Shrine weathers more than one storm
At Asia News, Cần Giờ Parish reported uplifting news from Vietnam: around 80,000 people went to the celebrations of the Assumption at the shrine of Our Lady of La Vang. The shrine, in the central province of Quảng Trị, has a remarkable history which reflects the struggles, and the faith, of Vietnamese Catholics.
The site, originally in a jungle, first became a gathering point for Catholics during the emperor’s persecution of the Church in 1798. Mary reportedly appeared to comfort Catholics, and told them about a remedy for the illness which had begun to spread in the jungle. A chapel was built in 1820 – but the site has been repeatedly ravaged by persecution and civil war.
According to the parish report, “Only the ancient bell tower remains of the original structure, restored as a historic symbol that reminds the faithful how the community strongly stood up on the ruins, despite unexpected suffering and problems.”
The apparition has not been officially approved, but popes have given informal support to the devotion. After 1975, “Vietnam’s communist government exerted strong pressure in order to stop Catholics from visiting the shrine. But in the end, the authorities failed in their attempt to ban faith.”
Christian marriage was shocking to Rome
At Catholic East Texas, Fr Joshua Neu remarked that “Since a Christian understanding of marriage has been the norm for many centuries, sometimes we may not recognise what is so striking – even radical – about it.”
The novelty of Christian marriage was, by contrast, obvious in ancient Rome. Then, marriage was temporary: “Divorce was so commonplace that the event was not recorded in official Roman records until the 5th century AD, and along with frequent divorce came frequent remarriage.” Men had affairs with impunity – while, Fr Neu wrote, “under Roman law men and women were not considered equals and women faced harsh penalties for adultery”.
In that context, Christians had to be clear about their beliefs in the permanence of marriage, the importance of fidelity, and the equality of the spouses – which the earliest Christian writings insist on. Today, “the life-giving teachings of ancient Christians are still taught in the Catholic Church”.
What happened to the McCarrick inquiry?
At The Catholic Thing, Fr Gerald Murray marked the anniversary of Archbishop Viganò’s “Testimony”. Fr Murray noted that, last October, the Holy See had promised an investigation into how Theodore McCarrick had been treated.
The Vatican promised, in its own words, to “make known the conclusions of the matter regarding Archbishop McCarrick … it may emerge that choices were taken that would not be consonant with a contemporary approach”.
Almost 11 months on, Fr Murray wrote, this looked like an “obvious delaying tactic”. Men in authority had committed grave offences, which have been covered up. “A transparent and thorough response has yet to come.”
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