Archive of August 17, 2010

Book aims to help Catholics who remain faithful to vows despite separation or divorce

Westlake, Ohio, Aug 17, 2010 (CNA) - An English-language version of Maria Pia Campanella’s book “The Gift of Self” is now available to the general public. The work is a widely praised pastoral aid for spouses who are separated or divorced but remain faithful to their marriages in a society which tells them to “move on.”

Lisa Everett, who co-directs the diocesan Family and Pro-Life Office in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, previewed the book in 2009.

“This book contains a beautiful and profound spirituality for spouses who find themselves drawn into the mystery of Christ's passion and death because of separation or divorce,” Everett commented, according to Spero News. “The author offers helpful direction to parishes and pastoral ministers in providing concrete material, emotional and spiritual support to those who have been abandoned by a spouse.”

Fr. Christopher Zugger, a Byzantine Catholic priest from New Mexico, reviewed the book for Spero News. He characterized it as a spiritual manual and recommended it for the libraries of tribunal offices and for retreats.

“It is a totally different approach to the spouses who are holding to their marital vows by living celibate lives, as opposed to the well meaning who say ‘get on with your life.’”

According to Fr. Zugger, Campanella draws on the work of the prophet Hosea to call for the abandoned spouse to continue to love and to pray for the spouse who left and to let God's love act in the situation.”

“Learning to live out the marital vocation while being alone is simply an attitude that is not found in America, and I would think not in most western societies. In that, this little book is revolutionary!"

A support network of divorced and separated Catholics helped to bring “The Gift of Self” from Italy to the United States as part of a project with the non-profit Mary’s Advocates. Network members Tim Nolan, Bai Macfarlane and Greg LeMieux have provided copies to directors of diocesan family life offices across the country.

Catholic bookstore managers and others also received copies of the book at the Catholic Marketing Network trade show in Philadelphia on August 4.

Macfarlane told Spero News that many bookstore owners said the book is “really needed.”

“Many bookstore owners told us this book is really needed. Several said they had friends who were divorced, remain faithful to marriage, and would really appreciate having this book that offers support from a Catholic perspective.”

The support network is working to secure recognition from the U.S. Catholic bishops and has held monthly telephone conference calls.

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Catholic actor canned for refusing sex scenes to star in 'Vigilante Priest' series

Hollywood, Calif., Aug 17, 2010 (CNA) - The Catholic actor Neal McDonough, who lost a lead role for his refusal to do heated love scenes, will produce and star in a new series about a policeman turned priest.

McDonough, who has played roles on shows such as “Desperate Housewives,” “Boomtown” and “Band of Brothers,” lost his role on the new ABC series “Scoundrels” three days into filming. While ABC described the action as a “casting change,” news reports linked it to the actor’s refusal to do sex scenes.

Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood now reports that McDonough will be executive producer and star in a new Starz series titled “Vigilante Priest.” His lead character, a priest, is a former policeman who is cleaning up the streets of Los Angeles “one sinner at a time.”

The actor is co-creating the series with “Law & Order” producer Walon Green. John Avnet will direct the pilot and will co-produce.

According to Finke, Starz has put the project on the fast track.

“I continue to applaud the Band Of Brothers and Desperate Housewives standout for sticking to his principles even if it has cost him jobs,” Finke wrote at Deadline Hollywood.

McDonough is also co-starring in the movie “Captain America,” based on the Marvel comic book.

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New CUA president reflects on greater calling for Catholic higher ed

Washington D.C., Aug 17, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Discussing the 20th anniversary of “Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” John Garvey, the new president of the Catholic University of America, says the apostolic constitution invites Catholic higher education to be great “in a Catholic way,” focused on the example of Christ.

"Ex Corde Ecclesiae," issued by Pope John Paul II in 1990, marked its anniversary on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption.

CNA, in a Monday e-mail interview with Garvey, noted the anniversary of the apostolic constitution and asked about its implementation in the United States. Particularly noted was the document's statement that it is "the person and message of Christ which gives the Institution its distinctive character."

Garvey mentioned several ways Catholic colleges and universities can better foster this distinctive character.

“Catholic colleges and universities rest on a different philosophical foundation than many of their secular counterparts,” he explained. “They hope and believe that the 'search for truth' in which academics are engaged really has a point -- that Christ is the way, the life, and the truth.  

“Philosophy and theology, science and law, psychology and literature, are not just games in which one move is as good as any other. The Incarnation, in which God was made man, tells us something profound about the value and purpose of human life.”

Catholic colleges and universities should concern themselves with forming character as well as forming minds, the CUA president noted.

“College students, and even graduate students, mature as young adults during their time in school. Part of our responsibility is to teach them to live good lives,” he continued. “In this, the person and message of Christ are the paramount example.”

Garvey said Catholic institutions of higher education should provide students and the entire university community “frequent opportunities” for Mass, the sacraments and prayer.

“The message of the gospel will not take root if we neglect the soil in which it should grow,” he commented.

Asked about the implementation of “Ex Corde Ecclesiae” in the United States, he said the U.S. bishops’ publication in June 2000 of their norms for implementation was the most important step.

The “greatest success” of “Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” in Garvey’s view, has been its ability to focus the attention of everyone in Catholic higher education on their task.

However, he underscored, the recruitment of Catholic professors is something Catholic academia needs to “take seriously.”

“I believe it is essential to the intellectual life of a university that there should be ferment, discussion, and disagreement,” he explained, saying it is “healthy” to include faculty who do not share Catholic beliefs. “But the university cannot be Catholic in its intellectual life unless it includes enough faculty whose teaching and research promote the Catholic intellectual tradition.”

The Catholic University of America has done “a great deal” to implement the apostolic constitution, Garvey reported. He also noted that the institution is the national university of the Catholic Church and was given its charter by Pope Leo XIII.

According to Garvey, the Catholic identity of the school is discussed in the hiring of faculty, while a candidate’s willingness to “respect and contribute to our mission” is a consideration in granting tenure.

“Our Office of Campus Ministry helps students follow Christ and live the values of the Gospel within the context of the Catholic faith,” he added.

In his view, “Ex Corde Ecclesiae” and the bishops’ norms are not “an effort on the part of the Church to recover some golden age of Catholic higher education.”

“There was never a time -- at least not in the past two centuries -- when Catholic colleges and universities were great and distinctively Catholic institutions of learning,” he continued, characterizing Catholic higher education in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as relatively attractive.

“There was little graduate instruction before the founding of The Catholic University of America in 1887,” he told CNA.

“In the latter half of the twentieth century, when universities like Georgetown, Boston College, Notre Dame, Fordham, St. John's, and others formed aspirations of greatness, faculties did not give enough thought to how American Catholic schools might be great in a Catholic way. This is the invitation that Ex Corde Ecclesiae sets before us.”

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Mexican bishop: Court did not uphold justice by allowing gay couples to adopt

Mexico City, Mexico, Aug 17, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Bishop Felipe Arizmendi from San Cristobal, in southern Mexico, recently criticized the Mexican Supreme Court's decision to allow adoptions by same-sex couples. He noted that the court likely “acted according to the letter of the law, but certainly not according to justice.”

The court's Monday ruling was the third and final decision on gay couples and their right to “marriage.” First, the court upheld Mexico City's same-sex "marriage" law, then it ruled that same-sex couples “married” in Mexico City are validly married in all 31 states, even if those states do not legalize same-sex “marriage” themselves.

On Monday, the 11 justices voted 9-2 against challenges presented by federal prosecutors who had argued that the law fails to protect adoptive children against possible negative effects or discrimination, and does not guarantee their rights to a traditional family.

Justices voting with the majority argued that once same-sex marriages were approved, it would be "discriminatory" to consider homosexual couples "less capable of parental duties" than heterosexual couples.

The law applies only in Mexico City, but other states must respect adoptions by homosexual couples made in the capital.

Despite the court’s decision, Bishop Arizmendi said, "the true members of our Catholic church will keep defending the right to life from conception to its natural end and will continue defending marriage as the stable union  between one man and one woman."

He added, "and we will keep doing it not only because of our faith, but also because of natural reason: a man cannot complement or impregnate a man, a woman cannot complement or impregnate a woman, no matter what the Supreme Court says."

Oscar Rivas, director of the Mexican Institute for Sexual Orientation, a professional organization that is opposed to same-sex adoption based on statistical data, also issued a statement yesterday expressing "disappointment" over the court's decision, since "it did not take into the account the well being of children." 

"(The court) ignored the plight of a large sector of our society who is convinced that marriage must be between one man and one woman, and that adoption is a right of the children, not of the parents." the statement added.

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Pro-marriage groups laud Ninth Circuit's emergency stay of Prop. 8 ruling

San Francisco, Calif., Aug 17, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Responding to the August 4 ruling by Judge Vaughn Walker that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday issued an emergency stay of the judge's decision.

U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled on Aug. 4 that Prop. 8 – a traditional marriage initiative which passed in November 2008 with the support of seven million Californians – was unconstitutional and mandated that it be null and void as of 5 p.m. on Aug. 18. 

On Aug. 17, however, a panel from the Ninth Circuit issued an emergency stay of Judge Walker's ruling. The court granted a motion filed by the legal team, which included attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund.

Pro-marriage groups praised the court's decision on Tuesday.

“California voters spoke clearly on Prop 8, and we’re glad to see their votes will remain valid while the legal challenges work their way up through the court,” said Andy Pugno, general counsel for “Invalidating the people’s vote based on just one judge’s opinion would not have been appropriate, and would have shaken the people’s confidence in our elections and the right to vote itself.”

ADF litigation staff counsel Jim Campbell added that it “made no sense to impose a radical change in marriage on the people of California before all appeals on their behalf are heard, so the 9th Circuit’s decision is clearly the right call.”

“Refusing to stay the decision would only have created more legal confusion surrounding any same-sex unions entered while the appeal is pending,” Campbell noted.

“This case has just begun,” Campbell added. “ADF and the rest of the legal team are confident that the right of Americans to protect marriage in their state constitutions will ultimately be upheld.”

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins weighed in on Tuesday as well, saying, "Today the Ninth Circuit took the first step in doing the right thing for the people of California and the tens of millions across the United States who not only believe in true marriage but also in the rule of law.”

"The next step for the court, if it wants to keep its streak of sobered judgment, is to throw out Judge Walker's entire ruling,” Perkins added. “Ultimately, we are confident that the courts will recognize marriage, as correctly defined, has never violated any constitutional provision.”

As part of its order, the Ninth Circuit issued an expedited appeal schedule for the case, with the opening brief due Sept. 17. Oral arguments will be heard the week of Dec. 6.

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Dissident accuses Cuban government of harassing mother of deceased political prisoner

Havana, Cuba, Aug 17, 2010 (CNA) - The coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswald Paya, recently charged that the mother of a deceased political prisoner is being mistreated by the Cuban government. Paya noted that the harassment is preventing the mother of Orlando Zapata from even attending Mass.

Last February, Orlando Zapata died after a prolonged hunger strike. “Zapata gave his life voluntarily, but because of the cruelty and the crime of the regime, Zapata suffered until death for the dignity of Cubans, for the release of all political prisoners,” Paya stated.

Now, he continued, it is Zapata’s mother, Reina Tamayo, who “is being mistreated, harassed and repressed keeping her from going to church and from marching in the streets to make it known that her son died because of the government.”

Paya said that just as the movement supported her “to prevent her son from dying, so now we support her in her right to cry out for justice and to denounce the death of her son.”

The movement's coordinator also remarked that he was not able to make statements sooner “because the government cut the phone lines to my home after I gave an interview to the Spanish station Onda Cero.”

“The government has made me unreachable so that I could not speak to the press, so that I could not speak to my brothers who are going to be exiled,” he added.

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Sons and daughters of the Church are ignoring truth, warns Argentinean bishop

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug 17, 2010 (CNA) - During his homily last Sunday, Bishop Marcelo Martorell of Puerto Iguazu, Argentina told the faithful that the de-Christianization of society is a consequence of the actions by the Church’s own sons and daughters who have opted to pass laws that ignore the truth of the human person.

Speaking to thousands gathered for the Mass, the bishop said, “We are living in difficult times for the Church, times in which society is broken and the Church of God is harassed and denounced, times in which many do not want to see the spiritual and social good that the Church has spread across society throughout the centuries.”

“We are witnessing social circumstances that convey a great hatred for Jesus Christ and his Church,” the bishop continued. “Today the Church is attacked to discredit her,” he said, “and it seems that a crime or a scandal is only a crime or a scandal when committed by a priest, which is then reported over and over again ... until it becomes simply ridiculous. 

“But even though it is ridiculous, it still brings harm upon the faith of her sons and daughters.”

Bishop Martorell stressed that the existence of sin in the Church must not be denied, because “sin exists due to our natural inclination towards it.” He added that, “but if the Church knows sin, she also knows the grace of conversion that leads her to say - like Mary in the Magnificat - that God has done great things in the world and in history, but above all in the hearts of men who have been transformed and given the capacity to be saints.”

“Today we are sadly seeing the de-Christianization of the West, which is pursuing opulence and wealth, without understanding that every good comes from God and that it is God himself who gives and takes away,” the bishop continued.

“Our very country is running the risk of making gods out of material things of losing sight of God. In the social and moral order, we have seen the injustice of recent laws that society does not want, and we have seen the very sons and daughters of the Church ‘impose’ these laws on us,” he added.

“We must pray for them, that they rediscover the ‘truth’ that should be the objective of their lives and mission. At the same time, when casting our ballots, we Christians must not forget who has stood up for the Gospel and the common good, especially for the good of the family and the future of our young people and children,” the bishop concluded.

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Assumption is antidote to belief in reincarnation, explains Spanish bishop

Madrid, Spain, Aug 17, 2010 (CNA) - In his homily last Sunday, Bishop Ignacio Munilla of San Sebastian, Spain, discussed the declaration of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary 60 years ago. He affirmed that the teaching points out that the ultimate goal is the resurrection of body and soul and therefore is an antidote to beliefs in reincarnation.

During Mass on the Solemnity of the Assumption, Bishop Munilla noted that Mary’s Assumption reminds us that death implicitly produces the separation of body and soul. At the same time, it underscores that the “faith in our resurrection at the end of time is the greatest characteristic of Christian hope.”

“After this life, we are called to participate in the eternal life of God with our entire being: body and soul. The redemption of Christ hasn’t only brought salvation to the spiritual dimension of being human, but also to the corporal dimension,” he recalled.

“Our goal is to arrive at the joy of God with all of our being, body and spirit, as the Virgin Mary has in advance. A good antidote to the belief in reincarnation, which is clearly incompatible with Biblical revelation, is found here,” he affirmed.

The bishop also explained that the belief in the Assumption of Mary did not originate with Pope Pius XII. Rather, he said, it is a Marian feast which was first celebrated in Jerusalem in the fifth century with the title, “The Dormition of Mary.” In the eighth century, it began to be known as the Assumption. As is the case on other occasions, popular faith and liturgical celebration preceded the Church’s declaration of dogma, the prelate explained.

Bishop Munilla invited Catholics to grow in faith and to make an effort to understand religious ideas such as dogmas, in order to avoid falling into “simplistic caricatures.”

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Bishops of Mexico: Homosexual adoption an attack on natural order

Mexico City, Mexico, Aug 17, 2010 (CNA) - The Bishops’ Conference of Mexico released a statement on Tuesday rejecting the decision by the country’s Supreme Court to uphold the legality of same-sex “marriage” and to allow gay couples  to adopt. The prelates remarked that the ruling not only goes against the natural order, but also against the will of the people.

Here is the complete statement titled, “Responsibility and Free Expression, a Right of Every Person.”

During recent days the media has bombarded us with the controversial issue of same-sex 'marriage' and their adoption of children.

We are all aware of Mexico City Assembly’s decision to pass a law that opened the door to these kinds of unions. This decision was carried out hurriedly, without the necessary consultation of different leaders in society and without concern for the consensus of the majority, which was against such unions and especially the adoption of children. The steamroller of the ruling party prevailed and debate on the issue was set aside to the detriment of the majority of society that was shown to be against it.

The attorney general's office challenged the measure’s constitutionality before the Supreme Court, thus demonstrating its disagreement. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ended its debate without getting to the heart of the issue and only confirming the legality of the juridical process carried out by the Mexico City Legislative Assembly.

The Bishops of Mexico, sensitive to the opinion of the majority not only in Mexico City, but also in the entire country, exercising the freedom of expression guaranteed by our democratic political regime, manifest our total disagreement with the ruling issued by the Supreme Court, with all due respect for the institutions of the Mexican State. We believe that to make these unions equal to marriage is disrespectful both to the very essence of marriage between a man and a woman, as expressed in article 4 of the Constitution, as well as to the customs and the very culture that has governed us for centuries.

The Church, made up of all the baptized, watches over the rights of those who cannot defend themselves, and in this case, children who are the weakest among us. For this reason, based on natural law and our faith, as pastors, the bishops have always and will always be on the side of the rights of the unborn, of those who cannot watch over themselves, of those humiliated and exploited in every sphere.

The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, at different times and with appropriate reflections, has insisted on the importance of safeguarding the fundamental values of the human person from conception to natural death.  Likewise, he has expressed the importance of respecting and protecting creation, nature in general and human nature in particular. The environmental awareness that has won so many converts for the safeguarding of different species, respecting their natural processes, should include the human species, whose dignity and consciousness of its own development is superior to all.  For this reason, the Church discovers in nature itself the dignity of marriage between a man and a woman.  This encourages us to promote the dignity of the couple and their offspring by appealing to natural and moral values. 

We lament that in manifesting these concepts to the public, there exist those who respond with recriminations and threats, claiming this is intolerant, when tolerance is supposed to ensure that we call all express our opinions and positions.  For this reason, we express our solidarity and our feelings to Cardinals Norberto Rivera Carrera and Juan Sandoval Iniguez about this delicate issue.

What Mexico is experiencing now demands a dignified debate that unites us and in which all members of society together address the problems that afflict us: the lack of security, violence, corruption, unemployment, etc.  It is urgent that our country put an end to the hindrances of stubbornness, exclusion and prejudices of all kinds, and that all of us as brothers and sisters strive to build a Mexico with room for all and respect for the rights of each individual, where transparency and the good use of democratic freedoms make our nation prosperous based on transcendent values.

 As pastors of the People of God and brothers of all, we bishops call on the faithful to pray to the Holy Mary of Guadalupe for the decisions of our leaders and for all the children who have no voice but who have the right to have a family that can be an example of virtues for them.”

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