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Report: Pope to launch 'Pontifical Council for New Evangelization'


According to a report from a well-connected Italian Vatican writer, Pope Benedict XVI will shortly announce the creation of a “Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization,” to be presided over by Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella. The office will be dedicated to rekindling the faith in the developed West, above all Europe and North America.

Assuming that report is correct, it’s striking for at least three reasons:

What's the Matter with Arizona?


My colleagues Demetria Martinez and Mario Garcia have done a fine job calling attention to the racist and immoral anti-immigrant legislation currently awaiting the signature of the state of Arizona. I second all that they have written about this horrid act.

But, that is not the only egregious and racist act of the Arizona legislature in recent days. The Arizona House of Representatives has passed a law requiring future candidates for President to present a copy of their birth certificates to the Secretary of State before they have their names put on the ballot. The law is the outgrowth of the “birther” movement, those people who question whether or not President Barack Obama was born in the United States and, therefore, eligible for election as President.

Arizona's anti-immigration bill


A few days ago, Cardinal Roger Mahony denounced in the strongest terms the retrograde and dangerous anti-immigration bill passed by the Arizona state legislature. The bill if signed into law by the governor would allow local police in that state to stop anyone they suspect of being undocumented.

Cardinal Mahony joined with the Catholic bishops of Arizona and other state religious leaders in a letter urging the governor to veto the legislation.

As they noted, the proposed law could lead to widespread discrimination against Mexican Americans and other Latinos who can be stopped and asked to prove their citizenship or legal residence.

But when you think of it, what can anyone show that they are citizens or that they are legal? Few of us walk around with our passports and a driver’s license is not proof of citizenship or legal status. This clearly is an issue that can be abused by the police.

Cardinal Mahony also criticized other aspects of the bill such as outlawing day workers from congregating to look for work. The right to work should not be forbidden especially since these workers have so little.

Death anniversary of Cesar Chavez


Just got this note from our friends at Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, DC.

Dear Friends,
Today is the anniversary of the death of Cesar Chavez, the great nonviolent prophet of the United Farmworkers Movement. We beckon his intercession as we strive to exemplify his fidelity to Jesus and his untiring commitment for social justice. I read the below prayer by Chavez as we concluded our White House peace vigil today.

Cesar Chavez--Presente!!!

With love and gratitude,
Art Laffin

Prayer of the Farm Workers' Struggle
         --Cesar E. Chavez

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people's plight.

Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.

Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.

Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.

Give me honesty and patience;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.

Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.

An injustice in DC ñ where is the archdiocese?


The license plates in the District of Columbia say simply, “Taxation without Representation.” This is not some commemoration of the Revolutionary War. It is reality in DC. Citizens in the District pay taxes, but have no voting representation in the Congress of the United States, even though the population is larger than some states. Why? DC is not a “state” as understood in the Constitution. Whatever the legal arrangements that can overturn this hurdle, it is a rank injustice that must be changed.

A social and racial sin in Arizona


I received this urgent call to action and prayer from Sojourners Magazine regarding the brutal anti-immigration legislation awaiting the signature of Arizona's governor. The stakes are particularly high for the church: anyone in a ministry that might involve transporting an undocumented immigrant will be at risk for arrest.

Arizona's three bishops -- Gerald F. Kicanas, Thomas J. Olmsted and James S. Walland --- and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony have joined those urging Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto legislation.

Please read this and respond.

"Last week we asked you to join us in prayer as the chance for comprehensive immigration reform was looking bleak. Four days later, we have some crucial developments to share on this issue – good and bad – that you need to know about.

Brace yourselves, this just in from England


Wait. Am I missing something here?

According to Catholic News Service today, the bishops of England and Wales are asking Catholics to carry out acts of penance each Friday in May to help atone for clerical abuse crimes.

Is someone making this up?

Did you ever go to confession and say these words?

"Bless me father for I have sinned. ... For my penance I want you to say three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys!

Here is what CNS reports:`

In a statement to be read at all parishes April 24-25, the bishops assured Catholics that effective child protection procedures are in place. However, they said, it is "time for deep prayer and reparation for atonement" of the sins of priests and other Catholics who have abused children.

"We invite Catholics in England and Wales to make the four Fridays in May 2010 special days of prayer," the bishops said in their statement, released April 22.

They recommended visiting the Blessed Sacrament to pray for victims, their abusers and for church leaders who mishandled cases.

Earth Day media


This 40th anniversary of Earth Day can be celebrated by watching "Oceans" in theaters or "The Cove" (reviewed here in St. Anthony Messenger) or catching the PBS special "Earth Days" in reruns. It details the history of Earth Day and is well worth the watch (my review here.)

If you were watching "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" on NBC last night, you would have noticed the theme was about the situation of beef in the meatpacking industry. "CSI: Miami" also had an episode on food that I commented on earlier in NCR.

The Oscar-nominated documentary "Food, Inc." covers the same territory, only more in depth, and embraces the food industry (agribusiness) in the United States. I think I have had small portions of beef maybe five times in the last several months because of it. (See my September 2009 review)


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In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS