Thursday, February 21, 2019

Saint February 22 : Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle - 1st Pope of the Church

From the earliest times the Church at Rome celebrated on 18 January the memory of the day when the Apostle held his first service with the faithful of the Eternal City. According to Duchesne and de Rossi, the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" (Weissenburg manuscript) reads as follows: "XV KL. FEBO. Dedicatio cathedræ sci petri apostoli qua primo Rome petrus apostolus sedit" (fifteenth day before the calends of February, the dedication of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle in which Peter the Apostle first sat at Rome). The Epternach manuscript (Codex Epternacensis) of the same work, says briefly: "cath. petri in roma" (the Chair of Peter in Rome).
In its present (ninth-century) form the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" gives a second feast of the Chair of St. Peter for 22 February, but all the manuscripts assign it to Antioch, not to Rome. Thus the oldest manuscript, that of Berne, says: "VIII kal. mar. cathedræ sci petri apostoli qua sedit apud antiochiam". The Weissenburg manuscript says: "Natl [natale] sci petri apostoli cathedræ qua sedit apud antiocia." However, the words qua sedit apud antiochiam are seen at once to be a later addition. Both feasts are Roman; indeed, that of 22 February was originally the more important. This is clear from the Calendar of Philocalus drawn up in the year 354, and going back to the year 311; it makes no mention of the January feast but speaks thus of 22 February: "VIII Kl. Martias: natale Petri de cathedra" (eighth day before the Calends of March, the birthday [i.e. feast] of the Chair of Peter). It was not until after the insertion of Antioch in the copies of the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" that the feast of February gave way in importance to that of January. The Roman Church, therefore, at an early date celebrated a first and a second assumption of the episcopal office in Rome by St. Peter. This double celebration was also held in two places, in the Vatican Basilica and in a cemetery (coemeterium) on the Via Salaria. At both places a chair (cathedra) was venerated which the Apostle had used as presiding officer of the assembly of the faithful. The first of these chairs stood in the Vatican Basilica, in the baptismal chapel built by Pope Damasus; the neophytes in albis (white baptismal robes) were led from the baptistery to the pope seated on this ancient cathedra, and received from him the consignatio, i.e. the Sacrament of Confirmation. Reference is made to this custom in an inscription of Damasus which contains the line: "una Petri sedes, unum verumque lavacrum" (one Chair of Peter, one true font of baptism). St. Ennodius of Pavia (d. 521) speaks of it thus ("Libellus pro Synodo", near the end): "Ecce nunc ad gestatoriam sellam apostolicæ confessionis uda mittunt limina candidatos; et uberibus gaudio exactore fletibus collata Dei beneficio dona geminantur" (Behold now the neophytes go from the dripping threshold to the portable chair of the Apostolic confession; amid abundant tears called forth by joy the gifts of Divine grace are doubled). While therefore in the apse of the Vatican Basilica there stood a cathedra on which the pope sat amid the Roman clergy during the pontifical Mass, there was also in the same building a second cathedra from which the pope administered to the newly baptized the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Chair of St. Peter in the apse was made of marble and was built into the wall, that of the baptistery was movable and could be carried. Ennodius calls the latter a gestatoria sedes; throughout the Middle Ages it was always brought on 22 February from the above-mentioned consignatorium or place of confirmation to the high altar. That day the pope did not use the marble cathedra at the back of the apse but sat on this movable cathedra, which was, consequently, made of wood. The importance of this feast was heightened by the fact that 22 February was considered the anniversary of the day when Peter bore witness, by the Sea of Tiberias, to the Divinity of Christ and was again appointed by Christ to be the Rock of His Church. According to very ancient Western liturgies, 22 February was the day "quo electus est 1. Petrus papa" (on which Peter was first chosen pope). The Mass of this feast calls it at the beginning: "solemnitatis prædicandæ dies præcipue nobilis in quo . . . . beatus Bar-Jona voce Redemptoris fide devotâ prælatus est et per hanc Petri petram basis ecclesiæ fixus est", i.e. this day is called especially praiseworthy because on it the blessed Bar-Jona, by reason of his devout faith, was raised to pre-eminence by the words of the Redeemer, and through this rock of Peter was established the foundation of the Church. And the Oratio (collect) says: "Deus, qui hodiernâ die beatum Petrum post te dedisti caput ecclesiæ, cum te ille vere confessus sit" (O God, who didst this day give us as head of the Church, after Thyself, the Blessed Peter, etc.).
The second of the aforementioned chairs is referred to about 600 by an Abbot Johannes. He had been commissioned by Pope Gregory the Great to collect in special little phials oil from the lamps which burned at the graves of the Roman martyrs (see CATACOMBS; MARTYR) for the Lombard queen, Theodolinda. According to the manuscript list of these oils preserved in the cathedral treasury of Monza, Italy, one of these vessels had on it the statement: "oleo de sede ubi prius sedit sanctus Petrus" (oils from the chair where St. Peter first sat). Other ancient authorities describe the site as "ubi Petrus baptizabat" (where Peter baptized), or "ad fontes sancti Petri; ad Nymphas sancti Petri" (at the fountain of Saint Peter). Formerly this site was pointed out in the coemeterium majus (principal cemetery) on the Via Nomentana; it is now certain that it was on the Via Salaria, and was connected with the coemeterium, or cemetery, of Priscilla and the villa of the Acilii (Acilii Glabriones), situated above this catacomb. The foundation of this villa, showing masonry of a very early date (opus reticulatum), still exists. Both villa and cemetery, in one of whose burial chambers are several epitaphs of members of the family, or gens, of the Acilii, belong to the Apostolic Period. It is most probable that Priscilla, who gave her name as foundress to the catacomb, was the wife of Acilius Glabrio, executed under Domitian. There is hardly any doubt that the site, "ubi prius sedit sanctus Petrus, ubi Petrus baptizabat" (where Saint Peter first sat, where Peter baptized), should be sought, not in an underground cubiculum (chamber) in the catacombs, but in an oratory above ground. At least nothing has been found in the oldest part of the cemetery of Priscilla now fully excavated, referring to a cathedra, or chair.
The feast of the Cathedra Petri was therefore celebrated on the Via Salaria on 18 January; in the Vatican Basilica it was observed on 22 February. It is easy to believe that after the triumph of Christianity the festival could be celebrated with greater pomp in the magnificent basilica erected by Constantine the Great over the confessio, or grave of Peter, than in a chapel far distant from the city on the Via Salaria. Yet the latter could rightly boast in its favour that it was there Saint Peter first exercised at Rome the episcopal office ("ubi prius sedit sanctus Petrus", as Abbot Johannes wrote, or "qua primo Rome petrus apostolus sedit", as we read in the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" at 18 January). This double festival of the Chair of St. Peter is generally attributed to a long absence of the Apostle from Rome. As, how ever, the spot, "ubi s. Petrus baptizabat, ubi prius sedit" was distant from the city, it is natural to think that the second feast of the cathedra is connected with the opening of a chapel for Christian worship in the city itself. Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia

Archbishop Scicluna at Vatican Meeting against Abuse "... the community be advised that they have the duty and the right to report sexual misconduct..." FULL TEXT + Video


21 February 2019
 Charles J Scicluna
Archbishop of Malta
Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Taking Responsibility for Processing Cases of Sexual Abuse Crisis and for
Prevention of Abuse
Introduction
The way we Bishops exercise our ministry at the service of justice in our
communities is one of the fundamental tests of our stewardship and, indeed, of our
fidelity. To quote the Lord in Luke 12:48: “Everyone to whom much is given, of
him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much, they will
demand more.” We have been entrusted with the care of our people. It is our sacred
duty to protect our people and to ensure justice when they have been abused.
In his letter to the People of God in Ireland, issued on 19 March 2010, Pope Benedict
XVI had this to say: “Only by examining carefully the many elements that gave rise
to the present crisis can a clear-sighted diagnosis of its causes be undertaken and
effective remedies be found. Certainly, among the contributing factors we can
include: inadequate procedures for determining the suitability of candidates for the
priesthood and the religious life; insufficient human, moral, intellectual and spiritual
2

formation in seminaries and novitiates; a tendency in society to favour the clergy
and other authority figures; and a misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church
and the avoidance of scandal, resulting in failure to apply existing canonical
penalties and to safeguard the dignity of every person. Urgent action is needed to
address these factors, which have had such tragic consequences in the lives of
victims and their families, and have obscured the light of the Gospel to a degree that
not even centuries of persecution succeeded in doing.” (n. 4b)
http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/letters/2010/documents/hf_benxvi_let_20100319_church-ireland.html
My address this morning intends to go through the main phases of processes of
individual cases of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy with some
practical suggestions dictated by prudence, best practice, and the paramount
concern for the safeguarding of the innocence of our children and young people.
Reporting Sexual Misconduct
The first phase is the Reporting of Sexual Misconduct. It is essential that the
community be advised that they have the duty and the right to report sexual
misconduct to a contact person in the diocese or religious order. These contact
details should be in the public domain. It is advisable that if and when a case of
misconduct is referred directly to the Bishop or Religious Superior, they refer the
information to the designated contact person. In every case and for all the phases of
dealing with cases these two points should be followed at all times: i) protocols
established should be respected. ii) civil or domestic laws should be obeyed. It is
important that every allegation is investigated with the help of experts and that the
investigation is concluded without unnecessary delay. The discernment of the
ecclesiastical authority should be collegial. In a number of local churches review
boards or safeguarding commissions have been established and this experience has
proved to be beneficial. It is such a relief for us bishops when we are able to share
our sorrow, our pain and frustration as we face the terrible effects of the misconduct
of some of our priests. Expert advice brings light and comfort and helps us arrive at
decisions that are based on scientific and professional competence. Tackling cases
as they arise in a synodal or collegial setting will give the necessary energy to
bishops to reach out in a pastoral way to the victims, the accused priests, the
community of the faithful and indeed to society at large. All these persons require
special attention and the Bishop and Religious Superior needs to extend his pastoral
solicitude to them either in person or through his delegates. As shepherds of the
Lord’s flock we should not underestimate the need to confront ourselves with the
deep wounds inflicted on victims of sex abuse by members of the clergy. They are
wounds of a psychological and spiritual nature that need tending with care. In my
many meetings with victims around the world I have come to realise that this is
sacred ground where we meet Jesus on the Cross. This is a Via Crucis we bishops
and other Church leaders cannot miss. We need to be Simon of Cyrene helping
victims, with whom Jesus identifies himself (Matt. 25), carry their heavy cross.
Investigating Cases of Sexual Misconduct
According to the Motu Propio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis tutela the result of the
investigation of sexual misconduct of clergy with minors under the age of 18 years
should be referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. In these cases the
Ordinary is authorized by Canon Law to apply precautionary measures (CIC 1722)
limiting or prohibiting the exercise of ministry. The Ordinary should consult his
canonical experts in all cases of sexual misconduct so that referral is done when it
needs to be done and proper procedures are adopted on the local level when the case
is not reserved to the Holy See (for example, when misconduct occurs between
consenting adults). Experts will furthermore help the Bishop or Religious Superior
share all the necessary information with the CDF and will help him express his
advice on the merits of the allegations and the procedures to be adopted. It is
advisable that the Ordinary follow up the case with the CDF. The Bishop or
Religious Superior is best placed to discern the potential impact of the outcome of
the case on his community. The CDF takes the advice of the Bishop seriously and
is always available to discuss individual cases with the competent ecclesiastical
authorities.
Canonical Penal Processes
In most cases referred to the CDF a canonical penal process is authorised by the
Holy See. The majority of canonical penal processes are of the extra-judicial or
administrative type (CIC 1720). Judicial penal processes are authorized in a lesser
number of cases. In both types of process the Ordinary has the duty to nominate
Delegates and Assessors or Judges and Promoters of Justice that are prudent,
academically qualified and renowned for their sense of fairness. In our system, as it
obtains at the present, the role of the victim of sexual abuse in canonical proceedings
is limited. The pastoral solicitude of the Ordinary will help make up for this lacuna.
The person responsible for Safeguarding in the Diocese or the Religious Order
should be able to share information on the progress of the proceedings with the
victim or the victims in the case. In the judicial penal process the victim has the right
to institute a case for damages before the ecclesiastical judge of First Instance. In
the case of an administrative penal process this initiative should be taken by the
Ordinary on behalf of the victim, requesting the Delegate to award damages in
favour of the victim as a subordinate consequence of an eventual decision of guilt.
The essence of a just process requires that the accused is presented with all
arguments and evidence against him; that the accused is given the full benefit of the
right of presenting his defence; that judgement is given based on the facts of the case
and the law applicable to the case; that a reasoned judgement or decision is
communicated in writing to the accused and that the accused enjoy a remedy against
a judgement or decision that aggrieves him. Once the Ordinary, following the
instructions of the CDF, nominates a Delegate and his Assessors in an administrative
process, or nominates the members of the tribunal in a judicial penal process, he
should let the persons nominated do their work and should refrain from interfering
in the process. It remains his duty, however, to ensure that the process is done in a
timely manner and according to canon law. A canonical penal process, whether
judicial or administrative, ends with one of three possible outcomes: a decisio
condemnatoria (where the reus is found guilty of a canonical delict); a decisio
dimissoria (where the accusations have not been proven); or a decisio absolutoria
(where the accused is declared innocent). A decisio dimissoria
may create a dilemma. The Bishop or Religious Superior may still be uncomfortable
with reassigning the accused to ministry in a case where the allegations are credible
but the case has not been proven. Expert advice is essential in these cases and the
Ordinary should use his authority to guarantee the common good and ensure the
effective safeguarding of children and young people.
The Interface with Civil Jurisdiction
An essential aspect of the exercise of stewardship in these cases is the proper
interface with civil jurisdiction. We are talking about misconduct that is also a crime
in all civil jurisdictions. The competence of the state authorities should be respected.
Reporting laws should be followed carefully and a spirit of collaboration will benefit
both the Church and society in general. The Civil courts have jurisdiction to punish
crime and another jurisdiction to award damages under laws concerning civil
matters. Civil thresholds or criteria of proof may be different from those exercised
in canonical proceedings. The difference of outcomes for the same case is not a rare
occurrence. In a number of canonical proceedings the acts presented or produced
during civil proceedings are presented as an element of proof. This happens quite
frequently in cases of the acquisition, possession, or divulging of pornography
featuring minors where the State authorities possess better means of detection,
surveillance and access to evidence. The difference in laws concerning the statute
of limitations or prescription is another motive for a diversity of outcome in the same
case decided under different jurisdictions. The power of the CDF to derogate from
the twenty-year prescription is still invoked in a number of historical cases, but
admittedly this should not be the norm but rather the exception. The ratio legis here
is that the establishment of the truth and the guarantee of justice require the
possibility of the exercise of judicial jurisdiction in favour of the common good even
in cases where the crime was committed a long time ago.
Implementing Canonical Decisions
The Bishop and the Religious Superior have the duty to supervise the
implementation and execution of the legitimate outcomes of penal proceedings.
Allowance has to be made for the right of the accused to resort to the remedies
allowed by law against a decision that aggrieves him. Once the appeal stage is
exhausted, it is the duty of the Ordinary to inform the Community of the definitive
outcome of the process. Decisions that declare the guilt of the accused and the
punishment imposed should be implemented without delay. Decisions that declare
the innocence of the accused should also be given due publicity. We all know that
it is very difficult to restore the good name of a priest who may have been unjustly
accused. The question of aftercare in these cases also involves the care of victims
who have been betrayed in the most fundamental and spiritual aspects of their
personality and their being. Their families are also deeply affected and the whole
community should share the burden of their grief and move together with them
towards healing.
The words of Benedict XVI to the Bishops of Ireland on 28 October 2006 sound the
more prophetic today: “In the exercise of your pastoral ministry, you have had to
respond in recent years to many heart-rending cases of sexual abuse of minors. These
are all the more tragic when the abuser is a cleric. The wounds caused by such acts
run deep, and it is an urgent task to rebuild confidence and trust where these have
been damaged. In your continuing efforts to deal effectively with this problem, it is
important to establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take whatever steps
are necessary to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of
justice are fully respected and, above all, to bring healing to the victims and to all
those affected by these egregious crimes. In this way, the Church in Ireland will
grow stronger and be ever more capable of giving witness to the redemptive power
of the Cross of Christ. I pray that by the grace of the Holy Spirit, this time of
purification will enable all God’s people in Ireland to “maintain and perfect in their
lives that holiness which they have received from God” (Lumen Gentium, 40).
The fine work and selfless dedication of the great majority of priests and religious in
Ireland should not be obscured by the transgressions of some of their brethren. I am
certain that the people understand this, and continue to regard their clergy with affection
and esteem. Encourage your priests always to seek spiritual renewal and to discover
afresh the joy of ministering to their flocks within the great family of the Church.”
http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2006/october/documents/hf_benxvi_spe_20061028_ad-limina-ireland.html
The Prevention of Sexual Abuse
Our stewardship should also embrace the urgent and long-term issue of the
prevention of sexual misconduct in general and of sexual abuse of minors in
particular. Notwithstanding the lack of candidates to the priesthood in certain parts
of the world, but also to the background of a flourishing of vocations in others, the
question of screening of future candidates remains of the essence. The more recent
documents of the Congregation for the Clergy on programmes of human formation
should be studied and implemented thoroughly. To quote from the more recent Ratio
Fundamentalis (8 December 2016):
“The greatest attention must be given to the theme of the protection of minors and
vulnerable adults, being vigilant that those who seek admission to a Seminary or to
a House of Formation, or who are already petitioning to receive Holy Orders, have
not been involved in any way with any crime or problematic behaviour in this area.
Formators must ensure that those who have had painful experiences in this area
receive special and suitable accompaniment.
Specific lessons, seminars or courses on the protection of minors are to be included
in the programmes of initial and ongoing formation. Adequate information must be
provided in an appropriate fashion, which also gives attention to areas dealing with
possible exploitation and violence, such as, for example, the trafficking of minors,
child labour, and the sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults” (n. 202).
A just and balanced understanding of the demands of priestly celibacy and chastity
should be underpinned by a profound and healthy formation in human freedom and
sound moral doctrine. Candidates for the priesthood and the religious life should
nurture and grow in that spiritual fatherhood that should remain the basic motivation
for the generous giving of oneself to the faith community in the example of Jesus
the Good Shepherd.
The Bishop and the Religious Superior should exercise their spiritual fatherhood visà-vis the priests entrusted to their care. This fatherhood is fulfilled through
accompaniment with the help of prudent and holy priests. Prevention is better served
when Protocols are clear and Codes of Conduct well known. Response to
misconduct should be just and even-handed. Outcomes should be clear from the
outset. Above all, the Ordinary is responsible in guaranteeing and promoting the
personal, physical, mental and spiritual well-being of his priests. The documents of
the magisterium on this issue stress the need for permanent formation and for events
and structures of fraternity in the presbyterium.
A good steward will empower his community through information and formation.
There are already instances of best practice in a number of countries where whole
parish communities have been given specific training in prevention. This valid and
positive experience needs to grow in accessibility and extension around the world.
Another service to the community is the ready availability of user-friendly access to
reporting mechanisms so that a culture of disclosure is not only promoted by words
but also encouraged by deed. Protocols for safeguarding should be readily accessible
in a clear and direct language. The faith community under our care should know that
we mean business. They should come to know us as friends of their safety and that
of their children and youth. We will engage them with candour and humility. We will
protect them at all cost. We will lay down our lives for the flocks entrusted to us.
Another aspect of the stewardship of prevention is the selection and presentation of
candidates for the mission of Bishop. Many demand that the process be more open
to the input of lay people in the community. We Bishops and Religious Superiors
have the sacred duty to help the Holy Father arrive at a proper discernment
concerning possible candidates for leadership as Bishops. It is a grave sin against
the integrity of the episcopal ministry to hide or underestimate facts that may
indicate deficits in the lifestyle or spiritual fatherhood of priests subject to a
pontifical investigation into their suitability for the office of Bishop.
At this point I would like to offer another quote from Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter to
the People in God in Ireland, 19 March 2010, this time expressly addressed to the
Bishops: “It cannot be denied that some of you and your predecessors failed, at times
grievously, to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child
abuse. Serious mistakes were made in responding to allegations. I recognize how
difficult it was to grasp the extent and complexity of the problem, to obtain reliable
information and to make the right decisions in the light of conflicting expert advice.
Nevertheless, it must be admitted that grave errors of judgement were made and
failures of leadership occurred. All this has seriously undermined your credibility
and effectiveness. I appreciate the efforts you have made to remedy past mistakes
and to guarantee that they do not happen again. Besides fully implementing the
norms of canon law in addressing cases of child abuse, continue to cooperate with
the civil authorities in their area of competence. Clearly, religious superiors should
do likewise. They too have taken part in recent discussions here in Rome with a view
to establishing a clear and consistent approach to these matters. It is imperative that
the child safety norms of the Church in Ireland be continually revised and updated
and that they be applied fully and impartially in conformity with canon law.
Only decisive action carried out with complete honesty and transparency will restore
the respect and good will of the Irish people towards the Church to which we have
consecrated our lives. This must arise, first and foremost, from your own selfexamination, inner purification and spiritual renewal. The Irish people rightly expect
you to be men of God, to be holy, to live simply, to pursue personal conversion daily.
For them, in the words of Saint Augustine, you are a bishop; yet with them you are
called to be a follower of Christ (cf. Sermon 340, 1). I therefore exhort you to renew
your sense of accountability before God, to grow in solidarity with your people and
to deepen your pastoral concern for all the members of your flock. In particular, I
ask you to be attentive to the spiritual and moral lives of each one of your priests.
Set them an example by your own lives, be close to them, listen to their concerns,
offer them encouragement at this difficult time and stir up the flame of their love for
Christ and their commitment to the service of their brothers and sisters.
The lay faithful, too, should be encouraged to play their proper part in the life of the
Church. See that they are formed in such a way that they can offer an articulate and
convincing account of the Gospel in the midst of modern society (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) and
cooperate more fully in the Church’s life and mission. This in turn will help you once
again become credible leaders and witnesses to the redeeming truth of Christ.” (n.11)
http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/letters/2010/documents/hf_benxvi_let_20100319_church-ireland.html
Conclusion
As Pope Francis wrote in his Letter to the People of God (20 August 2018): “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.
Let us beg forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others. 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.”
http://m.vatican.va/content/francescomobile/en/letters/2018/documents/papafrancesco_20180820_lettera-popolo-didio.html

Testimony from Victims of Abuse at Vatican Meeting for the Protection of Minors "Victims need to be believed..." - FULL TEXT


Protection of Minors: The testimony of survivors
Five testimonies from survivors of clerical sexual abuse from around the world were heard on Thursday during the Meeting on the "Protection of Minors in the Church".
The 190 Vatican participants watched them. 
FULL TEXT Transcripts
First Testimony (Man from South America)
First of all I want to thank the Commission for allowing me to address you today and the Holy Father for all the support and help he has given us in recent times.
They asked me to talk about the pain that comes from sexual abuse. Everyone knows that sexual abuse leaves tremendous consequences for everyone. I therefore believe that it is not worthwhile to continue to talk about this because the consequences are evident, in all aspects, and remains for the whole of life.
Instead I would like to speak about myself as a Catholic, of what happened to me and of what I would like to say to the bishops. 
For a Catholic, the most difficult thing is to be able to speak about sexual abuse; but once you have taken courage and start telling - in our case, I speak of myself - the first thing I thought was: I'm going to tell everything to Holy Mother Church, where they will listen to me and respect me.
The first thing they did was to treat me as a liar, turn their backs and tell me that I, and others, were enemies of the Church. This pattern exists not only in Chile: it exists all over the world, and this must end. 
I know that you are there talking as to how to end this phenomenon, how to prevent it from happening again, and how to remedy all this evil. First of all: false forgiveness, forced forgiveness does not work. Victims need to be believed, respected, cared for and healed. You need to repair what has been done to the victims, be close to them, believe them and accompany them. 
You are the physicians of the soul and yet, with rare exceptions, you have been transformed - in some cases - into murderers of the soul, into murderers of the faith. What a terrible contradiction.
I wonder what does Jesus think? What does Mary think, when she sees that it is her own shepherds who betray their own little sheep? 
I ask you, please collaborate with justice, because you have a special care for the victims, so that what is happening in Chile, that is, what the pope is doing in Chile, be it a repeated a model in other countries of the world.
We see the tip of the iceberg every day: although the Church says it's all over, cases continue to emerge: why? This is because it proceeds like when you are diagnosed with a tumour: you must treat the whole cancer, not just remove the tumour; so you need chemotherapy, radiotherapy, you need to have some treatment. It is not enough to remove the tumour and that's it. 
I ask you to listen to what the Holy Father wants to do, not limiting yourself with a nod of ascent made with your head and then do something else. The only thing I ask of you - and I ask the Holy Spirit - to help restore that trust in the Church – that those who do not want to listen to the Holy Spirit and who want to continue to cover-up, leave the Church to give way to those who want to create a new Church, a renewed Church and a Church absolutely free from sexual abuse. 
I entrust all this to the Virgin, to the Lord, so that all this becomes a reality. We cannot continue with this crime to cover the scourge of sexual abuse in the Church. I hope that the Lord and Mary will enlighten you and that, once and for all, we work with justice to remove this cancer from the Church, because it is destroying it. This is what the devil wants.
 Thank you.
Second Testimony (Woman from Africa)
Q-What hurt you the most in life?
R- From the age of 15 I had sexual relations with a priest. This lasted for 13 years. I got pregnant three times and he made me have an abortion three times, quite simply because he did not want to use condoms or contraceptives. 
At first I trusted him so much that I did not know he could abuse me. I was afraid of him, and every time I refused to have sex with him, he would beat me. Since I was completely dependent on him economically, I suffered all the humiliations he inflicted on me.
We had these relationships both in his home, in the village and in the diocesan reception center. In this relationship I did not have the right to have “boyfriends”; whenever I had one and he came to know about it, he would beat me up. This was the condition for helping me economically . He gave me everything I wanted, when I accepted to have sex; otherwise he would beat me.
Q- How did you deal with all these wounds and how do you feel now?
R- I feel I have a life destroyed. I have suffered so many humiliations in this relationship that I do not know what the future holds for me. This has caused me to be very cautious in my relationships, now.
D- What message do you want to pass to the bishops?
R- It must be said that to love, essentially is to love freely: when a person loves someone you think of their future, of their good. You cannot abuse a person this way. It must be said that priests and religious have a way of helping and at the same time also destroying: they have to behave like leaders, wise people.
D- Thank you very much. 
Your contribution will be very significant for the Bishops' Meeting. 
Thanks again.
Third testimony (Religious priest from Eastern Europe)
R- I am 53 years old, I am a religious priest. This year is the 25th year of my ordination. I am grateful to God. What hurt me? An encounter with a priest hurt me. 
As a teenager, after my conversion, I went to the priest so he could teach me how to read Scriptures during Mass; and he touched my private parts. I spent a night in his bed. This hurt me deeply. 
The other thing that hurt me was the bishop to whom, after many years, as an adult, I talked about the incident. I went to him together with my provincial. First, I wrote a letter to the bishop, six months later, I had a meeting with the priest. The bishop did not answer me, and after six months, I wrote to the nuncio. The nuncio reacted showing understanding. Then I met the bishop and he attacked me without trying to understand me, and this hurt me. 
On the one hand the priest, and on the other, this bishop who .... What did I feel? I feel bad, because neither that priest, nor the bishop answered my letter, and it's been 8 years and he has not even answered.
What would I like to say to the bishops? That they listen to these people; that they learn to listen to the people who speak. 
I wanted someone to listen to me, to know who that man is, that priest and what he does. I forgive that priest from the heart, and the bishop. 
I thank God for the Church, I am grateful to be in the Church. I have many priest friends who have helped me.
Fourth testimony (Man from the United States)
Hello, 
I appreciate this outreach to survivors of clergy sexual abuse and I am happy to participate in this project.
What has wounded me the most? As I reflect on that question I think back to the total… to the full realization of the total loss of the innocence of my youth and how that has affected me today.
There’s still pain in my family relationships. There’s still pain with my siblings. I still carry pain. My parents still carry pain at the dysfunction, the betrayal, the manipulation that this bad man, who was our Catholic priest at the time, wrought upon my family and myself.
So that’s what has wounded me the most and what I carry with me today. I am doing well now because I have found hope and healing by telling my story, by sharing my story with my family, my wife and my children – my extended family – my friends, and because I can do that, I feel more comfortable with myself and how I can be myself.
Finally what I want to tell the bishops - I think that’s an excellent question: I would ask the bishops for leadership. Leadership and vision and courage. That’s what I respond to, that’s what I hope to see. I have a personal experience of leadership, and how it has affected me personally. 
One of my finest memories of Francis Cardinal George is when he spoke about the difficulties of fellow priests who have abused, and I considered those words, coming from a man in his position, even though they must be really hard for him to say, they were the right and proper thing to say.
 I thought that was leadership at the time, and I think it’s leadership now. And I thought if he could put himself out there, and lead by example, then I could put myself out there and I think other survivors and other Catholics and faithful people can put themselves out there, to work for resolution, and work for healing, and work for a better Church.
So we respond to leadership, we look to our bishops for leadership, I would ask the bishops to show leadership.
Thank you. 
Fifth Testimony (Man from Asia)
I have been sexually molested for long time, over a hundred times, and this sexual molestation has created traumas and flashbacks all across my life.
It’s difficult to live life, it’s difficult to be with people, to get connected with people. I carried an attitude for my family, for my friends and even for God.
Every time I have spoken to the Provincials and to the Major Superiors, they have all practically covered every issue, covered the perpetrators and that kills me sometimes. 
It’s been a long time that I have been fighting this battle… and most of the Superiors either because of the friendship are unable to build a catch.
I’ll request the Provincials as well as the Major Superiors and the Bishops sitting in this audience to make strong acts which really put the perpetrator into place. If we want to save the Church, I think the perpetrators need to be given…
I’ll request the Bishops to get their act clear because this is one of the time bombs happening in the Church of Asia. If you want to save the Church, we need to put our act together and get the perpetrators to book. We should not have friendship over here but it is the act, because this act will destroy our whole generations of children. As Jesus always said, we need to be child-like not to be child sexual molesters. 

RIP Bishop Walter James Edyvean,Former Auxiliary Bishop of Boston at Age 80

Obituary from Boston Pilot: Bishop Walter James Edyvean, titular bishop of Aeliae and former auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese, died at Metrowest Medical Center, Natick on Feb. 2, 2019. His death at the age of 80 was unexpected.
An only child, he was born in Medford on Oct. 18, 1938, the son of the late Walter J. and Frances (Reardon) Edyvean. Raised in St. Joseph Parish, he attended local public schools and on graduation from Medford High School in 1956 he was enrolled at Boston College. At the time, BC was a commuter school and Walter would have made the trek to Chestnut Hill and back to Medford on a regular probably daily basis. He was graduated in 1960 with a bachelor of arts degree in English.
Quiet and reserved, he was without doubt a gentleman. If asked about the family name he proudly announced that it was Cornish. His roots would have been in the westernmost toe of the British boot -- Cornwall; he cautioned the other Celts (vastly Irish) in the seminary that the Cornish were Celtic as well.
The next fall, Walter was enrolled at St. John Seminary as a member of the class of 1965; and the next fall he was across the Atlantic as a student resident at the Pontifical North American College and enrolled at the Pontifical Gregorian University for his theological studies. Three other Boston classmates were ordained with the Class of 1965 on Dec. 16, 1964, at the Chapel of the North American College by the seminary's rector Bishop Francis Reh. A long standing custom was that the North American students were ordained the December of their fourth year of theology. While Bishop Reh ordained him, most of his seminary formation had been under the direction of the legendary "second founder" of the college, Bishop Martin J. O'Connor. Msgr. Stephen M. DiGiovanni of Bridgeport, an author a biography of Bishop O'Connor and a history of the recent years of the college, said that "Walter was invaluable for his personal recollections and detailed information about the legendary rector and the college."
His last years at the college coincided with the preparations and opening of the Second Vatican Council. He was much influenced by Pope St. Paul VI. He reminded seminarians frequently of the greatness of the sometimes overlooked, but as Walter would have agreed with one of the pope's biographers -- the first modern pope.
When he returned home to the archdiocese in the summer of 1965, he was assigned to what would be his only parish assignment -- St. Joseph in Ipswich. There he came under the influence of the parish's pastor -- Father William Melea. They remained fast friends and although he was only there for about three years he also had treasured friendships among the parishioners. While at Ipswich he was also a visiting professor at Emmanuel College in Boston, teaching theology and Church history.
He returned to the Eternal City, which was very much for him a second home, to complete doctoral studies, again at the Pontifical Gregorian University. His field was dogmatic theology and on completion of his doctoral studies he was granted the STD from the "Greg" in 1972.
Assigned to the faculty of St. John Seminary, he would teach sacramental theology for the next 19 years. Seminary students would recall his genuine kindness to them as well as his personal concern. He taught required courses in Sacramental Theology; Baptism and Confirmation and Orders and Eucharist.
Many will remember he slipped in sound, practical advice for his students. "Gentlemen: the simple phone call to the parish requesting the baptism of a child is all you need to have as sufficient "spes fundata" (founded hope) for the child's Catholic upbringing. In other words: don't be tough on the people. He followed up with the further advice "you should meet with the families and if there are any issues to be dealt with that's more for you to do. And, do not delay the baptism once they've called."
That he was not a fortune teller nor infallible were proven by the confirmation course material. "We'll dedicate three days to it; the Marsh (an Irish theologian) articles will be sufficient. Nobody here will be celebrating confirmation." Bishops Robert Hennessey and Peter Uglietto both heard that in class. Many former students reminded Walter of this quote when he arrived to celebrate the sacrament in one of the archdiocesan parishes years later.
Following his almost two decades on the seminary faculty, in 1990 he was appointed to the staff of the Holy See's Congregation of Catholic Education. Two years into that assignment, he was made head of the section dealing with Catholic Universities and Ecclesiastical Faculties. He was, as most American priests working for the Holy See, residing at the Villa Stritch of which he served as director for a number of years. Pope St. John Paul II named him a member of the papal household as a prelate of honor with the title of reverend monsignor on Jan. 17, 1992.
On June 29, 2001, Bernard Cardinal Law announced the Pope St. John Paul II had named two priests of the archdiocese as auxiliary bishops -- Walter James Edyvean and Richard Gerard Lennon; Bishop-elect Edyvean was called back to Boston from Rome while Bishop Lennon was serving as rector of St. John Seminary. At the time of the announcement, it was noted that it was an unusual circumstance: a former seminary professor (Edyvean) and one of his former students (Lennon) would be ordained bishops together.
The episcopal twins were ordained at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sept. 14, 2001, by Cardinal Law assisted by Bishop William Murphy, by then the fourth bishop of Rockville Centre, N.Y. and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Lawrence J. Riley.
Bishop Edyvean would serve as the archbishop's second in command, as vicar general and moderator of the curia; while Bishop Lennon would remain as rector of the seminary and assume additional responsibility as regional bishop of the West Region of the archdiocese. At the time of his episcopal ordination, he assumed both a coat of arms and a motto. Bishop Edyvean chose a line from the martyr bishop of Carthage, St. Cyprian: "Christi nihil praeponere" -- prefer nothing to Christ.
Bishop Edyvean was the third member of his ordination class to be ordained a bishop: Santa Fe Archbishop Emeritus Michael Sheehan and Rockville Center Emeritus Bishop William Murphy; a fourth would join them later, Fall River Bishop Emeritus George Coleman, a friend since seminary days of Bishop Edyvean.
During the next few years, he served quietly and steadily as the cardinal's right hand man, overseeing the day to day operations of the central administration of the archdiocese; serving on boards, committees and commissions, attending meetings in Brighton and elsewhere; and also serving on committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was especially pleased to serve on the committee, which was also the board of directors of his alma mater, the Pontifical North American College.
In December 2002, with the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law and the appointment of Bishop Lennon as the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, Bishop Edyvean remained on board to assist his former student in the governance of the archdiocese in a most trying time. Following the installation of Archbishop Seán P. O'Malley as the archbishop in July 2003, Bishop Lennon was named vicar general and moderator of the curia, and Bishop Edyvean named bishop of the West Region where he served until his retirement as auxiliary bishop on June 29, 2014 -- the 13th anniversary of his appointment as bishop.
During those years as regional bishop, he celebrated confirmations in the West Region and across the archdiocese; visited parishes, schools and other institutions of the region; established an annual day to celebrate the women religious of the region. He also continued to serve on various boards, commissions, and committees -- though fewer than when he was vicar general.
Although he retired in 2014, he remained active in the archdiocese celebrating confirmations; serving on presbyteral council, board of consultors and anything he was asked to do.
He served as a principal co-ordaining bishop (formerly called 'co-consecrator') for three Boston auxiliaries: Bishops John Dooher, Arthur Kennedy and most recently Mark O'Connell.
The surprise of the bishop's death was still settling in. Bishop O'Connell said "he taught me much about being a gentleman and a bishop"; Bishop Hennessey said "Walter was always helpful when I needed a quick answer about what to wear on what occasion. And he was also ready to explain the how's and why's."
Bishop Edyvean's Funeral Mass to be celebrated at St. Patrick Church, Natick (he had lived residence in the rectory for many years during his tenure as West Regional bishop and following his retirement) on Feb. 8, 2019. Seán Cardinal O'Malley (who was with Bishop Edyvean at his death) was to be the principal celebrant and Father Stephen Linehan, of the faculty of Pope St. John XXIII Seminary himself a one-time student at St. John Seminary of the then Father Edyvean, was to be the homilist. Following the Funeral Mass Bishop Edyvean was to be buried with his parents in Oak Grove Cemetery in his hometown of Medford.
FULL TEXT Obituary from Boston Pilot 

Powerful Message of Philippine Cardinal Tagle at Vatican Meeting against Abuse "Those Sent Must Be In Touch With Wounded Humanity" - FULL TEXT + Video


The Smell of the Sheep: Knowing their pain and healing their wounds is at the core of the shepherd's task.
By Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle
Meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences on Safeguarding of Minors February 21, 2019
The abuse of minors by ordained ministers has inflicted wounds not only on the victims, but also on their families, the clergy, the Church, the wider society, the perpetrators themselves and the Bishops. But, it is also true, we humbly and sorrowfully admit, that wounds have been inflicted by us bishops on the victims and in fact the entire body of Christ. Our lack of response to the suffering of victims, even to the point of rejecting them and covering up the scandal to protect perpetrators and the institution has injured our people, leaving a deep wound in our relationship with those we are sent to serve. People are rightly asking: “Have you, who are called to have the smell of the sheep upon you, not instead run away when you found the stench of the filth inflicted on children and vulnerable people you were supposed to protect, too strong to endure?” Wounds call for healing. But what does healing consist in? How do we as Bishops, who have been part of the wounding, now promote healing in this specific context? The theme of healing of wounds has been the subject of many inter-disciplinary studies. And I cannot pretend to know all the findings of the human and social sciences on the subject, but I believe we need to recover and maintain a faith and ecclesial perspective to guide us. I repeat: a faith and ecclesial perspective to guide us, as stressed many times by Pope Francis. For my presentation, specially the first part, I invite everyone to look to the Risen Lord and learn from Him, His disciples and their encounter. I want to acknowledge at this point the studies published by Roberto Goizueta, Richard Horsley, Barbara Reid, Tomas Halik, Robert Enright and Cardinal Albert Vanhoye, to name a few authors, who have helped me in my reflection.

So, the first part: The Apparition of the Risen Lord to the Disciples and to Thomas (John 20:19-28) 

St. John´s Gospel narrates an apparition of the Risen Lord to the disciples on the evening of the first day of the week. The doors were locked as the disciples cowered in fear, wondering if they would be the next to be arrested and crucified. It is in this moment of utter helplessness that the risen and yet still wounded Jesus stands in their midst. After greeting them with the message of the resurrection, “Peace be with you,” He showed them His hands and His side, marked by gapping wounds. Only by drawing close to His wounds could they be sent on a mission of reconciliation 1 Studies published by Roberto Goizueta, Richard Horsley, Barbara Reid, Tomas Halik, Robert Enright and Cardinal Albert Vanhoye, to name a few authors, have helped me in my own reflection.
and forgiveness by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thomas was not with them at that time. Let us now hear the account of the encounter between the Risen Lord and Thomas. “Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So, the other disciples said to him, ´We have seen the Lord´. But he said to them, ´Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe´. Now a week later his disciples were again inside the room and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, ´Peace be with you.´ Then he said to Thomas, ´Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.´ Thomas answered and said to him, ´My Lord and my God!´”

Those Sent Must Be In Touch With Wounded Humanity
Notice how Jesus invites them again to look at his wounds. He even insists that Thomas put his finger into the wounds of his hands and to bring his hand into the wound of his side. Try to imagine how Thomas must have felt. But from seeing the wounds of the Risen Lord, he makes the supreme profession of faith in Jesus as Lord and God. Seeing and touching the wounds of Jesus are fundamental to the act and confession of faith. What can we learn from this intimate encounter? By repeating this action twice, the evangelist makes clear that those who are sent to proclaim the core of our Christian faith, the dying and rising of Christ, can only do so with authenticity if they are constantly in touch with the wounds of humanity. That is one of the marks of our ministry. This is true of Thomas, and it is true of the Church of all time, especially in our time. Msgr. Tomas Halik writes, “Christ comes to him, to Thomas, and shows him His wounds. This means that the resurrection is not the ´effacement´ or devaluation of the cross. Wounds remain wounds.” The wounds of Christ remain in the wounds of our world. And Msgr. Halik adds, “Our world is full of wounds. It is my conviction that those who close their eyes to the wounds in our world have no right to say, ´My Lord and my God´.” For him, seeing and touching the wounds of Christ in the wounds of humanity is a condition for authentic faith. He further says, “I cannot believe until I touch the wounds, the suffering of the world – for all the painful wounds, all the misery of the world and of humankind are Christ´s wounds! I do not have the right to confess God unless I take seriously my neighbor´s pain. Faith that would like to close its eyes to people´s suffering is just an illusion.” Faith is born and reborn only from the wounds of the Crucified and Risen Christ seen and touched in the wounds of humankind. Only a wounded faith is credible (Halik). How can we profess faith in Christ when we close our eyes to all the wounds inflicted by abuse?

What Is At Stake
Brothers and sisters, this is what is at stake at this moment of crisis brought about by the abuse of children and our poor handling of these crimes. Our people need us to draw close to their wounds and acknowledge our faults if we are to give authentic and credible witness to our faith in the Resurrection. This means that each of us and our brothers and sisters at home must take personal responsibility for bringing healing to this wound in the Body of Christ and make the commitment to do everything in our power and capacity to see that children are safe, are cared for in our communities. The presence of the wounds of the crucifixion on the Risen Lord, for me, defies human logic. If the world were in-charge of choreographing the resurrection, Jesus would have showed up at Herod’s house or Pilate’s porch and made it the biggest “I told you so,” in history. Jesus would have manifested his final triumph by eliminating all signs of pain, injustice and defeat. Let all of them be buried in the dark past and never be resurrected. But that is not the way of Jesus Christ. The resurrection is not an illusionary victory. By showing his wounds to the disciples, Jesus restores their memory. Roberto Goizueta justly comments that “the wounds on Christ´s glorified body are the incarnated memory of the relationships that defined his life and death.” The wounds of Jesus are the consequence of his loving and compassionate relationship with the poor, the sick, tax collectors, women of ill repute, persons afflicted with leprosy, noisy children, outsiders and foreigners. The wounds of Jesus are the consequence of his allowing himself to be wounded as he touched the wounds of others. He was crucified because he loved these concrete persons who were themselves wounded by society and religion. By sharing in their weakness and wounds, he became a compassionate brother rather than a harsh judge. So the letter to the Hebrews 5:8-9 affirms, “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered, and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” So the wounds of the Risen Lord remind the disciples of the love that is ready to be wounded out of compassion for humankind. His wounds are the wounds of others that he freely bore. He did not inflict wounds on others, but he was ready to be wounded by his love for and communion with them.
As Frederick Gaiser said, “The healing shepherd is never far from dangers, never impervious to the evils and infirmities from which he seeks to protect the flock.”
Only the wounds of love and compassion can heal.

Do Not Be Afraid 
My dear brothers and sisters, we need to put aside any hesitation to draw close to the wounds of our people out of fear of being wounded ourselves. Yes, much of the wounds we will suffer are part of the restoration of memory we must undergo, as did those disciples of Jesus.
The wounds of the Risen Lord reminded the disciples of betrayal, their own betrayal and abandonment of Jesus when they saved their own lives out of fear. They fled at the first moment of danger, afraid of the cost of discipleship, and in Peter’s case, even denying that he even knew the Lord. Jesus’ wounds also remind them and us that wounds are often inflicted by blindness of ambition and legalism and misuse of power that condemned an innocent person to die as a criminal. The wounds of the Risen Christ carry the memory of innocent suffering, but they also carry the memory of our weakness and sinfulness. If we want to be agents of healing let us reject any tendency that is part of worldly thinking that refuses to see and touch the wounds of others, which are Christ´s wounds in the wounded people. Those wounded by abuse and the scandal need us to be strong in faith in this moment. The world needs authentic witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus, who draw close to His wounds as the first act of faith. I will be stressing: this is an act of faith. Roberto Goizueta claims that the denial of wounds and death leads to the death of others and to our own death. There is great fear today in the hearts of people and indeed in our own hearts, that cause humanity in our time to shun touching the wounds in our world simply because we are afraid of facing our own wounds, our own mortality, weakness, sinfulness and vulnerability. Ernest Becker observes that we avoid pain and suffering as unwanted reminders that we are vulnerable. We are fooled into believing that having much money, the right insurance policy, the strictest security, Cctv cameras, the latest model of cars and gadgets and membership in rejuvenating health clubs could make us immortal.
 Sadly we do also eliminate the wounded in our midst by getting them out of the streets when dignitaries visit or by covering their shanties with painted walls. Goizueta poignantly says, “If we deny death, we inflict it. If we deny death, we will inflict death. But we also inflict it on ourselves. The fear of pain and vulnerability that causes us to shun real human relationships, to shun that true love that always involves surrender and vulnerability in the face of another, ultimately kills our – our! – Interior life, our ability to feel anything – neither pain nor joy, nor love.” Our capacity to love might die. The fear of wounds isolates us and makes us indifferent to the needs of others. Fear drives people to violent and irrational behavior. Fear motivates people to defend themselves even when no threats exist. Those who sow fear in others and society are actually afraid of themselves. In the Risen Jesus we know that by seeing and touching the wounds of those who suffer, we touch our own wounds and we touch Jesus. We become brothers and sisters to one another. We acknowledge our common guilt in inflicting wounds on humankind and creation.
 We hear the call to reconciliation. We see the patient presence of the Risen Lord in our broken world.

Continual Accompaniment In Solidarity 
About the second and last part of my sharing: a psychologist proposal in the light of faith; in the light of faith, and a psychologist proposal. For this portion I will rely heavily on dr. Robert Enright, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States, and the pioneer in the social scientific study of forgiveness. We are collaborating with him on the programme of forgiveness in the Philippines. In fact, in this very moment there is a session among Catholic School Educators in Manila on “Pain, wound and forgiveness”. According to him, one concern that we must address is: Once justice is served, how do we help the victims to heal from the effects of the abuse? Justice is necessary but by itself does not heal the broken human heart. If we are to serve the victims and all those wounded by the crisis, we need to take seriously their wound of resentment and pain and the need for healing.
Resentment can be like a disease, that slowly and steadily infects people, until their enthusiasm and energy are gone. With increasing stress, they are prone to heightened anxiety and depression, lowered-self-images, and interpersonal conflicts that arise from the inner brokenness. Yet, before we even raise the issue of asking the victims to forgive as part of their healing, we must clarify that we are not suggesting that they should just let it all go, excuse the abuse, just move on. No. Far from it. Without question, we know that when victims come to a moment of forgiving others who have harmed them, a deeper healing takes place and the understandable resentments that build up in their hearts are reconciled. We know that forgiveness is one powerful and even scientifically supported pathway for eliminating pain, resentment and the human heart. We as the Church should continue to walk with those profoundly wounded by abuse building trust, providing unconditional love, and repeatedly asking for forgiveness in the full recognition that we do not deserve that forgiveness in the order of justice but can only receive it when it is bestowed as gift and grace in the process of healing. Finally, we are concerned that in some cases bishops and religious superiors are tempted--- perhaps even at times pressured----to choose between victim and perpetrator. Who should we be helping? Who should be helped? Now, a focus on justice and forgiveness shows us the answer: We focus on both. Regarding victims, we need to help them to express their deep hurts and to heal from them. Regarding the perpetrators, we need to serve justice, help them to face the truth without rationalization, and at the same time not neglect their inner world, their own wounds.
 At times, we are tempted to think in “either/or” terms: We strive either for justice or we try to offer forgiveness. We need a shift to a “both/and” stance as we deliberately ask these questions: How can we serve justice and foster forgiveness in the face of this wound of sexual abuse? How can we prevent distorting forgiveness so that we do not equate it with just letting the injustice slide away or move on and dismiss the wrong? How can we keep an accurate view of forgiveness as offering a startling mercy of unconditional love to those who have done wrong, while at the same time, we strive for justice? How can we renew the Church by a firm correction of a definite wrong and walk with the abused, patiently and repeatedly begging forgiveness, knowing that giving such a gift can heal them even more?

Conclusion. 
Before reading my concluding paragraph, I would like to read a portion from the “Lettera al popolo di Dio pellegrino in Cile”, 31 maggio 2018, di Papa Francesco, n. 2: “Senza questa visione di fede, qualsiasi cosa potremmo dire o fare andrebbe a vuoto. Questa certezza è imprescindibile per guardare al presente senza evasività ma con audacia, con coraggio ma saggiamente, con tenacia ma senza violenza, con passione ma senza fanatismo, con costanza ma senza ansietà, e così cambiare tutto quello che oggi può mettere a rischio l’integrità e la dignità di ogni persona. Infatti,
 5 le soluzioni di cui c’è bisogno richiedono che si affrontino i problemi senza farsene irretire o, peggio ancora, ripetere quegli stessi meccanismi che vogliono eliminare”. Learning from the Risen Lord and his disciples, we look at and touch the wounds of victims, families, guilty and innocent clergy, the Church and society. Beholding Jesus wounded by betrayal and abuse of power, we see the wounds of those hurt by those who should have protected them. In Jesus we experience the mercy that preserves justice and celebrates the gift of forgiveness. The Church hopefully would be a community of justice coming from communion and compassion, a Church eager to go forth on a mission of reconciliation to the wounded world in the Holy Spirit. Once again, the Crucified and Risen Lord stands in our midst at this moment, shows us his wounds and proclaims: “Peace be with you!” May we ever grow in our faith in this great mystery. Thank you. ____________________

#BreakingNews 70 People Killed by Fire at Chemical Warehouse in Bangladesh - 41 also Wounded


Dhaka, 70 dead blaze at chemical warehouse by Sumon Corraya The flames broke out in the area of ​​Chawkbazar overnight, the historic district of the capital. The area is packed with shops and perfume factories. In 2010, the authorities banned warehouses.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - At least 70 confirmed dead and 41 wounded: this is the toll from a fire that broke out overnight in the Chawkbazar area, in Dhaka.
Although the causes of the fire are still to be ascertained, an editorial in the local newspaper The Daily Star already speaks of "pre-announced disaster": the flames spread from the ground floor of a building used as a warehouse for highly flammable chemicals.
At the scene of the accident, besides the bitter smell of charred remains, there is a heavy smell of perfume. Speaking to AsiaNews, Shydul Hossian, owner of a destroyed shop, said: "At the time of the fire I was not in the shop. I heard people screaming 'Fire, fire' and I rushed. Everything was on fire. One of my employees is missing. I do not know what happened to him. "
The flames broke out around 10:30 pm last night. It took 37 firefighting teams to put it out around 3am this morning and they are still searching for missing people. The bodies of the victims were transported to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Relatives are gathering in the hospital area, but for now the authorities do not allow them to see the dead. Families are desperate and cry for pain. Dalwar Hossain reports that his brother died in the flames. "He worked in a shop in Chawkbazar. We are waiting to see the body of my beloved brother ".
Chawkbazar is a historic district of the capital, in the Old Dhaka area. The area is packed with shops, factories and warehouses, mainly used to store the chemical components used in the cosmetics industry, which is flourishing here.
Although in 2010 the authorities banned warehouses such as the one that went up in flames, poor controls and poor regulation facilitate accidents. The most serious is that occurred at the Rana Plaza complex in 2013, in which a fire and the subsequent collapse of the building caused the death of over 1,300 people.
FULL TEXT and Image Share from Asia News IT

#BreakingNews Pope Francis Opens Meeting for Protection of Minors from Abuse "..hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice." FULL Official Text + Video


MEETING "THE PROTECTION OF MINORS IN THE CHURCH"
[Vatican’s New Synod Hall, 21-24 February 2019]
INTRODUCTION OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
New Synod Hall
Thursday, 21 February 2019

Dear Brothers, good morning!
In light of the scourge of sexual abuse perpetrated by ecclesiastics to the great harm of minors, I wanted to consult you, Patriarchs, Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, and Religious Superiors and Leaders, so that together we might listen to the Holy Spirit and, in docility to his guidance, hear the cry of the little ones who plead for justice. In this meeting, we sense the weight of the pastoral and ecclesial responsibility that obliges us to discuss together, in a synodal, frank and in-depth manner, how to confront this evil afflicting the Church and humanity. The holy People of God looks to us, and expects from us not simple and predictable condemnations, but concrete and effective measures to be undertaken. We need to be concrete.
So we begin this process armed with faith and a spirit of great parrhesia, courage and concreteness.
As a help, I would share with you some important criteria formulated by the various Episcopal Commissions and Conferences – they came from you and I have organized them somewhat. They are guidelines to assist in our reflection, and they will now be distributed to you. They are a simple point of departure that came from you and now return to you. They are not meant to detract from the creativity needed in this meeting.
In your name, I would also like to thank the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the members of the Organizing Committee for their outstanding and dedicated work in preparing for this meeting. Many thanks!

Finally, I ask the Holy Spirit to sustain us throughout these days, and to help us to turn this evil into an opportunity for awareness and purification. May the Virgin Mary enlighten us as we seek to heal the grave wounds that the scandal of paedophilia has caused, both in the little ones and in believers. Thank you.