Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
January 25, 2010
World News in Brief
Saints are needed for Church's renewal, pope says
At every moment of Christian history, God raises up saints to renew and reform the Church, Pope Benedict said. "To renew the Church in every age, God raises up saints, who themselves have been renewed by God and are in constant contact with God," the pope said Jan. 13 at his weekly general audience.
The pope said that in continuing his audience talks about the history of the Church, specifically about theologians of the Middle Ages, he wanted to highlight the essential role of saints, who are able to make lasting, revolutionary contributions to the Church precisely because they live the Gospel in their own lives.
Pope Benedict spoke of "the consoling reality that in every generation saints are born."
"Through all the sadness, the negative aspects of history, we see the birth of forces for reform and renewal because the newness of God is inexhaustible and always gives new strength," he said.
The pope focused specifically on the 13th-century founding of the Franciscans by St. Francis of Assisi and the Dominicans by St. Dominic Guzman.
Personal holiness led the two saints to preach - and to help actualize - a return to Gospel poverty, a deeper unity with the Church and a new movement of evangelization, including within the European universities that were blossoming at the time, Pope Benedict said.
Avatar gets mixed review by Vatican newspaper
The movie Avatar got a mixed review from the Vatican newspaper, which praised the "magic" of its high-tech, sci-fi imagery but said the film lacked real human emotion. The film's visual impact is fascinating, and opens a new frontier in the realm of science fiction cinema, the newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, said in a review Jan. 9, a few days before the movie opened in Italian theatres.
The results of director James Cameron's innovative 3-D imagery make the movie "worth the price of a ticket," it said. But the film's story is "bland," the newspaper said. "It narrates without going very deep, and ends up falling into sentimentalism. Everything is reduced to an overly simple anti-imperialistic and anti-militaristic parable," it said. It added the movie also "gets stuck in a spiritualism tied to the worship of nature."
Church offers moral values, not prejudices, says pope
Christian moral values do not infringe upon freedom and scientific research; rather they offer honest, concrete answers to biomedical questions facing the world today, Pope Benedict said. In today's secularized world, many people consider religion to be a series of "prejudices that reject any objective understanding of reality" and that hinder freedom and scientific progress, he said in a speech Jan. 15. The common mentality today "tends to substitute truth with consensus, which is fragile and easily manipulated," he said. The pope was speaking to members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Christian faith does not offer prefabricated solutions to concrete problems, he said. But it does offer "a contribution of truth even in the field of ethical philosophy." It proposes "reliable moral positions from which human reason can seek and find valid answers," the pope said.
Haitian archbishop was a humble man
Haitian Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot was known as a humble man who was close to the poor in the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince. Miot, 63, was among tens of thousands of Haitians who died in the Jan. 12 earthquake. For years he served as president of the Haitian bishops' justice and peace commission, and he often spoke of the need to help the citizens of the Western Hemisphere's most-impoverished nation.
"The misery is so great,'' Miot told Catholic News Service in New York in May 1998. "Things have never been as bad as they are now. People who could not make a living in the rural areas have moved to the cities, and they are piling up in the slums."
In a Jan. 14 email to Catholic News Service, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, papal nuncio to Haiti, said the archbishop "was hurled from the balcony outside his room while he was waiting for another person on their way to a ceremony. The force of the earthquake threw him headfirst off the balcony and he died, it seems, from the impact."
Papal assailant Agca released from prison
The man who tried to kill Pope John Paul II was released Jan. 18 from a Turkish prison. Mehmet Ali Agca, 52, was taken from prison to a military hospital to be assessed for compulsory military service.
Agca, who had links to a Turkish ultra-nationalist group, shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981. He was apprehended immediately, tried in an Italian court and sentenced to life in prison. Agca at first said he had acted alone. He later claimed the Soviet KGB and Bulgarian agents were involved in the papal shooting, but his alleged accomplices were acquitted in a second trial in 1986.
Pope John Paul forgave his assailant, and in 1983 he visited Agca in a Rome prison cell.
Environmental destruction due to selfishness - pope
War, hunger, oppression, environmental degradation and the current global financial crisis are all the result of selfishness and a lack of respect for the human person created in God's image, Pope Benedict told diplomats from around the world. "If we wish to build true peace, how can we separate or even set at odds the protection of the environment and the protection of human life, including the life of the unborn?" the pope asked ambassadors from the 178 countries that have diplomatic relations with the Vatican. In his Jan. 11 speech, the pope highlighted his hopes and concerns regarding the state of the environment, ongoing wars and violence, military spending and the arms trade, restrictions on religious freedom and attacks on the unborn and on the traditional family. Much of his talk focused on the environment, echoing his message for World Peace Day Jan. 1. The pope told the diplomats that a "self-centred and materialistic way of thinking," which ignores the fact that human beings are creatures and not gods, triggered the current global economic crisis and is also the attitude behind the devastation of the environment. "The denial of God distorts the freedom of the human person, yet it also devastates creation," he said.
Real men pray rosary, says Texas Catholic
Throughout his childhood, David Calvillo's mother urged him to pray the rosary but he admits the recommendation went in one ear and out the other. "I thought the rosary was for old ladies and funerals," Calvillo said. His mindset began to change when he attended a retreat at the Benedictine Sisters of the Good Shepherd Monastery outside of Rio Grande. Going to the retreat proved to be a life-changing experience.
"As we were praying the rosary at the retreat, I saw something that I had never seen before," Calvillo said. "I felt this incredible connection." Over time, through his research, prayer, retreats and fellowship with other men of faith, he developed a deep appreciation for the rosary.
He was finally sold on the notion that the rosary was indeed a prayer for men. After exploring ways to promote the rosary, Calvillo formed an apostolate called Real Men Pray the Rosary. The apostolate encourages praying the rosary in several ways: through education via a variety of channels, by physically making rosaries during rosary-tying events and finally, by distributing the rosaries.
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