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Archive of February 5, 2010

Bishop highlights importance of military chaplains

Madrid, Spain, Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - During the 21st International Conference for Military Chaplains held in Spain this week, Bishop Fabio Suescun Mutis of the Military Diocese in Colombia emphasized that spiritual care for soldiers and police officers in Latin America is not only necessary, but urgent. 

Bishop Suescun, who also chairs the chaplain’s commission of the Latin American Bishops’ Council, lamented that the work of police officers and soldiers “is often not acknowledged by the people.”

“Some harbor resistance due to the abuses of power that have previously been committed. Also, among believers, there are sometimes reservations regarding pastoral work with the military world.”  He continued, "sometimes it is said that because weapons are for violence and death...people who bear arms should not be cared for."

Responding to this objection, the bishop underscored that “the mission of the armed forces is clear: to defend sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity; and to guarantee constitutional order, security and the well-being of the people.”  For this reason, “I have no doubt that those who have been faithful and upright in the exercise of the police or military profession will also receive their reward at the end of time."

The bishop then noted that those in the armed forces tend to be religious due to family tradition, values of commitment and sacrifice, as well as the “proximity to death they experience on a frequent basis.” 

The spiritual work of the military priests “fills the hearts of soldiers with peace and joy and shows them the transcendent implication of their mission,” Bishop Suescun explained.  “For this reason, a believing soldier or policeman understands the exercise of his profession as a true service of love, as an authentic vocation and path to sanctity.”

Military chaplains “have an irreplaceable role,” he said, because the chaplain “is the ‘man of God’ who brings soldiers and policemen to the Lord.”  In addition, he “comforts and encourages them, invites them to conversion and peace in friendship with Jesus.”  He also “strengthens them with the Word of Life and the sacraments of grace.”

In order to be a military chaplain, Bishop Suescun said, “a special charism of the Spirit is required that allows one to operate apostolically in this specialized field. Living and understanding daily military life as a starting point is a given in the military culture." 

Beyond the mere knowledge of such a life, the chaplain must “love his sheep, admire his mission and understand his responsibility to serve the social well-being,” the bishop stated.

“Our mission,” he added, has “an essential evangelical objective: that of proclaiming Jesus Christ amidst the conflict that members of the military and their families experience, so that, by living an authentically Christian life, they may be builders of peace.”

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Pope confirms he will visit Scotland

Vatican City, Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI used the occasion of the Scottish bishops’ “ad Limina” visit to officially announce his intentions to make a visit their country later this year. The declaration comes just days after the Holy Father confirmed his plans to go to England.

“Later this year,” said the Pope, “I shall have the joy of being present with you and the Catholics of Scotland on your native soil.”

No other details have been made official, but the Holy Father told the Scottish clergy that as they prepare for his arrival to “encourage your people to pray that it will be a time of grace for the whole Catholic community.”

The confirmation of a stop in Scotland follows the Pope’s announcement to bishops from England and Wales on Monday of his intention to visit Great Britain later this year. On that occasion, he said that he anticipated the opportunity to be able to witness the faith of Great Britain for himself and "to strengthen and confirm it."

He also asked the bishops of those nations to encourage the faithful in their devotion "and assure them that the Pope constantly remembers them in his prayers and holds them in his heart."

The last time a Pontiff visited the northernmost country in the United Kingdom was when Pope John Paul II was there in 1982.

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Haitian archbishop tearfully recounts burial of seminarians killed by quake

Port au Prince, Haiti, Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - The president of Haiti’s Bishops’ Conference has mournfully recounted the burial of seminarians killed in the country’s massive January quake. Describing the strains and torments in the disaster’s wake, he says the surviving seminarians will help other grieving victims despite their own suffering.

“I cannot hold back the tears when thinking about their burial. We could not even provide them with a coffin, only a pathetic plastic bag,” Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Cap-Haitien told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

“I feel completely helpless in this situation,” he continued.

The earthquake killed 16 diocesan seminarians in Port-au-Prince. Another 10 from the Montfortian order died when the earthquake destroyed their seminary bus. Most were under 25 years old.

Those whose bodies were recovered were buried on the grounds of the devastated major seminary. The bishops are concerned that they may never find all the bodies.

The 200 seminarians who survived the quake lost their formation center and are now in severe need of help. ACN dispatched $170,000 in aid within a week of the disaster. This included support for the seminarians.

Archbishop Kébreau said he was “deeply grateful.”

“ACN always comes to help, like the Good Samaritan, bringing shelter and giving hope.”

The archbishop said he feels responsible for the seminarians’ physical health and spiritual well-being.

“It shakes me to the core when I think about how I had to give the go ahead to the amputation of a leg of a seminarian and of an arm of another,” he explained.

“It is necessary for the reconstruction of the whole country that these seminarians overcome their trauma and receive good theological formation,” the Haitian archbishop added.

He now wants to focus on caring for the surviving seminarians so that they can help other disaster victims.

“A lot of people have lost relatives, some are now completely alone and all of them are in complete misery.”

Archbishop Kébrau traveled 125 miles from his diocese in the north of the country to Port-au-Prince to meet bishops from the neighboring Dominican Republic, who visited to show their solidarity and to contribute $100,000 to the relief efforts.

The archbishop’s journey took 12 hours after his own vehicle broke down halfway through his trip. ACN reports he had to borrow another car to complete the trip.

Asked about his own needs, the archbishop said he needed nothing, but asked “that God grant me the necessary strength so that together with the other bishops we can rebuild the Church.”

He also quoted the prophet Jeremiah: “Judah mourns and her gates languish; her people lament on the ground, and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.”

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Women priest 'ordinations' cause disunity, says Florida diocese

Venice, Fla., Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - The group Roman Catholic Womenpriests recently announced that they are “ordaining” two female “priests” and one “deacon” in an upcoming ceremony in Sarasota, Florida. The Diocese of Venice issued a statement on Thursday denouncing the “ordinations” and saying that the group's attempt “brings division and fractures unity in the Church.”

In a recent press release, Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCW) announced that “On Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 3:00pm Dena O'Callaghan of Ocala, Florida and Katy Zatsick of Lexington, Kentucky will be ordained priests. Mary Ellen Sheehan of Tucker, Georgia will be ordained a deacon. The presiding bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan.”

Explaining the group's purported mission, the press release stated that “Roman Catholic Womenpriests advocate a new model of priestly ministry united with the people with whom we minister. We stand in prophetic obedience to Jesus who calls women and men to be disciples and equals.”

“We disobey Canon 1024, an unjust law, that prohibits women’s ordination,” RCW also stated.

The Diocese of Venice, whose territory the ceremony is taking place in, responded by emphasizing that “The Catholic Church has always taught that the Church has no authority to confer priestly ordination on women.”

“The ministerial priesthood is a gift from God, not something that someone 'earns,' 'deserves' or has a 'right' to, due to advanced education, devoted service in the Church, or simply because of one’s own personal desire,” the diocese noted.

“Sacred Scripture further reveals that Jesus did include the participation of women in His public ministry in ways that shows a differentiation of roles between men and women,” the diocese explained. “Together both worked to build up the unity of the Church, avoiding divisiveness.”

“Specific to the role of women, the Church gives thanks for the feminine 'genius,' appearing in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations, and for the charisms of the Holy Spirit on women’s manifestations of faith, hope and love. However, the attempt to 'ordain' women by the organization titled 'Roman Catholic Womenpriests' brings division, and fractures unity in the Church.”

The RCW claimed that their “ordinations” will be valid, saying in their announcement, “The Roman Catholic male bishop who ordained our first women bishops is in a line of unbroken apostolic succession within the Roman Catholic Church in full communion with the pope. Therefore, our bishops validly ordain deacons, priests and bishops.”

But the diocese refuted RCW's claim that the “ordinations” are valid, stating, “the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued a General Decree stating that those who attempt to confer Holy Orders on a woman, and women who attempt to receive Holy Orders, incur automatic excommunication.”

“Excommunication is knowingly and willingly to place oneself outside the communion of the Catholic Church.”

The Diocese of Venice continued to explain that “pastoral and spiritual concern for those who present themselves for such an invalid ritual, those who conduct it, and those who are direct participants” is what motivated their detailed response to the upcoming event.

“This situation is sad for the entire Church,” concluded the diocesan statement. “The Diocese prays that all those involved in this attempt to 'ordain,' 'Roman Catholic Womenpriests' will be reconciled with the Church, and that the harm and division caused will be healed, with the help of God's grace.”

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Bishop Gene Robinson claims Bible does not address ‘monogamous’ same-sex relationships

Washington D.C., Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - The first openly homosexual Episcopal bishop, V. Gene Robinson, has claimed that the Bible does not address the ethics of “monogamous, lifelong” homosexual relationships. He suggested that the people of St. Paul’s times did not realize that some people were “affectionally oriented” to their own sex.

On Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., CNSNews.com spoke to Bishop Robinson about St. Paul’s condemnation in the Book of Romans of “unnatural” relations and “indecent acts” between members of the same sex. CNSNews.com asked if St. Paul was right to say homosexual acts were against nature.

The bishop said Scripture needed to be understood “in its own context.”

“We have to understand that the notion of a homosexual sexual orientation is a notion that’s only about 125 years old,” he added.

“That is to say, St. Paul was talking about people that he understood to be heterosexual engaging in same-sex acts," said Bishop Robinson.

The concept “heterosexual” also only dates to the nineteenth century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

"It never occurred to anyone in ancient times that a certain minority of us would be born being affectionally oriented to people of the same sex,” the bishop told CNSNews.com “So it did seem like against their nature to be doing so.”

He also claimed that St. Paul was condemning the practice of his times, in which older men sexually used younger boys.

“So the real question when you look at Scripture is, ‘What did it mean to the person who wrote it?’” said Bishop Robinson. “‘What did it mean for the audience to whom it was written?’ And only then can we ask, ‘Is it eternally binding?’ And in this case, I would say, the things that St. Paul was against, I’m against, too.”

He said the question today should be the rightfulness of “faithful, monogamous, lifelong-intentioned relationships between people of the same sex.’”

According to the Episcopal bishop, the Bible “simply does not address that.”

Robinson, who was married and has two daughters, divorced his wife and is now involved in a homosexual relationship. His ordination heightened conflict between the Episcopal Church and the global Anglican Communion of which it is a part.

Bishop Robinson delivered the invocation at the presidential inaugural’s opening ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 18, 2009.

The bishop’s interpretation of Scripture is shared by some homosexual activists but not adhered to by most Christians. Homosexual tendencies are described as “objectively disordered” by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, while homosexual acts are “contrary to the natural law” and can “under no circumstances” be approved.

Biblical scholar and Anglican Bishop of Durham N.T. Wright has also criticized some Episcopalians’ theology for treating chastity as “optional.”

“Jewish, Christian and Muslim teachers have always insisted that lifelong man-plus-woman marriage is the proper context for sexual intercourse,” he explained in the London Times.

“This is not (as is frequently suggested) an arbitrary rule, dualistic in overtone and killjoy in intention. It is a deep structural reflection of the belief in a creator God who has entered into covenant both with his creation and with his people.”

This understanding is “the uniform teaching of the whole Bible, of Jesus himself, and of the entire Christian tradition,” he wrote.

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Cardinal Schönborn praises Christians' freedom from political correctness

Washington D.C., Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - In a Wednesday speech at Catholic University of America (CUA), Cardinal Christoph Schönborn lauded Christians’ freedom from “political correctness” and “the latest fashions.” Seeing hope for renewal in past monastic movements and in the contemporary United States, he discussed the relationship between Christianity and the modern West.

His speech, titled “Christianity: Alien Presence or Foundation of the West?” discussed Christianity’s “paradoxical” place in contemporary Europe. According to a press release from the university, he said Christianity is both alien and foundational to modernity in different ways.

“On the one hand, Christianity is Europe’s roots. On the other hand, these roots are more and more forgotten, ignored, and in an alarming way. Christianity is for many a foreign element in a world determined by reason, enlightenment and democratic principles.”

The cardinal said he does not believe that Europe and the Western world will survive without Christianity, whose decline on the continent he described as shocking.

Although Christianity has taken a secondary role in public life, he said, it is not obsolete and there is a “new desire” that sometimes turns people towards the religion.

While some ideologies see Christianity as an enemy of freedom, the cardinal said Christians have “dual citizenship” in earthly and heavenly cities because he or she is “never only a citizen of the state.”

Christian witness to this fact led to the deaths of millions of martyrs under 20th century totalitarianism.

According to Zenit, Cardinal Schönborn said Christianity offers “freedom from the demands of the mainstream, from political correctness, or simply from the pressure of the latest fashions.”

The monastic movements that renewed and reformed the Church were an example of this freedom, he added.

The cardinal also said the United States is “a country of great hope” for the Church, according to CUA. “There is a true renewal of Catholic commitment in this country, and this gives us great hope. I hope you do not forget in your prayers good old mother Europe.”

The cardinal’s visit to CUA was part of a six-day visit to the U.S. He also made stops in Kansas City and New York City.

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Pope tells Scottish Catholics to prepare to 'grapple' with secularism

Vatican City, Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI met with bishops from Scotland Friday morning on the occasion of their “ad Limina” visit to the Holy See. Not only did he confirm that he will be visiting their nation this year, but he addressed a variety of issues relevant to the Scottish Church, including the need to defend Church teaching in the face of secularism.

In his message to the bishops, Benedict XVI commended them for their "Priests for Scotland" initiative, which addresses significant issues being dealt with by the Scottish clergy. The Pope remarked that “the witness of priests who are genuinely committed to prayer and joyful in their ministry bears fruit not only in the spiritual lives of the faithful, but also in new vocations.”

Initiatives of this sort, he said, must be offered along with catechesis to remind the lay community of the “indispensable” nature of the priesthood to the life of the Church, especially in providing the Eucharist.

A “renewed focus” on the role of the “lay apostolate” is also needed as it is sometimes confused with “lay ministry,” the Pope said, noting that through the clarification of the roles of clergy and laity a “strong impetus” will be given to the evangelization of society.

The task of evangelization, Benedict XVI continued, “requires a readiness to grapple firmly with the challenges presented by the increasing tide of secularism in (your) country” especially in regard to the important issues of euthanasia and medical ethics.

In this activity, insisted the Holy Father, “if the Church’s teaching is compromised, even slightly, in one such area, then it becomes hard to defend the fullness of Catholic doctrine in an integral manner. Pastors of the Church, therefore, must continually call the faithful to complete fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium, while at the same time upholding and defending the Church’s right to live freely in society according to her beliefs.”

He also highlighted the beauty of marriage and the joy of parenthood, of which the Church offers the world a positive vision “rooted in God’s infinite, transforming and ennobling love for all of us” to promote hope and counteract the perception that Church doctrine is just “a series of prohibitions.”

To address the division and sectarianism in the country, he underscored that the Scottish Church’s participation in the group “Action of Churches Together in Scotland” (ACTS) is important for the “work of rebuilding unity among the followers of Christ.” These efforts, the Pope cautioned, should resist “any pressure to dilute the Christian message” and the goal should be “full, visible unity, for nothing less can respond to the will of Christ.”

The ACTS initiative seeks to unite various Christian denominations in Scotland in living the Gospel and provide increased understanding and create common life between them.

At the end of the address, the Holy Father recognized the contribution of the country's Catholic schools to "overcoming sectarianism and building good relations between communities" and pointed out that "faith schools are a powerful force for social cohesion."

"As you encourage Catholic teachers in their work," he told the bishops, "place special emphasis on the quality and depth of religious education, so as to prepare an articulate and well-informed Catholic laity, able and willing to carry out its mission... A strong Catholic presence in the media, local and national politics, the judiciary, the professions and the universities can only serve to enrich Scotland’s national life, as people of faith bear witness to the truth, especially when that truth is called into question."

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National Catholic Reporter and Catholic Online editors clash over Deal Hudson

CNA STAFF, Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - The editor of the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) threw another punch on Thursday in his protracted battle with Inside Catholic’s Dr. Deal Hudson, an act that Catholic Online’s Editor-in-Chief Deacon Keith Fournier finds to be morally objectionable and filled with calumny.

On February 2, 2010, Joe Feuerherd posted an article to the NCR blog, entitled, “Dealing from the Bottom of the Deck,” in which he criticized Deal Hudson for his publication and promotion of information from the American Life League and Bellarmine Veritas Ministry. Hudson's statement accused the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and its director John Carr of being involved in promoting and funding pro-abortion and homosexual causes.

In response, Deacon Fournier published a response on February 4, saying that he “has no ‘dog in this fight,'” but that he could not ignore the “barrage of verbal bullets aimed directly at my friend Deal Hudson” in Joe Feuerherd's NCR blog posting.

The blog posting itself reminded readers that Deal Hudson is a “leader of efforts to get U.S. bishops to publicly confront pro-choice Catholic elected officials.” Hudson’s actions in this regard include advocating for the (successful) removal of the founder of Catholics for Kerry from his job at the USCCB, and organizing a fundraising effort for Senators who opposed the Freedom of Choice Act. Feuerherd’s posting also referred to a case in which Hudson was alleged to have had an improper relationship with a female student and described Hudson as a “thrice-married former Baptist minister.”

“Out of a sense of both justice and charity, I cannot sit back and let this kind of scurrilous attack go without a response,” Fournier wrote. “This is not the first time I have decided to enter into this nasty verbal war that Mr. Feuerherd has unleashed against my friend,” he pointed out.

Deacon Fournier proceeded to clarify the Church’s teachings on sacramental absolution, annulments, and grace—areas in which the NCR editor found fault with Hudson. The Catholic Online editor also quoted and explained the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s definition on calumny.

“Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity,” Deacon Fournier quoted from the Catechism.

In his response, the deacon also noted that there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with a person. However, there are proper ways to disagree. In his view, Feuerherd’s article crossed into foul territory.

“Joe Feuerherd’s scurrilous article did not respond to the issues raised by the claims of the Reform CCHD NOW Coalition concerning John Carr,” the deacon asserted. “Instead, he used this newest controversy as another opportunity to try to personally destroy Dr. Deal Hudson’s reputation, hurt his family, demoralize his staff, and undermine his work.”

Feuerherd “personally attacked Dr. Deal Hudson in a manner which appears to have been intended to harm him, his reputation and his future,” wrote Deacon Fournier. “By writing and publishing this article, Joe Feuerherd, a Catholic himself, also ended up questioning some of the basic premises of our shared Catholic faith.”

Ultimately, in spite of their common faith and different opinions, “Joe Feuerherd is attempting to destroy the reputation of a fellow Catholic Christian, Dr. Deal Hudson,” emphasized the editor of Catholic Online. “He is intentionally trying to hurt a friend of mine, and hurt his family. That is why I must oppose his efforts. His recent article is not journalism, it may even be sin.”

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Haitian bishop criticizes evangelical group's attempt to take children out of country

Port au Prince, Haiti, Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) -  
 
Bishop Pierre-Andre Dumas, president of Caritas Haiti, criticized the attempt by Baptist volunteers to take a group of Haitian who were not orphans out of the country.
 
Bishop Dumas said thousands of Haitian children have been left orphans and need to be adopted by parents around the world, but that the path of adoption “should be an ordered and legal process that should be handled urgently by a commission.”
 
“Taking children out of the country without paperwork and without checking on their current family situation is crazy,” the bishop said.
 
He also said the Church in Haiti is willing to participate in a commission “together with the state and competent civil organizations” in order to address the pressing issue of the adoption of Haitian children.”
 
Ten Baptist volunteers from the U.S. were detained in Haiti on Jan. 29 for attempting to cross into the Dominican Republic with 33 children.
 
Pastor Drew Ham said the Baptist volunteers were not attempting to kidnap the children but rather to “offer them a safe place where they could receive food and medicine” and to save them from being peddled by human traffickers.

“It’s unthinkable that someone would believe these citizens were kidnapping children,” Rev. Ham said.  Haitian officials insist, however, that the volunteers knew they were acting illegally.

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Many Colts players see talents as 'gift from God,' Catholic chaplain says

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - In a recent interview with CNA, Fr. Peter Gallagher, chaplain for the Indianapolis Colts, discussed his experience working with the team and explained that many of the members recognize their talent as “a gift from God” and play with gratitude for it.

“It's been my experience with the Colts that a lot of these fellows have a very strong spiritual life and a good, solid prayer life,” Fr. Gallagher explained on Wednesday. “They've come to realize that while they're professional athletes,” their accomplishments “really are a gift from God and in a sense, they are playing in gratitude for that gift.”

Fr. Gallagher spoke about his interaction with the players and said that “in a sense I sort of become their surrogate pastor during the season because during the season its hard for them to get to their parish and connect with their parish.”

In addition to offering Mass before games, Fr. Gallagher leads pre-game and post-game prayers along with providing “spiritual assistance for our Catholic players,” which can include marriage preparation, weddings and baptisms. Fr. Gallagher also told CNA that “there are 10 players that are regular Mass participants” and “the same number of support staff that, depending on their schedules, are at Mass.”

Fr. Gallagher also explained that Mass has been “part of a legacy that's been a part of the Colts since they got to Indianapolis back in '85” when Fr. Patrick Kelly, who has since passed away, was chaplain of the team. Fr. Kelly introduced Fr. Gallagher to the Colts in 1996.

Recalling some of his favorite memories as chaplain, Fr. Gallagher spoke of the time when the Colts won the AFC championships in 2006 against the New England Patriots and realized that they were going to the Super Bowl. After the game, one player, Rocky Boiman, came “barreling down the field” toward Fr. Gallagher, knocked him over and shouted in pure elation “we're going to the Super Bowl Father! We're going to the Super Bowl!”

After winning the Super Bowl in February 2007, Fr. Gallagher remembers the team gathering in the locker room and ending the day they way the started it – with prayer. Though the chaplain normally led the prayers, Tony Dungy who was coach at the time, offered to conclude it “because of his deep faith,” said Fr. Gallagher.

“That was a really good memory of my time with the team,” he added.

Fr. Gallagher also recalled how in Dec. 1996, Fr. Kelly was ill, so he took his place at a game in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “I just remember thinking to myself, being a lifelong football fan,” said Fr. Gallagher, “I dreamed that one day I might watch a game in Lambeau fields and standing on the sidelines in my collar watching this game thinking, 'wow,' and having no idea where it was going to lead me.”

Fr. Gallagher has been the full time Catholic chaplain for the Colts since 2003.

On Sunday, Feb. 7, the Indianapolis Colts and and the New Orleans Saint will face off in the 44th Super Bowl at 6:25 p.m. Eastern Time on CBS.

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Church in Costa Rica to celebrate Mass with presidential candidates

San José, Costa Rica, Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of San Jose announced that it will celebrate a special Mass with the country’s presidential candidates on election day this Sunday.

The Mass will be celebrated on Sunday, February 7 at the Cathedral, with Archbishop Hugo Barrantes Ureña of San Jose and president of the Costa Rican Bishops’ Conference presiding.

At the conclusion of the Mass, which will be carried by Catholic radio in Costa Rica, Archbishop Barrantes will travel to Rio Oro de Santa Ana, where he will cast his vote.

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Vatican daily publishes article on priesthood by Legionaries of Christ vicar

Rome, Italy, Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - L’Osservatore Romano published an article on Thursday by Father Luis Garza Medina, the Vicar General of the Legionaries of Christ, in which he reflected on what priests should do in response to the challenges “that confront humanity” and the “drama of modern man.”

In his article, Father Garza provides a series of reflections on the Year for Priests. The Legionaries' Vicar General notes that “the priest, animated by the awareness that Christ is the only Savior of the world and that he has been made a minister of redemption by means of the Sacrament of Orders, is called to live in today’s world, amidst the challenges that this presents for the Gospel of Christ, with confidence and holy audacity.”

Father Garza said the priest must be “a man of God” and that “his will and faculties must be imbued with the sentiments of Christ.”

He also said that the priest “should be a man of prayer, a man who listens to and meditates on the Word in order to lovingly comply with what God wants of him. He should celebrate the sacraments with the fervor and anointment proper to the sacred things he is charged with, knowing that because he is a man of God he should make a special effort to resist the dizzying and constant rat-race of the modern world.”
 
After pointing out that “the priest is a man profoundly aware that salvation comes from God,” Father Garza wrote, “The priest seeks the good of the person, he doesn’t seek to reduce him to a number or a statistic” and should be a sign of communion for his peers and for the entire Church.

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Tim Tebow debate crosses the Atlantic

Rome, Italy, Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - The Italian Daily Il Foglio has joined the media frenzy surrounding the production of a commercial including members of the Tebow family for the Super Bowl this year.  In an article titled “The Implacable Unrelenting Tim Tebow,” the paper describes the scene surrounding the commercial they deem a “hymn to life.”

Saying that he condenses all of his spirit in a face covered in bible verses, the newspaper presents Tim Tebow to the Italian people as a the "football player that’s dividing America.”

Il Foglio also describes his Evangelical upbringing by calling Tebow the “son of missionaries who have made compassion for others the indelible mark of a faith experienced in the public arena.” 

They portray the Tebow family as “more smiles than posters, more action than mystic” and refer to the presence of the quarterback in commercial from Focus on the Family as “scandalously fascinating and totally sensational.”

In the commercial, Tim and his mother, Pam, will tell the story of how he was born against the recommendations of her doctors, who suggested that she abort the baby to avoid the possible transmission of a tropical disease she had at the time of her pregnancy.

With a simple “no” and her “non-synthetic” smile, the paper says, she has the baby and he goes on to college football stardom.

Analyzing the “ire and protest of the liberal world” following the announcement of the commerical, the Italian paper says liberals are “on the verge of a nervous breakdown” after having been “put in check by a mother, that as far as we know, will limit herself to just telling the story of how things went, without a slogan of propaganda.”

It’s exactly this fact that “is convincing some sceptical observers that Tebow’s message isn’t the sanctimonious interference of an armed group against abortion, but a simple and ordinary story of reason and heart,” the article finishes.

The commercial is set to air during this year’s Super Bowl which will take place this Sunday, Feb. 7.

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Pro-life group slams Spanish president for hiding behind 'democratic mask'

Washington D.C., Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - The spokesperson for the Spanish organization Right to Life, Gador Joya, slammed President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero this week for trying to hide behind a “democratic mask” and claim that he defends the dignity of human life, when his abortion bill seeks to violently take the lives of innocent human beings.
 
Joya criticized President Zapatero for his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. this week, in which he said that Spain “does not exploit workers nor discriminate against homosexuals or immigrants.”
 
These laws, Goya said, “have been around much longer than Mr. Zapatero,” who has instead brought “division and anxiety to Spain because of his obstinacy in turning abortion into a right.”
 
“Zapatero put on a democratic mask before a religious group in a friendly country, but the reality is very different. The reality is that we are facing a government that is harmful to freedom and personal dignity,” she said.
 
“That mask will do little for him now at home,” Joya remarked.  “On March 7, throughout Spain, Europe and Latin America, we will take to the streets again to remind him that in a democracy, you listen to the people, and the majority of the Spanish people do not want more abortions, but rather more support for women to be mothers.” 
 
She also revealed that her organization has sent letters to U.S. Senators Amy Klobouchar and Johnny Isakson, both presidents of the Organizing Committee of the National Prayer Breakfast, as well as to Douglas Coe, president of The Fellowship.  The letters include an invitation to attend the March for Life on March 7 in Spain as well as information on President Zapatero’s abortion agenda.

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Archbishop Celli urges Catholic communicators to examine their consciences

Porto Alegre, Brazil, Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) - The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, called on Catholics communicators at a conference in Brazil this week to make an examination of conscience about whether or not they are living the values they preach in their apostolates.
 
During the Meeting of Catholic Communications Media of Latin America and the Caribbean, the archbishop said, “Communication is for the promotion of communion” and should be promoted and expressed from within one’s own community.
 
“The internal communication of our communities is an aspect that we cannot ignore.  For this reason, the Holy Father encourages priests, in his Message for the World Day of Communications for this year, to be effective communicators and carriers of Christ in the digital culture,” he said.
 
“The mere fact that the social communications media multiply the possibilities of interconnection and circulation of ideas does not guarantee freedom nor globalize development and democracy for all,” the archbishop stated.
 
In order to achieve these objectives, he explained, “The communications media needs to be centered on the promotion of the dignity of persons. And nations need to be expressly animated by charity and dedicated to the truth, the good, and to natural and supernatural fraternity.”  Archbishop Celli urged communicators not to forget that their goal should be “the comprehensive development of the person and of the community.”
 
He also recalled that the mission of evangelization of the Church must also be carried out using the media.
 
“The first Christians, in a society somewhat similar to our own, did not see their missionary proclamation as propaganda for simply increasing their own numbers, but rather as an intrinsic necessity that derived from the nature of their faith,” he said.

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Funeral Mass commemorates 16 slain in Juarez shooting

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Feb 5, 2010 (CNA) -

Families and friends came together for a communal funeral Mass in memory of the 16 teenagers killed last week during a party in Juarez, Mexico. According to a press release, “at least three teenagers” of the 16 who were gunned down were laid to rest in the municipal cemetery of St. Raphael after the ceremony.

On Saturday January 30, gunmen closed off a street in Juarez, Mexico with their SUVs and opened fire on a house full of teenagers who were celebrating a birthday. Authorities have not yet disclosed a motive for the crime, which is thought to be part of a trend of senseless violence related to drug trafficking.

Neighbors told the newspaper El Diario de Juarez, that seven SUV’s pulled up to the house just before midnight. Masked gunmen then stormed the party. Despite multiple calls to the police and emergency services, policemen and soldiers did not arrive until the shooting was over. Desperate families drove the injured to the hospital on their own instead of waiting for the ambulances to arrive.

Last Tuesday, the authorities in Juarez brought Oscar Arroyo before the media. Mr. Arroyo is suspected of having participated in the shooting. He reported that a drug cartel in Juarez paid him to watch the area while the hit men attacked the party.

The families of the victims have accused Mexican President Felipe Calderon with being complicit in the attack. They claim that the bloodbath would have been avoided if Calderon's numerous undercover operatives were actually working against the cartels.

Ever since President Calderon took power at the end of 2006, more than 17,000 people have died because of violence linked to drug trafficking in Mexico. The city of Juarez, where the shooting took place is seen as one of the most violent cities in the world. In 2009, 2,600 people were killed in violence related to drug-trafficking.

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