Vatican City, Jun 6, 2006 (CNA) - The Church and its teaching must be presented to the youth as a friend and not as an obstacle to their freedom, Pope Benedict XVI said yesterday evening at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.
The Holy Father inaugurated the diocesan ecclesial congress on Tuesday, which is being held from June 5 to 8 on the theme: "The joy of faith and the education of new generations."
“Educating new generations in the faith is a great and fundamentally important task that involves the entire Christian community,” one that has become “particularly difficult” today and, hence, is “even more important and urgent,” the Pope said.
According to the Pontiff, the new generations must experience that the Church “is a company of friends, one that is truly trustworthy and remains close in all the moments and circumstances of life and that will never abandon us even in death, because it carries in itself the promise of eternity.”
Young people and adolescents, the Pope went on, “must be disabused of the widespread prejudice that Christianity, with its commandments and its prohibitions, places too many obstacles to the joy of love, and in particular that it prevents the full enjoyment of the happiness that man and woman find in their mutual love.”
“The Ten Commandments are not a series of 'No', but a big 'Yes' to love and to life,” the Pontiff stated.
“Human love,” he continued, “must be purified, it must mature and go beyond its own limits in order to become truly human, to be the origin of true and lasting joy, to respond to that demand for eternity it carries within itself and which it cannot relinquish without betraying itself.”
Benedict XVI insisted that the issue of truth “must occupy a central position.” In the faith, he said, “we welcome and accept the Truth that our minds cannot fully understand, that they cannot posses." This "enables us to arrive at the Mystery in which we are immersed and to rediscover in God the definitive meaning of our existence.”
“In the extent to which we nourish ourselves from Christ and love Him, we also feel within ourselves the stimulus to bring others to Him”.
“Indeed,” he continued, “we cannot keep the joy of the faith to ourselves, we must transmit it.”
“This need becomes even stronger and more impelling in the presence of that strange forgetfulness of God that exists today in vast areas of the world,” he said in conclusion.
Vatican City, Jun 6, 2006 (CNA) - The family is the only natural and truly human context for procreation. That is the core message of a document released today by the Pontifical Council for the Family and signed by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo.
The document entitled, "Family and Human Procreation," is intended to be “an object of study, both for its doctrine and in its pastoral application,” according to a press release signed by Fr. Abelardo Lobato, OP, consultor of the Vatican dicastery.
The document opens with an introduction explaining the relationship between the family and procreation, followed by four chapters covering “procreation and why the family is the only appropriate place for it, what is meant by integral procreation within the family and what social, juridical, political, economic and cultural aspects does service to the family entail.”
According to Fr. Lobato, a fifth chapter presents the theme “from two complementary perspectives: the theological, in that the family is an image of the Trinity; and the pastoral, because the family lies at the foundation of the Church and is a place of evangelization.”
“The document,” Fr. Lobato explained, “aims not only to find a doctrinal approach to the problem, but also to open doors to future research on the questions that are the object of discussion today.”
The explanatory note also says that “procreation is the means of transmitting life by the loving union of man and woman,” and it “must be truly human.” This means that it must be the “fruit of the actions of man,” and the “fruit of a human act, free, rational, and responsible for the transmission of life.”
“The human being is a familial being,” Fr. Lobato's note adds, "and for this reason has the characteristics of a social, political, economic, cultural, juridical and religious being. The family is involved with each of these aspects, which are essential to it. The family requires services, help, protection and constant promotion; and the document indicates how each of these elements should develop. It emphasizes the juridical dimension and recalls that in 1983 the Holy See published the first 'Charter of the Rights of the Family,' which is a solid defense of that institution.”
“The doctrine concerning integral human procreation,” the note concludes, “is corroborated by the theology of creation and by the mystery of salvation revealed in Jesus Christ and put into effect in the new evangelization. The Creator wished human beings to be two-in-one; the Redeemer assumed the familial condition in Nazareth reminding everyone of the nature of the family since the beginning of the divine plan: two in a single flesh.”
Vatican City, Jun 6, 2006 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI has named three new auxiliary bishops for the Diocese of Brooklyn.
They include Msgr. Octavio Cisneros, rector of the Cathedral Seminary Residence of the Immaculate Conception and secretary for priestly formation; Msgr. Guy Sansaricq, pastor of St. Jerome Parish and national director of Haitian Ministry; and, Msgr. Frank J. Caggiano, Episcopal vicar of for Evangelization and Pastoral Life.
The nominations increase the number of auxiliary bishops for the diocese to four. They will join Auxiliary Bishop Ignatius Castellano in assisting Bishop Nicholas Di Marzio with the tasks of ministering to the large, multicultural diocese. Two auxiliaries recently retired: Auxiliary Bishops Rene Valero and Joseph Sullivan. Msgr. Guy Sansaricq was born in 1934 in Jérémie, Haiti. He studied at Saint Paul’s Seminary in Ottawa, Canada, where he earned his licentiates in philosophy and theology. He earned a licentiate in social sciences from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Les Cayes in Haiti in 1960, but he served most of his priestly life in the U.S. From 1977 to 1993, he served as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Cambria Heights, and for many years as diocesan co-ordinator for Haitian Ministry. He has served as national director of Haitian Ministry since 1987. He was only incardinated in the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1991. He has been pastor of St. Jerome Parish since 1993.
Msgr. Sansaricq founded Haitian Apostolate Publications. He speaks English, French and Creole and was named a Prelate of Honor in 1999.
Msgr. Cisneros was born in 1945 in La Habana, Cuba. He attended Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, where he received his Master’s of Divinity in 1971, the same year he was ordained for the Diocese of Brooklyn.
He served as associate pastor in three parishes, from 1971 to 1979 — St. Rita’s, Saint Francis of Assisi, and St. Michael’s. From 1979 to 1991, he was co-ordinator of Hispanic Ministry for the diocese and pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows. He served as Episcopal vicar of Brooklyn East from 1991 to 2004. He is currently the rector of the Cathedral Seminary Residence of the Immaculate Conception. He speaks three languages— English, Spanish and Italian—and was named a Prelate of Honor in 1988.
Msgr. Frank J. Caggiano is the youngest and the only Brooklyn native of the three. He was born in 1959 and studied at Immaculate Conception Seminary, where he earned his Master’s of Divinity. He was ordained for the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1987 and served as associate pastor at St. Agatha’s, St. Athanasius and St. Jude’s. From 1992 to 1996, he studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he earned his Ph.D. in Theology. He returned to Brooklyn and served as pastor of St. Dominic Parish. Since 2003, he has served as the diocesan vicar for Evangelization and Pastoral Life.
Msgr. Caggiano has published many articles in theological and diocesan publications. He speaks English and Italian. In 2003, he was named Chaplain to His Holiness.
Denver, Colo., Jun 6, 2006 (CNA) - Archbishop Charles Chaput has urged Catholics to contact their senators and encourage them to vote for the federal amendment. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a federal marriage amendment this week.
“State laws protecting the identity of marriage and the family are not enough,” the archbishop of Denver said in his weekly column. “They can be changed by state legislators and overturned by state judges. Even state constitutional amendments, while they offer much stronger protection, may not be entirely safe.
“We urgently need both: a federal marriage amendment, and a state constitutional amendment defining and protecting marriage,” he said.
The archbishop offered as an example what happened recently in Georgia. A judge used a technicality to toss out a state constitutional amendment protecting marriage that had won 76 percent of the vote in 2004.
“On this issue, some judges are determined to make bad social policy, whether voters want it or not. Similar legal struggles are proceeding in other states,” he said.
“As Christians, we understand marriage as a sacramental union; a permanent, biblical covenant between one man and one woman that mirrors God's love for his people,” the archbishop said.
Marriage has two purposes for Christians, he said: to “deepen the joy and holiness of the spouses through their mutual love” and to “provide a loving environment for bearing and raising children.”
He also noted, however, that marriage predates the Christian faith by many centuries. “Women and children are vulnerable during the childbearing years,” he explained. “As a natural human institution, marriage exists to protect women and children, to provide for them, and to help ensure male responsibility for the children they father.”
“This is why marriage always enjoys a special legal status. Marriage and the family are the cornerstones of any culture, Christian or otherwise. They ensure the future through the creation new life. Any attack on the identity of marriage and the family is therefore an attack on society itself.”
The archbishop is encouraging Catholics to sign petition forms about a similar state amendment that is being organized for the ballot this fall. The petitions will be offered at Catholic parishes throughout the state in coming weeks.
Washington D.C., Jun 6, 2006 (CNA) - The relationship between bishops, the Church and politicians will be on the agenda for the spring meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, June 15-17, at the Millennium Biltmore, Los Angeles. The USCCB’s Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Politicians will present its report.
The agenda will include discussions on the widely popular new DVD by the Committee on Vocations, “Fishers of Men.” The bishops will discuss extending the annual appeal for the Retirement Fund for Religious, adaptations of the Order of Mass, liturgical translations, and a beginning a draft document on stewardship and teenagers.
Reports on the work of Catholic Relief Services and their Hurricane Task Force will also be presented.
Washington D.C., Jun 6, 2006 (CNA) - The notion that the Catholic Church retained the ban on artificial birth control in 1968 because it was afraid that “changing its mind” would undermine Church teaching is a myth, says respected Catholic author and theologian George Weigel.
“The real issue was much graver, and touched virtually every question in the moral life,” he states in his May 26 syndicated column, titled “Afraid of change? More myths of 1968.”
Weigel, who is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., used his column to respond to a recent editorial in the London-based Tablet, which makes the false claim. The notion that the Church holds its stance out of fear, “is a distortion of history and the editors of the Tablet … should know it,” he writes.
In 1967, Weigel explains, the Tablet printed a leaked memorandum to Paul VI from members of the papal commission studying the morality of family planning.
“According to that memorandum, a majority of the commissioners had been persuaded that the morality of conjugal life should be judged by the overall pattern of a couple's sexual conduct, rather than by the openness of each act of marital love to conception,” he writes.
However, a close reading of the document reveals that these commissioners “intended to install proportionalism and the theory of the ‘fundamental option’ as the official moral theological method of the Catholic Church,” he continues. Paul VI recognized this, and rejected the proposal.
Pope John Paul II explained and rejected proportionalism in his 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor. "The criteria for evaluating the moral rightness of an action are drawn from the weighing of the non-moral or pre-moral goods to be gained and the corresponding non-moral or pre-moral values to be respected. For some, concrete behavior would be right or wrong according to whether or not it is capable of producing a better state of affairs for all concerned,” the late pope said.
Weigel recounts that “classical Catholic moralists tried to construct a responsible theological case” for artificial birth control. They “found they couldn't do so without opening the Pandora's Box of proportionalism, which blunts the edge of moral analysis and drains the moral life of its inherent drama,” Weigel writes.
“If you want to measure the effects of proportionalist moral analysis on a once-great ecclesial community, you need go no farther than the Anglican Communion, which is being torn apart today because proportionalists,” he writes.
Asunción, Paraguay, Jun 6, 2006 (CNA) - In response to the wave of superstition that has resulted from the date 6/6/06, Archbishop Pastor Cuquejo of Asuncion cautioned Catholics not to let themselves be carried away by false beliefs and to remember that Christ is Lord over evil.
“The Christian should free himself from these superstitions, first because they are a waste of time, and second because he has Christ, who is the great Redeemer, the One who is above evil,” the archbishop said. “If you think and believe it will affect you, perhaps it will, but it will be your own fault because of self-influence,” he noted.
The archbishop said in order to understand the symbolism of 666, it is necessary to understand “the Jewish mentality, which holds that the number 7 signifies perfection and contact with God,” and that anything less “was imperfect, and that’s where the number 6 comes in.” He noted that when the author of Revelation identifies the beast with 666, he speaks of it as many or as one “who persecuted the Christians of that time. The beast is often associated with the emperor Nero, and since he was going against God, he was assigned the number 6.” “Thus three sixes would mean the perfection of evil. It is a mere symbol that does not have any magic power or force. By itself the number has no power. The power lies in the evil that man can do,” the archbishop maintained.
He added that 666 is seen by those who are superstitious as an evil number that signifies the work of the devil, the catastrophe that would occur “with the coincidences of these numbers.”
“For example,” Archbishop Cuquejo said, “now they are saying that the sixth day of the sixth month of the year that ends in six will be an ominous day.” He enjoined Catholics “not to be carried away by these coincidences of time. 666 has nothing to do with whatever catastrophes might happen.”
If people think that something is going to happen, they themselves will make it possible through their mental suggestion. “Some will lose good judgment because they are worried, and if they get into a car accident,” he said, “it will be because they were careless, and they will blame the coincidence of numbers.”
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jun 6, 2006 (CNA) - At its recent national convention, Brazils ruling Worker’s Party reaffirmed its pledge to promote abortion in the country.
Pro-life leaders in Brazil warned that the convention featured a motion regarding the decriminalization of abortion, which leaders said they wanted to make an express part of the party’s political platform.
The motion was for promoting abortion “as a woman’s right to choose regarding her body and her life.” According to pro-life groups, this has been the party’s pledge since 1994 and since then several attempts have been made to implement the pledge in different administrations.
Pro-life leaders have launched an email campaign aimed at preventing the pledge from becoming part of the party’s platform this year. Voters are being encouraged to write party leaders urging them not to adopt the proposal.
Lima, Peru, Jun 6, 2006 (CNA) - During a moving ceremony celebrated last weekend, Bishop Norberto Strotmann of Chosica, Peru, official opened the Father Patrick Peyton Family Center in Cantogrande, one the most populous and poorest suburbs of Lima. The new center’s mission is to promote respect for life and the strengthening of the family.
Father Jorge Aguirre of the Congregation of the Holy Cross explained, “This center was created through the initiative of the Servant of God Father Peyton, founder of the ‘Family Rosary,’ and its purpose is to serve the Church and the community through formation, education and solidarity with families, as well as with those involved in ministry and the media who work to defend and promote them.”
Father Aguirre said one of the main objectives of the center is to offer both psychological and spiritual guidance for families that are experiencing difficulties, “helping them to bring healing to the past and to endure present situations.”
“We also intend for it to be a research center,” he added, “and there is already a team of professionals working on family issues.”
Father Aguirre also said the center would strive to promote family prayer, especially the rosary, in order to strengthen the family as an institution.