Archive of August 11, 2011

Napa Institute chairman has high hopes for new conference

Napa Valley, Calif., Aug 11, 2011 (CNA) - Tim Busch, chairman of the Napa Institute, has said he hopes the institute’s new annual conference will help inspire Catholics to be better stewards and to take part in Church life.

“This conference will continue to bring leaders of the church together so they can return to their communities with new tools. Our aim is to motivate Catholics to become more involved in their parishes and other Catholic organizations,” he said Aug. 10.

Busch founded the Napa Institute to show his commitment to building a stronger Catholic community and to encourage others to be bold in their faith.

Two hundred Catholic leaders, including bishops, priests and laypeople, met at The Meritage Resort and Spa July 28-31, 2011 for the institute’s inaugural conference.

Sessions focused on how Catholics could continue the work of the apostles in their everyday lives and in the “Next America” created by an emerging secular society.

The conference asked participants to heed Christ’s call for ongoing discipleship. It sought to lead participants to a deeper understanding of the truth of their faith and to embolden them to live and defend their faith.

Speakers included Cardinal Roger Mahony, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Mother Assumpta Long of the Dominican Sisters of Ann Arbor, and Wall Street Journal columnist Bill McGurn.

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles spoke about how immigration can help recover the Christian origins of America and renew appreciation for the Hispanic contributions to Americans’ faith and culture.

Busch said he hoped the conference would “inspire others to be better stewards of their time, treasure and talent.”

Busch is the founder of The Busch Firm, Trinitas Cellars and Pacific Hospitality Group which developed and now manages The Meritage Resort and Spa. He co-founded the JSerra Catholic High School and St. Anne School in Orange County. He is actively involved with Catholic University of America, The Papal Foundation, Legatus and the Magis Institute.

The Napa Institute’s next conference is scheduled for July 26-29, 2012 at The Meritage Resort and Spa.

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Diocese of Orange raises bid for Crystal Cathedral

Garden Grove, Calif., Aug 11, 2011 (CNA) - The Diocese of Orange upped its previous bid and signaled openness to new negotiations for the Crystal Cathedral after board members recently announced that the building is no longer for sale.

The diocese announced on Aug. 10 that it submitted “a revised non-contingent offer” to purchase the  Crystal Cathedral for $53.6 million cash – instead of $50 million – and gave the current church ministry the option of a 50,000 square foot alternative worship space for up to 15 years.

Bishop Tod D. Brown said in his statement that the diocese wants to accommodate its needs for a new cathedral, while respecting the Crystal Cathedral Ministry and its legacy.

“This sanctuary should remain a place of worship and remembrance, nothing less,” he said.

The news comes after church board members announced on July 31 that, despite having four serious offers, the building is no longer for available for purchase. Senior pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman said the church feels a responsibility to pay back its creditors as well an obligation to local church members to keep the ministry's headquarters “intact.”

The Diocese of Orange made its original bid in early July, saying that it was considering buying the Crystal Cathedral as an option to meet the needs of the 1.2 million Catholics in Orange County, the 11th largest diocese in the nation.

Although it has been planning for over 10 years to build a new, 2,500-seat cathedral in Santa Ana, the diocese has only hired an architect for the project and was considering converting the bankrupt church into a Catholic cathedral.

The liturgist for the Orange diocese, Monsignor Arthur Holquin, said July 26 that several changes would need to take place in order for the Crystal Cathedral to become a Catholic worship space.

Along with a central altar, a tabernacle and a baptismal font, the building would need a “cathedra” or bishop’s chair. While renovations are needed to the building, “not much deconstruction would be required and the iconic personality of the original architecture and design would, for the most part, be retained,” he said.

Purchasing the Crystal Cathedral is an attractive option for the diocese because it provides an instant solution to its building needs and would cost roughly half the $100 million price tag for the planned Santa Ana cathedral.

Though the diocese made an official $50 million bid for the Crystal Cathedral on July 22, the church’s board later voted against selling it and decided to appeal to church members and viewers to donate the funds instead.

The cathedral, founded by pastor Robert H. Schuller, filed for bankruptcy last October, after some of its creditors sued for payment.

Documents from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana show that hundreds of creditors could be owed between $50 million and $100 million, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Sponsors, young people covering all World Youth Day costs

Madrid, Spain, Aug 11, 2011 (CNA/Europa Press) - The young people attending World Youth Day in Madrid will pay 70 percent of the total costs of the event, financial director Fernando Gimenez Barriocanal said on Aug. 11.
The event's total budget is an estimated $71.3 million. Registration fees paid by young people so far total $44.5 million, Barriocanal said. Of the total budget, $17.6 million will be spent on the main events which include the welcoming ceremony, the Via Crucis and the vigil and final Mass.
Barriocanal said the rest of the expenses associated with World Youth Day are being covered by sponsors of the event and donors, who have contributed $23.3 million, and by the event's product sales, which total $3.3 million. 
Of the total budget for the event, $10 million has gone to infrastructure, $7.7 million to hospitality. Nearly $6.6 million has been spent on the manufacturing of the World Youth Day backpack and its contents, $6 million on the program and pilgrim’s guide, $5.6 million on hospitality for volunteers, $3.6 million on marketing material, $3.2 million on media materials, $2.9 million on computer systems and $2.8 million on housing preparations and catechesis venues.

Organizers have spent $1.6 million on security and press credentials and $1 million on administrative expenses.

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Vatican ‘astonished’ by Croatian government blocking monastery transfer

Vatican City, Aug 11, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -

The Vatican says it is astonished that Croatia’s government has blocked Pope Benedict’s decision to hand back ownership of a Croatian monastery to the Italian Benedictines.

This “raises astonishment, both for the extraordinary decision and also because the Croatian Prime Minister had expressed her intention to address the problem in a spirit of collaboration,” Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., told CNA August 11.

The disagreement centers on the monastery of Dajla, in northwest Croatia. It is situated in an area that was confiscated from Italy by communist Yugoslavia following the Second World War. The monastery is currently in the control of the local Croatian diocese of Porec and Pula.
Earlier this month the Vatican ruled that the monastery should be given back to the Italian Benedictines, along with a reported 6 million Euros (approximately $8.5 million dollars) in compensation.

But the proposed transfer was blocked by the Croatian Ministry for Justice, which also annulled the entire agreement.

Fr. Lombardi said that it is now “imperative to give the interested parties the opportunity for a review of this decision in the appropriate forums.”
The Italian Benedictines began their claim for Dajla monastery in 2004. Four years later, Pope Benedict established a special commission of cardinals to rule on the issue. They reported back to the Pope in December 2010.

The commission’s decision in favor of the Italian Benedictines caused protests in Croatia and led to Bishop Ivan Milovan of Porec and Pula being temporarily suspended by Pope Benedict last month to finally allow the agreement to be signed.
The Vatican ruling seemed to have particularly angered some Croatians as the Italian Benedictines had already received 1.7 billion liras (approximately $1.2 million dollars) in 1975 when the Treaty of Osimo finally settled the Yugoslav-Italian border.
The row comes only two months after Pope Benedict’s visit to Croatia which was acclaimed by most observers as a diplomatic success.

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The 7,000 mile journey to World Youth Day

Vatican City, Aug 11, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Five hundred young people are traveling over 7,000 miles in seven days just to see Pope Benedict XVI in Madrid next week – and they all say it’s worth it.

“It’s important to be there because there are not many Catholics in Taiwan and so we thought it would be good for our young people to gain a broader vision of the whole Catholic Church,” group leader Angela Ng told CNA.

The group of pilgrims hails from the island of Taiwan--the only part of China that didn’t fall under communist rule following the Chinese civil war of 1946-50. It has a population of 23 million, of which only two percent are Catholic.

CNA met up with a group of 30 young Taiwanese pilgrims in St. Peter’s Basilica, where they had just attended Mass. Italy, however, is just the latest stop for the group on a journey that has taken them from Taiwan to Hong Kong to Germany to Rome and finally to Madrid.

“I feel really excited but obviously very tired too,” said Christina Chen, one of the young pilgrims.

“I’m going to Madrid because I’m looking for the truth and I’m looking for myself, and I think I’ll find that at World Youth Day.”

The 500 pilgrims from Taiwan will be joined next week in Madrid by hundreds of thousands of their fellow young Catholics.

“More than a million people will attend the events, something which has never happened in Spain,” said World Youth Day’s Director of Planning, Javier Sobrino, giving the latest estimate of figures to the media in Madrid on Aug. 10.

“It’s up to each and every one of us to carry out this task-- we want all the pilgrims to feel at home.”

The six days of events will culminate in Sunday Mass, presided over by Pope Benedict XVI, at Madrid’s Cuatro Vientos Airport.

Angela, a Verbum Dei missionary, says her only regret is that her fellow Catholics in the communist-ruled “Peoples Republic of China” will not be among the crowds in Madrid.

“Of course, we wish they could also participate but due to the political situation they can’t be at World Youth Day. But we will pray for them. We always pray for them because we are one big family.”

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Vatican to examine Mexican bishop's gay ministry

Lima, Peru, Aug 11, 2011 (CNA) - Bishop Raul Vera Lopez of Saltillo, Mexico has confirmed that he will meet with the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, at the end of August or early September.

The two will discuss Bishop Vera's support for the San Elredo Community, an organization that embraces homosexuality.
In statements to the Mexican daily Zocalo at the end of July, Bishop Vera said, “There has been a call from the Vatican and I am ready to clear things up … I have to respond to a series of questions that Vatican City has sent me about my work with homosexuals.”
Bishop Vera told the newspaper El Diario de Coahuila that his meeting with Cardinal Ouellet has to do with reports published by ACI Prensa, the Spanish-language sister website of CNA. “This agency has published a bunch of nonsense, and I have been asked to talk about this and I have the right to, I am a bishop of the Church, I work for the Church and I am in communion with the Church.”
He also said it was not the first, nor would it be the last time he has been called by the Vatican.

Bishop Vera said the Vatican inquiry is not “a reprimand but rather a clarification, especially with regards to what this agency has published.”
On two occasions the bishop has refused to grant statements to ACI Prensa, but nonetheless he has accused the agency of distorting his words. CNA and ACI Prensa believe they have merely stated the facts.
The Diario de Coahuila also reported that the San Elredo Community is no longer a part of the Diocese of Saltillo and will now be a separate organization. However, it will continue to promote its usual activities.
The interim coordinator of the group is Fernando Hernandez, who said San Elredo would continue following the diocesan pastoral plan but that it would now begin “a new phase outside the diocese.”

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Bishop Jean Laffitte warns against overemphasizing sexual aspects of Theology of Human Love

Denver, Colo., Aug 11, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -

Bishop Jean Laffitte is warning against focusing too intently on the sexual aspect of Blessed John Paul II's Theology of the Body, which he says runs the risk of eliminating the depth and “mystery” involved in human and divine love.

“The problem is, if you focus only on sexuality you can't develop beyond that, and you don't see that this beauty is a gift given by the Creator but in a much wider context,” said Bishop Laffitte, secretary of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family.

In an Aug. 3 interview with CNA, Bishop Laffitte weighed in on the current debate on how best to interpret the late pontiff's teachings, saying it is essential to first understand God's design in creating man and woman.

Pope John Paul II's teachings on human love and sexuality – a collection of five years’ worth of his Wednesday audiences from 1979 to 1984 – is widely seen as unprecedented in the history of the Church.

Sexuality and the Body

Bishop Laffitte said that although it's normal to be attracted to “the beauty of sexuality and the beauty of the human body,” he doesn't agree with emphasizing “the sexual phenomenon” without giving the whole perspective of “the mystery of creation, and the mystery of God's calling on human love,” as taught by Pope John Paul II.

Bishop Laffitte recalled that when God created Adam and Eve from nothing, he could have used the same method to create every other person in human history. Yet instead, God enabled man and woman through their sexuality to participate in creating human life themselves.

“The Creator wanted the human being to be His own mediator in the action of creation – that's extraordinary,” he noted. “From that moment, in His providential intention, the man and woman He created would be the mediators through which He would continue to give life.”

“That's the mystery of sexuality,” he said, “the expression of divine and human love, which is integrated and interpenetrated.” 

“It's impossible,” then, the bishop added, “to isolate sexuality” from this integration and “to isolate the body from this mystery,” since this would ultimately “isolate the creature from the Creator.”

Bishop Laffitte said that the mystery of sex encompasses “not only the unity of the bodies” but a unity of bodies “which are animated by God and which express a spiritual love.”

“When Pope John Paul II talks about the body we have to understand this,” he said.

The pontifical secretary also said that the term “Theology of the Body” is in fact an English translation of what is originally called “The Catecheses on Human Love.”

Although the English term is “not incorrect,” he said, it doesn't necessarily portray “the entirety of the Catecheses.”

The Theology of the Body “is not a wrong expression, on the condition that we see the intention of John Paul II,” Bishop Laffitte said.

“He was talking about human love and not only the partial focus we could have only on the body and on sexuality – which is ultimately a bodily expression of love.”

“Certainly the body has a theological dimension, but this dimension is given by God's design on human love and what, in the nature of man and woman, belongs to the fulfillment of the design.”

Teaching Sexuality in the Modern World

Although Bishop Laffitte praised the intent behind popularizing John Paul II's teachings on human sexuality, he underscored the “risk” of transmitting a narrowed vision of them. He stressed that in today's world, human love and sexuality have been “disfigured,” and Church teachings on the subject need to be spread as a means of evangelization, accessible to all people.

In response to those who say the philosophical and anthropological topics involved in the late Pope’s teachings are too complex for the average person, Bishop Laffitte said he believes anyone “of good faith can always be sensitive to mystery.”

“Even when a person cannot read and write, when he falls in love with someone he enters into an extraordinary mystery,” the bishop said.

Regardless of a person’s level of intellectual knowledge, he “has the same experience” when he falls in love as even the most educated person.

Bishop Laffitte also cautioned against taking a casual or “vulgar” approach to discussing human sexuality in the context of Church teachings.

“Man and woman have sinned,” he explained, “and in our bodies we bear the consequences of this wound in our nature.”

He said it's ultimately “unrealistic” to think that we can discuss or treat the issue of human sexuality in a casual or indifferent way, or ignoring the reality of sin.

“There is a dignity” and a “respectful expression of love and design” needed, Bishop Laffitte emphasized. 

To read the full interview, please click here.

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