Washington D.C., Feb 1, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington says the new English translation of the Roman Missal represents “a catechetical moment for the whole Church in the country.”
In anticipation of the new translation, the Cardinal has co-written a new book — a step-by-step walk through the parts of the Mass — which he hopes will be a “helpful tool” to help Catholics deepen their understanding of the Mass.
“We begin the book by saying the Mass is ‘what Catholics do.’ The most clearly identifiable action of the Catholic Church is the Mass. ... It is the identifying quality of our Catholic life,” Cardinal Wuerl told CNA in a Jan. 31 phone interview.
“The Mass is how the salvific redemption of the Cross reaches Christians today, nearly 2,000 years since the death of Christ,” he said. “And that’s why there is nothing the Church does that is more important, more significant, more grace-laden, than the Mass.”
Cardinal Wuerl’s new book, co-written with popular Catholic author Mike Aquilina, “The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition” (Doubleday, $22), is richly illustrated and includes reflections by Cardinal Wuerl and Aquilina as well as insights from Church Fathers and other Church writers.
The book was written specifically with the new Missal translation in mind, the cardinal indicated. The Roman Missal is the official book of prayers and instructions for the celebration of the Eucharist.
The United States bishops have announced that parishes will begin using the new translation in Advent 2011.
While the essentials of the Mass have not changed, the new translation offers a richer way to explain and proclaim the Catholic faith, Cardinal Wuerl said.
The cardinal explained that Pope Benedict XVI has called Catholics to “re-propose” the Catholic faith to everyone, and the year-long preparation for the new Missal event is “a chance to do just that.”
“I think we all know that there are many, many of our Catholic faithful who have been, through no fault of their own, under-catechized. They simply never had the opportunity to learn the richness, the beauty, the wonder of the holy sacrifice of the Mass,” he said.
Some of the most important changes in the new edition correct the “shorthand” approach that earlier translators had taken in an effort to eliminate what they considered to be “repetitious or unnecessary” expressions.
For instance, in the “Confiteor” section of the Mass, Catholics presently pray: “I have sinned through my own fault.”
The new translation restores the literal language of the Roman Missal, using the phrase, “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”
“Here, the richness of that repetition is driven home,” Cardinal Wuerl commented.
The “Gloria” of the Mass has also been expanded to follow “the exact translation of the Latin.”
It now reads “We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory.”
The cardinal said there is nothing “wrong” with the current translation. “It’s just that now we have a fuller, and I believe richer explanation of, and proclamation of, our faith.”
Catholics uncomfortable with the changes should realize nothing essential is being changed, he said.
“I’m very sympathetic to people who say ‘I prefer we don’t have any changes at all.’ But change is a part of life even in the unfolding of the liturgy, where we deal with the non-essential items.”
“The celebration of the Mass is essentially what Jesus did at the last Supper, and commanded his Church to do. ‘Do this in memory of me…’ And the Church has done that faithfully for the last two thousand years,” Cardinal Wuerl said.
How the mystery of the Mass is “clothed” in language and rubrics has changed during the course of the Church’s history, he said. This latest translation aims to “get as close as we can to what the current Latin edition says.”
The Eucharist, Cardinal Wuerl stressed, is “at the very heart” of Catholic identity. Through the celebration of the Eucharist, Catholics “enter the mystery of new life in Jesus Christ” and “enter into fullness in his new body the Church.”
Cardinal Wuerl said he has encouraged his priests in the Archdiocese of Washington to begin to help Catholics understand the changes coming with the new missal.
“The changes are not substantive, but the Mass is going to sound a little different. I think we simply need to be helping all of our faithful people to get used to and prepare for some of those new sounds.
“In a very short period of time, we’ll become accustomed to them and we’ll simply take it as the normal way in which we celebrate Mass,” he added.
“I encourage every one of our Catholic faithful to use this as a moment now to reflect on what is happening at Mass, what these words signify, what they communicate, and what mystery is being re-presented on the altar.”
Anchorage, Alaska, Feb 1, 2011 (CNA) - On the eve of this past Thanksgiving, 44-year-old native Alaskan Brenda Kolerok-Schott of Anchorage walked unannounced into the offices of Catholic Social Services to write a $10,000 check to the organization. Never before had she written such a large check. But this gift to Catholic Social Services’ pregnancy support program and Brother Francis Shelter was a deeply personal one for the once pregnant, homeless teenager.
Young, homeless – and pregnant
In 1983, 16-year-old Kolerok-Schott was pregnant. And her family was homeless. After a house deal fell through in Wasilla, they passed from hotels to friends to even the crawl space in a relative’s house. Finally, the family – with four children – moved into a one bedroom, one bath apartment. It was “heaven,” Kolerok-Schott told the Catholic Anchor.
Nevertheless, things were getting harder. Five months along, Kolerok-Schott could no longer hide her pregnancy from her parents. Upon hearing the news, they were upset and “really ashamed” about her situation, recalled Kolerok-Schott. And the father of the baby was in the midst of a divorce from his wife.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Kolerok-Schott explained.
The power of 'True Christians'
Then a high school counselor told the girl about Catholic Social Services (CSS), the social services arm of the Archdiocese of Anchorage. Founded in 1966, the agency serves the needy through emergency shelters, a food pantry and other programs, including those geared to expectant mothers in crisis.
Kolerok-Schott said that within two days of connecting with CSS, a home for her was found with a young Catholic family. It was a haven for the girl in distress.
“I really found out what true Christians were like when I was placed with a Catholic family that took really good care of me,” she said.
They provided a safe and comfortable home for her. Soon, Kolerok-Schott was earning straight ‘A’s in school for the first time.
And they helped her sort out the “pros and cons” of raising her child versus placing the baby for adoption.
Then, in November, Kolerok-Schott gave birth, a month-premature, to a five-pound baby boy.
She said that all of her previous calculations – based in part on her youth and her desire to go to college and enter the Navy – had pointed to adoption. But she “fell instantly in love” with her son. She made the decision — mother and child would grow up together.
As is often the case, the baby’s birth “brought my family together” again, added Kolerok-Schott, whose parents returned to her after a long absence.
The young mother and baby continued on with their Catholic Social Services family until she was able to secure a stable job and they could be on their own.
'Vital' pregnancy support
Kolerok-Schott never forgot how Catholic Social Services had come to her aid during her “darkest hour.” Across the years, she has worked and saved to give something back to the organization that helped save her and her baby – and helped keep them together.
“I am so thankful to God,” Kolerok-Schott said of Catholic Social Services.
“He showed me his true love through Catholic Social Services and showed me that there are true Christians out there who are Catholic,” she added.
Kolerok-Schott believes the type of support she received from Catholic Social Services is “vital” to pregnant girls in crisis.
“There are so many people out there, so many young kids out there who are just like me,” she observed. They need to know there are people who will help them, she explained – whether they place their child for adoption or choose to parent.
“Pregnancy support doesn’t exist to support women that are making only the plan of adoption,” said Catholic Social Services executive director Susan Bomalaski.
“We want to support all women who’ve chosen a life option for their unborn child in whatever way they want,” she continued. That may entail providing a mentor family, housing support or diapers. But right now and with its current staffing, Catholic Social Services can’t provide the “full spectrum of services,” said Bomalaski, without greater financial and volunteer help from the community.
Alaskans have begun to feel the pinch of lost jobs, static wages and rising costs, she noted. As a result, giving to the social services agency is down 20 percent.
But funding and volunteers translate to positive outcomes.
Kolerok-Schott is married, has a second child, and works as a realtor. Her son – who was conceived, born and expected by some to grow up in turmoil and poverty – is now 28-year-old Christopher Kolerok, graduate of University of Alaska, Anchorage, a worldwide college debate champion and recent Master’s Degree graduate of Harvard University.
He also is engaged to marry UAA senior Michaela Hernandez, a parishioner of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Anchorage. For Kolerok-Schott, who was helped by Catholics 28 years ago, it comes “full circle” that her son marries a “beautiful, beautiful Catholic girl!”
She sees her son’s joy as part of a happy ending that she believes every young, pregnant teen deserves to find for herself and her baby.
Kolerok-Schott hopes her story will encourage other young, pregnant, teenage girls to choose life for their babies. She wants them to know “that there is hope out there, and if I can do this, then they can do this, too, and that God will always be with them, and to always make the right decision.”
“Even if your pregnancy could be difficult and hard and embarrassing,” she added, “there are people out there willing to help you.”
Printed with permission from CatholicAnchor.org, newspaper for the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska.
Mexico City, Mexico, Feb 1, 2011 (CNA) - Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City has called on Mexicans to seek out the love and peace of Christ as a response to the terrible wave of violence that has swept the country.
The cardinal explained during a Jan. 30 homily that “hatred and violence will always lead us to destruction and to digression. Love and peace are the way toward true and irreversible change, not only at the institutional level, but at a personal level and in our consciences.”
“It is unquestionable that the love and peace proclaimed by Christ have benefited people and humanity much more than the revolts of zealots, civil wars and class warfare. It is clear that what the Mexican people today are waiting for are proposals that will bring progress and not useless confrontations; inclusive and participative projects and not short-lived prominence; productive programs that create wealth and not the spreading of bitterness and despair,” Cardinal Rivera said.
“The changes and transformations that Jesus proposes do not come about through hatred and violence, but rather through love and peace. The struggles that Christ calls us to are not ‘against’ someone, but rather ‘for’ the poorest and most excluded of this world,” he continued.
“I know that some people want to turn many of the Christian condemnations of violence, corruption and deception into unproductive struggles against those they consider to be their adversaries, instead of fighting for peace, honor and truth, which can bring progress and development to Mexico and the continent,” Cardinal Rivera said.
“If the changes that take place in our world are few and slow-paced, it is because there is little love in our relationships and few builders of peace,” he said.
“The efforts by some scholars to make Jesus out to be a violent revolutionary have totally failed as they have no basis,” the cardinal underscored. “The rejection of violence by Jesus in his attitude and in his words was absolute.”
“The pacifism of Jesus can never be invoked to defend the trampling of human dignity or to justify the stifling of progress and the development of nations.”
“If any word in the gospel is key, it is ‘conversion,’ which is an invitation to change, transformation, the renewal of persons and of the community,” the cardinal added.
Vatican City, Feb 1, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict is calling for a renewed awareness of the importance of the family in his February prayer intentions.
The Pope's general prayer intention for February is: “That all may respect the family and recognize it for its unmatched contribution to the advancement of society.”
His mission intention is: “That Christian communities may witness to the presence of Christ in serving those who suffer from disease in those mission territories where the fight against disease is most urgent.”
Lahore, Pakistan, Feb 1, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pakistan's top Catholic leader, Archbishop Lawrence J. Saldanha of Lahore, says it is time for the "silent majority" to speak out against the growing influence of radical Islam, particularly among Pakistan's youth.
“We face a dark future, if the radicals take over power and impose their brand of the Islamic way of life,” the archbishop told CNA. “It is time for the 'silent majority' to wake up and take action. Otherwise, they will be pushed back into the dark shadows of medieval times.”
The archbishop offered his reflections while preparing for a national “Day of Prayer, Fasting and Penance” that took place on Jan. 30.
Pakistan's bishops sponsored the inter-religious event in hopes of bringing peace, unity, and progress to their country, which has been in turmoil since the the Jan. 4 assassination of Punjab governor Salman Taseer. He was allegedly killed by his bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, for opposing the “blasphemy law” used to silence Christian evangelism and critics of Islam.
In a troubling sign, some Islamic groups – including prominent youth movements – have hailed the assassin as a national hero. Archbishop Saldanha explained that many Pakistani Muslims were conditioned to take the side of anyone claiming to act in the defense of Islam.
“Anyone doing a deed for the Muslim cause is applauded,” he said. “This explains why Mumtaz Qadri was given a hero’s welcome.”
According to the archbishop, these attitudes can easily prevail in an environment of corruption, poverty, and lack of education. The madrassas – private religious schools imparting a strict vision of Islam – are multiplying. Even public schools often promote hostile attitudes toward non-Muslims, following the lead of many radical clerics.
“From these ranks, suicide bombers are recruited and trained,” Archbishop Saldanha explained. “Young boys from age 10 to 18 are prepared to die for Islam and attain glory in heaven. They join militant extremist organizations that promote jihad.”
Archbishop Saldahna said young people were “further radicalized” by some aspects of the U.S. “war against terrorism,” which has continued for almost a decade following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
He said the United States' continued used of drone fighter jets has “further aggravated the situation.” The strikes aim to combat terrorist cells in the country, but have come under international criticism for killing innocent civilians and destroying local infrastructure.
The controversial strikes have fueled animosity against Christians in Pakistan and other Muslim countries. Some Pakistanis, outraged by the bombing campaigns, have come to view native Christians as enemies and traitors, due to the cultural association between Christianity and the United States.
Because radical Islamic influences also dominate the educational system, many average Pakistakis are unable to question this received worldview of religious hostility, which also finds an outlet in the press and other media.
The archbishop also expressed concern that more moderate voices are increasingly difficult to find in the mainstream Pakistani media. He pointed to the case of the scholars, Jawed Ahmad Ghamidi and Tahir-ul-Qadri, who have been forced out of the country for their supposedly “liberal views.”
“The problem,” Archbishop Saladhana said, “is that no scholar dares to oppose the Taliban view of Islam.”
However, Archbishop Saldanha believes these trends can be reversed, if the growing ranks of “quiet dissenters” can find their voice and use the media to their own advantage.
“Thanks to the Internet and Facebook, the minds of many youths are opened and they do not subscribe to the extremist philosophy,” he noted. “They would like to see Pakistan develop into a modern and progressive state.”
Shortly before Governor Taseer's murder, various professional associations, trade unions, political parties, and other concerned citizens had already formed a Karachi-based group called “Citizens for Democracy,” with goal of opposing religious extremism and violence. The bishops' National Commission for Justice and Peace have joined with these groups in their campaign.
The movement aims to change the blasphemy law and return to the principles of Pakistan's 1973 constitution. Although the constitution established the country as an Islamic republic, it also provided for citizens' universal rights and the protection of religious minorities. It has only been in recent years, amid political instability, that these intentions gave way to openly discriminatory policies.
In Archbishop Saldanhda's territory of Lahore, a group of like-minded non-governmental organizations have also formed a “joint action committee” to promote religious and civil liberties and oppose the influence of radical Islamic ideology.
Despite some worrying trends, the archbishop believes many Pakistanis share this vision for their country. He indicated that these individuals and groups were beginning to awaken to the urgent situation, with the realization that they must advocate for peace and the common good at least as boldly as others seek to promote discord.
“The recent murder of Governor Salman Taseer is a wake up call for all enlightened and rational sections of society,” he stated. “They stand for social, legal and economic equality of all citizens of Pakistan, and are determined to oppose the 'Talibanization' of society.”
Cincinnati, Ohio, Feb 1, 2011 (CNA) - About 6,500 employees with an Ohio-based Catholic health care group have rejected a unionization proposal.
The workers of Catholic Healthcare Partners cast votes on whether to be represented by the Service Employees International Union. The voting workers were non-management and included nurses, technical workers, maintenance staff and clerical workers from seven hospitals and eight nursing homes between Cincinnati and Springfield, Ohio.
At Community Health Partners in Springfield, 670 employees did vote to unionize.
Pete Gemmer, spokesman of Catholic Health Care Partners institution Mercy Hospital Fairfield, would not release specific results but told the Middletown Journal the vote was “pretty overwhelmingly against the union.”
Joyce Moscato of the Service Employees International Union said she thought the outcome would have been different if the election had gone ahead three years ago as originally planned.
Gemmer said that according to the agreement, the union will not be able to consider another vote for a minimum of three years.
As part of an agreement based on guidelines from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2009, neither Catholic Healthcare Partners, the co-owner of the local facilities, nor the union were allowed to campaign or solicit employees about their decision, the Springfield News-Sun reports.
That agreement took more than 10 years to secure. Hospital managers agreed not to use “traditional anti-union tactics” such as hiring union-busting firms to defeat organizing drives, while unions agreed not to make public attacks on Catholic health care organizations during labor campaigns.
Hundreds of thousands of employees work at nearly 600 Catholic hospitals nationwide.
Vatican City, Feb 1, 2011 (CNA) - Faithful and joyful witness to one's own vocation “has been and remains an excellent way to awaken in young people the desire to follow the footsteps of Christ,” Pope Benedict said on Feb. 1.
The Pontiff's remarks were released in a message to the second Latin-American Continental Congress for Vocations, which is being held in Cartago, Costa Rica from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5.
The first congress was organized by the Vatican and the Latin-American Confederation of Religious 17 years ago, while the current gathering is the work of bishops responsible for the pastoral care of vocations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Pope Benedict opened his message by saying that the “great task” of evangelization requires an “ever increasing number of people to respond generously to the call of God and make a lifelong commitment to the cause of the Gospel.”
Because of this need, the Pope underscored that general pastoral care “must” include specific focus on vocations.
“Experience shows us that, where vocational pastoral care is well planned and constantly practiced, vocations are not lacking,” he said. “God is generous, and our own commitment to vocational pastoral care in all particular Churches must be equally generous.”
The Pontiff went on to say that vocations “are not the result of any human project, or of some efficient organizational strategy.” Rather, he explained, at “the deepest level, they are a gift of God.”
He added that pastoral planning regarding vocations needs to “recall the primacy of the life of the spirit.”
“The young generations must be given the chance to open their hearts to a greater reality: to Christ, the only One Who can give meaning and fullness to their lives,” he said.
“Yet at the same time, the strengthening of our spiritual life must lead us increasingly to identify ourselves with the will of God, and to offer a clearer and more transparent testimony of faith, hope and charity.”
"Faithful and joyful witness of one's own vocation has been and remains an excellent way to awaken in young people the desire to follow the footsteps of Christ,” the Pope stressed. “This must be accompanied by the courage to propose to them, with delicacy and respect, the possibility that God may be calling them too.”
He noted that often “the divine vocation opens its way through human words, or thanks to an environment in which people experience a living faith.”
“The world needs God,” he concluded, “and for this reason it will always need people who live for Him and announce Him to others.”
Biloxi, Miss., Feb 1, 2011 (CNA) - Hundreds of Vietnamese Catholics across the Mississippi Gulf Coast celebrated the Vietnamese New Year or Tet Nguyen Dan the weekend of January 29-30.
Tet, as it is commonly called, marks the arrival of spring based on the lunar calendar. 2011 is the Year of the Cat.
Bishop Roger Morin presided over Tet celebrations at Holy Family Parish in Pass Christian and Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Parish in Biloxi on Jan. 29 and another at Vietnamese Martyrs Parish in Biloxi on Jan. 30.
Tet, Bishop Morin told parishioners at Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Parish, is a time to celebrate new beginnings.
“With new beginnings, we have an opportunity to look back and we see that, perhaps, we have not been in every way all that God has called each one of us to be. And we want to look back at that past while leaving it there and learning from it as we go forward,” Bishop Morin said.
“The new days that are given to us as a gift, as God gives us every single day the gift of life, are for us the opportunities and the moment of grace to exercise what needs to be done – that we learn from the past, that we go forward in the future continuing to achieve higher levels of perfection in the Christian life. The gift of time and the new year are given to us as an opportunity for us to continue to grow in the Christian life, to deepen our faith, to draw nearer to one another in Christian community and, of course, nearer to our God.”
Redemptorist Father Jimmy Pham, pastor of Vietnamese Martyrs Parish, said Tet also provides an opportunity for the members of the Vietnamese community remember with love and gratitude the sacrifices of their ancestors.
“Without them, we cannot exist,” Father Pham said. “They brought us into the world and that’s why we commemorate them and love them. Many of them suffered greatly in their lives, so we love them very much.”
Following the Jan. 30 Mass at Vietnamese Martyrs Parish, the bishop, concelebrating priest and parishioners, watched as church elders set off fireworks and teenagers took part in a traditional dragon dance, which is meant to spread good health and wealth.
Printed with permission from Gulf Pine Catholic, newspaper for the Diocese of Biloxi, Miss.
Baghdad, Iraq, Feb 1, 2011 (CNA) - An archbishop in Iraq is calling plans for a new Catholic hospital and university in the country “symbols of hope” in an area rife with tension and violence.
Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil in northern Iraq announced to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that the two building projects – planned for Ankawa, a suburb of the Kurdish capital, Erbil – passed a critical phase on Jan. 31 when the regional government granted land for the structures.
A 322,917 square-foot site has been allocated for the university and is near a 86,111-square-foot plot intended for the 100-bed hospital which will have eight operating rooms and a medical wing.
Archbishop Warda said in a Feb. 1 interview that a fundraising campaign was necessary before the building work could begin. He expressed hope that the the two institutions would open within the next couple years.
“The plans we have been developing over the past few months are symbols of hope for the Christian presence in our country,” he said.
Archbishop Warda noted that a primary motivation behind the projects was to provide jobs and other opportunities for local Christians and stave off their plummeting decline in the country. In the last decade, the population of Christians has fallen in Iraq from more than 800,000 to barely 200,000.
Recent violence – such as the attack at the Syriac Catholic cathedral in Baghdad by Islamic militants that left more than 50 dead and over 70 wounded on Oct. 31 – have added to the growing unease felt by Christians in the area.
“We do not want Christians to leave Iraq,” the archbishop underscored. “It is clear that our society here needs schools, universities and hospitals and this provides us with an opportunity to encourage the Christians to build a future for themselves here.”
Archbishop Warda said both initiatives would provide jobs, training and other opportunities for thousands of Christians fleeing to Kurdistan from the religious persecution in Baghdad and Mosul.
The hospital and the university will be run and owned by the Archdiocese of Erbil but Archbishop Warda underscored that both would be open to all individuals, regardless of faith affiliation.
Palm Beach, Fla., Feb 1, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Father Thomas Euteneuer, former president of Human Life International and a popular Catholic media figure, has broken the silence regarding his abrupt departure from public life last August.
He left HLI after “violating the boundaries of chastity with an adult female who was under my spiritual care,” Fr. Euteneuer said in a Jan. 31 statement released by LifeSiteNews.
“I state without reserve that I am deeply sorry for my actions. I have personally apologized, where possible, to anyone I have harmed,” he added.
Fr. Euteneuer said his offenses had been limited to one woman and “did not involve the sexual act.” He added that the “difficult situation … has already been handled appropriately by Church authorities for nearly six months.” He said that no “financial settlement” had been paid out in connection with the matter.
Fr. Euteneuer left his post as head of one of the world’s largest pro-life organization without warning last August, saying only that Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito had called him back to his home diocese of Palm Beach, Fla.
He had been president of HLI since 2000 and was one of the pro-life movement’s most visible spokesmen. Last year, HBO aired a documentary, “12th and Delaware,” that featured a crisis pregnancy center that Fr. Euteneuer had established across the street from an abortion clinic in Fort Pierce, Fla.
In recent years, Fr. Euteneuer had become increasingly involved in the ministry of exorcism. He became a popular speaker on the topic and wrote a highly regarded book, “Exorcism and the Church Militant.”
In his statement, Fr. Euteneuer said his “fall” came during the course of this ministry. “One particularly complex situation clouded my judgment and led me to imprudent decisions with harmful consequences,” he said.
“I take full responsibility for my own poor judgment, my weakness and my sinful conduct that resulted from it,” he added.
He said that the “vast majority” of his decisions and conduct had been “morally sound and consistent with all standards of pastoral care of persons.” He denied allegations he said were being made on “internet sites” that he had “targeted vulnerable women” in his spiritual direction ministry. He also denied allegations of any “financial impropriety” related to his exorcism work.
Fr. Euteneuer expressed sorrow for the harm that his “fall” had caused to his family and to his witness to the priesthood and the pro-life cause.
However, he said that he had “never entertained even the slightest thought of leaving the holy priesthood or the Roman Catholic Church as a result of my failings.”
He said that Bishop Barbarito had authorized him to release his statement and that he was “under obedience” to the bishop, who would decide “all questions of continuing priestly ministry.”
There was no immediate comment from Bishop Barbarito or Human Life International on Fr. Euteneuer’s statement.