Archive of May 4, 2010

Only love and forgiveness can end violence in Venezuela, remarks bishop

Caracas, Venezuela, May 4, 2010 (CNA) - Venezuelan Bishop Mariano Parra Sandoval of Ciudad Guayana issued a statement this week in response to the murder of Father Esteban Wood, 75, in the town of Unares.  The prelate expressed his sorrow, saying that the wave of violence and crime in Venezuela only has one solution: “love and forgiveness for all.”

After expressing his “profound sorrow and emotion for the vile murder of our brother priest,” Bishop Parra thanked “the entire parish community and all the people of Unares and Guayana for the affection they showed to Father Esteban Wood.”

“According to the results of the autopsy and police investigation, we can confirm that this crime was committed by more than one person,” the bishop said.  However, “love and forgiveness for all, including for one’s enemies, is the only solution to overcoming the violence that is wiping out our people,” he added.

“That same love also demands justice and reparation so that evil is not perpetuated.  For this reason, we demand that the competent officials fully investigate this crime and not allow it to go unpunished, as unfortunately occurs with the vast majority of homicides committed in our country,” the bishop warned.

He then exhorted Venezuelans to join in the “Walk for Life and for the Family” that the diocese has organized for Saturday, May 8.

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Former Newsweek editor slams NY Times for creating 'own version' of Church scandal

New York City, N.Y., May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - A former editor for Newsweek slammed the New York Times for their recent attempts to link the Pope with Church sex abuse cover up and charged that the paper created its “own version of the scandal as if they had discovered something new.”

Kenneth Woodward,  former religion editor of Newsweek, argued in an April 28 Commonweal article that the NY Times has not been “fair” in its “all-hands-on-deck drive to implicate the pope in diocesan cover-ups of abusive priests.”

Woodward began his commentary by suggesting that that lawyer Jeff Anderson, the “nation's most aggressive litigator,” who has a financial interest in prosecuting the Church and who provided documents to the NY Times on the Fr. Murphy abuse case in Milwaukee, should have had a “co-byline” in the paper's coverage of the scandal.

Not only did the NY Times fail to mention that Anderson has already received more that 60 million in settlements from the Church to date, said Woodward, they have also unfairly zeroed in on abuse committed by Catholics priests over other groups. Recent stories on sex abuse scandals within other organizations were given much less coverage and were buried “deep inside” the paper as opposed to the front page, Woodward claimed.

The former Newsweek editor continued in his article to liken the NY Times to the Catholic Church in the sense that the paper resembles the Church in “size, organization, internal culture, and international reach.”

Although the NY Times is not distinct in that it “rivals the Catholic worldview,” said Woodward, what makes the paper unique is its scope and influence.

“Again like the Church of Rome,” he explained, “the Times exercises a powerful magisterium or teaching authority through its editorial board. There is no issue, local or global, on which these (usually anonymous) writers do not pronounce with a papal-like editorial 'we.'”

“Like the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” Woodward added, “the editorial board is there to defend received truth as well as advance the paper’s political, social, and cultural agendas.”

“The Times, of course, does not claim to speak infallibly in its judgments on current events. (Neither does the pope.) But to the truly orthodox believers in the Times, its editorials carry the burden of liberal holy writ.”

Woodward then criticized the current executive editor of the NY Times, Bill Keller, who Woodward claims has described himself as a “collapsed” Catholic.

“As executive editor, Keller is now responsible for front-paging journalistically questionable stories that attempt but never quite manage to make the pope personally complicit in the clergy-abuse scandal,” Woodward underscored. “He apparently thinks that Jeff Anderson has handed over the ecclesiastical equivalent of the Pentagon Papers.”

The former Newsweek editor then clarified that he is “not suggesting that the scandal is merely media-driven, as some at the Vatican have argued. There would be no stories if there had been no history of abuses and cover-ups in the first place.”

However, he added, “I am saying that the Times has created its own version of the scandal as if they had discovered something new.

“They haven’t,” Woodward charged. “Until they do, I remain a dissenter in the pews of the Church of the New York Times.”

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College students to gather at UN for symposium on Catholic social teaching

New York City, N.Y., May 4, 2010 (CNA) - The Path to Peace Foundation recently announced an upcoming week long intensive program in New York City for a select number of college students around the country to learn more about the Catholic Church's social teachings, specifically the work of the Holy See's Mission to the United Nations.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore,  Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations and President of the Path to Peace Foundation, announced that the foundation will hold its fifth annual Catholic Social Teaching Seminar for college students, from May 23 – 28, 2010, with the theme of “Freedom, Truth and Charity: promoting human development as a vocation.”

A pair of students from 25 different colleges and universities around the country were nominated by their respective schools and will spend one week attending lectures and interacting with Ambassadors and other U.N. officials in New York. They will also have an opportunity to visit places of cultural and religious significance.

The purpose of the symposium is to engage the students with the teachings of the Church and instill in them the understanding that they are an invaluable resource in the effort to promote the common good, according to a foundation press release.

The Path to Peace Foundation was founded in 1991 in order to support the work of the Holy See's Mission to the U.N.  An independent but collaborative organization, the foundation works to help disseminate documents and initiatives of the Holy Father, the Holy See and charitable groups on Church social teachings. Path to Peace Foundation also works to foster human rights projects and promote cultural efforts that touch on the Christian heritage of music, art and the humanities.

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Sponsors withdraw Conn. bill waiving limits on sex abuse lawsuits

Hartford, Conn., May 4, 2010 (CNA) - Citing a lack of legislative support, sponsors have withdrawn a controversial bill that would have waived a 30-year time limit for sexual abuse victims to sue. Catholic leaders who opposed the bill said the move was “good public policy.”

One co-sponsor of H.B. 5473, State Rep. Beth Bye, said backers did not believe it is likely the bill be enacted into law with so few days left in the legislative session, The Catholic Transcript reports.

She said she raised the bill after dozens of victims contacted her, including victims of the late Dr. George Reardon.

Reardon has been accused of photographing and molesting his young patients at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, a Catholic hospital.

The Hartford Courant opposed the bill in an editorial, questioning whether the hospital could properly defend itself against decades-old allegations.

State Sen. Mary Ann Handley, another co-sponsor of the withdrawn bill, said work would continue on the issue.

“We are running a marathon, not a sprint,” she commented.

Michael C. Culhane, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference, said he was pleased the bill was withdrawn for “a number of reasons.”

Culhane said the bill discriminated against private and non-public institutions. He also noted that no part of the bill is aimed at protecting children, which he called “a very, very important aspect.”

Culhane also explained it was very possible the bill would impair the ability of the three Catholic dioceses of Connecticut to provide health care, education and other social services

While similar bills had passed in Delaware, Alaska, Maine and Florida, the Connecticut bill differed in that it would apply retroactively.

Archbishop of Hartford Henry J. Mansell said in a column he sent to The Catholic Transcript that the withdrawal of the bill was “good public policy.”

Archbishop Mansell also wrote that the sexual abuse of minors is “a heinous act, a heart-sickening event, a grievous sin and a serious crime.”

He pledged continued work on effective abuse prevention efforts and on assistance for victims “with all the means at our disposal.”

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Four dead after terrorist attack near Mosul targets buses of Christian students

Mosul, Iraq, May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - A Sunday terrorist attack against a column of buses taking young Christian students to Mosul killed four and injured 171, at least 17 seriously. Christians were “shocked” by the attack, warning that delayed election results have worsened security.

The Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul Emil Shimoun Nona confirmed the news to SIR on Monday.

He said the attack began with an explosion, followed by the detonation of a car bomb parked on the roadside just before the caravan entered town.

The blast was “devastating,” he added.

“The column drove through the area every morning to drive these young people, aged between 18 and 26, to the university of Mosul, and maybe that’s precisely why they were an easy target for the terrorists,” Archbishop Nona told SIR.

“This is the umpteenth terrorist attack against Christians. Violence is going on relentlessly.”

Redemptorist priest Fr. Bashar Warda discussed the attack with Fides news agency.

“We are shocked,” he said.

He said the victims were not soldiers or activists but “only students carrying their books, pens, their dreams of growing and serving their country.”

“Christians are still the target, and they are the privileged victims of violence.”

The Chaldean patriarchal vicar of Baghdad, Bishop Shlemon Warduni, described the fear and shock of the Christian community after the attack.

“We really don’t know what to do in the face of such violence,” he told SIR. “The escort was not enough to avoid the massacre, two cars, one in front and one at the back of the column of buses that were driving these young people from their village of Qaraqosh to the university of Mosul.”

The bishop said Christians had not heard from any politician or institutional leader after the attack “and we are even sorrier for that.”

He reported that the situation after the election has not helped security. “And it will take even longer, with the decision to recount the votes cast in Baghdad,” he stated.

Archbishop Nona also lamented the power vacuum, saying that the lack of a new government and internal diatribes within the political parties are “fertile ground for violence.”

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Vatican expert points to Mexican cardinal as possible Legion commissioner

Rome, Italy, May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Holy See’s Saturday statement regarding the Legionaries of Christ is “extremely significant,” Vatican expert Sandro Magister says. In his view, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez will likely be appointed the commissioner to rebuild the Legion.

The statement was issued at the conclusion of the Apostolic Visitation of the religious order founded by Fr. Marcial Maciel, whose behavior was described by the visitors as “extremely serious and objectively immoral,” in some cases criminal. His offenses in some cases depicted “a life devoid of scruples and of authentic religious sentiment,” the statement said.

The authors of the statement announced the appointment of a commissioner who will assume full powers in the phase of rebuilding the Legion. It is expected that Pope Benedict will appoint this commissioner before summer, according to Sandro Magister’s latest column.

The Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, is the only candidate mentioned so far and is seen as “very resolute and trustworthy,” Magister says.

The cardinal is titular archbishop of the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Rome, which belongs to the Legionaries. However, Magister reports that he has “never gotten mixed up with them and their intrigues.”

The 77-year-old prelate is about to resign from his diocese because he is past retirement age and would be able to dedicate himself to the matter full time. A member of several Vatican congregations, he is also on the commission supervising Institute for Works of Religion.

As expected, the Vatican authorities’ statement also announced a supplemental apostolic visit concerning Regnum Christi, the Legionaries’ lay association also founded by Fr. Maciel.

Another provision emerging from recent discussion is the creation of an independent commission to study the Legion’s constitutions, particularly to “review the exercise of authority.”

Sandro Magister sees the latest statement as overturning the “dominant model” of recent media reporting on pedophilia.

“Instead of letting its agenda be dictated by the newspapers, instead of responding case by case to the deluge of accusations, this time the Holy See has taken the initiative,” he writes. In the case of the Legionaries, Magister says, the media will have to play “catch-up” with Vatican decisions, which are intended not only to punish but “above all to heal, reinforce, purify, reconstruct.”

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Preacher arrested in UK for calling homosexual conduct sinful

London, England, May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - In a case which has disturbed religious freedom advocates, a preacher in the English town of Workington was reportedly arrested for describing homosexual conduct as a sin after a public sermon.

A Baptist from Workington, the 42-year-old Dale McAlpine was preaching in the town on April 20. He said he never spoke about homosexuality during his public sermon, which was delivered from the top of a stepladder, the Telegraph reports.

McAlpine said that he later quietly listed homosexual practice among a number of sins referred to in 1 Corinthians during a debate with a woman passerby.

She was then approached by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), who spoke with her briefly.

The officer approached McAlpine and identified himself as a homosexual who was a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender liaison officer. He said a complaint had been made against the Baptist.

According to McAlpine, the PCSO warned him not to say homosexual conduct is sinful because it would be a crime. The preacher told the officer that it is not a crime to describe same-sex practice as a sin.

Police officers later arrived on the scene during another of McAlpine’s sermons. They arrested him and charged him with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” contrary to Section 5 of the Public Order Act. They claim he made the alleged offending remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard by others.

According to the Telegraph, the act was introduced in 1986 to tackle violent rioters and football hooligans. Its use against a preacher has caused concerns among Christians that it is being used to curb religious free speech.

At the police station, law officers took McAlpine’s finger prints, a palm print, a retina scan and a DNA swab. He was later interviewed and released on bail on the condition that he did not preach in public.

“I felt deeply shocked and humiliated that I had been arrested in my own town and treated like a common criminal in front of people I know," the preacher told the Telegraph.

“My freedom was taken away on the hearsay of someone who disliked what I said, and I was charged under a law that doesn't apply.”

McAlpine is being defended by The Christian Institute. Its solicitor-advocate Sam Webster said in a statement that it is not a crime to express the belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.

“A Christian who stands in a public place and expresses his religious beliefs in the hope of persuading passers-by of his views – that is freedom of speech,” Webster stated. “Case law has ruled that the orthodox Christian belief that homosexual conduct is sinful is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society,” Webster insisted.

Acknowledging the police’s duty to maintain public order, he said they also have a duty to defend “the lawful free speech of citizens.”

“It’s not for police to decide whether Mr. McAlpine’s views are right or wrong,” he added.

McAlpine pleaded not guilty at a preliminary hearing last Friday. He is now awaiting a trial date.

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Middle East synod to help Christians witness in Muslim countries

Vatican City, May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - During meetings at the Holy See from April 23-24, Middle Eastern patriarchs and Vatican prefects drew up a draft of the working document for the coming Synod. They foresee that the October assembly will strengthen Christians, revive communion between the Churches of the region, and give guidance to Christians on how to evangelize in Muslim-majority countries.

This was the third meeting of the pre-synodal council in preparation for the Middle East synod which will be held at the Vatican from October 10-24.

In a May 3 statement describing the proceedings and results of the meetings, the Vatican underscored the two major objectives of the Synod as "to confirm and strengthen Christians in their identity through the Word of God and the Sacraments, and to revive the ecclesial communion between the Churches, so they may be an genuine Christian witness, in contact with other Churches and ecclesial communities.”

Organizers called the assembly "a valuable opportunity to also examine the religious and social situation, to give Christians a clear vision of how to be active witnesses of Christ in the context of Muslim-majority society."

It will also provide a forum to reflect on the present situation, which the pre-synodal council acknowledges is "not easy due to conflicts and instability which causes the exodus of the population, including many Christians."

Work over the course of the two days of preparatory meetings was focused on integrating information from a Vatican questionnaire called the “Lineamenta,” sent to participating Churches to gauge their present situations and major issues.

This, combined with additional contributions from Eastern Catholic Churches, episcopal conferences, departments of the Roman Curia and several religious institutions, led to the creation of the draft of the working document (instrumentum laboris), which in its final form will serve both as a brief and an agenda during the synod.

The statement goes on to describe the joy of participants upon being invited to participate in Mass with the Holy Father during his Apostolic Journey to Cyprus from June 4 - 6, when he will deliver the final working document for the Synod.

The pre-synodal meetings concluded with a prayer for the assembly and the entire Church in the Middle East, which "despite the difficulties of the present time, relying on divine providence, remains confident of a future of peace, justice and respectful collaboration with followers of Judaism and Islam, for the good of all inhabitants of the region."

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Patron saints announced for WYD 2011 in Madrid

Madrid, Spain, May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The organizers for World Youth Day 2011 have released the list of the patron saints for the event, which “encompasses the history of the Church in Spain, from the first saints of Madrid.”

According to a press release, “The Holy See has confirmed the proposal of the patron saints for World Youth Day (WYD): St. Isidore, St. John of the Cross, St. Maria de la Cabeza, St. John of Avila, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Rose of Lima, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Rafael Arnaiz and St. Francis Xavier.”

“The list of the patrons encompasses the history of the Church in Spain, from the first saints of Madrid (St. Isidore and St. Maria), through the founders of the Discalced Carmelites and the Society of Jesus (St. Teresa and St. Ignatius), a great missionary to the East (St. Francis Xavier), the summit of mystic literature (St. John of the Cross), the force behind diocesan priestly spirituality (St. John of Avila), the first saint of Hispanic America (St. Rose of Lima), and a young person from our times (St. Rafael Arnaiz), who was recently canonized,” the statement said.

“All of these saints are of Spanish origin, in order to root WYD in the culture of the host country, as was done at WYD in Cologne, where the saints chosen were related to the Christian history of Germany,” organizers explained.

They also announced the Holy See has confirmed the choice of Cibeles Square, one of Madrid’s most renowned locations, as the place where Pope Benedict XVI will be welcomed by the young people on Thursday, August 18.  They added that the vigil and final Mass with the Holy Father will be held at the Cuatro Vientos airfield, where John Paul II met with young people in 2003 during his final visit to the country.

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Benedict XVI offers condolences for murder of Christians in Iraq

Rome, Italy, May 4, 2010 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI sent a telegram to Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of Mosul in Iraq this week expressing condolences for the deaths of four Christians who were killed by explosions over the weekend. 

Police are calling the blasts, which also left 171 injured, attacks on the Christina minority of the country.

The incident took place on Sunday when a car bomb and a roadside bomb exploded as a bus passed, filled with residents from Hamdaniya, located about 25 miles east of Mosul.

The Pope’s telegram was signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State.

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Holy Father recalls late cardinal's priestly zeal, ability to grow the Church

Vatican City, May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -

Today the Holy Father sent his condolences for the death of Cardinal Luigi Poggi, former apostolic nuncio, and recent archivist and librarian emeritus of Holy Roman Church. The cardinal died in Rome on Tuesday morning at the age of 92.

In the telegram, addressed to the late cardinal's brother and sister, the Holy Father recalled the prelate's “many years of solicitous collaboration with the Holy See, especially as nuncio in various countries, then as archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church.”

The Pope noted that Cardinal Poggi always gave “a much-appreciated example of fervent priestly zeal and faithfulness to the Gospel."

Cardinal Luigi Poggi was born in Piacenza, Italy in 1917. He studied at Alberoni College, located in his hometown, and was ordained a priest in 1940.

After several more years of study, he was appointed an archbishop and worked to strengthen Vatican ties and build the Catholic Church around the world in places such as Central Africa, Peru, Poland, Hungary,  Czechoslovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.

In 1992, he began working as archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, a position he held until he retired. 

John Paul II proclaimed him a cardinal in 1994.

Cardinal Poggi's funeral will be held Friday, May 7 at 5:30 p.m.  Pope Benedict will address the congregation following the Mass.

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Knights of Columbus in Mexico criticize new Arizona illegal immigration bill

Mexico City, Mexico, May 4, 2010 (CNA) - During their National Convention in Mexico, the Knights of Columbus harshly criticized Arizona's new law designed to curtail illegal immigration.

At their national meeting which takes place every five years and brings together some 600 members, the Knights expressed support for the rights of immigrants and slammed the Arizona for criminalizing the undocumented. The organization emphasized care for orphans, widows and immigrants, and noted  that the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Father Michael J. McGivney, was himself the son of immigrants.

The Knights also noted their support for the Catholic Church and the decisions of Pope Benedict XVI, and said they would continue supporting the handicapped through a wheelchair donation program, the Special Olympics, the promotion of the culture of life and the defense of the family.

During a Mass for the Knights at the Old Basilica of Guadalupe, Archbishop Cristophe Pierre, the Nuncio to Mexico, said the changing times we are experiencing are made manifest in technological and scientific advances at the service of the market to increase efficiency, but that relativism tends to dehumanize man and minimize God. 

He also stated that despite all the problems that the Church is facing, she continues to be channel through which the loving heart of Jesus springs forth.

On Sunday Cardinal Norberto Rivera celebrated the closing Mass at the Cathedral of Mexico City.  During his homily, he lamented those who want to open the doors to more violence and corruption in the Mexican capital, and called on the Knights of Columbus to remain faithful to the Church.

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Cardinal Sandoval says others better prepared for Legion job

Guadalajara, Mexico, May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - After speculation by a Vatican expert that Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez would be selected as the commissioner to oversee the rebuilding of the Legionaries of Christ, his archdiocese said on Tuesday that he is “open” to whatever the Pope decides, but that the cardinal thinks the task should go to “somebody who has more knowledge of religious life, instead of a priest from the diocesan clergy.”

A statement released by the Archdiocese of Guadalajara yesterday insisted that Cardinal Sandoval has not been given an appointment as commissioner, nor has he been contacted about it.

The archdiocese stated yesterday that the task of commissioner should fall to “somebody who has more knowledge of religious life, instead of a priest from the diocesan clergy, as is the case with the cardinal.”

At the same time, Cardinal Sandoval said that he is “open to whatever the Pope's indications might be at the appropriate time.”

“The decision of naming a commissioner for the rebuilding of the Legion falls exclusively to the Supreme Pontiff,” he added.

Following the Holy See's publication of a statement at the conclusion of the year-long visitation of the Legionaries of Christ, Vatican expert Sandro Magister wrote that the only name in circulation for the commissioner position was Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez.

The Apostolic Visitation was triggered by revelations that the order's founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, engaged in what the concluding report called behavior that was “extremely serious and objectively immoral,” in some cases criminal. Some of the founder's offenses depicted “a life devoid of scruples and of authentic religious sentiment,” the statement said.

The visitors also recommended the appointment of a commissioner who would assume full powers in the work of rebuilding the Legion. It is expected that Pope Benedict will appoint this commissioner before summer, according to Sandro Magister’s latest column.

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Youtube video encourages praying the Rosary for priests

Madrid, Spain, May 4, 2010 (CNA) -

An elderly priest enters a chapel with a Rosary in hand as a young woman is heard speaking about the incredible sacrifice of priests who give their lives to others.  Thus begins May Feelings III, the latest chapter in a Youtube video series that encourages the Rosary during May, the month of Mary.

After the success of May Feelings I and II, the team from Belomasan Films now presents May Feelings III, which is an expression of gratitude and solidarity towards priests.

In an interview with CNA, the creators of these videos explained that the idea for the project began in 2007 in Madrid.  After hearing a song by Elvis Presley titled, “The Miracle of the Rosary,” they wondered why a Protestant would have recorded a song dedicated to Mary. 

“If Elvis as a Protestant paid homage to the Virgin Mary, we had to do something.  That was the reason behind the idea to do something dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  After thinking and thinking we realized there were only four days until the month of May, so knowing that the Virgin Mary loves it when the Rosary is prayed, we thought that a video on the Rosary would be something that would please her.”

The May Feelings team said the reaction to the videos has been surprising, with EWTN even broadcasting them on its programs: “Life on the Rock” and “Nuestra Fe en Vivo.”

“It would be bold on our part to try and quantify the importance of the Rosary,” they said.  “In fact we think its importance is unquantifiable because of its infinite value.  That is, the Virgin Mary expressly told us at Fatima to pray the Rosary.”

They continued, “the fact that the Mother of God has spoken about the praying of a particular prayer seems to us to be something to consider, don’t you think?” they asked.

As far as young people are concerned, the creators said, “We think it is something essential.  At a time in which it seems young people are condemned to live in a world immersed in a crisis of values, in a dictatorship of relativism, more than ever we need a vision that puts God at the center of things.”

“As the great saints say, the best way to get to Jesus is through Mary.  If this is true, doesn’t the recitation of the Holy Rosary acquire an even greater importance?”

The creators of May Feelings III said the purpose of the video is two-fold.  “On the one hand, it is to confirm the marvelous reality of the existence of thousands and thousands of priests in the world who give their lives for the Church, especially at a time when society and the media seem to be continuously searching and searching for mistakes and loose ends.  In this sense, we don’t want to get involved in the debate, we just want to put out a positive and optimistic message.”

On the other hand, they said, “We wanted to create a message aimed directly at priests to tell them, ‘Thank you,’ thank you for the work you do. We know that times are difficult right now but we want you to know that just as you do not leave us alone, we will not do so either. We believe the Church is precisely that, a communion of persons united in Christ, and now more than ever we must show that union, and what better way than doing so through prayer, with the intercession of the Virgin Mary through the recitation of the Holy Rosary.”

The video can be seen at:

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Swiss Guards prepare to swear-in 30 new recruits

Vatican City, May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -

The Pontifical Swiss Guard plans to swear-in 30 new recruits during a Thursday ceremony which will also commemorate the 147 guards who died in the Sack of Rome.

Thursday’s ceremony will begin with a Mass for the guard, their families and friends in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Mass will be presided over by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Following the Mass, a ceremony will take place in the courtyard of the Swiss Guard barracks.

Daniel Rudolf Anrig, Commander of the Swiss Guard, will lay a laurel wreath on the monument commemorating the 147 Swiss Guardsmen who gave their lives defending Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome in 1527. Archbishop Fernando Filoni, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, will then confer military decorations on deserving members of the Guard.

In the evening, 30 new recruits will be sworn in as members of the Guard, an elite force charged with the task of safeguarding the Pope. The recruits, per guard requirements, must be between 19 and 30 years old, faithful Roman Catholics and Swiss citizens. Guardsmen commit to serving a minimum of 25 months, after which they can chose to leave or be promoted to sergeant.

Among those present at this year's swearing-in ceremony will be Doris Leuthard, president of the Swiss Confederation, and Peter Stutz, chief-of-staff, who will represent the Swiss army. Also participating as guest of honor will be the council of the Canton of San Gallen. The town band of the city of Uzwil will play a concert in the courtyard of the barracks on May 7.

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Arizona immigration law shows need for reform, Archbishop Chaput writes

Denver, Colo., May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Arizona’s new immigration law has some flaws but shows the brokenness of the immigration system, Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput has said. Urging Congress to act, he noted the dangers and wrongs of both illegal immigration and the response to it.

Writing in the May 5 edition of the Denver Catholic Register, the archbishop said Americans have a right to safety and to have solvent public institutions, but that cannot come at the cost of immigrants’ basic human rights.

Discussing the controversy about the Arizona state law, he advised Catholics to listen first to the leaders of the Arizona Catholic community.

“They know the situation there best,” he said, adding that their leadership should “set the tone for our own response.”

“Illegal immigration is wrong and dangerous for everyone involved,” he asserted. There is nothing good about people risking their lives to enter the U.S., and there is nothing good about Americans not knowing who crosses their borders, “especially in an age of terrorism, drugs and organized violent crime.”

There is also nothing good about people “living in the shadows,” or families being separated, or “decent people being deported and having to start their lives all over again, sometimes in a country that they no longer -- or never did -- know.”

Although flawed, Archbishop Chaput continued, the Arizona law unintentionally accomplishes the good of bringing immigration reform and its human issues to the forefront of the national discussion.

Noting issues like deportation of breadwinners, the division of families, and the anxiety of non-citizen children who grew up in the U.S., the archbishop declared:

“Our current immigration system is now obviously broken. Congress needs to act.”

He warned that no “credible” immigration reform will take place if the effort becomes “an exercise in partisan maneuvering.”

“Both of our major political parties got our country into our current immigration mess. Both parties bear responsibility for fixing it. Neither will solve it alone,” he explained.

Archbishop Chaput said that the recent debate over national healthcare and its “deeply flawed” legislation compromised confidence in some key federal lawmakers. In his view, Congress now faces an equally difficult task. “This will require a transparency, patience, spirit of compromise and bipartisanship rarely seen in Washington in the best of seasons,” he said.

If the immigration debate divides along parties or becomes entangled with “very different and unnecessary issues” like same-sex relationships, the archbishop warned, “real people will suffer.”

He encouraged people to remember that America was built by immigrants, who are a “blessing” for American society in its economy, culture and religious and moral life.

“The American Catholic community has a long history of welcoming immigrants and helping them integrate into, and enrich, our nation’s life,” his Denver Catholic Register column finished. “Here in Colorado, the Church will continue that work with all of her energy.”

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