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Archive of July 14, 2010

World Youth Day 2011 registration now available at US bishops’ website

Washington D.C., Jul 14, 2010 (CNA) - World Youth Day Madrid 2011 registration is now available through the U.S. Catholic bishops’ World Youth Day website. The event will gather young people from around the world with Pope Benedict XVI to pray, learn, celebrate, and strengthen one another in faith.

The site includes links to important information about the August 16-21 event. Content will be added as additional information becomes available, a press release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) says.

Entry to main WYD events is free, but participants have options regarding meals, accommodations and transportation to Madrid. They also pay according to a fee scale set for each country.

Sister Eileen McCann, CSJ, coordinator for Youth and Young Adult Ministry at the USCCB, encouraged early registration, saying it allows organizers to plan for accommodations, meals and participation in activities.

“In addition to the Vigil and Mass with the Pope during the weekend, there are numerous catechetical and other cultural activities throughout the week,” she added. “Many groups also stay at parishes, school gymnasiums, or with local families.”

The WYD 2011 theme is “Planted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith.” Organizers estimate that nearly 600,000 young people from outside of Spain will participate in the events, with about 25,000 of them from the United States.

Pope Benedict officially opened the registration process on July 1, becoming the first to register for the event.

The U.S. bishops’ World Youth Day site is http://www.wydusa.org.

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University of Illinois administrators call for review of professor's dismissal

Champaign, Ill., Jul 14, 2010 (CNA) - Administrators at the University of Illinois are asking a faculty committee to review the case of a professor who was fired after a student complained that his explanation of the Catholic teaching on homosexuality was “hate speech.”

Chancellor Robert Easter has asked the University of Illinois' Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure to determine whether the university violated the academic freedom and right to free speech  of adjunct professor Dr. Kenneth Howell.

Howell, who has taught in the university's Department of Religion since 2001, was recently fired for explaining in a class on Catholicism that the Church believes that homosexual behavior violates natural moral law. 

University President Michael Hogan addressed faculty senators on Monday, after receiving 100 e-mails about Howell's case, reported The News-Gazette.

"We want to be able to reassure ourselves there was no infringement on academic freedom here," Hogan said. "This is a very, very important, not to mention a touchy and sensitive, issue. Did this cross the line somehow?"

Easter said he would like to have a ruling from the committee by the beginning of the fall semester, which starts on August 23.

"We need to resolve this within a reasonable time frame," he said.

According to The News-Gazette, Prof. Jeff Dawson, outgoing chair of the committee, will meet on Tuesday to discuss a timeline for the situation with Prof. Matt Finkin, who is scheduled to take over as chair on August 16.

Finkin said the case will be placed on the agenda for the committee's next meeting. The date for the meeting is uncertain, since many faculty members are currently out of town.

Howell's firing was brought on by a complaint from a student who charged that an e-mail from the professor to those taking his Introduction to Catholicism class was “hate speech.” Consequently, Howell was told at the end of the spring semester that he would no longer be allowed to teach for the University of Illinois because he had “violate(d) university standards of inclusivity.”

The complaint was sent to Dr. Robert McKim, head of the religion department, by a student who was not in the class on Catholicism but said he was writing on behalf of a friend in the class and wished to remain anonymous.

“Teaching a student about the tenets of a religion is one thing,” the e-mail said. “Declaring that homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man is another.”

The student also argued that “this is a public university and should thus have no religious affiliation.”

Howell has said that he was simply presenting Catholic moral teaching on homosexuality, which is based on natural moral law. He said that he made it clear that his students were not required to agree with Catholic teaching to succeed in his class.

Professor Nicholas Burbules, professor of educational policy studies at the university and a member of the Senate Council, said that the case is not "just about one e-mail or the issue of homosexuality," reported The News-Gazette.

"My understanding is this line has been crossed a long time ago, and repeatedly,” Burbules said.

He added that "a religious studies program is not a seminary. There's a difference between teaching about religion and teaching religion."

Robin Kaler, associate chancellor for public affairs, stated that the university is "absolutely committed to teaching the theory of Catholicism, but it's up to the department as to who teaches a class."

The Alliance Defense Fund responded to the situation by sending a letter to the University of Illinois  calling for Howell to be immediately reinstated.

Travis Barham, litigation counsel for ADF, asserted that what is at stake is the freedom of speech. “According to decades of Supreme Court precedent, the University simply cannot relieve Dr. Howell of his teaching post based on how third parties respond to his speech,” Barham said. “For decades, the Supreme Court has consistently held that university campuses are 'not enclaves immune from the sweep of the First Amendment.'”

If the university does not respond to the letter by July 16, the legal fund said it will advise Howell to file a lawsuit.

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Pro-life Freedom Rides inspired by historic US civil rights events

Washington D.C., Jul 14, 2010 (CNA) - Drawing on the Freedom Rides of the civil rights movement in 1961, Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., is promoting an event called Pro-life Freedom Rides in Alabama and Georgia. The reason for the event, she explained to CNA, is that the focus of the new civil rights movement is the defenseless unborn child.

The Freedom Rides will begin with an assembly at Birmingham, Alabama on July 23. After a Saturday morning prayer vigil at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, participants will caravan to Atlanta, Georgia for a pro-life service at the grave of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In a Tuesday phone interview with CNA, Dr. Alveda King recounted the civil rights era and its connection with the pro-life movement.

“We went through a lot of dramatic experiences on behalf of human dignity, and love for humanity,” she said. “Back in those days we were primarily fighting against oppression on color of skin. Now in the twenty-first century the focus is on the babies in the womb.”
 
Though she noted the disproportionate number of black babies killed in abortion, she emphasized that the effort to end abortion is “about all humanity.”

“We are fighting for dignity, for justice, for compassion for all people.

“Today, the little baby in the womb appears to his or her mother very much like a little slave. He or she cannot decide whether he or she will live or die, but the mother, sometimes the parents, the medical providers (though I say that cautiously because it is not a medical procedure to kill a person) … those decisions are made without the baby having a lawyer to defend his or her human life.
 
“He or she is just like a slave at mercy of slave owners,” Alveda King told CNA.
  
Asked about the original Freedom Rides, she explained that in 1961, laws were passed on behalf of black people so that they could stay in hotels, ride the bus, and have “the same rights that all people had.”
 
“There were students in 1961 who boarded the bus to test those laws. Those were very tumultuous times, and people lost their lives. Not just black people, but all people of goodwill who were involved in that.”
 
Alveda King explained that she, Priests for Life head Fr. Frank Pavone, and many pro-life leaders from across America, will take the bus to Atlanta and pray at the tomb of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
She said she looked forward to “the whole experience” of the Pro-Life Freedom Rides Campaign, especially “revisiting another time period that was very important to me.” She also thought she would enjoy being with pro-life leaders from across America and joining in prayers with “many, many people who are praying for life.”
 
Jim Pinto, the Birmingham-based organizer of the Pro-Life Freedom Rides, in a separate phone interview told CNA that the original freedom rides faced “great resistance,” including the burning of one of the buses in Birmingham.

“Those who stood up for the rights of human beings, and the violence and brutality they suffered, were portrayed for all the country to see,” he explained. “In a few moments, the civil rights movement impacted this nation in a way that may be unprecedented.”
 
He noted that as a child Alveda King’s house was bombed in reaction to her family’s civil rights work.

The Birmingham events were one of the reasons the Pro-Life Freedom Ride Campaign chose Birmingham, Pinto continued, because it is “synonymous” with the civil rights movement that “changed the nation forever.”
 
“The whole idea is to say that every human being is endowed with liberty and freedom by God to be the human beings that God has called them to be.
 
 He explained that Alveda King emphasizes that the pro-life movement is “the civil rights movement of our time.”

“The foundation of the civil rights movement, the foundation of the pro-life movement, is one foundation: the sacredness and dignity of the person, the inviolable right to life, the equality of all people inside and outside of the womb,” Pinto said.

The unborn “are people, they are persons, even though this nation is denying their personhood … We are sponsoring the Pro-life Freedom Ride Campaign to declare their liberty, their freedom, their personhood.”
 
 He said organizers had no estimated number of participants, as there was no registration process. However, he predicted “quite a big response.”
 
Pinto reported that the campaign has the “full support” of both the Catholic Bishop of Birmingham Robert Baker and the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The campaign also has support from Protestants including Pentecostal and Evangelical churches.
 
He added that there has been a “very good response” from the media, who are “quite interested.”
 
Pinto reported plans are being developed for another campaign in October for another city, which will be announced during the first Pro-Life Freedom Ride.
 
He said he particularly looked forward to the opening assembly, where the new pro-life song “The Least of These” will be sung.
 
“We'll have black and white together in that assembly, it is going to be profound.”
 
Addressing Catholics specifically, he said they should remember that they are “sent by God to evangelize the world.” “The pro-life freedom ride is just a reminder of what we’re all supposed to be doing: love our neighbor as ourselves, in and out of the womb, black and white, old and young, rich and poor.
 
“We just want to remind you that you are a missionary of the gospel of life.”

The website of the Pro-Life Freedom Rides is at http://www.priestsforlife.org/action/pro-life-freedom-rides.htm

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Ugandan archbishop: Bombers do not value sanctity of human life

Rome, Italy, Jul 14, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Archbishop of Kampala Cyprian Kizto Lwanga conveyed Pope Benedict's prayers as he sent his own condolences to the people of Uganda, in particular the victims' families, after bombings left 76 people dead as they watched the World Cup final last Sunday.

According to Vatican Radio, the archbishop sent a letter to the Ugandan faithful in which he expressed the profound sadness of all for "this senseless act of violence" and condemnation for "the act that indiscriminately killed and injured innocent people."

The attacks took place in separate establishments as soccer fans watched the final game of the World Cup in different parts of the capital city of Kampala. The two bombings left 76 dead as of the latest report from Reuters. The news agency also reported that there are indications that the Somali al Shabaab militant group, linked to al Qaeda, had orchestrated the explosions.

"This barbaric act reveals the evil and ugly nature of the perpetrators who do not value the sanctity of human life," said Archbishop Lwanga.

Turning to those who had been wronged by the bombing, he made an appeal against resorting to violence as a solution to their pain, saying that "whenever there are misunderstandings, let people embrace dialogue in the resolution of conflicts."

Through the message he also communicated that Pope Benedict XVI was "deeply saddened by the news" and that he "conveys his heartfelt condolences to the civil authorities and to those afflicted by the attacks” as well as their families.

The archbishop invited priests throughout the archdiocese to organize a special day of prayer for victims on July 18 in their parish communities.

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Silence necessary to hear God's voice, explains Peruvian cardinal

Lima, Peru, Jul 14, 2010 (CNA) - In his Sunday homily, the Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, encouraged the faithful to seek out moments of silence each day in order to hear the voice of God.

"Look at the cross, listen to that heartbeat, see the gaze of Christ, the wounds that we have given him, read the Gospel," the cardinal instructed. 

He then commented on the words of Moses, "Hear the voice of the Lord your God."  The cardinal explained: "In order to listen, we need to separate ourselves from our concerns, our difficulties. Perhaps Jesus is speaking to you in the depths of your soul, but in a whisper, and you can't hear it because of the noise. 

"This is what meditation is for, to learn to take our eyes away from our curiosity, to close our ears, which always want to hear something," he continued.

Cardinal Cipriani gave several examples showing how small acts of love mean a great deal when they are completed with faith. "If you smile at your wife and your children, that means a lot. If you pray a Hail Mary asking Our Lady to help you to be good, it means a lot. If you visit a friend who is alone or sick, it means a lot. If you avoid criticizing others, it means a lot."

The cardinal urged Peruvians to talk to God each day, in the morning and each night, before going to bed. "Each day when you wake up and before you go to sleep, speak to God and say, 'Here I am, thank you for another day of life, what do you want of me?"

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Chinese diocese, vacant since 1962, receives new bishop

Rome, Italy, Jul 14, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The new Bishop of Taichow, Antonio Xu Jiwei, was consecrated last Saturday at the age of 75. With joint Church and State approval of his ordination, he fills an office that was vacant for nearly 50 years.

The Holy See's Press Office released a statement on Wednesday recognizing the ordination of Msgr. Xu who had been acting as the diocesan administrator for the Taichow diocese, also known as the Diocese of Linhai. The position had remained unfilled since the death of Bishop John Hou Joshan in 1962.

Bishop Xu's story is a rather turbulent one, according to a brief biography included in the Vatican message announcing his ordination.

Born in 1935, he attended seminaries from 1948 -1958. He was not yet ordained when in 1960 he was condemned to five years in prison. From 1960 until 1985 he was sentenced to forced labor, which included six years as a school teacher.

The Vatican reported that he "remembers that period as a difficult time but also as a time of grace, that reinforced his faith and during which in prayer he experienced that God loves deeply and (that) He is with him every day."

In 1985, he returned to the seminary in Shanghai and was ordained for the Diocese of Ningbo, where he served in a parish until his appointment as the diocesan administrator of Taichow.

His ordination as a bishop last Saturday was presided over by Bishop of Tsingtao, Joseph Li Mingsu, and three other bishops, all of whom are in communion with the Holy See and approved by the Chinese government. According to the Holy See's statement, Bishop Xu is "optimistic" about evangelization efforts and growth in the diocese, which serves 6,000 faithful.

Those bishops unapproved by the Chinese government-sanctioned Church are considered to be members of the "underground" Catholic Church.

One member of the "underground" Church, Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo, made news when he was released on July 7 after more than a year in prison. On Tuesday, Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, expressed his "great joy" that the bishop had returned to the Diocese of Chengting. Cardinal Dias' short message was published by Fides, the congregation's news agency.

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Archbishop Chaput 'saddened' by false abuse charges against deceased priest

Denver, Colo., Jul 14, 2010 (CNA) - Following the dismissal of a sexual abuse claim against a deceased priest in the Archdiocese of Denver, Archbishop Charles Chaput issued a statement saying he was “saddened” by the false allegations.

The Denver Catholic Register reported today that in 2009, a woman with the pseudonym “Jane Doe” accused  Msgr. William Higgins – a priest who died in 1967 at the age of 77 – of sexually abusing her in the 1960s.

Archdiocesan spokeswoman Jeanette DeMelo told the Register that when the complaint was received last year, “we responded immediately.”

“We took the accusation seriously despite the fact that the priest died 42 years ago, and that the charges did not seem plausible,” DeMelo explained. “We reached out to the alleged victim as we do in all such cases. We invited her to participate in our victim outreach panel and offered assistance to her, with the hope for healing.”

“Unfortunately, the woman rejected the archdiocese’s offer to help her through mediation and as a result the lawsuit moved forward,” the spokeswoman said. “It was during the usual extensive investigation and formal discovery process of civil litigation that the plaintiff’s complaint was found to be false and the charges were proven groundless.” 

On June 25 of this year, the “plaintiff then dismissed all claims.”

In a statement issued on July 13,  Archbishop Chaput said that he and the entire archdiocese were “saddened” by the false charges.

“If Msgr. Higgins were alive today, he would be in good standing and able to minister in the archdiocese,” the archbishop affirmed. “False charges do inexcusable harm to a priest's good name, his reputation earned over years of service to others, and to the lay Catholic faithful and other dedicated priests.”

“We are saddened that such a charge was made, but want you all to know that you can esteem Msgr. Higgins and keep him in your prayers as a righteous man,” the prelate added.

“As we work to ensure all people in the Archdiocese of Denver are safe, so too are we determined to defend the reputation of the many, many innocent good men and women who work in the archdiocese and give so much to others,” he concluded.

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Cardinal Bagnasco says misunderstood secularism led to crucifix ruling

Rome, Italy, Jul 14, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Under the title of "Credible witnesses in a society in crisis," the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano published an interview with the president of the Italian Bishops Conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, in which he tackled a number of current issues in the Church. In particular, he stressed the importance for European identity of being able to display the cross in public places.

Asked what his expectations were for how the Strasbourg Court might rule on the Italian government's appeal of the November ruling against crucifixes in classrooms, he said matter-of-factly, "To tell you the truth, I would expect just a little bit of good sense."

The cardinal said that, for him, it's strange that while Europe is experiencing an increase in inter-cultural exchange, the attempt is being made "to censor one of the fundamental roots of the history of our continent."

Cardinal Bagnasco argued that "Wanting to eliminate the traditional cultural or religious characteristics of a country, especially those linked to the life environment - whether it be in schools or other sites where youth gather - means renouncing that very wealth of cultures that otherwise are protected and defended."

Asked where this "hostility" to Christianity originates, the president of Italian bishops said that the root is a misunderstood secularism, manifested by "a serious amputation of the sense of the State, which obviously does not have competency in the religious field nor pursues religious ends, but must recognize, respect and, better still, promote the religious dimension.

"Behind religious freedom, in fact, is hidden the most decisive experience of human liberty, without which not only the faith, but even moreso democracy, is at risk."

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Archbishop begins canonical proceedings against priest promoting same-sex 'marriage'

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul 14, 2010 (CNA) - AICA, a Catholic news source in Argentina, reported this week that Archbishop Carlos Jose Nanez of Cordoba has begun canonical proceedings against an Argentinean priest for refusing to retract the statements he publicly made supporting same-sex “marriage.”

Fr. Jose Nicolas Alessio received an enormous amount of media attention for his statements supporting gay “marriage” while he was pastor of St. Cajetan’s in the city of Cordoba.

According to AICA, the priest has continued to make statements to the media in support of same-sex “marriage.” “As a cautionary measure, the archbishop has prohibited him from the public exercising of the priestly ministry, which means he cannot celebrate Mass or administer the sacraments of the Church publicly, and therefore, cannot continue as pastor,” the news service reported.

In his statement, Archbishop Nanez noted that, he has “exhausted all possible pastoral means to get Father Jose Nicolas Alessio to amend his ways and retract his statements” in support of same-sex “marriage.”  The archbishop explained that since the priest has “denied every opportunity to modify his actions, I have decided to initiate canonical proceedings under the inter-diocesan Tribunal of Cordoba so that all action will take place according to current ecclesial law.”

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Missal finalized for Pope's visit to UK

London, England, Jul 14, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - As the Holy Father's trip to Great Britain approaches, the details of his itinerary are still being hashed out. The Pope's master of liturgical celebrations, Msgr. Guido Marini, was in the United Kingdom last week to finalize certain liturgical aspects of the itinerary and finalize the content of the missal that will be used.

With just over two months to go before Pope Benedict's arrival on British soil, Msgr. Marini has visited all of the locations where the Pope will be leading worship in September, according to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW).

In an interview with CBCEW staff, Msgr. Andrew Summersgill, co-coordinator of the papal visit said that Msgr. Marini and three assistants were in Britain last week for four days to personally visit sites on the Pope's schedule and to revisit and finalize texts to be included in the missal for the trip.

Joining the Roman entourage was also Fr. Paul Conroy, coordinator of the Pope's Sept. 16 stop in Scotland, and Msgr. Philip Moger, who is overseeing the liturgies during the entire trip.

The group visited Glasgow, where an outdoor Mass is set to take place; London, where the Pope will lead a prayer vigil in Hyde Park, preside over Mass in Westminster Cathedral and pray with an ecumenical gathering in Westminster Abbey; and Birmingham, where Cardinal John Henry Newman will be beatified in the Cofton Park.

Msgr. Summersgill said that during last week's visit, the group also finalized texts to be included in the Pope's missal, which had been discussed extensively over the course of recent months. Their completion clears the way for publication of the official missal in Rome and makes it possible for organizers to finish the prayer book which will be released for the U.K. visit.

The monsignor reflected on the progress made, saying, "it was a good week and we did a lot of work, and things are moving ahead very nicely with that."

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Soccer player who scored winning World Cup goal promises to make pilgrimage

Madrid, Spain, Jul 14, 2010 (CNA) - Spanish soccer player Andres Iniesta, who scored the winning goal during the World Cup final in South Africa, has promised to walk the Way of St. James, which leads to Santiago de Compostela.

The Way of St. James is a pilgrimage route that for centuries brought the faithful from across Europe to the city of Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of the saint are venerated. 

According to the Spanish newspaper, Marca, months before the 2010 World Cup, the members of the Spanish team sent the newspaper sealed envelopes with the promises they would keep if they won the title.

Marca opened the envelopes after Spain’s historic victory on Sunday and found that Iniesta, along with Fernando Torres and Carlos Marchena said they would walk the Way of St. James.

Iniesta also revealed his promise in an interview prior to the World Cup.  Speaking on Spanish television he said he would make the pilgrimage “somehow…I’ll do it however I have to!” His teammate Sergio Busquets, who was with him, made the same promise.

The Spanish media is reminding the players of their promise and although no plans have been officially made, reporters were convinced many fans would share the pilgrimage with them.

This year, Pope Benedict XVI will travel to the city for the Holy Year of St. James 2010, which is celebrated each year that July 25, the saint's feast, falls on a Sunday. 

The next Year of St. James will be celebrated in 2021.

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New York archbishops remember Yankees owner’s generosity and papal visit help

New York City, N.Y., Jul 14, 2010 (CNA) - The present and former Archbishops of New York have commented on the death of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, remembering his “generosity” and his help in securing Yankee Stadium for two papal Masses.

Steinbrenner died of a heart attack on July 13 at the age of 80.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. George Steinbrenner today. My sincere condolences go to Mrs. Steinbrenner and the entire Steinbrenner family,” commented Archbishop Timothy Dolan. “When I was a young boy and budding baseball fan growing up in Saint Louis, everybody knew of the great New York Yankees. Even when they were your opponent, they were a team to be admired and respected.”

In a Tuesday statement, he recalled his “joy” at being invited to Steinbrenner’s box for the April 2009 grand opening of the new Yankees Stadium and also for a World Series game in October.

“They were experiences I’ll never forget. Mr. Steinbrenner and his family were very warm and welcoming to me, the new kid in town,” commented Archbishop Dolan, who was installed in New York in April 2009.

“I’ve since learned that such acts of kindness were very much in keeping with the Steinbrenner tradition,” he continued, noting that Catholic agencies in New York and Florida were often “the beneficiary of his and the Steinbrenner family’s generosity.”

He noted that the Steinbrenners and the New York Yankees responded to the January earthquake in Haiti with a $225,000 donation to Catholic Relief Services. He then praised Steinbrenner’s “tremendous goodness” in arranging Yankee Stadium as a papal Mass venue for Pope John Paul II in 1979 and for Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.

Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop Dolan’s predecessor, in a Tuesday statement noted that he had recently written Steinbrenner to wish him a happy 80th birthday.

“I thanked him once again for his extraordinary kindness and generosity to the Archdiocese of New York on the occasion of the Pastoral visit of Pope Benedict XVI to our City two years ago,” the cardinal wrote. “Thus it is with the deepest sadness that I learned this morning of the passing of this great New Yorker.”

He praised the Yankees owner as a “marvelous leader” and “an exemplary citizen.”

“His many acts of charity in favor of Catholic institutions, his kindness to Terence Cardinal Cooke when Pope John Paul II came to New York in 1979, and his deeply appreciated goodness to me and so many of our clergy and religious will never be forgotten,” the cardinal wrote.

Cardinal Egan said Steinbrenner will “always have a very special place in my prayers,” while Archbishop Dolan said the recently deceased will have “a special remembrance” in his Masses and prayers.

“May the Lord bless and console his beloved family in their loss and grant him, ‘The Boss,’ eternal rest,” the cardinal concluded.

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Nearly 200,000 in Argentina protest measure that would legalize gay 'marriage'

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul 14, 2010 (CNA) - An unprecedented 200,000 Argentineans from across the country gathered outside Argentina's capitol building last Friday to defend the family and traditional marriage.  The protesters also expressed opposition to a measure that would legalized same-sex “marriage” and adoption.

Just hours before the Senate was to take up the measure that has already passed the House of Representatives, protesters voiced their support for traditional marriage and the family.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires joined protestant and evangelical leaders in sending a letter of support that was read during the protest.

“Marriage is an essential institution for our society and constitutes the basic structure upon which it is built,” the leaders said. “It is the fundamental responsibility of our political representatives to protect it and promote it, to legally preserve it as it is, the union between one man and one woman ordered towards mutual help, procreation, the fulfillment and happiness of spouses, the satisfaction of life in its fullness and the raising of children.”

“Common sense needs to be brought back into the debate on marriage,” the leaders wrote.  “Calling things by their name does not amount to discrimination, but rather means distinguishing between different realities,” they added.

The religious leaders also rejected the idea that homosexual couples should be allowed to adopt, noting that children have a fundamental right to have a mother and a father. “We are saddened that thousands of children have no family in our country, and on their behalf, we demand that the State address the true problem of adoption in Argentina.”  They asked that the government assist “by facilitating and responsibly accelerating the adoption process so that thousands of abandoned children and thousands of married couples who wish to provide them a family with love do not have to suffer waiting for years because of a bureaucratic 'Calvary' that leads them to despair.”

The leaders concluded their letter reminding politicians that Argentineans will give their vote to those who “protect marriage between a man and a woman and reject the law on same-sex marriage.”

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Lk 4:38-44

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First Reading:: 1 Cor 3:1-9
Gospel:: Lk 4:38-44

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Lk 4:38-44

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