritated the Protestants, and shown himself conciliatory to Holocaust deniers".

[Note that all the pretexts cited by Spiegel are mere pufffery: insubstantial media-generated mountains out of molehills and have nothing to do with the Catholic Church itself, much less the Christian faith - only with that golden cow of PR, which is the least of concerns for the Vicar of Christ on earth! Still, you would think from the way Spiegel presents it that this Pope has done nothing but go around annoying and irritating everyone, especially non-Catholics. Oh, wait! they forgot to mention the condoms! - that he is responsible for killing millions because the Church opposes the use of condoms!!!

P.S. The Guardian (UK) had a more comprehensive account than most newspapers of the developments on this front yesterday.

Child abuse scandal is a war
'between the Church and world',
says Italian bishop

by John Hooper and Riazat Butt

March 26, 2010

Pope Benedict was today accused of being involved in the mishandling of the case of a child-abusing priest in his former archdiocese of Munich, an allegation which directly links him to the burgeoning scandal in the Catholic Church.

The accusation, which has been only partly denied by Church representatives, cast a deep shadow over the Pontiff's approaching visit to Britain. [Where did the 'partly denied' come from???]

It also elicited heated protests from Roman Catholic leaders and Italian politicians.

Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said on his Facebook site that the Pope was being subjected to "scandalous and disgraceful" attacks. One churchman, Antonio Riboldi, the emeritus bishop of Acerra, declared that it marked the start of a war "between the church and the world; between Satan and God".

Today's allegation arose from the case of Father Peter Hullerman, a paedophile who in 1980 was transferred to the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's diocese for therapy. Instead, after just a few days, he was assigned to pastoral work.

Hullerman went on to abuse at least one boy – a crime of which he was later convicted in a secular court. When the affair came to light this month, the diocese's former vicar-general, Father Gerhard Gruber, accepted full responsibility for the mistake.

However, according to a report in today's New York Times, Benedict's office was copied in on the memo Gruber issued transferring Hullerman to parish duties. It also said that the future Pope had chaired the diocesan council meeting at which it was agreed the priest should be allowed to come to Munich. [This was always clear from the start!]

A spokesman for the archdiocese said: "The report does not contain false information, but the interpretation — that Cardinal Ratzinger knew — is pure speculation."

He added: "I do not know if any copy [of the memo] exists. But it is a usual procedure that a decision about priests goes to the office of the archbishop. But it is not usual that he takes note of every written piece of paper, every decision of the vicar-general."

A statement from the Vatican went further, saying "the then archbishop had no knowledge of the decision."

On Thursday, the Pope's spokesman defended him from claims that, while still a senior Vatican official, he had opted not to try under church law a dying American priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, who abused up to 200 deaf boys. Murphy preyed on the children at a school in Wisconsin between 1950 and 1974, but the case did not reach Rome until 20 years after he was moved to other duties. [Actually, he was officially retired but apparently, he helped out with pastoral duties in his home parish, where he went home to live with his mother.]

Documents posted to the New York Times's website showed that the Pope's then deputy, Tarcisio Bertone, who has since become his right-hand man as secretary of state, decided to scrap the trial. This was despite opposition from Murphy's archbishop, who told a meeting in Rome that the priest remained unrepentant.

Wrong. The diocese had already started with the trial. According to Avvenire's summary of the documents posted by the NYT online:

On April 6, 1998, Mons. Bertone wrote in the name of the CDF, to Mons. Fliss, bishop of Superior, to explain that, after having examined the matter carefully, there was no statute of limitations for penal action as invoked by Fr. Murphy, and so the hearings could go on, but to bear in mind that Art. 1341 of the Code of Civil Law says that a penalty may only be imposed after it has been determined that "it is not possible to sufficiently obtain reparation for the scandal, the establishment of justice, and the emendment of the guilty" through other means...

On May 30, there was a meeting at the Vatican between Mons. Bertone, his undersecretary at CDF, Fr. Gianfranco Girotti, and the American prelates involved in the matter. From the minutes of the meeting, it appears that the CDF officials expressed doubts about the feasibility of such a trial because of the difficulty of reconstructing events that happened 35 years earlier, especially those that have to do with the crime of 'soliciting in the confessional', and since no other accusations had been presented since 1974.

The scandal has brought out a sharp difference between the views of Italy and the Vatican on the one hand, and those of other countries.

The latest allegations have emerged in Germany, where this week a poll for Stern magazine indicated that confidence in Pope Benedict among Catholics had collapsed since the end of January, from 62% to 39%.

"I think he's bound to be damaged," said the British Catholic author and biographer Michael Walsh. "[The scandal] is getting closer to him." He predicted the controversy would affect Benedict's official visit to Britain in September. "He's not popular here anyway, and I don't think he'll get a warm welcome," he said.

But in Rome, Sandro Magister, who runs a Vatican-watching web site, www.chiesa, argued that the criticism of the Pope was "reinforcing his authority, both in respect of the bishops and the Catholic faithful. He is coming out of this stronger than before as a very strong, very decisive man who is seen within the Church as the one who has done more than any other to fight the plague of child abuse."

Benedict's supporters point to his record since becoming Pope in 2005, which they say includes a no-tolerance policy towards clerical paedophiles.

Today brought a reminder in the form of a statement from the Legionnaires of Christ whose founder Benedict stripped of his priestly duties before ordering an investigation into the order that could yet lead to its suppression.

The legionnaires' leadership said in a web statement: "We express our pain and regret to each and every one of the persons who were harmed by the actions of our founder."

The New York Times report — the second in two days — stirred heated rejoinders from a number of the Pope's admirers, including several politicians campaigning ahead of voting in 13 Italian regions on Sunday and Monday.

Maurizio Ronconi, a leading Italian Christian Democrat, said: "For years, a masonic-secularist offensive against Catholics has been under way."

A centre-left opposition MP, Pierluigi Castagnetti, said: "It is now quite clear that the campaign against the Pope and the secretary of state of the Holy See by certain great foreign newspapers is not fortuitous, nor does it stem from any journalistic right or duty, but is rather a precise design intended to strike the Catholic church at the top."

When he was archbishop of Munich and Freisberg, Joseph Ratzinger [not him personally, but the Archbishop's Office] would have kept secret archives on Father Peter Hullermann to comply with the code of canon law. Nestled in book two, part two, section two, title three, chapter two, article two, under the heading "The chancellor, other notaries, and the archives", are rules explaining what is to be archived, how, and who has access to it. [You would think from this sentence that this procedural detail, which it is, was deliberately hidden inside the Code of Canon Law, which like any official document, simply presents the official text as it is!]

According to the Vatican website, each diocese should have an archive or "at least in the common archive a safe or cabinet, completely closed and locked, which cannot be removed; in it documents to be kept secret are to be protected most securely".

These contain "documents from historic criminal cases concerning matters of a moral nature; documentary proof of canonical warnings or corrections when someone is about to commit an offence, is suspected of having committed one, or is guilty of scandalous behaviour; documents relating to preliminary investigations for a penal process that was closed without trial; documents relating to any other matters the bishop considers secret". Only the bishop has a key to the secret archive.

Canon 489.2 states: that "Each year documents of criminal cases in matters of morals, in which the accused parties have died or 10 years have elapsed from the sentence, are to be destroyed. A summary of what occurred along with the text of the definitive sentence is to be retained."

[SO???? Is Archbishop Ratzinger to be blamed now for provisions of Canon Law codified more than 100 years ago?]

It is not known whether secret diocesan archives have ever formed part of a civil claim or criminal investigation against a paedophile priest. But their existence, and the code of conduct surrounding them, sheds light on how much value the Church places on record-keeping and due diligence.

[In this case, at a distance of 30 years, any such 'secretly archived' records about Fr. Hullermann at the time that Cardinal Ratzinger was archbishop, would have been long destroyed by 1992 at the latest, according to the canon law provision. Will the logic-defying moralizers now blame the Pope foer that too?]

John Allen, senior correspondent at the National Catholic Reporter, has suggested the Vatican heed Cardinal Sean Brady's advice and stop the "drip, drip, drip of revelations of failure" by throwing open its records and allowing investigators or responsible journalists to examine them to publicly prove, if nothing else, that the Church is committed to transparency.

"The Munich archdiocese could publish a comprehensive list of every priest, diocesan and religious, who served between May 1977 and February 1982, along with whatever information Church officials had at the time about any accusations against them, and what was done."

True friends of the Pope, he notes, should be pressing for full disclosure. [I agree. As I have commented before, Archbishop Marx of Munich should come out ASAP - instead of waiting for the media to find out on their own - with every document or 'evidence' that can potentially be discovered by determined muck-raking sleuths, and find out what any of their present and former diocesan employees may have to say about their direct or indirect knowledge of exactly what was the extent of Archbishop Ratzinger's involvement and/or interest in the case of this priest! If no written records now exist because of the canon law provision, then they sould say so directly.]

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/27/2010 10:39 PM]
3/26/2010 1:25 PM
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Old News?
Teresa, according to a comment on the Commonweal blog this story is old news in Germany.

The mentioned memo is old news here in Germany. An article from two weeks ago:

“Möglicherweise sei Ratzinger die Dienstanweisung Grubers an den pädophilen Priester zugestellt worden, wieder in der Gemeinde zu arbeiten. Man könne aber nicht davon ausgehen, dass Ratzinger sie persönlich geprüft habe, sagte der Sprecher.”,1518,683332,00.html

Claire has translated it...

Erzbistumssprecher Bernhard Kellner sagte, Gruber habe den Beschluss eigenmächtig gefasst. Möglicherweise sei Ratzinger die Dienstanweisung Grubers an den pädophilen Priester zugestellt worden, wieder in der Gemeinde zu arbeiten. Man könne aber nicht davon ausgehen, dass Ratzinger sie persönlich geprüft habe, sagte der Sprecher.

Bernhard Kellner, spokesman for the archdiocese, said that Gruber had made the decision by himself. Ratzinger may possibly have been responsible for reviewing Gruber’s disposition of the pedophile priest in the parish. However, one cannot conclude from this that Ratzinger personally checked it, according to the spokesman.

Thanks, David. But did that make the news anywhere else at the time? If it didn't even make it to Italy's Benedict-baiting La Repubblica and all its hate-mongering cousins in the business, then it was basically ignored.

Some institution like the New York Times can make even old news seem 'news" again just because of their reputation - and in the way they present it, with a seeming 'wealth' of details. That's another reprehensible but facile trick of journalism: The more seemingly minute details you can add to your story, the more plausible it can appear - never mind that you omit substantial relevant facts that do not contribute to the negative image you wish to project of your target... And even the story you cited left open the possibility that the Archbishop could have known about it, "möglicherweise" (possibly!). What a convenient word for journalists who wish to insinuate anything!


Maciel's Legionaries finally accept
he was not what they thought he was

BTW, the real big news this morning - which I still don't see in my usual Anglophone resources online - is:

a statement from the Legionaries of Christ and their lay movement Regnum Christi, saying they have now fully accepted the revelations about the misdeeds of their founder, Father Marcial Maciel, and that they will cooperate in any way with the Vatican to renew their movement.

ZENIT, the Legionaries' news organization, has published the full statement only in Italian so far.

Gee, I wonder who it was who has gotten the Church this far in cleaning up after the sad and sordid annals of Fr. Maciel? What was his name now? Oh yes, Cardinal Ratzinger, was it not? Now Pope Benedict XVI?

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/26/2010 2:26 PM]
3/26/2010 2:07 PM
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Today, before I even went to work, I HAD to write an email to BR informing them that they have now successfully lost a true, devoted listener (more than 30 years!) due to their bias reporting!! I almost chocked on my coffee listening to the 7 am news. The radio is off! And it will remain off!!
I was SO mad!! I still am!! I'm pitch-fork-grabbing-chase-them-out-of-the village-mad!!


As for Spiegel: seriously slipping in sold editions, seemingly read by their target group of confused, pseudo intellectuals, only.
Their online forum is reserved for sickos, comments against their agenda are blocked.

I'm getting so tired of this!! I can't wait to go to Rome!!!

David: thanks for your contributions!!

If I lived in Germany or Italy, I probably would do what I did last week - since Saturday before the House vote on health care reform [that now includes a hefty provision for the federal government tkaing over the big business of giving student loans for college enrolment, which has nothing to do with health care, but that is just one of the never-ending litany of outrages that Obama and his minions boast about inflicting on the nation and the coming generations of Americans], I have stopped watching any news on TV (I stopped buying newspapers more than five years ago, and I can't remember the last time I listened to radio). so I can control what I choose to learn about the news simply by looking up things I am interested in online...

Unfortunately, media will gleefully stomp up and down on anyone whom they perceive to be 'down' and 'unpopular' and grind his face in the gravel ... Even with the limited material I expose myself to about the Pope - I really avoid any site that is bound to be nasty - I still need an endless supply of barf bags beside me to contain my disgust!


P.S. Surprising and welcome news!

The bishops of France, of all people, have sent the Pope a letter of support...

I should think all the national bishops' conferences would have done that by now, you know....

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/26/2010 3:16 PM]
3/26/2010 3:09 PM
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Vatican rejects latest New York Times piece
Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., questioned by journalists concerning a new New York Times article, which appeared on 26 March and concerns the period in which Cardinal Ratzinger was archbishop of Munich, referred them to this morning's public denial in a communique published by the archdiocese of Munich, which reads:

"The article in the New York Times contains no new information beyond that which the archdiocese has already communicated concerning the then archbishop's knowledge of the situation of Father H."

Thus the archdiocese confirms the position, according to which the then archbishop had no knowledge of the decision to reassign Father H. to pastoral activities in a parish.

It rejects any other version of events as mere speculation.

The then vicar general, Msgr. Gerhard Gruber, has assumed full responsibility for his own erroneous decision to reassign Father H. to pastoral activity.
3/26/2010 3:40 PM
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Friday, March 26

Second from right: San Diego Jose's image borne in a feastday procession in Cadiz.
BLESSED DIEGO JOSE (Didacus Joseph) OF CADIZ (Spain 1743-1801)
Capuchin, Preacher and Mystic, Apostle of the Trinity
As a Capuchin, Joseph was assigned to preach, which he did all over Andalusia (southern Spain),
very effectively. His reputation was such that persons listening to his sermons would seek to tear
off pieces of his habit to keep as a relic. Legend says that on occasion, he was seen to levitate
while preaching. The most famous story is that a child, seeing a dove perched on the priest's shoulder
while he was preaching on the Trinity said, "I could preach that well, too, if I had a dove telling me what
to say!" Although he was unlearned, his wisdom and reputation led him to be named external consultor
and synodal examiner in almost all the dioceses of Spain, as well as honorary doctorates from several
universities. His sermons were later published in 8 volumes, along with various letters he wrote on
significant events in the Church. He was beatified in 1894 and is greatly venerated in Spain,
particularly in his home city.
Readings for today's Mass:

OR today.

Benedict XVI to the bishops of Scandinavia:
'Children have a right to be born and to be raised in a family'
Page 1 contains the editorial commentary on the first New York Times article and Fr. Lombardi's earlier and much more
efficient statement about it; as well as the Pope's message for the next World Day for Missions.


At 9 a.m. the Holy Father and members of the Roman Curia listened to the third Lenten sermon of
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa at the Redemptoris Mater chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

Later the Pope met with

- H.E. Álvaro Colom Caballeros, President of the Republic of Guatemala, and his delegation

- Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the COngregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (weekly meeting)

- Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

- H.E. Albert Edward Ismail Yelda, Ambassador from Iraq, on his farewell visit.

The Vatican has also posted a transcript of the Pope's answers last night to the questions posed to him
by three representatives of the young people of Rome and Lazio at a gathering in St. Peter's Square that
became a massive rally in support of 'BE-NE-DET-TO!!!'

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/27/2010 8:53 PM]
3/26/2010 4:03 PM
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Shame on the NYTimes
Posted at: 2010-03-26 08:39:17.0
Author: Michael Sean Winters

Usually, we can all turn to the New York Times and the Washington Post with a reasonable degree of assurance that their writers and editors are top-notch journalists, who ferret out facts, put those facts in a proper context, and truly enlighten a reader’s understanding of whatever event is being reported on in the pages of their newspapers. Yesterday, not so much.

The New York Times’ article, by the usually reliable Laurie Goodstein, was not only unsupported by the documentation the paper cited, it seemed unrelated. From the documents the Times provided it seems abundantly clear that there was a monster priest, Father Murphy, in Milwaukee who abused dozens and dozens of deaf children, and that when this came to light in 1974, he was retired from ministry. Twenty years later, in 1996, a different charge was made against the priest, that he had granted absolution for sexual sins in which he was complicit. This was referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which was headed at the time by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. To be clear – and this is important because the Times’ article seems to elide the charges – Cardinal Ratzinger and the CDF had no jurisdiction over abuse claims in 1996. Charges of sexual abuse only became the CDF’s responsibility in 2001. To suggest that Cardinal Raztinger was not taking the charge of sexual abuse seriously is not just interpretatively wrong in this case but factually wrong: The charge of sexual abuse was not in front of him.

Let’s take an example from another story in yesterday’s paper to illustrate what I can only deem a certain tendentiousness in the Times story. Yesterday – and the day before – we learned of threats and acts of vandalism against members of Congress. Those threats were referred to the Justice Department and, specifically to the FBI. It is hoped the FBI will catch those responsible. One such case involved the cutting of a gas line at the home of a congressman’s brother. This, perhaps, necessitated calling the Environmental Protection Agency because the leaking gas might have caused some damage. But, if the people who cut the gas line, or threw a brick through a window, or called to threaten the life of a congressman and his children, if they are not caught, I am not going to blame the EPA, I am going to blame the FBI. In the Times’ article, they are trying to blame the EPA.

The case from Milwaukee was sent to Ratzinger because the charge of violating the confessional is reserved to the Holy See. By 1996, however, the priest in question was dying and Ratzinger recommended that the authorities not take any steps; nature had already taken its course and ended the possibility of a future threat and Sister Death was about the claiming the perpetrator for herself.

I will grant that there is something to the argument that the victims’ right to have their story told, to receive justice for the crimes against them, demanded a canonical trial of the priest no matter his physical condition. I will grant that there is a coldness in the correspondence that seems more focused on the reputation of the Church than on the rights of the victims. I will grant that it was the victims of this priest’s abuse, not Cardinal Ratzinger, who had a right to decide when and how to show mercy to Father Murphy. It is not difficult to see that Cardinal Ratzinger might have made the wrong decision in this case, but I submit that there is nothing in the documents the Times presents that suggests Cardinal Ratzinger’s moral culpability for the abuse itself or for any cover-up of that abuse. And the Times article certainly suggests moral culpability even though the documents do not support the charge.

While I am feeling defensive on behalf of my Church, let me point out one other sentence of the Times’ article that jumped off the page at me: "Father Murphy not only was never tried or disciplined by the church’s own justice system, but also got a pass from the police and prosecutors who ignored reports from his victims…." Yet, the headline of the article does not say "Police and Prosecutors Looked the Other Way" nor does it appear that anyone at the Times asked where those prosecutors have risen in the political firmament. Only the Church and its leaders are held to a different standard.

Of course, we Catholics should hold ourselves to a different and higher standard. It is not exculpatory for the Church that most psychiatrists will tell you that when sexual abuse is discovered in a family, more family members seek to protect the perp than the victim, that is, they react the way the hierarchs acted. It is undoubtedly the case that in seeking to protect the reputation of the Church, many hierarchs destroyed that reputation, rather the way President Nixon was harmed not by the people on his "enemies list" but by the people on his staff who were trying to protect him. It is not exculpatory for the Church that the civil authorities in Wisconsin were evidently as morally dull to the horror being committed as were the ecclesiastical authorities.

Neither is it exculpatory for the Church that we are called to believe that every soul is capable of conversion or that God’s mercy extends even to those who perpetrate heinous acts of abuse against children. We could no more abandon these beliefs than we could abandon our belief in the empty tomb, indeed, I would suggest it is the same belief. This belief in God’s infinite mercy cannot obfuscate, it must enlighten, our awareness of cold, hard facts, like the evidently perpetual threat of recidivism among pedophiles. Our belief in the ineffable forbearance of the Almighty is an invitation to gratitude; but it is up to the victims of abuse, not the hierarchy, to decide when and how to display God’s forbearance to those who victimized them. Still, I hope every Catholic will admit that these noble sentiments, not just ecclesiastical self-protection and career advancement, were at work too. There is a lesson here in the complexity of the moral life, of how mixed our motives can be, of how a desire to forgive and to love can lead to tragedy when tough moral questions are not addressed.

I do not think any fair-minded commentator can doubt that the Church has changed the way it deals with charges of sexual abuse, achieved a better understanding of how to prevent it and what to do when those acts of prevention fail. I do not think any fair-minded reporter can fail to note the role Pope Benedict XVI has played in bringing these changes of attitude to the Vatican. As his recent letter to the Church in Ireland demonstrated, he has given notice to the bishops, priests and laity that the entire culture of the Church must change in response to what we have learned about ourselves in this crisis, and that the beginning of those changes must start with the hierarchs accepting responsibility for their actions in covering-up criminal wrong-doing in the past. The Holy Father does not need the support of a lowly blogger, but he and the Church he leads deserve fair treatment by journalists. Yesterday, neither the Pope nor the Church got a fair treatment in the Times.
3/26/2010 4:37 PM
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For now, this is the only English item I can find to post directly. Some Italian reports I've seen also quote the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Vingt-Trois.

French bishops' letter to the Pope:
'Ashamed' of priest offenders,
they also denounce media campaign
'to attack you personally'

PARIS, March 26 (AP) - France's Roman Catholic bishops say in a letter to Pope Benedict XVI that they are ashamed of priests who committed "abominable acts" by molesting and raping children.

The French bishops have written in a letter to the pope "those who carried out these acts have disfigured the church, wounded Christian communities and cast suspicion on all the members of the clergy."

They say they "all feel shame and regret when faced with the abominable acts carried out by certain priests."

The bishops also addressed a message of support to the Pope, saying the sexual abuse "is being used in a campaign to attack you personally."

The French bishops' letter was released Friday after they met in Lourdes, site of the famous Catholic shrine.

Bless them! I didn't mean to sound cynical when I commented earlier that this was surprising from them, 'of all people'. I meant, more specifically: Has anyone heard a word of support lately from the Archbishop of Vienna, student of Prof. Ratzinger, member of the Ratzinger Schuelerkreis, and president of the Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger Foundation? Speaking on his own personal behalf, at least, if not for the Austrian bishops conference that he leads? Anyone?

He should take the cue from Cardinal Vingt-Trois:

The Archbishop of Paris:
"Everyone knows the Pope's strictness...'

LOURDES, March 26 (Translated from SIR) - A total defense of Pope Benedict XVI's work against pedophile offenses by priests in the Church was affirmed today by the bishops' conference of France.

Their president, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, said at the end of the bishops' spring meeting:

In the face of the campaign of defamation and calumny which has been organized to darken the image of the Pope, we have sent him a message of solidarity and communion.

We all know with what vigor he has acted, first as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and now as Supreme Pontiff, for placing at the disposition of bishops the means to face these criminal situations with force and clarity.

This year, our Church will mark Easter in a climate of suspicion and sorrow. The cases of pedophilia denounced in some countries of Europe are a cause for scandal among many of our contemporaries and casts Catholics into shame and disorientation.

The Pope's letter to the Catholics of Ireland expresses compassion for the victims, acknowledges courageously the errors and omissions of the past, and calls for severe measures to avoid that similar aberrations may be repeated.

As for the situation in France, the Archbishop gave assurances that the Church in France has been committed to this approach since the early part of the decade with the publication of a document entitled 'Fight pedophilia' which was sent to all educators.

"This is a problem that concerns out entire society and not just the Church. We would like to see other institutions do the same work that the Church is doing".


[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/26/2010 7:54 PM]
3/26/2010 4:50 PM
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have a look at this... don't forget to get one of the barf-bags, first!

He's a bit erratic with his statements and with his actions (how bout that wonderful balloon 'Mass'). Some are good, some are horrific!

The Austrian Church is a complete, utter mess. A combined statment would not be possible!

The German bishops are currently shock-frozen and are too chicken to defend Church and Pope - except the caped defender from Regensburg, who is not in Europe, currently.
Even Marx, who has good qualities, is strangely silent.
The very reliable and great Card. Meisner has spoken up!

Biiig Kudos to the French Bishops!!!!!

Dear God! Heike, I did need more than one barf bag! What is Schoenborn thinking? He himself and his fellow bishops could have offered a Mass for victims of sexual abuse without riding on an initiative by 'Wir sind Kirche'. He's only encouraging them in their insolent and arrogant dissidence! He really thinks he can win back dissident Austrians to the Catholic Church by constantly pandering to their tastes (the carnivalesque Mass, the obscene art exhibit at Stephansdom) and demands????

The kathnet article was very informative, thank you! - I didn't realize how many bishops and dioceses not just in Germany but also in Spain have officially made them 'persona non grata' collectively in their respective churches! If liberal (I think) bishops like Schick and Kothgasser could find them so out of bounds, it speaks volumes for how obnoxious and noxious they are for the Church.


[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/26/2010 6:27 PM]
3/26/2010 5:37 PM
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'BE-NE-DET-TO!' (Clap-Clap-Clap):
The youth of Rome and Lazio
stand in for all of us

At the pre-WYD prayer rally last night, St. Peter's Square.

At 8:20 Thursday night, the Holy Father met the young people of Rome and Lazio in St. Peter's Square for an encounter preparatory to World Youth Day which will be celebrated on Palm Sunday at the diocesan level.

It will also be the 25h anniversary of the first WYD convoked by John Paul II in Rome in 1985.

The arrival of the Holy Father was preceded by a program of celebration and reflection organized by the diocesan service of Rome for pastoral ministry to youth.

Taking part were at least 70,000 representatives from the parishes of Rome and the dioceses of Lazio province where Rome is located.

After greetings by Cardinal Agostino Valli, the Pope's Vicar for Rome, and a youth leader, three other young people took turns posing a question to the Holy Father on the theme of this year's WYD, taken from the Gospel narrative of Jesus and the rich young man.

Here is a translation of the Q&A:

Holy Father, the young man in the Gospel asked Jesus: "Good teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?" But I don't even know what 'eternal life' is. I cannot imagine it, but one thing I am sure of: I don't want to throw my life away, I want to live it in depth, and not by myself. Nut I am afraid this may not happen, I am afraid that I am thinking only of myself, that I will be wrong on everything and find myself without a goal to reach for, just living by the day. Is it possible to make something beautiful and good of my life?
THE POPE: Dear young people, before answering the question, I wish to say thank you from the heart for your presence, for this wonderful testimony of faith, of wanting to live in communion with Jesus, for your enthusiasm in following Jesus and to live right. Thank you!

And now the question. You said you do not know what eternal life is and cannot even imagine it. None of us is able to imagine eternal life because it is outside our experience. Nonetheless, we can begin to understand what it might be, and I think that with your question, you have given us a description of what is essential in eternal life, namely, of true life: not to throw your life away, to live it to the depth, not to live for yourself, not to live by the day, but to truly live life in its richness and in its totality. [I marvelled last night at how he repeated the young man's question almost word for word as if he had been reading from notes! It is what his students always said of him- that he could recapitulate a question precisely, no matter how complex, before answering it.]

But how to do this? This is the great question, what the rich young man came to see the Lord about (fr Mk 10,19). At first glance, the Lord's response seems very sparse. In short, he says: Follow the commandments (cfr Mk 10,19),

But if we reflect well, if we listen well to the Lord, in the totality of the Gospel, we find the great wisdom of the Word of God, of Jesus. The commandments, according to another Word from Jesus, are summed up in one alone: love God with all your heart, with all your reason, with all your existence, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

This is the first step we must make: to seek to know God. Thus we will learn that our life is not by chance, it is not random. My life was wanted by God in eternity. I am loved, I am needed. God has a plan for me. So my life is important and even necessary. Eternal love created me with depth and awaits me.

So that is the first point: seek to know God and thus understand that life is a gift, that it is good to live. Then the essential is love. To love the God who created me, who created this world, who governs through all the difficulties of man and history, and who is with me. And to love one's neighbor.

The Ten Commandments which Jesus refers to in his answer simply makes the commandment of love explicit. They show the way of love with these essential points: the family, as the foundation of society; life, to be respected as gift of God; the sense of sexuality, as the relationship between a man and a woman; the social order; and finally, truth.

These essential elements make the way of love explicit, how to love truly, and how to find the right way. God has a fundamental will for each of us which is identical for all of us. But its application is different in each life, because God has a precise plan for each man.

St. Francis de Sales said once that perfection - to be good - and living in faith and love are substantially one and the same, but possible in very different forms.

The holiness of a Carthusian monk is different from that of a politician, a scientist or a peasant, and so on. So, since God has a plan for every man, I should find what it is, in my circumstances, in my way of love that is the singular as well as common will of God, whose rules are indicated in the commandments as explications of love.

Thus also, to seek to fulfill the essence of love, which is not to take life for myself but to give life; not to 'have' life, but make my life a gift to others; not to gratify myself but to give to others. This essential - but it implies renunciation, which means, going out of myself, not seeking myself. By not seeking myself but giving myself for great and true things, I find true life.

So, everyone must find the diverse possibilities in one's life - to commit yourself to volunteer work, to a community of prayer, in a movement, in parish activity, in your profession.

To find my calling and to live it is important and fundamental, whether I am a great scientist or a peasant. Everyone is important in the eyes of God. it is beautiful if live is lived to the depth, with that love which truly redeems the world.

Finally, let me tell you a little anecdote about St. Josephine Bakhita, this tiny African saint who found God and Christ in Italy, and who has always made a great impression on me.

She was a sister in an Italian convent. One day, the bishop came to visit the monastery, sees this tiny black nun, about whom he appears not to have known anything, and asks her: "Sister, what are you doing here?"

Bakhita answers, "Exactly what you are doing, Excellency". The bishop, visibly irritated, said, "What do you mean, doing the same thing I am?". "Yes, we are both doing the will of God, are we not?"

So this is essential: to know the Word of God, with the help of the Church and of friends, both in its broad lines that are common to all, and in the concreteness of my personal life. This way, life becomes perhaps not too easy, but beautiful and happy. Let us pray to the Lord that he may always help us to find his will and follow it with joy.

The Gospel tells us that God looked at the young man and loved him. Holy Father, what does it mean to have the look of love from Jesus. How can we today make this our experience? And is it really possible to have this experience even in our day?
Of course I would say Yes, because the Lord is always present and looks at each of us with love. But first we have to find this look and encounter him.

How to do this? I would say the first thing is to have an experience of his love and to know him. Getting to know Jesus can be done in different ways.

A first condition is to know him as he is presented in the Gospels, which gives us a very rich picture of Jesus, in the great parables - think of the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, Lazarus, etc. In all these parables, in all his words, in the Sermon on the Mount, we find the real face of Jesus, the face of God, up to the Cross, where for love of us, he gives himself totally up to death, and at the hand, he could say, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit", my life (cfr Lk 23,46).

Therefore: know Jesus, meditate on him with your friends, with the Church, and know him not only in an academic, theoretical way, but with the heart, and thus, talk to Jesus in prayer. One cannot be able to know a person the way one can study mathematics. For this, reason is necessary and sufficient. but to be able to know a person, above all the great figure of Christ, God and man, we need reason, but at the same time, also the heart.

Only by opening our heart to him, only with a knowledge of the totality of what he said and what he did, and then, with our love, going towards him, we will be able gradually to know him even better and experience what it is to be loved.

So, listen to the Word of God, listen to it in the communion of the Church, in her great experience, and respond with our prayer, our personal conversation with Jesus, where we can tell him what we cannot understand, our needs, our questions.

In a true conversation, we will always find more of this road to knowledge which becomes love. Of course, not just yo think, not just to pray, but to walk toward him: by doing good things, to be committed to our neighbor.

Again, there are different ways. Each one knows his own possibilities, in the parishes and communities where we live, to commit ourselves to Christ and for others, for the vitality of the Church, so that the faith can truly be a formative power in our society, and of our time.

Again, the elements are: listen, respond, enter into the community of believers, into communion with Christ through the Sacraments, in which he gives himself to us, in the Eucharist, in confession, etc.:and finally, carry out the words of faith so that they become a power in my own life, and in that way, I will really see the loving look of Jesus , and his love will help me and transform me.

Jesus asked the young man to leave everything and to follow him, but he went away sad. Like him, I would find it hard to follow him because I am afraid to leave my things and often, the Church asks me to make difficult renunciations. Holy Father, how can I find the strength to make courageous choices and who can help me?
There it is. Let us start with a word which is difficult for us: renunciation. Renunciations are possible, and in the end, they can become beautiful if there is a reason to make them, and that reason justifies even the difficulties of renouncing.

St. Paul used, in this context, the image of the Olympics and the athletes engaged in these contests (cfr 1Cor 9,124-23). He says: In order to win the medal - or at that time, the crown - they must live a very difficult discipline, they must give up a lot of things, they must practice the sport they will compete in, and make great sacrifices and renunciations because they have a motivation that is worth it all.

Even if, in the end perhaps, I may not end up among the winners, it is still a beautiful thing to have disciplined myself and to be able to do these things with a kind of perfection.

So the same thing that made it worth, in this image of the Olympics that St. Paul gave, for all sports, is also the same for all other things in life. A good professional life cannot be reached without some renunciation, without adequate preparation that always requires discipline, that demands giving up something - and so it is in art, and in all the aspects of life.

We all understand that in order to reach a goal, whether it is professional, sports, artistic, cultural - we must renounce, give up something, learn from this in order to go ahead. Even the art of living, of being oneself, the art of being a man, demands renunciation.

And the true renunciations which will help us find the way of life, the art of life, are found in the Word of God. They help us from falling, shall we say, into the abyss of drugs, of alcohol, of slavery to sexuality, of the slavery to money, and laziness.

All these things, initially, may appear to be free actions. But they are not free, but the start of a slavery that becomes ever more insuperable. To succeed in renouncing the temptations of the moment, to proceed towards the good, creates true freedom and makes life precious.

In this sense, I think, we must see that without saying No to certain things, then the great Yes to true life cannot come, as we see even in the lives of saints. Let us think of St. Francis, of the saints of our time, Mother Teresa, don Gnocchi, and so many others who renounced and have won - they became not just free but a treasure for the world, who can show us how one can live.

To the question, "who will help me?", I would say the great figures in the history of the Church, the Word of God helps us, the parish community, the movement, volunteer work, etc. And we are helped by the friendship of those who are 'moving ahead', who have already made progress on the road of life and who can convince me that they are on the right road.

Let us pray to the Lord that he may always gives us such friends and communities which help us to see the road of goodness, and thus find life beautiful and joyous.

Here is one of the few articles in the Italian press today, 3/26/10, that bothered to report on the youth event. Typically, they all reported on the handful of American demonstrators who showed up at St. Peter's Square, complete with photos, but of a rare night event that filled up the Piazza, not a word! But maybe it was because the event ended at 10 p.m....

Faith stronger than false charges:
Rome's young people with the Pope

Translated from

March 26, 2010

In honor of the Church and their Pope, with the enthusiasm of youth. To show Rome and the world the authentic face of the Christian people.

And Benedict XVI came to St. Peter's Square last night [at an unusual hour, 8:30 p.m.) to embrace tens of thousands of young people from Romse and Lazio to mark the 25th anniversary of World Youth Day.

The meeting was an instantaneous celebration at a very opportune occasion to show the Pope the love of the People of God.

"We want to make it clear to everyone", said a 20-year-old in the crowd, "that the Church is not how it has been painted in the past few weeks. The Church is also and above all faith." As she and her fellow youth demosntrated all the healthy ardor of the faithful.

More than 70,000 young people showed up expressing themselves earlier in music, dance and reflections before the arrival of the Holy Father.

"We are here under the same light, under the same voice," ['sotto la stessa luce, sotto la stessa voce'] they sang, in a 90-minute program anchored by Lorena Binachetti and Rosario Carello.

Mons. Marco Frisina's orchestra performed religious music, and the young people waved yellow-and-white scarves that made the Piazza a place of joy.

All to commemorate what is perhaps the most effective and beloved initiative of John Paul II - World Youth Day, which has become over the years, a symbol of the unity and universal participation in the Church, a planetary occasion that has shown it can mobilize millions of young people along the arduous road of faith.

At 8:20, the Popemobile came into the Piazza and started to weave through the various sectors.

The enthusiasm was visible in the sea of waving flags and candles lit in honor of Benedict XVI, who would later respond to questions by three young persons on the theme of this year's WYD. "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

In his greeting to the Pope, Cardinal Agostino Valli, his Vicar for Rome, referring to the media storm these days over pedophile priests and Benedict XVI's own personal answerability for what he did in the past in two specific cases, called them 'trials and incomprehensions' for the Church.

Indeed, they seemed out of place at moments of collective celebration like this.

"Is it possible to make of my life something beautiful and good?" asked Julia, to start off the dialog with the Pope.

And Benedict XVI advised the young: "Do not throw away your life, You must live it profoundly in all its great richness and totality. You can do this only by seeking to know and to love God. Knowing God, you will discover that your life is not useless, but rather that you exist because God wanted it and has his plan for each of us."

Benedict XVI did not lack for enthusiastic applause here. The youth understand their Pope.

The news agencies took so many photos last night I have no time just now to sort and post photos in the usual way. But I thought these made up in part for the dozen or so photos they distributed earlier of the handful, literally, of American demonstrators who were in the Piazza earlier yesterday....


The Holy Father yesterday, 3/25/10, greeted by one of the Scandinavian bishops.
What a radiant man! Holiness is the ultimate beauty secret...
(Sorry, I do not have the software to improve the 'best' enlargement I could manage of the cropped photo!!)

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 1/11/2011 11:48 PM]
3/26/2010 7:45 PM
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Pope Benedict XVI is part of the solution not the problem
By Cristina Odone : March 26th, 2010

It’s a bad time to be a Catholic. Everywhere you look, Church-bashers are crowing about the left-footers caught kiddy-fiddling. Sensationalist stories of horriffic child abuse keep coming out like rats in a ramshackle house. Reports of cover-ups make you want to spit at anyone wearing a bishop’s mitre, or a cardinal’s red hat: if they weren’t at it, they were probably covering up for one of their own who was.

So when it comes to the Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict, the instinct is to spit all the more. But to do so would be wrong. This Pope has done more than any other churchman to address the issue of priestly child abuse. He has stopped the practice of turning over priests accused of abuse to therapists, as we now know that therapy seldom helps a paedophile. He has fast-tracked the defrocking of priests found guilty of abuse. He has promoted co-operation, at a diocesan level, between church authorities responsible for canon law and police.

He can point to some real success in the protection of children: in England and Wales, for instance, child protection officers monitor every encounter between children and clergy. The result, is that, ironically, there is no safer place for a child today to be than with a Catholic priest.

Yet in this crisis everyone wants a scapegoat. The victims of abuse and their family do, because turning the other cheek in the face of evil on this magnitude and scale is impossible. (I, for one, would be indefatigable in waging a truly Italian-style vendetta against anyone who harmed my child.) The media wants a scapegoat, because to claim a big scalp is a sign of successful reporting. And the Church does, because so many guilty men can hide behind a larger-than-life figurehead.

Step forward Benedict XVI, the perfect scapegoat. It doesn’t matter that the overwhelming number of abuse cases happened in John Paul II’s time; or that the policy of cover-up was allowed to take root well before Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Benedict XVI. Accusations fly, and allegations mount. In this feverish atmosphere, facts become, frankly, irrelevant. Who cares that when, as Cardinal, Benedict assigned a known paedophile to a course of therapy, this was the practice not only within the church, but the outside world too? Who cares that when Fr Lawrence Murphy was abusing 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin, the police were called in and did not believe the victims and absolved the priest of any wrong-doing? Who cares that when, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Benedict allowed Fr Murphy to die a priest rather than be defrocked, he was fulfilling a dying man’s wish?

We must resist those baying for Benedict’s blood. By persecuting the Pope, we risk undoing his hard work in the area of clerical child abuse. His reforms makes life very uncomfortable for many churchmen. They will seize upon any opportunity to stop the cleaning of their Augean stables. Those who besmirch Pope Benedict XVI’s reputation risk giving these men the upper hand. We, lay Catholics, will suffer as a result, condemned to wade through the muck and filth for generations to come.
3/26/2010 7:56 PM
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NY Times goes all tabloid on the Pope
by The Yank (Irish American Site) Posted on Thursday, March 25, 2010

Okay, hold on. I was going to write about the Pope's recent letter to Ireland's Catholics, but instead I want to talk about the story on the front page of the NY Times on March 25. Just because so many of the Bishops have made some grotesque errors in judgment doesn't mean that the NY Times should take leave of its editorial senses and adopt the sensationalist policies of a British tabloid.

The story the Times tells is another one about a priest who violated his vows, the innocence of children and the trust of their parents. Fr. Lawrence Murphy was an Assistant Director, Director and eventually Principal at St. John's School for the Deaf, a residential school in Milwaukee, from 1950 – 1974.

During that time Fr. Murphy sexually molested dozens of boys, perhaps even as many as 200. It's a horrific tale, made worse by the fact that Fr. Murphy preyed on deaf children for whom communicating what was happening to them was that much more difficult.

When in 1974 the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was told by the boys what had happened to them Fr. Murphy was relieved of his duties at St. John's and basically ordered to go back and live with his mother in a different part of Wisconsin, in a different diocese. The Times says at the time the police and prosecutors "ignored reports" from Fr. Murphy's victims, so there doesn't seem to be the same cover-up concerns that are a feature of most of these stories. Murphy's abuse of children seems to have stopped with his removal from St. John's in 1974.

That story, however, has already been told by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel back in March 2006 and is told in detail at The Times connects the story to Pope Benedict, which is why it was on the front page.

The Times reveals that in January 1998 while the Church was proceeding with the process to laicize Fr. Murphy, he wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger appealing to him to stop this process on the grounds that (a) it was outside the norms of Church law (time limits) and (b) he was in poor health, having just "suffered another stroke." Three months later Ratzinger's secretary asked Milwaukee to drop the case. Four months after that Fr. Murphy was dead.

So there's the crux of the scandal that the Times saw fit to blaze on its front page. No legal cover-up, simply an old sinner's appeal for mercy and, apparently, a positive response from Cardinal Ratzinger.

Now I wish Cardinal Ratzinger hadn't done that. I'd rather have seen Fr. Murphy suffer, but I'm not a priest nor a bishop. I'm not in the business of forgiveness or mercy, but I can accept that this is a core function for a priest.

I'd like to be happy that the Times is so hard-line on the application of justice, but anyone who reads the paper regularly knows that not to be true. I'm still waiting for their editorial condemning the Scots for releasing Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who was convicted of murdering 270 people over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988 and who was released last year for dubious medical reasons.

No the truth is the Times picked up on an old, terrible story and used a thin connection to tie it to the Pope in an attempt to discredit him. That's it. The British tabloids would be proud of the Times' efforts.

3/26/2010 7:59 PM
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New York Times: stoking anti-Catholic flames
by William Donohue : Friday, March 26, 2010

"Pope Was Told Pedophile Priest Would Get Transfer." That's the headline in today's New York Times piece on the pope. Yet the Times offers absolutely no evidence to support this charge. All it says is that his office "was copied on a memo" about the transfer of Peter Hullermann. According to Church officials, the story says the memo was routine and was "unlikely to have landed on the archbishop's desk."

Let's say Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, now the pope, did in fact learn of the transfer. So what? Wasn't that what he expected to happen? After all, we know from a March 16 Times story that when Ratzinger's subordinates recommended therapy for Hullermann, he approved it. That was the drill of the day: after being treated, the patient (I prefer the term offender) returns to work. It's still the drill of the day in many secular quarters today, particularly in the public schools. A more hard-line approach, obviously, makes more sense, but the therapeutic industry is very powerful.

In other words, there is no real news in today's news story. So why print it? To keep the flame alive. Look for the Times to run another story saying they have proof Ratzinger knew of the transfer. Did they think that after he approved the therapy that Hullermann would be sent to the Gulag?

Yesterday's Times story on the half-century old case concerning Father Lawrence Murphy will be the subject of an op-ed page ad in Tuesday's New York Times. Meanwhile, I am taking advantage of every TV opportunity to set the record straight. The pope is a great man, and the Catholic League is proud to stand by him.

See what happens when even the president of the Catholic League in the United States uses the New York Times as a primary news source???

"After all, we know from a March 16 Times story that when Ratzinger's subordinates recommended therapy for Hullermann, he approved it. That was the drill of the day: after being treated, the patient (I prefer the term offender) returns to work."

The Archbishop did not approve the therapy - the priest was sent to Munich from another diocese for the therapy. The only decision Cardi-Ratzi made was to agree to give him parish lodgings during the therapy!

And if the 'drill' Donohue refers to means it was SOP at the time to think nothing of assigning priests to pastoral work despite alleged or proven sex offenses, then yes, the Archbishop's Vicar who assigned Hullermann to pastoral work was acting according to what was apparently the prevailing Church culture or practice - until the US scandals called that whole culture into question!

But even if that was SOP then, one cannot imagine Joseph Ratzinger at any time thinking that a known sex offender should be allowed to work with children, much less approve such an assignment.


[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/26/2010 9:14 PM]
3/26/2010 8:08 PM
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Keeping the record straight on Benedict and the crisis
By John L Allen Jr
Created Mar 26, 2010

Intense scrutiny is being devoted these days to Pope Benedict XVI's history on the sex abuse crisis. Revelations from Germany have put his five years as a diocesan bishop under a spotlight, and a piece on Thursday in The New York Times, on the case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy of Milwaukee, also called into question his Vatican years as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Despite complaints in some quarters that all this is about wounding the pope and/or the church, raising these questions is entirely legitimate. Anyone involved in church leadership at the most senior levels for as long as Benedict XVI inevitably bears some responsibility for the present mess. My newspaper, the National Catholic Reporter, today called editorially for full disclosure [1] about the pope's record, and it now seems abundantly clear that only such transparency can resolve the hard questions facing Benedict.

Yet as always, the first casualty of any crisis is perspective. There are at least three aspects of Benedict's record on the sexual abuse crisis which are being misconstrued, or at least sloppily characterized, in today's discussion. Bringing clarity to these points is not a matter of excusing the pope, but rather of trying to understand accurately how we got where we are.

The following, therefore, are three footnotes to understanding Benedict's record on the sexual abuse crisis.

1. Not the 'Point Man'

First, some media reports have suggested that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger presided over the Vatican office with responsibility for the sex abuse crisis for almost a quarter-century, from 1981 until his election to the papacy in April 2005, and therefore that he's responsible for whatever the Vatican did or didn't do during that entire stretch of time. That's not correct.

In truth, Ratzinger did not have any direct responsibility for managing the overall Vatican response to the crisis until 2001, four years before he became pope.

Bishops were not required to send cases of priests accused of sexual abuse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith until 2001, when they were directed to do so by Pope John Paul II's motu proprio titled Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela. Prior to that, most cases involving sex abuse never got to Rome. In the rare instance when a bishop wanted to laicize an abuser priest against his will, the canonical process involved would be handled by one of the Vatican courts, not by Ratzinger's office.

Prior to 2001, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith got involved only in the exceedingly rare instances when the sex abuse occurred in the context of the confessional, since a canonical tribunal within the congregation handled cases involving abuse of the sacrament of penance. That, for example, is how the case of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, ended up in the congregation, and it's also why officials in the Milwaukee archdiocese directed the case of Fr. Lawrence Murphy there.

One certainly can question how Ratzinger's office handled those exceptional cases, and the record seems painfully slow and ambivalent in comparison with how similar accusations would be dealt with today. Moreover, Ratzinger was a senior Vatican official from 1981 forward, and therefore he shares in the corporate failure in Rome to appreciate the magnitude of the crisis until terribly late in the game.

To suggest, however, that Ratzinger was the Vatican's "point man" on sex abuse for almost twenty-five years, and to fault him for the mishandling of every case that arose between 1981 and 2001, is misleading. Prior to 2001, Ratzinger had nothing personally to do with the vast majority of sex abuse cases, even the small percentage which wound up in Rome.

2. The 2001 letter

In some reporting and commentary, a May 2001 letter from Ratzinger to the bishops of the world, titled De delictis gravioribus, is being touted as a "smoking gun" proving that Ratzinger attempted to thwart reporting priestly sex abuse to the police or other civil authorities by ordering the bishops to keep it secret.

That letter indicates that certain grave crimes, including the sexual abuse of a minor, are to be referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and that they are "subject to the pontifical secret." The Vatican insists, however, that this secrecy applied only to the church's internal disciplinary procedures, and was not intended to prevent anyone from also reporting these cases to the police or other civil authorities. Technically they're correct, since nowhere in the 2001 letter is there any prohibition on reporting sex abuse to police or civil prosecutors.

In reality, few bishops needed a legal edict from Rome ordering them not to talk publicly about sexual abuse. That was simply the culture of the church at the time, which makes the hunt for a "smoking gun" something of a red herring right out of the gate. Fixing a culture -- one in which the Vatican, to be sure, was as complicit as anyone else, but one which was widespread and deeply rooted well beyond Rome -- is never as simply as abrogating one law and issuing another.

That aside, here's the key point about Ratzinger's 2001 letter: Far from being seen as part of the problem, at the time it was widely hailed as a watershed moment towards a solution. It marked recognition in Rome, really for the first time, of how serious the problem of sex abuse really is, and it committed the Vatican to getting directly involved. Prior to that 2001 motu proprio and Ratzinger's letter, it wasn't clear that anyone in Rome acknowledged responsibility for managing the crisis; from that moment forward, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would play the lead role.

Beginning in 2001, Ratzinger was forced to review all the files on every priest credibly accused of sexual abuse anywhere in the world, giving him a sense of the contours of the problem that virtually no one else in the Catholic church can claim. In a recent article, I outlined the "conversion experience" Ratzinger and his staff went through after 2001. Beforehand, he came off as just another Roman cardinal in denial; after his experience of reviewing the files, he began to talk openly about the "filth" in the church, and his staff became far more energetic about prosecuting abusers.

For those who have followed the church's response to the crisis, Ratzinger's 2001 letter is therefore seen as a long overdue assumption of responsibility by the Vatican, and the beginning of a far more aggressive response. Whether that response is sufficient is, of course, a matter for fair debate, but to construe Ratzinger's 2001 letter as no more than the last gasp of old attempts at denial and cover-up misreads the record.

3. Canonical Trials

Ratzinger's top deputy at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on sex abuse cases, Maltese Monsignor Charles Scicluna, recently gave an interview to an Italian Catholic paper in which he said that of the more than 3,000 cases eventually referred to Rome, only 20 percent were subjected to a full canonical trial. In some reporting, including the Thursday piece in The New York Times, this figure has been cited as evidence of Vatican "inaction."

Once again, however, those who have followed the story closely have almost exactly the opposite impression.

Back in June 2002, when the American bishops first proposed a set of new canonical norms to Rome, the heart of which was the "one strike and you're out" policy, they initially wanted to avoid canonical trials altogether. Instead, they wanted to rely on a bishop's administrative power to permanently remove a priest from ministry. That's because their experience of Roman tribunals over the years was that they were often slow, cumbersome, and the outcome was rarely certain.

Most famously, bishops and experts would point to the case of Fr. Anthony Cipolla in Pittsburgh, during the time that Donald Wuerl, now the Archbishop of Washington, was the local bishop. Wuerl had removed Cipolla from ministry in 1988 following allegations of sexual abuse. Cipolla appealed to Rome, where the Apostolic Signatura, in effect the Vatican's supreme court, ordered him reinstated. Wuerl then took the case to Rome himself, and eventually prevailed. The experience left many American bishops, however, with the impression that lengthy canonical trials were not the way to handle these cases.

When the new American norms reached Rome, they ran into opposition precisely on the grounds that everyone deserves their day in court -- another instance, in the eyes of critics, of the Vatican being more concerned about the rights of abuser priests than victims. A special commission of American bishops and senior Vatican officials brokered a compromise, in which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would sort through the cases one-by-one and decide which ones would be sent back for full trials.

The fear at the time was that the congregation would insist on trials in almost every case, thereby dragging out the administration of justice, and closure for the victims, almost indefinitely. In the end, however, only 20 percent were sent back for trials, while for the bulk of the cases, 60 percent, bishops were authorized to take immediate administrative action, because the proof was held to be overwhelming.

The fact that only 20 percent of the cases were subjected to full canonical trial has been hailed as a belated grasp in Rome of the need for swift and sure justice, and a victory for the more aggressive American approach to the crisis. It should be noted, too, that bypassing trials has been roundly criticized by some canon lawyers and Vatican officials as a betrayal of the due process safeguards in church law.

Hence to describe that 20 percent figure as a sign of "inaction" cannot help but seem, to anyone who's been paying attention, rather ironic. In truth, handling 60 percent of the cases through the stroke of a bishop's pen has, up to now, more often been cited as evidence of exaggerated and draconian action by Ratzinger and his deputies.

Obviously, none of this is to suggest that Benedict's handling of the crisis -- in Munich, at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or as pope -- is somehow exemplary. An accounting needs to be offered if this pope, and the church he leads, hopes to move forward. For that analysis to be constructive, however, as opposed to fueling polarization and confusion, it's important to keep the record straight.

It's very good of John Allen to try and set things straight once again, because he really must be commended for having done this twice before (it's not his fault that none of his colleagues want to pay any attention to facts that do not support their predetermined narrative about joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI).

The first was in 2005 shortly after the Conclave, when some US lawyers for abuse victims first named the Vatican in general adn Cardinal Ratzinger in particular as co-plaintiffs in the suits they were filing against the dioceses to which the offending priests belonged to. Allen at the time pointed out that they were deliberately misinterpreting both Crimen sollicitationis from 1962 add the 2001 De delictis gravioribus as Vatican instructions to hide the sex crimes of priests at all costs.

He did the same thing in 2006 when the BBC aired its defamatory documentary based entirely on the premise that those same two documents - it even ascribed the 1962 document to him - were responsible for the 'culture of silence' about sex offenses by priests.

However, Allen is also prone to make side comments about Benedict XVI which are sometimes out of line or completely off the mark [I think in part in order to maintain his liberal creds with his colleagues and with that crap-heap of a magazine that he writes for), and I will probably fisk this article fully later (on my own post). just consider this line in his concluding paragraph:

"...None of this is to suggest that Benedict's handling of the crisis -- in Munich, at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or as pope -- is somehow exemplary".

Excuse me! None of what Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has been doing on this issue has any precedent - NONE WHATSOEVER - and if setting a positive precedent is not exemplary, I don't know what is.


[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/26/2010 10:30 PM]
3/27/2010 9:57 AM
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March 26, 2010

This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Alvaro Colom Caballeros, Oresident of the Republic of Guatemala.

The President subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions attention turned to the good relations that exist between Church and State, and to the specific contribution the Church makes to the country's development.

There followed an exchange of opinions on the international situation, with particular reference to the challenges of poverty, organised crime and emigration. The discussions also served to underline the importance of promoting human life from the moment of conception, and of the role played by education.

Sorry, I forgot to post this event yesterday....

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/27/2010 4:48 PM]
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This is the first article I have seen that 'dares' look at an obvious question the media have gingerly kept hands off these days, but Galeazzi finds a legitimate and quite informative approach to it.

Pedophilia in priests:
John Paul II's approach was shaped
by the Communist experience

Translated from

March 26, 2010

Before Ratzinger, after Ratzinger.

In the Vatican, everyone agrees in identifying two distinct phases in the Vatican response to the pedophile scandals which for the past 15 years had devastated in periodic waves the dioceses of half the world.

[Half the world? Not quite! The United States, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Holland and the Switzerland - even throw in Italy - that's not half the world, much less the Catholic world!]

Joseph Ratzinger's approach to the problem is described in the Roman Curia as "pragmatic and intransigent".

In the former Holy Office, the future Benedict XVI designated an entire section for the dossiers on sex-offender priests, and shortly after becoming Pope, Ratzinger imposed penalties on someone who had been one of the most powerful figures in the Catholic world: Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, who had been the object of multiple accusations of sexual abuses.

As a former bishop in the 'church of silence', John Paul II was far less audacious and tended automatically to see accuses of sexual abuse as an attempt to delegitimize the Catholic clergy.

In the Communist regimes of eastern Europe, where he had carried out his pastoral mission amidst the poisons of the Cold War, the accusation of pedophilia was the most efficient way to get an inconvenient priest out of the way.

Therefore, John Paul II had an objective suspicion, an invincible difficulty, in proceeding with draconian measures against priests accused of what he considered "a horrendous and abominable crime'.

Rather than intervening directly as the drastic and unequivocal Ratzingerian provisions now do, Wojtyla's line was to seek to attack the problem at the roots.

As Archbishop of Cracow, he was the first in the world to introduce attitude tests to derive a psychological and sexual profile of candidates for the seminary. In fact, he became the first in the Church to use the tools of psychoanalysis to evaluate seminarians in order to avoid eventual sexual problems once they were priests.

In Cracow, he entrusted the sensitive work to his friend, the psychiatrist Wanda Poltawska, to determine, with a clinical eye and a firm hand, who might require supplementary surveillance.

He trusted so much in this anti-abuse strategy (based on consultations on specific problem situations) that in his pontificate, it was discussed whether such a psycho-attitudinal test should be required in all seminaries around the world along the lines of the Cracow experience.

In 1999, the first attempt to introduce the test was a troubled one. Many in the Curia required further study in depth of this method. Among those who raised the most doubts was the then Archbishop of Bologna, Giacomo Biffi.

The debate continued behind closed doors, and at the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Catholic education, the debate was lively, and the Curial heads who were members of the congregation were split. The Polish cardinal Zenon Grocholewski [recently named at the time by John Paul II to head the Congregation] was all for it, but many were skeptical.

But despite his strategy of prevention, Wojtyla saw the pedophilia scandal erupt in his own homeland. On March 24, 2002, the director of the Vatican Press Office, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, announced that the Holy See had been informed about "a case involving the Archbishop of Poznan".

In the cross-hairs was Archbishop Julius Paetz, who had been an antechamber attendant for both Paul VI and John Paul II. After much resistance, the man who was not just a compatriot but a longtime friend of the Pope himself was forced to resign.

It was the most glaring example that the Wojtylian line of control did not function, and therefore, towards the end of the Wojtyla Pontificate, it was necessary to adopt special measures for the whole Church against pedophile priests.

It was decided to allow swift canonical hearings in the dioceses first, and then at the Vatican if necessary, with the added possibility for the Pope to execute an immediate but secret step to dismiss from the priesthood those found guilty of sexual abuse of minors.

The article seems unfinished. Also, Galeazzi's account does not give the specific genesis of John Paul II's Motu Proprio in April 2001 and the subsequent implementing instructions from Cardinal Ratzinger, De delicti gravioribus, both of which came out before the Paetz retirement in May 2002 and John Paul's meeting in December 2002 with US bishops on the scandals that had begun to emerge in the United States at the time.

Some useful footnotes:

It must be noted that in November 2005, the Congregation for Catholic Education adopted an "Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary"
followed in June 2008 by "Guidelines for the use of psychology in the admission and formation of candidates for the priesthood".

Regarding Archbishop Paetz, an AP report from March 28, 2002, says Paetz resigned, telling his congregation he was innocent, after the Vatican launched its own investigation into newspaper reports about accusations that he had sexually molested boys; and that John Paul II's decision on Paetz came a week after he had broken his silence on the US sex scandals.

The AP backgrounder says Paetz became the second highest-ranking prelate to resign or be removed since Austrian Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer was forced to give up all his duties in 1995 due to accusations of having molested boys.

In the United States, Bishop Anthony O'Connell resigned from the diocese of Palm Beach, Florida, after he admitted that he had abused a former seminarian in the 1970s.

Very apropos, the Times of London has launched its own campaign against the Primate of Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, with this story claiming the pressure is coming from the Vatican:

Rome puts pressure on
Catholic leader to quit

Ruth Gledhill and Jill Sherman

March 27, 2010

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland will be pressed to quit if he refuses to resign over the growing child abuse scandal, The Times has learnt.

Nothing less than Cardinal Sean Brady’s resignation will diminish fury at the highest levels in Rome over his role in paedophile priest cover-ups.
[They are projecting! The fury is from Irish criics of the Pope which includes most of the Irish media - and by extension, the UK media.]

The Northern Ireland Assembly prepared last night to order an official investigation into child abuse in the Province after details emerged of more attacks on children by members of the clergy. [What new reports??? If there were, the news agencies would have trumpeted them to the world already!]

Dr Brady is spending the days before Easter considering his position as Archbishop of Armagh. Although there is no canonical procedure to remove him, if he refuses to go voluntarily pressure from the Holy See will make his departure inevitable. [Projecting, projecting! Perhaps they think that if they say it often enough, it will happen.]

“Ireland needs a fresh start,” a source in Rome said. “By clinging on, he is putting his own interests before the Church’s.” [I bet the 'source in Rome' is someone like Richard Owen, perhaps, the Times's Vatican correspondent.]

The inquiry would be similar to that which uncovered a shocking litany of historic crimes in the Republic of Ireland last year. An official investigation is expected to cost up to £40 million and take no longer than five years. [The inquiry would be into abuses committed in the Diocese of Armagh, not into Cardinal Brady's past 'transgression', details of which are fully known.]

“It’s difficult to see anything other than a significant inquiry being held,” a senior government source said. “There was an acknowledgement that there’s a need to act with expediency.”

By announcing an apostolic visitation to the Irish Church in a letter last week, Pope Benedict XVI effectively placed it in receivership.

Dr Brady’s exit, after the resignations of two other bishops, would set in train a Catholic reformation in the country. Other bishops are also expected to go after the influential Tablet journal called for the forced retirement of nearly all as the mood in Ireland reaches “zero tolerance”. [How influential is the Tablet really, since it merely preaches to its readymade ultraliberal choir?]

Dr Brady apologised last week for his role in a Church tribunal on allegations made by a 14-year-old boy against Brendan Smyth, a priest whose case brought down the Irish Government in 1994. The victim was sworn to secrecy after the proceedings.

But the view in Rome is that this has not gone far enough and there has been no popular groundswell of support for Dr Brady in Ireland.

[I think it is logical to think that, given the clearcut nature of what Fr. Sean Brady did in 1975, the best indicator of whether he should resign or not is what his own diocese thinks about him.

To reiterate his case: In 1975, he interrogated two victims for his bishop, who then proceeded to relieve the accused priest, a Norbertine religious, of his duties in the diocese, and sent him back to his order, which has the primary responsibility to discipline him; the diocese has no authority over religious orders. Brady also asked the boys to sign a document that they would not speak about the case to anyone. And he did not report to the police. In 1975, that was SOP in dioceses throughout the world.

If Brady is to be made answerable for that today, then so should all the priests and bishops who had anything to do with the 40,000 cases of child abuse in Ireland that were never reported to the police in the past. But since he is Primate of Ireland, if his own diocese rejects him, then he himself would know it is time to go. By all accounts, Brady is a genuninely holy man. The Vatican will not need to push him.]

The scandal spread closer to home for the Pope yesterday as, in Italy, a group of victims appeared on television to allege that two dozen priests in Verona had abused children at a school for the deaf for decades.

The Holy See attempted to blame the media for whipping up a storm against the Pope as efforts intensified in London and Rome to prevent Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain in September being derailed by the scandals.

Whitehall officials made clear yesterday that the visit, which is being co-ordinated by a cross-government committee, would go ahead as planned and had a valuable purpose.

“Child abuse is an abhorrent crime,” one official said. But he insisted that the reasons for the visit — to consider ways of tackling poverty, climate change and other global issues— were still valid. [Excuse me! This is primarily an apostolic visit, for Peter to 'confirm his brothers in the faith', which just happens also to be a state visit. Secular concerns do not trump the primary mission of the Pope.]

The Catholic bishops of England and Wales are not expected to be caught up in the present wave of revelations because of action taken by the former Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, to clean up the Church a decade ago.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor appointed Lord Nolan to investigate the problem and, as a result of his report in 2001 and another subsequent inquiry, the Catholic Church in England and Wales has one of the strongest safeguarding procedures for children in the world.

A senior lay Catholic, Sir Ivor Roberts, President of Trinity College, Oxford, and former British Ambassador to Italy, said that the actions taken by the bishops of England and Wales to safeguard children should have been taken in Ireland years ago.

“It would have lanced the boil a good deal earlier,” he said. “What is happening in Ireland is very sad and very damaging for Cardinal Brady. His position has been made pretty untenable.” [We'll see!]

The most likely successor to Cardinal Brady is the highly regarded Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor, the youngest serving bishop in Ireland.

NB: Please note I have posted a translation of Benedict XVI's dialogue with young people at the pre-WYD youth rally in St. Peter's Square Thursday night, in the earlier post on this page that carries photo montages of the event.

It's another precious example of the Holy Father's brilliant extemporaneous catechizing - his use of St. Paul's metaphor likening the path to holiness to an Olympian's course was particularly effective, I thought, to bring home to young people the message of renunciation and why it is always necessary in life

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/27/2010 5:00 PM]
3/27/2010 1:04 PM
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Saturday, March 27

BLESSED FRANCESCO FAA DI BRUNO (Italy, 1825-1888), Soldier, Mathematician, Priest
He was one of the many sainted figures like Don Bosco who emerged in late 19th century
Turin. Son of a marquis, he was well educated and a trained officer in the Sardinian Army
around the time of Italian reunification. He caught the attention of King Vittorio Emanuele
who wanted him to tutor his two young sons. However, the King withdrew the offer because
of strong anti-Catholic feeling at that time. Francesco went to Paris to study astronomy and
mathematics, which was to be his lifelong passion. He studied with the two French scientists
who discovered the planet Neptune. Returning to Italy, he taught math at the University of
Turin but did significant charitable work on the side. Notably, he founded the Society of
St. Zita, originally to assist domestic servants and later, unwed ,others as well. He set up
a hostel for the aged and raised funds for a church to honor soldiers who died in the wars
of reunification. He obtained an age dispensation from Pius IX to study for the priesthood
and was ordained at age 51. He continued to teach but he also shared his inheritance with
the poor and set up a hostel for prostitutes. He published numerous articles on mathematical
theory for leading scientific journals and developed the Faa di Bruno mathematical formula
for the derivative of composite functions in calculus. He was beatified in 1988.
Readings for today's Mass:

OR today.

Benedict XVI to the youth of Rome and Lazio on Thursday night:
'Do not waste your life'
Other Page 1 stories: Israeli Premier Netanyahu stands firm on construction in east Jerusalem; India emerges after China as the nation with the most investments in Africa; and brief items on the Pope's audience with the President of Guatemala, and the Vatican reaction to the second New York Times article seeking to implicate the Pope in the cases of two pedophile priests. Also published for the first time are the official Italian translations of John Paul II's April 2001 motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (On protecting the sanctity of Sacraments) and its implementing letter by Cardinal Ratzinger, De delictis gravioribus(Regarding the gravest of sins), which marked a new era in the Church's dealing with sexual abuse of minors by priests. Two other items inside - the support expressed by the bishops of France, and various statements by Italian politicians in support of the Pope.


The Holy Father met today with

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops (weekly meeting)

- Mons. Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood

- Mons. Nikola Eterović, Secretary-General of the Bishops' Synod

- H.E. Marius Gabriel Lazurca, Ambassador from Romania, on his farewell visit

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/27/2010 4:28 PM]
3/27/2010 3:40 PM
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The Church rejects Jacobine rage:
The Pope accuses the traitors to the faith
but also opens the door to hope

Translated from

March 27, 2010

Certainly, neither Joseph Ratzinger the man nor Pope Benedict XVI need a defense from me.

The esteem and the respect that this man enjoys even among many laymen testify that he exemplifies best the Catholic synthesis that rejects every 'aut aut' (either-or) but follows the 'law of et-et', coincidentia oppositorum, the union of opposites. [One might perhaps call it the Catholic dialectic.]

Those who know him are aware to what extent there has a;ways co-existed in Professor Ratzinger, then Cardinal/Prefect Ratzinger, and finally Pope Benedict VXI, severity and mercy, rigor and understanding, respect for the norms and attention to individual human cases.

There is, in him, the humanity of the earlier men of the Church who, from the pulpit, denounced sin fiercely, but in the confessional, one on one with the penitent sinner, followed Christ's invitation to understand and forgive those who sincerely repent.

His letter to the Catholics of Ireland has an unprecedented severity: the sorrow and the indignation for the betrayal of the Gospel are not attenuated by any theologically correct hypocrisy.

In those dramatic pages, Benedict XVI does not even try to diminish the sin, recalling that many of the accused have preached against sin from their own pulpits.

He did not say a word against the generation-1968 apostles of the 'sexual revolution' who have now donned the robes of fierce and scandalized moralizers.

Nor did he denounce the sanctimonious defense of children by those who habitually preach the elimination at will of the unborn as an untouchable right.

Not a single reference in the letter to the economic interests that have led major Anglo-Saxon law firms to advertise their services openly in the media, with the come-on: "Do you want to be a millionaire? Send your son to a seminary for a year, and then come to us!"

The financial interest here is that common law, which prevails in the Anglo-Saxon countries, gives lawyers half of any damages ordered by a court to be paid to victims - and those have been extremely large.

Agents of these law firms keep a list of old men they hope to convince to bring suit or to testify in cases they expect to rake in millions. But better for them if the accused priest is now dead - many bishops and heads of religious orders have been willing to pay off out of court in order to avoid more scandal.

For years now, the 'Catholic pederast' has been, in the United States, the protagonist of an enormous business that has since brought rich dioceses and orders to financial ruin.

And yet, Benedict XVI has not sought any attenuating circumstance, no matter how legitimate and well-founded. His accusing finger is not pointed outside the Church, but towards her own children who have betrayed her.

For them, terrible words vibrating with the indignation of Biblical prophets. But after the condemnation, also the hope, the appeal to the mercy of a God who can bring good out of evil, calling on the guilty to pay the price required by justice but not to despair of God's forgiveness.

There is no sin so great that it can dry up divine mercy. Repentance and penance can open the way to reconciliation with God, for those who want it.

In this son of old Catholic Bavaria, authentic Catholicism lives: rejecting an inhuman and ferocious 'jacobinism' [the 'off-with-their-heads blanket rage of the radical French revolutionaries]; condemnation without right of appeal [to divine authority]; justice without understanding; ius, justice, without pietas, mercy, for the human condition.

Those who are driving the current attempts to drag him into the docket know nothing - apart from their many errors and manipulations - of the Pope's wisdom which draws from the bimillennial experience of the Church.

A wisdom 'with a human face' which - we must hasten to underscore - follows the golden rule of et-et, even as it uses the whip against the sinful, as the Church in Ireland should know.

Those who would want to accuse the former Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of having covered up or ignored cases of sexual abuse, should be reminded, among other things, of that 'sorrowful mystery' which was the case of Fr. Marcial Maciel.

The congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, founded by the late Mexican priest, was very dear to John Paul II, because while many old religious orders were dying out or barely making it, here was a whole generation of enthusiastic priests defending Catholic orthodoxy.

Reports reaching Rome about Fr. Maciel's sexual abuses with seminarians were prudently consiered by Papa Wojtyla, who recalled that in Poland, similar accusations had been used by the Communists to defame the Church.

Well, one of the first measures taken by Joseph Ratzinger when he became Pope was to sanction the founder, ordering him to live in private and dedicate the time left to him (he was 86) to prayer and penitence.

Beyond that, Benedict XVI lost no time in abolishing the 'fourth vow' that had been required of the Legionaries - called a vow of 'discretion' - which imposed on each member the obligation not to speak against his superiors in any way, thus hindering the investigations that the CDF underook into the accusations against Fr. Maciel.

Initially, the Legionaries took the attitude that Papa Ratzinger had been misinformed or even that he was in a conspiracy to bring down the congregation because it had become too powerful.

And so, the man accused from outside the Church of 'failing to act' was accused by some inside the Church of 'doing too much' - not only against the Legionaries, but in other cases of sexual abuse as soon as accusations were established to be rightful.

And this is a paradox that is ignored for all that it is significant.

[But only one of the multitude of facts that the crusading media conveniently ignore for not fitting into their narrative, if not directly contradicting it.]

3/27/2010 4:50 PM
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Cardinal Kasper defends the Pope
and calls for 'housecleaning'

ROME, March 27 (AP) - A top Vatican cardinal is calling for "housecleaning" and urging the Roman Catholic Church to be more alert and brave in dealing with cases of clerical sex abuse.

Cardinal Walter Kasper has also defended the Pope, saying he was the first to recognize the need for a harsher stance against offenders. He says attacks on Pope Benedict XVI go "beyond any limit of justice and loyalty."

The sex abuse scandal has moved across Europe and into Benedict's native Germany. It has touched the Pontiff himself with a case dating to his tenure as archbishop of Munich.

Kasper said in an interview published Saturday in the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera that the Church needs to be more vigilant but that the path she has taken is "irreversible."

The memories are still painful for the men who appeared on Italian television last night, and the revelations add to the pain of a Church and a Pope under siege.

The rest of the story is added on by CBS News, the same outfit that tried to torpedo George W. Bush's re-election bid in 2004 by using clearly forged documents to support an allegation that he improperly used his connection to avoid serving in Vietnam.

CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports that the latest allegations of abuse aimed at another Catholic institution are now getting closer to Rome, and to the Pope himself. [And how does the complaint from Verona get 'closer to the Pope himself'???]

On Friday, Italian television aired allegations from men who, as children, attended a Catholic school for the deaf in Verona, where they say they were repeatedly abused.

At first the local bishop accused them of lying, until one of the staff admitted the allegations were true.

The bishop then ordered an internal investigation, which found some abuse occurred, albeit a fraction of what had been alleged.

Advocates for the self-described victims, however, said the diocese investigation was fatally flawed because no one interviewed the former students.

In a signed statement last year, the 67 former pupils at a school for the deaf in Verona described sexual abuse, paedophilia and corporal punishment from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Only now - a year after the Italian case became public - is the Vatican directing the diocese to interview the victims to hear their testimony about the accusations, The Associated Press learned on Thursday.

While not all acknowledged being "victims," 14 of the 67 wrote sworn statements and made videotapes, detailing abuse, some for years, at the hands of priests and brothers of the Congregation for the Company of Mary.

On Friday three self-described victims detailed alleged abuse at the institute.

"When I was 11, the sexual intercourse started, in the dormitory, in the toilets, very often we were sodomized in the toilets. It went on for four years, always," said 60-year-old Gianni Bisoli.

59-year-old Dario Laiti said he was six when he started at the institute. He said that after a year he was "called by two different priests into a dormitory and they took me behind a white sheet and they sodomized me."

The Verona case is just the latest accusation to rock the church and tarnish Pope Benedict XVI who for years headed the Vatican department that deals with sexual abuse cases, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In 2001 Ratzinger issued a directive that requires bishops to report suspected clerical abuse cases to the Vatican, but makes no mention of calling police.

The Church establishment has rallied in support of the pope, and an editorial in the Vatican newspaper has called the abuse allegations a clear and ignoble attempt of trying to strike Benedict. But an editorial in the National Catholic Reporter says it's time for the Pope to provide straight answers.

The Church moves slowly, but the news about child abuse is spreading, creating more and more of a demand not just for apologies, but for justice.

Earlier this week it was revealed that the Vatican halted the investigation of a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting some 200 deaf boys. (1)

The Wisconsin and Verona cases are the latest in a burgeoning abuse scandal on both sides of the Atlantic that now threatens to tarnish the papacy itself.

The office charged with disciplining clergy was long led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, and a church prosecution in the Wisconsin case was stopped after an appeal to Ratzinger. (2)

The Vatican strongly defended Benedict on Thursday and denounced what it said was a concerted campaign to smear him and his aides for a problem that Rome insists is not unique to the Catholic Church. [Does anyone dispute that fact? The fair reporter would write, "that Rome insists - and rightly so- ..."]

The Vatican was responding to the release of documents, first reported by The New York Times, that showed how the Pope's former office told a Wisconsin bishop to shut down a church trial against the Reverend Lawrence Murphy, a Milwaukee priest accused of molesting some 200 deaf boys from 1950 to 1975. (3)

[Can you believe that? Three times in five paragraphs, the reporter(s) repeat what is, at best, a half-truth!]

Murphy died in 1998, two years after Ratzinger first learned of the accusations, and more than 20 years after they came to the attention of the Milwaukee diocese. [What about mentioning that the Milwaukee diocese itself did not inform the Vatican about the case until 1996???]

While the Vatican has not directly addressed the Italian abuse case, first reported as part of an AP investigation last September, it bears marked similarities to the allegations brought in Wisconsin.

Both involve some of society's most vulnerable: deaf children for whom the admonition "never tell" is easy to enforce because they have difficulty communicating.

And in both, the major priority of Church officials grappling with how or whether to discipline accused predators appeared to be protecting the Church from scandal.

I haven't had a chance to check out Cardinal Kasper's interview with Corsera yet, but if it's worth translating in full, I will.

Italian Senate president condemns
'unmerited' attacks on Pope Benedict

Rome, Italy, Mar 27, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News).- "Unacceptable and unmerited" is how the president of the Italian Senate, Renato Schifani, defined the recent "attacks against the Pontiff."

Calling the media blitz on Pope Benedict XVI "unprecedented", he acknowledged the Pope's "decisive measures against pedophilia" and said that his "very rigorous positions" deserve respect and appreciation.

"This is why I don't understand, and we don't understand, the reason for these attacks," the politician said to a group of young people on Thursday, according to a Friday article in L'Osservatore Romano.

Schifani, speaking to the youngsters on constitutional values, went on to deem as "unacceptable" the evident "attempt to overshadow a moral patrimony, of traditions, of culture and of meritorious actions such as that of the Church with the instrument of the delegitimization that doesn't distinguish that which is good and just from the individual behaviors..."

He pointed out that the "most odious" of these actions "have been condemned firmly and with the maximum authority."

The president of the Senate went on to defend the fundamental value of life as "the sign of the degree of civilization of a nation" and said that its protection "without ambiguity in all of its manifestations, preserving in it always the intrinsic dignity, is the essential task of every citizen and every institution."

In a message posted on the website of the Italian government following the release of the Letter to Irish Catholics last week, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi expressed, on behalf of the people of Italy, "all of the affection, closeness and solidarity" to the Pope, who "has often had to confront difficult situations that become motive for attacks against the Church and even the very substance of the Christian religion."

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/27/2010 9:17 PM]
3/27/2010 5:56 PM
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Pope approves decrees for
one new saint, five new Blesseds; and
advances sainthood causes for 10 others

Translated from

March 27, 2010

In a private audience today with Mons. Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Holy Father authorized the promulgation of decrees that will create one new saint and advance the causes for sainthood of 16 others.

The decrees will concern:

1) Miracles attributed to the intercession of

- Blessed Bonifacia Rodriguez De Castro, Founder of the Congregation of the Missionary Servants of St. Joseph; born in Salamanca, Spain on June 6, 1837 and died in Zamora on August 8, 1905.

and the following Venerable Servants of God:

- Juan De Palafox y Mendoza, first bishop of Puebla de los Angeles (Spain), then Bishop of Osma; born in Fitero on June 24, 1600, and died in Osma Oct. 1, 1659.

- Maria Barbara of the Most Holy Trinity, Founder of the Congregation of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; born Barbara Maix in Vienna on June 27, 1818, died in Catumbi, Brazil, on March 17, 1873.

- Anna Maria Adorni, Founder of the Congregation of the Handmaids of Mary Immaculate and the Good Shepherd Institute of Parma; born in Fivizzano on June 19, 1805, and died in Parma on Feb. 7, 1893).

- Maria de la Immaculada Concepcion, Superior General of the Congregation of Sisters of the Cross; born Maria Isabella Salvat y Romero in Madrid on February 20, 1926, and died in Seville on Oct. 31, 1998.

- Stephen (born Giuseppe Nehmé), professed religious of the Lebanese Order of Maronites; born in Lehfed, Lebanon, in March 1889 and died in Kfifane on August 30, 1938.

2) The martyrdom of the following Servants of God:

- Szilárd Bogdánffy, Bishop of Oradea Mare of the Latins; born in Feketetó, Romania, on Feb. 21, 1911, and died in prison in Nagyenyed (Romania) on Oct. 2, 1953.

- Gerard Hirschfelder, diocesan priest; born in Glatz, Germany on Feb. 17, 1905, and died in the Dachau concentration camp on August 1, 1942.

- Luigi Grozde, lay member of the Catholic Action; born in Gorenje Vodale, Slovenia, on May 27, 1923, and killed, out of hatred of the faith, on January 1, 1943.

3) The heroic virtues of the following Servants of God:

- Francesco Antonio Marcucci, Archbishop of Montalto, Italy; born in Force on Nov, 27, 1717, and died in Montalto on July 12, 1798.

- John Francis Gnidovec, Bishop of Skopje-Prizren (Slovenia); born in Veliki Lipovec on Sept. 29, 1873, and died in Ljubljana on Feb. 3, 1939.

- Luigi Novarese, diocesan priest and Founder of the Silent Workers of the Cross; born in Casale Monferrato, Italy, on July 29, 1914, and died in Rocca Priora on July 20, 1984.

- Henriette Delille, Founder of the Congregation of Sisters of the Holy Family; born in New Orleans 1812 or 1813, and died there on Nov. 17, 1962.

- Maria Theresia, Founder of the Institute of Poor Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Third Order of St Francis; born Regine Cristina Wilhelmine Bonzel in Olpe, Germany, on Sept.17, 1830, and died there on February 6, 1905.

- Maria Franziska of the Cross, Founder of the Institute of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother; born Amalia Franziska Rosa Streitel
in Mellrichstadt, Germany, and died in Castel Sant'Elia, Italy, on March 6, 1911.

- Maria Felicia de Jesus Sacramentado, professed sister of the Discalced Carmelites; born Maria Felicia Guggiari Echeverría in
Villarrica del Espíritu Santo, Paraguay on January 12, 1925, and died in Asuncion on April 28, 1959.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 3/27/2010 8:11 PM]
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