Today (07.10.07)

Today in the Diocese 

Spiritual Companioning Workshop, Christ The King Retreat Center, San Angelo, thru Friday.

Heart of Mercy Prayer Group, Christ the King Retreat Center, San Angelo


Rev. Emil J. Gerlich (1969)

Today’s Readings

2 Corinthians 4:6-11, 16, 17
Psalm 59:2, 10, 17-18
Matthew 16:24-27

Today’s Headlines from Catholic News Service


U.S. bishops say pope affirming importance of Mass in both its forms

WASHINGTON (CNS) — U.S. church leaders cautioned against what one called “early and false conclusions” about Pope Benedict XVI’s July 7 document expanding the use of the Tridentine Mass and said it should be seen primarily as an affirmation of the importance of reverential participation in the Mass, whether in its ordinary or extraordinary form. Cardinal Adam J. Maida of Detroit said the apostolic letter “Summorum Pontificum” showed the pope’s “pastoral care for those members of the faithful who desire to worship God” with the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly known as the Tridentine rite. But he said Pope Benedict’s decision to allow priests to celebrate the earlier form of the Mass without their bishop’s prior permission should not be seen “as calling into question the abiding significance of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council” but as a continuation of Pope John Paul II’s efforts to reach out “to those who felt alienated from the church because of the exclusive use of the postconciliar ritual.” Bishop David A. Zubik of Green Bay, Wis., said in separate letters to priests and the faithful in the diocese July 7 that they must “be careful not to arrive at early and false conclusions” about the apostolic letter. “Most importantly, I wish to state emphatically that the Mass is not changing,” he wrote in both letters.

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Camp provides comforting atmosphere for ‘other-abled’ adults

ROLLING PRAIRIE, Ind. (CNS) — For the 150 “other-abled” adults who attend Camp Sharing Meadows in Rolling Prairie, the summer camp experience is a grace-filled time of activity, discussion, new experiences, laughter and love. Tucked away in a quiet corner of a rural northwest Indiana community, the Christian camp was founded more than 30 years ago through the efforts of Father Dennis Blaney, a now-retired priest of the Gary Diocese. The former director of the diocesan apostolate for the handicapped, Father Blaney recognized a growing need. In those early years, the concept of small-group homes was just getting established and parents were still reluctant to allow others to care for their developmentally disabled children growing into adulthood. According to Father Blaney, something was missing. “They didn’t have the opportunity to establish and grow in community with their peers,” he told the Northwest Indiana Catholic, Gary’s diocesan newspaper.

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Bush praised for pressing human rights during Vietnam leader’s visit

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Members of Congress and Vietnamese community leaders said they were generally pleased with President George W. Bush’s push for human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam during his recent meeting with President Nguyen Minh Triet in Washington. Critics of Triet point to his country’s crackdown on religious freedom, imprisoning dozens of the country’s religious leaders, including a Catholic priest. Triet met with President Bush June 22. It was the first time the president of Vietnam had visited Washington since the end of the Vietnam War. The two leaders discussed strengthening economic ties between the U.S. and Vietnam, which could give the Vietnamese more access to the U.S. market. They signed a new agreement that could lead to formal free-trade talks. “The president … I believe was faithful at raising (human rights) to the highest level,” U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., told Catholic News Service several days after the president’s meeting with Triet.

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Pope relaxes restrictions on use of Tridentine Mass

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a long-awaited overture to disaffected Catholic traditionalists, Pope Benedict XVI relaxed restrictions on the use of the Tridentine Mass, the Latin-language liturgy that predates the Second Vatican Council. The pope said Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly known as the Tridentine rite, should be made available in every parish where groups of the faithful desire it. He said that while the new Roman Missal, introduced in 1970, remains the ordinary way of Catholic worship, the 1962 missal should be considered “the extraordinary expression of the same law of prayer.” “They are, in fact, two usages of the one Roman rite,” he said. The pope’s directive came July 7 in a four-page apostolic letter titled “Summorum Pontificum.” The new norms will take effect Sept. 14, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. An accompanying explanatory letter from the pontiff to the world’s bishops dismissed fears that the decree would foment divisions in the church or be seen as a retreat from Vatican II. The pope said the new Mass rite undoubtedly would remain the church’s predominant form of worship.

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Traditionalists: Differences still remain after Tridentine document

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The traditionalist Society of St. Pius X thanked Pope Benedict XVI for allowing greater use of the Tridentine Mass but said serious doctrinal differences remain before it can reconcile with the Vatican. In a statement July 7, excommunicated Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the Swiss-based society, said the papal decision had created a “favorable climate” to consider the doctrinal issues more calmly. “The Society of St. Pius X rejoices to see the church thus regain her liturgical tradition and give the possibility of a free access to the treasure of the traditional Mass for the glory of God, the good of the church and the salvation of souls, to the priests and faithful who had so far been deprived of it,” the statement said. The society expressed “its deep gratitude to the sovereign pontiff for this great spiritual benefit.” The statement went on to say that the Vatican should withdraw excommunication decrees against the society’s leadership to allow further progress in their dialogue.

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ADL head calls pope’s Tridentine Mass letter a ‘theological setback’

ROME (CNS) — Meeting Vatican officials two days before the publication of Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter liberalizing use of the Tridentine Mass, the head of the Anti-Defamation League said he was assured that use of the old Mass would be limited and not offensive to Jews. But after seeing the text, Abraham Foxman, U.S. director of the ADL, issued a statement July 6, the day before the letter was published, calling it “a theological setback in the religious life of Catholics and a body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations.” In an interview with Catholic News Service in Rome, Foxman said, “I thought I had been heard, but I guess not.” Foxman said the fact that the phrase “perfidious Jews” was removed from the Good Friday liturgy by Pope John XXIII in 1959 and, therefore, does not appear in the 1962 text authorized by Pope Benedict is a good thing. But the 1962 Good Friday liturgy does include a prayer for the conversion of the Jews, asking God to remove “the veil from their hearts” and help them overcome their “blindness.”

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Colombian bishops criticize guerrillas after killing of deputies

BOGOTA, Colombia (CNS) — Amid a national wave of revulsion against the nation’s leftist guerrillas and the practice of kidnapping, church leaders have been uncharacteristically critical of the guerrillas. “The insurgents can no longer continue ridiculing the country,” Bogota Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Saenz said during the Colombian bishops’ annual meeting in early July. In late June, the bishops and other Colombians learned that 11 of a group of 12 regional deputies kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia had been killed in captivity. “The FARC cannot wash their hands of this and must assume their responsibility,” said Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez of Barranquilla, using the Spanish acronym by which the guerrilla group is known. In a statement on the Internet June 28, the guerrillas said that the deputies, kidnapped in 2002, were killed June 18 by crossfire during an attack on a rebel camp. But the government denied that any major battles or rescue attempts had taken place during that time.

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Vatican: Pope not taking church backward with Tridentine decree

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI is not taking the church backward with his decree on wider use of the Tridentine Mass, the Vatican’s spokesman said. The spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said the papal document, released July 7, was a reconciliatory gesture to “a relatively small number of people” attached to the old liturgy. Although the Tridentine rite predates the Second Vatican Council, the pope’s move should not be seen as undermining the council or liturgical reform, the Vatican spokesman said in a statement released with the document. “It does not impose any return to the past. It does not want any weakening of the authority of the council or the authority and responsibility of bishops,” Father Lombardi said. The spokesman said the pope’s commitment to the new liturgy is clear in the simple fact that he celebrates it regularly and willingly and has spoken eloquently about its richness.

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European bishops: Pope’s letter promotes unity, reaffirms Vatican II

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Presenting Pope Benedict XVI’s letter on the Tridentine Mass, bishops in Europe stressed the pope’s hope to promote greater unity within the church and his insistence that those attached to the old Mass also must recognize the legitimacy of the new Mass. “In the pope’s decision there are no winners or losers,” said Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, president of the French bishops’ conference. “He wants to support reconciliation among Catholics and to reconcile the church with its liturgical past.” Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel, president of the Swiss bishops’ conference, said the wider permission to use the Tridentine liturgy was being extended to “Catholics who recognize the Second Vatican Council and are in unity with the pope and the bishops.” Bishops in France, Switzerland, England and Wales, Italy and Scotland also said they did not expect there to be much of an increase in the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, because it already is celebrated weekly in their dioceses and because most parish priests would not know how to celebrate it.

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Venezuelan bishops restart war of words with country’s president

CARACAS, Venezuela (CNS) — Venezuela’s bishops have restarted a war of words with President Hugo Chavez by saying that Venezuela is sliding toward a dictatorship. Calling Chavez’s self-proclaimed socialist revolution “autocratic and militaristic,” Archbishop Roberto Luckert Leon of Coro, vice president of the bishops’ conference, expressed concern over the government’s process of constitutional reform. He said the process, in which reform proposals are drafted by a committee appointed by the president, was being carried out “behind the nation’s back.” Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo of Merida criticized the government, saying, “The socialism which they want to impose upon us is the Cuban regime, with everything that means for the rupture of human rights and for the freedom of people.” Catholic leaders repeatedly have described Chavez’s government as authoritarian and alleged that it is weakening the nation’s democratic structures and violating human rights. In late January, the National Assembly granted Chavez the power to rule the country by decree for 18 months.

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Lucky sevens: Retired cardinal, now 77, reflects on retirement

WASHINGTON (CNS) — To the world, the number seven is lucky. In Catholic tradition, the number seven has been special since God created the world and rested on the seventh day, and the Catholic Church has seven sacraments and seven spiritual and corporal works of mercy. And to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, the number seven is especially memorable, as he turned 77 on July 7, 2007 — 77 on 7/7/07. “It’s extraordinary,” he said of the numerical coincidence marking his birthday. “I’ve been saying to people, ‘Play that number!'” On a more serious note, he commented, “I’m grateful to God that I made it.” Cardinal McCarrick marked his 30th anniversary as a bishop June 29. He was an auxiliary bishop of New York, and later served as the founding bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., and as the archbishop of Newark before being installed as Washington’s archbishop in 2001 and retiring last year.

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Pope prays people might find time to rest, pray, enjoy the outdoors

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Calling vacation time “a gift of God,” Pope Benedict XVI prayed that everyone might find time in the summer to rest, pray and enjoy the outdoors. Reciting the Angelus July 8 with visitors in St. Peter’s Square, the pope explained that he would spend July 9-27 in a church-owned villa in Lorenzago di Cadore, a small Alpine town in northeastern Italy. “The mountain air will do me good, and I can dedicate myself more freely to reflection and prayer,” the pope told the crowd. “I hope everyone — especially those who feel a greater need — can take a bit of vacation to fortify their physical and spiritual energies and recover a healthy contact with nature,” he said. Pope Benedict said mountain vacations have a special meaning to him because a mountain “evokes the ascent of one’s spirit” toward God, which, “unfortunately, daily life tends to drag down.”

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Cafe’s patrons pay what they think meal is worth or work to pay tab

DENVER (CNS) — If Jesus opened a restaurant, it might resemble Denver’s 8-month-old SAME Cafe — a priceless joint where all the food is made from scratch and anyone’s welcome to eat regardless of ability to pay. SAME stands for “So All May Eat.” But it’s not a soup kitchen, by any stretch. With organic menu items such as “garlic and feta” or “eggplant and roasted red pepper” pizza, the menu leaves no yuppies behind. Yet neither the rich nor the poor see a price attached to anything. Instead, all customers see a donation box on the counter. They are asked to consider what the meal was worth and to pay what they can. Those who cannot pay are asked to consider busing tables after dining, or helping in some other way. Sometimes, families with children are found washing dishes after a classy restaurant meal the parents normally couldn’t afford. Brad and Libby Birky, who opened the cafe last fall, have no system for policing their “pay-at-will or volunteer” system.

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Texas 10-year-old sells candles to help tornado-ravaged Kansas town

ATHENS, Texas (CNS) — Rebecca Bowles might be going door to door in Texas but she’s selling candles for Kansas — Greensburg, Kan., to be precise, a town all but wiped off the map by a May 4 tornado. Rebecca, 10, is a parishioner at Mary, Queen of Heaven in Malakoff whose desire to do something for victims of the storm was sparked when she heard her pastor, Father Anthony McLaughlin, talk about the disaster in a homily. “I just wanted to help all those people,” said Rebecca, a student at St. Gregory Catholic School in Tyler. “I want them to be able to rebuild their town the way it used to be.” Greensburg, a town of about 1,500 people, has a lot of rebuilding to do. Reports estimate that about 95 percent of the town was destroyed, including St. Joseph Church, which had only a memorial bell and a statue of St. Joseph in the exterior niche of a wall that was left standing. “I’d be pretty devastated if something like that happened here,” Rebecca told Catholic East Texas, the newspaper of the Tyler Diocese.


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