National Guadalupe shrine is in Pennsylvania

As we approach the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas, it’s worth mentioning that a parish in Allentown, Pa., is home to a national shrine dedicated to her.

 The National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Immaculate Conception BVM Church was dedicated in 1974 after a national search by the U.S. bishops, according to an article on Page 3 of the Nov. 26 issue of The A.D. Times, the diocesan newspaper.

“Our Lady is a protector and continues to love, guide and care for all people,” said Father Harold Dagle, the parish’s retired pastor.

Also last month The Catholic Sun in Phoenix in its Nov. 30 issue had a wonderful feature by reporter J.D. Long-Garcia, who went to Mexico to report on the devotion there to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Inside the John Paul II-Gorbachev meeting

Pope John Paul II meets Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

VATICAN CITY  — The release of a transcript of the 1989 meeting between Pope John Paul II and Mikhail Gorbachev offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse of one of the more important papal audiences of the 20th century.

It’s a translation of the Russian record of the private meeting, released by the National Security Archive, an independent institute in Washington. For background on this and other documents being made public, look here.

I remember the Dec.  1, 1989, encounter well. I was among the pool journalists allowed inside the Vatican for the event. We chatted with some of Gorbachev’s aides as the two leaders held their closed-door talks. Those talks lasted 76 minutes — an extraordinarily long time for papal audiences — and journalists always wondered how the exchange had gone.

We reported today on the new disclosures, in a story available only to CNS subscribers. Here is the transcript of the meeting provided by the National Security Archive. It picks up when interpreters entered the papal library following about five minutes of one-on-one talks between the pope and the Soviet leader:

Record of Conversation of M.S. Gorbachev and John Paul II

Vatican, December 1, 1989

For the first several minutes the conversation was one-on-one (without interpreters).

Gorbachev: I would like to say that I appreciate your words at the beginning of the conversation regarding the fact that this is a meeting of two Slavic people, among other things. I don’t mean to appear as a pan-Slavist, but I believe in the mission of Slavic people to strengthen the understanding of human values of life, peace, and goodness everywhere.

John Paul II: Yes, this is so. Peace and goodness.

Gorbachev: We welcome your mission on this high altar, we are sure that it will leave a great footprint in history. I am familiar Continue reading

‘Outrage, betrayal and shame’

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican issued a statement following Pope Benedict XVI’s 90-minute meeting today with Vatican officials and Irish church leaders, saying the pope shared the “sense of outrage, betrayal and shame” felt by Irish Catholics over decades of priestly sex abuse cases.

 Here is the text of the Vatican statement:

Today the Holy Father held a meeting with senior Irish Bishops and high-ranking members of the Roman Curia. He listened to their concerns and discussed with them the traumatic events that were presented in the Irish Commission of Investigation’s Report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

After careful study of the Report, the Holy Father was deeply disturbed and distressed by its contents. He wishes once more to express his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large.

The Holy Father shares the outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland, and he is united with them in prayer at this difficult time in the life of the Church.

His Holiness asks Catholics in Ireland and throughout the world to join him in praying for the victims, their families and all those affected by these heinous crimes.

He assures all concerned that the Church will continue to follow this grave matter with the closest attention in order to understand better how these shameful events came to pass and how best to develop effective and secure strategies to prevent any recurrence.

The Holy See takes very seriously the central issues raised by the Report, including questions concerning the governance of local Church leaders with ultimate responsibility for the pastoral care of children.

The Holy Father intends to address a Pastoral Letter to the faithful of Ireland in which he will clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation.

Finally, His Holiness encourages all those who have dedicated their lives in generous service to children to persevere in their good works in imitation of Christ the Good Shepherd.