81% of the population say they are Catholic.


Portuguese Catholic Church finds few sexual abuse casesLISBON, Portugal – The Catholic Church’s news service in Portugal reports that a senior official says church authorities have investigated only about a dozen allegations of sexual abuse involving Portuguese priests since 2001.Agencia Ecclesia says Father Manuel Barbosa, spokesman for the Portuguese bishops’ conference, told reporters Tuesday that more than half of those cases were dropped because church investigators decided there was not enough evidence to pursue them.Speaking at a news conference at the Fatima shrine in central Portugal, he says it is usually up to families to report any allegations to the police.The priest said the Portuguese Church has a “zero tolerance” policy towards abuse.He also said the process for dealing with sexual abuse is handled at the diocesan level, “because that is where people live.”
Agencia Ecclesia did not quote Barbosa as giving any specific numbers of sex abuse cases, or saying if any priests were prosecuted or punished.

With too few priests, Portuguese women step up


Social worker Claudia Rocha is one of a number of women to lead services in churches in Portugal because of a shortage of Catholic priests (AFP Photo/PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA)

The practice of Sunday services being led by laypeople in a priest’s absence take place in a number of countries, including Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the US (AFP Photo/PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA)

Reguengos de Monsaraz (Portugal) (AFP) – Facing a shortage of Roman Catholic priests, women churchgoers have stepped in to lead Sunday services in villages in southeastern Portugal, a sign the ageing communities are open to change.
In the tiny church of Carrapatelo, a village overlooking the vineyards of the Reguengos de Monsaraz region, Claudia Rocha stands before a dozen mostly elderly female churchgoers wearing a black dress and sneakers.

Her leather jacket and smartphone sit on the front-row bench as the 31-year-old leads what the church terms “Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest” with ease.

After prayers and church hymns, she makes comments on the day’s biblical reading, a form of preaching.

At the end, Rocha hands out communion wafers representing the body of Christ that were blessed by the priest beforehand, but wine is not part of the ceremony.

“This church would be closed if I wasn’t here. Who cares if I am a woman, a deacon or a priest? What matters is having someone from the community who maintains our connection with the priest, even when he isn’t here,” she tells AFP.

– No misgivings –

A divorced social worker without children, she is one of 16 laypeople — eight men and eight women — chosen by Father Manuel Jose Marques to help ensure regular attendance at the seven parishes he presides over.

“It might seem strange and new, but we haven’t invented anything here. It’s a tool that has long been set out in the Church’s guidelines, for cases when it’s absolutely necessary,” says the 57-year-old priest.

The practice of Sunday services being led by laypeople in a priest’s absence take place in a number of countries, including Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the US.

It began in the 1980s, when services were prepared with a priest or ordained clergy member, resembling mass but without the rite of consecrating bread for communion or the Eucharistic prayer.

The Vatican and many clergy members have refused to encourage the practice, fearing a trivialisation of the tradition of Mass.

Father Manuel had no such misgivings.
To him, the need to set up Sunday services without a priest became apparent as soon as he took on his seven parishes around 16 years ago.

Before, there had been three priests for the seven parishes in Reguengos de Monsaraz, a town in the region of Alentejo between Evora and the Spanish border.

He assembled a group of 16 volunteers aged between 24 and 65 from varied backgrounds.
“These are people who have experience with faith and welcoming Christ, and who know how to talk about it,” he says, noting he makes no distinction between men and women.

Lay women step in, too, in other rural parts of Portugal, whose population of 10 million is overwhelmingly Catholic but only counts around 3,500 priests for 4,400 congregations.

– ‘Very sensitive subject’ –

Last August, Pope Francis set up a group to study the role of women deacons in the early days of Christianity.

While he ruled out the possibility of ordaining female priests, the move was considered a potentially historic opening towards a place for women in the Church.

“It is a very sensitive subject, but what we have done is very simple. In this tiny village, we are quite a bit ahead of the Vatican,” says Rocha.
The progressive Father Manuel says he believes “women would be very good priests and deacons” but is quick to add: “It’s not the opinion of one priest, or even 10 that makes theology.”

“We are living in the heart of an open community, the difference between men and women is no longer as strong as it was in the past,” says Dora Cruz, who teaches catechism in Campinho, a village of 700 people.

“But women’s equality doesn’t necessarily come from priesthood,” adds the 31-year-old mother and kindergarten teacher.

Members of the congregation approve of having a woman behind the altar.

“People found it strange at first — a woman leading Mass? But now we’re used to it,” says Angelica Vital, a 78-year-old pensioner.

“If we’re short of priests, I think they should be allowed to marry — they are men, like any other!” she adds, with a devilish grin.



So where are the wise men today? Where are the thinkers?
The devil is attacking the family and the Church. His strategy is to weaken resistance so that he can easily overcome his opponents and drag them in to Hell.
Families are attacked by poor marriage preparation, by materialism, by the culture of death. The idols of worldly success, sexual liberation and power are fuelled by the media. In the face of this the Church is failing, in a significant degree, to support the family by the formation of faithful clergy prepared to preach the authentic Tradition of the Church.
The Church is attacked by the scandal of poorly formed clergy being involved in monetary, sexual or other criminal activity. The consequences of these scandals are being augmented by the devil’s lies. Deflect, deny and disguise in order to protect the faithful. This is a fundamental error the consequences of which delight him. The scandalous behaviour is protected and allowed to continue and even more faithful lose faith in the Church because of the cover ups. Unfortunately it seems to be difficult for Clerics to be humble and to admit failure and to repent.
So, it is not surprising that he focuses his attention on the foundations that “form” the clergy! “Let’s make them weak and unable to put up a fight,” he thinks.
The signs of this are not difficult to spot in some seminaries.
Physical, sexual, emotional and verbal violence. Love of money; self-centred ambition; narcissism, lies and deceit; overindulgence in food and alcohol. This appears to be the case at St John’s, Wonersh.
To prepare good clergy who are prepared to fight these seminaries should be staffed by the best, holiest men and not the problem priests who are unfit to run a parish, are emotionally unstable or are inordinately attached to idols (money, sex, ambition, power, whatever). The devil is delighted that the weakness has pervaded to the higher levels of the Church and some Bishops are unable to recognise, face up to, or resolve the issues. It is not surprising that the New Movements are thinking that they are doing better and will fill the vacuum both in the parishes and the seminaries! They may be right.
Is Wonersh any worst than the other seminaries? I doubt it. The problem is the culture in the Church and the poor leadership.
If the seminaries are dysfunctional, we need to come up with a solution. There must be a better way to protect and form eager young men who seek to serve God.
I suggest that the Bishops start with a prayer campaign to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


Prayer ALWAYS helps.
But God helps those who help themselves.
From cardinals down young men are being initated into a corrupt lifestyle.
The People of God need to overturn the hierarchy and clergy!


11.41: If prayer always helps, it ain’t doing much for your smug arrogance, Mr. Buckley! The blog tiday: boring. All about Pat, Pat, Pat, Pat……sickeningly boring and utter crap. Who cares about your travels? You have lots of air miles Bucko. And you have THE brass neck to condemn ither clerics for escapism and travel! What hypocrisy.


I travelled to celebrate a marriage and am staying on a few days.

It’s my blog. I can publish want I want!

I know you are too thick to be interested in Faro Cathedral or Portugese Catholicism.

Why do you come on MY MY MY blog 😊


I am afraid that you are spouting pious claptrap at 11:29am. I recognize you may believe it or want to believe it, but neither making an idol of the so-called traditional family nor praying to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – whatever can that actually mean? – is going to produce well-formed Catholics whether clergy or lay. What is so often lacking is authentic personal growth.


11.41: Pat, generalised, ignorant comment roll off your tongue all too easily. Do you ever think first before making sweeping statements of judgments? I don’t think you care too much for TRUTH. I, for one, and many of my colleagues, were NOT and are NOT initiated into any kind of corrupt lifestyle. On the contrary, many of us have discovered the real essence of priesthood: to be of service to God’s people and, despite our many flaws, we endeavour to be Christ for others, at least in our idealism. It’s more than can be said for some of your particular ilk who have a deep love of self only and their own voices….thevtype that see inly the flaws andcsins of others. Pat, my 6 year old niece would surpass you with her integrity and beauty of mind and heart any time!


Pat, you’re in awful form today. what’s wrong with ya? you’re taking the head off everyone


Quite the contrary. I am sitting in 26 degrees enjoying a nice glass of Vino Verde 😊


3.21: Pat, your usual mantea: blind or covering up. Have you no greater intelligence than this silly, flippant, nonsensical, cynical remark? Try to move beyond your shallow mantras….


I am of the view that most clerics coming on this blog site primarily to remonstrate with +Pat, or anyone else critical of the RC institution, while at same time proclaiming their own virtues can be likened to the saying about empty vessals making most sound: and their “sound” is invariably discordant and out of tune with a reality they fail to appreciate.


4.01: MMM, are you drinking Vino Verde like Pat? Whenever your atheism/humanism/ or world view is challengd, you do a pretty quick chase down the mountains to defend yourself, don’t you? And rghtly so. Pat doesn’t have a monopoly on truth, compassion, justice, integrity or Christian living. Neither do I or neither do you. When untruths, innuendo, generalised judgments, lies, cynical remarks and dismissive comments are made against clerics, I respect their right to defend themselves. And you should respect that right too. Is the free, pluralist, tokerant society you wish for only for those who agree with your view?


MMM, I reckon a considerable number of clerics posting on this blog are up to no good.
Some of the comments from clerics, who claim to be other Christs, professional Christians,
are appalling. God only knows what some of these individuals are up to off this blog.
I suspect a number keep an eye on the blog, to monitor ‘the goings on’, just in case…!


If you’re a gay teacher, the church will fire you. If you’re a pedophile priest, the church will cover it up, payoff your victims and let you carry on. The church protects pedophiles and persecutes gay people


Gay teachers fired? Where? The States? Yes, sadly, in The States. At least eighty of them in the past ten years. But I’m not aware of the trend elsewhere. Here, in the UK, it is illegal.


Murphy-O’Connor I seem to remember sacked his secretary after finding out he was in a same sex relationship. I always thought there was a clause in the education act that allowed faith schools to ‘sack’ teachers who do not uphold values and morals in tandem with church teaching. it would be interesting to see it tested in the courts


3.43: You are so wrong. I have worked in many schools where there are gay teachers. As chairperson, I had the good privilege of interviewing many teachers and their sexuality is none of my business. I have worked brilliantly with many gay teachers.


”I am sitting in 26 degrees enjoying a nice glass of Vino Verd”……and I still have time to verify comments on here.
Really, Pat! it seems this away time isn’t exactly away time if you are continuing to log into this blog. Come on, enjoy yourself. go out and explore the area you are visiting


Just one word from Anon@4:21’s six word contribution seems appropriate to describe the aforementioned person: FOOL!
Surely that description is appropriate for someone who can only manage six words of a personalised insult and think it a comment relevant and worthy to the issues discussed?
On the other hand, maybe two words from MMM’s comment may also be appropriate: “empty vessal.”


3.24: Actually Pat, I’ve been to beautiful Faro many times and love the Cathedral. My brother has a villa near Faro, so I’m blessed to be able to use it. I have visited Portugal many, many times and enjoys its beauty, culture, art, music and it’s magnificent Churches from Coimbra, Lisbon, Porto, Evora, Sinatra…I know Portugal, its history and its Catholicism quite well. So, your referencevto being ‘thick’ is more apt to you than me. Stop always being dismissive of legitimate criticisms. Accept truth when pointed out to you.


4.12: Pat, I think you may be imbibing too much vino! You are in classic foul form. I wouldn’t like to be at table with you now..Chill out. Calm down. Enjoy life. Aren’t you blessed you can be away in Faro…


I seen you today but would never lower myself or partner to speak to you- I find you a bitter, arrogant, ignorant twisted vile man!


8-19. You wouldn’t lower yourself to talk to pat. But you attack him under the cloak of anonymity. Sterling chap is you…….NOT. Gutless snake more like.


8.59: Faro Fred, does everyone know who you are? I bet not. You could be Jack the Ripper. You are as anonymous as the commentator at 8.19. Are you thick?


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