Vatican City, Apr 25, 2011 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI appointed Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Chomali Garib of Santiago, Chile to become Archbishop of Concepcion, one the regions hardest hit by the country's February 2010 earthquake.
“I put myself at your service as your bishop. I am certain that with the grace of God, together with all those in pastoral ministry in the archdiocese, we will be able to carry forward the task of evangelization and the promotion of the dignity of the human being,” the archbishop-elect said in a statement announcing his appointment.
Bishop Chomali will succeed Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati, who now leads the Archdiocese of Santiago. One of the archbishop-elect's main tasks will be the rebuilding of churches damaged by the earthquake, as well as overseeing the ongoing aid to the victims of the tragedy.
Archbishop-elect Chomali was born in Santiago in 1957. He obtained a degree in Civil Engineering in 1981 and was ordained a priest in 1991.
He went on to study moral theology, receiving a doctorate in Sacred Theology and a master's in bioethics.
Bishop Chomali has been a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life since 2001. He currently sits on various committees of the Bishops’ Conference of Chile, including the National Committee for the Reconstruction of Churches, which is charged with rebuilding and repairing the nearly 500 churches damaged during the 2010 earthquake.
London, England, Apr 25, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - In the week of the Royal Wedding, a centuries-old law banning British monarchs from becoming or marrying a Catholic is sparking a row in the United Kingdom.
London’s Daily Telegraph reported on April 25 that plans to abolish the 1701 Act of Settlement have been ditched because of "significant objections" from the Church of England.
Now the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, has written to the British Government asking for urgent clarification.
"I recently wrote to the Prime Minister (David Cameron) calling for the abolition of all discrimination contained in the Act of Settlement, including its blatant discrimination towards Catholics, which is completely unacceptable in a modern society. I am deeply concerned at these reports that this much-needed and long overdue reform has been shelved by the UK Government," Salmond wrote.
There is no similar prohibition on the British royal family marrying members of other faiths such as Islam or Judaism, or those who are agnostic or athiest. Anglicanism is still the state religion in England and the monarch is called the "Supreme Governor" of the Anglican faith.
A spokesman for the British Government told the Telegraph, that the government “accepts there are provisions (in the Act) which could be discriminatory."
However, he added, the process of amending the law is “a complex and difficult matter that requires careful and thoughtful consideration” because it effects succession to England’s throne.
A Church of England spokesman expressed similar concerns. He said that the anti-Catholic prohibition “inevitably” looks outdated.
“But if the prohibition were removed the difficulty would still remain that establishment requires the monarch to join in communion with the Church of England as its Supreme Governor and that is not something that a Roman Catholic would be able to do consistently with the current rules of that Church,” the spokesman told The Telegraph.
The Act was originally passed to prevent the descendants of the Catholic King James II from ascending the throne. He was deposed in the 1688 "glorious revolution" by supporters of the Protestant William and Mary. Mary was the eldest Protestant daughter of James II and was married to William of Orange, who later became William III.
In recent years, the Act has effected several members of the British royal family.
In 2001, Lord Nicholas Windsor, the youngest son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, permanently forfeited his right to the royal succession by converting to Catholicism.
In 2008, Autumn Kelly, the Canadian fiancee of the Queen's grandson Peter Philips, converted from Catholicism to Anglicanism, thus preserving her husband's chances of becoming king.
The present second-in-line to the British throne, Prince William, will marry Kate Middleton on April 29 at a Anglican service in London's Westminster Abbey.
Rome, Italy, Apr 25, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Scholar and papal biographer George Weigel batted aside criticism of John Paul II's speedy canonization process, saying accusations that the pontiff is responsible for scandals that took place under his watch are ultimately unfounded.
“The investigation into John Paul II's life has been very thorough, and the results fill four thick volumes,” Weigel told CNA in an April 25 interview.
Author of the 1999 biography of John Paul II, “Witness to Hope,” Weigel first countered the claim that the late pontiff's canonization process has moved too quickly.
“John Paul himself waived the five-year waiting period usually prescribed between someone's death and the official opening of a beatification process in the case of Mother Teresa – another instance where there was great popular conviction about the deceased's sanctity,” he said.
Weigel also took on the argument that the sex abuse scandals which came to light during Pope John Paul's pontificate –as well as the problems that began to surface with Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ – are disqualifying factors.
“As a matter of fact, in the U.S. and elsewhere, the majority of abuses cases did not happen on John Paul II's watch, although the revelations of them did,” he explained.
“John Paul II was a great reformer of the priesthood, and the Church's ordained ministry is in far better shape today, because of him, than it was in 1978.”
“Unless one understands that, one is not in a very secure position from which to assess how John Paul handled the abuse crisis when it burst into public view in 2002,” he added.
Weigel acknowledged that certain Vatican offices, especially the Congregation for the Clergy, “were slower than they ought to have been in recognizing the nature of the problem in the United States and in devising appropriate remedies for it.”
However, as for Pope John Paul himself, “once it became clear, in April 2002, that this could not be handled by the American bishops themselves and that a papal intervention was required, he intervened and made unmistakably clear that 'there is no place in the priesthood for those who would harm the young.'”
As for the Pope's relationship with Fr. Maciel, Weigel said that John Paul II was “deceived” by the ex-priest, along with “many, many people.”
The papal biographer said that the only relevant questions with respect to the beatification are “whether John Paul II’s failure to see through Maciel’s deceptions was willful or venal or malicious.”
Weigel explained that the first situation would mean “he knew about Maciel’s perfidies and did nothing about the situation,” and the second would mean “he knew that Maciel was a sociopathic fraud and didn’t care.”
“There isn’t a shred of evidence that would sustain a positive answer to any of those questions,” he stressed. “To even think that such could be the case is to utterly miss the character of the late Pope.”
Weigel added that it's “grotesquely disproportionate, from any serious historical point of view” to “focus so much attention on Maciel at the time of John Paul II's beatification, as if his case offered a privileged window into a twenty-six and a half year pontificate that changed the history of the Church and the world.”
Weigel also addressed the criticism that Pope John Paul failed in his duties, given the decline of Christianity in Europe in recent decades as well as the scandals under his pontificate.
“He didn't fail, and those who suggest that he did are living in a very strange place,” he said.
“John Paul II’s radical Christian discipleship and his remarkable capacity to let that commitment shine through his words and his actions, made Christianity interesting and compelling again in a world that thought it had outgrown its 'need' for religious faith.”
The late Pope “was a man of extraordinary courage,” the papal biographer said. “Against the cultural conventions of his time, John Paul demonstrated that young people want to be challenged to live lives of heroism.”
“He lifted up the dignity of the human person,” and he “proclaimed the universality of human rights in a way that helped bring down the greatest tyranny in human history.”
“If this is papal 'failure,' I don't know what papal success would look like,” Weigel said.
Mexico City, Mexico, Apr 25, 2011 (CNA) - Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera announced that the remains of the Servant of God Luis Maria Martinez will be exhumed as part of the late archbishop’s cause for canonization.
Cardinal Rivera issued a decree explaining that Archbishop Martinez's cause for canonization is currently before Vatican officials, reported the Archdiocese of Mexico City's news service. The cardinal noted that the officials are “analyzing his documented biography and the scientific investigation into his Christian virtues which he lived to a heroic degree.”
“Those who knew this great pastor and his work, the Servant of God Luis Maria Martinez, first auxiliary bishop of Morelia and later archbishop of Mexico City, fervently desire he be raised to the altars,” the cardinal said.
Cardinal Rivera said his predecessor “did not only attract many people to the Catholic Church, but also lived through a very important time of reconciliation among Mexicans after the religious persecution.”
Fr. Gerardo Sanchez Sanchez, who oversees the causes of saints for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, said Catholics will be able to attend the ceremony transferring the late archbishop’s remains to a cathedral chapel.
However, Cardinal Rivera stated in his decree, “(s)pecial attention must be given that the remains of the Servant of God are not given public veneration.”
Archbishop Martinez led the Archdiocese of Mexico City from 1937 to 1956 during a difficult period following the Masonic-led persecution of the Church in Mexico.
He was known for his good judgment and moral authority in dealing with the administration of that time and for his extensive pastoral work, not only within the archdiocese but also throughout the nation.
Vatican City, Apr 25, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -
On the first day of his Easter vacation, Pope Benedict XVI told Christians to turn to the risen Christ if they wish to discover the purpose of their lives.
"Only if we turn to God, to pray, can we discover the deepest meaning of our lives, and our daily journey will be illuminated by the light of the Risen One," he told those gathered in the courtyard of the papal holiday residence at Castel Gandolfo, 15 miles southeast of Rome.
"Truly the Lord is risen! Hallelujah! The Resurrection of the Lord marks the renewal of our human condition. Christ has conquered death, caused by our sin, and brings us back to eternal life," the Pope said one day after celebrating Easter at the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Drawing upon various sources the Pope asked, "How can we meet the Lord and become His most authentic witnesses?”
Pope Benedict turned to St. Maximus of Turin for the answer, recalling his quote: ‘Whoever wants to reach the Savior, first must put his faith into the right hand of God and ... he must learn to constantly gaze with mind and heart upon the heights of God, where Christ is risen."
Pope Benedict then led those in attendance in praying the "Regina Coeli" or "Queen of Heaven."
In the weeks following Easter Sunday, the Regina Coeli is the standard midday prayer of the Holy Father and the wider Catholic Church. It replaces the usual noontide "Angelus" prayer. The "Regina Coeli" recalls the resurrection of Jesus Christ with special reference to his mother Mary.
The Pope concluded his address by looking forward to his forthcoming visit to Venice on this the feast day of the city's patron, St. Mark the Evangelist.