Archive of July 7, 2008

Pope urges G8: Focus on helping the 'weakest and poorest peoples'

Castelgandolfo, Italy, Jul 7, 2008 (CNA) - Just after completing the angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Benedict issued an “urgent appeal” to the Group of Eight industrialized nations to focus their annual meeting on the plight of the “weakest and poorest peoples.”

As the leaders of the G8 nations meet today in Tokyo along with other world leaders, the Holy Father pointed to the chorus of voices calling for answers to the resolutions made by the group previously.

"Over recent days," said Benedict, "many voices have been raised - among them those of the presidents of episcopal conferences in the countries concerned - to call for the implementation of commitments assumed at earlier G8 meetings, and for the courageous adoption of all measures necessary to defeat the scourges of extreme poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy which still affect such a large part of humankind.”

"I too add my voice to this urgent appeal for solidarity!" cried the Pope. "I address myself, then, to participants in the meeting in Hokkaido- Tokyo, that they may focus their deliberations on the needs of the weakest and poorest peoples, whose vulnerability is greater today because of speculation and financial turbulence and their perverse effects on the cost of food and energy. I hope that generosity and farsightedness may help make decisions aimed at re-launching a just process of integral development, in order to safeguard human dignity."

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Baltimore bishop to become next bishop of Wilmington, Delaware

Vatican City, Jul 7, 2008 (CNA) - Today Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop W. Francis Malooly to become the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington in the state of Delaware.

The Pontiff accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli, who in accordance with Canon Law, submitted his resignation when he turned 75 years old.

Born in 1944, Bishop Malooly is originally from Maryland.  He was ordained a priest in 1970 and was made a bishop in 2001.  He is currently an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Baltimore where he is also moderator of the curia, vicar general, and Western vicar for the counties of Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, Carroll and Howard.

Bishop Malooly will serve 230,000 Catholics and 214 priests in the Diocese of Wilmington.

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Pope grants indulgences for World Youth Day

Vatican City, Jul 7, 2008 (CNA) - Pilgrims at World Youth Day and those from around the world who pray for the ‘spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome," will be able to receive indulgences, the Vatican announced on Saturday.

According to a decree signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Pope Benedict XVI will grant two types of indulgences for the international gathering of youth.

Those who "gather at Sydney, Australia, in the spirit of pilgrimage" to participate in celebrations for 23rd World Youth Day, will be able to receive a full or plenary indulgence, the decree says. Partial indulgences will be available to "all those who, wherever they are, will pray for the spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome."

Catholics believe that due to Jesus’ granting of the powers to “loose and bind” to St. Peter in Mt. 16, the Pope, who is Peter’s successor, can grant indulgences to the faithful. An indulgence erases the temporal punishment that results from sin.  

The decree on the indulgences for the coming World Youth Day explains the more recent history of the granting of indulgences. "The youth meeting held in the year 2005 in Cologne, offered the Apostolic Penitentiary an opportune occasion, with the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, to open wide to youth the spiritual treasures of the Church, with the aim of gathering singular fruits of sanctification.”

"Hence, this year, from 15 to 20 July, in Sydney, 'in the great southern land of the Holy Spirit' (according to the expression of John Paul II), will celebrate the 23rd World Youth Day, with the theme: 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.'

"Indeed," the decree adds, "young people gathered around the Vicar of Christ will participate in the sacred functions and above all have recourse to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. In the Sacraments received with a sincere and humble heart, they will earnestly desire to strengthen themselves in the Spirit, and, confirmed by the Chrism of salvation, will openly witness the faith before others even to the ends of the earth. May God grant that the very presence of the Supreme Pontiff among the young people gathered in Sydney express and render it such."

The indulgences may be gained in the following ways:

"The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful who will devotedly participate at some sacred function or pious exercise taking place during the 23rd World Youth Day, including its solemn conclusion, so that, having received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and being truly repentant, they receive Holy Communion and devoutly pray according to the intentions of His Holiness.”

"The Partial Indulgence is granted to the faithful, wherever they are during the above-mentioned meeting, if, at least with a contrite spirit, they will raise their prayer to God the Holy Spirit, so that young people are drawn to charity and given the strength to proclaim the Gospel with their life.”

"So that all the faithful may more easily obtain these heavenly gifts, priests who have received legitimate approval to hear sacramental confessions, should welcome them with a ready and generous spirit and suggest public prayers to the faithful, for the success of the same World Youth Day."

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Holy Father appoints new bishop to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands

Vatican City, Jul 7, 2008 (CNA) - This morning Pope Benedict appointed Msgr. Herbert A. Bevard from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as the bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.  The bishop-elect said in a statement that he accepted the appointment “with eagerness and joy.” 

Born in 1947 in Baltimore, Msgr. Bevard was ordained a priest in 1972.  He has served the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as a priest for 36 years - most recently as pastor of St. Athanasius parish in Philadelphia.

“I am so eager to come to know my brother priests as well as deacons, religious and all the faithful in the parishes and missions of the Diocese of St. Thomas and to continue the good work of His Excellency Bishop George V. Murry and his dedicated predecessors.”

Bishop Murry was named bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio in January, 2007.  Since then, the diocese of St. Thomas has been served by the diocesan administrator, Msgr. Michael F. Kosak. 

Msgr. Bevard commended Msgr. Kosak for his efforts since 2007.  “His care for the priests and people of the Diocese of St. Thomas is known by all the faithful.  Only I know of the solicitude and kindness which he has shown to me since he has learned of my appointment.”

The bishop-elect also expressed his gratitude for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  “For thirty-six years I have been privileged to serve the Church of Philadelphia as a priest.  I am thankful to His Eminence Cardinal Justin Rigali for his goodness to me.  In extending my deepest gratitude to him, I also extend my appreciation to his predecessors and to all the priests and people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”

“With great anticipation, I await my ordination at the hands of His Excellency Metropolitan Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl and my installation as Bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands on the Third of September 2008 at the Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul in Charlotte Amalie.  Confident of the help of God, I commend all my efforts to His greater honor and glory and I consecrate them anew to the spread of His Kingdom on earth.”

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Bishops tell Venezuelans: 'reformist' group is not Catholic

Caracas, Venezuela, Jul 7, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop Ubaldo Santana of Maracaibo and president of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela has called on the faithful “not to be fooled” by the self-proclaimed “Reformed Catholic Church,” which is not Catholic and seeks “to usurp the role, sacraments, organization and corresponding dress” of the one true Catholic Church.

In a statement, Archbishop Santana warned that the promoters of the new sect seek “to directly confuse” and “divide members of the Catholic religion in the entire country.”

He also pointed out they “intend to install bishops and priests in the entire country without the express mandate of the Holy Father.”

The Diocese of Cabimas issued its own statement indicating that the future bishop of the group, former priest Joh Jen Siu Garcia, is in heresy and schism, two very grave faults punished by Canon Law, for adhering to a movement that attacks the communion of the Catholic Church.

Bishop William Delgado of Cabimas said it was his obligation to defend the unity of the universal Church, to promote discipline, to demand Church laws be obeyed and to avoid abuses in the ministry, in the celebration of the sacraments and the worship of God and the saints in order to avoid confusion among the faithful.

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Ten thousand New Zealanders join WYD in Sydney

Rome, Italy, Jul 7, 2008 (CNA) - More than ten thousand New Zealanders or, “kiwis,” as they call themselves, will participate in the next World Youth Day, which will take place July 15-20 in Sydney, Australia.

According to the Fides news agency, the number is extraordinary for the Church in New Zealand, since at past World Youth Days only a few hundred young people from the country were able to attend. The increase in the numbers this time around is due to the enthusiasm and commitment of young people to encourage their peers to attend.

Bishop Anthony Fisher, World Youth Day coordinator, said last week, “Excitement is high across the Pacific at the idea of hosting WYD for the first time.”

Each New Zealand diocese has formed a group of young people to serve as “Ambassadors of WYD” in a more active role representing their own country.

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YouTube re-posts CNA videos removed after pressure from abortion supporters

CNA STAFF, Jul 7, 2008 (CNA) - has re-posted two videos in Spanish and English posted by the Catholic News Agency about the controversial abortion documentary “The Decency Gap” that were pulled from the video-sharing site several days ago in response to pressure from abortion supporters.

The video entitled, “The Decency Gap / Eve Reinhardt,” shows a meeting between Carlos Polo, director for Latin America of the Population Research Institute, and film maker Eve Reinhardt, who attempted to gain an interview with Carlos by hiding the true nature of the documentary.

“The Decency Gap” aims to promote the legalization of abortion in Latin America and is financed by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the largest abortion provider in the world, Marie Stopes International and the Center for Reproductive Rights, as well as by the abortion organization PROMSEX of Peru.

The video features the encounter that took place several weeks ago in Lima and does not violate YouTube’s terms of use in any way.

Although YouTube has not given an official explanation for initially taking the video down and then re-posting it, hundreds of users expressed their support to keep the video online.

The video can be seen at

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Italian teen one step closer to sainthood

Rome, Italy, Jul 7, 2008 (CNA) -

The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints issued a decree last week recognizing the heroic virtues of Chiara “Luce” Badano, a young Italian girl who belonged to the Focolare Movement and died in 1990 at the age of 18.

The new “Venerable” Chiara was born in Sassello, Liguria, on October 29, 1971, to the joy of her parents, truck driver Ruggero Badano, and Maria Teresa Caviglia, who waited eleven years to have a child.

“Amidst our great joy, we understood immediately that she was not only our daughter but also a daughter of God,” her mother said according to a biography published by Focolare.

Since childhood, Chiara showed a deep love for God and a strong but docile character. She was joyful, kind and very active.

At the age of nine she joined the Focolare Movement. In 1985 Chiara moved to Savona to continue her education, and according to her biographers, “She had a difficult time despite her great efforts. She was held back one year and this made her suffer greatly.”

Chiara had many friends and loved sports, especially tennis, swimming and hiking.  She dreamed of being a flight attendant and enjoyed dancing and singing.  However, at the age of 16 she decided to pursue the consecrated life.

She had a close relationship with the foundress of the Focolare, Chiara Lubich, who gave her the name, “Luce.”

Soon afterwards she was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her shoulder.  She began intense chemotherapy while she continued her daily life with the same joy and faith.

This joy and faith moved Chiara to give all of her savings to a friend who was going to be a missionary in Africa, even though she was ill.

Despite the efforts by doctors, her illness progressed rapidly and she lost the use of her legs.  “If I had to choose between walking or going to heaven I’d choose heaven,” she told her family.

In July of 1989 she suffered severe hemorrhaging and her death appeared imminent.  She told her parents, “Don’t cry for me.  I am going to Jesus.  At my funeral I don’t want people to cry, but rather to sing with all their voices.”

On her deathbed, Chiara prayed for the strength to fulfill God’s will.  “I don’t ask Jesus to come for me to bring me to heaven; I don’t want to give him the impression that I don’t want to suffer anymore,” she said.  She asked her mother to help her prepare for her funeral, or her “wedding feast,” as she called it.

She gave her mother detailed instructions about how she should be dressed, the music, the flowers, the hymns and the readings. She asked her mother to repeat the words, “Now Chiara, go to Jesus.”

She died on October 7, 1990, surrounded by her parents.  Her friends were gathered outside the door. Her final words were, “Ciao. Be happy because I am.”

Some two thousand people attended her funeral.

Chiara’s cause for beatification was opened in 1999 by Bishop Livio Maritano, the bishop of Acqui at the time.  He said his decision was based on Chiara’s “way of living, especially the extraordinary example she gave during the last stage of her life.”  “I had no doubt about promoting her cause,” the bishop said.

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Proper of Seasons translation falls short of needed votes

Washington D.C., Jul 7, 2008 (CNA) - Part of the new English translation of the prayers used by Catholics for celebrating the Mass failed to garner a two-thirds majority approval at the June general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Orlando.

The portion of the new translation of the Roman Missal that didn’t pass muster with a sufficient number of the bishops was the Proper of Seasons. The Proper of Seasons is the second of twelve sections of the full text of the Roman Missal. These prayers are currently being translated in a way that preserves the transcendent nature of the Latin prayers.

Prior to the bishops’ vote on the Propers, a “Gray Book” or second draft of the new Propers translation was prepared by the International Commission for English in the Liturgy and submitted to the bishops of English-speaking countries for approval.

Bishop Arthur Serratelli, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, indicated that the Committee will present the Gray Book to the bishops for further consideration, in which time bishops may propose modifications to the text to be considered. The Committee will again present the text for a vote at the November 2008 meeting in Baltimore.

The Committee on Divine Worship reportedly plans to submit two additional “Gray Book” texts for the bishops to consider and vote upon in the fall. To keep pace with other English-speaking conferences and the original planned timeline, the texts must receive approval from the bishops.

According to the original timeline, the final text of the complete Roman Missal is scheduled to be presented for approval in November 2010.

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Spanish bishop reacts to law granting rights to chimps and apes

Madrid, Spain, Jul 7, 2008 (CNA) - Bishop Jose Ignacio Munilla Aguirre of Palencia warned this week that Spain “is being used as a guinea pig for post-Marxist ideology that is characterized by its rebellion against the cultural roots of Europe, against Christian anthropology, against reason and against nature itself.”

In an article on the “Great Apes Project,” an initiative by Socialist and Green Party lawmakers granting rights to orangutans, chimpanzees and apes that the unborn are denied, the bishop warned that “Spain has become the first nation in the world to recognize three fundamental rights of man for apes: the right to life, the right to freedom and the right not to be tortured physically or psychologically.” 

He denounced its supporters for attempting to blur the lines between species, “which presupposes a radical denial of the concept of the person.  This is possible because previously the concept of gender (each one can choose his own sex!) was put into question,” the bishop said.

“There’s little doubt that the next step will be euthanasia, eugenics and ethnic cleansing.  That is the logic of materialism! With a bit of irony a friend of mine told me: ‘my hope is to escape euthanasia, to be given asylum with the apes,” the bishop said.

After commenting about the preeminence of the human being and the radical originality of person, Bishop Munilla said, “this fact should make clear to us the spirituality of the human being, who is substantially different from the animal kingdom.”  “This latest battle of post-Marxist secularism and of gender ideology seeks, in the name of freedom, to deny the transcendent dignity of the human person in order to justify using him as genetic material.”

“However, freedom is that quality of the human spirit that allows the person not to be at the mercy of his biological, psychological and social conditioning.  For this reason we are free! Otherwise we would be completely determined like the animals,” the Spanish bishop said.

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Earthquake victims touched by generosity of Pope Benedict

Rome, Italy, Jul 7, 2008 (CNA) - Chinese earthquake victims swarmed members of Jinde Charity as they handed out bags of rice to those living in the earthquake-damaged province of Si Chuan.  However, they weren’t searching for food, what they wanted was the container – a bag with the Papal shield printed on it.

According to Fides news agency, money for the rice was personally donated by Pope Benedict to aid those involved in the May 12 earthquake that claimed the lives of over 69,000.

The rice was transported in bags with the Papal shield printed on the side.  The earthquake victims told the Jinde Charity workers, “We know that there is not enough rice for everyone,” but that they just wanted the “Pope’s symbol, and seeing it we won’t be hungry anymore.”

“We will frame it and tell of the event to our children and express our gratitude for the Pope’s closeness. Please!”

Pope Benedict’s generosity also impacted those across the country.  When the name “Pope Benedict XVI” appeared on the list of donors on the Jinde Charity website, the agency was overwhelmed with calls.  “We received e-mails and faxes from Chinese Catholics and non-Catholics, expressing their gratitude to the Pope and their great excitement at perceiving his presence so close to them.”


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