Around 1,000 Anglicans in Australia could join Catholic Church ordinariate

December 22, 2010

Sydney, Australia, (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop John Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion has said that about 1,000 Australians are expected to join the Catholic Church through a special jurisdiction created by Pope Benedict XVI.

Catholics, mainstream Anglicans and members of the breakaway Traditional Anglican Communion established a nine-member committee last week to oversee the transition by June 12, 2011.

The Anglicans believe they will be able to retain their church properties, which removes one obstacle to their entry into the Catholic Church, the Australian newspaper The Age reports.

Archbishop Hepworth said that if Anglican priests and congregations do not resign, they might be able to show “beneficial ownership” and keep their properties. He noted that in England the Archbishop of
Canterbury has allowed departing Anglicans to keep using their properties. The Australian archbishop said he hoped the Australian church would do the same.

“It would be the tolerant and godly thing to do,” he said.

The Anglicans seeking entry into the Catholic Church have objected to theological changes in the Anglican Communion such as the ordination of women. Under the Anglican ordinariate which Pope Benedict established in his 2009 apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus,” they will keep their clergy, liturgy and church structures.

Archbishop Hepworth reported that an Australian ordinariate would have churches in all capital cities of the country and in many regional and rural places.

The Traditional Anglican Communion claims 400,000 members worldwide but only 700 in Australia

US Catholics to celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week

December 13, 2010

Washington D.C.,  (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. bishops conference announced that the Church across the country will recognize and bring awareness to consecrated vocations during a special week in January.

The National Vocation Awareness Week will start on Jan. 9, the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, which marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. The bishops’ conference emphasized that vocations week, initiated by the U.S. bishops in 1976,  focuses on vocations to the priesthood, diaconate or consecrated life.

The event “gives parishes across the country a chance to promote vocations through prayer and education,” said Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, chairman of the conference’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

“It is our responsibility to encourage young people to be generous as they discern the possibility of a call to service in the Church,” he added. “Parents, families and parish communities must be involved in this work, since vocations recruitment is everyone’s responsibility. All need to foster a culture of vocations.”
          
Father Shawn McKnight, executive director of the bishops’ Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations said that many people can influence a young person’s vocation discernment.
          
“Just as Jesus needed to hear with his human ears the voice of the Father, so our young people need to hear words of encouragement from parents, other family members, friends and the parish. God’s call comes through the Church in this way.”
          
Associate director of the vocations secretariat, Sr. Mary Joanna Ruhland, pointed out that one reason young people “do not consider a call to the priesthood or consecrated life is the fact that they were never asked.”
          
During Jan. 9-16,  families and parishes should highlight these vocations to their children and encourage them in the faith, the bishops’ conference urged. Prayer cards for the commemorative  vocations event can be found at http://www.foryourvocation.org/

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.”

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.”

Pope to Italian bishops: Families are key to a moral society

November 10, 2010

Vatican City, Nov 9, 2010 / 04:13 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy Father emphasized to the bishops of Italy on Tuesday that Church leaders need to support families, if they wish to ensure morality’s presence and relevance in public life.

This week the Italian Episcopal Conference is meeting for its 62nd general assembly in Assisi, Italy.

The Vatican reported on Nov. 9 that the main issue up for discussion is the Italian translation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal.

Referencing this, the Holy Father wrote in his message to conference president Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco that “all true reformers are, in fact, obedient to the faith. They do not move arbitrarily, they do not claim any discretional jurisdiction over rites.”

“They are not masters but custodians of the treasure that was instituted by the Lord and entrusted to us. The entire Church is present in each liturgical act, and adhering to its form is a condition for the authenticity of the celebration.”

Pope Benedict then addressed the topic of science and technology in his message, saying its progress “has often been at the expense of the foundations of Christianity, in which the rich history of the European continent has its roots.”

“The moral sphere,” he said, “has been confined to the subjective field and God, when not denied outright, is in any case excluded from the public conscience.”

The Pope told the bishops that countering this tendency requires more than “a generic call to values” or an “educational program that contents itself with purely functional and fragmentary interventions … ”

“What is needed is a personal relationship of trust between active individuals … capable of taking up positions and of putting their own personal freedom into question.”

“For this reason,” the Pope said, “your decision to remind everyone who cares about the city of man and the welfare of new generations of their education responsibilities seems particularly appropriate. This vital alliance can only start with a renewed closeness to families, recognizing and supporting their primary role in education.”

“It is in families that the face of a people is forged,” he underscored.

Concluding his message to the bishops, the Holy Father urged them “to value the liturgy as a perennial source for education in the good life of the Gospel. It introduces people to the meeting with Jesus Christ, who with words and deeds constantly edifies the Church, molding her in the profound concepts of listening, fraternity and mission.”

No one excluded from Jesus’ mercy, teaches Benedict XVI

November 1, 2010

Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News).- God “sees a soul to save” in everyone, the Pope said before praying the Angelus on Sunday. The Lord’s mercy, he taught, takes nothing away from the gravity of sins, but always seeks to save the sinner.

Pilgrims enjoyed a break from a morning of rain in Rome as they joined the Pope for the Angelus.

Referring to the Gospel reading from Luke that recounts the story of the chief tax collector Zacchaeus, he reflected on his conversion after contact with Jesus.

Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus is one of several episodes where St. Luke talks about the merciful love of God and of Christ, said the Pope. In this case, Jesus directs his attention to Zacchaeus, considered a “public sinner” for his position.

The Lord “knew very well what he was doing” when he asked the publicly disliked man to host him in his home, and his “gamble” was rewarded with the man’s conversion, Benedict XVI pointed out.

Citing Jesus’ words from the Gospel, the Pope said, “today, salvation has come to this house” and “the Son of man has come to seek and to save what had been lost.”

“God,” the Holy Father said, “does not exclude anyone, rich or poor.” Neither is He “conditioned by our human prejudices, but He sees in everyone as a soul to save and is attracted especially by those who are judged lost and who consider themselves to be such.”

Jesus, he explained, demonstrates this immense mercy, “not taking anything away from the gravity of the sin, but looking always to save sinners, to offer them the possibility of rescue, starting over from the beginning, repenting.”

Focusing on Zaccheus, Pope Benedict noted that he “accepted Jesus and was converted because Jesus accepted him first! He did not condemn him, but met his desire for salvation.”

The Holy Father concluded his catechesis before the Angelus by praying for the intercession of Mary so that all people “might experience the joy of being visited by the Son of God, of being renewed by his love, and transmitting his mercy to others.”

Following the noon-time prayer, he greeted the variety of pilgrims in their different languages. He made a special mention of Blessed Szilard Bogdanffy, a Romanian bishop who was martyred under communist rule in the country in 1953.

Jailed less than two months after his consecration as a bishop, he is remembered for his ability to continue loving despite torture and trial.

Thanking God for this “heroic Pastor of the Church,” the Pope prayed that his testimony would be a comfort to all of those persecuted for the faith today

Pope closes Middle East Synod with impassioned call for peace

October 25, 2010

Vatican City,  (CNA/EWTN News).- Peace is possible and urgent in the Middle East, where wars, violence and terrorism have gone on for “too long,” said the Pope at the concluding Mass of the Vatican’s synod on the Middle East. He invited prayers for the region and assured its Christian inhabitants that they are “never alone.”

The synod, two weeks of discussions on the state of Christians and the Church in the Middle East, concluded on Sunday with a Eucharistic celebration that showed the “unity in diversity” of the Catholic Church. Joining Pope Benedict XVI in the celebration of the Mass were 177 bishops from all over the Middle East and neighboring nations who had taken part in the summit.

The meetings brought many challenges, hopes and concerns to light while maintaining a focus on the synod’s theme: “Communion and Witness: now those who believed were of one heart and soul.”

Among the matters receiving the most attention during the sessions were communion among the variety of Eastern Catholic traditions; problematic emigration from the Middle East; and inter-religious relations and dialogue. The topics of violence, peace, and religious freedom were also prominent.

During the homily at the synod’s closing Mass, Pope Benedict called the encounter a “truly extraordinary experience,” not just for participants, “but for the good of the Church.” He told the many Synod Fathers that they now return home from this “powerful moment of ecclesial communion” to their missions, knowing that they are united and remain in God’s love.

He hoped that the positive experience of being “united, heart and soul, in faith, in hope and in charity,” would be repeated in Middle Eastern communities. Guided by prayer and by living true unity, he said, Catholics in the region will also be able to pursue dialogue with other Christians more readily.

While Christians in the region are few, the Pope observed, “they are the bearers of the Good News of the love of God for man … and it is the only Word which is able to break that vicious circle of vengeance, hate and violence.” He prayed that initiatives for peace might arise from all levels of society.

“Conflicts, wars, violence and terrorism have gone on for too long in the Middle East,” he emphasized. “Peace, which is a gift of God, is also the result of the efforts of men of goodwill, of the national and international institutions, in particular of the states most involved in the search for a solution to conflicts.

“We must never resign ourselves to the absence of peace. Peace is possible. Peace is urgent,” he said.
It is also the “indispensable condition for a life of dignity for human beings and society” and “the best remedy to avoid emigration from the Middle East,” he added.

Referring to Psalm 122’s call to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, he said “we pray for peace in the Holy Land. We pray for peace in the Middle East, undertaking to try to ensure that this gift of God to men of goodwill should spread through the whole world.”

Christians can also contribute to the promotion of “authentic freedom of religion and conscience” in the region, he said, proposing this as a topic of Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Turning to Christians in the Middle East, headed: “may the experience of these days assure you that you are never alone, that you are always accompanied by the Holy See and the whole Church, which, having been born in Jerusalem, spread through the Middle East and then the rest of the world.”

He also announced during the homily that the next assembly of bishops would take place in 2012 to examine “new evangelization.”

American cardinal-designates men of different styles

October 21, 2010

Rome, Italy, (CNA/EWTN News).- The two new American cardinal-designates are men of the Church with impressive pastoral pedigrees but decidedly different pastoral styles.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Oct. 20 selection of Archbishops Raymond L. Burke and Donald D. Wuerl had been widely predicted by Vatican analysts. Archbishop Wuerl is the head of the Church in the nation’s capital, a position that traditionally has earned a cardinal’s rank. Archbishop Burke is the head of the most important tribunal in the Vatican, the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s supreme court. 

Cardinal-designate Burke, 62, is widely known for emphasizing the importance of a distinctive Catholic identity and for advocating a bold Catholic witness in American public life. First as bishop of La Crosse, Wisc., where he served from 1995-2003, and later as Archbishop of St. Louis, where he served from 2003-2008, he spoke out frequently about Catholic obligations on crucial moral issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

In both the 2004 and 2008 U.S. election campaigns, he stated that Catholic politicians who advocate legalized abortion should not present themselves for communion.

He made headlines again recently in Rome for a stirring speech in which he called for the public “repentance” of Catholic politicians who support political positions that are immoral and at odds with the Church.

“It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and conduct oneself publicly in this manner,” he said in an Oct. 14 address to Human Life International, he decried “cafeteria Catholicism,” or the bad habit of some to pick and choose which of the Church’s teachings to obey.

Cardinal-designate Wuerl, 69, spent a decade in Rome as secretary secretary to Cardinal John Wright, then-head of the Congregation for Clergy, Rome, 1969-79. He is noted for his noted for his emphasis on catechesis and Catholic education and is the author of numerous books. On the day before his appointment as cardinal, Archbishop Wuerl, a former seminary rector, announced plans to open a new seminary in Washington.

Since being installed in Washington in 2006, Cardinal-designate Wuerl has been a strong voice for the Church’s teachings on abortion and gay marriage. Last year, he challenged a new District of Columbia marriage law that mandated local organizations to provide spousal benefits for same-sex couples. He fought unsuccessfully for an exemption for Catholic institutions and was forced to shut down some operations of Catholic Charities and to end health benefits to Charities’ employees rather than comply with the law.

On the question of excommunicating Catholic politicians, he has taken a different approach from Archbishop Burke.

Archbishop Wuerl made headlines in Jan. 2007 when he opted not to intervene regarding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s participation in a Mass at her alma mater of Trinity Washington University despite her open support of abortion, embryonic research, and same-sex marriage.

Asked to do so as he participated in the same Mass, he refused, explaining later that he found it to be “a matter between the university and Nancy” and that the approach differed from his style of pastoral ministry.

“It is extremely difficult to make a public judgment about the state of the soul of someone else,” Archbishop Wuerl said. “Our task,” he said, “is to convince people and win people over to what is the correct view.”

One prominent American archbishop who did not receive the Pope’s nod for the coming consistory is Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.

He  was likely ruled out as a candidate because his predecessor, Cardinal Edward Egan, has not yet reached the age of 80 and is still eligible to vote in the case of a papal election. Traditionally, the Pope does not select two voting-eligible cardinals from the same jurisdiction. Cardinal Egan will turn 80 on April 2, 2012

Pope announces names of 24 new cardinals for a November consistory

October 21, 2010

Vatican City,  (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI named two dozen new cardinals, including two from the United States: Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, a top Vatican official, and Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington. The new cardinals will be installed in a special consistory to be held at the Vatican, Nov. 20.

The Pope made his announcement Oct. 20 at the conclusion of his weekly Wednesday general audience. “The universality of the church is reflected in the list of new cardinals,” he said. More than a dozen countries are represented by the new cardinals, including four from African countries, two from Latin America, two from North America, and one representing Asia.

Among the new cardinals, 20 are under the age of 80 and are hence eligible to vote in the case of a papal election; four of the new cardinals are over that age and will not be eligible to vote.

With the new additions, the College of Cardinals now has 203 members, 121 of which are eligible to vote for a new Pope should the opportunity arise.

Among those receiving the cardinal’s “red hat,” are the 10 current Vatican Vatican officials:

Archbishop Angelo Amato (Italian), prefect of the congregation for the Causes of Saints;

Archbishop Robert Sarah (Guinean), president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which oversees the Vatican’s charity activities;

Archbishop Velasio De Paolis (Italian), president of prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See;

Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli (Italian), of the Vatican’s Major Penitentiary;

Archbishop Paolo Sardi (Italian), of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta;

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi (Italian), president of the Pontifical Council for Culture;

Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke (American), prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, a top Vatican tribunal;

Archbishop Kurt Koch (Swiss), president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity;

Archbishop Mauro Piacenza (Italian) prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
The remaining new cardinals of voting age are:

Patriarch Antonios Naguib, (Egyptian), of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt;

Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, (Italian), archpriest at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls;

Archbishop Medardo Joseph Mazombwe (Zambian) of Lusaka;

Archbishop Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga (Ecuadorian) of Quito;

Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya (Democratic Republic of Congo) of Kinshasa;

Archbishop Paolo Romeo (Italian) of Palermo, Italy;

Archbishop Donald William Wuerl (American) of Washington;

Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis (Brazilian) of Aparecida;

Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz (Polish) of Warsaw;

Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don (Sri Lankan) of Colombo;

Archbishop Reinhard Marx (German) of Munich and Freising.
Cardinals over 80 years old include:

Msgr. Jose’ Manuel Estepa Llaurens (Spanish), military ordinary of Spain;

Msgr. Elio Sgreccia (Italian), president-emeritus of the Pontifical Academy of Life;

Msgr. Walter Brandmuller (German), president-emeritus of the Pontifical Commission of Historical Sciences;

Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci (Italian), former director of the Sistine Chapel Choir.
Cardinals are considered within the Church to be the Pope’s closest advisors. All belong to the College of Cardinals, the body whose main function is to elect a new Pontiff. Cardinals under 80 years of age are allowed to vote in such an election, while those over 80 can serve only in the capacity of counselors. Traditionally, the number of voting-age cardinals is kept at 120, while the total number of cardinals — including the non-voting cardinals — has no specific limit.
 
This is to be the third time the Pope has called a consistory to create new cardinals. With the cardinals he has previously named in March 2006 and Nov. 2007, he has now named 62, or more than half, of the current College of Cardinals. The consistory will be held in the Sistine Chapel on the Feast of Christ the King, Nov. 20. Pope Benedict will concelebrate Mass with the new cardinals the following day at St. Peter’s Basilica

Pope says Elizabeth of Hungary a model for those in authority

October 21, 2010

Vatican City, (CNA/EWTN News).- In his weekly general audience Oct. 20, the Pope said that St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a daughter of royalty, should be a model for all who hold authority in society.

Elizabeth was born in 1207, the daughter of Hungary’s King Andrew II. Yet her privileged upbringing never led her to compromise her faith or lord her position above her subjects, Pope Benedict XVI said.
 
She “behaved before God as she behaved towards her subjects,” he said, calling her “a true example for everyone who holds positions of leadership.”

“The exercise of authority at all levels, must be practiced as a service to justice and charity, in the constant search for the common good,” the Pope said.

Elizabeth managed to develop a “sincere love” for her husband Ludwig despite the fact the their union was arranged for political reasons when she was very young. It was at his death that she dedicated herself fully to the care of the poor, bringing herself closer to them in her relationship with the religious order, the Franciscan Friars Minor.

She helped to found a Franciscan hospital in the town of Marburg, Germany and from there served the poor until her own death at the young age of 24. St. Elizabeth was canonized just four years after her death.

In Elizabeth, the Pope said, “we see how faith and friendship with Christ, create a sense of justice, of universal equality, of the rights of others, and foment love and charity. From this charity comes hope, the certainty that we are loved by Christ, that the love of Christ awaits us, thus making us capable of imitating Christ and of seeing Him in others.”

The Holy Father prayed that Elizabeth’s “dedication to the poor and needy inspire in us the same love for Christ in our neighbor.”

The Pope’s teaching on Elizabeth is the seventh in a series of weekly reflections that he has been offering on the holy women of Church history. The series began with the Pope’s general audience Sept. 1

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