“In this Lenten season,” he said, “let us contemplate devoutly the image of the Crucified Lord: it is the symbol of the Christian faith; it is the symbol of Jesus, who died and rose for us. Let us make sure that the Cross marks the stages of our Lenten journey, that we might understand more and more the gravity of sin and the value of the sacrifice, with which the Redeemer has saved us – all of us.”In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the president of the Canadian Bishops' Conference - Bishop Crosby, called the government's new overseas policy on abortion "a reprehensible example of Western cultural imperialism." In a separate letter to Trudeau, Cardinal Collins of Toronto expressed "deep concern and disappointment" and called it "arrogant for powerful, wealthy nations to dictate what priorities developing countries should embrace." Both Cardinal Collins and Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, were responding to an announcement last week that the Canadian government will invest $650 million over 3 years to provide abortion and other services in the developing world. Bishop Crosby said the Trudeau's policy and vision "are contrary to the fundamental ethic" of protecting the weak and vulnerable. This policy, he writes, “is in conflict with the principles shared by the majority of the world's population and consistently upheld by the Catholic Church: to defend and protect human life from conception to natural death. The Trudeau policy is in sharp contrast to that of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. His government implemented a five-year, $3.5 billion foreign aid program to support maternal and child health that explicitly excluded abortion-related services The Vatican released the program for the Pope’s one-day visit to Milan next Saturday. The Pope will depart from Rome at 7:10am to arrive in Milan by 8am, where he goes directly to Forlanini quarter to visit with Islamic and immigrant families in their apartments. At 10am the Pope will meet with priests and consecrated persons in the Duomo followed by Angelus prayer and blessing at 11. At 11:30 He’ll visit the San Vittore Prison and have lunch with detainees then will be transferred by car to Monza Park at 1:45 for Mass at 3:00pm. After Mass, THe Pope will move on to the Meazza-San Siro di Milano Stadium for a 5:30pm gathering with recently confirmed youth. The Pope will depart back for Rome at 16:30. We will be broadcasting some of these events so please check out online schedule, for details and times. Here in Canada, Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Daniel Miehm as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Peterborough succeeding Bishop McGrattan, who was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary. At the time of his appointment, Bishop Miehm was Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton. Born in Kitchener, Ontario, Bishop Miehm was ordained priest for the Diocese of Hamilton in May 1989, and named Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton in February 2013. Bishop Miehm has lots of friends here at S+L so we wish him all the very best as he ministers to his new diocese. And finally today, the Vatican's doctrinal chief dismisses accusations that some Vatican officials are resisting recommendations for protecting children and vulnerable adults from clergy sex abuse. Cardinal Muller responds to complaints made by Marie Collins, who resigned her post on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors on March 1, citing what she described as resistance coming from Vatican offices against implementing recommendations.
"I think this cliche must be put to an end: the idea that the pope, who wants the reform, is on one side and, on the other, a group of resisters who want to block it," said Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.While acknowledging that personal care of victims is important, Cardinal Muller said Collins' accusations "are based on a misunderstanding" and that bishops and religious superiors "who are closer" to victims of clergy sex abuse are charged with their pastoral care. And that is all that we have for time for today. Be sure to join us tomorrow at 7pm Eastern for a new episode of Perspectives Daily. Thank you for joining us.