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Clergy sex abuse survivor pleas no sainthood for Pope John Paul II

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The beatification, set for May 1st, of Pope John Paul II is especially painful for survivors of clergy sex abuse. The following open letter to Pope Benedict illustrates the depth of the anguish. It was written by Robert Wilford, an Alachua, Florida commissioner, and a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. It appeared in The North Florida Herald.

Most Holy Father:

"Here stand I. I can do no other. So help me God!"

These courageous words proclaimed at the Diet of Worms in 1521 are attributed to Martin Luther when he was directed by this church's legislative body to deny or defend his teachings or suffer the consequences of excommunication as a heretic from the Roman Catholic Church.

I, too, must take Martin Luther's stance and challenge your inexplicable actions in seeking to have Pope John Paul II canonized as one of the church's saints.

John Paul's dastardly behavior, in not addressing the clergy sexual abuse issue confronting his church while he was the leader of the world's Catholics, disqualifies him from this exalted position.

On this day: St. Ruad·n

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Ruadán of Lorrha, one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.

Ruadhán (pronounced Rowan, meaning red-haired) founded an abbey at Lorrha (in today's Co. Tipperary) about the year 550. He ruled 150 monks and was renowned for his miracles, which included raising people from the dead.

Click here to see a stained-glass window of St. Ruadhán and to read of some of his miracles. His bell, shown with him, is preserved in the British Museum.

Belgian bishop admits abusing second nephew

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The Associated Press is reporting that former Belgian bishop Roger Vangheluwe says that he abused two nephews and insists he has no plans to abandon the priesthood.

In his first television interview since the scandal broke a year ago, Vangheluwe claimed he paid one nephew he abused for years tens of thousands of euros in support, but denied it was meant to keep him silent.

Read more: Belgian bishop admits abusing second nephew

Bishops' add Catholic Clarity to Budget Debate

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“The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.”
April 13 Letter from Bishops Howard Hubbard, Chair, US Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace and Stephen Blaire, Chair, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development to Members of the US House of Representatives

Add Blaire-Hubbard to the cacophony of proposals and voices – Obama, Ryan, Simpson-Bowles, etc. –in the nearly-impossible-to-keep-track-of-budget-debates.

Blaire is the bishop of Stockton, CA, Hubbard the bishop of Albany, NY. For those looking for a Catholic touchstone on how best to view the confusing budget spectacle, the US Catholic Bishops through a two-page Blaire-Hubbard letter, offer a clear and concise presentation of the stakes.

The bishops deserve credit, for clarity and concision have not been the hallmark of the budget/deficit/national debt discussions.

“1. Every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity.

On China, Vatican strikes balance between hawks and doves

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

tWestern society is increasingly China-obsessed, and with good reason. At some point in the not too distant future the Chinese economy will become the largest in the world, and China’s growing foreign policy reach is affecting realities on the ground in hot spots such as Darfur, Burma and Zimbabwe – not always, in the eyes of critics, for the better.

tCatholicism, too, has its eyes on China. Today, a special Vatican commission on the church in China issued a message to Chinese Catholics at the conclusion of an April 11-13 meeting in Rome.

The statement addresses what it calls a "general climate of disorientation and anxiety about the future" among Catholics in China, following a recent resurgence in government pressure after what had seemed a gradual thaw.

On this day: St. Lidwina of Holland

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On this day we commemorate St. Lidwina, who fell while ice skating on a canal and never recovered.

Lidwina was born in Schiedam in 1380. She was about fifteen when she fell on the ice. The broken rib did not heal, and until her death on April 14, 1433, she suffered. She embraced her suffering, offering it for the sins of others. She took no nourishment but the Communion host.

Caroline Walker Bynum writes at length about St. Lidwina in Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women, University of California Press, 1988.

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April 22-May 5, 2016

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