Archive of September 12, 2011

Spanish bishop calls on separatist group to disband

Madrid, Spain, Sep 12, 2011 (CNA) - Bishop Jose Ignacio Munilla of San Sebastian, Spain has called on the Basque separatist group ETA to have “the courage to disband and to clearly acknowledge the evil it has committed.”
Bishop Munilla made his remarks during a Sept. 9 Mass in honor of Our Lady of Aranzuzu, whom he invoked as “the Mother of Peace.”
He reflected on the violence ETA has caused for years. The bishop said recovering from so much pain demands serious transparency. 

ETA must leave no doubt of their condemnation of any violence of the past, the present or the future, he added.
Bishop Munilla invited Catholics to implore that the Blessed Mother “move the hearts of those who should take steps towards peace.  For our part, as the Church of the Lord and the community of believers, we are committed to showing Christian concern to the victims of violence.”
ETA is a terrorist organization that has used violence in support of an independent Basque region in Spain and southern France.

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Peruvian pro-lifers demand resignation of abortion-supporting health official

Lima, Peru, Sep 12, 2011 (CNA) - Pro-life activists held a protest Sept. 9 outside the offices of Peru’s Ministry of Health to demand the resignation of Susana Chavez. Chavez, a strong abortion supporter, was recently appointed as an advisor to the ministry.
Chavez is the director of PROMSEX, an NGO active in promoting the legalization of abortion in Peru.
Carol Maravi, the president of the National Organization United For Life and the Family, told CNA she was bewildered at the appointment of an abortion supporter as an advisor to the Health Ministry at a time “when there are many more important priorities in the state.” 

“Eradicating tuberculosis and polio, an illness that has caused problems recently, and caring for the health of our citizens” are more pressing issues “than the promotion of abortion,” she said.
Luis Chavez, a pro-life activist taking part in the protest, told CNA that Susana Chavez has been working to legalize abortion in Peru for 10 years. “She wants to take little steps first with therapeutic abortion and then abortion for other reasons. 

“She is a murderer of children,” he said.
Edy Rodriguez, a professor at the Pontifical and Civil Theology Department of Lima, explained that Susana Chavez “receives financial support from the International Federation of Planned Parenthood, which is the largest abortion provider in the world.”  She has an “agenda that is aimed at ending the lives of those who are most defenseless and she considers (abortion) to be a human right,” Rodriguez said.

“This is incompatible with the values of Peru, the fundamental right to life and the Peruvian constitution,” she added.

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God is the world's greatest need, Pope tells Eucharistic congress

Ancona, Italy, Sep 12, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -

Pope Benedict XVI told 100,000 participants in an Italian Eucharistic congress that the world needs, more than anything else, to recover a sense of God's loving sovereignty over creation.

“It is the primacy of God which we must, first and foremost, restore in our world and our lives,” Pope Benedict said at the closing Mass for the gathering held in Ancona,“because it is this primacy which allows us to rediscover the truth of who we are; and it is in knowing and following the will of God that we discover our own good.”

History, the Pope noted, “has dramatically shown us” the failures that result from a “conviction that we can do everything alone, without God.” He said this“illusion” soon gives way to “disappointment, creating disquiet and fear.”

Pope Benedict traveled to Ancona from his summer residence Castel Gandolfo on the morning of Sept. 11. He celebrated Mass at the city's shipyard, marking the end of the 25thItalian National Eucharistic Congress on the theme of “the Eucharist for Daily Life.”

In his homily, the Pope described how the Eucharist restores the link between God and the world, through the “total gift Christ makes of himself” to those who receive him.

Through the sacrament, “daily life”can “become a place for spiritual development,” where the faithful can “experience the primacy of God in all circumstances.”

The Family and the Priesthood

Later in the day, the Pope met with priests and families of the Archdiocese of Ancona in the San Ciriaco Cathedral. He observed that both marriage and the priesthood “have their roots in the love of Christ,” giving both states in life the“shared mission” of “ bearing witness to His love and making it present in service to the community.”

He urged priests and married couples to reject a limited view of the family as “a mere recipient of pastoral care” from the clergy. In fact, he said, the family is“the primary place for human and Christian education and,therefore, the greatest ally of priestly ministry.”

Likewise, “the priest's closeness to the family helps him to a fuller awareness of the profound truth about himself and his own mission.”

“What is important, then, is to integrate and harmonize priestly ministry with the true Gospel of marriage and the family, in order to achieve effective fraternal communion.”

And the Eucharist, which “drives the Church's activities,”must be the “center and source of this unity” between different vocations, the Pope said.

Engaged Couples

From the cathedral, Pope Benedict traveled to the city's Piazza del Plebiscito, to address a group of young couples preparing for marriage. He described the challenges of their generation in terms drawn from the New Testament.

“In some ways ours is not an easy time, especially for you young people,” the Pope observed. “The table is full of delicacies but,like the Gospel narrative of the wedding feast of Cana, the wine seems to have run out. In particular, the difficulty in finding stable work extends a veil of uncertainty over the future.”

“The wine is also lacking at the feast for a culture which tends to ignore clear moral criteria,” he said. “In their disorientation, people tend to move individually and autonomously ...Thus, even fundamental decisions become uncertain and remain perennially revocable.”

In this difficult atmosphere, the Pope said that young people should “never lose hope.”

“Keep your courage, even in moments of difficulty, remain firm in the faith,” he told them. “Do not lose heart before the shortcomings that seem to rob the feast of life of its joy.”

After the meeting, Pope Benedict left for the port of Ancona, from which he traveled by helicopter back to Castel Gandolfo.

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'Warrior' director explains film's spiritual inspiration

Denver, Colo., Sep 12, 2011 (CNA) - The director of the critically-acclaimed film “Warrior,” which achieved a top box office ranking during its $5.6 million opening weekend, has provided CNA with an exclusive look at the spiritual friendship that motivated the movie.

“My friend Charles 'Mask' Lewis died last year just as I was preparing to go into production on my film 'Warrior,' for which he was an indispensable help and supporter,” Director Gavin O'Connor recalls in the Sept. 12 column. “I dedicated 'Warrior' to Charles and wanted to mark the occasion of its release by sharing the story of our brief but magnificent friendship.”

Lewis founded the popular “Tapout” clothing line, which gave popular exposure to the world of mixed martial arts in which “Warrior” takes place. He also offered O'Connor, who comes from a Catholic background, with a faithful perspective that shaped the film's story of conflict and redemption.

“We drove to Vegas together one weekend and I was surprised to see Bibles strewn all over the back of his car,” the director remembers. “He was on a path and it inspired me. He spoke about his Christian faith in a way that touched my heart and rekindled the embers of my own Christian upbringing.”

“This big dude, this larger-than-life personality who often wore face paint, was brimming with the love of Christ and it was infectious.”

After Lewis' death in a car accident, O'Connor said he still felt an “almost palpable sense of his spiritual presence” on the film set.

“Having Charles come along in my life was a great blessing for which I’ll always be grateful,” he wrote.

“Warrior” Director Gavin O'Connor's full column can be read at

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Denver's new administrator draws courage from Pope Benedict

Denver, Colo., Sep 12, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Bishop James D. Conley, the interim leader of Denver Catholics after the departure of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, says the Pope's words at World Youth Day 2011 have given him confidence in a time of change.

“Three weeks ago, I prayed with more than a million and a half fellow Catholics in a field outside Madrid, led by Pope Benedict XVI,” Bishop Conley recalled in a column for the Sept. 14 edition of the Denver Catholic Register. A thunderstorm descended on the outdoor World Youth Day vigil, prompting the Pope to speak words that Bishop Conley said “might have been spoken directly to the Archdiocese of Denver.”

“'Dear friends,' he told us, 'may no adversity paralyze you. Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, his name will continue to resound throughout the world.'”

“His words that night were apropos,” wrote Bishop Conley, who was Archbishop Chaput's auxiliary for three years and became administrator with his departure for Philadelphia. “For 14 years, we have been graced with the fine leadership of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. For many of us, he has been a friend, a pastor, a mentor and a spiritual father.”

Without Archbishop Chaput's leadership, he noted, local Catholics “might be uneasy about the world, the future, or our own weaknesses … We might be anxious about the future of our Church, or wonder what kind of leader we will have.”

But Bishop Conley stressed that believers should focus on the tasks that lie before them, entrusting the future to God.

“The newly Blessed John Henry Newman, reflected once that 'the power of Christianity is in its present,'” Bishop Conley wrote, quoting the English cardinal whose writings have also inspired Pope Benedict XVI. “This is true for us here and now.” 

“Our task is not to wait idly for the appointment of a new archbishop of Denver,” he continued. “Jesus Christ has chosen us to continue the many good things which have already begun in the Archdiocese  … God has called us to use our creativity, and fidelity, and enthusiasm, for the fullness of his Kingdom.”

Bishop Conley also confirmed that “Catholic life in the Archdiocese of Denver is flourishing … and the future looks good,” with its two seminaries preparing a large number of new priests, and new churches slated for construction or consecration.

“This is due in no small part to the pastoral leadership and apostolic zeal of Archbishop Chaput. And for this we are eternally grateful to him and we send him off to Philadelphia with our love, affection and steadfast prayers.”

“I have big shoes to fill,” wrote Bishop Conley, who will take on leadership duties until Pope Benedict appoints a new archbishop. “Please pray for me.”

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