Today (07.11.07)

No diocesan-wide events

Today’s Readings

Genesis 41:55-57; 42:5-7, 17-24
Psalm 33:2-3, 10-11, 18-19
Matthew 10:1-7 

Today’s Headlines from CNS

U.S.

Religious freedom at risk in Asia, North Africa, research shows

WASHINGTON  — The Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom presented its initial findings regarding world trends in religious freedom July 9, ranking countries’ religious intolerance on a scale of one to seven and naming radical Islam as the greatest threat to religious freedom worldwide. The findings are part of the center’s latest book, “Religious Freedom in the World, 2007,” which will be released next year and analyzes 100 countries, focusing on those countries where religious freedom is least protected. Religious freedom rankings were sorted according to geographical regions and also by the prevailing religion present in each country. A score of one was the best, while seven indicated severe religious intolerance. Most countries with the poorest rankings were found in Asia, North Africa and Eastern Europe, while the best-ranked included the United States, Canada and countries in Western Europe. Countries in which the population is predominantly Catholic or Protestant were found to have a high degree of religious freedom, with the exception of a few, including Cuba, Colombia and Zimbabwe.

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Criticism of papal document won’t kill interfaith ties, official says

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The head of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs expressed confidence July 9 that any Catholic-Jewish tensions arising from misunderstandings of Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter on the Tridentine Mass will be overcome by a 40-year history of dialogue. “Our relationships with the Jewish community are deep and abiding, building on the friendships formed over the last 40 years,” said Father James Massa, executive director. “We will be able to overcome any tensions arising from misunderstandings of the ‘motu proprio.'” In the four-page apostolic letter titled “Summorum Pontificum,” issued “motu proprio” (on his own initiative), Pope Benedict relaxed restrictions on the use of the Tridentine Mass, the Latin-language liturgy that predates the Second Vatican Council. He said the Mass from the Roman Missal in use since 1970 would remain the ordinary form of the Mass, while celebration of the Tridentine Mass would be the extraordinary form. That leaves open the possibility of celebrating a Good Friday service from the 1962 Roman Missal that includes a prayer “for the conversion of the Jews,” asking God to “take the veil from their hearts” and free them from “blindness … so that they may acknowledge the light of your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from the darkness.”

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Ohio youth conferences offer fellowship, sacraments to 5,500

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (CNS) — More than 5,500 Catholic teens participated in youth conferences on the campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville during three consecutive weekends in June. They were among the 39,000 teens attending 17 Franciscan University youth conferences being held this summer in nine states and Nova Scotia. At the June 22-24 conference in Steubenville, speaker Mark Hart said he admired the teens who were there because he might not have felt comfortable attending such a conference when he was their age. “I know a lot of you have rough relationships with your parents, but being a dad is tough,” he said. He encouraged the teens to invite the Holy Spirit into their lives “to release the hidden excellence of your hearts.” The conferences included talks, praise and worship, Masses, Holy Hours and opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation.

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Speaker: Home schooling lets parents ‘be fully present’ to children

DENVER (CNS) — Elizabeth Foss, a home educator, author and lecturer, told attendees at a regional home-schooling conference in Denver that she and her husband decided to teach their children at home because they wanted to be with them and “be fully present in their lives.” Foss described the routine of her home as “fluid.” The routine changed as she and her husband added to their family — now numbering eight — but two things remained constant: Both parents were always present at the children’s bedtime and there were always plenty of good books in the home. “These two things have been a guiding parenting principle at all times,” Foss said in her keynote presentation June 22 during the June 21-23 Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educators Conference. Several hundred participants from the Midwest convened to hear presentations on the conference theme, “Teaching the Art of Living,” and to participate in discussions, share their own stories about home schooling, and check out the latest in materials and supplies from more than 50 vendors.

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Pastors who celebrate Tridentine Mass speak about its appeal

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Like sacred music and Michelangelo’s “Pieta” sculpture, the Tridentine Mass is part of the church’s heritage and should be honored rather than defamed, a Chicago priest said. In response to Pope Benedict XVI’s July 7 directive to make the Tridentine Mass more available to the faithful, Father Dennis Kolinski, associate pastor of St. John Cantius in Chicago, said he disagrees with the criticisms of the decision, saying the Mass is part of the church’s liturgical history. Some people have said they think the directive will lead to division in the church. “How can you say something derogatory about something that has cultivated saints for the past 500 years?” said Father Kolinski, who celebrates the Tridentine Mass at his parish and is a priest of the Society of St. John Cantius. He sees the pope’s decision as being a pastoral move to serve the faithful who desire to worship God through this form of the Mass and who find it to be beneficial for growing in their relationship with God. Catholics drawn to the Tridentine Mass, the Latin-language liturgy that predates the Second Vatican Council, are often attracted by its aesthetic beauty as well as its tradition, Catholic News Service learned in interviews with other priests who also celebrate the rite.

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WORLD

Vatican congregation reaffirms truth, oneness of Catholic Church

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a brief document, the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation reaffirmed that the Catholic Church is the one, true church, even if elements of truth can be found in separated churches and communities. Touching an ecumenical sore point, the document said some of the separated Christian communities, such as Protestant communities, should not properly be called “churches” according to Catholic doctrine because of major differences over the ordained priesthood and the Eucharist. The Vatican released the text July 10. Titled “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church,” it was signed by U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and approved by Pope Benedict XVI before publication. In a cover letter, Cardinal Levada asked the world’s bishops to do all they can to promote and present the document to the wider public.

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Undocumented immigrants not same as criminals, says Vatican official

BRUSSELS, Belgium (CNS) — Being an undocumented immigrant is not the same thing as being a criminal, a Vatican official told the Global Forum on Migration and Development. “Independently of their legal status,” migrants are human beings with rights that must be respected, said Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers. The archbishop spoke July 9 at the opening of the global forum, a gathering of nongovernmental and faith-inspired organizations, labor unions and researchers convoked by the Belgian government to come up with concrete proposals for improved international policies on migration and development. While people have a right to live at peace and with dignity in their home countries, they also have a right to migrate when those needs are not met, Archbishop Marchetto told the forum. “An irregular migration status, in fact, does not mean criminality,” he said.

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Colleagues set prayer day for Italian missionary held in Philippines

QUEZON CITY, Philippines (CNS) — Members of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions arranged a prayer day for the release of Italian Father Giancarlo Bossi, kidnapped in the Philippines. Father Luciano Benedetti, a member of the missions, told the Asian church news agency UCA News that a Mass at San Antonio Maria Claret Church in Zamboanga City was to be held as part of the July 10 “International Day of Prayer for Father Bossi.” The day was initiated by Father Gian Battista Zanchi, superior general of the order. Father Zanchi, who celebrated Mass at the missions’ headquarters in Rome for the prayer day, sent a letter to the missions’ communities worldwide July 5 asking them to dedicate a “special day of intense prayer” that “the Lord will give (Father Bossi) abundant courage, hope and patience.” Father Zanchi said in the letter that Father Bossi’s family, friends and co-workers in his parish “are waiting with hope for news announcing his liberation.” Father Bossi was seized by armed men from his parish in Payao June 10.

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Small but growing number of Mexicans converting to Islam

CUERNAVACA, Mexico (CNS) — Ahmed Jamil was born Guillermo, but when he converted to Islam nine years ago, the Mexico City native adopted an Arabic name. Name aside, he still looks Mexican, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and silver-rimmed glasses. He makes a living peddling “whatever sells” as a street vendor, although he aspires to study political science at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. But unlike most Mexicans, Jamil, 27, is Muslim. He avoids alcohol and pork products, prays five times daily and attends Friday prayer meetings. Several times a week, he volunteers with the Islamic Cultural Center of Mexico, which distributes free literature in Spanish and Arabic, offers Arabic language lessons and imports food staples from the Middle East. Like most Mexican converts to Islam, Jamil came to the faith “through curiosity.” He was born a Catholic, but was forced by a machismo father to switch to a Protestant religion as a teenager. “When I was able to choose, I discovered that Islam was for me,” he said. Jamil is a one of a small but growing number of Mexicans converting to Islam, although the exact number is hard to gauge.

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PEOPLE

Everything in life is a gift from God, says retired archbishop

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) — Retired Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark, who turns 95 July 19, believes everything in life, including longevity, is a gift from God. The oldest of nine boys who grew up in Shelton, Conn., he was ordained a priest June 29, 1939, at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. He has been a bishop for 41 years and is the oldest U.S. Catholic bishop. Born in 1912, Archbishop Gerety credited his parents as one of the major influences on his decision to become a priest. Another source of inspiration, he recalled, was the clergy at his boyhood parish, St. Joseph in Shelton. In an interview with The Catholic Advocate, Newark’s archdiocesan newspaper, Archbishop Gerety recalled fondly that he became a bishop right after the sweeping changes enacted by the Second Vatican Council. It was a time he described as “a new era in the history of the church” at both the “divine and human” levels.

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Northern Ireland police pay $90,000 to photographer wed to Catholic

DUBLIN, Ireland (CNS) — Northern Ireland’s new police force has been forced to pay out more than $90,000 in compensation to a police photographer who was discriminated against because he married a Catholic. The judgment was issued as police officials have been engaged in a policy of affirmative action to encourage young Catholic men and women to join the Police Service of Northern Ireland after decades of an almost entirely Protestant force. Police photographer Stephen Murphy was told his wife was a “whore” and his decision to marry her meant he could no longer be trusted. A fair employment tribunal in Belfast, Northern Ireland, found that two senior Protestant officers made Murphy’s life “as difficult as possible” in an attempt to force him to resign. “The reason why the treatment was afforded to the claimant is clear. It was because he was engaged to and subsequently married a Catholic,” the tribunal said in its ruling.

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Father Blanchette is new rector of Theological College

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Sulpician Father Melvin C. Blanchette is the new rector of Theological College, the national seminary at The Catholic University of America in Washington. He succeeds Sulpician Father Thomas R. Hurst, who held the post since 2002. Father Hurst was named president-rector of St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore. The Sulpicians appointed Father Blanchette with the approval of Vincentian Father David M. O’Connell, the president of the university, and Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington. The Society of St. Sulpice founded Theological College in 1917. In a statement Sulpician Father Ronald D. Witherup, provincial, said Father Blanchette is “an expert in human and spiritual formation,” and added that “his extensive experience in the continuing formation of priests around the country will serve him well in his new role.”

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