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Archive of May 28, 2009

Armed robbers attack nun and elderly women in raid on Tanzanian convent

Sutton, England, May 28, 2009 (CNA) - Earlier this month a gang of armed robbers broke into a Tanzanian convent, attacking a nun, workers, and four elderly women in the sisters’ care. News of the attack prompted an international Catholic charity to provide assistance to repair the convent’s broken doors.

The group of about 25 assailants broke into the Poor Clares’ Monastery of St. Mary of the Angels in Mwanza. They hit Sr. Mary Noel on the head with the flat side of a machete and repeatedly struck her back. During the attack, they stole money and mobile phones.

Abbess Sr. Mary Assumpta, who leads the 45 nuns at the monastery, described the attack in a letter to the charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

“When the attackers came, Sr. Noel was not afraid. She told us: ‘God has given the courage’,” Sr. Mary Assumpta wrote.

She said that moments after the attack on Sr. Noel other nuns arrived and “implored with all their strength for God’s help.”

Within two days of the attack, a dozen people were arrested in connection with the crime and were put in police custody.

At least eight doors were damaged or destroyed in the attack, leaving the Sisters vulnerable to further violence.

Sr. Mary Assumpta appealed to ACN for help in replacing the doors.

The charity provided urgent aid of about $2,200, prompting the abbess to say their support was an “encouragement” which invigorated their apostolate “especially when we are passing through these difficult days.”

The attack coincided with an approximately $8,400 grant from ACN funding a solar system for electricity for the convent.

ACN reported that Sr. Mary Noel’s current condition was unknown. The sisters were traumatized by the attack but are slowly recovering.

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Vatican Radio to experiment with advertising to defray costs

Vatican City, May 28, 2009 (CNA) - Vatican Radio has announced that it will carry advertising in an attempt to help defray its 21.4 million Euro ($29.8 million) annual operating fees.

The official broadcasting service of the Holy See, Vatican Radio has never carried advertising in its almost 80 year history.

Three years ago, Vatican Spokesman Frederico Lombardi said that the radio’s audience was too geographically, linguistically and ethnically diverse to appeal to advertisers.

On Friday, however, he announced Vatican Radio would begin accepting advertisements, ANSA reports.

A Tuesday press conference held by Fr. Lombardi and Bishop Renato Boccardo, Secretary of the Governorate of Vatican City, stressed that the project is in an experimental phase and that the ads will be placed at appropriate times in between regular programming.

The first ads will be run by Italian electricity utility ENEL. The ads will be broadcast in five languages from July 6 to September 27.

''We are proud to have been chosen as the first advertiser for a radio station that is among the most wide-reaching in the world,'' ENEL President Piero Gnudi said, according to ANSA.

Vatican Radio generates almost no revenue currently, but is considered a vital contributor to spreading the Gospel.

The station employs about 200 journalists and transmits news, religious events and music programs across the world in 47 languages.

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Bishop Lori alleges media ‘intervention’ in court decision to unseal abuse records

Bridgeport, Conn., May 28, 2009 (CNA) - The Diocese of Bridgeport is defending its legal efforts to keep thousands of documents from settled abuse lawsuits from being unsealed by a Connecticut Supreme Court decision. The diocese’s bishop has alleged that a judge’s apparent conflict of interest and “media self-interest” may have resulted in an unjust decision.

Last week the Connecticut Supreme Court voted 4-1 to unseal more than 12,600 legal documents from 23 lawsuits settled in 2001, the Hartford Courant says.

The diocese reacted with a statement saying it was “deeply disappointed” with the decision. Bishop Lori pointed out on his blog that during the litigation claims of the 1990s victims and their attorneys had access to the records now under seal.

“In 2001, the claims were settled, and the court records, including documents under seal, were set to follow the standard procedure for all claims settled before trial and be destroyed.”

The bishop charged that the secular press “intervened” and demanded access to the files “well after the legal time limit.”

“In a decision replete with anti-Catholic Church rhetoric, the trial judge actually invented an entirely new procedure to accommodate this after-the-fact request from the press,” Bishop Lori added.

He said the Appellate Court of Connecticut “appropriately” overturned the first trial’s decision, but he reported that the state Supreme Court reversed the decision and remanded it to trial judge Jon M. Alander, who ruled against the diocese.

Bishop Lori alleged conflicts of interest could have affected that decision, saying that Judge Alander stood on a judicial committee reviewing the issue of press access to court records. Another member of the committee was a reporter from the Hartford Courant, a party in the case against the Diocese.

The bishop then cited Connecticut Supreme Court Justice William J. Sullivan’s dissent in the case, which said a person of ordinary intelligence and experience “would have reason to question Judge Alander’s impartiality in the present case.”

Justice Sullivan also pointed out that the Hartford Courant and the New York Times had “reported extensively” on the cases from January 1993 until their settlement. The justice said the papers knew about the sealing orders and never sought to challenge the sealing orders while the cases were active.

In Justice Sullivan’s opinion, this fact belied the Supreme Court majority’s argument that access to the documents was sought “to provide a more complete understanding of the judicial process.”

A majority of the Connecticut Supreme Court’s sitting justices rejected the argument that Judge Alander should have recused himself because of possible conflicts of interest.

“The court ruled that just because Alander was a member of the task force did not mean that he could not be fair and impartial,” the Hartford Courant summarized. “It also ruled that just because one of the other members of the judicial task force was a reporter from The Courant did not mean that Alander had a conflict.”

Bishop Lori’s post continued:

“Sadly, the history of this case has been about access by the secular media to internal Church documents of cases more than 30 years ago to suggest, unfairly, that nothing has changed.”

The bishop said the diocese is reviewing its legal options.

"We appreciate that emotions run high on this topic," the diocese said in its statement, adding that its “primary objection to the decision concerns judicial fairness, and the fundamental right of an individual or organization to fair adjudication in any legal proceeding."

The court’s decision becomes official on June 2. The diocese has at least 10 days to file further legal action, which could include asking the Supreme Court to rehear the case with the entire court present, rather than just five members.

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Kmiec proposes end of legally recognized marriage

Washington D.C., May 28, 2009 (CNA) - Doug Kmiec, a prominent Catholic who backed Barack Obama’s presidential bid, has endorsed replacing marriage with a neutral “civil license,” a proposal law professor Robert P. George called a “terrible idea” that would make the government neglect a vital social institution.

Speaking to CNSNews.com, Pepperdine University law professor Doug Kmiec said that although his solution to disputes over the definition of marriage might be “awkward,” it would “untie the state from this problem” by creating a new terminology that would apply to everyone, homosexual or not.

“Call it a ‘civil license’,” he said.

“The net effect of that, would be to turn over--quite appropriately, it seems to me, the concept of marriage to churches and a church understanding,” he said.

Kmiec said that a motive for California’s Proposition 8, which restored the definition of marriage to being between a man and a woman, was religious believers’ “genuine concern” that the California ruling imposing homosexual “marriage” was not addressing religious freedom issues.

Saying he was among those believers who had such concern, Kmiec noted the possibility that churches which don’t acknowledge same-sex “marriage” could be subject to penalty, lose public benefits, or be subject to lawsuits “based on some theory of discrimination.”

Kmiec argued “civil licenses” would address the question. He proposed the state withdraw from “the marriage business” and do licensing “under a different name” to satisfy government interests for purposes of taxation and property.

Under his proposal, “the question of who can and cannot be married would be entirely determined in your voluntarily chosen faith community,” he added, saying that the proposal would reaffirm the significance of marriage “as a religious concept,” which has a much fuller understanding than is found in civil marriage.

Responding to Kmiec’s proposal, Princeton University professor Robert George said it was a “terrible” idea and a “very, very bad one.”

George told CNSNews.com that marriage is not like baptisms and bar mitzvahs but has “profound” social and public significance.

“It’s a pre-political institution,” he said. “It exists even apart from religion, even apart from polities. It’s the coming together of a husband and wife, creating the institution of family in which children are nurtured.”

“The family is the original and best Department of Health, Education and Welfare,” he continued, saying that governments, economies and legal systems all rely on the family to produce “basically honest, decent law abiding people of goodwill – citizens – who can take their rightful place in society.”

“Family is built on marriage, and government--the state--has a profound interest in the integrity and well-being of marriage, and to write it off as if it were a purely a religiously significant action and not an institution and action that has a profound public significance, would be a terrible mistake,” George told CNSNews.com.
 
“I don’t know where Professor Kmiec is getting his idea, but it’s a very, very bad one.”

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Obama picks Cuban Liberation theologian as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See

Washington D.C., May 28, 2009 (CNA) - In a surprising move, President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday evening that Miguel H. Diaz, Ph.D., a 45 year old lay Liberation theologian born in Havana (Cuba) is his pick to become the United States Ambassador to the Holy See.

An associate professor of theology at St. John's University and the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, Diaz, a strong Obama supporter and father of four, earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Thomas University in Miami, Fla., and his master’s and doctorate in theology from the University of Notre Dame at Notre Dame, Ind.

He taught previously at Barry University, Miami Shores, Fla.; St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach, Fla.; University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio; and the University of Notre Dame. He also served as the academic dean at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary and is fluent in Italian, Spanish and French.

Diaz serves on the board of the Catholic Theological Society of America, is past president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States, and is a past member of the steering committee of the Karl Rahner Society.

He is also a theological consultant to the Catholic Association of Teachers of Homiletics and was appointed to the task force overseeing the review and revisions of the accrediting standards for the Association of Theological Schools.

Diaz is author of the book  "On Being Human: U.S. Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives" (Orbis Books, 2001); Co-Editor of "From the Heart of Our People: Explorations in Catholic Systematic Theology" (Orbis Books, 1999;) and author of numerous articles and book chapters inspired in the Latino and Black liberation theology, such as the forthcoming “The Life-Giving Reality of God from Black, Latin-American, and U.S. Hispanic Theological Perspectives,”  “Otherness in Black Catholic and Latino/a Catholic Theologies and the Otherness of God,” and “Outside the Survival of Community there is no Salvation,” in Building Bridges, Doing Justice: Constructing a Latino/a Ecumenical Theology (Orbis Press, 2009.)

Diaz is currently working on two future books: "Cuban-American Catholics" (Paulist Press) and “Migrating Across Theological Borders: The Essentials of Theology from U.S. Hispanic Theological Perspectives" (Orbis Books.)

His body of work, which includes some controvesial positions on “inclusivity,” has gained him significant praise from the Catholic left, and his nomination was immediately hailed by pro-Obama Catholics such as “Catholics United” and “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good,”  as well as Prof. Douglas Kmiec.

Diaz's election seems to be the first return that Catholics who have unconditionally supported Obama's policies and appointments have received for their investment in the ticket. Diaz, in fact, is listed as a member of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, although he explains his relationship with the pro-Obama group founded by Democratic activist Alexia Kelley as “a response to an invitation to become a theological advisor.”

In a brief statement, Diaz said that  “I wish to be a diplomatic bridge between our nation and the Holy See, and if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, I will continue the work of my predecessors and build on 25 years of excellent relations with the Holy See.”

Miguel Diaz served in 2008 on the Obama campaign’s Catholic advisory board. Also in 2008, he donated $1,000 to the Obama Victory Fund.

Although he claims to be a “defender of life in all of it stages,” Diaz  was among 26 Catholic leaders and scholars who signed a statement supporting  the nomination of staunch pro abortion Catholic Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services Secretary.

“The College of Saint Benedict is enormously proud that Miguel has been nominated by President Obama for this important post,” said MaryAnn Baenninger, president of the College of Saint Benedict. “Miguel is a highly-respected theologian and scholar, and an excellent teacher. Most importantly, he has a deep commitment to Catholic social justice and to inclusiveness in the Catholic Church. He truly lives a life of faith. He is the ideal candidate for this post.”

He and his wife, Dr. Marian K. Diaz, are the founders of "Companions on a Journey" at the College of Saint Benedict, an organization aimed at promoting the involvement of young Catholics in public life and social justice activities.

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Abortion supporters vandalize church, pro-life offices and university

Barcelona, Spain, May 28, 2009 (CNA) - The Abat Oliba University in Barcelona became the third target for vandalism by abortion supporters, who have painted pro-abortion graffiti on the walls of various places in the city.

In just one week, abortion supporters in Barcelona have vandalized the parish of St. Francis, the offices of E-Cristians and the Abat Oliba University.

“The new attack, this time on an educational center and the historic building that houses it, is the latest in a string of aggressions by supporters of the new law on abortion that the Socialist Party government is promoting. Once more we must lament that pro-abortion activist have expressed themselves again through violence,” said E-Cristians.

Phrases such as “Abortion on demand now!” and “Get your rosaries off our ovaries” covered the walls of the university building.

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Pius XII helped thousands of Jews and laid the foundation for the Council, says Cardinal Ruini

Rome, Italy, May 28, 2009 (CNA) - The Vicar Emeritus of the Diocese of Rome has penned a personal article about his childhood and adolescence during the pontificate of Pius XII, who he said reached out to the Jews and laid the foundation for the Second Vatican Council.

In the article published by the L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Camilo Ruini recounts his memories of the first Pope he remembers as a youngster, Pius XII, and how as a seminarian he felt a special closeness with the Pope. “The devotion to him and affection for him were an essential aspect of the atmosphere of the school and of our ecclesial and spiritual experience,” he wrote.

Cardinal Ruini went on to address the black legend surrounding Pius XII for supposedly not helping the Jews during World War II. “I can say that during my years as a youth (…) I never heard criticism of the Pope over this issue, only praise and gratitude,” the cardinal said, adding that one of his most vivid memories is “of everything Pius XII did to save the greatest number of Jews possible, while nobody said anything about his ‘silence.’”

For the cardinal, “it was obvious, in the atmosphere and ecclesial praxis of the time,” that if many “priests and religious communities, and the Vatican itself, had taken in and saved many persecuted Jews, that is ... it could not have been done without the encouragement and consent of the Pope.”


Since the concrete conditions of the Nazi occupation were a fresh reality, hypothesizing about the public condemnations that Pius XII could have made was not even on people's minds, Ruini recalled.


“Honestly, at that time the controversy that was to be unleashed not many years later could not have been imagined,” the cardinal said.

Referring later to the theology of Pius XII, who laid the foundation for Vatican Council II, Cardinal Ruini explained that this historical event in the Church “has inspired perspectives that were new, or better yet, more in conformity with the ancient tradition, in order to understand the Service of the Successors of Peter.”

For this reason, the cardinal said, “the Pontificate of Pius XII has a connection to the period which preceded him, which those of us who lived during both periods know by experience, but it also laid the groundwork for new developments, likewise known by experience by those of us who were nourished during our youth by his Magisterium and his testimony of dedication to Christ and care for the human race.”

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Benedict XVI points to education to fight relativism

Vatican City, May 28, 2009 (CNA) - The bishops of Italy met this afternoon with Pope Benedict, who spoke to them about the “urgent task” of education in Christian values, the upcoming Year for Priests, the earthquake that struck the Abruzzo region and the impact of the financial crisis.

 

The meeting of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), which began on May 25 and will last until the 29th, is examining the theme: "The educational question: the urgent task of education."

 

Addressing the bishops, the Pope began by highlighting their effort to establish "an educational project that stems from a coherent and complete vision of man, which can arise only from the perfect image and realization of him we have in Jesus Christ."

 

This kind of education is particularly necessary since modern society is filled with “relativistic and nihilistic concepts of life” that “exercise a powerful enticement,” the Pope said.

 

The principal contribution that the Church can make at a time when the legitimacy of education is in doubt is that of “bearing witness to our trust in life and in man, in his reason and in his capacity to love," said the Holy Father.

 

Forming authentic, responsible Christian men and women requires good educators who place themselves on the “front line” and know how to “unite authority and exemplarity in the task of educating those entrusted to his care,” Benedict asserted. “We ourselves are aware of this, having been given the role of guides among the People of God, guides whom the Apostle Peter invites to tend God's sheep and to 'be examples to the flock.'"

 

The Pope then referred to the forthcoming Year for Priests, recalling how priestly ministry "is a service to the Church and to Christian people, requiring a profound spirituality ... nourished by prayer and by intense personal union with the Lord, in order to be able to serve our brothers and sisters through preaching, the Sacraments, orderly community life and help for the poor. All priestly ministry reveals ... the importance of commitment to education, so that people may grow freely and responsibly as mature and conscientious Christians.”

 

"There can be no doubt that the Christian spirit gives renewed vitality to that sense of solidarity so profoundly rooted in the hearts of the Italian people," Benedict XVI added, going on to mention the recent earthquake in the Abruzzo region of Italy and his own visit to the areas affected.

 

There, he said "I personally witnessed the mourning, the pain and the disasters produced by that terrible event, but also the strength of spirit of those people and the movement of solidarity that immediately arose throughout Italy."

 

He then turned to consider the economic crisis which "has hit the global community so hard. ... Despite the measures taken at various levels, the social effects of the crisis are still being felt, and seriously felt, especially by the weakest strata of society and by families."

 

Benedict XVI praised the bishops' “Loan of Hope" initiative as “a moving announcement of the interior conversion generated by the Gospel.” The program will be funded by collections from next Sunday's Mass and will help families affected by the financial crisis.

 

 

Finally, the Holy Father considered a particular form of ecclesiastical charity in Italy, "intellectual" charity, of which "one significant example is the commitment to promote a widespread mentality in support of life in its every aspect and moment, with particular concern for lives marked by conditions of fragility and precariousness.”

 

“Such commitment is well expressed,” he said, “in the manifesto 'Free to live, loving life unto the end,' which sees the Italian Catholic lay people working together to ensure the country does not lack an awareness of the complete truth about man and promotion of the authentic good of people and society."

 

"Thus," the Pope concluded, "our minds return to the central theme of your assembly - the urgent task of education - which must be rooted in the Word of God and requires spiritual discernment, cultural and social programs, and gratuitous and united witness."

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Cardinal Canizares laments 40 million babies aborted in Spain

Madrid, Spain, May 28, 2009 (CNA) - The new prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Antonio Canizares, expressed his concern this week over the eventual liberalization of the country’s abortion laws and recalled that 40 million babies in Spain have been killed by abortion.
 
Speaking on the Spanish television network TV3, Cardinal Canizares said he is concerned that “an innocent, weak and defenseless human being is violently eliminated, because that is always a very grave evil for humanity.”
 
“More than 40 million human beings have been legally destroyed when the law should be supporting rights and justice.  More than 40 million lives have been destroyed through medicine, when medicine is supposed to heal,” the cardinal said. 

Likewise, he warned against the Socialist government's plans to allow abortions for any reason up until the 14th week of pregnancy.  In cases of fetal deformation, it would be allowed until the 22nd week.

 This proposal, Cardinal Canizares said, “is seeking to bring about very significant social and cultural change, to make a totally new society and culture,” and “they are seeking to foster abortion as a point of reference [for the new society] because there is ignorance about the truth of man, ignorance about the dignity of the person and ignorance of human rights, the cardinal said.
 
“All of these principles are what Christian-Roman society is based upon. We can forsake these principles, but then we will cease to be who we are,” he added.

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Fr. Cutie leaves Catholic Church, joins Episcopal Church following scandal

Miami, Fla., May 28, 2009 (CNA) - Father Alberto Cutie, a priest and television host who was well-known in the Miami area, has left the Catholic Church and joined the Episcopal Church. The priest's change comes after he was photographed kissing a woman on a beach earlier this month.

Fr. Cutie was received into the Episcopal Church today at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Miami.

At a press conference Fr. Cutie thanked God and those in the wider community who have supported him. “Your prayers have truly sustained me at this time of transition in my life. With God's help, I hope to continue priestly ministry and service in my new spiritual home."

In an announcement about his leaving the Catholic Church, Fr. Cutie said, “I want to assure you that this journey did not begin a few weeks ago. I have searched my soul and sought after God's guidance for a long time. I have also spoken to friends in and outside the Episcopal Church about their service to God and the many similarities that exist among the various branches of Christianity, which profess the Catholic faith.”

"I will always love the Catholic Church and all its members. But I want to start today by going into a new family,” Cutie said.

"Here before this community where I have chosen to serve and where I live, I am going to continue to proclaim the word of God and my love for God," he added.

Fr. Cutie was a Catholic priest in Miami Beach, hosted a Spanish-language television show on Telemundo and had a radio show on Radio Paz.

However, in early May, a Spanish-language tabloid magazine released pictures of the priest and a woman on a beach in what CBS 4 Miami characterized as "several compromising positions."

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More than 30,000 faithful pray to Our Lady of Aparecida for families of Brazil

Aparecida, Brazil, May 28, 2009 (CNA) - More than 30,000 people participated last Sunday in the national pilgrimage for the family, organized by the Bishops’ Conference of Brazil, which concluded at the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, the patroness of the country.

Bishop Orlando Brandes of the bishops’ Committee on Family and Life, said the pilgrimage was intended to increase awareness about the value and centrality of the family amidst the current crisis.
 
During the homily at the concluding Mass, Archbishop Lyrio Rocha of Mariana and president of the bishops’ conference, said, “We come to ask the Mother of God and our Mother to extend her hand over the families of Brazil, who are ever more vulnerable because of the great difficulties we must face in our day.” 
 
The family, he underscored, “is the place where we learn the virtues, values, opinions and attitudes that are necessary for authentically living together in society.”  This important institution can only be formed from a marriage between a man and a woman, “and therefore it should not be confused with other types of living arrangements,” the archbishop said.
 
In order to strengthen the family, he explained, “We need to promote an intense and vigorous family ministry,” and more “family associations capable of dialoging with those in public office at various levels” need to be created.
 
Public officials themselves need to make a greater effort to promote measures that respect, value and protect families,” he said.

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Archbishop was unaware Fr. Cutié planned to leave Catholic Church

Miami, Fla., May 28, 2009 (CNA) - Archbishop John C. Favalora of Miami made a statement on Thursday afternoon in which he revealed that he was kept in the dark about Fr. Alberto Cutié's decision to join the Episcopal Church. The archbishop also stressed that by his actions, Cutié has forfeited his rights as a cleric but is not dismissed from the promise of celibacy he freely made.

“I am genuinely disappointed by the announcement made earlier this afternoon by Father Alberto Cutié that he is joining the Episcopal Church,” Archbishop Favalora began.

The Archbishop of Miami then detailed the consequences of Fr. Cutié's action, saying that the priest had separated himself from the communion of the Roman Catholic Church “by professing erroneous faith and morals” and by “refusing submission to the Holy Father.” Father Cutié will no longer be allowed to legitimately celebrate the sacraments in the Archdiocese of Miami, and he cannot preach or teach on Catholic faith and morals.  “His actions could lead to his dismissal from the clerical state,” the archbishop stated.

Despite his decision to leave the Catholic Church, Archbishop Favalora pointed out that “Father Cutié is still bound by his promise to live a celibate life, which he freely embraced at ordination.”

“Only the Holy Father can release him from that obligation,” he explained.

The archbishop also addressed the impact of Fr. Cutié's actions on the faithful of the archdiocese.

“Catholic faithful of Saint Francis de Sales Parish, Radio Paz and the entire Archdiocese of Miami, I again say that Father Cutié’s actions cannot be justified, despite his good works as a priest (statement of May 5, 2009).  This is all the more true in light of today’s announcement.  Father Cutié may have abandoned the Catholic Church; he may have abandoned you.   But I tell you that the Catholic Church will never abandon you; the Archdiocese of Miami is here for you.”

“Father Cutié’s actions have caused grave scandal within the Catholic Church, harmed the Archdiocese of Miami − especially our priests – and led to division within the ecumenical community and the community at large.  Today’s announcement only deepens those wounds,” said Archbishop Favalora.

The head of the Catholic Church in Miami explained that when he met with Father Cutié on May 5th, “he requested and I granted a leave of absence from the exercise of the priesthood,” a request that was granted.

However, since that meeting, the archbishop informed, “I have not heard from Father Cutié nor has he requested to meet with me.  He has never told me that he was considering joining the Episcopal Church.”

Adding salt to the wound was the fact that Episcopal Bishop Leo Frade of Southeast Florida also never spoke with Archbishop Favalora about the situation.

“Bishop Frade has never spoken to me about his position on this delicate matter or what actions he was contemplating.  I have only heard from him through the local media,” the Catholic prelate stated. 

The event has also caused a “serious setback for ecumenical relations and cooperation” between the Catholic and Episcopal churches, Archbishop Favalora charged.

He also noted that the “Archdiocese of Miami has never made a public display when for doctrinal reasons Episcopal priests have joined the Catholic Church and sought ordination.  In fact, to do so would violate the principles of the Catholic Church governing ecumenical relations.

“I regret that Bishop Frade has not afforded me or the Catholic community the same courtesy and respect.”

Referencing the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the archbishop told his fellow Catholics that, “If our brother comes home, let us celebrate with the Father.”

The Archbishop of Miami finished by commending “the priests of the Archdiocese of Miami and all priests who faithfully live and fulfill their promise of celibacy.”

“In our times so pre-occupied with sex, the gift of celibacy is all the more a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven where, as scripture says, there will be 'no marrying or giving in marriage.'  I encourage all Catholics to pray for and support our dedicated priests,” he said.

To read the full statement by Archbishop Favalora, please visit: http://www.miamiarchdiocese.org/ip.asp?op=H1000090528ACE

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Cardinal Urosa calls on Catholics to pray for the bishops of Venezuela

Caracas, Venezuela, May 28, 2009 (CNA) - In a message about the ad limina visit the bishops of Venezuela will make in June, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas encouraged Catholics to pray for their mission and for each of the county’s bishops.

“Following an ancient church tradition, all the bishops of the entire world periodically travel to Rome, the center of Catholicism, to pray before the tombs of Peter and Paul, to manifest and strengthen ecclesial communion with the Roman Pontiff, the ‘sweet face of Christ on earth,’ as well as with all of the Churches of the world,” the cardinal explained.
 
“We will visit the various offices of the Roman Curia that cooperate with the Supreme Pontiff in the activity and shepherding of the Universal Church, in order to exchange opinions and dialogue about diverse aspects of the life of the universal Church and of our Church in Venezuela, keeping in mind the reports that each bishop has sent ahead of time to the Holy See,” the cardinal said.
 
He called on “all the Catholic faithful to commend their bishops to God in a special way, so that we may live deeply and with the strength and determination of the Spirit, our episcopal mission as Successors of the Apostles and authentic and legitimate pastors of the Church in Venezuela.”

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