Holy Name of Jesus - Saint Gregory the Great Parish

Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

Santiago archdiocese comments on priest sentenced for sex abuse

Santiago, Chile, Mar 6, 2019 / 03:33 pm (CNA).- The Archdiocese of Santiago commented Tuesday on the case of Father Tito Rigoberto Rivera Muñoz, who was found guilty in August 2018 of the sexual abuse of adults.

Rivera's victim claims that he told the Archbishop of Santiago of the attack, but the prelate gave him money and asked him not to report it.

The March 5 statement of the Santiago archdiocese's Truth and Peace Commission follows the appearance of the victim, Daniel Rojas Alvarez, on state television.

Rivera sexually assaulted Rojas, who was then about 40, in a room of the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral in 2015.

Rojas claims he told Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of the attack, who asked him to pray for the abuser, gave him 30,000 pesos ($45), and asked that he not asked him not to share what happened.

During proceedings initiated by the Chilean justice system, another victim reportedly presented photographs and videos that confirmed Rivera's abuse of other youths.

The Santiago archdiocese stated that it received a complaint of possible abuse of minors by Rivera in August 2011, but that during enquiries into the case “it was not possible to contact the complainant.”

The Pastoral Office for Complaints then received a complaint against Rivera from an adult in March 2015, which permitted the start of a preliminary investigation and the implementation of the precautionary measure of removing the priest from all pastoral responsibilities.

The preliminary investigation “was widened with new information that was provided to the Chilean Investigative Police, which included the possible theft of the religious objects.”

In August 2015, Cardinal Ezzati sent the information on the case to the apostolic nunciature.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the request of the Santiago archdiocese, “gave new instructions to continue the preliminary investigation and to start an administrative penal process” in September 2016.

The preliminary investigation was closed in November 2016, leading to the administrative penal process which concluded with the Decree of Condemnation of Aug. 16, 2018.

The priest was declared “guilty of crimes against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue continued  over time and involving scandal, with adults, as is specified in Canon 1395§1 of the Code of Canon Law,” the archdiocese said.

Rivera was suspended from public ministry for ten years, “only being able to celebrate the Eucharist privately and with the company of a person over 50 years of age.”

He was also prohibited from “meeting with or maintaining contact with young people” and was required not to move anywhere.

Once the ten years are completed, if the priest does not comply with the measures, he risks “being suspended for a greater period of time.”

The archdiocese also noted that these four penalties were “among others.”

It concluded, saying that “besides the canonical sentence which was implemented  in September 2018, an exhaustive review was begun to clarify all the information that was made known publicly.”

Bishop Luis Fernando Ramos Perez, an Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago and secretary general of the Chilean bishops' conference, has called the Rivera's abuse “repugnant, unacceptable and terrible. The question we have to ask ourselves is how a priest came to that.

Cardinal Ezzati has faced accusations that he was involved in covering up the crimes of other abusive priests, including Fernando Karadima and Oscar Munoz Toledo.



This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Nicaraguan bishops not mediating latest round of peace talks

Managua, Nicaragua, Mar 5, 2019 / 07:01 pm (CNA).- The Nicaraguan bishops said Monday they have not been invited to mediate in the renewed dialogue between the government of President Daniel Ortega and the opposition Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy.

Anti-government protests in the country began in April 2018. They resulted in more than 300 deaths, and the country's bishops mediated on-again, off-again peace talks until they broke down in June.

A new round of dialogue began Feb. 27 at the INCAE Business School in Managua.

Attending the start of the talks as witnesses and as “a gesture of good will” were Cardinal Leopoldo José Brenes Solorzano of Managua and the Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua, Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag.

The bishops' conference stated March 4 that “in this historic moment our greatest contribution as pastors of this pilgrim Church in Nicaragua will continue to be to accompany the people in their suffering and sorrows, in their hopes and joys, and lifting up our prayers of intercession so that Nicaragua may find civilized and just ways for a peaceful solution in view of the common good.”

At the end of the Feb. 27 session of the peace talks, a statement was read which reported the approval of 9 out of 12 proposed points, without specifying what these were.

The talks continued Feb. 28 and March 1, with the agreement to continue meeting March 4-8. In addition, it was indicated that the goal is that “the negotiations conclude as soon as possible.”

Nicaragua's crisis began after Ortega announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests only intensified after more than 40 protestors were killed by security forces initially.

Anti-government protestors have been attacked by “combined forces” made up of regular police, riot police, paramilitaries, and pro-government vigilantes.

The Nicaraguan government has suggested that protestors are killing their own supporters so as to destabilize Ortega's administration.

The Church in Nicaragua was quick to acknowledge the protestors' complaints.

The pension reforms which triggered the unrest were modest, but protests quickly turned to Ortega's authoritarian bent.

Ortega has been president of Nicaragua since 2007, and oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2014.

The Church has suggested that elections, which are not scheduled until 2021, be held in 2019, but Ortega has ruled this out.

Ortega was a leader in the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which had ousted the Somoza dictatorship in 1979 and fought US-backed right-wing counterrevolutionaries during the 1980s. Ortega was also leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990.


This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

How the Church in Chile is helping women victims of domestic violence

Santiago, Chile, Mar 4, 2019 / 04:58 pm (CNA).- The Vicariate for Social Pastoral Care of Caritas in the Archdiocese of Santiago takes in every year hundreds of women and their children, victims of domestic violence who find in their shelters comprehensive care to be able to get on with their lives.  

According to figures from the Center for the Study and Analysis of Crime of the Undersecretariat for Crime Prevention, in 2018 there were 64,361 complaints in Chile related to domestic violence, and of these, 76 percent were against women.

That same year, Caritas' Social Pastoral Care took into its two shelters in Santiago 86 women and 115 children. Today, 30 percent of its residents are immigrants.

“The women come in as referrals from the Public Prosecutor's Office, Family Courts, and Sernameg (National Service for Women and Gender Equality), the Carbineros [national police] and the unified risk assessment guidelines,” said Loreto Rebolledo, head of Caritas' Solidarity Outreach, told the Archdiocese of Santiago's communications office.

Robelledo explained that that is a Sernameg program run by the Archdiocese of Santiago which consists in providing a quality temporary residence for women over 18, with or without children, who are experiencing violence from their partner, husband, or ex.

In the shelters the women are taught about  the risks and consequences of violence and strategies for self-care and for developing autonomy. The children are given psychological help and given tools for self-knowledge and awareness of their environment, as well as crisis intervention. They are also made to understand that they in no way deserved the violence they were subjected to and are taught how to incorporate strategies to protect themselves.

According to Rebolledo “one of the hardest things to work on and overcome is changing their understanding of affective relationships and the concept of the ideal family, since their learned interrelationships are characterized by following patterns of dependence, submission, and subordination, causing, in the majority of cases, the women to treat their sons and daughters with the same kind of violence they have experienced.”

Caritas' pastoral ministry endeavors to have people question the roots of violence and commit to building a “more just and equitable society.”

“It emphasizes the expression of a just, fraternal and solidary society where every man and woman has the right to a full and abundant life,” Rebolledo said.

The victims “need to understand why they were experiencing a violent situation and how they got there,” so their sense of guilt is lessened and they put an end to the mistreatment, she noted.

“Networks of family and friends play a key role. Active listening, empathy, support, not judgeing and information are fundamental. That they know and feel they are not alone,” the social worker pointed out.

One of the people who has benefited from from the homes is Sandra, 41, who for years was mistreated by her ex-partner and the father of her three children. In 2014, she asked for asylum with the pastoral ministry and after eight months was able to resume her life without violence.

“Drugs, alcohol and machismo had a played a big part. I put up with so much violence because he was the breadwinner. The episode that I remember the most and that triggered my leaving was once when I was cooking beans he didn't like them. He threw all the food in my face, then he knocked me up against the stove and began to shoot, in the air, because he had a pistol,” she related.

“They asked my daughter at school what gift that money cannot buy she would like to have. She replied: 'That my dad would never hit my mom again.' After that the school called me and I let it all come out. For the first time, I let go of my fear and I told everything I had gone through for five years and then I came to the shelter,” she recalled.

Sandra acknowledged that “it was hard at first, but they helped me here and especially my children. After the eight months that I was here at the home, I was afraid to leave and live elsewhere  with my children, but I got up the courage to do so and thanks be to God it went well for me. I managed to get a job as a waitress and was able to pay the rent.”


This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

What I wish everyone, including me, would give up for Lent

During Lent, we are asked to sacrifice or limit our consumption of something we would truly miss. Perhaps it's that object we cannot resist picking up and consulting every few minutes.

Argentine bishop calls for pro-life commitment after C-section on young girl

San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina, Mar 2, 2019 / 06:01 am (CNA).- After an 11-year-old rape victim in Argentina received a Caesarean section Wednesday, the local bishop has called for society to be committed to protecting life.

The girl was admitted Jan. 31 to the Eva Perón East Hospital in Banda del Río Salí, in the San Miguel de Tucumán metro area, due to some injuries attributed to suicidal behavior. It was then that she was found to be pregnant as the result of being raped by the partner of her grandmother, and she requested an abortion.

Argentine law prohibits abortion, except when the mother’s life or health is in danger, or in cases of rape.

Family court judge Valeria Brand authorized an abortion for the girl after delays caused by uncertainty over who was the girl's legal guardian. Several local doctors refused to perform an abortion citing conscientious objection.

The girl ended up receiving a Caesarean section Feb. 27, about about 23-24 weeks of pregnancy, after doctors said there were too many risks associated with abortion in the case. The infant is alive, but is in poor health, weighs 1 lb 5 oz, and has little chance of survival.

In the wake of the case, Archbishop Carlos Alberto Sánchez of Tucumán called on society to be committed to protecting life. He encouraged the faithful “to be aware of this” and to care for the life “of every child, of every adolescent, of every elderly person, of every sick person,” and daily “to protect, to care for, to serve, every human life, because every life has value.”

Archbishop Sánchez recalled that “for us, believers, it is very important to be called together in prayer, but for this prayer to become a real commitment to protect every human life and defend every human life with passion, courage and with much generosity and dedication.”

“May God bless you and may we be able to join in prayer always to be guardians of life,” Archbishop
Sánchez concluded.

Both pro-life and pro-choice groups have been dissatisfied with how the girl's case was handled.

The pro-life group Doctors for Life of Tucumán “strongly and absolutely” repudiated the Caesarean section and expressed their support “to all healthcare personnel who categorically refused on a scientific and legal basis” to do the procedure, due to the grave health risks involved “at this gestational age”; some have said that delaying the procedure 20 days would help ensure the lives of both the girl and her child.

Pro-choice activists have protested the girl's inability to procure an abortion, and her delay in receiving  the Caesarean.

The case follows a similar one that took place in Jujuy, in which a 12-year-old girl said she had been raped by her neighbor, and was given a Caesarean section Jan. 18. Her baby, Esperanza, was born at 1 lb 8 oz, and died Jan. 22.  

A medical team had advised against the procedure due to the risk to the lives of mother and child. The pro-life organization Mas Vida charged that Esperanza's death was a homicide because “there was no medical reason to deny her the gestational formation she was lacking.”

A bill to legalize abortion through the first 14 weeks of gestation narrowly passed the Chamber of Deputies last year, but was rejected by the Senate Aug. 9.


This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Manager of Program and Donor Relations

Office of Catholic Education Advancement

Two Significant Anniversaries in Four Days

Last Saturday, February 23, I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my appointment as your archbishop by Pope Benedict XVI.

Defending Infanticide is Now Pro-Abortion Dogma

The US Senate failed to pass a bill that would ban infanticide, due to the steadfast opposition by Senate Democrats. What was previously unthinkable is now the latest bastion of pro-abortion extremism.

Part Time Sacristan- Bilingual

Holy Name of Jesus-St Gregory the Great Parish

Legalizing Baby Selling

The Governor has included in his annual budget a proposal that would legalize commercial surrogate parenting -- that is, the sale of babies. This would treat women and babies as commodities to be bought and sold and would expose vulnerable women to economic exploitation -- even to the point of pressuring them to have abortions.