Catholic News Agency: US News

For terminally-ill seminarian, a life with suffering is not void of dignity

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: October 24, 2014
Raleigh, N.C., Oct 24, 2014 / 05:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A seminarian is looking forward to his ordination to the diaconate this spring and the priesthood a year later, even though he was given roughly a year and a half to live back in 2008. Phillip Johnson, who is now 30, was diagnosed with a Grade III brain cancer known as anaplastic astrocytoma six years ago when he was serving as a naval officer in the Persian Gulf. “I remember the moment I saw the computer images of the brain scans – I went to the Catholic chapel on base and fell to the floor in tears.  I asked God, ‘why me?’” Johnson wrote in an Oct. 22 column, “Dear Brittany: Our Lives Are Worth Living, Even With Brain Cancer,” for the Diocese of Raleigh website. He was sent home to the U.S. for radiation and chemotherapy and then discharged from the Navy before entering formation for the priesthood, a calling he said he was aware of since he was 19. Even with aggressive

Two flawed candidates? Catholics mull over voting options

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: October 24, 2014
Providence, R.I., Oct 24, 2014 / 01:55 pm (CNA).- In an election where all political candidates hold problematic positions, Catholic voters may choose “the lesser of two evils,” cast a protest vote, or simply not vote, one U.S. bishop has advised, with pro-life groups calling for prudence in making this decision. “It’s a real problem that many faithful Catholics face these days – how to vote when all of the candidates are pro-abortion,” Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, R.I., acknowledged in an Oct. 16 column for The Rhode Island Catholic, his diocese's official publication. “I know, it’s a tough time to be a moral, pro-life voter. The field is narrow and the options are few. But, vote according to your conscience, pray for our state and nation, and sleep well. Remember, God’s still in charge!” Bishop Tobin presented the three voting options as an answer to a member of the diocese who revealed that the candida

Ebola survivor Nina Pham: I believe in the power of prayer

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: October 24, 2014
Washington D.C., Oct 24, 2014 / 12:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Nina Pham, a Dallas nurse who has been battling Ebola after treating a patient in Texas, has now been declared free of the disease, and gave thanks to God and all those who have prayed for her in recent weeks. “I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today,” Pham said in a press conference Oct. 24. “I would first and foremost like to thank God, my family and friends. Throughout this ordeal, I have put my trust in God and my medical team.” Pham thanked everyone who had been involved in her care, both in Texas and Maryland. She offered special gratitude to Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly for donating plasma, calling it a “selfless act.” “I believe in the power of prayer because I know so many people all over the world have been praying for me,” she continued. “I join you in prayer now for the recovery of others.” The 26-year-old nurse, described by f

Archbishop Chaput rejects 'false' media reports on synod comments

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: October 24, 2014
Philadelphia, Pa., Oct 24, 2014 / 08:38 am (CNA).- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia rejected claims that he had harshly criticized the Vatican or the recent synod, saying that he had instead been cautioning against a public image of the synod created by media reports that distort the truth. “That's simply false,” Archbishop Chaput told CNA Oct. 24 about claims that he had “blasted” the recent Synod on the Family. “The synod isn't mentioned in my formal remarks, and what I said in answer to a question from the audience about the synod is easily available, in full, online. People can see or read for themselves.”   Archbishop Chaput’s comments followed a report by David Gibson of Religion News Service covering the archbishop’s Oct. 20 delivery of the 2014 Erasmus Lecture, hosted by the interreligious journal First Things. The lecture itself did not involve the synod, but focused on the role of religious b

Is a 'vocation of friendship' key to gay ministry in the Church?

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: October 24, 2014
Washington D.C., Oct 24, 2014 / 04:51 am (CNA).- Recovering an understanding of friendship as a vocation could be a way for the Church to help ease spiritual problems of isolation, especially for those who are gay, said one Catholic author who is both lesbian and celibate. “Friendship is a vocation which can include lifelong devotion and commitment,” said Eve Tushnet, suggesting that Church leaders should “talk more about vocations outside of marriage and the priesthood.” “That’s totally scriptural, and we should be ahead on this instead of letting the culture lead us around and act like friendship is relatively trivial in the scheme of things,” she told CNA. Tushnet is a Catholic convert who has described herself as “an openly lesbian and celibate Catholic.” She has written frequently on living out her Catholic faith amid same-sex attraction and recently released a book, “Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Fin

Pregnancy centers, not politics – the future of the pro-life movement

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: October 24, 2014
Front Royal, Va., Oct 24, 2014 / 02:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid the chilling dark chaos of a woman’s unwanted and unexpected pregnancy, a group of pro-life Catholics try to be a light to both the mother and the unborn child. Their mission is in an unassuming plot in a modest town well outside the sprawling Washington, D.C. suburbs. Not much car traffic passes through town other than tourists on their way to see the mountain leaves turn every October. Seventy miles outside the nation’s capital in northern Virginia, there is no national pro-life headquarters, army of lobbyists, or melodramatic political battle being waged. The Front Royal Pregnancy Center is simply part of a national chain of crisis pregnancy centers, “the real future of the pro-life movement,” as board member Mary Brand put it. And this future is carried out in a drab brick building on South Royal Avenue, ministering to pregnant women from town and from the surrounding area. Walk throug

We're 'just touching the surface' of St John Paul II's teachings

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: October 23, 2014
Washington D.C., Oct 23, 2014 / 05:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- St. John Paul II's life and teachings offer a witness to love that is so profound it is only beginning to be be mined for its riches, said the chaplain of the late pope’s national shrine in Washington, D.C. “I think we’re just touching the surface, the scope of his teachings,” Fr. Jonathan Kalisch, O.P., said Oct. 22. The chaplain of the Saint John Paul II National Shrine told CNA this, pointing to the legacy and witness the newly-recognized saint brings to the Church, made known in part through his teachings in his numerous writings, encyclicals and public speeches. “They’re so rich with defense of human rights, and also religious freedom,” he commented, also noting the Pope's writings on forgiveness and on human sexuality. “And even his personal witness and the ways that he did those things,” Fr. Kalisch added. Fr. Kalisch also spoke to how the saint

Crowdfunding campaign aims to raise $1 million for Iraqi Christians

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: October 23, 2014
Washington D.C., Oct 22, 2014 / 08:35 pm (CNA).- A Catholic lay organization has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise awareness and money to help persecuted Christians and other minorities in Iraq. “How can common lay people of faith throughout the world help martyr communities in Iraq with something more than their valuable prayers?” asked Gabriela Paz, president of La Filotea Productions, Inc., in an Oct. 14 statement. “Knowing that faith without works is dead, the answer is with their pocket, by contributing funds for much-needed relief efforts in these communities,” Paz went on to say. La Filotea Productions is a Catholic lay organization that dedicates itself to evangelization through multimedia and works of mercy. It produces a Catholic radio program, La Filotea – Alma Que Ama A Dios, and manages online social networking, as well as an online Catholic book store on Amazon. The campaign initiated by La Filotea endeavors to raise at le

Singing nun's Madonna cover: not like a prayer

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: October 23, 2014
Denver, Colo., Oct 22, 2014 / 08:02 pm (CNA).- Although it may have been well intentioned, an Italian nun’s choice of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” as her first single shows “radical impropriety” which wrongly ignores the original song’s intent to undermine the Virgin Mary and Catholic morals, one cultural critic has said. Barbara Nicolosi, a Hollywood screenwriter and Catholic cultural commentator, suggested that Sister Cristina Scuccia’s choice of Madonna’s risqué song “reflects the lack of thought, seriousness and decorum that is predictable of so much of our societal and ecclesial life today.” Sr. Cristina, an Ursuline nun, in early June won first place on the musical competition TV show The Voice Italy. She has now released a cover of the 1984 Madonna song as the first single of her new album. Nicolosi noted the original song’s music video and its use of Catholic imagery was “widely condemned

Holy See to UN: Share the riches of outer space

By: CNA Daily News - US
Source: Catholic News Agency: US
Date: October 23, 2014
New York City, N.Y., Oct 22, 2014 / 06:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The exploration of outer space can deepen our faith in God and our understanding of the world, and its benefits should be shared with all. This was the message of Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, at the Special Political and Decolonization Committee on Oct. 17. “Since the earliest days of human history, humanity has looked to the sky with wonder, longing to understand celestial realities and their meaning in relation to humanity itself,” Archbishop Auza said. “The Holy See believes that faith is capable of both expanding and enriching the horizons of reason; thus, it rejoices in the marvelous progress of science, seeing it both as a product of the enormous God-given potential of the human mind and as manifestation of the vastness and richness of creation.”   St. John Paul II had written in his encyclical Fides et Ratio -- on the rel