San Francisco, Calif., Jul 13, 2012 (CNA) - The Vatican has approved a complete investigation into the cause of sainthood of a former Mormon wife and mother who reported visions of Jesus and a mission to promote “The Mystical Humanity of Christ.”
The March 29 letter of approval from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to Monterey Bishop Richard Garcia was necessary for further investigation into the life of Cora Evans.
Evans, who was baptized in 1935 in Utah after becoming disillusioned by the Mormon faith, died March 30, 1957, near Monterey. She reported visions of Jesus and the saints and a mission from Jesus to promote the “Mystical Humanity of Christ,” the idea that Christ is always within us and we should behave always as Christ would, said Mike McDevitt, a parishioner at Our Lady of the Pillar in Half Moon Bay, who is the promoter of Evans’ cause of sainthood. The spirituality is also focused on praying the Mass.
Evans’ two children, husband Mack, and many family and friends followed her from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into the Catholic faith.
The letter from Congregation Prefect Cardinal Angelo Amato granted the nihil obstat for “the Cause for Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God, Cora Louise Evans.”
“While canon law clearly states that there is no certainty that Cora Evans will become a saint, the nihil obstat indicates Vatican approval for the process to proceed,” McDevitt said.
Bishop Garcia appointed Marianist Father David Schuyler to take testimony of approximately eight eye witnesses, including Evans’ daughter, McDevitt said. A theological review of Evans’ writings will begin and a historical commission will collect relics and other materials. The completed dossier will be sent to Rome.
For the Catholic Church to declare someone a saint, a miracle must occur and be verified after the cause of sainthood is opened. That will lead to the person being declared Blessed. After beatification, another miracle must occur and be verified for canonization, that is, sainthood.
From July 13, 2012 issue of Catholic San Francisco.
Posted with permission from the Catholic San Francisco. Offical newspaper for the Diocese of San Francisco.
Cairo, Egypt, Jul 13, 2012 (CNA) - Coptic Catholic Bishop Kyrillos William has said he is optimistic about the future of Egypt following the country’s presidential election.
“The future will not be worse than what we have had before,” Bishop William, administrator of the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria, told Aid to the Church in Need on July 11.
His comments follow the June election of Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood-backed candidate, as the Egyptian president.
The bishop, who is heading the patriarchate in place of the incapacitated Cardinal Patriarch Antonios Naguib, said he is confident the president will keep the promises he made that he will govern for all Egyptians regardless of their religion.
“In Egypt we all are Egyptian – whether Christian or Muslim – and the President has promised that there will be a Copt and a woman appointed as vice-presidents,” Bishop William said. “Although we still do not know who will be appointed, we trust he will keep his word.”
He said that the position of Christians in Egypt is “better here than in many other countries” but they still have faced prejudice and discrimination. They were barred from senior government positions and treated “like second-class citizens.”
Bishop William said the Catholic Church’s work in the country, particularly in education is widely appreciated in Egypt.
The country has 170 Catholic schools and many non-Catholic leaders send their children there.
The bishop said this means that when these leaders’ children become leaders themselves “they will be more open in their relations with us Christians and more respectful.”
Christians make up about nine percent of Egypt’s population. There are only 250,000 Catholics in a total population of 83 million, Aid to the Church in Need says.
Other Christian leaders have commented on President Morsi’s election.
In June Bishop Joannes Zakaria of Luxor said Christians hope that the president will honor his promises to represent all Egyptians.
In May Bishop Antonios Mina of Giza voiced concern about Morsi’s backers in the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that the group has a track record of unfulfilled promises of tolerance to non-Islamist groups.
Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch, an Egyptian citizen, has voiced confidence in the president’s ability to maintain Egypt’s role “as pole, pioneer and pilot in the Arab world both inside and outside Egypt.”
In a letter to the new president, Patriarch Gregorios stressed the need for equal citizenship and human rights.
President Morsi is presently facing a political crisis after he attempted to reinstate parliament in defiance of the military, which dissolved it last month in accordance with a court ruling.
Rome, Italy, Jul 13, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Pope Benedict XVI's representative has asked the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi to consider their needs and realities jointly, to prepare for the drafting of new constitutions.
“We have decided to organize a brief but intense period of joint reflection between Legionaries of Christ and the other members of Regnum Christi,” wrote Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, Pontifical Delegate to the Legion of Christ, in a July 11 letter to both groups.
It is not possible, the papal delegate said, “to properly and completely consider the government, apostolate and administration of the Legion of Christ without also taking the broader reality of Regnum Christi into account.”
“Nor is it possible, on the other hand, to think of the reality of Regnum Christi without referring to the Legion.”
Both groups are involved in a Vatican-directed reform effort that includes a revision of the Legionaries' constitutions. The period of joint consultation is necessary partly because of some overlap in the two groups' membership.
“One could say that we are seeking to elaborate a 'general statute' or a 'fundamental norm,' or a 'rule' common to all the members of Regnum Christi, including Legionaries,” Cardinal De Paolis wrote.
A central commission in charge of revising the Legion's constitutions will prepare a draft text to “guide the reflection” by members of Regnum Christi and the Legionaries.
The period of reflection will also involve “a historical investigation regarding the origins of the Regnum Christi Movement.”
Elsewhere in his letter, the papal delegate noted that a provisional rule had been prepared for the consecrated men and women of Regnum Christi. Individuals have also been appointed for the “internal government of the consecrated persons.”
While the Legionaries remain committed to the revision of their constitutions, some of their communities want additional time to reflect on “the nature and purpose of the Congregation,” Cardinal De Paolis acknowledged.
The order's particular gift, or “charism,” has been called into question due to revelations about the founder's double-life and acts of sexual abuse.
Meanwhile, as work continues on the revised constitutions, “the life of the Legion of Christ and of the Regnum Christi Movement continues on,” Cardinal De Paolis wrote.
The papal delegate said the process was “in an intermediate, necessarily provisional, phase, which requires much patience, collaboration and availability on the part of all.”
Yarmouth, Canada, Jul 13, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - The women who were nominated for Walmart’s Canadian “Mom of the Year” contest have many outstanding qualities, but few can claim they fought off breast cancer and gave birth to their seventh child at the same time.
“We knew right from the beginning that God wouldn't give us this life and then ask us to take it,” Maria Pitman told CNA July 10, explaining that the doctor wanted her to abort her child.
Pitman, a Canadian homeschooling mother of seven, was diagnosed with breast cancer early on in her most recent pregnancy.
Medically, the doctor said it “made sense” because it would make testing and treatment easier than if she were carrying a child.
“We came home that day knowing we couldn't make that decision, and that God wouldn't be asking us to do that,” Pitman said.
Doctors continued to encourage Pitman to have an abortion, even up until the day before she underwent a full mastectomy 20 weeks into her pregnancy.
The day of surgery, however, the doctors stopped asking Pitman if she wanted to abort, because “they realized we were not about to change our minds.”
During that time, Pitman and her husband Jeff learned that, after one daughter and five boys in a row, they were having another girl.
“Those were the only tears I cried that day; in joy that it was a girl,” she said.
After the mastectomy, Pitman endured three rounds of chemotherapy, in between which she delivered her daughter Johannah at 36 weeks.
Weighing in at seven pounds and four ounces, “she came out perfectly healthy.”
Pitman faced one of her hardest trials when, after Johannah's birth, she and her family had to travel three hours from their home in Yarmouth to Halifax for six weeks of radiation therapy while still homeschooling four of her children.
“I kind of figured things would be easier (since) I wasn't pregnant anymore,” Pitman explained, “but things got so much worse.”
Pitman said she would ask God just “for strength to get out of bed and spend some time with the kids.”
And God did support Pitman and her family, even during the toughest trial. “The Lord provided and orchestrated everything for us for the entire year,” especially by bringing “all the right people into our lives at the right time,” she said.
Pitman found particular strength in the scripture passage Matthew 21:21-22, which says in part, “ ... but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
“God was able to move the 'cancer mountain' for our family,” she said.
After her battle with breast cancer, Pitman's 17 year-old daughter, Jocelyn, nominated her for Walmart's “Mom of the Year” award, which is a “celebration of the 9.2 million Canadian Moms who work tirelessly every day to provide for their family.”
The winner will receive $10,000 in cash and a $100,000 donation will be made to the charity of her choice. The top mom will also be honored with a “day of pampering,” a photo shoot and a “special red carpet gala” in Toronto.
Should she win, Pitman will give her donation to Camp Peniel, a nearby Christian camp where her daughter Jocelyn works.
“This camp is amazing and is doing a fabulous job of sharing Jesus Christ to so many each year,” Pitman said.
Nominations closed July 8, but the judges will deliberate the 16,909 entries and announce a winner “around August 15.”
Story corrected July 13, 2012 at 2:04 p.m. MST. Original article incorrectly stated that Pitman had a double mastectomy. Pitman underwent a full mastectomy on one side.
Lima, Peru, Jul 13, 2012 (CNA) -
After successful runs at the box office in Mexico and the U.S., the film “For Greater Glory,” which shows the religious persecution in Mexico in the 1920s, will arrive in theaters in Latin America.
Claudia Nemer Rodriguez of Dos Corazones Films, said the movie will be shown in the countries of Central America and in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia and possibly later in Brazil.
Directed by Dean Wright, “For Greater Glory” recounts the story of the Cristero War in Mexico against the persecution carried out by President Plutarco Elias Calles in the 1920s. Nemer said the film had outstanding success in Mexico and the United States.
“In the U.S. we released 'For Greater Glory' almost five weeks ago on nearly 800 screens,” she told CNA in a July 10 interview.
“It is still on 100. The reception has been awesome, especially from the Hispanic and Catholic public.”
Nemer said that although most moviegoers “don’t usually choose to see a religious film,” the production company “wanted to make movies that are based on the most profound values of the human being and to do so in a way that is entertaining and high-quality, and to get people to see these kinds of messages in theaters.”
In terms of both cinematography and film score, the film “has a lot in order to compete with the big international releases.”
Nemer said these kinds of movies should be supported because they are not only “high-quality, they also have a message about human values. In addition to being entertained, people take away a message for the families and friends, which is what the world needs so much right now.”
Tokyo, Japan, Jul 13, 2012 (CNA) -
The Japanese bishops' conference sent a letter of protest to the government after police entered a Catholic church without notice or warrant to arrest a Filipino layman for not carrying a passport.
According to L’Osservatore Romano, the July 2 letter – sent to the president of the National Public Safety Commission, Jin Matsubara – argues that police violated religious freedom rights.
The bishops expressed outrage over the actions of six or seven officers who entered a church in the Diocese of Yokohama on May 27, the Solemnity of Pentecost.
UCAnews reported that police arrested a Filipino man who had overstayed his visa in Japan.
Church pastor Father Takashi Motoyanagi said police had no right to enter the property without a warrant or advanced notice. Witnesses also said the tactics they used during the arrest were excessive.
The bishops' letter – delivered to government officials by conference president Archbishop Leo Jun Ikenaga – called for the police not to interfere in Church activities, illegally enter Church grounds and to refrain from conducting investigations against those visiting churches or near church grounds.
Matsubara said the commission has not decided yet how to respond to the ordeal. “I think the action violated common sense,” he said. “We will ensure that there is no repeat of such an incident.”
On June 5, Bishop Rafael Masahiro Umemura of Yokohama sent a message to police chief in Kawasaki expressing surprise and concern over the actions of the police officers.
Without an order from the court, he said, these actions go against the exercise of religious freedom and represent a threat to society.
The unanimous decision of the Japanese bishops to send the letter of protest to the government came during their annual meeting June 19-22.
Japan’s population of 127 million includes some 500,000 Catholics.
Arlington, Va., Jul 13, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Diocese of Arlington hopes to strengthen teaching in Catholic schools and churches, by asking religious instructors to promise allegiance to the Church's teachings, even on controversial subjects.
“This is viewed as a positive gesture – one of community and communion, in which our catechists profess their faith in communion with Bishop Loverde, Pope Benedict, and the entire Church,” diocesan communications director Michael Donohue said in a July 12 CNA interview.
While a small number of teachers say they cannot make the profession, Donohue said a “far greater number” have told the diocese they see the profession of faith as “a positive gesture.”
The profession has been sent to religious instructors to sign by September 2012. It contains the articles of the Nicene Creed, and an affirmation of faith in all teachings “whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church … sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.”
It asks signatories to “firmly accept and hold each and every thing definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals,” giving “submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate.”
Its requirements are based on teachings found in the Second Vatican Council document “Lumen Gentium,” which reaffirms the status of bishops as successors to the apostles and states that the faithful “are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent” in matters of faith and morals.
Nearly half a million Catholics, including almost 5,000 religious instructors, live and worship in the Arlington diocese. On July 11, the Washington Post published a lengthy story about five Sunday school teachers who left their positions after refusing to sign the oath of fidelity to Church teaching.
Objectors were quoted describing the faith requirement as a “shock” and “a slap in the face.” A former teacher acknowledged the bishops' “authoritative role,” but told Arlington's Bishop Paul S. Loverde that only someone “willing to abandon her own reason and judgment” could sign the statement.
But Donohue explained that the pledge was not instituted to punish dissent from Church teaching. Rather, its purpose is to build and strengthen the faith within Catholic institutions, ensuring that they pass on the truth of the Gospel in its entirety.
“This all occurs in the context of the Year of Faith, as well as the context of marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council,” Donohue noted.
In his announcement of the Year of Faith, the Pope described various ways in which dioceses and parishes could join in professing the Church's beliefs. Based on this suggestion, the Arlington diocese extended the profession of faith – already expected of others in Church offices – to its religion teachers.
While some Catholics may struggle with particular doctrines, Donohue suggested it would be wrong for religion teachers to withhold anything that the Church accepts as revealed by God.
“All Catholics, at some point or another, might have had difficulty understanding or accepting the truth of a particular teaching,” he acknowledged.
That sort of personal struggle, he said, is “not an uncommon experience. That's not what this is about.”
Donohue also said the oath should not be seen primarily in terms of the errors it forbids, but in terms of the faith it promotes. Since every aspect of Church teaching relates to God's grace, and Christ's offer of eternal life, the faithful deserve to hear the Gospel message without omissions.
“The Church wants what's best for its flock, and for everyone,” he said.
For this reason, “it provides the tools, and the teaching, to help every individual Catholic – and anyone who would come to the Church – to understand and accept the teaching of Christ's Church.”
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 13, 2012 (CNA) -
On the evening of July 13, thousands of young people flocked to Rio de Janeiro for the release of the official World Youth Day prayer as preparations for next year's global youth event continue.
“The prayer was made so that, in a more intense and focused manner, people may pray for the intentions we have for this one-year countdown mark which is already drawing near,” said Fr. Leandro Lênin, of the Pastoral Preparation Sector within the Local WYD Organization Committee in Rio.
The committee is overseen by Archbishop Orani João Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro with the help of auxiliary bishops of Rio, priests and lay people of the Brazilian Archdiocese.
As the one year countdown approaches, thousands of young people gathered downtown on Friday night for the Mass with Archbishop Tempesta and to say the prayer for the first time.
After Mass, the youth went in procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the Perpetual Adoration Shrine of Sant’Anna, also located in Rio, where the traditional pre-WYD monthly overnight vigil is currently taking place.
The prayer – released in Portuguese, English and several other languages – asks God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that “driven by their experience of World Youth Day,” young people may bring “to the four corners of the world faith, hope and charity, becoming great builders of a culture of life and peace and catalysts of a new world.”
Recalling Rio’s major religious symbol, the Christ the Redeemer statue, the prayer says that the image of its open arms on the top of Corcovado Mountain reminds the world that Jesus “welcomes all people.”
Fr. Leandro Lênin explained in an interview on the official WYD site that in preparing the text, the committee had to rely on the Holy Spirit in “true moments of prayer, in which we tried to meditate and put together all the characteristic elements of a World Youth Day.”
“The prayer is essentially Trinitarian, and above all, it invokes the Holy Spirit to favor the formation of the new disciple-missionaries who will go to out to evangelize in the four corners of the planet,” he said.
“As we pray for WYD, we also want to pray for those who are donating their time in partnership with us. We pray for the volunteers, for all things about to happen on the path towards the event and most importantly, for the pilgrims who will be coming to Rio in July of 2013.”
According to Fr. Arnaldo Rodrigues, a young priest who was just ordained this year and runs the Pastoral Preparation Sector of WYD Rio 2013 along with Fr. Leandro, “a World Youth Day can’t be prepared without much prayer.”
“This prayer will be known all over the world,” he said, adding that “it will favor the spiritual communion of all those who pray for the preparation of World Youth Day and especially for those who will be coming to the Youth gathering in Rio next year.”
Pope Benedict is slated to attend the global youth event next summer, which will take place from July 23-July 28.
Below is the text for the official World Youth Day Rio 2013 prayer:
Oh, Father, You sent Your Eternal Son to save the world and chose men and women, through Him, with Him and in Him, to proclaim the Good News to all nations. Grant us the graces necessary so that joy may shine in the faces of all young people, the joy of being, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the evangelists the Church needs in the Third Millennium.
Oh Christ, Redeemer of humanity, the image of Your open arms on the top of Corcovado welcomes all people. In Your paschal offering, You brought us by the Holy Spirit to an encounter of sonship with the Father. Young people, who are fed by Eucharist, hear You in Your Word and meet You as their brother, need your infinite mercy to run the paths of the world missionary-disciples of the New Evangelization.
Oh Holy Spirit, Love of the Father and the Son, with the splendor of Your Truth and the fire of Your Love, send Your Light to all young people so that, driven by their experience of World Youth Day, they may bring to the four corners of the world faith, hope and charity, becoming great builders of a culture of life and peace and catalysts of a new world.
Vatican City, Jul 13, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - He may be an ex-communist and avowed atheist but Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano says becoming friends with Pope Benedict XVI has been a highlight of his six years as the Italian head of state.
“I do not hesitate to confess that one of the loveliest elements that has marked my experience has been, precisely, my relationship with Benedict XVI,” he told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in a July 11 interview.
President Napolitano has been in office since 2006, a year after the election of Pope Benedict XVI. The two men are of similar age, with the Italian president being only two years older than the 85-year-old pontiff.
On Wednesday of this week, the Pope and president spent much of the day together at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, about 15 miles south of Rome. There they co-hosted a concert by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, led by conductor Daniel Barenboim, to mark St. Benedict’s Day. After the musical performance the two men dined together.
It is such personal encounters, said President Napolitano, that he is “profoundly grateful for” because they “plucked at our human heart strings.”
“Today, for example, we have spent a moment together characterized, precisely, by so much simple humanity,” he said towards end of the evening. “We strolled together, we spoke to each other like people who have a relationship of forthright friendship, with all the respect that I have for him and for his most lofty ministry, for his most exalted mission.”
The Italian president’s role in the government is usually one that is largely ceremonial, but during Europe’s recent economic crisis President Napolitano has played a direct role in upholding Italy’s constitution and government.
In November 2011, he decided to appoint former European Union commissioner Mario Monti as Italian prime minister after the fall of Silvio Berlusconi’s administration. His executive actions led the New York Times to dub him “King George.”
“Part of the reason why we feel close is because we are both called to govern complex situations,” the president said, analyzing his friendship with Pope Benedict.
“The Pope, of course, in addition to being a ‘head of State’ is also and above all the head of the universal Church,” but President Napolitano observed that he finds himself “at the helm of the institutions of the Italian Republic in an extraordinarily difficult period.”
One particular highlight that the president said he “will always cherish” as a “legacy” of his presidency was Pope Benedict’s 2011 address to the Italian people to mark the 150th anniversary of the country’s unification.
The president said he expected a “cordial and formal” speech but, instead, he received a “demanding” address from the Pope that gave an overview of Italian history.
“This really shows that in Italy the state and the church, the people of the Republic and the people of the Church, are very deeply and closely united,” the president said.