20 Notes & Comments

posted Apr 16, 2019, 8:25 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 8:25 AM ]

Cardinal Gracias mounts strong defence of 'zero tolerance' on abuse

Inés San Martín, Crux

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who was one of four figures tapped to organise a recent summit on the fight against clerical sexual abuse, says Catholic parents have the right to know the Church is genuinely committed to "zero tolerance". The comment takes on special significance in the wake of the Feb. 21-24 summit, where reservations about "zero tolerance" were heard from senior churchmen from the developing world, and where the Pope himself didn't use the phrase.

Some observers detected a creeping redefinition of "zero tolerance" away from what it's come to mean in the United States and certain other parts of the world, which is near-certain expulsion from the priesthood for abusing a minor, to permanent removal from ministry, but not necessarily the priesthood.

Asked what "zero tolerance" means to him, Cardinal Gracias said, "It means that I will not condone any case [of abuse of a minor]. Saying sorry doesn't make it better. Zero tolerance means that I know that I cannot expose any children to the risk of a person who's committed a crime of this nature." Cardinal Gracias also said it's time the Catholic Church is "at the forefront" of child protection. "I think sometimes we're distracted defending what we've done, [but] we have to repair the system so that children are safe," he told Crux. "Every parish, every school, every church-run facility must be a place where parents know their children are safe," he said. "Unfortunately, in the past, this wasn't always true."

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Pope Francis: Embrace the Cross; trust God will triumph

Cindy Wooden, CNS

Acclaimed by the crowds and knowing He was the Messiah they sought, Jesus still chose the path of humility and self-emptying, focused only on doing God's will, Pope Francis said on Palm Sunday. "There is no negotiating with the Cross; one either embraces it or rejects it," the Pope told tens of thousands of people gathered in St Peter's Square April 14 to commemorate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and the beginning of His Passion.

Processing to the obelisk in the centre of the square, dozens of young people carried palm branches taller than they were; bishops, cardinals and the Pope carried "palmurelli" (woven palms), and all the pilgrims in the square were given olive branches donated by an Italian association of olive oil producers. After blessing the palms and listening to the Gospel reading of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, the young people, bishops, cardinals and Pope processed to the steps of St Peter's Basilica for the main part of the Mass, which included the reading of the Passion.


AHLC decries High Court ruling on Abortion


A ruling by the High Court of Bombay that clears the path for eugenics is causing a stir. Issued on April 4, the decision allows a doctor to perform an abortion after 20 weeks, without asking the court's permission, if it is meant to save the life of the mother. The judges also ruled that abortion is allowed in case of malformation of the foetus.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Ninette Lobo, director of the Archdiocesan Human Life Committee (AHLC), said that "Human life is sacred. It is a gift of God, from conception to natural death."

In India, the law states that it is possible to have an abortion up to the 20th week of pregnancy, in case of physical and mental illness of the unborn child. However, selective abortions have been performed in recent years, especially to get rid of female foetuses, deemed a burden in many families.