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Fr Ronald Rolheiser I have cancer but I’m filled with hope PAGE 20

Daniel Kawczynski PAGE 12

My role in stopping genocide in Libya

No. 6516

July 22 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)

Seal of Confession under threat Priests could be jailed under proposed Irish law Nuncio summoned after critical new report


THE IRISH government is seeking to compel priests to break the seal of the confessional by making it a crime not to disclose confessions of child abuse.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny said there should be no exemptions from legislation requiring abuse to be reported. “The law of the land should not be stopped by a crozier or a collar,” he said.

His remarks came as the Church in Ireland faced i ts gravest crisis yet after a report revealed the mishandling of abuse allegations as recently as 2008.

The report’s release last week prompted an emergency meeting between Ireland’s foreign minister and the papal nuncio to Ireland over claims that the Vatican encouraged bishops to ignore their own guidelines on abuse. One senior politician has called for the nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, to be expelled from the country.

The proposed legislation is likely to be debated next year in the run-up to a possible papal visit. If it were passed, priests would face up to five years in prison if they failed to inform police about Confessions relating to abuse.

A spokesman for Ireland’s Association of Catholic Priests said last week that the sacramental seal of Confession was “above and beyond all else” and should not be broken even if a penitent confesses to a crime. The Catechism says the seal of Confession is “inviolable” and any priest who violates it incurs automatic excommunication.

David Quinn, director of the think-tank the Iona Institute, which defends freedom of religion, called the government’s

Papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza leaves the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin after a meeting with foreign minister Eamon Gilmore PA Photo proposal “unprecedented”. He said: “This would make us the one and only country in the western world to have such a law. Even revolutionary France in the days of its worst violence against the Church did not pass a law requiring the breaking of the seal of Confession.”

He said that “such a law is very unlikely to lead to a single conviction and, at a maximum, will be counter-productive and will make society less safe, rather than more safe”.

“No child abuser will go to a priest in Confession knowing the priest is required to inform the police. But cutting off the avenue of Confession to a child abuser makes it less likely that he will talk to someone who can persuade him to take the next step,” Mr Quinn said.

The proposal follows a backlash against the Church over a judicial report strongly criticising emeritus Bishop John Magee of Cloyne for failing to follow abuse guidelines. “It is a remarkable fact,” the report said, “that Bishop Magee took little or no active interest in the management of clerical child sexual abuse cases until 2008”. The report also showed that the bishop had admitted to “inappropriate behaviour” with a young man.

As The Catholic Herald went to press Bishop Magee had not responded to the report and was believed to be in America.

Mary Kenny: Page 12

Priest close to Pope calls for resignation of Irish bishops


A THEOLOGIAN who was once a student of Pope Benedict XVI has called for every Irish bishop appointed before 2003 to resign.

Fr Vincent Twomey, emeritus professor of moral theology at Maynooth seminary, said the Irish Church had been “without any leadership effectively for the last 15 years”.

He said that all bishops appointed before Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin in 2003 should stand down even though there were many good bishops among them. “We need new leadership,” he said.

Fr Twomey told RTÉ radio that he was “incandescent with rage” at the Cloyne scandal. He said the conduct of Bishop John Magee and other officials was “mindboggling”, describing it as “incompetence, inertia, and lies”.

“I can understand the outrage. The people most upset by this are the people who have stayed faithful to the Church. They have been let down, to put it mildly,” he said.

The report recorded stark disagreement among bishops over whether Bishop Magee should resign in 2009.

At an emergency meeting of the Irish bishops’ conference in January, Archbishop Martin argued that Bishop Magee should resign while Cardinal Seán Brady insisted he should stay.

Ordinariate expands to Scotland after historic ordination Mass BY LIZ LEYDON

IN A HISTORIC first for Scotland, a former Episcopal minister has been ordained into the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Bishop Philip Tartaglia of Paisley, the bishop-delegate in Scotland for the ordinariate, presided at the ordination of Fr Len Black, former minister of St Mary of the Angels Episcopal Church in Inverness.

Bishop Tartaglia said he was “delighted” to ordain Fr Black to the priesthood, and told him: “While you are being ordained under the ordinariate your priesthood is for the whole of the Catholic Church... and we celebrate that with you.”

Fr Black was presented for the ordination by Mgr Keith Newton, the Ordinary. It took place at St Mary’s, Greenock, and was attended by his wife, Ruth, and Bishop Peter Moran of Aberdeen.

In his homily Bishop Tartaglia said that the ordinariate had “all the hallmarks of a

Pope Benedict initiative: generous, creative, imaginative and, above all, deeply Catholic”.

The bishop said: “Although the group in Scotland is very small, when taken along with considerably more groups and clergy in England and Wales and with ordinariate arrangements coming into place soon in the US and possibly in Australia later, this begins to look like a new and visionary way of re-creating Christian unity after years of ecumenical stalemate.” Bishop Tartaglia also explained the ordinariate to the congregation. He said it was “extending the existing precedent” in Scotland of welcoming suitable candidates from the Anglican clergy, married or single, to the Catholic priesthood. The bishop joked that Mgr Denis Carlin, St Mary’s parish priest, “will not anytime soon be running off to the ordinariate to get married”. Editorial Comment: Page 13

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Vatican paper hails Harry Potter’s ethics BY ED WEST

THE FINAL Harry Potter film has been given the seal of approval of the Vatican newspaper, which has praised it for championing the values of friendship and sacrifice, the Vatican newspaper said.

A review in L’Osservatore Romano said that although the film was dark and “may disturb younger audiences”, nevertheless “evil is never presented as fascinating or attractive in the saga, but the values of friendship and of sacrifice are highlighted”.

It added: “in a unique and long story of formation, through painful passages of dealing with death and loss, the hero and his companions mature from the lightheartedness of infancy to the complex reality of adulthood.”

Bishops offer virtual pilgrimage to Madrid BY STAFF REPORTER

THE US bishops’ conference has created a website in which individuals unable to attend World Youth Day can create their own online persona to participate in a virtual pilgrimage.

Catherine Panzica of the bishops’ office for social media said that officials had created a Facebook application and a website for nonFacebook users to aid their virtual pilgrimage.

She said: “The application can be added to any Facebook fan page. A Google map provides visuals of where pilgrims are coming from throughout the world and another shows the pilgrims on a detailed map of Madrid l ike you were really there.”


David Twiston Davies The book that all young Catholics should own PAGE 20

Mary Kenny The Beckhams are model parents PAGE 12

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