Vol. 16 No. 4
February 13 - 26, 2012
Pope shares vision of a better earth
Benedict XVI says that earth can become a place of love, good-ness, truth and beauty if the will of God is done here, as it is
in heaven. The Pope made this reection as he spoke Feb. 1
at the general audience about Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane,saying that “nowhere else in sacred Scripture do we gain sodeep an insight into the inner mystery of Jesus as in the prayeron the Mount of Olives.” “In Jesus’ prayer to the Father on thatterrible and wondrous night of Gethsemane, ‘earth’ became‘heaven’; the ‘earth’ of his human will, shaken by fear andanguish, was assumed by the divine will, so that the will ofGod might be accomplished on earth,” he said.
Pope invites cardinals to Day of Prayer
The College of Cardinals and those who will join its number
Feb. 18 will gather for a day of prayer and reection prior
to the consistory, by invitation of Benedict XVI. The Vaticanannounced that the Feb. 17 prayer day (the consistory is Feb.18) will focus on “the announcement of the Gospel today,between ‘missio ad gentes’ and new evangelization,” a themethat will be introduced by one of the cardinals-designate,Timothy Dolan of New York. Cardinal-designate Dolan is thepresident of the U.S. bishops’ conference.
Scholars analyzing pope’s Easter homilies
A series of meetings is being held in the Vicariate of Rome toanalyze Benedict XVI’s Easter homilies. The homily under ex-
amination Jan. 26 was that of the Easter Vigil of March 22, 2008,
and a round table looked at the theme: ‘’Man’s Identity in Timeand Beyond Time.’’ The speakers at the meeting were Monsignor
Livio Melina, president of the John Paul II Pontical Institute;
Laura Palazzani, a teacher of bioethics at LUMSSA University,
and Angelo Luigi Vescovi, scientic director of the Hospital
Home for Relief of Suffering of San Giovanni Rotondo.
A bishop’s love can overcome his fears—CardinalGeorge
A bishop’s love for Jesus Christ and the Church can overcome allhis fears, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said at St. Peter’s
tomb on Feb. 9. Cardinal George is visiting the Vatican along with
the bishops of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, who began their
“ad limina” visit Feb. 9. “In the responsorial psalm we asked the
Lord to protect us, to take away our fears, which means that thepsalmist and the apostles were afraid at times – as are we. Thereis reason to be afraid. But, nonetheless, stronger than fear is faith,and stronger than both is love,” he said.
Loving Christian family is best soil for vocations, Pope writes
Christian families should be a happy and loving environmentin which young people can discern calls to the priesthood orreligious life, Pope Benedict XVI says in his message for theWorld Day of Prayers for Vocations “Families are not only theprivileged place for human and Christian formation; they canalso be ‘the primary and most excellent seed-bed of vocationsto a life of consecration to the Kingdom of God,’ by helpingtheir members to see, precisely within the family, the beautyand the importance of the priesthood and the consecratedlife,” the Pope said on Feb. 13.
‘Jesus our contemporary’ shakes Asia and Europe
ROME, Italy, Feb. 10, 2012—”Je
-sus is my contemporary throughthe saints and people who aresuffering”: this is how Cardi-nal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, bish-op emeritus of Hong Kong,summed up his experiencespeaking at the internationalconference “Jesus our con-temporary” promoted by theCultural Project of the ItalianBishops Conference, of whichCardinal Camillo Ruini is presi-dent.Speaking before severalhundred people last night,Cardinal Zen spoke his per-sonal life in Shanghai andHong Kong and the periodwhen he was teaching in theseminaries of mainland China,underlining the deep faith ofthe Chinese Church, as wellas the difficulties in which itis immersed.The “contemporary natureof Jesus” is also seen from the“contemporary nature of thecross,” said the cardinal andhe recalled a great champion ofthe faith in China, Msgr. Antho-ny Li Duan, the late bishop of
Xian (d. 2005), a great promoter
of the unity of the Church inChina, and unity with the pope.
Cardinal Zen said that in 2000
Msgr. Li Duan twice refused tosubmit to the religious policyof the party, refusing to go toan illicit episcopal ordination(without the mandate of thePope) and a meeting in Beijingwhere he was to sign a docu-ment against Pope John PaulII (who had canonized theChinese martyrs).Cardinal Zen has shown thateven within the pressures andpersecutions, there are manyconversions to Christianity inChina. And in Hong Kong, a
small community of 350 thou
-sand faithful in a populationof 7 million people, every yearthere are thousands of adultbaptisms.ness of Christianity is palpableand young Churches (like SouthKorea) are growing at a diz-zying pace, we do not registerthe same enthusiasm, the samezeal in announcing Jesus Christas Lord and Savior, because ofwhich the “faith is in danger of
dying out like a ame without
oxygen”.Today, Cardinal Bagnascoreiterated, there is “a strangereluctance to speak of Jesus”that threatens to transformbelievers into “tired receptorsof a bland Christianity that istaken for granted”. Hence thenecessity and urgency of “aseason of new evangelization”,starting from the knowledgethat man “without Christ,easily loses himself” and thatthe issue “on the ultimate anddefinitive meaning of life andthe world, on the enigma oftime and death “is” the ques-tion that runs through humanhistory.”To mark the occasion, Bene-dict XVI sent a message to thepresident of CEI in which hespoke of his appreciation forthe choice of dedicating theconference “to the Person of Jesus”, which will have a deepresonance in Italy’s social andecclesial communities.”For the pope, “... many signalsreveal how the name and themessage of Jesus, even in suchdistracted and confused times,provokes ... interest ... eventhose who are unable to adhereto his word of salvation.”And after having reiteratedthe urgent need to “open a pathto God in the hearts and livesof men,” Benedict XVI said that“the story of Jesus of Nazareth,in whose name still many be-lievers in different countriesof the world face suffering andpersecution, cannot therefore
be conned to the distant past,
but it is decisive for our faithtoday”.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco,president of the CEI, began theconference yesterday, evidenc-ing the differences betweenEuropean and non-Europeancountries on the issue of faithin Jesus Christ: “While in Africa,Asia, Latin America, the fresh-
Ofcial logo unveiled for
World Youth Day 2013
RIO DE JANEIRO, Bra-
zil, Feb. 9, 2012—The
colors of the Brazilianflag and the famousChrist the Redeemerstatue of Rio de Janeiro
form part of the ofcial
logo for World Youth
Day 2013, designed by
Gustavo Huguenin,25.The designer prayedabout the theme of theevent, “Go thereforeand make disciplesof all nations” (Mat-
thew 28:19) before
submitting his win-ning drawing, the of-ficial WYD Web sitereported.“In this passage wesee that Jesus met Hisdisciples on a moun-tain. So, from the be-ginning, the image ofChrist the Redeemerwouldn’t leave me— Jesus, who is on amountain. Besides be-ing the universal sym-bol of Rio de Janeiro,it has everything todo with the theme. Inthe process of creationI first put the conceptwhich must be trans-mitted. It should havethe figure of Jesus,the figure of the dis-ciple and maybe somereference to nations.These three wordswould be essential ifthey could be trans-mitted graphically.Christ the Redeemerrepresents Christ, thedisciple is representedby the heart, for thedisciple is one whocarries Jesus in hisheart, and the nationsare represented bythe forms that recallRio de Janeiro, thecity which at that mo-ment will be the heartof the world for theyouth and which willwelcome them, in ref-erence to the moun-tain and the sea,” Hu-guenin explained.The logo is heart-shaped with a depictionof the Christ the Re-deemer statue in yellowin the middle. The upperhalf of the heart is green,with a small white crosson the left, and the bot-tom half is blue.
WYD 2013 will be
held in Rio from July 23
to 28, 2013.
US Bishops uncertain about Obama’s newcontraception policy
WASHINGTON D.C., Feb. 10, 2012—
The U.S. bishops are hesitant to predictthe effects of an ambiguous new policyannounced by the Obama administra-tion on its controversial contraceptionmandate.“While there may be an openness torespond to some of our concerns, wereserve judgment on the details untilwe have them,” said Cardinal-designateTimothy M. Dolan of New York, presi-dent of U.S. bishops’ conference.He noted the “remarkable unity” withwhich Americans have united in recent
weeks to ght “the erosion of religious
freedom and governmental intrusioninto issues of faith and morals” andcalled for continued efforts to ensurethat religious liberty is protected.
On Feb. 10, President Barack Obama
announced a new policy that requiresmany religious employers to contractwith health insurance companies thatprovide contraception free of charge.Under the new policy, religiousemployers will not have to directlypurchase contraceptives, but will berequired to pay for health care plansfrom insurance companies that offerthem without cost.The policy was announced in responseto the massive outcry against the Obamaadministration’s earlier mandate, which
Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan,president of the U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops, speaks at the fall General Assemblyon Nov. 14.
would require virtually all employersto purchase health insurance plans thatinclude contraception—including earlyabortion drugs—and sterilization at nocost to their employees.In recent weeks, the administrationhas faced widespread protest for refus-ing to expand the mandate’s narrowreligious exemption, which appliesonly to organizations that exist for thepurpose of inculcating religious valuesand that restrict their employment andservices to primarily members of theirown faith.A vast number of Catholic schools,hospitals and charitable organizationswould be excluded from the exemp-tion because they offer their services topeople of all faiths.
Well over 150 bishops from across
the country have spoken out againstthe mandate, along with people fromacross a wide spectrum of political andreligious beliefs who have voiced con-cerns that the government is infringingupon the religious freedom guaranteedby the First Amendment.Obama said that his new policy “ac-commodates religious liberty” becauseit does not require religious employersto directly pay for products that theybelieve to be immoral.However, a statement on the bish-ops' conference website alongside thecardinal-designate's remarks indicatedthat it is not yet clear whether the newpolicy addresses the central concernsof religious freedom. It suggested thatlegislation is still necessary in order tosecure religious liberty for all.While Cardinal-designate Dolan be-lieves that the new policy may be the
“rst step in the right direction,” he
continued to express concerns.“We hope to work with the Admin-istration to guarantee that Americans’consciences and our religious freedomare not harmed by these regulations,”he said.
Religious leaders, academics rebuff Obama’s contraception policy change
WASHINGTON D.C., Feb. 14,
2012—Over 200 college presi
-dents, academics, religious lead-ers and journalists have signed aletter that denounces PresidentObama’s “accommodation” tothe contraception mandate forfailing to “remove the assault onreligious liberty.”“It is an insult to the intelli-gence of Catholics, Protestants,Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other peopleof faith and conscience to imaginethat they will accept an assault ontheir religious liberty if only it iscovered up by a cheap accountingtrick,” the letter states.Its signatories include Arch-bishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville,Archbishop Charles Chaputof Philadelphia, SouthwesternBaptist Theological Seminarypresident Dr. Paige Patterson,Catholic University of Americapresident John Garvey, RabbiDavid Novak of the University
of Toronto, and 207 other profes
-sors, scholars, journalists andreligious leaders.The list of signers includes asubstantial number of represen-tatives from the University ofNotre Dame, but not the univer-sity’s president, Fr. John Jenkins,C.S.C.Titled “Unacceptable,” the let-ter was released Feb. 14 on thewebsite of the Becket Fund forReligious Freedom, in response to
President Obama’s Feb. 10 change
to the contraception mandate. TheObama administration’s regula-tion will now require all insurancecompanies to cover contraception,sterilization and some abortion-causing drugs, without charge.Although President Obama’srevision was panned as a “com-promise,” the signers of the letterrejected that description becausethe new rule “still coerces reli-gious institutions and individualsto purchase insurance policiesthat include the very same ser-vices” they objected to before.“It is no answer to respondthat the religious employers arenot ‘paying’ for this aspect ofthe insurance coverage. For onething, it is unrealistic to suggestthat insurance companies will notpass the costs of these additionalservices on to the purchasers,” theletter states.It is a morally weak argu-ment, the signers say, to assertthat it is different for the insur-ance company to explain to anemployee that she is “entitled to
the embryo-destroying ‘ve day
after pill,’” than for the religiousemployer to do so.“It does not matter who ex-plains the terms of the policypurchased by the religiously af-
liated or observant employer.
What matters is what services thepolicy covers.”The letter closes by observingthat since the new policy con-tains the same narrow religious
exemption as the rst version
of the mandate, the Obamaadministration “has effectivelyadmitted that the new policy …amounts to a grave infringementon religious liberty.”They also joined in prayer forthe success of Pope BenedictXVI’s visit to Mexico and CubaMarch 23-28, “that it may be atime of spiritual renewal for thesesister nation and for the Churchin Latin America.”
Spanish bishops denounce TV censorship of religion ad
BILBOA, Spain, Feb. 9, 2012—Catholic
bishops in the Spanish dioceses of Bilbao,San Sebastian and Vitoria criticized thepublic television station EITB for pulling anad that promoted religion classes in publicschools.Church leaders called the move “a viola-tion of fundamental rights such as freedomof expression and religious freedom” afterthe station said the the public service an-nouncement was “incompatible” with theiradvertising policies.In a statement sent to CNA on Feb. 7, thebishops said the two ads (one in Spanish andthe other in Basque) were sent to the station,which were slightly edited and then airedtwo days later.They were soon pulled off the air, howev-er, and despite complaints from the bishops,
the station has reafrmed its decision.The bishops said the ad removal reected
“a secular outlook that sees religion as some-thing to be excluded from social life” whichis “unsuitable for a public institution at theservice of all.”The ads featured two mothers discussingthe importance of religious education fortheir children and encouraged parents to signtheir children up for religious classes.Religious instruction in public schoolsin Spain is optional, and parents must signtheir children up in order for them to at-tend.
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JAKARTA, Indonesia, Feb. 8,
have organized an outreachprogramme to prevent famineon East Sumba Island, East NusaTenggara province, where cropsfailed in September threateningfood supplies.With the lives of hundredsof local villagers at risk, theChurch appealed for “A bowl ofrice” for East Sumba as a showof solidarity. Members of theKelompok Bakti Kasih Kemanu-siaan (KBKK), a lay humanitariangroup led by German dermatolo-gist Irene Setiadi, were among the
rst to give a positive response.
Speaking to his congregation,Msgr. Hilarius Moa Nurak, bish-op of Pangkal Pinang on BangkaIsland, off the main island ofSumatra, said, “It is time to showuniversal solidarity” among In-donesians.Diocesan priest Fr. Hans Je-hartu Pr issued the same appealusing the KBKK mailing lists andreceived a positive response.Catholics in West Sumba alsoorganized “A bowl of rice” fundraising with the enthusiastic helpof activists in Jakarta who madedonations.After starting low key, thecampaign took off. About US$
2,000 were raised in a few days.
Catholics also collected rice,which is the main staple in thelocal diet.“It is not necessary to collecthuge amounts of rice,” IreneSetiadi said. What counts “is toshow our compassion” and keepat it every day. She hopes thateach Catholic family will be able
to collect at least ve kilos in 30
days. That should come to some
60,000 Indonesian rupee worth
of rice.In addition to working for therice collection campaign, theCatholic group KBKK is cooperat-ing with the Diocese of Manado(pictured) to provide pastoralservices and medical care in theremotest areas of North SulawesiProvince.Thirty-three people from eightdioceses, including Padang inWest Sumatra, took part in themission in Manado.The local bishop, Msgr. YosSuwatan, thanked KBKK volun-teers during the Mass celebratingthe 25 years of priesthood of Fr.Terry Ponomban Pr’s, one of theKBKK’s founders.
Catholics raise funds, collect food for East Sumba villages at risk for famine