What the Holy See told the UN about outer space

Vatican City, Oct 20, 2015 / 03:43 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- When the United Nations met on Monday to discuss the peaceful uses of outer space, the Holy See chimed in by voicing its hopes for a more inclusive attitude in space exploration that would incorporate the good of all peoples, despite economic or social inequalities. “It is…of utmost importance that the opening of outer space for scientific and peaceful research be for the benefit of us all,” stated Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. “The Earth, the common home of the whole human family, is entrusted to us to be, as the Bible says, ‘cultivated’ and made ‘fruitful,’ with the responsibility to take care of it,” Archbishop Auza continued, saying that “the harmony of celestial bodies and their relationship with the Earth condition the rhythm of our life and even our daily activities.” Pointing to Pope Francis’ latest encyclical Laudato Si, Archbishop Auza called the Earth “a gift for the enjoyment of the whole of humanity.” He said the celestial activities in the universe affect everyone’s daily life, and should therefore be open to everyone’s benefit. Additionally, the archbishop called for an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space in order to help ensure fairness and safety in the use of outer space. The Vatican’s presence at the U.N. is under the delegation of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. This relationship allows the Holy See to comment and make statements at U.N. assemblies, although it may not vote.   On Oct.19, a U.N. General Assembly committee met to discuss “cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space,” where they deliberated over the various issues presented by space exploration and satellites. “Satellites render useful services both in our daily activities and in the long-term protection and care of our planet,” stated Archbishop Auza, saying that they are also “fundamental to timely responses to humanitarian crises and effective disaster management.” In addition to giving weather updates, satellites can also save lives by warning of impending storms, gather information to improve life on earth, and give indications of climatic changes. According to Archbishop Auza, the global usefulness of these technologies must be made accessible to all of humanity and not just the elite nations. The archbishop pointed to various obstacles surrounding universal access to outer space resources, such as the increasing capital costs of space exploration and the use of property rights for major discoveries or inventions. The Holy See also highlighted other concerns with outer space technology, saying that its benefits are in danger of exploitation, potentially causing chaos and disaster rather than working for the common good. “My delegation is concerned that outer space technology, designed to improve our lives and care for the planet, could be manipulated or attacked to cause chaos or even catastrophic disasters,” Archbishop Auza noted. “Any hostile action against satellite systems could severely affect emergency rescue services,” he continued. The archbishop suggested that all outer space activity should be checked with a universal code of conduct, so that the good that comes from satellite navigation and intergalactic exploration is not tainted. “States must work together to ensure that these benefits do not become yet another cause of increasing economic and social inequalities. They need to become a shared resource for the common good and contribute to sustainable development of the entire global community.” “My delegation hopes that the development of an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities will ensure a fairer and safer use of outer space,” said Archbishop Auza, voicing hope that future outer space exploration will share its riches with all of humanity. Photo credit: Vadim Sadovski via www.shutterstock.com Read more

Denver archbishop: Would German bishops side with Henry VIII or Thomas More?

Denver, Colo., Oct 20, 2015 / 11:59 am (CNA).- If divorced-and-remarried Catholics should receive communion, as Cardinal Walter Kasper and many of the German bishops suggest, does that mean St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher died for nothing? In hi… Read more

That notorious 2014 synod report? We got it an hour after the media did, cardinal says

Vatican City, Oct 20, 2015 / 10:26 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Wilfrid Napier says the highly controversial midterm report from last year’s synod gave weight to issues discussed by only “two or three” people, and was unseen by most synod fathers until after it hit mainstream media. He also alluded to an agenda in the writing of the final report from last year’s synod, which he was involved in drafting, saying that in the process some issues were once again “being pushed in a certain direction.” At an Oct. 20 press briefing, the cardinal was asked by a journalist if his recent endorsement of the book “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation of Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family” by journalist Edward Pentin was somehow in opposition to his assertion at the beginning of the briefing that the African bishops are “optimistic” about this year’s new methodology. In response, Cardinal Napier said that “I think the first thing to say is that there were certain individual items that were of concern at last synod, and one in particular was the presentation of the interim report as if it had come from the synod, as if it was part of the synod’s deliberation.” “That was not true because we received the document about an hour after you guys had received it in the media, and we only then started reading it,” he said.Controversy erupted during last year’s Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family when halfway through the midterm report was published, containing strikingly open language in regards to homosexuality and a penitential path to the sacraments for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community,” the document read, asking: “Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?” The question of homosexuality, it continued, “leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension.” The document, which served as a basis for last year’s final report, drew stark criticism from the majority of synod fathers, particularly during the small group sessions, with many calling for drastic changes to be made for the final report. Although the 62 paragraphs of the final report reflected some changes, including a clearer affirmation of Church teaching and doctrine on the debated issues, as well as more references to scripture, the only paragraphs not to receive the two-thirds majority in the voting process were those addressing the topics of homosexuality and communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. In his comments at the briefing, Cardinal Napier said that when last year’s midterm report was published, it was “already saying things which I know were only said in the hall by at the most two or three people,” and presenting them “as if they were the reflection of the synod.” “Now that certainly gives you the impression that the synod is being pushed in a certain direction,” he said, noting that he also served on the commission charged with drafting the final document, “and there were certain issues that once again, were being pushed in a certain direction.” “So in that sense that a particular ideology or agenda, whatever you would like to call it, seemed to have been in operation.” When asked about his involvement with a letter leaked last week that was sent to Pope Francis from 13 cardinals expressing concern for this year’s synod process, the cardinal said that it was a private letter between the cardinals and the Pope. The text of the letter as well as a list of 13 cardinal signatories, of whom Napier is said to be one,   were published by Vaticanista Sandro Magister Oct. 13. In it, the signatories expressed concern that this year’s Synod on the Family lacked the “openness and genuine collegiality” needed to accomplish its purpose. In the letter, dated Oct. 5, prelates allegedly addressed the Pope with the aim of alerting him to concerns that new procedures imposed on this year’s gathering, in contrast to previous synods, could hinder the participants in their responsibilities. Cardinal Napier didn’t comment specifically on his involvement in the letter, but said it was “written in the spirit of what Pope Francis had said at the beginning of last year’s synod when he said please speak openly and honestly, but listen with humility. And it was said to him in that spirit.” Pope Francis responded the next day, when, addressing the synod participants on the first day of discussion, he cautioned against “a hermeneutic of conspiracy” surrounding the gathering. “That made a huge difference then in the scale of confidence and of trust that the concerns had registered, they were being taken care of, and therefore from there on everyone was going to work in the synod with all they’ve got,” the cardinal said. “I think that’s what I’ve experienced, and that has been why I feel this synod takes up where that first week of the last one had left off, where we were all optimistic and looking forward to really working together on the issues as a team. The synod, he said, is moving forward in a spirit of “collegiality and synodality,” where participants are “walking together as colleagues in the direction of what’s best for the Church.” Others in attendance at Tuesday’s briefing were Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona and Cardinal Alberto Suarez Inda of Morelia, Mexico. Among the issues addressed by the panel were the unanimous call for a longer, more thorough marriage preparation process, the need to act more swiftly in declaring cases of marriage nullity, families who suffer due to organized crime, accompaniment of couples already married, cohabitation, single parent families, homosexuality, drug and alcohol addiction and child-headed households. Read more

How Benedict XVI played a special role in a Pope’s cause for sainthood

Vatican City, Oct 20, 2015 / 08:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On his path to beatification, John Paul I can count on a very special supporter: Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. Years ago, he was among those who witnessed the compilation of John Paul I’s ‘positio,’ the dossier of documents and testimonies that will determine the virtues of a candidate for sainthood.   That dossier has now been completed, Bishop Giuseppe Andrich of the Diocese of Belluno-Feltre announced Aug. 26. The bishop heads the native diocese of John Paul I. Cardinal Albino Luciani was elected Bishop of Rome Aug. 26, 1978, taking the name John Paul I. He died unexpectedly on Sep. 28, hardly a month later. John Paul I is still remembered each Aug. 26 in Canale d’Agordo, the small town in northeastern Italy where he was born. There, a Mass is celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of his election to the papacy. When Bishop Andrich announced the progress of John Paul I’s cause at the last commemorative Mass, he said the ‘positio’ included a testimony by Benedict XVI. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was among the witnesses for John Paul I’s cause of beatification when the diocesan procedure began in 2003. There are two steps for a cause of beatification before it is examined in Rome. A diocese or religious institute gathers testimony about the life and virtues of the Servant of God. The candidate’s public and private writings must be collected and examined. This documentary phase of the process can take many years, as it did in the case of John Paul I. In the meantime, Cardinal Ratzinger had been elected Bishop of Rome, as Benedict XVI. As a Pope, he was directly involved in the final decision for an eventual canonization. Therefore, he could no longer be included in the list of witnesses for John Paul I. The diocesan phase of the investigation ended in 2006. The Congregation for the Cause of Saints examined of the volumes of documentation and authorized the beginning of the so-called ‘Roman phase.’ In this step, the congregation commits the case to an official called a relator, who oversees the cause through the rest of the process and ensures the dossier is properly prepared.   Even this process can take years. In the same period that John Paul I’s cause advanced, Benedict XVI resigned, Feb. 14, 2013. He could once again be a witness in the cause of his predecessor. Stefania Falasca, a journalist and vice postulator of John Paul I’s cause of canonization, said that after Benedict XVI’s resignation the postulator again asked for his testimony in the case. The postulator of John Paul I’s beatification cause is Bishop Enrico dal Covolo, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University. Benedict XVI sent his testimony in written form. It is considered an “extra procedural” testimony, as it came when the diocesan phase had already concluded. After the positio is submitted, theologian consultants to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, together with the congregation’s Promoter of Faith, will vote on whether to approve the document for further consideration. If they approve, the members of the congregation then will give a decision. If they too approve, the cause for beatification will be referred to Pope Francis for approval. A miracle has already been attributed to the intercession of John Paul I: the 1992 healing of Giuseppe Denora, from the Diocese of Altamura-Gravina-Acquaviva delle Fonti. Denora was suddenly healed from a malignant stomach tumor after he sought the late Pope’s intercession. St. John Paul II declared his immediate predecessor a Servant of God on Nov. 23, 2003. If John Paul I’s cause advances, he will be given the title “Venerable.” Read more

Strengthen marriage with truth and mercy, Venezuela’s Cardinal Urosa tells synod

Vatican City, Oct 20, 2015 / 06:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Both truth and mercy can be found in consistent Catholic teaching on marriage, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas told the Synod of Bishops on Thursday. “United to Christ, who has overcome the world, the Church is called to maintain the splendor of truth even in difficult situations,” he said in his Oct. 15 intervention. “Mercy invites the sinner and it becomes forgiveness when one repents and changes one’s life. The prodigal son was greeted with an embrace from his father only when he returned home.” Cardinal Urosa said the synod “must indicate lines of action that strengthen marriage, making it more attractive to young people, and keeping it alive in the hearts of the spouses over time.” He said Catholic teaching provides mercy “to assist more effectively those in irregular situations to alleviate their moral suffering and to better live their Catholic faith.” “We are all driven by the desire to find a better solution to this painful situation. We must do it with the spirit of the Good Shepherd and the truth that sets us free,” he continued. The cardinal’s comments to the Synod of Bishops come amid continued debate over access to Communion for Catholics who have divorced-and-remarried civilly. The Church has taught, as in Familiaris consortio, that those persons are unable to be admitted to Communion because “their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist” and because “if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.” Cardinal Urosa stressed the need for repentance and the need for the synod to show “the strength and continuity” of Catholic teaching. He cited St. John Paul II’s 1981 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, and the 2007 ‘Aparecida document’ of the Fifth Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops. These all reaffirmed pastoral care for couples in an irregular situation, while acknowledging that they may not receive Communion. The Aparecida document was approved by then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who would be elected as Pope Francis in 2013. “Can we contradict those teachings?” Cardinal Urosa asked. The cardinal said the synod must work “in the light of the revealed truth and with eyes of mercy.” He said the synod is called “to reflect very clearly the teaching of the Gospel and of the Church through the centuries about the nature and dignity of Christian marriage” and to reflect “on the greatness of the Eucharist” and the need for those who receive Communion to be rightly disposed. Cardinal Urosa noted the synod’s working document discussions about providing a “penitential journey” for those who have divorced and remarried. He said this penitential journey should end in conversion and a firm decision for the penitent to amend his or her life and to live in continence. Please find below the full text of Cardinal Urosa’s Oct. 15 intervention at the synod:The Proposal of Admission to the Eucharist for the Divorced and Remarried I refer to numbers 121, 122, and 123 of the Instrumentum Laboris in which is considered the proposal for the acceptance to the table of the Eucharist – counting on  certain conditions been met, among them a penitential journey – or the divorced and remarried, yet maintaining the conjugal life . We are all driven by the desire to find a better solution to this painful situation. We must do it with the spirit of the Good Shepherd and the truth that sets us free. In the evangelical spirit of mercy, I think the penitential journey should conclude in conversion and the purpose of amendment and to live in continence, as taught in other words by Saint John Paul II in Familiaris consortio 84. I wonder: Can we forget the words of the Lord in the Gospel, Matthew 19, and the teaching of Saint Paul (Rom 7:2-3; 1 Cor 7:10; Eph 5:31) and of the Church over the centuries? Can we dismiss the teachings of John Paul II in his 1981 apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio? This document, published a year after the 1980 Synod on the Family, seriously considered and consulted by the Pope over many months of study and reflection, in communication with experts from various theological disciplines, clearly rule out this possibility (FC 84) . We also have the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992 with the traditional doctrine on the conditions for access to Communion and the Church’s teachings on sexual morality. (CCC 1650) We also have the Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of September 14, 1994, written specifically on this issue. Can we forget the concluding document of the Fifth Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops in Aparecida, which asks us: “Accompany with care, prudence and compassionate love, following the guidelines of the magisterium, couples who live together out of wedlock, bearing in mind that those who are divorced and remarried may not receive communion.” (n. 437) Can we contradict those teachings? Can we forget the very recent statement by Pope Benedict XVI in his 2007 apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis, reiterating the practice of the Church, rooted in Sacred Scripture (cf. Mk 10: 2-12) of not admitting to the sacraments the divorced and remarried, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and made present in the Eucharist? (n. 29) United to Christ, who has overcome the world (cf. Jn 16:33), the Church is called to maintain the splendor of truth even in difficult situations. Mercy invites the sinner and it becomes forgiveness when one repents and changes one’s life. The prodigal son was greeted with an embrace from his father only when he returned home. This Synod, without a doubt in the light of the revealed truth and with eyes of mercy, is called to reflect very clearly the teaching of the Gospel and of the Church through the centuries about the nature and dignity of Christian marriage, on the greatness of the Eucharist and on the need of having the necessary dispositions to be in union with God to be able to receive Holy Communion; on the need for penance, repentance and the firm purpose of amendment for the repentant sinner to be able to receive Divine forgiveness; and the strength and continuity of both dogmatic and moral truth of the ordinary and extraordinary Magisterium of the Church. It provides as well lights inspired by mercy to assist more effectively those in irregular situations to alleviate their moral suffering and to better live their Catholic faith. Furthermore, the Synod must indicate lines of action that strengthen marriage, making it more attractive to young people, and keeping it alive in the hearts of the spouses over time. In this matter it will provide Pope Francis with very important elements to promote an intense evangelization of the family, and a re-appreciation of the sacrament of marriage. Read more

How a ‘culture of distraction’ is keeping millennials from marrying

Washington D.C., Oct 20, 2015 / 03:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Consumerism. A culture of distraction. Fear of commitment. These are some of the factors driving today’s young people away from marriage, said a theologian reflecting on the words of Pope Francis in the U.S. “In short, the habits of life promoted by the culture prior to marriage scarcely help form in young people the habits needed for a life of marriage and family,” Dr. David L. Schindler told CNA in a recent interview. Dr. Schindler is the dean emeritus at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. “Young Catholics” are not immune to this “cultural trend wherein the time between ages 20 and 30 becomes a period when you graduate from college and get an apartment, and you live and you get to know people and have a lot of space for yourself,” he said. The problem with this trend is that when young people finally make up their minds to get married, they are not prepared for such a commitment, because “it makes all kinds of demands. It interrupts careers, for example,” Schindler noted. He referenced the words of Pope Francis, who warned Congress and the U.S. bishops during his visit to the United States last month that the culture is a key contributor to the phenomenon of young people choosing not to get married. In his Sept. 26 address to U.S. bishops in Philadelphia, Pope Francis stated that “we are living in a culture that pushes young people not to form families: some because they don’t have the material resources to realize a wedding, or a life together. But others just choose this because they think they’re better off this way – but that’s the temptation, to not lay a foundation, to not have a family.” He went on to say that in a society with more large retail stores and fewer small neighborhood shops, choices are more abundant but business and relationships have become more impersonal. With the rise of social media and virtual “friends” and “followers,” many suffer from “loneliness with fear of commitment in a limitless effort to feel recognized,” the Pope said. Living in this state, youth are thus “paralyzed” when faced with the prospect of marriage and put off their decision until conditions are “perfect.” “Meanwhile, life goes on, without really being lived to the full,” Francis added. “For knowledge of life’s true pleasures only comes as the fruit of a long-term, generous investment of our intelligence, enthusiasm and passion.” The problem Pope Francis was diagnosing takes multiple forms today, Dr. Schindler said. First, a “culture of distraction” hinders people from pursuing a deeper relationship with God through daily contemplative prayer – which is the most important thing a person can do, especially to combat the negative effects of this culture, he said. “We are greatly afflicted today with an activist Christianity that is increasingly enabled by our omnipresent technological devices,” he said. “The problem is that, if you’re not centered in the one thing necessary, which is the relationship to God,” he added, “then you end up searching for depth and for infinity of some sort, but it’s inevitably a bad infinity. It’s just one thing after another, instead of something that takes you into the true depth of reality.” Another false promise of today’s culture is that commitment is bad because it is by nature exclusive, depriving us of other choices, Schindler explained. Thus, “we have difficulty in saying ‘forever’.” However, he added, commitment “enables inclusivity of the right sort – an integrated inclusivity that enables reaching the depths and not merely the surfaces of love.” For example, an Olympic athlete or a professional musician has spent years perfecting his craft and saying no to many other distractions and commitments along the way. Only through limiting his options and saying “no” to many other good things could an artist or athlete become great, Schindler explained. In the same way, a couple can only achieve a deep love for each other through exclusivity, commitment, and sacrifice. “Marriage is about relationship and love and being present to other people in a way that takes time, involves sacrifice, and the like,” he said. Because many do not have deep relationships with God and others – which are “necessary” to our very being, Schindler said – there is a “poverty” here that is key to understanding Pope Francis when he talks about caring for the poor. “The people that really, truly, suffer the most in our culture and most need our assistance are the people that are without relation,” he said. These include unborn persons who are rejected by their parents, as well as those who lack a “coherent family.” Schindler also stressed that the effects of today’s culture don’t just reach young single people; they also affect even those who get married and have children. “In a word, the answer to consumerism is coherent relationships – and coherent means relationships where people don’t walk away when it gets difficult, where they’re in it with you forever,” he said. For many young people who are the children of divorced parents, this is a major problem. People approach marriage today as if they’re buying a house, Schindler said. Just like they might “upgrade” to a new house at the first opportunity, they may divorce and find another spouse they feel fits their needs better down the road. However, “the root reason why divorce is evil,” he continued, is because the child “is not merely metaphorically but truly the unity of the two spouses.” Thus if the spouses split and divorce, the child’s very identity is “split.” “The price children, and men and women, are paying for this in our culture today is unimaginable,” he said. And when couples do get married, many turn to contraception to prevent children or in-vitro fertilization to create them, Schindler continued. Both of these practices violate Church teaching, because they undermine children as a gift, treating them as an object or a product that one is entitled to when one feels that it will “fit” into their life plans. With all these problems and negative effects presented to us by a consumeristic culture, what is the best remedy for young Catholics? First and foremost, it is “daily prayer,” Schindler insisted, “by which I mean, especially in our culture, truly contemplative prayer” that is not self-centered, but rather silent “adoration and listening” before God. “You can’t reach God, who infinitely transcends us, without at the same time reaching into your own depths, which involves being quiet,” he said. “It’s not very glamorous to propose prayer,” he admitted. “But I think we need most to follow the saints. We don’t need more administration and more programs and the multiplication of websites and the multiplication of meetings. All those things may have their place, but they usually come at the expense of remaining mostly on the surface of things.” When you practice contemplative prayer, he said, “you think about things differently. You become more patient. Your dealings with people, what you expect out of life, all those things unfold differently.” In addition to prayer, young people need to personally encounter the witness of strong marriages and religious communities, which can inspire them to make commitments of their own, Schindler stressed. “Young people will get over their fear of commitment when they see and experience its being lived,” he said. “Whatever else we do, we must put before them an alternative that shows the beauty of a freedom that has said forever, that is being lived – above all in families and in consecrated life.” “We need to show them the beauty of local community, of the depth of joy that can come from ‘staying in place’ and not moving about so incessantly,” he said. Photo credit: Ivan Galashchuk via www.shutterstock.com Read more

Ghana’s bishops ask country to work for fair elections in 2016

Accra, Ghana, Oct 20, 2015 / 12:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Catholic bishops of Ghana have asked the country’s election commission to register all eligible voters and to work to ensure confidence in the accuracy of the voter registry. They als… Read more

Cardinal Pell: Catholic means universal, not continental

Vatican City, Oct 19, 2015 / 04:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a wide-ranging interview, Australia’s leading prelate affirmed his alliance with Pope Francis, and also stressed that, in a universal church, doctrine does not change from one country to the next. “You cannot have two people in the same situation with the same dispositions; one goes to Communion and it (is) a sacrilege and in the country next-door it is a cause of grace,” said Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Vatican secretariat for the economy, in an exclusive interview with CNA. “’Catholic’ means ‘universal,’ not ‘continental’,” he said. Although the former archbishop of Sydney did not mention the German bishops’ conference by name in Saturday’s interview, some members of that conference have stated they would pursue their own pastoral approaches regarding marriage and the family regardless of what the Synod decides. Speaking on his perceptions of the Synod on the Family, which has just entered its third and final week, the cardinal also put to rest claims that he is at odds with Pope Francis. The Pope is “a very good listener,” he said, adding that the two are on the same page when it comes to the protection of doctrine at the Synod. “One of my concerns is for doctrine, and the Pope has said the doctrine will not be touched. I am not a rebel or an opponent of the Pope,” Cardinal Pell said. The Australian prelate gave a good-humored response to the media buzz surrounding the letter to Pope Francis, a version of which was leaked Oct. 12, in which 13 cardinals allegedly expressed their concerns over the new Synod procedures. “I think one of the reasons was that there was not much excitement in the first week, and the press wanted some excitement,” he said, suggesting that the controversy surrounding the letter had been overblown. He explained that it is not unusual for a cardinal to write letters to the Pope, adding that he did not believe any of the 13 signatories were responsible for releasing the letter to the press. This year’s Synod on the Family, which runs from Oct. 4-25, is the second and larger of two such gatherings to take place in the course of a year. Like its 2014 precursor, the focus of the 2015 Synod of Bishops will be the family, this time with the theme: “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the modern world.” The full transcript of Cardinal Pell’s interview with CNA is below:What is your evaluation of this Synod at the beginning of the third week? Cardinal Pell: I think that we have worked hard at the Synod. We have made substantial progress. We are about to vote on the third part of the document. On the first two parts, on the overwhelming majority of issues, there was a very strong consensus.Are you still concerned about the methodology and about the commission in charge of writing document? Cardinal Pell: No, I think our concerns have been substantially addressed: the Holy Father said doctrine will not be touched; there will be a final document; we will vote on that document paragraph by paragraph. And, the Holy Father said there will be no manipulation.With regard to the voting: It will be just paragraph by paragraph, or will it also be for the full document? Cardinal Pell: I’m not quite sure. Now, I think just paragraph by paragraph.Turning to the letter signed by thirteen cardinals: Why do you think that this letter has created so many negative reactions? Cardinal Pell: I think one of the reasons was that there was not much excitement in the first week, and the press wanted some excitement. A big part of the cardinal`s duty is to write letters to the Pope. I’ve written quite a few letters to the popes over the years. Why was it leaked? I do not know. None of the thirteen signatories leaked it, I’m quite sure.You have been described by some as being opposed to the Pope? Is this the case? Cardinal Pell: Certainly not. I work very closely with the Pope. I help look after the finances. I’m a member of the C9 (Council of Nine Cardinals that advises the Pope). The Pope has asked for free discussion. He’s a very good listener. You can make your case to him and he will listen. And, the Pope lines up with me; one of my concerns is for doctrine, and the Pope has said the doctrine will not be touched. I am not a rebel or an opponent of the Pope.Would you say there an atmosphere of freedom in the Synod? Cardinal Pell: Yes, of course. Yes. People are able to speak what is in their minds and are doing that. We have the A group in English. We have a very good atmosphere, complete freedom to speak. We vote. There are clear divisions once in a while. But, it’s a mature, adult, Christian community and conversation.Coming as you do from the “peripheries” of Oceana — specifically Australia — what are your expectations of the Synod? Cardinal Pell: Whether it is the periphery of the world depends on where you start. We think our part of the world is the center, and perhaps in South America you do also. What do I expect? What I would like is a list of the best practice; examples from all around the world of strategies and practices that help the church. For example, in the Syro Malabar church so much of their family life over the years is celebrated with prayers in the family. Also, I think we need some clear teaching from the Synod, and then hopefully from the Holy Father, because there is some measure of confusion and we want to be clear about mercy and truth that lie at the heart of the Christian moral teaching, and Christian sacramental teaching, which have to be at the heart of family life.What were your thoughts after hearing what the Pope said (Saturday) morning? Cardinal Pell: I think the Pope said very little that was new. It was the 50th anniversary of the Synod. We often emphasize the deficiencies of the Synod, but the Synod is a wonderful invention. Universality of the church is on view with diversity of pastoral approaches. It was wonderful to hear the witness of the testimonies from the (laypersons). They were much more interesting, I think, than we bishops were. So, I think the Synod has basically been going well. There is this controversial issue of Communion for divorced and remarried or not, but what is important is to emphasize that doctrine is one; there are many theologies. So, you cannot say that in Germany they will believe in the Divinity of Christ and in Poland they will say Christ is not Divine. You cannot have two people in the same situation with the same dispositions; one goes to Communion and it (is) a sacrilege and in the country next-door it is a cause of grace. Cardinal Arinze said you cannot nationalize right and wrong. We have one creed, one baptismal formula, one faith. One God, one faith, one baptism. “Catholic” means “universal,” not “continental”. We are not ruled by synods. We are led by individual bishops and led by the Holy Father and the Holy Father (Saturday) morning emphasized the central role of the Successor of Peter. He emphasized, too, that he is the authentic guarantee of the tradition. We only can live and work within the tradition, the essentials of the tradition.   Read more

Archbishop Chaput: In Philly and in synod, support for Francis is obvious

Rome, Italy, Oct 19, 2015 / 09:38 am (CNA).- In an Oct. 19 interview, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that despite an implied assertion in America Magazine over the weekend, no synod father is an “opponent” of Pope Francis. “If the welcome we gave Pope Francis in Philadelphia last month looked like ‘opposition,’ people need a trip to a really good eye doctor,” the archbishop told CNA, adding that Pope Francis “has explicitly invited candor and open discussion.”   On Oct. 16, Archbishop Chaput published an article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “How to Read the Vatican Family Gathering.” Two days later, America Magazine ran an article referencing the “Pope’s Opponents” and cited Archbishop Chaput’s column. In addition to responding to that article, Archbishop Chaput also spoke at length during the CNA interview on pornography, calling it a “kind of cheap junk food” that is built on illusions and robs men and women of an authentic relationship. The full transcript of the interview with Archbishop Chaput is below:CNA:  During these weeks, one issue that synod fathers appear to voice increasing concern over is pornography. How big of a problem is this as it relates to the family? Pornography’s always been a problem. Ancient Rome was famous for it. Sex is powerful and fascinating, and people have always abused its appeal. But modern technologies make it a lot easier to access and much, much more widespread. It’s an epidemic; or more accurately a pandemic. Anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world can find all the porn he or she wants. And note that word “she.” Pornography used to be a largely male problem. Today, many women use it as well. Porn does huge damage to families. It isolates individual family members by creating private sexual obsessions. And it wrecks the intimacy between husbands and wives with notions of “perfect” sex that bear no relation to real human beings. It’s a terrible cheat. It steals the richness of a long term, mutually rewarding sexual friendship between husband and wife, and it substitutes a shabby replacement that can never really feed the human heart. By the way, porn also damages the larger family of the Church. The number of our Catholic clergy who struggle with this problem is very unsettling, and it has nothing to do with celibacy.  Married Protestant ministers and Jewish rabbis have the same issues.In Western secular media, the synod seems to have been reduced to the two issues of communion for divorced and civilly remarried, and Church teaching and pastoral care regarding homosexuality. If pornography is truly a global epidemic, would it stand to reason that it’s a more relevant topic to a synod on the family, versus the two aforementioned issues? There’s an old Roman saying that hard cases make bad law. In other words, sensible leaders make laws for the norm, informed by the ideal – not the exceptions. A synod on the family should logically focus first on intact families trying to live their Catholic faith, raise their children well, and deepen the love between husband and wife. These families – and we have many millions of them in my country — need support and encouragement from the Church. They also deserve some sincere gratitude and praise for their efforts. The divorced and civilly remarried, and persons with same-sex attraction, need the help of the Church as well. No one should diminish the importance of their needs. The cornerstone of the Church, though, is healthy families open to new life. If we neglect them, if we don’t make them our first priority, then we cripple the witness of the Church in the decades ahead.    The harm done to women via pornography — and its direct connection to human trafficking — is something that’s getting mainstream validation.  But we hear less about porn’s effect on men. What’s your view? Porn demeans the best in the male spirit. It addicts them to a kind of cheap junk food, when real women with minds and hearts, beliefs and hopes, are much more interesting. Happiness is built on reality, with all of its warts and joys — not on illusions. Pornography is nothing but illusions. Christian men are meant to have a little bit of knighthood in their hearts. The world makes fun of purity, but a clean heart and mind are the foundation of a man’s courage. And men who want to be what God intends them to be need courage, because their job is to provide, to protect, to teach by example, and to lead by putting the people they love before themselves. Pornography undermines all of that.  Do you find that other language groups are concerned about this issue? What do you hope the synod accomplishes in this regard? I don’t know enough bishops in other language groups to offer an opinion. And the synod has so much material to cover that pornography probably can’t be a significant focus. But I think all the synod fathers would see pornography as both a symptom and a contributing cause of many of today’s marital problems.Just two final questions:  First, in an interview with Cardinal Wuerl, America Magazine placed you in a list of the “Pope’s opponents.” Is that the case? If the welcome we gave Pope Francis in Philadelphia last month looked like “opposition,” people need a trip to a really good eye doctor.Second, what do you think would be at the base of such claim? The Holy Father wants a collegial environment for the Church. He has explicitly invited candor and open discussion. I believe he means what he says. It would be very strange for any bishop to doubt that; or for anyone to discourage or mischaracterize an honest difference of views among the synod fathers. That’s especially true as it applies to cardinals. One of their main jobs is to offer their best counsel to the Pope. So I suppose you need to ask America’s editors why they ran their story. The reason escapes me.   Read more

Archbishop Chaput rejects claim that he opposes Francis

Rome, Italy, Oct 19, 2015 / 09:04 am (CNA).- In an Oct. 19 interview, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that despite an implied assertion in America Magazine over the weekend, he is not an “opponent” of Pope Francis. “If the welcome we gave Pope Francis in Philadelphia last month looked like ‘opposition,’ people need a trip to a really good eye doctor,” the archbishop told CNA, adding that Pope Francis “has explicitly invited candor and open discussion.”   On Oct. 16, Archbishop Chaput published an article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “How to Read the Vatican Family Gathering.” Two days later, America Magazine ran an article referencing the “Pope’s Opponents” and cited Archbishop Chaput’s column. In addition to responding to that article, Archbishop Chaput also spoke at length during the CNA interview on pornography, calling it a “kind of cheap junk food” that is built on illusions and robs men and women of an authentic relationship. The full transcript of the interview with Archbishop Chaput is below:During these weeks, one issue that synod fathers appear to voice increasing concern over is pornography. How big of a problem is this as it relates to the family? Pornography’s always been a problem. Ancient Rome was famous for it. Sex is powerful and fascinating, and people have always abused its appeal. But modern technologies make it a lot easier to access and much, much more widespread. It’s an epidemic; or more accurately a pandemic. Anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world can find all the porn he or she wants. And note that word “she.” Pornography used to be a largely male problem. Today, many women use it as well. Porn does huge damage to families. It isolates individual family members by creating private sexual obsessions. And it wrecks the intimacy between husbands and wives with notions of “perfect” sex that bear no relation to real human beings. It’s a terrible cheat. It steals the richness of a long term, mutually rewarding sexual friendship between husband and wife, and it substitutes a shabby replacement that can never really feed the human heart. By the way, porn also damages the larger family of the Church. The number of our Catholic clergy who struggle with this problem is very unsettling, and it has nothing to do with celibacy.  Married Protestant ministers and Jewish rabbis have the same issues.In Western secular media, the synod seems to have been reduced to the two issues of communion for divorced and civilly remarried, and Church teaching and pastoral care regarding homosexuality. If pornography is truly a global epidemic, would it stand to reason that it’s a more relevant topic to a synod on the family, versus the two aforementioned issues? There’s an old Roman saying that hard cases make bad law. In other words, sensible leaders make laws for the norm, informed by the ideal – not the exceptions. A synod on the family should logically focus first on intact families trying to live their Catholic faith, raise their children well, and deepen the love between husband and wife. These families – and we have many millions of them in my country — need support and encouragement from the Church. They also deserve some sincere gratitude and praise for their efforts. The divorced and civilly remarried, and persons with same-sex attraction, need the help of the Church as well. No one should diminish the importance of their needs. The cornerstone of the Church, though, is healthy families open to new life. If we neglect them, if we don’t make them our first priority, then we cripple the witness of the Church in the decades ahead.    The harm done to women via pornography — and its direct connection to human trafficking — is something that’s getting mainstream validation.  But we hear less about porn’s effect on men. What’s your view? Porn demeans the best in the male spirit. It addicts them to a kind of cheap junk food, when real women with minds and hearts, beliefs and hopes, are much more interesting. Happiness is built on reality, with all of its warts and joys — not on illusions. Pornography is nothing but illusions. Christian men are meant to have a little bit of knighthood in their hearts. The world makes fun of purity, but a clean heart and mind are the foundation of a man’s courage. And men who want to be what God intends them to be need courage, because their job is to provide, to protect, to teach by example, and to lead by putting the people they love before themselves. Pornography undermines all of that.  Do you find that other language groups are concerned about this issue? What do you hope the synod accomplishes in this regard? I don’t know enough bishops in other language groups to offer an opinion. And the synod has so much material to cover that pornography probably can’t be a significant focus. But I think all the synod fathers would see pornography as both a symptom and a contributing cause of many of today’s marital problems.Just two final questions:  First, in an interview with Cardinal Wuerl, America Magazine placed you in a list of the “Pope’s opponents.” Is that the case? If the welcome we gave Pope Francis in Philadelphia last month looked like “opposition,” people need a trip to a really good eye doctor.Second, what do you think would be at the base of such claim? The Holy Father wants a collegial environment for the Church. He has explicitly invited candor and open discussion. I believe he means what he says. It would be very strange for any bishop to doubt that; or for anyone to discourage or mischaracterize an honest difference of views among the synod fathers. That’s especially true as it applies to cardinals. One of their main jobs is to offer their best counsel to the Pope. So I suppose you need to ask America’s editors why they ran their story. The reason escapes me.   Read more




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