Ohio pediatricians voice ‘disgust’ as partial birth abortion ‘inventor’ moves in next door

November 30, 2010

Update (9:34pm EST): An Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman told LifeSiteNews.com Monday evening that the Sharonville clinic has in fact received an ambulatory surgical center license, correcting the Department’s earlier assertion.

SHARONVILLE, Ohio, November 29, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a notorious late-term abortionist moved in next-door, a group of Ohio pediatricians are giving vent to their outrage, calling the move “a slap in the face” to a group that has nurtured children in the area for decades.

Late-term abortionist Martin Haskell has closed his Cincinnati, Ohio, abortion clinic and reopened in the suburb of Sharonville – mere steps away from Liberty Sharonville Pediatrics. There, parents would have to enter a common driveway and pass by Haskell’s surgical abortion facility, Women’s Med Cincinnati, in order to get the pediatric office. The abortion mill even shares a sign with the pediatricians’ office next door.

Dr. Steve Brinn, M.D., was so upset that he wrote a letter to the editor that appeared in the Cincinnati Inquirer on Saturday, November 27, expressing his opposition to the abortion business.

“Imagine our shock and disbelief, when we learned that an abortion clinic was opening in the building 50-feet from our front door. Why would a clinic performing abortions be so insensitive to a group practice treating children for 31 years?” wrote Dr. Brinn.

He continued, “To have a group of OB/GYN doctors terminating fetuses just outside our door, to force our mothers and their babies drive through a common driveway, driving by the front of an abortion clinic, in order to park in our lot to have their babies cared for is an atrocity.

“We are here to prevent infant diseases, and they are here to end infant lives. We may not have the legal right to get them to move but we will do anything in our power to vocalize our personal disgust with their mission.”

Haskell is perhaps best known for his claim - believed to be false - that he invented the gruesome and now illegal partial-birth abortion procedure. Today, a modified version of that procedure, which exploits a loophole in the law, is in wide use by Haskell and other late-term abortionists.

Dr. Brinn told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that one longtime patient has already vowed to leave the practice because of its new next-door neighbors.

The pediatrician of 31 years called the decision to locate the abortion mill nearby “a slap in the face to any physician who treasures saving lives and helping kids … to have to know what’s going on right over there.” He said his calls to Sharonville mayor Virgil Lovitt have yet to be answered.

Operation Rescue president Troy Newman lauded Dr. Brinn’s “brave stand in defense of children” and encouraged him to pursue all available legal means to chase Haskell out of town. “With prayer and public support, we know these efforts can be successful.” he said.

The newest location is not listed as a licensed ambulatory surgical center on the Ohio Department of Health website. A Department spokeswoman confirmed to LSN that there was no pending license for an ambulatory surgical center at the clinic’s location, which she indicated would require the license to operate legally as a surgical abortion clinic.

Operation Rescue notes that a receptionist for Haskell told one of their undercover investigators that the Sharonville clinic is a surgical center. When LSN asked for similar information, Haskell’s receptionist refused to state whether a Sharonville clinic existed and conveyed a message to the clinic’s PR department, which did not return LSN’s call.

The Women’s Med Cincinnati center website lists the Sharonville address as its location and gives driving directions to the same site.

Operation Rescue reports that another mill of Haskell’s, located in Dayton, ran afoul of the law by refusing to comply with state law that required abortion clinics to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers and have a transfer agreement with a local hospital. After years of legal wrangling, the state capitulated and granted Haskell a “variance” that allows him to operate without meeting the legal requirements that bind other clinics.

Ignatius Press Releases New Website and Trailer About Novel Featuring C.S. Lewis and ‘The Inklings’

November 30, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (MetroCatholic) -  The popular new book “Looking for the King: An Inklings Novel”, now has its own website: www.lookingfortheking.com

The website has many exciting features that “Looking for the King” fans will enjoy: interviews with author David C. Downing, biographies about the C.S. Lewis and famous Inklings, excerpts from the book and dramatic audio version, reviews and endorsements of the book, and a link to the Facebook page with current news and upcoming radio interviews.

A theatrical trailer for “Looking for the King” can also be viewed on the main page of the website. A media room with a complete press kit is also available at www.lookingfortheking.com

About the Author:

David C. Downing, PhD, is the R. W. Schlosser Professor of English at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. He is the author of four award-winning books on C. S. Lewis: “Planets in Peril”, “The Most Reluctant Convert”, “Into the Region of Awe: Mysticism in C. S. Lewis” and “Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles”. Downing has also written short fiction for “Christianity Today” and other periodicals.

Bishops Commend House Resolution Seeking Protection for Religious Minorities in Iraq

November 30, 2010

WASHINGTON (MetroCatholic) — The U.S. bishops commended a resolution in the House of Representatives that condemns recent attacks on religious minorities in Iraq and calls for the U.S. government to work with the Iraqi government to protect these vulnerable groups.

In a November 29 letter to the sponsors of House Resolution 1725, Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, New York, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, co-adjutor archbishop of Los Angeles and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, called for its immediate passage. 

The resolution was introduced November 18 by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and co-sponsored by Representatives Frank Wolf (R-VA), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Mark S. Kirk (R-IL), Gary C. Peters (D-MI), Joseph Pitts (R-PA), and Trent Franks (R-AZ),).

“Our conference welcomes this bipartisan resolution as a way to focus attention on the situation of the vulnerable religious communities in Iraq,” the bishops wrote.  “In particular,” they added, “we support the emphasis on developing a comprehensive plan to improve security for religious minorities and to increase their representation in the Government of Iraq and to include them in all aspects of Iraqi society.”

In their letter, the bishops referenced the recent attack in Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad.
“The October 31 attack on worshippers in Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad that killed 58 and wounded 75 and the continuing violence against Christians are horrific reminders of the appalling lack of security that has condemned many in Iraq to live in fear,” the bishops said. The House resolution condemns the attack against Our Lady of Salvation Church.

The bishops also welcomed the resolution’s concern for Iraqi refugees and supported its call for measures to accelerate the review of their applications for resettlement and to improve conditions on the ground so that refugees may safely return to Iraq.

“We sincerely hope that H. Res. 1725 will be adopted quickly by the House of Representatives as we believe it will help improve security for all Iraqis, especially Christians and other vulnerable minorities,” the bishops said. “We hope it will contribute to the overall goal of achieving a “responsible transition” that will reduce further loss of life and address the refugee crisis in Iraq.”

CHURCH IN PHILIPPINES: CONTINUE TO BE A LEAVEN IN SOCIETY

November 30, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 29 NOV 2010 (VIS) - Monday morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received prelates from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, who have just completed their “ad limina” visit. Addressing them in English, the Pope referred to the close ties that for four centuries have united the Philippines and the See of Peter, highlighting the benefits the leaven of faith has brought to the Filipino people and their culture.

“To be such a leaven, the Church must always seek to find her proper voice, because it is by proclamation that the Gospel brings about its life-changing fruits”, he said. “Thanks to the Gospel’s clear presentation of the truth about God and man, generations of zealous Filipino clergymen, religious and laity have promoted an ever more just social order. At times, this task of proclamation touches upon issues relevant to the political sphere. This is not surprising, since the political community and the Church, while rightly distinct, are nevertheless both at the service of the integral development of every human being and of society as a whole”.

“At the same time, the Church’s prophetic office demands that she be free ‘to preach the faith, to teach her social doctrine … and also to pass moral judgments in those matters which regard public order whenever the fundamental human rights of a person or the salvation of souls requires it’. In the light of this prophetic task, I commend the Church in the Philippines for seeking to play its part in support of human life from conception until natural death, and in defence of the integrity of marriage and the family. In these areas you are promoting truths about the human person and about society which arise not only from divine revelation but also from natural law, an order which is accessible to human reason and thus provides a basis for dialogue and deeper discernment on the part of all people of good will. I also note with appreciation the Church’s work to abolish the death penalty in your country.

“A specific area in which the Church must always find her proper voice comes in the field of social communications and the media”, Pope Benedict added. “It is important that the Catholic laity proficient in social communications take their proper place in proposing the Christian message in a convincing and attractive way. If the Gospel of Christ is to be a leaven in Filipino society, then the entire Catholic community must be attentive to the force of the truth proclaimed with love”.

Finally the Holy Father turned his attention to “a third aspect of the Church’s mission of proclaiming the life-giving word of God: … her commitment to economic and social concerns, in particular with respect to the poorest and the weakest in society”. The Church in the Philippines, he said, takes “a special interest in devoting herself more fully to care for the poor. It is heartening to see that this undertaking has borne fruit, with Catholic charitable institutions actively engaged throughout the country. Many of your fellow citizens, however, remain without employment, adequate education or basic services, and so your prophetic statements and your charitable action on behalf of the poor continue to be greatly appreciated. In addition to this effort”, he concluded, “you are rightly concerned that there be an ongoing commitment to the struggle against corruption, since the growth of a just and sustainable economy will only come about when there is a clear and consistent application of the rule of law throughout the land”.

Basic Catholic Rules On Indulgences

November 29, 2010

Bridegroom Press
November 2010

“I remember indulgences from when I was a kid!” Many people mention this, and the people who do always have questions.

Where Has The Time Gone?
When we learned about indulgences twenty, thirty, forty or more years ago, we remember how the nuns explained it to us: doing an indulgence got us time off purgatory. We didn’t know exactly what that meant, but it sounded like a good deal.

God bless the nuns, but they either deliberately misled us because they didn’t think we would understand the real explanation, or they didn’t know the real explanation themselves. Prior to Vatican II, all indulgences had a certain amount of time associated with them - saying this prayer or doing that deed was worth 300 days, or 10 years or somesuch. But the time listed was never meant to refer to time in Purgatory. It was a little more complicated than that.

Long, Long Ago…
You see, in the very early Church, the first 300 to 400 years, the sacrament of reconciliation was not celebrated as commonly as it is now. In fact, it was unusual to receive it as often as once every five or ten years. Everyone who entered the Church came in as adults - while the Church was happy to baptize children if the parents wanted, She spent most of her time teaching pagan adults the Faith.
If I were a pagan adult who was interested in becoming Christian, I would probably take between three and five solid years of instruction, being taught every day, practicing the Faith every day, having the community watch me practice every day. Everyone knew my name, and I would learn everyone’s name myself. Only after the whole community had seen me prepare and felt I was ready, only then would I be permitted to enter the Church.

The Church took this long because the bishop and the community wanted to make sure I really understood what I was getting into. They also wanted to make sure that I understood all the responsibilities I was undertaking. They wanted to see a real conversion in the way I approached the world, a real hunger for baptism and the washing away of sins.

Penance IS Purgation
What’s this got to do with indulgences? Well, once I was finally permitted to be baptized, the power of that baptism combined with the pre- and post-baptismal instruction was supposed to make me so solid in Christ Jesus that I would never commit another mortal sin.

Sure, I would be tempted - that went without saying. But I was not expected to commit any more mortal sins. I was an adult, I was giving my word to God that I had left that life of sin behind me, and God gave me His grace to empower me so that I would no longer succumb, so why would I sin?

And if I did commit a mortal sin, then I needed to show real remorse for it in order to demonstrate to the community that I had no plans to repeat the experience. So, if I had gone to confession in the early Church, this is the kind of penance I might receive: “Well, you’ve made a good confession,” the bishop might say, “so I will give you a light penance. For the next two years, you are not permitted to attend Mass or receive the Eucharist. Instead, you will spend every Sunday walking around the Church, praying the penitential Psalms while we are celebrating Mass.

Then, for the two years following that, you may attend Mass through the Gospel reading, but when all the unbaptized are ushered out of the Church after that Gospel reading, you will go with them and again walk about the courtyard praying the penitential Psalms.”

“If you do this faithfully, then for the two years following that, you are permitted to be present for the consecration, but you must be face down in front of the community, reciting the penitential Psalms.

And if all of this goes well and you continue to show true and deep remorse, then following this, you may be admitted to the Eucharist once again. Go in peace, my son.”

An eight or ten year penance was not at all uncommon. For certain sins, like murder or participation in abortion, you might be  told to perform penance for the rest of your life, not permitted to receive the Eucharist again until you lay dying.

A VERY Sweet Deal
So, the time periods associated with the indulgenced prayers were not meant to be time off purgatory after death, rather, they were indications that the Church had remitted the normal, early penance of 300 days or ten years in exchange for your saying this one prayer. She was promising to release to you the grace you would otherwise have had to spend a decade in prayer to win. Obviously, this was a pretty sweet deal. There was only one problem.

No one understood or seemed to remember the connection between the early penances and the current time values associated with indulgences. Instead, the faithful were getting a fairly silly understanding of how Purgatory and indulgences worked. Ultimately, after Vatican II, the Church threw up her hands and said, “Never mind the time periods. Every indulgence is just partial or plenary now. You can either win back for the world some of the grace you took out of it (partial) or all of the grace you took out of it.”

What Indulgences Count?
This leaves an obvious question. What do we do with all those old holy cards we have that say we get 300 days off? The Church also answered that question.
Since indulgences are matters of particular law, no prayer is indulgenced unless the Church says it is. Every generation or so, the Church releases a new handbook listing all the indulgences for which She opens the treasury of heaven.
These indulgences are listed in the Handbook of Indulgences, and that Handbook (aka Enchiridion) supercedes all previous rules. So, if you have an old holy card or book (like a Raccolta) that lists indulgences, none of those prayers carry the indulgence described unless that prayer also happens to be in the latest list from Rome.

And even if the prayer you are looking at is in the latest list, it no longer carries the indulgence the old list said it had. Now, it has only the indulgence - partial or plenary - that the Church has most recently assigned it. Don’t worry too much, though. All of the prayers have been retained with at least a partial indulgence. It’s only the plenary indulgences that may have been altered in a significant way.

So, if you want to do an indulgenced work or pray an indulgenced prayer, you have to have the latest handbook (currently, a translation of the 1999 edition) or you can use the prayers and acts conveniently described in the latest edition of the Beauty of Grace, Calendar of Indulgences 2010. We’ve gone through the book and laid out the rules in an easy-to-use calendar, so you don’t have to worry about all the details in the book. You can find it at www.bridegroompress.com

We hope you like it. We certainly enjoyed putting it together. Now, go and get some purgatory time out of the way.

Steve Kellmeyer
Bridegroom Press

New San Antonio archbishop asks Catholics to listen for God’s call

November 29, 2010

San Antonio, Texas, Nov 27, 2010 / 07:19 am (CNA).- Catholics should be open to God’s call while remembering that Christianity can be countercultural and “unsettling” for the modern world, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said at his installation Mass in San Antonio, Texas.

More than 1,800 people attended the Nov. 23 Mass at St. Mark the Evangelist Church, where the former auxiliary bishop of Chicago was installed as the sixth Archbishop of San Antonio.

At the Mass, papal nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi read an apostolic letter from Pope Benedict XVI confirming his appointment. He also presented the 53-year-old archbishop with a crosier which had belonged to Archbishop Jerome Droassaerts, Archbishop of San Antonio from 1918 to 1940.

“Today marks a new beginning in the wonderful history of the Catholic faith in this local church of San Antonio,” Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said in his homily.

He recalled the early Franciscans who evangelized the region, including Venerable Fray Antonio Margil de Jesus and Fr. Miguel Calvo. He also voiced “special gratitude” to his two predecessors, Archbishops Patrick Flores and Jose Gomez, while also noting the diverse non-Hispanic Catholic immigrants who have come to the city throughout its history.

“In short, we thank God that, for nearly 400 years, the Roman Catholic Church in Texas has continued faithfully to proclaim the Good News here. We also rejoice that a personal and deeply pious Catholic religiosity has matured here, including the beautiful devotion of Our Lady of Guadalupe, our Mother, la Morenita.”

He then expounded upon the readings for the Mass, the first of which was the story of God’s calling of Samuel.

“God always speaks first. That is the way it should be. Creation is to listen attentively and respond appropriately,” the archbishop explained. Because Samuel was open to God’s call, “something new began in the history of salvation.”

Archbishop Garcia-Siller connected this to his own response to hearing that Pope Benedict XVI wanted to appoint him to San Antonio.

“I immediately felt real peace and joy tempered by a deep awareness of the great responsibility I had been asked to embrace. I felt, in faith, a deep affection for you, the people of the Archdiocese of San Antonio,” he said.

The second Mass reading, about the apostles and the first day of Pentecost, showed the disciples experiencing “something very wonderful” that they needed to share with the whole world.

“No one is excluded from their proclamation that Jesus is Lord, that God loves all people, that all of us are sisters and brothers, beloved children of the one God, for God alone is able to feed the deepest hungers of the human heart,” the archbishop explained.

The fact that some bystanders thought the apostles were simply intoxicated with wine reminds Christians that their message is “countercultural” and can be “profoundly unsettling and even threatening to some,” he said.

“Ignorance, fear, and insecurity feed racism and hatred toward the stranger. The worldly pursuit of possessions, pleasure, and power militate against the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience,” he lamented. “We live in a deeply divided nation and region where the notion of brotherly love may seem quaint and naïve.”

Rather than withdraw into ourselves and seek only our own personal good or “defiantly” stake out our own position while ignoring common ground with others, the archbishop urged reflection on the gift of the Holy Spirit.

“My friends, it is the Holy Spirit that enables the community of faith to proclaim the gospel, to attract a crowd, to have something to say worth hearing. The wind blows where it will. God has the power to accomplish in our midst what he wants – in spite of all obstacles.”

This is possible only when Christians are open to God’s word and are in a loving relationship with Jesus.

“We are to love God fully, holding nothing back. And to love one another as Jesus has loved us – continuously, without limits, throughout our life,” he exhorted. “My brothers and sisters, I do love you, and I am willing to lay down my life for you!”

He urged those assembled to be “Spirit-filled and Spirit-led missionaries of the gospel in the world.” Entrusting his mission and ministry to Our Lady of Guadalupe’s intercession, he concluded:

“May the quality of our love for one another bring out to everyone that we are truly the Lord’s disciples and missionaries!”

He closed with the phrase “Viva Cristo Rey!”, the last words of the martyred Mexican priest Bl. Miguel Pro, whose feast day coincided with the installation Mass.

The San Antonio archdiocese reports that installation Mass attendees included Archbishop Garcia-Siller’s 76-year-old father, Gustavo Garcia Suarez, and his 75-year-old mother, Maria Cristina Siller de Garcia. Many siblings and relatives of new archbishop, the eldest of 15 children, also attended.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, and the apostolic nuncio to Mexico concelebrated the installation Mass with several other Texas bishops.

Pope heralds beginning of Advent with pro-life vigil

November 29, 2010

Vatican City, (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI heralded the beginning of Advent this year with an unprecedented worldwide pro-life vigil. On Saturday night at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, he urged respect for human life and warned against adult “selfishness” and the “darkening of consciences” in modern society.

On Nov. 27, St. Peter’s was the center of global focus, as dioceses around the world joined the Pope’s invitation to prepare for the season of Christmas by joining in a special Vespers service for the unborn.

Although it is common for the Pope to encourage prayer for particular intentions, the request for a coordinated worldwide vigil – to be held on the same date and approximately the same time, in all dioceses – is highly exceptional.

Pope Benedict began his homily saying that God became a child to experience the life of man in order to “to save it completely, fully.”

“The beginning of the liturgical year helps us to relive the expectation of God made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary,” he said, adding that the “Incarnation reveals to us, with intense light and in an amazing way, that every human life has an incomparable, a most elevated dignity.”

Because “God loves us so deeply, totally, without distinction,” the Pope noted that belief in “Jesus Christ also means having a new outlook on man, a look of trust and hope.”

Humankind, therefore, “has the right not to be treated as an object of possession or something to manipulate at will, not to be reduced to a mere instrument for the benefit of others and their interests,” he said.

“In this vein we find the Church’s concern for the unborn, the most fragile, the most threatened by the selfishness of adults and the darkening of consciences,” the Pontiff added.

He then reiterated the Church’s stance against abortion, warning against “cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with misleading motivations.”

“With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism,” he said. “This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being.”

“So was Jesus in Mary’s womb, so it was for all of us in our mother’s womb.”

Pope Benedict went on to say that even after birth, children around the world face abandonment, hunger, poverty, disease, abuse, violence or exploitation.

“I urge the protagonists of politics, economic and social communications to do everything in their power to promote a culture which respects human life, to provide favorable conditions and support networks for the reception and development of life,” he said.

The Pope concluded by entrusting prayers for the unborn to the Virgin Mary, “who welcomed the Son of God made man with faith, with her maternal womb, with loving care, with nurturing support and vibrant with love.”

VATICAN FOUNDATION: JOSEPH RATZINGER - BENEDICT XVI

November 29, 2010

VATICAN CITY,  (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday Friday a press conference was held to present the “Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI”. The conference was presented by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the foundation’s academic committee; Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, president of the foundation, and Fr. Stephan Otto Horn S.D.S, president of the “Ratzinger Schulerkreis” and of the “Joseph Ratzinger Papst Benedict XVI - Siftung”.

Msgr. Scotti explained how on 1 March this year the Holy Father had ordered the creation of a new foundation, with the name of “Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI”, in order “to respond to a desire expressed by many scholars over the course of the years”. As regards the financing of the new body, he explained, “a first ample contribution will come from the Pontiff himself, who has chosen to devolve a large part of the proceeds from his author rights”.

For his part Cardinal Ruini explained how, apart from himself, the academic committee will be composed of Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B. prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The committee will have three tasks, he said, “firstly, drawing up criteria and objectives for the annual and long-term programme of the foundation’s activities; secondly, establishing criteria of excellence for the creation and conferral of prizes to scholars who have distinguished themselves in academic publications and/or research; and finally, organising cultural and academic initiatives”.

“The theology of Joseph Ratzinger moves forward, looking to the present and the future on the basis of an extraordinary knowledge of the origins and history of the Christian faith. His capacity, what I would call his tastefulness, in keeping these two aspects united … likens Joseph Ratzinger to great teachers of other periods of Christian history. It is no coincidence that the foundation which bears his name will focus particular attention, on the one hand on biblical and patristic studies, and on the other on fundamental theology. The aim is to bring out the truth, significance and beauty of Christianity in its relationship with contemporary culture and society”.

Fr. Horn then spoke to explain that, even before Cardinal Ratzinger’s election to the papacy, his students had thought of creating a Joseph Ratzinger Foundation. “Not only did they feel profound gratitude towards their teacher”, he said, “but they were also deeply convinced of the importance of his theology for the Church. … In the meeting of the ‘Schulerkreis’ with the Holy Father at Castelgandolfo in 2007 we received his approval to create an autonomous foundation”.

This foundation, Fr. Horn went on, “has a clear direction and broad ranging projects. Its goal is to promote the study of Joseph Ratzinger’s theology and spirituality, propagating his ideas in the Church and society, and ensuring they are absorbed. Thus will his memory be conserved for the future”.

One of the foundation’s projects concerns the University of Regensburg “with the creation of chair for a visiting professor in the faculty of theology during the summer term”. In September this year a “Benediktakdemie” (Benedict Academy) for young students was held at Salzburg in Austria, while in Rome (in collaboration with the “Casa Balthasar”, an institution for discerning vocations in young Catholic men) there is a plan to crate a study centre for theology and spirituality. “And we have also”, Fr. Horn concluded, “collected the recollections of more than forty of Joseph Ratzinger’s former students in order to establish an archive”.

Giving thanks has life-changing impact, priest and psychologist says

November 26, 2010

Denver, CO  (CNA).- Fr. Charles Shelton –a Jesuit priest, psychologist, and the author of a new book on gratitude– says that the choice to live gratefully can help to improve virtually every aspect of a person’s life.

The multi-talented priest, a professor of psychology at Denver’s Regis University, recently published “The Gratitude Factor,” a book that examines the importance of giving thanks for one’s work, leisure, relationships, and other everyday experiences of God’s grace.

Fr. Shelton has made notable contributions to the field of “positive psychology,” a branch of the social science which studies the cultivation of virtue and well-being. “The Gratitude Factor” combines his work in the field with an emphatic focus on Christian spirituality, in the tradition of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Speaking to CNA on Nov. 20, he explained how the choice to live gratefully, even in the midst of difficulty, could profoundly change one’s experience of the world. Gratitude, he said, gives depth to the experience of joy, and profound meaning to less desirable tasks–  by “re-framing” both as important aspects of the life that one receives from God.

He stressed that gratitude, for Christians, comes most of all from understanding that “we are God’s sons and daughters, and Jesus’ brothers and sisters.” That “core experience” is “channeled, through our hearts, into various commitments” that allow believers to share God’s gifts to them with others.

“The more we can carve out some time to reflect on that (identity) in our lives,” he offered, “the more rich they become.” He described the fatherhood of God as a “centering point” for Christian gratitude, allowing the entire range of human experiences to be viewed as God-given responsibilities.

Jesus himself, Fr. Shelton observed, was grateful for every aspect of his human life: not only for his family, community and work, but also –as the priest explains in a profound passage of “The Gratitude Factor”–  for his suffering and death, which he accepted to give new life to humanity.

While some experiences naturally inspire a feeling of gratitude, others take work, patience and prayer to appreciate. Sometimes the benefit of a situation is completely hidden, requiring the attitude of faith. “Regardless of what happens, I would want to be a grateful person,” Fr. Shelton said. “You could weather anything, and draw from it, if you are grateful.”

But even when it comes to obviously good experiences, Fr. Shelton stressed that gratitude is a virtue that requires attention and effort to develop. His book offers a number of strategies for making thankfulness a part of life, including a “daily gratitude inventory” modeled on the Jesuits’ traditional
techniques for recalling God’s presence.

Besides making a person aware of God’s blessings, Fr. Shelton explained that gratitude helps people appreciate one another. The act of giving thanks, he noted, is always outward-directed. “Because it’s always an acknowledgment of someone else, or something else, by definition there has to be an openness (to others) … That’s just inherent in what the experience is.”

Since it is oriented toward others, the experience of gratitude can especially deepen bonds with friends and family. “The whole idea of bonding, and community, comes out of gratitude,” he reflected. “We see the gifts of others, we’re grateful for the gifts of others, and we all need the gifts of others.”

Fr. Shelton also affirmed that the gratitude-centered holiday of Thanksgiving, while not a liturgical feast in its own right, could offer Catholics in the U.S. a unique chance to prepare themselves for the season of Advent. Modern consumer trends have tended to eclipse that liturgical time, in favor of a “shopping season” filled with anxiety.

But Fr. Shelton noted that Thanksgiving was perfectly timed to help American Catholics rediscover Advent. An authentic Thanksgiving experience of gratitude, he said, could help Catholics begin preparing to receive the surpassing gift of Jesus’ arrival, rather than focusing on shopping.

“Studies show (that) people who feel grateful, don’t feel the need for as many material possessions,” he noted. “They don’t have to fill themselves up” to compensate for a perceived “deficit.” By using Thanksgiving to consider “the gifts God has given … through this year, up to now,” Catholics could more easily embrace “the idea of waiting” that should define Advent.

“It makes sense, psychologically,” he said. “Although this is a secular holiday … it does become, for American Catholics, a fitting end to the liturgical calendar – as we really reflect on what Thanksgiving is.”

Although the Church’s solemnity of Christ the King formally closes the liturgical year and signals Advent’s beginning, its moveable date always closely coincides with the civic holiday of Thanksgiving. Fr. Shelton reflected that the combination of the national and liturgical celebrations could enrich American Catholics’ experience of both.

“Having felt God’s gifts,” he said, “we can now prepare ourselves for the greatest gift,” –that of Christ’s birth –“which is coming.”

South Korean bishops call for peace after deadly artillery attack from North

November 26, 2010

Seoul, South Korea,  (CNA/EWTN News).- Following a deadly North Korean artillery attack on a South Korean island, the South’s Catholic bishops  called for peace. They urged “strong intervention” from the international community, especially China, to avoid the “catastrophe” of war.

North Korean artillery attacked Yeonpyeong-do Island in the Yellow Sea on Nov. 23. The surprise attack killed two marines and two civilians, and injured 13 marines and three civilians, UCA News reports.

The attack also damaged the only Catholic church on the island, which has 450 Catholic residents in a total population of about 1,700.

Two shells fell on the church grounds and the windows of the main church building were damaged. The old rectory was partly demolished and a van was destroyed, according to Fr. Johannes Kim Yong-hwan, chancellor of the Diocese of Incheon.

South Korean officials said North Korea fired 200 artillery shells onto the island and set more than 60 buildings on fire. The South returned fire with about 80 artillery rounds, UCA News reports.

The North and South are technically still at war since the countries’ armistice in 1953.

Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Cheju, president of the South Korean bishops’ conference, responded to the attack.

“Let us pray that the situation does not get any worse and does not become an open conflict. We pray that the Lord gives to all leaders and all of us the strength and light to overcome this crisis. Today we live in a time of great confusion and also of fear,” he told Fides news agency.

Saying that the reasons for the attack are not yet known, the bishop said it appears to be based on “political tactics” and perhaps is a distraction from North Korea’s “dramatic” internal problems. He explained that the economic situation there is difficult and North Koreans face hunger and misery.

“I am sure that the leaders of the North know that war does not amount to anything, that it is just a catastrophe that hurts civilians. It is a situation that we should try to avoid at all costs,” Bishop Kang commented. “Conflict can only bring destruction.”

“I urge a strong intervention by the international community which cannot close its eyes to this situation. It also requires involving China, which has a power of influence over North Korea, to understand the roots and causes of this crisis,” he continued.

The bishops expect prayers for peace from the Universal Church. Bishop Kang explained that peace is not simply the fruit of human will or diplomatic action. Rather, it is help from God.

“We ask the Holy Father to pray for us, for peace and for the good of the Korean people,” he concluded, saying there is hope because “we continue to trust in God’s providence.”

Next Page »

Home | About | Archives | Advertising | Contact | Privacy Policy

MetroCatholic, Inc · 5604 Belton Ln. · Suite 400 · McKinney, TX 75070
Ph. (972) 400-2423 · Fax (888) 248-7696

The sites and respective links above offer additional information on the Catholic faith. Please note that DFW Catholic is not officially associated with any of these sites and is unable to effectively monitor all information contained therein. Please use your own judgement when visiting these or any websites. If you find information that is objectionable, contact us.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives License. You may republish an article without request provided the content is not altered and it is clearly attributed to "MetroCatholic". Any Internet re-publishing of original MetroCatholic articles MUST additionally include a live link to http://www.dfwcatholic.org. Republishing of articles on DFWCatholic.org that have come from other news sources as noted is subject to the conditions of those sources. MetroCatholic may at times publish content that is taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to the publication of said content need only to contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the content.