Archive of April 5, 2006

Nationally broadcast Easter Mass to be celebrated in New Orleans cathedral

Washington D.C., Apr 5, 2006 (CNA) - This year’s nationally televised Easter mass will be taped at the Cathedral of St. Louis in New Orleans and presided by Archbishop Alfred Hughes. It will be available to ABC-TV stations nationwide to broadcast at their discretion April 16.

The New Orleans cathedral, which survived Hurricane Katrina with minimal damage, was chosen as the location for this celebration to demonstrate the hope and resilience of the people of faith in the archdiocese.

The Cathedral of St. Louis, located in the French quarter, was established in 1718. It had recently completed an extensive renovation when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans last August.

The hour-long liturgical special is being produced by WLAE-TV in New Orleans in cooperation with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).

A list of stations and scheduled broadcasts will be available on the USCCB website ( beginning April 7.

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Those not in truth break from unity of Christ’s Church, says Pope

Vatican City, Apr 5, 2006 (CNA) - 30,000 people were on hand in St. Peter’s Square this morning to hear Pope Benedict XVI as he chided those who break communion with and within the Church by abandoning truth and denying the faith.

The theme of his Wednesday audience this week was ‘Service to communion within the Church.’ It continues an ongoing catechesis series about the union of Christ and the Church in light of the apostles.

On a particularly windy day in Rome, the pontiff, at one point, was forced to hand his skullcap over to an aid to keep it from blowing away.

The Holy Father began by saying that "The source of the communion of the disciples, both with one another and with God, is the Spirit that pours the love of God into our hearts."

"Where the Church is,” he continued, quoting St. Irenaeus, “there is the Spirit of God, and where the Spirit is, there is the Church and all grace."

Benedict explained that "This intimate link with the Spirit does not eliminate our humanity with all its weaknesses, as the community of disciples is well aware." Proof of this, he added, is "constituted above all by the contrasts concerning the truth of faith and the subsequent lacerations of communion."

Citing the First Letter of John in the New Testament, the Pope said that “these potential tensions within the experience of communion” are nothing new.

"No voice in the New Testament”, he said, “rises with greater force to highlight the reality and the duty of fraternal love between Christians; yet the same voice addresses itself with drastic severity to the adversaries who were members of the community but are so no longer.”

“The Church of love”, he stressed, “is also the Church of truth, primarily understood as being faithful to the Gospel that Christ entrusted to His followers."

The Holy Father said that true communion "arises from a faith inspired by apostolic preaching, it is nourished by the breaking of bread and by prayer, and it is expressed in fraternal charity and in service.”

Because of this, “The Apostles and their successors are…the custodians and authoritative witnesses of the deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, just as they are also ministers of the charity revealed and donated by the Lord Jesus. In this way, theirs is above all a service of love; and the charity they live and promote is inseparable from the truth they defend and transmit.”

“Truth and love”, the Pope highlighted, “are two faces of the same gift that comes from God and that, thanks to the apostolic ministry, is safeguarded within the Church, reaching down to our own time."

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Anti-Catholic resolution prompts lawsuit

San Francisco, Calif., Apr 5, 2006 (CNA) - A resolution, condemning Catholic moral teaching on homosexuality and urging San Francisco’s archbishop and Catholic Charities to defy Church directives prohibiting gay adoptions, has prompted a federal lawsuit by the Thomas More Law Center.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the resolution March 21.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and two San Francisco citizens. It challenges the anti-Catholic resolution on the basis of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The lawsuit claims that the First Amendment “forbids an official purpose to disapprove of a particular religion, religious beliefs, or of religion in general.”

Robert Muise, the Law Center attorney handling the case, added that the U.S. Constitution “forbids hostility toward any religion.”

“In total disregard for the Constitution, homosexual activists in positions of authority in San Francisco are abusing their authority as government officials and misusing the instruments of government to attack the Catholic Church. This egregious abuse of power is an outrage and a clear violation of the First Amendment,” he said.

The resolution alludes to the Vatican as a foreign country meddling in the affairs of the City and describes the Church’s moral teaching and beliefs as “insulting to all San Franciscans,” “hateful,” “defamatory,” and “absolutely unacceptable.” It also says Cardinal William Levada, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is “unqualified” to lead.

This “anti-Catholic resolution sends a clear message to Plaintiffs and others who are faithful adherents to the Catholic faith that they are outsiders … [and] that those who oppose Catholic religious beliefs … are insiders, favored members of the political community,” the lawsuit states.

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Cardinal Dziwisz calls for patience in beatification process of John Paul II

Rome, Italy, Apr 5, 2006 (CNA) - Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow and former personal secretary to Pope John Paul II, has called upon faithful to be patient regarding the beatification process of the late Pontiff, because “it is better to wait and do things right.”

“What we want is the beatification process to take place without rushing, with depth, so that nobody later can accuse us of not working carefully,” he said in statements to the Polish news agency PAP.

Likewise, although the faithful desire his prompt elevation to the altars, the cardinal explained the long process would be beneficial because it would underscore “the charismatic figure of the Holy Father.”

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was at the Vatican for commemorations of the first anniversary of John Paul II’s passing, said, “The world is rediscovering John Paul II and is seeking to better understand him.”

“The anniversary commemorations showed that the world is grateful to Benedict XVI for looking after the memory and love for his predecessor,” he said.

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Bible Society, pastors at odds over ‘Jesus Loves Porn Stars’ cover

Los Angeles, Calif., Apr 5, 2006 (CNA) - Two California pastors and the American Bible Society are at odds over a cover design the pastors have requested for 10,000 copies of the Bible which they plan to distribute to those entrenched in the pornography industry.

Pastors MikeFoster, 35, and Craig Gross, 30, are the founders of, a Corona-based anti-pornography Internet ministry. As part of their ministry, they also meet with and hand out free Bibles to porn stars and their fans at adult film conventions. They say they typically giveaway 1,000 copies of the New Testament at the conventions, according tothe Los Angeles Times.

However, they thought a Bible cover containing their popular tag line; "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" would triple their distribution. The American Bible Society rejected their idea.

American Bible Society executive Barbara Bernstengel said that while the society applauds the pastors’ outreach, "the wording is misleading and inappropriate for a New Testament cover. She suggested several alternatives, but the pastors rejected them.

Gross said their slogan is not misleading. Jesus does love porn stars and the message doesn't insinuate that he loves pornography, he said. Rather, the "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" cover would help get the New Testament into the hands of those normally shunned by Christians.

The pastors told the Los Angeles Times that this incident is a typical clash between old school Christianity with its rigid structure and traditions and an emerging brand practiced largely by younger Christians who focus on relationships, spiritual experiences and bringing the Gospel to nonbelievers through bold, sometimes edgy marketing.

Richard Flory, a sociologist at Biola University who studies new Christian movements, told the newspaper that the society should not jeopardize its larger mission by publishing a Bible cover that it believes will be divisive.

The pastors admit that the cover is controversial but says that if it gets the Good News in people’s hands, then it’s a good thing. They told the LosAngeles Times that they are in talks with other publishers to get their Bible printed. was founded in 2002 to fight addiction to internet pornography ,especially among Christians. Their intentionally controversial website, billed as the "No. 1 Christian Porn Site", includes free "accountability software" to flag questionable sites visited by users and podcasts featuring interviews with ex-porn stars turned Christian.

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Past, future World Youth Day leaders gather for first international meeting

Vatican City, Apr 5, 2006 (CNA) - The Vatican has announced that world leaders and organizers of the popular World Youth Day celebrations will gather for their first international meeting this weekend at Sassone Di Ciampino near Rome.

A communique, released yesterday by the Pontifical Council for the Laity stated that the meeting will be attended by delegates from some 85 countries as well as representatives from 45 religious communities, associations and Catholic youth movements.

On Friday, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne, Germany, will recount last August's World Youth Day, which was held in that city. He will analyze the effect it had on his archdiocese and on youth pastoral care throughout Germany before looking at organizational and logistical challenges brought by the event.

On Saturday, Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell will speak on the challenges and expectations of the Australian Church, which will host World Youth Day 2008.

The delegates will gather on April 9th, Palm Sunday for a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square. Following the liturgy, a group of young Germans will present the pilgrim World Youth Day cross to a group from Australia.

Beginning Monday, the Cross will undertake a long journey through Europe, Africa and a number of Pacific Ocean islands before arriving in Sydney in July of 2008 for the start of World Youth Day itself.

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Pope prays for peace in Basque region, illuminated by St. Francis Xavier

Vatican City, Apr 5, 2006 (CNA) - Following his general audience held earlier today at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI extended a special greeting to pilgrims from Spain, who will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of their own St. Francis Xavier on Friday.

The Pope called St. Francis "the great Jesuit missionary who preached the Gospel in the lands of Asia, opening many doors to Christ."

He added that he unites himself “with that celebration, thanking the Lord for this great gift to His Church. ... In contemplating the figure of St. Francis Xavier we feel called to pray for those who dedicate their lives to the evangelizing mission, proclaiming the beauty of the salvific message of Jesus.”

Benedict also invited those gathered "to pray that, through the intercession of this saint, everyone may intensify efforts to consolidate the horizons of peace that seem to be opening in the Basque Country and in all Spain, and to overcome the obstacles that may arise on this long journey."

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Indian director raises eyebrows with hopes to cast Paris Hilton as Mother Teresa

Kerala, India, Apr 5, 2006 (CNA) - An Indian movie director said he hopes to persuade Paris Hilton to play the role of Mother Teresa in an upcoming film.

Director T. Rajeevnath told AFP that Hilton made a casting shortlist after a computer-generated image showed a close facial match between the hotel heiress and the nun. A meeting with Hilton is scheduled for the end of April, said the 54-year-old director.

Rajeevnath is well known in India for his Malayalam-language films, including award-winning "Janani", the story of seven nuns who care for an abandoned baby.

Hilton's prior movie experience includes a homemade sex video, which appeared on the Internet, and a starring role in the reality TV series “The Simple Life.”

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India honors John Paul II with massive new statue

New Dehli, India, Apr 5, 2006 (CNA) - In order to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, India has commissioned a statue of the beloved Pontiff to honor his memory.

According to the Fides news agency, officials in Chennai are looking for the most appropriate place to erect the bronze statue of John Paul II, which was fashioned by sculptor Shihan Hussaini.  “The city feels honored to be able to offer this statue in recognition of a man of dialogue and peace like Pope John Paul II,” officials said.

Hussaini said the statue’s dimensions make it “one of the largest statues dedicated to the Pontiff in the world.”  He explained that statue rests on “three great steps that represent the three phases of the life of the Pope: the first when he was Karol Wojtyla, the second when he was John Paul II, and third represents the path towards sainthood.  

In addition, there are another 26 smaller steps, one for each year of his pontificate,” he said.

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Pro-life groups denounce irregularities in efforts to legalize abortion in Colombia

Bogotá, Colombia, Apr 5, 2006 (CNA) - The Foundation Futuro Colombia has denounced certain anomalies in the case being argued before the country’s Constitutional Court to legalize abortion. The group is demanding it be thrown out on the grounds that one of the court’s key reporters, Jaime Araujo, has expressed a pro-abortion view since the start of litigation.

According to Foundation spokesman Ilva Myriam Hoyos, when the Court declared in December it was “inhibited” from changing the country’s laws on the matter, Araujo had said he was in favor of total legalization of abortion.

Since Araujo is tasked with collecting briefs and determining if cases can go before the Court, Hoyos argued that his actions, which included unexpectedly changing the dates for hearings in which the public could express their opinions on the issue, violated due process.

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Poll shows that majority of Chileans consider religion very important

Santiago, Chile, Apr 5, 2006 (CNA) - More than 60% of Chileans believe religion is “very important” in their lives, according to a recent poll taken by the Chilean daily “El Mercurio.”  The poll showed that in general, 50% consider religion to be important and 32% somewhat important, but emphasized the high value of religion in one's personal life.

Although more than 75% said the Church should allow contraceptives and 72.4% said divorce should be allowed, 94.4% said they believe in God and more than 51% said the country discriminates against people who have strong faith and live according to their religious beliefs.

58.3% said they would prefer if the government were open to religion and religious leaders, while 36% said the Church should speak out on political issues.  Young people among respondents acknowledged they were less religious than older age groups.  52.7% of respondents said there was very little religion in schools.  

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