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March of Saints aims to catechize Filipino children about heaven

Manila, Philippines, Oct 30, 2014 / 08:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Families in Manila are gearing up to march in a colorful Oct. 31 parade dressed as their favorite saints, to evangelize and to catechize on heaven and the communion of the saints.

According to Chita Monfort, executive director for Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls, “the March of Saints primarily is a Christ-centered way of celebrating Halloween, and an avenue of catechizing the kids at an early age, and families, about the lives of the saints.”

“The idea is to create a counter-culture and to bring back the sacredness of the celebration of the vigil of All Saints’ Day,” Monfort told CNA Oct. 27.

Bishop Bernardino Cortez, Prelate of Infanta, will say Mass at 3 pm on Oct. 31 at the Manila cathedral, which will be followed by a procession of hundreds of children and their parents dressed as saints and angels. The procession will include snacks, candies, and a drum and bugle corps.

“We are responding to the call of new evangelization and brief inspiring summaries on the lives of saints will also be distributed in encouraging living life of sanctity and holiness.”

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan praised the event, saying that “there is a growing concern among Christians in general that the modern observance of the eve of All Saints’ Day has become a secular celebration that trivializes and even glamorizes occult and pagan practices and beliefs that are incompatible with the Christian faith and the true meaning of All Saints’ Day.”

Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, said of the March of Saints: “I am convinced that this will further catechize our sisters and brothers on the tenets of our faith, particularly on the importance of praying for the souls in purgatory.”

Leodigario Rivera De Guzman designed a logo for the march, showing a boy dressed as St. Paul leading a group of children dressed colorfully as fellow saints. The figure of St. Paul was chosen, Guzman said, “so as to entice other children into following his example of leading them to Christ, though in the pattern of youth and fun.”c

Oct 30 – Homily: We are the Household of God

Fr. Joachim on how we are merely travelers in this world. Our true home is God’s Household in heaven in which we are called to dwell for all eternity. Ave Maria! Mass: Thursday in the 30th…
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How one cardinal proposes to correct ignorance of marriage’s nature

Washington D.C., Oct 30, 2014 / 03:50 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- According to the Archbishop of Washington, the recent Synod on the Family worked to address the challenge that many young people today don’t fully understand the nature of marriage.

“There were a good number of us within the synod who felt, given the heavily secular climate today in which so many of our young people are living – what they see in media, television, electronic print, in movies, the music they listen to, the world they’re engaged in – (that) the idea of a permanent, enduring bond that would be life-giving and at the same time be indissoluble is not uppermost in their awareness of marriage,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl asserted in an Oct. 30 conference call.

Cardinal Wuerl was speaking about the Oct. 5-19 extraordinary Synod of Bishops, which was held in anticipation of next year’s World Meeting of Families and the ordinary Synod on the Family. After the 2015 synod, Pope Francis is expected to issue an apostolic exhortation.

In his analysis of the synod, Cardinal Wuerl specifically discussed two negative outcomes of confusion about the nature of marriage: cohabitation, and the failure of some marriages.  

“One of the increasing concerns is the number of people who aren’t even getting married today: the number of people who are simply living together without benefits of even civil marriage. And that says, to me, we have a long way to go in helping present as clearly as we can the beautiful gift that is marriage,” Cardinal Wuerl stated.

Another area of concern among synod fathers was the process of marriage annulment.

“The fact that there are Catholic couples and people who have re-married, and therefore can’t come to Communion, the fact that they would desperately like to do so, and the Church recognizes the good of that; the question is, ‘how do we do that while being faithful to the teaching of the Church concerning the bond?’ That brings us to the question of an annulment, the declaration that there never was a bond in the first place,” Cardinal Wuerl commented.

It was in reference to this that he suggested that “so many of our young people” might not have a correct understanding of marriage, to the extent that they cannot validly contract a marriage.

“Having said all that,” he continued, “there were many, many of us who felt (that) if we’re going to go the route of annulment, then that process can’t be so costly or so burdensome that it becomes a weight around the shoulders of the people trying to regularize their situation.”

Cardinal Wuerl added that “there were a number of suggestions on how to do that,” and that “that’s probably going to be an area that there’ll be a lot of discussion (about) between now and the next synod.”

One way to address the widespread confusion about the nature of marriage would be to properly catechize children and teenagers about the faith, the cardinal continued, beginning in Catholic schools.

Regarding a term that received much attention in the synod’s mid-term report – causing media speculation and confusion – the principle of “graduality” was nowhere to be found in the final document, Cardinal Wuerl confirmed.

“The whole concept of ‘graduality’ – that surfaced but you don’t find it in the final document,” he said.

“And I think one of the reasons for that is it’s a theological concept. It’s not a concept that you find well-expounded, well-defined, well-developed. And so if there’s going to be any reference to that in the future, I think it’s going to require a lot more thought and a lot more theological penetration.”

Vatican astronomer yawns at frenzy over Pope’s Big Bang words

Rome, Italy, Oct 30, 2014 / 03:26 pm (Aid to the Church in Need).- A leading Vatican astronomer said that although some see Pope Francis’ recent words on the Big Bang as signifying a change in the Church’s stance on the issue, the pontiff in fact said nothing new.

“It is important to emphasize that Pope Francis was not saying anything new or ‘breaking with tradition’ as I saw one commentator put it,” Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J. told CNA  Oct. 29.

Br. Consolmagno is an American research astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory, which is an astronomical research and educational institution supported by the Holy See.

Storms of media reports initially arose following a speech Pope Francis gave at the unveiling of a bust of retired pontiff Benedict XVI for the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday.

In his speech, Pope Francis said that “The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it.”

He also touched on evolution, saying that the “evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.”

Due to the explosion of headlines on the web saying that the Pope had officially endorsed a change in the Church’s position on these two theories, Br. Consolmagno said that it’s important remember that both theories came as a result of the work of a Catholic priest and a Catholic monk.

“The genetic basis of modern evolutionary theory is based on the work of Gregor Mendel, a Catholic monk; and the modern Big Bang theory was first proposed by Georges Lemaitre, a Catholic priest,” he said.

Br. Consolmagno explained that the theological basis for these theories can also be found in scripture, and cited St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians as one biblical source.

What Pope Francis said, he noted, is “completely consistent” with what numerous other popes in recent history have said, including St. John Paul II in his address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences entitled “Truth Does Not Contradict Truth” and his 1988 Letter to Director of the Vatican Observatory on Science and Religion.

Pope Pius XII also spoke about these theories in his 1952 address to the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union.

An important thing to keep in mind surrounding these topics is that “The Church does not take ‘positions’ on matters of science,” the astronomer observed.

Therefore, “science is left free to propose explanations and descriptions of the working of the natural world, knowing that none of these descriptions are the final word and that all of them are based on the assumption of a rational universe whose very existence depends on the creative action of God.”

Confusion over Pope Francis’ words also arose when he said that “When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining God as a magician, with a wand able to make everything.”

After this statement the pontiff said that God allowed creation and created beings to develop throughout history according to the internal laws which God gave them at the beginning of creation, and because of this “God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the creator who gives being to all things.”

In response to those who took the Pope’s words as meaning that God is not divine, Br. Consolmagno explained that all the pontiff said was that the Christian notion of God is not the same as other, pagan understandings of the divine being.

He referred to Pope’s use of the term “demiurge,” which comes from a gnostic tradition, and has been considered a heresy since ancient Roman times.

“This was the idea that God was some sort of ‘artisan’ who formed the universe out of pre-existing materials,” he said, which is basically the same notion as the pagan nature gods who were thought to oversee the activities of nature.

In light of this understanding, the astronomer said that what the Pope was most likely implying is that the Christian concept of God is “not a ‘nature God’” like that of the pagans.

Catholics, he continued, “embrace the idea of natural laws to explain how nature works – science – precisely because we do not confuse the actions of those laws with the actions of God.”

God is the reason why the universe exists, time and space included, and why it has laws, the religious brother observed, saying that science merely seeks to describe how these laws function.

Helpful resources for understanding these theories, he said, can be found in the Vatican Observatory’s 2009 book “The Heavens Proclaim, Astronomy and the Vatican” as well as the recent “Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?” which is authored by both himself and physicist Father Paul Mueller.

Franciscan Parish Lives Namesake’s Mission

By PETER JESSERER SMITH | TRIANGLE, Va. — If any parish could be a model of the New Evangelization in action, it might be St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in northern Virginia.

At this Franciscan parish, the friars have inspired their…

RNS Blogger ‘Inventing Own Reality,’ Says Philadelphia Archdiocesan Spokesman

By CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY | PHILADELPHIA — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has shrugged off a recent blog post that sought to pit Pope Francis against Archbishop Charles Chaput on the death penalty.

“Some blogs are like videogames; they inv…

A Tale of Targeting: Gay Bullying; Chaput, Morals, and the Law; Ebola Caution in the Pews and More!

By TITO EDWARDS | A Tale of Targeting: Gay Bullying by Robert Oscar Lopez of First Things – BigPulpit.com

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Michael White Wins Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction

By CHARLOTTE HAYS | The 2014 Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction — one of a burgeoning number of new Catholic literary prizes — has been awarded to a novelist who has penned a saga of a woman’s cross-country search for meaning af…

Pope Francis: The Devil Is No Myth —and We Must Fight Him

By ELISE HARRIS/CNA/EWTN NEWS | VATICAN CITY — In his homily on Thursday, Pope Francis said that the devil is more than an idea, and in order to fight him, we must follow St. Paul’s instructions and put on the armor of God which protects u…

Philly archdiocese: RNS blogger ‘inventing own reality’

Philadelphia, Pa., Oct 30, 2014 / 09:48 am (CNA).- The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has shrugged off a recent blog post that sought to pit Pope Francis against Archbishop Charles J. Chaput on the death penalty.
 
“Some blogs are like videogames; they invent their own reality,” Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the archdiocese, told CNA Oct. 28.
 
“Archbishop Chaput has been vocal and vigorous in opposing the death penalty for more than 40 years. That’s a matter of public record.”
 
Gavin’s comments came in response to an Oct. 24 blog post on Religion News Service by writer Mark Silk.
 
The blog post, entitled, “Pope Francis clarifies Archbishop Chaput’s confusion,” focused on Pope Francis’ recent call for the abolition of the death penalty.
 
Silk claimed that “What His Holiness has done is definitively reject the assertion of former Denver and current Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput,” alluding to an alleged conversation between the archbishop and Colorado gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez.  According to Silk, the archbishop reportedly advised Beauprez to pray about the matter in forming his views on it, telling him that Church doctrine is not anti-death penalty.
 
Gavin dismissed the Silk post as “ridiculous.”
 
Candidate Bob Beauprez is locked in a tight race with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.  Ironically, Gavin said, Hickenlooper is already on record thanking the archbishop for his past counsel against the death penalty.
 
In his blog post, Silk omitted comments that Gavin gave to members of the press who had inquired about the archbishop’s stance: “Scripture and long Church teaching uphold the basic legitimacy of the death penalty. But the Church also teaches that in the developed world, the circumstances requiring the death penalty for the purposes of justice and public safety rarely exist. Therefore the death penalty should not be used.”
 
As a result of this omission, Gavin said, the blog post misrepresented Archbishop Chaput by making it appear that he disagrees with the Pope on the death penalty, and portraying the Pope’s comments as if they were directed at Archbishop Chaput as a response.
 
In reality, Gavin stated, the archbishop has been forceful for years in explaining Church teaching on the death penalty. In the blogosphere, said Gavin, “inconvenient facts don’t seem to matter.”
 
Catholic teaching on the death penalty is laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which explains, “The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.”
 
However, it adds, if “bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.”
 
Archbishop Chaput, Gavin said, has written dozens of articles and spoken frequently against the death penalty for decades.  
 
In 1997, in a column entitled “The True Road to Justice,” the archbishop argued strongly against the death sentence for Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh.

 In 2002, he released a statement saying that in developed countries such as the U.S., the death penalty “should have no place in our public life.” He also wrote on the death penalty in columns written in 2004 and 2005 for the Denver Catholic Register.

In 2012, Archbishop Chaput again raised the subject of capital punishment. In his Sept. 10 weekly column for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he stressed that the death penalty does not effectively “deter crime, nor does it bring about true justice or closure for victims’ families.
 
“When we take a murderer’s life we only add to the violence in an already violent culture, and we demean our own dignity in the process,” he said.
 

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