Ask a Question
The Church Around the World
Homosexuality: no change to teaching
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York recently appeared on NBC's Today show to discuss Pope Francis' comments on "gay priests".
"What the Pope is saying is, don't forget there's another element to God's teaching, namely that we treat everybody with dignity and respect, that we don't judge their heart, that we love and respect them," said Cardinal Dolan.
"[In] no way could this be interpreted as a change in Church doctrine or the Church's faith and morals," he continued. "It is a change in tone."
"Homosexual people deserve love respect and dignity, while homosexual acts are immoral," Cardinal Dolan added.
"The Church's teaching, which is based on the Bible and God's revelation, is that sexual love is reserved only between a man and woman in the lifelong, life-giving relationship of marriage, and any relations outside of that, hetero or homo, would be less than God's intention."
Catholic World News
Encyclical bridges pontificates
The director of L'Osservatore Ro mano, Giovanni Maria Vian, said Pope Francis' encyclical Lumen Fidei could be considered a "bridge" between two successors of St Peter.
In an editorial published on 6 July, Vian said, "The image of a bridge perhaps best represents the encyclical Lumen Fidei as an extraordinary text uniting the pontificates of Benedict XVI and his successor Francis."
He said that it "is not a coincidence" that the release of the encyclical, "in and of itself already quite out of the ordinary, was preceded a few hours earlier by the presentation of the document and later the historic announcement of the canonisation of John XXIII and John Paul II."
The encounter between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI was a visible expression of the fraternity between the Bishop of Rome and his predecessor, he added.
"This is the immediate and profound context one should consider when reading and understanding this encyclical," Vian said, quoting the words of Pope Francis during the Angelus on 30 June:
"Pope Benedict XVI has given us a great example in this sense," the Holy Father said at that event. "When the Lord had made it clear, in prayer, what was the step he had to take, he followed, with a great sense of discernment and courage, his conscience, that is, the will of God that spoke to his heart and this example of our father does much good to all of us, as an example to follow."
"The continuity in diversity of the succession in the Roman Chair is the background for the document stamped with the date of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul," Vian emphasised.
For those who wish to read it, he said, the encyclical is a chance to rediscover in the faith "the lamp that guides our steps in the night."
Catholic News Agency
Russian President Putin praises Church's role
Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised the growth of co-operation between the Orthodox Churches and the Russian state, stating that the Church was giving Russians a moral compass when so many were looking for help.
The Russian Federation recently passed legislation making it illegal to promote homosexuality as normal, a move that, while condemned by many European leaders, was strongly supported by the Orthodox Church.
"Today when people are once again searching for moral support, millions of our compatriots see it in religion," Putin said at a meeting to commemorate the 1025th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity by the Kievan Rus in 988.
He added that the Church was ultimately responsible for the development and rise of "culture and education" in Russia over the last 1000 years.
"The adoption of Christianity became a turning point in the fate of our fatherland, made it an inseparable part of Christian civilisation and helped it turn into one of the largest world powers," Putin said.
Expanded role for Anglican Ordinariate
Demonstrating the role of Anglican Ordinariates in the New Evangelisation, baptised Catholics can now join the groups set up for Anglican converts, according to a change in rules made by Pope Francis.
Those who were baptised Catholic but have not received confirmation and made their first communion are now allowed to join the Ordinariates. Previously, baptised Catholics were not eligible to join the groups unless they had family who were ex-Anglicans.
"This confirms the place of the Personal Ordinariates within the mission of the wider Catholic Church, not simply as a jurisdiction for those from the Anglican tradition, but as a contributor to the urgent work of the New Evangelisation," the United Kingdom's Ordinariate announced.
Benedict XVI allowed for the Ordinariates to be set up with his 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, which provided for Anglican communities wishing to enter into the Catholic Church.
His "complementary norms" governing the groups said that "those baptised previously as Catholics outside the Ordinariate are not ordinarily eligible for membership, unless they are members of a family belonging to the Ordinariate."
Pope Francis has now modified the complementary norms, adding a section which says that "a person who has been baptised in the Catholic Church but who has not completed the Sacraments of Initiation, and subsequently returns to the faith and practice of the Church as a result of the evangelising mission of the Ordinariate, may be admitted to membership in the Ordinariate and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation or the Sacrament of the Eucharist or both."
It was emphasised that Catholics must meet the objective criterion lacking at least one of the Sacraments of Initiation to join the groups for former Anglicans, and they may not join "for purely subjective motives or personal preference," according to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In addition to the UK's Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, there are also Ordinariates in North America and Australia.
"I certainly welcome this development, which further establishes our place in the work of the New Evangelisation," said Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Chair of Saint Peter, in North America.
"Particularly in North America, with large percentages of 'unchurched' peoples, it is inevitable that we will encounter those who have no formal ecclesial relationships but who are seekers of truth," he added in his statement.
"The Great Commission thus becomes more and more the heart of our work."
Catholic News Agency
Nigeria: "open season" on Christians
Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria said that "it is open season on Nigeria's Christians."
Ayo Oritsejafor, a Protestant pastor, said that the Islamist organisation Boko Haram is now targeting schools as well as churches, according to reports by the Israeli media network Arutz Sheva and, an evangelical publication.
Oritsejafor urged the US State Department to designate Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organisation.
Its name literally means "Western education is sinful".
The British Home Office has banned it from operating in the UK, and the US State Department has offered a $US7 million reward for the capture of Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau.
Catholic World News
Catholics "like Israel in Egypt"
In a message to his diocese, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, who was consecrated in 2012, said that the recent legislative passage of same-sex "marriage" in England and Wales is "the inevitable outcome of a process that has been gathering pace since the sexual revolutions of the 1960s," particularly artificial contraception, "which split [the] two ends of sexual intercourse, separating the unitive and suppressing the procreative aspect."
"In the revised understanding of sexual intercourse and family life, powerful lobby groups have enabled homosexual relationships to become socially acceptable, and so the Government's attempt to extend marriage to same-sex couples – and in time, presumably, to other combinations and partnerships – is an inevitable development.
"As Catholics, like Israel in Egypt, we now find ourselves in an alien land that speaks a foreign language with unfamiliar customs.
"Parliament's Orwellian attempt to redefine marriage radically changes the social context and this presents a massive challenge to the Church in England and Wales: to those who wish to marry in our churches, to Catholic parents bringing up children, to teachers in our Catholic schools, and to the clergy engaged in pastoral ministry. It may also be a legal minefield, although we will have to wait before the full implications of the new legislation take effect."
Catholic World News
"Forgotten history" of Cristero uprising
The story of the persecution of Mexican Catholics in the 1920s is being told anew, in an English translation of a book by a scholar of Mexican culture and history.
"This was a period of enormous suffering and loss of life, as the government of Mexico in the 1920s sought to all but extinguish the faith that was fervently practised and loved by the people," said Joseph Cullen of the Knights of Columbus.
"Mexican President Plutarco Calles' violent crackdown killed many, and many more fled north."
The English-language edition of Jean Meyer's La Cristiada: The Mexican People's War for Religious Liberty was commissioned by the Knights of Columbus. Its author, a French-born historian, has taught at the Sorbonne and at El Colegio de Mexico.
The book tells the story of the Cristiada, the Cristero rebellion and uprising that lasted for three years. In the mid-1920s, a government crackdown severely restricted the freedom of the Catholic Church in Mexico, with laws banning public displays of religion and leading to the expulsion of foreign priests.
The persecution included the summary execution of many clergy and lay Catholics. Several Knights of Columbus were martyred, including six priests who were later canonised.
The violent crackdown led to further persecution, and provoked an uprising that grew into a civil war.
Cullen called Meyer's book "a fascinating piece of forgotten history," adding that many don't know more about the story because the "deep divisions" it caused in Mexico meant Mexicans did not discuss it openly for many years.
"However, in recent decades, as the Mexican government has at last rescinded many of the anti-clerical laws from this period, the story is once again coming to light."
The Cristero uprising was the subject of the 2012 movie For Greater Glory, which starred Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria and Peter O'Toole.
Catholic News Agency
Coptic Catholic bishop on political Islam
Western analysts "have overestimated the real roots of political Islam in the Egyptian people," an Egyptian prelate has told the Fides news service.
Bishop Kamal Fahim Awad Hanna of Minya cited the US ambassador to Egypt in particular as someone who had reported that the Muslim Brotherhood was the only political force with broad public support. That report is inaccurate, the Coptic Catholic bishop said. He argued that the Muslim Brotherhood won the last election "only because the people would not vote [for] the leaders of the old regime."
While Western observers overemphasise the public appeal of Islam, Bishop Hanna said, Muslim leaders have been "resorting to the theory of Christian conspiracy" to explain the fall of the government led by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Egyptian bishop saw this conspiracy theory as particularly sinister because it is being exploited to incite violence against the Christian minority. By claiming that Christians engineered their ouster from power, Islamic leaders "justify the terrorist attacks being prepared against them."
Catholic World News
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 26 No 8 (September 2013), p. 4
|AD2000 Home | Article Index | Bookstore | About Us | Subscribe | Contact Us | Links
Page design and automation by
Umbria Associates Pty Ltd © 2001-2004