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Archive of May 16, 2006

Bishop Donald W. Wuerl of Pittsburgh appointed Archbishop of Washington

Washington D.C., May 16, 2006 (CNA) - Today, Pope Benedict named bishop Donald W. Wuerl, bishop of Pittsburgh,  as the new Archbishop of Washington. He will be installed on June 22, 2006. He has served as 11th bishop of Pittsburgh since February 12, 1988.

Archbishop Wuerl welcomed this nomination  in a statement released this morning. “With humble heart I express my gratitude to our Holy Father for his confidence in assigning me to this important archdiocese which in its own right is a significant Catholic center but is all the more distinguished as the location of the nation’s capital.”

He went on to thank Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, his predecessor  “for his gracious welcome, his generous words and his wonderful hospitality.”
“To follow in such large footprints requires an enormous amount of courage and support,” he declared.

Archbishop-designate Wuerl recalled his past experience in the Archdiocese of Washington, where he studied from 1960 through 1963 at Catholic University.

He concluded his statement asking for the support and prayers of the faithful of the Church of Washington.

Cardinal McCarrick described Archbishop-designate Wuerl as “a wonderful friend to me over so many years and I have watched with delight and deep respect – and sometimes with more than a little envy – the great things that the Church of Pittsburgh has accomplished under his leadership. I truly cannot think of a better choice for Washington than Bishop Wuerl.”

The archbishop-designate was born in Pittsburgh on November 12, 1940, and received graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University in Rome and his doctorate in theology from the University of St. Thomas in Rome in 1974. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 17, 1966, and ordained a bishop on January 6, 1986, in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.

Archbishop-designate Wuerl is known from the television program "The Teaching of Christ" broadcast on CBS, the Christian Associates cable channel, and through its national syndication. His best-selling adult catechism of the same name, now in its 30th year of publication, has been translated into more than 10 languages and is used throughout the world.

Archbishop-designate Wuerl has served on numerous national and international bodies, is chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Catechesis and is active on a number of boards including The Catholic University of America, the North American College in Rome, the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the Pope John Paul II Intercultural Forum. In 2006, he was named chair of the National Catholic Educational Association board of directors.

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U:S Bishops vow for a long-term strategy to address the root causes of immigration

Washington D.C., May 16, 2006 (CNA) - The U.S. bishops are wary of President Bush’s reported proposal to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border and are calling for reform of U.S. immigration laws. Their position was outlined in a May 15 statement by Bishop Gerald R. Barnes of San Bernardino, California, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Migration.

Bishop Barnes,  Bishop of San Bernardino and Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration issued the statement just hours before President Bush was to address the nation on immigration.

Bishop Barnes welcomed the presidential address to the nation on the need to reform our immigration system. It is important that the president highlight this issue to the American people as one of urgent national priority.

“The Catholic Church supports the right of a sovereign nation to control its border. As we have stated in the past, however, an enforcement-only approach to this crisis will not solve the problem of illegal immigration.”, he declared.

He pointed out to “a woefully antiquated and ill suited” immigration system. “Consequently-he adds- during the same period that border enforcement has grown, the number of undocumented in our nation has doubled and the number of deaths of migrants in the desert has risen sharply.”.

Nonetheless , he was skeptical about the use of troops to secure the border, “I am concerned about the introduction of military personnel because there has not been an adequate public discussion about its implications, especially for the treatment of migrants.”

He then underscored the approach of the American Bishops, a vision that “must include a long-term strategy to address the root causes of flight, such as combating poverty in sending countries.”

Bishop Barnes concluded his statement by affirming that “as a nation of immigrants, we must look back at our history and recognize that America was founded and built by immigrants.”

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Cardinal Ruini addresses Italian Bishop Conference, voices deep criticism on ethical issues

Rome, Italy, May 16, 2006 (CNA) - Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar for the Archdiocese of Rome opened yesterday the assembly of Italian Bishops Conference, at the Vatican. Cardinal Ruini took the opportunity to recall the Church's strong commitment on ethical issues.

He opened his statement recalling the Italian soldiers who died in recent attacks in Irak: "Our pain is great and intense for these upright and brave men, who fell while carrying out their duty, and for their family members."

Cardinal Ruini then undelined the spirit and practice bishops and priests should conform to, along the words of Benedict XVI to the priests of Rome “not to put ourselves and our opinions forth, but the mystery of Christ, through the measure of a true humanism.”

He then went through the situation of Italy, particularly “the compromise for human life, from the first moments of its conception until its natural end, and legitimate families founded upon matrimony.”

Cardinal Ruini listed the important issues to which the Church remains deeply committed such as “the rejection of abortion, an abominable crime, that remains an intrinsically illicit act, that nobody, under any circumstances, aim or human law, can justify, as with Euthanasia, and the manipulation of human embryos.”

“We equally oppose the idea to give an inappropriate and non-necessary juridical status to forms of unions who are radically different from the family, and who therefore undermine its social role,  and only contribute to destabilize society,” the Cardinal declared.

Cardinal Ruini  pointed out to those “non negotiable” principles, the Pope referred to when he addressed the European People’s Party in March 2006., foremost for their ethical weight.

Moreover, Ruini voiced his doubts about the European Parliament and its "continuous declalations that don’t respect the cultural and proper traditions of its different members.” He took as an example the resolution signed on January 18 on homophobia in Europe, which requires  equal rights for homosexual couples, as those of legitimate families. 

"It is hard not to have the feeling that their success has a relationship to the feeling of self-hatred, or at least loss of self-love, which invades our civilization," Ruini said in a reference to Western societies' turning of their backs on their Christian heritage, which Pope Benedict XVI has attacked.

Lastly, Cardinal Ruini depicted works such as The Da Vinci Code as " above all a commercial operation, that also constitute a radical and baseless challenge to the very heart" of the Christian faith.

Ruini said the church should seek to use the occasion of the release of the film to "enlighten consciences" and embark on "a deep work of Christian instruction".

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Montreal diocesan campaign posters teach sacred meaning of religious swear words

Montreal, Canada, May 16, 2006 (CNA) -

French-language posters for the Archdiocese of Montreal’s annual fundraising campaign have generated more press attention than usual.

This year’s posters highlight the sacred meaning of some religious words that have evolved into swear words in Quebec French over the last 50 years.

There are four posters that feature the definitions of religious words, including “ciboire” (ciborium), “hostie” (host), and “tabernacle” (tabernacle).

For example, one French poster, when translated into English, reads: "tabernacle: small cupboard locked by key on the altar containing the ciborium."

These religious swear words are a uniquely French-Canadian phenomenon, said Monique Carmel, a linguist and professional translator. She told the Canadian Press that these words “were used as blasphemy and a form of rebellion when the Church held a great amount of power in Quebec society.”

The posters feature red text on a black backdrop. Like every year, they were put up for free around the city—on large billboards, in bus shelters, in the subway, and in front of Mary Queen of the World Cathedral. As usual, French newspapers also ran the archdiocese’s campaign ads for free. The campaign began May 10 and will run until June. The campaign goal is $2 million; last year they raised $1.7 million.

Fr. Jean Boyer told the CP that church officials were hesitant when the public relations firm, BOS, suggested the campaign for the annual fundraising drive. But the idea presented a great opportunity to catch people’s attention and to remind people of some sacred definitions, he said.

The archdiocese’s communications co-ordinator, Lucie Martineau, explained in the diocesan publication Vivre en Eglise that the campaign offers the local church the opportunity to educate the masses about the faith within the current culture.

Since this particular problem does not exist among English-speaking Catholics, for the first time the archdiocese came up with another theme in English: “Be a saint.” To date, the English theme has not generated any press.

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San Antonio announces largest ordination class in years

San Antonio, Texas, May 16, 2006 (CNA) - Assumption Seminary is presenting its largest ordination class in years.

“Nine men are being ordained as priests, and two others are being ordained deacons,” said Fr. Larry Christian, rector of the seminary. “This is a great moment of celebration for us.” Another nine ordinations are anticipated next year and another 11 in 2008.

The bilingual seminary was founded in 1915. In recent years, it has seen a resurgence of growth and interest.

“We have doubled our seminarian population over the past five years and we anticipate even more growth in coming years,” he said.

As a result, construction recently began on the Archbishop Flores Residence Hall, which will house 80 seminarians and four faculty members. The new residence will be open by July 2007. Over $10 million dollars have been raised toward a goal of $13 million for the expansion of the seminary. “I am told that we’re the only seminary in the country adding new space,” said Fr. Christian.

On May 17, Assumption Seminary will celebrate with its Leadership in Faith and Service gala dinner at the Marriot Riverwalk. Ed and Nelda Benninger will be honored for their role in helping the expansion campaign. Archbishop Michael Miller, secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome, will be the guest speaker. Archbishop Miller is in charge of the recent review of all American seminaries.

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New bishop installed in Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio, May 16, 2006 (CNA) - The bishop who briefly led the Archdiocese of Boston for seven months after Cardinal Bernard Law quit was installed Monday as the bishop of Cleveland. Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston led more than 300 priests and bishops at the standing room-only installation mass at St. John Cathedral, reported the Associated Press.

Bishop Richard Lennon succeeds Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, 73, who retired. He attended the installation ceremony. Bishop Pilla led the diocese for 25 years.

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican's representative to Washington and the U.S. Catholic community, read the appointment letter from Pope Benedict XVI.

Bishop Lennon, 59, must now deal with the challenges in the Cleveland diocese, namely declining numbers of priests and possible parish closings.

Cleveland is the nation's 16th-largest diocese with nearly 800,000 Catholics.

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Feast of Our Lady of Fatima marks one year countdown to next CELAM meeting

, May 16, 2006 (CNA) - The secretary general of the Latin American Bishops’ Council (CELAM), Bishop Andres Stanovnik, noted with joy this weekend that the feast of Our Lady of Fatima fell on exactly the same date on which one year from now CELAM will hold its fifth general conference in Aparecida, Brazil, on May 13, 2007.

Bishop Stanovnik, of the Diocese of Reconquista in Argentina, said that the same Blessed Mother who appeared at Fatima and Guadalupe “now brings us together” under her title as Our Lady of Aparecida—the most popular Marian devotion in Brazil—“in order to remind us that we are her children and that in her Son Jesus, we are brothers and sisters; sister peoples and nations that desire to live in solidarity with one another.”

That solidarity, the bishop said, is especially expressed in dedication and special concern for the poor, the defenseless “and all men and women, without exception, from conception to natural death.”

Bishop Stanovnik called the period before the Conference “a very important time for reflection” on the contributions being made by local Churches to the preparation for the gathering.  “With Mary, Mother of the Church,” he said, “let us cast out into the deep, so that our people may have life in abundance in Christ and so that in solidarity we may foster fraternity and peace.  To all those individuals and communities that are collaborating in the preparation of the V Conference, we send our cordial greetings and encouragement in the spiritual walk that will bring us together at Aparecida.”

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Mexican bishops make available online video explaining Da Vinci Code

Mexico City, Mexico, May 16, 2006 (CNA) - Due to the overwhelming response to a documentary produced by the Mexican Bishops’ Conference on the Da Vinci Code, the bishops have made the video available for download on their website http://www.cem.org.mx

The Bishops’ Committee on Social Communications released the documentary entitled, “A Look Behind the Da Vinci Code,” and said it would also post the video, “The Da Vinci Code: An Authoritative Hoax,” produced in Rome, on its website.

The Committee also announced that the documentaries would be available for purchase on DVD.

More information can be obtained by writing to: [email protected]

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Dominican bishops call on voters to elect leaders who will care for the common good

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, May 16, 2006 (CNA) - In a document on the issue of voting in the country’s upcoming elections, the bishops of the Dominican Republic have called on voters to elect leaders who will care for the common good instead of the good of particular individuals.

The document, which was read in parishes across the country on Sunday, warns that failing to vote is a sign of irresponsibility and “deprives one of the right to demand that future legislative and municipal leaders look after the common good, above the good of particular individuals.”

The bishops recalled that voting is a duty of conscience and should not be done out of personal or selfish motives.  They encouraged Catholics to vote for persons of integrity, honesty, and creativity in order to lay the groundwork for a better future. 

The bishops also reiterated that while the Church is very much concerned about the electoral process, it does not identify with or sponsor a particular party.  “Participation in politics by the faithful constitutes a true and proper duty.  They should join parties that defend an authentic national policy,” the bishops said.

They rejected the idea of refusing to vote on the basis that no political party is good enough, “for this is not about electing the ideal or the perfect candidate, but rather about choosing the best one possible: nobody is perfect.”  The urged citizens to vote out of conviction and not to be influenced by fear, blackmail or coercion.

 The bishops also called on candidates to stop the personal attacks and to bring a more peaceful and respectful tone to the campaign.

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Spanish cardinal says refusal to help families reaps incalculable consequences

Valencia, Fla., May 16, 2006 (CNA) - During a Mass in Valencia in preparation for the World Meeting of Families in July, the Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, said the refusal to appropriately support the family is “irresponsible and suicidal” and would lead to “crisis and destruction of incalculable consequences.”

“Society today has the unavoidable duty to protect and defend the foundation of the family, which is the exclusive and indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman based on love and open to life,” the cardinal said in his homily.

In encouraging the Spanish to “overcome and renew the dominant culture that is spread by the extremely powerful media, which shamefully opposes the true requirements of the family,” Cardinal Cañizares emphasized the duty to ensure the family has the benefit of the “legal, economic, educational and labor means it needs to be able to carry out the mission that corresponds to its very nature and truth.”

The cardinal expressed his thanks and appreciation to all those who are working hard to prepare for the V World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Valencia, Spain, July 1-9, and will be attended by Pope Benedict XVI.

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‘Holly's Law’ needed to protect women from RU-486, says USCCB office

Washington D.C., May 16, 2006 (CNA) - A public workshop in response to women’s deaths linked to abortion drug RU-486 was a “constructive step,” but it does not lessen the need for a law to suspend the drug, says an official with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Several deaths have been linked to RU-486, also known as “Mifeprex.” Five American women died from infections after undergoing RU-486 abortions, and another died from an undiagnosed ruptured ectopic pregnancy. Over 800 others have suffered serious or life-threatening adverse health effects. Women in Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom have also died after taking RU-486.

The May 11 workshop, held in Atlanta, was convened by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health.

Deirdre McQuade, director of planning and information at the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, attended the event.

“Women seeking elective chemical abortions remain at risk with RU-486 on the market,” she said. McQuade said the USCCB continues to call for the passage of Holly’s Law.

The legislation “would temporarily suspend FDA approval of RU-486 while its approval process is reviewed,” McQuade explained.

“Holly’s Law” (H.R. 1079) is named in memory of Holly Patterson, a young California woman who died from septic shock after undergoing an RU-486 abortion.

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Planned Parenthood fundraisers on Mother’s Day in bad taste

Sioux Falls, S.D., May 16, 2006 (CNA) - Planned Parenthood organized fundraisers over Mother’s Day weekend in South Dakota — a move that has citizens reeling at the callousness of the organization.

"The fact that abortion is being glamorized on Mother's Day should raise eyebrows," said Barb Frick, a member of South Dakota’s chapter of Silent No More, a coalition of women who regret their abortions and assist post-abortive women.

"Why would Planned Parenthood connect the killing of unborn children with the celebration of motherhood, Mother's Day?” asked Frick. “Clearly, these outside groups are calloused and can't understand that South Dakotans believe motherhood is something to be valued and honored. We don't want Planned Parenthood’s harmful practices being pushed on our women and children."

Karen Nelson, South Dakota state coordinator for Silent No More, said she believes Mother’s Day is a very painful time for post-abortive women.

"As a woman who has had an abortion, I know the agony [post-abortive] women are feeling this weekend," she said.

"This is the day when we remember that if we had not been coerced into abortions, we would be enjoying the company of a child. No amount of feel-good fundraisers will remove our pain," she stated.

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Mt 25:31-46

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