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”.


November 4, 2010

VATICAN CITY (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday today a preference was held to present the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, which is due to be held from 10 to 13 November on the theme: “The Culture of Communication and New Languages”.

Participating in today’s press conference were Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, Msgr. Pasquale Iacobone and Richard Rouse, respectively president, head of the “Art and Faith” department, and head of the “Communication and Languages” department of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany, who is a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Msgr. Iacobone explained how the plenary will examine “the use of language and communication to study the current situation and suggest guidelines for action in the evangelising mission of the Church”.

The participants in the plenary will discuss “the new languages, in particular cinema, music, figurative and plastic arts, the internet and multimedia platforms, in order to discover the words, colours, sounds and images capable of presenting Christian life as a valid experience for everyone today.

“In order to favour inter-personal communication there will be no written texts to read or follow but conversations with experts such as Ennio Morricone, Dario Vigano, Robert Barron and the managing director of Microsoft Italia”. Msgr. Iacobone explained.

The plenary will also serve to examine “the characteristics of interactivity and participation, of clarity and simplicity - while avoiding simplification - and to study figurative and narrative languages in order to transmit to our fellows what we have received”.

Bishop Muller then presented the twelfth German-language volume of Joseph Ratzinger’s “Opera Omina”, entitled “Kunder des Wortes und Diener eurer Freude - Theologie und Spiritualitat des Weihesakramentes” (Announcers of the Word and Servants of your Joy. Theology and Spirituality of the Sacrament of Holy Orders).

Bishop Muller, who is overseeing the publication of the complete works of Joseph Ratzinger, explained how the contents of this latest volume cover nearly half a century, beginning with a number of texts which predate by some years the opening of Vatican Council II. “That fundamental event in recent ecclesiastical history is usually associated, depending on the point of view, with the beginning of a transformation in keeping with the spirit of the times, or with a profound crisis in the Church and particularly in the priesthood”, he said.

In section “A” of the book, entitled “Theology of the Sacrament of Holy Orders”, Joseph Ratzinger analyses the causes of this crisis and “illustrates the biblical foundation and coherent historical-dogmatic development of the Sacrament of Holy Orders”. In section “B”, entitled “Servants of your Joy”, readers will find “a collection of meditations on spirituality already published as an individual book with the same title”. Section “C” contains “various homilies delivered on the occasion of consecrations of priests and deacons, first Masses and jubilees”.

“In order to rediscover priestly identity in the relationship with Christ we must be ready to consider ourselves as servants of the Word and witnesses of God in the succession of Christ, and to live in communion with Him. To this end, the priest must have a good theological formation and a permanent reference in academic theology”.

With the writings in this book Joseph Ratzinger “indicates the way out of the crisis into which the Catholic priesthood has fallen as a result of inadequate theological and sociological approaches, and of declarations that tend to arouse in many priests who began their journey with love and zeal, a sense of insecurity and discomfort concerning their role within the Church”. This volume, Bishop Muller concluded, “achieves the desire of its author to dedicate an entire book of his complete works to the theology of the Sacrament of Holy Orders”.

Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Commission Meets, Plans Statement on Approaches to Moral Issues

September 20, 2010

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic)—The Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation in the United States held its sixty-eighth meeting in Alexandria, Louisiana, on September 9 and 10. Bishop Ronald P. Herzog of Alexandria, the Catholic co-chairman of the Consultation, hosted the session, which took place at the St. Joseph Catholic Center in Alexandria. Episcopal Bishop John Bauerschmidt of the Diocese of Tennessee (Nashville) also co-chaired the meeting, replacing Bishop Thomas Breidental of Southern Ohio, who announced his resignation at the last meeting due to other responsibilities.
This session was largely devoted to the examination of a draft outline of a potential agreed statement on the topic of the current round of dialogue, “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Common Ground and Divergences.” This topic explores the fact that while the two churches share the same convictions on a wide range of ethical questions, there are serious differences regarding certain issues in personal morality, especially those pertaining to human sexuality. In earlier meetings of the Commission, members discussed Catholic and Anglican positions on contraception, debt relief, immigration, same-sex unions and health care.
Decisions were made regarding the production of a draft of the first section of the document and further studies that remain to be undertaken.
During the course of the meeting the members were able to visit St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Alexandria, and were presented with materials commemorating the centenary of the founding of the Diocese of Alexandria (1910-2010). The sixty-ninth meeting was set for February 28 and March 1, 2011, at a place to be determined.
In addition to the co-chair, Catholic members of the dialogue are Msgr. David A. Bohr, Rector of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania; Father Charles Caccavale, Professor of Moral Theology at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception; Dr. Therese Lysaught, Associate Professor in the Department of Theology at Marquette University; Theresa Notare, Ph.D., of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; Jesuit Father Thomas P. Rausch, Ph.D., Department of Theological Studies of Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles; and Paulist Father Ronald G. Roberson, Ph.D., Associate Director of the USCCB Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and staff to the dialogue.
Representatives of The Episcopal Church, in addition to Bishop Bauerschmidt, include the Rev. Matthew S. C. Olver, Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, Texas; Mary Reath, governor of the Anglican Center in Rome and author of “Rome and Canterbury: The Elusive Search for Unity” (2007); Dr. Timothy Sedgwick, Professor of Christian Ethics at Virginia Theological Seminary; the Rev. Canon. J. Robert Wright, Ph.D, Professor of Church History at the General Theological Seminary in New York, New York; and the Rev. Thomas Ferguson, Ph.D., Ecumenical Officer of The Episcopal Church and staff to the dialogue.  
A complete list of the agreed statements released by the consultation as well as links to earlier press releases can be found on the USCCB website at:

HLI President to Return to Diocese

August 27, 2010

FRONT ROYAL, Va. (MetroCatholic) — The board of directors of Human Life International (HLI) has announced that after nearly 10 years of meritorious service to HLI as president, Reverend Thomas J Euteneuer has stepped down from his position after being asked by his Bishop to return to his Diocese in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The board thanks Fr. Euteneuer for his leadership, hard work and dedication in carrying on the legacy of Fr. Paul Marx. During his tenure Fr. Euteneuer traveled more than one million miles as a pro-life missionary to the world.

While Fr. Euteneuer’s leadership at HLI and his influence on the pro-life movement around the world will be greatly missed, we are blessed to have gifted staff who will continue to carry out our mission while a search for a new president is undertaken.

Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro Carámbula, Executive Director of HLI’s office in Rome, will assume Fr. Euteneuer’s responsibilities until such time as a permanent replacement is named.

Human Life International: Creating effective opposition to the culture of death around the world.

Founded in 1981, HLI is the world’s largest pro-life organization and has affiliates and associates in over 100 countries on six continents.


July 9, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 9 JUL 2010 (VIS) - On the afternoon of Monday 28 June at the apostolic nunciature in Berlin, Germany, Archbishop Jean-Claude Perisset, apostolic nuncio to Germany, and Christian Wulff, then minister-president of Lower Saxony now president of Germany, exchanged the instruments of ratification of an Agreement signed on 6 April this year.

According to a communique published today the new Agreement modifies article 6 of the addendum to the 1965 Accord between the Holy See and Lower Saxony, and regulates the juridical position of certain Catholic schools administered by the dioceses of Hildesheim, Osnabruck, and Munster in that Land.

A number of deputies from the Diet of Lower Saxony were present at the ceremony, along with a delegation of teachers and pupils from the schools involved in the agreement. Also present, apart from the staff of the nunciature, was Msgr. Felix Bernard, head of the Catholic office for Lower Saxony.

Major Blessings for the Diocese of Dallas in New Auxiliary Bishops

April 20, 2010

aux_bishopsOn April 27, 2010 Father J. Douglas Deshotel, 58, and Msgr. Mark J. Seitz, 56, will officially assume their roles as auxiliary bishops of the Diocese of Dallas. Having each served in the diocese for over 30 years, both men possess a genuine understanding of the needs of the community and are eager to assist Bishop Farrell in guiding the more than one million Catholics across the diocese.

The ordinations, set to take place at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas, will mark the first time an auxiliary bishop has served in the Diocese of Dallas since 1969. This recent decision by Pope Benedict XVI to appoint two auxiliary bishops to the diocese is a sign of the continued growth of the Catholic community throughout the Dallas area.

“The mission of the diocesan bishop is to insure the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel, be the Good Shepherd of the people under his care, and build up the community through the celebration of the sacraments of our faith,” said Bishop-elect Deshotel, current vicar general of the Diocese of Dallas. “In a large and diverse diocese like Dallas, I hope to help Bishop Farrell in fulfilling this mission.”

The boom in the Catholic population within the Diocese of Dallas over the past decade has presented a challenge for the clergy in meeting all the needs of the people.

“My hope is that going from one bishop to three will make it possible for people to have a greater sense of the Church’s closeness to them,” said Bishop-elect Seitz, current pastor of St. Rita’s parish in Dallas. “A ministry of presence will be one of the most important, and I hope helpful, changes that people will note.”

Both priests will lean upon the examples of the saints and role models to aid in the shaping of their new ministries.

Bishop-elect Seitz holds a special devotion to his patron, St. Mark, and will use the winged lion – the symbol of St. Mark – on his coat of arms. “[St. Mark’s] boldness in recording and proclaiming the Gospel has always been important to me,” he said. “I also love the fact that he was a living link between St. Peter and St. Paul, both of whom he assisted.”

Bishop-elect Deshotel has held his childhood parish priest, Father Jules C. Speyer, as a model throughout his lifetime of ministry. “He was a part of every family – joined in their happy celebrations, comforted them in their difficulties and walked through their lives at all the key moments from birth to death,” he said. “His kindness and gentleness truly gave me a picture of Christ the Good Shepherd.”

In a statement to the press, Bishop Farrell said that both auxiliary bishops will be a “tremendous help…and a continued blessing to the people of the diocese.”

Indianapolis City-County Council Votes to Transform Two Catholic Schools into Mayor-Sponsored Charters

April 9, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (MetroCatholic) -  Two of the six schools within the Mother Theodore Catholic Academies will officially transform into mayor-sponsored charter schools this fall - with new names. In a historic decision, the City-County Council of Indianapolis and Marion County voted to approve the application to transform St. Anthony and St. Andrew & St. Rita into secular schools.

Facing many challenges, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the Mother Theodore Catholic Academies developed an innovative plan to ensure all six schools remained open.

“Many urban Catholic schools are closing across the nation and we did not want to leave the students or communities we currently serve,” said Msgr. Joseph Schaedel, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. “Through this transformation, an urgent and unmet need within urban Indianapolis will be filled.”

A separate board, independent of the Archdiocese - ADI Charter Schools, Inc. - will oversee the two schools to ensure all aspects of governance and operational activities conform to Federal and State of Indiana laws. The Board consists of seven highly engaged community leaders representing several areas of expertise.

“ADI Charter Schools Inc. will prepare students for high school and life after graduation,” said Holly McKiernan, ADI Charter Schools Inc. board member. “We collectively have a strong commitment to keep St. Anthony and St. Andrew & St. Rita in the communities they currently serve, but as secular charter schools.”

Indianapolis Mayor Gregory A. Ballard is the only mayor in the nation who is able to sponsor charter schools.

“Choices for our students and parents are important especially when it comes to education,” said Mayor Gregory A. Ballard. “I am pleased and honored to fully support the transformation of both St. Anthony and St. Andrew & St. Rita into charter schools and look forward to the quality of education the schools will provide.”

ADI’s application outlines five aggressive education performance goals including a plan for all seventh grade students returning to school in eighth grade to successfully complete Algebra 1 and pass the Algebra 1 exit exam. Additionally, the schools will focus on strong character values with an emphasis on community service.

Through robust community outreach, the transformation process has been discussed at more than 40 meetings with parents, teachers, church parishes, community leaders, elected officials and other key stakeholders.

“The overwhelming majority of people we have met with have provided support including the Indianapolis Charter School Board and Mayor Gregory Ballard,” said Connie Zittnan, director of the Mother Theodore Catholic Academies. “We expect to be under a microscope as the schools transform and look forward to staying in the communities currently served.”

ADI is also searching for a head of school for each location. As soon as the heads of school are determined, parent focus groups will be held to focus on branding, including the name of the school, and parent communication. All teachers and staff will be asked to reapply.

St. Andrew & St. Rita is not a typical private school with 77 percent of the student population on free and reduced lunch and only seven percent of the primarily African-American student body belonging to the Catholic faith.

St. Anthony consists of mainly Catholic students, its population is 90 percent Hispanic, and 98 percent of the students are on free and reduced lunch.

In December 2009, MTCA submitted a prospectus and letter of intent to the Indianapolis Charter School Board and the full application in February 2010. The Board unanimously voted in favor of the application. It then went before Mayor Ballard, who also approved the application. Next, the application was sent to the Rules and Public Policy Committee of the City-County Council, who unanimously voted in favor of the application. Finally, it went before the full City-County Council for the final vote and was approved.


April 8, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 7 APR 2010 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. today released the following declaration, in reply to questions from journalists concerning Bishop Georg Mueller SS.CC., emeritus of the territorial prelature of Trondheim, Norway.

“I can confirm the information given by Bishop Markus Bernt Eidsvig C.R.S.A., apostolic administrator of Trondheim, concerning Msgr. Georg Mueller, bishop of that territorial prelature between 1997 and 2009.

“The matter concerns a case of sexual abuse of a minor at the beginning of the 1990s, which came to the knowledge of the ecclesiastical authorities in January 2009. The question was rapidly confronted and examined through the apostolic nunciature in Stockholm, by order of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In May 2009, the bishop presented his resignation, which was immediately accepted by the Holy Father, and he left the diocese in June. He underwent a period of therapy and no longer carries out pastoral work.

“From the point of view of civil law, the case is subject to the statue of limitations. The victim, now an adult, has thus far always asked to remain anonymous”.


March 27, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The following communique was released late this morning by the Holy See Press Office:

“Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., questioned by journalists concerning a new ‘New York Times’ article which appeared on 26 March and concerns the period in which Cardinal Ratzinger was archbishop of Munich, referred them to this morning’s public denial in a communique published by the archdiocese of Munich, which reads:

“‘The article in the New York Times contains no new information beyond that which the archdiocese has already communicated concerning the then archbishop’s knowledge of the situation of Father H.’

“Thus the archdiocese confirms the position, according to which the then archbishop had no knowledge of the decision to reassign Father H. to pastoral activities in a parish.

“It rejects any other version of events as mere speculation.

“The then vicar general, Msgr. Gerhard Gruber, has assumed full responsibility for his own erroneous decision to reassign Father H. to pastoral activity”.

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