Vatican City, Apr 11, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - A new Vatican-sponsored catechism intended for youth suggests that Christian couples “can and should” use “contraceptive methods” when deciding on how many children to have.
The revelation comes two days before the eve of the official launch of the so-called “YouCat,” produced specially for the Church’s World Youth Day event, to be held in Madrid this coming August.
The Vatican’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, told CNA April 11, “I have not yet seen the text of YouCat and am therefore unable to comment further.”
The Vatican has scheduled a press conference for April 13 to officially release the text.
Organizers of World Youth Day have already ordered 700,000 copies of YouCat to give to young pilgrims along with a sleeping bag, map and other accessories.
The catechism is laid out in a question and answer fashion. Question 420 in the Italian language edition states:
“Q. Puo una coppia christiana fare ricorso ai metodi anticoncezionali?” (Can a Christian couple have recourse to contraceptive methods?)
“A. Si, una coppia cristiana puo e deve essere responsabile nella sua facolta di poter donare la vita.” (Yes, a Christian couple can and should be responsible in its faculty of being able to give life).
Vatican sources who spoke to CNA April 11 on the condition of anonymity speculated that the problem was in the original German text, a fact that was later confirmed by CNA.
“YouCat” is to be published in 12 additional languages. The English edition, published by Ignatius Press, does not contain the problematic language. It is not yet known if other language versions also contain the same controversial statement on contraception.
The Catholic Church has always opposed the use of contraception. In the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, its use is described as “intrinsically evil.”
The creation of the 300-page YouCat was overseen by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna. It was given the doctrinal seal of approval by the Bishops of Austria in March 2010. Cardinal Schonborn was also the editor of the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1992.
He is slated to be in attendance at the launch press conference on Wednesday.
Also slated to be present are Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion Council for the Promotion of New Evangelization.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Apr 11, 2011 (CNA) - The 33-year-old policeman who ended the school massacre in Brazil explained that God put him and another officer in the area to prevent an even greater tragedy.
Officer Marcio Alexandre Alvez told local reporters, “it was God who put us there. You can be certain that if we had not acted quickly, this attacker would have killed many more students.”
The April 7 massacre at an elementary school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil left 13 people dead, including 12 students.
Alvez said he was on traffic patrol when two wounded students approached him. The two boys said they were injured by a man shooting students at a nearby school.
Alvez and another officer helped the students, then ran to the school where they could hear gunfire. “When I got to the second floor, I saw the killer aim his gun at me. I fired and I think I hit him in the stomach.
“He fell to the ground and shot himself in the head,” the officer told the Brazilian newspaper, O Estadão de Sao Paulo.
“I have mixed feelings. I am sad because I have children of the same age as the kids who were killed.” At the same time, “I know I did my duty. I got there right when the killer was getting ready to head to the third floor to kill more students hiding in classrooms,” Alvez said.
Police found 66 bullets in Wellington de Oliveira’s pockets, which they say he intended to fire during the school rampage.
Despite all the praise and gratitude from parents and teachers, Alvez added, “I don’t feel like a hero. I just did what I was taught: to protect society.”
Vatican City, Apr 11, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The final resting place of Pope John Paul II has now been prepared.
In a private ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica April 8, the remains of Pope Innocent XI were moved from the altar in the Chapel of St. Sebastian to make way for the soon-to-be beatified Pope John Paul.
Pope John Paul is presently buried in the crypt below the basilica’s high altar. His body will be transferred following his beatification on May 1.
“This is the place where Blessed John Paul II will go because it is a particularly suitable chapel,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, said in remarks to journalists. “It’s quite near to the entrance of the basilica and just next to (Michelangelo’s) Pieta.”
Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the senior Italian cleric in charge of St. Peter’s, presided over the brief ceremony to move the body of Pope Innocent. The service included a candle-lit procession during which the names of all the popes who’ve become saints were intoned.
The remains of the 17th century pope were transferred to the basilica’s Altar of the Transfiguration. The altar sits to the left of the high altar, which is overshadowed by a marble statue of St. Andrew the Apostle.
Meanwhile, the altar of St. Sebastian has been restored with work being undertaken to improve its lighting and audio systems.
The translation of Pope John Paul’s coffin will also take place in private. The public, however, will be able to venerate the newly beatified Pope beginning from the afternoon of May 1 onwards.
“Beatification” is the second step in a three-stage process the Catholic Church has created for declaring a deceased person a saint. Beatification confers the title “Blessed.”
Rome, Italy, Apr 11, 2011 (CNA) - A society dominated by moral relativism “fosters the spread of Satanism,” an expert recently explained.
Carlo Climati told CNA on April 5 that Satanism “destroys those universal values that are written in the hearts of each human being.” It creates “a society that is turned on its head, in which good becomes evil and evil becomes good.”
Climati is the press director of the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome.
He said young people become captivated “by the illusion of a life that appears to be free of all rules” and by a deceiving freedom that leads them “to a state of dependency and slavery.”
“Unfortunately, modern society is often dominated by moral relativism. This fosters the spread of Satanism,” he noted.
Climati explained that young people are often “the victims of terrible loneliness, the lack of communication and difficult family situations.” They find the occult to be “an easy and quick fix for their problems” and they mistake it for a game. “In recent years young people have sort of been brainwashed into not being afraid of the occult world,” he added.
“Certain forms of rock music could be considered ‘diabolical’ or anti-educational” and often become “a bridge between teens and devil worship.”
“Satanic rock” is easily recognizable for its violent and anti-Christian lyrics and for the “CD jackets that contain bloody and blasphemous images,” Climati explained.
He said the internet and the media are often dangerous places for “psychologically fragile young people,” who entertain themselves by practicing “rites they invent after surfing the web or after reading a book on the occult.”
“Unfortunately,” he added, “sometimes they end up committing acts of violence or murder.”
Climati recently participated in the seminar, “Exorcism and the Prayer of Liberation,” held in Rome. It offered resources to young priests to differentiate between exorcism as a spiritual and theological issue, and Satanism.
Vatican City, Apr 11, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Vatican has ordered a Belgian bishop accused of child abuse to leave the country for “spiritual and psychological treatment.”
Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruge, 74, resigned last year after admitting to repeatedly abusing his nephew over a period of 13 years. The abuse started when the boy was just five years old.
Now the Vatican agency that deals with abuse cases, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has told Bishop Vangheluwe to leave Belgium altogether.
Last week, prosecuting authorities in Belgium announced that the bishop cannot be indicted because his alleged crimes occurred too long ago.
When he resigned Bishop Vangheluwe told a press conference in Brussels, “When I was not yet a bishop, and some time later, I abused a boy.” He added: “This has marked the victim forever. The wound does not heal. Neither in me nor the victim."
The bishop also said that he was “enormously sorry.” He had been bishop of Bruges since 1984.
Pope Benedict named Bishop Jozef De Kesel as the new bishop of Bruges on June 25, 2010.
Washington D.C., Apr 11, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Only seven credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors in 2010 were made against Catholic priests in the U.S., a new report says. The seven accused priests make up a very small percentage of the 38,000 diocesan and religious clergy in the reporting dioceses and eparchies.
Meanwhile, over 5.1 million children and two million adults have undergone child protection training. Nearly 1.7 million church volunteers, 239,000 employees, 162,000 educators, 6,000 candidates for ordination and 14,800 deacons have been trained.
“We will continue to work to our utmost for the protection of children and youth,” Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York reaffirmed in the report’s preface. “We are committed to ensuring that those who are ordained to the priesthood and put into positions of trust will share this commitment to protecting children and youth as part of their love and commitment to Jesus Christ and his Church.”
The report on the implementation of the U.S. bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was authored by the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection for the National Review Board and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It concerned abuse allegations and child protection policy compliance in almost all Catholic dioceses and Eastern Catholic eparchies of the United States.
The report included a survey by the Georgetown University-Based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).
CARA found that hundreds of accounts of sexual abuse from decades ago were reported to dioceses only last year. The number of alleged offenders increased from 286 alleged offenders reported in 2009 to 345 alleged offenders reported in 2010.
Almost 60 percent of these offenders had been identified in earlier allegations. Three quarters of them are dead or laicized.
Two third of the allegations occurred or began between 1960 and 1984, with the most common time period of alleged abuse occurring from 1970 to 1974.
In 2010, 683 abuse victims came forward to report abuse, with 653 of these abuse allegations regarding decades-old incidents.
“The Church can never forget the harm done to victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse,” the report said. “Healing those wounds must remain a top priority for all the Church. Our work is finished only when all victims are comforted and healed.”
Dioceses reported providing outreach to 478 victims in 2010 while another 1,868 who previously reported abuse are still receiving support.
The financial costs of sexual abuse are still considerable. Settlements paid out by diocese and eparchies in 2010 were $70.4 million, an increase of 28 percent over the previous year’s payments. At least $21 million was spent for child protection efforts including safe environment coordinators, training programs and background checks.
Over 98 percent of clergy, church employees and volunteers have had safe environment training. Background checks have been conducted for over 99 percent of clergy, 99.8 percent of educators, 98.5 percent of church employees and 99.2 percent of volunteers.
The audit “shows the Church’s noteworthy job in keeping its promise to protect and pledge to heal,” said Teresa M. Kettelkamp, executive director of the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection, in an introductory letter for the report.
Two Roman Catholic dioceses and five Eastern Catholic eparchies have declined to participate in the audits.