Archive of June 15, 2008

Steubenville conference calls young adults to love and evangelize

Steubenville, Ohio, Jun 15, 2008 (CNA) - "We speak of hearts being broken, of being torn. The depth of your heart is complete intimacy. God gives us the depth of his heart (by) allowing it to be hurt. That is the depth of his love,” said Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, at the opening Mass of the Young Adults Conference, held at Franciscan University of Steubenville, May 31-June 1. "He has chosen you to be here and shows his heart so that you can see it. You can view and know his heart."

According to a press release from the university, the conference drew hundred of young adults from all over the U.S., and also from Canada and England.  The participants attended with the hope of receiving “spiritual renewal and strength as they work and live in a culture they often find themselves at odds with.”

The theme of this conference, “C4 and the New Evangelization" focused on the importance of a transformation of one’s life to Christ.  C4 refers to the “four C’s” needed to transform one's life in Christ: Conversion, Catechesis, Community, and Commissioning.  The young adults were also challenged to “open themselves to receive God's love into their hearts throughout the weekend and make a personal commitment of love.” 

The conference was a necessary spiritual refresher for many of its attendees.  Andrew Craven, a high-school teacher in Newark, New Jersey, said, "It’s good to come and recharge my faith. I need this; it helps me in all different aspects of my life."

One speaker, after giving his conversion story, exhorted his audience to allow Christ to “shine through their actions.” 

"You don’t do apologetics," said Cuddy. "You are apologetics. As young adults, you need to ask, how can Christ’s love transform my heart? If you do that, if Jesus is in you, every person will encounter Christ when they encounter you."

The following day, the conference continued with workshops focusing on topics of interest such as:  Rooted in Christ—Prayer That Transforms, No New Evangelization without First Love, Why Holiness Isn't Easy (And What to Do About It), and Finding Your Evangelistic Voice.

In one workshop, No New Evangelization without First Love, Father Stan Fortuna, CFR, urged participants to “keep the fire of Christ burning and never run the risk of becoming lukewarm in their faith.”

He continued by describing the life of St. Francis Assisi, using him as an example of someone containing the fire of Christ.  "The fire of love that is first found in the heart of St. Francis can be found in the hearts, feet, and side of Christ," he said. "Follow St. Francis and his passion to dive deeper into love."

One attendee from England enjoyed the unforgettable experience, “This has been a dream of mine for years. During this conference, I was able to grow in my faith and realize that God has always been leading me."

The conference concluded with Mass on Sunday, where Father Dave Pivonka encouraged the young adults to say “yes” to the gentle call of God.

"When we say yes to the will of the Father, we are able to live our lives in fullness," he said. He further explained that they must take what they have learned at the conference and share it with their loved ones.

Franciscan University will also offer 10 other conferences on its campus this summer, and 16 others around the United States and Canada - including the St. John Bosco Conference (July 16-20) for Catholic educators and the Defending the Faith Conference, (July 25-27) which focuses on Catholic apologetics. 

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Catholics in Singapore prepare for Pauline Year

Rome, Italy, Jun 15, 2008 (CNA) - Catholics in Singapore are preparing for the beginning of the Pauline Year, which will be inaugurated in the country with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Nicholas Chia.

On June 28, Archbishop Chia will bless a bronze statue of St. Paul that has been donated to the parish.  It will be placed next to a statue of St. Peter.

A special book will also be available at the parish for the faithful to sign their names and write down their prayer intentions.  It will be sent to the Holy See at the conclusion of the Pauline Year.

Father Thomas Lin, pastor of the church, told FIDES, “I hope the Pauline Year will help better understand this saint and the message in his letters.  I also hope each Christian can rediscover, thanks to St. Paul, his own vocation and mission.”

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Father Emil Kapaun’s cause for sainthood to be officially opened

Pilsen, Kan., Jun 15, 2008 (CNA) - The Cause for the Canonization of Father Emil Kapaun, an Army Chaplain who died while in a North Korean Prisoner of War Camp in 1951, will be officially opened on June 29.  Father Emil Kapaun, a native of Pilsen, was ordained for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita on June 9, 1940. After serving as a priest in the diocese, Father Kapaun asked to be allowed to serve as a U.S. Army chaplain.

On June 29, Bishop Michael O. Jackels will be the celebrant of the 10 a.m. Mass in Pilsen, Kan., Father Kapaun’s home town. After the celebration of the Mass, a short ceremony will take place in which the officials of the diocesan canonization process will take their oath of office and the Father Emil Kapaun’s Cause for Sainthood will be officially opened.

Upon his return after the war, Father Kapaun studied at Catholic University of America and served once again in the Diocese of Wichita. Answering the Army’s call for chaplains, Father Kapaun once again asked to be released from diocesan work to serve another tour in the Army. On Sept. 25, 1948, Father Kapaun was granted permission to re-enlist in the Army. Chaplain Kapaun proved to be a heroic priest and chaplain to the men that he served. Volunteering to stay behind with the injured, Chaplain Kapaun was captured by the North Korean and Communist Chinese forces.

Chaplain Kapaun’s service to his fellow prisoners has become legendary among those who knew of him. Scores of men attribute their survival to Chaplain Kapaun, enlivening their hope in better days to come. Chaplain Kapaun was taken to the camp hospital, known to the prisoners as the “death house” where he died on  May 23, 1951.

There has already been considerable work completed toward Father Kapaun’s cause. Archbishop O’Brien started the ball rolling in 1993 when he called for Father Kapaun to receive the title of Servant of God. Through the past 15 or so years, both the Archdiocese of the Military Services and the Diocese of Wichita have been collecting information on Father Kapaun’s life of virtue. The information gathered thus far will provide a basis for the documentation needed for the canonization process.

On June 29, 2008 two separate commissions will be established to formally scrutinize and document Father Kapaun’s virtuous life. The Theological Commission will be given the task of reviewing all of Father Kapaun’s writings. The Historical Commission will be taking testimony from all who knew or had met Father Kapaun. This will prove to be an extensive investigation of Father Kapaun’s life, from his youth in Pilsen through his years as a Priest in the Diocese of Wichita to his service as an Army Chaplain and his ultimate death in the North Korean Prison Camp.

Once this information has been gathered and documented, it will be sent to the Congregation for Saints in Rome. Dr. Andrea Ambrosi of the Ambrosi Law Firm in Rome will help guide the diocesan phase of the canonization process. Once complete, Dr. Ambrosi will oversee the Roman phase of the process as the cause is presented to the Congregation for Saints.

Printed with permission from the Catholic Advance, the newspaper for the Diocese of Witchita, Kansas.

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Catholic boy in UK refuses Cub Scout pledge of allegiance to Queen

Glasgow, United Kingdom, Jun 15, 2008 (CNA) - An eight-year-old Catholic boy cannot be a Cub Scout in Britain because he refuses to pledge allegiance to the Queen of the United Kingdom on religious grounds.

Matthew McVeigh, who lives near Glasgow, refused to recite the Cub Scout Promise because it requires swearing allegiance to the Queen. He was told he cannot become a full Cub Scout as a result, the Daily Mail reports.

“It's not fair. I don't want to say a promise that I don't believe in. I really enjoy the Cubs and don't want to feel left out or different from everybody else,” Matthew said.

Matthew’s mother, Tracy Anne McVeigh, said her son’s refusal to recite the part of the oath promising “to do my duty to the Queen” was a matter of principle. She said she was especially irked that other nationalities living in Britain can change the wording of the promise to accommodate their requirements.

“The 1701 Act of Settlement specifically discriminates against Catholics and only allows for Protestants to take the throne -  so why should we make an oath to the monarchy?”

According to Cub Scout Association spokesman Chris Foster, people of other nationalities residing in the United Kingdom may change the section regarding the Queen to pledge their duty “to the country in which I am now living.”
“However, British subjects must promise to do their duty to the Queen,” Foster said. “She is the head of state.”

Scout Association rules also allow for the word “God” in the promise to be replaced with other deities according to people’s religion, but the guidelines are strict for the section regarding the Queen.

Matthew’s mother said the boy has been going to Cub Scouts since January and was preparing to become a full fledged member.

“He was really excited about it,” she said. “But when he had to fill out the application form, he realized he would have to pledge duty to the Queen.

“We weren't happy as we don't think it's necessary in today's world. We are supposed to live in a multicultural age but this just flies in the face of that.”

She said she expected Cub Scout leaders to allow a change of wording.

“I was gobsmacked that the Cub Scout commissioner said that if Matthew didn't say the Promise then he would effectively be out the door,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.

“He said he could still go along to trips but he would not be insured. As he can't wear the necktie, that sets him apart from his friends and I think that on trips it would be a safety issue too.

“I am not asking for special treatment. I would just like him to be a Scout without compromising on what he believes in,” she said.

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Revelation of judge’s obscene web site prompts calls for resignation

Washington D.C., Jun 15, 2008 (CNA) - Concerned Women for America has called for the resignation of a federal judge in California whose explicit website was exposed while he presided over an obscenity trial.


Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, admitted to the Los Angeles Times that he posted sexually explicit pictures and videos to his website.  A prosecutor had requested a delay in a case to determine whether the court had a conflict of interest in the prosecution of one Ira Isaacs for distributing fetish videos featuring acts of bestiality and defecation.


According to the Los Angeles Times, Judge Kozinski’s website includes images of self-abuse, public sex, a transsexual strip tease, naked women painted and posed as cows, and a half-dressed man with a sexually-aroused farm animal.


Kozinski defended himself saying that the site was never meant to be public and that his adult son, Yale, had taken over the responsibilities of uploading content.


The Times also reported that Kozinski wrote in an email to, a legal news website, “Yale called and said he's pretty sure he uploaded a bunch of it.  I had no idea, but that sounds right because I sure don't remember putting some of that stuff there."


Several years ago, Judge Kozinski led an effort to remove filters denying appeals court computers access to pornography. He told the Los Angeles Times that he began saving sexually explicit materials on his website several years ago and would pass items he found interesting or funny on to others.


"Judge Kozinski's admission to maintaining a website with explicit and degrading pictures is enough to determine that he is morally incapable of providing objective judgment, especially over obscenity cases. Judge Kozinski must resign," said Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, in a press release.


Wright said that if the judge refuses to resign, Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against him and the Department of Justice should investigate him.


"For Judge Kozinski to remain not only as a judge but as the chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would make a mockery of justice and of our justice system. If he has any respect for the judiciary, for the law, and for America he would remove himself from this honorable position," Wright said.

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Cooperation and peace are part of Christian message, Pope recalls

Brindisi, Italy, Jun 15, 2008 (CNA) - Thousands of people prayed the Angelus at midday Sunday with Pope Benedict XVI in the Italian city of Brindisi.  The Holy Father told the people that they are true signs of peace – a message which must be spread among nations.

After celebrating Mass at the shrine of Santa Maria de finibus Terrae, or St. Mary of the Ends of the Earth, the Holy Father called upon the faithful "to renew the Christian message of cooperation and peace among all peoples, especially among those in the…ancient cradle of civilization, and the Near and Middle East."

Pope Benedict's visit in Italy this weekend took him to the Italian towns of Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi, "the heel of the boot," in the extreme south-east of the Italian peninsula.

Brindisi is an ancient port city, where the epic poet Virgil died and where St. Peter is said to have disembarked on his way to Rome.

Before praying the Angelus, Pope Benedict explained the port is filled with symbolic significance.

"Every port speaks of hospitality, shelter, security, speaks of a longed-landing after a sea voyage, perhaps long and difficult. But a port also tells of departures, plans and aspirations of the future. In particular, the port of Brindisi plays a leading role in communication with the Mediterranean and towards the East, and for this reason also hosts a base of the United Nations, which plays an important role in terms humanitarian aid."

Recalling his April address to the House Assembly at the United Nations in New York, the Pope condemned the "indifference" that sometimes prevents states from stopping conflicts or to exploring diplomatic channels for reconciliation.

The action of the international community and its institutions, assuming compliance with the principles that are the basis of international order, should never be interpreted as an undesirable imposition and a limitation of sovereignty. On the contrary, is the indifference or lack of intervention that causes real harm.”

At the conclusion of the Angelus, the Pope invoked the Blessed Virgin Mary, "the port of salvation for every man and the whole humanity."

"May her maternal protection always defend your city and region, Italy, Europe and the world from the storms that threaten the faith and true values;  allowing younger generations to take off without fear and carry on with Christian hope through the  journey of life. Mary, Port of salvation, pray for us."

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