Mother Teresa to be beatified
Postulator of her cause interviewed
A recent edition of the US weekly, National Catholic Register, has published an interview with the postulator of Mother Teresa's cause, Fr Brian Kolodiejchuk, a Missionary of Charity priest. Mother Teresa is due to be beatified by Pope John Paul II on 19 October 2003.
Fr Kolodiejchuk said Mother Teresa kept her interior life private, her concern always being that everything she did was God's work. She would always say that to anyone who spoke of her success: "It's God's work." Her main message, he said, was a reminder of how much God loves human beings, expressed in those key words from the cross: "I thirst." Thirst gives an idea of how intense is the desire of God for souls.
As the sisters began to expand in the West and Mother Teresa had to travel, she realised that the greater poverty is to be unloved, unwanted, rejected and lonely - all of which is very common in the West.
Mother Teresa's spiritual life was already well advanced by the time of her inspiration to found the Missionaries of Charity in 1946. Evidence of this was the private vow she made in 1942 not to refuse God anything. These and other aspects of her spirituality were evident in the letters she wrote to her spiritual directors over a long period of time.
Fr Kolodiejchuk said the present-day appeal of Mother Teresa was due to the fact that the work of her sisters is concrete, visible, direct and immediate, aimed at helping a specific person here and now, not about changing social structures. "That is very necessary, yet Mother was concerned about caring for this person in his need, right now."
Mother Teresa, he said, can be readily imitated because the work she did was so ordinary - to clean this person, to feed that person. She used to say: "Calcutta is everywhere." Beginning in our own families, who is it that needs attention, that needs love?
Like St Thérèse's "Little Way," what Mother Teresa did was ordinary, but as she liked to say, "Ordinary things done with extraordinary love."
New US Catholic university
Legion of Christ to be involved
Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento announced in January that the Legion of Christ has accepted his invitation to develop a private, four-year Catholic university.
"This is wonderful news for everyone in the greater Sacramento area, but especially for the more than 500,000 Catholics who live within the Diocese of Sacramento," said Bishop Weigand. "A Catholic university has been long needed in the diocese."
The University of Sacramento, as the school will be called, will be an independent institution of higher learning operated by the Legion. An opening date is still to be announced.
The Legion operates 11 universities in Mexico, Spain, Chile and Italy, and a graduate school of psychology in Virginia.
"We are very pleased to receive the formal invitation and approval of Bishop Weigand," said Father Anthony Bannon, territorial director of the Legion in the United States. "This will be our first university within the United States, and Sacramento has been our preferred location for nearly two years."
Zenit News Service
Church warns against a "divorce mentality"
The Pontifical Council for the Family warned in a document released last November against a "divorce mentality", noting that "the precariousness of the conjugal bond is one of the characteristics of the contemporary world."
The document referred to the most important issues addressed during the last plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, held from 17-19 October, which focused on "Family Pastoral Care and Couples in Difficulty."
The council attributed the difficult marriage situation to the increasingly secularised world, family financial difficulties, a "false idea of freedom, [a] fear of commitment, the practice of living together and the 'trivialisation of sex'."
Today's culture, it said, promoted "lifestyles, fashions, entertainment" which cause doubt about the "value of marriage" and "propagate the idea that the reciprocal gift of spouses until death is something impossible."
Today, the family institution is "disqualified," in favour of "other pseudo-family 'models'," which even find legal expression in some states, including homosexual unions that ask for the right to adopt children.
Zenit News Service
"Dallas Norms" on clergy abuse approved
Canonical rights of accused priests better safeguarded
The Vatican has granted formal approval to the US bishops' revised norms for the treatment of sex-abuse cases.
The "recognitio" from the Holy See came in the form of a letter from Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, to Bishop Wilton Gregory, the President of the US bishops' conference. The letter was dated 8 December, but not released by the Vatican until 16 December.
The approval was expected, since the American bishops had revised their original sex-abuse policy to bring it into line with suggestions from the Holy See. At their November 2002 meeting, the US bishops approved a revised set of canonical norms that included stronger protection for the rights of accused priests, a more specific definition of sexual abuse, and a clear statement that the new policy would be interpreted according to existing provisions of the Code of Canon Law.
In his letter, Cardinal Re expressed "renewed and sincere appreciation" for the US bishops' effort to relieve the "distressing situation caused by such aberrant crimes." He said that the "Dallas norms" - having been amended at Rome's request, to ensure that they accord with the Code of Canon Law - now should "give effective protection to minors and establish a rigorous and precise procedure to punish in a just way those who are guilty of such abominable offences."
The cardinal's letter, written in English, once again called attention to the fact that the Church recognised the crime of sexual abuse long before the current crisis. "The universal law of the Church has always recognised this crime as one of the most serious offenses which sacred ministers can commit, and has determined that they be punished with the most severe penalties."
Catholic World News
Holy See responds to cloning claims
"Expression of a brutal mentality"
The reported birth of the first cloned baby was in itself an "expression of a brutal mentality, devoid of any ethical or human consideration," said Joaqu’n Navarro-Valls, Director of the Vatican Press Office, on 29 December. He added: "The announcement, without any evidence, has already caused scepticism and the moral condemnation of a great part of the international scientific community."
Brigitte Boisselier, scientific director of the cloning company Clonaid and "bishop" of the Raelian sect, claimed during a press conference in Orlando, Florida, that the baby "Eve" was delivered on 26 December by Caesarean section.
Las Vegas, Nevada-based Clonaid was founded in 1997 by a French racing car driver who changed his name to Rael and launched the Raelian sect, which believes that life on earth was created by extraterrestrial scientists.
According to the announcement, which has not convinced the scientific community, the baby girl is a clone of a 31-year-old who cannot have children with her husband. The Raelians said that four other cloned babies are due within 30 days.
Verification of the cloning has been entrusted by Clonaid to a team of scientists, whose names have not been disclosed. They are coordinated by Michael Guillen, former science correspondent of ABC-TV's Good Morning America. The Vatican's Bishop Sgreccia described the announcement as a "crime against humanity, because it imposes an enslavement, the transformation of a human individual into an object of play and of fantastic productivity."
"There must," he said, "be a limit beyond which one cannot go. It is not a limit of an ideological-cultural character: it is a limit of humanity. I think that in legislative bodies, both national as well as international, ranging from the European Union to the UN, there is a clear and effective initiative and position."
Domenico Di Virgilio, President of the Italian Association of Catholic Doctors, warned against the procedure of cloning, which to date has shown serious problems in mammals.
There were 272 attempts made before Dolly the sheep was produced, something that "expresses the technical difficulty." This animal, at three years of age, showed the ageing signs of a 14-year-old.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration, which approves all experimentation for medical purposes, initiated an investigation following Boisselier's announcement. Countries such as Great Britain, Germany, Israel and Japan already have laws banning the duplication of human beings.
Zenit News Service
New independent Catholic school for Perth
Marian College to be directly accountable to Archbishop Hickey
A new, independent Catholic school for both primary and secondary students in Perth (WA), to be called Marian College, is in the planning stages. It is intended to be thoroughly orthodox and accountable directly to Perth's Archbishop Barry Hickey.
It is a project of members of the Cathedral Branch of the Knights of the Southern Cross in Perth, who will constitute the future School board.
Their initiative in the field of Catholic education was prompted by the small percentage of Catholic students who practise the Faith after leaving school. Many members of the (Cathedral) Knights of the Southern Cross have children or grandchildren of school age and have been concerned about the standard of religious education in some Catholic schools.
The proposed Marian College will receive Catholic children whose families wish to keep them Catholic during and after their school years. A set of criteria will be put in place to choose the right teachers, who will work with the Cathedral Knights towards both religious and academic excellence.
A no-nonsense approach is to be adopted, including zero tolerance to drugs, bullying and disrespectful misbehaviour. To this will be added a positive presentation of Catholic doctrinal and moral teachings. Among the resources to be used will be the Melbourne Archdiocese RE texts.
Homosexuals not to be ordained
Vatican statement confirms Church's position
A leading Vatican official has confirmed the Church's position that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained.
In a letter dated 16 May 2002, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez - at the time the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship - said: "Ordination to the diaconate or priesthood of persons with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent, and from a pastoral point of view, extremely risky."
The letter, which was a response to a query from a bishop, was published in the November-December edition of a bulletin published by the Congregation for Divine Worship.
An unidentified bishop (understood to have been American) had written to the Congregation for the Clergy seeking a definitive answer regarding Vatican policy on the ordination of men with homosexual tendencies. That Congregation handed the question over to the Congregation for Divine Worship, prompting Cardinal Medina Estevez's response.
The cardinal's letter indicated he was replying to the query after consulting with other Vatican bodies, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for the Clergy. He had also been guided by previous Vatican statements and taken into account lessons derived from many requests for dispensation from the priesthood.
In 1997, the Congregation for Divine Worship circulated a letter to the world's bishops, proposing some guidelines for the selection of candidates for priestly ordination. Among the required characteristics were "sufficient affective maturity and a clearly masculine sexual identity." The Congregation for Catholic Education is expected to take up the same topic in a document to appear in the near future, for the guidance of seminary rectors.
Catholic World News