Mother Teresa to be beatified
Theme of events to be on the call to holiness
Organisers for the events surrounding the beatification of Mother Teresa have published a provisional program that focuses on the universal call to holiness.
The beatification will take place on 19 October, the same day the Church celebrates the silver anniversary of John Paul II's pontificate, as well as World Missions Sunday.
According to the provisional program, the activities scheduled in Rome to celebrate the beatification will begin on Friday, 17 October, with Masses in various languages in the Basilica of St John Lateran. The theme for the day will be a phrase often repeated by Mother Teresa of Calcutta: "Holiness is not the luxury of a few; it is a simple duty for each one of us."
There will also be a prayer vigil in preparation for World Missions Sunday, organised by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, in Paul VI Hall.
The culminating moment, Mother Teresa's beatification Mass, begins at 10am, Sunday, in St Peter's Square, while at 5:30pm the first viewing will begin of the film Mother Teresa: The Legacy.
Monday, 20 October, will be a day of thanksgiving in honour of Blessed Teresa with Mass to be celebrated at 10am in St Peter's Square. It will be presided over by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes. An audience with John Paul II follows the Mass with all pilgrims invited to attend.
The relics of the new blessed will be exposed for veneration in the Basilica of St John Lateran from 20-22 October.
Zenit News Service
Sant' Egidio Community's strong African role
Young Africans call for spiritual rebirth
At an African Union Summit meeting, held in Maputo, Mozambique, in July, the Sant' Egidio Community presented African leaders with a petition signed by 300,000 young Africans, calling for spiritual rebirth on the continent.
The Sant' Egidio Community, a Catholic movement, sent a delegation of representatives to the Maputo summit meeting to speak with heads of state from most of the countries in Africa. Their petition called for an end to warfare and corruption, and active efforts to curb poverty and AIDS.
The Sant' Egidio Community has gained wide influence in Africa over the years, in part because it has helped to mediate political conflicts, helping to curb violence in Guinea Bissau, Congo, and Burundi. The group is currently engaged in fresh mediation efforts in Ivory Coast and Liberia. Sant' Egidio initiatives have also helped organise humanitarian aid in response to natural disasters in Africa.
Today, Sant' Egidio spokesmen reported, one-third of the group's members are African.
Catholic World News
Australian conference on 'Humanae Vitae'
Overseas and Australian speakers address pro-life, pro-family themes
Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae was published on 25 July 1968. Thirty-five years later, a conference was held in Sydney from 25-27 July under the auspices of Human Life International (Australia).
Explaining the purpose of the conference, Gail Instance, Australia's HLI Secretary, said that "pro-life priests, parents and expert speakers" had been brought together from around the world "to promote this prophetic encyclical throughout Australia."
Prior to the conference proper, a Day for Priests and Religious was held with addresses from HLI President from the US, Fr Tom Euteneuer, Bishop Luc Matthys of Armidale and Dr Peter Scanlon from New Zealand. A panel run by Fr Brendan Lee and Anne Lastman covered the topic "Ministering to those Hurt by Abortion."
Among the many other speakers who gave addresses during the conference or chaired panels were two bishops from Papua New Guinea, an obstetrician (Dr Deirdre Little), solicitor (Michael Baker) and author (Eamonn Keane).
Anti-Catholic bias in US judicial appointments
Archbishop Chaput speaks out on religious discrimination
Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput has charged that leading American politicians - including some self-professed Catholics - are actively discriminating against Catholic candidates for judicial appointments.
In a column published on 30 July in his archdiocesan newspaper, the Denver Catholic Register, Archbishop Chaput cites the hostile questions directed by US Senate panelists toward William Pryor, a devout Catholic who has served as attorney general in Alabama, and whose nomination by the White House has been stalled by left-liberal opponents. During hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Pryor was subjected to intense questioning about his views on abortion and homosexuality.
Archbishop Chaput calls particular attention to the statements of Senator Richard Durbin, a "pro-choice" Catholic, who told Pryor that many good Catholics accept legalised abortion. "This kind of propaganda makes the abortion lobby proud, but it should humiliate any serious Catholic," said the Archbishop.
He noted that Durbin's confrontation with Pryor produced a "bizarre spectacle," in which non-Catholic supporters of the nominee complained that their Senate colleagues - including several Catholics - were discriminating against Pryor because of his religious beliefs. Archbishop Chaput agreed that "a new kind of religious discrimination is very welcome at the Capitol."
He concluded: "The bias against 'papism' is alive and well in America. It just has a different address."
Catholic World News
Same-sex "marriage" rejected
Vatican document sets out Church opposition
The Vatican has issued a document indicating the firm opposition of the Church to legal recognition of same-sex "marriage," and reminding Catholic politicians of their obligation to oppose such measures.
The 10-point document, entitled "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons", was released on 31 July by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The document had already been signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Prefect of that Congregation, and circulated among the world's bishops in June. It was approved by Pope John Paul II on 28 March.
In a short but forceful presentation, the Vatican document rebuts popular arguments in favor of same-sex "marriage" and other forms of legal recognition for homosexuality. In a powerful warning to Catholic politicians, the Vatican states that voting in favor of legislation that recognises homosexual unions would be "gravely immoral."
The document does not present any new theological arguments regarding homosexuality, but advances clear logical arguments against the legal acceptance of same-sex unions. It notes that these arguments are "drawn from reason" rather than revealed truth, and should be accessible to all public figures, whether or not they are Catholic or Christian.
It is clearly aimed at politicians and other public figures, providing them with "rational argumentation" against various initiatives toward same-sex "marriage," and urging them to make their own "clear and emphatic" arguments against such proposals.
The document takes a particularly dim view of government policies that allow homosexual couples to adopt children. The use of artificial means of reproduction, enabling same-sex couples to bear children, does not alter the essential argument here: "Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children." Such policies, it concludes, are "gravely immoral."
Abstinence movement's growing impact
Conference highlights worldwide gains
The seventh annual National Abstinence Clearinghouse Conference was held in Las Vegas in June.
The abstinence movement has grown rapidly in recent years. There are now more than one million US teens and college students registered with True Love Waits, one of several abstinence campaigns.
US Federal Government funding for abstinence programs should reach a record high of about $120 million this year, the Washington Times reported on 24 March.
"Abstinence education is very valuable in promoting a viable alternative to sexual activity" and can reduce the risks of unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease and single parenthood, said US Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican.
A report published in April by the Heritage Foundation provides a wealth of information on the benefits of abstinence. Titled, Abstinence Until Marriage: The Best Message for Teens, it explains the negative consequences of precocious sexual activity.
The importance of a moral element in sex education programs was backed up by a recent study in the United States. According to an April press release by the National Institutes of Health, teens - particularly girls - with strong religious views are less likely to have sex than are less religious teens.
Zenit News Service
Church of England on divorce
Marriage no longer "for life"
The bishops of the Church of England on 30 July declared that "committed relationships" were as good as marriage and that the sanctity of matrimony should be questioned.
Their message came a year after the Church abandoned its blanket opposition to divorce and agreed officially to allow divorcees to wed in church services.
The report from the Doctrine Commission, endorsed by Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, also said divorce could be virtuous and good could come out of marriage break-ups.
It made a series of criticisms of marriage, which it said could shelter abuse and rape, stifle personal development and cut families off from contact with the rest of the world.
"Some of the most painful failures of sexual engagement in our society occur when a relationship that was once the focus of a stable commitment and a source of blessing and fulfilment ceases to be so," the report said.
"An increasing number of people have lived through difficult and painful divorces, to which there sometimes seems no realistic alternative.
"However, even divorce provides a context in which Christian virtues can be exercised, and out of which there can be a return to the joy that God promises."
One of the main authors of the report said divorce could have a "redemptive dimension."
The Anglican paper, "Being Human: A Christian Understanding of Personhood", praised committed relationships rather than marriage as "the right background for sex."
Election of 'gay' Episcopal bishop
Rifts among Anglicans widen further
Acknowledging that sharp disagreements over homosexuality have raised the danger of schism, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US has written to his fellow Anglican leaders, telling them that "maintaining communion is a sacred obligation" despite widening differences on belief.
Bishop Frank Griswold made his statement in response to turmoil created by the election in July of the Rev Gene Robinson to head the Episcopalian diocese of New Hampshire. The bishop-elect is openly homosexual, and has left his wife to live with his male partner. Some conservative Episcopalian groups have said that they will not accept the bishop's authority.
In his message to Anglican leaders in the US and around the world, Bishop Griswold did not acknowledge Robinson's separation from his wife, nor any moral distinction between marital acts and homosexual acts.
Urging disgruntled Episcopalians to overlook their disagreements on key issues, he cited a statement by the House of Bishops Theology Committee: "Our present conclusion is that equally sincere Christians, equally committed to an orthodox understanding of the Faith we share, equally looking to Scripture for guidance on this issue, are deeply divided regarding questions with respect to homosexuality."
Catholic World News