IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will meet with five priests who suffered
abuse by Chilean Father Fernando Karadima or his followers, the Vatican said.
The pope will meet June 1-3 with "five priests who were
victims of abuses of power, of conscience and sexual abuse," the Vatican
said in a statement May 22.
priests who have accompanied the survivors "in their juridical and
spiritual journey" and "two laypeople involved in this
suffering" also were
invited by Pope Francis, the
statement said. They will all be guests at the Domus Sanctae Marthae,
the Vatican residence where Pope Francis lives.
The pope will celebrate a private Mass with the group June 2
and will meet with members of the group together
and individually, the statement said. In late April, Pope Francis had hosted three laymen who
were sexually abused by Father Karadima.
"With this new meeting, planned a month ago, Pope
Francis wants to show his closeness to abused priests, accompany them in their
pain and listen to their valuable opinion to improve the current preventative
measures and the fight against abuses in the church," the statement said. The
day after the Vatican's announcement, three Chilean priests who will take part
in the meeting read a statement on behalf of all nine, confirming their
participation in the meetings with Pope Francis.
a May 23 news conference in Santiago, Chilean Fathers Francisco Astaburuaga
Ossa, Alejandro Vial Amunategui and Eugenio de la Fuente Lora thanked the pope
for his invitation, which they said they hope would "re-establish justice
and communion, particularly within our Archdiocese of Santiago and its
statement was signed by the three priests, as well as Fathers Javier Barros Bascunan
and Sergio Cobo Montalva.
four other members of the group, the statement said, wished to remain
also expressed the "hope that our experience may give a voice to many
others who have suffered abuses or have accompanied abused persons."
Chilean priests also asked journalists to respect the "confidentiality and
the privacy" of the meetings and that there will be "no more public
statements until our return to Santiago."
The Vatican said the priests were abused by Father Karadima
and his followers in the parish of Sagrado Corazon de Providencia, also known
as the community of "El Bosque" ("The Forest").
Known as an influential and charismatic priest, Father
Karadima founded a Catholic Action group in the wealthy Santiago parish and
drew hundreds of young men to the priesthood. Four of Father Karadima's proteges went
on to become bishops, including Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno.
However, several former seminarians of "El Bosque"
revealed in 2010 that the Chilean priest sexually abused them and other members
of the parish community for years. One year later, Father Karadima was
sentenced by the Vatican to a life of prayer and penance after he was found
guilty of sexual abuse.
Chilean survivors have also alleged that Bishop Barros --
then a priest -- as well as other members of Father Karadima's inner circle had
witnessed their abuse by his mentor.
The pope, who initially defended his 2015 appointment of
Bishop Barros as head of the Diocese of Osorno, apologized after receiving a
2,300-page report from Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta.
In a letter released April 11, Pope Francis said he had been
mistaken in his assessment of the situation in Chile, and he begged the
forgiveness of the survivors and others he offended. He invited three survivors
-- Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo -- to Rome in late April and called all
of the Chilean bishops to the Vatican for meetings May 15-17.
In a document leaked by Chilean news channel Tele 13 before the meeting with the
bishops, Pope Francis said he was concerned by reports regarding
"the attitude with which some of you bishops have reacted in the face of
present and past events."
The document's footnotes included several details from the
investigation made by Archbishop Scicluna, which confirmed that, in some
instances, the bishops deemed accusations of abuse as "implausible."
But Pope Francis said he was "perplexed and
ashamed" after he received confirmation that undue pressure by church
officials was placed on "those who carry out criminal proceedings"
and that church officials had destroyed compromising documents.
Those actions, he said, "give evidence to an absolute
lack of respect for the canonical procedure and, even more so, are
reprehensible practices that must be avoided in the future."
After the three-day meeting, most of the Chilean bishops
offered their resignations to the pope.
Back in Chile, bishops -- including Bishop Alejandro Goic of Rancagua, president of
the Chilean bishops' commission for abuse prevention -- continue to face
a backlash over
their handling of cases of abuse.
Goic suspended 14 of the diocese's 68 priests May 19 after an
investigative report by Tele 13 alleged there was a sex-abuse ring made up of clergy and known as "La
Cofradia" ("The Brotherhood").
According to the report, "La Cofradia" had its own
structure and carried out, as well as covered up, the sexual abuse of minors by
members of the
The report also alleged that although Bishop Goic was informed and presented
with evidence of the group's existence by Elsa Fernandez, a local youth
minister, he refused to act.
she contacted the Chilean bishops' conference in January to inform them of the abuses
committed by "La Cofradia." However, she said, she was informed in an email that the
conference "does not formally receive complaints."
interview published on the Tele 13 website May 22, Bishop Goic said he had thought
people talking about "La Cofradia" were speaking "in jest"
and said he "never received a formal complaint that seriously said this
After the report's broadcast, Bishop Goic acknowledged that
he had met with
Fernandez, and he apologized
for his failure to act "with the appropriate agility in the
investigation" of the
priests allegedly involved
in the sex abuse ring.
"I must admit that personally, as a Christian and a
pastor, I find myself very affected by this difficult situation that hurts and
embarrasses me," the bishop said. "I pray that the truth, the whole
truth, may come to light in these cases and in any other situations that threaten
the Gospel of Christ's love."
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IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Natalie BattagliaBy Dennis SadowskiWASHINGTON
(CNS) -- A year into his priesthood, Father Matt O'Donnell was named a pastor.
his 27th birthday in 2013, Father O'Donnell arrived at St. Columbanus Parish in Chicago's South Side Park Manor neighborhood and since then has embraced his ministry to the African-American community.
take long for the young priest who grew up at St. Fabian Parish in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview
to become a leading figure in the neighborhood.
O'Donnell, now 31, went about getting to know residents and parishioners and learning
what they thought the community needed. From that, Father O'Donnell recruited volunteers
in spearheading the creation of a variety of services and ministries that has cemented
St. Columbanus as an anchor in Park Manor.
starters, there's the parish food pantry that serves more than 500 people 49
of 52 Wednesdays a year, the building of a new playground that gives kids a
safe space to be kids and an athletic center that gives older kids an
alternative to gang life. The parish also is the site of Augustus Tolton Catholic Academy,
an acclaimed elementary school focusing on science, technology,
religion, engineering, arts and math.
opens its doors to the wider community, hosting its popular "Pop Up
Clergy" program from time to time in front of the church, complete with a
grill for barbecuing. The event brings neighbors and police together to foster
friendship and understanding. The most recent in early May attracted 150
people (at the parish) are very grateful that I'm young and have inexhaustible
energy," he told Catholic News Service.
his efforts, Father O'Donnell was named the 2018 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award by the
Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the U.S. bishops' domestic
anti-poverty and social justice program.
The award is to be presented June 13 at a reception
during the spring assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Fort
Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich in a
statement called Father O'Donnell's work of building a parish "a living
example of Pope Francis's vision of a field hospital church that exists to
serve humankind and spread the Gospel of a loving God."
his caring presence, his limitless energy for good works and his compassionate
ministry, he has made St. Columbanus a beacon of hope in its community and an
example of faith in action far beyond its borders," he said.
nominating Father O'Donnell for the award, Olivia Silver said she wanted to call attention to
the "good things that were happening at the parish and the good things
that Father Matt was doing."
Silver, a member of Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral and a St.
Columbanus volunteer, called the priest an "innovative pastor who gives
his entire heart to his parish, his community and his loved ones."
"He is doing such great stuff
there," she said.
O'Donnell takes little credit for the parish's accomplishments, citing instead
parish staff for the success of the many ministries. He said he strives to
"empower the people in the parish to take the responsibility to run the
different aspects of the ministry that we have."
thanked parishioners for being "forgiving and patient with me."
O'Donnell also credited the "good priests around me to give me on-the-job
training" in the work of a pastor.
priest has long held an interested in serving in the African-American
community. His internships before ordination were in other South Side parishes
where he "fell in love with the liturgy, the music, the preaching"
and discovered that the hospitality of the neighborhoods was "very giving."
A period spent at
the Institute for Black
Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans
strengthened his desire for his chosen ministry.
interest convinced then-Cardinal
Francis E. George to appoint Father O'Donnell as pastor. "Cardinal
George said he would rather have me because I have the desire to serve the
black community than to have somebody who had more experience but didn't have
the desire," Father O'Donnell recalled.
As for the
future, Father O'Donnell has eyes on opening a community service center to help
residents prepare for the GED test and apply for work. He has even thought of
opening a coffee shop "to create some jobs in the area."
acknowledged Park Manor is going through changes, like many other Chicago
neighborhoods: longtime residents have either moved away or died; violence has
increased; locally owned businesses have closed; and poverty is growing.
factors motivate Father O'Donnell to do his best while partnering with others
interested in building an inclusive, welcoming community.
Columbanus has been here since 1909 and has been an anchor in in Park
Manor," he said. "We're trying to figure out what more we can be
doing to better the life of the neighborhood."
- - -
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IMAGE: CNS photo/Roman Pilipey, EPABy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis asked people to pray
for Catholics in China so that they may be able to live their faith with serenity
and in full communion with the pope.
The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady,
Help of Christians May 24. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI established the feast as a world day
of prayer for the church in China because Mary is venerated under that title at the Marian shrine
in Sheshan, outside Shanghai, China.
At the end of his general audience talk in St. Peter's
Square May 23, Pope
Francis said the feast day "invites us to be united spiritually with all
the Catholic faithful who live in China."
He asked people pray to Our Lady so that Catholics there
would be able "to live the faith with generosity and serenity" and so
that they would know how to carry out "concrete gestures of fraternity,
harmony and reconciliation, in full communion with the successor of
"Dear disciples of the Lord in China, the universal
church prays with you and for you so that even in the midst of difficulties you may continue to
trust in God's will," he said.
- - -
Editors: Here is the prayer in English that Pope Benedict
XVI released in 2008 on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Church
in China: https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/prayers/documents/hf_ben-xvi_20080515_prayer-sheshan.html
In Chinese: https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/zh_tw/prayers/documents/hf_ben-xvi_20080515_prayer-sheshan.html- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler OrsburnBy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- The executive director of the U.S.
bishops' Migration and Refugee Services gives credit to a group of moderate Republicans
in Congress trying to revive interest in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
legislation, or DACA, by their efforts to bring not just one bill, but four, to
the House floor.
are surfacing the issue forcefully and making the House deal with it,"
said William Canny. Although
he believes the bills could bring about a "path forward," he said he is
not fully convinced it will happen because of the extent of anti-immigrant sentiment
in Congress and the White House.A current
proposal, led by Reps. JeffDenham, R- California, and Will Hurd,
R-Texas, along with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is tapping
into an obscure House rule called "queen of the hill" which would bring
four immigration bills to the House floor for a vote and the bill with the most
votes would pass.
Congress to even consider these multiple bills, there needs to be enough signatures
on a discharge petition. As of May 21, 20 Republicans and 176 Democrats have
signed the petition, which needs signatures from 25 Republicans and all 193
If the "queen
of the hill" procedure gets the go-ahead, there will be debate on each of
the four bills in the course of one day, followed by votes. Another technicality
of this procedure is that discharged bills can only be brought to the House
floor on the second and fourth Monday of each month, when the House is in
session, which narrows the window for this to happen to June 25 and July 23.
meantime, it's a waiting game, Canny told Catholic News Service.
the U.S. bishops want Congress to help Dreamers find a path to stay in this country
and become citizens "without the fear and stress" they currently live
with daily. He also called it "tragic" that DACA recipients -- who
have been here since childhood and have been educated here -- are currently left
"to the whims of various courts."
Trump announced last September that he was terminating DACA, he asked Congress
to pass a permanent legislative solution for DACA participants. His March 5
deadline has passed and now the DACA battle is in the courts with multiple
lawsuits challenging Trump's decision and seven states filing a lawsuit to try
to end DACA.
four DACA bills that could come up for vote are: Securing America's Future Act, also known as Goodlatte
Bill, written by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia; the DREAM Act; the Uniting and
Securing America Act (USA) Act; and a fourth bill that will be chosen by House
Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin.
Bill would grant temporary status for DACA recipients with renewable three-year
visas and would include stronger border enforcement and legal immigration
restrictions. The DREAM Act primarily offers a path to citizenship for DACA
recipients and other Dreamers. The USA Act, sponsored by Reps. Denham and Pete
Aguilar, D-California, would grant permanent legal status to qualified Dreamers
and border improvements.
four bills do not come up for House vote, Securing America's Future Act could
come to a floor vote in mid-June but it is said to have little chance of
passing in its current form.
said the U.S. bishops have supported the DREAM Act and the USA Act, which have
narrow immigration reform, but they are against the restrictions within the Goodlatte
Bill, and of course they don't know what Ryan bill would look like.
California bishops placed an ad in a local newspaper May 18 asking House
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, to allow a debate and a vote on
DACA, specifically the USA Act. The ad, in the form of a letter, urged McCarthy
to recognize: "The time to act is now. We have to do what we can to
protect these blameless people who were brought into our country when they were
only small children."
April, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez
of Austin Texas, stressed his support for USA Act, saying he hoped Congress
would "find a humane legislative solution for Dreamers."
the USA Act would provide qualifying Dreamers with protection from deportation
and give them a path to citizenship while also augmenting border security at
the U.S./Mexico border, increasing the number of immigration judges and Board
of Immigration Appeals staff attorneys.
21 editorial in The Los Angeles Times by Denham, said: "Immigration policy
is the responsibility of Congress, and this may be our last chance for a
legislative fix before DACA recipients' lives are upended; if we leave DACA in
the courts to languish (or be dismantled) and fail to act in Congress, then program
recipients will be left in limbo or, worse, deported to a 'home' they never
- - -Follow
Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim - - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Although it is not unusual for a pope
to set aside temporarily the limit of 120 cardinals under the age of 80, Pope
Francis has done so in a way that could last for more than a year.
The pope announced May 20 that he would create 14 news
cardinals June 29; 11 of them are under the age of 80 and would be eligible to
enter a conclave to elect a new pope.
In early June, Cardinal Angelo Amato will celebrate his 80th
birthday, which will drop the number of electors to 114. Three weeks later, the
batch of new cardinals will raise the number of potential electors to 125.
Cardinal Amato is the last cardinal to turn 80 in 2018. And
it will take until July 31, 2019, for another five cardinals to age out.
Confirming the limit of 120 electors set by Blessed Paul VI,
St. John Paul II wrote in "Universi Dominici Gregis," his rules for a
conclave, that "the maximum number of cardinal electors must not exceed 120."
That led one major news agency to report, "If a
conclave has to be called before any other cardinal turns 80, the electors
would have to draw lots to see which five men would be barred from the
Conclaves don't happen that often and none in recent history
took place when there were more than 120 eligible electors. But the idea of a
lottery for entrance into the Sistine Chapel, where the voting would take
place, led many people to scratch their heads.
After all, "Universi Dominici Gregis" and the changes
made to it by Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 both strongly state: "No cardinal
elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election of the supreme
A pope, as the supreme legislator of the Catholic Church, can set aside the limit of 120 potential electors. But doing so does not change the no-exclusion clause.
And while a year may be a long time to exceed the 120 limit,
exceeding it by five cardinals is minor compared to what St. John Paul II did
in February 2001. Creating 44 new cardinals -- the biggest batch ever at one
consistory -- the pope raised the number of cardinal electors to 135.
St. John Paul created another 30 cardinals in 2003, bringing
the number of electors back up to 135 once again. But, by the time he died in
2005, only 117 were under 80, and two of those were too ill to participate in
the conclave that elected Pope Benedict.
The Polish pope's mega-consistories broadly expanded the international
-- in other words, the catholic -- identity of the College of Cardinals. It is
a process that continues.
Pope Francis' latest cardinals-designate include churchmen
from five countries not currently represented in the College of Cardinals. But
each of those countries -- Bolivia, Pakistan, Japan, Madagascar and Iraq -- has
had a cardinal in the recent past.
With the addition of the new cardinals, the group of electors
will represent 67 nations. The cardinals who elected Pope Francis in 2013 came
from 48 countries.
The number of Italians with a red biretta, the cardinal's
three-cornered hat, still far exceeds those of any other nation, and Pope
Francis is about to add three more to their number.
The day before the consistory, 18 Italians would be eligible
to enter a conclave -- 19 if you count Cardinal Mario Zenari, the Italy-born
nuncio to Syria, who Pope Francis made clear was chosen to represent Syria. Still,
in the 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis, 28 were Italian.
The country with the next-highest number of cardinal
electors is the United States, which has 10 cardinals under the age of 80.
At a Mass with the College of Cardinals in 2017, a Mass
marking his 25th anniversary as a bishop, Pope Francis said that the Catholic
Church is not a "gerontocracy" ruled by old men; "we aren't old
men, we are grandfathers."
But his choices for the June consistory do very little to
lower the average age of the group of electors. Only one, Cardinal-designate Konrad
Krajewski, the papal almoner, is still in his 50s. He is 54. Cardinal Dieudonne
Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic, is 51 years old and still will
be the youngest cardinal once the consistory is over.
On June 28, there will be 114 electors with an average age of
71 years, 11 months and one day. After the consistory the next day, there will
be 125 electors with an average age of 71 years, eight months and 20 days.
The cardinals who elected 58-year-old Cardinal Karol Wojtyla
-- St. John Paul II -- in 1978 had an average age of 67.
- - -
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