Archive of April 6, 2013

Archbishop Aquila says immigrants can help renew US Catholicism

Denver, Colo., Apr 6, 2013 (CNA) - Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver said that immigrants should be welcomed as people with human dignity who can aid the renewal of Christianity and Catholic culture in the U.S.

“Immigrant families have always contributed to the richness of our culture – particularly the richness of American Catholic culture,” Archbishop Aquila said in a March 5 speech at the local Regis University chapel.

Supporting immigrant families may be “our clearest hope for the restoration of Christian culture in the United States” in light of family breakdown and cultural decline across the country, he noted.

“I hope that America can become a civilization of love. Promoting family life through immigration law is a way to promote a civilization of love, and a culture of life.”

The archbishop said immigrants should not be viewed “solely through a financial lens” as workers with economic potential. Rather, they are members of families “essential to our social order.”

“They have something to contribute to our national order, because they are human beings, endowed with real dignity,” he said.

Immigration has had a personal impact on the life of the archbishop. His four grandparents came from “the same small town in Sicily,” sometimes following their own parents to the U.S.

“They left everything they had because they needed what America had to offer: the prospect of jobs, of stability, of schools, and doctors, and enough food to feed their children.”

He noted the example of the Holy Family in Mary and Joseph's flight from Herod to Egypt.

“Like today's immigrants, they did not stay forever. They stayed as long as they needed to, and then they returned home,” the archbishop said.

The archbishop said as many as one million legal immigrants enter America each year, joining another 40 million legal immigrants already here. Another 1.5 million enter the U.S. illegally each year.

He said U.S. immigration law is “broken” and set up for past immigration patterns of families who travel together, work in a manufacturing economy and intend to stay permanently. Present forms of immigration are “increasingly temporary and increasingly undocumented.”

The archbishop observed that America is reliant on immigrant labor in agriculture, the service industry, and in oil and mineral extraction.

Justification for breaking immigration law might be applicable “in extreme circumstances” but the archbishop said that for the most part would-be immigrants “should follow the law.”

He criticized lawbreaking but said immigration laws should also be “sensible” and reflect “the needs of nations and the needs of immigrants.”

He called for an immigration policy which “respects the sovereignty of the family” and allows husbands, wives and their children to obtain visas together easily “even when only the father will work.”

He also encouraged alternatives to deportation when it affects families, stressing the duty of government to ensure a just wage for workers that allows them to support “the children God gives them.”

The right to migrate is “rooted in natural law,” he said, citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Aquila said Americans have an obligation to “welcome foreigners in search of security and a just livelihood,” though he acknowledged that this obligation must be tempered by American’s economic conditions and security concerns. He acknowledged nations' “right to security,” which includes secure borders and action against illegal immigration.

He reflected that immigration stems from economic disparity between nations. This means immigrant-receiving countries should consider whether their own economic policy supports “economic growth and administrative integrity” in other countries. Well-run countries, he said, have a duty to encourage other countries to reform.

The archbishop noted that Christians must particularly try to see Jesus in the immigrant.

“Jesus Christ was an immigrant. If we find ways to welcome the immigrants around us, to respect their dignity and freedom, to treat them with justice – we will have welcomed Jesus Christ, and the Holy Family. Whatever we do for the immigrants among us, we will have done for Christ, Our Lord,” he said.

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Christendom College summer program explores Church in Ireland

Front Royal, Va., Apr 6, 2013 (CNA) - Christendom College has announced a new program in Ireland that will be launched this summer to offer students a deeper understanding of Western Christianity and the role of Ireland in particular.

College president and institute director Dr. Timothy O’Donnell explained to CNA that “the idea was to bring American and Irish students together, basically to study, to pray, and to have a great time together.”

He noted that the Church in both countries has faced difficulties in recent years.

The St. Columcille Institute will be a three-week program at Ards Friary in County Donegal in northwest Ireland.

The academic core of the institute will feature classes in theology, history and literature, exploring Western Christian civilization in order to re-invigorate the faith of young students.

“We want this to be part of the New Evangelization,” said O’Donnell, adding that the academic program aims to represent Church teachings with “enthusiasm” and “intensity.”

One of the cornerstones of the program will be an apologetics course taught by O’Donnell that will “meet kids where they’re at.” The course will help students learn the fundamentals of the Catholic faith, as well as how to handle many common intellectual and personal challenges to the Church’s teachings.

Students will also engage in a course on the spread of Christianity in Europe, with an emphasis on the role of Irish Catholics. Of particular emphasis will be the namesake of the institute, St. Columcille – also known as St. Columba – who helped spread the faith to much of the British Isles and some of mainland Europe during the 500s.

O’Donnell noted that this time period was also a “New Evangelization,” in that Christianity inspired the peoples of Europe, and he voiced hope that the study of this important moment in history would enrich both Irish and American students.

Finally, Christendom will bring one of its classes on short stories to Ireland, hoping to “raise questions about faith, about life.” The class will place an emphasis on Irish authors, among the other great works and stories discussed in the seminar.

O’Donnell also mentioned that the institute will offer an opportunity to bring “American and Irish students together” to enhance one another’s faith through shared experience and learning from one another’s perspectives.

The institute’s location will help to enhance the lessons learned in the classroom, he said, explaining that the area surrounding the friary still has “this very strong Catholic Culture there.” Students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture, which still features Gaelic greetings referencing God and Mary and a strong devotional culture.

In addition, the surrounding area is “strikingly beautiful,” close to the sea and surrounded by greenery. 

“You feel very close to God,” said O’Donnell, “and it’s very easy to pray there.”

Students will be able to receive spiritual guidance from Fr. Mark Byrne, SOLT, chaplain at Christendom College and a native of Ireland. Spiritual formation at the institute will include Mass, Eucharistic adoration, regular confession and the communal recitation of the Rosary and Divine Office.

There will also be opportunities for trips along medieval pilgrimage routes as well as to the National Marian Shrine at Knock and to Dublin.

Already, the program has “been very very popular,” O’Donnell explained, and more than 25 students have signed up since the program was announced on March 27.

Enrollment is open not only to Christendom students, but also students from other colleges and “anyone who would like to learn more about the faith.”

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Proposed Colo. amendment to protect unborn crime victims

Denver, Colo., Apr 6, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - A Colorado woman whose nine-month-old unborn baby boy was killed by a drunk driver says a proposed state constitutional amendment is needed to recognize the personhood of unborn crime victims.

“People should support this amendment because it is for unborn children like Brady and it gives them the voice that they never got to have,” Heather Surovik told CNA April 4.

On July 5, 2012, Surovik went to one of her last prenatal appointments nine months into her pregnancy. She saw Brady, her almost-born son, on an ultrasound. Doctors told her she could go into labor at any time.

On her drive home from the doctor’s office through Longmont, Colo., a four-time convicted drunk driver struck Surovik’s car. The accident severely injured her and killed Brady.

The drunk driver was charged for the accident, but he faced no charges in relation to Brady’s death because he was not considered a person under Colorado law.

“For them to sit there and say Brady was not a person is just ridiculous to me, because I saw his heartbeat on the ultrasound. I saw everything about him. Just because Brady didn’t take a breath, they say he wasn’t a person,” Surovik said in a YouTube video titled “The Brady Project.”

Surovik, who has two other children, said Brady had a distinctive personality and was very active in the womb.

“The law says that Brady wasn’t a person. Brady was 8 lbs, 2 oz. Brady was a person. His life was worth defending,” she said.

She is now backing an amendment to the state constitution that would recognize unborn victims of crimes and negligence as persons under Colorado law.

Surovik and other backers of the “Brady Amendment” began the petition drive for the amendment at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo. on April 4. Amendment backers must secure about 86,000 valid signatures from registered Colorado voters for the amendment to go on the ballot.

“In the interest of the protection of pregnant mothers and their unborn children from criminal offenses and negligent and wrongful acts, the words ‘person’ and ‘child’ in the Colorado Criminal Code and the Colorado Wrongful Death Act must include unborn human beings,” the amendment reads.

Gualberto Garcia-Jones, a board member of Personhood USA who helped write the amendment, said he believes the time is ripe for the proposal.

“From a messaging point of view, we have a very definite person we’re talking about. We’re talking about Brady,” he told CNA. “We’re able with this amendment to personalize the pre-born way better than we have been in the past.”

Recent events in Colorado could also help the effort.

Earlier this year, lawyers for a Colorado Catholic hospital sparked controversy when they argued the hospital wasn’t liable for the deaths of unborn twin babies because they weren’t recognized as persons under the law. The Catholic bishops of the state quickly moved to instruct the lawyers not to use that argument.

In July 2012, an unborn child died in a miscarriage after the baby’s mother was shot in the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting. The suspected shooter, James Holmes, was not charged for that death.

Two personhood amendments have gone before Colorado voters, but neither attracted more than 30 percent of the vote. Another proposed amendment to define personhood failed to qualify the 2012 ballot. These efforts tried to define personhood from the moment of fertilization or from the moment human development begins.

The Brady Amendment differs from these previous amendments. Its phrasing only concerns victims of crime or negligence. Since abortion is legal in Colorado, the amendment may not have any effect on it.

Colorado state lawmakers are also considering legislation that would criminalize the deaths of babies like Brady as “unlawful termination of a pregnancy” without recognizing their personhood.

But Personhood USA president Keith Mason said that legislation “falls completely short.”

“It was partly authored by Planned Parenthood. Not only does it remove every restriction for abortion that is on the books, but it intentionally and specifically denotes that anyone not born is not a person,” Mason told CNA.

He said the proposed Brady Amendment isn’t a “traditional personhood amendment.”

“It’s more like a fetal homicide law that’s already in the books in 38 different states. For some reason, Colorado hasn’t passed common-sense legislation like this.”

However, he also commented that the proposed amendment doesn’t “legitimize abortion.”

“It’s an abortion-neutral law that simply says that Brady, and children like Brady, are persons,” Mason said.

The video about Brady Surovik is available at the website

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Pope appoints top Franciscan to Vatican's religious life department

Vatican City, Apr 6, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis made his first appointment within the Roman Curia this morning, choosing his friend, Franciscan Father José Rodríguez Carballo, to help run the Vatican’s congregation for consecrated religious.

The Vatican announced April 6 that Pope Francis appointed Fr. Carballo to serve as secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, simultaneously raising him to the level of archbishop and giving him the titular see of Belcastro.

Until his appointment today, Fr. Carballo was the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, the 119th successor of St. Francis of Assisi.  He was elected to that position on June 5, 2003 and re-elected for another six years on June 4, 2009.

Besides being the head of one of the largest international religious orders, Fr. Carballo also personally knows Pope Francis.

In a March 14, 2013 video greeting to the new Pope, Fr. Carballo explained that he received the news of Francis’ election with joy because “I know him personally” and because of the name he chose.

“In 2004 he came to visit me at our Franciscan General Curia in Rome. He wanted to ask about some things referring to the Church of Argentina and the Order,” he recalled.

The meeting lasted for an hour, and during that time Fr. Carballo said that “it seemed to me that I had before me a Franciscan brother, a companion, a friend as if we had known each other all our lives.”

“We met on other occasions as well, especially at the Synods, and I was always struck by his simplicity, austerity, closeness and ability to listen,” he said in the video.

That Pope Francis would choose someone he knows as the second in command for the congregation makes sense, given that his familiarity with the personnel in the Church’s central administration is not extensive.

Fr. Carballo succeeds American Archbishop Joseph Tobin, who was appointed to lead the Indianapolis archdiocese in October 2012. The congregation has been involved in a visitation of U.S. religious sisters that was not well received by all the orders involved.

Cardinal Franc Rodé, the congregation's former prefect, began the visitation in December 2008, to “look into the quality of life” of communities nationwide. In January 2011, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz took over from Cardinal Rodé as head of the congregation for religious.

Fr. Carballo was born in 1953 in Lodoselo, Spain. He speaks Spanish, Galician, Italian, French, English and Portuguese, and also knows Latin, Biblical Greek and Biblical Hebrew.

He has published numerous articles in Journals on Consecrated and Religious Life, on Pastoral Theology, Sacred Scripture, Biblical Theology, and Franciscan spirituality.

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