First Sunday of Advent – Vatican News

Advent has two functions, that of remembering Jesus’ first coming, that of Emmanuel, God with us, and that of preparing us for his definitive coming, which will be at the end of time, to Parusia!

Father César Augusto, SJ – Vatican News

The Grace of God blesses us with a new journey through the liturgical year, where we will be able to receive graces on graces, further deepening our journey towards the establishment of the Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Justice, Love and Peace. As if walking on a spiral , we will pass over the same mysteries again, but in a deeper way than at other times and experiencing the Lord’s action in our time.

We start with Advent, which has two functions, that of remembering Jesus’ first coming, that of Emmanuel, God with us, and that of preparing for his definitive coming, which will be at the end of time, to Parusia!

The first reading, taken from Isaiah 63.16 – 17.19; 64, 2 – 7, reports a prayer in which the faithful complain to God of their own mistakes as a consequence of the absence of His grace. If God had not departed from him, he would continue to fear the Lord. And he goes on to say that with the presence of the Lord, the difficulties dissipate, the joy is present and the human being does not become a hostage to evil, He concludes by saying that we are clay and He, our potter, we are all works of his hands. What a beautiful prayer to start the Time of the Advent, in which we declare that without the presence of the Lord we are killed, we do not do good, we have no joy, we sin! Do we feel that way and want to start all over again, letting the Lord be our Guide, our Light, our Father? This is the right moment to lead us to holiness, that is, brotherhood, to the recognition that we are children of the same Father. Psalm 80 (79) with its refrain “Make your face shine, and we will be saved!” it presents us with exactly the opposite attitude to Adam and Eve, who, after sin, fled the face of God (Gen 3: 8-10).

The Gospel, Mc 13, 33-37, speaks of watching. We must be attentive, always! The Lord is apparently absent, but we know that He is omnipresent. Therefore, his apparent absence should not allow us to have an attitude of relaxation, but he suggests that we always remain alert, not tense, but alert. We know that the Lord is our friend and wants our good; it will not bring us an unpleasant surprise, but its arrival, already announced, should lead us to a constant attitude of attentive expectation, because our savior, our redeemer, will arrive at any time and we want to be awake to welcome you! How good it is to love and feel loved!

When we expect a loved one, we embellish people and home; the streets are decorated, everything breathes satisfaction, everything expresses joy! Our indigenous people adorned the place where the visit would land and decorated the way to the hollow where they would stay. Songs and dances were part of the “etiquette” of receiving. How will our Advent this year be? The pandemic cannot be an excuse to relax. Following the health protocols, which should not be forgotten, we will be able to demonstrate our joy in receiving the Lord, who is already present in the poor, the small, the marginalized, the suffering, everywhere! More, wanting to please the Lord, let us act more like Mary than like Marta, be attentive to his words directed to our hearts and, not so much with practical things, concerned with ornaments, gifts and suppers, unless it is to satisfy the needs of the needy and destitute. It is necessary to watch! The Lord will arrive during the darkness, caused by the lack of light, health, freedom, mental confusion, in the reign of lies, oppression, during some slavery, etc.

What are the signs of dawn in my life? In my family, in my friends, in my work, in my faith?

The second reading, taken from I Cor 1,3-9, speaks of the lucidity and positivity of that exemplary community, but that from verse 10 onwards, Paul will call attention not to be partisans, but united. So always attentive, always alert, even in moments where we are grateful to God for His action in us, in our community.


Switzerland: priest hid a woman for 12 years – deprivation of liberty? – News abroad

Did he keep her prisoner and let her be neglected?

In Ticino, Switzerland, an 80-year-old Catholic priest apparently hid a woman for twelve years in the apartment of his curia in Lugano. It is unclear whether the woman ever went outside during this time.

The 48-year-old is a Finnish woman, but she did not have complete papers, as the Swiss “Blick” reports. Twelve years ago, she and the theologian Azzolino C. had secretly moved into the house at the Church of San Lorenzo in Lugano.

While Azzolino C. – at that time dean and vicar general – went to mass every day and to the office of his faculty, the woman must have been trapped in the apartment. Because nobody wants to have known anything, write several Ticino newspapers. And that, although other priests lived in the two-story house.

Electricians were not allowed into the house

It was only in the past few weeks that Azzolino C. began to behave strangely. The electrical system in the entire house was supposed to be replaced, but the electricians repeatedly rang the doorbell in vain. When all the deadlines passed, the electric company turned off the electricity in the apartment for security reasons and alerted the authorities.

With civil officials who observed the house and researched in the neighborhood, a serious suspicion arose. Did the retired clergyman hold a woman prisoner?

When the police finally struck on Friday and entered the apartment, a disgusting smell hit them: Everything was full of garbage, parcels were piled in the corridor and, according to information, there was a woman in the middle of the chaos – dirty and neglected.

Azzolino C. was taken away and the woman taken to a protected facility. According to the “Blick”, the old man was interrogated for hours, but then released on Monday evening, according to the Ticino cantonal police. Azzolino C. are accused of deprivation of liberty, coercion, bodily harm and improper omission.

A sexton told the “Corriere del Ticino” that he did not believe that the clergyman had used physical violence: “The Don is indeed vigorous and can drive a car himself, but he is very petite and small in stature”.

The investigation is in full swing.


Jihadists destroy historic Catholic mission in Cabo Delgado | Cabo Delgado

The Nangololo mission, in Muidumbe, was occupied for 20 days by the jihadists

Attacked, occupied and destroyed. The historic Catholic mission of Nangololo, the second oldest in the diocese of Pemba, located in Muidumbe, in the province of Cabo Delgado, bears the marks of occupation by the jihadists who for more than three years have maintained a violent conflict in northern Mozambique.


This is how churches in Rhineland-Palatinate plan their consecration services – SWR Aktuell

Rising numbers of corona cases, new contact restrictions, Christmas markets are being canceled – it is already clear that the festival will look different this year. The churches are already preparing for it.

Sitting together with the family on Christmas Eve, giving presents under the Christmas tree and going to Christmas mass in the evening – this tradition still exists in many families today, regardless of the role played by faith. “These are expectations that have existed since childhood,” says Pastor Andreas Rummel, press spokesman for the Evangelical Church in the Palatinate. Therefore, despite Corona, he reckons that many people will want to attend church on the holidays this year. To meet this request, the planning is already in full swing.

A focus will be placed on outdoor worship, Rummel said. In Miesau, for example, there should be a forest service together with the Catholic community. This is not an isolated incident. Everywhere in Rhineland-Palatinate, the two large churches are planning ecumenical services and events. They stand together, they say from the Palatinate.

More services with fewer visitors on Christmas Eve

Outdoor trade fairs are also planned in Pirmasens. Alternatively, there are congregations that offer various stations where the believers can stop for a moment so that not too many people stay in one place for a long period of time. But the online offer, which has been expanded since the beginning of the year, is also offered on the holidays, says Rummel.

“We don’t want to send anyone home because there aren’t enough seats.”

Parish Maria Schutz, Kaiserslautern

The offers are being increased all over the country. The diocese of Speyer, for example, is increasing church services throughout the area. Instead of one day nursery and one Christmas mass, there will be two celebrations and three masses in the cathedral. In the parish of Maria Schutz in Kaiserslautern, the nativity scenes are replaced by short church services. The pastor there wants to react spontaneously to the number of visitors. “If the worshipers flock, further services will take place outdoors or at 4 pm at short notice. We don’t want to send anyone home because there is not enough space.”

Celebrations in football stadiums are becoming less likely

At the Evangelical Church of Hesse and Nassau (EKHN), some parishes have been planning the Christmas season since summer. “From the celebration in the football stadium by far to the To Go nativity scene through the town to the almost classic streaming church service in the Corona crisis, there are many imaginative ideas here,” says press spokesman Volker Rahn. However, the situation has worsened again due to the increasing corona numbers.

The celebrations in the streets and squares desired by Church President Volker Jung are becoming less likely. The trend is towards small, short celebrations “non-stop” with very few visitors, according to Rahn.

The diocese of Mainz is more cautious. From there it says: Exact plans could not yet be named, “because nobody in the diocese of Mainz can foresee the current corona developments either. The diocese drives here on sight – like everyone else”.

The message remains the same: do not be afraid

The Evangelical Church in the Rhineland takes a theological approach to Christmas during the corona pandemic. From there it says: The message is the same: “Do not be afraid.” Corona does not change the fact that it is Christmas, the angels come to the shepherds at Christmas, for whom things are not going well either. “This message also applies to 2020. Behind all of this there is still a God who holds the world in his hands.” For this purpose, devotions to take away are designed, telephone devotions are offered and newspaper supplements are designed.

Snow-covered willow church at the Kaiserslautern garden show, many people with umbrellas are standing in front of it.

Horticultural show in Kaiserslautern

Fear of the ban on worship

In all the efforts to find alternatives, however, there are already setbacks. It is said of the Protestant Church in the Palatinate that the Weidenkirche on the Kaiserberg, which takes place every year, was not approved this year. A church service on the Betzenberg was also rejected on the grounds that no spectators were allowed to watch football there.

So far, however, no person responsible has wanted to really think about one scenario: A possible ban on worship if the corona numbers continue to rise sharply. “That would be the GAU”, they say from the Palatinate. It was already noticed at Easter that people were being left alone, but Christmas was another number. Volker Rahn from EKHN also speaks of a GAU. “That would be a religious catastrophe.”


Archbishop Stefan Heße lets office in the ZdK rest – politics

The cover-up allegations against Hamburg’s Archbishop Stefan Heße in connection with cases of sexual violence are now having initial personal consequences: Heße is leaving his position as clergyman assistant to the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK). He was not taking part in the general assembly beginning on Friday and would “pause”, said Heße according to participants on Thursday evening at an extraordinary online meeting of the ZdK.

The pressure on the archbishop had recently increased enormously within the ZdK: the working group of Catholic organizations in Germany (AGKOD), which has a large number of members, had previously asked Heße to rest his office. AGKOD represents 125 Catholic organizations. According to ZdK members, Heße is also said to have addressed the handling of cases of abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne, where he was previously head of personnel and later vicar general, at the extraordinary meeting. “That is where my name comes up, of course, because I was responsible for a number of years,” participants quote. He regrets that this earlier activity and the debate is now burdening his service as spiritual assistant to the ZdK. It is very important to him that sexual abuse be dealt with. “Only the truth sets free and the truth also sets me free,” said Heße. He for himself expressly rules out any cover-up.

“Grateful for his courage”

According to the participants, ZdK President Thomas Sternberger said that he was “grateful to Heße for his courage”. He also announced a resolution by the ZdK on the subject of sexual violence, which is to be passed at the general assembly on Friday and Saturday. Sternberg’s words and the draft of the Presidium for the resolution were discussed controversially, it was said from ZdK circles. The text should be revised that night.

There are allegations against Heße from his time in Cologne: At that time he is said to have not responded appropriately to allegations against priests, he denies that. On Thursday quoted the time– Supplement “Christ und Welt” also contains a special report on the case of Pastor A., ​​who was convicted twice for the sexual abuse of children and was still used in pastoral care.

The special report of the Munich law firm Westpfahl, Spilker, Wastl accuses the former Cologne cardinals Joseph Höffner and Joachim Meisner of “improper conduct” in the case of Pastor A. Pastor A. is now 87 years old, he worked in the dioceses of Cologne and Münster and from 2002 in the diocese of Essen. “I have blamed myself,” said Essens Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck time. When he found out about the case in early 2010 shortly after taking office, he did not have the personnel file come to him. “Otherwise I might have seen the dimension of the case.” Cardinal Woelki described the dealings with Pastor A. as a “decade-long string of serious mistakes”. Its repeated use in pastoral care – also under Woelki’s predecessor Joachim Meisner – was “absolutely irresponsible”, he said on Thursday to the Cologne church internet portal Responsible persons would have to be “found out and named”.

The Munich chancellery that prepared the special report on Pastor A. had also written a comprehensive report on cases of abuse throughout the archdiocese. However, this must remain under lock and key on the instructions of the Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, he justifies this with methodological deficiencies and personal rights.

The Archdiocese of Cologne switched off the university community’s website

The Archdiocese of Cologne also dealt with other questions on Wednesday: According to a report by Cologne city scoreboard the Archdiocese temporarily shut down the website of the Catholic University Community of Cologne (KHG). The reason is a position paper in which the KHG criticizes, among other things, the appearance of church officials as “unbearable” and calls for a consistent treatment of abusers.

The Archdiocese announced that it was interested in a critical discussion, but that no objective dialogue was possible on the basis of this paper. The KHG employees were threatened with consequences under labor law. The page was accessible again on Thursday, but without a position paper. But that can still be found: The Evangelical University Community has published it under a solidarity link.


Catholic Church: Allegations of Abuse Report – Politics

The Archdiocese of Cologne commissioned an independent investigation into sexualised violence, then prevented its publication. Former members of the Advisory Board agreed – under pressure as they say today.

Interview by

Matthias Drobinski and Annette Zoch

It was to be the first independent study of sexual violence that also examines the actions of church leaders. This is what Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the Archbishop of Cologne, announced. The Munich law firm Westpfahl, Spilker, Wastl was commissioned. But after some back and forth, Woelki announced on October 30: The report would not be published. It is defective and violates personal rights. The representation of those affected by abuse in the archdiocese agreed. But apparently the advisory board was taken by surprise and put under pressure. Today his former spokesmen Patrick Bauer and Karl Haucke raise serious allegations.


Stamsried near Cham: Mesner urgently wanted – Bavaria

There is a safe job available in Cham that nobody wants to do. Candidates who applied at the first attempt backed out at the last moment.

Who knows, maybe the story with the devil in the church tower got around in the area. With legends and anecdotes from the community of Stamsried in the district of Cham, Johann Oswald, who died in the spring and known as “Macherl-Schouster”, thrilled people. The Bavarian Forest Echo regularly printed these traditional treasures. One of the stories is about the sacristan who wants to ring the evening bells and hears voices in the tower: “One for me, one for you!” He reports to the pastor that up there, Lord God and the devil divided the souls of the community among themselves, probably those of the two men of the church. In truth, it was two apple thieves who had stolen in the parish garden and were examining their prey. Without the punch line, of course, the sacristan’s job doesn’t seem desirable.

Is that the reason for the current malaise in the parish Sankt Jakob in Cham? A sacristan is urgently needed there, reference to the Catholic Church and skill in caretaker duties are necessary. You shouldn’t be scared and superstitious when looking at the legend of the Macherl-Schouster. In the end, that is no longer the reason, since the problem of missing sextons is complained across Bavaria.

For the second time the pastor of Cham has advertised the position. Candidates applied at the first attempt – but withdrew at the last moment. The salary played a role. If you ask around in Bavaria, you will find out that applicants often do not like working on Sundays and public holidays either, and there is generally no real idea of ​​what the job is. A Swabian parish announced: “Many are not aware of what it means to be a sacristan.” Only after inquiries does it become clear what this entails: from the preparation of the church services to the care of acolytes to handicrafts and janitorial services.

In Cham they are now taking an offensive approach, the advertisement even mentions the pastor’s cell phone number. There would still be targeted headhunting among the municipal workforce. The example of Roding, also in the Cham district, gives hope: At the beginning of the year, a young street attendant from the city started as a sacristan.


“Dear Saint John Paul II, you have done this, now get it done” | Catholic church

During his pontificate of 27 years, Pope John Paul II canonized so many people that some dubbed the Vatican the “factory of saints”. Now, the legacy of the Polish Pope himself is overshadowed and some Catholics question whether declaring him a saint in 2014, just nine years after his death, was not a hasty decision.

Last week, the Vatican released its report on the destitute Theodore McCarrick, a star of the United States Catholic Church who was expelled from the priesthood last year after an internal investigation found him guilty of sexual abuse by minors and adults and Power abuse.

The report showed that John Paul II promoted McCarrick to the archbishop of Washington DC in 2000, despite persistent rumors about his sexual misconduct, with the Pope believing the words of the prelate, who denied the accusations, and rejecting the advice of several senior Church officials who advised him not to do so.

The report rekindled a debate between John Paul II’s defenders and detractors who accompanied his canonization – an official acknowledgment that a person lived and died so exemplarily that he is with God in heaven and is worthy of worship, or worship, within of the Church. “Saints are human beings and saints, in their humanity, can be deceived,” wrote papal biographer George Weigel.

The head of the Polish Bishops’ Conference said that McCarrick “cynically cheated” John Paul II, but not all Poles agreed. In Warsaw, someone pasted a paper on the João Paulo II Avenue sign with the text “Victims of João Paulo II Avenue In the United States, the influential newspaper National Catholic Reporter he urged the bishops to “suppress the cult” of the Pope.

This would mean that, although John Paul II continued to be considered a saint, schools or churches should not have his name and devotional activities should be private. “It is time for a difficult reckoning. This man … undermined the testimony of the global Church, destroyed his credibility as an institution and set a deplorable example for bishops by ignoring reports of victims of abuse, ”the newspaper said in an editorial.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said he had no comment. O McCarrick Report he considered that John Paul II’s willingness to believe in the then cardinal’s denial was probably influenced by his experience in Poland, where the Communist Government used false accusations to weaken the Church.

Proponents of John Paul II offered the same explanation to counter claims that the Pope turned a blind eye to Father Marcial Maciel, the Mexican founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious order, who was the most notorious sexual abuser in the Church.

“The problems that have arisen because of the way John Paul II treated McCarrick prove that it is a mistake to be hasty in someone’s canonization,” said Father Tom Reese, an analyst at the independent organization Religion News Service. “I oppose the canonization of popes because they generally have more to do with Church policy than with holiness,” he said. “Saints must be role models. How can anyone follow the model of a pope, unless he is a pope? ”

John Paul II canonized almost 500 saints, compared with 300 in the previous 600 years.

The Pope changed an earlier rule of the process that leads to canonization, known as “cause”, which said that the process cannot begin until 50 years after the death of a person. John Paul II reduced the period to five years and allowed for immediate exceptions. When Pope Benedict XVI was chosen in 2005, he renounced the rule, allowing John Paul II’s “cause” to begin a few weeks after his death.

Catholic author Dawn Eden Goldstein wrote on Twitter that the McCarrick Report he did not change his belief that John Paul II was a saint, but he did change the way he addresses his prayers to him: “Now I say: dear Saint John Paul II, you put an end to this, now get it done”.


Sexual abuse in the church: confession of guilt (

The Aachen Cathedral. In the Catholic diocese of Aachen, an expert opinion on the sexual abuse of minors by clergymen of the diocese will be presented on Thursday at a public online press conference.

Photo: Marius Becker / dpa

“We’re looking” – this is how the Catholic diocese of Aachen announced the presentation of an expert report on sexual abuse. Those responsible promised unsparing clarification and an openness to admit mistakes in dealing with perpetrators and victims. It is the first time nationwide that such an independent report has been published. It was created by the Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl.

The diocese encouraged the general public to take note of the investigation and broadcast the presentation live on the Internet on Thursday; the incidents are extremely unpleasant for the diocese. The law firm identified a total of 175 victims of sexual violence perpetrated by clergymen and employees of the diocese for the period from 1965 to 2019. Often these were children between the ages of eight and 14. In several cases, priests were convicted. After they had served their sentences, however, they were reinstated in communities, where some of them had sexually abused children again. Bishop Helmut This stated that he wanted to take responsibility for these deeds. Their reappraisal should help “energetically put a stop to sexualized violence in our diocese,” he said.

According to the experts, the fact that the leadership of the diocese has long found it difficult to admit its own guilt and that it was even possible to repeat offenses had “systemic causes” above all. Priests could have become perpetrators because they have a quasi unassailable position as “mediator between God and man”. In addition, there is a problematic relationship to sexuality in the Catholic Church. The law firm believes that several former bishops share personal responsibility, including Klaus Hemmerle (1929-1994) and Heinrich Mussinghoff. The latter was at the head of the diocese until 2015.

The Archdiocese of Cologne commissioned the chancellery to conduct a similar investigation. There she should assess whether and how the responsible persons deal with incidents of sexual violence in accordance with the Catholic self-image. The Munich lawyers worked on the investigation for two years, sifting through all the available files. But there was no publication. Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki canceled the presentation in October. The law firm “repeatedly failed because of its promise to achieve a comprehensive review of the events and personal responsibilities in the form of a legally secure and reliable report,” the reasoning said.

But it can be doubted that the lawyers actually did not do their job. Rather, there is speculation about whether a power struggle has broken out within the diocese and whether those who do not advocate a relentless enlightenment have drawn Cardinal Woelki to their side. In February he was open to coming to terms with it. At the time he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that he might have commissioned his own indictment.

The Aachen diocese, on the other hand, stuck to its position. It has set up a hotline for the victims and assured them of support.