Cologne, Germany, Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI recalled today the gathering of hundreds of thousands of young people from around the world in Cologne, Germany, for World Youth Day last week.
“Young people from all cultures of the world gathered as pilgrims seeking Jesus Christ, whom we adore in the Eucharist,” the Pope said during his general audience today. “Together, they made a journey of inner conversion, coming to embrace and to know our Lord more intimately, in order to bear witness to his light and joy,” he continued.
The Pope arrived for his general audience today at the Vatican from his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
It was Divine Providence that his first foreign pastoral visit was in his native country, the Pontiff, a native of Bavaria, commented. He credited the location of the 20th WYD in Germany to the “prophetic intuition of my unforgettable predecessor.” The WYD theme, “We have come to worship him,” was significant as the Year of the Eucharist is coming to a close, said Pope Benedict.
“In Cologne, the young people had several opportunities to expand on this theme and they felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses to Christ, who in the Eucharist promised to remain truly present among us until the end of world,” he stated.
“In the heart of ‘old Europe’, which in the last century unfortunately experienced horrendous conflicts and inhuman regimes, the young people gave to the people of our time a message of hope that does not deceive because it is founded on the Word of God, made flesh in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for our salvation,” the Pope said.
“In Cologne, the young people met and adored Emmanuel, God among us, in the mystery of the Eucharist and they better understood that the Church is a great family through which God establishes a place for communion and unity throughout all continents, cultures and races,” he added.
He said his meeting with about 1,000 seminarians at the Church of St. Pantaleon was of particular significance as these men are “called to a radical following of Jesus the shepherd and teacher.”
“World Youth Days have given rise to many vocations to the priesthood and religious life,” he said. “Let us pray that many more young adults will heed Christ’s call!”
During his first foreign trip, the 78-year-old pontiff also took the opportunity to meet with leaders of the Muslim, Jewish and other Christian communities. He met with leaders of the Christian community “with the hope that our continuing ecumenical dialogue will contribute to the goal of Christian unity,” he said.
His visit to the Synagogue of Cologne was one of “great emotion.” There, he recalled the Holocaust and the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.
In his meeting with Muslim community leaders, he said he underlined the common need to “work together to eliminate fanaticism and violence and to defend the dignity all people while promoting fundamental human rights.”
He invited those present to pray for young people. “Bearing the light of Christ’s truth and love, may they witness to a springtime of hope in Germany, Europe and the whole world!” he said.
He greeted the English-speaking pilgrims present at the general audience, including groups from England, Ireland, Gibraltar, Malta, Japan, Taiwan and the United States.
, Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - By popular demand, the heroic, true story of Pope John Paul II returns to television. The four-hour movie, “A Man Who Became Pope,” will air again on the Hallmark Channel Aug. 27, at 7 p.m. (ET).
The Aug. 15th U.S. premiere of the film set a weeknight audience record for the cable channel.
Filmed on location in Krakow, Poland, and in the Vatican City, the film features an international cast, including Piotr Adamczyk as Karol Wojtyla and Raul Bova as Fr. Tomasz Zaleski, Karol’s close childhood friend and a martyr to the Nazis.
Giacomo Battiato directed the film and it was produced by Pietro Valsecchi.
“A Man Who Became Pope” was warmly received when screened at the Vatican on May 19.
“The film presents scenes and episodes that, in their severity, awaken in the viewers an instinctive ‘turning away’ in horror and stimulates them to consider the abyss of iniquity that can be hidden in the human soul,” said Pope Benedict XVI. “At the same time, calling to the fore such aberrations revives in every right-minded person the duty to do what he or she can so that such inhuman barbarity never happens again.”
Vatican press spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Pope John Paul II had seen the film in its entirety in a private viewing before his death and was “very impressed” with the portrayal and “appreciated the many scenes” from that period of his life.
Washington D.C., Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - Fr. Frank Pavone, head of the group Priests for Life has criticized a study, being published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association, which concludes that fetuses, 29 weeks-old and younger probably cannot feel pain and therefore, do not require anesthetic during abortions.
A report in today’s New York Times suggested that, “The finding poses a direct challenge to proposed federal and state laws that would compel doctors to tell women having abortions at 20 weeks or later that their fetuses can feel pain and to offer them anesthesia specifically for the fetus.”
Fr. Pavone pointed out however that, "The disputed report coming out of the University of California, indicating that pain may not be felt by unborn children during abortions in early pregnancy, hardly settles the matter scientifically."
"Other studies”, he said, “over the last 15 years around the world show evidence of earlier fetal pain. Research has to continue. Meanwhile, it makes sense to err on the side of caution."
He also pointed out that the mere possibility of pain should give pause to supporters and those performing abortions.
Even if the dubious study is correct, Fr. Pavone pointed out, it would still not justify abortions.
"There are many painless ways to kill both born and unborn,” he said. “That doesn't make it right."
Camden, N.J., Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - Bishop Joseph Galante of Camden celebrated a Spanish-language Mass for migrant farm workers at the Marino Brothers Farm Monday. Most of the workers come from Chiapas, Mexico; others come from Florida and the Carolinas looking for seasonal work.
"I'm happy to be able to do this for the people who come here," the bishop told the Gloucester County Times. "They work very hard to support their families."
Between 60 and 80 migrant workers are employed at the farm over the summer. The workers rarely leave the farm as they work 11 hours per day, seven days per week. They are paid $360 a week. Food costs $55 and accommodations are free.
Augustine Hernandez, a crew leader at the farm for 10 years, told the newspaper that the mass was significant as Catholicism is very important for the workers.
Sr. Kathleen Brown, director of the Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Camden, told the Glocester County Times that it was important for the bishop to celebrate the mass at the farm with the people.
"To recognize their work and their contribution, it's important to be here to see them personally," she reportedly said.
Sydney, Australia, Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - Australian university students have pledged to volunteer and work toward making World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia, a success. The students were responding to some people who have voiced negative criticisms about the financial cost of the event.
“On behalf of hundreds of university and TAFE students from across Australia, I am guaranteeing our support and pledging volunteers to help make this a reality,” said Australian Catholic Students Association (ACSA) president Daniel Hill, who attended WYD 2000 in Rome.
He said he has already received phone calls from university students enthusiastic to volunteer.
Australian youth, who attended WYD 2005 in Cologne, are hopeful that the event will help renew the Catholic Church in Australia.
“WYD rejuvenated my faith and put me in contact with Catholics from all over the world,” said Annalise Wurtsthorn, a 24-year-old student at La Trobe University in Melbourne.
“Australia will benefit from the energy of the pilgrims, their enthusiasm, gratitude and excitement and the opportunity to give hospitality and welcome to hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from overseas,” she said.
“There is a real optimism that WYD Sydney will change the face of the Church in Australia forever,” said Australian pilgrim John Smyth. “We’ve been out partying every night since the news and we can’t wait to get back and join other Aussie students at the Sept. 4 celebrations.”
ACSA members, who went to WYD in Cologne, will gather at St Mary’s Cathedral Sept. 4 with other Catholic youth and then hit the city’s cafes and pubs to celebrate the good news.
Hill urges other Australian youth to participate in the Sept. 4 event, which will be simulated in other capital cities across Australia.
“There is no question that [WYD 2008] will bring many of those young Catholics who have stopped going to Church back to the faith,” said ACSA secretary Joanna Hayes, who is looking forward to the opportunity of experiencing WYD first hand. “We will see a revitalization of local youth groups and universities societies across Australia,” she predicted.
Atlanta, Ga., Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - A recent report in the London Times showed that many states in the strongly Protestant Bible Belt are seeing a recent surge of Catholic growth, a trend which they say, is throwing a whole new face on southern stereotypes.
Times correspondent Dwight Longenecker reported that “A ‘New Catholicism’ is emerging that is likely to influence the whole US Church. These young Catholics tend to be faithful to the Church’s teachings while being educated and media-savvy.”
The report noted several Catholic strongholds and institutions whose influences stretch around the globe.
Catholic media giant EWTN, for example, located in Irondale, Alabama, reaches 105 million homes in 110 countries and 16 territories around the world making it the largest religious media network in the world.
Founded 24 years ago by Poor Clare nun, Mother Angelica, Eternal Word Television Network calls themselves completely faithful to the Gospel and the Church.
Likewise, Ave Maria University, founded by Domino’s Pizza tycoon Tom Monaghan, is building an ambitious new campus and town in Naples, Florida, which will likely make the area a new bastion of faithful Catholicism. The University’s reputation reaches all the way to the Vatican and has been visited by Austrian Cardinal Christof Schönborn and Nigeria’s Cardinal Francis Arinze.
The Times report stated that the “New Catholicism is young and optimistic, but it is unlikely to tolerate the open dissent that went with the 1970s and the ‘cultural Catholicism’ of generations past.”
“That form of Catholicism”, it said, “is dying, and its death is symbolized by the northern US parishes with plummeting congregations, a shortage of priests and huge debts as they pay off child-abuse scandals. It seems that in the parishes where ‘anything goes‘, everybody went.”
Indeed, Father Jay Scott Newman, who is pastor of St Mary’s parish in Greenville, South Carolina told the Times that, “Here you are not Catholic because your parents came from Italy or Slovakia. It’s because you believe what the Church teaches you is absolutely true.”
In general, Catholics account for about 12 percent of the population in the south, but in certain areas like Atlanta, Greenville, and Charlotte, North Carolina, that number has jumped to some 20 percent--up by a third from the 1990‘s.
There is no sign of a slowdown in growth either, as CNA reported last month, The Diocese of Nashville, which now runs 22 Catholic schools within its 38-county borders, has seen an influx of just under 1,000 new students in the past seven years.
Reports say that the combination of northerners coming down to be part of the southern tech boom combined with many Latin American families migrating north, account for much of the growth.
In fact, in Charlotte, nearly half of the Catholic population is Hispanic, perhaps making that area a good example of the overall changing face of Catholicism in the U.S.
Cupertino, Calif., Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - Last fall, Steven Williams, a fifth grade teacher at Stevens Creek Elementary School in Cupertino, California found himself under fire for the use of certain historical religious documents in his classroom. Now, with the settlement of a lawsuit against the Cupertino School District, the instructor says he feels vindicated.
The Alliance Defense Fund, who argued the lawsuit on Williams behalf say they have reached a settlement in which Williams, a Christian, and all teachers, can fairly present religious documents relevant to their lessons without censorship.
Kevin Theroit, William’s attorney was quoted by Agape Press saying that "… incidentally, the school district also agreed that teachers can talk about religion in schools, even their religious beliefs that they may subscribe to, as long as it's done objectively and as long as the teachers are not trying to convert students to their particular religious beliefs."
Originally, the school had accused Williams of proselytizing his students with handouts such as William Penn's Frame of Government and excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, both of which make explicit reference to God.
Theriot said that "Mr. Williams is satisfied that they are going to follow their policy [and] that there's not going to be any prohibition on him talking about religious things or distributing documents like the Declaration of Independence or William Penn's Frame of Government."
Supporters of Williams are pleased and say that the case sets a new precedent for what public school teachers can and can’t teach regarding religion. The settlement, Theriot said, "allows teachers, no matter what their religious beliefs, to use appropriate educational material (including supplemental handouts of historical significance) during instructional time that has religious content."
The precedent, he noted, also allows teachers "to teach students during instructional time about matters involving religion" provided the topics are within district-approved curriculum and it is not specifically used to influence the beliefs of students.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Lozano of Buenos Aires, who heads the Youth ministry office of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference, acknowledged this week that Pope Benedict XVI had “challenging words” for the young people at World Youth Day in Cologne, but that “perhaps that is what attracted and captivated them.”
“Young people usually tend to get seductive messages inviting them to indulge in consumerism and to take the easy way,” the bishop said. “In contrast, Benedict XVI called them to follow the path of overcoming selfishness and individualism, and it’s very possible that it was the truth that impressed so many thousands of young people in Germany.”
Bishop Lozano noted that “emotion, joy and prayer are the words that best describe what took place last Sunday at Marienfeld.” “If anyone had any doubts about how the Holy Father would communicate with the youth, they should be completely cleared up by now,” he concluded.
Madrid, Spain, Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - Commenting on his experience at World Youth Day in Cologne, Archbishop Francisco Gil Hellin of Burgos, Spain, revealed his “personal impression” that “God has given us the perfect Pope who will lead us on the paths of truth and authenticity.”
“I was impressed by his sharp condemnation of Nazism, which he called ‘an insane racist ideology,’ his strong call for unity among all Christians and with Judaism and Islam, the importance he gave to Sunday Mass, to Sacred Scripture, to the Catechism and the Compendium of the Catechism, and in a special way, by the climate of hope, expectation, and sense of apostolic urgency to increase the number and quality of young people who confess to be Christians,” the archbishop wrote in a blog set up by the Spanish bishops who attended WYD.
Known for his own special concern for priestly vocations, Archbishop Hellin noted his enthusiasm at Benedict XVI’s comments on seminaries and seminary formation. “I found his comments on the nature of the seminary to be very intuitive: it’s no so much a place as a time of discernment—an intimate and constant dialogue and experience with Christ—a place of formation and preparation for the mission, of discovery of the Church as one’s own, and of constant filial contact with Mary, as the Mother of priests,” the archbishop wrote.
Lastly, Archbishop Hellin called it “very enlightening and stimulating that he reminded us that ‘the quality of the presbyterate in a particular Church depends greatly on that of the seminary, and consequently on the quality of those responsible for formation’.”
Madrid, Spain, Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - Father Evans David Gliwitzki, the married Catholic priest in Spain who converted from Anglicanism and has been permitted ordination under the pastoral provision, said this week he hoped his ordination would not be seen as step towards the abolition of priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church, and he rejected the notion that the ordination of women has any basis in Sacred Scripture.
Father Gliwitzki said the Anglican Communion’s decision to ordain women was a primary motive in his decision to convert to the Catholic Church. “I began this change when the ordination of women was approved in my former church, in 1992.”
“This signified a problem for my own faith—and for part of the clergy and bishops—as I believe this should never have been accepted. Therefore I thought, ‘I cannot face this here, it would be better for me to leave.’ Thus I left, but on good terms with my bishop, who agreed with my decision and supported me,” Father Gliwitzki said in an interview with the Spanish daily ABC.
Asked about the difference he sees between not accepting women priests and his being accepted in the Catholic Church despite being married, Father Gliwitzki noted that there is no basis in the Bible for women ordination. “The Anglicans have women celebrating Mass and I don’t find any justification for it in the Bible, because our Lord did not choose any woman.”
“If He had wanted to do so,” he continued, “He would have had several good ones to choose from. The Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and Elizabeth were all close to Him, but I think Jesus knew that it would not be an easy task. And despite how much people talk about it, the decision by the Anglicans has not resulted in a large number of them being ordained,” the 64 year-old native of Zimbabwe said.
Speaking with the Spanish daily La Razon, Father Gliwitzki said he hoped his case would not influence a decision to abolish celibacy for priests and that his case was an “exception.”
“I hope not,” he said. “This is not the first time that a former Anglican minister who is married has been ordained to the Catholic priesthood. In the United Kingdom there have been many such cases. My case, like others, is an exception and has been allowed because I came from a communion in which the ministers were allowed to be married,” he explained.
Father Gliwitzki, who has two daughters and a granddaughter, was ordained last Sunday in Tenerife in the Canary Islands.
While he was the Cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then-Cardinal Ratzinger requested a dispensation from Pope John Paul II to allow Father Gliwitzki to be ordained a Catholic priest.
Rome, Italy, Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - The home in which Pope Benedict XVI was born in the small Bavarian town of Marktl am Inn will be sold for a record amount—as much as $6 million—but the town’s mayor has said it will only be allowed to be used as a museum dedicated to the Pontiff.
The owner of the property, Claudia Dald, who has decided to place the home on the market, received 30 different offers from people in the United States, Germany and some Arab countries. She said she has accepted one of the offers and that it will be finalized in the coming weeks.
Mayor Hubert Gschwendtner said that no matter who the new owner is, the 18th century home has been made an historical site, and although it could be used as a private residence, he said it would be preferable that it be converted into a museum, as it was for the childhood home of Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice.
Last Sunday, thousands of people gathered in Marklt am Inn to wave to the Pope as he flew over the town on his way back to Rome.
Fireworks were shot into the sky and local firemen illuminated the Pope’s home with huge spotlights as the Holy Father’s plane passed over.
Cologne, Germany, Aug 24, 2005 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell expressed his confidence that “WYD Sydney 2008” will strengthen the faith of young Catholics in Australia and that they will attract above all those young Australians without any firm religious convictions.
In a conversation with CNA, the cardinal affirmed that WYD in Australia would be at the service of all the young people “that are looking for something. They can come to see it, experience and enjoy it for them” he indicated.
He said as well that “the percentage of youth that take part in church activities in their country is not very high, We have at least 40% that are catholic, 29 in my state, 18 that for sure participate on Sunday and minors under 16 a bit less. Youth between 18 and 25 participate in small percentage of 4 or 5%, but things starting to change and for the good.”
The Archbishop of Sydney pointed out that the decision to choose his city as host of the next WYD came from Pope Benedict XVI. “He sure was very happy to make the decision, he said to me personally”.
Commenting on the situation of the Church in his country, the Cardinal sustained that “one of the dangers in Australia is that we became very complicated and sophisticated.” “Sometimes we forget about fundamental and essential truths: God loves us, Jesus Christ his son redeemed us. We have to teach this in a simple and attractive way”.
“Out of all the wonderful things in WYD, the most important is that Christ and the Catholic faith make it to the public arena, and not only in churches or in the privacy of homes”, he added.