Saturday, 16 December 2017

Royal Commission on institutional responses to child abuse. Recommendations to the Catholic Church

Recommendations to the Catholic Church

 Recommendation 16.6 The bishop of each Catholic Church diocese in Australia should ensure that parish priests are not the employers of principals and teachers in Catholic schools.

Recommendation 16.7 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should conduct a national review of the governance and management structures of dioceses and parishes, including in relation to issues of transparency, accountability, consultation and the participation of lay men and women. This review should draw from the approaches to governance of Catholic health, community services and education agencies.

Recommendation 16.8 In the interests of child safety and improved institutional responses to child sexual abuse, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to: a. publish criteria for the selection of bishops, including relating to the promotion of child safety b. establish a transparent process for appointing bishops which includes the direct participation of lay people.

Recommendation 16.9 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to amend the 1983 Code of Canon Law to create a new canon or series of canons specifically relating to child sexual abuse, as follows: a. All delicts relating to child sexual abuse should be articulated as canonical crimes against the child, not as moral failings or as breaches of the ‘special obligation’ of clerics and religious to observe celibacy. b. All delicts relating to child sexual abuse should apply to any person holding a ‘dignity, office or responsibility in the Church’ regardless of whether they are ordained or not ordained. c. In relation to the acquisition, possession, or distribution of pornographic images, the delict (currently contained in Article 6 §2 1° of the revised 2010 norms attached to the motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela) should be amended to refer to minors under the age of 18, not minors under the age of 14.

Recommendation 16.10 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to amend canon law so that the pontifical secret does not apply to any aspect of allegations or canonical disciplinary processes relating to child sexual abuse.

Recommendation 16.11 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to amend canon law to ensure that the ‘pastoral approach’ is not an essential precondition to the commencement of canonical action relating to child sexual abuse.

Recommendation 16.12 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to amend canon law to remove the time limit (prescription) for commencement of canonical actions relating to child sexual abuse. This amendment should apply retrospectively.

Recommendation 16.13 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to amend the ‘imputability’ test in canon law so that a diagnosis of paedophilia is not relevant to the prosecution of or penalty for a canonical offence relating to child sexual abuse.

Recommendation 16.14 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to amend canon law to give effect to Recommendations 16.55 and 16.56.

Recommendation 16.15 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia, in consultation with the Holy See, should consider establishing an Australian tribunal for trying canonical disciplinary cases against clergy, whose decisions could be appealed to the Apostolic Signatura in the usual way.

Recommendation 16.16 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to introduce measures to ensure that Vatican Congregations and canonical appeal courts always publish decisions in disciplinary matters relating to child sexual abuse, and provide written reasons for their decisions. Publication should occur in a timely manner. In some cases it may be appropriate to suppress information that might lead to the identification of a victim. 1

Recommendation 16.17 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to amend canon law to remove the requirement to destroy documents relating to canonical criminal cases in matters of morals, where the accused cleric has died or ten years have elapsed from the condemnatory sentence. In order to allow for delayed disclosure of abuse by victims and to take account of the limitation periods for civil actions for child sexual abuse, the minimum requirement for retention of records in the secret archives should be at least 45 years. Recommendation

16.18 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to consider introducing voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy.

Recommendation 16.19 All Catholic religious institutes in Australia, in consultation with their international leadership and the Holy See as required, should implement measures to address the risks of harm to children and the potential psychological and sexual dysfunction associated with a celibate rule of religious life. This should include consideration of whether and how existing models of religious life could be modified to facilitate alternative forms of association, shorter terms of celibate commitment, and/or voluntary celibacy (where that is consistent with the form of association that has been chosen).

Recommendation 16.20 In order to promote healthy lives for those who choose to be celibate, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and all Catholic religious institutes in Australia should further develop, regularly evaluate and continually improve, their processes for selecting, screening and training of candidates for the clergy and religious life, and their processes of ongoing formation, support and supervision of clergy and religious.

Recommendation 16.21 The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia should establish a national protocol for screening candidates before and during seminary or religious formation, as well as before ordination or the profession of religious vows.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Six hundred March for Life in New Zealand's Capital

Six hundred people from all over New Zealand joyfully walked the streets of Wellington on Saturday, marching in defence of human life from conception.

The National March for Life, the first in the nation's Capital since 1974, was organised to mark the 40th anniversary of the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act (1977) and remember the more than half a million babies whose lives have been lost by abortion.

The theme of the March for Life was love them both.

In a joy-filled atmosphere, families and individuals of all ages and religious backgrounds from the Far North to the Deep South gathered at the Civic Centre near Wellington's waterfront.
Led by five teenage girls and accompanied by upbeat singing, the large group, holding pink and blue balloons, made their way to Parliament where they assembled on the grass for entertainment and speeches.

Ensuring the public watching the March was left with a positive message, the newly launched Gianna's Choice Mobile Centre followed the procession.  The rear of the van has a large advertisement, which informs abortion-vulnerable women that they are not alone.

Speakers on the steps of Parliament included Gordon Copeland, former Minister of Parliament; David Light, silver Commonwealth Games boxing medallist; and Kate Cormack, Vice President of Voice for Life.

Hillary Kieft, a powerful pro-life voice and an advocate for parental notification laws, spoke of her own abortion experience as a teenager.

"I know the heartache and the pain and the destruction and the depression and the suicide attempts of killing your baby" she explained.

"I was young.  I was scared.  And I was selfish.  It took me over 20 years to overcome and come to a place of healing."

Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge youth entertained the large crowd.  The young people come from families who have endured extreme violence.  Many are abortion survivors.  Hope and joy radiated from the group despite the difficult circumstances they have had to live in their lives.

To conclude, 500 pink and blue balloons were released.  Each balloon represented 1,000 pre-born babies who have lost their lives to abortion in New Zealand since 1974, when the first abortion facility opened in Auckland.

The organisers wanted to mark the historic moment in New Zealand's history by uniting all those who want to end abortion.

"Those participating in the March are not clanging cymbals," Kaufman said.  "These people walk the talk every day of their lives.

"They leave the March energised, ready to continue serving women and families and be a voice for the unborn out of great love."

Plans are afoot to make the National March for Life an annual event

Michelle Kaufman
March for Life Spokesperson

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Pope Francis respond to Cardinal Sarah

PrayTell has provided an English translation:
Vatican City, October 15, 2017
To His Eminence the Most Reverend
Cardinal Robert SARAH
Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship
and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Vatican City
 Your Eminence,
I received your letter of September 30, in which you wished to express your gratitude for the publication of Motu Proprio Magnum Principium and to send me a note of elaboration on it, Commentaire, striving for a better understanding of the text.
In expressing my thanks for the commitment and the contribution, I would simply like to express, and I hope clearly, some observations on this note that I consider to be important especially for the proper application and understanding of the Motu Proprio and to avoid any misunderstanding.
First of all, it is important to point out the importance of the clear difference that the new Motu Proprio establishes between recognitio and confirmatio, well established in articles 2 and 3 of canon 838, in order to abolish the practice adopted by your dicastery following Liturgiam authenticam (LA) which the new Motu Proprio intended to change. We cannot therefore say that recognitio and confirmatio are “strictly synonymous (or) are interchangeable” or that “they are interchangeable at the level of responsibility of the Holy See.”
In fact the new canon 838, through the distinction between recognitio and confirmatio, asserts the changed responsibility of the Apostolic See in the exercise of these two actions, as well as that of the episcopal conferences. Magnum Principium no longer argues that translations must conform in all points to the norms of Liturgiam authenticam, as was previously the case. For this reason, individual numbers of Liturgiam authenticam must be carefully reconceived, including nos. 79-84, in order to distinguish what is required by the code for translation and what is required for legitimate adaptations. It is therefore clear that some of Liturgiam authenticam’s numbers have been abrogated or are taken up into the terms in which they were reformulated by the Motu Proprio’s new canon (eg. no. 76 and also no. 80).
On the responsibility of the bishops’ conferences to translate “fideliter,”it should be pointed out that the judgment of fidelity to Latin and any necessary corrections had been the task of the dicastery, but now the norm grants to episcopal conferences the right to judge the quality (bontà) and consistency between one term and another in the translation from the original, even if this is in dialogue with the Holy See. Confirmatio no longer supposes a detailed word-by-word examination, except in the obvious cases that can be brought to the bishops for their further reflection. This applies in particular to the relevant formulas, such as the Eucharistic Prayers and in particular the sacramental formulas approved by the Holy Father. Confirmatio also takes into account the integrity of the book, that is, verifying that all components that make up the typical edition have been translated (1).
Here it can be added that, in the light of the motu proprio, “fideliter” of § 3 of the canon implies a threefold fidelity: in primis, to the original text; then to the particular language in which it is translated, and finally to the comprehension of the text by the recipients (see Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani nos. 391-392).
In this sense, recognitio only indicates verification and preservation of conformity to the law and communion of the Church. The process of translating relevant liturgical texts (eg. sacramental formulas, the Credo, the Pater Noster) into a language – from which they are considered authentic translations – should not lead to a spirit of “imposition” upon the episcopal conferences of a given translation made by the dicastery, as this would undermine the right of the bishops sanctioned in the canon and, already prior to that, Sacrosanctum Concilium 36 § 4. Moreover, let us recall the analogy with canon 825 § 1 concerning the version of Sacred Scripture, which does not require confirmatio by the Apostolic See.
It is mistaken to attribute to confirmatio the purpose of recognitio (i.e. to “verify and safeguard compliance with law”). Of course, confirmatio is not merely formal, but necessary for publication of the translated liturgical book: it is granted after the version has been submitted to the Apostolic See for the ratification of the bishops’ approval in a spirit of dialogue and aid to reflection, if and when necessary, respecting their rights and duties, considering the legality of the process followed and its various aspects (2).
Finally, Your Eminence, I reiterate my fraternal gratitude for your commitment and note that the Commentaire which has been published on some websites, and erroneously attributed to you, I kindly ask you to provide this response to the same sites, and also to send it to all episcopal conferences, and the members and consultors of your dicastery.
(1) Magnum Principium:  The goal of the translation of liturgical texts and of biblical texts for the Liturgy of the Word is to announce the word of salvation to the faithful in obedience to the faith and to express the prayer of the Church to the Lord. For this purpose it is necessary to communicate to a given people using its own language all that the Church intended to communicate to other people through the Latin language. While fidelity cannot always be judged by individual words but must be sought in the context of the whole communicative act and according to its literary genre, nevertheless some particular terms must also be considered in the context of the entire Catholic faith because each translation of texts must be congruent with sound doctrine.”
(2) Magnum Principium: “Without doubt, attention must be paid to the benefit and good of the faithful, nor must the right and duty of episcopal conferences be forgotten who, together with episcopal conferences from regions sharing the same language and with the Apostolic See, must ensure and establish that, while the character of each language is safeguarded, the sense of the original text is fully and faithfully rendered and that even after adaptations the translated liturgical books always illuminate the unity of the Roman Rite.”

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Caritas agencies in the Pacific strengthen themselves to care for the human family and care for the Earth, our common home.

The world-wide Caritas network is dedicated to caring for the neediest among the human family and caring for the Earth, our common home. From September 10-13 the Oceania members of the network gathered in Cairns, Australia, with other members of the Caritas family to renew our energies in that work. Present also were representatives from countries not yet members of the Caritas network, reflecting the forum theme of ‘Our Family, Our Future’ and strengthening ties with Francophone and Anglophone peers.

The forum identified the strengths and achievements of the Oceania agencies and the priorities for collective action over the next 2 years. We were helped in our global vision by a video presentation from Michel Roy, Secretary-General of Caritas International (CI) and updates from delegates on various CI working groups.

Common topics of conversation were the questions around preparedness for humanitarian emergencies, especially those caused by climate change, migration being caused by actual climate change and rising sea levels, mining and seabed mining in the region and questions of human rights.
We welcomed the recent statement of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Bishops Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO) expressing concern about the exploitation of our seas and situation of the people of West Papua. We are encouraged that next year’s FCBCO assembly theme will be: Care for our Common Home of Oceania: a sea of possibilities.

Forum delegates were welcomed by Bishop James Foley of Cairns and accompanied in our reflection by Archbishop Mark Coleridge (Brisbane), vice-president of the Australian Bishops Conference, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong (Suva, Fiji), and Bishops Peter Brown (American Samoa) and Jozef Roszynski (Wewak, PNG).

Our meeting began by listening to the experiences of members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. As well as sharing stories of discrimination against their peoples since European settlement they also spoke of their deep relationships with land, animals, and ancestors, and of their hope for the future. We see that if we are to truly care for our common home we need to learn from the wisdom of the indigenous peoples of our world.

In the light of this encounter we looked again at what it is to be truly ‘developed’ as people and as communities. We studied Catholic Social Teaching on this question, from Paul VI’s ‘Populorum Progressio’ to Pope Francis’ proposal of an integral ecology in ‘Laudato Si’.

These considerations led the Caritas network in Oceania to focus on 3 main areas in the next 2 years: Climate change and environmental justice, indigenous perspectives on Catholic Social Teaching and becoming a more effective and broader organization.

Caritas Australia, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, Caritas Papua New Guinea, Caritas Samoa, Caritas Tonga.

Contact: Mons. G. Burns, President Caritas Oceania
. +64-4-496-1737; 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Wellington celebration for Fatima centenary

Fatima’s centenary celebrated in Wellington
19 May 2017
More than 100 people including families and children gathered in Wellington last week to  honour our Lady of Fatima during the 100th anniversary of her first apparition.
The event was very appropriately held at the Our Lady of Fatima church in Tawa and organised by the Centre for Marriage and Family (CMF).

“We wanted to honor our Blessed Mother and give glory to Her Son by marking the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima which happened on the 13th of May 1917.”
There was a Living Rosary where each person (or a group of people) stood for a particular bead. A person or representative from the group gave a flower to the pilgrim statue of our Lady of Fatima before going back to their place and saying their assigned prayer.

The Centre also launched the Family Rosary Prayer Chain where the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima is passed on from one family to another. “One of the requests of our Lady to the three children was the daily recitation of the Rosary. The Family Rosary Chain is one way we can fulfil our Lady’s request. It is aimed at encouraging families to pray the Holy Rosary for peace in families and in the world. We hope that through this prayer chain, many families will continue saying the Rosary even after the pilgrim statue leaves their family to go to the home of another family,” commented CMF Director Patricia Sison.

Aside from these, the Centre has produced 7 snippets which can be published in parish or school newsletters during the centenary that tell the story of Fatima in a nutshell, including what is needed to respond to our Lady’s request to achieve peace in the world. A modified form of these snippets were sent to parishes by MissioNZ, the Pontifical Mission Societies in New Zealand, to promote the centenary.

The history of the apparitions at Fatima dates back to 1917 when the Blessed Mother appeared to three shepherd children to give a message for the world. She asked for prayer and penance for the conversion of sinners that they may be brought back to God. By heeding her message which is the message of the gospel itself, there will be peace in the world, said Mrs Sison.
Her apparitions show the breadth and depth of God's love and Mary's maternal concern for humankind. “When we look at the world around us, where we have lost our sense of sin, where there is much Christian persecution and violence, the Fatima Message needs to be shared and listened to afresh for it is an invitation to respond to God's mercy and seek the peace that only God can give. Pope John Paul II said that “Fatima is more important now than it was in 1917!”

For more information about the snippets or how you can get involved in the Family Rosary Prayer Chain, please contact .

In the wider global catholic church..... 
 On this 100th anniversary of our Lady's apparitions, Pope Francis travelled to Fatima where he canonized Jacinta and Francisco, two of the three children who saw our Lady. He had said that special graces will be granted to those who during the centenary, (1) Make a pilgrimage to the Fatima Shrine in Portugal; (2) Visit with devotion a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in any church during the anniversary days of the apparitions; and (3) For those unable to get around, pray to Our Lady of Fatima and spiritually unite themselves to the celebrations on the days of the apparitions.
In New Zealand....

On May 13, St. Pius X Church in Titahi Bay and St. Andrew's Church in Newlands commemorated the event through songs and/or slides. The parish community of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Wellington, together with students from St. Francis Xavier School also commemorated the event on May 21 at the 10:30 am mass. Aside from the Living Rosary and Family Rosary Prayer Chain, the Centre for Marriage and Family has many other initiatives to make the centenary a special one. Both the Auckland and Christchurch dioceses also have a whole series of events commemorating the centenary to show the importance of the Fatima event 100 years ago and its significance for our times.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Life Questions

First World Marriage Day held in New Zealand.
15 February 2017
This year for the first time World Marriage Day was celebrated in New Zealand at a Wellington Event organised by the Centre for Marriage and Family (CMF).
“World Marriage Day honours a husband and wife as the foundation of a family, the basic unity of society.  It celebrates the beauty of their love, faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in their marriage. Further, it celebrates the children that are born to them out of their love and their establishment of a family,” stated Centre Chairman Ewen Laurenson and co-founder of the Open Home Foundation.
World Marriage Day is held every second Sunday of February in many countries worldwide. Its origins began in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1981, when couples encouraged the Mayor, the Governor and the Bishop to proclaim St. Valentines Day as ‘We Believe in Marriage Day’. The event was so successful the idea was presented to and was adopted by Worldwide Marriage Encounter's National Leadership. In 1993, his Holiness, Pope John Paul II, imparted his Apostolic Blessings on World Marriage Day. Since then World Marriage Day celebrations continue to grow and spread to more countries and faith expressions every year.
“CMF wanted to use the occasion to affirm and celebrate the wonder of marriage and family in a secular age that so often seems to disparage or be indifferent to these concepts that for centuries have stood the test of time,” said Mr Laurenson.
The Family Fun Day Out at Aotea Lagoon included games and spot prizes, a walk around the lagoon, cakes, live music and a sausage sizzle. Many young couples and families attended despite the threat of wet weather.
“What impacted me the most, was that it was a lovely and joyous statement about the value to our society of marriage and family,” said Mr Laurenson, who together with wife Gillian won the prize for the longest married couple of 47 years!
Centre Director Patricia Sison said, “I felt God honoured the occasion in the way the weather held. God is good! He made the sun come out as He said he would and at just the right time-- 2 pm the start of the event. He is faithful and I have gained a better understanding of what marriage is through his faithfulness in my life.
“The event was a good public statement about support for marriage and family. It was so wonderful to have young people present and to observe their positive involvement one way and another. It is my prayer that these young people will value marriage and family in the years to come. 
“For CMF the event was a success as it reflected one of the organisation’s key values of  intergenerational participation, involvement and collaboration of people, young and old to stand and work to promote marriage and the family.

“One of the guiding principles of the CMF is to proclaim God's mercy from generation to generation from the song of Mary in the gospel of Luke and that I believe was what we did. Never was it more pronounced then through the walk around the Lagoon which was like a march signifying the generations coming together on a journey,  and proclaiming the great heritage of the human race which is Marriage.”

For more on the work of the Centre for Marriage and Family, email or visit  .