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Archive of June 21, 2010

Vatican expert announces possible name of delegate to the Legion

Vatican City, Jun 21, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Andrea Tornielli, the Vatican expert from the Italian newspaper Il Giornale, announced in an article on Sunday that Pope Benedict has decided to appoint as Vatican delegate to the troubled Legionaries of Christ Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, C.S., President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

“The Pope has decided the name of the delegate that will take care of the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, acting as a commissioner after the grave crisis and the emergence of the immoralities of the founder Fr. Marcial Maciel. The new delegate will be Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, an accomplished canon lawyer, President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, (a) close (associate of) the Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone,” Tornielli writes.

Tornielli also says that De Paolis’ appointment “will be made public in the upcoming days, with the appointment of the two vice-delegates, one for the Spanish speaking area and the other for the English speaking.”

Adding support to Tornielli’s prediction is that De Paolis was received in a private audience by the Holy Father last Saturday.

Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, who will turn 75 on September 19, was born in Lazio province near Rome, and later became a member of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles, also known as “Scalabrinian Missionaries.” The Congregation was founded by Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrini with the goal of maintaining “the Catholic faith and practice among Italian emigrants to the New World.” With the slowdown of Italian emigration, the congregation and their sister organizations, the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo and the Secular Institute of the Scalabrinian Missionary Women, minister to migrants and refugees around the world.

Archbishop De Paolis received a doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a licentiate in theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, and a law degree at La Sapienza University in Rome.

He was ordained to the priesthood on March 18, 1961, and went on to teach canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Since earning his doctorate in canon law, De Paolis has become an accomplished scholar in the field, teaching at several pontifical universities. He was appointed Dean at the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Urban University in 1998.

On December 30, 2003, Pope John Paul II appointed De Paolis as Secretary of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican equivalent to the Supreme Court.

In April 2008, Pope Benedict appointed him President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, making him the chief auditor for the Vatican.

On January 25 of 2010 he was appointed a member of the Apostolic Signatura, where he will remain on as a member until his 80th birthday.

Archbishop De Paolis has always kept a low profile in the Roman Curia. Nevertheless, inside the Vatican he is not only known as an accomplished canon lawyer, but as one of the top experts on religious life from the canonical standpoint. 

In fact, this year, Marcianum Press published his latest book, a 758-page long work titled “La vita consacrata nella Chiesa” (Consecrated Life in the Church.)

He has been author or co-author of several other books on canon law, religious life and the financing of the Church, including “Non per denaro. Il sostegno economico alla Chiesa,” (Not Because of Money, economic support for the Church.”

In Italy, De Paolis is also known for being very strong on the rare occasions he  makes public statements.

In 2008, he explained that the Vatican denied access to Catholic churches in Rome to the producers of “Angels and Demons,” the Dan Brown novel turned into a film by American director Ron Howard, because Brown had “turned the Gospels upside down to poison the faith."

“It would be unacceptable to transform churches into film sets so that his blasphemous novels can be made into films in the name of business,” he said, adding that Brown’s work “wounds common religious feelings.”

Early this year, he locked horns with the city of Turin after the city council announced a special tax on pilgrims visiting the famous Shroud, to allegedly cover the “carbon footprint” of the buses coming into the city.

“You don’t greet visitors, especially pilgrims, with a tax to offset some debatable costs. You welcome them, not only because their presence already brings benefits to the city, but especially because they come following the deepest motivation of the human soul,” De Paolis said of the proposed tax.

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Pope reminds Catholic bishops of Brazil to 'teach the truth boldly'

Vatican City, Jun 21, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - On Saturday morning, Pope Benedict XVI received prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, who have recently completed their "ad limina" visit. The Pope reminded the prelates that, "as teachers and doctors of the faith, you have the mission to teach the truth boldly and authentically, the truth that must be believed and lived."

He invited them to help the people they shepherd "to rediscover the joy of the faith, the joy of being loved personally by God Who gave His Son for our salvation. ... Put great trust in grace and spread this conviction among your people, that the faith may always be defended and transmitted in all its purity and integrity," he said.

The Holy Father emphasized that the celebration of the Eucharist is the most important duty of the priest. "The duty to sanctify which was given to you, obliges you to promote and encourage prayer in the human city, often turbulent, noisy and forgetful of God.”

“You must create places and opportunities for prayer where, in silence, listening to God in individual and community prayer, human beings can come together and gain a living experience of Jesus Christ Who reveals the true face of the Father,” the Pope advised the bishops. “Parishes and shrines, places of education and of suffering, families, must all become places of communion with the Lord.”

Speaking of the mission to govern, the Pontiff explained that "bishops are also called to judge and discipline the life of the people of God entrusted to their pastoral care, through laws, directives and advice, while following the norms of the universal discipline of the Church.”

“This right and duty is very important in order for the diocesan community to remain united and move forwards in a sincere communion of faith, love and discipline with the Bishop of Rome and with the entire Church,” he said.

“To this end,” Benedict XVI continued, “never tire of giving the faithful a sense of belonging to the Church and of the joy of fraternal communion.”

The Pope went on to say that a bishop's governance "will be pastorally effective 'only if it rests on a moral authority bestowed by his life of holiness. This is what will dispose hearts to accept the Gospel that the bishop proclaims in his Church, as well as the rules which he lays down for the good of the People of God.'”

“Thus each of you, internally forged by the Spirit, will become 'all things to all people,' presenting the truth of the faith, celebrating the Sacraments of our sanctification and bearing witness to the love of God,” he explained.

To conclude, the Pope invited the Brazilian prelates "to welcome with an open heart those who knock at your door: counsel them, console them, keep them on the path of God, seeking to guide everyone to unity in that faith and love of which, by the will of the Lord, you must be the fundamental and visible principle in your dioceses."

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Cardinal Bergoglio calls for unity in Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jun 21, 2010 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, urged politicians last week to seek dialogue in order to resolve the nation’s problems.  He stressed that the country needs “to opt for unity over conflict.”

The cardinal explained that engaging in dialogue to build an inclusive society is the starting point for addressing the challenges that face the nation.

“Opting for conflict leaves us sterile and is destructive,”  the prelate warned, adding that such a path could leave Argentineans “orphans without a country.”  He urged them to work for their country “with justice, solidarity and hope.”

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Chilean missionary in South Africa discusses World Cup's impact

Santiago, Chile, Jun 21, 2010 (CNA) - Father Sergio Lorenzini is a Chilean priest who has worked in the suburbs of Johannesburg for more than 10 years.  Speaking in an interview about the World Cup Soccer tournament, he explained the impact the event is having on South Africa.

The 46-year-old priest told Encuentro Digital that the tournament has already boosted the country's economy, especially in the area of tourism. He added that South Africans also have an increased sense of “patriotic pride” due to being on the front pages of newspapers around the world.

Fr. Lorenzini noted that the event has “drawn attention away from the daily sufferings and problems” in South Africa.

On the other hand, he continued, “there have been exaggerated hopes that the World Cup was going to change the lives of South Africans.  Many are nervous about what will happen once the World Cup ends, when people see that in reality not much as changed, except for an entire month of joy over soccer.  That much is true, it has been immensely joyful.”

“At the World Cup, the amount of money that is spent is astronomical…several billion dollars.  How much will this money help to improve the quality of life of the poor? Probably not much, and in many cases, not at all. And that is not right,” he said.

The “multi-million dollar grants to build new stadiums fell into the hands of a few; the jobs that were created are now over,” Father Lorenzini lamented.

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Priests must not use vocation as social stepping stone, cautions Benedict XVI

Vatican City, Jun 21, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - During Pope Benedict's homily for the ordination of 14 priests on Sunday for the Diocese of Rome, he emphasized that the vocation of the priesthood, must not be viewed as a way to achieve social status in life, but rather as a way to “rediscover the ever-new face” of Christ.

In his homily for the ordination, which took place Sunday morning in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father cautioned that the priesthood “must never represent a way to achieve security in life or to attain social position”

“Anyone who aspires to the priesthood in order to increase his personal prestige and power has radically misunderstood the significance of this ministry,” explained the Pope.

He noted that if a priest's main goal is to “achieve success,” he will say “what people want to hear” and “adapt to changing fashions and opinions.”

“In this way, he will deprive himself of the vital relationship with truth, reducing himself to condemning tomorrow what he praises today,” Benedict XVI warned.

"A priest who sees his ministry in these terms,” he continued, “does not truly love God and neighbor, he loves only himself and, paradoxically, ends up by losing himself.” The vocation of the priesthood “is founded on the courage to say yes to another will, with the daily-growing awareness that” by “conforming ourselves to the will of God ... we increasingly enter into the truth of our being and our ministry.”

Pope Benedict also encouraged the priests to “rediscover the ever-new face” of Christ through prayer.

“Only one who has an intimate relationship with the Lord can be seized by Him, can bring Him to others, can become His envoy. This involves a kind of 'remaining with Him' which must always accompany, and be the core of, priestly ministry, also and above all during moments of difficulty when it seems that 'the things to be done' must take priority.

“Wherever we are, whatever we do, we must always 'remain with Him'."

The Pontiff drew his homily to a close by asking God to give the priests the grace “to be able to live this ministry coherently and generously, everyday."

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Vatican says Polish reports of archbishop's resignation unfounded

Vatican City, Jun 21, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Following claims in the media that the Vatican rehabilitated a Polish archbishop accused of sexual abuse and that his successor had resigned in protest, the Vatican press office released a statement on June 19 declaring the contrary.

Archbishop emeritus Juliusz Paetz of Poznan in western Poland, resigned in 2002 after accusations were made that he had sexually abused seminarians at the diocesan seminary. No criminal allegations were ever brought forward, and Archbishop Paetz was never proven guilty.

Last week, Polish media outlets reported that Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, had released a statement rehabilitating Archbishop Paetz. Rumours also declared that his successor, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, had resigned in frustration and protest.

But on Saturday, the Holy See's press office released a clarification which states that recent correspondence with Rome has only examined whether or not Archbishop Paetz is allowed “preside at public celebrations, if invited to do so by a pastor and always having first received the necessary 'nihil obstat' from the local ordinary.”

Thus, to speak of “rehabilitation” is “inappropriate” because such was not the topic of discussion, the communiqué said.

The clarification also informed that “the criteria and restrictions established in 2002, and followed since then, will nonetheless not be modified.”

The Holy See also repeated what an archdiocesan spokesman said on Sunday. “It is completely unfounded that Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki of Poznan has presented or even considered the possibility of resigning from the pastoral care of the archdiocese.”

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Mexican bishop urges responsible voting in elections

Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 21, 2010 (CNA) - Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar Martinez of Tehuacan, Mexico called on citizens to cast their votes responsibly in the elections taking place July 4 in several Mexican states. He encouraged them to learn about the various candidates' proposals and to vote according to their Christian consciences.

In a statement, Bishop Martinez urged Mexicans not to abstain from voting, as “abstaining means leaving the choice of the elections in the hands of others” and failing in their duty, and their right, to make their voices heard.

“Perhaps you have reasons to justify not voting, but in the end, not voting means going backwards rather than forwards in democracy,” he said.

Likewise, Bishop Aguilar added, “As a Church it is not up to us to suggest which party or candidate we think is the best,” but as citizens we have “the right and the duty” to study the proposals of the candidates in order to cast a vote responsibly, freely and in secret.

“Once the voting has ended, both the political parties and the candidates, and in general, the voters, should accept the will of the people, and the results should be made public by election officials to avoid any divisive confrontations,” the bishop said.

“We have come very far in our democracy and in our participation in politics, but it is also true there is much work to be done to strengthen the common good according to our real needs,” Bishop Martinez said.  “We want better leaders, so let us commit ourselves to greater and more critical participation as citizens,” he added.

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Pope's previous writings focus on World Cup, reports LOR

Vatican City, Jun 21, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - L’Osservatore Romano published an article last week titled, “When Ratzinger wrote about soccer,” focusing on the reflection the former cardinal and present-day Pontiff included in a 1985 book titled, “Suchen was droben ist” (Seek That Which Is Above).

In his reflection, then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote that “the World Cup, occurring every four years, is an event that captivates hundreds of millions of people.”

“The fascination with soccer,” he continued, “lies essentially in that it forces man to discipline himself, such that through training, he acquires dominion over himself.  Through dominion, he achieves superiority.  And through superiority, freedom.”

Soccer, he explained, teaches the person the value of “disciplined cooperation” and demands an ordering of the individual within the group.  “It unites through a common objective; the success or failure of each individual is tied to the success or failure of the group.”

Soccer teaches us to play a fair game in which the common rules of play are the source of what binds and unites all players, even if when they face each other as adversaries, then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote. 

“If we look deeper, the phenomenon of a world excited over soccer can provide us with more than mere entertainment,” he said in conclusion.

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Helen Osman accuses CNA of fabricating report on Cardinal George and CHA

Denver, Colo., Jun 21, 2010 (CNA) - After CNA published a report on remarks Cardinal Francis George made about the disagreement between the Catholic Health Association and the U.S. bishops, Ms. Helen Osman, the Secretary of Communications for the bishops' conference denied the accuracy of the article. Nevertheless, the news agency stands by its report and maintains that it was corroborated by several bishops.

On June 16, CNA reported that Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), spoke about the fallout from the debate over the passage of the health care overhaul at an executive session of the bishops' spring assembly in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Cardinal George recounted the events that took place prior to President Obama's signing of the health care reform bill and then wrapped up his remarks by criticizing the Catholic Health Association (CHA) and its president and CEO Sr. Carol Keehan for creating a dangerous precedent of a parallel magisterium to the bishops.

Reiterating the bishops' opposition to the health care overhaul for failing to protect the unborn, offer access to immigrants and protect consciences sufficiently, the Chicago cardinal said that “Sr. Carol is mistaken in thinking that this is pro-life legislation.”

He also expressed his disappointment that CHA and other “so-called Catholic groups” had “weakened the moral voice of the bishops in the U.S.”

Cardinal George's comments were corroborated by several bishops who told CNA that they believed the remarks should be made known, given the concurrent CHA meeting being held in Denver, Colo.

However, on June 21, the Secretary for Communications of the bishops' conference, Ms. Helen Osman, wrote on the USCCB Media Relations blog accusing CNA of inaccurately reporting on the event, fabricating quotations and breaking confidentiality. 

John Allen, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, published a story on the same day as CNA's report, in which he spoke with Cardinal George about the meeting he had just held with the bishops and the disagreement with CHA.

Cardinal George told Allen, “the dispute with the CHA involves a core ecclesiological principle 'about the nature of the church itself, one that has to concern the bishops' – namely, who speaks for the church on faith and morals?”

“The bishops have to protect their role in governing the church,”' the cardinal said.

Alejandro Bermudez, the executive director of Catholic News Agency, stated that “Allen's report validates CNA's reporting of the remarks made by Cardinal George at the executive meeting.”

“Most of the religious outlets who covered the disagreement between the bishops and CHA, such as Commonweal, America Magazine and the National Catholic Reporter, did not support the bishops decision to oppose the health care bill and criticized the USCCB, not based on our report, but on Allen's."

“What then is the reason for the outcry from Ms. Osman over their decision? Her post denying our reporting is disturbing, dishonest and unfairly selective, ” Bermudez stated, adding, “We stand by our report.”

“It is easy for Ms. Osman to claim she has proof of CNA's alleged dishonesty, and then say that she will not release the audio recording that would corroborate her claims. We support the release of the audio to see who is right."

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Italian cardinal denies corruption in property deals

Vatican City, Jun 21, 2010 (CNA) - Stating that he has acted with “maximum transparency,” Archbishop of Naples Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe has said he will cooperate with authorities after being accused of corruption in a property deal. A Vatican spokesman has expressed “solidarity” with the prelate, saying he hopes the situation will be “rapidly clarified.”

The cardinal, who previously headed the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is accused of colluding with former Italian transport minister Pietro Lunardi to offer cut-price property deals, the BBC reports.

Lunardi bought a building in Rome from Cardinal Sepe’s Congregation in 2004, allegedly at a price noticeably below market value.

Cardinal Sepe said he will cooperate with the investigation despite his immunity as a Vatican diplomatic passport holder.

At a Sunday press conference Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi commented on the accusation, expressing his “esteem and solidarity” with the cardinal at “this difficult time.” He said Cardinal Sepe continues to work for the Church and the people entrusted to him “in an intense and generous manner, and as such has the right to be respected and esteemed.”

“We all hope and trust that the situation will be fully and rapidly clarified, so as to eliminate all shadow of doubt regarding both him personally and Church institutions,” continued the spokesman, repeating the cardinal’s pledge to collaborate with investigators.

Fr. Lombardi also noted the “procedural aspects” concerning proper relations between the Holy See and Italy will “naturally” have to be taken into account if they are relevant to the case.

On Monday Cardinal Sepe read a letter to the Catholics of his archdiocese at a press conference. He said that he was sure of the Vatican’s support.

"I'm going forward with serenity; I accept the cross and I forgive, from the depth of my heart, those who have wanted to strike at me from both inside and outside the Church," the cardinal wrote.

"I have acted with the maximum transparency," he continued, saying all of his budgets were approved annually by the Vatican’s secretariat of state.

"I say this for the love of truth, knowing well that I always acted according to conscience and with the good of the Church as my sole objective."

In his letter the prelate denied the three main accusations against him involving the sale, renovation and renting of congregation properties in three real estate transactions, the Associated Press reports.

He also tried to dispel suggestions that he had been demoted to the archbishopric of Naples after serving in charge of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. According to the cardinal, when Pope Benedict asked him what he thought about moving to Naples he agreed and said he wanted to serve his remaining years among the faithful.

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