Pope Benedict XVI will be heard singing and speaking on an album to be released on the record label that was home to Nirvana and Guns N' Roses.
The pontiff is to release Alma Mater, an album of Lauretan litanies and prayers with musical accompaniment, through Geffen Records.
The label said listeners would be "shocked" by his "incredible voice".
The album, which features the Pope using five different languages, will be released on 30 November.
The project came about after the label learned earlier this year that Benedict XVI had been working on an album with the Choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome.
'Very happy'Colin Barlow, president of Geffen UK, explained: "We travelled to Rome, heard some of the music and realised it was a beautiful piece of music and something that actually could be an incredible record for us to work on.
"It's very much about delivering a really brilliant piece of music and making sure we treat it with the respect it deserves."
The album will contain eight pieces of music, one featuring Pope Benedict singing and the others providing accompaniment to his recitals of passages and prayers.
But Pope Benedict did not go into the studio - the Vatican supplied recordings of his vocals made at official services and also from speeches he made on his foreign trips.
Friday, July 31, 2009
WASHINGTON - An anti-abortion amendment to a sweeping health overhaul bill was voted down in a House committee late Thursday -- a dramatic reversal just hours after the measure initially was approved.The amendment said health care legislation moving through Congress may not impose requirements for coverage of abortion, except in limited cases. It was approved in the Energy and Commerce Committee after conservative Democrats joined Republicans to support it.But committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., invoked House rules that allowed him to bring up the amendment for a second vote, despite Republican objections.This time, one conservative Democrat -- Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee -- changed his vote from "yes" to "no." And a second conservative Democrat who hadn't voted the first time -- Rep. Zack Space of Ohio -- voted "no."It was enough to take down the amendment on a 30-29 vote.
CNA.- The short life of a devout, Catholic, young girl from Seattle has brought many Catholics across the United States back to the Church. Her holy and loving example, as well as her battle with cancer, has drawn others to convert to Catholicism and has inspired the creation of an organization to reach out to families with a loved one facing a chronic illness.
Gloria was born in 1996 to Doug and Kristen Strauss and was like any other seven-year old. She enjoyed playing with her six siblings and friends, dressing up, playing board games, picking flowers and watching the Fox television show, “American Idol.” The young girl also had a special place in her heart for the Rosary and for making people feel good about themselves. However, no one could have predicted the amount of people her brief time on earth would touch.
CNA spoke with her father, Doug, who explained that one day in 2003 when Gloria was seven years-old, she was hit in the face with a ball resulting in a black eye. When the color returned to normal after the seemingly minor injury, a suspicious bump remained. After two trips to the doctor, she was referred to a specialist who instantly had a hunch it was cancer.
Gloria was diagnosed with a cancer known as neuroblastoma and only given a window of three months to three years to survive. Following the diagnosis, Gloria immediately went into surgery and began chemotherapy treatments. Doug explained that though it was difficult, the family resolved to remain “open to God’s plan in hopes that the family would be strengthened.”
At the time, Doug was a high school basketball coach who knew Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer. Brewer had planned to run a single column on the family’s struggles while Doug coached during the season. However, the first column attracted so many readers that the idea expanded into a five-month series of interviews with the Strauss family sharing Gloria’s faith and trust in God with those in Seattle and around the United States.
When Gloria’s condition took a turn for the worse in 2007, the family opened their home for community members to come and pray over her. Doug explained that for three weeks, 50 – 60 people showed up Monday – Friday to pray the Rosary and sing praise and worship songs. Later, when it became too much for the family, five members of the community opened up their homes to continue the prayers for Gloria.
Drawing others to Christ
After Gloria endured seven rounds of chemotherapy, the doctors decided to try a stem-cell transplant using her own stem-cells. Doug said that at that point, he knew that Gloria was at her lowest point. He was desperate and started to pray, “God help me, I don’t understand.”
He heard a voice say, “quality of life.” He was confused, but went to Gloria the next day and asked if she’s had quality of life. He didn’t expect her to understand, but she immediately responded, “yes daddy!” She excitedly added that so many people have started praying because of her illness.
Doug explained that Gloria had a beautiful gift, she was able to draw people to Christ through her cancer. “She taught us all how to carry a cross. Her gift to us was her living example of her commitment to a relationship with God through constant prayer. She always said, “yes.”
Writing in the Seattle Times column, Doug recalled that they “would ask if it was all right to have a healing Mass,” and she would answer, “oh yea!” Other times they would ask: “How about if 50 people come over to pray the Rosary over you tonight?” She’d say, “oh yea!”
“From shots to sickness it always began and ended with the sign of the cross,” Doug continued. “Often doctors would have to stand and wait as she made the sign of the cross and prayed. Amazing to watch!”
It wasn’t just her actions that drew people to Christ, her father also explained that everyone spoke of Gloria’s presence. “She had this presence that allowed people to want to be with her and pray for her.” Even at the age of seven, “she knew her calling to bring people to God through her cancer.”
People from all religions were attracted to Gloria and her family through the front-page column in the Seattle Times. “Mormons, Buddhists, Hindus, they all wrote in to the paper talking about how they’ve been impacted by her life,” Doug said. “Everyone knew we were Catholic – we didn’t have to profess it – we wanted prayers from everyone,” Doug continued.
Doug even mentioned a blind man that had written him a letter saying that he had been praying Rosaries for Gloria and wanted to meet her. Miraculously, when she entered the room he could see her dressed in white. The man told Doug however that when she left, he was blind once again.
Though prayers for Gloria kept coming, her cancer continued to spread and she died on September 21, 2007.
Immediately following Gloria’s death, the family realized the large impact that Gloria had on the community.
Doug explained that people came all over to view her body before and after the Rosary. He added that he received a letter from a Lutheran man who attends Eucharistic adoration at a Catholic church who said that he had to go so that he could “see a saint in person.”
Then at the funeral, over 3,200 showed up and the family began to hear stories of how’ Gloria’s life and struggle had transformed lives.
One man from Virginia had read about Gloria and explained that he felt like he was “hit over the head by a 2 x 4.” The man had been on a four-day drinking binge and he completely gave up alcohol after reading the story on her illness and strength of faith.
Not only do the Strausses have a list of others who have quit different drug addictions because of Gloria, but they are aware of at least ten people who have become Catholic directly due to Gloria’s story – and more are continuing to convert. One in particular was a nurse at the Children’s hospital who didn’t grow up going to church. After seeing little Gloria’s faith, she knew she had to do something about it.
According to the Catholic Northwest Progress, one Presbyterian family became Catholic after Gloria attended a camp for ill children and their families. One of the volunteers, Brinn Funai continued to keep in touch with Kristen Strauss, Gloria’s mother, after the week’s activities.
Brinn explained that she had been checking into Catholicism, but meeting Kristen and the Strausses “was a big turning point for me.” They “really helped kin of soften that road so to speak, to coming into the church.”
“I told her right before she died, ‘Gloria, we’re going to become Catholic,’” said Brinn. “And she said, ‘Wow!’” The Funais were received into Catholic Church at Easter 2008.
Not only did the girl’s life, touch individuals, but she also inspired the organization, “Gloria’s Angels.”
At a point when Gloria’s health continued to fade, the family’s spiritual advisor spoke to Bob Turner, a Seattle business man, about assisting the family in the days following Gloria’s cancer. “Either she was going to experience a miraculous healing or she was going to pass away,” Turner explained. “In either case, [the spiritual advisor] recognized that the Strauss family would have some mission to serve.”
Turner explained that he decided “to bring his business skills into a partnership with the Strauss family to help them honor her and carry on her mission.” After weeks of discernment, Turner and the Strauss family decided that Gloria’s mission could best be carried out by serving families facing life-threatening illnesses.
And so Gloria’s Angels was born.
The organization works to smooth out the “roller coaster ride” that families with a sick member experience. While many agencies exist to assist families in need, oftentimes loved ones are unaware of the services offered or need help with the coordination. Gloria’s Angel’s steps in for guidance to piece everything together.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
They've been mistaken for Jedi-wannabes headed to a Star Wars convention. They've been investigated by police, approached by strangers, gawked at from cars and offered gifts of crumpled dollar bills and Little Debbie snacks.
After trekking along more than 300 miles of dusty Virginia country roads and suburban highways, six Franciscan friars reached Washington on Tuesday, having seen it all during an offbeat modern-day quest for God.
For six weeks, the brothers walked from Roanoke with only their brown robes, sandals and a belief in the kindness of strangers to feed and shelter them.
The sight of six men in flowing habits, trudging single file on the side of the road, prompted many to pull over and talk, even confess. People on their way to work described their loneliness. College students wanted help figuring out what to do with their lives. Children, mistaking them for the Shaolin monks in movies, ran up to ask the friars if they knew how to beat up bullies.
"Dressed like we are in our habits, it's like a walking sign that says, 'Tell us your life's problems,' " explained Cliff Hennings, the youngest of the friars at 23.
In every instance, the friars made time for conversation. They shot the breeze with a gang of drunk bikers, dispensed relationship advice to the brokenhearted commuters and bore witness to one and all, yea, even to the Chik-fil-A employee dressed as a cow.
The pilgrimage was the idea of four young friars just finishing their training in Chicago and working toward taking lifelong vows. Seeking to emulate the wanderings of their founder, Saint Francis of Assisi, they wanted to journey together as a fraternity, ministering to one another and to strangers, while depending on God for every meal and place to sleep.
Joined by two older friars supervising their training, they picked as their destination a friary in Washington, D.C., called the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land -- a symbolic gesture, because the actual Holy Land was too far away.
Then last month they drove from Chicago to Salem, just outside Roanoke, parked their van at a church and set out on foot.
They tried to live by the ascetic rules Jesus laid out for his 12 disciples: "Take nothing for the journey -- no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic." The less they brought, they reasoned, the more room they could leave for God. The friars did make a few modifications, carrying a toothbrush, a wool blanket, water and a change of underwear ("a summer essential," one explained), as well as one cellphone in case of emergency.
Some rules, however, had to be made on the fly. They had agreed not to carry any money, but just minutes into their first day, strangers were pressing dollar bills into their hands. So they made a pact to spend what they received each day on food, often high-protein Clif bars, and to give the rest to the needy.
They walked 15 miles their first day and found themselves at dusk in front of a fire station just outside Roanoke. One of the friars, Roger Lopez, a former fireman himself, knocked on the station door and asked whether there was somewhere they could sleep. As they talked, the friars spotted a giant trampoline out back.
"It seemed like such a good idea at the time," said Lopez, 30.
The six spread out on the trampoline as if they were spokes on a wheel. But soon they realized gravity was against them, pulling everyone toward the center. Some tried to sleep clutching the side railing. When one person rolled over, the rest bobbed uncontrollably like buoys. No one got much sleep, but the firefighters did send them off the next morning with corned beef sandwiches.
Since then, they have slept on picnic tables outside Lynchburg, basement floors in Charlottesville, even on office tables at a food pantry.
One night they were hosted by a man with tattoos on his arms, an unkempt ponytail and all of his front teeth missing. He had pulled up in his beat-up Jeep and offered to let the friars stay with him in an old one-room schoolhouse in Nelson County.
"He looked like he had just gotten out of prison," said Hennings, but the man turned out to be a Native American healer. The friars stayed up all night talking to him. He told them Native stories and played his double flute. They chanted Latin hymns in return and told him stories from the Gospel.
Such moments of grace became a daily occurrence for the friars. Sure, some passersby gave them the finger. One guy even leaned out the window to add a sprinkling of Nietzsche ("God is dead!") to his vulgarities. But most encounters were meaningful, even profound.
Just outside Harrisonburg, a woman in her 40s with a young daughter pulled over in her old Dodge sedan to talk to 25-year-old friar Richard Goodin.
She'd recently caught her husband cheating on her. He had kicked her and her daughter out of their house, she told Goodin. Now, like the friars, they were wandering through the wilderness, unsure of their next meal or their next move.
As they talked, the woman's daughter rummaged through the car and gave the friars a soda. Then she found a chocolate bar and offered that. As the conversation began winding down, the daughter said there was nothing more in the car. The woman reached for her purse and told Goodin, "I want to give you what we have left."
She pressed $3.52 into his hand, which he accepted reluctantly.
"I realized she wasn't giving this to us or to me," Goodin said. "I think she heard us talk about trusting in God and she wanted to try to trust in the same way. She was giving that money to God."
Tip O' the hat to Rocco.
"The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden." - G.K. Chesterton
"Unfortunately, my own guardian angel did not prevent my injury, certainly following superior orders,"
"Perhaps the Lord wanted to teach me more patience and humility, give me more time for prayer and meditation,"
I hope to learn those things without breaking my wrist. But, God just might have to break my head to get it through my thick skull.
I just hope he doesn't use someone else's wrist cast to break my head.
HANOI, Vietnam, JULY 28, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Catholics organized protests in several Vietnamese cities after two priests and other laypeople were savagely beaten by police and thugs.Lord have mercy!
AsiaNews reported today that Father Paul Nguyen Dinh Phu and Father Peter Nguyen The Binh are in critical condition after the attacks.
The former has broken ribs and head injuries, and the latter was beaten into a coma and then thrown from a 2nd floor window.
The Diocese of Vinh released a statement condemning the police violence against the priests and other Catholics over the past week.
On July 20, hundreds of Catholics were attacked at the church of Tam Toa, where they had gathered to erect a cross and altar.
The 120-year-old church, damaged after an American bombing in 1968, was seized in 1996 by the government to create a "U.S. war crimes memorial."
The people were too poor to rebuild their church immediately, but they still regard it as the seat of their parish and come together there for ceremonies.
After repeated requests for the return of the land, Bishop Paul-Marie Cao Dinh Thuyen of Vinh celebrated a Feb. 2 Mass at the parish, which was attended by 14 priests and thousands of faithful.
Last week, when the faithful gathered again to bring a cross and an altar, police launched tear gas bombs at them, and then began to beat them with sticks and stun guns.
Many were injured, and others were carried away in police vans.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It is about political power. Many teachers disagree with this kind of policy which is so blatantly anti-Christian. But, in some states, they are forced to pay dues. The Christian teachers in this country need to organize themselves and fight back.
The Princeton Review annually ranks universities and colleges in different categories through surverys given to students. While the merits of such rankings can certainly be debated, they do sell a lot of magazines and also push college administrators to aim for the "good" rankings. Here are the categories that Texas A&M found itself in this year.
Texas A&M University Rankings:
#1 Most Conservative Students
#5 Best College Newspaper (in terms of popularity)
#6 Best Athletic Facilities
#13 Most Religious Students
#14 Students Pack the Stadiums
#14 Future Rotarians and Daughters of the American Revolution
#15 Alternative Lifestyles Not an Alternative
#16 Jock Schools
#19 Class Discussions Rare
Monday, July 27, 2009
There are no legal restrictions on when the Rite of Marriage may be celebrated, with the exception of the Triduum, as long as the various guidelines specific to the particular parish are respected. When the Rite of Marriage includes a Mass there are limitations as to dates and readings. Few parishes celebrate weddings on Sundays, but a few policies encourage couples to consider integrating their wedding into the regularly scheduled Sunday Mass to more fully express the support of the parish community (See, for example, Gary, Sioux City, Kansas City/St. Joseph, and Louisville). When a wedding coincides with a major feast the readings for that feast must be respected. Weddings during penitential seasons must respect the church tone and décor appropriate for the season.
Friday, July 24, 2009
South Korea (AP) - A Christian woman accused of distributing the Bible, a book banned in communist North Korea, was publicly executed last month for the crime, South Korean activists said Friday.
The 33-year-old mother of three, Ri Hyon Ok, also was accused of spying for South Korea and the United States, and of organizing dissidents, a rights group said in Seoul, citing documents obtained from the North.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day, scientists now reveal.
Past research has shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light, which is thought to be a byproduct of biochemical reactions involving free radicals.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
"Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions."
- *When politicians say they want to have a "common ground" on abortion, what exactly do they mean?
- *What does this common ground look like?
- *Who has to compromise their beliefs?
- *What has to be compromised to meet on this common ground?
- *Is it possible?
3. *Neither side will agree to is, but most politicians think the pro-lifers need to give.
2. *The common ground is a political mumbo-jumbo that doesn't exist.
1. *Therefore, politicians say they want "common ground" on abortion they want votes.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
U.S. Bishops Urge Congress to Observe Respect for Life, Access for All in Health Care Legislation
WASHINGTON—“Genuine health care reform that protects the life and dignity of all is a moral imperative and a vital national obligation,” said Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., as he outlined the policy priorities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on the issue of health care in a July 17 letter to Congress. The letter supported efforts to pass health care reform, but warned against inclusion of abortion.
Writing on behalf of the bishops as chairman of their Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Murphy said the bishops have advocated comprehensive health care reform for decades and recommended four criteria for fair and just health care reform: respect for human life and dignity, access for all, pluralism and equitable costs.
“Two of these criteria need special attention as Congress moves forward with health care reform,” Bishop Murphy said.
On respecting life and dignity, he said, “No health care reform plan should compel us or others to pay for the destruction of human life, whether through government funding or mandatory coverage of abortion. Any such action would be morally wrong.”
After citing protections from public funding of abortion in U.S. law, Bishop Murphy added, “Health care reform cannot be a vehicle for abandoning this consensus which respects freedom of conscience and honors our best American traditions. Any legislation should reflect longstanding and widely supported current policies on abortion funding, mandates and conscience protections because they represent sound morality, wise policy and political reality.”
On the issue of access for all, Bishop Murphy said, “All people need and should have access to comprehensive, quality health care that they can afford, and it should not depend on their stage of life, where or whether they or their parents work, how much they earn, where they live, or where they were born. The Bishops’ Conference believes health care reform should be truly universal and it should be genuinely affordable.”
He went on to cite that, even after the implementation of health care reform, some families, including many immigrants, will not be covered and urged Congress to adequately fund clinics and hospitals that serve as a safety net for these people.
The full text of Bishop Murphy’s letter can be found online at: www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/2009-07-17-murphy-letter-congress.pdf
Come November, the USCCB will take its final votes on the 2002editio typica in English, and it's not without possibility that Rome'srecognitio (confirmation) for the completed Missal could arrive even before year's end.
Monday, July 20, 2009
FaceBook is an odd place sometimes.
From the website:
The uniqueness of a new evangelization is best understood when modeled after Christ’s example. Christ was sent by God the Father to witness to humanity. God also gave man the “tools” to accomplish His will as we prepare for the return of Our Lord. The Holy Spirit was sent to help man and guide man in this mission. This event is a renewal to mission!We designed this conference with the hope that this event will be a transforming evangelization for you personally, our local Church and community. Every aspect of this event is an opportunity for growth for all those who participate in any facet before, during, and after the event.
This conference has theological, apologetic and missionary elements that will draw people deeper into the mystery and understanding of their own Call to Holiness.
Between 2007 and 2008, Planned Parenthood received $350 million of your tax dollars. Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the country. In 2008 alone they performed 290,000 abortions throughout the country. Planned Parenthood received millions of dollars through this program last year and you can be sure they'll ask this Congress for an even greater funding increase this year. By law, Planned Parenthood clinics must offer referrals for abortions and dispense all forms of contraception. These clinics are not required to notify parents of minors who seek abortions or contraception. This loophole allows sexual predators to access contraception and obtain abortions to cover up the abuse of their victims. Congressman Mike Pence will be offering an amendment to the Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations bill that will keep Planned Parenthood from receiving government funds. Please sign in below and tell your Representative to support Mike Pence’s amendment to De-Fund Planned Parenthood. Tell them you don’t want your tax dollars to go to organizations that perform abortions.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
This is urgent.The abortion industry has just launched a massive effort to mandate taxpayer-funded abortions as part of their proposed trillion-dollar healthcare takeover.This power-grab is attempting to:>>> Impose part of the "Freedom of Choice Act"(FOCA)>>> Mandate that health plans include abortion coverage>>> Require medical providers to violate their consciencesand do abortions or risk their jobs>>> Force taxpayers to fund the abortion industry bailoutThe campaign that started in your community, 40 Days for Life, has been asked to lead the national webcast to oppose this effort because national leaders know that only the grassroots can stop this mandate.Register for the LIVE event on Thursday, July 23 at 8:00PM:During this event you will hear from:MIKE HUCKABEE, Former Governor and Presidential Candidate TONY PERKINS, Family Research Council FR. FRANK PAVONE, Priests for Life MARJORIE DANNENFELSER, Susan B. Anthony List DOUGLAS JOHNSON, National Right to Life Committee TOM MINNERY, Focus on the Family CONGRESSMAN CHRIS SMITH, U.S. House of Representatives CONGRESSMAN JOE PITTS, U.S. House of Representatives DR. RICHARD LAND, Southern Baptist Convention DAVID BEREIT, 40 Days for LifeDuring this nationwide event, you will learn:*Facts about the legislation that abortion advocates are trying to ram through before Congress goes on summer recess*The implications of the proposed mandates*Why leaders, organizations, and coalitions are joining together in record numbers*Action steps YOU can take to make a differenceRegister for the webcast at:This webcast is being sent out to hundreds of thousands of Christians across America and there is limited space available for the live event so register now!Yours in Christ,Shawn CarneyExecutive DirectorP.S- Please SPREAD THE WORD to every pro-lifer and church you know. Forward this e-mail and encourage them to
The last time I attended Mass on vacation, the priest began by announcing: “As we begin today, folks, let’s take a few minutes to get acquainted with the people around you. Tell your neighbor your name, where you’re from, and what you do for a living.” And so the congregation sat down for this banal banter while the priest assumed his talk-show host persona and worked the middle aisle greeting people. Please . . . that’s not community; that’s a cocktail party!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Those who moved in with a mate before engagement or marriage reported significantly lower quality marriages and a greater potential for split-ups than other couples. For instance, about 19 percent of those who cohabited before getting engaged had ever suggested divorce compared with just 12 percent of those who only moved in together after getting engaged and 10 percent of participants who did not cohabit prior to the wedding bells.
A couple's age, previous relationships and even whether they smoke or not are factors that influence whether their marriage is going to last, according to a study by researchers from the Australian National University.
I will be talking about how not to evangelize.
Papal encyclicals are supposed to be written with one eye on two millenniums of Catholic teaching, and the other on eternity. But Americans, as a rule, have rather narrower horizons. As soon as the media have finished scanning a Vatican document for references to sex, the debate begins in earnest: Is it good for the left, or for the right? For Democrats, or for Republicans?That is the beginning, it gets better:
The pope is not a Democrat or a Republican, and his vision doesn’t fit the normal categories of American politics.
But Benedict’s encyclical is nothing if not political. “Caritas in Veritate” promotes a vision of economic solidarity rooted in moral conservatism. It links the dignity of labor to the sanctity of marriage. It praises the redistribution of wealth while emphasizing the importance of decentralized governance. It connects the despoiling of the environment to the mass destruction of human embryos.
This is not a message you’re likely to hear in Barack Obama’s next State of the Union, or in the Republican Party’s response. It represents a kind of left-right fusionism with little traction in American politics.
But that’s precisely what makes it so relevant and challenging — for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
We’re passing through the worst economic dislocation of the past 80 years. Our politics are polarized; our institutions gridlocked. The governing party is mistrusted, the minority party despised.
Yet there’s remarkably little radical thinking taking place. The Republican Party is retrenching, falling back on Reagan-era verities. His promises of post-partisan change notwithstanding, Barack Obama’s agenda looks like the same old Democratic laundry list, rewritten in a sleeker, Internet-era font.
This doesn’t mean that America needs a third party with “Caritas in Veritate” as its platform. The church is not a think tank, and there’s room for wide disagreement about how to put its social teaching into practice.
But Catholics are obliged to take seriously the underlying provocation of the papal message — namely, that our present political alignments are not the only ones imaginable, and that truth may not be served by perfect ideological conformity.
So should all people of good will. For liberals and conservatives alike, “Caritas in Veritate” is an invitation to think anew about their alliances and litmus tests.
Why should being pro-environment preclude being pro-life? Why can’t Republicans worry about economic inequality, and Democrats consider devolving more power to localities and states? Does opposing the Iraq war mean that you have to endorse an anything-goes approach to bioethics? Does supporting free trade require supporting the death penalty?
These questions, and many others like them, are the kind that a healthy political system would allow voters and politicians to explore.
But for now, at least, you’re more likely to find them being raised in Benedict XVI’s Vatican than in Barack Obama’s Washington.
Benedict XVI is urging students to be witnesses of faith in their universities, acknowledging that their Christian presence is becoming more demanding, but also more "fascinating."
The meeting focused on the theme "New Disciples of Emmaus: In University as Christians."A good way to fulfill this call is Ask A Catholic A Question...
The Pontiff encouraged the young people to meet the risen Lord like the disciples at Emmaus, "in an authentic ecclesial experience, and especially in the celebration of the Eucharist."
He explained that their "missionary efforts in the university environment" consist in "bearing witness to your own personal encounter with Jesus Christ, the Truth who illuminates the path of all mankind."
"Only in this way can we become the ferment and leaven of a society enlivened by evangelical love," he added.
The Holy Father affirmed that pastoral activity in universities "must be expressed in all its theological and spiritual implications, helping the young to ensure that communion with Christ leads them to perceive the more profound mystery of man and of history."
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Video #1 - "Their brief and cordial conversation touched the defense and promotion of life and the right to conscientious objection."
Video #2 - "The primary focus of the discussions were issues that constitute a great challenge for the future of every nation and for the real progress of peoples, such as the defence and promotion of life and the right to conscientious objection."
Interesting title to this video. If you look on the Vatican's YouTube channel, the majority of the videos which feature visits of foreign leaders are titled with the obvious. E.g. "Benedict XVI Meets the Australian Prime Minister", "Benedict XVI Receives the President of the Republic of Korea", "Benedict XVI Receives Japanese Prime Minister", etc.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
A word to the preacher:As you prepare to preach on the Word of God this week, especially in light of the context of the Church’s celebration of “Natural Family Planning Awareness Week,” allow yourself to be led by the Spirit of the Lord. This week provides an opportunity to deepen your own understanding of the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and the wonder of marital love. It is a perfect occasion to explain to your people the riches of God’s design for life and love in marriage.Today among the People of God, there is confusion, ignorance and misinformation about Church teachings on human sexuality, chastity, marriage, conjugal love, responsible parenthood, and the moral regulation of births. Tragically, many of our people no long remember that God entrusted men and women with the gift of procreation, that “children are the supreme gift of marriage” (GS, #50). Try to help your people by presenting the truth with love and wisdom in order to lead them to greater peace, understanding and freedom in the Lord.National NFP Awareness Week offers a great time to commit to learn more about NFP. Please consider placing appropriate NFP materials in the church vestibule. Place the one page summary of Married Love and the Gift of Life in your parish bulletin (available at: http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/ nfp/cathteach.shtml). Your diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life should be able to help you obtain NFP resources. The USCCB’s NFP Program has free information that can be downloaded at: http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/index.shtml. Hard copies of some brochures, such as “NFP Myths and Reality,” can be purchased from the Respect Life Catalogue of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities: http://www.usccb.org/prolife/materials/index.shtml.Finally, I would like to invite all of us to sincerely pray and learn more about the Church’s teaching about the moral regulation of births in marriage. Prayer opens our hearts to God’s will. What appears to be foolishness in the eyes of the world is really a path to a deeper relationship of love within the Sacrament of Marriage. Let us help our married brothers and sisters embrace God’s gifts of life and love!
Despite the fact that the Vatican did not release an official statement about the nature of the meeting, the “unannounced” gift to Obama of the 2008 document "Dignitas Personae" on bioethics and the right to life, could be a signal of the nature of at least part of their conversation.
Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said “moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church’s contribution in developing countries” were key topics of discussion between the pope and the president.*Finally the word from the Vatican statement on what they talked about:
In addition, Fr. Lombardi said the they discussed inter-religious dialogue and Middle East peace, with both reaffirming the need for a two state solution. He said the US president “reiterated his commitment to reducing the incidence of abortion”.
President Obama’s parting words to Pope Benedict Friday were that he looked forward to future strong relations between the United States and the Holy See, Pope Benedict told the President: “I thank you for all your work! I’ll pray for you!”
In the course of their cordial exchanges the conversation turned first of all to questions which are in the interests of all and which constitute a great challenge for the future of every nation and for the true progress of peoples, such as the defence and promotion of life and the right to abide by one’s conscience.
Reference was also made to immigration with particular attention to the matter of reuniting families.
The meeting focused as well upon matters of international politics, especially in light of the outcome of the G8 Summit. The conversation also dealt with the peace process in the Middle East, on which there was general agreement, and with other regional situations. Certain current issues were then considered, such as dialogue between cultures and religions, the global economic crisis and its ethical implications, food security, development aid especially for Africa and Latin America, and the problem of drug trafficking. Finally, the importance of educating young people everywhere in the value of tolerance was highlighted.
June 25, 2009
Dear Honorable Pelosi:
As the debate on health care reform continues and legislation is produced, it is imperative that the issue of abortion not be overlooked. Plans to mandate coverage for abortions, either directly or indirectly is unacceptable.
We believe in a culture that supports and respects the right to life and is dedicated to the protection and preservation of families. Therefore, we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan. We believe that a government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan, should not be used to fund abortion.
Furthermore, we want to ensure that the Health Benefits Advisory Committee cannot recommend abortion services be included under covered benefits or as part of a benefits package. Without an explicit exclusion, abortion could be included in a government subsidized health care plan under general health care. The health care reform package produced by Congress will be landmark, and with legislation as important as this, abortion must be addressed clearly in the bill text.
Furthermore, funding restrictions save lives by reducing the number of abortions. The Guttmacher Policy Review, a leading pro-choice research organization noted "that about one third of women who would have had an abortion if support were available carried their pregnancies to term when the abortion fund was unavailable."
Thank you for taking the time to consider our request. By ensuring that abortions are not funded through any health care reform package, we will take this controversial issue off the table so that Congress can focus on crafting a broadly-supported health care reform bill.
Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK); Bart Stupak (D-MI); Colin Peterson (D-MN); Tim Holden (D-PA); Travis Childers (D-MS); Lincoln Davis (D-TN); Heath Shuler (D-NC) Solomon Ortiz (D-TX); Mike McIntyre (D-NC); Jerry Costello (D-IL); Gene Taylor (D-MS); James Oberstar (D-MN); Bobby Bright (D-AL); Steve Driehaus (D-OH); Marcy Kaptur (D-OH); Charlie Melancon (D-LA); John Murtha (D-PA); Paul Kanjorski (D-PA); and Kathleen Dahlkemper (D-PA).