Pope, Congress condemn anti-Semitism

1 week 2 days ago

Washington D.C., Mar 8, 2019 / 01:30 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis condemned Friday anti-Semitism as a fundamental contradiction to Christianity. The pope spoke during an audience with the American Jewish Committee held in Rome, during which he called for renewed commitment to dialogue between the two faiths.

 

The pope’s statements came amid a rise in overt anti-semitism in many Western countries, and just one day after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a motion condemning the trend.

 

Francis told the March 8 assembly that recent anti-Semitic incidents are a “source of great concern,” and that an “excessive and depraved hatred is taking root.”

 

The pope said it is important to be “vigilant” against anti-Semitic attitudes, to prevent another event like the Holocaust.

 

“I stress that for a Christian any form of anti-Semitism is a rejection of one’s own origins, a complete contradiction,” said Pope Francis.

 

He called interfaith dialogue an “important tool” in increasing understanding between Judaism and Christianity, stressing the importance of forming new generation of young people who are committed to interreligious dialogue.

 

Citing the “rich spiritual heritage” shared by Christians and Jews, the pope said that members of both faiths should seek each other out during this time of “depersonalizing secularism” in the Western world.

 

“It falls to believers to seek out each other and to cooperate in making divine love more visible for humanity; and to carry out concrete gestures of closeness to counter the growth of indifference,” he said.

 

American Jewish Committee President John Shapiro thanked Pope Francis for agreeing to open Vatican archival files related to World War II and the papacy of Pope Pius XII. Pope Pius XII was pope from March 1939 until his death in October 1958. The archived files will be open in March 2020.

 

The pope’s comments on anti-Semitism come one day after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to condemn various forms of hate speech, especially anti-Semitism.

 

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution that condemned bigotry against “African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and others.”

 

The resolution was widely seen as a response to a series of comments from freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) which have been broadly condemned as anti-Semitic.

 

The resolution was initially drafted as a condemnation specifically of anti-Semitism and a rebuke of Omar’s comments, but was amended to include numerous other forms of discrimination. The resolution did not specifically name Omar.

 

While it passed by a wide margin, twenty-three members of the House of Representatives voted against the resolution, saying that a more explicit denunciation of overtly anti-Semitic rhetoric is needed.

 

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who voted for the resolution, said on Twitter that the revised text was a “deceitful” attempt “to give cover” to specific statements made by Omar.

 

Several Republicans have called for Omar to be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on which she sits.

Eucharistic yuca not on the table at Amazon synod, Vatican says

1 week 2 days ago

Vatican City, Mar 8, 2019 / 12:30 pm (CNA).- Vatican officials have said there are no plans to discuss changing the matter of the Eucharist during an upcoming synod for the pan-Amazonian region of South America.

The possibility of changing the kind of bread allowed to be used in the celebration of the Eucharist does “not appear in the Preparatory Document for the Special Assembly next October and therefore is not a subject of the next Synod,” Bishop Fabio Fabene, Undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, told CNA Friday.

The clarification comes after a Brazilian Jesuit theologian said last month that the October synod on the Amazon could consider the substitution of wheat bread in the eucharistic species with a host made from yuca – a root plant common in the Amazon.

The exclusive use of bread made from wheat and wine for celebrating Mass is explicitly regulated by the Church, with any other material defined as invalid matter for the sacrament.

Fr. Francisco Taborda, SJ, said Feb. 28 that a fundamental shift in the matter of the Eucharist was a likely topic to be addressed during the special session of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region in October.

Speaking to Crux, Taborda suggested that because of the humidity in the Amazon at different times of the year, wheat bread sometimes becomes overly moist - something he suggested could justify a radical departure in sacramental teaching and disciple.

If bread turns too moist, “it’s not bread, and if it’s not bread, it’s not the Eucharist,” he said.

“In the Amazon, bread is made out of yuca.”

Taborda said that the decision to substitute the essential matter of Eucharistic consecration should be left to local bishops. Fabene told CNA that “the changing of the Eucharistic matter is the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”

The 80 year-old theologian is an emeritus professor of theology at the Jesuit Faculty of Philosophy and Theology (FAJE) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where he taught for many years. He has written several books, including on the theology of the sacraments.

Taborda spoke to Crux while attending a seminar entitled "Toward the Special Synod for the Amazon: Regional and universal dimensions," and held in Rome Feb. 25-27.

While the study session was organized by the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, a Synod spokesman told CNA that Taborda’s statements “are exclusively personal,” and do not represent official plans.

The teaching of the Church on the essential matter for the consecration of the Eucharist is closely regulated. Canon 924 §2 of the Code of Canon Law states that the bread “must be only wheat.” Similarly, the wine used must be natural and made from grapes and mixed only with water.

Fr. Mark Morozowich is the Dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, an ecclesiastical faculty with special authority from the Vatican to teach theology.

Morozowich explained to CNA the principles that govern “enculturation,” or deference to local circumstances, within the Mass.

“The Church has always enculturated the liturgy,” he said. “This is something we’ve done through the centuries in every single place from the very beginning.”

Starting with the first ministry of the apostles, he said, “the Church lived Jesus Christ, proclaimed his cross, death, and resurrection. The Church proclaimed Jesus Christ being present body and soul in the elements of the Eucharist.”

He said that there have been, and continue to be, some regional differences in the matter used in the celebration of the Eucharist, but those differences are limited by the Church’s doctrinal teaching.

“Classically, we can look at the very clear acceptance of the Byzantine rite having a leavened bread for its Eucharist, whereas the Roman Church has an unleavened bread for its Eucharist.”

“Both are different but yet both are valid matter according to their own ritual tradition,” Morozowich said. “This is something that has been going on for two thousand years.”

“Some people talk about the use of something else besides wheat flour or the use of something besides wine in the Eucharist; one important part of this is certainly about [remembering] what we are expressing in this prayer, but there’s a continuity to the sacrifice of Christ when he was on this Earth. That basic principle needs to be reflected in all these discussions.”

The Mass is not, Morozowich said, about enacting an exact historical recreation of the last supper, “but at the same time the Church has said there are some core elements of this reality of the presence of this way the [Christian] community has celebrated throughout its life time.”

“The Church needs to be very cautious with what are the latest ‘fads’ if you will,” he said. “The Church is very concerned to present the culture and the prayers in a way that is telling and faithful to the way they have been lived through the centuries.”

Even within the differences between the Latin and Byzantine rites, he said, there is an essential continuity of Eucharistic matter.

“Leavened or unleavened, the Church has always used wheat bread. Whether it is mixed with hot or cold water, or mixed once or twice, the Church has always used wine,” Morozowich said.

“These are essential, so that as the believer celebrates the Eucharistic and reflects on the institution of that Eucharist, they have a sense of a transcending of time and a sense of the true presence that is mediated through these specific elements.”

North Carolina bill would extend statute of limitations

1 week 2 days ago

Raleigh, N.C., Mar 8, 2019 / 10:59 am (CNA).- A proposed bill in North Carolina would allow more time for victims of child abuse to pursue both criminal and civil action against their abuser.

The bill, called the SAFE Child Act, has gained bipartisan support in the state legislature.

Attorney General Josh Stein (D) unveiled the legislation on March 7, saying “Our first job as parents and as a state is to keep our kids safe.”

Stein said the bill “will increase enforcement tools to make sure abuse is reported and prosecuted – which will allow more victims to see justice and put more abusers behind bars.”

The legislation would extend the statute of limitations for misdemeanor child abuse from its current two years to 10 years. It would allow victims of child abuse to pursue a civil lawsuit against the abuser until age 50, rather than the current limit of age 21.

In addition, the bill would ban high-risk sex offenders from contacting minors on social media.

It would enable prosecutors to convene investigative grand juries to examine child abuse claims, utilizing tools such as questioning witnesses under oath, compelling sworn testimony from witnesses, and subpoenaing records. Currently, investigative grand juries can only be convened in drug trafficking and human trafficking cases.

It would also require “any person or organization to report all reasonably suspected child abuse,” expanding current mandatory reporting rules, which only cover cases in which an abuser “is in a parental role and in a residential setting,” according to a fact sheet released by the state attorney general.

The attorney general also announced that he has collaborated with experts to create best practices for organizations that work with children. These include policies to prevent, identify and report abuse, and education about resources to help victims.

The Diocese of Raleigh said in a statement that it “looks forward to reviewing the proposed act recently announced by Attorney General Stein and supports efforts to further protect North Carolina’s children from sexual abuse.”

“Bishop [Luis] Zarama and the diocese support additional measures that would further clarify or expedite reports of suspected abuse and aid survivors in healing,” the statement said.

The diocese pointed to child protection efforts that are currently implemented for Church personnel, including programs to screen all adult leaders who work with children, and to train them to recognize and report signs of child abuse or neglect.

More than 24,000 diocesan staff members and volunteers have received the training since 2003.

The diocese also noted that at its request, it entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys in 2003, creating “a self-imposed obligation to immediately report to the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys (NCCDA) all claims of sexual abuse or assault on a minor.”

The fact sheets released by the attorney general’s office did not discuss whether priests hearing confession would be deemed mandatory reporters under the proposed law. The question has been raised in other states and countries, with Catholic dioceses warning that priests would be unable to adhere to such a requirement, as the seal of confession is inviolable. In 2016, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that priests cannot be required to break the seal of confession to report alleged abuse of minors.
 

Francis urges personal conversion in implementing Sustainable Development Goals

1 week 2 days ago

Vatican City, Mar 8, 2019 / 10:25 am (CNA).- Pope Francis said Friday that global development goals need to be supported by ethical objectives stemming from personal conversion and recognition of one’s failures.

“The economic and political objectives must be supported by ethical objectives, which presuppose a change of attitude, the Bible would say a change of heart,” the pope said March 8 at the Vatican's Clementine Hall.

“Already St. John Paul II spoke about the need to ‘encourage and sustain an ecological conversion,’” he said, referencing a 2001 catechesis of one of his predecessors. “Religions have a key role to play here.”

Francis emphasized that “for a correct transition to a sustainable future, it is necessary to recognize ‘one’s own mistakes, sins, vices or negligence,’ ‘to repent of heart, to change from within,’ to be reconciled with others, with creation and with the Creator,” as he wrote in his 2015 encyclical on the environment, Laudato si'.

“Indeed, we should all commit ourselves to promoting and implementing the development goals that are supported by our deepest religious and ethical values,” he urged. “Human development is not only an economic question or concerns only experts, but is above all a vocation, a call that requires a free and responsible response.”

The pope addressed Vatican officials, religious representatives, and members of international organizations participating in a March 7-9 conference on “Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Listening to the cry of the earth and the poor.”

The conference was hosted by the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

The SDGs are 17 global goals covering social and economic development issues, including poverty, hunger, education, energy, and the environment. The goals were set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 as a part of what is called the “2030 Agenda” resolution.

In his speech to conference participants Friday, Pope Francis praised the SDGs and 2030 Agenda as “a great step forward for global dialogue, in the sign of a necessary ‘new universal solidarity.’”

“As my predecessor St. Paul VI highlighted, talking about human development means referring to all people – not just a few – and to the whole human person – not just to the material dimension,” he said.

Urging people to look for concrete answers and commitments, he noted he was pleased conference participants were seeking the input of religious persons in the discussion of the implementation of sustainable development objectives.

“In the case of religious people, we need to open the treasures of our best traditions with regard to a true and respectful dialogue on how to build the future of our planet,” he said.

The pope also underlined the importance of including in the discussion the voices of indigenous people, who he said, though a very small percentage of the world’s overall population, “take care of almost 22 percent of the earth’s surface” and “protect about 80 percent of the planet’s biodiversity.”

“Their voice and their concerns should be at the center of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and at the center of the search for new roads for a sustainable future,” he stated, adding that he and other bishops will be discussing the topic at the Synod of Bishops on the pan-amazon region, being held in October.

NY senator who backed abortion law disinvited from Catholic group’s parade

1 week 3 days ago

New York City, N.Y., Mar 8, 2019 / 03:02 am (CNA).- Controversy over a New York abortion bill resulted in a rebuke for a state senator who has been disinvited from a Huntington, N.Y. Irish-American Catholic group’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities and asked to resign as a member due to his vote for the legislation.

Monsignor Steven R. Camp, chaplain of the Ancient Order of Hibernians’ John F. Kennedy Division 4 of Suffolk County, wrote to State Sen. James Gaughran, saying his vote in favor of the bill had caused “great dismay” among division members, the news site Huntington Now reports.

“The membership is dismayed that a member of their order could vote for such a law,” said the priest, who said he was writing on behalf of the division’s leadership and membership. “This law violates all the principles the AOH has ascribed to since its founding, adherence to our Roman Catholic faith, and the security of the Irish race.”

Msgr. Camp, who is also pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Huntington, said the senator was disinvited from marching in the parade with the Hibernians and from attending the parade grand marshal’s dinner dance.

The abortion bill, called the Reproductive Health Act, drew strong opposition from the Catholic Church and other pro-life advocates in the state.

The law allows abortions “within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or (when) there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient's life or health.” It aimed to protect legal abortion in the event the U.S. Supreme Court overturns pro-abortion rights precedents.

The state law removes the act of abortion from the criminal code and places it in the public-health code. It strips most safeguards and regulations on abortions and allows non-doctors to perform abortions.

In response to Msgr. Camp’s letter, Gaughran contended that the division was requiring public officials “to perform their duties in conformance with the specific religious views held by its membership.”

“Respectfully, I find this troubling and contrary to the principle that our elected officials must represent all their constituents, not just those with whom they share their religious beliefs,” he said. Gaughran said he had not renewed his membership in the division and did not consider himself an active member. He said he had made clear his support for the bill during his campaign, and voiced concern that the division had not reached out to him earlier.

Professing respect for Catholic leaders and the Hibernian division membership, he said that despite their position against Roe v. Wade, “I maintain my belief that a woman should have the right to make her own personal reproductive health care decisions.”

“To be honest, I do not see how any elected public official could faithfully uphold their fidelity to their constitutional oath while participating in an organization that requires specific votes based explicitly upon religious views or litmus tests,” he said, going on to quote John F. Kennedy’s 1960 remarks on church and state before an audience of Baptist pastors during his presidential campaign.

Gaughran’s comments echoed the claims of bill backer Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who accused President Donald Trump and the “religious right,” including Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, of “spreading falsehoods about abortion laws to inflame their base.”

Dolan, writing in a Feb. 7 blog post, said Cuomo “continues his attempt to reduce the advocacy for the human rights of the pre-born infant to a ‘Catholic issue’,” which the cardinal deemed “an insult to our allies of so many religions, or none at all.”

Quoting former Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, Dolan said that abortion is not about “right versus left, but right versus wrong.” Dolan said “I didn’t get my pro-life belief from my religion class in a Catholic school, but from my biology and U.S. Constitution classes.”

In a Feb. 6 New York Times opinion essay, Cuomo, who is Catholic, said his decisions in his life are “based on my personal moral and religious beliefs,” but his oath of office is “to the Constitutions of the United States and of the State of New York--not to the Catholic Church.” My religion cannot demand favoritism as I execute my public duties.”

The New York Senate passed the bill by a vote of 38 to 24.

CNA sought comment from Msgr. Camp and the Diocese of Rockville Centre but did not receive a response by press time.

The Huntington-based Ancient Order of Hibernians division’s website says it has organized the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade since 1930, and claims it is the “oldest and largest” such parade on Long Island.

Ancient Order of Hibernians national vice president Danny O’Connell declined detailed comment, telling CNA that discussions about business and membership are an internal matter. He clarified that St. Patrick’s Day Parades are separate entities from the organization itself.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians in America dates back to 1836. It has tens of thousands of members nationwide. Full membership is limited to practicing Catholic men of Irish birth, ancestry or adoption, or to Catholic clergy and seminarians regardless of ancestry. The organization also has an associate membership and allows social privileges for such members not qualified for full membership.

The order’s three main principles are Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity. According to the 2016 edition of its national constitution, its purposes include to promote peace and unity for all Ireland and Irish independence; Irish heritage, culture and history; civic participation; equitable U.S. immigration law for Ireland; religious freedom; and “to protect and defend all life, born and unborn.”

The organization added the pro-life plank to its purpose in the 1970s after the U.S. Supreme Court mandated legal abortion nationwide in decisions such as Roe v. Wade.

The group’s constitution pledges “to work in harmony with the doctrines and laws of the Roman Catholic Church,” and also bars support for or opposition to “any political party or candidate” in the name of the order.

In the wake of the passage of the new abortion law, the New York State Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians recently reaffirmed its pro-life plank, saying “All life is precious from conception to natural death.”

“We pray, civilly protest and express this stance in our actions month after month, year after year and in support of Church teachings,” the state board said on its website Feb. 2. “We have never wavered or succumbed to political or socially accepted attitudes of the times.”

“Even when a culture of death seems to be accepted by many, we show love, and support Life in all stages,” it added. “Let it be known that, our position on abortion (and all respect life issues) does not change or evolve…. The latest bill signed in New York does not change the stance we take on the subject. It never will.”

 

Friday after Ash Wednesday

1 week 3 days ago
Reading 1 Is 58:1-9a Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
"Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am! Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19 R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
"Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight."
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Verse Before the Gospel See Am 5:14 Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the Lord will be with you.
Gospel Mt 9:14-15 The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
"Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast."
For the readings of the Optional Memorial of Saint John of God, please go here.
- - -
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.

These 17th century monks did a beer fast for Lent

1 week 3 days ago

Washington D.C., Mar 8, 2019 / 12:25 am (CNA).- With the Lenten season fully in swing, Catholics are immersing themselves in 40 days of abstaining from sweets, technology, alcohol and other luxuries.

But did you know that Catholic monks once brewed beer specifically for a liquid-only Lenten fast?

Back in the 1600s, Paulaner monks moved from Southern Italy to the Cloister Neudeck ob der Au in Bavaria. “Being a strict order, they were not allowed to consume solid food during Lent,” the braumeister and beer sommelier of Paulaner Brewery Martin Zuber explained in a video on the company’s website.

They needed something other than water to sustain them, so the monks turned to a common staple of the time of their region – beer. They concocted an “unusually strong” brew, full of carbohydrates and nutrients, because “liquid bread wouldn’t break the fast,” Zuber noted.

This was an early doppelbock-style beer, which the monks eventually sold in the community and which was an original product of Paulaner brewery, founded in 1634. They gave it the name “Salvator,” named after “Sankt Vater,” which “roughly translates as ‘Holy Father beer,’” Zuber said.

Paulaner currently serves 70 countries and is one of the chief breweries featured at Munich’s Octoberfest. Although its doppelbock is enjoyed around the world today, it had a distinctly penitential origin with the monks.

Could a beer-only fast really be accomplished? One journalist had read of the monks’ story and, in 2011, attempted to re-create their fast.

J. Wilson, a Christian working as an editor for a county newspaper in Iowa, partnered with a local brewery and brewed a special doppelbock that he consumed over 46 days during Lent, eating no solid food.

He had regular check-ups with his doctor and obtained permission from his boss for the fast, drinking four beers over the course of a work day and five beers on Saturdays and Sundays. His experience, he said, was transformative – and not in an intoxicating way.

Wilson learned “that the human body is an amazing machine,” he wrote in a blog for CNN after his Lenten experience.

“Aside from cramming it [the body] full of junk food, we don’t ask much of it. We take it for granted. It is capable of much more than many of us give it credit for. It can climb mountains, run marathons and, yes, it can function without food for long periods of time,” he wrote.

Wilson noted that he was acutely hungry for the first several days of his fast, but “my body then switched gears, replaced hunger with focus, and I found myself operating in a tunnel of clarity unlike anything I’d ever experienced.” He ended up losing over 25 pounds over the course of the Lenten season, but learned to practice “self-discipline.”

And, he found, one of his greatest challenges was actually fasting from media.

As he blogged about his fast, Wilson received numerous interview requests from local and national media outlets, and he chose to forego some of these requests and step away from using media to focus on the spiritual purpose of his fast.

“The experience proved that the origin story of monks fasting on doppelbock was not only possible, but probable,” he concluded.

“It left me with the realization that the monks must have been keenly aware of their own humanity and imperfections. In order to refocus on God, they engaged this annual practice not only to endure sacrifice, but to stress and rediscover their own shortcomings in an effort to continually refine themselves.”

Catholics are not obliged to give up solid food for Lent, of course, but they must do penance during the season of Lent in the example of Christ’s 40-day fast in the wilderness, in commemoration of His death, and in preparation for Easter.

Catholics in the U.S., if healthy adults aged 18-59, must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and are encouraged to continue the Good Friday fast through Holy Saturday to the Easter Vigil.

“No Catholic Christian will lightly excuse himself from so hallowed an obligation on the Wednesday which solemnly opens the Lenten season and on that Friday called ‘Good’ because on that day Christ suffered in the flesh and died for our sins,” the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote in their 1966 pastoral letter on fasting.

Fasting is interpreted to mean eating one full meal and two smaller meals that, taken together, do not equal that one full meal. There may be no eating in between meals, and there is no specific mention of liquids in the guidelines.

In their pastoral letter, the bishops also maintained obligatory abstinence from meat for all Catholics on Fridays in Lent, and “strongly recommend participation in daily mass and a self-imposed observance of fasting” on other Lenten days, as well as almsgiving, study of the Scriptures, and devotions like the rosary and the Stations of the Cross.

This article was originally published on CNA March 1, 2017.

Catholic aid group to set up kidney dialysis clinic in Guadalajara

1 week 3 days ago

Guadalajara, Mexico, Mar 7, 2019 / 07:28 pm (CNA).- In response to the growing number of patients with kidney conditions in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Catholic charitable agency Caritas is implementing plans to set up a kidney dialysis clinic in the region.

Caritas of Guadalajara currently has the donated office for the clinic, but around $410,000 is still needed to remodel the facility and purchase dialysis machines.

To raise the necessary funds, Caritas will hold a gala event March 28.

Once set up, the kidney dialysis clinic is expected to serve 180 patients a week.

Fr.  Francisco de Asís, an adviser to Caritas of Guadalajara, called the clinic a “dream come true…especially for people needing the treatment who can’t afford this service, who will be able to find in Caritas the treatment they need.”

In 2018, Caritas of Guadalajara helped provide dialysis for 711 people with donations of about $36,000.

An estimated 900,000 people in Jalisco state suffer from kidney problems, Caritas says. Of these, some 6,000 have been diagnosed with chronic renal insufficiency.

 

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

Colorado Catholic Conference supports bill to repeal death penalty

1 week 3 days ago

Denver, Colo., Mar 7, 2019 / 06:01 pm (CNA).- As a measure to repeal Colorado’s death penalty passed a Senate committee this week, the Colorado Catholic Conference has expressed support for the bill.

The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 3-2 along party lines March 6. Before the bill is sent to the Senate for a full debate, the Colorado Catholic Conference encouraged the people to call or email their elected officials.

“We have always been staunch supporters of repealing the death penalty here in Colorado, and all of the bishops have spoken very publicly about the need to repeal and abolish the death penalty,” Jenny Kraska, executive director for the Colorado Catholic Conference, told CNA.

The bill's sponsors are Sen. Angela Williams, Sen. Julie Gonzales, Rep. Jeni Arndt, and Rep. Adrienne Benavidez.

According to 9 News, Williams said the death penalty is inefficient and that the fact that each of the three people on death row in the state are African American is evidence of racial inequalities.

"It's a barbaric practice. It's time to remove it from the books in Colorado," she said.

CPR reported that testimonies were also given in opposition to the repeal. Rep. Tom Sullivan had pushed for the execution of James Holmes after the 2012 Aurora Theater Shooting left dead the politician's son, along with 12 other people.

“We have a mechanism if those people don’t want to be a part of our society, we should have the ability to take those people out of our society,” he said.

The last execution carried out in the state was in 1997.

The inmates now on death row are Nathan Dunlap, who murdered four people at a kids’ restaurant, and Sir Mario Owens and Robert Ray, who both had been involved with the death of a young couple.

In 2013, then-governor John Hickenlooper temporarily suspended the death penalty of Dunlap. Before the execution was suspended, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver was featured in a Denver Post guest column, where he expressed the importance of human dignity.

“My faith tells me that Dunlap’s crimes were sinful because murder ignores the human dignity which comes from being created in God’s image. But I believe that justice must also respect human dignity. My faith holds out hope for the possibility that some good can come from every single human life.”

Kraska said mercy, redemption, and healing should be made available to both victims and criminals. She said prisoners should not only have the chance to change and seek repentance, but the families of victims should be able to have interactions of forgiveness with the perpetrator. If people are put to death, these opportunities are lost, she said.

“For the Catholic Church, obviously, it’s about a consistent ethic of life, and we believe that all life has intrinsic value and whether that is life in the womb, life at the end of life, or life of somebody who has committed an atrocious crime,” she told CNA.

“We don’t think it is the right of the state or anyone to kill somebody. Perpetuating violence with violence is never the answer,” she added.

US State Department awards Irish nun for education work in South Sudan

1 week 3 days ago

Washington D.C., Mar 7, 2019 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- An Irish nun who has been working to educate girls in South Sudan for the past eleven years is among the recipients of this year’s U.S. State Department International Women of Courage awards.

Orla Treacy, a Loreto sister from Bray, Ireland, was invited in 2006 by the Bishop of Rumbek to open a girls’ boarding school. She had joined the Loreto Sisters in 2005, after working for a summer in Kolkata after college and witnessing the dire poverty there.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with First Lady Melania Trump, awarded the annual International Women of Courage Awards to ten women from around the world, including Treacy, at the State Department March 7.

Treacy told the Irish Times last year that after she arrived in the region that was then part of Sudan in 2006, it took two years to get their boarding school building actually constructed. The diocese where she arrived, according to a 2017 article from Catholic Ireland, was “the size of Italy but with just two [high] schools.”

Treacy said she also faced challenges convincing the local community to enrol their daughters in her school, in a country where less than one percent of girls graduate high school.

More than half of girls in South Sudan are married before the age of 18, and 17 percent before they turn 15, according to the Loreto sisters’ website. Ninety percent of women in South Sudan are “functionally illiterate.”

“If you live in a culture where marriage is more popular than school, it’s very hard to change that mentality,” Treacy told the Irish Times.

“We have been threatened at gunpoint, we have been insulted, all number of problems because she is a woman and should be sacrificed for the sake of the greater good. Technically it’s a boarding school but I call it a women’s refuge because you’re constantly trying to protect these girls from forced marriage.”

South Sudan voted to gain independence from Sudan in 2011, but a subsequent civil war that began in 2013 has left millions displaced and hundreds of thousands hungry. Though the two sides signed a peace agreement in September 2018, the country’s Catholic bishops recently expressed concern that the agreement is bound to fail, because the root problems of the conflict have not yet been addressed.

Today the school Treacy founded and is principal of educates around 200 girls per year.

“I work with people who live very much on the margins: life and death, hunger and despair. Every day they live on the edge. And yet in that you can still glimpse love and hope every day,” Treacy told the Irish Times in January 2018.

In his remarks at the award ceremony, Pompeo praised Treacy’s school as a “beacon of hope for girls who would otherwise be denied education, and be forced to enter early marriages.”

“Women of courage exist around the world; most will never be honored,” Pompeo said. “They face different challenges, but challenges that still matter.”

Among this year’s other awardees is “Mama Maggie” Gobron, a Coptic Orthodox woman who left behind a life of financial success to found a ministry to help children growing up in Egypt’s squalid slums. Her organization, Stephen’s Children, has helped 30,000 families with food and clothing over 25 years, according to the organization’s website.

 

With numbers booming, Dominican sisters expand to Texas

1 week 3 days ago

Austin, Texas, Mar 7, 2019 / 04:52 pm (CNA).- The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist had a problem.

They were running out of room at their convent in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they had been based since 1997.

It was a good problem to have, the result of a boom in young vocations. But it meant that the community of 140 sisters needed to expand.

With property in both California and Texas, the sisters prayerfully considered both options, ultimately deciding that God was calling them to open a new convent in the Georgetown, Texas.

Twenty-five miles north of Austin, Georgetown is in the Hill Country of the Lone Star State.

The sisters’ presence in Texas reaches back to 2009, when eight sisters came to teach in the Diocese of Austin, invited by then-Bishop of Austin Gregory Aymond. Members of the community currently teach in four Catholic schools in Texas.

“As our presence has steadily grown, our apostolate has flourished, enabling us to expand the work to which God has called us – to praise, to bless, and to preach through catechesis, evangelization, and witness,” the sisters said in a statement.

“Through it all, our hearts have been captured by the love of so many who have made all this possible through their sacrificial goodness.”

In 2012, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist began a $30 million capital campaign to fund the first phase of a new Religious House.

That phase was recently completed and is comprised of living space for 56 sisters, along with dining space, a gymnasium and library, and areas for education and community. Twelve sisters have moved in so far, the Dallas News reports.

The building was blessed in a Feb. 16 ceremony.

Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, head of the diocese where the sisters are from, presided over the ceremony. He was joined by bishops from around the state of Texas: Bishops Joe Vasquez of Austin, Michael Mulvey of Corpus Christi, Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Brendan Cahill of Victoria, and Stephen Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

The new home is named “Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent.”

“As patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe holds a special place in the heart of our own community as well,” the sisters explained in their statement.

“We seek her motherly protection and guidance as our Sisters take up residence, begin their studies, and continue to nurture and teach those entrusted to their care.”

The Texas convent marks the community’s first expansion beyond the Motherhouse since 1997, with more expansion projects planned.

“Never in our wildest imagination, did we ever think about being in Texas when we first started,” said Mother Assumpta Long in an interview in the Dallas News.

“I tell people that it's such an adventure to be religious because when you worship, you never know what he has in mind… All you do is trust and you follow him, but he had it all planned. We didn't have a clue.”

Costa Rican police raid Church offices after priests accused of sex abuse

1 week 3 days ago

San José, Costa Rica, Mar 7, 2019 / 04:49 pm (CNA).- The offices of the Archdiocese of San José and the Costa Rican bishops' conference were raided by police Thursday as part of an investigation of two priests accused of sex abuse.

The Judiciary Investigation Department confiscated computers and files March 7 in search of information regarding Fathers Manuel Antonio Guevara Fonseca and Mauricio Viquez Lizano, and proof of potential cover-up by Archbishop José Rafael Quiros Quiros of San Jose, according to the AP.

Viquez, 54, has been dismissed from the clerical state, the San José archdiocese announced March 4. Nine canonical complaints of sexual abuse of altar boys had been filed against him. He had been teaching at a local university, but he fled Costa Rica Jan. 7, and prosecutors in the country have issued an international arrest warrant.

Guevara, 52, was arrested earlier this month for one allegation of sexual abuse against a minor. He has been released from prison, but has strict regulations to follow and is suspended from his work at Santo Domingo de Heredia parish.

The 52 year-old priest was only kept in prison for one night, but he must check in with civil authorities once a month, cannot change addresses, and has surrendered his passport. He is also forbidden from any form of contact with the victim.

The Costa Rican bishops' conference issued a statement a day after his arrest, seeking forgiveness for a lack of an appropriate response in other sex abuse cases, according to Q Costa Rica.

“We humbly acknowledge our mistakes and ask forgiveness for the faults that have been painfully committed by some members of our church,” the bishops said.

Senators want study of 'non-compete' deals in low-wage jobs

1 week 3 days ago

Washington D.C., Mar 7, 2019 / 03:30 pm (CNA).- A bipartisan group of senators have written to the Government Accountability Office asking it to examine the use of non-compete agreements by employers when dealing with low-wage workers.

 

In a letter sent March 7,  Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Todd Young (R-IN) asked GAO comptroller general Gene Dodaro to review the practice non-compete agreements, and the effect these agreements have on the economy.

 

A non-compete agreement prevents or delays an employee from taking a new job either with certain competitors or in the same industry after his employment has ended. They are common in some fields as a measure to protect trade secrets and to lower turnover among employees, but the letter claims that the practice has expanded in recent years.

 

“We are requesting that GAO review the available research on the use of [non-compete] agreements and the impact of non-compete contracts on the nation’s workforce,” the senators wrote.

 

Specifically, the senators want the GAO to look at how prevalent non-compete agreements have become in lower-wage positions, and how these agreements impact the workforce and the economy as a whole.

 

The letter claims that 12 percent of workers earning less than $20,000 and 15 percent of workers earning between $20,000 and $40,000, have signed non-compete agreements. These employees may not know they will be subject to a non-compete agreement until after they have received a job offer, the letter explains.

 

Senator Rubio said on Thursday that the practice was in urgent need of review.

 

“It is unacceptable that non-compete agreements are being used to unnecessarily restrict entry-level workers from pursuing better employment opportunities,” Rubio said.

 

The senators also asked for a study of state-level measures taken steps to limit non-compete agreements, and how these have impacted local economies.

 

“The use of non-competes has spread from highly technical fields into less technical and lower wage work, where they might reduce wage and benefit competition among employers and restrict employee’s upward mobility--for no good reason,” said the letter.

 

The head of the Catholic Social Workers’ National Association said the practice of forcing employees, especially lower-wage employees, to sign non-compete agreements is contrary to America’s founding ideals and violates the rights of workers.

 

“According to Catholic Social Teachings, our economy must serve the people,” Kathleen Neher, co-founder and president of the CSWNA, told CNA.

 

“Work provides more than money, it provides a sense of community, dignity and participation in God's creation.The basic rights of workers must be respected, which includes helping them grow and achieve their dreams,” she said.


Non-compete agreements, she said, only increase the pressures faced by lower-wage workers who, Neher said, often are people students or people with fewer academic qualifications.

 

“We live in America, the land of opportunity,” Neher said. “We should never place limits on possibilities for growth.”

 

She warned that restrictions on workers like non-compete agreements would have negative impacts on their mental health, and the economy as a whole. Workers, she explained, achieve more when given the chance to do so.

 

“Lower-level employment is there to teach and guide employees so they can move up the ladder of success,” she said, which would result in higher tax revenue and more money being spent in the community.

Pope Francis: Abuse revelations are purifying the Church

1 week 3 days ago

Rome, Italy, Mar 7, 2019 / 03:01 pm (CNA).- God is purifying his Church through the painful revelations of the abuse scandals, so do not be discouraged, Pope Francis said Thursday in a meeting with the priests of the Diocese of Rome.

“Sin disfigures us, and we experience with pain the humiliating experience of when we ourselves or one of our brother priests or bishops falls into the bottomless pits of vice, corruption or, worse still, of the crime that destroys the lives of others,” he said March 7.

Speaking in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, Francis told the priests of the Rome diocese that he feels with them “the unbearable pain and suffering that the wave of scandals – which the whole world’s newspapers are now full of – causes in us and in the whole ecclesial body.”

“Still, do not be discouraged! The Lord is purifying his Bride and is converting us all to himself,” he continued, stating that this “test” is to help them understand that without God “we are dust.”

“It is saving us from hypocrisy, from the spirituality of appearances. He is blowing his Spirit to restore beauty to his Bride, surprised in flagrant adultery,” he added.

Referencing a part of his homily for the closing Mass of the Feb. 21-24 Vatican summit on the protection of minors in the Church, he said the “true meaning of what is happening is to be found in the spirit of evil, in the Enemy.”

The pope’s remarks were made the same day Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon was convicted of failing to report allegations abuse by a priest of his archdiocese, and days before Cardinal George Pell will be sentenced in Australia for an abuse conviction handed down in December.

The convictions are the latest developments as revelations of clerical sex abuse and cover up continue to send shock waves through the Catholic Church. The United States, Ireland, Australia, Chile, Argentina and Germany are among the countries that have seen recent abuse scandals uncovered.

Pope Francis meets with the priests of the Diocese of Rome every year at the start of Lent. In a change from past meetings, he forwent responding to questions from the priests, opting instead to give both prepared and un-prepared remarks. He also heard the confessions of several priests.

Reflecting on Confession and the sinfulness of priests, the pope said God “never tires of using us to offer reconciliation to people.”

“We are the poorest sinners, yet God takes us to intercede for our brothers and to distribute to human beings, through our hands, not at all innocent, the salvation that renews,” he said.

He also reflected on the temptation to self-sufficiency, calling it a “holy mirror.”

“We must never cease to warn each other of the temptation of self-sufficiency and self-satisfaction, as if we were People of God for our own initiative or our own merit,” he said, adding that “we are and always will be the fruit of the Lord’s merciful action.”

“The Master told us: ‘without me you cannot do anything!’ … I am not the center of activities, even the center of prayer, so many times ... No, no, He is the center,” he reminded.

“This is why this time of Lent is truly a grace: it allows us to relocate before God, letting him be everything.”

Bishop Barron: Proclaim the Gospel more boldly in times of crisis

1 week 3 days ago

Rome, Italy, Mar 7, 2019 / 01:41 pm (CNA).- Bishop Robert Barron said Thursday that rather than becoming hesitant in sharing the Gospel, the Catholic Church should proclaim the truth even more boldly “during these times of crisis.”

“Wounds have got to be addressed and healed. If we just turn the other way or cover that up, that is not going to help the project,” Barron told CNA March 7.

“It is a precarious time. It is a time when a lot of us feel threatened in a way. It has affected me … but my sense has always been during these times of crisis, we bring the Gospel forward more boldly,” he said.

Barron, an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, is known for his Catholicism video series and online YouTube video apostolate, which he said began at a time when the American Church was beginning to grapple with clerical sex abuse. In response, his ministry, Word on Fire, leads with the beauty and the intellectual depth of the Catholic faith.

“This is the moment for novelty and creativity and simplicity in the best sense, the return to the Gospel basics,” Barron said.

The American bishop was in Rome to receive an honorary doctorate from the Angelicum, the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, on the 745th anniversary of Aquinas’ death.

“Among the saints, [Aquinas] is the greatest and the most intimate of my spiritual friends, and he has followed me all of my life long,” Barron said in his homily at the Angelicum’s Church of St. Dominic and Sixtus.

The bishop reflected that St. Thomas Aquinas taught him that “the person of wisdom is one who sees the world from the standpoint of the highest cause.”

“What happens to all of us sinners is that we see the world from the standpoint of all kinds of proximate causes,” he explained.

“We start seeing our life in terms of power and honor and wealth, privilege and worldly success, and then we fret and we worry and we spend hours and hours of our lives preoccupied with secondary and relatively unimportant things.”

“But when we see our lives and our world from the standpoint of the highest cause, from God's point of view, that same kind of peace and serenity ... invades our souls,” he said.

This high viewpoint, he added, is ultimately “the hilltop of Calvary” from which we “see the whole world from the standpoint of self-emptying love.”

Bishop Barron’s lecture at the Angelicum University offered a Thomistic response to a postmodern critique that a person’s gift-giving can never be completely altruistic.

“What makes all the difference in the particular Christian claim … is that divine manner can through grace become our being and action,” he explained. This occurs through the divine “indwelling of the one whose proper name is donum, gift,” he said, referring to the Holy Spirit.

Barron told CNA that this is just one of the ways Aquinas can help to bring truth and clarity to our culture permeated by postmodern ideas, like today’s “culture of self-invention.”

“Most young people in America would believe that that there's your truth, my truth, but there is no real objective truth, and so I make it up. I think that is the form of postmodernism that is really dangerous,” he said.

“If there is no real truth, there is no real goodness, there is no objective value … Aquinas would stand with the great classical tradition, the Biblical tradition in affirming the objectivity of truth and value, and the idea is not to make it up on my own, but to learn to love it,” he continued.

“When you fall in love with objective value, that is when life gets very wonderful. You get outside of the narrow range of your own preoccupations and you fall in love with something that calls to you from beyond your ego,” Barron said.

States debate life and death laws

1 week 3 days ago

Annapolis, Md., Mar 7, 2019 / 11:45 am (CNA).- Legislators in Maryland are considering a bill to legalize physician assisted suicide. At the same time, Georgia lawmakers have advanced a bill that would ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. The two measures are the latest in a rolling series of state-level laws on life issues across the country.

In Georgia, the fetal heartbeat bill advanced through the House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday by a vote of 17 to 14. All Republican members of the committee voted for the bill, and all Democrat members of the committee voted against. Legislative deadlines mean that a vote on the bill must take place by the end of Thursday, March 7.

 

The bill includes exceptions for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest--which would be demonstrated by a police report filed by the woman--as well as for pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother or are deemed to be “medically futile.”

 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) had promised abortion restrictions during his campaign, and his website states that he is supportive of legislation that would prohibit abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat.

 

Georgia’s General Assembly has a Republican majority in both houses. If the bill were to be voted on, it is likely that it would pass, and be signed into law by Gov. Kemp.

 

However, even if passed, it is unlikely the law would go into effect. In other states that have considered similar laws, legal challenges have prevented legislation from going into effect.

 

In Tennessee, the state’s Catholic bishops recently issued a statement saying that they were opposed to the Tennessee legislature passing a “Heartbeat Bill” as it would result in a costly legal challenge that the state would lose.

 

In order for the “heartbeat bills” to be found constitutional, the Supreme Court would have to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that found a woman had a constitutional right to have an abortion.

 

Meanwhile, three states further north, Maryland lawmakers are in the midst of passing the “End of Life Option Act,” which would permit those with terminal illnesses to end their own lives with medication from a doctor.

 

The “End of Life Option Act” would require that adults seeking to die be deemed “mentally capable,” in severe pain and have a prognosis of less than six months life expectancy, before they can be prescribed life-ending drugs.

 

The bill has previously been proposed several times, but it did not receive approval from two House committees--the Health and Government Operations Committee and the Judiciary Committee--until this year.

 

The “End of Life Option Act” has 68 co-sponsors--three short of the number required to assure passage of the legislation. The bill’s lead sponsor, Del. Shane Pendergrass (D-Howard County) told a local Fox station before the vote that she was “never confident [about the result] until the vote is taken.”

 

The bill, which received preliminary approval by the House of Delegates on March 6, passed a full vote of the House on Thursday by a margin of 74-66.

 

While the majority of the bill’s co-sponsors were Democrats, the measure did not have unanimous party support.

 

Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-Baltimore County), voiced her opposition to the bill, saying that it was “not up to us to say when your life should end” and that she did not think the state should assist with suicide.

 

The bill will now be considered by the state Senate.

 

Assisted suicide currently is legal in six states and the District of Columbia.

 

The separate bills in Maryland and Georgia are the latest in a wider national trend of increased and opposed life legislation in 2019.

 

In January, New York passed a sweeping abortion law which codified a right to an abortion, and removed abortion from the state’s criminal code. Vermont passed a similar law in February. Efforts to pass similar legislation failed in Virginia, but are continuing in Rhode Island.

 

In Tennessee, a bill that would ban abortion after the detection of a heartbeat passed in the state’s House of Representatives on Thursday. Ohio lawmakers reintroduced the “heartbeat bill” in February after it was vetoed by Gov. John Kasich (R) in 2018.

 

This story has been updated.

French cardinal to resign after conviction for failing to report abuse

1 week 4 days ago

Lyon, France, Mar 7, 2019 / 03:50 am (CNA).- French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, was found guilty Thursday of failing to report to authorities the alleged sexual abuse of a priest in his diocese. He was given a six-month suspended prison sentence. The cardinal has announced that he will resign his diocesan position.

French tribunal president Brigitte Vernay declared Barbarin guilty March 7 “of non-denunciation of ill-treatment” of a minor, according to AFP. Barbarin was not present in court for the verdict.

Five other archdiocesan officials on trial with Barbarin were acquitted March 7. Barbarin was also expected to be acquitted after even the prosecutor of the case argued there was no proof of the cardinal’s legal wrongdoing and therefore no grounds for conviction, the Associated Press reports.

The cardinal will appeal the verdict, according to AP. Barbarin’s lawyer, Jean-Felix Luciani, said Thursday about the conviction that "this is a decision that is not fair at the juridical level." Implying hope in the success of an appeal, he stated: "We hope that at the next step, justice will be done."

In a press conference after the verdict March 7, Barbarin told journalists that he will soon meet with Pope Francis and intends to submit to him his resignation as Archbishop of Lyon.

Barbarin also said that "after the decision of the court, regardless of my personal fate, I want to reiterate first of all compassion for the victims and the whole place that they and their families have in my prayers."

The trial against Barbarin began in January on charges he did not report facts of abuse to judicial authorities between July 2014 and June 2015, in a case involving Fr. Bernard Preynat, who has been accused of abusing dozens of minors in the 1980s and early '90s.

In 2017, the cardinal told Le Monde that he did not conceal allegations against Preynat, but said that his response to the allegations had been “inadequate.” He said he opened an investigation against Preynat after becoming aware of the allegations against him.

Allegations against Preynat became public in 2015. Prosecutors dropped the case the following year after an initial investigation, but a victims’ group with more than 80 members who say they were abused by Preynat led to a reopening of the case, the Guardian reports.

Preynat was banned from leading boy scout groups in the early 1990s, but remained in ministry until being removed by Cardinal Barbarin in 2015.

The priest has acknowledged abusing minors, according to the Guardian, and will face trial later this year.

Cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was also ordered to testify in the case. In October, the Vatican invoked diplomatic immunity in refusing to deliver a French court summons to Ladaria, saying that as a minister of Vatican City State, he is protected under international law.

The court summons had involved a letter Ladaria sent to Barbarin, advising him to take disciplinary action against Preynat, “while avoiding public scandal.”

The plaintiffs’ lawyers wanted Ladaria to testify as to whether the direction to prevent scandal was intended as an injunction to avoid going to court, in which case they accuse the CDF prefect of being complicit in failing to report the allegedly abusive priest to authorities.

Barbarin’s trial comes as revelations of clerical sex abuse and cover up continue to send shock waves through the Catholic Church. The United States, Ireland, Australia, Chile, Argentina and Germany are among the countries that have seen recent abuse scandals uncovered.

 

This story was updated with the statement of Barbarin at 6:32 AM MST.