Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quote of the Day

New Evangelization Needs New Media

"It is no longer enough to go on air, to publish, to write. Today one needs to be present in the marketplaces, to update the web pages, in order to reach a world ever hungrier for news. In other words, not having new technical tools at one's full disposal, or not knowing about the most current tools, will mean that one's message will arrive late, will arrive wrong, and might even arrive in vain. In the aforementioned Message for the 45th World Communications Day, The Holy Father has reminded us how the new media: "[are] contributing to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness." It is therefore essential for Vatican Radio to continue to adapt to these new tools if it wants to be the engine of new forms of consciousness, of awareness: in other words, of a new culture. Come to think of it, the development of a new culture based on a specific relationality is typical of the Church. Is not the Catholic Church the first global social network? Long before the new media existed, the Church's liturgical language, values, and way of thinking about the human person have bound together Catholics from around the world, whatever their culture, language, age, race or economic status. The globalization of the media cannot frighten us, because we were the phenomenon's first authors."

--Monsignor Peter Bryan Wells, Vatican Secretariat of State, in a talk given at Vatican Museums to mark the 80th anniversary of Vatican Radio, Feb. 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Quote of the Day

Catholics must not allow themselves to be intimidated into abandoning biblical chronology and accepting the speculations of modern astronomers concerning the age of the universe. The conclusion that the universe is ancient is not the scientific certainty that many of them assert it to be. They interpret data and construct models with the preconceived notion that the universe is ancient, but there is significant scientific evidence that it is not. The facts of modern astronomy do not make it a "necessity" to "depart from the literal and obvious sense" in the interpretation of Genesis' chronology. Rather the opposite is true. A correct interpretation of astronomical data agrees with the literal rendering of Genesis' chronology.

--Fr. Victor P. Warkulwiz, The Doctrines of Genesis 1-11: A Compendium and Defense of Traditional Catholic Theology on Origins (Caryville, TN: The John Paul II Institute of Christian Spirituality, 2009), p. 196.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Urgent Alert from Save Darfur

Satellite images show hundreds of burned villages in Sudan
Tens of thousands homeless in Abyei, Darfur

Please read this message and take action to help stop the violence in Sudan.

We've taken two trips in the last few months to the disputed region of Abyei bordering North and South Sudan. Throughout this time, we've been sounding the alarm that Abyei was likely going to be a flash point for violence.

Sadly, our concerns are now becoming a reality.

Over the past week, villages in the Abyei region were burned to the ground, and tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes. In Darfur over the past few months, the UN has also documented aerial bombardment of civilians and burning of villages with tens of thousands of Sudanese driven from their homes.

We urge you to join us in acting before this violence leads to a full-scale resumption of war in Sudan.

Thanks to our Satellite Sentinel Project, we now have something we've never had before: satellite images that we can use to show the world, with indisputable proof, the systematic nature of violence targeted against civilian populations.

Last fall, when we traveled to the region and spoke with the citizens of Abyei, we heard the same message again and again: the people of Abyei were worried that fighting would erupt, and they asked for the United States and other countries to step in to help protect them.

Take a look at the Satellite Sentinel Project report, and join us in asking President Obama to take swift, bold action to help stop the violence — in Abyei, Darfur and all of Sudan.

Take action now.

Thank you for your help to support the people of Abyei and all of Sudan
at this critical moment.


George Clooney and John

(From the Save Darfur Coalition, 3/9/2011)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Safe Harbour Be, God of Us All"

Many of you may not know who Richard Gillard is. He's the devout Christian singer and songwriter from New Zealand who wrote the well-known "Servant Song" back in the seventies. "Will you let me be your servant, / Let me be as Christ to you, / Pray that I may have the grace to / Let you be my servant, too." Now, in the aftermath of the earthquake that shook his country last week, Richard has written a new song which he calls "Safe Harbour Be, God of us all... a song, a prayer for Christchurch--our 'city in ruins.'" It's a beautiful, prayerful hymn of trust in God and I encourage you to take a listen.

May God grant His peace and comfort to all those affected by the earthquake.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Some of My Latest Projects

Last week I started writing a review of the movie "Food, Inc." because I learned some important things from it about the U.S. food industry, and I want to make the film better known so that more Americans will watch it.

I'm also reading lately about the life of Father Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, one of America's pioneer priests, who founded the Catholic community of Loretto in Pennsylvania. What an interesting character he was. He was a wealthy and well-educated Russian prince who gave up all his worldly privileges and fame to become a priest in the wilderness of the early United States. In forty years of hard mission work at Loretto, mostly done with his own hands and at his own expense, he did much to build up the Catholic Church in western Pennsylvania. His cause for sainthood was opened in March 2005 and he is currently honored by the Church with the title Servant of God. My next book project (after the Mother Teresa book) will be a biography of this saintly man, Father Gallitzin.

Also, I'm planning to write a long article about the new edition of the Roman Missal that the Church will begin using for Mass this November. I'm quite enthusiastic about the changes that are coming because the new liturgical texts are more faithful to the original Latin of the Novus Ordo and will impart a greater majesty and reverence to the celebration of the ordinary form of the Mass.