Prague, Czech Republic, Jan 24, 2009 (CNA) - A Czech government spokesman announced yesterday that Pope Benedict XVI will visit the country on September 28, feast of St. Wenceslaus, patron saint of the Czechs.
The spokesman said that the Pontiff recently wrote a letter to Czech President Vaclav Klaus, expressing his desire to visit the central European nation. The trip would include a visit to Prague, where the Pope would pray at the ancient Cathedral of St. Vito, and a stop at Brno, the country's second largest city.
The details of the visit are being worked by a commission formed by the Papal Nuncio to the Czech Republic, Diego Causero, and Bishop Vaclav Maly, the president of the organizing committee chosen by the local bishops' conference.
Rome, Italy, Jan 24, 2009 (CNA) - Bishop Giuseppe Cavallotto of Cuneo and Fosano, the birthplace of Father Giuseppe Bertaina, will celebrate a memorial Mass for the Italian priest who was killed on January 16 in Nairobi, Kenya.
According to the Italian news agency SIR, the Catholic weekly of Cuneo, “La Guida,” reported that the Mass will be celebrated January 24 at “Madonna dell’Olmo,” where Fr. Bertaina was born on October 3, 1927. “La Guida” has dedicated its latest edition to the slain missionary, including a story on the testimony of his sister, Dominican nun Sister Carla Bertaina.
“When I learned of the news of the murder, it was very difficult to accept the manner in which my brother died. I can’t imagine the violence of this act. Now with the help of God I am at peace because He gave him all of His help in that moment. He has thus crowned his life as a missionary, giving all of himself to his brothers and sisters,” his sister said.
“Certainly Our Lady of Consolation, to whom he was especially devoted, protected him and comforted him. He wanted to be buried in the land he felt was his own: here, he said, is my family,” Sister Carla explained.
Fr. Bertaina was tied and gagged in broad daylight by two men who robbed the Institute of Philosophy of the Missionaries of the Consolata, which he helped to found. He will be buried at the cemetery of Mathari in Nairobi. It is unclear who killed the priest.
Denver, Colo., Jan 24, 2009 (CNA) - Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput, appealing to the “greatest qualities” of Americans, has called on Christians to oppose pro-abortion Congressional and presidential initiatives. He also urged Catholics to sign an anti-FOCA petition protesting abortion laws in a “new moment” that requires “great vigilance and sustained action” from pro-lifers.
Writing in his column in the Jan. 21 issue of the Denver Catholic Register, Archbishop Chaput said that Christians have an obligation to love their country and to “build on its greatest qualities and serve its best ideals.” Christians must also pray for their country’s leaders and obey its just laws.
However, he added, “When bad laws and court decisions cripple the soul of a society, Christians must work to change them as a matter both of justice and charity. Otherwise we risk colluding in the evil of their outcome.”
Calling President Barack Obama “a man of extraordinary skill and intelligence,” the archbishop said his “worthy goals” of national renewal, unity and hope should be “wholeheartedly” supported.
His election to the presidency, Archbishop Chaput said, shows that America is “still a place where people can succeed on their ability; where politics can actually matter; and where evil structures and laws can be changed by sustained, peaceful witness.”
The archbishop, noting the Jan. 22 anniversary of the 1973 pro-abortion rights Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, then turned to President Obama’s record on abortion.
“By legalizing permissive abortion and drastically limiting voters’ ability to restrict it in any way,” Archbishop Chaput wrote, “Roe set the foundations for an abortion industry that has wounded countless women and resulted in the killing of more than 40 million unborn children. President Obama’s past record of support for abortion ‘rights,’ embryonic stem cell research and other violations of human dignity is deeply troubling, and also deeply ironic, given his sensitivity to other human rights.”
The archbishop then noted President Obama’s declared support for the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). According to the archbishop, FOCA would strike down all state restrictions on abortion and destroy the “many modest but important gains” of pro-life advocacy.
Saying that President Obama’s Catholic supporters claim that FOCA is unlikely to pass in the upcoming congressional session, the archbishop argued:
“We can hope this is true. But of course, the form and timing of FOCA-like efforts are irrelevant. It’s the political intent behind them that matters. We have to work with what we know to be true by the president’s own words.”
Claiming that President Obama was elected on the economic issues, Archbishop Chaput said this mandate is accompanied by his “forcefully abortion ‘rights’ public record and party platform.”
“Nothing in the president’s words or actions has suggested a change in his fundamental goals.”
The archbishop reported that in the coming weeks Catholics across the United States and in every parish in the Archdiocese of Denver will be asked to sign the U.S. bishops’ anti-FOCA petition addressed to elected officials, asking them “to respect the dignity of unborn human life.”
“Whether FOCA actually materializes in the coming session of Congress is not finally important; the message we send is,” the archbishop insisted. He also warned that Congress, the Obama administration and the abortion lobby could implement its “destructive agenda” by low-profile “incremental legislative and executive steps” which will have “the same bloody effect.”
“We’re in a new moment for our country; a moment that offers great promise, but also requires great vigilance and sustained action to defend the dignity of human life at its earliest and most vulnerable stage,” the archbishop continued.
He asked Catholics to sign the petition “enthusiastically” and to encourage others to do the same.
Protecting unborn human life, he concluded, is an issue that “transcends party affiliation and needs all of us as believers to speak clearly with one voice.”
Vatican City, Jan 24, 2009 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI has lifted the excommunication of the four bishops from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) ordained by Marcel Lefebvre in 1988 in a decision he hopes will lead to “real and final unity.”
A press release from the Vatican reveals that after dialogue between the Holy See and SSPX, represented by its Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay and his request in a letter on behalf of the other three bishops in the Society, Most Reverend Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Most Reverend Richard Williamson and Most Reverend Alfonso del Gallareta, the Holy Father has decided to lift “the excommunication in which they had incurred twenty years ago.”
The statement, released in Italian, recalls that because the Episcopal consecrations of June 30, 1988 were performed by Marcel Lefebvre without pontifical mandate, “the four aforementioned Prelates had incurred the excommunication latae sententiae, formally declared by the Congregation of Bishops on date July 1st 1988.”
A press release from the Vatican quotes the words of a letter from Bishop Fellay to the Holy Father: “we are always firmly determined in the will to remain Catholic and to put all of our energy to the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept Her teachings with filial spirit. We firmly believe in the Primacy of Peter and his prerogatives, and because of that we suffer greatly by the current situation.”
The release continues by explaining that the Holy Father, who has followed the Church’s relationship with SSPX from the beginning, “has always tried to heal the fracture with the Society, even personally meeting Bishop Bernard Fellay,” in August 2005.
“On such occasion, the Supreme Pontiff expressed his will to proceed gradually and in reasonable stages down such path and now, with pastoral concern and fatherly mercy, by means of a decree from the Congregation of Bishops dated January 21, 2009, revokes the excommunication applied to the aforementioned Prelates.”
“The Holy Father has been inspired in this decision by the hope of reaching the soonest possible full reconciliation and complete communion,” the statement concludes.
The Decree from the Congregation of Bishops begins by recalling a letter dated December 15, 2008 written by Bishops Bernard Fellay on behalf of the other three bishops who were consecrated on June 30, 1988. The letter, addressed to Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, “requested the lifting of the excommunication latae sententiae formally declared by decree of the Prefect of this Congregation for Bishops dated July 1st 1988.”
The Congregation’s decree quotes the passage from Bishop Fellay’s letter released by the Vatican Press office and continues: “His Holiness Benedict XVI – fatherly sensitive to the spiritual suffering expressed by those who face the sanction of excommunication” and who also trusts in the bishop’s commitment “not spare any effort to further engage in the necessary dialogue with the authorities of the Holy See over the unanswered questions…has decided to reconsider the canonical situation of bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta created by their episcopal consecration.”
“With this act –the decree continues- we wish to consolidate the mutual relations of trust and intensify and provide stability to the relation of the Society of St. Pius X with this Apostolic See.”
“This gift of peace, concluding the Christmas celebrations, wishes to also be a sign for promoting the unity in charity of the Universal church and to achieve the elimination of the scandal of division,” the decree states.
“We hope that this step may be followed by the caring accomplishment of the full communion with the Church of the whole Society of St. Pius X, thus witnessing true fidelity and truthful recognition of the Magisterium and the Pope’s authority with the proof of visible unity.”
“On behalf of the faculties expressly granted by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, in virtue of the current decree, I lift the censure of excommunication latae sententiae to Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson and Alfonso de Galarreta declared by this Congregation on July 1, 1988, while I declare null of juridical consequences, as of today, the decree released in the past.”
The decree is signed by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, on January 21, 2009.
Charleston, S.C., Jan 24, 2009 (CNA) - On Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Monsignor Robert E. Guglielmone as the 13th Bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina. The bishop-elect has previously served as a pastor, high school teacher, seminary faculty member and the National and World Chaplain for Scouts.
According to the Diocese of Charleston, the bishop-elect reacted to the news by remarking, "I am both humbled and grateful that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI would entrust this awesome ministry to me. I must admit that I am a bit anxious about leaving Long Island where I have spent almost my whole life. However, I do trust in the Lord and am very encouraged by the wonderful sense of Southern Hospitality I have already experienced."
Originally from New York, Bishop-elect Guglielmone, studied education and worked as a high school business teacher. After teaching for five years, he attended Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, NY and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Center on April 8, 1978.
Since his ordination, Msgr. Guglielmone has served as a pastor, as a faculty member of Immaculate Conception Seminary, and as the Director of Pastoral Formation and Dean of Seminarians. He later worked as the Diocesan Director of Clergy Personnel and most recently served as Rector of St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Center.
The bishop-elect has additionally focused on working with the youth during his priesthood. The Diocese of Charleston reports that in addition to his work as a high school teacher, Msgr. Guglielmone has been involved in Scouting since the 1970s, holding various leadership positions including National and World Chaplain as appointed by the Vatican.
Bishop-elect Guglielmone succeeds Bishop Robert J. Baker who was Bishop of Charleston from July 13, 1999, until August 14, 2007, when he was appointed to the Diocese of Birmingham, AL. Since then, Monsignor Martin Laughlin has been the Administrator of the diocese.
Msgr. Laughlin addressed the bishop-elect saying, "For a year and a half we have been praying for you as we awaited the news of the appointment of a new shepherd for the Church of Charleston. As the Good Shepherd cares for his sheep, so we know you will care for the Church God has entrusted to you, laying down your life for her, so that you may offer her back to the Father more beautiful and more holy than you received her."
Msgr. Guglielmone will be ordained and installed as Bishop of Charleston on March 25, 2009.