Rome, Italy, Aug 5, 2011 (CNA) - The head of Madrid’s Housing and Economy Office, Percival Manglano, confirmed Aug. 2 that World Youth Day is expected to bring $143 million into the Spanish economy.
During a debate on the event at the Madrid regional government, Manglano said the arrival of thousands of young Catholics would bring a breath of fresh air to the Spanish economy. He rebuffed critics who claim the event will cost the Spanish government millions of dollars.
“(World Youth Day) is a meeting between the Pope and the young people of the world,” he said.
The event's financial director, Fernando Gimenez Barriocanal, said World Youth Day is being financed in large measure by private funds. He added that the government will not be directly contributing financially.
Expenses for the use of public areas will be covered by World Youth Day.
In addition to donations from hundreds of sponsors, the event is also being financed by the registration fees paid by those who attend, he added.
Erie, Pa., Aug 5, 2011 (CNA) - Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pa., and every one of his priests, now has a bobblehead doll in his likeness thanks to one priest who wanted to show appreciation for his service.
Father John Detisch of Sacred Heart Catholic Church told CNA on Aug. 4 that he ordered 180 bobbleheads for the 29th annual convocation of the diocese’s priests in June. The date of the gathering fell near the bishop’s 75th birthday.
The priest kept the gifts secret until the event, where he distributed the dolls in individually wrapped boxes. He made sure that the priests opened their boxes all at once.
The sight of the figures caused a “wave of hysteria” as clergy clapped and screamed.
“Bishop Trautman himself held his bobblehead in his hand and was “roaring, just roaring, and shaking his head,” Fr. Detisch said.
“That was the funny part. Just to see Bishop Trautman laugh hysterically as he’s looking at his own head bobbing up and down.”
Bishop Trautman was good-natured about the doll and said the likeness was “pretty close.” He said he appreciated the “creative gift,” the Erie Times-News reported.
The bishop has put his own bobblehead on a bookcase in his residence.
“Bishop Trautman was so delighted,” Fr. Detisch said. “It was just intended to be an act of affection from his priests to honor him in such a way. It was not to make fun of him, by any means. He’s been our bishop for 21 years.”
He called the bobblehead doll “the perfect tool to honor a bishop that we’ve really become close to.”
The priest explained that he got the idea for the doll several months ago. He was contemplating what to do for the convocation while looking at his bobblehead of Pittsburgh Penguins hockey star Sydney Crosby.
“It was like a bell went off,” Fr. Detisch said.
“Oh, a Bishop Trautman bobblehead could be one of the funniest stunts I’ve ever pulled,” he told himself at the time.
The priest found a company in Atlanta that makes the figures of prominent people, including one of Pope Benedict XVI. He sent in a couple of photographs of his bishop to have the doll made.
The dolls, made in China, had an unintended layover in a New York customs office which halted the shipment.
Fr. Detisch had to explain to officials that the boxes contained bobbleheads of his bishop.
Now he is planning how to fulfill the many requests of people who want their own Bishop Trautman bobblehead. He wants to provide one to “whoever wants one,” but cost will be a factor depending on the size of the order he submits.
Joseph Lemmo, a parishioner of St. George Catholic Church, told the Erie News-Times he wants one.
Lemmo called Bishop Trautman a “great man” and said he would be honored to add the bishop’s bobblehead to the case in his memorabilia room, where he already has a couple of sports figurines.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 5, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro addressed recent comments made by the city's mayor, claiming that the 2013 World Youth Day will be held in Rio.
The press secretary for the archdiocese, Adionel Carlos da Cunha, told CNA that the recent comments by Rio's Mayor Eduard Paes express the wishes of the people in Rio de Janeiro but cannot be interpreted as a Vatican confirmation of Rio as next city to host the World Youth Day.
Mayor Paes recently told the press that the 2013 World Youth Day will be held in Rio de Janeiro. He added that the official announcement would be made later this month.
However, the archdiocesan spokesman told CNA on Aug. 4 that while the city wishes to be selected as the next World Youth Day site, the confirmation will come only on the morning of Aug. 21 when the Pope himself reveals his choice.
He added that the people's expectations in regards to host an event with the Pope are high because the country was recently chosen to host a number of major international events such as the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
This week, Rio's secretary for tourism, Antonio Pedro de Mello told Reuters that other cities such as Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte are also in the running to host World Youth Day in 2013.
“At least 600,000 people will travel to Brazil to attend this event in a Catholic country with millions of followers. It will be important for publicizing the city's image and for obtaining foreign currency, as the event will last approximately 10 days.”
Last June, Almir Franco de Sa Barbuda, appointed by President Dilma Rousseff to be Brazil’s ambassador to the Holy See, stated that the next World Youth Day could take place in the country.
New York City, N.Y., Aug 5, 2011 (CNA) - A parish pastor in New York City has fired Catholic school principal Frank Borzellieri after controversy over his opinions on race and diversity and his ties to a publication accused of white supremacism.
“Many of the opinions expressed by Mr. Borzellieri in his writings were found to be incompatible with the philosophy and practices of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, and with Catholic schools throughout the archdiocese,” Archdiocese of New York communications director Joseph Zwilling said Aug. 2.
Parish pastor Father Eric Rapaglia of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Fordham made his decision to fire the principal of the Bronx school after consulting with the archdiocesan schools’ superintendent’s office. The decision also followed a “thorough internal review” of Borzellieri’s opinions and a discussion with him.
Fr. Rapaglia also issued a statement on the controversy, stating his fundamental belief that “racism is evil.”
“We as Catholics reject racism in all of its ugly forms.”
“As your pastor, I apologize for my mistake in judgment: in hindsight, I should not have hired Mr. Borzellieri,” he said.
Borzellieri, who has been principal of the school since 2009, became the center of controversy after the New York Daily News characterized him as a white supremacist in a July 31 report. It cited a 2004 book of Borzellieri which said “diversity is a weakness” and predicted rising black and Hispanic populations in the U.S. will lead to a “New Dark Age.”
The principal has a background in politics. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for New York state assembly in 1994 and for the New York City Council in 1997. He served as a school board member in Queens from 1993 to 2002.
The New York Daily News highlighted Borzellieri’s efforts on the school board to ban “anti-American literature from school libraries, including books on different races and cultures and a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. He also tried to ban school employees from making any references to homosexuality and he tried to remove an openly homosexual teacher and gay rights activist from a public school classroom
He also introduced a resolution calling for students to be taught that U.S. culture is superior.
The New York Daily News said the principal has written “frequently” for “American Renaissance,” which describes itself as a publication of “racial-realist thought.”
The publication protested Borzellieri’s firing and said he had written only five articles for them, the last in 2006. He also spoke at four of the publication’s conferences, the last time in 2002.
The archdiocese further explained the decision to fire the principal.
“The Catholic schools of the archdiocese pride themselves on serving a diverse student population, without regard to a student's religion, race, or background,” Zwilling said. “Our schools have a proven track record of success of welcoming all students who come to us, and providing them with a superior education that allows them to succeed in college and beyond. Unfortunately, Mr. Borzellieri's writings indicate that he did not truly support that mission.”
Fr. Rapaglia said when Borzellieri applied to be principal in 2009 a search committee which represented “the full diversity of the school population” recommended him as principal.
Neither the priest nor the committee members knew of his political writings, and Borzellieri had the support of many minorities including Roy Innis, the national chairman of the black civil rights organization Congress of Racial Equality.
“My decision on whether or not to keep Mr. Borzellieri employed at our school was not such an obvious one to make,” the pastor said. “He had worked in two other minority-dominated schools before coming to Mount Carmel, and there was never any complaints from parents or students about him sent to the Archdiocese.”
Fr. Rapaglia also clarified a quotation attributed to him which said he thinks many of Borzellieri’s views are “valuable and logical and reasonable.”
This comment referred not to all of the principal’s racial views, which he “strongly” condemned, but to other views. The priest, a self-described son of an immigrant, disagreed with Borzellieri’s views on immigration and his “pessimistic attitude” about some demographic groups’ rising population growth.
“Racism is a sin. I have dedicated my life to living among and serving one of the most racially mixed and culturally diverse parishes in the Archdiocese of New York,” the priest said.
Bogotá, Colombia, Aug 5, 2011 (CNA) - The director of Caritas in the Venezuelan state of Tachira recently denounced the presence of Colombian rebel groups in Venezuela.
Father Orlando Neira said the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Army of Liberation (ELN) are terrorist organizations involved the drug trade that sow panic among the people through kidnappings and extortion, while the government does nothing to stop them.
The presence of the rebel groups in Venezuela is unquestionable, he said, because he himself has spoken with them in his region of the country.
“Colombian guerrilla organizations kidnap and extort in this area. They thrive off of this and these kinds of kidnappings, which often last more than one year,” he told Caracol Radio.
Fr. Neira criticized the government for not ensuring the security of Venezuelans against the rebel groups. “It is sad that our government will not assume responsibility. They say there are no guerrillas, that they don’t come here, but what they say is one thing and what we see in the countryside, in reality, is another,” the priest said.
“The harassment from the ELN and the police in their country (Colombia) drives the rebels to leave their country and move somewhere else. It stands to reason they would come to their neighboring country of Venezuela,” he explained.
“The lack of presence of the Venezuelan military is sad, and they make us believe that the media is inventing all this, that our border is protected and that the guerrillas are not coming into our country,” Fr. Neira continued.
He also noted that rebel groups extort the rich and poor alike, and that farmers and ranchers are especially targeted.
Denver, Colo., Aug 5, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - On the Feast of St. John Vianney Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. told the Knights of Columbus that bishops and priests are in solidarity with them on “the path of salvation.”
“Just as you, dear members of the family of the Knights of Columbus, stand in solidarity with the Holy Father, your bishops, and your priests, so too we stand in solidarity with you, in a solidarity of that love which overflows from the heart of Jesus and leads us and our loved ones to joys of everlasting life,” Bishop Lori said at the fraternal order’s Aug. 4 memorial Mass for all deceased Knights of Columbus.
The Mass was part of the Knights of Columbus’ Supreme Convention, which was held in Denver Aug. 2-4. Bishop Lori is Supreme Chaplain of the fraternal charitable organization, which has 1.8 million members worldwide.
Bishop Lori in his homily called the Feast of St. John Vianney a “powerful reminder” for bishops and priests about their state as “fellow pilgrims” who must seek forgiveness of their sins and holiness in their own lives.
“Indeed our salvation is inextricably bound up with yours. As your bishops and priests, we know the Lord is going to ask us at our judgment whether or not we were gave our lives in union with Christ for the salvation of others,” the bishop said. “So this morning, we meet again in the shared hope that all of us and all of those who have gone before us in faith will see the Triune God face to face and rejoice in his presence forever.”
The life of St. John Vianney is a reminder “that Christ, in his love for us, endowed his Church with all means of our salvation and that the Holy Spirit has poured into our hearts a love that is stronger than sin and more powerful than death.”
The bishop said St. John Vianney’s life was “consumed with saving souls.”
“The overarching goal of his life was helping his parishioners and many of those who flocked to his little parish in the village of Ars, France, to undergo conversion, to grow in holiness and to become fit for eternal life in heaven,” he explained.
He recounted how St. John Vianney, also known as the Cure of Ars, lived in a desolate, small church in a town where the practice of the Catholic faith had fallen off in the wake of the French Revolution. Few people were catechized and few went to confession regularly.
“It sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it?” Bishop Lori asked.
The saint in his ministry warned his parishioners against “everything that would threaten their salvation” while also “opening their hearts to the love of Christ” in the Mass and in Eucharistic Adoration.
The same “hope of eternal life” and “zeal for souls” motivated Knights of Columbus founder Venerable Fr. Michael J. McGivney and the Cristeros martyrs of Mexico, who included Knights of Columbus who are canonized saints, the bishop added.
Bishop Lori specifically mentioned Knights of Columbus Supreme Secretary, Emilio Moure, who recently died of cancer. He asked for prayers for all deceased knights.
“Filled with hope and in the deepest spirit of charity, unity, and fraternity, let us commend them to the Lord!” his homily concluded.
Rome, Italy, Aug 5, 2011 (CNA) - One of Rome’s leading experts on Christianity in the Arab world says the fall of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria would create a worrying future for Christians in the country.
“If the rebels succeed Syria will become an Islamic country,” said Naman Tarcha, Director of the Bocca della Verita Cultural Center in Rome, to CNA on Aug. 5. The center exists to promote Arab art and culture, particularly that of Arab Christianity.
“Western television seems to suggest that this is a pacifistic revolution but most Christian Syrians know that’s not the case. They see the armed gangs gathering outside the mosque after Friday prayers particularly in cities like Hama,” said Tarcha who himself hails from the city of Aleppo in northern Syria.
His comments come only a day after U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, accused Syrian security forces of having killed some 2,000 people since the anti-government protests against President Assad began in March. She also restated her belief that the Assad regime has lost legitimately.
Her concerns have been echoed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev – usually an ally of Syria – who said President Assad would “face a sad fate” unless he urgently carries out political reforms and reconciles with the rebels.
“I think President al-Assad is a very honest person and he will change,” says Tarcha.
“That doesn’t mean there isn’t corruption and that he hasn’t made a lot of mistakes. For example, he’s taken too long to make his reforms and introduce more freedom and democracy.”
“But he’s a very good and intelligent person and he can change if others help. But it you simply want to destroy the country or create a war? Well that’s another thing. That’s why we must help him to change.”
Yesterday, the Syrian government’s official press agency ‘Mena’ announced the President Assad has now issued a decree authorizing a multi-party system in Syria. At the same time, though, Syria’s state television has been broadcasting images from inside the besieged city of Hama where rebels claim the Syrian army has killed more than 100 civilians during its bombardment of the city.
Tarcha, 35, will return to Syria in the next few weeks to visit his mother and the rest of his family in Aleppo. He says most Christians in Syria – who make up approximately 10 percent of the population – do want to see reform but fear the example of Iraq where the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 was followed by a persecution of Christianity that has since decimated the Christian population.
“Syrian Christians want to change and want to make Syria better but not with violence and killing the people. Saying ‘I will kill you if you don’t agree with me’ is not democracy.”
Dover, Del., Aug 5, 2011 (CNA) - The Oblates of St. Francis de Sales agreed on Aug. 4 to pay $24.8 million to settle lawsuits with 39 victims of clerical sex abuse in Delaware.
“I am sorry in the name of all Oblates for anything that an Oblate has done to violate a trust or to harm a person,” said Father James Greenfield, head of the Oblates’ Wilmington-Philadelphia province.
As part of the settlement, the Oblates – whose local staff work in schools and other ministries in several East Coast states – also agreed to release the names the 12 members identified as child molesters and to disclose their personnel files.
“An Oblate of St. Francis de Sales everywhere in the world understands the absolute importance of child protection,” Fr. Greenfield told the Associated Press on Thursday.
The priest added that the agreement ends the litigation against the order as well the Catholic High school Salesianum School run by the Oblates in Wilmington, Delaware.
Attorney for the Oblates Mark Reardon told the AP that the most recent abuse incident occurred more than 20 years ago.
He expressed the “sheer relief” of his clients that that the lawsuits were over. Reardon also noted that the East Coast province will share “lessons learned” with the other provinces worldwide.
The settlement comes after the Diocese of Wilmington’s bankruptcy reorganization plan was recently approved by a local judge. The plan is based on a separate $77 million settlement with about 150 victims of priest sex abuse, including 37 of the 39 plaintiffs who also sued the Oblates.
In agreeing to the settlement, the Oblates released the names of 12 members with admitted or substantiated abuse allegations. Only four are still alive and have been removed from ministry, while the remaning eight have already died.
Two of the accused live at an Oblate retirement facility in Maryland, and the other two are at an Oblate facility in Washington, D.C.
Fr. Greenfield noted that all four are monitored and supervised.