Archive of April 21, 2008

St. Gregory’s University issued $1.5 million challenge grant

Shawnee, Okla., Apr 21, 2008 (CNA) - St. Gregory’s University announced that it has received a challenge grant in the amount of $1.5 million from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, Inc. The challenge grant, a conditional grant based on future dollars raised, would provide funding toward construction of new student resident halls for SGU.

“Building new residence halls is an integral part of our strategic plan, and this grant would significantly help us with achieving that goal,” said Dave Wagie, Ph.D., president of SGU in a press release. “We are extremely grateful to the Mabee Foundation for this opportunity and grateful to our donors for getting us this far.”

SGU has pledges totaling $5.2 million toward the $10.2 million project. When the university comes up with an additional $3.5 million in pledges, the Mabee Foundation will complete the funding with its $1.5 million grant. The foundation has set a deadline of April 9, 2009, for SGU to come up with those additional funds. SGU has plans to break ground on the new residence halls in August and estimates a completion date by the fall of 2009.

“This grant is significant because it not only provides us $1.5 million in additionally money, but it also provides our donors incentive to make their pledges in the coming months so we can complete the project,” Wagie said.

The J. E. and L. E. Mabee Foundation, Inc., a Delaware non-profit corporation, was formed in 1948 by Mr. John E. Mabee and his wife, Lottie E. Mabee, with its office in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As stated in its charter, the purposes of the foundation are to aid Christian religious organizations, charitable organizations, institutions of higher learning, hospitals and other organizations of a general charitable nature.

The geographical area of interest of the foundation includes the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. In its 60 years of existence, grants by the foundation to various educational, religious and charitable institutions have totaled in excess of $800 million.

The Mabees were natives of Missouri. They had no children. Mr. Mabee died in 1961 and Mrs. Mabee died in 1965, leaving a substantial portion of their personal estates to the foundation. The benevolences of this foundation are evidenced throughout the Southwestern United States and many edifices bear their name, including the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art and the Mabee Aerobic Center on the SGU campus.

Established in 1875, St. Gregory’s is grounded in the tradition of Catholic educational excellence and Benedictine values. SGU’s distinctive integrative degree program consists of three major components – a common core curriculum, a disciplinary core curriculum, and an area of concentration. Its new common core curriculum features a 4-semester core text (“Great Books”) sequence of discussion-based seminars entitled “Tradition and Conversation.” A unique feature of SGU’s integrative degree program is its flexibility in allowing students to “custom design” an area of concentration.

SGU was recently recognized by the Cardinal Newman Society as being among the top 10 percent of Catholic colleges in the U.S., and has been featured in such publications as Our Sunday Visitor, the National Catholic Register and the Catholic World Report. SGU is the only Catholic university in Oklahoma and the oldest institution of higher education in the state.

For information on the student housing project and other giving methods, contact Joe Murgo at 405-878-5420.

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Funeral of Cardinal Lopez Trujillo to be held Wednesday

Vatican City, Apr 21, 2008 (CNA) - Today the Holy Father sent a telegram of condolence for the death of Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. The cardinal died in Rome on Saturday, April 19 at the age of 72.

In his telegram, addressed to the late cardinal's brother Anibal, the Holy Father conveyed his sorrow saying:

"Having received the sad news of the death of the beloved Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to you, to your brothers Flavio and Asdrubal, and to all your relatives. I feel close to all of you at this painful time, and I ask God, by the intercession of Our Lady of Chiquinquira, to grant eternal repose to this tireless pastor, so generously committed to the service of the Church and of the Gospel of life.”

The Pontiff went on to highlight the cardinal’s pastoral efforts.  "His wide-ranging ministerial work - as priest and auxiliary bishop of Bogota, as archbishop of Medellin, secretary and president of the Latin American Episcopal Council, president of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia and, finally, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family - is clear evidence of his profound love for the Church and his dedication to the noble cause of promoting marriage and the Christian family.”
"At this time, I am pleased to grant you a comforting Apostolic Blessing, which I happily extend to all those who helped him, and to the bishops, priests, religious communities and faithful who accompanied him closely with their friendship and collaboration.”

On Wednesday, April 23, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals will celebrate Mass at the altar of the Cathedra in the Vatican Basilica.  Later, the Pope will preside at the funeral liturgy, pronounce the homily, and administer the rites of "Ultima Commendatio" and of "Valedictio.”

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Chilean bishops deplore attack against Our Lady of Carmel at Cathedral of Santiago

Santiago, Chile, Apr 21, 2008 (CNA) - The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Chile, Bishop Alejandro Goic, deplored the recent vandalizing of a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the Cathedral of Santiago.
“It is a deplorable and profoundly lamentable act that wounds the faith, love and devotion that the Chilean people have traditionally had for the Mother of God in a historic statue venerated by the entire Chilean nation,” the bishop said.

Bishop Goic said, “We don’t know who did it, the police need to investigate.” He explained that the entire body of Chilean bishops will go to Santiago for the closing of their meeting “to make amends for an offense committed against the faith.”

Witnesses said they saw a man in his mid-30s dressed in black carry out the vandalism.  Police have identified four men as possible suspects in the act.

The statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was dressed in vestments made in 1833 that were burned completely during the attack.  Workers in the Cathedral were able to put out the flames before the statue was completely destroyed.

Speaking to Radio Cooperativa, Father Francisco Javier Manterola, pastor of the church, said, “The structure is still there, but all of the mantles, the clothing, the adornments and the insignias given to her by the Armed Forces and even by the president, were burned.”

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“We need the children who are aborted,” Austrian bishop says in response to anti-life resolution

, Apr 21, 2008 (CNA) - The head of the Committee on Marriage, the Family, Bioethics and the Defense of Life of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Klaus Kung, deplored a resolution that demands the members of the European Council legalize abortion and said, “We need those aborted children.”

Bishop Kung said abortion has left a profound wound in European society and that the killing of an unborn child should never be minimized.

“It’s time for parliamentarians to think about the measures they are going to take to make the acceptance of a child easier,” he said, voicing his support for doctors who speak out about the spiritual suffering of women who have undergone abortion.

The bishop also said counseling for pregnant women who are in difficult situations should be fostered and that measures should be taken to help provide them economic support as well.

Bishop Kung said, “It is time to give greater protection to the rights of parents with handicapped children, and to thus avoid and effectively combat this kind of discrimination.”

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Holy Land is safe to visit, says Cardinal Ruini

Rome, Italy, Apr 21, 2008 (CNA) - Speaking from the Holy Land where he is on pilgrimage, the papal vicar for the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Camilo Ruini, said this week, “The situation is very calm and I can say that anyone who intends to come can do so without any risk.”


In an interview with the SIR news agency, Cardinal Ruini said, “This year there are many pilgrims and this means that many people are coming either to venerate the holy shrines or to help the Christians living in this land.  In addition to the Diocese of Rome, which has at least 500 people here, there are many other pilgrimages that we find and that people are making,” he said.


“This is the eighth time I have come to the holy places and the second time I have come with people from the Diocese of Rome,” he continued.  “I chose not to make a ‘personal’ pilgrimage but rather visit these places together with many other faithful from my diocese,” the cardinal said.


Regarding the peace process between Israel and Palestine, Cardinal Ruini said, “The Catholic Church, esteemed and loved here by all, does everything she can through her prayer, witness and peaceful presence.”

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Parents in Basque province denounce pressure

Madrid, Spain, Apr 21, 2008 (CNA) - The Bagara Family Association in northern Spain said this week, “70% of Basque public schools refuse to offer religion classes,” thus pressuring parents not to sign their kids up for the subject.

The association’s president, Ramiro Pascual, explained that the teachers first take a vote and if the majority of teachers decide to eliminate religion class, the school removes it from the curriculum. Then parents are discouraged from signing their children up for the class by telling them that their child “will be the only one in the entire school” taking the course.

“This is a serious situation that has been developing for two years,” Pascual told COPE radio. He said school inspectors should be surprised that “at a school of over 700 students, only one is signed up for the class,” whereas in the rest of Spain, 70% of students are enrolled in the course.

Pascual said he had a list of more than 100 Basque public schools that do not offer religion class and that his organization has lodged a complaint with the government, outlining “irregularities and pressures on families” that are taking place in schools and “infringe upon the right of parents to religious education for the children.”

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Attacks on the family undermine peace, warns Spanish bishop

Madrid, Spain, Apr 21, 2008 (CNA) - Bishop Juan Jose Asenjo of Cordoba in Spain said last week that the rights of the family “are based on natural law” and that whoever attacks the family is undermining peace.

“Families need a home, work, and the due recognition of the domestic activity of parents. They need schools for their children and basic health care aid for all,” Bishop Asenjo said, noting that when families are not helped, they are deprived “of an essential resource in the promotion of peace.”

The bishop also called on the media “to promote respect for the family” and on the faithful “to redouble their efforts” to defend it.

Bishop Asenjo also explained that the rights of the family “are based on natural law, which is inscribed on the hearts of all men.”  “The denial or restriction of these rights, or the obscuring of the truth about man, threatens the very foundations of peace.”

“In the heart of the family children learn a genuine respect for peace, as the language of the family is a language of peace, intertwined with experiences of forgiveness and reconciliation.  There children learn the vocabulary of peace, that grammar that every child learns through the gestures and gazes of their parents even before they understand their words,” the bishop said.

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Suspended bishop elected president of Paraguay

Asunción, Paraguay, Apr 21, 2008 (CNA) - A Catholic bishop whom the Vatican suspended from office after his entry into politics has been elected president of Paraguay, the Baltimore Sun reports.

With 83 percent of polling stations reporting, ex-bishop Fernando Lugo received 40.7 percent of the 1.5 million votes cast, ending the 61-year continuous rule of the country’s Colorado Party.  Former Education Minister Blanca Ovelar, the Colorado Party’s candidate, received 30.8 percent, while former general and ex-Colorado member Lino Oviedo won 22 percent.

"Today, we can affirm that the little people are able to win," Lugo said to hundreds of his supporters. "Equally, I want to tell you this is the Paraguay of our dreams, the Paraguay of many colors, the Paraguay of all faces, the Paraguay of everybody."

The 56-year-old Lugo has pledged to more equitably distribute land and other resources to poor Paraguayans.   He is known as “the bishop of the poor.”  He has said he will not ally with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. 

The Congregation for Bishops suspended Lugo from episcopal office on February 1, 2007 after he decided to run for the Paraguayan presidency.  Lugo’s request for laicization was also denied.   Lugo had been bishop emeritus of San Pedro.

He is scheduled to take office on August 15.

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More victims come forward after papal visit’s acknowledgment of sexual abuse

Chicago, Ill., Apr 21, 2008 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI’s visit and his recognition of the problems of clerical sexual abuse have prompted many alleged sexual abuse victims to come forward, Newsday reports.

Barbara Blaine, president of the Chicago-based Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests said her 8,000-member organization has been “inundated” with calls.  "Several are saying that they never told anyone."

"It was because the topic was addressed and for some people [who came forward] it was because they're angry," Blaine said, according to Newsday. "Others just want to be counted."

Addressing the bishops of the United States on Wednesday, the Pope said the sexual abuse scandal had been “very badly handled.”  He later met with victims of sexually abusive clergy, an historic first.

According to Newsday, Blaine said it would have been “far better” if the Pope had accompanied his statements with actions like sanctioning bishops who failed to report and discipline priests.

Dan Bartley, president of Voice of the Faithful, an organization seeking Church reforms, responded to Pope Benedict’s actions, saying, "It's a start."  He continued, claiming, “the underlying issues that caused the sexual abuse crisis in the first place remain unaddressed."

Father Robert Hoatson, the New Jersey co-founder of the abuse victims’ group Road to Recovery, Inc., said the organization has received calls from five new victims in the last three days.

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