, Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - Made public today was the text of a talk delivered by Msgr. Franco Follo before the executive council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), on April 20.
Msgr. Follo, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to UNESCO, dwelt on the importance of the authentic promotion of the dignity of women and of their participation in social life.
"Christian faith," said the permanent observer, "nourishes the conviction that no human being, man or woman, can be denied the intrinsic value that God granted to each person," a value "that cannot be alienated. At the same time, this original dignity reminds us that all human beings must be treated as people and not as objects."
Msgr. Follo highlighted how political and social, national and international organizations "have the duty to do everything possible to ensure that such dignity is always respected, in all the stages of a person's life. In this context, greater attention must be given to ensuring respect for women and girls, especially as concerns their physical integrity, their free decision to choose a husband, and the need for them to access education and social life."
"Thanks to women, whose often humble and unseen activities must be supported, it will be possible to promote the family more effectively as a basic social cell, young people will learn to integrate into social networks, peace will be sought with greater intensity, and dialogue and human relationships will become factors for fraternity and solidarity at the local level. In other words," he concluded, "all of society will benefit from the vocation, the activity and the genius of women."
Washington D.C., Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) -
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has invited all dioceses in the country to help support the rapidly growing Catholic population in Africa by contributing to a Pastoral Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa.
The U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Church in Africa oversees the annual appeal that supports pastoral outreach, catechetical programs, Catholic schools, evangelization, education of seminarians, and the continuing education of clergy in all 55 African countries.
The appeal has grown dramatically since its inception in 2005, when 57 dioceses contributed $822,000. In response to the 2006 appeal, 97 dioceses gave $1,727,000, an increase of 110 percent in total contributions and a 70 percent increase in the number of dioceses participating. The Diocese of Orange, Calif. contributed $237,603, the highest total of any diocese. Despite struggling to rebuild churches and schools devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the Diocese of Biloxi, Miss. gave $14, 449.
In the past 25 years, the number of Catholics in Africa has increased from 55 million to 144 million, and the number of priests has increased by 73 percent. While Africa is the fastest growing part of the universal Catholic Church, it faces extreme poverty. Over 70 percent of Africans live on less than $2 per day, a level of poverty that cripples the ability of churches to raise sufficient funds for many pastoral needs.
“The vibrant church in Africa today, so rich in spiritual wealth, has enormous material need that calls us as sisters and brothers in the universal church to respond generously with solidarity and love,” said Bishop John H. Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Church in Africa. “This appeal has become an integral part of helping the flourishing Catholic community in Africa reach its enormous potential.”
The committee has provided bishops with several options for dioceses to contribute to the appeal. These include taking up a collection in all parishes on a specific date; inviting parishes to make a voluntary collection; making contributions from diocesan funds; adding the Church in Africa as an item in the annual bishops’ diocesan appeal; holding a fundraiser event or soliciting funds from major donors. Dioceses have also been asked to appoint a diocesan coordinator who will help oversee the appeal.
Mexico City, Mexico, Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, has sent a letter of thanks to Pope Benedict XVI for his “paternal concern” over a new law that will legalize abortion in the Mexican capital and the passage of which is “imminent.”
The letter was read during a press conference by Auxiliary Bishop Marcelino Hernandez after Mass on Sunday at the archdiocesan cathedral. “Thank you for uniting the Church of Mexico and so many people of good will,” the letter began.
The Cardinal said the new law sponsored by the Democratic Revolution Party (known as PRD in Mexico) in the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City “is a very grave threat to the innocent and defenseless life of the unborn.”
Mexico is “a Christian nation that values the family, and we promise you we will work ardently and with hope to implant the civilization of love in our country,” Cardinal Rivera wrote in his letter. “Holy Mary of Guadalupe, our Mother, will help us,” he said.
The Cardinal’s letter came in response to a message from Benedict XVI last week sent to the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Mexico, Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes, through the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
In his letter, the Pontiff recalled that “in this Easter Season, with the resurrection of Christ we are celebrating the triumph of life over death. This great gift drives us to firmly protect and defend the right to life of every human being from the first moment of conception, in the face of any manifestation of the culture of death.”
Washington D.C., Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - The Catholic nonprofit organization Fidelis has condemned the editorial cartoon published in the April 20 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer entitled “Church and State.”
The cartoon was published following the United States Supreme Court decision to uphold a ban on partial birth abortion, which was passed by the United States Congress and upheld by President Bush. It features the five Catholic members of the Supreme Court wearing bishop miters.
“The Philadelphia Inquirer has breached the line of reasonable editorial commentary,” said Fidelis president Joseph Cella in a statement. “This cartoon is venomous, terribly misleading and, blatantly anti-Catholic. We call on the Inquirer to repudiate the cartoon’s anti-Catholic sentiment.”
The cartoon suggests that the court’s decision to uphold the ban on partial birth abortion was influenced by the Catholic Church.
“The Supreme Court did not ‘follow marching orders’ from the Vatican or the bishops in the United States. Instead, the court deferred to deliberative judgment of the people’s elected representatives protected by the Constitution,” Cella stated.
Cella said his hope in exposing this “outrageously intolerant cartoon” is to contain future attacks on judges of faith.
“It is shameful that such an inflammatory and hate-filled cartoon appears as legitimate editorial expression,” said Cella. “The Inquirer’s insinuation that a Catholic judge cannot act dispassionately and apply the law is an affront to all judges of faith, and smacks of anti-Catholic bigotry and elitism of the worst kind.”
Berlin, Germany, Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - In response to the killing of three Christians, including one German, in the Turkish city of Malatya last week, Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg said Christians, who are a minority in Turkey, “cannot be second or third-class citizens.”
The archbishop, who is also president of the Committee for the Universal Church of the Bishops’ Conference of Germany, stressed that “Christians should enjoy the same rights guaranteed by politics, the law, the media and public opinion.”
Likewise, he said religious freedom in Turkey must be guaranteed. “The equality of all citizens, regardless of race and religion, and the equality of rights of all religious communities in a country are sources of peace and an effective protection against the attack upon minorities,” the German archbishop said.
“Respect for human rights, including the expression of religious freedom, is an important condition for Turkey to advance in Europe,” Archbishop Schick said, demanding that the Turkish State investigate the crime as soon as possible and to “punish those responsible.”
Jerusalem, Israel, Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - On Monday the fourth marathon-pilgrimage linking Nativity Square in Bethlehem with the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem began, with this year’s pilgrimage dedicated to John Paul II.
On Monday morning the pilgrimage, which will last until April 28, began, while the 10k marathon will start on April 25. Since the first pilgrimage in 2004, the starting and ending points have alternated between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
This year’s marathon will include runners from Italy, Israel, Palestine, Slovakia, Mexico, Ecuador, the United States, who will be carrying the flag of peace and the Olympic flag.
Archbishop Josef Clemens, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, will preside at the ceremonial events.
“The marathon aims to unite two aspects that are joined together and are complementary: religion and sports in order to walk together for peace,” organizers explained.
The event is organized by the Italian Bishops’ Conference, the Israeli Office of Tourism, the Pellegrinaggi Roman Opera and the Italian Sports Center.
Tampa, Fla., Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - The Catholic Church in the United States has expressed its solidarity with the Muslim community of Tampa, whose mosque was destroyed by arson nearly two weeks ago.
"The Catholic Church is standing with any house of worship that is being damaged or burned or smeared with graffiti," said Fr. Francis Tiso.
The priest works for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ interreligious affairs office in Washington, D.C. He was in Tampa for the 39th annual convention of the National Federation of Priests' Councils this week and decided to visit the mosque on Sunday, reported the St. Petersburg Times.
During a session at the five-day conference, Fr. Tiso will help lead a talk on Muslim-Catholic dialogue in the United States.
Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was with Fr. Tiso for the visit of the burnt-out Islamic Education Center of Tampa.
"An attack on any house of worship is an attack on all houses of worship," Bedier told the Times. "It's unacceptable."
"This type of act isn't going to frighten us off," Bedier reportedly said. Worshippers have pledged to build a bigger mosque in its place, but it could take 18 months or longer.
The FBI is currently investigating the arson. A $12,500 reward has been offered to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
The April 12 fire caused $100,000 in damages. The mosque was uninsured, Bedier said, because it was paid off.
"When you see this kind of damage, you know that's an attack at the heart of the community," Fr. Tiso was quoted as saying in the Times. "It's an attack on something spiritual, which for a priest, is horrifying."
"This is not the America I grew up in," Fr. Tiso told the Times. "We were not taught to throw gasoline on somebody's house of worship."
Bogotá, Colombia, Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - The Minister of the Interior and of Justice in Colombia, Carlos Holguin, has criticized the ruling of an appeals court judge ordering the detention for three days of Archbishop Fabio Betancur of Manizales, saying the ruling does not respect international accords, such as those between the Holy See and Colombia.
The judge’s ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by an ex-seminarian who was expelled from the major seminary in Manizales in 1999 for theft and homosexual conduct. After being ordained in a Protestant community, he is demanding the archbishop explain the reasons for his expulsion.
“This concerns things that happened at a seminary with a student and therefore it is completely regulated by canon law,” Holguin stated, adding that while “I must respect judicial rulings, I also believe that international treaties must be respected.”
Faithful hold vigil
The rector of the Cathedral Basilica of Manizales, Father Rogelio Valencia, said the presbyteral council of the Archdiocese has organized a five day-long vigil in rejection of the arrest order against Archbishop Betancur.
Father Valencia said a Mass will be celebrated in each parish at 6:30pm as part of the vigil. At the Cathedral, he said, “we will be in constant prayer and vigil throughout the day, praying for the intentions of our beloved archbishop, who is going to prison unjustly.”
Madrid, Spain, Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, warned this week the government sponsored educational course “Education for Citizenship” “is leading us to totalitarianism” and is “incompatible with the identity of Catholic schools.”
“The course Education for Citizenship is incompatible with the identity of Catholic schools. A Catholic school would cease to be such if it offered this course,” in the same way that if a public school, if it did the same, “would lose its obligatory ideological neutrality,” the Cardinal said.
He stressed that the purpose of the course material “is not that we be good, but that we behave well,” since “when there is no freedom of conscience, freedom of education, we head towards totalitarianism. Education for Citizenship is leading us to totalitarianism.”
Regarding religious freedom, Cardinal Cañizares said this right has been “truly been curtailed,” as “at best faith is tolerated only in the private sphere,” and he underscored that Spain is following the same path as the eastern European countries during the era of the Berlin Wall.
In a reference to Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s initiative called “The Alliance of Civilizations,” which calls for the West to negotiate a truce with Islamic terrorists, Cardinal Cañizares said it was easier to establish “a relationship between Christianity and Islam.”
Both religions, he explained, “acknowledge God as their starting point, while in the Alliance of Civilizations there is complete distrust for religion and God is seen as a source of division and confrontation.” “The best response to the Alliance of Civilizations is the path laid out by Benedict XVI at Regensburg: the affirmation of the unity between faith and reason.”
Washington D.C., Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - The chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) migration committee has warned that the Bush Administration’s recent immigration reform proposals would be harmful to immigrants.
Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino, Calif., issued a warning in a letter to Congress this week, in which he also asked lawmakers to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Bishop Barnes wrote in his letter, that the bipartisan Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act of 2007 (STRIVE), “best comports with the principles needed for a just and humane immigration reform bill.”
However, the bishop continued, “unlike the STRIVE Act, which promotes family reunification and has a realistic plan for bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows, the Administration’s proposal would make cuts to family-based immigration as well as impose fines and wait times for legalization that are far beyond what most immigrants could bear,” wrote the bishop.
“As we understand it, the Administration’s proposal would effectively leave many immigrants seeking to legalize their status in a permanent underclass and would encourage family breakdown in immigrant communities,” he added.
Under the Administration’s proposal, undocumented persons eligible for new “Z” visas would have to pay $3,500 every three years to renew their visa and another $10,000 once they become eligible for permanent residency.
The proposal would also transform the immigration system from a family-based system to an employment-based system by eliminating or limiting four categories of family preference: adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, parents of U.S. citizens and some children of permanent residents.
It would also prevent participants in the proposed new “Z” visa program from petitioning for family members’ entry into the U.S., and prevent temporary workers in the “Y” non-immigrant visa program from bringing their immediate family members to the U.S.
Bishop Barnes emphasized that, the USCCB supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes a viable path to permanent residency for the undocumented population; a new worker program that includes appropriate worker protections, wage levels, and an opportunity to earn permanent residency; reductions in family reunification backlogs; the restoration of due process protections lost in the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA); and policies that address the root causes of migration, such as economic development in sending countries.
Manila, Philippines, Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - A good politician is a person who loves and respects God and is ready to sacrifice personal, group or party interests for the sake of national unity, peace and progress, said Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, archbishop of Manila, in a pastoral letter issued in view of parliamentary elections May 14.
Furthermore, a good politician is guided by an upright and well formed conscience, is attentive to the problems and wellbeing of the people; lives by moral principles, respects nature and leads others to do the same, the Cardinal added.
According to Fides, the Cardinal cited the Catholic Church’s social doctrine and said it is important to elect candidates known for their honesty, transparency and justice in both private and public life, and that the choice must be guided by moral criteria.
“Votes cannot be sold or exchanged for favors, or conditioned by any form of coercion. Votes must go to the best possible leaders,” he reportedly wrote.
“The elections are a process in which we choose leaders committed to working with the people to achieve the common good,” he said.
Vatican City, Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - The Press Office of the Holy See made public today Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the upcoming World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which falls on Sunday, April 29th. The Holy Father referred to the theme of this year’s 44th Day of Prayer – “The vocation to the service of the Church as communion” – emphasizing the key role communion plays in the flourishing of vocations.
“Thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit,” Pope Benedict said, “all the members of the Church form ‘one body and one spirit’ in Christ. This people, organically structured under the guidance of its Pastors, lives the mystery of communion with God and with the brethren, especially when it gathers for the Eucharist.”
“This intense communion,” the Pope added, “favours the growth of generous vocations at the service of the Church: the heart of the believer, filled with divine love, is moved to dedicate itself wholly to the cause of the Kingdom.”
“In order to foster vocations, therefore, it is important that pastoral activity be attentive to the mystery of the Church as communion; because whoever lives in an ecclesial community that is harmonious, co-responsible and conscientious, certainly learns more easily to discern the call of the Lord,” the Holy Father encouraged.
Below is the Holy Father’s entire message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations:
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear brothers and sisters!
The annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations is an appropriate occasion for highlighting the importance of vocations in the life and mission of the Church, as well as for intensifying our prayer that they may increase in number and quality. For the coming celebration, I would like to draw the attention of the whole people of God to the following theme, which is more topical than ever: the vocation to the service of the Church as communion.
Last year, in the Wednesday general audiences, I began a new series of catechesis dedicated to the relationship between Christ and the Church. I pointed out that the first Christian community was built, in its original core, when some fishermen of Galilee, having met Jesus, let themselves be conquered by his gaze and his voice, and accepted his pressing invitation: "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men!" (Mk 1: 17; cf. Mt 4: 19). In fact, God has always chosen some individuals to work with him in a more direct way, in order to accomplish his plan of salvation. In the Old Testament, in the beginning, he called Abraham to form a "great nation" (Gn 12: 2); afterwards, he called Moses to free Israel from the slavery of Egypt (cf. Ex 3: 10). Subsequently, he designated other persons, especially the prophets, to defend and keep alive the covenant with his people. In the New Testament, Jesus, the promised Messiah, invited each of the Apostles to be with him (cf. Mk 3: 14) and to share his mission. At the Last Supper, while entrusting them with the duty of perpetuating the memorial of his death and resurrection until his glorious return at the end of time, he offered for them to his Father this heart-broken prayer: "I made known to them your name, and I will make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them" (Jn 17: 26). The mission of the Church, therefore, is founded on an intimate and faithful communion with God.
The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution Lumen gentium describes the Church as "a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" (n. 4), in which is reflected the very mystery of God. This means that the love of the Trinity is reflected in her. Moreover, thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, all the members of the Church form "one body and one spirit" in Christ. This people, organically structured under the guidance of its Pastors, lives the mystery of communion with God and with the brethren, especially when it gathers for the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source of that ecclesial unity for which Jesus prayed on the eve of his passion: "Father…that they also may be one in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (Jn 17: 21). This intense communion favours the growth of generous vocations at the service of the Church: the heart of the believer, filled with divine love, is moved to dedicate itself wholly to the cause of the Kingdom. In order to foster vocations, therefore, it is important that pastoral activity be attentive to the mystery of the Church as communion; because whoever lives in an ecclesial community that is harmonious, co-responsible and conscientious, certainly learns more easily to discern the call of the Lord. The care of vocations, therefore, demands a constant "education" for listening to the voice of God. This is what Eli did, when he helped the young Samuel to understand what God was asking of him and to put it immediately into action (cf. 1 Sam 3: 9). Now, docile and faithful listening can only take place in a climate of intimate communion with God which is realized principally in prayer. According to the explicit command of the Lord, we must implore the gift of vocations, in the first place by praying untiringly and together to the "Lord of the harvest". The invitation is in the plural: "Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest" (Mt 9: 38). This invitation of the Lord corresponds well with the style of the "Our Father" (Mt 6: 9), the prayer that he taught us and that constitutes a "synthesis of the whole Gospel" according to the well-known expression of Tertullian (cf. De Oratione, 1,6: CCL I, 258). In this perspective, yet another expression of Jesus is instructive: "If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven (Mt 18: 19). The Good Shepherd, therefore, invites us to pray to the heavenly Father, to pray unitedly and insistently, that he may send vocations for the service of the Church as communion.
Harvesting the pastoral experience of past centuries, the Second Vatican Council highlighted the importance of educating future priests to an authentic ecclesial communion. In this regard, we read in Presbyterorum ordinis: "Exercising the office of Christ, the shepherd and head, according to their share of his authority, the priests, in the name of the Bishop, gather the family of God together as a brotherhood enlivened by one spirit. Through Christ they lead them in the Holy Spirit to God the Father" (n. 6). The post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis echoes this statement of the Council, when it underlines that the priest is "the servant of the Church as communion because – in union with the Bishop and closely related to the presbyterate – he builds up the unity of the Church community in harmony of diverse vocations, charisms and services" (n. 16). It is indispensable that, within the Christian people, every ministry and charism be directed to full communion; and it is the duty of the Bishop and priests to promote this communion in harmony with every other Church vocation and service. The consecrated life, too, of its very nature, is at the service of this communion, as highlighted by my venerable predecessor John Paul II in the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata: "The consecrated life can certainly be credited with having effectively helped to keep alive in the Church the obligation of fraternity as a form of witness to the Trinity. By constantly promoting fraternal love, also in the form of common life, the consecrated life has shown that sharing in the Trinitarian communion can change human relationships and create a new type of solidarity" (n. 41).
At the centre of every Christian community is the Eucharist, the source and summit of the life of the Church. Whoever places himself at the service of the Gospel, if he lives the Eucharist, makes progress in love of God and neighbour and thus contributes to building the Church as communion. We can affirm that the "Eucharistic love" motivates and founds the vocational activity of the whole Church, because, as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus caritas est, vocations to the priesthood and to other ministries and services flourish within the people of God wherever there are those in whom Christ can be seen through his Word, in the sacraments and especially in the Eucharist. This is so because "in the Church’s Liturgy, in her prayer, in the living community of believers, we experience the love of God, we perceive his presence and we thus learn to recognize that presence in our daily lives. He loved us first and he continues to do so; we too, then, can respond with love" (n. 17).
Lastly, we turn to Mary, who supported the first community where "all these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer" (Acts 1: 14), so that she may help the Church in today’s world to be an icon of the Trinity, an eloquent sign of divine love for all people. May the Virgin, who promptly answered the call of the Father saying, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord" (Lc 1: 38), intercede so that the Christian people will not lack servants of divine joy: priests who, in communion with their Bishops, announce the Gospel faithfully and celebrate the sacraments, take care of the people of God, and are ready to evangelize all humanity. May she ensure, also in our times, an increase in the number of consecrated persons, who go against the current, living the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, and give witness in a prophetic way to Christ and his liberating message of salvation. Dear brothers and sisters whom the Lord calls to particular vocations in the Church: I would like to entrust you in a special way to Mary, so that she, who more than anyone else understood the meaning of the words of Jesus, "My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it" (Lk 8: 21), may teach you to listen to her divine Son. May she help you to say with your lives: "Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God" (cf. Heb 10: 7). With these wishes, I assure each one of you a special remembrance in prayer and from my heart I bless you all."
Minneapolis, Minn., Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) -
Today Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop John C. Nienstedt as Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. According to a press release from the Diocese of New Ulm, Archbishop Harry Flynn has indicated that he intends to invite the new coadjutor archbishop to share full leadership of the archdiocese.
In accord with Canon Law, the 60-year old Archbishop Nienstedt will share in the governance, administration, and pastoral ministry of the Church of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Archbishop Flynn will consult regularly with Nienstedt on important matters regarding the archdiocese.
A coadjutor archbishop immediately succeeds the local archbishop upon his resignation and automatically takes his place if he is absent or incapacitated. Archbishop Flynn, who has served as Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis since 1995, will turn 75 on May 2nd of next year.
At the same time, the Holy Father has assigned Bishop Nienstedt to be the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of New Ulm until another bishop has been named. Archbishop Nienstedt will have the same administrative, executive, and legislative power of a diocesan bishop.
Archbishop Nienstedt is a native of Detroit, born March 18, 1947 . He was ordained to the priesthood on July 27, 1974, at Sacred Heart Church , Dearborn , Michigan.
On June 12, 1996, he was appointed Titular Bishop of Alton and Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit and ordained as Auxiliary Bishop July 9, 1996. On August 8, 1996, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop for the south region of the Archdiocese serving 88 parishes.
On June 12, 2001, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as the third Bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota.
Upon hearing of the appointment Archbishop Flynn expressed his pleasure at the Holy Father’s decision. “I have known Bishop Nienstedt and have worked closely with him for a number of years and I am most pleased that he will be my eventual successor,” Flynn said in a press release. “He is a spiritual leader who is dedicated to the teachings of the Church, is a student of moral theology, a fine administrator and a leader who inspires others to match his high degree of devotion and service to the laity and to our priests."
Rome, Italy, Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - On Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Easter and the day on which the Catholic Church celebrates the 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Benedict XVI will accept several new men into the sharing of his priestly ministry to the Church of Rome.
The Holy Father will ordain as priests 22 deacons from the Diocese of Rome, of which he is Bishop. The ordinations will take place within a Mass to be celebrated at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Vatican City, Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) - This morning Pope Benedict XVI received in audience Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), president of the Palestinian Authority. The two conducted a short dialogue regarding the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli peace process, as well as difficulties faced by Catholics in the region.
"In the course of the cordial discussions, attention turned to the situation in the Middle East. Particular appreciation was expressed for the commitment - thanks also to the help of the international community - to relaunch the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians,” a press release from the Holy See said.
The communiqué added that, “talks also dwelt upon the internal Palestinian situation with reference, among other things, to the difficulties faced by Catholics, and the value of their contribution to that society."
Following his meeting with the Holy Father, President Abbas and his entourage went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.
Mosul, Iraq, Apr 24, 2007 (CNA) -
Responding to the latest in a series of terrorist attack against the Christian communities in Iraq Monday, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Kirkuk made an appeal for reconciliation in the country and noted the tremendous contributions Iraqi Christians have made in their country’s history.
A car bomb went off yesterday at Tell-el-skop, a Christian village north-east of Mosul, killing 10 people and injuring another 140. Among the victims were two Dominican nuns.
Christians, Archbishop Sako began, “have been pioneers in the construction of the Iraqi civilization. Along with their Muslim brothers, they have bravely defended their bond with the land and integrity of Iraq. All of them are proof of the Christians’ loyalty, honesty, wisdom and longing for brotherhood.”
According to the archbishop, “this hostility towards Christians is clearly in conflict with the Iraqis and their humanitarian and Islamic morality.”
“Iraq without Christians would be a disaster for all Iraqis. Driving Christians out of their homes means deteriorating the concept of cohabitation and destroying the cultural, civil and religious mosaic that Iraq is considered the cradle and incubator of.”
The archbishop offered to all Iraqi’s an invitation “to reconciliation, solidarity and to leaving out the external elements that bring death and division.”