Washington D.C., Sep 26, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - As the Pope and bishops continue to call for the just and humane treatment of migrants, a new survey has found that the population of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. may be rising.
In a Sept. 24 preliminary estimate, the Pew Research Center concluded that a decline in the U.S. population of unauthorized immigrants following the 2007-2009 recession has stalled.
Studying U.S. Census data, the research organization noted that between 2007 and 2009, the population of undocumented immigrants in the country fell from 12.2 million to 11.3 million people.
However, as the economy has recovered, the sharp decrease in undocumented immigration in the country has slowed, and Pew estimated that as of March 2012, the number had climbed to 11.7 million, according to government data.
In a Sept. 6 op-ed in the New York Daily News, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York said that “no one can be proud of the enormous underclass of undocumented workers that’s been allowed to form” in the United States.
Cardinal Dolan, who is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, pointed to “millions of our neighbors who live on the margins, have their families fractured and are easily exploited.”
Pope Francis has also commented on the pressing issue of immigration. On Sept. 24, he called for the faithful to help “enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved.”
The preliminary estimate from Pew noted that nearly two-thirds of unauthorized immigrants live in six states: California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas, and that a majority of the unauthorized immigrants are from Mexico.
The news coincides with the U.S. bishops' campaign for immigration reform in the United States, which has included Masses, educational opportunities, and public forums.
National lawmakers have debated possible reform measures while the bishops have concentrated their focus on earned legalization programs for undocumented workers currently in the country, worker programs to allow foreign-born workers to enter the country safely and legally, the preservation of families, due process rights alongside enforcement, and efforts to address the root causes that drive migration.
“We want to try to pull out all the stops,” said Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy for the U.S. Bishops to the New York Times of the campaign.
“They have to hear the message that we want this done, and if you’re not successful during the summer, you’re not going to win by the end of the year,” he said on the initiative's urgency.
Orange, Calif., Sep 26, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The leading architects in the massive undertaking of renovating the 'Crystal Cathedral' into Christ Cathedral for the Diocese of Orange, Calif., have expressed their excitement about the daunting project.
On Sept. 18, Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Orange announced that Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios had been selected to collaborate on the transformation of the landmark building and its 34-acre campus.
The Diocese of Orange purchased the 3,000-seat Crystal Cathedral in February of 2012 from the Protestant church which founded it. The purchase was made after Crystal Cathedral had filed for bankruptcy in October 2010 when some of its creditors sued for payment.
“That the Catholic Church would take on a project like this, that they would be able to move to a site with this much promise in it, both in terms of the breadth of the site itself and the possibility of a campus of multiple buildings and multiple activities…is exciting,” Scott Johnson, design partner at Johnson Fain, told CNA Sept. 17.
“And, that they would take on as the site of their cathedral, and in particular, the former Crystal Cathedral, which is quite an important landmark building…(the diocese) had great regard and respect for what it means in the cultural community, and they were very thoughtful about it, as they were about the other buildings.”
Johnson Fain will focus on re-vamping the interior of the cathedral to make it suitable for Catholic worship, while Rios Clementi Hale Studios will oversee the integration of the rest of the campus, including its six other buildings, into a unified whole.
“The site has three really important pieces of architecture,” Mark Rios, principal of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, explained to CNA. The campus buildings “really were never collectively designed,” he added: “one building was added in sequence after another, and the parking lots were modified to receive a new building, but the exterior spaces here can be really fantastic.”
Rios will be focused on master planning, examining how the buildings “all sort of tie together and support each other.”
He explained some of his beginning conversations with Johnson – the two have collaborated before – by saying they have discussed “how do you arrive at the site, what makes the site sacred, how do you park your car, how do you get out of your car, how do you move through that procession to the cathedral or to the school or other facilities: how it all really tells the story of the Catholic Church and the ritual opportunities which might be available.”
“In southern California, a lot of the services could happen outside, or processions may start outside and end inside. Scott and I will really be looking at how to sort of make all of those (come together) from all parts of the site into the cathedral.”
Johnson emphasized the importance of being able to re-vamp the entire campus, an opportunity rarely availed to architects re-designing a site.
“We can think of the carpet of the cathedral – in a sense, from the building design point of view – of the carpet of the cathedral actually extending beyond the inside of the building and out into the edges of the site.”
Because American society is so automobile-driven, he said, the architects want to consider “our experience as you see it from the highway, and as you, if you will, drive onto the carpet of the property. So we want to have an entirely integrated experience: not just jumping into the building and jumping out of the building.”
He said that his strategy will be “essentially to conserve and restore the exterior” of the cathedral, which is made of more than 10,000 panes of glass, and that “the new architecture will really be in the refashioning of the operational aspects and the interior elements of the shell.”
Johnson was in the office of the Crystal Cathedral's original designer, Philip Johnson, when the building was being created in the late 1970s and worked on parts of it then, giving him a particular familiarity with it.
“Something of very intense interest architecturally, is that the building was conceived as an evangelical building, one of the first mega-churches…and then further it has a very unique history because of Reverend (Robert) Schuller and his beginning years of giving sermons to the out of doors.”
He explained that Schuller “wanted a building that was both a building and not a building, so that in a sense he could be in an enclosure, but it would be as if he were out of doors, which is where he began his ministry: so this building was an entire shell of glass.”
“As we think now about a Catholic cathedral, our initial thoughts that it is really so different from that in so many ways, and it's meditative, it's processional, it's focused. The evangelical life it had was somewhat of a production studio, as a television ministry: that aspect really isn't relevant here.”
The goal in the transformation process will be to “maintain the wonder and beauty” of the cathedral’s structure and light, he said, while at the same time seeking “to modify it slightly in some ways, to make it more appropriate for Masses, Catholic devotionals, reading, hymnals.”
Having maintained the glass shell of the cathedral, Johnson Fain will “significantly rework the bottom: everything from the mezzanine seating down to the ground level.”
“There are some very interesting ways we might do that, and in the process we will look at how the altar and the sanctuary should be laid out. But I believe that whole bottom register will change meaningfully, all inside the shell of the original glass building.”
Neither Johnson nor Rios are Catholic, though Rios' partner on the project, Frank Clement, is. Rios is himself Episcopalian, and Johnson has worked before on a Benedictine monastery. They both said they will be asking many questions throughout the design process, and it was pointed out that Brother William Woeger, director of the Omaha archdiocese's office for divine worship, is a liturgical consultant in the operation.
“The beginning of the process is listening, and that's absolutely true: there will be weeks and months of listening,” Johnson said.
Among the concerns included in the re-design is the acoustics of the cathedral, ensuring that modifications “will allow people to both understand the spoken word as well as musical celebration.” The cathedral is currently carpeted, and Johnson said that the existing carpet will be removed and may be replaced with an alternative floor surface.
He concluded that the “many ways to look” at the site of the Crystal Cathedral, including its status as a tourist destination, “will also continue…which will make it an extremely exciting design problem.”
Rios reflected that “we're both really excited to make this an inclusive place for the Catholic community of Orange County, and the Catholic community has a lot of wonderful, sort of diverse communities within it.”
“One of the things I'm looking forward to is to really understand the slight…differences, or celebrations that may happen from one Catholic community to another, and how to find a place for those,” he said.
“The Latin Catholic community may have celebrations the Vietnamese Catholic community may not have, and vice versa; so our job is to really understand all of those and look at all the overlaps, and make sure there are spaces for all those kinds of really wonderful rituals to happen.”
Vatican City, Sep 26, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - While Pope Francis’ mention of the Church’s priorities in a recent interview grabbed worldwide attention, few remember that Benedict XVI said substantially the same thing seven years ago.
Pope Francis' interview with La Civiltà Cattolica published Sept. 19 led to headlines such as CNN's “Pope Francis says religion does not have the right to interfere spiritually in the lives of gays and lesbians” and the New York Times' “Pope Bluntly Faults Church's Focus on Gays and Abortion.”
Among other things, the Roman Pontiff had said that the Church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods … when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context.”
He continued, “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus … the proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.”
The Pope's words echoed those of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who had made similar comments to the bishops of Switzerland on Nov. 9, 2006.
At that time, Benedict recalled that when asked for interviews in the 1980s and '90s, he knew the questions in advance, as they “concerned the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and other such constantly recurring problems.”
“We should not allow our faith to be drained by too many discussions of multiple, minor details,” he said, “but rather, should always keep our eyes in the first place on the greatness of Christianity.”
“If we let ourselves be drawn into these discussions, the Church is then identified with certain commandments or prohibitions,” Benedict said.
“We give the impression that we are moralists with a few somewhat antiquated convictions, and not even a hint of the true greatness of the faith appears. I therefore consider it essential always to highlight the greatness of our faith,” adding that we must never be diverted from that highlight.
This continuity between Benedict and Pope Francis was noted by Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, in a Sept. 22 essay in National Review Online. He pointed to a misleading “media narrative,” in which Pope Francis is portrayed as “a progressive, taking the Catholic Church in a profoundly new direction – uninterested in Church teaching on moral issues.”
“Benedict, we are told, is conservative, doctrinaire, and old-fashioned — focused on moral issues,” according to the media narrative.
Anderson concluded that “neither narrative is true, because each leaves out half of the story.”
Vatican City, Sep 26, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
A priest who knew Pius XII personally and had access to “every strip of paper” in the Vatican archives says the pontiff believed he did the right thing during the holocaust despite knowing he would be questioned.
Ninety year-old Father Peter Gumpel, a former professor at the Gregorio University in Rome for 25 years, was simultaneously appointed as a Theological Consultant to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and as Assistant Postulator General.
He was personally acquainted with Pope Pius XII, and has met every pontiff since with the exception of John Paul I.
The work that Fr. Gumpel was assigned as a theological consultant was to “examine everything” related to Pius XII and other causes of interest, and to present the information in a “historically and theologically accurate way to the congregation before they start to discuss it,” he told CNA in a Sept. 17 interview.
The cause of canonization for Pius XII was overseen by Fr. Gumpel, who was in charge of the research needed in order to prove the late pope’s heroic virtue.
“I had absolute access to every strip of paper that is in the Vatican archives,” he said. “The period of Pius the XII is not yet accessible to scholars, but as a responsible investigating judge, I had to see everything.”
The priest added that he studied “about 100,000 pages” in documents and correspondence in the life of the pontiff.
In his research, Fr. Gumpel confirmed that there were already some who opposed the Pope’s course of action during the Nazi persecution of World War II in the 1940s, and that Pius XII himself was aware of it.
The late pontiff faced criticism then and in subsequent decades for being perceived as silent or inactive in the face of the holocaust. It is believed, however, that the Pope chose to help the victimized secretly so as not to provoke increased persecution by the Nazis.
“He knew that some of his measures were not pleasing to everybody,” Fr. Gumpel noted, and that “at a certain moment he said, ‘I know that what I am going to do will not be pleasing to everybody, but I am going to do it because in conscience I feel that it is my duty to do it.’”
“So he was aware that there would be opposition. It is an attitude that any person with higher responsibility has to take.”
Fr. Gumpel recalled how some during the time of the war thought that the Church should publicly react against the holocaust, but stressed that this “was totally useless.”
“Anytime anybody made a public protest, it aggravated the situation.”
“If you find documents from the Polish episcopacy during the occupation of the Germans of Poland,” he said, it was clearly pleaded “‘don’t speak out, it doesn’t help anything, it only makes things worse.’”
“The same happened in the German resistance movement against Hitler. They said, ‘For Heaven’s sake, don’t say anything because it will make the situation, the persecution will be even worse.’”
Pius XII, he emphasized, “knew that this in the future would be misunderstood.”
“People who had no responsibility in government, who had never dealt with a situation like this, would not understand it,” Fr. Gumpel said, quoting a Jewish lawyer named Kempner who defended Pope Pius XII by saying “the only thing to do was to help people in secrecy as much as possible.”
Another aspect of Pius XII that Fr. Gumpel believes is “very much unknown to people,” is the pastoral heart of the late pope.
“He was always presented as a diplomat,” Fr. Gumpel said, referencing the late pope’s natural gifting and service in this area.
The priest explained that Pius XII had been a bright student, and was asked by a high-ranking official of the Secretary of State on behalf of the Pope to come into the diplomatic service of the Holy See.
However, “he wanted to become a parish priest,” Fr. Gumpel noted, stressing that Pope Pius XII was always primarily concerned with the care of souls. He “didn’t want to become a diplomat,” but did so out of obedience.
Other causes for canonization under Father Gumpel’s jurisdiction that have received decree on the diversity of virtues -- meaning, their heroic virtue has been proved -- are Mother Katherine Drexel and Cardinal John Henry Newman.
Rome, Italy, Sep 26, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - In his daily homily Pope Francis stressed the importance of having a personal encounter with Jesus, and said that there are three languages needed in order to get to know him.
“Some people begin to feel afraid of this man,” said the Pope in reference to Herod’s question of Jesus’ identity in the gospel, “because he could have led them to a political conflict with the Romans.”
One might wonder, he said, “Who is this man, who makes so many problems?”
The Holy Father spoke to those in attendance of his Sept. 26 daily Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta guest residence in the Vatican.
“You cannot know Jesus without having problems,” said the Holy Father, “But if you want to have a problem, go to the street to know Jesus – you’ll end up having not one, but many! But that is the way to get to know Jesus!”
“You cannot know Jesus in first class! One gets to know Jesus in going out (into) every day (life). You cannot get to know Jesus in peace and quiet, nor even in the library: Know Jesus.”
Pope Francis then noted that the languages of “mind, heart and action” are necessary in order for every Christian in building their relationship with the Son of Man.
Drawing attention to the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an exceptional resource for knowing our faith, the Holy Father emphasized that there is much to learn about Jesus by reading it, and urged those present to both study and read it.
“We know the Son of God, who came to save us, we understand the beauty of the history of salvation, of the love of the Father, studying the Catechism,” he said, asking those present “how many people have read the Catechism of the Catholic Church since it was published over 20 years ago?”
The Holy Father stressed that although resources such as the Catechism are important, it is only a step in getting to know Jesus, and that knowing him in the mind is not enough.
“It is necessary to get to know Jesus in dialogue with Him.”
“If you do not pray,” urged the Pontiff, “if you do not talk with Jesus, you do not know Him. You know things about Jesus, but you do not go with that knowledge, which He gives your heart in prayer.”
Pope Francis went on to say that if one studies the Catechism and prays frequently it is it is still not sufficient, and that if one truly desires to know Jesus “it is by following Him” that it will happen.
It is necessary “to go, to walk along the streets, journeying,” urged the Pope, “It is necessary to know Jesus in the language of action.”
“One cannot know Jesus without getting oneself involved with Him, without betting your life (on) Him.”
The Holy Father concluded his reflections by returning to Herod’s question about the identity of Jesus, saying that many people today, “including us,” ask the same thing, to which the Word of God responds “You want to know who He is? Read what the Church tells you about Him, talk to Him in prayer and walk the street with him.”
“This is the way! Everyone must make his choice.”
Vatican City, Sep 26, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
The Vatican announced Sept. 26 that five men were appointed as consultants to the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.
The office plans the ceremonies of Papal liturgies, and is headed by the Papal master of ceremonies, currently Monsignor Guido Marini.
Those appointed are Fr. Silvano Maggiani, Fr. Corrado Maggioni, Fr. Giuseppe Midili, Monsignor Angelo Lameri, and Archimandrite Fr. Manuel Nin.
Fr. Maggiani is a professor of liturgy at the Marianum Pontifical faculty and at the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, and Fr. Maggioni is an office head at the Congregation for Divine Worship.
Fr. Midili, a Carmelite, is director of the Diocese of Rome's liturgical office, and teaches pastoral liturgy at the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum alongside Fr. Maggiani.
Monsignor Lameri is a priest of the Diocese of Cremona, and teaches liturgy at the Pontifical Lateran University, while Archimandrite Fr. Nin is rector of the Pontifical Greek College.
According to Rorate Caeli, none of the previous members of the office were confirmed. These included Monsignor Nicola Bux, a professor at the Theological Faculty of Puglia, and Monsignor Uwe Michael Lang, a member of the London Oratory and an official of the Congregation for Divine Worship, both of whom had been appointed to the office by Benedict XVI in 2008.
Another appointment made today was that of Erna Moller, a Swedish professor of immunology, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Los Angeles, Calif., Sep 26, 2013 (CNA) -
In his weekly column, Archbishop José H. Gomez said that despite what secular media outlets have reported, the heart of the Holy Father’s interview is fostering a lively relationship with Christ.
“Pope Francis knows that our faith journey begins in the encounter with God’s mercy – when the Lord looks upon us in mercy and calls us to follow him,” he wrote in his Sept. 26 column for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The Roman Pontiff’s “simple confession” of being “a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon” sets the tone for the focus on mercy and conversion in his wide-ranging interview published Sept. 19 in several Jesuit publications world-wide.
“The mercy of God is the heart of the message of Christ. That’s why the encounter with Christ is so urgent for every person. That’s the mission that Pope Francis sets before the Church — and before each one of us.”
However, mercy does not “replace God’s justice” or “blur the lines between right and wrong or good and evil,” Archbishop Gomez explained.
Mercy, especially that which is found in the sacrament of Confession, brings all that is dark in our lives “into the light of God’s saving love.”
Pope Francis reminds us of this in his interview when he “criticizes those who wrongly think that mercy means being 'too lax' or who washes his hands by simply saying, 'This is not a sin.'”
Instead of going to the other extreme of turning the Gospel into a set of “rules,” the Holy Father encourages us to “change our lives” to be more like our Savior, the archbishop said.
“The Pope knows that when we draw close to Christ, it leads to conversion.”
Even though the article takes up about 20 pages in a magazine, much of the secular media coverage “focused only on the four paragraphs … where the Holy Father talked about abortion, birth control and homosexuality.”
Such treatment of the Pope’s interview emphasizes the “vital” role that Catholic media plays in today’s world.
“Unfortunately, most mainstream media reporting on Pope Francis has not been really accurate. Instead they seem to be trying to present him in their own image, reflecting their own desires for the Church.”
He challenged readers to prayerfully read the interview itself, which he called “a window into our Holy Father’s soul and his vision for the Church,” instead of relying on mainstream media to discover what the Pope said.
Archbishop Gomez’ column can be read here.
Washington D.C., Sep 26, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Advocates of life, marriage and religious liberty united in New York on Wednesday to pray together and reaffirm their dedication to advancing foundational Christian principles of justice and the common good.
The Christian position on marriage, life and religious freedom is “as it must be, a truly consistent ethic of love for all humans,” said Eric Teetsel, director of the Manhattan Declaration, a movement of Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians working for life, marriage, and religious liberty.
He emphasized that supporters and signers of the Manhattan Declaration document “are part of a movement that has drawn a line in the sand,” joining an “exemplary and inspiring” tradition of human rights advocates.
The Manhattan Declaration is a “statement of Christian conscience” that offers a Christ-centered response to what it calls “the most pressing questions of our time” on the topics of abortion, embryo-destructive research, same-sex marriage, and freedom of religion.
The document was authored by a coalition of Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians in 2009, and according to the speakers, some 540,000 Americans – including prominent theologians, pastors, intellectuals and more than 50 cardinals and bishops – have signed it.
“Because we honor justice and the common good, we will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” the declaration promises. “But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.
“We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence,” the document continues, pledging to uphold the traditional Christian positions on “the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of religion,” foundational elements of justice and the common good.
On Sept. 25 – three days before the fourth anniversary of the declaration’s creation – Columbia University hosted “The Manhattan Declaration Returns Home,” an event based on prayer and education about the threats to life, marriage and religious freedom faced by U.S. Christians today.
Speaking at the event were pastors and religious leaders including Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, members of pro-life organizations, defenders of marriage, and representatives of religious freedom groups.
Marjorie Dannenfeltzer, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, stressed the need for courage with respect to pro-life issues, affirming that “every human being is loved, willed and necessary - not just a commodity.”
Scholars Ryan Anderson and Sherif Girgis – co-authors of the book “What is Marriage” – explained the Christian understanding of marriage and the effects of redefining that vision.
Girgis questioned the redefinition of marriage as merely a “deep emotional bond,” saying that this revisionist position is not linked to the spouses’ reproductive nature and fails to explain other key truths about marriage, such its exclusivity, its permanence and its monogamy.
Anderson further explained that “men and women bring different gifts to the parenting enterprise” and emphasized that “children are raised best when raised by a mother and a father.”
This fact has direct policy implications, Anderson added. He explained that marriage is the “least restrictive way we can come up with to ensure that totally needy, totally dependent children grow up to be law-abiding, productive members of society,” and working to ensure that fathers are involved in the raising of children.
Redefining marriage makes the institution more about adult desires than children’s needs, he warned, because it establishes either a father or mother as optional.
Alan Sears, president of Alliance Defending Freedom, cautioned that recent attempts to redefine marriage and include abortion-inducing and contraceptive drugs in healthcare demonstrate that religious freedom is being attacked in way that are unprecedented and “chilling.”
Many companies face a figurative “death penalty” as they find themselves “forced to choose between their conscience” and the government's demands, he said.
However, there is “a lot of good news, thanks to those who have already said ‘no,’” Sears continue, pointing to “many inspiring act of courage” against the federal contraception mandate and other edicts that force Christians to violate their conscience.
The event also featured an opportunity for prayer in order to seek God's support for the freedom as Christians work for the freedom to live out their beliefs.
Cardinal Dolan maintained that even when the circumstances seem grim, Christians can be both hopeful and “very realistic.”
“(T)he voices against us are powerful,” he acknowledged, “but God is more so.”