Vatican City, Aug 14, 2013 (CNA) - Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this Oct. 13 as part of the Marian Day celebration that will involve the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
“The Holy Father strongly desires that the Marian Day may have present, as a special sign, one of the most significant Marian icons for Christians throughout the world and, for that reason, we thought of the beloved original Statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” wrote Archbishop Rino Fisichella.
Archbishop Fisichella, who serves as president of the pontifical council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, made his remarks in a letter to Bishop Antonio Marto of Leiria-Fatima.
According to the Portuguese shrine's website, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima will leave for Rome on the morning of Oct. 12 and return on the afternoon of Oct. 13. The statue normally resides in the shrine’s Little Chapel of Apparitions.
The archbishop said that “all ecclesial entities of Marian spirituality” are invited to take part in the celebration. Hundreds of movements and institutions that emphasize Marian devotion are expected to attend, the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima says.
The two-day observance includes an Oct. 12 pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter and moments of prayer and meditation. On Oct. 13, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children in the village of Fatima in Portugal in 1917. She warned of violent trials in the twentieth century if the world did not make reparation for sins. She urged prayer and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
At the request of Pope Francis, Cardinal Jose Polycarp, the Patriarch of Lisbon, consecrated the Pope’s pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, her feast day.
Madison, Wis., Aug 14, 2013 (CNA) - A new abortion restriction in Wisconsin could inadvertently require several Catholic health systems to grant abortion doctors admitting privileges at their hospitals due to a decades-old federal law.
“I don’t think too many people thought about that particular aspect,” John Huebscher, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, told CNA Aug. 13. “My understanding is that this issue has surfaced in other states.”
A recent change in Wisconsin law now requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. These privileges would allow a doctor to admit a patient to a hospital in the event of complications.
The new legal provision is part of a recently-passed law that gives a woman who seeks an abortion the right to see an ultrasound. Huebscher said that the Wisconsin Catholic Conference did not address the provision of the law related to admitting privileges, but it had supported the ultrasound-related provision.
Abortion advocacy groups have challenged the new state law on the grounds it would limit abortion access, citing Catholic health care systems’ statements that they would not grant privileges to abortionists.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice, defending against this claim, has said that hospitals would be “in active violation of federal law” if they deny admitting privileges to abortionists.
The state justice department in a recent filing in federal court said that under federal law, such as the 1974 Church Amendment, hospitals that accept federal funds “may not discriminate against a physician because that physician has participated in or refused to participate in abortions.”
Seven abortion doctors in Wisconsin presently lack the admitting privileges that state law requires. At least four of them are filing for admitting privileges at religiously affiliated hospitals in order to comply with state law.
Citing their Catholic identity, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Columbia St. Mary’s Health System, and Hospital Sisters Health System initially said they would not grant admitting privileges to abortion doctors at their Wisconsin facilities, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
On Aug. 12, however, Brian Reardon – public relations officer for the Hospital Sisters Health System – told CNA that the system “will comply with both state and federal law with regard to all applications for physicians seeking privileges at our facilities.”
Reardon stressed that if a doctor who performs abortions elsewhere were to be granted hospital privileges, Catholic ethical directives for health care services would still apply. These directives bar Catholic hospitals from cooperating in abortions.
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare’s assistant general counsel Matt Moran had said in a statement that the medical staff and hospital board can consider “the mission, values and operational needs of the organization” in deciding whether to grant admitting privileges.
“Requiring certain professional, ethical and character qualifications is recognized by the courts as valid and related to the operation of the hospital,” Moran contended, according to the Journal Sentinel.
Columbia St. Mary’s Health Care System said Aug. 12 that its admitting privileges are governed by medical staff policy.
“The privileging process is conducted in accordance with ethical guidelines and state and federal law, and requires application, review, medical staff recommendation, and ultimately approval by the board of directors,” it stated.
Gretchen Borchelt, senior counsel and director of state reproductive health policy at the pro-abortion National Women’s Law Center, told the Journal Sentinel that the Catholic health systems’ public declarations of their policies could have consequences. Their statements could be used against them if any abortion providers seeking admitting privileges bring a legal complaint against them.
Huebscher said that a health system’s admitting privileges policy is the responsibility of individual Catholic health care systems.
“A doctor certainly could not use a Catholic facility to perform abortions,” he explained. “They would all follow the ethical and religious directives.”
He also suggested the Wisconsin controversy could have relevance to similar proposals in other states.
“To the extent that the Church Amendment is federal legislation, governing everywhere, I doubt this situation is limited to Wisconsin,” he said.
San Antonio, Texas, Aug 14, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - At a recent Knights of Columbus event, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York and other Church leaders warned against the tendency to “discard” society's marginalized, including immigrants.
During the Knights' 131st convention in San Antonio, Texas, Cardinal Dolan referred to Pope Francis' notion of the “globalization of indifference,” saying this can be seen in how modern society has become a “culture of throwing away.”
“We discard things, from the baby in the womb to our elders, to the immigrant, to the refugee, to the sick, to the poor, to the unemployed,” he told CNA on Aug. 6.
“It's a disposable culture,” he said, “and that's when we treat human life like trash, or like refuge.”
The cardinal reflected that the core problem of indifference is addressed by one of the most basic doctrines of the Catholic faith – the belief in the sanctity of human life and the integrity and dignity of the human person.
In his homily for the opening Mass of the Knights' annual convention, Texas Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller touched on the issue by mourning the brokenness of the current immigration system in the United States.
He said that locals need to have greater solidarity with those who are “obliged to flee their own country and exist between rootlessness and integration.”
The archbishop quoted Pope Francis, warning of the dangers of the globalization of indifference, particularly towards immigrants, whose plight was like a “painful thorn in my heart.”
According to reports from the Holy See in 2012, there were roughly 16 million officially recognized refugees in the world and 28.8 million internally displaced persons. In addition, an estimated 21 million people have been trafficked, including 4.5 million for sexual exploitation and 14.2 million for what amounts to slave labor.
In his July 8 comments to the Italian island of Lampadusa – the gateway for African emigrants, many of whom are Muslim – Pope Francis echoed the words God spoke to Cain after he had killed his brother Abel, saying “Where is your brother? His blood cries out to me.”
“This is not a question directed to others; it is a question directed to me, to you, to each of us,” the pontiff said.
“How many of us, myself included, have lost our bearings; we are no longer attentive to the world in which we live; we don’t care; we don’t protect what God created for everyone, and we end up unable even to care for one another!”
He lamented that the “culture of comfort,” makes us think only of ourselves, and eventually results in indifference to others.
“Indeed, it even leads to the globalization of indifference. In this globalized world, we have fallen into globalized indifference,” the Pope said in his address last month. “We have become used to the suffering of others: it doesn’t affect me; it doesn’t concern me; it’s none of my business!”
Archbishop Garcia-Siller reiterated Pope Francis' remarks, telling CNA on Aug. 7 that the “globalization of indifference makes us numb to the reality of the other.”
What we need to foster, he encouraged, is “the globalization of love.”
He reflected that having a Pope from Latin America will “bring this whole part of the world into the picture in a new way” so that many in that hemisphere, both Catholics and non-Catholics, will be exposed to the Catholic Faith and may consider to “love the Lord, and to serve him.”
“He will bring new elements to the universal Church,” said the archbishop, that are “needed for the sake of the whole church.”
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston also addressed the “globalization of indifference” in an Aug. 7 address to the Knights, saying, “we must overcome this indifference in our own lives and help people to see that the Church’s teaching is about loving and caring for everyone.”
Rome, Italy, Aug 14, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi said his audience with Pope Francis on August 13 in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall was a moment that he will never forget.
“Undoubtedly it was a very special moment, surely one of the most special of my life,” Messi told reporters at a press conference at the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences shortly after the meeting with the Pope.
“I had the chance to approach and greet him, it was quick as there were a ton of people. At one point it got a little crazy because there were so many people, it was a special moment, but I didn’t have the chance to say much more.”
“It was a very special day for us, and it was wonderful to have him so close,” Messi reflected. “It was of great significance for us Argentineans, that he is from our country. It’s very special for us, and it was really an unforgettable moment and we are very happy.”
The star soccer player arrived in Rome with the rest of Argentina’s national team for a friendly match against Italy yesterday in honor of Pope Francis, although he himself did not play because of a recent injury.
Messi said he traveled with the team to Rome anyway just to greet the Holy Father and to announce a new solidarity initiative to promote education.
Quito, Ecuador, Aug 14, 2013 (CNA) - President Rafael Correa of Ecuador has apologized to Archbishop Lorenzo Voltolini of Portoviejo for the profanation of a chapel at the Verdi Cevallos Hospital last Friday.
All of the sacred objects in the chapel, including the tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament reserved, were removed on Aug. 9 to put in hospital beds.
On Aug. 13, the president called Archbishop Voltolini “to apologize for the incident, especially because the Blessed Sacrament was in the chapel,” said Father Manuel Cedeno, a spokesman for the archdiocese.
President Correa “made it clear in his phone call that these kinds of acts are not in keeping with the policies of the Ecuadoran government,” Fr. Cedeno told CNA. “This was reiterated by another official from the Ministry of Health.”
He said that Archbishop Voltolini will be meeting with hospital administrators and local officials to discuss the future of the archdiocese’s ministry at the hospital going forward.
“In the meantime, hospital administrators have said the waiting room can be used by priests to celebrate Mass,” Father Cedeno said.
Patients at the hospital, as well as other concerned Catholics, expressed solidarity with the hospital’s chaplain, Father Cristian Andrade.
The priest said that when he arrived at the hospital to visit patients last Friday, he was “surprised to see that they had taken over the chapel,” installing beds and removing everything that had been inside, including the ciborium from the tabernacle, which was in a pile with other sacred objects.
Father Andrade said no notice was given that the chapel was going to be cleared out. He added that the consecrated hosts have now been taken to a nearby parish.
Washington D.C., Aug 14, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Half a century after the famous civil rights march in Washington, D.C., significant progress towards justice has been made, but some goals remain unmet, said a group of U.S. bishops.
“While we cannot deny the change that has taken place, there remains much to be accomplished,” said members of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church.
In a statement marking the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which occurred Aug. 28, 1963, the bishops reflected on the history of African Americans and other minority racial groups in the U.S.
“The March on Washington and the struggle for Civil Rights have brought about significant accomplishments in the past 50 years,” they said, pointing to advancements in opportunity and legal protection, as well as greater racial and cultural diversity among leaders in the public and private sectors.
“However, the Dream of Dr. King and all who marched and worked with him has not yet fully become a reality for many in our country,” they continued.
The Aug. 13 statement was authored by Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas; Auxiliary Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of New Orleans; Bishop Gerald Barnes and Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio Del Riego of San Bernardino, Calif.; Bishop Randolph Calvo of Reno; and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput O.F.M. Cap, of Philadelphia.
The authors echoed the words of the U.S. bishops’ 1979 Pastoral Letter on Racism, which stressed the continued need for a “fundamental change” of culture rather than an indifferent “acceptance of the status quo.”
They also referenced the African American bishops’ 1984 Pastoral Letter on Evangelization, which noted that “the cause of justice and social concerns are an essential part of evangelization.”
These concerns are still relevant today, the bishops observed, stressing that Catholics “must never allow other issues to eclipse our belief in the fundamental human dignity of each and every person.”
At the historic march 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, the bishops noted, describing the address as one “which redirected the moral compass of the nation toward concern for the cause of justice” for the marginalized and forgotten in society.
They also commented on the participation of numerous religious, civic and community leaders – including many Catholics – in the civil rights movement.
“Those who participated in the March on Washington came from different races and faith denominations, but were all united for a just cause,” they reflected.
“Seeking to touch and to move the heart of America, they came to the nation’s capital and marched to advance the cause for Civil Rights, calling for an end to segregation. They called attention to the economic disparity that existed for African Americans and other minorities in this country.”
This work continues today, the bishops said, urging the faithful to see the ongoing task “from the perspective of the continued call to hope and in the light of faith.”
They encouraged “continued dialogue and non-violence among people of different races and cultures,” in order to promote “transformative, constructive actions.”
“We join the call for positive action that seeks to end poverty, increase jobs, eliminate racial and class inequality, ensure voting rights, and that provides fair and just opportunities for all,” they said.