Saturday, October 31, 2020

Bishop Mario Grech on Pope Benedict XVI

CIRCULAR LETTER From H.L. Mons. Mario Grech Bishop of Gozo
To the reverend Archpriests, Rectors of Churches, Religious superiors, Consecrated persons and Catholic Laity. HEARTFELT SALUTE TO POPE BENEDICT XVI Beloved, In a few days the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI will end. We have every reason to be grateful to this Pope who guided the Church for the past eight years. Apart from being for us a model of how we should be disciples of Jesus Christ, he was a strong wall on which we could rest. But above all, the Gozo Church continues to remember Pope Benedict XVI who, on 18th April 2010, made an extraordinary gesture and personally presented a golden rose to Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu on the Floriana granaries. Moreover, we are also grateful to the Pope because it pleased him to call into his family one of our priests, Mgr. Alfred Xuereb, who has been his second secretary during the past six years. As a token of love toward our Spiritual Father, I am asking all Gozitans to unite with the Universal Church in one prayer during the next few days so that, while we thank God for the gift He lent us in the person of the Pope, we pray for the Lord to help him live these moments of separation in serenity. Since the last day of Pope Benedict XVI’s Pontificate is Thursday 28th February, I propose that on that particular Thursday: 1. there will be a day of fasting as a prayer for the Pope’s intention; 2. a mass Pro Pontefice is celebrated in each church; 3. the Holy Hour will be for the Pope’s needs; 4. families offer the rosary for him; 5. the Pope’s flag is raised on the churches and private residencies; 6. a photograph of the Pope is exposed in churches and church-owned public places (schools, parochial centres, etc.) 7. at noon church bells will toll for 15 minutes; 8. in the evening the churches light up their frontage; 9. a fjakkolata is set up on church properties; 10. all families light a candle in the windows of our houses. From Friday 1st March 2013 until we have a new Pope, the intercession for the church in the Eucharistic Prayer will be in the way indicated in the subsidy prepared by the Liturgy Secretariat (page 10). Then, when the conclaves start, a Mass for the Selection of the Pope will be celebrated in all the churches of the Diocese at a time most suitable for the people. The start of the conclaves will be announced by all the churches at eight o’clock in the morning of the opening day through a fifteen-minute bell toll. When the news of the Pope’s election becomes available, the local churches will announce the happy event by bell-tolling for fifteen minutes. I pray for Heaven’s blessing on you. Given at the Bishop’s Curia, Victoria, Gozo, on Friday 22nd February, 2013, feast of the Cathedra of Saint Peter. 30/2013

Bishop Mario Grech and Amoris Laetitia - lest we forget

We are reproducing a comment from one of our readers. Any further information is appreciated. We consider the below as mere allegations for the time being.
Very sad. As a German residing in Malta, I remember that in 2015 this was reported in 'Malta Today' newspaper: •Priests pleaded with Rome and Cardinal Marx of the Bishops Conference in Europe not to see Grech appointed as Archbishop of Malta due to "reprehensible behaviour." •Grech failed to carry out the Vatican's order to defrock perverted priests who allegedly threatened to expose other cases of sexual abuse by priests. •He possessed the "grin of a Cheshire Cat" and was the "embodiment of a heady combination of spiritual authority and power with the lack of human accountability," in addition to a "manifest attachment to material wealth." •He was also accused in no uncertain term of being a "bully," creating a "bullying culture" in the local Church and being obsessed with of thriving in a "media spin culture." •Gozo continued, at least in 2015, to live at "home with his parents," and was accused of nepotism! Very sad news indeed. These are the corrupt Catholic Church leaders nowadays.
It had already been denied by Bishop Grech:
In a statement today, the Gozo Curia said that Bishop Mario Grech denies reports made in some international media, where it was alleged that he had threatened priests with suspension. The Curia said, “what is being stated by certain sections of the (international) media with reference to Bishop Mario Grech, namely that he `threatens priests with suspension (a divinis) for refusing communion to divorced/remarried,’ “is absolutely false.”
Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna and Bishop Mario Grech have prepared guidelines for priests, for the application of Chapter VIII of the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis – Amoris Lætitia . This chapter is an invitation for mercy and for pastoral discernment. In a letter read on Sunday in the churches of Gozo and Malta, the bishops explained that “this message is also relevant to the couples and families who find themselves in complex situations, especially those involving separated or divorced persons who have entered a new union. Although they may have “lost” their first marriage, some of these persons have not “lost” their hope in Jesus. Some of these earnestly desire to live in harmony with God and with the Church, so much so, that they are asking us what they can do in order to be able to celebrate the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.”

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Malta's Third Cardinal in history

Mario Grech (20 February 1957) is a Maltese prelate who was Bishop of Gozo from 2005 to 2019. He was Pro-Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops from October 2019 until he became Secretary General in September 2020. On 25 October 2020, Pope Francis announced he would raise him to the rank of cardinal at a consistory scheduled for 28 November 2020. Mario Grech was born in Qala, Gozo, on 20 February 1957. His family moved to Ta' Kerċem when he was a young boy. He attended the Victoria high school and then studied philosophy and theology at the Gozo diocesan seminary. He was ordained a priest on 26 May 1984. He then obtained a licenciate in civil and canon at the Pontifical Lateran University and a doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He then fulfilled pastoral assignments at the Cathedral of Gozo, in the National Shrine of Ta' Pinu, and the parish of Kerċem. His responsibilities for the Diocese of Gozo included service as Judicial Vicar of the diocese, a member of the Metropolitan Court of Malta, teacher of canon law at the seminary, and a member of the College of Consultors, of the Presbyteral Council and of other diocesan commissions. On 26 November 2005, Pope Benedict XVI named him Bishop of Gozo. He received his episcopal consecration on 22 January 2006 from his predecessor in Gozo, Bishop Nikol Joseph Cauchi. In 2011, he joined other Maltese bishops in advising Catholics to defeat a referendum that would allow the legislature to consider legalizing divorce. He was famous for prohibiting any Tridentine Masses from being held in Gozo, unlike the position taken by the Maltese Archbishop, Paul Cremona O.P. As president of the Episcopal Conference of Malta, he participated in the Synod of Bishops on the Family in 2014 and 2015. Speaking to the Synod in October 2014, Grech said that
"the doctrine of the faith is capable of progressively acquiring a greater depth"
and that addressing people in complex familial relations, or homosexuals or parents of homosexuals, "It is necessary to learn to speak that language which is known to contemporary human beings and who acknowledge it as a way of conveying the truth and the charity of the Gospel."
With Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna, Grech co-authored the Maltese bishops' pastoral guidelines on Amoris Laetitia, released in January 2017, which stated that in certain cases a divorced Catholic who remarried might receive communion after "honest discernment". The guidelines were republished in L'Osservatore Romano. The guidelines infamously said that:
"If, as a result of the process of discernment, a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she is at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist."
In a December 2018 interview, he said he enjoyed discussions with atheists that sharpened his own beliefs and preferred dialogue to the confrontation his critics preferred. When asked about family and sexual issues he said:
If someone comes to me, asking me for help to discover Jesus Christ... he or she could be homosexual, and even in a homosexual relationship. It doesn’t matter. I will not impede that person; on the contrary I would help. The last thing I would do is take up a position against that person.... Before, we would say: 'put your life in order first, and then we’ll begin the journey towards God'. Today, on the other hand, we would say: 'Let us approach Jesus Christ... and Christ will help us put our lives in order.' ... 'Black' and 'white' still exist; but the grey area in-between has grown. It is in the grey areas that we must search. That’s why I said that I am wary of those priests, or Christians, who feel they already know all the answers. No one can make that claim. We all have to continue searching.
On 2 October 2019, Pope Francis named him Pro-Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, in anticipation of succeeding Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri when he retired as Secretary General. Grech worked alongside Baldisseri and participated as a member in the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. Grech was also the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gozo until 2020. He was one of five Synod officials who served ex offico on the fifteen-person commission that was responsible for drafting the final document of the Amazon Synod. In his first interview after his appointment he stated that
"there is a movement toward which the Church can acquire a greater feminine face that would also reflect Mary’s face"
. On 4 July 2020, Pope Francis named Grech a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, with the exception of reconciliation with traditional Catholic communities. On 25 October 2020, Pope Francis announced he would raise him to the rank of cardinal at a consistory scheduled for 28 November 2020. The previous Maltese cardinals were: Fabrizio Sceberras Testaferrata and Prospero Grech OSA .