Rome, Italy, Jun 14, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The effort to renew the evangelization of mankind begins in the human heart, Pope Benedict XVI told the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Rome, June 13.
“To be effective the proclamation of faith must begin with a heart that believes, hopes, loves, a heart that loves Christ and believes in the power of the Holy Spirit!” the Pope told those gathered at St. John Lateran Cathedral for the Rome diocese’s annual convention.
The Pope pointed to how St. Peter’s proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection at Pentecost was “not confined to a simple list of facts” but “cut to the heart” of those who heard him.
“The resurrection of Jesus was able and is able to illuminate human existence. In fact, this event has seen a new understanding of the dignity of man and his eternal destiny.”
Mindful of his responsibility to lead the 2.5 million Catholics in the Diocese of Rome, Pope Benedict told those in St. John Lateran that there was a real danger to the health of the Church if it downplays the divinity of Jesus Christ.
“If people forget God it is also because the person of Jesus is often reduced to that of a wise man and his divinity is weakened, if not denied. This way of thinking prevents people from grasping the radical novelty of Christianity, because if Jesus is not the only Son of the Father, then God never came to visit the history of man.”
This message was crucial to renewing Christianity within the ancient See of Rome, the Pope recalled, saying it is “the task not only of some, but all members of the Church” to proclaim it.
“In this hour of history, is this not the mission that God entrusts to us: to announce the permanent newness of the Gospel, as Peter and Paul did when they came to our city? Do we not also need to show the beauty and the reasonableness of faith, bringing the light of God to man in our time, with courage, conviction, and joy?”
He particularly urged that the teaching of the Christian faith – known as catechesis – be undertaken not only with children and young people but also with “adults who have not received baptism, or who distanced themselves from the faith and the Church.”
The consequence of people lacking such an intellectual and spiritual formation is that they can sometimes acquire a distorted view of Jesus Christ and Christianity.
Such people “do not know the beauty of Christianity, indeed, sometimes they even consider it an obstacle to happiness,” Pope Benedict said.
He finished his address by urging all present to pray to his predecessor Blessed Pope John Paul II, “who until his last strove to preach the gospel in our city and loved its young people with particular affection.”
Vatican City, Jun 14, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The first three winners of the inaugural Ratzinger Prize for Theology were announced June 14.
The prize was established last year to promote theological study on the writings of Pope Benedict XVI and has been referred to as “the Nobel Prize for Theology.”
“We chose to reward two scholars already well established, and one who is relatively young but very promising,” Cardinal Camillo Ruini remarked at a Vatican press conference.
The two scholars chosen for the prize are Professor Manlio Simonetti, an 85-year-old expert on the Church Fathers who used to teach at Rome’s La Sapienza University, and Professor Olegario González de Cardedal, a 77-year-old specialist in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain.
The youngest of the three winners is Professor Maximilian Heim, a 50 year old Cistercian who teaches dogmatic and fundamental theology at the University of Heiligenkreuz in Austria. He has a particular focus on the theology of Joseph Ratzinger, who is the current Pope.
The Ratzinger Prize is the initiative of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation. It’s funded by the royalties accrued from Pope Benedict’s writings.
“Modernity has brought with it a dramatic divorce between secular knowledge and religious knowledge,” explained the Italian academic Professor Giuseppe Dalla Torre, who is also one of the prize judges.
“This division has gone through society from the top of the social pyramid,” he said, pointing to universities as the starting point because they are the place where “people, environments and ... cultural paradigms and ways of life are forged.”
Dalla Torre said that since universities sit at the top of the social pyramid, it’s necessary to respond by directly and seriously engaging the intellectual elite.
The president of the foundation, Monsignor Giuseppe Scotti, said he wanted to thank the Pope for having “risked an adventure of this kind” in the hope it can “invest in the future of man.”
“A future where God is present and where the man can speak, even shout, “I seek ... for you my soul is thirsting, my flesh pines for you like dry, weary land without water.”
Cardinal Ruini noted that while this year’s awards covered the areas of dogmatic and fundamental theology as well as patristics, he hoped future awards would also recognize work in the study of Sacred Scripture.
The prizes will be given to the winners by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome on June 30.
Lima, Peru, Jun 14, 2011 (CNA) - Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima reminded Catholics, “Peru is one family, one sentiment, one geography, one tradition, one way of thinking,” in which unity, peace and tolerance should reign.
“For this reason I pray that the Lord will enlighten all of us so that we learn how to live as brothers and sisters, respecting, helping and loving each other, making this a country where the family, young people, children, the unborn and the elderly find peace through that encounter with God,” the cardinal said during the celebration of Pentecost on June 12.
Cardinal Cipriani said forgiveness, tolerance, truth and justice “are values that have their origin in God.” He invited Catholics to practice daily prayer by invoking “the gift of piety from the Holy Spirit.”
“That impulse that we express in prayer is an interior desire we manifest when we are sick or have a problem. But it should feel like breathing, like raising our hearts to God to obtain his help, forgiveness and comfort, and that prayer requires trust in Jesus,” the cardinal said.
Democracy with values
Previously, during his radio program Dialogue of Faith, Cardinal Cipriani congratulated President-elect Ollanta Humala and exhorted the new government “to more clearly promote honesty” and “to seek the common good. We need to seek the good of persons because they deserve it.”
“The respect for the truth needs to be established in the heart of the democratic system. Truth must be rescued as something necessary for consolidating democracy in our country,” Cardinal Cipriani said.
The cardinal added that the recent electoral process was “especially convulsive, but I think a mature country like Peru should resume its usual rhythm of work and effort, as the country is forged through the daily effort of each Peruvian.”
He concluded by reiterating his defense of the unborn, as “the value of life is above political differences. The value of marriage is not at risk, it is an institution of natural right between one man and one woman. The same goes for the family and the education of children,” he said.
“I understand there are people who think differently, but when I talk about the Catholic Church’s understanding of value-based democracy, I am referring to this,” he concluded.
Rome, Italy, Jun 14, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI received replicas of the six most significant churches of his life to mark the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. The day will be celebrated on June 29, the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.
The nine-foot-tall replicas were built by members of the Equestrian Union of Upper Bavaria. They are of the Cathedrals of Munich and Freising, and the churches of Altotting, Birkenstein, Aschau and St. Georg von Traunstein and Bad Tolz.
Pope Benedict XVI was ordained to the priesthood on June 29, 1951, together with his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, at the Cathedral of Freising.
The miniature replicas were transported to the Vatican by 42 horses from his native homeland of Bavaria, Germany.
Nearly 200 musicians and 50 residents of Bavaria were on hand to present the replicas to the Pope. They left Munich on June 5 after receiving a blessing from Cardinal Reinhard Marx and attended the Regina Coeli at St. Peter’s Square on June 12.
Kansas City, Mo., Jun 14, 2011 (CNA) - Nearly 150 Catholics gathered to pray in support of Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn outside of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Pentecost Sunday.
The negativity toward the bishop expressed in the press “is not how the majority of people in the pews feel,” said Nathan Lewis, a parishioner at Our Lady of Good Counsel, in an interview with the diocesan paper The Catholic Key.
Lewis was among the faithful praying for the bishop.
Controversy has been spiraling around Bishop Finn since former St. Patrick's pastor Father Shawn Ratigan was arrested in May on three counts of possessing child pornography.
Suspicions about Fr. Ratigan were voiced to Bishop Finn last year, but the bishop did not immediately bring the accusations to the police leaving many Catholics wondering if he should resign.
"I, for one, think that Bishop Finn needs to step down,"said Laine Cardarella, a parishoner of St. Thomas More, in an interview with KETV-5 in Kansas City. "I don't think he can lead us in light of the current problems that we're having. I think the community in large part has lost confidence."
The Pentecost Sunday prayer rally was largely spread by word of mouth. Lewis said he hoped the group would be a “witness for other Catholics.”
"I worked with Father Shawn Ratigan for two years," Lewis told FOX 4 News. "My children were around him. I knew him. For all I know, there's pictures on his computer of my children. That's a possibility. But it doesn't change my support of the bishop."
Bishop Finn acknowledged the “serious realities” of Father Ratigan's case during his homily at Pentecost Sunday Mass.
“Once again, as bishop I take full responsibility and express again my sorrow for these events,” Bishop Finn said. “Our faith tells us that the risen Jesus Christ is in our midst, but we are not yet at peace.”
He also prayed for greater unity within the Church, saying, “all to well do we know how our hurts and fears can divide us.”
Washington D.C., Jun 14, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The new head of the U.S. bishops' youth protection office said that the Catholic Church has the ability to challenge other groups in society to improve their approach to preventing child sex abuse.
“We have an opportunity here to lead by example,” said Deacon Bernard V. Nojadera, who was recently appointed as leader of the bishop conference's Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection.
“Child sex abuse is not just a Church issue – this is a societal issue,” he told CNA in a June 10 interview.
A former director of the San Jose Diocese’s youth protection office in California, Deacon Nojadera will begin his new position in Washington, D.C. on August 15. He succeeds Teresa Kettelkamp, who has headed the bishops' office since 2005.
The deacon brings a wealth of practical experience with him in his new role, including his decades-long work with children who have been abused and neglected.
“I've been blessed to become friends with some of the survivor victims that I've worked with and they have shown me their journey through their eyes,” he said.
“Those experiences have given me the ability to do what I have done in the San Jose office. And I'll hopefully be able to carry that out when I go to Washington, D.C.”
A husband and father of two who has served with the U.S. Marine Corps, Deacon Nojadera said his work with child victims began after he received a master's degree in social work from San Jose State University in 1991.
After being hired at a local clinic, “I ended up getting assigned to work with families and children,” specifically those who had been neglected and or abused, he recalled. “That ended up being the bulk of my work.”
Deacon Nojadera said that since news of sex abuse within the Church broke in 2002, bishops in the U.S. Church have made dealing with the issue a top priority – so much so, that others could benefit from their example.
“What we have here is the ability to hopefully become change agents,” he said. “To help create shifts in attitude, shifts in heart and mind about the evil of abuse.”
The deacon said that leaders in the Church have taken practical measures such as continually working to improve the 2002 Dallas Charter – a set of procedures drafted by the bishops to address and prevent sex abuse within the U.S. Church.
He said that bishops have also learned from past mistakes in dealing with sex abuse cases and are on the societal forefront in pushing dialogue on the issue.
“I think these have all been pluses as far as making the reality of child sex abuse a priority in the Church,” he said.
The deacon observed that despite the Church having the lowest number of abuse cases as compared to other institutions across the U.S., one incident is still “one too many.”
He also noted the Church's obligation to speak out against other societal ills, in addition to child sex abuse.
“I would be remiss to not acknowledge or identify the realities of elder abuse, domestic violence, spousal abuse and fiduciary abuse,” he said, adding that the Church's consistent stance against all forms of abuse give it the “opportunity to influence” others.
In addition to his background in social work, Deacon Nojadera also holds a master's degree in theology from St. Patrick's seminary in Menlo Park.
He's also been a member of the San Jose Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the YWCA Rape Crisis Center and the County of Santa Clara Interfaith Clergy Project for Elder Abuse Prevention.
He was ordained a deacon in 2008 and has headed the San Jose diocesan child protection office since 2002.
An impressive resume is just one of the aspects that have earned Deacon Nojadera the praise of his colleagues.
“Deacon Nojadera brings to this position valuable experience from many areas,” said Msgr. David Malloy, general secretary of the bishops' conference, who appointed him for the role.
“He is a family man and trained social worker, who is familiar with the church both at the parish and diocesan level and with law enforcement. He understands the need for child protection services in all areas.”
Diane Knight – chair of the National Review Board which oversees the work of the bishops' child protection office – also expressed her enthusiasm over the deacon's new position.
“Bernard Nojadera has the experience to understand the issues we face in the 21st century,” she said. “The National Review Board looks forward to his work in support of its efforts to assist the bishops in ensuring the safety of children and young people in parishes and schools.”
Yet despite his life accomplishments and numerous qualifications for the role, Deacon Nojadera displays a tangible humility.
“I am just a servant – and I'm open and willing to go and do whatever needs to be done,” he told CNA.
He said that throughout his life journey, “I've had to learn quickly that it's not my plan – it's God's plan.”
Washington D.C., Jun 14, 2011 (CNA) - Catholic University of America plans to return to single-sex dormitories to reduce binge drinking and the “culture of hooking up,” university president John Garvey has announced.
“Next year all freshmen at The Catholic University of America will be assigned to single-sex residence halls. The year after, we will extend the change to the sophomore halls,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “It will take a few years to complete the transformation.”
The intellect and virtue are connected and influence one another, he said, and this means that colleges and universities should concern themselves with virtue as well as intellect.
“The goals we set for ourselves are brought into focus by our moral vision,” Garvey explained, deeming binge drinking and “hooking up” to be “the two most serious ethical challenges college students face.”
Nationally, more than 90 percent of college housing is now co-ed.
However, 41.5 percent of students in co-ed dorms report weekly binge drinking, compared to 17.6 percent in single-sex housing. Another 55.7 percent of students in co-ed housing report having had a sexual partner in the last year, compared to 36.8 percent in single-sex dorms. Students in co-ed dorms are more than twice as likely to have had three or more sex partners.
Garvey said it was no surprise sex is more common in co-ed dorms, but he expressed surprise about the drinking.
“I would have thought that young women would have a civilizing influence on young men. Yet the causal arrow seems to run the other way. Young women are trying to keep up—and young men are encouraging them (maybe because it facilitates hooking up),” he said.
The problems these create are also significant, Garvey reported.
Alcohol-related accidents are the leading cause of death for young adults 17-24. Binge drinking students are 25 times more likely to do things like miss class, fall behind in school work, engage in unplanned sexual activity and get in trouble with the law. These students also cause problems for others, including physical and sexual assault and property damage.
The effects of “hooking up” include a doubled rate of depression among young women, while sexually active young men do more poorly in their academic work.
“And as we have always admonished our own children, sex on these terms is destructive of love and marriage,” Garvey wrote.
Returning to single-sex residences will probably cost more money, the university president said, as there are a few necessary architectural adjustments and the university won’t be able to let the ratio of men and women vary from year to year.
“But our students will be better off.”
The university has proposed other changes in residency practices in its report on the application of “Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” Pope John Paul II’s 1990 apostolic constitution on Catholic higher education.
Proposals include the conversion of two rooms in each residence hall into a residence for a priest or consecrated religious, and the conversion of several rooms in order to add a chapel to each dorm.
The university notes in its report that all the proposals will require it to build more residence hall space and that it needs more funding to do so.
Other ways Garvey would like to increase the Catholic identity of the school include hiring more Catholic faculty members and building on-campus housing for priests pursuing graduate level degrees.