Cincinnati Reds Schedule Opening Day for Good Friday

Foul ball indeed!

A reader alerted me to this and called it “the most stupid marketing decision by anyone!”


Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds will move to Friday in 2012, with an April 6 game against the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park.

Major League Baseball released the Reds’ 2012 schedule today. Click here to download a PDF.

For years, Opening Day for the Reds was held on a Monday. The 2011 season was the first year the season opened with the traditional Opening Day parade on a Thursday.

“The Reds already are working with the Findlay Market Parade organizers on Opening Day 2012,” said Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini. “No fans look forward to the start of baseball season more than ours.”

Sports fast becoming a religion in its own right.


Vatican Communique On SSPX (Society of St Pius X)

The Holy See Press Office has released a communique today concerning the postion of the Society of St Pius X:

On 14 September at the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the congregation and president of the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’; Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., secretary of the congregation, and Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the pontifical commission, met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, who was accompanied by Fr. Niklaus Pfluger and Fr. Alain-Marc Nely, respectively first and second assistant general to the society.

“Following the appeal of 15 December 2008, addressed by the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father decided to remove the excommunication against the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre. At the same time, he approved the opening of discussions with the society in order to clarify doctrinal problems and to heal the existing rift.

“In order to put the Holy Father’s instructions into effect, a joint study commission was set up, composed of experts from the Society of St. Pius X and from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who met in Rome on eight occasions between October 2009 and April 2011. Their discussions, which aimed to identify and study the essential doctrinal difficulties in the controversial issues, had the result of clarifying the positions of the two sides and their respective motivations.

“While bearing in mind the concerns and demands presented by the Society of St. Pius X about protecting the integrity of the Catholic faith against Vatican Council II’s ‘hermeneutic of rupture’ with Tradition (a theme addressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2005), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith maintains that the fundamental basis for achieving full reconciliation with the Apostolic See is the acceptance of the text of the Doctrinal Preamble, which was handed over during a meeting on 14 September 2011. The Preamble defines certain doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation Catholic doctrine, which are necessary to ensure faithfulness to the Church Magisterium and ‘sentire cum Ecclesia’. At the same time, it leaves open to legitimate discussion the examination and theological explanation of individual expressions and formulations contained in the documents of Vatican Council II and later Magisterium.

“At the same meeting, certain suggestions were made for a canonical solution to the position of the Society of St. Pius X, with a view to achieving the desired reconciliation”.

Very encouraging. May reconciliation become a reality canonical irregularities soon sorted out.

The Catholic News Service also covers the news here: Vatican gives traditionalists doctrinal statement to sign.



Monsignor Ian Dempsey Denies Sexually Abusing Archbishop John Hepworth

The Australian reports:

A Catholic priest has categorically denied raping Adelaide Archbishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion John Hepworth decades ago.

Speaking under parliamentary privilege, independent senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon on Tuesday named the priest as Monsignor Ian Dempsey, a parish priest in the seaside suburb of Brighton.

Monsignor Dempsey made a statement at his Brighton Catholic parish rectory today. He was joined by members of the parish council and the parishioners.

“On legal advice, I can only make a short statement and I won’t be answering any questions,” Monsignor Dempsey said.

“I am aware of John Hepworth’s unsubstantiated allegations against me through an inquiry instigated by the Archbishop.

“I have made it clear in writing to the inquiry that I categorically deny the allegations, which I note are said to relate to events that occured some 45 years ago and have nothing at all to do with underage people.”

He further denied the allegations and said he was going on annual leave from this weekend for one month.

Senator Xenophon had told the Senate there were allegations that Monsignor Dempsey had raped John Hepworth more than 40 years ago.Earlier, Senator Nick Xenophon said he had been swamped with calls, some from victims of abuse, after naming Monsignor Dempsey.

“We’ve been inundated with calls this morning and emails,” he told Macquarie radio.

The Catholic Church needed to ensure transparency, he said.

“It’s very interesting that Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, has actually said today that that the Catholic Churches of Australia need to have a transparent process the public have confidence in and it’s been my concern,” Senator Xenophon said.

“In other cases where there are serious accusations and of course there is a presumption of innocence – priests are stood down administratively so there can be an appropriate investigation.

“That hasn’t happened in this case (for) various reasons given by the churches of Australia, which I think are unsatisfactory.”

Asked what he thought of Bishop Christopher Saunders labelling his naming of the priest a stunt, he said that was “objectionable” and that this was a serious matter.

He called for the people who had contacted him about their experiences of sexual abuse to go to the police.

But some coalition senators have criticised the move.

Liberal Simon Birmingham said parliamentary privilege should be used “cautiously, judiciously, sparingly”.

“It’s not the role of politicians to play police, prosecutor, judge and jury,” he told reporters.

Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said using parliamentary privilege circumvented rights and liberties.

“We’ve got to make sure that everybody has got a certain presumption of innocence until proven otherwise,” he said.

“If you have got the story wrong, then you’ve done an incredible injustice to the person.”

A senior Catholic figure has defended the church’s handling of the matter.

The general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Brian Lucas, said Senator Xenophon had failed to make clear the allegations did not involve children.

They related to a claim involving two priests in their late 20s some 40 or so years ago, Father Lucas said.

The church had made the right call in not standing down the priest.

“For someone to stand down … on the basis of no perceived risk to children doesn’t seem at all necessary,” he said.

Father Lucas said Archbishop Hepworth should have gone to authorities with his claims.

Archbishop Hepworth, 67, revealed at the weekend he was the victim of violent rapes at the hands of two priests and a trainee priest beginning in 1960, when he was 15.

Claims against dead priests Ronald Pickering and John Stockdale were settled in Melbourne.

Monsignor Ian Dempsey’s statement can be watched on video here.

What a mess!


Archbishop Philip Wilson on Archbishop Hepworth’s Abuse Allegations

The Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, has released a statement on the allegation that Monsignor Ian Dempsey raped the now TAC Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth over forty years ago:



I wish to begin my statement by reaffirming my longstanding commitment to dealing with allegations of abuse within the Church with the utmost seriousness and with proper process.

My years as a bishop of the Church have been marked by my determination to always deal with allegations of abuse with compassion, justice and fairness, being highly sensitive to the needs of victims and applying all the rules of natural justice for those accused.

I stand on my record as a bishop in the way I have responded to issues of abuse in the Church.

Regarding Archbishop Hepworth, let me say that from the moment he came to present his allegations of abuse to the Church he has been responded to with the utmost care and sensitivity.

Monsignor Cappo who acts on my behalf has met with Archbishop Hepworth on multiple occasions since 2007. In fact at least 8 meetings have been held, all of lengthy duration.

Monsignor Cappo gave me a full briefing of each meeting, immediately following his interviews with Archbishop Hepworth.

On my behalf Monsignor Cappo urged Archbishop Hepworth, at the end of each meeting, to give his permission to proceed with an investigation in the allegations. On each occasion Archbishop Hepworth declined, indicating that he was not in a proper emotional state to deal with an investigation.

Sensitive as we must be to the needs of complainants, we adhered to his request. He was also informed that if he was alleging any form of abuse, including rape, that this is a criminal allegation and he should go to the police.

He has consistently declined to do so but I add that we have not been critical of him about this. We understand only too well the difficulty associated with making these types of decisions.

It was not until we received a letter from him in late February 2011 that Archbishop Hepworth indicated that he was ready for a process to commence and he thereby gave permission for an investigation to proceed.

I then authorized an investigation to commence immediately and diocesan solicitors (who were already involved) have assisted in that process.

This process is well under way and we are currently waiting to speak with the priest accused, to obtain his detailed response to the allegations. He has already categorically denied the allegations.

To claim that the Archdiocese of Adelaide has not responded properly to this allegation or has delayed or mishandled this complaint by Archbishop Hepworth is totally wrong and I completely reject that assertion as without foundation.

On the contrary, we have shown Archbishop Hepworth every courtesy, sensitivity and care in the process. I am fully supportive of the manner in which Monsignor Cappo has given priority to this matter and the sensitive way in which he has dealt with it.

In fact, he would often talk to me about the need to initiate further contact with Archbishop Hepworth to ensure that a proper dialogue was occurring with him and he has shown great compassion for Archbishop Hepworth. Archbishop Hepworth himself has acknowledged as much on multiple occasions.

In terms of the process, I would expect that in the next 2-3 months all the interviewing of people would have taken place.

However, this is subject only to our being furnished with a list of other persons who we have asked Archbishop Hepworth to inform us might be in a position to assist with our investigations. To date we have not received such a list from him.

It is my intention to then have Mr Michael Abbott QC to become involved in the process and assess all the evidence and documentation and to give me his opinion in law, of the allegation and the response by the priest concerned.

The question has been asked as to why I have not stood the priest aside from his ministry during this investigation. My answer is very clear. Priests are normally stood aside from their ministry when accusations of child sexual abuse are made or where there is otherwise any risk posed by that priest’s continued ministry.

In such cases this decision is clear and made as a matter of course. In this case, however, we are not talking about child sexual abuse. Despite the unfortunate suggestions made to the contrary in the past few days, the allegations refer to when Archbishop Hepworth was in his 20s.

That is over forty years ago. And considering the presumption of innocence and the good standing of the priest under investigation, I would not stand a priest down in these circumstances.

I have obtained advice about this, and in trying to balance the interests of all parties concerned, having regard to how old the allegations are, I have concluded it is not necessary for the priest to be stood down.

I am deeply distressed that Senator Xenophon has named the priest in Parliament.

There was no need for him to do so, especially when this would appear not to have been Archbishop Hepworth’s wish. There have never been any suggestion of danger to people in the parish having the priest present, and the investigation is well underway.

The damage to the priest’s reputation is obvious and severe and – in my opinion – this serves to undermine the presumption of innocence which all of us are entitled to enjoy.

Aside from that the distress to the parish is enormous. What has happened is unfair and unjust.

I was shocked that the Senator was not even prepared to sit down and talk to our legal advisers about the matter when the invitation was extended to him. Aside from anything else, I think it is also important to remember that these matters cannot but have had a significant impact on Archbishop Hepworth himself.

However, my concern now is to ensure the investigation continues, that it remains transparent and independent and that it is brought to a speedy conclusion in a normal and appropriate way.

That is what occurred to date and I pray that the events of the past few days will not interfere with that process.

Archbishop Hepworth has also spoken to Monsignor Cappo at length about the Traditional Anglican Communion and possibilities for its future relationship with the Catholic Church.

I have been resolute in taking those issues to the appropriate authorities in Rome and those discussions are ongoing.

I am very mindful of Archbishop Hepworth’s desire to reconcile with the Catholic Church.

From my perspective, from Monsignor Cappo’s perspective and in accordance with our legal advice, we have given Archbishop Hepworth’s allegations priority.

I was very relieved when Archbishop Hepworth finally able to consider he was ready to agree to the process beginning in February of this year.

I again repeat, to accuse me and the Archdiocese of not handling this matter with priority and proper process is wrong and I reject such comments.

I conclude by saying that I would have preferred that there was no need for me to speak today about such personal and complex matters, but in the light of all of the mis-statement surrounding the issue, I considered fairness to those involved in the process required me to make these things clear.

Having said this, I trust it is now clear why I would not be in any position to make any further statement concerning the issue until the investigation is completed. Thank you.


Feast of the Cross

The Cross, which is the universal image of Christian belief.

This feast is called in Greek Ὕψωσις τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ (literally, “Raising Aloft of the Precious Cross”). In Latin it is called Exaltatio Sanctae Crucis (literally, “Raising Aloft of the Holy Cross”. (The word “Exaltatio” is sometimes translated as “Exaltation”, at other times, as in the 1973 ICEL translation, as “Triumph”.)… The celebration is sometimes called Feast of the Glorious Cross.

According to legends that spread widely throughout Western Europe, the True Cross was discovered in 326 by Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine. The church was dedicated nine years later, with a portion of the cross placed inside it. Other legends explain that in 614, that portion of the cross was carried away from the church by the Persians, and remained missing until it was recaptured by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 628. Initially taken to Constantinople, the cross was returned to the church the following year.

The date of the feast marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335. This was a two-day festival: although the actual consecration of the church was on September 13, the cross itself was brought outside the church on September 14 so that the clergy and faithful could pray before the True Cross, and all could come forward to venerate it.

The above and more at Wikipedia.

There is more at American Catholic here.

How splendid the cross of Christ! It brings life, not death; light, not darkness; Paradise, not its loss. It is the wood on which the Lord, like a great warrior, was wounded in hands and feet and side, but healed thereby our wounds. A tree has destroyed us, a tree now brought us life” – Theodore of Studios.