Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Into the lion's den: "Marriage cannot be mimicked"

"Married love is a beautiful, heroic expression of faithful, life-giving, life-creating love. It should not be accommodated and manipulated for those who would believe that they can and have a right to mimic its unique expression."

Bishop Soto on the unique expression of love in the "marital act" proper only to marriage between one man-husband and one woman-wife.

Thank God for and pray for all of our bishops.

Full story available at California Catholic.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Adore the Lord in holy attire"

Dress, Demeanor, Discipline Show how We Value Holy Mass

by Bishop Robert Vasa

Several years ago I had the opportunity, while visiting Washington, DC, to observe the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

I was so struck by the simple, deliberate elegance of the ceremony that I stayed for extra minutes simply to watch the young man march to and fro with that same simple, deliberate elegance. The uniforms were absolutely impeccable, the shoes shined to pure gloss, the faces of the guards set like granite, the measured steps precise, the entire person focused on the job at hand. It was clear from all of the above that the young men knew that what they were about was serious and important.

Read the rest of Bishop Vasa's article here

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dem Campaign Calls Abortion Survivor Story a "Despicable Lie"

by Deal W. Hudson

Gianna Jessen survived a saline abortion 31 years ago. "I didn't have any burns anywhere on my body -- it was amazing." The saline, however, did leave Jessen with a mild case of cerebral palsy, a slight limp, and a life-long commitment to oppose abortion.

Jessen is featured in a television ad presently running in Ohio and New Mexico, criticizing N.'s four votes against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA).

I asked her why she teamed with Jill Stanek's organization, Born Alive Truth, to make the ad. "It's very important for the American people to know how [N.] feels about the most vulnerable among us," she told me. (Stanek is the Chicago nurse who began lobbying to secure legal protections for babies born alive during abortions.)

Jessen has been active in the anti-abortion movement for 16 years and testified before Congress in 2002 about the BAIPA. At those hearings she met Stanek, who approached her several months ago about doing the ad. "I was thrilled to do it. It's as if I have been preparing many years for this moment."

N. responded to Jessen's commercial with an ad of his own, dismissing it as "truly vile" and a "despicable lie." He wasn't the only one: Jonathan Martin, a reporter for Politico, called Jessen "a self-proclaimed abortion survivor." When Stanek produced the evidence of Jessen's claims, Politico removed Martin's slam.

Jessen lives in Nashville where she came with her adopted family 16 years ago. After she survived the abortion, she was given back to her biological mother but was shortly placed with a foster family. At the age of three, Jessen was adopted by her foster mother's daughter.

I asked about her mother's reaction to the failed abortion. "I don't know how she felt at the time. But she came out of nowhere two years ago to meet me at an event. She was a broken woman and quite angry. I told her I had forgiven her for what she did, even though she didn't want any forgiveness."

She isn't concerned about the way N. describes her ad. "I don't really care what he says. I know he voted four times against proper medical care for babies born alive. That's the kind of man he is." So how have people reacted to the commercial? "Some of [N.'s] supporters will be less than kind, but generally the reaction has been very positive."

Jessen spends her time as a speaker, writer, and real estate investor. She took up distance running several years ago because she "wanted to feel God help me in that situation, to have him carry me over the finish line," though she's given up marathons.

No doubt Jessen, whose visibility is growing daily, will need a similar attitude as she is buffeted by the political winds of a presidential campaign. Since her ad started airing in Ohio, polls there have indicated a shift in McCain's direction. No wonder the N. campaign responded so quickly.

Deal W. Hudson is the director of InsideCatholic.com and the author of Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States (Simon and Schuster).

Story and photo: InsideCatholic.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Man in frenzied attack on priest after watching The Da Vinci Code

Richard Owen in Rome

A Rome priest is fighting for his life after being stabbed in the neck and stomach by a deranged man who had just watched the film The Da Vinci Code on television.

Eyewitnesses said that Marco Luzi, 25, asked to see Father Canio Canistri, 68, parish priest at the church of Santa Marcella in the San Saba district on the Aventine Hill, and then attacked him with a knife hidden in a cloth. An elderly parishioner who came to the priest's aid is also in serious condition.

Full story in Times Online.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

India: Over 60,000 Christians displaced

Over 15000 Protest Hindutva Extremists in India
By Madhu Chandra

All the political party leaders unanimously condemned the violence and called on the central government to ban the Hindutva organisations.

NEW DELHI (AICC) - The All India Christian Council (aicc) organized a Mega public meeting at Gymkhana Grounds which followed by a Massive Rally in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. This rally was held in protest to the atrocities and havoc created by the members of the Sangh Parivar organisations since August 23, 2008, in Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and other states. Over one hundred churches were burnt and over 60,000 thousand Christians displaced in this communal violence in six states across India.

(Proud to be Catholic? Show Your Support Right Now! Virtual Vigil of Prayer and Solidarity for the Persecuted Church in India. Please Sign the 'Catholic Action' Petition!)

Full story All India Christian Council (www.aiccindia.org)

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Democratic India" at stake

Archbishop of Delhi: Anti-Christian Violence a Crisis of Indian Democracy
By Nirmala Carvalho

Asia News (www.asianews.it/)

The Archbishop warns that Hindu extremism brings the constitutional pillars of the country into crisis as the violence against Christians continues to spread.

As the missionary sisters of Mother Teresa and so many other faithful Catholics continue to spread love through their deeds of sacrifice and compassion, the ferocity of Hindu Extremism spreads and the violence escalates.
As the missionary sisters of Mother Teresa and so many other faithful Catholics continue to spread love through their deeds of sacrifice and compassion, the ferocity of Hindu Extremism spreads and the violence escalates.
NEW DELHI (AsiaNews) - The "violence and terror" underway in Orissa and in other states in India are not only a problem of "respect for the minorities", but also involve the future of "India's democracy". This is affirmed by the archbishop of the capital, Vincent Concessao, in an interview with AsiaNews. "India, the world’s largest democracy, was recognised as a vibrant multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-lingual democracy. Sadly, today the image of ‘democratic India’ is at stake".

(Proud to be Catholic? Show Your Support Right Now! Virtual Vigil of Prayer and Solidarity for the Persecuted Church in India. Please Sign the 'Catholic Action' Petition!)

In addition to the violence taking place in Orissa, Karnataka, Madya Pradesh, and Kerala, Archbishop Concessao also cites abuses by Hindu fundamentalists in Delhi. Just yesterday, a Hindutva group occupied the property in front of the church of Prabhu Prakash Girija, in Trilokpuri, in the eastern part of Delhi.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Papal Audience: Spanish Infanta Cristina de Borbón

Spanish Infanta Visits

GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 19, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI received in audience today Spanish Infanta Cristina de Borbón, second daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía, accompanied by her husband, Duke Iñaki Urdangarín.

The news of the Pope's meeting with the couple was announced by the Vatican press office, which gave no further details.

The meeting took place in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Rome.

The Spanish embassy to the Holy See confirmed that the audience was of a "private nature," and that the Dukes of Palma were accompanied by Ambassador Francisco Vázquez.

(Catholics believe in the power of good example and witness on behalf of the Gospel among those who are leaders in society and the world. Please pray that all who have the ability to lead others to God through the gift of privilege and position will do so with courage and commitment to a sincere perseverance in the way of Faith. +mcitl)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

18,000 wounded: please act in solidarity with Catholics under attack in India

Please visit Catholic Online and sign the Catholic Action Solidarity petition.

In the state of Orissa alone, 45 have been killed, 5 are missing, and 18,000 have been wounded.

The whole Christian world watches, weeps and prays as virulently anti-Christian violence spreads in the Indian State of Orissa and now beyond. We honor the heroic virtue of Fr. Thomas Pandippally of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate, who watered the ground with his blood, martyred at the hands of what appear to be anti-Christian Hindu extremists. The violence is escalating. Armed bands of extremists torch Christian churches, rectories, convents, Christian hospitals and other Christian institutions and it is now spreading beyond the State of Orissa

Our Pledge
Our PLEDGE OF PRAYER,SACRIFICE, FASTING and SOLIDARITY for and with our persecuted Sisters and Brothers in the Church in India.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pogrom in India: Violence Continues

It Grows: More Violence Against Christians in India

By Nirmala Carvalho

More violence in Orissa. School attacked in Kerala. One more Christian killed. Dozens of homes burned. Police clash with Hindu militants.
MUMBAI (AsiaNews) - The anti-Christian violence that began in Orissa three weeks ago has still not died down; instead, it is spreading into Kerala. The situation also remains tense in Karnataka.

Full story: Asia News (www.asianews.it/)

"Roma locuta est, causa finita est"

Christ commissioned Peter and His Successors, all the vicars of Christ, with the words: "I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Thus, Catholics believe, "Roma locuta est, causa finita est"; Roma has spoken, the case is closed.

A review of the laws of the Church in this regard:

“Canon 331 The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.

“Canon 333 §1. By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only possesses power offer the universal Church but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power over all particular churches and groups of them. Moreover, this primacy strengthens and protects the proper, ordinary, and immediate power which bishops possess in the particular churches entrusted to their care.

“§2. In fulfilling the office of supreme pastor of the Church, the Roman Pontiff is always joined in communion with the other bishops and with the universal Church. He nevertheless has the right, according to the needs of the Church, to determine the manner, whether personal or collegial, of exercising this office.”

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Prayer must be central; defends from absorption by activity

"...prayer which is humble and intense, trusting and persevering, must have a central place in our Christian lives. Prayer is indispensable if we are to receive Christ’s power. 'People who pray are not wasting their time, even though the situation appears desperate and seems to call for action alone' (Deus Caritas Est, 36). To allow oneself to become absorbed by activity runs the risk of depriving prayer of its specifically Christian character and its true efficacy.

--- His Holiness Benedict XVI at Lourdes in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Our Lady to Saint Bernadette Soubirous.

(Photo from Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Christians in India "treated worse than animals"

In Orissa Christians treated worse than animals, says Father Bernard
by Nirmala Carvalho
As the situation gets back to normal amid fears and tensions, what happened is slowly emerging. Victims talk about the violence inflicted upon them, a true “attack against the sacredness and dignity of human life”. Beaten repeatedly and left unconscious for hours in the forest, Fr Bernard Digal tells his story.

Full story: Asia News.

Bishops draw from CCC to alleviate confusion in US Adult Catechism

The US Bishops have asked Rome to affirm their decision to change a reference to the Jewish Covenant in the current edition of the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA) by pulling the following paragraph from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or CCC:

"Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."

The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People.

When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, "the first to hear the Word of God." The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ", "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."

Paragraph 839, Catechism of the Catholic Church

The basic principle which it is necessary to preserve in any discussion of the Old Testament Covenant, which the Church believes God has not withdrawn, is the role of Jesus Christ as "sole Savior" of the world. Though the Old Covenant is "fulfilled" in the New Covenant and all are called to salvation in Jesus Christ we also believe, at the same time, that God does not withdraw His promises. Thus, though called to salvation in Christ as are all, the Jewish people continue to benefit from all the promises of God bestowed in the Old Covenant. The Jewish people are our "elder brothers in the Faith" and all Catholics have wisely been called "spiritual Semites".

Nothing in the Catholic Faith ever can condone anything less than full esteem and love for the Jewish people: "You must love your neighbor as yourself".

(Photo: Moses, Michelangelo, 1515. Marble, height 235 cm. Rome, Church of San Pietro in Vincoli.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bishops Bring Clarity to Biden Bewilderment


WASHINGTON - Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman, U.S. Bishops Committee on Doctrine, issued the following statement:

Recently we had a duty to clarify the Catholic Church's constant teaching against abortion, to correct misrepresentations of that teaching by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on "Meet the Press" (see: here). On September 7, again on "Meet the Press," Senator Joseph Biden made some statements about that teaching that also deserve a response.

Senator Biden did not claim that Catholic teaching allows or has ever allowed abortion. He said rightly that human life begins "at the moment of conception," and that Catholics and others who recognize this should not be required by others to pay for abortions with their taxes.

However, the Senator's claim that the beginning of human life is a "personal and private" matter of religious faith, one which cannot be "imposed" on others, does not reflect Catholic teaching. The Church teaches that the obligation to protect unborn human life rests on the answer to two questions, neither of which is private or specifically religious.

The first is a biological question: When does a new human life begin? When is there a new living organism of the human species, distinct from mother and father and ready to develop and mature if given a nurturing environment? While ancient thinkers had little verifiable knowledge to help them answer this question, today embryology textbooks confirm that a new human life begins at conception (see www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/bioethic/fact298.shtml). The Catholic Church does not teach this as a matter of faith; it acknowledges it as a matter of objective fact.

The second is a moral question, with legal and political consequences: Which living members of the human species should be seen as having fundamental human rights, such as a right not to be killed? The Catholic Church's answer is: Everybody. No human being should be treated as lacking human rights, and we have no business dividing humanity into those who are valuable enough to warrant protection and those who are not. Even this is not solely a Catholic teaching, but a principle of natural law accessible to all people of good will. The framers of the Declaration of Independence pointed to the same basic truth by speaking of inalienable rights, bestowed on all members of the human race not by any human power, but by their Creator. Those who hold a narrower and more exclusionary view have the burden of explaining why we should divide humanity into the moral "haves" and "have-nots," and why their particular choice of where t o draw that line can be sustained in a pluralistic society. Such views pose a serious threat to the dignity and rights of other poor and vulnerable members of the human family who need and deserve our respect and protection.

While in past centuries biological knowledge was often inaccurate, modern science leaves no excuse for anyone to deny the humanity of the unborn child. Protection of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but a demand of justice.

Ancient Roman practice of killing babies by exposure is here in America today

A nurse from Illinois describes the evil of infanticide as defended by one of our presidential candidates. He doesn't like "restricted choice".

Babies born alive and healthy in an Illinois hospital are abandoned helpless and left to die like the ancient Romans left their unwanted newborns to die of exposure on the rocks along the shores of the Tiber River.

The choice to kill children must be "restricted" with all of the power God gives us. He demands it: "Thou shalt not kill".

View the YouTube video that explains:


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Catholics believe in voting for real hope and change; in voting for Life

"Obviously, we have other important issues facing us this fall: the economy, the war in Iraq, immigration justice. But we can’t build a healthy society while ignoring the routine and very profitable legalized homicide that goes on every day against America’s unborn children. The right to life is foundational. Every other right depends on it. Efforts to reduce abortions, or to create alternatives to abortion, or to foster an environment where more women will choose to keep their unborn child, can have great merit—but not if they serve to cover over or distract from the brutality and fundamental injustice of abortion itself. We should remember that one of the crucial things that set early Christians apart from the pagan culture around them was their rejection of abortion and infanticide. Yet for thirty-five years I’ve watched prominent 'pro-choice' Catholics justify themselves with the kind of moral and verbal gymnastics that should qualify as an Olympic event. All they’ve really done is capitulate to Roe v. Wade."

-- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, "Vote for Real Hope and Change", First Things August 19, 2008.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On Brain Death: No change in Church teaching

Aid Clarifies Church's Teaching on Brain Death -- Vatican Spokesman Responds to L'Osservatore Article

By Anita S. Bourdin

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 5, 2008 (Zenit.org).- There has been no change in Church teaching regarding the concept of "brain death" as a true criterion for death, though the criterion has to be applied correctly, reminded a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, affirmed this in a statement Tuesday, which responded to a front page L'Osservatore Romano article on the topic of brain death and its validity.

Father Lombardi called the article, by Italian historian and journalist Lucetta Scaraffia, an "interesting and weighty contribution." But, he clarified that "it cannot be considered as the position of the magisterium of the Church."

Scaraffia's article suggested that the concept of brain death is undergoing new scrutiny, brought about, among other things, by cases in which pregnant women who are declared dead by virtue of the brain death criterion, are connected to machines to keep blood circulating and oxygen flowing until the baby can be delivered.

Her article noted that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of a Harvard Medical School report that recommended using "brain death" as the criterion for ascertaining that death has occurred.

"The 40th anniversary of the new definition of brain death seems to be the occasion to re-open the discussion both at the scientific level as well as in the heart of the Catholic Church," suggested Scaraffia.

Sound anthropology

Father Lombardi explained that the Holy See's position may be consulted in Pope John Paul II's address of Aug. 29, 2000, to participants in the 18th International Congress of the Transplantation Society.

In that address, the Polish Pontiff noted that the "neurological criterion" for ascertaining death "consists in establishing, according to clearly determined parameters commonly held by the international scientific community, the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity -- in the cerebrum, cerebellum and brain stem. This is then considered the sign that the individual organism has lost its integrative capacity."

The Jesuit recalled how the Pope stated that "it can be said that the criterion adopted in more recent times for ascertaining the fact of death, namely the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity, if rigorously applied, does not seem to conflict with the essential elements of a sound anthropology."

And the spokesman mentioned the consequences drawn by John Paul II: "[A] health-worker professionally responsible for ascertaining death can use these criteria in each individual case as the basis for arriving at that degree of assurance in ethical judgment which moral teaching describes as 'moral certainty.'

"This moral certainty is considered the necessary and sufficient basis for an ethically correct course of action. Only where such certainty exists, and where informed consent has already been given by the donor or the donor's legitimate representatives, is it morally right to initiate the technical procedures required for the removal of organs for transplant."

ZE08090502 - 2008-09-05
Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-23556?l=english

(Photo: Father John A. Hardon, Jesuit priest from Detroit, Michigan, USA, theologian, founder of the Marian Catechists, teacher and retreat-giver to the Missionaries of Charity, visits the Home of the Dying in Calcutta, India in 1997. Adoremus-in-Aeternum photostream.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Respect for Unborn Human Life: The Church’s Constant Teaching

Fact sheet by the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (No. 2271).

In response to those who say this teaching has changed or is of recent origin, here are the facts:

From earliest times, Christians sharply distinguished themselves from surrounding pagan cultures by rejecting abortion and infanticide. The earliest widely used documents of Christian teaching and practice after the New Testament in the 1st and 2nd centuries, the Didache (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) and Letter of Barnabas, condemned both practices, as did early regional and particular Church councils.

To be sure, knowledge of human embryology was very limited until recent times. Many Christian thinkers accepted the biological theories of their time, based on the writings of Aristotle (4th century BC) and other philosophers. Aristotle assumed a process was needed over time to turn the matter from a woman’s womb into a being that could receive a specifically human form or soul. The active formative power for this process was thought to come entirely from the man – the existence of the human ovum (egg), like so much of basic biology, was unknown.

However, such mistaken biological theories never changed the Church’s common conviction that abortion is gravely wrong at every stage. At the very least, early abortion was seen as attacking a being with a human destiny, being prepared by God to receive an immortal soul (cf. Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”).

In the 5th century AD this rejection of abortion at every stage was affirmed by the great bishop-theologian St. Augustine. He knew of theories about the human soul not being present until some weeks into pregnancy. Because he used the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, he also thought the ancient Israelites had imposed a more severe penalty for accidentally causing a miscarriage if the fetus was “fully formed” (Exodus 21: 22-23), language not found in any known Hebrew version of this passage. But he also held that human knowledge of biology was very limited, and he wisely warned against misusing such theories to risk committing homicide. He added that God has the power to make up all human deficiencies or lack of development in the Resurrection, so we cannot assume that the earliest aborted children will be excluded from enjoying eternal life with God.

In the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas made extensive use of Aristotle’s thought, including his theory that the rational human soul is not present in the first few weeks of pregnancy. But he also rejected abortion as gravely wrong at every stage, observing that it is a sin “against nature” to reject God’s gift of a new life.

During these centuries, theories derived from Aristotle and others influenced the grading of penalties for abortion in Church law. Some canonical penalties were more severe for a direct abortion after the stage when the human soul was thought to be present. However, abortion at all stages continued to be seen as a grave moral evil.

From the 13th to 19th centuries, some theologians speculated about rare and difficult cases where they thought an abortion before “formation” or “ensoulment” might be morally justified. But these theories were discussed and then always rejected, as the Church refined and reaffirmed its understanding of abortion as an intrinsically evil act that can never be morally right.

In 1827, with the discovery of the human ovum, the mistaken biology of Aristotle was discredited. Scientists increasingly understood that the union of sperm and egg at conception produces a new living being that is distinct from both mother and father. Modern genetics demonstrated that this individual is, at the outset, distinctively human, with the inherent and active potential to mature into a human fetus, infant, child and adult. From 1869 onward the obsolete distinction between the “ensouled” and “unensouled” fetus was permanently removed from canon law on abortion.

Secular laws against abortion were being reformed at the same time and in the same way, based on secular medical experts’ realization that “no other doctrine appears to be consonant with reason or physiology but that which admits the embryo to possess vitality from the very moment of conception” (American Medical Association, Report on Criminal Abortion, 1871).

Thus modern science has not changed the Church’s constant teaching against abortion, but has underscored how important and reasonable it is, by confirming that the life of each individual of the human species begins with the earliest embryo.

Given the scientific fact that a human life begins at conception, the only moral norm needed to understand the Church’s opposition to abortion is the principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with the respect due to a human person. This is the foundation for the Church’s social doctrine, including its teachings on war, the use of capital punishment, euthanasia, health care, poverty and immigration. Conversely, to claim that some live human beings do not deserve respect or should not be treated as “persons” (based on changeable factors such as age, condition, location, or lack of mental or physical abilities) is to deny the very idea of inherent human rights. Such a claim undermines respect for the lives of many vulnerable people before and after birth.

For more information: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion (1974), nos. 6-7; John R. Connery, S.J., Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective (1977); Germain Grisez, Abortion: The Myths, the Realities, and the Arguments (1970), Chapter IV; U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, On Embryonic Stem Cell Research (2008); Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (1995), nos. 61-2.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Catholics believe in loving our enemies who assaulted Mother Teresa's sisters

Pray, fast and make sacrifices for an end to the anti-Christian violence in India and around the world. (+mcitl)

Sisters of Mother Teresa Assaulted by Hindu Radicals and Arrested
By Nirmala Carvalho

The Hindu Radicals attacked the religious women accusing them of the "kidnapping and forced conversion" of four children between one and two years old. The pogrom of violent persecution against Christians in India calls for a global cascade of prayer, fasting, sacrifice and a response of solidarity by the faithful. Inspired by the life of Mother Teresa, her sisters continue the labor of love.

NEW DELHI (AsiaNews) - The Missionaries of Charity are again in the crosshairs of the fundamentalists: yesterday, September 5 - the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta - four sisters of Mother Teresa were attacked by about 20 Bajrang Dal activists at the Durgh train station in Chhattisgarh, a state in central India. The Hindu radicals forced them off the train, and then handed them over to police officers while chanting anti-Christian slogans.

The Hindu fundamentalists accused the sisters - Sr Mamta, the mother superior, Sr Ignacio, Sr Josephina, and Sr Laborius - of the "kidnapping and forced conversion" of four children between one and two years old, whom the religious were taking from their home in Raipur to the Shishu Bhava charity center in Bhopal. The activists followed the women to the police station, "insulting them and chanting slogans against the Christians".

The sisters presented all of the identification documents for the children and their travel permit, in addition to other documentation brought later by the religious from the house in Bilaspur. In spite of this documentation, the children were taken to be housed temporarily at the government hospital in Durg, while the documents and identity papers presented by the sisters are verified by the judicial authorities.

"The mob threatened to beat us up, but I was not afraid", Sr Mamta tells AsiaNews. Her only concern is for the children, who require care and assistance, "but most of all our love. We love these darlings like our own, that is our pain".

The sister says that she "prayed to Mother Teresa" (yesterday was the anniversary of her death, and her liturgical feast day), entrusting the "well-being of the children" to her. She emphasizes that this new episode of "persecution" is an integral part of the missionary task of "witnessing to Christ" entrusted to them by the founder of the order. Although she got no sleep during the night spent at the police station, the following morning - today, September 6 - she took part in Mass, "thanking God and our beloved Mother Teresa".

The Indian Catholic Church has taken a tough stance, through the head of the bishops' conference, who denounces the climate of hostility and terror toward Christians. "I am absolutely shocked", says Cardinal Osvaldo Gracias, "at the baseless and fabricated allegations of conversion levied against the Missionary of Charity". The prelate stresses that he knew "Mother Teresa personally, and I was also involved with her mission, and I can vouch for the fact that never has any baby or anyone been converted by the Missionaries of Charity, either in the remotest rural area or in any part of the world".

In condemning this new attack against the Christians, Cardinal Gracias accuses those who "are instrumental in poisoning minds" and foster interconfessional confrontation: "This is a climate of intolerance [against Christians] that is growing in the country, and it will have serious drastic long-term effects on Indian society".

This new episode of violence against the sisters confirms the growing climate of hostility toward Christians, in the crosshairs of the Hindu fundamentalists who are seeking by every means to eliminate their mission and their charitable works in the country. The tribals, the Dalits - untouchables - and the many orphaned children find in Christianity and in the activity of the religious a way to improve their condition and bring dignity to their lives. By attacking the Christians, the Hindu fundamentalists are above all harming India and its people, anchoring it in a feudal and backward past, based on the hierarchy determined by caste and by slavery.

9/6/2008 Asia News (www.asianews.it)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Medjugorje priest falls under interdict

The Canonical Status of Rev. Father Tomislav Vlašić, OFM, founder of the association “Kraljice mira potpuno Tvoji – po Mariji k Isusu” – (Queen of Peace, totally Yours – Through Mary to Jesus).

The CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH with its letter prot. 144/1985-27164 of 30 May 2008, has authorized me as the local Bishop of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno to inform the diocesan community of the canonical status of Fr. Tomislav Vlašić, the founder of the association “Kraljice mira potpuno Tvoji – po Mariji k Isusu” – (Queen of Peace, totally Yours – Through Mary to Jesus).

The letter signed by the Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Angelo Amato, states the following:

“Within the context of the phenomenon Medjugorje, this Dicastery is studying the case of Father Tomislav VLASIC OFM, originally from that region and the founder of the association ‘Kraljice mira potpuno Tvoji – po Mariji k Isusu’.

On 25 January 2008, through a properly issued Decree, this Dicastery imposed severe cautionary and disciplinary measures on Fr. Vlasic.

The non-groundless news that reached this Congregation reveals that the religious priest in question did not respond, even partially, to the demands of ecclesiastical obedience required by the very delicate situation he finds himself in, justifying himself by citing his zealous activity in the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno and surrounding territories, in initiating religious activities, buildings, etc.

Since Fr. Vlasic has fallen into a censure of interdict latae sententiae reserved to this Dicastery, I kindly ask Your Excellency, for the good of the faithful, to inform the community of the canonical status of Fr. Vlasic and at the same time to report on the situation in question…”.


This regards the fact that the same Congregation of the Holy See applied ecclesiastical sanctions against Rev. Father Tomislav Vlašić, through a Decree of the Congregation (prot. 144/1985) of 25 January 2008, signed by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect, and by Archbishop Angelo Amato, Secretary of the Congregation along with the “Concordat cum originali” of 30 January 2008, verified by Msgr. John Kennedy, Official of the Congregation.

The Decree was handed over to Rev. Fr. Tomislav Vlašić in the General Curia of the OFM in Rome on 16 February 2008 and the notification was co-signed by the Minister General of the Franciscan Minor Order, Father José R. Carballo, the Ordinary of Fr. Vlašić.

The Decree of the Congregation mentions that Rev. Fr. Tomislav Vlašić, a cleric of the Franciscan Minor Order – the founder of the association ‘Kraljice mira potpuno Tvoji – po Mariji k Isusu’ and who is involved in the “phenomenon Medjugorje” – has been reported to the Congregation “for the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspected mysticism, disobedience towards legitimately issued orders and charges contra sextum.”

Having studied the case, the Congregation during its special Congress decreed the following sanctions against Rev. Fr. Tomislav Vlasic:

“1. Mandatory residence in one of the houses of the Order in the region of Lombardy (Italy) to be determined by the Minister General of the Order and to be realized within thirty days from the time of the legitimate notification of this decree;

2. All contacts with the “Kraljice Mira…” community and with its members are prohibited;

3. Any actions involving juridical contracts and administrative organizations, whether canonical or civil, effected without the written permission ad actum of the Minister General of the Order and under his responsibility are prohibited;

4. A mandatory course of theological-spiritual formation, with a final evaluation along with a prior recognitio of this Congregation, and a solemn professio fidei;

5. The following are also prohibited: activities involving the ‘care of souls’, preaching, public appearances, while the faculty to hear confessions is also revoked up until the conclusion of the terms described in the previous number, barring an evaluation of the case.

An additional sanction of a latae sententiae interdict (can. 1332) reserved to the Apostolic See is adjoined in the case of the violation of the mandatory residence (n. 1) and the other prohibited acts mentioned in n. 3 and n. 5.

Fr. Vlasic is forewarned that in the case of stubbornness a juridical penal process will begin with the aim of still harsher sanctions, not excluding dismissal, having in mind the suspicion of heresy and schism, as well as scandalous acts contra sextum, aggravated by mystical motivations.

Fr. Vlasic remains under the direct jurisdiction of the Minister General of the Order of Minor Franciscans, who shall see to his vigilance through the local Superior or another Delegate”

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Punished" with a baby?

"I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at the age of 16. You know, so it doesn’t make sense to not give them information."

-- N.

The man who wants to be president thinks that a baby is a form of "punishment"?

Be clear that this is not about babies, it's about contraception. Our children do not need more chemicals and plastics and invasion of their chastity disguised as "information". They need loving words and examples of self-control.

They need abstinence.

And babies are not "punishment", they are a gift from God, each one created lovingly in His own image and likeness.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Can one be anti-life AND a "practicing" Catholic?

What does it mean to be a "practicing Catholic", as some public persons describe themselves? Does it mean that one fills the pew and goes forward for Holy Communion on Sundays irrespective of one's dissent from Catholic Faith and morals? Does it mean that one uses the words "ardent and practicing" to describe one's faith when interviewed on television but then go on to obfuscate the truth in order justify the intentional taking of innocent human life? How about an unborn child's "right to choose"? By what means have we decided that the child does not want life?

The Catholic Faith is not defined only by one's external conformity to the Commandments. Must the Faith not also be an internal assent of intellect and will to God and His teachings? Must not love of God, who creates all life, indeed be in the heart and knowledge of God, who creates all life, be in the mind of one who self-describes as a "practicing" Catholic Christian?

The time has come to make clear that those who are anti-life cannot with honesty describe themselves as "practicing Catholics" as well as urging them to abstain from Holy Communion as Archbishop Chaput recommends.

"This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."
-- Matthew 15:8