Kansas City, Kan., Jul 25, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - At a Kansas City conference on end-of-life care, Cardinal Raymond Burke said that suffering does not cause a person to have less meaning in his life, nor does it give the government the right to decide if that person should live or die.
“No matter how much a life is diminished, no matter what suffering the person is undergoing, that life demands the greatest respect and care,” Cardinal Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, told CNA.
“It's never right to snuff out a life because it's in some way under heavy burden.”
Cardinal Burke spoke July 23 to a packed auditorium of over 350 people at the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan. on the “mystery” of human suffering and dying for his keynote address at the “Being Faithful, Even Unto Death” conference.
The meeting, organized by the St. Gianna Physician’s Guild, addressed medical issues surrounding those suffering and those at the end of their lives. The event was the first initiative of its kind for the group.
In his speech on Saturday, Cardinal Burke said that human suffering can only be understood in light of the “gift” and “dignity” of human life.
“Human life is a gift to be accorded the highest respect and care from its beginning until natural death,” he emphasized. “We are not the creators of human life and must respect the plan of the author of life for us and for our world.”
The cardinal stressed the importance of Catholics giving end-of-life care more attention, in light of cases involving vulnerable people such as Teri Schindler Schiavo – a severely disabled Florida woman who was deprived of nutrition and hydration by court order and her husband's request in 2005.
He underscored that nutrition and hydration are part of “basic human care” and to deprive patients of such care is not in any way “compassionate.”
Rather, “deliberately taking the life of an innocent human person is intrinsically evil and therefore, is never justified,” he said.
Along with the need for Catholics in general to be more informed on Church teaching about euthanasia, Cardinal Burke put special emphasis on Catholic students and seminarians being well versed on the topic.
All students, he said, should “pursue a certain number of courses of philosophy, so that in whatever field they specialize in,” they will use a logical, faith-filled approach to life issues.
Ultimately, he noted, “respect for the dignity of human life is the foundation of good order in our individual lives and our society.”
Without this respect, “our personal lives become profoundly disordered and society soon becomes a theater of violence and death.”
Cardinal Burke told CNA in comments following his talk that a Christian worldview isn't necessary for people to agree that society does not have the right to determine who lives or dies.
He said that “right reason” alone is enough for people from different perspectives to enter into productive dialogue on the issue.
Also speaking at the event on Saturday was Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla who discussed the spirituality, life and legacy of her mother, Saint Gianna Beretta Molla.
Dr. Molla’s mother was declared a saint in 2004 by the Catholic Church and is known for her heroism in choosing a risky operation to save her daughter Gianna’s life when she was two months pregnant. The conference marks the first visit to the U.S. for St. Gianna’s daughter.
Other speakers included geriatric specialist Dr. Austin Welsh, Thomas More Society executive director Peter Breen, and Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Vitadamo – both siblings of Teri Schiavo.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City and Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph also attended the event.
Washington D.C., Jul 25, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Pontifical Council for the Laity chose eight bishops from around the U.S. to host English-speaking catechesis sessions for the upcoming World Youth Day in Madrid.
Over 28,000 U.S. pilgrims and 62 bishops have registered so far to participate in the global young adult event. The catechetical sessions will be held Aug. 17-19 in multiple sites around the Spanish capital’s metropolitan area.
The group of American catechists includes Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York – president of the U.S. bishops' conference – and Archbishop Charles Chaput, newly appointed as archbishop of Philadelphia.
Other bishops speaking at the event are: Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago; Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston; Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota; Bishop Edward Burns of Juneau, Alaska; Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, and Frank Caggiano, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn.
The group will be among 250 bishop-catechists from all over the world, drawn from different countries and language groups.
Each U.S. bishop has been asked to prepare three catechetical sessions, one for each day, based on the theme for WYD Madrid 2011: “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith.”
On Wed. Aug. 17, these bishops will center their talks on the theme “Firm in the Faith,” which will invite young people to examine the gift of faith.
Thursday’s theme, “Established in Jesus Christ,” will touch on the importance of young people establishing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and building their lives with him.
Friday’s catechesis will address the topic, “Witnesses to Christ in the World,” and will emphasize the need for all young people to be missionaries to the world around them, particularly among their peers.
The World Youth Day gathering in Madrid will be the twelfth meeting to take place at the international level since Bl. Pope John Paul II founded the event in 1985. The Madrid event is expected to draw over 1 million people.
Madrid, Spain, Jul 25, 2011 (CNA/Europa Press) - The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, said July 22 that Spain and Europe are suffering from “a crisis of young people” because of the country’s low birth rate.
The cardinal, who is the Archbishop of Madrid, said the percentage of the population between 0-22 years of age is “low” and is one of the reasons why there are few vocations, not only in the Church “but in many other areas.”
Cardinal Rouco spoke during a summer seminar on the impact of World Youth Day 2011 on youth ministry at the Juan Carlos University in Aranjuez.
Regarding World Youth Day, Cardinal Rouco said everything is moving forward as planned. He noted that his main concern is ensuring that the thousands of young people who will arrive in Madrid will receive a warm welcome.
He expressed his hope that the residents of Madrid would extend “hospitality in keeping with the Christian roots of the city and showing love to those who come.”
Cardinal Rouco recalled that it was John Paul II who launched World Youth Day to reach out to young people. He came at a time in history, he said, when young people needed answers and guidance, and “with his very unique charism,” he invited them to “speak about Christ in fullness.”
The history of the event has entailed “a pilgrimage of searching for Christ” and has led to the emergence of “a young generation that lives the faith and has a very cordial relationship with the Pope and the Church,” the cardinal said.
He added that he hopes World Youth Day Madrid will lead to renewed evangelization, an increase in vocations ministry and the strengthening of the Christian family, which he called “the greatest fruit” of the youth event.
Vatican City, Jul 25, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Vatican has recalled its apostolic nuncio in Ireland to Rome for consultations after the release of the Cloyne Report on priests’ abuse of minors in the Diocese of Cloyne. The recall is a sign of the Holy See’s seriousness in addressing the issue, a Vatican spokesman said.
The recall of Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza shows the seriousness of the situation and the desire of the Holy See to deal with it “objectively and with determination,” Fr. Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican Press Office, told journalists.
He said the recall shows the “surprise and regret regarding some excessive reactions.”
Fr. Benedettini added that the nuncio’s recall also should be seen as evidence of the Holy See’s desire for a “serious and effective cooperation” in responding to the report.
The Cloyne Report is the product of a judicial inquiry into the diocese’s mishandling of alleged incidents of clerical sexual abuse since 1996. It severely criticizes the diocese for not reporting all cases to the authorities, including nine cases from 1996 and 2005 which “very clearly” should have been reported.
The report examined allegations against 19 priests. Two of the allegations involved victims who were minors at the time the complaint was made.
Bishop John Magee of Cloyne, a former personal secretary to Popes Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II, resigned in 2010 due to continuing criticism of his handling of abuse allegations.
The report also charged that the Vatican was “entirely unhelpful” to any bishop who wanted to implement procedures for dealing with child sex abuse allegations. It further described the Vatican’s response as “unsupportive especially in relation to the civil authorities.”
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, in his July 17 homily, expressed anger at the Diocese of Cloyne’s “non-response” to abuse victims and that children had been put at risk long after guidelines were in place.
He also voiced anger that there were in Cloyne, and perhaps elsewhere, “individuals who placed their own views above the safeguarding of children” and also placed themselves outside the protection guidelines to which the diocese and the Irish bishops had committed themselves.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny cited the report in a harshly critical July 20 speech before parliament, saying it exposes “an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago.”
He charged that Church leaders are steeped in a climate of “narcissism” and sought to defend their institutions rather than protect children.
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi responded on July 20 to Irish lawmakers’ claims that a 1997 Vatican letter to Irish bishops sabotaged child protection policy by instructing them to handle abuse cases strictly by canon law.
The letter only warned against measures which would be questionable or invalid according to Church law, which would not be effective sanctions, he said.
Ireland’s foreign minister Eamon Gilmore said that the government is awaiting the response to the Cloyne report, adding “it is to be expected that the Vatican would wish to consult in depth with the nuncio on its response.”
Guadalajara, Mexico, Jul 25, 2011 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Guadalajara, Mexico has issued a statement denying claims that Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez asked the U.S. government to rein in the former mayor of Mexico City, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
In the July 21 statement, the archdiocese responded to the information released by WikiLeaks about a meeting the cardinal had with then U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Rooney, in March of 2006.
The cable published by WikiLeaks is dated April 3, 2006, and claims that during a trip to Rome, Cardinal Sandoval called for help in stopping Lopez Obrador and left-wing leaders in Latin America. It alleges that the cardinal asked Ambassador Rooney to convince President Bush to intervene.
The archdiocese called the information “totally false.” It said that Cardinal Sandoval “has no interest in intervening or involving himself in the political affairs of the country.”
“Mr. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador can vouch for this, from the many times in which he met with the cardinal, at his own request. There has always been a relationship of mutual respect between them,” the statement said.
Cardinal Sandoval “values the work of the left, which is a necessary part of the political debate in the nation, even though there are some points on which he does not agree,” it continued.
The archdiocese confirmed that a meeting did indeed take place in 2006 between the cardinal and Ambassador Rooney, but that “the only issue discussed was a request that the U.S. representative support the construction of the Shrine of the Martyrs.”
“We wish to point out that the public leaking of this calumny by whoever the source was is intended to damage the already delicate political and social climate in our country,” the archdiocese said.
“We believe it is it very irresponsible to spread this kind of false information because of the damage it can do to our people’s spirits.”
“We have no doubt about the malicious intent of the person who spread this lie in order to harm Mexico, the Catholic Church and the individuals in question.”
The archdiocese concluded its statement urging “believers and non-believers alike to reflect on the information they receive, taking into account that the country is going through a time of political turmoil” in which rumor and deception threaten to take center stage in public life.