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Vatican City, Oct 15, 2018 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis has officially expelled two Chilean bishops from the clerical state. Both men were accused of sexual abuse of minors. The decision was issued without the possibility to appeal, the Vatican announced on Saturday.
The Vatican announced that Francisco José Cox Huneeus, 84, archbishop emeritus of La Serena, Chile, and Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández, 53, bishop emeritus of Iquique, Chile, were removed from the clerical state “as a consequence of manifest abuse of minors.”
Both former bishops have reportedly been living retired lives of prayer and penance for some years now.
By Vatican order, Cox has been living at the institute of the Schönstatt Fathers, of which order he is a member, in Santiago since 2002. Fernandez retired from office in 2012 at the age of 42, due to health problems. He is believed to have retired to Peru, and has not been seen publicly since 2013, according to the New York Times.
The expulsion of the two bishops comes several months after 34 sitting bishops of Chile offered their resignations to the Pope during a crisis meeting in May. That meeting followed a Vatican investigation that revealed systematic sexual abuse and cover-up among the clergy in the country.
Thus far, seven of those bishops have had their resignations accepted by the Pope.
Pope Francis launched an investigation into sexual abuse in Chile earlier this year, following multiple reports concerning Fernando Karadima, a Chilean priest convicted in 2011 of the sexual abuse of minors, and against Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, who was accused of protecting Karadima.
In recent years, Barros had repeatedly insisted that he knew nothing of Karadima’s abuse, and Pope Francis initially gave the bishop his personal backing, naming him head of the Diocese of Osorno in southern Chile in 2015 and insisting he had not seen evidence of his covering-up of abuse, angering accusers of Barros and Karadima.
Karadima, 88, was a highly influential Santiago-area priest who for decades led a lay movement from his parish in El Bosque. He is believed to have personally fostered around 40 vocations to the priesthood, some of whom went on to become bishops also accused of covering up abuse.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found Karadima guilty of the sexual abuse of minors in early 2011. A civil case against him had been dismissed due to Chile’s statute of limitations.
Following the 2011 conviction, and citing his advanced age and poor health, he was ordered by the Vatican to “retire to a life of prayer and penance, in reparation [for his crimes] as well for the victims of abuse.” At the time, he was also prohibited from any public exercise of ministry.
In January, Francis appointed Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna of Malta to lead the investigation. Scicluna is a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and is considered as an expert in the canonical process for handling allegations of clergy sexual abuse.
Scicluna’s investigation resulted in a 2,300-page report that, to date, has not been made public. After receiving the report, Francis apologized for his support of Barros and asked to meet the bishops and abuse survivors in person.
The Pope accepted the resignation of Barros in June, and Karadima was laicized by Francis last month.
The dismissals of the two Chilean bishops also comes in the midst of an ongoing canonical process concerning another archbishop, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. McCarrick is accused of sexually abusing minors and seminarians over a period decades.
Washington D.C., Oct 15, 2018 / 11:30 am (CNA).- President Donald Trump has reportedly chosen a Catholic lawyer, Pat Cipollone, to replace White House counsel Donald McGhan. In addition to his professional work, Cipollone serves on the board of directors for the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., and co-founded the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in 2004.
According to a Washington Post report published Oct. 13, Cipollone has been informally advising President Trump’s personal lawyers on Robert Müller’s special counsel probe into alleged Russian interference in the last election since June.
While Cipollone’s name has been connected with the position since August, Axios first reported the president’s pick Oct. 13, citing four unnamed government sources familiar with the decision. A White House spokesperson would not confirm the appointment.
When asked to confirm the selection on Saturday, President Trump told reporters that “Pat’s a great guy. I don’t want to say [who has been selected], but he’s a great guy. He’s very talented and he’s a very good man, but I don’t want to say.”
Cipollone is currently a litigation partner at Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner LLP, a Washington-based law firm. He specializes in commercial litigation, antitrust and trade regulation, and healthcare fraud.
During the presidency of George H.W. Bush, Cipollone served in the Department of Justice as a counsel to then Attorney-General William P. Barr. Prior to joining his current firm, he worked at the well-known D.C. law firm Kirkland and Ellis.
Following a security clearance review, Cipollone could begin his new job within a week, according to the Washington Post. As White House counsel, Cipollone would advise the president, the Executive Office of the President, and the White House staff on legal issues involving the executive branch.
Donald McGhan announced in August that he would leave the White House’s top legal post after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Cipollone attended Fordham University before earning his J.D. at the University of Chicago School of Law in 1991. Cipollone previously served on the Board of Visitors for the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America, serving as a counselor to the Dean of the law school.
Fox News television host Laura Ingraham wrote in a 2007 book that conversations with Cipollone had led her to consider a conversion to the Catholic faith. She also wrote that Cipollone eventually became her godfather.
If his appointment is confirmed, Cipollone will join the list of Catholics in prominent U.S. legal positions. Following the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court earlier this month, six of the nine current Supreme Court Justices are Catholic.
Vatican City, Oct 15, 2018 / 10:05 am (CNA).- The head of Vatican communications said Monday the youth synod’s final document will be voted on “part by part,” requiring a 2/3 majority to pass each section, before being forwarded to Pope Francis.
Speaking at a press briefing Oct. 15, Paolo Ruffini, who serves as Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications, said the voting on the concluding report produced by the synod on young people, faith, and vocational discernment will take place Saturday, Oct. 27 – the second to last day of the assembly.
Each numbered section will be considered by the synod fathers and require a 2/3 majority to pass.
“Regarding the rules [of the voting], when there are additional rules I can share with you, I will,” Ruffini told journalists.
He said he did not know what languages the final document will be available in at the time of voting, or how translation will work for those bishops who do not speak or read Italian, but added that he believed the synod fathers will have the opportunity to understand what is being stated in each part of the report before voting.
What exactly the format of the final document will be is also still being determined. Discussions are ongoing on whether the document will be accompanied by a separate message to young people, or include a message within it, as was discussed last week in some of the small working groups, Ruffini said.
He noted that efforts were being made to draft a “new document” based on the synod discussions – both in the general congregations and small groups – rather than just retooling the working document, called an Instrumentum laboris, for use as the final report. This followed requests to this effect from several of the working groups last week.
Ruffini indicated that the final draft could take a less comprehensive approach – as it has done following previous synodal sessions – with the pope being presented with individual paragraphs of numbered propositions passed by a vote of the bishops. Rather than producing a document to be read for its own sake, these propositions would be intended to help inform the writing of the pope’s traditional post-synodal apostolic exhortation.
If this is indeed the format the final document takes following the Synod of Bishops meeting on youth, questions remain as to whether any propositions which do not pass with the needed 2/3 majority will be made public.
Ruffini said that the 12 members of the writing commission, elected last week, have begun work on the final report, focusing on parts one and two of the Instrumentum laboris, and are working to integrate what has come out of the small group discussions thus far.
Vatican City, Oct 14, 2018 / 11:52 am (CNA).- “Other than faith,” Bishop Frank Caggiano reminisced, “the gifts of how I was raised and who I was raised by are the greatest gifts I have ever received in my life.”
“The most inspiring people in my life were my two parents, without a doubt,” Caggiano added. “Without a doubt.”
Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a delegate to the 2018 Synod of Bishops, discussing young people, the faith, and vocational discernment. He told CNA that his own youth was shaped by the lessons of his parents.
“My father was a longshoreman. My father unloaded ships. My father had a third-grade education. He did not speak English very well. And yet at a time when in the docks of Brooklyn it was common to steal, my father never came home with a blessed thing.”
“The two things my father spoke about always were integrity and respect,” the bishop said.
“A warrior, a courageous witness, ‘you got to stand by your guns, even if it costs you your life’- That was my father.”
While he praised his father, Caggiano, 59, minced no words about his mother: “My mother was a saint...Simple as that.”
He told CNA that while both parents taught him lessons he continues to carry, he brought especially his mother’s inspiration to Rome this month, where his short synod speech emphasized beauty.
“All of this animation in my mind about beauty began with my mother,” he said.
Beauty “was the engagement of the heart in faith. It was the piety. It was the gentility. It was-- the house itself-- you knew the seasons of the Church’s year in my house. It was the ritual. It was the traditions that we had. In my mind, all of that is wrapped up in beauty. The conveyance of meaning apart from that written word-- that’s beauty. And that was my mom.”
During his synod speech, Caggiano said bishops “must unlock the power of beauty, which touches and captures the heart, precisely by utilizing the many opportunities now afforded by digital communication and social media to accompany young people to experience beauty in service of the Gospel.”
He told CNA that beauty is an important way to evangelize contemporary young people who “wonder whether or not they are lovable or loved.”
“When you encounter beauty it reflects back who you are,” he said. “Beauty is the encounter with the insight that you are beautiful.”
“The most beautiful image of the Lord is the Lord crucified, because he looks back and says ‘in my physical ugliness and my suffering—that is what you are worth.’ That’s what we’re missing.”
Caggiano said that beauty-- in liturgy, art, music, poetry, and in new forms and mediums offered by digital technology-- captures hearts.
“Try to imagine the first time you fell in love. The two immediate responses to falling in love are ‘I want to know about this person,’ and ‘I want to spend time with this person.’”
“If we can have the moment of being captivated by Christ,” he said, “and then encounter the path of goodness and the path of truth- then you begin a lifelong journey.”
The bishop said that the ongoing Vatican synod cannot by itself prescribe the best ways to evangelize young people through beauty. His hope is that the synod will encourage dioceses and episcopal conferences to experiment with ways to evangelize with beauty.
The Diocese of Bridgeport, which Caggiano has led since 2013, has focused on finding ways to reach young people through “the power of image” on social media, along with an online catechetical institute that aims to marry intellectual formation with images and video, and by offering pilgrimages for young people.
"Pilgrimages for young adults are a powerful way to engage with beauty," the bishop told CNA. He said that the diocese has received grants allowing young people to go to the Holy Land and on other pilgrimages even if they are unable to pay for the trip.
Caggiano said that donors support those trips because they see the fruit. He shared the story of a young woman who accompanied him to the Holy Land, and despite beginning the trip uncertain about faith, began going to Mass daily, and had a powerful conversion to deeper faith.
“Pilgrimage is an act of beauty.”
Beauty, Caggiano said, must also characterize Catholic liturgy. He said that after a diocesan synod three years ago, a small commission begin revising sacramental norms and liturgical policies in the diocese, with careful attention to the importance of beauty. A new policy document is set to be released later this year.
“It will cause a great stir,” he said, because it will call attention to ways in which greater reverence is needed in the diocese.
He told CNA that “how we conduct ourselves at the liturgy can reveal” something about what priests and other ministers believe about the importance of worship.
To foster a greater spirit of reverence among priests, Caggiano is planning to launch next month the “Confraternity of St. John Vianney,” an association of priests, including himself, who will commit to celebrating Mass daily, regular public and private participation in adoration of the Eucharist, and regular sacramental confession.
He said plans for the group are still developing, and that he hopes it will grow “organically.”
“We are going to sit before the Lord and let him be our teacher.”
“There is a natural stance that flows from a spirituality that is embedded in the belief in the real presence,” he said, adding that he aims to help priests develop deeper Eucharistic spiritualities.
Caggiano said the synod of bishops has helped him to develop other pastoral ideas he has been considering. His goal, he said, is to help young people to better know Jesus Christ.
“An encounter with the person of Jesus Christ can be truth, beauty, or goodness.”
“It’s the middle path, the way of beauty, that I think is the most interesting. It’s the glue between the two. So what’s going to capture a young person’s imagination? That’s the question in my mind.”
“The path of beauty,” he concluded, “can be a path of awakening.”
Washington D.C., Oct 14, 2018 / 07:00 am (CNA).- Two churches in Maryland have held days Eucharistic adoration with prayers for healing from the recent scandals that have plagued the Church. St. Andrew Apostle Church in Silver Spring, along with Sacred Heart Church in La Plata, hosted a 24-hour “Day of Prayer: Repair My House” October 4-5.
About six weeks before the event, the pastors of the two parishes were discussing how to respond to the recent sexual abuse crisis and it effects both on them as priests and on their parishioners. According to Fr. Dan Leary, pastor at St. Andrew’s, “we both kind of came to this conclusion: repair my Church, repair my Church.”
Following that conversation, a program of events were held in the parishes centered around prayer, fasting, and adoration.
Since the outbreak of the recent scandals over the summer, many bishops, including Pope Francis, have called for the Church to collectively practice penance and fasting.
In the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, the pope issued his Letter to the People of God in which he said it was “essential” that the whole Church acknowledge and respond to the wounds inflicted by the abuse crisis.
“May fasting and prayer open our ears to the hushed pain felt by children, young people and the disabled,” the Pope wrote. “A fasting that can make us hunger and thirst for justice and impel us to walk in the truth.”
Fr. Leary explained to CNA that many pastors have struggled in responding to the pain and confusion the recent scandals have caused their flocks.
“People are wounded, they don’t know who to turn to,” he told CNA.
“The answer is, of course, to turn to the Lord. The Church has the best medicines for spiritual injuries - in the sacraments and in the disciplines of prayer; these have power, real healing power.”
Leary told CNA that when the news of the scandals first broke, he held a listening session shortly afterwards with his parishioners, which he described as “very positive.” But, he said, many priests were asking themselves and each other how to move past simple listening.
“As shepherds, we have to lead, always lead, towards Christ. Many of us in the Washington archdiocese have had listening sessions, and that is such an important part - hearing the needs of the parish. But there comes a time where people want answers, not just listening, and what answer can we give?”
The answer, Leary said, lies in leading by example.
“There is so much power in prayer, and in acts of penance and reparation. These unify us with Christ in his love for the suffering Church. But we have to be the first ones, as priests, to show the way and to ask for our parishioners help, their prayers for us, so that we can serve them as they deserve to be served.”
Inspired by the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. Leary and Fr. Lawrence Swink of Sacred Heart, hosted simultaneous days of prayer, reparation, and fasting at their two parishes on the saint’s feast day, Oct. 4.
The parishes, in the northern and southern halves of the Archdiocese of Washington, offered to serve as “poles of prayer” for the archdiocese. Parishioners and other Catholics were free to attend a Holy Hour at either parish throughout the event.
The day was focused on the Blessed Sacrament, Leary told CNA, because it is there Catholics “will find the ultimate healing and the grace to respond to this time of pain and suffering in the Church.”
Each hour began with the Litany for Priests, composed by Cardinal Richard Cushing, to offer prayers for the ministry of priests.
Leary called the litany “very powerful” and believes it is particularly important to pray for priests during this time, and he said it has been a focus in his own parish since 2009.
He told CNA that these prayers have “borne tremendous fruit, especially the Litany for Priests,” and have been “so effective in helping people to understand the beauty, the dignity of the priesthood.”
Understanding the priesthood, Leary told CNA, is crucial for Catholics to gain a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“Otherwise, it’s just a man sitting there listening to their sins,” he said.
“But if they see it as a priest, who sits in persona Christi, and then the Mass is an act of sacrifice in persona Christi, their faith will elevate.”
Leary hopes that other churches in the area will be inspired by the event and host their own versions. St. Andrew Apostle plans on hosting a 40-hour Eucharistic Adoration around the feast of St. Andrew, which is celebrated on November 30. This event will also include prayer intentions for priests.