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Archive for March 2010

Maciel can no longer be considered a Christian model

Father Maciel can no longer be considered a model of Christian life, the Legionaries of Christ have said about their founder.

In a statement published by the Legion’s leaders yesterday, they said:

For his own mysterious reasons, God chose Fr Maciel as an instrument to found the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, and we thank God for the good he did. At the same time, we accept and regret that, given the gravity of his faults, we cannot take his person as a model of Christian or priestly life.

Christ condemns the sin but seeks to save the sinner. We take him as our model, convinced of the meaning and beauty of forgiveness, and we entrust our founder to God’s merciful love.

The Legion’s leaders said they were grateful for the Apostolic Visitation which Pope Benedict launched into the order last year, apologised again for their founder’s misconduct and acknowleded the facts.
The Apostolic Visitation of the beleagured Legion of Christ drew to a close in the middle of this month as the Catholic News Service reports here. Five bishops were given the task of looking into the order’s workings, its founder Marcial Maciel’s sexual misconduct, whether the founder’s charism was too tied up with the order and so on. They submitted their report on March 15.

The Legionaries statement also said:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by annaarco

March 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Lourdes director, Jessica Hausner

My interview with Jessica Hausner is now up.


The Catholic Commentary blogger, who has seen the film and offers an interesting analysis here, says: “It is a quite enjoyable film to see and does, in my view, represent a genuine encounter of the producer with the phenomenon of Lourdes. The film’s credits suggest a considerable collaboration with the Shrine, and scenes are shot in Lourdes itself. That having been said, I think it would be wrong to view it as being a religious film or as being a film about Lourdes as a religious phenomenon – see the interview with Jessica Hausner to see what I am getting at here. Nevertheless, that a producer such as Jessica Hausner is willing to engage with Lourdes is something that I find quite fascinating.”

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March 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm

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Lourdes: an exercise in theodicy

Lourdes, a new film about the French Marian shrine from a secular art-house perspective, has won acclaim in the secular press and prizes on the independent film circuit.

In the film, Christine (Sylvie Testud), a young woman who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and is confined to her wheelchair, travels to Lourdes with the Order of Malta. We learn that Christine goes on pilgrimages in order to travel (It’s not easy to travel in a wheelchair, she says) and that she preferred Rome to Lourdes. She is not particularly religious. The pilgrims do all the typical Lourdes things, visit the baths, pray, go to confession, Benediction, Mass.

Madame Hartl, an elderly and pious lady who shares a room with Christine, starts looking after her. She wheels Christine to the front of the crowd at Benediction, prays for her, makes sure she goes to the baths. A miracle happens and Christine is able to walk again.

America Magazine’s Fr James Martin (chaplain to the Colbert Report and author of My Life with the Saints) gives the film a rave review.

For him, the film perfectly depicts the humanity and reality of Lourdes. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by annaarco

March 24, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Remembering Oscar Romero’s death

Thirty years ago today Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed while he was celebrating Mass in the Cathedral of San Salvador in Central American country of El Salvador.  Archbishop Romero was a figure of great strength and hope in the Church of El Salvador before he was killed–he denounced the violence of the Left and the Right. He is one of those rare figures in the 20th Century church who is liked by those on the Right and the Left (in ecclesiastical terms). The bishops of San Salvador asked the Vatican to speed up Archbishop Romero’s Cause for Beatification. It is now in its 15th year. Read the rest of this entry »

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March 24, 2010 at 12:30 am

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Abuse: Irish letter on Saturday, CDF guidelines underway, Zollitsch defends Pope

As clerical abuse stories continue to dominate the news — with Ireland’s Cardinal Sean Brady apologising for abuse yesterday amidst calls for his resignation while a senior Irish churchman said that he would not necessarily report an abusive priest to the police on a television programme — the Vatican is gearing into action.

John Allen offers a really good piece explaining Pope Benedict’s attitudes to clerical abuse and why the case in his former diocese  of Munich matters to the way in which he can effectively tackle the problem.

Yesterday the Holy See announced the publication of the Pope’s Letter to the Irish Bishops which will be addressing the Irish abuse crisis, but is understood to address abuse on a wider level as scandals unfold across Europe and now Brazil.  The Pope will sign it on Friday and it is due to appear on Saturday in English and Italian. Rome watchers expected it to be published in Holy Week, so it looks like the Pope — who is slow and considered — is trying to move as quickly as he can on this.

“As you know”, said Pope Benedict XVI announcing the letter, “in recent months the Church in Ireland has been severely shaken as a result of the child abuse crisis. As a sign of my deep concern I have written a Pastoral Letter dealing with this painful situation. I will sign it on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the guardian of the Holy Family and patron of the Universal Church, and send it soon after. I ask all of you to read it for yourselves, with an open heart and in a spirit of faith. My hope is that it will help in the process of repentance, healing and renewal”.

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Papal visit details announced today

Here is the full joint statement of the bishops of England and Wales and HMs Government about the Papal visit in September. And here is the new website where most of the announcements regarding the Papal visit will be made.

The UK Government and the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Scotland, England and Wales today welcomed the forthcoming visit to the United Kingdom of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. At a joint press conference, they said that the Papal Visit represents an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen ties between the UK and the Holy See on global initiatives, as well as the important role of faith in creating strong communities.

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Written by annaarco

March 16, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Lombardi addresses German abuse scandal

This was sent out on the Vatican Bolletino email but doesn’t seem to be on the Vatican website yet. Fr Federico Lombardi SJ spoke about the developing, ever widening clerical sex abuse scandals in Germany, Austria, Holland and Ireland. He addressed the German Government’s criticism of the Church, and has said that the Church would bring its painful experience of dealing with sexual abuse cases to the round-table to discuss the issues.Rocco Palmo has the whole story here. Read the rest of this entry »

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March 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Sister Agnes Walsh honoured as British Hero of the Holocaust

Brilliant. Sister Agnes Walsh, the Daughter of Charity from Hull, I wrote about last year, is being honoured as a British Hero of the Holocaust by the Prime Minister at Downing Street today. The posthumous award is being given for Sister Agnes’s efforts to help the Cremieux family escape persecution while she was stationed in a convent in Cadouin in France during the war. She was recognised as Righteous among Nations by Yad Vashem in 1990 at the age of 94. She died in 1993 in Mill Hill, London. Two Daughters of Charity went to the Downing Street event to collect the silver medallion which bears the legend “for services to humanity”.

Read about Sister Agnes here

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March 9, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Atavistic tribes: England should be a Catholic country

Last night’s Spectator debate was stressful in parts, cheek-clutchingly painful in others but also stomach-clutchingly funny, snortingly, chortlingly, chucklingly hilarious at moments. At these debates, the punters come in with their for-or-against cards and are asked their opinion as they come in the door.

Oh my godfathers, Dom Antony Sutch was running out of time, with his booming funny but serious speech urging the audience in favour of unity (selling indulgences for swing-votes), taking up a theme from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s thoughtful speech.

The Cardinal argued that the starting point should not be the Reformation (which had robbed England of her tradition and heritage) but rather the moment in 1982 when Pope John Paul II knelt together with The Right Revd Dr Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury in front of the tomb of St Thomas a Becket. The author Piers Paul Read was left with the more difficult and less popular task of arguing about Catholic moral teaching, which my colleague Ed West describes on his blog.

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In the US, TAC makes first steps are made towards an ordinariate

Over on the Anglo-Catholic blog, there is news of the Traditional Anglican Communion formally requesting the establishment of a personal ordinariate in the United States. The Anglicans belonging to the American branch of the TAC have decided to take up the offer made in the Pope’s November decree Anglicanorum coetibus.

Here is the statement that appeared on the Anglo-Cath blog:
We, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America of the Traditional Anglican Communion have met in Orlando, Florida, together with our Primate and the Reverend Christopher Phillips of the “Anglican Use” Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement (San Antonio, Texas) and others.

At this meeting, the decision was made formally to request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum cœtibus in the United States of America by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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March 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm