Archive of July 4, 2012

Vatican releases liturgical texts for ordinariate use in matrimony, funerals

Washington D.C., Jul 4, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Holy See has announced the first liturgical texts approved for use around the world by the Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans who have become Catholic.

“We welcome with gratitude these texts, which bring into Catholic liturgical life some of the most beloved and memorable texts in the Book of Common Prayer,” said Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, head of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

“These texts have blessed and comforted generations of English-speaking Christians and will be deeply appreciated in the Ordinariate communities,” he explained.

On June 22, the Congregation for Divine Worship promulgated two new liturgical texts – the Order for Funerals and the Order for the Celebration of Holy Matrimony – to be used by Personal Ordinariates throughout the world.

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI authorized the creation of ordinariates for Anglican communities seeking to enter the Catholic Church.

These ordinariates are similar to dioceses but larger in scope, often encompassing entire nations. They allow whole communities to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage and liturgical practices.

In addition to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter in the United States and Canada, the liturgical texts will be used in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.

“These are historic occasions because they are set within the context of the Anglican tradition,” said Msgr. Andrew Burnham, assistant to the ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

In a video interview posted online, Msgr. Burnham discussed the new liturgical texts.

Catholics who are not acquainted with the Anglican tradition may find certain parts of the Order for the Celebration of Holy Matrimony to be unfamiliar, he said.

The Anglican tradition contains three “distinct elements,” he explained. These include the preface to marriage services, which “sets out the objects of marriage,” as well as the exchange of vows with the giving of rings and the blessing of the couple.

There are also some differences in language, such as the use of “thee” and “thou” in the newly-approved texts for the ordinariates, he said.

Likewise, former Anglicans in the Personal Ordinariates will find some changes from the tradition they have grown to know, he added.

“In the Anglican tradition, it was the priest who married the couple,” he explained, while in the Catholic understanding, the bride and groom marry each other and “the priest is the official witness of the Church.”

Msgr. Burnham also commented on the funeral texts, noting that they had been somewhat controversial within the Church of England because they embraced the Roman Catholic doctrine of prayer for the dead.

Both the Order for Funerals and the Order for the Celebration of Holy Matrimony have been developed with care by the Vatican to ensure conformity to Catholic teaching, he noted.

“This is an important moment in the development of our distinctive liturgical and ecclesial life,” said Msgr. Keith Newton, ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

He explained that the world stopped “to watch the Royal Wedding last year,” and observed that now, “a very similar and beautiful liturgy is available for use in the Ordinariates of the Catholic Church.”

“(It) is a great privilege for us to be part of that obvious working-out of practical, receptive ecumenism,” he said.

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Pope Benedict reaffirms confidence in Cardinal Bertone

Vatican City, Jul 4, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - As he leaves the Vatican for his summer residence outside of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI voiced full confidence in his embattled Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

“On the eve of my departure for a period of summer rest at Castel Gandolfo, I would like to express my deep gratitude for your discreet closeness and enlightened advice, which I have found particularly helpful in recent months,” said the Pope in a brief letter dated July 2 and released to the media July 4.  

“Noting with regret the widespread and unjust criticism against your person, I intend to renew my statements of personal confidence in you.”

In recent months it has been widely reported that Cardinal Bertone is the chief target of those leaking confidential internal Vatican documents to the media, the so-called “Vatileaks” scandal.

Pope Benedict highlighted the content of a 2010 letter in which he had declined the cardinal’s resignation upon reaching the age of 75 – an act mandated by canon law – stating his sentiments have “remain unchanged” over the intervening two years.

In the letter of January 15, 2010, Pope Benedict had warmly remembered the many years during which the two men had worked closely together.

These including seven “intense and demanding” years at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1995 to 2002 when the cardinal had “competently and generously filled the position of secretary” before being appointed Archbishop of Genoa.

The Pope further praised Cardinal Bertone’s “sensus fidei” and “humanitas” which, he said, had helped everyone “experience a real family atmosphere in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, united to a firm and determined discipline in the workplace.”

He concluded his 2010 letter by stating that is was for “these qualities” that he had appointed him Secretary of State in the summer of 2006 and so did “not wish to forgo” his “vital collaboration.” 

The 77-year-old Cardinal Bertone is from the Piedmont region of northern Italy. He was ordained a Salesian priest in 1960. An expert in canon law and moral theology, his appointment as Secretary of State surprised some as the post is usually the preserve of veteran Vatican diplomats. 

Pope Benedict concluded his July 2 letter by imparting his apostolic blessing and entrusting Cardinal Bertone’s continued ministry to “the motherly intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.”

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New women's magazine aims to encourage and uplift

Washington D.C., Jul 4, 2012 (CNA) - The creators of a new magazine for women hope that their publication will offer a fresh perspective that connects with modern American women and provides encouragement and affirmation.   

“I think it’s just trying to see these issues through a different lens,” said Kara Eschbach, co-founder and editor-in-chief of “Verily” magazine.

In a June 29 interview with CNA, she explained that the magazine is aimed at “respecting women” while offering “intelligent commentary” on contemporary issues.

Eschbach recalled that the idea began with a group of women at brunch in New York City, observing how difficult it was to find a women’s magazine that related to them and reflected their views.

One of the women present, Janet Sahm, had interned at “Elle Magazine” for over a year and was interested in starting her own magazine, while Eschbach was working in finance but wanting to do something with “a little bit more meaning.”

When they realized the need for something “different” in the world of women’s magazines, they decided to dive in, researching and spreading the word until they had eventually assembled a team of editors for the publication’s style, culture, relationships and lifestyle sections.

The teaser issue of “Verily” is currently available online and future issues will be available both in print and on the internet.

The publication is geared toward young professional women, likely single or newly married, and tries to offer a positive and “affirming” message that they will enjoy reading, Eschbach said.  

She explained that after discussing various names, the editors eventually settled on “Verily,” which means “truly” or “honestly” and reflects what they wanted to portray with the magazine, something that “really resonates with women.”

Eschbach is dissatisfied with the way that women are often “talked to and about” by media and culture as being either “silly and frivolous” or focused solely on getting ahead in their career.

“Verily” offers an alternative, she said, seeking to be trendy while at the same time respecting women and connecting with them.  

The goal is to show women who are healthy and beautiful, not only physically but also “in the way we live our lives,” she explained.

Eschbach said that while the magazine is still in its early stages, it has received much positive feedback in a short period of time.

The idea seems to be resonating with a large variety of women and has drawn praise from individuals from all different walks of life and political views, she observed.

“People seem to really like it,” she said.

Mary Rose Somarriba, culture editor of the magazine, said that “Verily” is “doing something that others aren’t.”

While so many other women’s magazines give advice that is not actually helpful for people in their real lives, the editors of “Verily” wanted their creation to read “like a friend’s advice – close, frank and friendly,” she explained.

Rather than the “outrageous content” that so often fills other publications, “Verily” will in some ways be “a return to what women’s magazines used to be,” while at the same time acknowledging the changes in the modern woman’s life, she said.

Deeply interested in women’s issues and stories, Somarriba is excited to take on the role of culture editor. She hopes her content will help “start conversations” that aren’t taking place elsewhere.

She explained that her section will feature articles reflecting women’s interests and perspectives, as well as profile pieces, telling “empowering stories” of women overcoming adversity. In addition, she said, “we’re not afraid of investigative reporting.”

Numerous people have already offered to write for the culture section or have submitted articles that they had written but didn’t know where to publish, she added.

“I really think it’s sort of a providential thing,” she said.   

While she acknowledges that women are often objectified in contemporary society, Somarriba also believes that there is beauty in the culture, and she hopes to show that in her work with “Verily.”

She sees her work as an opportunity to help fill a void in women’s magazines by offering a positive outlook and lifting women up rather than bringing them down.

Somarriba believes that being a woman in America today can be challenging, particularly due to the many different expectations and ideals that are present in the modern world.    

It can be difficult to “think independently” of these expectations, she said, adding that she hopes “Verily” will help to show women that “they’re not alone if they don’t buy into that thinking.”

Eschbach agreed, observed that many women feel immense pressure to balance a career and family, while at the same time maintaining a certain physical appearance.

All the while, she added, they are grappling with questions of their worth and value and are often in need of support as they make decisions about using their talents at home, in their jobs or in other ways.

“I think that it’s exciting to be a woman and that we need to be supportive of women,” she stressed.

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Italian religious liberty expert worries US on path to anti-Christian violence

Rome, Italy, Jul 4, 2012 (CNA) - The head of Italy's new religious liberty watchdog group warned that present threats of “discriminatory legislation” in the U.S. could eventually result in violence against Christians in America.

“In a climate of discrimination, it is possible that somebody will act upon that discrimination to say ‘the laws are not enough’ and resort to actual violence and this is the realms of hate crimes,” Professor Massimo Introvigne told CNA June 28.

Introvigne was appointed as chairman of the newly created Observatory on Religious Liberty in June. The group is the joint-creation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the City of Rome with the aim of monitoring religious freedom around the world.

The inaugural meeting was held at Rome’s Foreign Press Association June 28. It heard Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore make the case that religious liberty in the United States is currently imperiled by the prevailing culture as well as by legislation such as the recent Department of Health & Human Services mandate.

Introvigne stressed that he did not want to create a “false impression” that he was equating “the bloody persecution of Christians” as presently occurs in some African and Asian countries with “discriminatory legislation in the United States or Europe.”

However, the 57-year-old sociologist suggested that there was a “three stage process” which could lead to anti-Christian violence in the West if action to protect religious liberty was not taken.

“It starts with intolerance which is a cultural phenomenon,” he explained “and then if intolerance becomes so widespread and popular, some politicians will act upon it and introduce discriminatory legislation.”

It is in this “climate of discrimination,” he said, that people can decide to take the law into their own hands and use violence to further suppress Christianity.

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Government cannot take away true freedom, Archbishop Chaput teaches

Washington D.C., Jul 4, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Government cannot give or take away the ultimate freedom found in obedience to God, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said at the closing Mass of the U.S. bishops' “Fortnight for Freedom.”

“True freedom knows no attachments other than Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Chaput said in his July 4 homily at Washington, D.C.'s National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“True freedom can walk away from anything – wealth, honor, fame, pleasure … It fears neither the state, nor death itself.”

“We’re free only to the extent that we unburden ourselves of our own willfulness and practice the art of living according to God’s plan,” Philadelphia's archbishop said. “When we do this, when we choose to live according to God’s intention for us, we are then – and only then – truly free.”

“This is the kind of freedom that can transform the world. And it should animate all of our talk about liberty – religious or otherwise.”

The Archbishop of Philadelphia preached at the last Mass of the U.S. bishops' two-week religious freedom campaign, which was spurred by the federal mandate requiring religious employers to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs.

The Fortnight for Freedom began June 21 – the vigil of the Feast of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More – and ended on the U.S. celebration of Independence Day. Its closing Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., with a homily delivered by Archbishop Chaput.

He began his homily by greeting the congregation on behalf of the Church in Philadelphia, “the cradle of our country’s liberty and the city of our nation’s founding.” It was there, he recalled, that “both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were written.”

In his sermon, the Philadelphia archbishop taught that the human right to religious freedom is needed “to create the context” for the “true freedom” offered by Jesus Christ, which involves liberation from sin and the gift of eternal life.

While religious liberty “is a foundational right” and “necessary for a good society,” it is not “an end in itself.” Rather, it must be used to find and live out the truth in order to attain to holiness, the highest form of freedom.

This higher form of freedom, found through God's grace, “isn’t something Caesar can give or take away,” Archbishop Chaput taught.

“In the end, we defend religious liberty in order to live the deeper freedom that is discipleship in Jesus Christ,” he reflected.

The right to religious freedom only finds its fulfillment when believers “use that freedom to seek God with our whole mind and soul and strength.”

Among the Scripture readings for the July 4 Mass, was the confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees on the subject of taxation. As Christ observes Caesar's image on the Roman coin, he tells his listeners to “repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

Archbishop Chaput, whose 2008 book “Render Unto Caesar” took inspiration from the same Bible passage, told the congregation at the national shrine that Jesus was not merely “being clever” or offering “political commentary.”

Christ's reasoning, he said, harkens back to the creation of mankind in the “image of God.” While the coin “bears the image of Caesar” and “belongs to Caesar,” the human person bears the image of the creator rather than the governing authority.

In this way, the archbishop said, Jesus is “making a claim on every human being.  He’s saying, 'render unto Caesar those things that bear Caesar’s image, but more importantly, render unto God that which bears God’s image' – in other words, you and me. All of us … We belong to God, and only to God.”

“Caesar is a creature of this world, and Christ’s message is uncompromising: We should give Caesar nothing of ourselves.”

While patriotism has its place, as an expression of justice and charity, believers cannot ultimately identify themselves with an earthly homeland. God, as Archbishop Chaput reminded the congregation, “made us for more than the world. Our real home isn’t here.”

As believers commit themselves to securing the Church's freedom in society, they must also ask themselves “some unsettling questions” about what they “really render to God” in everyday life.

“The political and legal effort to defend religious liberty – as vital as it is – belongs to a much greater struggle to master and convert our own hearts, and to live for God completely, without alibis or self-delusion,” Archbishop Chaput observed.  

“The only question that finally matters is this one: Will we live wholeheartedly for Jesus Christ? If so, then we can be a source of freedom for the world. If not, nothing else will do.”

“When we leave this Mass today, we need to render unto Caesar those things that bear his image. But we need to render ourselves unto God – generously, zealously, holding nothing back.”

In this way, he said, Catholics will fulfill their legitimate civic duties – while also, “much more importantly,” offering their lives “as disciples of Jesus Christ.”

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