Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Finding of Jesus' Tomb a Farce, Say Scholars

JERUSALEM, FEB. 27, 2007 The heralded discovery of Jesus' tomb is a phenomenon "between invented archaeology, advertising and sales," says a research center.

The Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem gave this assessment of James Cameron's documentary "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," produced in collaboration with Simcha Jacobovici.

The documentary is set to premiere on the Discovery Channel this Sunday. It asserts that Jesus' burial site has been found and that it suggests he was married to Mary Magdalene and had a son.

The research center added: "We anxiously await, goodness knows when, the sale which will take place of these 'most precious' relics in who knows what auction house."

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

End this Scandalous Charade

“Good Catholic” Nancy Pelosi presents an unavoidable test for the U.S. bishops.
George Neumayr
Seeking to soften her image as a champion of San Francisco libertinism, Nancy Pelosi, the new speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, assumed her position in January under the reassuring cloak of Catholicism. She quoted at length the prayer of St. Francis in her maiden speech, invoked repeatedly in interviews her Italian “Catholic” upbringing, and attended a well-publicized mass at her alma mater, Trinity Washington University.
On the day after the mass, she then tossed her Catholic cloak off. Jesuit Father Robert Drinan had given the homily at her mass about “re-pledging our lives to the children,” but no sooner had Pelosi entered the Capitol’s chambers than she got down to the business of trying to end some of those lives. Heading up her list of legislative priorities during what she called the “first 100 hours”—which began after an invocation from Jesuit Father Stephen Privett, president of the University of San Francisco—was a bill expanding federal funding for destructive experimentation on human embryos.
What did the U.S. bishops think of the Catholic bells and whistles of Pelosi’s first week as speaker? Did they consider it a travesty, a spectacle certain to confuse and scandalize the faithful? Given their studious silence during her inaugural week, it is difficult to say. The bishops’ Catholic News Service certainly didn’t convey much alarm in its report on Pelosi. The report even stated that her “selection as speaker of the House of Representatives is considered to be a good sign for the chance to pass some legislation on the church’s agenda, ” and quoted Catholic officials who mustered up, amidst a few throat-clearing hedges, praise for her “thoughtful” politics.
But if ever there was an obvious occasion for the American bishops to end the appalling charade of politicians exploiting their Catholicism while betraying it on the most crucial issues, Nancy Pelosi provides them with it.

Because of the clarity of Pope Benedict XVI, the question, thankfully, is no longer: Should the bishops withhold communion from Pelosi and other Catholic politicians who defy Church teaching? The question is simply: Will they?
As head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the then-Joseph Ratzinger had settled the matter explicitly:
Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
Theoretically at least, the U.S. bishops have accepted this principle. They stated it, albeit a little more obliquely than did the Pope, at their November 2006 meeting. Laying out guidelines regarding the worthy reception of Communion, they said:
If a Catholic in his or her personal or professional life were knowingly and obstinately to reject the defined doctrines of the Church, or knowingly and obstinately to repudiate her definitive teaching on moral issues, however, he or she would seriously diminish his or her communion with the Church. Reception of Holy Communion in such a situation would not accord with the nature of the Eucharistic celebration, so that he or she should refrain.
Pelosi’s heterodox Catholicism is unquestionably self-conscious and obstinate. In 2004, she brazenly announced that “I fully intend to receive Communion, one way or another.”
In 1999, I covered for the San Francisco Faith a Planned Parenthood luncheon at which Pelosi received an award for her 100 percent pro-abortion voting record. How did she square the award with her Catholicism? I asked. “I’m a good Catholic,” she replied, citing her many years of education under the Madams of the Sacred Heart and convivial ties to her pastor “Father John Ring” and parish “St. Vincent de Paul Church” in San Francisco. The accommodating ambivalence of Church officials—her pastor evaded my questions and a San Francisco archdiocesan spokesman said the matter was “between her and God and her pastor”—had clearly empowered her in this stance.
But how long can she get away with this? Surely her growing prominence as the “good Catholic” speaker of the House of Representatives poses an unavoidable test of the bishops’ seriousness. Indeed, her high-profile status is a prime opportunity for them to resolve at long last the wider scandal of secularist Catholic politicians that has bedeviled the American Church since the election of John F. Kennedy (see story on page 32).
Shirking or delaying this confrontation will just embolden the Pelosis and Kennedys, and make possible yet another generation of Catholic politicians willing to use then abuse their religion. If Church officials continue to sit on their hands, secularists will continue to accumulate victories, not in spite of Catholic politicians but because of them.
What would once have been considered an inconceivable parody has now become a stunning reality: the most powerful enemy of the Church’s moral teachings in Washington, D.C., is a self-proclaimed “practicing Catholic.”
George Neumayr is editor of Catholic World Report.

Monday, 19 February 2007

Opus Dei film seeks big name actors

Opus Dei will collaborate on a feature film on the life of its founder, St Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, for which the producers hope to recruit big name Hollywood actors like Robert De Niro and Antonio Banderas.

However, The Guardian reports that an Opus Dei spokesman denied a report in the Italian daily La Repubblica, which quoted a source close to the producers as saying Opus Dei had put up "several tens of millions of dollars" in a bid to re-burnish its image.

"Opus Dei is not funding the film, but it would be a consultant to the project," he said.

A spokeswoman for the producers, Lux Vide, said: "For the big parts, we would like De Niro and Banderas. But I say 'would like' because there are no contracts yet."

Rome-based Lux Vide has made several big-budget religious films, including a made-for-TV biopic on the late John Paul II starring Jon Voight and Christopher Lee.

Giuseppe Corigliano, head of Opus Dei's information office in Italy, told a press conference: "They had been asking us for at least six or seven years to act as consultants for a film on Saint [Josemaria]. At the beginning, we had doubts because we didn't think it was possible to convey [his] extraordinary personality, his sense of humour and deep faith. We agreed after the Da Vinci Code affair."

Opus Dei members were appalled by its portrayal in the Dan Brown book as a murderous global conspiracy. But shortly before the release of the film, its leader, Monsignor Javier Echevarria, claimed Brown had done it more good than harm. He told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera last May that interest in Opus Dei had soared since the publication of the novel.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Ancient Papyrus Gospels donated to the Vatican

Benedict XVI received as a gift to the Holy See one of the most ancient manuscripts of the Gospels, an artifact that demonstrates Scripturés historical actuality.

Pope Benedict XVI in conversation with Frank Hanna, his wife Sally and his daughter Elizabeth. View full size image

The Pope was presented the 14-15 Bodmer Papyrus (P75), dated between A.D. 175 and 225, by Frank Hanna and his family on behalf of their family foundation and the Solidarity Association.

"The papyrus contains about half of each of the Gospels of Luke and John. It was written in Egypt and perhaps used as a liturgical book," explained Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, during the audience.

The manuscript previously belonged to the library of the Bodmer Foundation in Cologny, Switzerland, and is now in the Vatican Apostolic Library.

"The Popés library possesses the most ancient testimony of the Gospel of Luke and among the most ancient of the Gospel of John," added the cardinal.

The Bodmer Papyrus contains 144 pages and is the oldest manuscript that contains the text of the two Gospels in one papyrus.

The Lord́s Prayer

ĹOsservatore Romano commented that "almost certainly it was destined for a small community, a Greek-speaking Egyptian ́parish́ that, as is habitual in all Christian liturgies, read the Gospel during the Eucharistic celebration."

The oldest transcription of the Our Father, as recounted by Luke, is found in this papyrus.

Participants in the meeting explained that experts see the joining of Luke and John in one papyrus as a demonstration that for the first Christians communities, the Gospels formed a unity.

The document agrees with the Codex Vaticanus,
The Holy Father takes a close look of the ancient papyrus. View full size image
a fourth-century edition of the Bible. The Bodmer Papyrus demonstrates, therefore, that the oldest versions of the New Testament that are preserved in their totality correspond with the Gospels that already circulated among the Christian communities centuries earlier.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, Bishop Raffaele Farina, prefect of the Vatican Library, Gary Krupp of the Pave the Way Foundation, Fr. Richard Donohoe of the Birmingham Diocese, and Pat Cipollone were present when the papyrus was presented to the Vatican.

Monday, 12 February 2007

First Bishop Appointed for Nepal

KATMANDU, Nepal, Pope Benedict XVI elevated the Apostolic Prefecture of Nepal to the rank of apostolic vicariate, which means that the country will now have a bishop.

The Vatican press office announced Saturday that the Pope appointed Father Anthony Sharma, 69, as the first apostolic vicar of Nepal. He is currently the apostolic prefect of Nepal.

Anthony Sharma was born in Katmandu in 1937. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1968. He spent years in India, teaching in the area of Darjeeling, and he was rector of St. Joseph's College.

He was appointed ecclesiastical superior of Nepal in 1984.

When Pope John Paul II elevated the "sui iuris" mission of Nepal to the rank of apostolic prefecture, Father Sharma became its first apostolic prefect.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Nepal counts 6,600 Catholics in a population of 23.7 million.

It has five parishes, two churches that are virtually parishes, six mission stations and 22 substations, served by 11 diocesan priests and 40 religious priests. There are five major seminarians and 112 women religious.

In addition, the Church has 44 educational and 16 charitable institutions.