Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Head of Austrian Catholic reformist group excommunicated
Church accused of 'double standards'
- AFP, Vienna
- May 23, 2014
The head of the reformist Catholic platform "Wir sind Kirche" on Thursday slammed the Catholic Church's "double standards" after she was excommunicated for holding private masses at home.
The Austrian diocese of Innsbruck announced it had excommunicated Martha Heizer, an education professor, and her husband Gert following internal Church proceedings.
"What angers us most is that we know of no abuser who was excommunicated. So double standards are being applied," she said in a statement, referring to the wave of allegations of sexual abuse that have been levelled at Catholic priests in recent years.
The church launched an investigation into the Austrian couple in 2011 after a television report showed them holding private masses at their home without a priest.
Innsbruck Bishop Manfred Scheuer slammed the services as a "serious offence" at the time.
Heizer, however, hit back in a statement on her group's website on Thursday, criticising the excommunication as an excessive ruling for a minor offence when criminal sex abusers received more lenient punishment.
"Our 'attempt to celebrate mass without permission' falls under the three serious offences that must be immediately reported to the Vatican. That includes violating the seal of confession and sexual abuse," Heizer said.
"We are appalled to find ourselves in the same category as priests who committed abuse."
She added that she and her husband did not accept the ruling and would continue to call for reforms in the Church.
According to the Innsbruck diocese, the ruling can be appealed within 10 days.
Heizer was one of the founders of the Austrian branch of "Wir sind Kirche" (We are Church) in the 1990s and has led the international movement of the same name since 2012. AFP