Archive for the ‘Catholic World News’ Category

Pope calls Christians to be ‘living stones’ of the Church

Vatican City, Oct 24, 2014 / 04:23 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In his homily for Mass at the Santa Marta residence on Oct. 24, Pope Francis reflected on the call of Christians to perpetuate unity in the Church by being “living stones” built upon the “cornerstone of Christ.”

This creating of unity in the Church, the Pope said, recounting the reading from Saint Paul to the Philippians, “is the work of the Church and of every Christian throughout history.”

In addition, the Holy Father cited the Apostle Peter, who contrasts the Church – “a temple made of living stone” – with the Tower of Babel, which he described as the “temple of pride.” The first temple creates “unity,” he said, whereas the second symbolizes disunity and misunderstanding.

The task of every Christian, Pope Francis said, is “to create unity in the Church,” the temple built upon Jesus, who is the “cornerstone”.

Jesus is the “rock upon which the Church’s unity” is built, the Pope said, adding that “there is no unity without Jesus Christ at its base: He is our certainty.”

It is the Holy Spirit who creates this unity, the Holy Father said. “For this reason, Jesus sent Him: to make the Church grow, to make it strong, to make it one.”

In order to be strong “bricks” of the Temple, Pope Francis said the faithful must first become “weak” through the virtues of humility, kindness, and generosity. The weaker we become through these virtues which seemingly serve no purpose, the Pope said, the stronger we become as “living stones” of the Temple.  

Just as Jesus “was made weak” even unto the Cross, the Pope said, “He became strong.” On the other hand, “Pride [and] conceit are useless.”

In creating this Temple, Pope Francis said, the architect must lay out a ground plan. This plan is “the hope to which we are called: the hope of going towards the Lord, the hope of living in a living Church, made with living stones, with the strength of the Holy Spirit.” It is only with this hope as the “ground plan” that it is possible “to move forward in the unity of the Church.”

“We are called to a great hope,” he said. “Let us go there! But with the strength which Jesus’ prayer for unity gives us; with the gentleness of the Holy Spirit, who is able to make living stones from bricks; and with the hope of finding the Lord who has called us to encounter him in the fullness of time!”
 

Archbishop Chaput rejects ‘false’ media reports on synod comments

Philadelphia, Pa., Oct 24, 2014 / 08:38 am (CNA).- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia rejected claims that he had harshly criticized the Vatican or the recent synod, saying that he had instead been cautioning against a public image of the synod created by media reports that distort the truth.

“That’s simply false,” Archbishop Chaput told CNA Oct. 24 about claims that he had “blasted” the recent Synod on the Family.

“The synod isn’t mentioned in my formal remarks, and what I said in answer to a question from the audience about the synod is easily available, in full, online. People can see or read for themselves.”  

Archbishop Chaput’s comments followed a report by David Gibson of Religion News Service covering the archbishop’s Oct. 20 delivery of the 2014 Erasmus Lecture, hosted by the interreligious journal First Things.

The lecture itself did not involve the synod, but focused on the role of religious believers in modern America.

After the lecture, an attendee asked Archbishop Chaput about the Synod on the Family, a global gathering of bishops that recently concluded in Rome, and the archbishop replied:

“Well, first of all, I wasn’t there. That’s very significant, because to claim you know what really happened when you weren’t there is foolish. To get your information from the press is a mistake because they don’t know well enough how to understand it so they can tell people what happened. I don’t think the press deliberately distorts, they just don’t have any background to be able to evaluate things. In some cases they’re certainly the enemy and they want to distort the Church.”

“Now, having said all that, I was very disturbed by what happened. I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was of confusion. Now, I don’t think that was the real thing there,” he said, adding that he is eager to hear from the U.S. bishops who were present at the event.

“I want to hear from them. Then you can ask me the question and I can give you a better answer,” he said.

The archbishop then went on to say that “the Church has a clear position” on matters of marriage and communion, adding, “I’m not fundamentally worried because I believe the Holy Spirit guides the Church.”

In his reporting for Religion News Service, Gibson omitted the archbishop’s qualifying remarks about not presuming to know what really happened at the synod that he had not attended. He also omitted the archbishop’s comment that while confusion was the public image presented in the media, he did not think “that was the real thing” at the synod.

Gibson quoted Archbishop Chaput as saying, “I was very disturbed by what happened. I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was one of confusion.” He then moved on to other parts of the archbishop’s remarks.

The Religion News Service article was picked up by several other publications. Michael Sean Winters, a blogger for the National Catholic Reporter, pointed to Gibson’s article to argue that Archbishop Chaput was challenging Pope Francis, “criticizing the process of synodality,” and pushing an “agenda.”

Archbishop Chaput reiterated to CNA that when he had spoken of confusion being from the devil, he was not referring to the Vatican or the synod debates themselves, but to the way that the proceedings had been presented.

“The news media, sometimes innocently and sometimes not, distort the public image of the Church and her efforts. That creates confusion, including confusion in public perceptions of the synod, and there’s nothing Godly about that,” he said.

He lamented a sense of “infallibility” among some parts of the press, adding that “the worst offenders refuse to acknowledge their own mistakes and prejudices.”
    
Matthew Schmitz, deputy editor of First Things magazine, responded to Gibson’s article in an Oct. 23 blog post. He included both the video and written transcript of the archbishop’s comments.

Gibson’s article portrayed the archbishop as critical of the synod itself, Schmitz stressed, while “(i)n fact, Chaput denounced its public image while saying he would need to hear more from his brother bishops who actually attended before forming a firm opinion.”

Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, also voiced “grave concerns” about Gibson’s article, particularly its headline, which initially read, “Archbishop Chaput Blasts Vatican Debate on Family, says ‘Confusion is of the Devil’.”

After the archdiocese contacted Religion News Service, the headline was changed to, “Archbishop Chaput ‘disturbed’ by Synod Debate, Says ‘Confusion is of the Devil’.”

Both of these headlines, however, inaccurately present Archbishop Chaput as being critical of the Vatican and the synod, Gavin said, when in reality, the archbishop was simply criticizing “those who used the draft report from the Synod out of context to reinforce their own opinions and agendas.”

Additionally, Gavin said, the focus that Gibson’s article places on the comments could lead the casual reader “to believe that the Archbishop’s talk was all about the Synod,” when his comments were actually in response to an audience question, and his lecture was not about the synod at all.

“The RNS piece that was published just isn’t an accurate reflection of reality. It mischaracterizes both Archbishop Chaput and what he said,” Gavin said. “The story has been picked up by secular and religious media at the national level and it has created a false and misleading image. That’s problematic and unfair. People have a right to the truth. Media have an obligation to present it.”
 

Love Dictates Us to Love


Roman Rite – XXX Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – October 26, 2014 
Ex 22.21-27; Ps 18; 1 Thes 1.5-10; Mt 22, 34-40 
Ambrosian Rite – Sunday after the Dedication – ‘The missionary mandate’ 
Acts 10, 34-48a; Ps 95; 1, 17b-1 Cor 24; Lk 24, 44-49a  
1) The total Love. 
Jesus lived among men, and He,…

"You Can Die Any Number of Ways in Damascus"

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Diego Torres, a life dedicated to music (Video)

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Pope at Santa Marta: Each Christian should work for the unity of the Church (Video)

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Bishop Calls for Earnest Prayers for Conversion of England

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, England, is marking October, the month of the Rosary, by distributing free recordings of the devotion to every parishioner in his diocese. The bishop, who is to make the announcement in a pastoral letter due to be r…

Pregnancy centers, not politics – the future of the pro-life movement

Front Royal, Va., Oct 24, 2014 / 02:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid the chilling dark chaos of a woman’s unwanted and unexpected pregnancy, a group of pro-life Catholics try to be a light to both the mother and the unborn child.

Their mission is in an unassuming plot in a modest town well outside the sprawling Washington, D.C. suburbs. Not much car traffic passes through town other than tourists on their way to see the mountain leaves turn every October.

Seventy miles outside the nation’s capital in northern Virginia, there is no national pro-life headquarters, army of lobbyists, or melodramatic political battle being waged. The Front Royal Pregnancy Center is simply part of a national chain of crisis pregnancy centers, “the real future of the pro-life movement,” as board member Mary Brand put it.

And this future is carried out in a drab brick building on South Royal Avenue, ministering to pregnant women from town and from the surrounding area. Walk through the door, however, and one will meet a disarmingly festive atmosphere. Decorations festoon the ceiling and walls. A joyful, peaceful intoxication pervades the place.

“It’s liberating to work in a place like this where every life is precious. Every life is important. Planned or unplanned,” said head nurse Rosemary Antunes, RN.

If there’s any gravitas over a battle for the life of an unborn child, the volunteers aren’t showing it. There’s no grim reminder of what’s at stake, no guilt-trip ready for an anxious mother who is not sure what to do with her baby. The focus here is simply on the goodness of life and the Gospel.

“We work hard to be across-the-board life-affirming,” Antunes told CNA. “Not just the baby’s personhood. (The mother’s) personhood. Oh, and their significant other’s personhood.”

Crisis pregnancy centers are sometimes criticized for existing solely to save babies. The staff flatly rejects that line of thought when treating expectant mothers.

If the mother’s needs aren’t taken care of, if she is not affirmed and cared for through and even after the pregnancy, than the child will suffer the consequences, explained outreach coordinator Maura McMahon. A healthy mother is necessary for a healthy child.

This includes a mother who freely chooses to carry the child to term. She may be feeling intense pressure, on multiple fronts, to abort or keep the child, but the volunteers will not pressure her to save the life of the baby. All the witness to life is done through gentle, patient affirmation and education, through an authentic personal care for the woman.

“You’re merely giving them all the tools that they need to make an educated choice. And they know it,” McMahon said. “We’re giving them the space and time to make the decision. And we obviously pray that they keep (the baby), for the baby’s sake but (also) for their own sake. For the sake of their health, their well-being, and their conscience.”

“We really work hard on our non-judgemental, cheerful attitude,” Antunes says. This welcoming atmosphere begins right when a mother walks in the door.

“It’s important to get someone to smile or laugh,” said executive director Kathy Clowes. And no judgement of the woman is even considered.

In fact, the staff admire the women who come through the door, knowing that many of them are under intense pressure to abort their child.

“I think that a lot of them have heroic virtue, according to where they’ve come from, the very little training they’ve had,” Clowes added.

From humble beginnings

The center was begun in 1991, and presently ministers to almost 400 women per year and provides $23,000 worth of material assistance to mothers.

A local Catholic businessman offered the building that is the current location, and once they saw the building, the staff then knew they had room for an ultrasound machine. They procured one with the fundraising help of the Knights of Columbus. The local Knights council, the John Carrell Jenkins Council at St. John the Baptist Church, raised $24,000.

The national Knights of Columbus covered half the cost of the ultrasound machine. Through a program begun in 2009, the Supreme Council matches the funds raised by local Knights councils for ultrasound machines for local pregnancy centers.

The staff acknowledge the machine has been a game-changer.

“It’s been transformative, really,” Clowes said of the ultrasound machine. “The most common thing that the women say is that it did not seem real until they saw the baby on the screen. And they might expect to see a motionless little figure, they don’t expect to see it moving. Sometimes they don’t expect a heartbeat.”

The staff recounted once how an unborn baby on the ultrasound screen waved with his hand and the two year-old in the room waved back.

“You just let it dawn on them,” Clowes said. “Let the beauty of it come to mind.”

The image of a baby on the screen is transformative for fathers as well.

“They’re frequently stunned,” Antunes remarked. “There’s a genuine disconnect in our society between having sex and having a child. It’s documentable with the advent of contraception and the proliferation of contraception devices and use.”

Caring for the woman, no matter what

However, the woman needs more than pre-natal care if she decides to bring her baby to term. For many women the journey to childbirth can be a lonely and scary one. Motherhood, said McMahon, is a “life-changing experience,” and the women and babies need to be cared for even after the birth.

Women can participate in the center’s “Earn While You Learn” program, where women can “earn” supplies for motherhood as they are educated about pregnancy and motherhood.

“We make what seems like an impossible feat possible to them,” said McMahon. “Like you’re taking something that’s so intangible and you’re saying look, we have these material things for you to help you through the rough patches.”

The program also brings women back to the center, where they can establish a relationship with one of the volunteers.

“That first 45 minutes, you’re creating the start of a relationship, and if they come to ‘Earn While You Learn,’ you have all these hours to build on that relationship,” said Clowes.

And it is especially though these personal one-on-one meetings that the center strives to “share the Gospel,” as Antunes put it.

“A lot of centers have a group class, and you have to sign up for the group class, you come for the group class, you’re in the group with all these other people that you don’t really know,” Clowes explained.

“And we do one-on-one individual lessons. You come, you come with your mom, you come with your boyfriend, whatever. And if we can, we’ll sit in with you, most of the time, sit in with you and spend that time with you one-on-one.”

And any judgements of the women walking through the door go out the window.

“If they’ve had a couple of kids, or something like that, we’re not looking down our noses that they’re pregnant again,” Antunes said. “We’re here to help you through this pregnancy. And we think your kids are cute, by the way.”

“There has to be a safe place where they can know that this baby is welcomed,” Clowes said.

“And their other kids are welcome,” Antunes chimed in.

Vatican reorganizes Montecassino, mother abbey of the Benedictines

Montecassino, Italy, Oct 24, 2014 / 12:36 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Thursday appointed a new Abbot of Montecassino – the first monastery built by St. Benedict – and at the same time reduced the territory for which the new abbot is responsible.

“The Monastic Community warmly welcomes Father Donato Ogliari as 192nd Ordinary Abbot of the territorial Abbey of Montecassino,” the abbey posted on Twitter Oct. 23.

Abbot Ogliari, O.S.B., who is 57, was professed as a member of the Consolata Missionaries in 1978, and ordained a priest of that institute in 1982. He later transferred to the Order of Saint Benedict, and was solemnly professed there in 1992. Before his appointment as Abbot of Montecassino, Abbot Ogliari had been abbot of Santa Maria della Scala Monastery in Noci, Italy.

The Territorial Abbey of Montecassino had been vacant since June 2013, when Abbot Pietro Vittorelli resigned.

Montecassino is one of the few remaining “territorial abbeys” in the world. This means that the abbey is independent of a diocese, and is in fact its own particular church.

The Code of Canon Law defines a territorial abbacy as “a certain portion of the people of God which is defined territorially and whose care, due to special circumstances, is entrusted to some prelate or abbot who governs it as its proper pastor just like a diocesan bishop.”

While they were more common in the past, a 1976 motu proprio of Bl. Paul VI, Catholica ecclesia, moved toward reordering territorial abbeys so that monks might focus on their proper charism rather than also being responsible for a portion of the people of God.

Many were suppressed, and only 11 remain. There are six in Italy, two in Switzerland, one in Hungary, and one in Austria. There is also one in North Korea, Tokwon, though it has been vacant since its abbot died in 1950.

The U.S. once had a territorial abbey: Belmont Abbey, in North Carolina. The abbey had been founded in 1876, and in 1910 was given the status of territorial abbey, with jurisdiction over the parishes in eight North Carolina counties. Belmont’s territory was reduced twice, in 1944 and 1960, to the point that it retained jurisdiction over one parish. One year after Catholica ecclesia was issued, the territorial abbacy was suppressed and its territory transferred to the Diocese of Charlotte, though it remains an abbey.

Pope Francis’ Oct. 23 decision applied Catholica ecclesia to Montecassino.

Prior to the reorganization, it had been responsible for a territory of 227 square miles, including 53 parishes, 37 priests, 50 women religious, a number of seminarians, and nearly 79,000 faithful total.

Though Montecassino retains the status of territorial abbey, Abbot Ogliari will no longer be responsible for the care of so many faithful.

They have now been transferred to the Diocese of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo, which had previously been responsible for 551 square miles and included 91 parishes, 83 diocesan priests, and 175 women religious.

The diocese will now be known as Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo, according to Vatican Radio.

“To the entire diocesan community of Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo I extend my cordial greetings and I entrust my deep trepidation of soul,” Bishop Gerardo Antonazzao wrote to his newly-enlarged diocese Oct. 23.

“I invite all to prayer for one another, and in a particular way for my episcopal service, invested in an expanded pastoral responsibility. Along with the charity of prayer and of fraternal friendship of the entire diocesan community, I am comforted by the trust accorded by the Holy Father.”
 

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