Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 321

Posts Tagged ‘catholic church’

Pope Francis, Jewish leaders discuss situation in Middle East, lament persecution of Christians

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 19 settembre 2014

sinagoga romaROME / BRUSSELS – Pope Francis on Wednesday evening received a delegation of 40 international Jewish leaders at his residence in Rome ahead of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which begins next week. The presidents of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald S. Lauder, and of the Latin American Jewish Congress (LAJC), Jack Terpins, presented the head of the Catholic Church with a number of gifts, including a traditional honey cake. In their conversation, the Pope notably raised the question of the persecution and mass slaughter of Christians in the Middle East and told the Jewish delegation, “Like you [the Jews] suffered in the past, Christians are today suffering in many parts of the world.”The meeting with Francis took place in the Santa Marta guesthouse in an informal setting and lasted 40 minutes. Among the participants were many Jewish community heads from Latin America and other parts of the world.The Pope expressed his desire for peace in the Middle East and said the “window of prayer” to find a peaceful solution was still open. Lauder also raised the subject of the mass slaughter and persecution of Christians in the Middle East, to which the Pope replied: “Christians are being expelled from the region. They are persecuted, not liked, discriminated against. You [the Jews] suffered from that in the past, and we [the Christians] are suffering from it today in parts of the world.”In a press conference on Thursday, Ronald Lauder said fanatical Islamists such as ISIS were tagging Christian houses with the letter N for ‘Nassarah’, a term used for Christians in the Koran, which was “no different from the yellow star of David which the Nazis obliged Jews to wear to separate them from the others.” He had raised this issue in an opinion article published by the New York Times last month.

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Journalists Central African Republic Church leaders call for immediate ceasefire

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 9 dicembre 2013

Ubangi (Oubangui) River at the outskirts of Ba...

Ubangi (Oubangui) River at the outskirts of Bangui, Central African Republic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Caritas and the Catholic Church in Central African Republic are calling for an immediate ceasefire as heavy fighting breaks out in the capital Bangui between forces loyal to the former president and the fighters who overthrew his regime.Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui said, “We’re deeply concerned about the crisis in Central African Republic. The situation in Bangui is chaotic. Many people have been killed. The fighting must stop immediately.“Women and children are coming to churches to seek safety across the capital. They have nothing to eat and drink, so we are giving them what we can.”There are about 10,000 people who are in St. Bernard Church and the monastery in the neighborhood of Boy- Rabe, where clashes started.Caritas Internationalis has been supporting relief efforts in the country through the national Caritas office.The Caritas Central African Republic director Fr Elysee Guendjande is in Caritas Internationalis headquarters in Rome for a meeting to discuss the humanitarian crisis.Fr Elysee Guendjande said the Catholic Church and Caritas Central African Republic is calling for an immediate ceasefire and says there is an urgent need for international aid as the humanitarian crisis spirals.

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Launch of book on Catholic Church Response to AIDS in Africa

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 17 ottobre 2013

Following thirty years of pioneering experience in caring for women, men and children affected by the HIV epidemic, AIDS 30 Years Down the Line…Faith-based Reflections about the Epidemic in Africa, shares the successes and struggles of staff and volunteers in Catholic Church-related and other faith-based organizations who have been in the frontlines in service to women, men, and children. This publication, edited by the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN), draws together rich and multi-faceted stories on the impact of the epidemic in many African countries.The book focuses particularly on the real-life situations of people and communities affected by the epidemic. Beyond the medical and logistical challenges that continue to beset Africa, the region’s unique context of poverty, conflict and inequalities has brought forward cultural and ethical issues that give the HIV experience its human dimension and highlight the need for a comprehensive response. A wide array of contributions from social, medical, legal, human rights, and ethical specialists provides wide-ranging perspectives, while documenting examples of successful community-based responses.The response of the Catholic Church to this pandemic is vastly unrecognized and unknown to many.. In Africa, government health services often do not arrive in the most remote areas so women and children often rely on faith-based groups for pregnancy and childbirth care, immunization, and control of infectious diseases. From the onset of the HIV epidemic, these religious programmes were mobilized to provide much-needed HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and largely are supported by resources outside government funding.

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Pope Francis pledges to oppose restrictions on religious freedoms; wishes world Jewry a ‘sweet’ New Year

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 3 settembre 2013

ROME – Pope Francis on Monday wished Jews around the world a sweet and peaceful year 5774, called for increased dialogue among the world’s religious communities and opposed fundamentalism in any faith. During his first private audience with an international Jewish leader since being elected Catholic pontiff in March, Francis asked World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder to convey his New Year message to Jewish communities world-wide and said he also needed a sweet year because of the important decisions lying ahead. Using the Hebrew words for ‘Happy New Year’, Pope Francis wished a “Shana Tova” and asked the WJC to share that message with the Jewish people worldwide. Lauder presented the pope with a Kiddush cup and a honey cake.At their meeting, which was held in an informal atmosphere at the Vatican, Lauder and the Catholic pontiff spoke about the situation in Syria and agreed to speak out against attacks on religious minorities, such as Coptic Christians in Egypt and against trends to restrict well-established religious practices such as circumcision. The pope specifically expressed concern about the bans on kosher slaughter in Poland and directed Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Vatican’s Commission for Relations with the Jews, to investigate and host a follow-up meeting as early as next week.Francis reiterated a statement made last June that “a Christian cannot be an anti-Semite” and said that “to be good a Christian it is necessary to understand Jewish history and traditions.” He added that Jews and Christians shared the same roots and that dialogue was the key to building a common future. Referring to the conflict in Syria, the pope called the killing of human beings unacceptable and said “world leaders must do everything to avoid war.”After the meeting, Ronald S. Lauder praised the pope for his unwavering commitment to dialogue and said that “Pope Francis’ leadership has not only reinvigorated the Catholic Church but also given a new momentum to relations with Judaism. Never in the past 2,000 years have relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people been so good. The leadership of successive popes over the past five decades has helped to overcome a lot of prejudice. This allows us now to work together in defending religious freedom wherever it is under threat and whichever community is affected.”Lauder was accompanied to the meeting at the Vatican by Latin American Jewish Congress President Jack Terpins, WJC CEO and EVP Robert Singer, WJC Associate EVP Maram Stern, and LAJC Executive Director Claudio Epelman.
About the World Jewish Congress The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations. Since its foundation in 1936, the WJC has been at the forefront of inter-religious dialogue, notably with the Catholic Church.

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Statement from Executive Director, Erin Saiz Hanna

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 31 luglio 2013

Washington, “The Women’s Ordination Conference is deeply discouraged to learn of Pope Francis’ remarks regarding women’s ordination.In an interview given to reporters on July 28 en route to Rome from Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis made it very clear that this papacy sees women as separate, but not equal to men, and will keep the door to women’s ordination closed, citing Pope John Paul II as his reasoning.Pope Francis’ cop-out rationale illustrates a very selective theology: to blame a previous pope for his stance on women priests, and then in the very same interview contradict his predecessors by acknowledging an open understanding for gay priests. Instead of looking to Pope John Paul II for the answer, Pope Francis could have looked to a variety of sources. He could have quoted the Vatican’s own the Pontifical Biblical Commission that concluded in 1976 that there is no valid scriptural or theological reason for denying ordination to women. Pope Francis could have cited history that documents women’s leadership in the early church, or acknowledge the great works Roman Catholic Womenpriests are doing today. He could have looked to Jesus who welcomed women as his equal.Pope Francis stated that the “church has spoken and said no.” The church was not Pope John II in 1994 when he forbade women’s ordination nor is it Pope Francis today. The church is made up of the people of God and Pope Francis could have looked to the majority of Catholics who support the ordination of women, recognize that women are created in God’s image, and strongly believe with God a door is always open.”

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CEC Assembly opens with Gathering Service of worship

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 5 luglio 2013

Prayers, scripture lessons and a sermon that began in Hungarian and ended in German were accompanied by hymns and intercessions in a multitude of languages. These were key elements of the opening service at the 14th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) in Budapest. The “Gathering service” at the Hungarian Reformed Church on Pozsonyi Street, on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 3, marked the beginning of six days of decision-making during which delegates from nearly 120 Anglican, Baptist, Old Catholic and Orthodox churches will consider proposals for their common future in Europe. Representatives of committed ecumenical partners, including the Roman Catholic Church, were also present for opening prayer.The procession at the start of the service was led by some of the more youthful participants in the assembly, stewards from many churches who have volunteered to undertake some of the week’s most taxing work. They were followed by CEC officers and members of the Hungarian host committee.The sermon, on an incident in the life of the Apostle Paul recorded in Acts 22:14-16, was preached by Bishop József Steinbach, president of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Hungary and bishop of the Trans-Danubian district of the Hungarian Reformed Church. His focus was on the theme of the CEC Assembly, taken from Acts: “And now, what are you waiting for?”Bishop Steinbach encouraged the assembly to approach the question first posed to Paul from three points of view: “from the point of view of the passage” itself, set in the past, but “then from the point of view of our changed world in which our churches serve; and finally from the point of view of where these two meet.” In this way, he explained, the question is no longer aimed solely at the apostle, but at our churches today, and at us as individual Christians: “What should we do? How should we proceed? How can we become witnesses to His will in this changed world, without delay?” For Europeans, and people throughout the contemporary world, another central question is: “How can we live together in peace” despite the modern problems that face us and the challenging diversity of our societies?Like Paul, Christians are called to bear witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. According to Steinbach, Christian witness should permeate society through believers’ loving service rather than through aggressive attempts at mission. Paul was “flexible, but only within certain limits”. His witness was marked by “determination and love” as well as “complete reliance upon the Lord”.At the same time, the bishop continued, Paul’s witness to the world of his time relied on “careful planning in order to be as efficient as possible”, and this provides direction for CEC and similar church bodies as they seek to transform their structures and strategies. He closed by asking for God’s blessing “so that we are able to hold discussions and come to decisions in the spirit of the Scripture’s message.”A hymn written for the Budapest Assembly by composer Peter Arendt of Denmark was premiered at the service and raised the question once again: “What are you waiting for? Is something stopping you? Called to be one, one in Christ! What are you waiting for?”
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a communion of 115 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all European countries, and 40 associated organisations. It was founded in 1959 and the CEC has offices in Geneva, Brussels and Strasbourg.

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Pope Francis tells Caritas leadership: a Church without charity does not exist

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 28 Mag 2013

Pope Francis met with Caritas leaders from around the world to discuss their work in helping millions of poor and vulnerable people, telling them “a Church without charity does not exist.”
The Pope said that Caritas is “an essential part of the Church” and that it “institutionalizes love in the Church”. He said Caritas has two dimensions: action and a divine dimension “situated in the heart of the Church”. He said, “Caritas is not just for emergency situations as a first aid agency. In the situation of war or during a crisis, there is a need to look after the wounded, to help the ill…but there is also a need to support them, to care for their development.”
Pope Francis said that even if integral human development is costly, it is necessary: “We’ll hopefully have to sell the churches to feed the poorest.”
He said, “Caritas is the caress of the Church to its people, the caress of the Mother Church to her children, her tenderness and closeness.”
Leaders from Caritas organisations are in Rome for the annual Representative Council meeting.
Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga said to Pope Francis “We are your Caritas to be guided by you.” The Cardinal said that Caritas member organisations from around the world had signed up to a campaign to end hunger and asked for the Pope’s blessing. Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy present the Pope Francis with a basket of bread to symbolise the campaign.
Caritas representatives from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, North America and Oceania were also able to give accounts of the challenges facing the poor in their regions.
Sr Leonie Dochamou from Caritas Benin asked the Pope for guidance in how to best serve the poor. “We in Africa have the potential to work for our own development,” she said. Pope Francis replied that one way to promote development was the example of Don Bosco, to give children the tools they need through education.
The Pope stressed the importance of “tenderness”, saying that at times the Church has lost sight of this. “The Church is fundamentally mother. The spirituality of Caritas has to refer to this,” he said. Pope Francis said that Caritas must “go to the peripheries to cure and promote the human being” and to bring to the Church “tenderness.”
On the crisis in Syria, Pope Francis said that one million people have left Syria. “They have lost everything and are on the street. I mention this as an fundamental example,” said Pope Francis. “We have refugees in all countries, those who are smuggled, those whose passports were taken away and are forced into slavery. There is great need for the presence of the tender touch of the Church.”

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Pope Benedict’s decision

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 11 febbraio 2013

Pope Benedictus XVI

Pope Benedictus XVI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Washington, D.C. – “The Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) respects Pope Benedict’s decision to resign from leadership. We are saddened to hear of the deteriorating health of the pontiff and hold him in prayer. During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI used his power to take significant steps backwards for women. A staunch opponent of women’s leadership, during Pope Benedict’s tenure he declared women’s ordination the gravest crime against the Church, excommunicated all Roman Catholic Womenpriests, and personally had Fr. Roy Bourgeois dismissed from his Maryknoll community for supporting women priests. As Roman Catholics worldwide prepare for the conclave, we are reminded that the current system remains an ‘old boys club’ and does not allow for women’s voices to participate in the decision of the next leader of our Church. WOC members plan to host vigils and raise “pink smoke” during the conclave as a prayerful reminder of the voices of the Church that go unheard.The people of the Church are desperate for a leader who will be open to dialogue, and will have the courage to create systems that will address the sexism, exclusion, and abuse in our Church. The Catholic Church needs to be a voice for justice in the world. We pray for a leader who can truly minister to all of the people of God

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Paolo Curtaz: Sul dolore

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 27 Mag 2012

Parole che non ti aspetti 3ª edizione marzo 2012 Collana DIMENSIONI DELLO SPIRITO Formato 13,5 x 21 cm – BROSSURA Numero pagine 252 CDU 22H 226 ISBN/EAN 9788821572937 Prezzo copertina € 15,00 Al cuore del mistero del dolore e della sofferenza. Il saggio più intenso di Paolo Curtaz. Perché esistono il dolore e la sofferenza? Paolo Curtaz riflette su uno dei grandi misteri della vita di ogni persona. La sofferenza, specie la sofferenza dell’innocente, è l’unica seria obiezione all’esistenza di un Dio buono e compassionevole e, da sempre, rappresenta un problema serio per chi accoglie il volto del Padre che Gesù ci ha svelato. Perché soffriamo? A cosa serve il dolore? Questo saggio riflette, con semplicità , sulla sofferenza, interrogando la Parola di Dio, senza voler dare una risposta esaustiva che la Bibbia stessa non offre. Paolo Curtaz, uno degli autori spirituali più apprezzati e originali di questi anni, porta in questo volume intenso e profondo vicende personali e di altre persone segnate dal dolore, senza nessuna pretesa di dare risposte scontate, ma con il desiderio di seguire le poche tracce di luce che emergono dalla riflessione biblica e dall’esperienza di chi è passato attraverso la sofferenza riuscendo a scorgere una prospettiva di speranza.(paolo curtaz)

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Council of European Bishops‘ Conferences

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 13 Mag 2012

The XII European Congress for Catechesis has concluded in Rome. The meeting, promoted by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), was attended by about 60 delegates, including bishops, experts and national directors of offices and national bodies responsible for catechesis in Europe’s Bishops’ Conferences. Preparation for the meeting was co-ordinated by CCEE’s “Catechesis, Schools and Universities” Commission, chaired by Mgr Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. The Congress and the theme (Christian initiation in the context of the new evangelisation with particular focus on children and young people aged from 7 to 16) falls within the Church’s reflection on the new evangelisation in the year in which the Church commemorates the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and in the context of the Year of Faith. The Congress was a European meeting of leaders (from Russia to Ireland) involved in the co-ordination of catechesis in their respective countries and who, over these four days, compared on-going experiences, exchanged information and discussed projects and common problems.
Christian initiation is closely connected to the new evangelisation of young people, parents and the whole community. Catechesis should not therefore be seen on the fringes of the new evangelisation, but is an integral part of it. Therefore it is necessary to link the new evangelisation to the tradition of the faith (traditio fidei), understood as transmission of the content and experience, personal and communal, of the faith.
Catechists are real people! They are aware of the difficulties of the current situation, marked by many elements of a break with the past and secularisation, but at the same time they are enthusiastic people, passionate communicators of the Gospel. A clear element emerging both from the survey and reflections at the meeting, is that Christian initiation is certainly a personal experience, but cannot be fully experienced if it is outside the community. It is the community which catechises!
Catechesis is not solely addressed to children but is an experience which involves everyone. Catechists and ‘catechising’ are, at the same time, protagonists and objects of catechesis. Therefore, it is not possible to think of a catechesis without caring for the catechists, families and the community in general. The participants recalled that faith can only be communicated if the person him / herself is living the faith.
Catechesis is not just the transmission of concepts, but also the experience of the encounter with Christian art, the fruit of a lived faith capable of transmitting the beauty of God. So, over the course of the meeting, the participants visited the Church of San Clemente and the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.
Finally, catechesis is not just indoctrination but it is above all experience of God. It must be recognised that the child, too, is open to the transcendent and must be helped to develop this friendship with Christ.
On Wednesday 9 May 2012, the participants participated at the Mass for Europe in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Rome). Exactly on Europe Day, CCEE wanted to entrust the fears and hopes of the citizens of the European continent to the intercession of the Patron Saints of Europe: saints who lived in times of crisis with courage and following the tradition with faithfulness and creativity.
The Council of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe (CCEE) includes the current 33 European Episcopal Conferences, represented by their Presidents, and the Archbishops of Luxembourg, of the Principality of Monaco, the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus and the Bishop of Chişinău (Moldova Rep.) and the Eparchial Bishop of Mukachevo. The President is Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Primate of Hungary; the Vice-Presidents are Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, and Mgr Józef Michalik, Archbishop of Przemyśl, Poland. The General Secretary is Mgr Duarte da Cunha. The Secretariat is based at St Gallen (Switzerland). http://www.ccee.ch

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Caritas Internationalis welcomes new papal decrees

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 6 Mag 2012

St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning

St. Peter’s Basilica at Early Morning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga received approved updated Statutes and Rules and a General Decree from the Cardinal Secretary of State on 2 May 2012 on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI.
This was the culmination of a process that started in 2004 when Pope John Paul II gave Caritas Internationalis a ‘public juridical’ personality, making it an entity of the Holy See.
This outcome was expected and Caritas Internationalis welcomes this important time in its history. The mission of Caritas is confirmed as part of the institutional church, embodying both its role as a confederation of 164 members and an entity of the Holy See. Caritas Internationalis new governing bodies, the Representative Council and Executive Board, will meet 15-17 May in Rome as planned. (Under the new Statutes and Rules, the Representative Council replaces the Executive Committee and the Bureau becomes the Executive Board.)
The new Statutes and Rules of Caritas Internationalis have some significant changes to a draft of the Statutes and Rules approved by the Caritas Internationalis Executive Committee in November 2011 and sent to the Holy See for papal approval. The Representative Council meeting will study the changes in relation to those voted by the Caritas Executive Committee and their application. Caritas Internationalis is confident in the future. Its mission to fight against poverty and promote social justice has been renewed as a service of the Catholic Church, and after several years of work on the renovation of its statutes, all its efforts will now be focused on this mission.

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Pope Benedict approves new legal structure for Caritas Internationalis

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 3 Mag 2012

Pope Benedictus XVI

Pope Benedictus XVI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pope Benedict XVI has given his seal of approval via the Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertoneto new Statutes and Rules governing Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organisation for 164 national Catholic aid and development agencies. Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga received the new Statutes and Rules and a General Decree during a morning meeting at the Vatican 2 May 2012 with Holy See officials. “This is a day of joy and hope for Caritas Internationalis,” said Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga. “Our new Statutes and Rules will modernise our work in delivering humanitarian assistance and development in service to the poor. They will provide us with the framework to carry out our work as part of the mission of the Church.” The revision of the Statutes and Rules began in 2007. They have been updated to reflect Venerable Pope John Paul II granting Canonical Legal Status to Caritas Internationalis in 2004.
Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said, “Our immense gratitude to Pope Benedict for granting these new Statutes and Rules and the staff of the Holy See who have worked with us through this long process. The new Statutes and Rules clarifies that Caritas Internationalis is an organisation both at the service of the confederation members and of the Holy See.”

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Women-Church Speaks

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 24 aprile 2012

In this presidential election year, Catholics and the institutional Roman Catholic Church have been making headlines, but not for reasons we support. As feminist Catholic women, we offer a Catholic story of civil participation, inclusion, and social justice.n A major story line of late has been the opposition of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the recently passed health care initiative that will provide many more Americans with health coverage. Disputes rage about who will provide contraception and whether religious institutions will be allowed to limit health care choices for their employees. The Catholic bishops are leading a campaign against birth control and in favor of widespread exemptions to the law. Like a majority of Catholics, we women-church adherents part company with the bishops on this matter. We would prefer that the millions of Catholic dollars spent by the bishops on lobbying for their positions be spent on housing, education, food, and jobs. Instead of cutting back on Planned Parenthood, we urge its increased support so that all women, especially those who are young and/or poor, have access to the reproductive services they need. Let it be known that the bishops do not represent the views of most Catholics, though as citizens they are welcome to speak for themselves. We support the health care initiative as passed although we see no reason to exempt even those who work for religious institutions, for example housekeepers or janitors, since they, too, are capable of making their own medical decisions. We understand President Obama’s effort to accommodate those with religious scruples. We favor even greater sharing of the health care costs. We feminist Catholics believe in the right to basic health care for all and think it should be universal just as public education is for all children. As citizens, we participate in civil society with respect for the diversity of opinions. We have confidence in the political and legal processes to find ways to live with our differences. Another story line is the denial of communion and other punishments to Catholic persons because of their political views, sexual orientation, and/or choice of a life partner. We join all those who are scandalized when the Eucharist is used as a political football, as happened to a woman who was denied the sacrament at her mother’s funeral. We proclaim our own Eucharistic tables open and welcoming to all who wish to join us in celebration. We repudiate those who would fire employees in Catholic institutions simply because they exercise their right to marry in states where same-sex marriage is legal, as happened to a man in St. Louis. We deplore those who would disinvite theologians from speaking on Catholic campuses because they are pro-LGBTQ, pro-choice, or otherwise disagree with the conservative views of the bishops on social issues, as has happened to many of our colleagues. Feminist Catholics stand for academic freedom. We are committed to broadly based discussion even when there is deep disagreement. These are hallmarks of our tradition, and we honor them. A third story line is how the so-called Catholic vote will go in the fall elections. We have no crystal balls, but we can predict with confidence that Catholic people will think for themselves. We will not simply rubber-stamp the candidates and the positions that the bishops and their lobbyists deem theo-politically correct no matter how many letters they send to the parishes or how fervently they urge voters. Our voting guide will be a social justice agenda that begins with the needs of those who are poor and marginalized, with Earth as our shared context that requires our respect, and with the urgency of structural changes that will bring about the well being of all. Let this new feminist Catholic story be told as we cooperate in the political process according to our rights and duties as citizens. Let the voices of feminist Catholic women resound in the public arena to correct the record and offer a glimmer of hope. Let us find a hearing among and be colleagues with those who seek to build a just and equitable society.

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On holiest of days, Pope slams women’s ordination supporters

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 6 aprile 2012

Derivative Work. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Po...

Derivative Work. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI since 2005) on May 10, 2003, during the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the canonization of Saint Stanislaus in Szczepanów, Poland. Picture taken by Janusz Stachoń and released under CC-BY license by Szamil (www.szczepanow.pl). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Washington, DC – Today, Roman Catholics globally joined together for the feast of Holy Thursday, to commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus the Christ and welcome the Easter Triduum, the holiest days for Catholics. It was during the Last Supper that Jesus gave those gathered a new commandment — to “love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” While during these holy days we would presume to hear Pope Benedict XVI echoing Jesus’ call for love and inclusion, instead the Pope put forth a message of fear, intimidation, and oppression. In his homily earlier today, he denounced “disobedience” within the church and strongly reprimanded priests who support women’s ordination. The Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) is discouraged that the Pope would use this sacred time in our religious tradition to attack his fellow priests, who in good conscience, support women’s full inclusion in the Roman Catholic Church. It is not these priests who are disobedient, it is the hierarchy who has lost touch with the people of God. Out of fear of the growing numbers of ordained women and the overwhelming support they receive, the Vatican is trying to preserve what little power they have left by attempting to extinguish the widespread call for women’s equality in the church. It will not work.
More than 63 percent of U.S. Catholics, and millions of Catholics worldwide, support the ordination of women. The Vatican’s own Pontifical Biblical Commission found in 1976 that there is no scriptural reason to prohibit the ordination of women. The Bible describes how women were prominent leaders in Jesus’ ministry and early Christianity. In all four gospels, Mary Magdalene was the primary witness to the central event of Christianity-Christ’s resurrection. It is long overdue for the Vatican to listen to its own research, its own theologians and its own people who say that women are equally created in the image of God and are called to serve as priests in a renewed and inclusive Roman Catholic Church.
Women’s Ordination Conference, founded in 1975 and based in Washington, D.C., the is the oldest and largest national organization working for the ordination of women as priests, deacons, and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Roman Catholic Church. WOC also promotes new perspectives on ordination that call for less separation between the clergy and laity.

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Pope Benedict To Visit to Mexico & Cuba March 23-28

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 23 marzo 2012

Pope Benedictus XVI

Pope Benedictus XVI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Michelle Laque Johnson. Pope Benedict XVI’s visits Mexico and Cuba, a trip planned to span 5 days, from March 23-28. This visit includes a meeting with Mexican president Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, Mass in the Parque Bicentenario in the municipality of Silao; a meeting with representatives from the ninety-one dioceses of Mexico; then a meeting in Cuba with Cuban President Raul Castro; a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity and a visit to Havana, greeted by Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of Havana and by other religious and civil authorities. On the morning of Wednesday 28 March, the Pope will preside at Mass in the Plaza de la Revolucion “Jose Marti.” Fourteen years ago, Pope John Paul II not only traveled to Mexico, but made the first papal trip to Cuba in its history. Now, all eyes are on Pope Benedict as he visits these two highly politicized countries – and only EWTN will have crews on the ground to provide you with the most complete and authoritative coverage available. Because EWTN was there with Pope John Paul II and continues to broadcast into Cuba and Mexico daily, only EWTN can compare and contrast the two visits with the authority you’ve come to expect. On the English side, EWTN News Director Raymond Arroyo, who has anchored more papal events than anyone in the industry and who covered John Paul II’s visit in 1998, will direct our coverage. Father Roberto Cid, Director of Radio Paz in the Archdiocese of Miami, and Msgr. Heberto Diaz, vicar general of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas will join Arroyo to provide color commentary. In Cuba, a political highlight will be the meeting with President Castro, but for the people, one of the highlights of the trip will be the Pope’s visit to the Shrine of the Virgin of Charity at 10:30 a.m. ET, Tuesday, March 27, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of her statue in the Bay of Nipe. On the Spanish side, EWTN Español will feature four anchors: EWTN “Nuestra Fe En Vivo” Host Pepe Alonso; Father Jose Menendez, pastor of Corpus Christi Parish, in Miami; Jaime Septiem, General Director of El Observador, a Catholic newspaper in Queretaro, Mexico, and host of EWTN’s weekly show “Ventana Abierta” on EWTN Español, on the ground in Mexico; and Alejandro Bermudez, director of EWTN Noticias and ACI Prensa, on the ground in Cuba. One of the highlights of the Mexico trip will occur at 7:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 25, when the Pope will meet not only with the Mexican bishops, but also with the heads of the Episcopal Conference of Latin America; in other words, the hierarchy of the entire Hispanic Catholic Church in North America. According to Enrique Duprat, EWTN’s Director of Spanish Production, “Pope Benedict has made it clear that the ‘new evangelization’ includes efforts to reach out to countries that were already Christianized, but where Catholics and other Christians are still fighting for religious freedom.”

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“Covering Religion, in Rome”

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 9 marzo 2012

Rome From March 9th to 19th, students from Columbia University’s School of Journalism in New York City will hit the streets of Rome to learn about covering religion news in the Eternal City. The group of students will be led by two Columbia professors, Ari Goldman, the former religion editor of the New York Times, and Alessandro Stille, a noted Italian journalist and son the former editor of Italy’s main daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera.The ten-day program, which was organized in conjunction with the School of Church Communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross with help of the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas, includes organized visits to the Vatican, the Pontifical North American College, the Sant’ Egidio Community, and the Holy See’s Press Office, as well as a trip to San Giovanni Rotondo to see the hospital complex created by Padre Pio (St. Pio of Pietralcino). The students will also have time to do some reporting on their own and opportunities to meet with working journalists in Rome. To offer the broadest possible panorama of Roman religious news, in addition to exploring the heart of Catholicism, on-site encounters are also planned with leaders of Jewish, Protestant, Muslim and Orthodox communities in Rome The collaboration between Columbia University and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross has it roots in Prof. Goldman’s previous participation in a seminar dedicated to news coverage of the Catholic Church (“The Church Up Close: Covering Catholicism in the Age of Benedict XVI”, organized by the School of Church Communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in 2008), which led him to ask the pontifical university to help organize a similar program for his students this year.

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Need for International Response to Clergy Sex Abuse

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 17 dicembre 2011

Vatican City / Radio Vatican

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In light of a report released today by an official commission investigating clergy sex abuse throughout the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:
The extent of child rape and other sexual violence revealed in the commission’s report – as many as 20,000 Dutch children in Catholic institutions – is yet another example of the widespread and systematic nature of the problem of child sex crimes in the Catholic Church. If similar commissions were held in every country, we would undoubtedly be equally appalled by the rates of abuse. But, for every country in which such a commission is held, there are dozens of places in which there is no such investigation, no efforts at accountability, and no meaningful recourse for those who are abused. Moreover, the apologies offered by Dutch bishops are little help to past and future victims if those apologies do not materialize into concrete measures to stop the problem. Instead, as the Dutch commission noted, and as we have seen time and again, the goals of Church leaders including Pope Benedict XVI and other high-level Vatican officials are not to protect children and prevent abuse, but to cover up the sexual violence and avoid scandals. This is precisely why an international response to these crimes, such as CCR’s work with SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) urging the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Vatican officials for crimes against humanity is critical. Piecemeal investigations and prosecutions simply cannot solve a systematic problem that is actively tolerated and enabled at the highest levels of Church leadership. As the New York Times noted today, CCR and SNAP’s ICC case is ‘the most substantive effort yet to hold the pope and the Vatican accountable’ for rape and other sexual violence.
The Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lengthy and detailed complaint with the International Criminal Court September 13, 2011, on behalf SNAP, a survivor-led support group for clergy sex abuse victims, urging the prosecutor to investigate the Vatican for crimes against humanity for tolerating and enabling the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and sexual violence throughout the world. Together with the complaint, they submitted more than 22,000 pages of supporting evidence consisting of testimonies, police reports, findings of commissions of inquiry and grand juries and other evidence of the crimes by Catholic clergy committed against children and vulnerable adults. To learn more about the case, visit http://ccrjustice.org/ICCVaticanProsecution.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit http://www.ccrjustice.org and follow @theCCR.

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The courage of growing alongside the last

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 10 ottobre 2011

Moldovan Parliament Building

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Chisinau (Republic of Moldova), 11-14 October 2011 For the first time, about one hundred Catholics from all over the country will gather in the capital of the Republic of Moldova to discuss the Catholic Church’s contribution to Moldovan society. The courage of growing alongside the last is the unique theme given to the first celebration of the Social Week realised by the small (only one diocese in the whole of the country) but very active Moldovan Catholic Church. “We chose this title because it mirrors our position as a minority Church in the country, but also and especially because we feel the vocation of our Church is that of growing along with those who have nothing, those who feel excluded from society, those who have been deprived of their dignity and humanity” – stated Mgr Anton Cosa, Bishop of Chisinau. He went on to say “Being alongside and for the last does not, however, exempt us from contributing to the growth of Moldovan society, rather it is necessary that, as well as the material and spiritual help which we try to bring to everyone, and especially to the poorest, there should also grow in the Moldovan Church that social diakonia which will enable all our faithful to feel themselves responsible and protagonists in building the common good of the whole nation”.
The meeting, which will begin on Tuesday 11 October with welcomes from Mgr Cosa, from representatives of the government and other Christian denominations in the country, has been organised around three daily themes: the social commitment of Catholics in Moldova (Tuesday 11); poverty and the poor (Wednesday 12) and the commitment of the laity in the economy and social issues (Thursday 13). The theme of each working day will be introduced by representatives from other Social Weeks in Europe, thereby testifying to the link with other similar experiences of European Catholicism: Mgr Arrigo Miglio, Bishop of Ivrea and President of the Social Weeks in Italy; Dr Jean-Pierre Rosa, delegate from the French Social Weeks; and Mgr Giampaolo Crepaldi, Bishop of Trieste and President of CCEE’s Caritas in Veritate Commission for social issues. There will then be reports from Moldovan and European experts, testimonies, such as that on the economy of communion promoted by the Focolare Movement, and ample time for debate. The Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) will be represented at the meeting by Mgr Crepaldi and by Fr Ferenc Janka, CCEE Deputy Secretary. The presence of CCEE delegates testifies to the attention given to the initiative by the European bishops. In fact, CCEE will have the task of informing the Bishops’ Conferences not just about the outcome of the work, but also on the experience in general, “a training ground and model for many minority Churches which want to invest more in this particular form of social diakonia, a sign and invitation for all Catholic bodies so that, following this example, they may never allow themselves be discouraged by difficulties where charity and the proclamation of the Gospel is concerned”, said Mgr Duarte da Cunha, General Secretary of CCEE. The meeting will end on Friday 14 October with the celebration of Mass in Chisinau Cathedral.

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Mgr Šašik new CCEE member

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 1 ottobre 2011

Panorama di Tirana

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Tirana. The CCEE Plenary Assembly has acceded to the request of His Lordship Mgr Milan Šašik, Eparchial Bishop of Mukachevo (or Mukaceve) for Byzantine Rite Ruthenians, to become a member of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, according the formula suggested by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Therefore CCEE is now composed of the Presidents of the 33 Bishops’ Conferences present in Europe and the Archbishops of Luxembourg, of the Principality of Monaco, the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus, the Bishop of Chisinau (Republic of Moldova) and the Eparchial Bishop of Mukachevo. Also participating are the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Kazakhstan and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem with the status of permanent invitees. The Eparchy of Mukachevo (or Mukaceve) belongs of the Ruthenian “sui iuris” Metropolitan Church. Through the 1646 Union of Užhorod, the Ruthenian Church was united with the Catholic Church. The Eparchy of Mukacevo is immediately subject to the Holy See. His Lordship Mgr Milan Šašik, C.M., was born in Lehota, in the diocese of Nitra (Slovakia) on 17 September 1952.

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The Catholic Church in the Middle East

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 8 gennaio 2011

Following the work undertaken at the Special Assembly for the Middle East (10-24 October 2010), the annual visit to the Holy Land (Israel and Palestinian Territories) of a delegation of about thirty bishops and representatives from European and North American Bishops’ Conferences and church organisations will take place from 9-13 January 2011. The meeting is organised by the Co-ordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land and the Assembly of Catholic Bishops in the Holy Land (known by the abbreviation Holy Land Co-ordination: HLC 2011). This year, too, the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) is supporting the initiative and will be represented by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tiranë-Durrës, Mgr Rrok Mirdita, President of the Albanian Bishops’ Conference. The delegation will begin its meeting with a pilgrimage to the banks of the Jordan on Sunday 9 January, and a visit to the city of Jericho. Subsequently, in the course of their work, various themes will be tackled: daily ecumenism in Jerusalem; religious freedom in Israel and the Palestinian Territories; the works of the Bilateral Permanent Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel; inter-religious dialogue with Islam and Judaism; education towards dialogue in Israeli and Palestinian schools; charity: way of dialogue and witness; religious life in the Holy Land and pilgrims: instruments of peace and reconciliation. Each of the topics will be introduced by expert speakers. The days will be marked by numerous moments of prayer and meetings with local communities. The visit will end on Thursday 13 January in Jerusalem with a celebration at the Holy Sepulchre presided over by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Mgr Fouad Twal, and a News Conference. Participants include His Grace Mgr Antonio Franco, Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; and Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, O.F.M., Custodian of the Holy Land.

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