Archive of June 1, 2010

Bishops must serve others, teaches Argentinean cardinal

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jun 1, 2010 (CNA) - During the ordination of a new auxiliary bishop for Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio recalled that the “episcopate means service and duty, not honor. And more than just presiding, a bishop needs to serve others.”

The cardinal pointed out that “a bishop has no right to lose his patience,” and he implored the new auxiliary bishop, Most Rev. Vicente Bokalic, CM, to keep his heart free of “pride, arrogance and vanity.” He urged the new prelate not to view the episcopate as a means of advancing his career.

Love everyone entrusted to you by God “with the love of a father and a brother,” the cardinal told him, especially “the poor and the weak, homeless and those with nothing.” Departing from his prepared remarks, he added, “Do not forget them, and do not be scandalized when you find them sleeping in front of the doors of churches.”

The new 57-year-old bishop said, “I feel humbled by such a grace,” and then quoted the words of St. Augustine, “With you I am a Christian, for you I am a bishop.”

Before his ordination, Bishop Bokalic was provincial superior of the Vincentian Fathers and was pastor of the Parish of the Miraculous Medal.

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Opposition to abortion on the rise in Mexico, writes journalist

Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 1, 2010 (CNA) - Mexican journalist Enrique Sanchez published an article in the magazine, Impacto, this week pointing out that a recent forum in Baja California demonstrates that the pro-life movement in Mexico is growing.

The “Citizens' Forum” was held last weekend in the city of Los Cabos in the Mexican state of Baja California.

In his article, Sanchez noted that during the forum, “Southern Baja California became the center of opposition to abortion, demonstrated by 21,000 notarized signatures” on a petition filed in court calling on the state's Congress to respond to a proposal which would guarantee the right to life.

Speakers at the forum included Mexican actor Eduardo Verastegui; Lianna Rebolledo, a 33-year-old woman whose 13-year-old son was conceived through rape; and representatives from numerous organizations.  They all called on the state's Congress to recognize the demand from society for protection for human life.

During her remarks, constitutional lawyer Ingrid Tapia questioned the recent ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court allowing the use of the morning-after pill in cases of rape.

The anti-life norms upheld by the court have led “nearly one thousand hospitals and private clinics to request protection against implementing the directives, as the distribution of the morning-after pill in cases of rape was made obligatory, but the distribution free-of-charge of the drug was not established,” she said.

In addition, “Conscientious objection was not taken in to account, and since the pill is abortifacient when taken 72 hours after sexual relations, there will be medical personnel who will refuse to administer it,” Sanchez said. 

“The state says, if you kill it, we’ll support you.  If not, you’ll be left alone,” he added.

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Celibacy does not deny priests their sexuality or freedom, asserts French seminary rector

Rome, Italy, Jun 1, 2010 (CNA) - In an interview with the French daily, La Croix, Father Luc Crepy, rector of the Seminary of Orleans in France, underscored that a priest's choice of celibacy does not deny his sexuality, but contributes to an intense freedom to serve God and the faithful.

During the interview, which was then published by L’Osservatore Romano, Father Crepy made several distinctions.  “First of all, it must be noted that sexuality is not limited to the genital dimension, and thus the emotional life is much vaster than the sexual life, although the latter is of obvious importance.”

“In the seminary, we are concerned not only with this particular dimension of the future priest, as important as it is,” he said, “but also with promoting the comprehensive development of the future priest, keeping in mind full breadth of human formation.”

Father Crepy went on to explain several concrete measures that were implemented  in accord with John Paul II’s pastoral letter, “Pastores Dabo Vobis.”  These measures include attention to community life, reflection on sexuality and development for future pastoral life.  “The purpose is to unify one’s own life, to bring together all of its dimensions,” he said.

After commenting that the priest freely renounces having sexual relations, just as a husband renounces other women and loves only his own wife, Father Crepy underscored that “in order for everything to have meaning it is necessary to learn how to renounce.”

“One does not enter the seminary only for the purpose of remaining celibate,” he continued, noting that “celibacy has a broader meaning of service to the Church and love for Christ.”

“How does celibacy fit into a global life plan?” he asked.  “If it is seen as shackles on one’s feet, then it will not work.  The question that needs to be asked is this: In the desire to be a priest, how does celibacy and the renouncing what it implies take on meaning and become part of the priestly life?”

“Just because one is a priest does not mean one does not have sexuality,” Father Crepy stressed.  “It is a life-style choice and a way to give meaning to one’s sexuality in a life that transcends it without denying it.  What is at stake is the living out of one’s sexuality in a liberating way: in the choice of celibacy, there is a dimension of freedom.”

“But, let’s be careful,” he added. “Sexuality, whether regarding priests or married couples, is a balance that must always be maintained throughout one’s entire life.”

In addressing the challenges priests face in living their sexuality appropriately, Father Crepy pointed out that “each age revisits the issue of sexuality.  It is not a purely intimate and personal matter, as is often believed.  It is influenced by the culture.  It is true that in a highly eroticized society, which values genital expression to the detriment of a broader sexuality, this is not evident.  People want things right away, and this goes against long-term sexual harmony.”

“I believe that sexuality is one of the most interesting but most difficult areas in which we must exercise our freedom,” he said.

Father Crepy pointed to several aids to help priests, such as meeting together regularly, receiving spiritual direction from a more experienced priest and meeting with their bishops, in order to avoid the loneliness that can be a difficult experience for some.

“A meeting between the bishop and every young priest a year after his ordination can be helpful, as well as constant attention from the vicar general.  All of this is undoubtedly necessary so that young priests, amidst the difficulties inherent in the first years of the priesthood, are not alone,” he said.

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Modern men and women have 'profound longing' for Jesus, says Pope

Vatican City, Jun 1, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - At a traditional procession in the Vatican gardens marking the end of May, the Holy Father addressed the thousands of faithful who gathered to pray the Rosary. The Pope encouraged the faithful, saying, modern “men and women have a profound longing” for Jesus, even if they appear to be “rejecting Him.”

On Monday evening, a gathering of several thousand people processed by candlelight and recited the  Rosary in the Vatican gardens, processing from the Church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. At 9:00 p.m. the Pope arrived at the Grotto, was greeted by choir music, and briefly addressed the faithful before giving an apostolic blessing.

Reflecting on the day's celebration of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin to her cousin Elizabeth, the Holy Father remarked that in this act, “we recognize the clearest example and the truest meaning of our path as believers and the path of the Church itself. By its nature, the Church is called to proclaim the Gospel everywhere and at all times, to spread the faith to every man and woman and to every culture.”

“Mary remained with Elizabeth for three months to offer her loving nearness, concrete assistance, and all the everyday services that were needed,” he added. “In this way, Elizabeth becomes the symbol of the many aged and ill, even more, of all those who need assistance and love.”

“How many of these persons there are today in our families, in our communities, in our cities! And Mary – who called herself 'the handmaid of the Lord' – made herself the servant of mankind. More specifically, she served the Lord whom she encountered in her brothers and sisters.”

“It should be noted,” the Pope said, “that 'Mary's charity' is not limited to concrete assistance but achieves its highest form in bestowing Jesus himself, in 'making him present.”

“This is the heart and the height of the evangelical mission. This is the true meaning and the most genuine purpose of every missionary path: to offer human beings the living and personal Gospel, which is the Lord Jesus himself.”

“Jesus,” the Holy Father stated, “is the true and only treasure that we have to give humanity.”

“Today's men and women have a profound longing for Him,” he underscored, “including when it seems they are ignoring or rejecting Him. The society we live in, Europe, the entire world has great need of Him.”

In his concluding remarks, Benedict XVI stated that “we have been entrusted with this extraordinary responsibility. Let us live it with joy and devotion so that ours might truly be a civilization in which truth, justice, liberty, and love reign, the fundamental and irreplaceable pillars of a truly shared life that is ordered and peaceful.”

“Let us live this responsibility remaining steadfast in listening to the Word of God, in communal life, in breaking of the bread, and in our prayers,” he exhorted. “May this be the grace that together this evening we ask of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.”

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Vatican spokesman condemns loss of life in flotilla clash

Vatican City, Jun 1, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - In written remarks to journalists yesterday, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi condemned the recent “unnecessary loss of human life” in an Israeli raid on a flotilla of Palestinian supporters and reiterated the Vatican's concern over the situation.

On Monday, Israeli soldiers raided a Turkish-backed aid flotilla of six vessels that were attempting to break a three-year Israeli naval blockade on the Gaza Strip. After the violent clash, nine Palestinian supporters were killed, according to the Associated Press.

The boats were carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

“It's a very painful fact, especially for the unnecessary loss of human life,” Fr. Lombardi said of yesterday's bloody conflict. “The situation is being followed in the Vatican with great attention and concern.”

“As is known,” he added, “the Holy See is always against the employment of violence – from wherever it may come – because it makes the search for peaceful solutions, the only forward-looking ones, ever more difficult.”

Referring to the Holy Father's upcoming apostolic visit to Cyprus from June 4-6, Fr. Lombardi said the “Pope, who will go within a few days to the Middle East, will not fail to propose again, with constancy, the message of peace.”

During his visit, Benedict XVI will release the “instrumentum laboris” or working document for the Synod of Bishops' Special Assembly for the Middle East that will take place in Rome next October.

Cyprus is considered to be a focal point for Christian efforts in the promotion of peace in the Middle East.

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Cardinal Sodano urges devotion to the Eucharist to build a just and fraternal world

Toledo, Spain, Jun 1, 2010 (CNA) - During the closing Mass for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, invited the faithful to spread the message of Jesus in order to build “a more just and fraternal world.” 

“An authentically Eucharistic Church is a missionary Church,” he said.

“The Eucharist, which makes the sacrifice of Jesus for the entire world present today, makes each of us also into ‘broken bread’ for the service of all and leads us to build a more just and fraternal world,” the cardinal explained in his homily at the Cathedral of Toledo, Spain. “It invites us to be committed with our brothers and sisters to confronting the present-day challenges and make the Earth a place where we live properly as brothers and sisters in Christ.”

“Pope Benedict XVI has also reminded us that we must not keep for ourselves the love we celebrate in the sacrament,” said Cardinal Sodano. “By its nature it demands that we communicate it to all.”

The Eucharist, he added, should be looked upon as “an epiphany of the love of God,” which we “contemplate and adore, thanking the Lord for this continual presence among us.” 

“This is the message that the Holy Father Benedict XVI sends to you through me,” he said.

“The presence of God among us occurs in various ways, but it is in the Eucharist where it finds its highest form,” the cardinal said.  “And we hold Eucharistic Congresses in our ecclesial communities at the national and international levels to celebrate this divine presence, like we are doing today in Toledo, at the heart of this historic Christian community of Spain.”

He noted that the patron of Eucharistic Congress is the Spanish saint, St. Paschal Bailon, “a man of profound Eucharistic devotion which characterized his entire spirituality.” 

“The testimony of faith in the Eucharist by this saint from Spain has always remained alive in the Church up to our own day,” Cardinal Sodano said.

“The Lord has desired to remain with us as the bread of life,” he continued.  “He who is nourished by Christ in the Eucharist does not have to wait for the afterlife in order to receive eternal life, he possesses it on earth as the first fruits of the future fullness.”

“In fact, in the Eucharist we also receive the guarantee of the bodily resurrection at the end of the world,” the cardinal said.

He concluded by encouraging the faithful to seek the intercession of the Mother of God. “Help us, Mary, to sanctify our lives and help us in our mission to proclaim to all men of good will the Gospel of hope, trusting in the continual presence of the Lord in the heart of the world and confident in the perennial validity of his promise.”

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Archbishop Wenski pushes for Catholic presence in public square at installation

Miami, Fla., Jun 1, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - During his highly anticipated installation Mass as leader of the Archdiocese of Miami, Archbishop Thomas Wenski addressed his new flock on Tuesday, reflecting on the challenges faced by the Florida community and asserting that “Catholics should involve themselves in the public square – and do so coherently and unapologetically.”

Archbishop Wenksi made his remarks at the afternoon installation and ordination Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Miami, where earlier he was received by a throng of cheering attendees as the liturgical  procession made its way inside. At the beginning of the Mass, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., read the Holy Father's greeting and appointment of Archbishop Wenski as shepherd of the archdiocese's 1.3 million Catholics.

After the Scripture readings, which were done in Spanish, English and Creole, the new archbishop opened his homily by remarking on the significance of the Miami archdiocese. The native Floridian called the city “a vital part of the various nations from which our people have come: Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia and the rest of the Caribbean, South and Central America.”

“Sometimes, Miami boasts that it is the capital of the hemisphere,” he added. “The presence here today of Bishops from Cuba, Haiti and Puerto Rico, I think, shows that this is no idle boast.”

“Here in the Archdiocese of Miami, we have our problems, our challenges to face - the economic crisis and the closing of schools and more than a dozen parishes, have frustrated everyone and angered many,” he noted. “But let’s not feel sorry for ourselves. Our brothers and sisters in Haiti, Cuba and elsewhere have challenges much more daunting than our own – with far less resources than we have.”

Archbishop Wenski then referred to challenges that the Church faces “inside and outside,” speaking on clerical sex abuse scandals and referencing what Pope Benedict has called the “dictatorship of relativism” in the surrounding culture. The new archbishop explained that this “radically secular world view wishes to reduce faith to the realm of the 'private' and the 'subjective' and thus tries to limit our freedom to serve, whether in health care, education or social services.”

“To a world tempted to live as if God doesn’t matter and therefore a world that teeters on the brink of despair, we, the Church, need to witness to hope by showing– by what we say and do (and by what we won’t do) – how beautiful, how joyful life is when one lives convinced that God does indeed matter.”

“For this reason,” he stressed, “Catholics should involve themselves in the public square – and do so coherently and unapologetically. Thus, we bring to public policy debates on issues of human life dignity, justice and peace, immigration reform, and marriage and the family an understanding of the human person that, while founded on the Christian Scriptures, is also accessible to human reason.”

“While this understanding expressed in the Church’s social teachings can seem to be quite complex, I believe it can be summarized in one simple phrase: no man is a problem,” Archbishop Wenski said.

“This why as Archbishop of Miami I will continue to proclaim a positive and consistent ethic of life: no human being – no matter how poor or how weak - can be reduced to just a problem. When we allow ourselves to think of a human being as a mere problem, we offend his or her dignity.”

“For us, Catholics, therefore, there can be no such thing as a 'problem pregnancy,'” he explained, “only a child who is to be welcome in life and protected by law. The refugee, the migrant – even one without 'papers' –  is not a problem. He may perhaps be a stranger but a stranger to be embraced as a brother.

“Even criminals – for all the horror of their crimes – do not lose their God-given dignity as human beings. They too must be treated with respect, even in their punishment,” he added.

In his concluding remarks, Archbishop Wenski implored the faithful for their encouragement. “As I begin my service to this local Church as its fourth archbishop, I ask for your support, your cooperation – and, most of all, I ask for your prayers.”

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