Church’s position on gay adoption remains firm, asserts archdiocese

August 24, 2010

Mexico City, Mexico  (CNA) — The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, Father Hugo Valdemar, clarified this week that recent statements by the archdiocese’s assistant director for radio and television did not reveal conflict within the Church regarding homosexual adoption.

In an interview with CNA , Fr. Valdemar explained that the remarks by Fr. Jose de Jesus Aguilar Valdes, assistant director for radio and television, “in no way imply the withdrawal of support for Cardinal Sandoval. The Archdiocese of Mexico City continues firm in its position of his defense as has the entire Mexican episcopate.”

Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara made headlines recently for accusing the mayor of Mexico City of bribing the country’s Supreme Court justices to rule in favor of same-sex marriage and gay adoption. The mayor has since filed a defamation suit against the cardinal.

Fr. Valdemar added that Fr. Aguilar’s comments were distorted by the media.

The Archdiocese of Mexico City’s news service published an interview this week, clarifying that in Fr. Aguilar’s previous comments, he discussed “the Church’s position on marriage between a man and a woman …  and the importance that the family be based on a father and a mother.” The priest added that the Catholic Church “does not reject homosexuals, but  invites them to seek salvation.”

In the latest interview, Fr. Aguilar criticized the media for deliberately “taking my ideas out of context or changing some of my words in order to cause a scandal from something I did not say.” Only a few in the media have “acted with objectivity and have made an effort to give context to the Church’s rejection of adoption by same-sex couples.”

He rejected claims that he suggested the Archdiocese of Mexico City supports gay adoption. Fr. Aguilar explained that he had previously mentioned to the media a case in which he “met a homosexual person who raised a child.  He never expressed his sexual preferences to the child and was never in relationship while he raised him.

“I mentioned that he adopted him under the old laws and as a single person,” however “this anecdote was taken out of context.”

“I was quoted as saying I knew numerous gay couples who raised children who came out fine.  This is false,” the priest said.

Fr. Aguilar emphasized that there is no disagreement between the Archdiocese of Mexico City and Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez. “Both Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera as well as the bishops of the Mexican episcopate have expressed solidarity with the Archbishop of Guadalajara in his vital defense of life and family values,” Father Aguilar said.

“For my part I am faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and her shepherds,” he continued.  “The Church loves homosexuals and offers all the means for them to achieve salvation.  I regret that the Church’s charity is being misinterpreted with the passage of laws that contravene the ideal of the family,” the priest said.

Mother Teresa Relics to Arrive in Dallas

July 21, 2010

McKinney, TX  (MetroCatholic) — Blessed Mother Teresa’s relics will arrive on Tuesday, July 27.  The only time for individual veneration will be after the Mass at 6:00 PM on July 27th at St. James Church.  The church is located at 1002 E. Saner Ave., off of 35, south of downtown Dallas.  Phone:  214-371-9209

Why not start praying the Mother Teresa Novena now for graces, and your petitions that you will bring to Blessed Mother Teresa next week.

Prayer for Canonization:

Jesus, you made Blessed Teresa an inspiring example of firm faith and burning charity, an extraordinary witness to the way of spiritual childhood, and a great and esteemed teacher of the value and dignity of every human life. Grant that she may be venerated and imitated as one of the Church’s canonized saints.

Hear the requests of all those who seek her intercession, especially the petition I now implore…

(mention here the favor or favors  you wish to pray for).

May we follow her example in heeding Your cry of thirst from the Cross and joyfully loving You in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor, especially those most unloved and unwanted.

We ask this in Your name and through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and the Mother of us all.   Amen. - Make a Donation to Donation

Despite language difficulties, Community of St. John begins youth ministry in Ethiopia

July 12, 2010

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (CNA).- Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) reported that the Community of St. John was recently asked by an archdiocese in Ethiopia to head the local youth ministry, despite a lack of familiarity the brothers have with the country’s 80 languages.

Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Ababa asked the community – which was founded in France– to provide chaplains who would set up a youth ministry program for the archdiocese.

Br. Iovane, who is one of three brothers who went to Ethiopia, told ACN that one of the biggest challenges has been learning a new language.

The brother said he along with the other two have spent three hours a day learning Amharic, the country’s official language, but one of 80 spoken in Ethiopia. He then explained how the language has similar roots to Hebrew, with an alphabet that has as many as 277 different characters.

Despite the difficulties of learning the complicated language, the new youth chaplain said that any challenges pale in comparison to the higher calling of the work he has been sent to do alongside his community.

“You have to know why you’re here. If you are here on mission, then it’s (God’s) will to spread his word to the end of the earth, as it says in Matthew’s Gospel.”

“You have to speak the language to communicate with the young people – it’s not a question of whether it’s difficult or not,” he added. “What matters is that it’s what the Lord is calling me to do.”

“When you switch on the light sometimes it doesn’t come on, when you turn on the tap sometimes no water comes out, but this is not an issue compared to the mission we have from the Lord.”

The three brothers arrived shortly after the archdiocese conducted a survey asking the youth what they wanted from the Church, with the results showing that they desired more formation in the faith. In response, the brothers have organized interactive teaching sessions, concerts, festivals and other community youth events.

Speaking on the fervent faith of the Addis Ababa Catholic youth, Br. Iovane said they “have a faith, a sense of adoration through liturgy that is just amazing, I’ve never seen that anywhere else – and I’m not talking about Eucharistic Adoration – what I mean is while singing at the entrance of Mass they are connected to God, worshiping God in a personal context.

“If they build a life on that faith they will triumph.” - Make a Donation to Donation


July 12, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 11 JUL 2010 (VIS) – At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered there. He is currently spending a period of rest at Castelgandolfo, his summer residence.

Commenting on today’s Gospel reading, the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Holy Father affirmed that “it is up to us to be close to whoever needs help. The Samaritan”, he said, “takes responsibility for the needs of a stranger whom robbers had left half dead at the roadside, while a priest and a Levite pass by on the other side, afraid perhaps that – as the precept said – they would be contaminated by contact with blood.

“This parable must, then”, the Pope added, “lead us to transform our logic in accordance with the logic of Christ, which is the logic of charity: God is love and to worship Him means to serve our brothers and sisters with sincere and generous love”.

Benedict XVI went on: “This Gospel episode presents us a criterion to use as a measure; that of ‘universal love towards the needy whom we encounter by chance, whoever they may be’. Along with this universal rule, there is also a specifically ecclesial requirement; that ‘within the ecclesial family no member should suffer through being in need’. The rule Christians follow, as learned from the teaching of Jesus, is that of the ‘heart which sees’ where there is need of love and acts accordingly”.

Finally, the Holy Father noted that today the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Benedict of Norcia , patron of his own pontificate and “father and legislator of Western monasticism” whom Paul VI proclaimed as patron of Europe in 1964, “recognising his great efforts towards the formation of European civilisation.

“Let us entrust our journey of faith, and this holiday period in particular, to the Virgin, that our hearts may never lose sight of the Word of God and of our brothers and sisters in difficulty”, he concluded. - Make a Donation to Donation

Vote for Your Favorite Priest

July 9, 2010

Charlotte, NC (MetroCatholic) – Public Voting is now open for the “Incredible Priests. Incredible Stories.” video and essay contest sponsored by The Catholic Company.

The Catholic Company invites you to come watch the videos and read the essays of the finalists and then cast your vote for your favorite priest. Public voting accounts for one third of the judging along with voting by The Catholic Company staff and a team of guest judges. All votes will be tallied to determine the grand prize winner of a $500 shopping spree and a trip to Rome for the winning priest. The public voting period ends July 15, 2010.

The “Incredible Priests. Incredible Stories.” contest is designed to encourage and motivate our priests and all the faithful through inspirational videos based on real examples of how Catholic priests positively impact lives. The hope is that many priests will come to see the appreciation we have for their works of charity, compassion, and love and be encouraged to continue their work with a newfound joy.

About The Catholic Company
The Catholic Company, the leading Catholic store and mail-order catalog;, provides essential Catholic books and gifts to customers worldwide. The Catholic Company is known for its selection of high quality Catholic products, quick delivery, and customer service. Selling online since 2001, The Catholic Company, has a comprehensive collection of Catholic books, First Communion Gifts, Prayer Cards and more and a world-class distribution center. The Catholic Company, gifts that make a difference…guaranteed.


July 6, 2010

VATICAN CITY (VIS) – Benedict XVI today made a pastoral visit to the town of Sulmona, in the Italian region of Abruzzo, to mark the eighth centenary of the birth of St. Celestine V, the hermit Pope.

At 10 a.m. he presided at a Eucharistic concelebration in the town’s Piazza Garibaldi, attended by some 25,000 faithful.

The Holy Father began his homily with a reference to the difficulties the local people have to face every day, giving them assurances of his “closeness and recollection in prayer”, especially for “those who live their lives in precarious situations due to a lack of work, uncertainty over the future, and with physical and moral suffering and a sense of loss due to the earthquake of 6 April 2009″.

Speaking then of Celestine V, known as Pietro da Morrone because he lived in seclusion on a mountain of that name until his election as Pope in 1294, the Holy Father highlighted how “he abides in history, … above all for his sanctity. Sanctity, indeed, never loses its power of attraction, it does not fall into oblivion, it never goes out of fashion; rather, with the passing of time it becomes ever brighter, expressing man’s perennial striving after God”.

This saint was, “from his youth, a ’seeker after God’, a man who wished to find answers to the great questions of existence: Who am I? Where do I come from? Why am I alive? For whom do I live? … In exterior silence, but above all in interior silence, he managed to perceive the voice of God which was able to guide his life”.

In this context, the Holy Father noted how “we live in a society in which every space, every moment must be ‘filled’ with initiatives, activities, sounds. Often there is not even time to listen or to converse. Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be afraid to create silence inside and outside ourselves if we wish to be capable not only of hearing the voice of God, but also the voice of those near us, the voice of our fellow man”.

Another element of St. Celestine’s life was his recognition of the work of Grace. “What he had and what he was did not come from him, it was given to him. It was the work of Grace and, therefore, constituted a responsibility before God and before others”.

“God anticipates us always. Each individual life contains good and beautiful things that we can easily recognise as His Grace. … If we learn to recognise God in His infinite goodness then we will be able to see, with wonder, the signs of God in our lives, just as the saints did”. The signs of a God “Who is always close, Who is always good to us, Who says: ‘Have faith in me’”.

“The cross”, said Benedict XVI, “was the focal point of Pietro da Morrone’s life, it gave him the strength to face harsh penance and the most difficult moments, from his youth until his final hour. … When he was elected to the See of the Apostle Peter he chose to grant a special indulgence called ‘La Perdonanza’”.

Pope Celestine, “though leading a hermit’s life, was not ‘closed in on himself’, but was seized with the passion to carry the good news of the Gospel to his brothers and sisters”, said the Holy Father.

The Church’s mission, he explained, consists “in the calm, clear and courageous announcement of the evangelical message – even in moments of persecution – without surrendering to the lure of fashion, or of violence and imposition”. It consists “in detachment from concern for things (money or clothes), trusting in the Providence of the Father; in particular attention and concern towards those sick in body or in spirit”.

At the end of Mass and before praying the Angelus, the Holy Father entrusted the local Church to the Virgin Mary, venerated in Sulmona at the shrine of the “Madonna della Libera”. He said: “May you walk united and joyful in the way of faith, hope and charity. Faithful to the heritage of St. Celestine V, always combine evangelical radicalism with mercy, so that all those who seek God may find Him.

“In Mary, Virgin of silence and of listening, St, Peter da Morrone found the perfect model of obedience to divine will, in his simple and humble life directed at the search for what is truly essential”, the Pope added.

“We too, who live in an age of greater comfort and of more possibilities, are called to appreciate a sober lifestyle, to keep our minds and hearts free in order to share our goods with our brothers and sisters”.

After praying the Angelus, the Pope went to the House for Clergy at the diocesan pastoral centre of Sulmona where he had lunch with bishops of the Abruzzo region. The House for Clergy, built to accommodate sick and elderly priests, was inaugurated today following restoration work and is dedicated to Benedict XVI.


June 15, 2010

VATICAN CITY, (VIS) – This morning Benedict XVI received in audience forty members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, to whom he spoke about “the significance of work in pontifical representations”.

“The service of representation for which you are preparing yourselves”, he said, “means participating in that ’sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum’ which characterises the ministry of the Roman Pontiff. … In this ecclesial perspective, representation involves the need to accept and nourish certain dimensions of one’s own priestly life”.

The first of these dimensions is the need “to cultivate full inner adherence to the person of the Pope, his Magisterium and his universal ministry; in other words, complete adherence to the one who has been given the task of strengthening his brothers in the faith. Secondly, it involves attentive care, true ‘passion’, for ecclesial communion”.

Finally, being a representative of the Roman Pontiff means “having the capacity to be a solid ‘bridge’, a safe channel of communication between the particular Churches and the Apostolic See, on the one hand giving the Pope and his collaborators an objective, correct and in-depth view of the ecclesial and social reality in which you live while, on the other, undertaking to transmit the norms, indications and guidelines emanating from the Holy See, not bureaucratically but with profound love for the Church, … at the same time respecting the efforts of bishops and the path of the particular Churches to which you have been sent”.

This service, Pope Benedict went on, requires “compete dedication and generous willingness to sacrifice, if necessary, individual intuitions, personal projects and other possibilities to exercise the priestly ministry”.

If the pontifical representative strives “to enter into harmony with the universal perspective, and to serve the unity of the flock of God, … he truly becomes a sign of the Pope’s presence and charity. And while this is a benefit for the life of all the particular Churches, it is especially so in certain delicate or difficult situations in which, for various reasons, the Christian community finds itself living”.

Thus the work of pontifical representatives is “an authentic priestly service that bears close analogy to the representation of Christ, which is typical of priests. As such, it has an intrinsically sacrificial dimension”.

“The figure and presence of the nuncio, the apostolic delegate and the permanent observer is determined not only by the environment in which they work but, first and foremost, by the One Whom they are called to represent. … Being spokesman for the Vicar of Christ can be demanding, sometimes extremely arduous, but it is never demeaning or depersonalising. It is, rather, an original way to fulfil one’s priestly vocation”.


August 19, 2009

NUTLEY, NJ (MetroCatholic) – Laypeople, church officials, friars and Catholic leaders will celebrate the anniversary of one of the church’s most visible and respected priests on Oct. 18 with a special mass and public celebration marking 50 years of Father Benedict Groeschel’s priesthood.

Father Benedict is perhaps best known both within and outside the Catholic community as a prolific author, the host of the popular Sunday Night Live with Father Benedict Groeschel program, and an outspoken activist who has championed civil rights and the teachings of the Catholic church. He’s also an internationally known speaker, a psychologist, a founding member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and co-founder and chairman of Good Counsel Homes. Good Counsel, a Hoboken-based non-profit that provides homes and long-term support for new and expectant mothers and their babies, is honored to plan Father Benedict’s 50th Anniversary mass.

While Father Benedict is known internationally through his writings and weekly program on EWTN — the world’s largest religious media network — his priesthood has been distinguished by a dedication to the poor and disadvantaged, work he has carried out through his involvement with Catholic-based charities. In addition to his role as co-founder and chairman of Good Counsel Homes, Father Benedict is involved with several other Catholic charities focused on providing education, shelter and youth programs.

“Tens of thousands of people have benefited from his writing and through his media communication,” said Archbishop John J. Meyers of Newark. “But I feel confident he is most grateful to the Lord not only for the gift of priesthood, but also for the fact that both he himself and his brothers in the community have reached out to God’s lowly ones. What a joy to work with him to serve our brothers and sisters who often find themselves in such difficult circumstances.”

Christopher Bell, who co-founded Good Counsel with Father Benedict, remembers a conversation in 1985 that inspired the two men to found the charity, which has since provided homes, nourishment, life skills training, and transitional support for more than 5,200 women and babies.

“When I shared with him my frustration over the scarcity of the housing and support services for homeless expectant mothers, Father Benedict challenged me to do something about it,” Bell recalled. “I couldn’t do this alone. He volunteered to help before I even voiced my concern.”

Bell described Father Benedict as one of the nation’s most beloved priests, “truly an American Mother Teresa, with total concern for serving Jesus Christ.”

“Father Benedict has helped hundreds of thousands of people, from the most humble to people constantly in the public spotlight,” Bell said. “He always does it with great dignity and personal humility.”

The 50th Anniversary mass will be celebrated on Sunday, October 18 at Holy Family Church in Nutley, New Jersey. Among the guests are concelebrants Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostic Nuncio to the United Nations and Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, as well as diocesan leaders, members of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and lay leaders of Catholic charities and projects Father Benedict has contributed to.

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