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Archive for April 2014

When a cleric is found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor what canonical measures can be applied?

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The canonical measures applied in dealing with a cleric found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor are generally of two kinds: 1) measures which completely restrict public ministry or at least exclude the cleric from any contact with minors. These measures can be reinforced with a penal precept; 2) ecclesiastical penalties, among which the most grave is the dismissal from the clerical state.

In some cases, at the request of the cleric himself, a dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state, including celibacy, can be given pro bono Ecclesiae.

Circular Letter, To Assist Episcopal Conferences In Developing Guidelines  For Dealing With Cases Of Sexual Abuses Of Minors Perpetrated By Clerics, Rome, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 3 May 2011

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20110503_abuso-minori_en.html

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Who is responsible for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors?

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The responsibility for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors belongs, in the first place, to Bishops or Major Superiors. If an accusation seems true the Bishop or Major Superior, or a delegate, ought to carry out the preliminary investigation in accord with CIC can. 1717, CCEO can. 1468, and SST art. 16.

If the accusation is considered credible, it is required that the case be referred to the CDF. Once the case is studied the CDF will indicate the further steps to be taken. At the same time, the CDF will offer direction to assure that appropriate measures are taken which both guarantee a just process for the accused priest, respecting his fundamental right of defense, and care for the good of the Church, including the good of victims. In this regard, it should be noted that normally the imposition of a permanent penalty, such as dismissal from the clerical state, requires a penal judicial process. In accord with canon law (cf. CIC can. 1342) the Ordinary is not able to decree permanent penalties by extrajudicial decree. The matter must be referred to the CDF which will make the definitive judgement on the guilt of the cleric and his unsuitability for ministry, as well as the consequent imposition of a perpetual penalty (SST art. 21, §2).

Circular Letter, To Assist Episcopal Conferences In Developing Guidelines  For Dealing With Cases Of Sexual Abuses Of Minors Perpetrated By Clerics, Rome, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 3 May 2011

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20110503_abuso-minori_en.html

What is the prescription of a criminal action against perpetrator of crime against minors

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The extension of the term of prescription of a criminal action to twenty years, maintaining the right of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to derogate from prescription on a case by case basis (art. 7).

A brief introduction to the modifications made in the Normae de gravioribus delictis, reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, given at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 21 May 2010.

http://www.vatican.va/resources/resources_rel-modifiche_en.html

Written by Erineus

April 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm

What are some considerations in dealing with sexual crime against minors

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I. General considerations:

a) The victims of sexual abuse:

The Church, in the person of the Bishop or his delegate, should be prepared to listen to the victims and their families, and to be committed to their spiritual and psychological assistance. In the course of his Apostolic trips our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has given an eminent model of this with his availability to meet with and listen to the victims of sexual abuse. In these encounters the Holy Father has focused his attention on the victims with words of compassion and support, as we read in his Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland (n.6): “You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated.”

b) The protection of minors:

In some countries programs of education and prevention have been begun within the Church in order to ensure “safe environments” for minors. Such programs seek to help parents as well as those engaged in pastoral work and schools to recognize the signs of abuse and to take appropriate measures. These programs have often been seen as models in the commitment to eliminate cases of sexual abuse of minors in society today.

c) The formation of future priests and religious:

In 2002, Pope John Paul II stated, “there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young” (n. 3, Address to the American Cardinals, 23 April 2002). These words call to mind the specific responsibility of Bishops and Major Superiors and all those responsible for the formation of future priests and religious. The directions given in the Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis as well as the instructions of the competent Dicasteries of the Holy See take on an even greater importance in assuring a proper discernment of vocations as well as a healthy human and spiritual formation of candidates. In particular, candidates should be formed in an appreciation of chastity and celibacy, and the responsibility of the cleric for spiritual fatherhood. Formation should also assure that the candidates have an appreciation of the Church’s discipline in these matters. More specific directions can be integrated into the formation programs of seminaries and houses of formation through the respective Ratio institutionis sacerdotalis of each nation, Institute of Consecrated Life and Society of Apostolic Life.

Particular attention, moreover, is to be given to the necessary exchange of information in regard to those candidates to priesthood or religious life who transfer from one seminary to another, between different dioceses, or between religious Institutes and dioceses.

d) Support of Priests

1. The bishop has the duty to treat all his priests as father and brother. With special attention, moreover, the bishop should care for the continuing formation of the clergy, especially in the first years after Ordination, promoting the importance of prayer and the mutual support of priestly fraternity. Priests are to be well informed of the damage done to victims of clerical sexual abuse. They should also be aware of their own responsibilities in this regard in both canon and civil law. They should as well be helped to recognize the potential signs of abuse perpetrated by anyone in relation to minors;

2. In dealing with cases of abuse which have been denounced to them the bishops are to follow as thoroughly as possible the discipline of canon and civil law, with respect for the rights of all parties;

3. The accused cleric is presumed innocent until the contrary is proven. Nonetheless the bishop is always able to limit the exercise of the cleric’s ministry until the accusations are clarified. If the case so warrants, whatever measures can be taken to rehabilitate the good name of a cleric wrongly accused should be done.

e) Cooperation with Civil Authority

Sexual abuse of minors is not just a canonical delict but also a crime prosecuted by civil law. Although relations with civil authority will differ in various countries, nevertheless it is important to cooperate with such authority within their responsibilities. Specifically, without prejudice to the sacramental internal forum, the prescriptions of civil law regarding the reporting of such crimes to the designated authority should always be followed. This collaboration, moreover, not only concerns cases of abuse committed by clerics, but also those cases which involve religious or lay persons who function in ecclesiastical structures.

Circular Letter, To Assist Episcopal Conferences In Developing Guidelines  For Dealing With Cases Of Sexual Abuses Of Minors Perpetrated By Clerics, Rome, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 3 May 2011

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20110503_abuso-minori_en.html

Written by Erineus

April 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm

A brief summary of the applicable canonical legislation concerning the delict of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by a cleric

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On 30 April 2001, Pope John Paul II promulgated the motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela [SST], by which sexual abuse of a minor under 18 years of age committed by a cleric was included in the list of more grave crimes (delicta graviora) reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Prescription for this delict was fixed at 10 years beginning at the completion of the 18th year of the victim. The norm of the motu proprio applied both to Latin and Eastern clerics, as well as for diocesan and religious clergy.

In 2003, Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the CDF, obtained from Pope John Paul II the concession of some special faculties in order to provide greater flexibility in conducting penal processes for these more grave delicts. These measures included the use of the administrative penal process, and, in more serious cases, a request for dismissal from the clerical state ex officio. These faculties have now been incorporated in the revision of the motu proprio approved by the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, on 21 May 2010. In the new norms prescription, in the case of abuse of minors, is set for 20 years calculated from the completion of the 18th year of age of the victim. In individual cases, the CDF is able to derogate from prescription when indicated. The canonical delict of acquisition, possession or distribution of pedopornography is also specified in this revised motu proprio.

The responsibility for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors belongs, in the first place, to Bishops or Major Superiors. If an accusation seems true the Bishop or Major Superior, or a delegate, ought to carry out the preliminary investigation in accord with CIC can. 1717, CCEO can. 1468, and SST art. 16.

If the accusation is considered credible, it is required that the case be referred to the CDF. Once the case is studied the CDF will indicate the further steps to be taken. At the same time, the CDF will offer direction to assure that appropriate measures are taken which both guarantee a just process for the accused priest, respecting his fundamental right of defense, and care for the good of the Church, including the good of victims. In this regard, it should be noted that normally the imposition of a permanent penalty, such as dismissal from the clerical state, requires a penal judicial process. In accord with canon law (cf. CIC can. 1342) the Ordinary is not able to decree permanent penalties by extrajudicial decree. The matter must be referred to the CDF which will make the definitive judgement on the guilt of the cleric and his unsuitability for ministry, as well as the consequent imposition of a perpetual penalty (SST art. 21, §2).

The canonical measures applied in dealing with a cleric found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor are generally of two kinds: 1) measures which completely restrict public ministry or at least exclude the cleric from any contact with minors. These measures can be reinforced with a penal precept; 2) ecclesiastical penalties, among which the most grave is the dismissal from the clerical state.

In some cases, at the request of the cleric himself, a dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state, including celibacy, can be given pro bono Ecclesiae.

The preliminary investigation, as well as the entire process, ought to be carried out with due respect for the privacy of the persons involved and due attention to their reputations.

Unless there are serious contrary indications, before a case is referred to the CDF, the accused cleric should be informed of the accusation which has been made, and given the opportunity to respond to it. The prudence of the bishop will determine what information will be communicated to the accused in the course of the preliminary investigation.

It remains the duty of the Bishop or the Major Superior to provide for the common good by determining what precautionary measures of CIC can. 1722 and CCEO can. 1473 should be imposed. In accord with SST art. 19, this can be done once the preliminary investigation has been initiated.

Finally, it should be noted that, saving the approval of the Holy See, when a Conference of Bishops intends to give specific norms, such provisions must be understood as a complement to universal law and not replacing it. The particular provisions must therefore be in harmony with the CIC / CCEO as well as with the motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (30 April 2001) as updated on 21 May 2010. In the event that a Conference would decide to establish binding norms it will be necessary to request the recognitio from the competent Dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

III. Suggestions for Ordinaries on Procedures:

The Guidelines prepared by the Episcopal Conference ought to provide guidance to Diocesan Bishops and Major Superiors in case they are informed of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clerics present in the territory of their jurisdiction. Such Guidelines, moreover, should take account of the following observations:

a.) the notion of “sexual abuse of minors” should concur with the definition of article 6 of the motu proprio SST (“the delict against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen years”), as well as with the interpretation and jurisprudence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, while taking into account the civil law of the respective country;

b.) the person who reports the delict ought to be treated with respect. In the cases where sexual abuse is connected with another delict against the dignity of the sacrament of Penance (SST art. 4), the one reporting has the right to request that his or her name not be made known to the priest denounced (SST art. 24).;

c.) ecclesiastical authority should commit itself to offering spiritual and psychological assistance to the victims;

d.) investigation of accusations is to be done with due respect for the principle of privacy and the good name of the persons involved;

e.) unless there are serious contrary indications, even in the course of the preliminary investigation, the accused cleric should be informed of the accusation, and given the opportunity to respond to it.

f.) consultative bodies of review and discernment concerning individual cases, foreseen in some places, cannot substitute for the discernment and potestas regiminis of individual bishops;

g.) the Guidelines are to make allowance for the legislation of the country where the Conference is located, in particular regarding what pertains to the obligation of notifying civil authorities;

h.) during the course of the disciplinary or penal process the accused cleric should always be afforded a just and fit sustenance;

i.) the return of a cleric to public ministry is excluded if such ministry is a danger for minors or a cause of scandal for the community.

Conclusion:

The Guidelines developed by Episcopal Conferences seek to protect minors and to help victims in finding assistance and reconciliation. They will also indicate that the responsibility for dealing with the delicts of sexual abuse of minors by clerics belongs in the first place to the Diocesan Bishop. Finally, the Guidelines will lead to a common orientation within each Episcopal Conference helping to better harmonize the resources of single Bishops in safeguarding minors.

Circular Letter, To Assist Episcopal Conferences In Developing Guidelines  For Dealing With Cases Of Sexual Abuses Of Minors Perpetrated By Clerics, Rome, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 3 May 2011

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20110503_abuso-minori_en.html

Gregorian Chant: The Birthright of All Catholics

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Catholics rejecting chant is like an American rejecting ‘American the Beautiful’

 Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

 

Last week, Father Jordi Piqué, O.S.B., dean of Rome’s Pontifical University of Saint Anselmo, announced that the Benedictine-run University has launched an M.A. degree in Gregorian chant and organ.  Endorsing the two-year program is Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.  Saint Anselmo’s is the seat of the world’s confederation of the Benedictine Order and is known as a center for liturgical activity.  At the parish church there, the faithful sing the Ordinary of the Mass in Gregorian chant, the western Church’s artistic and musical birthright.

Cardinal Ravasi is a Renaissance man. As a high-profile, high-energy progressive thinker, he would not endorse an M.A. in chant and organ if it intimated regression for the postconciliar liturgical life of the Church.

Before his advent to Saint Anselmo’s, Father Jordi Piqué, O.S.B., lived at the Benedictine Abbey of Montserrat just northwest of Barcelona, Spain.  The Abbey school boasts of a splendid music program featuring its internationally-known boys’ choir, L’Esclonia, founded in the thirteenth century.  Youth also learn to play musical instruments, and they are often chosen by symphony orchestras to join their ranks.  Congregational singing at liturgy blends Catalan vibrancy with quiet beauty. Montserrat is a place of wonder offering visitors a pilgrimage to the famous statuary of the Black Madonna, retreats, and outdoor activity.

The leadership of Cardinal Ravasi and Father Piqué reaffirms to the Catholic and non-Catholic world the importance of Gregorian chant in the life of the Roman Church.

Our Musical Birthright

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines birthright as “a particular right of possession or privilege one has from birth, especially as an eldest child.”  A secondary meaning defines birthright as “a natural or moral right possessed by everyone.” Don’t we Americans believe that an education is the birthright of every child?

Similarly, we Americans own our patriotic songs, for they symbolize our prized freedom.  We assume, we expect that our national anthem and hymns such as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “America, the Beautiful,” and “God Bless America” be honored by all Americans.  How can an American citizen fail to revere our patriotic songs? In Britain, homage is paid to the Crown with the beloved hymn, “God Save the Queen,” a venerable tribute and an integral part of British identity.

By analogy, Gregorian chant is the musical birthright of every Roman Catholic.  Almost as ancient as the Church itself, it is not the only sacred music promoted in the Church, but at the time of Vatican II, it was virtually discarded, linked to an outmoded and regressive Church.  The chant sequester has been so successful that young practicing Catholics have not only not sung it but have never heard of it as well.

The Benedictine Monks at Solesmes

The Benedictine Order of the Abbey Saint Pierre of Solesmes have cultivated and protected the chant since the founding of the Abbey in 1833 by Dom Prosper Guéranger.  The monks form one of the most renowned choral groups in the world, winning honors and recognition for its groundbreaking recordings of Gregorian chant.

As paleographers, Dom Guéranger and his fellow monks drew together the various chant editions into a coherent, scholarly, and sound body of music.  Manuscripts had been scattered in monasteries from centuries of neglect.

Often, they were handed down in corrupted form. The dedication of Solesmes to restore and renew the chant affected not only France but other countries as well, including our own.  The approach of the monks has been threefold:  academic, musical, and theological-biblical-contemplative. Their solicitude has resulted in the publication of chant books for use by the Congregation of Solesmes and beyond.  The Clear Creek Abbey in Tulsa, Oklahoma belongs to the Solesmes Congregation through the French foundation at Fontgombault.

In 1930, the monks recorded a large body of chant with more recordings to follow in 1958 and 1960.  In 1976, their recording under the direction of Dom Jean Gajard received a Grammy Award nomination.  To this day, they remain a highly respected and widely recognized choral group throughout the world. The popularity of chant may be linked to the search for the sacred in a desacralized world.

The Chant Vineyard

Gregorian chant is no more a museum piece than is a vintage Pinot noir from Romanée-Conti, the most prestigious guardian of the most sought after red wine in the world. Solesmes is the Romanée-Conti of Gregorian chant. It is at the Abbey that the monks have preserved the unsurpassed treasure of three thousand exquisite chants as the precious, forceful bouquet of Pinot noir has been preserved by Romanée-Conti.

The vineyard at Romanée-Conti, not far from Dijon, France, enforces strict rules to protect its special soil against frosts and from any foreign elements that might erode the unique quality of the grapes. When correction of the soil becomes necessary to maintain proper balance, correction other than by virgin soil of the vineyard is prohibited.  The wine dressers of Romanée-Conti are convinced that they have all the necessary resources from within the vineyard to make the necessary correction.  Experience has taught them that importation of foreign soil has not enriched the vineyard. Instead, it has eroded the soil, compromised the grapes, and, ultimately the wine itself (Joseph Roccasalvo, “Organ Recital”).

Likewise with Gregorian chant.  To correct centuries of liturgical passivity by the faithful, foreign elements became de rigeur.  Guitars, pianos, and anything that was banged accompanied poorly-composed melodies, promoted by church leaders.  This seismic shift jolted not only a large segment of the Church but music scholars as well.

The Organ King

An unintended consequence of the post-conciliar liturgy minimized or eliminated the role of the organist, many of whom lost their positions to pastoral liturgists with little or no musical training.  Today, pianos are fast displacing guitar ensembles. They too are a foreign element belonging to the concert hall and discotheque but not in the liturgy. In fact, a piano with its percussiveness and improvisational ability contributes to prayerlessness in the liturgy.

This dramatic and tragic change has deprived the faithful of experiencing the rich organ repertory despite official documents singling out the pipe organ as adding “a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies, powerfully lift[ing] up men’s mind to God and to higher things” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1157).  The pipe or tracker organ is known as “the king of the instruments.” When all the stops are pulled out, it produces a colossal symphonic sound, much like the effects of a Pinot noir.

The M.A. program at Saint Anselmo’s reunites the organist with Catholic liturgical practice.  This includes organ accompaniment and studying organ repertory.  Both were perfected by J.S. Bach, “the fifth evangelist.”  Through public recitals, the organ serves as a way of evangelizing the Church and the culture with the beauty and joy of music.

The pipe or tracker organ is a costly investment for parishes. Even repairing an organ can become a financial burden to them.  In many cases, pastors have resorted to pianos as substitutes for guitars as well as for organs that are in disrepair.  Protestant churches value their organs and, by extension, their organists, perhaps almost as much as their rectors or ministers.  In these faith-communions, the homily and the hymn are essential parts of the worship service.

Hindsight

With the renewed ecclesiology of Vatican II, it might have been wiser to make the necessary correction from within the tradition instead of admitting foreign elements that did not emerge organically from the tradition.  It might have been wiser to adapt some chants to English and rediscover the chant in a new context. Many had hoped that, by singing in a popular style, active participation would elevate liturgical worship, thus making it a beautiful experience.  We have learned otherwise.  Such is the wisdom of hindsight.

What is needed?  A renewed attitude toward the chant.  It greatly desires to be reclaimed as our very own.  As for Latin: If our diversity welcomes many languages during the liturgy, including Greek, surely Latin can and should also be readmitted to it.  Saint Anselmo’s is heeding that clarion call, for its M.A. program does not cling to the past but anticipates a new flowering of music that is “ever ancient, ever new.”

Originally published by Catholic News Agency on May 29th, 2013.

Written by Erineus

April 2, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Learning the Chants: Singing with a Unified Voice

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John Mark Klaus

The revised translation of The Roman Missal will give us a chance again to sing and hear more sung chants in our liturgies. This sung prayer will connect us with the centuries-old prayer of the Church. As Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship, 72, states,

Gregorian chant is uniquely the Church’s own music. Chant is a living connection with our forebears in the faith, the traditional music of the Roman rite, a sign of communion with the universal Church, a bond of unity across cultures, a means for diverse communities to participate together in song, and a summons to contemplative participation in the Liturgy.

Chants are natural speech rhythms in which many words can be sung on the same pitch. In some instances, the words can be more easily chanted than said and can be sung more slowly and reverently.

This third edition of The Roman Missal encourages both the assembly and priest celebrant to chant more parts of the Mass, especially the dialogue prayers. The priest is also encouraged to sing the gathering rite, the collects, the Gospel on special occasions, and the Eucharistic Prayers with the chant notes included in The Roman Missal.

Sing to the Lord describes the principles of progressive solemnity. This means that during the Masses on holy days, greater feast days, and solemnities such as Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, more music can be sung, making the Mass more elaborate musically than other Sunday Masses.

The Roman Missal suggests that the congregation should be able to chant some parts of the Mass. This brings unity to the sung prayer of the universal Church. The new chants have been revised into English from some of the Gregorian chants. Many of the melodies will sound familiar, since some parishes are already familiar with singing the Gregorian chants in Latin.

Chants are natural melodies, most having only four or five musical notes. The chants are sung in unison and are usually done without accompaniment. The distance between the notes is small steps of a second, third, or fifth, which make it easy to sing and to learn.

What are some ways to teach the chants to our assemblies? The following ideas may help you to prepare the parish musically for The Roman Missal.

  • The organist could start using the chant melodies as prelude and meditation music during the Mass. Doing this will make the melodies more familiar to the assembly.
  • The choir could use the chant tones as vocal warm-up exercises, familiarizing themselves with the tones and melodies so they can confidently, without hesitation, solidly support the congregation in the new chants until they learn them.
  • After the cantors have received training in their role in introducing the chants of The Roman Missal to the assembly, they could begin to teach the assembly the chant parts of the Mass (Responses, Holy, Holy, Holy, Memorial Acclamations, and Gloria), in October and November.

Although other musical settings besides the chanted Mass parts are also available, every church should learn the chant settings so they could be used not only in the parish but also for diocesan celebrations where familiar music is important for active participation.

The priest, in particular, should learn to use the new chants in The Roman Missal. In some ways, chanting can be easier than saying the text since, chants can be said more slowly and reverently. The priest should practice the chants so that he is able to sing his parts confidently and without hesitation. This will help the assembly in singing their parts well. If the priest and assembly begin to sing their parts from the beginning, it will become part of how the liturgy is done in the parish and will help for a smoother transition.

Chants have been a part of our Catholic faith for centuries. We now have another opportunity to grow deeper in our faith and knowledge of our Catholic heritage. The Roman Missal will give us a chance to become better catechized in understanding the mystery of the Mass and pray as the Church says, with fuller, active, and conscious participation, chanting the praises of God together in song.

John Mark Klaus, TOR is a Franciscan Father of the Third Order Regular. He is the parochial vicar at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish in Sarasota, Florida, and is the director of Worship for the Diocese of Venice.