Louisville, Ky., Jun 12, 2007 (CNA) - This morning the Holy Father announced that he has appointed a new archbishop for the Archdiocese of Louisville. The new head of the archdiocese is Bishop Joseph Kurtz who has been the bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee for the past seven years.
Bishop Kurtz accepted Pope Benedict’s appointment by placing his trust, “in the grace of Jesus Christ and in the Providential Plan of our Heavenly Father.” In a statement on the archdiocesan website, the new Archbishop said that he will look to the leadership of the Holy Father as his model—a model of “unity in truth and charity.”
The former bishop of Knoxville said that he is looking forward to his new role as pastor of the Archdiocese of Louisville. “I am eager to meet all the priests and all those who minister to the faithful of the archdiocese and to love and serve with them, seeking the unity in truth and in charity that echoes the prayer of Jesus as well as the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s motto: ‘United we stand; Divided we fall.’”
Both Archbishop Kelly, the retiring head of the archdiocese, and Bishop Kurtz have mentioned how they have enjoyed working with each other over the past seven years.
Archbishop Kelly said, “I have valued working with him since his appointment as Bishop of Knoxville, and I know how much the people of his diocese will miss him. I wish him all the best as he pastors this wonderful local church; I cannot imagine a better match for the Archdiocese of Louisville.”
Bishop Kurtz will be installed as the head of the Archdiocese of Louisville on August 15th 2007, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Noting how appropriate this date is, Bishop Kurtz pointed out that it is, “the Patronal Feast of the Cathedral and coincides with the Thirtieth Anniversary of Archbishop Kelly’s Episcopal Ordination.”
Minneapolis, Minn., Jun 12, 2007 (CNA) - For the first time in recorded history, a Minnesota couple has given birth to sextuplets. Although they were counseled by doctors to abort all but two of the children, Ryan and Brianna knew it wasn’t even an option.
The new parents had been trying for a year to conceive a child, but were unable to do so naturally. “We spent over a year praying and trying on our own. Eventually we came under the care of a clinic that had succeeded in helping some of our close friends conceive.”
The first attempt at using a fertility drug produced no results, but the second drug, Follistim, resulted in Brianna producing two or three eggs. “There was a 25% chance of us having twins, a 3 % chance of us having triplets and anything else was laughable.”
Originally, the thought that Brianna might be carrying six children wasn’t even a possibility. According to Dr. Helain Landy of Georgetown University Hospital's Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, the chances of spontaneously conceiving sextuplets is one in 4.7 billion, although the odds improve significantly with fertility treatment.
A few weeks later, they learned that there were in fact six babies conceived. When doctors discovered that Brianna Morrison was carrying sextuplets, they advised couple to opt for "selective reduction," in which the woman carrying multiple fetuses reduces the number of viable fetuses to two by a procedure that is a multiple abortion.
"However, we knew right away that this is not an option for us," the couple wrote. "We understand that the risk is high, but we also understand that these little ones are much more than six fetuses. "Each one of them is a miracle given to us by God." “He knows each one of them by name and we will trust Him absolutely for their lives and health.”
Although the couple’s preparations for their newborns were not adequate, they are confident that God will provide for them. “Truly God [will] sustain us in this just as He has sustained us in everything we’ve ever experienced. He will bring the lives of these babies to full health and fruition and everyone will say, ‘Look, God has done something amazing!’”
The Morrison's four boys and two girls were born premature, delivered after just 22 weeks. Doctors at Children's Hospital listed them in critical condition Monday afternoon, with weights ranging between 11 ounces and 1 pound, 3 ounces.
More information can be found at their website: http://www.morrison6.com
Taylors, S.C., Jun 12, 2007 (CNA) - Senator Sam Brownback, who is a Republican candidate for president, called for the defense of marriage and innocent human life at the National Catholic Men’s Conference on Saturday.
Sen. Brownback, a Roman Catholic, attended the conference to talk about bringing his faith into public life.
In introducing the Kansas Republican, organizer Steve Wood criticized Catholic politicians who separate their faith lives from their public lives, reported The Associated Press.
“I don’t know about you, but this stuff by many Catholic politicians who say, ‘I’m personally opposed, but...’ But what?" Wood reportedly said. "You should have the integrity to be consistent in both the personal and public life.”
During his talk, Brownback urged married couples to stay together and to make their marriages work. He said marriage should remain between a man and a woman. Countries that have allowed same-sex marriages are engaging in bad social experiments, he added.
Brownback also said innocent life should be protected, even in cases of rape. "Rape is terrible. Rape is awful. Is it made any better by killing an innocent child? Does it solve the problem for the woman that’s been raped?" Brownback asked at the St. Joseph’s Covenant Keepers gathering.
"We need to protect innocent life. Period," he said, bringing the crowd of about 500 to its feet.
Baghdad, Iraq, Jun 12, 2007 (CNA) - The Religious Information Service of the Church in Italy reported this week that Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad Shlemon Warduni scolded the United States and Europe for their “silence” in the face of the escalating violence against the Christian minority in Iraq.
Bishop Warduni pointed to the recent assassination of a Catholic priest, Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni, and three deacons in northern Iraq, carried out a week ago as they were coming out of a church, and to the kidnapping of Father Hani Abdel Ahad, 33, who has not been heard from since the day of his abduction last Wednesday as instances of this silence.
The bishop said that after the killing of Father Ganni, “nobody showed us any solidarity.” “Only the Pope sent a telegram of condolences and raised his voice to make know the tragedy of the Iraqi Christians.”
According to the bishop, “If this had happened in any Islamic population, the Muslim masses would have taken to the streets to protest and demand respect, just as what happened with the satirical comics some time ago.”
“Christians, on the other hand, are doing nothing while here they are being killed, kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam, to pay protection money, hand over their own daughters in order to avoid reprisals, or to flee, abandoning their whole life’s work,” Bishop Wardumi said.
Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 12, 2007 (CNA) - The archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, expressed his satisfaction this week at the announcement by the Mexican government’s Ministry of Internal Affairs that he did not violate the country’s laws on religious expression by speaking out against the legalization of abortion in the Mexican capital.
“I want you all to know about this because I know that many of you were concerned when you learned that your bishop was being investigated. The storms have passed and here are the results,” the cardinal said at the conclusion of Mass on Sunday. He made his comments after the dean of the archdiocesan cathedral read the government’s statement, which said that the case was “definitively” closed.
The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico, Father Hugo Valdemar Romero, who was also cleared by the government, said a reform of the country’s law on religious expression would soon be presented to the government, as current law excessively limits priests from expressing opinions.
“The cardinal told me he was very satisfied because our position was confirmed by the finding of the Ministry, in the sense that we did not violate the law,” Father Valdemar said. He noted that Cardinal Rivera is concerned that the current law on religious expression is unjust and imposes restrictions on freedom of expression that have no basis.
Manila, Philippines, Jun 12, 2007 (CNA) - Gunmen abducted an Italian priest who was on his way to a remote village to celebrate Sunday Mass in the southern Philippines, police said.
Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, 57, was riding his motorcycle in Zamboanga Sibugay province's Payao township, about 500 miles south of Manila, when about 10 armed men blocked his path and seized him, said Francisco Cristobal, the provincial police chief.
Fr. Bossi is a member of the Pontificio Instituto Missioni Estere (PIME) and was assigned as parish priest of Payao in April. Sundalo Jianni, an official from the mission, appealed to the priest’s abductors to free him.
According to a report by The Associated Press, Cristobal said he suspects Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels who operate in Zamboanga Sibugay, despite a cease-fire agreement with the government.
Cristobal said police received reports that the group boarded two boats, possibly to flee to nearby islands. Police and the military are searching for the priest with land and coastal patrols, he added.
Mohagher Iqbal, a peace negotiator for the rebel group, denied Moro militants are behind the abduction.
Hours after the kidnapping, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the abductions of priests and others around the world and said he was praying for all those who were being held hostage.
"I direct my appeal to the authors of these abominable acts, so that they realize the wrong they have done and quickly return their prisoners to their loved ones," Benedict said.
Katihar, India, Jun 12, 2007 (CNA) - More than 3,000 people attended a two-hour purification ceremony and peace Mass at St. Peter Canisius Church in West Bengal, Darjeeling district, less than one week after vandals desecrated the building. The June 7 Mass was led by Bishop Thomas D'Souza of the local Diocese of Bagdogra.
It was the last part of a three-day penitential program in the diocese, conducted in 16 parishes, which sought "peace and pardon" and helped ease tensions in the district brought on by the incident.
Vandals ransacked St. Peter Canisius Church on June 1 and escaped with a gold-plated monstrance. They reportedly threw away the Blessed Sacrament.
The church, named after a 16th-century Jesuit saint, is located in the tea garden town Gayaganga, about 1,400 kilometers east of New Delhi. It was built in 1931, making it the oldest in the plains of mountainous Darjeeling. The Jesuit-run parish serves 7,000 Catholics, mostly local tea garden workers.
On June 4, the bishop asked the people to conduct penitential prayers for the miscreants in every house and parish. The purification ceremony included the placing of the Blessed Sacrament back in the tabernacle.
The way the Eucharist, "which is Jesus himself, was thrown away and insulted is a reminder of what the Lord went through, and what he is going through even today," Bishop D'Souza told UCA News.
One of the locals, Raymond Tirkey, told UCA News the 50,000 Catholics in the diocese were furious with municipal officials because the vandalism happened shortly after the murder in April of the watchman of the parish school.
The bishop's strategy "to pray for the aggressors, emulating Jesus," successfully cooled people's emotions, Tirkey said. "We agreed the best way is to pray for God's grace upon them."
Church law mandates such purification. Canon 1211 in the Latin-rite Code of Canon Law deals with scandalous violations of sacred places and the suspension of worship "until the damage is repaired by a penitential rite according to the norm of the liturgical books."
Bishop D'Souza told UCA News that the rite invoked God's grace on the vandals that they "shun the temptations to desecrate a house of God, whether church, temple, or mosque."
This was the first “sacrilegious mishap” at the church since it was built 76 years ago, despite occasional crimes against the Church and some Catholics, the bishop pointed out.
Fresno, Calif., Jun 12, 2007 (CNA) - Bishop John Steinbock of Fresno issued a pastoral letter this month reiterating Church teaching regarding the ordination of women to the priesthood.
In his letter, the bishop said he believed the movement toward women’s ordination has “greatly died down with the understanding that men and women are equal but have different roles in life, and are not at odds with one another, but complement one another.”
However, he decided to issue the pastoral letter after receiving a few comments at a May 19 ordination about women not being able to be ordained.
A May 18 letter in the Fresno Bee brought attention to a group called Action Purple Stole of Fresno that was asking households “to light a candle on May 19 at 10 a.m. in remembrance and support for all women being called by God to the priesthood, yet unable to answer that call in the Roman Catholic Church.”
Bishop Steinbock, however, appears uninfluenced. While praising the influence of women on the Church, his pastoral letter quotes Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which Pope John Paul II declared that the Church has no authority to ordain women.
Bishop Steinbock reiterated Church teaching on ordaining women in his pastoral letter, he wrote, “so that people, often influenced by the modern understanding of the nature of man and woman as explained by ideologies of our time, are not misled by unfounded expectations and hopes, which can lead people eventually to reject the very magisterium of the Church, which is the beacon of truth in this world to lead to eternal salvation.”
Vatican City, Jun 12, 2007 (CNA) - On Monday the three presidents of the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council, which took place in Aparecida, Brazil, formally presented Pope Benedict XVI with the “Final Document,” which the Pope will now review before granting approval for official publication.
The document was presented to the Holy Father by Cardinals Francisco Javier Errazuriz of Santiago (Chile), Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and Geraldo Magella Agnelo of Salvador (Brazil).
Although the contents of the dialogue between the cardinals and the Pope was not made public, the official website of the 5th General Conference, CELAM.info, reported that the “fundamental objective of the audience was to present the fruit of the 18 days of work that went into the Aparecida document and to share with the Holy Father the goodness of the atmosphere in which the conference was realized. The bishops’ goal was to make help present the physical atmosphere of the Shrine, the climate of communion amongst the bishops, and the presence of the Holy Spirit which all of the participants experienced.”
“We now hope that the Holy Father will approve the document in order to share it with all of the communities that are anxiously awaiting its directives to continue the work of evangelization in this continent of hope.
While awaiting approval, CELAM is preparing for its next ordinary assembly, which will take place in Havana, Cuba, on July 10-13. The assembly will have as one of its fundamental objectives, the laying of the foundation for the development of the Great Continental Mission which will provide continuity for the Aparecida Conference,” the CELAM website indicates.
Lima, Peru, Jun 12, 2007 (CNA) - During his homily on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of Lima invited Catholics to rediscover Sunday as the Day of the Lord and of the Eucharist, and encouraged them to make it the center of family life by attending Mass together in order to bring a Christian tone back to society.
The cardinal called on believers to live their faith and to act in a way that shows Jesus is with them. “Let’s not hide Christ; show Him in your life. That is the great change. He is with you, among you. Christ wants to be present,” he said.
“The great movements of renewal in the Church invite us to holiness with Christ and in Christ. That holiness always begins by discovering anew the love for the Eucharist,” Cardinal Cipriani said. Christians have the obligation to receive the Eucharist in a state of grace, he continued, in order to have a true encounter with Christ.
“Brothers and sisters, draw close to the hour of Christ, pray to him in the silence of meditation. Jesus is in love with each one of us. He never betrays, He is in love, searching for you,” the cardinal said.
At the conclusion of Mass, Cardinal Cipriani led the Corpus Christi procession through Lima’s main square.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Jun 12, 2007 (CNA) - The remains of the renowned Canadian missionary and evangelist, Father Emiliano Tardif, were transferred last weekend on the eighth anniversary of his death, to a crypt in Santo Domingo.
Representatives from 25 countries where the spiritual family founded by Father Tardif is present, gathered together for the ceremony. The remains of the famous priest will now be interred at the Crypt of the Risen Christ, located at the John Paul II School of Evangelization in Santo Domingo.
During the ceremony, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez announced the beginning of the process of beatification.
Father Tardif was known for his extraordinary virtues, corroborated by the testimonies of many who were healed of their illnesses and worries through his prayers.
Cardinal Rodriguez said he would seek the authorization of the bishops of the Dominican Republic and of the superiors of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, the congregation to which Father Tardif belonged, to begin the process of beatification.
Fr. Tardif's Life
Father Emiliano Tardif was born on June 6, 1928, in the province of Quebec, Canada. He made his religious profession as a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart on September 8, 1949, and he was ordained a priest on June 24, 1955.
After his ordination he was sent to the Dominican Republic, where he became one of the founders of the Missionary Seminary of San Jose de Las Matas. He was superior of his order from 1966 to 1973.
In July of 1973 he contracted tuberculosis and was sent to Canada. During the time of his illness he received the gift of healing and the calling to preach the Gospel by proclaiming Christ and His mercy in a special way for the sick and for sinners.
He returned to Santo Domingo to dedicate himself to the preaching of retreats and to evangelization. In 1985 he received permission to give retreats full-time and throughout the world.
In 1982 he founded the Community of the Servants of the Living Christ.
He died in 1999 while giving a retreat in Argentina.