Friday, August 9, 2013





(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message to the Knights of Columbus who have been holding their 131
st Supreme Convention in San Antonio, Texas from August 6th to 8th  . Addressed to Supreme Knight Carl Anderson (pictured) and signed by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the message says Pope Francis has been comforted in the first months of his pontificate by the many messages of prayerful encouragement and solidarity he has received from so many Knights and their families.

Noting the theme of the Convention, ‘Be Protectors of God’s Gifts’, the papal message says that in fidelity to the founding vision of their order in the late nineteenth century, the Knights of Columbus continue to play an outstanding role in helping Catholic men to respond to their vocation to be ‘protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment’. 

Conscious of the specific responsibility which the lay faithful have for the Church’s mission, the message continues by inviting each Knight, and every Council, to bear witness to the authentic nature of marriage and the family, the sanctity and inviolable dignity of human life, and the beauty and truth of human sexuality. In this time of rapid social and cultural changes, it says, the protection of God’s gifts cannot fail to include the affirmation and defense of the great patrimony of moral truths taught by the Gospel and confirmed by right reason, which serve as the bedrock of a just and well-ordered society.


In recent weeks, at least 4,500 have been killed, at least a third civilians. As the whole country turns into a battlefield, more and more Syrians are fleeing their homes for safer regions or neighboring states.

Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) - This year, nearly 4,500 people were killed during the holy month of Ramadan in Syria's civil war, two thirds of them combatants (regular soldiers, defectors and rebels), and one third civilians, with at least 300 children. Two years after unrest turned into a civil war, the conflict is now averaging about 5,000 dead a month.
"More than 4,420 people were killed over the past month," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman, far lower compared with August last year, when 5,500, most of civilians, were killed.
In the past 12 months, as the uprising grew increasingly militarized, and battle lines shifted, the nature of the conflict has in fact changed.
Many civilians have fled abroad or to safer regions near refugee camps. At the same time, foreign fighters have rushed to the country swelling rebel ranks, especially Islamists, to fight to Assad.
Yet, in early June, after the fall of al-Qusair to government forces, the Assad regime has gained momentum and strength, turning towards Homs, large parts of which have been retaken from rebel control.
At present, Assad's forces hold most of the southern part of the country. Despite losses and divisions among 30 different groups, rebel forces are hanging onto the northern regions around Aleppo and along the Turkish border.
However, because of daily fighting, frontlines are shifting all the time as evinced by the visit made yesterday by Jarba Ahmed, head of the Syrian Opposition Council, to the southern province of Deraa.

The United Nations estimates that since the start of the violence, more than 100,000 people have been killed with millions of refugees now languishing in camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.


Vale Fr Bill Jordan

Communications Office 9 August 2013Father William ‘Bill’ Jordan died yesterday 8 August on the Feast of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop after a short illness at Melbourne Private Hospital.

Fr Bill was born on 31 August 1935. He studied for the priesthood at Corpus Christi College, Werribee and Propaganda Fide College, Rome where he was ordained on 21 December 1960 by Cardinal Agagianian. Fr Bill remained in Rome gaining his Licentiate in Theology in 1961, followed by doctoral studies at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, graduating in 1967.

On his return to Melbourne he served as assistant priest at Carlton (1967), Caulfield South (1969), and West Melbourne (1971). In 1984 he was appointed Director of Sacred Music. On 26 January 1985 he was appointed Parish Priest of St Brendan’s, Flemington which in 1993 was partnered with Holy Rosary, Kensington. Fr Bill retired as Pastor Emeritus on 12 January 2011.

The funeral arrangements are as follows:

Monday 12th August 2013: Vigil Mass to be celebrated at St. Brendan’s, Flemington at 7.30pm

Tuesday 13th August 2013: Pontifical Requiem Mass to be celebrated at St. Brendan’s, Flemington at 1.30pm

In an obituary sent to all priests of the archdiocese, archdiocesan staff and parish offices, the Vicar General Monsignor Greg Bennet said that, “Throughout his many happy years at Flemington and Kensington, Fr Bill was known for his genuine kindness, generosity to the poor, commitment to service and his joyful ministry.”

Monsignor Bennet said,  “This inner city setting allowed him to continue to use his Italian, which to a musician, was poetry itself. He watched the parishes of Flemington and Kensington change and develop. He observed the diversity of cultures and the shifting demographic. Fr Bill trusted his staff to assist him in the mission of the parish and he befriended them as members of his “paese”.”

“Fr Bill was a man who found in his life the music of God. Being an accomplished musician, his desire was to lead others to the source of all beauty - God himself. His commitment to liturgy saw him Chair the Diocesan Liturgical Music Committee for many years, participate in national liturgical ventures, the Australian Hymn Book, the Catholic Worship Book and committees. He was a member of the Advisory Committee of ICEL and a Music Consultant to ICEL for many years.  He always responded positively to invitations where his expertise, knowledge and faith could shape the renewal of the liturgy which honoured the tradition of the Church with the imagination of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

“Fr Bill was a man whose dedication to ministry and to responding to people’s many pastoral requests was simply exemplary. Even in retirement, Fr Bill assumed a ministry load which would have him visiting hospitals, Mass supply across the Archdiocese, presiding at funerals, baptising children, leading Italian festas, assisting couples with countless weddings in a myriad of settings and being available to support and assist his brother priests in any way he could. It was the nature of the man to be on the move, so much so, many of us often wondered whether he had retired at all.

The Vicar General said, “Fr Bill loved his family. He had a wide circle of friends with whom he was extremely loyal. He was kind to priests and seminarians. He made chaplains welcome from other countries and made them feel at home and helped them sing of God in a foreign land.”

“Fr Bill’s illness has taken everyone by surprise. In a matter of a short few days, he went from being a man who appeared to be tireless in his service of the Lord, to a stillness which he had rarely experienced. He died peacefully surrounded by the love of his family and was carried by the prayers of so many who loved him into the arms of God.

Composers, animated by the Christian Spirit, should accept that it pertains to their vocation to cultivate sacred music and increase its store of treasures. (Sacrosanctum Concilium #121)

“Fr Bill was truly a priest animated by the Spirit of the Risen Lord whose vocation served to cultivate the beauty of God’s good news. We will treasure his contribution to the Archdiocese and to the Church which he served for 52 years with such integrity.”

May he rest in peace.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Edith Stein was born in Breslau on 12 October 1891, the youngest of 11, as her family were celebrating Yom Kippur, that most important Jewish festival, the Feast of Atonement. "More than anything else, this helped make the youngest child very precious to her mother." Being born on this day was like a foreshadowing to Edith, a future Carmelite nun.
Edith's father, who ran a timber business, died when she had only just turned two. Her mother, a very devout, hard-working, strong-willed and truly wonderful woman, now had to fend for herself and to look after the family and their large business. However, she did not succeed in keeping up a living faith in her children. Edith lost her faith in God. "I consciously decided, of my own volition, to give up praying," she said.
In 1913, Edith Stein transferred to G6ttingen University, to study under the mentorship of Edmund Husserl. She became his pupil and teaching assistant, and he later tutored her for a doctorate. At the time, anyone who was interested in philosophy was fascinated by Husserl's new view of reality, whereby the world as we perceive it does not merely exist in a Kantian way, in our subjective perception. His pupils saw his philosophy as a return to objects: "back to things". Husserl's phenomenology unwittingly led many of his pupils to the Christian faith. In G6ttingen Edith Stein also met the philosopher Max Scheler, who directed her attention to Roman Catholicism. Nevertheless, she did not neglect her "bread-and-butter" studies and passed her degree with distinction in January 1915, though she did not follow it up with teacher training.
In 1916, she followed Husserl as his assistant to the German city of Freiburg, where she passed her doctorate summa cum laude (with the utmost distinction) in 1917, after writing a thesis on "The Problem of Empathy."
Edith Stein had been good friends with Husserl's Göttingen assistant, Adolf Reinach, and his wife.
When Reinach fell in Flanders in November 1917, Edith went to Göttingen to visit his widow. The Reinachs had converted to Protestantism. Edith felt uneasy about meeting the young widow at first, but was surprised when she actually met with a woman of faith.
Later, she wrote: "Things were in God's plan which I had not planned at all. I am coming to the living faith and conviction that - from God's point of view - there is no chance and that the whole of my life, down to every detail, has been mapped out in God's divine providence and makes complete and perfect sense in God's all-seeing eyes."
. One evening Edith picked up an autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila and read this book all night. "When I had finished the book, I said to myself: This is the truth." Later, looking back on her life, she wrote: "My longing for truth was a single prayer."
On 1 January 1922 Edith Stein was baptized. It was the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus, when Jesus entered into the covenant of Abraham. Edith Stein stood by the baptismal font, wearing Hedwig Conrad-Martius' white wedding cloak. Hedwig washer godmother. "I had given up practising my Jewish religion when I was a 14-year-old girl and did not begin to feel Jewish again until I had returned to God."
After her conversion she went straight to Breslau: "Mother," she said, "I am a Catholic." The two women cried. Hedwig Conrad Martius wrote: "Behold, two Israelites indeed, in whom is no deceit!" (cf. John 1:47).
Immediately after her conversion she wanted to join a Carmelite convent.
In 1933 darkness broke out over Germany. "I had heard of severe measures against Jews before. But now it dawned on me that God had laid his hand heavily on His people, and that the destiny of these people would also be mine." The Aryan Law of the Nazis made it impossible for Edith Stein to continue teaching. "If I can't go on here, then there are no longer any opportunities for me in Germany," she wrote; "I had become a stranger in the world."
The Arch-Abbot of Beuron, Walzer, now no longer stopped her from entering a Carmelite convent. While in Speyer, she had already taken a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. In 1933 she met with the prioress of the Carmelite Convent in Cologne. "Human activities cannot help us, but only the suffering of Christ. It is my desire to share in it."
Edith Stein went to Breslau for the last time, to say good-bye to her mother and her family. Her last day at home was her birthday, 12 October, which was also the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Edith went to the synagogue with her mother. It was a hard day for the two women. "Why did you get to know it [Christianity]?" her mother asked, "I don't want to say anything against him. He may have been a very good person. But why did he make himself God?" Edith's mother cried. The following day Edith was on the train to Cologne. "I did not feel any passionate joy. What I had just experienced was too terrible. But I felt a profound peace - in the safe haven of God's will." From now on she wrote to her mother every week, though she never received any replies. Instead, her sister Rosa sent her news from Breslau.
Edith joined the Carmelite Convent of Cologne on 14 October, and her investiture took place on 15 April, 1934. The mass was celebrated by the Arch-Abbot of Beuron. Edith Stein was now known as Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce - Teresa, Blessed of the Cross.
When she made her eternal profession on 21 April 1938, she had the words of St. John of the Cross printed on her devotional picture: "Henceforth my only vocation is to love." Her final work was to be devoted to this author.
On 9 November 1938 the anti-Semitism of the Nazis became apparent to the whole world.
Edith Stein was arrested by the Gestapo on 2 August 1942, while she was in the chapel with the other sisters. She was to report within five minutes, together with her sister Rosa, who had also converted and was serving at the Echt Convent. Her last words to be heard in Echt were addressed to Rosa: "Come, we are going for our people."
Together with many other Jewish Christians, the two women were taken to a transit camp in Amersfoort and then to Westerbork. This was an act of retaliation against the letter of protest written by the Dutch Roman Catholic Bishops against the pogroms and deportations of Jews. Edith commented, "I never knew that people could be like this, neither did I know that my brothers and sisters would have to suffer like this. ... I pray for them every hour. Will God hear my prayers? He will certainly hear them in their distress." Prof. Jan Nota, who was greatly attached to her, wrote later: "She is a witness to God's presence in a world where God is absent."
On 7 August, early in the morning, 987 Jews were deported to Auschwitz. It was probably on 9 August that Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, her sister and many other of her people were gassed.
When Edith Stein was beatified in Cologne on 1 May 1987, the Church honoured "a daughter of Israel", as Pope John Paul II put it, who, as a Catholic during Nazi persecution, remained faithful to the crucified Lord Jesus Christ and, as a Jew, to her people in loving faithfulness."


Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 411

Reading 1           DT 4:32-40

Moses said to the people:
“Ask now of the days of old, before your time,
ever since God created man upon the earth;
ask from one end of the sky to the other:
Did anything so great ever happen before?
Was it ever heard of? 
Did a people ever hear the voice of God
speaking from the midst of fire, as you did, and live?
Or did any god venture to go and take a nation for himself
from the midst of another nation,
by testings, by signs and wonders, by war,
with his strong hand and outstretched arm, and by great terrors,
all of which the LORD, your God,
did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
All this you were allowed to see 
that you might know the LORD is God and there is no other.
Out of the heavens he let you hear his voice to discipline you;
on earth he let you see his great fire,
and you heard him speaking out of the fire.
For love of your fathers he chose their descendants
and personally led you out of Egypt by his great power,
driving out of your way nations greater and mightier than you,
so as to bring you in
and to make their land your heritage, as it is today.
This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart,
that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below,
and that there is no other.
You must keep his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today,
that you and your children after you may prosper,
and that you may have long life on the land
which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.”

Responsorial Psalm                   PS 77:12-13, 14-15, 16 AND 21

R. (12a) I remember the deeds of the Lord.
I remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I remember your wonders of old. 
And I meditate on your works;
your exploits I ponder.
R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.
O God, your way is holy;
what great god is there like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
among the peoples you have made known your power.
R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.
With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
the sons of Jacob and Joseph.
You led your people like a flock
under the care of Moses and Aaron.
R. I remember the deeds of the Lord.

Gospel                MT 16:24-28

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”





(Vatican Radio) The Holy See Press Office has released a communiqué on the new 
Motu proprio of Pope Francis concerning “the prevention and countering of money laundering, the financing of terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.” 

 Commenting on the new decree, the head of the Vatican press office, Fr Federico Lombardi noted it's mainly concerned with closer coordination of the financial activities of the Holy See and the many institutes dependent upon it.
Fr Lombardi said the principle novelty of this decree is to reinforce and extend the competency of the Financial Information Authority, charging it with what’s called ‘prudential supervision’ over all entities habitually engaged in financial activities. He added this move is in response to the recent recommendations of Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering agency

Below, please find the full text of the Holy See Press Office communiqué: 



1. Today the Holy Father Francis has issued a Motu Proprio for the prevention and countering of money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

2. Pursuant to the steps already taken by Benedict XVI in this area with the Motu Proprio of 30 December 2010 for preventing and countering illegal activities in the areas of finance and currency, today’s Motu Proprio reaffirms the Holy See’s commitment to the goal of preventing and countering money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

3. In particular, the present Motu Proprio:

- broadens the application of the relevant Vatican laws to the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and to other institutes and entities dependent on the Holy See, as well as to non-profit organizations enjoying juridical personality in canon law and based in the Vatican City State.

- strengthens the supervisory and regulatory function of the Financial Information Authority;

- establishes the function of prudential supervision over entities habitually engaged in financial activities, in response to a recommendation of the MONEYVAL Committee of the Council of Europe, and assigns that function to the Financial Information Authority;

- establishes the Financial Security Committee, whose Statutes are appended to the Motu Proprio, for the purpose of coordinating the competent authorities of the Holy See and the Vatican City State in the area of prevention and countering of money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
From the Vatican, 8 August 2013


The toll is provisional and may worsen in the coming weeks, with the arrival of new rains. 2,533 homes destroyed, military intervene in some areas to support civil protection. Critical conditions in the capital as well, with flooded roads and haywire traffic.

Islamanad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 84 dead, 44 wounded and 80 thousand displaced: This is the provisional toll from the floods caused by heavy monsoon rains that have hit different parts of Pakistan in the last week. Officials warn that the situation could worsen and invite citizens to take all possible precautions to limit the number of victims.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reports that at least 22 people died in the southern province of Sindh, 18 in Balochistan. Another 15 victims in Punjab and 14 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 12 others in the tribal regions and three in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The Civil Defense are struggling to recover the missing and to better coordinate the rescue operation, which is still hampered in part by bad weather. The authorities say 2,533 homes have been destroyed, while the emergency plan will be strengthened for new - and even more devastating rains - forecast in the next month.

In Karachi and Peshawar the army has actively intervened in the rescue operations. Even the capital Islamabad was invaded by the waters, and many of the main roads until yesterday were in critical condition, worsening already chaotic traffic.

In the last three years Pakistan has been a victim of devastating floods caused by monsoon rains, with hundreds of casualties, damage and fierce criticism of the previous government, for failing to have an early warning system or adequate assistance for victims. In 2010, the worst floods in history killed nearly 2 thousand people and affected 21 million people. A phenomena that was repeated a year later, with hundreds of deaths and over five million displaced.



Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
8 Aug 2013
Nuns on the Run Sisters of Charity (l to r) Margaret Guy, Leone Wittmack and Libbey Bym
Rose Bay's Heartbreak Hill is where thousands of runners in Sydney's annual City2Surf run out of puff. But when Sister of Charity Leone Wittmark begins the climb up the notorious hill this weekend as part of this year's City2Surf she says it will be good training for her pilgrimage next month through the Pyrenees mountains along the 800 kilometre Camino Way.
On Sunday, 11 August, billing themselves as Nuns on the Run, Sister Leone and fellow Sisters of Charity, Margaret Guy and LIbbey Bym will don tracksuits and trainers and make the 14 kilometre journey from Park Street to the Bondi Pavilion.
Fourteen friends, health workers and nurses from St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst will run with them as part of their team in a bid to raise much needed funds for Gorman House, a detoxification unit for homeless and drug and alcohol dependent people.  
Sunday's run will be the fourth year Nuns of the Run have entered the City2Surf to raise funds for Gorman House. But for Sr Leone this weekend's race will mark the 13th time she has entered the race that starts in Park Street then heads along William Street to the Cross then down along New South Head Road to Rose Bay where it winds up the tortuous Heartbreak Hill and finally on the easier downhill run to the Bondi Pavilion.
Last year's Nuns on the Run team who raised funds for Gorman House with team leader Sr Leone front row centre
Describing herself as "just a jogger," she says she loves taking part in the City2Surf each year not only because it's a chance to raise funds for the Sisters of Charity Foundation to support important initiatives such as Gorman House but because the race itself is great fun.
"More than 80,000 men, women and children enter the race each year. Some run the whole distance, others just walk. How you get to the finish doesn't matter and I love being out amongst them all. It's nice being a part of that and if you are also supporting a really good cause, and helping others get back on their feet, well that makes it even better," she says.
Growing up in Queensland, Sr Leone did her nursing training in Toowoomba before she discerned her vocation and became a Sister of Charity.
As a Sister and trained nurse she worked at Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital for more than 10 years then undertook her training in cardiac thoracic nursing at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s when AIDS and HIV were at their height, she was appointed Director of Nursing at St Vincent's Sacred Heart Hospice which led the way as the first Australian hospice to care for those with HIV-Aids.
Sr Leone Wittmack in last year's City2Surf
During her years as a nurse and a religious she lived in a number of communities overseas including Rwanda in 1994-95 during the nation's bloody civil war. Her mission also included working in the refugee camps on the Cambodian border during Pol Pot's brutal reign of terror.
After returning to Sydney in 2000 to work with the Sisters of Charity at St Vincent's Hospital and with other affiliated health services, she took up running and this is when she entered her first City2Surf.
"I played basketball, tennis, squash and other sports growing up. But it really wasn't until I was back in Sydney that I took up running," she says.
Living near Centennial Park is a great place to train for the City2Surf and she says she also likes doing the Coogee to Bondi beach walk.
"All the steps give you a good workout," she says but admits that these days she doesn't run up the steps. At 65 she is happy to take the steps at an easy pace.
"Keeping fit is what it's about and age should be no barrier," Sr Leone says and is proud the two City2Surf's Nuns on the Run are in their 60s while Sr Libbey is in her 50s.
City2Surf begins at College and Park Street and heads for Bondi
Now at retirement age, Sr Leone says she has stepped down from working in health services. Her new role is Executive Director of Catholic Religious Australia. But this weekend as she laces her trainers and sets off from Park Street for Bondi, she's hoping the run will prove to be a good warm up for the long walk ahead of her along the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail.
The journey of spiritual renewal for Sr Leone will begin in France on 9 September.
"We go over the Pyrenees into Spain on our first day," she says but she figures if the cyclists in the Tour de France can do it in an hour or two, there is hope for the walkers doing it in a day.
"It will certainly be interesting," she admits.
To donate to the Nuns on the Run team taking part in this year's City2Surf on Sunday 14 August with proceeds going to Gorman House which supports those with mental health helps with the detoxification of those with addictions to alcohol or drugs log on to
To find out more about Gorman House from those who have undergone treatment there log on to


US Court of Appeals dismisses lawsuit against Vatican   | ThUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Oregon federal case of John . Doe v Holy See
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed the Plaintiff’s appeal in the Oregon federal case of John . Doe v Holy See on Monday, bringing to an end the litigation which began in 2002. The case involved an alleged case of the sexual abuse of a minor by a priest in Oregon in 1965.
Jeffrey S Lena, Counsel for the Holy See, published the entire documentation held by the Vatican concerning the case in 2011. This showed that the Holy See was only informed of the misconduct a year after the abuse was reported, and the priest was then laicized within weeks.
In response to the latest development, Lena pointed out “the dismissal – which was not the result of any settlement or other payment by the Holy See – was entered at the voluntary request of the Plaintiff’s own lawyers, who were faced with an impending deadline to reply to the Holy See’s appellate briefing in the case,” and said the lawsuit “never should have been filed in the first place.”
Lena issued a statement on the latest developments, and later conducted a short interview via email with Vatican Radio about the case.
Both are reproduced in full below.
On 5 August, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed Plaintiff’s appeal in the Oregon federal case of John V. Doe v Holy See, thereby definitively drawing to a close litigation commenced with media fanfare in 2002. The dismissal – which was not the result of any settlement or other payment by the Holy See – was entered at the voluntary request of the Plaintiff’s own lawyers, who were faced with an impending deadline to reply to the Holy See’s appellate briefing in the case.
John V Doe is the third case of its kind against the Holy See to disintegrate in the face of legal and factual challenge. O’Bryan V Holy See, filed in a Kentucky federal court in 2004, was withdrawn by the plaintiffs’ counsel in 2010 in the face of the Holy See’s pending motion to dismiss. John Doe 16 v Holy See – a case filed in a Wisconsin federal court in 2010 in a circus-like media atmosphere – was withdrawn under similar circumstances.
Like O’Bryan and John Doe 16, the John V Doe case was based on factual misstatements and fallacious syllogisms that misled the public for years. But it has ended with the unceremonious withdrawal of a lawsuit against the Holy See that never should have been filed in the first place.
Interview via email by Jeffrey Lena with Vatican Radio
1. What has happened in the current case, in layman’s terms.
This case was based on a couple of simple and erroneous ideas about the Catholic Church. First, that all priests are controlled by the Holy See and second that the Holy See receives information about the activities of all priests and makes specific decisions, either directly or “by and through” dioceses and religious orders, about them. Plaintiff’s basic theory of the case was that if this control existed it would show that the Holy See should be held responsible for the sexual abuse committed by priests.
The problem with the plaintiff’s theory is fairly straightforward: this is not how the Catholic Church works. In reality, priests are under the control of their local superiors, who make decisions about their worthiness to serve in any particular position; priests are not “employees” of the Holy See by virtue of their clerical status, and the Holy See does not receive and maintain information on all the world’s priests or on all the sexual abuse cases relating to priests throughout the world.
There is another aspect of the case important to recall. The attorneys for the plaintiff wanted to try to show that the United States federal court could assert jurisdiction over the Holy See on the theory that the Holy See engaged in “commercial activity” by virtue of the fact that some contributions to the Peter’s Pence fund are made by the faithful every year and that priests “solicit” these contributions. Under this theory, the Church would have been treated effectively as a large corporation with the Pope a sort of Chief Executive Officer. This idea was strongly rejected by the court, and every court to have examined the issue.
One other notable feature of this case is that the judge had the opportunity to closely examine the facts. Normally in these cases, the issues are decided on a purely legal basis. But in this case, all the parties and witnesses exchanged documents and provided all those documents to the judge. This permitted the judge to examine very closely the actual facts related to the priest involved and whether there were any connections to the Holy See. What the documents show, very clearly, is that the Holy See did not have any knowledge of this priest’s propensity for abuse until after the abuse occurred, when it was notified by the petition for laicization that arrived from the Priest’s religious order. And when that petition arrived, it was granted by the Holy See without delay.
Thus, as soon as the judge understood these facts – the real facts rather than the allegations stated in the plaintiff’s complaint – he dismissed the case.
2. There have been several similar cases. What happened with them, and are there any still outstanding?
As noted in my Statement, there have been two other cases of particular significance – the O’Bryan case in Kentucky and the John Doe 16 (“Murphy”) case in Wisconsin. These cases proposed similar theories and met a similar fate: they began with very strong complaints stating what appeared to be facts showing the involvement of the Holy See in local Church affairs specifically relating to the conduct of priests. But when the cases were carefully analyzed and examined by a judge, it became clear that that were not sustainable. There have been several other cases that were not litigated because the attorneys for the plaintiffs involved abandoned them in the very early stages.
Currently there are no cases “outstanding.” It is always possible that another case could arise. When it does, it will be examined and defended as necessary on its individual merits.
3. What concrete steps has the Holy See taken to combat cases of sexual abuse?
In these last several years, Benedict XVI, and now Francis, have provided moral leadership in the area by acknowledging not only the problem, but also setting expectations that the Bishop’s Conferences of the world must create solid frameworks for abuse awareness and prevention. And this, clearly, is the future. We have seen the widespread damage that abuse has done to bodies and souls. The harm has been great. In some areas, pews have been abandoned over this issue. And yet there is much room for hope and renewal. In dioceses where aggressive programs of abuse awareness and prevention have been put into place – and I mean not just by the fine and careful words of Bishops, but by the dedication of time, resources, and the commitment of parishioners and working parish priests – real change can be effected quickly. The simple lesson to be learned is that once the problem is openly acknowledged and confronted, it can be constructively addressed. My hope and expectation is that the Catholic Church will come to fully embrace the view that abuse awareness and prevention is one of the highest pastoral values, and that the Church itself will come to be looked upon by all other institutions in society as having provided models of prevention and never again sources of scandal.

Source: VIS/Vatican Radio/Wikipedia


Memorial of Saint Dominic, Priest
Lectionary: 410

Reading 1            NM 20:1-13

The whole congregation of the children of Israel
arrived in the desert of Zin in the first month,
and the people settled at Kadesh.
It was here that Miriam died, and here that she was buried.

As the community had no water,
they held a council against Moses and Aaron.
The people contended with Moses, exclaiming,
“Would that we too had perished with our kinsmen in the LORD’s presence!
Why have you brought the LORD’s assembly into this desert
where we and our livestock are dying?
Why did you lead us out of Egypt,
only to bring us to this wretched place
which has neither grain nor figs nor vines nor pomegranates?
Here there is not even water to drink!”
But Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly
to the entrance of the meeting tent, where they fell prostrate.

Then the glory of the LORD appeared to them,
and the LORD said to Moses,
“Take your staff and assemble the community,
you and your brother Aaron,
and in their presence order the rock to yield its waters.
From the rock you shall bring forth water for the congregation
and their livestock to drink.”
So Moses took his staff from its place before the LORD, as he was ordered.
He and Aaron assembled the community in front of the rock,
where he said to them, “Listen to me, you rebels!
Are we to bring water for you out of this rock?”
Then, raising his hand, Moses struck the rock twice with his staff,
and water gushed out in abundance for the people
and their livestock to drink.
But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron,
“Because you were not faithful to me
in showing forth my sanctity before the children of Israel,
you shall not lead this community into the land I will give them.”

These are the waters of Meribah,
where the children of Israel contended against the LORD,
and where the LORD revealed his sanctity among them.

Responsorial Psalm                   PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tested me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Gospel                    MT 16:13-23

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
and he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”



ST. MARY MACKILLOP was born on January 15, 1842 and died on August 8, 1909. She is also known as St. Mary of the Cross. She founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart with Father Julian Tenison Woods. They focus on education for the poor. She was canonized on October 17, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. (Image: She is the first Australian Canonized Saint. Mary Helen MacKillop was born in Fitzroy, Victoria. Her parents lived in Roybridge, Inverness-Shire, Scotland before their emigration to Australia. Her father was Alexander MacKillop and her mother was Flora MacDonald. They arrived in Melbourn in 1840. They had eight children: Margaret, 1843–1872, John 1845–1867, Annie 1848–1929, Alexandrina 1850–1882, Donald 1853–1925, Alick died at 11 months and Peter 1857–1878. Mary was the eldest. Her brother Donald became a Jesuit priest and her sister Alexandrina a nun. She was educated in private schools and became a teacher. She went to Penola, in 1866, with her sisters Annie and Lexie to open a Catholic school. Fr. Woods was made director of education and was the founder, along with MacKillop, of a school they opened in a stable. 
In 1867, MacKillop became Mother Superior of the new order Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart. (Image Cultural They moved to the convent in Adelaide. Since then her order has grown and she is famous among Australians for her work.


Founder of the Order of Preachers, commonly known as the Dominican Order; born at Calaroga, in Old Castile, c. 1170; died 6 August, 1221. His parents, Felix Guzman and Joanna of Aza, undoubtedly belonged to the nobility of Spain, though probably neither was connected with the reigning house of Castile, as some of the saint's biographers assert. Of Felix Guzman, personally, little is known, except that he was in every sense the worthy head of a family of saints. To nobility of blood Joanna of Aza added a nobility of soul which so enshrined her in the popular veneration that in 1828 she was solemnly beatified by Leo XII. The example of such parents was not without its effect upon their children. Not only Saint Dominic but also his brothers, Antonio and Manes, were distinguished for their extraordinary sanctity. Antonio, the eldest, became a secular priest and, having distributed his patrimony to the poor, entered a hospital where he spent his life ministering to the sick. Manes, following in the footsteps of Dominic, became a Friar Preacher, and was beatified by Gregory XVI. CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA