Archive of August 20, 2008

Abortion is a crime and no one has “right” to have one, says Guatemalan cardinal

Guatemala City, Guatemala, Aug 20, 2008 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Guatemala City, Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruno, said this week that abortion is a crime and the murder of an innocent human being.  Nobody has a “right” to get one, he stated while nothing thatall Guatemalans must defend life from conception to natural death.

In his homily on Sunday, the cardinal explained that abortion is simply the “killing of a child in his mother’s womb.” Those who practice this infanticide “reduce the meaning of human life to a simple fetus.”

After noting that life begins at conception, the cardinal stressed that “everyone has the right to be born, and anything deliberately done to obstruct this right to life is a crime.”

Referring to pro-abortion and feminist groups who are working to make abortion a “right” for women, Cardinal Quezada stressed that abortion will always be a crime and that “there are some things we must call by their name. A crime can never be turned into a right,” he said.

“No one, under any circumstances, can assume the right to directly kill an innocent human being,” the cardinal underscored.

“It is just as serious to kill a 10 year-old child or a 20 year-old adult as it is to kill a baby in his mother’s womb,” he went on.

Recently in Guatemala, 71 lawmakers signed the “Book of Life,” an initiative intended to safeguard the right to life of children in their mother’s wombs.  A small group of abortion supporters protested the measure, claiming it would affect the “rights of women over their own bodies.”

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Democratic Convention’s non-invitation of Archbishop Chaput an “insult,” Democrat says

Denver, Colo., Aug 20, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput was not invited to pray or speak at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, in what former Boston mayor Ray Flynn called a “serious oversight” and an “insult” to the values of pro-life Catholics.

The archbishop himself reportedly did not take the lack of an invitation personally.

The several Catholics on the Democratic Convention’s program include former Colorado state Sen. Polly Baca, "Dead Man Walking" author Sister Helen Prejean, social justice lobbyist Sister Catherine Pinkerton and Pepperdine University professor Douglas W. Kmiec, the Washington Times says.

Raymond Flynn, former Democratic mayor of Boston and former ambassador to the Vatican during the Clinton administration, said not inviting the archbishop to pray or speak was "a serious oversight."

"Chaput is one of the most respected leaders of the Catholic Church in America," he said, according to the Washington Times. "His record is a strong commitment to social and economic justice and the principles of the Catholic faith. He's also a strong patriot.

"Pro-life Democrats who are proud Catholics like myself feel this is an insult to our values… The party should be aware there are strong pro-life people who are politically successful," Flynn continued.

Archbishop Chaput explained his own reaction to the absence of an invitation.

"I'm happy to see they are having prayer at their sessions, and they have a right to choose whom they want to do that," he said.

Remarking about the Catholics chosen, he said, "Hopefully, they will know being Catholic is more foundational to their identity than anything else."

On Monday, August 25, the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, the archbishop will join Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., in a prayer vigil against abortion near a Planned Parenthood Clinic. The vigil will take place in Martin Luther King Park in Denver.

Natalie Wyeth, a press secretary for the DNC contacted by the Washington Times, said the archbishop informed them he was too busy to attend.

Archbishop Chaput’s book “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life” was recently published in what the archbishop said was an attempt “to convince people they should not be embarrassed at being Catholic and not buy the supposedly American notion that people should shelve their faith when they enter the public square.”

“I am tired of people telling religious folks to be quiet in the public square because of constitutional questions of separation of church and state," he said. "I hope this encourages people to become confident and active."

Archbishop Chaput said the United States’ 47 million Catholic voters, many of whom have historically belonged to the Democratic Party, in former years could have “demanded that abortion not be part of the platform, but they did not.”

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Obama misrepresents ‘extreme’ record of opposing protections for born-alive infants, McCain campaign charges

Washington D.C., Aug 20, 2008 (CNA) - A spokesman for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign has charged Sen. Barack Obama with misrepresenting his “extreme record” on abortion after the Obama campaign changed its explanation for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s opposition to an Illinois bill that would have protected infants who survive abortions.

Obama had charged the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) with “lying” about his record when it presented evidence undermining Obama’s claim that he opposed the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) because it lacked legal language that would have protected the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.

The NRLC has found Illinois Senate committee records showing that, as a state senator, Obama voted to add such language to BAIPA shortly before shelving it in 2003 while he was chairing the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

The Obama campaign now claims Obama opposed the Illinois version of BAIPA because he was concerned that the legislation would have undermined existing Illinois abortion law and not only the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision which mandated legalized abortion throughout the county. According to the New York Sun, the campaign says that a 2005 BAIPA bill passed when another clause was added explicitly stating the legislation would have no effect on existing state abortion laws.

The legislative director of NRLC, Douglas Johnson, voiced to the New York Sun his skepticism concerning the new explanation.

"These are newly manufactured and highly implausible excuses," Johnson said. "There is no way that the bill would have had any effect on any method of abortion."
McCain spokesman Brian Rogers was also critical.

"Americans can differ on the issue of abortion, but Senator Obama's extreme record on this issue and his willingness to misrepresent that record should concern any American who believes that we should be working towards a society where there are fewer abortions, not more,” Rogers said.

The BAIPA legislation was drafted to clarify that any baby who is entirely expelled from his or her mother and who shows any signs of life is to be regarded as a legal “person” and enjoy the rights of such, regardless of whether the baby was born during an attempted abortion, reports.

Obama refused to support the bill each of the three times it was put forward during his tenure in the Illinois Senate.

In a Saturday interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), CBN correspondent David Brody asked Obama to respond to questions concerning his votes against the Illinois BIPA.

“They have not been telling the truth,” Obama said. "And I hate to say that people are lying, but here's a situation where folks are lying."
He claimed he would have voted for a version of the federal BAIPA “even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion.”

“So for people to suggest that I and the Illinois medical society, so Illinois doctors were somehow in favor of withholding life saving support from an infant born alive is ridiculous,” Obama said. “It defies commonsense and it defies imagination and for people to keep on pushing this is offensive."

David Freddoso, author of the book “The Case Against Barack Obama,” spoke to CNA in a Tuesday phone interview about Obama’s history with BAIPA. He noted that Chapter 10 of his book, as well as his recent National Review columns, focuses upon Obama’s opposition to the Illinois BAIPA bill.

While saying his book reports the existence of the amendment and cites witnesses to the legislative process through which BAIPA passed, he credited the NRLC with providing conclusive documentary evidence.

While noting that many readers consider his book the “best explanation” of Obama’s BAIPA-related actions, Freddoso said “the new evidence absolutely nails it down.”

“The Obama campaign even had to acknowledge yesterday that all along, whether intentionally or not, they had basically been misrepresenting what he did,” he told CNA.

“There’s no question in my mind that when he killed that bill in his committee in 2003, he was killing a bill that was identical to the one that Boxer heartily endorsed on the floor.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer, one of the most pro-abortion U.S. senators, had endorsed the federal version of BAIPA.

When CNA asked how such information and Obama’s contradictory explanation could have gone so long without being exposed, Freddoso replied that the BAIPA information had been written about for some time “within certain circles.”

However, he said the evidence revealed by the committee documents is not electronic, not well-organized, and difficult to find.

In addition, Freddoso charged, “Sen. Obama has repeatedly mischaracterized this. He’s given so many false and at times even conflicting explanations for what he did, that it’s been very hard for the truth to come out.

“This is a vote that’s so over-the-top and so unpalatable that it’s almost hard for people to believe. It’s difficult to explain because if you don’t give a full explanation, I think most people would say ‘That can’t be true, that’s impossible, no one would do that!’

“Now that he’s had to admit what he did, I wouldn’t want to be his consultant right now trying to justify what he did,” Freddoso told CNA.

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Hindu extremists kill priest for being Christian and helping the poor

Rome, Italy, Aug 20, 2008 (CNA) - This week, Archbishop Marampudi Joji Hyderabad of India said that Hindu extremists who murdered Carmelite priest of Mary Immaculate, Father Thomas Pandippally, carried out the act for three reasons: “because he was religious, because he was Christian and because he was charitable to the poor.”

In statements to the L'Osservatore Romano, the archbishop explained that Father Pandippally “was killed because the Catholic missionaries are on the side of the poor in this region - in which there still exists a harsh form of servitude in the agricultural industry. Land owners do not recognize the rights of farm workers and make use of fanatical Hindu gangs to put a stop to any improvement to the living conditions of the rural population,” he said.

“In this region, Hindu-inspired fanaticism uses religion only as a pretext for carrying out these crimes,” the archbishop went on. “Between us Catholics and moderate Hindus there is no confrontation when it comes to dialogue about the values of the spirit. The confrontations are created by those who use pseudo-religious pretexts,” he added.

The archbishop also underscored that “the faithful of my diocese often live in fear.  Here Catholics are a truly heroic and significant minority.  At the parish where the killing took place, only five families openly declare themselves to be Catholic. For this reason, regular attendance at religious services is now a serious risk,” he noted.

“Farm workers in rural areas are only supposed to obey land owners who are of the Hindu faith.  To be Christian, and Catholic in particular, is a very courageous choice, but a choice that puts one’s life and that of one’s family at risk,” the archbishop said.

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Seminarians immerse themselves in parish life

Chandler, Ariz., Aug 20, 2008 (CNA) -

By Andrew Junker

Deacon Will Schmid stood at the ambo in St. Mary Parish and preached.


It was the feast of St. Martha. She was a friend of Jesus who had Him over for a visit with her sister Mary.


While Martha busied herself preparing the home, Mary sat at Christ’s feet and listened to Him. Martha complained to Jesus, who said that Mary had chosen better in spending quiet and untroubled time with her Lord.


“As Americans, it’s really easy for us to identify with Martha,” Deacon Schmid said. “But there are times when we just need to put aside all the things we want to do or think we need to do and just be with Jesus.”


Balancing quotidian activity with time for contemplation is a struggle most Christians share. But the lesson of Martha and Mary is especially salient for seminarians like Deacon Schmid, who spend their summers at local parishes learning how to foster a strong prayer life amidst the sometimes-hectic schedule of a priest.


For Deacon Schmid — who is scheduled to be ordained next June — this is his fifth summer of parish work. He spent previous summers at St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Theresa parishes, as well as spending some time learning Spanish in Guatemala.


“I think it teaches you who the people of God are that you’re called to serve,” he said of the summers. “The seminary can give you good examples, but they can’t give it to you fully. It’s nice to be able to be at a parish and just get to know the people.”

Deacon Schmid has also been getting some on-the-job sacramental training from St. Mary’s priests. He’s baptized children, assisted at burials and led the vigils that happen the night before a funeral.


“It’s the opportunity to take what we’ve been learning at seminary and make it concrete — to live it so that it becomes part of who we are,” he said.


From learning to action


The years spent in the seminary prepare future priests in the finer points of philosophy and theology and give them ample time and structure to form their prayer lives.


But when they begin their priestly ministry, they’ll have to take what they’ve learned and apply it to real parishioners in all sorts of real situations, while at the same time maintaining a strong personal commitment to prayer.


Spending time with pastors who can manage both the parish office and the Divine Office — or Liturgy of the Hours — is the best kind of classroom for seminarians, said Fr. Paul Sullivan, assistant director of vocations.


“Firstly, it’s for their own spirituality. It gives them a sense of the prayer life amidst the work of the parish. Second, they get to see the work of the priest, the hospital visits, the Masses, the time spent hearing confession — just the daily schedule,” he said. “The third thing is that the parishes get to know the seminarians and the seminarians get to know the parishes.”


This last point struck Kurt Perera, who recently completed his first year at seminary. He spent his summer at St. Thomas the Apostle and got to know parishioners of all ages through his work with the parish’s vacation Bible school, youth group and assistance at Mass and funerals.


He’s also shadowed various staff members whose duties might include finance or sacramental preparation just to get a flavor of all that goes on in a day at a parish.


“I have come to see that it is a lot more than just praying and celebrating Mass and the sacraments each day, though those are very vital aspects and are at the core of the priesthood,” he said.


Brian Rollo agreed.


“You definitely have to have a sense of administration, to organize well, to be open to your staff so they feel like they can come to you,” Rollo said.


He’s also recently completed his first year of seminary training and is spending his summer at St. Anne Parish in Gilbert. He was impressed by how far ahead the pastor, Fr. Greg Schlarb, plans.


“There’s a lot more that goes on than I ever suspected,” he said. “It amazes me how much coordination is needed between everyone to make it go smoothly.”


That’s the kind of realization you just can’t get in the seminary, Fr. Sullivan said. The summers spent at local parishes can highlight the administrative duties of a diocesan priest, but they should also prepare the seminarian for his own responsibility toward prayer.


“You need to maintain your spiritual contact with Christ in the Eucharist despite the environment you’re in,” said Fr. Sullivan. “A spiritual life based on the Eucharist is not really an option.”


This can get played out in different ways, said Deacon Schmid. Some priests prefer to set aside prayer time in the morning, before Mass. Others like to end their days with a long visit with the Lord in adoration. Still others might slip away for an hour after lunch.


What’s important, he said, is that all the priests he’s worked with have recognized and imparted to him the absolute necessity of quiet prayer in the life of a priest. It’s what helps them grow in holiness and spiritual fatherhood, he said.


“People always ask seminarians, ‘Does it depress you at all knowing you’ll never have any children?’ And being at a parish reminds me how much a priest is such a spiritual father, to see the people as his children,” Deacon Schmid said. “That’s just a beautiful thing to me.”


Printed with permission from the Catholic Sun, newspaper from the Diocese of Phoenix.


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Woman without hands or legs discovers ‘true joy’ after converting to Catholicism

Ulan Bator, Mongolia, Aug 20, 2008 (CNA) - Lucia Otgongerel was born in Mongolia 30 years ago without hands or legs.  She lived in a deep depression until 2002 when she converted to Catholicism and, as she explains, discovered “true joy.”  Today she works in the capital city of Mongolia, Ulan Bator, as a teacher for seven children with special needs.

Now Lucia claims, “I could not live without my faith.”  She overcomes the challenges of her physical condition though an intense life of prayer: including the daily Rosary, meditations and study of the Bible in the midst of her predominately Buddhist country.

In an interview granted to UCANews, Lucia explains that her daily work with seven disabled boys whose ages range from 15-19.  Lucia teachers, despite not having hands: cooking, cleaning, reading and writing at the Faith Center, a small school run by St. Mary’s parish in Ulan Bator which opened last September.

The sixth of eight children, Lucia Otgongerel was born in the Zavhan, a remote province in the Asian country of Mongolia.  She had a very difficult childhood that started to improve when she began using her first prosthetic leg.  Because of it, she was able to attend cooking classes at a very young age which has greatly increased her cooking skills.

“Even without hands, there is nothing I can’t do.  I can open doors with keys, sew, work on the computer, use the cell phone, cut up food, cook – nothing is impossible!  I like embroidery and beads.  People are surprised when they see my parents’ house, decorated all over with my needlework,” she says.

She recalls that in 2001 she began going to Mass because her sister was the friend of the bishop’s secretary.  While she was interested in the celebration, she did not have much faith.  She explains that she enjoyed the songs sung in English and the words continued to ring in her ears, though she did not understand the lyrics.

Faith in Christ began the following year and after praying the Rosary intensely, but with great difficulty at home.  She realized the importance of prayer and decided to convert to Catholicism.

“Since then, I pray a lot, every day, all the time.  I pray a lot and cry.  When young people in the church see me like that, they just leave me alone, and when I come out of the church laughing, they know I was praying.”

“It would be hard for me without prayer.  I pray every morning before I leave home….Later in the day, I also read the daily readings and meditate.  I try to implement the message of each day’s readings.  It gives me much power.”

“Prayer is an important part of my life.  I am alone a lot, so I pray all the time.  I make time to read the Bible.  I am also writing a book about the church in Nisekh and about faith.”

“My faith is very important to me.  I could not live without my faith.”

Lucia also explained how she was often depressed and felt incapable of doing things.  “I was a very different person before being Catholic.”  After her conversion, she recalls, “I wanted to tell many people about my faith, so I started with my family.  Several people followed me.  My niece is now baptized.  My younger brother, my older brother’s children and my two friends come to church too.”  

“People seeing me somehow get interested in God and the Church.  Our church in Nisekh is like a family.  I have been teaching catechism there to seven adults, five women and two men.”

When discussing her work, Lucia credits a Polish volunteer, Violetta, for showing her “how to teach challenged children.  She taught me very intensively for two months, and then I read many books about how to teach special children.  But mostly I learned from the children themselves.”

She also noted that “most of my time is taken up by this school.  This work is very beautiful.  The children are not ordinary, so we can’t have many in one room.  I now have seven students and feel I’ll soon need a helper.  They obey me very well, but at first they did not know I was their teacher.” 

“During this first year I learned how to work with each student.”

For Lucia, challenges never end because of her physical condition.  She suffers from kidney problems because her legs “do not bend at the knees.  The doctors say the way I move while walking is too stressful for my kidneys.”

Lucia also plans to bring her elderly parents to Ulan Bator.  “I have not seen them for three years.  I have to save up 115,000 tugrug (about $100) to travel there.  I need to see them, and decide if I must bring them soon, or whether it can wait a little.”

She plans to save from her monthly paycheck, which totals $150 per month.

“I want to take care of my parents and my sister who first took me to church.”

“My parents are very happy about me because I’m very successful.  All my life, they worried a lot about me.  Parents worry about their children even if they have hands and legs, but they worried even more about me because I was born without them.”

The original interview can be found at UCANews:




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Struggle against violence in Mexico demands profound measures

Mexico City, Mexico, Aug 20, 2008 (CNA) - This week the Archdiocese of Mexico City called on its citizens to make their voices heard regarding the city’s increase in violence and corruption.  Officials, the archdiocese said, must “address the root of the problem” by demanding attention to education, values and respect for others.

“What good is it to change the name of police forces if the corruption is internal? What help is a change in structure if there is no change in morality and ethics? Why increase the punishment of kidnappers and murderers if public officials and judges do not fulfill their most basic duties?” the news service questioned in a recent editorial.

The article acknowledged that federal officials and officers in the Mexican capital have expressed their concern over the increase in violence and have put forth proposals. 

However, “They do address the root of the problem and they do not appear to understand the gravity of what we are experiencing.”  The article continued, “Suggestions by different officials are mainly superficial and politically ‘cosmetic’.”  Therefore, the news service called on citizens to make their voices heard.  “They should demand greater attention to the education of children and young people in family values and responsibility, in the observance of the law and in respect for others,” the news service indicated.
The fight against violence, it stressed, “is the task of all, it is the commitment of the Church and the responsibility of the State, it is a requirement of all the media.”

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We must ‘cultivate knowledge and devotion to the saints,’ Holy Father exhorts

Castelgandolfo, Italy, Aug 20, 2008 (CNA) - During today’s general audience in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI recalled the saints and feasts the liturgical calendar celebrates this week and the next.


The Holy Father said, “Every day the Church offers us one or more saints and blessed to invoke and to imitate.” He proceeded to speak about yesterday’s Feast of St. John Eudes, who confronted with 17th century Jansenism and promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Heart of Mary.


Pope Benedict also spoke about St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Bernard, who Pope Pius VIII labeled the “Honey-Sweet Doctor” for his eloquence, traveled throughout Europe defending the Christian faith.  The Holy Father added, “He was also remembered as a Doctor of Mariology, not because he wrote extensively on Our Lady, but because he understood her essential role in the Church, presenting her as the perfect model of the monastic life and of every other form of the Christian life.”


Pope Benedict recounted that tomorrow the Church celebrates the feast of St. Pius X, Friday, the memorial of the Queenship of Mary, and Saturday, the feast of St. Rose of Lima.


Pope Benedict said that the Church offers human beings the possibility of walking in the company of the saints. Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote that the saints represent a real way for us to access Jesus.  French writer Jean Guitton explained that the each saint reflects the light of God’s holiness. The Holy Father added that it is important “to cultivate knowledge and devotion to the saints, along with daily meditation on the Word of God and a child-like love for Our Lady”.


Pope Benedict stated, “The summer months provide an opportunity for us to read about the lives of these and all the saints.” He explained, “Their human and spiritual experiences show us that holiness is not a luxury, nor a privilege for a few.” The Holy Father continued, “It is the common destiny of all men called to be sons and daughters of God.”


Pope Benedict concluded by recalling that the great French writer Bernanos, who was fascinated with the idea of the saints and quoted many of them in his works said, “Every life of a saint is like a new flowering.”


At the end of his public audience, the Holy Father greeted English-speaking pilgrims from different corners of the globe, including groups from Malta and Ireland.

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Knights of Columbus contributes $1 million to Prop 8 campaign

Sacramento, Calif., Aug 20, 2008 (CNA) - Proposition 8, the ballot initiative to protect marriage, has announced that it has received a $1 million contribution from the Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic family fraternal service organization.

In a press release, spokesman for the Knights of Columbus, Patrick Korten said that the donation from the Knights "is both an indication of how important we believe this referendum to be, and an encouragement to other groups and individuals of all faiths to lend their support as well.”

“From the day the organization was founded 126 years ago, strengthening and protecting the family has always been central to the mission of the Knights of Columbus. Preserving marriage as the indispensable institution in which children are conceived, born and raised to adulthood by a loving father and mother is vital to a healthy society. It is also the most favorable environment in which to protect the rights and best interests of children. We are proud to join the Catholic bishops and priests of California, and so many other people of good will, in this effort on which so much depends."

Ned Dolejsi of the California Catholic Conference remarked that “this generous donation from the Knights of Columbus shows the broad-based support that Protect Marriage is receiving from a variety of faith-based organizations.  Proposition 8 is honored to have the support of an esteemed organization who has such a strong record of public service and success."

Throughout its history, the Knights of Columbus has been an effective advocate and defender of civil and religious rights for all. The organization includes more than 1.7 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, and other countries.

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Sen. John McCain has ruled out pro-choice running mate, reports say

Washington D.C., Aug 20, 2008 (CNA) - Contradicting earlier reports that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain was considering a running mate supportive of legalized abortion, new reports claim the candidate is no longer contemplating choosing pro-choice former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.

Ridge, the first homeland security secretary, was believed to have been a leading contender for the Republican vice-presidential slot and was the only such one reported to favor abortion rights.

Citing sources at the Republican National Convention, Fox News reports that senior McCain advisers and aides say McCain “got the message” that such a choice would not help his presidential campaign.

The National Review magazine on Monday reported that McCain campaign staff has been contacting key state Republican officials around the U.S. to evaluate the prospects of placing an abortion rights supporter on the ticket.

National Review Editor Rich Lowry said a Ridge selection would not be a “big benefit” in securing victory in the key swing state of Pennsylvania and would upset conservatives “just at the moment they’re beginning to work up being excited about John McCain.”

Political commentator David Limbaugh on Tuesday claimed that a McCain-Ridge ticket would be “political suicide,” arguing that if McCain chooses a pro-abortion candidate he would “forfeit his moral authority and political advantage on this issue” and possibly would secure an election victory for Obama.

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Bishop of Lancaster calls for ‘passionate and courageous’ witness in face of secularism

, Aug 20, 2008 (CNA) - The Catholic Bishop of Lancaster Patrick O'Donohue has criticized his fellow bishops of England and Wales for their weak responses to modern crises, especially those produced by issues like secularism and homosexual adoption. Arguing that efforts to achieve consensus often results in the loss of the “scandal” and “folly” of the Gospel, he says consensus building can result in Christians no longer being the “salt” and “leaven” needed for the world. Instead, Bishop O’Donohue says, bishops’ conference statements must be “passionate and courageous” and must dare to “speak the full truth in love.”

“Confident, courageous and prophetic bishops [are] vital for the well-being of the Church during this time of increasingly aggressive secularism," Bishop O’Donohue writes in a 92-page document titled “Fit for Mission? Church.”
The bishop emphasizes his “disappointment” that the bishops’ conference could not agree on a collegial response to government legislation on same-sex adoption, reports, which says it has acquired an advance copy of the document.

He also charges some Catholic agencies with failing to uphold the “fullness of the Church's teaching” in their collaboration with secular agencies, adding that staffers at Catholic agencies dedicated to education or development are in a position to witness to the truth of the Church’s teaching.

A controversy last year over government requirements to adopt children to homosexual couples revealed that many agencies had a policy of allowing children to be adopted to single homosexuals, sometimes with the tacit blessing of the local bishop.

Bishop O'Donohue had suggested that the Catholic social service agency refuse to adopt children to anyone who is not in a legal marriage, saying “There must be no back peddling on these issues just because certain truths are unwelcome in the corridors of power.”

“We have talked too much and done too little. We have witnessed over the past forty years a growing crisis in the Catholic understanding or self-identity of the Church...Have we forgotten what it is to be Catholic?” he asks in the document.

Noting what he calls a “lack of confidence and knowledge of the Catholic faith” during his preparatory consultations for the document, he also calls for a revival of apologetics.

Turning his attention towards his fellow bishops, Bishop O’Donohue calls for bishops to “re-exercise their individual teaching charism.”

“The passion to serve the Lord is noticeably absent in many cases,” he claims. “There seems to be at times a tiredness and reticence to preach the gospel.”

The bishop argues that episcopal conference statements, trying to achieve a consensus among “bishops with sometimes divergent views,” have a tendency to be “flat and ‘safe’.” This consensus-building results “often in the loss of the 'scandal' and the 'folly' of the Gospel, so that we are no longer the 'salt' and 'leaven' so urgently needed.”

He suggests that episcopal conference’s division of responsibility among the bishops in areas such as education, healthcare, and liturgy has resulted in a “reluctance among the rest of the bishops to speak out on these issues.”

Bishop O’Donohue’s document is reportedly set for publication next week. It is being produced as he prepares to retire.

Daphne McLeod, a Catholic lay activist who heads the organization Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, welcomed the document, reports.

“What he's saying is what we've all been saying for years, but now it's a bishop saying it. We can use it and quote it and build on it. So yes, it's a very good thing," she said.

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