Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI Announces new Encyclcial "Caritas in Veritate"


VATICAN CITY, 29 JUN 2009 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his private study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered below.

On this Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Benedict XVI addressed a special greeting to faithful of his own diocese of Rome, assuring them of his constant prayers "that Rome may uphold its Christian vocation by maintaining unadulterated its immense spiritual and cultural heritage", and "that its inhabitants may translate the beauty of the faith they have received into concrete forms of thought and action, thus offering those who ... come to this city, an atmosphere charged with humanity and evangelical values".

"Today's Solemnity also has a universal aspect", he went on. "It expresses the unity and catholicity of the Church. That is why every year on this day, the new metropolitan archbishops come to Rome to receive the pallium, symbol of their communion with Peter's Successor".

"May the shared veneration of these martyrs [Peter and Paul] be a sign of an ever greater and more deeply felt communion among Christians all over the world".

Following the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI indicated that "the publication of my third Encyclical, entitled 'Caritas in veritate', is now imminent. Returning to the social themes contained in 'Populorum progressio' written by Servant of God Paul VI in 1967, this document - dated today 29 June, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles - aims to delve more deeply into certain aspects of the integral development of our age, in the light of charity and of truth.

"To your prayers I entrust this latest contribution made by the Church to mankind, in her commitment to sustainable development while fully respecting human dignity and the real needs of everyone", he concluded.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

President’s Meeting a ‘Good First Step’ Says CLINIC Chairman

Washington , D.C. - The Chairman of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) Board of Directors, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento , has made the following comments about President Obama’s Thursday June 25, 2009 meeting at the White House with Congressional leaders on the issue of immigration reform:

“The June 25 meeting between the president and congressional leaders is an applaudable first step towards fixing our broken immigration system. We are at a critical moment that demands the attention of the administration and Congress. Thousands of families are suffering and our economy is handicapped by the failures of outdated immigration laws and misguided enforcement policies.

This meeting is a good first step and sets the tone for the very important and necessary policy discussions to follow. We now urge the president and Congress not to slow down. Immigration reform is urgent and necessary. To delay immigration reform would be a mistake. It would unfairly prolong the suffering of so many, further undermine our economy and risk security of the nation.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pope: Charity Is the Best Strategy Addresses Aid Agencies for Eastern Churches

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2009 (Zenit.org).-

Benedict XVI is underlining charity as the source, standard and strategy of all organizations that serve the Church.The Pope affirmed this today in an audience with some 70 members of the Assembly of Societies for Aid to Eastern Churches (ROACO), who are meeting in Rome this week.

The Pontiff referred to St. Paul's discussion of charity in his letter to the Corinthians, and emphasized that this is the greatest virtue for followers of Christ.

"Charity is the fertile source of all forms of service to the Church," he stated, "it is their measure, their method and the means by which they are verified."

The Holy Father acknowledged that the members' desire to live in charity, by making themselves "available to the Bishop of Rome" through the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

In this way, he said, "you will be able to continue, even to augment, that movement of charity which, by papal mandate, the congregation supervises so that, in a disciplined and equitable way, the Holy Land and other eastern regions may receive the spiritual and material support necessary for ordinary ecclesial life and for special needs."

In the group's gathering, which took place this week in Rome, participants discussed the situation in the Holy Land and the state of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria.


Benedict XVI recalled his recent visit to the Holy Land, affirming that there were many moments of grace in which he was able to encourage the Catholic communities there to persevere in giving witness, "a testimony full of fidelity, celebration and at times a great suffering."

He added, "I was also able to remind the Christians of that region of their ecumenical and interreligious responsibility, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council."

The Pope stated, "I renew my prayer and my appeal for no more war, no more violence, no more injustice."

He continued: "I wish to assure you that the Universal Church remains at the side of all our brothers and sisters who reside in the Holy Land.

"This concern is reflected in a special way in the annual Holy Land collection. I therefore exhort your ROACO agencies to continue their charitable activities with zeal and with fidelity to the Successor of Peter.

"The Pope underlined the need to help the Eastern Churches in this economic crisis, paying particular attention to the refugees, the immigrants and the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

He also highlighted the need for educating the People of God, "especially now that we have just begun the priestly year.

"In this Year for Priests, which began June 19, the Pontiff appealed to his listeners to pray for priests and "to give maximum attention to caring for clergy and supporting seminaries.

"On the feast of the Sacred Heart, when he inaugurated the year, he said that he "entrusted all the priests of the world to the Heart of Christ and of Mary Immaculate, with a special thought for those who, in both East and West are experiencing moments of difficulty and trial."


WASHINGTON—Leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
(USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) said they were encouraged by
provisions aimed at protecting the poor and vulnerable at home and abroad
in the latest climate change legislation, but added that they were "very
concerned about the inadequate funding for assisting the poorest people and
countries on earth" to help them adapt to the impact of climate change.

In a June 22 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, Albany Bishop
Howard J. Hubbard, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Ken Hackett, president of CRS, called the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454) "groundbreaking legislation"
that "begins a serious and overdue effort to face up to moral and
environmental challenges and represents an important beginning."

Bishop Hubbard and Mr. Hackett cited the call for Catholic bishops and many
in the faith community to "care for creation" and for "the least of these"
and noted that they were "deeply disappointed" that funding for
international adaptation falls far short of what is initially needed and
that additional increases for such funding is pushed too far into the

"Catholic Relief Services is already experiencing the tragic consequences
of climate change in the lives of people living in poverty," they added,
noting that CRS is helping over 100 countries adapt to the impact of
climate change through health, agriculture, water and emergency
preparedness programs.
Hubbard and Hackett expressed their support for provisions protecting
low-income people from potential rises in energy costs resulting from the
legislation, as well as measures helping not-for-profit and faith-based
institutions become more energy efficient.

"As the legislative process moves forward," they said, "we look forward to
working with Congress and the Administration to increase funding for
international adaptation assistance and taking a major step toward caring
for creation and protecting 'the least of these.'"

Full text of the letter can be found online at:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

OGRADY INSTITUTE UPDATE June 24 and June 25, 2009

From Rome

On Wednesday, June 24, after celebrating the Mass for the Birth of St. John the Baptist, members attended the weekly Papal General Audience. At that audience, Pope Benedict XVI stated:

* * *
"The Priest Is a Slave of Christ"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 24, 2009 ( Zenit.org ).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today during the general audience in St. Peter's Square.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Last Friday, June 19, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the day traditionally dedicated to pray for the sanctification of priests, I had the joy of inaugurating the Year for Priests. The year was proclaimed on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the "birth into eternal life" of the Curé d'Ars, St. Jean-Baptiste Marie Vianney. Entering into the Vatican basilica for the celebration of vespers, almost as a first symbolic gesture, I paused in the Choir Chapel to venerate the relic of this saintly pastor of souls: his heart. Why a Year for Priests? Why particularly in memory of the holy Curé d'Ars, who apparently did nothing extraordinary?

Divine Providence has ordained that this personage would be placed beside that of St. Paul. As the Pauline Year is concluding, a year which was dedicated to the Apostle of the Gentiles, the epitome of an extraordinary evangelizer who made various mission trips to spread the Gospel, this new jubilee year invites us to gaze upon a poor farmer turned humble pastor, who carried out his pastoral service in a small town.

If the two saints are quite different insofar as the life experiences that marked them -- one traveled from region to region to announce the Gospel; the other remained in his little parish, welcoming thousands and thousands of faithful -- there is nevertheless something fundamental that unites them: It is their total identification with their ministry, their communion with Christ. This brought St. Paul to say: "Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). St. John Vianney liked to repeat: "If we had faith, we would see God hidden in the priest like a light behind glass, like wine mixed with water."

The objective of this Year for Priests, as I wrote in the letter sent to priests for this occasion, is to support that struggle of every priest "toward spiritual perfection, on which the effectiveness of his ministry primarily depends." It is to help priests first of all -- and with them all of God's people -- to rediscover and reinvigorate their awareness of the extraordinary and indispensable gift of grace that the ordained ministry is for he who receives it, for the whole Church, and for the world, which would be lost without the real presence of Christ.

Undoubtedly, the historical and social conditions in which the Curé d'Ars lived have changed, and it is justifiable to ask oneself how it's possible for priests living in a globalized society to imitate him in the way he identified himself with his ministry. In a world in which the customary outlook on life comprehends less and less the sacred, and in its place "useful" becomes the only important category, the catholic -- and even ecclesial -- idea of the priesthood can run the risk of being emptied of the esteem that is natural to it.

It is not by chance that as much in theological environments as in concrete pastoral practice and the formation of the clergy, a contrast -- even an opposition -- is made between two distinct concepts of the priesthood. Some years ago, I noted in this regard that there is "on the one hand a social-functional understanding that defines the essence of the priesthood with the concept of 'service': service to the community in the fulfillment of a function. … On the other hand, there is the sacramental-ontological understanding, which naturally does not deny the servicial character of the priesthood, but sees it anchored in the being of the minister and considers that this being is determined by a gift called sacrament, given by the Lord through the mediation of the Church" (Joseph Ratzinger, Ministry and Life of the Priest, in Principles of Catholic Theology).

The terminological mutation of the word "priesthood" toward a meaning of "service, ministry, assignment" is as well a sign of this distinct understanding. The primacy of the Eucharist is linked to the sacramental-ontological conception, in the binomial "priest-sacrifice," while to the other [conception] would correspond the primacy of the word and service to the proclamation.

Considered carefully, these are not two opposing understandings, and the tension that nevertheless exists between them should be resolved from within. Thus the decree "Presbyterorum Ordinis" from the Second Vatican Council affirms: "Through the apostolic proclamation of the Gospel, the People of God are called together and assembled. All belonging to this people … can offer themselves as 'a sacrifice, living, holy, pleasing to God' (Rom 12:1). Through the ministry of the priests, the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is made perfect in union with the sacrifice of Christ. He is the only mediator who in the name of the whole Church is offered sacramentally in the Eucharist and in an unbloody manner until the Lord himself comes" (No. 2).

We then ask ourselves, "What exactly does it mean, for priests, to evangelize? What is the so-called primacy of proclamation?" Jesus speaks of the proclamation of the Kingdom of God as the true objective for his coming to the world, and his proclamation is not just a "discourse." It includes, at the same time, his actions: His signs and miracles indicate that the Kingdom is now present in the world, which in the end coincides with himself. In this sense, one must recall that even in this idea of the "primacy" of proclamation, word and sign are inseparable.

Christian proclamation does not proclaim "words," but the Word, and the proclamation coincides with the very person of Christ, ontologically open to the relationship with the Father and obedient to his will. Therefore, authentic service to the Word requires from the priest that he strains toward a deep abnegation of himself, until being able to say with the Apostle, "It is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me."

The priest cannot consider himself "lord" of the word, but rather its servant. He is not the word, but rather, as John the Baptist proclaimed, (precisely today we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist), he is the "voice" of the Word: "A voice of one crying out in the desert: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths'" (Mark 1:3).

Now then, to be the "voice" of the Word doesn't constitute for the priest a merely functional element. On the contrary, it presupposes a substantial "losing oneself" in Christ, participating in his mystery of death and resurrection with all of oneself: intelligence, liberty, will, and the offering of one's own body as a living sacrifice (cf. Romans 12:1-2). Only participation in the sacrifice of Christ, in his kenosis, makes the proclamation authentic! And this is the path that should be walked with Christ to the point of saying with him to the Father: Let it be done, "not what I will but what you will" (Mark 14:36). The proclamation, therefore, always implies as well the sacrifice of oneself, the condition so that the proclamation can be authentic and effective.

Alter Christus, the priest is profoundly united to the Word of the Father, who in incarnating himself, has taken the form of a slave, has made himself a slave (cf. Philippians 2:5-11). The priest is a slave of Christ in the sense that his existence, ontologically configured to Christ, takes on an essentially relational character: He is in Christ, through Christ, and with Christ at the service of man. Precisely because he belongs to Christ, the priest is radically at the service of all people: He is the minister of their salvation, of their happiness, of their authentic liberation -- maturing, in this progressive taking up of the will of Christ, in prayer, in this "remaining heart to heart" with him. This is therefore the essential condition of all proclamation, which implies participation in the sacramental offering of the Eucharist and docile obedience to the Church.

The holy Curé d'Ars often repeated with tears in his eyes: "What a frightening thing to be a priest!" And he added: "How we ought to pity a priest who celebrates Mass as if he were engaged in something routine. How wretched is a priest without interior life!"

May this Year of the Priest bring all priests to identify themselves totally with Jesus, crucified and risen, so that in imitation of St. John the Baptist, we are willing to "decrease" so that he increases; so that, following the example of the Curé d'Ars, they constantly and deeply understand the responsibility of their mission, which is sign and presence of the infinite mercy of God. Let us entrust to the Virgin, Mother of the Church, this Year for Priests just begun and all the priests of the world.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[The Holy Father then addressed the people in several languages. In English, he said:]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Last Friday, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – a day traditionally devoted to prayer for the sanctification of priests – marked the beginning of the Year for Priests commemorating the sesquicentennial of the death of the Curé of Ars, Saint John Mary Vianney, patron of parish priests. The Pauline Year now ending and the current Year for Priests invite us to consider how the Apostle Paul and the humble Curé of Ars both identified themselves completely with their ministry, striving to live in constant communion with Christ. May this Year for Priests help all priests to grow towards the spiritual perfection essential to the effectiveness of their ministry, and enable the faithful to appreciate more fully the great gift of grace which the priesthood is: for priests themselves, for the Church and for our world. Configured to Christ in the sacrament of Holy Orders, the priest is called to become an alter Christus, "another Christ". His personal union with the Lord must thus unify every aspect of his life and activity. During this Year for Priests, let us entrust all priests to Mary, Mother of the Church, and pray that they will grow in fidelity to their mission to be living signs of Christ’s presence and infinite mercy.

I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, especially those from Norway, Sweden, Malawi, South Africa, Indonesia and the United States. My particular greeting goes to the Catholic educators participating in the annual Rome Seminar sponsored by the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas. I also greet the many student groups present. Upon all of you I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!

* * *

After that audience, the OGrady participants visited Caritas Roma operations. We met with the senior leadership of the Caritas Roma Migration Office. This office, open since 1981, has offered hospitality and legal-social-material resources to newcomers to Italy. They too are dealing with irregular and regular migrants (undocumented and documented) and shared many similar stories as us regarding the treatment of migrants, especially non documented ones. The Bishops Conference of Italy has advocated for many changes in immigration law in Italy, sometimes meeting with much social and political resistance.

We then visited the Caritas Roma Health Clinic for Migrants located under the Rome Termni or train station. There we witnessed a primary health clinic, with a pharmacy, mental health workers, social workers and a research center. Besides the amazing number of languages they have to interpret-translate in this center serves nearly 12,000 clients each year. Besides primary health, the clinic staff (3) with hundreds of volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmarcy assistants, and interpreters, this center provides information and assistance to help migrants and others navigate through the Italian health care system. We learned that there is a campaign going on in Italy that wants to require that physicians not treat non documented or irregular migrants. Caritas Roma and the Bishops have resisted this campaign and are actively advocating against this legislation. The director of this health clinic presented us with a banner used by Caritas Roma to educate the public about the injustice of this policy if it would be enacted.

On Wednesday evening, the group met at the international Mother House of the Sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. Sr. Teresa Wetta, ASC, formerly the mission director for Catholic Charities USA, is on the international general council for this order of women. We shared a meal with the Sisters of her house.

On Thursday, after celebrating our last Eucharistic liturgy together, the group met with Josef Cardinal Cordes, the President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and with newly named Monsignor Anthony Figuerdo from Newark who is on staff at Cor Unum. We discussed the focus of Cor Unum as an agent of inspiration and animation for the work of Caritas throughout the world. We presented to the Cardinal our workplan for our on going Catholic Identity project. He mentioned that he was happy with our dedication to such articulation of Catholic identity and our commitment to the formation of the heart of Caritas-Catholic Charities workers. Cardinal Cordes also mentioned that he will soon have a book translated into English that will be published by the University of Notre Dame Press on the work of Caritas and its spirituality. We welcomed that work.

Later that day we met with Msgr. Anthony Frontiero, who is an officialy of the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace. A priest from Manchester NH, Msgr. Frontiero manages the Human Rights Desk for that dicastery and represents the Holy See at many international meetings on the human rights agenda. We discussed how they work as a think tank regarding the theological reflection on social issues, and work closely with the Secretary of State. We discussed in detail a November 18, 2008 forum at their office on the international financial crisis that this dicastery held in response to requests from the UN to have a moral reflection on economic issues. We were provided with the results of that meeting.

After a final meal today, all of us will be flying back to the States. We now have all promised in follow up the following

1. To write a paper to share with each other and with CCUSA on our reflections on our experience and how we will implement what we learned back in our home dioceses.

2. To meet on the phone frequently to review-discuss our reflection papers and to read other materials together and discuss them.

3. To meet again, somehow, with Fr. Klaus Baumann to continue with our class reflection on the theology and wissenschaft of Caritas.

4. To provide a written evaluation of the OGrady Institute and promote it for others.

We all concurred at our face to face evaluation meeting that all of us grew in our faith, sharpened our spiritual reflection, learned from others, developed insights about our work, and saw how our work in anchored in our Tradition as part and parcel of the three aspects of the Mission of the Church: to preach the good news, to celebrate the Sacraments, and to serve others -- caritas.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


WASHINGTON— In a letter to leaders participating in the G8 Summit in Italy,
July 8-10, the presidents of the Catholic bishops' conferences of the G8
nations urged Summit leaders to "take concerted actions to protect poor
persons and assist developing countries."

The bishops observed that poor persons and nations have contributed the
least to creating the economic crisis and to the human cause of global
climate change, but in both cases are likely to suffer tragic consequences.
The conference presidents wrote: "Our moral tradition commits the Church to
protecting human life and dignity, especially of the poorest, most
vulnerable members of the human family. In the faces of poor persons the
Catholic Church sees the face of Christ whom we serve in countries
throughout the world."

The G8 leaders include President Obama and the heads of state of Canada,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation and the United
Kingdom. Cardinal Francis George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), signed the letter, dated June 22.

The bishops reiterated Pope Benedict XVI's call that foreign assistance to
developing countries not become a casualty of the financial crisis.

They wrote: "Ironically poor people have contributed the least to the economic
crisis facing our world, but their lives and livelihoods are likely to
suffer the greatest devastation because they struggle at the margins in
crushing poverty." The bishops called for "deepening partnerships with
developing countries so that their peoples can be active agents in their
own development, participating in political, governmental, economic and
social reforms that serve the common good of all."

Moving to the issue of global climate change, the bishops noted that "poor
countries and peoples who have contributed the least to the human factors driving global climate change are most at risk of its harmful consequences."

They wrote: "Concrete commitments should be agreed upon and mechanisms should be created to mitigate additional global climate change
and to help poor persons and developing nations adapt to its effects as
well as to adopt appropriate technologies for sustainable development."

The bishops concluded, "The G8 Summit takes place in the shadow of a global
economic crisis, but its actions can help bring a light of hope to our
world. By asking first how a given policy will affect the poor and the
vulnerable, you can help assure that the common good of all is served. As a
human family we are only as healthy as our weakest members."

The full text of the letter can be found on the USCCB Web Site at

Diary of Catholic Charities USA O'Grady Institutem Freiburg and Rome

I am reporting today from Freiburg Germany, the site of the University of Freiburg that has offered master level degrees in management and theology for Caritas personnel for almost one hundred years. It is also the home of Caritas Germany. I am on this trip under the guidance of Father Larry Snyder, President of CCUSA, and Kathy Brown of CCUSA/Director of Mission, with 6 other diocesan directors. We begin our class in theology and Catholic identity tomorrow. This is the initial group starting the Catholic Charities USA O’Grady Institute.

Today we celebrated Liturgy in the Munster of Freiburg -- the cathedral -- which celebrated its dedication day today. We had the Auxiliary Bishop who is the Vicar of Caritas Freiburg who presided at the celebration. He noted in his homily that this cathedral, built in 1330 and dedicated in 1513, is a living building not a museum. In fact birds flew in the high romanesque and gothic style vaults while several bats flew through the crowd during Mass. It was definitely alive with 5 boys choirs and a girls choir singing the high Mass.

Two features were noted by our host Father Klaus Baumann who heads the department of Caritaswissenschaft at the university.

First, this cathedral is the first to have a stained glass in its building depicting the seven corporal works of mercy. I took some photos of the glass...hope they come out. It is a beautiful stained glass over the North transept of the main altar. It is a spectacular piece of art. This city had always been known for its charitable works, and was the founding city of Caritas Germany and a leader in developing the future Caritas Internationalis.

Second, now posted on my facebook page, is the main entrance. Above the main entrance, in stone relief, is a depiction of the Last Judgment found in Mathew 25. The reason that the Last Judgment is there is to remind people as they leave Mass and the Church building that they are to continue the work of building the body of Christ by serving those in need around us. Father Klaus told us that in the 1400-1700s there was a hospice for the poor directly across the street from the main entrance to the Cathedral, reminding everyone to serve those in most need.

Now, why the O’Grady Institute? Msgr. John O’Grady was the second president of CCUSA from 1920 to 1961. He was one of the founding members of Caritas Internationalis in 1952 and visited Freiburg on numerous occasions to help with post war reconstruction. Oh yes, the City was completely destroyed in late 1944 except for the Cathedral. The pictures of the devastation and destruction from the war were unreal...the cathdral stood all alone -- intact.


Greetings from Freiburg still.

Yesterday we spent four hours in a class on the scriptural foundations and social scientific arguments about social service-charity led by Fr. Dr. Klaus Baumann, the director of the Caritas Wissenschaft (or charity science) department of the University of Freiburg. We spent the majority of the time analyzing in detail the story of the Good Samaritan.

Klaus provided also a historical analysis of the development of this school for caritas leaders...it is a master level program in Church agency administration and theology with much inter disciplinary work between various university departments, led by Theology.

After those talks, and lunch, we went to St Peter in the Black Forest, a former Benedictine Monastery, currently used by the archdiocese of Freiburg as a center for spirituality...this monastery was built in 1093.....it has one of the oldest libraries-scriptoriums in Europe. We saw some amazing illuminated manuscripts from the 10th century, books of maps without any mention of the Americas much to the delight of the director of the monastery as we were Americans....Fr Arno Zahlauer was very hospitable and greatly welcoming but did enjoy showing us many ancient maps in their collection without note of the Americas existing....but he wants to visit us. He circulated one of the first bibles printed in German that exists from the first printing press, and he passed around for all of us to touch and look at the first original print of St Thomas More's UTOPIA. Cool...

Fr Arno Zahlauer took us all around the monastery and explained the symbolism of the structure of the building, its layout, its art work -- it all revolved around the mystical reflection of time, space and eternity. Clocks were everywhere as we walked the halls of the vast monastery -- several famous monks here were mathematicians...this is the home of the design of the black forest clocks…or cuckoo clocks....they were everywhere....but since we are in time, and space, the building led us to reflect through its arrangements and art, that we are spatial creatures, finite in this time, all aiming to eternity, but we do touch eternity through our celebration of Eucharist and knowing God, so the Church is that space between eternity and time.

Today we had a 2 hour meeting with Msgr. Georg Hüssler, the former General Secretary of Caritas Germany and president of Caritas Internationalis in Rome. He knew Msgr. John O’Grady personally who visited him here in Freiburg on occasion. Msgr. Hüssler told us many stories about Msgr. O’Grady, the origins of Caritas Internationalis in 1952, and current politics of Church and State. He told us specifically that he remembers how O’Grady provided much leadership in the international level, and that the US Catholic Charities (started in 1910…Germany started in 1897 and Switzerland in 1903) provided much technical know how to European Caritas agencies.

Fr. Larry then discussed in detail the Cadre Study and Vision 2000 which captured the attention of the leaders from Caritas Germany since they only had heard about these documents...We were asked to leave our English copies of our documents there for them to reflect on and use. It was an interesting historical review driven day.

Now we are off to Colmar France to visit a medieval church-monastery which houses one of the world's largest and oldest collections of altar pieces....watch my facebook for photos......

Greetings from Freiburg. Today we met for 3 and half hours with Dr. Ursula Nothelle-Wildfeuer, the Professor of Christian Ethics of the University of Freiburg who is connected with Dr. Klaus Baumann at the Caritas Wissenschaft. Ursula presented an in depth systematic and moral theological reflection on the basis of Catholic social doctrine: Christian anthropology, the Incarnation and Resurrection, and the Eschaton. We focused on the principles of dignity, subsidiarity, solidarity and the common good.

After time with Ursula, we meet with some senior leaders of Caritas Germany at their national headquarters. Caritas Germany is equal to the combination of Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Health Association. They work in 28 Dioceses in Germany for social welfare and in over 100 foreign countries in long term disaster related development and response. They run many hospitals and nursing homes. Caritas Germany has over 500,000 employees and 500,000 volunteers world wide.

The President of Caritas Germany, Monsignor Peter Neher, provided warm hospitality in their 8 story national headquarters in Freiburg and provided a detailed review of their programs and funding. They get 96% of their funding from the federal German government.

We discussed differences between CCUSA and Caritas Germany, and focused on the common thread of Catholic identity and mission. It was an excellent conversation.

After several hours there, we traveled to Lake Titisie for dinner and some evaluation time. This Black Forest resort area was beautiful and breath taking.

Tomorrow we head to Strasbourg for a tour of this ancient city known for many international diplomatic encounters and a view of the European Union operations in that city.

Hope all is well at home...in my prayers, please keep me in yours...peace, brian

Greetings from Rome. Sorry for the brevity but relying on my blackberry for this update since internet connection at the religious house we are staying at located in Vatican City is limited.

On Sunday we celebrated Mass in the Clementine Chapel located next to the bones of St Peter. We went to the noon Angelus and then solemn vespers in the chapel of the Chair of Peter located below that wonderful picture made of alabaster of the Holy Spirit. At Mass we remembered all of our fathers and, in a special way, those who asked to be remembered from the CCUSA website.

On Monday we met with Leslie Anne Knight the general secretary of Caritas Internationalis. She gave a great presentation on role of NGOs in global poverty reduction. We also had a great presentation on human trafficking especially related to domestic workers.

The Bishops of Sudan were meeting at Caritas also.

We then toured the sites of ancient Rome. We saw the Mamortine prison, the site of Peter and Paul’s imprisonment and the church dedicated to St. Mark the evangelist who wrote the gospel while in Rome. Then we had a private tour of the Vatican museum. Today we visit the major basilicas and Christian sites of Rome.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Caritas Laments Plight of Women

Refugees Requests Resources to Protect and Heal Victims

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Caritas is decrying the lack of protection for women and girls in conflict zones, and is calling on governments and international organizations to act against these injustices.

The aid agency stated this today in a message sent for World Refugee Day, which will take place Saturday.

It highlighted the plight of female refugees who are often targets of violence in war and noted a "collective failure" to protect women and girls from rape and other forms of exploitation.

Martina Liebsch, coordinator of the migration and trafficking advocacy team, stated: "Humiliating women through violence and abuse is a common feature in armed conflicts around the world today.

"Women are often the last to leave as they stay to look after their families. This makes them vulnerable and subject to violence.

"The communiqué reported that in Colombia, 17.7% of women who flee their homes reported sexual violence as the cause.Women and girls who ran from violence in Sri Lanka reported fear of violence in the overcrowded refugee camps, and a lack of privacy which often leads to abuse.

Caritas noted that in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 463 rape cases were reported in the past three months, over double the amount in that space of time last year.Liebsch asserted that the effects of this violence are "devastating."

She explained: "Apart from the physical and psychological damage that rape brings to the individual, there is also a grave risk of unwanted pregnancy and HIV infection."It affects families, communities and villages. Some will never totally recover from this attack to their dignity."

"Caritas says that although the international humanitarian laws are in place that guarantee the protection of civilians, women, and children, they are not being upheld," Liebsch stated.

She called for governments and international organizations to "address this failure by improving protection, medical treatment, counseling and means for rehabilitation and compensation."

"Women should be encouraged to report on the abuses they suffered to start their healing," said Liebsch.

"To do justice to their suffering their perpetrators should be brought to justice."Caritas reported the plan to make an appeal for women and children by sending representatives from 11 countries to a June 29 U.N. consultation meeting in Geneva on the topic of refugees.

Friday, June 19, 2009

US Catholic Bishops statement on immigration reform

JUNE 18, 2009

On behalf of the United States Catholic Bishops, gathered in San Antonio, Texas, at our annual spring meeting, I would ask President Barack Obama and congressional leaders of both parties to work together to fashion and enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation before the end of the year.It has been clear for years that the United States immigration system requires repair and that reform legislation should not be delayed.

We urge respect and observance of all just laws, and we do not approve or encourage the illegal entry of anyone into our country.  From a humanitarian perspective, however, our fellow human beings, who migrate to support their families, continue to suffer at the hands of immigration policies that separate them from family members and drive them into remote parts of the American desert, sometimes to their deaths.  This suffering should not continue.

Now is the time to address this pressing humanitarian issue which affects so many lives and undermines basic human dignity.

  Our society should no longer tolerate a status quo that perpetuates a permanent underclass of persons and benefits from their labor without offering them legal protections.  As a moral matter, we must resolve the legal status of those who are here without proper documentation so that they can fully contribute their talents to our nations economic, social and spiritual well being.

Only through comprehensive reform can we restore the rule of law to our nations immigration system.

We urge President Obama and congressional leaders to meet as soon as possible to discuss and draft comprehensive immigration reform legislation, with the goal of making it law by the end of 2009.  The Catholic bishops of our country stand ready to assist in this effort

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pope Gives Insight Into Next Encyclical

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 14, 2009 (Zenit.org).-

Benedict XVI said Saturday that his next encyclical, which "will soon be published," will outline the work Christians must do in order to bring about "truly free" human coexistence.

The Pope spoke of his third encyclical on Saturday when he received in audience members of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation.

The encyclical is expected to be called "Veritas in Caritate," and it is thought that it will be published June 29, feast of Sts. Peter and Paul."

As you know, my encyclical on the vast theme of economics and labor will soon be published," the Holy Father told the Centesimus Annus group.

"It will highlight what, for us Christians, are the objectives to be pursued and the values to be promoted and tirelessly defended, with the purpose of realizing a truly free and solidary human coexistence," he explained.

The Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation was founded by Pope John Paul II in 1993. It is a lay foundation that aims to promote the social doctrine of the Church in professional and business sectors.

This will be Benedict XVI's third encyclical. His first, on charity, was published in 2005, and his second, on hope, was published in 2007

Can Things Get Better? Benedict XVI Says Yes

Notes How Today's Feast Speaks of Divine Love

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 14, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is affirming that we can be sure things can change for the better and we can have hope -- all because love exists. The Pope said this today when reflecting on the feast of Corpus Christi being celebrated in many countries. He was addressing crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray with him the midday Angelus.

The Holy Father said that the feast of Corpus Christi brings to mind more than its liturgical aspect. It is "a day that involves the cosmic dimension, heaven and earth. It evokes, first of all -- at least in our hemisphere -- this beautiful and fragrant season in which spring finally begins the turn toward summer, the sun shines brilliantly in the heavens and the wheat matures in the fields," he said. "The seasons of the Church -- like the Jewish ones -- have to do with the rhythm of the solar year, of planting and harvesting.

"This dimension comes to the foreground especially in today's solemnity, in which the sign of bread, fruit of earth and of heaven, is at the center. This is why the Eucharistic bread is the sign of him in whom heaven and earth, God and man, become one.

"Manifesting GodThe Pontiff went on to illustrate how the feast of Corpus Domini is "intimately linked" to Easter, Pentecost, and the feast of the Trinity.He explained: "The death and resurrection of Jesus and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit are its presuppositions. It is, furthermore, linked to the feast of the Trinity, which we celebrated last Sunday. Only because God himself is relation can there be relation with him; and only because he is love can he love and be loved.

"In this way 'Corpus Domini' is a manifestation of God, an attestation that God is love. In a unique and peculiar way, this feast speaks to us of divine love, of what it is and what it does. It tells us, for example, that it regenerates itself in giving itself, it receives itself in giving itself, it does not run out and is not used up."

"Love transforms every thing," the Holy Father affirmed, "and so we understand that the mystery of transubstantiation, the sign of Jesus-Charity, which transforms the world, is at the center of today's feast."

"Looking upon him and worshiping him, we say: Yes, love exists, and since it exists, things can change for the better and we can hope," Benedict XVI continued. "It is the hope that comes from Christ's love that gives us the strength to live and to face every difficulty. [...] We all have need of this bread, because the road to freedom, justice and peace is long and wearisome.

"The Pope concluded by considering how Jesus' mother would have received and worshiped the Eucharist.

"We can imagine with what faith and love," he said. "Each time it was for her like receiving the whole mystery of her Son Jesus: from the conception to the resurrection.

My venerable and beloved predecessor, John Paul II, called her the 'Eucharistic Woman.' Let us learn from her to continually renew our communion with the Body of Christ, to love each other as he loved us.

Friday, June 12, 2009



In the Holy See Press Office this morning, a press conference was held to present a forthcoming congress on the theme: "Female Religious in Network against Trafficking in Persons".

The event, due to be held in Rome from 15 to 18 June, has been organised by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) and by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).  

Participating in today's press conference were Fr. Eusebio Hernandez Sola O.A.R., bureau chief at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; Sr. Victoria Gonzales de Castejon R.S.C.J., secretary general of the UISG; Carmela Godeau, vice head of mission of the IOM; Sr. Bernadette Sangma F.M.A., and Stefano Volpicelli of the IOM. 

  "The problem of human trafficking represents a new form of slavery of the twenty-first century, one that offends the dignity and freedom of many women and minors, but also of youths and adult men, most of them from poor countries" said Fr. Hernandez Sola.

"These new forms of poverty remind us that religious life is, by vocation, called to play a prophetic role in society and the Church today. A new conception of charity must carry consecrated life to the new frontiers of evangelisation, and to the new forms of poverty, among the most serious of which is the loss of personal dignity". 

  For her part, Sr. Bernadette Sangma explained that awareness about the phenomenon of human trafficking has increased to such an extent over the last few years that "some congregations ... have adopted the struggle against trafficking as part of their capitular deliberations, making it an obligatory mandate for members of their congregation. This has also included a number of male orders".

   "Given the complexity of the factors involved in human trafficking, networking in this field is not an option but a necessity if we hope to make any kind of strategic commitment. The criminal bands that prey on women and children are highly organised and linked to one another, from one part of the world to the other. Only through a networking strategy which includes the victims' countries of origin, of transit and of destination, will it be possible to implement measures to prevent the weakest and most vulnerable people from becoming human merchandise". 

  Sr. Victoria Gonzales de Castejon noted how, for the religious of the UISG, the last six years of collaboration with the IOM have provided "an opportunity to put the intentions of the Union into real effect, and to increase the scope of our actions aimed at contrasting human trafficking. ... What emerges clearly from the work that has been achieved is the richness and complementarity in exchanges and collaboration between two organisations that represent public and the private aspects - lay people and female religious - in the common cause of defending the lives of people who live in situations of poverty and marginalisation"

.OP/HUMAN TRAFFICKING/UISG                                              VIS 090612 (500)

Monday, June 8, 2009



Archbishop of Los Angeles

June 4, 2009

I am heartened that shortly President Barack Obama will be meeting with Congressional leaders to map out a strategy for advancing comprehensive immigration reform legislation in Congress. Repair of our flawed immigration system is long overdue. I urge President Obama and leaders in Congress to show leadership on this vital national issue.

It is my hope that the meeting at the White House will lead to a process for drafting immigration reform legislation and to its consideration by Congress by the end of this year. Immigration reform must be enacted sooner rather than later. Human beings attempting to work and support their families continue to be subject to exploitation by smugglers and unscrupulous employers, and people continue to tragically perish in the desert. This suffering must come to an end.

I commend President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for their efforts to focus attention on this issue and to move it forward in the legislative process. I commit myself and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to assist their efforts where possible and to stand with them throughout the difficult process of enacting just and humane immigration reform legislation.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Humans Have Love in Their Genes, Says Pope

Reflects That All Creation Is Marked by Trinity

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).-

Each person carries an imprint of the Trinity and its tendency toward love in his genetic material, affirms Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square, in which he offered a reflection on the Trinity "as it was made know to us by Jesus."Christ revealed that "God is love 'not in the unity of a single person, but in the Trinity of a single substance,'" the Holy Father said, quoting the preface.

"The Trinity is Creator and merciful Father; Only Begotten Son, eternal Wisdom incarnate, dead and risen for us; it is finally the Holy Spirit, who moves everything, cosmos and history, toward the final recapitulation," the Pontiff explained.

"Three Persons who are one God because the Father is love, the Son is love, the Spirit is love. God is love and only love, most pure, infinite and eternal love."

"The Trinity does not live in a splendid solitude," he added, "but is rather inexhaustible font of life that unceasingly gives itself and communicates itself.

"Benedict XVI said one could get a sense of the Trinity simply by observing nature from the most elementary cellular levels to the planets, stars and galaxies.

"The 'name' of the Most Holy Trinity is in a certain way impressed upon everything that exists, because everything that exists, down to the least particle, is a being in relation, and thus God-relation shines forth, ultimately creative Love shines forth," he said."

All comes from love, tends toward love, and is moved by love, naturally, according to different grades of consciousness and freedom," the Pope affirmed.

"Every being," he continued, "by the very fact of existing and by the 'fabric' of which it is made, refers to a transcendent Principle, to eternal and infinite Life that gives itself, in a word: to Love."

Benedict XVI affirmed that there is proof that human beings are made in the image of the Trinity, because "only love makes us happy, because we live in relation, and we live to love and be loved."

"Using an analogy suggested by biology," he concluded, "we could say the human 'genome' is profoundly imprinted with the Trinity, of God-Love.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Providing Help. Creating Hope.

VISION: Believing in the presence of God in our midst, we proclaim the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the person by sharing in the mission of Jesus given to the Church. To this end, Catholic Charities works with individuals, families, and communities to help them meet their needs, address their issues, eliminate oppression, and build a just and compassionate society.

MISSION: To provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same.

GOALS: Catholic Charities is devoted to helping meet basic human needs, strengthening families, building communities and empowering low-income people. Committed to work to reduce poverty in half by 2020.

KEY VALUE: Hospitality

WHAT WE DO: Organizing Love. "As a community, the Church must practise love. Love thus needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community" (Deus Caritas Est, par. 20)

On Sunday (Tenth Sunday, Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity, Cycle B) we read the end of the Gospel of Matthew, wherein Jesus gives his great commission: "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." We know that Jesus' two greatest commandments that He continued to witness and teach were: love God and love your neighbor.

In Catholic Charities we continue to witness to that love of God and love of neighbor in an organized manner. We help others to find ways to share their love of God and neighbor by offering opportunities to volunteer and give of their talent and treasure. Catholic Charities is an integral part of this great commission to proclaim the Good News by providing help and creating hope.

Some important date(s) this week:

Sunday June 7 to Friday June 12: Pray for Rachel, Diana and Debbie as their attend the annual Catholic Charities USA Leadership Institute.

Tuesday, June 9. Father Ed Brienz leads a series of groups to New Orleans to work on re-building homes and families. Pray for their success.

Sharing Hope In Tough Times: Catholic Charities Responds to Families Facing Economic Crisis

Reflection: As children of the Father, united in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, we can raise up struggling families with simple acts of kindness.

Prayer Intention: That in drawing on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Christians everywhere see themselves as children of God, and lead others to the kindness and hope found in Christ Jesus.


JUNE 2008
That Christians may cultivate a deep and personal friendship with Christ so they are able to communicate the strength of His love to those they encounter
That the International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec, Canada, may lead to ever deeper understanding of the Eucharist, the heart of the Church and source of evangelization.

Corporal Works of Mercy: The seven practices of charity toward our neighbor

Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Visit those in prison
Bury the dead

See our website at www.catholiccharitiesyoungstown.org for links to the our ministries and services.

For more information on Catholic Social Doctrine and its connection to our ministries, visit my blog at: http://corbinchurchthinking.blogspot.com/

peace, brian

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pope Unites to UN Appeal for Children

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is urging the international community to give its best to children on the day the United Nations is launching the World Appeal for Childhood.

The Pope sent a message to the official launch, held today in Geneva. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, sent the message on behalf of the Holy Father, which asked for "hope and dignity for each child," reported Vatican Radio.

The Pope assured the campaign organizers of his prayers and support for the world appeal, which was launched on the 20th anniversary of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The appeal affirms, "Children must be considered fully as human beings, true right-holders, entitled to enjoy human rights in an inalienable way and without discrimination."

Benedict XVI expressed his hope that the initiative would call attention "to this important [convention] and the urgent need to fully implement it."

The Pontiff made a particular message of the need to "respect the inviolable dignity of the rights of the child, of the recognition of the fundamental mission of the family in education, and of the necessity of a stable social environment that can favor the psychological, cultural and moral development of each child."

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On the Net:

For more information: www.bice.org/ewb_pages/a/appel-pour-lenfance-geneve-juin-2009-traductions-disponibles.php