Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Multiple media reports have given rise to the misconception that Pope Francis is polling Catholics for their views on Church teaching and practices.

 

 BY PETER JESSERER SMITH Staff Writer

 

Pope Francis Portrait Painting

Pope Francis Portrait Painting (Photo credit: faithmouse)

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis wants to know about the state of marriage and the family in the Church, before the bishops meet in Rome for an extraordinary synod next year. However, the lay faithful should not expect to be receiving a survey on their views from the Vatican anytime soon. 

For one thing, the Vatican’s survey is being handled at the diocesan level, and the aim is to collect raw data, not opinions on Church doctrine or discipline, in advance of the 2014 synod. The data will help inform the bishops as they develop pastoral solutions for the challenges faced by modern families.

“Each bishop determines what is the most useful and reasonable manner of consultation to assist him in preparing his report for the Vatican,” said Don Clemmer, assistant director of media relations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Clemmer said once a diocese completes its report, the data will be sent back to the USCCB and then forwarded on to the Vatican.

It is too early to say how each of the U.S. dioceses will handle the questionnaire. The Archdiocese of Denver’s communications office informed the Register that the archdiocese is studying how best to approach the questionnaire and will be forming a plan over the next few weeks. In the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., according to the communications office, Bishop Kevin Rhoades has not yet had an opportunity to meet with his cabinet to discuss how they will gather the survey data.

The Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., said that it will be distributing the survey to all priests and deacons in its 15 counties and that it may include those involved in parish marriage ministries as well.

“It will be a big job to read and compile all the surveys in the short time allotted, but I feel that it will be worth it to share this information about marriage in central Pennsylvania with the larger Church,” said Victoria Laskowski, the diocese’s director of marriage and family ministries.

The responses from all the dioceses have to be returned to the Vatican by the end of January 2014.

2014 Synod

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Français : emblème pontifical Italiano: emblema del Papato Português: Emblema papal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The synod is set for Oct. 5-19 and will focus on “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” The bishops and Pope Francis will discuss pastoral responses to the problems of divorce and same-sex “marriage,” as well as other challenges to the health of families.

The 39 questions in the Vatican survey form part of a preparatory document that addresses such topics as “Pastoral Care in Certain Difficult Marital Situations,” the “Union of Persons of the Same Sex,” the “Education of Children in Irregular Marriages,” “Openness of the Married Couple to Life” and the “Relationship Between the Family and the Person.”

“This is huge, to have an extraordinary synod focused specifically on the family,” said Bill May, president of Catholics for the Common Good, a lay apostolate focused on evangelizing the culture.

May is the author of a recent book called Getting the Marriage Conversation Right, and his organization has been focused on presenting the Church’s teachings on marriage and family in a compelling way.

“The questionnaire reflects an interest in trying to understand the problems of the family more deeply as they try to prepare and address it,” he said.

Misunderstandings

Vatican City

Vatican City (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

The Vatican’s worldwide survey, however, has been misunderstood by others and inaccurately described in a number of media outlets as an opinion survey or a poll of the views lay Catholics may have on marriage, family and sexuality.

Vatican officials involved with preparing for the synod have made clear that the preparatory document and questionnaire are geared toward finding pastoral solutions for the modern challenges to the family, not altering Church teaching.

Cardinal Péter Erdő, primate of Hungary, said at a Nov. 5 press conference that the aim of the Vatican survey is to obtain “concrete and real data” from dioceses to inform the synod’s discussions.

“The document contains, as well as a general presentation on the matter, various essential biblical and magisterial quotations on the theme as well as a questionnaire on the main challenges regarding the family,” Cardinal Erdő said.

One lay Catholic organization, however, has taken upon itself to publish an online version of the survey. Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good — a separate and distinct organization unrelated to Catholics for the Common Good — has posted a truncated version of the Vatican questionnaire, under a heading that reads, “Communicating the Sense of the Faithful in the United States to Pope Francis.” The organization says it will send the responses to the USCCB “and to the appropriate officials in the Vatican, including the Holy Father himself.”

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has been criticized by some Catholic observers, who note that it is a politically partisan group that has acted to undermine Church teachings on abortion.

During the 2008 election campaign, then-Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver publicly criticized the organization, commenting that “… the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue, instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.”

Only a Preparatory Document

However, it appears unlikely that anything other than the diocesan responses to the official Vatican survey will be considered.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi explained that the Vatican questionnaire is “only a document sent to bishops’ conferences throughout the world” to help prepare for the extraordinary synod.

The USCCB Office of Communications also said it could not comment about third-party surveys — only on the official survey being sent to the bishops.

Pope Francis’ call for an extraordinary synod of bishops in 2014 was announced by the Vatican in October.

The synod’s discussions on the family are expected to be taken up again in 2015, at the regular worldwide synod of bishops, which falls on the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the synodal system by Pope Paul VI.

Source: Catholic News Register

.

 

 
 

 

 

Read Full Post »

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, AP

Pope Benedict XVI appealed for peace Friday at a time of deep turmoil in the Middle East, calling the flow ofweapons into Syriaa “grave sin” as the country endures a bloody civil war.

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The pope arrived in Lebanon for a three-day visit despite the recent unrest in region — including the war in neighboring Syria, a mob attack that killed several Americans in Libya, including the U.S. ambassador, and a stringof violent protests across the region stemming from an anti-Islam film.

“I have come to Lebanon as a pilgrim of peace,” the pope said upon his arrival in Beirut.

“As a friend of God and as a friend of men.”

But just hours after his arrival, violence erupted in northern Lebanon over the anti-Islam film produced in the United States called “Innocence of Muslims.” The movie ridicules the Prophet Muhammad, portraying him as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester.

According to Lebanese security officials, a crowd angry over the film set fire Friday to a KFC and an Arby’s restaurant in the northeastern city of Tripoli, sparking clashes with police. Police then opened fire, killing one of the attackers, the officials said.

At least 25 people were wounded in the melee, including 18 police who were hit with stones and glass. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to brief the media.

Lebanese authorities enacted stringent security measures for the pope, suspending weapons permits except for politicians’ bodyguards and confining the visit to central Lebanon and the northern Christian areas. Army and police patrols were stationed along the airport road.

Speaking to reporters aboard his plane, the pope, who is 85, said he never considered canceling the trip for security reasons, adding that “no one ever advised (me) to renounce this trip and personally, I have never considered this.”

The pope denounced religious fundamentalism, calling it “a falsification of religion.”

He also praised the Arab Spring uprisings, which have ousted four long-time dictators.

“It is the desire for more democracy, for more freedom, for more cooperation and for a renewed Arab identity,” the pope said.

The turmoil stemming from the Arab Spring has deeply unsettled the Middle East’s Christian population, which fears being in the cross-fire of rival Muslim groups.

Lebanon has the largest percentage of Christians in the Mideast — nearly 40 percent of Lebanon’s 4 million people, with Maronite Catholics being the largest sect. Lebanon is the only Arab country with a Christian head of state.

Benedict, the third pope to visit Lebanon after Paul VI in 1964 and John Paul II in 1997, will be addressing concerns by the region’s bishops over the plight of Christians in the Middle East. War, political instability and economic hardships have driven thousands from their traditional communities, dating to early Christianity in the Holy Land, Iraq and elsewhere.

Also Friday, the pope called for an end to weapons imports to Syria. Syria’s rebels have said they desperately need weapons to fight Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s authoritarian regime.

“The import of weapons must be stopped, because without the weapons import the war could not continue,” he said. “Instead of the weapons import, which is a grave sin, we should import ideas of peace and creativity and find solutions to accept each other with our differences.”

The pontiff was welcomed by top leaders, including the Lebanese president, prime minister and parliament speaker, as well as Christian and Muslim religious leaders. Cannons fired a 21-shots salute for the pope.

“Let me assure you that I pray especially for the many people who suffer in this region,” he said upon arrival.

After a ceremony at the airport, Bendict’s convoy drove through Beirut as army aircraft flew overhead for protection. The pope was on his way to the mountain town of Harisa, where he will stay at the Vatican embassy.

The papal visit comes amid fears that Syria’s conflict might spill over to Lebanon. Clashes in Lebanon between Syrian groups over the past months have claimed the lives of more than two dozen people and left scores wounded.

The Christian community in Lebanon is divided between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Among Assad’s supporters is former Lebanese prime minister and army commander Michel Aoun, a strong ally of the militant Hezbollah group.

Hezbollah’s leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah welcomed the pontiff’s visit, describing it as “extraordinary and historic.” “I cannot forget the sad and painful events which have affected your beautiful country along the years,” Benedict XVI said, referring to Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war that left about 150,000 people dead.

“Looking at your country, I also come symbolically to all countries of the Middle East as a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of all inhabitants of all the countries of the region, whatever their origins and beliefs,” he said.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi did not rule out that the pope would meet some supporters of Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group that has risen steadily over the decades from anti-Israel resistance group into Lebanon’s most powerful military and political force. The U.S. considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Lombardi declined to say what the Vatican’s position is on the group.

Source; Associated Press

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: