Thursday, April 17, 2014

Five Things To Remember On April 17



1. Pope Francis will wash the feet of 12 guests today in a Holy Thursday Mass at a rehabilitation center.

2. Questions about the next few days of the Holy Week are natural. Here are some answers for you.

3. Students from The Catholic University of America took part in an outdoor Stations of the Cross this week.

4. The USCCB will be closed on Good Friday, April 18. We wish you a moving Holy Week and a Happy Easter.


5. God loves you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five Things To Remember On April 16



1. Francesco Cesareo, Ph.D., is is in his first year as Chairman of the National Review Board, a lay body that collaborates with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to prevent sexual abuse of minors by persons in the service of the Church. He explores some of the myths and truths surrounding abuse in the Church today.

2. Helen Osman, the secretary for communications at the USCCB, explains how Pope Francis is changing the way the church transmits its message.




3. During this Holy Week, you may have questions about the Paschal tridduum. We have 18 answers and questions about this time in the faith.


4. The  Pope will distribute pocket-sized Gospels in a Roman prison today.

5. God loves you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Continuing Myths of the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church




By Francesco Cesareo, Ph.D

In 2002 the Catholic Church was faced with its biggest crisis in decades if not centuries- the child sexual abuse scandal. Many strides have been made over the past 12 years; the Catholic Church has taken considerable action to protect children, help victims heal, and remove offending clerics. Much has been accomplished in this arena. In spite of these strides to protect children many people do not know about the changes that have been made.

Myth: The Catholic bishops have done nothing since 2002 to stop the sexual abuse of children.

Fact: Catholic bishops have implemented the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, along with Essential Norms and a Statement of Episcopal Commitment. 99% of clerics, employees, educators and volunteers have had background checks and have been trained on how to create safe church and school environments. Nearly 6,000 clerics who had credible accusations made against them were removed from ministry between the years 1950 and 2013. There is a zero tolerance policy and all clerics with a credible allegation must be permanently removed from ministry.

Myth: Thousands of children are still being abused by Catholic priests

Fact: While the Church receives hundreds of allegations each year, 99% of them are reporting abuse that happened years ago. Current allegations from minors averaged 10 per year between 2005 to 2013. Everyone agrees that is 10 too many and the church continues to take steps to protect children and to remove those who would harm them.

Myth: Child sexual abuse occurs only in the Catholic Church

Fact: Child sexual abuse occurs in all socio-economic levels, and does occur in every type of youth serving organization from sporting teams, to churches of all denominations and public and private schools. The Catholic Church has implemented effective measures to stop sexual abuse from occurring in its parishes and schools. It requires background evaluations on all clerics, employees and volunteers. It requires all be trained on how to create and maintain safe environments for children. Clergy with credible allegations are permanently removed from ministry.

Myth: Bishops cover up abuse and hide priests from the law

Fact: Dioceses are required to report all cases to the local law enforcement agencies. Failing to report known abuse is a crime. Victims and their families are encouraged to report abuse directly to police. Each diocese is required to have a victim assistance coordinator and a diocesan review board to review the allegations and make recommendations to the bishop.

Myth: The Holy See insists that bishops protect the church at the expense of children.

Fact: In May 2011, a directive in the form of a letter required all episcopal conferences to have policies and procedures on dealing with sexual abuse by clergy. The Holy See requires all allegations of sexual abuse to be reported to local civil authorities.

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Francesco Cesareo, Ph.D., is president of Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts. He is in his first year as Chairman of the National Review Board, a lay body that collaborates with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to prevent sexual abuse of minors by persons in the service of the Church.






Five Things To Remember On April 15



1. Pope Francis asks people during Holy Week to think about which character in Jesus' story they resemble.

2. Sister Mary Ann Walsh looks at Holy Saturday and the many people who are joining the Catholic faith.

3. In 12 days, Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II will be canonized saints. Check out this helpful chart created by Catholic News Service that explores the often long road to becoming a saint.

4. See video reflections in Spanish on the Word of God for the Triduum and Easter on our Lent Videos page.

5. God loves you.

Holy Saturday, Holy Christians, Holy Spirit

 By Sister Mary Ann Walsh

On Holy Saturday, April 19, most of the 18,000 parishes nationwide will welcome new members into the Catholic community. Some are catechumens, to be baptized for the first time. Others will come into full communion with the church, having already been baptized but now receiving the other two sacraments of initiation, Eucharist and Confirmation. Some return to the church in which they were once fully initiated but fell away, perhaps when their lives grew too busy for weekend Mass.

Last year, the Official Catholic Directory, aka the Kenedy Directory, reported 41,917 adult baptisms and 71,582 people coming into full communion. (Not included here are the 763,208 infant baptisms.) Early statistics for 2014 suggest that the numbers for this year may remain the same. Some think they’ll inch up with a Francis effect – the jump from good feeling about the pope to seriously following him.

Why one makes a leap of faith to join the Catholic Church remains a mystery. Often, what’s clear, however, is that faith is caught, more than taught. Some intellectuals reason their way into the faith, but most converts follow the example of how the faith is lived by others.

Mass has drawing power. Many non-Catholic men and women who have gone to Mass with spouses and children over the years decide to formally enter the church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults on Holy Saturday. The weekly hour of prayer nourished both family and faith. Many others who enter the church plan to marry a Catholic and rightly think that sharing the same faith will be good for their marriage. Data from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life 2008 Religious Landscape Survey found 72 percent of converts to Catholicism joined the church because they married a Catholic.

Others catch the faith from co-workers, neighbors, teachers and other friends. Wilton Gregory, now archbishop of Atlanta, recalls his faith being nurtured in Catholic elementary school days in Chicago. When he said he wanted to become a priest, he learned he’d have to become a Catholic first. His conversion took.

The silent witness of religious devotions, a promise to pray for another’s concern, faithful Mass attendance and warm celebrations of Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations and Marriages proclaim the joy of the Christian community and become a silent evangelization.

Roads big and small line the map to Catholicism. Sometimes it’s the magnificent boulevard of finding one’s true love; other times it’s the unexpected byway of the sudden death of a loved one. Eleven percent of those in the Pew Survey converted after a loved one passed away.

Holy Saturday celebrates the enigma of how the unseen God draws a heart. Jesuit Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in “God’s Grandeur” opined on nature in his poem, but he also may have hinted at the why of conversions when he noted, “Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.”





Monday, April 14, 2014

Five Things To Remember on April 14


1. On Palm Sunday, yesterday, Pope Francis in his homily asked: “We would do well to ask just one question: who am I? Who am I, before my Lord? Who am I, who enters into Jerusalem in celebration? Am I able to express my joy, to praise Him? Or do I keep distant? Who am I, before Jesus Who suffers?” He spoke of Judas, Pilate, Barabbas Simon of Cyrene, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary. Pope Francis concluded his homily saying that this question ought to accompany us through Holy Week: “Where is my heart? To which of these people am I most alike?” Text found at: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/04/13/pope_on_palm_sunday:_where_is_my_heart_before_the_suffering_jesus/en1-790560

2. Pope Francis spoke April 13 of World Youth Days and said the next WYD will take place in 2016 in Krakow, Poland, under the theme: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5,7). he also announced that he will visit to Daejeon, South Korea, on August 15 where he will meet with the youth of Asia.

3. Ten of thousands of men and women are in the final stages of preparing to come into the Catholic Church on Hoy Saturday, April 19. Last year, the Official Catholic Directory, aka the Kenedy Directory, reported 41,917 adult baptisms and 71,582 people coming into full communion. (Not included here are the 763,208 infant baptisms.) Early statistics for 2014 suggest that the numbers for this year may remain the same. Some think they’ll inch up with a Francis effect – the jump from good feeling about the pope to seriously following him.


4. The season of Lent is a time for confession. For a Q&A on what to know for the Sacrament of Penance look at this US Conference of Catholic Bishops Resource http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments/penance/sacrament-of-penance-question-and-answer.cfm

5. God loves you.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five Things To Remember On April 11


1. Pope Francis spoke out in defense of life, from natural conception to death, and also spoke on the existence of the devil on Friday. In addition, he said the Church would take "not one step back" from correcting clerical sexual abuse

2. See video reflections in Spanish on the Word of God for the Triduum and Easter on our Lent Videos page.

3. Listen to bishop-led audio retreats based on the readings for the Sundays of Lent in English and Spanish.  Your retreat leaders for Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion, April 13, are Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati (English) and Archbishop Joseph William Tobin, CSsR, of Indianapolis (Spanish).

4. Did you miss this reflection on Palm Sunday, which is this weekend?

5. God loves you.