Today (09.18.07)

Today in the Diocese

No diocesan wide events today

Today’s Readings

1 Corinthians 12:31; 13, 1-10, 13
Psalm 25:1-5, 8-10
Matthew 11:25-30

Today’s Headlines from Catholic News ServiceU.S.

Catholic leaders welcome Vatican documents on artificial nutrition

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic health care and ethical groups thanked the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for clarifying its stand on artificial nutrition and hydration for patients in a persistent vegetative state in a pair of Sept. 14 documents. “The Catholic health ministry is grateful for the clarification provided today,” said Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, in a Sept. 14 statement. “Patients in a persistent vegetative state, while making up a very small percent of all patients, pose some of the most challenging and heart-wrenching situations for families and caregivers,” she added. “This clarification affirms the church’s belief in the value of their lives in spite of the circumstances of their condition.” The Vatican’s responses to two questions posed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and its commentary on those responses “provide a clear rejection of the claim of certain theologians that the provision of food and water for patients in the persistent vegetative state is not morally obligatory,” said the Philadelphia-based National Catholic Bioethics Center in a Sept. 14 statement.

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Church officials examine book by theologian Father Peter Phan

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Church officials are examining a book written by a Vietnamese-American theologian, Father Peter Phan, for possible ambiguities on the unique role of the Catholic Church in the framework of religious pluralism. “There has been correspondence and dialogue” between Father Phan and the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, according to Father Thomas Weinandy, a Capuchin Franciscan who is executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices. Father Phan is a member of the theology department at Jesuit-run Georgetown University in Washington. Father Weinandy told Catholic News Service Sept. 13 he could not comment on the private dialogue in order to “respect the privacy of Father Phan and the work of the committee.” A Sept. 12 story by the National Catholic Reporter said the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has voiced concerns about Father Phan’s book, “Being Religious Interreligiously: Asian Perspectives on Interfaith Dialogue,” published in 2004 by Orbis.

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Pope calls for cooperation to reduce ozone depletion

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI called for more intensive cooperation to reduce ozone depletion, saying it was an important element in protecting the gifts of creation. The comments Sept. 16 were the latest in a series of ecological statements by the pope, who has focused lately on the Christian responsibility of safeguarding the environment. The pope noted that Sept. 16 marked the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Montreal Protocol, an agreement that curbed emissions of chemicals which reduce the earth’s protective ozone layer in the stratosphere. He said ozone depletion has caused “serious damage to the human being and the ecosystem.” Experts have linked ozone depletion to an increase in ultraviolet radiation that causes skin cancer. The pope said the landmark Montreal Protocol was an important step forward in dealing with the problem. “In the last 20 years, thanks to an exemplary international cooperation involving politics, science and economics, important results have been obtained with positive consequences for present and future generations,” he said.

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Pope calls Sept. 11 attacks challenge to see strength of God’s mercy

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI said that although the Sept. 11 terror attacks “darkened the dawn of the third millennium,” God’s mercy is still stronger than evil. The pope made the remarks Sept. 16 at his summer villa outside Rome, where hundreds of pilgrims crowded the courtyard for a Sunday blessing. The pope spoke about divine mercy as illustrated in Gospel parables, especially shown to those who “stray from the right path.” In our time, he said, “humanity needs the mercy of God to be proclaimed and witnessed with vigor.” He said his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had been an “apostle of divine mercy” and understood its importance for the modern world. “After the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, which darkened the dawn of the third millennium, he (Pope John Paul) invited Christians and people of good will to believe that the mercy of God is stronger than any evil, and that only in the cross of Christ is found the salvation of the world,” he said.

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Cardinal urges Lebanese to consider nation when choosing president

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNS) — The head of Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic Church called for politicians to adopt policies in the country’s national interest when they pick the country’s next president. “It is crucial that the most nationalist scenarios be adopted because it is Lebanon’s interest rather than the interests of various presidential hopefuls that ought to be taken into consideration,” said Cardinal Nasrallah P. Sfeir during his Sept. 16 homily in Bkerke, the Lebanese headquarters of the Maronite church. “We all hope that warring Lebanese groups will start considering their country’s interest rather than their own interests and reach an agreement about the identity of Lebanon’s next president,” he said. Returning to Lebanon Sept. 14 after an extended visit to the Vatican, Cardinal Sfeir said Pope Benedict XVI “expressed his great concern over what is happening in Lebanon” and “promised to exert every possible effort to help Lebanon regain normalcy.” Lebanon’s parliament is scheduled to convene Sept. 25 to choose a successor to President Emile Lahoud, whose extended mandate expires in November. Under the Lebanese Constitution, the presidential post is reserved for a Maronite Catholic.

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Northern Ireland an example that conflict can be overcome, pope says

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI pointed to the Northern Ireland peace process as an example to “other troubled zones of our world” that all conflict can be overcome peacefully. After 30 years of conflict, peace in Northern Ireland was “achieved through widespread international support, determined political resolve on the part of both the Irish and the British governments, and the readiness of individuals and communities to embrace the sublime human capacity to forgive,” he said. The pope made his comments in a Sept. 15 address to Ireland’s new ambassador to the Vatican, Noel Fahey, who presented his credentials to the pope at the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo. The entire world “has taken heart” from the success of the Northern Ireland peace process, which sent a “wave of hope” that “conflict, no matter how ingrained, can be overcome,” the pope said.

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Germans criticize cardinal’s remarks as reminiscent of Nazi times

COLOGNE, Germany (CNS) — German officials have criticized a German cardinal’s remarks which they said were reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. While marking the opening of the Kolumba archdiocesan art museum, Cologne Cardinal Joachim Meisner said Sept. 14: “Where culture becomes disconnected from religion, from the veneration of God, religion rigidifies into ritualism, and culture becomes degenerate. It loses its center.” The term “degenerate” was used by the Nazis to attack modern art. Nazis put on the “Degenerate Art” touring exhibition of 650 works confiscated from 32 museums as part of propaganda efforts against “negro influence” and “Jewish and Bolshevik cultural decay.” The “degenerate” artists were persecuted and forced into exile. Reacting to Cardinal Meisner’s remarks, Bernd Neumann, German minister for culture and the media, said, “Even if it’s been taken out of context, this statement using the word ‘degenerate’ is completely unacceptable in choice of words and in content.”

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Pro-family groups say Canadian census profile shows bad news

OTTAWA (CNS) — The latest census profile from Statistics Canada shows trends that spell bad news for the future well-being of society, said pro-family groups. That data, released Sept. 12, showed more single parents are raising children alone, common-law relationships have increased, and the number of married couples continues to decline. For the first time, unmarried Canadians over age 15 outnumbered married Canadians, and couples without children outnumbered couples with children. More Canadians than ever before — 13 percent — are living alone. “This very worrisome data is the result of 40 years of increased pressure on marriage and the family from the state, from the modern economy and from the culture,” said Michele Boulva, director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family. The Catholic Civil Rights League president, Phil Horgan, said he sees a direct relationship between the decline of marriage and recent court decisions that legalized same-sex marriage and put common-law relationships on the same footing as marriage.

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Student uses YouTube Web site to tell story of Ugandan schoolchildren

DENVER (CNS) — Timothy Reidy is an average American college student who never thought he would be using something like YouTube to promote a cause he is passionate about. But he is using the video-sharing Web site to raise awareness of — and he hopes support for — students at a Catholic school in Kyarusozi on the western plains of Uganda. This summer he spent nine weeks in the African village, teaching mathematics and speech at St. Joseph Kyembogo (pronounced Chim-bogo) School. He worked with underprivileged families and fell in love with the genuine Catholic identity he said is embodied in the tribal people. In Uganda, “you see the church so deeply ingrained in the culture that it comes out so easily,” said Reidy, who was born and raised in Denver and is a junior this year at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, where he is majoring in architecture. “There are no distractions from God. Faith is so easy there.” A video he created about the school can be found online at Or visitors can enter the words “St. Joseph Kyembogo” at

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Pope praises late Vietnamese cardinal as ‘prophet of hope’

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As church officials prepared to open the sainthood cause for Cardinal Francois Nguyen Van Thuan, Pope Benedict XVI praised the late Vietnamese cardinal as a “singular prophet of Christian hope.” “This heroic pastor” left behind a legacy that included his “shining witness of faith” in God’s plan for humanity, the pope said in a Sept. 17 audience with members of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the office Cardinal Thuan headed from 1998 until his death in 2002. The audience at the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, came one day after Cardinal Renato Martino named Silvia Monica Correale as postulator for the cardinal’s sainthood cause. The Vatican released a copy of the papal remarks. Correale told Catholic News Service Sept. 17 that the Diocese of Rome formally will open the canonization process “very soon.” Church law calls for a five-year waiting period between the time of the candidate’s death and the cause for canonization to begin.

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Volunteer keeps blog as resource for others

WASHINGTON (CNS) — “You leave your family, you leave your friends, and you know that you’re going to be gone for two years,” said Patrick Furlong. “A lot changes. When I get back, I don’t know what it’s going to be like.” Leaving the United States for two years, living on $60 a month and washing his laundry by hand wasn’t where Furlong expected to find himself in five years when he graduated from high school and left his native Albuquerque, N.M., to attend Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. But Furlong’s experiences in college led him down a path of service that continues to inspire and amaze not just him, but anyone who reads the Web log, or blog, he writes as a witness to his life. Furlong had been serving with the Holy Cross Associates for the last 12 months in Santiago, Chile. He keeps his blog — — with the hope that college students considering volunteer work after graduation might catch a glimpse of what it is like in the trenches. In August he headed to another volunteer position in Quito, Ecuador, to teach poor children and their parents 12 hours a day, five days a week.


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