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Stuart Reid I am already tired of the Great War CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20

Ulf Eckman Why I had to leave my megachurch

COMMENT, PAGE 12

Edward Pentin Can Francis free North Korea? NEWS, PAGE 4

No. 6671

Vatican: keep sign of peace dignified

BY MADELEINE TEAHAN

THE VATICAN has asked the faithful to show more restraint during Mass when the sign of peace is exchanged.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has sent a letter to all bishops saying that although the sign of peace should stay within its current place in the Mass, it must be exchanged with dignity and the awareness that it is not a liturgical form of “good morning”.

It added that “if it is foreseen that it will not take place properly” then it can be omitted altogether.

The circulation of the letter, which was approved by Pope Francis, followed nine years of study by the Congregation on whether the “ritual expression of the gift of peace at Mass” would be better placed elsewhere.

The Congregation concluded: “It was considered appropriate to retain the rite of peace in its traditional place in the Roman liturgy and not to introduce structural changes in the Roman Missal.”

The letter went on to list a series of “abuses” which bishops must try to stop, including the introduction of a “song of peace” which is “nonexistent in the Roman Rite”; “the movement of the faithful from their places to exchange the sign of peace among themselves”; and the priest leaving the altar in order to give the sign of peace to members of the congregation. Also mentioned are and congregants using the sign of peace at Christmas, Easter, baptism, weddings, ordination and funerals to offer greetings, congratulations or condolences.

Fr Tim Finigan, a moral theologian and parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary in Kent, welcomed the letter. He said: “The congregation’s comments are pastorally sensitive and eminently practical. This sign of peace is routinely misinterpreted as an invitation to offer a social greeting which serves to impede the genuine participation of the faithful in their communal preparation for Holy Communion.”

Fr Finigan added: “Priests will find it helpful that the Holy See has emphasised that it is genuinely optional and may often be inappropriate.”

Fr Edward van den Bergh, parish priest at the Brompton Oratory in west London, said: “As is noted by the Congregation for Divine Worship, exchanging the sign of peace between the people is entirely optional. At all parish Masses at the London Oratory the priest extends the peace of Christ to the faithful with the words ‘the peace of the Lord be with you always’ but the faithful are not enjoined to ‘offer one another the sign of peace’. The potential for significant disruption at this recollected part of the Mass is thereby entirely removed.

Fr van den Bergh added: “Furthermore, the people are subtly made aware that it is from the altar alone that they are granted a peace that ‘the world cannot give’.

“Priests have other opportunities to call their people to heed the words of Our Lord to be reconciled with their brother before coming to the altar; the Confessional is the most apt forum for this and similar appeals can be made from the pulpit.” Editorial comment: Page 13

CatholicHerald.co.uk

August 8 2014 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)

Iraqis in America protest at West’s silence

Pray for Mosul on Sunday, bishops urge

BY DAVID V BARRETT AND WILL GORE

THIS SUNDAY Catholics are being urged to pray for an end to the violent persecution of Iraq’s Christians as they face a fresh onslaught from Islamic extremists.

Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton, chairman of international affairs at the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said: “Events in Iraq over the past few weeks have been disastrous. Christians have been systematically driven out of Mosul.

“A community of 60,000 before 2003 has dwindled over the years and is now down to almost nothing. For the first time in 1,600 years, no Masses are being celebrated in Mosul. Many Christians have fled to the surrounding Nineveh Plains and into Kurdistan as militants from the Islamic State [formerly ISIS] threaten those who do not subscribe to their fundamentalist ideology,” Bishop Lang said.

In acts of “religious and ethnic cleansing” toward Christians and other communities, he added, extremists are driving people out of the lands that have been their home for thousands of years.

“Some churches have been converted into mosques, ancient monasteries lie abandoned and the homes of Christians have been daubed with signs that would mark them out as a target for the extremists,” he said.

Bishop Lang called on the British Government to prioritise action to save the Christian and other persecuted communities of Iraq, among them the Yazidis and Mandeans. He also called on Catholics to support charities helping Iraqi Christians. “I invite you to support Aid to the Church in Need as well as all other Catholic charities offering emergency and pastoral support to Iraqis at a time of great crisis,” he said.

Aid to the Church in Need has already given £79,300 in emergency aid to help displaced families who poured into the mainly Christian villages in the Nineveh Plains after Mosul was taken over by Islamists. Donations to ACN’s Iraq appeal can be made either on 020 8642 8668 or on their website, Acnuk.org/donate.

Pope thanks abuse survivor’s daughter

Chaldeans marched through Detroit last week calling for American intervention. Islamic State militants have massacred thousands of Iraqi Yazidis and Christians in recent weeks CNS

BY DAVID V BARRETT

POPE FRANCIS has written a personal letter to an Irish teenager thanking her for supporting her mother, a victim of clerical abuse.

Nicole Kane’s mother Marie met the Pope in July and told him of the abuse she had suffered and the effect that it and the Church’s handling of it had had on her and her family. She gave him a letter from her 14-year-old daughter, who wrote that she had no belief any more because of the abuse. Nicole said she hoped the Pope would make the Church safer for children.

In his reply Pope Francis wrote: “Dear Nicole. Thank you for writing to me. I am grateful that you wanted to share your thoughts with me and I will not forget what you said. Thank you for being such a support to your mother. I am remembering you in my prayers. Sincerely, Francis.”

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Gaza is on the brink of collapse, leading Catholic charity warns BY STAFF REPORTER

A TOP Catholic charity official has described the situation Gaza as a “complete catastrophe” after nearly four weeks of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militants Hamas.

Matthew McGarry, who directs the Catholic Relief Services’ operations in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, said: “Gaza is on the brink of collapse at this point”. However, despite the

“extremely dangerous and challenging situation” in the area, Catholic Relief Services, the US bishops’ overseas aid agency, was still delivering aid to thousands, Mr McGarry said. As The Catholic Herald went to press the two s ides had agreed a 72-hour ceasefire and Israel had withdrawn its forces. Peace ta lks were expected to be held in Egypt.

More than 1,800 Palestinians, the majority civilians, have been killed in the conflict and more than a quarter of the enclave’s 1.8 million residents displaced, according to Gazan officials. Between 200 and 900 Palestinian militants have also died, and 60 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the operation, Protective Edge, seeking to destroy underground tunnels built by Hamas to carry out terrorist attacks on Israel. The conflict began after the militant group began firing missiles into Israel.

Last week Cardinal Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa urged Israeli and Hamas leaders to pick up a pair of binoculars so they could see that “most of your victims are innocent people”.

Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem, meanwhile, said: “It almost seems as if the point i s to make Gaza a factory for desperate people who are easy to transform into extremists ready for anything.”

Diner cuts price for praying customers BY DAVID V BARRETT

A DINER IN North Carolina is giving customers a 15 per cent discount for praying in public.

Customers at Mary’s Discount Diner in WinstonSalem who “take a moment” to pray or say grace before their meal are taken by surprise when they find 15 per cent deducted from their bill.

Owner Mary Haglund wrote on Facebook: “This could be prayer or just a moment to breathe and push the busyness of the world away. Who you talk to or meditate on is your business... We live in a country with an abundance of beautiful food. I never take that for granted. It warms my heart to see people with an attitude of gratitude.”

Ms Haglund has been offering the discount for four years, but the diner does not advertise it or tell people in advance; it has only become public knowledge because a grateful customer posted a picture of his bill on Facebook.

Teenager who met the Pope breaks record BY DAVID V BARRETT

ERRAID DAVIES, the 13-yearold swimmer who is the youngest ever winner of a Commonwealth Games medal, met Benedict XVI in 2006, it emerged last week.

XVI. “A few years ago now we took her to meet the Pope and she was lifted up from the crowd and put in the Popemobile – she was a cute wee blonde, curly haired girl so she just gets attention,” her mother Joyce told the

From birth Erraid suffered from Perthes’s disease which affects the hip joint, making it difficult to walk, and began swimming to help combat this.

On a pilgrimage to Rome in 2006, when she was in a wheelchair, she met Benedict

Scottish Catholic

Observer.

Erraid won a bronze medal in the para-sport women’s 100metre breaststroke in the Games in Glasgow.

“Erraid has a very strong faith,” her mother said.

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