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Archive of July 11, 2012

Catholic cultural review 'Humanitas' now accesible in English

Santiago, Chile, Jul 11, 2012 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, has issued a letter encouraging Catholics to visit and read the recently launched English edition of  “Humanitas,” a Christian anthropological and cultural review, edited by the Pontifical Catholic University in Chile.

Dr. Jaime Antúnez, director of “Humanitas,” told CNA that the idea to translate the magazine into English responds to “a suggestion made by the Holy See, specifically the Congregation for Catholic Education.”

The congregation pointed out that “since Humanitas runs regularly essays from the greatest Catholic minds around the world, there was a compelling reason to make it available to a wider readership, beginning with the English language.”

“It is also a response to the call made by Blessed Pope John Paul in his Apostolic Exhortation  ‘Ecclesia in America,’ to see America, North, Central and South, as one people of God on this side of the Atlantic,” Antúnez said.

In his open letter, Cardinal O'Malley writes that the electronic English edition does an excellent job of expanding its “mission of service to the Catholic Church, the Holy Father and the Magisterium.”

“This important journal assembles an exceptional group of international Catholic authors who focus on the intersection of faith and culture in the world today,” the cardinal stated.

He recommended reading it to those who are responsible for college campus ministry and adult faith formation in dioceses throughout the United States.

Humanitas is accessible in English at: http://www.review.humanitas.cl

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House members seek to repeal administration's 'Religious Freedom Tax'

Washington D.C., Jul 11, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Two U.S. representatives have introduced a bill to stop the federal government from taxing religious employers that decline to cover contraception and abortion-causing drugs in their health plans.

The legislation will protect religious groups, as well as private businesses with “moral and religious objections,” from being heavily taxed for refusing to pay for insurance “that violates their religious or moral views,” Representative James Sensenbrennner (R-Wis.) said on July 10.

Rep. Sensenbrenner is joined by Representative Diane Black (R-Tenn.) in sponsoring the “Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act.” The “tax” it would repeal is part of the federal health care reform law, whose regulatory fines were upheld in the June 28 Supreme Court decision that cast them as a form of taxation.

At Tuesday's press conference, they explained that the law known as “Obamacare” would allow the Internal Revenue Service to collect $100 per day for each employee of an organization that fails to cover services such as contraception and sterilization without a co-pay.

The tax penalty is part of the Health and Human Services contraception mandate, currently being challenged by over 50 organizations in 23 lawsuits.

Sensenbrenner described the tax as “severe” and “confiscatory.” A religious institution with 50 employees, he calculated, would be forced to pay nearly $2 million in taxes each year for refusing to provide contraception.

“If these taxes are levied, and they are enforced, there will be no religious-affiliated institutions left in this country,” the Wisconsin congressman warned.

These institutions play a vital role in the nation's life, he said, and should not be “taxed out of business” for following their moral convictions.

Rep. Black told reporters she was co-sponsoring the bill because of her belief “that freedom of religion is an inalienable gift from our creator, and not a revocable privilege from our government.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision on Obamacare leaves intact a serious assault on our religious freedom,” the Tennessee congresswoman said, referring to the HHS mandate and the tax penalties associated with it.

She explained that the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act would give religious groups, and other morally-opposed employers, relief from the “impossible choice” they could otherwise face – between following their principles, and paying a “devastating tax” likely to prove unaffordable for many.

The text of the act would “exempt employers from any excise tax and certain suits and penalties in the case of a failure of a group health plan to provide coverage to which an employer objects on the basis of religious belief or moral conviction.”

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Pope mourns death of Brazilian cardinal

Vatican City, Jul 11, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict grieved with Brazil's Catholics over the death of Cardinal Eugenio de Araujo Sales, who died on July 9 of a heart attack at age 91.

Cardinal Sales, a former archbishop of Rio de Janeiro who was beloved by fellow Brazilians, died at the episcopal residence of Our Lady of the Assumption in Sumare. Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta of Rio de Janiero will preside at the cardinal's funeral Mass at the city's cathedral on July 11.

In a message sent to Archbishop Tempesta on July 10, Pope Benedict highlighted the role of Cardinal Sales in the development of the Church in Brazil and offered his condolences to the country’s faithful, bishops and religious communities.

The Pope noted that the Archdiocese of Rio was blessed for three decades by the work of this great pastor, whom the Pope called “an authentic revelation of the witness of the Gospel amidst his people.”

“I thank the Lord for giving us this generous pastor who in his almost seventy years of priesthood and fifty-eight as bishop, strived to lead us all on the path of truth, charity in service to the community, and constant care for those most in need, in fidelity to his Episcopal motto – taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians – 'I will most gladly spend and be utterly spent for your sakes,'” the Pope said.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Rio underscored that the late cardinal’s work was crucial for the life of the city, including his help for the poor in the slums of Vidigal, with soup kitchens, clinics and care for AIDS victims.

His motto as cardinal “perhaps was not understood by all, especially by those who see things superficially, but it will not be forgotten in this archdiocese or by the many who will always call him 'father,'” the archdiocese said.

Cardinal Sales was a bishop for 57 years. In 1969 he was made a cardinal, and in 1971 was sent to Rio de Janeiro. He participated in the conclaves that elected John Paul I and Blessed John Paul II. In 2001 he retired upon the reaching the age of 75.

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Court rules against magazine's vulgar portrayal of Pope

Bonn, Germany, Jul 11, 2012 (CNA) - A German magazine must stop publishing its latest issue, which depicts Pope Benedict XVI in a urine- and feces-stained cassock, a district court in Hamburg ruled on June 10.

The German Bishops' Conference, which took legal action against “Titanic” magazine with the permission of the Vatican's Secretary of State, welcomed the decision. Conference spokesman Matthias Kopp said the image “oversteps every measure of decency.”

On the front cover of its July issue, Titanic mocked the Pope, and the recent “Vatileaks” scandal  involving security breaches and confidential documents, with an image that showed him wearing urine-stained clothing. The headline read: “Hallelujah in the Vatican: The leak has been found!”

The image on the back cover had been altered to show a brown stain on the back of his traditional white cassock, with the caption reading: “Another leak is found!”

Existing issues of the magazine will not have to be recalled under the terms of the court's temporary injunction. New copies, however, cannot be published.

Titanic's editor, Leo Fischer, says he intends to fight on against Tuesday's decision, which he said was a “huge mistake.” The magazine has been sued 55 times over its cover images, 35 of which have been banned.

Fischer has stated that Pope Benedict “must have misunderstood” the front cover image, which he said showed the Pope spilling a drink on himself in excitement over solving the Vatileaks mystery.

“Everyone knows how much the Pope likes Fanta,” Fischer said.

Titanic's website has replaced the blocked images with a picture of the Pope in a clean cassock, carrying two large bottles of orange soda. The new caption reads: “'Titanic' forbidden – Pope intoxicated with joy!”

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Pope's new English bishop appointee sounds evangelization note

Portsmouth, England, Jul 11, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - The future Bishop of Portsmouth says he “looks forward with joy” to working with the priests and people of his diocese for a new evangelization of England.

“It is with trepidation and yet with profound trust in the loving mercy of the Sacred Heart of Christ, that I accept the Holy Father’s appointment,” said Monsignor Philip Egan July 11.

“May we all together be in the closest communion of heart and mind with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and faithful to his call to New Evangelization,” he said.

Bishop-designate Egan, 56, is currently the vicar general of the Diocese of Shrewsbury. In his present post he has already gained a reputation for orthodoxy, dynamism and innovation in re-presenting Christianity to contemporary society.

A philosopher and a theologian, he has just completed a new program for teaching the four parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church during Pope Benedict’s Year of Faith, which begins this October.

He also oversaw the re-launch of the diocesan newspaper as a glossy quarterly magazine and the redesign of the diocesan website with the aim of using new media to more effectively teach the faith.

“In Monsignor Egan the Portsmouth Diocese will find a great teacher of the faith and a bishop deeply committed to the New Evangelization,” said Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury.

During his 27 years of priesthood, Bishop-designate Egan has spent three years as an assistant chaplain at Cambridge University and 12 years on the formation staff at St. Mary’s College in Oscott, the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

A popular contributor to public debate, his writings include works on the thought of the 19th- century English convert Blessed John Henry Newman and the 20th-century Canadian Jesuit Father Bernard Lonergan.
 
Bishop-designate Egan will now succeed Bishop Crispian Hollis who is stepping down after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75. Bishop Hollis “warmly welcomed” the appointment of his successor July 11 and said that “the clergy and people of the diocese and everyone is looking forward to working with him in the proclaiming and living of the Gospel.”
 
Bishop-designate Egan will be the eighth Bishop of Portsmouth since the creation of the diocese in 1882. His ordination ceremony will take place in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist in Portsmouth on Sept. 24.

He inherits a diocese situated on England’s south coast that has 192,000 Catholics out of a population of 2.5 million people.

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Priest who denied communion to lesbian no longer with DC archdiocese

Washington D.C., Jul 11, 2012 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. says it no longer employs a priest who became known for denying Holy Communion to a partnered lesbian woman.

“Fr. Marcel Guarnizo is a priest of the Archdiocese of Moscow, Russia, who was given a temporary assignment at St. John Neumann parish,” archdiocesan communcations director Chieko Noguchi Scheve said in a statement provided to CNA on July 10.

“That assignment period has ended and Father Guarnizo is no longer in ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington,” Scheve wrote.

Fr. Guarnizo declined to comment on the announcement from the archdiocese.

In February 2012, the priest drew national attention for withholding the Eucharist from Barbara Johnson at her mother's funeral. Fr. Guarnizo made the decision after Johnson introduced him to her lesbian partner before Mass.

Johnson remained outraged after the incident, threatening to have Fr. Guarnizo “removed from parish life.” The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. apologized for his “lack of pastoral sensitivity” and said it was against policy for a priest to “publicly reprimand” a person approaching the sacrament.

In March, Fr. Guarnizo was removed from ministry in the archdiocese. The announcement of did not refer to Johnson, but cited “intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others.” Fr. Guarnizo defended his action, and said his removal from ministry was related to the funeral incident.

In a paper published online, Johnson had at one point identified herself as “a lesbian and a Buddhist.” However, she later told MSNBC that she is “a Catholic” who is “deeply influenced by eastern religion philosophy.” Her relationship with the Church, she said, is “complex.”

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