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Dublin archbishop: Delay in applying child safety guidelines is ‘appalling’

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Catholic News Service

DUBLIN — Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said he would seek assurances from religious congregations operating in his diocese that they are rigidly following child protection guidelines after a fresh round of audits raised serious concerns.

In a statement Feb. 10, Archbishop Martin said it was “appalling” that some major religious congregations had delayed fully implementing the church’s child protection guidelines and that, in some cases, this process only really got underway in 2013.

Archbishop Martin said the delays left him “seriously concerned.”

The Irish church’s monitoring watchdog, the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, published 16 reviews on the implementation of policies in religious congregations, eight male, eight female.

Teresa Devlin, the board’s chief executive, said she was “disappointed that for the majority of orders, the whole area of safeguarding is only being embraced in the last couple of years.”

She also said that, concerning seven of the male congregations, “there is considerable work to be done.” She was referring to the Franciscan Friars, Franciscan Brothers, the Servites, Passionists, Augustinians, Discalced Carmelites and the Marist Fathers.

The safeguarding board was established in a bid to restore public confidence in the church’s handling of allegations of abuse against priests and religious after a series of judicial reports uncovered serious failings. Four Irish bishops have resigned following severe criticism of their failures in relation to handling allegations of abuse.

Archbishop Martin said that while improvements have been made, especially by the current leadership of the congregations concerned, the failures and delays that have emerged point to “the need to ensure greater systems of accountability of church authorities in the area of child safeguarding.”

He said the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors “noted clearly in the past days” that “part of ensuring accountability is raising awareness and understanding at all levels of the church regarding the seriousness and urgency in implementing correct safeguarding procedures.”

The archbishop warned that “survivors trying to regain their confidence in the church will be disillusioned once again” and “the many laymen and women who work voluntarily in church safeguarding structures in our parishes must feel disheartened.”

He said that he now intends to “meet with the superiors of all the religious congregations working in parishes in the Archdiocese of Dublin to verify once again the commitment of all these congregations to scrupulously applying the diocesan child safeguarding norms in every aspect of parish life.”

 

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Photo of the week: Portrait from Haiti, five years after quake

February 12th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — If not for the flickering flames under his blackened pot, Jean-Robert Noel might be totally missed.

The man in tattered pants and unzipped vest cooking a midday meal along John Brown Avenue was hard to see from the vehicles whizzing by.

Jean-Robert Noel, who said he was homeless, cooks his meal along a street in in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 9. Five years ago Jan. 12, a devastating earthquake rocked the poverty-stricken Caribbean nation. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Jean-Robert Noel, who said he was homeless, cooks his meal along a street in in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 9. Five years ago Jan. 12, a devastating earthquake rocked the poverty-stricken Caribbean nation. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Noel seemed totally oblivious to the traffic, lighter than usual Feb. 9 because of a general strike organized by transit union leaders and anti-government activists. Then the occupants of one of the vehicles stopped to chat.

“This is the first time somebody come to talk to me,” he said in Creole-accented English, his raspy voice sounding much like a motorcycle zipping by a few feet away.

“I tell you, I have no family,” the squatting, sooty-faced Noel continued, inching closer to his meager possessions: a foam pad, a large backpack and a few plastic bags filled with water bottles. “I don’t know where to sleep. I don’t know where to get money to eat. I have nowhere. I live in the street. I sleep here.”

“Here” is a narrow, dirt-encrusted berm alongside a ruddy stone wall just a few feet from the edge of the roadway.

Stenciled in blue block letters above his head on the wall is a government slogan in Creole: “Kite peyim mache.” (“Let my country move forward.”)

The slogan appears every couple of hundred feet along this stretch of the avenue, perhaps serving as a rallying cry for the beleaguered government of President Michel Martelly. John Brown Avenue is one of the main routes to the middle class suburb of Petionville, where Martelly’s support in the capital region is strongest.

Noel, 41, did not describe himself as homeless, but just without a place to stay. Pedestrians and nearby residents occasionally give him a few Haitian gourdes to buy food, which he uses at a nearby market. On this day, Noel was cooking cornmeal and beans. Other days it’s rice and beans. Meat and fresh vegetables are luxuries he can rarely afford.

Other than those brief interactions, Noel said, he is on his own.

Homelessness in Haiti is not prevalent and social services for homeless people are few. In the city, the occasional homeless person — usually identified by their ragged clothing, dirt-covered bare feet and generally unkempt appearance — is seen silently sitting against a wall with a few coins at his or her feet. Most Haitians manage to find someplace to stay rather than risk life alone on streets.

Noel did not recall how long he has been without a home. Years, he said, without being specific. He recalled that he once painted pictures and made a decent living at it, selling some of his work at a downtown gallery. He signed his name “Jean.”

That was 12 years ago.

“I have no family,” he reminded the visitors. “I got nowhere to sleep. I got nowhere to take a bath. I got nowhere to get some clothes. I don’t have no money. I don’t have no person to get me off the street.

“I’m happy that you talked with me,” he added.

 

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Church agencies help educate displaced Iraqi youth

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Catholic News Service

SHARIAH COLLECTIVE, Iraq — Young children happily sing songs in Kurdish and Arabic, play interactive games, learn to count and how to read and write under a big colorful tent. Meanwhile, teens and pre-teens study more serious subjects.

It’s all part of a pilot project called Child-Friendly Spaces that Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas are using to help Iraq’s religious minority children heal after being traumatized by the violence and displacement experienced at the hands of Islamic State (IS) militants.

Displaced Iraqi Yezidi children greet Catholic Relief Service workers and a delegation of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, led by Bishop Oscar Cantu, during a visit to Shariah Collective, Iraq,  Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Dale Gavlak)

Displaced Iraqi Yezidi children greet Catholic Relief Service workers and a delegation of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, led by Bishop Oscar Cantu, during a visit to Shariah Collective, Iraq, Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Dale Gavlak)

With most of Iraq’s displaced youth out of school because there are no places in existing institutions, CRS and Caritas staff members said the key to restoring hope is helping them resume their education.

“Of course, the people are affected greatly by the war and crisis after IS attacked and took control of their villages. They are very worried about the future,” said Omar, a project officer for the program who is among the displaced from the strategic Iraqi town of Sinjar. He and others asked that their last names not be used because of fear of repercussion from the militants against family and friends.

“The spaces are to fill the empty time, rather than have children bored or playing in the streets. Now they have a place to organize their time,” he said at one of four child-friendly spaces run by the program, about 30 minutes from Dohuk.

About 1,100 children are involved in the program, said Hani El-Mahdi, CRS Iraq country representative.

“The plan is to set up eight more child-friendly spaces. They all started with private donations. We also need to increase the scale and attract some more private funds,” El-Mahdi explained.

“Definitely the children have missed this school year, but we don’t want them to miss the next school year,” El-Mahdi added.

Islamic State militants attacked Mosul in June and its surrounding villages on the Ninevah Plain and Sinjar in August, thrusting 800,000 displaced Iraqis into the Kurdish region.

A delegation of U.S. Catholics,led by Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, in conjunction with CRS, visited northern Iraq Jan. 16-20 to see international church agencies’ work among Iraq’s internally displaced Christians and other religious minorities.

A number of the displaced, such as Omar, are working with CRS and Caritas, sharing their knowledge of what people are experiencing and suggesting ways to help.

The displaced include Christians who taught at the University of Mosul and Muslims and Yezidis, who worked for the United Nations or have professional degrees and are using their expertise to help other displaced minorities.

Yasser, a Christian from the predominantly Christian village of Qaraqosh, said he owned two homes and two businesses before fleeing with his family to a tiny village outside of Dohuk. There, his family and those of his three brothers all share a small, cramped dwelling.

“IS stole everything we had,” Yasser said. “If we were to return home, we might just find walls. IS is now booby-trapping the houses so if the owner returns and opens the door, the house will explode.”

Life in a remote village is also difficult, CRS workers said, because “we don’t have hot water because the electricity isn’t good in the village.”

“But more importantly, my two children cannot continue their studies as there are no nearby opportunities. Now they just sit at home,” Yasser said.

Sarah, a Muslim from Mosul, also helps CRS. She had to cut short her studies when the militants took over Iraq’s second-largest city.

Although Mosul is best known for the Islamic State’s expulsion of Christians who had lived in the region for 16 centuries, Sarah said Muslims also suffered hardship under the group’s radical brand of Islam, and that’s why she fled.

“IS doesn’t respect anybody there, Sunni Muslim, Christian or Yezidi. We saw what they did to the people in Raqqa, where IS has its base in Syria, and we knew we had to escape while we could,” she said.

She described her future as bleak and doubted whether she would be able to return to Mosul; she said people will have become distrustful because of the violence perpetrated by the militants.

Yasser agreed.

“There is no culture of peace in the world. Instead we see the opposite,” he said. “People have changed inside. We should work for peace.”

Kevin Hartigan, CRS regional director for Europe and the Middle East, said the agency is committed to supporting education for the displaced youth.

“We will be working with all the other actors, with the U.N. agencies, the local government, the Ministry of Education, the church, church schools, partner agencies and religious congregations to try to find a number of solutions,” said Hartigan, who also was in Iraq to see CRS programs.

“We need to look at every way we can be useful to the different local actors that are trying to expand education so it might be improving physical infrastructure, buildings, training teachers, providing funding for the creation of new schools and equipping of them,” he told Catholic News Service.

Providing curricula in both Kurdish and Arabic poses another challenge to the agencies. The displaced Christians mainly speak Arabic, while a number of Yezidis and other religious minorities speak Kurdish.

“We have to be open to everything,” Hartigan said. “We will take the lead of the local government and the church to decide how to manage these issues and will support whatever solution or consensus the Iraqis come to.”

 

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Commentary: Time for all people and nations to repent and live the Gospel

February 12th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

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“The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

With these two compelling sentences recorded in the Gospel of Mark Jesus inaugurates his ministry and sums up what his mission is about: to break the shackles of sin that enslave humanity, to put us on the path of liberation from all oppression, and to teach us how to unconditionally love one another .

But what does it mean to repent? Read more »

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Catholic Relief says accusations against sex ed pamphlet it uses are unfounded

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BALTIMORE — Allegations that Catholic Relief Services used sex education materials in Rwanda that violated church teaching on human sexuality are unfounded, the agency said.

CRS, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and develop agency, conducted an internal investigation concerning allegations raised by Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute charging that CRS used the publication, “My Changing Body: Puberty and Fertility Awareness for Young People,” which he said promotes abortifacient contraception, masturbation and condom use.

In a Feb. 6 statement, CRS said it examined project documents and interviewed staff in Rwanda who worked for CRS in 2009 and 2010 and were partners with a Georgetown University project that promoted sexual abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage to combat the spread of AIDS and the human immunodeficiency virus. CRS said it found “no evidence that the objectionable passages Lepanto Institute emphasized in the Georgetown document called ‘My Changing Body’ were ever used in conjunction with CRS’ activities in Rwanda.”

Responding to allegations, CRS said it did “not collaborate with Planned Parenthood” nor did it “promote or normalize masturbation for teenagers.” The agency said it also “did not promote or encourage the use of condoms or other forms of birth control” and it did not “‘normalize’ homosexuality.”

Hichborn had cited a 2011 report from Georgetown University’s Institute for Public Health that said CRS, Caritas Rwanda and Family Health International were partners in revising and piloting a sex education program for children 10- to 14-years-old using “My Changing Body.” Funding for the program came through the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The Lepanto Institute describes itself on its website as “a research and education organization dedicated to the defense of the Catholic Church against assaults from without as well as from within.”

Caritas Rwanda and the Georgetown University representatives in Rwanda confirmed that there were collaborative efforts among CRS, Georgetown, diocesan facilitators, and priests to adapt “My Changing Body” to conform to Catholic teaching.

The bishop from Rwanda’s Butare Diocese, where the project was implemented, also confirmed that in 2009 and 2010, parish priests and diocesan facilitators worked in close collaboration with CRS and Georgetown to adapt “My Changing Body” materials to ensure that all activities were consistent with Catholic teaching.

CRS said its own program, “Avoiding Risk, Affirming Life,” spread the message in Rwanda that abstinence and fidelity were the best and only sure methods of stemming the spread of HIV. The program, which ran from 2005 to 2010, was carried out with Caritas Rwanda. CRS conducted research with Georgetown in direct partnership with dioceses to adapt materials to a Catholic context for Rwandans.

 

 

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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ — No, no, no, no, no, no, no

February 12th, 2015 Posted in Movies Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service

“Lifestyles of the Rich and Perverse” might be a more fitting title for the unusually explicit bedroom drama
“Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Jamie Dornan stars in a scene from the movie "Fifty Shades of Grey." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Universal Pictures and Focus Features)

Jamie Dornan stars in a scene from the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Universal Pictures and Focus Features)

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s adaptation of the first volume in a trilogy of novels by E.L. James, which features a modern-day Marquis de Sade as its male protagonist, has a pornographically narrow focus and a potentially dangerous message.

James, whose real name is Erika Mitchell, has apparently captured the imaginations of bored housewives everywhere by tracing the unlikely romance between socially awkward college student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and intimidating business tycoon Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).

The popularity and notoriety of James’ fiction is such that moviegoers know from the outset that the stumbling block tripping these two up, as they attempt to tango, will be Christian’s fondness for whips and chains. Thus the duo’s first interaction, which comes about when Ana agrees to fill in for her ailing roommate Kate (Eloise Mumford), a journalism major, by interviewing Christian for the campus newspaper, is loaded down with dramatic irony.

All Ana knows is that Christian has been tapped to deliver the commencement address at her pending graduation. But we’re on to this dungeon-loving Bruce Wayne’s real identity. So his sly double entendres are ever so much fun.

In between the zingers, Ana and Christian fall for each other. Yet, as Ana tries to bond with her aloof new beau, she’s perplexed by his total lack of hearts-and-flowers romanticism. Until, that is, she discovers that he’s an obsessive sadist with an elaborately equipped “playroom” full of pain-inducing gadgets and restraints.

Christian enlightens Ana about all this shortly after relieving her of her virginity in a more conventional interaction. When she first shamefacedly admits to her still-unravished status, he demands wonderingly: “Where have you been?” And the next morning, sure enough, best pal Kate remarks on Ana’s glow.

Though it’s framed in the familiar context of a good girl’s crusade to redeem a naughty boy, Ana’s eventual cooperation with Christian’s perversion, arrived at after much hesitation and the negotiation of a written contract, no less, risks conveying the idea that all women are potentially willing victims of physical abuse and humiliation. We’re also left to wonder what role Christian’s helicopter and fancy penthouse pad play in rendering Ana so tractable.

The fact that the aberrant consequences of her consent are mostly toned down only aggravates the damage this armchair flirtation with the darker aspects of human nature has the ability to inflict.

While responsible viewers might sympathize with Christian’s troubled background, both in childhood and beyond, as well as with his passing acknowledgement of the harmful nature of his proclivities, the intent to stir audiences by teasing a supposed taboo is unmistakable.

Additionally, for those grounded in faith, Ana and Christian’s relationship presents a disturbing case study in the resolute frustration of God’s twin purposes in endowing human beings with the gift of sexuality: Not only is fruitfulness intentionally forestalled in the interest of uncommitted pleasure, spiritual union is displaced for the sake of a disordered exchange of possession and surrender.

The film contains excessive sexual content, including graphic deviant behavior and nonmarital sexual activity with much nudity, a benign view of casual sex and contraception, several uses of rough language and at least one crude term. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

 

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Student and school news

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Padua senior named a top Delaware volunteer

DOVER – Pearce Quesenberry, a senior at Padua Academy whose battle with and recovery from cancer has been well-chronicled, was named one of Delaware’s top two youth volunteers by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. This nationwide program honors young people and is in its 20th year.

Quesenberry, nominated by Padua, overcame a brain cancer diagnosis and now is a key figure in the Pearce Q Foundation, which has raised more than $100,000 over the past six years to increase awareness of childhood cancer, help find a cure and ease the financial pressure felt by families of young cancer patients.

The Pearce Q Foundation organizes several events throughout the year. They include the “4 Miles of Hope Walk/Run,” “Comedy for a Cure” and a Christmas family adoption program.

“Comedy for a Cure” is scheduled for March 14 at the Hockessin Memorial Hall and features headlines Auggie Smith. It includes a 50/50 and a cash bar. The “4 Miles of Hope” will be held April 18, beginning and ending at the Ebenezer Church in Newark. Details on these events and other foundation activities are available at www.pearceqfoundation.org.

 

Twenty Ss. Peter and Paul students, alums named AP Scholars

EASTON, Md. – Twenty current and former Ss. Peter and Paul High School students have been named Advanced Placement Scholars for their performance on the AP exams last year. All graduated last year except where noted.

National AP Scholars: Max Graham and Sydney Palumbo.

AP Scholars with Distinction: Max Graham, Emily Granger, Sydney Palumbo and Jordan DeTar.

AP Scholar with Honor: Current senior William Singelstad.

AP Scholars: Even Alderfer, Lauren Moran, Lindsey Clemmer, Brenda Hulseman, Conor Broll, Connor Spiegel, Ben Warpinski and Ashley Kitchelt. Also, current seniors Ameila Albrecht, Mary Kate Grande, Allison Wetherbee, Connor Murray and Liam Helmly.

 

All Saints students’ art on display at Delaware Art Museum

ELSMERE – Students from each grade at All Saints Catholic School have hit the big leagues of the Delaware art world, with work on display this month at the Delaware Art Museum.

In their art classes, the students, representing pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, studied artists from the museum’s collection. Those artists include sculptors Deborah Butterfield and Louise Nevelson, Edward Hopper and Brian Selznick. A few grades visited the museum in January. The fifth-grade viewed the work of Selznick and used it as a model as they wrote and illustrated their own short stories. Using iPads, The students photographed each other as characters in settings throughout their school and re-created those pictures as ebony pencil drawings.

Sixth-graders studied Egyptian and Chinese art to increase their understanding of ancient civilizations covered in their social studies curriculum. They created pieces of art based on their studies.

The All Saints students’ work is in the Art Smart gallery space through Feb. 15. The exhibit features sculptures, drawings and paintings.

 

Ss. Peter and Paul students are school High School Heisman winners

EASTON, Md. – Karlie Brenton and Connor Murray have been selected as the Wendy’s High School Heisman school recipients for Ss. Peter and Paul High School. Murray also has been named a state finalist, the school announced. The winners were selected by a panel from the Wendy’s High School Heisman board of advisers.

Since 1994, the award has recognized the nation’s most esteemed high school seniors for excellence in academics, athletics and community involvement. Emily Granger, a 2014 graduate of Ss. Peter and Paul, was the 2013 girls national winner. She is now a freshman at Yale University.

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Life is enriched with the birth of children, pope says at audience

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Children are a blessing, not a burden, and are a sign of the confident hope of a couple and of society, Pope Francis said.

“If a family that has been generous in having children is looked upon as a burden, something’s wrong,” he said Feb. 11 at his weekly general audience.

“The generation of children must be responsible,” as Blessed Paul VI wrote in his encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” the pope said. “But having more children cannot be looked upon automatically as an irresponsible choice. What is more, not having children is a selfish choice.”

Pope Francis greets people with disabilities during general audience in St. Peter's SquareContinuing a series of talks about the family, Pope Francis said birthrates are a clear indication of the optimism and hope of a couple and of the society in which they live.

A society that pressures people not to have children, “that considers them a concern, a burden, a risk, is a society that is depressed,” he said, pointing particularly to European countries with declining populations because of their low birthrates.

“Life is rejuvenated and energies are increased when life multiplies,” he said. “It is enriched, not impoverished!”

“Think about this,” he said. “Children are the joy of the family and of society. They aren’t a problem of reproductive biology or another way of self-realization. Even less are they a possession of their parents. No! Children are a gift. Understand?

“Children are a gift,” he said. “Each one is unique and unrepeatable.”

Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis told the estimated 11,000 people in St. Peter’s Square that he was one of five children. “I remember my mom would say, ‘I have five children. Who’s my favorite? I have five children like I have five fingers. If you slam this one, it hurts. If you slam that one, it hurts. All five would hurt. All are mine, but they are all different like the fingers on my hand.'”

“A child is loved not because he or she is beautiful or has this quality or that one. No,” he said, parents love their children because they are their children.

Being a son or daughter is an experience of unconditional love, he said, because “children are loved even before they are born.” Pope Francis said he is always moved when a pregnant woman “shows me her belly and asks for my blessing. These babies are loved even before they come into the world. This is love.”

People love their sons and daughters “before they have done anything to deserve it, before they can speak or think, even before they are born,” he said. “Being sons and daughters is a fundamental condition for knowing the love of God, who is the ultimate source of this authentic miracle” that is new life.

Children, who rightly hope to make the world a better place, must do so without “arrogance” and always with respect for their parents, he said.

The fourth commandment asks children to “honor thy father and mother,” he said. “A society of children who do not honor their parents is a society without honor.”

Pope Francis ended his talk asking parents to pause in silence to think about their children and asking everyone to think about their parents “to thank God for the gift of life.”

He also offered prayers at the audience for more immigrants who died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. At least 29 immigrants died of hypothermia Feb. 9 and another 200 were reported dead Feb. 11 after two boats capsized during the crossing from North Africa.

 

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College of Cardinals to be briefed on progress of Curia Reform

February 11th, 2015 Posted in Vatican News Tags: , ,

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Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY — High-level discussions continue on how exactly to reform the Roman Curia, but the idea of consolidating several offices into two large groups — one with family, laity and life, and the other with justice and peace, migrants and charity — seems to be taking form, the Vatican spokesman said. Briefing reporters Feb. 11, the third day of meetings of Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, insisted “there is not and has never been” a draft document of a constitution providing a new list of all Curia offices and their responsibilities.

Pope Francis meets with the College of Cardinals in 2013. The cardinals will be briefed on the progress of the reform of the Roman Curia this week. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis meets with the College of Cardinals in 2013. The cardinals will be briefed on the progress of the reform of the Roman Curia this week. (CNS/L’Osservatore Romano)

But there does seem to be a concrete and more developed proposal to put the pontifical councils for laity and for the family, along with the Academy for Life into one office and the pontifical councils for justice and peace, Cor Unum (charity) and migrants and travelers into another, he said. “It does not seem to me that there are many other concrete ideas” that are ready for discussion by the entire College of Cardinals, Father Lombardi said. Part of the Council of Cardinals’ meeting Feb. 9-11 was dedicated to preparing summaries of the nine-member council’s work to present to the entire College of Cardinals, whom Pope Francis called to the Vatican Feb. 12-13 to discuss the reform, he said. Australian Cardinal George Pell, secretary for the economy, was scheduled to brief all the cardinals on the work of his office and on the ongoing process of preparing the formal statutes of the related Council for the Economy. In addition, Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, was to explain the commission’s work to the College of Cardinals. Father Lombardi said he had no indication that the Council of Cardinals formally discussed an article by Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on “theological criteria for a reform of the church and the Roman Curia.” The article was published in the Feb. 8 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. “The Curia is not merely an administrative structure,” Cardinal Muller wrote, but is “essentially a spiritual institution rooted in the specific mission of the church of Rome, sanctified by the martyrdom of the apostles Peter and Paul.” The Roman Curia advises the pope and helps him carry out his mission as head of the universal church, Cardinal Muller wrote. “The Synod of Bishops, bishops’ conferences and the varied groupings of particular churches belong to a different theological category than the Roman Curia does.” Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, secretary of the Council of Cardinals, said the reform of the Roman Curia aims to ensure that church structures are not focused on self-perpetuation, but on assisting the pope and the entire church to proclaim the Gospel and God’s love. “The process of reforming the Roman Curia is in line with that ‘poor church’ that the pope has spoken about since the beginning of his ministry,” Bishop Semeraro told SIR, the news agency of the Italian bishops’ conference. Quoting a homily Pope Francis gave in 2013, the bishop said, “The church is not a nongovernmental organization. It is a love story. Offices are necessary, but only up to a point, only as an aid to this love story. When the organization takes first place, the love declines and the church, poor thing, becomes a nongovernmental organization.” Bishop Semeraro said he did not know how much longer it would take to enact the reforms. However, Father Lombardi announced that the Council of Cardinals would meet again April 13-15.

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Eighth-grader Lewis steps up, helps Raiders past St. Elizabeth, 51-38

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Dialog reporter

 

WILMINGTON – When St. Elizabeth came out with Sarah Metz covering Adrianna Hahn in a box-and-one defense, Ursuline turned to Plan B. That Plan B was everyone else, as the top-ranked Raiders used a balanced attack to defeat their rival, the No. 3 Vikings, 51-38, Tuesday night at sold-out Ursuline.

Raiders coach John Noonan said his team needs to have other options.

“It’s really hard to guard five people. It’s really easy to guard one,” he said. “It’s simple. We’ve got to get everybody on board. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.” Read more »

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