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Anti-papal media reports on child abuse refuted
The priest who presided over the canonical trial of the late American priest Father Lawrence Murphy, whose case has prompted heavy media criticism of Pope Benedict XVI, has written a critique of the New York Times account of that case (the main basis for Australian media reports).
Father Thomas Brundage, judicial vicar for the Milwaukee Archdiocese at the time of the Murphy trial, revealed, contrary to the Times report, that the canonical trial was never halted - by the Vatican or archdiocese - and Father Murphy was a defendant at the time of his death.
Father Brundage said he was never contacted by reporters to verify details of the case, although his name appears on documents about the trial. Moreover, the statements attributed to him in the New York Times article were taken from handwritten notes - written not by himself but by someone else.
In his critique, Father Brundage explained that he had come forward with his account for these reasons:
To tell the back-story of what actually happened in the Father Murphy case on the local level.
To outline the sloppy and inaccurate reporting by the New York Times and other media outlets.
To assert that Pope Benedict XVI has done more than any other pope or bishop in history to rid the Catholic Church of the scourge of child sexual abuse and provide for those who have been injured.
To set the record straight with regard to the efforts made by the Church to heal the wounds caused by clergy sexual misconduct; and the fact that the Catholic Church is probably the safest place for children at this point in history.
Catholic World News
Benedict XVI: parents key to our identity
During his address to members of the Scandinavian episcopal conference on their ad limina visit in March Benedict XVI underlined the importance of the family and the need for children to discover their identity through parental relationships.
'Sadly', said the Pope, 'recent years have seen a weakening of the commitment to the institution of marriage and the Christian understanding of human sexuality that for so long served as the foundation of personal and social relations in European society.
'Children have the right to be conceived and carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up within marriage. It is through the secure and recognised relationship to their own parents that they can discover their identity and achieve their proper human development.
'In societies with a noble tradition of defending the rights of all their members, one would expect this fundamental right of children to be given priority over any supposed right of adults to impose on them alternative models of family life and certainly over any supposed right to abortion.
'Since the family is the first and indispensable teacher of peace, the most reliable promoter of social cohesion and the best school of the virtues of good citizenship, it is in the interests of all, and especially of governments, to defend and promote stable family life.'
Zenit News Agency
Canadian Anglicans move towards Rome
On 12 March, leaders of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) in Canada sent a letter to Benedict XVI formally requesting to become unified with the Catholic Church.
Bishop Peter Wilkinson of the TAC Diocese of British Columbia, who authored the 12 March letter, discussed the Pope's Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus in an interview.
He said that when the Pope's document first came out, 'I had Lutherans calling me saying, 'How do we get in on this?' And Orthodox (Christians) saying, 'How do we get in on this?'
'It is a worldwide movement largely brought about by the vision of John Paul II' and 'the wonderful, gentle, firm, intellectual vision of Pope Benedict, who is such an inspiration to us.'
The Canadian TAC's letter said, 'We have all read and studied with care the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus with the Complementary Norms and the accompanying Commentary, and now, in response to your invitation to contact your Dicastery to begin the process you lay out, we respectfully ask that the Apostolic Constitution be implemented in Canada ...'.
With approximately 60 bishops, the TAC has parishes in 13 provinces across Canada.
March for life in Spain
Almost one million Spaniards marched in cities across the country on 7 March defending the right to life of the unborn and demanding that the government revoke Spain's new law on abortion recently passed by the Senate and signed by King Juan Carlos. Over 300 pro-life organisations collaborated in the 'International March for Life 2010.'
The largest march took place in Madrid, where 600,000 people, including many families, dressed in red t-shirts and carrying signs and banners.
The event in Madrid concluded with the reading of a manifesto by journalist Sonsoles Calavera demanding the government revoke the new law on abortion - now the most liberal in all of Europe.
Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla of Alcala de Henares pointed out that by signing a bill into law that dramatically liberalises abortion in Spain, King Juan Carlos had actively cooperated with the evil of abortion.
Despite numerous requests that the Spanish monarch refuse to sign the bill, King Juan Carlos put his signature to the new measure during a private ceremony. The law will take effect on 5 July.
Catholic News Agency
Polish bishops on Catholic pro-abortion politicians
A document released by the Polish Episcopal Conference late last year emphasises the Church's teaching on marriage and the family, and gives a very clear and straightforward reminder to Catholic politicians that if they violate basic moral directives on life or family rights issues in the public sphere, they risk excommunication.
The document, titled, To Serve the Truth about Marriage and Family, affirms the need for politicians to defend human life, and emphasises the Church's teaching that supporting abortion entails automatic excommunication and that it is a sacrilege for pro-abortion Catholic politicians to receive Communion.
The document also strongly condemns such evils as abortion, in vitro fertilisation, embryonic experimentation, divorce and promiscuity.
'As John Paul II was saying just before he died, we are witnessing very strong, organised attacks on marriage and family, which could also serve to destroy the Christian spirit of Europe,' said Father Andrzej Rebacz, head of the Episcopate Council for Family Affairs and the National Chaplain for Families.
Cardinal Levada on the goal of ecumenism
The goal of ecumenism is union with the Catholic Church, a union that transforms the Church by enriching it, said Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
He expressed this view during an address at Queen's University in Canada, on 6 March, on Benedict XVI's document Anglicanorum Coetibus.
The Cardinal noted how for many Anglicans, 'Anglicanorum Coetibus is something of a logical development in the work that has been carried out in ecumenical dialogue between Anglicans and Catholics since the Second Vatican Council.'
However, this was stalled when the Anglican Communion went ahead with the ordination of women and the approval of homosexual activity.
The crux of these two issues, Cardinal Levada observed, was the question of authority, particularly in two points: Does the revelation of God in Jesus Christ and in Scripture intend to let us know God's will in a way that requires our obedience? And secondly, has God, in Christ, left his Church, an authority by which it can assure that it can know the correct meaning of revelation, amid sometimes varying human interpretations?
He added that the 'very process of working towards union works a change in churches and ecclesial communities that engage one another in dialogue, and actual instances of entering into communion do indeed transform the Catholic Church by way of enrichment.'
Cardinal Levada compared the reception of Anglican communities into the Catholic Church to the addition of an instrument to an orchestra. Professing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, these communities will play the same doctrinal notes, yet will enrich the orchestra with another sound.
'These considerations help us appreciate the Catholic Church's insistence that there is no opposition between ecumenical action and the preparation of people for full reception into Catholic communion.'
Catholic News Agency
Christians 'treated like animals' in Pakistan
An official of the Pakistani Bishops' Conference has called upon the international community to exert pressure upon Pakistan's government and defend the nation's beleaguered Christian minority.
'In Pakistan, Christians suffer and see their lives in danger every day,' said Father John Shakir Nadeem, secretary of the bishops' commission for social communications. 'In some areas, believers are treated like animals, in slavery or subjected to harassment, violence, and forced conversions.
'There is a widespread phenomenon of kidnapping of Christian girls, with death threats to the poorest families,' he continued. 'Their abduction is followed by conversion and forced marriage.'
The situation, he said, varies between urban and rural areas. Christians in the cities - even in a general context of discrimination - live together in neighbourhoods called 'colonies' and have access to education, social services, and work. About 30% of the Christian population can also make their way in society, even though they remain exposed to terrorist attacks against churches and Christian areas.
In remote villages and rural areas, Fr Nadeem added, the situation is very different. 'Small Christian groups, often poor, marginalised, and illiterate, suffer the oppression of the Muslim majority and are under the rule of others who make their profit by bullying, rape, slavery, murder É Christians are often subject to false accusations of blasphemy, to threats of conversion, violence against women, property and possessions.'
Catholic World News
UK laws force Catholic adoption centres to close
Church leaders are defending the last remaining Catholic adoption agency in England and Wales against homosexual equality laws that will force it to close. They say children in the agency's care will suffer, charging that the government is trying to force the agency to disregard Church teaching.
In March, three bishops said that they were taking the case of the Catholic Care adoption agency to the High Court.
Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, Bishop John Rawsthorne of Hallam and Bishop Terry Drainey of Middlesbrough, said in a letter read at Masses that the government was trying to force the agency to operate 'with disregard to the Church's teaching on marriage and family life.'
They said the agency consistently placed 'some of the most vulnerable children' in a service that has operated for over 100 years. But despite this work, the bishops charged, 'we are being invited either to stop our adoption work or stop being a Catholic charity altogether.'
Catholic Care serves the dioceses of Leeds, Middlesbrough and Hallam and is the only one of 11 Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales that is continuing to fight the Sexual Orientation Regulations. The 2007 law barred discrimination against homosexual couples in the provisions of goods and services.
The law obliged Catholic adoption agencies to assess homosexual couples as potential adopters or foster parents. Because of Catholic teaching on homosexuality, adoption agencies have either been closed or disaffiliated from the Church.
Catholic News Agency
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 23 No 4 (May 2010), p. 4
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