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Christmas eve mass from St. Peter’s Basilica

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On Christmas Eve Pope Francis leads the church in celebrating the birth of Christ with Mass at The Vatican. S+L brings you full coverage with English commentary.

Wednesday, Dec 24 3:30 pm ET / 12:30pm PT

Vatican Connections: December 19, 2014

Eight people were appointed to the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors this week, including an abuse survivor. With the appointments the commission is now fully formed and set to begin working in early February.

The new members come from different parts of the world and have expertise in some aspect related to sexual abuse. One of the new members, Peters Saunders, is an abuse survivor and the founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC). He was also one of six abuse survivors who met with Pope Francis in July.

Here are more details on the new committee members:

Father Luis Manuel ALI HERRERA is the Director of the Department of Psychology and a professor of pastoral psychology in the Conciliar Seminary of the Archdiocese of Bogotá, Colombia. He also serves as a parish priest.

Dr. Gabriel DY-LIACCO is an adult and adolescent psychotherapist in the Philippines. He is also a pastoral counselor for individuals, couples, families and groups with various mental health concerns. Dr. Dy Liacco has worked with both victims and perpetrators of abuse.

Bill KILGALLON is Director of the National Office for Professional Standards of the Catholic Church in New Zealand. He moved to New Zealand four years ago after a long career in social work and health services in the United Kingdom.

Sr. Kayula Gertrude LESA, RSC works at the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection in Zambia. She is the author of books on child protection, human trafficking, refugee rights and the right to information. She served as a member of the African Forum for Church Social Teaching (AFCAST).

Sr. Hermenegild MAKORO, CPS is the secretary general of the South African Bishops conference. She is a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood in the Diocese of Mathatha.

Kathleen McCORMACK has served as Director of Welfare of CatholicCare in the Diocese of Wollongong, Australia for 29 years. CatholicCare helps diocese provide social services to people in need. McCormack held leadership roles in Family Services, Child Protection, Out Of Home Care and Ageing and Disability Services.

Peter SAUNDERS was abused throughout his childhood in Wimbledon, South West London.   Saunders eventually discovered that he was one of millions who had suffered such abuse and who could not find any appropriate support. He set up the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, to help support survivors and to help develop greater resources for responding to child abuse.

Dr. Krysten WINTER-GREEN is a New Zealander living in the United States. She has with post-graduate degrees in Theology, Human Development, Social Work, Religion and Pastoral Psychology. Winter-Green served as Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley’s chancellor when he was bishop of St. Thomas in the American Virgin Islands, and she also worked for him in Fall River and Boston. According to the biographical information provided by the Vatican she has done extensive work in the area of forensics, assessment and treatment of priest and clergy offenders.”

The commission will meet at the Vatican in early February.

Vatican Reacts to US-Cuba Rapprochement – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis and Cardinal Parolin react to the United States and Cuba re-establishing the diplomatic relations and a look ahead at Salt + Light’s Christmas schedule.

Final Report on US Women Religious Released – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, the Vatican releases the Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States.

Cardinal Reveals Newly Discovered Funds at the Vatican – Perspectives Daily

Today on Perspectives, Cardinal George Pell reveals that hundreds of millions of euros have been found at the Vatican and CNS looks at an art exhibit on Mary in Washington, DC.

Vatican Connections: November 28, 2014

Three priests and a layperson where arrested in Spain after Pope Francis encouraged an abuse victim to take his case to authorities.

The victim, a 24 year old, male,  Opus Dei supernumerary, wrote to Pope Francis after hearing the pontiff statements about zero tolerance for abusers and people who cover up abuse. Upon reading the letter Pope Francis called the man, apologized for the abuse and told him “tomorrow you go to the bishop.”

Pope Francis followed up on that conversation by writing directly to the Archbishop of Granada, instructing him to begin an investigation into the priests named by the victim.

In a statement posted on the archdiocese’s website, the Archbishop of Granada “scrupulously followed” church law and opened a canonical investigation into the allegations. The three priests in question were also immediately removed from ministry.

The archdiocese’s statement also says once the victim took his allegations to police the archdiocese agreed to comply with the police investigation. According to the archdiocese, it could not forward the matter to police on behalf of the victim because the victim is now an adult. As such the victim was only person entitled to take the matter to police.

Spanish media have reported that the pope called the victim a second time, encouraging him to go to police. The Vatican has not confirmed that this second phone call occurred.

As a result of the police investigation into the allegations, three priests and one layperson were arrested. The lay person was religion teacher. That person’s teaching authorization has since been removed by the Archdiocese of Granada.

The Spanish newspaper ABC reported that at least one more victim has come forward to police with allegations of abuse related to the priests in question.

Pope Francis was asked about the case during a press conference on Tuesday that was held while he was flying back to Rome from Strasbourg. The pope said he received the news of the allegations “with great pain” adding “but the truth is the truth and we cannot hide it.”

Chicago’s New Archbishop Installed – Perspectives Daily

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Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis’ weekly general audience and Archbishop Blase Cupich is installed as the Archbishop of Chicago.

Vatican Connections: October 31, 2014

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Things are returning to a normal pace at the Vatican after the end of the extraordinary synod. Pope Francis kept a full schedule this week, which included his daily masses, a meeting with members of popular movements from around the world (non-religious movements that advocate for worker’s rights, indigenous land rights, fair wages, and access to housing) and he unveiled a bronze bust of a his predecessor. At that unveiling he also said the so-called “big bang theory” is not incompatible with faith. This sparked a media frenzy, quickly quelled when Catholic scholars pointed out that it was indeed a Catholic priest who first developed the big bang theory.

Another memorable quote was delivered during the pope’s talk to the members of popular movements. He said “we see with sadness that [these three things] are increasingly unattainable for most people: land, roof, and work. It’s strange but when I talk about these things, some people feel the pope is communist.” Pope Francis went on to say that these three things are actually at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine. This leads to an interesting point: how many people actually know what is in the Church’s social doctrine? For those who are curious, the compendium of social doctrine of the Church can be found here.

Other notable events this week: a new batch of consultors have been named to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

 

Pope Francis Calls on the World to end Ebola – Perspectives Daily

Pope Francis leaves at the end of his Oct. 29 general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. The pope pleaded for the international community to take stronger coordinated steps to "annihilate" the Ebola virus. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters) See POPE-EBOLA and POPE-AUDIENCE Oct. 29, 2014.

Today on Perspectives, Pope Francis’ weekly general audience where he asks the world to come together to irradiate Ebola and the CCCB releases a new document on ecumenism.

Tragedy in Ottawa – Perspectives Daily

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Today on Perspectives, tragedy strikes Canada’s capital of Ottawa, Pope Francis holds his weekly general audience and the feast of St. John Paul II.