Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
February 15, 2010
World News in Brief
Religious orders are in modern 'crisis' - cardinal
A top Vatican official said religious orders today are in a "crisis" caused in part by the adoption of a secularist mentality and the abandonment of traditional practices.
Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said the problems go deeper than the drastic drop in the numbers of religious men and women.
"The crisis experienced by certain religious communities, especially in Western Europe and North America, reflects the more profound crisis of European and American society. All this has dried up the sources that for centuries have nourished consecrated and missionary life in the Church," Rode said in a talk delivered Feb. 3 in Naples, Italy.
"The secularized culture has penetrated into the minds and hearts of some consecrated persons and some communities, where it is seen as an opening to modernity and a way of approaching the contemporary world," he said.
Rode said the decline in the numbers of men and women religious became precipitous after the Second Vatican Council, which he described as a period "rich in experimentation but poor in robust and convincing mission."
Haiti must build a society based on justice - bishop
The tragic destruction of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas is an opportunity for Haiti and the world to rebuild a nation free from poverty and prejudice and based on justice and compassion, said the president of Caritas Haiti. "If one world has crumbled, there is a new world to be built" that is based on compassion and solidarity, Bishop Pierre Andre Dumas of Anse-a-Veau et Miragoane said in a Feb. 3 talk in Rome. "The best needs to come out of this and not a return to how things were before." Reconstruction cannot follow the old ways of doing things in which the country is abandoned, people live in slums, and "we pretend that they are not our concern," Dumas said.
Eliminate nuclear weapons threat, bishop urges
The path to the elimination of nuclear weapons will be "long and treacherous," but humanity "must walk this path with both care and courage in order to build a future free of the nuclear threat," Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O'Brien said. Speaking Feb. 3 to 200 international leaders at the Global Zero Summit in Paris, O'Brien cited the Second Vatican Council's condemnation of "total war" and the council fathers' skepticism of "deterrence" as a way to lasting peace. "Every nuclear weapons system and every nuclear weapons policy should be judged by the ultimate goal of protecting human life and dignity," O'Brien said. The world must get rid of those weapons "in mutually verifiable ways," he said. O'Brien served for a decade as head of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.
Catholic teaching is not a list of 'no's' - pope
The Catholic Church has a positive vision of human life, marriage and family which must not be presented as a list of things the Church opposes, Pope Benedict told the bishops of Scotland. The Church has a "positive and inspiring vision of human life, the beauty of marriage and the joy of parenthood," he said. "Be sure to present this teaching in such a way that it is recognized for the message of hope that it is," he told the bishops Feb. 5. Too often, he said, "the Church's doctrine is perceived as a series of prohibitions and retrograde positions, whereas the reality, as we know, is that it is creative and life-giving."
Learn from early Christians, says Austrian cardinal
Europe has forgotten its Christian roots and is now "the least religious continent in the world," Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, Austria, told a Washington audience Feb. 3. The real question facing Europe, Schonborn said, is whether Christianity is "something that allowed Europe to become what it is or something that Europe had to emancipate itself from."
Proponents of the latter view human freedom not as a gift from God but as something that must be won through "a bitter struggle against the Church," he said. Christians today must become like those in the early Church who "were conscious that they were a minority and that they had no political means to change the society," he said.
But by living within society and choosing not to do certain things that were common in Roman times - like abortion or polygamy - they were able to "show the difference (of their beliefs) and change the society little by little," he said in a lecture at The Catholic University of America.
Archbishop Sheen available online
Archbishop Fulton Sheen is back on television, 30 years after his death. Excerpts from his Emmy Award-winning television program, Life Is Worth Living, began airing in January on CatholicTV, a national U.S. television network streaming a live feed 24 hours a day at www.CatholicTV.com. Life Is Worth Living originally was broadcast from 1951 to 1957, attracting 30 million weekly viewers. Among the topics touched on by Sheen were gloom and laughter, patriotism in America, the true meaning of caring, communism and angels. CatholicTV's "Fulton Sheen" programs airs at 8:30 a.m. Mondays, 1:30 a.m. Tuesdays and 10:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. Fridays (MT). Sheen's cause for canonization was formally opened by the Vatican in 2003.
WYD 2011 launches official website
Organizers of the 2011 World Youth Day celebration in Spain launched an English-language Web page offering registration information, schedules and social networks to help spread word about the event. The website, www.madridwyd2011.com, was created by and for young people. It counts down to the Aug. 16-21, 2011, World Youth Day international gathering in Madrid. The website introduces multimedia resources including videos, audio, and social networking tools that allow young people from all over the world to stay connected and updated via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Members and fans are encouraged to post pictures, video clips and comments, and to share experiences from past World Youth Day celebrations. The site also offers a detailed schedule of the 2011 World Youth Day week including events with Pope Benedict, religious activities, catechesis sessions and cultural programs.
El Salvador bishops support Romero's canonization
As the 30th anniversary of the murder of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero approaches, El Salvador's bishops have agreed to write a letter to the Vatican supporting Romero's canonization. "As Church, it is our great desire that Archbishop Romero be canonized as soon as possible," San Salvador Archbishop Jose Escobar Alas told reporters Feb. 7.
Escobar said the bishops had agreed to form a commission to write a letter "that would help in the process of canonization." Romero was gunned down while celebrating Mass March 24, 1980, shortly after a radio broadcast in which he urged Salvadoran soldiers to stop turning their weapons on civilians in El Salvador's civil war.
Kasper floats idea for ecumenical catechism
A Vatican official has floated the idea of a shared "ecumenical catechism" as one of the potential fruits of 40 years of dialogue among Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and members of the Reformed churches. "We have affirmed our common foundation in Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity as expressed in our common creed and in the doctrine of the first ecumenical councils," Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican's chief ecumenical officer, told representatives of the churches.
Opening a three-day symposium at the Vatican to brainstorm on the future of ecumenism, Kasper said the members of his council "proposed an ecumenical catechism that would be written in consultation with our partners," but "we do not yet have any idea how such a catechism could be structured and written." He also called for "a people-centred ecumenism" that would support and give new energy to the theological dialogues.
An interior view of the destroyed Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption is seen in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 6. The cathedral was built between 1884 and 1914 and was destroyed in the Jan. 12 earthquake.
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