reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
I have new equipment at the house to try and restore my internet connection. I’m actually not sure if I want to tackle this tonight. Today was a tough day. An old friend who I just reunited with last Sunday has died. I plan to do something more detailed/more nobler for my friend Alan. Today was also last day at work day before my Labor Day 10 day vacation. It was a busy get it done kind of day. Unable to get a real lunch break I have not blogged since 8 this morning. Tonight I got my Brennan fix even if it was just a one hour visit. And now I’m home just wanting to unwind thinking we will tackle the whole internet thing tomorrow! I have used the time recently made available to me to start reading again. If I have a thing it would be a plethora of books. So what am I reading?? I have selected two books and they are:
Beyond Sunday Becoming a 24/7 Catholic by Teresa Tomeo. Good book full of many practical ideas!
Christ is Passing By
Homilies by St Josemaria Escriva by Scepter Publishing
I have enjoyed reading again, something I never intended to stop doing when I begin to blog!
It will be interesting to see what will happen once I’m all digital again!
Even as he faces another sex abuse case in his own diocese, Archbishop Anthony Mancini is not afraid of going bankrupt.
“What are we trying to keep hidden?” Mancini asks.
“The truth is what finally sets you free, not the BS they keep mouthing and saying. If there are other people (abuse victims) there, let them come out. Is it going to bankrupt the diocese? If it does, it does. So what?”
The case the archbishop of Halifax-Yarmouth is talking about involves Jesuit Fr. George Epoch, who is accused of sexually abusing an altar boy in Halifax in the early 1960s. Epoch’s trail of abuse extends well beyond the Maritime province, though. Between 1969 and 1983 he abused boys and girls in Cape Croker and on the Saugeen reserve on Ontario’s Manitoulin Island. After his death in 1986, 22 lawsuits were launched by Cape Croker residents against the Jesuits.
A lawyer is now trying to have the Nova Scotia Supreme Court certify the latest case as a class action, which would open up the case for other potential victims in the archdiocese.
It is one more black eye for a Church already reeling with revelations south of the border about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s predatory history and then the Pennsylvania grand jury report on abuse and Church coverup.
Mancini has responded with a letter urging Epoch’s victims to go directly to the authorities, and assuring them the Church seeks the truth about its own sins.
“Can we take the necessary steps as an assembly of the people of God to confess our sins, to undergo the transformation which only God’s grace and concrete actions will bring about?” Mancini asks in his letter.
In an interview with The Catholic Register, Mancini was clearly exasperated with the mess the Church finds itself in.
“Every time we try to do anything that moves us in the direction of trying to get closer, or to return, to the Gospel there’s always a step forward and two steps back,” Mancini said. “The two steps back always seem to be, at this period in history, the sexual abuse phenomenon.”
It both grieves and angers Mancini that people think sexual abuse whenever they think about the Church.
“It certainly has defined us in the media. And it has defined us in the minds of many who are disenchanted with the Church. This provides good reasons for being even more critical and for staying away,” he said. “The Church is not this, OK! The Church is not the sum of our faults. But faults are there…. I think we’ve inadequately dealt with our faults.”
Mancini does not try to hide the toll this trail of sin is taking.
“This morning as I was saying Mass, I just broke down,” said Mancini. “I still have faith in God. I still have my own, personal experience of Jesus Christ and what that has meant to me…. Yeah, I’m aware of sinfulness of my own and I have a sense of the forgiveness of God that has happened over the years. That’s what holds me up. And a couple of friends do a pretty good job, too.”
When Pope Francis calls out clericalism, as he did in his Aug. 20 letter regarding sex abuse, Mancini shouts amen from his pew.
“What the Pope is actually asking for in his letter, if people heard it and took it seriously, is the transformation and the complete conversion of everybody. That’s the biggest action of any pope he’s asking of us, if we’re looking for action.”
Criticism that Pope Francis’ response has been too theoretical, abstract or spiritual in calling for prayer and fasting makes Mancini’s blood boil.
“Well, if you know what a prayer is and if you know what he means by fasting, it actually is a very transformative exercise. But people don’t hear it and don’t read it in those terms. What they want to hear is, ‘How can we punish these SOBs.’ ”
In the Epoch case, Canadian Jesuits responded to the abuse claims by actively looking for Epoch’s victims. Ninety-seven eventually came forward. The Jesuits set up a mediation system to spare victims the delays and expense of the courts. They issued individual apologies to the victims and a public apology to the entire community. After spending $4.5 million on two different compensation schemes through the 1990s, the Jesuits continue to minister among the Anishinabe of Manitoulin Island, but carry with them a legacy of distrust and broken hearts.
“Face the music, take responsibility, care for the people. Certainly for us as Jesuits that has been our choice,” said Fr. Gilles Mongeau, the right-hand man or socius to Canadian Jesuit provincial superior Fr. Eric Oland.
“My own experience is that we have learned how to respond with compassion,” he said.
Mancini is convinced that part of the solution that will get the Church back on track is encouraging lay people in every parish to take responsibility and plan for their church’s future.
“Everything stands and falls on leadership,” Mancini said.
Under a plan that was built in meetings with parishes from 2015 through 2016, the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth wanted to abandon the corporation sole structure, under which the archbishop holds all the real estate and all other assets and employs everyone in every parish. In a restructured archdiocese, each parish would have become its own foundation with its own board, much like the fabriques that run parishes in Quebec.
This change required an act of the Nova Scotia legislature, which had granted Halifax Catholics their original incorporation in 1844. But last year Halifax lawyer John McKiggan convinced legislators that the re-organization was an elaborate scheme to shield assets from future sex abuse settlements.
The archdiocese subsequently withdrew its request, although Mancini disputes McKiggan’s claim.
“It was an attempt to put into practice, in a literal and concrete way, the principle of co-responsibility that Pope Benedict and others have spoken about,” he said.
Letting parishes own their own church and have their own bank accounts wouldn’t protect any asset when it comes to lawsuits, he said.
“It makes it obviously more attractive or easier to do if all the money is in one bank account. So yes, if the money is divided into various corporations it might not be so easy to pursue the money. But instead of suing one corporation, you sue 10,” he said.
The Church has a lot of work ahead if it hopes to regain trust, said Atlantic School of Theology professor David Deane.
“We cannot expect to be trusted,” he said. “We, the Catholic Church, have proved ourselves unworthy of trust.”
Mancini’s own analysis is perhaps even harsher.
“The Church stopped being the Church when it turned itself into a political institution. That’s what we’ve become,” he said. “Of course, anybody who engages in politics these days is constantly not telling the truth. We find ourselves being labelled in the same fashion.”
Pray for peace in Holy Mother Church
Pray for peace in seeking truth
Pray for peace when truth comes to light
Pray for peace for all who experience pain and turmoil because of the crisis
Pray for peace as we go forward with the ministries and work of the church
Pray for peace in our families
Pray for peace for all those who are sick
Pray for peace for all who are facing death
Pray for peace in our world, in our communities, in our homes, in our hearts
Aidan of Lindisfarne, born in Ireland, may have studied under St. Senan before becoming a monk at Iona. At the request of King Oswald of Northumbria, Aidan went to Lindisfarne as bishop and was known throughout the kingdom for his knowledge of the Bible, his learning, his eloquent preaching, his holiness, his distaste for pomp, his kindness to the poor, and the miracles attributed to him. He founded a monastery at Lindisfarne that became known as the English Iona and was a center of learning and missionary activity for all of northern England. He died in 651 at the royal castle at Bamburgh.
“Dear brother in the Lord, I hope you will sense something of my anguish for those who have suffered and my sorrow for any of my failures to be there for both the abused and all who now feel a sense of alienation,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl has said, adding: “In my heart, I now ask myself what is the way I can best serve this Church that I, too, much love.”
Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, said these words in an Aug. 30 letter to the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington.
“I ask you, as I did at the Cathedral, for prayers for me, for forgiveness for my errors in judgment, for my inadequacies, and also for your acceptance of my contrition for any suffering I have caused, as well as the grace to find, with you, ways of healing, ways of offering fruitful guidance in this darkness.”
This Sunday in the churches all across this archdiocese, he asked the priests “to let your people – the men, women and children – we love and minister to and hold in our pastoral care know that I do recognize and share their pain.”
“Let them know I wish I could wipe it away even though that is simply not possible. I would give anything, as would all of us, to turn the clock around and have the Church do everything right. But I do join them in sorrow for all that has happened. I plead for their prayerful support as I with you and them try to do whatever I can to help move this Church closer to the pathway that leads us from this darkness.”
At Sunday Mass, he noted, “I hope to offer some thoughts on how we as a Church – all of us laity, religious and clergy – might begin with faith strengthened in prayer to discern that level of reform rooted in accountability and transparency that would permit the Church to enter a new era.”
Below is Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s August 30 Letter to Priests of his diocese, found on the website of the archdiocese:
Dear Brother Priest,
I very much look forward to our time together on Labor Day, first in prayer and then in conversation. With all the disconcerting news and terrible revelations that have happened, and with such rapidity, I recognize that I have not been as close to you as I need to be to help you and me minister to the people we both love and serve.
Last Sunday at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle, as so many of you did in your own parish church, I offered Holy Mass – a Liturgy focused on the spiritual context for so much of the pain, suffering, darkness and disillusionment brought on by the sexual abuse of children and young people by priests and its cover-up by bishops. Whatever our response to this spiritual crisis, it has to begin at the altar – and in prayer.
As so many of you did, we prayed first for the survivors – those who bear the scars of abuse. On too many occasions over these past three decades as a bishop, I have sat with survivors and their families to listen, to try to be present, to pray and often simply to cry together.
At the Cathedral, as I am sure you did, we also prayed for the whole Church – the Body of Christ – wounded by the shame and horror of these egregious actions. It is our people who also bear a deep hurt because they love their Church and do not know what is coming next. Thank you for being there with them, even when there is so little to say, other than prayer. Your, and I hope my own, ministry is the beginning of some healing.
My prayers and what I asked of those at Mass are also for you. Each priest – all of us – somehow bears the joys and sorrows of one another because we are all rightly seen as sharers in the priesthood. Your ministry is a precious gift to those you serve – to the Body of Christ. I want you to know my desire – even if I have not well expressed it – to be close to you. In the rush to get information to you, I failed to share fully with you my spiritual and fraternal care and offer you and our faithful people a strong sign of pastoral leadership. I hope this effort today and our Labor Day gathering will clearly show my great appreciation, not to say affection, for all of you, my brother priests and the recognition of your efforts to be pastorally present to our people in their struggles.
I ask you, as I did at the Cathedral, for prayers for me, for forgiveness for my errors in judgment, for my inadequacies, and also for your acceptance of my contrition for any suffering I have caused, as well as the grace to find, with you, ways of healing, ways of offering fruitful guidance in this darkness.
This Sunday in our churches all across this great archdiocese, I ask you please to let your people – the men, women and children – we love and minister to and hold in our pastoral care know that I do recognize and share their pain. Let them know I wish I could wipe it away even though that is simply not possible. I would give anything, as would all of us, to turn the clock around and have the Church do everything right. But I do join them in sorrow for all that has happened. I plead for their prayerful support as I with you and them try to do whatever I can to help move this Church closer to the pathway that leads us from this darkness.
At the Mass this Sunday that I shall celebrate, I hope to offer some thoughts on how we as a Church – all of us laity, religious and clergy – might begin with faith strengthened in prayer to discern that level of reform rooted in accountability and transparency that would permit the Church to enter a new era.
Finally, we need to hold close in our prayers and loyalty our Holy Father, Pope Francis. Increasingly, it is clear that he is the object of concentrated attack. At each Mass we pray for him by name. As we do so with our voices may we do so as well with our hearts.
Dear brother in the Lord, I hope you will sense something of my anguish for those who have suffered and my sorrow for any of my failures to be there for both the abused and all who now feel a sense of alienation. In my heart, I now ask myself what is the way I can best serve this Church that I, too, much love.
Would you please let the faithful you serve know of my love, my commitment to do whatever is necessary to right what is wrong, and my sincere solidarity with you and them.
A couple years ago, on a Monday morning, I was informed that I had been named a bishop. When I accepted, I was conscious of the fact that, I also would have to accept whatever the future held with a complete openness to God’s will; much like in a marriage, or when I was ordained a priest.
These days, I find myself deeply disturbed by what is happening in the Church. I know the bishops must act decisively and that the action needs to be thorough, transparent, professional and in cooperation with competent laypeople. But still, I ask the question: what can I do?
All I know is that I can pray and do penance. To that end, and as your pastor, I commit myself to a full day and night of public penance.
On Monday, September 24, 2018, I will celebrate the 9 o’clock Mass in Saint Ann Church as I usually do. Following that Mass I will expose the Blessed Sacrament and remain there in prayer and fasting until the next morning, concluding this period of prayer and penance with the celebration of the 9:00 am Mass on
All throughout this period, the church will remain open. You are most welcome to join me in prayer for a few minutes or for a full hour. In fact, I would welcome your presence as I do the only things I know to do in the face of evil; prayer and penance.
Acts of public penitence by bishops and pastors are absolutely needed.