May 29, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 1
Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte
Perspectives Examining Obama’s Notre Dame speech; overcoming struggles; good living
Established Jan. 12, 1972 by Pope Paul VI MAy 29, 2009
| Pages 14-15 Serving Catholics in Western North Carolina in the Diocese of Charlotte
Catholic scientists debunk ‘Angels & Demons’ depiction of science, faith clash
Ministry reaches out to families of babies with Down syndrome
by MARIA WIERING catholic news service
KATIE MOORE staff writer
CHARLOTTE — A local chapter of a support group for women and families who are dealing with difficult pregnancies is expanding their program to reach out to mothers of unborn babies who are diagnosed with Down syndrome. Elizabeth Ministry is an international outreach designed to support women and their families during the joys and sorrows of the childbearing years. In the past, one of the primary services of Elizabeth Ministry has been providing CNS photo by Chris Helgren, Reuters
See DOWN, page 9
Students, parishioners share prayers, faith through program by
KATHLEEN HEALY SCHMIEDER correspondent
HENDERSONVILLE — For the fifth year in a row, Immaculata School teacher Mary Ashbrook paired her eighth-grade students with anonymous “spiritual sponsors” See SPONSORS, page 12
Faith, fact and fiction
Dispelling the ‘fear of the unknown’ by
Marble sculptures of angels are seen on the Sant’Angelo bridge in Rome May 1. The bridge plays a part in novelist Dan Brown’s book “Angels & Demons,” which was adapted to a film that premiered in Rome May 4 at a theater a mile away from Vatican City.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A bomb. A secret sect of antiCatholic scientists. A church straddling ancient traditions and the modern world. Although the plot of “Angels & Demons” is a hunt for centuries-old clues that could lead to a hidden explosive set to blow apart Vatican City, a recurring theme in the movie revolves around the relationship between faith and science. According to the movie, which opened in theaters May 15, the two have been at odds since the springtime of science and today they continue to see themselves in antagonistic and sometimes See DEBUNK, page 5
Focusing on the identity of Christ
High school youths gather for diocesan conference by
KATIE MOORE staff writer
RIDGECREST — Youths from across the Diocese of Charlotte recently gathered to grow in faith and reflect on the challenges of their baptismal promises. Approximately 300 youths and adults took part in the 32nd annual Diocesan Youth Conference (DYC) at
Ridgecrest Conference Center in Ridgecrest April 24-26. The theme, “Born Identity: From Him, Through Him, For Him,” reminded the youths that through baptism they are born into the mission of Christ. The retreat also challenged them to seek and spread the truth to all. “DYC was a successful expression and reflection of the See DYC, page 6
Youths participate in an activity during a concert by a member of the performing duo Smallfish at the Diocesan Youth Conference in Ridgecrest April 25.
Around the Diocese
N.C. bishops and public policy; local events
Book on JFK; Vatican and Internet evangelization
U.S. seminarians finish second in soccer match
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May 29, 2009
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Current and upcoming topics from around the world to your own backyard
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Speaking on behalf of his fellow Catholic bishops in California, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton praised the California Supreme Court for upholding the voters’ affirmation of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, but expressed disappointment that the court permitted an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples to remain legally married. The May 26 ruling of the high court upheld the constitutionality of the state’s Proposition 8 declaring that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” but said the voters’ decision could not be applied retroactively to those who married before the initiative was passed. Bishop Blaire said he and his fellow bishops “are strongly committed to protecting the dignity and worth of every human person” and supported “the intent of law to provide equal protection for all.” “However, such purpose does not have to trump the natural and traditional
CNS photo by George P. Matysek Jr., Catholic Review
Mary Ellen Heibel, a parishioner of St. Mary Church n Annapolis, Md., sits next to a statue of Blessed Francis X. Seelos at her parish. Heibel believes her cancer was cured through Blessed Seelos’ intercession.
Baltimore Archdiocese investigates possible miracle in Seelos cause BALTIMORE (CNS) — Go home and prepare to die. That’s what Mary Ellen Heibel’s doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical C e n t e r i n Wa s h i n g t o n t o l d h e r May 11, 2004, after they discovered that the cancer that had attacked Heibel’s esophagus in 2003 and then a lymph node later that year had spread throughout her body. Given about six months to live, the longtime parishioner of St. Mary Church in Annapolis underwent a new form of chemotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore as a palliative treatment to extend her life. But doctors warned it would only postpone the inevitable. At the suggestion of a Pittsburgh priest, Heibel began praying a novena in 2005 to Blessed Francis X. Seelos, a 19th-century Redemptorist pastor of her parish who died of yellow fever in 1867 in New Orleans. One week after she began the novena at her parish, Heibel’s cancer disappeared. Gone were tumors in both lungs, her liver, back and sternum. When Dr. Michael Gibson, her doctor at Johns Hopkins, called with the news, Heibel couldn’t believe it. “I was just so excited. I called everyone,” the 71-year-old mother of four remembered. “I never thought in a million years this would happen.” Told by her doctors that the unexplained healing could not be the result of her chemotherapy, Heibel is convinced that Blessed Seelos interceded on her behalf. “I know this had to be a miracle,” she said. Archdiocesan officials are currently
Bishop praises court for affirming voters’ right to define marriage
investigating whether Heibel might just be right. Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien opened an archdiocesan inquiry into the alleged healing with a May 19 Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. The archbishop also appointed a group to investigate the case and listen to testimony from Heibel, Gibson and other witnesses. The commission’s findings will be sent to Father Antonio Marrazzo, Redemptorist postulator general in Rome, who will then take them to the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes. If the healing is deemed miraculous, Blessed Seelos could be canonized by Pope Benedict XVI. Redemptorist Father John Kingsbury, pastor of St. Mary Church, said the possible healing is a “major breakthrough” in the canonization effort. Two miracles that occur after death are generally needed for a sainthood candidate to be canonized. Acceptance of a first miracle through the intercession of the German-born Redemptorist led to his beatification by Pope John Paul II in 2000. The confirmed miracle was the cure of a Louisiana woman whose complete recovery from inoperable liver cancer in 1966 could not be explained by her doctors. The miracle needed for canonization could be the Heibel case. “We’re very happy that the archbishop has opened the investigation,” Father Kingsbury said. “I’m glad Mary Ellen was healed no matter what — and, if it’s (Blessed) Seelos and it helps his cause, it would be wonderful.”
Diocesan planner For more events taking place in the Diocese of Charlotte, visit www.charlottediocese. org/calendarofevents-cn. CHARLOTTE VICARIATE CHARLOTTE — A summer study on Women in Church History will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 6828 Old Reid Rd., Wednesdays June 3-July 29 at 10 a.m. (no study July 15). The program will be led by Barbara Reagan, retired high school and college history professor with more than 36 years of experience. For more information, call Aida Tamayo at (704) 554-1622. CHARLOTTE — A Blood Give-In will be held June 14 in the St. Matthew Parish Center Family Room, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sign-up in the church narthex following weekend Masses, May 30-31 and June 6-7. Participants will need to bring a picture ID. Appointments will be honored, walk-ins will be accepted as time permits. For more information, call the church office at (704) 543-7677. CHARLOTTE — Christians in Career Transition is a ministry devoted to helping people in career crisis. The group meets the first and third Monday of each month, 7-9 p.m., in room 132 of the New Life Center at St. Matthew Church, 8015 Ballantyne
definition of marriage between a man and a woman,” he added in a May 26 statement. “The law has found other ways to regulate civil unions without destroying the traditional understanding of marriage. We believe — as do the majority of Californians — that marriage between a man and a woman is foundational to our culture and crucial for human perpetuity.” In a Nov. 4, 2008, vote, 52 percent of the state’s electorate approved Proposition 8. The majority decision drew immediate praise from the Campaign to Protect Marriage, a coalition that had included the state’s Catholic bishops and other Catholic groups. But organizations that had opposed Proposition 8 said they would work to repeal the measure through a ballot initiative in 2010. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine.
Commons Pkwy. For more information, call Deacon Jim Hamrlik at (704) 543-7677, ext. 1040; or Jack Rueckel at (704) 341-8449 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. CHARLOTTE — An Evening of Recollection for Men, conducted by a priest of Opus Dei, will be held in the daily Mass chapel at St. Matthew Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., June 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. A priest will be available to hear confessions beginning at 6:30 p.m. Opus Dei is a personal prelature of the Catholic Church, which aims to help people find God in their everyday lives. For more information, contact Joe Ignacio at (704) 7527155, or e-mail email@example.com. CHARLOTTE — A Morning of Recollection for Women, conducted by a priest of Opus Dei, will be held in the daily Mass chapel at St. Matthew Church, 8015 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., June 6, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mass will be celebrated at 12 p.m. The priest is available for confessions starting at 9:30 a.m. Opus Dei is a personal prelature of the Catholic Church, that aims to help people find God in their everyday lives. For more information, contact Remy Ignacio at (704) 752-7155 or firstname.lastname@example.org. CHARLOTTE — Bishop Peter J. Jugis will celebrate a Mass for U.S. military personnel July 5 at 3 p.m. at St. Patrick Cathedral, 1621 Dilworth Rd. East. The Mass and rosary, to be prayed at 2:30 p.m., will be offered for military personnel who have died and for those who are now serving. All military personnel are invited and encouraged to come in uniform. Photos of those who have died or who are now serving in the military will be displayed in the cathedral. To include your loved ones, mail a color or blackand-white photocopy of them with their names and military ranks on the back of the photos to Nancy Weber, Office of the Bishop, 1123 South Church Street, Charlotte, NC 28203, to be received no later than July 1. Photocopies of pictures will not be returned.
may 29, 2009 Volume 18 • Number 29
Publisher: Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis Editor: Kevin E. Murray STAFF WRITER: Katie Moore 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: email@example.com
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.
May 29, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 3
FROM THE VATICAN
Vatican newspaper criticizes Vatican condemns North Korean embryonic stem cell research nuclear test, missle launches embryos are the ones being unreasonable. said, “But even before being a threat to VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In Vatican has condemned the latest round of nuclear testing and missile launching by North Korea, warning that these acts of aggression threaten “the very survival” of the country’s own people by exacerbating its isolation. T h e Va t i c a n n e w s p a p e r , L’Osservatore Romano, published a front-page news story May 27 along with an editorial titled “International isolation as a regime’s choice.” North Korea drew swift and angry international condemnation after announcing May 25 that it had successfully performed a nuclear experiment. Seismic equipment registered a small blast in the eastern portion of the country. Three short-range missiles were then launched into the Sea of Japan. The following day, May 26, two more missiles were launched off the country’s eastern coast. In its commentary, L’Osservatore
peace, this atomic experiment constitutes a threat to the very survival of the North Korean people who will pay the consequences of the isolation the regime has chosen.” Calling the North Korean government a “Stalinist regime,” the editorial said the country “risks total isolation after its latest challenge to the international community.” North Korea conducted its first nuclear experiment Oct. 9, 2006. In early April 2009, it unsuccessfully launched a rocket in an attempt to place a satellite in orbit. This time, the editorial said, even Russia and China seem prepared to invoke sanctions. Behind the North Korean show of force, it said, “there probably is an internal crisis due to the leadership of Kim Jong-il who has never been able to dissipate the impression that he is a pale copy of his father, Kim Il-sung.”
CHARLOTTE — Children with disabilities are invited to join Allegro classes, a fun learning environment where movement and instruction are combined. Classes will be offered at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 6828 Old Reid Rd., on Wednesday evenings from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. Classes are free but registration is required. Call for the schedule as classes will not be held on certain dates. For more information, contact Nettie Watkins at the Allegro Foundation (704) 412-5229 or firstname.lastname@example.org. CHARLOTTE — The rosary is prayed every Wednesday at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 4207 Shamrock Dr., at 6:30 p.m. followed by Mass at 7 p.m. All are welcome. For more information, call Juanita Thompson at (704) 536-0784.
GREENSBORO VICARIATE HIGHLANDS — Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church is one of five Highlands-area churches participating in weekly Taize Prayer Services throughout the summer months. The ecumenical services will be held at 5:30 p.m. each Thursday at a different church. The first service at Our Lady of the Mountains Church will be Thursday, June 11. All are invited to attend the services intended to unite Christians in prayer. For more information, call Ed Boos at (828) 526-3353.
GREENSBORO VICARIATE HIGH POINT — An International Festival will be held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 4145 Johnson St., May 31 from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Bring food to share; beverages are provided. There will be entertainment and exhibits from exotic places around the world, as well as special entertainment for children. It’s all free. For more information, call (336) 869-7739. HIGH POINT — To commemorate the 15th anniversary of perpetual eucharistic adoration at Maryfield nursing home, 1315 Greensboro Rd., a special Mass for Corpus Christi will be celebrated in the Maryfield chapel June 14 at 3 p.m. Bishop Emeritus William G. Curlin will be the chief celebrant. Refreshments will be served following Mass. GREENSBORO — A Mass in the extraordinary form to celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart will be held at Our Lady of Grace Church, 2205 West Market St., June 21 at 4 p.m. A women’s and men’s schola will be formed for the chants of the Mass. Interested singers should contact Robin Shea at RSHEA@triad.rr.com for the women’s schola and Brian Marble at email@example.com for the men’s schola to arrange rehearsals.
WINSTON-SALEM VICARIATE CLEMMONS — Catholic homeschooling families in the Triad gather on Mondays at Holy Family Church, 4820 Kinnamon Rd., for enrichment activities such as hands on science, geography, Latin and art. Registration is now open for fall 2009. Interested families should contact Katie Knickrehm at (336) 996-2643 or katie_knickrehm@ yahoo.com, or Liz Ruiz at lizimagination@ triad.rr.com. For more information, visit www.holyfamilyhomeschoolenrichment.com. CLEMMONS — A Charismatic Prayer Group meets Mondays at 7:15 p.m. in the eucharistic chapel of Holy Family Church, 4820 Kinnamon Rd. Join us for praise music, witness, teaching, prayers and petition. For more details, call Jim Passero at (336) 998-7503. CLEMMONS — Holy Family Church, 4820 Kinnamon Rd., has eucharistic adoration each Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. For more details, call Donna at (336) 940-2558 or Carole at (336) 766-4530.
June 3 (7 p.m.) Sacrament of confirmation St. Michael the Archangel Church, Gastonia
Research is now showing that reprogramming adult stem cells can produce cells that are just as flexible as embryonic stem cells and they can be produced in greater quantity, Vescovi said. The new procedure is not protected “by those patents that currently exploit the use of stem cells derived from embryos,” he said. The insistence on continuing embryonic stem cell research, he said, appears not to be tied to scientific promise, but to “billions of dollars of investment, an entire river of patents and entire careers based precisely on the use of embryos.” Still, the doctor said he was not pessimistic about the future. “I have been a researcher for almost 30 years and I have faith in the fact that, in research, truth triumphs in the end,” he wrote. “Science, by its nature, inevitably favors the selection and development of the most efficient branches, those that give the most total respect to human life,” he said. What is needed to give a push to research using adult stem cells is simply the dedication of more resources, both human and financial, the doctor said.
After the blast
CNS photo by Shruti Shrestha, Reuters 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. Submit in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to (704) 370-3382.
Bishop Peter J. Jugis will participate in the following events:
June 1 (11 a.m.) Blessing of Holy Redeemer Cemetery Sharon Memorial Park, Charlotte
the continuing debate over stem cell research, the ideologues are those who claim it is necessary to use embryonic stem cells, an Italian research physician wrote in the Vatican newspaper. A growing body of research has proven that a variety of somatic stem cells — usually referred to as adult stem cells — holds more promise for curing many diseases than stem cells derived from embryos, wrote Dr. Angelo Vescovi, a professor at Milan’s Bicocca University and a researcher at the Cerebral Stem Cell Bank in Terni. Vescovi’s full-page article May 27 in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, was headlined “Behind embryonic stem cell research there is only a patent war.” “The decision made in March by U.S. President Barack Obama to use federal funds to finance research on stem cells derived from the destruction of human embryos — embryonic stem cells — has reignited the polemics regarding a theme with complex bioethical implications,” the doctor wrote. He said that while promoters of embryonic stem cell research like to label opponents as ideologues or religious extremists, science itself has proven that those who insist on destroying human
June 2—June 4 Seminarian retreat Catholic Conference Center, Hickory June 6 (10 a.m.) Priestly ordination Mass of Deacon Benjamin Roberts St. Patrick Cathedral, Charlotte
Women pray for the deceased at a blast site inside the Catholic Church of the Assumption in Katmandu, Nepal, May 24. Two people were killed and at least a dozen wounded when an explosion ripped through the church May 23.
Good reviews: Vatican newspaper sees Obama’s start in positive light VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican newspaper has offered some unexpectedly upbeat reviews of the President Barack Obama’s first four months in office. L’Osservatore Romano opined that Obama seems to have moved away from his 2008 campaign rhetoric on legislation that would enshrine abortion as a fundamental right and remove local limitations on the
practice of abortion. Obama coverage has been on a wide range of issues, especially foreign policy. The newspaper has found much to its liking regarding the Israeli-Palestinian situation (the president’s position was in “full harmony” with that of the pope), Middle East outreach, disarmament, the Americas, multilateralism and human rights, diplomacy, the economy and the environment.
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around the diocese
Bishops issue alert on sex education bill CHARLOTTE — Bishops Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte and Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh issued an e-mail alert on pending sex education legislation in North Carolina. The May 27 alert was sent to those registered with Catholic Voice NC, the nonpartisan initiative and Web site operated jointly by the dioceses of Charlotte and Raleigh. It asks Catholics to oppose possible changes to the sex education bill, which the bishops describe as “the euphemistically titled Healthy Youth Act.” The bill was scheduled for discussion in the Senate Mental Health and Youth Services Committee May 27. However, lawmakers apparently received such a large volume of protests via telephone calls and e-mails that the bill was pulled from consideration May 27 and rescheduled for consideration June 3. The bill would allow parents to
decide if their children should be enrolled in an abstinence-only program or an abstinence-based, comprehensive sex education program. Under the House version, a child whose parents made no choice on the consent form would not receive the comprehensive sex education. The bishops’ chief concern with the Senate version of the bill is that if parents do not indicate a choice, their child will automatically receive the comprehensive sex education — an approach the bishops have opposed in the past. The bishops prefer the abstinence until marriage approach that is currently taught in public schools as mandated by state law.
in its current form under consideration. The original version of the act recognized the past and present existence of racial injustice in the state judicial system. A recent amendment would allow doctors to ignore the Hippocratic Oath in administering lethal drugs to inmates who have received the death sentence. The requirement that physicians act as executioners in North Carolina has effectively stopped capital punishment in the state. “A bill that acknowledges that black men have been put to death due to racial bias, and at the same time restores the practice of capital punishment in a state where such bias has unjustifiably placed black men on death row in North Carolina to the present day, is beyond comprehension,” said the bishops’ statement. The bill is currently being reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee.
Father Houseknecht receives doctorate in preaching (ST. LOUIS) — Father Eric Houseknecht, a former priest of the Diocese of Charlotte, recently received a Doctor of Ministry degree in preaching at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Mo. Father Houseknecht, currently parochial vicar of St. Timothy Church in Mesa, Ariz., received the degree during a commencement ceremony at St. Francis Xavier Church at St. Louis University May 8. The degree was one of 11 doctorates in preaching conferred at the ceremony, during which 48 people received graduate degrees. Aquinas Institute of Theology is a Catholic graduate school of theology and ministry administered by the Order of
Columbiettes elect officers
WANT MORE INFO? For more information on Catholic Voice NC, visit www.catholicvoicenc.org.
Bishops, other leaders oppose pending legislation CHARLOTTE — North Carolina’s Catholic bishops issued a joint statement opposing a bill under consideration by state legislators. Bishops Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte and Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh are among religious and human rights leaders voicing opposition to the third edition of Senate Bill 461, the North Carolina Racial Justice Act. The bishops’ representative to the legislature, Msgr. Michael Clay of the Diocese of Raleigh, read the bishops’ statement at a press conference in Raleigh May 28. The conference was sponsored by the North Carolina Council of Churches, the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other groups. While the groups support the concept of the Racial Justice Act, they oppose it
May 29, 2009
Father Eric Houseknecht Preachers (Dominicans), and offers both residential and on-line degree programs. It is the only Catholic institution in the United States to offer a doctoral degree in preaching.
The Columbiettes’ new state officers for North Carolina are pictured during a convention in Raleigh April 25. The officers were elected and installed to serve for the 2009-10 term. Pictured are (from left) Mary Long, guide and president, Clemmons; Jeannie McGaffigan, advocate, Clemmons; Carol Pennington, treasurer, Kernersville; Pam Komlfoske, financial secretary, Fayetteville; Ann Mulvaney, vice president, Fayetteville; Marge Benes, past president, Fayetteville; Carol Samperton, president, Fayetteville; and Gail Rackley, guide and past president, Fayetteville. Not pictured is Paula Johnson, sentinel, Kernersville. The Columbiettes is the women’s auxiliary group of the Knights of Columbus. The group supports local charities and provides social events in a Christian setting.
May 29, 2009
from the cover
The Catholic News & Herald 5
Catholic scientists debunk ‘Angels & Demons’ science, faith clash DEBUNK, from page 1
irreconcilable terms. But this perception is far from reality, according to Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory in Arizona and Castel Gandolfo, the papal villa outside Rome. “Quite simply, the church has always supported science,” Brother Consolmagno told The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Modern science was born in European Catholic universities and some of history’s best scientists were clergymen, he noted. That’s why the books of Dan Brown — the author of “Angels & Demons” and “The Da Vinci Code” — are in the bookstore’s fiction section, where they belong, he said. Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, said misunderstandings about the compatibility of faith and science arise because of the different “languages” they use. In actuality, science and religion have distinct yet compatible domains, he added. Brother Consolmagno said the myth of the “war” between science and religion grew out of the Enlightenment at the end of the 19th century. In order to attract students to the emerging German secular universities, Enlightenment supporters portrayed the church as anti-science and against progress, he said. “It really doesn’t go back to Galileo;
“My religion tells me God created the universe. My science tells me how he did it.” — Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno it goes back to the politics of what was happening in Europe and America 100 years ago,” he said. The case of 17th-century astronomer Galileo Galilei is the often-used example of a collision between the church and science. Galileo was condemned by the church’s Holy Office for suspected heresy in 1633 for maintaining that the earth revolved around the sun but he was “rehabilitated” in 1992 by a special Vatican commission established by Pope John Paul II. The Galileo controversy has taught the church to be careful when speaking on matters of science, Father Pacholczyk said. For example, on the topic of evolution, the church continues to engage in an ongoing discussion about the proper understanding of evolutionary science. A person seeking to understand humankind’s place in the universe should seek to understand both faith and science, the priest said. As Brother Consolmagno put it: “My religion tells me God created the universe. My science tells me how he did it.” Although the church is not against science, he said it acts as a check on science’s rapidly advancing abilities. In the early 20th century, for example, the Catholic Church called for a stop to eugenics, which aims to improve the human species by selective breeding. “Eugenics is bad science,” Brother Consolmagno added. “Even if it is good science, it still would have been wrong. That’s an example, I think, where people who treat science without religion can fall into grave error.” Today, the church rejects technologies that devalue the dignity of the human person, such as cloning, embryonic stem cell research and the production of weapons of mass terror.
CNS photo by Chris Helgren, Reuters
The ancient Egyptian obelisk in St. Peter’s Square is seen juxtaposed with St. Peter’s Basilica May 1. Both play a part in novelist Dan Brown’s book “Angels & Demons,” which was adapted to a film starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard.
CNS photo by Sony
Tom Hanks stars in a scene from the movie “Angels & Demons.”
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May 29, 2009
youths in action
Youths gather for annual diocesan conference DYC, from page 1
vibrant and growing faith of the young church of western North Carolina and the adults who work with them,” said Paul Kotlowski, director of diocesan youth ministry. “Through the various workshops and homilies, participants were challenged to realize the power of their baptismal call to a life of conversion to holiness and to be a leaven in society,” he said. In keeping with Pope Benedict XVI’s proclamation that June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009 is a year dedicated to St. Paul, the conference’s theme was meant to invoke the spirit of St. Paul by highlighting the message of his letters. The mission statement for this year’s conference as composed by the Diocesan Youth Advisory Council states, “St. Paul reminds us that we have an identity in Jesus Christ, who instills strength within us to live our faith.” “I hope that those who took part in this year’s conference realize that they are part of something much bigger than themselves,” said Kotlowski, referring to the universal church. “They are called to build the kingdom of God.” Each year at the conference several awards are presented to clergy, youths and
adults who have displayed outstanding leadership and service in the area of youth ministry. At this year’s conference the John Paul II Award, which recognizes ordained men who exemplify love for the youth of the church, was presented to Father Patrick Hoare, parochial vicar of St. Mark Church in Huntersville. The Bishop Begely Award, for youths involved in social justice and outreach, was presented to Nicole Lehman of Holy Spirit Church in Denver. The St. Timothy Award, for a youth exemplifying outstanding discipleship, was presented to Eric Fischer of St. Mark Church and Katie Finegan of Haywood Catholic Youth — a youth group comprised of young people from St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Maggie Valley, St. John the Evangelist Church in Waynesville and Immaculate Conception Mission in Canton. The Bishop Curlin Award, for an individual or group exemplifying outstanding pastoral care, was presented to Kim and Derick Medlin of Holy Cross Church in Kernersville. WANT MORE INFO? For more information on diocesan y o u t h m i n i s t r y, g o o n l i n e t o www.charlottediocese.org/ youthministry.html.
Bobby Kawecki, a parishioner of St. Ann Church in Charlotte and a Life Scout with Troop 80, is pictured May 4 after earning his fourth Boy Scout Catholic religious emblem, the Pope Pius XII. Bobby earned the first two emblems, the Light of Christ and Parvuli Dei, as a Cub Scout and earned the second two, the Ad Altare Dei and Pope Pius XII, as a Boy Scout. He also earned a Pillars of Faith, Duty to God pin for earning all four emblems.
Youths perform on stage during the Diocesan Youth Conference in Ridgecrest April 25.
Attention Readers! Have a NEWS Story to Share? Do you have a news story to share with The Catholic News & Herald? Do you know of people who are living the tenets of their faith? Do you have photos of a parish-, school- or ministrybased event? If so, please share them with us. Contact Staff Writer Katie Moore at (704) 370-3354 or email@example.com.
May 29, 2009
‘Signs of erosion’
Attorney traces federal conscience-clause protection to Roe decision by BETH GRIFFIN catholic news service
NEW YORK — “Signs of erosion” of support for federal conscience-clause protection began to appear about 10 years ago and have continued at the state level, attorney Susan Stabile told a group of Catholic health care leaders May 21. She discussed two potential federal threats to conscience claims, and concluded that neither one would specifically repeal conscience protection for health care workers. Stabile, who holds the Robert and Marion Short distinguished chair in law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, spoke on “Legal Challenges to Catholic Health Care: The Elimination of the Conscience Clause and Related Concerns.” She delivered the address during the 25th Catholic Healthcare Administrative Personnel program May 18-22 at St. John’s University in New York. Stabile cited Department of Health and Human Services regulations adopted in December 2008 to ensure that “recipients of department funds do not support coercive or discriminatory practices” in the delivery of health care. She said the regulations did not create new restrictions or grant substantive rights. Earlier this year, HHS proposed rescinding the federal conscience-clause protection. A 30-day period of public comment on the rescission ended April 9. She predicted they will be rescinded by the Obama administration, but said the repeal would have little or no legal effect because conscience protection will still be granted under existing statutes. Nonetheless, Stabile said the efforts to repeal the regulations reveal that some conscience protections are vulnerable to efforts to weaken them by national advocacy campaigns, state governments and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Forced confrontation She traced federal health care conscience-protection statutes to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which she said forced confrontation of the issue by effectively legalizing abortion. Federal legislation passed between 1973 and 2004 protects individuals and institutions from being discriminated against for refusing to participate in actions they find morally objectionable, including abortion. Most states also have conscienceprotection laws, she said. “Existing conscience laws have come under increasing attack by, among others, abortion-rights activists, who want to require all health care personnel and hospitals to provide ‘the full range of reproductive services,’ including abortion,” she said. “Signs of erosion started to be seen about 10 years ago and have continued at the state level,” she said.
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In addition, she said, “mainstream medical journals are rife with articles and editorials that show hostility to health care providers who refuse to participate in abortion and other morally objectionable procedures.” Stabile distinguished between Catholic and secular providers of health care and other social services. “For the Catholic Church, running hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other social services is not a secular activity and cannot be completely separated from its core religious mission,” she said. “The activity is part of living out the healing mission of Christ and is rooted in a commitment to promote and defend human dignity and promote the common good,” said Stabile. She said, “When a Catholic organization cares for the sick and elderly or provides for education, it is performing an act as religious as those that take place inside of the church itself. We know that means that when Catholic entities provide social services they must do so in a way that is consonant with its religious principles.” Intersecting reality Stabile said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2001 “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” outline the church’s moral teaching on issues Catholic health care providers may face. They forbid abortions and all other procedures that contradict church teaching. Stabile described an “intersecting reality” between the Catholic and the secular approach to health care. She said abortion, emergency contraception, sterilization and physicianassisted suicide are among “certain medical procedures and practices that have come to be viewed by a not insignificant number of people in this country as part of basic health care and by others as ... at least acceptable options for people to choose.” She said the procedures are inconsistent with Catholic principles and the bishops’ ethical directives. Stabile said conscience analysis is complicated in a pluralistic society. “We don’t all share a set of common assumptions about what is right and what is wrong. That raises a question as to what personal moral decisions we ought to protect,” she said. “We can’t really argue in a pluralistic society with separation of church and state that the government should respect only those claims resulting from a wellformed Catholic conscience,” she said. She added the American belief in the right of self-determination forms the basis of much of the nation’s social policy. “We also live in a society where we move from negative rights — that is, a right to be free from interference — to positive rights — that is, entitlements
Health reform urgent but abortion must be off the table, bishop says by
NANCY FRAZIER O’BRIEN catholic news service
WASHINGTON — Although there is an urgent need for “comprehensive health care reform leading to accessible and affordable health care for all,” Congress must not include abortion as part of a national health care benefits package, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ domestic policy committee said. Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., who chairs the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, outlined the bishops’ criteria for health care reform in a brief statement to the Senate Finance Committee May 20. The next day, the USCCB sent letters with the same message to the House, Senate and White House. Calling health care a “critical component” of the ministry of the Catholic Church, Bishop Murphy said the church brings “strong convictions and everyday experience” to the issue. “The church provides health care, purchases health care and picks up the pieces of a failing health care system,” he said. “The Catholic community encounters and serves the sick and uninsured in our emergency rooms, shelters and on the doorsteps of our parishes. One out of six patients is cared for in Catholic hospitals.” But he said the current federal policy of not compelling Americans to pay for abortions with their tax dollars must remain in place under any health reform plan. He also expressed the bishops’ opposition to “the inclusion of other procedures or technologies that attack or undermine the sanctity and dignity of life.” “No health care reform plan should compel us or others to pay for or participate in the destruction of human life,” Bishop Murphy said. “To preserve this principle is morally right and politically wise as well. No health care legislation that compels Americans to pay for or participate in abortion will find sufficient votes to pass.” He called health care “a basic human right and a requirement to protect the life and dignity of every person.” “All people need and should have access to comprehensive, quality health care that they can afford, and this should not depend on their stage of life, where or whether they or their parents work, how much they earn, or where they live or where they come from,” he said. Bishop Murphy offered four “basic assumptions” and eight key criteria for judging any health reform plan.
— very easily,” she explained. “We blur the line between permitting something and deciding that thing is an affirmative good that should be promoted,” she continued. “That the law permits something does not mean
CNS photo by Bob Roller
Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., listens to a question from a Catholic News Service reporter during an interview in Washington March 24. Bishop Murphy, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said Congress must not include abortion as part of a national heath care benefits package. “The basic assumptions we offer are these: 1) a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity; 2) access for all with a special concern for the poor; 3) pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism, including freedom of conscience and variety of options; and 4) restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers,” he said. The criteria he named were: respect for life, priority concern for the poor, access for all, comprehensive benefits, pluralism, quality, cost controls and equitable financing. He said pluralism would be judged on “whether (the reform plan) allows and encourages the involvement of the public and private sectors, including the voluntary, religious and nonprofit sectors, in the delivery of care and services” and “whether it ensures respect for religious and ethical values in the delivery of health care, for patients and for individual and institutional providers.” “The moral measure of any health care reform proposal is whether it offers affordable and accessible health care to all, beginning with those most in need,” Bishop Murphy said. “This can be a matter of life or death, or dignity or deprivation.” The House and Senate are drawing up separate plans for health care reform; key leaders have said they hope to complete work on health reform legislation by the summer recess in August.
it is right or moral or that we must facilitate it. “We need to distinguish a zone of interference from things to which one has a legal entitlement. But we don’t do that very well,” she said.
8 The Catholic News & Herald
‘The ultimate pro-life expression’
May 29, 2009
Volunteers promote international adoptions of Down syndrome babies by PAUL SANCHEZ catholic news service
WESTERLY, R.I. — A Marylandbased organization is working against the trend of aborting Down syndrome babies by placing those children from around the globe with loving families in the United States. Reece’s Rainbow assists couples in adopting Down syndrome children from other countries. Founded in June 2006, Reece’s Rainbow has already found families for more than 175 children with Down syndrome from 32 countries around the world, including Armenia, Haiti, Mexico, Ghana, Russia, Liberia, Vietnam and Korea. An entirely volunteer organization, Reece’s Rainbow prides itself on the fact that 100 percent of every dollar donated goes to the child, family or fund designated by the donor. For decades doctors have recommended an amniocentesis test for pregnant women 35 and older because their age dictates a greater risk for chromosomal defects. Because the test carries a slight chance of miscarriage, it has not been routinely offered to younger women, who end up giving birth to the majority of Down syndrome babies. But a 2007 recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encouraged doctors to offer a new screening procedure to all pregnant women, regardless of age. A sonogram and two blood tests in the first trimester now can detect the extra 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome. An estimated 90 percent of all prenatal detections of Down syndrome are said to end in abortion. Reece’s Rainbow is not an adoption agency, but a nonprofit, volunteer organization that serves as a connecting point for Down syndrome children and potential adoptive families. It focuses on saving the lives of children who might otherwise face life, or death, in mental institutions abroad. The organization also works to help birth families who choose to keep their children, and helps them begin their own Down syndrome associations that fight for the rights and inclusion of specialneeds children in their own countries. Reece’s Rainbow was founded by Andrea Roberts, who has a Down syndrome child named Reece who has changed her life. “Yes, my son is the catalyst for Reece’s Rainbow. But I lean on my belief that God has a specific purpose for everyone, and this is his calling for me through Reece,” Roberts said. “Not everyone gets such an obvious call. I spent many years drifting through life, with no idea where I was headed. I love to help others and my love for Reece fuels my passion to defend and protect
others like him.” Shelley Bedford and her husband have adopted two boys from two different countries through Reece’s Rainbow. Their son, Xander, adopted from Ukraine in August 2007, has Down syndrome and bilateral clubbed feet. He has had major foot reconstruction surgery and is learning to walk at age 5. Their other son, Grifyn, also 5, was adopted from Serbia in April 2008. Grifyn was the first child with Down syndrome to ever be adopted in Serbia. Bedford now volunteers with Reece’s Rainbow to assist other families who are adopting from Serbia. The Bedfords live in Alabama where Shelley’s husband is in the U.S. Army. “The most rewarding part is seeing the families meeting their new children,” Bedford said. “It is amazing to watch the journeys that families go through and how God pulls it all together. It is an honor to be a small part of helping unite children with their forever families.” Bedford said people were surprised when she and her husband announced they were adopting a Down syndrome child. “No one understood why and they really didn’t understand what to expect,” she said. “Now they see our children and they realize that they are just normal kids, with personalities, likes and dislikes like everyone else. Our boys are loved and accepted by all of our family and friends.” Roberts said she opposes abortion, as do many people active with Reece’s Rainbow. However, Reece’s Rainbow primary focus is to assist with adoptions and foster understanding and acceptance through example. “Our group is open to anyone with a love for children and people with Down syndrome. Discussions about such controversial things are discouraged because we want to keep the focus on the life-saving efforts of the ministry,” she said. Maureen Mulready, a Catholic from Liverpool, England, who has lived in the United States for nearly 20 years, said she thinks Reece’s Rainbow represents the ultimate pro-life expression and applauded the rescuing of Down syndrome babies from lives in institutions where they would likely be mistreated. “If society does not show compassion for its most vulnerable members, then it is doomed for worse things,” Mulready said. “In my opinion, the fact that Reece’s Rainbow is helping to secure all of these adoptions of Down syndrome kids conveys to others that these children deserve the right to live just like other children,” she said. “They are spreading a pro-life message of compassion and acceptance.” WANT MORE INFO? For more information on Reece’s Rainbow, visit www.reecesrainbow.org.
CNS photo courtesy Reece’s Rainbow
Reece Roberts, 7, who has Down syndrome, poses with his father, Rich Roberts, and grandfather Dick Roberts in an undated photo. Reece’s mother, Andrea Roberts, started a Maryland-based organization called Reece’s Rainbow, which assists couples in adopting children with Down syndrome from other countries.
May 29, 2009
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Ministry reaches out to families of babies with Down syndrome DOWN, from page 1
perinatal hospice for mothers who carry their babies to term despite receiving a poor prenatal diagnosis. “Perinatal hospice provides a great service for many moms,” said Tracy Winsor, a parishioner at St. Peter Church in Charlotte and regional perinatal bereavement coordinator. But, she said, the problem is that “Down syndrome parents never get referred.” This new service “is part of our effort to support moms who are carrying to term,” said Winsor. “We want to have a very specific service dedicated to Down syndrome because that population is largely underserved.” According to Winsor, the abortion rate for parents who are informed their unborn children have Down syndrome is 90 percent. She attributes the high termination rate to a lack of information and understanding of Down syndrome within the medical community. “As an issue of public health, we need to do a better job of providing information and supporting” parents who receive these diagnoses, said Winsor. There are other options, “even if a family feels that they can’t raise a child with Down syndrome,” she said. One of the things most people don’t realize is that “there are actually waiting lists associated with families who want to adopt a child with Down syndrome,” said Winsor. Winsor recently held a training session for peer ministers or counselors who will work specifically with Down
“I want to let them know the future is still bright.” — Kristin Pettler syndrome cases. Kristin Pettler, a parishioner at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte and mother of three children, attended the training. Pettler’s 3-year-old daughter Kaitlin has Down syndrome. “It hurts my heart when I find out that other parents don’t fully understand what they are doing,” said Pettler of her reason for getting involved. As a mother of a child with Down syndrome, Pettler wants to be able to help other families by sharing her experience. “I want to let them know the future is still bright,” she said. The biggest challenge the group faces now is getting the word out about its ministry. “We know that these women exist in the community,” said Winsor. The problem is getting referrals from the medical community. “Doctors can unknowingly pressure women,” said Pettler, referring to the vulnerable state of most women at the time of their diagnosis. “At that point they don’t understand the full ramifications and they are pressured to make a decision within 24
Kristin Pettler and her 3-year-old daughter Katlin, who has Down syndrome, play at Sardis Park in Matthews May 19. Pettler has been trained as an Elizabeth Ministry peer minister so she can assist parents of unborn babies who are diagnosed with Down syndrome. to 48 hours,” she said. As far as the negative connotation that comes with receiving a diagnosis of Down syndrome, Pettler said she thinks it is the “fear of the unknown.” “There is such pressure for everything to be perfect in our society,” she said, but “when you stop and think about it we never know the future because it’s always in God’s hands.” “As a community of faith and society, we have to struggle with making certain that we are extremely welcoming and supportive of these families,” said Winsor referring to the ultimate goal of Elizabeth Ministry. Pettler hopes to do her part. “We are all different,” she said. When it comes to children with Down syndrome, she said “the difference is just a little bit more obvious on the outside.” Contact Staff Writer Katie Moore by calling (704) 370-3354, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Courtesy Photo
WANT MORE INFO? Three churches in the Diocese of Charlotte currently have Elizabeth Ministry support groups — St. Mark Church in Huntersville, St. Matthew Church in Charlotte and Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury. For more information about Elizabeth Ministry, go online to www.elizabethministry.com.
May 29, 2009
10 The Catholic News & Herald
Book chronicles JFK’s 1960 struggle to become first Catholic president reviewed by AGOSTINO BONO catholic news service
The United States broke ground in 2008 as Barack Obama was elected the first African-American president, with race being virtually a nonexistent issue after his nomination by the Democrats. Almost 50 years earlier, though, prejudice was a major issue when another breakthrough was logged: the 1960 election of Democrat John Fitzgerald Kennedy as the first Catholic president. Kennedy’s Catholicism became an issue that punctuated the campaign with highly pejorative exclamation points. A well-organized and well-financed campaign by some Protestant groups acrimoniously questioned whether his very religion disqualified him from high office. In rhetoric often crossing the line into religious bigotry, they said that the Catholic Church wanted to erase the separation of church and state and that Kennedy would be obliged to follow the orders of the pope and the U.S. hierarchy once elected. How Kennedy fought this and eked out a narrow victory over the Republican nominee, Vice President Richard M. Nixon, is the focus of “The Making of a Catholic President” by Shaun A. Casey, an Obama campaign religious affairs adviser and associate professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington. The book also is a timely reminder that, even in a country where religious freedom is a constitutional right and no religious test for office exists, religion can be manipulated for political purposes. It gives historical perspective on the use of religion and moral codes as a political weapon, especially to people trying to understand the rise of the religious right in the United States. Today, the religious right cuts across denominational lines, united by an ideology joining broad swatches of evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics. In 1960, the dividing line was strictly denominational. Casey, with meticulous detail, chronicles the public debate over Catholicism and the behind-the-scenes jockeying by Kennedy and Nixon. Nixon did not publicly raise Kennedy’s Catholicism but privately funded Protestant groups airing the view that Kennedy’s Catholicism disqualified him from the presidency. Kennedy knew of Nixon’s behind-thescenes support but said nothing publicly, fearing it would be counterproductive and only magnify the religion issue. Kennedy tried a variety of parries. At
WORD TO LIFE
A roundup of Scripture, readings, films and more
Sunday Scripture Readings: June 7, 2009
June 7, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity Cycle B Readings: 1) Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40 Psalm 33:4-6, 9, 18-20, 22 2) Romans 8:14-17 Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
Doubt can be overcome by disciples by
SHARON K. PERKINS catholic news service
first, he did not raise the issue, discussing it publicly only if asked. He emphasized his public record of 14 years in Congress as a representative and senator, saying this showed he had not bowed to the Catholic hierarchy and noting that his oaths of office to Congress were similar to the one he would take as president to defend the Constitution. Finally, Kennedy did some hairsplitting, saying that as a Catholic he was subject to the hierarchy on issues of faith and morals, but not on public policy. He even said he would resign the presidency if his official actions would come into conflict with his conscience. The specific policy issues drawing 1960 Protestant ire included fear that Kennedy would establish diplomatic relations with the Vatican, support federal funding of Catholic schools and oppose artificial birth control information in U.S. foreign aid programs. They seem rather insipid when compared to today’s incendiary moral-political issues of abortion, embryonic stem cell research and samesex marriage. Anti-Kennedy forces also raised the issue of “mental reservation,” a Catholic teaching that says a person can morally lie if it serves a greater good such as to save lives. They said that by using “mental reservation” Kennedy could oppose a pro-Catholic agenda as a candidate but do the opposite once in office. One wonders if with this argument anti-Catholic bigotry did not cross the line into self-parody. By 1960 there was already a long history of politicians, regardless of their religion, saying one thing to get elected and then doing another to stay in office. Catholic politicians, at least, had a name for this. Bono, a retired Catholic News Service staff writer and a former Rome bureau chief, was a freshman at Marquette University in Milwaukee during the 1960 presidential campaign.
“I doubt it.” “I’ve had my doubts about her.” Common enough expressions, used casually to convey moderate skepticism about the truth of a statement or a person’s character. But what about the kind of deepseated doubt that supplants one’s faith in Christ? Can a doubter be a disciple? If the readings today are any indication, doubt has been on the flip side of faith for quite a long time. Indeed, in the first reading Moses is compelled to use all his powers of persuasion and Israel’s own history to assure the people that the God of the entire universe has chosen them to be his special people, and that worship of the one true God — not the practice of idolatry — is their only proper response. In similar fashion, St. Paul must
convince the Christian community in Rome that they are no longer fearful slaves but adopted children of God and heirs with Christ. However, persuasive arguments aren’t always enough to dispel doubt and restore faith. Today’s Gospel shows that even seeing isn’t necessarily believing. The same 11 disciples who had been closest to Jesus experienced doubts that overshadowed their worship of the risen Christ, even as he appeared to them. Obviously, when we wrestle with our own uncertainties about God’s love and provision, or when we deeply question God’s purpose for our lives, we stand in solidarity with some pretty distinguished doubters. A closer look at today’s readings tells us that faith does not come by simply pretending that doubt — that most human of emotions — doesn’t exist. On this particular solemnity of the church’s year, we are reminded that the Spirit given to us by the Father of the risen Lord accompanies us always, propelling us beyond doubt and fear so that not only can we “be” disciples, we can “make” disciples of others. Questions: With what doubts or fears have you wrestled lately? How can you better cooperate with the Holy Spirit to overcome doubt and walk as God’s adopted son or daughter? Scripture to be Illustrated: “When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted” (Matthew 28:17).
WEEKLY SCRIPTURE Scripture for the week of May 31 – June 6 Sunday (Pentecost), Acts 2:1-11, 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13, John 20:19-23; Monday (St. Justin), Tobit 1:3; 2:1-8, Mark 12:1-12; Tuesday (St. Marcellinus and St. Peter), Tobit 2:914, Mark 12:13-17; Wednesday (St. Charles Lwanga and Companions), Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17, Mark 12:18-27; Thursday, Tobit 6:10-11; 7:1, 9-17; 8:4-9, Mark 12:28-34; Friday (St. Boniface), Tobit 11:5-17, Mark 12:35-37; Saturday (St. Norbert), Tobit 12:1, 5-15, 20, Tobit 13:2, 6-8, Mark 12:38-44. Scripture for the week of June 7 - 13 Sunday (The Most Holy Trinity), Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40, Romans 8:14-17, Matthew 28:16-20; Monday, 2 Corinthians 1:1-7, Matthew 5:1-12; Tuesday (St. Ephrem), 2 Corinthians 1:18-22, Matthew 5:13-16; Wednesday, 2 Corinthians 3:4-11, Matthew 5:17-19; Thursday (St. Barnabas), Acts 11:21-26; 13:1-3, Matthew 5:20-26; Friday, 2 Corinthians 4:7-15, Matthew 5:27-32; Saturday (St. Anthony of Padua), 2 Corinthians 5:14:21, Matthew 5:33-37.
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May 29, 2009
Vatican launches iPhone, Facebook applications for communications day by CAROL GLATZ catholic news service
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is launching iPhone and Facebook applications in an effort to help Catholics, especially younger generations, use new technologies to create a culture of dialogue, respect and friendship. The new applications are part of a brand new Vatican Web site — www. pope2you.net — that went live on World Communications Day, which was celebrated May 24 in most dioceses. Sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the new site was created to help attract young people to and spread Pope Benedict XVI’s message for World Communications Day, the head of the council, Archbishop Claudio Celli, told reporters May 18. This year ’s communications day message is dedicated to “New Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship.” “We thought that it was good to present the message to the young generation through technologies that they know how to use,” the archbishop said during a press conference unveiling the new site. “The pope is inviting us to promote a culture of dialogue, of respect and friendship,” especially among young people, he said. “We think this pontifical council itself has to use new technologies to promote new relationships around the world,” he said, adding that “we must take advantage of what the new technologies are offering us at this very moment.” Pope Benedict XVI, meanwhile, urged everyone, especially young people, to use the new media “in a positive way and to realize the great potential of these means to build up bonds of friendship and solidarity that can contribute to a better world.” During his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square May 20, the pope said new communications technology has brought about a fundamental shift in how
information is spread and how people communicate and relate to one another. He asked all those “who access cyberspace to be careful to maintain and promote a culture of respect, dialogue and authentic friendship where the values of truth, harmony and understanding can flourish.” He also called on young people to “bear witness to your faith through the digital world.” “Employ these new technologies to make the Gospel known, so that the good news of God’s infinite love for all people will resound in new ways across our increasingly technological world,” he said. Archbishop Celli said the pope’s World Communications Day message inspired the council to create a simple, fresh site to work as a hub from which users can find new ways the universal church is present in the digital world. The site offers viewers a link to a new application on the social networking site Facebook. Titled “The Pope Meets You on Facebook,” the new Pope2You application lets people send and receive “virtual postcards” of Pope Benedict along with inspiring text culled from the pope’s various speeches and messages. Archbishop Celli said there are about 20 different postcards to choose from but that they hope to offer more selections later so that people can “spread around the messages and insights from the Gospel.” The Pope2You site also links viewers to a new way for people to receive news about the Vatican and the pope through their iPhones or iPod touch portable music players. In conjunction with the Vatican Television Center and Vatican Radio, H2Onews will distribute audio and video reports exclusively through the iPhone in eight different languages, including Chinese. It is “the first application of video news dedicated to the Catholic world, through which you can follow the travels and speeches of Benedict XVI” as well
CNS photo by Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters
An image of Pope Benedict XVI is seen on a new Vatican Web site as displayed on an Apple iPod touch in Rome May 22. The new Web site www.pope2you.net features iPhone and Facebook applications aimed at reaching younger generations. as major Vatican events, the Pope2You site says. The news clips of the pope and the Vatican will be the same ones currently offered on the Vatican’s video channel on YouTube, unveiled in January. The main Pope2You site also offers a direct link to the Vatican’s channel on YouTube and a Wiki link that lets readers study the pope’s 2009 communications message. There is also a five-minute video presentation of Archbishop Celli explaining the new site and its purpose. The archbishop said even though the new site was meant just to mark the occasion of World Communications
Day, Vatican officials are waiting for user feedback to see whether the site will become permanent. “Right now we don’t have a program or idea for the future (of the site), but if young people respond positively to the initiative then we’ll see what to do in the future,” he said. The site and its applications were developed by Italian Father Paolo Padrini, a diocesan priest from Tortona. He also helped develop the iBreviary application for the iPhone and the Catholic Facebook application called Praybook, which allows users to access and share with others traditional Catholic prayers and texts from the Liturgy of the Hours.
In Internet age, church cannot avoid debate, Vatican spokesman says VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Recent Vatican communications controversies have shown that in the Internet age the church cannot avoid debate and in fact must be prepared to explain its teachings more convincingly through new media, the Vatican’s spokesman said. “In a world such as ours, we would be deluding ourselves if we thought that communication can always be carefully controlled, or that it can always be conducted smoothly and as a matter of course,” the spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said in a lecture May 18 at the Westminster seminary in London. Father Lombardi said that, like any great institution today, the Catholic Church is going to come in for frequent criticism. Thanks in large part to the Internet, the “chorus of voices” that takes part in such debates is larger and more diverse, he said. The church’s strategy should be to enunciate its positions, evaluate criticism, and then give a clearer and more penetrating response, he said. “It is a mistake to think that we ought to avoid debate. We must always seek to conduct debate in a way that
leads to a better understanding of the church’s position — and we must never get discouraged,” he said. Father Lombardi said it’s inevitable that the church’s message will sometimes be misunderstood, distorted or rejected by an increasingly secular world. “We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that a perfect communications strategy could ever make it possible for us to communicate every message the church has to offer in a way that avoids contradiction and conflict,” he said. Father Lombardi said the Internet and other new media tools have risks and “enormous potential for manipulation and moral corruption.” But he said the church cannot ignore the great potential of online media if it wants to “keep the truths of the faith in close touch with the emerging culture and the younger, growing generations.” The Vatican spokesman said the task of Catholic communicators is to keep working harder to develop and use new media to communicate the Gospel and promote a culture of dialogue. If successful, he said, the church can one day say that “the Internet is truly blessed.”
12 The Catholic News & Herald
Students, parishioners share prayer, faith SPONSORS, from page 1
from Immaculate Conception Church in Hendersonville. “We are able to instill a sense of community of saints, a commitment between the school and the parish and between the generations,” said Ashbrook, who teaches religion and Spanish. In an effort to teach beyond the classroom environment, Ashbrook instructs her students to take faith a step further in a greater appreciation for life based in Catholic community. As eighth-graders begin their final year at Immaculata School, they are paired with adult parishioners who stay in touch throughout the school year through letters, cards and daily prayers for their students. For some of the students, the sponsors are people they see regularly during the school day, unaware they have a special bond through prayer with them. For another student, the sponsor was the woman sitting behind her at Mass on Sunday; for others, they are unknown faces among the parishioners. “I have done this every year since Maria began the program,” said sponsor Diane Salkewicz. “There is a spiritual bond for life when you are connected and praying for the needs of someone.”
May 29, 2009
in our schools
“There is a positive presence in your life,” said Erin Brooks, Salkewicz’s special student. “It’s fun to get letters and nice to be prayed for.” For the first time this year, Salkewicz’s daughter Jennifer was a sponsor to eighth-grader Courtney Altman. “Eighth grade was a challenging year for me,” said Jennifer Salkewicz of her motivation for joining the project. “It would have helped then to know someone was praying for me. I will look forward to doing this again.” Courtney Altman’s grandmother, Mary Wall Tucker, agrees the program is a benefit for the students. “This has given her a sense of validation and a good connection to spiritual life. She’s aware now that God’s right there for her,” said Tucker. A Mass and luncheon were held for program participants May 20. As they found their names on the tables, conversations began — strengthening the bonds that had been developing throughout the school year through cards, letters and heartfelt spiritual journeys that took both students and sponsors to deeper connection with their Catholic faith. “You feel like there is someone to talk to about spiritual things,” said student Mia Maj of her sponsor, Gail Whitney. “We’ve become friends because we had each other in prayers.”
Second-grader Jacob Brodof watches as classmate Lauren Petterson places a crown on a statue of Mary during the annual May crowning ceremony in the courtyard of St. Mark School in Huntersville May 13. The students went to Mass at St. Mark Church prior to processing to the statue for the ceremony, during which each student presented a flower to the Blessed Mother. The month of May is devoted to Mary and is traditionally celebrated with a crowning of Mary and praying the rosary.
Photo by Kathleen Healy Schmieder
Students of Immaculata School in Hendersonville and their spiritual sponsors from Immaculate Conception Church participate in a luncheon May 20.
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May 29, 2009
CCHS Agnes Scott College Megan Cieri Minaye Sowho Alabama, U. of Scott Bortz Nicole Monge Laila Soussi Appalachian St. U. Christina Adams James Brannon Abby Buckley Bridget Burke Mark Cichonski Ryan Cook Lauren Evans Timothy FitzGerald Jeremy Hachen Ben Hebert Robert Hintze Ryan Kilmartin Katie Kopfle Melina LaVecchia Stephanie Matson Steele McGrath Michael McLendon Samantha McVeigh Steven Moll Erika Nansen Brad Ober Erika Pascarella Erica Petrocelli Allison Powers Leann Rafferty Lindsay Robinson Antonio Romero Hannah Roy Megan Ternes Rachel Thomas Dries Vandenberg Peter Wegener Kelly Welch Auburn University Noal Butler Catherine Corsi Caroline Duffy Robert Hogan Collin Morley Devin Parker Ave Maria Univ. Sarah Rider Aveda Institute Brandon Pope Baylor University Joshua Fernelius Belmont University Ryan Brennan Roger Regelbrugge Birmingham-Southern Col. Kara Klein Boston University Christine Gamble Bucknell University Nicholas Gatto Catholic U of America Katrina Ellis Central Piedmont CC Eric Acosta Sean Casper Ashley Gravely Addison Huff Sean McCalla
The Catholic News & Herald 13
The Citadel Graham Forman Damon Gialenios Justin Martinez
U. of Georgia Brooke Bauer Elizabeth Bracken Stanley Michalski
Clemson University Shannon Bezner Danielle Brischke Samantha Chapman Rebecca Clark Grant Conway Hilary Demmitt Patrick Harrington Duncan Hart Bradley Kenkel Kathryn Linich Meghan Moersen Zachary Priester Jonathan Simpson Katherine White
Gloucester County Col. Gabriella Giallombardo Hampden-Sydney College Graham Moore High Point University Kellie Canosa Elyse Crenshaw Jon Kline Stephanie Rosa Holy Cross, College of Caroline Pedlow
Coastal Carolina U. Sarah Helline
Indiana U. Michael Burelli
Cornell University Dean Iwaoka
Kentucky, U. of Tyler Vest
Davidson College Taylor White
Liberty University Stephanie Disbro
Dickinson College Emma Campbell
Louisburg College Laura Curran
Duke University Sarah Nolan
Meredith College Sarah Beno
East Carolina University Mary Helen Albright Alfredo Atencio Sean Barcellona Alex Bishop Stephanie Britt Jonathan Cabrera Ryan Cotty James Cullen Nicole Duquette McDesmond Duru David Gabriel Kelley Gasparro William George Cameron Grist Elizabeth Immel Jennifer Kaniowski Sean Kayes Gretchen Lindsay Zachary Medina Ben Needham Heather Ruff Adam Rusak Kevin Ryan Tara Sabatini Andrew Smith Cara Smith Kayla Smithson Julia St. Angelo Lauren Strauss Heather Vernier Sophie Vinten Emily Werkmeister Robert Wood
Miami University Andrew Muller
Eastern Kentucky U. Taylor Giddings Eastman Sch. of Music Ji Won Lim Elon University Brandon Brown Kristen Haney Samantha Smith Flagler College Danny Vliet Florida State University Christina Guteres
Chapman University Lauren Curtin
Fort Lewis College Steven Kearns
College of Charleston Ian Mueller Ragan Rose Kathleen Rosenthal Bridget Walsh Matthew Zutell
Furman U. Matthew Gadd Georgia Inst. ofTech. Joseph Blaeser
Michigan State Univ. Ben D. Wilson Middlebury College Victoria Anderson Minnesota, U. of Mary Abeln Naval Academy Prep Adam Geuss UNC-Asheville Devin Corrigan UNC-Chapel Hill Christine Augliera James Brennan Lindsay Casper Catherine Corser Brian Cristante Sidney Dickinson Juliana Dilisio Mai Doan Katie Farmer Vanessa Gil Chase Haislip Stevi Holmes Sabrina Husain Alexandra Jankun Peter Karr Jessica Keane Spencer Kendle Mary Lewis Matthew Matola Grace McDermott Rachel McFadden Madelyn Newman Nicole Ramirez Thomas Rider Michael Ryan Adam Sachee Matthew Sandberg Julia Shearer Kelly Ternes Kelly Webster UNC-Charlotte Nathan Badke Ethan Baranowski Matthew Barich Rachel Burke Ashley Calvo Joseph Cowley Lindsey DelCasino Anthony DeStefano Patrick Eavenson Alyssa Farls
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Northwestern U. Hilary Sharp
Virginia Military Inst. William Baker
Ohio State U. Fei Qin
Virginia Polytech. Inst. Daniel Angelelli Christopher Frederick Alex Rummel John Scanlon
Our Lady of Lake U. Ashley Arriaga Presbyterian College Lauren Lefeber Purdue U. Michael Bruno Alexander Posthauer Queens U. Natalia Diez Melissa Gargagliano Randolph-Macon Col. Scott Hellmuth Rice U. Margaret Luttrell
UNC-Greensboro Brennen Sibby
Roanoke College Robert Shefte
UNC-Pembroke Philip Moran
Rochester Inst/Tech. Douglas Agyemang
UNC-Wilmington Nicholas Beadle Alice Carson Elizabeth Cona Arielle Durrett Matthew Egan Alexandra Favory Jordan Hollis Nicole Hyczewski Margaret Kercher Shareen Knapik Edward Knish Jacquelyn Knox Heather Kon Kathryn Leone Nathan Litaker Kevin Lux Kyle McCarthy Alexandra Nolan Robert Opalka Madison Smart
Saint Vincent College John Grist
N C State U. Grayson Allison Francisco Alvarado Laura Barnobi Andrew Benson Mary Charles John Daidone Thomas Deschenes Diana Do Joseph Felts Danielle Ferris Erin Ferris Jasmine Frantz Clay Fults Kathleen Giedraitis Harry Hartenstine Sara Hess Matthew Hintze Matthew Kornegay James Kressner Bryan Lahey Erin Miller Lauren Noriega Thomas Paradis Kaitlyn Pauli Sara Poffenbarger Christine Poutier Melissa Saber James Segodnia Griffith Shapack Dana Skelton Jessica Stryjewski Britt Taylor Aaron Utterback Lisa Vu James Wheeler Leigh Anne Zeitouni
Samford University Melissa Keane Savannah Col. of Art & Design Elizabeth Hubbell Samantha Osiecki Sewanee-Univ. of South Martin Johnson Shepherd University Sean Smith So. Carolina, U. of Ivana Arnette Amadeo Bellotti Anna Berger Emma Blackman Will Breeyear Steven Broderick Tarra Dahlke Paul Faure Meagen Gillhamer Anne Gilmore James Grab Erin Green Andrew Herlong Taylor James Zachary King Abigail Knier Hayley Korkos Austin Korte Stephen Montgomery John Roberts Bernardt Rodriquez Madison Rosenberger Marie Thomas Christopher White Natalie Wilmer Alexander Wright Stevens Inst./Tech. John Santanello Temple University Phabhat Friedland US Air Force Academy Mitchell Mehaffey US Military Academy Benjamin W. Wilson US Naval Academy Johnny O’Boyle
No. Florida, U. of Taylor Poling
Vanderbilt Univ. Kenneth Varner
Northeastern U. Emily Walker
Villanova U. Catherine Butler
Virginia, U. of Patrick Hutson Tucker Windle Wake Forest U. Hannah Clark Elise Pacicco Clare Rizer Washington & Lee U. Daniel Jasper Washington U./St. Louis Sarah Werth West Virginia U. Sean Flanagan Western Carolina U. Joshua Fisher Nathalie Kurts Michelle Lacey Jamie Larsen Catherine Manasa Kathryn Midgley Nicholas Ruth Lance Sellie Nicholas Tarulli
Exchange Student— Germany Chantale Rau Forsyth Tech. CC Joseph Hamacher Jonathan Parcell Georgia, Univ. of John Booker Guilford College William Barker Sean Hodges Guilford Tech. CC Daisy Arellano David Armstrong Peter Boschini William Brown Conor Byrne Lena DiEugenio Giuseppe Errichiello Hugo Gonzalez, Jr. Megan Liebal Charles Sams Hampden-Sydney Col. Matthew Delmestri Hargrave Mil. Academy Robert Fitzgerald High Point University Sarah Hoffman Tolan Wade
Wingate Univ. Billy Hall Louis Rose
Kentucky, Univ. of Brendan Cain Veronica Hammons
Wisconsin, U. of Michael Arizmendi
Lake Forest College Alexandra Andorfer
Xavier U. Brian Giarratana
Lenoir-Rhyne College Gina Simmons
York Technical College Alexandra Stowasser
Meredith College Julia Ross
BMCHS Alabama, U. of Erin Moulson American University Noah Carmichael Appalachian State U. Andrew Black Ryne Carson Zachary Clark Kevin Cortese James Etling Helen McNamara Brandon Mullin Campbell University Cecilia Nitz Catawba College Garrett McAuliffe Cottey College Catharyn Nosek Curry College Megan Frosheiser Duke University Michael Madigan East Carolina U. Jay Hankins James Montgomery Adam Morgan Christopher Rosic Scott Wilson Elon University Jessica Clinch Andrew Ganim
Southern Calif., U. of Terry Brown Stevens Inst. of Tech. Jarret Seach Sweet Briar College Emily Sickelbaugh UNC - Chapel Hill Philip Boyers Nicholas Cook Ashley Cox Anna DeFrancesco Hana Doran Sarah Evans Devin Fohn Timothy Nelson Matthew Ridenhour Diego Ruiz Thomas Saintsing UNC - Charlotte Natalie Beck Emma Blaney Spencer Boone Johanna Brennan Sean Cary Hannah DeAngelo Tessa Grogan Edward Kageorge Steven Nealen Carlos Pedraza Patrick Preudhomme Kelsey Rochford Devon Walters Madeline Wharton David Wu UNC - Greensboro Jess Conry Sara DiEugenio Charles Draeger Amanda Hacker Adrian Martinca Joshua Merrill Amaka Nsonwu Margaret Weckworth
Mississippi, Univ. of Christopher Lawyer
UNC - Wilmington Kimberly Anile David Bruce Helen Gagnon Michael Herschel IV Jerelyn Huber Lindsay Keller Megan Liebal Kelly McIntyre Niall Moreira Siobhan Nolan
Morehouse College Jordan McKinnie
Virginia, Univ. of Erinn Thompson
NC State University Mackenzie Adams Carolyn Chandler Matthew Cowhig Christa Dolan Rafaela Gaines Moon-Ji Jeong David Kane III Ryan Kordsmeier Jennifer Lenn Anna-Marie Massoglia Bonnie McCurry Matthew Meadors Martin Murray Brian Patti Josie Rathburn Michael Scott Carly Sutter Chase Swain Zachary Toomey John Winters
Virginia Polytech. Inst. Justin Agud
Methodist University Ross Diachenko Missionary Work/Africa Rebecca Moquin
Ohio State University Edward Washing Pfeiffer University Brittany Cox Salisbury University Alexander Mason Savannah Col. of Art & Design Tracy Dougherty
Wake Forest U. Alyssa Gaudio Western Car. U. Patricia Flanery Julia Gomez Undecided Seth Carey Neva Felix Rachael Langley Ryan Latimer Christina Maul Katlyn Meyers Courtney Wofford
May 29, 2009
14 The Catholic News & Herald
A collection of columns, editorials and viewpoints
When ethics spoke to power at Notre Dame
Welcoming Obama may invite reflection, change his conscience There’s a lot to be learned from the commencement controversy at Notre Dame. When opposition first emerged to the university’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to receive an honorary degree and speak at the May 17 graduation, Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh, former Notre Dame president, said in an interview with the student newspaper: “No speaker who has ever come to Notre Dame has changed the university. We know who we are. But, quite often, the very fact of being here has changed the speaker.” Obama had to be affected by his visit to Notre Dame. It remains to be seen to what extent the national debate about abortion will change. It will take years to tell. To its credit, Notre Dame has raised the debate to a higher level. Ethics and power met on that commencement platform; power now has a heightened awareness of the Catholic concern for human life issues in the national policy arena. Perhaps eventually — not right away, but eventually — Obama may find himself reflecting, as his predecessor Lyndon B. Johnson did in his 1971 memoirs: “Nothing makes a man come to grips more directly with his conscience than the presidency. Sitting in that chair involves making decisions that draw out a man’s fundamental commitments. The burden of his responsibility literally opens up his soul. “No longer can he accept matters as given. No longer can he write off hopes and needs as impossible. In that house of decision, the White House, a man becomes his commitments. He understands who he really is. He learns what he genuinely wants to be.” Obama took something more than a doctoral hood and diploma back to the White House when he returned from Notre Dame. He now has the memory of a warm and enthusiastic welcome from thousands of new friends who respectfully disagree — and said so publicly — with his policy positions on abortion and embryonic stem cell research. He will not forget the wise words of Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, the current university president, who, while honoring him, reminded him that “easing the hateful divisions between human beings is the supreme challenge of this age. If we can solve this problem, we
Looking Around JESUIT FATHER WILLIAM J. BYRON cns columnist
have a chance to come together and solve all others.” American Catholics on all sides of the policy debates concerning human life can learn from the Notre Dame commencement experience. Curiously, it is a lesson taught years ago by a nonChristian who had an enormous impact on human history: Mahatma Gandhi. A lawyer by training, Gandhi once said he learned “to find out the better side of human nature and to enter men’s hearts. I realized that the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder.” He resolved, he said, “never to yield to force and never to use force to win a cause.” Gandhi led a nonviolent fight for India’s freedom against the greatest empire in the world (the British). And he won. To him, the essence of the principle of nonviolence was that “it must have its root in love. Its object should not be to punish the opponent or to inflict injury upon him. Even while noncooperating with him, we must make him feel that in us he has a friend and we should try to reach his heart by rendering him humanitarian service wherever possible.” Notre Dame might want to edit that and say, “by offering him an honorary degree.”
Examining Obama’s Notre Dame speech Commencement address significant but troubling
The decision of Notre Dame University not only to invite President Obama to give the commencement address, but also to award him with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree damages the reputation and contests the integrity of one of the most influential Catholic universities in the United States. I would encourage you to read the text of Obama’s speech given at the graduation ceremony in South Bend, Ind. The speech is certainly significant for a number of reasons. Graduation speeches typically capture the current state of affairs, including relevant political, cultural, social and even moral considerations. And the speaker usually indicates how academic achievements and skills earned will respond to current crisis. It also is significant because this speech is directed to a Catholic institution of higher learning that has enjoyed the reputation of tradition and excellence. To be sure, this speech was intended not merely for the community of Notre Dame, but for the entire Catholic community in the United States. Most disturbing to the well-formed Catholic intellect and conscience is Obama’s treatment of the issue of abortion and stem cell research. He mentioned that “those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships can be relieved.” He makes no distinction between adult and embryonic stem cell research. The Catholic Church is clearly in favor of stem cell research. But when this research necessitates the death of a living embryo, which results from embryonic stem cell research, then it is morally illicit. Obama makes no clear distinctions in order to equalize the debate. He claims that both sides argue from conviction; both sides care about life; both sides make a legitimate case. Obama then extends this dangerous approach to the issue of abortion. He employs the language of “fair-minded words” and “common ground” to appear
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Guest Columnist FATHER MATTHEW BUETTNER guest columnist
above the fray, beyond those who engage the argument. Yet, one wonders whether he would use “fair minded words” to address those who are in favor of rape or whether he would seek “common ground” with those who endorse slavery or support the holocaust of Jews and Christians during World War II. We cannot concede that the issue of abortion is little more than an irreconcilable debate between two adverse opinions or opposing perspectives without any reference to objective criteria. Those who are in favor of abortion want to retain the legal protection to commit murder, while those who are against it seek legal protection of the innocent human life that exists in the womb. Interestingly, Obama asks that we “work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies….” He may be referring to abstinence programs. However, he is likely encouraging the use of contraceptives, which are not only morally evil, but often increase the need for abortion when they fail. But ultimately, one wonders why he would seek to reduce the number of abortions when he has worked to promote abortion in the United States and around the world. Either abortion is a good or it is an evil. The pro-abortion position claims that abortion is a good that expresses freedom and independence. Why would Obama work to protect an apparent good and then argue that this good should not be expressed unless he knows that in the end, it is an evil that unleashes devastating consequences? Sadly, abortion and stem cell research are eclipsed by the challenges of a floundering global economy, environmental protection and other issues that characterize “the City of Man” in the president’s speech to the university. However, the speech is significant because it is addressed to the Catholic community at large. And its disturbing details reveal that we have much work to do to combat what our Holy Father wisely called “the dictatorship of relativism.” I encourage you to read the speech, study our faith, and be ready to defend the truth against those who threaten it. Father Buettner is pastor of St. Dorothy Church in Lincolnton.
May 29, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 15
Lament for Gollum
Fictional creature a reminder to overcome struggles through Christ On my desk is a small statue of Gollum, the Hobbit-like character from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” Those who have read only “The Hobbit,” where Gollum was introduced, have seen only an evil, angry little creature. But those who have read “The Lord of the Rings,” or seen its film adaption, witnessed something else. Gollum was a soul in torment, obsessed with wishing to possess a ring of pure evil that slowly and literally destroyed him body and soul. St. Benedict reminds us to “Deny yourself in order to follow Christ” (Rule of St. Benedict 4:10). Denying ourselves means an act of will, a deliberate choice to follow the example of our Lord and not to follow our own will. And it also means denying ourselves those things that could corrupt our good intentions. “For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want” (NRSV; Gal. 5:17). Poor Gollum. Those who knew him pitied him. Why? Because they recognized the struggle within him and understood that same struggle within themselves. It is a common struggle; it is within our nature. All through “The Lord of the Rings,” the reader witnesses the soul
wrenching struggle within Gollum as he journeyed with the others. On one side is the obsessive desire for the material (the Ring). On the other is his desire to break away from the influence of the Ring in favor of new friends who understand his struggle. “Our inner self fights against the outer, and the outer against the inner. For flesh always desires useless and perishable things, the spirit seeks what is useful and always sighs for what is eternal” (Smaragdus of St. Mihiel, p. 173). When Gollum allowed others to help him, he was able to struggle against the power of the Ring. Frodo, the hero of the story and the “Ring bearer,” reached out to Gollum because he recognized and understood his struggle. When Gollum chose to reject his friendship and turn his full attention to acquiring the Ring, he failed, eventually giving up his struggle and allowing the influence of the Ring to corrupt him. He turned against friend and ally to possess the Ring — a golden, material object. Perhaps he was doomed to begin with. He killed his childhood friend to obtain the Ring. His obsession drove him away from family and friends until all he had in the world was the Ring, his “Precious.” This is the result of all addictive behavior; but worse — this is the ultimate result whenever we deliberately
Making the movement their own
Encouraging teens shy about pro-life activisim It’s a difficult time to be a pro-life Catholic teen. Sometimes, it seems like those in favor of keeping abortion legal are more sensible. They don’t carry around placards with pictures of aborted fetuses (something that keeps one pro-life teen I know from getting involved in activism). They don’t pray loud novenas outside abortion clinics (which makes another girl I know nervous and embarrassed). They don’t say, “If you have any doubts at all, you’re not Catholic.” (It’s normal to doubt when you’re a teenager!) In fact, a girl told me they often seem more tolerant and “with it,” which could explain why President Obama was a hit at Notre Dame even though the church opposes his policies. To a Catholic, though, the abortion debate isn’t thorny at all: Abortion is murder. It is wrong. It must be stopped. But this is a multi-opinioned, polyglot world. Stopping the spread of abortion is going to be a long road, and it’s understandable if Catholic teens, faced with the enormity of the task and how often it seems to clash with the way
they live today, shy away from pro-life activism. Here are some ways teens can make the pro-life movement their own: Cultivate a culture of openness and acceptance within your school and your group of friends. Start talking today. Be an everyday advocate and help your friends make good decisions. They’ll listen to you! Often, pro-lifers will serve as “sidewalk counselors,” intercepting women before they go into a clinic and talking to them about abortion. My question is: Why weren’t these conversations occurring before someone got pregnant? Afraid to make speeches? Teens have a lot of economic power, so let your wallet speak for you: Don’t spend money on items or services made by companies who support abortion businesses. Turned off by confrontational language and graphic pictures? There are other ways of showing solidarity. One is by running supply drives for women’s shelters and charities that provide free baby supplies to moms who have chosen to keep their kids. People
Guest Column GEORGE COBB guest columnist
and consistently turn away from a loving God toward the material world, the world of the flesh. So why do I keep Gollum on my desk? It is a reminder to turn to our Lord in the struggle to be more like him; but also it is a reminder of the importance of friends. With Jesus helping us along the way, none of us is “doomed to begin with.” Gollum reminds me of the importance of seeking out others in my personal struggles against the “rings” in life. If we share our common struggle, we will find we are not quite as alone as we think. Gollum also is a reminder to me to remember to look for the good in all people and to see the face of Christ in each person I meet. So it is a reminder to always reach out to the Gollums of the world who may be struggling alone, and may ultimately fall, because they have been rejected by the society in which we live. But most importantly, Gollum is a reminder to turn to the one person, the one friend, who understands our own struggles better than any other — our Lord Jesus Christ. Cobb is planning and research director for the Diocese of Charlotte.
Coming of Age KAREN OSBORNE cns columnist
always feel better knowing they’re not in a traumatic situation alone. Don’t like prayer vigils or rosary rallies with music and liturgy that don’t seem relevant to your experience? Ask a priest or youth minister for help and plan a prayer service that’s both Catholic and comfortable for teens. I page through my high school yearbook now and again, seeing the faces of old friends and people I knew. What’s missing, though, are the faces that could have been there but never were — the 50 million victims of abortion in America who never even got a shot at doing the things we take for granted: breathing, dreaming, growing up. No “deus ex machina” is going to come out of nowhere to change things; no number of bitter words or graduation protests will shift policy overnight. It’s going to take a lot of work, and we need to start changing things now by influencing decisions, saving lives and ensuring bright futures. It can be done. Now that’s sensible!
Pope says simplicity, sobriety, sacrifice aren’t just for monks The Pope Speaks POPE BENEDICT XVI VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The principles of poverty, chastity and sacrifice for the good of the community, which are characteristic of monastic life, are valid for all Christians, Pope Benedict XVI said. During his weekly general audience May 27 in St. Peter’s Square, the pope used the example of the Byzantine monk St. Theodore the Studite to explain how the virtues that monks and nuns strive for should be emulated by all in everyday life. St. Theodore, who was born in 759, emphasized the ideals of “renunciation of private property, freedom from material things, sobriety (and) simplicity,” the pope told the crowd of about 14,000 people. “This extreme form is valid for monks, but the spirit is valid for everyone,” he said. The pope also praised St. Theodore’s promotion of “philergia,” or love of work, as “a way to find God.” St. Theodore’s conviction that the monastery’s earnings should be shared with the poor was an example that “we can all learn that the fruits of our work should be for the benefit of all,” the pope said. Here is the text of the pope’s audience remarks in English. Dear Brothers and Sisters, Today’s catechesis on the life and teaching of St. Theodore the Studite places us at the heart of the medieval Byzantine period. Born in 759 to a noble and pious family, Theodore entered the monastery at the age of 22. He vigorously opposed the iconoclastic movement since, he argued, abolishing images of Christ entails a rejection of his work of redemption. Theodore also initiated a thorough reform of the disciplinary, administrative and spiritual aspects of monastic life. A particularly important virtue according to Theodore is “philergia” — the love of work — since diligence in material tasks indicates fervor in one’s spiritual duties. He even described work as a type of “liturgy,” asserting that the riches mined from it must be used to help the poor. The Studite’s Rule holds particular relevance for us today because it highlights the unity of faith and the need to resist the danger of spiritual individualism. May we heed Theodore’s summons to nurture the unity of the Body of Christ through well-ordered lives and by cultivating harmonious relationships with one another in the Holy Spirit.
May 29, 2009
The Catholic News & Herald 16
in the news
Martyrs take the field
U.S. seminarians finish second in Clericus Cup soccer match by SARAH DELANEY catholic news service
CNS photo by Emanuela De Meo, Catholic Press Photo
Fans cheer for players from the North American College soccer team (pictured in the foreground) during the Clericus Cup tournament in Rome May 23. The NAC Martyrs, the team fielded by the U.S. bishops’ seminary in Rome, finished the season in second place.
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ROME — Dreams of glory for the Pontifical North American College soccer team were vanquished with a single corner kick to their goal in the final duel for the Clericus Cup tournament trophy. The NAC Martyrs, the team fielded by the U.S. bishops’ seminary in Rome, finished the season with a respectable second place after going undefeated into the final match May 23 against a team from the Neocatechumenal Way’s Redemptoris Mater seminary. The loss did not discourage the North American College rector, Msgr. James Checchio. “They’re winners,” he said after the game. “They’re great men; they played hard and they keep improving.” The important thing, he said, “is that they are coming together in unity and a spirit of cooperation, with brothers from other countries.” The Clericus Cup tournament for priests and seminarians studying in Rome was established in 2006 and first played in 2007; it now involves 386 seminarians and religious from 69 countries. Martyrs’ coach and goalie Gannon Jones said the loss was disappointing, “but I’m definitely pleased at our playing this year. This is the only game we lost, and only by one point. Our defense was very good.” The key is “to put your good sportsmanship to Christ,” he said, because “winning is everything only if you win God.” Despite the heat and the high stakes for the title of champions, tempers appeared to be kept under control. A jab here and kick there, or a foul, didn’t set off the players as they might in a match in a conventional league. The blue “sin” card, an innovation of Clericus Cup play that signifies a timeout for “reflection” for any player who gets a little overheated, was not employed during the final match. Hundreds of fans from both seminaries took shelter from the blazing sun under the covered stands on a hilltop soccer field that gave a unique, level view of the dome of the nearby St. Peter’s Basilica. To inaugurate the game, “Red Mat” players and supporters sang “Alma Redemptoris Mater,” while Martyrs’ fans sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” accompanied by a trumpeter.
Msgr. Checchio estimated that about half of the 208 seminarians at the North American College had come out to cheer on their red and blue team. An extremely enthusiastic fan club, they stamped their feet, pounded the roof, shouted “NAC, NAC, NAC ...” to the tune of “Barbara Ann” and “Yes, we can! Yes, we can!” or admonished the referee with taunting chants. Three fans in full Captain America, King Kong and Elvis garb pranced about at halftime. Bob Mucci, a fourth-year seminarian from Brooklyn, N.Y., said he followed the team from the beginning of the Clericus Cup and said the North American team members “have only gotten better every year. Next year they’ll have to win.” The Martyrs had hoped to win the leading scorer title with their Brazilian forward John Kalevski, who went into the game with 11 goals for the season. But he didn’t get the chance to surpass Edouard Sinayobye of the College of St. Paul, who finished the season with 12 goals. Kalevski, who is studying for the Basilian order, wanted to play soccer, and because his house did not field a team he joined the Martyrs. Center back Victor Ingalls, a firstyear student from Montgomery, Ala., said after the game that not winning the cup “is a disappointment, but it’s a joy to be able to be in Rome and have all teams with the same goal — the joy in Christ.” Winning is not the point, he said. “We’re all here to glorify the Lord.” Games are friendly, he said, because many of the men are friends. “I know a lot of the players on Red Mat because we were at the Gregorian (a pontifical university) together,” he said. Claudio Starile, one of the referees for the Catholic sporting association that organizes the Clericus Cup, said that officiating at one of this league’s games is “like being on holiday” compared to a conventional match. “There is a big difference in behavior,” he said. “Here there is a real desire to play: In other matches there is more of a desire to be aggressive.” Coach Jones said he got his team out twice a week for practice. Of course, prayer is part of their game plan. “We pray before and after a game — to not get injured and to enjoy it,” Jones said. “We pray to express ourselves, using the gifts that God gave us.”
Published on May 29, 2009
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