Rome, Italy, Jun 13, 2009 (CNA) - The director of the Vatican Museums, Antonio Paolucci, has announced that the Bernini Colonnade surrounding St. Peter's Square will undergo a four-year long restoration, as well as “all the saints and figures that crown the two arms of the colonnade.”
The restoration plan of the 248 columns was presented on June 11 at the Milan Fair. The colonnade was created by sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1657 and was approved by Pope Alexander VII. According to Paolucci, the restoration will focus on the roof and the gutters. Areas affected by sulphuric buildup will be cleaned too.
Bernini’s idea was to “shape the entire city of Rome with his hands as if it were an immense sculpture,” Paolucci said, and he wanted to “convert urban space into theatrical space, in order to make it something of another world, that would cause amazement and wonder.”
Denver, Colo., Jun 13, 2009 (CNA) - Saying the immigration crisis is “a test of our humanity,” Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput on Saturday told an open forum on immigration reform that Catholics must not ignore immigrants in need and cannot remain silent about flawed immigration policy.
He also noted that Catholics’ commitment to the immigrant arises from the same source as Catholics’ commitment to the unborn.
The archbishop spoke at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in the Denver suburb of Northglenn on Saturday afternoon. He was joined by Congressmen Jared Polis (D-CO) and Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL).
Archbishop Chaput opened with a prayer asking God to help man “build a culture of life” and to “live the Gospel.”
“Make us quick to forgive each other, quick to listen to each other, and eager to serve those who are suffering and in need,” he prayed. “And finally Lord, in all things, fill us with the courage to follow St. Paul when he urges us to ‘speak the truth in love.’”
Beginning his remarks, the archbishop said that immigration reform has been “gridlocked” for more than three years. He blamed both Democrats and Republicans for creating “paralysis.”
“We made our immigration crisis in a bipartisan way. Now we need to solve it in a bipartisan way that involves good people from both parties or no party.”
He noted that he and Rep. Polis, who is openly homosexual and a supporter of abortion rights, would disagree “vigorously” on “some very serious social issues.”
However, the archbishop said the agenda for that day concerned the improvement of immigration laws.
“We have a mutual interest in that important work -- and I respect the congressman’s sincerity and energy in trying to do something about it,” he said.
“The Catholic commitment to the dignity of the immigrant comes from exactly the same roots as our commitment to the dignity of the unborn child,” since being pro-life also means making laws and social policies that will care for “those people already born that no one else will defend.”
“In the United States today, we employ a permanent underclass of human beings who build our roads, pick our fruit, clean our hotel rooms, and landscape our lawns,” Archbishop Chaput remarked.
Stating that most immigrants are law-abiding and “simply want a better life for their families,” he noted that many have children who are American citizens or have been in America for most of their lives.
These people live in a “legal limbo,” he stated.
“They’re vital to our economy, but they have few legal protections, and thousands of families have been separated by arrests and deportations,” he reported.
“We need to remember that how we treat the weak, the infirm, the elderly, the unborn child and the foreigner reflects on our own humanity. We become what we do, for good or for evil.”
Archbishop Chaput insisted that the Catholic Church respects the law, including immigration law, and also respects those who enforce it.
“We do not encourage or help anyone to break the law. We believe Americans have a right to solvent public institutions, secure borders and orderly regulation of immigration.”
However, he said Catholics cannot ignore those in need and cannot be silent about laws that “don’t work” and also create “impossible contradictions and suffering.”
Characterizing the present immigration system as one that adequately serves no one, he urged reform that will address economic and security needs while regularizing “the many decent undocumented immigrants.”
“We become what we do, for good or for evil. If we act and speak like bigots, that’s what we become. If we act with justice, intelligence, common sense and mercy, then we become something quite different. We become the people and the nation God intended us to be.”
He said he hoped those present at today's forum will all take part in immigration reform.
“The future of our country depends on it,” he concluded.
The June 13 forum is part of a national outreach tour called “Familias Unidas.” The tour will visit 22 major cities across the United States and is intended to advance a better understanding of the harm caused to individuals and families by the present immigration system.
Washington D.C., Jun 13, 2009 (CNA) - Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s views on abortion law and the unborn were topics in several of her meetings with U.S. Senators. One pro-life senator reports that Sotomayor told him she had never thought about the rights of the unborn, while a pro-abortion senator says that she clearly acknowledged to him “the importance of precedent.”
On Tuesday Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) discussed his meeting with Sotomayor.
“We had a good meeting that covered a wide array of issues and Judge Sotomayor was very personable and engaging. However, I didn’t hear anything today that eased my concerns,” he said.
“When I asked if an unborn child has any rights whatsoever, I was surprised that she said she had never thought about it,” Sen. DeMint reported. “This is not just a question about abortion, but about the respect due to human life at all stages, and I hope this is cleared up in her hearings.”
“Those who serve on the highest court in America must have an unwavering commitment to the Constitution and equal justice for all Americans,” he said.
Sen. DeMint also expressed concern about her views on the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms.
On June 2, Sotomayor had a meeting with Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who supports legalized abortion. After the meeting, Sen. Feinstein said she felt comfortable that Sotomayor supports the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade as a precedent.
The nominee also met with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on June 3. A supporter of abortion, Wyden told reporters he was “very pleased” that Judge Sotomayor has indicated in the past that she possesses “a great respect for precedent,” Politico says.
He reportedly said he asked specifically about abortion and Roe v. Wade, after which “she acknowledged the importance of precedent… She made that very clear.”