– Tej Francis


Church recognizes healing at Knock

(Independent Catholic News) The Catholic Church in Ireland has officially recognized the healing of a wheelchair-bound woman who completely recovered from MS during a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, 30 years ago. Marion Carroll later wrote about her experience in the book, ‘I Was Cured at Knock.’ On Sunday, Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam announced that the Church had confirmed the miracle, during a diocesan pilgrimage to the Knock shrine attended by Carroll.

Archbishop Neary said: “Joining with the Parish Priest, Father Richard Gibbons, I extend a CéadMíle Fáilte to Bishop Francis Duffy and all the pilgrims from the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, the baptised faithful, religious and priests and all pilgrims from elsewhere.

I reserve a very special welcome for Marion Carroll, her husband Jimmy and family. Thirty years ago on the occasion of this pilgrimage, Marion was healed here at Our Lady’s Shrine. Today the Church formally acknowledges that this healing does not admit of any medical explanation and joins in prayer, praise and thanksgiving to God.  In these situations the Church must always be very cautious. This is illustrated by the fact that thirty years have elapsed since this took place, during which time the examination by the Medical Bureau testifies that there is no medical explanation for this healing.


For Australian Catholics, it feels like 1st-century Rome

(Catholic Herald) On August 21, after nearly three months of deliberation, Victoria’s Court of Appeal handed down its decision to dismiss Cardinal George Pell’s appeal by a 2-1 vote, sending the 79-year-old back to a high security prison.  The verdict did not spark the same media euphoria as the sentencing in March, the celebrations marred perhaps by the conclusion of the dissenting judge, Justice Mark Weinberg, that the appeal should be upheld. The only criminal lawyer on the panel, Weinberg devoted 214 pages outlining why he believed the charges were “implausible”.

“Had the incident occurred in the way that the complainant alleged,” he wrote, “it seems to me highly unlikely that none of those many persons present would have seen what was happening, or reported it in some way.” Papers ranging from the quasi-conservative Australian to the aggressively secular The Age dwelt on Weinberg’s conclusions. Commentators from across the divide declared it a “difficult” day, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that the cardinal would be stripped of his Order of Australia.

In an interview with the radio station 3AW, Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne insisted that the cardinal was innocent and promised to provide him “pastoral and spiritual support” while in prison.  And what about the laity? Lay Catholics who hold similar convictions to Cardinal Pell feel as if they are operating under the Sword of Damocles. This is the largely unexpressed feeling of thousands of Catholics across the country. And it is not just Catholics. Christians following the case of sports superstar Israel Folau, who was sacked by Rugby Australia after quoting 1 Corinthians 6:9 on social media, sense that the public square is increasingly unwelcoming.

Over the last year, Parliament has received two bills seeking to remove completely the protection of religious freedom in law, despite promises in 2017 to review and reform religious protection. Now, after a Cabinet meeting on August 20, it seems that religious freedom will not be so much protected as tolerated by discrimination clauses. However, clauses can be removed, as shown on August 15, with Victoria being the latest state to remove clauses exempting Confessions from mandatory reporting. Now, priests in all states except Western Australia could be fined (or worse) for refusing to report abuse revealed in Confession. Cardinal Pell will appeal the decision to the High Court. But whatever happens many Australians will tell you they feel a bit like they are in 1st-century Rome.


Week of prayer for peace and justice announced by the Bishops, in a tense climate

(Agenzia Fides) The Bishops’ Conference of Nicaragua (CEN) has announced a week of prayer for the country with the motto “Justice and peace will kiss each other”; inspired by Psalm 85, which begins on September 8, feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, and will end on the 15th, coinciding with the national holidays, inviting us to pray to God for peace and justice.

Mgr. Jorge Solórzano Pérez, Bishop of Granada, announced that the week will begin with a solemn mass in every Cathedral of the country, on Sunday 8 September. Each diocese will then be able to organize the week according to its own realities, even if the Bishops suggest that for each day a well-defined group is to be involved: Sunday 8: children and catechists; Monday 9: farmers; Tuesday 10: clergy, religious and pastoral workers; Wednesday 11: lay movements; Thursday 12: families; Friday 13: penitential celebration for all; Saturday 14: the sick; Sunday 15: youth and prayer for the authorities.

In this way, reports Fides source, it will be possible to pray throughout the country for the issues that the country is currently experiencing, such as the struggle for justice, freedom, the democratic life of the country and for the persecuted and unjustly imprisoned .

The week of prayer for Nicaragua will take place in an increasingly hostile climate towards believers due to the systematic harassment of Ortega’s regime against churches, bishops and faithful who criticize the dictatorship. In a recent interview, Mgr. Juan Abelardo Mata, Bishop of Estelí and Secretary General of the Nicaraguan episcopate, admitted that the Catholic Church feels persecuted by the military forces of the government, as was seen in Masaya.

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