Saturday, September 3, 2011











VATICAN CITY, 3 SEP 2011 (VIS report) - Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, under secretary for Relations with States met this morning with Helena Keleher, charge d'affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Ireland to the Holy See, and consigned to her the "Holy See's Response to the Irish Government concerning the Cloyne Report".


The Cloyne Report was published by the Commission of Investigation into the Diocese of Cloyne. Eamon Gilmore, Irish deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs and trade, in the course of a meeting on 14 July with Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, apostolic nuncio to Ireland, requested him to convey a copy of the report to the Holy See, together with the Irish Government's views on the matters raised, to which the minister requested a response.

Recognising the seriousness of the crimes detailed in the report, which should never have happened within the Church of Jesus Christ, and wishing to respond to the Irish Government's request, the Holy See, after carefully examining the Cloyne Report and considering the many issues raised, has sought to respond comprehensively.

A summary of the response is given below. The full English-language text is available here.

1. General remarks about the Cloyne Report

The Holy See has carefully examined the Cloyne Report, which has brought to light very serious and disturbing failings in the handling of accusations of sexual abuse of children and young people by clerics in the diocese of Cloyne.

The Holy See wishes to state at the outset its profound abhorrence for the crimes of sexual abuse which took place in that diocese and is sorry and ashamed for the terrible sufferings which the victims of abuse and their families have had to endurewithin the Church of Jesus Christ, a place where this should never happen. It is very concerned at the findings of the Commission concerning grave failures in the ecclesiastical governance of the diocese and the mishandling of allegations of abuse. It is particularly disturbing that these failures occurred despite the undertaking given by the bishops and religious superiors to apply the guidelines developed by the Church in Ireland to help ensure child protection and despite the Holy See's norms and procedures relating to cases of sexual abuse. However, the approach taken by the Church in Ireland in recent times to the problem of child sexual abuse is benefiting from ongoing experience and proving more and more effective in preventing the recurrence of these crimes and in dealing with cases as they arise.

2. Issues raised by the Cloyne Report

The Holy See's Response addresses in detail the various charges made against it, which seem to be based primarily on the Cloyne Report's account andassessment of the letter addressed to the Irish bishops on 31 January 1997 by the then apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Luciano Storero, concerning the response of the Congregation for the Clergy to the document "Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response" (the Framework Document). The Commission of Inquiry asserts that this response gave comfort to those who dissented from the stated official Church policy and was unsupportive especially in relation to reporting to the civil authorities.

The Holy See wishes to state the following in relation to the response of the Congregation for the Clergy:

The Congregation described the Framework Document as a "study document" on the basis of information provided by the Irish bishops, who described the text not as an official document of the Irish Bishops' Conference, but, rather, as a "report" of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Advisory Committee on Child Sexual Abuse by Priests and Religious, recommended "to individual dioceses and congregations as a framework for addressing the issue of child sexual abuse".

The Irish bishops never sought the "recognitio" of the Holy See for the Framework Document, which, in accordance with canon 455 of the Code of Canon Law, would have been required only if they intended it to be a general decree of the conference binding on all its members. However, the lack of "recognitio" itself did not preclude the application of the document's guidelines, since individual bishops could adopt them without having to refer to the Holy See. This is, in fact, what generally happened in Ireland.

The Irish bishops consulted the congregation to resolve difficulties relating to some of the content of the Framework Document. The congregation offered advice to the bishops with a view to ensuring that the measures which they intended to apply would prove effective and unproblematic from a canonical perspective. For this reason, the congregation drew attention to the requirement that these measures should be in harmony with canonical procedures in order to avoid conflicts that could give rise to successful appeals in Church tribunals. The congregation did not reject the Framework Document. Rather, it wanted to ensure that the measures contained in the Framework Document would not undermine the bishops' efforts to discipline those guilty of child abuse in the Church. At the same time, it is important to bear in mind the decision of the Holy See in 1994 to grant special provisions to the bishops of the United States to deal with child sexual abuse in the Church. These provisions were extended to the bishops of Ireland in 1996 to assist them to overcome difficulties that they were experiencing at that time (cf. part six of the response).

Meeting canonical requirements to ensure the correct administration of justice within the Church in no way precluded co-operation with the civil authorities. The Congregation for the Clergy did express reservations about mandatory reporting, but it did not forbid the Irish bishops from reporting accusations of child sexual abuse nor did it encourage them to flout Irish law. In this regard, the then prefect of the congregation, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, in his meeting with the Irish bishops at Rosses Point, County Sligo (Ireland), on 12 November 1998 unequivocally stated: "I also wish to say with great clarity that the Church, especially through its pastors (bishops), should not in any way put an obstacle in the legitimate path of civil justice, when such is initiated by those who have such rights, while at the same time, she should move forward with her own canonical procedures, in truth, justice and charity towards all". It should be noted that, at the time, not only the Church but also the IrishState was engaged in efforts to improve its own legislation on child sexual abuse. To this end, the Irish government organized an extensive consultation on mandatory reporting in 1996 and, after taking into account the reservations expressed by various professional groups and individuals in civil society - views broadly in line with those expressed by the congregation - it decided not to introduce mandatory reporting into the Irish legal system. Given that the Irish government of the day decided not to legislate on the matter, it is difficult to see how Archbishop Storero's letter to the Irish bishops, which was issued subsequently, could possibly be construed as having somehow subverted Irish law or undermined the Irish State in its efforts to deal with the problem in question.

3. Issues raised by Irish political leaders

The Holy See wishes to state the following in relation to some of the reactions of Irish political leaders:

While the Holy See understands and shares the depth of public anger and frustration at the findings of the Cloyne Report, which found expression in the speech made by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in Dail Eireann on 20 July 2011, it has significant reservations about some aspects of the speech. In particular, the accusation that the Holy See attempted "to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago" is unfounded. Indeed, when asked, a government spokesperson clarified that Mr Kenny was not referring to any specific incident.

In fact, accusations of interference by the Holy See are belied by the many reports cited as the basis for such criticisms. Those reports - lauded for their exhaustive investigation of sexual abuse and the way it was managed - contain no evidence that the Holy See meddled in the internal affairs of the Irish Stateor was involved in the day-to-day management of Irish dioceses or religious congregations with respect to sexual abuse issues. Indeed, what is impressive about these reports, and the vast information that they rely upon, is that there is no support for these accusations.

In this regard, the Holy See wishes to make it quite clear that it in no way hampered or sought to interfere in any inquiry into cases of child sexual abuse in the diocese of Cloyne. Furthermore, at no stage did the Holy See seek to interfere with Irish civil law or impede the civil authority in the exercise of its duties.

The Holy See would also point out that the text of the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger quoted by Mr Kenny in his speech is taken from No. 39 of the "Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian", published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 24 May 1990. This text is concerned neither with the manner in which the Church should behave within a democratic society nor with issues of child protection, as Mr Kenny's use of the quotation would seem to imply, but with the theologian's service to the Church community.

In his meeting with the apostolic nuncio, Eamon Gilmore deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs and trade, stated that "among the most disturbing of the findings of the Cloyne report is that the Vatican authorities undermined the Irish Church's own efforts to deal with clerical child sexual abuse by describing the framework document adopted by the bishops' conference as a mere 'study document'". As is made clear in the Holy See's response this description was based on the explanations of its nature as provided by the Irish bishops and in the published text itself. In no way was it a dismissal of the serious efforts undertaken by the Irish bishops to address the scourge of child sexual abuse.

With regard to the motion passed in Dail Eireann on 20 July 2011, and by Seanad Eireann a week later, deploring "the Vatican's intervention which contributed to the undermining of the child protection framework and guidelines of the Irish State and the Irish bishops" the Holy See wishes to clarify that at no stage did it make any comment about the Irish State's child protection measures, let alone seek to undermine them. The Holy See observes that there is no evidence cited anywhere in the Cloyne Report to support the claim that its supposed "intervention" contributed to their "undermining". As for those of the Irish bishops, the response offers sufficient clarifications to show that these were in no way undermined by any intervention of the Holy See.

4. Concluding remarks

In its response, the Holy See offers a presentation of the Church's approach to child protection, including the relevant canonical legislation, and refers to the Holy Father's "Letter to the Catholics of Ireland", published on 19 March 2010, in which Pope Benedict indicates his expectation that the Irish bishops will co-operate with the civil authorities, to implement fully the norms of canon law and to ensure the full and impartial application of the child safety norms of the Church in Ireland.

The publication of the Cloyne Report marks a further stage in the long and difficult path of ascertaining the truth, of penance and purification, and of healing and renewal of the Church in Ireland. The Holy See does not consider itself extraneous to this process but shares in it in a spirit of solidarity and commitment.

In a spirit of humility, the Holy See, while rejecting unfounded accusations, welcomes all objective and helpful observations and suggestions to combat with determination the appalling crime of sexual abuse of minors. The Holy See wishes to state once again that it shares the deep concern and anxiety expressed by the Irish authorities, by Irish citizens in general and by the bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful of Ireland with regard to the criminal and sinful acts of sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and religious. It also recognises the understandable anger, disappointment and sense of betrayal of those affected - particularly the victims and their families - by these vile and deplorable acts and by the way in which they were sometimes handled by Church authorities, and for all of this it wishes to reiterate its sorrow for what happened. It is confident that the measures which the Church has introduced in recent years at a universal level, as well as in Ireland, will prove more effective in preventing the recurrence of these acts and contribute to the healing of those who suffered abuse and to the restoration of mutual confidence and collaboration between Church and State authorities, which is essential for the effective combating of the scourge of abuse. Naturally, the Holy See is well aware that the painful situation to which the episodes of abuse have given rise cannot be resolved swiftly or easily, and that although much progress has been made, much remains to be done.

Since the early days of the Irish State and especially since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1929, the Holy See has always respected Ireland's sovereignty, has maintained cordial and friendly relations with the country and its authorities, has frequently expressed its admiration for the exceptional contribution of Irish men and women to the Church's mission and to the betterment of peoples throughout the world, and has been unfailing in its support of all efforts to promote peace on the island during the recent troubled decades. Consistent with this attitude, the Holy See wishes to reaffirm its commitment to constructive dialogue and co-operation with the Irish government, naturally on the basis of mutual respect, so that all institutions, whether public or private, religious or secular, may work together to ensure that the Church and, indeed, society in general will always be safe for children and young people.

OP/ VIS 20110903 (2360)


VATICAN CITY, 3 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Speaking on Vatican Radio today, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. commented on the Holy See's Response to the Irish Government concerning the Cloyne Report, which was issued this morning. "The document", he said, "is clearly structured and seeks to give detailed and documented answers to all the questions raised, inserting them into a broader perspective".

"The text of the document shows how the Holy See has given very serious and respectful consideration to the queries and criticism it has received, and has undertaken to answer them serenely and exhaustively, avoiding polemics even when giving clear answers to the accusations made".

The Holy See hopes that its response "will achieve the fundamental shared goal of contributing to rebuilding a climate of trust and co-operation with the Irish authorities, which is essential for an effective commitment on the part of the Church and society to guarantee the primary goal: protecting children and young people".

OP/ VIS 20110903 (180)


VATICAN CITY, 3 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Six prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Bishop Peter Machado of Belgaum.

- Bishop Henry D'Souza of Bellary.

- Bishop Anthony Swamy Thomasappa of Chikmagalur.

- Bishop Robert Michael Miranda of Gulbarga.

- Bishop Derek Fernandes of Karwar.

- Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza of Mangalore.

AP:AL/ VIS 20110903 (90)


VATICAN CITY, 3 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation, with effect from 1 October, from the office of president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State presented by Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed, with effect from 1 October, Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, apostolic nuncio to Italy and to the Republic of San Marino, as president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

- Appointed Msgr. Giuseppe Sciacca as secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of bishop. The bishop-elect was born in Catania in 1955. He studied at the Pontifical LateranUniversity, graduating in canon law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and in philosophy from the University of Catania. He was ordained a priest in 1978 and incardinated in the diocese of Arcireale where, apart from being involved in pastoral work, he taught philosophy and history at State schools, and canon law at the local theological institute. Defender of the bond and promoter of justice, and later judge, in the regional tribunal of Sicily, since 1999 he has been a prelate auditor of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.



In order to promote Catholic Education, Daily News, will be featuring Catholic Religious Educational institutions every week. The following information is from the Website of Christendom College:


Christendom College is a four-year coeducational Roman Catholic Liberal Arts College with undergraduate and graduate programs offered on three campuses in Front Royal and Alexandria, Virginia, and Rome, Italy.

Founded in 1977 in response to the devastating blow inflicted on Catholic higher education by the cultural revolution which swept across America in the 1960s, Christendom's goal is to provide a truly Catholic education in fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and thereby to prepare students for their role of restoring all things in Christ.

Christendom's 84-hour core curriculum of carefully selected subjects required for all of its undergraduate students consists of three years of study in Theology, three years in Philosophy, two years in English Language and Literature, two years in Classical or Modern Language, two years in History, one year in Political Science and Economics, and one year in Mathematics and Natural Science.

The College's main Front Royal campus overlooks the Shenandoah River with scenic views of the neighboring Blue Ridge Mountains. Students from over 45 states and 6 foreign countries are attracted to the College's Catholic family atmosphere and its dedication to the restoration of a truly Catholic culture.

The College offers two daily Masses; daily Confession, Rosary, and Eucharistic adoration; and celebrates together many liturgical and cultural feasts. Rules governing student life include a dress code, no alcohol on campus, under 21 curfew, and no intervisitation between men's and women's dormitories.

Religious Affiliation: Roman Catholic
Year Founded: 1977
Degrees: Associate of Arts (A.A.), Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Master of Arts (M.A.)
Total Undergraduates: 407 (from 45 States and 7 foreign countries)
Male/Female Ratio: 46:54

Freshman SAT Midranges:
Reading: 580-690
Math: 520-610
Writing: 570-670
Average SAT score: 1832

Freshman Class Stats: 113 freshmen:
38% are siblings of either current Christendom students or alumni, 7% are legacy students, 53% attended one of the College's Experience Christendom Summer Program sessions, from 28 US States and Belgium (27% from Virginia), 35% of them are on academic scholarship.

Tuition: $19,884
Room & Board: $7,656
Freshman Retention Rate: 81%
Graduation Rate: 69% 4 years 70% 6 years
% Courses with fewer than 20 students: 59%
Student/Faculty Ratio: 14:1
% Courses Taught by Our Graduate Students: 0
3 Most Popular Majors: History, Philosophy, Political Science
% Students Living on Campus: 95%
% Students receiving need-based financial aid: 51%
% Students receiving need-based or merit-based aid: 75%
Acceptance Rate: 81%
Yield Rate:

Front Royal Campus

Christendom College
Recipient's Name
134 Christendom Drive
Front Royal, VA 22630-6534

Alexandria Campus (Graduate School)

Christendom Graduate School
Recipient's Name
4407 Sano Street
Alexandria, VA 22312-1555


Main Number: 800.877.5456 or 540.636.2900 / Fax: 540.636.1655


Prince Alois of Liechtenstein has spoken out publicly in support of unborn life. He specifically defended the life of the disabled. This subject came into public debate over the past few months. The prince said that if the proposal is eventually approved, he will veto it. In June, the Parliament of Liechtenstein rejected a law that would have allowed women an abortion to their 12th week of pregnancy. The final vote was 35 against and seven in favor. Liechtenstein, Ireland, Malta, Poland all protect the lives of unborn children in Europe.
Liechtenstein is 80% Catholic and has a population of 27,000.


by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
Many civil society organisations are opposed to the new naval base because it would affect the island’s pristine nature and great beauty. The president of the Korean Bishops’ Conference also opposes the installation. A ‘peace plane’ and 20 ‘peace buses’ are set to be part of a peaceful non-violent protest.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – Police took away two Catholic priests and dozens of lay people as they protested against the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island. More activists are expected on the island to continue a sit-in against the construction that began back in June.

Police were deployed yesterday in the village of Gangjeong (Seogwipo Municipality), near the side of the future naval base. At least 600 police officers surrounded the area, which was occupied by 80-100 activists, sealing it off.

After removing the protesters, police sent in excavators to the site.

Protesters clashed with officers, sitting in shoulder-to-shoulder on the road, shouting slogans and blocking the police’s path. Around 30 people, including two priests, were reportedly taken away by police.

Jeju Island is located south of the Korean Peninsula, in the Korea Strait, and is run by an autonomous provincial government. It is famous for its unspoilt nature and breathtaking landscapes.

Demonstrators are opposed to the naval base in order to protect the island’s pristine nature and tourist industry. The government instead claims that a US$ 970 million military installation is needed for national security reasons.

Government plans face a wide front of opposition. About two weeks ago, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea and bishop of Cheju, Mgr Peter Kang U-il, came out against the plans in a paper titled “Christian Conscience says 'No' to the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island”.

Gangjeong village council also opposes the base. In a press conference yesterday, it called for a stop to construction, announcing cultural events with thousands of people near the site slated for the base.

Activists are also not waiting idly by. A ‘peace plane’ is expected to fly 170 supporters to the island. Some 20 ‘peace buses’ are supposed to bring people to join non-violent peaceful actions.

Two days ago in Seoul, at the Neutinamu Hall, 120 civil society organisations held a conference urging people to embrace Gureomb, the site of the planned base.

“Although the court granted an injunction banning acts obstructing construction of the naval base, this does not constitute grounds for the government, the navy, prosecutors or police to forcibly proceed with resuming construction or deploying personnel,” the groups stated.

In addition, two day ago, Gangjeong village chief Kang Dong-gyun was arrested along with other residents. Human rights groups have called on the government to release them, slamming the atmosphere of martial law that prevails on the island.

For its part, the Jeju Special Self-governing Provincial Council issued a statement demanding, “The government itself must step forward as the main player in resolving the situation, search for a peaceful solution and refrain from using deploying force.”


Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
1 Sep 2011

Seminarian Sebastian Hew with Parish Priest,
Fr Nicholas Kipkemboi in the remote Indigenous parish
of Kalumburu in far north WA

For 18 priests-in-training at Sydney's Seminary of the Good Shepherd, a month spent in rural or outback Australia deepened their faith, taught them about the day to day life of a priest in remote sparsely populated parishes, and importantly, taught them about themselves.

"You have got to know yourself to know Christ," Father Anthony Percy, Rector of the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Homebush explains. "Gaining insight to understand and truly know yourself is a fundamental part of our program, and the experiences encountered by each of the seminarians during their time away, was right on the money."

The unique program was an initiative of the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell.

"It was very much the Cardinal's brainchild. He first talked about it in February this year, explaining how he wanted to give the Good Shepherd seminarians a broader experience of the Church and to observe pastoral activities beyond the city of Sydney and across a wider, more diverse Australia," Fr Percy explains.

Sydney Seminarians with the Bishop of Broome,
the Most Rev Christopher Saunders

With the support and encouragement of Cardinal Pell, Fr Percy then discussed the idea with the Bishop of Broome, the Most Rev Christopher Saunders, the Bishop of Darwin, the Most Rev Eugene Hurley, the Bishop of Port Pirie, the Most Rev Gregory O'Kelly and the Apostolic Administrator of the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese, Bishop Kevin Manning.

"They agreed to oversee the whole thing and were determined to make it work. I'm very grateful for their all their help. They were key to the success of the program. They also believed the scheme would not only prove an enriching experience for the seminarians, but would create an upsurge of interest in priestly vocations among members of their own dioceses and parishes."

With details of the scheme finally in place, in late July and early August this year, the 18 participants from the Homebush seminary headed north to Broome or Darwin, south to Port Pirie or west to Broken Hill and the sprawling NSW Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes.

The seminarians ranged from those in second year through to those in their sixth year of study at the seminary. Six of them went to Broome, two to Darwin, six to Port Pirie and four to Wilcannia-Forbes.
For each the three t o four weeks away from their Sydney base proved to be an intense and profound experience.

Homebush seminarians, Sebastian Hew and
Patrick Kimulu in remote Western Australia

"The response and feedback we've received since their return has been remarkable," says Fr Percy who describes the program as a "wonderful success."

"Each Thursday at the Good Shepherd we get together for what we call Fraternity Night. It's a time for everyone to relax a bit and talk about their week; and those who went on the program are still talking about their time away, sharing their experiences, what they learned and what it has meant to them and to their vocation," he says. "For many, the experience represented the first time they had encountered real poverty and not only of the material kind. For others it was the first time they had been in rural Australia or had met and worked closely with Indigenous people. And for all of them, it was an unforgettable opportunity to see the positive work of priests in rural and remote Australia, offering pastoral care and practical help in often vast, thinly populated parishes. The work of these priests left a lasting impression on our seminarians with one insisting the time he spent in Port Pirie had taught him more in a few weeks than he had learned from books and months of study."

Hew and Patrick Kimulu stand with Kalumburu parish
priest, Fr Nicholas Kipkemboi outside the light plane
that flew them to the remote Indigenous community

The success of the program has ensured that it will now become an important part of the Seminary's annual curriculum. Each year seminarians will be encouraged to spend several weeks in rural and regional Australia to experience the Church and a priest's work away from the city and metropolitan parishes.

Fr Percy is also convinced the program will have a spill over effect that will pay dividends in the future. "After ordination some seminarians may see their priestly mission in outback or rural Australia. Others may simply enjoy working there for short periods which could give rise to an exchange system between Sydney's priests and those in outback and remote areas," he says. "That way we can give clergy in Broome, Darwin, Port Pirie, Wilcannia Forbes and similar dioceses a break and time in the city, while Sydney priests fill in for them in their country parishes. "

Credit: Photography by Sebastian Hew and Patrick Kimulu


Agenzia Fides report – After five years of civil war that devastated the country there are still so many physical and psychological repercussions that many Ugandan women are facing. Tortured, forced to join the rebel group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), many are those who could not get any medical care for violence. In Ogur, Lira, in northern Uganda, there is a medical emergency run by 'Isis-Women's International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), a women's organization that deals with assistance for women living in war zones and post-conflict. The location is specific for women who suffered violence during the nearly two decades of war causing reproductive health complications. For most of them it is the first occasion where they are visited since the end of the war in 2006, and for others it is actually the first time they are assisted by a doctor. In northern Uganda, many women are in urgent need of a special program to provide them with health care assistance. The LRA rebels fought in the north and northeast of Uganda for 23 years. The war, which for decades confined almost 2 million people in refugee camps, was the most brutal since the independence from Britain in 1962. Thousands of people died in these conflicts that involved thousands of child soldiers and civilians forced to join rebel groups. Since 2006, people have returned to their homes, but is entirely dependent on humanitarian aid. A plan for recovery and development was promoted by the local government in 2009 but without considering the emergency needs of the population. The money was invested in the reconstruction of new blocks for health units and the reconstruction of those destroyed. According to local sources of Lira, the reconstruction works in the health sector have focused mainly on the construction of buildings, without immediate action regarding the medical emergency of the community. Most of the district health centers do not have medical personnel and there are only two gynecologists in the entire district. The LRA forces were forced to leave Uganda in 2006 and is currently engaged in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African and south western Sudan. (AP)


St. Gregory the Great
Feast: September 3

540 at Rome, Italy
12 March 604 at Rome, Italy
Patron of:
against plague, choir boys, educators, England, gout, masons, musicians, papacy, Popes, schoolchildren, singers, stone masons, stonecutters, students, teachers, West Indies
Doctor of the Church; b. at Rome about 540; d. 12 March 604.
Gregory's father was Gordianus, a wealthy patrician, probably of the famous gens Amicia, who owned large estates in Sicily and a mansion on the Caelian Hill in Rome, the ruins of which, apparently in a wonderful state of preservation, still await excavation beneath the Church of St. Andrew and St. Gregory. His mother Silvia appears also to have been of good family, but very little is known of her life. She is honoured as a saint, her feast being kept on 3 November (see SILVIA, SAINT). Besides his mother, two of Gregory's aunts have been canonised, Gordianus's two sisters, Tarsilla and Æmilians, so that John the Deacon speaks of his education as being that of a saint among saints. In 573, when little more than thirty years old, Gregory decided to abandon everything and become a monk. This event took place most probably in 574. His decision once taken, he devoted himself to the work and austerities of his new life with all the natural energy of his character. His Sicilian estates were given up to found six monasteries there, and his home on the Caelian Hill was converted into another under the patronage of St. Andrew. However, he was soon drawn out of his seclusion, when, in 578, the pope ordained him, much against his will, as one of the seven deacons (regionarii) of Rome. Popo Pelagius II accordingly dispatched a special embassy to Tiberius, and sent Gregory along with it as his apocrisiarius, or permanent ambassador to the Court of Byzantium. The date of this new appointment seems to have been the spring of 579, and it lasted apparently for about six years. In the year 586, or possibly 585, he was recalled to Rome, and with the greatest joy returned to St. Andrew's, of which he became abbot soon afterwards. The monastery grew famous under his energetic rule, producing many monks who won renown later. Then, in February, 590, as if to fill the cup of misery to the brim, Pelagius II died. The choice of a successor lay with the clergy and people of Rome, and without any hesitation they elected Gregory, Abbot of St. Andrew's. As the plague still continued unabated, Gregory called upon the people to join in a vast sevenfold procession which was to start from each of the seven regions of the city and meet at the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin, all praying the while for pardon and the withdrawal of the pestilence. This was accordingly done, and the memory of the event is still preserved by the name "Sant' Angelo" given to the mausoleum of Hadrian from the legend that the Archangel St. Michael was seen upon its summit in the act of sheathing his sword as a sign that the plague was over. At length, after six months of waiting, came the emperor's confirmation of Gregory's election. The saint was terrified at the news and even meditated flight. He was seized, however, carried to the Basilica of St. Peter, and there consecrated pope on 3 September, 590. The story that Gregory actually fled the city and remained hidden in a forest for three days, when his whereabouts was revealed by a supernatural light, seems to be pure invention.
As pope Gregory still lived with monastic simplicity. (Edited from


Luke 6: 1 - 5
1On a sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands.
2But some of the Pharisees said, "Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath?"
3And Jesus answered, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:
4how he entered the house of God, and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?"
5And he said to them, "The Son of man is lord of the sabbath."
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