Posts Tagged ‘US’

Was the last ‘witch’ of Boston actually a Catholic martyr?

Boston, Mass., Oct 31, 2014 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The last person hanged for witchcraft in Boston could be considered a Catholic martyr.

In the 1650s, Ann Glover and her family, along with some 50,000 other native Irish people, were enslaved by Englishman Oliver Cromwell during the occupation of Ireland and shipped to the island of Barbados, where they were sold as indentured servants.

What is known of her history is sporadic at best, though she was definitely Irish and definitely Catholic. According to an article in the Boston Globe, even Ann’s real name remains a mystery, as indentured servants were often forced to take the names of their masters.

While in Barbados, Ann’s husband was reportedly killed for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith. By 1680, Ann and her daughter had moved to Boston where Ann worked as a “goodwife” (a housekeeper and nanny) for the John Goodwin family.

Father Robert O’Grady, director of the Boston Catholic Directory for the Archdiocese of Boston, said that after working for the Goodwins for a few years, Ann Glover became sick, and the illness spread to four of the five Goodwin children.

“She was, unsurprisingly, not well-educated, and in working with the family, apparently she got sick at some point and the kids for whom she was primarily responsible caught whatever it was,” Fr. O’Grady told CNA.

A doctor allegedly concluded that “nothing but a hellish Witchcraft could be the origin of these maladies,” and one of the daughters confirmed the claim, saying she fell ill after an argument with Ann.  

The infamous Reverend Cotton Mather, a Harvard graduate and one of the main perpetrators of witch trial hysteria at the time, insisted Ann Glover was a witch and brought her to what would be the last witch trial in Boston in 1688.

In the courtroom, Ann refused to speak English and instead answered questions in her native Irish Gaelic. In order to prove she was not a witch, Mather asked Ann to recite the Our Father, which she did, in a mix of Irish Gaelic and Latin because of her lack of education.

“Cotton Mather would have recognized some of it, because of course that would have been part of your studies in those days, you studied classical languages when you were preparing to be a minister, especially Latin and Greek,” Father O’Grady said.

“But because it was kind of mixed in with Irish Gaelic, it was then considered proof that she was possessed because she was mangling the Latin.”

Allegedly, Boston merchant Robert Calef, who knew Ann when she was alive, said she “was a despised, crazy, poor old woman, an Irish Catholic who was tried for afflicting the Goodwin children. Her behavior at her trial was like that of one distracted. They did her cruel. The proof against her was wholly deficient. The jury brought her guilty. She was hung. She died a Catholic.”

Mather convicted Ann of being an “idolatrous Roman Catholick” and a witch, and she hung on Boston Common on November 16, 1688. Today, just a 15 minute walk away, the parish of Our Lady of Victories holds a plaque commemorating her martyrdom, which reads:

“Not far from here on 16 November 1688, Goodwife Ann Glover an elderly Irish widow, was hanged as a witch because she had refused to renounce her Catholic faith. Having been deported from her native Ireland to the Barbados with her husband, who died there because of his own loyalty to the Catholic faith, she came to Boston where she was living for at least six years before she was unjustly condemned to death. This memorial is erected to commemorate “Goody” Glover as the first Catholic martyr in Massachusetts.”

The plaque was placed at the Church on the tercentennial anniversary of her death in 1988 by the Order of Alhambra, a Catholic fraternity whose mission includes commemorating Catholic historical persons, places and events. The Boston City Council also declared November 16 as “Goody Glover Day”, in order to condemn the injustice brought against her.  

Ann Glover has not yet been officially declared a martyr by a pope, nor has her cause for canonization been opened to date, partly because her story has faded into obscurity over time, Fr. O’Grady said.

“Part of the dilemma here (too) is that when she was hanged, Catholics were a tiny, minuscule, minority in Boston, so picking up her ‘cause’ was not easy or ‘on top of the list,’” he said.

Ann Glover’s trial also set the tone for the infamous Salem Witch Trials in 1692, during which 19 men and women were hanged for witchcraft, and in which Reverend Cotton Mather and his anti-Catholic prejudices played a major role.

Want to bolster families? Return to Gospel concepts of freedom, fidelity

Washington D.C., Oct 31, 2014 / 02:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Church must work to strengthen the family by helping couples practice Christian concepts of virtues if it wishes to “open wide the doors to Christ” in the vision of St. John Pau…

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.”

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.
 

Archbishop Aquila: Media missed message of joy at synod

Denver, Colo., Oct 30, 2014 / 02:47 am (CNA).- The joy of the Gospel of Marriage is alive, said Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, explaining that although the mainstream media may have missed the message at the recent Synod on the Family, Pope Franci…

Who can help end women’s sexual exploitation? Christian men

Washington D.C., Oct 29, 2014 / 05:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Men – particularly men within the Christian church – have a crucial role in changing cultural attitudes surrounding the sexual exploitation of women, say organizers of an upcoming New York conference.

Rather than being confined to a matter of personal behavior or morality, the need to put an end to the scourge is a greater issue of societal justice, according to Paul Horrocks, founder of Justice NYC.  

Christian men, he told CNA, “acknowledge that this is a problem and it is a problem within the churches,” but also tend to view the issue of sexual exploitation through media such as pornography as a topic “that we can’t do anything about.”

“This can change,” he urged. “We can bring about cultural change, and it can start in the church.”

Justice NYC is a New York-based organization that will host a conference on the sexual exploitation of women on Nov. 1. The event, which will include over a dozen churches and national organizations, will focus on areas such as human trafficking, pornography, prostitution and abortion, among other avenues of the exploitation of women.

In preparation for the conference, the organization also conducted a nationwide survey of 300 men, investigating their understanding of sexual exploitation, its causes and its effects.

Horrocks noted that one of the largest challenges in motivating men to help end sexual exploitation is combating the impression “that it’s victimless.”

In many parts of society, he said, men are “treating women as sex objects” by viewing them only as objects of pleasure such as in pornography or prostitution, or by abandoning women during unplanned pregnancies. He encouraged men to confront the “issue of sexual narcissism,” and “look at the impact of sexual exploitation” both on society at large an on individual women.

Some women who participate in the pornography or prostitution industries, he noted, “have been forced into it, and some of those women have been trafficked,” saying that men’s participation continues “to create demand for this.”

“I think the reason men should be engaged on this issue is that when you look at it, men are the ones responsible for a lot of this exploitation,” he pointed out.

The negative impacts of sexual exploitation also affects women who may have willingly chosen to participate in these industries and practices,  he added. Horrocks noted the negative health, psychological and economic impacts of women facing prostitution, abortion, and the pornography industry, even when these paths are chosen by the woman.

These factors can also lead to an illusion of a lack of choice- particularly for poor women, he stressed.

Looking specifically at abortion, Horrocks said, it is “disproportionately poor women who are being impacted” and left in situations where they “’felt like I didn’t have a choice.’”

 “We are treating poor women like sex objects, we are abandoning them and leaving them on their own to make this choice which leads to harmful impact,” he stated. He noted that women face “all this economic harm,” as well as a physical and emotional cost either in bearing and raising a child alone or facing an abortion.

“This is why I think men need to rethink this,” he urged.  

Horrocks noted that men do view sexual exploitation as an important issue but do not understand their role in the issue.

“Men really see this as a critical problem,” he said, pointing to his survey’s results showing an overwhelming majority of men seeing exploitation and men’s attitudes to it as problematic. However, he continued, “when we dig into some of these different questions, men don’t understand the scope of it,” underestimating the number of women affected by sexual exploitation as well as the kind of impact it has on women’s lives.   

“How are we going to attack this as a justice issue if men don’t even understand the problem?” Horracks asked. He pointed, for example, to men’s use of pornography, and the nearly “identical” use of pornography both inside and outside Christian communities.

“Men need to be involved in challenging other men to change the culture,” he urged. “Let’s change the culture where the church is.”

Mandate revisions not enough – district court grants injunction to Ave Maria

Naples, Fla., Oct 29, 2014 / 02:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A federal court in Florida has granted Ave Maria University preliminary protection from the federal contraception mandate, which the school has challenged on religious freedom grounds.

“After dozens of court rulings, the government still doesn’t seem to get that it can’t force faith institutions to violate their beliefs,” said Eric Baxter, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the university.

“Fortunately, the courts continue to see through the government’s attempts to disguise the Mandate’s religious coercion,” Baxter said in an Oct. 28 statement. “We congratulate Ave Maria for its courage, even under the threat of crippling fines.”

On Oct. 28, a federal district court in Florida ruled that the new regulations surrounding the Department of Health and Human Services’ controversial contraceptive mandate do not adequately protect religious employers and their consciences.

In its decision, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida granted Ave Maria University preliminary protection from violating its deeply-held religious beliefs or being penalized with substantial fines.

Issued under the Affordable Care Act, the HHS mandate has faced more than 100 lawsuits brought by over 300 for-profit and non-profit plaintiffs, objecting that the rules force them to violate their religious convictions.  

The mandate requires that employers offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, including some drugs that can cause early abortions, and sterilizations.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the mandate, as written, violated the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act by forcing the owners of “closely-held” for-profit employers to go against their religious beliefs.

The high court said that the government had not proven that the mandate was the least restrictive means of providing free contraceptives to employees.

In response to the court ruling, Obama Administration proposed modifications to the mandate. Among these modifications was a change to the way that the rule affects non-profit religious groups that object to it.   

The proposed modifications alter an earlier “accommodation” provided to non-profit religious employers. The suggested changes would allow employers to notify the government of their objection to the mandate, prompting the government to then arrange the coverage that the employers find objectionable.

This would change an earlier provision that required the religious employer itself to authorize an insurer or third-party administrator to provide the objectionable products and procedures.

However, some employers, such as Ave Maria University, argue that that this arrangement still requires an employer’s participation in facilitating access to products and procedures that violate their deeply-held religious beliefs.

The Florida court’s ruling on behalf of Ave Maria University protects the school from facing millions of dollars in fines that could have been levied against the school after the revised mandate would have taken effect on Nov. 1.

“The government has been retreating since it first issued the Mandate three years ago,” Baxter said. “Now it’s time for the government to stop going after religious colleges and ministries and start respecting religious liberty.”
 

John Paul II ‘taught me how to be a person,’ secretary recounts

Washington D.C., Oct 28, 2014 / 04:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Saint John Paul II’s deep love for the world and for God continues to inspire people today to draw near to Christ, teaching them not only about sanctity, but about humanity, say those who…

Philadelphia priest placed on immediate leave following arrest

Philadelphia, Pa., Oct 27, 2014 / 06:21 pm (CNA).- A 55-year-old priest in Philadelphia was placed on immediate administrative leave after being arrested on child pornography charges.

According to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Father Mark J. Hayn…

Want to prevent threats like ISIS? Religious freedom key, official says

Washington D.C., Oct 27, 2014 / 05:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Promoting religious freedom abroad is vital for U.S. national security interests in preventing the rise of threats such as ISIS, said the chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious…

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