|Benedict XVI: I knew during his life that John Paul II was a saint
Rome, Italy, April 23 (CNA) .- In a rare interview, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI recalled his close friendship with Blessed John Paul II, saying that the pontiff’s sanctity and deep spirituality were apparent during his life.
FULL STORY »
VATICAN CITY, April 23 (CNA/EWTN News) .- The postulators of the canonization causes for both John Paul II and John XXIII told journalists at the Vatican that the soon-to-be-saints also had faults which show their “humanity.”
At the Holy See Press Office April 22, Monsignor Slawomir Oder and Father Giovangiuseppe Califano discussed both the innate signs of holiness as well as the limitations of the pontiffs.
Msgr. Oder recalled that John Paul II “was a man with blood in his veins,” and as such “had no problem in showing his feelings” – sometimes “he was angry, which demonstrated his humanity.”
The Polish priest noted that in one of his trips, Pope John Paul II was told to use a bullet proof vest. However, the pontiff strongly and negatively rejected the move, “because he trusted in another type of protection.”
Fr. Califano indicated that Pope John XXIII, known as the “good” Pope, also had faults and “used to worry too much about things.”
But, he added, the late pontiff also “had a sense of simplicity and wisdom that helped him to be ironic with himself.”
The priest recounted how one day a newly-appointed bishop confessed to John XXIII “that he could not sleep at night due to an anxiety which was caused by the responsibility of his office.”
“The Pope told him, 'You know, I also thought the same when I was elected Pope. But one day I dreamed about my Guardian Angel and it told me not to take everything so seriously.'”
Both postulators concurred that “all of us have faults, but true holiness is the one in which man responds to the grace of God correcting their mistakes.”
The two also reflected on the saintly characteristics of both men, which they said could be seen from the time both Popes were young.
As a fifteen-year-old seminarian, Angelo Roncalli not only exhibited the qualities of his future episcopal motto – “obedience and peace” – but showed his deep humility and paternal care for others, Fr. Califano said.
University friends of Karol Woytyla were struck by the future saint's prayer habits and profound understanding of the value of human life, Msgr. Oder added.
VATICAN CITY, April 23 (CNA/EWTN News) .- During his general audience Wednesday, Pope Francis emphasized the certainty of Christ's presence in the world today, noting how his resurrection invites us to reject sin and open ourselves to joy and hope.
“In these days we celebrate with joy the great mystery of the Resurrection of Christ,” he told the crowds packed into St. Peter's Square April 23.
“With the resurrection, all has been made new and fresh hope has been poured out upon our world.”
During his remarks, the Pope commented on the Gospel reading from Luke chapter 24, where the angel appears to the women at Jesus' tomb and says to them: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
“It's not easy to accept the presence of the resurrected in the midst of us,” the Pope reflected. “The question that the angel directed to the women, that Easter morning, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead?' we must also ask ourselves.”
Pope Francis outlined the relevance of the angel's words today, explaining that we seek the living among the dead “every time we enclose ourselves in selfishness or complacency.”
“When we are seduced by power and the things of this world, forgetting God and neighbor, when we put our hope in worldly vanities, in money or in success,” he added.
“Each time we lose hope or do not have the strength to pray, each time that we feel alone of abandoned by friends, and even God, each time we feel like prisoners of our sins.”
The pontiff said that the angel's warning “helps us to go outside of our sadnesses and to open ourselves to joy and to hope,” which remove “the stones from the grave and push us to announce the Good News to others.”
Pope Francis also noted how the Gospel account shows three examples “of a life-changing encounter with the Risen Lord,” – Thomas, Mary Magdalene and the travelers on the road to Emmaus – which all invite us to the same experience.
“Like Thomas, we need to grasp the reality of Christ's rising to new life,” he said. “Like Mary Magdalene, we need to hear Jesus' voice calling our name.”
“And like the travelers on the road to Emmaus, we need to find renewed joy and hope by recognizing that the Lord is ever at our side.”
The Pope observed that although these disciples “sought the living among the dead,” Jesus “led them, by different paths, to faith in him and the power of his resurrection.”
“Today he challenges each of us to seek him, the Living One, and to leave behind everything that holds us back from encountering him and sharing in the rebirth, the freedom and the hope which he alone can give.”
PHOENIX, ARIZ., April 23 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Arizona governor Jan Brewer has signed into law a bill that ended special health inspection rules for abortion clinics, an action proponents say will help prevent dangerous conditions at abortion facilities.
“This law ensures abortion clinics are subject to the same inspection standards as all other medical facilities in the state,” said Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, which helped write the law, April 15.
“Abortion clinic inspections matter, and it is unconscionable that they would be exempt from common-sense health and safety standards.”
Herrod said Brewer’s signing of the bill into law was “another tremendous victory” for Arizona’s pro-life movement.
“Today we celebrate this victory, but our work will never be done until every woman and preborn child is protected from the dangerous and deadly practices of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.”
Arizona Right to Life, another backer of the law, issued a statement saying, “Why should abortion facilities in Arizona be held to a lower standard when the medical care of women is at stake? Only a blinding ideology could block such common sense measures.”
The law also criminalizes helping a minor to procure an abortion in violation of the state’s parental consent requirements.
Andrew Wilder, Brewer’s spokesman, said the bill ensures that state health authorities can “appropriately protect the health and safety of all parents.”
While the Arizona Department of Health Services can conduct warrantless and unannounced inspections of regulated facilities including hospitals, dialysis centers, and nursing homes, unannounced inspections of abortion clinics previously required a warrant, the Arizona Republic reports. A warrant had been required even in response to a complaint of wrongdoing.
A 1999 Arizona law allowing unannounced inspections of abortion clinics was affected by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2004 decision which said inspections were too broad and would allow the state to have access to patient information. A legal agreement in 2009 allowed more state oversight, but did not allow unannounced inspections.
Planned Parenthood of Arizona and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, which oppose the law, are considering whether to file a legal challenge against it.
Bryan Howard, the Arizona Planned Parenthood affiliate’s president, told the Arizona Republic that the bill would create “circumstances for health care to be interrupted and patients to be harassed and certainly for their privacy to be violated in the absence of any demonstrated need.”
Abortion clinic inspections have come under further focus after the 2013 trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted for the murder of three babies who had survived abortions.
Testimony had indicated that Gosnell and his staff snipped the necks of over 100 infants who survived abortion.
A 2010 federal raid on his abortion clinic exposed foul conditions: blood-stained rooms, filthy equipment, unsanitary practices, and the storage of fetal remains in plastic food containers. The clinic had not been inspected since 1993.
The Pennsylvania grand jury report on Gosnell said that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health had decided to stop inspecting abortion clinics “for political reasons.”
“The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro,” the report said.
Concern over abortion clinic regulations has also increased in New York after the New York Post reported that some New York City eateries and tanning salons undergo more regular inspections than do its abortion clinics.
Only about 25 of the approximately 225 abortion providers in New York State are under the supervision of state regulators, the New York Post’s investigation found.
Of these 25, eight went without inspection from 2000-2012 and five were inspected only once.
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA, April 23 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Archbishop Alfredo Zecca of Tucuman, Argentina, said the Church does not tire of proclaiming the Gospel of Life and of denouncing the culture of death that eliminates the most innocent and defenseless.
“Christ’s resurrection is also our resurrection and gives us the grace to live as ‘new men,’ as ‘risen ones.’ Our new mission ought to necessarily follow our new being; sin gives way to grace, darkness to light, death to life,” Archbishop Zecca said in his Easter message.
This new mission and new being must be made manifest concretely in daily life, he explained, “and this inevitably raises questions: Can the Church remain silent amidst the malicious attempt to once again institute ‘the culture of death’?”
“Can we Argentineans boast of being pioneers in the defense of human rights when we don’t respect the most basic of them all: human life, which is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death?” he asked.
“Faithful to the Lord’s command, the Church will never tire of proclaiming the Gospel of Life and of denouncing, with the Gospel and natural law, every attempt to legally justify death, any death, but above all, that of the most innocent: the unborn child,” the archbishop stressed.
“During this Easter may God help us to reflect as Christians and citizens, especially those in positions of responsibility, and give us the courage to confront these challenges together,” he said.
ROME, ITALY, April 23 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Fr. Paolo Padrini, creator of the iBreviary application, said that part of his goal for the recent release of the program in Arabic is fostering religious freedom in countries persecuted for their faith.
“This, I feel, is a very useful service. It’s a gateway to religious freedom. An instrument of religious freedom, or an instrument of prayer and also an instrument of peace,” Fr. Padrini told CNA on April 15.
Fr. Padrini is a parish priest in Tortona, northern Italy, and is a consultant with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. He created the iBreviary application in 2008, which allows the faithful to pray the Liturgy of the Hours from wherever they are with just the touch of a button.
The breviary is a liturgical book used for public prayer, which is centered on the psalms. Clergy and religious promise to pray it daily, and many lay faithful choose to do so as well.
Fr. Padrini explained that he chose to offer the digital prayer book in Arabic in order “to offer a service for prayer. To offer prayer to the Catholics that live in Arabic countries in the Arabic language.”
“They may be in the minority, but they exist and they have the right to pray in their language.”
Emphasizing how Christians in Arab-speaking countries struggle to find books because they “are often censored,” the priest noted that smartphones “are very widespread in the nations of the Middle East, of Asia, and of Africa.”
“Often, they are more widespread than computers” he stated, “so through Arabic I wanted to offer a service, and then I also wanted to open a door to religious freedom.”
“I think that religious freedom, like Pope Francis talked about should be cultivated, made to grow,” Fr. Padrini continued, adding that “prayer on phones in Arabic could be an instrument to live religious freedom and recover the beauty of praying as Catholics in their own language.”
“It’s not nice for a Catholic who lives in Saudi Arabia or in other Arabic countries, to pray in English. It’s more just that one prays in their own language.”
“This is very important,” he went on to say, “because when I pray, I pray as an Arabic person, as an Arab, not like the English. Or it could be French or it could be Italian.”
Drawing attention to the fact that Christians in many parts of the world today are suffering persecution, the priest emphasized that “the worst persecution of Christians, persecution of Catholics, is not being able to pray.”
“They cannot pray freely. So because of this motive I think that the application helps there a lot, in the Middle Eastern countries, and in the Arabic countries. Because it will give them a voice, it will give them a language to be able to pray.”
Already existing in nine languages including English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Turkish, Arabic and Latin, Fr. Padrini explained that there are plans to expand iBreviary to other languages in the future in order to reach a wider audience.
“Every day I have calls requesting a new language” he observed, noting that “the languages most requested and probably the next that we will do will be German and Polish,” after which he would like to expand to Chinese.
Referring to the rapid growth of the Church in Asia, the priest highlighted that “it would be just to give them help from the West, in a concrete way. IBreviary I think can be a simple tool, but also a concrete tool.”
The Arabic version of iBreviary was made available for the iPhone on April 15, and will be accessible for the iPad sometime this week. Fr. Padrini revealed that it will also be available for Google Play, Android devices, Kindle, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 in the coming weeks.
With all that a smartphone can do, it “must be also be an instrument of prayer,” he stressed, adding that in creating it, “I didn’t do anything but bring the prayers into the hands of the faithful through most simple and portable instrument possible.”
ROME, ITALY, April 22 (CNA/EWTN News) .- The Basilica of St. John Lateran, cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, was filled Tuesday with thousands of youths who had come to learn more about the two Bishops of Rome who will be canonized Sunday.
Both John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized by Pope Francis April 27 at a Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
Fr. Giovanngiuseppe Califano, a Franciscan and the postulator of Bl. John XXIII, opened the April 22 event by remembering some of Good Pope John’s encounters with youth, for whom he searched "in the parishes of Rome, in the peripheries, hospitals and prisons."
“In those times we were all warned that the Pope used a new language, new gestures, and we felt his paternity. They were times of mercy.”
"Above all, Pope John opened new horizons for the Church. The Second Vatican Council … had an inspiration from above, and he understood … we all had to build bridges of dialogue through which the Word of God passes.”
Fr. Califano encouraged the youth to imitate the new saint, and affirmed that "the holiness of John XXIII is not impossible to imitate."
"The world loved the Pope for his goodness and his charity, but also for these surprising gestures in an elderly Pope who seemed transitional. The secret of his enduring youthfulness was his ability to renew their desire of belonging to God and to be fully realized in the light of God and his plan."
Monsignor Slawomir Oder, postulator for Bl. John Paul II’s cause, then recalled the Pope in his years of seminary, and spoke about the moment of calling in the life of a Christian.
Finally, Fr. Fabio Rosini, vocations director for the Diocese of Rome, gave a catechesis.
Amid the thousands of youth, CNA spoke with Daniele Adani, a 20 year old student, who said, "Even though I didn't know John Paul II well, I remember the images in which he hiked through the mountains, and his talks … but what I remember most are the images of the funeral. That is where I really discovered the faith, and today he has become a very important person in my life."
Among the youth were also hundreds of adults who grew up with John Paul II, such as Laura Ganinberti, a 40 year old mother who explained to CNA that she came to the encounter with the youth "to return a favor of John Paul II."
"I belong to a generation that grew up with him, and knew he gave us values and a single horizon, the capacity of reading the whole truth in the message of the Cross, to go hand in hand, and to know the most beautiful news of the world: Christ is risen. Today I came with some youth of the parish, 20 or 30, and we said, 'How can it be that people of such different ages are going to the same destination?'"
For her part, Sister Carlota, 32, from the Congregation of Mary Queen of the Apostles for Vocations, explained to CNA that she met John Paul II during World Youth Day in Paris, and in Canada.
“It's beautiful to be able to pray to a person that you have met … a person whose face you know and whom you have met. It's beautiful to have this encounter during which the youth announce that faith is something beautiful and joyful.”
SHREWSBURY, ENGLAND, April 22 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Catholic Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, England, has warned that a British proposal to legalize assisted suicide would change “long-established laws which uphold the sanctity of human life” and put the weakest in society at risk.
“It is hard to understand that, at a time when there has been so much public concern about the care of the most vulnerable in our hospitals and care homes, we would be contemplate weakening, rather than strengthening the legal protection offered to some of the weakest and most vulnerable,” the bishop said in his Easter Morning homily at Shrewsbury Cathedral.
The assisted suicide bill, currently in the House of Lords, would change the law in England and Wales, which presently punishes assisted suicide by up to 14 years in prison. The proposed legislation is a private bill from Lord Falconer, a peer with the Labour Party. It will be debated in upcoming weeks. It would allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to seriously ill patients who request them.
Opponents of the law include those who say that suicide and assisting in it is morally wrong. Some opponents say it would damage the doctor-patient relationship and enable abuse like that witnessed in countries that permit assisted suicide or euthanasia, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports.
Critics also warn of pressure to expand eligibility for assisted suicide, as in Belgium which recently allowed children to request euthanasia.
Backers of the bill said there are safeguards to prevent abuse. The bill would require doctors who prescribe lethal drugs to certify that their patient is unlikely to live longer than six months. Proponents claim that the bill will not put pressure on vulnerable elderly and disabled people to kill themselves.
Leaders of several major parliamentary parties will allow a free vote on the bill, which could increase its likelihood of success, the Telegraph reports. However, British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will not support the bill.
Bishop Davies said that many consciences “struggle amid the shadows as they try to distinguish good and evil in everything which concerns the value of human life itself.”
“In the light of the Easter faith, the English people came to recognize the eternal value and dignity of every human person,” he added.
Citing the Second Vatican Council, he said that once God is forgotten, “we are left in darkness and without this faith respect for the inherent sanctity of human life and the God-given dignity of every person cannot long survive.”
Bishop Davies said that the Christian faith is “a change from darkness to dawn.” He called for people to follow “the true way of love and mercy” that is enlightened by Jesus Christ.
ROME, ITALY, April 22 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Pope Francis sent 150 Easter eggs to the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital as an Easter gift to children hospitalized with cancer.
According to hospital officials, a van from the Vatican filled with chocolate eggs arrived at the facility during Holy Week, and the eggs were given to the children in the oncology unit.
The Bambino Gesu Hospital, known as “the Pope's Hospital,” was founded in 1869 and is the oldest pediatric hospital in Italy.
Families in Italy traditionally give chocolate eggs to their children during Easter. The eggs are often elaborately decorated and specially packaged at bakeries and candy shops.
Pope Francis met with children at the hospital during a Christmas visit last Dec. 21.
Pope John XXIII – who will be canonized April 27 – visited the hospital on Christmas Day in 1958. Pope Paul VI continued the tradition by visiting the hospital, as did Pope John Paul II, who will also be canonized April 27. Pope Benedict XVI made his own visit to the hospital during the first days of his pontificate.
MOUNT HAGEN, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, April 22 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Catholics in Papua New Guinea honored the evangelization, 80 years ago, of the remote interior of the nation's main island by making a pilgrimage in the steps of its first missionaries.
“After 80 years, the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese of Mount Hagen felt it is time to say thank you and to acknowledge all the blessings from God through the missionaries,” said Paul Petrus, a social researcher and a layman of Papua New Guinea, in an April 21 interview with CNA.
Some 500 Catholics, including three priests and nine seminarians, trekked through the mountainous highlands of New Guinea from March 28 until April 13, Palm Sunday.
They began in the vicinity of Madang, on the coast, and arrived at the Mount Hagen chancery, where they were greeted by Archbishop Douglas Young, who told them, “the pilgrimage was sign of a family walking together and sharing the Gospel, as a Church alive in Christ.”
The Wahgi Valley, in which Mount Hagen is located, was unknown to Westerners until aerial reconnaissance discovered it in 1933.
The following year, Divine Word Missionaries traveled to the Highlands to evangelize its native inhabitants. They were commissioned by the vicar apostolic of Eastern New Guinea, who was himself a member of the Society of the Divine Word.
Divine Word Missionaries from America and Germany – Fr. Wilhelm Ross, Fr. Wilhelm Tropper, Br. Eugene Frank, Fr. Alphonse Schafer, and Fr. Henry Auefnanger – set out from Wilya together with 72 indigenous helpers to evangelize New Guinea's Highlands, eventually branching out and founding different missions.
“The first missionaries’ sole purpose was to evangelize the people, but services such as education and health seemed necessary in order to evangelize meaningfully,” Petrus reflected.
“Thus, schools and health services were established, and since then it has contributed much to the development of the region; and today about 40 percent of the health and education services in the Highlands is provided by the Catholic Church.”
Petrus recounting the walking pilgrimage, saying the first week was a “test of faith, and of physical strength.”
He described the pilgrims' suffering in walking through the tropical rainforest and steep terrain of the New Guinea Highlands, crossing valleys to highways, some of them without proper footwear.
Despite aching bodies and blistered feet, the pilgrims found “spiritual strength which motivated them to continue,” Petrus said.
“Some of the pilgrims are descendents of the helpers who assisted the first missionaries.”
They followed a stretch of the Chimbu river for a time, crossing the ridges of the Bismarck range – the highest peak of which, Mount Wilhelm, rises to more than 14,700 feet.
The pilgrims visited the memorials of Br. Eugene Frank at Anganere and Fr. Carl Morschheuser at Womatne. Both were martyred by indigenous Papuans, in 1934 and 1935.
The second week of the pilgrimage, from Mingende to Mount Hagen, a distance of more than 50 miles, continued on the old highway, a route that Fr. Ross and Br. Eugene had used.
Petrus described the arrival at Mount Hagen as filled with “tears of joy” for many of the pilgrims.
“It was a perfect spiritual exercise to strengthen their Catholic faith during the Lenten season,” he said of his fellow pilgrims, “and it was a good experience to feel a pain and suffering similar to that of the first missionaries who 80 years ago entered the Highlands region.”
This is the news service of Catholic News Agency
Unsubscribe: Click here to unsubscribe online
Update your email address: http://www.beliefnet.com/Newsletter/Update-Email.aspx
Visit our website: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com
FOLLOW US: Facebook.com/CatholicNewsAgency I Twitter.com/cnalive I Youtube.com/catholicnewsagency
Copyright © Catholic News Agency. All rights reserved