Diocese of Fall River
F riday , April 13, 2012
Area Catholic faithful can have a voice in attacks against religious freedoms in U.S. By Dave Jolivet, Editor
FALL RIVER — The attacks come more frequently and are less subtle than in years past. The U.S. government under the Obama Administration is attempting to erode First Amendment rights to citizens of a country founded on those very liberties. While the attacks are not solely targeting the Catholic Church, it is the U.S. bishops who have taken the lead in the fight against threats to morals and conscience issues. In March, the administrative committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops met to discuss what Catholics can do to stand up for the Church. The committee said it “is strongly unified and intensely focused in its opposition to the various threats to religious freedom in our day. In our role as bishops, we approach this question prayerfully and as pastors — concerned not only with the protection of the Church’s own institutions, but with the care of the souls of the individual faithful, and with the common
good.” In the forefront is the recent rule of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would force virtually all private health insurance plans to provide coverage of sterilization and contraception, including abortifacient drugs, which is clearly against Church teachings. The bold attack on Catholic conscience and morals prompted N.Y. Cardinal Timothy A. Dolan to say, “We did not ask for this fight, but we will not run from it.” “The U.S. bishops have been great leaders in the fight against attacks on religious freedoms in this country right from the start,” said Matt Smith, president of Catholic Advocate, a national non-partisan community for faithful Catholics working on having a greater influence on policy in the nation’s capital. He told The Anchor, “The bishops are providing guidance and support, but the Catholic laity has the responsiTurn to page 18
He is risen — The Resurrection of Christ as portrayed in a stained-glass window in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in New Bedford.
Divine Mercy Sunday should be tool for evangelization By Kenneth J. Souza Anchor Staff
FALL RIVER — Now in its 12th year since being formally established by Pope John Paul II, the solemnity of Divine Mercy Sunday is observed on the Sunday immediately following Easter and has become a popular devotion in many parishes over the last dozen years. The devotion to the Divine Mercy Chaplet — which blossomed from meditations written in the diary of a young Polish nun, Sister Faustina Kowalska — had been prayed regularly in parishes and in the privacy
of people’s homes for years until the formal observance of Divine Mercy Sunday was declared by Pope John Paul II during St. Faustina’s canonization on Apr. 30, 2000. Not coincidentally, Blessed Pope John Paul II was beatified last year on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1. As the Church prepares to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday this weekend, Robert R. Allard, director of the Apostles of Divine Mercy, hopes the celebration will be used as a great tool for evangelization and a way to bring Turn to page 13
Answering the call – There was hope that 20 would attend, but instead 51 women from all walks of life showed up for the general meeting interest held at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet for “Women of Grace,” a Catholic apostolate program designed to transform and affirm women in their dignity and vocation as daughters of God.
‘Women of Grace’ called to go forth and spread the Word
By Becky Aubut Anchor Staff
ACUSHNET — There is a new program of biblical proportions taking root at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet. “Women of Grace” is a Catholic apostolate that is looking to transform and affirm women in their dignity and vocation as daughters of God, one woman at a time. In correspondence with that woman-to-woman mission, it only took one woman — and a serendipitous trip to Rome and an argument with a priest over a dinner bill — to bring the program to the St. Francis Xavier Parish. Parish member Sue Charbonneau went to Rome with a group of family members. During their last night, the group had dinner with Msgr.
John Cihak, an official of the Congregation for Bishops and annual visitor to St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet. “When dinner was over, I’m thinking, he’s a priest and I’m not going to have him pay, but the bill comes and we’re sort of arguing over the bill,” she recalled, as Msgr. Cihak insisted on paying for the meal. Msgr. Cihak quickly came up with a solution. “He said, ‘You know what you can do for me? Start Women of Grace at your parish when you get home.’” Caught off guard and knowing nothing about the program, Charbonneau said that Msgr. Cihak explained how the Women of Grace had been done at his mother’s parish in Oregon, transformTurn to page 15
News From the Vatican Christ’s resurrection changed the world, pope says at Easter
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Light and darkness, truth and lies, hope and despair are in a constant battle in the world, but with His death and Resurrection Jesus conquered sin and death for all time, Pope Benedict XVI said on Easter. “If Jesus is risen, then — and only then — has something truly new happened, something that changes the state of humanity and the world,” the pope told tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square before giving his Easter blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world). With the sun shining on the square — transformed into a garden with 42,000 flowers, flowering plants, shrubs and trees — Pope Benedict began the celebration of the morning Mass April 8 just 10 hours after having finished celebrating the three-hour long Easter vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica. In his Easter message at the end of the morning Mass, the pope said every Christian can share the experience of Mary Magdalene, who was the first to encounter the risen Jesus on Easter morning. The encounter “lets us experience all God’s goodness and truth,” he said. The risen Lord “frees us from evil not in a superficial and fleeting way, but sets us free radically, heals us completely and restores our dignity.” The Resurrection means that
Jesus belongs not just to the past, but is present today, giving hope and comfort to all those who suffer, the pope said. Pope Benedict offered special prayers and encouragement to Christians persecuted for their faith and to the people of the Middle East, asking members of all religious and ethnic groups to work together for the common good and respect for human rights. “Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation” after months of violent battles between Syria’s government and opposition forces. The pope also prayed for the people of Iraq, for Israelis and Palestinians, for those suffering famine and violence in the Horn of Africa, and for those suffering from conflict in Mali and in Sudan and South Sudan. At the end of his message, he wished people a happy Easter in 65 languages, including Mongolian, Hebrew, Hindi, Chinese, Maori, Esperanto and Latin. In English, he said: “May the grace and joy of the risen Christ be with you all.” At the Easter vigil the night before, the pope welcomed eight adults into the Catholic Church. Among those he baptized and confirmed was Jason N. Emerick,
a 36-year-old man from the Archdiocese of Boston. Two of the catechumens were from Germany and the others were from Turkmenistan, Italy, Albania, Slovakia and Cameroon. Light, fire and candles were the symbols highlighted during the pope’s vigil. Like Easter vigils throughout the world, the Mass began with the lighting of a fire. In the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica there was a large brazier full of blazing coals; an assistant lit a small taper from the coals and handed it to the pope so he could light the towering Easter candle. A deacon carried the candle to the entrance of the darkened basilica and chanted, “The light of Christ.” The smaller candle carried by Pope Benedict was lit and he got onto his mobile platform to be pushed up the aisle of the basilica in silence and what should have been darkness. Although announcers — in multiple languages — had asked the crowd not to use flashes on their cameras during the procession, bursts of light accompanied the pope toward the altar. However, the cameras could not destroy the impact of the candles held by members of the congregation being lighted one by one and the glow spreading throughout the world’s largest church. In his homily, Pope Benedict said “to say that God created light means that God created the world as a space for knowledge and truth, as a space for encounter and freedom, as a space for good and love.” The light of Easter, he said, proclaims forever the fact that “life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies.” The world needs the light of Christ and the light of faith, because darkness always attempts to obscure people’s vision of what is good and evil and what the purpose of their life is, the pope said. “Today we can illuminate our cities so brightly that the stars of the sky are no longer visible,” he said. “Is this not an image of the problems caused by our version of enlightenment? “With regard to material things, our knowledge and our technical accomplishments are legion,” he said. But when it comes to the more important matters, such as “the things of God and the question of good,” people can no longer see them. “Faith, then, which reveals God’s light to us, is the true enlightenment, enabling God’s light to break into our world, opening our eyes to the true light,” he said.
April 13, 2012
vatican road map — Pilgrims holds a sign saying “Highway to Heaven B16” during Pope Benedict XVI’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican recently. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Cuban-born priest renowned for his ministry in U.S. declared venerable
NEW YORK (CNS) — The Vatican has declared as venerable Father Felix Varela, a 19thcentury Cuban priest who worked in New York for many years and also lived in Florida. Both the New York and Miami archdioceses, where there are many proponents of Father Varela’s sainthood cause, announced the declaration Easter Sunday, April 8. It recognizes the priest lived heroic Christian virtues and is the first official step on the priest’s path to sainthood. During Pope Benedict XVI’s March 26-28 visit to Cuba, he praised Father Varela as “‘a shining example’ of the contributions a person of faith can make in building a more just society,” noted Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski in a press release posted by the archdiocese. “Varela in his own words reminds us that ‘there is no authentic fatherland without virtue.’” The March 14 decree
The Anchor www.anchornews.org
from the Congregation for Saints’ Causes declaring Father Varela venerable cited the priest’s own words at a time of upheaval in Cuba that ultimately led to the nation’s independence: “I want to be a soldier of Christ. My purpose is not to kill men, but to save souls.” Father Varela, who died in exile in the United States in 1853, is not only a model of holiness for Cuban Catholics; both the communist government and its opponents invoke him as an inspiration for their actions. One measure of his lasting impact on Cuba is that the day the declaration was issued by the Vatican, The Washington Post featured a story about a recent program at a former seminary that now houses the Father Felix Varela Cultural Center in Havana. The Post described “a hall packed with professors, dissidents, clergy, bloggers, leftists, diplomats. The subject matter once unthinkable.” OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE DIOCESE OF FALL RIVER Vol. 56, No. 15
Member: Catholic Press Association, Catholic News Service
Published weekly except for two weeks in the summer and the week after Christmas by the Catholic Press of the Diocese of Fall River, 887 Highland Avenue, Fall River, MA 02720, Telephone 508-675-7151 — FAX 508-675-7048, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscription price by mail, postpaid $20.00 per year, for U.S. addresses. Send address changes to P.O. Box 7, Fall River, MA, call or use email address
PUBLISHER - Most Reverend George W. Coleman EXECUTIVE EDITOR Father Roger J. Landry email@example.com EDITOR David B. Jolivet firstname.lastname@example.org OFFICE MANAGER Mary Chase m email@example.com ADVERTISING Wayne R. Powers firstname.lastname@example.org REPORTER Kenneth J. Souza email@example.com REPORTER Rebecca Aubut firstname.lastname@example.org Send Letters to the Editor to: email@example.com
PoStmaSters send address changes to The Anchor, P.O. Box 7, Fall River, MA 02722. THE ANCHOR (USPS-545-020) Periodical Postage Paid at Fall River, Mass.
April 13, 2012
The International Church
Nurse wins clash over conscience rights without going to court
worldwide remembrance — Members of the Catholic community kneel as they follow a crucifix and pray to commemorate the death of Jesus on Good Friday during Easter celebrations in Juba, South Sudan. (CNS photo/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah, Reuters)
Pope forcefully criticizes priestly dissent and disobedience
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — During a Mass in which priests renew their promises of fidelity to Christ, Pope Benedict XVI firmly criticized dissent from Church teachings and disobedience of God’s will as illegitimate pathways toward reform and renewal. Surrounded by more than 1,600 priests, bishops and cardinals, the pope cautioned against calls for women’s ordination, saying such campaigns seemed more “a desperate push” to fulfill one’s own preferences rather than a sincere attempt to conform one’s life more closely to Christ. During the chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which focuses on Holy Thursday as the day Jesus shared His priesthood with the Apostles, the pope said he wanted to use the occasion to ask all priests, including himself, to meditate upon what their consecration really means. “Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to Him,” which entails a renunciation of oneself and “of the much-vaunted selffulfillment,” the pope asked. Being Christ-like means not to be served but to serve, not taking but giving, he said. If that is the nature of the priesthood, then what should be the response of priests when faced with “the often dramatic situation of the Church today,” the pope asked. Without specifying the country, Pope Benedict said a group of priests from a European nation have issued a call for disobedience of Church teaching, specifically regarding the question of women’s ordination. Last year the president of the Austrian bishops’ conference, Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, condemned a “Call to Disobedience,” signed by 250 of Austria’s 4,200 Catholic priests. The document urged Catholics to begin a campaign in support of women priests and “priestless eucharistic Liturgies,” as well as for Communion to be given to non-Catholics and remarried divorcees. Also, 311 theologians from Austria, Germany and Switzerland
signed a memorandum last year demanding the ordination of women and married men, as well as an “open dialogue” on the Church’s “structures of power and communication.” Pope Benedict asked, “Is disobedience a path of renewal for the Church?” adding that Blessed John Paul II taught “irrevocably that the Church has received no authority from the Lord” to ordain women. Pope Benedict said perhaps such campaigns are motivated by concern for the Church and believe that “the slow pace of institutions has to be overcome by drastic measures, in order to open up new paths and bring the Church up-to-date.” “But is disobedience really a way to do this?” the pope asked. True renewal must be based on lives that are radically conformed to Christ and God’s will, he said. Christ did seek to correct errors in human traditions, the pope said, but only those customs that stifled God’s word and will, seeking to eliminate “human caprice” so as to reveal God’s authentic desire for His people. Being humble, subservient, and obedient to God and following Church teaching are not excuses “to defend inertia, the fossilization of traditions,” the pope said. The era following the Second Vatican Council showed what a process of “true renewal” looks like, and it can be seen in many of the new movements and ways of life that are “filled with the joy of faith, the radicalism of obedience, the dynamic of hope and the power of love,” he said. Presiding over the first of two Holy Thursday Liturgies, Pope Benedict blessed the oils that will be used in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination and the Anointing of the Sick. Deacons carried the oils in large silver urns to the main altar while catechumens, youths preparing for Confirmation, the sick and deacons about to be ordained in the Diocese of Rome wheeled small tables carrying large, artistic urns, which also contained sacramental oils. In his homily, the pope called on all priests to continue to look to
Christ and the saints for guidance in how best to serve and renew the Church and minister to humanity. “God is not concerned so much with great numbers and with outward successes, but achieves His victories under the humble sign of the mustard seed,” the pope said. He urged bishops and priests to remember their role as teachers and to use the upcoming Year of Faith to combat “the growing religious illiteracy found in the midst of our sophisticated society.” “We preach not private theories and opinions, but the faith of the Church,” he said. Accurate, authentic guides of what the Church teaches can be found not only in sacred Scripture, but also the texts of Vatican II, the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” and Pope John Paul II’s writings, which “are still far from being explored,” he said. Such teaching will only be credible when those preaching live lives visibly touched and shaped by Christ and His word, the pope said.
MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — A Catholic nurse in central England has won a battle over her right conscientiously to object to involvement in abortions. The nurse, who asked not to be named because of fear of reprisal from her hospital employer, convinced National Health Service managers that her right to conscientious objection was protected by law. Without anyone going to court, the managers dropped their threat to dismiss the nurse because of her refusal to work in an abortion clinic attached to the hospital in the British Midlands, she told Catholic News Service. Managers pointed out to her that she was not being required to perform an abortion but only to prepare women for the procedure, she explained, and that other Catholics — including a special minister of Holy Communion at the local parish — were working in the abortion clinic. “I said, ‘I can’t be responsible for other people’s beliefs. I can only speak for myself,’” said the nurse, a married mother of two in her early 40s. “I stood by that,” she added. “I said, ‘I am not happy to do it and I’m standing by my principles.’” The woman’s ordeal began when she began working additional hours in 2011 after her three-year-old son started attending nursery school. The nurse said she was not told that she would be required to fill in for abortion clinic staff taking time off and that within two months her name appeared on the
clinic’s roster. When she refused to work in the clinic, she was told by managers that she faced dismissal. She said she turned for advice to her parish priest, who referred her to the Thomas More Legal Centre in Warrington, England. The center offers free legal assistance to Christians claiming to be victims of discrimination and harassment because of their faith. Neil Addison, the center’s director, said he wrote to hospital officials explaining that the nurse’s conscience rights were protected under the 1967 Abortion Act, and officials quickly backed down. He also said that the woman’s view that human life begins at conception was a “philosophical” belief protected by the 2010 Equality Act and also by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Any attempt either to pressure the nurse to change her mind or to suggest to her that her career prospects might suffer would breach laws against harassment and discrimination, Addison said. The nurse resolved the case less than a month after a Scottish court ruled that the Abortion Act did not allow two Catholic midwives to opt out of supervising late-term abortions at a hospital in Glasgow. In an April 2 email to CNS, Addison said together the two cases showed that the right of health care workers to object to involvement in abortions for reasons of conscience was under pressure in the United Kingdom.
The Church in the U.S.
April 13, 2012
Anna Maria College rescinds invitation to Victoria Kennedy PAXTON, Mass. (CNS) — Anna Maria College has rescinded its invitation to the widow of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy to speak during spring commencement ceremonies after a local bishop said he found her an “objectionable” choice because of her association with organizations whose points of view are contrary to Church teachings. Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester, said he told the president of the college that he would not attend the May 19 commencement if Victoria Reggie Kennedy were the speaker and the recipient of an honorary degree from the institution. “My difficulty is not primarily with Mrs. Kennedy,” Bishop McManus told The Catholic Free Press, newspaper of the Worcester Diocese. “My difficulty is with the college choosing her to be honored by allowing her to be commencement speaker and giving her an honorary degree. “My concern basically was that to give this type of honor to Mrs. Kennedy would in fact undercut the Catholic identity and mission of the school,” he said. “And that in so far as that that happens, the ‘communio’ (communion) or the unity that exists between the local Church and the local Catholic college is strained and hurt.” Bishop McManus did not specify which of Kennedy’s public appearances or statements raised concerns, but he said he was concerned that if Kennedy, who is Catholic, were honored by the college it would have given the impression that “someone can hold a position that is contrary to the Church’s teaching (and still be honored).” “That cannot be allowed,” he said. Some news reports have said Kennedy supports same-sex marriage and keeping abortion legal. Her husband, a lifelong Catholic, was a longtime proponent of access to abortion and pushed for expanded rights for gays and lesbians. A March 30 statement from the 1,100-student Catholic liberal arts
college located in central Massachusetts said the invitation was withdrawn after “hours of discerning and struggling with elements of all sides of this issue.” Citing Kennedy’s contributions on social issues such as gun control and child safety, the statement also said college officials still believed the late senator’s wife was an appropriate choice as speaker and honorary degree recipient. “As a small Catholic college that relies heavily on the good will of its relationship with the bishop and the larger Catholic community, its options are limited,” the college’s statement said. The college said it apologized to Kennedy and appreciated her understanding of its position. Kennedy expressed disappointment that she would not be able to address Anna Maria College’s class of 2012. In a statement issued after the college’s announcement, Kennedy said she accepted the decision of Anna Maria College President Jack P. Calareso and the executive committee of the college’s board of trustees and “regretted the position” in which they had been placed. “I have great respect and admiration for Anna Maria College and the class of 2012 and would not want my presence to hurt the school or detract from the graduates’ special day in any way,” Kennedy’s statement said. “Nevertheless, I am disheartened by this entire turn of events,” the statement continued. “I am a lifelong Catholic and my faith is very important to me.” She is a member of the board of directors of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, a nonprofit organization that brings together leaders from the worlds of business, finance, academia, philanthropy, nonprofits and the Church to serve the Catholic Church in the United States in the areas of management, finances and human resources development.
SINGING PRAISE — Members of a choir sing during a stop along the Way of the Cross over the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. The annual Good Friday event, which ends near the World Trade Center site, is sponsored by the worldwide Catholic lay movement Communion and Liberation. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
Santa Rosa Diocese will ‘shut down’ if HHS mandate imposed, bishop says
SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) — If the Diocese of Santa Rosa is required to cooperate with the Obama Administration’s mandate requiring most religious employers to provide no-cost contraceptive coverage, the diocese won’t, said Bishop Robert F. Vasa. “If they shut me down, they shut me down,” the bishop said following a speech on Catholic health care at a three-day conference on Catholic health care reform hosted by Life Legal Defense Foundation and the Christus Medicus Foundation. The Archdiocese of San Francisco and the dioceses of Sacramento, Oakland and Santa Rosa were among the sponsors. In an interview with Catholic San Francisco, however, Bishop Vasa said he believes the Church will prevail on the issue because religious liberty is “enshrined in our Constitution.” “Precisely because Jesus healed the sick, the Church is involved in healing ministry,” Bishop Vasa said in his keynote address to the conference, stressing the Catholic Church’s commitment to health care. “We are involved in this based on the conviction that each person has unique dignity.” Catholics must unite as they never have before if they hope to prevail against the federal contraceptive mandate, because the alternatives are bleak, according to speakers at the March 29-31 conference at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. “I think we have to mobilize our Church in a way we never have before,” said William Cox, president and CEO of the Alliance of Catholic Health Care, an association of California Catholic hospitals. “This is something we cannot fight unless we are united,” said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. A remedy that the U.S. bishops are urging Catholics to support is the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, said Doerflinger. Supporters may send their lawmakers a note in support of the legislation through a link at www.usccb.org/conscience. The proposed measure will ensure that those who participate in the health care system “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.” It would amend only the new mandated benefits provisions in Title I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to include the conscience protection that is al-
ready part of other federal health programs, according to the U.S. bishops’ website. U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., introduced the bill in the House, where it remains in committee; it now has more than 200 sponsors. In the Senate, the bill’s chief sponsor was Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., but senators voted March 1 to table it. Blunt has said, “This fight is not over.” In the Santa Rosa Diocese, Bishop Vasa said he has taken the first steps to changing its health insurance coverage — an action he has taken twice before in Lincoln, Neb., and Baker, Ore. Bishop Vasa was a priest of the Lincoln Diocese from 1976 to 1999, when he was appointed bishop of Baker. He requested that Anthem Blue Cross send him all 20,000 or more codes for procedures and payments so he can analyze exactly what is and is not covered. In the past, as an official of the Diocese of Lincoln and as bishop of Baker, Bishop Vasa said he changed health insurance to a self-insured plan that did not offer morally objectionable benefits to anyone. In Baker and in Lincoln, Bishop Vasa broke from the established health insurance carrier to go with a self-insured plan that conformed completely to Catholic values, including opposition to contraceptives, sterilization and abortion. Most plans cover those procedures and drugs, even if they are not explicitly stated, Bishop Vasa said. “I don’t do business with people who don’t think the way I do,” Bishop Vasa said. “Catholic health care is about more than excluding any particular procedure. It is about being knowledgeable about what is in your plan and making a conscious decision about what you want covered and what you do not want to have covered,” the bishop said in a recent speech. He said he not only expects the plan to exclude abortion and contraceptives but it should also cover treatment after an attempted suicide, restoring fertility by reversing vasectomies and tubal ligations, and repairs after a botched abortion. “Good morals make good medicine,” the bishop said. A new federal proposal issued March 21 suggesting third-party administrators pay the costs of contraceptives for religious employers reinforced the mandated coverage for self-insured Catholic hospitals and social service agencies. The U.S. bishops said that even with the new proposal, the mandate “remains radically flawed.”
5 The Church in the U.S. Federal appeals panel hears arguments on Defense of Marriage Act
April 13, 2012
BOSTON (CNS) — A federal appeals court heard arguments April 4 in two cases related not to the legality of same-sex marriage but to the tax, health and pension benefits of marriage. The cases, which are expected eventually to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, have drawn national attention from Catholic and other religious leaders, who say the Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996 “reflects the united judgment of Congress and the president on a matter of basic public policy.” Judge Joseph L. Tauro of the U.S. District Court in Boston ruled in 2010 that the law forces Massachusetts to discriminate against same-sex couples who are legally married under state law in order to receive federal funds and unconstitutionally violates the rights of those couples. The Defense of Marriage Act says the federal government defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and that no state must recognize a same-sex marriage from another state. In February 2011, President Barack Obama instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the law in pending court cases. Cardinal (thenArchbishop) Timothy M. Dolan of New York said at the time that
the marriage law was not “unjust discrimination” but rather legislation that “merely affirms and protects the time-tested and unalterable meaning of marriage.” “The suggestion that this definition amounts to ‘discrimination’ is grossly false and represents an affront to millions of citizens in this country,” he added. In arguments before a threejudge panel of 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, former U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement — hired by the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend the law in court — said the proper constitutional test by which to judge the Defense of Marriage Act was whether there was a “rational basis” for Congress to pass it. “Congress could rationally choose to have a uniform definition rather than have it rely upon state law” to define marriage in various ways, he said. But Assistant Attorney General Maura Healy, arguing on behalf of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, said the federal law requires the state “to live with two distinct and unequal forms of marriage simply because Congress doesn’t like the fact that gay people are getting married.” In the second case, the organization Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders had sued on
behalf of several same-sex married couples who had been denied health, pension or tax benefits available under federal law to other married couples. The Massachusetts Catholic Conference and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with other Christian and Jewish religious groups, had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, saying that the federal law is designed “to ensure that states remain free to set their own marriage policies while also ensuring that no state may unilaterally define marriage for a sister state or for the federal government.” The brief criticized the lower court’s “holding that morality cannot be the primary basis for legislation under rational-review basis,” saying that view was “simply incorrect.” “The great legislative debates of the past century — from business and labor regulations, to civil rights legislation, to environmentalism, to military spending, to universal health care, etc. — centered on contested questions of morality,” it said. “The same is true of our current democratic conversation about the definition and purpose of marriage.” The brief also dismissed the lower court’s finding that opposition to the federal law was the result of “irrational prejudice” against homosexuals. “We believe that God calls
Ballot question on homosexual, transgender rights defeated in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNS) — Anchorage residents rejected a ballot initiative April 3 that sought to add “sexual orientation” and “transgender identity” to the list of protected legal classes in the city code. With nearly 98 percent of votes counted, the measure was failing 58 percent to 42 percent. More than 54,000 residents voted on the April 3 ballot — far more than city officials had expected. In fact, some precincts ran out of ballots and had to be restocked less than an hour before the polls closed. Before the vote, religious liberty advocates had expressed concern that Anchorage-area churches, faith-based organizations and business owners would be forced to violate deeply held religious beliefs regarding the issue of homosexuality if a ballot initiative passed. Anchorage Archbishop Roger L. Schwietz was among the prominent religious leaders who urged residents to vote against the ballot measure. Following the election, he issued a public statement affirming the dignity of each person.
“The people of the Anchorage Municipality have spoken, and Proposition 5 appears to have been defeated,” he said. “ Although I did not support Proposition 5, I fervently oppose unjust discrimination against any person or group. “I pray that Anchorage will strive to be an ever more tolerant city for all our citizens,” he added. “The basis for our social interaction must remain a deeply held respect for the dignity of each human person — a dignity that comes not from the state but from our Creator. I reiterate what I stated in my pastoral letter, the “Catholic Catechism” No. 2358 states that people with homosexual tendencies ‘must be accepted with respect and compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.’” The initiative had been proposed by an Anchorage coalition of homosexual rights advocates, with the backing of several national gay rights organizations. According to state records, the group raised about $350,000 in support of the initiative — three times more money than opponents raised.
The measure’s opponents, which included more than 100 area pastors and priests, raised concerns that the proposed law could have required faith-based schools, private businesses and area churches to employ openly homosexual and transgender employees, while also forcing service companies and rental organizations to promote and facilitate causes and events that are contrary to their moral beliefs. Before the vote, Archbishop Schwietz wrote an open letter to area churches warning that Proposition 5 threatens the religious freedoms of churches, schools, businesses and other organizations. The letter denounced any attempt to “advance disrespect or unjust discrimination against people of homosexual orientation” but stated that there is “an essential distinction between unjust discrimination, which is the arbitrary violation of human rights, and the necessary limitations on the exercise of our rights when it is required to protect the justice that is due to others, and the common good.”
us to love homosexual persons, even as we steadfastly defend our belief that traditional marriage is both divinely ordained and experientially best for families and society,” it said. “This considered judgment is informed by our moral reasoning, our religious convictions and our long experience counseling
and ministering to adults and children.” Among those joining in the brief were the National Association of Evangelicals, the Church of Jesus Church of Latter-day Saints, the Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.
The Anchor Overcoming moral schizophrenia
During his customary press conference on “Shepherd One” with journalists traveling with him on the plane to Mexico, Pope Benedict was asked about the Church’s response to widespread narcoterrorism and the massive social disparity between rich and poor. Both realities, the journalists implied, were incompatible with Catholic principles in a country in which the vast majority of citizens are Catholic. In his response the pope not only gave a concise primer on moral theology, but also on the importance and the scope of the Church’s involvement in politics and public morality that is bound to extend far beyond the Rio Grande. “Inasmuch as politics should be a moral reality,” the Holy Father said, “the Church fundamentally has to do with politics.” Even though this insight is obvious, it is nevertheless bound to be controversial in an age in which many hold to a separation of Church and state so strict as to try to mute the Church in public questions and reduce the Church’s influence only to questions of private morality. Because political decisions are good and evil, however, the pope says that the Church must be involved. The Church’s “first thought” with regard to politics is “to educate consciences and thereby to awaken the necessary responsibility.” The Church has a “great responsibility ... to teach moral responsibility and to expose evil.” With regard to drug trafficking and violence, he said, the Church has to unveil the “idolatry of mammon that only enslaves people and to expose the false promises, untruthfulness and cheating that are behind drugs.” Few journalists and citizens would object to the Church’s prophetic work in these areas. Many in fact have praised the heroic involvement of some Church figures in the moral war against the drug culture and the mafia that profits from and violently protects this fallen way of life. Likewise, with respect to the vast socioeconomic disparity between rich and poor, most applaud the Church’s efforts to apply the Church’s social teaching to help people discover the “essential models for political collaboration, especially in order to surmount this social, antisocial division that unfortunately exists.” This involvement, however, shows the importance of the Church’s educating consciences “both in individual and public ethics,” the pope said. “And here, perhaps, something is missing.” Then the pope used an expression that certainly caught the journalists’ attention. “In Latin America, and also elsewhere, among many Catholics a certain schizophrenia exists between individual and public morals: personally, in the private sphere, they are Catholics and believers but in public life they follow other trends that do not correspond with the great values of the Gospel which are necessary for the foundation of a just society. It is therefore necessary to teach people to overcome this schizophrenia, teaching not only individual morality but also public morality.” Over the course of the last few decades in our country, this type of schizophrenia has been popularized as a civic duty by certain prominent Catholic political figures who claimed that they were personally opposed to practices that the Church justly condemns, like abortion, but that they were publicly tolerant or supportive of these same practices. But it has also been practiced by many believers who consciously violate in their public decision-making and behavior what they know the Church teaches as objectively immoral. Benedict exposes such lack of internal consistency for what it is: a type of schizophrenia in one’s conscience and moral life. And the pope’s choice of terminology is not only highly descriptive but also quite important as a first step in seeking to address the underlying issues to believers, society and the Church from such a lack of moral and intellectual integrity: few aspire to be labeled by anyone, not to mention the pope, as morally schizophrenic. But Pope Benedict’s understated point about “here, perhaps, something is missing,” is an indication that in some places the Church has been failing in her mission to educate consciences properly and help believers and others overcome this moral schizophrenia, this fissure between faith and life, between the properly informed judgment of conscience and one’s behavior in both private and public life. In his public addresses to statesmen in his foreign travels, Pope Benedict has personally been trying to make up for what is “missing” in this educational responsibility of the Church. The principles he elucidates are applicable not just to those in public office, however, but to everyone. When he visited Westminster Hall in September 2010 to address the political, diplomatic, academic and business leaders of Great Britain, he cited St. Thomas More, whom he said is “admired by believers and non-believers alike for the integrity with which he followed his conscience,” saying that the dilemma he faced is a “perennial question” that all political leaders must face with regard to what is owed to Caesar and what is owed to God. The question is about the “ethical foundations of civil discourse” and action, which he said must be “more solid than social consensus,” because social consensus for generations tolerated the immorality of slavery and “many other social evils, not least the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century.” The foundation must not be just a poll of popular sentiment, but the truth about the moral good. Pope Benedict sketched out how religion can “help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles” — in other words, how the faith can assist in the proper formation of the conscience of those involved in political decision-making — so that reason won’t “fall prey to distortions as when it is manipulated by ideology, or applied in a partial way that fails to take full account of the dignity of the human person.” Without this education of conscience, reason purified and challenged by religion, there is not only an acute possibility of morally schizophrenic leaders but also those who fail to follow the conscience privately as well as publicly. Likewise, when he spoke to the Bundestag in Berlin a year later, Pope Benedict sought to continue to educate leaders about the moral reality of politics. He cited King Solomon’s prayer for a listening heart to govern God’s people, so that he might be able to discern between good and evil. This, he said, tells us “what should ultimately matter for a politician. His fundamental criterion and the motivation for his work as a politician must not be success, and certainly not material gain. Politics must be a striving for justice, and hence it has to establish the fundamental preconditions for peace. Naturally a politician will seek success, without which he would have no opportunity for effective political action at all. Yet success is subordinated to the criterion of justice, to the will to do what is right, and to the understanding of what is right. Success can also be seductive and thus can open up the path towards the falsification of what is right, towards the destruction of justice.” He went on to say, quoting St. Augustine, that without justice a state is nothing but a great band of robbers. Alluding to the Third Reich, he added, “We Germans know from our own experience … how power became divorced from right, how power opposed right and crushed it, so that the state became an instrument for destroying right — a highly organized band of robbers, capable of threatening the whole world and driving it to the edge of the abyss. To serve right and to fight against the dominion of wrong is and remains the fundamental task of the politician.” The question of how to recognize what is truly right and thus to serve justice when framing laws, he said, “has never been simple,” but, basing himself on St. Paul’s insight in Romans 2, he indicated that the path to this recognition is found in the natural “law written on their hearts” and “conscience.” The natural law has been discovered anew, he said, by the universal ecological consensus of the immorality of environmental destruction, something that should lead us to recognize a similar law, accessible by reason, about the ecology of man. This law written on the heart should inform the conscience, which he described as “nothing other than Solomon’s listening heart.” This is a heart that listens to God and discovers the truth about moral action, both privately and publicly. He suggested that all public servants ask for this listening heart, in order to lead themselves and others rightly. Solomon recognized he couldn’t be an effective leader if he were a moral schizophrenic. No one can.
April 13, 2012
All are called
n this week’s reflection on vocations, clerical vocation are, the pope, cardinals, I would like to speak about all the (arch)bishops, priests (and monsignors), vocations in the Church. Typically, when and deacons (permanent and transitional). we hear the term “vocations” we think Members of Religious communities strictly about vocations to the priesthood. make up another vocation called “ReliAs I mentioned in a previous article, gious Life,” which is one form of consehowever, there are also two other vocacrated life. Religious life is one way of tions in the Church, namely the vocation experiencing a “more intimate” and total to religious or consecrated life (Francisdedication to Christ and the Church. In the cans, Dominicans, Jesuits or consecrated consecrated life, the baptized person (eicelibate or virgins for example) and the ther male or female) is spiritually moved vocation to married life. by the Holy Spirit in such a way that Let us begin with the vocation of the they freely choose to follow Christ more laity. The lay vocation is lived in two main closely, by giving themselves to God and ways, as a married person or as a single by pursuing holiness in the service of the person. The vocation to marriage is the Kingdom as a member of a religious comone to which most people will be “called.” munity. Single life is one in which everyone lives Those in religious life take the vows at some point during their lives (people of poverty, chastity and obedience which are not born priests or nuns after all). is a more radical imitation of our Lord This lay vocation is lived out in the and also the three defining marks of one ordinary circumstances of life, having in religious life. Those to be identified as normal jobs and families. People who “religious” or in “consecrated life” are: would be considered members of the laity Sisters or nuns, Brothers, monks, hermits, are the bapconsecrated tized who are virgins or either single those bePutting Into or those who longing to a are married, religious comthe Deep and who are munity such as not members Franciscans, By Father of a religious Dominicans, Jay Mello community or Jesuits, etc. the ordained The main clergy. point is this: Lay men and women live within Jesus Christ invites all of us to follow normal family and social structures. By Him. Each of us has a specific vocation. virtue of their vocation, the laity are to The Church calls us all to be saints. In orseek the Kingdom of God by engaging in der to embrace such a call in the ordinary the secular world. They are called to live circumstances of our lives, whether we their lives according to the teachings of are ordained, consecrated or lay members Christ and His Church and to build up the of Christ’s Church, we need to grow in Kingdom of God within their families, our spiritual lives, especially through our social networks and places of business. prayer, sacrifices and our daily work. Unlike priests and religious, the layChrist needs each of us to build up the person “is to live in the world, that is, in Church. We do this primarily in our living each and in all of the secular professions of holy and faithful lives, each according and occupations of everyday life” (Lumen to our own vocation. Gentium, 31). It is important to remember, In last week’s article, I spoke of those that even though it is lived out in a very extraordinary vocation stories that we hear different way, the laity are called to the about in the sacred Scriptures, of those same holiness as priests and religious. who responded to God’s call with faithful Inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit, and generous hearts. There are, however, they are called to be faithful disciples of also stories of those who reject that call Jesus Christ and His Church. If lived with and choose their will above our Lord’s. and for God, their entire life can become Think about the story of the rich young a spiritual gift that is acceptable to God man who approached our Lord in the through Jesus Christ (CCC 901). Gospel. Bishops, priests and deacons on the The rich young man turned his back other hand, seek holiness in their own dis- on Jesus’ call. The Gospel tells us that the tinctive way by exercising their ministerial young man had kept all the Commandwork sincerely and tirelessly in the spirit ments since his youth. Jesus asked him of Christ. “Since they are ministers of the to do one more thing, to sell what he had Word of God and the Sacraments, they and follow Him. The young man didn’t read and hear every day the Word of God, accept this vocation or these inviting words which they must teach to others. They of Christ and he went away sad. He went celebrate the Sacraments worthily to help away sad because he wanted to follow Jesus God’s people grow in holiness” (Presbybut he wanted to keep his possessions too. terorum Ordinis, 13). As in the case of Moses and Jeremiah, The priest is a baptized man who is (and in all our lives) there is an interior called by Christ to follow Him in a special struggle to follow our Lord’s call. It can way. The priest is a man ordained to be fascinating and frightening at the same serve Jesus Christ, the Church and the all time. Answering God’s call is exciting but the faithful as a spiritual father to those as in every decision we make it involves entrusted to his care. Through the grace of saying no to other possibilities. The young the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a man is man had a vocation but he freely chose not radically conformed to Jesus Christ in such to answer it because he did not want to say a way that it enables him to act “in persona no to some of the possibilities that life ofChristi” (in the person of Christ). The fered him. But in saying no to his vocation priest exercises this spiritual fatherhood he surely lost out on greater possibilities following that of Jesus Christ as prophet, and greater potential for happiness. The priest and king, that is, teaching and vocation God has chosen for us is the preaching, sanctifying through the Sacragreatest path toward true happiness! ments and governing and shepherding. Father Mello is a parochial vicar at Those who would be classified by this St. Patrick’s Parish in Falmouth. ,
April 13, 2012
The Word on ‘the Word’: The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation
eaders of a certain age may remember a time when carrying a Bible around was considered a Protestant thing to do. The Catholic went to church with his Rosary and Missal, and learned his faith from a catechism (though Protestants, too, had catechisms). There was a cautious attitude toward the private study of Scripture, and with good reason: it is easy for the uninstructed to misinterpret biblical texts and fall into doctrinal error — something Scripture itself warns against in 2 Peter 3:16. Much has changed in this regard since the promulgation, on Nov. 18, 1965, of Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum. This document has important things to teach about God’s word and its transmission in the life of the Church down through the centuries. Four of its six chapters are explicitly dedicated to the Bible. The council fathers called for a renewed study and use of Scripture in every aspect of the Church’s life. As a result, Catholics began reading the Bible and formed study groups to help them understand its message. Dei Verbum places Scripture within the context of God’s selfrevelation to mankind, which in turn is set against background
ne widely-encountered idea today is that there is no black and white when it comes to morality, only a kind of “gray area.” This is often taken to mean that we really can’t know with certainty what is right and wrong, allowing us to “push into the gray” as we make certain moral decisions that at first glance appear to be immoral. The behavior of the semilegendary figure of Robin Hood is sometimes mentioned as an example of this “gray area” phenomenon, since he was a character who would steal money (morally bad) for the purposes of helping the poor (morally good). By focusing on the good intentions motivating our choices, and by arguing that morality is ambiguous and mostly “gray” anyway, a person can more easily justify and provide cover for morally problematic actions. When we begin to scrutinize the claim that morality is “gray,” however, we encounter significant problems and contradictions. The romanticized exploits of Robin Hood, for example, end up providing little more than a “veil of gray” that quickly dissolves when we place ourselves in the
of salvation history. With evergin, they could be carriers of increasing clarity, God revealed revealed truth just as much as to the Israelites the mystery of Scripture. In the mid-19th cenHis own character and at the tury, theologians began to view same time His loving plan of Tradition in a fuller and more salvation. This revelation began dynamic way, one that greatly to unfold through the patriarchs influenced the final draft of Dei and prophets, but only in Jesus Verbum. Tradition is now seen Christ do we find the fulfillas the continuous handing on ment. He is the Incarnate Word of God, the embodiment of all Vatican II at 50: God wants us to know Fulfilling the about Himself. Christ “completes the work Promise of revelation” through By Father His words and deeds, but especially through Thomas M. Kocik His death and Resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit (4). Now this of the apostolic teaching in the saving message is for people of Church’s day-to-day preaching, all time. This is the “deposit of liturgical worship, catechetifaith” left to the Church by the cal instruction, and ways of Apostles. Christian living. Because the Because the Protestant Scriptures flowed out from the reformers stressed Scripture as heart of the infant Church’s the only way by which God’s faith in the risen Lord, they are revelation comes down to us, indispensable core and standard Catholic theologians reacted by to which all Christian truths tending to insist on two separate must conform. At the same sources: Scripture and Traditime, the Church guarantees the tion. Although the Church had true meaning of Scripture by never defined Tradition (with a her living Tradition. Scripture capital “T”), many theologians and Tradition “form one sacred took it to mean the sum total deposit of the Word of God, of all the unwritten traditions committed to the Church” (10). handed down to us from Christ If the Apostles under St. and the Apostles. As long as Peter were the official interpretthey were of apostolic oriers of the Good News in the
first age of the Church, then the teaching activity of the bishops in union with the pope — that is, the magisterium — does the same in every age. The magisterium “is not above the Word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on” (10). Anything not already contained in revelation, at least implicitly, can never be proclaimed as part of the Catholic faith. Dei Verbum then summarizes the Church’s teaching about the Divine inspiration of both the Old and New Testaments. In the Catholic understanding of inspiration, the ancient biblical authors were not just passive recipients of God’s word who merely served as secretaries for what God was dictating. Rather, God “made use of their powers and abilities,” so that “they consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted” (11). Thus the Bible is the Word of God in human words, just as Jesus is the Word of God in human nature and form. Because the Scriptures were “written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,” they teach “without error the truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of salvation”
Black and white, or gray?
first-person situation of being relations with someone who is the victim of his thievery, having not his spouse will invariably our own windows broken and constitute an act of moral depravour own goods plundered. Those ity on his part. Every wife who who have been robbed of their has suffered infidelity on the part possessions will often describe afterwards, in vivid detail, the awful awareness of personal violation, the crushing of their feeling of security, etc. In these By Father Tad circumstances, we see Pacholczyk the moral problem with Robin Hood’s depraved actions, and appreciate the direct, black and of her husband, and every child white character of the universal who has seen the betrayal of their moral injunction against stealing. mother by their father can attest Universal moral prohibitions that there is no such thing as a are clearly at the heart of any “gray zone” for adultery. Many discussion about the “grayness” people who recognize that an of morality. Many human acaction may be black may still tions, when freely chosen, will be tempted to think that because always be unacceptable. These their intentions are white, the actions, referred to as “intrinsic “gray” action may be done. But evils,” are immoral regardless of good intentions cannot bleach the circumstance. Adultery would be blackness of a deed. an example of an intrinsic evil. Acknowledging the existence Regardless of how much a marof intrinsic evils and recognizing ried man may desire to be with a the binding character of absolute new romantic flame, and regardmoral prohibitions is an important less of how terrible his current part of our own moral growth marriage and sex life may appear and awakening. Indeed, morality to be, the decision to have sexual itself, as an inner determinant of
Making Sense Out of Bioethics
man’s character, is not fundamentally “gray” at all, but is, by its very nature, a code of black and white. In the final analysis, the cult of moral grayness is too easily a revolt against fixed and essential moral values. Although fixed moral values must always guide our decisions, correctly applying a general moral principle to a particular situation will often require specific knowledge of the circumstances and details of that situation. For example, I might have to grapple with the question of whether I have a moral duty to get out of bed and go to work in the morning. Whenever a particular set of circumstances prevail (I am healthy; today is a workday; my employer expects me to be present at the workplace; my vehicle is functioning normally), then I would reasonably conclude that I have a moral duty to go to work because of the objective moral commitments I have as a company employee — and, likely, the other employees who would “take up the slack” would resent my absence. Mean-
(11). The phrase, “for the sake of salvation,” is an important qualifier. For the Bible was not written in order to teach the natural sciences or political history; it treats of these and other subjects only insofar as they pertain to salvation. Scripture is without error when it speaks of how we are to relate to God and to one another in this world in order to share in God’s eternal Life. To interpret the Scriptures properly, we need to be aware not only of the limitations of all human language and the difficulties of translating from one language to another, but also of the various literary forms and modes of expression used by the inspired authors (12). Using imagery rooted in chapter six of St. John’s Gospel and developed by St. Augustine, Dei Verbum presents the idea of God’s word, as it is met through hearing and reading Scripture, working as a kind of Sacrament. The Church is continually nourished by the bread of life “from the table both of God’s word and of Christ’s body” (21). Father Kocik is a parochial vicar at Santo Christo Parish in Fall River, is editor of “Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal,” author of two liturgy-related books, and contributor to “T&T Clark Companion to Liturgical Studies.”
while, if I am very sick, I might reasonably conclude that I do not have a moral duty to go to work. Of course, deciding to stay in bed all day out of mere laziness would constitute an objective failure in terms of my moral duty. The question of my moral duty to go to work, then, is not a “gray area” at all, nor a matter of relative morals, but rather a question of careful discernment, weighing of variables, seeking to do the good, and so on. In sum, the objective lines of our moral obligation may sometimes be difficult to discern, and may even appear gray at first glance, but when we sort out the relevant details and seek to purify our own motives, and become willing to submit to the binding character of absolute moral prohibitions, that gray haze can dissipate, enabling us to see the real moral lines that were there all along. Father Pacholczyk earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, and serves as the director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. See www.ncbcenter.org.
April 13, 2012
he Apostles, the leaders of the early Church, were not communists of any sort, although they did want to conquer the world. St. Luke writes, in the Acts of the Apostles that “the community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common” (4:32). We should think of this image like St. Thomas Aquinas, who said that, although we all have the right to private property, it’s best that we treat it as if it belonged to everyone else. Truly, as it was, “there was no needy person among them” because this kind of charity is a natural consequence of a heart in love. We should think also that every good thing we do have is a gift from God, and I mean not only material things but especially things like happiness, faith, mercy, and love, all tenderly endowed to us by the Father and made abundantly
Happy to conquer the world
manifest through His crucified through the mire of rubbish that and risen majesty, our Lord obscures our vision of that good Jesus Christ. These things are, and happy ending. in fact, the matter of busiOf course it’s because God ness in today’s second reading loved us first that we can return — these, and conquering the love to Him, and it’s because world. When we think of God’s Commandments, St. John writes, Homily of the Week we should think of love: “In this way we Divine Mercy know that we are the Sunday children of God when By Deacon we love God and obey Peter Cote His Commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep His Commandments” (1 Jn 5:3). He loves us that He made us for We shouldn’t forget happiness, happiness, forming us in mercy however, because, as we are with His Commandments, made for nothing less than shardrawing us through His Beatiing freely and fully the Divine tudes. It’s what we do for our life (and we can’t be truly own children, seeking to form happy until we do so), God’s in them the strengths and habits Commandments are given most conducive to real and lastto get us there. They’re like ing happiness. Indeed, many (if prescriptions from the Divine not most) parents say they want Physician, prescriptions for their children to be happier than happiness; it’s what we’re all the parents are, make better after, in the end, when we wade choices, avoid more potholes in
the road, and the like. And this is the heart of it: We receive happiness from God not to keep it to ourselves, but to treat it as if it belongs to everyone. We learn and love through God’s Commandments to teach and love somebody else. Faith, too, is this kind of gift: without receiving it first, we can’t respond with it. This is what the Apostle Thomas comes to understand very dramatically in John’s Gospel. Hearing that the risen Lord appeared to the disciples, he famously protests, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (Jn 20:25). But Jesus has chosen Thomas (like all of us) to preach the faith: “As the Father has sent Me, so I send you” (Jn 20:21). To do that, Thomas needs to process it securely for
himself. Thus, Jesus beckons him, “Put your finger here and see My hands, and bring your hand and put it into My side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe” (Jn 20:27). To touch Christ, to see for themselves what are the depths of His wounds, to encounter Him personally, secretly, wondrously, then we are able to bring Him to everyone else in whom you will touch Christ, encounter Him personally, feel His wounds, and finally live wondrously and happy. Is that not what we desire with every Holy Communion? This most holy gift of mercy cannot be meant for one heart alone, but for all that it can possibly meet. That is how to conquer the world with happiness, with a victorious faith, and that is the natural consequence of a heart in love. Deacon Peter Cote is the Pastoral Care Director for the Catholic Memorial Home and is assigned to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in Fall River.
Upcoming Daily Readings: Sat. April 14, Acts 4:13-21; Ps 118:1,14-15,16ab-21; Mk 16:9-15. Sun. April 15, Divine Mercy Sunday, Acts 4:32-35; Ps 118:2-4,1315,22-24; 1 Jn 5:1-6; Jn 20:19-31. Mon. April 16, Acts 4:23-31; Ps 2:1-9; Jn 3:1-8. Tues. April 17, Acts 4:32-37; Ps 93:1-2,5; Jn 3:7b-15. Wed. April 18, Acts 5:17-26; Ps 34:2-9; Jn 3:16-21. Thurs. April 19, Acts 5:27-33; Ps 34:2,9,17-20; Jn 3:31-36. Fri. April 20, Acts 5:34-42; Ps 27:1,4,13-14; Jn 6:1-15.
Jimmy Carter, biblical scholar and theologian
iven the specter of James Buchanan, the question of whether Jimmy Carter was the worst president in the history of the Republic must remain unresolved; yet there is no doubt that Carter is the worst ex-president ever. Having failed to convince his countrymen to re-elect him, he has spent his post-presidency explaining to the world what is wrong with his countrymen, and his country, in a pathetic attempt at self-vindication. In the course of this endless kowtowing to the gods of political correctness, the little engine of self-esteem from Plains has interfered with the nation’s diplomacy, misrepresented the just war tradition, and described Israeli policy in the West Bank as a “system of apartheid.”
Now, in the course of prois “some fallibility in the writmoting the “NIV Lessons for ings of the Bible,” and offered Life Bible: Personal Reflechis endorsement of same-sex tions with Jimmy Carter,” the “marriage,” which he implied 39th president (who promised would be Jesus’s view of a government as good as the things, the Lord having “never American people and delivsaid a word about homosexuered an administration as inept as the St. Louis Browns) takes on the mantle of biblical scholar, dipping into such knotty questions as the inerrancy of the Bible and the By George Weigel proper methods of biblical interpretation. The results are not pretty. In the course of an inality.” Such Carterisms are, terview promoting the Carter perhaps, not surprising, given Bible, the former chief execu- the former president’s previtive allowed as how the Bible ously expressed views that the was written “by human be“mandated subservience of ings deprived of modern day women by Christian fundaknowledge,” opined that there mentalists” contributes to the practice of female genital mutilation by Islamists, and that Pro-Lifers “do not extend their concern to the baby who is born.” Obviously, the Georgian sage has never quite grasped the moral-theological concept of calumny. But now he has taken to reinventing history. I was on the north lawn of the White House in October 1979 when a beaming Jimmy Carter welcomed Pope John Paul II to the executive man-
The Catholic Difference
sion, the trademark presidential teeth amply displayed as the Baptist Sunday school teacher gave the 264th Bishop of Rome a two-handed handshake. All seemed sweetness and light. But not so, Carter avers. Now he says he had a harsh exchange over the “pope’s perpetuation of the subservience of women,” after which the two locked horns on liberation theology. John Paul’s adherence to settled Catholic doctrine, Carter charges, made him a kind of “fundamentalist,” a category of bad people who, Carter has written, “are often angry and sometimes resort to verbal or even physical abuse against those who interfere with the implementation of their agenda.” No doubt Carter, mercifully retired from the White House by the time of the pope’s visit to Nicaragua in 1983, expected the “fundamentalist” John Paul II to punch out Ernesto Cardenal on the tarmac at the Managua airport. In the hands of a theological illiterate like Jimmy Carter, “fundamentalism” is a “Gotcha!” word that substitutes flatulence for thought. Blessed John Paul II was no
more a “fundamentalist” than the mid-20th century Protestant thinker Reinhold Niebuhr, whom Carter once claimed as an influence — an avowal that doubtless had Reinie spinning in his grave, for there were few, if any, modern American political figures less Niebuhrian than Carter. Indeed, Carter’s self-regard is the very inversion of the Niebuhrian ethic, which taught a healthy skepticism about anyone’s righteousness, not least one’s own. H.L. Mencken, the bad boy of Baltimore journalism in the Roaring Twenties, once suggested, tongue firmly in cheek, that all failed candidates for president should be quietly hanged, so that their further maunderings would not upset the young. One can only imagine what Mencken (who used to deride the sanctimonious President Wilson as “the Archangel Woodrow”) would say about condign punishment for Jimmy Carter. In any case, Mr. Carter would do us all a great favor if he would lay off theology and exegesis. Like foreign policy, these are disciplines manifestly beyond his capabilities. George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
April 13, 2012
A way with words
Sunday 8 April 2012 — at responses to questions tend the church on Three Mile River to be minimal. Question: “So, — Easter how was your day?” Answer: ast week, dear readers, I told you all about my experiences on a one-day Reflections of a youth retreat. The event Parish Priest was part of the spiritual preparation of our By Father Tim ninth-grade candidates Goldrick for the Sacrament of Confirmation. As I mentioned, it seemed to go well, “OK.” Question: “Well, did you judging from the solid piety enjoy yourself?” Answer: “I and obvious enthusiasm shown guess so.” Question: “Tell me, by the young people. But what what did you learn?” Answer: did the kids themselves think? “Stuff.” Teen-agers aren’t big in You know teen-agers. Their the self-revelation department.
The Ship’s Log
It goes with being young. Well, I was surprised the day following the Confirmation retreat. I found in the mail slot a stack of notes addressed to yours truly. The notes were from the students. Here is a sampling of their comments on what they experienced that day. “This day had a great impact on my life. It helped me a lot.” “It was much better than I thought it would be.” “I really enjoyed my retreat — and I made two new friends, besides.”
Engaging teen-agers in the faith — Part IV
professional youth minister is a his is the final column in like investing in blue chip stock, a four-part series about but at a minimum a committed sharing the Catholic faith with volunteer should be given apour teen-agers. propriate and ongoing training. As I sat down to write this After someone has been put column about creating a teenin charge of the ministry team, friendly parish, my husband and what types of youth programs four-year-old son were setshould we support? Ideally a ting birdfeeders up around the youth group would be formed house and stocking them with to include weekly meetings, a premium blend of seed. Not two hours later, the back deck was happily abuzz with song birds. “Wow!” exclaimed my son. “Where did they all come from?” “Well,” I answered, By Heidi Bratton “the birds have actually been out there the whole time, but until seasonal retreats, mission trips, you and daddy set up the bird service projects, and group feeders, they had no reason to attendance at regional Catholic stop by the deck.” It was right youth conferences, political then that I realized that creatrallies, and camps. Teen-agers ing a teen-friendly parish is as should also be recruited to help easy as creating a bird-friendly at Mass by lectoring, singing in backyard. the choir, being extraordinary To attract birds to the backministers, and being altar servyard, the following three practiers. A programmatic balance cal things are needed: someone should be struck between events who knows and loves birds, that cater specifically to teenbird feeders, and bird food. agers and simply asking the Likewise in order to attract teens to step up and volunteer at teen-agers to Church we need: existing, parish-wide events. The someone who knows and loves highest goal of a youth group is teen-agers, youth programs, not to simply entertain the teens and the right kind of (spiritual) and “keep them out of trouble,” food. The most exciting fact but to enlighten and encourage about this analogy is that, like them. Some innovative program the songbirds, our youth are out ideas can be found at the followthere, hungry for the spiritual ing websites: meaning, and waiting for us to • Life Teen — www.lifeteen. feed them. org Practically speaking, how do • Busted Halo® Ministries — we find someone who knows www.bustedhalo.com and loves both the youth and • Steubenville Catholic the Catholic faith? Ideally we Youth Conferences — www. would hire a credentialed youth franciscanyouth.com minister, because choosing and So now that we have youth leading content-rich, yet fun programs, with what mix of youth programs isn’t as easy as spiritual food should we pack it may seem. If this is not affordthem? To answer this we can able, joining with another parish look at what Blessed John Paul to share the costs and benefits offered our young people at his would be a great idea. Hiring a
wildly popular World Youth Day conferences. Just like the most attractive bird feeders are stocked with the richest blend of sunflower seeds, thistle, and peanuts, John Paul the Great’s youth programs were stocked with the richest blend of faith, hope, love, and prayer. Each conference contained a spiritually nutritious mix of eucharistic adoration, the inspired words of holy Scripture, excellent Christian music, and the opportunity for Confession. Most importantly, John Paul offered the youth his personal respect and admiration. He told them, “Be demanding of the world around you; be demanding first of all with yourselves. Be children of God; take pride in it!” (1991, Poland World Youth Day). They flocked to his amped-up vision of their worth and ability. The take-home message is that in order to attract our youth, we need to stock our youth programs with the richest, most diverse content possible. As a closing image for this series, I think that it is helpful for us to think of our teen-agers as fledgling birds. They are not quite grown. They still need the stability of a nest, but they are flapping around, testing their wings, and wondering if they will be able to fly when the time comes. By maintaining home and parish environments that are welcoming, spiritually rich, and stable, as well as giving them opportunities for trial flights, we will give them both the proverbial roots and the wings they need for their personal faith to take flight. Heidi is an author, photographer, and mother of six children. Her book, “Homegrown Faith; Nurturing Your Catholic Family,” is available from Servant Books.
“All I thought about the night before was how I had to get up early on a Saturday morning and then spend many hours at some retreat house. But the retreat day was so much more than having to get up early and not being allowed to use my cell phone. I really connected to one of the kids who spoke. Now I realize that the requirement to attend this retreat day was not done to bug us but to help connect us more closely to God before we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. At the end of the day, it was great.” “This day has really changed the way I think when I hear words like ‘faith,’ or ‘religion,’ or ‘Catholicism.’” “Going on a Confirmation retreat was not something I was looking forward to. I’m greatly surprised that I actually enjoyed it. Mass and Confession were my favorite parts.” “This retreat has opened my eyes wider than they were before.” So, their experience of a few hours on retreat seems to have been, in their own words, very positive. I wonder, though, on a deeper level, what affect it may have had on their spiritual life. Read on. “My faith is the most important thing in my life. If I don’t have faith, how will I be able to live my life fully? God is guiding me. I am going to try with all that is in me to strengthen my spiritual life and to deepen my relationship with God.” “I want to continue to grow in my faith and to have a deeper relationship with God.” “I want to not only receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, I want to use them.” “I want to make the next leap of faith.” “I want to live my faith religiously.” “I’m becoming a better person and a stronger Catholic. God is helping me to lead a better life and helping me to help others do the same.” There was a certain tone of outreach and evangelization in
their letters. “I want to spread the faith and help other people realize the importance of having God in their own lives.” “I want to go to Mass every Sunday and then go out to spread God’s Word.” “Once I’m confirmed, I want to help with Religious Education classes. I’ve been there myself.” “I want to be on the retreat team next year.” So, are these students ready to complete their initiation in the Sacrament of Confirmation? Not a single one of them doubted that they were wellprepared for full membership in the Church. Nor do I. “I’m ready to be confirmed because I’m strong in my faith and because I’m growing even closer to God. I’ll continue to become a stronger Catholic. God is helping me.” “I want to receive this Sacrament so that I can have a stronger relationship with God and grow in the faith.” “I’m prepared to accept the Sacrament of Confirmation. Although temptation will always be present, I will keep my head high and my mind focused.” “After nine years in Religious Education classes, I’m finally almost ready for Confirmation. To tell the truth, I wasn’t always all that excited to go to class every week, but I’m glad I did. I’ve learned a lot and now I can hardly wait to be confirmed.” “I’m excited to have shared this journey to Confirmation with my classmates and I want to become a full member of the Church.” “After Confirmation, I plan on staying in this wonderful parish for the rest of my life.” “Sup (read: What’s up) Father? Thanks for coming along on our retreat.” Kids these days have a way with words, wouldn’t you say? Father Goldrick is pastor of St. Nicholas of Myra Parish in North Dighton.
Cardinal O’Brien exhorts Christians to wear crosses
Edinburgh, Scotland (CNA/ EWTN News) — Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s Easter Sunday homily called for Christians to make the cross more prominent in their lives and to wear crosses as signs of their desire to love and serve others as Jesus Christ did. “I hope that increasing numbers of Christians adopt the practice of wearing a cross in a simple and discreet way as a symbol of their beliefs. Easter provides the ideal time to remind ourselves of the centrality of the cross in our Christian faith,” the Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh said in a recent statement. Easter, the cardinal said, marks the “Triumph of the Cross” when Jesus “conquered death” and sent His disciples to continue His mission. His remarks come at a time of controversy over the role of Christianity in U.K. public life. Two British women who were disciplined for wearing a cross
at work are taking their case before the European Court of Human Rights, alleging religious discrimination. While the cardinal did not specifically mention the case, he said the cross should not be a problem for others. Instead, they should see it as an indication of Christians’ desire to love and serve others. “So often the teachings of Jesus Christ are divided and ignored; so often those who try to live a Christian life are made fun of and ridiculed and marginalized,” the cardinal said in his homily. “Perhaps the more regular use of that sign of the cross might become an indication of our desire to live close to that same Christ who suffered and died for us, and Whose symbol we are proud to bear.” “Whether on a simple chain or pinned to a lapel, the cross identifies us as disciples of Christ,” he added. Cardinal O’Brien also looked at how
the cross is evident throughout Christian life. Christians are baptized with the Sign of the Cross, which is often the first devotion taught to children. Believers begin and end each day by making the sign, and the cross is displayed on the flags of both Scotland and the United Kingdom. The use of this sign is not a “morbid way of looking back” on Jesus’ sufferings. Instead, it is a sign that Christians are trying to follow “the path set out for
April 13, 2012 us by Christ himself.” “It was through His sufferings on the cross that He achieved the glory of the Resurrection — a transformation that can have parallels in many of our own lives,” Cardinal O’Brien said. He also mentioned Pope Benedict XVI’s concerns about religion being marginalized, which he made known in London’s Westminster Hall in September 2010. The pope said that religion is not a problem but a “vital contributor” to the national conversation.
April 13, 2012
Visit the Diocese of Fall River website at fallriverdiocese.org The site includes links to parishes, diocesan offices and national sites.
To advertise in The Anchor, contact Wayne Powers at 508-675-7151 or Email waynepowers@ anchornews.org
April 13, 2012
Priest calls ‘Hunger Games’ movie dangerously prophetic
Chicago, Ill. (CNA) — Father Robert Barron says the storyline in the blockbuster film “The Hunger Games,” based on the widely popular young adult book, warns of what can happen when a society becomes totally secularized. “There is something dangerously prophetic about ‘The Hunger Games,’” said Father Barron, founder of the media group “Word on Fire” and host of the PBS-aired “Catholicism” series. The movie, which has already brought in $214 million worldwide since its March 23 release, is based on the young adult book of the same title by Suzanne Collins. Set sometime in the undefined future, “The Hunger Games” tells the story of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen’s struggle for survival after she volunteers to take her sister’s place in her country’s annual “hunger games.” Ruled by the wealthy and authoritarian Capitol, the impoverished Twelve Districts within the country must annually offer its children as tributes to take part in a live television broadcast of an arena battle to the death. The gruesome killings between the children serve as a reminder of the Capitol’s absolute power and as punishment for the Districts’ failed rebellion decades earlier. As the events in the arena unfold, however, Katniss and her teammate Peeta begin to rise against the Capitol through attempting to maintain their humanity. In a March 29 interview with CNA, Father Barron said he thought the movie contained elements of modern French philosopher Rene Girard’s theory of “human scapegoating.” He explained that scapegoating has been used throughout history as a means of discharging “all of our fears and anxieties” by assigning
blame to an individual or group of people. This practice is seen as far back in history from civilizations such as the Aztec and the Roman empires and as recently as Nazi Germany. Father Barron said that Christ, however, undid the need for humanity’s scapegoating by taking on the role of victim Himself in His Passion and Resurrection. “The Hunger Games” shows not only “how very consistent this theme is in human history” and in “human consciousness,” but also what can happen in a totally secular society. “When Christianity fades away,” Father Barron said, “we’re in great danger because it’s Christianity that holds this idea at bay.” Just as Christ’s sacrifice was the ultimate “undermining” of humanity’s scapegoating, Father Barron noted Peeta and Katniss’ defiance in the arena is a disruption of human sacrifice in their own culture. “Christianity,” the priest said, “is the undoing of the scapegoating mechanism which lies behind most civilizations.” Some critics have said that the book’s plot is too graphic for the young adult audience at which it is targeted because it focuses on children killing other children. As a result, much of the child-on-child combat is toned down in the movie. Youth violence is unfortunately a “human reality,” Father Barron said, “it’s called war.” Although he does not think violence should be shown just for entertainment value, Father Barron said he thought that “there wasn’t enough violence” in “The Hunger Games.” Muting much of the teen killings “was a bit of a weakness” on the part of the film makers, he added, because “it’s actually good to let this violence be seen for what it really is.”
calm before the storm — Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet star in a scene from the movie “Titanic,” rereleased in 3-D. For a brief review of this movie, see CNS Movie Capsules below. (CNS photo/ Paramount)
CNS Movie Capsules NEW YORK (CNS) — The following are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service. “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (CBS) A fish-out-of-water story about a billionaire Arab sheik (Amr Waked) with a seemingly impossible dream: to transport the titular activity — his favorite Scottish pastime — to the Arabian Desert, and thereby build a peacemaking bridge between East and West. Helping him in this folly is a glamorous consultant (Emily Blunt) and a skeptical fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor). Lives are transformed along with nature in director Lasse Hallstrom’s screen version of Paul Torday’s novel, a charming blend of comedy and drama that also promotes the value of religious faith. Brief war violence, partial nudity, implied premarital sex, occasional profanity and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is AIII — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. “Titanic” (Paramount) Lavish re-creation of the 1912 sea disaster begins with an exploration of the sunken luxury liner today then follows its fateful voyage keyed to the improbable shipboard romance between a first-class passenger (Kate Winslet) and one in steerage (Leonardo DiCaprio) until an iceberg sends the ship and more than 1,500 people to the bottom. Writer-producer James Cameron reduces the human dimension of the tragedy to a paltry soap opera about two lovestruck youths, though the special effects re-creating the human
drama aboard the sinking vessel are truly spectacular. Agonizing death scenes on a massive scale, sexual situations, brief nudity and sporadic rough language and profanity. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. “We Have a Pope” (“Habemus Papam”) (Sundance Selects) Gently satiric seriocomedy about a good-hearted but timid cardinal (Michel Piccoli) who reluctantly accepts his election as pope, but then, overcome by the prospective burden of the office, balks before giving his first public blessing. As the world waits, an eminent but nonbelieving psychiatrist (Nanni Moretti) tries to treat the new pontiff, only to have his patient escape the Vatican and seek some form of guidance by
wandering the streets of Rome and mingling with the Eternal City’s ordinary citizens. Moretti, who also directed and co-wrote, avoids any mean-spirited attack on the Church, though he does dabble in such silliness as cardinals competing against each other in a volleyball tournament. He garners some amusement from the contrast between the shrink’s secular assumptions and the faith-based attitudes prevailing at the Holy See as well from a range of human foibles. But by the time his protagonist goes on the lam, Moretti has clearly run out of inspiration. In Italian. Subtitles. Much ecclesiastically themed humor that some may find distasteful, at least one use of the F-word, a fleeting reference to sexuality. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Diocese of Fall River TV Mass on WLNE Channel 6 Sunday, April 15, 11:00 a.m.
Celebrant is Father Michael S. Racine, Pastor of St. Bernard’s Parish in Assonet
April 13, 2012
Medical marijuana bill likely on Mass. ballots this November
By Christine M. Williams Anchor Correspondent
BOSTON — “Mary Jane” is a bad nurse, according to opponents of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. Three bills debated by the Massachusetts Legislature this session would expand the use of pot in the Commonwealth. One would legalize the drug outright, and the other two would approve medicinal use. The bill to legalize marijuana generally had a hearing and its fate has not yet been announced. The legislative bill that would legalize medicinal use has been sent back to committee for further study. The last bill, which would also legalize medicinal use, was prompted by a citizens initiative petition. The bill seeks to create
35 marijuana distribution centers across the state. Its hearing was held April 10. If the legislature fails to act on it, proponents can gather 11,500 signatures in order to place the measure on the Massachusetts ballot in November. “We believe that it’s unlikely that the legislature would pass any of these radical bills with an election coming up in a few months,” said Kristian Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute. Mineau added that since marijuana is illegal under federal law, opponents are seeking legal remedies to keep the petition off the ballot. If that effort fails, voters will likely have their say in November. If the legislation passes, Massachusetts would become the 17th state to approve marijuana for me-
Divine Mercy Sunday as an evangelization tool continued from page one
lapsed Catholics back to the fold. “Unfortunately, too many parish celebrations focus on having afternoon devotions that only devotees attend,” Allard said. “How many poor sinners, Easter-only or fallen-away Catholics are going to attend a long prayer service in the afternoon and then attend a Mass afterwards to be able to receive Holy Communion?” Recalling Jesus’ words as quoted in St. Faustina’s diary that “I desire the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners,” Allard said that going to Confession and receiving Holy Communion should be integral parts of Divine Mercy Sunday. “If we are truly Apostles of Divine Mercy, then we need to get really serious about helping Jesus to save sinners and to ease the Lord’s sadness,” Allard said. “We need to stop focusing our energy on what can be viewed as ‘parties for devotees’ at 3 p.m. in the afternoon and focus more on saving poor sinners.” St. Faustina’s 600-page diary, “Divine Mercy in My Soul,” written in obedience to her spiritual director, has become a handbook for the devotion which is firmly rooted in Church doctrines and is linked to Christ’s Resurrection message. Born Helena Kowalska in the village of Glogowiec west of Lodz, Poland, on Aug. 15, 1905, St. Faustina was the third of 10 children. When she was nearly 20, she entered the Congregation whose members devote themselves to the care and education of troubled women. After receiving her religious habit, she was given the name Sister Maria Faustina, to which she added: “of the Most Blessed Sacrament.” Through Sister Faustina, who died in 1938, Jesus revealed five special ways to live out the response to His mercy: veneration of the image of Divine Mercy; recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet; celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday; a novena prior to Divine Mercy Sunday; and special prayers at 3 p.m. each day, which Jesus called the Hour of Mercy. The Chaplet of Mercy, recited using ordinary Rosary beads of five decades, is prayed daily by the faithful all over the world. “We already have a good idea what
Jesus requested through St. Faustina for Divine Mercy Sunday,” Allard said. “He wants us to go out and bring sinners to the feast; tell everyone about His mercy and the promise of total forgiveness of all sins and punishment; and solemnly bless and venerate His image of Divine Mercy.” The message Jesus gave to Sister Faustina Kowalska of the Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy was that God loves all of us no matter how great our sins and that He wants us to recognize His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust and receive His mercy. While that message is nothing new and had always been taught by the Church in Scripture and tradition, the Divine Mercy devotion that St. Faustina promoted takes on a powerful new focus, calling people — all sinners — to accept God’s mercy with thanksgiving and to spread that knowledge to others that they may come to share His joy, resurrection, and ultimately their own. “It is time for us to put away the type of celebrations that only devotees attend,” Allard added. “Divine Mercy Sunday should be a refuge for sinners.” Among the parishes in the Fall River Diocese with special Divine Mercy Sunday devotions this weekend: • Holy Trinity Parish, West Harwich: tonight and tomorrow at 7 p.m.; Sunday at 2:45 p.m. • Our Lady of Fatima Parish, New Bedford: Sunday at 3 p.m. • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Seekonk: daily, 20 minutes prior to Mass. • St. Anthony’s Parish, Taunton: Sunday at 3 p.m. with Benediction. • St. Anthony of Padua Parish, New Bedford: today at 4:15 p.m.; tomorrow and Sunday at 3 p.m. • St. Margaret’s Parish, Buzzards Bay: Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with Benediction, eucharistic adoration and talk by Father John Phalen, CSC. • St. Mary’s Parish, Mansfield: Sunday at 3 p.m. with Benediction at 4 p.m. and Mass at 5 p.m. • Corpus Christi Parish, East Sandwich: Sunday at 2:45 p.m. with Benediction and perpetual adoration. For more information about the Divine Mercy devotion, visit www. divinemercysunday.com.
dicinal use. A poll released by Public Policy Polling on April 2 found that 53 percent of voters support legalizing medicinal use with 35 percent opposed and the rest undecided. Mineau stressed that the challenge in opposing such legislation will be educating the public. “We definitely have an uphill battle in fighting this thing because marijuana is so popular, particularly among the younger generation,” he said. “We know that medical marijuana is a gateway to legalized marijuana, and it just makes it that much easier for the youth to have access to it.” Heidi Heilman, chair of the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, said that as access to the drug increases, youth are more inclined to use it. The alliance opposes all attempts to legalize marijuana use. “This legislation throws our young people under the bus,” she said. “We are worried about teen pot addiction. One in six young people who start using in their teen years becomes addicted to marijuana. It’s the number one drug that puts adolescents in treatment in Massachusetts, and it trumps all other drugs combined.” Massachusetts ranks fifth in overall pot use, and every New England state is included in the top 15. The rate of use in Massachusetts has increased since possession of less than an ounce was decriminalized in 2009. The rate of marijuana use among Commonwealth youth is 30 percent higher than the national average. Heilman, who has worked in the youth drug prevention field for more than 20 years, said that the decriminalization law caused many programs to lose the leverage they had to get help for young people abusing pot. Marijuana rewires the teen brain and can be linked with psychosis, depression and other mental health problems.
“If people knew the real harms of marijuana, they would not want their kids to ever use it. And they would certainly think legalizing it would be insane,” she said. She said states have legalized medicinal marijuana because of “emotional testimony and personal opinion,” not because there is proven therapeutic value to the drug. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration released a position paper on marijuana last year, reaffirming the classification of marijuana as a controlled substance. Pot is not medicine and is not safe. “Smoked marijuana has a high potential for abuse and has no accepted medicinal value in treatment in the United States,” the paper states. “The proposition that smoked marijuana is ‘medicine’ is, in sum, falsetrickery used by those promoting wholesale legalization.” The DEA further states that marijuana is dangerous. It creates dependency, acts as a gateway drug, impairs health, promotes delinquent behavior and increases the number of drugged drivers. “Legalization of marijuana, no matter how it begins, will come at the expense of our children and public safety,” the paper states. The DEA also cautions that the potency of the drug has more than doubled since 1983, adding, “This is not the marijuana of the 1970s.” For Your Marriage, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, warns parents on their website about the dangers of marijuana and urges them to inform themselves in order to discuss the issue openly with their children. “This may be the most important debate you will ever have,” the website states. “You are the most important influence when it comes to your kids experimenting with drugs.”
April 13, 2012
Catholics urged to imitate St. Thomas More in contraception battle
Arlington (CNA/EWTN News) — Catholics should follow the example of St. Thomas More in their current conflict with the Obama Administration, said Father Paul D. Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. More’s faithful witness and willingness to sacrifice his life rather than violate his conscience “are instructive for us in this present crisis,” said Father Scalia, who serves as pastor of St. John the Beloved Parish in McLean, Va. In an April 4 article for the Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper of Arlington, Father Scalia reflected on the life of St. Thomas More, the wellknown 16th-century lawyer, author and martyr who served as the chancellor of England under King Henry VIII. He observed that More was faced with a moral dilemma when the Catholic Church would not allow King Henry to divorce his wife, and the king responded by simply redefining the Church. More could not support the king’s decision in good conscience and therefore resigned from public life. He did not voice his opposition to the king, but merely attempted to live as a private citizen in silence. “But King Henry’s rebellion against the Church inevitably
Stay informed and inspired! Subscribe to The Anchor, or give one as a gift!
trampled on the conscience of individuals as well,” said Father Scalia, explaining that even though he had resigned from his position, More was commanded to take an oath affirming the king’s divorce. When he refused to violate his conscience by taking the oath, he was imprisoned and then beheaded. The years that followed were filled with persecution of Catholics, who were fined and imprisoned for their religious beliefs. Father Scalia compared More’s struggle with the king to that of Catholics against a new U.S. mandate that will require private health insurance plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortioninducing drugs, regardless of whether those providing the plans object to such coverage. He said that the similarities between King Henry’s decree and the contraception mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “are striking and instructive.” Just as King Henry redefined the Church in England, the Obama Administration “seeks to do likewise in the United States” with its recent mandate, he said. The administration and some Congressmen have even “lectured the bishops about what the Church should do
One-year subscription — $20 Name: Address: City:
if given as a gift, the card should read: From: Street:
Parish to receive credit: Enclose check or money order and mail to: The Anchor, P.O. Box 7, Fall River, MA 02722 This Message Sponsored by the Following Business Concern in the Diocese of Fall River Gilbert C. Oliveira Insurance Agency
or think.” In doing so, he explained, they have violated the Church’s right to self-governance of internal affairs. Father Scalia also noted that just as King Henry’s actions affected both the Church as an institution and private individuals such as More, the contraception mandate threatens not only the rights of Church organizations but those of individual Catholic citizens, who will also be penalized if they do not obey the mandate. Father Scalia advised that if history is repeating itself in the current persecution of the Church, the faithful must “de-
liberately choose to imitate” St. Thomas More’s witness. Catholics should reflect More’s “integrity and holiness of life,” he said, observing that the saint’s silence on the issue of the king’s divorce spoke volumes because he was known to be a man of integrity. Although we currently “do not have the luxury of remaining silent,” we must still follow in More’s path of integrity, uniting our words and actions to present the truths of our faith, he said. Father Scalia emphasized that Catholics should imitate More’s joy, which he main-
tained even in the midst of oppression. This joy may not always be externally visible, but should remain steadfast inside of us, because we know “that no suffering or persecution in this world can separate us from the love of Christ.” Catholics should also imitate More’s patriotism, said Father Scalia, recalling More’s famous statement before his death, “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” In the same way, he said, we will be good Americans by defending the First Amendment’s promises and “being devout Catholics first.”
The consummate ambassador
and a classmate, a rather large, hen I look to my left, tough classmate, said he had from the desk in my already paid. I said he didn’t (he office at The Anchor, I can see didn’t). Holy Name Church a mere two Tempers started to flare a bit. blocks south of me. The quaint, Rocky (his real name has been white, New Englandy building changed to protect the innocent) glows in the morning sunlight. was not afraid of a physical This Tuesday morning, as I confrontation. I, half Rocky’s sit here pounding out this column, the scene two blocks south size, wasn’t a fan of physical confrontation. Yet I insisted I is a beehive of activity. There’s a long line of cars parking along was owed money. Mr. Wilcox watched the the street, and many folks are streaming into church. They’re all there to send off Jim Wilcox with a funeral Mass celebration. Jim, or Mr. Wilcox as many of us called By Dave Jolivet him as teen-agers, was a giant of man in many ways — not just in his scene play out, and eventulanky appearance. I don’t think ally told us to “take it out to one could accurately count the number of lives on which he left the hallway.” He had a class to teach. an indelible mark. We left the room, and I didn’t He was first and foremost, a know if I would return with my good father and husband. Add body parts in the same order. I to that a litany of activities for pleaded my case to Rocky. He which he poured out his heart looked at me, shook his head, and soul. and said “You’re right, man. I first met Mr. Wilcox when Sorry.” He shook my hand, and I was a student at Durfee we reentered the classroom. High School. He was a history Mr. Wilcox barely batted an teacher and I had the privilege eyelash. of having him for a teacher — He knew me, and he knew although I didn’t realize it was Rocky was tough, but fair. He a privilege at the time. That knew we would resolve the epiphany came later. matter in a civil way. I gained a Mr. Wilcox loved teaching, new resect for Mr. Wilcox that and even the least interested day. students could see his passion Just a shade over 20 years for his vocation. Despite standlater, I came to The Anchor. ing in front of many students who were more interested in the After that, I would hear from Mr. Wilcox, whom I now called future, like 2:30 p.m. on any Jim. He was involved with his given school day, Mr. Wilcox parish, with the Church, and made the past come alive. with the Jewish communities in But I think my most vivid the Fall River and New Bedford memory of being one of his areas. His particular passion students was an incident in his was making new generations classroom before the lesson aware of the horrors of the Hobegan. I was collecting monies locaust, and the great suffering owed for an athletic fund-raiser
My View From the Stands
of the Jewish people. If there was something he wanted publicized, Jim would give me call. Among Jim’s many passions was refereeing CYO hoops. I was at one of Emilie’s games one day and Jim was one of the refs. At half-time he carried his lanky frame over to where I was seated and said, “Dave, how come you never write about your Durfee wrestling career in your column?” Jim knew full well why I never wrote about my wrestling career in my column. I was to high school varsity wrestling what the 1969 New York Mets were to baseball. My record was 2-16. I was stunned that Jim, more than 30 years later, even remembered that Durfee had a wrestling team. It started in my senior year. But I was more stunned that he remembered I was on that maiden voyage. I had teammates who didn’t even know I was on the team! Well, I wrote a column about my wrestling career — just for Jim’s entertainment. I owed him that. Jim “Mr.” Wilcox will be greatly missed by a great number of people, particularly his family. But they can rest assured that he will rest in peace. Jim Wilcox was a great ambassador for the Wilcox Family. He was a great ambassador for the teaching profession. He was a great ambassador for referees everywhere. He was a great ambassador for Holy Name Parish. He was a great ambassador for the Church. And I’d be willing to bet the money I collected from Rocky, that he’s a great ambassador for the human race today in the Kingdom. Thanks Mr. Wilcox. Thanks Jim.
April 13, 2012
‘Women of Grace’ called to spread the Word continued from page one
ing the women who had participated in the program. Charbonneau countered his idea with the first thought that popped into her head: “I’m not qualified to run a women’s Bible study. I’m just not; I don’t know enough about the Bible,” she said, but after learning that the program comes fully equipped with books, workbooks and an outline of the direction to take group discussions, Charbonneau changed her mind. “I began thinking I can handle it.” Walking back to her hotel with the group, Charbonneau said it hit her: “Oh, dear God, I just promised a priest that I would start this. How am I going to do this?” she recalled. “I’m going to need help. I was running a list of women through my mind because I felt overwhelmed by the idea.” She recruited her sister shortly after her return from Rome, and a number of women were pulled from the weekly gathering of “Moms at Mass,” a Wednesday morning assembly of moms who meet after Mass for coffee; 10 women in all were chosen to be facilitators and to be part of the founding members of the Women of Grace program at the parish. All the women were sent on a retreat with the books and workbooks from the program: “We were the guinea pigs,” said Charbonneau. After the retreat the women spent the next nine months going through the program in its entirety, then doing the program again by having the group role-play and choosing two women every week to act as leaders while the other eight women acted as general participants. “We literally went through it. It’s a book that you read: you read chapter one and then you do chapter one, and there’s a lot of work. There are five units to every chapter, and then we got together to go over the answers and discuss it,” said Charbonneau. Encouraged by pastor Msgr. Gerard P. O’Connor, who “wants all the women in the parish to sign up,” said Charbonneau, the women began to spread the word about Women of Grace after Mass and in the
parish bulletin, looking for participants to attend a general interest meeting. “I was honestly hoping 20 women would show, so that we could do two groups,” said Charbonneau. “Little by little they began to pile in and by 7:10 p.m., there was no more room.” Fifty-one women of all ages showed up at the meeting. The ratio of participating women to facilitators seems almost prophetic, and fit right in line with the Women of Grace founder’s recommendation for each group. Founder Johnnette Benkovic “recommends groups no larger than 12. She jokes about the 12 Apostles. Jesus thought that was a good number; He didn’t choose 15 or five but 12,” said Charbonneau. “Too many women, there might be too much talking, and too small a group and you may not get enough of a conversation.” She added, “It is bizarre that we got the exact amount of women and the exact amount of facilitators.” Opening with a group prayer, the women break off into five groups, led by two facilitators for each. Having a fundamental study series geared to promoting a woman’s vocation and call to the world as a daughter of God, said Charbonneau, is important, especially with topics and discussions invoking responses from participants instead of a group simply sitting there, listening to a book being read. “It talks about how important the role of women are,” said Charbonneau. “God chose a woman to bear Jesus. Just like Mary brought Jesus to the world, our job as women is to bring Jesus to this hurting world, just like Mary did.” Andrea Oliver, member of St. Francis Xavier, had been part of a similar group at her previous parish. Oliver said she enjoyed the camaraderie of that group, but the scholarly-element of Women of Grace brought a whole new dimension to the program. “Initially I thought it was very overwhelming. I did not know what to expect,” said Oliver. “There’s a lot of infor-
Specializing in: Brand Name/ Foreign Auto Parts 1420 Fall River Avenue (Route 6) Seekonk, MA 02771
mation and a lot of work in the workbook. The reading part of it is fine but the workbook takes a lot of concentration and delving into your soul.” While homework is not checked, Oliver said that she does what is asked because “I want to learn more about it and I want to strengthen my faith.” At 32 years old, Rachel Foust is the youngest facilitator of the program. A member of St. Kilian’s Parish in New Bedford, Foust admits she was drawn to the group initially to be only a general participant but after attending the retreat with the other women, becoming a facilitator “just kind of came about,” she said. “I think reading the books and the way Johnnette Benkovic describes a lot of the different aspects of prayer; she’s very creative in relating it to our every day life,” said Foust. “When you’re reading the book and doing the work, you can sense just how much faith she has. You become better acquainted with the Scripture and learn better prayer techniques, if you can call it that. You just learn to live out your faith better.” A sense of community is what makes a program like this so vital to any parish, said Foust, who felt welcomed into the program even while not being a member of St. Francis Xavier Parish: “You connect with other women to share what’s going on in your life. A lot of times you go to church without saying much to each other, and this is really time for adults. I have work and other friends who may not be Catholic or don’t believe PADRE PIO and DIVINE MERCY
the same thing, and it just leaves a gap. It’s nice to be able to talk about your faith.” Having already done Women of Grace while living in Colorado, Michelle Russo viewed the program as a great way of meeting the members of St. Francis Xavier Parish when she arrived in the area. When it was discovered that she had gone through the program, Russo was thrust into the role as a facilitator; a role, she said, that took some getting used to. “It’s a bit more challenging to be a facilitator than it is to be in the group. I think it’s the work of the Lord because now you have to say things and you have to share of yourself and make yourself vulnerable,” said Russo, adding the program has given her the opportunity to reevaluate where she is in her life now as opposed to where she was five years ago when she first did the program. “I’m not saying that I’ve made major strides in my life but it’s interesting to look back. I know I’ve grown.” The group meets every two weeks and with eight chapters to complete, the total time of participation is 16 weeks. And while it seems like it’s a one-
and-done type of program, it’s really not, said Charbonneau. The women are already planning to have Women of Grace run through again in the fall, with possible guest speakers being added to the curriculum schedule. Oliver and others have expressed interest in taking it again, and word-of-mouth is spreading through the parish as evidenced by the walk-ins who show up even though the program is well underway. “You know what’s so great about this? In the Catholic faith, sometimes there’s a little bit of it being ‘all about the men.’ We’re different than men. We tend to be a little more nurturing, a little more loving, a little more sensitive — all this stuff that this world needs so badly,” said Charbonneau. “This shows women that we are very important members of our parish,” said Russo. “We are mothers and even if we’re not mothers, we’re mothers of the Word of God. We’re responsible for mothering and nurturing people in general, and because we women are together in it, it’s empowering. I think together we can really make a difference in the parish.”
it’s an honor — Twenty-two sixth- through eighth-graders were inducted into the newly-formed All Saints Catholic School Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. The students from the New Bedford school earned membership in National Junior Honor Society by the effective demonstration of five qualities: scholarship, service, leadership, citizenship, and character, represented during the induction ceremony by five lit candles.
stang achievements — The Sister Teresa Trayers, SND Chapter of the National Honor Society at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth has earned a Commended Chapter Award from the NHS State Committee. This prestigious award is presented to those chapters that best exemplify the ideals of the National Honor Society. Above: Principal Peter Shaughnessy and NHS president senior Kathryn Carreira. Maxwell Kearns, below, a senior at Bishop Stang, has been selected as the recipient of the MIAA/NESN Student-Athlete of the Month Award for February 2012. A member of the Stang swimming and diving team, Kearns has had a very successful interscholastic athletic career. He participates annually in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and has helped raise money in a swim across Buzzards Bay fund-raiser for the Buzzards Bay Coalition. From left: Stang swimming coach Dave Ponte, Kearns, Stang Athletic Director Ryan Sylvia.
April 13, 2012
The Anchor is always pleased to run news and photos about our diocesan youth. If schools or parish Religious Education programs, have newsworthy stories and photos they would like to share with our readers, send them to: schools@anchornews. org
hoops heaven — It has been a banner year for the basketball program at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Mansfield. The eighth-grade boys and girls clinched the diocesan championship title, earning a spot in the New England CYO Tournament later in the month. Tough play and a never-give-up attitude put both teams in a position to be victorious against several tough competitors. The boys team, led by coaches Paul Mordarski and Paul Carchedi, completed their four-year Catholic Athletic League experience with an overall 49-9 record which includes four undefeated seasons, four CAL state championships and two Pot of Gold championships.
April 13, 2012
Doubts, discipleship and determination
appy Easter! Jesus’ message of God’s love As children we are and mercy would be spread conditioned that Christmas is to “all nations.” But even the “most wonderful time of amongst His most faithful the year.” We spend months Apostles, one of the origipreparing for it. We decorate nal 12 still doubted and we our homes, find the perfect will hear Thomas’ story this tree, sing carols for months on end (OK, maybe it’s only weeks but it feels like months!) and then of course there are the presents. Let us never forget the presents. By Crystal Medeiros Yes, there is a lot of preparation for Christmas. With each passing year, however, I am not only weekend. reminded but also come into After His Resurrection, an increasingly better underJesus appeared to the remainstanding and awareness that ing Apostles while they were Easter and the Easter season behind a closed door. Jesus (Easter Sunday to Pentecost displayed His wounds for Sunday) is our High Holy all to see and commissioned Season. We take the time to them to receive the Holy reflect not only upon Jesus’ Spirit. Everyone gathered Resurrection but also on the with Him except for Thomas. commissioning of the AposPoor Thomas. When he did tles and disciples. In doing return, the Apostles told him so, we are also called to reof all they had seen. But flect upon our own commisThomas lacked the faith to sioning to spread the Word to believe what the others told all nations. him. “Unless I see the mark The establishment of the of the nails in His hands and early Church becomes the put my finger into the nailtheme of the Easter season marks and put my hand into and like anything else had its His side, I will not believe,” doubters. The season reminds (Jn 20:25). Perhaps Thomas us of how the early Church thought his friends were pullstarted to take shape and how ing a joke on him.
Be Not Afraid
Many, if not most of us, can relate to poor “Doubting Thomas” as he has become known. We know the people who do not believe in God because they cannot see Him or physically touch Him. As Christians, if we proclaim and witness to our faith and Jesus’ teaching, hopefully others will be able to feel His presence within us even though we may not be able to put our hands into His wounds. Perhaps we ourselves harbor doubts. The Easter season also marks the only time of the year where the first readings we hear at Mass are not from the Old Testament. Instead, as we heard last Sunday, we will reflect upon readings from the Acts of the Apostles. Acts is the continuation of Luke’s Gospel. It is in Acts where we hear about the early Church’s struggle and challenges to preach and teach about Jesus Christ. It is in Acts where we are introduced to St. Paul, formerly called Saul. Acts of the Apostles is a book about discipleship and witness. Acts of the Apostles also introduces us to the full power of the Holy Spirit, “But you will receive
in jesus’ footsteps — In celebration of Holy Week, students at St. John the Evangelist School in Attleboro reenacted the Stations of the Cross for the entire school. The eighthgraders did a shadow reenactment, the seventh-graders did a walk through with posters. Shown here are the fifth-graders after their reenactment demonstrating all of the various sections.
power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (1:8). Acts reminds us of how we are commissioned to serve the Lord when we are sent forth at the conclusion of Mass each Sunday. Living as part of the Body of Christ takes discipleship and determination. Often times we face doubts and challenges like that of our early brothers and sisters.
However, we cannot give into those doubts. The Easter season brings us renewed hope and renewed spirit into our faith and into our parishes which carries us through the year and for all the years to come. May you and your family be blessed and embraced by the joy and hope of this Easter season. Crystal is assistant director for Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocese. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 13, 2012
Catholic laity can have a voice in attacks against religious freedom continued from page one
bility to speak out. That’s our job. Faithful Catholics need to speak out and be heard.” Catholic Advocate is providing resources for Catholic faithful to speak and be heard. Smith said that some Catholics may feel that they can’t make a difference but they should realize they can, in several ways. “When our senators and congressmen hear from their constituents in large numbers, they take notice,” he said. “And when the laity is strong, our bishops and priests know they are not in this alone. And that’s important.” To assist Catholics across the U.S. to “speak out and be heard” Catholic Advocate has created a “Protect our conscience kit” to encourage the laity to contact their senators and representatives and urge them to support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179/s. 1467). “We did all the work identifying the senators and congressmen in each of the country’s 17,782 parishes,” explained Smith. “We also put a letter together to be sent to the representatives and senators. We’ve provided the tools to mobilize the faithful.” Catholic Advocate is asking for one person in each parish in the U.S. to sign up to be a parish leader. By doing so, that person will have access to a toolkit containing everything he or she would need to organize support for legislation to
fix this issue, including instructions for generating letters to elected officials who are pre-identified for that parish. Also included is a suggested parish bulletin insert and “Question and Answer” document. “If faithful Catholics were able to average 115 letters per parish, Capitol Hill would receive more than six million contacts on this issue,” added Smith. “We would send a powerful message that cannot be ignored.” Smith told The Anchor that within 48 hours of the first posting of the Protect Our Conscience website, Catholic Advocate had recruited one lay person in 30 different states encompassing 115 congressional districts. “In less than a week we had one person in every congressional district in every state.” Smith added that the response has been very good but the need is still out there for all Catholics to get involved and be heard. “The more our senators and representatives hear from us, it makes a difference in their thinking.” Some of those in favor of the attacks on religious liberties have tried to intimidate Catholic priests against speaking out, Smith related. “They’ll tell priests they can’t preach about it because they are being partisan, and that scares some priests into thinking they are violating 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code for maintaining non-profit status,” he said. “This
Revised and updated ...
2011-2012 Diocese of Fall River Catholic Directory ... Now Shipping! Published by The Anchor Publishing Company P.O. Box 7, Fall River, Massachusetts 02722 Please ship _____ directories x $18 each, including shipping and handling. Total Enclosed $_____ NAME ____________________________________________ ADDRESS _________________________________________ CITY _____________________ STATE _______ ZIP _____ Please make checks payable to “Anchor Publishing” For more information, email email@example.com, call 508-675-7151, or order online at www.anchornews.org
is not a partisan issue. The issue is an attack on the Church. We have gone out of our way to make sure this is non-partisan.” Catholic Advocate has also been in communication with other agencies mobilizing faithful to stand up for religious freedom. It is in communication with the Cardinal Newman Society, which is concentrating on the rights of Catholic colleges and universities in this country, and the St. Thomas More Society, a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm that exists to restore respect in law for life, marriage, and religious liberty, which focuses on the legal profession. “Everyone has something at stake in these issues, and all our paths cross,” said Smith. “We are all concentrating on our areas, but we have one goal — to defend our Church.” Smith also said the threat to religious freedom is not just a Catholic issue. “We’ve had responses from non-Catholic churches as well as groups that advocate home-schooling,” he said. “They are concerned about what these policies will mean for them. Many realize that the Catholic Church was first out of the box in rallying the faithful, but now they’re telling us ‘We’re right there with you.’” The issues facing the threats to religious freedom extend past the HHS mandate. “It’s more than that,” added Smith. “Catholic Advocate will continue to highlight those.” The U.S. bishops, too, are continuing to oppose threats to religious liberties. “We will continue our vigorous efforts at education and public advocacy on the principles of religious liberty and their application,” the bishops wrote. “We will continue to pursue legislation to restore the same level of religious freedom we have enjoyed until just recently. And we will continue to explore our options for relief from the courts under the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws that protect religious freedom. “Most importantly of all, we call upon the Catholic faithful, and all people of faith, throughout our country to join us in prayer and penance for our leaders and for the complete protection of our first freedom — religious liberty — which is not only protected in the laws and customs of our great nation, but rooted in the teachings of our great tradition. Prayer is the ultimate source of our strength — for without God, we can do nothing; but with God, all things are possible.” For information about Catholic Advocate or to get involved in the Protect Our Conscience campaign visit catholicadvocate. com. For information about the USCCB visit USCCB.org.
Greetings to the world — Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd during his Easter blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city of Rome and to the world) from the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican April 8. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Maronite patriarch: Pope to visit Lebanon September 14-16
BEIRUT (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI will visit Lebanon September 14-16, Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai announced during Easter Mass at the patriarchal seat in Bkerke, Lebanon. Patriarch Rai said that the pope will meet with the country’s religious and civil officials, including President Michel Sleiman, a Maronite Catholic. During an open-air Mass in Beirut September 16, the pope will present the apostolic exhortation on the October 2010 special Synod of Bishops, which met under the theme: “Communion and Witness.” In a statement, Sleiman said the pope’s visit would affirm the depth of the “historical relations that tie Lebanon with the (Vatican) and
will form an occasion to focus on Lebanon’s position, message and role as a witness of freedom and coexistence.” It marks the pope’s second visit to the Middle East; in May 2009 he visited Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. The announcement comes amid increased concern over the plight of Christians across the Middle East, emigrating in increasing numbers. Of Lebanon’s population of nearly four million, approximately 33 percent are Christian, considered a high estimate. Half a century ago, Christians represented about half the population. In Iraq, a Christian exodus since the American-led invasion in 2003 has reduced the Iraqi Christian population by twothirds.
Father Bento R. Fraga, 81, dies on Easter morning
NEW BEDFORD — Father Bento R. Fraga, 81, a priest of the Fall River Diocese, died at Sacred Heart Home in New Bedford on Easter morning. Father Fraga, son of the late Antonio C. and Etelvina (Bertao) Fraga, was born in Taunton. He was ordained by Bishop James L. Connolly at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River on March 17, 1956. Before retiring in 2005, Father Fraga served at a number of parishes across the diocese. He served for 13 years as a parochial vicar at St. John of God Parish in Somerset, for three at St. Joseph’s in Taunton, and two years at Holy Ghost Parish in Attleboro before being named pastor there. He was also pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in New Bedford, St. Peter’s in Provincetown, and St. Paul’s Parish in Taunton. In 2008, he was removed from active ministry following
Father Bento R. Fraga
an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Father Fraga always denied the accusations. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated April 12 at St. Anthony’s Church in Taunton, with burial at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Taunton. He is survived by many brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews.
April 13, 2012
Eucharistic Adoration in the Diocese
Acushnet — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. Francis Xavier Parish on Monday and Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Evening prayer and Benediction is held Monday through Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ATTLEBORO — The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette holds eucharistic adoration in the Shrine Church every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. through November 17. ATTLEBORO — St. Joseph Church holds eucharistic adoration in the Adoration Chapel located at the (south) side entrance at 208 South Main Street, Sunday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Brewster — Eucharistic adoration takes place in the La Salette Chapel in the lower level of Our Lady of the Cape Church, 468 Stony Brook Road, on First Fridays following the 11 a.m. Mass until 7:45 a.m. on the First Saturday, concluding with Benediction and Mass. buzzards Bay — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. Margaret Church, 141 Main Street, every first Friday after the 8 a.m. Mass and ending the following day before the 8 a.m. Mass. East Freetown — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. John Neumann Church every Monday (excluding legal holidays) 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Our Lady, Mother of All Nations Chapel. (The base of the bell tower). East Sandwich — Eucharistic adoration takes place at the Corpus Christi Parish Adoration Chapel, 324 Quaker Meeting House Road, Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Also, 24-hour eucharistic adoration takes place on the First Friday of every month. EAST TAUNTON — Eucharistic adoration takes place in the chapel at Holy Family Parish Center, 438 Middleboro Avenue, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. On First Fridays, eucharistic adoration takes place at Holy Family Church, 370 Middleboro Avenue, from 8:30 a.m. until 7:45 p.m. FAIRHAVEN — St. Mary’s Church, Main St., has eucharistic adoration every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to noon in the Chapel of Reconciliation, with Benediction at noon. Also, there is a First Friday Mass each month at 7 p.m., followed by a Holy Hour with eucharistic adoration. Refreshments follow. Fall River — SS. Peter and Paul Parish will have eucharistic adoration on March 30 in the parish chapel, 240 Dover Street, from 8:30 a.m. until noon.
Fall River — Espirito Santo Parish, 311 Alden Street, Fall River. Eucharistic adoration on Mondays following the 8 a.m. Mass until Rosary and Benediction at 6:30 p.m. FALL RIVER — Notre Dame Church, 529 Eastern Ave., has eucharistic adoration on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the chapel. FALL RIVER — St. Anthony of the Desert Church, 300 North Eastern Avenue, has eucharistic adoration Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. FALL RIVER — Holy Name Church, 709 Hanover Street, has eucharistic adoration Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Our Lady of Grace Chapel. FALL RIVER — Good Shepherd Parish has eucharistic adoration every Friday following the 8 a.m. Mass until 6 p.m. in the Daily Mass Chapel. There is a bilingual Holy Hour in English and Portuguese from 5-6 p.m. Park behind the church and enter the back door of the connector between the church and the rectory. Falmouth — St. Patrick’s Church has eucharistic adoration each First Friday, following the 9 a.m. Mass until Benediction at 4:30 p.m. The Rosary is recited Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. HYANNIS — A Holy Hour with eucharistic adoration will take place each First Friday at St. Francis Xavier Church, 347 South Street, beginning immediately after the 12:10 p.m. Mass and ending with adoration at 4 p.m. MASHPEE — Christ the King Parish, Route 151 and Job’s Fishing Road has 8:30 a.m. Mass every First Friday with special intentions for Respect Life, followed by 24 hours of eucharistic adoration in the Chapel, concluding with Benediction Saturday morning followed immediately by an 8:30 Mass. NEW BEDFORD — Eucharistic adoration takes place 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 233 County Street, with night prayer and Benediction at 8:45 p.m., and Confessions offered during the evening. NEW BEDFORD — There is a daily holy hour from 5:15-6:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 1359 Acushnet Avenue. It includes adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Liturgy of the Hours, recitation of the Rosary, and the opportunity for Confession. NORTH DARTMOUTH — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. Julie Billiart Church, 494 Slocum Road, every Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m., ending with Benediction. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available at this time. NORTH DIGHTON — Eucharistic adoration takes place every First Friday at St. Nicholas of Myra Church, 499 Spring Street following the 8 a.m. Mass, ending with Benediction at 6 p.m. The Rosary is recited Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 8 a.m.
OSTERVILLE — Eucharistic adoration takes place at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 76 Wianno Avenue on First Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and every Friday from noon to 5 p.m., with Benediction at 5 p.m. SEEKONK — Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish has eucharistic adoration seven days a week, 24 hours a day in the chapel at 984 Taunton Avenue. For information call 508336-5549. Taunton — Eucharistic adoration takes place every Tuesday at St. Anthony Church, 126 School Street, following the 8 a.m. Mass with prayers including the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for vocations, concluding at 6 p.m. with Chaplet of St. Anthony and Benediction. Recitation of the Rosary for peace is prayed Monday through Saturday at 7:30 a.m. prior to the 8 a.m. Mass. WAREHAM — Every First Friday, eucharistic adoration takes place from 8:30 a.m. through Benediction at 5:30 p.m. Morning prayer is prayed at 9; the Angelus at noon; the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m.; and Evening Prayer at 5 p.m. WEST HARWICH — Our Lady of Life Perpetual Adoration Chapel at Holy Trinity Parish, 246 Main Street (Rte. 28), holds perpetual eucharistic adoration. We are a regional chapel serving all of the surrounding parishes. All from other parishes are invited to sign up to cover open hours. For open hours, or to sign up call 508-430-4716. WOODS HOLE — Eucharistic adoration takes place at St. Joseph’s Church, 33 Millfield Street, year-round on weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. No adoration on Sundays, Wednesdays, and holidays. For information call 508-274-5435.
The Anchor Adoring cross in stocking feet, pope leads Good Friday celebrations
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Uncovering the cross and genuflecting before it in his stocking feet, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion in St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope presided at the service April 6 and chanted the solemn prayers of intercession for the Church, for himself and for the world, but during the homily he sat and listened. Following tradition, the homily was delivered by the preacher of the papal household, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa. The meditations for the late-night event were written by Danilo and Annamaria Zanzucchi, an Italian couple married 59 years; they helped establish the Focolare Movement’s New Families initiative and focused their meditations on the sufferings and joys of family life.
In Your Prayers Please pray for these priests during the coming weeks April 14 Rev. Louis N. Dequoy, Pastor, Sacred Heart, North Attleboro, 1935 Rev. Cosmas Chaloner, SS.CC., St. Francis Xavier, Acushnet, 1977 April 15 Rev. Christopher G. Hughes, D.D., Retired Rector, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River, 1908 April 16 Rev. Arthur E. Langlois, on sick leave, Denver, Colo., 1928 Rev. Norman F. Lord, C.S.Sp., Hemet, Calif., 1995 Rev. John W. Pegnam, USN, Retired Chaplain, 1996 April 18 Rev. Hugh B. Harrold, Pastor, St. Mary, Mansfield, 1935 Rt. Rev. John F. McKeon, P.R., Pastor, St. Lawrence, New Bedford, 1956 Rev. Joao Vieira Resendes, Retired Pastor, Espirito Santo, Fall River, 1984 Rev. Wilfred C. Boulanger, M.S., La Salette Shrine, Attleboro, 1985 Rev. George E. Amaral, Retired Pastor, St. Anthony, Taunton, 1992 April 19 Rev. William Wiley, Pastor, St. Mary, Taunton, 1855 Rev. Msgr. Leo J. Duart, Pastor, St. Peter the Apostle, Provincetown, 1975 Rev. Daniel E. Carey, Chaplain, Catholic Memorial Home, Retired Pastor, St. Dominic, Swansea, 1990 Rev. Msgr. Antonino Tavares, Retired Pastor, Santo Christo, Fall River, 2008 April 20 Rev. Edward F. Coyle, S.S., St. Mary Seminary, Baltimore, Md., 1954 Rev. James E. O’Reilly, Retired Pastor, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Seekonk, 1970 Rev. James P. Dalzell, Retired Pastor, St. Joseph, Woods Hole, 1999
Around the Diocese 4/14
The Social Justice Committee of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Mary’s Parish in Mansfield will present Sister Linda Bessom, SND, Faith Into Action coordinator for the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless tomorrow in the parish hall beginning at 6:30 p.m. with pizza and refreshments and the presentation at 7 p.m. She will speak on “Perspectives: Poverty, Homelessness and Justice.”
The feast of the Divine Mercy will be celebrated at Our Lady of Fatima Parish, 4256 Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford Sunday at 3 p.m. Refreshments and pastries will be served in the parish hall immediately following. The Rosary and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy are prayed at the church every Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Courage, a welcoming support group for Catholics wounded by same-sex attraction who gather to seek God’s wisdom, mercy and love will meet April 21 at 6 p.m. For location information, call Father Richard D. Wilson at 508-992-9408.
Students from Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth, as part of their The Faith In Action Together program, are hosting a used books/movies/cds sale at the school gym April 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to benefit the American Heart Association.
Birthright of Falmouth, Inc. is having an open house at the office in Homeport, 320 Gifford Street, Falmouth, April 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served and everyone who comes will have an opportunity to win special prizes. All are invited to come and meet the volunteers and the members of the board of directors.
Citizen Services Program offers free monthly workshops to provide assistance with the N-400 Application for Naturalization and to answer questions. April 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Holy Name School in Fall River; and May 16 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Provincetown. For information contact Ashlee Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-674-4681.
A healing Mass will take pace at St. Anne’s Church, 818 Middle Street, Fall River, April 26. The Rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. followed by the Mass, then Benediction and healing prayers.
The diocesan Divorce and Separated Support Group will meet April 26 at St. Julie Billiart Parish Center, 494 Slocum Road, North Dartmouth at 7 p.m. This will be an open meeting where one is free to discuss personal difficulties regarding separation and divorce. For information call 508-993-0589 or 508-673-2997.
A “Fire of Love” Youth Rally featuring music minister Martin Doman will be held April 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (including Mass) at St. Margaret’s Church in Buzzards Bay. The rally is open to all youth in grades eight to 12 and is perfect for Confirmation classes. To sign up, call 508-7597777 or email email@example.com. For more information visit www. martindoman.com.
The Fall River Diocesan Council of Catholic Nurses is hosting a presentation about “Meditations for those who serve others,” by Father Thomas Costa Jr., chaplain at Cape Cod Hospital. The event will take place at Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River in the Nannery Conference Room on April 28 from 9-11:30 a.m. and will provide the opportunity to learn how to meditate and why it should be incorporated into one’s prayer life. Mass and lunch will follow. Registration deadline is April 20. For information contact Betty at 508-678-2373.
Catholic Social Services will offer the next 18-week sessions of Citizenship Preparation Classes at three locations. The classes cover English and U.S. history and civics to prepare for the citizenship test. There is no fee. On April 30, Monday classes begin in Fall River at the CSS office at 1600 Bay Street from 6-9 p.m. In New Bedford, Thursday classes begin at St. James-St. John School, 180 Orchard Street, from 6-9 p.m. In Hyannis, Thursday classes begin May 3 at the CSS office at 261 South Street, from 6-9 p.m. For information contact Lemuel Skidmore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-771-6771.
The Lazarus Ministry of Our Lady of the Cape Parish in Brewster is offering a six-week bereavement support program on Thursdays, called, “Come Walk With Me,” beginning May 3 through June 7 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the parish center. The program is designed for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one within the past year. Pre-registration is required with a small fee for materials. For information contact Happy Whitman at 508-385-3252 or Eileen Birch at 508-394-0616.
St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School in Hyannis is hosting the 2012 Parent Social and Live Auction featuring auctioneer John Terrio. The event will be held at Oyster Harbors Club, in Osterville, May 4, at 6:30 p.m. There will be stations and passed hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and festive attire. For more information, contact Gina Wood, event chairman at gwood@kinlingrover. com or Jenn Canzano at email@example.com.
A Day with Mary will take place May 5 from 7:50 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at Holy Family Parish, East Taunton, including a video presentation, procession, crowning of the Blessed Mother, Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and an opportunity for Reconciliation. Bookstore available during breaks. For more information call 508-996-8274.
April 13, 2012
A d v e n t P i lg ri m a g e urs o T Two price of for
e Be $ $ $ a Buc ucoup ks
F e l i z
N a v i d a d