December 26, 2012
) The month of February was one of the coldest
in recent months in Rome. A wintry storm brought snowfall
which blanketed St. Peter's Square. Despite the beautiful scenery, the snow left many people unable to leave their homes for days.BENEDICT XVI“The snow is beautiful, but we hope Spring arrives soon.”
While the storm blew throughout the city, high ranking officials at the Vatican took part in an international conference
about how to deal with sex abuse cases
at the hands of priests. The conference was organized by the Pontifical Gregorian University, with support from the Holy See.
The bishops from 110 episcopal conferences and more than 30 leaders of various religious orders attended the conference. They learned how to treat victims of abuse and what do with priest and religious staff found guilty of abuse.
CARD. WILLIAM JOSEPH LEVADA
Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith“The more than 4,000 cases of sexual abuse of minors reported to the CDF in the past decade have revealed, on the one hand, the inadequacy of an exclusively canonical (or canon law) response to this tragedy, and on the other, the necessity of a truly multi-faceted response.”
The conference included a ceremony to ask forgiveness, with the participation of victims of abuse and their families.
By Mid-February, the Pope appointed 22 new cardinals.
The appointees featured Santos Abril, the Spanish diplomat that taught John Paul II Spanish; Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York; Thomas Collins, the archbishop of Toronto; and John Tong Hon, the bishop of Hong Kong.
During the ceremony, the new cardinals swore loyalty and obedience to the Pope. They also received their red crest, ring and papal bull certifying their appointment.
CARD. THOMAS COLLINS
Archbishop of Toronto (Canada) “Well, I'm filled with joy. It's a wonderful occasion to be received into the College of Cardinals. It's a tremendous honor. I'm very grateful to the Holy Father for having me and calling me to be a cardinal.” CARD. SANTOS ABRIL
Archpriest, Basilica of St. Mary Major“It has been a truly special day because it is not everyday you get to become a cardinal. It is natural for it to be very special.”
Lent kicked off at the end of the month. As tradition calls, the Pope celebrated Mass at the Basilica of St. Sabina
. He received the ashes from the hand of a cardinal.