Archive of September 8, 2011

Raleigh diocese announces new Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral

Raleigh, N.C., Sep 8, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -

The Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina plans to build a new 2,000-seat cathedral, dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge announced Sept.7.

The announcement is a “monumental and historic moment in the life of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh and the state of North Carolina,” the bishop said.

The proposed cathedral campus is on a 39-acre tract of land adjacent to Western Boulevard and Centennial Parkway. The property is a remnant of 400 acres purchased in 1897 by Fr. Thomas F. Price, the “Tar Heel Apostle” who was the first native North Carolinian to be ordained a Catholic priest. He established an orphanage on the site called the Nazareth Community.

Bishop Burbidge said that the planned cathedral’s name commemorates the name of the chapel Fr. Price established at the site.

“It is fitting that the name of our new cathedral is the Holy Name of Jesus,” he remarked.

The location presently hosts the Catholic Center administration building and a smaller office building.

The diocese has contracted with the Washington, D.C. architect James McCrery to develop the cathedral design and to propose the most effective use for planned additions and other potential developments at the site.

The conceptual design for the cathedral is classical in style. Artistic renderings for the cathedral campus also show a two-story gathering hall and a parking facility that is both above and below ground. Bishop Burbidge said that in additional to being the “mother church of the diocese,” he hopes the campus will become a cultural venue, hosting sacred music concerts and lecture series.

The estimated cost of the cathedral campus is $75 to $90 million. The diocese said the project has received $10 million in pledges from a small group of donors in a short period of time.

The Diocese of Raleigh, which covers 54 eastern counties of North Carolina, said the continuing growth of the Catholic population prompted the need for a new cathedral. Between 2000 and 2010, the Catholic population increased about 42 percent from about 152,493 to 217,125 registered Catholics. The diocese estimates at least another 200,000 Catholics, mostly of Hispanic origin, are not registered with a parish.

The diocese’s current Sacred Heart Cathedral, located two blocks from the State Capitol, only has a seating capacity for 320 people, making it one of the smallest in the country.
After the new cathedral is dedicated, Sacred Heart Church will be “retained and honored” as the first cathedral of the diocese. It will continue to serve as “a vibrant part of the sacramental life of the diocese,” the diocese said.

Bishop Burbidge anticipates that the groundbreaking for the new Cathedral Campus will take place in mid-2013.

The Diocese of Raleigh has created a website for the new cathedral at

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Archbishop Chaput may intervene in Philadelphia teacher strike

Philadelphia, Pa., Sep 8, 2011 (CNA) -

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput may become involved in ending a Catholic high school teacher's strike, though the archdiocese says he will not take any action until after his installation.

“I'm not averse at all to becoming involved personally, in a direct way, if that's good for our schools and good for our teachers," the recently-appointed archbishop told CBS 3 reporter Pat Ciarrocchi. Shortly after his arrival in the city, unionized Catholic high school teachers rejected a contract offer and announced they were on strike as of Sept. 6.

But the archdiocese's Associate Director of Communications Kenneth Gavin told CNA that if Archbishop Chaput does intervene, it would not occur until after his Sept. 8 installation. The teachers' union says it will not picket the installation – expected to draw up to 1,500 guests, including 700 cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, and seminarians – out of respect for the archbishop.

Archdiocesan Communications Specialist Meredith Wilson said that negotiations with the teachers would begin the next day, even though church officials “wanted them to start today.” The meetings are slated to last through Sept. 12, with a break on Saturday.

As of Sept. 6, the archdiocese and its unionized high school teachers had failed to agree not only on a future contract, but also on the matter of what had caused the strike.

The archdiocese said in a press release that the high school teachers' union “broke off negotiations early Tuesday morning after very little progress was made in weekend negotiating sessions.” The archdiocese said its representatives were “willing to talk until the last minute,” but found the union unwilling to proceed with further discussion.

In its statement, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said it “made multiple concessions in our proposals and believes the contract offered to the teachers is equitable.” Archdiocesan officials hope the teachers' union “will recognize that a strike is not in their best interest and most certainly not in the best interest of our students and their families.”

But Rita Schwartz, president of the Association of Catholic Teachers Local 1776, gave the Pottstown Mercury newspaper a different account of what led to the strike. She said the teachers “did not walk away from the table” but “reached an impasse” where no further negotiations were possible.

“They handed us a proposal with 20 items on it at 4:30 (on Monday),” Schwartz told the Mercury. “We worked on it and gave it back to them and they said, ‘You have to accept all of it or none of it' … That’s not negotiating. That means we’re at an impasse and we can no longer negotiate.”

Both sides, however, acknowledge that the disagreement involves larger questions than the usual concerns over pay and benefits.

The union is primarily concerned for teachers' job security in the future. The archdiocese wants to hire part-time teachers, in response to what it describes as an “ever-changing 21st century educational landscape.” Full-time employees also feel uncertainty about what will happen to their jobs if the archdiocese continues to close or merge schools.

The union's 711 lay and religious instructors currently teach in 17 Catholic high schools with a combined student population of around 16,500. The current numbers represent a significant drop from nearly 20,000 pupils in 20 schools just three years ago.

The strike is not affecting Catholic elementary schools since those teachers are not unionized.

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Bishop defends celibacy against criticism over lack of vocations

Madrid, Spain, Sep 8, 2011 (CNA) - Bishop Vicente Jimenez of Santander, Spain recently said he is confident that abolishing celibacy is not the answer to overcoming the lack of vocations to the priesthood.

A report published Sept. 6 by highlighted Bishop Jimenez’s defense of priestly celibacy.  “This is the pastor of a diocese with few priests (315 responsible for 615 parishes, with 103 priests over the retirement age of 75) and a priestly ordination calendar that is not very full: only 10 candidates at the major seminary and three at the minor.”

In an interview with the newspaper Montanes, Bishop Jimenez acknowledged that the lack of vocations in his diocese is “troubling” but said he does not believe the solution is to make things easier for priests. “A vocation should be demanding and undiluted,” he said.  “There are some voices that say that if we do away with celibacy and allow priests to marry there would be more. I don’t believe it.” 

He noted that in protestant communities “celibacy does not exist and they have less vocations than Catholics.”

Bishop Jimenez said the explanation lies elsewhere. “The issue is not celibacy.  The issue is whether a young person wants to commit his life because he has heard a call from the Lord.  The conditions need to be created to make it easier, such as receiving support from his family,” the bishop said.

“If these were the comments of a bishop in whose diocese there was not a lack of vocations to address the pastoral needs ... perhaps his statements defending priestly celibacy would not be so remarkable,” said.

“We must support vocations, because it is a sacrificial but very beautiful life.  There is no greater joy than to give of yourself and do good for others,” the Spanish bishop said.

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Guard Catholic institutions against compromise, Pope tells Indian bishops

Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Sep 8, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI told a group of Indian bishops visiting his summer residence on Sept. 8 that they should take special care to ensure that Church institutions convey the message of the Gospel.
“As you know, all of the Church’s activities are meant to glorify God and fill his people with the truth that sets us free,” Pope Benedict told a group of Indian bishops at Castel Gandolfo.
“This saving truth, at the heart of the deposit of faith, must remain the foundation of all the Church’s endeavors, proposed to others always with respect but also without compromise.”
Thursday's audience was the Pope's second meeting with the Indian bishops, the last of four groups making the customary “ad limina” visit to Rome required every five years. The group of 23 bishops includes Mumbai's Cardinal Archbishop Oswald Gracias.
In his remarks to the bishops, Pope Benedict said the Indian Church was “blessed with a multitude of institutions which are intended to be expressions of the love of God for humanity,” enabling the Church to make “an invaluable contribution to the well-being not only of Catholics, but of society at large.”
He noted that India's Catholic schools hold a “special place” among these institutions – and should, therefore, be watched over carefully.
“I encourage you to continue to pay close attention to the quality of instruction in the schools present in your dioceses,” the Pope said, “to ensure that they (are) genuinely Catholic and therefore capable of passing on those truths and values necessary for the salvation of souls and the up-building of society.”
Pope Benedict then turned his attention to other areas of Catholic education, reflecting on the task of “those who teach in Catholic institutes of higher education and those who are charged with the ecclesial task of educating seminarians, religious or the lay faithful, whether in theology, catechetical studies or Christian spirituality.”
“Those who teach in the name of the Church,” he noted, “have a particular obligation faithfully to hand on the riches of the tradition, in accordance with the Magisterium and in a way that responds to the needs of today.”
And students, for their part, “have the right to receive the fullness of the intellectual and spiritual heritage of the Church,” in order to serve both the Church and the world in the best manner.
“Having received the benefits of a sound formation and dedicated to charity in truth,” he explained, “the clergy, religious and lay leaders of the Christian community will be better able to contribute to the growth of the Church and the advancement of Indian society.”
The Pope also stressed the importance of men and women in consecrated religious life, “who are the often unsung heroes of the Church’s vitality locally” – not just because of their “apostolic labors,” but because “ the lives they lead are a source of spiritual fruitfulness for the entire Christian community.”
This source of vitally, he warned, could die out if bishops do not provide for its future.
“In this regard, my Brother Bishops, I know that you are aware of the many factors which inhibit spiritual and vocational growth, particularly among young people.”
“Yet we know that it is Jesus Christ alone who responds to our deepest longings, and who gives true meaning to our lives. Only in him can our hearts truly find rest.”
“Continue, therefore, to speak to young people and to encourage them to consider seriously the consecrated or priestly life,” Pope Benedict urged the bishops. “Speak with parents about their indispensable role in encouraging and supporting such vocations; and lead your people in prayer to the Lord of the harvest, that he may send many more laborers into this harvest.”
The Pope ended invoking the Virgin Mary's intercession as “Mother of the Church,” promising to pray for the Indian bishops and their faithful before giving his apostolic blessing.

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Spain's Right to Life urges protection of the sick

Huelva, Spain, Sep 8, 2011 (CNA) - The Right to Life organization in Spain has reacted to the death of Ramona Estevez, warning that “any sick person could be treated with the same cruelty.”

Right to Life spokesman Gador Joya said, “This case should make people realize that from now on, any sick person who is unconscious in a hospital emergency room could be faced with a third party deciding whether or not his or her life is worth living,” reported Europa Press.

“From now on, any sick person could be treated with the same cruelty with which Ramona Estevez was treated,” she said.

Estevez, 91, suffered a stroke on July 26 and fell into a deep coma.  Several weeks later the Andalusia Health Department said her family could disconnect her feeding tube.

She died on Sept. 6.

“Those individuals who do not want to be distorted in case they are unable to express themselves should put their wishes in writing so that nobody can manipulate or take advantage of the pain of their family members and friends,” Joya said.

She underscored that although Right to Life did not prevail in its efforts to stop the death of Estevez, the organization “does not consider the legal battle it began on Aug. 26 to be lost.”  Right to Life will continue to fight against the “radical and inhumane agenda that sees the terminally ill as social waste that only deserves to be discarded,” she added.

Joya said that given the “arbitrary and thoughtless nature” of the Andalusia Health Board’s decision to issue a direct order in the case of Estevez, Right to Life is convinced that “unfortunately, the case of Ramona Estevez will not be the last of its kind” and that people should therefore “be very alert.”

Laws recently approved in Spain dealing with end-of-life care are not intended to help and care for the sick, but rather “to eliminate them by withdrawing assistance in feeding, hydration and respiration,” Joya said.

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WYD congratulates Fukushima heroes for winning humanitarian award

Madrid, Spain, Sep 8, 2011 (CNA) - The organizers of World Youth Day 2011, who were finalists for this year’s Prince of Asturias Award in Spain, have congratulated the winners of the prize, the Heroes of Fukushima.

World Youth Day organizers said Sept. 7 that the Heroes of Fukushima are examples of what Benedict XVI was speaking about in Madrid when he said, “Our society, in which the inestimable dignity of life, of each life, is too often questioned, needs you: you make a decisive contribution to building the civilization of love.”

The Prince of Asturias Award recognizes initiatives “that contribute in an exemplary and relevant way to understanding and to peaceful coexistence among mankind.”

Auxiliary Bishop Cesar Franco, the general coordinator of World Youth Day 2011, expressed gratitude for the more than 10,000 votes to award the Prince of Asturias Prize to the youth event.

“To have been nominated for an award that exemplifies the best values of humanity was an honor. That World Youth Day Madrid was considered is itself an award,” he said.

The Heroes of Fukushima are the group of men and women who worked to mitigate the nuclear catastrophe caused by the 9.0 earthquake and the tsunami that stuck Japan on March 11.

“This group of people represents the highest the values of humanity in their efforts to prevent the spreading of the devastating effects of the nuclear disaster caused by the tsunami that struck Japan, by setting aside the grave consequences that this decision would have upon their lives,” the jury for the prize said.

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Archbishop Chaput promises sacrifice to 'renew this great church'

Philadelphia, Pa., Sep 8, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput promised to lay down his life to restore faith and trust among Catholics in Philadelphia, during his Sept. 8 installation at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

“Whatever my weaknesses and whatever my lacks, no bishop will give more of himself than I will to renewing this great Church,” the new archbishop promised in his installation homily. “Everything I’ve learned, everything I know, and everything I have, I will give to this ministry, because all of you – the people of God – deserve at least that much.”

The former Archbishop of Denver took up his new role in a ceremony attended by approximately 1,500 guests, including Philadelphia's previous archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali, papal representative Monsignor Jean-Francois Lantheaume, and nearly 700 other clergy, religious, and seminarians. Mayor Michael Nutter and other civic leaders were also among the invited guests.

Because of flooding, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett was unable to attend the installation.

Archbishop Chaput began his homily by describing his new appointment as an “arranged marriage,” with Pope Benedict XVI as the “matchmaker.”

As he promised himself to the Church in Philadelphia, Archbishop Chaput spoke of what the new “marriage” would require.

“For any marriage to work, two things need to happen,” he said. “People need to fall in love, and together they need to be fruitful. That’s what we need to dedicate ourselves to today – to love one another and be fruitful together in the new evangelization.”

“I receive you as a gift from the Holy Father, and you receive me and my service as a gift from the Holy Father,” said the archbishop. “And this requires us to make a commitment, an act of the will, to love one another, to be patient with one another, and to lay down our lives for one another.”

“No bishop will try harder to help persons who have been hurt by the sins of the past,” Archbishop Chaput promised his new flock, which has been rocked by allegations of clerical sex abuse. “And no bishop will work harder to strengthen and encourage our priests, and restore the hearts of our people.”

Archbishop Chaput's message to his new church, which includes nearly 1.5 million Catholics, also took inspiration from the day's liturgical feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her life, he observed, was not only a beautiful example of holiness, but also a story of faithful perseverance in the face of trials.

“We need to follow the example of Mary and Joseph, trusting God in the difficult times of our life,” he reflected. “The issues that Joseph and Mary faced seemed insurmountable and caused intense confusion. But the name given to Jesus signifies 'Savior,' and we know that in Jesus, God promises to be with us.”

Like Mary and Joseph, Catholics today “need to make the act of faith embedded in today’s first reading: that 'all things work for good for those who love God and who are called according to his purpose.'”

The archbishop quoted a modern saint named for both Joseph and Mary, Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria Escriva, to drive home the point about God's care for believers in the midst of suffering. “Have you forgotten that God is your father? Or that God is powerful, infinitely wise, full of mercy?”

In regard to his own duties, Archbishop Chaput highlighted the words of the fourth-century bishop St. Augustine, who described bishops as “watchmen” protecting God's people.

Despite their high office, as Augustine said, bishops must have “a heart such that we place ourselves beneath your feet in humility” – in order to “help the poor, to liberate the oppressed, to encourage the good, to suffer the evil and to love all men.”

By these acts, a bishop imitates Jesus Christ – whose leadership of the Church, Archbishop Chaput noted, more than compensates for its human failings.

“One of the first representations of Christ we have is the Good Shepherd who carries a lamb on his shoulders,” he recalled.

“All of us should keep that image in our hearts in the months ahead, because the Good Shepherd really will bring the Church in Philadelphia through this difficult moment in our history to security and joy and a better future.”

In his closing remarks after the installation Mass, Archbishop Chaput expressed gratitude toward his predecessor Cardinal Rigali for “extraordinary service to the Holy Father and the Catholic community worldwide.” He also thanked the priests and deacons in attendance, “saying they had “ already shown … uncommon friendship and support, and I will try to earn it.”

To the faithful in the cities where he served previously, Rapid City and Denver, the archbishop said he continues to “thank God every day for the gift of your friendship and the way you have enriched my life.”

And to Catholics in Philadelphia, whom he thanked for their “extraordinary kindness,” he promised “to live as a bishop in a way that repays your great love and respect.”

The full text of the archbishop's homily can be found here:

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