Vatican City, May 10, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the Vatican's deputy secretary of state will now lead the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
The 65-year-old Italian cleric has held his present job for the past four years. He will be replaced by the apostolic nuncio to Cuba, Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Feloni to his present job back in June 2007. Prior to that he spent three decades as a Vatican diplomat in Sri Lanka, Iran, Brazil, the Philippines and later, to Iraq.
It was there in 2006 he was nearly killed after a car bomb exploded next to the papal nunciature.
Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the new deputy secretary of state, is 62 years old and originally from Pattada on the Italian island of Sardinia. He was ordained a priest in 1972.
The role of deputy secretary of state - or “sustituto” in Italian - is crucial to the running of any papacy. His role includes the posting of nuncios around the world, making curial appointments in Rome as well as advising and traveling with the Pope himself.
Since 1984, Archbishop Becciu has also been part of the Vatican’s diplomatic service which has taken him to nunciatures in Angola, New Zealand, Britain, France, the United States and presently Cuba.
Giza, Egypt, May 10, 2011 (CNA) -
Members of the Salafist Jihadi Islamist movement attacked three Coptic churches in the Egyptian city of Giza on May 7, killing a dozen people and injuring more than 200.
“We have no law or security – we are in a jungle,” said Giza's Coptic Orthodox Bishop Anba Theodosius. “We are in a state of chaos. One rumor burns the whole area. Every day we have a catastrophe.”
But the Copts “will never leave our country,” the bishop added according to the Assyrian International News Agency,
The attack began on the evening of May 7 when a mob of 3,000 Muslims, thought to be followers of the hardline Salafist school of Islam, converged on St. Mina's Church. Leaders of the mob accused members of the Coptic clergy of kidnapping a Christian woman who had married a Muslim man.
Their kidnapping story sounded like a familiar pretext, a variation on a story used to stir up tensions and justify violence against Middle Eastern Christians in the past. None of the parishioners had ever heard of the woman being “tortured” inside of their church.
When the mob said they wanted to “search” the church, the Christians refused. Afraid of what would happen next, they made emergency calls trying to get police protection. One priest said that six police officers showed up, but left the church as rioters and snipers began shooting parishioners.
When the army arrived, nearly five hours later, they made an attempt to seal off the neighborhood. But they did not stop rioters from attacking St. Mina's Church, hurling Molotov cocktails at Coptic homes, and proceeding to two other churches in the area.
“The army was not able to control the situation,” Deacon Youssel Edward stated. “The mob was chanting 'Islamic, Islamic.'”
According to local reports, the 3,000-strong crowd of Salafists prevented firefighters from reaching the nearby Church of St. Mary and St. Abanoub as they attacked it and shot parishioners. A third church, St. Mary's, had its entire first floor burned.
When the violence ended 14 hours later, 12 people were dead and 232 were reportedly wounded. Hundreds of outraged Christians and sympathetic Muslims demonstrated in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Sunday, demanding better protection from the police and military for Coptic Christians.
Nabil Sharaf el Din, an Egyptian journalist, told a Coptic television station that the army “is either incapable, or is an accomplice to the Salafis.” He said that the Egyptian military, which took power after the Feb 11 resignation of former president Hosni Mubarak, could end up discredited if it fails to take a “stern position” with the hardline Muslim group.
Of the 3,000 people who reportedly stormed the three churches, 190 have been arrested. The military and civil courts have not reached an agreement on how to prosecute those accused of the attacks.
Toowoomba, Australia, May 10, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - A newly disclosed internal report indicates that the Vatican had been trying since late 2006 to get Australian Bishop William Morris to correct his abuses of Church doctrine and liturgy before finally removing him as head of the Toowoomba diocese earlier this month.
The document was prepared by two priests loyal to Bishop Morris, Father Peter Schultz, the diocese’s judicial vicar, and Fr. Peter Dorfield, former vicar general of the diocese. The two are part of an eight-member body of priests who make up the bishop’s “college of consultors.”
The Vatican announced Bishop Morris’ removal on May 2.
The new document confirms that the Vatican removed the bishop for flagrant abuses in the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance and for advocating women’s ordination to the priesthood.
Leaked to the Australian press, the confidential document offers a unique glimpse into the workings of the Vatican’s disciplinary process.
It also reveals that the bishop’s sacking was the conclusion of a long and sometimes tense back-and-forth with the Vatican — and not the consequence of a sudden decision, as the Australian bishop suggested in a letter last week.
The document, entitled “Summary History of Bishop Morris' dispute with the Roman Dicasteries” is an addendum to a seven-page defense of Bishop Morris that was sent April 29 to priests, leaders and the head of Christian denominations in the Toowoomba region.
The two documents are part of a deliberate campaign described in the summary to discredit the Vatican’s investigation and present Bishop Morris as a victim of injustice in the affair.
In their seven-page letter, they urge pastoral leaders to use these documents to provide “appropriate and accurate explanations” to parishioners. They express “considerable sadness” and say they have been “profoundly affected” by Bishop Morris’ ouster.
They also promise “professional care” will be available to all those who find themselves “deeply grieving Bishop Morris’ removal.”
The summary document sets out a detailed timetable. It indicates that, contrary to Bishop Morris’ allegations, he was fully informed of the charges against him and was given more than four years to correct the abuses cited.
Indeed, the timetable provides considerable evidence that high-ranking Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI, devoted a great deal of time and energy in trying to convince Bishop Morris of his errors and to keep him in office.
Both the summary history and the letter prepared in support of Bishop Morris reveal the following timeline that led from his installation to his discharge as bishop of Toowoomba:
Feb. 1993: On Feb. 10, Bishop Morris is installed at Toowoomba’s St. Patrick's Cathedral. He immediately introduced dramatic changes in the liturgy and government of the Church. According to the consultors’ document, he also “broke with tradition and wore a tie, embroidered with his coat of arms, rather than the Roman Collar.” The consultors added: “The Bishop offered each priest a black tie with the Diocesan Arms and indicated that the wearing of the tie was to be considered clerical dress, along with the collar and the white shirt with crosses, the choice being left to the individual cleric.”
1993-2005: A group of concerned Catholics, described in the report as “a small but vocal minority,” launched “a growing campaign of letters of complaint” to Vatican offices in Rome. The complaints centered on Bishop Morris’ promotion of “general absolution” as an alternative to personal confession of sins. His promotion of this practice continued, despite several calls from the Vatican to stop it. According to the consultors: “The issue of the use of general absolution led to a dispute between the bishop and Cardinal (Francis) Arinze, prefect of the (Vatican’s) Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship. Some of this dispute took on a personal aspect.”
Nov. 2006: Bishop Morris releases his now infamous Advent pastoral letter. In it, he proposes the need to explore the ordination of married men, women and the recognition of the ordained ministries of other Christian churches. His letter was widely perceived in Church circles as a flagrant rejection of Pope John Paul II’s 1994 official declaration (“Ordinatio Sacerdotalis”) that the Church cannot ordain women and his 1998 decree (“Ad Tuendam Fidem”) that discussion of ordaining women can be punished under canon law.
Dec. 2006: Bishop Morris receives a fax requesting that he come to Rome by Feb. 2007 for meetings with Cardinals Giovanni Battista Re, then head of the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops, William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Arinze. Bishop Morris rejected the meeting, citing “pastoral reasons” that he declined to specify. He said he had plans to come to Rome in May 2007 and expressed his willingness to meet with the cardinals at that time.
Jan. 2007: Cardinal Arinze sends a letter insisting that the matter is urgent and that Bishop Morris should present himself in Rome in February. Bishop Morris again dismissed the request, insisting he would be available in May but not before.
March 2007: Bishop Morris receives notification that the Congregation of Bishops had begun an investigation, known as an “apostolic visitation.” The apostolic visitator is said to be American Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, of Denver.
April 2007: Archbishop Chaput arrives in Toowoomba for the apostolic visitation on April 23. The consultors’ report states: “The Visitor arrived in Toowoomba, met informally with Bishop Morris, then met with the Council of Priests. He then began a series of meetings with various diocesan bodies, officials, priests, directors of agencies and people of the diocese. ... There was a cross-section of people and clergy of the diocese representing all levels of support and opposition to the Bishop. On Wed. and Thurs. (April 25-26) he traveled around the diocese and conducted interviews. The interviews resumed in Toowoomba on Fri. and Sat. morning (April 27-28). After a final interview with the Bishop on Saturday midday, the Visitor departed and prepared his report.”
May 2007: Diocesan leaders meet to discuss the Visitation and how they should respond. According to the report, “the clergy and pastoral leaders of the diocese” decided to send a letter to the Vatican in support of Bishop Morris. Three priests refused to sign the letter. Meanwhile Bishop Morris in Rome as he had previously announced. The report states: “No meeting with the cardinals took place.”
Sept. 2007: The Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops sends Bishop Morris a memo dated June 28 requesting him to resign. The bishop responds by indicating he will reply after his October holiday.
Oct. 2007: The bishops’ congregation sends another letter, this time informing Bishop Morris that the request for his resignation is being made in the name of Pope Benedict XVI.
Nov. 2007: Bishop Morris sends a letter to Cardinal Re, head of the bishops’ congregation, offering “collaboration and dialogue.” He requested a meeting in Rome in Jan. 2008. Cardinal Re responds by setting Jan. 19, 2008 as the date for the meeting.
Dec. 2007: Bishop Morris convenes an advisory group to collect suggestions on how to deal with the Vatican. According to the consultors’ report: “The advisory group consulted international canonists.”
Jan. 2008: On Jan. 19, as scheduled Bishop Morris meets in Rome with the three cardinals, representing the Vatican’s offices for bishops, doctrine, and worship. They stress that the Pope himself has requested that Bishop Morris resign. On Jan. 24, Bishop Morris writes to the cardinals, telling them that he feels he is unable to resign.
Feb. 2008: Cardinal Re replies to Bishop Morris’ Jan. 24 letter. He again calls on Bishop Morris to resign. Bishop Morris responds by convening his advisory group. They help the bishop to prepare a "Statement of Position" to respond to the Vatican’s criticisms and request for his resignation.
March 2008: Bishop Morris forwards his "Statement of Position" to the Cardinals Re, Arinze and Levada. He sends a letter to the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest judicial authority apart from the Pope. Bishop Morris requests that the Apostolic Signature give him the right to defend himself on the charges against him. He writes a further letter to the Pontifical Council of Legislative Texts asking for a definition of what constitutes "grave cause" for removing a bishop under Church law (Canon 401, sec. 2).
April 2008: The Apostolic Signatura replies, informing Bishop Morris that his case is not of its competence because no Church legal proceedings had taken place.
Sept. 2008: The Pontifical Council of Legislative Texts replies saying that the interpretation of "grave cause" is left to the determination of the Congregation of Bishops.
Oct. 2008: Cardinal Re sends a letter demanding that Bishop Morris resign by Nov. 2008 or face being removed.
Dec. 2008-March 2009: On Dec. 19, Bishop Morris writes to Cardinal Re stating he will not resign. On Dec. 24, he writes separately to Pope Benedict XVI requesting an audience. The bishop later receives confirmation that he will be received by the Pope on June 4, 2009.
June 2009: On June 4, Bishop Morris meets the Pope. He is accompanied by Archbishop Phillip Wilson, head of the Australian bishops’ conference. The Pope reiterates his demand that the Bishop resign. The Bishop does not respond. According to the consultors’ report: “The bishop left the meeting saying to Archbishop Wilson that he had no intention of resigning as Bishop of Toowoomba.”
July 2009: Cardinal Re sends another letter requesting that the Bishop submit his resignation.
Nov. 2009: Bishop Morris writes to the Pope saying that, as a matter of conscience, he will not resign.
Dec. 2009: In a letter dated Dec. 22, Pope Benedict replies to Bishop Morris. He reminds the bishop that there is no appealing of papal decisions. The consultors’ report: “The Pope repeated the serious concerns he had with Bishop Morris’ position on the ordination of women and recognition of the orders (clergy) of Anglicans and other churches.”
Jan. 2010: Archbishop Wilson brings to Rome a proposal from Morris to retire when he turns 70, in October 2013.
Feb. 2010: Cardinal Re writes Bishop Morris saying the Pope has accepted to wait until May 2011 for his resignation.
Dec. 2010: Bishop Morris writes to the Pope. He requests to remain in office beyond the agreed upon May 2011 date in order to deal with a case of alleged sexual abuse by a former teacher at a Catholic school in Toowoomba.
Feb. 2011: Archbishop Guiseppe Lazzarotto, the Apostolic Nuncio or papal representative to Australia, writes Bishop Morris requesting his immediate resignation. The nuncio informs Bishop Morris that the Vatican will announce his resignation May 2.
March 2011: Bishop Morris writes to the Apostolic Nuncio. He insists that he will not resign, but that he will accept the Vatican announcing on May 2 his "early retirement."
April 2011: Bishop Morris convenes his college of consultors. The group unanimously supports his decision to issue a pastoral letter so that “the diocese would first hear the news from the bishop and not from the media,” according to the report. Claiming his innocence and decrying the Vatican for denying him "natural justice." On April 27 Bishop Morris sends his announcement to the priests of the diocese. He includes a pastoral letter to be read at all Masses on the weekend of April 30-May 1.
May 2011: The Vatican announces the removal of Bishop Morris from his office. According to a statement issued May 2 through the Vatican Information Service: “The Holy Father removed Bishop William M. Morris from the pastoral care of the diocese of Toowoomba, Australia.”
On May 5, priests and pastoral leaders are summoned to an invitation-only meeting at St. Patrick's Cathedral to decide how to express further support to Bishop Morris. It is decided that parishes will count attendees at all Masses to register any possible decline. Also, books will be placed for people to write messages of support to Bishop Morris.
In addition, "professional care and support" is offered "for priests and people who may be deeply troubled by these developments and may be deeply grieving Bishop Morris' removal."
Vatican City, May 10, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI told participants at an international liturgical conference that tradition and progress are not opposites, but complimentary parts of Catholic life and worship.
“Not infrequently are tradition and progress in awkward opposition,” he told attendees of the Ninth International Congress on the Liturgy, sponsored by the Pontifical Liturgical Institute.
“Actually, though, the two concepts are interwoven: tradition is a living reality that, in itself, includes the principle of development, of progress.”
Likewise, he noted in his May 6 address, authentic progress in the area of liturgy must build upon the tradition of the Church rather than discarding it. “The liturgy,” he stated, “lives (in) a proper and constant relation between sound 'tradition' and legitimate 'progression.'”
The Pope recalled that this notion of development in accord with tradition inspired his predecessor Bl. Pope John XXIII to establish the liturgical institute 50 years ago.
That Pope, he recalled, recognized “the requests of the liturgical movement that sought to give new impetus and a new spirit to the Church's prayer,” and sought to ensure “a solid basis” for the liturgical reforms of Vatican II.
The purpose of the reform, he observed, “was not mainly to change the rites and texts” of Catholic worship. Rather, he said, it was to “renew the mentality” of worshipers, and “put the celebration of Christ's paschal mystery at the center of Christian life and pastoral work.”
But he acknowledged that many of the resulting efforts fell short of this goal, due to misunderstandings about the fundamental nature and purpose of Catholic worship.
“Unfortunately,” he acknowledged, “the liturgy has perhaps been seen – even by us, pastors and experts – more as an object to reform, than a subject capable of renewing Christian life.”
He cited the Second Vatican Council's document “Sancrosanctum Concilium,” which encouraged the use of Latin and Gregorian Chant in parishes, to emphasize the “very close and organic bond” between “the renewal of the liturgy and the renewal of the whole life of the Church.”
Pope Benedict urged members of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute to continue serving the Church “with renewed enthusiasm” in the coming years, “in full fidelity to the rich and valuable liturgical tradition and to the reform desired by Vatican Council II,” especially the “magisterial directives” of “Sancrosanctum Concilium.”
Washington D.C., May 10, 2011 (CNA) - A United States attorney has indicted a man who described himself as a “pro-choice terrorist” with six counts of making interstate threats against pro-life advocates such as Priests for Life director Father Frank Pavone and Princeton University law professor Robert P. George.
New York resident Theodore Shulman, 49, has plead not guilty to six counts of communicating interstate threats. The charges each carry a maximum five-year sentence and were filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York.
Shulman allegedly left a threatening voice mail message with the Calif.-based Life Legal Defense Foundation’s legal director Catherine Short. He is also accused of posting threats to the Priests for Life website, the “Second Hand Smoke” blog at the First Things website and the blog “RealChoice.”
The March 22 federal indictment, published by Mother Jones magazine, listed six separate incidents but redacted the names of the alleged victims.
One January 2010 threat referred to Scott Roeder, then on trial for the murder of Kansas abortionist George Tiller.
“If Roeder is acquitted, someone will respond by killing [Victim-1] of [the University] and [Victim-2] of PRIESTS FOR LIFE,” the threat said.
A threat Shulman allegedly posted at another blog said that if anyone “terrorizes” Nebraska late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart there will be “retaliation, in the form of murderous attacks against right-to-lifist Professor Robert P. George of Princeton, and his family.”
The poster said he would not commit the attack himself “but someone will.”
A spokesman for Priests for Life told CNA that because Fr. Pavone is involved in the case he does not feel he should talk about it until it is resolved. Prof. George could not be reached for comment.
Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek has said Shulman has made threats against her. He also allegedly threatened Troy Newman, president of the Kansas-based Operation Rescue, who praised the indictment.
“Finally, this self-called 'pro-choice terrorist,' Ted Shulman, has been indicted for several death threats against pro-life leaders, including myself,” Newman said. He predicted that Shulman will likely spend “a very long time behind bars.”
“I hope it sends a clear message to those who perpetrate violence against peaceful, non-violent pro-life people,” he added.
The accused man is the son of feminist activist and author Alix Kates Shulman. He started a blog called “Operation Counterstrike” whose mission statement said “Right-to-lifism is murder, and ALL right-to-lifers are bloody-handed accessories. Swear it, believe it, proclaim it, and act on it.”
While the blog has been closed to uninvited readers, a Feb. 10 Google cache reveals a “Prayer for Safety” in the blog sidebar asking for the protection of Princeton professor Robert P. George and Priests for Life president Fr. Frank Pavone. It asks that God keep them safe “from terror and from assassination, so long as Dr. Leroy Carhart remains safe and un-terrorized, and not one second longer.”
Fr. Pavone became the first full-time director of Priests for Life in 1993. Prof. George is Princeton’s McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and co-authored “Embryo: A Defense of Human Life” which argues for the personhood of the human being from the moment of conception onward.
Merrimack, N.H., May 10, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire will host a conference on “Christ & The New Media,” to teach clergy and lay Catholics how they can best reach millions of internet users around the world.
“Pope Benedict XVI has called on the faithful, especially priests, to utilize the new media to serve the Church and spread the Gospel,” said Thomas More College President William Fahey.
“By bringing together a team of professional leaders in this new and developing field, Thomas More College is advancing a valid and effective instrument for authentic evangelization and communion.”
“There exists a tremendous—and largely untapped—opportunity to spread the Gospel through the world of digital communications,” noted Fahey.
The conference will run August 4-7.
New research shows that almost 400 million people, most of them between ages 18 and 44, read at least one blog each day, with 77 percent of regular Internet users visiting blogs and social networking sites frequently.
Speakers and panelists at the conference will include Catholic Culture editor Phil Lawler, Zenit Arabic editor Tony Assaf, John and Ashley Noronha of H2oNews, and Catholic News Agency director Alejandro Bermudez. The workshop aims to help Catholics of all skill levels master and employ audio, visual, and written media to reach a growing audience.
“By attending the 'Christ & the New Media Program,'” Fahey said, “priests and laymen alike will be better able to employ the latest technology to advance the Church’s mission of evangelization and catechesis.”
The conference will take place at the Merrimack, New Hampshire campus of Thomas More College, a four-year undergraduate institution established on the principles of Bl. John Paul II's apostolic constitution “Ex Corde Ecclesiae.”
Information on all of the college's Summer Institute programs is available at http://www.thomasmorecollege.edu/summerprogram/
Washington D.C., May 10, 2011 (CNA) - Publishers of Crisis Magazine, a Catholic monthly that went out of print in 2007, announced that the publication is being relaunched online.
Morley Publishing Group chairman Laurance Alvarado said on May 10 that the “board and staff are thrilled to resurrect a brand that, for 25 years, fought for faithful Catholicism, sound economics, and limited government.”
The magazine was founded in 1982 by Ralph McInerny and Michael Novak.
“When Ralph and Michael started Crisis, it was a sixteen-page pamphlet,” Alvarado said. “Through their efforts, and the hard work of former and longtime publisher Deal W. Hudson, that pamphlet became the flagship publication for faithful Catholics.”
In 2007, however, staff members cited the decline of the print industry and transferred Crisis magazine online as InsideCatholic.com. Publishers said the move doubled the magazine’s monthly readership within two months.
“It was a win-win situation for us,” said Brian Saint-Paul, editor and president of the publishing group.
“However, with today’s technology – particularly the iPad, and other mobile devices – magazines can now thrive in digital form.”
Saint-Paul added that readership trends “suggest that at some point in the next 12 to 24 months, we’ll reach a tipping point where Americans choose mobile devices over computers for their news, articles, and other media.”
“That’s our inspiration and our goal,” he said.
Madrid, Spain, May 10, 2011 (CNA/Europa Press) - A 35-year-old man was arrested after entering a Catholic church in Spain and destroying a number of statues and religious objects.
Officials said the man entered the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Navalcarnero at 8:30 a.m. on May 8. He proceeded to destroy several religious works of art.
The pastor, Father Fermin Marcos, and a religious sister who works at the parish, tried to reason with the man, but after numerous attempts they called the police.
Within minutes officers arrived and detained the suspect.
The religious objects destroyed were made of plaster and had belonged to the parish since the 1930s.
“Their value is more sentimental than economic,” Fr. Marcos said. One object was a statue of St. Isidore the Farmer, which was going to be used in a procession this coming weekend.
Navalcarnero’s mayor, Baltasar Santos, regretted the incident, calling it “terrible and very serious.”
“Attacking religious images is not only against the faith of persons and the tradition of a people, it is also against the historical-artistic patrimony of the municipality, which we are trying so hard to preserve for present and future generations,” he said.
The parish of Our Lady of the Assumption is the oldest historical site in the town. Its architecture is the result of 500 years of history that includes reforms, renovations, collapses and reconstruction.
Rome, Italy, May 10, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - St. Peter is the “touchstone” of the apostles’ proclamation of Christ, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl said upon taking possession of his titular Roman church of St. Peter in Chains.
“Today the voice and message, the proclamation and teaching of Peter continue to echo in our hearts because they echo throughout the whole world,” the cardinal said in his May 8 homily. “All of us have a special bond to Rome because Peter continues to live and exercise his ministry here. You, Romans, have the privilege of being the faithful members of the Church that claims Peter as its bishop.”
Cardinal Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, said that Catholics are at one with Romans in “the faith that recognizes the unique role of Peter.”
“I am grateful today to have the privilege of taking possession of this venerable church as the titular cardinal-priest,” he said in his homily, provided to CNA by the Archdiocese of Washington.
St. Peter in Chains is a minor basilica to the southeast of Vatican City. The church dates back at least to the fifth century and was rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries. It houses a relic of the chains said to have bound St. Peter during his imprisonment in Jerusalem.
Much of the church architecture and many famous artworks in the church date from the Renaissance. The church also contains Michelangelo’s masterpiece statue of Moses.
All cardinals of the Catholic Church are given titles to churches in Rome to symbolize their roles as collaborators with the Pope and to establish the seat of their authority in the Diocese of Rome
Cardinal Wuerl continued his homily by noting the “joy and exultation” of Easter Sunday. He cited Peter’s proclamation “God raised Jesus and we are all witnesses.”
Jesus is “God’s great gift” and the first of many things for which we should be grateful, the cardinal added. He also praised the “gift of faith” and the God-given grace to respond to that gift.
The Church too is a gift, being “Christ’s continuing presence in the world.” Another gift is the Holy Father, the Church’s visible head, who is also a “touchstone” of Christian faith and unity.
“We come to profess our faith, our loyalty and our love for the Successor of Peter.” Cardinal Wuerl said.
However, the Eucharist is a greater gift still:
“In our celebration today we recognize and we proclaim that because we are members of the Church in communion with Peter and his successors, we not only hear the Good News that Christ is risen, but we actually recognize him in the breaking of the bread and share in the mystery of his death and Resurrection — in the Eucharist.”