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Brexit could complicate Good Friday Agreement, says Irish bishop

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Catholic News Service

DUBLIN — April 10 marks the 20th anniversary of the historic Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland. The peace deal effectively brought an end to “The Troubles,” which had cast a sectarian shadow over Northern Ireland for three decades and resulted in the deaths of more than 3,500, the majority of whom were civilians.

The Agreement saw the removal of British Army security checkpoints and watchtowers along the 310-mile border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, making cross-border travel much more accessible and increasing trade. Read more »

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From turnips to potatoes to pumpkins: Irish folklife expert says Jack-O-Lanterns began in Ireland

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Catholic News Service

DUBLIN — As the seasonal carving of pumpkins gets underway, an Irish folklore expert said there is evidence that the tradition, which is synonymous with Halloween jack-o-lanterns in the United States, actually began in Ireland. Read more »

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In Ireland, U.S. cardinals praise role of immigrants

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Catholic News Service

KNOCK, Ireland — Two American cardinals of Irish descent praised the role of immigrants, especially Irish, in building the United States.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York stands with Franciscan University of Steubenville students who came to see the cardinal open the novena in Knock, Ireland, Aug. 14. (CNS photo/Sarah Mac Donald)

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York stands with Franciscan University of Steubenville students who came to see the cardinal open the novena in Knock, Ireland, Aug. 14. (CNS photo/Sarah Mac Donald)

The United States is “a nation of immigrants and we are proud of that,” New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan told Catholic News Service at the Marian shrine of Knock, where he delivered a keynote opening a novena.

He said that while everybody was talking about the so-called immigrant problem, “We in United States would say the immigrants are not a problem, the immigrants are a gift.

“If there is one thing we have done well, it is to welcome the immigrant. Every person in the United States, unless you are Native American, is a descendant of an immigrant,” he told CNS.

Recalling that his own great-great-grandfather came to America from Ireland, he commented, “We didn’t have this intense anti-immigrant sentiment back then; America was known as a land of welcome, and there weren’t these restrictions.”

Rebuffing this anti-immigrant mentality he said: “There is an unfortunate inaccurate uncharitable stereotype of the immigrant. Some of the most patriotic and loyal Americans are immigrants because they love their adopted country. They are more patriotic and loyal than we are.”

Discussing Pope Francis’ September visit to the United States, he said the pope was particularly concerned about the treatment of immigrants and had suggested that America “might be a light to the rest of the world, showing it how to welcome and embrace and assimilate the immigrant.”

Cardinal Dolan said Pope Francis expressed a desire to see the work of American Catholic charities helping immigrants because New York is synonymous with the Statue of Liberty. He also wanted to see an inner city Catholic school, so he is scheduled to visit Our Lady Queen of Angels in Harlem, and there he will also meet about 150 immigrants and some of the charities working with them. He is also scheduled to meet with immigrants in Philadelphia.

Cardinal Dolan said that during his week in Ireland, more than 160 Americans had visited ancient places of pilgrimage, and many of the people they met expressed gratitude to the U.S. bishops and Catholic leaders for their “call for sound and fair immigration reform” in the United States.

Separately, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston led 1,500 people commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed Into Heaven and St. Nicholas in Galway Aug. 14. Boston Cardinal Richard Cushing represented Blessed Paul VI at the dedication of the cathedral in 1965.

In his homily, Cardinal O’Malley spoke of the deep historic links between the United States and Ireland and particularly between his city of Boston and Galway.

He noted that Massachusetts was a Puritan colony that was historically hostile to Catholicism, where Catholics were forbidden residence, priests imprisoned, and an effigy of the pope was burned every November on Boston Common.

But all of this changed following the 19th-century famine in Ireland that sent millions of Irish across the sea to start a new life and to send help back to those who stayed behind.

“As a young seminarian, I was here in Ireland when John F. Kennedy, the first Irish Catholic president of the United States, came to visit the land of his ancestors. He received the cead mile failte, the 100,000 welcomes of the Irish people,” he recalled.

“In Boston, we are very proud of our Irish heritage,” he said.

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Photo of the week: A cardinal’s views on environment might be preview of pope’s encyclical

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Catholic News Service

MAYNOOTH, Ireland — The greatest threats facing humanity are those “that arise from global inequality and the destruction of the environment,” said a top Vatican official.

Those threats are interrelated, so Pope Francis is promoting an “integral ecology,” said Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

A Nepalese man hugs a tree while celebrating World Environment Day at the forest of Gokarna, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, in this 2014 photo. The greatest threats facing humanity are those "that arise from global inequality and the destruction of the environment," said Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. (CNS photo/Narendra Shrestha, EPA)

A Nepalese man hugs a tree while celebrating World Environment Day at the forest of Gokarna, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, in this 2014 photo. The greatest threats facing humanity are those “that arise from global inequality and the destruction of the environment,” said Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. (CNS photo/Narendra Shrestha, EPA)

Delivering the 2015 Trocaire Lenten Lecture at St. Patrick’s Pontifical University March 5, the Ghanaian cardinal said that for the pope, integral ecology, as the basis for justice and development in the world, requires “a new global solidarity.”

“We all have a part to play in protecting and sustaining what Pope Francis has repeatedly called our common home,” he said.

“At the heart of this integral ecology” is the call to “a changing of human hearts in which the good of the human person, and not the pursuit of profit, is the key value that directs our search for the global, the universal common good,” the cardinal told bishops, priests, seminarians, religious and laity who attended the address.

He said Pope Francis’ encyclical on human ecology will explore the relationship between care for creation, integral human development and concern for the poor and will be published “before the summer” and in time for the pope’s September visit to New York and his address to the United Nations.

The cardinal said he has seen a draft of the encyclical but emphasized that “many people are still working on it,” so it would be a “sciocchezza” (foolishness) to anticipate its contents.

However, he told the delegates to “give great attention to the forthcoming encyclical” as “we confront the threat of environmental catastrophe on a global scale.”

Drawing from Catholic social thought, rooted in the Scriptures and natural reason, Pope Francis’ first principle of integral ecology is the call to protect and care for both creation and people, which are reciprocal concepts and together make for authentic and sustainable human development, the cardinal said.

“Clearly this is not some narrow agenda for the greening the church or the world. It is a vision of care and protection that embraces the human person and the human environment in all possible dimensions,” he said.

He also referred to Pope Francis’ Feb. 9 morning homily, in which he said “it is wrong and a distraction to contrast ‘green’ and ‘Christian.’” In fact, the pope said, “a Christian who doesn’t safeguard creation, who doesn’t make it flourish, is a Christian who isn’t concerned with God’s work, that work born of God’s love for us.”

When Pope Francis says that destroying the environment is a grave sin; when he says that it is not large families that cause poverty but an economic culture that puts money and profit ahead of people; when he says people cannot save the environment without also addressing the profound injustices in the distribution of the goods of the earth; when he says that this is “an economy that kills,” he is not making some political comment about the relative merits of capitalism and communism, but is restating teachings from the Bible, Cardinal Turkson said.

Describing 2015 as “a critical year for humanity,” he said the coming 10 months are crucial for the decisions about international development, the fate of humanity and care for the earth.

He explained this was because in July the third International Conference on Financing for Development will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; in September the U.N. General Assembly will agree a new set of sustainable development goals for the period up to 2030; and in December, the climate change conference in Paris will make plans and commitment to slow or reduce the pace of global warming.

 

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Cardinal Burke urges pope to take hot-button issues off table for next synod

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Catholic News Service

LIMERICK, Ireland — A recently reassigned Vatican official has urged Pope Francis to take the issues of Communion for the divorced and remarried, cohabitation and same-sex marriage “off the table” for next year’s Synod of Bishops.

Addressing more than 300 delegates at the family and marriage conference in Limerick Nov. 15, U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said these issues had distracted the work of the synod in its first session in October.

Warning that Satan was sewing confusion and error about matrimony, the cardinal patron of the Knights of Malta said, “Even within the church there are those who would obscure the truth of the indissolubility of marriage in the name of mercy.”

The 66-year-old former archbishop of St Louis instead recommended that next year’s synod devote itself to promoting the church’s teaching on marriage.

Cardinal Burke also ruled out any easing of the restriction on Communion for those divorced and remarried without an annulment of their original marriage.

“I fail to be able to comprehend how, if marriage is indissoluble and someone is living in a state contradicting this indissolubility of marriage, the person can be admitted to holy Communion,” he said.

He urged the Catholic faithful to write to Pope Francis and Vatican and Irish church officials to make their views known.

Lashing out at the “so-called contraceptive mentality,” he warned it was “anti-life” and blamed it for “the devastation that is daily wrought in our world by the multi-million dollar industry of pornography” and the “incredibly aggressive homosexual agenda,” which he claimed could only result in “the profound unhappiness and even despair of those affected by it.”

Cardinal Burke said he was reduced to tears by attempts to introduce “so-called gender theory” into schools.

He warned that such theory was “iniquitous” and that exposing children to such “corrupt thinking” could not be permitted.

He said “society has gone even further in its affront to God and his law by claiming the name of marriage for liaisons between persons of the same sex.”

To applause, the cardinal said he refused to use the term traditional marriage for the marriage of a man and a woman.

“My response is, is there any other kind of marriage? I fear that by using that terminology that we give the impression that we think that there are other kinds of marriage; well, we don’t.”

Speaking ahead of the conference to RTE News, Cardinal Burke said he would refuse Communion to a Catholic politician who voted for same-sex marriage.

In his opening address to the conference, Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick said the family needs to be rediscovered as the essential agent of evangelization.

However, he referred to the final message of October’s synod, to remind conference delegates that “people need to be accepted in the concrete circumstances of life.”

 

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Abuse survivor says new Vatican panel must achieve real change

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Catholic News Service

DUBLIN — The lone clerical abuse survivor nominated by Pope Francis to sit on the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors said the commission needs to achieve concrete change in order to “show other survivors that the church is going to get it right.”

Marie Collins, who was abused by a chaplain as a sick 13-year-old at Crumlin hospital in Dublin in the 1960s, told Catholic News Service that many survivors will be watching the new Vatican commission “with interest, but many will have written it off as merely a PR exercise.”

Irish abuse victim Marie Collins, left, who was assaulted as a 13-year-old by a hospital chaplain in her native Ireland, attends a 2012 vigil in Rome. Collins is the lone clerical abuse survivor nominated by Pope Francis to sit on the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. (CNS photo/Alessia Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

“Survivors will not be satisfied with more words or promises, they need to see real change,” she said.

Collins, who campaigns on behalf of abuse victims, said her priority is “a strong worldwide child protection policy which would include sanctions for any member of the church in a position of authority who ignored these rules.”

She added that too many bishops who have protected abusive priests have been allowed to remain in place undisciplined.

“I would like to see the way survivors and their families have been treated change. The concentration on often-abusive legalistic responses instead of caring for those hurt needs to end,” she said.

The cultural attitude within the church and laws that “categorized child abuse as a moral lapse rather than a criminal offense also have to be tackled,” she told CNS.

The Dubliner is seeking greater transparency because “the secrecy of the past led to enormous failures.”

The initial eight members of the commission will be free to decide what issues they are going to deal with, how they are going to work and who else will join the commission, Collins told CNS.

Though it is in its early stages, she said her understanding is that the commission will make its recommendations directly to Pope Francis and will not communicate through any Vatican departments.

Asked who else she would like to see on the new commission, she told CNS she would like to see Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin because he “is the template for how child protection should be handled at ground level,” and also Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, who really “got it” when it came to addressing clerical sexual abuse.

Collins told CNS that she met another commission member, Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, in 2011 as he led the Vatican investigation of the Archdiocese of Dublin and was “very impressed with his openness and his ability to listen.”

She also worked with another member of the commission, Baroness Sheila Hollins, during the Toward Healing Symposium at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 2012.

“I feel we worked very well together. She is very devoted to the cause of the vulnerable adult and has great expertise in this field. I am looking forward to working with Cardinal Sean and Baroness Hollins.”

However, Collins said she was “disappointed” listening to Pope Francis’ recent comments when he said no one has done more on the issue of child sexual abuse than the church, and yet the church is the only one to be attacked.

[“He seemed to miss the point that the huge anger directed at the Catholic Church has not been caused by the fact it had abusers in its ranks but by the unique situation whereby those in authority were willing to protect these men. This has been shown in inquiry after inquiry around the world,” she told CNS.

She said it was up to the new Vatican commission to change the pope’s mind on this.

Asked what it means to have a survivor on the commission, Collins said in the past there had been a fear of survivors and “an inability to handle their justified anger.”

At other times, survivors were seen as people who could be placated by words of apology but this “underestimated the damage done to lives and the hurt and anger and thirst for justice that so many survivors feel.”

“In this context it is a big step for the church to include a survivor on the commission, but a very necessary one,” she commented.

She has already been contacted by many survivors and survivor groups from various parts of the world. The majority responded positively, wanting her to take their particular concerns to the commission. She said some have suggested that she is a “token survivor” appointed just to give the church good public relations.

“I have remained a Catholic but not without much difficulty and struggle,” she told CNS. “There have been periods when practicing my faith has been impossible. I have tried to separate the institution of the church from the faith. My belief in God has never wavered. Being appointed to the commission has not changed anything in this regard.”

 

 

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Censures of priests in Ireland mark divisions in church

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Catholic News Service

DUBLIN — A series of censures has brought to the fore the divisions within the Irish church between those who seek a leaner and smaller church that adheres more strictly to the magisterium and those who seek space to discuss church issues.

Up to 250 nuns, priests and laypeople held a silent protest outside the Vatican Embassy April 29 to protest the doctrinal congregation’s censure of five Irish priests over their stance on issues such as the ordination of women, the ban on artificial birth control, mandatory clerical celibacy and homosexuality.

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The unsinkable Father Browne: Jesuit seminarian took photos aboard Titanic but was ordered off the ship

April 12th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

DUBLIN — Commemorations of the sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago will put the spotlight on a young Irish priest whose photographs are some of the only surviving images of life onboard the liner on its first and last voyage.

Jesuit Father Frank Browne, 1880-1960, became a prominent documentary photographer and a much-decorated chaplain in the British army in World War I.

A collection of his photographs, “Father Browne’s Titanic Album” has been reprinted to mark the centenary of the demise of the massive liner, which was constructed in Belfast, Ireland, and was believed to be unsinkable.

More than 1,500 people died when it sank April 15, 1912. Read more »

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