Rome, Italy, Jul 31, 2018 / 11:40 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis made a surprise trip Saturday to visit an elderly woman in a central district of Rome, drawing attention from local residents as they spotted his blue car.
The pope made the July 28 v… […]
Washington D.C., Jul 31, 2018 / 10:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Two Catholic universities have withdrawn honorary degrees from Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, amid numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.
The Catholic University of America in … […]
Washington D.C., Jul 31, 2018 / 03:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The announcement of a Religious Liberty Task Force being created at the Department of Justice drew praise from Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, who said that religious freedom is vital to… […]
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Jul 30, 2018 / 06:02 pm (ACI Prensa).- The Honduran bishops’ conference on Monday denied there exists a homosexual culture at the national seminary, as suggested by a recent report from the National Catholic Register.
In a statement released July 30, the Honduran bishops lamented that “the ‘information’ from Mr. Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register, a media outlet belonging to the EWTN network, and which is the origin of the information that appears in various digital media of the country and/or abroad, causes pain and scandal in those it supposedly wants to defend.”
“With complete certainty and truth, we affirm there does not exist, nor has there existed, nor ought there exist in the seminary an atmosphere as presented by the aforementioned National Catholic Register report, in which the impression is given that [the seminary] institutionally promotes and sustains practices contrary to morality and the norms of the Church, viewed with complacency by the bishops,” the bishops’ conference stated.
In “Honduran Seminarians Allege Widespread Homosexual Misconduct”, published July 25 in the National Catholic Register, Edward Pentin reported on an anonymous letter written by 48 of the 180 students at the Our Lady of Suyapa Major Seminary.
In the letter, the seminarians say that “we are living and going through a time of tension in our house, due to gravely immoral situations, especially an active homosexuality within the seminary which has been a taboo during all this time.”
They also stated that by “covering it up,” the problem has gained strength, becoming, as a priest said not long ago, an “epidemic in the seminary.”
The seminarians’ letter was supposedly submitted to scrutiny at the plenary assembly of the Honduran bishops’ conference in June this year.
According to Pentin’s sources, when the document was read before the bishops, Cardinal Óscar Andres Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa (who coordinates the group of cardinals assisting Pope Francis in his reform of the Roman Curia), along with Bishop Angel Garachana Perez of San Pedro Sula, president of the bishops’ conference, criticized the authors of the letter.
The existence of the letter was confirmed to the National Catholic Register by Bishop Guy Charbonneau of Choluteca, who said the bishop’s conference is conducting an investigation to determine if the accusations are true.
“We are currently in this process,” the prelate said. “Each bishop has to deal with this, interviewing the seminarians of his own diocese.”
The National Catholic Register article came out a few days after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the Auxiliary Bishop of Tegucigalpa, Juan José Pineda Fasquelle, who at 57 was 18 years away from the obligatory age for a prelate to present his resignation.
Bishop Pineda has also been immersed in accusations of serious sexual misconduct and financial mismanagement.
In their July 30 statement, the Honduran bishops lamented that these news reports may have “disturbed” the People of God.
The bishops’ conference explained that Our Lady of Suyapa Major Seminary is “an inter-diocesan institution which, although it is located in in the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, it is at the service of the formation of candidates to the priesthood from all the dioceses of Honduras, with the exception of the Diocese of Comayagua.”
“The bishops, who are ultimately responsible for the formation of our seminarians, entrusted in 1997 the immediate task (of their formation) to the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (the Eudists) of the Colombian Province, and in recent years they have been joined by Honduran diocesan priests.”
“In the academic formation of the seminarians,” they said, “a significant number of professors including the Cardinal (Rodríguez Maradiaga), priests, nuns and lay people are involved. And, ultimately, each one of the bishops of the Honduran Bishops’ Conference is responsible for the formation, financial support and monitoring the human, spiritual and pastoral growth of the seminarians of our own dioceses.”
The bishops thanked God because “the enthusiasm, commitment, and dedication of so many people at the major seminary, in each one of the dioceses and parishes are bearing abundant fruit.”
However, they noted that it does not surprise them that “in the midst of that fruit weeds would appear.”
For the Honduran bishops “it is evident that there are weeds and evil, especially, in making ‘anonymous’ reports;’ in airing them, mixing in facts, suspicions and interpretations; while ignoring the monitoring given to the challenges that arise.”
“There are weeds in sexual and affective weakness, which affects all of us and can creates inappropriate attitudes and behaviors. There are weeds in sterile pessimism, in spiritual worldliness, in the search of forms of power, human glories or financial well being,” they added.
The bishops acknowledged “that these temptations affect us and that we fall into them. But we equally recognize that the power of God is manifested in our weakness.”
The bishops’ conference said that the bishops, formators, and seminarians are “engaged in a constructive and demanding dialogue to discern how to face the challenges that are posed to us by reality.”
“At this time, to support that commitment, we have requested the collaboration of a bishop emeritus of our continent, with experience in the field of priestly formation and who has also accepted our request.”
The Honduran bishops asked priests to “increase your commitment, and generous dedication to the service of the Gospel such that, following your example, free and mature vocations may come forth, unafraid to serve.”
“We ask current and future seminarians to engage enthusiastically in your discernment process, grow in confidence, authenticity and transparency with your bishops and formators, and let your communities and parishes honestly see the strengths and weaknesses of the seminary.”
Finally, they said, “we ask everyone to increase your prayers for our Major Seminary and avoid any kind of speculation which fails to respect the dignity of bishops, seminarians, the formators, and that of all of us who with limitations and failings seek to carry out the Lord’s work.”
Both Catholic News Agency and the National Catholic Register are part of EWTN News, Inc.
This article was originally published by our Spanish language sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
London, England, Jul 30, 2018 / 05:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Brain-damaged patients will be endangered by a U.K. Supreme Court decision making it easier to end their assisted nutrition and hydration, critics have said.
“This is concerning and disa… […]
Detroit, Mich., Jul 30, 2018 / 04:39 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Sixty one years after his death and eight months after his beatification, Blessed Father Solanus Casey is still able to draw crowds in Detroit.
The porter priest and Capuchin friar’s firs… […]
Parramatta, Australia, Jul 30, 2018 / 04:38 pm (CNA).- While Germany has the potential to be a major European leader, the Church in the country must take a strong stand to insist on moral direction as well, said Cardinal Gerhard Mueller in a recent int… […]
Newark, N.J., Jul 30, 2018 / 02:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark responded Saturday to Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s resignation from the college of cardinals, which came amid numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. Tobin called for continued accountability in addressing sexual abuse claims.
“This latest news is a necessary step for the Church to hold itself accountable for sexual abuse and harassment perpetrated by its ministers, no matter their rank,” Tobin said in a statement.
He asked the faithful “to pray for all who may have been harmed by the former Cardinal, and to pray for him as well.”
Pope Francis accepted Cardinal McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals on Saturday. The pope directed McCarrick, the 88-year-old former Archbishop of Washington, to observe “a life of prayer and penance in seclusion” until the end of the canonical process against him.
A substantial and credible allegation of child sexual abuse against McCarrick was made public in June.
In recent weeks, McCarrick has faced several additional allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct. These include charges that he pressured seminarians and priests into sexual relationships, and another reported allegation that he had a serially sexually abusive relationship with a child.
Cardinal Tobin noted that news of the resignation “will impact the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Newark with particular force.”
The Archdiocese of Newark is one of two New Jersey dioceses to pay settlements to two men who claim they were sexually assaulted by McCarrick while they were seminarians and young priests. McCarrick was then permitted to continue to function publicly as a cardinal.
Tobin took over as Archbishop of Newark in 2017, a decade after the archdiocese reached the settlement in the McCarrick case.
Since the allegations against McCarrick were announced, questions have been raised about whether any other bishops – including Tobin – were aware of the settlements and had spoken up about them. Tobin’s statement did not address those settlements.