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Chicago priests serving in Springfield will celebrate Novus Ordo on First Sundays

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, under whose canonical authority the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius are. / Daniel IbanezCNA

Springfield, Ill., Jan 26, 2022 / 17:32 pm (CNA).

The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has instituted regulations on members of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius serving there that are similar to those of the Archdiocese of Chicago, where the canons are incardinated.

The canons regular are under the canonical authority of the Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich.

“All Masses celebrated by the Canons Regular in the Diocese of Springfield will be celebrated on the first Sunday of the month according to the Novus Ordo,” said a Jan. 25 policy of the Springfield diocese.

Additionally, the policy regarding the canons’ parish in Springfield stated that a “plan of catechesis” will be issued in order to “assist and accompany those attached to the former rite and to fully appreciate the restoration of the liturgy and the teachings of the Council.” 

Priests who currently celebrate the traditional Mass in Springfield but who are incardinated in the Archdiocese of Chicago “will be asked to affirm in their written petition to celebrate the sacraments in the earlier liturgical form that the restored liturgy of the Council is the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.” 

The diocese also declared that Sacred Heart Church in Springfield will be designated a “non-parochial church for the eucharistic celebrations according to the Missal of 1962,” as is required by Traditionis custodes. 

In 2014, the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius was entrusted with the pastoral care of Sacred Heart Church in Springfield. The Archdiocese of Chicago, the Society of St. John Cantius, and the Diocese of Springfield made a joint agreement that the canons regular would be able to minister in the Diocese of Springfield. 

The canons regular, which was founded in 1998, follows a form of vowed religious life that celebrates both the Tridentine and the post-Second Vatican Council forms of the Mass. 

Springfield’s release aligns the canons in the diocese with the policies implemented by their archbishop. That policy, which was announced in December, also went into effect on Jan. 25. 

Under the updated policies, the canons who wish to use the “old rite” must submit their requests to Cardinal Cupich in writing and agree to abide by the new norms under Pope Francis’ motu proprio.

The usus antiquior is also said in the Springfield diocese at St. Isidore’s in Mt. Zion, and at St. Rose of Lima in Quincy, a parish entrusted to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

In a July 19, 2021 decree implementing Traditionis custodes, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois had permitted the usus antiquior to be celebrated at both St. Rose of Lima and Sacred Heart “on any or all days of the year.” He also said that “Priests who already celebrate Mass according to the Missale Romanum of 1962 in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois are authorized to continue to enjoy this faculty upon request”.

Invasive but not illegal? Pro-abortion light projection on Catholic basilica part of debated trend

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. / Shutterstock

Denver Newsroom, Jan 26, 2022 / 17:06 pm (CNA).

A pro-abortion rights group drew wide condemnation from Catholics, including Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, for projecting pro-choice slogans on the facade of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception during a Mass and Holy Hour on the eve of the March for Life last Thursday. 

Whether the display broke the law, however, is another question.

The basilica, located next to the Catholic University of America, lists a private property policy on its website.

“The basilica exists to provide a respectful, distraction-free place of prayer, pilgrimage and worship,” the policy says. It bars trespassing and “distribution of any non-basilica approved materials on its private property regardless of the cause or issue represented.”

“No activity, event or use shall take place upon the basilica’s property, other than those sponsored by the Basilica, unless the individual or group involved has received prior written approval for such activity, event or use,” the policy continues.

Failure to comply with the policy will result in notification to local law enforcement and the filing of “all appropriate criminal charges,” the basilica says.

At the same time, targeted light displays on property might not constitute illegal trespassing under current law, the Thomason Reuters Foundation reported in June 2019. Protesters have been using this tactic for more than a decade. Union members have projected their messages on businesses during labor disputes, and a critic of President Donald Trump projected a message on the Trump Hotel in D.C. 

One group opposed to abortion has projected graphic images of an unborn abortion victim on the buildings of abortion provider Planned Parenthood. 

CNA contacted the basilica for comment but did not receive a response by deadline.

Catholics for Choice, the group behind the Jan. 20 display, has repeatedly been rejected by the U.S. bishops as a non-Catholic group. Cardinal Gregory said the projection demonstrated that the protesters “really are external to the Church,” and cited a biblical verse, John 13:30, that referenced the betrayal of Judas.

The group is largely funded by wealthy non-Catholics who favor legal abortion. Recent major donors include the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation, funded by the financier Warren Buffett and family; and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, funded by the family of a co-founder of the Hewlett Packard company.

John Czarnetzky, dean of the Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida, was at the National Shrine during the Mass while the display was taking place outside. When he saw the news of the light display, he found it “immature,” he told CNA Jan. 25. 

While he was not an expert on whether the display could have violated local law, he said it’s possible the organizers of the light display projections calculated their actions to avoid breaking the law.

If the light projection had disrupted services inside the basilica, there could be a stronger case that a law was violated, Czarnetzky said. If the basilica had known of the effort ahead of time, it could have asked for a restraining order.

In New York City last Saturday, protesters of a Catholic pro-life vigil were much more militant.

Attendees at the Archdiocese of New York’s Prayer Vigil for Life at St. Patrick’s Cathedral were greeted by about 100 rowdy protestors. The protesters included members of the activist group New York City for Abortion Rights. Some of the protestors chanted insults and screamed vulgarities at them.

They made obscene gestures as a range of people from young children to elderly men and women who entered or exited the midtown Manhattan church. 

Toward the end of the protest, a light projection system displayed pro-abortion slogans including "God loves abortion," and "Abortion forever" on the exterior of the cathedral as demonstrators cheered. 

While light displays and obscene, aggressive protesters can be provocative, Czarnetzky advised Catholics to respond by following Christ’s advice to “turn the other cheek.” 

Any physical altercation between a person angered by protests could result in legal action against the person angered, he warned. 

The light projection protests at Catholic churches leave no damage, but they come amid a wave of vandalism in American cities. Some vandals have faced criminal charges for damaging churches with painted messages that object to Catholic opposition to abortion.

Archbishop Gallagher: Innocent people will suffer from conflict in Ukraine

Catholics pictured near the Co-Cathedral of St. Alexander in Kyiv, Ukraine. April 3, 2021. / paparazzza/Shutterstock.

Rome, Italy, Jan 26, 2022 / 16:00 pm (CNA).

The Vatican’s foreign minister said Wednesday, in reference to tensions between Ukraine and Russia, that it is a scandal that those who suffer most from conflict are those most helpless to prevent it.

At a prayer service for peace in Ukraine on Jan. 26, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher said, “we all know how tragic war is and we have its serious consequences constantly before our eyes, even more evident in our times.”

“These are painful situations that deprive many people of even the most fundamental rights. It is even more scandalous to see that those who suffer most from conflicts are not those who decide whether or not to start them, but are above all those who are only helpless victims,” he said at Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

The prayer service was organized by the Catholic community of Sant’Egidio in light of Pope Francis’ call for a day of prayer for Ukraine amid fears of a potential deeper Russian incursion into the Eastern European country.

During his general audience on Jan. 26, the pope renewed his appeal for peace.

“Please, no more war,” he said, addressing those in power. To pilgrims he said: “I invite you to pray for peace in Ukraine and to do so often throughout this day.” 

“Let us ask the Lord insistently that this land may see fraternity flourish and overcome wounds, fears, and divisions,” he added.

Gallagher, who is the Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, presided over the period of prayer in Rome at 7:15 p.m. local time. At the same time, Catholics in the Community of Sant’Egidio gathered in Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv to pray.

During the Rome service, Gallagher said, “it is truly sad to see entire populations torn apart by so much suffering caused not by natural disasters or events that are beyond human power, but by the ‘hand of man,’ by actions carried out not in a fit of rage, but carefully calculated and systematically carried out.”

In the face of such situations, we must all recognize our joint responsibility for promoting peace, he stated.

“Let us open our hearts today to the God who ‘has plans for us for peace, not for misfortune’ (Jeremiah 29:11), and who sent his Son into the world to proclaim peace to all and to reconcile us with the Father.”

Ukraine, which has a population of 44 million people, borders Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, and Russia.

The Russo-Ukrainian War began in February 2014, focused on the east of Ukraine. The conflict has claimed more than 14,000 lives and driven 1.3 million people from their homes, according to Caritas Internationalis, a Vatican-based confederation of Catholic charities raising funds for those affected.

The warring parties agreed to a cease-fire in July 2020. But Russia has sent an estimated 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border. U.S. President Joe Biden said on Jan. 19 that he expected Russian President Vladimir Putin to order an invasion.

The U.S. State Department said on Jan. 23 that it had ordered the departure of family members of U.S. government employees at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv.

“He, who from the moment of creation entrusted us to one another, has made us all brothers and sisters,” Gallagher said on Wednesday. “Carrying in our hearts the tragedy of the conflicts that tear the world apart, we recognize ourselves as brothers and sisters both to those who cause them and to those who suffer their consequences, and in Jesus Christ we present to the Father both the grave responsibility of the former and the pain of the latter.”

“Let us invoke for everyone from the Lord of history, who sees all and before whom we will all stand, the gift of peace, not limiting ourselves, however, to waiting for agreements and truces to be reached and respected, but imploring and committing ourselves so that in ourselves and in all hearts the new man may be reborn, the man recreated and unified in Christ, who lives in peace and believes in the power of peace,” he said.

Puerto Rican archbishop condemns toppling of colonist's statue ahead of Spanish king's visit

The statue of Juan Ponce de Leon in San Juan, Puerto Rico. / P. Hughes via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jan 26, 2022 / 15:08 pm (CNA).

The Archbishop of San Juan de Puerto Rico, Roberto Octavio González Nieves, expressed his sorrow and repudiated the demolition of the city’s statue of Juan Ponce de León, a Spanish colonizer who was Puerto Rico’s first governor.

“I would like to express my sadness over the acts that led to the demolition of the statue of the first governor of Puerto Rico, Juan Ponce de León. Said action must draw our strongest feeling of repudiation,” the archbishop said in a Jan. 24 statement.

The statue was torn down the night of Jan. 23-24, shortly before the visit of Felipe VI, the king of Spain, to the U.S. territory. The statue was reinstalled later on Jan. 24.

Felipe’s visit marks the 500th anniversary of the founding of San Juan, and is meant to strengthen commercial exchange.

Archbishop González said that "any feeling of recrimination that one has with the facts of our historical past, is not resolved with acts of vandalism or damaging historical places or places valuable for tourism."

The prelate said that "to protest past events you have to act uprightly, openly and without violence."

“Past injustices are rectified through orderly processes of reparation. The mistakes and wounds of the past are corrected through decisions and actions achieved as a result of a dialogue, coordinated by the Government, between the social, economic, educational, cultural and political institutions of the country,” he commented.

The prelate also stressed that "past errors cannot be remembered in order to act with a present marked by violence, but rather we all must learn from these errors by taking steps forward with a reconciling, healing spirit and with respectful, open and fruitful dialogue.”

Archbishop González acknowledged that "in the process of the conquest and colonization of Puerto Rico, blows were suffered that still require reparation and healing, such as the mistreatment of indigenous people, slavery and colonialism."

However, he said that "during recent centuries Puerto Rico has achieved a relationship of friendship and brotherhood with Spain."

"For example, cultural exchange, economic trade and specifically the aid from Caritas Spain to Caritas Puerto Rico have been significant blessings and have helped overcome the disasters of the recent hurricanes," he added.

The Archbishop of San Juan de Puerto Rico extended "a cordial, fraternal and affectionate welcome" to Felipe, and asked "our people to pray that his visit may be of benefit to our sister nations, Spain and Puerto Rico.”

"I hope that this visit of His Majesty is an important occasion to strengthen the Hispanic and Christian roots that define us as a civilized and respectful people."

“This visit not only invites us to look at the past, but also at the future, strengthening our roots of Hispanicity, faith and language. In a word, that it may reaffirm our Puerto Rican national identity in the mosaic of the families of humanity,” the archbishop concluded.

Sts. Timothy and Titus

Sts. Timothy and Titus

Feast date: Jan 26

On Jan. 26, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the liturgical memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, close companions of the Apostle Paul and bishops of the Catholic Church in its earliest days.

Both men received letters from St. Paul, which are included in the New Testament.
Pope Benedict XVI discussed these early bishops during a general audience on Dec. 13, 2006, noting “their readiness to take on various offices” in “far from easy” circumstances. Both saints, the Pope said, “teach us to serve the Gospel with generosity, realizing that this also entails a service to the Church herself.”
The son of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father, Timothy came from Lystra in present-day Turkey. His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are known to have joined the Church, and Timothy himself is described as a student of Sacred Scripture from his youth.

After St. Paul’s visit to Timothy’s home region of Lycaonia, around the year 51, the young man joined the apostle and accompanied him in his travels. After religious strife forced Paul to leave the city of Berea, Timothy remained to help the local church. Paul later sent him to Thessalonica to help the Church during a period of persecution.
The two met up again in Corinth, and Timothy eventually journeyed to Macedonia on Paul’s behalf. Problems in the Corinthian Church brought Timothy back for a time, after which he joined Paul and accompanied the apostle in subsequent travels.

Like Paul, Timothy endured a period of imprisonment in the course of his missionary work. His release is mentioned in the New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews.
Around the year 64, Timothy became the first bishop of the Church of Ephesus. During that same year, he received the first of two surviving letters from St. Paul. The second, written the next year, urges Timothy to visit St. Paul in Rome, where he was imprisoned before his martyrdom.

Ancient sources state that St. Timothy followed his mentor in dying as a martyr for the faith. In the year 93, during his leadership of the Church in Ephesus, he took a stand against the worship of idols and was consequently killed by a mob. The pagan festival he was protesting was held Jan. 22, and this date was preserved as St. Timothy’s memorial in the Christian East.
In contrast with Timothy’s partial Jewish descent and early Biblical studies, St. Titus – who was born into a pagan family – is said to have studied Greek philosophy and poetry in his early years. But he pursued a life of virtue, and purportedly had a prophetic dream that caused him to begin reading the Hebrew Scriptures.
According to tradition, Titus journeyed to Jerusalem and witnessed the preaching of Christ during the Lord’s ministry on earth. Only later, however – after the conversion of St. Paul and the beginning of his ministry – did Titus receive baptism from the apostle, who called the pagan convert his “true child in our common faith.”
St. Paul was not only Titus’ spiritual father, but also depended on his convert as an assistant and interpreter. Titus accompanied Paul to the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem during the year 51, and was later sent to the Corinthian Church on two occasions. After the end of Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, the apostle ordained Titus as the Bishop of Crete.
Paul sent his only surviving letter to Titus around the year 64, giving instructions in pastoral ministry to his disciple as he prepared to meet up with him in the Greek city of Nicopolis. Titus evangelized the region of Dalmatia in modern Croatia before returning to Crete.
Titus is credited with leading the Church of Crete well into his 90s, overturning paganism and promoting the faith through his prayers and preaching. Unlike St. Timothy, St. Titus was not martyred, but died peacefully in old age.

‘Our future is in danger’: 1,000-year-old Order of Malta in turmoil amid crunch talks

Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi. / Martin Micallef/Maltese Association Order of Malta via Flickr.

Rome, Italy, Jan 26, 2022 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

In a turn of events described as a “direct attack” on the Order of Malta’s sovereignty, Pope Francis’ delegate refused to permit a representative of one of the order’s highest-ranking officials to attend a meeting discussing sweeping changes to the 1,000-year-old institution.

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, as it is officially known, is both a lay religious order of the Catholic Church and a subject of international law. In 2017, Pope Francis ordered reforms of both the order’s religious life and its constitution.

That reform was supposed to enter a decisive stage at a Jan. 25-26 meeting in Rome, where the order, which also operates a worldwide relief agency, has its base.

But in a Jan. 18 letter, Albrecht von Boeselager, the order’s Grand Chancellor, announced that he would not join the working group overseeing the drafting of a new constitution. In his place, he appointed Marwan Senahoui, the leader of the order’s vibrant Lebanese association.

The working group included Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, papal delegate to the order, Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, a canon law expert, Msgr. Brian Ferme, secretary of the Vatican’s Council for the Economy, Maurizio Tagliaferri, Federico Marti, and Gualtiero Ventura.

On Jan. 25, the group was expanded to incorporate senior members of the order. Boeselager was included, but he stepped aside. Senahoui did not participate in the meeting as Boeselager’s replacement, as Tomasi refused his appointment.

Beyond Boeselager, the expanded working group also included Mauro Bertero Gutiérrez, Peter Szabadhegÿ de Csallöközmegyercs, and Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis.

Riccardo Paternò, president of the Italian association of the Order of Malta, took part in the meeting, although he was not officially included in the working group.

In a circular letter delivered to all the order’s top officials, Kristóf Szabadhegÿ, president of the Hungarian association, criticized Paternò’s presence at the Jan. 25 meeting.

Addressing him directly, Szabadhegÿ wrote: “Your presence there leads me to believe that you have been in regular contact with the commission of the papal delegate and were intimately involved in behind-the-scenes coordination of activities of the papal delegate and his working group.”

Szabadhegÿ suggested that “the fact you did not inform your legal superior within the order that you were invited to participate in the joint commission meeting could in and of itself be subject to disciplinary procedures.”

He challenged Paternò to explain his “actions and motives in our constitutional reform process.”

In a letter sent to the order’s top officials, Senahoui explained that “the decree issued by the Lieutenant of the Grand Master on Jan. 18, 2022, appointing me as chairman of the steering committee with our confrére Péter Szabadhegÿ at my side, has been rejected by His Eminence Cardinal Tomasi."

Tomasi, he added, “requested our Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager to have the Lieutenant of the Grand Master overturn [the decree], threatening to intervene personally.” Senahoui described this as “a direct attack on the sovereignty of our order.”

Senahoui noted that, while Tomasi had refused to invite him to the Jan. 25 meeting, he had a “cordial” private audience with Pope Francis on the morning of Jan. 24, lasting 25 minutes.

Senahoui recalled that he asked the pope to “consider requesting the postponing of the meetings scheduled on Jan. 25 and 26 to a later date, as these will be held in an unhealthy and insufficiently prepared environment.”

He argued that “the majority of the people involved in the current commission do not have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the specificities of our order and activities.” So it was necessary “to provide the commission with additional information, necessary for the success of these reforms, after gathering the inputs of all our leaders around the world.”

When invitations to the two-day meeting were issued on the afternoon of Jan. 24, Senahoui was not among those invited. Szabadhegÿ attended the meeting, where he complained about Senahoui’s absence.

In his letter, Senahoui expressed astonishment at Paternò’s presence at the gathering and questioned “how and on what basis” the president of the Italian association was able to attend “without an official invitation.”

Szabadhegÿ left the meeting in protest at the refusal to invite Senahoui. The Lebanese official stressed in his letter that “under these circumstances, I consider that our order is not respected, that our dignity is violated and that our future is in danger.”

Despite initially announcing that he was going to step aside, Boeselager ultimately took part in the Jan. 25 meeting, thus accepting the delegate’s request.

The draft of the order’s constitution was due to be discussed at the Jan. 26 meeting. Leaks revealed that the new constitution would make the order a subject of the Holy See. Such a provision might jeopardize the order’s sovereignty and put at risk its bilateral relations with 112 states, as well as its permanent observer status at the United Nations.

Tomasi has insisted that the draft was not definitive and could be changed.

In a Jan. 24 letter that Tomasi wrote to convene the working group, he said he “thought it appropriate to reflect on some articles, which I have modified.”

He added: “I, therefore, share with you the text on which we will be discussing today, confirming that, once further reflections have been gathered over these two days, a new draft will finally be sent to you, exclusively by this office, on which I await your comments and suggestions.”

US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer reportedly to retire

US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer speaks at Brookings, Jan. 21, 2016. / Paul Morigi/Brookings Institution via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jan 26, 2022 / 11:07 am (CNA).

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will be retiring from the court, NBC News reported on Wednesday, Jan. 26. The network cited “people familiar with the decision” in its reporting.

Breyer, who at 83 is the Supreme Court’s oldest member, was appointed to the bench in 1994 by President Bill Clinton (D). He has served for 27 years.

Details on when exactly the associate justice will be retiring were not announced.

The White House did not confirm or deny the reports that Breyer would soon be announcing his retirement. Shortly after NBC’s story was published, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted, “It has always been the decision of any Supreme Court Justice if and when they decide to retire, and how they want to announce it, and that remains the case today.”

Paski added that the White House had “no additional details or information to share” at the time. CNN reported that Breyer could formally announce his retirement as early as Jan. 27.

A member of the liberal wing, Breyer has consistently supported abortion rights throughout his time on the court.

In 2000, Breyer authored the decision in Stenberg v. Carhart, which found that Nebraska’s law banning partial-birth abortions was unconstitutional as it did not have an exception to preserve the health of the mother. In Hill v. Colorado, which was decided one day before Stenberg v. Carhart, Breyer joined with the majority in upholding a Colorado law prohibiting protests outside of abortion clinics.

If Breyer were to retire, it is a near-certainty that President Joe Biden (D) would appoint someone of a similar ideology to the Supreme Court. This is Biden’s first chance to appoint a justice to the court.

Due to Breyer’s age, calls for his retirement have been increasing since Biden’s election, to avoid a repeat of what happened when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September 2020.

In 2020, shortly before the presidential election, Ginsburg, who was considered to be on the court’s liberal wing, died after a battle with cancer. President Donald Trump (R) then appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative, to the Supreme Court, shifting the balance of the court.

The Supreme Court’s new term begins on Oct. 3, just under one month before the midterm elections. As the Senate could change hands with these elections, it is likely that Biden would seek to confirm a new member to the Supreme Court before that date.

According to CNN, Breyer wishes to remain on the court until a new member is confirmed to replace him.

Speculation about who would replace Breyer began as soon as rumors began swirling that his retirement was imminent.

Biden pledged multiple times in 2020 to appoint a Black woman to the court, saying in June that, “We are putting together a list of African American women who are qualified and have the experience to be on the court,” and that he would not be releasing that list until they are vetted.

Munich abuse report: Vatican editorial director says don’t look for ‘scapegoats’

The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Vatican City, Jan 26, 2022 / 08:15 am (CNA).

An official at the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication responded on Wednesday to a report on the handling of abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising that faulted Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.

In an editorial published by Vatican News on Jan. 26, Andrea Tornielli, the dicastery’s editorial director, wrote: “The words that were used during the press conference to present the report on abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich, as well as the 72 pages of the document dedicated to the brief Bavarian episcopate of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, have filled the newspapers in the past week and have triggered some very strong comments.”

“Predictably, it was Ratzinger’s four and a half years at the helm of the Bavarian diocese that monopolized the attention of commentators,” he said.

The more than 1,000-page report on the handling of abuse cases in the archdiocese in southern Germany, issued on Jan. 20, accused the retired pope of mishandling four cases during his tenure as archbishop from 1977 to 1982.

In an article that was also published on the front page of the Jan. 26 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican official underlined that the pope emeritus did not evade the questions of the law firm commissioned to draw up the report.

Benedict XVI, who strongly denies cover-up allegations, sent 82 pages of observations to Westpfahl Spilker Wastl as it compiled the report.

“The reconstructions contained in the Munich report, which — it must be remembered — is not a judicial inquiry nor a final sentence, will help to combat pedophilia in the Church if they are not reduced to the search for easy scapegoats and summary judgments,” Tornielli wrote.

“Only by avoiding these risks will they be able to contribute to the search for justice in truth and to a collective examination of conscience on the errors of the past.”

It cannot be forgotten that as pope, Benedict XVI “promulgated very harsh norms against clerical abusers, special laws to combat pedophilia,” Tornielli said.

He pointed out that Benedict XVI was the first pope to meet several times with abuse survivors during his papal trips.

“It was Benedict XVI, even against the opinion of many self-styled ‘Ratzingerians,’ who upheld, in the midst of the storm of scandals in Ireland and Germany, the face of a penitential Church, which humbles itself in asking for forgiveness, which feels dismay, remorse, pain, compassion and closeness,” he wrote.

“It is precisely in this penitential image that the heart of Benedict’s message lies. The Church is not a business, it is not saved only by good practices or by the application, even if indispensable, of strict and effective norms.”

“The Church needs to ask for forgiveness, help and salvation from the Only One who can give them, from the Crucified One who has always been on the side of the victims and never of the executioners.”

The Munich archdiocese is expected to hold a press conference on Jan. 27 to address the study’s conclusions “after a first reading and examination.”

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict XVI’s private secretary, said on Jan. 24 that the 94-year-old was carefully reading the extensive report and would make a statement once he had finished examining it.

Tornielli highlighted words that Benedict XVI said “with extreme lucidity” during an in-flight press conference in May 2010.

He wrote: “Benedict XVI recognized that ‘the sufferings of the Church come precisely from the inside of the Church, from the sin that exists within the Church. We have always been aware of this, but now we do see it in a truly appalling way: that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from the external enemies, but is born of sin within the Church, and that the Church needs deeply to learn repentance again, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on one side and the need for justice on the other. Forgiveness does not replace justice.’”

Major archbishop: Pope Francis’ day of prayer for Ukraine brings ‘hope of peace’

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, meets Pope Francis, Nov. 11, 2021. / Vatican Media.

Rome Newsroom, Jan 26, 2022 / 07:27 am (CNA).

For Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Pope Francis’ declaration of a day of prayer in Ukraine brings “the hope of peace” in the Eastern European country.

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church told CNA in an interview on Jan. 25 that the pope’s initiative underlined that “if ever a conflict would break in Ukraine, it would be a threat not only to Ukraine but to the whole world.”

Amid a build-up of Russian troops on the border of Ukraine, a country of 44 million people, Pope Francis called last Sunday for a day of prayer for peace on Jan. 26.

The event is the culmination of a series of papal appeals for peace and political negotiations in Europe’s second-largest country by area after Russia.

Since the so-called “Revolution of Dignity” in 2014, Ukraine has faced enduring conflict. Following the Russian annexation of Crimea, the war is ongoing in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Pope Francis has consistently shown his concern for the Ukrainian people. In 2016, he launched a charitable project, known as “The Pope for Ukraine,” that has helped more than a million people.

In July 2019, he summoned the bishops and synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to Rome for a meeting with the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has visited Ukraine twice. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, also traveled there, reaching the territories engulfed in conflict.

Shevchuk told CNA that the proclamation of a day of prayer for Ukraine “was for us like the Christmas Star that came to shine out of the dark.”

“We are grateful to the pope, who heard our voice and reaffirmed that the situation here is serious. Not only Ukraine but humanity would suffer if a conflict broke out,” he said.

He explained that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church — the largest of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome — has organized a chain of prayer on Jan. 26 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, during which “all of our eparchies, metropolitan churches, monasteries from all over the world will join in prayer with us in Ukraine.”

Shevchuk said that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which has eparchies and exarchates in four continents, was already engaged in praying for peace.

“Every day, we pray the rosary for peace at 8 p.m., which is broadcast live on television and followed by 20,000 people. In addition, every day of the week, according to a rotation, an eparchy or exarchate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church commits to fasting for peace,” he noted.

While the major archbishop shares concerns about a deeper Russian incursion into the country, he said: “This is not the first time that fear spread: we have been living in conflict for eight years. But, sad to say, people sometimes adapt to the situation, and they live as if there was no war in Ukraine.”

Shevchuk is the past president of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, which gathers all the country’s religious groups. He said that in Ukraine, churches have always served as a “hotspot of safety, hope, and reasonable proposals to address difficult situations.”

“Churches and religious organizations are cooperating for the good of the people, at every level: they help to find missing people, they negotiate the liberation of hostages, they commit to providing humanitarian assistance to those in need,” he said.

Asked if ecumenical efforts in the country could work as a “track to diplomacy,” Shevchuk replied that the council is currently drafting a declaration.

“The declaration will be first of all addressed to the faithful, our first interlocutor. We want to prevent their panic, as panic is the worst enemy in this hybrid war we are living in. Because of panic, people bought all food supplies, withdrew money from the bank system, and carried on a series of initiatives that can lead society to collapse,” he said.

Shevchuk added that “as churches, entrusted with a moral authority, we must address the issues of people who are suffering, because living with the fear of losing everything tomorrow is one of the greatest tortures.”

The declaration will also be addressed to Ukrainian politicians, asking them to be united, as well as to international interlocutors, as many ambassadors have sought to engage with church leaders.

Shevchuk underlined that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has a global reach. He mentioned an appeal by the Archieparch Valdomiro Koubetch of Curitiba, which had an “impressive echo in Brazil,” as well as statements issued by Ukrainian Greek Catholic bishops in North America.

“They issued their appeals not only as a member of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church but also as a member of the bishops’ conferences of their countries,” he observed.

Pope Francis’ interest in Ukraine has prompted rumors of a possible papal trip to the country. Shevchuk did not confirm the rumors, but said: “We are waiting for him and we will do everything we can so that the pope might visit Ukraine and get in touch with these people he prays for every day, as the pope himself said.”

Ukraine is a majority Orthodox Christian country where ecumenical relations are sometimes difficult. There are also tensions within Orthodoxy: After Bartholomew I of Constantinople granted autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Moscow Patriarchate broke ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, accusing it of encroaching on its canonical territory.

With a second meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow seemingly imminent, Shevchuk said that he was not concerned about the possible outcome.

“We are happy about an eventual meeting since it is good that the mediator meets both parties when there is a conflict,” he commented.

“We know that Pope Francis often meets Patriarch Bartholomew, and we hope that this routine will be replicated with Patriarch Kirill. A meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill will give them time to think together, and this will make things clearer for us in Ukraine.”

He added: “These meetings have a prophetic dimension, as they show the will to carry forward a culture of the encounter and dialogue. If there will be a meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, it will pave the way for similar meetings at a local level, also in Ukraine.”

Pope Francis on day of prayer for Ukraine: ‘Please, no more war’

Pope Francis during his general audience in the Paul VI Hall on Jan. 26, 2022. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Vatican City, Jan 26, 2022 / 04:28 am (CNA).

At the beginning of the Catholic Church’s day of prayer for peace in Ukraine, Pope Francis made an earnest appeal to those in power: “Please, no more war.”

“I invite you to pray for peace in Ukraine and to do so often throughout this day,” the pope said at the end of his general audience on Jan. 26.

“Let us ask the Lord insistently that this land may see fraternity flourish and overcome wounds, fears, and divisions.”

The pope urged people not to forget the more than five million people who died in Ukraine during World War II.

“Think that more than five million were annihilated during the time of the last war. They are a suffering people; they have suffered hunger, they have suffered so much cruelty and they deserve peace,” Francis said.

“May the prayers and invocations that are being raised to heaven today touch the minds and hearts of those in positions of authority on earth, so that dialogue may prevail and the good of all be put before the interests of one side. Please, no more war.”

Pope Francis called for Jan. 26 to be a day of prayer for peace in Ukraine during his Angelus address last Sunday amid fears of a potential deeper Russian incursion into the Eastern European country.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, will preside over a prayer for peace in Ukraine in Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere at 5:30 p.m. local time, the same time as Catholics in the Community of Sant’Egidio will gather in Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv to pray.

“I make a heartfelt appeal to all people of goodwill, that they may raise prayers to God Almighty, that every political action and initiative may serve human brotherhood, rather than partisan interests,” Pope Francis said on Jan. 23.

“Those who pursue their own interests, to the detriment of others, disregard their human vocation, as we were all created as brothers and sisters.”

Catholic bishops in Europe have also expressed support for Ukraine and appealed to Christians to pray for peace.

“At this extremely delicate time, we ask Christians to pray for the gift of peace in Ukraine so that those responsible may be filled with, and radiate, a peace that is ‘contagious’ and that the crisis will be overcome exclusively through dialogue,” the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) said.

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of the Polish bishops’ conference, said earlier this week that rising tensions with Russia pose “a great danger” to the whole of Europe.

“The current situation represents a great danger for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the entire European continent, which may destroy the progress made so far by many generations in building a peaceful order and unity in Europe,” their appeal, also signed by other bishops, said.

Ukraine, which has a population of 44 million people, borders Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, and Russia.

The Russo-Ukrainian War began in February 2014, focused on the east of Ukraine. The conflict has claimed more than 14,000 lives and driven 1.3 million people from their homes, according to Caritas Internationalis, a Vatican-based confederation of Catholic charities raising funds for those affected.

The warring parties agreed to a cease-fire in July 2020. But Russia has sent an estimated 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border. U.S. President Joe Biden said on Jan. 19 that he expected Russian President Vladimir Putin to order an invasion.

The U.S. State Department said on Jan. 23 that it had ordered the departure of family members of U.S. government employees at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv.

In their joint message, the bishops of Ukraine and Poland called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

“Today, the quest for alternatives to war in resolving international conflicts has become an urgent necessity, since the terrifying power of the means of destruction are now in the hands of even medium and small powers, and the increasingly strong ties existing between the peoples of the whole earth make it difficult, if not practically impossible, to limit the effects of any conflict,” they said.

“Therefore, drawing on the experience of previous generations, we call upon those in power to refrain from hostilities. We encourage leaders to immediately withdraw from the path of ultimatums and the use of other countries as bargaining chips.”

“Differences in interests must be resolved not by the use of arms, but through agreements. The international community should unite in solidarity and actively support endangered society in all possible ways.”