Archive of May 31, 2011

Archbishop of Tijuana confirms murder of Mexican priest

Mexico City, Mexico, May 31, 2011 (CNA) - Archbishop Rafael Romo Munoz of Tijuana, Mexico has confirmed the death of Father Salvador Ruiz Enciso, who disappeared on May 22.

The archbishop expressed his “profound sorrow and dismay” to the entire Church in Tijuana over the priest's murder. He called on authorities to find those responsible and bring them to justice.

On May 23 police found the decomposed body of a man with his feet and hands bound. DNA tests confirmed the remains  were of Fr. Enciso.

Archbishop Romo Munoz condemned “the brutal manner in which his life was taken” in a May 27 statement.

“We pray God will grant heartfelt repentance and conversion to those responsible so that they will receive forgiveness,” he added.

Fr. Enciso was known for his humility and selfless commitment to his ministry. He was affectionately remembered by the Catholics he served as an upright man of God.

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Pope aims to bolster family in Croatia

Vatican City, May 31, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI will focus on the family during his two day visit to Croatia next month. Plans for his visit were unveiled today, May 31.

The visit to the Eastern European nation will take place on Saturday and Sunday June 4-5.

On the Sunday, the Pope will preside over the Day of Croatian Families. The event is expected to draw over 300,000 to a racetrack venue in the capital city of Zagreb.

“Today, Croatia faces the challenge of secularization: the family and youth are crucial challenges it has to deal with. That’s why the central events of the Pope’s trip are his participation in the meeting with Croatian Catholic Families, and with young people,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., told Vatican Radio.

“The Church relies on Christ to support the unity and mission of the family and to fuel hope for the future of young people. This is how it serves the human community in general, and the national community of Croatia,” said Fr. Lombardi.

The Vatican spokesman said Pope Benedict wanted to raise up heroes for the Croatian people to emulate. So on the Sunday afternoon, the Pope will pray at the tomb of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac in Zagreb Cathedral. He was the Croatian cardinal who was jailed and killed by communist authorities in the mid-20th century.  Here the Pope will be joined in prayer by Croatian seminarians.

It’s somewhat of a return visit for Pope Benedict, who visited Croatia on three occasions when he was a cardinal.

His two day visit will begin on Saturday, May 4, when he arrives at Zagreb Airport. There he will be received by Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Cardinal Josip Bozanic of Zagreb, and Archbishop Marin Srakić of Dakovo-Osijek, the president of the Croatian Episcopal Conference.

In the afternoon, the Pope will meet various representatives of civil society at the Croatian National Theatre. This will include politicians, business people and leaders of other religions.

He’ll then join over 50,000 young people in Zagreb’s central square to pray the Rosary. The Pope will present the Blessed Virgin Mary with a gold rosary before presiding over benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. 

The motto of the 33-hour visit is “Together in Christ.” Of the four-and-a-half million inhabitants in Croatia, 89% are Catholic.

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Cardinal exhorts candidates in Peru to foster reconciliation

Lima, Peru, May 31, 2011 (CNA) - Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima is calling on the candidates of Peru’s upcoming presidential runoff election to talk about reconciliation and not violence.

“I think it is good that people remember that violence is never a solution for anything and that what this is about is service to the common good of the country. Let’s take the road of progress and development, and let each person cast his vote in freedom and be respectful of those who have different points of view,” the cardinal said during his May 28 program Dialogue of Faith.

Cardinal Cipriani’s comments came as the country is becoming increasingly divided over the runoff elections, with violence breaking out in the southern region of Puno. “I think that if we want to talk about reconciliation, there needs be greater respect for the truth in the plans that one has and in the words that one says,” he added.

The runoff election will take place June 5 between Keiko Fujimori and Ollanta Humala.

The cardinal defended the rights of bishops to provide guidance to Catholics. He rejected claims that the bishops are attempting to control public opinion by making everyone think the same.

He encouraged Peruvians to be tolerant of each other and of those who think differently. “I love my country. I am a Peruvian who is a cardinal and who embraces the social teachings of the Catholic Church. In the name of these principles, I must remind this majority Catholic country that we must redirect ourselves towards the paths of peace and greater tolerance, and not deceive the people,” he said.

During Mass on May 29, Cardinal Cipriani said Peruvians should be hopeful about the presidential elections. “This is not a time for violence and hatred or for confronting the Peruvian family. This is simply a political time in which we are going to elect the person who will serve all Peruvians,” he added.

He also reiterated that reconciliation in the country must be based on the truth, “which has no room for hatred, deceit and resentment.”

“Violence can never be justified in the name of religion. There can never be an excuse for it; that is not Catholic. And hatred cannot be sown in the name of justice, we cannot deceive others in the name of God,” the cardinal concluded.

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Pope upholds primacy of Gregorian chant (Corrected)

Vatican City, May 31, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Corrected June 7, 2011, 9:04 MDT. Corrects earlier version in which Pope was quoted as saying the individual or group is the focus of the liturgy. Change is in paragraph four.

Pope Benedict XVI has reminded church musicians of the primacy of Gregorian chant in the Mass, describing it “as the supreme model of sacred music.”

The Pope set out his views in a letter for the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. The letter was read at the institute on May 26 and made public on May 31.

He praised Gregorian chant as being “of huge value to the great ecclesial heritage of universal sacred music.” But Pope Benedict also noted that sometimes it was erroneously “considered an expression of an idea corresponding to a past, gone and to be forgotten, because it limited the freedom and creativity of the individual and the community.” This was a view he wanted to counter.
“We always have to ask again: who is the true subject of the Liturgy? The answer is simple: the Church. It is not the individual or group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity.”

Gregorian chant, often referred to as plainchant, is named after the 6th century Pope Gregory the Great. He both simplified and cataloged the sacred music of the Church used throughout the year. It’s been the normative music of sacred liturgy ever since.

The present Pope stressed that there’s no tension between tradition and genuine progress in the development of sacred music.
“The liturgy, and therefore sacred music, lives in a correct and consistent relationship between healthy traditio and rightful progressio, always keeping in mind that these two concepts - that the Council Fathers clearly emphasized - complement each other because the tradition is a living reality and, therefore, it includes in itself the principle of development and progress.”

Music is a topic of particular interest to the Pope. He’s a great lover of classical music in general with a special fondness for Mozart and Bach. He’s also an avid pianist who has an upright piano in his Vatican apartment.

Pope Benedict noted in his letter that all his musical conclusions are mandated by the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the sacred liturgy, “Sacrosanctum Concillium.”

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Poll finds Americans widely accepting of divorce, premarital sex

Princeton, N.J., May 31, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -

A recent Gallup poll found that while Americans remain largely split on several moral issues, the majority in recent years have become increasingly accepting of what were once considered social taboos, such as divorce and sex outside of marriage.

“Americans in 2011 widely view divorce, the death penalty, gambling, embryonic stem cell research, and premarital sex as morally acceptable,” said researcher Lydia Saad in the study, published on May 31.

According to the poll, 69 percent of the nation's citizens view divorce as permissible while just 31 percent are morally opposed to it.

Additionally, 60 percent of respondents found premarital sex as morally acceptable and 36 percent viewed it as wrong.

On the topic of the stem cell research, 62 percent Americans approved of harvesting cells from human embryos while just 30 percent opposed it.

Results for Gallup's 2011 Values and Beliefs poll were based on telephone interviews conducted May 5-8 this year, with a random sample of 1,018 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all U.S. states.

The study showed that several issues “generate enough disagreement to remain cultural flashpoints, with three – physician-assisted suicide, out-of-wedlock births, and abortion – appearing to be particularly divisive,” Saad noted.

Doctor-assisted suicide proved to be the most controversial issue with 45 percent of Americans finding it acceptable versus 48 percent who believe it to be morally wrong.

Having a baby out of wedlock also closely divided Americans, with 54 percent viewing it as acceptable and 41 percent opposing it.

Abortion was supported by 39 percent of respondents while 51 percent stated that they viewed it to be morally wrong.

Saad also observed in the Gallup findings that there were significant differences by age in views about several of the behaviors tested.

“The largest generational difference is seen for pornography, something 42 percent of young adults consider morally acceptable, versus 19 percent of those 55 and older,” she wrote.

Adults 18 to 34 are also more supportive than older Americans of gay and lesbian relations, premarital sex, out-of-wedlock births, gambling, polygamy, abortion and cloning humans. However, this demographic proved to be less supportive of the death penalty and medical testing on animals.

Despite Americans increasing acceptance of issues such as divorce, premarital sex and embryonic stem cell research, the poll showed the vast majority of people as morally opposed to extramarital affairs, polygamy, cloning humans, and suicide.

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