Archive of March 4, 2004

Liturgy becomes corrupt if it is turned into a “show”, warns Cardinal Ratzinger

Madrid, Spain, Mar 4, 2004 (CNA) - In an interview published in the Spanish daily “La Razón,” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, warned of the danger of transforming the liturgy into a “show” and altering it according to one’s whim.

“When we do this we corrupt it,” said Ratzinger.

When asked about his severity towards “those who use the liturgy in an exclusively communicative way,” the German Cardinal clarified that “the liturgy is communicative and pastoral.”

“I oppose those who think the liturgy is communicative if it is turned into some sort of ‘show,’ thereby diminishing this great work of art which is the liturgy, when it is celebrated properly and with interior participation.  The faithful do not feel they are involved in ‘creative’ celebrations that don’t speak to them,” he added.

Likewise, he expressed dismay that “all too frequently the liturgy is treated as something that can be subjected to one’s whim, as if it belonged exclusively to us.  But when we do this we end up corrupting it.”
In the interview the Cardinal also expressed his concern with the most serious problems the Church is facing, such as “the current difficulty in believing.” 

“Relativism is now natural to modern man.  To think that truth comes from God is considered today to be arrogant and incompatible with tolerance.” 

Ratzinger went on, “It seems that to be tolerant one must consider all religions and all cultures equal.  In this context it becomes more difficult to believe.  A quiet loss of faith is the result, with no sizeable protest, in a large section of Christianity.  Tolerance is not indifference, but rather love and respect for others and mutual help on the path of life,” he concluded.

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Another Papal trip to Poland?

Warsaw, Poland, Mar 4, 2004 (CNA) - After meeting with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, the Arcbishop of Warsaw, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, said the Pope might visit Poland next year.

“I believe the Pope will come,” the Cardinal told the Polish News Agency (PAP), adding that “it is not possible this year, it would be next year, in 2005.”

According to the Cardinal, the Pope would visit his homeland to consecrate the recently built Church of Divine Providence in the Polish capital.

Cardinal Glemp also said the Pope was very animated and alert during their meeting. 

“Right now there is nothing threatening the life of the Pope,” he explained, adding that “the weakness which one could notice in him last year has diminished.”

The Pope’s last trip—his 102nd outside of Italy—took place last September in Slovakia, during which he maintained a busy schedule despite his poor health.

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Same-sex marriage still illegal despite local initiatives: Spitzer

, Mar 4, 2004 (CNA) - In light of some 25 same-sex marriages performed by municipal officials, New York's attorney general affirmed yesterday that current state law prohibits same-sex marriage and that mayors should not preside over them.

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said New York's law contains references to "bride and groom" and "husband and wife" and does not authorize same-sex marriage. Gov. George Pataki has also said same-sex marriage is illegal.

Although Spitzer said he would like to see the law changed, “marriage under New York State law is and has been for over 200 years between a man and a woman. And we have to uphold that law," he told the Associated Press.

Spitzer’s comment came after 25 same-sex couples were married Feb. 27 in New Paltz, N.Y. The mayor of the small college town north of Manhattan, Jason West, performed the marriages. West was to appear in court yesterday to answer to charges that he married 19 couples knowing they did not have marriage licenses. If convicted, he could face a fine, from $25 to $500. Despite the trial, West has about 1,200 same-sex couples on a waiting list to be married.

The mayor of Nyack, N.Y., John Shields, also said he plans to start marrying homosexual couples and planned to seek a license himself to marry his same-sex partner, reported the AP.

The recent same-sex weddings in New York are part of a national trend – which began in San Francisco last month – of municipal officials defying state law and performing same-sex marriages. More than 3,400 couples were married in San Francisco.

And the trend is only picking up steam. Officials in Portland, Ore., performed their first 50 same-sex marriages yesterday. 

Gov. Ted Kulongoski said at a news conference after the ceremonies began that he supports civil unions for homosexuals but believes current state law does not allow same-sex marriages.

Kevin Mannix, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, called for the attorney general to put a halt to the marriages immediately, calling them a “travesty” and “an insult to the voters.”

In Washington, lawmakers continue to debate the constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

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‘The Passion’ needed for young generation to ‘get it’

, Mar 4, 2004 (CNA) - Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” is what today’s generation of youth needs to understand Christ’s message, said the assistant director of Arlington’s diocesan Youth Office.

"It takes a movie for this generation to get it," said Kate Bergman. "We’re so inundated with flashy, loud images and music, it takes making Christ huge and putting him on the big screen to reach certain people," the 26-year-old told Arlington’s Catholic Herald.

The Diocese of Arlington booked two theatres and organized a private preview screening of the film for about 800 faithful last week. 

Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde attended the Feb. 24 screening and addressed the audience, challenging them to "get to know and love more the Lord through prayer," to make up for past sins through acts of penance, and to "make His love for you more visible to others."

Diocesan youth director Kevin Bohli recommended that young people watch the film together at the beginning of Lent.

He also observed that adults, rather than teens, had harder time with the movie and left during the screening. While some people felt the film was too graphic, others thought the opposite. 

"It wasn’t graphic enough," said Brendan Menuey, considering what Jesus must have gone through. "It’s hard to sit there, and you wince as you see the pain and humiliation He went through for us," said the public school teacher, adding that he didn’t think the film was anti-Semitic.

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O'Malley draws flock of hundreds at church

Plymouth, Mass., Mar 4, 2004 (CNA) - Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley of Boston celebrated a mass of reconciliation at St. Mary’s church last weekend. The parish, which was strongly hit by the sex-abuse scandal, was one of the archbishop’s first stops in his parish tour of the archdiocese.

The pastor, Fr. Bryan Parrish, told MPG the archbishop made St. Mary's an early stop because one of the parish's former priests, John Hanlon, was one of the first priests identified in the church sex scandal. Hanlon was convicted in 1994 of raping an altar boy while pastor of the church.

About 500 people packed the church for the mass and hundreds more waited in line after mass to meet the archbishop and receive his blessing. Many view the new archbishop as a humble and gentle Church leader who will restore their faith in the Church, reported MPG Newspapers.

Fr. Parrish said most people have moved beyond the scandal and want to close the gap it created between the church hierarchy and the laity.

This was the archbishop’s second visit to Plymouth.

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Bishops of Costa Rica say information about treaty with United States should not be politicized

San José, Costa Rica, Mar 4, 2004 (CNA) - The Bishops of Costa Rica called on supporters and critics of the free trade agreement between that country and the United Sates to work together to inform the public on the issue without bias and politicization.

Bishop Angel Sancasimiro of Quesada said, “Before approving the agreement, Costa Ricans should feel certain about what it means for the near future and how they should face it.”

The bishops adopted this stance after hearing from trade experts, politicians and the chief negotiators of the treaty, which in the case of Costa Rica, would mean the country would have to partially open the telecommunications and insurance markets.

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