St. Louis, Mo., Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - Catholics must vote in accordance with the moral teachings of the Church, said Archbishop Raymond Burke in a pastoral letter published last week in the archdiocesan newspaper, the St. Louis Review.
In his letter, Archbishop Burke outlined Church teaching on one’s civic responsibility to choose government leaders “who will best serve the common good."
In "On Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good," he affirmed his earlier statements about the sinfulness of a Catholic, voting for a politician who advocates abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, cloning and same-sex marriage.
"These elements are so fundamental to the common good that they cannot be subordinated to any other cause, no matter how good," the archbishop wrote.
"There is no element of the common good, no morally good practice, that a candidate may promote and to which a voter may be dedicated, which could justify voting for a candidate who also endorses and supports the deliberate killing of the innocent,” he continued.
Archbishop Burke said he recognizes that often no candidate upholds the moral law in its entirety. In that case, he said, Church teaching says the Catholic voter must choose the candidate who would most limit "the evil of abortion or other intrinsically evil practices."
While voters may be discouraged by the quality of the candidates running in an election, a Catholic has an obligation to vote in order to safeguard the welfare of the community.
A Catholic who does not vote "fails to fulfill his or her moral duty, at least, in the limitation of a grave evil in society," he wrote.
Someone who disregards the teaching of the Church in voting commits a "grave sin" and the matter cannot be taken lightly if the person wants to continue receiving Communion, the archbishop added in an interview with the St. Louis Review Sept. 26.
He said he has heard people say that one can vote for one’s preferred candidate and then go to confession.
“That’s not the case,” he told the newspaper. “We confess sin with sincere repentance. It’s a question of having a change of heart.”
Archbishop Burke told the St. Louis Review that he did not write the letter to try to influence the upcoming vote. “What I’m presenting here is Catholic moral teaching. People should use this to make up their minds, but I’m not telling them for whom to vote."
Read Archbishop Burke's full letter at:
Vatican City, Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - Speaking at an award ceremony on Saturday where KTO French Catholic television and the French political magazine "Politique International" ("International Politics"), awarded him the "Prize for Political Courage," Pope John Paul II appealed for peace and for the release of hostages in Iraq.
The Pope said that the award “demonstrates the attention to the peace mission of the Church in the world where conflicts are unfortunately too numerous. I would like to appeal once again for peace, for the building of a fraternal society among peoples.”
"My thoughts," added the Holy Father, "go to the journalists who, through their witness and their publications, are the artisans of peace and freedom and who pay a very heavy price in conflicts.”
“I am also thinking of the hostages and their families, innocent victims of violence and hatred, and I invite all people of good will to respect the lives of people. No demand can end up with bargaining for human lives. The path of violence is a dead end," he said.
KTO television was founded by Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, who was present at the ceremony. The representatives of both KTO and Politique International paid homage to the Holy Father for his tireless fight for justice and peaces in the world, and for proclaiming the Gospel without fear. They thanked him "for his political courage in showing ... there is no limit to what the will can accomplish," especially against aggressors and oppressors.
Vatican City, Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - On Sunday in St. Peter's Square, in a ceremony attended by 30,000 pilgrims including dozens of members from the royal families of Europe, who appeared in their traditional colorful garments, Pope John Paul II beatified Servants of God Pierre Vigne (1670-1740), Joseph-Marie Cassant (1878-1903), Anna Katharina Emmerick (1774-1824), Maria Ludovica De Angelis (1880-1962) and Emperor Charles of Austria (1887-1922).
The Pope said that the new blesseds "allowed themselves to be guided by the Word of God as by a luminous and sure light, which never failed to illuminate their path."
The Holy Father emphasized that every day Emperor and King Charles of Austria - in whose honor Europe’s royalty had flown to Rome - faced the challenge of Christians "to seek out the will of God in everything, to know it and to put it into action.”
“He was a friend of peace,” said the Holy Father. “In his eyes, war was 'something horrible.' When he ascended to the throne in the middle of the fury of World War I, he tried to take up the peace initiative of my predecessor Benedict XV. ... In his political conduct, his priority was to follow the call to sanctity of Christians. Therefore, he considered the idea of social love important,” he continued.
“May he always be a model for us all, in particular for those today who have a political responsibility in Europe!" said the Pope.
The Pope said of Fr. Vigne, founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, that "by contemplating Christ present in the Eucharist and in His salvific passion, he was led to be an authentic disciple and faithful missionary of the Church.”
“May his example give the faithful the desire to draw courage for the mission from the love of the Eucharist and adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament! Let us ask him to touch the hearts of young people so that they may accept consecrating themselves to Him in priesthood or religious life if they are called by God,” said the Pope.
"Brother Joseph-Marie Cassant, priest and Trappist monk, always put his trust in God, in contemplation of the mystery of the passion, and in union with Christ present in the Eucharist,” said the Holy Father.
“In the midst of tribulation, with his eyes fixed on Christ, he offered his suffering for Our Lord and the Church. May our contemporaries, in particular the contemplatives and the sick, discover, following his example, the mystery of prayer, which raises the world to God and gives strength in trials!"
John Paul II highlighted "maternal heart…leadership qualities and the audacity that belongs to saints,” of Blessed Maria Ludovica De Angelis, virgin, of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Our Lady of Mercy in Savona, Italy.
“She had a specific and generous love with sick children,” he said, “facing sacrifices to give them relief; with her colleagues in the Hospital de la Plata she was a model of joy and responsibility, creating a family atmosphere; for her sisters in the community, she was an authentic example. ... In everything, she was sustained by prayer, making her life a continuous dialogue with Our Lord."
He said that Blessed Anna Katharina Emmerick of the Order of Regular Canonesses of St. Augustin (whose diary was the inspiration for Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ), "demonstrated and experienced in her own flesh 'the bitter passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.'”
“Her material poverty is contrasted by her rich interior life,” the Pope said. “In addition to her patience in bearing her physical weaknesses, the strength of character of the new blessed and her firmness in faith impress us. Her example opened the hearts of poor and rich men, educated and humble people, to complete loving passion toward Jesus Christ."
At the end of Mass The Holy Father encouraged all the faithful, in this, the month of the Rosary, “to pray this beautiful prayer, imitating the new blesseds."
Rome, Italy, Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - The Legionaries of Chirst, a congregation of priests founded in Mexico in 1941, have given birth to the European University of Rome, a private, Catholic, civilly recognized institution which will maintain a particular focus on the philosophy, history, and legal thought of Europe’s past, present, and future.
During the press conference introducing the new university, Fr. Paolo Scarofoni, L.C., president of Rome's Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Atheneum – also a university founded by the Legionaries of Christ – said that "the name of The European University of Rome highlights the relationship between the past which remains as heritage and the future which is still to be built."
"In referring to 'Rome' we find the best of classical Greco-Roman humanism, elevated by Christianity, which itself incorporated the best of many different cultures, both eastern and western. Modern Europe, sometimes overshadowed by fears of a cultural decadence, can be enlightened and morally strengthened by these two rich sources," said Fr. Scarofoni.
Classes at the university will begin in mid-October 2005, with four graduate-level programs in Philosophy, History, Psychology and Law.
The philosophy program at The European University of Rome will emphasize the history of philosophy and thought, while pursuing direct contact with reality in search of metaphysical and ethical truth.
The history department will transcend a mere dialectical and ideological vision by accentuating the study of historical facts, through recourse to original documents and testimonies.
The foundations of a given judicial system lie in the collective values of the nation within which it arises. The Law department will focus on a study of these foundations, a theme which is of particular relevancy in this period of change and development in European and international law.
Special importance will be given to the concept of the 'human person,' which lies at the heart of western culture. The department of Psychology aims at providing the bases for an integral vision of man in the light of human behavior and its motivations and causes.
The Legionaries of Christ have congregations in 25 countries throughout Europe and the Americas and direct 12 universities and 150 schools.
For more information, write to Carlo Climati at [email protected]
Vatican City, Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - This morning Pope John Paul II received pilgrims who participated yesterday in the beatification of the Servants of God Pierre Vigne, Joseph-Marie Cassant, Anna Katharina Emmerick, Maria Ludovica De Angelis and Charles of Austria, and spoke about the spirituality and message that the new blesseds leave us.
Pierre Vigne and Joseph-Marie Cassant "contemplated the mystery of the Eucharist in the silence of prayer," said the Holy Father. May their example and intercession "help Christian communities today to put the Eucharist, font and summit of the life of the Church, at the center of their life. May it stimulate the missionary impulse which the world needs in order to listen to the Good News!"
He said that the life of Mother Ludovica de Angelis, who worked for many years in a children's hospital in La Plata, Argentina, "was consecrated to the glory of God and to the service of her brothers and sisters. Her life was a continuous path toward sanctity, and now she is an intercessor and witness to charity for us."
The Pope then turned his thoughts to Blessed Anna Katharina Emmerick: "In intimate union with Our Lord Who suffers, the 'mystic from Muenster' fulfilled the word of the Apostles, love for Christ and the Church, in order to complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions," as Paul wrote to the Colossians.
The Pope concluded by recalling that Charles of Austria "always wanted to carry out the will of God. Faith was the foundation of his responsibility as king and as a father. "May we follow his example and also trust in God in our life!"
Washington D.C., Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - In a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, the U.S. bishops said the U.S. government can do more to help end the genocide and humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.
“While we applaud your budget request for Sudan, we recognize that it was submitted to Congress nearly nine months ago, and the situation in the region has changed dramatically since that time,” said the bishops.
The letter was signed by Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ, of Pensacola-Tallahassee, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Policy, and Ken Hackett, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services.
“As the humanitarian situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate, we respectfully suggest that there are additional steps the administration could take to help to bring an end to the violence and promote conditions for a peaceful resolution of this conflict,” they said.
The bishops urged the Bush administration to support the $225 million in emergency funding, which the Senate had approved, and to earmark additional funding to help victims in Darfur.
, Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - Local Catholics are calling it a miracle and claiming that God has sent them a message through a fibreglass statue of Christ that washed up on the shores of the Rio Grande.
Officers discovered the life-sized statue of the crucified Christ, minus its cross, stuck on a sandbar in the river, which divides Mexico from the United States.
Officers from the US Border Patrol recovered the statue and passed it on to the local police of Eagle Pass, Texas. The officers have placed it in the evidence room at their station and are waiting for someone to come and claim it.
But instead of hearing from the statue's owner, the police have been receiving calls and visits from dozens of local Catholics. People have even been visiting the police station to pray in front of the statue and claiming that it has sent a message from God.
"He's telling us he's alive and he is here with us," Veronica de la Pena, 32, told the San Antonio Express-News newspaper. "He's trying to tell us that there is hope."
Word of the statue has quickly spread among the Catholic community on both sides of the border. On the opposite side of the Rio Grande, the Mexican newspapers of Piedras Negras are calling the statue "Christ of the Undocumented", in reference to the scores of illegal immigrants who cross the river every year.
According to regulations, the police must keep the statue for 90 days. If no one comes forward to claim missing property, it is sold by the city council. In this case, the authorities have said they will donate it to the community. Two local churches, Our Lady of Refuge and Saint Joseph's, have already asked to keep the statue once the 90 days have passed.
, Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - Classes began nearly one month ago, but Catholic Rush Week is just getting under way at Oregon State University’s Newman Center this week.
A number of activities have been planned to help students get to know the staff and services offered there, starting today with an open house featuring banana splits and tours of the center led by peer ministers.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to the weekly Newman Bible study, starting tomorrow, led by Deacon Chris Anderson.
A weekly mass on Wednesday will begin at 12:10 p.m. in the Newman Center's Chapel, and a simple supper is offered at 6 p.m. Students sign up to cook and guests donate $2 for their meal.
Thursday, staff will break into the "Stupid Catholic Questions" box and invite students to participate in a night of discussion and catechesis.
A free barbecue will be served Friday. The week will conclude with Sunday mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church, during which Fr. John Henderson will ask a special blessing on the campus ministry for the new school year.
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is joining Lutheran, Muslim and Protestant leaders in calling for citizens to cast their vote this fall for candidates that defend moral values and the family.
As elections for governor of the island approaches, religious leaders stated that “no citizen can remain indifferent to the serious decisions that could affect the future of our society.”
The statement calls on voters to recognize the spirit of solidarity, transparency, disinterested service, compassion and respect for the candidates.
“The key is to understand that our people have the capacity to think and make decisions. If some religious leader decides to defend a specific candidate that is his judgment, but that is not the judgment of the Church,” said Bishop Ruben Gonzalez of Caguas.
Rome, Italy, Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - Monsignor Gennaro Verolino, an elderly Italian priest, received the “Per Anger” award last Saturday. Established by the Swedish government, the award was given to Msgr. Verolino for his efforts to save Jews from the Nazis during World War II.
At the time, Msgr. Verolino was 38 years old and worked at the Apostolic Nunciature in Hungary, and in 1944 he helped save almost 25,000 Jews, providing shelter and diplomatic documents in Budapest, which was occupied by the Nazis.
Swedish Premier Goran Persson, visiting Rome last week, gave Msgr. Verolino the first “Per Anger Award,” a recognition instituted by the Stockholm government in memory of one its most famous diplomats. It is given to those outstanding for their humanitarian work and defense of democracy.
Washington D.C., Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - A new book promises to help U.S. Catholics understand the key issues of the next presidential election and make an informed choice at the voting booth Nov. 2.
“The Five Issues That Matter Most: Catholics and the Upcoming Election” quotes from official Church sources and explains “in no uncertain terms why some issues are more important than others, and why Catholics have a duty to respond to the call to stand up for life and confront the culture of death corrupting our society,” says a press release.
It was published by Catholic Outreach, the same publishers of “A Guide to the Passion: 100 Questions about The Passion of the Christ.”
Catholic Outreach employs the same easy-to-read question-and-answer format of its last book in tackling the five key questions for this election campaign.
Building on “Voters Guide for Serious Catholics,” which was published by Catholic Answers earlier this year, the new 96-page book addresses the issues of abortion, same-sex marriage, human cloning, euthanasia and embryonic stem-cell research.
It also seeks to answer questions such as: Why should life issues alone determine for whom we vote? Why should one's religious beliefs impact his or her voting decisions?
“The Five Issues That Matter Most” was authored by six leading Catholic commentators, including Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life; Fr. Tom Euteneuer of Human Life International; Mark Brumley of Ignatius Press; Kim Marshall of Generation Life; Fr. Tad Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center; and Matthew Pinto of Ascension Press.
The publishers encourage the use of these books in parishes, faith-based study groups and with family and friends.
“The Five Issues That Matter Most” can be ordered at: http://www.catholicoutreach.com/shop/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=2
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - A state representative from Buenos Aires has sponsored a measure before the local parliament that calls for the creation of “sexual education workshops for parents,” enabling them to more effectively assume the moral and human formation of their children.
The bill, sponsored by State representative Jorge Enríquez, represents an innovative alternative to the efforts by various local officials to “standardize” sex-ed programs in the Buenos Aires region through school programs that promote contraception, ignore chastity, and in some cases encourage homosexual relationships.
Enriquez explained that one such program teaches that “sexuality changes according to age and person,” thus covertly promoting homosexuality.
“We know well that the problem of homosexuality, for example, has its origin in psychological and not genetic problems. Therefore it is so important that boys and girls recognize themselves for who they are from a very young age, as persons with a naturally defined sexuality,” he said.
His proposal seeks “to help parents understand and cooperate with their child or teenager in his or her emotional maturation and formation of their own sexual integrity, thus fostering proper behavior in their social relationships.”
Enriquez acknowledged that adolescent sexual education is a difficult task and that “the disappearance of role models from most of society, whether in developed countries or in developing countries, has left children without positive influences, and at the same time parents have discovered they are unprepared to give them adequate answers.”
According to Enriquez, the sex-ed programs that tend to be used in many schools have become a substitute for “the family and in general are merely information-based. Sometimes a true deformation of consciences is even the result. Parents themselves, because of the difficulties from their own lack of preparedness, have in many cases renounced their duty in this area or have simply delegated it to others.”
“Parents are the ones responsible for the physical and psychological health of their children and teenagers and for exercising their parental power, giving particular attention to the education of the will, the feelings and the emotions, and not limiting themselves solely to informing the intellect. They are attentive to the reactions they observe in their children, their state of health, and the influence of family and friends,” Enriquez argued.
His bill proposes “Sexual Education Workshops for parents, tutors and others responsible for the care of children and teenagers,” which will provide information to adults and encourage them to cooperate with their children as they learn to emotionally mature and which will strengthen the collaboration between schools and families.
The voluntary workshops would be led by health care officials and teachers and would take place at both public and private schools as extracurricular programs.
Konigstein, Germany, Oct 4, 2004 (CNA) - Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has announced it will send emergency assistance to the Diocese of Les Gonaives, located in the region of Haiti hardest hit by Hurricane Jeanne.
ACN announded it received distressing news from the Apostolic Nuncio in Haiti, Archbshiop Mario Giordana, who said that in the Diocese of Les Gonaives the chancery is flooded with more than five feet of water and that Bishop Yves Marie Pean “was barely able to save the Blessed Sacrament and a statue of the Blessed Mother.”
According to ACN, “although this tropical storm was not as powerful as the hurricanes that preceeded it, it took many lives. In Haiti more than 1,000 people died and another 1,000 are still missing after mudslides and flashfloods ravaged the area last weekend.”
“This disaster has dealt another blow to the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, as more than 1,000 people died in May from the terrible floodings in the east, and in February President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was deposed, leading to political caos and armed rebellion and looting,” said ACN.