CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 October 2018

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Pope says he hopes to visit Japan in 2019
VATICAN (CNS): “Taking advantage of your visit, I would like to announce my desire to visit Japan next year. We hope it is possible to do,” Pope Francis told members of Japan’s Tensho Kenoh Shisetsu Kenshoukai, a cultural association which visited the Vatican on September 12 
 
The pope has received several invitations to visit Japan, including an invitation in 2013 from prime minister, Shinzo Abe. 
 
A more recent invitation, according to the Japanese daily The Asahi Shimbun, came from the mayors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in May who asked him to visit the two cities that were decimated by atomic bombs in August 1945 and use the occasion to urge world leaders to abolish nuclear weapons. 
 
“The number of hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bomb attack) who had been exposed to radiation after the dropping of the atomic bombs is declining every year. Please come to Nagasaki and encourage the A-bomb survivors,” Nagasaki mayor Tomihisa Taue reportedly told the pope.
 
Clerical sex abuse not about gay priests top psychologist says
PHILADELPHIA (CNS): Misconceptions people may have about sexual abuse, sexual harassment and homosexuality as elements of the ongoing crisis in the church can hinder efforts to address it, according to Thomas Plante, a leading psychologist and expert on the crisis. 
 
The Santa Clara University psychologist told CatholicPhilly.com, the news outlet of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that the complex nature of each of the elements can make it “hard for the average Catholic in the pew” to grasp key differences among them, delaying the formulation of “good, smart solutions.” 
 
A prolific author who also serves on Stanford University’s faculty, Plante has spent more than 30 years researching and treating psychological issues among Catholic clergy and laypeople. 
 
Although many blame the abuse scandals on homosexuality among the clergy, same-sex attraction does not make priests more likely to sexually abuse children, Plante said. 
 
“It’s perfectly understandable that people could be confused by this, because we know that 80 per cent or more of the clerical sexual abuse victims are boys,” Plante said. “So people conclude that if you get rid of homosexuals in the clergy, then you’ve got the problem solved. And it doesn’t work that way.”
 
Council of Cardinals expresses solidarity with pope
VATICAN (CNS): Members of Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals expressed “full solidarity” with him in the midst of questions about his handling of the clerical sexual abuse scandal and said the Vatican is planning a response to allegations made against him by a former nuncio. 
 
Only six of the nine cardinals who are members of the council participated in the meeting on September 10. 
 
The six “expressed full solidarity with Pope Francis in the face of what has happened in the last few weeks, aware that in the current debate the Holy See is formulating possible and necessary clarifications,” according to a statement released after the first day of what was a three-day meeting. 
 
Pope Francis formed the Council of Cardinals, often referred to as the C9, shortly after his election in 2013 to advise him on the reform of the Roman Curia and on Church governance generally.
 
‘Our people have overcome’ Syriac Catholic patriarch says 
BEIRUT (CNS): In war-torn Aleppo, Syria, the Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan proclaimed that “the will of life has overcome death; hope and security have overcome despair and chaos. Our people have overcome.” 
 
Celebrating Mass on September 9 at the inauguration and rededication of the restored Our Lady of the Assumption Syriac Catholic Cathedral, the patriarch said, “We will always be people of hope and life.” 
 
The cathedral’s inaugural Mass, filled with worshippers, was attended by Mario Cardinal Zenari, the Vatican nuncio to Syria; bishops of other Christian Churches; and representatives of Aleppo civil authorities. 
 
The patriarch led a procession through the nearby streets to the restored cathedral, then cut a white ribbon fastened to the main door and entered. 
 
In his homily, Patriarch Younan recalled his visit to Aleppo in 2017, when he celebrated Passion Sunday Mass in the damaged cathedral with the faithful assembled under umbrellas “because the rain was falling on us from all sides of this cathedral.” 

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