JUNE 05, 2011, Vol 61, No 11

“Our prayers are with those affected by this situation,” said Archbishop Nicholas Chia over reports about a former principal of Maris Stella High School being charged for misappropriating funds.

Media reports said that Marist Br Anthony Tan was charged in court on May 19 for allegedly pocketing school funds.

In his statement to CatholicNews, Archbishop Chia said, “The police have investigated the matter, and Anthony Tan has been charged in court. The matter is now in the hands of the court.”

Your family can be holy when you choose to love your spouse, children and parents in spite of hurts. Photo: JOAN SOONG

Once I was discussing with a couple that “Scripture says: Be holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). And I continued, “What the verse means is that we are called to holiness, as persons, and as a family.”

The couple protested, “Ours is not the Holy Family. We are not Joseph, Mary and Jesus. How can we be holy?”

What they were trying to say was that they did not think they were special persons like the family of Jesus.

They judged that they lacked that something extra, so they did not think their family could be holy.
Young people working in the Vatican’s Internet office. CNS file photo

Studies show that young adults lag behind other demographics in just about every religious activity: attending Mass, reading the Bible, and praying daily among other measures. Parishes have great difficulty reaching them.

Yet these same young adults are typically the most savvy with new media. Inviting these “digital natives” to instruct the parish’s “digital immigrants” can be a prime way to engage, connect with, and evangelize them.

Young people who are experts at e-mail, Facebook, and blogging can teach older parishioners who are just breaking into the computer world. Similarly, pastors can institute a Digital Ministry Commission in their parish, inviting young people to become leaders on the team.

Each of these measures can draw young people deeper into parish life, paving the way for a relationship with Christ. - CNS

A young Catholic blogger predicts the benefits and risks of social media for church communities

“Please turn off your handphones and other electronic devices.” Millions of Catholics hear this mantra every week before Mass.

But imagine a priest instead requesting parishioners to “please, take out your handphones and turn them on.” You would surely hear gasps as people wonder whether the priest had spoken wrongly.

Yet this petition is increasingly being made at many parishes in the US. St Mary’s Catholic Center, the campus parish at Texas A&M University, is one example.

One weekend last September, at the end of each Mass, the priest asked all parishioners to whip out their phones and turn them on. He then asked them to SMS some basic information to a number associated with the parish, including their name, phone number and email address.

Within a couple of minutes, thousands of parishioners beamed their info to a registration database, establishing a digital connection between the parish and its parishioners (those without handphones were still able to fill out traditional registration cards).
A US report highlights misperceptions about clergy sex abuse and gives recommendations on prevention.

WASHINGTON – Several commonly held assumptions about clergy sexual abuse of minors are actually misperceptions, says a major study on the problem in the United States.

The study, released at the headquarters of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington on May 18, was conducted by a team of researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York.

“No single psychological, developmental or behavioural characteristic differentiated priests who abused minors from those who did not,” the study report said.

Furthermore, it was found that “the majority of priests who abused were not driven by particular pathologies, and most did not ‘specialise’ in abuse of particular types of victims.” The report said 70 percent of priests referred for abusing a minor “had also had sexual behaviour with adults”.

It often is thought that the sexual abuse crisis in the Church continues unabated today, the report observed. But it said “the peak of the crisis has passed”. It said the Church “responded”, abuse cases decreased substantially and clergy sexual abuse of minors “continues to remain low”.