Vatican City, Oct 16, 2006 (CNA) -
Tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Sunday, to participate in the canonization ceremony of a religious sister who left France to establish a new mission in Indiana, a Mexican bishop who operated an underground seminary, and two others.
Pope Benedict XVI pronounced Mother Theodore Guerin a Saint of the Catholic Church, along with three other clergy and religious, this past weekend.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago assisted at the event, as well as a delegation of students and staff from the recently renamed Saint Theodore Guerin High School in Indiana. Two of the students were altar servers.
Phil McCord, 60, whose restored vision was approved as the miracle needed for the canonization, also attended the canonization. McCord manages the campus of Guerin's order in Indiana. In need of a corneal transplant, his eyesight started to improve the day after he entered the chapel at the college and asked for Guerin’s help.
In his homily, the Pope described Mother Guerin as a generous disciple of Christ “who responded unreservedly to the call of the divine Teacher.”
Born in France, Mother Guerin entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence in 1823, and worked as a teacher. In 1839, her superiors asked her to found a new community in the United States. She and five other sisters arrived at a simple log-cabin chapel in the heart of the forest at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.
“With great trust in Divine Providence, Mother Theodore overcame many challenges and persevered in the work that the Lord had called her to do. By the time of her death in 1856, the Sisters were running schools and orphanages throughout the state of Indiana,” the Pope said.
"How much good has been accomplished by the Sisters of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods! How much more good they will be able to do if they remain faithful to their holy vocation!" the Pope added, quoting the new saint.
“Mother Theodore Guerin is a beautiful spiritual figure and a model of Christian life. She was always available for the missions upon which the Church sent her; she found strength and courage for this work in the Eucharist, in prayer and in an infinite confidence in Divine Providence. Her interior strength propelled her to pay particular attention to the poor, especially to children,” he said in French.
"Mother Theodore once said that we are not asked to do all of God's work in this world, just the work we can do,” Angela White, 42, from Indianapolis told The Associated Press, “and I think this is exactly what we have to do."
Bishop Rafael Guizar Valencia, who risked his life to tend to the wounded during the Mexican revolution, was also canonized. Despite persecution by the anti-clerical Mexican state, he continued to minister to the people, sometimes in disguise, and managed to operate the seminary in Mexico City clandestinely for 15 years. He died in 1938.
The Holy Father noted the bishop’s particular devotion to operating his seminary. "May the example of St. Raphael Guizar Valencia," said the Pope, "be a call to brother bishops and priests to consider as a fundamental element of their pastoral projects - alongside the spirit of poverty and evangelization - the fomentation of priestly and religious vocations and their formation in accordance with Christ's heart."
The new Mexican Saint was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and is the first bishop/Saint of the Catholic fraternal organization. He is the seventh Knight to be named a Saint.
Fr. Filippo Smaldone, an Italian priest who was a trailblazer for education of the deaf, dedicating himself to poor children in Naples and founded a congregation of sisters.
Pope Benedict called St. Filippo, “a priest with a great heart, nourished through constant prayer and Eucharistic adoration; he was above all a witness to and servant of charity which he displayed magnificently in serving the poor, especially the deaf, to whom he dedicated himself entirely.”
Sr. Rosa Venerini she founded the Congregation of the Holy Venerini Teachers and pushed to establish the first public schools for girls in Italy. "She did not content herself with giving girls an adequate education, but made it her concern to ensure them a complete formation, with concrete reference to the doctrinal teaching of the Church,” the Holy Father noted. “Even today her apostolic style continues to characterize the life" of the congregation she founded. "How important, even for modern society, is the service [the congregation] provides in the field of schooling, and especially in the formation of women."
At the beginning of his homily, the Holy Father commented on the Gospel account of the rich young man, affirming how "a saint is that man or that woman who, responding with joy and generosity to the call of Christ, leaves everything to follow Him."
"Earthly riches occupy and preoccupy the mind and the heart. Jesus does not say they are evil, but that they distance one from God if they are not, so to say, 'invested' for the kingdom of heaven, in other words used to help those who live in poverty."
“The Church rejoices in the four new saints,” the Pope said. “May their example inspire us and their prayers obtain for us guidance and courage.”
Mexico City, Mexico, Oct 16, 2006 (CNA) - The Mexican government has barred a group of lawyers from the US from entering the country after the attorneys, who are representing their plaintiff in a sex abuse lawsuit against Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City, violated Mexico’s immigration laws.
Jeffrey Robert Anderson, Michael George Finnegan, and David Gerad Clohessy have been barred entry into Mexico for five years for carrying out professional business in the country when they were issued only tourist visas. The lawyers are representing a Mexican citizen who claims Cardinal Rivera was involved in an “international conspiracy” to cover up alleged cases of clerical sex abuse.
Mexican authorities said the lawyers entered Mexico on September 19 with tourist visas. “Nevertheless, the next day they gave a conference in which they presented themselves as the legal advisors to a third party and as lawyers of the legal firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, without having received authorization to carry out a professional or for-profit venture in the country.”
Anderson, a St. Paul attorney, has made a living off of sexual abuse victims, representing 1,000 people over 24 years in sex abuse cases involving clergy members and has been a key figure in the U.S. legal battles on the issue, the AP reports.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Oct 16, 2006 (CNA) - Cardinal Keith O'Brien said he backed Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom, predicting that independence would come “before too long,” for his country, “Scotland on Sunday” reported.
"I would not get too involved in the politics of independence, but I am happy that, if it is the wish of the people, Scotland becomes an independent country," the cardinal said in an interview with the Catholic Herald newspaper and St Andrews University philosopher John Haldane.
"In my travels I have had much experience of small countries and I have seen what benefits independence can bring,” he added.
He noted that Ireland and Denmark benefited from the "prosperity which self-determination can bring".
The 68-year-old cleric also spoke of his frustration with the Scottish Parliament. Members of which have already expressed their displeasure with the cardinal’s statements.
According to the Sunday paper, O'Brien's comments have caused deep dismay in Labour ranks, with party sources expressing disappointment the cardinal has chosen to stray on to such controversial political ground months before the referendum regarding independence next May.
“It is difficult to argue that ecclesiastical independence is acceptable but political independence is not," he said, referring to the fact that the Scottish and English Catholic churches are independent of each other.
The cardinal's comments follow a series of sharp attacks on Labour's policies on moral issues, despite historically strong links between Catholics in Scotland and the Labour Party.
Last week, Bishop Philip Tartaglia of Paisley criticized politicians for legalizing same-sex marriage, and accused legislators of becoming intolerant and hostile to Christian opinion.
Rome, Italy, Oct 16, 2006 (CNA) -
This morning the Vatican released a schedule for Pope
Benedict XVI's trip to Turkey. Thus making official rumors that the
Pontiff would continue his trip despite threats from the Muslim world.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone had confirmed the
trip on Italian national television last week, saying also that the
Pope will continue to “give new momentum” to improving the dialogue
between cultures and religions.
The new secretary of state told Rai Due’s Sulla Via di Damasco television program that there was no reason to call it off. In fact, Bertone added, the Pope's trip “will also be a chance for dialogue and meetings with important religious and political figures.”
Previously, some Muslim groups had warned that the Pope should call off his trip to the Muslim European state in view of his the comments he made during his trip to Germany in September. During a speech at the University of Regensburg, the Pope cited a 14th-century Christian emperor who had said Islam was “violent and inhuman.”
According to AGI, Cardinal Bertone said the speech was “a great appeal to bring God back to the center of thought, of personal and social life, and an appeal to collaboration between Christianity and Islam to share and aim at common moral goals … such as the protection of the value of life and the protection of moral values.”
"Catholics and Muslims can and must discuss topics which concern everyone and which are essential for the fate and future of humanity," the cardinal offered.
The Pope wishes to “give new momentum” to inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, Bertone said, and the Pope’s speech was the pontiff’s “the only chance to trigger a more profound reflection, namely on the relationship between the major religions of the world and human reason."
The Pope’s trip to Turkey will be “a new leg in this dialogue process, featuring Pope Benedict XVI himself as one of the main actors,” he stated.
Barcelona, Spain, Oct 16, 2006 (CNA) - The first animated film on the life of Pope John Paul II will be released this week. John Paul II: The Friend of All Humanity spans the life of the former Pope, from his birth as Karol Wojtyla, in Poland, to his death as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome at the age of 84.
The hour-long animation, dubbed in seven languages, was made by Barcelona-based Cavin Cooper Productions, in partnership with the Vatican Television Centre. The film was produced by Cavin Cooper founder Jose Luis Lopez-Guardia.
Lopez-Guardia has been working extensively in the last few years as a creative artist in animation, as well as in editing and production. He has also developed conceptual studies for Disney, Warner Bros, Universal Studios, MGM, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Sony and Hanna-Barbera. He has supervised and directed some animated television episodes.
The movie's press release says the film, “offers the most intimate moments and the most meaningful anecdotes about the most important figure of the 20th Century,” in a format, "enjoyable by the whole family."
“It was the Pope who inspired the great political and social changes that dramatically changed the history of mankind,” it says.
To view the trailer of the John Paul II animation, go to: http://www.johnpauliitrailer.com/
Vatican City, Oct 16, 2006 (CNA) - The Vatican released, today, a message from Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, to members of the Hindu faith in commemoration of the Feast of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, which falls this year on October 21. The title of the message is: "Overcoming hatred with love."
The cardinal began by noting that, “the reality of love is closely connected to truth, light, goodness, and life.”
“I would like to reflect on this theme of love, through which believers of different religions are invited to overcome the evil of hatred and distrust in contemporary society.”
Cardinal Poupard reflected on this year’s terrorist bombing in Mumbai, India, which, he noted, were another example of the phenomena of hate and distrust ending in “brutal violence.”
“I am sure that, enriched in the light of our particular religious traditions, our resolve to invite all believers to overcome hatred by love will benefit society at large,” he said.
Poupard noted that his reflection on love had been inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical letter “Deus Caritas est” (God is Love). “The Pope wrote this letter, convinced that his message is both timely and significant ‘in a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence’ (n. 1),” the cardinal said.
“The importance and demands of love can be best learned from God who, the Christian faith professes, is Himself Love, and whose eternal Son, for love of us, became incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ. God is the source and fullness of all love. Our love for one another becomes worthy of its name only when it has its source in God and is nourished by our union with the same God,” Poupard noted, mentioning Blessed Mother Teresa who, “constantly renewed her love of neighbor and her selfless service to the poor in her encounter with God in incessant daily prayer.”
“God loves us all without exception,” the cardinal said, “and his love is unconditional.”
However, he continued, “our human response to God’s love must be spelt out in concrete stewardship of God’s creatures, especially to human beings. It is urgent and necessary that believers of different religions manifest jointly to the world that hatred can be overcome by love. In today’s complex societies, is it not possible for us to join hands and collaborate in seeking justice for all, working together on common projects, for the development of the downtrodden, the marginalized, the destitute, the orphan and the weak?”
Returning again to the Pope’s Encyclical, the cardinal noted that, “despite the great advances made in science and technology, each day we see how much suffering there is in the world on account of different kinds of poverty, both material and spiritual” (Deus caritas est, n. 30).”
Cardinal Poupard then turned to “Deus Caritas est” one final time noting that, “Love is the light – and in the end, the only light – that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working’ (n. 39).”
“The Pope’s words,” Poupard noted, “obviously refer to Jesus Christ who is the Light of the world. However, these words can also draw your attention since for you the meaning of your feast, Diwali, is symbolized by light. May our love finally overcome the darkness of hatred in the world! Happy Diwali to you, my dear Hindu friends!”
Lima, Peru, Oct 16, 2006 (CNA) - Representative of pro-abortion organizations are pressuring the Peruvian government to modify its laws to allow so called “therapeutic abortion” to be practiced in more cases.
Last year, the UN Human Rights Committee, at the request of a pro-abortion group, issued a declaration stating the country of Peru had “violated the rights” of a young mother by not allowing her to abort her unborn child, who was diagnosed with anencephaly, a congenital malformation that usually leads to early death for the baby but poses no risk for the mother.
Various pro-abortion organizations reacted to the declaration by calling on then Health Minister, Pilar Mazzetti, to approve a national protocol that would allow wider access to abortion.
During a pro-abortion event, activists demanded that the Peruvian Health Ministry adopt the declaration by the UN Human Rights Committee and that abortion be allowed for reasons of physical, mental, and even spiritual health of the mother.
One speaker at the event argued that even stress could be considered a valid reason for therapeutic abortion.
Currently Peruvian law only allows abortion in cases of life or serious and permanent health risk of the mother.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct 16, 2006 (CNA) - During his weekly reflection, Archbishop Emeritus Carmelo Giaquinta of Resistencia, Argentina, said there is a “misunderstanding of the Kingdom of God” in today’s world.
In his message, the archbishop emeritus invoked words of the Second Vatican Council: “There must be a careful distinction between earthly progress and the growth of the Kingdom of Christ. Nevertheless, the former, inasmuch as it can contribute to better ordering human society, is of much interest to the Kingdom of God.”
After explaining that “before, the Kingdom of God was seen from the perspective of a false transcendentalism, with no roots in earthly life, and an abyss was created between earthly progress and the Kingdom of God,” he warned that “during recent decades the temptation is the opposite: a Kingdom of God so immanent that its fate is confused with that of earthly society.”
“The understanding of the mystery of the Kingdom of God is not the fruit of intellectual toil, but rather of the greatest gift of God, which opens His richness to us if we receive it with the spirit of a child,” Archbishop Giaquinta maintained.
He then explained what it meant to “receive the Kingdom of God as a child,” referring to the meaning of the word “little ones” in the original Greek.
“The word ‘little’ does not refer to smallness of size but rather to smallness as an object of preferential love,” he said, noting that a child receives that preferential love with joy and gratitude.
The archbishop emeritus reiterated that such a person “is happy knowing that he does not exist for himself, but rather owes everything to another. This kind of child is the ‘little one’ to whom Jesus refers. And He praises the Father for such ones.”
“Is this the way you and I receive the Kingdom of God?” he asked in conclusion.
Lwanda, Uganda, Oct 16, 2006 (CNA) - Bishop Filomeno do Nascimiento Vieira Dias of Cabinda, Angola, has issued a statement denounce the acts of violence and vandalism carried out in his diocese by groups that reject his episcopal authority.
In his statement, the Angolan bishop denounced groups and individuals that are “disturbing the normal functioning of the Catholic community of the Diocese of Cabinda, threatening priests and the laity who participate in liturgical celebrations.” Priests and laity alike have been attacked with rocks and verbal assaults in recent weeks. Radical groups have occupied some parishes and committed acts of vandalism as well.
Bishop Vieira Dias exhorted Catholics to be courageous witnesses of fidelity to the Pope and to the Church, by “denouncing the authors of such acts to the competent authorities, as we are dealing here with persecutors of Christians and disturbers of the public order.”
The bishop concluded his statement underscoring that “Catholics are those who serve the People of God according to the norms of the Church, because the opposite is to improperly take advantage of the name Catholic for purposes inconsistent with the life of the Church.”