Dear members and friends, During the last two months, the universal church has been grieved by the passing of 2 remarkable and holy leaders - Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who died on New Year’s Eve aged 95, and Cardinal George Pell who died unexpectedly following hip replacement surgery on 10/1/23, aged 81. These were two men of contrasting background and character who were united through their profound faith in our Lord and deep commitment to His Church. Pope Benedict XVI, one of the greatest scholars to ever occupy the Chair of Peter, was known particularly for his piety and passion for the truth, and Cardinal Pell for courageously living out his episcopal motto ‘Be Not Afraid,’ suffering white martyrdom through the events surrounding his 404 days of wrongful imprisonment in Australia. These 2 great churchmen were strong supporters of MaterCare and its work. In a personal letter to its Executive Director and co-founder, Dr. Robert Walley, dated June 8th,1992, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, "Happy to have this opportunity to commend you for the invaluable work you are doing on behalf of the Church especially in respect to the several projects you are involved with to bring medical expertise to the aid of the poor in Africa." Cardinal Pell was invited to deliver the opening address for MaterCare’s 10th International Conference in Rome on 17th September, 2013. His Eminence was unable to attend and went to great lengths to pre-record a comprehensive and well-researched 15 minute address. The then Archbishop of Sydney opened with, "The Church gives thanks for the presence and witness of an organisation of midwives and obstetricians so dedicated to defending the lives and health of women and children. We give thanks for it’s beautiful and powerful expression of evangelisation bringing the gospel of life to places where human dignity is most threatened or violated, and where mothers can sometimes risk their own lives to give birth to their children. The value and significance of the mission of MaterCare International can’t be overstated. Maternal healthcare is a kind of meeting point where the struggle takes place between the culture of life and the culture of death. It’s where we’re called to love and uphold the dignity of all, to ensure the poor are supported in having their babies, not just the well-off." A link to the entire address is here. We recommend the following moving tributes. The first 2 are for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and the last 2 for His Eminence George Cardinal Pell, AC:
from Dr Tracey Rowland, recipient of the prestigious Ratzinger Prize for Theology: https://www.abc.net.au/religion/tracey-rowland-piety-of-benedict-xvi-and-passion-for-truth/101819730
from Cardinal George Pell, Live at the Vatican, Remembering Pope Benedict XVI January 3, 2023: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-IylIxMsvnc
from the Most Reverend Anthony Fisher, Archbishop of Sydney: https://www.sydneycatholic.org/addresses-and-statements/2023/death-of-his-eminence-george-cardinal-pell/
from Anne Lastman, Psychologist: https://www.fiamc.org/uncategorized/george-cardinal-pell-r-i-p/
We encourage all associated with MaterCare to attend a memorial mass for the repose of their souls.
Their heroic personal witness, courageous leadership and intellect will be sorely missed. May they rest in peace.
Kindest Regards, The Board of MaterCare International
Pictured: Pope Benedict XVI and Professor Emeritus Robert Walley
Pictured: Cardinal Pell and Dr. Richard Lennon, Chair of MaterCare Australia Cdl. Pell’s funeral was held in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Pictured: The schola chants after Cdl. Pell's coffin has been brought to the altar in St. Peter's Pell’s remains were transported back to his native Australia, where he was buried in Sydney’s St. Mary’s Cathedral on February 2nd, 2023.