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Day: February 6, 2015

Child protection at top of Pope Francis’ priority list

(Vatican Radio) Child protection experts from five continents began talks in the Vatican on Friday at the first full meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. The 17 member Commission was established by Pope Francis in 2014 and includes a range of professional men and women, together with survivors who were sexually…
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Child protection at top of Pope Francis’ priority list

(Vatican Radio) Child protection experts from five continents began talks in the Vatican on Friday at the first full meeting of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. The 17 member Commission was established by Pope Francis in 2014 and includes a range of professional men and women, together with survivors who were sexually abused by priests during their childhoods.
One of the founding members is German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, head of the Institute of Psychology at Rome’s Gregorian University and director of its Centre for the Protection of Minors. He talked to Philippa Hitchen about the huge challenges facing the Commission and about the difficulties of tackling the broader issues of abuse of power within the Church today..

Fr Hans says the Pope has already started the process of looking into the abuse of power in different sectors so he has “put his finger in a wound that has been there for many years” and which reappears over the centuries in the Church….
As Catholics and Christians, Fr Hans says, we have a special responsibility to live authentically what we profess, adding that “it’s one of the major driving forces behind all the reform process that is going on, including the issue of looking at sexual abuse and its roots in the Church”….
Asked about the work of the Pontifical Commission, Fr Hans says it’ll be interesting to meet with members from the five continents, bringing a “language and a world of experience which is different from each other”. Fr Hans notes there are issues that need to be addressed urgently in parts of Africa, such as the abuse of power and the abuse of women, including women religious, by priests. It’s also important, he says, to find the right language to speak about these problems because in some Asian cultures there is so much denial that “sex abuse is an absolute taboo and cannot even be mentioned by the media”.
Asked about accusations of how slowly the work of the Commission is proceeding, Fr Hans says it has no legal or juridical competencies but rather an advisory body to the Holy Father, to the different parts of the Holy See and to local bishops conferences. “It’s not a quick fix topic,” he stresses, and you can’t expect a culture that has developed through hundreds of years can be “detected, analysed and solved within five years or so”.
Certain problems, Fr Hans adds, must be addressed immediately, such as the accountability of bishops, the need to listen to victims and how to deal with offenders. But the most important task, he believes, is working towards “a change in attitude where it becomes normal for seminarians, pastoral workers, catechists, teachers, nurses working in Catholic institutions, that safeguarding of minors is of utmost importance to the Church”.
In some countries, Fr Hans concludes, this work decades ago, but in other countries – including European countries like Poland, Croatia or Hungary  – the conversation is only just beginning. But Pope Francis, he says, has put this issue on his top priority list and bishops have to deal with it now.
(from Vatican Radio)…

Indian government apologizes for denying visas to Vatican officials ?

The Indian government has apologized to a top Catholic Church official in the country for refusing visas to two Vatican officials traveling to address a meeting of the India’s Latin rite bishops. “(A) senior officer from the Ministry of External Affairs called me up a short while ago and apologized for denying visas to the archbishops (from the Vatican),” Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, told Catholic News Service on Thursday.   “The government has also assured that it will investigate what went wrong,” said Cardinal Gracias, the president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, the association of India’s Latin-rite bishops.  The cardinal regretted that visas were denied to Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, and Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, secretary of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and president of the Pontifical Missionary Societies. The two were trying to arrive in India for the 27th Plenary Assembly of the CCBI, at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences in Bangalore, ‎Feb. 3-9.  Archbishop Roche addressed the Bangalore gathering via video teleconference and answered several questions from the participating bishops. “We are happy that the government has acknowledged and responded to our anguish,” Cardinal Gracias said at the end of the two-hour session.  Although both Vatican officials had applied for a visa in mid-December, the application was pending until the last minute, and the denial was communicated to them shortly before their departure to India, Father Stephen Alathara, CCBI deputy secretary-general told CNS.  (Source: CNS)
(from Vatican Radio)…

Showers for homeless by St Peters Square completed

(Vatican Radio) Work has now been completed on the building of three showers and a barber’s booth for the homeless under the colonnades of St Peter’s Square. The shower unit was commissioned by Pope Francis after learning from his Almoner that homeless people in Rome lacked places where to wash themselves or have their hair cut.
Listen to this report by Susy Hodges: 

The 3 showers and the barber’s booth have been installed in an existing lavatory block used by pilgrims and tourists visiting the Vatican area that was completely refurbished for this purpose. The showers will be available every day, except on Wednesday during the Pope’s general audience and when celebrations take place, either in St Peter’s Basilica or in the Square.
The barber service will be available on Monday between 9am and 3pm.  A number of barbers in Rome have volunteered to offer their services as well as final-year students from a hairdressing school in Rome.  Sisters from Mother’s Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity Order will be among those helping to welcome the homeless who come to use the showers.
Each of the homeless people using the shower units will receive two free kits, a complete change of underwear and a kit containing towel, soap, toothpaste and brush, deodorant plus razor and shaving cream for the men. Many of the articles have been offered free of charge by various firms and private individuals who have wanted to show their solidarity with this project. The Pope’s Almoner will be responsible for purchasing, as needed, future supplies using money raised from the selling of parchments with a Papal Blessing. 
The shower block is expected to open its doors for Rome’s homeless people very shortly.  
(from Vatican Radio)…

Consistory on 14 February and courtesy visits to the new cardinals

Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – On Saturday 14 February in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father will preside at an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new cardinals and the canonisation of Blessed Jeanne-Emilie De Villeneuve, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Castres, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified (nee Maryam Baouardy) professed nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites and Blesseed Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas (nee Maryam Sultanah), co-foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Jerusalem of the Latins. On the same day, in the afternoon, the courtesy visits to the new cardinals will take place in the locations indicated below: Paul VI Hall Atrium: Cardinals Manuel Jose Macario do Nascimento Clemente; Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M; John Atcherley Dew; Edoardo Menichelli; Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon and Alberto Suarez Inda; Hall: Cardinals Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B. ;Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij; Francesco Montenegro; Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S.D.B; Ricardo Blazquez Perez; Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, O.A.R; Arlindo Gomes Furtad and Soane Patita Paini Mafi; Apostolic Palace Sala Regia: Cardinals Dominique Mamberti and Luigi De Magistris; Sala Ducal: Cardinals Karl-Joseph Rauber, Luis Hector Villalba and Julio Duarte Langa. On Sunday 15 February, Pope Francis concelebrates Holy Mass with all the cardinals in St. Peter’s Basilica at 10 a.m. …