Cardinal Eijk joins ten other cardinals in a new book on marriage and family

staatsieportret20kardinaal20eijkUsually rather tight-lipped about the proceedings at and his own contributions to the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Wim Eijk is now said to be contributing to a book about marriage and family in the runup to the Synod assembly of October. He is joined by ten other prelates, cardinals all, and as such this new book can be compared to the five-cardinals book, Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church. Cardinal Eijk’s contribution will be based on his work at the previous Synod assembly last year.

Like the earlier book, this will take a position which underlines the role of doctrine in addition to mercy, contrary to some who consider the latter overruling the former. In truth, both are needed and can’t survive without the other.

In addition to Cardinal Eijk, the other contributing cardinals are:

  • Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop of of Bologna
  • Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankar Church
  • Paul Cordes, President emeritus of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”
  • Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague
  • Joachim Meisner, Archbishop emeritus of Cologne
  • John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja
  • Antonio Rouco Varela, Archbishop emeritus of Madrid
  • Camillo Ruini, Vicar General emeritus of Rome
  • Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
  • Jorge Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas

The book is said to be criticising the “protestantisation” of the Church. What that means will remain to be seen, but we may expect a focus on the desire to adapt teaching to the wishes of interest groups and individual faithful under the guise of mercy, as we continuously see in the debates surrounding the Synod and its topics.

Immediate local reactions to the news (which for now is mostly hearsay, it has to be said) of Eijk’s involvement were not overly positive. Some see this as proof that the cardinal is in direct opposition to Pope Francis. If that’s true, the same must be said of the other contributors, some of whom were appointed by the Pope (Cardinal Sarah) or are known to enjoy his appreciation and esteem (Cardinal Caffarra), while others are not directly known for overly orthodox attitudes (Cardinal Duka). Pope Francis has asked for discussion, which includes opposing points of view. This is that discussion, and the Pope knows that full well. If his attitude towards the Curia is anything to go by, he is happy to let it do the work it exists for, and that includes defending the unpopular elements of the faith.

I am happy to see a high-profile contribution from a Dutch prelate on this topic, which has already made so many headlines in the blogosphere and Catholic media. We need more of that.

The book, titled Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family: Essays from a Pastoral Viewpoint, can be pre-ordered from Igantius Press here.

Cardinal Sarah and the liturgy of the Council

406-4515-cardinal-sarah-003Back in June, Cardinal Sarah, in charge of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, wrote an article on the liturgy according to Vatican II. That rather excellent test is now available in English at Views from the Choir Loft and in Dutch on my blog.

Although a reading requires some awareness of theological terms, in its entirety Cardinal Sarah’s article is a wonderful invitation to open ourselves to and discover the liturgy as it is. Given by God to its finest detail, even to the participatio actuosa (which does not, as some believe, mean that everyone should be doing stuff) of every single believer present.

Much has been made about Cardinal Sarah’s support for an ad orientem orientation of the priest for specific parts of the Mass, but that is really not the point of his argument, but rather a logical conclusion deriving from it. The liturgy is not ours, but the Lord’s, and in it He comes to meet us. Why not welcome Him face to face?

Pallium day, new style

palliumOn the feast of the two foster fathers of the Church, Saints Peter and Paul, it’s also Pallium day. The new metropolitan archbishops come to Rome to receive the sign of their union with the Holy Father and take it back home to their provinces. But this time around we’ll see the introduction of the new form of the ceremony. While the archbishops still receive their pallia from the Pope, the official act of imposition will take place in their respective cathedrals, and it will be the Apostolic Nuncio, the official representative of the Pope, who will do the honours. This to emphasise the home churches over Rome, although most archbishops still travel to Rome to concelebrate today’s Mass with the Holy Father.

This is the list of the 46 new archbishops who will receive palia:

  • Archbishop Richard Daniel Alarcón Urrutia, Cuzco, Peru
  • Archbishop Oscar Omar Aparicio Céspedes, Cochabamba, Bolivia
  • Archbishop Freddy Antonio de Jesús Bretón Martínez, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
  • Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Valencia, Spain
  • Archbishop-elect Erio Castellucci, Modena-Nonantola, Italy
  • Archbishop Blase Joseph Cupich, Chicago, United States of America
  • Archbishop Alojzij Cvikl, Maribor, Slovenia
  • Archbishop Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias, Luanda, Angola
  • Archbishop José Antonio Fernández Hurtado, Durango, Mexico
  • Archbishop Anthony Colin Fisher, Sydney, Australia
  • Archbishop Denis Grondin, Rimouski, Canada
  • Archbishop Justinus Harjosusanto, Samarinda, Indonesia
  • Archbishop Stefan Heße, Hamburg, Germany
  • Archbishop Vicente Jiménez Zamora, Zaragoza, Spain
  • Archbishop Beatus Kinyaiya, Dodoma, Tanzania
  • Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde, Mombasa, Kenya
  • Archbishop Heiner Koch, Berlin, Germany
  • Archbishop Peter Fülöp Kocsis, Hajdúdorog (Hungarian), Hungary
  • Archbishop Florentino Galang Lavarias, San Fernando, Philippines
  • Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Archbishop Djalwana Laurent Lompo, Niamey, Niger
  • Archbishop David Macaire, Fort-de-France-Saint Pierre, Martinique
  • Archbishop Thomas Ignatius MacWan, Gandhinagar, India
  • Archbishop Thomas Aquino Manyo Maeda, Osaka, Japan
  • eamon martinArchbishop Eamon Martin, Armagh, Northern Ireland (pictured at right before the tomb of St. John Paul II today).
  • Archbishop Edoardo Eliseo Martín, Rosario, Argentina
  • Archbishop Jean Mbarga, Yaoundé, Cameroon
  • Archbishop Max Leroy Mésidor, Cap-Haïtien, Haiti
  • Archbishop Celso Morga Iruzubieta, Mérida-Badajoz, Spain
  • Archbishop Benjamin Ndiaye, Dakar, Senegal
  • Archbishop George Njaralakatt, Tellicherry (Syro-Malabar), India
  • Archbishop Francescantonio Nolè, Cosenza-Bisignano
  • Archbishop Juan Nsue Edjang Mayé, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
  • Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly, Cashel and Emly, Ireland
  • Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra, Madrid, Spain
  • Archbishop Antony Pappusamy, Madurai, India
  • Archbishop Vincenzo Pelvi, Foggia-Bovino, Italy
  • Archbishop José Antonio Peruzzo, Curitiba, Brazil
  • Archbishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega, Yucatán, Mexico
  • Archbishop Charles Jude Scicluna, Malta
  • Archbishop Menghesteab Tesfamariam, Asmara (Eritrean), Eritrea
  • Archbishop Edmundo Ponziano Valenzuela Mellid, Asunción, Paraguay
  • Archbishop Lionginas Virbalas, Kaunas, Lithuania
  • Archbishop John Charles Wester, Santa Fe, United States of America
  • Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki, Köln, Germany
  • Archbishop Stanislav Zore, Ljubljana, Slovenia

One of these is not a bishop yet. Archbishop-elect Erio Castellucci will be consecrated and installed as archbishop of Modena-Nonantola on 12 September, which is also the date from which he can actually wear his pallium. The newly appointed archbishop of Berlin, Heiner Koch, is also yet to be installed (on 19 September).

Next to Archbisop Koch, two other German archbishops will also receive the woolen pallium. For Cardinal Woelki it will be his second: he already received one after becoming the archbishop of Berlin, but as the pallia are attached to the archdioceses more than to the person, he will receive a new one since he is now the archbishop of Cologne. Hamburg’s Archbishop Stefan Heße (pictured below offering Mass at the Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio – title church of another German, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, emeritus of Munich –  yesterday) is the third German prelate receiving the pallium.

hesse rome

Archbishop Heße was interviewed on Saturday by the German section of Vatican radio. He emphasised the value for the Church in Hamburg, which is small in number and large in territory, to be so closely united to the Pope, and he also explained how he will mark the official imposition of the pallium in Hamburg, which will take place in November:

“I was only ordained as bishop a little over three months ago, and that was actually the key moment: and I think also for the people in the Archdiocese of Hamburg, who have waited for their new bishop and have accepted me kindly. That was even the first consecration of a bishop in Hamburg’s Mariendom, as all previous bishops already were bishops before. I was consecrated there, and they made every effort to celebrate that. Therefore I said that we should tone it down a bit with the pallium. The pallium is a sign which is inserted in the liturgy. That is why the imposition in Hamburg by the Nuncio will take place during a Mass, which we will celebrate on the first of November. We will invite all altar servers from the Archdiocese of Hamburg and organise a day for them, since these young people are so close to the liturgy. That is why i thought we should celebrate it with them; and it is also a chance for me to come into contact with the youth and also emphasise the community with Rome and the Pope through the pallium.”

xiao zhe-jiangThere is one more archbishop who should receive the pallium, but who can’t because of the political situation in his country. He is Archbishop Paul Xiao Ze-Jiang, of Guiyang in China. While the Holy See recognises him as the archbishop of Guiyang, the Chinese government says he is merely the bishop of Guizhou, which is a circumscription they have created in 1999 out of Guiyang, Nanlong (the only suffragan diocese of Guiyang, without a bishop since 1952) and Shiqian (an apostolic prefecture without a prefect since 2011). It is unknown if and when Archbishop Xiao will receive his pallium.

Photo credit: [1]  Archbishop Eamon Martin on Twitter, [2] Archdiocese of Hamburg on Twitter, [3] UCAN directory

“Praised be” – Encyclical day is here

LaudatoSi-255x397So today is the big day. I’ve not seen such excitement for the launch of an encyclical, but, then again, I’ve only been around as a Catholic for four of them. But this time around, everyone has an opinion, in part because they’ve seen the leaked early draft of Laudato Si’*, but mostly because the encyclical’s topic is such a heavily politicised one. Especially on the American side of the Atlantic, I notice that the question of the environment, and especially global warming, is seen as inherently connected and opposed to questions of population control and, more often than not, economic concerns. The issue of the scientific validity of what Pope Francis is a distant third element of the opposition.

Are these concerns warranted? Will Laudato Si’ suddenly advocate population control to protect the environment? That would be highly unlikely, considering that Pope Francis has time and again spoken against such things as abortion, euthanasia and curtailing the rights of people, which would all be means to the end of population control. Will Pope Francis speak against economic concerns as the driving force in our lives and actions? That seems almost certain, at least if these concerns plunge others in poverty and destroy their environment. Pope Francis’ chief concerns do not lie with western multinationals or millionaires, but with the poor and marginalised of the world. He is all for the common good, but not at the expense of others, or of the environment in which we all live. And that is also the Catholic attitude,and not without reason has Pope Francis said that Laudato Si’ will lie fully within the whole of Catholic social teaching.

In the end, it all boils down to the Creation stories of Genesis, in which we learn that man’s place in Creation is that of a steward. Yes, he can make use of what the world offers, but also has a duty to maintain it and not exploit or destroy it. Man is a part of Creation. He is not separate. If we destroy or exploit the world around us, we ultimately destroy ourselves. God has given us a world to live in and care for.

Are the concerns we hear against a major focus on the environment without any basis then? Not if our environmental concerns overshadow the care we must have for the people in our society and in other societies across the world. We must balance these concerns.

In the end, Laudato Si’ will be a document that needs to be read positively. It wants to invite us to act towards the betterment of ourselves and all of creation,not force us to stop and change what is good about our use of the environment.

*As an aside, this encyclical will be the first one since 1937 not to have an official Latin title. Encyclicals are titled after their opening words,which in this case happen to come from Saint Francis’ Caticle of the Sun,which was written in the Umbrian dialect of Italian. In 1937, Pope Pius XI wrote his encyclical Mit brennender Sorge in German, as it was directed against the Nazi dictatorship in Germany.

The Synod comes together

synod of bishopsYesterday, Pope Francis okay-ed another group of bishop members of the upcoming Synod of Bishops assembly of October. The group is about three quarters complete now, with a handful of bishops’ conferences still to elect their representatives. Pope Francis also still has to announce his personal selection of both lay experts and clergy, as well as ecumenical guests, but with a new working Synod document to be presented on Tuesday, the preparations continue apace. The full list of Synod members will most likely be available after the summer.

This is the list of members as it stands now (some names will appear more than once, as certain individuals will have more than one fucntion during the assembly):



  1. Pope Francis

Secretary General

  1. Lorenzo Cardinal Baldisseri

President Delegates

  1. Raymundo Damasceno Cardinal Assis, Archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil
  2. Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, Archbishop of Durban, South Africa
  3. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, Philippines
  4. André Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, France

Relator General

  1. Péter Cardinal Erdö, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary

Special Secretary

  1. Archbishop Bruno Forte, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Italy

Undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops

  1. Bishop Fabio Fabene

Members of the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops

  1. Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, United States of America
  2. péter erdöPéter Cardinal Erdö, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary (at right)
  3. Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation
  4. Archbishop Bruno Forte, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, Italy
  5. Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, India
  6. Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of Kinshasa, Congo-Kinshasa
  7. Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, Archbishop of Durban, South Africa
  8. George Cardinal Pell, President of the Secretariat for the Economy
  9. Odilo Pedro Cardinal Scherer, Archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil
  10. Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Wien, Austria
  11. Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine
  12. Bishop Santiago Jaime Silva Retamalas, Auxiliary Bishop of Valparaíso, Chile
  13. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, Philippines
  14. Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
  15. Donald William Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, United States of America

Heads of Dicasteries of the Roman Curia

  1. Angelo Cardinal Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
  2. João Cardinla Bráz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
  3. Domenico Cardinal Calcagno, President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See
  4. Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications
  5. Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
  6. Fernando Cardinal Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples
  7. fisichellaArchbishop Salvatore Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation (at right)
  8. Kurt Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
  9. Dominique Francois Joseph Cardinal Mamberti, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
  10. Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
  11. Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
  12. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family
  13. Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State
  14. George Cardinal Pell, President of the Secretariat for the Economy
  15. Mauro Cardinal Piacenza, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary
  16. Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
  17. rylkoStanislaw Cardinal Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (at right)
  18. Leonardo Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
  19. Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
  20. Beniamino Cardinal Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy
  21. Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
  22. Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
  23. Antonio Maria Cardinal Vegliò, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
  24. Giuseppe Cardinal Versaldi, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (for Educational Institutions)
  25. Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, President of the Pontifical Counil for Pastoral Assistance ot Health Care Workers

Heads of the Eastern Churches in Union with Rome

  1. George Cardinal Alencherry, Syro-Malabar Church
  2. babjakArchbishop Ján Babjak, Slovak Church (at right)
  3. Archbishop Peter Fülöp Kocsis, Hungarian Church
  4. Patriarch Gregorios III Laham, Greek-Melkite Church
  5. Lucian Cardinal Muresan, Romanian Church
  6. Béchara Pierre Cardinal Raï, Maronite Church
  7. Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako, Chaldean Church
  8. Patriarch Isaac Ibrahim Sedrak, Catholic Coptic Church
  9. Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Ukrainian Church
  10. Archbishop William Charles Skurla, Ruthenian Church
  11. Berhaneyesus Demerew Cardinal Souraphiel, Ethiopic Church
  12. Patriarch Nersès Bédros XIX Tarmouni, Armenian Church
  13. Archbishop Menghesteab Tesfamariam, Eritrean Church
  14. Baselios Cleemis Cardinal Thottunkal, Syro-Malankar Church
  15. Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan, Syrian Church

Prelates elected by the Bishops’ Conferences

  1. Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martínez, Bishop of Tehuacán, Mexico
  2. Bishop Francis Alleyne, Bishop of Georgetown, Guyana
  3. Bishop Antoine Nabil Andari, Auxiliary Bishop of Jebbeh-Sarba-Jounieh, Lebanon (Maronite)
  4. Archbishop José María Arancedo, Archbishop of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, Argentina
  5. Bishop Jude Ayodeji Arogundade, Bishop of Ondo, Nigeria
  6. Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza, Archbishop of Guayaquil, Ecuador
  7. Bishop_Joseph_Arshad_jpgSmallBishop Joseph Arshad, Bishop of Faisalabad, Pakistan (at right)
  8. Archbishop Joseph Atanga, Archbishop of Bertoua, Cameroon
  9. Audrys Juozas Cardinal Backis, Archbishop of Vilnius, Lithuania
  10. Angelo Cardinal Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genua, Italy
  11. Bishop Constantino Barrera Morales, Bishop of Sonsonate, El Salvador
  12. Bishop Gervais Bashimiyubusa, Bishop of Ngozi, Burundi
  13. Bishop Bernardo Miguel Bastres Florence, Bishop of Punta Arenas, Chile
  14. Bishop Krzysztof Janusz Bialasik Wawrowska, Bishop of Oruro, Bolivia
  15. Ricardo Cardinal Blázquez Perez, Archbishop of Valladolid, Spain
  16. Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, Archbishop of Yangon Myanmar
  17. bode_purpur_240Bishop Franz-Josef Hermann Bode, Bishop of Osnabrück, Germany (at right)
  18. Bishop Johan Jozef Bonny, Bishop of Antwerp, Belgium
  19. Bishop Anthony Fallag Borwah, Bishop of Gbargna, Liberia
  20. Bishop Franco Giulio Brambilla, Bishop of Novara, Italy
  21. Archbishop Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa
  22. Bishop Jean-Luc Brunin, Bishop of Le Havre, France
  23. Archbishop Paul Bùi Van Doc, Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  24. Archbishop Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, Archbishop of Trujillo, Peru
  25. Archbishop Luis Gerardo Cabrera Herrera, Archishop of Cuenca, Herrera
  26. Bishop Charles Allieu Matthew Campbell, Bishop of Bo, Sierra Leone
  27. Archbishop ChaputArchbishop Charles Joseph Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, United States of America (at right)
  28. Bishop Francisco Javier Chavolla Ramos, Bishop of Toluca, Mexico
  29. Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, Archbishop of Maputo, Mozambique
  30. Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, Archbishop of Suva, Fiji
  31. Archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge, Archbishop of Brisbane, Australia
  32. Thomas Christopher Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, Canada
  33. Bishop Henri Coudray, Vicar Apostolic of Mongo, Chad
  34. Archbishop Vincent Coulibaly, Archbishop of Conakry, Guinea
  35. Archbishop Sérgio Da Rocha, Archbishop of Brasília, Brazil
  36. Bishop Jonas Dembélé, Bishop of Kayes, Mali
  37. Bishop Tsegaye Keneni Derera, Vicar Apostolic of Soddo, Ethiopia
  38. Daniel Nicholas Cardinal Di Nardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston,United States of America
  39. Bishop Joseph Dinh Dùc Dao, Auxiliary Bishop of Xuan Loc, Vietnam
  40. Bishop Nicolas Djomo Lola, Bishop of Tshumbe, Congo-Kinshasa
  41. Archbishop Filipe Neri Antonio Sebastião Do Rosario Ferrão, Archbishop of Goa and Damão, India
  42. Bishop Peter John Haworth Doyle, Bishop of Northampton, England
  43. Bishop Charles Edward Drennan, Bishop of Palmerston North, New Zealand
  44. Archbishop Paul André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau, Canada
  45. Willem Jacobus Cardinal Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht, the Netherlands
  46. Bishop Benno Elbs, Bishop of Feldkirch, Austria
  47. ezzati andrelloRicardo Cardinal Ezzati Andrello, Archbishop of Santiago Chile (at right)
  48. Bishop Antonino Eugénio Fernandes Dias, Bishop of Portalegre-Castelo Branco, Portugal
  49. Bishop George Frendo, Auxiliary Bishop of Tiranë-Durrës, Albania
  50. Bishop Jaime Rafael Fuentes Martín, Bishop of Minas, Uruguay
  51. Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, Archbishop of Poznan, Poland
  52. Bishop Gilbert A. Garcera, Bishop of Daet, Philippines
  53. Archbishop Juan de la Caridad García Rodríguez, Archbishop of Camagüey, Cuba
  54. Bishop Petru Gherghel, Bishop of Iasi, Romania
  55. Archbishop José Horacio Gómez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, United States of America
  56. Archbishop Roberto Octavio González Nieves, Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico
  57. cardinal-oswald-gracias-1Oscar Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, India (at right)
  58. Bishop Mario Grech, Bishop of Gozo, Malta
  59. Archbishop Henryk Hoser, Bishop of Warszawa-Praga, Poland
  60. Bishop Eugène Cyrille Houndékon, Bishop of Abomey, Benin
  61. Bishop Daniel Eugene Hurley, Bishop of Darwin, Australia
  62. Bishop Mario Iceta Gavicagogeascoa, Bishop of Bilbao, Spain
  63. Archbishop Dominic Jala, Archbishop of Shillong, India
  64. Bishop Jean-Paul James, Bishop of Nantes, France
  65. Bishop Gheorghi Ivanov Jovcev, Bishop of Sofia-Plovdiv, Bulgaria
  66. Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt, Bishop of Palai (Syro-Malaberese), India
  67. Antoine-Kambanda3Bishop Antoine Kambanda, Bishop of Kibungo, Rwanda (at right)
  68. Bishop Peter Kang U-Il, Bishop of Cheju, South Korea
  69. Archbishop Samuel Kleda, Archbishop of Douala, Cameroon
  70. Archbishop Heiner Koch, Archbishop of Berlin, Germany
  71. Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, Archbishop of Minsk-Mohilev, Belarus
  72. Bishop Fransiskus Kopong Kung, Bishop of Larantuka, Indonesia
  73. Bishop Paul Ponen Kubi, Bishop of Mymensingh, Bangladesh
  74. Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, United States of America
  75. Bishop Mathieu Madega Labouakehan, Bishop of Mouila, Gabon
  76. Bishop Pedro María Laxague, Auxiliary Bishop of Bahia Blanca, Argentina
  77. Lee%20Keh-mienBishop John Baptist Lee Keh-Mien, Bishop of Hsinchu, Taiwan (at right)
  78. Archbishop Gerard Tlali Lerotholi, Archbishop of Maseru, Lesotho
  79. Bishop Jacques Danka Longa, Bishop of Kara, Togo
  80. Bishop Jean-Marie Lovey, Bishop of Sion, Switzerland
  81. Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha, Archbishop of Mariana, Brazil
  82. José Manuel Cardinal Macário do Nascimento Clemente, Patriach of Lisbon, Portugal
  83. Bishop Louis-Marie Ling Mangkhanekhoun, Vicar Apostolic of Paksé, Laos
  84. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, Ireland
  85. Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland
  86. Reinhard Cardinal Marx, Archbishop of München und Freising, Germany
  87. mokrzyckiArchbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, Archbishop of Lviv, Ukraine (at right)
  88. Bishop Zolile Peter Mpambani, Bishop of Kokstad, South Africa
  89. Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa, Archbishop of Blantyre, Malawi
  90. Archbishop Matthew Man-oso Ndagoso, Archbishop of Kaduna, Nigeria
  91. Archbishop Benjamin Ndiaye, Archbishop of Dakar, Senegal
  92. Bishop Tarcisius J.M. Ngalalekumtwa, Bishop of Iringa, Tanzania
  93. Bishop Urbain Ngassongo, Bishop of Gamboma, Congo-Brazzaville
  94. Vincent Gerard Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, England
  95. John Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya
  96. Bishop Renatus Leonard Nkwande, Bishop of Bunda, Tanzania
  97. archbishop-of-gulu-john-baptist-odama-5Archbishop John Baptist Odama, Archbishop of Gulu, Uganda (at right)
  98. Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of Madrid, Spain
  99. Archbishop Diego Rafael Padrón Sánchez, Archbishop of Cumaná, Venezuela
  100. Archbishop José S. Palma, Archbishop of Cebu, Philippines
  101. Archbishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle, Archbishop of Accra, Ghana
  102. Bishop Franhiskos Papamanolis, Bishop emeritus of Syros, Greece
  103. Bishop Yves-Marie Péan, Bishop of Les Gonaïves, Haiti
  104. Bishop Gregorio Nicanor Peña Rodríguez, Bishop of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia en Higüey, Dominican Republic
  105. Bishop Harold Anthony Perera, Bishop of Kurunegala, Sri Lanka
  106. Archbishop Toash Bernard Peta, Archbishop of Maria Santissimi in Astana, Kazakhstan
  107. DOM-JOÃO-C_-PETRINIBishop João Carlos Petrini, Bishop of Camaçari, Brazil (at right)
  108. Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, Archbishop of Madre de Dio a Mosca, Russia
  109. Bishop Benjamin Phiri, Auxiliary Bishop of Chipata, Zambia
  110. Bishop Maurice Piat, Bishop of Port-Louis, Mauritius
  111. Archbishop Salvador Piñeiro García-Calderón, Archbishop of Ayacucho, Peru
  112. Mario Aurelio Cardinal Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina
  113. Bishop Philipp Pöllitzer, Bishop of Keetmanshoop, Namibia
  114. Bishop Selvister Ponnumuthan, Bishop of Punalur, India
  115. Archbishop Georges Pontier, Archbishop of Marseille, France
  116. Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico City, Mexico
  117. robles ortegaFrancisco Cardinal Robles Ortega, Archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico (at right)
  118. Bishop Braulio Sáez García, Auxiliary Bishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
  119. Bishop Pablo Emiro Salas Anteliz, Bishop of Armenia, Colombia
  120. Rubén Cardinal Salazar Gómez, Archbishop of Bogotá, Colombia
  121. Bishop Aníbal Saldaña Santamaría, Prelate of Bocas del Toro, Panama
  122. Bishop Joseph Sama, Bishop of Nouna, Burkina Faso
  123. Odilo Pedro Cardinal Scherer, Archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil
  124. Angelo Cardinal Scola, Archbishop of Milan, Italy
  125. Bishop Noel Simard, Bishop of Valleyfield, Canada
  126. Archbishop Richard William Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, Canada
  127. Bishop Luis Solé, Bishop of Trujillo, Honduras
  128. Bishop Enrico Solmi, Bishop of Parma, Italy
  129. Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, Archbishop of Jakarta, Indonesia
  130. Bishop Emílio Sumbelelo, Bishop of Uíje, Angola
  131. Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, Archbishop of Nagasaki, Japan
  132. Bishop Antoine Tarabay, Bishop of Saint Maron of Sydney, Australia (Maronite)
  133. Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Archbishop of Glasgow, Scotland
  134. Bishop Philibert Tembo Nlandu, Bishop of Budjala, Congo-Kinshasa
  135. Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, Archbishop of Trichur (Syro-Malaberese), India
  136. Bishop Désiré Tsarahazana, Bishop of Toamasina, Madagascar
  137. Mgr-Twal-Je-demande-a-la-France-d-avoir-un-role-plus-politique_article_popinPatriarch Fouad Twal, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Israel (at right)
  138. Bishop José Francisco Ulloa Rojas, Bishop of Cartago, Costa Rica
  139. Bishop Camillus Raymond Umoh, Bishop of Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria
  140. Archbishop Óscar Urbina Ortega, Archbishop of Villavicencio, Colombia
  141. Jorge Liberato Cardinal Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela
  142. Bishop Rodolfo Valenzuela Núñez, Bishop of Vera Paz, Guatemala
  143. Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, Archbishop of Davao, Philippines
  144. Bishop András Veres, Bishop of Szombathely, Hungary
  145. Bishop Jean-Paul Vesco, Bishop of Oran, Algeria
  146. André Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Archbisop of Paris, France
  147. Bishop César Bosco Vivas Robelo, Bishop of León, Nicaragua
  148. Bishop Jan Vokál, Bishop of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
  149. Bishop Tomo Vuksic, Military Ordinary of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  150. Bishop James Maria Wainaina Kungu, Bishop of Muranga, Kenya
  151. Bishop Jan Franciszek Watroba, Bishop of Rzeszów, Poland
  152. Archbishop John Wong Soo Kau, Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
  153. Bishop Cyr-Nestor Yapaupa, Bishop of Alindao, Central African Republic
  154. Archbishop Lévon Boghos Zékiyan, Archbishop of Istanbul of the Armenians
  155. Archbishop Stane Zore, Archbishop of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  156. Bishop Valter Zupan, Bishop emeritus of Krk, Croatia
  157. stanislav_zvolensky_TASRArchbishop Stanislav Zvolensky, Archbishop of Bratislava, Slovakia (at right)
  158. Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa, Bishop of Kiyinda-Mityana, Uganda

Superiors General

  1. Father Mario Aldegani, Congregation of Saint Joseph
  2. Father Javier Álvarez-Ossorio, Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Picpus Fathers)
  3. Father Richard Kuuai Baawobr, Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers)
  4. Father Michael Brehl, Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists)
  5. Father Bruno Cadoré, Order of Preachers (Dominicans)
  6. Father Jesús Diaz Alonso, Sons of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
  7. Father Hervé Janson, Little Brothers of Jesus
  8. Father Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
  9. 1115_schroeder_012Abbot Jeremias Schröder, Archabbot of the Benedictine Congregation of Sankt Ottilien (at right)
  10. Father Marco Tasca, Friars Minor Conventual

The fight against abuse – more than words and politics

global_nienstedtThose that were wondering if Pope Francis’ actions against sexual abuse in the Church would be limited to establishing tribunals and commissions are likely to change their minds today. After Bishop Robert Finn, two more American bishops saw their resignation accepted, resignations they tendered for failing to protect children under their ultimate responsibility. Archbishop John Nienstedt (pictured) and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis were removed from office one week after new criminal proceedings were launched against the archdiocese. Neither bishop is himself guilty of abuse, it must be stressed, but they are investigated for their actions after a priest of the archdiocese, now laicised, was arrested and convicted for sexual abuse. He now serves a prison term.

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis will be administred by Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Coadjutor Archbishop of Newark, and the sole remaining auxiliary bishop, Msgr. Andrew Cozzens, who was appointed in 2013, well after the abuse case that resulted in today’s resignations.

Also today, the Holy See announced a starting date of the process against Mr. Józef Wesolowski, former archbishop and Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic, who has been charged with sexual abuse of minors while in Santo Domingo and the possession of child porn when he had returned to Rome in 2013. He had his priestly faculties and titles removed in 2014, and the expectation that he will be convicted in the face of overwhelming evidence.

It appears that Pope Francis is not waiting for the establishment of the tribunal which can charge bishops with negligence in the face of abuse, but is removing bishops who have failed. We can’t know if the resignation of Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Piché was the result of their own deliberations or a response to the advice of others. Pope Francis, however, has been clear that bishops must be critical of themselves and take their responsibilities for their actions or inactions when faced with painful and difficult abuse cases.

As a citizen of Vatican City, Mr. Wesolowski can be tried in that country (in close cooperation with the Dominican Republic authorities), while Archbishop Nienstedt and Bishop Piché will likely remain under investigation by American authorities as part of the larger investigation into the conduct of the archdiocese.

“A defeat for humanity”? The wisdom of the cardinal’s words

parolinCardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, has commented on the Irish referendum which resulted in a major vote in favour of same-sex marriage, and called it a “defeat for humanity”. Was that the wise thing to say?

The Irish vote was certainly a defeat for the Christian argument, if such simplistic wording can be properly used in this context. Seen from the Catholic position, the very nature of marriage is being redefined, changing its essential role in building healthy societies. It is being downgraded to a mere legal acknowledgement that two people love each other and want to be together, with no eye for their duties towards society and future generations (duties that are also increasingly being forgotten in marriages in general, it must be said). The complementarity of man and woman, which finds its ultimate expression in marriage, is deemed unimportant enough to deny it its defining place within the concept of marriage. In essence, it is being said that marriage need not have all the defining characteristics in order to be marriage.

As hinted above, same-sex marriages can have worthy elements that we also find in true marriage, such as love and responsibility, but it lacks other elements: the openness to new life as a product of the (physical and emotional) love of the spouses, and the ability for full complementary love which flows forth from their identities as man and woman (more than just a physical characteristic).

Many critics will say that many heterosexual marriages are equally closed to life and fullfilment, and they are right. Married partners have an obligation to love and take care of each other and raise their children in that same love and care, and when they refuse that, for whatever reason, marriage becomes a mockery of itself, denied to be what it is called to be.

The wisdom of the phrase “a defeat for humanity” can be debated. I am not too keen on getting overly dramatic about every setback, but as humanity consists of men and women who are called to find fullfillment in each other and so contribute to humanity as a whole (marriage, after all, is not only for the spouses), I can understand the sentiment expressed by the cardinal.

Is it wise, then, to use these words in the public debate? I don’t think so. While Cardinal Parolin can’t be faulted for being clear, his words are so easily distorted, misunderstood, taken out of context and presented as nothing but a blunt attack. Cardinal Parolin is right in disagreeing with the vote, but I have already seen his words being used to contrast the cardinal with Pope Francis, who has also been quoted and understood out of context on this subject more than once. The cardinal also stated that the result of the referendum must be an invitation for the Church to do more in the field of evangelisation, and that is certainly necessary. In order for the Church to be understood, she must make herself understood. Headlines have their use, but not when they don’t invite to further reading. Any discussion about marriage must either presume knowledge about Catholic doctrine, or explain it.

In this debate, I think that one element is being forgotten: holding on to the traditional definition of marriage is not in any way an invitation to discriminate. When it comes to equal rights in work, income, finances, housing and other opporunities, sexual orientation can be no reason to deny people anything. Even when two people of the same sex decide to share their lives, we should support their equality. We may not agree with it, but it’s  really not our place to refuse basic social rights and opportunities. But society as a whole, as well as children, also have their rights and opportunties. Marriage, however, is more than rights and opportunities. It is the God-given way in which men and women find each other and themselves and in which children receive the home and basis they need to be raised in.

In the end, any debate on topics like this must be based on reason, as it has strong emotional connotations for many. We must acknowledge and understand the emotion, but also know that emotion alone won’t lead to an understanding, a solution or willingness to learn and grow.