Archive of May 14, 2011

Summer soccer camps put faith into action

Denver, Colo., May 14, 2011 (CNA) - An organization will integrate faith and sport through two high-level soccer camps this summer.

“No pain, no gain. No cross, no crown,” explained founder and head coach of Catholic Soccer Camps Antonio Soave.

Great athletes and great saints share something in common, the head coach told CNA. Catholic Soccer Camps’ professional coaches and role models coupled with intensive spirituality aim to enliven that connection in the young participants – showing them that they can be great athletes and devout Catholics.

The week-long camps will be hosted in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Kansas City, Missouri for youth aged 7-17.

“When a player is on the soccer field, you are asking them to be a warrior. But you can use the same skill-set to be a warrior for Christ,” asserted Soave. That skill-set includes hard work, diligence, and perseverance.

“It doesn’t always feel good to be faithful, and it’s the same with sports. It requires diligence. It requires a choice, even when you don’t feel like doing it.” This, says Soave, is a manifestation of faith in action.

If your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, then training your body virtuously and competing virtuously is significant, said the founder of Catholic Soccer Camps. Role models who embody this virtue of faith in action are important for showing young people that, “you can utilize your body to glorify the Lord.”

The coaches and role models for the camp are firm in their faith and accomplished soccer veterans.

Soave, himself a former high-school all-American and NCAA division I player, is bringing in two devout Catholics and professional coaches from Italy – Massimo Carli and Luigi Dusatti.

Soave founded the camp four years ago when he was the head coach of Franciscan University of Steubenville’s varsity soccer team. He saw how devout his players were in their faith and how strong their soccer skills were on the field. He said he wanted to “export” that possibility to more people.

“I was inspired by viewing the players and their commitment to prayer on the field. I thought it would be a good idea to broaden this concept – to show young people how you can be a great Catholic and a great athlete,” said Soave.

Soave also noted that Blessed John Paul II’s example is a motivating factor in his ministry to connect faith and sport.

“Pope John Paul II was an athlete; he played soccer and was a skier. He understood there is an interesting spiritual connection.”

Soave summarized the ethos of the camps as, “high level soccer, constant activity, and continuous prayer.”

Catholic Soccer Camps is collaborating with Varsity Catholics, a ministry of FOCUS, and Catholic Athletes for Christ who are providing several coaches and mentors for the camps.

Now in its fourth year, Catholic Soccer Camps is playing host to two sites for the first time. The inaugural year for the camp was held at Franciscan University where Soave was head coach.

This year, the camp in Green Bay will be held at St. Norbert College from July 11 through July 15. The camp in Kansas City will take place at Rockhurst University from July 11 to July 22.

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Layman elected to secretary position in Vatican dept

Vatican City, May 14, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - A Uruguayan with four decades of experience at the Vatican has just made history. He’s the first non-cleric to be chosen by the Pope as the “number two man” in a Vatican department.

Dr. Guzmán Carriquiry was appointed as secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America at noon on May 14.

He replaces the commission’s vice president Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas, who just a day earlier was named secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

Carriquiry will now work closely under Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops and president of the commission for Latin America.

The commission itself is dedicated to strengthening ties between the Vatican and the Church in Latin America, assisting with doctrinal and pastoral needs. The cardinal will count on Carriquiry as chief counsel and collaborator.

Uruguayan by birth, Carriquiry is trained in law and social sciences. He organized Catholic university students and directed the Uruguayan bishops’ communications before making the move across the Pacific.

The “Roman phase” of his life began in 1971, when he arrived along with his wife and their firstborn. He was called to work in the newly-formed Consilium de Laicis which evolved into the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Forty years in the same department, four children and eight grandchildren later, he has been called up again for a big move.

But, he is no stranger to breaking “glass ceilings” in the Vatican. He became the first lay “capo ufficio” - head of office – of the department for laity under Pope Paul VI. In 1986, John Paul II tapped Carriquiry for another unprecedented step when he chose the Uruguayan as sub-secretary of the same department.

Other men without Roman collars have held important positions in the Vatican. Joaquin Navarro-Valls was John Paul II’s press office director. Also, the Pontifical Academy for Science has had numerous non-clerical heads, but never has this high of a Vatican curial position been held by a layman.

Carriquiry brings a wealth of knowledge of Latin America to the post. Through his work, he is thoroughly familiar with the Church, lay movements and associations there. Church and state leaders throughout the region know him and his work well.

He has a vote of confidence from the department he is leaving. “We have absolutely no doubt that his broad experience and his passionate love for the Church will make him able to work with competence and authentic spirit of service for the pilgrim Church on the ‘Continent of Hope’,” said the Pontifical Council for the Laity shortly after his appointment.

As it happens, Carriquiry will be on his way to Latin America within the week. A May 17 meeting of Latin American bishops will take him home to Montevideo, Uruguay, where he will meet with Cardinal Ouellet and local bishops for the first time.

His first mission as secretary of the Vatican’s Commission for Latin America will thus be carried out in the city where his life began.

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Missionary work must not be reduced to social projects, says Pope

Vatican City, May 14, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Pope has reminded Catholic missionaries of the essentially supernatural nature of their work.

“Only deeply rooted in Christ and his Word are we able to resist the temptation to reduce evangelization to a purely human or social project, hiding or silencing the transcendent dimension of salvation offered by God in Christ,” he said.

The pontiff spoke in an address to participants at the Pontifical Missions Society General Assembly to the Vatican on May 14.

“It’s a Word that should be explicitly witnessed and proclaimed, because without a consistent witness it is less understandable and believable. Although we often feel inadequate, poor, incapable, we must always retain confidence in the power of God, who puts his treasure in ‘jars of clay,’ so that it is He who acts through us.”

The Pontifical Missions Society is the name given to a group of Catholic missionary societies which are under the direct guidance of the Pope. These include the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, and the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. 

Since 1922, the society has been the Church’s official support network for overseas missions. It now has 120 offices worldwide.

The Pope described the work of missions society as “invaluable.” He observed that they often operate in a world marked by “new forms of slavery” - a “first world” of wealthy peoples who are often uncertain about their future and emerging countries where profit-driven globalization can sometimes increase poverty and migration. The Pope said that despite appearances, both have the same fundamental need.

“The necessity for our time is a firm commitment to the ‘mission ad gentes’ (mission to all nations) to announce the “big Hope,” the God who has a human face and who loved us to the end, each individually and mankind as a whole.”

The Pope concluded by reminding those gathered that evangelization should be undertaken by all baptised Christians.

“The ministry of evangelization is exciting and demanding: it requires love for the proclamation and witness, a love so complete that it can be also marked by the martyrdom. The Church cannot fail in its mission to bring the light of Christ, to proclaim the glad tidings of the Gospel, even if it means persecution.”

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Amnesty International's dig at Vatican called 'preposterous'

New York City, N.Y., May 14, 2011 (CNA) - Amnesty International has cited the Vatican in a new report on human rights violations, alleging that it “did not sufficiently comply” with laws “relating to the protection of children.” The Catholic League says the charge represents ideological axe-grinding, from an organization that has lost Church support.

“This is ideology at work, not objective research,” said Catholic League President Bill Donohue. “Coming up empty with cases of abuse that occurred last year, (Amnesty) decided to adopt a 'look-back' strategy, one that is exclusively applied to the Catholic Church.”

Amnesty's 2011 Annual Report charges the Holy See with human rights violations for “child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy over the past decades,” and what it describes as “the enduring failure of the Catholic Church to address these crimes properly.”

Donohue said it was “preposterous” for Amnesty to “hold the Vatican responsible for the behavior of priests all over the world,” a responsibility that belongs to local bishops according to Catholic teaching.

He also observed that the “vast majority” of abuse cases “occurred between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s, having nothing to do with any alleged culpability on the part of the Holy See in 2010.”

“The Annual Report on the other 156 nations details human rights violations that occurred in 2010,” Donohue observed, noting that the report “lists not a single instance of a human rights violation that took place anywhere in the world in 2010 under the auspices of the Holy See.”

Yet Amnesty “still managed to condemn its human rights record,” the Catholic League president reflected. “So what's going on?”

Amnesty's motivation may derive partly from its own loss of Catholic support in recent years. The organization, founded by a Catholic convert, was once favored in many quarters of the Church for its opposition to torture and the death penalty.

But the group has lost significant support from Catholics, and drawn criticisms from bishops, for its 2007 decision to support universal access to abortion as a “human right.” The group has also begun advocating strongly for same-sex “marriage.”

In 2007, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, said Amnesty had “betrayed its mission” of promoting human rights by endorsing abortion.

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Have ‘joy’ in knowing truth, Bishop Conley tells Christendom grads

Front Royal, Va., May 14, 2011 (CNA) - Be grateful for “the joy that comes from knowing the truth,” Bishop James D. Conley exhorted the 2011 graduating class of Christendom College. He prayed that the graduates acknowledge themselves as fellow disciples of a single “Teacher,” Jesus Christ.

“You have consecrated yourselves in this great service of the truth. You have built your school on the foundation of Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life — and the true light that enlightens every man and woman,” the auxiliary bishop of Denver said in his homily at the May 13 Baccalaureate Mass.

The Front Royal, Va. college graduated 80 students with bachelor’s degrees and one student with an associate’s degree over the weekend.

“Our faith in Christ changes the way we see the world and the way we see ourselves,” the bishop continued. This change is the starting point of an authentic Catholic higher education which “joins the insights of faith with our natural faculties of intellect and reason.”

Catholic education is built on the nature of man as “a truth-seeking creature,” but higher education in general has shed its assumption that wisdom and virtue are its ideals.

“Higher education today reflects a profound divorce of faith and reason,” he lamented, noting its over-reliance on scientific proof. The “dictatorship of relativism” is real and it is almost impossible in many academic departments to argue for the objective reality of the good, the beautiful and the true.

“Knowledge has become one-dimensional. The only knowledge that matters is a practical, utilitarian, problem-solving kind of knowledge. There is no appetite any more for what the philosophers call ‘Being,’ or the mysteries of existence,” Bishop Conley said.

The bishop’s comments on the Mass readings discussed how St. Paul shed his “inner blindness.” Paul’s recognition of his sinfulness led to repentance, penance and his baptism which miraculously cured his physical blindness.

The reading from the Gospel of John’s Sixth Chapter shows Jesus “trying to unfasten us from our preoccupation with the things of this life. He is trying to set us free from the prisons of the material world and the materialist mindset that believes only what it can apprehend by the physical senses.”

“Jesus seeks to enlighten the eyes of our hearts -- so that we can see the things that are above, the things unseen, the realities of the Spirit,” the bishop explained.

“That is the greatest truth we can ever know — the knowledge that in him we can have eternal life.”

Bishop Conley, who once taught a group of Christendom students at the college’s Rome campus, received an honorary degree at the May 14 commencement ceremony.

In his acceptance remarks, he expressed “deep admiration” for Christendom College’s work. He called the college “a sign of contradiction and hope in an academic world that is increasingly secularized and often politicized.”

“Let us consecrate ourselves once more in the service of the truth,” he said.

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Bishops in England and Wales re-establish fish on Fridays

Rome, Italy, May 14, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The practice of abstaining from eating meat on Fridays is to return in England and Wales later this year.

“I think Catholics will welcome this,” said Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Bishops Conference of England & Wales.

The decision was made by the bishops of both countries this week and announced to the media May 13.

 “What we have sought to do in this decision is to establish a shared practice, a shared habit, because habits that are carried out together are better learned and are stronger -- we give each other mutual support.”

“So that’s why there’s a simple, across-the-board expectation that this will be something that Catholics will do.”

The practice of abstaining from meat on a Friday was traditionally a way of remembering that Jesus Christ died on that day. The Church in England and Wales dropped the centuries-old custom in 1984. At the time they was stressed that other forms of Friday penance were also acceptable. The result, though, seemed to be that practice of Friday penance seemed to fall away altogether. 

Not surprisingly, the bishops’ decision is being welcomed by the owner of the fish and chips shop around the corner from the cathedral in central London.

“It’s a good decision, primarily for religious reasons rather than reasons of business,” Osman Ismael of the Friars Inn told CNA.

“Interestingly, though, Friday is still our busiest day when it comes to selling fish and chips. So perhaps the custom never really went away.”

The decision will go into effect on September 16, the first anniversary of Pope Benedict’s visit to Scotland and England. 

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