The Pope’s Letter to Irish Catholics

Derivative Work. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Po...
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Having read Pope Benedict’s XVI pastoral letter to Irish Catholics, I can say I my respect for him and the Vatican has increased.

He has apologised on behalf of the church and is sending an Apostolic Visitation for certain Diocese. It will be interesting to see which ones.

I have reproduced part of the letter below,

6. To the victims of abuse and their families

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. Many of you found that, when you were courageous enough to speak of what happened to you, no one would listen. Those of you who were abused in residential institutions must have felt that there was no escape from your sufferings. It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church. In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel. At the same time, I ask you not to lose hope. It is in the communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ, who was himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you, he still bears the wounds of his own unjust suffering. He understands the depths of your pain and its enduring effect upon your lives and your relationships, including your relationship with the Church. I know some of you find it difficult even to enter the doors of a church after all that has occurred. Yet Christ’s own wounds, transformed by his redemptive sufferings, are the very means by which the power of evil is broken and we are reborn to life and hope. I believe deeply in the healing power of his self-sacrificing love – even in the darkest and most hopeless situations – to bring liberation and the promise of a new beginning.

Speaking to you as a pastor concerned for the good of all God’s children, I humbly ask you to consider what I have said. I pray that, by drawing nearer to Christ and by participating in the life of his Church – a Church purified by penance and renewed in pastoral charity – you will come to rediscover Christ’s infinite love for each one of you. I am confident that in this way you will be able to find reconciliation, deep inner healing and peace.

7. To priests and religious who have abused children

You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals. You have forfeited the esteem of the people of Ireland and brought shame and dishonour upon your confreres. Those of you who are priests violated the sanctity of the sacrament of Holy Orders in which Christ makes himself present in us and in our actions. Together with the immense harm done to victims, great damage has been done to the Church and to the public perception of the priesthood and religious life.

I urge you to examine your conscience, take responsibility for the sins you have committed, and humbly express your sorrow. Sincere repentance opens the door to God’s forgiveness and the grace of true amendment. By offering prayers and penances for those you have wronged, you should seek to atone personally for your actions. Christ’s redeeming sacrifice has the power to forgive even the gravest of sins, and to bring forth good from even the most terrible evil. At the same time, God’s justice summons us to give an account of our actions and to conceal nothing. Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, but do not despair of God’s mercy.

……

14. I now wish to propose to you some concrete initiatives to address the situation.

At the conclusion of my meeting with the Irish bishops, I asked that Lent this year be set aside as a time to pray for an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength upon the Church in your country. I now invite all of you to devote your Friday penances, for a period of one year, between now and Easter 2011, to this intention. I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. I encourage you to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace.

Particular attention should also be given to Eucharistic adoration, and in every diocese there should be churches or chapels specifically devoted to this purpose. I ask parishes, seminaries, religious houses and monasteries to organize periods of Eucharistic adoration, so that all have an opportunity to take part. Through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm, at the same time imploring the grace of renewed strength and a deeper sense of mission on the part of all bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.

I am confident that this programme will lead to a rebirth of the Church in Ireland in the fullness of God’s own truth, for it is the truth that sets us free (cf. Jn 8:32).

Furthermore, having consulted and prayed about the matter, I intend to hold an Apostolic Visitation of certain dioceses in Ireland, as well as seminaries and religious congregations. Arrangements for the Visitation, which is intended to assist the local Church on her path of renewal, will be made in cooperation with the competent offices of the Roman Curia and the Irish Episcopal Conference. The details will be announced in due course.

I also propose that a nationwide Mission be held for all bishops, priests and religious. It is my hope that, by drawing on the expertise of experienced preachers and retreat-givers from Ireland and from elsewhere, and by exploring anew the conciliar documents, the liturgical rites of ordination and profession, and recent pontifical teaching, you will come to a more profound appreciation of your respective vocations, so as to rediscover the roots of your faith in Jesus Christ and to drink deeply from the springs of living water that he offers you through his Church.

Read the full letter here. It is worth reading.

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Cardinal Brady and the Pope

VATICAN CITY, ITALY - DECEMBER 25:  Pope Bened...
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From the Archdiocese of Dublin, the Primate of Ireland and now the Supreme Pontiff, allegations of involvement in the cover up of child abuse have been directed at them all.

When reading the stories regarding the role played by Cardinal Brady in the Father Smyth case and the role the Pope was in, when he was in Cardinal in Munich there seems to be a strange similarity.

In 1975 Cardinal Brady was not the the bishop, he was only carrying out orders. While the then Cardinal Ratzinger, was in charge of of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising in 1982 and the issue of Father Hullermann and the allegations were raised.

Both are claiming they did the right thing and should not resign, they both can’t be right

The silence coming from the Vatican is not exactly a comforting sign for those who have been abused by members of the Catholic Church. Just like the statement from the Catholic Church in Ireland, trying to defend the indefensible hasn’t helped here.

Should one or both of them go?

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"Humanity must be saved"

Pope Benedictus XVIImage via WikipediaFrom the gays??? What? Really? We are responsible for the downturn in humanity? Has the Pope been having chats with Fred Phelps?

I am amazed and disgusted. I find myself in complete agreement with the headline from Froodie’s blog “Pope Benedict incites hatred, misunderstanding and probable bullying and violence.”.

While I know a lot of Catholics don’t agree with the Church on everything but this does not help in anyway. A lot of elderly people do listen to the Pope for advice and guidance and him saying things like this do not help.

It is a step back for the Church in general. I have a lot of respect for individual priests who hold differing views then the Pope, but this will not help those Catholics who are gay and still hold the Church in high regard.

Other blogs have reacted in various ways to this declaration. Iain Dale thinks the Pope should “Just Join the BNP & Have Done With It“. Una of Unarocks points out that the Pope is teaching the wrong stuff and should be concentrating on “Love” a very good point! Also she points out

On one hand, i suppose, you can laugh this stuff off- who gives a fuck? Who cares what an old repressed dude in a wine dress says? Surely if you get pissed off by this it legitimises his statement as something worth listening to? Then on the other hand, this is a man with huge power and influence and a massive willing and listening audience who believes ten per cent of the population is evil.

And I agree with her fully on that point!

I love Joe Scanlon‘s post title on this issue “Plant a Tree – Shoot a fag” which basically could sum up the Pope’s speech to some people!

As the papers point out (Irish Indo and UK Times) “The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are”. So they think the fact that you are gay is not sin (yay, therefore not a choice) but we can choose to ignore it! Really? You can ignore the fact that you have fallen in LOVE? I don’t think so. Having actually experienced true love for another man, it is an overpowering experience (as it is for anyone I would assume straight or gay) that hits you. It cannot be ignored. Yet this “ancient institution” expects us do so. No thank you! There is reason I CHOOSE to no longer to be considered a Catholic. I CHOOSE no longer to be associated with comments such as this or the on earlier this year from a high ranking Vatican Official that called homosexuality “a deviation, an irregularity, a wound”.

An issue that most of these posts and my comments so far are on the issue of transgender which the Pope also tosses into the mix. He opposes Gender Theory and said

“That which is often expressed and understood by the term ‘gender’ in the end amounts to the self-emancipation of the human person from creation and from the Creator,” the Pope said.

“Human beings want to do everything by themselves, and to control exclusively everything that regards them. But in this way, the human person lives against the truth, against the Creator Spirit.”

Wow! Even Iran is more ahead then the Catholic Church on Transgendered issues when it espousing beliefs such as this.

The Church needs to get a grip and move with the times. The Church is losing membership and it wonders why? The Church has to be seen to approach issues with a modern mindset, something it has failed to do since the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

I wonder what he will complain about next Christmas? Single mothers?

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