Archive of June 22, 2004

87 new causes for sainthood promulgated today in Vatican

Vatican City, Jun 22, 2004 (CNA) - The causes for the beatification and canonization of 87 Servants of God were promulgated this morning in the Clementine Hall in the presence of the Holy Father, members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the postulators of the respective causes.  

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation, read a biography of each of the lives of the Servants of God, grouping them under three separate categories: heroic virtues, martyrdom, and miracles.  

The servants of God are comprised of one Indian, one Argentine, five Italians, 14 Mexicans, and 66 Spaniards.  

Under the category of those who lived virtue to a heroic degree are: 

  • Servant of God Pedro Tarres i Claret, Spain, priest of the archdiocese of Barcelona,  (1905-1950).
  • Servant of God Augustine Thevarparampil, Indian, called 'Kunjachan,' priest of the eparchy of Palai, India (1891-1973).
  • Servant of God Julia de las Espinas del Sagrado Corazón, nee Julia Navarrete Guerriero, Mexican, foundress of the Institute of the Religious Missionaries, Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary (1881-1974).
  • Servant of God Alfonsa Clerici, Italian, religious of Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood in Monza, Italy (1860-1930).
  • Servant of God Maria Crescencia, nee Maria Angelica Perez, Argentine,  religious of the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden (1897-1932).
  • Servant of God Serafina Gregoris, nee Vittoria, Italian, religious of the Institute of the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King (1873-1935).

Martyrs whose cause is being promulgated are: 

  • Servants of God, Jose Trinidad Rangel Montaño, Mexico, priest of the diocese of Leon (1887-1927), Andres Sola Molist, Spanish, priest of the Congregation of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians) (1895-1927), and Leonardo Perez Larios, Mexican, lay person (1883-1927), martyred in Rancho de San Joaquin during the religious persecution in Mexico.
  • Servant of God, Dario Acosta Zurita, Mexican, priest of the diocese of Veracruz (1908-1931), killed during the religious persecution in Mexico.
  • Servants of God Lucas de San Jose, ne Jose Tristany Pujol, Spanish, priest of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites (1872-1936), killed for the faith in Barcelona, Leonardo Jose, ne Jose Maria Aragones Mateu, religious of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian School (1886-1936), killed for the faith in Traveseres, Apollonia del Santisimo Sacramento, nee Apolonia Lizarraga, nun of the Congregation of the Carmelites of Charity (1877-1936), killed for the faith in Barcelona, and 61 companions, killed for the faith during the religious persecution in Spain between 1936-1937.
  • Servant of God Brother Bernardo, ne Placido Fabrega Julia, of the Institute of the Marist Brothers of the Schools (1889-1934), killed for the faith in Barruelo during the religious persecution in Spain.
  • Servants of God Anacleto Gonzalez Flores, Mexican, lay person (1888-1927), killed for the faith in Guadalajara, and 7 lay companions, killed for the faith during the religious persecution in Mexico between 1927-1928.
  • Servant of God Jose Sanchez Del Rio, Mexican, lay person (1913-1928), killed for the faith the religious persecution in Mexico.  

Those to whom have been attributed miraculous intercessions:        

  • Venerable Servant of God Pedro Tarres i Claret, Spanish, priest of the archdiocese of Barcelona (1905-1950).
  • Venerable Servant of God Maria Pia Mastena, ne Teresa Maria, Italian, foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Holy Face (1881-1951).
  • Venerable Servant of God Eurosia Fabris Barban, Italian, widow, wife and mother, of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi (1866-1932). 
  • Venerable Servant of God Pina Suriano, Italian, lay person (1915-1950).

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Bush pushes marriage plan on campaign trail in Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio, Jun 22, 2004 (CNA) - President George W. Bush promoted his Healthy Marriage Initiative yesterday while on his campaign fundraising trail through Ohio. The $1.5-billion program proposes to offer premarital counseling to parents on welfare.

The Healthy Marriage Initiative, which was reportedly developed in consultation with conservative family groups, would provide grants to states, faith-based organizations and community-based groups to teach people what it means to be in a successful marriage. It links healthy marriages to reducing drug use and other social problems.

The program is part of welfare reform legislation stalled in the Senate. 

"I think one of the smartest things we can do is to encourage families," Bush told supporters at an alcohol and drug addiction services center yesterday, reported The Associated Press. About 40 protesters were outside.

Critics say Bush’s program has the potential to discriminate against single women and pressure some into abusive marriages. Gay-rights activists criticize Bush for proposing a program for heterosexual couples while advocating a ban on same-sex marriages, reported the AP.

Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry campaigned in Ohio last week. He promoted a federal program that would keep schools open until early evening to help working parents, reported the AP. Kerry also raised $2 million at two events in Cincinnati and Columbus.

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Pope to celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Square with Patriarch of Constantinople in attendance

Vatican City, Jun 22, 2004 (CNA) - On Tuesday, June 29, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, the Pope will celebrate the Eucharist at 6 p.m. in St. Peter's Square, with Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople in attendance.


The celebration will take place 40 years after the historic embrace of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Atenagoras I in Jerusalem in January of 1964.


John Paul II and Bartholomew I will deliver a homily and pray the profession of faith together.


The Holy Father will concelebrate with newly-appointed metropolitan archbishops upon whom he will impose the pallium.

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Some upset that Planned Parenthood to benefit from Sidewinders game

Tucson, Ariz., Jun 22, 2004 (CNA) - A fundraising event tomorrow for Planned Parenthood has got a Christian radio show host riled up.

Every year, the Pima County Board of Supervisors chooses four local non-profit groups to receive the ticket proceeds from select Sidewinders games. The group that will benefit from tomorrow’s game is Planned Parenthood.

Christian radio-show host for KVOI-690 AM Steve Aiken says the county’s selection of Planned Parenthood – a group that supports abortion – is ridiculous. Aiken says he does not understand why such a controversial organization would be chosen – for the second year in a row – “when there are so many others that are much more deserving, like food shelters, Boy Scouts, or Girl Scouts.”

None of the Pima County supervisors who were contacted granted a request for an interview. The Sidewinders said they are not involved in the selection process.

The CEO of Southern Arizona's Planned Parenthood, Patti Caldwell, says they received about $3,000 from the game last year.

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Cardinal Arinze urges dialogue, harmony among Christians and Muslims in Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria, Jun 22, 2004 (CNA) - Dialogue, respect, mutual acceptance and the promotion of development and justice are the best ways to create positive relations between Christians and Muslims, said Francis Cardinal Arinze this weekend at a lecture, marking the 50th anniversary of the Knights of Saint Mulumba in Nigeria.

"Authentic dialogue demands that Muslims and Christians accept one another with all their similarities and differences in matters theological, moral and cultural. And respect for the other should follow,” said the cardinal in his lecture, titled "The Urgency of Promoting Christian- Muslim Collaboration."

“Only in mutual acceptance of the other and in the resulting mutual respect – made more profound by love – resides the secret of humanity finally reconciled," Cardinal Arinze said.

Quoting from the 1965 World Catholic Bishop Conference, the cardinal said one should extend respect and love to all, even to those who think or act differently in social and religious matters.

The cardinal said one must first properly understand another’s religion in order to develop dialogue with them.

“When Muslims and Christians come to know one another and learn to accept and respect one another, they are well poised to engage in … Christian-Muslim dialogue," he said.

He called for religious freedom, saying that it applies to both individuals and to religious communities.

“It includes both the right to practise and also the right to share the religion with others,” he said. “The exercise of this right should have no territorial boundaries. It applies to all countries whether they are predominately Christian or predominantly Muslim.

“A religion should not ask for religious freedom for its followers in one country, while denying the same right to other believers in a country where it is the majority religion. This is what reciprocity is all about," he said.

The lecture was attended by Nigeria’s Chief Justice, other Justices and a representative of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

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Pope’s preacher speaks at Franciscan university

Steubenville, Ohio, Jun 22, 2004 (CNA) - One of the Pope’s preachers travelled to the Franciscan University of Steubenville to speak before 1,300 people during a recent Catholic Charismatic Conference, reported the Herald-Star.

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., gave two talks, titled “The Healing Power of the Holy Spirit” and “The Astonishing Intervention of the Holy Spirit.”

Fr. Cantalamessa was a professor at the Catholic University of Milan, Italy, before being appointed by Pope John Paul II as a preacher to the papal household in 1980. He preaches weekly in the presence of the Pope, various cardinals, bishops and Vatican officials.

Fr. Cantalamessa commented on his experience as preacher to the papal household, calling it a humbling experience and saying that it requires much preparation. The priest said he usually preaches on current issues for the Church.

"The challenge is not letting the Pope lose focus,” he was quoted as saying.

Fr. Cantalamessa keeps speaking engagements throughout the world and hosts a weekly program on Italian state television. He is the author of 16 books.

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Archbishop slams Venezuelan government plan to revamp religious laws

Caracas, Venezuela, Jun 22, 2004 (CNA) - Archbishop Baltazar Porras of Merida and President of the Bishops Conference of Venezuela told reporters this week the aim a new federal law on religious freedom is not advancement of other minority religions or associations but rather to “give a whipping” to the Catholic Church.

According to reports, Archbishop Baltazar believes the threats to reduce school subsidies, the overhaul of the country’s treaty with the Vatican and the possible approval of a new religious freedom law are all part of a strategy to silence the Catholic Church, which has been the institution that has most forcefully denounced the excesses of the Chavez government.

Some fundamentalists groups are supporting Chavez’s decision to change laws on religious practice without consulting with the Church, because “other faiths” are emerging in the country.

The Bishops Conference points out, however, that “90% of the 25 million Venezuelans are baptized Catholics.”

“The other 85 faiths legally registered in the country are a minority, but even more importantly, their social impact is very little compared with the activities of the Catholic Church in favor of local communities.  This includes education, health care, shelters for the homeless, the elderly, etc,” the Conference said.

Likewise the Bishops underscore that “although the proposal of equally distributing resources sounds very democratic, there is no doubt that the faithful of the Catholic Church are a majority which has played in important role in the country, not only in the spiritual life but also in the area of social and human promotion.  In conclusion, whether it is acknowledged or not, the Church has been very successful in this area.”

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Envoy expresses support of Pope to flood victims in Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Jun 22, 2004 (CNA) - Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and special envoy of Pope John Paul II to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, toured areas in those countries this weekend affected by recent flooding.

“The Pope has asked me to bring you his blessing and the assurance that you are in his prayers,” said the Archbishop during Sunday Mass.

Archbishop Cordes, who will bring a report to the Pope on the damage caused by the flooding, read a “message of spiritual support” sent by the Pontiff to the more than 1,300 people affected, saying the “Holy Father has always had a special concern for those who are suffering.”

Official reports indicate that 392 people were killed in the Dominican Republic with more than 275 still listed as missing.

Archbishop Cordes is expected to meet with Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo, the Apostolic Nuncio of the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, as well as with Haitian bishops.

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AP report recognizes heroic work of priests who risk their lives for peace in Colombia

, Jun 22, 2004 (CNA) - A story by Associated Press reporter Kim Housego is revealing the danger that hundreds of priests in Colombia face on a daily basis in their mission to bring peace to the troubled country.

As the bishops of Colombia are currently making their Ad limina visit to the Vatican, during which Pope John Paul II has delivered a moving message to Colombia, Housego underscored that, “Priests already are playing key roles in a nascent peace process between the government and a right-wing militia, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. They also are promoting dialogue between the government and the leftist National Liberation Army, known as the ELN.”

She added that “going beyond their normal duties of baptizing babies, celebrating Mass and hearing confession, they intervene to secure freedom for hostages, escort civilians to safety through combat zones and broker temporary truces.”

Housego cites the case of Fr. Leonel Narvaez, a priest in the town of Caqueta, who met with leaders of a paramilitary group in an effort to promote peace.  On the way home, he noticed a rattling noise coming from the engine compartment.

“Pulling over to investigate, he popped the hood and discovered two hand grenades on the verge of exploding, their safety pins nearly jiggled loose. Brushes with death are becoming common for priests in Colombia's civil war,” said Housego.

According to the report, during the 40 years of conflict, the Catholic Church has often been the only channel of communication between warring factions. In isolated regions, priests fill a void left by the absence of state authority.” 

''The church is the only institution that all sides respect,'' said the Rev. Luis Ritmel, whose parish is in the jungles of Bojaya county in northwestern Colombia,   ''It is God's will to help those in need, so I am obliged to do so. But obviously I get scared,'' Ritmel said. ''I was once threatened by the guerrillas for refusing to bless their rifles.''

The Rev. Dario Echeverri, secretary-general of the church-led National Reconciliation Commission, is trying to facilitate a deal sought by the country's second leftist movement, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The group proposes to free dozens of kidnapped politicians, soldiers and police officers in exchange for hundreds of jailed rebels, the report says.

Last December, writes Housego, Echeverri took a helicopter into the snowcapped Sierra Nevada Mountains to fly seven foreign backpackers to freedom after helping negotiate their release from 100 days as hostages of the ELN.

''Most of the time it's very difficult, frustrating work,'' Echeverri said.  Sometimes, though, some group sees the clergy as being too close to an enemy. Over the past 20 years, an archbishop, a bishop, at least 50 priests and three nuns have been murdered.

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