Philippines: New Floods Hinder Recovery in Wake of Typhoon Haiyan

Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014
Independent Catholic News

Massive flooding in the Philippines is hindering the efforts of people to rebuild their lives in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, says Christian Aid. Tropical Depression Agaton has brought heavy rain and fierce winds, causing widespread flooding and landfalls which are affecting more than 900,000 people across southern and central parts of the island chain.
Many were already living in temporary shelters and struggling to earn a living following Haiyan, which displaced 4.1million and left over 6,000 dead in November.

Church wants to be ‘Example of Best Practice’ in Combating Abuse

The Tablet

16 January 2014 12:54 by Liz Dodd and Robert Mickens

The Catholic Church wants to be “an example of best practice” in the prevention of child abuse and the defence of childhood, a Vatican official told a UN committee in an unprecedented encounter in Geneva today.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s envoy to the UN, made the statement in response to questions put to him and a delegation of four others, including Bishop Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s former chief prosecutor of sexual abuse.

It was the first time that the Vatican has been confronted publicly about the Holy See’s record on tackling child sex abuse by clergy.

What difference will the Vatican’s grilling at the UN make?

The Tablet
16 January 2014 by Abigail Frymann

Today was a first in some ways – but not in as many as some would have hoped. It was the first time the Vatican has publicly had to account for its handling of waves of allegations of abuse by priests. Campaigners such as Barbara Blaine the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests hailed it as a huge milestone.

But as Bishop Charles Scicluna, for ten years the Vatican official in charge of prosecuting abuse cases, and Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s man in Geneva, appeared before the UN committee on Protection on Rights of the Child, some lines were all to familiar.

Archbishop Tomasi said that the Vatican could not be held responsible for the actions of priests in the way that an employer is, because priests aren’t employees as such; thus Vatican City State can’t be held to account for what’s done outside its borders.

O’Brien should be forgiven, says incoming Bishop of Dunkeld

The Tablet
17 January 2014 14:51 by Brian Morton

The new Bishop of Dunkeld says that not to forgive Cardinal Keith O’Brien would be “gravely wrong” but that the disgraced archbishop needs to make reparation for the harm he has done.
Speaking after his installation at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Dundee, last week, Bishop Stephen Robson acknowledged that “hypocrisy” was the greatest criticism facing the Church in Scotland.

Cardinal O’Brien, who resigned following allegations of sexual misconduct made by priests, had been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage.

Bishop Robson worked with Cardinal O’Brien for 35 years.

What the New Cardinals tell us About the Future

The Irish Catholic 16th January 2014
Unsurprisingly, Ireland didn’t get a new cardinal when Pope Francis announced the latest clerics to be preferred at the weekend. Nor did the Pope appoint a female cardinal, despite confident predictions from people who should know better that two middle class Irishwomen were poised to be appointed to the College of Cardinals. Ireland is unlikely to get a new red hat until Cardinal Seán Brady turns 80 in 2019.

Pope Francis’ first biglietto of new cardinals represents a long-term vision for change rather than a dramatic seismic shift. There is a decisive geographical shift towards Latin America, Africa and Asia, but, the Pope has also shown himself to be a respecter of convention and tradition by appointing four senior members of the Roman Curia to the College of Cardinals.

Catholic higher education in North under threat – University Head

The Irish Catholic – by Cathal Barry 16th January 2014The principal of the North’s only Catholic higher education institution has expressed concern that an education review could pose a threat to the future of his college.

Prof. Peter Finn, head of St Mary’s University College, Belfast, has also accused the North’s Higher Education Minister Stephen Farry of being “on a mission” to shut the teacher training facility.

Minister Farry has said the existing system of five separate teacher training providers in the North is unsustainable and has appointed an expert panel to examine the case for reform.

It isn’t easy being gay and Catholic

The Irish Catholic

Early in his still young pontificate, Pope Francis remarked that we should spend a little less time talking about abortion and homosexuality and more time talking about the message of love in the Gospel. For many Catholics, the remarks might have been something of a surprise, as it is not very often that priests or bishops stick their necks out on such controversial issues. Those who continue to talk about these things most ceaselessly are not Catholics themselves but the Church’s critics, including her internal critics. The latest prominent figure to attack the Church on the issue of homosexuality is no less than the former President Mary McAleese.

Mrs McAleese made a variety of points and all reasonable people can agree on one of them. Gay people do continue to face real discrimination and difficulties on account of their sexuality. Most of my gay friends have experienced this first-hand in one or other of its forms and like quite a few others I’ve been on the receiving end of homophobic violence myself. We should not forget about these things just because attitudes are very swiftly moving in the other direction. There would be no difficulty if Mrs McAleese had limited herself to a reminder that the Catechism of the Church teaches that gay men and women must be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity”. She could have added that anyone in the Church who sets out to make gay people feel unwelcome is betraying this very clear point of teaching. However, she went a great deal further than that. Her comments are unfair to priests and the Church and muddled on the nature of the Church’s message.