Archive of October 19, 2008

Maher allegedly filmed anti-religion movie in Catholic parish under false pretenses

Newark, N.J., Oct 19, 2008 (CNA) - A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark has responded to reports that comedian Bill Maher filmed part of his anti-religion documentary “Religulous” at a parish in the archdiocese.

Maher set part of the film at Our Lady of Mercy in Park Ridge, New Jersey. The relevant scenes show his sister and his Jewish mother, who explains why his Catholic father stopped going to church.

Jim Goodness, an archdiocesan spokesman, told The Record that he turned down two requests to use the church property, one from Maher’s production company and one from the parish.

"This certainly would not be the kind of project we would have given a green light to," he said.

Goodness explained that the archdiocese doesn’t allow church property to be used for commercial purposes.

"And I personally didn't trust Mr. Maher," Goodness told The Record.

"Obviously, our policies were not followed."

According to the Associated Press, Goodness said the parish pastor Father Charles Grandstrand was aware of the policy.

However, according to Goodness, filmmakers told Father Grandstrand that Maher wanted to film his mother there because the Church was such a big part of her life.

Maher has admitted that he didn’t tell people his movie would take its name from a combination of the words “religion” and “ridiculous.” Instead, he told them the film would be named “A Spiritual Journey.”

On Thursday the Star-Ledger reported that Father Grandstrand claims Goodness told the church to reject the production company’s request to film a Mass but told the parish’s administrative assistant it would be alright to let Maher talk to his mother in the church.

Goodness responded by saying he remembered the events differently and had told the priest not to let the company film anything inside the church.

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Vatican official cautions against S. African ‘Oil of Gladness’ services

Pretoria, South Africa, Oct 19, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop Albert Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has written to the South Africa bishops’ conference president Cardinal Wilfrid Napier concerning the “Anointing with the Oil of Gladness” services.

“It is reported that the faithful are frequently being anointed during what are called ‘Healing Services’ by deacons or even lay ministers who use a so-called ‘Oil of Gladness’ that is claimed to be ‘Sacramental,’ the letter says, according to the Catholic Information Service for Africa.

The archbishop notes that Canon Law expressly forbids anyone other than a priest from administering the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

His letter states that there are only three blessed oils used in the Roman Ritual: the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and the Sacred Chrism.

“The use of any other oil or any other ‘anointing’ than those found in the approved liturgical books must be considered proscribed and subject to ecclesiastical penalties,” he continues.

“The Congregation kindly asks that the bishops of South Africa be made aware of the above-mentioned confusion so that proper catechesis and sacramental discipline can be restored where it may be lacking,” Archbishop Ranjith concludes.

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Prayer prepares the way for the Gospel, Pope Benedict says

Vatican City, Oct 19, 2008 (CNA) - Following Mass in the square in front of the Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Rosary in Pompeii, Italy, Pope Benedict XVI greeted the 30,000 faithful present and invited them to pray for two special intentions: the synod of bishops and World Mission Day. The Holy Father also spoke about today’s beatification of Louis Martin Zélie Guérin, the parents of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, patroness of missions, in Lisieux, France.
In this Pauline Year, Pope Benedict recalled St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!”

The Pope continued: “In this month of October, month of missions and of the Rosary, how many faithful and communities pray the Holy Rosary for missionaries and for evangelization! I am, therefore, blessed to find myself here today, in Pompeii, in the most important Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. This, in fact, gives me the opportunity to stress that the primary missionary obligation of each of us is prayer. It is, above all, prayer that prepares the way for the Gospel; it is prayer that opens hearts to the mystery of God and disposes souls to accept the Word of Salvation.”
Calling the beatifications in Lisieux “another happy coincidence,” Pope Benedict expounded, “These new Blesseds accompanied and shared, in their prayer and evangelical witness, the way of their daughter, called by the Lord and consecrated to Him without reserve behind the walls of the Carmelite monastery. It was there, hidden in the cloister, that St. Thérèse realized her vocation: ‘In the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be love.’”

The Holy Father continued: “Thinking of the beatification of the Martin couple, I am urged to recall another intention so close to my heart: the family, the role of which is fundamental in raising up children in a universal spirit of openness and responsibility toward the world and its problems, as also in the formation of vocations to the missionary life."

Pope Benedict concluded by invoking the maternal protection of Our Lady of Pompeii for all families of the world, referencing the Sixth World Encounter of Families in Mexico City in January 2009.

After the Angelus, Pope Benedict had lunch with the region’s bishops and he met with some of the shrine’s benefactors.

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Pro-Obama Catholic: abortion is 'intrinsic evil,' but you can still vote pro-abortion

Washington D.C., Oct 19, 2008 (CNA) - M. Cathleen Kaveny, one of the three high profile self-described pro-life Catholics who supports Sen. Barack Obama for president, has made the case in an article published by the Jesuit weekly magazine “America,” that abortion is indeed an intrinsic evil, but that it is still okay to vote for pro-abortion candidates, since “intrinsic evil,” may not be “grave” enough.

Kaveny, a Professor of Law and Theology at the University of Notre Dame, has joined  professors Douglas W. Kmiec and Nicholas P. Cafardi in trying to make a Catholic case for Sen. Barack Obama despite his 100% pro-abortion record.

In “Intrinsic Evil and Political Responsibility,” a long article published in America magazine’s October 27 edition, Kaveny asks, “Is the concept of intrinsic evil helpful to the Catholic voter?”

The Notre Dame professor’s answer, after a long and convoluted argument, comes in the last sentence: “the language of intrinsic evil does not help us here. Only the virtue of practical wisdom, enlightened by charity, can take us further.”

Kaveny admits that the term “intrinsic evil” is used “not only in such documents as Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the 2008 document for Catholics issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, but also in political skirmishes among American Catholics.” “The term ‘intrinsic evil’ seems to connote great and contaminating evil—evil that we take inside ourselves simply by associating with it. The term itself suggests that ‘intrinsic evil’ involves wrongdoing of an entirely different magnitude than ordinary, run-of-the-mill wrongdoing. Consequently, intrinsic evils must pose great moral dangers to both individuals and society at large, and these dangers ought to dwarf all other considerations in casting one’s vote,” explains the Notre Dame professor.

Quoting Pope John Paul’s encyclical “The Splendor of Truth”, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Thomas Aquinas, Kaveny proposes that “ ‘intrinsically evil’ does not mean ‘gravely evil’,” since “intrinsically evil acts are acts that are wrong by reason of their object, not by reason of their motive or their circumstance.”

“Furthermore,” she adds, “not all intrinsically evil acts involve a significant violation of justice, the precondition for making an act illegal. No serious candidate for national office maintains that masturbation, homosexual acts or contraception should be outlawed in the United States today; and most Catholic legal theorists, whether conservative or liberal, would agree with them.”

“Some commentators,” Kaveny writes, “have suggested that voters ought to prioritize opposition to gay marriage and abortion because third parties have an overriding duty to prevent intrinsically evil acts and to protect their potential victims.”

“But this argument is incorrect,” she claims. “It is not always most important for third parties to intervene to prevent harm caused by intrinsically evil acts. Sometimes preventing harm caused by other kinds of wrongdoing, or even harm caused by natural disasters, can take priority.”

Trying to make the case for why devout Catholics should vote for Obama, she also argues that “in this fallen world, moral character alone is not enough. Political competence and other practical skills are also required. The person with the best moral character may not be the best president.”

“Finally,” Kaveny points out, “the defender might admit that there is one issue of overriding importance for which the term ‘intrinsic evil’ is useful in political considerations: abortion.”

But the professor argues that the application of this moral term “has moved far beyond the technical use normally employed in Catholic action theory: it is evocative, not analytical.”

And therefore it would be licit, she says, even necessary for a Catholic to consider other “infamies” at the same moral level of abortion and euthanasia, such as “disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons.”

In conclusion, speaking about herself, professor Kaveny says that “for many pro-life Catholics, the issue of voting and abortion comes down to this: what does one do if one thinks that the candidate more likely to reduce the actual incidence of abortion is also the one more committed to keeping it legal?”

Kaveny delivers her answer in an article published on Newsweek´s web site and penned in conjunction with professors Kmiec and Cafardi in response to an article by George Weigel.

“Is Obama the perfect pro-life candidate?” the professors ask. “No. Is he preferable to the self-proclaimed ‘pro-lifer’ McCain? Yes, because promoting life in actuality beats McCain's label and all of Weigel's elegant theorizing and hand-wringing. The Republican alternative familiar to Weigel is simultaneously self-righteous, easy and ineffective. The Democratic path is practical, anything but easy—as no act of bona fide love of neighbor ever is— but inviting of a life-affirming outcome.” 

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