Vatican City, Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - After the general audience today, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Benedict XVI announced the names of 15 prelates who will be created cardinals in a consistory due to be held on March 24.
Following the March 24 consistory, the first of his pontificate, the College of Cardinals will number 193 members of whom 120, under the age of 80, will be electors.
In announcing the names, the Holy Father affirmed that today's feast is "a particularly appropriate day" to announce the consistory because cardinals "have the duty to help and support Peter's Successor in carrying out the apostolic task entrusted to him in the service of the Church."
"The cardinals," Benedict XVI went on, "constitute a sort of Senate around the Pope upon which he relies in carrying out the duties associated with his ministry as 'permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion'."
The Holy Father also made it clear that with the new appointments he wished "to make up the number of 120 cardinal electors, as established by Pope Paul VI."
Among those being created Cardinals, 12 will be Cardinal electors for being under 80 of age, of which are Archbishop William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., of Boston, are from the United States.
Below the list of the new Cardinals electors. The remaining are mostly european, such as Archbishop Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Archbishop Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, France, Archbishop Antonio Canizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain. Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, Former Secretary of Pope John Paul and Archbishop Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Italy.
The pope also named three prelates from Asia, Archbishop Gaudencio B. Rosales of Manila, Philippine, Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul, Korea and finally Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun S.D.B. of Hong Kong, China.
The Pope named only one prelate from Latin America, namely Archbishop Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino of Caracas, Venezuela
The Pope then announced that he had also decided to elevate to the dignity of cardinal "three prelates over the age of 80, in consideration of the service they have rendered to the Church with exemplary faithfulness and admirable dedication." They are Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, Archbishop Peter Poreku Dery, emeritus of Tamale, Ghana and Fr. Albert Vanhoye S.J., formerly rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute and secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.
The new cardinals, said the Pope, "well reflect the universality of the Church. In fact, they come from various parts of the world and undertake different duties in the service of the People of God. In deed if we look at the distribution by continents, we found 8 europeans, 3 from Asia, two from North America, one from Africa and one from Latin America.
After announcing the names of the 15 new Cardinales the pope invited the faithful present to “ raise a special prayer to the Lord for them, that He may concede them the grace necessary to carry out their mission with generosity."
In closing, the Holy Father expressed his intention to preside at a concelebration with the new Cardinals on the day following the consistory, March 25 and Solemnity of the Annunciation. "For that occasion I will invite all members of the College of Cardinals, with whom I also intend to hold a meeting of reflection and prayer on March 23," the day prior to the consistory.The Consistory will be organized on three days, with one day of prayer prior to the consistory, which is a novelty.
Brighton, Mass., Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, announced today at the Vatican that Archbishop Seán P. O'Malley, O.F.M., Cap. has been named as a member of the College of Cardinals. Archbishop O'Malley is among the first group of Bishops to be elevated to Cardinal by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI .
Archbishop Seán O'Malley made the following statement early this morning: "I am deeply humbled and honored to be named a Cardinal by the Holy Father, for even greater service in the Church.
While there are certain additional responsibilities that come with the privilege of serving as a Cardinal, I wish to reaffirm a commitment I made during my Installation Homily to the priests, deacons, religious and laity, who together form this great Archdiocese of Boston. That is, I am your Shepherd, your brother, and I am here to serve all the people of the Archdiocese.
Since being named Archbishop of Boston over two years ago, I have relied on the daily prayers and support of the clergy, religious, and faithful of the Archdiocese. Together, we have faced many challenges and I look forward to continuing our work together towards strengthening our Church. I continue to pray that all people of the Archdiocese will renew their commitment to our shared mission of faith and rebuilding the Church.
In the immediacy of receiving this honor from the Holy Father, in a spirit of charity, I ask for the prayerful support of the people of Boston as I assume this important role in the life of the Church."
Archbishop O'Malley was born on June 29, 1944, ordained Priest on August 29, 1970, ordained Bishop: August 2, 1984. He was Appointed Archbishop of Boston, on July 1, 2003 and installed July 30, 2003.
Vatican City, Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - In his weekly Wednesday audience, held earlier today at the Vatican, Pope Benedict used the occasion of today’s Feast of the Chair of St. Peter to explain the nature and origin of the papacy itself, saying that Christ, the Good Shepherd, seeks to unite His Church and lead faithful to salvation through the esteemed office.
Today’s audience had been highly anticipated by watchers because it is the first on a theme picked entirely by Benedict himself. Last week, he completed a long running catechetical series on the Scriptural canticles and Psalms which compose the Liturgy of the Hours. It was begun by Pope John Paul II a number of years ago.
Speaking today in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall the Pope called today’s feast, the day "with which we give thanks to God for the mission entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his Successors.”
“The 'cathedra'“, he said, “is literally the seat of the bishop. ... It is the symbol of his authority and, particularly, of his 'Magisterium,' in other words of the evangelical teaching that he, as successor to the Apostles, is called to protect and transmit to the Christian community."
The Pope went on to recall the fact that the Church’s first "seat" was the Cenacle, pointing out that "it is probable that a special place was reserved for Simon Peter in that room, where Mary Mother of Jesus also prayed together with the disciples.”
Subsequently, he explained, Peter's seat became Antioch, from which, Providence led him to Rome "where he crowned with martyrdom his journey in the service of the Gospel.”
“For this reason”, Benedict added, “the see of Rome, which obtained the greatest honor, also received the obligation entrusted by Christ to Peter to be at the service of all particular Churches, for the edification and unity of the entire People of God."
He said that "To celebrate the 'Chair' of Peter means, then, giving it a strong spiritual significance, and recognizing therein a privileged sign of the love of God, the good and eternal Shepherd Who wishes to unite the whole of His Church and lead her along the way of salvation.”
The Pope then Quoted St. Jerome, one of the Church’s early Fathers, who wrote, “I follow no leader save Christ, so I consult the Chair of Peter, for this I know is the rock upon which the Church is built'."
The pontiff concluded his catechesis by imploring the crowd to pray, "especially for the ministry with which God has entrusted me.” Likewise, he asked them to “Call upon the Holy Spirit to support with His light and strength my daily service to the whole Church."
Vatican City, Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - Following his Wednesday audience, held earlier today at the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, Pope Benedict XVI called for a renewal in the long-held, but now largely abandoned study of Latin, which he said, can help the faithful foster a firmer understanding of “sound doctrine”, contained in Church teaching and literature.
His post-catechetical address was given largely to a group of students and faculty of Christian and Classical Literature at Rome’s Pontifical Salesian University.
"My predecessors”, the Pope said, speaking to them in Latin, “rightly encouraged the study of [this] great language in order to achieve a better understanding of the sound doctrine contained in the ecclesiastical and humanistic disciplines.”
“In the same way,” the Holy Father added, “we encourage the continuation of this activity, so that as many people as possible may perceive the importance of this treasure and attain it."
Washington D.C., Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Bush administration’s appeal of a ruling in Gonzales v. Carhart, 05- 380, which says the 2003 Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act is unconstitutional because it does not make an exception when a mother's health is at risk, reported Bloomberg.
The act bans procedures in which a fetus is partially removed from the mother before being killed. Doctors who violate the law would be subject to criminal and civil penalties. But the law has not yet taken effect. If it does, it would be the first nationwide ban of an abortion procedure since Roe v. Wade.
The U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement argued that the lower court “erred by refusing to accord deference to Congress's findings, including its ultimate finding that partial birth abortion is never medically indicated to preserve the health of the mother.”
Congress’ nine-year study concluded that, contrary to what doctors argue in their challenge of the law, the most common procedure used in partial birth abortions, called intact dilation and evacuation, is not safer than other abortion techniques and creates additional risks for the mother.
Three federal appeals courts have said the 2003 ban law is unconstitutional, the most recent being the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
A decision in favor of the federal law would mark an important turning point for the Supreme Court, which in 2000, struck down a similar Nebraska law on a 5-4 vote.
Washington D.C., Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - The U.S. Catholic bishops congratulated the Haitian people and president-elect, René Préval, on the success of their recent elections and called on the international community to increase its assistance to Haiti in the development of “sustained economic growth and social transformation.”
“The challenges facing the people of Haiti and Mr. Préval are enormous and will require the cooperation of all sectors of society,” wrote Bishop Thomas Wenski in the Feb. 21 letter. “We know that the Catholic Church in Haiti will continue to fulfill its essential ministry of fostering unity, peace and reconciliation.”
The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Policy called on the U.S. Congress to act soon in moving stalled legislation that would grant meaningful trade preferences to Haiti and create thousands of new jobs. He called specifically for the U.S. to help Haiti’s apparel industry.
“The people of Haiti have taken an important step forward in electing a president. Now the United States and the international community must take additional steps to accompany the Haitian people as they walk the long road to a future of democratic and economic re-vitalization,” said the bishop of Orlando.
“It is our hope that the President, members of the legislature and the new Prime Minister when installed will immediately move to bring about significant and early improvements in the standard of living of all Haitians,” he stated. “We believe that this is best accomplished by seeking the active participation of political parties, the private sector, academia, the many vibrant organizations of civil society, the Haitian Diaspora and Haiti’s numerous friends throughout the world.”
Ann Arbor, Mich., Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - The Thomas More Law Center has petitioned the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to rehear a case challenging an anti-Christian policy of the New York City school system.
Recently, a sharply divided three-judge panel of the circuit court ruled that it was constitutionally permissible for New York City public schools to ban the display of the Christian Nativity during Christmas, while permitting and encouraging the display of Jewish menorahs and Islamic star and crescents during Hanukkah and Ramadan.
The City defended its policy by arguing that the menorah, star and crescent were permissible symbols because they were “secular,” whereas the nativity scene had to be excluded because it was “purely religious.”
Despite the fact that the appellate court disagreed with the City’s characterization of the Jewish and Muslim symbols, it nonetheless, upheld the policy.
The legal challenge to this policy was brought by the Law Center on behalf of a Christian mother, Andrea Skoros, and her two children who attend public elementary schools in New York.
“Review is necessary because this case presents a question of exceptional importance to public education in this country,” reads the petition that was filed for rehearing last week.
The decision creates a “dangerous” precedent and “provides support for those who would seek to enact and enforce such discriminatory policies in our Nation’s public schools,” the petition states.
Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, says the decision is another offensive example of the double standard applied by the federal courts to discriminate against Christians.
Robert Muise, the Law Center’s attorney handling the case, said it is “so starkly contrary to basic, constitutional principles that it calls into question the integrity of our federal judiciary on matters affecting religion, and, in particular, Christianity.”
Turin, Italy, Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - A sports writer for the USA Today newspaper is wondering; why has broadcast network NBC neglected any mention of the incredibly famous Shroud of Turin, despite the 2006 Olympics being held in its front yard.
In the U.S., NBC has exclusive broadcast rights to the games, making it the primary source for most American’s event coverage.
Michael McCarthy, writing in a column last week, said that in the days of Olympic coverage so far, “NBC (with the exception of [The Today Show]) has yet to mention the Shroud of Turin.”
“Whether you venerate the Shroud as the actual burial cloth of a crucified Jesus of Nazareth or dismiss it as a clever medieval forgery,” he pointed out, “it's odd NBC has ignored one of world's most mysterious, and controversial, religious artifacts.”
William Donohue, President of the New York-based Catholic League for religious and civil liberties, recently called the media neglect "hypocritical", and charged NBC with deliberately avoiding religion.
"If you asked the average American to name something about Turin, Italy, they'd name the Shroud," Donohue said. "It's like having the Olympics in Fort Knox and not mentioning gold.”
Some think that the lack of mention is related to recent Islamic violence over Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. They say that with the cloud of religious controversy casting a shadow over world media, NBC has sought to avoid any mention of religion whatsoever.
However, NBC’s David Neil, executive producer for the network’s Olympic coverage, said that the station is working on a Shroud feature but, up to now, have been more concerned about giving full coverage to the events--and not getting bogged down in feature stories.
Mexico City, Mexico, Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - Bishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago of Leon, Mexico, is warning Catholics against the tactics of certain cult groups that claim to be able to solve every employment, economic and emotional problem.
Bishop Martin Rabago said Catholics should not allow themselves to fall prey to such deceit, and he pointed to the need to “orient the faithful, so that they don’t become victims of deceit and undue proselytism.”
He also said the government is responsible for reviewing the teachings of religious groups in order to determine if they contribute positive values to society.
Bishop Martin Rabago explained the groups often pass out flyers offering to resolve any legal, health or economic problem for those who embrace their promises.
Lima, Peru, Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - The US Agency for International Development announced this week it will cut of economic assistance to the feminist group “Manuela Ramos” over its improper use of funds for promoting the distribution and use of the morning-after pill in Peru.
According to the Peruvian daily Expreso, sources at the US embassy in Peru said “the aid agreement between USAID and ‘the Manuelas’ has expired this month and will not be renewed,” because the group has defended the morning after pill without considering that “in 1997 USAID warned it would take a neutral position on the issue and respect the decision of the Peruvian government in the matter.”
Carlos Polo, director of the Population Research Institute, said representatives of the group often mentioned the issue during their programs on Peruvian television, and USAID realized their economic assistance was being used to promote an issue on which the agency desired to remain neutral. For this reason, Polo said, “I personally traveled to the US in October of last year to inform USAID about how feminists were using funds that were supposed to be set aside for health care and not for training people about the preference of this method,” he added.
Kent Hill, director of the USAID’s Global Health Office, responded in writing to Polo stating, “In accord with our policy, USAID has abstained from any public comments in favor of or against the pill. In light of this policy and in response to your communication, we have reviewed the cases you mentioned in which the activities of beneficiaries of our program appear to be inconsistent with our neutral position.”
Recently Susana Chavez, director of the Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights and a promoter of the legalization of abortion and the distribution of the morning after pill in Peru, asked USAID to abandon its neutral position on the drug, in order to use funds provide by the agency to promote her organization’s and the Manuela’s anti-life agenda.
Madrid, Spain, Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - Bishop Jose Manuel Lorca Planes of Teruel, Spain has joined a chorus of critics condemning a new law on assisted human reproduction passed by the country’s House of Representatives, calling it a monstrosity that attacks human dignity by promoting the murder of the innocent.
In a pastoral letter Bishop Lorca said, “The human embryo deserves the respect due to a human person.” The embryo “is not a thing or a mere blob of living cells, but rather the first state of existence of a human being.”
He said the new law was a not a sign of progress for society and that those who “wish to sell us the idea that all of our problems would be solved by creating people in the laboratory” are “irrational” and “imprudent.”
Bishop Jesus Sanz Montes of Huesca also decried the law saying, “Christians are not against scientific advances,” but it is “hypocritical to pass laws to protect our lungs from second-hand smoke and at the same time to pass laws snuffing out the life of the human embryo… as if it were a guinea pig.”
Bishop Montes said it was “frightening” to think about the financial benefit the new law represents for companies involved in such practices and he denounced politicians who embrace such policies in order to gain votes.
Last Thursday, Spain’s House of Representatives passed the new law on assisted reproduction, which allows a woman to have up to three embryos implanted in her uterus in order to increase the possibilities of a successful pregnancy. It also allows couples to decide whether to keep the left over embryos, donate them for research or to other couples, or to have them destroyed.
San Salvador, El Salvador, Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - Archbishop Fernando Saenz Lacalle of San Salvador, El Salvador, reminded Catholics this week that failure to vote is a sin of omission, because the faith requires believers to collaborate with the good of the country.
He also exhorted Salvadorans to get to know the political platforms of mayoral and congressional candidates in order to vote responsibly in the country’s elections on March 12.
“Although democracy does not end with the electoral process, the faith requires we collaborate with the good of the country. Absentionism is a sin of omission,” the bishop warned.
He also noted that with their votes, citizens are expressing approval or disapproval of the candidates and of government initiatives. If a voter “does not find a party or candidate that coincides with his religious and moral principles, he should vote for the lesser evil, according to his judgment.”
Archbishop Lacalle called on the government’s electoral commission to ensure elections are transparent. He also underscored that the Church does not support any specific party and that it is a serious sin to engage in the buying or selling of votes, which he said must be kept secret.
Chicago, Ill., Feb 22, 2006 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Chicago has launched a new mission that it hopes will bring about an evangelical revival among Catholics.
Mission Chicago is an ongoing effort initiated by Cardinal George to encourage evangelization in the archdiocese. The cardinal is acting on his strong belief that the essential mission of the Church is proclaiming Jesus Christ and inviting people to share in his life and Church.
One aspect of Mission Chicago is a series by Fr. Robert Barron. He will preach a mission in select parishes throughout the archdiocese, starting Feb. 23, which is meant to inspire active Catholics and invite those who have not been active in their faith to a fuller participation in the life of the Church. The missions will culminate at Holy Name Cathedral April 9.
For the schedule of Fr. Barron’s special missions, go to: www.archchicago.org.