Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 22, 2010
World News in Brief
Rebellion can be step to mature relationship with God
Youthful rebellion against God can be dangerous, but it also can be a sign that a person is maturing and needs to find God for himself or herself, Pope Benedict said.
Speaking about the parable of the prodigal son during his Angelus address March 14, the pope said the stages in the relationship between the father and his two sons in the story reflect the stages in many people's relationship with God.
"There can be a phase which is like childhood: a religion moved by need, by dependence," he said. "Little by little one grows and emancipates himself, wanting to liberate himself from submission and become free, an adult, able to act on his own and make his own decisions autonomously, also thinking he can do without God."
"This phase is delicate," he said, because it can lead to a total loss of faith, "but often this phase hides the need to discover the true face of God."
Fortunately, the pope said, God never withdraws his love and concern for each individual and God is always ready to forgive those who want to return to him.
In the Gospel story, the older son's relationship with his father also is immature, the pope said. While the younger son is rebellious, the older is a hypocrite and cannot share his father's joy when his little brother returns, Pope Benedict said.
"Both of these are overcome through the experience of mercy," he said.
"Let us throw ourselves into God's arms and allow ourselves to be rejuvenated by his merciful love," the pope said.
New iPhone applications devised for Catholics
In a world that boasts continual technological change, the iPhone by Apple has gained near-iconic status. Some clever Catholics have devised apps to bolster people's faith. Dave Brown of Bend, Ore., invented a virtual rosary-beads app as a sign of thanksgiving after doctors found a successful bone-marrow match for his kindergarten-age daughter in 2008, curing her of her leukemia. Brown and his wife, Jackie, prayed the rosary frequently through their daughter's treatment, even though one parent was in Bend keeping the home fires burning while the other stayed with the desperately ill girl in Portland. How? With iPhones that Dave Brown bought so they could talk and send photos and video. Dave Brown used his know-how to design an iPhone app that allows the user to pray the rosary. The small screen has animated beads that can be moved with a touch. Brown said that within a year of its introduction, more than 20,000 sales of the app had been recorded at 99 cents apiece. In California, Divine Word Father Michael Manning will use an iPhone app to deliver daily inspirational video messages beginning in April.
Honesty essential in facing abuse crisis - Australian
Love, honesty and devotion to Christ are essential for facing the crisis in the Church and in the priesthood caused by cases of clerical sexual abuse, an Australian archbishop said. Since the 1990s, when the scandal first broke, "everyone has learned that several points are crucial: care for the victims, following the law, dealing effectively and decisively with perpetrators, making sure we have proper procedures in place to safeguard children and backing up what we believe with our actions," said Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide. "We must be humble and accept the pain of the present moment as the horrible realities are revealed," he said March 11.
Genetically modified organisms spur caution
Genetically modified food crops could be used as "weapons of infliction of hunger and poverty" if they are managed unjustly, said the new head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Cardinal Peter Turkson told Catholic News Service March 9 that he would urge an attitude of caution and further study of the possible negative effects of genetically engineered organisms. Agribusinesses and biotech industries that produce genetically modified organisms are justified in wanting to recoup the expenses laid out for research and development, and they have a right to want to make a profit from their work, said Turkson. But the issue becomes problematic when a company that controls the use of genetically modified seeds and crops is motivated more by profit than by "the declared desire to want to help feed humanity," he said. There are also doubts about the efficacy and long-term effects of genetically engineered crops, he said.
Priests should promote Confession, pope says
Priests today are challenged with the task of drawing the faithful back to Confession and assuring them that their true repentance will be met with mercy and compassion, Pope Benedict said. In an address to several hundred young priests, Pope Benedict said March 11 that "we must return to the confessional" not only as a place to confess sins and receive absolution, but also as a place where "the faithful can find mercy, counsel and comfort, feel loved and understood by God." Priests are called on to educate their flocks in the "radical requirements of the Gospel" and help them resist "the mentality of this world" and make choices that take courage and are sometimes unpopular, the pope told the group. The times are difficult, he said, and marked by "a hedonistic and relativistic mentality that cancels God from peoples' lives."
God renews, does not reinvent Church, pope says
The Second Vatican Council's renewal of the Catholic Church was a sign of progress, not a sign of repudiating the past, Pope Benedict said. "We know that after the Second Vatican Council some people were convinced that everything was new, that there was a new Church, that the pre-conciliar Church was finished and that we would have a completely different Church," the pope said during his general audience March 10. Their vision would have led to "a utopian anarchy," he said, but the wise guidance of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II "defended the new things brought by the council, while affirming the oneness and continuity of the Church."
U.S. traditionalists seek unity with Rome
About 100 traditionalist Anglican parishes in the United States have decided to join the Catholic Church as a group. Meeting in Orlando, Fla., the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America voted to seek entry into the Catholic Church under the guidelines established in Pope Benedict's apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus (Groups of Anglicans), said a March 3 statement. The Anglican Church in America is part of the Traditional Anglican Communion, a group of churches which separated from the worldwide Anglican Communion in 1991. The request means the 100 Anglican Church in America parishes will ask for group reception into the Catholic Church in a "personal ordinariate," a structure similar to dioceses for former Anglicans who become Catholic.
Psalms are great prayers, says priest-songwriter
When Father David Hemann, an Iowa pastor, set out to record his sixth CD, his main goal was to convey what was truly in his heart. After years of reading and praying the Book of Psalms, he was inspired to put some of them to music and came up with his latest compilation, titled Psalms of David. "The psalms are some of the greatest prayers we have," he said. "The psalms encompass a whole range of emotions and human experiences. There is a psalm for every situation. We can even imagine Jesus at the feet of Mary, praying a psalm." Both liturgically and in personal life, the priest stressed, psalms are great prayers of the heart. He hopes those who "prayerfully listen" to his songs will feel "the grace of God" bringing them "peace, healing, love, repentance, joy and most of all, union with God," said Hemann. Information about his CDs is available on his Web site, www.fatherdavid.net.
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