Archive of April 22, 2008

SSPX reiterates disagreement with Catholic Church

, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - Catholic traditionalists who broke with Rome twenty years ago have said they could not rejoin the Church because Pope Benedict XVI still supports the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, Reuters reports.

The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has sought the promotion of the Tridentine Latin Mass, which has been rarely used since the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965.  It is also critical of ecumenism, especially of positive relations with Judaism, and papal apologies for Catholics’ past sins.

Some saw Pope Benedict’s permission last year for broader use of the Tridentine Latin Mass as a gesture to the SSPX seeking its reunion with the Church.  The leadership of the SSPX was excommunicated when in 1988 its head, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, ordained four bishops without the permission of Rome.

"The time for an agreement has not yet come," SSPX head Bishop Bernard Fellay wrote in a letter to the society’s members, published in French on Saturday by the SSPX information service DICI.
He said the liberalization of the old Latin Mass was "not accompanied by logically co-related measures in the other areas of the life of the Church.”

"Nothing has changed in Rome's determination to follow the council's orientation, despite 40 years of crisis, despite the deserted convents, abandoned rectories and empty churches."
"Catholic universities persist in their ramblings, teaching of the Catechism remains unknown and Catholic school does not exist anymore as particularly Catholic. They have become an extinct species," Bishop Fellay wrote.

During his U.S. visit, Pope Benedict met with bishops, visited a synagogue, discussed the weakening of Catholic identity at Catholic schools, and encouraged vocations to the priesthood. 

Some more traditional aspects of Catholicism were part of Pope Benedict’s appearances.  He used an older style of vestments at one service, and some Gregorian chant and a Latin-language creed were used during the papal Mass at New York City’s Yankee Stadium.

The SSPX claims about 1 million members, many of whom are in France. 

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World Youth Day costs Catholic Church in Australia $150 million

Sydney, Australia, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - According to the government of New South Wales, the Catholic Church will pay a “significant amount” of the bill for World Youth Day in Sydney, reports.

New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma on Monday said that taxpayers in the Australian state would contribute $86 million towards staging the July event, which will include a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict at Randwick Racecourse.

Iemma’s figure did not include a $42 million compensation package to the racing industry for using the racecourse.

A spokeswoman for the Catholic Church said the Church was paying $150 million for the event, raising some of the money through pilgrim registration fees.

Organizers say the event will attract about 225,000 Catholics from around the world.  World Youth Day 2008 will be the biggest event hosted by Sydney since the 2000 Olympics.

"The Catholic church is paying for a significant amount of the costs," Iemma said.  "What we are doing with policing and transport, these are the arrangements that have to be put in place for massive events."

Iemma said the event would showcase the city to a global audience and generate $150 million in revenue.  He said the event would bring many benefits to Sydney, and said the revenue estimate did not include the impact on the tourism industry.

Green Party members said the Catholic Church should pay most of the bill.
"The Catholic church is the organization that will gain the biggest benefit from this event, not the people of New South Wales," Greens New South Wales MP Lee Rhiannon said on ABC radio, according to

"It's a clear promotional event and, therefore, they should be footing the main part of the bill,” Rhiannon continued.

Sydney Chamber of Commerce executive director Patricia Forsythe said hosting the event would generate $231 million for New South Wales and globally promote economic and tourist interest in Sydney.

"It's critical that we measure World Youth Day not in terms of public expenditure, but in terms of the economic activity which it generates," Forsythe said.

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Bishop of troubled Kenyan diocese named archbishop

Nairobi, Kenya, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - The bishop of the conflict-ridden Diocese of Nakuru in Kenya was informed of his promotion to Archbishop of Nyeri in a recent surprise meeting with the apostolic nuncio in Nairobi, the Daily Nation reports.

Bishop Peter Kairo had joined the rest of the nation’s Catholic bishops in a courtesy call on the Kenyan president and prime minister.  Soon after Friday’s discussions with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the papal nuncio in Kenya sent a message to Bishop Kairo telling him he would like a meeting with him before he returned to Nakuru. 

“We were only two of us at the Nuncio’s house, and when he broke the news, it was such a shock as I have never experienced as a priest and more so as a bishop,” Bishop Kairo said.

“The Nuncio just told me that Pope Benedict XVI has transferred me to Nyeri. Then he waited for my response, and I could not immediately interpret the new development.”

Bishop Kairo accepted his new appointment.

The Nakuru area has been the site of many ethnic clashes, especially after the contested elections of December 2007.  Bishop Kairo said the clashes have been among his most difficult challenges, calling the post-election violence one of the worst experiences in his career. 

“These were the worst clashes I have witnessed as they were well organized and many people were killed and property worth millions of shillings destroyed, and thousands rendered homeless.” 

Bishop Kairo said his own nephew was killed in the violence in the Molo area, stating to the Daily Nation, “It was one of those bad experiences in my life. I felt helpless as nobody could stop these senseless killings.”

In addition, one of his diocese’s priests, Father Michael Kamau, was killed by a gang of youths in the post-election violence.  Bishop Kairo said it remains one of his saddest moments as bishop.

“His death and those of more than 1,200 Kenyans in the violence, left a lasting impact on my life,” the bishop said.  He said a new constitution was needed to avert future violence and destruction.

Father Moses Muraya, Vicar-general of the Diocese of Nakuru, described his bishop as a “jovial, very spiritual and a man who loves reconciliation. During his time in Nakuru, he did not blow anything out of proportion.”

More than forty men were ordained in Nakuru under Bishop Kairo.  During his tenure, he tried to start a radio station.  He also began a self-reliance project, which he considered his most successful venture.

“Nobody loves a beggar and when I came, the first thing I wanted to accomplish was to eradicate the begging syndrome as we no longer receive grants from abroad,” Bishop Kairo said.  Last year, the diocese raised about $100,000 for the project.

The archbishop-designate said that as he leaves Nakuru, it is his prayer and wish that the internal refugees will soon be resettled.  He also urged the president and the prime minister to visit all the internal refugees to restore hope and preach reconciliation.  Land reform, he said, was also a pressing issue.

He said he would have loved to continue serving the Diocese of Nakuru, stating, “I will surely miss this diocese as we have struggled together with the priests, and all Christians for more than 11 years. Some of them came to my house and we shared meals. I will sincerely miss their hospitality and warmth.”

Bishop Kairo said that he would “soldier on with my pastoral duties” when he becomes Archbishop of Nyeri.  His installation as archbishop is scheduled for June 14.

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Cardinal Pell disputes global warming hypothesis

Sydney, Australia, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - In the April 20 edition of the Australian newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph, Cardinal George Pell expressed his concern regarding the “global warming hypothesis” in an article titled, “Global warming is over.”


Cardinal Pell began his article by giving recent examples of countries that have experienced more bitter temperatures and heavier snow than usual.


“Canada has just experienced the coldest winter and the heaviest snowfalls since 1970-71, which was called a once-in-1000-years event. Another 18cm of snow would set an all-time record.”


“In China, the Chinese New Year coincided with a fierce cold snap and snowstorms, which prevented many city workers returning to their villages for the celebrations. Police had to deal with the ensuing riots. London has just experienced snow at Easter.”


The cardinal stated that while “the world is much bigger than both China and Canada combined, which might be the exceptions to the new rule of man-made global warming, but they are inconvenient facts for the climate-change bandwagon.”


“And it is an intolerant bandwagon with loud, exaggerated claims that the issue is settled and that an unchallenged consensus among scientists confirms the hypothesis of dangerous, humanly caused global warming. In fact, the issue is far from settled.”


Though skeptical politicians would need “unusual courage” to resist these claims in the public sphere, Cardinal Pell argued that “the rest of us are not so constrained and we should consider all information.”


He continued by listing three significant points:


“Last December, more than 100 international scientists, some of them members of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warned the UN that attempting to control climate was ``ultimately futile''. So did 500 experts in Manhattan in March.”


“Fighting climate change was distracting governments from helping the most vulnerable citizens adapt to the threat of inevitable natural climate changes, whatever they might prove to be. Futile attempts to prevent global climate change would be a tragic misallocation of resources, they claimed.”


His second point noted that “none of the natural changes observed with glaciers, sea levels and species migration is outside the bounds of known variability, including the warming of 0.1C to 0.2C per decade, in the late 20th century. But the 1930s decade was warmer than the 1990s. Most importantly, the global temperature has not increased since 2001. Global warming has ceased (New Statesman, 19/12/2007).”


“This finding invalidates the global-warming hypotheses because the amount of carbon dioxide continues to increase and the temperature should be increasing, too. It isn't."


His concluding point was that “today's computers cannot predict climate over long periods, as there are too many unknowns and variables.”


“We should never forget that while computers are miracles of human ingenuity, they are also limited, cannot think for themselves and are totally obedient to their last human master.”


“More than this is needed to predict the future.”

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Urban slum conditions must be addressed, says Archbishop Migliore

, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, addressed the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council's Commission on Population and Development about the problems associated with mega-cities on April 9. He reminded the council that at the heart of their concerns should be the human person.

Archbishop Migliore said in his address that "migration and the urbanization of societies should not be purely measured in terms of their economic impact. In finding ways to address the serious challenges posed by massive internal and trans-national migrations, let us not forget that at the heart of this phenomenon is the human person".

"New environmental, social and economic problems emerge with the birth of mega cities", he continued. "But one of the most pressing and painful consequences of rapid urbanization is the increasing number of people living in urban slums. As recently as 2005 over 840 million people around the world lived in such conditions".

Such people, he warned, "become trapped in a vicious cycle of extreme poverty and marginalization. ... They feel powerless to demand even the most basic public services" and "policy makers and civil society actors must put these people and their concerns among the priorities in their decision- making".

"If", Archbishop Migliore concluded, "we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, greater concern must be given to those communities, in which approximately 675 million still lack access to safe drinking water and two billion live without access to basic sanitation. National and international policies would do well to ensure that rural communities have access to higher quality and more accessible social services".

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Bishop Goic calls for end to attempts to distribute abortion pill

Santiago, Chile, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - The president of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Alejandro Goic, lamented this week that some mayors together with the Ministry of Health are looking for ways to disregard the ruling by the Constitutional Court that ordered the suspension of distribution of the morning-after pill.

In statements to Radio Cooperativa, the bishop said it was inappropriate for the drug to be sold or distributed “as long as the scientific community cannot come to an agreement and emphatically state” that it is not abortifacient.

“It is troublesome that they are inciting disobedience to a ruling,” the bishop said, pointing as well to the “problem of economic imperialism of international organizations that give millions of dollars and Euros to the different NGOs of the world, especially in Chile.”

According to Radio Cooperativa, the mayors are awaiting a legal analysis of the high court’s ruling to decide whether or not to ratify the distribution of the drug free-of-charge so as to avoid the prohibition in force in the public health system.

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Pope to ordain 29 deacons for Rome

Vatican City, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - The Vatican’s Press Office announced today that Pope Benedict XVI will preside at the ordination of 29 deacons for the Diocese of Rome on April 27 at 9:30 a.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Concelebrating with the Holy Father will be the Cardinal Vicar of the Diocese of Rome, the auxiliary bishops of Rome, the seminarians' rectors and parishioners from the seminarians’ home parishes.

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Archbishop calls for sex-ed free from “reductionist concept” of the person

La Plata, Argentina, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata in Argentina has sent a document to Governor Daniel Scioli outlining the Church’s position on sex-ed in local schools in which he urges that these programs not be based on a “reductionist concept” of the human person.

“An issue as delicate as this [sex-ed] should not be addressed with a reductionist concept of the human person nor be limited to conveying biased information, with the implicit or explicit promotion of safe sex.  True sexual education should be education in love, chastity, marriage and the family,” the archbishop told the newspaper “La Nacion.”

Archbishop Aguer revealed that during his meeting with Scioli, he shared his observations about the National Comprehensive Sexual Education Program that is being drafted by the Argentinean Ministry of Education.


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Cardinal says Bolivian president misinformed in his criticism of the Church

La Paz, Bolivia, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Santa Cruz, Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval, said Bolivian President Evo Morales’ criticism of the Church could be due either to his being misinformed or to his desire to receive praise from the people.

“To us it seems the president has been completely misinformed about what the presence of the Church means,” he said, “and about what the presence of the Church means when we seek dialogue.”  “What Morales has said is either the result of misinformation from those around him or of the enthusiasm that comes when there are people applauding him.  That enthusiasm makes you say more than what you should,” the cardinal said.

He called on Bolivians to be calm and to trust in God.  “It’s important that we live this message with optimism, with enthusiasm, without losing our calm, it doesn’t matter if they slap us on one cheek, let us offer them the other.  We cannot separate ourselves from this way of speaking of truth and always working for it,” the cardinal said.

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“We need to know who to forgive,” says archbishop about Guatemalan bishop's killers

Guatemala City, Guatemala, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Guatemala City, Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruno renewed his call this week that investigators solve the murder of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi, who was killed ten years ago.

“The Church is willing to forgive, but first we need to know who to forgive,” the cardinal said before a packed crowd at a Mass he celebrated this past Sunday at the Cathedral.

The murder, he said, is “still an open wound for the Guatemalan church.”  Bishop Gerardi was killed on April 26, 1998, outside his residence.

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Cardinal Lopez Trujillo: a man of courageous wisdom who served the truth

Bogotá, Colombia, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - The president of the movement Laity for Colombia, Carlos Corsi Otalora, recalled Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, who died on April 19 in Rome, as a man of “lucid and courageous wisdom at the service of the truth” and who “was always on the forefront” of dealing with the world problems.

In a letter to the Apostolic Nuncio in Colombia, Corsi said the movement offered its “prayers and condolences” to the Holy Father for the death of Cardinal Trujillo, who “honored Colombia and selflessly served the Church through his fruitful priestly and episcopal ministry.”

Corsi recalled that the late cardinal completed his “doctoral thesis on Marxism” and “confronted the debate on faith in the halls of universities” in “an era in which Communism’s march seemed unstoppable,” and he made the Church’s Social Doctrine understandable to young people.

“In his role first as secretary general and later as president of CELAM, he confronted the powerful influence of Marxism that was making inroads into the liberation theology,” thus paying “the unavoidable price” for “this prophetic denunciation” which  won him “grave enemies who pursued him to the end of his days,” Corsi stressed.

He also noted that as president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Trujillo “carried out heroic and historic work in defending and promoting human life, marriage and the family.”

“The action and thought of Cardinal Lopez were decisive at the Cairo and Beijing Conferences,” where he confronted an “anti-life agenda:  the right to abortion, euthanasia, experimentation with living embryos,” homosexual demands “in the sphere of marriage, false sexual and reproductive rights and gender ideology,” Corsi explained.

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo “was the highest ranking Colombian with the greatest worldwide influence in the history of the country,” Corsi said.  “Naturally, the gospel proclamation that no prophet is accepted in his homeland was fulfilled in him as well.”

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Brazilian priest floating on party balloons for charity is missing

Paranagua, Brazil, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - A priest in Brazil has come up with a novel way to raise money for a roadside chapel meant to provide spiritual assistance to truckers—trying to break a flight time record using 1,000 helium party balloons. According to news reports, the enterprising Fr. Adelir de Carli has gone missing off the southern coast of Brazil. 

The 41 year-old priest, who is an experienced skydiver, was equipped with a parachute, a thermal suit, a satellite phone, and a GPS device.  He lifted off from the port city of Paranagua on Sunday.  The priest’s craft also had a buoyant chair.

Aspiring to break a 19-hour record for the most hours flying with balloons, Father Carli hoped to raise money to fund a spiritual rest stop for truck drivers in Paranagua, a major agricultural port.

In a phone interview with a Brazilian TV channel on Sunday, Father Carli said he was having difficulty operating the GPS and was “very cold, but fine.”

He reportedly reached an altitude of 20,000 feet, then descended to about 8,200 feet for his flight to the city of Dourados.

He was blown off course by winds.  When last contacted, he was floating several miles off the coast.  Before losing contact, he said he was “losing height” and had to land in the sea.

Planes and helicopters from the Brazilian air force and ships of the Brazilian navy are searching the waters off the coast of the state of Santa Catarina, where pieces of balloons were found on a beach.

"We are absolutely confident he will be found alive and well, floating somewhere in the ocean," parish treasurer Denise Gallas told the Associated Press.

"He knew what he was doing and was fully prepared for any kind of mishap," she said.

In January, the priest made a similar 70-mile flight in four hours.

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Zimbabwe tensions could end in genocide, Christian leaders warn

Harare, Zimbabwe, Apr 22, 2008 (CNA) - A coalition of Catholic and Protestant church leaders has appealed to the world to end the state-sponsored terror and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, the Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA) reports.  The leaders fear the crisis could turn into a situation that leads to genocide. 


Fears of an escalation are being stoked further by a Chinese ship suspected of carrying weapons for the Zimbabwe governing party continuing to seek a harbor to unload its cargo.


The coalition of religious leaders has appealed to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the United Nations to halt the deteriorating political situation. 


The already dire economic crisis in Zimbabwe has been compounded by the refusal of the Zimbabwe Election Commission to release the results from the March 29 general election.  The Movement for Democratic Change claims that its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the election, while the ruling party of President Robert Mugabe, ZANU-PF, claims the opposition engaged in election tampering.


“We warn the world that if nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing genocide similar to that experienced in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and other hotspots in Africa and elsewhere,” the coalition has said.


The coalition leaders described the systematic violence that state security forces have inflicted upon innocent civilians in the countryside.  Especially targeted are individuals, families, and communities accused of supporting the opposition in the general elections.  The ruling government has set up youth militia and war veteran or military base camps in different parts of the country to support the violence, the coalition alleges.


“People are being abducted, tortured and humiliated by being asked to repeat slogans of the political party they are alleged not to support, ordered to attend mass meetings where they are told they voted for the ‘wrong’ candidate and should never repeat it in the run-off election for President, and, in some cases, people are murdered,” the coalition said.


According to CNN, a cargo ship from China has been denied access to African coastal ports because it is suspected to be shipping weapons destined for the land-locked Zimbabwe.  Dockworkers in the South African port of Durban said they would not handle the cargo because of fears the weapons would be used by the Zimbabwe government against its people. 


Deputy U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey told CNN that the U.S. has been “tracking this vessel for a few days now and we don't think it is appropriate for anyone to provide additional weapons in Zimbabwe as they are going through a political crisis.”


Casey said the U.S. is "pleased no country in the region has allowed the vessel to offload" its alleged cargo of weapons, which is believed to include small arms, rifles, and ammunition destined for Zimbabwe security forces.  It is hoped that China will recall the vessel, which is still seeking to offload its cargo in other African countries.


In an interview last week with CNN, opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai said he was concerned about the Chinese ship and feared the weapons would be used to intimidate voters.


According to CISA, in some populous urban areas in Zimbabwe, poverty and famine are widespread.  Poor harvest and delays of maize imports from neighboring countries have driven up the price of food.  Victims of the violence find that hospitals have no drugs or medicine to treat them.


Saying a “pall of despondency” hangs over Zimbabwe, the religious coalition has called for an immediate end to the violence, the closure of the militia camps, and the release of the delayed poll results.


“The unprecedented delay in the publication of these results has caused anxiety, frustration, depression, suspicion and in some cases illness among people of Zimbabwe both at home and abroad,” the coalition said.


Addressing the people of Zimbabwe, the coalition appealed for peace, saying, “We urge you to refuse to be used for a political party or other people’s selfish ends, especially where it concerns violence against other people, including those who hold different views from your own. It was the Lord Jesus who said, ‘Whatever you do to one of these little ones, you do it unto me’.”

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