Archive of November 13, 2010

Injured from Baghdad cathedral attack brought to Rome for treatment

Rome, Italy, Nov 13, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - A total of 26 of those injured in terrorist attacks on Baghad's Our Lady of Deliverance Church on Oct. 31 have been brought to Rome for emergency medical attention.

Rome's Gemelli Hospital admitted 17 women, seven men and three children on the evening of Nov. 12 just after their arrival by military aircraft. The 26 were met by a "multidisciplinary task force" at their disposal, according to a note from the hospital.

More than 50 people died and least at least 70 people were injured nearly a week ago when gunmen burst into Baghdad's Syrian Catholic cathedral during the celebration of the Mass. According to Vatican Radio as many as 68 people were killed by bullets and suicide bombs.

Two priests were among the dead and one was seriously injured.

The 26 attack victims brought to Rome are now in the hands of emergency doctors, trauma specialists, neurosurgeons, pediatricians, psychiatrists and cultural mediators and other health professionals.

An appeal by Holy See’s Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone to the Italian government made their transfer possible.

Iraq's top diplomats to Italy and the Holy See thanked Italy for the action and pledged their collaboration towards the "complete healing of the injured and their return to Iraq."

Iraq's chief consul in Italy Ali Shahwani said that Christians and their faith, just as all people  and faiths in Iraq, "must be defended."

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US bishops hold exorcism training prior to fall meeting

Washington D.C., Nov 13, 2010 (CNA) - The U.S. bishops are sponsoring a two-day exorcism training in order to teach more priests how to perform the rite.

The Conference on the Liturgical and Pastoral Practice of Exorcism is taking place Nov. 12 -13, days before the national bishops' meeting in Baltimore.

Over 50 bishops and 60 priests have been registered for the event.

Speakers include Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Fr. Dennis McManus – an assistant priest to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan – and Chicago priest Fr. Jeffrey Grob.

Pro-life leader and author Fr. Thomas Euteneuer spoke with CNA last June and explained that due to an increased exposure of young people to the occult, priests within the next decade are going to be “inundated” with exorcism requests.

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Proposed Catholic-Reformed agreement on Baptism would be ‘milestone’

Washington D.C., Nov 13, 2010 (CNA) - A new accord between U.S. Catholic leaders and Reformed churches would be a “milestone in the ecumenical journey” and would aid interaction with Reformed Christians at the parish level, a bishops’ conference official has said.

The document, titled “Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism,” is the result of six years of study and discussion between the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and representatives from the Presbyterian Church-USA, the Reformed Church in America, the Christian Reformed Church, and the United Church of Christ.

The U.S. bishops will vote on the accord and on an accompanying statement at their fall assembly Nov. 15-18.

Fr. Leo Walsh, associate director at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs, explained the proposed accord in a Nov. 12 e-mail to CNA.

He explained that the accord would foster awareness of Baptism as the basis for “the real but imperfect communion that exists among Christ’s followers.” It would also prohibit the use of “innovative” liturgical formulas.

Key to the agreement is its provision that baptisms are valid only when performed with “flowing water,” with the right intention of the Church, and “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Mutually recognizing Baptism as “the gateway to eternal life” would advance Christian unity in obedience to Jesus’ prayer that “all may be one,” Fr. Walsh added.

He noted that similar agreements are in place between Catholic bishops' conferences and their ecumenical partners in Australia, Brazil, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.

For Catholic parish life, the accord would be advantageous in cases where someone baptized in the Reformed traditions wishes to enter full communion with the Catholic Church or wishes to marry a Catholic. Less frequently, the accord would assist cases when a Reformed Christian applies for an annulment.

In these cases, canon law requires verification that the person involved was validly baptized in a manner that the Catholic Church recognizes as valid. If the accord is passed, the validity of these baptisms could be presumed.

Fr. Walsh said that after the agreement takes effect the Catholic and Reformed partners will use common wording in certificates for baptisms they perform.

Asked to explain the different churches’ understanding of Baptism, he said that the commonalities are “much more numerous” than the differences. Both Catholic and Reformed traditions believe that baptism makes someone a part of the body of Christ, the Church, and establishes “a bond of unity” among all Christians.

Baptism is “the sacramental gateway” into the Christian life and should be conferred only once. Both traditions affirm that Baptism is a sacrament of the church done in obedience to Christ’s words.

The differences between the churches are primarily “ecclesiological,” he said. This means they involve the nature of the universal Church and how the Church is expressed locally.

Members of the dialogue took seriously the Vatican’s concern that a Baptism by sprinkling water on several people at once risked being invalid.

“A thorough discussion and review of the baptismal rites of our Reformed partners affirmed that the form and matter used in their rites are sufficient to be recognized as valid by the Catholic Church,” Fr. Walsh reported.

According to the U.S. bishops’ conference, in 2002 the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity urged national bishops’ conferences to examine Christians’ mutual understanding of Baptism. Concerns included baptismal practices conducted by sprinkling or in the name of the “Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.”

The bishops' conference said the proposed accord is “unprecedented” for the Catholic Church in the U.S.

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Christian tradition can purify new forms of communication, Pope explains

Vatican City, Nov 13, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - New forms of communication must be humanizing or they will increase “confusion and solitude” among their users, Pope Benedict XVI has said. The Church is not indifferent to these innovations but seeks to purify and use them “with critical sense.”

His comments came in a Nov. 13 audience at the Vatican with participants in the Pontifical Council for Culture’s four-day conference on the topic "Culture of communications and new languages."

This year's discussions were unique for their venue: Capitoline Hill, Rome’s historic center of culture, government and history.

The president of the council for culture, Cardinal-designate Gianfranco Ravasi, explained at a press conference that the choice of venue aimed to bring their work out of the Vatican and into the city among the people.

Discussions ranged from the effects of the internet on modern communications and interpersonal relations to the way people communicate through food.

In his audience with the participants, the Pope said that "speaking of communications and language means ... not only touching one of the crucial junctions of our world and its cultures, but for us believers, it means getting closer to the very mystery of God who, in his goodness and wisdom, wished to reveal himself and show his will to men."

He spoke of the "profound cultural transformation" taking place due to the great changes in forms of communication. The Church, he said, is not "indifferent" to these changes, but "on the contrary, seeks to avail itself with renewed creative commitment, but also with critical sense and attentive discernment, of new languages and ways of communication."

The Church wishes to enter into dialogue with all people in the world, he said. But, to reach people today, especially young people, it must "tune in" to the same frequency.

"Today not few young people, stunned by the infinite possibilities offered by information networks or by other technologies, establish forms of communication that do not contribute to growth in humanity, but risk rather to increase the sense of solitude and confusion," the pontiff warned.

He explained that education is needed to promote a "humanizing communication."

The Church can turn to the Gospel and Christian tradition to "guide, purify, clean and elevate" new forms of communications, he explained. "In particular the rich and dense symbolism of the liturgy must shine in all its force as a communicative element, until it touches the human conscience, the heart and the intellect profoundly."

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Diocesan schools in Biloxi establish guidelines regarding bullying

Biloxi, Miss., Nov 13, 2010 (CNA) - In accordance with a new Mississippi law, diocesan schools are working to establish guidelines regarding bullying and harassment.

Diocesan principals met with officials from the Diocese of Biloxi’s Department of Education Nov. 8 to craft guidelines that must be in place by Dec. 31 in adherence to Senate Bill 3015, which was passed in April and went into effect in July.

Once the guidelines are written, they will be reviewed by all of the school principals as well as diocesan Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mike Ladner and the Diocesan School Advisory Council.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rhonda Clark said the new guidelines are in no way a response to elevated instances of bullying at diocesan schools, but merely a matter of following the law. On the contrary, Dr. Clark said bullying, as defined by SB 3015, has not been a major problem in diocesan schools.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “Research has shown that 95 percent of incidents do not rise to the level that this statute states.”

Rather, Dr. Clark said a spate of recent bullying incidents resulting directly or indirectly in the suicide deaths of several bullying victims captured the national spotlight, prompting many states, such as Mississippi, to pass legislation regarding bullying and harassment.

Senate Bill 3015 defines bullying or harassing behavior as “any pattern of gestures or written, electronic or verbal communications, or any physical act or any threatening communication, or any act reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, or on a school bus, and that:

·Places a student or school employee in actual and reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property, or

·Creates, or is certain to creative a hostile environment by substantially interfering with or impairing a student’s education performance, opportunities, or benefits.  For purposes of this section, “hostile environment” means that the victim subjectively views the conduct as bullying or harassing behavior and the conduct is objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that it is bullying or harassing behavior. 

“The main thing that we’re asking our principals to do is to behave in a reasonable and prudent manner, to ask their teachers to report any incidents of bullying that they see to their principal and the principal will follow the guidelines that are set up under our policy,” Dr. Clark said.

“Every child should feel safe and secure in our schools. That’s the main thing we want. Learning cannot take place without a safe environment. We just want to have guidelines in place in case it does come up, but we believe our principals have done this all along. They’ve been handling it properly. They’ve investigated every incident. They keep records. We just don’t tolerate it.”

Dr. Clark said one of thing that is important to point out is that diocesan school officials cannot discuss the punishment of one child with another child’s parents.

“A lot of times the parents of a child that they think has been bullied may think that the discipline is not severe enough, but we cannot discuss the discipline that has happened with that child with another child’s parent. We just can’t do it,” she said.

However, Dr. Clark said such incidents aren’t taken lightly.

“There are guidelines in place at every school to deal with harassing and bullying behavior,” she said.

“What we’re doing today is trying to establish a uniform policy for all of the diocesan schools so that every school will be on the same page since we now do have a definite legal definition of what it is.”

Dr. Clark said that bullying happens on all levels.

“And we find that it happens in unstructured environments, which is before school, after school, during lunch, during PE – anything where you don’t have a lot of structure” she said.

St. Patrick Catholic High School principal Bobby Trosclair said bullying is simply a reality in today’s schools.

“I wouldn’t call it a problem, but it exists,” he said. “It exists on all levels from elementary to high school. It’s not something new. It’s been around for ages. There’s just been more public attention to it.

“I think establishing these guidelines are a good idea for protection,” added Trosclair. “The biggest thing is that a parent’s definition of bullying may be different from what the law determines bullying to be and that’s one of the things we want to define today.”

St. Charles Borromeo Elementary School principal Ellen Loper said bullying has not been a problem at the Picayune school but believes that it is a good idea to have anti-bullying measures in place.

“It’s the law and I believe putting something in place protects everyone – the administration, the diocese, the school and the students,” she said. “The students feel that they have that structure as their protection.”

Printed with permission from the Gulf Pine Catholic, newspaper from the Diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi.

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