Archive of November 7, 2010

Benedict XVI calls Spain, all of Europe, to deeper faith

Barcelona, Spain, Nov 7, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict called Spain to a deeper faith during his farewell address at Barcelona’s airport.

As the Pope concluded his Nov. 6- 7 visit, he expressed gratitude to all who assisted in making the papal trip a success.  He explained that he traveled to Spain in order to strengthen Catholics in a faith that has taken such deep root “that it has constantly shaped the spirit, customs, art and character of its peoples.”

“The preservation of this rich spiritual patrimony demonstrates the love of your country for its history and culture, yet it is also a privileged way of transmitting to younger generations those fundamental values so necessary for building up a common future of harmony and solidarity.”

Recalling the Way of St. James, the name given to a group of pilgrimage routes which run across Europe, leading to Santiago de Compostela, the Pope noted that these paths “differed greatly, each marked by its own language…but the faith was the same.”

“There was a common language, the Gospel of Christ,” he continued. “Beyond national differences,” the pilgrims “knew that they were members of one great family to which the other pilgrims and people along the way also belonged.”

“May this faith find new vigor on this continent and become a source of inspiration. May it give rise to an attitude of solidarity towards all, especially towards those communities and nations in greater need.”

Then addressing the crowds in the regional dialect of Catalan, the Pope said that during his day in Barcelona, he was able to participate in “two symbols of fruitfulness of the faith which … through charity and the mystery of God’s beauty, contributes to the creation of a society more worthy of man.”

On Nov. 7, the Pope consecrated the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) and visited Nen Deu, a facility that cares for children in need.

“Truly, beauty, holiness and the love of God enable people to live with hope in this world.”

After his visit to Nen Deu, the Pope met with Prime Minister of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who passed a law dramatically liberalizing the country’s abortion laws last June. 

Concluding his address, the Pope placed Spain “under the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy,” asking the Blessed Mother to “obtain from Almighty God abundant heavenly gifts, that you may live as one family, guided by the light of faith.

“I bless you in the name of the Lord. With his help, we will meet again next year in Madrid, to celebrate World Youth Day. Adios!”

To read the full text of the Pope’s speech, visit:

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Pope Benedict asks society to give its 'best' for those in need

Barcelona, Spain, Nov 7, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Pope rallied support for those in need of social assistance as he visited Nen Deu, an institution for poor, sick or needy children in Barcelona, Spain.

Nen Deu is Catalan for “Child of God.”

After being treated to a song from the children on the afternoon of Nov. 7, the Pope thanked authorities and individuals who work for the care of those most in need. He called the government in particular to step up its efforts in providing social services and assistance.

"At a time when many households are faced with serious economic difficulties, the followers of Christ must multiply concrete gestures of effective and constant solidarity, showing in this way that charity is the hallmark of our Christian life," he said in Catalan.

Then speaking in Spanish, he recalled the dedication of the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia earlier that morning which highlighted that "churches are the sign of the true sanctuary of God among men."

He emphasized that "through the efforts of this and similar church institutions ... it is clear that, for the Christian, every man and woman is a true sanctuary of God, and should be treated with the highest respect and affection, above all when they are in need."

The Church wishes to put the message from the Gospel: “I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me," into practice, he said. The Pope also remembered the many members of the Church who have dedicated themselves completely to teaching, assistance and the care of the sick and the disabled.

"Inspired by their example," he said, "I ask you to continue to provide loving care to the smallest and the most needy, giving them the very best of yourselves."

Turning to the medical advancements in this context, he underscored that "it is indispensable that new technological developments in the field of medicine never be to the detriment of respect for human life and dignity, so that those who suffer physical illnesses or handicaps can always receive that love and attention required to make them feel valued as persons in their concrete needs."

He told the children and young people that they have a "special place in the Pope's heart." The Pontiff noted that prays for them every day as well as for all who work on their behalf.

"I always remember in my prayers those who are dedicated to helping the suffering, and those who work tirelessly so that the handicapped can take their rightful place in society and not be marginalized because of their limitations."

Pope Benedict recognized priests and those who visit the sick at home or in institutions, saying that "they incarnate that important ministry of consolation in the face of human frailty, which the Church seeks to carry out in imitation of the Good Samaritan."

The Pontiff concluded the visit by blessing the first stone of the new residence for the children of Nen Deu, which will take his name. From the facility, he made his way back to the airport to meet with Spanish president Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero before departing for the Vatican.

The Pope’s full address at Nen Deu can be found here:


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Gaudi's Sagrada Familia a hymn of praise 'carved in stone'

Barcelona, Spain, Nov 7, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict lauded the design of Barcelona's newly dedicated minor basilica in bringing the Gospel to everyone, especially the poor.

Just after Mass at the newly dedicated Minor Basilica of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) in Barcelona, Spain, the Holy Father stepped out of the church to pray the Angelus with the tens of thousands of faithful on hand.

As he did in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on the first day of the journey and again in his homily at Mass moments earlier, the Holy Father once more put emphasis on the value of life, marriage and family and the importance of their protection.

Jesus, he said in his words before the Angelus, "in the silence of the home of Nazareth, taught us without words of the dignity and the primordial value of marriage and the family, the hope of humanity, in which life finds its welcome from conception to natural death.

"He has taught us also that the entire Church, by hearing and putting his word into practice, becomes his family. And he has exhorted us to be a seed of fraternity which, sown in every heart, nourishes hope."

The Holy Father spoke of the local region’s devotion to the Holy Family, seen "as a hymn of praise to God carved in stone" in the minor basilica.

Through the design of the church, said the Holy Father, architect Antoni Gaudi gave praise to God which "as with the birth of Christ, has had as its protagonists the most humble and simple of people."

Pointing to designs which transmit a catechesis on Christ's life, Pope Benedict said, "in effect, Gaudí, through his work, sought to bring the Gospel to everyone."

Seeking with the local parish priest to bring the Word of God to the poorest, said the Pope, Gaudi brought concrete reality to the conviction, saying: “The poor must always find a welcome in the Church, which is an expression of Christian charity.”

The Holy Father also called attention to the beatification in Brazil of the foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Maria Barbara of the Most Holy Trinity. He expressed his desired that her faith and charity might "awaken" the desire for new vocations to the religious life, especially in service of the poorest and the most needy.

"In prayer," he concluded, "let us now consider the mystery of the Incarnation and lift up our prayer to the Mother of God with the words of the Angelus, as we entrust our lives and the life of the entire Church to her, while imploring the gift of peace for each and every person of good will."

To read the Pope’s full message, visit:

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Pope Benedict XVI dedicates Barcelona's Sagrada Familia

Barcelona, Spain, Nov 7, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Church of the Holy Family’s altar was blessed and the church officially dedicated by Pope Benedict XVI on the morning of Nov. 7. The ceremony took place 128 years after the first stone was laid in Barcelona, Spain.

Considering the faith of the church's main architect, Antoni Gaudi, who died in 1926, the Pope said that in a certain sense the dedication of the church is a "high point" of the deep religious history of the Catalonia region where Barcelona is located.

During the dedication rite, the altar and walls of the church were anointed with chrism oil, and incense was burned at the altar.

The Church of the Holy Family – also know as “Sagrada Familia” - "stands as a visible sign of the invisible God, to whose glory these spires rise like arrows pointing towards absolute light and to the One who is Light, Height and Beauty itself," the Pope said.

The structure of the church is steeped in religious symbolism, every element was planned by Gaudi to intertwine the natural and the spiritual. Not all of the decorative spires that shoot up from the roof of the building have been completed, with the largest, the central "Tower of Jesus Christ," still to come. 

By uniting nature, sacred Scripture and the liturgy, explained Pope Benedict, Gaudi "brilliantly helped to build our human consciousness, anchored in the world yet open to God, enlightened and sanctified by Christ."

Turning to the entire Catholic Church, he said she is "nothing" without her foundation in Christ. "He is the rock on which our faith is built," said the Pontiff.

"Building on this faith, let us strive together to show the world the face of God who is love and the only one who can respond to our yearning for fulfillment."

The "great task before us," he said, is "to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord.

"In this sense, I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him."

In the context of the Holy Family, he asked for greater "care, protection and assistance to families" today, highlighting especially the importance of marriage between man and woman and the protection of human life in all stages.

Both are particularly important issues in Spain which allows same-sex “marriage” and has some of the most liberal abortion legislation in Europe.

"Only where love and faithfulness are present can true freedom come to birth and endure," said the Pope.

Calling for protection from the state for life, marriage and the family he assured that "the Church resists every form of denial of human life and gives its support to everything that would promote the natural order in the sphere of the institution of the family."

At the end of the Mass, Cardinal Martinez Sistach read the Papal Bull, a decree from the Pope's hand, declaring the Sagrada Familia a "minor basilica."

To read the Pope’s full homily, visit:

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St. Josaphat, martyr for Church unity, to be remembered Nov. 12

CNA STAFF, Nov 7, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - On the day of his martyrdom, Nov. 12, Roman Catholics and some Eastern Catholics will remember St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, a bishop and monk whose example of faith inspired many Eastern Orthodox Christians to return to full communion with the Holy See.

Other Eastern Catholics, including the Ukrainian Catholic Church, celebrate St. Josaphat's feast day on Nov. 25.

Born in 1580 in the western Ukrainian region of Volhynia, John Kuntsevych did not become “Josaphat” until his later life as a monk. He also was not initially a full member of the Catholic Church, born to Orthodox Christian parents whose church had fallen out of communion with the Pope.

Although the Eastern churches began to separate from the Holy See in 1054, a union had existed for a period of time after the 15th century Ecumenical Council of Florence. But social, political and theological disputes caused the union to begin dissolving even before the Turkish conquest of Byzantium in 1453. By John’s time, many Slavic Orthodox Christians had become strongly anti-Catholic.

During this time, Latin missionaries attempted to achieve reunion with the individual eastern patriarchs. The approach was risky, sometimes politicizing the faith and leading to further divisions. But it did yield some notable successes, including the reunion of John’s own Ruthenian Church in the 1596 Union of Brest.

John was trained as a merchant’s apprentice and could have opted for marriage. But he felt drawn to the rigors and spiritual depth of traditional Byzantine monasticism. Taking the monastic name of Josaphat, he entered a Ukrainian monastery in 1604.

The young monk was taking on an ambitious task, striving to re-incorporate the Eastern Orthodox tradition with the authority of the Catholic Church in the era of its “Counter-reformation.” Soon, as a priest, subsequently an archbishop, and ultimately a martyr, he would live and die for the union of the churches.

While rejecting the anti-Western sentiments of many of his countrymen, Josaphat also resisted any attempt to compromise the Eastern Catholic churches’ own traditions. Recognizing the urgent pastoral needs of the people, he produced catechisms and works of apologetics, while implementing long overdue reforms of the clergy and attending to the needs of the poor.

Josaphat’s exemplary life and zeal for the care of souls won the trust of many Orthodox Christians, who saw the value of the churches’ union reflected in the archbishop‘s life and works. Nevertheless, his mission was essentially controversial, and others were led to believe lurid stories and malicious suggestions made about him. In 1620, opponents arranged for the consecration of a rival archbishop.

As tensions between supporters and opponents began to escalate, Josaphat lamented the onset of attacks that would lead to his death. “You people of Vitebsk want to put me to death,” he protested. “You make ambushes for me everywhere, in the streets, on the bridges, on the highways, and in the marketplace. I am here among you as a shepherd, and you ought to know that I would be happy to give my life for you.”

He finally did so, on a fall day in 1623. An Orthodox priest had been shouting insults outside the archbishop’s residence, and trying to force his way inside. Josaphat had him removed, but the man assembled a mob in the town. They arrived and demanded the archbishop’s life, threatening his companions and servants. Unable to escape, Josaphat died praying for the men who shot and then beheaded him before dumping his body in a river.

St. Josaphat’s body was discovered incorrupt, five years later. Remarkably, the saint’s onetime rival - the Orthodox Archbishop Meletius - was reconciled with the Catholic Church in later years. St. Josaphat was canonized in 1867.

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Religious sisters net $220k selling rare baseball card

Baltimore, Md., Nov 7, 2010 (CNA) - The missions of the School Sisters of Notre Dame will receive a big financial boost from the sale of an unusual item—the most prized baseball card in the world.

Honus Wagner, it appears, didn't want his image used to promote tobacco. That's the story of how a 1909 American Tobacco Company baseball card, featuring the Pittsburgh shortstop, became the most valuable trading card in history. The cards were withdrawn, and only around 50 exist.

This week, though, Wagner's card was put to a nobler purpose: an order of sisters raised $220,000 by auctioning one.

Heritage Auction Galleries, which handled the online sale, recounted that one of the Baltimore-based School Sisters of Notre Dame had received the card from her brother. Although the card was not in perfect condition, he said, its value “should increase exponentially throughout the (21st) century.”

The auction agency clearly agreed, rhapsodically announcing that the winning bidder would be “planting his flag atop one of the most challenging and scenic mountain tops in the (card-collecting) hobby.” Bids began at $140,000 and nearly doubled over the course of the week. The sisters will receive around 80 percent of the final $260,000 bid.

Wagner, known as the “Flying Dutchman,” was one of the five original inductees into baseball's Hall of Fame and compiled a .328 batting average during his career. Some of his contemporaries regarded him as one of the greatest players of all time.

His card's value, however, derives mostly from its sheer rarity. A card in mint condition from the same early 1900s batch went for $2.8 million in 2007 – the highest price ever paid for a baseball card.

Far from its original purpose of promoting Sweet Caporal Cigarettes, the profits from the School Sisters' sale of the card will go toward their charitable missions in 35 countries.

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Stone from Lincoln Cathedral in England now in Nebraska

Lincoln, Neb., Nov 7, 2010 (CNA) - On the occasion of Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz’s 50th Priesthood Jubilee last summer, he received an unusual but welcome gift: a stone from Lincoln Cathedral in England. The stone, which was retrieved during a 1972 restoration, was one of the original elements of the grand Romanesque structure.

This remarkable gift came from Father Regis Barwig, prior of the Community of Our Lady. The monastery is situated in Oshkosh, Wisc., the bishop’s home state.

For some 40 years, Father Barwig has been collecting stones from pre-Reformation cathedrals in England. His current inventory includes stones from Wells, Peterborough, Durham, York, Canterbury and others.

This particular stone, which measures 15 x 10 x 8 inches, was taken from one of the capitals, or uppermost parts of a column. It had been hewn to size and installed sometime between 1072, when William the Conqueror (1028-1087) ordered the cathedral’s construction, and 1092, when the Lincoln Cathedral was consecrated.

In January 1066, England’s throne was hotly disputed by three different pretenders – including William, who was a distant relative of the recently deceased Edward the Confessor. William prevailed through several battles and was crowned King of England on Christmas Day in 1066.

William introduced the Norman/French culture to medieval England, bringing a degree of civility along with the valuable protection of his well-trained armies. He was also responsible for several major building projects, including the Tower of London, various castles and keeps, and the Lincoln Cathedral.

As a community, England’s prosperous city of Lincoln had enjoyed prominence during Roman times because it was the meeting point of five main roads. Once a castle was established on the southeast corner of the city, William requested the see be moved from nearby Dorchester to Lincoln. He ordered a cathedral to be constructed on the southwest corner in 1072.

One of William’s most ardent supporters was a Benedictine monk, Remigius. Remigius became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln. At that time, it was the largest diocese in medieval England.

Remigius oversaw the 20-year building project, though he died just two days before it was consecrated.

The initial portion of Lincoln Cathedral was Romanesque. A fire around 1141 destroyed most of the Cathedral. It was partially rebuilt using the most advanced architectural techniques of the day.

In 1185, however, an earthquake caused structural damage. Repairs were not begun until seven years later, under the direction of Saint Hugh of London. Saint Hugh was so enthusiastic in his oversight, he even did menial tasks to help the workers.

A series of renovations and expansions ensued for the next several centuries. Towers collapsed and were raised again. When a spire was added to the central tower in the 1300s, Lincoln Cathedral became the tallest structure in the world until the spire was blown down during a storm in 1548.

Despite its ongoing physical problems, Lincoln Cathedral has been the most prominent landmark of the region, offering a glorious testimony of faith that can be seen 30 miles away.

"I have always held… that the cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isle and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have," wrote John Ruskin (1819-1900), a renowned English writer and art critic.

The Cathedral is home to one of four remaining signed copies of the Magna Carta (a document that limited the powers of the king and afforded certain freedoms to commoners). It’s also the setting for a number of romantic tales and legends.

When Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church in 1534, he also robbed Lincoln Cathedral of the attentive care of several orders of monks from the area, who had made repairs and routine maintenance for hundreds of years.

Over the centuries since then, the cathedral has suffered from neglect.

Various restoration projects in recent decades have sought to return structural integrity and architectural beauty to Lincoln Cathedral. Hence, this particular capital stone became available for purchase and eventually was given to Bishop Bruskewitz, who in turn presented the stone to the Nebraska’s Diocese of Lincoln.

"I know of no more suitable place for it to find a home," Father Barwig wrote to the bishop.

Plans are currently underway to find an appropriate location to display the stone at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln. An accompanying narrative will provide the stone’s history.

"It will be of interest to history buffs," said Msgr. Timothy Thorburn, vicar general of the diocese. "It is also a reminder that England had been a very devout and solidly Catholic country until Henry VIII declared himself head of the Church in England."

Printed with permission from the Southern Nebraska Register, newspaper from the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb.

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