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Updated: 2017-11-21T22:55:33.273+00:00

 



USA : Chicago archdiocese agrees to pay another $3.15 million to McCormack victims

2017-04-17T00:03:06.046+01:00

(image) The Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to pay $3.15 million to settle the latest in a series of lawsuits stemming from sexual abuse by the laicized priest Daniel McCormack.

The archdiocese has now committed to pay over $10 million to victims of McCormack. 

In separate lawsuits, these victims have demonstrated that church officials had evidence that McCormack could be a threat to young people as far back as 1994 — before he was ordained by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin — but allowed him to continue in ministry until 2006. 

McCormack was jailed in 2007 after pleading guilty to several counts of sexual abuse. 

When he became eligible for parole in 2009, prosecutors invoked an Illinois law that allowed them to keep him under confinement, saying that he remained an imminent threat. 

He was laicized in 2007.



EUROPE : Cause opened for beatification of French priest slain at altar last year

2017-04-17T00:02:04.200+01:00

The Archdiocese of Rouen has opened a formal cause for the beatification of Father Jacques Hamel, who was killed by Islamic terrorists last July while he was celebrating Mass in the church of St. Etienne du Rouvray. Ordinarily the Vatican requires a five-year waiting period after the death of a candidate before a cause can be opened. But Pope Francis waived that rule in the case of Father Hamel, responding to pleas from French Catholics.  Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen announced the opening of the cause during the Chrism Mass in his archdiocese on Holy Thursday.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



PALESTINE : Leader hopes papal visit to Egypt will strengthen moderate Muslims

2017-04-17T00:01:14.154+01:00

(image) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has written to Pope Francis, offering his best wishes that the Pope’s visit to Egypt later this month will strengthen moderate Muslims.

Abbas said that the Pope’s plan to visit Egypt “reflects your commitment to achieve justice and peace and encourage moderate voices all over the world, especially in our region.”



SYRIA : 2 Franciscan friars minister in area under ISIS control

2017-04-17T00:00:24.078+01:00

(image) Two of the 15 Franciscan friars who minister in Syria do so in territory controlled by the Islamic State.

As a condition for staying with the families, ISIS imposed upon the friars the condition of removing Christian symbols.

The friars “are living in two villages, 25 and 40 kilometers from Aleppo,” Father Michael Perry, minister general of the Franciscan order, told Catholic News Service.

“They have been able to negotiate space and pay what is necessary,” he said, in order to remain with “those who are too poor or too weak to find another place to go.”



April - Prayer to The Holy Spirit

2017-04-16T00:01:01.800+01:00

Holy Spirit, be with me today.
Be my teacher, my guide, my counselor, my friend.

Fill me with your gifts, especially the gifts of
wisdom, discernment, knowledge, understanding, compassion,
love, and awe in God's presence.

In all that I think, say, and do, let it be in accordance
with your most holy and perfect will.

I ask this in Jesus' name.

AMEN.



Lent calendar prayer and reflection for 16 April - Easter Sunday

2017-04-16T00:00:03.370+01:00

“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb” she said “and we don’t know where they have put him.”John 20:1-9It can be hard to identify with Mary and the disciples when we listen to the Easter story because we know the ending: we know that Jesus has risen! At this point in the story Mary seems angry, distraught, confused. All of us can identify with these feelings when we go through dark times in our lives. And often it needs the support and understanding of others for our despair to turn into hope.The Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Mbala, Zambia, often meet people who have lost everything including their money and homes, looking for someone who will ‘cure’ them of their HIV. Sister Yvonne says: “Once they’ve exhausted everything and they are very sick – they’ve no energy or strength – then they are taken to the hospitals and most of the time this is when we come into contact with them, at the point when they are really ill and have lost everything. “So we support them in that state, then we will provide medication, counselling, and once they are healthier, then there is that great need to support with a livelihood to bring them back to where they were.”The Sisters are there to meet those who are despairing and to walk with them on their transformational journey of body, mind and spirit; a journey from near-death to life in its fullness.Easter Sunday prayerAlmighty God, on this day when we remember and celebrate your resurrection, your triumph over death, inspire us to reach out to others, sharing your joy and your hope. Let us pray for the flourishing of all your creation. Amen.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



USA : Jailed former head of St. Luke Institute agrees to mental-health counseling

2017-04-15T00:19:14.085+01:00

(image) A laicized New Hampshire priest, the former chancellor of the Manchester diocese, has agreed to undergo mental-health counseling, as a condition for his release from prison, where he is completing a four-year term for misappropriating church funds.

Edward Arsenault entered a guilty plea in 2014 to charges that he took more than $300,000 from the Manchester diocese. 

He reportedly used the money to support a homosexual affair.

The diocese announced last week that Arsenault had been laicized. 

Arsenault’s agreement to undergo counseling was ironic because he once served as the chief executive of the St. Luke Institute, the Maryland facility that has provided counseling for many priests charged with sexual abuse.



VATICAN : Papal liturgy will honor ‘New Martyrs’

2017-04-15T00:18:09.444+01:00

(image) Pope Francis will preside on April 22 at a special Liturgy of the Word to honor the “new martyrs” of the past century, the Vatican has announced.

The ceremony, organized by the Sant’Egidio community, will be held at the basilica of St. Bartholomew in Rome. 

The Sant’Egidio community, announcing the event, noted that the basilica was designated by St. John Paul II to honor recent martyrs during the Jubilee Year 2000.



VATICAN : New stamps for 90th birthday of Benedict XVI, 100th anniversary of Fatima apparitions

2017-04-15T00:17:09.592+01:00

(image) The Vatican will issue new stamps in May to commemorate the 90th birthday of Pope-emeritus Benedict and the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima.

The stamp honoring Benedict XVI, which shows the retired Pontiff praying the Rosary, is “our affectionate tribute to him,” the Vatican numismatic office announced. 

The former Pope will turn 90 on April 16.

The Fatima stamp shows a representation of the Virgin Mary, clothed in brilliant white, speaking to the three children at Fatima. 

The first apparitions at Fatima took place on May 13, 1917. 

The Vatican will also issue a stamp marking the 1,950th anniversary of the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul.



USA : Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel to close, as her religious order shrinks

2017-04-15T00:16:00.921+01:00

The National Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel, in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, will be closed at the end of this calendar year, its administrators have announced. The shrine, which contains relics of St. Katharine Drexel, is located alongside the motherhouse of the order she founded, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. The order has been forced to sell properties, primarily because of a drop in the number of members.  The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who once boasted 600 members, now have only 100, most of them living in retirement.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



EUROPE : Spanish priest cleared of abuse; Pope Francis had backed accuser

2017-04-15T00:15:11.302+01:00

(image) A Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Granada, Spain, has been cleared of sex-abuse charges, in a case that saw Pope Francis intervene on behalf of the priest’s accuser.

David Ramirez Castillo — originally identified only as “Daniel” — had written to Pope Francis in 2014, complaining that he and other young men had been molested by Father Roman Martinez and other priests when they were teenagers. 

The Pontiff responded by calling Ramirez Castillo to express his sympathy and apologize for the abuse, and demanding a full inquiry by the Granada archdiocese into the allegations about a sex-abuse ring. 

Ten priests were suspended from ministry during the investigation.

But now a secular court in Spain has determined that the accusations were unfounded. 

The court ruled that testimony against Father Martinez was “completely implausible,” and that several details of the complaint by Ramirez Castillo had been proven false.



VATICAN : Pope to visit Pius VI’s birthplace and Bologna

2017-04-15T00:14:04.745+01:00

The Holy See Press Office has announced that Pope Francis will visit Cesena, the birthplace of Pope Pius VI (1717-1799), on October 1 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of his birth. Cesena, now of city of 97,000, is located in the north-central Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. Pius VI, who reigned from 1775 to 1799, was taken prisoner by Napoleon’s troops and died in France. Later on October 1, the Pope will travel from Cesena to Bologna for an archdiocesan Eucharistic congress. In Bologna, he will celebrate Mass, lead the recitation of the Angelus, eat with the poor, and address youth, priests, and university representatives.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



ITALY : Faithful storm out of Mass in Italy after priest criticizes Pope Francis

2017-04-15T00:13:05.296+01:00

A priest is being asked to take a break from his parish in the small Italian town of Montesilvano after some in his congregation reportedly stormed out of Mass when he openly criticized Pope Francis on Palm Sunday. Media reports claimed the congregation shouted “Shame, shame!” at Fr. Edward Pushparaj when he said Pope Francis had only been “bad” for the Catholic Church.Palm Sunday commemorates the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem and is a solemn occasion on the Christian calendar that marks the start of Holy Week and the run-up to Easter Sunday.But the episode has forced the local bishop, Archbishop Tommaso Valentinetti of the Archdiocese of Pescara-Penne, to intervene; he has pledged to meet the disgruntled parishioners from St. Anthony of Padua parish.In an article published on the archdiocesan website, Valentinetti suggested that Pushparaj, an assistant pastor at the church who is also known as Don Edward, may have overstepped the mark during his preaching.“Preaching is one of the main activities in the ministry of a priest,” Valentinetti said. “It is a service linked to meditation on the Word of the day, the liturgy, and certainly cannot relate to personal judgments, especially when they are not in communion with the pope.”In his homily Pushparaj, who is from India, reportedly referred to the pope’s dialogue with other faiths and in particular his decision to wash the feet of a Muslim woman at a detention center outside Rome on Holy Thursday in 2013, Francis’s first as pope.“In four years Pope Francis has only been bad for the church,” the priest reportedly said.According to Italian media reports, Pushparaj’s parishioners have been complaining about the priest for some weeks and claim he has criticized the pope’s exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, or “The Joy of Love.”Francis has often come under withering criticism from conservative Catholics over his efforts to set the church on a more pastoral path that is less focused on rules and older rites and traditions.The archbishop said he hoped Pushparaj was just weary and in need of a rest.“I think it’s fair to ask the priest to take some time to rest and release him, temporarily, from his pastoral duties,” Valentinetti said in the article on the archdiocesan site.Valentinetti could not be reached for comment.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



EUROPE : Shortage of altar boys in Germany’s Catholic Church

2017-04-15T00:12:10.991+01:00

(image) Grey-haired altar boys, while not yet common, are an increasingly frequent sight at masses served in Germany’s many Catholic churches, according to figures for 2015 compiled by the church.


Around 2 per cent of the servers no longer fit into the “classical” age group of 9 to 19 years, Alexander Bothe, who reports on servers to the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said on Thursday.

Priests were turning to adults, many of them already engaged in church work, to fill the gaps when no boys or youth were available, said Jody Anthony, who until recently worked for the diocese of Limburg to the north-west of Frankfurt.

“For that reason, you could say that there are more these days,” Anthony said.

Konrad Haschke, a 60-year-old Frankfurt resident who has returned to serving at mass after a long interval, is content with the trend.

“I felt 50 years younger immediately,” he said.



SCOTLAND : Catholic Church-run homes to be focus of child abuse inquiry

2017-04-15T00:11:09.142+01:00

The second phase of the Scottish child abuse inquiry will investigate children’s homes run by the Catholic Church. The inquiry is examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care and has been taking statements from witnesses since last spring.Officials said the first part of the second phase starting in autumn will focus on homes run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, such as Smyllum Park in Lanark, Bellevue House in Rutherglen, St Joseph’s Hospital in Rosewell, St Vincent’s School for the Deaf/Blind in Glasgow and Roseangle Orphanage (St Vincent’s) in Dundee. In early 2018, the inquiry will examine homes run by Sisters of Nazareth, investigating Nazareth House sites in Aberdeen, Cardonald, Kilmarnock and Lasswade. A statement released on behalf of the inquiry said: “Evidence given at hearings will supplement written statements taken from witnesses in advance and documents which have been recovered by the inquiry team during the course of investigations.“The inquiry will continue to take statements from survivors in private sessions and from a range of other witnesses, and urges anyone with information or experiences of establishments run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul or the Sisters of Nazareth to contact the witness support team as soon as possible.”The first sessions of the inquiry will start on 31 May and will hear evidence from faith-based organisations, residential and foster care providers, expert witnesses, the Scottish Government and survivor groups.They will take place at Rosebery House in Edinburgh and are expected to last about seven weeks. They will hear evidence of the history and governance of large care providers of residential and foster care to children in Scotland and faith-based organisations, and whether there is any retrospective acknowledgement of abuse.There will be evidence from Quarriers, Barnardo’s and Aberlour Child Care Trust.The Church of Scotland/CrossReach, the Bishops’ Conference, the Good Shepherd Sisters and the Benedictines are among those who will give evidence.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



CHILE : Nun sues Catholic Church for damages after rape

2017-04-15T00:10:00.847+01:00

A nun in Chile is suing the religious order she belonged to after its members pressured her to leave her convent over her pregnancy.The nun became pregnant after she was raped by a man carrying out repairs at the convent.She alleges that, when her fellow sisters found out about her pregnancy, they pressured her to leave the convent and the Church.Her lawyer says the sisters blamed her for having been raped. She is suing the Archbishopric of Santiago and the Order of St Clare.The Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago, Rt Rev Jorge Concha, said that the nun had left the convent "voluntarily" and the Archbishopric had only found out about the rape and subsequent events on 27 March.'Fear and shame'The nun told Chilean TV that she had joined the order in 2002 when she was 20 years old. She said she lived inside a convent in the capital Santiago, with very little contact with the outside world.But in 2012, a group of men was allowed into the convent to carry out some repairs. They lived and slept in the convent for the duration of the renovations and the nun was assigned to provide them with food. One of them raped her, a fact she kept secret from her fellow sisters "out of fear and shame, because a sense of shame came over me and didn't let me express myself," she told 24 Horas.Three months on, the sisters found out that she was pregnant."[I got] zero support, they told me I was to blame, that I did it on purpose," the nun told Chilean TV."I told them I was innocent, but my fellow sisters were very cruel to me."She alleges that they pressured her to leave the convent and the Church."They wanted me to hand over my habit, but I wasn't going to do that," she said. While she did eventually leave the convent she says she refused to sign any papers saying she would leave the Church. She says she sought shelter with a friend and after giving birth, put her child up for adoption.'Abandoned by my only family'In 2015, her rapist was found guilty and sentenced to five years in jail. Her lawyer says it is time for the  "to own up to its responsibility" in the case. "She is a nun living in a convent who was raped and instead of being protected she was blamed for what happened," her lawyer Camila Maturana said. "In a convent, where nuns are kept separate from worldly life, men shouldn't stay overnight," Ms Maturana said."All religious institutions in a diocese fall under the aegis of a bishop, in this case it's the Archbishop of Santiago," she added, to explain the decision to sue the Archbishopric as well as the Order of St Clare. The nun said she felt "abandoned by my only family and my Church, which I have always defended like a lioness". Bishop Concha said the Archbishopric had been unaware of the nun's plight until 27 March.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



IRL : Glenstal monk urges church to change attitude on sexual ethic

2017-04-15T00:09:00.183+01:00

The Catholic Church’s “stifling teachings on sex” need to be dramatically modernised, a Benedictine monk has said.  Fr Mark Patrick Hederman, the former abbot of Glenstal in Limerick, said the church also needs to address its subjugation of women and open a national discussion on sex, celibacy and ethics. He said the progressive attitude shown by the nation in the marriage equality referendum have not been reflected in all parts of society. “Now that we have legislated for gay marriage and accepted the fact that sexuality does happen for reasons other than procreation; now that we also recognise that some of the most heinous sexual crimes have been perpetrated within the ‘sanctity’ of marriage; it is surely time to take a more comprehensive approach to the ethics of sexual behaviour,” he said. “Every or any sexual activity can be good or evil, and the act itself right through to the moment of orgasm is always somewhere on a spectrum between selfish egotism and altruistic communion.” Fr Hederman (72), a former headmaster in Glenstal Abbey, said that for centuries sex in Ireland was only talked about in the context of “the natural law of God and confined to religious discourse”. Reality check However, he believes the time has come to have a greater conversation and for the church to have “a reality check” on its ideals. In relation to a person’s emotional or sexual life, he said in the past it was as if the church felt such a life did not exist. “It was presumed that it arrived fully fledged in the marriage bed, the only location where its practice was permitted. Even the most basic courses on love-making teach that a man has to train himself to prevent orgasm occurring prematurely before it can be shared with his partner. “This does not come naturally. On the contrary, the natural orgasm and ejection of sperm for a man is unencumbered and immediate. That is the biological way, the optimum performance in terms of procreation and reproduction of the species. “Lovers have to learn, discipline themselves, and gain a control which will help them to be sexual in a way that makes them sensitively reciprocal. Otherwise sexuality is the tool of selfish individuality and autistic monologue,” he writes. Rejected lifestyles Fr Hederman is a prolific author and his latest book, The Opal and the Pearl, is published this week and calls for a more modernised attitude from the church on sex. The book takes its [...]



AUS: Catholic Church must reform confession, abuse survivor says

2017-04-15T00:08:04.891+01:00

An Australian child abuse survivor has called on the Catholic Church to reform its laws on confession to ensure crimes are reported to police. Peter Gogarty said perpetrators knew anything disclosed in confession would not be revealed to authorities. He told the BBC it was effectively a "get-out-of-jail-free card".It follows the final public hearings in an Australian inquiry, which has heard evidence of abusers confessing knowing their actions would not be divulged. The issue of mandatory reporting has split Australia's Catholic Church, with archbishops differing on whether information given by a child victim during confession should be relayed to police. "What they are doing is saying we are more prepared to protect an offender than we are to take care of this child," said Mr Gogarty, who was 12 when he was abused by a priest in New South Wales. "If the royal commission [inquiry] has shown us one thing, it is that a paedophile does not stop until they die or are physically incapable of molesting any more."Criticism of responseThe inquiry, established in 2013, gathered evidence from 4,440 people who said they were victims of abuse at Catholic institutions in Australia.Mr Gogarty said the church had been slow to respond to the claims."The church in Australia has treated this like a nasty public relations disaster," he told the BBC. "I don't think they understand the depth of the disaster they have created and the work they need to do to fix it."Francis Sullivan, head of the church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council, said the institution had recognised its "shameful" role in enabling and covering up abuse in the past.He admitted that evidence at the inquiry had "corroded the credibility of the church", and said it had already paid hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to victims. Confession 'sacrosanct'However, Mr Sullivan said confession should not be altered to make priests report abuse to the police. "I think it would be a tragedy if the privileged communication in the confessional is abolished," he said. "The Catholic Church says that when it involves the seal of confession then that information is sacrosanct - that the priest is bound by that."Mr Sullivan said he favoured a system where a perpetrator confessing abuse was advised to report the crime themselves. "I think its incumbent on the priest to say to the person - if you are sincere about this, if you want to absolved - then going to the authorities is part of the exercise," he said. Mandatory reporting of abuse has been one of the key issues under consideration by the royal commission, which has heard allegations of abuse at more than 4,000 public organisations in Australia. The commissioners are due to submit their final report and recommendations in December.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



EUROPE : Catholic Church in Belgium honors sex abuse victims

2017-04-15T00:07:10.603+01:00

The Catholic Church in Belgium on Saturday took part in a day of recognition for victims of sexual abuse by priests, seven years after a paedophile scandal rocked the institution. Church leaders and victims of sex abuse spoke to an audience of around a hundred people in a ceremony in the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart also known as the Koekelberg Basilica in the Belgian capital.The event demonstrates the Church’s will to “resist a culture of silence”, said Cardinal Jozef De Kesel. In April 2010 the former bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned after acknowledging he had abused two nephews.Thousands of people later came forward to complain they had been victims of sexual abuse as children by members of the Belgian clergy.Since 2012, the Belgian Catholic Church has paid alleged victims a total of over four million euros ($424 million) in compensation for abuses that took place too long ago to be brought to court, Herman Cosijns, secretary general of the Belgium bishops’ conference said, according to the Belga press agency.“Each time the media talks about sexual abuse by church officials on a minor, victims come forward and I am sure that after this day, victims will come forward”, Guy Harpigny, the bishop of the Belgian city of Tournai, told AFP.Linda Opdebeeck, who heads an association of victims, said the Church has become “more and more open about these problems.”+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



IRL : Bishop: Catholic churches are a bigger draw than the GAA

2017-04-15T00:06:00.141+01:00

A bishop is putting it up to the GAA, saying Catholic churches are still a bigger draw than venues nationwide such as Croke Park, Semple Stadium, and Páirc Uí Chaoimh.Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick said: “Despite everything, we have discovered that 78% of our population still declare themselves Catholic.“It’s a striking statistic. On the one hand, it is good news to hear that in the privacy of their own homes, 78% of our population have affirmed their Catholic belief. I doubt even the GAA has such a level of affiliation.”Speaking at an Easter ceremony in St John’s Cathedral in Limerick, Bishop Leahy said people still come to the “big matches, as it were” — Christmas Mass, funerals, and major events.He said: “They keep touch in various ways… And yet, we also know it [census figure] does not at all correlate with the numbers that actually practise their faith in terms of attendance at Mass.“Before he left Ireland, the papal nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown said there is still so much to play for in Ireland. Perhaps that’s why there is such a struggle going on.“There is still so much faith. There is a deep spiritual vein in the Irish psyche. The ground is fertile for the seed to be sown in new ways and nurtured better than we have before.”“Because, with 78% associating themselves with this faith, it is clear that, while we have in many ways failed them, the door is still open to engagement around the Catholic faith that still is recognised as part of personal identity.“As we go out towards families, let’s be ready also to listen to those who want to share with us why it is they register as Catholic but somehow don’t connect with the Church. I’m sure if we hear the deep-down reasons, we’ll find light and new directions.”Bishop Leahy said that at a time like this, with the Church facing severe challenges, we need to be wary of quick solutions that can be proposed in response to those challenges.“They can often leave out of their reckoning the necessary process of healing that takes time. We need time to notice wounds, admit them, bandage them, and ensure that those wounds are no longer inflicted,” he said.“And yet, if we keep picking at the wounds, they’ll never heal. We also need to make sure we recognise the parts of the body that are working well, that are doing great good.“The wounds have left us weak, perhaps not so confident in the steps we are taking, tempted to withdraw into ourselves.”+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



VATICAN : Pope appoints new communications advisors

2017-04-15T00:05:10.535+01:00

In an attempt to project openness to different voices, Pope Francis has appointed Fr James Martin SJ of America Magazine and Michael Warsaw of EWTN among 13 new consultants to the Vatican’s Secretariat for communications. Those names will speak for themselves for many Catholics, but to spell it out, Fr Martin is widely seen as a progressive voice in Catholic affairs, including on LGBT issues, while EWTN is generally perceived as solidly conservative.Both Fr Martin and Mr Warsaw will work together as consultants of the Secretariat for Communications, a body created by Francis in 2015 to manage and overhaul the Vatican’s different news and media outlets.The body is headed by Italian Msgr Dario Edoardo Viganò, who, seeking inspiration for a reform of the Vatican’s communications operations, has declared himself open to turning towards unlikely sources of inspiration such as Walt Disney.Mr Warsaw has been Chairman of the Board for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the Catholic network founded by Mother Angelica, since 2013, having been with the company since 1991.Originally broadcasting from a garage in Alabama, EWTN is today the most powerful Catholic presence on cable television and in multiple other platforms. Though it hasn’t been free of criticism, it’s long received the support of the Vatican, receiving the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 2009.Last year, Msgr Viganò was present during the opening of EWTN’s new Rome offices.Fr Martin is the editor-at-large of the Jesuit journal America and has a strong social media presence, with over 115,000 followers on Twitter and more than a half million followers on Facebook, where he often does live videos and shares reflections on the day’s news from a Catholic angle.He’s written several books, with his latest, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, to be published mid-year.Among the Pope’s other appointees, only one is a woman – Ann Carter, a US-based communications strategist. Also on the list are six priests and several communications experts, including Graham Ellis, vice-director of BBC Radio.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



VIETNAM : Despite the regime's persecution five ordinations took place in Thiên An

2017-04-15T00:04:09.962+01:00

Mgr Micae Hoàng Đức Oanh, bishop of Kontum, visited the Benedictine monastery in Thiên An on 4 April where he officiated the ordination of five religious.  The friary is the focus of a painful dispute with Vietnam’s communist regime, which has been trying for some time to seize its 110 hectares of protected forest and eradicate the practice of religion. Mgr Hoàng stopped to pray at the Order’s ‘Hill of tribulation’, defiled some time ago by thugs sent by the authorities in Huế, capital city of Thừa Thiên Huế province. The bishop took on his visit Fr Tađêô Nguyễn Van Lý, Fr Phêrô Nguyễn Van Giải, and Fr Phêrô Phan Văn Lợi, important figures in the struggle for justice, human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam. However, only Fr Tađêô Lý was able to make it to Thiên An monastery. Eight years in Communist prisons and five under house arrest did not undermine the faith and courage of the elderly priest. Local authorities were however able to keep away Fr Phêrô Phan Văn Lợi, who has been under house arrest for 40 years. During his pastoral visit, Mgr Hoàng talked about his missionary experiences, encouraging the faithful and the religious in Thiên An to heal the bleeding wounds of the Vietnamese people, as well as pray and act in accordance with Christian values. The bishop celebrated Mass for the ordination of the five religious in the monastery chapel. During the service, he called on everybody present to proclaim the Good News to the world. In particular, he invited young people to answer the call of the Lord, and dedicate their lives to the mission of evangelisation and consecration to God. Mgr Hoàng finally urged the faithful to express their faith at all times and keep hope alive in day of Resurrection. The Benedictine monastery of Thiên An, in the Archdiocese of Huế, was founded on 10 June 1940 by French missionaries. It is visited by believers and is home to priests, nuns, religious and seminarians engaged in pastoral outreach (for Catholics and others) in three different churches in the city. The Archdiocese of Huế, which covers two provinces, has about 70,000 members in 78 parishes. In 1998, then Deputy Prime Minister Nguyễn Công Tạn signed the order to expropriate the land next to the monastery. Since then, local authorities have been trying to seize it and adjacent buildings to make way for a travel agency. The monastery is often the subject of attacks by thugs hired by local authorities to frighten Catholics and convince them to leave the area. This comes on top of police raids, with officers breaking into the building or threatening to seize it. On a daily basis, local gangs try to disrupt services, harassing and threatening hundreds of religious. Supported and protected by the government, the thugs bother the believers and visitors with vulgarities and blasphemous words. However, under Vietnamese law, the monastery of Thiên An is a place of worship with a religious vocation. Over the years, it has helped the local community with many social and cultural projects, as well as initiatives to protect the environment, health and the conservation of a protected forest.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the conten[...]



THAILAND : Catholics preparing for Easter as the country celebrates New Year

2017-04-15T00:03:05.154+01:00

Despite the long holiday for Songkran, Thai New Year (13-17 April 2017), Thai Catholics plan to celebrate Easter as best they can.  New Year celebrations are a great opportunity for Thais to return to their home towns and spend time with family. For Thai Catholics, it is a time to celebrate Holy Week. Fasting on Good Friday, which falls on the first day of the New Year, is an example of how their experience of the festive season is different from their fellow citizens. On Holy Thursday morning, Card Kriengsak kovitvanit, archbishop of Bangkok, celebrated the Chrism Mass with hundreds of priests and religious in Bangkok Cathedral. One of the concelebrants was Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, apostolic nuncio to Thailand and Cambodia as well as apostolic delegate to Myanmar and Laos. After the Mass, Card Kovithavanij invited the faithful to congratulate priests who celebrated the silver and golden jubilee of their priestly ordination. During the Lord's Supper Mass in the Jesuit church of Xavier Hall, Fr Kriengyot Piyawanno delivered a brief homily explaining the significance of Easter celebrations. "Jesus washing the feet of his disciples is an exhortation for us to do the same and serve others," he said. After the homily, he performed the rite of the washing of the feet of 12 lay people. In many of Thailand’s Catholic parishes, like Holy Child Jesus in the Archdiocese of Bangkok, clergymen followed Pope Francis’s example and washed the feet of women, children and the sick. Thailand’s Catholics number 380,374, or 0.56 per cent of a population of 67 million. The Diocese of Chaing Mai, which is home to many ethnic groups, has experienced the fastest growth in recent years.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



CAMBODIA : Church celebrating Easter with 300 new baptisms

2017-04-15T00:02:02.625+01:00

About 300 Cambodians will be baptised during Holy Week, joining Cambodia’s 23,000-strong Catholic community.  The ceremony will be held on the Easter Vigil, in each of the country’s three ecclesiastical districts: the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh and the apostolic prefectures of Battambang and Kompong Cham. In the vicariate alone, 128 people will be baptised in a festive service that will unite the whole community. In the recent past, Easter celebrations have become particularly important in Cambodia. The first Mass celebrated after the years of war that devastated the country took place in 1990. That "Easter Sunday Mass has remained in the memory of the faithful as the Resurrection Mass,” said Fr Vincent Sénéchal, vicar general of the Paris Foreign Missions Society (Société des missions étrangères de Paris, MEP), who worked in Cambodia as a missionary from 2002 to 2016. The main religion in the nation of 15.9 million inhabitants is Theravada Buddhism (96 per cent). By contrast, Catholics constitute only 0.2 per cent of the population, but their presence in the Southeast Asian nation dates back to the 16th century. In the 1970s, the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot perpetrated mass slaughter. This was followed by Vietnam’s domination (1979-1989). The result can be seen in the numbers: In 1970, there were 65,000 Catholics; in 1990, there were 5,000. Relations with the authorities and the discreet but steady work of evangelisation of the missionaries have given a new impetus to the country’s Catholic community, which is getting ready to embrace hundreds of new believers. In addition to 300 baptisms, the vitality of the local Church is reflected in the ongoing diocesan investigation on 35 martyrs killed under the bloody Maoist regime, in the ordination of new priests, like Fr Stéphane Se Sat last December, and in the construction of new places of worship, like the Chapel of St Therese of the Child Jesus in Takéo, in the Apostolic Vicariate of Phnom Penh. Local Church sources report that the new converts reflect the sociological reality of the country: they are young adults, mostly ethnic Khmer, from a Buddhist background, who heard about the Church through its presence in various social domains, in particular health care, education and vocational training. As Fr Sénéchal noted, the Church in Cambodia promotes an "integral evangelisation, aimed at developing people in all of their dimensions: socio-economic, educational, professional, spiritual and family." One of the Church’s initiatives of social entrepreneurship is the "Peace Village" set up in late 2015 by Mgr Olivier Schmitthaeusler, which allows disabled people and people living with AIDS to live alongside able-bodied people.+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Disclaimer No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here. The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that we agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise. Editor + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + [...]



April - Prayer to The Holy Spirit

2017-04-15T00:01:08.472+01:00

Holy Spirit, be with me today.
Be my teacher, my guide, my counselor, my friend.

Fill me with your gifts, especially the gifts of
wisdom, discernment, knowledge, understanding, compassion,
love, and awe in God's presence.

In all that I think, say, and do, let it be in accordance
with your most holy and perfect will.

I ask this in Jesus' name.

AMEN.