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Archive of May 26, 2010

Catholic bishops in Sudan fear recent election could lead to war, says media group

Konigstein, Germany, May 26, 2010 (CNA) - A media initiative dedicated to promoting the causes of persecuted Christians around the globe reported on Tuesday that Catholic bishops in Sudan fear that the country's recent election could lead to escalated conflict and eventually war.

“Where God Weeps,” a web, radio and TV initiative created by Catholic Radio and Television Network (CRTN) in cooperation with Aid to the Church in Need, features a particular country every month and recently highlighted the current plight of Christians in Sudan.

In a press release on Tuesday, the organization reported that the recent victory of President Omar al Bashir, in the country's first multi-party election in 24 years, has given Catholic bishops cause for concern. In addition to being indicted by the international criminal court for war crimes, the newly elected president is worried to be supportive of an Islamic state ruled by Shari'a law.

Reports have also indicated foul play and voter intimidation during the country's recent election.

The Islamic political vision of President Bashir goes against the semi-autonomous southern region of Sudan, which hopes to separate into an independent country. The subject of the south's independence will be a crucial topic in next January's referendum.

Catholic leaders also worry that unresolved issues between the north and south will negatively affect the Comprehensive Peace Agreement Act (CPA). The Act was established in 2005 and ended more than 20 years of civil war between the Khartoum-based Islamic government in the north and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) of the south. Both groups have been granted a temporary power-sharing deal.

Bishop Macram Gassis of El Obeid reported that both groups are also arming themselves. 

“It needs just one single shot to explode and we will go back to the bush,” where many people lived during the country's 21 year civil war, the bishop said.  “The north-south civil war cost the lives of 1.5 million people.”

“We are in the hands of God. We ask God to save us from breaking down and going back to the gun.”  The prelate continued explaining, “the gun will not solve the problem. We do not know what the solution will be, but we keep on praying, we are in his hands, we are his children.””

For more information, please visit: http://www.wheregodweeps.org/

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Law professors from 11 countries urge repeal of ban on crucifixes

Rome, Italy, May 26, 2010 (CNA) - Thirty-seven law professors from countries around the globe have written to the European Court of Human Rights, urging them to overturn a ruling that banned crucifixes from Italian classrooms.

In their comments to the court, professors from 11 countries throughout the world cautioned that failing to overturn the ruling could incite a hostile relationship between the government and religion in Europe and could even threaten to unravel the “tapestry” of European civilization, according to the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty.

In November of last year, the court ruled in favor of local mother Soile Lautsi's case to remove religious symbols, including crucifixes, from public schools in Italy to ensure her children's right to a secular education.

On March 2 of this year, the European Court accepted an appeal from the Italian government, thereby  temporarily allowing crucifixes to remain in classrooms throughout the country while the appeal is pending. The Grand Chamber of the Court, located in Strasbourg, France, will hold a hearing in the case on June 30.

The professors stressed in their comments to the court that the “attempt to exile religious symbols and ideas from the public square would be foolhardy, because religious symbols and religious ideas are an integral part of the tapestry of European civilization.”

“Pull out that thread,” they warned, “and the entire tapestry unravels.”

Eric Rassbach, national litigation director at the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty, who helped draft the submissions to the court, said on Tuesday that a “ban on religious symbols that offend someone, somewhere, is a ban on all religious symbols.”

Speaking on the upcoming June 30 ruling, Rassbach said that rather “than announcing a State crusade against religion, the Court should recognize that religion and government can be harmonious with each other.”

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US government brief criticizes abuse lawsuit against Vatican

Washington D.C., May 26, 2010 (CNA) - In a lawsuit attempting to sue the Vatican for sexual abuse by a priest, the U.S. government has for the most part sided with the Vatican and against an appellate court’s argument that a U.S. court can hear the case. The government’s argument may significantly hinder the lawsuit.

The suit, Doe v. Holy See, was filed in 2002 on behalf of a man who claimed he was sexually abused by a priest in Oregon in the mid-1960s. The priest had previously been accused of abusing children in Ireland and Chicago.

The Holy See was one of the defendants named in a lawsuit that argues the Vatican should be held accountable for moving the priest to Oregon, where he conceivably could continue to abuse.

Jeffrey Lena, the U.S. attorney for the Vatican, said that the plaintiff has not provided evidence that the Vatican moved the priest or had control over him.

The U.S. Solicitor General’s office submitted an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals misapplied the Sovereign Immunities Act. The act covers when U.S. courts can hear cases against other countries.

The brief noted that the Holy See is recognized as a foreign sovereign by the U.S. and the two states have maintained diplomatic relations since 1984. It argued that a U.S. court may not use a U.S. state’s liability rule to expand the exceptions to sovereign immunity.

The priest’s sexual abuse was also “not within the scope of the priest’s employment,” according to the solicitor general’s office, which advised the case be vacated and remanded back to the appellate court.

David Bederman, an international law expert at Emory University School of Law, told the Wall Street Journal that “the door may still be cracked a bit” for the plaintiff but “there’s not a lot of daylight showing.”

Jeffrey Anderson, the plaintiff’s lawyer, said the brief was “a little perplexing” but he noted that the government did not recommend more drastic action like dismissing the case.

While the Supreme Court is not required to follow the government’s recommendation, it is often heavily influenced by its judgment in cases concerning relations with foreign officials or nations.

CNA spoke about the case with J.D. Flynn, a canon lawyer who is vice-chancellor of the Archdiocese of Denver.

“The Catholic Church is often attacked for being this kind of huge, monolithic structure. Ordinarily we try to say that’s not what or who we are,” he commented.

In his view the case was “a perfect example of cultural misperception of the Catholic Church, coming now into the legal forum.”

Though the suit tried to depict bishops as employees or agents of the Vatican, Flynn said the bishops themselves are “apostles of Christ” who “act with great personal responsibility for their own particular churches.”

“We don’t want our civil law system to tell us that the apostles are less than who they really are,” he added.

To read the Solicitor General's brief, click here.

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Mexican cardinal urges priests to be 'divine anchors' for humanity

Mexico City, Mexico, May 26, 2010 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, called on priests this week to be transformed by the Holy Spirit and become “divine anchors" for humanity.

During an ordination Mass for 16 new priests at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Cardinal Rivera said, “You will make a great contribution to humanity because you will be a bridge to redemption, the people of God will find in you a divine anchor. The Spirit will transform you into a living image of hope so that you can encourage the faithful to continue walking as true disciples of Christ.”

“Only the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, can transform you into something that you never imagined, to make Christ present on earth at every moment and in every place,” he added.

Likewise, the cardinal urged the new priests to put all of their virtues and skills at the service of evangelization. “I have always liked to work,” he said.  “If there is anything I have learned to do in life it is to work.  And if the Lord called me to be a priest, it was to put my skills and qualities at his service by working,” he said.

Cardinal Rivera also invited the faithful to pray for priests, encouraging them “to give of themselves always with joy for the Gospel.”

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Priestly authority comes only from Jesus, Pope Benedict teaches

Vatican City, May 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -

In his last catechesis on the priesthood, Pope Benedict dedicated his Wednesday audience address to the authority that priests receive from Jesus, emphasizing that it must be used in service of people, not as an end in itself. He also asked for prayers to conclude the Year for Priests for all the ordained, including himself.

In the company of 25,000 ticket-holding attendees and hundreds more people who showed up besides, Benedict XVI dedicated his last catechesis on the essential tasks of priests to the necessity of priests working in service of the "true, ultimate good" of the person through his exercise of the priestly authority given him by Christ.

Pope Benedict explained to the crowd of pilgrims that today he wanted to look at what priestly authority means in the contemporary context, focusing specifically on how it comes from “the Lord's command to feed His sheep."

"The regimes which spread death and terror last century are a powerful reminder that authority, in all fields, when exercised without reference to the transcendent, when it ignores the supreme authority that is God Himself, inevitably ends up by turning against man,” the Holy Father said.

“It is important, then, to recognize that human authority is never an end but always and only a means, and that, necessarily and at all times, the end is always the person."

This authority, said the Holy Father, is "a precious help" towards the full realization of Christ and salvation.

Pope Benedict also touched on the Church's hierarchy, noting that the public often thinks it is of "an element of subordination, ... and for many people this contrasts with the flexibility and vitality of pastoral service.”

But this is “an erroneous interpretation which has its origins in the abuses of history," he explained. "The true meaning is of a sacred origin, it is an authority that comes from another, and subjects the person to the mystery of Christ, making him His servant. Only as His servant can he govern and guide, for Christ and with Christ."

"Exercised in the Lord's name, it is an expression of the constant presence and care of the Good Shepherd."

He went on to say that it is through the ministry of the priest that the Lord loves humankind, reaching souls through them in order to instruct, safeguard and guide them. This ministry, he taught, in addition to its foundation on the sacrament of Holy Orders, requires "above all, the continuous and progressive willingness to let Christ himself govern the priestly existence."

"In fact," the Pope added no one is really capable of nourishing the flock of Christ, if he doesn't live a profound and real obedience to Christ and the Church … "

This authority, then, through faith "remains a service to the building up of the church in holiness unity and truth." And, said Pope Benedict, the only place a priest can find the strength to carry out such a total devotion to the flock is Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI called for priests to be fearless in guiding every individual to Christ, through obedience to Christ's will, with the "solid certainty that the proclamation of the Gospel is the greatest service that one can do for man."

He concluded by inviting everyone to pray for priests, bishops and also for him as the Successor of St. Peter, who has "a specific duty in governing the Church of Christ."

"Pray that we might know how to take care of all of the sheep in the flock entrusted to us, also those who are lost."

The Holy Father also renewed his invitation to all priests of the world to attend the concluding celebrations for the Year for Priests, set to take place in Rome from June 9-11. During the convention, he said, they will meditate on aspects of their ministry and renew their priestly vows.

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Pope receives Muslim, Orthodox delegations hoping for improved relations

Vatican City, May 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - L'Osservatore Romano reported several hopeful encounters the Holy Father had after Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square. Hopes for improved inter-religious relations were brought to the Pope by a Muslim-Catholic joint delegation from Canada and a Catholic archbishop located in Moscow.

Leaders of the Sunni, Sciite and Druze communities of Lebanese descent now residing in Canada told the Pope that "Co-existence between Christians and Muslims is possible" and is the key to peace in the Middle East.

"Our faiths are different but don't oppose each other and our experience in Canadian society tells us that it is fundamental to get to know each other and learn to coexist," they said.

The Maronite Bishop of Montreal, Joseph Khoury, who was also there on Wednesday with the Canadian Muslim group, highlighted the historic quality of the inter-religious initiative.

Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of Mother of God in Moscow told Pope Benedict that forward progress is being made in Russian Orthodox-Catholic dialogue. Pointing to the recent "Days of Russian Culture and Spirituality in the Vatican" as an example, he noted, "with the Orthodox there is a new friendliness, and also at the Moscovite level we are noticing progress that is registered at maximum levels."

He also told L'Osservatore that the possibility of creating a "common family pastoral ministry" exists, and that "cardinal points" for ministry, decided on by both Churches, would be the focus. The Italian-born archbishop came with 25 priests from the archdiocese and reported 80 newly-confirmed Catholics in the area last weekend.

Others to meet with the Pope after the audience included an Iraqi delegation, composed of representatives from the nation's tribes, the nation's cultural affairs and the Church. Among the 25,000-plus people who came to the audience were: 6,000 Italians who attended in remembrance the Pope's pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo a year ago next month; 1,100 in thanksgiving for Saturday's beatification of Teresa Manganiello and nearly 300 registered school and pilgrim groups from the United States.

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Archbishop Chaput: Pope is not CEO and bishops are not his employees

Denver, Colo., May 26, 2010 (CNA) - In the midst of lawsuits attempting the implicate the Vatican for the failure of individual bishops to properly handle clerical sex abuse cases, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver stated the the Pope “is not a global CEO” to be held liable, given that bishops are not “his agents or employees.” Instead, he wrote, the Church is “much closer to a confederation of families than to a modern corporation.”

The Denver prelate made his remarks in a First Things article on Wednesday. He began by addressing some of the common misconceptions about Church authority, relating how some Catholics who live in other dioceses have assumed that he has the authority solve a problem in their area. Those parishioners, he said, have even gotten “annoyed” with him for not becoming involved with issues outside his jurisdiction.

“I have neither the authority nor the bad sense to meddle in the life of a sister local Church,” he said, adding that he won't “intrude on the ministry of a brother bishop,” who is “the chief teaching and governing authority in his own local Church.”

Turning to the Pope, Archbishop Chaput wrote, “the bishop of Rome is uniquely different.” “He is first among brothers; yet he also has real authority as pastor of the whole Church.”

“But he is not a global CEO, and Catholic bishops are not – and never have been – his agents or 'employees,'” the  prelate stressed. “It's useful to remember this today as lawyers try ingeniously to draw the Vatican into America's on-going sex-abuse saga.”

Archbishop Chaput then referred to the case where attorney William McMurry is attempting to lodge a federal lawsuit against the Vatican in Louisville, Kentucky.

McMurry is seeking class-action status for a case involving three men who claim they were abused by priests decades ago. He also represented 243 sex abuse victims who settled with the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2003 for $25.3 million.

“In O'Bryan vs. the Holy See, currently being heard in U.S. district court in Kentucky,” the archbishop wrote, “plaintiffs' attorneys seek to depose Vatican officials – including potentially the Pope himself – to determine what they knew and allegedly ignored or covered up about the handling of clergy sex-abuse cases by American bishops.” 

“The plaintiffs' legal argument hinges on the premise that bishops are, in effect, Roman-controlled employees or officials,” he added. “But that argument is not merely false in practice; it is also revolutionary in its consequences. In effect, it seeks to redefine the nature of the Church in a manner favorable to plaintiffs' attorneys, but alien to her actual structure and identity.”

“To put it another way,” Archbishop Chaput said, “plaintiffs' attorneys want a federal court to tell the Church who she really is, whether she agrees or not, and then to penalize her for being what she isn't.”

“Every bishop in the United States has a filial love for the Holy Father and a fraternal respect for his brother bishops,” he continued. “But these family-like words – filial, fraternal, brother – are not mere window-dressing. They go to the heart of how the Catholic community understands and organizes itself, and more importantly, how the Church actually conducts herself, guided by her own theology and canon law.”

“The Church is much closer to a confederation of families than to a modern corporation,” the Denver  archbishop explained. “And this has real, everyday results. In practice, the influence of the Holy See on the daily life of the Archdiocese of Denver is strong in matters of faith and morals.” 

“But in the operational decisions of our local Church, the Holy See’s influence is remote. In 22 years as a bishop, my problems have never included a controlling or intrusive Vatican.” 

“We live in ironic times,” Archbishop Chaput remarked. “Critics of the Catholic Church in the 19th century conjured up a monolithic Roman Church to frighten America's Protestant masses. Today – when that Roman strawman is even less believable – they rather like the idea of the Catholic Church as a Vatican-controlled monolith, no matter how far that myth is from real Church life, the better to sue her.”

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Fatima secret has been fully revealed, insists shrine rector

Lisbon, Portugal, May 26, 2010 (CNA) -

The rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Father Virgilio Antunes, said this week that there is nothing left to reveal about the Fatima secret. He explained that its prophetic message “needs to be seen in an open way” and not in close relation to one particular “historical event or another.”

“Some thought it was limited to Pope John Paul II: the ‘bishop dressed in white,’ who was protected by Our Lady in St. Peter’s Square, and to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the changes in the totalitarian regimes of Eastern Europe and the suffering of the Church in the 20th century,” he told the Ecclesia news agency.

The message of Fatima, he said, includes “all of the sufferings of humanity and the Church.”

“Everything indicates that the Fatima prophecy is one that helps to us to interpret the events of history and the meaning of history, which will culminate with the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary ... the joy of God for the salvation of humanity,” the priest said.

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Pope sends donation to flood victims in Poland

Vatican City, May 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Responding to the devastation wrought by the torrential rains and subsequent flooding in Poland during recent weeks, the Holy Father has sent a financial gift to the Polish Church.
 
The storm began in Poland roughly two weeks ago, according to Polish Radio reports, first flooding the southern section of the country and now wreaking havoc in the north. The latest news reports say that 15 people have died and tens of thousands more have been displaced.

On Wednesday, the Vatican announced it was sending a monetary gift to the president of the bishops of Poland, Archbishop of Przemysl Jozef Michalik, to help the those in need.

The statement accompanying the donation, which was made through the Vatican’s charity COR UNUM, included Benedict XVI’s wish to express his closeness to the victims of the disaster through the gift. He also offered his “paternal encouragement” to those in position to assist the Polish in relief efforts.

According Polish Radio, Poland’s prime minister, Donald Tusk, has estimated that flood damage could cost over 2.5 billion euros to repair. Emergency financial assistance has been asked of the European Union, but the country is holding off on declaring  a state of emergency as it would disrupt the plans to hold presidential elections on June 20.

Tusk said last week that making such a declaration would do little to bring  relief to the flood victims.

The Pontifical Council COR UNUM for Human and Christian Development was established in 1971 by Pope Paul VI and has the mission of expressing "the care of the Catholic Church for the needy, thereby encouraging human fellowship and making manifest the charity of Christ."

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Cardinal shares previously unpublished details about beatification of Fatima chlidren

Lisbon, Portugal, May 26, 2010 (CNA) -

In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, revealed a series of previously unpublished details about the beatification of the shepherd children of Fatima, such as the creation of a commission which concluded that the two children exercised heroic virtues.

Cardinal Martins said the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, which took place 10 years ago this May, was “a historic event because they were the first children to be raised to the altars who were not martyrs.”

“Before them, it was not, in fact, the practice of the Church to canonize children: it was thought that because of their age, they did not have the capability of practicing Christian virtue to a heroic degree, which is the first condition for beatification.  I recall that, in their case, something very interesting was witnessed: thousands of letters from around the world were received in Rome—not only from the faithful but also from bishops and cardinals—that requested the children be beatified,” the cardinal said.

This large number of requests “led to reflection within the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.  John Paul II named a commission of experts—theologians, psychologists, teachers—to study the issue.  After a profound study, the conclusion was that children are capable of practicing the Christian virtues, of course in a manner that is possible for them. Thanks to that conclusion, we were able to proceed with the beatification,” he said.

Speaking about the signs of holiness in Jacinta and Francisco, Cardinal Martins underscored that they displayed “profound piety, fervent devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, to the Virgin Mary and to the Eucharist. Regarding their heroism, they were willing to give up their lives rather than lie. They were threatened, in fact, and pressured to say that the visions were false, but they did not yield to the pressure.”

Referring to the beatification process of Sister Lucia, the third seer who died several years ago, Cardinal Martins said it is still in the diocesan phase, after the five-year waiting period for opening the cause was waived.

Miracles

Cardinal Martins also noted that regarding the investigation of miracles in the beatification process, in order for a miracle to be recognized as such, the cure must be “instantaneous, complete and lasting. If doctors conclude there is no scientific explanation, the documents are then sent to the theologians. They must then determine if there is any link between the cure and the prayer of intercession before God by the candidate for beatification.”

“It’s the theologians, not the doctors, who can then speak of miracles.  Their conclusions are later sent to the cardinals for study and eventual approval."

Then, he continued, the Pope "is the one who ultimately has the last word: the miracle is approved and everything is ready for the beatification."

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Johnny Cash remembered for his faith-based music

Rome, Italy, May 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Johnny Cash was remembered for how his music “sang the faith” in an article published on Sunday in the Italian Bishops’ Conference’s newspaper Avvenire. Without his faith, the article said, "the voice of Cash would not have been the same."

The bishops' newspaper remembered the man who, though he "knew" prison and nearly died of a drug overdose, "still ... at a certain point in his life, took from it a possible Meaning, with a capital letter." Cash dedicated the last of his songs, the paper noted, "to sorrowful, moving hymns to man, inserted within his own faith in a God that gives horizons and hopes to man."

Avvenire also looked at Cash's work by reviewing the album "Ain't No Grave," which it called an "ulterior and touching witness of art imbued with faith and humanity."

Looking at the recently released book “The Man in Black—Commentated Texts”, Avvenire saw Cash as a " young country singer that was educated to respect the earth and believe that there is Someone that governs it."

Later, the paper recalled, he became a "spokesperson of the rejects" in playing concerts for and representing those in jail, "interpreting their repentances and hardships."

Distancing himself from the American dream, the newspaper wrote, he highlights the injustices and tragedies, shedding light on his true personality as a man "for the poor" and "for those who've never read or listened to the words that Jesus said."

Citing the authors of the book, Valter and Francesco Binaghi, who note that Cash's inheritance for the 21st century man is a "voice, guitar and faith," Avvenire asserted that "without faith, the voice of Cash would not have been the same and we would have an example less of how much, (when) wanting to do so, even a guitar can help (us) to live."

Cash, known as the "Man in Black," died of diabetes-associated complications after a prolific singing and songwriting career in Sept. 2003. In his lifetime, he also released an series called "The Johnny Cash Spoken Word New Testament," released on cassette in 1989 and later on CD in 2003.

About the spoken word recordings, he wrote that he approached each session "with fear, respect, awe and reverence for the subject matter. I also did it with a great deal of joy, because I love the Word."

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Phoenix bishop receives worldwide support for stand on abortion

CNA STAFF, May 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Following an Arizona bishop's condemnation of an abortion that occurred at a local Catholic hospital, prominent Catholic leaders from around the globe are voicing their support for the prelate, writing that they “stand in solidarity” with him amid fierce criticism from the media.

On Friday of last week, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix publicly condemned an abortion that took place late last year in the city's St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. The mother was 11 weeks pregnant and was seriously ill with pulmonary hypertension, the Washington Post reported.

An ethics committee which included doctors and hospital executive Sr. Margaret McBride ruled that the abortion was necessary. Sr. Margaret McBride later told Bishop Olmsted that her ruling was “a morally good and allowable act.”

The Arizona prelate stressed on May 14 that the “direct killing of an unborn child is always immoral, no matter the circumstances, and it cannot be permitted in any institution that claims to be authentically Catholic.” He also underlined that any Catholic who “formally cooperates in the procurement of an abortion” is “automatically excommunicated by that action.”

Following the revelation that Sr. McBride has excommunicated herself, Bishop Olmsted faced intense criticism from various media outlets over his statement on the matter.

On May 23, 71 prominent Catholic individuals—including Vatican officials, academics, medical professionals and pro-life leaders—signed a joint statement in support of the Phoenix bishop and his position.

“We the undersigned are aware of the strong defense of Catholic teaching recently propounded by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, in the case of an abortion that occurred in St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center,” the statement reads.

“We are also aware of the hostility toward Bishop Olmsted created by a media dedicated to watering down Catholic teaching,” the leaders continue. “We take this opportunity to stand in solidarity with Bishop Olmsted in his defense of truth and life as we also offer our prayers for those who were involved with this direct act of cruelty.”

Signatories of the International Declaration of Support included multiple members of the Pontifical Academy for life, such as Christine de Vollmer, Fr. John Fleming and Msgr. Michel Schooyans. Other signatories were Austin Ruse, president of Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute; Steven Mosher, president of Population Research Institute, and Dr. Jan Hemstad, president elect of Catholic Medical Association.

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Archbishop Gomez warmly welcomed in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, Calif., May 26, 2010 (CNA) -

Archbishop Jose Gomez was officially welcomed at a Rite of Reception Mass in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on Wednesday, a move that begins his ministry within the southern California community.

Archbishop Gomez, currently the Coadjutor Archbishop of the L.A. Archdiocese, will succeed Cardinal Roger Mahony, who will retire at the age of 75 in February of next year.

An estimated 4,000 people, including 59 bishops and 411 priests, attended the multilingual celebration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

When Cardinal Mahony introduced Archbishop Gomez at the beginning of the Mass, the archbishop was greeted by a standing ovation. Among those present at the ceremony were Cardinal Justin Regali of Philadelphia and Cardinal William Leveda.

Cardinal Mahony opened his homily by focusing on the day's Gospel reading, where Christ tells St. Peter, “upon this rock, I will build my Church.”

“It is Jesus himself who is the cornerstone of God's plan of salvation in every age,” the cardinal emphasized. “He is ever at work building up his Church. Jesus alone is the supreme shepherd of the flock.”

“Today we recognize that Jesus is present in our midst as when he commissioned Peter,” he noted. “ As I near the end of my time of tending this corner of the vineyard, the shepherd's staff is being passed to Archbishop Gomez.”

“Mahony goes, Gomez comes, but Christ alone endures.”

During his homily, Cardinal Mahony also praised the leadership of Archbishop Gomez and implored him to focus his efforts on increasing the number of priests and consecrated men and women within the archdiocese.

After the homily, Sister Mary Elizabeth Galt, chancellor of the Archdiocese, presented the Apostolic Letter from Rome announcing the archbishop's appointment.

Cardinal Mahony formally accepted the letter, and asked the congregation if they were willing to accept Archbishop Gomez, to which they replied, “We are.”

Following Communion, Archbishop Gomez addressed the congregation, speaking of his pleasure at being in Los Angeles. Switching fluidly between English and Spanish, Archbishop Gomez tearfully accepted the warm welcome and entrusted his ministry to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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