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Archive of April 12, 2011

Sudan bishop says violence won't stop southern independence

Khartoum, Sudan, Apr 12, 2011 (CNA) - The Bishop of Khartoum in northern Sudan says that outbreaks of violence will not prevent the country's south from seceding and forming an independent country in July 2011.

“These violent incidents will impede progress, but it will not wash away from them their wish to acquire independence,” Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok of Khartoum recently told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. “The wish to be independent from the north is not somehow grafted onto them – it is in their heart that they want to be independent.”

Bishop Adwok said the violence was mostly confined to specific locations, and he did not expect it to expand into a revival of the civil wars that killed millions of Sudanese during the 20th century. But he said it was important for the government in southern Sudan, which is already semi-autonomous, to investigate the violence and work to resolve its basic causes for the good of the future nation.

“It would be best to sit down and discuss the issues,” he said. “We have to ask the people: ‘What is the root of the tension?' If we do not address that, after some months or years it will cause the disturbance to widen.”

The U.N. reports that around 80,000 people have fled their homes since the beginning of 2011 due to fighting in southern Sudan. Although a January referendum on independence from the north was mostly peaceful, and resulted in a nearly unanimous vote for secession, tribal clashes over territory and natural resources broke out in February and intensified during March.

Violence has also erupted between south Sudan's military forces and rebel militias, in oil-producing regions that will belong to South Sudan once it formally secedes on July 9. Government officials in the south accuse the Khartoum government of arming these militias, a charge authorities in the north deny. Hundreds of people, including many civilians, have reportedly died in these clashes.

Between April 1 and 7, the Bishops' Conference of Sudan held meetings in the southern capital Juba. The assembly allowed bishops from both the north and south to discuss measures to ease the transition to independence, conferring among themselves and with government officials.

The Catholic Church is one of the most important social institutions in southern Sudan, which suffers from underdevelopment and problems in governance. Bishop Adwok said that the Sudanese bishops were currently looking to strengthen both their people's faith and the institutions of civil society, often through the same means.

“The Church has always recognized that human formation and education is at the heart of forming a healthy society,” he observed, “and developing schools with a clear Christian identity is very important in the south as well as the north.”

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Cuban Knights of Malta medical mission treats hundreds

Miami, Fla., Apr 12, 2011 (CNA) - Members and friends of the Cuban Association of the Knights of Malta provided medical care to over 1,000 poor patients in their recent mission to the Dominican Republic.

Thirty-three participants, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists, worked in a poor area outside of the northern Dominican city of Santiago de los Caballeros. The team doctors included specialists in cardiology, pediatric medicine, physical therapy, urology, gastroenterology, gynecology, oncology, dentistry and internal medicine.

The four-day mission during the first weekend of March treated 1,044 patients across 1,500 patient visits. Mission pharmacy staff distributed free medicines and other medical supplies valued at over $100,000.

The endeavor was based at Hospital Manuel J. Centurion at the ILAC Center of the Licey al Medio medical facility. ILAC is a Catholic group whose free-standing clinic features three operating rooms and five exam rooms. The group aims to promote the well-being and spiritual growth of all its participants in its educational and health care work.

Mission participants received local assistance from clinic staff and the organization Cooperadores de Salud.

The volunteers themselves found inspiration among the people.

“As always, we receive much more from the Dominicans than what we bring,” said mission co-leader Dr. Jorge Echenique, M.D.

He and co-leader Dr. José Joaquín Centurión, M.D., both Knights of Malta and members of the Cuban Association, reside and practice in south Florida. Mission participants flew to the Dominican Republic from Miami, Florida with the help of American Airlines.

The Cuban Association of the Order of Malta was established in 1952. It later reorganized in Miami, Florida in 1990 to establish activities for the poor and the elderly in cooperation with the local Church. It presently has 113 knights, dames and chaplains, including three who live in Cuba.

Its volunteer doctors also serve the San Juan Bosco parish clinic Our Lady of Philermo in Miami.

The organization has worked closely with the Catholic Church in Cuba since 1996 and presently funds 55 elderly support centers associated with a similar number of Catholic parishes throughout the island. It also funds living facilities for retired priests, hospitals, and other institutions such as one which serves children with Down's syndrome.

Established in the year 1048, the Order of Malta is the oldest Christian charity organization in the Catholic Church.

The website of the order's Cuban Association is http://ordendemaltacuba.com

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Seattle bishop to head Diocese of Yakima

Seattle, Wash., Apr 12, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Auxiliary Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Seattle will succeed Bishop Carlos Sevilla of Yakima, Pope Benedict XVI has decided.

“We will miss him, of course,” Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle said April 12. The selection of Bishop Tyson “speaks of the quality and pastoral skills of our priests here in the Archdiocese of Seattle.”

Bishop Sevilla submitted his resignation in August 2010 upon reaching the age of 75. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, announced his successor’s appointment in Washington, D.C. on April 12.

Bishop Tyson, 53, was born in the Diocese of Yakima at Moses Lake, Washington on Oct. 16, 1957.  He was baptized at Yakima’s St. Paul Cathedral. After he and his family moved to Seattle, he often returned to visit his grandparents.

He attended Shoreline Community College in Seattle and the University of Washington, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism, a bachelor’s degree in Russian and Eastern European Area Studies, and a master’s degree in international studies. He speaks Spanish, German, Serbo-Croatian, and some Vietnamese, according to the Diocese of Yakima.

Bishop Tyson earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Catholic University of America and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Seattle in 1989.

In 2005 Pope Benedict named him auxiliary bishop of Seattle.

Archbishop Sartain said Bishop Tyson will be missed. The Seattle archbishop voiced appreciation for the bishop’s “intelligence and skill,” saying these qualities will enable him “to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the people of the Yakima Diocese.”

Bishop Tyson will become the seventh Bishop of Yakima. The diocese has about 650,000 people, of whom about 78,300, or 12 percent, are Catholic. Its territory covers 17,787 square miles.

The retiring Bishop Sevilla was born in San Francisco in 1935 and ordained a priest for the Society of Jesus in 1966. He became auxiliary bishop of San Francisco in 1988 and Bishop of Yakima in 1996. He previously served on the faculty of Loyola-Marymount University. He was director of spiritual renewal for the California Province of the Jesuits from 1981-1986 and was the province’s director of formation from 1986 to 1988.

Bishop Tyson will be formally installed as Bishop of Yakima at a special Mass on May 31 at Holy Family Parish in Yakima.

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Scottish bishops welcome new English translation of the Mass

Glasgow, Scotland, Apr 12, 2011 (CNA) - Scotland’s bishops have become the latest to give their backing to the new English translation of the Roman Missal. The bishops said the new translation would gradually be introduced, beginning on Sept. 4.

“(W)e welcome the opportunity this affords to renew our faith in the Eucharist and in all aspects of its celebration,” Bishop Joseph Toal of Argyll & the Isles, head of the bishops’ liturgy commission, said in a statement to Scottish priests.

“Ours is a strong and very real faith in what happens at Mass and it is appropriate that the robust words used in Latin to express the human reality and our need for the Lord’s redeeming mercy are translated accordingly in English,” he added.

Bishop Toal said the new translation returns to “older, more traditional terminology.”

“This is particularly the case with regard to the words which encourage us never to lose sight of the unity between Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross and the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist, in which the Lord’s self-offering is made present for us in the sacrament of his Body and Blood,” he said.

The Scottish Church plans to deploy resources to priests, including DVDs and websites, to help them adapt to the changes.

The move comes as priests in some countries are threatening to boycott the new translation.

Father Sean McDonagh of the Association of Irish Priests told the New York Times April 12: “What we are asking of the bishops is to scrap this text. I know people are not going to use it. I wouldn’t use it, because everything I know in terms of theology and anthropology and linguistics, it breaches every one of those.”

Similar murmurings have arisen in the U.S. and Australia.

However, the man who chaired the international committee responsible for the new translation, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, says he’s confident that such threats of protest will amount to nothing.

“I know a number of the priests don’t think these texts will be pastorally advantageous. One priest said he thought there might be 10 priests around Australia who’ll refuse to use them,” Cardinal Pell said in a March 31 video interview with the Archdiocese of Sydney.

But the Sydney cardinal thought that those priests will “all come on board because as soon as their congregation hears the new prayers they’ll say, ‘What’s the fuss about? What on earth are we going to be splitting the Church about on this for?’”

The new translation will be introduced in its full form to U.S. parishes on Nov. 27. On the same day, parishes in the U.K. will begin using the full missal, after having only used the revised Order of the Mass, the prayers and responses between Sept. 4 and that day.

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Pope John Paul II’s biographer welcomes new feast day, Oct. 22

Rome, Italy, Apr 12, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope John Paul II’s biographer is welcoming the announcement of a new feast day for the soon-to-be beatified pontiff. The Vatican has declared that Oct. 22, the day he became Pope, will now mark the occasion.

“I think it's an entirely appropriate date, for this was the day that Karol Wojtyla formally began his service to the universal Church and issued that ringing cry to freedom and evangelism: "Be not afraid! Open the doors to Christ," George Weigel told CNA.

As is customary with beatified persons, the feast day will be inserted into the Church calendar of only those places where Pope John Paul II lived and worked – the diocese of Rome and the dioceses of Poland.

In other places, local bishops will have to formally ask the Vatican for permission to mark the feast day. The same restrictions also apply to the naming of churches for Pope John Paul.

In a break with custom, though, the Vatican is giving Catholics throughout the world a year to celebrate a Mass in thanksgiving for the beatification.

In an April 12 statement the Vatican said this is due to “the exceptional character of the beatification of the Venerable John Paul II, recognized by the entire Catholic Church spread throughout the world.”

The Vatican has also unveiled the specific prayer, or collect, to be used at any feast day celebration or thanksgiving Mass. It reads:

“O God, who are rich in mercy

and who willed that Blessed John Paul II

should preside as Pope over your universal Church,

grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching,

we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ,

the sole Redeemer of mankind,

Who lives and reigns.”

Weigel welcomed the new prayer.

“The evocation of the divine mercy, the face of the Father that John Paul II believed was being turned to the world in a special way at this moment of history … also brings to mind the late Pope's inaugural encyclical, ‘The Redeemer of Man,’” he said.

Pope John Paul will be beatified on May 1 and will then be given the title “Blessed.” “Beatification” is the second step in a three-stage process the Catholic Church has created for declaring a deceased person a saint.

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Cardinal asks Ricky Martin to set strong example for youth

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Apr 12, 2011 (CNA) - Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez of San Juan, Puerto Rico, recently asked singer Ricky Martin to refrain from promoting homosexuality and to set a good example for young people.

“Personally I admire Ricky for the great artistic gifts the Lord has given him, but I implore him, for the love of his children …  to strive to be an example for our young people of the important values that we all share, including sexuality. 

“In this way he will be thanking the Lord for the great gifts he has been given,” the cardinal told the Puerto Rican daily Primera Hora on April 8.

The Church “does not reject the homosexual person, but rather the actions and conduct that go against morality.”

“To foster homosexuality or sexual promiscuity among our young people is certainly immoral no matter where it comes from,” the cardinal added.

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Youth catechism publisher says 'contraceptive' language not in original text

San Francisco, Calif., Apr 12, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The English-language publisher of a new Vatican-sponsored youth catechism says that a passage suggesting the use of contraception by Christian couples is not in the book's original German text, which was incorrectly translated into Italian.

“The Italian translation was really a mistaken understanding of the German,” Ignatius Press Founding Editor Fr. Joseph Fessio told CNA on April 12. “We did notice in the German original there was some ambiguity, but we wanted to translate it in the way we knew was most consistent with the Church's teachings.”

According to Fr. Fessio and Ignatius Press President Mark Brumley, the Italian version incorrectly translates the German word “Empfängnisregelung.” Although the term literally means “birth regulation,” in a general sense that can signify natural family planning, it is also sometimes used to refer to “birth control” through contraceptive means.

However, the Italian version of the YouCat does not translate the term according to what Fr. Fessio says is its literal meaning. Instead, it renders the German word as “metodi anticoncezionali,” meaning “contraceptive methods.”

“The problem did not originate with the German text,” Brumley said in a statement on Ignatius' website, “at least not if the Italian translation is based on the same German text as that on which Ignatius Press based its translation.”

“The German text of question 420 asks whether a Christian married couple may regulate the number of children they have,” Brumley explained. “It does not ask whether the couple may use methods of contraception.”

Ignatius Press' English-language YouCat poses the question, “May a Christian married couple regulate the number of children they have?” It gives the answer: “Yes, a Christian married couple may and should be responsible in using the gift and privilege of transmitting life.”

However, the Italian edition gives the same positive answer in response to the question, “Puo una coppia christiana fare ricorso ai metodi anticoncezionali?” (“May a Christian couple have recourse to contraceptive methods?”).

The creation of the 300-page YouCat was overseen by Cardinal Archbishop Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, who edited the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church. The German text of the YouCat received the approval of the Austrian bishops in March 2010.

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Cardinal Zen: Vatican officials have blocked Pope's plan for Chinese Church

Washington D.C., Apr 12, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - During his recent visit to Washington, D.C., Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun told reporters that mistakes and misunderstandings on the part of key Vatican officials, and a desire for “compromise at any cost,” have undermined Pope Benedict's intentions for the Catholic Church in China.

“In the year 2007, the Holy Father issued a letter in which he gave a very clear direction. But those directions were not followed,” said Cardinal Zen, in an April 7 press conference at Washington, D.C.'s Hudson Institute. “There was even a wrong interpretation by some experts, like a certain Fr. (Jeroom) Heyndrickx, which misled many people.”

These experts, according to Cardinal Zen, encouraged all Chinese Catholics to seek government recognition as members of the “official” or “open” church, a step that would require them to join the government-run Catholic Patriotic Association.

“That wrong interpretation said that the Holy Father 'wants everybody to come into the open,'” the cardinal explained. “This is not true at all.” Although the Patriotic Association contains many bishops in communion with Rome, Pope Benedict warned “underground” bishops to be careful in approaching it.

“The Holy Father cautioned people in the underground,” Cardinal Zen pointed out. “Because when you want to come out, the letter says: in no few instances, indeed almost always, the government will impose conditions which are not acceptable to the Catholic conscience.”

The Pope's letter ultimately left the matter of government recognition up to individual bishops, while warning that the Catholic Patriotic Association's founding principles – especially its claim of independence from the Vatican – were “incompatible with Catholic doctrine.”

Now, Cardinal Zen believes that a rush for government recognition, combined with misguided Vatican policies, has emboldened authorities in Beijing, and even swayed many Chinese Catholics to the government's side.

“Recently, unfortunately the people in the Congregation for Evangelization even followed a wrong policy, the wrong strategy – which is the old 'Ostpolitik,'” he observed. The term refers to Pope Paul VI's controversial policy of accommodating Communist governments in an attempt to obtain better conditions for Catholics behind the Iron Curtain during the 1960s and 70s.

“This policy of Ostpolitik – which is compromise at any cost, to please the government always, to always avoid confrontation – led to the present situation, the events at the end of November and the beginning of December,” Cardinal Zen said.

In November of 2010, the Chinese government ordained a bishop without the approval of the Holy See, at a ceremony in which several bishops loyal to Rome were reportedly forced to participate. In December, police officers rounded up a large number of bishops and escorted them to a state-sponsored meeting of an unauthorized “bishops' conference.”

“It is no more our Church,” Cardinal Zen lamented. “They carried out one more illegitimate ordination, and then they had a big assembly which is completely against the doctrine of the Church. It was like a slap in the face of the Holy Father.”

“But unfortunately, these people in the Congregation for Evangelization, and this expert, still believe that they must carry on the policy of compromise.”

Fr. Jeroom Heyndrickx, who has worked extensively in China on behalf of the CICM missionaries, wrote in a March 2011 essay that the illicit consecration and bishops' assembly should not get in the way of seeking “unity, through dialogue and reconciliation.”

Cardinal Zen hopes that the influence of Fr. Heyndrickx and other voices for compromise, including Cardinal Prefect Ivan Dias of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, may be reaching an end. He sees signs of a “new beginning” that would allow the Pope's intentions for the Chinese Church – particularly a reconciliation of “underground” and “official” Catholics – to be authentically realized.

“Fortunately, the Holy Father, who has been so patient all this time, has taken some action, especially the appointment of the new Secretary for the Congregation for Evangelization,” the recently-ordained Archbishop Savio Hon. “He is Chinese, he knows the reality, and he is also a good theologian. So we have hope for a new beginning.”

“But it will be very difficult, because now the difficulty is not only to face a government, but to face our own people, who are already more on the side of the government than on the side of the Church. That's the very sad reality.”

Cardinal Zen told CNA that the first and most important task, at present, would be to revisit Pope Benedict XVI's “Letter to Chinese Catholics,” and acquire a correct understanding of the principles it sets out as non-negotiable. 

“Everything is laid down in the letter of the Holy Father,” he said. “You have to explain to the government, that we cannot go all the way with them. That means we cannot agree on an independent church. That's our bottom line, because we are the universal Catholic Church.

“They must accept that the Church is run by the bishops, and they must give real power to the bishops. Now, the bishops are nothing, they mean nothing. They are being humiliated.”

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Bishop calls for justice after mass graves discovered in Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico, Apr 12, 2011 (CNA) - A Mexican bishop is calling on officials to shed light on the 88 bodies found in the city of San Fernando.

Bishop Faustino Armendariz Jimenez of Matamoros, Mexico expressed the diocese's condolences and urged prayers for justice.

“It saddens us to the see how the culture of death is entrenched in our communities. However, we continue to trust in the God of life and we raise our prayers to Him that there will be justice,” the bishop said.

The bodies were discovered in 14 mass graves located on a ranch in San Fernando. The city is nearly 90 miles from the U.S. border.

Police were led to several graves over the weekend after detaining a suspect from the gang, Los Zetas. The suspect is among a group of 16 arrested for their roles in the recent disappearance of two passenger buses.

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