Vatican City, Jun 22, 2005 (CNA) - Speaking before some 31,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Wednesday General Audience, Pope Benedict XVI spoke on the subject of Psalm 123: "Our help is in the name of the Lord," and he reminded the faithful not to fear "the snares of evildoers, who not only threaten life but also want to destroy all human values. However, the Lord arises to defend and save the righteous”.
The Pope explained that the psalm "is a song of thanksgiving sung by the entire community gathered in prayer, who raise praise to the Lord for the gift of freedom. ... If the Lord had not sided with the victims they, with their limited strength, would have been unable to free themselves and the adversaries, like beasts, would have torn them to pieces."
"The blessing expressed in the psalm,” continued the Holy Father, “brings us to understand that the destiny of the faithful, which was death, has been radically altered by salvific intervention. ... Prayer here becomes a sigh of relief rising from the depths of the soul: even when all human hopes collapse, the divine liberating force may appear."
The Pope also recalled how the psalm concludes "with a profession of faith that for centuries has formed part of Christian liturgy as an ideal premise for all our prayers: 'Adiutorium nostrum in nomine Domini, qui fecit caelum et terram' - 'Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth'" he remarked.
The audience was held under intense heat that the Holy Father likened to “that of the hearts of the faithful” packed in St. Peter’s Square. Before concluding, Pope Benedict greeted in many languages the groups of pilgrims gathered around him, including a group of Chinese Catholics from the Diocese of Hong Kong.
Rome, Italy, Jun 22, 2005 (CNA) - Vatican analyst Sandro Magister of the Italian online magazine L’Espresso published an article Wednesday on a recent speech given by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar of the Diocese of Rome, in which he called for a re-writing of the history of Vatican II “according to the truth.”
Magister reveals in his column that on June 17 Cardinal Ruini spoke forcefully against the manipulation of Vatican II while presenting a new book on the Council written by historian and Italian bishop Agostino Marchetto.
“Cardinal Ruini,” writes Magister, explained that “Marchetto’s book acts as a counterpoint, or indeed as the polar opposite, to the interpretation of Vatican II that until now has monopolized Catholic historiography throughout the world. It is the interpretation advanced by the five-volume ‘History of Vatican Council II’ directed by Giuseppe Alberigo and published in six languages between 1965 and 2001.
According to Magister, the new book presented by Ruini openly opposes the interpretation of the Council promoted in Italy—and later throughout the world—by Fr. Giuseppe Dossetti, which said that the “real council is the ‘spirit’ of the council,” represented by John XXIII.
This “spirit” would be open to any subjective interpretation of the church and its enemies would be identified with Paul VI and those who historically have wanted to apply the true conciliar reform.
Nevertheless, notes Magister, Cardinal Ruini has demonstrated in his speech that Vatican II did not mark a break with the tradition of the Church, but rather a continuity defended even by Pope John XXIII himself. Ruini “contested the contrast made between John XXIII and Paul VI, as seen in the history of Vatican II produced by Alberigo and the Bologna School,” Magister points out.
Magister’s complete column can be found at: http://www.chiesa.espressonline.it/index.jsp?eng=y
Vatican City, Jun 22, 2005 (CNA) - Only two months after his election, Pope Benedict XVI has published his first book. In it, he defends the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life and says the Church will never accept abortion. He also expresses his dismay that Europe has seemingly rejected its Christian heritage.
"There is no such thing as ‘small murders’,” the Pope wrote. “Respect for every single life is an essential condition for anything worthy of being called social life.”
"The Europe of Benedict: In the Crisis of Cultures" includes three of his important texts, which he wrote before he was elected Pope, between 1992 and 2005 as as prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The title of the 150-page book refers to St. Benedict. The 5th-century monk founded the Benedictine order and helped spread Christianity across the continent. Due to the great influence he had on European culture and the practice of the Christian religion, he was named the patron of Europe.
However, in his book the Pope comments on secularization of Europe. He criticizes a decision to exclude a reference to Europe's Christian roots in the EU constitution.
"Europe has developed a culture which excludes God from the public conscience in a way never before known to humanity," he writes.
The book was jointly published by the Vatican and an Italian publisher who had acquired rights to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's writings before he became Pope.
Francistown, Botswana, Jun 22, 2005 (CNA) - An African bishop returning from his first Ad Limina visit with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome said the weeklong meeting included discussions on AIDS and debt relief. The African bishops want the Vatican to lobby for debt relief for the continent’s poorest countries.
Bishop Nubuasah Frank, one of several delegates of the Bishops Conference from Southern Africa on the weeklong visit, told the Mmegi Reporter that contraceptives and homosexuality were not raised with the pontiff as the African bishops are all clear on and in agreement with Catholic teaching on these points.
The vicar-general of Francistown, Botswana, said the Pope encouraged Africans to return to traditional family and sexual moral values. The Pope stressed that sexual intercourse should be open to reproduction and that couples who want to space their children should use natural family planning.
"The Pope believes that Western influences on southern African people's culture is the cause of sexual immorality. The influences include prostitution, divorce, abortion, and contraceptive mentality," the 56-year-old bishop was quoted as saying.
Bishop Nubuasah pointed out that actions against AIDS must include monogamy and abstinence.
"Condoms are not reducing the rate of infection in Botswana,” he said. “How did Uganda succeed? Uganda did not succeed with condoms but with abstinence. The Church, the state and everybody was involved.”
The bishops also discussed what to do in a case when one spouse is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative, said Bishop Nubuasah. He said the response could never include divorce since the Church teaches that marriage is for life.
Grand Rapids, Mich., Jun 22, 2005 (CNA) - The faithful of Grand Rapids, who have been without a bishop since May 2004, are pleased to learn that they will receive a new shepherd in Bishop Walter Hurley, auxiliary of Detroit.
The 68-year-old bishop will be installed in his new diocese Aug. 4 at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Grand Rapids. Bishop Hurley succeeds Bishop Kevin Britt, who died last year.
“From the day of my arrival in Detroit 15 years ago, Bishop Hurley has been one of my closest collaborators and advisers, indeed a trusted friend,” said Cardinal Adam Maida, archbishop of Detroit in an interview with WZZM-13.
“His pastoral wisdom, training in canon law, considerable skills at organization and administration, along with his deep love for the Church, have been great blessings for all of us in Detroit,” said the cardinal, who has been serving as apostolic administrator of nearby Grand Rapids since Bishop Britt's death.
Bishop Hurley was born in New Brunswick, Canada, and was ordained a priest for Detroit in 1965. He was pastor of three parishes and had served the archdiocese as metropolitan judicial vicar, moderator of the curia and auxiliary bishop.
He was ordained a bishop in July 2003 and has assisted Cardinal Maida in resolving the sexual abuse crisis in Detroit.
“Attentive to justice for all parties, he has handled the delicate pastoral and juridical concerns related to cases of clergy sexual abuse,” Cardinal Maida testified.
Bishop Hurley also supervised the construction of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington.
The Diocese of Grand Rapids includes 162,670 Catholics, 122 priests and 90 parishes in west-central Lower Michigan.
In related episcopal news, Bishop Phillip Francis Straling resigned from the Diocese of Reno in accordance with canon law, and Msgr. John Gerard Noonan was named auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Miami.
Vatican City, Jun 22, 2005 (CNA) - Just one week before the official opening of the beatification process for Pope John Paul II, Catholics worldwide are invited to participate in the cause by sending relevant information on the late Pope’s life and virtues to the postulator via the Internet.
The Polish priest leading the cause for Pope John Paul II's beatification, known as the postulator, is Fr. Slawomir Oder.
He has invited Catholics to send him e-mails with testimonies or information that they may have on the life and virtues of the late pontiff, Vatican Radio announced June 20. E-mails can be sent to: [email protected]
Fr. Oder will publish the relevant testimonies that he receives on an official Web site, www.vicariatusurbis.org.
The beatification process for Pope John Paul officially begins next week, June 28, with a celebration in the Basilica of Saint John of Latran in Rome. Pope Benedict XVI made the announcement May 13, only 42 days after his death.
John Paul’s beatification file already contains 635 documents, including his first writings
Tupelo, Miss., Jun 22, 2005 (CNA) - A West Virginia court decision that has redefined the term “parent” has “demonstrated the lethal effects of judicial activism on the nuclear family,” said Stephen Crampton, chief counsel for the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy.
On June 17, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals redefined what a parent is by declaring a lesbian partner the “psychological parent” of her deceased lover’s young child.
In Tina B. v. Paul S,, the court removed custody of the child from his maternal grandparents and gave it to the lesbian partner, Tina B.
“While the court pretended to limit itself to interpreting the laws passed by the legislature, in reality it made law and acted as a superlegislature,” Crampton stated.
“West Virginia’s creation of a new ‘right’ for a same-sex partner to obtain custody of her deceased lover’s child without any written agreement, a Will, or any attempt at adoption is but a stepping stone to recognition of same-sex marriage,” Crampton warned.
The American Family Association had filed an amicus brief on behalf of two legislators in the case.
, Jun 22, 2005 (CNA) - Wisconsin’s Assembly Children and Families Committee voted yesterday to approve legislation that would ban the cloning of human embryos.
A day earlier, the Assembly committee, along with the Senate Judiciary, Corrections and Privacy Committee, held a joint hearing on identical cloning ban bills (AB 449/SB 243), authored by Rep. Steve Kestell (R—Elkhart Lake) and Sen. Joe Leibham (R—Sheboygan).
Wisconsin Right to Life lauded the committee hearings and is looking forward to the passage of the bill. "The cloning of human embryos in Wisconsin for any purpose should be soundly rejected,” said Susan Armacost, legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life.
Dr. Jean Peduzzi of the Wayne State University Medical School provided the key expert testimony in support of the Kestell/Leibham legislation. She presented research in favor of adult stem cells in the treatment of chronic, severe spinal cord injury.
She pointed out that embryonic stem-cell research has not shown any positive results. However, adult stem cells have been successfully used to treat over 58 conditions, including brain and other cancers, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell anemia, stroke, limb gangrene, corneal regeneration, heart damage, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injury.
“With the tremendous successes of adult stem cells and the complete lack of success using embryonic stem cells, it behooves the State of Wisconsin to prohibit research that is both unethical and unsuccessful," said Armacost.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Jun 22, 2005 (CNA) - The Bishops’ Conference of the Dominican Republic warned this week that pro-abortion NGOs associated with international organizations are pressuring to get abortion legalized in the Caribbean country.
In a message read by the Secretary General of the Conference, Bishop Benito Angeles, the bishops point out that the actions of these organizations must be confronted by “proclaiming our own rights as a country and as a free nation.”
Regarding the new Penal Code which Congress is set to debate, the bishops note it is “an evident threat against human life,” despite the claim by the drafters that they are simply attempting to “modernize” the code based on a new consensus.
The bishops underscored that it is not “modern” to grant the right to kill a defenseless human being innocent “of the irresponsible human actions of particular persons who, in addition, are excused from all moral and legal responsibility.”
They also criticized the idea of a consensus for the legalization of abortion. “It seems illogical that the intellectual capacities of ‘the wise’ turn against human life itself and intellectually justify the legalization of this crime,” the bishops said.
The statement emphasizes that women should be defended “against anything that violates their dignity, their person, their life and their rights,” but they warn that deciding whether another individual should live or die, especially when the person in question “is her own child,” is not legitimate.
Madrid, Spain, Jun 22, 2005 (CNA) - In the wake of massive protests on June 18 against the government’s efforts to legalize gay marriage, the National Catholic Confederation of Parents of Families and of Schoolchildren is calling on Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to “listen to what the Spanish society is asking for” and withdraw the gay marriage law from Congressional passage.
“After such vast participation one cannot claim that this law has majority support among the Spanish people, who have categorically said they are against it, regardless of ideology, political party, or religious confession,” the Confederation said.
In its statement, the Confederation reiterated its call to defend the rights of children, who must not be deprived by the State of the right to have a mother and a father, regardless of the claims by homosexual groups.
The June 18 protests, notes the statement, were organized by “important social organizations in this country which have taken the initiative to denounce an unjust law before the entire society, which affects not only marriage and childhood, but also schools, in an attempt to force them to teach that whatever is legal is right.”
The Confederation also defended the right to education and school choice, as well as the inclusion of religion as an equal part of the school curriculum on the same level as other subjects.
Washington D.C., Jun 22, 2005 (CNA) - Rap star and actor Nick Cannon has released a new album whose title song, “Can I Live,” is an explicit defense of the right to life of the unborn. Cannon, an accomplished actor, comedian, songwriter and producer with a host of credentials to his name at the age of twenty-four, including his own television show, is making an all-out effort to cross from the film-making/television industry into the music industry with the new album and accompanying music video.
According to LifeSite.net, “Can I Live?” tells the story of how his mother decided not to go through with an abortion and instead gave birth to him on October 17, 1979. The music video of the song, skillfully directed by Cannon himself, beautifully dramatizes the torment and the uncertainty as Cannon's own mother arrives at a "Women's Health Clinic" in the late seventies with the obvious intention of ending the life of her child. Cannon himself appears in the video clad in white, symbolically portraying the person of the as-yet unborn child, and giving voice to his own implicit right and desire to live.
Cannon calls the song a “story of love,” inspired by his mother’s decision to let him live. “You see me in your sleep so you can’t kill your dreams/300 Dollars that’s the price of living what?/Mommy I don’t like this clinic/
Hopefully you'll make the right decision/And don’t go through with the Knife Decision,” Cannon sings.
Actress Tatyana Ali, known for her role as Ashley in the series “The Fresh Prince,” plays Cannon’s mother in the video.
Cannon ends his rap saying the only thing he is doing is telling his story. His true mother appears at the end of the video, embracing him as he sings, “I love my mother for giving me life/We all need to appreciate life/A strong woman that had to make a sacrifice/Thanks for listening/Thanks for listening/Mama thanks for listening.”
The video and song lyrics can be found at: http://www.nickcannonmusic.com/index_main.html