March 2003


March 2003

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Let your hearts be broken
The Editor

Hard lessons in these scandalous times
Archbishop Vincent Nichols

‘These are difficult and painful moments in the life of the Church in England and Wales,’ says Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham. In facing the scandal of the abuse of children by clergy we must remember ‘that the mystery of evil is faced and resolved only in the mystery of the cross’.

The US clergy abuse scandal
Karen Sue Smith

Karen Sue Smith is editor of Church magazine (, published by the National Pastoral Life Center in New York City. In recounting the events which have dealt a deep blow to the Church in the USA, she concludes that ‘the bishops have made a start. But if trust is to be restored, patterns of secrecy, denial, and resistance among bishops and priests with regard to the laity must change.’

Jesus and the little children
Luke Timothy Johnson

Luke Timothy Johnson is Professor of New Testament at the Chandler School of Theology, Emory University, Georgia, USA. He gives here a gospel reflection on the Church’s current scandal – one which is larger than sexual crime and the abuse of trust, ‘but about the morality of the entire authority structure (and practice) of the Church’.

Eamon Duffy

Eamon Duffy is Professor of the History of Christianity and President of Magdalene College in the University of Cambridge. Here he assesses the impact of scandal on the Church in history and concludes that, while there are no easy answers to the present situation, the past at least provides ‘the comfort of knowing that failure is nothing new’.

The problem of scandal and Canon Law
Aidan McGrath OFM

What exactly constitutes scandal and how does church law deal with it? Franciscan priest Aidan McGrath is a former President of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland and author of several publications. He explains how Canon Law is intended, even in the present situation, ‘to help bring all of Christ’s faithful to “preserve their communion with the Church”’ (canon 209 §1).

Confession in a culture of self-disclosure
Michael A. Smith

Michael A. Smith is a priest of the Diocese of Pembroke in Canada, and on the formation faculty at St Peter’s Seminary, London, Ontario. He asks why the sacrament of reconciliation, which is a privileged moment of self-disclosure, is in crisis while there exists a cultural trend whereby many people seek to share intimate details of their lives with someone who is able and willing to listen. He concludes with some suggestions for a way forward.

Preaching and teaching the Word
Peter D. Turbitt

Peter Turbitt is parish priest of St John Vianney, Wantage, and a canon of the Portsmouth diocese. Here he offers his reflections on the lectionary readings for the Sundays of April and the Easter Triduum.

Pastoralia- Adoption – current concerns
Jim Richards

Jim Richards is Director of the Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster). Here he explains the background to the way adoption is used and regarded, and indicates some concerns at current proposals.


Sacred Silence: denial and the crisis in the Church
Donald B. Cozzens
Liturgical Press, £12.91
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Deacons and the Church, making connections between old and new
John N. Collins
Gracewing, £9.99
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No Women in Holy Orders? The women deacons of the early Church
John Wijngaards
Canterbury Press, £9.99
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The Bible Makes Sense
Walter Brueggemann
Westminster John Knox Press, £9.99
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