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Archive of May 26, 2006

'Mirror yourselves in Mary's heart. Remain in her school!' Pope says to seminarians and religious in Czestochowa

Czestochowa, Poland, May 26, 2006 (CNA) - After leaving Warsaw this afternoon, Pope Benedict arrived in helicopter at the Marian Sanctuary of Jasna Góra in Czestochowa, where he met with the monks of the sanctuary, the Council of Masculine and feminine Religious orders and representatives of Seminarians and Eclesial movements in Poland.

Beginning his address, he took the image of  the Apostles together with Mary in the upper room, where Mary, the Mother of the Lord, is among us. “Today it is she who leads our meditation; she teaches us how to pray,” he began. Pope Benedict took Mary as a model of faith and hope for all those present in the Sanctuary.

 “Faith has a place, not only in our state of soul and religious experiences, but above all in thought and action, in everyday work, in the struggle against ourselves, in community life and in the apostolate, because it ensures that our life is pervaded by the power of God himself. Mary, assiduous in prayer alongside the Apostles, taught perseverance in the faith.

Pope Benedict first directed his speech to the representatives of Religious orders and monks present. “The love of Jesus poured into your hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to you" (cf. Rom 5:5), has shown you the way of the consecrated life. It was not you who looked for it. It was Jesus who called you.”

The Pontiff exhorted them “not to lose this first fervor, and let Mary lead you to an ever fuller adherence. maintain in your hearts the primacy of your consecrated life. Let it renew your faith.”

Now turning towards the seminarians,  “let Mary guide you as you "learn" Jesus. Keep your eyes fixed on him. Let him form you, so that in your ministry you will be able to show him to all who approach you. Do not fear future duties or the unknown! Do not fear that words will fail you or that you will encounter rejection! The world and the Church need priests, holy priests.” he said to them.

Finally to the representatives of the new Movements in the Church, “Believe in the grace of God which accompanies you and bring it into the living fabric of the Church, especially in places the priest or religious cannot reach.”

“The authenticity of your faith and mission, which does not draw attention to itself but truly radiates faith and love, can be tested by measuring it against Mary’s faith.

After leaving Warsaw this afternoon, The Pope arrived in helicopter at the Marian Sanctuary of Jasna Góra in Czestochowa, where he met with the monks of the sanctuary, the Council of Masculine and feminine Religious orders and representatives of Seminarians and Eclesial movements in Poland.

“The authenticity of your faith and mission, which does not draw attention to itself but truly radiates faith and love, can be tested by measuring it against Mary’s faith. Mirror yourselves in her heart. Remain in her school!”  he concluded.

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Benedict XVI makes vivid recollection of Pope John Paul II addressing the youth in Krakow

Krakow, Poland, May 26, 2006 (CNA) - After the meeting he presided at the Sanctuary of Jasna Góra in Czestochowa, Pope Benedict left for Krakow, where he was welcomed by the Auxiliary Bishop and the mayor of the city. Later on, he appeared at the window to salute and bless the youth gathered before the Archbishops residence

He did so following the practice which arose during Pope John Paul II’s visits to Kraków. He first remembered those who gather on the second of every month to pray for John Paul II. “At the hour of my beloved Predecessor’s death, you come together here to commemorate him and to pray for his elevation to the honours of the altars," the pope began.

Pope Benedict made a vivid recollection of the words of John Paul at this same balcony in 2002, "We cannot remedy it. There is only one remedy. It is the Lord Jesus. ‘I am the resurrection and the life’ means – notwithstanding old age, notwithstanding death – youthfulness is found in God. This is my wish for you: for all the young of Kraków, of Poland, and of the world."

“This was his faith- the pope continued- his firm conviction, his witness. And today, despite death, he is among us. He invites us to reinvigorate the grace of faith, to be renewed in the Spirit.”

He concluded his speech by thanking those present and ask them to “pass on my greetings and blessing to the members of your families and to your friends. Thank you!” and gave them the blessing.

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We must not yield to the temptation of relativism or of a subjectivist, says Pope during Mass celebrated in Warsaw

Warsaw, Poland, May 26, 2006 (CNA) - This morning, the Pope continued his visit in Poland by  presiding over the Eucharistic celebration in Warsaw's Pilsudski Square, also known as Victory Square, he reaffirmed his strong criticism against the dictatorship of relativism.

It was in Pilsudski Square, on June 2 1979, that John Paul II began his first pastoral visit to his homeland. Concelebrating with the Holy Father were Polish cardinals and bishops, as well as bishops from other countries and a large number of priests. The service was attended by 270,000 people, including Lech Kaczynski, president of Poland, and other civil authorities.

Benedict XVI recalled in his homily how in the same square, "on the eve of Pentecost, Pope John Paul II uttered the significant words of the prayer 'Let your Spirit descend, and renew the face of the earth.' And he added: 'The face of this land'."

"How can we not thank God today for all that was accomplished in your native land and in the whole world during the pontificate of John Paul II? Before our eyes, changes occurred in entire political, economic and social systems. People in various countries regained their freedom and their sense of dignity."

Faced with people or groups who obscure Church tradition, "seeking to falsify the Word of Christ and to remove from the Gospel those truths which, in their view, are too uncomfortable for modern man," said the Pope, "every Christian is bound to confront his own convictions continually with the teachings of the Gospel and of the Church's Tradition in the effort to remain faithful to the word of Christ, even when it is demanding and, humanly speaking, hard to understand.

"We must not yield to the temptation of relativism or of a subjectivist and selective interpretation of Sacred Scripture. Only the whole truth can open us to adherence to Christ, Who died and rose for our salvation." The Pope firmly declared.

After highlighting how "faith consists in an intimate relationship with Christ," Benedict XVI made it clear that to love Christ means "trusting Him even in times of trial. ... Entrusting ourselves to Christ, we lose nothing, we gain everything. In His hands our life acquires its true meaning. ... To love Him is to remain in dialogue with Him, in order to know His will and to put it into effect promptly."

He added: "Yet living one's personal faith as a love-relationship with Christ also means being ready to renounce everything that constitutes a denial of His love. ... Faith as adherence to Christ is revealed as love that prompts us to promote the good inscribed by the Creator into the nature of every man and woman among us, into the personality of every human being and into everything that exists in the world."

The Pope concluded his homily by recalling that 27 years ago, "in this place, Pope John Paul II said: 'Poland has become nowadays the land of particularly responsible witness.' I ask you now," he added, "to cultivate this rich heritage of faith transmitted to you by earlier generations, the heritage of the thought and the service of that great Pole who was Pope John Paul II. Stand firm in your faith, hand it down to your children, bear witness to the grace which you have experienced so abundantly through the Holy Spirit in the course of your history."

Early this afternoon, he will travel by helicopter to Czestochowa where he will visit the most famous Marian shrine in Poland and meet with religious, seminarians and representatives from Catholic movements and institutes of consecrated life. He will then He will then move on to Krakow where he is due spend the night in the archbishop's place.

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Bishop sees growing support for marriage protection amendment

Washington D.C., May 26, 2006 (CNA) - There is “a growing sense among many people, including a wide range of religious leaders, that a Marriage Protection Amendment is the only federal-level action that will ultimately protect and preserve the institution of marriage,” observed Bishop Joseph Kurtz, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family.

The bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee, was speaking May 25 at a Capitol Hill news conference, hosted by the Alliance for Marriage Foundation. Leaders of the House and Senate, civil rights leaders, and representatives of other major faith communities also attended. The Senate is expected to vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment next month.

Bishop Kurtz said he supported the amendment based on the Church’s teachings of marriage and for social and  anthropological reasons.

“The gift of marriage between one man and one woman is a natural right, one written in the hearts of human beings,” he stated. Marriage “is an essential building block of society,” which precedes state and Church law, he said. Marriage comes from God and therefore “we-church or state-are not free to alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage.”

“To defend it is not an act of unjust discrimination, but rather a stand in favor of what is right and just,” he said, urging the U.S. Senate to pass the amendment in early June.

The U.S. bishops are working with the Knights of Columbus on a nationwide postcard campaign in support of the federal amendment. To date approximately 10 million postcards have been received.

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Wisconsin bishops, governor at odds over stem-cell research

Madison, Wis., May 26, 2006 (CNA) - Madison and Milwaukee's Catholic bishops are challenging Gov. Jim Doyle's support for embryonic stem-cell research, reported The Capital Times of Madison.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee and Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison told Doyle they have "grave concerns" with his policy and asked him to reconsider his position.

In their letter, dated May 22, the bishops promoted adult stem-cell research over embryonic stem-cell research. "Not only does such adult stem cell research resolve ethical concerns over the destruction of human life, it also shows greater promise for treatments and cures," they wrote.

"We do not condemn science or the pursuit of biotechnology,” they wrote. “Indeed, we have every confidence that the brilliant people involved in this research can achieve scientific, medical and economic success by pursuing methods that do not destroy developing human life."

Doyle responded that the life-saving possibilities of embryonic stem-cell research lead him to "respectfully disagree." He cited Dr. Jamie Thomson at the University of Wisconsin, who has said the adult stem-cell research has more potential than embryonic stem-cell research.

He also wrote about the investments the state has already made in the field. "In the past three years, Wisconsin has vastly expanded its commitment to this research, including the upcoming construction of the Institutes for Discovery in Madison, which will become one of the world's premier facilities for biotechnology and stem cell research," he said.

Doyle previously issued an executive order declaring that it is the state's goal to capture at least 10 percent of the stem-cell technology market by the year 2015. He also directed the Department of Commerce to invest at least $5 million in recruiting and developing companies in the stem-cell industry.

The bishops said they’re concerned about justifying such research on economic grounds, reducing embryos to mere commodities.

While Doyle has said that politics should not play a role in the future of scientific research, the bishops say citizens have a right to engage in public conversation about any enterprise done in the community’s name with community money.

The issue is expected to be prominent during the November election campaign for governor. Congressman Mark Green, Doyle's Republican opponent, supports limiting stem cell research. Both Doyle and Green are Catholic.

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Indian gov’t expresses displeasure over papal comments re religious intolerance

New Dehli, India, May 26, 2006 (CNA) - India's government has expressed displeasure over Pope Benedict XVI's remarks alluding to religious intolerance and laws restricting religious freedom in the country, the Apostolic Nunciature confirmed.
 
India's Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma told India’s upper house of parliament that his ministry communicated with the nunciature in New Delhi, saying that the Pope was "not properly briefed on the secularism and religious tolerance prevailing in India,” reported UCA News.
 
Msgr. Carlo Cabella, a secretary at the Vatican Embassy, confirmed that the nunciature received the communication.

Pope Benedict made the comments May 18 while welcoming Ambassador Amitava Tripathi, India's new ambassador to the Holy See. In a written speech, the Pope called on the Indian government to "firmly reject … disturbing signs of religious intolerance which have troubled some regions of the nation, including the reprehensible attempt to legislate clearly discriminatory restrictions on the fundamental right of religious freedom."
 
Right-wing Hindu groups, particularly members of the religious army Dharma Sena, reacted to the Pope's speech by setting fire to the Pope's effigy May 20 in at least six district headquarters of the central state of Madhya Pradesh.
 
India’s two cardinals have publicly supported Pope Benedict.

Five states or provinces in India have laws against anyone attempting to convert another person through force, allurement or fraudulent means. Church leaders say any Church activity for people who are not Christian could be interpreted as an offense under such laws and punished.India's government has expressed displeasure over Pope Benedict XVI's remarks alluding to religious intolerance and laws restricting religious freedom in the country, the Apostolic Nunciature confirmed.
 
India's Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma told India’s upper house of parliament that his ministry communicated with the nunciature in New Delhi, saying that the Pope was "not properly briefed on the secularism and religious tolerance prevailing in India,” reported UCA News.
 
Msgr. Carlo Cabella, a secretary at the Vatican Embassy, confirmed that the nunciature received the communication.

Pope Benedict made the comments May 18 while welcoming Ambassador Amitava Tripathi, India's new ambassador to the Holy See. In a written speech, the Pope called on the Indian government to "firmly reject … disturbing signs of religious intolerance which have troubled some regions of the nation, including the reprehensible attempt to legislate clearly discriminatory restrictions on the fundamental right of religious freedom."
 
Right-wing Hindu groups, particularly members of the religious army Dharma Sena, reacted to the Pope's speech by setting fire to the Pope's effigy May 20 in at least six district headquarters of the central state of Madhya Pradesh.
 
India’s two cardinals have publicly supported Pope Benedict.

Five states or provinces in India have laws against anyone attempting to convert another person through force, allurement or fraudulent means. Church leaders say any Church activity for people who are not Christian could be interpreted as an offense under such laws and punished.

India's government has expressed displeasure over Pope Benedict XVI's remarks alluding to religious intolerance and laws restricting religious freedom in the country, the Apostolic Nunciature confirmed.
 
India's Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma told India’s upper house of parliament that his ministry communicated with the nunciature in New Delhi, saying that the Pope was "not properly briefed on the secularism and religious tolerance prevailing in India,” reported UCA News.
 
Msgr. Carlo Cabella, a secretary at the Vatican Embassy, confirmed that the nunciature received the communication.

Pope Benedict made the comments May 18 while welcoming Ambassador Amitava Tripathi, India's new ambassador to the Holy See. In a written speech, the Pope called on the Indian government to "firmly reject … disturbing signs of religious intolerance which have troubled some regions of the nation, including the reprehensible attempt to legislate clearly discriminatory restrictions on the fundamental right of religious freedom."
 
Right-wing Hindu groups, particularly members of the religious army Dharma Sena, reacted to the Pope's speech by setting fire to the Pope's effigy May 20 in at least six district headquarters of the central state of Madhya Pradesh.
 
India’s two cardinals have publicly supported Pope Benedict.

Five states or provinces in India have laws against anyone attempting to convert another person through force, allurement or fraudulent means. Church leaders say any Church activity for people who are not Christian could be interpreted as an offense under such laws and punished.

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Cardinal Cañizares: evangelization of youth is urgent challenge for today’s Church

Toledo, Spain, May 26, 2006 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, said in his weekly letter that the evangelization of young people is an urgent challenge for the Church of today, as they often ask important questions about life and at the same time are often away from God and the Church.
 
In his letter, the cardinal remembered Pope John Paul II as “the Pope of young people,” and he noted that like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI has not only won over young people, but also during his trip to Germany for World Youth Day 2005, he outlined important principles for youth ministry, which “we have yet to unpack and follow, as they constitute a total plan of action,” he noted.

Cardinal Cañizares also recalled that John Paul II was a man of great peace and kindness who understood “the reality of our world and of young people, who are sometimes pounded so strongly by this world that shakes them up and knocks them off track.  Yet he did not accuse young people, he did not hide the evils that threaten them and that at times can overcome them. Rather, he saw their situation with a heart of mercy, with kindness and compassion, with the closeness and understanding of a father, with the trust and friendship of friends.”

Therefore, the cardinal said in conclusion, it is necessary to strengthen the work of evangelization that Pope John Paul II carried out with young people, and Benedict XVI is leading the way.

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California Gov. pledges to veto 'gay history' bill

Sacramento, Calif., May 26, 2006 (CNA) - Campaign for Children and Families that lobbied against SB 1437 is pleased with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pledge to veto the "gay history" bill if it reaches his desk, reported CNSNews.com.

The bill would require social studies textbooks used in public schools to include "the role and contributions of...people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender...with particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society."

The bill also would bar textbooks and school-sponsored activities from "reflecting adversely" on transsexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality.

"The governor believes that school curriculum should include all important historical figures, regardless of orientation," Schwarzenegger's director of communications, Adam Mendelsohn, told Thursday's Sacramento Bee. "However, he does not support the Legislature micromanaging curriculum."

Campaign for Children and Families says the governor must now pledge to veto two other bills.

AB 606 would require school districts to establish and publicize an antidiscrimination and antiharassment policy that is based on specified characteristics, including "actual or perceived gender identity and sexual orientation."

AB 1056 would give 10 schools $25,000 grants to set up a Tolerance Education Pilot Program, to promote tolerance and intergroup relations.

"This terrible trio of bills would promote cross-dressing and sex-change operations to children as young as kindergarten," said CCF President Randy Thomasson. "Schools should be about academics, not about promoting alternative sexual lifestyles to impressionable schoolchildren."

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Mexican prelate hopeful officials will uncover motive behind assassination of Cardinal Posadas

Mexico City, Mexico, May 26, 2006 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñíguez, expressed his hope this week that interrogations of three leaders of the Mexican mafia who are currently in prison the United States would reveal the motive behind the death of Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas, who was killed thirteen years ago.

 

The US government has authorized Mexican officials to meet with Everardo Arturo Paez on June 9.  A date has not been set yet for meeting with the other two men convicted in the crime, Juan Garcia Abrego and Alberto Bayardo.

 

During a press conference, Cardinal Sandoval said that when the motive for the assassination is uncovered, the cause for beatification of Cardinal Posadas could be opened.

“In a cause of beatification of a martyr, the motive of his death must be very clear.  We hope that the work officials are planning to carry out will clarify the motive behind the assassination of the cardinal, in order to ascertain the possibility of introducing his cause,” he said.

 

“The bishops’ conferences both in North America and South America are aware of this assassination, of this crime of the State, and they have expressed the desire that the cause be introduced,” Cardinal Sandoval explained.

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Church in Chile proposes solution to student conflict

Santiago, Chile, May 26, 2006 (CNA) - The Bishops’ Conference of Chile has offered to mediate a solution to the student protests that have spread to several cities in the country.

In a statement signed by Bishop Hector Vargas Bastidas of Arica, president of the bishops’ Committee on Education, the Chilean bishops expressed their willingness to help overcome the student conflict if those involved should so desire.

“An authentic dialogue demands generosity from both sides in order take responsibility for their legitimate achievements, as well as to renounce what is necessary to foster the common good of all society,” the statement noted.

The issues put forth by the students have an impact on the daily life of schools, as well as on the students themselves and their families, the bishops continued.  They expressed their hope that young people would make an authentic contribution to building up a “civilization of love.”

At the same time, the Chilean bishops expressed their gratitude to educational leaders for having the political will to carry out necessary reforms that would improve the quality and availability of education.

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Provincial council in Spain orders crucifixes removed from school

Abuja, Nigeria, May 26, 2006 (CNA) - The provincial council of Andalusia in Spain has ordered the removal of all crucifixes from the classrooms of St. John’s School in Jaen, in response to a complaint by a man who said he did not want his children to be exposed to Christian symbols at school.
 
The decision means that crucifixes can only be displayed during religion class or in the classroom where religion is taught.  The council also prohibited any kind of extra-curricular activity related to religion and warned that teachers who disobey the ordinance would be subject to disciplinary measures.

Antonio Aranda, a spokesman from the Diocese of Jaen, said the decision could mean students might not be able to attend presentations on Catholic universities or that nativity scenes would not be allowed to be displayed during Christmas.

“They want the crosses to be removed from the school yet they don’t demand that the school’s name be changed, which refers to a great mystic poet,” Aranda noted. 

The bishops of the region of criticized other recent ordinances which could lead to more attacks on the family, human life and freedom of education and religion.

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