Arizona hospital that performed abortion may lose Catholic status

December 16, 2010

Phoenix, AZ (CNA).- According to a recent letter that became public on Dec. 15, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix may revoke the Catholic affiliation of an Arizona hospital that performed an abortion in November 2009.

The letter is addressed from Bishop Olmsted to Lloyd Dean, president of the San Francisco-based non-profit corporation Catholic Healthcare West, which operates St. Joseph’s Hospital in the Diocese of Phoenix. It concerns a rift that has emerged between the bishop and the health care corporation, after staff at St. Joseph’s chose to abort the child of a woman some advisers said could not safely give birth.

That incident led to the excommunication of a religious sister, Margaret McBride, who had advised doctors to perform the abortion. Defenders of her decision said that the abortion was permissible under the principle of “double effect,” because the primary intention was to ensure the health of a physically frail woman.

However, Bishop Olmsted’s judgment –which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops later endorsed– was that the proposed “treatment” consisted primarily of a direct and intentional abortion, making it ethically impermissible under any circumstances. Catholic Healthcare West, however, has not admitted any wrongdoing in the highly publicized case.

In his Nov. 22 letter to the president of Catholic Healthcare West, Bishop Olmsted acknowledged that the company had continued to defend its decision, by referring to the work of certain moral theologians who had reached a “range of conclusions” different from his own and that of the U.S. bishops’ conference.

“In effect,” the bishop wrote to the company president, “you would have me believe that we will merely have to agree to disagree.”

“But this resolution is unacceptable,” he continued, “because it disregards my authority and responsibility to interpret the moral law and to teach the Catholic faith as a Successor of the Apostles.”

The specific disagreement between Bishop Olmsted and Catholic Healthcare West concerns the “Ethical and Religious Directives” of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (“ERDs,” in the terminology of the bishop’s letter) which lay out guidelines for medical care in accordance with the norms of Catholic moral theology.

Those guidelines draw an important distinction between a non-abortive medical procedure that must be performed in order to save a pregnant woman’s life –even if it has the secondary effect of causing an unborn child’s death– and a direct, intentional abortion.

While the first procedure may be permissible under certain circumstances, the second is never allowed. Catholic Healthcare West has maintained that the November 2009 abortion case was not a clear-cut violation of the directives, but rather “a very complex matter, on which the best minds disagree.”

“According to Catholic teaching, there cannot be a ‘tie’ in this debate,” Bishop Olmsted responded. “It is my duty as the chief shepherd in the diocese to interpret whether the actions at St. Joseph’s and other hospitals meet the criteria of fulfilling the parameters of the moral law as seen in the ERDs … I have determined after review of the facts and circumstances that an abortion did occur at St. Joseph’s.”

He went on to criticize Catholic Healthcare West for insisting that the case was morally undecidable. “Your actions imply that you have no intention to acknowledge that what happened at St. Joseph’s hospital was morally wrong according to the ERDs,” he wrote. “This would imply that you will not change your mode of operation in assessing future cases in which similar circumstances are present.”

“Because of this, I must now act,” he said, “not only to assure that no further such violations of the ERDs occur, but also to repair the grave scandal to the Christian faithful that has resulted from the procedure that took place at St. Joseph’s and the subsequent public response of CHW (Catholic Healthcare West).”

The bishop proposed an agreement whereby St. Joseph’s Hospital could retain its Catholic identity and affiliation. His proposal would require Catholic Healthcare West to acknowledge that a direct and intentional abortion had taken place at St. Joseph’s, and commit itself to avoiding any such action in the future.

Additionally, he demanded that Catholic Healthcare West undergo a review and certification process in accordance with the Diocese of Phoenix’s own standards, and provide St. Joseph’s staff with “ongoing formation” on the Ethical and Religious Directives under the authority of the diocesan medical ethics board or the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

“Only if all these items are agreed to, will I postpone any action against CHW and St. Joseph’s Hospital,” the bishop stated, specifying that he would take canonical action if the company did not commit itself to compliance before Dec. 17.

These actions would include the removal of the Eucharist from chapels and tabernacles at the hospital, revocation of priests’ permission to celebrate Mass there, and a public advisory that St. Joseph’s is no longer a “Catholic” hospital. “This is a decision that will be immensely difficult for me,” Bishop Olmsted acknowledged, “but one that I can and must make.”

While Bishop Olmsted did not intend the letter to be public, a diocesan spokesman did confirm its authenticity in an e-mail to CNA on Dec. 15. The scanned version of the letter that became available online bore a stamp reading: “Received Nov. 29 2010, Office of Lloyd H. Dean.”

In a brief official notice, the diocese stated that “the letter to Mr. Lloyd Dean that was made public today is considered to be private and confidential,” while all parties continue “working together … to find the best way to provide authentic Catholic health care in accordance with the Church’s teaching

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.

Parish Priest Builds 800 Homes, Receives National Award

November 15, 2010

WAYNE, PA (MetroCatholic) - Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI) presented the 2010 Award for Outstanding Catholic Leadership to Msgr. Bob McDermott and three other national Catholic leaders at a reception and dinner Friday, November 12th at the Drexelbrook, in Drexel Hill, PA.

Msgr. Bob McDermott has served the Diocese of Camden for over forty years as a parish priest. He is the Founder of both the St. Joseph Carpenter Society (SJCS) and The Romero Center. Through these ministries, he has helped families improve their quality of life through successful homeownership and inspired youth to embrace the values of peace and justice by confronting issues of poverty, race and class. Under Msgr. McDermott’s leadership, the Carpenter Society has built more than 800 homes in one of the poorest cities in America. The St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society is the number one producer of for-sale housing in Camden and is supported by prominent philanthropic leaders like Bon Jovi and corporations like the Campbell Soup Foundation. Bishop Joseph Galante, Bishop of Camden will be in attendence to present the Award to Msgr. McDermott.

“CLI developed the Awards for Outstanding Catholic Leadership in 2000 to recognize people in the Catholic Church whose exemplary leadership in the family, the workplace, the community and the Church has been inspired by their Catholic faith,” said Timothy C. Flanagan, Founder and Chair of Catholic Leadership Institute. “Msgr. McDermott is a courageous and compassionate leader. It is a privilege for the Institute to honor and lift up the great work that he has done for his community and Church.”

Catholic Leadership Institute also honored:
Mother Mary Assumpta Long, OP – Co-Foundress and Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
Matthew Kelly – Bestselling Author and Internationally Renowned Speaker
Dr. Rosalie Mirenda - Educator, Author and President of Neumann University

Guests included bishops, priests and prominent Catholic leaders from around the country. A reception was followed by dinner and the awards ceremony.

Archbishop emphasizes ‘full spectrum’ Catholicism after marriage controversy

November 8, 2010

Minneapolis, MN  (CNA).- Outlining his pastoral ministry, his work on immigration, and his prayerful opposition to abortion, the Archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul has said that he must speak on controversial issues. His remarks follow activist and media opposition to the Minnesota bishops’ campaign to educate Catholics about the nature of marriage.

“No bishop, and in particular this archbishop, is a ‘single-issue’ teacher,” Archbishop Niendstedt wrote in the Catholic Spirit newspaper. “I was ordained to preach and to teach the full spectrum of the Catholic faith as it is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

“The media pick and choose what they want to cover in terms of controversial issues. I do not have that luxury,” he added.

Seeking to provide perspective on his work, he listed the various activities of his weekend schedule. He celebrated a Mass with members of a Catholic charismatic movement and met with the parents of the archdiocese’s 62 seminarians.

The archbishop also participated in an all-night prayer vigil with English- and Spanish-speaking parishioners to ask God for a just solution to immigration problems. By coincidence he had previously written local Knights of Columbus councils and the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women to seek their help in calling for federal immigration law reform.

On Sunday morning, he made his 155th pastoral visit to the archdiocesan parish of St. Gerard Majella in Brooklyn Park. Its “festive liturgy” and many parishioners in attendance reminded him of why he became a priest, Archbishop Nienstedt reported.

Later on Sunday, he also attended a prayer service to end abortions at Regions Hospital, a teaching institution with its own abortion unit.

“Naturally, they do not advertise the number of abortions they perform per year, but it is known that
more than 60 percent of these gruesome procedures are performed on minority women and on their unborn children,” the prelate explained.

Finally, the archbishop said, he joined two parents and their three-year-old as she went trick-or-treating. He also handed out candy at his residence.

Earlier this year the bishops of Minnesota mailed nearly 400,000 DVDs to Catholics throughout the state in response to several bills that would redefine civil marriage law to include homosexual partnerships. Archbishop Nienstedt made a video for the DVD in which he emphasized the nature of marriage as a lifelong and potentially procreative union between a man and a woman.

Laws which treated other partnerships as equal to traditional marriage would weaken society’s already damaged foundation, he warned.

The bishops’ defense of marriage drew hostile coverage from several secular media outlets, which highlighted the objections of Catholic dissenters.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune highlighted the efforts of artist Lucinda Naylor, who was suspended as a part-time artist at Minneapolis’ Basilica of St. Mary when she created a Facebook site seeking discarded copies of the DVD to build a wave sculpture.

In his Catholic Spirit column, Archbishop Nienstedt said that like St. Paul he must preach the “full, Catholic message,” whether it is “convenient or inconvenient,” while “constantly teaching and never losing patience.” (2 Timothy 4:2).

“Please pray that I live up to that high standard,” the archbishop concluded

How Do You Raise Ten Catholic Children? Mother and Author of Eight Books Will Discuss

October 15, 2010

WATERTOWN, MA (MetroCatholic) - How Do You Raise Ten Catholic Children? Mother and Author of Eight Books Will Discuss During CatholicTV Interview

On October 26th, Patti Armstrong will be interviewed on the live CatholicTV talk show “This is the Day”. Patti and her husband have 10 children including two adopted AIDS orphans from Kenya.

Patti has authored 8 books including “Catholic Truths for Our Children”- a guide to help parents pass on their Catholic faith.

This is the Day airs at 10:30AM ET at CatholicTV.com and on CatholicTV cable outlets. The show is rebroadcast at 7:30PM and other times during the week.

From living a life that flaunted Catholic teachings, to becoming a Catholic writer and speaker, Patti Maguire Armstrong was transformed after she began to learn and embrace her Catholic faith. She lives in North Dakota with her husband Mark.

Patti has a degree in social work and a master’s in public administration. She worked in these fields before staying home full-time to raise her children.

Writing began as her hobby. As a freelance writer, Patti has published more than 400 articles for both secular and religious publications. For a time, she even wrote for the National Enquirer before realizing that serving God was a 24/7 venture, without compromise.

She is a frequent writer for the Catholic Exchange website and under her own column for Today’s Catholic Women.

Patti’s website is http://raisingcatholickids.com/  

Episodes of This is the Day are posted on the site’s archives starting the same night of the broadcast day. All videos at the website are viewable in full-screen. Paste this URL into your browser in order to access the This is the Day video archives. http://www.CatholicTV.com/this-is-the-day.aspx  

CatholicTV broadcasts across the US on Sky Angel channel 142, and selected cable outlets in New England and in Chattanooga (TN) where CatholicTV is available on FiTV channel 153. To find out where to watch CatholicTV visit: http://www.CatholicTV.com/schedule/where-to-watch.aspx  

About CatholicTV
Founded in 1955, CatholicTV is a national broadcast television network streaming a live feed 24 hours a day at CatholicTV.com. Heeding Pope Benedict XVI’s call to greater utilize the power of television and new media, CatholicTV Network offers a wide range of programs aimed at children and adults, from uplifting advice shows to international news, game shows to travel, CatholicTV has something for everyone. Based in Watertown, MA outside of Boston, CatholicTV is available in 5.7 million homes nationwide. For access to CatholicTV programs, go to CatholicTV.com or download the CatholicTV mobile app for iPhone or iPad.

“This is the Day” can also be seen on demand at www.CatholicTV.com or downloaded via iTunes.com.and SQPN.com The hosts, Father Robert Reed, and Jay Fadden discuss various topics of the week and respond to viewer mail (you may email the show at [email protected] )

CatholicTV is a nationally-broadcasted television network streaming a live feed 24 hours a day at CatholicTV.com. Heeding Pope Benedict XVI’s call to greater utilize the power of television and new media, the CatholicTV Network features its cable TV station, Catholic web site, mobile apps and widget. Celebrate Mass online; pray The Rosary; enjoy programs on prayer, the saints, the Scriptures and the Catholic Church on America’s Catholic Television Network.

“This is the Day” can also be seen on demand at www.CatholicTV.com or downloaded via iTunes.com.and SQPN.com The hosts, Father Robert Reed, and Jay Fadden discuss various topics of the week and respond to viewer mail (you may email the show at [email protected] )

Archbishop Raymond Burke, Sen. Rick Santorum to Headline Thomas More College’s Fall Program

October 12, 2010

MERRIMACK, NH (MetroCatholic) - On Saturday, December 4, the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts will host its annual President’s Council Dinner in downtown Boston, featuring the Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of St. Louis and Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, as its keynote speaker.

Archbishop Burke will travel to Boston from Rome where he has served since June 2008 as the prefect of the Catholic Church’s highest court. In addition to speaking to the faithful during his keynote address, Archbishop Burke will serve as the principal celebrant and homilist at the evening’s Vigil Mass.

Preceding the Dinner program, the College will host a symposium on “St. Thomas More and Statesmanship: The Proper Role of Catholic Politicians,” featuring former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, and former Boston Mayor and U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, Ray Flynn.

These men will offer unique insights into the challenge and importance of standing firm with the Catholic Faith amidst the constantly changing political climate. Speakers will also explore how principled Catholic leadership can be applied in the political arena.

“The President’s Council Dinner and Symposium are important events held each year in support of Thomas More College’s scholarship funds,” said Dr. William Fahey, President of Thomas More College. “It is through this Dinner that we are able to raise the funds necessary to provide young people with both the philosophic habit of mind and the critical skills learned in the traditional liberal arts – an education that has formed generations of priests and nuns, and laymen who founded faithful families.”

This is the second year Thomas More College has hosted its President’s Council Dinner in Boston.

“Thomas More College is a unique liberal arts college in the Boston area – ardently Catholic and academically rigorous,” said Fahey. “We are dedicated to offering the young people of Boston and the larger region an education that is deeply rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition and completely faithful to the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church. We have moved this annual dinner to Boston to make it clear that we are committed to the region, and wish to play our part in re-evangelizing New England.”

Fahey referenced the College’s commitment to the Church by noting that this weekend the College will renew its consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, its faculty and teaching staff will make a public Profession of Faith, and that he will take the Oath of Fidelity, as requested by Canon Law. Not all Catholic-affiliated colleges in the region observe these requirements.

This year’s President’s Council events will be held at the Harvard Club in Boston. The Symposium begins at 2:00p.m. and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 5:00p.m., followed by a 6 p.m. reception and a 7 p.m. dinner.

Tickets to Thomas More College’s President’s Council Dinner are $150 each, and tickets to the symposium are $15 each. Details and a registration form may be found on the College’s web site at www.ThomasMoreCollege.edu/PresidentsCouncil.

The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts provides a four-year undergraduate education which develops young people intellectually, ethically, and spiritually in the Catholic tradition and in faithfulness to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. Thomas More College introduces its students to the central questions of Western civilization – and to the Church’s response. It teaches skills in reasoning, speaking, and writing that will allow its graduates to become faithful leaders according to the individual vocations which God has given them

Conference For Divorced and Separated Catholics Announced

September 15, 2010

ATLANTA, GA (MetroCatholic) - The annual Journey of Hope Conference will be held March 4-6 in Atlanta. Open to all Catholic men and women who are separated or divorced, the conference will offer resources that foster healing and help navigate life after divorce. Speakers and workshops will address issues of healing, living the Catholic faith and finding a rich and fulfilling life after divorce.

Registration is open to separated and divorced men and woman and those involved in related ministries.

Conference workshops will be structured to provide information, facilitate discussion and help attendees apply what they have learned. Workshop topics include annulments, helping children of divorce, financial solutions, dating and intimacy, forgiveness and healing, and receiving the sacraments.

The conference will also provide a means for clergy and those in ministry to separated and divorced Catholics to better understand how to serve this greatly underserved population of the Church.

“This conference is the first of its kind to offer the range educational, spiritual and social offerings for the divorced Catholic,” says Lisa Duffy, President of DivorcedCatholic.Org and Journey of Hope Productions, the conference sponsors. “It is a unique opportunity for divorced Catholics to learn how to heal from divorce by more fully living their faith and creating a joyful future.”

The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Mass will also be available during the conference.

Journey of Hope Conference 2011 will be held March 4-6 at the Marriott Atlanta North Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information and to register, visit journeyofhopeconference.com or call 1-888-654-3397.

Journey of Hope 2011Conference is presented by Journey of Hope Productions, the leading developer and publisher of content for divorced and separated Catholics. Journey of Hope programs, podcasts, books and DVDs can be found at www.divorcedcatholic.org  .

Father Wins Court Approval to Baptize Child

September 10, 2010

CHICAGO, IL (MetroCatholic) - Attorney Jeffery M. Leving successfully secured court approval for his client, Victor Sarmiento, to baptize his child in the Catholic faith today, concluding a much-watched debate over whether and how the courts should intervene in the religious upbringing of a child of divorce.

“After two years in court with this divorce, my client has prevailed in his desire to raise his son with exposure to all the Catholic traditions with which he was raised,” Leving said. “This is a victory for religious freedom and for the interests of the child in avoiding further deleterious conflict, and we are grateful his mother has come to accept the court order we have negotiated since the debate first became public.”

The signing of the court order effectively ends this aspect of the saga. Mr. Sarmiento, military veteran and dedicated father, now plans to have his three-year-old son baptized.

The case represents the latest example of what some observers consider to be a trend toward court outcomes favoring the religious rights of divorced fathers in interfaith families to share in such decisions - rather than favoring a simple unilateral decision on religious upbringing by one parent with chief custody.

In a move to help settle more such matters with less acrimony and less insalubrious court interference, The Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving, Ltd., has launched an Interfaith Mediation Initiative created to support parents and families engaged in interfaith custody battles. The initiative is a collaboration with attorneys James Hagler, Jenet Pequeno and psychotherapist Dr. Karl Schmitt; they will provide mediation in high-conflict interfaith custody cases.

Short film on Catholic Faith could win you big trip to World Youth Day 2011

August 19, 2010

LOUISVILLE, KY (MetroCatholic) - One year from now, Goodness Reigns will send teen and young adult filmmakers to Madrid, Spain for World Youth Day 2011 as part of its “Share the Story” short film contest.

“Goodness Reigns: Share the Story” fuses the imagination of youth and young adults with the art of filmmaking to produce short films about the Catholic Faith. The organization is sponsoring a free short-film contest on the Catholic Faith that will award all-inclusive travel packages to 22 youths, young adults and adults.

Films should be no more than seven minutes in length and pertain to one of four categories:

• Church history (including Bible stories and lives of the saints);
• Sacraments of the Church;
• Church teachings;
• Present-day missionary spirit of an individual or ministry of the Church.

The global contest offers awards in three divisions.

Individual Category Awards (Open to anyone age 14 and up)
One winner will be selected from each of the above categories. The winner and one guest/parent will receive free travel packages to World Youth Day 2011; or winners unable to travel may choose to receive video equipment packages each valued at $4,000.

The High School Class or Youth Group Award
One group of teens and chaperones (up to 10 people) will be selected from all entrants to receive free travel packages to WYD 2011; or the group may select a video equipment package worth up to $15,000.

Young Adult Group Award (Ages 18-30)
One group of four young adults will be selected from all entrants to receive free travel packages to WYD 2011; or they may select a video equipment package worth up to $8,000.

Contest winners choosing to attend World Youth Day 2011 will travel with Youth in Europe (www.YouthInEurope.com ).

Registration for the contest is free! To register and to find out about submission details, visit www.GoodnessReigns.com . The deadline for film submissions is Jan. 10, 2011.

Author Anne Rice repudiates Christianity ‘in the name of Christ’

August 2, 2010

New York City, N.Y.,(CNA).- The author Anne Rice, who in 2008 announced that she had returned to the Catholic faith in which she was raised, says she is no longer a Christian but remains “committed to Christ.”

“Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity,” she wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday. She said it was “simply impossible” for her to belong to “this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group.”

She said she had “tried” and “failed,” describing herself as an outsider.

“In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay,” continued Rice, whose son Christopher is a homosexual who writes for The Advocate, an “LGBT” monthly.

“I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat,” she continued, also characterizing Christianity as “anti-science” and “anti-life.”

However, she still described her faith in Christ as “central” to her life.

“My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me.”

However, she said following Christ does not mean “following His followers.” She described Christ as “infinitely more important than Christianity.”

Rice, the author of several bestselling novels about vampires, reportedly returned to Christianity in 1998 after a conversion experience. She pledged to write “only for the Lord.”

In 2005 she published a book “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt,” a fictional work about the childhood of Jesus narrated from his perspective.

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