Archive of February 23, 2009

Missionary to Hawaii will be canonized in October

Vatican City, Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) - On Saturday, the Holy See announced the dates for the canonization ceremonies of ten blessed including Blessed Mary of the Cross Jugan and Fr. Jozef Damian de Veuster, the Belgian priest who served lepers in Hawaii.  The ten blesseds will be elevated to sainthood either on April 26 or October 11.

The blesseds scheduled to be declared saints on Sunday, April 26 are:

- Blessed Arcangelo Tadini, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of Worker Sisters of the Holy House of Nazareth (1846-1912).

- Blessed Bernardo Tolomei, Italian founder of the Olivetan Benedictine Congregation (1272-1348).

- Blessed Nuno di Santa Maria Alvares Pereira, Portuguese religious of the Order of Friars of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (1360-1431).

- Blessed Gertrude Comensoli (nee Caterina), Italian virgin and foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (1847-1903).

- Blessed Caterina Volpicelli, Italian virgin and foundress of the Institute of Handmaidens of the Sacred Heart (1839-1894).


Those to be canonized on Sunday, October 11 are:

- Blessed Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski, Polish former archbishop of Warsaw and founder of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary (1822- 1895).

- Blessed Francesc Coll y Guitart, Spanish professed priest of the Order of Friars Preachers and founder of the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1812-1875).

- Blessed Jozef Damian de Veuster, Belgian professed priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and of the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar (PICPUS) (1840-1889).

- Blessed Rafael Arnaiz Baron, Spanish oblate friar of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (1911-1938).

- Blessed Mary of the Cross Jugan (nee Jeanne), French virgin and foundress of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor (1792-1879).

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Milwaukee bishops praise Dolan, bid him farewell

Milwaukee, Wis., Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) - Following the announcement that Archbishop of Milwaukee Timothy Dolan will become the new Archbishop of New York, the two Milwaukee bishops who served under him are speaking of his warm personality and commitment to Christ, as well as assuring him of their prayers.


Auxiliary Bishop William P. Callahan noted that while Archbishop Dolan will be greatly missed, “His deep faith and warm, personal charm will offer a new luster to the Church in New York.”


Bishop Callahan also addressed Catholics in Milwaukee, encouraging them to move forward saying: “We here, in southeastern Wisconsin, must remember to effectively live the Gospel message with all the same joy and enthusiasm that Archbishop Dolan offered to us by his tremendous example. The true sense of what he leaves as his legacy is best framed in the living of life, not just thinking about what he did. The true sense of his work among us is living what he taught us to do: Cast out to the deep, be bold in living the mission of Jesus Christ; and never tire in doing the work of Jesus and His Church. So, we all move forward as Christ gives us grace to do.”


Richard J. Sklba, another auxiliary bishop from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee described Archbishop Dolan as a pastor who loved priests and people with all his heart. “He has brought his pastoral heart to so many families in moments of weakness or worry, great comfort to the sick and infirm and joyous laughter to everyone. My congratulations go to the Church in New York, and my prayers that this new challenge will be filled with blessings for him and for all whom he will come to love and serve!”


The spokesperson for the Milwaukee archdiocese, Jerry Topczewski, described the archbishop as a “true gift” to the archdiocese.” 


“Good and faithful stewardship teaches us to be grateful to God for the gifts He has given us and to joyfully share those gifts with others, so now we share Archbishop Dolan, with the Archdiocese of New York,” Topczewski said.


Still, he continued, “it’s hard to do so joyfully when you are so incredibly sad to see him leave. Nonetheless, we send Archbishop Dolan to New York with our prayers and best wishes. We will miss him, yet we give glory to God for his time in Milwaukee, and now we prayerfully await the Holy Father’s appointment of the 11th Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.”


In a letter issued to the priests and archdiocesan staff members, Archbishop Dolan expressed his sorrow at leaving Milwaukee, but noted his excitement for his new appointment.

“I am honored by this appointment, as I was by my appointment as Archbishop of Milwaukee, deeply grateful for the confidence of Pope Benedict XVI, and filled with hope as I anticipate serving the historic, vibrant Archdiocese of New York.

“Yet, I must admit sadness in the prospect of leaving you. In my brief six-and-a-half years as your pastor, I have come to know, love and appreciate you very much. I am at home here. It will be very tough to leave,” he said.

Archbishop Dolan has served as the Archbishop of Milwaukee since 2002 and will be installed as the Archbishop of New York on April 15, 2009.


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Pope expresses his ‘great sadness’ at death of Vietnamese cardinal

Vatican City, Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) - The retired archbishop of Hanoi, Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung, who endured years of house arrest under the Vietnamese Communist regime, passed away on Saturday at the age of 89.

Cardinal Tung was born on June 15, 1919 in Bình-Hòa, Vietnam. At the age of 29 he was ordained to the priesthood and was made the Bishop of Bac Ninh on April 5, 1963. On March 23, 1994 he became the archbishop of Hanoi, a post he kept until he resigned in February 2005.

During more than 25 of the years he served as bishop of Bac Ninh, Cardinal Pham Dinh Tung was placed under house arrest and prevented from visiting the 100 different parishes under his care.

Determined to spread the Gospel despite his circumstances, he dedicated himself to telling the story of the Jesus’ life and ministry, Church teachings, the 10 Commandments and explaining the Sacraments in a type of poem called "luc bat." The six to eight word stanzas enabled the faithful to easily learn the faith.

Cardinal Pham Dinh Tung also created a system for the faithful to maintain parish life in his absence and founded a school to train children as catechists. The school already has 200 graduates who have returned to all parts of Vietnam.

Upon learning of the cardinal’s death, Pope Benedict sent a telegram to the current Archbishop of Hanoi expressing his "great sadness" and ensuring the Church and the cardinal’s family of his prayers.

"With great sadness I learned the news of the death of Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung, archbishop emeritus of Hanoi and your predecessor, and I wish to express my fervent union in prayer with all the bishops of Vietnam, with the faithful of the archdiocese of Hanoi and the rest of the country, with the family of the late cardinal, and with all people affected by this loss," wrote the Pope.

"I ask God the Father, from Whom all mercy comes, to welcome into His peace and light this eminent pastor who, through difficult circumstances, was able to serve the Church with great courage and generous loyalty to the See of Peter, tirelessly dedicating himself to the announcement of the Gospel. To you, to your auxiliary, to the bishops of Vietnam, to priests and religious, to the faithful of the archdiocese of Hanoi, as well as to the relatives of the late cardinal and everyone participating in the funerary rites, I impart a heartfelt apostolic blessing."


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Pope Benedict appoints Archbishop Dolan to head Catholic Church in NY City

Vatican City, Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) -

Today Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee to become the next Archbishop of New York, a see that the Vatican more than once has described as “the capital of the world.”

Timothy Michael Dolan was born February 6, 1950, the first of five children of Shirley Radcliffe Dolan and the late Robert Dolan.

In 1964, he began his high school seminary education at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary South in Shrewsbury, Mo. After studying at Cardinal Glennon College and then at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Archbishop Dolan was ordained a priest on June 19, 1976.

Dolan then began his time in parish ministry serving as associate pastor at Immacolata Parish in Richmond Heights, Mo., until 1979 when he began studies for a doctorate in American Church History at the Catholic University of America.

Before completing his doctorate, he spent a year researching the late Archbishop Edwin O'Hara, a founder of the Catholic Biblical Association. Archbishop O'Hara's life and ministry was the subject of the archbishop's doctoral dissertation.

On his return to St. Louis, Dolan resumed parish ministry (1983-87) and simultaneously served as a liaison for the late Archbishop John L. May tasked with restructuring the college and theology programs of the archdiocesan seminary system.

In 1987, he was appointed to a five-year term as secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.

When he returned to St. Louis in 1992, he was appointed vice rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, serving also as director of Spiritual Formation and a professor of Church History. 

In 1994, he became rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome where he served until June 2001.

While in Rome, he also served as a visiting professor of Church History at the Pontifical Gregorian University and as a faculty member in the Department of Ecumenical Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, his Alma Mater.

On June 19, 2001 –the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood- Fr. Dolan was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis by Pope John Paul II, choosing for his Episcopal motto the profession of faith of St. Peter: Ad Quem Ibimus, "Lord to whom shall we go?" (Jn 6:68).

Timothy Michael Dolan was named Archbishop of Milwaukee by Pope John Paul II on June 25, 2002.

He was installed as Milwaukee's 10th Archbishop on August 28, 2002, following the controversial leadership of Archbishop Rembert Weakland, whose resignation was accepted less than 24 hours after its submission to the Vatican, after he admitted having a sexual relationship with an adult man in the 80s.

During his years in Milwaukee, the Archbishop-elect of New York earned a reputation of a “fish-and-chips type of man" –as he described himself when appointed to Milwaukee, - capable of building a good relationship with the priests of the diocese, while at the same time restoring a sense of authority and fidelity to the teachings of the Church.

In January of 2004—right in the middle of the sexual abuse crisis—Archbishop Dolan created a "Clergy sexual abuse mediation system" that was aimed at dealing "openly, compassionately and creatively with victims/survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy members."

"While this system clearly will function outside the structure of the Catholic Church, I still will be involved with victims/survivors who wish to meet with me. Hearing from victims/survivors is not only important for their recovery from this tragedy, but it is important for me as the leader of the Catholic Church of southeastern Wisconsin," Dolan said in 2004.

Eager to use mass media for the new evangelization, Archbishop Dolan has also been the host of a TV program that explains Catholic beliefs and teachings and is sponsored by Milwaukee's Catholic Knights. The second series of the 30-minute television program entitled "Living Our Faith” began on February 14, 2009.

Despite the fact that he is set to depart Milwaukee for his new mission in New York, the remaining eight episodes will air at noon every Saturday until April 11, at which time the name of his successor will probably be already known.

Archbishop Dolan will arrive to New York with the reputation of a man that is comfortable with the press and has a passion for Catholic education. Also of note is his expertise in working with seminaries. According to his official biography posted on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's website, "the work of the Archbishop in the area of seminary education has influenced the life and ministry of a great number of priests of the new millennium."

Bishop Robert Morlino, of Madison, Wisconsin, reacted saying that “while the State of Wisconsin is loosing an excellent pastor, I cannot react to the news of today’s appointment with anything but joy!  Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who I’ve been blessed to know for many years – as rector of the North American College, Auxiliary-Bishop of Saint Louis and as my own metropolitan archbishop – is a man dedicated, without question, to the service of Christ and His Church.” 

“While he comes to the Archdiocese of New York, equipped with a tremendous understanding of the history of our Church and a profound love of the priesthood, Archbishop Dolan is also a man particularly endowed with gifts of charity and zeal, and is truly dedicated to the New Evangelization proclaimed by Pope John Paul the Great.  Building on the great work already accomplished by the faithful of the Archdiocese of New York, including his most recent predecessors Edward Cardinal Egan and John Cardinal O’Connor, I am certain that Archbishop Dolan will be an outstanding pastor and father, guiding his new flock to ever deeper faith, hope, and charity,” Bishop Morlino said.

As the new Archbishop of New York, Dolan will be serving 2.5 million Catholics.

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Legion of Christ to respond to scandal on Tuesday

Vatican City, Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) - Vatican officials confirmed to CNA on Monday that the leadership of the Legion of Christ will release a major statement in response to the controversy surrounding the double life of its founder and the future of the order. The statement will be released on Tuesday “or Wednesday at the latest.”


Highly anticipated by members, sympathizers and critics of the Legionaries, as well as its lay organization, Regnum Christi, the statement was completed a “few days ago,” but  has been submitted for review by “several Cardinals” of the Roman Curia, a Vatican source told CNA, without specifying which Cardinals or which dicasteries are reviewing the document.


The Legion of Christ, as a priestly congregation of Pontifical right, is overseen by the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, whose head is Cardinal Franc Rodé. Regnum Christi, being a lay apostolic movement, is overseen by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.


According to the Vatican source, the forthcoming document will address “the difficult circumstances created by the recent discovery of the double life led by Fr. Maciel and the need to restore peace, trust and apostolic vitality within the spiritual family he founded.”


The document “will also sketch the concrete future steps the leadership of the Legion of Christ will take to achieve these goals.”


Asked if the document will be “final,” the source told CNA that it will be a foundational document that will be decisive in determining future action. “I would say it is a definitive document... it is too soon to tell if it will be, indeed, final,” the source said.


The Vatican contact also added that, despite the fact that he has read the document, “I prefer not to anticipate any of its content, I think it will speak for itself.”

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Bishops of India strongly reject euthanasia

New Dehli, India, Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) -  

The 120 Latin-rite members of the Bishops’ Conference of India concluded their plenary assembly on February 18 with a categorical rejection of a case taken up by the Supreme Court of Delhi that would allow for euthanasia of the terminally ill.


The Church “firmly and consistently opposes” the taking of human life at any stage, the bishops said. The bishops’ spokesman, Father Joseph Babu, explained, “The government must guarantee the people the right to a serene life and not allow any kind of death.”


According to L’Osservatore Romano, the bishops also addressed the issue of evangelizing the laity through the reading and study of the Bible under the guidance of priests.  They also condemned the actions of groups that seek to impose a literal interpretation of the Bible on the people India.


The bishops re-elected Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, as president of the Conference, while Archbishop Vincent Michael Concessao of Delhi was re-elected vice president. Bishop Prakash Mallavarapu of Vijayawada was elected secretary general.

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Ministry of Education could become subject of lawsuit over socialist course

Madrid, Spain, Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) - The organization Professionals for Ethics announced it is studying the possibility of denouncing the Ministry of Education for promoting indoctrinating materials in the course Education for the Citizenry.

The organization referred to websites promoted by the Ministry that offer material for the course, including contents that promote gender ideology and “sexual variety,” and videos on Gay Pride Day.


Fabian Fernandez de Alarcon, general secretary of Professionals for Ethics, said that “at the request of parents,” the organization is “studying the possibility of denouncing these didactic materials that are included on the official website of the ministry.”


Fernandez recalled that four recent rulings by Spain’s Supreme Court affirmed that required courses should not be a pretext for trying to persuade students about ideas or doctrines that take positions on problems about which a general moral consensus in Spanish society does not exist.


“The [court] rulings,” he warned, “also state that the projects, texts and explications related to Education for the Citizenry must not make use of indoctrination.” If they do, parents have the right to seek legal protection from the courts, Fernandez stressed.

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Denver archbishop warns against ‘spirit of adulation’ surrounding Obama

Toronto, Canada, Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) - Canadians packed St. Basil’s Church in Toronto on Monday evening to hear Archbishop Charles Chaput speak about how Catholics should live out their faith in the public square. He warned that in the U.S., Catholics need to act on their faith and be on guard against "a spirit of adulation bordering on servility" that exists towards the Obama administration.

The public lecture by Archbishop Chaput took place on the campus of the University of Toronto at St. Basil’s Church and was attended by an overflow crowd of more than 700 people.

After giving a sketch of the basic principles in his New York Times Bestseller "Render Unto Caesar," the archbishop offered his insights on the need for an honest assessment of the situation of the Church in the public square.

"I like clarity, and there’s a reason why," began the archbishop. "I think modern life, including life in the Church, suffers from a phony unwillingness to offend that poses as prudence and good manners, but too often turns out to be cowardice. Human beings owe each other respect and appropriate courtesy. But we also owe each other the truth -- which means candor."

The Denver prelate then provided his critique of President Obama.

"President Obama is a man of intelligence and some remarkable gifts. He has a great ability to inspire, as we saw from his very popular visit to Canada just this past week. But whatever his strengths, there’s no way to reinvent his record on abortion and related issues with rosy marketing about unity, hope and change. Of course, that can change. Some things really do change when a person reaches the White House. Power ennobles some men. It diminishes others. Bad policy ideas can be improved. Good policy ideas can find a way to flourish. But as Catholics, we at least need to be honest with ourselves and each other about the political facts we start with."

Yet this will be "very hard for Catholics in the United States," Chaput warned.

According to the archbishop, the political situation for Catholics is difficult to discern because a "spirit of adulation bordering on servility already exists among some of the same Democratic-friendly Catholic writers, scholars, editors and activists who once accused pro-lifers of being too cozy with Republicans. It turns out that Caesar is an equal opportunity employer."

Looking ahead to the coming months and years, Chaput offered four "simple things" to remember.

"First," he said, "all political leaders draw their authority from God. We owe no leader any submission or cooperation in the pursuit of grave evil."

"In fact, we have the duty to change bad laws and resist grave evil in our public life, both by our words and our non-violent actions. The truest respect we can show to civil authority is the witness of our Catholic faith and our moral convictions, without excuses or apologies."

In a reference to the messianic treatment the Barack Obama received from some Americans during the presidential primaries, Archbishop Chaput delivered his second point: "in democracies, we elect public servants, not messiahs."

Noting that Obama actually trailed in the weeks just before the election, the Denver archbishop said that this places some of today’s talk about a "new American mandate" in perspective.

"Americans, including many Catholics, elected a gifted man to fix an economic crisis. That’s the mandate. They gave nobody a mandate to retool American culture on the issues of marriage and the family, sexuality, bioethics, religion in public life and abortion. That retooling could easily happen, and it clearly will happen -- but only if Catholics and other religious believers allow it."

The third point to focus on when the beliefs of Catholics are challenged is that "it doesn’t matter what we claim to believe if we’re unwilling to act on our beliefs," Chaput counseled.

"The fourth and final thing to remember, and there’s no easy way to say it," remarked Archbishop Chaput, is that the "Church in the United States has done a poor job of forming the faith and conscience of Catholics for more than 40 years."

"And now we’re harvesting the results -- in the public square, in our families and in the confusion of our personal lives. I could name many good people and programs that seem to disprove what I just said. But I could name many more that do prove it, and some of them work in Washington."

American Catholics need to realize that many in the current generation haven’t just been "assimilated" into the American culture, but have in fact been "absorbed and bleached and digested by it," Archbishop Chaput asserted.

If this realization doesn’t happen, the coming generations will continue on the same path and "a real Catholic presence in American life will continue to weaken and disappear," said Chaput.

Citing the example of "unhappy, self-described Catholics who complain that abortion is too much of a litmus test," he stated, "We can’t claim to be ‘Catholic’ and ‘pro-choice’ at the same time without owning the responsibility for where the choice leads – to a dead unborn child."

The archbishop also addressed the "abortion reduction" argument being made by some in politics.

"We can’t talk piously about programs to reduce the abortion body count without also working vigorously to change the laws that make the killing possible. If we’re Catholic, then we believe in the sanctity of developing human life. And if we don’t really believe in the humanity of the unborn child from the moment life begins, then we should stop lying to ourselves and others, and even to God, by claiming we’re something we’re not."

"Catholic social teaching goes well beyond abortion," Chaput noted. "In America we have many urgent issues that beg for our attention, from immigration reform to health care to poverty to homelessness."

Winding his talk down, the Archbishop of Denver remarked on the misunderstanding of the word "hope."

"For Christians," he explained, "hope is a virtue, not an emotional crutch or a political slogan. Virtus, the Latin root of virtue, means strength or courage. Real hope is unsentimental. It has nothing to do with the cheesy optimism of election campaigns. Hope assumes and demands a spine in believers. And that’s why – at least for a Christian -- hope sustains us when the real answer to the problems or hard choices in life is ‘no, we can’t,’ instead of ‘yes, we can.’"

The full text of the archbishop's speech can be found here:

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Freedom is found through service to others, teaches Holy Father

Vatican City, Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) - During a visit to the Major Roman Seminary to celebrate the feast of its patroness, Our Lady of Trust, Pope Benedict XVI discussed the concept of freedom explaining that it is only achieved in service to others.

The Pope’s visit, which took place Friday, began at a “lectio divina” for the seminarians on the Letter of St. Paul to the Galatians.  The Holy Father commented on the words of the Apostle of the Gentiles in his Letter to the Galatians - "you were called to freedom." 

Benedict XVI asked: "What is freedom? How can we be free? St. Paul helps us to understand this complex question of freedom" when he says "do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another."

He continued by exposing the differences in the true definition of freedom and the world’s view of the concept: "The absolute self who depends on nothing and no-one seems truly and definitively to possess freedom. I am free if I depend on no- one, if I can do anything I want. Yet this absolute exaltation of self is 'flesh,' in other words degradation of man. It is not the conquest of freedom. Libertinism is not freedom, rather it is the failure of freedom."

"Paradoxically, freedom is achieved through service," he explained.

"Our truth is that we are, first and foremost, creatures, creatures of God, and we live in a relationship with the Creator. We are relational beings, and only by accepting this fact do we enter the truth. Otherwise we fall into lies and there, in the end, we destroy ourselves. ... The only human freedom is shared freedom."

"Man has need of order, of laws, in order to realize his freedom, which is a freedom he shares with others. ... If there is no shared truth about man, ... all that remains is positivism and people get the impression of something imposed from outside, even violently imposed. Hence this rebellion against order and laws, as if they represented a form of slavery."

The Holy Father drew his address to a conclusion by referencing a passage in the Letter to the Galatians in which Paul writes: “If you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another’.”

“We see similar things happen today when, rather than entering into communion with Christ, with the Body of Christ which is the Church, everyone wants to be better than everyone else and, with intellectual arrogance, wants to make it known that they are best.

“This gives rise to destructive polemics,” he continued, “to a caricature of the Church, which should be of one heart and soul.”

By listening to the warning from St. Paul, we must examine our own consciences: “not thinking we are better than others, but discovering ourselves in the humility of Christ, in the humility of the Virgin Mary, entering the obedience of the faith. In this way the great spaces of truth and freedom in love open before us."

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"Catholic Advocate" has Brownback support, organization confirms

Washington D.C., Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) -

The new initiative "Catholic Advocate," whose goal is to expose politicians "who hide their pro-abortion record behind a smokescreen of faith," confirmed to CNA that they do have the support of Senator Sam Brownback for their initiative.

Last week, “Catholic Advocate” sent a fundraising letter signed by Kansas Senator Sam Brownback questioning whether his Democratic colleagues, including the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi were genuine Catholics.


"Real Catholics need a new voice — not the likes of Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi who have campaigned as Catholics while voting to undermine the values that we hold most dear," Brownback said in the letter, asking for support against the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) and in favor of "Catholic Advocate," a nonprofit created by the Catholic activist Deal Hudson.


But on Friday, Joe Feuerherd, a staff writer of the National Catholic Reporter, questioned the authenticity of the letter, quoting Brownback's spokesman Brian Hart, who said that "our chief of staff ... had never seen, heard of, or approved it."


Feuerherd's main concern, nevertheless, was the fact that letter is the first public criticism of a pro-life Catholic politician against pro-abortion colleagues.  "It is unusual, and perhaps unprecedented in modern times, for one senator to question the religious practices of another," Feuerherd wrote.


The National Catholic Reporter quoted Stephen Schneck, director of Life Cycle Institute and a board member of the self-described non-partisan organization Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, saying that "regardless that FOCA is horrible and — for me — immoral legislation, an affront like this between senators is unfathomable."


Feuerherd also quoted Whitney Smith, press secretary for Senator John Kerry, who said it was “disappointing to see incendiary political fundraising rather than good faith efforts to promote the common good and work together to reduce the number of abortions."


On Monday, Catholic Advocate sent CNA a copy of the email approving the letter from Senator Brownback. The email, which involves the names of other individuals not relevant to the story, was dated February 29, 2008 to Matt Schenk, of HSP Direct, clearly stating that "the Brownback/Catholic Advocate appeal" was "ok, approved."


Regarding the statements of Brian Hart quoted by the Reporter, Glen Chambers, chief of staff for Senator Brownback, explained that "I think we've gotten to the bottom of the confusion over the mail piece.  Neither the Senator nor I had seen the letter or were aware of it.   I figured out that you did get permission to use his name on the piece from a former campaign staffer in February of last year." Chambers also said there would not be future mailings using the Senator's name.

In the his story, Feuerherd takes special aim at Deal Hudson, whom he describes as a "conservative Catholic activist and Republican political operative."  Feuerherd dedicates part of his article to focusing attention on his own controversial report from 2004 that detailed an inappropriate sexual encounter Hudson had revealed and apologized for several years ago.


In 2004, Feuerherd deflected criticism that his intention was character assassination by saying that he just followed "where the story led me."


Nevertheless, earlier this year, Catholic blogs called attention to the Hudson story by saying that the coverage the National Catholic Reporter gave to the scandal surrounding Eric McFadden was insufficient in comparison.


McFadden was the former head of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives for the Democratic Governor of Ohio Ted Strickland, and was previously closely associated with Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. McFadden was more recently active in supporting Obama as a "pro-life" candidate.  He even went so far as to request the resignation of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson for calling to task then Vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden on his Catholic faith and his pro-abortion position.


McFadden was arrested on January 14, and now faces charges that include two counts of promoting prostitution, two counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, two counts of pandering obscenity involving a nude minor and one count of compelling prostitution.


Catholic blogs complained that Feuerherd and the National Catholic Reporter never felt compelled to follow the story despite the importance of McFadden among the ranks of Catholic Democrats and the severity of his misconduct.


"In spite of the misunderstanding, we are not intimidated and will continue with the mission of Catholic Advocate to oppose pro-abortion Catholics in politics as exemplified by the late Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J., Sen. Ted Kennedy, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Vice President Joseph Biden,” Hudson told CNA.

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Archbishop Dolan prays for future ‘full of hope’ in New York City

New York City, N.Y., Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) - Archbishop of Milwaukee Timothy Dolan, whose appointment to become Archbishop of New York was announced on Monday, has commented on his appointment in a letter to the Catholics of Milwaukee and at a New York City press conference. Saying it will be “very tough” to leave Milwaukee, he expressed hopes and sought prayers for his future “full of hope” in New York.

Noting that there had been “a lot of speculation” about his move to New York, Archbishop Dolan in his Monday letter reported he had responded to these rumors by saying “I don’t know anything about it. I want to stay right here in Milwaukee.”

“I was not fibbing,” he explained. “It was only recently that I was told of this appointment. It’s hardly a position one applies for! I was surprised, and still am.” 

He said he was not asked if he would accept the position, but simply informed of Pope Benedict XVI’s decision by the Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Pietro Sambi.

“Do I want to go? Do I consider myself qualified? Are there much better candidates for the position?” Archbishop Dolan asked rhetorically.

“All of that is really beside the point. The obedience I freely and enthusiastically promised to Jesus Christ, His Church, and His vicar on earth, our Holy Father, is a very liberating act. So, I place my future in the hands of the Lord, whose grace and mercy endure forever, and I go.”

He noted Blessed Mother Teresa’s words, “Let God use you without consulting you.”

“I am honored by this appointment, as I was by my appointment as Archbishop of Milwaukee, deeply grateful for the confidence of Pope Benedict XVI, and filled with hope as I anticipate serving the historic, vibrant Archdiocese of New York.”

However, the archbishop said, he must admit his sadness in leaving Milwaukee Catholics.

“In my brief six-and-a-half years as your pastor, I have come to know, love and appreciate you very much. I am at home here. It will be very tough to leave.”

Saying the “bustling life and promising initiatives” of the “great” Milwaukee archdiocese will go on “as strong as ever,” he emphasized the initiatives will proceed because they depend not on him, but on Jesus Christ and Catholics’ faith in “His promise to remain with us forever.”

Noting that he will continue as Archbishop of Milwaukee throughout Lent, Dolan said he will need Lenten prayer, penance and acts of charity “more than ever as I open myself to the grace and mercy of Christ on the cross.”

After asking for prayers, the archbishop closed his letter with a jest referring to a Fat Tuesday Polish pastry called a “paczki.”

“Tuesday I’m back with you, because I can’t find a Paczki in New York!”

The archbishop also delivered a statement to the Archdiocese of New York at a New York City press conference on Monday.

Expressing his thanks to Cardinal Edward Egan, he thanked members of the media and those hearing or seeing broadcasts of the conference.

“You’ve made me feel at home already,” he said.

“Thank you, most of all, to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who is alive in His Church, without whom nothing is possible, with whom nothing is impossible,” he emphasized.

“Thank you, Pope Benedict XVI, for your trust in naming me archbishop of this historic and vibrant Archdiocese of New York.”

Pledging his love, life and heart to the bishops, priests, vowed religious, seminarians and lay Catholics of New York, he asked for their prayers and support.

“I am so honored, humbled, and happy to serve as your pastor,” the archbishop said.

He gave a special greeting to Latinos and assured other New York City religious leaders of his “continued friendship.” Addressing civic leaders and citizens, he expressed his devotion to “all that is noble” in New York.

“I look forward to knowing and loving you,” he concluded. “I come before you in awe, with some trepidation, knowing I have a lot to learn, -- about you and about this dynamic local church.

“Yet I come so confident in God’s grace and mercy, and so hopeful in the dream that is ours for a ‘future full of hope’ as promised by God. I relish the blessing of spending the rest of my life as your pastor, neighbor, and friend."

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Church in Cuba needs more room for action, lay magazine asserts

Havana, Cuba, Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) - The magazine Espacio Laical of the Archdiocesan Council of Laity of Havana, has repeated the request by the Church in Cuba that it have more room for action to be able to carry out its work of evangelization and thus contribute to the building of a “Cuban Homeland.”


In an editorial, the magazine said the Church needs to be given more room to “help and bring dignity to the poor, to the infirm, to the imprisoned, as well as to inculturate her message of love and trust, responsibility and communion.”


While some progress has been made, the magazine noted, the Church still does not have access to important instruments for this mission, such as the media, education and culture.


Building the “Cuban Homeland” refers to making Cuba into “one great family, whose members have their differences but recognize and accept a bond that united them: the love for what is theirs that comes from a shared history,” the editorial said.


For this reason, the magazine asserted, all opinions should be “heard and considered, and the people should be given an ever greater and more effective chance to determine what changes are necessary and what the tempo should be for bringing them about.”


“Today Cuba enjoys a very favorable international context,” the magazine argued, and there are “a sufficient number of Cubans who with their different political and ideological positions” can strengthen “a society that seeks to advance on the basis of encounter and dialogue.”

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Same-sex unions bill advances in Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii, Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) - A bill passed by the Hawaii House this month could legalize same-sex civil unions if the state Senate approves and the governor does not veto the legislation.

A divided Senate committee is to vote on the measure Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, has declined to comment on the proposal. It is not clear whether she would veto the bill.

Proponents argued that the proposal would promote equality and make it easier for homosexual couples to adopt children, share health benefits and gain hospital visitation rights.

Religious groups have taken out newspaper ads, set up web sites, and held rallies to encourage legislators and citizens to oppose the measure. They argue the proposal would further erode family ties and values.

In response to the bill, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu wrote a letter to Senator Robert Bunda, in which he said,  “A decade ago, the people of Hawaii voted their clear intention that marriage is between one man and one woman.  The civil unions bill, though it does not call a civil union marriage, in effect ignores the will of the people and simply gives a different name to what is really construed as a marriage between partners of the same sex.”

“A push for ‘equality’ seems to be the driving force behind this civil unions bill.  But the word equality is misused.  In the realm of mathematics a ‘3’ certainly has the same qualitative status as a ‘9’.  Both are equal in the fact that both are real numbers.  But 3 = 9 is simply not true,” Bishop Silva reasoned.

“Every human being is equal to every other human being, no matter what the person’s gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or citizenship.  But marriage between one man and one woman is NOT equal to same-sex marriage (or civil union, or whatever other term we choose to call it).” 

"In Hawaii, people still believe in traditional marriage and the sanctity of marriage," Dennis Arakaki, of the Hawaii Catholic Conference, told the Associated Press. "There's no indication that values or perspectives have changed."

The measure passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 12-0 vote and the full House approved it 33-17, one vote short of a veto-proof two-thirds majority.

In 1998 nearly 70 percent of Hawaii voters approved a “defense of marriage” constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage.”

The amendment overturned a 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that declared to be discriminatory the refusal of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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Benedict XVI warns of growing acceptance of eugenics

Vatican City, Feb 23, 2009 (CNA) - On Saturday the Holy Father met with participants of a congress titled, “New frontiers of genetics and the dangers of eugenics."  In his address, the Pontiff cautioned against the threat of eugenics and encouraged his audience to love those often rejected by society. 

Speaking to a congress sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Life on the occasion of its 25th general assembly, Pope Benedict first praised the scientific progress made in the world of health, and then discussed “genetic reductionism,” a term which refers to identifying “individuals exclusively in terms of genetic information and its interaction with the environment.”

Through the collaboration among the various branches of science, said Pope Benedict, it is possible to avoid the risk of genetic reductionism.  He also stressed that man will always be greater than his genetic information and his interactions.  “He has, in fact, the power of thought which always tends towards the truth about himself and the world."

"Each human being, then, is much more than an individual combination of genetic information transmitted by his or her parents,” he said.  “The arrival of a new person into the world is always a new creation.”

Referring then to the dangers of eugenics, the Holy Father noted how, despite its having been condemned in the past, "worrying manifestations of this odious practice," still persist. "A new mentality is insinuating itself," he cautioned, "one that tends towards a different view of life and of personal dignity founded on personal desires and individual rights.

“The tendency is to favor operative capacity, efficiency, perfection and physical beauty, to the detriment of other dimensions of existence which are not considered to be worthy. In this way, we diminish the respect that is due to each human being, even in the presence of a defect in his or her development or of a genetic ailment which may manifest itself during the course of a person's life; while children whose lives are judged as being unworthy to be lived are penalized from conception.”

Pope Benedict then underscored the fact that all forms of discrimination against “individuals, people or ethnic groups on the basis of differences in real or presumed genetic factors is an attack on the entire human race.” 

All human beings “by the very fact of having been born, enjoy equal dignity,” he taught.  “Biological, mental and cultural development, or the state of a person's health, must never become a factor for discrimination."

Benedict XVI ended his address encouraging his audience to “consolidate a culture of acceptance and love, showing real solidarity towards those who suffer and breaking down the barriers that society often puts up to discriminate against people affected by disabilities or serious illness or, worse still, to select and reject life in the name of an abstract ideal of health and physical perfection.”

“If man is reduced to an object of experimental manipulation from the earliest stages of his development, this means that medical biotechnology submits to the will of the strongest.

“Faith in science must not make us forget the primacy of ethics when human life is at stake," he advised.

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