Mexico City, Mexico, Aug 18, 2010 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Mexico City has ripped the country’s Supreme Court for ruling to allow adoption by same-sex couples and warned that its members have become “accomplices of the psycho-emotional and moral tragedies that in the future may fall upon innocent children who are victims of this kind of adoption.”
In a statement signed by Father Hugo Valdemar, the archdiocese also noted that countless Christian families lament “the reckless, irresponsible and unjust decision” of the court, which issued its ruling on Monday “ignoring the international scientific studies against the adoption of children by same-sex couples.”
He said that some members of the court have gone to the extreme of acting against the natural law and against children. “All those responsible for their unfortunate decision which has now become law will have to answer to the Supreme Court of God, to their families and to history itself,” the priest warned.
San Francisco, Calif., Aug 18, 2010 (CNA) - Ignatius Press announced on Monday that they are launching a collection of illustrated Catholic books for children, with the first eight to be released in October 2010.
The company has partnered with Magnificat in publishing a series of Catholic books that will “capture the imagination of children of various ages through delightful full-color illustrations, exciting stories from the Bible and lives of the saints, and simple yet powerful prayers,” read a press release on Aug. 16.
Ignatius decided to republish the books in the U.S. after viewing Magnificat's children's books that had been released in France. Magnificat is known for its pocket-sized devotional books featuring daily Mass readings, meditations and prayers in editions created for both adults and children.
Among the books that will be released this fall are two hardcover titles, “John Mary Vianney: The Holy Cure of Ars” and “Bernadette: The Little Girl from Lourdes,” which are intended for older children. Three sturdy books for younger children will also be published, including “My First Prayers for My Family,” “My First Prayers for Christmas,” and “The Bible for Little Ones.” Two comic book style titles will include, “The Adventures of Lupio, Volume 1: The Adventures and Other Stories,” and “The Illustrated Gospel for Children.” Additionally, the first volume in a series of coloring books titled, “Pictures from the Gospels: A Coloring Book,” will be released.
“Ignatius Press is honored and excited to be working with Magnificat to publish this new line of such high quality, beautifully designed Catholic books for children that have that wonderful combination of inspiring, informative text with such lovely artwork,” said Anthony Ryan, marketing director for Ignatius Press.
“Magnificat has earned a very high reputation in the USA since they launched their incredibly popular monthly worship aid, Magnificat, and they have been publishing award-winning books in France for decades,” he added.
“We are very confident at Ignatius Press that this new collaboration with Magnificat will fill a real need for many more beautiful, outstanding Catholic books for children that will be greatly appreciated by the millions of Catholics, young and old, in North America.”
Beirut, Lebanon, Aug 18, 2010 (CNA) - Télé Lumière and Noursat, the only Catholic television and satellite network broadcast from the Middle East, has announced it will air a series of celebrations to honor Blessed Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday. A highlight of its coverage will be the installation of a nearly 10-foot-tall statue of the woman devoted to charity.
The statue will be erected in Sed El Bouchrieh, a city in the Fanar region of Lebanon, where the first Missionaries of Charity convent was established. Since 1979, Mother Teresa’s religious order has had a center in Fanar and another in Becharre.
In 1982 Mother Teresa visited Lebanon and transferred to safety about 50 orphans and disabled people who had been trapped by Israeli bombing.
The Fanar center hosts orphans or children rejected by their families because of their handicaps. It also hosts abandoned women who have no children to care for them.
The statue to be installed is close to 10 feet in height and stands on a on a 6.5-foot high platform. It shows Mother Teresa with a “comforting tender smile” and a “bright healing look,” Télé Lumière and Noursat reports.
Its creator is artist George Aoun, while Armenian engineer Sarkis Ohanian coated the work with bronze.
Télé Lumière and Noursat is preparing a “majestic, official diplomatic and popular festival” for the occasion. The program will air at 6 p.m. Beirut time on Aug. 26.
The Maronite Archbishop of Beirut Boulos Matar will celebrate a Mass for the event in St. Takla Church. There will be a procession to the statue’s platform, with participants chanting and singing hymns.
Télé Lumière and Noursat has produced and broadcast several programs about Mother Teresa, including a documentary filmed in Calcutta. For three months it has aired a daily program titled “The Essence of Calcutta.”
“The station considers this as a small recognition from, and a testimony to the ways she touched the lives of the people, all the sisters for all the love, faith and care of all those who are in need, and for being a true example of Jesus’ love,” the broadcaster explained.
Charleston, S.C., Aug 18, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The 2010 Catholic Radio Conference, scheduled for October, will feature a “boot camp” for those new to Catholic radio. Keynoting the event will be Newt and Callista Gingrich, who will discuss their new movie about Pope John Paul II’s pilgrimage to Poland.
The conference will take place in Birmingham, Alabama Oct. 13-16, a press release from organizers reports. Its “boot camp” will teach newcomers to Catholic radio how to overcome common hurdles.
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista will speak about their movie “Nine Days that Changed the World.” The movie is about John Paul II’s visit to Poland in June of 1979 which helped transform the Polish people and helped lead to the fall of communism.
A screening of the movie will follow the Gingriches’ comments.
Bishop of Birmingham Robert J. Baker will celebrate a Mass at the conference and the deputy chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Audio Division will address attendees. The conference has separate tracks in radio operations, promotion and fundraising and technical issues.
Catholic Radio Association President Stephen Gajdosik said that one strength of Catholic radio is its ability to leverage and unify the work of the Church.
“Whether it be a lay or diocesan effort, it is a work of the Church. Catholic radio can magnify that work, helping it to bear more fruit. The 2010 Catholic Radio Conference is designed to help radio stations and programmers make their work serve the Church ever more effectively.”
The conference website is at http://www.catholicradioconference.com
Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 18, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Holy Father remembered Pope St. Pius X and reviewed his Church reforms and renewals during Wednesday's general audience catechesis. Pope Benedict highlighted the importance of St. Pius X's decree that set the "age of reason" as the appropriate time for children to receive First Communion.
The general audience was held in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo as is customary at this time of year. The space was filled with pilgrims carrying flags and banners and waiving scarves.
During the catechesis, Benedict XVI spoke of Pope St. Pius X, who from the time of his ordination at 23 years old, "showed that deep love of Christ and the Church, that humility and simplicity and that great charity towards the most in need, that were characteristic of his entire life."
Although he accepted his election to the papacy with difficulty because he did not feel himself to be worthy of the position, Pope Benedict XVI said, "he left an indelible mark in the history of the Church" through a pontificate that "was characterized by a notable effort for reform, summarized in his motto 'Instaurare omnia in Christo' (Renew all things in Christ)."
Pope Benedict pointed to Pius X's reorganization of the Roman Curia, how he began work to re-examine the Code of Canon Law and his revision of the protocol for priestly formation. He also spoke of the Pope-saint's work to develop a universal catechism after having witnessed the great need for a reference point of the faith amidst widespread emigration.
"The Catechism called 'from Pius X,' was for many a sure guide in learning the truth of the faith for its simple, clear and precise language and for its expositive effectiveness," recalled Pope Benedict.
He was also reminded of the attention Pius X gave to liturgical reform, in an effort "to guide the faithful to a more profound prayer life and to a fuller participation in the Sacraments." Referencing the 1903 motu proprio "Tra le sollecitudini," he explained that Pius X asserted through it that "the true Christian spirit has its first and indispensable source in the active participation in the sacrosanct mysteries and in public and solemn prayer in the Church.
"For this," continued Benedict XVI, "he recommended receiving the sacraments often, promoting daily participation in Holy Communion, (being) well prepared, and anticipating opportunely the First Communion of children at seven years of age, 'when the child begins to reason' ... "
In marking the 100th anniversary of the Pius X-approved decree "Quam singulari" earlier this month, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments wrote about the same subject in the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper. He suggested that the Church must confirm Pius X's decree and even possibly contemplate lowering the age further to ensure the graces for children as they reach the age of reason amidst the difficulties of today's world.
Concluding Wednesday's catechesis, the Holy Father said:
"Dear brothers and sisters, St. Pius X teaches all of us that the base of our apostolic action in the various fields in which we work must always be for us an intimate personal union with Christ, to cultivate and grow day after day this nucleus of all of his teaching, of all of his pastoral genius.
"Only if we are in love with the Lord will we be capable of bringing men to God and opening them up to His merciful love."
Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Aug 18, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Benedict XVI remembered the people of Pakistan in his prayers on Wednesday as he appealed to the international community not to hold back in their assistance to those who are suffering greatly from weeks of flooding.
Flooding, which began at the end of July in Pakistan, has led to an estimated 1,600 deaths and left more than two million people homeless, according to an Aug. 18 Reuters report.
During Wednesday's general audience at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope entrusted the dead to the "merciful goodness of God" and expressed "spiritual closeness" to their relatives and all who are suffering as a result of this "calamity."
"May our solidarity and the concrete support of the international community not be lacking for these brothers of ours, [who are being] so greatly tested," he said.
In collaboration with other international efforts, the Catholic Church, especially through its international charitable organization Caritas, is collaborating to provide assistance for the millions in need.
Caritas made an appeal last week for $5.5 million in donations to be able to provide aid in the form of food and health provisions, to better protect particularly women and children from possible abuses and to rebuild the Pakistani infrastructure in the longer term.
Fr. Mario Rodrigues, Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Pakistan, told Fides news agency on Wednesday, "We are doing our best. Caritas and the Pontifical Mission Societies have been active and there is a great sense of solidarity. The Catholic faithful are giving all they have."
Emphasizing the devastation and the need for donations, Fides lauded the work of Pakistani Catholics who are "holding nothing back," going door-to-door for donations and providing assistance "without reservations."
Fr. Rodrigues told Fides, "We ask for material aid, but also for the prayers of the faithful in the world."
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug 18, 2010 (CNA) - Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz encouraged Argentineans on Sunday to honor the Blessed Mother as a means of fidelity to the Word of Christ.
“Authentic devotion to the Virgin is a sign and guarantee of fidelity to Jesus Christ. We don’t need to wait for new apparitions, what she is telling us is to listen and to live the Gospels that her Son has given us,” the archbishop said on the feast of the Assumption of Mary.
During his homily, Archbishop Arancedo explained how to discern private revelations attributed to Mary or Jesus. “The encounter with Him is the beginning of conversion and new life. This is the best gift we can give her and which gives strength to our Marian devotion.”
He encouraged Argentineans to follow the example of Mary, who continues to fulfill the mission given to her by the Lord. “She accompanies us, she is our Mother; but we should also learn to heed the words she spoke to the disciples and that she speaks to us still today: ‘Do whatever He tells you’,” the archbishop concluded.
Washington D.C., Aug 18, 2010 (CNA) - Researchers at the Mayo Clinic, working together with Belgium experts, have demonstrated in lab tests that adult stem cells from bone marrow can repair and rebuild damaged heart tissue. The discovery was published yesterday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Stem cells that have been isolated from patients generally have a limited capacity to repair heart tissue, explained the Mayo Clinic in a press release. However, the technology used in this particular study yielded significant results by programming these cells to acquire a profile similar to cardiac cells.
In order to carry out the tests, researchers obtained bone marrow-derived stem cells from patients with heart disease during coronary bypass surgery.
The Mayo Clinic reported that stem cells from two of the 11 individuals demonstrated an unusual capacity to repair heart tissue. The researchers then used techniques to introduce the same molecular signature into the stem cells of the other patients in order to “program” their capacity to repair heart tissue.
These kinds of cells, called Mesenchymal stem cells, were injected into rats with heart disease and resulted in significant recovery of heart function, as well as an improved survival rate after one year, in contrast with rats infused with stem cells not guided by researchers.
According to Andre Terzic of the Mayo Clinic, the main author of the study, “These findings provide proof-of-principle that "smart" adult stem cells have added benefit in repairing the heart.”
Mexico City, Mexico, Aug 18, 2010 (CNA) - The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, Father Antonio Gutierrez, said this week that Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez has proof that Mexico City Governor Marcelo Ebrard bribed members of the Supreme Court into supporting same-sex “marriage” and the adoption of children by homosexual couples.
“Yes, there is a foundation. The cardinal’s statements are based on information that he has, and he is not the only one who knows, other people do as well,” the priest said, adding that the cardinal has no intention of retracting his comments, as Ebrard is demanding. Regarding a possible lawsuit by the governor against the cardinal, Father Gutierrez said, “He is free to proceed as he wishes.”
After noting that the cardinal will not be making any statements, Fr. Gutierrez addressed the members of the court and said the archdiocese is not afraid of a vote of censure.
“We are not afraid. Let them proceed. Unfortunately they have absolute power and nobody can question them, but they can proceed as they wish,” he said, adding that the archdiocese is prepared for any lawsuit that may arise.
Vatican City, Aug 18, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Vatican's spokesman hopes that the Pope's visit to the U.K. will make known the positive contribution of the Christian faith to a widely "secularized" society. Touching on the delicacy of relations between Anglicans and Catholics, he also commented that meetings between the Pope and representatives of the Church of England during the trip are "very significant."
On Wednesday, the Vatican released the final schedule for Pope Benedict XVI's Sept. 16-19 visit to the U.K. Accompanying the announcement was a Vatican Radio interview with Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Holy See's spokesman.
The final program will see the Pope in Scotland on Sept. 16, when he will meet with Queen Elizabeth II and celebrate an outdoor Mass in Glasgow. Over the next two days of the trip, he will spend time meeting with religious leaders, the faithful and representatives of civil society in a series of gatherings and celebrations in London, England.
The concluding event of what Fr. Lombardi called a "very rich, intense (and) articulate" program will be on Sept. 19 in Birmingham. In what is by all accounts the culminating moment of the trip, the Holy Father will preside over the beatification ceremony of Cardinal John Henry Newman.
Recalling the major events during the visit, the Vatican spokesman said that the meetings with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the ecumenical celebration with the Anglican Church on Sept. 17 have a "great significance."
He called the current climate in the Church of England "a delicate moment for Anglicanism" because of the "internal debates." Those discussions include whether or not women should be ordained bishops and the importance accorded to biblical teachings within the church.
Since the Vatican offered Anglicans that possibility to enter into communion with the Catholic Church under a provision creating a special ordinariate, some English Anglicans, including bishops, have been seriously considering converting to Catholicism. The Anglican Communion's recent approval of the ordination of women bishops at their synod in York, England has further aggravated tensions within the Church.
Fr. Lombardi said in Wednesday's interview with Vatican Radio that this is also a "delicate moment for relations with the Catholic Church, because the internal debates reflect on the relations between Anglicans and Catholics."
Turning to the overall aim for the September visit, he said that it is hoped the Pope's presence will serve to "present the service of the Christian faith and the service of the Catholic Church to a very developed, but also very secularized society, like that of the United Kingdom ... where perhaps also many people ask themselves about the value of the Christian and Catholic witness in society."
Reminded of the positive reaction experienced during previous apostolic journeys made this year (Malta, Cyprus and Portugal), the Vatican spokesman said, "We hope that also this trip might be truly a manifestation of the beauty, of the positiveness of the service of the Holy Father in society ...
"The hope (is) to be able to effectively represent the fundamental, positive side which the Church gives to a society of today - a modern, pluralistic, let's even say secularized, society - so it will not forget, but rather it will know how to appreciate in a knew way the positive contribution that the faith offers."
Brussels, Belgium, Aug 18, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - In the absence of an official statement from Belgium's judiciary, the lawyer for the Archdiocese of Brussels-Mechelen announced the court's decision that the police raids of the archbishop's offices and Cardinal Danneel's residence in June were unlawful.
The surprise search of the archdiocesan headquarters and other Church properties, called "Operation Chalice" by local authorities, took place on June 24. Police evidently sought to uncover evidence that the Church had willingly hidden information about clerical sex abuse cases.
In an Aug. 13 press conference, noting silence from the appeals court concerning its decision, the Belgian Bishops Conference announced the court's ruling that the search was illegal.
A statement from the archdiocese said that Fernand Keuleneer, the attorney for the archdiocese, was surprised by the prosecution's silence on the decision, especially after the press was, as he put it, so "welcome" during and following the search. The lawyer did, however, concede that the court had no legal obligation to disclose its decision.
As a result of the court's ruling, the items seized, which consist mostly of boxes of files from the now-defunct Interdiocesan Commission on Sexual Abuse and their computers, must be returned and the dossiers from the local judicial investigation must be destroyed.
The bishops expressed their hope that confidence would be restored following this ruling. The new Belgian Bishop's Conference spokesman Jürgen Mettepenningen also said that the bishops are exploring how to best help victims at this point.
As for the original scope of the search, Keuleneer told Vatican Radio this week that its "substance" is still rather unclear. The search was on such a large scale "that one asks himself if there were concrete, specific elements (to it), or if the scope wasn't rather that of going in 'blind' hoping to find something … "