Steubenville, Ohio, Oct 18, 2013 (CNA) -
Italian philosopher and statesman Rocco Buttiglione will deliver lectures at Franciscan University of Steubenville this month, beginning by discussing his friendship with Blessed John Paul II.
Buttiglione is a member of the Italy's Chamber of Deputies. He is one of Europe’s leading Catholic political thinkers, serving as a professor of political science at Saint Pius V University in Rome and as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
He is coming to Steubenville, Ohio as the first distinguished visiting scholar of Franciscan University's Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project.
On Oct. 21, Buttiglione will give a public lecture titled “My Friendship with a Saint: What Blessed John Paul II Taught Me About Christian Witness.” Franciscan University said the lecture will draw on Buttiglione’s “unique vantage point as friend, trusted adviser, and spiritual son.”
Buttiglione will give the philosophy department’s annual, public Edith Stein Lecture on Oct. 23, on the topic “Beyond Descartes: Intersubjectivity as Ground of Knowledge of the Self.”
Buttiglione has also served as Italian Minister for European Affairs and Italian Minister for Cultural Assets and Activities.
Buttiglione made headlines around the world in 2004 when Italy nominated him as a justice minister for the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union. His opponents blocked his nomination because of his Catholic beliefs on homosexuality, among other issues.
Vatican City, Oct 18, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Benefactors of the Vatican Museums who have recently gathered in Rome stressed that art is pivotal in the task of bringing God to secular society.
“A message given by the artist which many times is a very strong religious, theological message can then penetrate into the soul,” Fr. Mark Haydu told CNA in an Oct. 17 interview.
Fr. Haydu is the international director of the Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museums – a worldwide community dedicated to the restoration and conservation of artwork within the Vatican Museums through the financial adoption of various projects.
The priest reflected that art and beauty play “an essential role” in evangelization today, because “we live in a very image driven culture, as we know, and a throw away culture, so a lot of what is beautiful lasts over time.”
“If we do not preserve and protect it we can lose it.”
He stressed that “a painting is almost like a face, if it is sad and depressed and non-communicative, it loses its power to relate to the viewer,” so restoration in important in order to “bring back the smile that can then invite a communication that opens the heart and then the message that work of art has.”
“Our hope and my job as a priest is to infuse into the spirit of the family of the patrons, this evangelistic attitude that we want to preserve beauty, not just for its cultural value, but also because Jesus Christ spoke through symbols and through art.”
The Patrons of the Arts organization officially began in 1983 when an exhibit from the Vatican Museums was sent to the United States. The concern for the preservation of the museum's treasures amongst those who saw the works generated the desire to found an organization dedicated to the special task of restoration.
The conference, composed of about three hundred and fifty benefactors, “is a chance for them to see the museums, meet the curators to talk to the restorers and see the work that has been done in the museums,” said Fr. Haydu, “because many people, five million, go through the museums every year.”
“Very few understand all the work that goes on behind to preserve this vast collection,” urged Fr. Haydu, “more than for the church, it is for humanity. It is the gift that the church offers to the world.”
Patrons Anthony and Suzanne Rae traveled from Michigan to attend the conference, spoke with CNA/EWTN News on Oct. 17, saying that they have been members of the organization since it began.
Suzanne emphasized that taking part in the patrons' work is “something that we have a great passion for.” Because she had studied fine art in university and her husband had studied architecture, “being a part of the restorations and the preservation of the artwork is just a responsibility that we love and feel.”
“We come here frequently and particularly to Rome and we never fail to be amazed at the research and the advancement that the patrons are doing,” Anthony said, “through the work that we do, that the restorers do through the patrons' office, our contribution to the restoration.”
Suzanne also expressed her hope as a patron that the art in the museums would serve to evangelize, noting that there are several non-Catholics involved in their Patrons of the Arts chapter in the U.S.
“I feel that it's opening the doors to bringing us all closer together because that's so necessary in these times for us to be united,” she urged, “the Church is a gift to the world in many ways.”
Anthony added that “the artwork in the world is ecumenical. It's not something that we alone as Catholics own.”
“Our friends whether they're Catholic, Jewish, whatever have a deep appreciation for what the Catholic Church has done for the preservation of the artwork and its legacy that will hopefully continue on for many many years.”
The Vatican Museums, founded by Pope Julius II, are an immense collection of different pieces of art located within Vatican City which have come into the Catholic Church’s possession throughout the centuries.
Among the vast works within the museums are many of the most renowned classical sculptures and most significant masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.
Washington D.C., Oct 18, 2013 (CNA) -
Austen Ivereigh, author of an upcoming book on Pope Francis, says it will help explain the Pope's pastoral approach to North Americans and Europeans, who may not understand his Latin American roots.
Before his election, Pope Francis “had already been thinking very deeply about the Church, and the way that the Church interacts with the world for a very long time,” author Austen Ivereigh explained to CNA Oct. 16.
What is “dramatic” about his papacy thus far “is that he’s able to implement” the “program” that sprung forth from these thoughts.
Ivereigh is writing the book, which will be published by Henry Holt, likely in 2014. Ivereigh is a British journalist, and has served as a press secretary for the Archbishop of Westminster.
He is also founder and coordinator of Catholic Voices, a group which trains Catholic laypeople to present the Church’s teachings in media outlets.
Ivereigh explained that Pope Francis' vision “needs to be understood, above all, in the context of the Church in Latin America.”
Because many in Europe and North America have a different understanding of the Church’s role in society than do Latin Americans, “people in Europe and America are struggling to understand him.”
“People are still asking ‘who is he? How does he think? What does he want?’ because in a way, what Francis is doing is not recognizable to the prosperous cultures of Europe and North Americans.”
“I hope to be the bridge between Latin America and the rich north” of Europe and North America, Ivereigh added on his hopes for his forthcoming book, which has yet to be titled.
For his investigation into the Pope’s background, vision, and pastoral style, Ivereigh, who conducted his doctoral thesis on the Catholic Church and politics in Argentina, will travel to Buenos Aires for a month for further research and to encounter “people who knew him, but people also, above all, who can really explain his vision and where it came from.”
“What we’re seeing in Francis is a new idea of what a Pope is,” Ivereigh said, explaining that Pope Francis’ “informal, warm, human directness,” “spontaneity,” and “his pastoral approach” are “very, very typical of the Church in Latin America.”
Ivereigh added that in North America and Europe, Catholics are “trying to understand what status the Pope’s comments have,” and what doctrines the Pope is speaking to.
Instead, the “Pope is the world's first parish priest,” bringing a pastoral-focused approach rather than a doctrinally-focused approach to the papacy.
This understanding is influenced Pope Francis’ Latin American roots, Ivereigh explained.
“I think the main factor is that “el pueblo” – the people of God – are the majority, and they are the poor,” in the majority of Latin America.
“I think that changes the way the Church relates to society, because the starting point of the Latin American Church is that the people they are addressing are poor and mostly uneducated,” shifting focus to pastoral matters and a modeling of Jesus rather than theological understanding.
This has lead to Pope Francis’ “understanding of how to speak” to many of the pressing questions of today’s society in an engaging manner. Pope Francis has “the capacity that he has to identify with the wounds” of society that enables him to have a dramatic pastoral effect, Ivereigh said.
“He is in a sense re-framing” the public’s view of the Church.
Ivereigh added, however, that there is still much to learn about how his background formed the Pope’s theological and pastoral vision, how it has influenced his change from a relatively reserved archbishop to an outspoken and charismatic Pope, and how it relates to what Ivereigh called Pope Francis’ “defining moments”
“The first moment was his first few days after the election, by rejecting what one might call 'the papal monarchy',” and establishing his own style.
At World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, it “became very clear to us who were there that this was the launch of the papacy,” and while at World Youth Day, Pope Francis “put flesh on the idea of a Church for the poor and of the poor.”
Most recently, in a September meeting with cardinals, it “became very clear that the ambition for the reform of Church governments was very great indeed.”
“This is a papacy that will really implement the collegiality,” of the Second Vatican Council, Ivereigh said.
He added, however, that just how this pastoral emphasis on “the love and the mercy of God” emerges will be something to continue to study as the Argentine's pontificate continues.
Baton Rouge, La., Oct 18, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
After a long legal fight, the U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a lower court ruling that Benedictine monks in Louisiana have the right to sell their handmade wooden caskets to the public.
“It’s a great day for us, and we’re very thankful that this five-year battle is over,” Abbot Justin Brown of St. Joseph Abbey told The Advocate, Baton Rouge's daily newspaper. “We’re not in the business of going to court.”
The Covington-based abbey had for decades created the caskets to bury deceased religious brothers. It began to sell the caskets in November 2007 through a new company, St. Joseph Woodworks, after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the timberland on which it relied for income, and the caskets were sold at a rate significantly lower than others.
One month later, the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors ordered the abbey not to sell the caskets to the public within the state. State law required sellers of caskets to have funeral director training and to have a funeral parlor with embalming equipment.
The monks stopped selling caskets and filed suit in federal court in 2010, and a U.S. district judge struck down the law in 2011.
In March 2013 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision that the Louisiana embalmers and funeral directors board wrongly required casket sales to be conducted only through a state-licensed funeral director at a funeral home.
The court wrote that the state rule puts coffin customers at a greater risk of abuse and “exploitative prices,” striking down the protectionist law as violating the monks' rights to equal protection and due process.
The state funeral board, which argues that the law helps protect consumers, had appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which chose not to reconsider the appellate court's ruling in favor of the monks.
The abbey had celebrated its previous legal victories, but Abbot Brown said they will likely mark the final milestone “quietly in our prayers.”
“It’s great that we’ve been able to secure our own economic liberty and protect the economic liberty of others,” he told The Advocate. “We always felt the Constitution was on our side.”
The legal fight over the casket regulation drew strong support from both Catholics and non-Catholics, he said.
St. Joseph Abbey is almost 125 years old, and has 34 monks in its community. It operates a college seminary and hosts a retreat center and a bakery that provides bread for the poor of New Orleans.
To help support itself, the abbey now sells a special monastic coffin model for $1,500, while their traditional coffin sells for $2,000. It makes about 200 caskets per year.
In March Abbot Brown told CNA the caskets have “good craftsmanship. They’re very simple but very well done.”
Vatican City, Oct 18, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
The Vatican's leading television network commemorated the 30th anniversary of their foundation by hosting a symposium in Rome in which many experts in television broadcasting were present.
For the Vatican Television Center, this is “an age of full maturity,” Archbishop Claudio Celli told a group of journalists at the event, “it's not a time to look back on what we've done but it's a time to look ahead...to the challenges of the future.”
Archbishop Celli, who serves as President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, offered his thoughts to the journalists present at the Oct. 18 celebration.
Founded in 1983 by Bl. John Paul II, the Vatican Television Center specializes in the areas of live broadcasting, archiving, and production, aiming to spread the Gospel through the avenue of television with a special emphasis on the Pope's activities and those of the Apostolic See.
According to the Vatican's press announcement, the event “will be an opportunity for reflection on the budget and especially new communication challenges in a world in which the media are increasingly complex and interconnected.”
“It's undeniable that this is a moment of challenges for the Vatican Television Center and for the Council for Communications to spread the image of the Pope all over the world,” Archbishop Celli said.
However, Anna Maria Tarantola, president of Italy’s television and radio program “Radiotelevisione Italiana,” told journalists at the event that the work which CTV has accomplished in their thirty years of existence is “an important conquest…which represents the capacity that the CTV has been able to take advantage of through current media.”
The Vatican Television Center is mainly responsible for coverage of the Pope, which it distributes to other stations and agencies who request it, also giving assistance to foreign correspondents within the Vatican.
With an archive of close to 10,000 tapes and around 4,000 videos of Pope John Paul II since 1984, CTV has produced a variety of documentaries which explore the pontificate of Bl. John Paul II, as well as the Vatican and the different Basilica's around Rome.
During the commemorative event, a message from both Pope Francis and the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, were read aloud to the participants.
Archbishop Celli emphasized the increasing need and importance of the work which CTV does in television, stressing that “This Pope doesn't just have words, but he has gestures,” which need to be shared with the world.
Vatican City, Oct 18, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
During his daily Mass homily Pope Francis reflected on various biblical figures who experienced difficulty in their old age, and encouraged those present not to forget the elderly.
The Pope directed his reflections to those gathered in the Santa Marta guesthouse of the Vatican on Oct. 18 for his daily Mass, centering his thoughts upon the latter lives of Moses, John the Baptist and Saint Paul.
These three figures, he noted, remind him of “the shrines of holiness which are the nursing homes of elderly priests and religious sisters.”
Pope Francis recalled the excitement and enthusiasm displayed by all three men in their youth, and contrasted it to isolation and pain they suffered at the end of their lives, stressing that although none of them were spared suffering in their old age, the Lord never abandoned them.
Noting that the apostle Paul “has a joyful and enthusiastic beginning,” the Pope recalled that he experienced a decline in the latter years of his life, and both Moses and John the Baptist shared a similar experience.
“Moses, when young,” stressed the pontiff, was “the courageous leader of the People of God who fought against his enemies” in order to save his people, however at the end of his life “he is alone on Mount Nebo, looking at the promised land” but is unable to enter it.
Saint John the Baptist, noted the Pope, in his later life was tormented by anguish, and “finished under the power of a weak, corrupt and drunken ruler who in turn was under the power of an adulteress’ jealousy and the capricious wishes of a dancer.”
Turning his thoughts back to Saint Paul, Pope Francis stressed that the apostle endured a similar experience, speaking in his letters of those who abandoned him and rejected his teachings.
However, the Pope clarified that although Paul wrote about his great sufferings, he also wrote that “the Lord was close to him and gave him the strength to complete his mission of announcing the Gospel.”
Pope Francis concluded his reflections by stressing that the situations of the three biblical characters in their old age reminded him of those elderly priests and religious sisters in nursing homes.
Referring to them as a “shrine of holiness,” he urged the guests present not to forget the elderly, and to visit them, because “bearing the burden of solitude, these priests and sisters are waiting for the Lord to knock at the door of their hearts.”
Vatican City, Oct 18, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
During the anniversary celebrations of the Vatican's CTV network, leaders within the organization expressed great hopes for the future, and shared their vision of what it might hold.
“Today, we're commemorating the 30 years of the Vatican Television Center but especially today we are commemorating the great family of the CTV,” Monsignor Dario Vigano told CNA in an Oct. 18 interview.
The network's family, noted Msgr. Vigano, includes “the world of all of the international television stations, broadcasters,” and “international agencies,” many of whom spoke at the event sharing their experience of working with CTV throughout the years of their existence.
Msgr. Dario Eduardo Vigano is the director of the Vatican Television Center, and has been in charge of the organization since January 2013.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of their foundation, CTV hosted a symposium in Rome in which many experts in television broadcasting were present.
During the anniversary celebrations, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications Archbishop Claudio Celli revealed to journalists that CTV is in “an age of full maturity,” and that “it's not a time to look back on what we've done but it's a time to look ahead...to the challenges of the future.”
Reflecting on the direction in which the television center is going to take, Msgr. Vigano urged that “The future for us is a moment of great technological innovation.”
According to Msgr. Vigano, a long term commitment of the organization is to create “a digital archive of all of our footage” and to make them “available for our internal workflow and also externally to international broadcasters so they can see what we have in our archives,” which broadcasters will eventually be able to choose from.
Another goal of CTV “is longer term but we’re already experimenting with it,” noted the priest, revealing that this goal will be “delivering a historical document to the future historians with a cinema-level quality.”
This historical content, stated Msgr. Vigano, aids in CTV’s mission of “telling the story of the Pope step-by-step.”
The television center’s video cameras, he urged, are the only ones “that follow the Pope’s every movement, they document everything he does and distribute the footage.”
“So, we can say it’s the gaze of the world on the Pope, on the events of the pontificate and what goes on within the Holy See.”
Founded in 1983 by Bl. John Paul II, the Vatican Television Center specializes in the areas of live broadcasting, archiving, and production, aiming to spread the Gospel through the avenue of television, giving special emphasis to the activities of the Pope and those of the Apostolic See.
According to the Vatican's press announcement for the anniversary symposium, the event was also an opportunity to address “new communication challenges in a world in which the media are increasingly complex and interconnected.”
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Oct 18, 2013 (CNA) - An appeals court in Malaysia has prohibited non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” to refer to deities, even though it is the standard Malay term for “god.”
The Oct. 14 ruling comes in a case relating to The Herald, the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.
The court's verdict “violates the right to religious freedom and freedom of expression enshrined in the (Malaysian) constitution,” said Fr. Lawrence Andrew, editor of The Herald.
“It is a retrograde step in the development of law in relation to the fundamental liberty of religious minorities.”
“Allah” is the Malay language equivalent of the English word “god,” and is a loanword from Arabic. Malay is the official language of the country, and Malaysians of all religions use the word; not just Muslims.
The term “Allah” is used around the world by Arab Christians, and has been included in the Malaysian version of the Bible for 400 years.
Father Andrew noted that a Latin-Malaysian dictionary published in 1631 by the forerunner of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which translates “Deus” as “Allah”, establishes “decisive proof of the legitimate use of the word 'Allah' by Christians.”
Despite this, the appeals court said the term belongs exclusively to Muslims and that its use by others could cause public disorder. Some Muslim groups in Malaysia have argued that Christian use of “Allah” could encourage Muslims to convert to Christianity, according to the BBC.
The court's decision stems from a 2009 government decision saying that The Herald could not use “Allah” to refer to God in Christianity. The paper sued, and a court ruled in their favor, but the Malaysian government appealed.
Now that an appellate court has ruled against The Herald, Fr. Andrew said that Archbishop Murphy Pakiam of Kuala Lumpur has given his approval to appeal the ruling to the Malaysian Supreme Court.
The ruling was “influenced by political pressure,” Fr. Andrew claimed.
Though the Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of religion, Islam is the established religion. More than 60 percent of Malaysians are Muslim, and about 10 percent are Christians.
Fr. Andrew said that “all Malaysian Christians will take part in a prayer vigil in the coming days, praying for peace and religious freedom in Malaysia.”
New York City, N.Y., Oct 18, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Faith and laughter abounded at the 68th annual Al Smith Dinner as comedian Stephen Colbert joked on politicians, big and small, the Pope, and Cardinal Dolan, and the cardinal made a few reflections of his own.
"A sense of humor comes from faith, faith that everything is in God's providential hands, a faith that frees us up to laugh," New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan explained at the Oct. 17 dinner.
"My pleasant task is simply to thank God – thank God as we leave laughing, placing our guests, our honoree, our speaker, our board, our children that we love and help, the city that we love, our country we cherish, our families to which we're now going to return safely into His providential hands," Cardinal Dolan continued, closing the evening.
The Al Smith Dinner is an annual black-tie fund-raising dinner for New York City Catholic Charities, held in memory of former New York Governor Al Smith.
"For 68 years, this has been an evening of joy and friendship and charity to others," Cardinal Dolan said, explaining the tone of the dinner known for its humor, witty political commentary, and fund-raising efforts for Catholic Charities.
This year's dinner raised $3 million for needy children served by Catholic Charities in New York, and honored Brian Thomas Moynihan, president of Bank of America.
While it was clear that the dinner was organized to help those most in need, the keynote speaker admitted that he did hope to get something out of the night.
“I'm not getting paid for this – do I get a plenary indulgence or anything?” Colbert joked.
The comedian – host of the nightly news parody “The Colbert Report” – took the opportunity to poke at Cardinal Dolan, who has appeared on Colbert's show and at a 2012 conversation on faith and humor at New York's Jesuit college, Fordham University.
Though on his show Colbert plays a character that is sometimes assumed to be either an atheist or a common person unfamiliar with Church teaching, in real life, Colbert has affirmed his belief and fidelity to the Catholic Church. The father of three teaches a weekly catechism class at his local parish and often comments on the large Catholic family in which he grew up.
"Also I am the youngest of 11 children," Colbert explained, rushing through the names of all of his siblings in one breath.
"I will hold for you to applaud my parent's passionate obedience to 'Humane Vitae',” he continued, referencing one of the documents outlining the Church's teaching on sexuality.
"I am proud to be America's most famous Catholic," the comedian joked, moving on. "I'm sure the Cardinal is thinking, Stephen, pride is a sin. Well Cardinal, so is envy, so we're even."
Cardinal Dolan's hearty chuckle could be heard above the laughs of the other attendees as the jokes directed at the cardinal continued.
Colbert acknowledged his respect and gratitude for the Cardinal's presence and friendship as well as his position. "Your Eminence. That's a title – that's a fantastic title. He's not just sitting there, he's 'emanating.' He's like a fog of cardinal-ness."
"On the other hand, The Eminence sounds like the most boring Spider-Man villain of all time," he deadpanned.
"I have great respect for Cardinal Dolan," Colbert continued, more seriously for a moment.
"Although I have to say, sir, it's not easy when you're wearing that outfit. In that cape and red sash – you look like a matador who's really let himself go," Colbert said to hearty guffaws.
"Did you not see the invite? It said white tie, not Flamboyant Zorro."
Colbert praised Cardinal Dolan's time and work in office, noting that "the Cardinal came this close to being selected Pope – but he blew it in the swimsuit competition."
The speaker took a bit of time to poke at both Catholics' and the media's response to Pope Francis, noting that many have said the new Roman Pontiff is "off message, saying Catholics need to stop obsessing," over controversial issues. This new approach, Colbert said "forces me to ask the eternal question: Is the Pope Catholic? And if not, where are bears going to the bathroom?"
The comedian also took the time to joke about the new Pope's populist and modest style of leadership, saying that if Pope Francis had attended the dinner, “we wouldn’t be in white-tie at the Waldorf — we’d be in sweat pants at the corner booth of the IHOP.”
"If he was here," Colbert also said, “His Humbleness would be out washing the feet of the coat-check guy or something,” continuing, “We get it, you’re modest.”
The jokester's jibes were not all directed at Church figures, however, as the latter section of the speech lampooned both New York City and national political figures.
"And as a Catholic, engaged in the world of politics, I love that this dinner has no separation of Church and state," Colbert said, explaining the dinner's long history and political significance and recognition as an "American political ritual."
"So for those keeping track, the American political rituals are: this dinner, and the Republicans sacrificing 2014 to Ted Cruz's ego," he said, mocking the Texas senator's role in the recent federal government shutdown.
The dinner has also helped advance Catholics in public life, Colbert said, noting that since Smith "first shattered the stained glass ceiling, America has seen a flood of Catholic presidents, from John F. Kennedy, to JFK to good old Jack Kennedy."
"We got close-ish in 2004 with John Kerry, who was a deeply Catholic candidate, in that listening to him talk was like attending a Latin Mass," he continued.
Turning to New York politics, Colbert warned Governor Andrew Cuomo that "Donald Trump is after your job. Sir, if you find orange bronzer stains on your office doorknob, just get out of there."
Threatening to bring the focus back to the charitable nature of the event, the speaker reminded the attendees that in "all seriousness, tonight is about the littlest among us."
"Speaking of which, is Mayor Bloomberg here?" he said, joking the mayor's size and adding that the real reason that the mayor instituted a ban on all sodas over 16 oz. "is because he's afraid he might drown in one."
"But of course the real little ones, are the children in need," Colbert reminded, closing out the speech.
"You have have housed the children, you have feed the children, you have raised millions to address a number of health care crises."
"And hopefully, a large portion of this year's money will go to fixing the Obamacare website," Colbert added, sneaking in one last joke into the jovial speech that toyed with targets from both the Church and the state.