Archive of April 11, 2005

Cardinals solidify plans for conclave, announce that faithful may visit papal grave this week

Vatican City, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - Earlier today, at the end of the Seventh General Congregation of Cardinals, the Vatican released a statement saying that faithful may begin visiting Pope John Paul II’s grave on April 13th.

Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the statement to journalists today saying, that 134 cardinals are now present at the Vatican—three newly arrived who have sworn the traditional oath.

The cardinals, he said, drew lots to choose “the three new cardinal assistants who, together with the camerlengo, compose the Particular Congregation. They are: Cardinals Angelo Sodano for the Order of Bishops, Polycarp Pengo for the Order of Priests and Walter Kasper for the Order of Deacons.”

"The cardinals”, the statement continued, “recommend to the bishops and priests of the Church to use the formula of the Mass 'pro eligendo Summo Pontifice' which is found in the edizione tipica (Latin edition) of the Roman Missal.”

In this sense the cardinals renewed with insistence their exhortation to all the People of God to accompany with intense prayers these days of preparation for the Conclave so that the Holy Spirit may assist the cardinal electors.”

Navarro-Valls noted that, "Several cardinals will lead special prayers and Eucharistic celebrations in their titular churches in Rome,” and that, "The General Congregation began to examine the expenses that must be incurred during the period of the vacant see.”

They also decided that the General Congregations would, from now on, begin at 9 a.m.

"I can add”, said Navarro-Valls, “that the Vatican Grottoes will be open to the faithful starting on Wednesday April 13, at 7 a.m.”

"Journalists interested in visiting the grave of the deceased Supreme Pontiff John Paul II must be at the Arch of the Bells entrance tomorrow, Tuesday, April 12, at 3 p.m.

The statement concluded saying that, "The cardinals, after the celebration of the Cappella Papale tomorrow, will go down to the Vatican Grottoes for a moment of prayer before the grave of John Paul II."

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Pope John Paul II was preparing encyclical on charity and globalization

Vatican City, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - In the months before his death, Pope John Paul II had been preparing an encyclical on charity as a response to the phenomenon of globalization, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, told CNA.

The Argentinean archbishop, who was commissioned by the Pope to consolidate a specific branch of the Pontifical Academy dealing with social sciences, told CNA that the subject of globalization was a social issue of particular concern to the late Pontiff.

“The Holy Father considered globalization to be an irreversible fact, and he was moderately optimistic about its reach,” the prelate said.

Nevertheless, he pointed out that John Paul II was deeply concerned about the inequalities that are liable to occur if human liberty is not used correctly to fix the gap between rich and poor and to attain similar levels of development, wellbeing and justice in the world.

“The Pope was working on this in an encyclical on charity, as was reported at one time,” Archbishop Sanchez Sorondo said.  “He was convinced that Christian charity, in its fullest expression, was the answer to the possible voids left by globalization,” he added.

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Prayers of John Paul II led to cure, says Cardinal Marchisano

Vatican City, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - Thousands of letters have been pouring into the Vatican this week claiming miraculous cures attributed to the intercession of the late Pope John Paul II. However, one the most eloquent testimonies came not through the mail but was shared live from St. Peter’s Basilica.

During the second of the nine Masses offered for the repose of Pope Wojtyla at the Vatican Basilica on Saturday, April 9, at 5pm local time, the celebrant, Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, the archpriest of St. Peter’s, said he was cured through the Pope’s prayers five years ago.

“I underwent an operation for my carotid arteries and because of a mistake by the doctors my right vocal chord was left paralyzed, leaving me almost completely unable to vocalize.  The Pope caressed the place on my throat where I had been operated, telling me he would pray for me.  After some time I began to speak normally again,” Cardinal Marchisano said.

Thousands of accounts of such reported miracles attributed to John Paul II are being received at the Vatican.  Most are about healings from diseases, tumors and numerous conversion stories.  Many of the letters begin with the words, “Thank you, Your Holiness, for the miracle you have granted me.”

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Cardinal Ruini: Pope was a ‘brother and father to everyone’

Vatican City, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - In the continuing historic process of laying to rest and electing a new pope, the Church celebrated yesterday the third Mass of the "novendiali" (nine days of mourning) for John Paul II, who died on April 2nd.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, presided at the Mass which was concelebrated by cardinals, bishops and priests from around the world.

Cardinal Ruini specifically addressed faithful of the Church of Rome who filled the basilica, asking how John Paul II had managed to be "so close to us and enter so deeply into the hearts of Romans, as well as of Italians and of so many citizens of the world.”

“The true reply”, he said, “is simple and full of meaning: he was and still is a brother and father to everyone, because he was a man of God, because he lived constantly in God's presence, intimately united to Him and trusting utterly in His infinite mercy."

The cardinal continued, saying, "this extraordinary closeness to God in no way distanced him from us. ... On the contrary, John Paul II was a true man, one who fully savored and appreciated the flavor of life: from the beauty of art, of poetry and of nature, to the vigor of sport, and to the courage of the most difficult decisions."

He recalled John Paul’s visits to 301 of Rome's 333 parishes, the annual Mass for university students the pope celebrated each year, and the meeting with young people prior to Palm Sunday.

Cardinal Ruini also noted the Holy Father’s pastoral initiatives such as the diocesan synod (1986) and the Citizens' Mission (1995), which was part of the preparations for the Jubilee Year 2000.

“This is the Church that he wanted, and today continues to ask us to be and to live: not a Church closed in on itself, not timid, not disheartened; a Church that burns with the love of Christ, for the salvation of all men and women."

The cardinal told the crowd that the only way truly to remain with the Pope, "not just in an emotive or superficial way, is to remain - each of us individually, and the whole of the Church of Rome together - in the love of the Lord, the love that nourishes itself with faith and with daily obedience to His will, especially to His commandment: love one another as I have loved you."

He emphasized that "John Paul II, in his suffering and his death, just as in his life, was a witness and an extraordinarily effective proclaimer of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, like the Apostles Peter and Paul whose great Christian and human legacy he assumed"

"As we renew our gratitude to God for this Pope who for 26 years broke the Eucharistic bread with us and for us,” the cardinal concluded, “we also thank, from the bottom of our hearts, the sister Church of Krakow and the entire beloved Polish nation in which Karol Woytjla received life, faith and his admirable Christian and human richness, which he then donated to Rome and the entire world."

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Cardinal Errazuriz: the city is a place to evangelize

Rome, Italy, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - During the celebration of Holy Mass at his titular church in Rome, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, Archbishop of Santiago, Chile, recalled that the role of Christians is that of evangelizing in cities.

Meditating upon the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Easter, which recounts the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Cardinal Errazuriz said that “just as the disciples of Emmaus, after encountering the Lord, returned to the city of Jerusalem to announce the Good News, so also Christians today return to the city, not with fear, nor as a place of death, but rather with the desire to proclaim the Gospel.”

At the Church of St. Mary of Peace in Rome, which was packed with a large number of Chileans who live in Rome, Cardinal Errazuriz noted that, “Christians are not prophets of gloom, but rather the ferment of peace and hope amidst a city that is in need of visible signs.”

“We return to be nourished by Jesus, by the Christian community, and to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel in the midst of the city, without fear, and filled with the hope that the encounter with the Risen One gives us,” he concluded.

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Central station, square to be named after Pope John Paul

Rome, Italy, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - Rome’s renowned central train station, Termini, will be renamed in honor of Pope John Paul II, who died April 2 at the age of 84. The announcement was made by the city’s mayor, Walter Veltroni, after the Pope’s funeral last week.  

The area on the edge of Rome, called Tor Vergata, will also be named after the third-longest reigning pontiff, the mayor announced. The late pontiff had welcomed two million young people there for World Youth Day 2000.

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Schiavo’s death surfaces euthanasia debate in Austria, Germany

, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - Since the death of 41-year-old Florida woman Terri Schiavo March 31, debates on the ethics of euthanasia have come to the foreground in Austria and Germany, says a recent report by the Associated Press.

In countries still struggling with the horrors of Hitler’s Nazi regime, where 75,000 people with disabilities or otherwise deemed unfit were used for brutal medical experiments and killed, the Schiavo case made news headlines for days. Survivors of these Nazi experiments say no one has the right to play God.

Neither country is considering euthanasia laws, but both are debating living wills.

Germany’s Social Democrats want to strengthen the rights of patients with living wills. But  a parliamentary commission wants to limit them and allow families and doctors to overrule them in some cases.

In predominantly Catholic Austria, euthanasia is illegal. However, the treatment a suffering person receives is often left to the doctors and is rarely discussed openly, Peter Kampits, dean of the philosophy and education department at the University of Vienna, told the AP.

With the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, the experiments on children are being remembered in two exhibits in Vienna. A special ceremony will also mark the day three years ago that Vienna's government finally buried the brains of the 5,000 children killed by the Nazis at Spiegelgrund. The organs had been preserved during the war for medical research.

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John Paul II could become saint soon, says archbishop

Vatican City, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II could be named a saint as early as October.

Archbishop Edward Nowak, the secretary for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that six months could be enough time to attribute two miracles to John Paul II, a requirement for canonization.

Despite reports of miracles carried out by John Paul II during his lifetime, only those occurring after his death would count toward his sainthood.

The Polish-born archbishop said the next Pope could choose to bypass the usual lengthy procedure, which dictates that the process for beatification begin only five years after a person’s death.

Pope John Paul II, for example, waived the five-year rule for Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose canonization process began only a year and a half after her death.

"The synod of bishops is meeting in Rome in October and it could be an appropriate opportunity to make such a decision," Archbishop Nowak was quoted as saying.

Since the Pope’s death April 2, there has been great enthusiasm among the faithful for his speedy canonization.

However, reports indicate that the Vatican is trying to curb this enthusiasm and follow appropriate procedures.

During John Paul’s funeral mass, April 8, the crowd of faithful broke out into the chant "santo, santo", while others held up large banners that read "Santo subito" (sainthood now).

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Cubans honor John Paul II with photo exhibit

Havana, Cuba, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - Following the funeral mass of Pope John Paul II April 8, Cubans inaugurated their first-ever photo exhibit of the late pontiff at the Jose Marti Memorial in Havana's Revolution Square.

The 56-photo exhibit, which includes photos of President Fidel Castro’s official visit with Pope John Paul at the Vatican in 1996 and the Pope’s visit to Cuba two years later, will run until April 22.  It also features coins and medals commemorating John Paul’s 26-year pontificate.

According to Periodico 26, the exhibition was inaugurated by the director of the Jose Marti Program, Armando Hart Davalos, in the presence of Culture Minister Abel Prieto, other Communist Party officials and the papal nuncio in Cuba, Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi.

Havana historian Eusebio Leal stressed that Pope John Paul II was a sincere friend of Cuba, reported Periodico 26. He said the late pontiff’s legacy will transcend the ages. 

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Denver Archbishop, Michigan couple to be honored for pro-life work

Washington D.C., Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - The National Right to Life Educational Trust recently announced that the group plans to honor Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, and Michigan couple, Richard and Helen DeVos at its ‘Proudly Pro-Life’ awards dinner in the nation’s capital on April 20th.

Archbishop Chaput, the group said, “is one of the leading clerical voices in defense of unborn children in the United States. His unflinching advocacy for the unborn has inspired many others among the clergy and laity to also speak out for Life.”

Likewise, the National Right to Life (NTRL) called the Honorable Richard DeVos, and his wife, Helen, “a force behind pro-life gains in America in recent years… both individually and through The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.”

The DeVos’, the group stated, “have generously supported hospitals, colleges, and Christian and pro-life causes,” and “have made unborn children a major focus of their philanthropy.”

Our movement and our nation are stronger, and many more children are alive today, because of their deep dedication and generosity to the cause of Life.”

The NRTL also praised Archbishop Chaput, saying that, “The Church’s call to a reverence for human life is a vital part of Archbishop Chaput’s work.”

They cited an article in the New York Times last year in which the Archbishop wrote that, “We see abortion as a matter of civil rights and human dignity, not simply as a matter of religious teaching. We are doubly unfaithful – both to our religious convictions and to our democratic responsibilities – if we fail to support the right to life of the unborn child . . . The ‘choice’ in abortion always involves the choice to end the life of an unborn human being.”

In the past the ‘Proudly Pro-Life’ awards have honored Focus on the Family's James Dobson; Robert Casey, the late governor of Pennsylvania; actor-lawyer Ben Stein; and actress Jennifer O'Neill.

The first award, given 12 years ago, was presented to the late Cardinal John O’Connor, Archbishop of New York.

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Anglican Church losing credibility, says Anglican archbishop

London, England, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - It is increasingly difficult for the world to take the Anglican Church seriously due to the continuous disputes taking place within the worldwide Communion, said Anglican Archbishop Barry Morgan last week.

A report published in Christian Today says the archbishop of Wales questioned how the Anglican Church could convincingly call on the world to show compassion, peace and justice when its members are unable to hold a civilized debate among themselves.

He called on members of the Communion to have a “reasoned, balanced discourse” on issues of disagreement at the June meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

The archbishop also referred to the issue of homosexuality and expressed his more liberal leanings on the issue. 

The general secretary of The Church Society, Rev. David Phillips, disagreed with the archbishop’s views on the homosexuality issue.

“Christians have accepted the teaching of the Bible for 2,000 years, but the archbishop seems to be saying you have to make things up as you go along,” Rev. Phillips was quoted as saying. “The Church of Wales lost four out of 10 members in two decades, which is the sharpest decline in the Anglican Church on these islands.

"If he thinks he's right can he show us any church which is growing by giving this message?” he challenged “Those that are growing are those that are not giving compromising messages."

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Cardinal Ouellet returns to diocese to ordain bishops

Quebec City, Canada, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - While most of the world’s cardinals were in Rome this past weekend preparing for the conclave next week, Marc Cardinal Ouellet returned to Canada.

The youngest of three Canadian cardinals eligible to vote for the next Pope received special authorization from the College of Cardinals to return to his diocese and ordain two bishops. The ordinations had been planned for several months.

Cardinal Ouellet arrived in the Archdiocese of Quebec Saturday. He ordained Frs. Pierre-
André Fournier and Gilles Lemay to the episcopate at the basilica of St. Anne de Beaupré Shrine Sunday afternoon.

Though ill and hospitalized in February, Pope John Paul II had appointed the two priests to serve as the cardinal’s auxiliary bishops.

The 60-year-old cardinal, who was placed on a top-20 list of “papabili” by Vatican journalist and analyst John Allen, returned to Rome Monday morning.

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Complaints filed with human rights commission against Catholic bishop

Calgary, Canada, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - A Canadian Catholic bishop may face a human rights tribunal within the next year due to a pastoral letter he issued to parishioners in January against homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Two private Canadian citizens said they were offended by and concerned about the pastoral letter, lodging separate complaints against Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

"Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to ... curtail them in the interests of the common good," Bishop Henry wrote.

In the complaints that they filed, Norman Greenfield and Carol Johnson said the bishop attacked homosexuals with his comments. Gay-rights advocates have called the bishop’s remarks “hateful and harmful.”

At a news conference March 30, Bishop Henry refused to retract the statements he made in his pastoral letter and said his rights to freedom of religion and free speech have been violated.

"Those that support same-sex marriage want to shut the churches out of this important debate," the bishop said.

"Those who favor same-sex marriage have been given a full opportunity to state their views on the issue,” he said. “But now they are saying anyone who speaks out against same-sex marriage is discriminating against homosexuals."

Numerous pro-family groups, such as the Catholic Civil Rights League in Toronto and Focus on the Family in Langley, B.C., have expressed their support for Bishop Henry.

"If anyone is successful in bringing charges against Bishop Henry … it shows that religious freedom protections that the government talks about really aren't there," Focus on the Family’s Derek Rogusky told the Canadian Press.

The first step of the human rights investigation will be to attempt a conciliation between the complainants and Bishop Henry, but the bishop is doubtful such a process would be fruitful, reported the Calgary Herald.

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Catholic Civil Rights League supports bishop facing human rights complaint

Toronto, Canada, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - The human rights complaints filed against Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary strike “at the core of freedom of speech and freedom of religion guaranteed to all Canadians,” said Catholic Civil Rights League president Phil Horgan.

Two citizens lodged complaints against the bishop after he published a pastoral letter against same-sex marriage.

“Bishop Henry's remarks were completely consistent with a Church leader fulfilling his teaching function,” said Horgan. “Homosexual practices, adultery, prostitution, and pornography are all sinful acts in the teachings of the Church.

“It has always been recognized that with all serious sins, the state has a responsibility in exercising its authority to promote the common good whether through the Criminal Code, tax policy, education standards or the other broad areas of its jurisdiction,” the president of the Toronto-based group continued. “Bishop Henry raises legitimate questions of what impact current policies will have on the understanding of the family.

Horgan noted that Bishop Henry has himself “been the subject of the state's coercive power.” Last year, a Canada Customs and Revenue Agency official threatened to challenge the charitable status of the diocese after the bishop publicly stated that Prime Minister Paul Martin’s actions are incoherent with the Catholic faith he claims to follow.

Horgan also pointed out the numerous attacks against the Catholic Church and individual Church leaders in the publications and Web sites of many Canadian gay-advocacy groups. These publications, says Horgan, have characterized Church leaders as bigots and have described Catholicism as a "vile religion" which should be "purged."

“The Church has for millenia been the subject of attack, and it will no doubt continue,” said Horgan, adding that he hopes the Alberta Human Rights Commission “will not allow itself to be exploited by opponents of the Church to trample on religious freedoms.

“It's time all persons attempting to debate this important social question learn to respect freedoms of conscience, religion and speech,” he said.

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Cardinal Law recalls Pope’s link with Roman basilicas

Vatican City, Apr 11, 2005 (CNA) - During the third Mass of the “Novendiale” for the repose of the soul of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Bernard Law, Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, recalled the late Pontiff’s ties with the four patriarchal basilicas.

In a brief homily during the Mass celebrated at St. Peter’s Basilica, which was attended by thousands of faithful, Cardinal Law recalled the Pope’s link with St. Peter’s, “where he now rests with the first Apostle of Christianity” and with St. Paul Outside the Walls, “which takes its name from him who brought the word of Christ to all peoples.”

“Pope John Paul II did the same throughout his pontificate,” recalled the American cardinal.  He also mentioned the Pope’s link with St. John Lateran, the Pope’s own cathedral as Bishop of Rome, and his link with St. Mary Major because of his profound Marian devotion.

A lone protest staged by Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) against Law, former Archbishop of Boston, went unnoticed by the faithful. Italian policemen peacefully escorted Blaine off St. Peter's Square as she was preparing to distribute fliers.

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