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Archive of June 18, 2012

Pope calls for continued renewal amid liturgical abuses

Dublin, Ireland, Jun 18, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - At the conclusion of the 50th Eucharistic Congress in Ireland, Pope Benedict urged ongoing liturgical renewal – as outlined by the Second Vatican Council – amid current misunderstandings and abuses.

“At our distance today from the Council Fathers' expressed desires regarding liturgical renewal, and in the light of the universal Church’s experience in the intervening period, it is clear that a great deal has been achieved; but it is equally clear that there have been many misunderstandings and irregularities,” he said in a video message to over 75,000 pilgrims in Dublin’s Croke Park Stadium on June 17.

“Not infrequently,” he added, “the revision of liturgical forms has remained at an external level, and 'active participation' has been confused with external activity. Hence much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal.”

Although the liturgy should be “celebrated with great joy and simplicity,” it should also be conducted “as worthily and reverently as possible,” he said.

In his eight and a half minute address, the Pope explained that the Council Fathers had wanted to renew the external forms of the Mass so as to “make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery,” and therefore “lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord, present in the Eucharist.”

Croke Park is the home of Ireland’s traditional Gaelic sports, and is also the largest stadium in the country. Gathered within it were the tens of thousands of pilgrims who had come from worldwide to pray and learn more about the Eucharist during the week-long event June 10-17.

The main celebrant at the concluding Mass was the Papal Legate to the Congress, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet. Also present were the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins, and its Prime Minister, Enda Kenny.

“Ireland has been shaped by the Mass at the deepest level for centuries,” said the Pope, “and by its power and grace generations of monks, martyrs and missionaries have heroically lived the faith at home and spread the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness well beyond your shores.”

The Pope told the Irish people that they are “the heirs to a Church that has been a mighty force for good in the world” and which has “given a profound and enduring love of Christ and his blessed Mother to many, many others.” This legacy was “surely perfected and nourished” by the Mass he suggested.

Touching upon the troubled recent history of the Church in Ireland, the Pope said the “mystery” as to why some clerics would abuse those in their care can perhaps be explained by the fact that “their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit.”

This was precisely the attitude, he said, that the Council had wanted to overcome so as to “rediscover the faith as a deep personal friendship with the goodness of Jesus Christ.”

Pope Benedict concluded by announcing that the city of Cebu in the Philippines will host the next International Eucharistic Congress in 2016 before imparting his apostolic blessing and commending the Irish people “ to the loving protection of Mary, Mother of God, and to Saint Patrick, the great patron of Ireland.”

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Beatification bid launched for historic Opus Dei member

Rome, Italy, Jun 18, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - The cause for the beatification of Dora del Hoyo, one of the first collaborators of the founder of Opus Dei, has been announced in Rome on June 18.

“Dora was of great importance for Opus Dei, for her fidelity and her work perfectly finished, which was always accompanied by her humility of passing unnoticed. This is why she was so effective until the end of her life,” said Bishop Javier Echevarria, the Prelate of Opus Dei, who announced the cause at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.

Born in Spain in 1914, Dora del Hoyo first came into contact with Opus Dei’s founder, Saint Josemaria Escriva, at the age of 29 when she was employed as a member of the domestic staff in a Madrid student residence run by the Catholic organization. 

In 1946 she became the first woman to join Opus Dei as a “numerary assistant.” Such members principally dedicate themselves to the domestic responsibilities within centers of Opus Dei.

In the same year Saint Josemaria asked Dora if she would move to Rome in order to help in the development and expansion of Opus Dei. She remained in the Eternal City until her death in 2004.

Her mortal remains now lie in the crypt of Our Lady of Peace, the church of the Prelature of Opus Dei. Close by is the tomb of Saint Josemaria himself.

“She did not want any human glory or any kind of special consideration; she gave of herself a hundred percent all her life. She was a woman of faith,” said Bishop Echevarria. 

“She relied on what God was asking of her through St. Josemaria. She had a strong hope which led her to be convinced that Opus Dei would expand and become what we see today.”

Monday's announcement took place before a packed audience hall at the University of the Holy Cross.

Bishop Echevarria, who also knew Dora for many years, explained she strove to imitate the life of Mary in the holy house of Nazareth. He said that since her death he had received over 300 letters from 25 countries testifying to Dora’s holiness and recounting favors received through her heavenly intercession.

“And all this is due to her love of God which was so great that she wasn’t ever concerned about herself: she was always thinking about God and others,” he said.

Opus Dei – Latin for Work of God – was founded in 1928 by Saint Josemaria Escriva, a Spanish priest, with the aim of proclaiming holiness in everyday life. It now has around 85,000 members around the world.

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Photo sparks global outrage over China's one-child policy

Washington D.C., Jun 18, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have used social networks to protest China's one-child policy after a photo surfaced of an unconscious mother lying next to her seven-month old aborted fetus.

Chinese officials said they are investigating the case which occurred in the northern province of Shaanxi, where police forced Feng Jianmei to undergo an abortion after she was unable to pay the $6,200 fine levied by the government against those who wish to have more than one child.

Feng’s husband posted a photo of the dead baby boy on a popular social network in China. The baby had been given a lethal injection directly into his head, while his mother was strapped to the bed by force.

More than half a million Chinese posted comments expressing outrage at the incident, and news of the forced abortion eventually spread to Facebook, Twitter and the international media.

In the 1970s China established its one-child per family police, which includes forced abortion and sterilizations. Those who violate the law and have more children are at risk of losing their jobs and paying heavy fines.

According to Carlos Polo of the Latin American Office of the Population Research Institute, publicizing these incidents is “the first step towards their eradication.”

“Since the first visit to China in 1979 by our president, Steve Mosher, the PRI has sent numerous teams to research the application of the one-child policy,” Polo told CNA.

In 2009, the PRI sent a field research team to six countries where the UN Population Fund helped China to apply the policy. Evidence of exorbitant fines, reprisals against families, persecution, forced late-abortions of babies was sent to officials in Washington, D.C. with the recommendation that financing for this population control organization be cut off.  

“Our work helped to cut millions of dollars in funding which unfortunately the Obama administration has reinstated,” Polo said.

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UK poll finds low support for 'gay marriage' legalization

London, England, Jun 18, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - A recent poll in the United Kingdom found that most gay, lesbian and transgendered people in the country do not support homosexual “marriage,” despite Prime Minister David Cameron’s intent to legalize it.

The survey – conducted from April 27 to May 20 by the firm ComRes for Catholic Voice – showed that only a minority of the British homosexual population considers the legalization of gay marriage to be a priority. Nearly half of those surveyed said Cameron’s plan is more about making his party appear compassionate than about a conviction on the issue.

The poll showed that only 27 percent of those surveyed would get married if British law allowed it, while only 39 percent believe the redefining of marriage is a priority for the community.

“Perhaps now we can have the debate we should have had a long time ago: about whether this is really something good for society; whether there is a convincing case for the public for a radical redefinition of a fundamental institution of society,” said Austen Ivereigh, coordinator for Catholic Voices.

The director of the Coalition for Marriage campaign, Colin Hart, also weighed in on the issue, noting that the poll “confirms once again that only a handful of people are pressuring the government to redefine marriage.”

“Even among them within the gay community, there is not a majority that thinks this is a priority,” he said, adding that the “skepticism of the gay community about the Prime Minister’s reasons echoes the opinions of the wider populace.”

“The government should abandon these proposals, which are profoundly anti-democratic and never been put before the British public,” Hart emphasized.

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Mt 13:44-46

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First Reading:: Jer 15: 10, 16-21
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