Vatican City, Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - Marking the traditional end of the month of May, Pope Benedict XVI addressed faithful who had processed from the Church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians to the Vatican garden’s Grotto of Lourdes, and told called them to imitate Mary as she carried Christ to the world.
The Pope gave special recognition to Mary, the Mother of God and spoke within the context of this, the year of the Eucharist.
The procession took place at 8 p.m. yesterday, and was presided at by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City State.
Pope Benedict arrived at the Grotto shortly after; at 9 p.m. where he imparted his apostolic blessing delivered a brief address.
He told those gathered that, "In the special Year of the Eucharist through which we are currently living…Mary helps us especially to discover" this great Sacrament. In today's feast we recall the visit by the Virgin to her cousin St. Elizabeth, an elderly woman "whom everyone considered sterile but who had, in fact, reached the sixth month of a pregnancy donated by God."
The Pope noted that at this point, Mary was carrying the recently-conceived Jesus in her womb, and that she "is a young girl, but she is not afraid because God is with her, He is within her."
Benedict stressed that, "in a certain way, we can say that her journey was - and we are pleased to highlight this in the Year of the Eucharist - the first 'Eucharistic procession' of history. Living tabernacle of God-made-flesh, Mary is the Ark of the Covenant in whom the Lord has visited and redeemed His people. Jesus' presence fills her with the Holy Spirit."
The Pope highlighted the fact that Mary’s meeting with Elizabeth "finds expression in the canticle of the Magnificat," and asked, "is not this too the joy of the Church, that incessantly welcomes Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and carries Him to the world with the testimony of assiduous charity permeated by faith and hope?”
“Yes,” he said, “to welcome Christ and to take Him to others is the true joy of Christians! Dear brothers and sisters, let us carry on and imitate Mary, a deeply Eucharistic soul, and all our lives will become a Magnificat. Let this be the grace that, together this evening, we ask of the Most Holy Virgin at the close of the month of May."
Vatican City, Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - Earlier today, the Holy See announced that Pope Benedict XVI has decided to entrust care and exclusive rights of his large body of writings, to the Vatican Publishing House.
The Publishing House will now control all copyrighting and hold exclusive rights to sales and utilization of what the Vatican Press Office called, the “acts, works and writings written by him prior to his elevation to the Chair of Peter.”
Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, wrote in a statement today that, "without prejudicing the rights acquired by third parties concerning contacts already concluded with the author, from now on the Vatican Publishing House is also entrusted with the exercise and protection of the copyright concerning contracts still in force".
Green Bay, Wis., Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - Bishop Aloysius Wycislo is turning 97 on June 17, and from his perspective as the oldest bishop in the United States, he says he is hopeful about the future of the Church and confident in its new pontiff.
Bishop Wycislo was a personal friend of Pope John Paul II and doesn’t really know Pope Benedict. Nonetheless, he said, he is “hopeful about where the Church is going.”
“It could be that Pope Benedict XVI might be the right person, fostering the church in the direction that God would have it be,” he told the Green Bay Press Gazette.
In an interview with the Green Bay Press Gazette, he commented that the Church has surely had its ups and downs, often related to the culture of the country where the Church is present, but it has persevered.
Likewise, he said, “The Church has often influenced the culture of a country.”
“It would seem today — at least it is my feeling — that culture may have influenced the church more than the church would desire. Holding fast to tradition and that which has proven sound is not always easy and does take strong leadership.
The Chicago native also commented on his experience at the Second Vatican Council and the way in which it foresaw the current challenges in the Church, such as the shortage of priests.
He said he was impressed with how the “Catholic laity have taken on seriously their responsibility for leadership in the Church.”
Despite these challenges, the 96-year-old bishop-emeritus of Green Bay said: “It could be that we are witnessing a stronger Church. It may be less in numbers, but those who are part of it are really active in that Church.”
While he has “never hesitated” to put women in leadership positions, he does not foresee the ordination of women in the Church.
He was ordained a priest in 1934 and in the 1940s was a field director for Catholic Relief Services. He and his staff were responsible for resettling between 600,000 and 700,000 refugees after World War II. He was consecrated a bishop in 1960. His appointment as bishop of Green Bay was in 1968.
Since his retirement in 1983, Bishop Wycislo says he continues to serve as much as he can. He continues writing and has just finished editing a manuscript that he wrote a few years ago. It consists of 300 pages of letters he wrote to his parishioners in Chicago during his sessions at Vatican II.
, Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - In a unanimous decision yesterday, the United States Supreme Court upheld the religious liberty rights of prisoners.
“We applaud this decision by the Supreme Court, not simply because it underscores prisoners’ First Amendment rights, but because it sustains a larger issue—the issue of religious liberty in general,” said Catholic League president William Donohue.
“The Catholic League frequently receives complaints from Catholic prisoners who maintain that their religious-liberty rights have been violated,” said Donohue. The league probes each case individually to verify its authenticity, he said.
The high court overturned the Sixth Circuit’s decision to nix the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. This federal legislation was designed to protect religious rights from being invalidated by an interpretation of the so-called establishment clause of the First Amendment.
In her ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the Act was not written “to elevate accommodation of religious observances over an institution’s need to maintain order and safety.” Neither does it give prisoners who practice their religion “a preferred status in the prison community.”
Vatican City, Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - During his weekly Wednesday audience earlier today, Pope Benedict XVI shared with nearly 23,000 pilgrims, a message of hope: That through emptying himself, taking on human weakness, and making himself like a slave, Christ leads mankind to discover his own freedom.
The Holy Father used the St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians as the central theme of his catechesis during this morning’s general audience, held in St. Peter's Square.
He first discussed how, in the first part of what is called, the ‘Christological hymn’ found in the Letter to the Philippians (2, 6-11), we must consider "the paradoxical 'emptying' of the divine Word, Who deposes His glory and takes on the human condition.”
“Christ”, the Pope said, “incarnated and humiliated in the most shameful form of death, that of crucifixion, is proposed as a model of life for Christians," who must, in fact, "'have this mind among (themselves), which was in Jesus Christ,' a mind of humility and of dedication, of detachment and of generosity."
“Although He is equal to God,” Pope Benedict said, imitating St. Paul, Christ “did not use His glorious dignity and power as an instrument of triumph, a sign of remoteness or an expression of supremacy. Quite the contrary, He unreservedly assumed the human condition, miserable, weak, marked by suffering, poverty and fragility, subject to time and space.”
“This took Him to the edge of our own limits”, he said, “and our own inevitable decay, in other words to death; thus obeying the plan of salvation wished for by the Father."
The Holy Father went on to cite Theodoret, a fifth century bishop of Cyrus in Syria who, in his commentary Philippians, mentions the links between the incarnation of Jesus and the redemption of human beings.
He explains that, in order to save us, the Creator "chose a way full of love … and adorned with justice. Indeed, after having bound man's nature to Himself, a nature already defeated, he leads it to the struggle and prepares it to repair the defeat, to overcome the one who had once iniquitously gained victory, to free it from the tyranny of one who had cruelly enslaved it, and to recover its long lost freedom."
At the conclusion of the audience Pope Benedict noted that next Friday is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He told the crowd, "let us ask Him to help us love our brethren as He loved us."
Vatican City, Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - The Vatican today announced Pope Benedict XVI’s general prayer and mission intentions for the month of June, which continue this year’s Eucharistic theme.
The Holy Father's general prayer intention for the month, the Holy See said, is, "That our society should, with concrete acts of Christian and brotherly love, come to the aid of the millions of refugees who live in extreme need and abandonment."
Similarly, his mission intention for June is, "That the Sacrament of the Eucharist should be more and more recognized as the beating heart of the Church's life."
Denver, Colo., Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - In a commentary in Denver’s Rocky Mountain News, Archbishop Charles Chaput decried the actions of those who, as he sees it, are using illegal immigrants as scapegoats for the slaying of a Denver police officer earlier this month.
The Archbishop, who presided at the funeral of Donnie Young, a Denver police officer gunned down last month while working security for a baptismal party, began by praising the bravery of those in uniform and the outpouring of support from the Denver community toward Young’s family.
He said however, that “the aftermath of the funeral” and “though what we do with our anger over his killing; whom we blame and why -- will prove just how deep our character as a community really goes.”
“Overnight,” the Archbishop wrote last week, “some public officials and media sources began using the Young murder to hammer away at U.S. immigration realities. They keyed especially on undocumented Hispanics. One media commentator claimed that if anything good were to come of Young’s tragic death, it would be highlighting the problem of illegal immigration.”
“In effect,” he said, “for some people, the murder quickly became a way of justifying their pent-up anger toward whom they blame for stealing jobs, abusing public services and fueling crime.”
Archbishop Chaput noted over 70% growth in Denver’s Hispanic population over the last decade and said, “Justice can’t be served by raging at groups of other people. That kind of anger only undermines our own dignity and pushes common sense to the margins.”
While he pointed out that American’s have reasonable rights to safe boarders and immigration policies, he said that, “The vast majority of undocumented Hispanic immigrants in the United States never commit a violent act, have no desire to undermine the common good and contribute vitally to American prosperity.”
“Thousands of farmers and businessmen rely on their services,” he wrote. “The life many of us enjoy depends, in part, on the labor of illegals. Taking advantage of their work, and then blaming them for being here, is a uniquely unworthy form of hypocrisy.
The Archbishop specifically chided Catholics, who “belong to a Church that supports the fundamental right of every person to migrate to seek a better life for his or her family, and who themselves were hated as outsiders for much of American history.”
For them, he said, “anti-immigrant anger is doubly wrong.”
He encouraged the Denver community to truly honor the memory of Young, an imperative, which, he said, cannot be reached by “redirecting our sympathy into name-calling, resentment or reactionary fear.”
London, England, Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - The Church of England has drafted a new proposal that will allow homosexual priests to marry their partners, but they must abstain from sexual relations. The proposal was drawn up by senior bishops, led by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The bishops’ proposal follows the legalization of same-sex unions in Britain, effective Dec. 5. The bishops felt the new law left them little choice but to accept the right of homosexual clergy to have civil partners.
The new law gives same-sex couples many of the same tax and inheritance advantages of married couples.
The bishops’ proposal is likely to reopen the rift over homosexuality that has split the worldwide Anglican Communion. The effects of this decision on the newly reopened dialogue between Catholics and Anglicans is also yet unknown.
Some amendments may be made to the bishops’ Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships, before it is presented to the House of Bishops.
Some Anglican priests have already expressed their intention to register a civil partnership.
Under the proposal, a priest intending to register a civil partnership would inform his or her bishop in a face-to-face meeting. The priest would then give an undertaking to uphold the teaching of the Church of England, outlined in the 1991 document Issues in Human Sexuality, which prohibits sex for homosexual clergy.
The proposal does not indicate any disciplinary action for priests who breach of the rules.
Madrid, Spain, Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - The Diocese of Malaga, Spain, has made public its support for a protest scheduled for June 18 in Madrid in favor of traditional marriage and the family and against a government plan to make homosexual unions equal to marriage and allow them to adopt children.
The Bishop of Malaga and President of the Committee on Education and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, Antonio Dorado Soto, expressed his support for the event organized by the Spanish Forum on the Family, which hopes to bring together 500,000 people for the protest.
In a letter to his priests, Bishop Dorado Soto referred to Pope Benedict XVI’s message regarding the V World Meeting of Families, which will be held in June of 2006 in Valencia: “The Church cannot cease from proclaiming that, according to the plan of God, marriage and the family are irreplaceable and do not allow for alternatives.”
Three bishops have now publicly expressed their support for the protest: Bishop Jose Gea Escolano of Mondoñedo-Ferrol, Auxiliary Bishop Fidel Herraez of Madrid and the Bishop of Malaga. Although the Bishops’ Conference is not officially endorsing the event, the bishops will be able to mobilize their clergy, religious and lay movements to participate in the protest.
Debate on the government’s proposal will begin Wednesday with closed-door sessions considering amendments to the bill as well as two proposals to kill the measure. In order to receive a vote before the summer recess, the bill must be brought before the full congress by June 22.
Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, called on the people of Mexico to be realistic regarding the solutions to the country’s problems and to not expect miracles or superheroes in the coming 2006 presidential elections.
“I don’t think there is a superhero in Mexico who will magically come to change things. And to think that somebody will come to fix all of our problems is not a very realistic idea,” the cardinal told reporters.
On the other hand, referring to the wave a violence that has swept across the country, Cardinal Rivera noted that it was not the result of chance but of inequalities that society itself is nurturing. “What I meant was that there is a violent reality in our families, in our places of work, of confrontation, that an educational system exists that is not teaching people who to live together,” he added.
Lastly, he called on Mexicans to strive to accept each others differences and to practice tolerance in order to foster an atmosphere of cooperation and tranquility.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - The Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina will hold an international forum entitled, “Women in the thought of John Paul II: Identity, Dignity and Mission,” in order to reflect upon the teachings the late Pope and to promote “authentic feminism.”
The forum will take place on June 21-22 at the University’s St. Augustine Auditorium.
Speakers will include Jutta Burggraf of Germany, Jo Croissant of France, Maria da Graça Sales Enriques of Portugal, and Maria Paola Scarinci de Delbosco of Argentina.
The purpose of the forum is to study and promote this “authentic feminism” by meditating on four complementary aspects of women outlined in the teaching of John Paul II: woman as child, in her condition as daughter of God the Father; woman as spouse, in her ministerial role and her relationship to man; woman as mother, in her roll of service which involves the fertility of maternity and of work; woman as sister, in her differences with man, yet fundamental equality.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jun 1, 2005 (CNA) - Marking Argentina’s National Day of Organ Donation, Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe said the Church accepts and promotes the donation of organs as long as it is done according to acceptable ethical criteria in order to offer the hope of cure to someone who is ill.
The archbishop quoted the words of the late Pope John Paul II, who said, “Special recognition should be given to the donation of organs, done according to acceptable ethical criteria in order to offer the possibility of a cure or even life to the infirm who are perhaps without hope.”
Archbishop Arancedo emphasized the need for ethics and responsibility during the donation of organs and he warned that “the Church always respects the will and the freedom of people, and therefore this is not an imposition.”
The archbishop established May 30 as the National Day of Organ Donation in order to commemorate the birthday of a girl who was able to be born thanks to a kidney transplant she received from her mother.