Boston, Mass., Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - A retired dean of canon law at Catholic University of America, who helped revise the Roman Catholic liturgy at the Second Vatican Council, has died. Msgr. Frederick McManus died Nov. 27 at the age of 82.
Msgr. McManus served as expert to the U.S. bishops who attended the council from 1962 to 1965. For his assistance with the draft of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy he was given the honor of celebrating the first official English-language Mass in the United States, in St. Louis in 1964. He wrote extensively on liturgy and canon law and taught generations of Church lawyers.
In 1983, he contributed to the revision of the Code of Canon Law and was an organizer of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy until the late 1990s. He was a Church representative in the ecumenical dialogues opened by Pope John Paul II with the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox churches.
Msgr. McManus was born in Lynn, Mass., and was ordained in 1947. He received his doctor of canon law degree at Catholic University in 1954. He taught at Catholic University as a professor of canon law from 1958 to 1993.
Swansea, United Kingdom, Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - An archbishop had urged the government to implement public policy that would support marriage as a new civil partnership for homosexuals came into effect yesterday.
Since the Civil Partnership Act came into effect, more than a dozen homosexual couples have registered for the new legal partnership.
The new legislation makes the union as legally binding as a heterosexual marriage and grants homosexual couples the same tax and inheritance rights as heterosexual married couples. It will also grant them pension rights and paternal responsibility for each other's children.
However, Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff is warning that civil partnerships for homosexuals will undermine the institution of marriage.
"What the government should do in terms of public policy is support marriage rather than undermine it," said Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff, reported the BBC.
As of Dec. 5, same-sex couples could give notice of their intent to form a civil partnership. Ceremonies will take place as of Dec. 21.
Paris, France, Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - Catholic and Jewish leaders lauded the improved relations between the two religious groups Dec. 4 at the third European congress on the Jewish-Catholic relations.
Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, the retired archbishop of Paris, suggested that improved relations between Jews and Catholics could help advance civilization and encourage Muslims to enter into the inter-religious relationship with more trust and less fear.
“I hope that the quality of the relationship that we’ve attained between Jews and Catholics could bear fruit with other religions,” agreed Archbishop André Vingt-Trois of Paris.
Rabbi Netanel Teitelbaum of Cologne, Germany, who welcomed Pope Benedict XVI during World Youth Day 2005, said the world has suffered from anti-Semitism for a very long time. He distinguished, however, between the beginning of the Holocaust in 1938 and the way it is expressed to today.
He referred to an event that had taken place last month as an example. Police disallowed a neo-Nazi demonstration planned for Nov. 9, in front of the synagogue of Cologne. Hundreds of citizens, including non-Jews, spontaneously gathered in front of the synagogue to counter-demonstrate.
The joint actions of Jewish and Catholic aid and development organizations were highlighted, such as a medical lab in Gabon that produces inexpensive medications for Africa. According to Cardinal Lustiger, it is very important that the Jewish and Christian traditions witness together in this way.
“Here opens a common field of action which can be decisive for the future of civilization in the current conditions,” he said. These two traditions, who believe in the inherent dignity of man, work together in the face of other traditions, he said.
“It is important that in Africa, Latin America or in the Ukraine, Jews and Catholic present themselves together to serve their neighbor,” said Cardinal Lustiger.
Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon invited Christians present to rediscover “the dignity of being associated to the Jewish people.”
“We are Israel as well,” he said.
Held at the Paris City Hall, the gathering honored Pope John Paul II. The late Pope denounced anti-Semitism and “engaged the Church in a purification of its memory,” said Archbishop Jean Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, president of the French bishops’ conference.
European Jewish Congress president Pierre Besnainou added it was John Paul who, through his actions perhaps more than his words, contributed the most to improving relations between Christians and Jews.
Irondale, Ala., Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - Canada’s first satellite radio service, SIRIUS CANADA, has included EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network's English and Spanish radio programming in its channel lineup.
EWTN's English language programming can be heard all day across Canada on channel 160. EWTN's Hispanic Radio service, "Radio Católica Mundial" is available on channel 180.
EWTN president Michael Warsaw said the network is delighted to be the first Catholic programmer on a Canadian satellite radio service.
Front Royal, Va., Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - "The Church recognizes that people with 'homosexual tendencies' can be good Christians, social workers, and administrators, but being a priest is all of these things and much more,” stated Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International.
His comment came following the release of Concerning the Criteria of Vocational Discernment Regarding Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of their Admission to Seminaries and Holy Orders by the Congregation for Catholic Education.
"Engaging in homosexual acts is a grave, mortal sin that endangers the immortal soul of the practitioner and such a lifestyle compromises a man's ability to competently serve as a priest," stated Fr. Euteneuer.
"The statement released last week with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI clearly restates the Church's longstanding teaching that men who struggle with disordered passions or suffer from the burden of homosexual sin cannot be admitted to the priesthood, and we are grateful to the Vatican for this document .. . ."
"The Church does not deny that those with homosexual tendencies cannot be chaste. It just makes a clear distinction between chastity and celibacy. Christians are called to live sexually chaste lives regardless of any personal tendency or disorder. Celibacy however requires that men renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God-- something homosexuals cannot do. The Church is within her rights to ask that her priests make this sacrifice in imitation of Christ" concluded Fr. Euteneuer.
Founded in 1981, Human Life International is the world's largest pro-life, pro-family organization that is dedicated to defending life, faith and the family, with branches and affiliates around the world.
Vatican City, Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - In an address given today to members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, stressed the need for universal religious freedom and new, concrete measures to combat human suffering.
Foreign ministers from 55 member states were on hand for the 13th meeting of the OSCE, currently being held in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Archbishop Lajolo began address by stressing the common goal of participating states, namely: "the consolidation of peace by a simultaneous achievement of security, stability, development and respect for human rights."
"The Holy See”, he continued, “considers its distinctive duty to insist on the continuing central importance of religious freedom for peaceful coexistence and for respect between different cultures in today's multi-ethnic and multicultural societies."
The Archbishop assured listeners that the Holy See greatly appreciates "the intention of the participating States to give closer attention to the scourge of human trafficking, and supports the will to adopt a victim-centered approach."
"As regards the question of migration," he said, "the OSCE can offer a valuable contribution so that the policies of participating States keep in mind the unity of the human family, and of the family of each migrant, and offer guarantees of prosperity with respect for all."
The Vatican secretary concluded his address by pointing out that, "in the areas of human trafficking and migration, concrete measures of assistance are needed to alleviate the suffering of many women and men, and to re-establish respect for their human dignity."
Vatican City, Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - The Vatican today, released the contents of a Papal message commending the Italian University of Urbino for its successful integration of theological truths within the context of a legitimate Church-State separation.
The message was sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano to Archbishop Francesco Marinelli of Urbino-Urbania-Sant'Angelo in Vado, Italy, for the occasion of the university’s fifth centenary.
The school was recently renamed for its own Professor Carlo Bo (1911 - 2001), who served as rector of the school for 54 years. It is currently home to some 20,000 students.
Cardinal Sodano wrote that the Holy Father "hopes that the cultural formation of new generations will always remain the university's primary aim.”
“To this end,” he said, “a useful contribution may be drawn from the 'Italo Mancini' Higher Institute of Religious Sciences which has been active in the university for more than 20 years."
The cardinal continued his message, saying that "Within the context of the legitimate autonomy which must distinguish relations between Church and State, the university upholds Urbino's vibrant tradition of theology teaching…”
This, he said, enables “young people to compare their own existential, intellectual and social search with the supreme synthesis of truth and life revealed in Christ."
Boston, Mass., Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - In a stand for Catholic teaching on human sexuality, officials at Boston College have announced the cancellation of a dance sponsored by campus gay, lesbian and transgender organizations.
The dance, which was scheduled to mark the close of AIDS Awareness Week on campus, had been sponsored by the school’s GLBT Leadership Council (GLC), the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community at Boston College, and Allies groups.
According to The Heights, a campus newspaper, University spokesman Jack Dunn said that "The University's policy is that students apply for permits for events through the Office of the Dean for Student Development.”
“Upon reviewing the request,” he said, “ODSD and Student Affairs concluded, appropriately, that they could not endorse an event that advocated a position that was in conflict with church teaching."
Organizers said that the event, originally called "The GLC Diversity Ball: A Night in Gay Paris - A Safe Zone Event," and changed to “AIDS Benefit Gala: A Celebration of Diversity - A Safe Zone Event," was designed in an effort to build community.
Funds from the dance were slated to support the Boston Living Center, a local non-profit which cares for HIV/AIDS sufferers.
A number of students and faculty argued that the dance’s cancellation was an act of discrimination.
Student Samantha Koller told the Heights that "The student body is far more open-minded and open-hearted than the administration…This unabashed discrimination was an appalling violation of student rights."
Dunn however, disagrees. "What we're doing”, he said, “is what all 238 Catholic universities in the United States would do. As a Catholic university, we cannot sanction an event that promotes a lifestyle that is in conflict with church teaching."
Springfield, Ill., Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - Bishop John Leibrecht of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, MO, is defending his decision to suspend a priest who left his post--despite the bishop’s orders--to serve at a dissident St. Louis parish.
Fr. Marek Bozek, a native Polish priest and associate pastor of St. Agnes Cathedral, decided last week to leave his own diocese to serve at St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish parish in St. Louis.
That parish has broken away from its own bishop and refused to restructure itself in compliance with Canon Law.
St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has been entangled in a two year-long debacle with St. Stanislaus, which currently operates under a structure in which the pastor is subject to the authority of the parish governing board.
Archbishop Burke has pointed out that this structure is in violation of Canon Law, and over a year ago, removed the priests assigned to St. Stanislaus and moved official Polish language masses to a nearby parish.
In a letter to the Springfield News-Leader, Bishop Leibrecht lamented having to suspend Fr. Bozek, calling it a “wrenching experience for a Catholic bishop to have to suspend a priest from further ministry.”
He recalled that the young priest--who has been ordained for only three years--had asked him “for a leave of absence so that he could go to St. Stanislaus Kostka parish in St. Louis.”
Because of needs at St. Agnes, the bishop said he reminded Fr. Bozek “that at his ordination three years ago, he solemnly promised to work in this diocese at parishes where I and my successors would assign him. I told him I expected him to keep that promise.”
Bishop Leibrecht stressed that Bozek remains a priest for the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and that “He is welcome to return, the sooner the better.”
He said he fully expects the priest to eventually return and “offer appropriate apologies to his brother priests, and to the pastor and people of St. Agnes Cathedral whom he left in the lurch by his untimely departure.”
Rome, Italy, Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - Dissident theologians opposing the beatification of Pope John Paul II have issued an appeal urging Catholics critical of the late pope to tell the Vatican if they also think he should not be made a saint.
The Rome diocese has opened a beatification cause for the Pope. Church officials have asked all Catholics to come forward with personal experiences or evidence of possible miracles that could support a reputation for holiness.
The Group of dissident theologians presented their views in a press conference hosted by the Italian agency ADISTA, in order to foster public backing against the beatification process of Karol Woytila.
One of the best-known signatories was Jose Maria Castillo, a Jesuit professor who has taught theology at the University of Granada. Another was Italian theologian Giovanni Franzoni.
"We invite such persons (critical of the late pope) to overcome their shyness and timidity and formally express, with gospel freedom, facts which according to their consciences and convictions should be an obstacle to beatification," they wrote.
The dissidents presented seven points according to which, John Paul II should not be canonized.
While the theologians acknowledged John Paul's papacy had "positive aspects", their seven-point appeal included criticism of his rigidly conservative stand on issues such as contraception, limitations on the role of women, and of scandals in the Church. His rebuttal to discus seriously and in depth the the condition of women in the Church,
It included the sexual abuse scandal that swept the United States in 2002, when it was discovered that priests who had molested children were moved from parish to parish instead of being defrocked or turned over to authorities.
The appeal criticised what it called a lack of control over some of the Vatican's "murky financial manoeuvres", specifically naming the Holy See's relations with Italy's Banco Ambrosiano, which went bankrupt in 1982.
The theologians said the Church's saint makers should also consider the "repression and alienation" inflicted on some theologians by John Paul, a reference to his moves to discipline promoters of Latin America's "Liberation Theology," which he felt was too close to Marxist social analysis as a way of helping the continent's poor.
Nevertheless, contrary to what they expected, the critics were listened to carefully by the Vicariate in Rome, in charge of the beatification process. The reason is simple: any canonization process requires the audience of any person that oposses the process, and up until this day, It had been almost impossible to find critics of the late Pope.
Last May, Pope Benedict put his predecessor on the fast track to possible sainthood by dispensing with Church rules that impose a five-year waiting period after a candidate's death before the procedure that leads to sainthood can even start.
One miracle is required after John Paul's death for the cause to move on to beatification, the last step before sainthood. The miracle must be the result of prayers asking the dead pope to intercede with God.
Another miracle would be necessary between beatification and eventual sainthood. Miracles are usually a physical healing which doctors are at a loss to explain.
Madrid, Spain, Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - In a pastoral letter marking the beginning of Advent, Archbishop Julian Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, called on Catholics to leave aside superficial matters and to focus on preparing to celebrate the birth of the Son of God.
“We should strive to not let the superficial prevent us from entering deeply into the richness and truth of the love of God,” the archbishop wrote. “Christmas is a mystery of the faith to which we must draw near in humility, awe and joy in the silence of our contemplation,” he added.
Archbishop Barrio explained that the most significant figures of Advent are the prophet Isaiah, John the Baptist, and the Virgin Mary, “because they lived in eager anticipation with hopeful trust in the mercy of God.”
Men and women today get caught up in the daily routine of life, in pursuit of successful careers and superficial entertainment, losing track of the true meaning of life, the archbishop wrote.
He called on the faithful to place their hope in Christ, in order to rediscover the true spiritual meaning of Christmas, to restore Advent devotions in the home and to participate with great faith in the sacramental life.
“Contemplating the birth of Jesus strengthens Christian hope, making it a source of love and service to neighbor,” he wrote in conclusion.
Sydney, Australia, Dec 6, 2005 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Sydney presided over by Cardinal George Pell, launched this Tuesday the official website for the next World Youth Day (WYD), which will take place in Australia from July 15 to 20th 2008.
The page opens with the announcement made by Pope Benedict XVI in Cologne, choosing Sydney as the host for the XIX WYD.
The site offers information on the preparation of the evnent, a photo gallery with Australian youth participating at WYD in Cologne.
The address of the website is: