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Archive of November 9, 2012

EWTN Radio now available on iHeartRadio app

Irondale, Ala., Nov 9, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - The EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network is now available through iHeartRadio, the Clear Channel media  company’s digital radio service that makes streaming radio available through the internet, mobile devices and tablets.

EWTN President and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw said the Catholic network is “pleased” to partner with iHeartRadio in order to “proclaim the gospel message to an ever-expanding global audience.”

“Our foundress, Mother Angelica, took the Lord’s command to carry his message to the ends of the earth seriously. Our partnership with iHeartRadio enables us to carry on that legacy using the latest in digital technology,” Warsaw said Nov. 8.

iHeartRadio gives users instant access to over 1,000 broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities. It allows user-created custom stations for favorite artists and songs. The iHeartRadio mobile apps have been downloaded more than 125 million times, while iHeartRadio’s free service has more than 115 million listening hours each month.

App users can find the EWTN station by searching the “Live Stations” section for “EWTN Radio.” The app is available for mobile phones, the Kindle Fire, the Xbox 360 game system and Google TV.

“By adding EWTN, the leading Catholic media network, to the iHeartRadio platform, we continue to enhance iHeartRadio’s offerings for users,” Brian LaKamp, President of Digital for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, said Nov. 8.

“We want to be everywhere our listeners are with a variety of programming options and this agreement offers iHeartRadio users an even more interesting and diverse listening experience.”

EWTN Global Catholic Network is available in over 200 million television households in over 140 countries and territories. Its AM and FM radio networks have a U.S. affiliate base exceeding 200 stations and a worldwide shortwave radio station. The network already streams radio through its website www.ewtn.com.

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment serves 150 cities with 850 radio stations. It has 239 million monthly listeners in the U.S.

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US bishops call for renewed view of marriage in wake of election

Washington D.C., Nov 9, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - The U.S. bishops' leader on defense of marriage issues is calling for prayer and a “renewed culture of marriage” in light of recent votes against preserving the meaning of the institution in four states.

“In a society marked by increasing poverty and family fragmentation, marriage needs to be strengthened, promoted, and defended, not redefined,” said Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, who chairs the bishops' subcommittee on defending marriage.

In a Nov. 7 statement, the archbishop explained that the previous day's election “was a disappointing day for marriage,” as efforts to preserve marriage’s unique meaning in law lost narrowly after being vastly outspent by opponents.

Voters in four states were faced with ballot measures involving the definition of marriage on Nov. 6. For the first time in U.S. history, “gay marriage” was approved by a vote of the people rather than by legislators or a court decision. Previously, marriage as the union of one man and one woman had been affirmed by voters in 32 states.

In both Maryland and Washington state, lawmakers had recently passed bills to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. However, opponents of both bills gathered enough signatures to put the laws before the people in a referendum before they went into effect.

Maryland voters narrowly approved the law to redefine marriage, and while votes in Washington are still being confirmed, it is projected that the referendum succeeded there as well.

In Minnesota, voters rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have protected the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This definition of marriage is currently enshrined in state law, but the constitutional amendment would have given it further security.

Maine activists seeking to redefine marriage were able to put forward a referendum to reverse the people’s 2009 vote to protect marriage. That effort succeeded, and the state will soon begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

Archbishop Cordileone voiced disappointment with the election results but emphasized that the true meaning of marriage "cannot be redefined because it lies within our very nature.”

“No matter what policy, law or judicial decision is put into place, marriage is the only institution that unites a man and a woman to each other and to any children born of their union,” he said. “It is either this, or it is nothing at all.”

Every child is born from a mother and a father and has the right to be raised by them together, the archbishop said. As a result, marriage has a unique meaning and exists for the good of children.

Emphasizing the growing problems of poverty and broken families, he voiced hope that politicians, judges and the American people “will seek to honor this foundational and common sense truth of marriage.”

Archbishop Cordileone thanked everyone who had given their time, energy and resources to the efforts to protect marriage. He called for continued work to strengthen the fundamental social institution and educate others about its importance.

"I especially call on all people to pray and to build a renewed culture of marriage and the family,” he said. “This is a fundamental task on which the future good and stability of our society, and particularly that of our children, rest."

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Pro-life leaders aim at cultural change after election losses

Washington D.C., Nov 9, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Despite pro-life setbacks in the Nov. 6 election, there is still hope and ample opportunity for progress in promoting a culture of life in the coming years, pro-life advocates are saying.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, explained that the election “confirmed for every pro-lifer that we cannot rely on politicians to abolish abortion.”

“We first must change the culture and then the culture will shape our politicians and laws,” she told CNA.

On Nov. 6, President Barack Obama was elected to a second term by the American people after committing himself to furthering tax-payer funded abortion without restrictions.

Deep political divisions between the U.S. House and Senate also make it unlikely that major federal pro-life legislation will pass in the coming years.

At the state level, a Florida measure that would have prevented taxpayer funds for paying for abortions failed, while a parental notification law for girls under 16 seeking an abortion in Montana was passed. An attempt to repeal the death penalty in California also failed to win voter approval.

But Hawkins believes there is still important work to be done in changing minds and hearts across America.

The election “showed that we can't be afraid to talk about these ‘hard issues,’” she said, pointing to the Democratic Party’s strong emphasis on abortion at its national convention and throughout the campaign.

The Republican Party failed to respond with an equally strong emphasis, she said, and exit polls indicate that “there were a lot of pro-lifers missing” on Election Day.

“We need to march forward, courageously, doing what we have been doing for the past four years,” Hawkins asserted. She listed her priorities as reaching out to women in need, spreading the pro-life message and working through local efforts to expose and de-fund Planned Parenthood and remove its presence from schools.

“We need to work to develop better alternative and resource centers in our communities, so no women is ever forced to sacrifice her kids to and to put her life in the hands of Planned Parenthood,” she added.

Hawkins also stressed the importance of reaching out to young people. While support for Obama was down from 2008 among young voters, the president still captured a significant majority of the youth voting bloc.

“There is much more work to be done educating young people about abortion,” she said.

While Gallup polls indicate that this generation of young people is pro-life, it can be difficult for them – having been taught all their lives that truth is relative – to move from the understanding that abortion is wrong to the conviction that abortion should be illegal, she explained.

“We must continue forward, speaking to our young people about their worldview, why life is intrinsically valuable, and how making a horrific act such as abortion illegal is the morally right thing to do,” she said.

Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, agreed that there is a need to continue building on the “dramatic success” achieved in the past decade.

The election was definitely a loss for the pro-life movement, she said, but the good news is that groups like Americans United for Life have a “clear, direct and strategic plan” for moving ahead.

Despite the hostile atmosphere at the national level, there is significant hope for pro-life advances at the state level, she explained.

In the past four years, Americans United for Life has promoted the passage of nearly 100 pieces of pro-life legislation in states across America, including sonogram laws, clinic regulations and other abortion restrictions.

“We’re seeing a tidal wave of pro-life legislation sweep across the country,” Yoest said, noting that the “accumulation of victories” is encouraging.

While she acknowledged that it would be good to have Supreme Court justices who respect the right to life, she added that it is still possible to navigate around the court’s infamous 1973 decision and “start legislating for a post-Roe America.”

Yoest also pointed to the importance of changing minds and hearts through one-on-one engagement with women in need.

She cited efforts to partner with pregnancy care centers to show women that although abortion may be a legal option, it is not a good option.

“By working with those women, we shape the culture,” she explained.

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Pope prays for Guatemala earthquake victims

Vatican City, Nov 9, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI sent condolences to the victims of the Nov. 7 earthquake that killed at least 50 people in Guatemala, and offered prayers for the Central American nation.

In message sent to the head of the Guatemalan bishops' conference, Bishop Rodolfo Valenzuela of Vera Paz, the Pope said he was “Deeply saddened to hear the painful news of the earthquake which has left many dead and injured, as well as immeasurable material damage in your beloved country.”

According to the latest reports from the country’s president, Otto Perez – who traveled to the hardest hit region of San Marcos – 155 people have been wounded, 23 remain missing and more than 17,000 have been displaced.

The president declared three days of mourning for the victims and said Guatemalans should resume their normal activities even though the country remains on red alert for possible aftershocks.

In his message, Pope Benedict offered to Guatemalans his “spiritual closeness to all citizens. I offer fervent prayers for the eternal repose of the victims and pray to the Almighty that He may grant consolation to those affected by this terrible disaster, and inspire in everyone sentiments of fraternal solidarity to face this adversity.”

“I also earnestly encourage the Christian communities, civil institutions and men and women of goodwill to lend their assistance to the victims, with generosity of spirit and willing charity," the Pope said.

He concluded his message invoking “the loving protection of Our Lady of the Rosary” and imparting the apostolic blessing “as a sign of affection to the beloved Guatemalan people, who are so present in my heart.”

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US ambassador to Vatican says he built bridges despite tensions

Rome, Italy, Nov 9, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - During his tenure as the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Miguel H. Diaz found himself seeking a middle ground in the sometimes tense relationship between the Church and the Obama administration, and as he leaves his post he believes he was able to do that.

“I think every ambassador has moments of unease dealing with different policies of his or her own administration,” Ambassador Diaz said during a Nov. 8 evening roundtable interview with journalists at his residence.

CNA asked Diaz, a theologian, if it ever made him uneasy representing an administration that found itself at odds with the Church over the Health and Human Services mandate. The regulation, which was finalized Jan. 20, 2012, requires employers to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

He replied by referencing the tension he had growing up as a Cuban-born American who emigrated to the United States at age 11.

“I’ve lived my life on that bridge, on that hyphen. I have refused to choose either /or – either your Cuban identity or your American identity. And I am an American who is also Catholic. Living in that tension can be a tension, but it can be a creative tension.”

When he was asked to address the fact that the mandate is having a nationwide impact and that the Church has strongly protested it, Diaz said he believes in a “glass half full” and “both/and” approach.

He thinks the new health care law has helped many people, including a brother of his who does not have health insurance.

“Consider the possibility that people could have found life in this decision,” he said. “Not everything is completely black or white. Generally speaking, ethical life is a complex life.”

He repeatedly stressed that an ambassador’s job deals with foreign policy, not domestic disputes.

Asked about what he brought to the job as ninth U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, he said his strength was in being a “bridge-builder” who could find “common ground and creative solutions” – even when U.S. policies have been opposed to Church teaching.

He pointed to the Vatican conference on HIV/AIDS that occurred early in his tenure as an example of such cooperation. “Should the United States not have partaken in it because it has been the policy of successive administrations to promote condom distribution?” he asked.

Diaz said he found common ground with the Holy See by focusing on preventing the transmission of the HIV virus from mother to child.

“After that we obtained a huge grant for the Vatican in terms of medical supplies from the United States,” he noted. “Many times we know that prudence yields much life.”

Rather than be stymied by Vatican differences over Obama administration positions on such issues as abortion and homosexual rights, Diaz said he tried to focus on neutral issues such as human trafficking, humanitarian assistance and violations of religious freedom.

That last issue prompted one reporter to ask him how he reacted when Pope Benedict called the HHS mandate a “grave threat” to religious liberty in the United States that would involve “cooperation in intrinsically evil practices.”

“I carried out the work that day that I had on my desk,” responded Diaz. “Unless that statement had led to some kind of diplomatic crisis, in which case I would immediately have stepped in to put out the fire.”

Diaz said that during his time in Rome, every U.S. bishop that came to the embassy was supportive.

“I don’t think there was a single one of them that didn’t appreciate my presence here and the work that I’ve been doing here with respect to the role and importance of having an American ambassador and connecting the Holy See to the U.S. government.”

Reflecting on his tenure, the father of four called it a “challenging as well as a grace-filled time” in which he did his duty according to the mandate he was given.

“As a Christian I can say that I totally believe that life oftentimes emerges out of tension, and out of loss and out of darkness and out of death. I’ve experienced that,” he said.

“I’ve not allowed for tensions to deter me from the job that the President of the United States asked me to accomplish, which was to build bridges, which was to sustain and deepen the diplomatic relation between the United States of America and the Holy See.

“I’ll let history be the judge whether I’ve succeeded in doing that over my past three-and-a-half years.”

Next week Diaz will return to Washington, D.C., and will officially remain ambassador until a classified date for security reasons. Then he will take a six-month sabbatical before returning to the classroom as University Professor of Faith and Culture at the University of Dayton, an endowed professorship.

He will take his “practical international and diplomatic experience back to the level of the Catholic intellectual tradition,” he said, hoping it will enrich his academic contributions as a Catholic theologian.

“I’m going back home to build some bridges,” he told a group of the journalists who mingled afterward.

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Diocese laments massacre of farm workers in Colombia

Bogotá, Colombia, Nov 9, 2012 (CNA) - The Diocese of Santa Rosa de Osos in the Colombian province of Antioquia has condemned the massacre of 10 farm workers at the end of their work day by unknown assailants.

According to local media, on Nov. 7 the men were finishing their day when they were cornered by a group thought to be members of a criminal gang called “Los Rastrojos.”  

A few days earlier, members of the gang threatened farm workers because the owner of the farm refused to pay the gang extortion money.

The group of assailants threw a grenade at the men and then shot them with long-range rifles. One of the farm workers survived and is being treated at a local hospital.

The Colombian government has offered a $28,000 reward for information on the massacre, which has terrorized residents in the town of Santa Rosa de Osos.

Bishop Jorge Alberto Ossa of the local diocese issued a statement on Nov. 8 condemning and lamenting “the vile and inhumane act in which a group of defenseless farm workers from our diocese were murdered.”

He called on officials to defend the lives and rights of local residents and demanded that “these acts of barbarism not go unpunished.”

Bishop Ossa called on those responsible for the killings to a conversion of heart and offered sympathy to the family members of the farm workers.

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Pope names former Vatican official as Boston auxiliary bishop

Boston, Mass., Nov 9, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Monsignor Robert P. Deeley, current vicar general of Boston and a former official at the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, as an auxiliary bishop for the Boston archdiocese.

Throughout his priesthood Bishop-designate Deeley “has served with a deep and abiding commitment to Christ and the Church,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley, who voiced gratitude to the Pope for the appointment.

“As a pastor, as Judicial Vicar, in his vital work at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, and now as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia he has contributed greatly to the life of the Church, always focused on bringing people closer to God,” the cardinal reflected.

The appointment was announced on Nov. 9 in Washington, D.C., by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the U.S.

“I am humbled by the Holy Father’s confidence in me by appointing me to the episcopacy,” said Bishop-designate Deeley.

“I pray that God grants me wisdom to continue to do the work He has blessed me with in nearly forty years of being a priest,” he added. “Throughout, I have been inspired by the love and support of my family and the joy of bringing the sacraments to our people.”

Born in Cambridge, Mass., in 1946, Bishop-designate Deeley attended The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he earned a doctorate in canon law. He was ordained a priest in Boston in 1973.

In addition to serving in local parishes, he has worked as secretary to the archdiocesan metropolitan tribunal and as the judicial vicar.

In 2004, Bishop-designate Deeley was called to Rome by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI – who led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to assist with work in canon law.

He returned to Boston in 2011 after being named vicar general and moderator of the Curia for the archdiocese. Cardinal O’Malley noted that after his ordination, Bishop-designate Deeley will continue to serve in these positions.

For his episcopal motto, he has chosen “Veritatem Facere in Caritate,” a phrase from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians which means “To Live the Truth in Love.”

He will be ordained at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Jan. 4, 2013 and will join five other active auxiliary bishops in the archdiocese.

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Plans emerge for Pope's personal Twitter account

Vatican City, Nov 9, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Just after holding the synod on the New Evangelization, Vatican officials say that Pope Benedict XVI will start his own Twitter account.

The announcement of his new account, which may be launched by the end of the year, comes after bishops from around the world met in Rome to discuss ways to evangelize an increasingly secular world.

At the evangelization synod of bishops, which concluded on Oct. 28, one of the messages that emerged was that social networks and other new media environments are places where "consciences are often formed, where people spend their time and live their lives. It is a new opportunity for touching the human heart."

Pope Benedict has used Twitter before, but the one instance of that happening involved him launching a news portal for all of the Vatican’s news outlets. He inaugurated that portal by tweeting, "Dear Friends, I just launched News.va. Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI."

But the Pope will now have his own account, which will offer feeds in five or six languages, and some believe Latin, the Church's official language, could be one of them.

"We've been speaking for some time now of a Twitter on behalf of the Pope," Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office, told CNA on Nov. 9. "The project continues to be studied. All the relevant information, including also its handling, is not now known."

"It's possible that this will happen by the end of the year, but I always recommend waiting for the official announcements before giving indications of the precise time," he added.

The Vatican already has several accounts in different languages, including Vatican news @news_va_en, Vatican communications @PCCS_VA, and the social network @Pope2YouVatican.

The Twitter account for the Vatican news site has 105,000 followers and shares links to Vatican Radio’s stories and other news updates every hour.

But there are also several fake accounts that claim to be Pope Benedict's.

The Pope, who still writes letters by hand, will not be tweeting himself, but he will approve each message posted on his behalf.

"Tweets will be fairly infrequent and their content will probably not veer too far from his texts, and on many occasions point to the things the Pope says," a Vatican official told Newsmax.

The Vatican is hoping to evangelize through Twitter, which has around 500 million users.

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Bishop Justin Welby chosen to lead Anglican Communion

London, England, Nov 9, 2012 (CNA) - Bishop of Durham Justin Welby will become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, succeeding the retiring Dr. Rowan Williams.

“I feel a massive sense of privilege at being one of those responsible for the leadership of the church in a time of spiritual hunger,” said the 56-year-old father of six, who was an oil industry executive before pursuing a religious vocation.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office formally announced the appointment, saying he had been the “overwhelming choice” of the British Crown Nominations Commission, a body made up of clergy and laypeople.

Bishop Welby is widely hailed for his personal holiness and ability to sort out complex issues, which supporters hope will serve him well as church attendance continues to drop and the Church of England wrestles with divisive issues such as female clergy and bishops, ordaining practicing homosexuals, and creating wedding ceremonies for gays.

The future Archbishop of Canterbury got a warm reception from Catholic quarters, including Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols.

“I am sure that his ministry, like that of his predecessor Archbishop Rowan Williams, will provide an important Christian witness to this country over the coming years,” said the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.

The  President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, welcomed Bishop Welby’s appointment and will be traveling to England for his installation next March 21.

Bishop Welby’s press conference today underscored why Professor Paul Murray, director of the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University, described him to Vatican Radio as “a very unusual combination.”

On the one hand, he praised “the riches of Benedictine and Ignatian spirituality, the treasures of contemplative prayer and adoration,” and being “confronted with the rich and challenging social teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.” He mentioned no other branch of Christianity in his remarks.

He also admitted, like his predecessor, to taking spiritual direction from a Benedictine monk.

But Bishop Welby also took the occasion to voice his support for an issue that is further straining the theologically divided Church of England and is being hotly debated at its general synod, which will end later this month.

“I will be voting in favor” of ordaining women bishops, he said, “and join my voice to many others in urging the synod to go forward with this change.”

Dr. Williams is also pushing this measure, saying it is “inconsistent to exclude in principle a baptized person from the possibility of ordained ministry.”

The issue will be decided at a two-day meeting that will begin Nov. 19. If it fails to pass, it cannot be brought up for reconsideration until the next synod in 10 years. The Church of England allowed for the ordination of women in 1992.

Bishop Welby’s predecessor served 10 years in the position before announcing his retirement earlier this year. He struggled to maintain order in the Anglican Communion, which is divided over issues of sexuality and ordination.

In 2006 Archbishop Williams chided the Episcopal Church, the American branch of the Anglican Communion, for its embrace of homosexuality, including ordaining an openly homosexual bishop living with his partner. “In terms of decision-making the American Church has pushed the boundaries,” he said.

Many disaffected traditional Anglicans have left for other churches rather than remain in a church where theology and morality seem up for grabs.

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