Phoenix, Ariz., Jun 11, 2004 (CNA) - Confused notions of morality, freedom and marriage and a reductionist view of the person create major obstacles to holiness for homosexual persons, said Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted in a recent column in the diocesan newspaper.
The bishop of Pheonix tackles the difficulties faced by homosexual people in his third column in a series, published in the diocesan paper called “Blessing of a Chaste Life.”
The bishop notes that there is “intellectual confusion about whether sexual activity outside of marriage is always wrong.”
Popular culture has made an effort to persuade public opinion that same-sex relations, and all sexual relations outside of marriage, are normal, morally neutral and even morally beneficial, says the bishop.
But the bishop points out that what has occurred is actually “a rejection of an understanding of human sexuality, found in most cultures and major religions of the world down through history.
“According to the modernist view, a morality based on truth and on objective norms is being replaced by a ‘morality’ based on desire,” he says. “Feelings, not truth, become criteria for whether something is right or wrong.
“Truth does not change to suit our tastes,” says the bishop. “Some things are always wrong, no matter the times, the circumstances, or people’s intentions,” he continued.
The bishop also points out that the Christian view of homosexual acts is not based on homophobia but on Scripture and the Church’s 2000-year-old moral teachings.
“Confused notions of what constitutes marriage also make it difficult for homosexual persons and others to make good judgments about love and responsibility,” the bishop says. The same-sex marriage movement is a sign of such confusion, he adds.
Homosexuals must also face the difficulties brought on by a reductionist view of the person, which tends to emphasize only one’s sexual orientation and undermine other more important dimensions, he says.
“This serves neither a person’s dignity nor inner freedom,” he says.
Finally, the bishop notes that “false views of human freedom assert that homosexual acts are not sinful for homosexual persons because of their sexual orientation.”
This argumentation “reflects a false understanding of human nature and the way it has been wounded by original sin,” he says. “In addition, it runs contrary to both love and truth.”
For Bishop Olmsted’s full text, go to: http://www.diocesephoenix.org/pressRoom/jun3.htm
, Jun 11, 2004 (CNA) - EWTN Global Catholic Network announced yesterday its has moved to the DIRECTV primary satellite location making the Network available to more than 12.6 million subscribers.
EWTN was previously available to a smaller percentage of DIRECTV homes equipped with "multi-sat" equipment, but the change, operating since June 1, enables all of their subscribers to see EWTN, representing the largest single subscriber gain in EWTN's history.
DIRECTV is the nation's leading digital multichannel television service provider with more than 12.6 million customers.
EWTN Global Catholic Network, founded by Mother angelica 23 years ago, is available in 95 million television households in 110 countries. And with its worldwide short-wave radio station, direct broadcast satellite service, satellite delivered AM & FM radio networks, Internet website (www.ewtn.com) and publishing arm, is the world’s largest religious media network.
Madrid, Spain, Jun 11, 2004 (CNA) - In his latest pastoral letter, Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco of Valencia, Spain, is calling on Spaniards to vote in the coming European parliamentarian elections for a European Union based on the truth and not deception, in which the Christian roots of the continent are recognized.
Archbishop Garcia-Gasco noted “with profound sadness” the presence of political parties with parliamentarian representation that make secularism their “banner in these European elections.” He called it a phenomenon that “intends to ignore the religious phenomenon in its public dimension, limiting it to a private, particular and almost secret issue, about which it is better not talk about in public.”
The Archbishop said, “We want to build a European Union based on the truth” and he recalled that “in the historical origins of Europe, we find the fact of the presence of Christianity,” and therefore “to exclude it from the European constitutional text is to falsify history and is improper of those who legislate with a democratic mentality.”
“To push forward with the omission of the Christian roots of Europe is an abuse of power, an imposition of the secularist principles of some versus the religious freedom of all.” Consequently, “those who wish to silence the Christian origins of Europe are opting for deception instead of the truth,” he said.
The Archbishop appealed to “the sense of responsibility” of voters, reminding them to vote with a Christian conscience and to remember that “to vote is a magnificent opportunity which the democratic system gives us to show our convictions.”In the European elections, Catholics “can help bring about Pope John Paul II’s dream of building a European Union with men and women committed to a society that defends life, the family, the environment, the common good, education and culture.”
Lastly, the Archbishop called for a Europe “of peace, security and freedom, that welcomes immigrants and is concerned for justice in the world”, adding that “that Europe will be a reflection of the face of God.”
Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 11, 2004 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Monterrey, Mexico, has begun construction on a housing facility for Central American immigrants who pass through the city on their way to the United States.
Fr. Luis Eduardo Villarreal, director of Social Ministry, announced that the land has been purchased and that $87,000 will be invested in the construction of the building which will be able to house 30 people. The “Home of the Migrant” will be open at the end of the year.
According to Fr. Villarreal, the intention of the Archbishop is that “just as the Mexican government demands a just treatment of our emigrants in the United States, it should respect the rights of those who come from Central America.”
At the new home, shelter, food, clothing, spiritual and medical care, as well as legal advice, will be provided for residents.
Residents will be required to be sober and drug-free and to help out with cleaning chores.
Monterrey, located in the state of Nuevo Leon, is one of the last Mexican cities through which the main railway line passes on the way to the United States.
According to Irma Garcia Hinojosa, regional director of the National Institute of Migration, in the first 5 months of 2004 alone, more than 632 illegal aliens, mostly from Central America, had been rounded up in the area. In the same period in 2003, 349 were detained, and in 2002, 487 were detained.
La Paz, Bolivia, Jun 11, 2004 (CNA) - With a referendum on the commercialization of natural gas just a few days away, Archbishop Tito Solari of Cochabamba, Bolivia, issued a call to participate in the voting, saying “we cannot miss this opportunity to directly express our wishes.”
“The referendum is the maximum display of democracy,” explained the Archbishop, who underscored the need for citizens to ensure that “their rights prevail.”
Despite the radical opposition to the measure by some union leaders, the Archbishop said people are very interested in the referendum. “These radical groups cannot influence the decision of the people,” he said.
“I don’t think the people are in favor of these radical groups; on the contrary, I think there is much expectation to participate in this event, which will allow every Bolivian to directly express what he or she wants, without the political parties as intermediaries,” he added.
Rome, Italy, Jun 11, 2004 (CNA) - The world’s most famous exorcist, Fr. Gabriel Amorth, gave spoke clearly and unequivocally of the existence and activity of the devil in an interview with Sandro Magister, the well-known Vaticanist from the weekly Italian magazine “L’Espresso.
In this interview, made by Magister immediately after Italian Police arrested, in Somma Lombardo (Northern Italy), the young members of a Satanist cult called “The Beasts of Satan” for the ritual murder of at least seven people, Fr. Amorth expreses his strong views on the devil and the Church.
Q: Fr. Amorth, first the three girls of Chiavenna, then Erica and Omar, and now the young group of Somma Lombardo. Is Satan working in them?
A: “That is certainly true, I have studied the first two cases well. Those young people were given over to the devil, they read satanic books. And the incredible ferocity of their acts! When a girl stabs her own mother ninety-seven times, one must see that as the work of the prince of darkness.”
Q: Are there times when Satan is more active than at others?
A: “In an ordinary way, Satan is always active. He is a tempter since the beginning. He does everything he can to make man sin, and every time evil is done he is always behind it, though it is always true that man freely decides his own acts. But then there is an extraordinary action of the evil one, and this is diabolical possession.”
Q: Are cases of possession frequent?
A: “No, they are rare. But I can’t give precise figures. I have in my care many cases of true demonic possession, but that is because the most difficult cases come to me, the ones not resolved by other exorcists. During the first years of my activity, when I welcomed all without screening, the great majority were mentally ill persons, without demonic activity.”
Q: How do you know that someone is possessed?
A: “I find this out during treatment, not before. An unequivocal symptom is the violent, visceral aversion to anything sacred. I remember a father who was afraid that his son was possessed by the devil, and one day, while they were together at table, he mentally said a Hail Mary for him. The boy burst out with a cry: ‘No, Dad, be quiet!’ Then there is speaking in unknown languages, exploding with a superhuman force, and levitation: these are all things that happen during exorcisms.”
Q: How does a possessed person live from one crisis to another?
A. “Normally. He goes to work, and no one knows. He keeps his state well hidden. When he feels a crisis coming on, he removes himself, closes himself in the bathroom, vents his rage, and then returns impassively to his place. This is all the more true for the possessed who are undergoing treatment, to whom exorcism gives the strength to return to a normal life. One thing must be emphasized: diabolical possession is not hereditary, nor is it contagious.”
Q: What links the possessed with satanists?
A: “It frequently happens that a person becomes possessed after entering a spiritualist or satanic cult. There are few of these in my care, because only repentant satanists ask for exorcism. But I think there are many more among them. It is easy to enter the satanic cults, but extremely difficult to get out. In some cases, one risks one’s life.”
Q: And what bond do the satanists have with the devil?
A: “There are two kinds: those who worship the devil, celebrate satanic masses, and have a priesthood and a hierarchy; and those who do not believe at all in the personal existence of Satan, but give themselves over to acts that are filthy and against nature. This other satanism is the more dangerous.”
A: John Paul II has said exorcisms for three possessed persons. Have they been released?
A: “The third, no. I have had her in my care since 1998, and hers is a truly sad case.”
Q: Apart from the pope, what is belief in the devil like in the Church?
A: “Very diminished. And the devil is extremely content with that, because that frees his hand to do his work. The Church has gone from one extreme to the other. To correct the folly of witch hunting, who instead of being exorcised were burned, it has erased everything, both devil and exorcism. The result is that entire Catholic regions no longer have even a single exorcist: Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Switzerland. I admire the Italian bishops. They don’t understand anything about it, but at least they appoint exorcists. Last year there was a meeting of the Italian exorcists: there were one hundred and seventy of us.”
(Editor’s Note: in the case of Spain there is in fact a famous exorcist, Fr. Fortea, some accounts of whose exorcisms are well known in Spain.)
Q: Explain better; in what sense do the bishops not understand anything about this?
A: “Because they, like all priests, have studied at the seminary. And for a long time, the seminary has taught nothing about angels or demons, nothing about exorcisms, nothing about the sins against the first commandment, ‘You shall have no God but me’: magic, spiritism, and satanism.”
Q: And the Vatican curia?
A: “The same incompetence. They approved a new ritual which, for the exorcists, is a disaster. It forbids acting in the case of a curse, when this is the source of 90 percent of the cases of possession. It forbids acting if there is no previous certainty of diabolical action, when this can be understood only in the course of action. Fortunately, the old ritual is still valid. I use that one; otherwise, I would have to quit.”
Washington D.C., Jun 11, 2004 (CNA) - United States senators, who support embryonic stem-cell research, have become more insistent about legalizing the controversial research after the recent death of President Ronald Reagan. However, Catholic League president William Donohue cautions against any change in the current policy on embryonic stem-cell research.
The day before former President Ronald Reagan died, 58 senators sent a letter to President George W. Bush, urging him to permit embryonic stem-cell research. The controversial research has been promoted as promising in the search for a cure for a number of illnesses, including Parkinson’s, from which President Reagan suffered.
The senators are now insisting that, with the death of President Reagan, the issue has taken on greater urgency. They also cite the support Nancy Reagan has shown for embryonic stem-cell research in recent years, speaking publicly in favor of the cause as well.
“Since every person ever born began as an embryo, and since embryonic stem-cell research is predicated on the acknowledgement that embryos are human – otherwise the research would be meaningless – it is incumbent that our society not sanction it,” said Donohue in a press release.
Donohue pointed out that, on the same day that the 58 senators submitted their letter, Pope John Paul II admonished U.S. citizens to reject such things as abortion, same sex unions, pornography and prostitution as “self-centered demands.”
“The pope, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, might arguably have benefited from embryonic stem-cell research had it been previously allowed,” said Donohue. “But the Holy Father recognizes, as all of us should, that it is immoral for one person to have his life extended at the expense of someone else’s right to life.”
The league also underlined out that one of the signatories was Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
President Reagan’s state funeral was held today in Washington.