Pope Benedict’s decree puts Pius XII and John Paul II on path to sainthood
Pope Benedict has moved two of his predecessors, Pius XII, and John Paul II, closer to Roman Catholic sainthood.
John Paul II is credited with helping to end Communist rule in Europe, especially in his native Poland.
But the beatification process of Pius XII, who was Pope during the Second World War, has been a source of tension with some Jewish groups.
They have accused him of not doing enough to prevent the deaths of Jews during the Holocaust.
Jewish groups had asked the Pope to freeze the process that could lead to eventual sainthood for Pius until more Second World War archives could be studied.
But the Vatican has defended the wartime pontiff, saying he saved many Jews by having them hidden in religious institutions in Rome and abroad.
Pope Benedict approved a decree recognising Pius’ “heroic virtues” meaning that he will have the title “venerable”.
It puts him two steps away from eventual sainthood – he must first be beatified and then canonised.
Pope Benedict has also approved the “heroic virtues” decree for his immediate predecessor, John Paul II, whose papacy lasted 27 years.
Just a month after John Paul’s death in April 2005, Pope Benedict waived a five-year waiting period before the sainthood process could begin.
The next step will be the recognition of a miracle attributed to John Paul II, usually a medical cure with no scientific explanation.
In John Paul’s case the miracle under consideration, which is subject to another papal decree, involves a French nun who was cured of Parkinson’s disease in 2005.
If Pope Benedict approves the miracle, which is expected in 2010, then John Paul II can be beatified, the last step before sainthood.
Meanwhile Australia is to have its first Roman Catholic saint.
In a separate decree, Pope Benedict approved a second miracle attributed to a 19th Century Australian nun, Mother Mary Mackillop.
She was beatified for one miracle by Pope John Paul II in 1995.
The approval of a second paves the way for her to be formally declared a saint at a canonisation ceremony in 2010.
The Irish Times – Friday, December 18, 2009
THE FALL from grace of the Bishop of Limerick, Donal Murray, is a necessary and inevitable consequence of the Murphy report into the cover-up of child sexual abuse in the Dublin diocese.
But it is by no means a sufficient response to the amorality and recklessness detailed in that grim document. Indeed, it would be grossly unfair to Dr Murray were he to be the sacrificial lamb who must atone for the collective sins of the Roman Catholic Church. If his departure were to be seen as the end, rather than the beginning, of a radical process of accountability, the implication would be that his behaviour was the exception rather than the rule. The truth is he operated a system that seems to have been universally applied throughout the church.
It would almost be comforting if Donal Murray’s tragedy were that of an evil man. It is actually much more profound than that. It is the tragedy of a decent man who was drawn into collusion with evil and who, even in his resignation statement showed no sign of understanding or accepting the consequences of his failures. Although he continued yesterday to try to excuse the inexcusable, there is no evidence that he set out to be cynical or cruel or that he was, in the ordinary course of events, indifferent to the sufferings of vulnerable children. Were he any of those things, the church could regard him as an aberrant and anomalous figure, a malignity in an otherwise healthy body. To realise that, on the contrary, he most probably believed himself to be acting properly and morally is to confront the unavoidable reality of a power structure that distorts the most basic impulses of human decency.
It is that larger system that has to make itself accountable.The Catholic Church is still far too deeply embedded within Irish society and retains far too much temporal power for this to be a matter of concern to the faithful alone. Undemocratic institutions who see themselves as answerable only to a God to whose will they believe they have privileged access, are a danger to society as a whole. Conversely, a complete change in the institutional church’s culture, away from the arrogance of power and towards the humility and openness of service, is the only way to make restitution for the terrible damage it has done.
That change has to start with something that the church itself demands of its flock – an honest confession. If the Pope and the Roman curia are as outraged as they have claimed to be, they should give us a detailed and complete account of their own dealings with child abuse cases in Ireland. They should start by handing over all relevant archives to the Murphy commission and every serving and retired Catholic bishop should open his own record to scrutiny.
More broadly, the Vatican and the Irish hierarchy must finally deal with an obvious truth. They must recognise that the accumulation of temporal and political power has ultimately not served the faith in which they purport to believe. It has corrupted and corroded it. If they are ever to renew that faith, they must learn how to be, not the shepherds of flocks of sheep, but the servants of citizens.
By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News
The team slowly reconstructed what “Ardi” would have looked like
The discovery of a fossilised skeleton that has become a “central character in the story of human evolution” has been named the science breakthrough of 2009.
The 4.4 million year old creature, that may be a human ancestor, was first described in a series of papers in the journal Science in October.
It has now been recognised by the journal’s editors as the most important scientific accomplishment of this year.
It is part of a scientific top 10 that ranges from space science to genetics.
The first fossils of the species, Ardipithecus ramidus, were unearthed in 1994. Scientists recognised their importance immediately.
But the very poor condition of the ancient bones meant that it took researchers 15 years to excavate and analyse them.
It’s not a chimp. It’s not a human. It shows us what we used to be
Professor Tim White
University of California, Berkeley
The most important thing to emerge from that excavation was the partial skeleton of a female creature, which has now been nicknamed “Ardi”.
An international team of scientists unveiled the skeleton in a series of scientific papers published in Science in October.
Their careful examination of its skull, teeth, pelvis, hands and feet revealed that Ardi shared a mixture of “primitive” traits shared with its predecessors, and “derived” features, which it shared with later hominids, or human-like creatures.
It shared some of these derived features with humans.
Professor Tim White from the University of California, Berkeley in the US, was one of the lead scientists working on the project.
“This is not an ordinary fossil. It’s not a chimp. It’s not a human. It shows us what we used to be,” he told Science Magazine at the time the research was published.
One of his team’s key conclusions was that Ardi walked upright. This was based on the painstaking reassembly of its very badly crushed pelvis, which the scientists said had a shape that would have allowed Ardi to balance on one leg at a time.
Professor White said that some researchers had been sceptical about these conclusions.
“Some people have looked at the pelvis and said, ‘my gosh, that’s fairly squashed. Are you sure you knew how to put it together correctly?’ So we’re responding to that,” he told Science magazine.
Ardipithecus was even more primitive than the famous “Lucy” fossil – a 3.2 million year old Australopithecus skeleton that was discovered in 1974.
Professor Chris Stringer, a palaeontologist from the Natural History Museum in London said that Ardi was likely “a remnant of a more ancient stage of human evolution” than Lucy.
“[It was] closer in many ways to the ancestor we shared with our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, more than six million years ago,” he said.
Nasa’s discovery of water on the Moon was one of the runners up
The editor-in-chief of Science said that the Ardipithecus research represented a “culmination of 15 years of painstaking, highly collaborative research by 47 scientists of diverse expertise from nine nations.”
The nine runners up in Science’s list of this year’s most important breakthroughs were published in a number of scientific journals, including Science, Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The first runner up was Nasa’s discovery of magnetised, rapidly rotating neutron stars called pulsars.
Others included the discovery that a compound called rapamycin boosted longevity in mice – the first time any drug has stretched a mammal’s life span – and advances in gene therapy that could help treat a fatal brain disease.
The nine runners up were:
- Pulsar mystery: Nasa’s Fermi gamma-Ray Space Telescope helped identify previously unknown pulsars – highly magnetised and rapidly rotating neutron stars.
- Extending life: Researchers found the compound rapamycin extends the life span of mice. The discovery was particularly remarkable because the treatment did not start until the mice were middle-aged.
- Supreme conduction: Materials scientists probed the properties of graphene – highly conductive single-layer sheets of carbon atoms – and started fashioning the material into experimental electronic devices.
- Plant survival: Scientists discovered the structure of a critical molecule that helps plants survive during droughts. This could help in the design of new ways to protect crops against prolonged dry periods.
- Laser tool: The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California unveiled the world’s first X-ray laser, a powerful research tool capable of taking snapshots of chemical reactions as they happen and studying materials in unprecedented detail.
- Gene Therapy: European and US researchers made progress in treating a fatal brain disease, inherited blindness, and a severe immune disorder by developing new strategies involving gene therapy.
- Magnetic monopoly: Physicists working with strange crystalline materials called spin ices created magnetic ripples that behaved like “magnetic monopoles” – fundamental particles with only one magnetic pole.
- Watery Moon: Nasa discovered water vapour in the debris when it deliberately crashed a rocket near the south pole of the Moon. The experiment was part of the space agency’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission.
- Hubble Repair: A final repair mission by space shuttle astronauts gave the Hubble telescope sharper vision, enabling it to produce some of its most spectacular images yet.
PATSY McGARRYALISON HEALY and
CALLS HAVE been made for a criminal investigation into how Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray handled abuse allegations against Fr Thomas Naughton.
They followed the sentencing yesterday of Naughton to three years in prison, with one year suspended, for abusing a boy at least 70 times in Valleymount, Co Wicklow, between 1982 and 1984.
Parents who complained to Bishop Murray about the priest when he was an auxiliary bishop in Dublin in 1983 said they were dismissed by him.
Mervyn Rundle, who was abused by Naughton when the priest was moved from Valleymount to Donnycarney parish in 1984, yesterday asked “when are the guards going to act against these guys ?”
In 1998, Naughton was sentenced to three years in jail for abusing Mervyn Rundle and other boys in Donnycarney. The sentence was reduced by six months, on appeal.
Retired Garda sergeant John Brennan, who sought to have Naughton removed from Valleymount in 1984 following complaints by parents, said “as justice was done today, I think that it should now be taken a step further. Fr Naughton, I’ve always maintained, is a human being with a problem.”
He continued: “It was his superiors who, aware of this weakness, sent him around to other places, and I think they shouldn’t be allowed at this stage to resign or retire. They should be the subject of a criminal investigation. If there is neglect and evidence of a cover-up, it shouldn’t be a question of somebody resigning. They should be the subject of a criminal charge.”
A 78-year-old St Patrick’s Missionary Society priest, Naughton had pleaded guilty to five sample counts of indecent assault and yesterday received five three-year sentences, to run concurrently, with the final year suspended in each case.
Handing down the sentences at Wicklow Circuit Court in Bray, Judge Michael O’Shea said the abuse was “appalling, shocking and horrifying”.
The court heard that it started in 1982, when the victim was six years old. After he had made his First Communion he became an altar server in Valleymount parish, where Naughton was curate.
Justice O’Shea added that the abuse had an “absolutely catastrophic” impact on the victim’s life.
Last night, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said: “Tom Naughton was an abuser who damaged the lives of many innocent young people. I hope those involved in today’s proceedings will find some solace and justice in his having to serve a jail sentence for his crimes.”
Naughton is one of nine priests from Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese to have been convicted of child sex abuse. Four other priests of the diocese face similar charges.
Andrew Madden, who was abused by former priest Ivan Payne, last night called for the immediate resignations of bishops Murray, Jim Moriarty, Martin Drennan, Éamonn Walsh and Ray Field, who were all mentioned in the Murphy report.
“Their continued presence in office is an insult to every child sexually abused by a priest in the Dublin archdiocese. They display a contemptible level of arrogance and a shocking lack of humility. The Catholic Church in Ireland has totally failed to respond at all appropriately to the findings of the Murphy report,” he said.
Irish sex abuse priest jailed.
Dublin – A notorious Irish paedophile priest was jailed on Wednesday in a move that Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said he hoped would bring solace to his victims.
Father Thomas Naughton, 78, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment at a hearing in Bray Circuit Court south of Dublin following his conviction on charges of sexually assaulting a young altar boy between 1982 and 1984.
Martin said Naughton was an abuser who damaged the lives of many innocent young people, adding: “I hope those involved in today’s proceedings will find some solace and justice in his having to serve a jail sentence for his crimes.”
A damning report by judge Yvonne Murphy in November concluded that Dublin archbishops had concealed clerical abuse of children and failed to inform police of their crimes over a period of more than three decades.
Naughton, who had spent time in Africa and the West Indies after he was ordained in 1963 for the Saint Patrick’s Missionary Society, had already been sentenced to three years in 1998 for abusing four young boys.
However, Murphy said he had been named as an abuser by more than 20 people and there were “suspicions in respect of many more”.
Her report found Church officials moved Naughton from parish to parish as abuse complaints were made against him.
Last week Pope Benedict XVI apologised for sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, saying he “shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland (over) these heinous crimes”.
Dozens sympathise with sex offender
ANNE LUCEY in TraleeDOZENS of people queued inside a Co Kerry courthouse yesterday to shake hands and sympathise with a man who was jailed for five years for sexually assaulting a woman in Listowel.
Danny Foley (35), a nightclub bouncer, Meen, Listowel, was sentenced to seven years with the final two suspended by Judge Donagh McDonagh in the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee. He had been found guilty two weeks ago of sexually assaulting a woman who was discovered by a Garda patrol in a semi-conscious state and naked from the waist down alongside a skip in a car park early on June 15th, 2008.
In her victim impact statement, the woman spoke of being “judged” in north Kerry, but said she was not sorry for telling the truth. Everyone in Listowel knew who she was, despite the press respecting her anonymity, she said.
“Even though my name has never been mentioned in the press, Listowel is not a big town and everyone knows it’s me,” the woman said. “I feel as if people are judging me the whole time. I’ve been asked by people I know if I am sorry for bringing Dan Foley to court. I am not sorry for it. All I did was tell the truth.”
About 50 people, mostly middle-aged and elderly men, queued yesterday to shake hands with the convicted man and hug him tearfully after he was brought from the cell to the dock, before Judge McDonagh entered the courtroom.
Before passing sentence, the judge criticised a character statement made by Castlegregory parish priest Fr Seán Sheehy. The priest had said Foley was always “respectful of women”, but Foley’s actions “gave the lie” to Fr Sheehy’s statement, the judge said.
Foley, who had been celebrating his 34th birthday on the night of the offence, had denied the charge. He told gardaí he had “found your wan” after he had gone to relieve himself near a skip at 3.50am. However CCTV footage showed him carrying her to the skip area. It also emerged he had met her earlier in a nightclub.
Judge McDonagh said the offence was at the middle to upper end of sexual assault. He noted that little or no remorse had been shown, nor any apology given to the victim, “surprisingly in the plea for mitigation”. He ordered that Foley be placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.
By Michelle Roberts
Health reporter, BBC News
Health reporter, BBC News
Not only will the cancer maps pave the way for blood tests to spot tumours far earlier, they will also yield new drug targets, says the Wellcome Trust team.
Scientists around the globe are now working to catalogue all the genes that go wrong in many types of human cancer.
The UK is looking at breast cancer, Japan at liver and India at mouth.
China is studying stomach cancer, and the US is looking at cancers of the brain, ovary and pancreas.
These catalogues are going to change the way we think about individual cancers
Wellcome Trust scientist Professor Michael Stratton
The International Cancer Genome Consortium scientists from the 10 countries involved say it will take them at least five years and many hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete this mammoth task.
But once they have done this, patients will reap the benefits.
Professor Michael Stratton, who is the UK lead, said: “These catalogues are going to change the way we think about individual cancers.
“By identifying all the cancer genes we will be able to develop new drugs that target the specific mutated genes and work out which patients will benefit from these novel treatments.
“We can envisage a time when following the removal of a cancer cataloguing it will become routine.”
It could even be possible to develop MoT-style blood tests for healthy adults that can check for tell-tale DNA patterns suggestive of cancer.
The scientists found the DNA code for a skin cancer called melanoma contained more than 30,000 errors almost entirely caused by too much sun exposure.
Most of the time the mutations will land in innocent parts of the genome, but some will hit the right targets for cancer
Wellcome Trust researcher Dr Peter Campbell
The lung cancer DNA code had more than 23,000 errors largely triggered by cigarette smoke exposure.
From this, the experts estimate a typical smoker acquires one new mutation for every 15 cigarettes they smoke.
Although many of these mutations will be harmless, some will trigger cancer.
Wellcome Trust researcher Dr Peter Campbell, who conducted this research, published in the journal Nature, said: “It’s like playing Russian roulette.
“Most of the time the mutations will land in innocent parts of the genome, but some will hit the right targets for cancer.”
By quitting smoking, people could reduce their cancer risk back down to “normal” with time, he said.
The suspicion is lung cells containing mutations are eventually replaced with new ones free of genetic errors.
By studying the cancer catalogues in detail, the scientists say it should be possible to find exactly which lifestyle and environmental factors trigger different tumours.
Treatment and prevention
Tom Haswell, who was successfully treated 15 years ago for lung cancer, believes the research will benefit the next generation:
“For future patients I think it’s tremendous news because hopefully treatments can be targeted to their particular genome mutations, hopefully… reducing some of the side effects we get”.
Cancer experts have applauded the work.
The Institute of Cancer Research said: “This is the first time that a complete cancer genome has been sequenced and similar insights into other cancer genomes are likely to follow.
“As more cancer genomes are revealed by this technique, we will gain a greater understanding of how cancer is caused and develops, improving our ability to prevent, treat and cure cancer.”
Professor Carlos Caldas, from Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute called the research “groundbreaking”.
“Like molecular archaeologists, these researchers have dug through layers of genetic information to uncover the history of these patients’ disease.
“What is so new in this study is the researchers have been able to link particular mutations to their cause.
“The hope and excitement for the future is that we will eventually have detailed picture of how different cancers develop, and ultimately how better to treat and prevent them.”