Vatican City, Jun 24, 2004 (CNA) - The Pope gave strong advice concerning the identity and responsibility of Catholic educational institutions to bishops of the provinces of Portland in Oregon, Seattle and Anchorage as they concluded their "ad limina" visit this morning at the Vatican.
In his continuing reflections on the teaching office of the bishop, the Pope stated that the Catholic's Church's "many religious, educational and charitable institutions exist for one reason only: to proclaim the Gospel. Their witness must always proceed 'ex corde Ecclesiae', from the very heart of the Church.”
“It is of utmost importance, therefore, that the Church's institutions be genuinely Catholic: Catholic in their self-understanding and Catholic in their identity. All those who share in the apostolates of such institutions, including those who are not of the faith, should show a sincere and respectful appreciation of that mission which is their inspiration and ultimate 'raison d'être'," said the Pope.
"The Church's many institutions in the United States - schools, universities, hospitals and charitable agencies - must not only assist the faithful to think and act fully in accordance with the Gospel, overcoming every separation between faith and life, but they must themselves embody a clear corporate testimony to its saving truth.”
He added that “this will demand constantly re-examining their priorities in the light of their mission and offering a convincing witness, within a pluralistic society, to the Church's teaching, particularly on respect for human life, marriage and family, and the right ordering of public life."
The Holy Father underscored that "the Church's educational institutions will be able to contribute effectively to the new evangelization only if they clearly preserve and foster their Catholic identity.”
“By their very nature,” he said, “Catholic colleges and universities are called to offer an institutional witness of fidelity to Christ and to His word as it comes to us from the Church, a public witness expressed in the canonical requirement of the mandatum.” In addition, “these institutions should be at the forefront of the Church's dialogue with culture.”
Saying that "the Church's presence in elementary and secondary education must also be the object of your special attention as shepherds of the People of God," the Pope asked the bishops "to encourage your priests to continue to be present and visible in parish schools, and to make every effort to ensure that, despite financial difficulties, a Catholic education remains available to the poor and the less privileged in society."
He said that "while catechetical programs for children and young people, especially in relation to sacramental preparation, remain essential, increasing attention must be paid to the particular needs of older adolescents and adults. ... (These) require a constant discernment of the actual needs of the different ages and groups."
This discernment "calls for the personal involvement of the Bishop, together with pastors, who are directly responsible for the religious instruction imparted in their parishes, with religious education professionals."
In conclusion, John Paul II turned to "the eloquent witness" that American Catholics have always given "on behalf of the elderly, the sick and the needy - through nursing homes, hospitals, clinics and various relief and assistance centers.”
“The significant challenges facing these institutions in changing social and economic circumstances must not be allowed to weaken this corporate witness,” he said. “Established policies in complete conformity with the Church's moral teaching need to be firmly in place in Catholic health care facilities, and every aspect of their life ought to reflect their religious inspiration and their intimate link to the Church's mission of bringing supernatural light, healing and hope to men and women at every stage of their earthly pilgrimage."
Dallas, Texas, Jun 24, 2004 (CNA) - The Salesians of Don Bosco issued a statement June 21, denying allegations that they have moved priests, accused of sexual abuse of minors, from one country to another.
The Dallas Morning News had published a report the day before, stating that the Salesians and other religious orders have transferred priests, accused of abuse, to new church communities to continue in ministry.
The statement, posted on the Salesian’s Web site, says the congregation "categorically denies such behavior and condemns every kind of abuse of minors."
The statement also outlines the course of action taken by the Salesian congregation in cases where its members are accused of sexual abuse.
The congregation said that it examines promptly any accusation of sexual abuse against minors to assess, above all, its credibility. If found to be true, the congregation “assures psychological and educational support for the victims and, if necessary, for their families.”
A Salesian priest or brother, who is found to be guilty of such abuse, is “immediately removed from every pastoral and educational responsibility, so that he may not have any contact with minors,” reads the statement. He is then entrusted to the care of experts, who will help him from the psychological and spiritual point of view, and he is “encouraged to collaborate actively with the law and recognize his own responsibility.”
The congregation pointed out that its ministry is to poor children and “the defence of minors, against abuse of all kinds, including sexual violence, child labor and military enslavement.”
Denver, Colo., Jun 24, 2004 (CNA) - With only three weeks before the Federal Marriage Amendment is expected in the U.S. Senate, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver is urging Colorado Catholics to write their senators and urge them to advance the amendment.
“If citizens don't act vigorously to protect marriage now, the fallout for our nation's children in the coming decades will be huge and damaging,” he warned.
In a column in this week’s issue of the Denver Catholic Register, the archbishop said that, in the ongoing debate over same-sex marriage and the nature and identity of marriage, Catholics must keep three basic principles in mind.
The first is that the debate is not one of minority rights and that it is “gravely misleading” to cast the argument in a rights framework.
“Minority groups have every right to live in the United States without intimidation,” wrote the archbishop. “They do not have a right to redefine marriage in a way that undermines the family and attacks the environment in which children learn about the world and grow to maturity,” he argued.
Second, the people, through legislative action and the democratic political process, should decide the definition of marriage in the United States, not the courts, he said.
“The judicial activism that imposed abortion on demand on an unwilling country, and which has struck down every popular attempt to moderate it in the decades since, must not be allowed to do the same to Americans' understanding of marriage,” wrote Archbishop Chaput.
Thirdly, “no single state should be allowed to decide this vital issue for the entire country,” wrote the archbishop, referring to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts through court order just last month.
“If Americans are one nation, we need to express that unity in our basic national values and institutions, and nothing determines our shared future as a people more directly than our convictions about marriage and the family,” he said.
He also pointed out that Pope John Paul II spoke last week about the responsibility of Catholics "to proclaim firmly the truth about marriage and family, established by God, as an authentic service to society."
The truth about marriage, said the Pope to visiting Latin American bishops, is valid for all men and women of all faiths and is the “fundamental nucleus” of society.
The Federal Marriage Amendment is expected in the Senate for debate the week of July 12.
Vatican City, Jun 24, 2004 (CNA) - Fifty-two metropolitan archbishops will receive the pallium on Tuesday, June 29, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. Forty-four of the metropolitans will receive the pallium from the hands of John Paul II in St. Peter's Square at 6 p.m. Among the new metropolitans are four American bishops and one Canadian.
The new metropolitans are:
- Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg im Bresgau, Germany.
- Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M., Cap., of Boston, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Hans-Josef Becker of Paderborn, Germany.
- Archbishop Ramon Benito de la Rosa y Carpio of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.
- Archbishop Andre Lacrampe of Besancon, France.
- Archbishop Valerian Okeke of Onitsha, Japan
- Archbishop Gaudencio Borbon Rosales of Manila, Philippines.
- Archbishop Alano Maria Pena, O.P., of Niteroi, Brazil.
- Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, P.S.S., of Nagasaki, Japan.
- Archbishop Henry Joseph Mansell of Hartford, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Kevin John Patrick McDonald of Southwark, Great Britain.
- Archbishop Jose Luis Chavez Botello of Antequera, Oaxaca, Mexico.
- Archbishop Fulgence Rabeony, S.J., of Toliara, Madagascar.
- Archbishop Joseph Edra Ukpo of Calabar, Nigeria.
- Archbishop Michel Meranville of Fort-de-France, Martinique.
- Archbishop Matias Patricio de Macedo of Natal, Brazil.
- Archbishop Juan Antonio Ugarte Perez of Cuzco, Peru.
- Archbishop Jose Paulino Rios Reynoso of Arequipa, Peru.
- Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke of St. Louis, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Italy.
- Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli of Ancona-Osimo, Italy.
- Archbishop Joseph Cheng Tsai-Fa of Taipei, Taiwan.
- Archbishop Raymond Roussin, S.M., of Vancouver, Canada.
- Archbishop Lawrence Aloysius Burke, S.J., of Kingston in Jamaica, Jamaica.
- Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Nassau, Bahamas.
- Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz of Brasilia, Brazil.
- Archbishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo of Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
- Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil.
- Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, France.
- Archbishop Wladislaw Ziolek of Lodz, Poland.
- Archbishop Joseph Augustine Charanakunnel of Raipur, India.
- Archbishop Pietro Coccia of Pesaro, Italy.
- Archbishop Marie Daniel Dadiet of Korhogo, Ivory Coast.
- Archbishop Jean-Charles Descubes of Rouen, France.
- Archbishop Marian Golebiewski of Wroclaw, Poland.
- Archbishop Luiz Manchila Vilela, SS.CC., of Vitoria, Brazil.
- Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, Ireland
- Archbishop Aldo Di Cillo Pagotto, S.S.S., of Paraiba, Brazil.
- Archbishop Ramon C. Arguelles of Lipa, the Philippines.
- Archbishop Moacyr Jose Vitti, C.S.S., of Curitiba, Brazil.
- Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu of Harare, Zimbabwe.
- Archbishop Bruno Gamberini of Campinas, Brazil.
- Archbishop Milton Antonio Dos Santos, S.D.B., of Cuiaba, Brazil.
In addition to the forty-four archbishops, the following eight will received the pallium in their respective metropolitan sees: Archbishops Aloysius Sudarso, S.C.I., of Palembang, Indonesia; Hubert Constant, O.M.I., of Cap-Haitien, Haiti; Evarist Pinto of Karachi, Pakistan; Nicolaus Adi Septura, M.S.C., of Merauke, Indonesia: Jose de Queiros Alves, C.SS.R., of Huambo, Angola; Anthony Anandarayar of Pondicherry and Cuddalore, India; Maria Callist Soosa Pakiam of Trivandrum of the Latins, India and Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain.
Vatican City, Jun 24, 2004 (CNA) - Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, announced this morning that "the Holy Father John Paul II will go on pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Lourdes, France, on August 14 and 15, 2004 for the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
The press office added that the Holy Father is scheduled to leave Ciampino Airport in Rome at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 14 for the two-hour trip to Tarbes, from where he will depart by car for Lourdes, a trip of about 45 minutes. For the return trip to Rome, the Pope is scheduled to leave Tarbes Airport at 6:45 p.m. on Sunday, August 15.
Dresden, Germany, Jun 24, 2004 (CNA) - It was an historic occasion of reconciliation for German and British citizens yesterday when a cross and orb were placed atop a newly rebuilt church in Dresden, which had been destroyed by Allied bombers almost 60 years ago.
First built in 1743, the Church of Our Lady was once one of Europe's most important baroque churches. It lay in ruins for almost 50 years, but it was rebuilt from scratch in an ambitious reconciliation project, involving Britain and Germany.
The project took 10 years and cost £90 million. Of the church’s million bricks about 8,000 are original.
The cross and orb are in themselves significant symbols of reconciliation and peace since they were both fashioned by the son of a RAF pilot, who took part in the 1945 attack.
Alan Smith, a craftsman at a London firm of goldsmiths, spent eight months making the cross and orb in stainless steel and copper to the original 18th-century design.
Smith said his father, Frank, would tell him of the sufferings in the war, which he did not want people to forget.
Smith and his 80-year-old mother joined the Duke of Kent and about 300 British guests for the ceremony in Dresden.
Old Dresdeners wept and cheered as the crown and orb were eased onto the church's tower with a crane. Bells rang in celebration across the city.
The Duke of Kent said the church’s crowning was a sign of hope for a "free, peaceful and united Europe". It should stand as a reminder of the "painful and difficult past", shared by the two countries, he said.
, Jun 24, 2004 (CNA) - A benefit event organized to raise funds for the Catholic organization Mano Amiga (“Friendly Hand”) brought in an impressive $600,000 on June 10. The funds will be used for elementary schools in poor areas of Latin America.
The gala dinner took place at the Manhattan Hotel Plaza and was organized by the World Education and Development Fund, an association dedicated to raising money for Mano Amiga. The ceremony honored the work of businessman Carlos Slim Helu and his efforts to promote education in Latin America
“There is saying that goes, we must leave a better world for our children, but I think we must leave better children for our world,” said Slim, who was accompanied his wife and six children.
Created in 1963 by the Legionaries of Christ, the Mano Amiga foundation operates schools in the poorest areas of Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador and Argentina, providing education to more than 18,000 children and adolescents
The director of the World Education and Development Fund, Luanne Zurlo, thanked Slim for his financial support for Mano Amigo throughout the years.
In a recent article published by the National Catholic Reporter, Zurlo recalled that the first Mano Amiga school was founded in Naucalpan, Mexico. The first students had to wrap their shoes in plastic bags to keep from wearing them out on the dirt road that lead to the facility.
According to Zurlo, Mano Amiga has contributed to the economic development of Naucalpan, providing education to young people. The schools provide education to the poor until to complete their studies, thus helping them to gain better jobs. As a result more businesses are created in Naucalpan and thus more jobs.
This model has been successfully repeated in various countries. According to Zurlo, less than one-fourth of Mexican adults have finished high school, but more than 90% of Mano Amiga students make it to graduation.
Each Mano Amiga school has a chapel where students can pray and receive the sacraments. Since 2000, one Mano Amiga school in Monterrey has seen one or two vocations to the priesthood or religious life per year.
Rome, Italy, Jun 24, 2004 (CNA) - In an interview published by the Italian newspaper Avvenire, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna lamented the omission of any reference to Christianity in the new European constitution, saying, “Europe cannot be understood if the Christian roots of its culture and traditions are severed.”
According to the cardinal, “The recognition of the Christian roots of the continent is a truth so evident that it should not be that difficult to acknowledge.”
“Why do tourists come here from all over the world? Are not the monasteries and cathedrals their favorite places to visit? The stubborn opposition to the recognition of Christianity is fostered by certain trends of Western secularism,” the cardinal said.
It needs to clear, he added, “that the Church has no interest in politics or power in referring to the Christian roots of the continent.”
“And I would like to add a final observation: it was important that the Christian roots be mentioned in the Preamble, but it is even more important that the text of the Constitution be anchored in values inspired by Christianity. Fundamental principles are at risk, such as the dignity of the human person and human rights, including social rights,” he said.
Cardinal Shonborn also recalled that “the fathers of this project, De Gasperi, Schumann, Adenauer, were committed Catholics. The European Union seeks to provide peace and well being, which are very positive objectives from the point of view of the Christian faith.”
“Moreover, the Union is an instrument to begin new ways of living together for the peoples of Europe, which has been poisoned by the ideologies of the last two centuries,” he warned.
Lastly, Cardinal Schonborn added, “Because of its history, its economic power and its spiritual tradition, Europe cannot hide itself in isolation. It has obligations, which flow from those values which are fundamentally evangelical and essential to its identity. Therefore Europe should fight for the right to life, health and education.”
Vatican City, Jun 24, 2004 (CNA) - The Holy Father spoke about the needs of the Holy Land this morning as he received 70 participants in the annual meeting of ROACO, the Meeting of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches, which is part of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
The Holy Father recalled "the Christian communities of the Oriental Churches, subject at this moment to serious trials due to current conflicts, terrorism and other difficulties," noting they "can count on your assistance."
In addition, he thanked them for taking the time during the sessions to look at the situation of the Greek-Catholic Church in Romania. "Thank you for your concern. It is a precious service of solidarity to the neediest."
John Paul II, referring to the collection for the Holy Land which is taken up every Good Friday all over the world, and to the recommendation of his predecessors “to care for the mother Church in Jerusalem,” said “it is necessary to persevere, praying intensely for peace for the people who live in the land of Jesus.”
“May Christians,” he prayed, “who are so tried by the never-ending violence and by numerous other problems that produce economic impoverishment, social conflicts, cultural and human degradation, never lack the support of the entire Catholic Church.”
“Thanks to the collection ... it is also possible to contribute to the resolution of problems and to nourish the spirit of acceptance and reciprocal respect, promoting a common will of reconciliation. All of this will contribute to building up peace which is so-longed for,” said the Pope.
The Pope emphasized that one of the most important duties of the congregation “in order to sustain pastoral care and the labor of evangelization of the Oriental Churches is the formation of those who give formation.” In this sense, he highlighted the economic contribution of the dicastery “in preparing priests, and in following seminarians, women and men religious and lay people so that the Churches may be able to count on expert pastors and responsible and competent lay people.”
Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 24, 2004 (CNA) - During the Mass celebrated on the feast of St. Thomas Moore, patron of politicians, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City called on authorities and politicians to promoted laws based on ethical principles and respect for the human person.
The cardinal underscored the need to pass laws that are consistent with the principles of natural ethics, as many people justify their moral preferences by the widest possible understanding of personal autonomy and freedom, even if they go against these principles.
Likewise, Cardinal Rivera recalled that a democracy in which citizens directly participated in political opinions is possible only inasmuch as it is founded on the correct concept of the human person.
“Respect for the human person is what makes democratic participation possible,” he said.