Tuesday, April 30, 2024

May 1st is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker


St. Joseph has two feast days on the liturgical calendar. The first is March 19—Joseph, the Husband of Mary. The second is May 1—Joseph, the Worker.

“Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God,” Pope John Paul II had once said.

There is very little about the life of Joseph in Scripture but still, we know that he was the chaste husband of Mary, the foster father of Jesus, a carpenter and  a man who was not wealthy. We also know that he came from the royal lineage of King David.

We can see from his actions in scripture that Joseph was a compassionate man, and obedient to the will of God. He also loved Mary and Jesus and wanted to protect and provide for them.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph had probably died before Jesus entered public ministry.

Joseph is the patron of many things, including the universal Church, fathers, the dying and social justice.

Former Anglican Priest named first Bishop of the Ordinariate in Great Britain


Former Anglican vicar becomes first bishop of UK ordinariate

Father David Waller will become the first bishop Ordinary of the Ordinariate. | Credit: Courtesy photo / Bishop's Conference of England and Wales

The Vatican has announced a new leader of the ordinariate in Great Britain.

Father David Waller, 62, a parish priest and vicar general of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, will replace Monsignor Keith Newton, 72, who is retiring after serving over 13 years as the ordinary of the ecclesiastical structure for former Anglicans.

In a statement, Newton called the Vatican’s April 29 announcement “momentous” given that Waller, who is a celibate, will become the first bishop ordinary of the ordinariate. 

As someone who was already married as an Anglican clergyman before entering the Church through the ordinariate, Newton was not allowed episcopal consecration.

Established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011 through his 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, the ordinariate is an ecclesiastical structure for Anglicans wishing to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining their distinctive Anglican patrimony.  

With today’s announcement, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham becomes the first of three in the world — the others being in the U.S./Canada and Australia — to have had an influence in choosing its leader. 

In keeping with the Anglican emphasis on consultation and in accordance with the Anglicanorum Coetibus, members of the ordinariate’s governing council, made up of ordinariate priests, were able to choose Waller as one of three names they recommended to the Holy See. 

Newton said he believed allowing this faculty, one that is usually left to the apostolic nuncio, “showed the Holy See’s confidence in the ordinariate in the U.K.” 

A former Anglican vicar who served as a pastor, part-time hospital chaplain, and a member of the governing body of the Church of England, Waller was among the first Anglican clergy to be received into the Church following the establishment of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in 2011. 

He was then ordained to the diaconate and the priesthood, has served in two parishes, and was elected chairman of the ordinariate’s governing council. For the past four years he has worked with Newton as vicar general. 

In a statement, Waller said it was “both humbling and a great honor” to have been appointed ordinary. “The past 13 years have been a time of grace and blessing as small and vulnerable communities have grown in confidence, rejoicing to be a full yet distinct part of the Catholic Church,” he added. 

Already well known to members of the ordinariate, he said he was looking forward to serving them in his new role, adding that experience over these past years has taught him “there is nothing to be feared in responding to the Lord and that Jesus does great things with us despite our inadequacies.”

Newton said in a statement that he was “delighted” with Waller’s appointment, adding that he has been “unwaveringly loyal” to the ordinariate and a “great support” to him as vicar general. 

Waller has been “totally been involved in life of the ordinariate and understands it all, and is a good administrator,” Newton told the National Catholic Register, CNA’s sister news partner. 

No coercion to step down

Newton stressed that he had chosen to retire while he is still act

“I’ve not been forced out in any way, and nobody has told me to retire; it’s totally my own decision,” he said. “It’s a time to pass it on to new hands,” he continued, adding that he and his wife, Gill, “want to enjoy a bit of retirement together.” 

Other prominent priests of the ordinariate also welcomed the news of Waller’s appointment. Father Ed Tomlinson, priest in charge of St. Anselm’s Ordinariate Parish Church in Pembury, Tunbridge Wells, told the Register he was “delighted the ordinariate will have a bishop” and that he wished “Father David the best.” 

Father Benedict Kiely, an ordinariate priest of the same parish who also runs the charity Nasarean.org for persecuted Christians, said: “I will always remain grateful to Msgr. Keith for making the defense of persecuted Christians an important part of the ordinariate, and I’m sure Bishop David will continue that support.”

Newton said the date and place of Waller’s episcopal ordination have yet to be confirmed but that he expected it to take place “towards the end of June.” 

This story was first published by the National Catholic Register, CNA’s sister news partner, and is reprinted here on CNA with permission.

The Papal Prayer Intention for the month of May


Pope's May Prayer Intention: For the formation of men and women religious

Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for the month of May: For the formation of men and women religious and for seminarians. In his video message, the Pope emphasises the ongoing development of their vocations through grace, prayer, community, and witness to the Gospel.

By Francesca Merlo

This May, Pope Francis has invited us to offer our prayers for "the formation of men and women religious, and seminarians". 

In his video announcing his Prayer intention for the month of May, Pope Francis recalls that every vocation is a “diamond in the rough” that needs to be polished, worked, and shaped on every side.

The Holy Father notes that "a good priest, sister, or nun, must above all else be a man, a woman who is formed, shaped by the Lord’s grace". These are people who are aware of their own limitations and who are willing to "lead a life of prayer, of dedicated witness to the Gospel".

In his message entrusted to the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, the Pope reminds us that beginning in the seminary or novitiate, their preparation must develop integrally in direct contact with the lives of other people. This, he added, "is essential".

It is important to note that formation does not end at a specific moment, such as ordination, but rather continues throughout life, integrating the person intellectually, humanly, affectively, and spiritually. 

Preparation continues into that of living in a community. "Life in community is so enriching, even though it can be difficult at times".

"Living together is not the same as living in community", adds the Pope. 

Finally, Pope Francis asks that we pray that "men and women religious, and seminarians, grow in their own vocational journey through human, pastoral, spiritual, and community formation, that leads them to be credible witnesses of the Gospel". 

The Holy See addresses the worldly lies about birth control


The  United Nations Headquarters in New YorkThe United Nations Headquarters in New York  (ANSA)

Holy See: ‘Birth control is not the key to sustainable development’

As the U.N. marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) this year, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia reiterates that promoting birth control policies does not help eradicate world poverty and promote sustainable development.

By Lisa Zengarini

Nearly thirty years have passed since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Egypt, which transformed the global approach to population and development issues, and defined a bold agenda for sustainable development.

The Cairo Programme of Action 

The conference was held in the Egyptian capital from 5-13 September 1994 gathering some 20,000 delegates, and resulted in the adoption of a landmark Programme of Action (PoA), which  affirmed that inclusive sustainable development is not possible without prioritizing human rights, and addressing inequalities as well as the needs, of individual women and men.

Its ambitious goals, included the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, the achievement of universal primary education, the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, the reduction of child mortality, and the improvement of  maternal health.  

The UN 2030 Agenda

Since then, there have been significant advancements in development, notably with the adoption in 2015  of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), to eliminate poverty, achieve gender equality, and secure the health and well-being of all people. The 17 global goals, known as Agenda 2030, call for collective effort across a wide range of areas – including environmental action, public health, human rights, education, and much more – to usher in a new era of development around the world.

Eradication of poverty facing new challenges

Thirty years on, however, growing inequalities, prolonged crises and a retreat from multilateralism threaten the legacy of that landmark achievement, and progress is at risk of stagnation or even reversal.

“It is evident that numerous challenges persist, especially in the pursuit of the eradication of poverty”, noted Archbishop Gabriele Caccia the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations on Wednesday.

Birth control and abortion don't help stem poverty 

Speaking at an event organized in New York to mark the anniversary, the Vatican Observer lamented that over the past three decades, the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA) has become “increasingly narrow in focus,” with a “consequent shift away from addressing development issues.”

Archbishop Caccia referred specifically to the ongoing emphasis given by the United Nations’ agencies to birth control policies, including abortion, as a means to stem poverty and promote development, which has been a contentious issue since the Cairo Conference.

“The discussions have regressed with many attempting to frame population as an issue to be ‘solved’. This is clear in the push for abortion under the guise of politically correct language, making it the focus of ICPD and the implementation of its PoA”

“This is not just a harmful misunderstanding of the PoA, but of development in a wider sense”, he said. “It also leads to the erosion of respect for the sanctity of human life and the inalienable dignity of the human person.”

Population control is not the key to sustainable development

Concluding, Archbishop Caccia once again rejected the “notion that population control is the key to sustainable development.” Instead, he said “it is essential to guarantee that all men, women and children are afforded the opportunity to actualize their full potential.”

The Holy See has engaged extensively in United Nations negotiations on issues concerning sexual and reproductive health rights as they have emerged and evolved in a dynamic global agenda over the past three decades and has said that suggesting that reproductive health includes a right to abortion explicitly violates the language of the ICPD, and defies moral and legal standards.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Saint of the Day for Tuesday


St. Pius V, Pope

Pope from 1566-1572 and one of the foremost leaders of the Catholic Reformation. Born Antonio Ghislieri in Bosco, Italy, to a poor family, he labored as a shepherd until the age of fourteen and then joined the Dominicans, being ordained in 1528. Called Brother Michele, he studied at Bologna and Genoa, and then taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years before holding the posts of master of novices and prior for several Dominican houses. Named inquisitor for Como and Bergamo, he was so capable in the fulfillment of his office that by 1551, and at the urging of the powerful Cardinal Carafa, he was named by Pope Julius III commissary general of the Inquisition. In 1555, Carafa was elected Pope Paul IV and was responsible for Ghislieri's swift rise as a bishop of Nepi and Sutri in 1556, cardinal in 1557, and grand inquisitor in 1558. While out of favor for a time under Pope Pius IV who disliked his reputation for excessive zeal, Ghislieri was unanimously elected a pope in succession to Pius on January 7, 1566. As pope, Pius saw his main objective as the continuation of the massive program of reform for the Church, in particular the full implementation of the decrees of the Council of Trent. He published the Roman Catechism, the revised Roman Breviary, and the Roman Missal; he also declared Thomas Aquinas a Doctor of the Church, commanded a new edition of the works of Thomas Aquinas, and created a commission to revise the Vulgate. The decrees of Trent were published throughout all Catholic lands, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the New World, and the pontiff insisted on their strict adherence. In 1571, Pius created the Congregation of the Index to give strength to the Church's resistance to Protestant and heretical writings, and he used the Inquisition to prevent any Protestant ideas from gaining a foot hold in Italy. In dealing with the threat of the Ottoman Turks who were advancing steadily across the Mediterranean, Pius organized a formidable alliance between Venice and Spain, culminating in the Battle of Lepanto, which was a complete and shattering triumph over the Turks. The day of the victory was declared the Feast Day of Our Lady of Victory in recognition of Our Lady's intercession in answer to the saying of the Rosary all over Catholic Europe. Pius also spurred the reforms of the Church by example. He insisted upon wearing his coarse Dominican robes, even beneath the magnificent vestments worn by the popes, and was wholeheartedly devoted to the religious life. His reign was blemished only by the continuing oppression of the Inquisition; the often brutal treatment of the Jews of Rome; and the ill advised decision to excommunicate Queen Elizabeth I of England  in February 1570, an act which also declared her deposed and which only worsened the plight of English Catholics. These were overshadowed in the view of later generations by his contributions to the Catholic Reformation. Pope Clement beatified him on May 1, 1672, and Pope Clement XI canonized him on May 22, 1712.

Another misstep in the handling of clergy sex abuse cases


Florida priest continued in active ministry for three years after sex abuse lawsuit filed

Father Leo Riley, 68, continued to serve as a priest for years after a 2020 sexual abuse lawsuit was filed against him and the Diocese of Venice, Florida. | Credit: Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office

A Florida priest who was recently arrested on sex abuse charges was permitted to continue in active ministry for nearly three years after a civil sex abuse lawsuit was filed against him and the diocese in which he serves.

Father Leo Riley, 68, continued to serve as a priest for years after a 2020 sexual abuse lawsuit was filed against him and the Diocese of Venice, Florida. 

The matter came to the forefront this week after Riley was arrested on several sex abuse charges dating back to his time serving as a priest in Iowa decades ago. 

The Charlotte County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that deputies arrested Riley in Port Charlotte on April 24 “on multiple counts of capital sexual battery stemming from his past work as a priest in Iowa.” He was ordained in Iowa in 1982 and served there until 2005.

The civil lawsuit in Florida was filed in July 2020 with the 12th Judicial Circuit Court. It named Riley, the Diocese of Venice, and St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte as defendants, along with Alan Klispie, a music teacher at the parish school. The suit alleges that both Klispie and Riley committed various forms of abuse against the plaintiff for years.

Venice Bishop Frank Dewane told members of the San Antonio Parish in Port Charlotte on Saturday — where Riley was previously pastor — that there is “a pending civil lawsuit of 2020 against Father Riley here in Florida which upon its receipt was reported to the state attorney of Charlotte County.” 

“At the time the civil lawsuit was received, the factual allegations therein were inaccurate and contradictory,” Dewane wrote. 

“The plaintiff has since changed his allegations and the litigation is still pending,” the bishop wrote in the letter.

The diocese said the letter was also being distributed “at all parishes where Father Riley has been previously assigned in the Diocese of Venice.” 

The bishop in the letter urged “anyone who believes that he or she has been the victim of sexual misconduct by someone serving in ministry for the Diocese of Venice” to contact law enforcement as well as the diocese itself. 

Asked if Riley was placed on leave following the 2020 suit, diocesan spokeswoman Karen Schwarz told CNA on Saturday: “Regarding the civil lawsuit of 2020, it is my understanding that Father Riley was not placed on administrative leave at that time, due to the facts of the allegations being inaccurate and contradictory.”

The diocese’s website shows Riley still in active ministry, working as pastor at San Antonio Catholic Church, at least as late as 2022, two years after the suit was filed. The parish is home to St. Charles Borromeo School, a pre-K through eighth grade Catholic school.

Damian Mallard, a Florida attorney who is representing the plaintiff in the 2020 lawsuit, told CNA on Friday that the diocese was aware of the suit when it was filed. “We served them with the lawsuit back then,” he said.

Asked if there had been any communication from the diocese at the time of the filing, Mallard said: “Diocesan lawyers responded to my lawsuit. But there was nothing concerning taking Riley out of his job.”

Mallard confirmed that the suit is still pending. “Riley won’t sit for a deposition because his lawyers demand that I tell them every victim that I’ve found,” he said, “and I said no.”

Several courts have ruled in Mallard’s favor on the matter of detailing the identities of the alleged victims, he told CNA. 

The lawsuit is seeking “damages for my client for what he’s been through,” Mallard told CNA. 

“His life has been destroyed,” the lawyer said. The amount of the damages is “up to a jury to decide,” he added.

Priest arrested this week on sex abuse charges

Dewane wrote the letter this week partly in response to Riley’s arrest by Florida law enforcement earlier in the week. 

In their press release, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said Florida law enforcement officers had worked with the Dubuque, Iowa, Police Department in making the arrest. The Dubuque police “had developed probable cause for five counts of capital sexual battery within their jurisdiction,” the sheriff’s office said. 

Riley, who previously served in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, has been on administrative leave in the Venice Diocese since May 2023 when several abuse allegations from his time in the Iowa archdiocese were made against him. 

Riley’s arrest this week comes after at least a decade of abuse allegations made against the priest.

In a letter released on Friday, Dubuque Archbishop Thomas Zinkula said the “first notice of any allegation of abuse by Father Riley was made in December of 2014.” 

“The claim related to the time period of 1985, when Father Riley would have been in Dubuque,” the archbishop wrote. “Particulars of the allegation were received in February of 2015.”

The archbishop noted that Riley was incardinated into the Diocese of Venice by this time, having been granted that request in 2005 to be near his parents. 

The Dubuque Archdiocese “notified the Diocese of Venice, Florida, and Father Riley was placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation,” the archbishop said.

“The investigation concluded that the best information available at the time did not support a reasonable belief that the allegation was true,” Zinkula wrote. Law enforcement, meanwhile, “chose not to conduct an investigation into the allegation because the applicable statute of limitations at that time had expired.”

Two new allegations were subsequently made against Riley in May of last year, both of them once again stemming from alleged misconduct in Dubuque in the mid-1980s. Upon receiving the allegations, the archdiocese “began an internal investigation into the new allegations, which remains open pending the outcome of the criminal charges.”

It is unclear whether these two allegations against Riley formed the basis of this week’s arrest. The Dubuque police department was unable to provide a copy of the warrant on Friday as it was still listed as active in that jurisdiction. 

On Thursday, meanwhile, the Venice Diocese said in a statement that when the latest allegations were made public last year, DeWane “immediately placed Father Riley on administrative leave, pending the investigation that was to be conducted by the Archdiocese of Dubuque.”

Diocesan spokeswoman Karen Schwarz confirmed to CNA on Friday that Riley “was put on administrative leave in May of 2023 and has not been involved in ministry since then.”

Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell said in announcing Riley’s arrest that “if the accusations are true, then we have had a sexual predator living among us in Charlotte County that was trusted by far too many people simply because of his position.” 

“It is likely that there are more victims, and I encourage them to come forward so that we can make sure this type of heinous thing does not happen to anyone else here,” the sheriff said.

A good overview of the Pope's Sunday visit to Venice


Pope Francis’ visit to Venice showcases art as means of encounter, fraternity 

Pope Francis delivers his homily during Mass in St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy, on April 28, 2024. Credit: Daniel Ibañez/CNA

Pope Francis had a full slate of events Sunday during his day trip to Venice, a trip that tied together a message of unity and fraternity with the artistic patrimony of a city that has been a privileged place of encounter across the centuries. 

“Faith in Jesus, the bond with him, does not imprison our freedom. On the contrary, it opens us to receive the sap of God’s love, which multiplies our joy, takes care of us like a skilled vintner, and brings forth shoots even when the soil of our life becomes arid,” the pope said to over 10,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Mark’s Square. 

Framing his homily during the Mass on the theme of unity, one of the central points articulated throughout several audiences spread across the morning, Pope Francis reminded Christians: “Remaining united to Christ, we can bring the fruits of the Gospel into the reality we inhabit.”  

“Fruits of justice and peace, fruits of solidarity and mutual care, carefully-made choices to preserve our environmental and human heritage,” the pope continued, seated center stage in a red velvet chair and vested in a white cope.

Pope Francis arrived in Venice early Sunday morning for a day trip to the prestigious Biennale art exhibition — which is celebrating its 60th anniversary — where the Holy See’s pavilion, titled “With My Eyes,” dovetails with this year’s broader theme: “Foreigners Everywhere.”

The pope’s visit also holds a deep meaning as Francis is the first pontiff to visit the Biennale — where the Vatican has held a pavilion since 2013. 

In his homily, Pope Francis pointed out that our relationship with Christ is not “static” but an invitation to “grow in relationship with him, to converse with him, to embrace his word, to follow him on the path of the kingdom of God.” 

Francis built upon this point to encourage “Christian communities, neighborhoods, and cities to become welcoming, inclusive, and hospitable places,” a point he linked to the image of the city of Venice as a “a place of encounter and cultural exchange.”

Pope Francis observed that Venice “is called to be a sign of beauty available to all, starting with the last, a sign of fraternity and care for our common home,” the pope continued, highlighting the tenuous situation of Venice, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which faces a myriad of problems ranging from excessive tourism to environmental challenges such as rising sea levels and erosion.

After the recitation of the Regina Caeli, the pope entered St. Mark’s Basilica to venerate the relics of the evangelist before leaving by helicopter to return to the Vatican as pilgrims and tourists bid farewell from land and sea.

Earlier in the morning the Holy Father met with female inmates, staff, and volunteers at Venice’s Women’s Prison on the Island of Giudecca, where he spoke on the topic of human dignity, suggesting that prison can “mark the beginning of something new, through the rediscovery of the unsuspected beauty in us and in others.“

The deeply symbolic visit was followed by a brief encounter with the artists responsible for the Holy See’s pavilion at the Biennale, where the pope encouraged artists to use their craft “to rid the world of the senseless and by now empty oppositions that seek to gain ground in racism, in xenophobia, in inequality, in ecological imbalance and aporophobia, that terrible neologism that means ‘fear of the poor.’”

The Holy Father traveled by a private vaporetto, or waterbus, bearing the two-tone flag of Vatican City, to the 16th-century baroque Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, which sits on the Punta della Dogana, where he met with a large group of young people. 

Reflecting on the visit as a “beautiful moment of encounter,” the pope encouraged the youth to “rise from sadness to lift our gaze upward.” 

“Rise to stand in front of life, not to sit on the couch. Arise to say, ‘Here I am!’ to the Lord, who believes in us.” Building on this message of hope, which the pope emphasized is built upon perseverance, telling them “don’t isolate yourself” but “seek others, experience God together, find a group to walk with so you don’t grow tired.” 

The pope made his way to St. Mark’s Square in a white open-top golf cart bearing the papal seal, where he closed his visit with Mass. At the end of the Mass Archbishop Francesco Moraglia, the patriarch of Venice, thanked the pope for his visit. 

“Venice is a stupendous, fragile, unique city and has always been a bridge between East and West, a crossroads of peoples, cultures, and different faiths,” Moraglia noted. 

“For this reason, in Venice, the great themes of your encyclicals — Fratelli Tutti and Laudato Si’ — are promptly reflected in respect and care for creation and the person, starting with the good summit of life that must always be respected and loved, especially when it is fragile and asks to be welcomed.”