Articles are reproduced with thanks from the Archdiocesan website, unless otherwise stated.

 

11 May 2010

On April 29 the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its annual report. Along with an overview of the violation of human rights in many countries when it comes to freedom of worship the report also contained the 2010 recommendations about the nations the commission thinks should be named as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs.

USCIRF, which is an independent government commission, urged that 13 nations - Burma, China, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam -- be named CPCs.

Furthermore, USCIRF announced that the following countries are on the 2010 USCIRF Watch List: Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Venezuela. These are states that require close monitoring due to violations of religious freedom.

The report also expressed clear dissatisfaction with the U.S. government. In his presentation of the report the commission’s chair, Leonard Leo, said that: “The report’s conclusion is clear -- our government must do more.”

According to Leo, “U.S. foreign policy on religious freedom is missing the mark.” He singled out for criticism the fact that so far no Ambassador-at-Large on International Religious Freedom has been named, over a year after the new administration took power.

In an even more pointed critique Leo commented that after some strong language on religious freedom used by President Obama in his Cairo speech, “presidential references to religious freedom have become rare.”

“The same holds true for many of Secretary of State Clinton’s speeches,” Leo added.

1 May 2010

The following is a translation of a communiqué released 1 May by Pope Benedict XVI regarding meetings held Friday and Saturday with the visitors of the Legion of Christ.

* * *

1. On 30 April and 1 May, the Cardinal Secretary of State chaired a meeting at the Vatican with the five bishops in charge of the apostolic visitation of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ (Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain; Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput, OFM Cap., of Denver; Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, SDB, of Concepción, Chile; Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi of Alexandria, Italy; and Bishop Ricardo Watty Urquidi, MSpS, of Tepic, Mexico).It was attended by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the substitute of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

The Holy Father was present at one of the sessions, at which the visitors presented a summary of their reports, which had already been sent in.

During the visitation, more than 1,000 Legionaries were interviewed, and hundreds of written testimonies were sifted through. The visitors went to almost all the religious houses and many of the apostolic works directed by the congregation. They have heard, orally or in writing, the opinion of many diocesan bishops of the countries in which the congregation is at work. The visitors also met many members of the Regnum Christi Movement — although it was not the subject of the visitation — especially consecrated men and women. They have also received a great amount of correspondence from laypeople and family members of those involved in the Movement.

The five visitors have told of the sincere welcome which they were given and of the constructive spirit of cooperation shown by the congregation and the individual religious. Even though each of them acted independently, they have come to substantial agreement in their assessment and to a common opinion. They testify to having met a great number of exemplary religious who are honest and talented, many of them young, who seek Christ with genuine zeal and are offering their entire lives to spread the Kingdom of God.

2. The apostolic visit has been able to ascertain that the behavior of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado has had serious consequences for the life and structure of the Legion, such as to require a process of in-depth revision.

The very serious and objectively immoral behavior of Father Maciel, as incontrovertible evidence has confirmed, sometimes resulted in actual crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious sentiment. The great majority of Legionaries were unaware of this life, above all because of the system of relationships built by Father Maciel, who had skillfully managed to build up alibis, to gain the trust, the confidence and the silence of those around him, and to strengthen his role as a charismatic founder.

Not infrequently, the lamentable discrediting and dismissal of whoever doubted his behavior was upright, as well as the misguided conviction of those who did not want to harm the good that the Legion was doing, created around him a defense mechanism that made him untouchable for a long time, making it very difficult to know his real life.

Monday 22 February 2010

In the lead-up to St. Valentine’s day, both the bishops of the United States and those of England and Wales organized a week of activities to draw attention to the importance of marriage and family life.

This period also saw the publication of two briefings on marriage by an English think tank, the Relationships Foundation. On 9 February they published “Counting the Cost of Family Failure,” and the following day “Why Does Marriage Matter?”

In the first briefing the foundation put at 41.7 billion pounds ($64.49 billion) the annual cost of failed relationships. This works out at 1,350 pounds ($2,088) for each U.K. taxpayer. Public policymakers need to take into account this high economic burden and take appropriate steps to ensure more stable relationships, the briefing urged.

“It is an unpopular truth that choices have consequences and costs, and that these are not always borne by the choice-maker,” the briefing commented.

The foundation also pointed out that functioning families are key to social life and in transmitting skills. The briefing put at 73 billion pounds ($112 billion) a year the amount contributed by families through their support of family members and the social care they provide.

The briefing observed that family breakdown imposes costs that are not merely financial. It referred to studies showing a greater incidence of health problems among divorced adults and their children.

In addition, the emotional traumas, loneliness and fractured relationships have an impact that is far from negligible. Children’s education also suffers as a divorced parent has less time to assist with homework and to encourage learning.

By the Editors of NCR - National Catholic Register (considered by many to be a "centre-left" American magazine on Catholic affairs)

April 26-May 2, 2009 Issue


With same-sex "marriage" becoming an issue in more and more states, it's more important than ever that we know how to articulate why marriage is only possible between a man and a woman.

Public relations matter. It's true that Christians are often called on to be the conscience of a nation. We must, in the words of Dorothy Day, "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

But to win the argument about homosexual "marriage," we can't simply be right. We have to be right, and be persuasive.

That means speaking our message not in the way that makes us feel most comfortable, but in the way that makes others most comfortable agreeing with what they know to be true.

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