WHY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS GOING TO HAVE A GREAT OLYMPICS
FEATURES: PAGES 8-9
Sister Wendy Beckett Learn to pray in just 10 minutes a day
INTERVIEW, PAGE 6
Lord Tebbit We can fix Britain’s broken family life
COMMENT, PAGE 12
Mary Wakefield A homeless man’s lesson for bankers
NOTEBOOK, PAGE 12
Olympics to begin with ringing of church bells
Pope: preach the truth even if no one likes it
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THOUSANDS of church bells will peal across Britain to mark the opening of the Olympic Games 2012 later this month.
St Edward’s bell at Westminster Cathedral in London will chime at 8.12am on Friday July 27, along with those of other Christian churches which are also ringing their bells to celebrate the beginning of the Olympic Games. The bell, at the top of the Cathedral’s 273ft tower, will be rung as part of a project by Turner Prizewinning artist Martin Creed, who wants everyone in the country to ring any bell they can find loudly and repeatedly for three minutes.
James Parker, Catholic executive coordinator for the 2012 Games, said: “People will wake and travel on the morning of the day of the Olympic opening ceremony with an expectation in their hearts. This is the day when our nation’s preparations to host a 27-day party for the entire world actually begins. It is hoped that there will be widespread international reports of church bells ringing out, reminding the British Isles and the rest of the globe of Britain’s Christian roots.
“Although few Catholic churches have bells, nevertheless this could be a unique, significant and, yes, even a fun moment for us all to start the countdown to the celebrations and a great moment to stop and pray for God’s peace to fall upon our nation and on the world.”
Archbishop Vincent Nichols expressed his support for the idea saying: “This initiative has my best wishes.”
Meanwhile, Our Lady and St Catherine of Siena church, the Catholic church closest to the Olympic Park, will be open from 9am every morning and close with Benediction at midnight each day. There will be at least two Masses each day and daily Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 6.30pm. Features: Pages 8-9
CHRISTIANS must preach about truth and justice and not what the powerful want to hear, even if it garners no applause, Pope Benedict XVI said on Sunday.
At an outdoor Mass in Frascati, five miles from Castel Gandolfo, the Pope urged 8,000 or so faithful to re-read the Catechism and the documents of the Second Vatican
Council and “rediscover the beauty of being a Christian”.
The Pope said the Council documents “contain an enormous wealth for the formation of new generations”.
July 20 2012 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Judges rule that priests are employees of their bishop
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
LAY PEOPLE and clergy have expressed alarm following a ruling by the Court of Appeal that the Diocese of Portsmouth is liable for sexual abuse allegedly committed by a deceased priest.
Last week the Court of Appeal ruled that the position of a priest is “akin to employment” and consequently dioceses are vicariously liable for their priests’ conduct.
A 48-year-old woman known as JGE claimed that as a child she was beaten by a nun at a care home and later raped and sexually assaulted by a priest who has since died. The diocese disputes her claim.
But Mgr Gordon Read of Brentwood diocese, who specialises in Canon Law, said the judgment had potentially farreaching consequences.
He said: “The main conclusion in the judgment is that a priest’s position is ‘akin to employment’ and as a result the diocese can be held vicariously liable for their conduct.
“But what does ‘akin to employment’ mean? The original judgment referred to the fact that priests are provided with offices and accommodation by the diocese, for example. But does the judgment have implications in the area of employment law or does it only apply to vicarious liability? If it does relate to employment, would a bishop have to go through secular channels when appointing a priest for example? Does the ruling apply to the number of hours a priest can work each day or the minimum wage?”
The situation is close enough to employer/ employee as to make it fair to impose vicarious
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He added: “Volunteers who are also ‘akin to employment’ may also face implications as a result of the ruling.”
Mgr Read said that the scope of the judgment needed to be clarified.
Following the ruling last week Lord Justice Ward said the relationship of priest and bishop was “close enough” to that of an employer and employee “to make it just and fair to impose vicarious liability”.
But one judge, Lord Justice Tomlinson, dissented, saying: “If [the accused priest] can be properly regarded as undertaking his ministry for the benefit of anyone, I should have thought it was for the benefit of the souls of his parish.”
In a statement the trustees of Portsmouth diocese said they would be “seeking advice” about a potential appeal to the Supreme Court.
They said their appeal was not about delaying compensation but was intended to “achieve clarity as to the nature and extent of the bishop’s liability for the actions of diocesan priests”.
They noted that the verdict had “widereaching ramifications... not just for the Church but for other organisations, both charitable and commercial”.
Neil Addison, a Catholic barrister and expert on religious discrimination, echoed concerns about the ruling’s implications and the need for clarity.
He said: “More worrying for me is the fact that in this case the Church is having to defend itself against allegations of abuse 40 years ago. The allegations are entirely based on the evidence of the claimant and the accused priest was dead before the allegations were made. This puts an impossible burden on any organisation to defend itself.”
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Many bishops’ conferences fail to deliver abuse guidelines on time BY STAFF REPORTER
MANY of the bishops’ conferences around the world have missed a Vatican deadline on drawing up anti-abuse guidelines, it has emerged.
Mgr Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s top investigator of clerical sex abuse, said that several bishops’ conferences had drafted their guidelines before the deadline but, because of slow post from Africa to Italy, they arrived at the Vatican after the deadline.
He said that without counting Africa “more than half of the conferences responded” in time. Mgr Scicluna, promoter of justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was speaking in an interview with the Italian monthly magazine Jesus.
He said that all those who did not send in their proposed guidelines would be getting “a letter of reminder”.
The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said the congregation received an encouraging number of responses from Anglo-Saxon countries, “but also Europe, Asia and Latin America have high percentages of responses”. While the result is gratifying, Mgr Scicluna said, Africa “has a particular situation with great difficulty in Church structures”. He was referring to the lack of communications and other infrastructure that help a nation’s bishops draw up countrywide policies.
Evaluating each country’s proposed guidelines for dealing with cases of clerical sexual abuse of minors will take “at least a year”, and that process will not begin until after the summer, he said.
More than 4,000 cases of sexual abuse have been reported to the doctrinal office over the past decade. Cardinal William Levada said those cases revealed that an exclusively canonical response to the crisis had been inadequate. Editorial Comment: Page 13
Irish bishop prays for break in the rain BY MICHAEL KELLY
AN IRISH bishop has appealed to parishioners to pray for a break in the rain.
Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns asked churches to offer prayers for farming families struggling under a severe loss of income due to bad weather.
£50 million due to higher feed costs and a loss of output.
Bishop Brennan said many farming families are “experiencing real strain and anxiety as they grapple with the prospect of a continuation of the current poor spell and its threatened adverse effects on the annual harvest”.
The Irish Farmers’Association said that farm families across the country have been hit by a loss of approximately
He also expressed the fear that poor weather could hinder economic recovery.
Bishop Brennan said many parishes had received requests for prayers for fine weather.
“In truth, they range from the very heartfelt of the farming community to those of parents whose children are looking to... enjoy the best of the summer holidays,” he said.
Sister praises ex-pupil on US Olympic team BY ELIZABETH LOWE
A SISTER has praised a former pupil, now a basketball star competing in the Olympics, as a “phenomenal athlete”.
Sister John Francis Schilling, president of St Francis Academy in Baltimore and an Oblate Sister of Providence, said that no one quite recognised the talent of her school’s first Olympian, 25-year-old Angel McCoughtry.
“I don’t think she recognised her talent. I don’t think other people did either,” Sister John Francis said. Miss McCoughtry, who plays for Atlanta Dream in the American women’s national basketball league, said her time at St Francis was “a blessing from
God”. A nonCatholic, she said she was accepted “for who I was”. “I enjoyed my four years there,” she said.
The school is planning an “Angel McCoughtry Day”
in September. It is hoped the athlete herself will be able to attend.
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