ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT ENCOURAGES THE VOICE OF LAITY
CNA reports that in a speech delivered today by his representative at the Becket Fund conference, “Voices: The Lay State and Religious Liberty” in Mexico City, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver addressed the necessity of lay people living their faith conscientiously and truthfully in the public square. “Politics is the arena where the struggle between truth and lies, justice and injustice, takes place,” he stated.
Due to obligations in Denver, the archbishop was unable to attend the conference, but Luis Soto of the Office of Hispanic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Denver presented the archbishop’s remarks and acted as his representative.
The archbishop's remarks began by noting three important observations regarding the interplay of religious liberty and politics, garnered from the two terms he served as a Commissioner with the U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
“First, most countries claim to respect religious freedom. Second, many countries lie. They actually restrict religious freedom, and many other nations don’t see it as an important issue. And third, unless ordinary lay citizens work vigorously and without apologies in public life to protect their religious liberty, they lose it.”
Thus, Soto continued reading, “Catholics have a duty to bring their Catholic beliefs to bear on every social, economic and political problem facing their country. That’s not just a privilege. It’s not just a right. It’s a demand of the Gospel.”
And conveying the gospel message quickly loses status as a privilege and a right if it is not vigorously defended by the very people who are charged with that duty, he added.
“Cardinal Rivera, the Knights of Columbus and the Becket Fund all know this simple fact: Politics is the arena where the struggle between truth and lies, justice and injustice, takes place. No country’s political life can be honest -- and no government can serve the needs of its people -- unless it welcomes the deepest convictions of its citizens into public debate,” Archbishop Chaput stated.
The archbishop's speech then noted that the evangelizing nature of the faith does not void Christians' obligation to treat others with charity, justice, and prudence. “In a democracy, the best gift any of us can give to our country is the public witness of our convictions… If we withhold our religious and moral beliefs from our nation’s political debates because of a misguided sense of good manners, we are not being ‘polite.’ On the contrary: We’re stealing from the public conversation.”
Thus, the laity cannot simply sit back and expect the clergy and Church to defend their rights and privileges, or to craft a society in which religious freedom is permitted or encouraged. They must form themselves and their leaders in the faith so that they can faithfully embody the teachings of the Church.
Having recognized this important aspect of public life and private convictions, Soto turned to three “simple points” the archbishop addressed: the nature of the state; the nature of our Christian faith; and the nature of the lay vocation.
Christians, the archbishop wrote, “owe civil rulers their respect and obedience in all things that do not gravely violate the moral law.” But, he also pointed out, “the state is not god. It’s not immortal. It’s not infallible.”
The state, he explained, is necessary for the regulation of earthly life, but it must always be cautious of not infringing upon the rights inherent to each individual human being.
In talking about the nature of our Christian faith, the archbishop emphasized that a genuine Catholic faith is “always personal but never private.” Catholics believe that each human life has a unique but interrelated meaning, and that “we were made by God to receive love ourselves, and to show love to others.”
“This means our faith has social as well as personal implications. And those social implications include the civil dimension of our shared life; in other words, the content of our politics,” the archbishop said in his talk.
Returning to the topic of the role of the laity, the archbishop’s remarks focused on a comment made by Pope Benedict XVI, who told a convention in Rome that the Church needs a change in mindset, particularly concerning laypeople.
Summarizing the Pope's comments, Archbishop Chaput explained in his talk that the laity “must no longer be viewed as ‘collaborators’ of the clergy, but truly recognized as ‘co-responsible’ for the Church’s being and action.” The laity, he said, “have exactly the same dignity as clergy and religious…They’re not second-class members of the Body of Christ.” They are charged with changing the world in the name of Jesus Christ, a change that can only be affected through a mature, intelligent, and faithful witness to Christ in every aspect of lay life.
Finally, the archbishop urged lay people to “never be embarrassed by your baptism. Never be afraid of the consequences of your faith. Take pride in your Catholic identity for the blessing and mandate it is. Act on it. Share it with others. We need to find in it once again the confidence to live and preach our faith – in everything we do -- without apologies or excuses. And if we do that, then we won’t need to ask what the ‘new evangelization’ looks like. We’ll know – because we’ll be incarnating it in our lives.” (SOURCE: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=17227
SPAIN: RELIC OF THE TRUE CROSS STOLEN
CNA reports that the Spanish daily La Razon reported this week that a relic of the Holy Cross was stolen from the Benedictine Monastery of the Valley of the Fallen, which had been in possession of the precious relic since 1960.
The paper reported the incident occurred on September 15.
The day before, which was the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Benedictine monks exposed the reliquary that contains the relic for veneration, as has been the custom for decades. The relic of the true Cross was given as a gift to the monks by Pope John XXIII in 1960.
As the monks were returning the liturgical vestments to the sacristy after Mass on September 15, they noticed that the reliquary had been opened and that the relic was no longer inside. The thief had apparently donned one of the monk’s habits in order to sneak the relic out of the monastery.
La Razon said the monks were upset at the discovery and are hoping the police will be able to recover the relic.
The Spanish daily recalled that “architect and archeologist Charles Rohault de Fleury wrote a book in 1870 in which he inventoried every known relic of the true Cross and that all together they would form less than one-third of the whole Cross.
“When she was almost 80 years old, in 326, St. Helena ordered an excavation on Calvary. She found three crosses in a quarry underneath a pagan temple. According to tradition, a woman who was ill was cured immediately when she touched one of the crosses, thus pointing out which one was the true Cross,” the newspaper recounted.
INDIA: BOMB KILLS ONE & INJURES FOUR
UCAN reports that least one person was killed and four injured on Sept. 27 when a bomb exploded near a camp that houses Christian victims of last year's riots in Orissa state.
A jeep set ablaze during anti-Christian violence in Orissa last year
Church people in the state capital, Bhubaneswar, said they suspected Hindu extremists were behind the blast and that it was designed to destabilize the Christian community that had begun to recover from their trauma.
The explosion happened just outside the Nandamaha refugee camp in Kandhamal district. The camp, situated in a forest, is home to 21 families, comprising about 100 Christians from violence-affected Betticola parish in Kandhamal district.
There were few details available about the deceased who did not live in the camp. The four injured are Christians, however.
Police detained for questioning the four Christians who reported the blast, Church sources said.
Those living in the camp are unable to return to their homes as Hindu extremists have threatened to kill them if they return without converting to Hinduism.
The state administration had offered them alternative land inside the forest to re-settle.
The Christians in the camp, including Catholics and Protestants, were busy clearing up the forest and building homes for each family, Church people said.
Sources in Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese, which covers Kandhamal district, said they suspect the extremists do not want to see Christians "live in peace" even inside the forest.
A Church source said the Christians were just beginning to settle down a year after the violence.
Police in G. Udayagiri town, which covers the area, have reportedly begun an investigation. Church sources said police have recovered guns near the camp.
Tribal-dominated Kandhamal district was the focus of the violence that began after Maoists gunned down Hindu leader Laxmanananda Saraswati on Aug. 23, 2008. Hindu radicals had blamed Christians for the murder.
The four-month long riots that began a day after Saraswati's murder left 90 people dead and displaced some 50,000. As many as 5,000 Christian homes were burned and 294 churches, chapels and prayer halls, eight convents, eight presbyteries and 12 hostels were destroyed.
As the Hindu extremists continue to force the displaced to convert to Hinduism, hundreds of them have either left the state or moved to other districts in Orissa.
Betticola parish had witnessed tension for several years before last year's violence and was severely affected in last year's flare-up.
Some 40.2 percent of the 2,802 WA students aged between 12-17 surveyed had consumed alcohol in the past month and 26.9 percent had in the past week, The Sunday Times reported.
Among 14-17 year olds who drank in the past week, more than a quarter of the boys and nearly a third of the girls had dangerous amounts.
The study covered government, Catholic and independent schools students.
The worst group of students for binge drinking in WA were 17 year old girls, with 61.2 percent consuming alcohol at a dangerously high level in the past week, which is defined as five or more standard alcoholic drinks a day.
In comparison, the number among boys the same age was 11 percent fewer. For boys, the dangerous level is defined as seven or more standard alcoholic drinks a day.
The state government will target teenage girls in a new Rethink Drink advertisement as a result of the survey, the news report said.
"These young ladies have gone off the rails," Mental Health Minister Graham Jacobs said.
He said it was disappointing that survey findings showed that 45 percent of students who consumed alcohol in the past week had got it from a parent.
"We want to highlight to parents the long term risks of young people drinking to excess.
DUKE, MARTYR, AND PATRON OF BOHEMIA
Feast: September 28
903, Prague, Bohemia
September 28, 935, Stará Boleslav, Bohemia
St Vitus Cathedral, Prague
Bohemia, Czech Republic, Prague
Duke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at Alt-Bunzlau, 28 September, 935.
His parents were Duke Wratislaw, a Christian, and Dragomir, a heathen. He received a good Christian education from his grandmother (St. Ludmilla) and at Budweis. After the death of Wratislaw, Dragomir, acting as regent, opposed Christianity, and Wenceslaus, being urged by the people, took the reins of government. He placed his duchy under the protection of Germany, introduced German priests, and favoured the Latin rite instead of the old Slavic, which had gone into disuse in many places for want of priests. Wenceslaus had taken the vow of virginity and was known for his virtues. The Emperor Otto I conferred on him the regal dignity and title. For religious and national motives, and at the instigation of Dragomir, Wenceslaus was murdered by his brother Boleslaw. The body, hacked to pieces, was buried at the place of murder, but three years later Boleslaw, having repented of his deed, ordered its translation to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague. The gathering of his relics is noted in the calendars on 27 June, their translation on 4 March; his feast is celebrated on 28 September.
Luke 9: 46 - 50
And an argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.
But when Jesus perceived the thought of their hearts, he took a child and put him by his side,
and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me; for he who is least among you all is the one who is great."
John answered, "Master, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he does not follow with us."
But Jesus said to him, "Do not forbid him; for he that is not against you is for you."