Saturday, October 23, 2010

St. Mary MacKillop (Jan. 15, 1842 to Aug. 8, 1909)

   When people bash the Roman Catholic Church, one of the first things they complain about is pedophile priests. This is certainly not what the earlier popes wanted to happen when they imposed celibacy on the priesthood. However, the sin of child molestation is certainly not confined to clergymen.
   There's a much wider societal problem than that.  But, priests seem to be the easiest target. The "don't ask, don't tell" attitude has not benefitted the Roman Catholic Church. In my opinion, psychological testing during their time in the seminary might weed out potential offenders.
  Still, the problem isn't something new. Last Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010, St. Mary MacKillop, who was excommunicated for a period of five months in 1871 for exposing a pedophile priest, was canonized the first Roman Catholic saint from Australia.
  She was born in Fitzroy, Melbourne on Jan. 15, 1842, the oldest of eight children in a poverty-stricken family. St. Mary MacKillop is also known as St. Mary of the Cross. She taught Aboriginal school children for free.
   She  co-founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart in 1866, a group of women dedicated to helping the sick and poor. St. Mary MacKillop and, more than 45 nuns in her order, were excommunicated from the church, in part, for exposing a pedophile priest. The bishop later revoked his decision.
   St. Mary MacKillop died on Aug. 8, 1909 and her feast day is Aug. 8.

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