Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

POPE ADDS YEAR OF MISSIONARY SERVICE TO VATICAN DIPLOMATS’ TRAINING

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis, adopting a suggestion made at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, has decided...

WOMEN RELIGIOUS WORLDWIDE WORK TO ADDRESS AFFORDABLE HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Tommy Dunphy, a 37-year-old native of California’s San Gabriel Valley, is no stranger to the streets...

CIVIC DUTY

“Every person counts.” It makes for a nice motto, or even a t-shirt, but in the case of the U.S....

Fla. diocese declares Safe Haven Sunday to focus on harms of pornography

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of St. Petersburg

By

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CNS) -- Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of St. Petersburg has declared Feb. 23 as Safe Haven Sunday, a day when parishes in the diocese set aside time to address "the pervasive problem of pornography and its devastating effects on marriages and families."

According to a Feb. 19 news release, the special Sunday designation is part of Freedom From Pornography, an initiative tthe Diocese of St. Petersburg launched in 2016 to combat the growing problem of pornography.

This is the diocese's second Safe Haven Sunday, and the goal is to make each home "a safe haven" from pornography. Under an overall theme of "Equipping the Family, Safeguarding Children," this year's observance will focus on "Helping Parents Navigate Online Exposure."

"Pornography is detrimental to both the physical and spiritual life of each individual and the greater community," Bishop Parkes said in a statement. "The use of pornography by anyone in the home deprives the home of its role as a safe haven and has negative effects throughout a family's life and across generations."

In February 2018, the Florida House approved a measure declaring pornography a public health risk and called for education, research and policy changes that would protect Floridians, especially teenagers, from pornography. The bill said pornography "can exacerbate mental and physical illnesses and promote deviant, problematic or dangerous behaviors."

With its pastoral initiative, "the Catholic Church in west central Florida is responding to this crisis that dehumanizes women and children and normalizes violence," the St. Petersburg diocesan news release said. Statistics show that about 30% of people are exposed to pornography before age 12, it noted.

In February of this year, the Alabama Senate unanimously passed a resolution also declaring pornography a public health risk. More than a dozen other states have acted similarly.

For Safe Haven Sunday, the St. Petersburg Diocese is partnering with Covenant Eyes, a company that creates faith-based resources and tools to prevent exposure to pornography and to overcome pornography use and addiction.

They will offer resources, available in English and Spanish, that are focused on education and prevention, such as books, prayer cards, software to filter out pornography and practical tips to create safer digital environments.

Since it launched the launch of Freedom From Pornography initiative, the diocese has held educational events and training programs to equip Catholics to protect themselves from pornography and to "seek assistance and healing" from using pornography.

The initiative has a website, http://www.dosp.org/freedom-from-porn, with all manner of resources to combat pornography, including a list of counselors who work with people to help them recover from addiction to pornography.

The diocese said the idea for Safe Haven Sunday was inspired by the U.S. bishops' November 2015 pastoral letter "Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography."

"Being exposed to pornography can be traumatic for children and youth. Seeing it steals their innocence and gives them a distorted image of sexuality, relationships, and men and women, which may then affect their behavior," the bishops wrote. "It can also make them more vulnerable to being sexually abused, since their understanding of appropriate behavior can be damaged."

- - -

Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]

STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE

The Mid-American conference is pretty much the way it reads, a collection of colleges located in the heart of the...

THE INCONVENIENT, YET NECESSARY, LENT

I  hate lent.   I don’t like the color. I’m much more a green and white than a purple and gray type...

Deaf survivors call on Vatican to release documents on abusers

IMAGE: CNS photo/Junno Arocho Esteves

By Junno Arocho Esteves

ROME (CNS) -- Three former students at a school for the deaf in Argentina traveled to Rome to demand Pope Francis and Vatican officials release records on priests who abused them and other students.

Speaking to journalists at a news conference in Rome Feb. 20, Daniel Sgardelis, who was abused at the Provolo Institute for the Deaf in La Plata, Argentina, said he wants an international law that would force "the Vatican to stop covering up, to definitively change the situation."

"We need this to change. Enough!" Sgardelis said through an interpreter. "It's been a long time -- 50 years -- and it's still the same. We are victims and there is still a long way for this to change. We need for them to give us evidence."

Sgardelis was accompanied by Ezequiel Villalonga and Claudia Labeguerie, two survivors of the institute's sister school in Mendoza. Their interpreter, Erica Labeguerie, is Claudia's sister.

The survivors were in Rome after a recent visit to U.N. headquarters in Geneva, where they informed the U.N. Committee Against Torture about their sufferings at the schools.

They also told the U.N. committee that although Pope Francis and the Vatican had been informed of abuses that occurred at the institute's schools in Italy and Argentina, no concrete action has been taken to release the names of abusers.

"I went to the United Nations to denounce the abuses and tortures I suffered, and I need the pope to end this," Villalonga said. "And I also need him to give the evidence and the photos (of the abusers), because in Argentina we have not received justice."

Lucas Lecour, an attorney for the survivors, told Catholic News Service Feb. 20 that members of the U.N. committee assured him they would investigate and would respond "very soon."

"I have understood that there will be good resolutions against the Holy See, above all, calling for an end to covering up and an adequate reparation for the victims," Lecour told CNS.

The first Institute for the Deaf was founded in Verona, Italy, in 1830 by Venerable Antonio Provolo, a priest who developed a method of teaching deaf people to communicate by mimicking words through lip reading and vibrations of the throat and chest.

He also founded the Society of Mary for the Education of the Deaf-Mute as well as the Sisters of the Society of Mary for the Education of the Deaf-Mute. Both religious congregations established schools in other parts of the world, including Argentina.

The female congregation arrived in Argentina and established the first institute in La Plata in 1924. Several decades later, in 1995, another institute was established by Italian Father Nicola Corradi in the western province of Mendoza.

Although Father Corradi is now imprisoned for the abuses at the school in Mendoza, allegations against the priest date back to 1970, when he taught at the Provolo Institute in Verona.

Despite the allegations, the Society of Mary transferred him to teach at their school in La Plata, Argentina, along with several other priests accused of abuse in Verona.

While the visual and vibrational method pioneered by Venerable Provolo was meant to help deaf people talk, survivors said it was used instead to silence victims at the institute's schools in Verona and Argentina.

Students were prohibited and even physically abused if they attempted to use sign language, which left many unable to communicate the sexual abuse they encountered to their families or authorities.

According to The Washington Post, survivors said there was only one hand gesture they were taught by the abusive priests at the institute: an index finger to the lips to demand their silence.

Sergio Salinas, another attorney for the survivors, explained to journalists in Rome that the method taught by the schools was based on the belief that "deaf people are abnormal, while those who could hear are normal."

Many survivors, he said, learned sign language after leaving the school. However, it is still challenging to learn to communicate and thus difficult to describe the abuse or identify their abusers.

"Sign language must be respected as a human right, and the deaf community must be respected," Salinas said.

"We suffered a lot, we weren't allowed to speak in sign language, we felt that we weren't listened to," Labeguerie told journalists. "But now we are survivors and we have learned and we know our rights. And that is why we went to the United Nations. We need this to stop."

In late November, Father Corradi and Argentine Father Horacio Corbacho were each sentenced to more than 40 years in prison for sexually abusing an estimated 20 children at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza.

The institute's gardener, Armando Gomez, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for sexually abusing students.

All three were accused by 10 former students of 25 acts of aggravated sexual abuse that occurred between 2004-2016, the Buenos Aires Times reported in November.

Several school staff members working at the school, including Japanese Sister Kosaka Kumiko, also were arrested for sexual abuse or for covering up the abuse that occurred in the school.

- - -

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju

 

- - -

Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]

ALTAR LINENS

The Orange Diocesan Council of Catholic Women on Jan. 21 presented Bishop Kevin Vann with a $4,500 check for new...

Philippine bishops release additional guidelines to fight coronavirus

IMAGE: CNS photo/Ezra Acayan, Reuters

By Ryan Harms

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Amid continuing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, Catholics in the Philippines have been asked not to kiss or touch the cross when they venerate it on Good Friday, April 10.

Instead, they should "genuflect or make a profound bow" before the cross during the veneration of the cross, according to updated liturgical guidelines issued Feb. 20 by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines and posted on Twitter.

Already in January, the bishops' conference advised priests to distribute the Eucharist in communicants' hands rather than their mouths, to place protective cloths over the screens of confessionals and to change the holy water in church fonts regularly. The conference also asked the faithful not to hold hands during the "Our Father" and not to shake hands during the sign of peace.

In the new guidelines, which the bishops' conference said it "strongly recommends" following, priests were asked to distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, by "dropping or sprinkling a small portion of blessed ash on the crown of the head of the faithful," rather than rubbing them on the person's forehead.

The World Health Organization reported that as of Feb. 19, there were more than 75,000 cases of coronavirus, but fewer than 1,000 of the cases involved people outside of China. Three cases of the coronavirus have been documented in the Philippines, with one resulting in death, according to WHO.

 

- - -

Copyright © 2020 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at [email protected]

UNDERSTANDING DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE 

St. Irenaeus Health Ministry presented a workshop titled Understanding Depression and Suicide on January 27 in the church’s parish hall....