Vatican City, Oct 19, 2009 (CNA) - After listening to a piano concert on Saturday evening, Pope Benedict offered his reflections on “great music,” saying that it can become prayer.
The concert was held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Piano Academy and featured the Chinese pianist Jin Ju.
Ju took his audience on a musical journey through different historical periods, playing pieces by Bach, Scarlatti, Mozart, Czerny, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Liszt.
At the end of the concert the Pope expressed his thanks to the academy and to the pianist, who "enabled us to savor ... the emotional impact of the music she played."
Speaking to the audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father said, "This concert has, once again, given us the chance to appreciate the beauty of music, a spiritual and therefore universal language, and hence the appropriate vehicle for understanding and union between individuals and peoples. Music forms part of all cultures and, we could say, accompanies all human experiences, from suffering to pleasure, from hatred to love, from sadness to joy, from death to life."
The Pope also addressed the wide range of history covered by the performance, saying, "over the centuries and the millennia music has always been used to give form to what cannot be expressed with words, because it arouses emotions otherwise difficult to communicate. It is, then, no coincidence that all civilizations have given importance and value to music in its various forms and expressions.
"Music, great music,” he observed, "distends the spirit, arouses profound emotions and almost naturally invites us to raise our minds and hearts to God in all situations of human existence, the joyful and the sad.”
Thus, he explained, “Music can become prayer."
Cheyenne, Wyo., Oct 19, 2009 (CNA) - Today it was announced that an Indiana priest, Fr. Paul D. Etienne, will become the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Fr. Etiene, 50, who is currently a pastor in Tell City, Indiana will fill a see that has been vacant since July 2008.
Upon hearing of the appointment, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley of Denver praised the new bishop, whose diocese is within the Province of Denver.
“Bishop-elect Paul D. Etienne comes to the Diocese of Cheyenne with an outstanding record of zeal and pastoral leadership in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis,” the bishops said before noting that the bishop-elect's new diocese, which includes the entire state of Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park is “a blend of great people and great beauty, great distances and huge potential.”
“The youth and energy that Bishop-elect Etienne brings to his new ministry will serve the Catholic community here in the Rocky Mountain West extraordinarily well,” the bishops wrote.
Etienne, 50, grew up as one of six children to parents who have been married over 50 years. Two of his brothers are priests and his sister is a religious. The Diocese of Cheyenne stated that Etienne graduated from the University of St. Thomas / St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. with a degree in Business Administration before studying at the North American College in Rome and receiving a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Following his priestly ordination in 1992 for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Fr. Etienne worked as an associate pastor and assistant vocation director before traveling to Rome to receive his License in Spiritual Theology.
Upon his return to the U.S., he served as the vocation director for the archdiocese, vice-rector of the Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary in Indianapolis and as a parish priest. He currently is serving as the pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Indianapolis.
The Denver prelates noted that Etienne's previous experiences, especially as “a former vocations director and seminary vice-rector,” have taught him “the importance of searching out and forming the next generation of priests.” In addition, though his pastoral service, he “knows the demands of today’s parish life from experience, and the vital need to support his brother priests in their daily ministry.”
Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein reacted to Fr. Etienne's appointment today, stating that the “clergy and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis are proud of Father Etienne.”
“Bishop-elect Etienne and all of the people of the Diocese of Cheyenne have our prayers. We are grateful for all that he has done for our archdiocese and we’ll miss him.”
In terms of geographical size, the Diocese of Cheyenne is one of the largest in the U.S. with over 97,500 square miles, covering the state of Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park. The western diocese is home to nearly 53,000 Catholics and 69 priests.
Bishop-elect Etienne will be installed as bishop on Wednesday, December 9, according to the Archdiocese of Denver.
Madrid, Spain, Oct 19, 2009 (CNA) - Organizers estimate that two million Spaniards took part in the March for Life on October 17 in the Spanish capital of Madrid to express opposition to a new abortion law proposed by the government of President Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero.
Former Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar, as well as a number of officials from his administration, were present at the event as were representatives from various religious organizations.
No Catholic bishops were in attendance.
The march began at 5 p.m. under a sunny Madrid sky, as the large crowd walked from the Puerta del Sol to the famous Puerta de Alcala carrying signs, banners, balloons and flags.
Organizers called on participants to donate one euro each to help cover the more than 130,000 euros needed to organize the march.
The massive crowd gathered at the Puerta de Alcala to listen to music and speakers, including reporter Javi Nieves, who called the march “the largest protest in the history of Spain.” Mexican actor Eduardo Verastegui addressed the crowd as well, and a period of silence was observed in memory of the victims of abortion.
The manifesto of the march, read by three pro-life leaders, urged the government to withdraw its plans to reform the country’s abortion laws, which would leave “the two victims of abortion completely unprotected: the unborn child, who would lack all legal protection, and the woman, doomed to abortion without any possible alternatives.”
Organizers said the new law “would deprive women of their right to maternity,” “would do nothing to avoid abortions and would quantitatively expand the immense failure that abortion always represents.”
Rome, Italy, Oct 19, 2009 (CNA) - In a brief greeting to the participants of the SIGNIS World Congress, which began on October 17 in Thailand, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged efforts by those working in communications to promote the rights of children and to make them a priority in their daily work, so that they might bear fruit in a culture of peace.
SIGNIS is an organization dedicated to supporting Catholic communications and promoting human dignity, justice and reconciliation.
In Pope Benedict's message, published by the News Service of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, the he pointed to “the need for responsible management and use of the media, in its message and in its methods, which attract young people in a particular way.”
Recalling his message for the 41st World Day of Communications in 2007, Benedict XVI noted that participants can view their relationship with the media from two perspectives: the formation of children by the media; and the training of children to respond appropriately to the media.”
The Pope offered his prayers for the promotion of children’s rights and that communicators might make their promotion a priority in their daily work, so that they might bear fruit in a culture of peace.
The SIGNIS World Congress is being held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, October 17-21.
Tucuman, Argentina, Oct 19, 2009 (CNA) - The self-titled “National Meeting of Women,” which recently took place in Tucuman, Argentina, was not the exclusive domain of pro-abortion propaganda as in recent years, but this year was attended by a well-prepared group of women who spoke up in defense of life and against abortion.
In a report issued by the Christian Family Movement, analyst Eduardo Zavalia said the feminists who organized this event were shocked, as they had been accustomed to “doing and saying whatever they wanted and telling others what to say.” This year, he recounted, they were met with a group of women “firm in their values and large enough in numbers to be a majority in most of the workshops.”
“In some workshops, overcome by mere reason, abortion activists resorted to physically removing those who defended life,” the report said.
Even the usual violent and anti-Catholic march organized by abortion supporters was detoured this year in order to avoid passing in front of the cathedral where they usually harassed the faithful.
Zavalia also noted that abortion supporters failed in their bid to have Buenos Aires chosen as the site of the next gathering, as pro-lifers were able to persuade organizers to hold next year’s meeting in the city of Parana.
The final statement of this year’s meeting, which appeared to have been drafted ahead of time, was also extensively modified by pro-life attendees.
“They had everything arranged so that only the pro-abortion conclusions would be read, as they had decided to ‘remove’ opposing conclusions. Moreover, and unfortunately of course, many conclusions appeared to have been written beforehand,” Zavalia explained.
The Christian Family Movement said that the pro-abortion feminists also failed in their attempts to control the final statement “because the courageous women from Tucuman had photocopies. Then they tried to use the childish tactic of controlling the PA system, shutting off the mics when convenient. But this was quickly overcome.”
South Bend, Ind., Oct 19, 2009 (CNA) - The Board of Trustees of the University of Notre Dame has elected Fr. John I. Jenkins, CSC, to a second five-year term as university president. While Notre Dame officials praised him for his commitment to the Catholic character of the school, others have questioned the direction of the prestigious school.
Fr. Jenkins’ tenure has featured continued controversy over the school’s Catholic identity, especially concerning the invitation to President Barack Obama to speak at the university's commencement ceremony and to receive an honorary degree.
Critics had charged the action violated the U.S. Catholic bishops’ 2004 instruction in “Catholics in Political Life” which held that university honors are not to be given to pro-abortion politicians.
Trustee Chairman Richard C. Notebaert said in his Oct. 16 announcement of Fr. Jenkins’ re-election said that the priest has demonstrated “inspiring and innovative” vision and leadership.
“Building upon the foundation set by his Holy Cross predecessors, he is making the aspirations of this University a reality. The Fellows and Trustees look forward to continuing our work with him in service to Our Lady’s University,” he stated.
The trustees in a separate resolution spoke of their “respect and full confidence” in Fr. Jenkins, saying he has advanced the university’s mission to “attain the highest standards of excellence in teaching, scholarship and research in a community of learning where truth is informed by belief and where, specifically, the Catholic faith and intellectual tradition are celebrated and lived.”
The Fellows of the University expressed their “appreciation” for what they said was Fr. Jenkins’ commitment to the “Catholic character of the university.”
Fr. Jenkins said he was “humbled” by the re-election.
“With the support of our Trustees, I will continue pursuing the goals I cited at my inauguration four years ago – offering an unsurpassed undergraduate education, becoming even more pre-eminent as a research university, and ensuring that our Catholic character informs all that we do,” he commented.
Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Manassas, Virginia-based Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), was critical of Fr. Jenkins’ re-election.
“Notre Dame has suffered terribly in recent years because of a lack of leadership and commitment to its Catholic identity,” he commented, charging that Fr. Jenkins has displayed “public disrespect.”
In Reilly’s view, Fr. Jenkins has allowed “repeated scandals” such as the honors for President Obama and the performances of The Vagina Monologues. The CNS characterized Notre Dame’s bestowal of an honorary degree upon President Obama as being in “direct defiance” of the U.S. bishops.
Bishop John M. D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend published a pastoral reflection in the August 31 issue of the Jesuit-run America Magazine concerning both the Obama degree controversy and the controversy over the Vagina Monologues.
"Although he spoke eloquently about the importance of dialogue with the president of the United States, the president of Notre Dame chose not to dialogue with his bishop on these two matters, both pastoral and both with serious ramifications for the care of souls, which is the core responsibility of the local bishop," he wrote.
"Both decisions," Bishop D’Arcy revealed, "were shared with me after they were made and, in the case of the honorary degree, after President Obama had accepted."
The bishop also criticized the university’s Board of Trustees for saying “nothing” about the Obama controversy at its spring meeting.
“When the meeting was completed, they made no statement and gave no advice. In an age when transparency is urged as a way of life on and off campus, they chose not to enter the conversation going on all around them and shaking the university to its roots,” he wrote, urging the board to “take up its responsibility afresh, with appropriate study and prayer… with greater seriousness and in a truly Catholic spirit.”
CNA contacted the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend for comment on Fr. Jenkins’ re-election but did not receive a response by deadline.
Montevideo, Uruguay, Oct 19, 2009 (CNA) - The John Paul II Archdiocesan Institute of Bioethics has called on Uruguayans to remember the importance of life and the family when casting their votes in the upcoming October 25 elections.
The institute issued a press release noting that these principles are not truths of the faith, although they are illuminated by them, but rather “they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore are common among all humanity.”
“These principles are derived simply from an upright rational comprehension of what the human being is, and they are subscribed to and supported by a great number of people belonging to a wide range of philosophical positions, including atheists, agnostics and members of other faiths,” the institute said.
The Church pays special attention to these non-negotiable principles and publicly intervenes in their defense and promotion because they have to do with human dignity.
For this reason, the institute stated, “We exhort all Catholics, and in general all people concerned with ethically casting their vote, to take these rules as a guide, with the certainty that they are contributing to a better future for our country.”
Uruguayans must “critically judge concrete policies for the way in which they confront the global problem of human life in Uruguay,” the statement underscored, specifically pointing to the defense of the right to life from conception to natural death.
The institute also called for support of those proposals that defend the family “based on a stable marriage between one man and one woman and the coherence of these proposals with a consistent vision of human sexuality and its meaning,” as well as the freedom of parents to choose the kind of education their children receive.
Wilmington, Del., Oct 19, 2009 (CNA) - The Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware has announced that it has filed for bankruptcy, in part because of the expenses incurred in paying lawsuits by the victims of clerical sexual abuse. Bishop of Wilmington W. Francis Malooly called the move a “painful decision” he had hoped and prayed to avoid.
After consultation with advisors and experts, Bishop Malooly said in a Sunday letter, he came to believe the diocese had no other choice. Filing for bankruptcy “offers the best opportunity, given finite resources, to provide the fairest possible treatment of all victims of sexual abuse by priests of our Diocese.”
“The Chapter 11 filing is in no way intended to dodge responsibility for past criminal misconduct by clergy – or for mistakes made by Diocesan authorities,” Bishop Malooly’s letter read. “Nor does the bankruptcy process enable the Diocese to avoid or minimize its responsibility to victims of abuse. Instead, the Chapter 11 filing will enable the Diocese to meet its obligations head-on and fulfill its responsibility to all victims.”
“My decision to file for Chapter 11 reorganization also was agonizing because it meant that, apart from the psychological and spiritual toll on the abuse victims, there will be significant financial losses for creditors who have faithfully supported us for years. The possibility of such losses has been present from the time that the scope of the claims against us first became clear, but the filing unfortunately makes it a certainty.”
Bishop Malooly reported that parishes, schools or related church organizations have their own corporate identities and will not be reorganized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
“It is our moral obligation to make reparations and otherwise see to the healing of legitimate abuse victims and to try to restore the faith that in many cases has tragically been lost. But our moral obligations do not end there. We also are obliged to continue our charitable, educational and spiritual missions and the ministries associated with them.”
More than 20 Delaware plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against former priest Francis DeLuca, who has been jailed in New York for repeatedly molesting his grandnephew.
The diocese has paid more than $6.2 million since 2002 to settle sexual abuse lawsuits. It has also paid settlements to alleged victims who did not file suits.
Lima, Peru, Oct 19, 2009 (CNA) - In a statement released last Friday, as Peru's Congress debated a new law that would legalize abortion in some cases, the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference called on lawmakers to always defend life. The prelates also reminded them that the defense of the unborn “should not allow for any exceptions or doubts of any kind.”
In their statement, the bishops underscored that “the Universal Declaration of Human Rights decidedly opts for the defense of life. Our current constitution also recognizes and protects human life from its beginning: conception.”
They went on to note that there should not be any room for exceptions or doubts when protecting the unborn. “From conception, life begins to develop and should not be interrupted for any reason. The value of life and its defense from the moment of conception cannot be altered without causing very serious harm to the most genuine commitment to the human being and his rights.”
“Thus we affirm that there is no situation or human difficulty that authorizes the killing of an innocent child. If the unborn are denied their right to life,” the bishops continued, “we fall into the very serious risk of losing the coherence that our legal order must have.”
The bishops called on all Peruvians to unite in defense of human life without political or religious calculations. We must demand that no cruel and evil laws be passed that authorize the elimination of the most defenseless of beings.”
They also warned against manipulating the feelings of people, especially women, by exaggerating difficult cases in order to justify the crime of abortion, “which is the killing of a defenseless, innocent person.”
The bishops then called on doctors to be faithful to the Hippocratic oath to defend life. The lives of pregnant women and their unborn children deserve protection and care because all human beings, born or unborn, possess the same dignity and the same value.”
“We call on those who have the grave political duty to legislate on these matters and ask that out of respect for scientific truth” and in protection of a value upon which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is based, “ they might have the courage to always defend life in all circumstances, as it is a gift God has given to humanity.”
Vatican City, Oct 19, 2009 (CNA) - Several Italian newspapers speculated today that the Vatican may possibly welcome a large number of members from the Traditional Anglican Communion into the Catholic Church on Tuesday. The group previously separated from the Anglican Communion due to issues such as the ordinations of both women and sexually active homosexuals.
According to Giacomo Galeazzi from the Italian daily La Stampa, the press conference to be held tomorrow at the Vatican press office by Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, Secretary of the Congregation for the Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, will be the occasion in which the reception of the Anglican group, which claims to have some 500,000 members –among clergy and laity- will be officially announced.
“The news story, already anticipated by some Australian media, could be finally confirmed during the press briefing that was announced this afternoon by the Vatican press office,” Galeazzi wrote on Monday.
Galeazzi also claimed that the Traditionalist Anglicans have already signed a document of adherence to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and have symbolically deposited it at a Marian shrine in England.
“Once reunited with Rome, they may keep most of the Liturgical celebrations according to their tradition, which is closer to the Tridentine Mass,” La Stampa explained, adding that they would also “keep their married clergy but not married bishops.”
The Italian Vatican reporter also noted that since the Anglican priestly ordination is not valid, those who want to remain priests within the Catholic Church would have to be ordained, most likely after passing a theological exam.
The move by the Traditionalists could have a significant impact on other Anglicans who still remain within the communion, but are extremely frustrated not only with the ordination of women as Anglican priests and bishops, but especially with the decision of the American Episcopalians – members of the Anglican communion- to ordain sexually active homosexuals as priests and bishops.
The ordination of Eugene Robinson as the first actively homosexual bishop in 2004, sparked an unprecedented division inside the Anglican Communion.
According to Galeazzi, the group of Anglicans that could be received into the Catholic Church on Tuesday may be erected as a personal prelature, which has the same canonical status held by Opus Dei.