Archive of February 22, 2014

Pope’s one-time teacher to write for Italian Jesuit publication

Rome, Italy, Feb 22, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Fr. Juan Carlos Scannone, who taught Pope Francis during his formation period, will be among the writers of La Civilta Cattolica, an Italian cultural journal of the Society of Jesus.

 “Scannone will be a sort of ‘writer in residence’,” Fr. Antonio Spadaro, editor-in-chief of La Civilta Cattolica, explained to CNA Feb. 21.

“He will keep all his international engagements … and at the same time he will help us in improving our capacity to write about Latin America and in giving us insights of the environment from which the Pope comes.”

Fr. Scannone has already contributed to La Civilta Cattolica with an article on the “philosophy of liberation,” and he will soon move to Rome. He will be among the “community of writers” for at least one year.

The hiring of Fr. Scannone comes in the midst of a progressive internationalization of La Civilta Cattolica -- Fr. Spadaro has already occasionally hired Jesuits from outside Italy to write about international issues.

He said that “when La Civilta Cattolica addresses international matters, I prefer to ask for a contribution from someone who already lives in the area we are writing about, rather than asking an Italian member of the College of Writers to write a ‘secondhand’ report.”

Fr. Spadaro said, “the magazine had a solid body of Italian writers resident in Italy. After the meeting the College of Writers had with Pope Francis last June 14, we started thinking about widening the frontiers of our magazine.”

In his address to the writers of La Civilta Cattolica, Pope Francis urged them to dialogue, discernment, and to engage the “frontier” between the Gospel and culture.

“Your proper place is at the frontier. This is the place of Jesuits,” the Pope told them. “Do not give in to the temptation of domesticating these frontiers: it is essential to go out to the frontiers but not to bring frontiers home to touch them up with a little varnish and tame them.”

In addition to Fr. Scannone, La Civilta Cattolica is broadening its horizon by enrolling among its writers Fr. Pierre de Chatenay, a Frenchman who has directed the magazine Etudes and is now teaching in the Philippines, Fr. Spadaro told Vatican Insider Feb. 19.

Fr. Scannone met Pope Francis when the future Roman Pontiff was a seminarian in Buenos Aires. Fr. Scannone taught him Greek and literature, and attended the first Mass of Fr. Jorge Bergoglio. The two lived together for several years while Fr. Bergoglio was Jesuit provincial in Argentina.

A pupil of Fr. Karl Rahner, Fr. Scannone is among the leading spokesmen of the “theology of the people,” an Argentine current of liberation theology.

Fr. Scannone wrote in “Pope Francis: Our Brother, Our Friend” – edited and translated by CNA’s executive director Alejandro Bermudez – that according to Gustavo Gutierrez, Argentine liberation theology “never used Marxist categories or the Marxist analysis of society,” but rather, “without disregarding the social analysis, prefers a more historical-cultural analysis.”

The vision of liberation theology to which Fr. Scannone subscribes is “not based on class warfare,” he wrote, and he noted his criticism of the “indiscriminate use of Marxist analysis.”

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New rector named for St. Patrick’s Seminary near San Francisco

San Francisco, Calif., Feb 22, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco has named Fr. Gladstone Stevens, a Sulpician, as the next rector of St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park, Calif.

Fr. Stevens’ appointment will come into effect June 1; the acting rector is currently Bishop Thomas Daly, an auxiliary of the San Jose diocese.

“Fr. Stevens is highly esteemed by many groups in California,” Archbishop Cordileone said in a Feb. 19 statement announcing the move.

“Bishops, seminarians and laypeople all respect his preaching and spiritual insights. He’s faithful, clear, eloquent, humorous and friendly. What more could a seminarian ask for in the rector of the seminary?”

Fr. Stevens has been the seminary’s vice rector and academic dean since his 2008 arrival at the school. He is a regular retreat leader who guides days of recollection, and has specialized in giving talks to priests, though he also speaks to groups of laypeople who aim to deepen their faith, the Archdiocese of San Francisco reports.

Fr. Stevens said he wants St. Patrick’s Seminary to be seen as “a premier seminary in the West” and a place “where seminarians receive the theological, practical and spiritual training needed to be effective priests.”

The Society of St. Sulpice, to which he belongs, is a community of diocesan priests dedicated to educating fellow priests and men who will become priests.

Fr. Stevens said he has enjoyed working with seminarians and many other groups, adding that his associations with the Poor Clares, the Knights of Malta, and the Catholic business professionals group Legatus have helped “stimulate my faith.”

Fr. Stevens was born in Connecticut and raised in Nashville. He graduated from Quincy College in Illinois in 1989, did graduate-level biblical studies work at Vanderbilt University, and in 1997 earned his doctorate in theology from Marquette University.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2000. He served in parishes and taught theology at Baltimore’s St. Mary’s Seminary, receiving his licentiate in theology in 2007.

This summer, Fr. Stevens will participate in a management seminar at the University of Notre Dame that educates senior administrators in Catholic higher education.

Bishop Daly will continue as interim rector until Fr. Stevens’ administration begins. The bishop has been rector of the seminary since its former rector, Fr. James McKearney, also a Sulpician, was removed last September.
St. Patrick’s Seminary was established in 1898 by the Sulpicians, who have administered it since. The seminary and its grounds are owned by the San Francisco archdiocese.

Its 93 seminarians are primarily from Californian dioceses, though it also serves dioceses elsewhere in the western U.S. and along the Pacific Rim.

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'The Church needs your courage,' Pope tells new cardinals

Vatican City, Feb 22, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - During the Saturday morning consistory at which Pope Francis created 19 new Cardinals, he urged the prelates gathered in St. Peter’s Basilica to serve the Church fearlessly.

“The Church needs your courage, to proclaim the Gospel at all times, both in season and out of season, and to bear witness to the truth,” emphasized the Pope on Feb. 22.

St. Peter’s Basilica was filled with nearly 200 members of the College of Cardinals and those who had gathered to witness the event. Francis’ predecessor Benedict XVI joined the other bishops, wearing his customary white garments rather than the red vestments of a cardinal.

Reflecting on the gospel which was proclaimed at the ceremony, Pope Francis noted that in the scriptures, “Jesus is often walking and he teaches his disciples along the way. This is important. Jesus did not come to teach a philosophy, an ideology… but rather ‘a way,’ a journey to be undertaken with him.”

“But this is not easy, or comfortable, because the way that Jesus chooses is the way of the Cross,” he acknowledged.

Unlike the disciples before the Resurrection who were “shocked” and “full of fear,” said the pontiff, “we know that Jesus has won, and that we need not fear the Cross; indeed the Cross is our hope.”  

“And yet, we are all too human, sinners, tempted to think as men do, not as God does.”

Giving into such a “worldly mentality” of fear, however, results in “rivalry, jealousy, factions,” said the Pope.

He emphasized to the cardinals that the Church needs “your cooperation, and even more your communion, communion with me and among yourselves.”

“Brothers, let us allow Jesus to call us to himself!” he urged.

“And let us listen to him, with the joy that comes from receiving his word together, from letting ourselves be taught by that word and by the Holy Spirit, and to become ever more of one heart and soul, gathered around him.”

The “proclamation of the Word” is one of the “primary tasks” of a bishop, noted the Pope. Another primary task is prayer for “Christ’s flock.”

“We want to express our spiritual closeness to the ecclesial communities and to all Christians suffering from discrimination and persecution. The Church needs our prayer for them, that they may be firm in faith and capable of responding to evil with good.”

“This prayer of ours extends to every man and women suffering injustice on account of their religious convictions,” he added. “Let us therefore invoke peace and reconciliation for those peoples presently experiencing violence, destruction, and war.”

Pope Francis concluded his remarks by thanking the Cardinals and encouraging them to “walk together behind the Lord.”

He then continued the ceremony, reading the formula for the creation of new cardinals, followed by the names of each of the 19 men. The College of Cardinals said the creed together, pledging their fidelity and obedience to the Pope and his successors.

Each of the new cardinals knelt before the Pope to exchange the sign of peace and receive their assignment of a church in Rome - a sign of their participation in the Pope’s pastoral care. They were also given the zucchetto, the tri-fold hat called a “biretta,” and the ring of a cardinal.

With the new cardinals, there are now 218 total living cardinals of whom 122 are under 80 years of age and thus eligible to vote in a conclave.

One of the new cardinals, the elderly Italian Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla, was not present. The 98-year-old is the former secretary of Pope John XXIII and one of the longest-serving archbishops. In the next few days, the cardinal’s hat will be delivered to him in the town where he resides in the north of Italy.

The 18 new cardinals were scheduled to receive visitors during a reception Saturday afternoon in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace and Paul VI Hall.


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Cardinals' meetings focus concern on marriage, family

Vatican City, Feb 22, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - In a series of closed-door meetings this week, cardinals from around the world expressed a common care and concern for the state of marriage and the family in the modern world.

“One of the things that we’re facing is a whole culture that doesn’t appreciate the significance, value, and importance of families.  The secular culture we’re a part of just dismisses the importance of family,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. told CNA on Feb. 22.

The extraordinary synod on the pastoral care for the family will be held this October. The topic of the family was a major topic of Vatican meetings ahead of the recent consistory.

Cardinal Wuerl said that the upcoming synod and its related discussions “just highlight that family is the bedrock of civilization, and we have to do everything we can to support it.”

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the retired Archbishop of Westminster, noted that at the meetings which preceded today’s consistory, among all the cardinals was “a concern for the state of marriage in their countries.”

“What the Church feels and what I feel is that family is at the heart of society. Marriage is at the heart of society, because obviously from marriage comes children and (the question) becomes, how do they grow up?” he explained.

“I think that one of the difficulties for people today is that they haven’t got communities which support (them). In the old days, before the great cities and movement of peoples, people lived in villages, small towns, they had the support of, as it were, ‘wider family.’ That’s not so today. Families break up and it’s terrible for the children, so the Church naturally is concerned about this.”

Cardinal George Alencherry, who heads the India-based Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, told CNA Feb. 21 that the discussions focused on “the question of the challenges of the family in the modern world,” such as “divorce, (and) divorced people getting remarried.”

“They would like to have the assistance from the Church,” he added. The cardinals discussed how to help people in such situations while being faithful to the truth of the “unity and indissolubility” of marriage “because Jesus wanted it.”

“Breakdowns in marriage are very sad,” lamented Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor. The cardinals’ concern for marriage, he noted, is accompanied by an understanding that “sometimes you have an innocent party--man or woman,” and the pressing question is, “how can you help?”

Thus, “one of the issues that will be discussed in these synods that are coming on the family will be, ‘how can we help prepare people better for marriage, support them in their marriage?’”

The world-wide breakdown in marriage and family life is accompanied by certain ideologies, the cardinals found. According to Cardinal Alencherry, they discussed the “materialistic and hedonistic and then the secularist tendencies of the present world that are challenging the practice of the Catholic faith.”

“I think what we’re seeing is the secularism that is spreading everywhere has the same impact of families everywhere in the world,” reflected Cardinal Wuerl.

Given the global situation, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor concluded that the recent discussions focusing on family life were very timely. “I think the Church is right to give this time to what is the foundation of human society, and also of the Church.”  

“If you grow up in a Catholic family, it’s a great gift, so we must help,” he added.

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