Quotes and news
Text for religious liberty
US Catholics are being encouraged to text the word ‘Freedom’ or ‘Libertad’ (in Spanish) to 377377.
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, said “across America, our right to live out our faith is being threatened – from Washington’s forcing Catholic institutions to provide services that contradict their beliefs, to state governments’ prohibiting religious charities from serving the most vulnerable”.
Vatican calls for free AIDS treatment
In an appeal to world leaders during an international conference about AIDS, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said: “Let us ensure that AIDS sufferers are given prompt, free and effective treatment. Let us not waste time, but invest the necessary resources.”
Noting that AIDS killed many mothers in Africa, Cardinal Bertone said: “We can no longer tolerate the death of so many mothers. We cannot think of thousands of children as a lost generation.”
He reminded his audience that 30 per cent of all the world’s treatment centres for AIDS victims are administered by the Catholic Church.
Overcoming obstacles to priestly vocations
Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, has presented to the press a new document on fostering vocations to the priesthood. The Vatican is proposing a strategy of formation to offset the rise of secularisation in the Western world while at the same time encouraging more to enter the priestly ministry.
The new document notes that secularisation and the fall in birth rates are among the obstacles to priestly vocations. The Church is proposing to react to this through more evangelisation support for family life and prayer.
The document discusses the distinct characteristics of the priestly vocation. Some of the problems mentioned are the transformation of the priesthood into a profession, exaggerated activism and the isolation that many priests experience.
The document emphasises the need for a sense of community within the clergy that avoids the temptations of clericalism, and for “complete integration and emotional maturity.”
Pope seeks advice over Vatileaks scandal
The Pope called two extraordinary meetings on June 23 to discuss with close associates how to analyse better the implications of the Vatileaks scandal and how to restore trust in the Church. The Pope’s first meetings was with cardinals heading the various congregations and councils that make up the Roman Curia, the Church’s central government.
Meanwhile, the Vatican has engaged American journalist Greg Burke in the new post of senior communications adviser. This appointment is aimed at helping the Vatican deal with the challenges of contemporary media-dominated culture.
Burke, a graduate of Columbia University’s school of journalism, has spent the past 24 years based in Rome as a journalist .
Catholic groups react to final Rio+20 document
Catholic NGOs expressed disappointment at the final document of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. CIDSE, an international alliance of 16 Catholic development agencies, was critical of the final UN document, ‘The Future We Want’.
CIDSE said the conference “failed to deliver concrete measures to tackle climate, food and financial crises, without which sustainable development remains a distant dream”.
But Cardinal Odilo Scherer, the Pope’s special envoy to the conference, said it “provides an opportunity for governments to come together to help chart a course for advancing development for all people, especially those most in need”.
(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)