Thursday, November 15, 2018

Saint #2 for Friday

St Margaret of Scotland


Image of St. Margaret of Scotland

Facts

Feastday: November 16
Patron of Scotland
Birth: 1045
Death: 1093
Canonized By: 1250 by Pope Innocent IV



St. Margaret of Scotland, or Margaret of Wessex, was an English princess born in Hungary to Princess Agatha of Hungary and English Prince Edward the Exile around 1045. Her siblings, Cristina and Edgar the Atheling were also born in Hungary around this time.
Margaret and her family returned to England when she was 10-years-old and her father was called back as a potential successor to the throne. However, Edward died immediately after the family arrived, but Margaret and Edgar continued to reside at the English court.
Margaret's family fled from William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her widowed mother set out to take her children north to Northumbria.
Tradition says, Agatha decided to leave Northumbria and return to the continent, but her family's ship got caught in a storm. The storm drove their ship even more north to Scotland, where they were shipwrecked in 1068. The spot they landed on is now known as "St. Margaret's Hope."
Malcolm Canmore III, the king of Scotland, welcomed Margaret and her family and put them under his protection. He soon fell deeply in love with the beautiful and kind princess. Margaret and Malcolm became married in 1070 at the castle of Dunfermline.
Together, they had eight children, six sons and two daughters. All of whom were raised with deep Catholic Christian faith. They lived as a holy family, a domestic church.
Margaret's kind-nature and good heart was a strong influence on Malcolm's reign. She softened his temper and helped him become a virtuous King of Scotland. Together they prayed, fed the hungry, and offered a powerful example of living faith in action. Margaret was placed in charge of all domestic affairs and was often consulted with state matters, as well.
She promoted the arts and education in Scotland. She encouraged Church synods and was involved in efforts to correct the religious abuses involving Bishops, priests and laypeople.
Her impact in Scotland led her to being referred to as, "The Pearl of Scotland."
She constantly worked to aid the poor Scotland. She encouraged people to live a devout life, grow in prayer, and grow in holiness. She helped to build churches, including the Abbey of Dunfermline, where a relic of the true Cross is kept. She was well-known for her deep life of prayer and piety. She set aside specific times for prayer and to read Scripture. She didn't eat often and slept very little so she would have more time for her devotions. She lived holiness of life as a wife, mother and lay woman; truly in love with Jesus Christ.
Malcolm supported Margaret in all her endeavors and admired her religious devotion so much he had her books decorated in jewels, gold and silver. One of these decorated books, a gospel book with portraits of the four evangelists, is now kept in Oxford at the Bodleian Library after it was miraculously recovered from a river.
In 1093, Malcolm and their oldest son were killed during the Battle of Alnwick. Already ill and worn from a life full of austerity and fasting, Margaret passed away four days after her husband, on November 16, 1093.
Her body was buried before the high alter at Dunfermline.
In 1250, Pope Innocent IV canonized Margaret as a Saint, acknowlegeing her life of holiness and extraordinary virtue. She was honored for her work for reform of the Church and her personal holiness.
In 1259, Margaret's and Malcolm's bodies were transferred to a chapel in the eastern apse of Dunfermline Abbey. In 1560, Mary Queen of Scots came into possession of Margaret's head. It was kept as a relic. She insisted that it, and Margaret's prayers from heaven, helped assist her in childbirth. Her head later ended up with the Jesuits at the Scots' College, Douai, France, but was lost during the French Revolution.
St. Margaret is the patron saint of Scotland and her feast day is celebrated on November 16.

One of two Saints for Friday

St. Gertrude


Image of St. Gertrude

Facts

Feastday: November 16
Patron of the West Indies
Birth: 1256
Death: 1302

St. Gertrude, Virgin (Patroness of the West Indies) Feastday-November 16 St. Gertrude was born at Eisleben in Saxony. At the age of five, she was placed in the care of the Benedictine nuns at Rodalsdorf and later became a nun in the same monastery, of which she was elected Abbess. The following year she was obliged to take charge of the monastery at Helfta, to which she moved with her nuns.
St. Gertrude had enjoyed a good education. She wrote and composed in Latin, and was versed in Sacred Literature. The life of this saint, though not replete with stirring events and striking actions, was one of great mental activity. It was the mystic life of the cloister, a life hidden with Christ in God. She was characterized by great devotion to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord in His Passion and in the Blessed Eucharist, and by a tender love for the Blessed Virgin. She died in 1302.

Closing remarks from Cardinal DiNardo at the Bishops meeting

US: Cardinal Ends Bishops Assembly with Hope Grounded in Christ

‘Brothers, I opened the meeting expressing some disappointment. I end it with hope.’

On the final day of the public sessions of the U.S. Bishops fall general assembly in Baltimore, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivered the following remarks, admitted he began the assembly in disappointment. This referred to the Vatican request that no vote be taken on abuse protocols for the United States until after the Pope’s February meeting of episcopal conference presidents.
However, Cardinal DiNardo said it ended the meeting with hope. He said there was agreement on the need to “get to the bottom” of the Archbishop McCarrick situation, improve accountability, and improve reporting procedures.  He said the bishops are on course to accomplish those goals.
The Cardinal said he would carry to Rome the proposals for several specific actions:
  • A process for investigating complaints against bishops reported through a third-party compliance hotline. We will complete a proposal for a single national lay commission and a proposal for a national network relying upon the established diocesan review boards, with their lay expertise, to be overseen by the metropolitan or senior suffragan.
  • Finalizing the Standards of Accountability for Bishops.
  • Finalizing the Protocol for Removed Bishops.
  • Studying national guidelines for the publication of lists of names of those clerics facing substantiated claims of abuse.
  • Supporting the fair and timely completion of the various investigations into the situation surrounding Archbishop McCarrick and publication of their results. We are grateful for the Holy See’s Statement of October 6 in this regard.
“I am confident that in unity with the Holy Father and in conversation with the Universal Church in February we will move forward,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “There is more to be done, but what we have done is a sign of hope.”

Cardinal DiNardo’s full address follows:

“Brothers, I opened the meeting expressing some disappointment. I end it with hope.
My hope is first of all grounded in Christ, who desires that the Church be purified and that our efforts bear fruit.
In late summer on your behalf, I expressed our renewed fraternal affection for our Holy Father. In September the Administrative Committee expressed for all of us our “love, obedience and loyalty” for Pope Francis. Now together with you today, gathered in Baltimore in Plenary Assembly, we the members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops pledge to His Holiness our loyalty and devotion in these difficult days. I am sure that, under the leadership of Pope Francis, the conversation that the global Church will have in February will help us eradicate the evil of sexual abuse from our Church. It will make our local efforts more global and the global perspective will help us here.
Brothers, you and the speakers we have heard from have given me direction and consensus. I will take it as a springboard for action. Listening is essential, but listening must inform decisive action. Let me take this moment to thank the many survivors and experts who have given us such good counsel and direction these last few days.
When the summer’s news first broke, we committed to three goals: to do what we could to get to the bottom of the Archbishop McCarrick situation; to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier; and, to develop a means of holding ourselves accountable that was genuinely independent, duly authorized, and had substantial lay involvement.
Now, we are on course to accomplish these goals. That is the direction that you and the survivors of abuse across our country have given me for the February meeting in Rome. More than that, in the days prior to the meeting of episcopal conference presidents, the Task Force I established this week will convert that direction into specific action steps. Some of those actions steps include:
  • A process for investigating complaints against bishops reported through a third-party compliance hotline. We will complete a proposal for a single national lay commission and a proposal for a national network relying upon the established diocesan review boards, with their lay expertise, to be overseen by the metropolitan or senior suffragan.
  • Finalizing the Standards of Accountability for Bishops.
  • Finalizing the Protocol for Removed Bishops.
  • Studying national guidelines for the publication of lists of names of those clerics facing substantiated claims of abuse.
  • Supporting the fair and timely completion of the various investigations into the situation surrounding Archbishop McCarrick and publication of their results. We are grateful for the Holy See’s Statement of October 6 in this regard.
We leave this place committed to taking the strongest possible actions at the earliest possible moment. We will do so in communion with the Universal Church. Moving forward in concert with the Church around the world will make the Church in the United States stronger, and will make the global Church stronger.
But our hope for true and deep reform ultimately lies in more than excellent systems, as essential as these are. It requires holiness: the deeply held conviction of the truths of the Gospel, and the eager readiness to be transformed by those truths in all aspects of life.
As the nuncio reminded us on Monday, “if the Church is to reform herself and her structures, then the reform must spring from her mission of making known Christ, the Son of the Living God.” No system of governance or oversight, however excellent and necessary, suffices alone to make us, weak as we all are, able to live up to the high calling we have received in Christ.
We must recommit to holiness and to the mission of the Church.
Brothers, I have heard you today. I am confident that in unity with the Holy Father and in conversation with the Universal Church in February we will move forward.
There is more to be done, but what we have done is a sign of hope.
Commending everything to the intercession of Our Lady, we pray together . . .
Hail Mary…”

Highly critical assessment of this week with the Bishops; what are Catholics in the pews saying and thinking?

The Pope fiddles, the bishops fumble, and the laity fume

No, it’s not clear that the Holy See is taking the abuse crisis seriously. And the USCCB isn’t helping matters.

(CNS photo/Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register)
I haven’t written an editorial since late July, in part because of the heavy and unceasing flood of news—most of it bad and some of it terrible—within the Church. In my last editorial, posted on July 23rd, not long after news broke about McCarrick and related matters, I wrote:
It is true, without doubt, that many of the bishops and cardinals are good men who are trying to do the right thing. But the rot in the Church cannot be covered by good intentions, the corruption in the Body of Christ cannot be treated like a PR problem, and the righteous anger of the laity cannot be placated by soothing sound bites. Put simply, the current course—which has all too often been a wearying combination of tweaks, spins, deflections, and obfuscations—has deeply damaged trust in the leadership of the Church. Not in the Church—One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic—but in her current leadership as a whole, which often seems to think the laity are either stupid or not able to handle the truth.
Now, as the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore wraps up, where are we? While I tend to list to the cynical side, I harbored cautious hopes that the bishops would make a push to at least present a unified and somewhat determined face in addressing the nightmarish McCarrick situation and the tangled web of secrecy, stonewalling, and straight-up evil involved.
And it appears the bishops also wanted to push forward in some way, having put forward two proposals for vote: one would establish (or at least outline) a new code of conduct for bishops, and the second would create a lay-led investigative body with the ability to investigate bishops credibly accused of misconduct.
Pope Francis, however, had other plans in mind. Or, at least, he didn’t care for the plan on the table (even though he praised the French bishops a week ago for establishing an independent commission to investigate their hierarchy’s response to abuse). And so, on Monday morning, at the very start of the assembly, a rather distraught Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, informed the bishops that he had been told late Sunday to set the proposals aside. Most everyone was surprised, except for Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, known both for his rapid rise in the episcopal ranks (with the direct blessing of Francis) and the low amount of esteem he holds among his fellow bishops, who immediately took the microphone. With a flat but clearly planned delivery, he stated, without the least suggestion of irony: “It is clear the the Holy See is taking the abuse crisis seriously.”
No, it’s not.
What is clear is that Pope Francis has surrounded himself with men, including Cupich, who are either seriously compromised or who openly lust after ecclesial power. It’s not just that they show little regard for doctrine or truth, but how they act as entitled sycophants whose disregard for their fellow bishops is matched only by their disdain for the orthodox faithful. It’s also evident that Francis does not want any sort of investigation into McCarrick or related matters to be outside of his control. One need not be well-versed in canon law (I’m not) or sympathetic to the various claims made by Archbishop Viganó (I am) to connect the huge and proliferating dots.
Cupich, while emphasizing (again, without any sense of irony) the “urgency” of the matter at hand, suggested a non-binding resolution ballot and then a March 2019 meeting to follow a special February meeting with Pope Francis, which raised many other questions, including, “How many meetings does it take”? It later came out that the directive to DiNardo had not come directly from Pope Francis but from the Congregation for Bishops, which includes two American prelates: the increasingly omniscient Cardinal Cupich and the retired-but-going-nowhere Cardinal Donald Wuerl. (There were some, via social media, who wondered if Pope Francis knew about the directive, which does not speak well of social media. He knew. He called it. Period.)
There was much debate and conversation yesterday (read about some of it here), but it was already evident that little or nothing would come of it, even if some of the bishops made good points and issued exhortations worthy of consideration. The assembly was essentially dead in the water, or dead even before it got to the water. Things certainly couldn’t get worse, right?
Not so fast. Earlier today, the bishops spent some time debating a resolution that would, as CNA reported, “‘encouraged’ the Holy See to release all documents on the allegations of sexual misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. After about a half hour of debate, objections that the resolution was redundant and ambiguous won out, and it was voted down by a clicker vote of 83-137, with three abstaining.”
Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, who had originally proposed the text, acknowledged, “This is not going to solve everything…” At least, it appears, it might have sent a modest signal to the Vatican that the U.S. bishops weren’t entirely pleased with being hung out to dry. But even that was too much, perhaps in part because the waters have been so poisoned with the notion that questioning or critiquing any statements or actions of Francis indicate an “anti-papal” sentiment.
Bishop Liam Cary of Baker, Oregon, made a cogent point in asking, “If McCarrick were to come to this microphone would he be allowed to speak?”, while he noted, as reported by CNA, “that there was no open microphone for his victims.” In a CWR interview last week, Bishop Cary spoke of “apostolic betrayal” in referencing McCarrick, stating: “The diabolical aspect of his betrayal is crucial. It goes beyond human frailty, it is a deep-seated evil, and a betrayal of the Son of God.” (Are you surprised that Cary is in eastern Oregon and not northeastern Illinois?)
Meanwhile, in an earlier session, Cardinal Cupich opined that in examining “those offenses against minors as opposed to adults, I would strongly urge that they be be separate. It’s a different discipline because, uh, in some of the cases with adults involving clerics, it could be consensual sex … There’s a whole different set of circumstances.” Again, nary a hint of irony could be detected in his delivery, even though his parsing of the particulars of canon law (as opposed to criminal law) when it comes to sinful, shameful acts bears a strong resemblance to the “teachers of the law” so often denounced by Pope Francis.
However, most striking, in reading accounts and watching video of the proceedings, was the contrast between parliamentary bickering and the huge stakes involved. Unlike some, I still do believe that many of the bishops are very good and holy men. There is a real sense in which they are held hostage by the nature of the Conference, which has shown itself to be mostly worthless if not worse. There is undoubtedly a lot of pressure being applied by the Vatican to conform and toe the line.
But that’s not good enough. Not now. As I wrote back in July:
The Catholic faithful do not want “easy”; they want the hard truth. They do not want therapists and counsellors; they want faithful men of God. They do not pine for happy talk, but for the joy found in the word of God, preached by servants of Christ in and out of season. And they do not easily trust those who do not vigorously proclaim and live the truth.
And, again, it’s not clear that the Holy See is taking the abuse crisis seriously. But that’s a topic for another day.