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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Oct-3-2012

By Catholic News Service


Our Sunday Visitor marks 100th anniversary with Mass, rededication

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CNS) -- Our Sunday Visitor's centennial celebration is an opportunity to give thanks "as a company serving the church for 100 years" and to "rededicate ourselves" to the Catholic Church's mission, said the president and publisher on the Huntington-based operation. Greg Erlandson said Our Sunday Visitor continues to carry out the vision of its founder, Archbishop John F. Noll. "That is to help form Catholics in their faith, to inform them about the events in the world as seen through the eyes of the faith, and finally defend the church when necessary," he told Today's Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Centennial events Sept. 28 included a symposium featuring talks by Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, author Scott Hahn and attorney Helen Alvare. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend was the main celebrant of a special Mass of thanksgiving and rededication at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Eleven bishops and archbishops as well as priests from around the nation concelebrated the Mass. Cardinal George and Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, also attended. Archbishop Celli was the featured speaker at a dinner that followed the Mass. John Francis Noll was baptized and received his first Communion and confirmation at the Fort Wayne cathedral. He also was ordained a priest there, in 1898, and a bishop in 1925. He was the fifth bishop of Fort Wayne. He was elevated to archbishop in 1953; he died in 1956. (The diocese was re-designated Fort Wayne-South Bend in 1960.) The Catholic Church's focus on the new evangelization was a theme running through Our Sunday Visitor's celebration, which took place about two weeks prior to the opening of the Year of Faith, with its emphasis on the new evangelization. The special year begins Oct. 11.

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Catholic media urged to help church find best way to use new media

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CNS) -- The new culture of communication requires that Catholic media rethink their approach, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications told a Fort Wayne audience gathered to celebrate the centennial of Our Sunday Visitor. Archbishop Claudio Celli spoke about the Catholic Church's focus on new evangelization and addressed new media and the communications revolution that has created a vast cultural transformation in the past 25 years, as well as the place Catholic communications must have in the digital world. "We must not think of it as a 'virtual' space which is somehow less important than the real world," Archbishop Celli said. "If the church is not present in this space, if the good news is not proclaimed 'digitally,'" he continued, "then we risk abandoning the many people for whom this is where they 'live': This is the forum in which they get their news and information, form and express their opinions, ask questions and engage in debate." Another challenge, he said, "is to achieve the types of transformation in our communication style that will make our digital presence effective." Archbishop Celli spoke at a dinner Sept. 28 that followed a special Mass of thanksgiving and rededication at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne, celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who is the chairman of the board of directors of Our Sunday Visitor, based in Huntington, which is in the diocese. Earlier in the day, the bishop opened a symposium at the Grand Wayne Center that drew Our Sunday Visitor staff and board members, area laity and priests, and bishops from the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese and around the nation. The day's events were part of a celebration marking the 100th year of the founding of Our Sunday Visitor by Archbishop John F. Noll.

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Prelate urges financial, grass-roots support for traditional marriage

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori and other religious leaders Sept. 26 asked supporters of traditional marriage to join efforts to overturn Maryland's new law legalizing same-sex marriage. More than 200 people attended an invitation-only event at St. Mary's Seminary. The group included representatives from Christian, Muslim and Mormon communities, as well as written support from the Orthodox Jewish community, who were observing Yom Kippur. Church leaders urged those in attendance to take their "feet to the street" and "get souls to the polls" to vote "no" on Question 6, the Maryland ballot referendum that seeks to legalize same-sex marriage. Archbishop Lori hosted the event as chairman of the Maryland Catholic Conference, the bishops' public policy arm. It was sponsored by the Maryland Marriage Alliance. The Catholic conference is a coalition partner of the alliance. The conference's executive director, Mary Ellen Russell, and alliance chairman Derek McCoy also spoke at the event, as did the Rev. John Jenkins, pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden; the Rev. Frank Reid, pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Baltimore; and Martin Johnson, a leader in the Maple Ridge Bruderhof Community near Ulster Park, N.Y. In Maryland, state lawmakers approved passed a measure to allow same-sex marriage in the state and it was signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley. But the law was put on hold after opponents got enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election. Same-sex marriage is on the ballot in three other states as well. In Washington, a referendum seeking to overturn that state's same-sex marriage law is on the ballot. In Minnesota, voters will decide whether to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In Maine, voters will decide on an initiative on same-sex marriage, three years after a referendum overturned a law passed by the Legislature.

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Police testify papal butler's apartment crammed with documents

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Vatican police officers who searched Paolo Gabriele's apartment testified they found "an infinite amount" of documents and news clippings covering a vast range of topics, including the Masons, the Vatican bank and yoga. Although they sequestered 82 moving boxes full of materials, once the police inspected all the paper, only a fraction of the material was deemed relevant to the case, officers told a three-judge panel on the third day of the "VatiLeaks" trial. Vatican judges said they would hear closing arguments Oct. 6; a verdict was possible the same day. Each of the four police officers testifying Oct. 3 also said they did not wear gloves during the search, saying that was not the usual protocol for conducting a search and seizure of paper. In the court's brief morning session, the four officers testifying were Stefano De Santis, Silvano Carli, Luca Bassetti and Luca Cintia, vice commissioner of the Vatican police force. The four men were among the officers who conducted the search of Gabriele's Vatican apartment May 23 and arrested Gabriele that evening. The officers were among eight witnesses all called by the defense to testify in the trial of the former papal assistant, who has been charged with aggravated theft for allegedly stealing and leaking papal correspondence and other sensitive documents. Gabriele was present in the courtroom during their testimony.

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Vatican investigates conditions of butler's detention

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Paolo Gabriele, the papal butler on trial in the Vatican, told judges that for 20 days he was held in a tiny cell where he could not even fully extend both arms and where Vatican police kept the lights on 24 hours a day. Gabriele's testimony about the conditions of his detention after his arrest in May came in response to questions posed by his lawyer Oct. 2, the second day of his trial on charges of aggravated theft for allegedly stealing reserved papal correspondence and leaking it to a reporter. After the testimony, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the Vatican court had ordered an investigation into the claims. Luca Cintia, vice commissioner of the Vatican police force, was called by the defense to testify Oct. 3 about the search and seizure of documents from Gabriele's Vatican apartment, but since he was in charge of Gabriele's detention, he also insisted on addressing the claims made about the conditions under which Gabriele was kept. "He was treated with kid gloves," Cintia said. From the moment he sent men to search Gabriele's apartment, Cintia said, Domenico Giani, the head of the Vatican police, gave an order to all the officers "to protect Paolo Gabriele, his family and his children. This was done at every moment. In fact, more than once he thanked us for how we treated him." The Gendarme Corps of Vatican City State, as the Vatican police force is formally known, issued a statement Oct. 2 saying that Gabriele was held in a small cell for 20 days while previously scheduled remodeling work was sped up and completed on a larger room for prisoners.

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Hurricane season: Church as first responder in Latin America, Caribbean

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (CNS) -- On the little islands that make up the Caribbean's Lesser Antilles, there is not much in the way of protection from the annual wrath of the Atlantic hurricane season. Every year from hurricane season's start on June 1 until the end of peak months -- August through October -- the islands are like sitting ducks. It's a threat that Marcia Boxhill-Haywood, regional coordinator for Caritas Antilles, confronts with meager tools: a $40,000 emergency fund, a small staff that mans a warehouse in St. Lucia and a handful of volunteers. Responding to hurricanes "goes right to the heart of what the church does because storms don't just destroy buildings, they really destroy families and communities," Boxhill-Haywood said. "In these emergencies, the church caters to everyone that's in need, not just Catholics. We serve all denominations." Catholic dioceses across the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico are on the front line during hurricane season. They shelter residents during storms and serve as first responders after they have passed, handing out food, water and medicine and helping residents rebuild their lives. Yet, preparing for the potential damage to church buildings and the financial strain of feeding mouths and housing displaced residents remains a challenge. With funds in short supply, Catholic leaders said they coordinate more closely with governments and other institutions and rely on volunteers and neighboring dioceses to fill gaps. "It's difficult because there is a lack of resources and a lack of staff," Boxhill-Haywood said. "Putting funds into preparation for hurricanes is not on the front burner."

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Christ, not priest or faithful, is at center of the liturgy, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A liturgy is not Christian if Christ is not the center of the celebration, Pope Benedict XVI said. "The conviction must grow in us every day that the liturgy is not 'our' or 'my' doing, but is God's acting in us and with us," he said Oct. 3. The pope spoke to an estimated 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square for his weekly general audience. The talk was the latest focusing on the liturgy in the pope's series on the subject of prayer. During the audience, Pope Benedict did not mention the Italian protester, Marcello Di Finizio, who had climbed onto the dome of St. Peter's Basilica Oct. 2 and remained there the next day to protest the economic policies of Italy and Europe. In his catechesis, the pope said, "If in the celebration (of Mass) the centrality of Christ does not emerge, we won't have Christian liturgy, totally dependent on the Lord," who supports it with his presence. It's not the action of the individual -- whether the priest or one of the faithful -- or the group gathered in the pews "that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily the action of God through the church, which has its own history, rich tradition and creativity. This universality and fundamental openness, which is characteristic of the whole liturgy, is one of the reasons it cannot be created or modified by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal church," he said. The faithful fully experience the church in the liturgy, which is "the act in which we believe God enters into our reality and we can meet him and can touch him. ... He comes to us and we are enlightened by him," the pope said.

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Man protesting government economic policies climbs St. Peter's dome

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A 49-year-old Italian man protesting the economic policies of Italy and Europe scaled a fence on top of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica Oct. 2 and remained there the next day as some 20,000 people listened to Pope Benedict XVI deliver his weekly general audience talk. While many people in the crowd noticed a banner hanging from the dome during the audience, it was impossible to read from the square and almost no one seemed to know a man was up there. Pope Benedict did not mention the protester, Marcello Di Finizio, during his audience talk. Di Finizio, who had scaled the fence on the dome in July as well, runs a beachfront business in northern Italy, renting umbrellas and chaise lounges. He has been protesting Italy's plan to obey European Union directives by holding public auctions to distribute licenses to operate such businesses on public beaches. Shortly after the pope's general audience ended, Catholic News Service reached Di Finizio on his cell phone. Speaking from the dome, he told CNS: "I'm here to ask for help. Our government, our state, doesn't exist. Sectors of the economy, the beach sector, have been paralyzed for years by government policies. "I ask for political asylum from the Vatican," he said. "The pope is the highest ethical and moral authority in this country, or at least he should be -- let's hope he still is."


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