BISHOPS SHIELD POPE AGAINST
The bishops of England and Wales defends Pope Benedict
XVI against the attack from the BBC's investigative news show “Sex
Crimes and the Vatican” broadcast Sunday by the Panorama saying
that it is unwarranted and misleading.
The prelates accused BBC of misrepresenting two
Vatican documents that the news rganization says Benedict XVI used
to cover-up the sexual abuse of minors.The program claims to have
uncovered secret Vatican documents that imposed silence regarding
all claims of child abuse, and accused then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
-- now Benedict XVI -- of shielding priests from investigation in
his previous role as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith.
"No one can deny the devastating effects of
child abuse in our society and the damage inflicted on the victims
and their families. This is particularly shameful if such abuse
is committed by a priest and it is of course legitimate to portray
heart-rending elements of this evil,"says Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor,
archbishop of Westminster on his letter to Mark Thompson, the director
general of BBC to "to express the enormous distress and alarm
of the Catholic community" regarding the program.
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, who is also president
of the episcopal conference of England and Wales, further stated:
"However, your program sets out to inflict grave damage on
Benedict XVI, the leader of a billion Catholics throughout the world.
It is quite clear to me that the main focus of the program is to
seek to connect Benedict XVI with cover-up of child abuse in the
Catholic Church. This is malicious and untrue and based on a false
presentation of Church documents. "I must ask if within the
BBC there is a persistent bias against the Catholic Church. There
will be many, not only Catholics, who will wonder if the BBC is
any longer willing to be truly objective in some of its presentations."
Moreover, the cardinal said that he "cannot
understand why no one from your corporation made any attempt to
contact the Catholic Church in this country for assistance in seeking
accurate information about this matter."
In line with this, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of
Birmingham, and chairman of the Catholic Office for the Protection
of Children and Vulnerable Adults, also issued a statement today
in which he states that "as a public service broadcaster, the
BBC should be ashamed of the standard of the journalism used to
create this unwarranted attack on Benedict XVI."
Archbishop Nichols said that the program's attacks
against Benedict XVI are "false and entirely misleading. It
is false because it misrepresents two Vatican documents and uses
them quite misleadingly in order to connect the horrors of child
abuse to the person of the Pope."
The Archbishop added, "Viewers will recognize
only too well the sensational tactics and misleading editing of
the program, which uses old footage and undated interviews. They
will know that aspects of the program amount to a deeply prejudiced
attack on a revered world religious leader. It will further undermine
public confidence in 'Panorama.'
One document mentioned is "Crimen sollicitationis,"
(The Crime of Solicitation, 1962) issued by the Congregation of
the Holy Office -- future Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
-- which was made public in 2003. To this, archbishop Nichols said
that it is not directly concerned with child abuse at all, but with
the misuse of the confessional. This has always been a most serious
crime in Church law. The program confuses the misuse of the confessional
and the immoral attempts by a priest to silence his victim.
The second document, issued in 2001, clarified the
law of the Church, ensuring that the Vatican is informed of every
case of child abuse and that each case is dealt with properly. Archbishop
Nichols stated, "This document does not hinder the investigation
by civil authorities of allegations of child abuse, nor is it a
method of cover-up, as the program persistently claims. In fact
it is a measure of the seriousness with which the Vatican views
these offences. Since 2001, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then head
of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, took many steps
to apply the law of the Church to allegations and offences of child
abuse with absolute thoroughness and scruple."
A BBC spokesman announced today that the corporation's
management will respond to Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor's letter.
OF THE SAINTS
MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
Today we begin our new year at the Eucharistic Celebration. We thank God for Mary, Jesus' mother, who brought the Savior into the world. Because she is the mother of Jesus, God's Son, she truly is the Mother of God.
ST. BASIL AND ST. GREGORY NAZIANZEN
Sts. Basil and Gregory were born in Asia Minor in the year 330. This area is modern-day Turkey. Basil's grandmother, father, mother, two brothers and a sister are all saints.
St. Genevieve was born around 422 in Nanterre, a small village four miles from Paris. While still very young, she desired to devote her life to Jesus.
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON
St. Elizabeth was called "Mother Seton" by everyone knew her by when she died on January 4, 1821, in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
ST. JOHN NEUMANN
St. John Neumann was not only quiet, he was short-five feet, two inches tall. His eyes were very kind and he smiled a lot.
BLESSED ANDRE BESSETTE
St. Alfred Bessette was born on August 9, 1845, not far from Montreal, Canada. He was the eighth of twelve children.
ST. RAYMOND OF PENYAFORT
St. Raymond was born between 1175 and 1180 in a little town near Barcelona, Spain. He was educated at the cathedral school in Barcelona and became a priest. .
St. Thorfinn's life were discovered in details long after his death. He died in 1285, in a monastery in Belgium. Fifty years later, his tomb was accidentally opened during some construction work.
ST. JULIAN AND ST. BASILISSA
St. Julian and St. Basilissa were husband and wife. They lived in the early part of the fourth century.
St. William came from a wealthy French family. Even as a boy, he did not waste time fooling around or being idle.
St. Theodosius was born in Asia Minor in 423. As a young man, he set out on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
ST. MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS
St. Marguerite was born in Troyes, France, on April 17, 1620, but spent most of her eighty years in Montreal, Canada.
ST. HILLARY OF POITIERS
St. Hilary was born into a pagan family on 315 in Poitiers, a town in France. His family was rich and well-known. Hilary received a good education.
St. Macrina and her husband learned the high price of being true to their Christian beliefs.
ST. PAUL THE HERMIT
St. Paul was born into a Christian family in the year 229. They lived in Thebes, Egypt. Paul's parents showed him by their own lives how to love God and worship him with one's whole heart. Paul
ST. BERARD AND COMPANIONS
Six Franciscan friars accepted from St. Francis of Assisi an assignment to go to Morocco. They were to announce Christianity to the Muslims.
ST. ANTHONY OF EGYPT
St. Anthony was born in 251 in a small village in Egypt. When he was twenty years old, his parents died. They left him a large estate and placed him in charge of the care of his young sister.
Blessed Christina lived in the sixteenth century. She was born in Abruzzi, Italy. Her baptismal name was Matthia. As she grew up, Matthia felt the call to a life of prayer and penance.
St. Canute was a strong, wise king of Denmark. He lived in the eleventh century. Canute was a great athlete, an expert horseman, and a marvelous general.
ST. FABIAN AND ST. SEBASTIAN
St. Fabian was a pope who died a martyr in 250. It was during the persecution by Emperor Decius.
St. Agnes was a Roman girl who died in 304. She was just twelve years old when she suffered martyrdom for her faith.
ST. VINCENT OF SARAGOSSA
St. Vincent was martyred in Spain in 304. This was the same year that Agnes was martyred in Rome.
ST. JOHN THE ALMSGIVER
St. John was a dedicated Christian nobleman. He used his wealth and position to help poor people. After his wife passed away, John became a priest and bishop. In 608, he was consecrated the patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES
St. Francis was born at the de Sales castle in Savoy, France, on August 21, 1567. His wealthy family provided him with an excellent education. By the age of twenty-four, Francis was a Doctor of Law.
CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL
St. Paul lived at the time of Jesus but as far as we know they never met. Paul was first called Saul. As a young man, he was a very bright student of the Hebrew religion.
ST. TIMOTHY AND ST. TITUS
St. Timothy was born in Lycaonia in Asia Minor. His mother was a Jew and his father was a Gentile.
ST. ANGELA MERICI
St. Angela was born in the small Italian town of Desenzano, Italy, around 1474. Her parents died when she was ten. She and her only sister, who was three years older, loved each other very much.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
St. Thomas lived in the thirteenth century. He was the son of a noble family of Italy. He was very intelligent, but he never boasted about it. He knew that his mind was a gift from God.
St. Gildas was born around the year 500 in Britain. He set out as a young man to practice a self-sacrificing lifestyle.
St. Bathildis was a frightened, Christian English girl could have never imagined what her future would be like.
ST. JOHN BOSCO
St. John Bosco was born in Turin, Italy, on August 16, 1815. His parents were poor farmers. When John was two, his father died. John's mother struggled to keep the family together.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
of the Relics of the Passion
for Holy Relics)
Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven,
submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a
baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke
3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of
the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the
cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning
of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah
52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among
sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s
will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death
for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust
and submission to God?