Archive of December 12, 2009

Woman interprets for the deaf in Cincinnati parishes

Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec 12, 2009 (CNA) - Angela Dornbach didn’t hear her full name spoken until she was in first grade, but she understood a spiritual message loud and clear at a very young age. Now, at the age of 72, she can be found interpreting for the deaf at several Cincinnati Catholic parishes.

Born on Christmas Day 1937, Dornbach was called “Angel” by family and friends as a child. Raised by deaf parents, she became familiar with seeing an angel performed in sign language to identify her.

Dornbach’s late parents, Edmund and Stephanie Brooks, weren’t able to speak, so she and her three siblings — all of whom can hear — learned to sign at an early age.

As a youngster, Dornbach was immersed in the deaf culture, once believing that every family had a deaf person. Now, she believes her parents taught her the primary form of family communication — American Sign Language — probably when she was seven or eight months old.

“I loved the language,” Dornbach said.

That admiration continues today for the Milan, Ind., resident. Dornbach, 72, can often be found interpreting for the deaf at several area Catholic parishes, including St. Jude in Bridgetown, Good Shepherd in Symmes Township and St. Teresa Benedicta in Bright, Ind.

Greg Williams, music director at St. Jude for the past 10 years, said Dornbach provides an important service for up to five deaf parishioners at the church. He said the parishioners enjoy the fellowship and often communicate with Dornbach after Mass.

“The clients really appreciate her,” said Williams, who has worked with Dornbach for about seven years. “She is absolutely what the clients need.”

Dornbach alternates on Saturdays with another interpreter at St. Jude, and alternates on Sundays at Good Shepherd. She has also interpreted at St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Price Hill for about the past 13 years. However, due to the recent lack of deaf parishioners, her final Mass is scheduled at St. Teresa of Avila on Jan. 3.

“It’s been a wonderful experience for me,” Dornbach said of St. Teresa of Avila Parish. “I have learned so much from the deaf that have come there. Overall, the parishioners have been very warm to me, and I met many close friends there.”

Dornbach, who attends daily Mass but doesn’t sign at St. Charles Parish in Milan, has also taught RCIA from preschool to high school-age youth at area parishes throughout the years.

“It’s just been another step in keeping my faith strong and helping me to learn,” Dornbach said.

Learning became a passion for Dornbach when she received formal training for American Sign Language at Cincinnati State during a two-year course several years ago. Dornbach had been signing while she worked as a director of volunteers at the former Providence Hospital, but learned more about vocabulary and psychology of the deaf through the classes.

While in school, Dornbach was motivated to learn more about opportunities to become a full-time interpreter; she discovered a re-energized passion for sign language.

“I was so taken with it, sometimes when I was driving home from school I was signing and I’d even forget to activate the accelerator,” Dornbach said. “I would hear something on the radio and sign it. . . . It was just wonderful to me.”

Dornbach, who has freelanced for Community Services for the Deaf for more than 10 years and works on her own, has signed weddings, baptisms and funerals and has even donned a hospital gown to sign during surgeries. She has also helped with job interviews, employee meetings and IRS or Social Security situations. Her work schedule can often be hectic, consisting of long days and nights.

But in any situation, Dornbach relies on her faith daily to help her and those she encounters. Dornbach said her faith was always part of the family. Her mother said a rosary every day, and her father was very devout.

“We were very much steeped in Catholicism and the faith, and I still am,” Dornbach said. “I still have a very strong love for the Catholic faith and Christian faith. It means a lot to me and gets me through lots of things.”

While her sign language is of great aid for deaf parishioners at the local parishes, Dornbach said other people have often taken time to recognize her efforts.

“I’m surprised how many hearing people after Masses at all the churches thank me for coming and tell me how beautiful the language is and how beautiful the music is when I am signing,” said Dornbach. “Hearing people really appreciate it also.”

Father Tom Kovatch, pastor of St. Teresa Benedicta Parish, said Dornbach donates the stipend she receives back to the church. He said Dornbach is always prepared for the Sunday Mass and willing to help sign for a deaf parishioner.

“She is a very warm lady, very friendly,” Father Kovatch said. “She is very good at what she does.”

Although Dornbach recently reduced her hectic schedule during the holidays, she continues to love her profession.

“I do this because I love the deaf, and I love the language,” she said. “It’s been my calling and my mission. I know that’s what the Lord wanted me to do.”

The original article can be found in the December 10 issues of The Catholic Telegraph.

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Worldwide one-child policy 'worse than madness,' says PRI media director

Washington D.C., Dec 12, 2009 (CNA) - Colin Mason, Media Director for the Population Research Institute (PRI), reacted to a recent Financial Post article which called for a world-wide adoption of China's one-child policy by saying that its implementation would be suicidal.

The article, written by Diane Francis implied that the current U.N. meeting in Copenhagen is ignoring the looming “inconvenient truth” that  “humans are overpopulating the world.” She claimed that “a planetary law, such as China's one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate.” Such a policy, the article continued, would decrease the human population of the planet by about one billion people by 2050.

The alternative, she argued, “will result in an unsustainable population of nine billion by 2050.” 

PRI's Colin Mason heartily disagreed with Francis' assertion that China is exemplary in waging the war on overpopulation.

“The repeated attempts of certain environmentalists to link climate change directly to human population would be laughable, if it had not already led to such horrendous practices as China's one-child policy,” Mason told CNA. “As someone who has done extensive, ground-level research on the one-child policy, I can personally attest to the fact that China is neither greener nor happier as a result.”

Mason also refuted Francis' claims that “China has proven that birth restriction is smart policy. Its middle class grows, all its citizens have housing, health care, education and food, and the one out of five human beings who live there are not overpopulating the planet.”

“China's middle class has not grown as a result of the policy, it has managed to grow despite it” Mason said. “Its direct result has led to immense levels of human suffering and demographic chaos, and has left millions of women mutilated and countless babies dead.”

While Francis continued to argue that adopting a China-like policy would be beneficial to the Amazon rainforest, would prevent the elephants from disappearing and would also restrict or avoid the destruction of “the world's other species, vegetation, resources, oceans, arable land, water supplies and atmosphere, Mason concluded simply:

“To suggest a worldwide copy of this policy is worse than madness--it is suicide."

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Tradition of Our Lady of Guadalupe grows in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pa., Dec 12, 2009 (CNA) -

For the first time ever, celebrations in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be held in Philadelphia's Cathedral.

Cardinal Justin Rigali will celebrate a Mass for tomorrow's Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Mass will be held in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, off 18th street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.

The mariachi band, which is to provide the music for the Mass, will also play “mañanitas,” a series of songs to honor the Blessed Mother. Other choirs from the diocese and a children's group will participate in the “mañanitas.” The celebration will conclude at 11 p.m.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia says it is sure that celebrations will take place in other parts of the city. However, as the importance of the feast grows in the city, the celebration is also being moved to the Cathedral. Last year marked the first time “mañanitas” were held at the Cathedral.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, who first appeared to Juan Diego in 1531 in the hills outside modern-day Mexico City, is the Patroness of the Unborn and of the Americas. Though the entire American continent is under her protection, her feast is celebrated with greater dedication among Hispanics.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass to be celebrated at Chicago’s Federal Plaza

Chicago, Ill., Dec 12, 2009 (CNA) - A public Mass for the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be celebrated on noon Saturday at Federal Plaza in Chicago. Co-sponsored by the Thomas More Society, it will bring together Catholic pro-life and peace and justice groups.

Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago John R. Manz will celebrate the Mass in English and Spanish. Musicians from the St. Agnes of Bohemia ensemble, directed by Jorge Velazco, will provide music.

The Mass follows what the Thomas More Society (TMS) says is Chicago and federal officials’ increased recognition of private citizens’ constitutional guarantees of proclaiming their religious faith in the public square.

"If you can set up your soapbox and spout your politics on Federal Plaza, then there is no reason why you should not be permitted equally to proclaim your religious faith," said TMS president Tom Brejcha. “Far from offending any mandate for separation of church and state, such public religious ceremonies reflect that it is rather those who would purge all religious expression from the nation's public arena who flout the First Amendment, which explicitly protects both free exercise of religion and free speech.”

He reported that at last year’s Mass there was a “great turnout” despite sub-freezing temperatures.

“It was such a moving event that our Thomas More Society decided to spearhead and sponsor it again,” he explained.

"It's wonderful to see Christians come together to proclaim their faith and celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe,” Brejcha continued.

He voiced hope that others will proclaim their religious values in the nation’s public squares and he noted that the TMS offers pro bono legal help to those with such purposes.

The Mass is also co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Hispanic Catholics, its Respect Life Office and its Office for Divine Worship.

Federal Plaza is at the intersection of Adams and Dearborn in Chicago’s Loop.

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Manhattan Declaration comes at a time of ‘important decisions,’ Robert George explains

Washington D.C., Dec 12, 2009 (CNA) - Robert P. George, a Princeton University professor who co-authored the popular Manhattan Declaration, has explained that the document was intended to speak at a time when “important decisions” are being made concerning the sanctity of human life, the nature of marriage and religious freedom.

Speaking in a Dec. 1 interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online, George said the statement’s backers wanted to bear witness to “three foundational principles of justice and the common good.”

These three principles were the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as the union of husband and wife, and religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

George explained that in the view of the signers, important political and cultural decisions are now being made concerning these principles.

“These decisions will either uphold or undermine what is just and good. There is no avoiding the issues or evading the decisions,” he told National Review Online.

Explaining why the Manhattan Declaration was intended only for Christian signatories, George said that Catholicism, Evangelical, Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy have failed to speak with a “united voice” despite their “deep agreement” on moral issues.

“The Manhattan Declaration provided leaders of these traditions with an opportunity to rectify that. It is gratifying that they were willing — indeed eager — to seize that opportunity,” he added.

George clarified that the foundational principles defended in the Declaration are not unique to the Christian tradition as a whole.

In the words of Cardinal Justin Rigali, they are principles that can be “known and honored by men and women of goodwill even apart from divine revelation.”

According to George, so many Catholic bishops signed the document because “they understand the profound truths it proclaims and the urgency of proclaiming them” and they understand the importance of “standing shoulder to shoulder with leaders of other Christian traditions in a common witness.”

He added that signatories are happy to join members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Jews, and people of no particular faith who affirm these principles and want to join in defending them.

Discussing characterizations of people as liberals or conservatives, George noted that several signatories are politically liberal and many of those called conservatives today were liberal activists in the 1960s.

“They are today ‘conservatives’ and no longer ‘liberals’ because mainstream liberalism has embraced a combination of statism and moral libertarianism that they regard — rightly in my view — as deeply misguided,” he commented.

Prof. George said he hoped that President Obama will understand the determination of Manhattan Declaration signatories to defend human life, marriage and religious freedom.

“On these issues, they cannot compromise, and they will not remain silent,” he added.

Asked about the Declaration’s mention of civil disobedience, George said he and his co-signers believe in the rule of law and recognize an obligation to comply with laws.

“That obligation is defeasible, however. Gravely unjust laws, and especially laws that seek to compel people to do things that are unjust, do not bind in conscience,” he stressed, citing the hypothetical example of pro-life gynecologists being compelled by law to perform abortions or risk their careers.

Countering descriptions of the Declaration’s rhetoric as “dangerous,” George said there is “nothing new or surprising” in the statement. On civil disobedience the Declaration “simply affirms what Christianity has always taught.”

As of Friday afternoon, the Manhattan Declaration had over 282,000 signers.

Its website is at

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Cardinal Bertone calls for religious freedom and respect for human rights in Arab countries

Rome, Italy, Dec 12, 2009 (CNA) - In what constitutes the first interview for a documentary on the Vatican produced by the Al Jazeera network in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, encouraged the fostering of religious freedom and respect for human rights in Arab countries, especially in the Middle East.

According to L'Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Bertone explained that dialogue between Catholics and Muslims is an "important factor for peace and respect.” He also encouraged "a peaceful coexistence of all with all," explaining that the Church "defends the rights of all: the right to live, the right to education, the right of association, the rights of all minorities."

In that sense, he said, "it is necessary to ensure freedom to worship for everyone, dialoguing and working together to help those who are most in need." "The Church,” he added, "promotes the welfare of peoples regardless of their religion." Given that fact, he urged the defense of minorities, especially Christians "who are in Muslim countries,” a task that "we must pursue together."

Cardinal Bertone went on to discuss his telephone conversation with the Patriarch of Baghdad, Cardinal Emmanuel Delly, after the terrible attacks that hit the offices of the Chaldean Patriarchate, among other areas.

Addressing the people of the Middle East, the Cardinal urged "Arab Christians to stay, because they play a positive role, although some may make mistakes." This is an issue that is often raised when policy makers from the region visit the Vatican, he said.

The Al Jazeera Documentary

The new documentary, which is intended to show the reality of the Vatican to the Muslim world and will be broadcast by Al Jazeera in six months, also includes interviews with several cardinals. Among those prelates are: Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Academy for Vita.

According Kenawi Mohamed, Cardinal Bertone's interviewer, "the decision to make the documentary stems from the desire to make known the universal reality of the Catholic Church and the Vatican to the Arab and Muslim world, in particular the Vatican, an independent entity guided by the pope, who is both a spiritual leader and head of state."

Kenawi said the documentary, which has been well received by members of the Roman Curia, "can serve to help the Arab world better understand the figure of the pope and the role of the Holy See in the current international scenario.”

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Catholic Church in Ireland to undergo ‘major’ restructuring

Dublin, Ireland, Dec 12, 2009 (CNA) - Irish Catholics can expect "major reorganization" within the Church following the meeting between the Pope and Irish prelates on Friday regarding child sexual abuses by clergy in the Archdiocese of Dublin, according to an article published in the Irish Times. It is not yet known how far reaching these structural changes will be.

Archbishop of Armagh Sean Cardinal Brady and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin attended a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, papal nuncio to Ireland Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, and other leaders from Vatican dicasteries to voice concerns and discuss solutions following the Nov. 26 release of a report detailing the sexual abuses of priests in the archdiocese.

Cardinal Brady, the Primate of All Ireland, told The Irish Times it was a "good meeting" with the Pope and expressed his regret to "be back here again to discuss the painful question of child sexual abuse."

In a statement released Friday afternoon after the meeting, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his intention to address the Irish faithful in a pastoral letter that will "clearly indicate the initiatives that are to be taken in response to the situation." There was no indication of when that Papal correspondence can be expected, but with the sense of urgency surrounding the issue within the Irish Church it will likely be sometime soon.

Archbishop Martin told the Times that the pastoral letter could include measures for "a very significant reorganization of the Church in Ireland."

He also told the News Daily on Friday, "I really think we need a renewal."  

Efforts in that direction, he added, will include "working very hard on the question of child protection," a renewal of parish life and the involvement of more lay people within the organization of the Irish church.

There will also be some changes within the Catholic hierarchy.  The resignation of the Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray is expected as a result of his involvement in covering up the abuses.

It is unclear if any other bishops will be stepping down at this time. According to the Times, Archbishop Martin has written to Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Dublin Dermot O'Mahony, asking him not to carry out confirmations in the coming year and not to be part of the diocesan administration “in any way."

The archbishop also asked Bishop O’Mahony to distance himself from the Irish Pilgrimage Trust, which takes disabled children to Lourdes each year at Easter. The bishop resigned on Dec. 6.

More specific details of how the archdiocese will address Irish Catholics in the coming days are not yet known, but members of the communications corps from the Irish Catholic bishops' conference are "on-call" awaiting instructions from the prelates upon their return from Rome, a communications officer with the bishops' conference told CNA.

The officer said that she would not expect a statement from the archdiocese until Monday.

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