San Francisco, Calif., Oct 4, 2012 (CNA) - The Episcopal bishop of California Marc Andrus has written a letter to his diocese in which he characterized Catholic Church teaching on marriage as “oppression.”
The letter dated Oct. 1 concerns the installation of Salvatore Cordileone as Archbishop of San Francisco, which will occur Thursday, Oct. 4.
The letter focuses on Archbishop Cordileone's support for the Catholic understanding of marriage and for California's Proposition 8, the voter-approved measure that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Bishop Andrus said that “despite this difference of opinion and support” he looks forward to working with Archbishop Cordileone in the “building of the Reign of God.”
He noted that though he differed on Proposition 8 with Archbishop Niederauer, Cordileone's predecessor in San Francisco, they cooperated on reducing poverty. The Episcopal bishop also recognized common ground with Archbishop Cordileone regarding immigration policy and poverty.
Bishop Andrus characterized Episcopalian teaching on lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgendered persons as the “proclamation of God's inclusion.” He claimed that Catholic teaching on sexuality is an attempt to “suppress the rights of others who, too, have been created in God’s image.”
“The recognition of the dignity and rights, within civil society and the Church of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered people, and of women are as core to our proclamation of the Gospel as our solidarity with the poor, with victims of violence and political oppression, and with the Earth,” he stated.
Claiming that the appointment of Archbishop Cordileone was met with mixed reactions by San Franciscans of “all or no faith tradition,” Bishop Andrus invited Catholics “less at home” with their new bishop to “come to The Episcopal Church.”
Bishop Andrus is head of the Episcopal Diocese of California, which covers the greater San Francisco Bay area.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone will be installed on Oct. 4 at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco.
Loreto, Italy, Oct 4, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI made a one-day pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Loreto in Italy to entrust the forthcoming Synod of Bishops and Year of Faith to the Virgin Mary.
“Mother of the ‘yes,’ you who heard Jesus, speak to us of him; tell us of your journey, that we may follow him on the path of faith; help us to proclaim him, that each person may welcome him and become the dwelling place of God,” the Pope said during Mass in the town’s main square, the Piazza della Madonna di Loreto.
The pastoral visit also imitated the pilgrimage made 50 years ago by Blessed Pope John XXIII on the eve of the opening of the Second Vatican Council when he also entrusted the gathering to Christ’s mother.
Pope Benedict placed both the Synod of Bishops on new evangelization and the Year of Faith in the hands of Mary. The synod will last from October 7 to 28, while the Year of Faith begins on Oct. 11, the 50th anniversary of Vatican II.
Pope Benedict recalled how his predecessor Bl. John XXIII affirmed that the purpose of the council was “to spread ever wider the beneficial impact of the incarnation and redemption in all spheres of life.”
This goal, the current Pope said, “resounds today with particular urgency.”
“Without God, man ultimately chooses selfishness over solidarity and love, material things over values, having over being. We must return to God, so that man may return to being man,” he urged.
Loreto has been a popular pilgrimage site since the 13th century when the house of the Holy Family was transferred to Loreto by the local aristocratic Angelos family, just before the final expulsion of the Christian crusaders from the Holy Land. Recent scientific research has tended to corroborate this historic version of events. Local legend, however, also likes to ascribe the transfer of the stone dwelling to the holy angels.
As the home where Mary was born, grew up and received the Annunciation from the Archangel Gabriel, the holy house of Loreto has always been strongly associated with the incarnation of Christ.
“As we contemplate Mary, we must ask if we too wish to be open to the Lord, if we wish to offer him our life as his dwelling place,” Pope Benedict explained. Believers must also ask if “we are afraid that the presence of God may somehow place limits on our freedom, if we wish to set aside a part of our life in such a way that it belongs only to us.”
Life with Christ, though, is not enslavement, he said, but genuine freedom, since “it is precisely God who liberates our liberty, he frees it from being closed in on itself, from the thirst for power.” It is God who opens up the dimensions in life that fulfill us, such as “the gift of self, of love, which in turn becomes service and sharing.”
Just as Mary gave her free consent to God within the holy house of Loreto, we too should realize that “grace does not eliminate freedom; on the contrary it creates and sustains it,” the Pope said. “Faith removes nothing from the human creature,” but instead “permits his full and final realization.”
Prior to celebrating Mass, Pope Benedict spent time adoring the Blessed Sacrament and praying before the shrine of Our Lady of Loreto. Following Mass, he had lunch at the local John Paul II Center before departing back to Rome.
Washington D.C., Oct 4, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan has made a special video message for Catholic voters pledging that religious liberty protections will be a “cornerstone” of a Romney-Ryan administration.
“We need a president who will support our God-given rights, not try to circumvent them,” he said in an Oct. 2 video posted to the Romney campaign website.
The video comes after nine months of controversy over the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring most large employers, including many Catholic institutions, to provide employees free insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortion-causing drugs.
The mandate’s narrow religious exemption applies to employers who primarily employ or serve their co-religionists and would not cover Catholic charities, universities, and health systems that employ and serve the general public.
Non-exempt organizations must either comply, drop insurance coverage and face other fines, or face non-compliance fines of $100 per employee per day.
Ryan said religious liberty is “our first freedom” and there is no guarantee “more precious” than the right to free exercise of religion.
He said Catholics see faith as “more than an individual right.” Rather, faith is “a vital part of our community.”
“We celebrate the unique role our Church plays in caring for Americans of all faiths, or of no faith at all. Catholic charities and hospitals offer services that hold our society together,” he said.
Rep. Ryan charged that President Obama has “attacked these indispensible institutions since virtually the moment he took office.”
He encouraged Catholics to join the Romney campaign.
“Together, we will ensure that our faith and our traditions are protected for our children and for generations to come,” he said.
Ryan is only the second Catholic the Republican Party has nominated as its vice presidential candidate. President Obama’s running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, is also Catholic.
The Obama campaign has its own Catholic outreach efforts. The Catholics for Obama group focuses on economic security and foreign policy issues.
Unlike its online statements in the 2008 campaign, the 2012 Catholics for Obama website does not attempt to portray the president, who supports legal abortion, as a pro-life choice.
The video can be viewed at: http://www.mittromney.com/forms/important-message-paul-ryan-0.
Denver, Colo., Oct 4, 2012 (CNA) - A Denver-area Catholic commentator sees a connection between the national debt crisis and the “growing hostility to faith, family and freedom,” but he also sees hope for change if the country “turns away from the path of economic and social self-destruction.”
“As increasing numbers of people realize that the government simply will not be able to meet all its obligations in providing for the aged and the poor, new economic approaches grounded in Catholic principles of solidarity and subsidiarity are emerging,” Peter Droege told CNA Oct. 3.
He said that Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclicals on society have called on the Church to “explore new forms of economic activity that combine the best of capitalism with the fundamental principle of charity.”
Droege is a former editor of the Denver Catholic Register who has been involved in several nonprofits in education and homeless ministry. He is presently a vice president at the Daniels Fund, one of the largest foundations in the Rocky Mountain region, but the talk is not connected in any way to the fund.
He was scheduled to present his view on Catholics’ role in the upcoming election at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Denver’s St. Vincent de Paul parish on the evening of Oct. 4.
He told CNA that Americans are not being given a “clear picture” of the United States’ debt obligations. In fiscal year 2011, the U.S. government had a net accumulated deficit of $14.8 trillion and social insurance obligations of $46.3 trillion.
“This is vastly more than the $16 trillion in debt pointed to by the media,” he said.
Droege’s presentation will give an “alarming look” at how aging populations and declining population growth, which some call a “Demographic Winter,” have had a negative economic impact over the past generation. He said this impact is a result of “anti-family policies including birth control and abortion.”
He said the United States can turn away from “out-of-control debt accumulation policies” and achieve a “prosperous future” in discovering new energy reserves and new technologies.
Droege also weighed-in on the presidential contest.
He said President Obama has shown an “unwillingness or inability” to control spending, while his “unwavering support for abortion,” his “attacks on the family” and his support for the HHS mandate make the president “an unacceptable leader” from the Catholic perspective that emphasizes the “dignity of the human person.”
“If elected, Mitt Romney will face tremendous challenges, but he has at least demonstrated the ability in the private sector to turn around failing enterprises,” Droege said.
San José, Costa Rica, Oct 4, 2012 (CNA) -
A local pro-life group claims the Inter-American Human Rights Court compromised its impartiality by voicing pro-abortion views ahead of an upcoming ruling on Costa Rica's in-vitro fertilization ban.
The Population Research Institute reported Sept. 27 that the Solidarity and Human Rights Institute has filed a complaint at the United Nations General Assembly against justices Margaret Macaulay, Alberto Perez and Diego Garcia Sayan.
“The three have shown themselves to be against the defense of life and against the guiding principles of the Court and of the international treaties involving the region’s nations, such as the San Jose Pact, which clearly establishes that every human being has the right to life from the moment of conception,” the institute warned.
In 2012, Costa Rica's congress rejected the legalization of in-vitro fertilization as a violation of the right to life. Supporters of the procedure, however, filed suit before the Inter-American Human Rights Court.
“The mere existence of a bias in favor of the legalization of abortion” on the part of three judges “raises questions about their impartiality and good faith” the group added.
What the court decides “will have implications for the integrity of the Inter-American System, whether that be safeguarding it or confirming that today it has become ideologically and politically compromised.”
Fort Wayne, Ind., Oct 4, 2012 (CNA) -
Our Sunday Visitor celebrated its 100th anniversary with a symposium, Mass, and dinner on Sept. 28, attended by several prominent U.S. bishops, academics and speakers.
The paper is “a shining example of the lay faithful exercising their prophetic role through the media in service to evangelization,” Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend said during his homily.
Bishop Rhoades presided over the Mass, which was concelebrated by 11 bishops and numerous priests at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.
Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, was the featured speaker at the dinner following the liturgy.
Our Sunday Visitor was founded by then-Father John Noll to defend the Church against “anti-Catholic bigotry,” Bishop Rhoades explained.
Fr. Noll was ordained for the Diocese of Fort Wayne in 1898, and eventually became its bishop in 1925. In 1912, he launched the paper to counter anti-Catholicism and to educate “the faithful on the truths of the Catholic faith.” The newspaper proved immensely popular, and by 1914 had a circulation of 400,000.
During his homily, Bishop Rhoades commended Our Sunday Visitor for continuing to educate in the face of anti-Catholic sentiments today.
“Anti-Catholicism has rightly been called 'the last acceptable prejudice,' and is seen today in the animosity toward the Catholic Church from various sources...whose radical secularism and relativism cannot tolerate the church's proclamation of objective and universal truths and values.”
Our Sunday Visitor now has over 1,700 titles in print, and its primary publication, OSV Newsweekly, by print, internet, and e-readers.
The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, wrote to Our Sunday Visitor conveying Pope Benedict's congratulations on the centennial.
“As the universal church engages in the work of the new evangelization, which reminds us of her perennial mission of leading all people to the fullness of life and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and on the threshold of the Year of Faith, the Holy Father is confident that Our Sunday Visitor will continue to respond with the same deep and zealous faith which has marked and inspired its efforts these past 100 years,” he wrote.
The symposium featured talks by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago on apologetics; attorney Helen Alvare on religious freedom and women's equality; and author Scott Hahn on the new evangelization.
Today the company employs over 300 persons and is “still committed to communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church.”
In July Our Sunday Visitor was chosen by the Vatican to be the exclusive distributor of the English-language edition of “L'Osservatore Romano,” the Vatican's official newspaper.
The centennial celebration began May 5, the anniversary of the first issue of “Our Sunday Visitor,” with an open house at the company's offices.
Vatican City, Oct 4, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Thirty-three new deacons from Rome’s North American College were ordained Oct. 4 at a ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica, bringing both excitement and joy to the men.
“This is really a wonderful day for the Church and certainly for the College, too, and for myself,” said college rector, Monsignor James F. Checchio in remarks to CNA after the ordinations.
“The men who laid down their lives in service of the Church today are good men, men who have prepared themselves well by coming to know Christ well and serving him and his people,” Msgr. Checchio added.
The nearly three-hour ceremony at the basilica’s Altar of the Chair was presided over by Archbishop John F. Myers of Newark. The ordinations coincided with the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, who was ordained deacon but never a priest. All but one of the deacons comes from an American diocese, while another ordinand hails from the Archdiocese of Sydney in Australia.
“Overjoyed,” was the one word Deacon Colin Wen of the Diocese of Sacramento used to describe the whole occasion.
“I think what struck me most was laying out prostrate,” he said. “There’s just a great symbolism there of giving your life over, a real sense of no longer leading your own life but really letting God lead – in that sense of just putting it all before the Lord.”
Following the ceremony, the deacons processed in their new vestments to a quiet corner of the St. Peter’s where they hugged and high-fived each other amid an air of relief and delight.
“I’m overjoyed, excited and overwhelmed,” said Deacon Jun Hee Lee of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
“The only thing I could think about during the service was ‘amen,’ that word that just kept coming to me over and over again, just ‘amen,’ ‘let it be.’” He believes the hallmark of a good deacon can be summed up in one word – service.
“Not out of pride. Not to gain something, of course. But really service out of love and only love,” said Deacon Lee.
The 33 new deacons were ordained only days before the launch of the Church’s Year of Faith and the opening of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, which will chart a “new evangelization” of traditionally Christian countries like the United States.
Deacon Nicholas Nelson of the Diocese of Duluth said that when he first considered entering the Catholic priesthood he thought, ‘hey, if I want to be a priest then I want to do it all the way, be really radical and be a missionary priest.’
But now he sees things differently.
“I’ve realized that people in my hometown of Duluth need Christ and need the Gospel just as much as people in Africa or the jungles of the Amazon.” Along with his 32 other classmates, he is now excited by the prospect of his priestly ordination in the coming months.
“As a man you want to do something great with your life and that’s what I look forward to doing. I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” Deacon Nelson said.
Washington D.C., Oct 4, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Economic issues dominated the discussion at the first presidential debate of the election season, reflecting the widespread concern among Catholics, along with other American voters, about the national economy.
Frank Newport, editor in chief of Gallup, told CNA that when American voters are asked to rank election issues in order of importance, “the economy swamps everything else.”
Oct. 3 marked the first presidential debate of the 2012 election season. President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney squared off in a 90-minute debate at the University of Denver in Colorado.
The debate had a largely economic tone, as candidates talked about the nation’s struggling economy, high unemployment levels and soaring debt. They also discussed the role of government, health care reform and aid programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
Romney charged that Obama has failed to provide effective economic leadership over the past four years, while the president argued that Romney’s plan to reduce the deficit without raising taxes is unrealistic.
Prominent moral issues such as abortion, “gay marriage” and the federal contraception mandate were not discussed in the first meeting of the two contenders.
However, when asked about the federal deficit, Romney responded, “I think it’s not just an economic issue. I think it’s a moral issue.”
“I think it’s frankly not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation,” he said.
Newport explained that it is hard to judge how many Catholics would agree with Romney’s assessment of the debt as a critical “moral issue” because the question has not been commonly raised in polls.
However, he said, “Catholics are average on a lot of things” and tend to be representative of the general electorate on many campaign issues.
In September, Gallup asked voters about their perceptions of where the economy was headed. Newport said that “Catholics were exactly like the overall average.”
Among all Americans, 41 percent believed the economy was getting better, while 54 percent believed it was getting worse. Among Catholics, 41 percent believed the economy was getting better, while 53 percent believed it was getting worse.
Newport said that this pattern of Catholics tending to “mirror” the general American electorate holds true on many topics. And U.S. voters consistently rank the economy at the top of their list of concerns in this election, he added.
In August, The Catholic Association commissioned Magellan Strategies to conduct a poll of about 2,600 likely Catholic voters.
Seventy-two percent of respondents agreed that “America’s exploding federal debt hurts the poor the most.”
Sixty-six percent said “Catholics can disagree about the best way to serve the poor--for example, favoring private charity over government programs – without being 'bad' Catholics.”
While flash polls indicated that viewers overwhelmingly believed that Romney won the debate, the political results of the event can be difficult to measure, due to the “huge flow of events and information” entering the political playing field in the month of October, Newport explained.
Debates can make a difference, both individually and collectively, but “it’s hard to pinpoint how much,” he said.
While he believes that the Oct. 3 debate had the potential to influence voters, Newport said its relative gravity ultimately depends on a number of factors.
The remaining debates, changes in unemployment and paid advertising in swing states could all contribute to the final outcome of the election in ways that are not yet realized, the pollster stated.
San Francisco, Calif., Oct 4, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) -
At his installation Mass in San Francisco, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone encouraged a renewal of the Church in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, the city's patron.
“It was St. Francis' personal holiness which led the renewal of the Church,” he underscored.
The new archbishop was the main celebrant at a Mass was said the afternoon of Oct. 4 at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. He was joined by Archbishop Carlo Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., and Archbishops John Quinn and George Niederauer, former heads of the archdiocese.
Archbishop Cordileone began his homily by remembering the words of Christ, “Francis, rebuild my house,” spoken to the 13th century Italian saint from the cross inside Assisi's San Damiano church.
The archbishop noted that Francis rebuilt the dilapidated structure, faithful to the Lord's command. “He didn't make a new church, he repaired the old one. He built upon it.”
Francis' mission was one of not only material, but spiritual renewal of the Church, as his was a time of turmoil. Many people thought material creation was bad, “even to the point of denigrating marriage” and the children brought about by it.
The saint, however, was often “rejoicing in the goodness of creation, against the beliefs of his time.”
“Francis' response was holiness. He focused on the universal call to holiness, each person according to their vocation in life,” Archbishop Cordileone said. “But first and foremost, he began with himself.”
The new leader encouraged his listeners to continue the renewal of the Church by imitating St. Francis' example of personal holiness and conformity to Christ.
“Continue the work of rebuilding…as our father Francis teaches us, it must begin first of all in each one of us.”
Archbishop Cordileone said he was encouraged by the kindness he has received recently, from individuals of many faiths. He called this “instinctive sense of compassion” an “important building block in rebuilding God's house.”
The U.S. especially, he noted, is a land of freedom to worship and where all persons may “express their faith in the public square, primarily through service to others.”
During his homily, he reflected also that joy is the “hallmark of the Christian life,” and emphasized the difference between the deep abiding joy of the Christian life and fleeting pleasure.
He also encouraged a renewal of Eucharistic devotion, frequent confession, and daily prayer of the rosary among the local Church, “so that we might arrive at the deep eternal joy he wants for us.”
Archbishop Cordileone thanked his preceding bishops and the people of Oakland, and told his new flock of his excitement for the new evangelization in San Francisco. He greeted government leaders with a resolve to collaborate to “build up the common good.”
Music at the Mass included songs in English, Latin, and Spanish, reflecting the diversity of the archdiocese. The Latin propers were sung at the offertory and communion processions, each time accompanied by a hymn in English and Spanish.
“Let us get on then with the work of rebuilding, knowing that 'Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it,'” the archbishop concluded.