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No. 6647

 Damian Thompson Melanie McDonagh Petroc Trelawny An open letter to We should be told The courage of Cardinal Nichols the survey results Shostakovich


       ‘We must put God back into marriage’


February 21 2014 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)No.6565

􏰀Ahead of family synod, cardinal-elect says Church is failing to prepare married couples BY MADELEINE TEAHAN AND DAVID V BARRETT

He said: “We have to say ‘how is it that we’ve got into a situation where ... God given truths, are so distant from experi- ence and so hard to understand?” forced to do without benefits for days on end if they fill in a form incorrectly.

THE ARCHBISHOP of Westminster has said that the Church needs to do more to prepare and support married couples. “The vision that people have is for a steady life-long faithful marriage which will be the foundation of their family life and that’s what they aspire to, so it’s not the vision that’s the difficulty, it’s how we help each other to live it out.

A close adviser to Iain Duncan Smith, the Catholic Works and Pensions Secre- tary, told The Catholic Herald: “The archbishop is entitled to his own opinion, but his comments appear ill-informed to me. It seems remarkably out of touch to say that the ‘safety net’ of the welfare state has been eroded when we are currently spending £200 billion on bene- fits every year. Second, the suggestion that we stop people’s benefits just because they make paperwork errors is just plain wrong. And there are hardship payments available for anyone in genuine need.”

He said: “We do a lot about relation- ships and we do a lot of problem solving and we do a lot about the human side of it, but I think we also need to be much more attentive to how that human is open to the divine and how efforts must be accompanied by grace. How at the end of the day you say ‘it’s Christ that lives in this marriage not just me’. There’s much more to do by way of marriage prepara- tion over a longer term and by way of support of marriage, especially in the first couple of years.”

On the eve of being made a cardinal, Vincent Nichols told The Catholic Herald that “there was much more to do” to better prepare Catholics for marriage, and said that the extraordinary synod on the family in October would be a chance to “examine our consciences” to see how well “we in our parishes” were respond- ing to married life. “And there are people who have writ- ten in and who have said ‘I started a rela- tionship with a girlfriend and it was a sexual relationship from the very begin- ning but after a bit when we began to think more seriously about our relation- Highlighting the gaps in marriage formation for couples in England and Wales, the cardinal-elect said: “What’s missing is the bit that actually says to the couple ‘in marrying you’re entering more deeply into the life of God. In marrying, you will have available to you grace to help you to live this love together and to make it a firm building block of society in God’s plan.’ INSIDE She added: “I would think that as a churchman the archbishop would be supportive of the work Iain’s doing – transforming the bloated and broken welfare system we inherited from the last government – and reforming it in order to improve people’s life chances.” Damian Thompson P16 Simon Caldwell P10 On Tuesday the Cardinal-designate defended his comments. He said: “What IsaidandwhatImeanisthatitisperfectlyclear,itisafactbeyonddispute,thattherearepeoplewhobecauseoftheadministrationofthebenefitssystemarenotgettingbasicsupportsometimesforweeksonend.” The cardinal-designate said that the question of whether re-married and divorced Catholics should receive Communion was a dilemma between “the truth of the compassion of Christ to be faithful” and “the truth of the perma- nence of marriage which Jesus taught very unambiguously to be faithful to”. He said: “It’s not easy to hold those two things together ... that’s what these discus- sions over the next two years are going to be about ... there are many different things that we can look at and listen to people about without pushing too quickly to the black and white questions and answers.”

ship we actually stopped that and we said OK now, we’ll wait until we’re married.’”

“We do have to look at these situa- tions in more detail, but over and over again and since Saturday I’ve been inun- dated with accounts.

Archbishop Nichols was due to be made a cardinal tomorrow, along with 18 other archbishops. He is also due to attend the Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and Family later this year, and thanked the thousands of people who had responded to the survey on marriage and family life. The archbishop also defended criti- cisms he had made of Government welfare reforms the week before.

When asked how he as cardinal would address the gulf between the Church’s teaching and the way in which Catholic couples were living, Archbishop Nichols said that the Church had to understand why basic truths were misunderstood. In an interview with the Daily Tele- graph last week, Archbishop Nichols criticised the growth of food banks and said the welfare system had become “punitive” and it was “a disgrace” that in a country as rich as Britain people are

“I don’t doubt for a minute that there is a need for reform of the welfare system. You might also like to note that never once in that interview did I use the words cuts. It’s a huge budget, it’s a complex problem, and I acknowledge that and I salute the integrity of people who are trying to reform it. But the reality is that there are real difficulties and we are a country that is affluent enough, and has enough initiative to be addressing those and not to let them get lost in polemic. The amount of the social support budget which is lost to cheating I am told is one per cent. Now if one per cent of public debate was about scroungers and cheats then 99 per cent of it could be about how we tackle the real problems.”

Cardinal-designate Vincent Nichols speaking to the press at Archbishop’s House on Tuesday Photo: PA


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Cardinal Kasper to address the world’s cardinals on the family




CARDINAL Walter Kasper wa s to give the opening address a t a two-day meeting of th e College of Cardinals this week

POPE FRANCIS has renewed hi s Argentine passport an d national identity card – eve n though, as sovereign of th e Vatican City state, he has a Holy See passport already




BY STAFF REPORTE R synod on the family due t o take place in October. A consistory, he said, is a meet - ing “where every cardinal ca n freely express his thoughts” , but it is not a decision-makin g body and will not feature a vote

dt trenches.

. Francis praised Cardina l Kasper’s most recent book , Mercy: The Essence of th e Gospel and the Key to Chris - tian Life, last March durin g his first Angelus address a s Pope

Vatican spokesman F r Federico Lombardi said Cardi - nal Kasper’s speech woul d deal with Church teaching o n the family. The consistory wil l take place from February 20 t o 21 . The cardinals’ conversatio n “does not bind the synod i n any way”, he said, althoug h synod members will b e informed about what the cardi - nals said . Describing Cardinal Kaspe r as a “superb theologian”, th e Pope said his book on merc y “has done me so much good” . The cardinal’s book is to b e published in English in May . In the past the retired Germa n cardinal has stated his prefer - ence for divorced and re - married Catholics being admit - ted to Holy Communion

. of whether to give Hol y Communion to divorced an d re-married Catholics . changes everything. This is th e best thing we can feel: i t changes the world,” the Pop e said. “A little mercy makes th e world less cold and more just . We need to understand prop - erly this mercy of God, thi s merciful Father who is s o patient.

Fr Lombardi said that th e cardinals’ meeting would no t pre-empt the extraordinar y Pope Francis has said th e synod will explore the questio n “Cardinal Kasper said tha t feeling mercy, that this wor


. Francis renews hi s Argentine passpor t Figure skater taught m e to pray, says seminaria


. BY CAROLINE ZABORE K and bowed her head to pra y on the ice during the ladies ’ final, for which she wo n gold

. A US SEMINARIAN ha s praised an Olympic figur e skater as a role model fo r Catholics . Mr Pham said : “There was thi

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BY STAFF REPORTE R of state of Vatican City and th e Pontiff.” The Pope’s Argentin e passport was about to expire , so he asked the Argentin e embassy in Rome for hel p renewing it. Officials went t o the Domus Sanctae Marthae , where the Pope lives, bringin g their equipment with them

. “The Pope wanted t o continue having normal Argen - tine documents,” said F r Federico Lombardi, Vatica n spokesman. “This doesn’ t mean that he isn’t also the hea d They took a new, passport - style photograph showing hi m in his white cassock an d zucchetto. The officials als o took his fingerprints, a s required by law, and promise d to have the new documents i n his hands in about a week. “A s the head of state,” Fr Lombard i said, “the Pope has Vatican citi - zenship ... If he wants to hav e Argentine documents, what’ s wrong with that?

” Evan Pham, who write s the Holy Smack blog an d is a seminarian i n Detroit, said th e South Korean skat - ing star Kim Yun a inspired him t o witness to his fait h more publicly

. At the 201 0 Winter Olympic s Mr Pham notice d that Kim Yuna , known as “Quee n Yuna” to her fans, di d the sign of the cros g

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ys on her. Sh e was not scared . She jus t wanted t o pray: sh e didn’t car




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