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

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

UN Approval of Resolution Could be Devastating for Many Christians

November 17, 2010

Pakistan Sentencing of Christian Woman to Death for ‘Blasphemy’ Demonstrates Why Defamation Resolution Must Be Defeated

SANTA ANA, Calif. (MetroCatholic) — Ten days ago Asia Noreen, a Pakistani Christian mother of five previously referred to as Asia Bibi by most media, was sentenced to death by hanging on “blasphemy” charges. She became the first woman to receive the death sentence in Pakistan.

Noreen was originally arrested in June 2009 after local Muslims accused her of denying that Muhammad was a prophet and insulting him and the Quran, according to Compass Direct News. She reportedly was under pressure from her fellow workers to convert to Islam.

Compass reported Monday that attorneys for Noreen have filed an appeal of the verdict. Ataul Saman of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) said that lower court verdicts in blasphemy cases are usually overturned by higher courts, according to Compass. He said lower court proceedings take place under intense pressure, with local Muslims gathering outside and chanting slogans to pressure judges. Saman added that NCJP research showed that up to 80 percent of blasphemy charges are filed against people to settle personal scores.

Compass says rights groups have long criticized Pakistan’s blasphemy laws as too easily used to settle grudges or oppress religious minorities, such as the more than 4 million Christians that Operation World, an international prayer guide for countries, estimates out of Pakistan’s total population of 184.7 million. Compass reports that to date no one has been executed for blasphemy in Pakistan, as most are freed on appeal after suffering for years under appalling prison conditions. Vigilantes have killed at least 10 people accused of blasphemy, rights groups estimate.

In 1999 Pakistan was the first country to introduce a bill at the United Nations called the “Defamation of Islam.” It later was renamed the “Defamation of Religions Resolution.” Many countries now supporting the resolution are the Islamic-majority countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The group says the bill focuses on promoting tolerance and protecting religious freedom.

However, it does the exact opposite for Christians, other religious minorities and even Muslims who do not adhere to government-approved versions of Islam. In effect, the Defamation of Religions Resolution is an international blasphemy law. If the resolution passes again, it would give international legitimacy to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and restrictive legislation in other mostly Muslim countries.

“It is incredibly sad and ironic that Pakistan has sentenced a Christian woman to death by hanging just days before a vote on the resolution at the United Nations that many countries are backing to purportedly protect religious freedom,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. “This sentencing should alert countries and individuals to the serious consequences of passing this resolution.”

Lindsay Vessey, Director of Advocacy for Open Doors USA, says: “I was recently in New York City lobbying various countries at the United Nations to change their vote on the Defamation of Religions Resolution. Open Doors was privileged to work with a group of other organizations and church groups during these lobbying efforts. We met with officials of over 20 countries. We had some very productive meetings and look forward to see if some of these countries vote against the non-binding resolution which comes up for reaffirmation each year. If defeated this year, the OIC will be forced to compromise on its efforts to create an international blasphemy law.”

Vessey says the resolution will be voted on in the United Nation’s Third Committee later this week, while the General Assembly vote will likely be held in early December.

Open Doors launched an advocacy campaign called “Free to Believe” two months ago. The campaign focuses on helping persecuted Christians who currently do not have religious freedom like Christians do in the United States and other free countries. Over 200,000 Open Doors supporters worldwide have spoken out against the resolution. To add your voice, go to

An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our website at

Catholics and Jews Find Ways to Partner and Share in Faith

October 13, 2010

MIAMI (MetroCatholic) — In addition to prayer services, group dialogues and peace finding missions, music has increasingly become a venue for nurturing relationships between Christians and Jews among local communities.

To further the message of building understanding among the two faiths, the Holy See is creating additional opportunities to worship through music. Sixteen members of The American Conference of Cantors (ACC) have been invited to participate in a mission to the Vatican, November 14-18, 2010, in partnership with the Interreligious Information Center. They will meet with Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinals, Vatican officials and seminarians from the North American College in a program that includes tours, dinners and receptions, creating lasting friendships and collaborating relationships.

Cantor Mark C. Goldman, from Kol Ami Emanu-EL Temple in Plantation, Florida, is participating in the mission’s concert at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli dei Martiri before the Pope and a large group of dignitaries. He is traveling as a clergy emissary of the Union of Reform Judaism. “This will be a moment to cherish in my life, a night different from all other nights. I will be singing in the Vatican instead of shul,” he said.

Descendant of generations of Cantors, Mark Goldman is a native of London, England. He pursued Cantorial studies as well as a B.A. (Honors) degree in Judaic Studies at the London School of Jewish Studies and gained a Master in Music degree in Performance and Literature from Eastman School of Music. He is the youngest ever recipient of certification by the Chief Rabbi of The United Kingdom.

At the Plantation congregation since 1995, he is now responsible for and oversees the Bar and Bat Mitzvah program, the Cultural Arts and Special Events Series, Adult Education, both Adult and Junior choirs, Adult B’not Mitzvah, and all musical programming relating to the congregation. The Cantor has produced and sung in a series of three CD’s for the temple encompassing Shabbat, the Festivals, and the High Holidays. He has performed in concerts in the United States, England and Israel and has been a featured artist at numerous regional and national biennials.

Musical liturgy will also be an integral part of Miami’s St. Thomas University Ecumenical Institute, housed in the University’s School of Theology and Ministry. The Institute pays reverence to participation from interfaith groups and will offer community programs that will enrich attendees, under the vision of May they be one, as we are one. STU now offers a Master of Divinity degree, providing contextual theological education. The Institute welcomes learners into programs of study aimed at preparing men and women for ministerial and pastoral leadership. In terms of ordination standards, women and men will be equipped for leadership in the 21st century, drawing upon a variety of innovative delivery systems and teaching/learning methods.

St. Thomas’ Vice President of University Advancement, Marketing and Communications - Beverly S. Bachrach - works closely with Cantor Goldman as she is a board member at Temple Kol Ami Emanu-EL. “I was thrilled to learn that my temple’s Cantor will be part of the mission,” said Bachrach. “Cantor Goldman will be among those singing for the Pope and utilizing the power of music to bring deeper understanding among the two faiths. We are living in an age where much dialogue is needed and God’s unconditional love embraces Catholics and Jews. For eleven years, I have seen STU grow in campus infrastructure and curriculum. It is most rewarding to experience STU’s creation of the new Ecumenical Institute, a legacy of understanding and faith exchange among different faiths.”

About St. Thomas University

St. Thomas University is the Catholic Archdiocesan-sponsored university in Florida, open to those of all faiths. Student-centered, it is rich in cultural and international diversity, dedicated to developing leaders who contribute to the economic and cultural vitality of the regions they serve. With new athletics facilities, an Honors Program, an expanded curriculum that now includes online degrees, United Nations internships and a Study-in-Spain program, the University is home to Biscayne College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences; School of Business; School of Law and its Institute of Human Rights; School of Leadership Studies (Communication Arts, Education, Organizational Leadership, Art Management and Healthcare Services); School of Science, Technology and Engineering Management; and the School of Theology and Ministry, which houses The Ecumenical Institute. For general information please visit or contact Chief Marketing Officer Marivi Prado at [email protected].

In Message To White House, Religious Leaders Say Peace Is Possible

September 30, 2010

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) —In visits to the White House and the State Department, religious leaders representing the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities offered support for the Obama administration’s efforts to continue peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The leaders, who included Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired Archbishop of Washington, presented a statement at meetings on September 29 with National Security Advisor General James Jones and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on behalf of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI).

“We are people of hope. We call upon the members of our religious communities to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to support active, fair, and firm U.S. leadership to advance comprehensive peace in the Middle East,” said the statement. “It will be difficult to achieve, but peace is possible.”

The statement called for a two-state solution as the only viable path to peace and said sustained U.S. leadership for peace is essential.

“One of the biggest obstacles to peace in the Middle East is cynicism,” said Bishop Hubbard of the meeting. “As people of faith, we must remember that with God all things are possible. The human spirit can overcome even the longest and most violent of conflicts.”

“We are always hopeful for peace,” Cardinal McCarrick added. “History shows us repeatedly that historic change can occur at unlikely times, and so we must never give into despair.”

Full text of the statement follows:

New Hope for the Peace of Jerusalem:
Jewish, Christian and Muslim Religious Leaders Support U.S. Leadership for Peace

Our faith traditions teach that every person is created by the one God and deserving of respect.  This common religious heritage finds expression in our common commitment to peace with justice for all.

With the support and engagement of the United States, earlier this month, direct negotiations resumed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority with the goal of reaching agreement within one year.  It is imperative that the peace talks continue. While we have long supported a halt to all settlement expansion, we support the United States working with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas to reach a mutually acceptable agreement that will allow the negotiations to continue.  We stand united in support of active, fair, and firm U.S. leadership for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace.  Two years ago, we issued a statement on “a window of hope.” Today we declare there is “New Hope for the Peace of Jerusalem.”   It will be difficult to achieve, but peace is possible.

Since 2003 we have worked together for a two-state solution that will bring Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace within the framework of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397.  As religious leaders in the United States, we have prayed for peace, made public statements, met with public officials, and stood in solidarity with religious leaders in Israel, the Palestinian Territories and throughout the region.

Despite tragic violence and discouraging developments, there are signs of hope.  Majorities of both Israelis and Palestinians still support a two-state solution.  Arab states have declared their commitment to peace in the Arab Peace Initiative. There are U.S. diplomatic efforts to restart Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese negotiations for peace.  Official and informal negotiations have produced the outlines of concrete compromises for resolving the conflict, including the final status issues:  borders and security, settlements, refugees and Jerusalem. Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders both here and in the region reject the killing of innocents, support a just peace, and believe sustained negotiations are the only path to peace.

As we said two years ago, there is a real danger that cynicism will replace hope and that people will give up on peace.  With the resumption of direct negotiations, clarity is demanded.  So let us be clear.  As religious leaders, we remain firmly committed to a two-state solution to the conflict as the only viable way forward.  We believe that concerted, sustained U.S. leadership for peace is essential.  And we know that time is not on the side of peace, that delay is not an option.

The path to peace shuns violence and embraces dialogue.  This path demands reciprocal steps that build confidence.  This path can lead to a future of two states, Israel and a viable, independent Palestine, living side by side in peace with security and dignity for both peoples, stability in the region, and a comprehensive peace between Israel and all her Arab neighbors.

The United States has a unique and indispensable role which gives our nation a special responsibility to pursue peace. Achieving Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace will have positive reverberations in the region and around the world. Our nation and the world will be much safer with the achievement of the peace of Jerusalem.

We refuse, now and always, to give into cynicism or despair.  We arepeople of hope.  We call upon the members of our religious communities to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to support active, fair, and firm U.S. leadership to advance comprehensive peace in the Middle East.  The time for peace is now.

Christian Leaders:
His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington
Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace, USCCB
Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Director, Ecumenical Affairs, Armenia Orthodox Church in America
Fr. Mark Arey, Director, Office of Ecumenical Affairs, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Reverend Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Christ USA
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, Episcopal Church
Rev. Geoffrey Black, General Minister & President, United Church of Christ
The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister, President, Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ)
The Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader, Council of Bishops, United Methodist Church
The Reverend Michael E. Livingston, Executive Director, International Council of Community Churches
The Reverend Leighton Ford, President, Leighton Ford Ministries, Board Member, World Vision US
Rev. John M. Buchanan, Editor and Publisher, Christian Century
David Neff, Editor in Chief and Vice-President, Christianity Today

Jewish Leaders:
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President, Union of Reform Judaism
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Peter Knobel, Past President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rector, American Jewish University
Dr. Carl Sheingold, Former Executive Vice President, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
Rabbi Amy Small, Past President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Asssembly

Muslim Leaders:
Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Syeed, National Director, Islamic Society of North America
Imam Mohamed Magid, President, Islamic Society of North America
Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim Chaplain, Georgetown University, Clergy Beyond Borders
Dawud Assad, President Emeritus, Council of Mosques, USA
Eide Alawan, Interfaith Office for Outreach, Islamic Center of America
Iftekhar A. Hai, Founding Director, United Muslims of America

Organizations for Identification Only

Catholic Charities USA Presents Centennial Medal to the Ladies of Charity

September 17, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn  (MetroCatholic) — Catholic Charities USA, the 100-year-old social service network working to reduce poverty in America, today presented a specially-commissioned Centennial Medal to the Ladies of Charity in recognition of their deep commitment to the vision and mission of Catholic Charities USA.

Candy Hill, Senior Vice President of Social Policy and Government Affairs for Catholic Charities USA, presented the medal at the Ladies of Charity of the United States of America 10th National Assembly in Nashville, TN.  Ms. Hill also provided a keynote address, “Wisdom and Wonder: The Emerging Role of Women in the Peace and Prosperity of Humanity.”

The Ladies of Charity is an organization of Catholic lay women founded by Saint Vincent de Paul in the Diocese of Lyon, France in 1617. This year, the Ladies of Charity recognize and celebrate the 350th anniversary of the death and resurrection of their founders, Saint Vincent De Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac.

Catholic Charities USA was founded in 1910 “to bring about a sense of solidarity” among those in charitable ministries. Since 1910, Catholic Charities USA has encouraged professional social work practice, provided opportunities for training and networking, and served as a national voice and expert on poverty issues. The Centennial is a time to reflect on past accomplishments and renew the commitment to serve those in need.

For more information about Catholic Charities USA’s Centennial activities, visit

Catholic Charities USA’s members provide help and create hope for more than 9 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. For almost 300 years, Catholic Charities agencies have worked to reduce poverty by providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from health care and job training to food and housing. In 2010, Catholic Charities USA celebrates its centennial anniversary.


September 15, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At the end of his general audience this morning, the Pope pronounced the following appeal: “With great concern I am following the events that have taken place recently in southern Asia, especially in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. I pray for the victims and ask that respect for religious freedom and the logic of reconciliation and peace may prevail over hatred and violence”.

Brazilian bishops point to defense of life, marriage and peace ahead of elections

July 21, 2010

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (CNA) — Bishops from the eastern region of Brazil in the state of Rio de Janeiro urged the faithful this week to vote in the October elections for those candidates who defend life from conception to natural death, the family and freedom of education.

In a recent statement encouraging the faithful to carefully discern the candidates for the general elections, the bishops said, “The first criteria for voting for a candidate is the defense of the dignity of the human person and of life in all of its manifestations, from conception to natural death.  We vehemently reject all forms of violence, as well as any kind of abortion, the exploitation of minors in the marketplace, euthanasia and any form of genetic manipulation.”

“The second criterion is the defense of the family, where the person grows up and reaches fulfillment.  For this reason you must elect those candidates who provide concrete incentives for the development of the family according to God’s plan.  That is, (candidates) who oppose same-sex marriage, adoption by homosexuals and the legalization of prostitution, drugs and the trafficking of women.

A third criterion is “the freedom of education through which parents have the right to educate their children according to the vision of life they deem most appropriate.” This includes working for quality in public schools and defending the right of private schools to exist in accord with the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion, “which was recently recognized in the accords between Brazil and the Holy See.”

After noting that the fourth and fifth criteria refer respectively to solidarity and the principle of subsidiarity, the bishops emphasized that voters should elect candidates who promote a culture of peace and are willing to confront the widespread violence in the country.

Political life, the bishops stressed, is one way of bringing the Gospel into daily life in order to build “a just, fraternal and equitable society.”  Politicians who act in this way will restore hope and faith to those who have become cynical and skeptical of government and government leaders, they said.

“This is a great opportunity that Catholics and all people of good will must not lose,” the bishops advised. - Make a Donation to Donation


July 13, 2010

VATICAN CITY (VIS) - “Religious freedom, the path to peace” is the theme chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for the celebration of the 2011 World Day of Peace.

“The World Day of Peace”, reads a communique on the subject released today, “will therefore be dedicated to the theme of religious freedom. It is well known that in many parts of the world there are various forms of restriction or denial of religious freedom, from discrimination and marginalisation based on religion, to acts of violence against religious minorities”.

“Religious freedom is authentically realised when it is experienced as the coherent search for truth and for the truth about man. This approach to religious freedom offers us a fundamental criterion for discerning the phenomenon of religion and its expressions. It necessarily rejects the ‘religiosity’ of fundamentalism, and the manipulation of truth and of the truth about man. Since such distortions are opposed to the dignity of man and to the search for truth, they cannot be considered as religious freedom”.

The communique recalls words Benedict XVI’s pronounced before the United Nations General Assembly in 2008: “Human rights, of course, must include the right to religious freedom, understood as the expression of a dimension that is at once individual and communitarian - a vision that brings out the unity of the person while clearly distinguishing between the dimension of the citizen and that of the believer”.

The text continues: “Today there are many areas of the world in which forms of restrictions and limitations to religious freedom persist, both where communities of believers are a minority, and where communities of believers are not a minority, and where more sophisticated forms of discrimination and marginalisation exist, on the cultural level and in the spheres of public, civil and political activity. ‘It is inconceivable’, as Benedict XVI remarked, ‘that believers should have to suppress a part of themselves - their faith - in order to be active citizens. It should never be necessary to deny God in order to enjoy one’s rights. The rights associated with religion are all the more in need of protection if they are considered to clash with a prevailing secular ideology or with majority religious positions of an exclusive nature’”.

The communique concludes by highlighting how “man cannot be fragmented, and separated from what he believes, because that in which he believes has an impact on his life and on his person. ‘Refusal to recognise the contribution to society that is rooted in the religious dimension and in the quest for the Absolute - by its nature, expressing communion between persons - would effectively privilege an individualistic approach, and would fragment the unity of the person’. It is for this reason that: ‘Religious Freedom is the Path to Peace’”. - Make a Donation to Donation

Details Unveiled About U.S. Publication of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Children of God Storybook Bible During Worldwide Launch at Cape Town Book Fair

July 12, 2010

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (MetroCatholic)- Annette Bourland, senior vice president and publisher with Zonderkidz(tm), will join Nobel Peace Prize Winner — Archbishop Desmond Tutu — and other publishing partners to provide details about the U.S. publication and worldwide launch of Tutu’s first children’s storybook Bible at the Cape Town Book Fair in Cape Town, South Africa on July 30th at 11 a.m.

The Children of God Storybook Bible, written by Tutu, retells more than fifty of his best-loved stories from the Old and the New Testament. This Bible artfully highlights God’s desire for all people to love one another and to find peace and forgiveness in their hearts.

Joining Archbishop Tutu and Annette Bourland for the international launch will be Ivan Siegelaar, musician; Lynn Franklin, of Lynn C. Franklin Associates, Ltd., Archbishop Tutu’s literary agent, and foreign rights agent for this project on behalf of Lux Verbi; co-publisher Stephan Spies from Lux Verbi.BM; plus a children’s choir from South Africa.

“I am honored to participate in this worldwide event and share details about the scope of publishing required for a project of this magnitude,” said Annette Bourland, adding, “the various stages of publication development have spanned more than a year-and-a-half.”

Bourland’s remarks will highlight such steps as manuscript preparation, creative direction, research, marketing, and proofing required for this children’s Bible to meet the U.S. publishing deadlines. The Bible is scheduled to release from Zondervan’s warehouse in July for delivery to retail stores throughout the nation. Publishing month is August in the U.S.

The worldwide launch event is designed for members of the international book trade, media and invited guests visiting the Cape Town Book Fair to hear firsthand about what makes the Children of God Storybook Bible unique. It is designed to help children read the Bible not as part of a system of belief to know the theology of the Bible and doctrines of the different churches, but to help them understand Christianity as a “Way of Life.” Archbishop Tutu is expected to give his perspective about why this is a “global” Bible for children.

All members of the U.S. news media should contact Pam Mettler at Zonderkidz to obtain news coverage information at: [email protected].

“One of the greatest things about the Children of God Storybook Bible is that this is a global effort and it celebrates the church family worldwide,” said Annette Bourland.

Written for children between the ages of four and seven, it is being dubbed as the “biggest children’s Bible project the world has seen.” All told, ten publishers worldwide have already signed up to be part of this exciting publication, and the number is growing. Publishers include: English — HarperCollins UK, Zonderkidz, Lux Verbi; World Spanish — Vida/Zondervan; The Netherlands/Dutch — Jongbloed; Denmark/Danish — Forlaget Alfa; Brazil/Portuguese — Editora Vida Melhor S.A.; Italy/Italian — Arnoldo Mondadori S.p.A.; Germany/German — Pattloch Kinderbuch.

The Children of God Storybook Bible will be available in multiple languages: Afrikaans, Sesotho, Setswana, Xhosa, Zulu, English, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Danish.

About the Illustrators
Twenty of the finest artists from around the world have been selected to illustrate the stories. In an attempt to create the first truly global Bible for children, the artists have been invited to portray the stories with the style and richness of their own culture. Their stunning color illustrations allow readers to experience the Bible stories as if they were there — with Adam and Eve in the garden, with Noah on the ark, with Abraham in the desert, and with Jesus on the mountaintop. (Contact Zonderkidz for names and photos of illustrators.)

Scope of U.S. Product Availability Zonderkidz is publishing the Children of God Storybook Bible in a hardcover, jacketed edition (ISBN: 9780310719120) for $18.99, along with additional product. An Ebook, ePub (ISBN: 9780310578338) will be available for $9.99, and an Audio Download, unabridged, (ISBN: 9780310578345) also will be available for $15.99.

Visit on the Children of God Storybook Bible product details page to view a special book trailer featuring Tutu or go to to watch a free video featuring Tutu reflecting on the project and to download two of the stories read by him.

Zonderkidz, a division of Zondervan, and Harper Collins, inspires young lives through imagination and innovation. As the leader in Christian children’s communications, it produces bestselling and award-winning Bibles, books, board books, graphic novels, audio, video, and digital products that awaken the hearts and touch the souls of kids under 16 and the people who love them, from family members to educators. Zonderkidz is the publisher of the NIrV (New International Reader’s Version) Bible translation, the 3rd-grade reading level edition of the NIV that is ideal for children and those who speak English as a second language. Visit Zonderkidz on the Internet at - Make a Donation to Donation


July 2, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 2 JUL 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received the Letters of Credence of Habbeb Mohammed Hadi Ali Al-Sadr, the new ambassador of Iraq to the Holy See.

The Pope asked the diplomat to convey to President Jalal Talabani his respectful greetings and assurances of his prayers “for the peace and well-being” of all Iraqis. With the elections of March this year, he said, the people of Iraq “gave a clear sign to the world that they wish to see an end to violence, and that they have chosen the path of democracy through which they aspire to live in harmony with one another within a just, pluralist and inclusive society. … It is to be hoped that the formation of a new government will now proceed swiftly so that the will of the people for a more stable and unified Iraq may be accomplished”.

In this context the Pope gave assurances that the Holy See, “which has always valued its excellent diplomatic relations with your country, will continue to provide whatever assistance it can, so that Iraq may assume its rightful place as a leading nation in the region with much to contribute to the international community”.

Continuing his English-language address, Benedict XVI expressed the view that “the new government will need to give priority to measures designed to improve security for all sectors of the population, particularly the various minorities”, in which context he noted how, “since the earliest days of the Church, Christians have been present in the land of Abraham, a land which is part of the common patrimony of Judaism, Christianity and Islam”.

“Although Christians form a small minority of Iraq’s population, they have a valuable contribution to make to its reconstruction and economic recovery through their educational and healthcare apostolates, while their engagement in humanitarian projects provides much-needed assistance in building up society. If they are to play their full part, however, Iraqi Christians need to know that it is safe for them to remain in or return to their homes, and they need assurances that their properties will be restored to them and their rights upheld”.

The Holy Father also spoke of the “many tragic acts of violence committed against innocent members of the population, both Muslim and Christian, acts which … are contrary to the teachings of Islam as well as those of Christianity. This shared suffering can provide a deep bond, strengthening the determination of Muslims and Christians alike to work for peace and reconciliation. History has shown that some of the most powerful incentives to overcome division come from the example of those men and women who, having chosen the courageous path of non-violent witness to higher values, lost their lives through cowardly acts of violence”. At this point the Pope mentioned Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho and Fr. Ragheed Ganni. “May their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of so many others like them”, he said, “strengthen within the Iraqi people the moral determination that is necessary if political structures for greater justice and stability are to achieve their intended effect”.

Speaking then of the Iraqi government’s commitment to respect human rights, the Pope noted that “among the rights that must be fully respected if the common good is to be effectively promoted, the rights to freedom of religion and freedom of worship are paramount, since it is they that enable citizens to live in conformity with their transcendent dignity. … I therefore hope and pray that these rights will not only be enshrined in legislation, but will come to permeate the very fabric of society. All Iraqis have a part to play in building a just, moral and peaceable environment”.

Finally, the Holy Father turned his attention to the forthcoming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East which, he said, “will provide a welcome opportunity to explore the role and the witness of Christians in the lands of the Bible, and will also give an impetus to the important task of inter-religious dialogue, which has so much to contribute to the goal of peaceful coexistence in mutual respect and esteem among the followers of different religions.

“It is my earnest hope”, he added in conclusion, “that Iraq will emerge from the difficult experiences of the past decade as a model of tolerance and co-operation among Muslims, Christians and others in the service of those most in need”.

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