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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Oct-24-2012

By Catholic News Service


Bishops to consider new document on preaching at fall meeting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- "My dad used to say, 'I know what happened 2,000 years ago. I need to know how to live my life today.'" These words, from Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, get to the heart of a new proposed document on preaching to be considered by the U.S. bishops at the fall general meeting in November. The document, "Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily," encourages preachers to connect the Sunday homily with people's daily lives. Archbishop Carlson, as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, shepherded the writing of the document, which he said had reviews by eight other USCCB committees. "Everyone gets a chance to put their oar in the water. That's what makes it a better document," he told Catholic News Service in an Oct. 18 telephone interview from St. Louis. Although the full text of the proposed document has not yet been made public, an Oct. 10 USCCB press release highlighted excerpts from it. "The homily is intended to establish a 'dialogue' between the sacred biblical text and the Christian life of the hearer," the proposed document says. "Preachers should be aware, in an appropriate way, of what their people are watching on television, what kind of music they are listening to, which websites they find appealing, and which films they find compelling," it adds. "References to the most popular cultural expressions -- which at times can be surprisingly replete with religious motifs -- can be an effective way to engage the interest of those on the edge of faith." It has been 30 years since the bishops last addressed preaching, in a document called "Fulfilled in Your Hearing." Archbishop Carlson said the intent to write a new document first surfaced six years ago, although the work of drafting "Preaching the Mystery of Faith" took place over the past year and a half. New traction on the document after Pope Benedict XVI issued the apostolic exhortation "Verbum Domini" ("The Word of the Lord") two years ago, and "Preaching the Mystery of Faith," the archbishop said, is rooted in "Verbum Domini."

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Material progress not enough to make people free, happy, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The world's huge technological and scientific progress hasn't always made people freer or happier, Pope Benedict XVI said. While scientific knowledge and advancements "are important for human life, it's not enough on its own," the pope said Oct. 24 at his weekly general audience. "We need not just material sustenance, we need love, meaning, hope and a solid foundation" that helps people live with courage even in the face of doubt, difficulties, and everyday problems, he said. Before an estimated 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square, the pope continued a new series of catecheses to accompany the Year of Faith, which runs until Nov. 24, 2013. His talk focused on the nature of faith and what it means to believe. The pope said, "Despite the great magnitude of scientific discoveries and technological successes, humanity today does not seem to have become truly freer and more human." Along with signs of progress and increased well-being, there also are "many forms of exploitation, manipulation, violence, tyranny and injustice." Faith gives people a solid sense of certainty in uncertain times because "faith is believing in this love of God that never fails in the face of human wickedness, evil and death, but is capable of transforming every form of slavery, offering the possibility of salvation," he said. "Faith is not the simple intellectual approval by man of truths concerning God; it is an act in which I freely entrust myself to a God who is Father and loves me," the pope said. In fact, having faith is above all about having a relationship with a God whose love is "indestructible" and who understands people's problems, he said.

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Nigerian cardinal-designate known for his work against fraud, for peace

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Cardinal-designate John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan has been an ardent promoter of dialogue among Christians and other religions and a vocal advocate for peace and cooperation, especially in Nigeria. As president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria from 1999 to 2006, he was known for his criticism of government corruption and of some leaders' attempts to twist the constitution to fit their own ends. He was once referred to as "a fiery clergy" by a Nigerian daily because he was not afraid to go against the current -- he asked then-President Olusegun Obasanjo not to violate the Nigerian Constitution by running for a third term. Pope Benedict XVI named the archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, one of six new cardinals Oct. 24. They will be elevated in a ceremony at the Vatican Nov. 24. During an interview in 2009, Cardinal-designate Onaiyekan replied to a journalist's question regarding the government granting amnesty to the Niger Delta militants, who were fighting to keep more oil profits in the region. "In fact, I think the executive thieves and robbers have caused far more damage to our economy than the Niger Delta militants," the cardinal-designate said. "If they repent, I think Nigeria will be ready to grant them amnesty. And, just like they asked the Niger Delta militants to hand in their guns in exchange for amnesty, all those thieves and rogues should bring back our money and we would forgive them." His stance on corruption is manifest in his own lifestyle. Despite being surrounded by the opulence common to Abuja, he lives in a simple residence. Each December, he seeks donations for prisoners and spends Christmas with them.

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Four new cardinals had to keep news secret from synod

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Four of the six new cardinals announced by Pope Benedict XVI Oct. 24 were participating in the world Synod of Bishops at the Vatican and had to keep their impending appointments secret as they participated in the synod's small-group work that morning. The appointment of new cardinals was not announced to synod members, so those who did not have smartphones or tablets or a friend with one found out only during the synod's lunch break. When they returned to the synod hall in the afternoon -- four hours after the announcement -- the synod hall's foyer turned into a receiving line and photo studio. Synod members congratulated the cardinals-designate, and the cardinals-designate congratulated one another. The four synod members named cardinals are: Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai, 72; Indian Archbishop Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, 53, head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church; Nigerian Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, 68; and Philippine Archbishop Luis Tagle of Manila, 55. Between slaps on the back and warm handshakes in the synod hall, Cardinal-designate Rai told Catholic News Service he was told at 5 p.m. Oct. 23 of the pope's intention to make him a cardinal, and he was sworn to secrecy until noon the next day. Cardinal-designate Thottunkal started to tell CNS the reasons why his nomination was such an honor, but he was interrupted by Patriarch Rai grabbing both his hands and saying, "Dear, dear brother." When others began congratulating the patriarch, Archbishop Thottunkal continued his brief interview, saying, "For our church, it's a great honor from the Holy See, recognizing our apostolates as well as our missions in India and all over."

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Pope names six new cardinals, including US Archbishop Harvey

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI surprised pilgrims in St. Peter's Square Oct. 24 by announcing he would create six new cardinals, including 63-year-old U.S. Archbishop James M. Harvey, prefect of the papal household, in late November. The pope said the consistory to create the new cardinals, who come from six countries, would take place Nov. 24, the eve of the feast of Christ the King. It will be the smallest group of cardinals created since the 1977 consistory when Pope Benedict, the then-Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, received his red hat from Pope Paul VI along with three other churchmen. The new cardinals also will include: Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai, 72; Archbishop Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, 53, head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church; Nigerian Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, 68; Colombian Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, 70; and Philippine Archbishop Luis Tagle of Manila, 55. Pope Benedict made the announcement at the end of his weekly general audience, which was attended by about 20,000 pilgrims. As is usual, Cardinal-designate Harvey was seated next to the pope during the audience. While he did not visibly react when his name was announced, the new cardinal-designate smiled and had a brief moment with the pope before returning to his normal duties of helping lead important guests up to the pope. The pope said he was naming Cardinal-designate Harvey the new archpriest of Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

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SSPX expels Bishop Williamson, who opposed talks with Vatican

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The leadership of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X has expelled British Bishop Richard Williamson from the society, saying he distanced himself from them and refused "to show due respect and obedience to his lawful superiors. This painful decision has become necessary by concern for the common good of the Society of St. Pius X and its good government," said a brief note posted on the group's website Oct. 24. Bishop Williamson had been a harsh critic of the group's engagement in doctrinal discussions with the Vatican, which were aimed at bringing the society back into full communion with the Catholic Church. In comments published Sept. 1 in a newsletter that Bishop Williamson emails to subscribers, he wrote that the SSPX had set out six conditions for reconciliation with Rome, which included: freedom "to teach the unchanging truth of Catholic tradition"; freedom to criticize "the errors" of the Second Vatican Council; freedom to celebrate only the extraordinary form of the Mass; the promise of at least one new bishop; and the independence of SSPX houses from the oversight of the local diocesan bishop. In the September letter, Bishop Williamson said, the SSPX position was "no longer 'Rome must convert because truth is absolute,' but now merely 'the SSPX demands freedom for itself to tell the truth.' Instead of attacking the (Vatican II) conciliar treachery, the SSPX now wants the traitors to give it permission to tell the truth?" The bishop concluded, "Unless the society's leadership is shaken out of its dream of peace with conciliar Rome ... then the last worldwide bastion of Catholic tradition risks being on its way to surrendering to the enemies of the faith."

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Blessed Popieluszko honored at martyrs' shrine in Rome

ROME (CNS) -- A dark brown stone sits in a glass box on a side altar in Rome's Basilica of St. Bartholomew, a church dedicated to honoring the martyrs of 20th-century totalitarian governments. The rock was one of the stones Polish security agents had used to weigh down the bound and gagged body of Father Jerzy Popieluszko when they threw his dead body into the Vistula River near Wloclawek, Poland, in October 1984. Teresa Boguszewska and Jozef Popieluszko carried the rock to the altar in St. Bartholomew's Oct. 19, the 28th anniversary of their brother's assassination. Their younger brother was only 37 years old when he was killed. Before the prayer service and ceremony, Boguszewska -- speaking through tears -- said, "It is a very touching moment." Her brother told reporters: "We grew up as brothers do. He had friends, he had a sweetheart," then he entered the seminary and began his work as a priest. Father Popieluszko, a popular preacher who often spoke about human dignity and the freedom of conscience, also was an outspoken supporter of and chaplain to Poland's Solidarity labor movement. He denounced the Polish communist government's imposition of martial law in 1981 and continued to celebrate his "Masses for the Homeland" before huge congregations. He was beatified as a martyr in 2010. "It's extremely hard to look back at the time he was kidnapped and killed," his brother said. "We loved him."

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Toronto cardinal 'becoming a parish priest' as honorary pastor in Rome

ROME (CNS) -- Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto took possession of his titular church Oct. 23, celebrating an evening Mass at St. Patrick's Church in Rome. "Now, after 40 years of ordination to the priesthood, I am, in a certain sense, becoming a parish priest," the cardinal said in his homily. Cardinal Collins, who became a cardinal in February, was assigned to be honorary pastor of the Irish national church in Rome, which is entrusted to the Augustinian order. All cardinals are given honorary title to a church in Rome, as a reminder that the early popes were elected by the city's pastors. "Although a cardinal relates to the universal church, he is also a parish priest, and that's something very, very beautiful," the cardinal told the congregation, which included pilgrims from Toronto and his former Archdiocese of Edmonton, Alberta, as well as Anne Leahy, Canada's ambassador to the Vatican. "The church is universal and the church is always local, like concave and convex, the universal and local," he said. "Those two must go together." The cardinal concelebrated with about 20 priests, including Archbishops Gerald Lacroix of Quebec, Gerard Pettipas of Grouard-McLennan, Alberta, and Richard Smith of Edmonton, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Quebec. "As Christians, we need to be solid as a community of faith in building the temple of the Lord," the cardinal said. "But it's not enough to be stable, solid, joined together. If we were only to do that, we would miss the point of who we are."

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New Colombian cardinal has worked to help end country's civil war

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (CNS) -- In naming Colombian Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez a cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI recognized the work of an outspoken advocate for a peaceful resolution to Colombia's civil war, one of the world's longest-running conflicts. The pope announced Oct. 24 that on Nov. 24 he would create six new cardinals, including the 70-year-old archbishop of Bogota, currently president of the Colombian bishops' conference. The Nov. 24 consistory will come just more than a week after the Colombian government and rebels are scheduled to begin talks aimed at bringing the South American country's decades-old war to an end. The war, which began in 1964 and has pitted guerrilla armies against government forces, has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. Resolving it peacefully has become one of Cardinal-designate Salazar's goals in his decades of church work. He has repeatedly called for a peaceful resolution, telling Catholic News Service earlier in October that, "As church, we have always said that the armed conflict in Colombia must end through dialogue and consensus in order to achieve true and lasting peace." Cardinal-designate Salazar was traveling Oct. 24 and not available for comment, but church leaders who have worked closely with him praised the pope's announcement. "I'm very glad. This was a recognition of the church's work in Colombia at a very difficult moment, a challenging moment, in the country," said Bishop Nel Beltran Santamaria of Sincelejo.

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Known for theology, humility, Filipino is youngest of six new cardinals

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The youngest of six cardinals announced Oct. 24 is widely lauded for his theological gifts and his humility. Cardinal-designate Luis Tagle, 55, of Manila, Philippines, "really takes care of people ... he's so simple and generous and there's no class structure when he deals with people; everyone is equal in his eyes," said Nemie Anciado, a longtime custodian at the cathedral in Imus, Philippines, where the cardinal-designate was bishop from 2001 to 2011. Anciado spoke to Catholic News Service in October 2011, after his bishop was named archbishop of Manila. One year later, Pope Benedict XVI announced he would make him a cardinal in a consistory at the Vatican Nov. 24. Cardinal-designate Tagle told CNS Oct. 24 that the month of October, which is the month of the rosary, "is big for me." He was informed in October 2001 that he would become a bishop and was told he'd be transferred to Manila in October 2011. "And now it's October again," he said, laughing. Describing to CNS what it was like to hear the announcement that he was being elevated Oct. 24, Cardinal-designate Tagle fought back tears. "Listening to the text of the pope's letter being read out to me, I also felt like -- here it comes," he said. "It felt like someone far greater than I am is here. Very near." Admirers have widely lauded the theological gifts of the archbishop known as "Chito. The depth of his understanding of theology was already at a far more superior level during our college years," said Ricardo Jalbuena, who attended Jesuit-run Ateneo De Manila University's San Jose Major Seminary with him. "It was always enlightening to have Chito around."


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