Archive of March 8, 2008

Pope’s Encyclical challenges Catholic charities to adhere to faith and be professional

Vatican City, Mar 8, 2008 (CNA) -

Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, can serve as a guide to Catholic charitable organizations around the world in how to live out their Gospel mandate of helping those in need by striking a proper balance of religious formation and professional training throughout the organization’s culture, according to Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA.
Delivering the keynote address at the 28th Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum at the Vatican last week, Father Snyder shared how Deus Caritas Est, which means God is love, can impact the work of the charitable arm of the Church, stated a press release from Catholic Charities.
“When our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, promulgated his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est, he gave the Church an incredible gift while at the same time issuing a significant challenge to those who labor in charitable works sponsored by the Church,” said Father Snyder. “The gift is a theological and philosophical, yet at times even poetic, reflection on the virtue of caritas that places acts of charity squarely in the essence of the mission of the Church. The challenge given to the practitioners of organized charity is to be faithful to the sacred trust given them by honoring the Catholic identity that should be the foundation of their work and should define the unique contribution they make.”
According to Father Snyder, the Pope’s profound encyclical not only stresses the importance of providing services in a professional manner, but it also demands that organizations specifically commissioned to carry out the charitable works of the Catholic Church must not be just another philanthropic organization. Catholic identity and its inherent values must permeate throughout Catholic charitable ministries and how they deliver services.
“Even if we provide the best professional services possible, we will have not fully lived out our commission of diakonia, [service],” Father Snyder said. “As the encyclical points out, charitable workers in the name of the Church must first of all be bearers of God’s love to those experiencing need and frequently a lack of hope.”
For Father Snyder, the practical implications of Deus Caritas Est must be applied to the organizational culture as a whole, including all Catholic charities leaders, staff, board members, and volunteers.
“[F]or they are all representatives of a Church-sponsored organization and they are all implementing the social and charitable mission of the Church,” said Father Snyder.  “The Gospel is intent in mandating not only that this ministry to the poor and disenfranchised be done, but also mandates how it should be done.” 
Referencing his experiences in leading both a local Catholic Charities agency—Catholic Charities of St. Paul-Minneapolis—and Catholic Charities USA, Father Snyder also outlined for his Cor Unum colleagues very practical efforts—in the areas of staff, board, and leadership training and orientation—that a Catholic organization can use to develop a culture that is permeated with faith and the fundamentals of Catholic social teaching.
“This comes from my deep belief that our faith is the greatest asset and gift that we have to offer,” he said. “Given our current social situation, we have an opportunity to witness to this great tradition alive from the early Christian community until today. The Gospel after all does not present us with a valiant proposition but rather a clear mandate: to manifest Christ’s love in the world.” 
In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI named Father Snyder to the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which oversees the Catholic Church's charitable activities around the world.

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Terri Schiavo’s siblings to defend disabled with new radio show

Tampa, Fla., Mar 8, 2008 (CNA) - The brother and sister of Terri Schiavo are launching a radio show called “America’s Lifeline” to address and educate Americans about health care, end-of-life issues and the disabled. The show will make its debut on March 15 and will be hosted by The Healthcare Advocate, Carry Hall.   

The weekly hour-long program, which is being sponsored by "Terri's Foundation", will originate from the studios of Talk Radio 860 WGUL in Tampa, FL and also be broadcast on the internet at

Planned topics for the show include discussion of the national healthcare situation, care for the disabled, euthanasia, doctor assisted suicide and controversial end-of-life cases.

Cary Hall, who will host the show, is also the host of a successful radio show called The Health Insurance Advocate which broadcasts from Talk Radio 710 KCMO in Kansas City, Missouri and also on Talk Radio1330 KNSS in Wichita, Kansas. Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Vitadamo, who both direct the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, will co-host the program with Hall.

"America's Lifeline is something we've wanted to do for some time, and with Cary Hall's health care expertise, and my family's experience trying to save Terri and now running her foundation which works to save those like Terri, we'll be able to educate Americans and raise awareness about the euthanasia movement like never before", said Suzanne Vitadamo.

The premiere of America's Lifeline is set for 3 p.m. EST on Saturday, March 15, 2008. The program is poised to expand into other Florida radio markets including Orlando and Miami.


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McCain “categorically rejects” Hagee’s anti-Catholic statements

New Orleans, La., Mar 8, 2008 (CNA) - Senator John McCain made efforts on Friday to do more than just distance himself from the anti-Catholic teachings of John Hagee by repudiating any comments made by the well known televangelist.

In an interview with the Associated Press the Republican presidential candidate said, "We've had a dignified campaign, and I repudiate any comments that are made, including Pastor Hagee's, if they are anti-Catholic or offensive to Catholics”.

McCain also brought up the fact that he sent his children to Catholic schools as proof of his acceptance of Catholics. "I sent two of my children to Catholic school. I categorically reject and repudiate any statement that was made that was anti-Catholic, both in intent and nature. I categorically reject it, and I repudiate it," McCain said.

He also tried to strike a conciliatory tone for his campaign by saying, "we can't have that in this campaign. We're trying to unite the country. We're uniting the country, not dividing it."

McCain started to take flak when televangelist John Hagee endorsed him on Feb. 27, but until Friday, his response was simply that he doesn't agree with everyone who endorses him. At the time of the endorsement, Senator McCain called Hagee “the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement,” and praised his pro-Israel stance.

This embrace of Hagee’s backing provoked Bill Donahue of the Catholic League to point out the pastor’s anti-Catholic beliefs. “Indeed, for the past few decades, he has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church, said Donahue. “For example, he likes calling it ‘The Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system’,” he pointed out.

The senator’s acceptance riled other Catholics besides Donahue, and according to McCain he had been hearing from Catholic supporters that they find Hagee’s teachings offensive.

Hagee's endorsement had been intended to bolster McCain's support among evangelical Christians, many of whom distrust McCain for some of his more moderate views and his willingness to work with Democrats.

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