Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Savita Halappanavar: abortion was the last thing she needed

On Monday, November 19, The Herald published a Letter to the Editor from one Veronica Wikman. Ms Wikman is unknown to me but she describes herself on line as “a native Swedish linguist and freelance translator, living in Edinburgh since 1997”.

Her letter was headed “Ireland must adopt a more enlightened approach to the rights of women” and it began: “Savita Halappanavar can now be added to the long list of women who have been killed in the name of religion...”

Naturally, on reading this I immediately drafted a reply. And equally naturally, I found on Tuesday morning that it had not been published. Nor was it published today, Wednesday. (Plus ça change plus c’est la même chose).

My epistle to The Editor at The Herald read:

“Dear Sir

Savita Halappanavar, aged 31 years, an Indian citizen (from Belgaum, Karnataka) and a Hindu who practised locally as a dentist, died on October 28 in University Hospital, Galway, Ireland. The cause of death has been reported in India to have been “severe septicaemia with disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a life-threatening bleeding disorder which is a complication of sepsis, major organ damage and loss of the mother’s blood due to severe infection” (The Hindu, Bangalore, Friday, Nov 16).

The Hindu interviewed one of India’s leading consultants in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dr Hema Divakar, President-elect of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI). The informed observations of this professional put the lie to the accusation that Mrs Halappanavar can “be added to the long list of women who have been killed in the name of religion” (Veronica Wilkman, Letters, Nov 19).

Dr Divakar told The Hindu: “Based on information in the media, in that situation of septicaemia, if the doctors had meddled with the live baby, Savita would have died two days earlier.” That is, medically abortion was contra-indicated.

In some quarters, it has been suggested that because Mrs Halappanavar was a dentist by profession she would have been much more aware of the medical implications of what was happening to her and thus if she had begged the doctors to perform an abortion, they should have obliged.

But Dr Divakar stated: “Having understood that the baby was not going to make it, the couple would have asked for termination. But as Savita’s infection may have required aggressive treatment at that stage, doctors must have felt the need to prevent complications. The usual [practice] is to meddle the least till the mother is stable.”

Sadly, the outcome was tragic. But it wasn’t that tragic that the pro-abortion lobby was going to pass up what it saw as a huge opportunity to bring pressure to bear on the Irish government. They then spent two weeks preparing last week’s spontaneous demonstrations and news stories.

It should be remembered that midwifery care in Ireland is amongst the best in the world; much safer than it is either here or in the USA. At least three women died last year in England and Wales from abortion gone wrong. God knows how many died in the USA. None did in Ireland.

Yours etc”

I would like to point out that the names of the three women who died have been published on the SPUC website, but I had no wish to bring further distress to the families and friends of the deceased.

One is left wondering why The Herald did not publish my letter. Too long? No, at 387 words it is 13 short of the magical figure of 400 (which they often ignore anyway). Factually controversial? Hardly, it would take a newspaperman only a couple of minutes to check on line that my references weren't bogus. Badly written?Well, others must judge that but at least one communications professional who has read it described it as "excellent".

So bias seems the only likely explanation. Surprise, surprise.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Appointment of Experts to the General Synod of Bishops XIII
From Missionary Catholic Ireland: One!

(An edited version of this was recently published by The Scottish Catholic Observer.)

For the last quarter of the 19th Century and most of the 20th, the missionary activity of the Catholic Church — the “Old Evangelisation”, as it were — was inextricably linked to Catholic Ireland; and for much of the latter century this included the diaspora settled in the three countries of Great Britain. Indeed, during that century, the alma mater of your humble but esteemed scrivener here, Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell, produced more priests than any other school in Great Britain, and perhaps even Ireland itself. One ended up in the Sacred College of Cardinals, but most went on the missions.

It was, then, somewhat of a surprise that when Archbishop Nikola Eterović, the Croatian Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, announced the names of the 45 Adiutores Secretarii Specialis (or Experts) approved by Pope Benedict to assist the Fathers of General Synod XIII on “The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”, only one was an Irishman: Rev Professor Dr Éamonn Conway.
Fr Conway, a priest of the Archdiocese of Tuam, is Head of Theology and Religious Studies at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. Formerly President of the European Society for Catholic Theology, he is currently President of the International Network for Societies of Catholic Theology, which has the delightful acronym INSeCT.

Only two experts have been recruited from Great Britain; both of them are lay, and it may surprise some that 50% of them is a woman. This is Dr. Caroline Farey, a Professor at the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, where she directs the BA programme in Applied Theology for Catechesis. She also lectures in Philosophy at St Mary’s College, Oscott, Seminary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, where she teaches Metaphysics, Epistemology, and on St Thomas Aquinas.

The other British expert has also been tapped from the Maryvale Institute, its Deputy Director, Professor Petroc Willey. Encouraged by Cardinal Schönborn of Vienna (who is likely to enter the next conclave as papabile despite a recent little local difficulty) in 2008 Dr Willey co-authored (with Professor Barbara Morgan and Fr. Pierre de Cointet) “Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Craft of Catechesis”.
The Maryville Institute is entirely independent of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Doubtless most of that hierarchy will be amazed that none of their own experts have been recruited by the Holy Father and Archbishop Eterović. But will they be able to read the runes?

Of course, although Scotland provides no Experts specifically for the General Synod, we do have several very gifted priests working in the Vatican who may be called upon to contribute their various gifts in different ways during the three weeks of the Synod (October 7-28). Principal among these is Monsignor Leo Cushley, and he can expect to be particularly busy. As Head, caposezione — I know, it sounds a bit Mafia-ish — of the English Language Section of the Secretariat of State he is the Holy Father’s English Language Interpreter. And when the Pope has no prior call on his services, he is also the Cardinal Secretary of State’s, Cardinal Bertone’s, interpreter. And there are going to be an awful lot of English speaking prelates (and others) meeting with both in coming weeks. (Not to mention the fact that his other many duties and responsibilities won’t go away for the month of October.)

Mgr Gerard McKay, a judge of the Roman Rota, has for some considerable time now been a consultor to the Vox Clara Committee which produced the new English translation of the Roman Missal. This, of course, underpins the New Evangelisation in the Anglophone Catholic Church. And as an official of the Doctrine Section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Mgr Patrick Burke may have much to ponder in coming weeks.

As to the remaining 42 experts appointed to the Synod, 18 have been recruited from within Italy, although four of these are non-Italians (two Spanish, one Serbian and one Nigerian), 6 from the rest of Europe, 6 from North America (five from the USA and one from Canada), 3 from Latin America, 6 from Africa and 3 from Asia.

Ten of the 45 Experts are female, seven religious and three laywomen. Unsurprisingly, neither of the two American nuns is associated with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the USA Green Party at prayer.

Of the 35 male Experts, one of the Italian appointees ensures that for three weeks in October there will be Four Popes of Rome. To add to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the real Pope, as regular readers will know, there is the Red Pope, currently His Eminence Fernando Filoni, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples (Propaganda Fide as was before a certain Paul Joseph Goebbels got propaganda a bad name) and the Black Pope, Fr Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General (though usually called the Father General) of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

Joining this holy trinity (as opposed to THE Holy Trinity) will be Professor Rodolfo Pope, Professor of Art History and Aesthetics at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome.

Another of the male Experts is a priest to whom Holy Family Parish, Mossend, can lay part claim. Fr Marko Ivan Rupnik is a Slovenian, a Jesuit, an expert in missiology, a theologian and an artist. More specifically, he is a theologian artist in the great mosaic tradition of Eastern iconography. In September 1991 he was appointed Director of the newly established Centro Aletti, Rome, by its founder, Fr Clarence Gallagher SJ, the Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute Rome, another alumnus of Our Lady’s High School and, to quote himself “a wee guy from the Clydesdale Road”.

Our surprise at the dearth of experts from the Irish Church and its diaspora — to Fr Conway can be probably be added the entire North American contingent (a Butler, a Driscoll, a Martin, a Miller, a Peters and a Goulding) and possibly the Englishwoman — is perhaps explained by the first paragraph of the Introduction to an INSeCT colloquium held at De Paul University, Chicago, June 14-16, 2011. This read:
“The Rapidly Changing Global Context: In the past fifty years the world population of Catholics has doubled. At the same time, the centre of gravity in the Catholic world has shifted from Western Europe to the Southern Hemisphere. The largest concentrations of Catholics live today in Brazil, the Philippines, and Mexico. Even more remarkably, the Vatican Yearbook reports that the Catholic population of Africa has increased by 33% in the past decade alone. By the year 2050, it is expected that fully 70% of Catholics will reside in the global south.”

That is why we have to re-evangelise the global north.

PS: I would advise readers who appreciate religious art to look up the Capella Redemptoris Mater on the internet and take the stunning visual tour. This is the larger of the Pope’s private chapels. If I remember correctly, it was when Pope John Paul II was celebrating the 40th anniversary of his episcopal ordination that the Sacred College of Cardinals made a presentation to him of a substantial sum of money which he chose to use for the redecoration and rededication of this chapel wherein the Lenten Retreat of the Papal Household is held and the Advent sermons of the Preacher to the Papal Household, currently Father Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap, are delivered.

Fr Marko Rupnik was chosen for the task and the late Cardinal Tomáš Špidlík SJ, whom Fr Clarence also recruited to the staff of the Centro Aletti, advised on the theological theme.

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Pope in the Lebanon: Part Two

(With apologies, since this should have been posted a couple of days ago. Those days have been lost to a bad cold.)

So what is meant by “the Oriental Church”? Where exactly is the ecclesiastical “Orient”?

A rule of thumb might help. Take a map of Europe and North Africa. Place your ruler along the eastern coast of Italy. Barring the countries in central Europe, as you sweep your ruler round clockwise, the countries it traverses, right round to those on North Africa’s Mediterranean coast, are the home of Eastern Christianity, Catholic and Orthodox. All the way down to Ethiopia and across to India. But nowadays you have to take into account the various Diasporas.

I had the great honour of meeting a group of one part of one element of those Diasporasa in Rome during the weekend of the consistory in November 2007. These were a group of Iraqi Chaldean Catholics who had emigrated to the USA. They were present to see and support their Patriarch, Emmanuel III (Emmanuel-Karim) Delly, Archbishop of Baghdad, honoured by Pope Benedict with elevation to the Sacred College. As Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Cardinal Delly joined the Order of Cardinal Bishops. As such, on the Sunday morning at the Ring Mass he was Principal Co-Concelebrant with the Holy Father.

The pictures below were taken by me, using a friend’s camera in St Peter’s Square on the Saturday morning (November 24, 2007) immediately after the public consistory for the naming of the new cardinals. Cardinal Delly is a lovely wee man. He greatly impressed with the way he concelebrated on the Sunday morning. In Latin. The love of his people for him was tangible. I must apologise for the fact that they are so poor. I’m not very good at taking pics, but to make matters worse, I got caught up in this scrum totally unexpectedly.

Pictures of His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans.


In the early Church there were three major centres: Rome, Alexandria and Antioch. In the earliest laws of the Church, the Bishops of these three cities were accorded the status of a Patriarch and the Bishop of Rome, as successor to Peter, was accorded the position of honour, he was primus inter pares. But each of the Patriarchs governed within his own territory. The Bishop of Rome had no jurisdiction over the other Patriarchs. And he did not appoint them. Nor did he appoint their bishops.

It would take too long, and it would all be rather boring, to recite the history of the development of the modern Patriarchates and the Rites and Churches associated with them. But today there are 5 Eastern Rites, each with a Patriarch. These, obviously, are geographically in the East.) Within each Eastern Rite there are separate territorial Churches headed by a Bishop, an Archbishop or a Major Archbishop. In all, there are 22 sui iuris Eastern Rite Churches in full communion with Rome (this legal term means that they have full competence to manage their own affairs; for example in Synod they elect their own bishops, who are then approved by the Pope). These are:

Alexandrian Rite: Coptic Church (Patriarchal), Ethiopic Church (Archiepiscopal);

Antiochean Rite: Maronite Church (Patriarchal), Syro-Malankar Church (Major Archiepiscopal), Syrian Church (Patriarchal);

Armenian: Armenian Church (Patriarchal);

Chaldean (Syro-Oriental): Chaldean Church (Patriarchal), Syro-Malabar Church (Major Archiepiscopal)

Byzantine (Constantinian): Albanese Church, Belarussian Church, Bulgarian, Croation Church (Episcopal), Greek Church, Greek-Melkite (Patriarchal), Hungarian Church (Episcopal), Italo-Albanese (Episcopal), Macedonian, Romanian Church (Major Archiepiscopal), Ruthenian Church (Archiepiscopal), Slovak Church (Major Archiepiscopal), Ukrainian Church (Major Archiepiscopal).

With the exception of most of the Byzantine Rite Churches, the association with the Middle East should be obvious.

NOTE: In the West, there is only one real Patriarch, the Pope. However, there are two minor Patriarchatess: the Patriarch of Venice (dating from 1457) and the Patriarch of Lisbon (October 22, 1716, and the Golden Bull In Supremo Apostolatus Solio). In the Latin Rite there are also the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Patriarch of the East Indies [dating from 1886, the Archbishop of Goa and Damão, India].  

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Pope in the Lebanon: Part One: How I First Heard of the Oriental Catholic Churches Because of Cardinal Heard

While there was much speculation in the press and broadcast media that this weekend’s Apostolic Pilgrimage of Pope Benedict to the Lebanon might be called off because of security concerns, there was never really any chance of that. There IS a thing called Heroic Virtue, it just isn’t always exhibited in otherworldly, overtly saintly ways. And Papa Ratzinger has it in spades.

Prior to his Apostolic Pilgrimage this weekend, Pope Benedict XVI has visited the Middle East on three occasions: November 28 – December 1, 2006, to Turkey; May 8 – 15, 2009, to Jordan, Israel and Palestine, and; June 4 – 6, 2010, to Cyprus. None of these voyages, to use the Vatican’s quaint descriptor, was risk free. In any sense.

But why should I, a working class guy from the West of Scotland, have any interest in the Church in the Middle East?

About twenty years ago, a bit less, I set out to write an essay on Scotland’s “unheard of Cardinal Heard” (well, that’s how it seemed at the time; it’s worse now). In late 1994, on reading the various newspaper reports and comments upon the announcement of Cardinal Winning’s elevation, I was struck by the fact that although there were the obvious references to Cardinal Gray, and in some articles references to Cardinals Beaton and Erskine, and even in one newspaper to the Cardinal Duke of York, there was a total absence of any reference whatsoever to Cardinal Heard. He seemed to have become Scotland’s “forgotten cardinal” and in my mind he soon became “the unheard of Cardinal Heard”.

A couple of years later, I received an invitation to be part of the audience at a recording of a Kirsty Wark programme for BBC Scotland. I was supposed to be a bit of an expert on the issue of Catholic Schools. In preparation, I betook myself to the very wonderful Mitchell Library in Glasgow (the biggest public reference library in Europe). I was reading some material relating to the background to the passing of, and to the subsequent operation of, the Education (Scotland) Act of 1918, when, on trawling through the 1960 issues of The Glasgow Herald, I came across an article which, although of no relevance to the matter at hand, nonetheless grabbed my attention.

(As it turned out, nothing was of any relevance to what actually happened on the TV show. I ended up speaking about Scotland’s legal system in light of the verdict handed down that day in the appeals of Thomas “T C” Campbell and Joe Steele, the two men convicted of the heinous murder of the Doyle family during the Glasgow Ice Cream Wars. That day, contrary to all expectations, they lost their appeals. They were subsequently released some time later when those occupying the very highest reaches of the Scottish legal system were finally able to accept that even policemen, even in the CID, tell lies. Even under oath.)

The article I had stumbled across was a report of the appointment of Monsignor Gerard M Rogers, Vicar General of the Diocese of Motherwell and administrator of Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral, Motherwell, as an auditor, judge, of the Sacred Roman Rota Appeal Tribunal in Rome. I hadn’t been a reader of The Glasgow Herald when I was eight years old, and so this was new to me. But It wasn’t news to me.
I had attended Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary School in Motherwell. Mgr Rogers had been a frequent visitor in his role as Parish Priest. Six years after Mgr Rogers departed Motherwell for Rome — I’ll save you doing the arithmetic, I was 14 at the time now in question — we got a new PP in my own parish, St Luke’s, Forgewood. And he came to us all the way from Rome. This was a friend of my late father’s, a certain Fr Tam Winning.  

His later, and now sadly late, Eminence had been a junior colleague of Mgr Rogers before following him to Rome in 1961 when he was appointed Spiritual Director to the students of the Scots College. (Oor Tam was the Bishop’s secretary; and the bishop was Mgr James Donald Scanlan, later Archbishop of Glasgow, whom Oor Tam would succeed.) While in Rome, apart from fulfilling his duties in the Scots College, His Eminence studied at the Rota studuum, a sort of post-Doctoral Law School run by the judges of the Rota to train consistorial advocates. Cardinal Winning qualified as an Advocate of the Sacred Roman Rota (Adv SRR) in 1965.

One Sunday after twelve o’clock Mass, the then Fr Winning discussed with me Mgr Rogers’s work in the Vatican and a little about how he had come to be appointed. This discussion arose as a result of an article appearing that morning in one of the Sunday newspaper colour supplements (the Sunday Express, I suppose, as that was my dad’s paper of choice: he did the crossword; it was a perfectly respectable paper in those days). It quoted from an unidentified, but all-too-easily identifiable, curial priest. In ruefully ironic terms, he discussed having been taken away from his parish work and summoned to Rome having been identified by the Vatican as a particularly well-qualified lawyer. This was obviously Mgr Rogers LlB (Glas), DCL, PhD, DD (all the Greg, all summa cum laude; same as Cardinal Heard).

Although I was already aware of the existence of Cardinal Heard ― in 1960, the year after his elevation, on a visit to Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary School, Motherwell, organised by his friend Mgr Scanlan, Cardinal Heard had spoken to my class as we were the First Communion Class ― it was in the course of this conversation that I first become aware of how eminent (I know) and influential within the Vatican the Cardinal had been.

Over the years I learned a little more about Cardinal Heard, most especially from University friends who had been students at the Scots College in Rome. Among these former candidates for the priesthood, the late Cardinal enjoyed a reputation as a “bit of a character”. They recalled most especially his visits to the College on the feast day of Scotland’s patron, St Andrew. I formed a vague determination to find out, some time, more about this little-known Prince of the Church. So, on reading the various newspaper reports and comments upon the announcement of Cardinal Winning’s elevation, I decided to write an essay on him.

(I should, perhaps, note for posterity that in the course of an interview kindly granted to me by my old PP, Cardinal Winning, when I was researching my essay, it was made plain that Cardinal Heard had personally secured Mgr Rogers’s appointment to the Rota in the face of attempts by a person or persons unknown, but presumably either a member of the Scottish hierarchy or someone with great influence within it – His Eminence wouldn’t say – to block it.)

And it was in researching that essay that I first found out about the Eastern Rite churches in communion with Rome. Although that’s not quite true, but when I first heard of them I was totally unaware of what I had just heard. That was because it was a mere aside, a jocular chaplain’s obiter dicta, as it were. And before you ask, I didn’t then know what an obiter dicta was.

It was my final year at Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell, alma mater of Cardinal Winning, Billy McNeil and Bobby Murdoch (for the latter two see the European Cup 1967). We had been digging up our chaplain, Fr, later Mgr, Jack Burns about priests not being allowed to get married. After explaining about celibacy, he mentioned, en passant, that his fellow students among “the Greeks” when he was a student in Rome were allowed to go home during the summer before their last year in Rome and get married before they were ordained as deacons. We just assumed, and were perplexed by the assumption, that for some reason prospective Greek Orthodox priests were being educated in Rome. Sadly, we never had the opportunity of pursuing this with him or I might have been better advised sooner.

Eventually, let’s say 35 years later at least. His Excellency Mgr William Theodore Heard, Dean of the Sacred Roman Rota, was named Cardinal by Good Pope John on December 15, 1959. His Holiness later appointed him a member of the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments, the Sacred Congregation for Rites, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and as one of three Cardinal Consultants to the Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law.

And Good Pope John also named him Editor of the Code of Canon Law for the Oriental Church. When I first read this, my immediate reaction was: “A different Code of Canon Law for Catholics in the Far East? Why? And, by the way, what is a Code of Canon Law?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Some Prelates to watch: Part Two

On Jan 31, 2012, Mgr Filippo Iannone, O.Carm (now aged 54 years), Bishop of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, was appointed vice-Regent of the Diocese of Rome. The vice-Regent is the senior Auxiliary Bishop, the deputy, to the Pope's Vicar General for Rome, currently Agostino Cardinal Vallini.

Cardinal Vallini was born on April 17, 1940 (your humble but esteemed scrivener here was born on the same date twelve years later) at Poli in the Diocese of Tivoli, Italy, but because of the war his family soon moved to Barra, Naples.

Ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Naples, His Eminence obtained his Licence in Sacred Theology at Naples before heading to the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome where he earned a doctorate in utroque iure in both canon and civil law (his dissertation was on the new Code of Canon Law). His Eminence became a noted Canon Lawyer, in time being appointed a Professor at the Pontifical Lateran University. He was named an auxiliary of Naples and provided to the titular See of Tortiboli on March 23, 1989. His episcopal ordination took place on May 13, 1989 in the cathedral of Naples. The Consecrator was His Eminence Michele Cardinal Giordano, archbishop of Naples. The Principal Co-Consecrators were Luigi Diligenza, archbishop of Capua, and Antonio Ambrosiano, archbishop of Spoleto-Norcia.

His Eminence was transferred to the suburbicarian see of Albano on November 13, 1999. Less than five years later he was named Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, on appointment being honoured as an archbishop. He was created Cardinal Deacon of San Pier Damiani ai Monti di San Paolo at the next consistory, on March 24, 2006. Just over two years later, on June 27, 2008, Pope Benedict named him his Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome and thus Archpriest of the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Ss. John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran (to give it its proper title). He also became Grand Chancellor of his legal alma mater, the Pontifical Lateran University.

It would be safe to hazard that His Eminence must have had a great deal to do with the appointment of Mgr Iannone as his principal Auxiliary.

Mgr Iannone was born in Naples on December 13, 1957. After completing his high school education locally, he entered the Carmelite Order. Taking simple vows in 1977, he was solemnly professed three years later before being ordained priest on June 26, 1982. After graduating BTh, he followed Cardinal Vallini’s path to Rome to obtain the same legal qualification, a doctorate in utroque iure at the Pontifical Lateran University (while also attending special courses run by the Congregations for the Sacraments and for Religious). In 1987 Mgr Iannone qualified as an Advocate of the Sacred Roman Rota.

He subsequently held several positions of importance both within the Carmelite Order and the Archdiocese of Naples. In the Carmelite Order, he was commissariat procurator from 1985 to 1988, bursar from 1988 to 1991, commissariat councillor from 1988 to 1994 and Chairman of the Commission for the revision of the Constitutions from 1989 to 1995. In the Archiocese of Naples, he served as a lecturer in Canon Law at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy, a Judicial Vicar at the Diocesan Tribunal of Naples (1990-94), Episcopal Vicar (1994-96) and Vicar General (1996-2001).

It is hardly surprising, then, that Rome should have early identified Fr Filippo as a priest meriting and worthy of episcopal responsibilities. And so on April 12, 2001, he was named an Auxiliary Bishop of Naples and provided to the titular See of Nebbi. As with Cardinal Vallini, his episcopal ordination took place in the cathedral of Naples. His Consecrator on May 26, 2001 was also Cardinal Giordano. The Co-Consecrators were Bishop Vincenzo Pelvi, Auxiliary of Naples (now Archbishop of the Italian Military) and Mgr Agostino Vallini, then Bishop of Albano but today, as noted above, the Pope’s Cardinal Vicar for the Diocese of Rome. Cardinal Vallini later appointed Mgr Iannone a member of the Apostolic Signatura. His Excellency is also a consultant for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. In the Italian Episcopal Conference he is a member of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Chairman of the Committee for the Liturgy.

After spending eight years as an Auxiliary in Naples, on June 19, 2009, Mgr Iannone was translated to the nearby diocese of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo as ordinary when Bishop Luca Brandolini retired. Less than three years later came the call to Rome. As Vice-Regent Mgr Iannone was named an Archbishop upon appointment.

At 64, His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, is a mere youth by Roman Curia standards. In a bit over ten years time Cardinal Burke will retire and Archbishop Iannone will be the age His Eminence is today. Cardinal Burke's predecessor was Cardinal Vallini. There must be a very good chance that his successor will be Cardinal Vallini's deputy.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Some Prelates to watch: Part One

The current Secretary of State Substitute for General Affairs, sostituto, the Number Two man in the Secretariat of State, is His Excellency Monsignor Giovanni Angelo Becciu, titular Archbishop of Rusellae. (Some commentators, particularly Americans, have it that he is Number Three. Well, no he isn’t. The clue is in the names of their respective sections and their formal titles: Mgr Becciu is head of Section One and he is the Secretary of State Substitute for General Affairs; Mgr Mamberti is head of Section Two and he is simply the Secretary for Relations with States.)

Born June 2, 1948 at Pattada in the Sassari province of Sardinia, Italy (Diocese of Ozieri) Mgr Becciu was ordained priest on August 27, 1972. A member of the Academia Class of 1980, after four years he had obtained his Diploma in diplomacy and a Doctorate in Canon Law and so also having demonstrated himself fluent enough in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese he was deemed fit to represent the Holy See to the world.

He went on to serve the Pontifical Representations in the Central African Republic, Sudan, New Zealand, Liberia, the United Kingdom, France and the United States of America. On October 15, 2001 (the same year in which his predecessor, Cardinal Filoni, was appointed an Apostolic Nuncio) he was nominated as Apostolic Nuncio to Angola and was ordained bishop about six weeks later, on December 1, 2001. The Principal Consecrator was Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano and the Principal Co-Consecrators were Paolo Cardinal Romeo, then Apostolic Nuncio to Italy and San Marino, and Bishop Sebastiano Sanguinetti, ordinary of Ozieri, His Excellency’s home diocese.

On July 23, 2009, Archbishop Becciu was transferred to Cuba from whence he was, unexpectedly (at least to all bar Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa), called back to Rome a little under two years later, on May 10, 2011, upon his being promoted to sostituto.

Every sostituto preceding Archbishop Becciu going back to 1953 has later been elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals, eight in all. And it is worth noting that in the 20th century two cardinals who earlier in their prelatial careers had served as sostituto eventually became Pope: Benedict XV and Paul VI.

On the same day as Mgr Becciu was appointed to succeed him, May 10, 2011, sostituto Filoni was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (the Red Pope), President of Interdicasterial Commission for Consecrated Religious and Grand Chancellor of Pontifical Urbaniana University. Number One on the last list of new cardinals, he was created Cardinal-Deacon of Nostra Signora di Coromoto in San Giovanni di Dio on February 18, 2012. Now aged 66 years, Cardinal Filoni will definitely enter the next conclave (barring the intervention of the Grim Reaper, or something closely approximating thereto) as papabile.

Now wearing the cardinal’s red zucchetto, symbolically representing his willingness to lay down his life for the Faith and for Christ’s Vicar here on Earth, as Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq and Jordan during the Gulf War he refused to abandon his post in Baghdad, the only diplomat of ambassadorial rank to remain. He came close to being killed on February 1, 2006 when a car bomb exploded next to the nunciature. Of staying at his post, he later tersely commented: “It was nothing exceptional”. And of the car bomb, merely: “Thank God we survived.”  

With the exception of Archbishop Giovanni Benelli (1967.06.29 – 1977.06.03) sostituti from the second half of the 20th Century and into the first decade of the Third Millennium were all promoted within the Roman Curia. Archbishop Bennelli was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Milan by Pope Paul VI and in short order created Cardinal Priest in the title of Santa Prisca (Good Pope John’s title) at the consistory of June 27, 1977. This was the smallest held since 1961, the fourth of the pontificate of Good Pope John and there has not been a similarly small one since. At this same consistory Pope Benedict was created cardinal (along with Cardinals Bernardin Gantin and Mario Luigi Ciappio OP). No one seriously doubts that Cardinal Benelli’s appointment to Milan and elevation were together the product of the desire of Pope Paul to protect his protégé.

PS: Archbishop Becciu’s own number two, Mgr Peter Brian Wells, is also a prelate with a big and bright future. Appointed Assessor for General Affairs (assessore) on July 16, 2009 he had previously been head (caposezione) of the English Language Section of the First Section of the Secretariat of State. (He was succeeded in that post by Scotland’s own Mgr Leo Cushley). Apart from Mgr Wells’s two immediate predecessors, who are still relatively early in their diplomatic careers, the other five going back to 1970 have all later been elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

"same-sex marriage": What it's really all about

This is the text of an article by me published in The Scottish Catholic Observer on Friday, August 17, 2012.

Let’s get something absolutely clear. For the militant “gay rights” lobby the campaign to have the Scottish Parliament legislate in favour of “same-sex marriage” in face of the opposition of the majority of the Scottish people is not about human rights, or civil rights, or equality. It isn’t even about marriage. It is all about recruitment. And it always has been.

In its wisdom, the 44th Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland by enacting the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 accepted the Wolfenden Commission’s recommendation (Report 1957) that homosexual acts committed by consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes should be made legal. These acts were not, thankfully, made compulsory. And at least so far this remains the case.

But legalisation was never going to be enough to satisfy the militant homosexualist life-style proselytes. Prince among these is, of course, the Australian draft-dodger, Peter Tatchell. In 2009 Tatchell informed the readership of a well-known English left-wing broadsheet: “Good quality sex and relationship education... should start from the first year of primary school onwards, with age-appropriate information about love, emotions, relationships and the physical changes they will experience at puberty.”

Others must decide for themselves what measure of trust could possibly be placed on this guy if he were ever left to determine (and if certain people get their way, this is a real possibility) what is or what is not “age appropriate” at any particular point. Personally, I am not at all reassured when he goes on to say: “In secondary school, this information should become more explicit, giving pupils the knowledge, skills and confidence to make wise sexual and emotional decisions.”

Tatchell was, of course, speaking of homosexual sex education, although he would deny it and claim that such education must merely be “inclusive”.

And beware for this is the homosexualist proselyte who, in a letter to that same well-known English left-wing broadsheet adverted to above, wrote: “While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful” (Guardian, June 26, 1997). And he has the gall to harangue the Catholic Church!

In the United States they, too, have their Tatchellistas. One at least of whom is refreshingly honest. David Villareal is one America’s foremost “gay activists” and has a website “Queerty: Free of an agenda. Except that gay one”. (Be warned, IF you should choose to check out this website much on it will seriously embarrass and gravely offend readers of SCO.)

Commenting on a National Organisation for Marriage TV ad, Villareal criticized the homosexual movement’s knee-jerk reaction against accusations of meddling in public schools. He said: “They accuse us of exploiting children and in response we say, ‘NOOO! We’re not gonna make kids learn about homosexuality, we swear! It’s not like we’re trying to recruit your children or anything.’ But let’s face it—that’s a lie. We want educators to teach future generations of children to accept queer sexuality. In fact, our very future depends on it… Why would we push anti-bullying programs or social studies classes (he is referring here to California, I think) that teach kids about the historical contributions of famous queers unless we wanted to deliberately educate children to accept queer sexuality as normal?”

This is what the defence of marriage is all about: saving our children, and our children’s children, from this garbage. Change the law to bring same-sex relationships within the legal definition of marriage, then as night follows day the Tatchell-Villareal programme for homosexual recruitment in schools, undemurely and indecorously tarted up as sex and relationships education, will ensue in early course.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

A Fifth Benedictine Consistory

Bearing in mind that Pope’s, just like other men, even if they are not German, are likely to do things in a similar way in similar circumstances — that is they tend to be predictable — then the most likely date for a fifth consistory of this Benedictine pontificate is Saturday, November 23, 2013, eve of the Feast of Christ the King.

The corresponding Saturday has twice before been chosen by Pope Benedict for consistories, in 2007 and 2010. Moreover, as things currently stand this date would allow him to create a number of cardinals in conformity with his previous consistories (12, 18, 20 and 18).

On the prospective date, save the intervention of the Grim Reaper, there will be 16 vacancies in the College of Cardinal Electors. However, if the Holy Father allows himself the same latitude that he did at the last consistory, when he took into account those cardinals attaining their 80th birthday during the five months following upon the month in which the consistory was held, then he will have a further 5 red birettas to allocate, giving a total of 21. Should he choose to extend that leeway to a sixth month, then he would have a further biretta at his disposal, making 22 in all.

Of the 16 vacancies as of the prospective date of the consistory, 6 are occasioned by cardinals in curia, all now retired, attaining their 80th birthdays since the last consistory and 10 by Cardinal Archbishops from throughout the Catholic world, again all now retired. Of the cardinals in curia, 4 were heads of curial departments whose heads are required to be of cardinalatial rank at appointment or who must be deemed worthy of the Sacred Roman Purple as soon as possible thereafter. The successor of only one has been appointed since the 2012 consistory and therefore still awaits the red biretta (Cardinal Farina of the Vatican Secret Archives and Library retired on June 26, 2012, and was replaced by the Frenchman Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, O.P., formerly Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education; see below).

The ten Cardinals Archbishop Emeriti were all in Red Hat Sees, but one was succeeded by an archbishop already a cardinal (Juan Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez was succeeded as Archbishop of Guadalajara, Jalisco, México, by José Francisco Cardinal Robles Ortega who had been Archbishop of Monterrey, Nuevo León).

Of the 5 cardinals who will reach the cardinalatial age limit in the five months following the prospective date of the consistory, 4 are Cardinal Archbishops from throughout the Catholic world, three of whom are in Red Hat Sees, and 1 is a retired cardinal in curia long since replaced (Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops). One of the Cardinals Archbishop Emeriti has been replaced by a prelate already a Cardinal (Dionigi Cardinal Tettamanzi of Milan was succeeded by Angelo Cardinal Scola, papabile) and one, Joachim Cardinal Meisner, is still in charge at Cologne (next February 2 His Eminence will have been a cardinal elector for 30 years). (The prelate not in a Red Hat See is Jean-Baptiste Cardinal Pham Minh Mân of Hô Chí Minh City, Viêt Nam.)

If the Holy Father extends the leeway to six months then another cardinal in curia attains the age limit, Francesco Cardinal Monterisi, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls Basilica. (His Eminence, a former distinguished diplomat in the service of the Holy See at the Vatican and abroad, was Secretary of the Conclave in 2005 which elected Pope Benedict.)

In summary, then, if a consistory is held as proposed on November 23, 2013, the Holy Father would have 16, or 21, or 22, red birettas to distribute. But who would receive them?

It is relatively easy to predict with a fair degree of accuracy which prelates of the Roman Curia will be elevated at the next consistory, although that part of any list may change as the date of the consistory approaches if new appointments to front rank dicasteries are made. It should also be noted that since 2001 it is now settled policy that any new cardinals in curia come at the top of the list. Venerably aged priests appointed as non-electing cardinals come at the bottom. It hasn’t happened so far this century, but one would assume that if an Apostolic Nuncio is to be elevated (and that would almost certainly only be the retiring Nuncio to Italy, France or Spain) then he would be in the top group.

As things currently stand, No 1 on the list at the next consistory, the new cardinal who will have the signal honour at the public consistory on the Saturday of delivering an address to the Holy Father in behalf of his confreres, will be Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, appointed on July 2 this year as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (and therefore also President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, of the International Theological Commission and of the Pontifical Biblical Commission).

[At all previous Benedictine consistories this honour has been given to someone who has either been a former colleague or close collaborator of His Holiness. In order, they have been: William Joseph Levada, had worked with His Holiness at the CDF; Leonardo Sandri, Secretary of State Substitute for General Affairs, that is sostituto (a position that has been likened to the Chief of Staff of a United States President; it was the then Msgr Sandri who announced the death of Blessed John Paul II); Angelo Amato, Secretary of the CDF, and; Fernando Filoni, sostituto. If a sostituto or Prefect of the Papal Household were in any list, then they would have precedence over all other curia appointees (this is unlikely next time around).]

At the moment, the only other curial prelate who MUST be elevated next time is Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, O.P. who, as indicated above, has been appointed Archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives and Librarian of the Vatican Library (which it now seems to have been settled will be treated as a joint appointment; it has not always been so).

There are 21 dicasteries of the Roman Curia which must have as their heads a Cardinal or an Archbishop who will be raised to the cardinalatial dignity at the next consistory. Three are currently headed by prelates over the official retiral age of 75 years: Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone will be 78 on December 2; Santos Cardinal Abril y Castelló, Vice-Chamberlain Emeritus of the Apostolic Chamber, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major will be 77 in September (21st), and; Francesco Cardinal Monterisi, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls was 78 in May (28th).

However, even if the Holy Father were to decide to replace Cardinal Bertone (and that at the moment seems unlikely) I would regard it as virtually unthinkable that he would appoint a Secretary of State who was not already a Cardinal. In modern times, on only one occasion has a mere Archbishop been appointed to this most important position as the Pope’s principal adviser. That was in 1903 when Pope Saint Pius X almost immediately after the conclave appointed Archbishop, later Cardinal, Rafael Merry del Val Cardinal.

Cardinal Merry del Val, an Anglo-Spaniard priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster, was at the time President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (the Academia) and had been selected by vote of the cardinals in a General Congregation to act as Secretary of the Conclave. This had become necessary as Msgr Alessandro Volpini, Secretary of the Consistorial Congregation, who should, ex officio, have been Secretary of the Conclave, had suddeny collapsed and died in the Vatican Palace as they awaited the death of Pope Leo XIII. (The other candidate presented to the Cardinals was Archbishop, later Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Gasparri. Both Gasparri and Merry del Val were appointed by Pope Leo XIII as members of the papal commission to study the question of the validity of Anglican ordinations which gave rise to the Papal Bull Apostolicae Curae of 1896.)

As for the other two curial prelates already past the official retirement age, it should be noted that, with the exception of the Archpriest of the Archbasilica of St John Lateran, who is the Pope’s Cardinal Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome, Archpriests of the patriarchal basilicas often go on well after the normal retiral age of 75, sometimes even beyond 80 years. For example, Cardinal Monterisi’s predecessor, Andrea Cardinal Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, who will celebrate his 87th birthday next month (August 27) only retired as Archpriest of St John’s Outside-the-Walls a fortnight before his 84th birthday.

So in considering the possibilities for the next list of new cardinals it need not be assumed that these three posts will have to be taken into account.

Moreover, of the other better known “Red Hat” dicasteries, the Prefects of only two Congregations and one Tribunal are anywhere near the official retirement age: Angelo Cardinal Amato, Causes of Saints, will be 75 on June 8, 2013; Manuel Cardinal Monteiro de Castro, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, will be 75 on March 29, 2013, and; Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, Catholic Education, will be 75 on October 11, 2014. (Note that Cardinal Monteiro de Castro was an Academia classmate, Class of 1965, of Msgr Basil Loftus, retired priest of the Diocese of Leeds, now a contributor to the Scottish Catholic Observer.)

Thus, as far as the Roman Curia is concerned, 2 of the Voting Cardinals’ Red Hats at the next consistory are already spoken for and, at least at the moment, anything up to another six may have to be earmarked, although it could quite feasibly be none.

Of the Archbishops from around the Catholic world, we can be fairly certain of at least some, although please note that this list is not offered as the order in which these prelates would appear, merely in the order of their predecessors attaining the age limit.

Msgri (with age at prospective date of Benedictine Consitory V):

Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle (56), Archbishop of Manila;
Vincent Gerard Nichols (68), Archbishop of Westminster;
Jesús Rubén Salazar Gómez (71), Archbishop of Bogotá;
Orani João Tempesta, O. Cist. (63), Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro;
Cesare Nosiglia (69), Archbishop of Turin;
André-Joseph (Mutien) Léonard (73), Archbishop of Malines-Brussels;
Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, S.D.B. (71), Archbishop of Santiago de Chile;
Murilo Sebastião Ramos Krieger, S.C.I. (70), Archbishop of São Salvador da Bahia.

It should be noted that a further nominee SHOULD be:

Sviatoslav Shevchuk (43), Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč {Kiev} (Greek Catholic Church of the Ukraine).

However, aged just 43 years at the prospective time he MAY be considered too young. The youngest current cardinal is Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki, Archbishop of Berlin, who was 55½ when named cardinal earlier this year. (Cardinal Merry del Val was one month past his 38th birthday when he was created cardinal.)

If the Holy Father gives himself that five months leeway, then the following should be added to the list, Msgr:

Fausto Gabriel Trávez Trávez, O.F.M. (72), Archbishop of Quito.

In addition to these, Francesco Moraglia (59), Bishop of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato, was appointed Patriarch of Venice on January 31, 2012, in succession to Angelo Cardinal Scola when the latter was translated to Milan. The Patriarch’s appointment came after the list of cardinals for the February consistory had been issued. It is almost inconceivable that he will not be on the next list.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bishop Muller of Regensburg: A New Head for La Suprema Soon

It would seem that one of Pope Benedict’s most trusted advisers may soon be allowed to enter semi-retirement and a German prelate who is a close friend of His Holiness will in consequence require to make an early appointment with Gammarelli, Sartoria per ecclesiastici, via S. Chiara, Rome (just behind the Pantheon). A couple of weeks ago, on Tuesday, June 12, it was announced from Rome that the Holy Father had made some appointments to three of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia. To two of these he appointed new members while to the other he appointed consultors (all such appointments are for a period of five years, the quinquennium, and may be renewed at papal discretion up until the appropriate age limit). In this newly published list, one name stood out above all others: Gerhard Ludwig Muller. And it stood out for one very simple reason: it appears twice. It is in fact not all that unusual for a name to appear two or three times in these lists. Rarely, a name has even appeared four times or more. However, when a prelate is appointed as a member to more than one dicastery, it is almost invariably a newly created cardinal being put fully to work in service of the Holy Father. But Gerhard Ludwig Muller is not a Cardinal. He is Bishop of Regensburg, Germany. But likely not for too much longer. Already a member of both the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (reappointed December 20, 2007) and the Pontifical Council for Culture (appointed January 17, 2009), Mgr Muller now also finds himself a member of both the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. While it is most unusual to find a diocesan ordinary (that is Bishop) a member of multiple dicasteries, this is no ordinary ordinary. Now in his 65th year (birthday on Hogmanay), Mgr Muller has been Bishop of Regensburg since 2002. Schooled in Philosophy and Theology at Mainz, Munich and Freiburg, from the latter in 1977 he graduated Doctor of Divinity. His thesis on the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer was supervised by Karl, later Cardinal, Lehmann. In March of the following year, aged 30, he was ordained priest and went on to work in three different parishes while undertaking teaching duties at various institutions. In 1986, he was appointed to the chair in Dogmatic Theology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where he remains an honorary Professor to this day. Mgr Muller has written more than 400 works in various forms and on diverse topics, including dogmatic theology, ecumenism, revelation, hermeneutics, the priesthood and the diaconate. Appointed by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as a member of the Sixth Quinquennium of the International Theological Commission (1999-2004 roughly, I think), Blessed Pope John Paul II named him Bishop of Regensburg on October 1, 2002. He received episcopal consecration during the month following, on the 24th, at the hands of Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, successor to Pope Benedict as Metropolitan Archbishop of Munich and Freising. Both a student and a close personal friend of the father of Liberation Theology, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Mgr Muller visits Latin America at least once a year and has spent several weeks there living on a farm to experience for himself the hardships and hardness of peasant life in Peru. But this has made absolutely no difference to his personal friendship with Pope Benedict. Indeed, the Holy Father has recently entrusted to him the task of editing his “Opera Omnia”, the collection of all his writings in a single, many-volumed edition. Ever since Cardinal William (Bill) Levada celebrated his 75th birthday on June 15 last year and was required by canon law to submit his resignation to the Pope, it has been rumoured that an announcement of this being accepted is imminent. It is no great secret that Cardinal Bill hopes soon to return to California. Equally, it is no great secret that Pope Benedict does not want to lose one of his most trusted advisers. So it may well be that His Eminence will be freed of the onerous responsibilities associated with leadership of the Holy Office, only to find himself promoted to the order of Cardinals Bishop; quite possibly as Dean of the Sacred College. There is precedent to suggest that the appointment of Mgr Muller to these new positions indicates that he will soon find himself permanently based in Rome. In 2008 Mgr Raymond Leo Burke, Archbishop of St Louis, Missouri, was appointed a member of both the Congregation for the Clergy and the Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts. These appointments followed upon his earlier appointment as a member of the College of Judges of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. A few weeks later he was named Prefect of the Signatura and was created Cardinal Deacon of Sant’Agata dei Goti at the next consistory (November 20, 2010). If, indeed, it proves to be the case that Mgr Muller is imminently Romeward bound — and the most likely date would be once the 13th ordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the “New Evangelization” has been held in Rome in October — then it is almost certain that his future base of operations will be located within the Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio, often referred to as “the Palace of the Inquisition”, as successor to Cardinal Levada as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, often referred to as La Sprema. (La Suprema because it was formerly the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition and the later, from 1904, as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office. By the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus promulgated by Blessed Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988 the name of the dicastery was changed to the present form.) Bishop Muller would on appointment be named a titular Archbishop requiring a first visit to Gammarelli’s. A second will be required when he is created Cardinal Deacon at the next consistory.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Hate Crime Canada

An interesting article in LifeSiteNews dated Monday, March 12.

Please note that the following extract is a taster and NEITHER a professional edit NOR an academic precis.

“The Pan-Orthodox Association of Greater Hamilton, a group representing the city’s 20,000 Orthodox Christians, met on two occasions with Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board superintendent Pam Reinholdt to discuss their concerns over the board’s selective promotion of anti-gay bullying strategies which they say ignores the vast majority of bullying incidents in schools... Despite years of responsibility for preventing bullying in schools, Reinholdt explained that she did not know the definition of the word Christophobia, nor did she believe that students of faith were regular victims of bullying... Superintendent Reinholdt made it quite clear to us that her office believes that people of faith are part of the problem... Clearly, the superintendent is eager to paint Christians as bigots...”

The original article is at:

There is a link to an official Canadian government report, Police Reported Hate Crime in Canada 2009. Makes interesting reading. One highly enlightening snippet:

“Race or ethnicity was the most common motivation for police-reported hate crime (54%) in 2009, followed by religion (29%) and sexual orientation (13%). These proportions have remained relatively stable since 2006, when near-national police-reported hate crime data first became available.”

Note especially that last figure, 13%. It makes a mockery of the Canadian system of gay-predicated Human Rights justice. A system coming our way soon IF we are not careful.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Cardinal O'Brien in the papers: Tim Hopkins again attacks

On Wednesday, March 7, The (Glasgow) Herald printed yet another Letter to the Editor from Tim Hopkins, the Director of an organisation known as Equality Network the funding of which they themselves derscribe in the following terms: "We receive funding from the Scottish Government Equality Unit for five of our projects: LGBT Sector Building, Policy, Information, Scottish Transgender Alliance, and the Intersectional (Disability / LGBT) project. Our Everyone IN minority ethnic / LGBT project is funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. We receive funding from the Big Lottery Fund for our Transgender Transition Support project.

"We also receive funding from the European Commission Grundtvig programme for participation in a partnership project sharing knowledge about minority ethnic LGBT issues across Europe, and from the Lottery’s Awards for All programme for research into LGBT issues in sport."

In other words, we the taxpayer fund them.

In addition, they receive unconditional support from the media, with but few exceptions. These are important points to bear in mind in light of the obvious need to mount a defence of marriage in the face of government determination to do the bidding, not of the approximately 1% (or less) of the population who are homosexuals of one variety or another, but of a minority of that statistically tiny section of society. Albeit one must concede that they are a very vocal and influential minority of a minority. To put this into some sort of perspective, the entire homosexual community in Scotland could not fill Ibrox Park; the number agitating for a change in the marriage laws probably couldn't fill the directors box.

The Editor of the Herald in 2005 publicly stated, in print, in The Herald, that they always publish Letters which correct a mistake. I cannot remember the exact date but this was during a week in which there had been a news item about Great Ormond Street Hospital and its Peter Pan Legacy. The Herald published a Letter to the Editor correcting some sort of misrepresentation relating to a legal dispute that had arisen.

It was also during the sede vacante and a few days later one of their writers published an article in which she claimed that Cardinal Arinze was the son of a man who had been beatified by Pope John Paul II and who was therefore one step away from sainthood. So if Cardinal Arinze became the first black Pope would he also have the honour of canonising his own daddy? This ws a load of tosh. Having done a google search she had come across Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi whom Cardinal Arinze always referred to as his "spiritual father". Not quite the same thing as daddy! Needless to say, my letter of correction was filed under B for Bin.

Apart from his line of argument, it can hardly be called reasoning, Tim Hopkins's letter of Wednesday, March 7 also required correction as to fact. He stated, as fact, that the 2010 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey found that “more than 50% of Catholics in Scotland support same-sex marriage, with only 21% opposed.” This, of course, is not the first time he has peddled this lie. And needless to say my most recent Letter of Correction to the Editor of the Herald was again filed under B for Bin.

But read on Macduff:

Dear Sir (for it is he)

Tim Hopkins states (Letters, March 7) that the 2010 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey found that “61% agree that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, with only 19% disagreeing” and also that it “found that more than 50% of Catholics in Scotland support same-sex marriage, with only 21% opposed.”

I believe this latter statement to be a terminological inexactitude for I can find nowhere in the Survey any distinction between and among Christians by denomination.

As to his first assertion, the Executive Summary in its Conclusions merely states: “29. Finally, the increase in support for same sex marriage since 2006 suggests that a majority of people in Scotland would support same sex relationships being treated in law in the same manner as heterosexual relationships.” Note that important word “suggests”: it may or it may not be the case. The reason for this caution is quite simple: of those sampled, 1500 or so, only 21%, 300 or so, were prepared to tick the box on the questionnaire which indicated that they were strongly in agreement with the statement: “Gay or lesbian couples should have the right to marry one another if they want to.”

It is impossible to say with any degree of certainty how many of the 79% of the sample NOT already strongly persuaded that same-sex “marriage” should be allowed in law would accept that proposition were their attitudes to be more thoroughly tested AFTER a free, frank, open and informed public discussion of the matter taking into account ALL relevant issues.

And, of course, this is the very thing which the gay lobby wants at all costs to avoid, hence their disparagement of anybody opposing them as being homophobic, hateful, a bigot et cetera. Anything to avoid, to sidestep, legitimate discussion and open scrutiny. Tim Hopkins isn’t stupid. He knows that in the SSAS 2010 it was found that between 2006 and 2010 the percentage responding “very happy” or “happy” when asked their reaction to a close friend or relative forming a “long-term relationship” with someone of the same sex had not changed, 37%, while those “unhappy” or “very unhappy” had only decreased from 33% to 30% DESPITE the fact that the media, in all its forms, has, with but very few exceptions, acted as propagandist in behalf of Hopkins and his allies.
Colette Douglas Home being a good example of this (Opinion, March 6). One gem will suffice. According to her, after repeal of Section 2A not a lot happened. Not a lot? Well, not a lot if and only if you fail to take into account the fact that vested interest groups, like Hopkins’s Equality Network and Stonewall, persuaded government and local education authorities to give them free and frequent access to schools on the double pretext that (1) there was a major problem with bullying in all our schools, primary and secondary, and that this was overwhelmingly of the gay-bashing variety, and (2) that they, and they alone, were best placed to go into schools to deal with it.

The reality of this is no different here than in the USA where a leading gay activist, Daniel Villareal, freely admitted: “They accuse us of exploiting children and in response we say, ‘NOOO! We’re not gonna make kids learn about homosexuality, we swear! It’s not like we’re trying to recruit your children or anything.’ But let’s face it—that’s a lie. We want educators to teach future generations of children to accept queer sexuality. In fact, our very future depends on it.”

(This was on his Blog “Queerty: Free of an agenda. Except that gay one”, May 11, 2011. But a word of caution. Anybody wishing to check this on the internet should be warned that the site is quite explicit, I would say offensive, in both the language and images used.)

So let’s have that thing the SNP administration tells us they are dead keen on, a national conversation, a public dialogue involving all concerned; a meaningful, free, frank and open discussion. And then let us have the only social survey that really matters: a referendum.

I remain, Sir, your humble and obedient Servant

Hughie McLoughlin

If anyone wishes to read through the whole of the report, Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2010: Attitudes to Discrimination and Positive Action, go to:

Friday, 3 February 2012

New Nuncios

On Friday, January 27, 2012, it was announced from Rome that three alumni of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the academia, had been promoted to the ranks of the Apostolic Nuncios and were to receive episcopal ordination as archbishops.

The new appointees are Monsignori: Santo Rocco Gangemi (Class of ’90) assigned to the Solomon Islands (it is presumed that he will later also be given responsibility for Papua New Guinea); Julio Murat (Turkish, Class of ’92) assigned to Zambia (it is presumed that he will later also be given responsibility for Malawi), and; Luciano Russo (Class of ’91) whose assignment has not as yet been revealed. No date has as yet been announced for their episcopal ordinations but usually a period of about six weeks is allowed for all the necessary arrangements, not least to enable friends and family to be present in Rome for this great event in these priests’ lives. It is expected that the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, will be the Principal Consecrator.

In relation to Msgr Russo, in a situation like this, where the promotion has been announced but the assignment has not, it is usually the case that the Vatican has put the name forward to the host government concerned but has at the time of the announcement not as yet received their agreement but no problem is envisaged.

Currently there are another nine nunciatures awaiting an appointment (if the latest arrangements are continued), three of which involve multiple responsibilities: Denmark/Finland/Iceland/Norway/Sweden; South/Africa/Nambia/Lesotho/Swaziland/Botswana, and; the European Community/Monaco. Of the single-country nunciatures awaiting an appointment, China, Vietnam and Brazil would each probably be considered too great a responsibility for a newly promoted Nuncio. The other vacancies are in Azerbaijan, Rwanda, and Timor-Leste.

With these appointments the day has drawn much closer when our very own Mgr Leo Cushley, Head of the English Language Section of the Secretariat of State, will be called upon to serve the Holy See as a Nuncio. In general, appointments follow the chronology of the academia. These latest appointments have now reached the Class of ’92; Mgr Cushley belongs to the Class of ’94.

At the consistory on February 18, Archbishop Santos Abril y Castelló will become a cardinal. Cardinal-elect Abril is a distinguished former Nuncio. In 1985 when he was first appointed as a Nuncio (to Bolivia) and accorded the archiepiscopal dignity, he was in an equivalent position to Mgr Cushley as Head of the Spanish Language Section of the Secretariat of State.

PS: On Thursday, February 16, 2012, it was announced that Mgr Russo had been appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda.

PS2:Msgr Julio Murat was born on August 18, 1961 at Karsiyaka, Turkey. He was ordained Priest by Pope Bl. Karol Józef Wojtyła on May 25, 1986. At the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy he was in the Class of ’92. Msgr Murat holds a doctorate in Canon Law and speaks several languages apart from his native Turkish: Italian, obviously, English, French, German and Greek. After gaining his Diploma in Diplomacy from the academia, he served in the nunciatures in Indonesia, Pakistan, Byelorussia and Austria. On November 21, 2002, he was recalled to Rome and appointed to the Second Section of the Secretariat of State, the Section for Relations with States.

Msgr Murat was ordained bishop on March 3, 2012, and was provided to the titular archiepiscopal see of Orange, a suppressed diocese in the environs of Marseille, France. His Principal Consecrator was His Eminence Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, S.D.B., Cardinal Secretary of State. Assisting the Cardinal Secretary of State as Principal Co-Consecrators were Archbishop Dominique François Joseph Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States (who has been Msgr Murat’s boss for the last five and a half years), and Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, S.D.B., Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (this was the first episcopal ordination at which His Excellency has assisted since attaining episcopal rank).