Scottish Bishops Punish Faithful With Annual Reminder of Abuse Scandals

From the Scottish Catholic Observer…

Church establishes yearly Day of Prayer for victims of abuse

The Bishops of Scotland [pictured above] have established A Day of Prayer for those who have suffered abuse, to be marked on the Friday following Ash Wednesday.

The Church issued resources to every parish in Scotland to be used this Friday, March 8, during a ‘holy hour style Service of Acknowledgment, Prayer and Reflection,’ or during Mass.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Church said: “The Bishops of Scotland have established A Day of Prayer for those who have suffered abuse to be marked each year on the Friday following Ash Wednesday.

“This allows the Church to renew its apology to anyone who has suffered and to stress its commitment to the essential work of safeguarding across our parish communities.”

In February, Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen Diocese, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, attended a Vatican meeting of Episcopal Conference Presidents from across the world in Rome to discuss the Protection of Minors.

The format of the day of prayer on Friday—after the SCO went to press—included prayers for victims of abuse of all kinds and a penitential rite to seek forgiveness for abuse committed by Church personnel.

The Church has proposed that during Mass on Friday the intercessions provided could be used either as intercessory prayers or as an extended Penitential Rite.

An opening hymn reads: “We cannot measure how you heal, Christ be beside me, Christ be our light, Be thou my vision.”

In Dundee, the service took place at 7pm in St Andrew’s Cathedral.

In Motherwell Diocese St Columbkille’s Church in Rutherglen held a ‘Day of Prayer’ for those who have suffered abuse.

A spokesperson for the parish said: “Our parish community will acknowledge and pray for all those who were the innocent victims of some in the Church whom they trusted to protect them.

“We shall pray that survivors of abuse will experience healing, justice and renewal in their lives.

“We shall also pray that the Church, which has been scarred by the grave sin of abuse, will, through repentance and reparation, resolve always to protect the young and the vulnerable.”

The Divine Mercy Novena at 3pm in Rutherglen’s St Columbkille’s would help provide a ‘focus for acknowledgement, prayer and reflection.’   END.

Comment:

Read the current edition of Catholic Truth, which you can download on the Newsletter page of our website here, to uncover the years and years of neglect on the part of the Scottish Hierarchy, where dissident and sexually deviant priests have been (and continue to be) allowed to live as they please, without suffering so much as a  rebuke. Not even discipline-lite.   All, of course, except Father Matthew Despard who had the temerity to write a book exposing the level of homosexual clergy within the Church in Scotland 5 years ago and remains suspended from priestly ministry for his trouble.   

Yet now, we find these same Bishops subjecting faithful priests and laity to an annual reminder of the abuse scandals – as if the clergy don’t feel tainted enough – whereas, what the Bishops should be announcing is that they will be making a Lenten retreat of repentance for their own negligence in so many ways, such as allowing dissidents platforms to spread their poison, and failing to discipline priests who have been promoting the LGBT+ agenda, and in certain cases continue to do so at the present time. 

They’re good at superficiality, the Scottish Bishops – that’s for sure. And this is just one more example of it. Makes a change, I suppose from the annual “Lentfest” – where the faithful in the Archdiocese of Glasgow were encouraged to use the six weeks of Lent, not to do penance for our sins but to get better acquainted with the arts and to, well, enjoy ourselves.  That seems to have fallen by the wayside – or at least, I didn’t find any mention of it just now on a quick visit to the archdiocesan website.  So, hopefully, the penny has dropped that having fun isn’t really true to the spirit of the, er, penitential period of Lent.   I heard a priest tell a really comic-tragic story about this Lenten “fun” mentality just last week during his sermon, when he mentioned a young woman who had decided to throw a party on Ash Wednesday to mark the start of Lent and the main dish was some kind of fancy Ham dish.  Truly, it was impossible to keep a straight face. Father didn’t bother to try. 

This annual service to remember clergy abuse is pointless.  It is but one more way to scandalise the faithful and to belittle Christ’s Spotless Bride, the Church, which has not, and cannot sin.  Only the members of the Church can sin, and we make up for those sins through prayer and penance, certainly, but not in a manner which suggests that “the Church” is to blame.  Churchmen certainly are to blame – priest abusers and their negligent bishops – but  not “the Church”.   Such priests should always be removed from active ministry and again, this would be the case if only the Bishops would invoke Canon Law.  Unless the Bishops add a prayer acknowledging that they are refusing to use their authority to rid the Church of these deviant priests, then such a “Day of Prayer” is nothing but a pretence.  Indeed, this annual reminder service is  not only misleading – it is, in and of itself, a cause of scandal. 

Or maybe you disagree?  Let’s hear it!  

England: Knife Crime… MP Blamed Fatherless Families – 6 years ago!

Currently there is a serious situation in England, where young people are being murdered almost on a daily basis, by other young people stabbing them to death.   The “experts” list austerity:  cuts in police services (which certainly can’t be helping); drugs, poverty, peer pressure, lack of social clubs for the young – you name it.  All the while, the elephant in the room is being ignored. 

Some time ago I began my search for something – anything, newspaper article, video interview, news broadcast – addressing the obvious underlying cause of the increasing levels of violence amongst young boys and men; family breakdown, absent fathers.  Took a while before I found the above video reporting a Westminster Member of Parliament (MP) speaking on the subject… six years ago, and focusing on the “elephant in the room”, fatherless families.  David Lammy MP is still in Parliament, but I don’t recall him repeating his opinion about fatherless families being at the root of the knife crime epidemic in recent days despite the fact that the subject has been aired in the broadcasting media round the clock.  Maybe I missed it, or maybe he’s realised that it’s too politically incorrect.  Who knows…

But, what do you think?  Should fatherless families be added to the list of causes of crime among the young – or would a couple of youth clubs in every area solve the problem? 

Indeed, is it not time for the powers-that-be – in both Government and media – to begin to take a fresh look at the  wider social implications of raising children in homes where mother brings home a succession of boyfriends, where there are few, if any, rules (they call them “boundaries” these days to disguise the need for rules) and where the children very often don’t even know the identify of their own (various) fathers?  Remember, it’s not unusual these days for (half) siblings to have different fathers.  It’s a mess.  Why is nobody in authority – including the Catholic hierarchy and clergy – saying so?  I know we’re supposedly a nation of dog-lovers but … “elephants”?  

From Cardinal To Criminal: Australian Cardinal Pell Jailed … 

Update – 3 March, 2019…

Since writing my original editorial comment below, I have been moved by the information given by bloggers and the evidence provided by several (not least  the Australian bloggers) which appears to point to the Cardinal’s innocence.  Read on, and tell us if you agree.

Comment:

 St John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, teaches that “…the person who does not become irate when he has cause to be, sins. For an unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices:  it fosters negligence, and stimulates not only the wicked, but above all the good, to do wrong. (Homily Xl, super Matheum, 1c, nt 7).

So, what is the correct Catholic response to this sort of horrendous news?  Horror at the Cardinal’s crimes (of which he insists he is innocent); compassion for his victims?  Compassion for the Cardinal himself, that he has, apparently, succumbed to a shocking temptation and thus fallen from grace and brought his high office – and the Catholic Church itself – into disrepute?  

Anger? Compassion?  A combination? 

We may hold different views on this – but we can surely all agree that we must pray hard for all involved. Our Lady of Good Success pray for us!     Our Lady of Fatimapray for us! 

One key question, however, has to be whether or not these appalling crimes are doing irreparable damage to the Bride of Christ, His Church. Of course Christ has promised to be with His Church until the end of time, that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church. There was no promise, however, that the gates of Hell wouldn’t come close, and they have never been as close as they are now, in our times.  It has to be the case, then, that in some souls, the answer to the “irreparable damage” question is definitely “yes”.  Some will never see the beauty of the Faith, some will be convinced that all priests are abusers, that the Church is evil.  And isn’t that where St John Chrysostom’s exhortation to righteous anger should move us to action?  But, what, if anything – beyond prayer and sacrifice – can any of us do about this sordid scandal of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults?  There must be something we can do – but what?  

21/2: Vatican Summit on Clergy Sex Abuse – Mere Window Dressing?

Today, the Vatican summit begins, called supposedly to address the avalanche of scandals caused by priests and bishops abusing minors (or covering up abuse of minors.)

Trouble is, it’s not only minors who are being abused, but young men, including seminarians, and the conference organisers include Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago who is, shall we say, not to overstate the case, not the kind of person you’d leave in a room alone with a five pound/dollar note.   Archbishop Vigano – in his devastating testimony about the cover-up in the McCarrick case – writes of Cupich:  “…one cannot fail to note his ostentatious arrogance, and the insolence with which he denies the evidence that is now obvious to all: that 80% of the abuses found were committed against young adults by homosexuals who were in a relationship of authority over their victims. ” 

Let’s pray for a breakthrough at this summit over the next few days.  It really will take a miracle to penetrate the dark souls of those who are responsible, whether directly or indirectly, for this unthinkable physical and sexual abuse by priests and bishops.  Certainly, Archbishop Vigano believes that the Vatican is not genuinely seeking to end clerical child abuse and is, instead, determined to continue to cover up the real issue, which is the problem of  homosexual priests

Our Lady of Good Success pray for us!  Our Lady of Fatima pray for us!   

America: Cardinal McCarrick Laicised

Pope Defrocks Theodore McCarrick, Ex-Cardinal Accused of Sexual Abuse

Theodore E. McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, was expelled from the priesthood after he was found guilty of sexual abuse.

Pope Francis has expelled Theodore E. McCarrick, a former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, from the priesthood, after an expedited canonical process that found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adult seminarians over decades, the Vatican said on Saturday.

It appears to be the first time that a cardinal or bishop in the United States has been defrocked, or laicized, from the Catholic Church, and the first time any cardinal has been laicized for sexual abuse. Laicization, which strips a person of all priestly identity, also revokes church-sponsored resources like housing and financial benefits.

While the Vatican has laicized hundreds of priests for sexual abuse of minors, few of the church’s leaders have faced severe discipline. The move to defrock Mr. McCarrick is “almost revolutionary,” said Kurt Martens, a professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America.

“Now you will see that bishops are also treated like their priests,” Mr. Martens said in a phone interview. “Bishops and former cardinals are no longer immune to punishment. The reverence that was shown in the past to bishops no longer applies.” 

Mr. McCarrick, now 88, was accused of sexually abusing three minors and harassing adult seminarians and priests. A New York Times investigation last summer detailed settlements paid to men who had complained of abuse when Mr. McCarrick was a bishop in New Jersey in the 1980s, and revealed that some church leaders had long known of the accusations.

Francis accepted Mr. McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals in July and suspended him from all priestly duties. He was first removed from ministry in June, after a church panel substantiated a claim that he had abused an altar boy almost 50 years ago.

Mr. McCarrick was long a prominent Catholic voice on international and public policy issues, and a champion for progressive Catholics active in social justice causes.

The move is the most serious sign to date that Pope Francis is addressing the clerical sex abuse crisis in the United States. In October, the pope laicized two retired Chilean bishops accused of sexually abusing minors. In December, Pope Francis removed two top cardinals from his powerful advisory council after they were implicated in sexual abuse cases.

In the statement on Saturday, the Vatican said that the prelate had been dismissed from a clerical state after he was tried and found guilty of several crimes: “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”   Read original New York Times report here

Comment: 

Is this laicisation of a “Prince of the Church” a sign of things to come?  Is the tide turning?  Is this an indication that the liberal stranglehold on the Church is coming to an end?  Will it help to rein in dissenters and abusers? Share your thoughts… 

Honduras Exodus: Christian Charity Or Firm Political Solution Required?

From Zenit…

The Bishops of Honduras are concerned about the serious migration crisis of thousands of Hondurans who are leaving the country. The caravan now has arrived in Mexico, and the US government has announced retaliation and forbidden their entry.

In a statement also sent to Fides News Agency, the Episcopal Conference of Honduras defines the mobilization of so many people a “human tragedy” and expresses pain and concern for the delicate situation created.

“It is a shocking reality, caused by the current situation in our country, which forces a multitude to leave what little it has, venturing without any certainty for the migration route to the United States, with the desire to reach the promised land, the ‘American dream’, which allows them to solve their economic problems and improve their living conditions, for them and their families and, in many cases, to ensure the long-awaited physical security”, reads the document.

The Bishops, therefore, ask the Honduran government to intervene as soon as possible and stop the country’s crisis, a crisis never seen in the history of the Central American nation. “It is the duty of the Honduran State to provide its citizens with the means to satisfy their basic needs, such as decent, stable and well-paid work, health, education and housing, and when these conditions do not exist, people are forced to live in tragedy and many of them hope to undertake a path that leads to development and improvement, finding themselves in the shameful and painful need to leave their families, their friends, their community, their culture, their environment, and their land”, emphasizes the declaration.

“We were deaf to the cries of their rights and blind to see that reality. The news of this caravan is the massive form of thousands of people, mostly young people, who go with the hope of obtaining sufficient resources to transform Honduras”, the text continues.

Pope Francis: ““welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants”.

In conclusion, the Bishops thank the neighboring countries for the reception and the aid provided towards Hondurans, reminding everyone of the Pope’s request: “welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants”.

In the last hours, according to local information, the group of the caravan increases, now there are more than 7 thousand, but also the tension on the border with the United States increases, after the insistent warnings of the American President himself. The caravan of the migrants has also created some social tension in Mexico: a group of Mexicans, in fact, welcomed them by providing them with help, while other Mexicans do not agree with the so-called “arrogance” with which they want to enter the United States.  Source – Zenit…

Comment: 

Are the bishops correct in placing the responsibility for the material well-being of its citizens on the Honduran State? And what next, now that these economic migrants are heading for the American border in their thousands: should they be welcomed with open arms (and all those who are likely to follow) – is that Christian charity? Or is the American President right to warn against illegal entry into the U.S.A?  Is it uncharitable to enforce immigration laws against poor people seeking a better deal in this world? How do we, as Catholics, know what is right in this situation? 

Not Me! Time For Men To Fight Back? 

Watching the blatantly false allegations being levelled against the American Judge (now Justice) Brett Kavanaugh, there is a growing awareness that many men, young and old,  live in fear of being falsely accused of sexual misconduct;  mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters  and aunts are, likewise, increasingly concerned for their sons, grandsons, husbands,  brothers and nephews.  Arguably, the damage being inflicted by the Me  Too movement is a price that is too high to pay for exposing what is often nothing more than sexual nuisance.  The claim that women should always be believed and that men, simply by virtue of being men, are obviously guilty whether formally charged and convicted or not, is contrary to elementary common sense, and, of course, natural justice. We don’t apply such illogical nonsense to any other alleged crime.

A “Not Me” movement to enable men to protest this new [lack of] standard,  is, surely, well overdue.  Take a look at the information in the video above to discover just SOME of the damning, highly relevant, facts that were withheld about Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine  Blasey Ford, in the recent U.S. Senate Hearings where she was treated like a heroine and he was metaphorically lynched.  Yet, her claims about the alleged sexual assault are about as credible as her claim to be afraid of flying, as the video above reveals – big time.  A movement where men are free to signal their disapproval of this new standard of justice – i.e. this now socially accepted INjustice –  where men are automatically believed to be guilty once accused – would be a  welcome antitode to the poisonous Me Too movement.  Or, perhaps you disagree?