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Posted on 08/16/2018 08:45 AM (CNA Daily News)
Springfield, Ill., Aug 16, 2018 / 12:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A Mass in the Diocese of Springfield, Ill commemorated the anniversary of racially-motivated riots that destroyed black-owned business and homes in the city, and left at least 13 people dead during a three-day period in 1908. A priest of the diocese encouraged Catholics to counteract hatred with the spirit of universal brotherhood and childlike love.
Monsignor David Hoefler, vicar general for the Diocese of Springfield, celebrated the Mass Aug. 14 at Saint Patrick Church. He emphasized the universal origin of the human race and the need to imitate the receptivity of children.
“We have one set of parents, Adam and Eve. That's why we have one savior because he came to save...the human race, all races,” Hoefler said in his homily.
Christ came “that we all might be recreated, reunited, brought together, reconciled with God. It's not just something that's supposed to be meant for heaven for later, but hopefully we are working on that now,” he added.
On Aug. 14-15, 1908, nearly 5,000 people rioted violently throughout the streets of Springfield after trying unsuccessfully to lynch two black men, suspected of rape and attempted rape, who were believed to be held at a local jail. When it was discovered that the men were not at that jail, the mob destroyed African-American business, homes, and killed at least eight people. Five rioters were also killed during the melee, and an infant died during the riot as well, after her family’s home was destroyed.
Human brokenness and violence between people are nothing new, explained Hoefler. He pointed to conflict between Adam and Eve in the scriptural story of creation, and to racial hardships faced by Jewish people during the time of Christ.
He said that Adam and Eve each acted in from self-interest at the time of their downfall, distancing themselves from one another.
“Instead of checking with each other, instead of having a communion or a communication with each other, they started going their own way,” he said, noting the couple did not ask for forgiveness, but instead blamed someone else or something else.
“[Adam] throws his wife under the bus - 'she did it.' Scapegoating they call it. So the Lord goes to Eve, 'what did you do?' 'It did it!' Blames the serpent, Satan.”
The results of sin were immediate, he said and led to the murder of Abel by Cain. The priest said the same thing occurred during Springfield’s riots; that people made scapegoats of racial minorities rather than taking responsibility for themselves.
“People acted out of hatred, bigotry, racism, and they let their emotions run wild - destroyed property, and, worse, killed their brothers and sisters, other human beings. It gets that way all too easy. That was played out over, and over, and over again by this street.”
He pointed to parallels among the Jews of Jesus Christ’s time on earth.
“When Jesus was born… he came into the one of the most abused races that existed at the time,” he said. “He came into the depths of our suffering and the worst of it all. He assumed the worst that had been known to that point in history and redeemed it from there.”
However, the only way to embrace redemption is through a child-like spirit, he said, reflecting on the words of Christ in the Gospel of Mark – “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
"In other words,” Monsignor Hoefler said “a child is somebody that does listen, somebody that likes to learn, somebody that doesn't impose other things onto other people, somebody that receives in all innocence what another says, somebody who receives people for who they are."
“It's the way we should be: that kind of innocence, receptivity, open heartedness.”
He gave a few examples of people who have put to practice this receptivity, noting especially the people of Rwanda. Next April, he said, it will be 25 years since the Rwandan genocide – a brutal slaughter, in which an estimated 800,000 Rwandans, primarily Tutsis, were killed in the span of a few months, between April and June in 1994.
Monsignor Hoefler said now the country is one of the safest places in Africa because the two groups learned from their mistakes. The people, he said, knew racism would perpetuate unless love was chosen over hate, namely listening to others and embracing forgiveness.
“God never asks something of us that he isn't willing to do himself,” he said, noting that Christ provided an example of this receptivity.
“He spent thirty years listening to the human the race… listening to his community, his town, and his people. He spent thirty years before he began speaking, being quiet, noticing the injustices, realizing what needed reconciliation, and then he went to move for healing.”
Posted on 08/16/2018 01:21 AM (CNA Daily News)
Dublin, Ireland, Aug 15, 2018 / 05:21 pm (CNA).- Discussions surrounding sexual abuse and immorality in the Church should also address the challenges and injustices facing children of priests and religious, said the founder of a support website for such children.
Psychotherapist Vincent Doyle founded Coping International in 2014, after two years of research, as a way to offer resources and support for children of celibate priests and religious. In the Latin Catholic Church, priests are generally required to remain celibate, that is, unmarried, with limited exceptions made for faith leaders who have converted from some other Christian traditions.
“I wanted to have a Church-supported ministry on a global level for children of priests and religious, male and female,” he told CNA. “I wanted to work with the Church as opposed to working against the Church…to try to get the solution to come from the inside out.”
Doyle said that when he raises the issue, he is met with “a lot of automatic default responses.” People are often dismissive, assuming that children of priests and religious are rare or nonexistent.
“I wanted to have some qualitative and quantitative data so I could actually speak,” he said.
Doyle launched the website Children of Priests International – copinginternational.com – in December 2014. But he didn’t tell anyone about it. He wanted to see how many people were searching for it.
Two and a half years later – with no marketing, media attention, or international advertising – he said the site had received more than 400,000 hits.
As of today, he said the website has received nearly 1 million visits from around the world – more than 175 countries – but every month since the website was launched, Ireland, England, and the United States have been among the top countries driving traffic to the site.
Doyle said this suggests that children of priests and religious are far more numerous than many people realize.
But in many ways, the Church is failing to address – or even acknowledge – the unique challenges faced by these children, who often live in secrecy and shame, he said.
Doyle said he has seen the greatest success in Ireland, where the national bishops’ conference last year outlined “Principles of responsibility regarding priests who father children while in ministry.”
The document stated that while individual situations will vary, “the needs of the child should be given first consideration.” The father should recognize his responsibilities, it said, and the mother should be fully involved in decision making.
In 2015, the executive secretary of the Irish Bishops’ Conference stated in a letter that confidentiality agreements involving priests fathering children are unjust if they compromise the consent of parties involved, or if they “hinder the basic goods of mother and child.”
Doyle said the Irish bishops’ guidance is a model for other countries. Now, he would like to see greater acknowledgement for the children of priests on a global scale, and said he has reached out numerous times to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
In October 2017, Bill Kilgallon, then a member of the commission, responded to correspondence from Doyle. Kilgannon clarified that the commission does not deal with individual complaints, nor does it have the authority to give directions at any level of the Church. Rather, the commission is an advisory body that offers counsel to Pope Francis and the bishops’ conferences and religious superiors of the Church.
Kilgallon said that at the commission’s most recent meeting, it was decided that the Guidelines Working Group, which he chaired at the time, should consider developing guidelines on how the Church could address the children of priests. He told Doyle that his working group would be examining existing guidelines – such as those issued by the Irish bishops – and working with curial offices in Rome as it moved forward.
However, Kilgallon’s term on the commission concluded in 2017, and he was not reassigned. Doyle said it is unclear whether the working group’s discussion on the matter is still slated to continue, although he said he has written to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, president of the commission, about the matter.
He said the recently released Pennsylvania grand jury report confirms his speculation that there is an overlap between sexual assault of minors and children of priests.
The report, which documents more than 1,000 abuse allegations from the last 70 years, included accusations involving teenage girls who said they had become pregnant as the result of rape by a priest. Children conceived in sexual assault are also victims of abuse, Doyle stressed, and failing to recognize this is compartmentalizing abuse.
Doyle hopes the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors will recognize a connection between priests fathering children and the sexual assault of minors, and examine the questions, “How many children have resulted as a consequence of that abuse?” and “What are the traumas inherited by these children?”
In this way, he said, the Church can take a first step toward ministering to these children, and offering them the material and psychological assistance they may need, with a focus on ensuring that the natural rights and pragmatic needs of the child are not sacrificed in an attempt to keep the matter silent.
He hopes that Pope Francis will address the issue, and that every bishops’ conference will create a response, possibly using the Irish guidelines as a model.
In cases when assault and abuse are not part of the picture, but when there is a consensual relationship between a priest and an adult woman, the Church’s response should not focus on scandal, which stigmatizes the priest, but on the wellbeing of the child, he said.
“The presence of a child compounds what is already a very difficult situation,” Doyle said. “It’s about pastoral care. It’s about psychological assistance. That’s, for me, what should be the starting point – to minister to these people.”
Posted on 08/16/2018 00:59 AM (CNA Daily News)
Erie, Pa., Aug 15, 2018 / 04:59 pm (CNA).- Bishop Donald Trautman responded Tuesday to the Pennsylvania grand jury report on allegations of clerical sex abuse of minors, saying he did not condone or enable such abuse during his tenure leading the Diocese of Erie.
Abuse victims “should understand that neither this Statement nor my Response to the grand jury Report is intended to diminish the horrible abuse inflicted upon them and the immense suffering they have endured. I desire only to clarify that I neither condoned nor enabled clergy abuse. Rather, I did just the opposite,” Bishop Trautman said in his Aug. 14 statement.
A redacted version of the report had been released earlier that day, following an 18-month investigation into thousands of alleged instances of abuse spanning several decades. The report detailed allegations made in the dioceses of Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton.
Trautman was Bishop of Erie from 1990 until his 2012 retirement, at the age of 76.
The grand jury report's section on the Diocese of Erie recounted priests' sexual contact with minors, and said that “Diocesan administrators, including the Bishops, had knowledge of this conduct and yet priests were regularly placed in ministry after the Diocese was on notice that a complaint of child sexual abuse had been made. This conduct enabled offenders and endangered the welfare of children.”
The report also said the Erie diocese made settlements with victims which contained confidentiality agreements, and that diocesan administrators, including bishops, “often dissuaded victims from reporting abuse to police, pressured law enforcement to terminate or avoid an investigation, or conducted their own deficient, biased investigating without reporting crimes against children to the proper authorities.”
It identified 41 offenders from the diocese, and gave lengthy accounts of what it called three “examples of institutional failure”: the cases of Fathers Chester Gawronski, William Presley, and Thomas Smith.
Bishop Trautman's statement indicated his “prayerful support to all victims of clergy sexual abuse” and “a sincere apology to all who have been harmed by clergy abuse.”
“My time spent as Bishop of the Diocese addressing sexual abuse has been the most demoralizing, trying and pain-filled experience of my priestly life. I have seen first-hand how the terrible acts of clergy abusers devastate the lives of innocent victims,” he said.
He commended the grand jury's efforts to help abuse victims, saying its report “rightfully chastises clergy who committed horrible crimes against children. Unfortunately, the grand jury Report neglects to also emphasize the concrete steps some Church leaders took to correct and curtail abuse and to help victims.”
The bishop said that his record “includes disciplining, defrocking and ultimately laicizing pedophiles in the Diocese.”
He added that it “also includes efforts to provide care and support for victims,” which statement he supported with appended letters from victims expressing gratitude for his pastoral care.
“As a pastor of souls, I shepherd the good – the innocent victims of abuse – as well as the bad, the abusers who undeniably engaged in despicable acts and were rightfully removed from ministry,” Bishop Trautman wrote.
Noting the report's lengthy discussions of three priests whose situations it called “examples of institutional failures”, the bishop emphasized “that I removed each of them from ministry and had each laicized. All of their improper conduct with children pre-dated me becoming Bishop of Erie.”
He maintained his faithful fulfillment of the Charter for the Protection of Childen and Young People, adopted by the US bishops in 2002, and his faithful fulfillment of all Pennsylvania laws on sex abuse.
“From the day I took office as Bishop of the Diocese of Erie, I did my best to correct the sin of sex abuse,” Bishop Trautman said. “I personally met with and counseled abuse victims. I removed sixteen offenders from active ministry … As early as 1993, I established new guidelines concerning clergy abuse.”
He also recounted the several measures he took from 2002 onwards regarding clerical abuse.
“These are not the actions of a Bishop trying to hide or mask pedophile priests to the detriment of children or victims of abuse,” he wrote. “I did not move priests from parish to parish to cover up abuse allegations or fail to take action when an allegation was raised … There simply is no pattern or practice of putting the Church’s image or a priest’s reputation above the protection of children.”
Bishop Trautman said that the report “does not fully or accurately discuss my record as Bishop for twenty-two years in dealing with clergy abuse. While unfortunate, these omissions are consistent with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s findings that the grand jury process that produced the Report suffered from 'limitations upon its truth-finding capabilities' and lacked 'fundamental fairness.'”
The bishop concluded that “In the end, the focus should be on the victims and helping them heal. I send my prayers and deepest support to all victims of abuse, not just those abused by clergy, but victims of abuse across all segments of our society. Hopefully, the grand jury Report, despite its flaws, aids in the healing of all victims and furthers the just cause of stamping out abuse. Let God’s law prevail; let healing continue.”
Attached to Bishop Trautman's 923-word statement were his June 20 response to the report, with several appended exhibitory documents, and an Aug. 2 joint stipulation to dismiss appeal, from the bishop and from state attorney general Josh Shapiro, in which the attorney general agreed that several statements in the report are “not specifically directed at Bishop Trautman.”
The bishop's 15-page response to the report focused on his desire “to clarify, contrary to the tenor of the Report, that he neither condoned nor enabled clergy abuse.”
The response noted that “While the Grand Jury adopted and issued the Report, under typical grand jury practices, the language of the Report was drafted by the [Office of the Attorney General] not the Grand Jury.”
It mentions that the report made no mention of letters sent to Bishop Trautman by abuse victims expressing appreciation for his pastoral care (which letters were provided to the grand jury), and that written testimony submitted by Bishops Trautman and Persico, his successor, “is not substantively discussed in the Report, let alone included in it in full.”
“What these examples demonstrate is that the OAG, via the Grand Jury, with an agenda, has selectively chosen the words in the Report, what words to include in the Report, and how to portray those words in a manner – often a misleading one – that best suits their agenda.”
The response also noted that Bishop Trautman met personally, or attempted to do so, with each abuse victim. And, “when victims would permit him, he personally provided pastoral counselling for the victims’ well-being. He also helped ensure that victims had appropriate mental health treatment paid for by the Diocese.”
“Certainly, with hindsight, some isolated decisions made by Bishop Trautman concerning certain priests … might be subject to critique. But, what is clear from his overall conduct – and complete actual record – is that he cared deeply about the victims of abuse, did his best to help the victims both pastorally and financially, did not condone the horrific conduct of priests who abused minors, and consistently took action to remove abusers from active ministry.”
Since the report detailed the cases of Fathers Chester Gawronski, William Presley, and Thomas Smith, Bishop Trautman's response addressed these at length.
The response explained that “New allegations against priests made while Bishop Trautman was in office resulted in the priest being taken out of active ministry.”
The exceptions to this rule were priests who “had been sent for a psychological evaluation” under Bishop Murphy, Trautman's predecessor.
Each of these – including Gawronski, Presley, and Smith – were “already on a monitoring/aftercare program that had been recommended by psychiatric professionals. While in hindsight he might now act differently, given the recommendations and plans made before Bishop Trautman came to the Diocese from Buffalo and out of deference to Bishop Murphy, Bishop Trautman continued the monitoring/aftercare plans and assignments recommended by the professionals and put in place by his predecessor.”
And according to the response, “In several instances, even though mental health professionals advised that a priest could be returned to ministry, Bishop Trautman kept the priest out of public ministry.”
The response also noted that neither Gawronski, nor Presley, nor Smith “is known to have reoffended. During the time period each of these priests remained in active ministry after initial allegations were made, no allegation that they offended while in such ministry was or has been made.”
“When allegations of prior (usually decades old) abuse by each priest were raised while Bishop Trautman was in office, he acted to take each priest out of any ministry that would include contact with children and ultimately took each out of ministry all together,” the response stated.
Each of the three priests were dismissed from the clerical state in processes which were initiated by Bishop Trautman.
The bishop’s response included examples of potentially misleading writing in the grand jury report, authored by the Pennsylvania attorney general's office.
For instance, it noted the report's mention that Bishop Trautman allowed Fr. Gawronski to hear confessions for persons with disabilities in 1996.
The report stated: “By 1996, there was no possible doubt that Gawronski had spent most of his priesthood preying on the vulnerable. However, even as complaints continued, on November 6, 1996, Gawronski was notified that Trautman had approved his request to hear confessions for persons with disabilities.”
“What the Report does not include,” the response states, “is that this was a one-time event, with multiple priests and church personnel participating, that the event would take place at the St. Mark’s Center (the building where the Diocesan offices, including the Bishop’s office, are located), and that Gawronski’s participation was at the request of a religious sister who served as Coordinator for the Ministry to Persons with Disabilities. Why not disclose the full facts about the request? Does the request lose its sensational nature when put in actual context?”
The response also pointed to potentially misleading statements in the report regarding Fr. Presley.
The report mentioned an April 2003 press release from the Erie diocese regarding the removal of Fr. Presley's faculties, in which the diocese stated it had “no information to provide on other possible allegations against the priest.” The report called the press release “false and misleading.”
The response noted that the press release quoted in the report, while “inartful … is simply a statement of 'no comment.' Contrary to the allegation in the Report, this was not a false statement.”
The response also addressed the report's presentation of a 2005 diocesan investigation undertaken with a view to having Fr. Presley, who had retired in 2000, dismissed from the clerical state.
The investigation was led by Msgr. Mark Bartchak, who wrote to Bishop Trautman Aug. 25 of that year indicating he had gathered sufficient evidence for Presley's dismissal, and asking if he should continue to follow up on further potential leads. Bartchak indicated that Trautman said that would be unnecessary.
The report called this a “curb” of the diocese's investigation intented “to prevent finding additional victims.”
“When read in context,” the response says, “Bishop Trautman is simply answering an inquiry from Rev. Bartchak and, using the same words from the inquiry, telling him that, if the Diocese had enough evidence to succeed in the laicization process (which they did), he need not further investigate facts that likely would not lead to a violation of Cannon law [sic] because of the age of the victim. Again, this simply is not an effort to somehow hide Presley and his conduct.”
The report also read that with regard to Presley, “The truth was that Murphy, Trautman, and the Diocese of Erie intentionally waited out the statute of limitations and curbed their own investigation to prevent finding additional victims.”
The response called the allegation that Bishop Trautman had “intentionally waited out” the statute of limitations “baseless.”
“The allegations brought to Bishop Trautman’s attention in 2002 – on which he quickly acted – concerned conduct that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. The statute of limitations had, unfortunately, expired long ago,” the response said.
“Despite their artful (and sometimes misleading) construction, a close reading of the summaries found in the Report’s Appendix reveals the same course of action throughout Bishop Trautman’s 22 years in office,” the response concluded: “Bishop Trautman consistently acted to protect children and remove priests from ministry.”
Posted on 08/16/2018 00:15 AM (CNA Daily News)
Boston, Mass., Aug 15, 2018 / 04:15 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap. of Boston will not be attending next week’s World Meeting of Families in Dublin due to the ongoing investigation into St. John’s Seminary, the Archdiocese of Boston announced on Wednesday.
Previously, O’Malley had been scheduled to moderate a panel and discussion in Ireland titled “Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults." O’Malley is President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
In a statement from the archdiocese, it was explained that “important matters pertaining to the pastoral care of St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston and the seminarians enrolled in the formation program there require the Cardinal's personal attention and presence,” and he therefore would not be making the trip to Ireland.
After it became public that other dioceses had paid settlements to adult seminarians allegeing abuse against the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a handful of other, younger, former seminarians took to social media to share their own stories about what they experienced while in seminary. Several of these stories came from men who had studied at St. John’s.
St. John’s Seminary educates seminarians from most dioceses in New England, as well as those from the Dioceses of Oakland, Ca., and Rochester, NY.
In response to allegations of “activities which are directly contrary to the moral standards and requirements of formation for the Catholic priesthood” at St. John’s, last week O’Malley announceda "full, independent inquiery" of the seminary. As part of the invesitgation, the cardinal placed Msgr. James P. Moroney, the seminary rector, on “sabbatical” for the fall semester and installed an interim rector.
The inquiry will examine the culture at St. John’s “regarding the personal standards expected and required of candidates for the priesthood,” as well as issues related to sexual harassment, sexually intimidating behavior, and discrimination.
“The allegations made are a source of serious concern to me as Archbishop of Boston,” said O’Malley in a statement last week, recognizing that being a priest necessitates earning the trust of both people in the Church as well as in the community.
“I am determined that all our seminaries meet that standard of trust and provide the formation necessary for priests to live a demanding vocation of service in our contemporary society.”
Posted on 08/16/2018 00:00 AM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Aug 15, 2018 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Donald Wuerl and the Diocese of Pittsburgh say that when the former Pittsburgh bishop approved the transfer of a priest accused of serial sexual abuse, he was unaware of the allegations made against the priest. The transfer is described in the Aug. 14 report issued by a Pennsylvania grand jury charged with investing clerical sexual abuse in six Catholic dioceses.
Fr. Ernest Paone was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1957. The grand jury reports that Paone served in five different parishes in the first nine years of his ministry, and that he was accused of sexually molesting boys during that time period.
In 1964, a criminal investigation into allegations against Paone was halted by a Pennsylvania district attorney, “in order to halt bad publicity,” according to records presented by the grand jury.
Paone was without assignment for about a year, and in 1966 he was granted an indefinite leave of absence from the diocese “for reasons bound up with your psychological and physical health as well as your spiritual well-being.”
The Diocese of Pittsburgh does not dispute that timeline, or the fact that allegations of sexual abuse were made against Paone.
After being granted a leave of absence, Paone relocated to southern California. In 1968, he requested that the diocese of Pittsburgh recommend him to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for priestly faculties; a letter from the Chancellor of the diocese came in response, asserting that Paone was on a “legitimate leave of absence” from Pittsburgh and there were “no objections” to his being given faculties by Los Angeles.
During this time, and for the rest of his life, Fr. Paone remained incardinated in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and, wherever he went, remained under the authority of Pittsburgh’s bishop.
In 1975, Paone requested another letter from the Pittsburgh diocese attesting to his suitability as a priest. The diocese issued a letter, addressed “To whom it may concern,” that Paone was a priest in “good standing” of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The grand jury notes that almost no paperwork relating to Paone exists from the time of Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua’s term as Bishop of Pittsburgh from 1983-1987, suggesting that the priest was effectively forgotten about, and allowed to continue in ministry “in good standing,” while living and working in California. The priest eventually moved to San Diego and became a public school teacher, while remaining a “priest in good standing” certified by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and continuing to serve in parish ministry.
In its official response submitted to the grand jury, the Diocese of Pittsburgh did not contest that narrative, saying that “No one still involved with the Diocese of Pittsburgh is able to speak to the thinking or decision-making of the Diocesan leadership 50 years ago.”
In question is whether Wuerl, who served as Pittsburgh's bishop from 1988-2006, knew about Paone’s past when he endorsed the priest’s continued ministry.
In 1991 Paone wrote to the Diocese of Pittsburgh requesting permission to move to Nevada, which was then covered by the single Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas. The request was granted and Wuerl gave no report to Reno-Las Vegas of Paone’s past.
But sources close to Cardinal Wuerl told CNA that in 1991, the bishop had no idea of the allegations that had been made against Paone.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh’s statement said that “At that time, neither Bishop Wuerl nor anyone in the Clergy Office was aware of Paone's file and the allegations lodged against him in the 1960s.”
“Because he had been outside of the Diocese for nearly 30 years, Paone's files were not located in the usual clergy personnel file cabinet” and were not found at the time, the diocese said
In 1994, however, the Diocese of Pittsburgh exhibited full knowledge of Paone’s history of allegations. In that year, a new accusation that Paone committed sexual abuse in the 1960s was made in Pittsburgh, and the matter was brought to Bishop Wuerl’s attention.
According to the grand jury report, Wuerl was then briefed by Father David Zubik, then Director of the Office of Clergy, on past allegations against the priest, and told of “questions about Paone's emotional and physical health [which] were raised as early as the 1950's, while he was still in seminary.”
The report claims that “Zubik further advised [Wuerl] of Paone's various assignments and correspondence over the years, before also describing the multiple records documenting the diocese's knowledge of his sexual abuse of children as early as 1962.”
Both the grand jury and the Diocese of Pittsburgh agree that Wuerl wrote to the Dioceses of Los Angeles, Reno-Nevada, and San Diego – where Paone had lived and worked as a priest – informing them of the newly made allegations.
The grand jury report asserts that “Wuerl did not report the more detailed information contained within Diocesan records. The Diocese did not recall Paone; nor did it suspend his faculties as a priest.”
The diocese states that “Wuerl sent letters notifying the relevant Dioceses in California and Nevada of the 1994 complaint. Specifically, on August 26, 1994, Wuerl wrote to the Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas saying that had he known in 1991 of the allegations, he would not have supported Paone's request for a priestly assignment.”
CNA obtained a copy of Wuerl’s letter to Bishop Daniel Walsh of Reno-Las Vegas. In the letter, Wuerl wrote that he had “only [just] become aware of this matter” and wished to inform the bishop.
However, Wuerl’s letter only disclosed the allegation made against Paone in 1994, and did not acknowledge the prior allegations and concerns contained in the priest’s file. Although the Diocese of Pittsburgh claimed that Wuerl’s letter acknowledged more than one allegation of misconduct, in the text reviewed by CNA, Wuerl wrote only that if he had “been aware of this allegation in Fr. Paone’s past I would not have supported his request for a priestly assignment in your diocese.”
Wuerl’s letter also made clear that he knew Paone had, by this point, returned to California and, while he wrote that Paone had been “invited to meet and examine the situation” with Fr. Zubik, there is no indication that his faculties as a priest had been revoked.
Instead, Paone was sent for a period of “assessment” at the St. Luke’s Institute, a center for psychological screening, testing and therapy for clergy and religious.
By 1996 he was back in San Diego, and apparently continuing to serve in occasional priestly ministry.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh says that it informed the Diocese of San Diego that Paone’s faculties as a priest had been removed in a January 30, 1996 letter. However, the grand jury report says that the Diocese of San Diego was not informed that Paone’s priestly faculties had been removed until 2002, and does not make mention of a January 1996 letter.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh did not respond to CNA’s request for comment.
Whether Wuerl removed Paone’s faculties in 1996 or 2002, or both, it was not until 2003 – following a further allegation from the 1960s – that Wuerl accepted Paone’s “resignation from ministry.” According to the grand jury report, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received a final complaint in 2006, alleging that Paone had been assisting at confessions for adolescents and asking the young people “inappropriate questions.”
Paone died in 2012.
Posted on 08/15/2018 21:04 PM (CNA Daily News)
Denver, Colo., Aug 15, 2018 / 01:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Less than three months after winning a Supreme Court case backing his religious freedom of expression, Colorado Christian cake artist Jack Phillips is finding himself at the center of yet another cake and faith-based battle.
A new complaint was recently filed against Phillips with the Colorado Civil Rights Division after an attorney approached him and asked him to make a cake celebrating the anniversary of a gender transition. The attorney requested that the cake be pink on the inside and blue on the outside, representing a transition from male to female. Phillips declined to make the cake based on his religious beliefs.
This week, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys representing Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop filed a federal lawsuit to fight the new complaint against him, which they said constituted a “doubling down (of) anti-religious hostility” on the part of Colorado officials.
“The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs,” said Kristen Waggoner, ADF senior vice president of U.S. legal division.
“Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him - something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do. Neither Jack nor any other creative professionals should be targeted by the government for living consistently with their religious beliefs.”
On June 4 of this year, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, backing Phillips’ right to refuse to create cakes celebrating same-sex weddings due to his religious beliefs.
The Masterpiece Cakeshop case dates back to July 2012, when owner Jack Phillips was asked by two men to bake a cake for their same-sex wedding ceremony.
He explained to the couple that he could not cater to same-sex weddings – to do so would have been a violation of his Christian beliefs. He said he has also declined to make a number of other types of cakes, including cakes for Halloween, bachelor parties, divorce, cakes with alcohol in the ingredients, and cakes with atheist messages.
The couple then filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for discrimination.
The commission ordered Phillips to serve same-sex weddings and to undergo anti-discrimination training.
Alliance Defending Freedom took up Phillips’ case in court. The case was eventually appealed to the Supreme Court and was re-listed repeatedly throughout the winter and spring of 2017, before the Court decided to take the case.
Phillips had said that he started his Lakewood, Colorado business in 1993 as a way to integrate his two loves – baking and art – into his daily work. Philips named his shop “Masterpiece” because of the artistic focus of his work, but also because of his Christian beliefs. He drew from Christ's Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, specifically the commands “no man can serve two masters” and “you cannot serve both God and mammon.”
The new lawsuit filed on Phillips’ behalf by ADF states that the government’s anti-religious targeting of Phillips is in violation of the Constitution of the United States.
“For over six years now, Colorado has been on a crusade to crush Plaintiff Jack Phillips…because its officials despise what he believes and how he practices his faith. After Phillips defended himself all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won, he thought Colorado’s hostility toward his faith was over. He was wrong,” the lawsuit says.
“Colorado has renewed its war against him by embarking on another attempt to prosecute him, in direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s ruling in his favor. This lawsuit is necessary to stop Colorado’s continuing persecution of Phillips.”
ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell said in a statement that the complaint against Phillips showed evidence of continued hostility against the baker’s religious beliefs.
“The arbitrary basis on which the state is applying its law makes clear that its officials are targeting Jack because they despise his religious beliefs and practices,” he said.
“Jack shouldn’t have to fear government hostility when he opens his shop for business each day. We’re asking the court to put a stop to that.”
The new lawsuit, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Elenis, was filed by ADF lawyers in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
Posted on 08/15/2018 18:33 PM (CNA Daily News)
Madrid, Spain, Aug 15, 2018 / 10:33 am (ACI Prensa).- Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri, a Spanish member of Opus Dei who is moving toward beatification, teaches us that sanctity can be found amidst chemistry books and classrooms, said a priest leading her cause.
Spanish priest Fr. José Carlos Martinez de la Hoz, who is responsible for the canonization causes of Opus Dei members in Spain, said that Guadalupe’s life contains a simple message: “Holiness is in the ordinary.”
“She became holy giving chemistry classes, being a good professor, and this tells the rest of us that we can achieve the same in an ordinary life,” he reflected.
“Guadalupe lived dedicated to her chemistry students, dedicated to souls and especially her mother who died a half hour after her. She lived dedicated to God and others, despite her serious heart disease which at the end of her life really slowed her down.”
In June, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to publish the decree approving on a miracle attributed to Guadalupe’s intercession.
The miracle involved a 76-year-old man suffering from a malignant skin tumor near his eye. After praying to Guadalupe in 2002, the tumor instantaneously and inexplicably disappeared.
In addition to this recognized miracle, Martinez de la Hoz said “there are many favors from people who start to lose hope and Guadalupe has given them back peace, thanks to the patience that she had.”
Guadalupe was born in Madrid in 1916. She studied chemical sciences and was one of five women in her graduating class.
She met St. Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, in early 1944. According to Martinez de la Hoz, “one Sunday in 1944 when she was at Mass in the church of the Conception on Goya Street in Madrid, she became distracted and heard the voice of God inside telling her that although she had a boyfriend, he had something else prepared for her. She left Mass impacted by this and knew that was God's call.”
“On the tram going back home after Mass, she met Jesús Hernando de Pablos, a family friend, and she asked him if he knew of any priest she could talk with. He gave her St. Josemaría's contacts and she started to go to him for spiritual direction,” the priest told ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish-language sister agency.
St. Josemaría Escrivá taught her that Christ can be found in professional work and ordinary life.
“I had the clear sensation that God was speaking to me through that priest,” Guadalupe would later say.
Martinez de la Hoz noted that “when Guadalupe discovered her vocation at 23, she had a boyfriend, was a chemistry teacher and lived with her mother. From that time on, she was in good spirits because of the intimate conviction of doing what God wants.”
On March 19, 1944, Guadalupe joined Opus Dei as a numerary, committing to celibacy and complete availability for the work of the prelature. Numeraries normally live in an Opus Dei center. However, she did not go to live at a center, but settled into an apartment with her mother, who needed care due to her advanced age.
During her first years as an Opus Dei member, Guadalupe worked primarily in the Christian formation of young people in Madrid and Bilbao. She was later sent to Mexico to begin the apostolic work of Opus Dei there.
In 1956, she settled in Rome, where she worked with St. Josemaría in the administration of Opus Dei. After two years, because of health reasons, she moved back to Spain, where she again took up teaching and scientific research. She then finished her doctoral thesis in chemistry.
Martinez de la Hoz said that what stood out about Guadalupe was “her smile, her good humor, her laughter...She was a woman who preferred to not dwell on the negative, and who completely trusted in God.”
The priest emphasized that what really brought Guadalupe to sanctity was her patience as a chemistry professor.
At the same time, she continued to work in Christian formation in Opus Dei. In all her actions, she reflected her strong desire to love God in her work, her friendship and with a deep joy that radiated peace and serenity, he said.
Guadalupe died of heart disease in Pamplona, Spain on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1975. She was 59 years old and at the time of her death held a reputation of sanctity. Favors attributed to her intercession were quickly reported.
Her beatification cause was begun in the Archdiocese of Madrid in 2001, and was sent on to Rome in 2006.
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
Posted on 08/15/2018 15:53 PM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Aug 15, 2018 / 07:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, Pope Francis entrusted any person who is suffering, in mind or body, to the care of the Mother of God.
Invoking “Mary, Consoler of the afflicted,” the pope entrusted to her “the anguish and torment of those who, in so many parts of the world, suffer in body and spirit.”
“Receive our heavenly Mother for all comfort, courage and serenity,” he said Aug. 15.
Speaking after the recitation of the Angelus for the feast day, he said he was thinking, in particular, of the victims of a bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy, Tuesday, and led those present in praying a ‘Hail Mary’ together.
As of Wednesday afternoon, at least 16 people were injured and 39 confirmed dead, with more missing, after a bridge making up a part of one of Italy’s major highways collapsed in a storm Aug. 14.
According to CNN, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Aug. 14 that “structural failure” is the working theory for the cause of the collapse.
“While I entrust the people who have lost their lives to the mercy of God, I express my spiritual closeness to their families, the wounded, the displaced and all those who suffer because of this tragic event,” the pope said.
Before the Angelus, Francis reflected on Mary’s life, noting that she lived even ordinary activities in unity with her son, Jesus Christ.
“The life of the Madonna took place like that of a common woman of her time: she prayed, ran the family and the house, attended synagogue... But every daily action was carried out by her always in total union with Jesus,” he said.
He said her union with Jesus reached its pinnacle on Calvary: “in love, in compassion, and in the suffering of the heart” and for this reason, “God has given her a full participation also in the resurrection of Jesus.”
“Today the Church invites us to contemplate this mystery: it shows us that God wants to save the whole man, soul and body,” he said.
Quoting St. Irenaeus, who said, “the glory of God is the living man, and the life of man is the vision of God,” Francis noted that, one day, at the resurrection of the dead, the bodies of those who have died will be reunited with their souls, as was Mary’s.
“If we have lived this way, in the joyous service of God, which is expressed also in generous service to [our] brothers, our destiny, on the day of the resurrection, will be similar to that of our heavenly Mother,” he said.
The “resurrection of the flesh,” as it is sometimes called, which will happen at Christ’s second coming, is “a cornerstone of our faith,” Francis explained.
“The wonderful reality of the Assumption of Mary manifests and confirms the unity of the human person and reminds us that we are called to serve and glorify God with all our being, soul and body,” he said.
Posted on 08/15/2018 12:21 PM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Aug 15, 2018 / 04:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis Wednesday named Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, a member of the Vatican diplomatic corps for over 25 years, the ‘sostituto,’ or ‘substitute,’ of the Secretariat of State.
Apostolic nuncio to Mozambique since 2015, Pena will start in the position of substitute Oct. 15, according to a Vatican statement Aug. 15.
Pena, 58, began diplomatic service to the Holy See on April 1, 1993, and has served in Kenya, Yugoslavia, the United Nations Office in Geneva, and in apostolic nunciatures in South Africa, Honduras, and Mexico. He was nuncio to Pakistan from 2001 to 2014.
Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, he was ordained a priest in 1985, and made a bishop in 2011. He studied canon law and speaks Spanish, Italian, English, French, Portuguese and Serbo-Croatian.
Pena takes over the position from Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, who resigned June 29 in anticipation of beginning his assignment as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints later this summer.
Becciu, 70, who was elevated to the cardinalate June 28, served in the Secretariat of State, under both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, beginning in 2011. He will start at the congregation for saints Aug. 31.
It is yet unknown if Pena will join Pope Francis as part of the papal entourage on his trip to Dublin Aug. 25-26.
The Secretariat of State is the central governing office of the Catholic Church and the department of the Roman Curia which works most closely with the pope.
Since the publication of Pastor Bonus, Pope John Paul II's 1988 apostolic constitution which introduced a reform of the Roman Curia, the Secretariat of State has been divided into two sections: the Section for General Affairs and the Section for Relations with States.
The substitute, who must be a bishop, acts as head of the Section for General Affairs, which is responsible for the everyday affairs and service of the pope, including overseeing the facilitation of appointments within the Roman Curia, the duties and activity of representatives of the Holy See, and the concerns of embassies accredited to the Holy See.
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher is the secretary for Relations with States, often described as the Vatican’s “foreign minister.”
As of November 2017, Pope Francis established a third section of the Secretariat, specifically to oversee the Vatican’s diplomatic corps, stationed around the world.
Archbishop Jan Romeo Pawlowski is at the helm of the third section, called the “Section for Diplomatic Staff.” Previously apostolic nuncio to Gabon, in 2015 Pawlowski was appointed head of the Office for Pontifical Representations, a sort of human resources office within the Secretariat of State.
Posted on 08/15/2018 11:03 AM (CNA Daily News)
Athens, Greece, Aug 15, 2018 / 03:03 am (CNA).- Every year, on the Orthodox feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, a monastery on a Greek island experiences a miracle – dozens of snakes come to 'venerate' an icon of Mary.
In a phenomenon that has reportedly been happening for hundreds of years, black snakes begin appearing on the Greek island of Kefalonia between Aug. 5 and Aug. 15, the days when the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the dormition of the Theotokos (celebrated in the Western Church as the Assumption of Mary).
According to tradition, the miracle of the snakes began in 1705, when nuns of the monastery were about to be attacked by pirates.
Legend has it that the nuns prayed fervently to the Virgin Mary, asking her that she turn them into snakes to avoid capture. Other versions say that the nuns prayed that the monastery be infested with snakes so as to scare away the pirates. Either way it happened, they were spared.
Since then, the small black snakes, known as European Cat Snakes, appear every year just before the feast, and make their way to the walls and entryways of the Church to 'venerate' the silver icon of Mary known as the Panagia Fidoussa, or the Virgin of the Snakes.
The snakes' patterning can produce a small black cross on their head, and they have a forked tongue, adding to the legend that these snakes are marked by the sign of the Cross.
In recent years, the faithful have taken to transporting snakes to the church in jars and bags, to protect them from being run over by unwitting motorists.
The usually-aggressive snakes are reportedly docile and calm during these days, when they are welcome in the church for Mass and prayers, and disappear from the island completely after the feast until the next year.
Reportedly, the only years the snakes have not appeared on the island were during World War II, and in 1953 - the year of a massive earthquake. Locals now take the lack of the snake's appearance as a bad sign.
Every year, the island celebrates the Theotokos and the miracle with a Snake Festival.