Archive of April 18, 2005

Black smoke signals no pope chosen in first vote

Vatican City, Apr 18, 2005 (CNA) - It was 20:05 in Rome when black smoke rose from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel. Black smoke indicates that though there was a  first vote, none of the cardinals reached the two-thirds majority needed to elect a new Pope.

About 40 thousand people packed St. Peter´s Square to stare the smoke following the first vote. A second voting session will take place tomorrow morning, and a new smoke is expected at noon time.

The Smoke results of  the incineration of the ballots used by the 115 cardinal electors.

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Cardinal Ratzinger prays for ‘a pastor to lead us to knowledge of Christ, to His love, to true joy’

Vatican City, Apr 18, 2005 (CNA) - Just hours before cardinals from around the world made their solemn procession to the Sistine Chapel to begin the conclave, which will elect a new pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger warned cardinals not to be 'tossed with every wind of doctrine.'

He noted this morning in a Mass of preparation for the conclave that this trend “appears as the only attitude appropriate to modern times.”

The Mass, called the "pro eligendo Summo Pontifice," was celebrated in the presence of the 115 cardinal electors, cardinal non-electors, bishops, priests, male and female religious, and lay people present in Rome.
In his homily, Cardinal Ratzinger commented on the first reading from the prophet Isaiah, which says that the Messiah was sent to, "proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God."

The cardinal noted that, "we are called to promulgate - not only with words but with life and with the effective signs of the Sacraments - the year of the Lord's favor."

With reference to "the day of vengeance of our God," Cardinal Ratzinger said that, "the Lord offered an authentic commentary on these words with His death on the Cross."
"The mercy of Christ," he continued, "is not cut-rate grace, it does not presuppose that evil is something banal. Jesus bears all the weight of evil, all its destructive force, in His body and upon His soul. ... The day of vengeance and the year of the Lord's favor come together in the Paschal mystery, in Christ Who died and rose again.”

“This is the vengeance of God,” he said, that “He Himself, in the person of His Son, suffers for us."
The second reading, taken from the Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul discusses "the measure of the fullness of Christ" to which "we are called in order to truly become adults in the faith. We must not remain children in the faith, without coming of age.”

“What does it mean to be children in faith?” the cardinal asked. “St. Paul says that it means being 'tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine.' A very pertinent description!"
"How many winds of doctrine”, he said, “have we known over the last few decades! How many ideological currents! How many schools of thought! The little ship bearing the thoughts of many Christians has frequently been shaken by these waves, thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertarianism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so on.”

“Every day”, Cardinal Ratzinger said, “new sects arise, and St. Paul's words concerning the deception of men and the cunning that leads into error come true.”

He said that, “Having a clear faith, according to the Creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism, in other words allowing oneself to be 'tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine,' appears as the only attitude appropriate to modern times, a dictatorship of relativism is being formed, one that recognizes nothing as definitive and that has as its measure only the self and its desires.”
"We,” the cardinal reassured, “do have another measure: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. An 'adult' faith does not follow the waves of fashion and the latest novelties; an adult and mature faith is profoundly rooted in friendship with Christ.”

“We must bring this adult faith”, he said, “to maturity, to this faith we must lead Christ's flock. And it is this faith - faith alone - that creates unity and is realized in charity. ... In the measure in which we approach Christ, so truth and charity come together in our lives too."
Cardinal Ratzinger also noted the Gospel of St John, in which the Lord says: "No longer do I call you servants, ... but I have called you friends."

Christ, he said, "grants us His trust" and "entrusts His body, the Church, to us. He entrusts His truth to our weak minds and our weak hands. ... He has made us His friends. How do we respond?"
He called to mind Jesus’ words, which say, "I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide."

"We must feel animated by holy restlessness,” he said, “restlessness to bring everyone the gift of faith, of friendship with Christ. ... We received the faith in order to give it to others. We are priests to serve others, and we must bear a fruit that abides."
"The only thing that remains forever is the human soul, man created by God for eternity. The fruit that remains is, then, what we have sown in human souls, love and knowledge; the gesture capable of touching the heart; the word that opens the soul to the joy of the Lord. Let us go then and pray to the Lord that He help us bear fruit, a fruit that abides."
The Dean of the College of Cardinals concluded, "Let us now, above all, insistently pray to the Lord that, after the great gift of Pope John Paul II, He again gives us a pastor according to the dictates of His heart, a pastor to lead us to knowledge of Christ, to His love, to true joy."

Read the complete homily at:

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John Paul II’s heart like that of Christ, Cardinal Medina says

Vatican City, Apr 18, 2005 (CNA) - During the last novendiali Mass for the repose of the soul of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, Proto-deacon of the College of Cardinals and Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said the heart of Pope John Paul II was like the Heart of Jesus.

The Chilean cardinal, who will be the one to make the “Habemus Papam” (“We have a Pope”) announcement to the world, began his homily speaking for the whole Church, saying, “our sentiments towards him are of gratitude, veneration and joy, for the grace of having lived an important part of our earthly pilgrimage under the guidance of this excellent pastor, a faithful icon of He who is the Good Shepherd and guardian of our souls.”

Cardinal Medina recalled how John Paul II celebrated the Eucharist: “Those of us who observed how John Paul II celebrated the Most Holy Eucharist have the clear perception of how, for him, the offering of his life, united to the offering of Jesus, was the center of his existence.  John Paul II as truly a Eucharistic man, modeled after the example of Mary.”

Noting especially the late Popes vast body of teaching, his apostolic dedication, his love of the poor, his concern for peace, his “predilection for youth and for families,” and “his untiring defense of life,” Cardinal Medina said, “Truly the heart of John Paul II was like the Heart of Jesus.”

He also mentioned the Pope’s great awareness of the mercy of God: “John Paul II was very conscious of the need of all mankind to trust in the mercy of God, and it was this conviction that led him to establish the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.  It was this same conviction that led him to come to this Basilica every Good Friday to bestow the Sacrament of Penance.”

Cardinal Medina dedicated the final words of his homily directly to the late Pope, saying, “John Paul II, faithful and wise servant, enter, through the merits of Jesus Christ, into the joy of the Lord! Adore Him, contemplate His face, and carry His name on your forehead.  There will be no more night for you, nor will you ever have need of light or of the sun, because the Lord God will illuminate you, and you shall reign with all of the saints forever and ever!”

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Cardinals say they do not know who next Pope will be yet

Vatican City, Apr 18, 2005 (CNA) - Prior to entering the House of St. Martha yesterday, several cardinals told the faithful that they did not know—and had not discussed—who the next Pope will be.

Their statements addressed speculative reports in the press about who will succeed Pope John Paul II and rumors that the cardinals had specified the names of those who could be possible successors.

"People believe that we will vote like in a normal election. But this is something entirely different. We will listen to the Lord and the Holy Spirit,” said Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga during a homily. The cardinal celebrated a mass in his titular church of St. Mary of Hope in Rome.

"The new Pope has already been chosen by the Lord. We just have to pray to understand who he is," Florence Cardinal Ennio Antonelli told the congregation in St. Andrea delle Fratte, his titular church a short stroll from Rome's Spanish Steps.

“We don’t know who will be Pope. No one can say at this time,” said Mexican Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera. "I believe that the Holy Spirit, already knows, but he has not communicated it to us yet.” The Mexican primate celebrated mass at St. Francis d'Assisi at Ripa Grande.

Today marks the official opening of the conclave to elect the Church’s 265th Pope. The 115 voting cardinals took their oath today in the Sistine Chapel and will be sequestered until a new Pope is elected.

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Eucharist pulled from E-bay sale

Sioux City, Iowa, Apr 18, 2005 (CNA) - The sale of a Eucharistic host allegedly consecrated by Pope John Paul II on the on-line auction site, E-bay, reportedly did not go through.

The incident has sparked off considerable controversy for the website and been the focus of an e-mail campaign by Catholics wanting E-bay to change their policy on such sales.

According to Fr. Roger J. Augustine of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, the seller pulled the alleged Eucharist last week, and the sale was never finalized.

The priest said that he disposed of the Eucharist according to Church dictates.

Last week, a bidder from California bought the host for $2,000 from the on-line site. The man, a devout Catholic, said that he bought the host to keep it out of harmful hands.

A statement from the Diocese of Sioux City said that, “The issue of the attempted sale of the Eucharist has attracted both national and international attention with e-mails and fax messages coming into the diocesan office from countless communities.”

“Although this specific issue has been resolved,” it said, “the diocese still has differences with eBay and its policy governing the listing of items that are offensive to people of faith.  E-Bay officials contend they see nothing offensive with the sale of such items on their website. Many Catholic organizations and individuals have taken issue with that policy and apparently are making their opinions known to eBay officials."

Fr. Augustine met with the seller on Friday and was “most grateful that [he] agreed that it was in everyone's best interest to bring this issue to a positive conclusion.”

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Notre Dame to present Cardinal Arinze with honorary doctorate

South Bend, Ind., Apr 18, 2005 (CNA) - The University of Notre Dame will confer an honorary doctorate to Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, during its commencement ceremony May 15, reported the South Bend Tribune.

The Nigerian native agreed to accept the doctorate in October. He is being recognized for his dedication to interfaith dialogue, particularly with Muslims. He headed the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue until October 2002.

Notre Dame first invited Cardinal Arinze to receive an honorary degree last year, but the cardinal could not accept because of a scheduling conflict.

Cardinal Arinze visited Indiana in November 1999. He preached to 1,500 people on the Feast of All Saints at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.

Notre Dame has conferred honorary degrees to other cardinals and to one future Pope. In 1960, it honored Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, who took the name Paul VI when he became the pontiff three years later.

Several cardinals, who are currently in conclave, have received honorary degrees from Notre Dame, including: Americans Adam Maida of Detroit (in 1997), William Henry Keeler of Baltimore (1998) Edmund Casimir Szoka of the Vatican (1999), Italian Agostino Cacciavillan (2000) and German Walter Kasper (2002), and Honduran Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga (2003).

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Friends, relatives hold Schiavo service

Philadelphia, Pa., Apr 18, 2005 (CNA) - Friends and family of Terri Schiavo gathered for a memorial mass for the 41-year-old woman who died two weeks ago after her feeding tube was removed. The mass was held at her childhood parish church in Philadelphia, where she also married Michael Schiavo in 1984. 

Schiavo's parents, brother and sister were in attendance. About 500 people filled Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, including uniformed students of the high school where Schiavo graduated, reported the Associated Press.

"If Terri's death has taught me anything, it is to make me starkly aware that matters of life and death are truly in our hands,'' Fr. Clemens Gerdelmann said in a homily. "Let us never be so bold and brazen as to think that we can better our lives at the expense of another's.''

Afterward, friends lined up to greet Schiavo's family in the basement of the Catholic school. Friends and relatives clustered in small groups to reminisce.

It is the fourth service the parents have held for Schiavo. A community memorial was held in Florida hours after she died, followed by a funeral mass and another memorial.

Michael Schiavo plans to hold a memorial service for his wife in Pennsylvania, where her ashes will be buried, but he has not said when. He is under court order to notify the parents of his plans.

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Law group sues governor over rule targeting pro-life pharmacists

Waukegan, IL., Apr 18, 2005 (CNA) - A lawsuit has been filed in an effort to protect a pharmacist’s right to continue to carry out his profession consistent with his Christian beliefs.

The Center for Law & Religious Freedom was one of several law groups that jointly filed a suit on behalf of pro-life pharmacist David Scimio. The suit challenges Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's "emergency rule" that requires pharmacists to dispense contraceptives, even if doing so violates their religious and ethical beliefs.

The Alliance Defense Fund, Americans United for Life, and John Mauck and Jason Craddock from Mauck and Baker, joined the Center for Law and Religious Freedom in filing the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that the governor's rule violates Scimio's rights, protected by the Illinois Healthcare Right Conscience Act, and exceeds the governor's authority under state and federal law.

Governor Blagojevich filed the emergency rule April 1, stating that a pharmacist "must dispense . . . without delay" contraceptives, including the morning-after pill or Plan B.

A pharmacist at Albertsons, a grocery store in Chicago, Scimio has not dispensed emergency contraceptives. Albertsons accommodated Scimio's religious beliefs until it was required to order the pharmacist to comply with the governor's "emergency rule" earlier this month.

Scimio's attorneys will file a motion seeking an immediate temporary restraining order against the governor.

"Governor Blagojevich must not be allowed to ignore the law and elevate convenience over individual rights of religious belief and moral conscience," said litigation counsel Casey Mattox. "We are hopeful that the judicial department of the State of Illinois will fulfill its proper function by restraining the governor from remaking state law in the image of his own personal political viewpoints."

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