ROME – Following controversial remarks made by Pope Francis last week in regard to the ability of those of other faiths to do good without Christ, and that Christ has redeemed even atheists, a spokesman from the Vatican has written a blog entry clarifying the Pope’s statements.
As previously reported, in speaking to his audience about his desire for unity, Francis discussed a passage from Mark 9:38-40 where Jesus’ disciples were concerned about a man who was casting out demons in the name of Jesus, but was not one of the twelve.
“Jesus said, ‘Forbid him not, for there is no man which shall do a miracle in My name that can lightly speak evil of Me,’” the Scripture reads. “For he that is not against us is on our part.”
“They complain,” Francis stated of today’s followers of Christ, “if he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.”
But he asserted that Jesus corrected his disciples.
“Do not hinder him, He says, let him do good,” Francis said.
He stated that the disciples “were a little intolerant” of others, and believed that “those who do not have the truth cannot do good.”
“This was wrong … Jesus broadens the horizon,” Pope Francis contended. “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation. ”
“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us,” he continued. “‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can — must! Because he has this commandment within him.”
The Pope specifically cited atheists as he began to discuss that redemption is available is for all mankind.
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the blood of Christ. All of us, not just Catholics. Everyone!” he declared. “‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the blood of Christ has redeemed us all!”
However, in a follow-up blog entry called “The Meaning of Salvation According to Pope Francis,” Vatican spokesman Thomas Rosica is now providing a thorough explanation on the beliefs of the Catholic Church, and asks, “How can atheists be saved?”
“Pope Francis has no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation through his homily or scriptural reflection,’” Rusica wrote. “Always keep in mind the audience and context of Pope Francis’ daily homilies. … He is speaking to other Catholics and religious leaders. His knowledge, rooted in deep, Catholic theology and tradition are able to be expressed in a language that everyone can understand and appropriate.”
He then provides text from the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to expound on Roman Catholic beliefs.
“Christ will judge with the power he has gained as the Redeemer of the world who came to bring salvation to all,” the text outlines. “The secrets of hearts will be brought to light as well as the conduct of each one toward God and toward his neighbor. Everyone, according to how he has lived, will either be filled with life or damned for eternity.”
However, the true Church, the text provided by Rusica insists, is only found in the Catholic Church.
“The one Church of Christ, as a society constituted and organized in the world, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him,” it states. “Only through this Church can one obtain the fullness of the means of salvation since the Lord has entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone whose head is Peter.”
“This means that all salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body. Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her,” it continues.
“At the same time, thanks to Christ and to his Church, those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ and his Church but sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, try to do his will as it is known through the dictates of conscience can attain eternal salvation,” the quoted text adds.
Rusica then notes that the Catholic Church does not subscribe to a universalist worldview.
“Catholics do not adopt the attitude of religious relativism which regards all religions as on the whole equally justifiable, and the confusion and disorder among them as relatively unimportant,” he said. “God truly and effectively wills all people to be saved. Catholics believe that it is only in Jesus Christ that this salvation is conferred, and through Christianity and the one Church that it must be mediated to all people.”
As previously reported, Pope Francis had made similar statements last month, declaring that “[i]t is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church.”
“The Christian identity is not an identity card: Christian identity is belonging to the Church, because all of these belonged to the Church, the Mother Church,” he said. “Because it is not possible to find Jesus outside the Church. The great Paul VI said: ‘Wanting to live with Jesus without the Church, following Jesus outside of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church is an absurd dichotomy.’”
However, many took issue with these assertions.
“So now we are back to ‘extra Ecclesiam nulla salus’ (no salvation outside the Church),” one reader wrote. “How sad and how offensive!”
“Jesus is the head of the body, and the body has many parts, and many of them aren’t even Roman Catholic,” stated another.
“Any true Christian knows the Catholic church is not needed to find, acknowledge and accept Jesus,” a third reader wrote. “May the Lord have mercy on him and all who think and believe like him.”
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A CONTROVERSIAL ad showing a sacramental wafer being dipped into a jar of yeast spread during a Catholic mass has been released online.
The video promotes locally owned AussieMite and finishes with the line “It’s sacrilicious”.
The ad’s creator, Mick Hunter from Sydney agency Grown-Ups, acknowledges the clip aims to cause a stir so “hopefully it will go a bit viral”.
“We’re trying to track down George Pell’s email and send it to him so he can blow it out of proportion,” he said.
“It’s probably a bit sacrilegious to the faithful but they are dwindling in popularity as we speak.”
But the Catholic Church has refused to play a part in stoking the controversy by reacting strongly to the provocation.
“It’s not done with any humour,” Father Brian Lucas, general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said. “It’s been done as a deliberate strategy to cause offence to maximise publicity for a product that has no other means of attracting an audience.”
The clips shows a line of people receiving Communion. A woman uses her wafer to dip into a jar of the black spread and offers a taste to the priest.
AussieMite director Elise Ramsey said the ad had been commissioned to “give us cut-through and shake things up” in the tough competition to win shelf space from Vegemite, owned by American giant Kraft, as well as Dick Smith’s Ozemite.
Ms Ramsey, who said she was Catholic, claimed no offence was intended.
“It’s an ad developed off the new pope being elected,” she said. “We thought it was the topic of the moment. We wanted something that was a bit fun. It’s not in any way meant to be a strike against the Catholic Church. I’m Catholic and I don’t find it offensive. It’s simply meant to be a talking-piece. I hope that Australia finds it funny.”
In trying to explain Pope Francis’s statement about atheists that we blogged about, a Vatican spokesman, Father Thomas Rosica wrote a piece entitled Explanatory Note on the Meaning of ‘Salvation’ in Francis’ Daily Homily of May 22: Reflections on Atheists, Christians, and Who Will Be Saved. He nuanced what the pope said, but he didn’t explain it away, nor did he say, as we did in our discussion, that he was referring to meeting together in the realm of civil righteousness. Rather, Father Rosica explained the sense in which atheists and other non-believers can, in fact, be saved:
4) The great German Jesuit theolgian, Fr. Karl Rahner introduced the idea of “anonymous Christian” into theological reflection. Through this concept, offered to Christians, Rahner said that God desires all people to be saved, and cannot possibly consign all non-Christians to hell. Secondly, Jesus Christ is God’s only means of salvation. This must mean that the non-Christians who end up in heaven must have received the grace of Christ without their realising it. Hence the term – ‘anonymous Christian’.
What is meant by this thesis of the anonymous Christian is also taught in “Lumen Gentium,” the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Vatican II (no.16). According to this document those who have not yet received the gospel and this without any fault of their own are given the possibility of eternal salvation…God ‘in the unknown ways’ of his grace can give the faith without which there is no salvation even to those who have not yet heard the preaching of the gospel
Catholics do not adopt the attitude of religious relativism which regards all religions as on the whole equally justifiable, and the confusion and disorder among them as relatively unimportant. God truly and effectively wills all people to be saved. Catholics believe that it is only in Jesus Christ that this salvation is conferred, and through Christianity and the one Church that it must be mediated to all people.
5) There is always a risk in interreligious dialogue or dialogue with atheists and agnostics today that reduces all discussions to mere politeness and irrelevance. Dialogue does not mean compromise. There can and must be dialogue today: dialogue in genuine freedom and not merely in that ‘toleration’ and co-existence where one puts up with one’s opponent merely because one does not have the power to destroy him. This dialogue must of course be conducted with a loving attitude. The Christian knows that love alone is the highest light of knowledge and that what St Paul says about love must therefore be valid of dialogue.
6) A non-Christian may reject a Christian’s presentation of the gospel of Christ. That however, does not necessarily mean that the person has truly rejected Christ and God. Rejection of Christianity may not mean the rejection of Christ. For if a given individual rejects the Christianity brought to him through the Church’s preaching, even then we are still never in any position to decide whether this rejection as it exists in the concrete signifies a grave fault or an act of faithfulness to one’s own conscience. We can never say with ultimate certainty whether a non-Christian who has rejected Christianity and who, in spite of a certain encounter with Christianity, does not become a Christian, is still following the temporary path mapped out for his own salvation which is leading him to an encounter with God, or whether he has now entered upon the way of perdition.
8) The Scriptures teach that God regards the love shown to a neighbor as love shown to Himself. Therefore the loving relationship between a person and his or her neighbor indicates a loving relationship between that person and God. This is not to say that the non-Christian is able to perform these acts of neighborly love without the help of God. Rather these acts of love are in fact evidence of God’s activity in the person.
9) As Christians, we believe that God is always reaching out to humanity in love. This means that every man or woman, whatever their situation, can be saved. Even non-Christians can respond to this saving action of the Spirit. No person is excluded from salvation simply because of so-called original sin; one can only lose their salvation through serious personal sin of their own account.
Notice how Roman Catholic theology “saves the appearances” (preserves the accepted structures of the past) by preserving the language while giving it a different meaning. Yes, salvation is by Christ. It’s just that Christ can save someone who doesn’t know Him. Yes, salvation is by grace through faith. It’s just that a person can be infused with grace and receive it in faith “without realising it.” Yes, there is no salvation outside of the Church. But a person who does good works and who loves his neighbor can only do that through Christ and so is a member of the Church without knowing it.
This isn’t exactly “universalism.” Not everyone goes to Heaven. Many go to Hell because of their sins. It’s more like “syncretism,” in which all religions can be paths to salvation, with atheism considered another religion.
Thus modern Catholics trump a major stumbling block to Christianity. Though the effect is arguably not to make non-Christians more willing to embrace the faith but to make them stop worrying for not doing so.
Can you see Protestants, even evangelical, doing this? Calvinists could say that God elects people who don’t realize it. Lutherans could do something with the objective universal atonement. Good-works oriented conservative Protestants could apply what the Catholics do. Missing, of course, is the Gospel, the message of the forgiveness of sins. Instead, we see a salvation by good works, rendered as something relatively easy to achieve, something even non-believers can pull off. People who know themselves as sinners are left without hope, having only Hell to look forward to.
LUCENA CITY, Quezon, Philippines – In an unprecedented move, Lucena Bishop Emilio Marquez used the pulpit to enjoin Catholics here not to vote for candidates seeking endorsement from or being backed by the Iglesia ni Cristo.
“Don’t sell your votes. Vote according to the dictate of your conscience. And lastly, huwag ninyong iboto ang mga kandidatong humingi ng endorsement sa Iglesia ni Cristo (don’t vote for candidates asking for endorsement from Iglesia ni Cristo),” said Marquez during the 8 a.m. Sunday Mass he officiated at the Saint Ferdinand Cathedral here.
The prelate made this statement as the Mass was about to end and before he gave his final blessing to parishioners who attended the Mass.
The bishop, interviewed later by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, said the appeal not to vote for INC’s endorsed candidates has been the position adopted by the late Bishop Alfredo Ma. Obviar, the first administrator of the Diocese of Lucena.
“And that’s also my position… huwag iboto ang mga endorsed candidates ng INC,” Marquez told the Inquirer over the phone after the Mass.
The Inquirer tried to get the reaction of the local INC ministers but was told by a sect member that such an issue was being addressed by the sect’s leaders based in Manila.
However, another local INC member, Joey Lipa, said he respected Marquez’s appeal to the Catholic faithful.
“But the question is – will they (Catholic faithful) obey him (Bishop Marquez)?” Lipa said.
He defended the block-voting practice of the INC as obedience to the “pasya” (decision) to their religion’s doctrine.
Quezon has a voting population of around 1.1 million. Around 35,000 to 45,000 belong to the INC, according to estimates by different political parties.
Lipa claimed that the Lucena INC voters are around 5,000 to 7,000. Lucena has a voting population of around 100,000.
The INC, through its Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo, recently issued a circular advising its members not to get involved in any partisan activity or ask any favor from any candidates to avoid confusion in the flock’s electoral moves. The circular, however, reiterated that the “unity vote” would be strictly observed.
Before the start of the Catholic mass at the Saint Ferdinand Cathedral here on Sunday, Bishop Marquez acknowledged the presence of Liberal Party local candidates led by Rep. Irvin Alcala, a candidate for governor against re-electionist Gov. David Suarez (NUP).
Irvin was seated near the altar and accompanied by his cousin, reelectionist Lucena Mayor Rhoderick Alcala and his whole councilor slate.
Marquez even teased Irvin and two candidates for councilor for not having seen them for quite a long time.
According to local INC members here, Irvin, Rhoderick and four candidates for councilor in Alcala’s slate were actually among the local candidates endorsed by the local INC.
During his homily, Marquez repeatedly emphasized that he was not endorsing any candidates.
Marquez said he was not inclined to follow other Catholic bishops who issued their “sample ballots” in their respective dioceses.
“Just vote according to the dictate of your conscience,” he said.
Marquez reminded the faithful and candidates that selling and buying vote would be against the teaching of the church.
“Respect your vote as you respect yourself,” the bishop said.
He also maintained that candidates who asked voters not to cast their vote in exchange for cash would be a form of vote buying.
After the mass, the candidates made themselves busy taking advantage of the last campaigning day by shaking hands of exiting church-goers.
Catholic Church leaders have become actively involved in this year’s election, which was never seen in past political exercises.
Several bishops across the country have been issuing politically loaded statements and church circulars in its campaign against candidates who voted for the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health Law.
Early on the campaign period, Marquez initiated the posting of “Team Buhay” and “Team Patay” tarpaulins on the wall of the cathedral and 36 other churches in central parts of the province under the supervision of the Diocese of Lucena.
But he explained that the tarpaulin message was not meant to be a form of campaigning against any candidate but was just enlightening the faithful that the RH law, being an “insult” to God and to the Catholic doctrine, must be repealed.
“The Lord be with you.”
“And with your spirit.”
We hear this exchange between the celebrant and the congregation at every Mass now. It happens as a matter of course. Hardly anyone thinks a thing about it. It’s just what Catholics do. Fading into the memory of only those who were intensely interested at the time is the odd fact that these words in Catholic Mass have only been spoken by people in the pews for about 18 months.
Before that time, there were grave warnings that these changes would never stick. They would drive people away. Years of debate and discussion preceded the change. There were warnings that this change would end badly. And yet, the change happened, and, today, hardly anyone thinks a thing about it. I would venture a guess that there is no one in my parish who sits and seethes, thinking “we should bring back the old words ‘and also with you’.”
Why is this? Why were the changes that followed the Second Vatican Council accompanied by grave upheaval, factions, drops in Mass attendance, and widespread frenzy wheres the changes adopted just last year have been generally met with widespread acceptance? The experience of the 1960s and 1970s made Catholics generally fearful of changing anything at all. It drove the Catholic world into a paradoxical state of rigid conservatism. But the recent experience of the new Missal illustrates something very important: change can be wonderful provided it is change in the right direction.
It is true that the new Mass was a much more dramatic change. The liturgical traditions of many centuries were thrown out for something radically unfamiliar. Even so, the changes enacted by the new Missal were not trivial. They changed the whole tenor and linguistic/cultural framework of the liturgical language, taking us away from the “dressed down” feel of 1969 to a much more formal and poetic mode of expression, one that departs from the cultural sensibility of our time.
My own theory is this: if the change is directed toward making the liturgy more true to itself, it will be accepted and even embraced. If it goes the opposite direction of making the liturgy less authentic and more decidedly “with the times” it will be met with opposition and rancor.
This principle has governed the changes we’ve made in our own liturgical experience with music at my parish — and our experience parallels that of hundreds of other parishes.
Just like week, our choir sang the entrance antiphon from the Simple English Propers plus one verse. We repeated the antiphon, and, by that time, the procession was over and Mass began. We sang Vidi Aquam for the sprinkling rite. We sang the Gloria in Latin (from Mass XV). The Psalm came from the Parish Book of Psalms. The Offertory antiphon came from a chanted English version from Fr. Samuel Weber. The Sanctus and Agnus were in Latin. The Communion antiphon was the authentic Gregorian, and we sang 4 verses of Psalms with it. We also sang a Latin motet by Victoria and an English motet by Tallis. The recessional hymn was in English and the only hymn that day.
We do some version of this lineup every week in my parish. The resources we are using are mostly newly available. There were no readily accessible and comprehensive book of antiphons and Psalms even available five years ago. Ten years ago, hardly any ordinary form parish sang the authentic communion chant from the Gregorian books. Now this is common all over the English-speaking world and the world generally.
What we did last week and what we will do this week seems completely normal and even predictable. It is something people expect as part of their Mass experience. No one is “against” what we are doing. Neither are people jumping up and down with celebration. It is just something natural and normal, the way the liturgy expresses itself in song. The sheer normalcy of it all is something that completely thrills me.
You see, if we had dropped this program on people ten years ago, it would have been a radical undertaking. In fact, we would have been reluctant to do it. Actually, we wouldn’t have been able to do it. The resources were available. The awareness of Mass propers was in its infancy, or maybe it didn’t exist at all outside a small circle. English versions were nowhere in sight. They certainly weren’t accessible. Instead, we spent all our time digging around second-rate hymnbook trying to find material that seemed vaguely acceptable.
A vast experiential chasm separate 10 years ago from what is common today. In fact, there is no comparing the two. What we did 10 years ago was fine and inoffensive but we were not singing the actual liturgy, and that made us uncomfortable, and created the nagging feeling that something just wasn’t right. We worked and worked endless hours to make it right but we ultimately lacked in that crucial thing: a vision for what could and should be.
Once the ideal clicked, we had a plan which we implemented slowly, piece by piece. The final result is really something spectacular. The way we do the propers changes each week. Sometimes we sing them in a choral style. Sometimes we do pure Gregorian. Sometimes we do English, variously choosing to add Psalms or not depending on what other motets we have prepared. There is a glorious stability about the whole thing. Mostly, we can feel like we are making a contribution to the liturgy because our role as singers is beautiful integrated into the liturgy itself.
When you back away and look at it, the swift from ten years ago today is absolutely revolutionary. It amounts to a radical change. But no one feels it. It just seems like the liturgy is doing what it is supposed to do: invite the whole community in a meeting with eternity.
Why did it succeed? The reason it worked is the same reason that the new translation has worked out really well. The liturgy is now permitted to be truer to what it wants to be. This is the kind of change we need — not change for its own sake but change toward truth and beauty. That’s what the the “sense of the faith” emerges from the experience of the people at Mass. It goes with the grain rather than against it. Everyone is happier for it.
Nearly every day, I hear of new projects from major Catholic music publishers for chanted propers or new settings of the actual text of the Mass. This is a great thing. It is happening after nearly 50 years of wandering in the desert but it is still a much-welcome thing. I would expect that as these new editions hit the market, they will proliferate more and more, because choirs and priests will discover what we discovered. If we just stop trying to substitute our own judgement for the judgement of the Church, and instead let the words of the Mass become our liturgical song, wonderful things start happening.
If you asked Catholics in the United States in the 1950s if it was possible to be fully Catholic and fully American, most would have answered with an enthusiastic YES! In the first decade after World War II where Catholics and non-Catholics had fought side-by-side against common enemies, simultaneously overcoming some deep-seated prejudices among themselves, the great majority of Catholics had few if any worries about the compatibility of the Catholic faith with American culture. Do we still feel that way today?
Can we still be Catholic and American?
Sixty years ago when Catholics were pursuing higher education as never before, when vocations to the priesthood and religious life were at an all time high level, when Catholic hospitals and schools were expanding and flourishing at unprecedented rates, most Catholics in the United States were proud to be here; and very few anticipated the tensions that would erupt within American culture in the 1960s and the crises that would fray the fabric of the Catholic community after the Second Vatican Council.
Now, over half a century later, many Catholics have at best ambivalent feelings about the relationship between Catholicism and America. So much has changed since the good old days of the ’50s. Consider, for example, the following: 45 years of legalized abortion has killed more than 50 million unborn children, the HHS mandates of the federal government seriously threaten religious liberty, and the powerful political and other societal forces gravely weaken the institution of marriage and with it serious threats to the well-being of children. Should Catholic still be excited about being American citizens?
Do we even have a problem?
Last year, the archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, spoke of the obstacles to the New Evangelization found in Canada and the United States today. He said: “Public opinion polls indicate a disturbing phenomenon… While we are trying to evangelize, the rulers of this age, who shape popular culture, are effectively de-evangelizing many Christians. Often the misguided ideas against which we speak are increasingly attractive, and the principles we affirm are unattractive, to Catholics as much as any others, who are unconsciously absorbing the false wisdom of the age.”
What is it in American society today that makes “misguided ideas” attractive? And what makes solid principles of Catholic faith and morals unattractive? It is not hard to see how this cultural phenomenon greatly hinders efforts of the Church in North America to bear witness to the saving message of Jesus Christ. But how many even see and acknowledge that we have a problem?
The depth of the present crisis is evidenced in the fact that large numbers of Catholics, being more embedded in our secularist culture than in the life of the Church, feel quite at home in this world. Not only do they not feel motivated to work for cultural change, writes Russell Shaw in his new book “American Church,” they do not even see a problem, not even feel a need to take a good, hard look at what is happening to the basic foundations of American society and at its corrosive effect on the Church and other faith-based institutions, and upon human dignity and the foundational institutions of society, especially marriage. As Russell writes (p. 13), “On the evidence, many appear neither ready nor willing to provide a Christian critique of things like legalized abortion… the contraceptionist consumerist mentality that dominates the American dream of material success, the idol of American exceptionalism abroad, and much else in the world view of contemporary secular America in serious tension with their religious tradition.”
Keep your eye on the Chair
A recent headline caught my eye, NOT because it conjures up memories of a former basketball coach but because it expresses the opposite of apathy. The headline read: “Sometimes, Throw a Chair.” The greatest challenge that we Catholics face in America is indifferentism, not Americanism; it is not a problem of being too patriotic but a problem of being morally lazy, intellectually sloppy and spiritually asleep.
Many things can freeze us in our tracks and keep us from responding to crises that threaten us individually or as a community: from doubts and fears on the one hand to failure even to notice that there is a crisis. We can fail even to notice “a progressive secularization of society and a kind of eclipse of the sense of God” (as Pope Benedict XVI described the crisis); or even worse we can fail even to care about this dramatic drift away from faith in God that has poisoned the culture of so-called “first world” countries like America.
In striking contrast to this sickly slide into sloth that has weakened our American culture, we have the startling words of Jesus (Lk 12:49), “I have come to set a fire on the earth, how I wish it were already blazing!” We also have the refreshing spontaneity and compelling witness of Pope Francis who continually challenges mediocrity even as he inspires love. His personal witness to Christ has been formed in the crucible of suffering, in his relentless advocacy for the forgotten and poor, and in his courageous defense of human dignity and religious freedom before hostile governments in his native land.
Pope Francis, perhaps more by his own person and deeds than his words, is awakening Catholics to our mission from Christ at this pivotal point in history. We don’t have to worry about Pope Francis throwing a chair but we can be sure that his witness to Christ from the Chair of Peter will continue to make the indifferent uncomfortable and ignite the fire of love among followers of Christ today. May we welcome that fire with grateful hearts.
In the next issue of The Catholic Sun, I will look more closely at the relationship between the Church and American culture, at the challenges we Catholics have faced and continue face today, and what we must do in order to be faithful to our mission. The vast field of evangelization in America has both disturbing trends and grace-filled marvels. It is precisely in face of both that we have the duty and privilege of knowing, loving and serving Jesus Christ.
CMU student mocks pope, Catholic faith
by: Pittsburgh Catholic Staff Report
The Diocese of Pittsburgh responded April 29 to reports of a female student at Carnegie Mellon University who appeared on campus naked from the waist down and depicting the pope while passing out condoms. Her pubic hair was shaved in the shape of a cross.
The annual “Anti-Gravity Downhill Derby,” where the student appeared April 18, is sponsored by the School of Art.
A diocesan statement criticized the student’s display for mocking the Holy Father and the Catholic faith and, “in so doing she also betrays the high standards of Carnegie Mellon.”
Here is the full statement from the diocese:
“We appreciate the fact that Carnegie Mellon University has taken the complaints about this demonstration seriously and will investigate what took place. Part of the sign of maturity and a good education is to present a position civilly with respect for others. The young lady at the ‘Anti-Gravity Derby’ mocking the Holy Father and the Catholic faith has truly offended Catholics and the faith we hold sacred. In so doing she also betrays the high standards of Carnegie Mellon.
“There is the need in the world in which we are, and certainly in southwestern Pennsylvania where we live, for greater respect of each other. This respect is needed regardless of the color of our skin, the nationality of our families or the sacredness of our religious beliefs. It is never right to make any statement that insults. More civility and respect are always in order. Her crude public display does nothing other than to belittle herself and whatever position she was espousing.”
IS THERE a “Catholic vote”? It is said there are Catholic votes, but there are of two kinds: one based on Vatican I and the other on Vatican II. Vatican I is viewed as emphasizing the conscience of the institutional Church over the conscience of the individual. Vatican II is viewed as emphasizing the conscience of the individual over the conscience of the institutional Church. Further emphasis is made on the division of the Catholics into two groups: those on the side of conservative Vatican I and those on the side of liberal Vatican II.
But then what really is a Catholic vote? Is a vote cast for those who cry for the approval of RH bill a Catholic vote, and a vote cast for those who cry for the rejection of RH bill also a Catholic vote? What is the difference? On what grounds, then, should a Catholic vote be based? Should it be based on the spirit of Vatican I or that of Vatican II?
It must be made clear that the topic on Catholic vote arises from the issue on RH bill, which has been controversial because it is deemed as anti-life. Now the Catholic Church, as an institution, is a promoter of life. Consequently, it is against RH bill for its being anti-life. Catholics, therefore, are enjoined–if and if they are truly believers of the Catholic faith–to uphold the doctrinal teachings of the Church to which they “claim” they belong. Therefore, the true Catholic vote is the one cast for the reason of faithfully upholding the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church.
It is a fact that some Catholics–those who easily compromise, or even reject, their faith–cry for the approval of RH bill, and some other Catholics–those who do not and cannot compromise their faith–also cry for the rejection of the same bill. Those who cry for the approval of the bill use “freedom of conscience” of the individual as their battle-cry. Those who cry for the rejection of the bill try their best to faithfully abide by the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church to which they belong.
It must be made clear that when and when it is a question of the doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church, all Catholics are enjoined to uphold them, in and with their strong faith. For God, the Holy Trinity, wills to save mankind, and it is through the teachings preserved and perpetuated by the Church that the continuing salvation of souls–brought about by Jesus Christ through the Cross–be achieved. This is, and must be, the “Conscience” of the non-compromising Catholics.
Within Catholicism itself, there are indeed two kinds of believers: the compromisers and the non-compromisers. Compromisers are those who can easily wave or reject the doctrinal teachings in exchange for the values of the world proliferated by modern philosophies. Non-compromisers are those who, prodded by their strong faith in God, try to uphold the doctrinal teachings. Who then can be said as true Catholics? The compromisers or the non-compromisers? It is not difficult to distinguish a compromising from a non-compromising Catholic.
The true Catholic vote, then, is the one cast, not according to his/her own personal, self-determined “freedom of conscience” but according to the “conscience” of the Catholic Church, which he/she is enjoined to uphold–that if he/she is truly faithful to his/her belief. It should be made clear to Catholics that one’s “conscience” can either be in line or against the “conscience” of the Catholic Church. On this basis, it is a fact that a Catholic can either keep his/her faith, specifically in the area of Catholic morality, or sell it in exchange for the values, or morality, of the present modernistic world.
Therefore, it is a fallacy to say that a vote cast according to one’s “freedom of conscience” which is against the teachings of the Church is just as Catholic as the vote cast according to the “conscience” of the Catholic Church. –Jose D. Clepidio, Minglanilla, Cebu
Posted in Local Catholic News, on May 3rd, 2013
Catholics in the Philadelphia Archdiocese will have an opportunity to pray together for Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, who died May 2.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated on what would have been his 66th birthday, May 22, at 7 p.m. in the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia.
All are welcome to participate.
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By JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013, 7:48 p.m.
Updated 41 minutes ago
Maybe it’s the smile. Or the way she twirls around in circles. It might be how she looks at herself in the mirror. And, also the fact she doesn’t want to take it off.
That little girl is saying â€œyesâ€� to the dress.
It’s the time of year when girls are seen donning crisp white dresses â€” a symbol of purity and innocence â€” to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, a rite of passage for many Catholics.
â€œYou just know when they are saying â€˜yes’ to a particular dress,â€� says Kimberly Mentecki, co-owner with her mother, Karen Fassinger, of Babe’s Broadway Bridal in New Kensington.
When customers walk through the door, Mentecki and Fassinger assess the situation to see which family members or friends have come with the little girl, just like bridal consultants do in the TLC reality show â€œSay Yes to the Dress.â€�
â€œWe talk to them and show them various options,â€� Mentecki says. â€œA lot of times, the girls want to pick the dress, and they say, â€˜This is what I want.’ â€�
That’s a fine scenario if everyone agrees. But if not, hello, drama!
Mentecki will often close the dressing-room door to give customers privacy for the discussion.
â€œMost of the time, when they come in, they have an idea of what they want,â€� says Paula Fisher, co-owner with her mother, Rose Mary Lodovico, of Cosy Creations in Forest Hills. Usually, it is a joint decision, Fisher says. There are times someone might not like a dress and will voice an opinion.
â€œThen we get a compromise,â€� Fisher says. â€œMaybe we suggest a dress that doesn’t have as much beading or one with a different sleeve style or a different length. Most of the time, the decision is up to the child. We can spot when they are wearing something they don’t like or feel comfortable in. And, we can also spot when Mom or Grandmother or Aunt doesn’t like something, either.â€�
â€œWe have this three-way mirror, and when they step in front of it, you can tell if it is the dress for them,â€� Fisher says. â€œTheir faces light up. When the little girls smile, we know that the search has been successful.â€�
It didn’t take long for Jennifer Munda-Finkbeiner, a Greenfield native who lives in Penn Hills, to see her daughter, Ilana Finkbeiner, 8, had found the right dress at Cosy Creations.
â€œShe had in her mind the dress she wanted, and the minute she walked in, she spotted a dress hanging on the wall and said, â€˜That’s the one I want, Mom,’ â€� says Munda-Finkbeiner, who got a little teary-eyed seeing her daughter. â€œAnd when I saw her in the dress, I knew it was the one because she looked absolutely beautiful.â€�
Munda-Finkbeiner suggested Ilana try a different style just to be sure, but she still chose the first one â€” a full-skirt, tea-length dress with a rhinestone flower at the shoulder and beading on the bodice.
Ilana, who will receive her first Communion on May 5 at St. Bartholomew, says trying on dresses was fun. Ilana’s grandparents, Joe and Jerri Munda, bought the dress and told their granddaughter to get what she wanted.
â€œI just loved this dress. I love the beading and the flower and the fullness of it. It is perfect to wear to receive God for the first time,â€� Ilana says.
Paige Kendall, who will turn 8 on May 4, celebrated her first Communion on April 27 at Immaculate Conception in Irwin. Her mother, Heather, says the process at Cosy Creations went smoothly. They knew they wanted a dress by designer Christie Helene.
â€œPaige is pretty easy-going,â€� says Heather Kendall of Irwin. â€œWe knew the designer we wanted, so it was deciding which one. She tried on several, and we knew the minute she tried on the right one.â€�
Narrowing the dress choices helps, says Renee Lingle, owner of The Frog N’ Princess in Peters. Some mothers come in ahead to look at the selection.
She and her sales associates can pick up on cues when the dress is wrong. Children will tell you when they don’t like a dress by saying it’s itchy or by taking it off immediately. Helping them find the right dress is part of the challenge, Lingle says. When you are dealing with many generations, it isn’t easy.
â€œThe girls know about the reality show and so do their moms and aunts, and sometimes, even Grandma has seen it,â€� Lingle says. â€œWe definitely ask if they are saying â€˜yes’ to the dress. And when they smile, we know they are.â€�
Knowing the show has reached a diverse age group is wonderful, says Monte Durham, fashion director for â€œSay Yes to the Dress Atlanta,â€� which airs Fridays.
â€œTo me, there is a lot of emotion with Communion dresses, and it’s most likely the first fancy dress in a girl’s life and one in a long line of dresses she will wear in her life,â€� Durham says.
He can tell when it’s â€œyesâ€� to the bridal gown by the way a woman walks and her stance. That can also be applied to the Communion dress, he says.
â€œThey smile ear to ear and almost prance like they are giddy, and they are moving back and forth and shuffling their feet,â€� Durham says. â€œYou want to make sure they love it and that they feel great wearing it, because that will show in the photos.â€�
Gaye Bugel, owner of Bugel Kids in Ross, says in 29 years she has had to deal with mothers not wanting daughters to try on plus-size dresses, a mom who had her child try on 60 dresses, and a girl who refused to try on anything, because she liked a dress from another store.
â€œI have had experiences you wouldn’t believe,â€œ says Bugel, who plans to close the store later this year and sell only online. â€œThere are times the child comes in and doesn’t understand about the sacrament, and it is just about the party. … But then, there are some customers who are fun and pleasant to work with.â€�
Jennifer Mason, manager at MB Bride in Greensburg, says when family members disagree and the girl is caught in the middle, she tries to help them find common ground.
â€œI haven’t seen many pouty girls,â€� she says. â€œI think at this age, girls are more prone to listening to their moms and aunts and grandmothers. They are respectful when they come in for a Communion dress and realize the significance of the day.
â€œWhen you see the little girl smile, you know,â€� Mason says. â€œShe looks at herself in the mirror and her face lights up, and Mom gets a little teary-eyed. That is rewarding to see, because it is in that moment that they are all saying â€˜yes’ to the dress without speaking a word.â€�
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7889.
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