Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
A Catholic journalist’s documentary on Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun’s involvement in social justice issues has won an award in an international religious film festival.Doris Law Suk-yi, a journalist working for Hong Kong Cable Television (HKCTV), beat five other competitors in the “Religion and Society” category at the 2009 Religion Today Film Festival held in several Italian cities. A special jury of journalists from Trento, northern Italy, said her documentary, “Zen’s Way,” was the best interpretation of the complex relationship between religion and society. It was the only East Asian film to win an award at the event, held from Oct. 14-24.The 46-minute documentary follows Cardinal Zen from 2007 until early 2009 as he goes about his daily life and activities in fighting for the rights of social minorities. The cardinal retired in April.The documentary also includes scenes of Shanghai where the outspoken Church leader was born and the site of the former Salesian seminary he joined.Law says the film demonstrates the prelate’s concern for society.Before his retirement, Cardinal Zen was known for being vocal on social issues, daring to criticize the human rights record in China and in particular the situation of the Church in China. He also fought for the right-of-abode for mainland-born children of Hong Kong residents and called for greater democracy in Hong Kong.His efforts in fighting for religious freedom for Catholics on the mainland was “hardly a rewarding act, but as a prophet it is the Way of Cross that he must walk,” said Law.Law said the cardinal’s actions moved her. During Easter 2005, she and her husband became Catholics.She said the award belongs not to her but “to the oppressed brothers and sisters in mainland China, the underprivileged and those who fight for their rights.”Dominic Yung Yeuk-yu, director of the Hong Kong Diocesan Audio-Video Centre, believes the film won partly due to Cardinal Zen’s fame, noting that many people know him not for his religious background, but because of his vocal support for the underprivileged.The Religion Today Film Festival, begun in 1997, is the first such festival to highlight religious films. This year’s theme was “Born from Above. New Life in Faith.”
"The outcome [of this debate] will depend not primarily on advocacy done [by us] in Washington, but on what we do in our own dioceses and states to make the case clearly and persuasively to influence how our Senators and Representatives vote."The letter includes many action items for the bishops, including:
- "Personally contact your Senators and Representatives who serve your diocese. In addition to letters and email, we ask you to speak personally to your members of Congress, in meetings and/or by phone."
- Please support an amendment to support conscience clauses and rule-out tax-payer funded abortions. If these amendments are not added to the bill, you must oppose the final bill when it comes to a vote.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
From the Archbishop's blog on the Archdiocese of New York's website, we read that "The following article was submitted in a slightly shorter form to the New York Times as an op-ed article. The Times declined to publish it. I thought you might be interested in reading it."
October is the month we relish the of our national pastime, especially when one of our own New York teams is in the World Series!
Sadly, America has another national pastime, this one not pleasant at all: anti-catholicism.
It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime. Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as “the deepest bias in the history of the American people,” while John Higham described it as “the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.” “The anti-semitism of the left,” is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic “the last acceptable prejudice.”
If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church, look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple weeks:
* On October 14, in the pages of the New York Times, reporter Paul Vitello exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. According to the article, there were forty cases of such abuse in this tiny community last year alone. Yet the Times did not demand what it has called for incessantly when addressing the same kind of abuse by a tiny minority of priests: release of names of abusers, rollback of statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records, and total transparency. Instead, an attorney is quoted urging law enforcement officials to recognize “religious sensitivities,” and no criticism was offered of the DA’s office for allowing Orthodox rabbis to settle these cases “internally.” Given the Catholic Church’s own recent horrible experience, I am hardly in any position to criticize our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, and have no wish to do so . . . but I can criticize this kind of “selective outrage.”
Of course, this selective outrage probably should not surprise us at all, as we have seen many other examples of the phenomenon in recent years when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse. To cite but two: In 2004, Professor Carol Shakeshaft documented the wide-spread problem of sexual abuse of minors in our nation’s public schools (the study can be found here). In 2007, the Associated Press issued a series of investigative reports that also showed the numerous examples of sexual abuse by educators against public school students. Both the Shakeshaft study and the AP reports were essentially ignored, as papers such as theNew York Times only seem to have priests in their crosshairs.
* On October 16, Laurie Goodstein of the Times offered a front page, above-the-fold story on the sad episode of a Franciscan priest who had fathered a child. Even taking into account that the relationship with the mother was consensual and between two adults, and that the Franciscans have attempted to deal justly with the errant priest’s responsibilities to his son, this action is still sinful, scandalous, and indefensible. However, one still has to wonder why a quarter-century old story of a sin by a priest is now suddenly more pressing and newsworthy than the war in Afghanistan, health care, and starvation–genocide in Sudan. No other cleric from religions other than Catholic ever seems to merit such attention.
* Five days later, October 21, theTimes gave its major headline to the decision by the Vatican to welcome Anglicans who had requested union with Rome. Fair enough. Unfair, though, was the article’s observation that the Holy See lured and bid for the Anglicans. Of course, the reality is simply that for years thousands of Anglicans have been asking Rome to be accepted into the Catholic Church with a special sensitivity for their own tradition. As Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican’s chief ecumenist, observed, “We are not fishing in the Anglican pond.” Not enough for the Times; for them, this was another case of the conniving Vatican luring and bidding unsuspecting, good people, greedily capitalizing on the current internal tensions in Anglicanism.
* Finally, the most combustible example of all came Sunday with an intemperate and scurrilous piece by Maureen Dowd on the opinion pages of the Times. In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription -- along with every other German teenage boy -- into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans.
True enough, the matter that triggered her spasm -- the current visitation of women religious by Vatican representatives -- is well-worth discussing, and hardly exempt from legitimate questioning. But her prejudice, while maybe appropriate for the Know-Nothing newspaper of the 1850’s, the Menace, has no place in a major publication today.
I do not mean to suggest that anti-catholicism is confined to the pages New York Times. Unfortunately, abundant examples can be found in many different venues. I will not even begin to try and list the many cases of anti-catholicism in the so-called entertainment media, as they are so prevalent they sometimes seem almost routine and obligatory. Elsewhere, last week, Representative Patrick Kennedy made some incredibly inaccurate and uncalled-for remarks concerning the Catholic bishops, as mentioned in this blog on Monday.
Also, the New York State Legislature has levied a special payroll tax to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fund its deficit. This legislation calls for the public schools to be reimbursed the cost of the tax; Catholic schools, and other private schools, will notreceive the reimbursement, costing each of the schools thousands – in some cases tens of thousands – of dollars, money that the parents and schools can hardly afford. (Nor can the archdiocese, which already underwrites the schools by $30 million annually.) Is it not an issue of basic fairness for ALLschool-children and their parents to be treated equally?
The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be “rained out” for good.
I guess my own background in American history should caution me not to hold my breath.
Then again, yesterday was the Feast of Saint Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes.
"This house is yours for eternity, Peyton," said God. "This is very special; not everyone gets a house up here."
Peyton felt special, indeed, and walked up to his house. On his way up the porch, he noticed another house just around the corner. It was a 3-story mansion with a black and gold sidewalk, a 50-foot tall flagpole with an enormous Saints logo flag, and in every window, a New Orleans Saints towel.
God said "So what's your point Peyton?"
"Well, why does Drew Brees get a better house than me?"
God chuckled, and said "Peyton, that's not Drew's house, it's mine."
“With very few exceptions,” he went on, “Catholics in the United States did little or nothing to condemn the dramatically moral evil of slavery, and demand its end. And that is to our shame to this day.”
Those words came from my mentor, friend and teacher, Msgr. John Tracy Ellis, the legendary professor of the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, during his sobering lecture on the Church and slavery, when I was a graduate student at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Perhaps we have learned our lesson, for Catholic leaders—committed laity, religious sisters and brothers, clergy, bishops—have been on the front lines of the premier civil rights issue today, the right to life. And that is to our credit. And that’s good to ponder during October, Respect Life Month.
The comparison of abortion to slavery is an apt one. The right of a citizen to “own” another human being as property—to control him/her, use him/her, sell him or decide her fate—was, prior to 1865, constitutional, sad to say.
That “right” to own a slave was even upheld by a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court (whose Chief Justice at the time, Roger Brooke Taney, was a Catholic, “personally opposed” to slavery!) in the infamous 1857 Dred Scott Decision, declaring that a slave who had escaped and claimed freedom had to be returned to his “master,” because he had no rights at all.
Tragically, in 1973, in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court also strangely found in the constitution the right to abortion, thus declaring an entire class of human beings— now not African-Americans, but pre-born infants—to be slaves, whose futures, whose destinies, whose very right to life —can be decided by another “master.” These fragile, frail babies have no civil rights at all.
Our faces blush with shame as we Catholics admit we did so little to end slavery; but we can smile and thank God that the Church has indeed been prophetic, courageous and counter cultural in the right to life movement. As an evangelical pastor recently commented to me, “We may criticize you Catholics for some things, but we have sure been inspired by your early and courageous leadership in the pro-life movement.”
A few years ago, I met with a prominent philanthropist, who described himself—and I always know I’m in for trouble when I hear this—as a “former Catholic.” Now, he went on to say, he was a “progressive,” and would consider a large gift to the Catholic Church “if you changed your position on abortion.”
I must admit I’m afraid I made no headway at all when I patiently tried to explain to him that this was hardly a “position” of the Church that could change, but a conviction grounded in natural law, shared by most other world religions, and, for that matter, dramatically obvious in our American normative principles, which hold that certain rights are “inalienable”—part of the inherent human makeup—the first being the right to life itself.
Many issues and concerns in addition to protecting the baby in the womb fall under the rubric of the right to life—child care, poverty, racism, war and peace, capital punishment, health care, the environment, euthanasia—in what has come to be called the consistent ethic of life. All those issues, and even more, demand our careful attention and promotion.
But the most pressing life issue today is abortion. If we’re wrong on that one, we’re just plain wrong.
When our critics—and their name is legion—criticize us for being passionate, stubborn, almost obsessed with protecting the human rights of the baby in the womb, they intend it as an insult. I take it as a compliment.
I’d give anything if I could claim that Catholics in America prior to the Civil War were “passionate, stubborn, almost obsessed” with protecting the human rights of the slave. To claim such would be a fib. But, decades from now, at least our children and grandchildren can look back with pride and gratitude for the conviction of those who courageously defend the life of the pre-born baby.
I well remember being in Baltimore two years ago for the installation of their new archbishop, Edwin F. O’Brien, a native son of this archdiocese in whom we are very proud. He gave a stirring homily, recounting how his predecessors had often been on the forefront of promoting issues of justice in our country: Cardinal James Gibbons came up, of course, for his defense of the rights of labor back in the 1880s; Cardinal Lawrence Sheehan, who was jeered at a City Council meeting in 1965 for speaking on behalf of open housing for African-Americans; Cardinal William Keeler, criticized for advocating the rights of immigrants. And now, the new archbishop concluded, the tradition has to continue, as the Church must be on the front lines of the premier justice issue of the day: the protection of the right to life of the baby in the womb.
It’s October, Respect Life Month.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
It is getting close to crunch time for sure. Let's pray that the defenders of life hold fast! The following comes from New Advent:
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi aims to seal the abortion-expanding health care bill in an early November vote, pro-life lawmakers, led by Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, are locked in a dead heat race for votes with Democratic leadership. According to Stupak, the Democratic leadership intends to keep a stranglehold on any pro-life amendment effort, which they acknowledge would likely otherwise succeed.
In an interview with LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) today, Rep. Stupak said that he is counting on about 40 fellow Democrats to "take down the rule" - or kill the bill on a procedural vote - if House leadership refuses to allow a floor vote on an amendment that would prevent federal funding of abortion. The procedural "rule" vote would draft rules for debating the bill on the floor, and needs to be passed before the bill can move forward to a floor vote.
With the 40 Democrats, Stupak's vote-gathering efforts tally up to 220, counting the whole GOP - approximately two votes over the absolute minimum needed to succeed.
Stupak said he was "fairly confident" that the Democrat group would hold the line against the bill, "because this is not just an appropriation bill, this is the bill that will set the health care policy for the United States for years to come. This is a little bit more serious than just a rule vote on an appropriation bill."
The rules vote strategy has emerged as a last-ditch effort to preserve long-standing federal policy against government-funded abortion in the health care overhaul. The famous Hyde amendment blocking government-funded abortions only exists as an appropriations bill rider, which means that it would not apply to the health care bill. Hence, Stupak and his pro-life colleagues have fought to include Hyde-like language in the health care measure, to ensure that no federal funds pay for abortion. So far, every bid to include such language has been rejected in committee.
This leaves an upcoming House floor vote as the last time pro-life lawmakers will have a say on the form of the bill. But according to Stupak, Democratic leadership has said that they plan to allow no amendment opportunities on the House floor at all, including the pro-life amendment - an excuse Stupak said "doesn't hold any water."
"[The Democratic leadership] privately admit that we probably have the votes [to approve the Hyde language on the House floor]," Stupak told LSN. "The majority of Americans do not want to see public funding for abortion, and when it comes down to a vote most members will vote that way, if given an opportunity."
Thirty Democrats, including Stupak, signed a letter delivered by Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) asking Speaker Pelosi to follow through on President Obama's September 9 statement that there would be no public funding for abortion in the health reform plan. Obama had said in his address to a joint session of congress: "One more misunderstanding I want to clear up - under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place."
Stupak said that the letter signed by the 30 Democrats, "referenced the President's comments, and the Speaker should honor that."
On Friday, Stupak described to CNSnews.com an exchange he had with President Obama after the President's remarks during the joint session.
"[Obama] said: 'What it says is, under 'my' plan,' meaning the President's plan," said Stupak. "And I said, 'With all due respect sir, you do not have a plan. The only plan we have out is the House plan.' So, I don't know if it's a game of semantics, or what."
The congressman said that, when he pressed the topic, "[Obama] said: 'Go back and work with the people in your committee, and get this matter worked out. Work with the speaker. Work with us, would you?' And I said, 'Yes I would.'
"And we've tried. And we - but we haven't been able to resolve our differences, because we do not want public funds going for abortion."
Even if Stupak's band of lawmakers succeeds in defeating the rule, however, the victory would not be secure for long. Stupak said that House leadership would almost certainly bring the measure up again the next day, and make another attempt at pressure members to change their vote.
"They'll go beg people and plead with them not to allow me, or right to life in this case, this victory on the floor," said Stupak. "I do right now today [have enough votes], but when you go to the floor for a vote, the Speaker has a way of getting her way - by that I mean, the Speaker usually can twist arms and get a few votes her way."
In the face of what will likely be a bitter David and Goliath struggle, Stupak told LSN, "Well, we're under a lot of pressure, but it goes with the territory." He added that several dozen of his Democrat colleagues have upheld the pro-life cause as "a principle we've always stood on, and we're not ready to drop that principle now in the name of health care."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Vatican described the first study meeting between representatives of the Catholic Church and traditional Lefebvrists as "cordial, respectful and constructive.
The novelty of this meeting is that the discussion of doctrinal issues by authorized representatives of both parties, at an approved venue has finally begun.
Traditional Lefebvrists want to return to the Catholic Church and the Vatican has agreed to start to discuss the conditions for their potential come back.
In the first meeting, a study commission which will meet every 15 days, was established.
The Lefebvrists dont accept certain points of the teachings of recent popes nor some principles of the Second Vatican Council, like religious freedom, the possibility of dialogue with other religions and churches and collegiality among bishops.
In January, Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of the bishops ordained irregularly by Marcel Lefebvre.
But since their status is still unclear theyre not considered part of the Catholic hierarchy.
According to their data, Lefebvrists have more than 400 priests, several hundred religious and seminarians and about 100,000 followers worldwide.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Bishop Hind said he would be "happy" to be reordained as a Catholic priest and said that divisions in Anglicanism could make it impossible to stay in the church.
He is the most senior Anglican to admit that he is prepared to accept the offer from the Pope, who shocked the Church of England last week when he paved the way for clergy to convert to Catholicism in large numbers.
In a further blow to the Archbishop of Canterbury's hopes of preventing the Anglican Communion from disintegrating, other bishops have cast doubt over its survival.
The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham, even claimed that "the Anglican experiment is over". He said it has been shown to be powerless to cope with the crises over gays and women bishops.
In one of the most significant developments since the Reformation, the Pope last week announced that a new structure would be set up to allow disaffected Anglicans to enter full communion with Rome, while maintaining parts of their Protestant heritage.
The move comes after secret talks between the Vatican and a group of senior Anglican bishops. Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was not informed of the meetings and his advisers even denied that they had taken place when the Sunday Telegraph broke the story last year.
Now Bishop Hind, the most senior traditionalist in the Church of England, has confirmed that he is willing to sacrifice his salary and palace residence to defect to the Catholic Church.
"This is a remarkable new step from the Vatican," he said. "At long last there are some choices for Catholics in the Church of England. I'd be happy to be reordained into the Catholic Church."
While the bishop stressed that this would depend on his previous ministry being recognised, he said that the divisions in the Anglican Communion could make it impossible to stay.
"How can the Church exist if bishops are not in full communion with each other," he said.
Conservative archbishops and bishops have broken ties with their liberal counterparts following the US Episcopal Church's consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop.
Bishop Broadhurst said that the Pope has made his offer in response to the pleas of Anglicans who despair at the disintegration of their Church.
"Anglicanism has become a joke because it has singularly failed to deal with any of its contentious issues," said the bishop, who is chairman of Forward in Faith, the Anglo-Catholic network that represents around 1,000 traditionalist priests.
"There is widespread dissent across the [Anglican] Communion. We are divided in major ways on major issues and the Communion has unravelled.
"I believed in the Church I joined, but it has been revealed to have no doctrine of its own.
"I personally think it has gone past the point of no return. The Anglican experiment is over."
The Rt Rev Martyn Jarrett, the Bishop of Beverley, also said there were questions over the church's survival, adding that the Church of England has changed too dramatically for some traditionalists.
"They are beginning to reflect that the theological position of the Church isn't what they believe," he said.
"The offer from the Vatican is momentous and I felt a great sense of gratitude that the Roman Catholic Church is thinking about the position of traditionalist Anglicans."
Clergy at the Forward in Faith conference, which met in Westminster yesterday, expressed relief that the Pope had provided them with an escape route.
Fr Ed Tomlinson, vicar of St Barnabas, Tunbridge Wells, said that he would be following the lead of Bishop Hind.
"The ship of Anglicanism seems to be going down," he said. "We should be grateful that a lifeboat has been sent.
"I shall be seeking to move to Rome. To stay in the Church of England would be suicide."
Hundreds of traditionalist clergy could join the exodus, though most are waiting for the exact details of the new apostolic constitution to be published.
Battles lie ahead over whether priests who leave to join the Catholic Church will be allowed to take their churches with them, but some bishops have already warned against property seizure.
Dr Williams was only informed of the details of the Pope's decree last weekend and is understood to have been "implacably opposed" to the move.
Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, said he was "appalled" that his successor was given such short notice and was excluded from discussions on the issue.
The Rt Rev Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph and a close colleague of Dr Williams, said that the archbishop was likely to be saddened by the developments.
"Rowan has worked very hard for unity both within the Anglican Communion, and with Rome, and I suspect he may feel that what has happened is little short of a betrayal, not by the Catholic Church, but by some of those in his own ranks."
"He is likely to be saddened that they felt driven to seek such a radical solution and that some of them now feel they have to go."
"Up until now, the Roman Catholic Church has been putting its weight behind Rowan, but now it is appearing to put its weight behind the conservative groups it can most easily win over."
"The danger is that they'll have every disaffected Anglican beating down the pathway to their door and asking for special treatment."
The Sunday Telegraph can disclose that the planning behind last week's announcement began in 2006, when the Pope asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to consider how they could invite Anglicans into the Roman Catholic fold.
He had reached out to disillusioned Anglicans three years earlier, when as head of the Congregation, the most powerful of the Vatican's departments and successor to the medieval Inquisition, he wrote a personal letter to Anglicans in America. He reassured them of the Catholic Church's support of their stand against the liberal tide.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
The Fourth annual, worldwide Lay Fast for Priests will take
place on Saturday, 24 October 2009. Every lay member of
the Body of Christ is invited to join the global Fasters from
all corners of the Universal Church who want to lift up our
priests to Almighty God for their protection, divine
sustenance and fidelity to the ministry of Holy Orders.
A Bulgarian Orthodox prelate told Benedict XVI of his desire for unity, and his commitment to accelerate communion with the Catholic Church.
At the end of Wednesday's general audience, Bishop Tichon, head of the diocese for Central and Western Europe of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria, stated to the Pope, "We must find unity as soon as possible and finally celebrate together," L'Osservatore Romano reported.
"People don't understand our divisions and our discussions," the bishop stated. He affirmed that he will "not spare any efforts" to work for the quick restoration of "communion between Catholics and Orthodox."
Bishop Tichon said that "the theological dialogue that is going forward in these days in Cyprus is certainly important, but we should not be afraid to say that we must find as soon as possible the way to celebrate together."
"A Catholic will not become an Orthodox and vice versa, but we must approach the altar together," he added.
The prelate told the Pontiff that "this aspiration is a feeling that arose from the works of the assembly" of his diocese, held in Rome, in which all the priests and two delegates from every Bulgarian Orthodox parish took part.
"We have come to the Pope to express our desire for unity and also because he is the Bishop of Rome, the city that hosted our assembly," he stated.
After the bishop, Luka Bebic, speaker of the Croatian Parliament, addressed the Holy Father, inviting the Pontiff to visit his homeland and thanking him "for the support the Holy See has given our people since independence, during the war back then and now in the process that will lead Croatia to enter the European Union."
Benedict XVI next greeted members of the Association Rondine Cittadella della Pace [Citadel of Peace], which promotes dialogue and peace by bringing together students from conflict areas to live and study in community.
They shared with the Pope a concrete proposal titled "14 Points for Peace in the Caucasus" that was developed at an international congress the association organized in May.
The proposal was also distributed to the ambassadors of the Caucasus countries and to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Young people of all the ethnic and religious groups of the Caucasus were also present at the audience.
Members of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Cardinal Sancha, whose founder, Cardinal Ciriaco María Sancha y Hervas, was beatified Sunday in Toledo, Spain, also greeted the Pontiff. Headed by their superior, Sister Maria del Carmen Dominguez, the religious expressed to the Holy Father their commitment to be faithful to their original charism "of service to the poor, orphans and the elderly."
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Cardinal Joseph Zen, SDB spent 3 days with us this past weekend and offered our community a day of recollection. The above is a preview of an interview that the Cardinal graciously gave on a variety of topics. More to come soon! Thanks Mike!
The above picture is a group of our men in formation (and some of their formators) along with Cardinal Zen.
President George Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789
Hat tip to Meet the Founding Fathers.
From the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church:
With the preparation of an Apostolic Constitution, the Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion.
In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.
Under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, pastoral oversight and guidance will be provided for groups of former Anglicans through a Personal Ordinariate, whose Ordinary will usually be appointed from among former Anglican clergy.
The forthcoming Apostolic Constitution provides a reasonable and even necessary response to a world-wide phenomenon, by offering a single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application. It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy. Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop. The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony. In this way, the Apostolic Constitution seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be integrated into the Catholic Church.
Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which has prepared this provision, said: "We have been trying to meet the requests for full communion that have come to us from Anglicans in different parts of the world in recent years in a uniform and equitable way.
With this proposal the Church wants to respond to the legitimate aspirations of these Anglican groups for full and visible unity with the Bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter."
These Personal Ordinariates will be formed, as needed, in consultation with local Conferences of Bishops, and their structure will be similar in some ways to that of the Military Ordinariates which have been established in most countries to provide pastoral care for the members of the armed forces and their dependents throughout the world.
"Those Anglicans who have approached the Holy See have made clear their desire for full, visible unity in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At the same time, they have told us of the importance of their Anglican traditions of spirituality and worship for their faith journey," Cardinal Levada said.
The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
"The initiative has come from a number of different groups of Anglicans," Cardinal Levada went on to say: "They have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church. For them, the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion."
According to Levada: "It is the hope of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that the Anglican clergy and faithful who desire union with the Catholic Church will find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to them and consistent with the Catholic faith.
Insofar as these traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church. The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows. Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: ‘There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (4:5).
Our communion is therefore strengthened by such legitimate diversity, and so we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith."
Since the sixteenth century, when King Henry VIII declared the Church in England independent of Papal Authority, the Church of England has created its own doctrinal confessions, liturgical books, and pastoral practices, often incorporating ideas from the Reformation on the European continent. The expansion of the British Empire, together with Anglican missionary work, eventually gave rise to a world-wide Anglican Communion.
Throughout the more than 450 years of its history the question of the reunification of Anglicans and Catholics has never been far from mind. In the mid-nineteenth century the Oxford Movement (in England) saw a rekindling of interest in the Catholic aspects of Anglicanism. In the early twentieth century Cardinal Mercier of Belgium entered into well publicized conversations with Anglicans to explore the possibility of union with the Catholic Church under the banner of an Anglicanism "reunited but not absorbed".
At the Second Vatican Council hope for union was further nourished when the Decree on Ecumenism (n. 13), referring to communions separated from the Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation, stated that: "Among those in which Catholic traditions and institutions in part continue to exist, the Anglican Communion occupies a special place."
Since the Council, Anglican-Roman Catholic relations have created a much improved climate of mutual understanding and cooperation. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) produced a series of doctrinal statements over the years in the hope of creating the basis for full and visible unity. For many in both communions, the ARCIC statements provided a vehicle in which a common expression of faith could be recognized. It is in this framework that this new provision should be seen.
In the years since the Council, some Anglicans have abandoned the tradition of conferring Holy Orders only on men by calling women to the priesthood and the episcopacy. More recently, some segments of the Anglican Communion have departed from the common biblical teaching on human sexuality—already clearly stated in the ARCIC document "Life in Christ"—by the ordination of openly homosexual clergy and the blessing of homosexual partnerships.
At the same time, as the Anglican Communion faces these new and difficult challenges, the Catholic Church remains fully committed to continuing ecumenical engagement with the Anglican Communion, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
In the meantime, many individual Anglicans have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. Sometimes there have been groups of Anglicans who have entered while preserving some "corporate" structure. Examples of this include, the Anglican diocese of Amritsar in India, and some individual parishes in the United States which maintained an Anglican identity when entering the Catholic Church under a "pastoral provision" adopted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope John Paul II in 1982.
In these cases, the Catholic Church has frequently dispensed from the requirement of celibacy to allow those married Anglican clergy who desire to continue ministerial service as Catholic priests to be ordained in the Catholic Church.
In the light of these developments, the Personal Ordinariates established by the Apostolic Constitution can be seen as another step toward the realization the aspiration for full, visible union in the Church of Christ, one of the principal goals of the ecumenical movement.
Thanks again Carlos!
But the papacy isnt the only issue dividing the two Christian denominations.
Card. Walter Kasper, Presidente Pontificio Consejo para la Unión de los cristianos
I think it will still be a long way. Its not only a doctrinal question because they are emotional questions of people and you cannot turn around the mind of people from one day to the other. It needs patience and lot of prayers.
Cardinal Kasper is the man in charge of dialogue between the Vatican and the rest of the Christian denominations. In theory, the process of dialogue would end when the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and other Christian denominations like Anglicans, Lutherans and non-denominational Churches agree on sharing the same doctrine of faith.
Card. Walter Kasper, President, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
The main problems that need to be addressed are the ones of Ecclesiology: what is the Church, where does it find itself? Who are its ministers? Apostolic Succession, etc. These problems have consequences in the Eucharist, for example, because the ordained person is the minister of the Eucharistic celebration.
Relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are less tense than with protestant denominations. Mainly because of changes coming from within protestant churches themselves like, female priests, the ordination of gay bishops and divorce as an accepted practice.
Card. Walter Kasper, President, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
I think ecumenical dialogue is probably going to go on for longer than we thought at the beginning.
However, the process of dialogue in the coming months will be a positive phase. Cardinal Kasper says the pope may visit a Lutheran church and meet with the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, but these meetings have yet to be confirmed.
Hat tip to Carlos on this one!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Archbishop Chaput: God will demand an accounting for our moral indifference to respect for human life
"Here's what that means. Catholic public officials who take God seriously cannot support laws that attack human dignity without lying to themselves, misleading others and abusing the faith of their fellow Catholics. God will demand an accounting. Catholic doctors who take God seriously cannot do procedures, prescribe drugs or support health policies that attack the sanctity of unborn children or the elderly; or that undermine the dignity of human sexuality and the family. God will demand an accounting. And Catholic citizens who take God seriously cannot claim to love their Church, and then ignore her counsel on vital public issues that shape our nation's life. God will demand an accounting. As individuals, we can claim to be or believe whatever we want. We can posture, and rationalize our choices, and make alibis with each other all day long -- but no excuse for our lack of honesty and zeal will work with the God who made us. God knows our hearts better than we do. If we don't conform our hearts and actions to the faith we claim to believe, we're only fooling ourselves."
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap
For the rest of the address please click here.
Hat tip to Catholic Fire on this one!
The following comes from the AP:
It was the Saints’ defense, trying to make each practice of training camp as miserable as possible for New Orleans’ star quarterback, the offensive line, the running backs and receivers.
Along the way, they all got a little tougher—and better, Brees said.
“It was fun for me to kind of watch those guys develop, watch those guys come together and kind of form that new attitude,” Brees said Monday. “You kind of just saw that culture changing over there. … It was intense and I think in the end what ended up happening was they made us better, and I felt like we made them better.”
At 5-0 and coming off their impressive 48-27 dismantling of the previously unbeaten New York Giants, the Saints look as if they’ve come a long way from the squad that put up gaudy passing numbers but still lost 17 games over the previous two seasons—a team that many defined by the term, “finesse.”
“I think we have had that reputation for the last few years,” Brees said. “We’re trying to get rid of that label because I don’t think it applies.”
For the rest of the story please click here.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Open up your hearts to Christ! We need more heroes like John Paul the Great!
"I am often asked, especially by young people, why I became a priest. Maybe some of you would like to ask the same question. Let me try briefly to reply. I must begin by saying that it is impossible to explain entirely. For it remains a mystery, even to myself. How does one explain the ways of God? Yet, I know that, at a certain point in my life, I became convinced that Christ was saying to me what he had said to thousands before me: 'Come, follow me!' There was a clear sense that what I heard in my heart was no human voice, nor was it just an idea of my own. Christ was calling me to serve him as a priest.
"An you can probably tell that I am deeply grateful to God for my vocation to the priesthood. Nothing means more to me or gives me greater joy that to celebrate Mass each day and to serve God's people in the Church. That has been true ever since the day of my ordination as a priest. Nothing has ever changed this, not even becoming Pope." (Los Angeles, USA, September 14, 1987) Pope John Paul II
Pope Benedict XVI approves a structure for admitting large groups of Anglicans into communion with the Catholic Church
"And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18
In a Vatican press conference today, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, announced that an Apostolic Constitution has been prepared in response to “many requests” from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful wanting to enter into full communion with the Church.
The Apostolic Constitution, which Cardinal Levada said “provides a reasonable and even necessary response to a world-wide phenomenon”, will be a “single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application.”
The new canonical structure will allow former Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Church while “preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony,” said Cardinal Levada. He added that it will allow married former Anglican clergy to be ordained however, in common with Catholic and Orthodox Churches, married clergy will not be allowed to be ordained bishops.
For more on this very good news please click here.
No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.
A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.... While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
We had a wonderful weekend here in Orange with a special visitor; the Salesian Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong! The Cardinal spent 3 days with us and gave us a day of recollection at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey. 100 Salesian Priests, Brothers, Sisters, and men and women in formation came together for the day. The Cardinal is an outspoken advocate for the Church in China and for the religious freedom all around the world. I will add some more pictures later. Eventually I will put up some really great talks and interview questions as well! God bless the Cardinal and his work in Hong Kong!
Here are some past posts on the Cardinal.
Father Peter Whelan was an Irish-born Catholic priest who served in the Diocese of Charleston and Savannah from 1837 until 1871. His story is not very well known, and yet, in his lifetime he touched thousands of people, which is highlighted by the fact that his funeral in 1871 was the largest that the city of Savannah had seen up to that time.
Known by survivors as the “Angel of Andersonville,” he was the only minister willing to serve within this prison den that witnessed the death of 13,000 Union prisoners-of-war in only fourteen months.
A new documentary, “Fighting the Good Fight: The Father Peter Whelan Story” brings to light the contributions of this courageous priest.