Vatican City, Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - This morning at the Vatican, the Pope received the rector and a delegation from the University of Slesia in Katowice, Poland, as well as the mayor and the bishop of the city.
"In the classical concept," the Pope told them, "a university could not exist without its theological faculty, as it would have been incomplete.”
Today this has changed. It is clear, however, that the presence of the theological sciences among other areas of study within the university creates the possibility for a worthwhile exchange of views.”
'Fides et ratio' (faith and reason)”, he continued, “are found in the quest for knowledge. They use different tools and methods, but they enrich one another in discovering the multiple dimensions of the truth."
The Holy Father expressed his hope that the University of Slesia "may enjoy the abundant fruits of this collaboration."
, Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - The Anti-Defamation League is preparing a letter that it will send to the Vatican requesting that Church plans to beatify Pope Pius XII be put on hold until scholars can review all wartime-era Vatican records, reported The Jewish Week.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the league, made the announcement after the Italian daily Corriere della Sera published a letter Dec. 28, claiming it was written by the Vatican.
The letter, dated Oct. 23, 1946, told French churches not to return Jewish children to their families if they had been baptized during the Holocaust.
The one-page, typewritten letter is unsigned and states that it received papal approval. However, it has not been attributed to the hand of Pope Pius XII.
Furthermore, several historians have come out harshly criticizing the authenticity of the letter after its publication.
“The letter adds ammunition to those who believe Pope Pius XII could have and should have done more” in protecting the Jews from the Nazis, said Foxman, who last year led the most virulent attacks against Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.”
Foxman told The Jewish Weekly that the letter demonstrates that “even after the war he (Pope Pius XII) took steps to prevent Jews from being Jewish.
“And so it sheds light on how righteous he was,” he said, criticizing the former pontiff. “It impacts on what he may or may not have done during the war, and raises our anxiety about the role he played.”
Eugene Fisher, associate director of ecumenical relations at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, reiterated to the newspaper that the authenticity of the Vatican document is questionable.
He also said archivists are currently working at cataloguing Vatican wartime records, some of which have already been released.
He added that the request to delay the beatification process of Pope Pius XII has been made before by both Jewish and Catholic groups.
Moscow, Russia, Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - Although there are none officially planned, the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II laid down what he sees as “conditions” for the Holy Father to make a future visit to Russia.
According to an Associated Press story, the Russian Patriarch stated that such a visit may only occur if the Vatican renounced its efforts to “expand Rome-affiliated churches in traditional Christian-Orthodox areas.”
The criticism revolves around Eastern-rite Catholic churches which continue to grow in traditionally Orthodox areas.
Patriarch Alexy told the Associated Press that these churches, which have grown since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, “only deepen the divisions between Orthodox and Catholics.”
Despite the tension, the Pope has been active in recent years trying to bridge the divide between the closely related faiths. He has made historic trips to many Orthodox lands throughout the 1990’s and held joint worship with the leader of the Orthodox faith, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.
Russia, however, home to the greatest number of Orthodox faithful in the world, has remained closed to the Holy Father.
The A.P. reported that the Orthodox Church is angered “by possible moves by the Vatican to give patriarchate status to Greek Catholics, an Eastern Rite church that has expanded into traditionally Orthodox eastern and southern Ukraine.”
According to the A.P., Alexy called this part of “unfriendly activities toward the Russian Orthodox Church.”
Nevertheless, in August, the Holy Father returned to Moscow the icon of Our Lady of Kazan, which he hopes will further reconciliation between the faiths.
Alexy has welcomed such acts as well as the return of the relics of two 4th century Orthodox saints in November by the Vatican as, “signs of readiness” to advance the reconciliation process.
Vatican City, Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - This morning at the Vatican, the Holy Father received the mayor of Rome and the presidents of the region of Lazio and the province of Rome, together with 250 employees of the city, region and province, for a traditional exchange of New Year greetings.
The Pope began his talk by expressing his "great pleasure for the approval of the Statute of the region of Lazio," noting that it "underlines the role that Rome has as the center of Catholicism, and explicitly recognizes the primacy of the person and the fundamental value of life.”
It also recognizes the rights of the family as a natural society founded on marriage and it proposes to support it in fulfilling its social function."
He added that the Statute "also provides for the region to guarantee the right to study and the freedom of educational choices."
Pope John Paul likewise expressed satisfaction at the protocol signed between the vicariate, the city and the region of Rome, which intends to realize new parish complexes on Rome's periphery.
The Pope then turned his attention to "problems worthy of particular attention, above all that of housing, especially for young families with modest economic resources."
He expressed the hope that joint efforts by institutions would be made to remedy the housing problem, "given the social implications that a lack of adequate housing brings with it."
He noted that "the sad phenomena of drug addiction and, more broadly, the frustration of youth, call for ... an ever vigilant commitment."
"What can we say of city traffic," he asked, "which becomes more congested and difficult every year? It is the cause of notable difficulties in the daily lives of many persons and families."
He said he hoped "the question of traffic flow and city transport can be handled in an organic way."
In closing, the Pope extended an apostolic blessing to the citizens of Rome, the province and the region.
Boston, Mass., Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - Parishioners of St. Bernard Parish in the Archdiocese of Boston called off the 24-hour vigil they held at the church since Oct. 24, after a 90-minute meeting with their archbishop, reported the Boston Globe.
Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley requested a meeting with parishioners three weeks ago and met with them Jan. 10
The West Newton church was slated for closure, and later for a merger with nearby Corpus Christi Parish, but parishioners decided to occupy the church to prevent these actions, which they believed “pitted them against the other parish,” reported the Globe.
But after their meeting with Archbishop O’Malley, parishioners are convinced that they should give the merger a go, under the supervision of Fr. James M. Mahoney. They are now discussing rehiring administrative staff, restarting religious education courses, and recalling parishioners who left for other parishes.
St. Bernard’s property is assessed at $11 million, the highest of any church in the archdiocese. It includes a private school for special needs students and a 114-year-old house that used to be home of the church's caretaker.
The archdiocese closed 51 parishes last year and is expected to close another 30 this year. Seven churches that have been officially closed remain occupied by parishioners.
, Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - The first African American elected to a statewide executive office in Ohio will be the key speaker at the breakfast meeting of the Men’s Leadership Forum speaker series next week.
The event, featuring Ohio Secretary of State J. Kennneth Blackwell, will be held Jan. 19 at the Tyson’s Corner Ritz-Carlton in Falls Church, Virginia. The breakfast starts at 7 a.m.
A committed Catholic, Blackwell has a distinguished record of achievement as an educator, diplomat and finance executive. Blackwell's public service includes terms as mayor of Cincinnati, an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
In 1994, he became the first African American elected to a statewide executive office in Ohio when he was elected Treasurer of State.
He also serves as a member of the national advisory boards of Youth for Christ.
The Men’s Leadership Forum is a program designed for professional leaders in the Washington D.C. area. It provides a venue in which to address important issues, deepen professional friendships and enhance spiritual solidarity among one’s peers.
Its goal is to offer men guidance and encouragement in the application of Christian principles to daily life. Speakers provide thought-provoking and challenging material. Topics include the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, Pope John Paul II, and Saint Josemaria Escriva.
Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - The fabric of democracy lies in religion, said U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in his presentation at St. Paul’s Seminary in Crafton this week.
The "great gift of America" is that "we are free to espouse that faith in the public square," he was quoted as saying in a report published in the Tribune-Review. The pro-life senator spoke as part of the Diocese of Pittsburgh's lecture series, "Faithful Citizenship."
"If we divorce public life from faith, freedom itself will fail," he was quoted as saying.
He told the crowd that he views his political life through the lens of his Catholic faith and he spoke of the general public’s inaccurate presumption that politicians who don't bring faith into the public forum are neutral, reported the newspaper.
Santorum was first elected in 1995 and is the third-ranking Republican in the Senate. He has established his reputation for placing traditional values at the heart of political discussions. He is often mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate.
Miami, Fla., Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - On January 15 the Archdiocese of Miami will host a forum in Ft. Lauderdale to analyze the challenges the growing Hispanic community represents and its role in the Catholic Church.
Among the priests and experts in the Hispanic market who will be participating are Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando, who received the Immigrant Freedom Medal in 2004, Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, theologian and NY Times columnist. Also participating will be Mario Paredes, Director of Hispanic Markets for Merrill-Lynch, and Jesus Carrascosa, Director of Communion and Liberation International in Rome.
The event will take place at 8pm and will include a question and answer session.
Santiago, Chile, Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - Pro-abortion and feminist groups in Chile are seizing upon the case of a nine year-old girl who became pregnant after being raped in order to demand the legalization of abortion in the country.
The girl is currently seven months pregnant and although she is just weeks away from giving birth—her child could survive a premature caesarean—seven NGO’s are demanding authorities submit her to an abortion.
The NGOs claim the girl must undergo a “therapeutic abortion” in order to “avoid the life-threatening risk she faces.” They issued a press release calling on government officials to allow the abortion to take place.
Despite warnings from specialists around the world regarding the grave physical and psychological effects of abortion, pro-abortion groups argue that taking the life of the baby will put an end to “the damage caused by the sexual abuse and by the subsequent violence which carrying the child of a rapist entails.”
Madrid, Spain, Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - The Spanish daily “La Razón” denounced the Spanish Cooperation Agency for having as one of its goals the spread of abortion in countries where it is outlawed.
According to the Agency’s plan for 2005-2008, reports La Razón, the Agency “seeks to help reduce maternal and infant mortality by supporting the ‘right to medical attention in cases of termination of unwanted pregnancies’.”
“With the promotion of a practice that is defined as a crime by numerous national legislatures, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation could be in serious conflict with diverse Latin American countries in whose territories abortion practices are expressly prohibited,” the newspaper warned.
The plan reveals that “the efforts of the Spanish Cooperation will focus on sexual education, family planning (providing information and access to contraceptives), prenatal care and the right to medical care in cases of termination of unwanted pregnancies.”
La Razón recalled that, “The Agency maintains links with abortion organizations. It is referenced in ‘sexual and reproductive health’ publications and it collaborates with the International Planned Parenthood Federation.”
“The Agency is related to the Spanish Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health, an organization which promotes abortion as part of sexual and reproductive health. Although the Agency’s support for ‘reproductive health’ is not new (the Agency set aside more than $500,000 for such purpose in 2000), what is new is its explicit plan to promote abortion during the next four years,” La Razón concluded.
Madrid, Spain, Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - Church officials in Spain said this week donations sent to tsunami victims in Southeast Asia surpassed 13 million dollars, which puts Church donations twice as high as aid promised by the Spanish socialist government.
According to the Spanish daily, “La Razón,” the Church in Spain now leads the list of institutions that have already sent economic aid to victims of the tragedy. Although the Socialist government of President Rodríguez Zapatero has promised 70 million dollars, only 6 million has been sent. The other 48 million will be treated as soft loans, which the countries will be required to repay with interest, or else purchase Spanish-made products.
In the wake of the December 26 tsunami, diverse organizations of the Church in Spain moved quickly to obtain assistance for victims. Among them was Caritas, which has currently raised more than 9 million dollars.
This figure is expected to increase when collections taken from five thousand parishes are added.
, Jan 13, 2005 (CNA) - Cox Communications Company in New England recently announced that they would add EWTN Español to their Paquete Latino lineup.
According to the Eternal Word Television Network, “Customers who subscribe to Cox' Paquete Latino will now be able to watch EWTN Español, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week on channel 318.”
President of EWTN, Michael Warsaw commented, "We are pleased that Cox subscribers in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts can now receive EWTN Español, and know that our viewers are grateful for this addition to their cable service."
Cox subscribers around New England will now have twenty-four hour a day access to family oriented programming, daily Mass, Catholic news, talk shows, music, and children’s programming all available in the Spanish language.
EWTN is the world’s largest religious media network reaching 104 million homes in 110 countries and 16 territories. Poor Claire nun, and renowned teacher Mother Angelica founded the Catholic media giant in 1981.
According to EWTN, “Beyond the broadcast vision,… first and foremost, the spiritual heart of the EWTN mission is to bring the Eternal Word of Jesus Christ to all.”