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March 2, 2007

The Catholic News & Herald 1

Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte

Perspectives Shared similarities with Islam; discipleship and the Stations of the Cross

Established Jan. 12, 1972 by Pope Paul VI March 2, 2007

Fighting a ‘broken’ system

| Pages 14-15 Serving Catholics in Western North Carolina in the Diocese of Charlotte


no. 20

Welcoming the elect to the church

Catholic wrongly convicted devotes life to ending death penalty

Bishop Jugis celebrates Rite of Election


staff writer



CHARLOTTE — Over the past nine years, only seven people have converted to Catholicism at St. Joseph Church in Bryson City and its mission, Our Lady of Guadalupe. When the parish and mission come together at St. Joseph Church at the Easter Vigil April 7, they will welcome three new Catholics into the church, all members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. “Growing up, I always felt I was being drawn to the Catholic faith,” said Paxton Myers, one of St. Joseph Church’s candidates. When Myers told his brother, Barak Myers, that he planned to join the Catholic Church, Barak said he had also

catholic news service

CAMBRIDGE, Md. — If anyone has experienced sheer terror, it’s Kirk Bloodsworth. Tried and found guilty of the brutal 1984 rape and murder of 9-year-old Dawn Hamilton near Baltimore, the barrel-chested crabber from the Eastern Shore was sentenced to die in the gas chamber. Bloodsworth, a former Marine with no criminal record, had nothing to do with the crimes. He was wrongly convicted and later would become the first American on death row to be exonerated by DNA testing. But as he was led into the See PENALTY, page 7

The big squeeze Budget leaves poor, uninsured on the outside again by


catholic news service

WA S H I N G T O N — As Congress begins its deliberations over President George W. Bush’s fiscal year 2008 budget, you might think that decision-making power rests solely with the president See BUDGET, page 8


Photo by Karen A. Evans

Catechumens and their sponsors gather on the altar during the Rite of Election at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte Feb. 25.

See RITE, page 5

Debunking the discovery

Biblical scholars reject filmmakers’ claim about tomb of Jesus by

JUDITH SUDILOVSKY catholic news service

JERUSALEM — Catholic biblical scholars and an Israeli archaeologist rejected filmmakers’ claim that a tomb uncovered nearly 30 years ago in Jerusalem is the burial site of Jesus and his family. Dominican Father Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, a biblical archaeologist and expert in the New Testament at the French

Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem who was interviewed for the film two years ago, said he did not believe there was any truth to the claim. “It is a commercial ploy that all the media is playing into,” he told Catholic News Service Feb. 27. See TOMB, page 9

CNS photo by Mariana Salzberger, Israel Antiquities Authority via Reuters

A file photo shows a burial box found during excavations in Jerusalem. A Discovery Channel documentary suggests that several ancient burial boxes excavated 27 years ago in Jerusalem contained the remains of Jesus and his family.

Eggs and ethics

Culture Watch

In Our Schools

S.C. abbey defends treatment of laying hens

Book on mission challenges; film on monks and silence

Students sweep spelling, geography bees

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| Pages 12-13

March 2, 2007

2 The Catholic News & Herald


Current and upcoming topics from around the world to your own backyard

Pax Christi official: U.S. needs diplomats who know religion, Iran WA S H I N G T O N ( C N S ) — Diplomats who understand the religious sensibilities of Iran are needed to act as translators between Iranian and American officials to resolve peacefully the dispute over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, said the executive director of Pax Christi USA. “We have seen no evidence in this (U.S.) administration to practice any skilled” diplomacy, Dave Robinson said at a Feb. 26 press conference by U.S. Christian leaders who had returned from a weeklong trip to Iran. Pax Christi USA is affiliated with Pax Christi International, a Vaticanrecognized Catholic peace movement. Iranian society is “a deeply devoted society and culture” of Muslims, and the administration of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is “particularly pious,” Robinson said. U.S. President George W. Bush “doesn’t understand this language” of a country where religion and society are

Fast balls and faith

one, and diplomatic solutions can be lost in translation, Robinson said. The Iranian president “was much more comfortable talking with us as religious leaders.” Ahmadinejad said he wants to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, Iraq and resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but only if the dialogue is “under fair conditions” and Iran and the U.S. “engage as partners,” said Robinson. Robinson was the only Catholic member of the Christian delegation, the first American group that has met with an Iranian president in Iran since its 1979 revolution. The delegation included representatives of the Mennonite, Quaker, Episcopal and United Methodist churches. The delegation’s goal was to discuss important issues with Iranian officials while showing them that an American delegation can listen to their responses respectfully, Robinson said. The delegation met with Ahmadinejad for more than two hours on the final day of the trip.

CNS photo by Allen Fredrickson, Reuters

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Chris Capuano releases a pitch to a Cleveland Indians batter in the fifth inning during a game in Milwaukee in June 2006. Capuano, who graduated from St. Thomas School in West Springfield, Mass., before attending Cathedral High School in Springfield, said he values his Catholic education.

Education still a priority for standout baseball player WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (CNS) — Long before Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Chris Capuano reported to spring training this year he was doing his homework, working out and preparing for what he hopes will be another AllStar season. Capuano has always done his homework. The words “hard worker” and “intelligent” are often used to describe the 1996 valedictorian of Cathedral High School in Springfield. “My goal is to stay ahead of the pack and I always wanted to be one of the elite pitchers in the game. That’s what I shoot for and that’s what I think about in the off-season,” he said. This January, Capuano reached a new one-year contract with the Brewers for $3.25 million. However, money has not ruled his decisions when it comes to baseball. When the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted him in 1999, he agreed to sign if they would let him finish his senior year at Duke University in North Carolina. The Diamondback organization agreed and Capuano became a professional ballplayer with a major in economics and a minor in biological anthropology and anatomy. Capuano said he took science courses to have some “fun classes” in his schedule. He said education remains a priority for him. “If I had to stop playing ball today, I would certainly go back to school. I never minded being in school. If I had to do it right now, I’d go to an MBA (master of business administration) program,” he said. For now, Capuano is a student of baseball. He appreciates the fact that he is just one of 750 people in the world who

gets to play Major League Baseball. “Chris always had a great smile and a great attitude and a tremendous work ethic in the classroom,” said Anne Kellner, who taught him in honors pre-calculus and advanced placement calculus classes at Cathedral High. “He would always be willing to help other students and he would always make sure that he understood everything that was going on. I think the work ethic he had in academics also carried over to his athletic abilities,” she said. Capuano, who graduated from St. Thomas School in West Springfield before attending Cathedral High, said he values his Catholic education. “Growing up in Catholic schools, you had the faith aspect. It was nice to have that in the curriculum and it’s nice to balance out your life with that,” he said. “I just think, overall, the discipline aspect of it and the uniforms were good. I like the way both of those schools were structured and the way that they educated kids.” Capuano, who was an altar server at St. Thomas Church through high school, said he missed some Masses while in college but now has a deeper appreciation of his faith. “The more you grow up and the more things happen, then the more you fall back on your faith,” he said. Does he pray while pitching? Capuano said he tries not to ask much of God. “I try to say ‘thank you’ a lot. If I’m in a stadium and I’m looking around and there’s a ton of people or I’m real excited, I’ll just take a second and say, ‘If I die right now — thank you for everything because this is awesome,’” he said.

Diocesan planner ASHEVILLE VICARIATE ASHEVILLE — Speak the Truth in Love, a free series of classes addressing the Catholic Church’s teachings on life, love and marriage, meets at Basilica of St. Lawrence, 97 Haywood St. Classes will meet the third Saturday of each month, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The topic for March 17 will be “A Lesson in Demography.” For more information, call Nina at (828) 299-7618 or Helen at (828) 683-9001 or e-mail CHARLOTTE VICARIATE CHARLOTTE — St. Peter Church, 507 S. Tryon St. will have eucharistic adoration Fridays during Lent following the 7:30 a.m. Mass until 12 p.m. Benediction will follow with Mass at 12:10 p.m. and Stations of the Cross at 12:45 p.m. A sign-up book will be available in the church narthex. Call (803) 517-2600 with questions. CHARLOTTE — Father Ed Sheridan will be the celebrant at a Mass celebrating the gifts of those with mental retardation March 11 at 5 p.m. at St. Gabriel Church, 3016 Providence Rd. Parishioners and visitors with varying degrees of mental retardation will serve as musicians, lectors, greeters and ushers. For more information, contact Mary Kennedy, St. Gabriel disABILITY Ministry, at (704) 364-6964. CHARLOTTE — St. Matthew Blood Give-In Sunday will be March 11, 8 a.m.-1: 30 p.m. in the family room of the parish center, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy. Donors will be required to provide identification, such as a

driver license or Red Cross blood donor card. A sign-up table will be in the church narthex March 3-4. Appointments are encouraged and will be honored. Walk-ins are welcome, but will be taken as time permits. For more information, call the church office at (704) 543-7677. CHARLOTTE — Recharge with St. Peter Church’s weekday lunchtime spirituality program, 12-12:45 p.m. in the St. Peter’s Annex, 507 S. Tryon St. The program for March 15 will be “With Jesus in the Desert: Praying through Darkness into Light.” Bring your lunch, hear a short talk on spirituality and participate in a short prayer session — a great way to recharge during the workweek. Sessions are free and everyone is invited. For more information, call the church office at (704) 332-2901. CHARLOTTE — St. Matthew Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., will host a Christian Coffeehouse March 17, 7:30-9:30 p.m. in the Banquet Room of the New Life Center. Msgr. John McSweeney will speak on the Trinity. Single and married adults are invited for an evening of contemporary Christian music, food and fellowship. For more information, call Kathy Bartlett at (704) 400-2213. CHARLOTTE — The South Charlotte Cursillo movement welcomes all to join us for faith, fellowship, and food at our Weekend Ultreya in the family room of St. Matthew Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., March 18, 12-2 p.m. Lisa Wilson will give an inspirational talk on “Practicing Holiness in Everyday Life.” There will be a potluck lunch. Babysitting will be available with early reservations. For more information, call Paul Mitchell at (704) 841-9441. CHARLOTTE — The St. Matthew Columbiettes will be awarding a $1,000 scholarship in memory of Gene Marie Alfaro to a graduating high school

march 2, 2007 Volume 16 • Number 20

Publisher: Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis Editor: Kevin E. Murray Staff Writer: Karen A. Evans Graphic DESIGNER: Tim Faragher Advertising MANAGER: Cindi Feerick Secretary: Deborah Hiles 1123 South Church St., Charlotte, NC 28203 Mail: P.O. Box 37267, Charlotte, NC 28237 Phone: (704) 370-3333 FAX: (704) 370-3382 E-MAIL:

The Catholic News & Herald, USPC 007-393, is published by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, 1123 South Church St., Charlotte, NC 28203, 44 times a year, weekly except for Christmas week and Easter week and every two weeks during June, July and August for $15 per year for enrollees in parishes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte and $23 per year for all other subscribers. The Catholic News & Herald reserves the right to reject or cancel advertising for any reason deemed appropriate. We do not recommend or guarantee any product, service or benefit claimed by our advertisers. Second-class postage paid at Charlotte NC and other cities. POSTMASTER: Send address corrections to The Catholic News & Herald, P.O. Box 37267, Charlotte, NC 28237.

March 2, 2007

The Catholic News & Herald 3


Geographers use GPS to mark Italy’s Pope denounces trend toward prime meridian in Vatican Gardens ‘designer embryos’

Everyone needs point of reference, says archbishop VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Although the Global Positioning System has made meridians obsolete in mapmaking, a group of geographers used the GPS to mark the exact spot where the old prime meridian of Italy passed through the Vatican. Standing at the end of a technologically guaranteed straight line of flower pots, the geographers and Vatican officials dedicated a plaque marking the spot in the Vatican Gardens Feb. 23. A prime meridian is an arbitrarily determined line running around the globe from north to south; it is used to determine longitude as well as time zones. Although an international agreement was reached in 1880 recognizing the meridian in Greenwich, England, as the prime meridian, Italian government maps

continued to use the Italian prime until the 1940s. In 2004, a group of Italian geographers and historians began a project to commemorate the Italian meridian by marking it in the Vatican Gardens and in several parks around Rome. At the brief Vatican ceremony, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, head of the office governing Vatican City State, told the scholars, “Forgive me if I end by preaching, but I am just a priest and not a scientist.” The meridian may be obsolete, he said, but everyone needs a point of reference for his or her life’s journey. In Jesus, he said, “we have a star from which we can determine our meridian with certainty for a safe voyage.”

senior who will pursue a career in the nursing or health care field. The application deadline is April 10 and the scholarship will be awarded in May. For more information, call Diana Congdon at (704) 814-0624.

the first Wednesday of every month after the 5:30 p.m. Mass in the Family Life Center at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 299 Maple St. All those interested in promoting the sanctity of human life are invited to attend. For more information, contact Julie Tastinger at (828) 349-9813 or

GASTONIA VICARIATE BELMONT — Faithful Stewards of God’s Creation will take place in the McCarthy Spirituality Center 101 Mercy Dr., March 3, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The free conference will present church teaching on environmental justice, recent scientific findings, energy-saving ideas, air quality concerns in the Charlotte metro region and how to become more effective advocates. Call (704) 370-3228 by Feb. 26 to register and reserve a lunch. Sponsored by Catholic Social Service’s Office of Justice and Peace in partnership with the Sisters of Mercy NC Peace and Justice Team. For more information on this event, please visit GREENSBORO VICARIATE GREENSBORO — The Reemployment Support Group of St. Paul the Apostle Church will meet March 8, 7:30-9 p.m., in Room 8 of the Parish Life Center, 2715 Horse Pen Creek Rd. If you are currently out of work or looking to make a career change, join us for encouragement, support and informative topics to help you in your job search. For more information, call Colleen Assal at (336) 294-4696, ext. 226. SALISBURY VICARIATE SALISBURY — Our Lady Rosary Makers of Sacred Heart Church, 128 N. Fulton St., are making cord rosaries for the missions and the military. The group meets the first Tuesday of each month in the church office conference room, 10-11 a.m. For more information, call Cathy Yochim at (704) 636-6857 or Joan Kaczmarezyk at (704) 797-8405. SMOKY MOUNTAIN VICARIATE FRANKLIN — The Respect for Life group meets



WINSTON-SALEM VICARIATE KERNERSVILLE — Joseph Curran, a 9-yearold parishioner at Holy Cross Church, needs a bone marrow transplant. A Bone-Marrow Typing Drive will be at Holy Cross Church, 616 South Cherry St., March 10, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friends and family have raised some funds to cover the cost of the typing for those who cannot afford the $25 tax-deductible fee. Minorities will be typed free as the need for minority marrow is extremely high. For more information, go to or call Pattie Curran at (336) 423-8158 or Melanie Feeney-Lewis at (336) 869-5151.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI denounced the high-tech trend that encourages parents to seek the “perfect child” through genetic selection. In a speech Feb. 24 to more than 350 Catholic medical professionals, the pope said so-called “designer embryos” represent one of many contemporary attacks on human life. The attacks have increased to the point that the Christian conscience has been lulled, and even good people sometimes seem paralyzed in the face of collective social pressure against the right to life, he said. The pope listed a number of ways in which human life is threatened in poorer nations today, including pressure to legalize abortion, new forms of chemical abortion introduced under the pretext of “reproductive health,” and the continuing politics of demographic control. In richer countries, he said, biotechnological engineering aims to establish “subtle and extensive methods of eugenics in the obsessive search for the ‘perfect child,’ through artificial procreation and various forms of diagnosis that allow selection.” He said this kind of genetic selection is part of “a new wave of discrimination” aimed at the unborn. The pope did not name specific countries, but on the same day it was reported that the British government would allow scientists to genetically modify embryos for research purposes — which many see as a step closer to the

genetic breeding of babies. The also pope warned against increasing pressure to legalize euthanasia. In addition to such direct attacks on life, he said, efforts are multiplying to legalize “alternative” forms of cohabitation that are closed to procreation. “In these situations the conscience, at times overcome by the means of collective pressure, does not demonstrate sufficient vigilance about the seriousness of what is at stake,” he said. The Christian is called to mobilize continually against attacks on human life, because it is the most fundamental of all human rights, he said. That is why the formation of a true and correct conscience is such an essential task for parents, educators and pastors, he added. But he said conscience formation today is hindered in many ways, particularly by popular attitudes of tolerance that mistrust the very capacity of reason to perceive the truth. “Thus the conscience, which is an act of reason that aims at the truth of things, ceases to be a light and instead becomes a simple background on which the massmedia society projects contradictory images and impulses,” he said. In order to reawaken the conscience as an eloquent and clear voice, the pope said, the church needs to work at the family and parish level so that young people are educated in basic values and church teachings. Lay Catholics should know that, particularly on human life issues, they need to welcome the church’s teaching, he said.

‘Foundling Wheel’

WINSTON-SALEM — The Spirit of Assisi hosts a Wednesday Lunch & Speaker Series each Wednesday, 12:30-1:15 p.m., at the Fatima Chapel, 211 W. Third St. Rev. Timothy L. Auman, a secular Franciscan and the chaplain at Wake Forest University, will speak on “Simplicity: Relinquishing Our Hold on Our Possessions” at the March 7 program. The sacrament of reconciliation will be offered at 12 p.m. in the chapel. For more information and to RSVP, call Sister Kathy Ganiel at (336) 624-1971 or e-mail Walk-ins are welcome.

Is your parish or school sponsoring a free event open to the general public? Deadline for all submissions for the Diocesan Planner is 10 days prior to desired publication date (Fridays). Submit in writing to Karen A. Evans at or fax to (704) 370-3382.

Bishop Peter J. Jugis will participate in the following events:

March 3 — 12 p.m. Rite of Election Basilica of St. Lawrence, Asheville

March 10 – 11 a.m. Deacon recommitment Mass St. Patrick Cathedral, Charlotte

March 4 – 4 p.m. Rite of Election Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, High Point

March 11 – 12 p.m. Installation of Augustinian Father Ortega St. John Neumann Church, Charlotte

CNS photo by Tony Gentile, Reuters

Orderly Stefano Lorenzi demonstrates the use of a hatch to a heated crib which was used for the first time recently when an unwanted infant was left at Casilino hospital in Rome Feb. 26. Italy’s Family Affairs Minister Rosy Bindi says she wants every hospital in Italy to have a modern-day version of the medieval “foundling wheel,” where unwanted newborns were left at convents. CORRECTION

In the parish profile of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Cherokee (Nov. 10, 2006), it was stated that “of Guadalupe” developed from a mistranslation from Aztec to Spanish. However, the name “Guadalupe” came over from Spain to the New World. It was first used in conjunction with the Spanish devotion of Our Lady of Guadalupe based in Extremadura region of present-day Spain. Catholics devoted to the Spanish Guadalupe made her shrine a popular devotion and pilgrimage point starting in the early 1300s. The conquistador Hernan Cortes came from Extremadura. There are interesting parallels between the development of the devotions to both the Spanish and the Mexican Guadalupe.

4 The Catholic News & Herald

around the diocese

illuminating the mission

March 2, 2007

Birthday bash

Photo by Carole McGrotty

Participants at a retreat light candles as a symbol of bringing Christ’s light into the world during the closing Mass at St. Eugene Church in Asheville Feb. 13.

Parish retreat explores faith, leadership by

CAROLE McGROTTY correspondent

ASHEVILLE — Catholics in the Asheville area recently explored their ongoing mission. With inspiratio n al mes s ag e s often laced with humorous anecdotes, Franciscan Father Thomas Vigliotta captured participants’ attention during a three-day mission retreat at St. Eugene Church in Asheville Feb. 11-13. Father Vigliotta, campus minister at the Catholic Center at the University of Georgia, came to Asheville at the request of his friend, Father John Schneider, pastor of St. Eugene Church. Father Vigliotta conducts parish retreats throughout the Southeast. While in Asheville, Father Vigliotta said all people are on a mission of faith and are a part of a great movement through the generations. “We are parents of our children and children of our parents,” he said. “Gathering at Mass is something passed on to us by our parents. We have a mandate to pass it on to

the next generation.” The sacrament of reconciliation, said Father Vigliotta, moves us closer to God. “When we go to confession, God takes the offering of our lives and shapes us into an image of himself,” Father Vigliotta said. “Offer the things that go in your lives to God. The raw material of our lives is what makes us who we are.” The priest was impressed by the participants. “I picked up on the affection you hold for each other. You value each other’s friendship,” he told them. He said they are all called to leadership. Their children will watch how adults handle difficult times and learn from their example, he said. “Preach always and, if you have to, use words,” said Father Vigliotta. After the closing Mass, the church lights were turned out and participants held lit candles as a symbol of their ongoing mission. “Our mission is to bring God’s light into the world,” said Father Vigliotta. “Mass is ended. The mission always continues.”

Courtesy Photo

Peggy Smith (front, center), a longtime and active parishioner of St. Bernadette Church in Linville, is surrounded by family and friends, including Father Christopher Gober (right), pastor, who gathered in February to celebrate her 80th birthday. Smith’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren joined her for the surprise celebration, which included a Mass and reception.

March 2, 2007

from the cover

The Catholic News & Herald 5

Bishop Jugis celebrates Rite of Election in diocese RITE, from page 1

been considering converting. When the sons told their mother, Lawanda Myers, about their plans, she decided to become Catholic as well. “She didn’t want her sons going to a different church than she did,” Paxton Myers said. Joining the Masses The Myerses are among hundreds of fellow catechumens and candidates to be introduced to Bishop Peter J. Jugis during the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, held at three churches in the Diocese of Charlotte this Lenten season. “Lent is a time to draw even closer to Jesus,” said Bishop Jugis during his homily at the rite at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte Feb. 25. Each year, the Catholic Church welcomes tens of thousands of adults into full communion through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Nearly 800 of these neophytes, or new Catholics, join the church in the Diocese of Charlotte annually. RCIA is the rite in which adults undergo an intensive period of preparation to be baptized, confirmed and receive the

Eucharist. RCIA was restored by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s as the suitable way adults prepare to receive these sacraments. The rite of election consists of the official enrollment of the names of those unbaptized adults, or catechumens, who seek baptism at the Easter Vigil Mass. Adults who were baptized in other Christian faiths, or candidates, are also introduced to the bishop at this time. On March 3, catechumens and candidates from the eastern counties of the diocese will participate in the rite at the Basilica of St. Lawrence in Asheville. Parishes from the western counties will gather March 4 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High Point. A journey of faith The rite of election and call to continuing conversion is one of several steps along the journey, following a period of discernment and study of the Catholic faith. Before formally beginning the RCIA process, an inquirer considers his or her relationship with Jesus Christ and interest in joining the Catholic Church. This period is known as the period of evangelization and precatechumenate. After discerning their desire to join the Catholic Church, the inquirers may decide to continue the process and enter the period of the catechumenate, when

Photo by Karen A. Evans

Catechumens and their sponsors gather on the altar during the Rite of Election at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte Feb. 25. The Rite will be celebrates March 3 at the Basilica of St. Lawrence in Asheville and March 4 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High Point. they study the history and practice of Catholicism. This stage can last for a few months or for as long as several years. The third formal stage is the celebration of the sacraments of initiation, which occurs during the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. During the Mass, catechumens receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist, and the candidates are confirmed and receive the Eucharist. At this time, they become fully initiated members of the Catholic Church. Following initiation at the Vigil Mass, a final period of formation and education continues in the stage known as mystagogy. During this period, which lasts until Pentecost or later, the neophytes reflect on the events of the Easter Vigil Mass and continue to learn more about the Scriptures, the sacraments and the

teachings of the Catholic Church. In a continuing effort to reach out to the increasing number of Hispanics in the diocese, the Rite of Election was celebrated in both English and Spanish. The readings alternated between the two languages, and hymns were sung in both as well. Bishop Jugis completed his homily with a special welcome to the Hispanic participants in Spanish. “The conversion and transformation of neophytes is essentially the work of the Holy Spirit and our first response to this increase is one of gratitude to God,” said Cris Villapando, director of programs for diocesan faith formation. “This is not to undercut the value of the works of the more than 1,200 presenters and sponsors in the diocese who assisted in stoking the embers of faith in these ‘converts,’” he said.

6 The Catholic News & Herald

in the news

Ethics and eggs S.C. abbey says it meets, exceeds guidelines for treatment of laying hens by DEIRDRE C. MAYS catholic news service

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner has released a statement saying the Trappist order meets and exceeds guidelines for egg production in the United States. The statement came after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Feb. 20 accused the order of torturing its laying hens. On its Web site PETA posted a video of the abbey’s farm — taken without the monks’ knowledge — and accusations of mistreatment. The abbey does not need to defend itself against claims of inhumane treatment of its laying hens, according to Mary Jeffcoat, spokeswoman for the monastery. In a phone interview Feb. 22, she told The Catholic Miscellany, newspaper of the Charleston Diocese, that the accusation by PETA is puzzling. “Mepkin Abbey is a member of the United Egg Producers and the membership of that association accounts for over 80 percent of eggs produced in the United States,” Jeffcoat said. “Mepkin has been certified as following every single guideline established. I’m in a quandary as to why PETA would pick on one, small egg producer as opposed to a national organization,” she said. “Mepkin comes up to a minimum of national standards and, in some ways, goes beyond that. That’s why it’s puzzling to us as to why Mepkin is being singled out,” she said. National and local media have inundated the contemplative order, known locally for its active conservation efforts, for interviews. Jeffcoat said she has been asked by reporters if the abbey is going to enter into any discussions with PETA. “We are not interested in dialogue with people who stoop to those tactics

Abbot Stanislaus Gumula and who are not interested in dialogue,” she said. “Clearly, as Abbot Stan said in The New York Times, the monks do not believe they are abusing those birds, and we are not going to get into a debate about this in the media.” Jeffcoat was referring to a New York Times interview with Mepkin Abbot Stanislaus Gumula, who called the allegations “unfactual.” PETA stated on its Web site that “a

PETA investigator visited Mepkin Abbey in January 2007 to see if the flowery descriptions of the abbey’s ‘animal husbandry’ were accurate. “We were hoping that devout Christians would not inflict on birds the kind of abuse that the egg industry has become infamous for, such as cutting part of the beaks off hens and cramming birds into tiny wire cages, where — because they aren’t given any space to move around — their muscles waste away and their bones become weak.” In a Feb. 21 statement posted on the abbey’s Web site, www.mepkinabbey. org, Abbot Gumula said that PETA filmed some of the brothers at the abbey without the monastery’s knowledge or permission. The abbot said that Mepkin Abbey follows all the guidelines of the Scientific Advisory Committee and United Egg Producers. They cover cage space requirements, proper handling, transportation, molting practices, beak trimming and euthanasia. “It has always been Mepkin Abbey’s purpose to provide the healthiest environment for our chickens, to treat them as one of God’s precious creatures and to offer to consumers the best possible product for their health and enjoyment,” Abbot Gumula said

March 2, 2007

in the statement. “That is precisely why we moved to the cage arrangement over 30 years ago, and why we have continued with it to the present,” he said. “Cages provide hens protection from predators, soil-borne diseases and diseases that are caused from walking in litter or waste. We stand by our product and by the commitment we make to our customers as stated on the inner cover of our egg carton,” Abbot Gumula said. Jeffcoat said that the egg sales make up about 60 percent of the abbey’s annual earned income bringing in about $140,000 a year, which goes to support the monastery grounds and the monk’s daily needs. The money is also used for building expenses and making the property available to the public. The laying hens produce about 9 million eggs each year and the eggs are delivered to area grocery stores. The monks also operate a retreat program and gift shop and sell compost. Quoted in The New York Times, Abbot Gumula said, “This hurts so much. They’re happy chickens. They’re being treated nicely.” Deirdre Mays is editor of The Catholic Miscellany in the Diocese of Charleston, S.C.

March 2, 2007

from the cover

The Catholic News & Herald 7

Catholic wrongly convicted fights to end death penalty PENALTY, from page 1

Maryland State Penitentiary in Baltimore in 1985 no one believed his story — least of all the other prisoners. “We’re going to do to you what you did to that little girl,” they screamed. “We’re going to get you, Kirk!” Seated on the couch in the living room of his small home in Cambridge more than 20 years later, Bloodsworth said, “I remember that first night in my cell and the smell coming from this place. ... Not only did it stink of every kind of excrement you could think of, but you also could smell hatred — and it was all pointing at me.” Despite the strong temptation to despair, Bloodsworth said he decided he would fight to prove his innocence. He told The Catholic Review, Baltimore archdiocesan newspaper, that he believes God sustained him through nearly nine years of taxing prison life, sending him otherworldly consolations and leading him into the Catholic Church. With the same steely determination that got him through his prison ordeal, Bloodsworth is now devoting the rest of his life to abolishing the death penalty and seeking reforms of what he calls a

“broken” criminal justice system. He could get his wish in Maryland, where legislation has been introduced to substitute life in prison without parole as the maximum penalty for crimes currently punishable by death. Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he will sign such a law if it comes to his desk. Heavenly inspiration On the day he was found guilty, Bloodsworth said he remembers being housed in a Baltimore County holding cell with another man who sat in the shadows. For two hours, the stranger didn’t say a word as he ate a sandwich and sipped an orange drink. Then he turned to his fellow prisoner and told Bloodsworth not to worry. “Everything is going to be all right,” Bloodsworth recalled the man saying. “You’ll be OK.” Summoned back to the courtroom, Bloodsworth heard the guilty verdict and was taken back to the holding cell. He said the man was gone and only half the sandwich remained. When he asked the sheriff’s deputy where the “other guy” was, the deputy responded that Bloodsworth had been the only person in the cell. Looking back, Bloodsworth thinks he was visited by an angel. “Maybe I wanted to see something

CNS photo by Owen Sweeney III, Catholic Review

Kirk Bloodsworth speaks during a press conference in Annapolis, Md., in late January about state legislation to replace the death penalty with prison sentences of life without parole. Bloodsworth was wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of a 9-year- old Rosedale, Md., girl in 1985, but in 1993 DNA evidence exonerated him. Since then he has devoted his life to ending the death penalty. — I don’t know. But I tell you what, he was as real as you are,” he told a Catholic Review reporter. Bloodsworth was raised in the Baptist and Methodist traditions. In prison he began deep theological discussions with Deacon Al Rose, the Catholic prison chaplain. The more he learned, the more he wanted to become a Catholic. At Easter time in 1989, thenAuxiliary Bishop John H. Ricard of Baltimore visited Bloodsworth at Deacon Rose’s invitation. The guard would not let Bishop Ricard enter the cell, so he had to administer the sacraments of confirmation and the Eucharist through the bars of the closed cell door. Asked what it was like to receive Communion for the first time, Bloodsworth smiled. “Oh, it was an honor,” he said. “I felt clean. I felt accepted.” When DNA testing proved Bloodsworth’s innocence in 1993, he was released and pardoned and was paid $300,000 in compensation for wrongful imprisonment — the accumulated salary the state said he would have earned as a waterman. Bloodsworth said he still had to endure the suspicions of many who believed he had gotten off on a technicality — until 2003 when the DNA from the crime scene was identified as that of Kimberly Shay Ruffner, a man who had been previously charged with sexually assaulting children.

Ruffner subsequently pleaded guilty to the Dawn Hamilton murder and is serving a life sentence. “I tell you the difference between the day before they found who really did it and day after was like I had just won the World Series for the town of Cambridge,” said Bloodsworth. “Everyone treated me completely different.” Bloodsworth has become an outspoken advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. He recently went to Annapolis to speak in support of the pending bill that would abolish capital punishment in Maryland. Working for the Justice Project, a Washington-based organization that pushes for criminal justice reform, Bloodsworth lobbied for the passage of the federal Innocence Protection Act, which was signed into law in 2004. The act established the Kirk Bloodsworth Post-Conviction DNA Testing Program, through which the U.S. government helps states defray the costs of such DNA testing. “We need to do post-conviction testing to find out if there are other innocent people on death row before we start throwing switches,” said Bloodsworth, pointing out that since 1973, more than 150 people have been wrongfully convicted and later freed from prison based on DNA evidence. “If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone,” he said.

8 The Catholic News & Herald

from the cover

Budget leaves poor, uninsured on the outside BUDGET, from page 1

who proposed it and the representatives and senators who will approve it. But many of the most critical decisions were made long ago, by members of Congress who could be long dead, according to Eugene Steuerle, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington and a consultant to the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Policy. Those earlier senators and representatives made “promises in law that now we can’t fulfill,” Steuerle told Catholic News Service Feb. 21. And for today’s politicians who want to be known for giving their constituents more and keeping taxes low, “it’s very, very hard politically” to make the tough decisions that are needed, he said. More than half of Bush’s proposed $2.9 trillion budget goes to Social Security (21 percent); Medicare and other health programs (22 percent); and income security programs such as retirement and disability payments to federal employees, unemployment compensation and housing and nutrition assistance programs (10 percent). Most of those expenditures were fixed by earlier legislation and are mandatory. Add to that the 9 percent of the total budget that must go to pay interest on the deficit and the 21 percent allocated to defense programs, and there’s not much left for education, social services, jobs programs, transportation, services to veterans and other needs. “The squeeze is on now” as mandatory spending increases and discretionary spending drops, Steuerle said. “And in 10 years there’ll be nothing left over” for discretionary spending because the mandatory outlays will exceed what the government is taking in. “It makes no more sense to commit future economic resources than it would be to decide today where to station troops until the next millennium,” Steuerle said in testimony before the Senate Budget Committee a few days before Bush’s

budget was made public in early February. “Only major systemic reform can restore a normal democratic process,” he added. “Each generation must regain the right to decide spending and tax priorities based on the nation’s current needs, not on past anticipation.” The budget proposal drew strong criticism from the presidents of the Catholic Health Association and Catholic Charities USA, who mourned what they said were missed opportunities to improve the plight of the poor and the uninsured. “The president’s new budget hurts those living in poverty at a time when we should be doing even more to help the most vulnerable among us,” said Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. “America needs to strengthen vital social service programs to help those in need, not weaken those programs.” Father Snyder said the “most alarming cuts” would reduce housing assistance to the elderly and disabled, drop approximately 300,000 people in working families with children from the Food Stamp program, cut block grants to states for community services that aid the poor and sharply reduce the amount available to help low-income people pay their home heating costs.

The budget also proposes cutting more than $100 billion from Medicaid, Medicare and other health programs over the next five years. Those cuts “will impact some of the most vulnerable Americans, including seniors, low-income children and the

March 2, 2007

disabled,” Father Snyder said. Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is CHA president and CEO, said the budget proposals “simply do not rise to the challenge of helping to improve our nation’s health care system.” “It is particularly disappointing that the administration did not take advantage of the required reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program this year to propose measures to expand the program to the nearly 9 million children who remain uninsured,” she said in a statement. “Given the focus on SCHIP, as well as the glaring moral failure of allowing any child in our nation to go without access to health care, the Catholic health ministry strongly believes that today we enjoy a unique opportunity to make coverage for all children a priority and a reality.” Sister Keehan also said the proposed cuts to Medicaid and Medicare “would only hinder the ability of hospitals to care for low-income and other vulnerable populations.” “Balancing the budget is a notable and worthwhile goal,” she said. “But as a reflection of our nation’s values and priorities, no budget should be based on sacrifices from those least able to afford them, nor should it squander the real opportunity we have at this time to expand access to health care.”

Low cabin prices guaranteed through March 16th!

March 2, 2007

from the cover

Scholars reject filmmakers’ claim about tomb of Jesus TOMB, from page 1

Amos Kloner, an Israeli archaeologist who wrote the original excavation report on the site for the predecessor of the Israel Antiquities Authority, called the claim “nonsense.” “In their movie they are billing it as ‘never before reported information,’ but it is not new. I published all the details in the Antiqot journal in 1996, and I didn’t say it was the tomb of Jesus’ family,” said Kloner, now a professor of archaeology at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University. “I think it is very unserious work. I do scholarly work ... based on other studies,” he said. To r o n t o f i l m m a k e r S i m c h a Jacobovici and Oscar-winning Canadian director James Cameron announced at a press conference in New York City Feb. 26 that by using new technology and DNA studies they have determined that among the 10 ossuaries — burial boxes used in biblical times to house the bones of the dead — found in the cave by Kloner in 1980 are those of Jesus, his brothers, Mary, another Mary whom they believe is Mary Magdalene, and “Judah, son of Jesus.” The documentary film by Jacobovici and Cameron is to be aired on the Discovery Channel March 4 and in Canada March 6 on Vision TV. A book on the topic, written by Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino, is to

go on sale Feb. 27. Father Murphy-O’Connor said the names found on the ossuaries “are a combination of very common names.” “Fifty percent of all Jewish women in the first century were called either Mary or Salome. It doesn’t mean much at all,” he said. “You can prove anything with statistics.” The DNA tests could “only prove that they are human” but “certainly did not prove” any familial connection, he said. Kloner had written about the findings a decade ago, but nobody had been interested. According to press reports, the filmmakers said they had worked on the project with world-renowned scientists, including DNA specialists, archaeologists and statisticians. They said the ossuaries were not identified as belonging to Jesus’ family when they were first discovered because the archaeologists at the time did not have the knowledge and scientific tools that now exist. But Kloner noted that Jesus’ family was from Galilee and had no ties to Jerusalem, casting serious doubt that they would have had a burial cave in Jerusalem. He added that the names on the ossuaries were common during that time and their discovery in the same cave is purely coincidental. He said the tomb belonged to a middle- or upper-middle-class Jewish family during the first century and the cave

CNS photo by Amos Kloner, Israel Antiquities Authority via Reuters

A black-and-white file photo released Feb. 23 shows the entrance to a 2,000-year-old burial cave in Jerusalem. A Discovery Channel documentary suggests that several ancient burial boxes excavated 27 years ago in Jerusalem contained the remains of Jesus and his family. was in use for 70-100 years by the family. Other books, films and articles about the tomb, including a full-page feature in London’s The Sunday Times, a British Broadcasting Corp. documentary film and a book called “The Jesus Dynasty” by James D. Tabor, have been published and produced on the topic in the years since the tomb’s discovery. At the New York press conference, Jacobovici said he thought the so-called “James ossuary,” purported by its owner, Oded Golan, to have belonged to James, the brother of Jesus, was also from the tomb, and he cited a forensic technique used to determine this. He did not mention that in 2003 the Israel Antiquities Authority declared the inscription on the James ossuary a

The Catholic News & Herald 9

forgery or that Golan is currently on trial for forging part of the inscription. Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, a biblical scholar and head of Toronto’s Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, said this latest film shows that “selfproclaimed experts” have learned nothing from the James ossuary incident. “One would think that we learned some powerful lessons from the media hype surrounding the James ossuary several years ago, and how important public institutions like the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum of Toronto) were duped in their hosting such fraudulent works,” he said. Father Rosica said: “Why did the socalled archaeologists of this latest scoop wait 27 years before doing anything about the discovery? James Cameron is far better off making movies about the Titanic rather than dabbling in areas of religious history of which he knows nothing.” A spokeswoman for the Israel Antiquities Authority said two of the ossuaries had been loaned to the filmmakers for their press conference as is customary for such requests for exhibiting antiquities as long as certain conditions are met. The loan was made in the name of freedom of expression and creativity, she said, and did not mean the authority supported their claims. She said one of the Mary ossuaries has been on display for many years at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum; the Judah ossuary is on display in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; two ossuaries are currently with the filmmakers; and the other six are in the authority’s warehouse just outside Jerusalem. Contributing to this story was Joseph Sinasac in Toronto.

March 2, 2007

10 The Catholic News & Herald

Culture Watch

A roundup of Scripture, readings, films and more

‘A wonderful tool’

U.S. church official says cardinal’s book outlines mission challenges

WASHINGTON (CNS) — A book by a retired Vatican cardinal gives insights into the Catholic Church’s missionary work in today’s changing world, said Msgr. John E. Kozar, national director of the pontifical missionary societies in the United States. It tells how the church has become a trustworthy institution for many people in poor countries, describes the greater sharing of church workers between mission countries and Western countries, and how the church relates to Islam in countries both religions regard as mission territory, he said. “On Missionary Roads,” was written by retired Cardinal Jozef Tomko. The Slovak cardinal reflects on his travels and experiences from 1985 to 2001 when he was head of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the church agency overseeing missionary work. The cardinal wrote that he took more than 100 trips to countries during his 16 years in office because of the need for “direct contact with the people and workers” in mission areas. “It was not enough to consider the enormous questions and problems of competency and responsibility from behind a desk,” the cardinal added. Msgr. Kozar, in a Feb. 23 telephone interview, called the book “a wonderful tool to teach, educate and motivate people to become missionaries.” The book also teaches all Catholics “to accept the responsibility that they are missionaries themselves” and are called to help evangelize even if they never travel abroad, said Msgr. Kozar. A missionary is a sign of the universal church and its willingness to reach out to people with prayers and also with material support, given that missionary work traditionally has been done in impoverished countries, he said. This willingness to share spiritual and material benefits resonates with people who are often “between a rock and a hard place” and used to being deceived by their political leaders, Msgr. Kozar said. The cardinal wrote in the book that globalization is also influencing missionary work. “Mission is no longer from the West to other countries; it travels in all directions,” he said. M s g r. K o z a r c a l l e d t h i s a

“reconfiguring” of the church’s workforce as part of an “ongoing process of Pentecost.” This can be seen in the United States, where many priests are arriving from Africa, Asia and Latin America because of the vocations shortage in this country, he said. The reconfiguration is also a sign of success in evangelizing mission countries, he said, noting that the two largest Catholic seminaries, with regard to population, are in Indonesia. The cardinal’s book also mentions that a “peaceful coexistence” has been possible with “a tolerant Islam” in mission lands as the church fights to defend the rights of Christians. “Fundamentalism is a limited slice of religions often exploited for political ends,” said Cardinal Tomko. Msgr. Kozar said that while some African countries have adopted Islamic laws and placed limits on Christians, these have been exceptions and motivated by political reasons. Islamic and Catholic leaders are “generally good partners” and “try to be brotherly, outside of the few that are radicalizing Islam,” he said. He agreed with the cardinal that evangelizing China is the next great challenge to the church. Msgr. Kozar said that after decades of communist rule there will be “a great thirst” for spiritual values. The pontifical missionary societies unite four church agencies involved in mission education and fundraising. It operates under the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.


Sunday Scripture Readings: march 2, 2007

March 11, Third Sunday of Lent Cycle C Readings: 1) Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15 Psalm 103:1-4, 6-8, 11 2) 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12 3) Gospel: Luke 13:1-9

God is at work all around us by BEVERLY CORZINE catholic news service

Occasionally, the Lord has a way of placing a person or situation in our lives that provides us with a new perspective or sends us in a new direction. At the Easter Vigil we watch women, men and teenagers drenched in the waters of baptism. Who or what gave the nudge that brought them to our church, we might wonder. Perhaps a Catholic friend said, “How about coming to church with me next Sunday?” I’ve known other stories too: At funerals a tearful adult grandchild reveals to close family and relative strangers what a talented loving person her aged grandparent really was. The person who had just passed left an indelible mark on the speaker’s heart. A man I know obviously has been enormously successful in business, but what I did not know until I had an unexpected conversation with him, is how hard his childhood was.

I now understand his devotion to volunteering. He has never forgotten how it felt to be sad and alone. Before he investigates the bush burning in his path, Moses has been a prince of Egypt, discovered he is the son of slaves, murdered an Egyptian, escaped his would-be captors, become a shepherd for Jethro, the priest of Midian, and married his daughter. In the grand scheme of his life, Moses’ heroic adventures are just beginning as he leads his father-in-law’s flock across the desert toward Horeb. The task of safely shepherding animals across unyielding desert terrain pales in comparison to the role he will soon play in salvation history when he leads the Israelites out of Egypt. However, before any of these events occur, Moses will be enveloped in the mystery of the God of Creation, the God of Moses’ ancestors, the God who says, “Tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you.” The ancient one who reveals the mysterious name I AM to Moses so many millennia ago still speaks to the human heart. The opportunities for encountering the holy are innumerable. My grandfather used to say: “Beverly, there are burning bushes everywhere. All you have to do is take the time to investigate.” Questions: Who or what, recently, has directed your consciousness to God’s presence? What new perspectives in your faith life have you gained from these encounters?

WEEKLY SCRIPTURE Scripture for the week of March 4-10 Sunday (Second Sunday of Lent), Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18, Philippians 3:17-4:1, Luke 9:2836; Monday (Lenten Weekday), Daniel 9:4-10, Luke 6:36-38; Tuesday (Lenten Weekday), Isaiah 1:10, 16-20, Matthew 23:1-12; Wednesday (Lenten Weekday, Sts. Perpetua and Felicity), Jeremiah 18:18-20, Matthew 20:17-28; Thursday (St. John of God), Jeremiah 17:5-10, Luke 16:19-31; Friday (Lenten Weekday, St. Frances of Rome), Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28, Matthew 21:33-43, 45-56; Saturday (Lenten Weekday), Micah 7:14-15, 18-20, Luke 15:1-3, 11-32. Scripture for the week of March 11-17 Sunday (Third Sunday of Lent), Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15, 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12, Luke 13:1-9; Monday (Lenten Weekday), 2 Kings 5:1-15, Luke 4:24-30; Tuesday (Lenten Weekday), Daniel 3:25, 34-43, Matthew 18:21-35; Wednesday (Lenten Weekday), Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9, Matthew 5:17-19; Thursday (Lenten Weekday), Jeremiah 7:23-38, Luke 11:14-23; Friday (Lenten Weekday), Hosea 14:2-10, Mark 12:28-34; Saturday (Lenten Weekday, St. Patrick), Hosea 6:1-6, Luke 18:9-14.

The Catholic News & Herald 11

March 2, 2007

Documentary filmmaker says monks showed him a new side of Catholicism by MARK PATTISON catholic news service

WASHINGTON — If you accept the maxim that the Catholic Church thinks in terms of centuries, then documentary filmmaker Philip Groning’s dealings with a Carthusian monastery in France moved at lightning speed. Groning first approached the monks in 1984 with the idea of filming a

documentary about their life in community. He got a reply saying the request had come “too early,” and that perhaps in “10 or 13 years” the monastery would be ready. Eventually, 16 years would pass before Groning got word that the monks were ready to discuss the possibility. “The question I asked myself was, ‘Does this project still fit in with my

life?’” Groning told Catholic News Service Feb. 7 on his way to his native Germany after doing some pre-release publicity for the film, “Into Great Silence.” He added, “I reread the outline from 1984 and I thought, ‘This is a fantastic outline.’” Groning said he was born and raised Catholic, but that he “had a big problem

with that when I was growing up. One of the reasons I made the film was to understand where I came from and get reattached to the religion that I left. And in a certain way, I did.” Asked to explain, Groning said his Catholic upbringing in the 1960s was “very much about guilt and sin and confession. In the monastery, very much of the other side showed. ... “It’s all about divine grace, divine providence, about completely trusting God, completely trusting that God will lead you,” Groning said. “This is a side of Catholicism I had not lived when I was a child. The religion was not as dark as I had thought. ... Being a Christian is a joyful thing.” Groning adopted the lifestyle of the Carthusians. They take a vow of neartotal silence — hence the film’s title — at their monastery in the French Alps, Le Grande Chartreuse. He filmed there for six months over three separate trips. He was his film’s director, writer, producer, executive producer, cinematographer, sound editor and composer, although most of the music is Latin chant sung by the monks. Despite the vow of silence, “Into Great Silence” is hardly a silent movie. The ringing of bells, the shuffling of feet, even the ambient sounds of nature all can be heard with great clarity. “When it’s so quiet, you hear sounds you don’t usually hear. ... You don’t hear the water dripping that way, or if you do you couldn’t record it,” Groning told CNS. “In the monastery you can hear every event separately.” The absence of words also means there are few characters to follow in the 169-minute movie. The few who are distinct are two novices, one of whom is from Africa, who are welcomed into the monastery — the ritual, with words in French, is included — and an elderly blind monk interviewed near the movie’s end who speaks about life, the end of life and his own life. Groning said it was “a very deliberate choice” on his part not to focus on anyone in particular. “It’s clear that if you follow one person along, you don’t drift into the plot,” he said. “Into Great Silence” has proven quite popular in France. It got its U.S. premiere Feb. 28 in New York City, with prints of the film fanning out throughout the country later in the year. “Out of the revenues I have for the film, half of the revenues will be going to charity,” Groning said. “If people crowd to see this film as they did in France, they go not because they love the film (but because) they love the life of the monks.” To keep all the money for himself, therefore, “would go completely against the lives and the morals of the Carthusian order,” he added. “I think it’s important for viewers to know the monastery is not a monastery as a dark and encumbered place,” Groning said. “That’s not true. It’s a place of great inner liberty, great inner strength. “They are not hiding. They are not suppressed. They are not getting away from the world. ... I am glad that people get that (message) out of the film,” he said.

12 The Catholic News & Herald

March 2, 2007

in our schools

Super spellers

Classifieds Classified ads bring results! Over 135,000 readers! Over 50,000 homes! Rates: $.70/word per issue ($14 minimum per issue) Deadline: 12 noon Wednesday, 9 days before publication How to order: Ads may be E-mailed to, faxed to (704) 370-3382 or mailed to: Cindi Feerick, The Catholic News & Herald, 1123 S. Church St., Charlotte, NC 28203. Payment: For information, call (704) 370-3332.

Courtesy Photo

Jeff Varner, anchor and reporter for Fox8 WGHP, stands with spelling bee finalists from St. Pius X School in Winston-Salem who participated in the Guilford County Independent School Spelling Bee, held at the Piedmont School in High Point Feb. 13. Varner moderated the spelling bee. Pictured are Jackson Hamrick, Brian Clarke, Varner and Miranda Cecil. Jackson, 13, came in second in the competition, which was open to third- through eighthgraders.

Courtesy Photo

Winners of the spelling bee at St. Michael School in Gastonia are pictured in the school gymnasium, where the bee was held Feb. 22. First place went to seventh-grader Nicole Rivera-Wilson (seated left); runner-up was sixth-grader Jite Sido (seated right). Also pictured are the classroom winners: (standing, from left) third-grader Michael Caulfield, fifth-grader Brooke Maddie, eighth-grader James Collier and fourth-grader Preston Marisiddaiah. Nicole will go on to compete against students from other Gaston County schools in the Gaston Gazette Spelling Bee to be held at Gaston College March 15.

March 2, 2007

in our schools

Girmay tackles geography

Student wins first place in state Beta Club competition GASTONIA — Zachy Girmay, an eighth-grade student at St. Michael School in Gastonia, recently won top honors in a geography competition, part of the 15th annual North Carolina Junior Beta Club state convention in Greensboro Feb. 5-6. During the convention, students participated in workshops, general sessions, and scholastic and artistic competitions. Zachy, who took first place in the geography competition, is eligible to compete in the national competition to be held in Washington, D.C. The National Beta Club promotes character, develops leadership skills, encourages service involvement, recognizes achievement and provides technological advantages to students in grades 5-12.

The Catholic News & Herald 13

A gathering of winners

Courtesy Photo

Zachy Girmay, an eighth-grade student at St. Michael School in Gastonia, won first place in the geography competition at the annual North Carolina Junior Beta Club state convention in Greensboro Feb. 5-6. Courtesy Photo


Do you have a story to share with The Catholic News & Herald? Do you know of people who are living the tenets of their Catholic faith? Do you have photos of a parish- or ministry-based event? If so, please share them with us for publication in your diocesan newspaper. Contact Staff Writer Karen A. Evans at (704) 370-3354 or e-mail

Karen Graves (right), social studies teacher, is pictured with the fourth-througheighth-grade classroom winners who competed in a geography bee at St. Pius X School in Winston-Salem Jan. 11. Pictured are (front row, from left) firstplace winner Patrick Boyd, runner-up Marty DeFrancesco, Lauren Watson, (back row, from left) Adrienne Hooper, Ginger Barry, Brittany Simpson, Sophia Pavone, Carly Kreber, Naveed Foroudi and Graves.

March 2, 2007

14 The Catholic News & Herald


A collection of columns, editorials and viewpoints

What you need is trust Faith, joy dispel fear, doubt

“Fear is useless, what you need is trust”(Mk 5:36). The Christian message tells us to trust Jesus more and not to be afraid. It is so easy to get caught in fear. The Lord instructs us to be more trusting of his love. This doesn’t mean we will be entirely free of worry. There is real, objective danger out there. Fear was a constant companion of the saints, but they did not give in to it. Even Jesus was terrified at times. His agony in the garden reminds us of his vulnerability. However, Jesus and all the saints prayed to the Father for peace, joy and strength. Dorothy Day, who is now being considered for canonization, tells of a time when she and a friend were coming from Mass. Suddenly objects came whizzing past their ears. At first Day thought they were snowballs, but when another one flew past her friend Judith Gregory cried out, “That was meant for us.” They were targeted with hard-boiled eggs. Afraid to turn back for fear they would be hit in the face, they walked faster. When she arrived home, Day wrote in her diary: “I should have been delighted, as Charles de Foucauld was when he was pelted in the streets of Nazareth, but my feeling was one of fear. I’m glad because it helps me to understand the fear that is eating at the hearts of the people in the world today. “No one is safe. We are no longer protected by the oceans separating us from the rest of the world.” The important thing is that Day prayed to be delivered from her fear just as Jesus did that fateful night in the garden. She prayed specifically for the love that casts out fear.

Misleading info on environmental issues It is ironic a reference to malaria is made by Dan Misleh of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change in “Winds of Change” (Feb. 23). Maybe you should take the time to research Mr. Misleh’s statement on malaria so that you may begin to understand the environmental movement and its real intent. Malaria was almost wiped off the face of the earth until environmentalists saw the power they could wield by placing blame on human activity for things that occur naturally. With the thinning bird egg shells and other bad science reports, people such as Charles Wurster, chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund (an activist group that led the charge against banning DichloroDiphenyl-Trichloroethain (DDT), a pesticide used to prevent deaths from malaria), said, “If the environmentalists

Spirituality for Today FATHER JOHN CATOIR cns columnist

Here again are her words, “I pray to grow in the love of God and man, and to live by this charity. ... We must love our enemy ... not because we fear him but because God loves him.” People accused Dorothy Day of being crazy because of her faithfulness to the Gospel. Her logic was strange to them, but it was always obedient to the words of Jesus. When she felt fear she immediately turned to the Lord and prayed for protection. Then she prayed for the grace to love her assailants. She lacked feelings of love for them, but she prayed for the grace to love them anyway. Her loyalty was to the Lord, not to her feelings. When the Lord asks us to love our enemies, he means it literally, knowing that we cannot do it without supernatural help. It takes great mental discipline to obey Jesus. Pray for the grace and the will power to manage your fears successfully. Even though the Scriptures tell us that love casts out fear, we don’t know how to do it very well. But love and joy are two sides of the same coin. Joy can cast out fear as well. That’s why joyful thoughts help to dispel fear. The experience of God’s love can be found in a joyful spirit.

Letters to the Editor win on DDT, they will achieve a level of authority they have never had before. In a sense, much more is at stake than DDT” (Seattle Times, October 5, 1969). Since DDT was banned in 1972, millions of people have died from malaria, mostly in Third World countries. There is no doubt these deaths would not have occurred if DDT was still in use. The facts seem to take a back seat when the environment is discussed. Why don’t you take the time to look at the temperatures of the earth over the last 5,000 years or so. It is amazing what you will see when you look at the big picture and not just a small snapshot that tells only part of the story. The theory that humans cause climate change is only a theory and has no scientific experiments to back it up. — Joel Raines Spartanburg S.C.

What the pope got right about Islam

Removing disdain for God, sacred is way to common ground President Bush proclaims that Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Not everyone agrees, however, that Sept. 11 and Iraq should be conflated. But let us take the president at his word. If he is right, we are now in the sixth year of war. Do we — even at this late date — have a grasp of what provokes the enemy? America has a pervasive influence on world culture. It is not always an influence for the good. In a new book (“The Enemy at Home”), Dinesh D’Souza makes the case that we show our worst side to the world through motion pictures and television programs. With Oscars and Golden Globes, we lionize and export portrayals of America that are saturated with violence, lust and hate. There is little regard for the welfare of others or the stewardship of the natural environment. Most of us want to believe that this is not the real America, but D’Souza argues that the self-distortion is enough to set off the trip wire of radical Islam. D’Souza’s point is an interesting one, but his thesis is marred by partisan finger-pointing. In reality there is enough blame to go around for abortion, no-fault divorce and support for gay marriage. D’Souza also understates more proximate irritants such as U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and past or present American support for Muslim fanatics, including at one time Osama Bin Laden himself. Nevertheless, D’Souza is definitely on to something when he points out that the authentic Christian or Jew in America has more in common with a traditional Islamist than meets the eye. The real credit for this insight goes to Pope Benedict XVI, who in a series of dialogues has been proposing a way for Islam to coexist in peace with America and the rest of the world. In 2004, well before his elevation to the papacy, then-Cardinal Ratzinger observed: “It has been said that we must not speak of God in the European Constitution because we must not offend Muslims and the faithful of other religions. The opposite is true. What offends Muslims and the faithful of other religions is

With all the media attention over so-called “global warming” as evidenced by Joseph Purello (“The virtuous life and the call to stewardship of creation,” Feb. 23), I find it ironic that Milwaukee is experiencing below-zero temperatures as indicated in the photo of the statue of Jesus that appears to be shivering (“Shivering statue?” Feb. 23). The earth’s climate has changed in a cyclical manner throughout its history. To suggest that man is the primary cause of global warming is ludicrous.  — Holly Demick Huntersville

Faith & Precedent DOUGLAS W. KMIEC cns columnist

not talking about God or our Christian roots, but rather the disdain for God and the sacred. [This disdain] ... expresses the arrogance of diminished, reduced reason, which provokes fundamentalist reactions.” The pope admires Islam’s certainty of faith, which disavows the kind of cultural relativism depicted over and over again in American media. Such relativism is a denial of the truth of the human person as a transcendent being with significant duties as well as rights. In this regard, Hollywood is not the only villain. Millions of abortions and astronomical rates of divorce are tragic realities, not merely celluloid fictions. At the same time, as the pope’s lecture last September in Regensburg, Germany, demonstrated, he is uncompromising in identifying Islam’s weakness: an unwillingness to unambiguously renounce violence. In this, the pope might well agree with President Bush that the violence occurring in Iraq is indeed part and parcel of the same cause that lay beneath Sept. 11: namely, from the Muslim perspective, a desire to suppress the morally repugnant depictions (or unfortunate realities) of America through a coerced Islamization of society. President Bush has chosen to meet force with force. The way forward charted by the pope is different. Pope Benedict proposes that America and the West engage Islam not in military battle or even as a theological “clash of civilizations,” but on the common ground of created humanity. For America, this includes both disavowing R-rated portrayals of Western culture as more interested in vice than virtue and then acting in a way that genuinely reaffirms certain truths held self-evident.

Write a Letter to the Editor We ask that letters be originals of 250 words or less, pertain to recent newspaper content or Catholic issues, and be in good taste. To be considered for publication, each letter must include the name, address and daytime phone number of the writer. Letters may be condensed due to space limitations and edited for clarity, style and factual accuracy. Submitted items become the property of the newspaper and are subject to reuse, in whole or in part, in print and electronic formats. Send letters to Letters to the Editor, The C a t h o l i c N e w s & H e r a l d , P. O . B o x 37267, Charlotte, N.C. 28237, or e-mail

March 2, 2007

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The Blessing Book Life and all its everyday gifts are to be embraced, treasured A friend of mine went through a crisis when her child experienced an episode of mental illness. It was a tough time for the whole family. She was a longtime friend and a woman I knew to be a person of abiding faith, so it wasn’t surprising when she told me one of the things that had helped her the most during her time of trouble. She kept a little notebook by her bedside. It was her “Blessing Book,” and each night before going to bed she would record the blessings she had been given that day. She was always able to find gifts even, and sometimes especially, in the hardest day. Her blessing book ended up being a blessing to me. Every day carries with many chances to encounter God and to learn more about our own life and its purpose. The journey is worthy of reflection, and what better time to do it than at the end of the day? For years I’ve been interested in the spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola. The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius, who founded the Jesuit order, have experienced great popularity in the last few years. Many books have been written about

how ordinary people can benefit from the exercises, learning to be “contemplatives in action” and “people for others.” One thing Ignatian spirituality stresses is the idea of an “examen.” An examen is an examination of our day, often done at the end of the day before bedtime. I found the examen a hard concept to embrace because I thought of it as an examination of conscience, and that brought up the idea of sin and guilt. I have a tough enough time going to sleep at night without trying to recall all the things I regretted doing during the day. My husband’s head hits the pillow and I hear him begin to snore quietly within seconds. I lie awake for half an hour replaying the events of my day as if I’m watching a tennis match in my head. So I shied away from the “examen.” Until a spiritual director explained to me that the whole idea of an examen at night wasn’t to see where I had gone wrong during the day. Rather, it was to see where God had been in my life during the day. Ah — a change of focus. It’s not all about me. It’s about God — God present in every moment of my day.

Discipleship and the Stations of the Cross

Lent is a way to pray, renew our commitment to Jesus I was fairly well along in years — about age 60, I guess — when I received a letter from an elderly nun who said I would not know her, but that she remembered seeing me as a young child. She was writing from Camilla Hall, the retirement community and assistedliving facility for the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters in suburban Philadelphia. What prompted her to write, she said, was that she had seen my photograph and name in print occasionally, reminding her of the days when she was a very young nun assigned to teach in the parochial school of the parish where I lived. The parish church (Immaculate Conception in the Germantown section of Philadelphia) was large and architecturally impressive, she reminded me. She recalled seeing my mother, a young widow with two pre-school toddlers in hand (my older brother and me), making the Stations of the Cross there. Those were the Depression years. Religious faith was strong in our neighborhood, but economic insecurity was widespread. Some neighbors lost their homes. Others had difficulty paying bills. Some few had trouble putting food on the table.

But neighborhood life was positive, even happy, due in no small measure to our vibrant Vincentian parish with its excellent parochial school. The point this retired sister wanted to make with me was that she drew strength as a young nun in meeting her commitment to a religious vocation by simply seeing my mother make the Stations of the Cross. Lent is a time when many renew their commitment to discipleship by retracing the Way of the Cross, not in order to be seen by others — although there is something to be said for that — but simply to impress upon themselves the meaning of discipleship and the importance of the words, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23). Last summer I gave a youth retreat to about 75 high school boys and girls in Bethel, Alaska. We had talks and liturgies in the parish church, and discussions and games in the parish hall. I wanted to encourage the teens to walk with the Lord in prayer as he made his Way of the Cross, but I noticed that the Stations were mounted high on the side walls of the church, certainly out of

For the Journey EFFIE CALDAROLA cns columnist

Keeping a marriage together The Human Side FATHER EUGENE HEMRICK

Sometimes in looking at where we most experienced God we may recognize a time when we didn’t respond to God as we should have or weren’t open to the Christ we met in others. But mostly we experience gratitude to God through the examen and a deeper understanding of the mystery of faith in our lives. So now, thanks in part to my friend, I have a “Blessing Book” and a pen by my bedside. Some nights I have a lot to write: the sweetness of a child’s embrace; the kindness of someone going out of her way to tell me I’ve done a good job; a husband’s joke over the phone; a long-distance call from a child in college to say he did well on a test; sunshine glittering on snow. Sometimes I have to dig a little deeper for the blessing. What is the gift, the lesson, in an elderly mother moving to a new, harder stage of Alzheimer’s? But my blessing book reminds me that all is gift. And if my friend could find blessings during her struggle, I can too.

Looking Around JESUIT FATHER WILLIAM J. BYRON cns columnist

reach and practically out of sight of the youths. I suggested to the pastor that he might consider lowering them to a shoulder-high level where those making a prayerful walk within the walls of the church could see the path that Jesus took, look into the faces of those who accompanied him, friend and foe alike, and resolve to follow him more closely on their own walk through life. In Houston, Texas, on the campus of the University of St. Thomas there is a beautiful chapel with unusual Stations of the Cross. They are all indentations or insets on a side wall. The figures are, in effect, scooped out of the wall; only the impressions remain to guide the devotion of those who pause to pray. Lent is in its own devotional way a pause to pray. I hope mine will be a pause that renews my commitment to discipleship. And that, I think, is something I can surely say I learned from my mother, although she never spelled it out in words.

cns columnist

Marriage and family life are under pressure. In the United States, 51 percent of women reported in 2005 that they live without a spouse, according to the New York Times. Several years ago, working with the family institute at Jesuit-run Creighton University, we studied the benefits of living together as a family and learned that: 1. Cohabitation unions tend to be short-lived, with half of them ending within a year. 2. Being married tends to make couples live longer. 3. Stable family life leads to better education, higher household income and often a better chance of children entering into a happy relationship themselves. 4. Accepting the decline of marriage as inevitable means giving up on far too many of our children. Sometimes separation and civil divorce occur because couples need to protect their mental, spiritual and/or physical life; these couples measure a conclusion that they weren’t meant for each other against the pain of staying together. Having passed the halfway mark in broken marriages, however, the question arises, “Is this an irreversible trend and if so, what needs to be accomplished to reverse it?” Marriage is not only an intimate relationship with another but requires a lifetime of adjustment to each other and especially to the pressures of society and raising children. To keep marriages together, couples need to cultivate a new asceticism that strengthens them in the practice of making reality checks. The first reality check is to accept that they need to work diligently against new forces that blur the wholesomeness of marriage. Their entertainment world has accepted the decline of marriage, turning infidelity, divorce, separation and same-sex marriage into entertainment. Couples need to be aware that if they passively accept this false reality, it can harm the reality they are striving to live. A second reality check involves moving beyond cosmetic, superficial appearances that the advertising world exalts to a realization that marriage is about two unique human beings. It is about understanding the unique significance of another very significant person. The words “I do” in the marriage ceremony are a beginning — just the start of knowing what it means to make this kind of commitment to the other as a human being. The love in marriage is beautiful, no doubt about it. But couples would do well to keep aware of what marriage really means and what a spouse is.

March 2, 2007


The Catholic News & Herald 16

March 2, 2007  

Catholic News Herald - Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina. The official newspaper of the Diocese of Charlotte...

March 2, 2007  

Catholic News Herald - Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina. The official newspaper of the Diocese of Charlotte...