Cardinal Tobin denies knowledge of 'gay subculture' in Newark

54 minutes 43 seconds ago

Newark, N.J., Aug 20, 2018 / 07:00 pm (CNA).- In an Aug. 17 letter to the priests of Newark, Cardinal Joseph Tobin has said he has not been told by priests about a “gay sub-culture” in the Archdiocese of Newark.

The letter was written in response to a CNA report published the same day, in which Newark priests described their experience in seminary and ministry in the archdiocese. Tobin’s letter specifically addressed allegations, included in CNA’s report, of sexual misconduct on the part of two priests.

CNA's article included testimony about homosexual activity in the Archdiocese of Newark, from six priests who spoke to CNA on the condition of anonymity. The priests’ experience spanned across several decades under the leadership of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and Archbishop John J. Myers.

CNA reported that, in 2014, Fr. Mark O’Malley was – according to multiple sources – removed from his position as rector of the archdiocesan college seminary, and placed on medical leave following an incident in which he was accused of hiding a camera in the bedroom of a young priest.

Cardinal Tobin’s letter, which surfaced on the internet over the weekend, addressed the matter directly.

“In April 2014, Father Mark O’Malley, who was serving at St. Andrew’s College, experienced a serious personal crisis for which he received a psychological evaluation and subsequent therapy. In April 2015, he was deemed fit for priestly ministry. He hopes to serve as a hospital chaplain.”

CNA also reported last week that Fr. James Weiner, currently pastor of the parish of St. Andrew’s in Westwood, NJ, was under renewed investigation by archdiocesan authorities. Weiner was identified as the previously unnamed man referred to in the allegations of sexual assault made by Fr. Desmond Rossi, now a priest of the Diocese of Albany, NY.

Rossi has alleged that, in 1988, he was sexually assaulted by two transitional deacons. In 2004, Rossi received an out-of-court settlement of approximately $35,000.

Recently, Rossi said that his allegation was found “credible” by an archdiocesan review board but that no action was taken.

Tobin’s letter confirmed that Weiner’s case had been examined by a review board in 2003 “even though it did not involve an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.” The cardinal also confirmed that he had ordered the matter reopened earlier this month because of “new information and out of an abundance of caution in these most difficult times.”

This weekend, the bulletin at Fr. Weiner’s parish carried a notice that Cardinal Tobin’s office had indefinitely delayed the ceremony formally installing Weiner as pastor of the parish because of a scheduling conflict. Tobin had been scheduled to install Weiner in the post on Sept. 15.

Addressing reports of harassment and active sexual behavior by some priests, both in the seminary and in the archdiocesan presbyterate, Cardinal Tobin said that “no one – including the anonymous ‘sources’ cited in the article – has ever spoken to me about a gay subculture in the Archdiocese of Newark.”

Tobin began his letter by acknowledging the ongoing scandal of sexual abuse in the Church, following the allegations against Archbishop McCarrick and the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report. The cardinal said that these events “have shaken and saddened the bishops and priests of the Archdiocese of Newark.”

Turning to the CNA report, Tobin said that while there was “much more to communicate about these open wounds,” he was writing the letter in response to “allegations of misconduct” against the two priests of the archdiocese, Weiner and O’Malley.

The cardinal closed his letter by expressing his hope that CNA’s sources were not actually priests of the archdiocese. However, CNA confirms that the sources for the story were priests of the Newark archdiocese, along with one priest member of a religious order.

The Archdiocese of Newark declined to offer comment or respond to questions from CNA regarding the letter.

Tobin’s letter concluded by encouraging priests to refer media inquiries to the archdiocesan director of communications.

Added Cardinal Tobin, “I repeat my willingness to meet with any brother who wishes to share his concerns regarding allegations in the press or personal experience in our local Church.”

Authentic Christianity changes culture, US nuncio says

2 hours 53 minutes ago

Rimini, Italy, Aug 20, 2018 / 05:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Many have forgotten that authentic Christianity has a positive influence on history and brings about greater human fulfillment, Archbishop Christophe Pierre said Sunday at a cultural event organized by the lay movement Communion and Liberation.

“When faced with change, conflict, relativism, and bleak prospects for the future, people are beginning to despair under the burden of daily life and have forgotten how to be protagonists in history,” the apostolic nuncio to the US said Aug. 19 at the Rimini Meeting.

“Meeting Christ and being changed by Him – the revolution of the heart – this is what turns the wheel of history! This is the true revolution!”

This year's Rimini Meeting, held Aug. 19-25, explores the theme “The forces that move history are the same that make man happy”.

Archbishop Pierre addressed the encounter beginning with a discussion of the meeting of the Samaritan woman with Christ at the well.

He emphasized that the woman experienced an event which offered happines, and this experience caused her to evangelize her community.

He said the woman at the well, who eased her suffering with unsatisfactory desires, is a person who is similar to many people in the culture. Some people, he said, attempt to cope with pain and weakness with drugs, pornography, wealth, or power.  

“We will take anything we can to help us feel better, but in the end, it doesn’t satisfy. Just as when Jesus was approached by the disciples of John and asked, ‘What do you seek?’ Jesus is now asking the woman to identify her real thirst.”

Archbishop Pierre said Christ encounters the woman with the truth that he is fulfilling, and her previous idolatry lacked the ability to accomplish her hopes and dreams. Rather, he said the encounter with this truth and the presence of Christ leads “her to discover her own humanity and the possibilities for her future.”

Similarly, he said Christ gives people the ability to make proper judgements of the world, distinguishing between temporary pleasures and lasting happiness, as well as good and evil.

“A humanity reawakened by Christ can generate new protagonists in the history of the world – new witnesses able to make judgments, able to discern right from wrong, good from evil, true good from passing pleasure.”

This new ability is a powerful event, he said, which verifies the faith to others. However, he said this must extend beyond a knowledge of doctrine and become an example of a joyful Christian witness.

“A reawakened humanity has an ability to see – not only with the eye but also with the heart – and can verify the truth of the faith and propose it in this time of epochal change. A joyful Christian witness shows forth the attractiveness of Christ that makes others say, ‘What makes that person tick? What moves that person to act?’”

Welcoming pope's letter on abuse, head of US bishops pledges action

2 hours 57 minutes ago

Washington D.C., Aug 20, 2018 / 04:57 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, has welcomed Pope Francis’ letter to all the faithful addressing the recent sex abuse crises in the Church.

“I am grateful to the Holy Father for his Letter to the People of God, responding to the Pennsylvania grand jury investigation and other revelations that have surfaced,” DiNardo said in a statement released by the bishops’ conference.

“The very fact that he opens the letter with the words of Saint Paul: ‘If one part suffers, all parts suffer with it’ (1 Cor 12:25), shows that he is writing to all of us as a pastor, a pastor who knows how deeply sin destroys lives.”

In his letter, Pope Francis called the universal Church to “a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting.”

Responding to the call, Cardinal DiNardo said, “I find these words of the Holy Father particularly helpful: ‘penance and prayer will help us to open our eyes and our hearts to other people’s sufferings and to overcome the thirst for power and possessions that are so often the root of those evils.’ These words must provoke action – especially by the bishops.  We bishops need to – and we must – practice with all humility such prayer and penance.”

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said that the Pope’s letter was not just about recent scandals in the Church in America.

“This is about Ireland, this is about the United States, and this is about Chile, but not only [those places],” he told reporters. “Pope Francis has written to the People of God, and that means everyone.”

Burke said that it was especially significant that the pope referred to abuse as “a crime, not only a sin” and that, while asking for forgiveness, he acknowledged that “no effort to repair the damage done will ever be sufficient for victims and survivors” and that the “wounds from abuse never disappear.”

Pope Francis wrote that “with shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”

Cardinal DiNardo acknowledged the need for a sincere and spiritually committed response to the abuse crisis.

“The Holy Father is also inviting, and I am asking this as well, that all the faithful join in prayer and fasting as a way to help foster conversion and genuine change of life wherever it is needed, even in the shepherds of the Church. Jesus remarked once, ‘This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting’; a humble reminder that such acts of faith can move mountains and can even bring about true healing and conversion,” DiNardo said.

The pope also wrote that “no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated.”

This, Burke told journalists, meant “greater accountability is urgently needed - not only for those who committed these crimes, but also for those who covered them up, which in many cases means bishops.”  

Cardinal DiNardo said that the bishops of the United States accept the urgent need for accountability, and pledged an unflinching approach to addressing past crimes.

“On behalf of my brother bishops, I offer that only by confronting our own failure in the face of crimes against those we are charged to protect can the Church resurrect a culture of life where the culture of death has prevailed.”

 

Bishop who ministered to indigenous Peruvians dies at 84

3 hours 29 minutes ago

Callao, Peru, Aug 20, 2018 / 04:25 pm (ACI Prensa).- The bishop emeritus of Callao, Peru died Sunday at the Deusto Passionist community in Bilbao, Spain, where he had resided since 2015. He was 84 years old.

Bishop Emeritus Miguel Irizar Campos “was characterized by a missionary personality,” said a communique from the coastal Peruvian Diocese of Callao, responding to the prelate’s death.

“Callao will remember Bishop Miguel Irizar as a pastor close to his people and faithful to the mission, with his episcopal motto 'Sent to give the Good News.'”

The Diocese of Bilbao, where Irizar lived out his last years, described the bishop as a man who was able to fit in anywhere. During more than 50 years of service in Peru, including 17 years ministering to the indigenous population in the jungle, he proved himself to be a “people’s pastor,” the diocese said.

While in recent years his health had declined, Irizar’s Passionist brothers described the late bishop as “optimistic and a person close to others.”

Born May 7, 1934 in Spain's Basque country, Irizar was ordained a priest March 16, 1957 at the shrine of the Virgin of Aránzazu, where his mother had consecrated him to God years before.

He arrived in Peru in 1960 and began his pastoral work there at the Virgin of Pilar parish in the San Isidro district.

Between 1961 and 1965, he was professor of the Social Doctrine of the Church and Ethics at the Catholic University of Peru. From 1969 to 1972, he was the Regional Superior of the Passionist Congregation in Peru.

Blessed Paul VI named him the Missionary Bishop of the Yurimaguas Vicariate (Upper Amazon Province), and he was consecrated a bishop on July 25, 1972.

Pope John Paul II appointed him in 1989 as Coadjutor Bishop of Callao, the diocese he took full possession of on August 17, 1995.

Irizar promoted the creation of new parishes and founded the first monastery of Discalced Carmelites in Callao. He ordained more than 100 priests and received seminarians from other ecclesiastical jurisdictions for formation in the Heart of Christ diocesan seminary.

The bishop also promoted the Pachacútec Foundation, through which the Center for Community Studies and Development was created. Today, thousands of low income children, youths and families benefit from the center’s large educational complex.

Irizar was the Secretary General of the Peruvian Bishops' Conference for two periods. He also served as president of Caritas Peru, and a member of the Cor Unum Pontifical Council, and headed the Council of Latin American Bishops’ ecclesial movement section.

Bishop Irizar’s funeral was celebrated Aug. 20 in the parish of Pasión and San Felicísimo in the Deusto district of Bilbao. Local Bishop Mario Iceta presided over the Mass.

 

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Bishop's murder draws attention to tensions in Coptic Orthodox Church

5 hours 6 minutes ago

Alexandria, Egypt, Aug 20, 2018 / 02:48 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Last month's murder of Bishop Epiphanius, the abbot of St. Macarius Monastery in the Egyptian desert, has highlighted tension in the Coptic Orthodox Church over monasticism, ecumenism, and reform.

Bishop Epiphanius' body was found July 29, with injuries to his head and back that suggest that he had been hit by a sharp object.

Isaiah al-Makary, whose name in the world is Wael Saad, was charged with the bishop's murder Aug. 11, and confessed to the murder the following day. Saad said another monk, Faltaous al-Makary (Raymond Rasmi Mansour), assisted in the crime. Faltaous attempted suicide in recent weeks, and was being treated at a Cairo hospital.

Saad was expelled from the monastery Aug. 5, for “inappropriate actions which violate monastic behavior and way of life.” The Coptic Orthodox Church said that his dismissal had been decided on before the bishop's death.

Bishop Epiphanius' murder has led to the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate issuing several decrees on monasticism.

Tawadros II, Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, announced Aug. 1 that the Church's monasteries would stop accepting new brothers for one year. Those who established monasteries unapproved by the patriarchate will be stripped of their priesthood and monastic state. No new monasteries may be founded except as a revival of old monasteries, and this is to be done under the care of a recognized monastery.

The Church has also instructed its monks to close their social media accounts, and has suspended the ordination of monks for three years. Permissions for monks to attend outside functions is also being restricted.

And on Aug. 16, the Church announced that unrecognized monasteries have one month to submit to the supervision of the patriarchate. This will allow Tawadros “to supervise spiritual, financial, and managerial aspects,” the Egypt Independent reported.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is an Oriental Orthodox Church, meaning it rejected the 451 Council of Chalcedon, and its followers had historically been considered monophysites – those who believe Christ has only one nature – by Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox, though they are not considered so any longer.

Samuel Tadros, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told the New York Times that Bishop Epiphanius was “a senior figure in a reformist Coptic movement” that has been favored under Tawadros.

“His appointment, in May, to position in which he would work as a liaison with the Catholic Church was seen as a sign that conservatives were being sidelined, Mr. Tadros said.”

Pope Francis visited Egypt last year, and signed a joint declaration with Tawadros announcing that their Churches will recognize the validity of each other's baptisms.

Previously, the Coptic Orthodox Church had repeated baptism if a Catholic had sought to join it.

Conservative members of the Coptic Orthodox Church have reportedly resisted such reforms under Tawadros. According to a commentary by Engy Magdy in the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn's The Tablet, these conservatives are associated with Shenouda III, the immediate predecessor of Tawadros as Coptic Orthodox Patriarch.

The dispute goes back to tensions between Shenouda and Fr. Matta El Meskeen.

Fr. Matta was tasked by Cyril VI in 1969 with reviving monastic life at St. Macarius Monastery. The monk was focused on the spiritual life, openness to the thought of other Churches, and ressourcement.

While Shenouda was a disciple of Fr. Matta early on, after he was elected Pope of Alexandria in 1971 the two came into conflict. Shenouda restricted Fr. Matta to his monastery, and discouraged the reading of his books, according to an essay by Mina Thabet in Middle East Eye.

It was during this time, in 1984, that Epiphanius joined St. Macarius and became a monk. Epiphanius was a disciple of Fr. Matta, and was involved in ecumenism.

Fr. Matta died in 2006.

St. Macarius Monastery was long independent of the Coptic Orthodox hierarchy, but Shenouda restored it under the Church's authority in 2009, and appointed some 70 conservative monks, among them Saad and Faltaous.

In the year after Shenouda's 2012 death, Epiphanius was elected abbot of St. Macarius, and consecrated a bishop.

The murder of Bishop Epiphanius in his cell at St. Macarius may well only heighten tensions within the Coptic Orthodox Church, especially as Tawadros continues to extend his oversight of the monasteries in the desert of Egypt.

Pope calls entire Church to pray and fast after clerical sex abuse revelations

13 hours 59 minutes ago

Vatican City, Aug 20, 2018 / 05:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis called Monday for every member of the Catholic Church to pray and fast in penance for the evil of clerical sex abuse, and to be involved in needed change within the Church.

“The only way that we have to respond to this evil that has darkened so many lives is to experience it as a task regarding all of us as the People of God,” Francis wrote Aug. 20.

In a letter to the entire Church following widespread revelations of clerical sex abuse in the Church in the United States, the pope invited “the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, following the Lord’s command.”

“This can awaken our conscience and arouse our solidarity and commitment to a culture of care that says ‘never again’ to every form of abuse,” he said. “Every one of the baptized should feel involved in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need.”

In the letter, Francis acknowledged the recent publication of a report detailing abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses, which included more than 300 priests and 1,000 victims, over a period of around 70 years.

Recognizing the deep pain and suffering endured by many minors who have experienced sexual abuse, or the abuse of power or conscience, at the hands of clerics, he said no effort to seek pardon or to repair the harm will ever be enough.

“Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated,” he stated.

He said the words of St. Paul, that “‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it’… forcefully echo” in his heart.

The pope also emphasized that he thinks a conversion of the Church is “impossible” if it does not include the “active participation” of all the members of the Church, and he criticized the silencing or ignoring of some Catholics through the creation of elitist groups or projects.

In particular, all forms of clericalism should be rejected, he said, because clericalism undervalues baptismal grace and can lead to abuses by Church authority. Clericalism causes “an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today.”

Voicing strong support for all the victims of clerical sex abuse and for their families, he said though most of the cases recently come to light, “belong to the past,” as time goes on the pain of the victims has come to be more known.

He said the gravity and extent to which clerical sexual abuse of minors and other abuse has happened takes “coming to grips… in a comprehensive and communal way,” and while conversion requires acknowledgment of the truth, it is “not enough.”

“This change calls for a personal and communal conversion that makes us see things as the Lord does… to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence. To do so, prayer and penance will help,” he stated.

The penitential aspect of fasting will help Catholics to come before the Lord “as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion,” so that actions “attuned to the Gospel” can follow, he explained.

He prayed that fasting and prayer will open people’s ears to the pain of children, young people, and the disabled, that it will make Catholics “hunger and thirst for justice,” and impel the Church “to walk in the truth, supporting all the judicial measures that may be necessary.”

“It is essential that we, as a Church, be able to acknowledge and condemn, with sorrow and shame, the atrocities perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable,” he continued.

“Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others,” he said. “An awareness of sin helps us to acknowledge the errors, the crimes and the wounds caused in the past and allows us, in the present, to be more open and committed along a journey of renewed conversion.”

Memorial of Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

16 hours 24 minutes ago
Reading 1 Ez 24:15-23 The word of the LORD came to me:
Son of man, by a sudden blow
I am taking away from you the delight of your eyes,
but do not mourn or weep or shed any tears.
Groan in silence, make no lament for the dead,
bind on your turban, put your sandals on your feet,
do not cover your beard, and do not eat the customary bread.
That evening my wife died,
and the next morning I did as I had been commanded.
Then the people asked me, "Will you not tell us what all these things
that you are doing mean for us?"
I therefore spoke to the people that morning, saying to them:
Thus the word of the LORD came to me:
Say to the house of Israel:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will now desecrate my sanctuary, the stronghold of your pride,
the delight of your eyes, the desire of your soul.
The sons and daughters you left behind shall fall by the sword.
Ezekiel shall be a sign for you:
all that he did you shall do when it happens.
Thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
You shall do as I have done,
not covering your beards nor eating the customary bread.
Your turbans shall remain on your heads, your sandals on your feet.
You shall not mourn or weep,
but you shall rot away because of your sins and groan one to another.
Responsorial Psalm Deuteronomy 32:18-19, 20, 21 R. (see 18a) You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
You were unmindful of the Rock that begot you.
You forgot the God who gave you birth.
When the LORD saw this, he was filled with loathing
and anger toward his sons and daughters.
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
"I will hide my face from them," he said,
"and see what will then become of them.
What a fickle race they are,
sons with no loyalty in them!"
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
"Since they have provoked me with their 'no-god'
and angered me with their vain idols,
I will provoke them with a 'no-people';
with a foolish nation I will anger them."
R. You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
Alleluia Mt 5:3 R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 19:16-22 A young man approached Jesus and said,
"Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?"
He answered him, "Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
He asked him, "Which ones?"
And Jesus replied, "You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

The young man said to him,
"All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.
- - -
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.