Friday, June 26, 2015

US Bishops call Supreme court decision on #Marriage a "Tragic Error" Full Text

mur-logo-color-bkd-montageSupreme Court Decision On Marriage “A Tragic Error” Says President Of Catholic Bishops’ Conference

June 26, 2015
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court decision, June 26, interpreting the U.S. Constitution to require all states to license and recognize same-sex “marriage” “is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The full statement follows:

Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.

The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.

Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.

I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.

Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.

Promotion And Defense Of Marriage

The Catholic Church promotes and defends the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. 
Read the USCCB Statement from Archbishop Kurtz on today's Supreme Court decision and go to the MUR blog site to read statements from bishops and dioceses.Here's a handout with the top questions and answers (en español) about marriage, and the nationwide bulletin insert (en español) available for parishes! Here's the backgrounder (en español) as well.
Please visit the website dedicated entirely to this issue, with catechetical resources:

Featured Resources

Visit the USCCB Action Center to stay up-to-date on public policy issues, join our advocate network, and communicate with your elected officials.

Call to Prayer English logo-montage
The bishops are calling all Catholics in the U.S. to pray and fast for the renewal of a culture of life and marriage and for increased protections for religious liberty and conscience rights. Click the icon above to join, and  Follow the Call to Prayer Facebook page   Facebook Logo 16x16

Key Policy Documents, Statements, and Letters are available on thePolicy Page

Catechetical Resources:


Available at Marriage Unique for a Reason!

#Vatican recognizes State of #Palestine Agreement Signed - Full Text

(Vatican Radio)  The Holy See signed on Friday a Comprehensive Agreement with the State of Palestine, which deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine.
The formal signing of the Agreement has been years in the making, following the Basic Agreement signed on 15 February 2000.
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States for the Vatican City State, addressed the Palestinian delegation, represented by Doctor Riad Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, at the Signing Ceremony.
Below is Archbishop Gallagher's address:
Address of His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher,
Secretary for Relations with States
Signing Ceremony for the Comprehensive Agreement
between the Holy See and the State of Palestine
26 June 2015
Your Excellency,
I would like, first and foremost, to welcome you and your Delegation to the Secretariat of State, on the auspicious occasion of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Palestine, which marks an important step on the path of good relations which for some time have happily existed between the Parties.
This present Agreement follows on from the Basic Agreement between the Holy See and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which was signed on 15 February 2000. It is the result of the negotiations of a special Bilateral Commission which has worked at various levels over recent years, with dedication and competence, in a most cordial atmosphere.
In contrast with the earlier Agreement, the present one is being signed by the Holy See and the State of Palestine; this is indicative of the progress made by the Palestinian Authority in recent years, and above all of the level of international support, which culminated in the Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 29 November 2012, which recognized Palestine as a non-member Observer State at the United Nations.
In this context, it is my hope that the present Agreement may in some way be a stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to cause suffering for both Parties. I also hope that the much desired two-State solution may become a reality as soon as possible. The peace process can move forward only if it is directly negotiated between the Parties, with the support of the international community. This certainly requires courageous decisions, but it will also offer a major contribution to peace and stability in the region.
The Comprehensive Agreement, while constituting an understanding between two subjects of international law, basically concerns the life and activity of the Church in Palestine. In this respect, I am pleased that juridical recognition is clearly established and that guarantees have been given for the work of the Catholic Church and her institutions. Catholics do not seek any privilege other than continued cooperation with their fellow-citizens for the good of society. I am also pleased to say that the local Church, which has been actively involved in the negotiations, is satisfied with the goal attained and is happy to see the strengthening of its good relations with the civil Authorities.
In the complex reality of the Middle East, where in some countries Christians have even suffered persecution, this Agreement offers a good example of dialogue and cooperation, and I earnestly hope that this may serve as a model for other Arab and Muslim majority countries. With this in mind, I would like to emphasize the importance of the chapter dedicated to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.
To conclude, may I once again reaffirm the Holy See’s particular solicitude for the Middle East and for the Holy Land, and its joy at the Agreement that has been reached, which I am hopeful will take effect without delay. Thank you!
Below is Dr. Malki's address:
Speech by Dr. Riad Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, on the occasion of the signing of a Comprehensive Agreement between the State of Palestine and the Holy See
26 June 2015
Your Excellency Archbishop Gallagher,
Esteemed members of the delegations of the Holy See and the State of Palestine,
We are pleased and honored to have officially signed the Comprehensive Agreement between the State of Palestine and the Holy See, following a number of years of intensive negotiations in a spirit of partnership. This agreement is a historic agreement. It would have not been possible without the support and personal dedication of President Abbas, and the blessing of His Holiness, Pope Francis, to our efforts in this regard.
This agreement builds on the special relations between the State of Palestine and the Holy See, and expands further on the Basic Agreement signed between the PLO and the Holy See in the year 2000.
The agreement is comprehensive. Its provisions span the shared vision of the two Parties for peace and justice in the region, the protection of fundamental freedoms, the status and protection of Holy Sites, and the means of enhancing and furthering the presence and activities of the Roman Catholic Church in the State of Palestine.
For the first time, the Agreement includes an official recognition by the Holy See of Palestine as a State, in recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, freedom and dignity in an independent state of their own, free from the shackles of occupation. It also supports the vision for peace and justice in the region in accordance with international law and based on two states, living side by side in peace and security, on the basis of the 1967 borders.
The agreement reinforces our bond with new and unprecedented provisions related to the special status of Palestine as the birthplace of Christianity and as the cradle of monolithic religions. It embodies our shared values of freedom, dignity, tolerance, co-existence, and equality of all.  This comes at a time when extremism, barbaric violence, and ignorance threaten the social fabric and cultural identity of the region and indeed of human heritage. At this backdrop, the State of Palestine reiterates its commitment to combat extremism, and to promote tolerance, freedom of consciousness and religion, and to equally safeguard the rights of all its citizens. These are the values and principles that reflect the beliefs and aspirations of the Palestinian people and its leadership, and they are the pillars upon which we continue to endeavor to establish our independent and democratic State.
This agreement consolidates and improves the current state of affairs, in which the Roman Catholic Church enjoys rights, privileges, immunities, and free access. It upholds the Church’s standing as an important contributor to the lives of many Palestinians.
This Agreement is the product of a number of years of detailed and exhaustive negotiations between both of our teams, in a spirit of friendship and partnership. I would like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks and appreciation to them and to all others who contributed to this effort, for their hard work and commitment. In particular to the members of the Palestinian team composed of Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, Ambassador Issa Kassissieh, Ammar Hijazi and Azem Bishara, and to the team of the Holy See, in particular Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Archbishop Antonio Franco, Msgr. Alberto Ortega, and Fr. Emil Salayta.
On behalf of President Abbas and the Palestinian leadership, I wish to reiterate the commitment of the State of Palestine to implement this historic agreement, in both letter and spirit, and to further deepen our partnership.
Congratulations and thank you.

Latest #News from #Vatican and #PopeFrancis at #HolySee

26-06-2015 - Year XXII - Num. 120 

- The Pope to the International Catholic Conference of Guiding: the education of women is vital
- The Holy See and the State of Palestine sign a general Agreement
- Agreement between the State of Palestine and the Holy See: look to the future without forgetting the past
- Metropolitan archbishops to receive the pallium
- Audiences
- Other Pontifical Acts

The Pope to the International Catholic Conference of Guiding: the education of women is vital
Vatican City, 26 June 2015 (VIS) - “Education is the indispensable means for enabling girls to grow into active and responsible women, proud and happy in the faith in Christ they live in their everyday life. In this way they will participate in the construction of a world imbued with the Gospel”, said Pope Francis to delegates from the International Catholic Conference of Guiding (ICCG), whom he received in audience this morning, gathered in Rome on the fiftieth anniversary of the institution's foundation to analyse the theme: “Living as guides the joy of the Gospel”.
The ICCG unites national associations of Catholic guides and national interconfessional guiding organisations. Its aim is to help member associations to transform guiding into a genuine tool for education in faith and to make its pedagogical richness, formative activities and experience in interconfessional collaboration more widely known.
The Holy Father emphasised the excellence of the theme chosen for the meeting and the programme it has given rise to: “proclaiming to others, through the witness of our own life, that encountering Jesus frees us and heals us … opens us to other and drives us to announce him, especially to the poorest and most distant, the lonely and abandoned”.
He invited the delegates to be faithful to the principles of their movement and to establish a sincere dialogue with guides of different cultures and religions, with respect for the beliefs of each one, and serenely affirming their Catholic faith and identity. Pope Francis then went on to speak about his recent Encyclical “Laudato si'”, in which he states that education in ecology is essential to transform habits and ways of thinking so as to overcome the troubling challenges that face humanity in relation to the environment. “I think that the guiding movement, which in its educational method accords an important role to contact with nature, is particularly well-disposed to this”, he said. “I hope that guides will continue to be alert to the presence and the goodness of the Creator in the beauty of the world that surrounds them. This contemplative attitude will lead them to live in harmony with themselves, with others and with God. It is a new way of life, more coherent with the Gospel, that they will be able to transmit to others around them”.
Finally, the Pope reiterated the need to ensure that the importance of women is recognised, so that they take their rightful place both in the Church and in society. “Here too, the role of educational associations such as yours, that address young girls, is absolutely essential for the future, and your teaching must be clear on these issues. We are in a world where we see the spread of ideologies contrary to nature and God's design for the family and marriage. It is therefore a question not only of educating girls in the beauty and greatness of their vocation as women, in a just relationship recognising the difference between man and woman, but also to take on important responsibilities in the Church and in society. In some countries where women are still in a position of inferiority, or even exploited and mistreated, you certainly have a significant role to play in promotion and education. I ask you not to forget, in your pedagogic approach, the necessary and explicit openness to the possibility of a life consecrated to the Lord, an area in which the guiding movement has historically been fruitful”.
The Holy See and the State of Palestine sign a general Agreement
Vatican City, 26 June 2015 (VIS) – Today, Friday 26 June, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, a Comprehensive Agreement was signed between the Holy See and the State of Palestine. The accord follows on the Basic Agreement which was signed between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on 15 February 2000 and is the result of the negotiations undertaken by a bilateral working commission over the past years.
Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, signed on behalf of the Holy See and Riad Al-Malki, minister of Foreign Affairs, signed for the State of Palestine.
The following took part in the solemn act:
For the Holy See: Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio; His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins; Mgr. Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States; Fr. Lorenzo Lorusso, O.P., under-secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; Mgr. Alberto Ortega, official of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State; Mgr. Paolo Borgia, official of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State; and Fr. Oscar Marzo, O.F.M., member of the Custody of the Holy Land and Official of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
For the State of Palestine: Ramzi Khoury, advisor to the president and deputy head of the Presidential Higher Committee on Church Affairs in Palestine; Ambassador Issa Kassissieh, representative of the State of Palestine to the Holy See; Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman, assistant foreign minister for Multilateral Affairs; Vera Baboun, mayor of Bethlehem; Moussa Abu Hadeed, mayor of Ramallah; Ammar Hijazi, deputy assistant foreign minister for Multilateral Affairs; Azem Bishara, legal advisor of the PLO; Ammar Nisnas, counsellor of the diplomatic representation of the State of Palestine to the Holy See.
The Agreement is comprised of a preamble and 32 articles distributed in 8 chapters. It deals with essential aspects of the life and activity of the Catholic Church in the State of Palestine, while reaffirming support for a negotiated and peaceful resolution of the situation in the region. It will come into effect when both Parties have notified each other in writing that the relevant constitutional or internal requirements have been met.
Agreement between the State of Palestine and the Holy See: look to the future without forgetting the past
Vatican City, 26 June 2015 (VIS) – The following is a summary of the content of the Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Palestine, based on the text provided by L'Osservatore Romano.
The Agreement has a specific nature that takes into account the legal and political situations that surround the conflict, and the rules that have gradually built up over the centuries. The Preamble, which refers to current international law, frames a series of key points: the self-determination of the Palestinian people; the objective of the two-state solution; the meaning, not only symbolic, of Jerusalem, in terms of its holy character for Jews, Christians and Muslims and its universal religious and cultural value as heritage for all humanity; and the Holy See's interests in the Holy Land. The two Parties, considering their mutual daily relations, indicate in the negotiated agreement a way of working, together and separately, not only in defining the condition of the Catholic Church in Palestine but also for the good of people and institutions. The Agreement is therefore an instrument for use in the process of attaining that “just and lasting” peace that may be the result only of an agreement between the Palestinian and Israeli authorities. The idea that the future of the Holy Land rests in the hands of the actors present there is supported by the Holy See's wish to exercise her “educational, spiritual and moral mission”, but – with reference to and amplifying the formula of Article 24 of the Lateran Pact, the Holy See “shall take no part in any temporal rivalries between other States, nor in any international congresses called to settle such matters, save and except in the event of such parties making a mutual appeal to the pacific mission of the Holy See”.
Chapter 2 of the Agreement relates to the theme of freedom of worship and conscience, exploring its various dimensions and content, ranging from the civil effects of canonical marriage, the “customary facilities” for the different rites, respect for feast days and the right of Christians who work in public offices to be able comply with the obligation to attend SundayMass, religious assistance for the armed forces and prisoners, and the right of parents to impart a “religious and moral” education to their children. The explicit acknowledgement of authentic conscientious objection as a practice consistent with the right of freedom of thought, belief and religion is notable for its current relevance.
The signing of the Agreement urges the Parties to look to the future without forgetting history and those events that, on political and legal levels, have outlined the condition, social fabric and normative order of Palestine, and within this, the action of the Church, as may be seen in the following chapters:
Chapter 3, recognising the legal personality and right to self-organisation of the Church, protects its internal order, the freedom to confer ecclesiastical office, and the exemption of clergy from obligatory personal service such as military service, etc. Confirmation is given of the competence, as stipulated by Palestinian law, of ecclesiastical tribunals to exercise civil jurisdiction. The issue, further clarified in chapter 4, also relates to matters such as marriage, filiation and adoption, following the personal status of Christians in the Holy Land.
Chapter 5, starting from the regime of the “Status Quo”, lists the nature and typology of the Holy Places. The concept of holiness – from which that of religious rights derives – is posited as the source of the obligation of the civil authorities to respect for the Holy Places the exclusive authority and canonical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church, except in the case of joint actions to the contrary. The issue is linked to freedom of worship and the necessary guarantees for pilgrimages and structures offering hospitality to pilgrims.
Chapter 6 guarantees the Church's right to work in educational, social, charitable and communications sectors, and regulates the relationship with the Palestinian legal system. This is accompanied by general regulations on the freedom to receive funds and the discretion appropriate to ecclesiastical institutions with regard to their function and personnel.
Chapter 7 is dedicated entirely to Church property and the special fiscal regime applicable to them, inspired by functional criteria of non-liability, issues which due to their direct link to the local situation and legislation will be the object of further negotiations and agreements.
The participation of the Palestinian Catholic community in the lengthy negotiations, which began in a systematic fashion in 2010, gave the Agreement an added value. The local Church has been shown to be an effective agent, providing a valuable contribution not only towards the consolidation of the ecclesial reality, but also to the image of Palestine and the Holy Land as a whole.
Metropolitan archbishops to receive the pallium
Vatican City, 26 June 2015 (VIS) – Forty-six metropolitan archbishops have been nominated by the Holy Father to receive the pallium this year, imposed every 29 June, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles, in the Vatican Basilica:
Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Cologne, Germany
Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, archbishop of Valencia, Spain
Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Archbishop Eduardo Eliseo Martin of Rosario, Argentina
Archbishop Florentino Galang Lavarias of San Fernando, Philippines
Archbishop Anthony Pappusamy of Madurai, India
Archbishop Sevastianos Rossolatos of Athens, Greece
Archbishop Thomas Aquino Manyo Maeda of Osaka, Japan
Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid, Spain
Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Ireland
Archbishop Anthony Colin Fisher, O.P., of Sydney, Australia
Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, U.S.A.
Archbishop Oscar Omar Aparicio Cespedes of Cochabamba, Bolivia
Archbishop Jose Antonio Fernandez Hurtado of Durango, Mexico
Archbishop Stane Zore, O.F.M., of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Archbishop Djalwana Laurent Lompo of Niamey, Nigeria
Archbishop Vincenzo Pelvi of Foggia-Bovino, Italy
Archbishop Richard Daniel Alarcon Urrutia of Cuzco, Peru
Archbishop Jean Mbarga of Yaounde, Cameroon
Archbishop Edmundo Ponciano Valenzuela Mellid, S.D.B., of Asuncion, Paraguay
Archbishop Beatus Kinyaiya, O.F.M. Cap., of Dodoma, Tanzania
Archbishop Max Leroy Mesidor of Cap-Haitien, Haiti
Archbishop Kieran O'Reilley, S.M.A., of Cashel, Ireland
Archbishop Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias of Luanda, Angola
Archbishop Martin Musonde Kivuva of Mombasa, Kenya
Archbishop Vicente Jimenez Zamora of Zaragoza, Spain
Archbishop Benjamin Ndiaye of Dakar, Senegal
Archbishop Jose Antonio Peruzzo of Curitiba, Brazil
Archbishop Menghesteab Tesfamariam, M.C.C.J., of Asmara, Eritrea
Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg, Germany
Archbishop Juan Nsue Edjang Maye of Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Archbishop Yustinus Harjosusanto, M.S.F., of Samarinda, Indonesia
Archbishop Freddy Antonio de Jesus Breton Martinez of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
Archbishop Charles Jude Scicluna of Malta, Malta
Archbishop David Macaire, O.P., of Fort-de-France, Martinique, France
Archbishop Alojzij Cvikl. S.J., of Maribor, Slovenia
Archbishop Fulop Kocsis of Hajdudorog for Catholics of Byzantine Rite, Hungary
Archbishop John Charles Wester of Santa Fe, U.S.A.
Archbishop Denis Grondin of Rimouski, Canada
Archbishop Francescantonio Nole, O.F.M. Conv., of Cosenza-Bisignano, Italy
Archbishop Celso Morga Iruzubieta of Merida-Badajoz, Spain
Archbishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega of Yucatan, Mexico
Archbishop-elect Erio Castellucci of Modena-Nonantola, Italy
Archbishop Heiner Koch of Berlin, Germany
Archbishop Lionginas Virbalas, S.J., of Kaunas, Lithuania
Archbishop Thomas Ignatius Macwan of Gandhinagar, India.
Vatican City, 26 June 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:
- Peter Sutherland, president of the “International Catholic Migration Commission”;
- Georgios Papadopoulos, ambassador of Greece to the Holy See, on his farewell visit;
- Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
Other Pontifical Acts
Vatican City, 26 June 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed:
- Bishop Francisco Antonio Nieto Sua of San Jose del Guaviare, Colombia, as bishop of Engativa (area 133, population 2,000,000, Catholics 1,533,932, priests 116, permanent deacons 34, religious 407), Colombia.
- Msgr. Juan Carlos Cardenas Toro as auxiliary of Cali (area 2,504, population 2,854,000, Catholics 2,425,000, priests 392, permanent deacons 17, religious 899), Colombia. The bishop-elect was born in Cartago, Colombia in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He holds a licentiate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and has served in a number of pastoral roles in the diocese of Cartago, including parish vicar, professor and spiritual director of the minor seminary, parish priest, rector of the “Divino Ecce Homo” Shrine in Ricaurte, formator, bursar and spiritual director of the major seminary, and diocesan delegate for social communications. He has also served as sub director for the national secretariat for social pastoral ministry and coordinator of the pastoral centre for social evangelisation of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia. He is currently adjunct secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia.

Saint June 27 : St. Emma

St Emma
Feast day: June 27
Emma was a relative of Emperor St Henry II and also known as Hemma. She was raised at Henry's court by St Cunegund, and according to legend was married to Landgrave William of Friesach. Their two children were murdered during an uprising of miners owned by William. Grief-stricken, he made a pilgrimage to Rome and died on the way back. Emma then decided to devote her life to God. She gave liberally to the poor, founded several religious houses and a double monastery at Gurk,Austria, may have become a nun there. Despite the above legend, scholars believe she was of the Friesach family rather than William and that her son was killed in a battle twenty years after the death of her husband, Count William of Sanngan, about the year 1015, and it was at this time that she began her foundations. Her cult was confirmed in 1938.