Archive of October 27, 2013

Poll find voters split on 'gay marriage'

Trenton, N.J., Oct 27, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - A new survey reports that U.S. voters are evenly split on “gay marriage,” with opposition strongest among those who view marriage primarily as a religious institution.

The Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found that 44 percent of self-described likely voters oppose same-sex “marriage,” while an equal number support it. About 66 percent of Republican voters oppose recognizing the unions as marriages, while 60 percent of Democrats support recognition. Unaffiliated voters back the unions by a margin of 46 to 39 percent.

“Gay marriage” draws opposition from black voters, 65 percent of whom oppose it. Fifty-two percent of other minority voters favor it while white voters are evenly split, Rasmussen says.

The young and the never-married are more likely to support “gay marriage,” with 58 percent of voters under 40 supporting redefinition. Men are somewhat more likely than women to oppose the unions.

About 71 percent of those who say marriage is primarily a religious institution oppose redefining marriage, while 77 percent of those who see marriage as a civil institution support redefinition.

Most of those who say the federal government should establish marriage laws favor redefining marriage, while those who see marriage laws as a state or local responsibility oppose redefinition.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Oct. 22-23. It claims a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Recent Rasmussen surveys have found strong support for having children grow up in a home with both parents. There is also strong support for the right for businesses in the wedding industry to decline requests to provide services for same-sex ceremonies if the businesses have religious objections.

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Local priest blazes pilgrimage across Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wis., Oct 27, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - “Pray with Mary, walk with Jesus,” is the motto of Fr. Andrew Kurz, who just finished praying and walking 120 miles in the Wisconsin countryside as part of a new pilgrimage he dubbed “The Wisconsin Way.”

Fr. Kurz began the 12-day trek along the Ice Age trail Oct. 13, starting at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in New Franken, Wis., and ending at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill in Hubertus, Wis.

The pilgrimage has been in the works since March, when Fr. Kurz was inspired by the movie “The Way”, a 2011 film about the 500-mile Camino de Santiago in Spain.

“The Wisconsin Way is an attempt to create a positive cultural phenomenon…for the Catholic Church in Wisconsin and the United States. (The popularity of) the Camino de Santiago in Europe – I’d like to see that in Wisconsin,” Fr. Kurz said.  

After watching “The Way”, Fr. Kurz, who was then serving in Appleton, Wis., proposed the trek to young people at the faith formation group “Spiritus”.

“Initially I wasn’t going to do it; I was talking to some guys in their 20s, and I offered to be their shuttle and support,” he said.

“I thought ‘I’m too old, I’m going to be 42, I’m not in the best shape.’ But they said, ‘No, Father, you have to do it first.’”

Still unsure, Fr. Kurz penciled in a tentative start date on his calendar with a question mark. Soon after, he was moved to the parish right next to one of the shrines and had several nights of vivid dreams about walking the Wisconsin Way. He changed the question mark to an exclamation point and started mapping the route.

“It’s been changing a bit along the way – I walked a few extra miles to stay at a bed and breakfast on a night I was planning to camp because it was too cold,” said Fr. Kurz.

Fr. Kurz said while there are many places to stay along the Ice Age trail, some of his stops would only be available to priests (such as rectories), which is something he will continue to tweak to make the pilgrimage accessible to all.

“People could try doing it already, they could have someone shuttle them to motels if necessary,” Fr. Kurz said. “But (more accommodations) is something I’m hoping the hand of God will provide.”

Father travelled roughly 10 miles a day, largely through an area of Wisconsin called the Kettle Morain.

“It’s a great opportunity to get in touch with nature as you’re on pilgrimage.”

“I just hope (future pilgrims) don’t bring their iPods, so they can appreciate the silent and gentle beauty of the Wisconsin countryside.”

Fr. Kurz said he hopes the Wisconsin Way will draw young pilgrims in particular, who are discerning their vocation.

“Pilgrimage is a great way to find out who you are in relationship to Jesus Christ, through the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

Interested pilgrims can visit the website for more information about stops along the way and to read Fr. Kurz’s blog as he made the trek.

“I just hope and pray this is something that brings a great sense of revival to the Church and the culture here in Wisconsin.”

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'How’s the joy in your home?' Pope asks families

Vatican City, Oct 27, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - At the Sunday Mass held during the “Day for the Family” in Rome, Pope Francis questioned pilgrims about the harmony of their home lives.

“I would like to ask a question today. Everyone – how will you carry joy home in your heart? How’s the joy in your home? How’s the joy in your family?” he asked during his Oct. 27 homily.

“The family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally. That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world, it is the leaven of society: the joyous family!” the Pope exclaimed.

The Pontiff went on to draw out the connection between joy and faith lived in common life.

“True joy comes from a profound harmony between persons, something which we all feel in our hearts and which makes us experience the beauty of togetherness, of mutual support along life’s journey.”

“But the basis of this feeling of deep joy is the presence of God- the presence of God in the family and his love, which is welcoming, merciful, and respectful towards all,” Pope Francis explained.

“Above all,” he continued, God’s love is “a patient love. Patience is a virtue of God” that “we learn in family life.”

Prayer provides strength for this kind of love, although many find it difficult to pray in a communal setting, the Pope acknowledged.

“So many people say to me, ‘how can we (pray)?… Prayer is something personal, and besides, there is never a good time, a moment of peace…’”

“All that is true enough,” he said, “but it is also a matter of humility, of realizing that we need God!”

“And we need simplicity! Praying the Our Father together, around the table – it’s not an extraordinary thing; it is something all of you can do. And praying the Rosary together, as a family, is very beautiful and a source of great strength! And praying for one another!”

Pope Francis then spoke of the “missionary” nature of the family.

“How do we keep our faith? Do we keep it for ourselves, in our families, as a personal treasure, or are we able to share it by our witness, by our acceptance of others, by our openness?”

“We all know that families, especially young families, are often ‘racing’ from one place to another, with lots to do. But did you ever think that this ‘racing’ could be the race of faith? Christian families are missionary families,” he explained.

The family lives out the work of evangelization “in their everyday life, doing every day things, preserving the family, as they bring the salt and leaven of faith to everything!”

The Pontiff ended the Mass with a special prayer for families. As he stood in front of an icon of Jesus’ own family, he prayed that the “Holy Family of Nazareth” might aid in contemplating “the beauty of communion in true love.”

“Renew in us the value of silence,” he implored, “make our families circles of prayer and transform them into little domestic Churches, renew the desire for holiness, sustain the noble efforts of work, of education, of listening, of mutual understanding and forgiveness.”

As the sun broke through the fog over St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis led the crowds in the Angelus, entrusting families to Mary’s maternal care. “Let us pray together, Mary, queen of the family, pray for us!” he said.

Many families of both local and international pilgrims had travelled to Rome to celebrate the “day for the family” held especially as a part of the Year of Faith.

Saturday’s activities included a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter and a celebration event in St. Peter’s Square in the evening. Prior to Mass on Sunday morning, there was a recitation of the Rosary and Confession was available in various languages.

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Tridentine Mass draws international pilgrims to Rome

Rome, Italy, Oct 27, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The road leading to St. Peter’s Square was packed on Saturday morning: but not with the usual tourists or merchants. Instead, a long line of pilgrims processed along the street carrying candles and singing hymns.

They were participants in an international pilgrimage to Rome celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass made widely available by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2007.

Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney in Brazil spoke to CNA about his participation in the journey.

“I am here for this pilgrimage to give my support and even the correct orientation of this pilgrimage. We are Catholics, united to the Holy See, with the blessing of the Holy Father, Francis,” he said Oct. 26.

Saturday’s procession ended at the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica, where a Solemn Pontifical Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos of Columbia.

An estimated 1,000 laity and religious from Italy, the US, France, Brazil, Switzerland, Germany and elsewhere joined in prayer as the incense rose to the ceiling of the ancient Basilica and the gospel was chanted in Latin.

North Carolinian Noah Carter, who served as deacon, told CNA that it was a joy to be able to “experience things that are not a part of daily life, and benefit from the riches that go before us.”

“I enjoy the ability to worship in the Extraordinary Form,” he said. “I think a lot of people can benefit from what the Church has benefitted from since the 600s – that’s 1500 years of the Mass that sanctified so many Christians.”

Carter noted that the Extraordinary Form may not “be for everyone: some people don’t connect with that form of worship.”

But in Carter’s home diocese of Charlotte, NC and elsewhere, interest in the older form of the Mass is growing.

“I think young people don’t fit the ‘attack’ that is often made on most people who attend the extraordinary form. They are not nostalgic: they didn’t grow up with it,” he explained.

“But it is a clear expression of Catholic culture: explicitly Catholic music, Catholic symbols, Catholic signs. There is no way to confuse it with something that is non-Catholic.” 

After growing up in a world that often identifies faith with social service, “the youth want to identify with something that shows clearly what it is to be Catholic.”

Bishop Rifan expressed his belief that the ancient form of the Mass can contribute to the Church’s efforts at a new evangelization by providing “sense of mystery, this sense of (the) sacred. I think that the traditional Mass can help many souls – many priests, many faithful – in order to respect (the) Eucharist,” he said.

Deacon Carter shared a similar hope: “the Extraordinary Form speaks, literally (because it is in Latin), and figuratively, a different language; and I think some people who need to can come back to faith through it.”

Since often people have been driven away by abuses in the liturgy, Carter emphasized the need to celebrate both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Mass in a reverent manner.

In so doing, the Church “will allow people to come back in different ways.” The two forms of the Mass, according to Carter, act as “two sides to the same coin: a very strong part of the new evangelization that will allow people to enter into the public life of the liturgy in different ways."

This weekend’s pilgrimage also included other events such as a meeting of priests with Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, praying the way of the Cross on the Palatine Hill in Rome, and Eucharistic Adoration in the Santa Maria in Vallicella Church.

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