Breaking News!

By | Bishop Carmel, News, Vatican

From the office of the Bishop of Gibraltar, Cathedral of St. Mary the Crowned.

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Appointment of Apostolic Nuncio in Benin

The Holy Father has appointed as Apostolic Nuncio in Benin Mgr Mark Gerard Miles, at the same time elevating him to the titular see of civitatis ducalis, with the dignity of Archbishop.

 

Archbishop-elect Mark Gerard Miles

The Most Reverend Mark Gerard Miles was born in Gibraltar, U.K., on 13 May 1967.

He was ordained a priest on 14 September 1996 and incardinated into the Diocese of Gibraltar.

He has a doctorate in Canon Law and a licence in Theology.

He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See on 1 July 2003, and subsequently worked in the Pontifical Representations in Ecuador and Hungary, then in the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State and most recently in the Holy See Observer Mission to the Organization of American States in Washington D.C.

He is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian and has a working knowledge of French.

Details of the date and ceremony of Episcopal Ordination to follow shortly.

 

Monsignor Miles, on reacting to the news, stated: 

“I am honoured and humbled by the Holy Father’s confidence in appointing me to be his representative to the Republic of Benin.

My gratitude goes out to my beloved family, thinking of my late parents William and Mary Miles, and to all my friends and loved ones who have supported me on life’s journey and have helped me on the path of faith and vocation.

I thank my brother priests of the diocese of Gibraltar and especially bishops past and present who have, in different ways, been fatherly towards me. I extend deep gratitude to everyone in Gibraltar, a community distinguished by tolerance, respect, warmth and unique hospitality.

Finally, I commend this ministry to the intercession of Our Lady of Europe and to the prayers of the Saints close to my heart so that I may give honour to God and fulfil the work he has entrusted to me”.

 

Bishop Carmel Zammit, on reacting to news, stated:

“ I am delighted both for Archbishop-Elect Mgr Mark Miles and for the Church in Gibraltar. I have no doubt that Mgr Mark will be supported by the prayers of all of us in Gibraltar in this important ministry he will be undertaking on behalf of the Holy Father as his diplomatic representative in the Republic of Benin. The Diocese of Gibraltar wishes him many years of faithful and rewarding service in the Church. All the clergy and the community congratulate Mgr Miles on this appointment and also congratulate his family”.

Use of anti-Covid vaccines “morally acceptable”

By | News, Teaching, Vatican

A note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was approved by Pope Francis, gives the green light during the pandemic to the use of vaccines produced with cell lines derived from two foetuses aborted in the 1960’s.

“It is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted foetuses in their research and production process.”

Due to the situation of the ongoing pandemic, “all vaccinations recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive.”

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) made these statements in a note signed by the Prefect, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, and the Secretary, Archbishop Giacomo Morandi. The text was explicitly approved by Pope Francis on 17 December and released on Monday.

Clarifying doubts

The CDF document, which was published as many countries are preparing to implement vaccination campaigns, authoritatively intervenes to clarify doubts and questions which have emerged from sometimes contradictory statements on the subject.

The “Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines” recalls three previous pronouncements on the same topic: one from the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) in 2005; the CDF Instruction Dignitas Personae in 2008; and, another note from the PAV in 2017.

Moral aspects

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says it does not “intend to judge the safety and efficacy” of current vaccines against Covid-19, which is the responsibility of biomedical researchers and drug agencies. Rather, the CDF focuses on the moral aspects of receiving vaccines developed using cell lines from tissue obtained from two foetuses that were aborted in the 1960’s.

The Instruction Dignitas Personae, approved by Pope Benedict XVI, pointed out that “there exist differing degrees of responsibility”, because “in organizations where cell lines of illicit origin are being utilized, the responsibility of those who make the decision to use them is not the same as that of those who have no voice in such a decision.”

Therefore, argues the note published on Monday in summing up the Instruction of 2008, “when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available”, it is “morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted foetuses in their research and production process.”

‘Remote cooperation’

The CDF says the reason for considering these vaccines morally licit is the “kind of cooperation” in the evil of abortion, which is “remote” on the part of those receiving the vaccine.

Therefore, the “moral duty to avoid such passive material cooperation is not obligatory” since there exists a grave danger, in the form of an “uncontainable spread of a serious pathological agent.”

The Covid-19 pandemic, says the CDF, fulfils this requirement.

“In such a case, all vaccinations recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive.”

Not a legitimation of abortion

The Congregation clarifies that “the morally licit use of these types of vaccines, in the particular conditions that make it so, does not in itself constitute a legitimation, even indirect, of the practice of abortion, and necessarily assumes the opposition to this practice by those who make use of these vaccines.” Nor should it imply a moral approval of the use of cell lines proceeding from aborted foetuses.

The CDF note calls on pharmaceutical companies and government health agencies to “produce, approve, distribute and offer ethically acceptable vaccines that do not create problems of conscience.”

Voluntary vaccination

At the same time, the Congregation recalls that “vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.”

The morality of vaccination, it notes, depends both on the duty to protect one’s own health and the pursuit of the common good. “In the absence of other means to stop or even prevent the epidemic, the common good may recommend vaccination, especially to protect the weakest and most exposed.”

Those who for reasons of conscience reject vaccines produced with cell lines from aborted foetuses, however, must “do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behaviour, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent.”

Distribution to poor countries

Finally, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says it is “a moral imperative” for the pharmaceutical industry, governments, and international organizations to ensure that effective and ethically acceptable vaccines are accessible “to the poorest countries in a manner that is not costly for them.”

“The lack of access to vaccines, otherwise, would become another sign of discrimination and injustice that condemns poor countries to continue living in health, economic and social poverty.”

Pope Francis proclaims “Year of St Joseph”

By | News, Vatican

In a new Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.

The Letter marks the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pope Pius IX’s declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To celebrate the anniversary, Pope Francis has proclaimed a special “Year of St Joseph,” beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2020 and extending to the same feast in 2021.

Read more in the article posted on the Vatican website

 

PRAYER:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil.  Amen.

HOLY MASSES during final phases of lockdown

By | News, Vatican

CATHEDRAL:

Monday to Saturday: 9:15, 12:25, 19:15

Sunday: 9:00, 10:30, 12:00, 19:15

 

SACRED HEART:

Saturday: 20:00

Sunday: 10:00

 

St. PAUL:

Monday (except Bank Holiday) to Friday: 9:15

Saturday: 20:00

Sunday: 10:00 and 12:00

 

St. JOSEPH:

Monday to Saturday: 19:00

Sunday: 10:00 and 12:00

 

St. THERESA:

Monday to Saturday: 18:00

Sunday: 11:00

 

St. Bernard:

Monday (except Bank Holiday) to Friday: 9:30

Saturday: 19:00

Sunday: 10:00

PLEA FOR SUPPORT FOR CHRISTIANS IN THE HOLY LAND

By | News, Vatican

From the Secretary of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre in Gibraltar:

Covid-19 has severely affected many people around the world. Among those seriously affected people are our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Holy Land. It is urgent to support Christian families who have lost their employment due to the collapse of pilgrimages and tourism and the impossibility to daily commute into Israel for work.

The Latin Patriarchate looks after 38 schools with over 15,000 students and 1,300 teachers. Moreso, over 10,000 families, are struggling to pay bills. It is because of this that Cardinal Filoni (Grandmaster of the KHS), is asking Catholics, to please support his efforts in raising funds for the Christians in Palestine and Jordan [You can read his message by clicking here: LETTER]

Please consider donating towards the worthy cause of helping Christians in need. If you can please, send your donation to:

 

Bank: Gibraltar International Bank

Account Name:      RCC/KHS

Account No.:          00812023

Sort Code:              60-83-14

 

For payment by cheque: 

Cheque made out  to:           RCC/KHS

Address:                                 Mario M Hook

                                                   25 Witham’s Road

                                                   Gibraltar GX11 1AA

 

Furthermore, if you could consider a monthly donation, for the next three to five months, it would greatly be appreciated. 

Thank you, and God love you for your kindness.

 

Christopher Joseph Cortés KHS
Secretary – Gibraltar Lieutenancy 

Online PRAYER BOOK to help us amid the coronavirus crisis

By | Liturgy, News, Vatican

The Vatican has released a free online prayer book to help Catholics seeking divine assistance amid the coronavirus crisis.

The 192-page book is published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, on behalf of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication and will be updated regularly.

The book, which is called “Strong in the Face of Tribulation: The Church in Communion – a Sure Support in Time of Trial” and has an image of the Archangel Michael on its cover, is divided into three parts:

  1. Prayers, rituals and supplications, including prayers for the sick and for liberation from evil.
  2. Explains how Catholics can continue to practice the faith without the support of the Sacraments.
  3. Gathers together Pope Francis’ reflections since the pandemic struck.

You can download it in English or in Spanish

Covid-19: Special Plenary Indulgences granted

By | News, Vatican

Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic, 20.03.2020

 

The gift of special Indulgences is granted to the faithful suffering from COVID-19 disease, commonly known as Coronavirus, as well as to health care workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom 12: 12). The words written by Saint Paul to the Church of Rome resonate throughout the entire history of the Church and guide the judgment of the faithful in the face of all suffering, sickness and calamity.

The present moment in which the whole of humanity, threatened by an invisible and insidious disease, which for some time now has become part of all our lives, is marked day after day by anguished fears, new uncertainties and above all widespread physical and moral suffering.

The Church, following the example of her Divine Master, has always had the care of the sick at heart. As Saint John Paul II points out, the value of human suffering is twofold: “It is supernatural because it is rooted in the divine mystery of the Redemption of the world, and it is likewise deeply human, because in it the person discovers himself, his own humanity, his own dignity, his own mission” (Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, 31).

Pope Francis, too, in these recent days, has shown his paternal closeness and renewed his invitation to pray incessantly for those who are sick with the Coronavirus.

So that all those who suffer because of COVID-19, precisely in the mystery of this suffering, may rediscover “the same redemptive suffering of Christ” (ibid., 30), this Apostolic Penitentiary, ex auctoritate Summi Pontificis, trusting in the word of Christ the Lord and considering with a spirit of faith the epidemic currently underway, to be lived in a spirit of personal conversion, grants the gift of Indulgences in accordance with the following disposition.

The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.

Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.

This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.

The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, Health of the Sick and Help of Christians, our Advocate, help suffering humanity, saving us from the evil of this pandemic and obtaining for us every good necessary for our salvation and sanctification.

The present Decree is valid notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.

Given in Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 19 March 2020.

Mauro Cardinal Piacenza (Major Penitentiary)

Krzysztof Nykiel (Regent)

VOS ESTIS LUX MUNDI

By | News, Vatican

YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

POPE PROMULGATES NEW LAW ON SAFEGUARDING FOR THE CHURCH

The Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis, promulgated new norms for the Church’s handling of abuse on May 9th through a motu proprio (‘on his own initiative), titled, Vos estis lux mundi (“You are the light of the world”). He approved its promulgation on an experimental basis for a period of three years. It will enter in effect June 1, 2019.

The Pope wrote: “The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful”. The Bishop has the primary responsibility of ensuring that all issues concerning the Safeguarding of children and vulnerable persons, including the processing of any allegations, is handled efficiently with a ‘zero tolerance’ standard or practice.

Nevertheless, it is also the responsibility of everyone to ensure an environment of safeguarding is maintained and that there is vigilance to report abuses when they occur. It is clear through these norms, that there can be no ‘cover-up’. “Therefore, [the Pope wrote] it is good that procedures be universally adopted to prevent and combat these crimes that betray the trust of the faithful”.

The norms regard what are called, in canon law, “delicts against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue,” consisting of:

-sexual acts with a minor or vulnerable person;

-forcing someone to perform or submit to sexual acts through violence, threat, or abuse of authority;

-and the production or possession of child pornography.

The new law also sanctions any actions intended to cover-up a civil or canonical investigation into accusations of child pornography use, sexual abuse of minors, or sexual coercion through abuse of power. It also emphasizes that “the person under investigation enjoys the presumption of innocence”.

Furthermore, it requires that the Church authorities be committed to ensuring “that those who state that they have been harmed, together with their families, are to be treated with dignity and respect,” be welcomed, listened to, and supported, offered spiritual assistance, and medical and psychological assistance.

A crucial aspect of the new legislation for the entire Church is that it introduces obligatory reporting, requiring that every cleric or religious man or woman who has become aware of an accusation of abuse or cover-up report it “promptly” to the proper Church authority.

The motu proprio also states that every diocese in the world is required to create a stable mechanism or system through which people may submit reports of abuse or its cover-up. The exact form of the system, which could also be an entire office, will be left to the discretion of the individual diocese, but must be established by June 2020.

In Gibraltar, a Diocesan Safeguarding Commission was set up in 2018, on the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.

A diocesan Policy was also established and appropriate Safeguarding training, beginning with our clergy, is being offered to all the groups and persons helping in any way in our parishes.

As Pope Francis wrote: “In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church…. This becomes possible only with the grace of the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts, as we must always keep in mind the words of Jesus: ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5). Even if so much has already been accomplished, we must continue to learn from the bitter lessons of the past, looking with hope towards the future’”.

If you wish to learn more about Safeguarding in our Diocese, please visit the pages specifically dedicated to this on our website.

To contact our diocesan Safeguarding Officer or relevant agencies for any concerns you may have, please visit the contact details page.

If you believe that a child or vulnerable adult has suffered or is in immediate risk of suffering significant harm, for example, physical or sexual assault or theft of their property, then you should contact the Police / the Care Agency (Social Services) Department immediately.

DOING NOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION!

In all cases where such a situation arises within a church or church-related context, then the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer should be contacted too.

Humanae Vitae Summary

By | News, Teaching, Vatican

When the Encyclical was published on 25th July 1968, it caused an impressive -some would say possibly catastrophic- stir among Catholics throughout the world, which Cardinal Heenan, the then Archbishop of Westminster, described as “the greatest shock since the Reformation”. Today, it is also seen as prophetic. A cartoon circulating in the media this week, gives some food for thought!

The Encyclical aimed at reiterating the Church’s teaching in modern-day language and facing up to the recent developments especially in the area of artificial and medical contraceptives. The overwhelming conclusion of those consulted was that the Pope should slacken the traditional prohibitions. Despite this, Paul VI felt compelled by virtue of the Petrine ministry which he had received directly from Christ as successor of St. Peter, to enunciate with clarity “the mind of Christ” on this matter.

There can be no doubt that since the so-called ‘sexual revolution’ of the 60’s, there has been a seismic change in what society previously considered wrong, to becoming very much the universally accepted fashion. Lamentably, those who disparage Humanae Vitae often have not read the actual document themselves and conclude that if everyone is doing it, it cannot therefore be wrong. However, as the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said:

“Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote.

Wrong is wrong even if everybody is wrong.

Right is right even if nobody is right”.

In a nutshell, that was the dilemma facing Pope Paul VI.

The final text of the Encyclical shows an awareness that what was being taught would not be easy to accept within that burgeoning permissive social environment of the day. At the same time, it was not blind or deaf to the need for compassion and an awareness of weaknesses and sins in people’s lives. The tone of the Encyclical’s language showed that Paul VI had kept in mind many of the objections that had been raised in the stage of gathering opinions from around the world as he prepared to write the encyclical. Given the nature of an encyclical, understandably the Pope could not argue each and every one of those objections in detail. Instead, he focused on the perennial moral principles at stake. He readily acknowledged the difficult cultural and social conditions in which many married couples live and showed a realistic recognition of the impact of weakness and sin. The Pope was speaking not only to Catholics, but to all Christian consciences that strive daily to take seriously the gift of Grace and the call to conversion. This is what ultimately concerns the moral teaching of the Church: the salvation of all.

The choice of language therefore places at the centre a fundamental element of the moral life of every Christian: even if human freedom always adheres imperfectly to the salvation offered in the Gospel, the Church must always propose it with fidelity and completeness. She cannot fall into the temptation of the sort of popular ethical relativisms that can easily drive a mistaken sense of social progress, which drifts us ever further away from God’s perspective of what is good, authentic, true development for all.

The Encyclical’s pastoral concern is also very significant. Three fundamental elements are highlighted:

  • an indispensable, constant need to have recourse to the support of divine Grace in the daily struggles we face in our moral life and human action;
  • the call not to isolate the practice of regulating births from the broader context of a married life embraced in all its constitutive dimensions;
  • Christ’s Gospel call to a “mastery of oneself” and of “conjugal chastity” which no true disciple of Christ can ignore.

Do not be lost in a ‘virtual world’

By | News, Vatican

“Do not be lost in a 'virtual world', but live reality”

Pope Francis

At a recent General Audience, Pope Francis said he was worried that youth are too enmeshed in a virtual world of cell phones and other technology, separated, in particular, from the real human contact experienced by performing works of mercy.

Answering a question about youth during a visit with the people of the Diocese of Rome, the Pope said that the works of mercy “help young people so much,” because they them to be grounded in “concreteness” and to “enter into a social relationship.”

“It worries me that they communicate and live in the virtual world,” he said, noting that on a recent visit with youth, instead of extending their hands when they saw him, they “greeted” him with their phones held up, taking photos and selfies.

“Their reality is that… not human contact. This is serious,” he continued. “We have to make young people ‘land’ in the real world. Touch reality. Without destroying the good things the virtual world can have,” because some things are needed, he acknowledged.

The Pope said that young “had courage to speak” and “really wanted to speak seriously”. They need to find their voice in our society, not one that is virtual -an illusion-, but human, active and real.