Quick Links to Stories

Mass Appeal for Protestant Ministers

Abuse Cases Shake Faith in Pope's Birthplace

After Abuse Scandals, it's Time for a Clearout of Ireland's Church

A Church Without Moral Authority

The Vatican Bank Scandal

Traditional Sex Scandals

Paisley Visits Tomb of the Liberator

Remember 1641

1,000 Non-Catholic Rejections by PSNI

Vatican Bank - 'Investigated over Money-Laundering'

When Ian and Martin Prayed

Attack on Orange Hall Every Five Days

Australia Priest Jailed for Child Sex Attacks

Appeal to Scots Catholics over Papal Visit Debt

Mass to Beatify the 19th Century Cardinal John Henry Newman

Australia's Traditional Anglicans Vote to Convert to Catholicism

Five Anglican Bishops Join Catholic Church

Increase Your Knowledge of Truth

Statement Of Policy

Literature and Tape Catalogue

Midnight Oil Books

MASS APPEAL FOR PROTESTANT MINISTERS

Presbyterian Minister Rev.Patricia McBride and Church of Ireland Cleric, Rev.Peter Thornbury are pictured alongside the Roman Catholic Bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey at the newly refurbished St. Patrick's church, in Loughbrickland where a dedication mass was celebrated by Bishop McAreavey.

McAreavey's other exploits. In 2004 a team from CMS Ireland which included the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin and R.C. Bishop McAreavey spent a week in Cairo meeting religious and civic leaders, drawing comparisons between the initiatives for dialogue and reconciliation in Ireland and the need for reconciliation and dialogue in the Middle East. They were in Egypt as the guests of the Bishop of Egypt, Dr Anis, and were accompanied by the President of CMS Ireland, Rev Professor Mollan, the general secretary of CMS Ireland, Canon Cecil Wilson, and Rev Patrick Comerford, who co-ordinated CMS Ireland's programme on Muslim-Christian dialogue. The seminar was attended by more than 100 delegates from the Islamic and Christian communities and was held to promote the message that Christians and Muslims share a common task of working for peace and reconciliation in the world.

Church of Ireland Archbishop Neill said that throughout the turbulent years of strife and violence in Ireland, the churches had grown closer together, sharing common ideals in the areas of justice, human rights and peace, sharing pastoral care for people in inter-church marriages, and speaking up for each others better interests.

Bishop McAreavey said the experience of Northern Ireland had taught him that when people of faith listened to each other and heard each other's stories, they realised that their hope for the future could always overcome the hurt and divisions of the past.

"It is necessary for salvation for every human being to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

(Decree of Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unum Sanctum)

"And what agreement hath the Temple of God with idols?" - II Corinthians 6:16

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ABUSE CASES SHAKE FAITH IN POPE'S BIRTHPLACE

If there is one place you would expect Pope Benedict to receive strong support, it is in Traunstein. He grew up in this picture postcard town in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps and he is Traunstein's most famous son.

In the town centre, groups of tourists have their photographs taken next to Benedict's bust. There is even a "Benedict Trail"
which passes by some of the landmarks associated with Joseph Ratzinger.

The election of a German Pope was a source of pride, not only for German Catholics but for the whole country. But attitudes have changed. The Catholic Church has been plunged into a renewed crisis over how it has dealt with child abuse after it emerged that the Pope's brother, Georg Ratzinger, ran a renowned choir at the centre of some of the latest claims.
Reports of systematic historical abuse by clergy have surfaced at three schools in the Regensburg diocese in Bavaria. One of them is the much-heralded Regensburger Dornspatzen, a thousand-year-old male choir and boarding school, whose
choral master for 30 years was the Pope's older brother, Georg.

The child sex abuse scandal battering the Catholic Church has led to accusations that Pope Benedict himself covered up cases of abuse.

Even in Traunstein, there is growing disappointment with the Pope. "We were proud to have a German Pope," one woman
said, "but that pride has gone; now people are leaving the Church."

So far, over 300 cases of physical and sexual abuse by priests have been reported in Germany, stretching back to the 1950s and involving Catholic boarding schools, monasteries and the famous boys' choir in Regensburg. Composer Franz Wittenbrink was a member of the Regensburg choir between 1958 and 1967. Franz told about the abuse he suffered.

He told how trainee priests - prefects at the boarding school - had a system of "semi-sexual" punishment. "We had to take
our trousers down and we were beaten with a stick. There were three prefects (trainee priests) who used their hands to slap naked bottoms. We had to go to their private apartments for beatings."

Other choirboys were sexually abused by the director of the boarding school. "He picked boys out and they had to go to his apartment. He gave them red wine and talked about life. And then they were forced to commit sexual acts."

"No one from my class told their parents what was happening," says Franz. I asked him whether it was possible that, as
archbishop of Munich in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Joseph Ratzinger was unaware of the scale of abuse in the church. "I think Joseph Ratzinger had to know it," believes Franz. "I cannot imagine he didn't know. I think at this time the Church tried to sweep it under the carpet. They didn't want anyone to speak badly about the Church."

"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work" - II Thessalonians 2:7

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AFTER ABUSE SCANDALS, IT'S TIME FOR A CLEAROUT OF IRELAND'S CHURCH

Dr Murray was one of many in the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland who was aware that paedophiles were using their
priestly robes as camouflage to abuse children.

For comment on the resignation of Donal Murray and the probable departure of some of his peers, all excoriated in the report into sexual abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese, look no farther than the Irish philosopher and statesman Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Rather than taking the right actions, the Murphy report concluded, there was a conspiracy to protect the image of the
Church, engaged in moving these dangerous perverts to fresh pastures where they were free to prey upon youngsters and
rape again.

In his resignation announcement, read out during Mass in Limerick in his last act as bishop, Dr Murray said he was
standing down "because I believe that my presence will create difficulties for some of the survivors".

The absence of an acceptance of responsibility for his role in the evil committed over decades suggests that there is still a
long journey for the Catholic hierarchy to take, if its efforts to rebuild its moral authority in Ireland are to be successful.

The public welcomed the resignation - which came on a day when another man of the cloth went on national radio to defend
his decision to give a character reference to a nightclub bouncer sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for sexually
assaulting a woman. The priest also joined some 50 of the sex offender's well-wishers in shaking his hand in court, while his victim sat just a few feet away.

It is reasonable to assume by this stage that the Irish have reached a level of astonishment bordering on horror at the behaviour of an institution that once policed the country's moral values with a rod of iron - but whose own moral compass is
now perceived to have lost its North. Renewal will come only through a wholesale clearout of all those associated with an
era of arrogance and infamy, characterised by the perception that the wearing of a priest's collar puts you above the law.

Whether an accused or an accuser, allegations in the Roman Catholic Church are subject to internal investigations based
on church Canon Law that denies due process and openness. Clerical abuse victims have criticised the Irish Catholic primate Brady after he apologised for his role in mishandling the case of a serial child abuser. As a priest in 1975 Cardinal Sean Brady was at meetings where children signed vows of silence over complaints against paedophile priest Fr. Brendan Smyth.

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A CHURCH WITHOUT MORAL AUTHORITY

Pope Benedict XVI, a central figure in the Vatican for years before he ascended to the papal seat, has personally been made aware of the many scandals blighting the church. But an analysis of the organisation's handling of controversies suggests we should seriously doubt the former Cardinal Ratzinger's Vatican bona fides when it comes to addressing the current clerical sex abuse scandal with any real degree of openness and transparency.

Like his Irish colleague Donal Murray, Cardinal Bernard Law famously and belatedly "fell on his crozier" in December 2002.
Law had engaged in a major cover-up of child sexual abuse in the Boston diocese. But both men are far from alone among
the senior Vatican hierarchy in being forced to resign, either due to their failure to prevent abuse, or engaging in abuse
themselves. The roll call of resignations over abuse allegations in the us that year alone included Bishop of Lexington,
Kendrick Williams, Bishop of Palm Beach, Anthony O'Connell (an Irishman) and Bishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee.
A report published in 2004 found that 10,600 children bad been abused by priests in the US since 1950. Canadian Bishop
Raymond Lahey resigned after his arrest for distributing and selling child pornography. Yet still the scandals emerge. Recently it was reported in the US that the Roman Catholic diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, quietly paid over $20,000 each to two alleged victims who claimed they were abused as teenagers by two priests. In exchange for the payments, the
men agreed not to sue the diocese or the two monsignors, neither of whom have left their posts following the allegations.
The approach of the church to such matters is contained in a statement, issued by Archbishop Silvano Tornasi. the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN. This argued that the majority of Catholic clergy who committed sex abuse were not paedophiles, but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males. As a result, it said it would be "more correct" to speak of ephebophilia. a homosexual attraction to adolescent males, than paedophilia.

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THE VATICAN BANK SCANDAL

When the body of 62-year-old Roberto Calvi was found hanging from London's Blackfriars bridge in June 1982, his pockets
filled with stones and cash, it was to generate a huge financial scandal which reached the highest echelons of the secretive Vatican. The death of the man known as "God's banker" due to his role as chairman of the private bank, Banco Ambrosiano. followed his disappearance in decidedly murky circumstances from Italy one week earlier. It soon emerged
that the Vatican Bank, known as the Institute for Works of Religion, was an influential shareholder in Banco Ambrosiano,
which had debts of around $1.5bn when it folded. An investigation eventually implicated the hugely influential Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, an American born prelate who was head of the Vatican bank from 1971 to 1989. Calvi himself was known to be personally friendly with Marcinkus, and the bank's missing money turned out to have been loaned to 10 offshore companies controlled by the Vatican bank and Marcinkus. The church later paid about $250m to creditors as a "goodwill" payment, but declined to concede wrongdoing while admitting "recognition of moral involvement".

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TRADITIONAL SEX SCANDALS

The case of Bishop Eamonn Casey

At the time, it was the greatest scandal ever to hit the Catholic Church in Ireland. When it emerged in 1992 that then Bishop of Galway Eamonn Casey had fathered a son, the church came under unprecedented media scrutiny, and a deeper questioning of its role as a moral guardian. But viewed almost 20 years on his sins appear less serious when compared with the far more damaging accusations levelled against clerical sex abusers. Casey and his fellow clergy member, the "singing priest" Fr Michael Cleary, played a prominent role in the triumphant visit of Pope John Paul to Ireland. But both brought 'shame' on the church with the revelations of their distinctly uncelibate behaviour. In truth, Casey adopted an approach to Annie Murphy's pregnancy which was thoroughly orthodox in its approach. Rather than have to deal with censure from the Vatican, he put his former intimate under pressure to avoid scandal by having the child adopted. His approach in seeking to pay 'hush money' to Murphy, and subsequently repaying more than £70,000 which he had siphoned from Galway diocese funds to support his family, bore all the hallmarks of the secretive approach to such matters amid the Catholic hierarchy.

Defiance in accepting personal failings speaks louder than any bishop's words. Perhaps it was too much to expect that in his resignation speech, the former bishop of Limerick Donal Murray would finally accept his personal failings as so meticulously highlighted in the Murphy report. Yet the manner of Murray's leaving - some 16 days after he claims to have decided to resign - spoke volumes about the way the church here continues to do its business. His resignation speech was read out to massgoers and gathered clergy at St John's Cathedral in Limerick:

"I have heard the views of many survivors, especially in the days following the publication of the Murphy report. Some expressed the wish that I should resign. I asked the Holy Father to allow me to resign .. because I believe that my presence will create difficulties for some of the survivors ..."

His statement is notable for its thoroughly predictable expressions of apology - but not culpability. In his repeated attempts
to downplay his role in the shameful cover-up of abuse during his time as an auxiliary bishop in Dublin, Murray continued to portray an unerring confidence in his own actions and abilities. This is despite the Murphy report's stark criticism of his
"inexcusable" failure to reinvestigate the actions of paedophile priest Fr Thomas Naughton, who was coincidentally jailed for
a second time for child sexual abuse.

The most telling aspect of the bishops' responses to the Murphy report is the attitude of justification bordering on outright defiance which the other four bishops named in the report - Eamonn Walsh, Raymond Field, Martin Drennan and James Moriarty have displayed in the weeks since the report itself was published. None appears willing to accept what abuse survivors have so eloquently argued: by their failure to act, they are in their own way just as culpable as others who actively covered up abuse. The problem lies not just in what they did, but also in what they did not do to prevent child rape and molestation. Yet Walsh knows just as well as others that Murphy's report examined only the handling of allegations made against a sample of 46 priests out of 102 against whom complaints were made between 1975 and 2004. Given this, it is by no means beyond the bounds of possibility that he, and indeed others who were not criticised in the report itself (never mind the sections which were omitted on foot of a High Court order) may well have had further questions to answer if its remit had been more extensive.

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PAISLEY VISITS TOMB OF THE LIBERATOR

Nothing could encapsulate the extent to which the erstwhile arch-villain of Northern Irish republican politics, Reverend Ian Paisley, has changed his tune than his visit to Dublin.

For a start, it was low-key. There was no protest or controversy. He visited the Dail, took his seat in the visitors' gallery and, when the antics of TDs got too much, he strolled across to the Seanad. There was hearty applause. And a standing ovation from deputies Ruairi Quinn, Sean
Power and Thomas Byrne. Later he took a tour around the parliament he so often railed against. Part of the visit included being taken to Government Buildings for a courtesy call.

In the Chamber, the biggest welcome of all came from Sinn Fein's Dail leader Caoimhghin 0 Caolain. The Cavan-Monaghan deputy said there was so much fun among the TDs, the reverend might reconsider the joys of a united Ireland. "He might think, I missed such craic down there." But Dr
Paisley laughed as hard as anybody else there.

And all political parties were keen to open their arms. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny joined those in welcoming Dr Paisley and his wife, Eileen. The only obvious sign something special was happening was the fact former taoiseach Bertie Ahern turned up for work. Since his resignation Mr Ahern has been a very rare visitor to Leinster House, sparing his cameos for big budget days and vital votes. Dr Paisley looked on as the daily Oireachtas prayer was read out. Senator Cecilia Keaveney also come to shake his hand.

Former Stormont First Minister Ian Paisley inside the Tomb of the 19th century leader Daniel O'Connell, who was known as the Liberator, at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. He was accompanied by the former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
Like a phoenix from the sack cloth and ashes, Dr Paisley's crossing of the threshold was another barrier broken. Mr Ahern and a beaming Mr Paisley later toured Glasnevin Cemetery, home to many of Ireland's patriots, visiting among others the crypt of The Liberator, Daniel O'Connell.

IRISH NATIONALISM

O'Connell was called the Liberator because of his efforts to bring about the emancipation of Roman Catholics and to give them the vote. He campaigned to abolish the Act of Union; of course in those days the great Presbyterian Dr. Henry Cooke confronted O'Connell when he brought his Nationalist agenda to Belfast; this is in stark contrast to the actions of Presbyterian minister Rev. Patricia McBride mentioned on the cover of this edition, pictured at a dedication mass.

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REMEMBER 1641

In the dim, atmospheric light of Trinity College's majestic Long Room, a child of the Ardoyne and a big man from Ballymena
greeted one another warmly amid glass cases of old documents.

The meeting of President Mary McAleese and Rev Ian Paisley, now Lord Bannside, might be unremarkable except for the
voices that reached over the centuries from those documents, telling stories of such barbarity in October 1641.

There was a sense of ease as Lord Bannside listened along with his wife, his son Kyle and daughter Sharon, to President
McAleese as she put it, "facts and truth had been casualties along the way in the wildly divergent accounts in both the
Catholic and Protestant historical narratives, of the events of 1641. And the distillation of skewed perceptions over generations have contributed to a situation where both sides were confounding mysteries to one another."

She said there was "everything to be gained from interrogating the past calmly and coherently, in order to understand each other's passions more comprehensively ... to help us transcend those baleful forces of history so that we can make a new history of good neighbourliness ... "

Lord Bannside, occasionally fading almost to inaudibility, also focused on what the exhibition could teach us. " .... These troubles were not borne by one social class, or another, or by one gender or another. They were not limited by age, nor limited by religious belief. To learn this story, I believe, is to know who we are, why we have had to witness our own trouble, and why we live in a divided island ... May we really learn what this exhibition can really teach us."

He graciously thanked those who had invited him to the event. He asked God's blessing of everyone in the room, adding, "and in the words of Lord Carson, who was a great man - he was well known to Trinity and to this city - what did he say? He said God save Ulster", to a room that erupted in clapping and laughter. "I would be willing now to just stretch a bit harder and I would like to say God save Ulster and the three other .. . eh ... [laughter] parts of this island."

Send for our new DVD production "Remember 1641" - £5.00 inc. p&p from:-

Open Bible Ministries, PO Box 92, Belfast, BT5 7SA, Northern Ireland

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1,000 NON-CATHOLIC REJECTIONS BY PSNI

Even though the budding police officers passed all the stringent tests, they were turned down on grounds of their religious
denomination, under the 50/50 requirement. The figures show for the first time the impact of 50/50 which has been operating since 2001, and stipulates that half of all new recruits must be Catholic.

A Freedom of Information reply also shows that no Catholic candidate was rejected under 50/50. This meant that all Catholics who had made the merit pool, and passed all the assessment tests, had been offered jobs; police confirmed that
this was the case to date.

The data, which covers all 14 application drives since 50/50 was introduced, shows that 945 non-Catholic applications have been rejected due to 50/50 - which means they have met the merit pool but not been admitted. During that time, 3,549
police officers were recruited, of whom 1,796 were Catholic and 1,753 non-Catholic. Joe Stewart, the PSNI's director of
human resources, explained that 50/50 in effect meant that "if no Catholics apply or pass the merit thresholds we do not
appoint anyone at all".

But SDLP MLA Alex Attwood said the party would use the consultation to oppose the ending of 50/50. "I regret that 50/50
is going, I wanted a balance which would mean over 40 per cent Catholic representation in the PSNI."
Recent reports suggest that 50/50 may end in the spring of 2011.

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VATICAN BANK - 'INVESTIGATED OVER MONEY-LAUNDERING'

The head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, is under investigation as part of a money-laundering inquiry. Prosecutors also seized £19m from the bank's accounts. The inquiry was launched after two suspicious transactions were reported to tax police in Rome. The Vatican said it was "perplexed and astonished", and expressed full confidence in Mr Tedeschi. The Vatican Bank, known officially as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), was created during World War II to administer accounts held by religious orders, cardinals, bishops and priests.

Rome magistrates are looking into claims that Mr Gotti Tedeschi and the bank's chief executive Paolo Cipriani violated laws that require banks to disclose information on financial operations.

The BBC's David Willey in Rome says the Bank of Italy's financial intelligence unit tipped off Italy's tax police, after two
suspicious transactions were reported between the Vatican Bank and two different Italian banks.

In a statement, the Vatican strongly defended its record. "The Holy See is perplexed and astonished by the initiatives of the Rome prosecutors," the statement said. And the Vatican also gave its backing to the two officials under investigation.

"The Holy See wants to express the maximum confidence in the president and in the chief executive of the IOR," it said.

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WHEN IAN AND MARTIN PRAYED

Ian Paisley has spoken for the first time about praying in private with Martin McGuinness while they served together as joint heads of the Northern Ireland Executive. Dr Paisley made his comments in a public interview at Queen's University. He said: "Martin McGuinness took some risks. For a Sinn Fein leader to call other Republicans traitors when there was the shooting of the two Army men, I mean that was a very tough thing to say... We got on well together because we had a good foundation, and as long as we kept to that foundation all was well ... There were some individual matters that he had, home matters of people being ill and his mother being ill, and we prayed together. Well, I did the praying and he did the listening, but he wanted me to do it... "

"I offered prayer for him, and I think that was the right thing to do, and I don't care what people say. I hope that I have the same heart that Christ had, a love for others who needed help at times of need."

I asked Ian Paisley about the irony of journalists writing stories, at the time, noting that he had failed to shake Martin
McGuinness's hand in public, while they were praying together in private. Dr Paisley said he has never been impressed
by staged handshakes in public
.

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ATTACK ON ORANGE HALL EVERY FIVE DAYS

Figures released by the PSNI show there were over 70 attacks on Orange halls in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months.
Rasharkin suffered 10 separate attacks with two other halls being targeted on four occasions. The Orange Order said the
statistics which show there had been an attack on a hall every five days, were part of a sustained campaign against its members and the Protestant culture.

Ulster Unionist peer Lord Laird had requested the information and says he is "disgusted" by the scale of the problem he describes as "fascist attacks carried out by ignorant people". Lord Laird has appealed for those responsible to rethink their actions and said:

"If people would just stop attacking the halls and take the time to find out more about the Orange Order, then I don't think we would have these problems. We seem to be living in a society where people can't live and let live which is very sad indeed."

Halls have been attacked right across the Province, but Dunloy in County Antrim and Clifton Street in Belfast have suffered
more than most with four attacks each. The Unionist peer believes the number of incidents is rising and sees no cause for optimism.

"If you look at the figures then the situation is definitely getting worse. When you consider there were 73 separate attacks right across Northern Ireland, then you realise this is a serious problem that needs stamped out. Whilst I call on anyone with influence to help end what is nothing short of fascism, I would also call on people not to be drawn into retaliation," he added.

Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said he "wasn't surprised" by the figures.

"In the last two weeks alone, I am aware of two more serious incidents at Orange Halls in Co Londonderry and Co Fermanagh," said Mr Nelson. "This has been a sustained campaign of vandalism right across the Province, with very obvious sectarian overtones, and the police must record all these attacks as the hate crimes, which they are. Any information must be passed to police directly," the Grand Secretary added.

Commenting on the attacks, a police spokesperson said:

"The PSNI condemns attacks and criminal damage on all property irrespective of where it occurs or which community is the victim. We are aware of the concerns expressed by the Orange Order and others and want to assure them that we view these attacks seriously. Each incident is robustly investigated and all available evidence is obtained with a view to making any identified perpetrators accountable through the criminal justice system."

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AUSTRALIA PRIEST JAILED FOR CHILD SEX ATTACKS

A Catholic priest in Australia has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in jail for sex attacks on 25 children over nearly two
decades.

John Sidney Denharn. 67, pleaded guilty to a range of charges relating to attacks on boys at schools in New South Wales between 1968 and 1986. The judge said his actions "contributed to a culture of fear and depravity". Denham apologised to the victims and their families, saying he saw himself as a "mere scumbag paedophile".

He was sentenced to 19 years and 10 months in jail for crimes including sexual acts and indecent assaults against boys aged between five and 16 years old. He was ordered to serve a minimum of 13 years and 10 months.

Judge Helen Syme spent nearly three hours summing up the charges against the priest. "The incident assaults involved
multiple children, often significant planning, were frequently sadistic and overall persistent, objectively serious, criminal
courses of conduct,"
she said. "The offender's actions contributed to a culture of fear and depravity, especially at the
school, which allowed these disturbing offences to occur and then remain unpunished for years."

The victims and their families welcomed the sentence, but said the Catholic Church should be held accountable for what went on.

"He was a horrendous man, really horrendous," one mother said. "It just all goes back on to the families - it's ruined families, siblings. It's disgusting, the hierarchy in the Catholic Church."

The abuse of children by Catholic priests has been a major issue in recent years as victims and relatives have sought justice. The victims' group Broken Rites Australia says it has received thousands of calls reporting abuse since opening its national telephone hotline in 1993 - and has helped to sentence more than 100 clergymen.

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APPEAL TO SCOTS CATHOLICS OVER PAPAL VISIT DEBT

Scottish Catholics are being asked to dig deep to cover an £800,000 debt incurred by the Pope's visit to Scotland. Collections are expected to be organised on both sides of the border as the Catholic Church aims to cut by April 2011 a multi-million- pound shortfall left by the state visit to the UK.

In Scotland it is estimated the church has so far raised just under half of the £1.4 million contribution it is making to the
£7m pastoral cost of the UK visit. It would take a £4.30 donation from each of the 185,600 regular weekly Mass attendees
in Scotland to cover the shortfall. Across the UK, the church debt is almost £4 million. Letters are expected to go out to
Scottish parishes appealing for increased efforts to raise the money needed to cover the cost.

The Government covered many of the costs of the four-day trip in September, which included over 50,000 pilgrims gathering
for Pope Benedict XVI's open-air mass at Bellahouston Park. It was hoped that a £20-a-head pilgrim contribution suggested
in Scotland for those attending the Mass would help cover the costs. Had Bellahouston Park's capacity of 100,000 been reached, up to £20 million could have been raised this way. Suggested donations for pilgrim pack admissions for those attending the prayer vigil in London's Hyde Park were cut from £10 to £5 a matter of weeks before the visit because of complaints.

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MASS TO BEATIFY THE 19th CENTURY CARDINAL JOHN HENRY NEWMAN

The open-air beatification Mass in Birmingham's Cofton Park was the centrepiece of Pope Benedict XVI's four-day UK visit.
Hundreds of priests, bishops and cardinals celebrated it. The service at which the process occurred, which was the culmination of the pope's four-day state visit, took place on a windswept and drizzly municipal park in south Birmingham.
Some 50,000 Catholics had travelled to the Midlands - far fewer than the organisers had originally hoped for. But it was not just Britons. Africans, Latin Americans, Filipinos, Indians and Irish co-religionists also came to wave their national flags,
Vatican pendants and tacky papal banners bearing the Pope's face, which had been sold to them by hucksters outside the
park. A reliquary containing Newman's relics was carried to the altar during the service, though only a lock of hair was discovered when the coffin was exhumed in 2008, preparatory to being reinterred at his old church, the Birmingham Oratory. In attendance was Jack Sullivan, a deacon from Massachusetts, whose recovery from a painful back condition has been accepted by the church as the first of two miracles achieved in Newman's name, which the Vatican will need if the Cardinal is finally to become a saint. Some experts insist Sullivan's recovery is medically quite explicable, but he insists it followed his prayers to Newman after watching a documentary about him.

That Benedict XVI oversaw the beatification demonstrates the esteem in which he held the man who founded the Oxford
Movement
to bring the Anglican Church back to its Catholic roots. Under the Pope's own rules, beatification is normally
performed by a senior Bishop from the diocese where the candidate for sainthood died. He said:

"I have been able to meet representatives of the many communities and cultures of British society. The diversity of modern Britain is a challenge."

He made the comments after the start of his state visit was marred when one of his aides, Cardinal WaIter Kasper, said arriving at Heathrow airport was like landing in a "Third World" country. But although the process towards his beatification
has been rigorous and arduous, Newman is not pronounced 'Blessed' as a result of the moral or intellectual courage he displayed in his conversion, or the worldwide influence he continues to exert as a theologian and scholar, or even the services he performed for the poor or in the founding of an oratory. He is beatified solely because some bloke in Massachusetts had a bad back and doesn't any more. Without this 'miracle', Pope Benedict would not be in Birmingham. And without another, the Blessed John Henry Newman cannot become a fully-fledged saint. This is the anti-reason hocus pocus which belies much of what His Holiness has said about the relationship between faith and reason. You would think that the life and teachings of Cardinal Newman might be sufficient alone to merit spiritual recognition and honour: and he could have done something a little more convincing than the quite unexceptional healing of a bad back - which is, statistically, the most common ailment in the UK. And speaking of the UK, you might also think that this most English of saints could at least have healed an Englishman. But it cannot be ignored that this beatification follows hard upon the 'personal ordinariate' invitation to Anglicans to swim the Tiber en masse, and Pope Benedict XVI will not want his papacy to pass into the annals of history without realising his religio-political objective of achieving Church unity, first between East and West, and then by absorbing the Church of England into the Church in England.

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AUSTRALIA'S TRADITIONAL ANGLICANS VOTE TO CONVERT TO CATHOLICISM

Traditionalist Anglicans in Australia have become the first to vote in favour of leaving their national church and converting to Roman Catholicism. Crossing over to Rome under the new scheme would give the group the chance to retain their Anglican
culture without sacrificing their beliefs. Forward in Faith Australia, part of the Anglo-Catholic group that also has members in Britain and America, is setting up a working party guided by a Catholic bishop to work out how its followers can cross over to Rome. It is believed to be the first group within the Anglican church to accept Pope Benedict XVI's unprecedented offer for disaffected members of the Communion to convert en masse while retaining parts of their spiritual heritage. The group unanimously voted to investigate setting up an Ordinariate - an ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Roman
Catholic Church - in Australia. It has formed a working group with the Catholic Bishop Peter Elliott, along with the breakaway TAC and the national church, ACA, to "set in train the processes necessary for establishing an Australian Ordinariate". Under the terms of the Vatican's offer, Anglicans who are disillusioned with the church's liberal direction will be allowed to enter into full communion with the Holy See. But they may be able to continue using their old prayer books and church services, and will come under the pastoral care of a new Bishop called an Ordinary.

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FIVE ANGLICAN BISHOPS JOIN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Under a Vatican scheme to provide a welcome for disaffected Anglicans, three serving Anglican Bishops and two retired Bishops are joining Catholicism. There have been splits among Anglicans over homosexuality and the ordination of women.

The serving bishops are the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Right Reverend Andrew Burnham; the Bishop of Richborough, the Right Reverend Keith Newton; and the Bishop of Fulham, the Right Reverend John Broadhurst. They will be joined by the former Bishop of Richborough, the Right Reverend Edwin Barnes, and the former Bishop of Ballarat in Australia, the Right Reverend David Silk.

The announcement that Bishop Burnham and Bishop Newton are joining the special section of the Roman Catholic Church set up for disgruntled Anglicans is not unexpected and is an important milestone in the development of the Pope's Anglican
sanctuary. Bishops Burnham, Newton and Broadhurst were all acting as so-called flying bishops - ministering to Church of England parishes where congregations voted not to allow a woman priest to preside at services. BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said the announcement was "no big surprise" as it was always likely that these particular
bishops' sympathies were with this "special section" of the Catholic Church called an ordinariate.

Bishop Broadhurst, the leader of the traditionalist and mainly Anglo-Catholic organisation "Forward in Faith", had earlier announced that he would convert to Rome. Around the same time, the congregation of St Peter's in Folkestone also became the first to begin the process of leaving to join the Roman Catholic Church. Christopher Knight, a theologian and member of Forward in Faith, said the grouping counted at least 800 Anglo-Catholic priests among its members and "the signs are that more priests will leave from the Anglo-Catholic wing and their churches will be seriously affected".

The Times religious affairs correspondent Ruth Gledhill told the BBC the announcement could prompt "hundreds, possibly thousands" of lay ministers to follow the bishops' example.

In a statement, the five Bishops said: "We have been dismayed, over the last 30 years, to see Anglicans and Catholics move further apart on some of the issues of the day." They said the Vatican's proposal was "both a generous response to various approaches to the Holy See for help and a bold, new ecumenical instrument in the search for the unity of Christians."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said: "I have with regret accepted the resignations of Bishops Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton who have decided that their future in Christian ministry lies in the new structures proposed by the Vatican. We wish them well in this next stage of their service to the Church."

What of the 39 Articles of the Anglican church? What a contrast between the actions of these five bishops and the five bishops burned by Rome. (see advertisement below)

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It is not the aim or intention of Rome Watch to incite hatred of Roman Catholics but rather, by use of International Press reports already carried in newspapers, to show the religious and political advances of the Papacy in the light of Bible Prophecy, which foretells an end-time World Religion, Government and Economy.

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