22nd of March 2019.
Friday in the 2nd week of Lent
Liturgical colour: violet    (more...)
I
N THE CHURCH TODAY
M
ASS INTENTIONS
Today (Friday)10:00 amNo Intention
Tomorrow (Saturday)11:00 amNo Intention
Sat. Vigil6:45 pmNo Intention
R
ECENTLY DECEASED
We remember all those who have died recently:
Bernard Maguire Funeral Notice...
Mary Tobin Funeral Notice...
William Fitzsimons Funeral Notice...
Hilda Kavanagh Funeral Notice...
Sr. Eileen McErlean Funeral Notice...
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha
TODAY'S READINGS
F
IRST READING
Genesis 37:3-4,12-13,17-28
Let us kill him: then we shall see what becomes of his dreams
Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, for he was the son of his old age, and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. But his brothers, seeing how his father loved him more than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him.
  His brothers went to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem.

...Full Reading

Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons, for he was the son of his old age, and he had a coat with long sleeves made for him. But his brothers, seeing how his father loved him more than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him.
  His brothers went to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem. Then Israel said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers with the flock at Shechem? Come, I am going to send you to them.’ So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
  They saw him in the distance, and before he reached them they made a plot among themselves to put him to death. ‘Here comes the man of dreams’ they said to one another. ‘Come on, let us kill him and throw him into some well; we can say that a wild beast devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams.’
  But Reuben heard, and he saved him from their violence. ‘We must not take his life’ he said. ‘Shed no blood,’ said Reuben to them ‘throw him into this well in the wilderness, but do not lay violent hands on him’ – intending to save him from them and to restore him to his father. So, when Joseph reached his brothers, they pulled off his coat, the coat with long sleeves that he was wearing, and catching hold of him they threw him into the well, an empty well with no water in it. They then sat down to eat.
  Looking up they saw a group of Ishmaelites who were coming from Gilead, their camels laden with gum, tragacanth, balsam and resin, which they were taking down into Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do any harm to him. After all, he is our brother, and our own flesh.’ His brothers agreed.
  Now some Midianite merchants were passing, and they drew Joseph up out of the well. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces, and these men took Joseph to Egypt.

...Show Summary

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ESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 104(105):16-21
Remember the wonders the Lord has done.
The Lord called down a famine on the land;
  he broke the staff that supported them.
He had sent a man before them,
  Joseph, sold as a slave.
...Full Responsorial Psalm
Remember the wonders the Lord has done.
The Lord called down a famine on the land;
  he broke the staff that supported them.
He had sent a man before them,
  Joseph, sold as a slave.
Remember the wonders the Lord has done.

His feet were put in chains,
  his neck was bound with iron,
until what he said came to pass
  and the word of the Lord proved him true.
Remember the wonders the Lord has done.

Then the king sent and released him
  the ruler of the people set him free,
making him master of his house
  and ruler of all he possessed.
Remember the wonders the Lord has done.

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G
OSPEL ACCLAMATION
Jn3:16
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son:
everyone who believes in him has eternal life.
Praise and honour to you, Lord Jesus!
G
OSPEL
Matthew 21:33-4345-46
This is the landlord's heir: come, let us kill him
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third.
...Full Gospel
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, ‘Listen to another parable. There was a man, a landowner, who planted a vineyard; he fenced it round, dug a winepress in it and built a tower; then he leased it to tenants and went abroad. When vintage time drew near he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his servants, thrashed one, killed another and stoned a third. Next he sent some more servants, this time a larger number, and they dealt with them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son” he said. But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come on, let us kill him and take over his inheritance.” So they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’ They answered, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him when the season arrives.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures:
It was the stone rejected by the builders
that became the keystone.
This was the Lord’s doing
and it is wonderful to see?
‘I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’
  When they heard his parables, the chief priests and the scribes realised he was speaking about them, but though they would have liked to arrest him they were afraid of the crowds, who looked on him as a prophet.
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L
ISTEN TO TODAY'S READINGS

(New American Bible.)

G
OSPEL REFLECTION

The experience of rejection is to be found in both readings today. Joseph is rejected by his brothers, who were jealous of Joseph because their father loved him more than any of his other sons. They intended to kill Joseph, but, in the end, they threw him into a well and sold him on to some foreigners who were heading to Egypt. Joseph, the rejected one, rose to a prominent position in Egypt. He went on to become the saviour of his brothers. ...Full Reflection

The experience of rejection is to be found in both readings today. Joseph is rejected by his brothers, who were jealous of Joseph because their father loved him more than any of his other sons. They intended to kill Joseph, but, in the end, they threw him into a well and sold him on to some foreigners who were heading to Egypt. Joseph, the rejected one, rose to a prominent position in Egypt. He went on to become the saviour of his brothers. At a time of great famine in the land of Canaan, later the land of Israel, his brothers had to go to Egypt for food and it was Joseph who was in charge of Egypt’s food supply at the time. The story of Joseph is an expression of the image that Jesus uses in today’s gospel reading, drawn from one of the psalms: ‘it was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone’. The parable that Jesus tells is also a story of rejection. The landowner sends his servants to collect the vine harvest from his tenants, and the servants are rejected and killed by the tenants. Finally, the landowner sends his son to collect the harvest, fully expecting that his son would be treated with respect. On the contrary, he is rejected in the most brutal way, thrown out of the vineyard and killed. Jesus must have seen himself in the person of the landowner’s son. He was thrown out of the city of Jerusalem and crucified outside the city walls. Yet, like Joseph, but to an even greater extent, this rejected son became the saviour of those who rejected him. The stone rejected by the builders became the keystone. The crucified Jesus rose from the dead and became the keystone of a new community of believers which was open to all, including those who rejected him. Both readings suggest that God is always at work to bring good out of the suffering people experience because of the hostility of others. God works in a life-giving way in even the most unpromising of situations. This gives us hope as we try to come to terms with our own painful and difficult experiences of rejection and hostility.
______________________________________

...Show Summary

S
AINT OF THE DAY

The clear will of God is the light and the salvation of all men. No one can desire anything good unless God desires it. Even the best of intentions, even seemingly worthy projects, are no good if they are not God's will at the moment. Distress, suffering, even death, can be accepted as His mysterious will. His creative love is always at work drawing the greatest possible good out of everything. Be the humble servant of God's will and you will be truly wise and always at peace.

...Full Version


The clear will of God is the light and the salvation of all men. No one can desire anything good unless God desires it. Even the best of intentions, even seemingly worthy projects, are no good if they are not God's will at the moment. Distress, suffering, even death, can be accepted as His mysterious will. His creative love is always at work drawing the greatest possible good out of everything. Be the humble servant of God's will and you will be truly wise and always at peace.

Daily Missal of the Mystical Body

Today is the feast of Blessed Clemens August von Galen, Bishop of Münster (1933-1946).

Stational Church

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Bl. Clemens August von Galen
Clemens August von Galen was born on 16 March 1878 in Dinklage Castle, Oldenburg, Germany, the 11th of 13 children born to Count Ferdinand Heribert and Elisabeth von Spee.

His father belonged to the noble family of Westphalia, who since 1660 governed the village of Dinklage. For over two centuries his ancestors carried out the inherited office of camerlengo of the Diocese of Münster.

...Full Version


Bl. Clemens August von Galen
Clemens August von Galen was born on 16 March 1878 in Dinklage Castle, Oldenburg, Germany, the 11th of 13 children born to Count Ferdinand Heribert and Elisabeth von Spee.

His father belonged to the noble family of Westphalia, who since 1660 governed the village of Dinklage. For over two centuries his ancestors carried out the inherited office of camerlengo of the Diocese of Münster.

Clemens August grew up in Dinklage Castle and in other family seats. Due to the struggle between Church and State, he and his brothers were sent to a school run by the Jesuits in Feldkirch, Austria.

He remained there until 1894, when he transferred to the Antonianum in Vechta. After graduation, he studied philosophy and theology in Frebur, Innsbruck and Münster, and was ordained a priest on 28 May 1904 for the Diocese of Münster by Bishop Hermann Dingelstadt.

Parish priest, concern for poor

His first two years as a priest were spent as vicar of the diocesan cathedral where he became chaplain to his uncle, Bishop Maximilian Gerion von Galen.

From 1906 to 1929, Fr von Galen carried out much of his pastoral activity outside Münster: in 1906 he was made chaplain of the parish of St Matthias in Berlin-Schönberg; from 1911 to 1919 he was curate of a new parish in Berlin before becoming parish priest of the Basilica of St Matthias in Berlin-Schönberg, where he served for 10 years; here, he was particularly remembered for his special concern for the poor and outcasts.

In 1929, Fr von Galen was called back to Münster when Bishop Johannes Poggenpohl asked him to serve as parish priest of the Church of St Lambert.

"Nec laudibus, nec timore'

In January 1933, Bishop Poggenpohl died, leaving the See vacant. After two candidates refused, on September 5, 1933 Fr Clemens was appointed Bishop of Münster by Pope Pius XI.

On October 28, 1933 he was consecrated by Cardinal Joseph Schulte, Archbishop of Cologne; Bishop von Galen was the first diocesan Bishop to be consecrated under Hitler's regime.

As his motto, he chose the formula of the rite of episcopal consecration: "Nec laudibus, nec timore" (Neither praise nor threats will distance me from God).

Throughout the 20 years that Bishop von Galen was curate and parish priest in Berlin, he wrote on various political and social issues; in a pastoral letter dated 26 March 1934, he wrote very clearly and critically on the "neopaganism of the national socialist ideology".

Due to his outspoken criticism, he was called to Rome by Pope Pius XI in 1937 together with the Bishop of Berlin, to confer with them on the situation in Germany and speak of the eventual publication of an Encyclical.

On 14 March 1937 the Encyclical "Mit brennender Sorge" (To the Bishops of Germany: The place of the Catholic Church in the German Reich) was published. It was widely circulated by Bishop von Galen, notwithstanding Nazi opposition.

"Lion of Munster"

In the summer of 1941, in answer to unwarranted attacks by the National Socialists, Bishop von Galen delivered three admonitory sermons between July and August. He spoke in his old parish Church of St Lambert and in Liebfrauen-Ueberlassen Church, since the diocesan cathedral had been bombed.

In his famous speeches, Bishop von Galen spoke out against the State confiscation of Church property and the programmatic euthanasia carried out by the regime.

The clarity and incisiveness of his words and the unshakable fidelity of Catholics in the Diocese of Münster embarrassed the Nazi regime, and on 10 October 1943 the Bishop's residence was bombed. Bishop von Galen was forced to take refuge in nearby Borromeo College.

From 12 September 1944 on, he could no longer remain in the city of Münster, destroyed by the war; he left for the zone of Sendenhorst.

In 1945, Vatican Radio announced that Pope Pius XII was to hold a Consistory and that the Bishop of Münster was also to be present.

Creation of a Cardinal

After a long and difficult journey, due to the war and other impediments, Bishop von Galen finally arrived in the "Eternal City". On 21 February 1946 the Public Consistory was held in St Peter's Basilica and Bishop von Galen was created a Cardinal.

On 16 March 1946 the 68-year-old Cardinal returned to Münster. He was cordially welcomed back by the city Authorities and awarded honorary citizenship by the burgomaster.

On the site of what remained of the cathedral, Cardinal von Galen gave his first (and what would be his last) discourse to the more than 50,000 people who had gathered, thanking them for their fidelity to the then-Bishop of Münster during the National Socialist regime. He explained that as a Bishop, it was his duty to speak clearly and plainly about what was happening.

No one knew that the Cardinal was gravely ill, and when he returned to Münster on 19 March 1946 he had to undergo an operation.

Cardinal von Galen died just three days later, on 22 March. He was buried on 28 March in the Ludgerus Chapel, which has become a place of pilgrimage to this defender of the faith in the face of political oppression.

© Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Things to Do:

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U
PCOMING EVENTS
25
Mar
10:00 am

MOTHER AND TODDLER

25
Mar
8:00 pm

GOSPEL CHOIR

26
Mar
7:00 pm

YOGA

27
Mar
12:00 pm

AL-ANON

27
Mar
7:30 pm

PRAYER GROUP

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ATEST PARISH NEWS
Mass Notices March 24th
  1. Confirmation: St. Marys & Loreto Grange Road

Confirmation will take place at 11am in the Church on Tuesday March 26th & Wednesday March 27th.
 » Read more:

Saint Patrick’s Day Mass Notice

St. Patricks Day, 17th of March
 » Read more:

BEST YOU CAN BE!

Calling all PPC Members and those involved in Parish Ministry in our three parishes.
 » Read more:

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday
Ashes will be distributed in the Church at 10am Mass and there will also be a short ceremony held in the Church at 1pm to facilitate those on lunch hour.
Ashes will also be distributed at a 7:30pm evening mass on Wednesday.

Ash distribution times: 

10am 
1pm
7.30pm

 » Read more:

Do you want to Fast this lent?
DATE FOR YOUR DIARY

Delighted to announce that we will be joining members of the immensely talented Rathfarnham Concert Band for an afternoon of music in the stunning ballroom of Rathfarnham Castle. 

***** SUNDAY, APRIL 7th at 3pm. *****
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Christmas frolics & festive HIGH notes 2018

WHAT A FESTIVE SEASON IT WAS!!!!

It was a busy few weeks for the Gospel Choir in the run up to Christmas Day 9.30am Mass. If you want to be part of the fun in 2019, then join us on Monday nights in the Parish Centre at 8pm and make some musical memories!

ST ENDA’S CHRISTMAS FAIR – Nov 25th
Saturday
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ATEST WORLD NEWS
See more in the Catholic World section. News, Opinion, Reviews, Catholic Teaching, Living the Life.
Pope: Education, encounter are key in furthering access to clean water
Vatican City, Mar 22, 2019 / 11:13 am (CNA).- In a message for World Water Day, Pope Francis stressed the need to remember the suffering of billions of people who do not have reliable access to clean water in their homes. “Joint work is essential to eradicate this evil [of a lack of access to clean water] that afflicts so many of our brothers and sisters,” the pope said. “It will be possible if we join efforts in the search for the common good, when the other has a real face, takes center stage and is placed at the center of debate and initiatives. This is when the measures adopted will take on the flavor of encounter, and the value of responding to an injustice that needs to be healed.” Pope Francis sent a message to Professor José Graziano da Silva, director general of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization on March 22, World Water Day. Observed annually by the United Nations to highlight the need for access to safe water, the theme of this year’s World Water Day is “Leaving no one behind.” One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals set in 2015 is ensuring clean water and sanitation for all people by 2030. Currently, up to 2.1 billion people lack safe water at home, according to the United Nations. Nearly two-thirds of the global population struggles to find water during at least part of the year. In his message, Pope Francis noted that water is crucial “for the balance of ecosystems and human survival, and it is necessary to manage it and take care of it so that it is not contaminated or lost.” All people are called “to value and defend this good,” the pope said. He emphasized the need for education, in order to create an awareness of the suffering caused by those who lack clean water or experience other environmental challenges. “This task of raising awareness is a priority in a world in which everything is discarded and disdained, and which in many cases does not appreciate the importance of the resources we have at our disposal,” he said. With environmental challenges growing, Pope Francis said, “the disadvantaged of the earth challenge us to find a remedy for the lack of water in their countries; they also challenge us, from their poverty and limits, to accord the just value to this good, essential for the development of all peoples.” He called for financing plans, long-range water projects, and a new vision of water that is seen as a good for humanity, not just a commodity governed by laws of the market. The pope voiced prayers that World Water Day may contribute to the good of people currently suffering from a lack of clean water. “Access to this good is a fundamental human right, which must be respected, because the life of the people and their dignity are at stake,” he said.
Archbishop Eamon Martin asks mourners to pray and care for each other at Funeral Masses for Tyrone teenagers
Today 22 March 2019, Archbishop Eamon Martin presided at the three Funeral Masses for the late Morgan Barnard, Lauren Bullock and Connor Currie, who tragically died in Cookstown on Saint Patrick’s night. Speaking at the Masses today, Archbishop of Armagh said: “Saint Patrick was only sixteen years old when he was cruelly wrenched away from his family, friends and loved ones by kidnappers who sold him into slavery in Ireland. He wrote about that lonely time, and about the terrible loss and fear his family suffered, not knowing where he was and probably asking themselves endless questions: Where is he now? Why did this happen? How will we cope? What if…? “Since the terribly tragic events in Cookstown on Saint Patrick’s night we’ve all been asking those kinds of questions – and none more so than the families of Lauren, Connor and Morgan. Words fail us at times like this. All that really matters, and makes a difference, is love and friendship and compassion. And only faith can dare to speak into the darkness of these days to offer a glimmer of light and hope in this valley of tears. “The young teenager, Saint Patrick, in the depth of his pain and isolation, wrapped himself around with prayer: “Christ on my right, Christ on my left”, he prayed. “Christ in mouth of friend and stranger”. “Here in Co Tyrone this week – as families, parishes, schools and communities – we’ve been circling each other around with love and faith and kindness and compassion. The shocking events of Sunday last have reminded us that life is very fragile; we need to cherish every moment and always look out for each other, and keep each other safe. “Thank you all for being here today to offer your prayerful presence and support. In the days ahead, we will cherish the memories of these precious and gifted young people whose lives have been so suddenly wrenched from among us; we will continue to hold their families, and each other, close in love and faith, praying as the young Saint Patrick did, “Christ behind me, Christ before me. Christ to comfort and restore me”. “Saint Paul says: “Take comfort in knowing that everyone who died in Christ shall rise to new life and be with him forever”. “God rest Morgan and Lauren and Connor and surround you, their loved ones with a blanket of love and faith, until one day, in the joy of heaven, we will see their smiling faces again. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha.” ENDS
Bishop criticises ‘faith-filled’ Catholics who spread fear of Muslims
The bishop criticised Catholics who identify as 'traditional' and say Muslims pose a threat to Western civilisation
Catholic priest in Montreal stabbed during Mass
Montreal, Canada, Mar 22, 2019 / 09:38 am (CNA).- A Catholic priest in Montreal is in stable condition after being stabbed during Friday morning Mass. One suspect has been taken into custody in connection with the attack. Fr. Claude Grou, rector of St. Joseph’s Oratory, was celebrating Mass when the attacker ran from the back of the rectory and stabbed him in the chest, CBC News reported. Police were called at 8:40 am, about 10 minutes into Mass. Adele Plamondon, an attendee at the Mass, told CBC News that the attacker “was very determined in what he wanted to do. He didn’t yell, he didn’t say anything. He just took out his knife.” The stabbing was captured on video. St. Joseph’s Oratory is the largest church in Canada, and its daily Mass is broadcast live each morning. The priest’s injuries were not severe, according to authorities. He was taken to a local hospital in an ambulance. The Diocese on Montreal said on Twitter that Grou’s “health is stable,” adding, “All our prayers are with him.” Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante called the attack “a horrible and inexcusable gesture that has no place in Montreal.” The Archdiocese of Toronto tweeted, “We offers our prayers for the priest stabbed this morning at @diocesemontreal's St. Joseph's Oratory while celebrating Mass.”
Priest stabbed during Mass in Canada
Fr Claude Grou is believed to be in a stable condition
Civil disobedience is a fundamental right, says Venezuelan cardinal
Disobeying unjust orders is both a right and a duty for members of the security forces, Cardinal Porras said
Increasing number of US Catholics concerned about Christian persecution
46 per cent of US Catholics say the global persecution of Christians is 'very severe'
St John Paul II’s long-time secretary defends former pope’s handling of abuse cases
'He had no intention of tolerating the crime of pedophilia in the Church and fought against it,' said Cardinal Dziwisz
Royal College of Physicians adopts neutral policy on assisted suicide
Doctors who opposed the move warned that sick and vulnerable people are now 'at risk'
Civil disobedience is a fundamental right, says Venezuelan cardinal
Caracas, Venezuela, Mar 22, 2019 / 03:02 am (CNA).- A Venezuelan cardinal has called on state security forces to exercise civil disobedience when given orders to use lethal force against citizens. “State security agencies exist not to take care of the government but to take care of the citizens,” said Cardinal Baltazar Porras, at a press conference this week. “Therefore every order that is given that goes against the lives of the citizenry is an order to kill, it is an order which there is no duty to carry out nor heed, because civil disobedience is also a fundamental right,” the cardinal stressed. Porras, who serves as archbishop of Merida and apostolic administrator of Caracas, stressed the disobeying unjust orders is both a right and a duty for members of the security forces. Since Nicolas Maduro succeeded Hugo Chávez as president of Venezuela in 2013, the country has been marred by violence and social upheaval. Under the socialist government, the country has seen hyperinflation and severe shortages of food, medicine, and other necessities, and millions have emigrated. Amid the protests that have taken place throughout the country, dozens of people have been killed by security forces. Cardinal Porras stressed that “it’s a citizen’s right, a right in any democracy to be able to hold demonstrations and to say what [you think] will solve the problems.” The cardinal made these statements the same day that the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and former president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, delivered a report to the world organization in Geneva, Switzerland, after sending a mission to Venezuela. “In the context of the last wave of protests in the first two months of this year, my office documented numerous violations of human rights, torture and abuses committed by the security forces and armed pro-government groups,” Bachelet said. She said that in Venezuela, democratic freedoms have been restricted, with limited freedom of speech and the criminalization of peaceful protest and dissidence. Cardinal Porras also stressed the importance of allowing the entrance of humanitarian aid into the country. Maduro has blocked the international aid, denying that it is needed in the country. The humanitarian aid, the cardinal said, must be “for malnourished children, the elderly, for those requiring ongoing treatment...We have to keep on insisting on this.”
Morning Catholic must-reads: 22/03/19
A daily guide to what's happening in the Catholic Church
Mar. 22 Friday of the Second Week of Lent, Weekday
The clear will of God is the light and the salvation of all men. No one can desire anything good unless God desires it. Even the best of intentions, even seemingly worthy projects, are no good if they are not God's will at the moment. Distress, suffering, even death, can be accepted as His mysterious will. His creative love is always at work drawing the greatest possible good out of everything. Be the humble servant of God's will and you will be truly wise and always at peace.
St John Paul II’s abuse record defended by his long-time secretary
Krakow, Poland, Mar 21, 2019 / 05:00 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, a personal friend and close collaborator of St. John Paul II, this week defended the Polish pope’s record on the abuse crisis, which has lately come under criticism from some areas. “The emerging opinions that John Paul II was sluggish in guiding the Church’s response to the sexual abuse of minors by some clerics are prejudicial and contradict the historical facts,” the archbishop emeritus of Krakow wrote in a statement March 20. St. John Paul II “was shocked,” Cardinal Dziwisz said. “He had no intention of tolerating the crime of pedophilia in the Church and fought against it.” Cardinal Dziwisz was ordained a priest in 1963 by St. John Paul II, who was then an auxiliary bishop of Krakow. When Wojtyla was made Archbishop of Krakow the following year, then-Fr. Dziwisz became his secretary – a role he served in until the pope’s death in 2005. Dziwisz was appointed Archbishop of Krakow shortly after his mentor’s death, remaining in that position until his retirement in 2016. In his statement on John Paul’s abuse record, Dziwisz gave several examples of the actions the pope took against abuse, beginning with the United States at the start of the crisis in the 1980s. John Paul, he said, “first observed the activities of the episcopate of the United States, and when he came to the conclusion that new tools were needed to fight against these crimes, he gave the church superiors new powers.” The pope’s 1994 indult for U.S. bishops and, two years later, for Irish bishops, approved a “zero-tolerance” policy concerning abuse by clergy, Dziwisz stated. “These were, for the bishops, an unambiguous indication of the direction in which they should fight,” he said. “When it became clear that the local episcopates and religious superiors were still unable to cope with the problem, and the crisis was spreading to other countries, [Pope John Paul II] recognized that it does not concern only the Anglo-Saxon world but has a global character,” he recalled. Dziwisz said that the pope was also quick to help the local Churches and bishops both on his own initiative and when asked. He also pointed to John Paul II’s Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela, on protection of the sanctity of the sacraments, which was published in April 2001, nearly a year before the widely-known 2002 Boston Globe “Spotlight” reports. With that document, the pope promulgated norms on “the most serious crimes” for the entire Church. “We know the groundbreaking importance of this legal act,” Dziwisz added. “John Paul II reserved all sexual crimes committed by clergy against minors under the age of 18 to the jurisdiction of the Apostolic Court of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” “He also obliged each bishop and superior religious to report to this Congregation all such crimes, if their probability was confirmed in the preliminary investigation provided for by the Code of Canon Law. Further proceedings were continued under the control of the Apostolic Court.” In April 2002, following the Boston Globe report, John Paul II summoned the cardinals of the United States to the Vatican to speak about the abuse crisis. It is thanks to the clear rules of John Paul II that the degree of abuse in the U.S. has lowered, Dziwisz said. Dziwisz also spoke about John Paul II’s part in the case of Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, who was found to have lived a double life, sexually abused seminarians, and fathered children. Initial accusations against Maciel emerged in the late 1990s. In 2006 the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Benedict XVI, removed Maciel from public ministry and ordered him to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance. The congregation decided not to subject him to a canonical process because of his advanced age and Maciel died in 2008. According to Dziwisz, recent claims that John Paul II “was covering up” the criminal activities of Maciel are contradicted by the facts. He noted that the accusations against Maciel were already being investigated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in December 2004, under John Paul II’s pontificate, and that at that time, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, who was the Promoter of Justice, was sent to Mexico and the United States, alongside another lawyer, to conduct the investigation. “The decision to initiate this investigation could only be taken with the knowledge and approval of John Paul II,” the cardinal stated, adding that these processes continued also through the sede vacante and until the conclusion of the process in 2006 with Pope Benedict XVI’s verdict. To this day, John Paul II’s actions serve “as a reference point for all those committed to fighting against the crime of sexual abuse of minors by clerics, Dziwisz stated. “This has been confirmed by the summit in the Vatican convened by Pope Francis, who in the fight against this problem is following with determination the path of his predecessors.”
US Catholics' awareness of Christian persecution increasing
Washington D.C., Mar 21, 2019 / 03:54 pm (CNA).- Nearly half of American Catholics say global persecution of Christians is “very severe,” a 16 percent increase from a year ago, according to a new survey commissioned by the papal charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Despite this increase in awareness, the American Catholics surveyed ranked human trafficking, poverty and the refugee crisis as more urgent problems than the global persecution of Christians, the study says. “It is heartening to see that U.S. Catholics have a growing awareness of and concern about the persecution of Christians,” said George Marlin, chairman of ACN-USA, in a March 19 statement. “It is telling that human trafficking, poverty and the refugee crisis get more attention from U.S. Catholics than the persecution of Christians,” he added, saying that the survey “strongly suggests that the U.S. Catholic Church, both at the parish and diocesan levels, should get more engaged with the global persecution of Christians around the world.” The study examined the extent to which American Catholics are aware of the persecution of Christians around the world; the countries and regions where they consider Christians to be most severely persecuted; specific measures and policies they want the U.S. and other Western governments to pursue to help and protect persecuted Christians; the extent to which they feel that the pope, their bishops and their parishes are prioritizing the persecution of Christians; and actions they believe they can and should take themselves. Only 19 percent of the survey’s respondents said their parish is very involved with the issue of global persecution of Christians, down from 37 percent a year ago. In addition, 22 percent said they are unsure about their parish’s involvement in this area. Similarly, only 24 percent of U.S. Catholics believe their bishop is “very engaged” with the issue of Christian persecution, though over half say they think Pope Francis is “very engaged” with this issue. When asked what they themselves should do to help persecuted Christians around the world, American Catholics ranked prayer highest, followed by raising awareness at the parish level; donating to agencies that work to support persecuted Christians; and contacting their members of Congress. However, the report found that almost half of U.S. Catholics have not donated in the past year to an organization that helps persecuted Christians. Regarding potential policies by the U.S. and other Western governments to deter the persecution of Christians, respondents ranked diplomatic pressure as most important, followed by economic sanctions; granting victims of persecution emergency asylum; and supporting persecuted Christian communities financially. U.S. Catholics are least in favor of military intervention and the arming and training of persecuted Christians, but more than 60 percent of U.S. Catholics say that the Church must play a hands-on role in providing emergency and humanitarian aid to persecuted Christians around the world. The study’s release comes amid increased persecution of Christians in many countries worldwide. ACN released a report last November that highlights 38 nations with significant religious freedom violations, and in more than half of those countries, conditions for religious minorities have deteriorated since 2016. Some notable countries where persecution of Christians is taking place include China, where the Communist government is brutally cracking down on the practice of religion despite a September 2018 provisional deal with the Vatican meant to ease tensions between the faithful “underground” Church and the state-sponsored Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the report said. In other countries including North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Eritrea, “the situation [for religious minorities] was already so bad, it could scarcely get any worse,” it added. Islamic extremism, fueled by conflict between Sunni and Shia Islam, accounted for the persecution faced by minorities in 22 of the 38 countries highlighted. Interreligious conflict has been especially acute in Nigeria of late, where clashes between Christian and Muslim herdsmen have killed at least 120 people in the past few weeks, and has claimed thousands of lives in recent years, according to local reports.  
'We're in a very different time now': Montreal officials oust crucifix from City Hall
Montreal, Canada, Mar 21, 2019 / 03:32 pm (CNA).- Montreal’s City Hall doesn’t need Christ, officials have said. A crucifix that has hung on the wall of Montreal’s City Hall since 1937, reminding city officials to let God guide their decisions, will be taken down for a renovation project, never to be put back, local sources have reported. City councilor Laurence Lavigne-Lalonde made the announcement at an executive council meeting this week. “The crucifix was installed during an era that was completely different than the one we live in today,” Lavigne-Lalonde told the council, according to CTV News Montreal. “We now live in a society that has evolved and is represented by democratic institutions that must be secular, neutral and open to all citizens,” Lavigne-Lalonde added. Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante agreed. “I truly believe and based on all the discussion that has been done in the past, that it doesn't have to be in city council where it is a secular institution. This is a place where we make decisions and it was originally put there to support decision making,” she said at the meeting. “I think we're in a very different time now.” Plante added that the decision is a “recognition of the role of secularism in the institution, and for me, there is a stark distinction between individual and institutional secularism," she said, according to the CBC. City officials also said they will be removing another crucifix that is hung in a different room in city hall. After the decision was announced, the Archdiocese of Montreal issued a statement saying that the crucifix is a symbol of the Christian roots of Canada and doesn’t need to be removed in a religiously pluralistic society. “As a sign revered by Christians, the crucifix remains a living symbol. It symbolizes openness and respect toward all peoples, including toward other faith communities and religious traditions, which rightfully adhere to their own signs and symbols,” Archbishop Christian Lépine said in his statement. “Nevertheless, nothing forbids us, and our respective beliefs, from being present in the public space in an attitude of respect and openness, since we share the same common humanity,” he added.   “When it comes to transmitting spiritual and communal values in a spirit of togetherness and solidarity, the crucifix is laden with meaning, expressing and encapsulating what fortifies the population of Montreal since its foundation, a legacy of which we can be proud.” Issues of religious freedom and the display of religious symbols have been prominent issues in Canada recently, and Montreal’s decision brought up an ongoing debate about the crucifix that hangs in the legislature building of Quebec. According to the CBC, Premier François Legault of Quebec has previously defended the crucifix’s place in the province’s National Assembly, even while he backed a bill that would have banned the wearing of religious symbols by civil authorities, such as cross necklaces or hijabs. The bill was recently tabled by the legislature. But after the Montreal decision, he balked: "There are good arguments for and some arguments against, and right now we have a debate. We have to find a compromise," Legault told CBC. "I accept the decision of the City of Montreal." Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette of Quebec, who backed the religious symbols bill, told CTV News that the National Assembly does not have to follow the decision of Montreal to remove their crucifix. "They can do what they want about that. The National Assembly has always decided to maintain (the crucifix) and that's the position of the government because it's a (historical) symbol," he said.
Indiana legislature fails to restore two genders to driver’s licenses
Indianapolis, Ind., Mar 21, 2019 / 03:00 pm (CNA).- Indiana lawmakers did not act to restore gender options on driver’s licenses as “male” or “female” after the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced it would allow for a third “non-specified gender,” but instead chose to require a changed birth certificate, not a doctor’s note, to allow the change to the driver’s license to take place.   State Rep. Matt Hostettler, R-Fort Branch, had filed an amendment to Senate Bill 324, whose main focus is providing a special disabled parking placard to eligible military veterans in Indiana, instead of a disabled license plate.   The House of Representatives’ Republicans considered support for Hostettler’s amendment, among other proposals, during a March 19 afternoon meeting, the Times of Northwest Indiana reports. After the House reconvened, Hostettler did not call his proposal for a vote and the bill advanced unchanged for final approval. Any lawmaker can propose inserting the language of the amendment into any germane legislation until the close of the legislative session, which must take place on or before April 29.   Under the bureau’s new policy set to begin this month, a third gender option will be indicated by an “X” on driver’s licenses and state ID cards, the NBC television affiliate WTHR reports.   Applicants seeking a “non-specified” option must provide a certified, amended birth certificate or a signed and dated physician’s statement attesting that they have permanently changed their gender.   The Bureau of Motor Vehicles said it made the changes based on resident requests and on credential standards recommended by the American Academy of Motor Vehicle Administrators.   On March 20 the House Roads and Transportation Committee voted to revise Senate Bill 182 so that only a certified and amended birth certificate may be used to change the gender listed on a driver’s license or a state identification.   The State Department of Health usually requires a court order to change the gender listed on an Indiana birth certificate. In cases where a baby’s sex is undetermined at birth, such as anatomically ambiguous genitals, the gender is listed as “U.” It is unclear whether a birth certificate can subsequently be changed to something other than “male” or “female,” the Times of Northwest Indiana reports.   Under current practice, applicants for a gender change may submit a state form completed by a licensed physician to confirm that an individual has undergone a treatment reputed to be a gender change. A physician may also submit a signed and dated statement on office letterhead to that effect, provided the wording is substantially similar to the language required by the state’s administrative code.   The vote in the Republican-controlled House committee was split along party lines.   State Rep. Holli Sullivan said she was not trying to eliminate the non-specific gender designation “X” but wanted the birth certificate to be the sole document to establish gender.   “It does not say that you cannot change your gender. They still have the process to do that,” she said, arguing that her proposal takes the motor vehicles department out of making medical decisions.   One opponent of the change, State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, said that reading a note is not a medical decision and compared the practice to how the Bureau of Motor Vehicles approves handicapped placards.   “What happens to the people that are in transition and they're not one or the other yet?” asked Candelaria Reardon. “They're in the middle of a transition. How do we address their concerns? How do they get a certified birth certificate?”   Sullivan said she did not intend to make anything more difficult, but wanted to put together a process that can be followed to ensure there won’t be questions about the process.   Katie Blair, director of advocacy and public policy at American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, said the modification would force self-identified transgender people to undergo “the burdensome and costly legal process of changing their birth certificate in order to update their ID.”   Residents born in states that do not allow such modifications to birth certificates will be unable to get “accurate identification,” she said, according to the Times of Northwest Indiana reports. Blair previously commented on Hostettler’s proposal to remove the unspecified gender option and restore two genders, calling this a “retrograde attempt” to “mandate a definition of gender that would have major, long-term implications for the transgender community.”   The amendment would “force gender non-binary people to carry identification that does not accurately identify them,” said Blair. “For people who are non-binary, identification that fails to affirm who they are can trigger the distress of gender dysphoria and contribute to widespread discrimination.” Identification that is “affirming and accurate” would help reduce discrimination, Blair argued.   Oregon, Maine, Minnesota, and California offer similar non-binary gender identification, in addition to Washington, D.C., and New York City. The Maryland and New York legislatures are considering proposals to change their identification regarding gender.
Irish bishops speak out against abortion requirement for medical jobs
Dublin, Ireland, Mar 21, 2019 / 01:22 pm (CNA).- The Irish Bishops’ Conference has objected to job requirements mandating that certain consultant doctors be willing to participate in abortions, saying that the country’s new abortion law had promised to safeguard conscience rights for medical professionals. “This precondition runs totally counter to a doctor’s constitutional and human right to freedom of conscience,” said the bishops, according to Irish Catholic. “This totally undermines the whole concept of freedom of conscience which was guaranteed in the recent legislation,” they added. In a statement following their Spring 2019 General Meeting in Maynooth, the bishops of Ireland addressed an advertisement for two consultants at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin. As a job requirement, the candidates for the Obstetrics/Gynecology and Anesthesia positions must be willing to take part in abortions. The bishops’ conference said these preconditions may rule out the best possible person for the job by eliminating candidates solely because they are unwilling to perform abortions. “A doctor who is eminently qualified to work as a consultant in these fields is denied employment in these roles because of his/her conscience,” said the bishops, according to RTE. “Doctors who are pro-life and who may have spent over a decade training in these areas and who may otherwise be the best candidate for these positions are now advised that, should they apply, they would not be eligible for consideration," they said. A spokesman for the National Maternity Hospital argued that the specific posts were funded by the Health Service Executive, a government agency, for the purpose of abortions. “They are therefore for individuals willing to contribute to the provision of these services. Other past and future posts are not affected. The conscientious objection guidelines for staff in both hospitals remain unchanged,” the spokesman said, according to RTE. Once a majority-Catholic and pro-life contingent, voters in Ireland last May voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment to their constitution, which had banned abortion. General practitioners are now allowed to perform abortions up to nine weeks and hospitals are allowed to perform the procedure up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. The repeal has already led to concerns about freedom of conscience for medical professionals. At least 640 general practitioners in Ireland signed a petition in November objecting to the new obligation of referring patients to other doctors for abortions. The majority of the country's 2,500 general practitioners (GP) are unwilling to perform abortions. Only between 4 and 6 percent of GPs have said they would participate in the procedure. The nation’s bishops recommitted themselves to helping pregnant women find the resources they need and educating those interested in apologetics defending life. To further these goals, the bishops have created a new Council for Life, led by Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin. “The council will give priority to exploring how best, in the current socio-cultural context, the Catholic community can offer practical support to women in crisis pregnancy, giving their unborn babies the best chance at life,” Bishop Doran said, according to Irish Catholic. “It will also give priority to promoting an understanding of life questions among young people and to engaging them in the challenge of defending life.”      
Pope Francis invites pediatricians to help shape culture
Vatican City, Mar 21, 2019 / 11:08 am (CNA).- Meeting with pediatricians at the Vatican on Thursday, Pope Francis encouraged the medical professionals to be “promoters of a culture of solidarity and inclusive health.” “In our time, in fact, increasingly often prevention and treatment become the prerogative of those who enjoy a certain standard of living, and therefore can afford it,” he told members of the Italian Federation of Primary Care Pediatricians during a papal audience. “I encourage you to work to ensure that this inequality is not added to the many others that already afflict the weakest, but rather that the health system assure assistance and preventative care to all, as rights of the person.” The pope met with the group, which has been active in the country for some 40 years and offers support to over 5,500 family pediatricians. Noting the range of talent and training required to care for children from birth through adolescence, Pope Francis praised those present for their commitment to remain constantly up-to-date with developments in the medical field, while also promoting “a culture more capable of protecting the health of people, especially little ones.” “In our time, where the many comforts and technological and social developments are paid for with an increasingly invasive impact on the natural dynamics of the human body, it becomes urgent to implement a serious program of health education and lifestyles that respects the body, so that progress does not come at the expense of the person,” he said. The pope encouraged the doctors to frequently read the Gospel passages in which Jesus encounters and heals the sick, seeing in these a constant source of inspiration. “By virtue of the faith you have received, you are always called to regard Jesus, source of closeness and tenderness, as a model of humanity and dedication to others,” he said. He recalled how Jesus welcomed the children who came to him and even pointed to them as a model for those who wish to enter the Kingdom of God. Pope Francis reminded the doctors always to be attentive to the person they are encountering, whether it be the parent entrusting them with the health of a child, or patients receiving care. Children in particular, the pope said, “have powerful antennas, and rapidly grasp whether we are well disposed to them or if we are distracted, because maybe we wish we had already finished the shift, would like to work faster, or find a patient who screams less ... You too are men and women, with your worries, but we know that you are also trained to smile, necessary to give courage and open a gap of trust in the little ones; and even medicines are more effective.” Pediatricians can play a role in shaping the culture, and their work “represents a real mission, which involves both the mind and the heart,” he said, noting that while they may take vacations from their work, “your profession will always accompany you, and involves you for far longer and more deeply than during the hours you are at work.” “With this style, you give Christian witness, because you seek to practice Gospel values and your sense of belonging to the Church,” the pope said, “but also for the breadth of your gaze, for the ability to imagine the social context and the health system most appropriate for the future, and for your desire to be at the service, with humility and competence, of every person entrusted to you.”  
Chaput to college students: Following God’s will is the answer to our dark times
The secular world offers easy answers, but it does not offer satisfying answers, the archbishop said