Archive of May 3, 2005

Washington cardinal to seek retirement at 75

Washington D.C., May 3, 2005 (CNA) - The archbishop of Washington, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, told The Washington Times that he would like to retire after his 75th birthday and will submit his letter of resignation to the Vatican when he turns 75 in July.

Canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation when they turn 75, but it only comes into effect once the Pope has accepted it. Some bishops have remained in office several years past retirement age.

The native New Yorker has suffered health problems recently, including rotator cuff surgery about two months ago.

Cardinal McCarrick was one of 115 cardinals to elect Pope Benedict XVI, whom he described as “a very humble, kind, gentle person, a little shy with a great smile and sense of humor."

During a homily at St. Matthew’s Cathedral two days ago, the cardinal spoke of Pope Benedict.

"We know that he has always been a proclaimer of truth and a defender of faith. During the conclave, we saw him not only as a great theologian and a brilliant mind, but we found something many of us didn't know before: We found this new individual, so very respectful and charming," he was quoted as saying.

"I believe we have a Pope who we can follow with joy and confidence," he told parishioners.

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Pope welcomes Italian President Ciampi to Vatican

Vatican City, May 3, 2005 (CNA) - This morning, Pope Benedict XVI held his first official meeting with Italian President Carlo Azeglion Ciampi at the Vatican.

Joaquin Navarro-Valls, Holy See Press Director, announced in a statement this morning that, in addition to President Ciampi and his wife, Franca, the Holy Father also received members of the official presidential delegation and Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini.

"It was a very cordial meeting which allowed for an exchange of ideas on the bilateral relations between Italy and the Holy See,” the statement read.

Navarro-Valls noted that, "In the course of the meeting, several themes regarding the European situation were discussed,” and added that, "At the end of the visit to the Holy Father, President Ciampi was received by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State."

The statement also announced that, "The Holy Father Benedict XVI, readily accepting the courteous invitation of President Ciampi, will make an official visit to the Quirinale (Italian presidential palace) on Friday June 24, 2005."

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Vatican prepares for installation of Benedict XVI as Bishop of Rome

Vatican City, May 3, 2005 (CNA) - Following a whirlwind of activity over the past month, the Holy See is now preparing for the installation of Pope Benedict XVI as Bishop of Rome on Saturday, May 7.

The Vatican announced that the recently elected Holy Father would preside at a Eucharistic celebration at St. John Lateran Basilica as he takes possession of the Chair of the Bishop of Rome. Throughout history, whoever is Pope is the Bishop of the Diocese of Rome and takes St. John Lateran as his Cathedral.

The announcement came from Archbishop Piero Marini, Master of the Liturgical Ceremonies of the Supreme Pontiff.

Rome’s ecclesial community will be present at the Mass on Saturday to welcome its new bishop, Benedict XVI, to the basilica, which is known as the "Mother and Head of all Churches."

Cardinals who are present in Rome, members of the Diocesan Episcopal Council, the canons of the Lateran Basilica and the Council of Pastor Prefects will concelebrate Mass with the Holy Father.

Following the installation ceremony, the Pope will go to the basilica of St. Mary Major to venerate the "Salus Populi Romani" icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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Saint Benedict at work on reality TV

London, England, May 3, 2005 (CNA) - ‘The Monastery’, a new reality TV show slated to air this month on the U.K’s BBC 2, has reportedly left a deep spiritual impact on its five male participants, one of whom, an atheist pornography producer, who gave up his trade and became a believer.

The men, none of whom are Catholic, spent 40 days and 40 nights living and abiding by the rules of a Catholic monastery in an effort to show whether or not the monastic life, instituted by St. Benedict over 1,500 years ago, still has relevance in the modern world.

A BBC press release said that: “Although from very different backgrounds, all five participants share a desire to see if life holds any greater meaning. They will be expected to abide by the monastery's rules, with a strict timetable of instruction, study, prayer, reflection and routine work duties.”

Fr. Christopher Jamison, Abbot of Worth Abbey, where the show was filmed, said that he saw “in this project an opportunity to discover what our way of life offers to people today who do not share our beliefs.”

"For the participants” he said, “we hoped that they would discover hidden depths in their lives and in those hidden depths encounter God.”

The experiment apparently worked, and all five of the men appear to be leaving the show closer to a God who most of them didn’t know coming in. One, a Cambridge student studying Buddhism, is reportedly now looking into becoming an Anglican priest.

Another became reunited with the faith he rejected as a child.

According to U.K.’s ‘The Telegraph’, in one scene, Tony Burke, the 29-year old pornography producer speaks emotionally into a video diary saying, “I didn’t want this to happen…when I woke this morning, I didn’t believe in this, but as I speak to you now, I do.”

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Montana Governor pulls abstinence ads

, May 3, 2005 (CNA) - Members of the Montana Family Foundation are up in arms over Governor Brian Schweitzer’s plan to terminate a marriage and family council--put in place by his predecessors—and to pull pro-abstinence T.V. commercials from the state’s airwaves.

Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Foundation said this week that, “We have programs that are working…I would hate to see them go away.''

The Governor’s Council on Families was first implemented in 1996 by then Governor Marc Raicot and re-instated by Judy Martz, Schweitzer’s predecessor.

Although the goal of the council is to direct the Governor on policies affecting families and to promote healthy families through education and advertising, critics think that the council had no clear direction.

Schweitzer, who is focused on consolidating Montana’s government said that, “We want families to have a better quality of life, but not by spending state and federal money for people to sit on councils.''

The Governor likewise pulled a series of abstinence commercials when the mother of a seven-year old complained that her son saw the ads on the Nickelodeon channel at three in the afternoon.

Laszoloffy said that the ad was mistakenly shown at the wrong time but Schweitzer thinks that the blunder was an inappropriate use of federal dollars.

The Governor now wants to expand abstinence programs to include education on contraception and healthy living in general, but critics are worried.

Laszoloffy thinks that the sex-safety component will undermine the group’s abstinence message and wonders if the broader approach could result in a loss of federal funds for the programs.

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Homosexual activists urging faithful to turn Holy Communion into pro-gay statement on Pentecost

Chicago, Ill., May 3, 2005 (CNA) - Homosexual activists are urging the faithful to use Holy Communion, the most sacred part of the mass, as a form of protest on Pentecost.

The Rainbow Sash Movement (RSM) and its supporters plan to enter cathedrals and parishes around the nation May 15, wearing rainbow sashes, and ask to receive Communion. If they are given Communion, the RSM has instructed them to go back to their pew and kneel. Should they be denied, they are instructed to go back to their pew and remain standing while the rest of the congregation kneels.

The statement described Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as an “aggressive homophobe” and listed three documents, written by Cardinal Ratzinger prior to his papal election, which the movement claims are anti-gay.

The three documents include: "Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics" (1975); "A Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexuals" (1986); "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexuals" (2003).

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Latin not 'dead' in some churches

Fort Myers, Fla., May 3, 2005 (CNA) - Latin is the language of choice for some churches in southwest Florida, and elsewhere across the country, when it comes to celebrating mass.

A recent report in The News-Press reveals that Ave Maria University, northeast of Naples, and St. Martha Parish in Sarasota regularly celebrate mass in Latin. St. Leo Parish in Bonita Springs has a Latin choir.

While these parishioners appreciate the “beauty and majesty” and mystery that the ancient and little-known language adds to the mass, it also heralds to a time before the Second Vatican Council.

Fr. Christian Beretta, principal of Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, told The News-Press that most priests ordained since the late 1970s have little experience with Latin.

"Personally, for me to have [Mass] in a language I have been speaking my entire life is the way I prefer to do it, both as a worshipper and a presider," he told the newspaper.

However, Fr. Michael Beers, a Latin professor at Ave Maria, said seminarians are increasingly required to learn Latin. He said he has always seen an interest in the Latin mass, even after Vatican II.

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Planned Parenthood launches campaign against Pope Benedict XVI

, May 3, 2005 (CNA) - Planed Parenthood has launched a campaign to motivate all of its members and supporters, nominal Catholics and non-Catholics, to send letters to the editor, requesting that Pope Benedict XVI reconsider his “backward views” and change his opinion on sexual morality.

Pope Benedict XVI must be encouraged to “reconsider his dangerously outdated stances on birth control, abortion and sexuality in order to help move the Catholic Church into the 21st century,” reads a memo issued by campaign manager Eve Fox.    

“The new Pope's positions on these crucial issues pose a terrible danger to the health of millions of women and girls around the world and undermines efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS,” Fox wrote.

The campaign manager justified this action, saying that the “the Church has tremendous influence over many governments, especially in Latin America, and plays a powerful role in shaping social and political norms around the world.”

Calling him “even more conservative” than Pope John Paul II, Fox told her supporters that Pope Benedict XVI is “against all forms of contraception and opposes the use of condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS.” 

Prior to being elected Pope, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger “told Catholics in the U.S. it would be a sin to vote for pro-choice candidates like John Kerry, and urged bishops to deny Kerry Communion.  He has also led the Catholic Church's campaign against same-sex marriage and other rights for same-sex couples, including the right to adopt children,” wrote Fox.

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eBay broadens policy to disallow Eucharist sales

San Jose, Calif., May 3, 2005 (CNA) - The on-line auction site, eBay, under fire recently for its sale of Eucharistic hosts allegedly consecrated by the late John Paul II, has decided to broaden its policy on offensive items and disallow future sales of the Eucharist.

In a letter, sent to concerned Catholics, eBay said that, “We understand that the listing of the Eucharist was highly upsetting to Catholic members of the eBay community and Catholics globally.”

They added that after dialoging with members of the auction site, they “have concluded that sales of the Eucharist, and similar highly sacred items, are not appropriate on eBay. We have, therefore, broadened our policies and will remove those types of listings should they appear on the site in the future.”

The announcement comes with a sigh of relief from Catholics worldwide, who had planned a boycott of the site and inundated the company with complaints.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, said in a letter to eBay executives last month that the sale of the Eucharist was “extraordinarily offensive” and pointed out: “the sale of a consecrated communion host by anyone, under any circumstance, is a very serious sacrilege for Catholics and therefore an equally serious insult to the Catholic community.”

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Silversmith in Argentina designing “ecumenical chalice” for Benedict XVI

Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 3, 2005 (CNA) - One of the most renowned silversmith’s in the world, Juan Carlos Pallarols of Argentina, is working on one of his most “ecumenical” projects to date: A chalice with symbolic designs which he will send as a gift to Pope Benedict XVI.

Pallarols, who defines himself as a “very religious Catholic” artist, is using his chisel to design the work of art that he hopes will express the affection and respect of Argentineans for the new Pope.

His hope is that people from different religions, Jews, Muslims and Catholics, would contribute engravings to the project. 
”I wanted the chalice to have an ecumenical meaning, since the Pope has called for greater unity among the religions.  Many people have spontaneously stepped forward to collaborate—even some Jews and Muslims,” Pallarols told the EFE news agency

The chalice will be made of silver, in colonial style, with the Argentinean coat of arms and carvings of wheat and grapes, “which represent the fruits of the Argentinean land and also the Body and Blood of Christ.”  In addition, the chalice will have an accompanying paten with an engraving of the Southern Cross and inscriptions of the four principal advocations of the Blessed Mother in Argentina.

Pallarols hopes to have the chalice ready by June 29, feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

He said he was inspired to make the chalice after hearing Pope Benedict XVI’s first homily in which he called for unity among the world religions, as well as by John Paul II’s letter to artists, in which the late Pontiff called for unity and for respect for Christian and liturgical symbols.

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Socialists in Spain aiming to block right to conscientious objection

Madrid, Spain, May 3, 2005 (CNA) - The “United Left” political party in Spain is launching an effort to block the right to conscientiously object to gay “marriage” and other ant-family measures.

The Socialist party says its intention is to defend “the freedom and equality of the homosexual community” and to prevent pubic officials from conscientiously objecting to a new law allowing gay marriage, at which many of them would have to officiate.

United Left leader Gaspar Llamazares criticized the reaction of the Catholic Church in Spain, which has encouraged public officials to refuse to obey the law, accusing it of rejecting “moral plurality in democracy.”

Llamazares attacked the Church, calling it a “lobby” group that is seeking “to impose its morality on the rest of society.”

Volunteers and members of the United Left say they will monitor city officials and pressure them to officiate at homosexual weddings, and they will be distributing videos and pamphlets promoting homosexual “rights.”

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