By OSV Editorial Board - OSV Newsweekly, 5/20/2012
U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, right, holds the hand of blind activist Chen Guangcheng as they talk in Beijing May 2. CNS photo
A blind, 40-year-old man under house arrest for the last two years seems an unlikely candidate to draw the eyes of the world — and most importantly, of two of its largest and most powerful countries — to serious violations of women’s rights in China, specifically to the practice of government-coerced sterilizations and abortions.
Yet on the eve last month of a major U.S.-China summit, Chen Guangcheng, a peasant and self-taught lawyer, managed to slip out of the grasp of his security detail in the middle of the night and into the safety of the American embassy in Beijing. Despite a blackout on news of the escape by Chinese media censors, his flight reportedly “electrified” Chinese human rights activists — and provoked a very sticky diplomatic incident that neither Secretary of State Hillary Clinton nor her Chinese counterparts were expecting or looking to engage. more
Good morals, academic excellence expected of youths in rough neighborhood
By Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller - OSV Newsweekly, 5/20/2012
St. Peter Claver students with Barry Williams (left), head coach and teacher Earl Brown (center) and assistant coach Robert Johnson (right). Courtesy photo
In a Cincinnati, Ohio, neighborhood that in 2006 had the highest crime rate in the city, 20 boys, grades K to 8, start their school days reciting prayers in Latin. There are crucifixes in the classrooms and the students study the classics and subjects taught in challenging ways.
Barry Williams, headmaster at St. Peter Claver Latin School For Boys, is proud of them.
“Our students are bright and hard working,” he said. “And we have parental involvement — we expect it. Parents want their children to be here because they want them to have a chance. They don’t want their boys to fall prey to what they see in the neighborhoods.” more
The Church calls on women to care for the world — and all that is within it — with a mother’s love
By Emily Stimpson - OSV Newsweekly, 5/20/2012
In all the recent chatter about the Catholic Church and women, it’s hard not to think that somewhere, somehow, wires are getting crossed.
Much of the secular media and more than a few politicians have one idea about what the Church teaches: Women are an inferior sex, not to be trusted with much beyond the domestic sphere.
Women are called to appreciate and cultivate beauty. Shutterstock photo
Plenty of Catholics also have bought into some false ideas of what the Church thinks about women, believing (some with approval, some with opprobrium) that all members of the fairer sex are called to become plasticized versions of St. Thérèse of Lisieux or the Virgin Mary, cookie-cutter caricatures of consecrated virgins and holy wives.
All of which couldn’t be further from the truth.
So, what does the Catholic Church teach about women? more
awsuit against diocese over in vitro fertilization puts humble, responsible priest under scrutiny
By Msgr. Owen F. Campion - OSV Newsweekly, 5/20/2012
Being at Our Sunday Visitor, with its national and international contacts within the Church, provides a perspective for saying that St. Vincent de Paul’s parish in Fort Wayne, Ind., is one of the best examples of what a Catholic parochial community should be.
Many reasons support this statement, such as the spiritual vitality of the parishioners — more than 10,000 of them on record — the rich Catholicity and dignity of its edifying liturgies, and its energetic programs, not the least of which is its school, enrolling 770 students. more
Truly Catholic novels about truth and pilgrimage are hard to come by, but a new book fills the bill
By Robert P. Lockwood - OSV Newsweekly, 5/20/2012
I guess it is me, but I will often recommend a novel that begins with someone “talking to Ralph on the big phone.” It seems a sure sign that this might be a Catholic novel.
To delicately translate “talking to Ralph on the big phone”: It was a college euphemism in my day. It meant getting sick to one’s stomach.
Bill Dodds’ latest book begins with his anti-hero, Saul McNeil, stopped in traffic when he suddenly leans out the car door to talk to Ralph on the big phone. He’s videoed in all his glory by passing teens who post the display on the Internet where it goes viral. So to speak. And we’re off. more
Program offers support, guidance as older women play larger role in helping care for grandchildren
By Russell Shaw - OSV Newsweekly, 5/20/2012
Dr. Liliana Alessandri with one of her grandchildren. Courtesy photo
“A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.” The saying’s source is unknown, but the sentiment it expresses is pretty nearly universal.
But although that’s always been so, grandmothering today may be more important than ever. Since 1978, grandparents have even had their own official “day,” observed annually on the first Sunday after Labor Day. And lately a rash of new publications, websites and groups has sprung up with the aim of celebrating and assisting grandparents. more
Scripture makes clear he had a basic — though flawed — understanding of Jesus’ divinity and plan
By Msgr. Charles Pope - OSV Newsweekly, 5/20/2012
Question: Did Satan know Jesus was God, or was he just tempting his human nature to fail?
—Ann, city withheld
Answer: It would seem that Satan and other evil spirits did know Jesus was God, at least in some general way. Scripture reports: Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God” (Mk 3:11). Another time a demon cried out: “I know who you are — the Holy One of God!” (Mk 1:24). more
Reactions to Vatican’s call for reform of LCWR ranges from ‘stunned’ to ‘it’s about time’
By OSV staff - OSV Newsweekly, 5/20/2012
The Vatican’s April 18 announcement of a reform to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious prompted strong reactions from secular and religious media alike.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s call for renewal of the organization came after a doctrinal assessment of the group, which says it represents about 80 percent of the women religious in the United States. The assessment found “serious doctrinal problems which affect many in consecrated life,” including addresses at LCWR conferences that dissent from Church teaching.
Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle was named archbishop delegate for the renewal initiative, while Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, who conducted the assessment, and Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., were named to assist in reform. more
New biography looks past the pious tales and misconceptions to reveal a complex man who was obedient to God’s will
By Woodeene Koenig-Bricker - OSV Newsweekly, 5/20/2012
“Francis of Assisi” was released in April. Cornell University Press
Of all the saints of the Church, St. Francis of Assisi is one of the most famous and most beloved. He has been adopted, or perhaps appropriated is a better word, by everyone from radical feminists, environmentalists, reformers and animal lovers to secularists, traditionalists and more. He has had words put into his mouth that he never spoke (see sidebar on “Prayer of St. Francis”) and had his own words ignored. Characterized as the “holy hippie,” he has inspired millions for nearly 800 years.
“Francis of the received tradition is a happy troubadour of God,” said Dominican Father Augustine Thompson, author of a new biography titled “Francis of Assisi” (Cornell University Press, $29.95). “That’s the popular image and it’s not made up. He loved to sing in bad French and play his air violin, but the Francis I came to know experienced the deep darkness as well.” more
Through the Ascension, Christ has opened the way for man to be united with him eternally in glory
By Carl E. Olson - OSV Newsweekly, 5/20/2012
“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?”
That question, uttered by the two angels to the disciples, is easily read over quickly or even misunderstood. The natural reaction, I think, is to conclude the angels were simply saying, “Look: Jesus is gone. There’s nothing more here to see. Go your way.” The impression is that Jesus, in ascending into heaven, had not only departed but created some sort of distance between himself and his disciples. We might even conclude that the disciples were sorrowful or confused, wondering, “What next?” But such conclusions are quite contrary to the real nature of the Ascension. more
It is Catholic college graduation season again, and with it the return of the controversies over the choice of commencement speakers on some campuses.
Despite the fact that Catholic-identity-watchdog organization Cardinal Newman Society reports that “recent years have seen a marked decline in Catholic college commencement scandals: from 24 colleges in 2006 to 14 last year,” several in particular have been in the news. more
If you’re female and Catholic, it’s been an interesting few months.
Ever since President Barack Obama’s administration announced its decision to require religious employers to provide coverage of contraceptives, abortifacient drugs and sterilization procedures (and the Church announced its unequivocal opposition to said mandate), the airwaves and Internet have been populated by pundits and politicians galore, all claiming to speak for Catholic women. more
May 5 will be a very big day for Our Sunday Visitor, and we have an official proclamation to prove it! It was exactly 100 years ago that a young priest named Father John Francis Noll (later Archbishop Noll of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind.) published the first edition of Our Sunday Visitor, with an issue date of May 5, 1912. To celebrate our centennial, OSV has many events planned throughout the year (see them all at our special OSV Anniversary Page), beginning with a May 5 open house at our Huntington, Ind., headquarters. From 1-3 p.m., visitors can tour the facility, meet staff members and enjoy refreshments. more
Learn about OSV history … the life of our founder, Abp. John F. Noll … and the history of the Church in America. Pictures & more on this new Abp. Noll Facebook fan page in honor of our 100th anniversary at www.facebook.com/AbpJohnFNoll.
The May 13 issue of OSV Newsweekly features an In Focus section with resources & articles about Faith formation resources available for Catholics with disabilities … Motherly wisdom from Mother Teresa … Legal aid for Catholics … Charles Colson & Catholic/evangelical dialog … Pope Benedict & the environment … much more:
It is bewildering, frankly, that so many Catholic Americans urge retaining the use of capital punishment in our own legal system regardless of anything the Church says, all the while they condemn other Catholics for a “cafeteria” approach to Church doctrine, and all the while refusing even to study the reasoning that prompts the Church’s current teaching in this regard.
In short, give human life the benefit of the doubt. Follow the Gospel. Capital punishment halts crime? Prove it.
”—Msgr. Owen Campion of Our Sunday Visitor on Catholic opposition to capital punishment (via uscatholic)
When it comes to money, we don’t want to talk about it. Most of us do not like to ask or to give. Yet, as true followers of Christ, we must be willing to do both. We must know how to ask for support, like the 72 disciples who were sent out into the villages. We must know how to give support like the Good Samaritan or the Poor Widow.
For true disciples of Jesus, asking and giving become a part of our spirituality. We live out our faith through our asking and our giving. We place our trust in Jesus and follow His commands.
• “Ask, and you will receive” (Lk 11:9).
• “Give, and gifts will be given to you: a good measure, packed together, shaken down and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you” (Lk 6:38).
Through the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Our Lord showed us how to ask and to give. In every one of the six Gospel versions of this story, Jesus first asks someone to give to Him whatever they have before He blesses, multiplies and distributes the abundance of loaves and fishes to others. Only when someone steps forward with total trust to give some seemingly insignificant amount does Jesus act. He asks for investment and contribution from others before He performs great miracles. If we expect abundance in our parishes, we, too, must learn how to do the same.Read more
By Father Francis Hoffman - The Catholic Answer, 5/1/2012
One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, “May I attend the wedding?” And the answer is, “Yes, if it’s a real marriage.”
In the wake of the breakdown of marriage and family life in the United States since the advent of the pill and no-fault divorce over 40 years ago, many Catholics today face bewildering choices when they are invited to weddings. On the one hand, they want to show their support for family and friends, but on the other they want to be faithful to Christ and His teachings on marriage. Sometimes, the two seem to come in conflict and difficult choices must be made. However, if we are faithful to Christ, this will always benefit our loved ones. We are called to “love the sinner, but hate the sin.” Read more.
This post by Jesuit Father James Martin is too good, too funny, and too on target not to share. Unfortunately there’s more than a fair bit of truth here. No matter what side of the liberal-conservative divide we fall on, it’s likely we’ll hear a bit of ourselves somewhere in the fictitious exchange. Read more
A premature baby was declared dead at birth when she had no vital signs and was put into the refrigerated morgue. Ten hours later, when her mother insisted on seeing her baby one more time, the coffin lid was pried off and the 1 pound 12 ounce girl was found alive. The mother and father named their baby Luz Milagro, which means “light miracle.” Doctors and workers at the hospital can’t explain the turn of events. Check out the video.
On his 85th birthday April 16 and, three days later, the seventh anniversary of his election to the throne of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI apparently remains for many people still something of an enigma even after so many years. A small but telling incident shortly before Easter may hold a key to understanding this unusual man.
In case you missed it, here’s what happened. Read more
If you’ve often thought you’d like a chance to jump into the media fray and defend the Church against attack, now’s your chance to do something about it. A new initiative is under way to find Catholics, age 45 and under, who are willing to be trained to speak “compellingly” about their Catholic faith in the public square.
If you want more info, here’s a post from Kathryn Jean Lopez over at her blog, K-Lo @ Large:
Encouraging a virtuous attitude on campus
Through retreats, programs and laughter, schools help students reflect on how to live as a Christian
By Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller - OSV Newsweekly, 4/22/2012
From comedians to serious speakers, to prayer services and community projects, campus ministries at Catholic colleges and universities are using many ways to encourage students to live virtuous Christian lives. Here are some of the programs. Read more
Many Catholic politicians in Europe, too, ignore Church teaching. But how did they get in office?
By Msgr. Owen F. Campion - OSV Newsweekly, 4/22/2012
We do not talk about it enough, but it is happening all over the world. It is legalized same-sex marriage, and the map of Western Europe is interesting — and dismaying — for Catholics.
Iceland, Norway and Sweden allow two people of the same gender to marry under the law. It is no surprise. The Scandinavian states have been socially liberal in the extreme for years. Marriage in the conventional sense, between one man and one woman, is fading away. Catholic before the Reformation, these countries became almost universally Lutheran, by now they are almost totally secularist and even agnostic.Read more
Through HHS mandate and recent court ruling, it’s clear that Church foes want it out of public arena
By Robert P. Lockwood - OSV Newsweekly, 4/22/2012
The song is called “For What It’s Worth,” the Buffalo Springfield hit from 1967 that’s a regular play on oldies stations. An ode to creeping paranoia, it begins ominously:
“There’s something happening here\What it is ain’t exactly clear.”
It began awhile back when a few local Catholic Charities started to get bounced from community social services because they didn’t provide insurance benefits to gay partners of those that might work for them.
Then Catholic social service agencies started to get blackballed from adoption services because of their beliefs about the sacrament of marriage.
The list kept growing: Contracts canceled, doors closed. And always aimed very specifically at the Catholic Church and its myriad social services. Read more
It was made for a pittance and opened in less than 400 theaters its first weekend, but the pro-life film “October Baby” is making some in the abortion establishment very nervous.
'October Baby' CNS
The movie, about a 19-year-old woman who goes on a journey to find her biological mother after discovering she was born after a failed abortion, has been a box-office success, debuting at No. 8 the weekend of March 23 and expanding to 190 new theaters April 13. “October Baby’s” co-writers and co-directors, brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin, have pledged to donate 10 percent of the proceeds to crisis pregnancy centers, as well as adoption agencies.
According to The New York Times in an April 4 story, that success does not please NARAL Pro-Choice America, whose spokesman said that the group was “concerned that some proceeds from this film could be going to organizations that may intentionally mislead women about their health-care options.” Read more
Everybody knows the Church is opposed to homosexual acts. But what about its urging of support for homosexual Catholics?
By Melinda Selmys - OSV Newsweekly, 4/22/2012
There are two sides to the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Everyone is familiar with the prohibition of same-sex sexual relationships. But there is often less discussion of the teaching on the dignity of homosexual persons and the responsibility of Christians to oppose violence and unjust discrimination against them.
“The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes. “They do not choose their homosexual condition. … They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.” The Vatican’s document “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons” expands on this point: “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.” Read more
By Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller - OSV Newsweekly, 4/22/2012
Acacia Houck, Debra Iwaniec, Trooper Kenton Iwaniec, Ken Iwaniec and Ashley Iwaniec at Kenton’s state police graduation. Photo courtesy of Acacia Houck
On March 27, 2008, Pennsylvania State Trooper Kenton Iwaniec finished his shift at the Avondale Barracks in southeast Pennsylvania and headed home. His car was hit head on at 10:15 p.m. when another vehicle with no lights on crossed the center line, traveling 73 mph in a 45 mph zone.
The driver’s blood-alcohol level was four times the legal limit and there were illegal drugs in her system. Investigating officers found a bottle of vodka in the back seat of her car, and also her 4-year-old son, unharmed and buckled into a child safety seat.
The woman sustained a broken ankle but Trooper Iwaniec’s multiple injuries were so severe that he died in surgery shortly after midnight, March 28, before his family came from Ligonier on the other side of the state. He was 24.Read more
When the citizens of France vote for a president April 22, it will follow a hard-fought campaign widely seen as crucial to their future. The Catholic Church has made efforts to guide members through the moral issues, in a country where church and state are strictly separated under the guiding principle of laïcité. It remains to be seen how much its voice has been heeded.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy greets Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois in a meeting with religious leaders at the Elysee Palace in January. CNS photo from Reuters
“The Church has maintained a neutral distance from the parties and respected the plurality of Catholic votes,” said Dominique Greiner, religion editor at France’s Catholic La Croix daily. “But while the main candidates have viciously attacked each other, there’s been little real response to the problems ordinary people face. In this sense, the whole election campaign has done a disservice to our political culture.”
France’s incumbent center-right president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is seeking a second term after five years in power, and is trailing behind his Socialist challenger, Francois Hollande, after failing to boost support for his party, the Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP. Read more
Inside the walls of Rhode Island’s Adult Correctional Institutions, Martha Paone sees herself as a beacon of hope and a calming presence to those who are imprisoned.
Chaplain Dale Recinella talks to an inmate at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Fla., in this 2011 photo. Catholics make up 13 percent of prison chaplains, according to the study. CNS
As a full-time chaplain, Paone is entrusted with tending to the spiritual needs of inmates at the state’s maximum security prison and the intake service center, which houses prisoners awaiting trial. Though she is a Catholic, Paone serves inmates of all faith backgrounds; scheduling worship services, coordinating volunteer-led activities such as Bible studies and offering pastoral care.
“We are here to plant seeds, to provide support,” Paone told Our Sunday Visitor.
“We provide them a place where they can share with someone who is nonjudgmental about the difficulties and problems they are experiencing,” she said. “We offer encouragement, reminding them of God’s love and understanding.”
By OSV Editorial Board - OSV Newsweekly, 4/22/2012
A depressing column by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni titled “The Bleaker Sex” explored the debasement of women, the corrosive impact of pornography and the dismal state of sexuality among the young and the hip. Bruni is no prude: He’s a gay ex-Catholic with his share of anger directed at the Church. Yet he seemed genuinely nonplussed by the erosion of intimacy and the cynicism of the 20-somethings he was writing about. read more
Last year, 122 women and men professed perpetual vows as religious in the United States. The U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University to conduct a survey of the newly professed to gather information about their backgrounds and religious upbringing and experience. The results were released by the U.S. bishops’ conference in April, and hold some interesting facts. Read more.
By Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller - OSV Newsweekly, 4/22/2012
Roberta Reifsnyder wanted to go to college to become a nurse, then get married and have eight children. Plans changed when her faith was challenged by students who didn’t share her Catholic beliefs, and she started to realize that “something was missing.”
Halfway through Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa., she felt a call to vocation, but knew that she couldn’t enter a community with student loans hanging over her head.
“I wondered what I could do, how I could finish college and not have any debt,” she said. “My concern was in losing the vocation.”
Reifsnyder, 23, is a second-year postulant with the Sisters of Christian Charity in Mendham, N.J. She also is a school nurse, a job that she needs to help her pay off nearly $80,000 in student loans. Read more