Lima, Peru, Jul 28, 2004 (CNA) - Speaking on a nationwide radio program, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani said a campaign to silence the Church is underway, but that the main enemy of the Church is the priest who is afraid to preach the truth.
Currently there "is a campaign to silence the voice of God because they want us to stay in the churches on our knees in prayer instead of speaking out about injustices, the lack of respect for families, the trampling of honor, or the lack of concern for the poor," the Cardinal said.
He praised the work being done by priests, who "celebrate the Mass and spend much time in prayer, with much sacrifice because they are few in numbers." Nevertheless, he said, "the great enemy of the Church is the weak priest, who lacks fervor." Priests need to show that "they really live what they preach and believe, that there is no abyss between what the Church preaches and what the Church does," he added.
The Cardinal said that often there can be "a little bit of tension" when a priest is preaching to people who "are losing their faith." "It's logical that there might be tension in this dialogue, when the world is hostile to the Catholic faith, you cannot say that the tension should be relieved by asking the Church to remain silent. The Church cannot remain silent!" he exclaimed.
Madrid, Spain, Jul 28, 2004 (CNA) - A leading Catholic politician from the Spanish region of Galicia, Manuel Fraga, said this week the vote by Catholic lawmakers on the approval of a law making homosexual unions equivalent to marriage "is a question of conscience" and should be in tune with the Church's exhortation to reject it.
According to Fraga, the position of the bishops is above "everything else," including party loyalty.
"Those who consider themselves Catholics must listen to this call," said Fraga in reference to the bishops' request that Catholic lawmakers oppose any measure that would legalize homosexual unions.
"The Catholic lawmaker has the moral duty to clearly and publicly express his disapproval and to vote against the law that seeks to legalize homosexual unions in some way," the bishops recently wrote in a letter addressing the issue.
In their statement the bishops exhorted "Catholics especially, to do everything that his legitimately within their power in our democratic system to ensure that the laws of our country favor only true marriage."
Biloxi, Miss., Jul 28, 2004 (CNA) - Attorney Sheila Schreiber-Parkhill has urged sociologist and author Fr. Andrew Greeley to expose priests who he knows to be abusing children and involved in illegal activity.
Fr. Greeley has written several books and stories about the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, especially in Chicago, namely "Confessions of a Parish Priest" and "Furthermore! Memories of a Parish Priest."
In a recent e-mail, Schreiber-Parkhill, who has been investigating the Boys Club in Chicago, asked the priest: "Isn't it time you do something about the Chicago Boys Club, including the priest, now bishop, whose name has been included with it?" The e-mail was circulated to the press by Matt Abbott, a Catholic journalist and commentator.
The attorney from Bismarck, North Dakota, accused Fr. Greeley of holding onto information that would implicate members of the Boys Club and pointed out that he has clearly stated in his books that he knows the names of the perpetrators.
Schreiber-Parkhill quotes from Fr. Greeley's writings: "Even in Chicago, the ring of predators about whom I wrote in the paperback edition of 'Confessions' remains untouched. There is no evidence against them because no one has complained about them and none of their fellow priests have denounced them. …But should they slip, should they get caught, the previous scandals will seem trivial."
This ring, says Schreiber-Parkhill, is involved in the "ritualistic and satanic abuse of children … murder, and credit card theft and fraud."
In her letter, the attorney told Fr. Greeley that if doesn't expose the priests involved with in the ring, he is no better than the bishops he denounces in his books for being silent.
"Are you not even worse because you hide the proof of evil predators' guilt in safekeeping?" the attorney asked. "Do you not think about the potential for other victims, children whose violation you have the power to prevent?"
She urged Fr. Greeley to share the information with authorities rather than doing "nothing except brag" that he knows.
Schreiber-Parkhill also alleges that Fr.Greeley knew that Frank Pellegrini, a
church organist and professor, was murdered after writing a letter to Fr. Tom Ventura, vicar of priests. The letter allegedly revealed the sexual abuse and his plans to go to the authorities with the information. Fr. Ventura reportedly left the priesthood in 2002.
Rome, Italy, Jul 28, 2004 (CNA) - Italian producer and director Giacomo Battiato has announced he will soon begin filming a biographical movie on Pope John Paul II to be aired next year on Italian television.
32 year-old Polish actor Piotr Adamczyk will play the part o Karol Wojtyla in the movie, which will be called "Karol's Story," based on the biography by Gianfranco Svidercoschi.
German and American actors Klaus Maria Brandauer and John Malkovich and French actress Emmanuelle Beart are also to be in the film.
According to Battiato, shooting will begin next September in Poland.
Rome, Italy, Jul 28, 2004 (CNA) - On August 5 the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major will mark the feast of Our Lady of the Snows as well as the anniversary of the dedication of the basilica which was founded on that date in 358 by Pope Liberius.
Liberius was inspired to build the basilica when the Virgin Mary appeared to him, and to his friends, the Roman patrician John and his wife, in a dream and asked that a church be built in her honor on the site on the Esquiline hill where snow would fall on August 5, a hot midsummer night.
In the presence of many Romans, the Pope traced the outline of the church in the snow, and the first basilica built on that spot was called Our Lady of the Snows. The current basilica, better known today as St. Mary Major, is the result of centuries of rebuilding on the original site.
The celebrations this year take place in the presence of the new archpriest of St. Mary Major, Cardinal Bernard Law. They commence on Sunday, August 1 with a triduum of Masses, the first of which will be presided over by Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry. Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, apostolic nuncio, will celebrate Mass on Monday, August 2, and Cardinal Virgilio Noe, archpriest emeritus of St. Peter's Basilica, will preside at the final mass of the triduum on Tuesday, August 3.
The feast itself will start on Wednesday, August 4 with first Vespers. On Thursday, August 5, there will be a solemn pontifical Mass of the morning and second Vespers, presided over by Cardinal Law. Bishops and priests are invited to concelebrate at this Mass. During Mass and vespers, there is the traditional "rain of flowers," symbolizing the miraculous August snowfall of 358, when thousands of flower petals are released both within the basilica and outside, from its rooftop, for the faithful who have gathered to commemorate this event.
Washington D.C., Jul 28, 2004 (CNA) - Catholics for a Free Choice has filed a complaint with the IRS, asking it to revoke the tax-exempt status of a pro-life group due to its "political activities" at the Democratic National Convention in Boston this week.
Catholics for a Free Choice, a pro-abortion group, is asking that the tax-exempt status of Operation Rescue West be revoked and that the IRS "enjoin this organization's planned political activities in Boston."
During the convention this week, Operation Rescue West has stationed a fleet of "Truth Trucks" in Boston, bearing graphic images of aborted babies along with the words "Kerry's Choice" and "Kerry/Edwards: A Bloody Team for a Bloody America."
But, in a press release issued yesterday, Operation Rescue West has defended its activity as educational.
"Part of our mission as a non-profit group is to conduct educational campaigns. People who support Kerry and other 'pro-choice' candidates, whether Democrats or Republicans, should know what that 'choice' really means," said Operation Rescue West president Troy Newman. "We believe we are in full compliance with the law."
Vatican City, Jul 28, 2004 (CNA) - The Holy Father spoke on Psalm 15, "The Lord is my heritage," at the general audience today in the Paul VI Hall, saying that the Christian’s hope reaches beyond death.
The Holy Father said that this psalm is a "mystical hymn" that presents God "as the only good and therefore, the supplicant chooses to be part of the community of those who are faithful to the Lord."
This psalm, he continued, develops two themes. The first theme is heritage "which was used to describe the gift of the promised land to the people of Israel. ... The house of Levi was the only tribe that did not receive a portion of the land, because the Lord was their heritage."
John Paul II indicated that the second theme is "perfect and continuous communion with the Lord. The psalmist expresses the firm hope of being preserved from death in order to be able to remain in intimacy with God."
The psalmist asks the Lord to show him "the path of life. It is the way which leads to 'fullness of joy in the divine presence,’ to 'sweetness without end alongside' the Lord. These words correspond to an interpretation that opens up to the prospective of hope in communion with God, beyond death, in eternal life," explained the Pope.
The Holy Father concluded by emphasizing that this psalm "was assumed in the New Testament in the perspective of the resurrection of Christ," as in St. Peter's sermon on Pentecost and St. Paul's words in the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia.
, Jul 28, 2004 (CNA) - Marxist rebels of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Colombia have released Bishop Misael Vacca Ramirez of Yopal, Colombia, who was kidnapped by the group last weekend.
Bishop Javier Pizarro of Trinidad confirmed the news saying, “Bishop Vacca is in good health, a little bit tired but with no other problems.” A group of doctors has traveled to Morcote, a city 200 miles northeast of Bogota where the bishop was released, to examine his physical condition and prepare his return to Yopal.
The kidnapping of the 48 year-old bishop took place while he was traveling with two priests who, together with the mayor of Nuchia, Jose Galvis, were released earlier.