Vatican City, Apr 12, 2004 (CNA) - Mary is the model of the Christian community during Easter, “who rejoices in the Easter of her Lord, the source of authentic joy for all believers,” said Pope John Paul II today during the Angelus, when the “Regina caeli” was sung.
The "Regina caeli", which expresses Mary’s joy for the Resurrection of her divine Son, is always sung during the Angelus during the Easter Season.
The Risen Christ is “the source and the ultimate reason of this spiritual joy, which no shadow can and must darken,” said the Pope. “Aware of this salvific event, which changed the course of history, the Church joins the one person who lived most closely the Passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus.”
The pope said on this Easter Monday – an extension of Easter Sunday – each person “must pause next to the empty tomb” and meditate the great mystery of the Resurrection of Christ.
“The Virgin Mary, silent witness to this mystery, reaffirms us in our own union to the one who died and resurrected for the salvation of every human being,” he said.
The Pope concluded with an invocation to Mary. “May she be our teacher and guide in the faith; sustain us in moments of doubt and temptation; obtain for us serenity, which no fear can shake because it is rooted in the certainty that Christ is truly Risen.”
Toronto, Canada, Apr 12, 2004 (CNA) - Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, Archbishop of Toronto, recently sent a public letter to the Toronto Board of Rabbis, denouncing the anti-Semitic vandalism on Jewish homes and in a Jewish cementery in Toronto, which began March 14.
In his letter to Rabbi Martin Berman, the Cardinal quoted Pope John Paul II, saying “the Church utterly condemns anti-Semitism and every form of racism as being altogether opposed to the principles of Christianity.”
The Cardinal also described the incidences as “violations of fundamental human rights,” which are “never acceptable, in any place, in any time, for any reason.”
Toronto has Canada’s largest Jewish population and reported 54 percent of the anti-Jewish incidents in Canada. Montreal was second with 17.5 percent.
Washington D.C., Apr 12, 2004 (CNA) - Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” rose back to the top of the box-office during Holy Week, while Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington D.C. expressed his support of the movie.
Thousands of Christians made “The Passion” a part of their Easter weekend, lifting the movie saga back to the top spot with $17.1 million.
“That's unprecedented. I've never seen that before. 'The Passion' is just rewriting box-office history,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, told the Associated Press.
"This is a holy day, and this movie is tailor-made for a weekend like this. It's not just a movie. It's a religious experience for many people," he said.
On Easter Sunday, Cardinal McCarrick told Fox News Sunday that “people come up to me and say, ‘Have you seen the movie?’ and we know what they are talking about. So I think that it has. And, as far as I can see, for the good.”
“I know of no one who has seen it who has gone away saying, ‘I hate that people or that people.’ I know of no one who has said that. I have met people who have only said, ‘Look what God did for us’,” the Cardinal added.
The Cardinal revealed that, while watching the movie “I cried a little. I closed my eyes at sometimes when the beatings got too terrible.”
“It reminded me of the suffering of the Lord, and I preach to people all the time that he did it not for the whole human race as a bunch, but for us as individuals. So he did it for me. And I have not always responded to that love,” he concluded.
Vatican City, Apr 12, 2004 (CNA) - In his Easter message delivered “Urbi et Orbi” (to the City and the World) on Easter Sunday, Pope called on Catholics to become beacons of the Risen Christ’s hope and peace, especially in the face of terrorism an war.
“On this day of your victory over death,” the Pontiff said, “may humanity find in you, O Lord, the courage to oppose in solidarity the many evils that afflict it. In particular, may it find the strength to face the inhuman, and unfortunately growing, phenomenon of terrorism, which rejects life and brings anguish and uncertainty to the daily lives of so many hard-working and peaceful people.”
“May world leaders be confirmed and sustained in their efforts to resolve satisfactorily the continuing conflicts that cause bloodshed in certain regions of Africa, Iraq and the Holy Land,” he also said.
But the Pontiff especially remarked: “May the temptation to seek revenge give way to the courage to forgive; may the culture of life and love render vain the logic of death; may trust once more give breath to the lives of peoples.”
“Help us to work ceaselessly for the coming of that more just and united world that you have inaugurated with your resurrection,” he added.
Below is the Pope’s complete message:
1. "Resurrexit, alleluia — He is risen, alleluia!" This year too the joyous proclamation of Easter, which echoed powerfully at last night’s Vigil, strengthens our hope.
"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen" (Lk 24:5-6). Thus the angel encourages the women who have hastened to the tomb. Thus the Easter liturgy repeats to us, the men and women of the third millennium: Christ is risen, Christ is alive among us! His name now is "the Living One", death has no more power over him (cf. Rom 6:9).
2. Resurrexit! Today you, O Redeemer of mankind, rise victoriously from the tomb to offer to us, troubled by many threatening shadows, your wish for joy and peace.
Those who are tempted by anxiety and desperation turn to you, O Christ, our life and our guide, to hear the proclamation of the hope that does not disappoint.
On this day of your victory over death, may humanity find in you, O Lord, the courage to oppose in solidarity the many evils that afflict it. In particular, may it find the strength to face the inhuman, and unfortunately growing, phenomenon of terrorism, which rejects life and brings anguish and uncertainty to the daily lives of so many hard-working and peaceful people.
May your wisdom enlighten men and women of good will in the required commitment against this scourge.
3. May the work of national and international institutions hasten the overcoming of the present difficulties and favour progress towards a more effective and peaceful world order.
May world leaders be confirmed and sustained in their efforts to resolve satisfactorily the continuing conflicts that cause bloodshed in certain regions of Africa, Iraq and the Holy Land.
You, firstborn of many brothers, grant that all who consider themselves children of Abraham may rediscover the brotherhood that they share and that prompts in them designs of cooperation and peace.
4. Take heed all of you who have at heart mankind’s future! Take heed men and women of good will! May the temptation to seek revenge give way to the courage to forgive; may the culture of life and love render vain the logic of death; may trust once more give breath to the lives of peoples.
If our future is one, it is the task and duty of all to build it with patient and painstaking far-sightedness.
5. "Lord, to whom shall we go?" You who have conquered death, you alone "have the words of eternal life" (Jn 6:68).
To you we raise with confidence our prayer which becomes an invocation of comfort for the families of the many victims of violence.
Help us to work ceaselessly for the coming of that more just and united world that you have inaugurated with your resurrection. Accompanying us in this task is "she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Lk 1:45).
Blessed are you, O Mary, silent witness of Easter! You, O Mother of the Crucified One now risen, who at the hour of pain and death kept the flame of hope burning, teach us also to be, amongst the incongruities of passing time, convinced and joyful witnesses of the eternal message of life and love brought to the world by the Risen Redeemer.
Washington D.C., Apr 12, 2004 (CNA) - While Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry received Holy Communion to mark Easter at the Paulist Center in Boston, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick said in an interview that the contradiction between Kerry’s Catholicism and his views on abortion, stem cell research and homosexuality is “an issue.”
Cardinal McCarrick is heading a bishops’ task force that is studying how to handle Catholic politicians who defy church doctrine. Some bishops have suggested denying communion to them.
During an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday, Cardinal McCarrick said that as a Catholic, Kerry “certainly should follow the teachings of the church. The teachings of the church sometimes give the impression that they don't come from God. We believe that what we proclaim is what the gospel proclaims.”
The Archbishop of Washington D.C. said that “it is fair that some bishops are critical of him, because each bishop makes his own decision. Certainly, I think we all would be critical of anyone who did not agree with us.”
The Cardinal also said that before considering denying Communion to Kerry, “I would want to get to talk to him, get to see him and get to understand him before I would make a decision like that.”
When Wallace asked the Cardinal, “So you're saying it's an issue?,” he responded: “Oh, I'm saying it's an issue, yes. These things (inaudible) because this is the teaching of the church. So it has to be an issue.”
, Apr 12, 2004 (CNA) - Television coverage of religious issues nearly tripled compared with a decade ago but it is still often hostile to orthodox faiths, reported the Associated Press.
The study, conducted by the Media Research Center and released yesterday, found that the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news reported 303 stories on religion during the 12 months that ended March 1, compared with 121 stories during a one-year period in 1993.
The reasons for the increase included major events in the last year: the release of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of The Christ", the Pope’s 25th anniversary, the sexual-abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, the struggle over an Alabama Ten Commandments monument and controversies over homosexual ministers and bishops.
Toronto, Canada, Apr 12, 2004 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Toronto suspended Fr. Timothy Ryan from performing priestly ministry because of his public support of same-sex marriage, reported the Catholic Register.
The Scarboro Missionary was informed in early March that he could no longer preach or celebrate mass publicly in the archdiocese.
The religious priest had provided an affidavit to the Supreme Court of Canada last summer, on behalf of a group of same-sex couples, challenging Canada’s legal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
The priest admitted in his affidavit, which only became public in February, that he knew his position contradicted Church teaching, and that he disagreed with the Church, reported the Catholic Register.
Fr. Brian Clough, judicial vicar for the archdiocese, told the Catholic Register that the archdiocese does not want Fr. Ryan “to be considered a priest in good standing, who can use a pulpit to expound his personal views.”
According to the archdiocese, a priest in good standing can be registered under the Ontario Marriage Act to legally register marriages that he celebrates.
Fr. Ryan was not registered under the act, but he now would not qualify for registration even if he wanted to.
“The archdiocese has thus ensured that Fr. Ryan would not be able to try to act on his own views by performing a civil marriage for a same-sex couple,” the archdiocese said.
Madrid, Spain, Apr 12, 2004 (CNA) - The Spanish Center for Sindonology, which is located in Valencia and is dedicated to the study of the Holy Shroud of Turin, said this week many scenes in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” are “accurately based on studies carried out on the cloth,” but that “the cruelty of the crucifixion which is reflected in the shroud surpasses even the harshest scenes of the movie.”
The Center’s Vice President, Jorge Rodriguez, told the AVAN news agency that one of the “most powerful and most realistic moments of the film is that of the scourging, where the instruments of torture used are very similar to those used at the time,” such as whips with leather strands tipped off with sharp metal points that “ripped the skin off and left the person with his raw flesh exposed.”
According to Rodriguez, studies on the Shroud carried out by forensic doctors have determined that “more than 50% of the surface of the body wrapped in the cloth was covered with abrasions, and therefore the wounds shown in the movie accurately reflect reality.”
Likewise, “the final scene of the Resurrection corresponds to the latest research on the Holy Shroud which suggests that the cloth deflated, as shown in the film, and the body came out without the cloth being unwrapped,” said Rodriguez, who has given more than 600 conferences on the Holy Shround in the last ten years.
Nevertheless, Shroud experts state that “the reality of the facts go far beyond the images shown in ‘The Passion,’ as violent as they may seem.” For instance, the crown of thorns seen in the movie “does not leave Jesus with as many wounds as we see reflected in the Shroud, where at least 60 puncture wounds to the head and scalp can be seen,” Rodriguez added.