Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

Holy See calls for immediate ceasefire, lasting peace in Gaza

Geneva, Switzerland, Jul 24, 2014 / 01:34 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a statement issued during a special session of the Human Rights Council, the Holy See urged an immediate ceasefire and the start of negotiations aimed at a lasting peace between Israel a…

John Paul I’s beatification cause may advance, cardinal says

Belluno, Italy, Jul 24, 2014 / 12:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A document advancing the beatification of John Paul I is ready, and will be given to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints this autumn, according to the emeritus Secretary of State.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone announced the milestone during his homily at Mass in the Belluno cathedral July 20.

The beatification process of John Paul I had been slowed because the “positio” had not been completed. The positio is the document that the postulator prepares, presenting the “pros” and “cons” of a person’s possible beatification.

After the positio is submitted, theologian consultants to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and the Promoter of Faith, will vote on whether to approve the document for further consideration.

If they approve, the members of the congregation then will give their response. If they too approve, the cause for beatification will be referred to Pope Francis for approval.

John Paul I was born in the Diocese of Belluno and Feltre in 1912, as Albino Luciani. He was ordained a priest of the diocese in 1935, at the age of 22, and was appointed Bishop of Vittorio Veneto in 1958. He then served as Patriarch of Venice from 1969 until his election as Bishop of Rome in 1978.

He served as Pope for 33 days before his death, presumably of a heart attack.

Shortly after his death, requests to begin his beatification process came from many parts of the world. These requests were formalized in 1990, with a document signed by 226 Brazilian bishops.

The diocesan phase of the investigation, held in Belluno, was opened in 2003 and closed in 2006. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the documents of the diocesan investigation in 2008.

A miracle has already been attributed to the intercession of John Paul I: the 1992 healing of Giuseppe Denora, from the Diocese of Altamura-Gravina-Acquaviva delle Fonti. Denora was suddenly healed from a malignant tumor in the stomach after seeking the late Pope’s intercession.

However, the reputed miracle still awaits the approval of both the council of doctors and the council of theologians who work for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

St. John Paul II declared his predecessor a Servant of God on Nov. 23, 2003. If his cause advances, he wil next be named “Venerable.”

Luciani’s positio was expected to have been prepared for the centenary of his birth, but was delayed until now because members of the team advocating for his cause wanted to double-check all of the document.

In 2012, the postulator of the cause, Bishop Enrico dal Covolo, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, had submitted instead the witnesses’ summary, the first of the four documents which make up a positio.

John Paul I’s beatification process is very close to Cardinal Bertone’s heart. The beatification cause had been promoted in 2002 by the cardinal’s close friend and fellow Salesian, Bishop Vincenzo Savio of Belluno-Feltre.

Bishop Savio died in 2004. Since then, fame of his own sanctity has spread to the degree that many have requested the opening of his canonization process.

“We will have to wait for something more for him,” Cardinal Bertone said to CNA.

Christian leader, friend to Pope Francis dies in motorcycle accident

London, England, Jul 21, 2014 / 03:49 pm (CNA).- Tony Palmer, a Protestant Christian leader and a close friend of Pope Francis, passed away in the U.K. on Sunday due to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.

The Order of the Ark Community, an i…

Catholic cultural renewal advocate Stratford Caldecott mourned

Oxford, England, Jul 18, 2014 / 04:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Stratford Caldecott, a Catholic cultural thinker dedicated to literature, theology, and the “second spring” of Catholicism, passed away Thursday, weeks after Hollywood stars took to Twitter to support him in his struggle with cancer.  

Those who mourned his death included his friend Michael J. Lichens, editor of the U.S.-based website Catholic Exchange.

“I don’t know anyone who has encountered Stratford Caldecott and not been changed, whether that was by his writing or meeting him in person,” Lichens told CNA July 18.

“His words, his example of love and charity, and his absolute gratitude for life shined through in his writings and also made him an absolute joy to encounter.”

“He was, without a doubt, the most powerful voice for Catholic culture in the Anglophone world.”

Caldecott, known to his friends as “Strat,” died in Oxford, England, on July 17 of prostate cancer.

Leaders with the U.K.-based Catholic Truth Society praised his “encyclopedic knowledge of the faith” and his “authentic talent for spotting gifted writers who, like himself, could explain the riches of the faith to all.”

Among his many roles, Caldecott served as commissioning editor of the Catholic Truth Society’s Compass magazine.

Caldecott wrote on the importance of Catholic culture, education, aesthetics, and theology. He drew inspiration from the luminaries of English-speaking Catholicism: Blessed John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Christopher Dawson.

His wrote various books about the sacraments, Catholic education, Catholic liturgy, aesthetics, and the spiritual vision of Tolkien in “The Lord of the Rings.”

Caldecott was the founder of the Second Spring journal, which takes its name from a sermon by Cardinal Newman that encouraged a Catholic revival in England.

He founded the Centre for Faith & Culture at Westminster College in Oxford, and later became the G.K. Chesterton Research Fellow at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford.

He served as an editor for many journals, including the U.K. and Ireland edition of “Magnificat” and The Humanum Review, the journal of the Center for Cultural and Pastoral Research at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C.

He served on the editorial boards of the journals Communio, The Chesterton Review, and Oasis.

Caldecott was born in South Africa and raised in London. He became interested in mysticism and religion as a teen. He studied philosophy and psychology at Oxford, and later converted to the Baha’i religion. He became involved in Buddhism, but his interest also grew in Christianity.

He recounted his conversion story in an essay in the collection “The Path To Rome – Modern Journeys to the Catholic Church,” published in the U.K. by Gracewing and reprinted on the Patheos blog “Standing on my Head” by Father Dwight Longenecker.

Caldecott had a dream about the Holy Grail that made him realize the importance of stories from his childhood, such as the King Arthur legends, Tolkien’s works, and the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

“All along, my imagination had been built on a Christian foundation, and I had never noticed it before,” he wrote.

He then began to study the Catholic faith. He said that he recognized in Catholic teaching “the God of my interior horizon,” described by St. Thomas Aquinas as “closer to the soul than the soul is to itself.”

“To reject the invitation of that God would have been to deny my true self,” Caldecott wrote.

“I had not expected this. I had intended not to ‘fall in love’ but simply to test Catholicism for its persuasive power, and then break the news gradually to my family, completely prepared in advance to answer all the inevitable objections.”

He was baptized in 1980. His wife Leonie entered the Church two years later.

“I began to realize that no matter how much grace is present in the other religions, it is only Christianity that knows the secret of how grace enters the world,” he said. “Without the cross, no ‘religion’ would suffice – were it founded on the Beatitudes themselves.”

“Christ came not primarily to teach, but to do. He came to die for us.”

While deeply admired by Catholics and others around the world, Caldecott gained his greatest worldwide prominence in his final months due to his lifelong appreciation for comic books about super heroes.

Because of his cancer, Caldecott was too ill to go to the movie theaters to see the Marvel Studios film “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

In May, Caldecott’s daughter Sophie took to the social media site Twitter to ask Marvel to send her father a copy of the movie so he could watch it at home. She enlisted the help of the general public and of  Hollywood movie stars under the hashtag “#CapForStrat”, to encourage Stratford in his final days.

The stars of Marvel Comics films, including Robert Downey, Jr. and Samuel Jackson, posted “selfies” with signs supporting Caldecott. Their photos joined hundreds of other messages of support that Sophie presented to her father.

Marvel then arranged a showing of the movie.

Sophie Caldecott in a May blog post said that her father loved comic heroes “because they inspire hope, and encourage people to fight for the greater good.”

“I think we’ve witnessed a bit of that child-like purity of spirit and good intentions over the past few days,” she added, voicing hope that the hashtag campaign will encourage men at risk of prostate cancer to undergo the proper tests.

Human rights court: Europe cannot be forced to redefine marriage

Strasbourg, France, Jul 18, 2014 / 02:56 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the refusal to recognize same-sex “marriages” does not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

In a July 16 ruling, the …

Papal trip to Korea should renew local Churches, priest says

Rome, Italy, Jul 17, 2014 / 01:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In the run up to Pope Francis visit to South Korea next month, a Korean priest said he expects ground breaking changes there in terms of peace and the Church’s service to society.

“The Koreans are very excited and full with joy,” Fr. Denis Kim, S.J., a professor of sociology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, told CNA.

“There is also an expectation for a renewal of the Church in Korea. In other words, the Holy Father can bring refreshment and also give inspiration, a sense of direction to the Korean Church.”

Fr. Kim is a professor of sociology at the Jesuits’ Roman university, and studied at the National University in Seoul, among other institutions.

He is convinced that the papal visit, slated for Aug. 14-18, will be important not only for his own country, but for all of Asia, where the people of Japan and China yearn for reconciliation in their own countries.

“The Church can contribute more, and in this regard Holy Father can inspire and stimulate; so there is tremendous excitement and expectation for his visit.”

The Church in South Korea has grown exponentially, marking 70 percent growth over the last decade. From 1949 to 2010, it expanded from 0.6 percent of the population, to 10.9 percent.

Fr. Kim suggested two reasons for the attraction of the Church.

“First there is a special hunger; so if you ask the Koreans who recently became Catholic, they will say: ‘I became Catholic because I wanted to find peace, peace of mind and heart.’”

Unlike other countries in which scandals connected to the Church prevail in media reports, she is portrayed as a positive force for South Korean society.

“Another reason for her attractiveness is that the Catholic Church has acquired credibility and a moral authority in comparison to other religions in the country,” Fr. Kim said.

“When you compare it with other Asian countries, the growth of the Church in Korea is really exceptional.”

Pope Francis’ style wins over the hearts of the Korean people, he said, with his “reaching out, and his very honest way of speaking and interacting with others and his respect for them, especially for the marginalized and the poor. This really attracts the younger generations.”

“Therefore, the best message is the messenger himself.”

“Usually the younger generations are treated as object for mission, like students who need to learn and to be educated,” he explained, but Pope Francis “invites them, as a companion, for a mission.”  

“Therefore younger people feel they are respected, they are recognized and they are invited to this very important mission, as companions.”

“We need new forms of discipleship,” Fr. Kim said. “New forms of martyrdom, new forms of witness.”

During his trip, Pope Francis will beatify 124 Korean martyrs who were persecuted in the 19th century, and who are role models for today’s Catholics on the peninsula.

“We need disciples who are not afraid to witness the faith in this contemporary democratic and capitalistic world.”

The Church can contribute her part in facing such challenges as “a situation of insecurity of the youth, a precarious job situation, fragmented families, high divorce and suicide rates, and the lack of feeling understood among the youth,” continued Fr. Kim.

As a Pope focusing time and again on peace, Francis will have the possibility to set concrete signs of reconciliation for Korea, a divided country.

“A call for reconciliation during his message, and a call to reduce the arms race, that would be very significant.”

Fr. Kim also suggested that Pope Francis could encourage the bishops’ conferences of Korea, Japan, and China “to walk together more closely for peace.”

Faith leaders join in condemnation of UK assisted dying bill

Rome, Italy, Jul 16, 2014 / 02:18 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Various religious leaders have joined their voices to denounce a bill seeking to legalize assisted suicide for the terminally ill in parts of the U.K., stating that doing so violates human dignity …

Pope says economy must fight ‘throwaway culture’

Rome, Italy, Jul 15, 2014 / 10:58 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis had lunch with participants in an international economics seminar on Saturday, saying their efforts to bring the human being to the very center of the economy avoids a “throwaway culture.&…

Bishop calls for united prayer to stop UK euthanasia bill

Portsmouth, England, Jul 15, 2014 / 03:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Warning that a proposed euthanasia bill for parts of the U.K. would mark the “catastrophic collapse” of respect for life, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, England, is urging a …

Berlin cardinal transferred to Germany’s largest archdiocese

Cologne, Germany, Jul 15, 2014 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki has been appointed Archbishop of Cologne, the Vatican announced July 11.

The Cologne archdiocese has some 2 million faithful, the largest number of Catholics in any German diocese. Its territory covers a significant part of the industrial Ruhr region and includes the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Bonn.
 
Cardinal Woelki replaces Cardinal Joachim Meisner, who resigned Feb. 28 upon reaching the canonical age limit for bishops, 75.
 
The choice of Cardinal Woelki as successor of Cardinal Meisner is a choice of continuity.
 
Cardinal Woelki was born in Cologne in 1956. He became personal secretary to Cardinal Meisner in 1990. With the support of Cardinal Meisner, Cardinal Woelki was appointed auxiliary bishop of Cologne in 2003.
 
In 2011, the prelate was appointed Archbishop of Berlin. His path was similar to his mentor Cardinal Meisner, who had headed the Berlin diocese before becoming Archbishop of Cologne in 1988.
 
The Archbishop of Cologne is elected through a rather unique method.
 
Cologne is one of 13 German dioceses where a chapter of diocesan representatives is part of the process which selects new bishops.
 
The diocesan chapter first creates a list of possible candidates and forwards this list to Rome through the apostolic nuncio. The Holy See considers this list and returns a list of three names. The chapter is then tasked with choosing the new archbishop from this list.
 
The 1988 process that led to the selection of Cardinal Meisner took 14 months, since none of the three candidates on the Holy See’s list won more than half of the chapter’s votes. The selection process has been reformed recently in order to streamline the process and to better adapt to the contemporary life of the Church.

Cardinal Woelki was in any case a likely pick from the chapter of Cologne, despite the media frenzy pushing for a more ‘liberal’ candidate for the Cologne archdiocese.
 
When he was appointed Archbishop of Berlin in 2011, Cardinal Woelki faced difficult times. Berlin’s gay community and liberal media reacted to his appointment with dismay, describing him as “backwards minded” and saying he was the wrong man for the job.

Cardinal Woelki reacted to the accusations of homophobia, stressing that he is simply a Catholic. He said, “the Church is not a moral institution that goes around pointing its finger at people. The Church is for me a community of seekers and believers and the Church aims at helping people to find happiness in life.”
 
In the course of the years, Cardinal Woelki increased his popularity among Berliners.

A video by the broadcaster DeutscheWelle portrayed him as a humble archbishop who makes his own breakfast and does his own laundry, not forgetting his origins. The video depicted him as someone who places a priority on meeting with the people of his diocese.
 
From this point of view, he might be considered the German version of Pope Francis.

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