Archive of May 29, 2013

US Catholics to join Pope Francis in Eucharistic Adoration

Washington D.C., May 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Many U.S. dioceses and individual parishes will join Pope Francis in simultaneous Eucharistic Adoration June 2 that is uniting Catholics in prayer around the world.

The Pope has invited the world to join him in an hour of adoration at 5 p.m. Rome time this Sunday, the Feast of Corpus Christi, which he will lead from St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

The announcement drew particular enthusiasm in Corpus Christi, Texas, which is named for the Blessed Sacrament.

“The Diocese of Corpus Christi bears the name of this central mystery of our faith and thus we feel particularly impelled to join with the Holy Father in this unique celebration of unity gathered around the Eucharistic Lord,” the diocese said on its website.

Bishop William Michael Mulvey of Corpus Christi will celebrate the 9:30 a.m. Mass at Corpus Christi Cathedral and then join Pope Francis in Eucharistic Adoration at about 10 a.m. local time.

In the Diocese of Sacramento, Calif., Bishop Jaime Soto will preside at Eucharistic Adoration for a Holy Hour at 8 a.m. local time after the 7:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

At least 243 U.S. dioceses or parishes are participating in the holy hour.

Some U.S. parishes have adjusted their Mass schedules to coincide with Pope Francis’ period of adoration. However, because the scheduled hour of Eucharistic Adoration in Rome takes place at a time when most U.S. parishes are celebrating Sunday Mass, the U.S. bishops have suggested that parishes can hold a special hour of prayer at a more suitable time on Sunday.

In Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput will hold a Holy Hour at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul at 5:30 p.m. local time.

The Archdiocese of Denver has invited local faithful to attend Eucharistic Adoration at 3 p.m. local time at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

There are two intentions for the Holy Hour.

The first intention is for the obedience of the Church so that she appear before the world as “beautiful, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish.” The second intention is for victims of violence, drugs, human trafficking, economic insecurity and social marginalization.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, told CNA May 28 that the global Holy Hour is “a historical moment” because “for one hour all the churches in the world will be united.”

“We are united because the Eucharist makes us all one body and one spirit, so we enter into the deepest meaning of the Eucharist,” the archbishop said.

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Supreme Court will not hear Planned Parenthood defunding case

Washington D.C., May 29, 2013 (CNA) - In a setback for state efforts to defund abortion providers, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear Indiana’s appeal of a court ruling against its ban on Medicaid dollars for organizations that perform abortions.

“The court missed an opportunity to clarify, once and for all, that states may cut the abortion industry off from all sources of taxpayer funding,” said Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, on May 28.

“Big Abortion has no constitutional right to force Americans to support its deadly industry with tax dollars,” she emphasized.

Mike Fichter, Indiana Right to Life president and CEO, said the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Indiana v. Planned Parenthood is “a defeat for all states that wish to pass laws regarding funds in their own states.”

He said the decision is “incredibly disappointing for taxpayers and states’ rights.”

In its May 28 decision, the Supreme Court did not comment on why it rejected the appeal.

Signed into law by then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, the May 2011 law cut all state funding for groups that provide abortions and barred them from receiving federal Medicaid money, with exceptions for hospitals and ambulatory clinics.

Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in Indiana, challenged the law in court.

Last year, Judge Diane Sykes of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said that the law excludes Planned Parenthood from Medicaid “for a reason unrelated to its fitness to provide medical services” and therefore violates “patients’ statutory right to obtain medical care from the qualified provider of their choice.”

The Obama administration had backed Planned Parenthood in the case, arguing that Medicaid gives low-income patients a right to secure healthcare from any qualified provider, the Chicago Tribune reports.

According to Indiana Right to Life, Planned Parenthood of Indiana performs more than 5,000 abortions each year.

Other states have also run into recent difficulties in attempting to remove taxpayer funding of abortion clinics. An Arizona law similar to Indiana’s has also been blocked by a federal judge. A Texas law barring state funds for organizations that perform or promote abortion brought retaliation from the Obama administration, which cut $30 million in annual federal funding for the state’s women’s health program.

Federal law presently prohibits federal funding for most abortions, but not for organizations that provide abortions.

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Examine what prevents intimacy with Christ, Pope says

Vatican City, May 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The faithful need to examine their lives to find the “riches” that prevent them from “getting close to Jesus” like the young man who refuses to give his possessions to the poor in order to follow Christ.

Pope Francis focused his homily May 27 on the episode in the Gospel in which Jesus asks a young man to give all his riches to the poor and then follow him. However, rather than following Christ’s call, the young man goes away sad.

During his daily Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis told those present that we all have “riches” that create obstacles in our intimacy with Jesus.

One of those riches is the “culture of economic well-being which causes us to be lacking in courage” and “makes us lazy and selfish.”

For example, he said, a couple might say, “No, no, not more than one child because we will not be able to go on holiday, we will not be able to go out, we will not be able to buy a house.”

Economic well-being, the Pope said, “deprives us...of the courage we need to get close to Jesus.” This belief demonstrates the attitude that, “It’s all very well to follow the Lord, but only up to a certain point,” Pope Francis said.

Another one of the “riches” our world promotes is our “fascination with the temporary” rather than the eternal. “These two riches are the ones that, in this moment, prevent us from going forward.”

While Christ is the “Lord of time” we have become “masters of the moment,” obeying him only “up to this point.”

Rather than fixing ourselves on the temporary, we must take “definitive” steps to follow Jesus. However, often times “we like what is temporary because we are afraid of God’s time.”

Pope Francis recalled hearing about a man who wanted to become a priest, “but only for 10 years, not any longer” saying that this attitude reflects an attempt to “live for the moment.”

He contrasted this position with missionaries or men and women who have “left their homes to commit to a lifelong marriage” to one another. This, he said, is what it is “to follow Jesus closely.”

The pontiff closed by saying that even the disciples were “disconcerted” by Jesus’ requests of them, just as we often are as well.

In order to “rid ourselves” of the “riches” of “economic well-being” and “hoping in time,” we should pray to God for the “courage to go forward” to reach the “end of the journey where He awaits us.”

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Pope: Jesus' plan for humanity requires Catholic Church

Vatican City, May 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis began a new series of reflections by saying that although some people want Jesus but not the Church, “it is the Church that brings us Christ” and reunites us to God.

“Even today, some say, ‘Christ yes, the Church no,’ like those who say, ‘I believe in God, but in priests, no.’ They say, ‘Christ: yes. Church: no.’ Nevertheless, it is the Church that brings us Christ and that brings us to God. The Church is the great family of God’s children,” the Pope said May 29 to around 90,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.

“Of course,” he noted, the Church “also has the human aspects: in those who compose it, pastors and faithful, there are flaws, imperfections, sins – the Pope has his, as well: he has lots of them; but the beautiful thing is that, when we become aware that we are sinners, we find the mercy of God. God always forgives: do not forget this.”

Pope Francis began his regular Wednesday audience by complimenting the pilgrims on withstanding the periodic rain that swept through the square as he was touring through it in the open-air popemobile. Since he did not use an umbrella or the covered popemobile, the Pope arrived at the stage with a damp cassock, apparently unfazed.

He announced to the crowd that today he was beginning a new set of reflections on the Church, which he will illustrate using well-known phrases from the Second Vatican Council’s documents. This new theme marks the end of the series on the Creed that Benedict XVI initiated and Francis continued for the Year of Faith.

Citing “the parable of the prodigal son or the forgiving father,” the Pope Francis taught that God’s plan is “to make us all the one family of his children, in which each of you feels close to Him and feels loved by Him – feels, as in the Gospel parable, the warmth of being the family of God.

“In this great design, the Church finds its source,” he explained.

The pontiff also said what the Church is not. It is “not an organization founded by an agreement among (a group of) persons, but – as we were reminded many times by Pope Benedict XVI – it is the work of God: it was born out of the plan of love, which realizes itself progressively in history.”

Being in this family means that God “urges us to escape from individualism, the tendency to withdraw into ourselves, and calls us – convokes us – to be a part of his family.”

“This convocation has its origin in creation itself,” he asserted.

“God created us in order that we might live in a relationship of deep friendship with him, and even when sin had broken this relationship with God, with others and with creation, God did not abandon us.

Pope Francis then gave a brief tour of salvation history, outlining how God has been working to rebuild his family since Adam and Eve fell from grace.

When we read the Gospels, he said, “we see that Jesus gathers around him a small community that receives his word, follows him, shares his journey, becomes his family – and with this community, he prepares and builds his Church.”

He drew his reflection to a close by answering the question, ‘Where is the Church born from?’

“It is born from the supreme act of love on the Cross, from the pierced side of Jesus from which flow blood and water, a symbol of the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. In the family of God, the Church, the lifeblood is the love of God that is realized in loving him and others, loving all without distinction, without measure. The Church is a family that loves and is loved,” he told the crowd.

And the Church manifests itself when “the gift of the Holy Spirit fills the hearts of the Apostles and pushes them to go out and start the journey to proclaim the Gospel, to spread the love of God,” Pope Francis added.

“Let us ask ourselves today: how much do I love the Church? Do I pray for her? Do I feel myself a part of the family of the Church? What do I do to make the Church a community in which everyone feels welcomed and understood, (in which) everyone feels the mercy and love of God who renews life?” he challenged the pilgrims.

The Pope also made a reference to the Year of Faith, saying, “we ask the Lord, in a special way in this Year of the faith, that our communities, the whole Church be ever more true families that live and carry the warmth of God.”

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Dark moment reminded Pope to seek God's will above success

Vatican City, May 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - At his daily Mass in St. Martha’s residence this morning, Pope Francis warned about the dangers of a Church that is too concerned with “organization and success” by recalling a “dark moment” of his spiritual life.

“A Church that only thinks about triumphs (and) successes, does not know that rule of Jesus: the rule of triumph through failure, human failure, the failure of the Cross.

“And this is a temptation that we all have,” the Pope told employees of the Vatican City State Governorate at the May 29 Mass.

For Pope Francis, today’s Gospel reading from St. Mark reminded him of when “I was in a dark moment in my spiritual life and I asked a favor from the Lord.”

“Then, I went to preach the annual spiritual retreat to nuns, and on the last day they made their confession.

“One elderly nun, over 80 years of age, but with clear, bright eyes came to confession: she was a woman of God. In the end I saw that she really was a woman of God so I said ‘Sister, as penance, pray for me, because I need a grace, ok? If you ask the Lord for this grace on my behalf, I am sure to receive it.’

“She stopped for a moment, as if in prayer, and said, ‘Of course the Lord will grant you this grace, but do not be deceived: in His own divine manner,’” the Pope recalled.

“This did me a lot of good. To hear that the Lord always gives us what we ask for, but in His own divine way. And this is the divine way to the very end. The divine way involves the Cross, not out of masochism: no, no! Out of love. For love to the very end,” he said.

Pope Francis told the story to drive home his point that there is a risk of becoming “half-way Christians,” that is believers who shun suffering and only look for what they perceive to be success.

In the gospel reading for today, James and John ask Jesus – just after he has described how he will suffer, die and rise – if they can sit on his right and left when he enters into his glory.

Pope Francis said the disciples want to do things differently, they plan to go only half way, so they discuss among themselves how to arrange the Church and arrange salvation.

And this temptation is the same one that Jesus faced in the desert, the Pope said, when the devil proposed another path to him: “Do everything with speed, perform a miracle, something that everyone can see.

Let’s go to the temple and skydive without a parachute, so everyone will see the miracle and redemption will come to pass.”

Saint Peter was also confronted with the temptation when he at did not accept the passion of Jesus, the pontiff noted.

“It is the temptation of a Christianity without the Cross, a half-way Christianity” that is more concerned with apparent victory than with the Father’s plan.

It “is the temptation of triumphalism. We want the triumph now, without going to the Cross, a worldly triumph, a reasonable triumph,” Pope Francis preached.

“Triumphalism in the Church, impedes the Church. Triumphalism among Christians impedes Christians. A triumphalist, half-way Church, that is a Church that is content with what it is or has, well sorted – well organized - with all its offices, everything in order, everything perfect, no?” he said.

This kind of Church might be efficient, but it is one that “denies its martyrs, because it does not know that martyrs are needed for the Church's journey towards the Cross,” the Pope warned.

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Experts meet in Mexico for conference on Shroud of Turin

Mexico City, Mexico, May 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Experts from around the world gathered in Mexico for a conference on the Holy Shroud of Turin in light of the latest studies indicating that the linen bears the characteristics of Jesus’ burial cloth.

The conference, entitled “The Holy Shroud and the Year of Faith,” took place May 24-25 in Mexico City as the Mexican Center for the Study of the Shroud marked its 30th anniversary. 

The center is led by Dr. Adolfo Orozco, who is dedicated to studying and making known the burial cloth “that is presumed to have enveloped the body of Jesus of Nazareth and was a witness to the moment of the resurrection.”

In addition to the conference at the Marian Plaza at the Basilica of Guadalupe, an exact replica of the shroud was also on display.

Among the characteristics of the shroud discussed during the conference were its three-dimensionality, the first-century style weaving of the linen and the impossibility that it could have been the work of Leonardo Da Vinci, as historical records show that it was exhibited in Europe 92 years before the artist was born.

The blood on the shroud is human and was absorbed into the cloth before the image was imprinted upon it, experts said. The scientific analysis of the shroud fits with the Gospels’ narration of the historical facts, along with research on Hebrew customs from that time period.

Although it is unknown how the image was imprinted on the cloth, it can be compared to a radioactive reaction, which would coincide with the moment of the Resurrection, experts explained.

Speakers at the event included Dr. Bruno Barberis, director of the Shroud of Turin Musuem; Father Eduardo Chavez Sanchez, postulator of the cause of canonization of St. Juan Diego; Dr. John Jackson, director of the Center for the Study of the Shroud in Colorado Springs; and Dr. Rafael de la Piedra, a lay consecrated member of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae and the director of the Center for Catholic Studies of Lima.

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Legion of Christ, Regnum Christi begin stage of prayer and penance

Rome, Italy, May 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Legionaries of Christ and the members of Regnum Christi will enter a period of atonement and prayer in preparation for upcoming events that will determine the future of their spiritual family.

The announcement was made in a May 28 letter signed by Fr. Sylvester Heereman, the Vicar General and acting Director General of the Legion, along with Gloria Rodríguez and Jorge López; directors of the female and male branches respectively of the consecrated members of Regnum Christi.

“It is a great joy to be able to send you this letter as the feast of the Sacred Heart approaches – a celebration of one of the pillars of our spirituality,” the letter explained. “What is the meaning of this feast in light of the moment of history we are living? We are approaching the end of an institutional journey.”

Representatives of Regnum Christi will soon hold a meeting in Rome, while this summer, territorial assemblies will be held to revise the draft of the Constitutions of the Legionaries.

In the fall, invitations to the General Chapter of the Legion will be sent, while the General Assemblies of the Consecrated Men and Women, and the General Assembly of all of Regnum Christi, will take place early in 2014.

The events follow a period of turmoil in the Legion after revelations that its founder, Fr. Marcel Maciel, lived a double life, sexually abused seminarians, and fathered children. The Vatican responded by calling for a period of reform and renewal, including a redefinition of the Legion’s mission and governing structure. 

The General Assemblies will determine the future of the Legion. In addition, Pope Francis is expected to make a final decision regarding the spiritual family by 2014.

“These external milestones that are passing are being accompanied by the interior journey of each one of us,” the letter said.

“We have to bear the wounds of a painful institutional past, above all the feeling of a broken fatherhood and the pain associated with the human errors that have been committed and that have made us suffer.”

For many, the letter observed, “this situation has led us to find the Lord once again in our lives and vocations. This experience of grace calls for deep gratitude towards God. Yet, others have experienced new sufferings. Thus we realize that, at least to some degree, some of the sense of the beauty of our calling has been lost.”

As a consequence, it continued, “our mutual esteem and trust – so necessary for the life of a family – have atrophied. To this we can add the pain of those who have chosen to leave consecrated life or apostolic commitment in Regnum Christi, either because they felt deceived or as a result of a personal journey.”

The authors of the letter say that the preparation for the “Easter” of the upcoming general assemblies has to be preceded by a “Lent” aimed at renewing the Legion and Regnum Christi in holiness.

Therefore, the leaders of the spiritual family are calling for a renewal “in our personal lives,” which “presupposes prayer, a sincere effort to go along with the grace of conversion” and an authentic “willingness to reach out to those who feel hurt or have distanced themselves from us.”

“Those of us in positions of authority hope to continue moving forward along the path of renewal that the Church has marked out for us,” the letter said.

“We want to arrive at the Chapter and the Assemblies having reached a greater clarity regarding the gift God is giving to the Church by means of Regnum Christi, having determined the rules and structures that will most help us to conserve the charism, and having put in place what is needed to overcome what needs to be purified in our mentality and customs.”

It added that the authorities are “committed to continue reaching out to those who have suffered more.”

The letter is accompanied by a special novena to the Sacred Heart.

One of the prayers included in the novena says: “Grant us, Lord, the grace to forgive others with the goodness with which you embrace our own sins and to let go of grudges against those who have made us suffer. For the times in which we have closed our hearts to forgiving our brothers and sisters, letting ourselves be driven by bitterness and spite... Heart of Jesus, wounded out of love for us, forgive our sins and give us a new heart.”

One day before the release of the letter and novena, Pope Francis received the Pontifical Delegate of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, in a private audience.

According to a press release from the Legion of Christ, “the whole outcome of the journey of renewal that Regnum Christi and the Legion of Christ have undertaken, hand-in-hand with the Pontifical Delegate, will be presented to the Holy Father, who will have the final say.”

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Holy See decries intolerance 'in the name of tolerance'

Washington D.C., May 29, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - A statement from the Holy See warned that prejudice against Christianity is growing in Europe, often under the guise of “tolerance.”

“Intolerance in the name of ‘tolerance’ must be named for what it is and publicly condemned,” said Bishop Mario Toso, SDB. “To deny religiously informed moral argument a place in the public square is intolerant and anti-democratic.”

“Or to put it another way, where there might be a clash of rights, religious freedom must never be regarded as inferior,” he explained.

Bishop Toso delivered a Statement of the Holy See at the High Level Conference on Tolerance and Non-discrimination held in Albania on May 21-22. The gathering was convened under the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The bishop charged that in Europe, there is “a sharp dividing line has been drawn between religious belief and religious practice.”

Because of this distinction, he said, Christians are told “that they can believe whatever they like in their own homes or heads, and largely worship as they wish in their own private churches, but they simply cannot act on those beliefs in public.”

“This is a deliberate twisting and limiting of what religious freedom actually means, and it is not the freedom that was enshrined in international documents,” he stated.

Bishop Toso pointed to severe restrictions on Christian speech and conscience that “can become the grounds of a criminal complaint, or at least intolerance, in many European countries.” He also noted an increase in vandalism and acts of violence against Christians and Christian institutions.

The bishop warned that discrimination against Christians is as great a threat to society as anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia.

He called it “remarkable” that in the 21st Century, Christians are faced with having to “abandon their faith and act against their conscience, or resist and face losing their livelihood.”

On behalf of the Holy See, he asked that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe work to “guarantee that intolerance and discrimination against Christians is ended.”

Bishop Toso called for the promotion of authentic religious freedom, stressing that the “right to believe in God and to practice that belief is a fundamental human right.”

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