CIRCULAR LETTER: GUIDELINES IN CASES OF SEXUAL ABUSE
VATICAN CITY, 16 MAY 2011 (VIS) - The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith today published a circular letter intended to assist Episcopal Conferences in developing Guidelines for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
"Among the important responsibilities of the Diocesan Bishop in his task of assuring the common good of the faithful and, especially, the protection of children and of the young, is the duty he has to give an appropriate response to the cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics in his diocese. Such a response entails the development of procedures suitable for assisting the victims of such abuse, and also for educating the ecclesial community concerning the protection of minors. A response will also make provision for the implementation of the appropriate canon law, and, at the same time, allow for the requirements of civil law.
I. General considerations:
a) The victims of sexual abuse
The Church, in the person of the Bishop or his delegate, should be prepared to listen to the victims and their families, and to be committed to their spiritual and psychological assistance. In the course of his Apostolic trips our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has given an eminent model of this with his availability to meet with and listen to the victims of sexual abuse. In these encounters the Holy Father has focused his attention on the victims with words of compassion and support, as we read in his 'Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland' (n.6): 'You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated'.
b) The protection of minors
In some countries programs of education and prevention have been begun within the Church in order to ensure 'safe environments' for minors. Such programs seek to help parents as well as those engaged in pastoral work and schools to recognize the signs of abuse and to take appropriate measures. These programs have often been seen as models in the commitment to eliminate cases of sexual abuse of minors in society today.
c) The formation of future priests and religious
In 2002, Pope John Paul II stated, 'there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young' (n. 3, 'Address to the American Cardinals', 23 April 2002). These words call to mind the specific responsibility of Bishops and Major Superiors and all those responsible for the formation of future priests and religious. The directions given in the Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis as well as the instructions of the competent Dicasteries of the Holy See take on an even greater importance in assuring a proper discernment of vocations as well as a healthy human and spiritual formation of candidates. In particular, candidates should be formed in an appreciation of chastity and celibacy, and the responsibility of the cleric for spiritual fatherhood. Formation should also assure that the candidates have an appreciation of the Church's discipline in these matters. More specific directions can be integrated into the formation programs of seminaries and houses of formation through the respective Ratio institutionis sacerdotalisof each nation, Institute of Consecrated Life and Society of Apostolic Life.
Particular attention, moreover, is to be given to the necessary exchange of information in regard to those candidates to priesthood or religious life who transfer from one seminary to another, between different dioceses, or between religious Institutes and dioceses.
d) Support of Priests
1. The bishop has the duty to treat all his priests as father and brother. With special attention, moreover, the bishop should care for the continuing formation of the clergy, especially in the first years after Ordination, promoting the importance of prayer and the mutual support of priestly fraternity. Priests are to be well informed of the damage done to victims of clerical sexual abuse. They should also be aware of their own responsibilities in this regard in both canon and civil law. They should as well be helped to recognize the potential signs of abuse perpetrated by anyone in relation to minors;
2. In dealing with cases of abuse which have been denounced to them the bishops are to follow as thoroughly as possible the discipline of canon and civil law, with respect for the rights of all parties;
3. The accused cleric is presumed innocent until the contrary is proven. Nonetheless the bishop is always able to limit the exercise of the cleric's ministry until the accusations are clarified. If the case so warrants, whatever measures can be taken to rehabilitate the good name of a cleric wrongly accused should be done.
e) Cooperation with Civil Authority
Sexual abuse of minors is not just a canonical delict but also a crime prosecuted by civil law. Although relations with civil authority will differ in various countries, nevertheless it is important to cooperate with such authority within their responsibilities. Specifically, without prejudice to the sacramental internal forum, the prescriptions of civil law regarding the reporting of such crimes to the designated authority should always be followed. This collaboration, moreover, not only concerns cases of abuse committed by clerics, but also those cases which involve religious or lay persons who function in ecclesiastical structures.
II. A brief summary of the applicable canonical legislation concerning the delict of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by a cleric:
On 30 April 2001, Pope John Paul II promulgated the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela [SST], by which sexual abuse of a minor under 18 years of age committed by a cleric was included in the list of more grave crimes (delicta graviora) reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Prescription for this delict was fixed at 10 years beginning at the completion of the 18th year of the victim. The norm of the Motu Proprio applied both to Latin and Eastern clerics, as well as for diocesan and religious clergy.
In 2003, Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the CDF, obtained from Pope John Paul II the concession of some special faculties in order to provide greater flexibility in conducting penal processes for these more grave delicts. These measures included the use of the administrative penal process, and, in more serious cases, a request for dismissal from the clerical state ex officio. These faculties have now been incorporated in the revision of the Motu Proprio approved by the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, on 21 May 2010. In the new norms prescription, in the case of abuse of minors, is set for 20 years calculated from the completion of the 18th year of age of the victim. In individual cases, the CDF is able to derogate from prescription when indicated. The canonical delict of acquisition, possession or distribution of pedopornography is also specified in this revised Motu Proprio.
The responsibility for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors belongs, in the first place, to Bishops or Major Superiors. If an accusation seems true the Bishop or Major Superior, or a delegate, ought to carry out the preliminary investigation in accord with CIC can. 1717, CCEO can. 1468, and SST art. 16.
If the accusation is considered credible, it is required that the case be referred to the CDF. Once the case is studied the CDF will indicate the further steps to be taken. At the same time, the CDF will offer direction to assure that appropriate measures are taken which both guarantee a just process for the accused priest, respecting his fundamental right of defence, and care for the good of the Church, including the good of victims. In this regard, it should be noted that normally the imposition of a permanent penalty, such as dismissal from the clerical state, requires a penal judicial process. In accord with canon law (cf. CIC can. 1342) the Ordinary is not able to decree permanent penalties by extrajudicial decree. The matter must be referred to the CDF which will make the definitive judgement on the guilt of the cleric and his unsuitability for ministry, as well as the consequent imposition of a perpetual penalty (SST art. 21, '2).
The canonical measures applied in dealing with a cleric found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor are generally of two kinds: 1) measures which completely restrict public ministry or at least exclude the cleric from any contact with minors. These measures can be reinforced with a penal precept; 2) ecclesiastical penalties, among which the most grave is the dismissal from the clerical state.
In some cases, at the request of the cleric himself, a dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state, including celibacy, can be given pro bono Ecclesiae.
The preliminary investigation, as well as the entire process, ought to be carried out with due respect for the privacy of the persons involved and due attention to their reputations.
Unless there are serious contrary indications, before a case is referred to the CDF, the accused cleric should be informed of the accusation which has been made, and given the opportunity to respond to it. The prudence of the bishop will determine what information will be communicated to the accused in the course of the preliminary investigation.
It remains the duty of the Bishop or the Major Superior to provide for the common good by determining what precautionary measures of CIC can. 1722 and CCEO can. 1473 should be imposed. In accord with SST art. 19, this can be done once the preliminary investigation has been initiated.
Finally, it should be noted that, saving the approval of the Holy See, when a Conference of Bishops intends to give specific norms, such provisions must be understood as a complement to universal law and not replacing it. The particular provisions must therefore be in harmony with the CIC / CCEO as well as with the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (30 April 2001) as updated on 21 May 2010. In the event that a Conference would decide to establish binding norms it will be necessary to request the recognitio from the competent Dicasteries of the Roman Curia.
III. Suggestions for Ordinaries on Procedures:
The Guidelines prepared by the Episcopal Conference ought to provide guidance to Diocesan Bishops and Major Superiors in case they are informed of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clerics present in the territory of their jurisdiction. Such Guidelines, moreover, should take account of the following observations:
a.) the notion of 'sexual abuse of minors' should concur with the definition of article 6 of the Motu Proprio SST ('the delict against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen years'), as well as with the interpretation and jurisprudence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, while taking into account the civil law of the respective country;
b.) the person who reports the delict ought to be treated with respect. In the cases where sexual abuse is connected with another delict against the dignity of the sacrament of Penance (SST art. 4), the one reporting has the right to request that his or her name not be made known to the priest denounced (SST art. 24);
c.) ecclesiastical authority should commit itself to offering spiritual and psychological assistance to the victims;
d.) investigation of accusations is to be done with due respect for the principle of privacy and the good name of the persons involved;
e.) unless there are serious contrary indications, even in the course of the preliminary investigation, the accused cleric should be informed of the accusation, and given the opportunity to respond to it.
f.) consultative bodies of review and discernment concerning individual cases, foreseen in some places, cannot substitute for the discernment and potestas regiminis of individual bishops;
g.) the Guidelines are to make allowance for the legislation of the country where the Conference is located, in particular regarding what pertains to the obligation of notifying civil authorities;
h.) during the course of the disciplinary or penal process the accused cleric should always be afforded a just and fit sustenance;
i.) the return of a cleric to public ministry is excluded if such ministry is a danger for minors or a cause of scandal for the community.
The Guidelines developed by Episcopal Conferences seek to protect minors and to help victims in finding assistance and reconciliation. They will also indicate that the responsibility for dealing with the delicts of sexual abuse of minors by clerics belongs in the first place to the Diocesan Bishop. Finally, the Guidelines will lead to a common orientation within each Episcopal Conference helping to better harmonize the resources of single Bishops in safeguarding minors."
VATICAN CITY, 16 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Below is the note from the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., regarding the Circular Letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the Episcopal Conferences on the Guidelines for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics:
"The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has asked every Bishops' Conferences in the world to prepare 'Guidelines' for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, in ways appropriate to specific situations in different regions, by May 2012.
In its 'Circular Letter', the Congregation has offered a broad set of principles and indications, which will not only facilitate the formulation of the guidelines and therefore a uniformity of conduct of ecclesiastical authorities in various nations, but will also ensure consistency at the level of the universal Church, while respecting the competence of bishops and religious superiors.
Priority is given to victims, prevention programs, seminary formation and an ongoing formation of clergy, cooperation with civil authorities, the careful and rigorous implementation of the most canonical recent legislation in the area are the principal considerations that must structure the Guidelines in every corner of the world.
* * *
In recent days, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has sent to all Episcopal conferences a 'Circular Letter to assist Episcopal Conferences in developing Guidelines for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by clerics'.
The preparation of the document was announced in July, at the time of the publication of new rules for the implementation of the Motu Proprio " Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela " (see Note Fr. F. Lombardi, in OR, 16/07/2010, 1, and www.vatican.va, Abuse of minors. The Church's response).
H.E., Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation, later informed of its preparation during the meeting of the Cardinals at the November Consistory (see Press Release on the Afternoon Session, 11/19/2010).
The document is accompanied by a letter of presentation, signed by Cardinal Levada, illustrating its nature and purpose.
Following the revision of norms on sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy, approved by the Pope last year, 'it seems opportune that each Episcopal Conference prepare Guidelines' whose purpose will be to assist the Bishops of the Conference to follow clear and coordinated procedures in dealing with these instances of abuse. Such Guidelines would take into account the concrete situation of the jurisdictions within the Episcopal Conference.
To this end, the Circular Letter 'contains general themes' for consideration which naturally must be adapted to national realities, but which will help to ensure a coordinated approach by the various episcopates as well as - precisely thanks to the Guidelines - within the Episcopal Conferences.
Regarding the drafting of new Guidelines or the revision of existing ones, Cardinal Levada's letter also gives two indications: first, to involve the Major Superiors of clerical religious Institutes (to take into account not only diocesan clergy, but also religious), and then to send a copy of the completed Guidelines to the Congregation by the end of May 2012.
In conclusion, two concerns are clear:
1. The need to address the problem promptly and effectively with clear, organic, indications that are suitable to local situations and in relation to the norms and civil authorities. The indication of a specific date and a relatively short period within which all Episcopal conferences must develop Guidelines is clearly a very strong and eloquent statement.
2. Respect for the fundamental competence of the diocesan bishops (and Major Superiors) in the matter (the wording of the Circular is very keen to stress this aspect: the guidelines are intended to 'assist the diocesan bishops and Major Superiors').
The Circular Letter itself is short but very dense, and is divided into three parts.
The first part develops a set of general considerations, including in particular:
Priority attention to the victims of sexual abuse: listening to the victims and their families, and a commitment to their spiritual and psychological assistance.
The development of prevention programs to create truly safe environments for children.
The formation of future priests and religious and exchange of information on candidates to the priesthood or religious life who are transferred.
Support for priests, their ongoing formation and informing them of their responsibilities regarding the issue, how to support them when they are accused, dealing with cases of abuse according to law, the rehabilitation of the good reputation of those who have been unjustly accused.
Cooperation with civil authorities within their responsibilities. 'Specifically, without prejudice to the sacramental internal forum, the prescriptions of civil law regarding the reporting of such crimes to the designated authority should always be followed'. This cooperation should be implemented not only in cases of abuse by clergy, but by any employee who works in a Church structure.
The second part addresses applicable canonical legislation in force today, after the revision of 2010.
It refers to the power of bishops and Major Superiors in preliminary investigation and, in the case of a credible allegation, their obligation to refer the matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which offers guidance for the handling of the case.
It speaks about the precautionary measures to be imposed and information to be given to the accused during the preliminary investigation.
It refers to the canonical measures and ecclesiastical penalties that can be applied to offenders, including dismissal from the clerical state.
Finally, it specifies the relationship between canon law valid for the entire Church and any additional specific particular norms that given Episcopal Conferences deem appropriate or necessary, and the procedure to be followed in such cases.
The Third and final part lists a number of useful observations in formulating concrete operational guidelines for bishops and major superiors.
Among other things, the need to offer assistance to victims is stressed as well as the need to treat the complainant with respect and ensure the privacy and reputation of the people involved; to take due account of the civil laws of the country, including any obligation to notify the civil authorities; to ensure the accused information on the allegation and an opportunity to respond, and in any case a just and worthy support; to exclude the cleric's return to public ministry, in case of danger to minors or of scandal to the community. Once again, the primary responsibility of bishops and Major Superiors is reiterated, a responsibility which can not be replaced by supervisory bodies, however useful or necessary they may be in support of this responsibility.
The Circular therefore represents a very important new step in promoting awareness throughout the Church of the need and urgency to effectively respond to the scourge of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. Only in this way can we renew full credibility in the witness and educational mission of the Church, and help create in society in general, safe educational environments of which there is an urgent need."
VATICAN CITY, 16 MAY 2011 (VIS) - On Saturday the Holy Father received in separate audiences:
- Five prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop Salvadore Lobo, of Baruipur.
- Bishop Stephen Lepcha, of Darjeeling.
- Bishop Clement Tirkey, of Jalpaiguri.
- Bishop Joseph Suren Gomes, S.D.B., of Krishnagar.
- Bishop Alphonsus Flavian D'Souza, S.J., of Raiganj.
Today, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa (Italy), president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
THE CHURCH MUST NOT RENOUNCE HER MISSIONARY ROLE
VATICAN CITY, 14 MAY 2011 (VIS).- At midday today the Holy Father received the participants in the General Assembly of the Pontifical Missionary Works, which reports to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
The Pope highlighted in his address that "the Church must constantly renew her commitment to bringing Christ to the people, to continue her messianic mission for the coming of the Kingdom of God ... It is therefore necessary to continue the work of evangelisation with renewed enthusiasm ... to lead humankind to the true freedom of the sons of God, against all forms of slavery. It is necessary to cast the net of the Gospel into the waters of history to lead mankind toward the land of God".
"But in order that there be a decisive commitment to evangelisation, it is necessary that all Christians and communities truly believe that the 'Word of God is the saving truth needed by all men in all times'. If this conviction of faith is not deeply rooted in our life, we are not able to feel the passion and the beauty of announcing it".
After highlighting that "everyone must be involved in this 'missio ad gentes': bishops, priests, religious and laity", Benedict XVI remarked that "it is necessary, therefore, to devote special attention to ensuring that all sectors of pastoral care, of the catechesis, of charity, are characterised by a missionary element: the Church is a mission".
"A fundamental condition for announcing the faith is to allow oneself to be completely encompassed by Christ, Word of God incarnate", he continued, "as only by being deeply rooted in Christ and his Word may one be able to resist the temptation to reduce evangelisation to a merely human, social project, neglecting the transcendental dimension of the salvation offered by God in Christ. It is a Word that must be testified to and proclaimed explicitly, as without coherent testimony it is less comprehensible and credible".
The Pope stressed that "the ministry of evangelisation is fascinating and demanding: it requires love for proclamation and bearing testimony, a love so complete that it may lead even to martyrdom. The Church must not forsake its mission to reveal the light of Christ, to proclaim the good news of the Gospel, even if this may lead to persecution. It is a part of her very life itself, as it was for Jesus. Christians must not be afraid, even if they are 'the religious group which suffers most from persecution on account of its faith'".
The Holy Father concluded by expressing his gratitude for "the work in missionary promotion and formation" of the Pontifical Missionary Works, which he described as "a privileged tool for missionary co-operation and for the effective sharing of personnel and financial resources between Churches".
BISHOPS OF INDIA: LIBERTY OF FREEDOM AND WORSHIP
VATICAN CITY, 16 MAY 2011 (VIS) - The Pope today received prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India on their "ad limina" visit.
In his English-language discourse, the Holy Father affirmed that "the definitive revelation of God which comes to us in Jesus Christ and which believers throughout the world joyfully proclaim is expressed in a particular way in the sacred Scriptures and in the sacramental life of the Church. ... Christ's saving power is also proclaimed in the lives of the saints who have wholeheartedly taken up the Gospel message and lived it faithfully among their brothers and sisters. Christian revelation, when accepted in freedom and by the working of God's grace, transforms men and women from within and establishes a wonderful, redemptive relationship with God, our heavenly Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit. This is the heart of the message we teach, this is the great gift we offer in charity to our neighbour: a share in the very life of God".
"Within the Church, believers' first steps along the way of Christ must always be accompanied by a sound catechesis that will allow them to flourish in faith, love and service. ... Recognizing that catechesis is distinct from theological speculation, priests, religious and lay catechists need to know how to communicate with clarity and loving devotion the life-transforming beauty of Christian living and teaching, which will enable and enrich the encounter with Christ himself. This is especially true of the preparation of the faithful to meet our Lord in the sacraments".
With reference to the particular situation in India, "which is home to various ancient religions, including Christianity", Benedict XVI emphasised that "the Christian life in such societies always demands honesty and sincerity about one's own beliefs, and respect for those of one's neighbour. The presentation of the Gospel in such circumstances, therefore, involves the delicate process of inculturation. ... The process of inculturation requires that priests, religious and lay catechists carefully employ the languages and appropriate customs of the people they serve in presenting the Good News". To this end, he encouraged the bishops to "oversee this process with a fidelity to the deposit of faith which has been handed down to us to maintain and transmit".
With regard to interreligious dialogue, the Pope remarked upon the "challenging circumstances many of you face as you develop a dialogue with those of other religious beliefs, all the while encouraging an atmosphere of tolerant interaction". He continued, "Your dialogue should be characterized by a constant regard for that which is true, in order to foster mutual respect while avoiding semblances of syncretism".
He added, "moreover, as Indian Christians strive to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours of other beliefs, your prudent leadership will be crucial in the civil and moral task of working to safeguard the fundamental human rights of freedom of religion and freedom of worship. As you know, these rights are based upon the common dignity of all human beings and are recognized throughout the concert of nations".
He emphasised that "the Catholic Church strives to promote these rights for all religions throughout the world" and concluded by encouraging the prelates "to work patiently to establish the common ground necessary for the harmonious enjoyment of these basic rights in your communities. Even if he encounters opposition, the Christian's own charity and forbearance should serve to convince others of the rightness of religious tolerance, from which the followers of all religions stand to gain".
VATICAN CITY, 16 MAY 2011 (VIS) - At midday today, Benedict XVI received the participants in the World Conference promoted by the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace" on the 50th anniversary of Blessed John XXIII's Encyclical "Mater at magistra".
In his discourse, the Pope stressed that "truth, love, justice, indicated by Mater et magistra, along with the principal of the universal destination of goods, as fundamental criteria for overcoming social and cultural imbalances, remain the pillars for interpreting and resolving the imbalances caused by today's globalisation. In the face of such imbalances there is a need to re-establish a 'whole reason' able to give rise to a rebirth of thought and ethics. ... It is necessary to develop 'humanistic cultural syntheses' open to transcendence through a 'new evangelisation'".
"The various examples of imbalance worldwide, characteristic of this age, feed other ills such as disparity, differences in wealth, inequality, which create problems in terms of justice and the equitable distribution of resources and opportunities, especially in relation to the world's poorest".
The Pope remarked that "no less worrying are the phenomena linked to the financial system which, after the most acute phase of the recent crisis, has returned to the frenzied issue of credit contracts which frequently give rise to limitless speculation... similarly, the increase in price of primary energy resources... have negative consequences on the environment as well as on humans".
"The current social question", he added, "is without doubt that of world social justice... the equitable distribution of material and non-material resources, and the globalisation of substantial, social and participatory democracy". This justice, he continued, "cannot be achieved solely on the basis of mere social consensus, without recognising that this, in order to be long-lasting, must be rooted in universal human good".
Referring to the media for the diffusion of the Social Doctrine of the Church, the Pope remarked that the Church is important "also in the activities of its cultural associations, its programs of religious instruction and social catechesis in the parishes, in the mass media and the work of announcement and testimony on the part of lay persons, who must be spiritually, professionally and ethically prepared".
The Holy Father concluded by recalling that "there exist important institutions at the service of the new evangelisation, such as voluntary associations, Christian or Christian-inspired non-governmental organisations, the Commission "Justice and Peace", the offices for social and work problems and the Centres and Institutes for Social Doctrine".
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
VATICAN CITY, 14 MAY 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Guzman Carriquiry, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, as Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
May 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “Are you ready to party and defend life!” shouted the guitarist for the Gethsemane ministries band, to a loud roar of assent, kicking off the rally on Parliament Hill for the 14th annual Canadian National March for Life.
The weather could not have been better for the massive pro-life event – clear, sunny skies, and warm, but with a cool breeze. By 12:30 this afternoon, the lawn in front of Canada’s Parliament buildings was packed with an exuberant crowd, stretching from corner to corner.
The annual event marks the passage of Trudeau’s infamous “Omnibus Bill,” which paved the way for abortion-on-demand in Canada.
Jim Hughes, who stands by the side of the road every year and individually counts marchers as they pass by, told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that he counted over 15,000 participants this year - a record-breaking crowd. The previous record was around 12,500.
Hughes, the President of Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), who was introduced during the rally by CLC Youth director Alissa Golob as the “heart and soul of the pro-life movement in Canada,” told those assembled that this year’s crowd “eclipses last year.” “Thank God!” he told LSN.
More than one speaker remarked on the number of youth present – with many thousands of highschoolers, college students and young adults represented.
Archbishop Gerald Lacroix, the new Primate of Canada and Archbishop of Quebec City, officially opened the event with a prayer. The national anthem was sung by 16-year-old up-and-coming country star Carly Taylor, who is also slated to perform at tonight’s youth banquet.
Golob, who was the English master of ceremonies for the event, announced to cheers at the beginning that this year’s march is dedicated to the pro-life “legend,” Fr. Ted Colleton, who passed away last month.
She also announced the first ever “defund abortion” rally, to be held at Queen’s Park in Toronto, on Saturday, September 17. “Over 80 million of our taxpayer dollars are being put towards the killing of our most vulnerable citizens,” she said. “We can no longer tolerate abortion being funded with our hard-earned money.”
Prior to the commencement of the rally, a dozen or so pro-abortion counter-protesters - including one bearing a large sign with the presumably tongue-in-cheek slogan, “I hate life” - attempted to hold their protest in the middle of the lawn. However, police moved the group of protesters, which eventually swelled to just over 100, to the far side of the lawn.
But the counter-protesters were no match for the size and enthusiasm of the pro-life crowd.
Former Liberal Member of Parliament and staunch pro-life advocate Pat O’Brien was present on the Hill to introduce those MPs who were able to make it for the event. He pointed out that this year the number of MPs present was small, due to the fact that most are back in their ridings following the recent federal election.
O’Brien told those assembled, “It’s critical that you come here every year” to show Parliament “that you are pro-life Canadians, that you represent that millions of Canadians who understand that this country is a laughing stock because it simply has no law speaking to the question of the right to life. And that must stop, and that will stop.”
To loud cheers O’Brien said: “And even though the Prime Minister said that he’s not interested in opening the debate: well, news flash prime minister, ‘The debate is on!’”
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, who said one of two opening masses for pro-life Catholics in Ottawa this morning, introduced a number of the clergy present, including the bishops of Quebec City, Ottawa, Peterborough, Saskatoon and Sault Ste. Marie, as well as Carl Reid, the head of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, and Bishop Stephen Victor Chmilar of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy.
David Bereit, the charismatic head of the wildly successful 40 Days for Life campaign, flew up from Washington for the event.
Bereit explained that the 40 Days phenomenon, which has swept all 50 states in the U.S., numerous provinces in Canada, and numerous countries around the world, came about after Bereit and a number of fellow pro-lifers spent an hour of prayer together, and said ‘yes’ to what they felt was a call to do more for the pro-life cause.
To date over 400,000 individuals have participated in 40 Days for Life campaigns, dozens of abortion workers have left their jobs thanks to the 40 Days campaigns, and thousands of babies and their mothers have been saved from abortion.
“All those results came about because of an hour of prayer and an initial ‘yes,’” said Bereit. “And today as you gather here on Parliament Hill, you have time to pray and discern your call to this most important movement of our generation. And my question is, ‘Will you say yes to life?’”
The response was a resounding affirmative.
After the conclusion of the rally, the throng of pro-lifers threaded their way through the streets of downtown Ottawa, and past the infamous Bank St. Morgentaler abortion facility.
However, the rally and the march only mark the beginning of the pro-life events in Ottawa. This afternoon, following the march, men and women from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign will speak about their personal experiences with abortion on Parliament Hill. Later this evening there will be two dinners - the Rose dinner, featuring Bereit, and the Youth Dinner, featuring former model and actor and pro-life convert Mario St. Francis.
Then, tomorrow, there will be an all-day youth conference, which will be attended by an estimated 800 youth.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) has appealed to the Chief Minister to take charge of the serious concerns of Christians, linked to the illegal situation in Kandhamal after the rape and murder of a Christian girl of 17 years Nirupama Pradhan.
Nirupama Pradhan, a student at a school in Phulbhani, was raped and murdered near G Udayagiri, Kandhamal district. The half-decomposed body of the girl who attended the final class of the Plus II institute of Kalinga Mahavidyala was found by police on May 12 at Dhangadarna Hill lake. She had disappeared from home in the village of Padikia R, near R Udayagiri four days earlier.The girl's father, Sitrian Pradhan, informed the Global Council of Indian Christians that he suspected his daughter had been killed by Hindu radicals after being raped, and named an alleged culprit. The inspector in charge at G Udayagiri police station would not release any statement. Sitrian Pradhan has filed a complaint with the police after some farmers found the body near the lake. The Global Council is concerned over ongoing serial killings of Christians in the area. Previously, another Christian, Saul Pradhan, was killed. And the police refused to hand over the post-mortem to the widow report.
The Nigerian Church has on several occasions denounced politicians who incite hatred among the population. Bishop Matthew Ndagoso, Archbishop of Kaduna, in a press conference held after the conclusion of presidential elections, won by incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, called on political leaders to apologize to the Nigerian people for corruption and made an appeal to young people so that they do not become tools of manipulation and violence by unscrupulous politicians. Archbishop of Kaduna also pointed out that federal and local authorities have a duty to ensure the safety of all citizens. Mgr. Ndagoso nevertheless thanked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for having "provided a ray of hope to Nigerians.
In a previous interview with Fides (see Fides 04/05/2011) Mgr. Niyiring stressed the importance of interreligious dialogue to resolve disputes among different communities and prevent further violence. "We have not yet had a meeting with Muslim leaders but I hope the Interreligious Council meet very soon, for its usual monthly meeting, to discuss the latest events," concluded the Bishop of Kano.
Registration begins for tickets for pope visit
Pope fans without internet access can register personally with the local parishes. For security reasons, only those with tickets will be admitted to the services.
Although an address to the German parliament and meetings with top politicians have long been planned for the pope’s official state visit, Church leaders were reportedly so worried about possible low attendance in Berlin that they debated whether to have a public mass during his visit.
The late Pope John Paul II drew large crowds during his 1996 visit to Berlin, but many in the crowds were actually Poles who wanted to see “their” pope.
The election of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in April 2005 to succeed John Paul II was a source of great pride in Germany, whose population is about 30 percent Roman Catholic. But sexual abuse scandals involving priests have done serious damage in Germany, with a major public outcry and a wave of members leaving the Church.
The 83-year-old pontiff has himself faced allegations that he failed to take action against paedophile priests while serving at the Vatican's watchdog for morals and doctrinal issues, as well as during his stint as the archbishop of Munich.
St. Simon Stock
Feast: May 16
He was descended of a good family in Kent. From his infancy he turned all his thoughts and affections to attain to the most perfect love of God, and studied to devote all his moments to this glorious pursuit. In this earnest desire, in the twelfth year of his age, he retired into a wilderness, and chose for his dwelling a great hollow oak tree; whence the surname of Stock wee given him. While he here mortified his flesh with fasting and other severities, he nourished his soul with spiritual dainties in continual prayer. His drink was only water; and he never touched any other food but herbs, roots and wild apples. While he led this course of life, he was invited by a divine revelation to embrace the rule of certain religious men who were coming from Palestine into England. Albert, the holy patriarch of Jerusalem, having given a written rule to the Carmelite friars about the year 1205, some brothers of this order were soon after brought over from mount Carmel by John lord Vescy and Richard lord Gray of Codnor, when they returned from the Holy Land. These noblemen some time after settled them, the latter in the wood of Aylesford, near Rochester in Kent, the former in the forest of Holme, near Alnewick in Northumberland; which houses continued the two most famous convents of this order in England till their dissolution in the thirty-third year of the reign of Henry VIII. But we are assured by Bale, who before his apostacy was himself a friar of the English province of this order, and by Lambert and Weaver in their accurate descriptions of the Antiquities of Kent, that the first or most ancient convent of these friars in England was that at Newenden in Kent, which was founded for them by Sir Thomas Archer or Fitz-Archer, whose family flourished for many centuries upon that manor. The first arrival of these friars in England is placed in the annals of the order, quoted by F. Cosmas de Villiers, in 1212. Simon, who had then lived a recluse twenty years, imitating the Macariuses and Arseniuses in the most heroic practices of penance and contemplation, was much affected with the devotion of these servants of God to the blessed Virgin, their edifying deportment, and their eremitical austere institute, and joined their holy company before the end of the year 1212. After his admission he was sent to Oxford to finish his studies; and having run through his academical course he returned to his convent, where so bright was the example of his piety, that the virtue of the rest seemed to suffer an eclipse by the extraordinary lustre of his sanctity. Such was his reputation, that in 1215 Brocard, prior of mount Carmel, and general of the order, appointed him vicar-general, with full power over all the western provinces. Many clamors being raised against this institute, St. Simon repaired to Rome in 1226, and obtained from pope Honorius III. a confirmation of the rule given to this order by Albertus; and another from Gregory IX. in 1229. Some years after, St. Simon paid a visit to his brethren on mount Carmel, and remained six years in Palestine, where, in 1237, he assisted at the general chapter of the order held by Alanus the fifth general. In this assembly it was decreed, that the greatest part of the brethren should pass into Europe, their settlements in the east being continually disturbed by the persecutions, oppressions, or threats of the Saracens. In 1240 many were sent to England, and in 1244, Alanus himself, with St. Simon, having nominated Hilarion his vicar on mount Carmel, and in Palestine, followed them thither, there being already five monasteries of the order erected in this island.
In a general chapter held at Aylesford in 1245, Alanus resigning his dignity, St. Simon was chosen the sixth general, and in the same year procured a new confirmation of the rule by pope Innocent IV., who at the saint's request received this order under the special protection of the Holy See, in 1251. St. Simon established houses in most parts of Europe; but this institute flourished nowhere with so great splendor and edification as in England, and continued so to do for several ages, as the annals of the order take notice. St. Simon, soon after he was promoted to the dignity of general, instituted the confraternity of the Scapular, to unite the devout clients of the Blessed Virgin in certain regular exercises of religion and piety. Several Carmelite writers assure us that he was admonished by the Mother of God in a vision, with which he was favored on the 16th of July, to establish this devotion." This confraternity has been approved, and favored with many privileges by several popes. The rules prescribe, without any obligation or precept, that the members wear a little scapular, at least secretly, as the symbol of the order, and that they recite every day the office of our Lady, or the office of the church; or, if they cannot read, seven times the Pater, Ave, and Gloria Patri, in lieu of the seven canonical hours; and lastly, that they abstain from flesh-meat on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; or if this cannot be done, that they double for each of these days the seven Paters, &c. St. Simon cured several sick persons by giving them the scapular; the reputation of which miracles moved Edward I., king of England, St. Louis of France, and many others, to enrol their names in this confraternity.
St. Simon governed the order with great sanctity and prudence during twenty years, and propagated it exceedingly from England over all Europe being himself famous for his eminent virtue, and a great gift of miracles and prophecy. He wrote several hymns and decrees for his order, and several other useful things for its service, says Leland. At length, in the hundredth year of his age, having a call to France, he sailed to Bordeaux, where God put an end to his labors some months after his arrival, in 1265, on the 16th of July. He was buried in the cathedral of that city, and was honored among the saints soon after his death. Pope Nicholas III. granted an office to be celebrated in his honor at Bordeaux on the 16th of May, which Paul V. extended to the whole order.