Archive of March 25, 2014

Chile's 'Day of the Unborn Child' to recognize pregnant mothers

Santiago, Chile, Mar 25, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - For the first time this year in Chile, March 25 will officially be celebrated as the Day of the Unborn Child, recognizing the need to protect and care for expectant mothers and their children.

As part of the celebration, the foundation Chile Unido and the Santiago subway system will hand out more than 3000 white roses to pregnant women, as a symbol of the purity of their unborn children.

The purpose of the initiative is to honor pregnant women and to raise awareness about the importance of caring for and protecting expectant mothers.

The flowers will be handed out March 25 at the Baquedano subway station in Santiago from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Volunteers from the foundation, as well as mothers who have been helped by Chile Unido, will help distribute the roses.

Veronica Hoffmann, the executive director of Chile Unido, said the foundation “has been working for 15 years to strengthen the bonds between mother and child, by welcoming and helping pregnant women who are in vulnerable situations.”

The foundation helps mothers in need until their children celebrate their first birthdays, and its work has shed light on the need to ensure healthy births for babies and to promote measures to care for and support pregnant women in their new role as mothers, Hoffman said.

The Day of the Unborn Child was first made a holiday in El Salvador in 1993 and later in Argentina, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Peru, Paraguay, Slovakia, Austria, Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, Brazil and Cuba.

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Pope Francis gaining interest of American publishing houses

Vatican City, Mar 25, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis’ words are grabbing the attention of American publishing houses as well of the U.S. bishops’ conference communications office, according to the Vatican Publishing House.

“I would say that Pope Francis grabs a lot of interest in the world of publishers,” Fr. Giuseppe Costa, director of Libreria Editrice Vaticana – Vatican Publishing House – told CNA March 4.

Libreria Editrice Vaticana is the Holy See’s publisher, responsible for publishing the documents of the Roman Pontiff and the Holy See.
Fr. Costa stressed that he found it “interesting that there is a great examination into purchasing the rights to Pope’s words -- even if we are talking about ‘secondhand’ rights and not exclusive rights, since everyone can find the Pope’s speeches on the Vatican website.”

Fr. Costa traveled to the U.S. last month for the Mid Atlantic Congress of Catholic Leaders, held in Baltimore Feb. 27 – March 1.

He recounted that “the meetings discussed the problematic issues of the Church today, and the need for an interior renewal of the Church.”

Many Catholic publishers took part in the meeting, and Libreria Editrice Vaticana met “about 20 publishers who showed great interest in Pope Francis.” The publisher signed agreements for the publication of books collecting the speeches of the Pope’s Magisterium, which have been already edited in Italian.

“The most requested book” by publishers, he said, “is the collection of Pope Francis’ daily homilies in Domus Sanctae Marthae, which Libreria Editrice Vaticana published in Italian, collecting the text of the syntheses sketched by L’Osservatore Romano.”

In any case, Fr. Costa added, “every Catholic publisher has published some books of Pope Francis’ Magisterium, or his biography.”

The publishers can use “the Pope’s official texts contained in the Vatican website,” he said. “The typical edition for the diverse languages is given by the text published on the Internet.”

According to Fr. Costa, each publication of Pope Francis’ work sells “approximately from 500,000 to 2 million copies around the world,” considering all the editions in the diverse languages – some 11 or 12 translations.

There are not yet data about the number of copies sold of the apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” though the encyclical “Lumen Fidei” sold approximately 2 million copies around the world.

During his time in Baltimore, Fr. Costa also met the representatives of the U.S. bishops’ conference communications department, which “is going to work on several publications in view of the World Day for Families in Philadelphia, scheduled in September 2015.”

He added that “Pope Francis may go to Philadelphia to take part in the World Day of Families.”

The rights to the words of the Popes are property of Libreria Editrice Vaticana, which was founded in 1926.

With the accession of Bl. John Paul II in 1978, the role of the publishing house expanded, from being limited to texts of the Holy See and the Magisterium, to all of the works of the newly-elected Bishop of Rome.

And little more than a month after the election of Benedict XVI, the Vatican Secretary of State issued a decree noting that Libreria Editrice Vaticana “has been entrusted with the exercise and custody, permanently and throughout the world, of every moral copyright and of all the exclusive financial rights - without any exception - over all the deeds and documents through which the Supreme Pontiff exercises his own Magisterium.”

“To discharge this office, the Vatican Publishing House … acts in the name and interests of the Holy See, with the authority to undertake any act for the disposition of the said rights, to initiate legal and judicial proceedings, to propose any action in order to ensure the full protection and realization of these rights and to resist any claim or request from third parties, in conformity with the norms of the international treaties and conventions to which the Holy See adheres.”

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Archbishop underscores beauty, joy of family life

Vatican City, Mar 25, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - At the official presentation of the upcoming World Day of Families in Rome, Archbishop Charles Chaput spoke of the importance of family life in society, and expressed his desire to strengthen it in the Church.

“We in Pennsylvania are grateful to continue this great tradition of reaffirming the importance, the beauty, and the joy of Christian family life,” the archbishop expressed during a March 25 press conference announcing the event.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has recently been appointed to the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and oversees the diocese of Philadelphia, Pa., where the 8th World Day of Families is slated to take place Sept. 22 – 27 of 2015.

Initially stared in 1994 by Pope John Paul II, the World Meeting of Families takes place every three years and seeks to support and strengthen families throughout the world.

During the press conference, Archbishop Chaput thanked Pope Francis for confirming Philadelphia as the location where the meeting will take place, affirming that he “embodies the message of mercy and joy that lies at the heart of the Gospel.”

“His enthusiasm for life and his compassion for the genuine needs of people have inspired in us to focus on our common mission of love, and how love so much enlivens all families and its respective members” the archbishop noted.

For this reason, the he revealed that the diocese is preparing a special “Preparatory Catechism” designed not just for Catholics, but for “all people of good will” as the organizers seek to “underline the beauty and truth of family life.”

“As the most privileged place of love,” the family “provides for a dynamism of reciprocal human affection that fills every home and family member with a unique and invigorating light and warmth,” the archbishop observed.

Expressing his gratitude to be working with the Pontifical Council for the Family in order to prepare, Archbishop Chaput highlighted how large events such as this draw “many thousands of people,” which presents challenges, but also has “the power to transform, in deeply positive ways, the whole community.”

“The World Meeting of Families is meant to be a gift not just for Catholics in Philadelphia, but for every person of good will in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the surrounding regions and the wider world,” he explained, adding that “everyone with a generous heart is welcome to be a part of it.”

Calling to mind the historical significance of Philadelphia for the U.S., Archbishop Chaput highlighted the strides the city has taken in the efforts regarding Catholic education, particularly with immigrants, minorities, the elderly and the poor, and that it still does this today.

However, he also noted how the city needs to “renew” itself in the aftermath of the abuse crisis which over the past decade, stating that his diocese “is a snapshot of the Church globally.”

“We have a duty to help abuse victims and their families to heal, and to protect children and young people from harm in the years ahead,” the archbishop observed, adding that at the same time “the Church still has the duty to help people find God and to live their faith with joy and conviction.”

“The story of repentance and new life was the story of ancient Israel, and it’s the story of the Church at her best throughout history,” he continued.

Emphasizing how “faithful Catholics everywhere” are aware of this, he explained that “they long for a chance to deepen God’s presence in their own families, and to share the Gospel with a world that urgently needs hope.”

“That’s why – with the help of God – the World Meeting of Families in 2015 will achieve everything God intends for it.”

“We very much want” the meeting “to be a moment of hope and joy for every person and every family that attends,” Archbishop Chaput went on to say, noting how “it’s especially fitting” that Bl. John Paul II will be canonized this year, as he is the one who first initiated the global meetings on the family.

Drawing attention to the emphasis organizers are placing on the “importance, the beauty and the joy” of family life, the archbishop observed that for this reason they are “bringing together the best experts we can enlist to address the pastoral, social, economic and cultural challenges that families now face.”

“In the end, our goal is simple. We want to help families strengthen their family life in very practical ways” he stated, concluding his remarks.

“So I’d ask everyone here today to pray that God will guide our efforts in a way that benefits his people, and proves worthy of the families and communities we serve.”

Also present during the press conference were Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, as well as Philadelphia’s governor Tom Corbett, and its mayor, Michael Nutter.

Referring to the theme of the upcoming meeting, Vatican officials stated that it has not yet been decided, but that it is expected to be announced within the next few weeks.

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Pope lauds Mary’s meekness on feast of the Annunciation

Vatican City, Mar 25, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - During his Mass celebrating the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Pope Francis emphasized that salvation is a gift from the Lord which we ought to receive with humility and obedience, just as Mary did.

“In order to receive this salvation, we need a humble heart, a meek heart, an obedient heart. Like that of Mary,” the Pope affirmed in his March 25 daily Mass.

Addressing those gathered in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse chapel, the pontiff recalled the story of Adam and Eve, noting that it was out of pride that they disobeyed God and ate the fruit he had forbidden them to touch, explaining that it was Mary who untied this knot of disobedience with her own act of obedience.

“The Lord is walking alongside his people” the pontiff reflected, asking “and why does he walk alongside them with so much tenderness? It’s to soften our hearts.”

Observing how Jesus explicitly says “‘I will make your heart of stone become a heart of flesh,’” the Pope repeated that the Lord’s tenderness is “to soften our hearts to receive a promise he made in Heaven.”

“Sin entered among mankind but from another man comes salvation,” he continued, adding that “this very long road will help all of us to have a more human heart, closer to God, not so proud, not so self-sufficient.”

Reflecting on how the day’s liturgy demonstrates the various stages along the road of recovery from sin, the pontiff also expressed that it speaks to us of both obedience and meekness regarding the Word of God.

“Salvation cannot be bought or sold: it’s a gift. It’s given to us, it’s free. We can’t be saved through ourselves: Salvation is a totally free gift,” the Pope emphasized.

Highlighting how “It’s not bought through the blood of bulls or goats: it can’t be bought,” the pontiff stated that in order to receive this salvation, we need “a humble heart, a meek heart” and “an obedient heart. Like that of Mary.”

“And the model for this road towards salvation is the same God, his Son, who didn’t consider being equal to God” something to be grasped, the Pope observed, adding that “Paul said this.”

Continuing, Pope Francis stressed the need of walking along the road of humility with “obedience and meekness in our hearts,” and encouraged those present to give thanks to the Father, who gave his only Son “in order to save us.”

“This is the God who is waiting for us every day,” he affirmed, “Let’s look at the icon of Eve and Adam, let’s look at the icon of Mary and Jesus.”

Bringing his reflections to a close, the pontiff urged all to “look at the road of history with God who walks alongside his people,” and to say “‘Thank you. Thank you Lord because today you told us that you have given us salvation.’ Today is a day to give thanks to the Lord.”

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Contraception mandate case argued at US Supreme Court

Washington D.C., Mar 25, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a challenge to the Affordable Care Act touching on the federal government’s compelling for-profit companies to provide coverage for contraceptives despite owners’ religious objections.

Hobby Lobby co-founder Barbara Green, whose business is one of the plaintiffs in the case, said her family is thankful that the Supreme Court heard their case, adding “we prayerfully await the justices’ decision.”

“The choice that the government has forced on us is out of step with the history of our great nation founded on religious freedom,” she said March 25. “We believe that no American should lose their religious freedom just because they open a family business.”
The court heard two appeals, from the Pennsylvania-based Conestoga Wood Specialties, founded and owned by a Mennonite family, and the Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby, whose owners are evangelical Christians. Both business’ owners have religious and moral objections to aspects of the mandate.

At a news conference following the arguments, Anthony Hahn, Conestoga's CEO, said, "We never thought we'd see a day when the government would tell our family we couldn't run our business in a way that affirmed the sanctity of human life, when government would force us to be complicit in the potential destruction of human life."

"But sadly that day has come. Rather than sacrifice our obedience to God, my family, the Green family, and many others have chosen to take a stand to defend life and freedom against government coercion."

Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement argued before the court on the companies’ behalf, saying they are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Following the arguments, he commented that "the court took obviously took these cases very seriously," adding that " the undamental problem with the government's program is that an agency has provided this accommodation or this exemption for this subset of the employers protected by the mandate and a subset of the persons protected by RFRA, but when Congress passes a statute for every person in the country, it is not for the agency to only provide protection for a chosen few."

One of the constitutional issues in the case is whether constitutional protections for religious freedom apply only to individuals or to businesses as well.

Both companies object to being forced to provide employees with some drugs that can cause very early abortions. Non-compliance with the mandate results in fines of up to $100 per day per employee: Hobby Lobby has 13,000 workers, meaning the fine could reach $475 million per year.

Justice Anthony Kennedy -- often the swing vote in contentious cases -- asked whether the government’s reasoning would mean “a profit corporation could be forced in principle to pay for abortions.”

Chief Justice Roberts commented that the companies say the mandate already does just that.

Justice Samuel Alito pressed Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, representing the government, to explain what about a for-profit corporation is “inconsistent with the free exercise clause” of the First Amendment.

Justice Elena Kagan said an exemption from the mandate might invite challenges to laws such as Social Security and family leave mandates, suggesting that “you would see religious objectors coming out of the woodwork.”

Kennedy appeared to focus on how to balance religious interests of the companies with female employees’ legally required access to contraceptives.

Lori Windham, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and counsel for Hobby Lobby, said the case shows that the government is working to “strip this family business of its religious rights” in “a gross violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom represents the Hahn family, the owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties.

The legal group’s senior counsel David Cortman said that the constitution “guarantees the highest form of respect to the Hahns’ freedom … the government must prove why disregarding that freedom is somehow justified.”

The legal group has filed a brief with the Supreme Court which said the government’s argument “turns ordinary notions of liberty upside down” by contending that the company owners “harm the ‘freedom’ of third parties simply by not buying them abortifacients.”

“Citizens are already free to buy birth control for themselves and the government often subsidizes those purchases. Yet in the government’s view that is not enough. For the government, coercion is the new ‘freedom’,” the brief said.

Alliance Defending Freedom senior legal counsel Matt Bowman said Americans’ constitutionally protected liberties include “freedom from government attempts to force them to pay for other people’s abortion pills.”

The American Center for Law and Justice filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to reject the mandate that “substantially burdens” the free religious exercise of business owners and does “a very real and palpable injury” to them.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the legal group, said that the outcome of the case “will send a powerful message about religious freedom to corporate America.”

A ruling on the case is expected by late June.

The Obama administration’s narrow exemption to the mandate applies only to churches and houses of worship. Nonprofits with religious affiliations, including hospitals, religious schools, universities, and charitable employers such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, must offer the coverage or arrange for it to be provided through a third-party insurer. Many Catholic clergy and ethicists say that the putative accommodation is still morally unacceptable.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) released a statement ahead of the oral arguments Wednesday, saying, “no citizen should be compelled to violate their convictions, let alone be punished for refusing to do so.”

“The choice these men and women face – between paying fines that could cripple their businesses and dropping employee insurance altogether – imperils the jobs, livelihoods, and health care of millions of Americans. The government has placed a terrible burden on charities, universities, hospitals, and family-owned businesses – one our founders promised they and we would never have to bear.”

“Religious freedom is not for some people under some circumstances; it is for one and all,” Boehner continued, voicing hope that the court will “reverse this attack on religious liberty.”

There have been 61 federal court rulings on the religious freedom claims against the mandate, Alliance Defending Freedom reports; among the litigants against the mandate is the Eternal Word Global Catholic Network.

Of the rulings handed down thus far, 54 have secured injunctions, while seven did not. Of the 41 cases involving family or religious-run businesses, 35 successfully secured legal injunctions against enforcement of the mandate. Of the 20 cases involving religious nonprofits, only one lawsuit filed by the University of Notre Dame was refused an injunction.

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Supreme Court justices divided on HHS mandate argument

Washington D.C., Mar 25, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments touching on religious freedom and for-profit companies Tuesday, the justices seemed divided over support for corporations or the government.

“A divided Supreme Court seemed inclined to agree Tuesday that the religious beliefs of business owners may trump a requirement in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act that they provide their employees with insurance coverage for all types of contraceptives,” wrote The Washington Post’s Robert Barnes March 25, while adding that “it was difficult to predict a precise outcome from the spirited 90-minute argument.”

The federal mandate that for-profit employers pay for their employees’ contraception coverage was at issue, with the debate focused on statutory protections for religious freedom.

The court heard oral arguments concerning two legal challenges to the Health and Human Services department’s mandate under the Affordable Care Act.

The challenges came from Conestoga Wood Specialties, owned by a Mennonite family, and the Hobby Lobby, whose owners are evangelical Christians. Both business’ owners have religious and moral objections to aspects of the mandate, especially its requirement to provide employees with no co-pay coverage of contraceptive drugs they believe can cause abortions.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement argued before the court on the companies’ behalf, saying that they are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Under the government’s logic justifying the mandate, he said, the act would not apply if Congress decided that a for-profit medical provider has to provide an abortion.

“That, with all due respect, cannot be what Congress had in mind when it passed RFRA,” Clement said.

The government’s position also means that if a kosher market incorporates, “then it has no free exercise claims at all,” he argued.

Clement said the HHS department surely knew that religious free exercise objections would result when it compelled employers “to provide something as religiously sensitive as contraception.”

He was quickly interrupted by Justice Sotomayor, who asked whether his advocacy of religious exemptions and accommodations would also include blood transfusions, vaccines, or products made of pork.

Justice Elena Kagan also wondered whether an exemption from mandate might invite challenges to laws such as Social Security, sex discrimination bans, and family leave mandates.

“You would see religious objectors coming out of the woodwork,” she said.

Clement said the fact that the government made partial exemptions to the mandate is a sign that it recognized it was burdening religious freedom; agreeing, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that “it must have been because the health care coverage was not that important.”

Clement suggested the mandate is “about who’s going to pay for the government’s preferred subsidy” for contraception, which is problematic given that there are “ample alternative ways” to address these burdens.

Under RFRA, the federal government cannot create substantial burdens on religious freedom. However, the scope and intent of that act was a subject of debate among the justices and the attorneys.

Kennedy asked whether the government’s reasoning would mean a for-profit corporation “could be forced in principle to pay for abortions.”

Chief Justice Roberts commented that the plaintiffs believe the mandate already does just that. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who presented the government’s case in favor of the mandate, said that federal law does not agree with that assessment.

Verrilli said the government had a “compelling interest” in ensuring that employees receive contraception coverage as a “preventive service.” He contended that the existing accommodations for employers with objections comprise a “less restrictive” alternative to the main mandate.

The court also considered the question of whether and how a corporation can exercise religion.

Clement suggested that the plaintiffs have unique features, being “small closely-held corporations that have firmly held religious beliefs,” and so differ from larger corporations.

Kennedy appeared to focus on how to balance religious interests of the companies and female employees’ legally required access to contraceptives.

Justice Samuel Alito pressed Verrilli to explain what about a for-profit corporation is “inconsistent with the free exercise clause” of the First Amendment. He asked the solicitor general whether he agreed with a lower court’s opinion that for-profit corporations “must do nothing but maximize profits” and “cannot have other aims,” including religious ones.

Prior to the cases coming to the Supreme Court, circuit courts were divided on the cases’ outcomes; the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, while the Third Circuit ruled in the government’s favor.

SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston wrote that the Supreme Court’s “ultimate outcome, it seemed, will depend upon how Justice Kennedy makes up his mind. There was very little doubt where the other eight Justices would wind up: split four to four.”

The court’s decision in the cases is expected to be handed down in June.

Many Catholic and non-Catholic businesses and organizations are challenging the mandate in court; according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, 93 lawsuits representing more than 300 plaintiffs have challenged the mandate.

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English new evangelization school consecrated to Mary

Plymouth, England, Mar 25, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Marking its patronal feast Tuesday, the School of the Annunciation, a center for the new evangelization in England and Wales, held a Mass at which it was consecrated to Our Lady.

“I’m really delighted Pope Francis has said the new evangelization must be Marian in character,” Dr. Petroc Willey, a founding member of the School of the Annunciation, told CNA March 13.

In his apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” Pope Francis wrote that Mary is “the Mother of the Church which evangelizes, and without her we could never truly understand the spirit of the new evangelization.”

“It really does pick up this idea that you need Mary the contemplative,” Willey commented. “When he’s saying evangelization, he doesn’t mean activism. I’m really pleased that he so emphasizes the priority of grace and the sense of receiving before you can give.”

The newly-launched school’s consecration was held March 25 both to mark the Annunciation, and as a reminder that until the mid-18th century, the date was New Year’s Day in England.

“It’s very symbolic for us as well, making it the day we begin, in a sense,” Willey, who is reader in the new evangelization at the School of the Annunciation, reflected.

The school, which is located on the grounds of Buckfast Abbey in the Plymouth diocese, was launched at the Mass and consecration, during which its trustees and staff made the profession of faith.

Locating the school, which will offer a diploma in the new evangelization, at the Benedictine abbey -- which has been “tremendously committed to it” -- is meant to “go back to the first evangelization,” Willey said.

Europe’s evangelization “took place through monastic schools in large part … the Benedictine tradition was particularly important, because it was rooted in contemplative prayer and the perennial tradition of the Church.”

“The original mission to England was through the Benedictines, so we’re really rooting ourselves” in that contemplative tradition, he explained.

“So that as well as education, what we’re really going for is formation as well as education; so there is a strong liturgical, strong prayer base … The mission will flow from our own living out of the mysteries, and that’s what we’ll be inviting people into. (We’re) trying to provide something very perennial, something reaching back into the first evangelization, and finding out how that can serve the new one.”

The School of the Annunciation – the only center for formation for the new evangelization in England and Wales – features part-time residential formation at the abbey as well as online support, such that the courses can be taken from anywhere.

“We’re hoping to build lots of bridges between England and the States,” Willey said. “I think there will be good interplay there.”

The residential sessions “are structured to be in harmony with the monastic day, so that the academic work is integrated” with the schedule of the lives of the monks as Buckfast.

“We’ll do a lot of study of texts with people, some cultural heritage work in the area, and we also will be taking opportunity to provide strong personal support, so that when students are doing the online work, they’ll really know the people who are supporting them.”

The School of the Annunciation’s diploma will be awarded after two years of coursework. The initial start dates will be Sept. 12-15, and Sept. 29 – Oct. 23, 2014.

In addition to the diploma, the school will offer short courses in the autumn, on topics such as catechetics, Latin, and the relation of the new evangelization with media, with sacred art, and with apologetics. Summer schools will be offered in liturgy, philosophy, theology, and sacred art.

The new evangelization, Willey said, “will work through serious academic work, so that’s what we want to provide.”

“We will try to provide the perennial core -- philosophy, theology, classical languages – and we’ll also introduce people to the history and the lessons from the first evangelization, for the sake of the new … the exciting thing, I think, about the new evangelization, is that you’re helping people to find what actually is around them.”

“It really isn’t an either/or; it’s the hermeneutic of continuity, rather than cutting off for the sake of the new,” Willey explained, adding that this is why the coursework will be concerned both with beauty, sacred art and Christian patrimony and with the effective use of new media.

Alongside Willey, instructors at the School of the Annunciation include Dr. Andrew Beards, academic director; Dn. Nick Donnelly, director of formation; and Dr. Caroline Farey, director of studies.

The faculty are “want the school to prove itself through its own reputation, to be a new kind of venture for the new evangelization.”

The school has won the support of several leaders among England’s Catholic leaders. Bishop Mark O’Toole of Plymouth said that “I am delighted to welcome this new initiative for the New Evangelisation at Buckfast Abbey, and I am grateful for the generosity shown by Abbot David and the Monastic community in providing it a home and direction.”

Abbot David Charlesworth, meanwhile, added that “the foundation of the School of the Annunciation promises to be the next phase in Buckfast Abbey becoming a centre for authentic Catholic studies in continuity with the great Benedictine tradition stretching back over 1,500 years in our country. May Our Lady of Buckfast bless this new venture.”

And Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth said, “I am very happy to promote this new initiative, a School forming disciples for the new evangelisation … this will be excellent training for those in your parishes who would like to be better equipped to go out and evangelise.”

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