Archive of March 13, 2013

Benedictine monk: reverent liturgy helps us encounter Christ

La Garde-Freinet, France, Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Celebrating the liturgy with reverence and beauty helps facilitate the encounter with Christ during the Mass, reflected a monk involved in organizing a conference on liturgy in Rome this summer.

“Our liturgical nourishment must be ample and in accord with the mind and tradition of the Church if we are to take our place in the world as witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Dom Alcuin Reid, a Benedictine monk speaking from France, told CNA March 8.

Dom Reid said the importance of “liturgical nourishment” is analogous the importance of bodily nutrition, noting how “we know how essential it is for children to receive the sufficient and correct nutrition if they are to grow into healthy adults.”

Dom Reid is assisting Bishop Dominique Rey of the Fréjus-Toulon diocese in organizing “Sacra Liturgia 2013,” a conference which will discuss the role of the liturgy as a foundation for the Church's mission, all in the context of the Year of Faith.

“Sacra Liturgia 2013” will be held in Rome June 25-28, and will include speakers as well as celebrations of Mass and Vespers.

The conference is being co-sponsored by The Cardinal Newman Society, Ignatius Press, De Montfort Music, and other groups.

Speakers include Cardinals Malcolm Ranjith and Leo Burke; Archbishop Alexander Sample; Monsignor Guido Marini; and Tracey Rowland. Topics include such things as “liturgical catechesis and the New Evangelization” and “the Sacred Liturgy and the New Communities.”

Bishop Rey told New Liturgical Movement that he hopes the conference “will help further the liturgical renewal so dear to Pope Benedict’s heart and demonstrate liturgical foundation the of New Evangelization in this Year of Faith.”

“The purpose of evangelization,” Dom Reid said, is to bring people to an encounter with the person Jesus Christ.

How we encounter Christ, he said, is precisely “in his Church through the liturgy, in the sacraments and other rites.”

“Baptism establishes the life of Christ within me...the Eucharist completes this initiation and sustains me in the Christian life. Through the Prayer of the Church I join him in offering praise, thanksgiving and supplication to the Father.”

“Through the sacraments of matrimony and holy orders I am given the grace necessary for my vocation. In confession I meet the healing mercy of Christ when I am wounded by sin,” reflected Dom Reid.

Thus, the celebration of the liturgy is central to our relationship with Christ. While “some see it as  enough that these rites are celebrated validly and licitly,” Dom Reid said it is “hardly sufficient.”

“If we take seriously that fact that we are bodily, sensual creatures whose connection with Christ is by means of created signs...we will celebrate the liturgy as well as we possibly can so as to optimize our connection, as bodily and psychological creatures, with the person of Jesus Christ.”

Liturgy matters, Dom Reid said, because “that connection is the foundation of all evangelization.”

He offered two contrasting examples, showing how different ways of celebrating Mass can have “very different effects” on those attending. A priest whose manner of celebrating Mass suggests reverence, profound faith, and “awe for the mysteries celebrated” may “easily bridge the way for those assembled to encounter Christ.”

On the other hand, a priest who emits “a desire to be finished as soon as possible,” even though his Mass is licit and valid, will be “mitigating optimal connection with the action of Christ,” at the level of human engagement.

“Where the liturgy is celebrated well, fully, making use of the multivalent riches of Catholic liturgical tradition, I am likely to be more engaged, better connected, with Christ,” Dom Reid concluded.

In announcing “Sacra Liturgia 2013,” Bishop Rey noted that “the Sacred Liturgy is at the centre of the new evangelization” and that the conference would be “focusing on the liturgy and liturgical formation as the point of departure for the new evangelization.”

Dom Reid echoed this, saying that “our Christian life and formation is essentially liturgical – only from that are we able to go out as evangelists.”

He even went so far as to say, “there is no such thing as an un-liturgical Catholic.”

The approach to liturgy should be one that seeks the beautiful and the best because “if the liturgy is celebrated in a minimalistic way – or worse, if it is abused by individuals or groups in a way the Church neither intends or permits – then my formation will be deficient,” said Dom Reid.

“My connection with Christ will be impeded and my opportunities to thank God or to seek his healing and strength will be jeopardized.”

Benedict XVI set an example for the proper place of liturgy in the Christian life, Dom Reid suggested. He referenced his words, spoken while prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that “the true celebration of the sacred liturgy is at the centre of any renewal of the Church whatever.”

While “in recent decades” the importance of liturgical nourishment “has not, perhaps, been well appreciated,” Dom Reid said that Benedict's 2007 apostolic exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis” was a reminder that “our liturgical diet has to be more than the mere minimum.”

Dom Reid concluded by saying that “when the sacred liturgy – old or new – is celebrated according to this spirit (of richness and beauty) it forms and sustains us in the life of faith and in our mission in the world.”

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Champion of 'feminine genius' celebrated on 90th birthday

Alexandria, Va., Mar 13, 2013 (CNA) - On her 90th birthday, noted philosopher and Catholic theologian Alice von Hildebrand has been lauded for both her teachings and example of “authentic womanhood.”

“Alice von Hildebrand has written eloquently on the beauty of femininity,” John Henry Crosby, director of the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project, told CNA March 12.

“Yet what makes her such a compelling proponent is that she embodies in her own person the grace, depth, receptivity – and, indeed, the genius – of authentic womanhood.”

March 11 marked von Hildebrand's 90th birthday. She is regarded as a pillar of courage, knowledge, and wit, and is well known in the Catholic world and beyond.

von Hildebrand is a philosopher and theologian and spent 37 years as a professor of philosophy at Hunter College in New York City. Hunter College is a private, secular institution, yet Alice was able to spend many years there influencing the thought of students.

“Nowadays, Alice von Hildebrand writes for a worldwide audience of devoted fans. Yet we cannot forget that her gifts were honed in the crucible of tremendous opposition she endured during her thirty-seven years as professor of philosophy in a secular university,” Crosby said.

“Her witness needs to be emulated, for she did not rail against her situation; rather, she became an extraordinary teacher who won over thousands of students by persuasion, intelligence, and wit.”

She is the widow of Dietrich von Hildebrand, also a philosopher and theologian. They were married from 1957 until his death in 1977, and co-authored several books. Many of his works were publicized because of her efforts typing and editing his manuscripts.

Crosby noted that von Hildebrand “has devoted her life to promoting the thought of her late husband, the great Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand. She has no equal in her ability to distill his profound insights into practical wisdom.”

Alice herself is the author of “Greek Culture,” “Introduction to a Philosophy of Religion,” “By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride,” and “The Privilege of Being a Woman,” among other works.

She is also a guest columnist at Catholic News Agency.

The occasion of her 90th birthday is being celebrated with a year-long exploration of her “rich life and innumerable contributions” by the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project.

“Great and inspiring lives need to be celebrated – to honor those who have lived them, to be sure, but perhaps even more so to awaken us all to the beauty of giving ourselves totally and generously to our particular vocations,” Crosby wrote in an announcement of the initiative.

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New Facebook game draws from 'The Bible' TV series

Mountain View, Calif., Mar 13, 2013 (CNA) - A Christian game developer has launched a new Facebook game based on the History Channel mini-series “The Bible,” aiming to offer internet fun while promoting knowledge of Scripture.

“What I’m really passionate about is high-quality Christian entertainment,” Brent Dusing, Lightside Games founder and CEO, told CNA on March 11. “In partnering with ‘The Bible’ Series, we're working with people who share that same passion.”

The new game “Light the Way: The Bible,” launched on Facebook March 12. It allows players to search for hidden objects, solve puzzles and find differences in side-by-side scene comparisons. It uses images and music from The Bible series, and players can share their progress with other Facebook users.

The game will also be available for iPad in several weeks, while an iPhone launch is scheduled for April.

“If you want to give your kids a game they'll remember, you can teach them to use birds to shoot pigs, or you can teach them the Bible,” Dusing said. In his view, the game will help in “building bridges” between parents and kids, friends and neighbors, and Christians and non-Christians.

“We find so many people learn the stories of the Bible through playing the game,” he said.

“The Bible” television series, a ten-hour, five-part docudrama, premiered March 3 on the History Channel. Its retelling of stories from the Old Testament and New Testament has reached millions of viewers, and it is presently the highest-rated television show of 2013.

Series producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have endorsed the “Light the Way” game.

“Lightside Games clearly shares our passion for telling the timeless stories of the Bible in new, engaging yet accurate ways,” Burnett said.

Downey, who also plays the role of the Virgin Mary in the series, said the producers hope the television series “excites people to open their Bibles and reconnect with the wonderful stories and timeless truths inside.”

She said the game is “the perfect way for teachers, parents and children to have fun” while exploring Scripture and engaging with the television series.

Lightside Games, based in Mountain View, Calif., has previously released a Facebook game on the life of Moses and another on the life of Jesus.

“The ability to reach millions upon millions of people around the world with God's Truth in a fun, engaging way is my life's calling,” Dusing said. “It’s incredibly rewarding to hear testimonies from our players about how their lives have changed.”

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No Pope after third round of voting

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - At 11:38 a.m. local time on March 13, black smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney, indicating that the cardinals gathered at the Vatican have not yet reached an agreement on the next Pope.

Voting began on the evening of March 12, yielding an initial inconclusive vote marked by black smoke at 7:43 p.m. local time.

Two more rounds of voting will be held in the afternoon, with a smoke signal expected between 7:00p.m. and 8:00p.m.

As a general rule four rounds of voting and two smoke signals will take place each day, until a Pope is chosen. The exception to that rule occurs when a Pope is selected on either the morning of the afternoon’s first ballot. In that case, the smoke will be seen around10:30 a.m. or 5:30 p.m.

This conclave seems to proceeding quickly with the votes, usually sending up smoke signals on the earlier side of the expected time window.

When 77 of the 115 cardinal electors – two-thirds – give their vote to one candidate agreement, white smoke will be sent up from the chimney and the bells of St. Peter’s will toll, signaling that a new Holy Father has been chosen.

The cardinals will spend time in prayer each day of the conclave, asking the Holy Spirit to lead them in the process of electing the new Pontiff.

If there is no Pope by Friday night, the cardinals will rest on Saturday and voting will resume again on Sunday.

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Three cardinals entered conclave with strong candidacies

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Last night black smoke poured out of the Sistine Chapel smoke stack, leaving no doubt that a single cardinal was unable to reach the two-thirds of the vote needed to be elected the next Pope.

In 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – according to a cardinal’s diary published in 2006 in the Italian magazine Limes – got 47 votes out of 115 on the first scrutiny, and the consensus around him grew until he overtook the two-thirds margin on the fourth vote and was elected Pope. The election lasted less than one full day.

But this time around, will there be a cardinal that can accomplish Cardinal Ratzinger’s feat? Apparently the answer is no.

According to several sources who gave their analyses to CNA before the conclave – including a cardinal’s secretary and some personnel who work inside the Vatican – three cardinals entered the conclave with a considerable package of votes: the Brazilian Odilo Pedro Scherer, the Canadian Marc Ouellet and the American Timothy Dolan.

Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan probably took a portion of the votes, but not as much as one might expect.

He comes from Communion and Liberation – a Church movement that has pontifical approval and whose founder’s cause for sainthood is being considered – but he has worked to shed the image of being a movement follower.

Cardinal Scola, who is well connected with the media, was reported by the Italian daily La Stampa as addressing head-on the issue of whether or not he is considered a papal contender, saying that he did not want to hear anyone approach him with a deal or a bargain.

And Rocco Buttiglione – an Italian politician who is a long-time friend of Scola – gave an interview recently to the Italian newspaper Il Giornale in which he explained “Scola distanced himself from Communion and Liberation almost 20 years ago, when the most political faction of the ecclesiastical movement (which he did not agree with) came to power.”

The Communion and Liberation scandals are mostly an Italian story. During the 1990s, many members of the movement entered politics. Things were more or less uneventful until 2012, when some of them were investigated for allegations of kickbacks and money laundering.

These developments meant that Scola needed to improve his image in the Italian press.

He will not presumably get the votes of Italian cardinals, and he will not probably get the votes of the Latin-American cardinals.

On Italian side, Scola’s appointment to an important archdiocese made part of the country’s bishops very upset. He was appointed Archbishop of Milan from his previous post as Patriarch of Venice, in an unprecedented decision by Pope Benedict XVI. There were many within the Italian episcopate that either wanted to be appointed to Milan or to have one of their protégés in the post.

The Latin American cardinals just have a different approach to the papal vote and not many of them seem to appreciate Communion and Liberation.

But Scola is able to build a certain consensus in Europe – where bishops and priests appreciated his theological works. He also is looked upon favorably in some Middle-Eastern countries as well, thanks to Oasis, a magazine and cultural center he that created as a bridge to the East. The magazine is in multiple languages including Arabic and Urdu, with showed his attention to Islam and Christianity in those countries.

Scola’s candidacy is one that will result from a compromise among the cardinals, and he knows that.

The prominent Vatican analyst Sandro Magister told CNA March 12 that this is why Scola would back Dolan as the new Pope for the first rounds of voting.  

According to a source aware of their discussions, Cardinal Dolan could have received nearly all 11 votes from the American cardinals as well.

The anonymous source said that Cardinal Francis George called on his fellow Americans to “vote for Timothy,” at least in the first ballots, likely resulting in a consensus of around 20 or 30 votes.

He could make the cut to be the next Pope, but he needs to reach the 77-vote threshold by the fifth scrutiny, which will take place Wednesday evening.

If no clear candidate emerges by the fifth round, the cardinals will seek a new person.

Cardinal Scola is a likely a compromise solution. He could be planning a late entry into the race, after the cardinals see that the initial candidates are not able to draw enough votes.  

According to a March 12 report in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Scola had secured the backing of up to 50 electors prior to the conclave starting. He is still far from the 77 cardinals needed to be the new Pope, but maybe – if he enters the race this afternoon – he will get some of the votes that previously went to Scherer and Dolan.

It seems possible that the cardinals will not reach an agreement even today. In that case, the new Pope would be elected on Thursday, at the third day of scrutiny.

Names to watch as possible second round candidates are: Cardinal Vinko Pulji of Sarajevo, who earned respect for his work in Catholic-Muslim dialogue; Cardinal Péter Erd? of Budapest, a canon law expert who is of the Ratzinger school, and would also get the vote of Cardinal Bertone’s side of the Curia cardinals who are now presumably voting for Cardinal Ouellet; and finally Cardinal Willem Eijk of Utrecht in the Netherlands who is respected among the European Episcopal Conferences and is well regarded in Rome.

Will the new Pope come from this set of three?

Knowing for sure what the cardinals are inclined to do would help the analysis, but the nature of conclaves is that nothing is ever certain. Inside the Sistine Chapel’s walls the cardinals’ tendencies and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit might make things very different than what they were on outside.

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Healthier cardinals means earlier smoke signals

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The smoke signals that indicate whether or not a new Pope has been chosen might be earlier than in the past because there are no cardinals in the infirmary.

According to the Vatican’s press office director Father Federico Lombardi, “the rapidity of the vote shows it. Making use of the 'Infirmarii' (those who bring one of the voting urns to any cardinals who are too ill to attend the proceedings in the Sistine Chapel) would require more time.”

In fact, all 115 cardinal electors are present in the Sistine Chapel, even though one African cardinal is in a wheelchair and Cardinal Ivan Dias is using arm braces to walk.

They each required a nurse to help them into the conclave, and those medical assistants remained with them inside, Fr. Lombardi said at a March 13 press briefing.

The smoke, known as the “fumata” in Italian, was originally forecast to be visible around noon and 7:00 p.m. any day after the first evening of the conclave.

Last night’s smoke was expected around 8:00 p.m. because the conclave heard a meditation before its first vote.

But the first black smoke appeared at 7:42 p.m., almost 20 minutes early.

The next signal would normally have been seen at close to noon, however it rose from the smoke stack at 11:40 a.m., in keeping with the pattern of the night before.

Fr. Lombardi also mentioned that the Vatican received numerous phone calls from concerned locals who thought that the amount of smoke must have meant that something went wrong and that it also got inside the chapel.

“The smoke didn't damage any of Michelangelo's frescos or endanger the health of the cardinals,” he said.

“The prelates are all doing well, are in good spirits, and this morning some even walked to the Pauline Chapel, where they celebrated Mass before entering the Sistine Chapel,” Fr. Lombardi added.

The stove that generates the smoke is outfitted with a device that accepts a cartridge containing five doses of a chemical compound that will produce about seven minutes of black or white smoke that mingles with the smoke from the ballots.

The black smoke is produced by a mixture of potassium perchlorate, anthracene, and sulphur, while the white smoke is made by burning a mixture of potassium chlorate, lactose, and rosin – a natural amber resin.

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LA archdiocese settles sex abuse case for nearly $10 million

Los Angeles, Calif., Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $9.99 million to settle a case brought by four supposed sex abuse victims of Michael Baker, who was formerly a priest of the archdiocese.

The cases allege that Baker sexually abused the boys on multiple occasions as early as the 1970s. Baker was ordained a priest in 1974, and resigned from the priesthood in 2000.

As part of the settlement, announced March 12, none of the parties admit wrongdoing.

In 2007, Baker plead guilty to 12 counts of molesting two minors, and was jailed. He was released in 2011.

The same year as Baker's conviction, the Los Angeles archdiocese made a “global settlement” with more than 500 alleged victims of clergy abuse for some $660 million.

In January, the archdiocese released personnel files dating from 1986 and 1987, which were filed as evidence in litigation involving Baker and another ex-priest, Nicholas Aguilar Rivera.

The files showed that in the late 1980s, Cardinal Roger Mahony – then the archbishop of Los Angeles – and Bishop Thomas Curry, who was then archdiocesan vicar of clergy, corresponded often about dealing with priests who had sexually abused minors, including Baker.

Despite this, Baker was not removed from ministry until 2000.

On Jan. 31, Archbishop José Gomez, the current head of the archdiocese, announced that with the release of Baker's, and other priests' personnel files, Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Curry would no longer have any official duties in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Archbishop Gomez, who was appointed Los Angeles' coadjutor bishop in 2010, announced that “I find these files to be brutal and painful reading...We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today.”

Cardinal Mahony led the Los Angeles archdiocese for 26 years. On Feb. 1, he released a letter he wrote to Archbishop Gomez explaining his history of dealing with clergy sexual abuse.

“Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem,” he said.

He reproached his archbishop for not expressing displeasure with his policies before now.

“Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors.”

Archbishop Gomez' decision to relieve Bishops Mahony and Curry of their duties in his archdiocese has been widely welcomed, with local author and historian Charles Coulombe calling it “the best possible thing he could have done.”

“In every way seemingly, he's the opposite of his predecessor, and that's what we need,” Coulombe told CNA last month.

The Los Angeles archdiocese now provides training for both adults and children about how to prevent abuse. It has been found in compliance with every audit of child protection measures, which have been conducted since 2004.

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White smoke from Vatican chimney, new Pope to be announced

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - White smoke billowing from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney on March 13 indicated that the
College of Cardinals had chosen a new Pope.

The identity of the new Holy Father will be revealed shortly, and he will greet the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square from the balcony of the basilica.

The smoke, which was seen rising from the chimney at 7:06 p.m. local time, was
accompanied by the ringing of bells at St. Peter’s to tell the world that two-thirds of the 115 cardinals gathered in the conclave had come to an agreement in casting their ballots for the new Pope.

The voting began on the evening of March 12, yielding an initial inconclusive vote marked by black smoke.

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Cardinal Bergoglio elected as Pope Francis

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has become the next Pope of the Catholic Church, taking the name Francis.

Pope Francis greeted the crowds of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square shortly after 8:00 p.m. local time, after spending time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the Pauline Chapel.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He is a Jesuit and is 76. He is the first Latin American Pope and the first Jesuit Pope. In 2005, he received the second-most votes in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict.

He entered the Society of Jesus in 1958, and obtained a licentiate in philosophy. He was ordained a priest in 1969, and was a theology professor. He was a provincial leader for the Society and a seminary rector.

The College of Cardinals came to an agreement on the Holy Father’s election the afternoon of March 13, after a total of four inconclusive votes earlier that day and the previous day.

Two-thirds of the cardinals present – in this case, 77 of 115 – are necessary to elect a new Pontiff.


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Pope Francis: cardinals went to end of world to find me

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis began his first words to the Church by saying that the cardinals “went to the end of the world” to find the new Bishop of Rome.

“Brothers and Sisters, good evening. You know that the charge of the conclave was to give a bishop of Rome.

“It would seem that my brothers went to the end of the world to choose him,” he said March 13 from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Pope then called on the crowd of tens of thousands to pray for “our Bishop Emeritus Benedict.”

“This way of the Church that we commence on,” he said, is one of “an evangelization in this beautiful city.”

Before he closed his remarks, Pope Francis asked the crowd for the favor of praying for him in silence before he gave his blessing.

He then bowed at the waist as silence settled over St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope blessed the throng of people, saying, “I give my blessing to you and all people of good will in the world.”

“I’m going to say goodbye now, thank you so much for your welcome.”

I say good night “because tomorrow I want to go and pray to Mary for her protection.”

A marching band playing and the bells of St. Peter’s ringing in the night followed Pope Francis’ first words.

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Archbishops Aquila, Chaput welcome Pope Francis

Denver, Colo., Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - American archbishops Samuel J. Aquila and Charles J. Chaput voiced gratitude to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, for accepting election as Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ today.

“Today is a day of great joy for the entire Church. Pope Francis has been called to the ministry of St. Peter: to be the 'visible source and foundation' of unity in the Church,” Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of the Denver archdiocese told CNA shortly after the announcement.

“As we rejoice, Pope Francis begins what will be the most difficult period of his life. Join me in giving thanks and praise to the Father for the gift of Pope Francis. And join me in prayer and fasting for his ministry.”

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia stated that Pope Francis “is a man from the new heartland of the global Church; a priest of extraordinary intellectual and cultural strengths; a man deeply engaged in the issues of contemporary life and able to speak to the modern heart; open to the new realities the Church faces; and rooted in a deep love of Jesus Christ.”

“He is a wonderful choice; a pastor God sends not just to the Church but to every person of good will who honestly yearns for justice, peace and human dignity in our time,” added Archbishop Chaput.

“May God grant him courage and joy, and sustain him with his divine presence. And may Catholics in Philadelphia and around the world lift him up with our prayers.”

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He is a Jesuit and is 76. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1958, and obtained a licentiate in philosophy. He was ordained a priest in 1969, and was a theology professor. He was a provincial leader for the Society and a seminary rector.

He is the first Jesuit Pope, and the first Pope from the New World. He was elected in a 24 hour conclave on the fifth ballot.

In a public statement, Archbishop Aquila added that the Petrine ministry was founded by Christ giving Saint Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

“For two thousand years, the successors of St. Peter have served as the, Pope Francis takes up the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. His leadership, his guidance, and his friendship with Jesus Christ will guide Christ's disciples for the years to come.”

Archbishop Aquila asked that Catholic join him in thanking God the Father for the gift of Pope Francis.

“Please join me too in prayer for his ministry,” he added. “And let us to commit to joining Pope Francis in a life of service, fidelity, and friendship with Jesus Christ, our savior and brother.”

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Pope Francis to have busy schedule in coming days

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Vatican has announced Pope Francis' schedule for the coming days, which will begin with Mass on Thursday, March 14 in the Sistine Chapel together with the cardinals at 5 p.m.

It is expected that Pope Francis will pay a private visit to Santa Maria Maggiore the same day, asking for the Blessed Virgin's protection and intercession during his pontificate.

On March 15 at 11 a.m. he will officially welcome and address the cardinals, both those who elected him and those who are over 80.

On Saturday March 16, Pope Francis will hold an audience for journalists and media representatives in the Paul VI Hall. He will give an Angelus address on Sunday.

Pope Francis' inauguration as Bishop of Rome will be held Tuesday, March 19, the feast day of Saint Joseph. The inauguration is to be held at St. Peter's Square.

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New Pope lived simple life in Argentina

Vatican City, Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis lives very simply, brings a pastoral approach to his ministry, and is a man of prayer, according to the Vatican’s press office director.

Father Thomas Rosica, the English-language assistant for the Vatican press office, told journalists at a hastily arranged March 13 press briefing that he talked to Pope Francis this past Sunday.

“Sunday night we were out for a walk and he pulled me over. He took me by the hand and said, 'I want you to pray for me. I’m a little nervous right now.'”

In February 2001, Fr. Rosica was at a meeting in Buenos Aires of the bishops from throughout Latin America to promote World Youth Day in Canada. He was told that Archbishop Bergoglio was going to celebrate Mass for the people at the meeting.

“So I went in earlier, and sat and prayed in the back. And I saw this man come in with a simple black cassock and knelt in front of me and prayed for the longest time. And then when he came out in the procession, it was the archbishop.”

Later he told Fr. Rosica that he lived “very simply in an apartment in Argentina,” where he took care of “a handicapped Jesuit.”

Pope Francis also said that he cooks for himself and rides the bus to work.

For his part, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said that he is still “shocked” at the news that a fellow Jesuit was elected Pope.

Fr. Lombardi said he does not know the new Pope well – although he met him once at a General Congregation of the Jesuits – but that one could see his simple spirituality and pastoral sense in his first remarks.

“I didn’t expect it to be white this evening. The choice shows courage on the part of the cardinals. It’s the first time we have a Pope from another continent,” Fr. Lombardi remarked.

Pope Francis will be inaugurated on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, at 9:30 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square.

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US political leaders welcome Pope Francis with joy

Washington D.C., Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - American politicians offered prayers and congratulations upon hearing the news that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, SJ, had been elected as the Successor to St. Peter, taking the name Pope Francis.

“On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I offer our warm wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis as he ascends to the Chair of Saint Peter and begins his papacy,” said United States President Barack Obama in a March 13 statement.

Pope Francis, formerly archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the first pope from the Americas, as well as the first Jesuit Pope. He was elected by the College of Cardinals during the fifth vote of the conclave on March 13.

“Just as I appreciated our work with Pope Benedict XVI,” President Obama said, “I look forward to working with His Holiness to advance peace, security and dignity for our fellow human beings, regardless of their faith.”

“We join with people around the world in offering our prayers for the Holy Father as he begins the sacred work of leading the Catholic Church in our modern world.”

A host of Catholic politicians also welcomed the new Holy Father, who was elected by the College of Cardinals on the evening of March 13. He is both the first Jesuit and the first Latin American to be elected Pope.

Vice President Joe Biden announced that he will lead a U.S. delegation to Rome for the installment of Pope Francis on March 19.

“Jill and I want to offer our congratulations to His Holiness Pope Francis, and extend our prayers as he takes on this holy responsibility,” Biden said in a statement.

He explained that the Church “plays an essential role in my life and the lives of more than a billion people in America and around the world, not just in matters of our faith, but in pursuit of peace and human dignity for all faiths.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) voiced gratitude for the election, saying “Thanks be to God for our new pope,” in a statement.

Boehner said that American Catholics “rejoice over this news, and offer our prayers and blessings to His Holiness with confidence that he will fill the Chair of St. Peter with grace.” He added that the Pope’s Latin American roots mark “a new milestone in the history of a faith that has endured for millennia.”

The Speaker of the House also noted the new Pontiff’s humility and charity, reflected in the Pope’s choice of the name “Francis,” saying that the decision sets “an example for how to make God’s love visible to all, especially those in despair or pain.”

U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), also welcomed the new Holy Father.

“With the election of His Holiness Pope Francis, the world’s Catholics turn to a compassionate leader for the poor, a champion of the least fortunate, and a man of humility committed to love and understanding between faiths and nations,” she said.

Senator Marco Rubio (R- Fla.) live-tweeted updates on the election of the new Pope, posting the phrase “habemus papam,” which translates as “we have a pope,” on Twitter as white smoke appeared over the Vatican. Rubio continued as information became available, tweeting updates on who the Pope is and the name he had chosen.

Former senator and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who has spoken openly on his Catholic faith many times, also issued a statement offering prayers for Pope Francis and the world, saying that we “stand with open hearts to embrace our new spiritual father, the successor of St. Peter.”

“And as I watched today’s events unfold and the white smoke rise from the chimney of the Vatican,” Santorum added, “I couldn’t help but be struck by such an awesome celebration of faith in the public square.”


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American bishops overjoyed at election of Pope Francis

Los Angeles, Calif., Mar 13, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Bishops across America voiced joy and gratitude over Pope Francis accepting his election as Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ on March 13.

“I am very happy with the election of Pope Francis,” Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles said. “For us as Catholics, this is a beautiful spiritual moment, a time of joy and thanksgiving. A time for prayer for the whole Church.”

Archbishop Gomez called it a “beautiful sign” that our new Pope is from the Americas, adding that his election “is a call for all of us to strive for holiness and to work to make our countries and our continents a 'new world of faith.'”

Pope Francis was the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires. White smoke wafted from the Sistine Chapel at 7:06 in the evening in Rome on Wednesday, announcing his election.

He greeted the crowds of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square an hour later, after spending time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the Pauline Chapel.

The new pontiff was elected during the fifth ballot of the conclave, on its second day.

Archbishop Gomez noted that Pope Francis has been a “humble man” with a “desire for holiness,” who is “a defender of the poor, a strong teacher, and a leader committed to renewal in the Church and the new evangelization.”

He concluded his statement by asking Our Lady of Guadalupe's intercession for Pope Francis.

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln said his local Church in Nebraska “rejoices with the Universal Church on the election of Pope Francis.”

“Our new Holy Father is a man of deep prayer, humility and absolute fidelity to the doctrine and discipline of the Catholic Church,” he noted.

“He understands the plight of the poor and has a real heart for the New Evangelization.”

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. said he and the local faithful “pledge to him our loyalty and love as the Vicar of Christ, the visible head of the Church Universal and Servant of the servants of God.”

“We thank God for the many intellectual talents and spiritual qualities, pastoral experience and effective ministry of the new Pope.”

“In Pope Francis, we recognize the successor to Peter and the visible sign of the unity of the Church spread throughout the whole world. He is the touchstone for the mission, message and tradition of the Church,” said Cardinal Wuerl.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York weighed in that the election of Pope Francis “marks a great milestone in our church.”

Archbishop Alexander Sample, who is to be installed next month in Portland, Ore., urged prayer for Pope Francis through Twitter: “Begin praying now for Pope Francis. He has asked us to do so, and so we will!” he wrote.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston stated that “I join my brother Cardinals in giving thanks to God for the election of Pope Francis...the world will greatly benefit from Pope Francis witnessing Jesus’ call for us to love God and love one another.”

“We pledge our faithful support for the Holy Father as he leads the Church in proclaiming the New Evangelization, inviting all people to a develop a closer relationship with Christ and to share that gift with others.”

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said Pope Francis “is a wonderful choice; a pastor God sends not just to the Church but to every person of good will who honestly yearns for justice, peace and human dignity in our time.”

In remarks to CNA March 13, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver reflected that “today is a day of great joy for the entire Church.”

“Pope Francis has been called to the ministry of St. Peter: to be the 'visible source and foundation' of unity in the Church.”

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