A certain person has attempted to make allegations against Irish Capuchin friars by means of this blog. This is not the place to make any such charges. From the Irish Capuchin website:
"By signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Board for Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in April 2009, the Capuchin Order in Ireland has adopted the Board’s policy and procedures document Safeguarding Children : Standards and Guidance document for the Catholic Church in Ireland (2009), and the documents that may be added to it from time to time, as its basic regulation in all matters pertaining to the protection of children. Furthermore, in implementing of that document, we accept the auditing role of officials of the Board’s National Office and pledge our cooperation with them in their work.
Conscious of its grave responsibility to prevent the sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children and their neglect, the Capuchin Order undertakes to report all allegations made to it of such abuse to the civil and Church authorities without delay; we also urge all who disclose allegations of abuse against its members, or anyone else, to do likewise. Anyone making an allegation of abuse will be received with respect and listened to, will be informed of actions taken as a result of their disclosure and will have their need for counseling met, if required. Those against whom allegations of abuse have been made will be given every opportunity to vindicate their good name, but, without prejudice, will be asked to stand aside from all ministry, not wear the habit or clerical garb, until the civil authorities have completed their investigations. However, should a Garda investigation find that an allegation is false everything shall be done to restore the good name of the accused. Otherwise, the Order undertakes to cooperate fully with the HSE and An Gárda Síochána in assisting those who have abused children to live offense free lives."
The Child Safeguarding Designated Officer for the Capuchin Order in Ireland is:
Br. Paul Murphy OFM Cap
Telephone: 086 0610985
Anyone who wishes to allege abuse ought to contact Br. Paul Murphy at the address above or via the phone number provided.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Firstly Rome Report's translation of the Holy Father's moto is wrong. It means, according to CNS, "because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him" and which comes from St. Bede the Venerable's commentary on Matthew.
The Holy Father's coat of arms: a blue shield with the emblem of the Jesuits (the Holy Name of Jesus within a radiant disk) above a white five-pointed star and a white bunch of grapes. The explanation given by Rome Reports is that apart from the emblem of the Jesuits, the white star on the blue shield refers to the Mother of God and the grapes to Jesus as the grower of the faith. I was wondering about that interpretation. The first three letters of Jesus' name in Greek is familiar to all Catholics and that image surrounded by rays goes back at least to the Franciscan St. Bernardine of Sienna promoter of devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. But it can also represent the Eucharist as can the bunch of grapes. A Jesuit pope who has devotion to St. Francis who himself promoted devotion to the Eucharist and Our Lady - that made me think some more. This pope has on his shield symbols of Christ and Our Lady, symbols that are also eucharistic. Could this be the pope St. John Bosco saw in his vision? Just thinking....
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
So we have another Holy Father, a new Pope and someone from outside Europe! Like everyone else I'm also putting in my few words of commentary. You can check out John Allen's account of the new pope written before he was elected here.
No matter what he may yet say in clarification (and pace the Jesuits) all Franciscans, and Italians everywhere, will believe he chose Francis as a tribute to the founder of the Franciscan family and the patron saint of Italy. As Franciscans we will have the peculiar experience (for the first time in our history) I referring to our 'Holy Father Francis' meaning the Pope and 'our Holy Father Francis' meaning St. Francis.
I hope that he does have both the holiness and 'fire in the belly', the strength of character to lead the Church along the path our Lord indicates for us. I got the impression watching him on that balcony that not only was he overawed and stunned at this outcome but also a little lost. Perhaps he will be another John Paul I? He is 76 so he will not likely hold the office for twenty or more years. All we can do is pray, fast and be faithful.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Christendom College of the U.S. is to launch the Columcille Institute this year from July 20 to August 7. It will be held in our friary in Ards, i.e. Ard Mhuire, Donegal. 'Ard' means 'high' or 'height' in Irish and 'Muire' is the Irish for 'Mary' as in the Mother of God. Other Marys are 'Máire'. I hope they get the weather! Ards is beautiful if the weather is good but miserable if it isn't. The Institute will offer courses on Catholic Apologetics, The Rise of Western Culture and Christian Ethos and Christian Imagination and Prominent Continental Irish Writers.
Posted by Br. Tom Forde OFM Cap at 3:07 PM
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Well the Holy Father has gone. Not quite as bad as when Bl. John Paul II died but still sad. It hit me when I saw footage of his last appearance at the window of Castel Gandolfo. He said he would now be a pilgrim on his final journey to the Lord. That hit me. This is a man preparing to die, a man who has quietly come to hold such an important place in the hearts of all true Catholics.
There is the sadness of losing such a dedicated pastor and teacher and the uncertainty of who will take his place (please God not Dolan!). He also said that he was not coming down from the cross but would remain with the Crucified Christ in another way. That's one in the eye for a certain Polish Archbishop. Now we must pray not only for the Holy Father in his retirement but more importantly for the upcoming conclave that the cardinals will elect a holy, wise, orthodox and strong pope!
So thank you Holy Father for your faith and loyalty. Thank you for your witness to Christ, for sharing your learning and exhorting us to believe, to trust and to follow Christ. Thank you for the years you have given to the priesthood and the sacrifices that involved, for taking on the demands, the cross of the Papal ministry. Thank you, Holy Father. We will miss you.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
I am a sinner myself. I too have fallen short of the glory of God and on all too many occasions I have failed to live as a Christian. Daily I struggle to be a Christian yet alone a priest. My job is not to sit in judgment on anyone but I also have to stand up for the truth revealed in Jesus Christ. I have read the report or rather article from the Polish priest Fr. Dariusz Oko. It makes for disturbing reading when taken in conjunction with the rumours about the cardinals' report to the Holy Father and what they allegedly discovered. There are always rumours. It's part of how Satan stirs up evil in the Church and the world. Go along to this blog post and then go down and read the comments to see how distorted and bigoted human thought can become when it listens to rumour and innuendo and refuses to give facts a chance. Yet there also rumours that are pieces of the truth, warning rumbles of approaching trouble or hidden disorder. Knowing the true from the false is not always easy.
I support and teach the Church's teaching on homosexuality. I have been challenged by students and by members of congregations for doing so. It's a painful subject for some and an uncomfortable one for many. Family members, especially parents, often want to support their child and maintain that relationship with them while people who have same-sex attraction often want approval and not just tolerance. They will settle for Church silence.
That said, as a priest for the past fourteen years, while I have heard rumours and innuendo, I have not personally met any openly homosexual clergy. Maybe I live in some world of my own. Maybe I just don't move in circles that intersect with such men but while I have come across homosexuals I haven't met clerical ones. Too often effeminacy is equated with homosexuality which is an unjust and very ignorant supposition. There is a secretive, furtive side to homosexuality as there is to many deviant forms of sexual behaviour that is part of the attraction, part of the buzz, the frisson, that goes with breaking rules. Such secretiveness, coupled with the desire to avoid repercussions means that at least in Ireland any homosexual clergy will keep a low profile. That said a priest had a heart attack and died back in 1994 in a homosexual sauna and was, allegedly, anointed by another priest on the spot! The owner claimed that there were about twenty priests who used the sauna regularly. I wonder how he knew they were priests?
I have no doubt there are homosexual clergy and if they are not living their vows they should ask themselves why they are still priests. The same goes for heterosexual clergy who fornicate or commit adultery. If any of them are part of a clique (however loose) that promotes other clergy or laity based on their support for or ambivalence to homosexuality or opposition to Church teaching on human sexuality then they should have the decency to desist or abandon the ministry.
What is frustrating is that one does not know what is true and what is false. There are rumours but little evidence. There is evidence of cover-ups of abuse, failures to act swiftly and effectively, and deviation from the doctrine of the Church. There are those who teach heresy or fail to affirm the Church's teaching even in third level colleges and nothing is done to them. There are no repercussions. Priests grant 'general absolutions', tell penitents they need only tell a single (mortal) sin, hold penitential services during Mass, alter the text of the Mass, and give public support to groups and persons that oppose Church teaching and nothing happens. One must ask why?
Why does it take Vatican intervention before clergy are challenged on their teaching? Why does it have to go to Rome before liturgical abuses and other irregularities are confronted? Why did it take so long to deal with the abuse of children when, as the Murphy report affirmed, the bishops already had enough power in canon law to stop the abusers from getting access to children? I am not convinced that it was always concern for the image of the Church. People rarely really care for the image of an institution. People really care about their own image and the image of the group with which they are associated. Perhaps there was some other threat to their image that encouraged bishops and religious superiors to turn a blind eye? I cannot prove this but I now suspect it of some.
It is discouraging to deal with these issues but, as Mr. Voris, puts it it is better dealt with than not. Better to bring the poison out into the open, to drain the puss from the abscess and to apply some healing remedies. We will always have to deal with those who see in the sacred ministry not a path to God or a means to serve His Kingdom but a career choice or a place to hide from their demons. Perhaps very few of us are entirely pure in our motives; we are all sinners but that does not mean we should tolerate our own sins or the sins of others especially when they harm the Church.
This Lent can be a new beginning, a return to the sources, a return to authentic Catholicism. This Lent can be a re-appropriation of obedience to the whole teaching of Christ and an abandonment of the à la carte Catholicism of the last forty years. I believe we are seeing the stirrings of a deep reform movement within the Church, a continuation of a stream that preceded the Council but got side-tracked or went underground and is now re-emerging to carry the Church into greater fidelity to her Lord. We must choose whom we serve.
Posted by Br. Tom Forde OFM Cap at 12:05 PM