Vatican City, Jun 7, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Holy See made public a letter today showing that the Holy Father appointed Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, to represent the Pope at the upcoming Eucharistic Congress in Slovenia.
The congress, which is the country's first since 1937, will take place in Celje on June 13 with the theme “Eucharist - God's gift for life,” according to the Slovenian Press Agency (STA). Some 25,000 participants are expected for the event which will highlight the importance of the Mass and solidarity among believers.
The news agency quoted Archbishop Anton Stres of Ljubljana as saying that the Holy Father's decision to send the Vatican Secretary of State as a representative is a sign that he cares very much for the country and its efforts.
STA also reported that Lojze Grozde, a young Catholic man who is believed to have been tortured and killed by the partisans during WWII, is expected to be proclaimed the first Slovenian martyr. In March 2010, Pope Benedict issued a general declaration of martyrdom for Grozde.
The Vatican announced that those accompanying Cardinal Bertone will be Msgr. Janez Gril, editor of the “Druzina” Catholic weekly; Fr. Bogdan Kolar S.D.B, history professor at Ljubljana University; Msgr. Lech Piechota, official of the Secretariat of State; Msgr. Guillermo Javier Karcher, official of the Secretariat of State and a master of pontifical ceremonies, and Fr. Roberto Lucchini, nunciature secretary in service at the Secretariat of State.
Ankara, Turkey, Jun 7, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - While a funeral for Bishop Luigi Padovese, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia was being held in Iskenderun, Turkey today, new reports from the Turkish media are questioning the alleged insanity of Murat Altun, the personal driver and murderer of the Italian-born bishop.
Altun, 26, who had been working as an assistant and driver to Bishop Padovese for four years, was arraigned last Friday, accused of being the sole killer of the Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia.
The first official reports said that Altun killed the bishop during a temporary moment of insanity, a claim that Altun's lawyer confirmed.
Nevertheless, on Monday, the Turkish TV station NTV announced that Altun has admitted that the brutal murder of the bishop—who received more than 25 knife wounds, eight of them in the heart, and had his head almost completely severed from his body—was the action of a "divine inspiration to kill the great Satan."
It was also reported by NTV that Altun shouted “Allah Akbar!” several times after the murder, despite his alleged conversion to Catholicism.
The killer's lawyer insisted on Monday that his client suffers "mental problems," and had finished a psychiatric treatment before the murder; but witnesses contacted by NTV say Altun never showed signs of mental problems during his four years as the bishop's driver.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jun 7, 2010 (CNA) - In an interview last week the president of the Bishops’ Committee for Social Ministry, Bishop Alcides Jorge Pedro Casaetto, called on Argentineans to “promote comprehensive development” as the “key to eradicating poverty” in the country. This should be a priority for leaders as they mark the country’s Bicentennial from 2010-2016, he added.
The bishop made his comments in reference to the Mar del Plata Social Week, which will take place June 25-27 under the theme, “Consensus for Comprehensive Development.”
The purpose of the Social Week is to “continue working on the priority of the 2010-2016 Bicentennial to eradicate poverty and promote comprehensive development. This great cause of justice and social inclusion is the fundamental mission,” he said.
“The bishops of Argentina have proposed that this be a national priority in our document, ‘Towards a Bicentennial in Justice and Solidarity,’ and in the Aparecida document,” he added.
Asked about what is necessary to achieve a consensus, Bishop Casaretto said it must be achieved by addressing those who suffer most and who expect action “from all those who have been given political responsibilities.”
“These six years of the Bicentennial can be a great opportunity, a time of conversion for growing in social awareness and in an authentic culture of justice, solidarity and the just distribution of wealth,” he remarked.
Bishop Casaretto said he hoped the participants in the Social Week would embrace the eradication of poverty in their hearts, minds and actions, thus inspiring the country’s leaders to prioritize the comprehensive development of the individual and society, awakening new vocations to social and political work, and recovering the value of health activism.”
“The leaders of the Bicentennial will be those who make service to neighbor and the common good a priority,” he said.
Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 7, 2010 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, expressed hope this week that not everything in the world is lost because the world is sustained through prayer.
“Nevertheless, the dark reality of evil is stands out most. But good will always triumph, although kindness goes unnoticed,” the cardinal said. “If world has not collapsed it is because of so much prayer and sacrifice that rises up from this valley of tears towards the Kingdom of Grace and of the Beauty of God,” he said during Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christ.
There are many people who seek to do good, he pointed out, such as parents who educate their children in the faith, politicians who strive to ensure the well-being of the people, doctors who defend life from the moment of conception, and many other men and women “who go against the tide to bear witness to the truth.”
Cardinal Rivera also urged the faithful to draw close to the Eucharist, the “source of humanization: the incarnate Word comes down from heaven to encounter his brothers and sisters of mankind face to face, and he walks with them, guiding them by the hand so they do not succumb” to the pressures of modernity.
San Luis, Argentina, Jun 7, 2010 (CNA) - Bishop Jorge Luis Lona of San Luis, Argentina said last week that both “same-sex marriage and civil unions would constitute unjust discrimination against true marriage and the family. Citing a recent statement from the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina, he said the bishops leave no room for doubt in their opposition to such proposals.
Bishop Lona’s comments came in response to an article in which a journalist “who is known for his experience and knowledge of Church affairs,” and is “published in one the most widely circulated newspapers in the country, made himself the official spokesman of the bishops and said the Church has decided to support the alternative of civil unions.”
“We are simply amazed at the lack of logic that borders on the absurd. But we also have the responsibility to clear this issue up for the public and for the senators of our province, so that they can be voices that bring light to this debate that is threatened by confusion,” the bishop said in his statement.
Bishop Lona noted that the bishops of Argentina have clearly stated that making same-sex “marriage” legal would constitute discrimination against marriage and the family.
Warsaw, Poland, Jun 7, 2010 (CNA) -
Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko, a Polish priest and martyr who died in 1984, was beatified in Warsaw on June 6 in a ceremony attended by over 100,000 people.
The open air Mass and beatification ceremony was celebrated by 120 bishops and 1,600 priests in Warsaw's Pilsudski Square. Among them were Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow and Cardinal Adam Maida, Archbishop Emeritus of Detroit.
The Polish martyr’s 90-year old mother, Marianna Popieluszko, was also present for his beatification.
In December of 2009, Pope Benedict declared the late Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko a martyr. An advocate for freedom, the priest was known for his “Masses for the Homeland” during the early 1980s, when Poland was severely oppressed by the communist regime and under martial law. Fr. Jerzy was also the chaplain of Lech Walesa’s Solidarity Movement, the first trade union to be acknowledged by the Soviets.
The 37-year-old priest was abducted by the Polish Secret Police in 1984, along with his driver. He was bound, gagged, beaten and stuffed in the trunk of a car. Though he tried to escape, he was beaten again before being shoved into a sack and thrown, alive, into the river. Fr. Jerzy's driver escaped to tell of his murder, yet his body was not found for almost two weeks.
His funeral was attended by hundreds of thousands of people who sought to demonstrate their defiance of the communist regime.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, read Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Letter on the beatification of Fr. Jerzy in Latin to the thousands gathered for the ceremony, followed Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw who then read the letter in Polish.
Cardinal Amato also gave the homily during the celebratory Mass, in which he spoke of Fr. Jerzy’s courage and his dedication to the truth. Noting the way the priest was treated at the hands of the police, it would seem that he was a dangerous criminal, the prelate said.
However, Fr. Jerzy was simply a faithful priest who defended the Gospel which declared that mankind’s inherent dignity and freedom were not in line with Marxist principles. That is why the forces of darkness unleashed great lies, violence, oppression and evil against him, the cardinal added.
Emphasizing that Fr. Jerzy’s faith had a great impact on those around him, Cardinal Amato called the blessed martyr a heroic witness and an exemplary figure for priests at the end of this Year for Priests.
On Sunday, Pope Benedict also paused a moment during his Apostolic Visit to Cyprus. Before the Angelus, the Holy Father spoke in Polish, commemorating the Polish priest whose sacrificial ministry and martyrdom “are a special sign of the victory of good over evil.”