Archive of September 17, 2012

Course deepens journalists' understanding of Catholic Church

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - A week-long seminar in Rome aimed at helping journalists better understand the Catholic Church is being called a success by organizers.

“I think that some of the prejudices that some journalists may have about the Church fall away when they see things directly and meet the people who are directly in charge of many different aspects of the Church,” course coordinator Professor Daniel Arasa told CNA.

Entitled “The Church up Close,” the course concluded on Sunday, Sept. 16. During the previous week a group of 28 journalists from across the globe took part in a series of seminars, personal meetings and on-site visits throughout the Eternal City.

The goal of the course, according to its creators, is to give journalists “an array of tools to strengthen their coverage” of the Church, including “a basic sense of the lay of the land at the Vatican” and “a serious, in-depth analysis of specific hot-button issues confronting today’s Church.”

It also seeks to introduce journalists to some of the key players in the Vatican, provide them with an overview of the Catholic history and culture and allow them an opportunity to discuss the relationship between the Church and the media. 

Paul Burnell, an online journalist with the BBC in Manchester, England and course participant, said that the experience “opens journalists’ eyes to a whole new way of thinking, a whole new way of being and a whole new way of understanding, because normally all you get is a surface view of an organization like the Catholic Church.”

This year’s itinerary included visits to the Vatican Museums, Vatican Library and the Pope’s weekly general audience. The journalists were also given off-the-record briefings from top officials in various Vatican departments, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Secretariat of State and the Congregation for Bishops.

“This gave us a real understanding of the depth, the processes, the thinking and the richness of a Church which has been here for a long, long time,” Burnell remarked.

Among the guest speakers for the course were Cardinal Raymond Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura; Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization; and Father Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office.

“The Church up Close” is the brainchild of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Opus Dei’s university in Rome.  This year’s event is the third of its kind, and organizers are already looking to the next one.

“I think the proof of the impact that this program has on journalists is that many of the participants have come this year because previous participants have told them about this course and recommended it,” the university’s Professor Arasa explained.

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Italian Paralympics athlete values rosary more than medal

Rome, Italy, Sep 17, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Among the moving personal stories of athletes at the Paralympic Games in London, few surprised reporters more than that of the winner of the bronze in the 1500 meter race: blind runner Annalisa Minetti of Italy, who said she values her rosary more than any award.

In an interview with RaiSport after her competition, Annalisa said the “medal” that never leaves her is a rosary, which she held up in her hand.  

“Up to now this has always been my medal, it has always run by my side.”

“When you have faith, you can endure suffering,” she added. “There are some sufferings that have no name, that you can’t describe or justify, but when you believe in God, you no longer ask why me and not someone else. And that is a great achievement.”

Annalisa, who is married and the mother of one child, has gained fame in Italy not only as an athlete but also as a singer.

She was born on December 27, 1976 in the town of Rho, near Milan.  As a young girl she began taking dance classes, and by age 15 she developed a talent for singing. In 1996, at the age of 20, she was diagnosed with a degenerative disease in eyes which gradually left her completely blind.  

In 1998, Annalisa won the prestigious San Remo Song Festival. “Jesus is the person who has always been at my side. I felt him during the entire 1500 meter and throughout my experience at the Paralympics,” she said.

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Argentina archdiocese laments sex abuse allegations against priest

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sep 17, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Archdiocese of Parana, Argentina voiced sorrow over the actions of Father Justo Jose Ilarraz, who is accused of sexually abusing at least 50 children over the span of eight years.

“The latest news reports cause us great shame and immense sorrow over the most serious crimes committed by someone who ought to serve the moral life of the people by his example and teaching,” the archdiocese said in a Sept. 13 statement.

According to the archdiocese, Fr. Ilarraz abused children between the ages of 12 and 14 at the Seminary of Parana from 1984 to 1992.

It also announced that the Archbishop of Parana and the Bishop of Concepcion de Tucuman have taken steps to remove the accused priest from ministry “until the Holy See resolves his situation.”

The archdiocese concluded its statement saying, “The Church, which always wants to proceed in accord with the gospel and justice, prays to the Lord for total fidelity to his will.”

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Vatileaks suspects receive Sept. 29 court date

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - The two men charged in the “Vatileaks” case will go to trial Sept. 29, according to a communique released Sept. 17 by the Vatican Press Office.

Paolo Gabriele, the Pope's former butler, was charged with theft, having been suspected of leaking confidential papal and curial documents to the press. Claudio Sciarpelleti, a computer technician at the Secretariat of State, was charged with aiding and abetting Gabriele, a lesser charge.

Sciarpelleti is suspended but is still an employee at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State Department.

Gabriele could face six years in jail if he is found guilty.

On Aug. 13 Judge Piero A. Bonnet sent the pair for trial. The two will be tried jointly by a three-judge panel.

The Vatileaks scandal broke in May 2012, and involved numerous documents about the internal workings of the Vatican being leaked to Italian news outlets for a period of months.

In May, journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi released a new book entitled “Sua Santita” (His Holiness), which contained a series of leaked letters addressed personally to Pope Benedict. Nuzzi claimed to have multiple sources within the Vatican.

The leaks were investigated by a commission of three cardinals led by Cardinal Julian Herranz of Spain.

Cardinal Herranz told CNA on May 24 that the leaks were “confusing souls and also giving the Church and the Holy See a completely unfair image.”

Gabriele, 46, was arrested May 25 after confidential Vatican documents were found in his apartment. He has worked in the Papal Household under both John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and had daily access to the pontiff.

Gabriele initially denied involvement in the leaks.

According to the Aug. 13 report issued by Judge Bonnet, Gabriele intended to help the Pope understand the problems of corruption within the Church. He thought that a “media shock” would put the Church “back onto the right track.”

Vatican officials have continued to investigate the case.

The two have been notified of the trial date decree, which was issued by Giuseppe della Torre, president of the Tribunal of the Vatican City State.

The first hearing will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 29 in the audience hall of the Tribunal.

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US bishops tap Denver Catholic Charities CEO as justice department head

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - President and CEO of Denver Catholic Charities, Dr. Jonathan Reyes, is honored to accept his new role as executive director of the U.S. bishops' Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development.

“Although I am sad to leave Catholic Charities and the community of northern Colorado, I am excited and honored by the opportunity to serve the Church in this capacity,” he said in a Sept. 17 statement.

Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, the U.S. bishops conference's general secretary, made the appointment, which was announced Sept. 17.

“Jonathan Reyes brings vital experience with on-the-ground charities work and with young adults and is a proven administrator,” Msgr. Jenkins said.

In December, Dr. Reyes will begin his new role with the USCCB, overseeing their efforts in domestic and international affairs and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the bishops' anti-poverty program.

“I look forward to working with the excellent staff of the USCCB,” Dr. Reyes said.

Since 2009, Dr. Reyes has served the Denver Archdiocese as president and CEO of Denver Catholic Charities.

During his time with Catholic Charities, Dr. Reyes founded national volunteer and formation program for college students, Christ in the City. Now in its third year, the organization has seen over 200 participants serve the homeless of Denver while developing in their Catholic faith.

In that time, he oversaw the creation of Regina Caeli Catholic Counseling Center, which recently opened a second office due to growing request for Church-friendly mental health services.

Additionally, Dr. Reyes supervised the founding of Lighthouse Women's Care Center in Denver and completed the Guadalupe Community Assistance Center in Greeley, Colo.

Along with his role at Catholic Charities, Dr. Reyes co-founded and was the first president of Denver-based Catholic theological graduate school, the Augustine Institute, from 2005-2008.

From 2004-2005, he was vice president for campus ministry and leadership formation of the team-based evangelization program aimed toward students on college campuses, Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) in Denver.

Dr. Reyes has served on the staff of Christendom College in Front Royal, Va. as an assistant professor of history and later as vice president of academic affairs from 1998-2004.

In 2000, he received a doctorate in European history from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Michigan in 1990.

Dr. Reyes and his wife Stephanie have seven children.

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