My Catholic Source.com News & Opinion Page (1/10 Archive)
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After only 37 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict against the shooter of late-term abortionist George Tiller. Found guilty of first-degree murder, his killer now faces life in prison. Pro-life groups have strongly condemned the killing.
The following are some highlights from a recent speech of Archbishop Charles Chaput...
* "God has never been more absent from the Western mind than he is today. Additionally, we live in an age when almost every scientific advance seems to be matched by some increase of cruelty in our entertainment, cynicism in our politics, ignorance of the past, consumer greed, little genocides posing as 'rights' like the cult of abortion, and a basic confusion about what – if anything at all – it means to be 'human.'"
* "While many people in the developed world still claim to be religious, their faith – in the words of the Pontifical Council for Culture – is 'often more a question of religious feeling than a demanding commitment to God.' Religion becomes a kind of insurance policy for eternity. Too often, it is little more than a convenient moral language for daily life."
* "Much of modern technology isolates people as often as it brings them together. It attacks community as easily as it builds it up. It also forms the human mind in habits of thought and expression that are very different from traditional culture based on the printed word. And that has implications..."
* "It is very odd that in the wake of the bloodiest century in history – a century when tens of millions of human beings were shot, starved, gassed and incinerated with superhuman ingenuity – even many religious leaders are embarrassed to talk about the devil. In fact, it is more than odd. It is revealing."
* "This is the kind of Being – once glorious, but then consumed by his own pride - who is now the Enemy of humanity [the devil]. This is the Pure Spirit who betrayed his own greatness. This is the Intellect who hates the Incarnation because through it, God invites creatures of clay like you and me to take part in God's own divinity. There is nothing sympathetic about Satan; only tragedy and loss and enduring, brilliant anger."
* "If we do not believe in the devil, sooner or later we will not believe in God. We cannot cut Lucifer out of the ecology of salvation. Satan is not God's equal. He is a created being subject to God and already, by the measure of eternity, defeated. Nonetheless, he is the first author of pride and rebellion, and the great seducer of man. Without him the Incarnation and Redemption do not make sense, and the cross is meaningless. Satan is real. There is no way around this simple truth."
* "We live in an age that imagines itself as post-modern and post-Christian. It is a time defined by noise, urgency, action, utility and a hunger for practical results. But there is nothing really new about any of this. I think St. Paul would find our age rather familiar. For all of the rhetoric about 'hope and change' in our politics, our urgencies hide a deep unease about the future; a kind of well-manicured selfishness and despair. The world around us has a hole in its heart, and the emptiness hurts. Only God can fill it."
* "...but the really essential questions, the questions that determine everything else in our life as Christians, are these: Do I really know God? Do I really love Him? Do I seek Him out? Do I study His word? Do I listen for His voice? Do I give my heart to Him? Do I really believe He's there?"
* "We have an obligation as Catholics to study and understand the world around us. We have a duty not just to penetrate and engage it, but to convert it to Jesus Christ."
* "The Love which moves the sun and the other stars. That is the nature of the God we preach. A God so great in glory, heat, light and majesty that He can populate the heavens and call life out of dead space; yet so intimate that He became one of us; so humble that He entered our world on dirt and straw to redeem us. I think we can be forgiven for sometimes running away from that kind of love, like a child who runs away from a parent, because we simply cannot understand or compete with that ocean of unselfishness. It is only when we give ourselves to God that we understand, finally, that we were made to do exactly that. Our hearts are restless until they rest in Him. We should not be afraid to believe and to love; it took even a great saint like Augustine half a lifetime to be able to admit, that 'late have I loved thee, Beauty so old and so new; late have I loved thee.'"
The fight over church closures in Ohio is continuing with the recommendation by Cleveland's Landmarks Commission that six additional Catholic churches be "designated as historical city landmarks, which would give them some protection against demolition or structural changes." Many Catholics welcome the government intervention to save their parishes, but the diocese opposes the plans, calling city proposals "extremely offensive." The issue may ultimately be resolved through the courts.
Recent news highlights include...
* The Diocese of Phoenix is revising their marriage preparation requirements, lengthening the preparation time to 9 months and - they hope - better preparing persons for marriage
* Recent "Tweets" that some claimed were from the Vatican were found to be impersonations. No word yet on who may be involved
* LifeNews.com reports that the major networks ABC, CBS, & NBC once again ignored the large pro-life rally on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade which was attended by "tens of thousands" of pro-lifers
* The Holy Father has reassured Haiti that the Church "will remain - and not only in these moments of great commotion - alongside the people who have been so sorely tried by this tragedy, and will, to the limit of her powers, help them regain the chance to build a better future"
* The funeral held this past weekend for Church leaders who died in the earthquake in Haiti was attended by hundreds, including Archbishop Dolan who said that the apparently untouched crucifix in front of the ruined cathedral "brought [him] to tears". More than 150,000 people are now believed to have fallen victim to the devastating earthquake, which also injured or displaced millions of people
* The previously announced book on Pope John Paul II has been released. The book indicates that the late pope practiced mortification, including self-flagellation. The book also reveals that Pope John Paul II would resign if he became incapacitated. The book was authored by the postulator ("main promoter") of the late pope's cause for canonization. The cause itself has been marked with some controversy. While many have been anxious for the popular pope's canonization, others have expressed unease with the fast-tracking of his cause and have called for a more critical examination of the late pope's novel actions and teachings [Related User-Submitted Article: "Great" Popes: When a Pope Should Be & Should Not Be Called Great]
* A recent Washington Post article has created a stir portraying "ordained" Catholic women as "faithful Catholics". Of course, the pseudo-ordinations undergone by these feminists prove precisely that they are not faithful Catholics. In fact, their supposed "ordinations" are entirely invalid and confer absolutely no power whatsoever on these disobedient women. The Church's teaching against women's 'ordination' has characteristics of infallibility and will never be subject to change, despite the dissenters' seemingly relentless efforts. [Related: Top Reasons Why Women Can't Be Priests]
* The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter has announced that the Pontifical Consecration of its newly built chapel at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary is scheduled to occur on March 3, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. (CST). The consecration will be celebrated by Bishop Bruskewitz, with Cardinal Levada, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in attendance. The FSSP website states that "Any and all the faithful are cordially invited and are most welcome to attend this joyful event and enjoy refreshments afterward." Their site also notes that the Pontifical Consecration and Mass will be televised live on EWTN.
Recently released details concerning a possible miracle attributed to Pope Pius XII are causing controversy - but not about this pope. According to a CNA account of the purported miracle (drawn from an Il Giornale article), the husband of a woman diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma prayed for Pope John Paul II's intercession, but instead of receiving help from Pope John Paul II, the man had a dream in which the late pope - with a "serious face" - spoke to him, saying "I can't do anything, you must pray to this other priest..." Several days later, the man saw a picture of Pope Pius XII and realized he was the one that Pope John Paul II spoke of in his dream. After praying for Pope Pius XII's intercession, the man's wife - pregnant at the time - was "miraculously" cured of cancer. Needless to say, the comment attributed to the late Pope John Paul II that he "can't do anything" to help has stirred controversy. While many have sought fast canonization of the popular pontiff, whom some call "Great", others have urged that the process be suspended in favor of a more critical examination of his novel actions and teachings.
Related User-Submitted Article: "Great" Popes: When a Pope Should Be & Should Not Be Called Great
Relics previously thought to be the charred remains of St. Joan of Arc are, once again, being called into question. The artifacts had been labeled "Remains found under the pyre of Joan of Arc, maiden of Orleans", but according to results of recent scientific tests, the remains have "relatively little chance" of belonging to the 15th century saint. A previous test also concluded that the remains were not hers. Furthermore, the historical record (e.g. "After death her ashes were thrown into the Seine" - Catholic Encyclopedia) calls into question the possibility of any existing remains.
The following are some highlights from Pope Benedict's recent activities...
* The Pope has reconfirmed Cardinal Bertone as Vatican Secretary of State even though the Cardinal has passed the age limit for resignation
* The Holy Father participated in the traditional blessing of lambs on the feast of St. Agnes. The lambs have the honor of having their wool be used in palliums
* Pope Benedict reportedly told a rabbi that he has finished his second book on Jesus of Nazareth
* The Holy Father has asked for prayers for unity during this week of prayer for Christian unity. He notes that unity is "first and foremost a gift from God"
* The Pope appointed a female, Flaminia Giovanelli, as under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Add another one to the "parents can't be to careful" file... A former music director for parishes in IL has been arrested for allegedly storing child p*rn on his personal computer, along with his roommate. A diocesan spokesman has confirmed that the former music director "underwent an extensive background check before he was employed at either church" and reportedly gave "no indication of any problems (and had) no arrests in the past." Although there are apparently no reports of inappropriate behavior with children, parents may still find it unsettling that one who is alleged to view child p*rn may have had access to their children through the church choir.
According to CRS, there has been a "tremendous response" to the appeal for aid for Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake, both internationally and from the United States. In addition to financial assistance, CRS Chairman Archbishop Timothy Dolan asks persons to "Please keep in your prayers the people of Haiti and those who are working so hard to bring them aid and comfort"
The doctrinal discussions between the Vatican and the SSPX apparently continued on Monday January 18, according to news reports. While details of the meeting are scarce, they have reportedly "started to deepen the themes of the agenda in the doctrinal talks" and plan to meet again "in mid-March"
CNA is reporting that Cardinal Schönborn issued an apology to Bishop Perić over the Cardinal's recent "private" visit to Medjugorje. The Cardinal's visit has "aggravated the turmoil in the diocese", which is already "plagued by dissent". The faxed "handwritten letter of apology" was issued shortly after Cardinal Schönborn's private meeting with Pope Benedict, a meeting which took place on January 15. The beginning of the letter has been made public. It reads:
"Your Excellency, Dear Brother in Christ. I have received your letter from January 2 of this year. I am very sorry that you got the impression that my pilgrimage has disturbed the peace. You can be sure that this was not my intention."
The attempted assassin of Pope John Paul II, Mehmet Ali Agca, has been released from prison. Upon his release, the attempted assassin - who is believed to mentally ill - stated, in part, that...
"I proclaim the end of the world. All the world will be destroyed in this century. Every human being will die in this century"
He also reiterated his claim to be Christ.
In recent statements, he indicated his supposed desire to be baptized as well his plan to "write the perfect gospel". He has also sought multi-million dollar book deals for his story.
Pray this man stays far away from Rome!
A senatorial candidate's remarks that pro-lifers "probably shouldn't work in the emergency room" is being viewed as a "wake-up call" regarding threats to religious freedom. The U.S. Senate candidate Martha Coakley (D-Mass.) said in a recent interview that "The law says that people are allowed to have [religious freedom]. You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn't work in the emergency room." Her comments have been "sharply criticized" in Catholic circles.
Some long-needed clarity has finally arrived regarding the ecumenical movement. In the annual plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pope Benedict XVI affirmed that the conversion of Anglicans into the Catholic Church is "is in no way contrary to the ecumenical movement", affirming that "rather, it reveals the ultimate aim thereof, which is the realisation of the full and visible communion of the disciples of the Lord"
According to an AP report, the elderly Cardinal who was injured in the Christmas Eve security incident at St. Peter's has been released from the hospital and is in "good" condition.
The following is a brief update on the situation in Haiti after the devastating earthquake...
* The exact number of victims is unknown, but estimates say 50,000 were killed (including the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince), while another 3 million were left "injured or homeless"
* The devastation in Haiti (population 80% Catholic) includes "the cathedral, the archbishop's residence, all the great churches, all the seminaries"
* Earthquake survivors have been forced to remain outside due to safety concerns, even sleeping outdoors overnight
* Nearly 1 in 8 of all priests in Haiti are reportedly either dead or missing
* Catholic Relief Services will send more staff to Haiti to assist in relief efforts
* Observers have described the devastation as "immense" and "unimaginable"
* Some looting has already broken out and there is "very little visible presence of the police"
* At least some good news: Various emergency supplies were "stockpiled" since the neighboring Dominican Republic "had a mild hurricane season"
* CNS has provided a list of Catholic agencies accepting donations for relief efforts (see link at right labeled "Catholic aid agencies accepting donations for Haitian relief efforts") [Commentary: One should support good Catholic relief organizations rather than non-Catholic religious charities. For more on this topic, try the user-submitted article: "Please Don't Do That! Reasons Catholics Shouldn't Lend Their Support To Non-Catholic Efforts"]
* There will be second collection nationwide this Sunday to assist in Haitian earthquake relief efforts
Recent news highlights...
* Reports indicate that more than 600,000 people have already made reservations to see the Shroud of Turin which will be displayed at the Cathedral of Turin this year from April 10 - May 23. Pope Benedict is scheduled to view the Shroud on May 2.
* According to new study by a sociology professor at Texas Tech University, persons who have multiple tattoos or body piercings were significantly more likely to "use illegal drugs, get arrested on criminal charges, fornicate with multiple partners, or cheat at college". The study's author notes that "escalating levels of body art acquisition and social deviance seem to be concurrent phenomena."
* A documentary film is being made about Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the traditionalist bishop who ran afoul of Church authorities by consecrating four bishops without an apostolic mandate
* Under-population crisis: According to a report from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, elderly people worldwide will outnumber children in 2045, significantly impacting taxes, healthcare, and the labor pool
* Reports indicate that there has been a "mass exodus" of liberal Catholics in Austria. A dissenting group claims the departures began when the Pope lifted the excommunication of a controversial member of the SSPX. A diocesan spokesman, however, attributes the departures to "church tax" that is collected in that nation.
* A Jewish rabbi has suggested that since Pope Pius XII did not lay down his life, he is not a saint. He said, that "Jews perceive as insensitive the idea that anyone who did not put their life on the line at that time can be considered saintly or as warranting a move in that direction." They apparently are not swayed even by the mounting "piles of evidence" showing that that Pope Pius XII's efforts were instrumental in saving many thousands of Jews - not to mention that his efforts of behalf of Jews did put his life at risk.
* In a recent interview, the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship has stressed the liturgy as the center of the life of the faithful which has "first priority", saying that all else comes after. He says that the "great contribution" of Pope Benedict is his "leading us to the truth of the liturgy" and that it is an "urgent duty" to correct liturgical abuse. He also reminds that without tradition, the Church would be "converted into a changing human institution"
* A Georgetown University professor who is a consultant to Pope Benedict XVI's Council for the Laity has written an article blasting Obama's controversial, homosexual activist, "Safe Schools Czar". The article states that "The appointment of a 'czar' like Kevin Jennings is one way in which President Obama can ensure the influence of homosexual-rights-activists in important places – like our nation's public schools – without the president's having to pass a law, or even hold a Congressional hearing, both of which might generate public attention and opposition."
* Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco has attempted to set the record straight regarding pro-abort 'Catholic' Pelosi's comments regarding "free-will" and abortion. He reminds that "the exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything" and that "it is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel - racism, infidelity, abortion, theft. Freedom of will is the capacity to act with moral responsibility; it is not the ability to determine arbitrarily what constitutes moral right." He reminds that "free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom."
* Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani spoke on the "grave responsibility" that parents have to raise their children in the faith. He reminds that "Raising them in the truth is to know that sin is the true enemy. From a young age we must make them see what sin is, how it is manifested, why it is sin, and of what it consists. And at the same time, we must teach them that Jesus has come with his life to reveal to us the kindness of his love, his forgiveness and his help. They should learn to forgive and to ask for forgiveness"
* A liberal Jesuit magazine has published a piece defending the proposed new translation of the Roman Missal (Novus Ordo) in response to a priest who argued against it. The article defending the new translation discusses the matter from the writer's vantage point as a former participant in the ICEL translation effort (where, he says, "Ideology, it seemed, had taken precedence over accuracy"). He writes that "So much of what I have witnessed or had described to me by eyewitnesses has been nothing shy of a betrayal of the council's great vision and, in my judgment, largely responsible for the rapid emptying of the pews." He also reveals that he assembled a team to replace the prevailing translation ("a paraphrase instead of a translation") with a new translation, which he says was received with "hostility" by the bishops' committee, but enjoyed "guarded interest" from Rome. Using the example that "If a man is told by his physician that he must lose 50 pounds or face serious problems, he must 'turn back the clock' to the time when he was lighter in order to save his life", he says "that is what the church at the highest levels is calling us to do." He even speaks of "very positive reactions" to the new translations over the past year which he says are "a vast improvement over the uninspiring, banal and all-too-often theologically problematic texts we have been using for nearly 40 years."
The respected Vatican analyst Andrea Tornielli says that a progressive Brussels prelate will soon be succeeded by the country's "most traditional bishop." Although the likely future Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels presently heads the "country's smallest diocese", it "reportedly boasts half of Belgium's 70 seminarians." The prelate is said to be an "enthusiastic supporter" of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. Deo Gratias!
Related: Summorum Pontificum Info.
The Blogs Editor of the Telegraph Media Group suspects that Scottish bishops may "secretly wish" the Holy Father wasn't visiting. Although he admits it may seem "a crazy suspicion to harbour", he cites one "church source" that says "They want an easy life, and Benedict spells trouble for them. They are wedded to the outdated and discredited liturgical practices of the 70s and all that spurious inclusiveness." The source says to "Expect a polyester-style folk liturgy which will put Scotland to shame after what happens south of the border."
Observers note that a federal court trial over California's Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment passed by voters which declared that only marriage between a man and a woman is recognized in that state, may have an impact in "determining the future of marriage in the entire U.S." The trial kicked off Monday (1/11) and is ultimately expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, regardless of which side prevails.
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination." (Lev. 18:22)
The elderly Cardinal who was injured on Christmas Eve when a mentally ill woman jumped the security barrier to approach the Pope is said to be in "excellent" condition and is expected to be released from the hospital the middle of next week, according to the Director of the Holy See Press Office.
Religious tension in Malaysia has increased as the violence against non-Islamic religious structures has continued. At least nine structures have been firebombed or otherwise vandalized since a controversial court ruling permitted a Catholic newspaper to use the word "Allah" as a translation for God. The court ruling, which has angered many Muslims, has been suspended.
The following is from Pope Benedict's speech to members of the Diplomatic Corps...
"Creatures differ from one another and can be protected, or endangered, in different ways, as we know from daily experience. One such attack comes from laws or proposals which, in the name of fighting discrimination, strike at the biological basis of the difference between the sexes. I am thinking, for example, of certain countries in Europe or North and South America. Saint Columban stated that: 'If you take away freedom, you take away dignity' (Ep. 4 ad Attela, in S. Columbani Opera, Dublin, 1957, p. 34). Yet freedom cannot be absolute, since man is not himself God, but the image of God, God's creation. For man, the path to be taken cannot be determined by caprice or willfulness, but must rather correspond to the structure willed by the Creator."
The Holy Father also noted that...
"Sadly, in certain countries, mainly in the West, one increasingly encounters in political and cultural circles, as well in the media, scarce respect and at times hostility, if not scorn, directed towards religion and towards Christianity in particular. It is clear that if relativism is considered an essential element of democracy, one risks viewing secularity solely in the sense of excluding or, more precisely, denying the social importance of religion."
The Rorate-Caeli blog has highlighted a survey concerning the (already well-known) decline of Catholicism in France, the 'eldest daughter' of the Church. The survey indicates that the number of French who attend Mass once a week was "no more than 4.5% in 2009" and that "63% of practicing Catholics think all religions are the same."
Pray for France!
Should you need a chuckle, consider reading news accounts regarding Archbishop Burke's upcoming talk at the 40th annual Red Mass at St. Mary's Basilica in Arizona. A couple examples...
1- "One of the Catholic Church's most controversial figures, Archbishop Raymond Burke..."
2- "Divisive bishop to speak at Red Mass"
If you didn't know any better, what might you think of such a person? Truth is, he's an orthodox, faithful prelate who takes the Catholic faith seriously. Perhaps that is why he was made the "chief justice" of the "Catholic Supreme Court" and is "one of the highest ranking Americans in the Vatican."
For a little more ...um...fun... try comparing media accounts regarding this faithful prelate with articles concerning prelates who have publicly dissented from Church teachings. A betting person might wager one would see outright praise - or at least muted acclaim - for the "progressive" prelates, without a hint that such prelates were "controversial" or "divisive" (unless, of course, they made a point to decry the "unjust" Church teachings that their 'hero-like' prelate disagrees with).
Gotta love that oh-so-impartial secular media.
A personhood measure in Nevada recently suffered a setback as a state judge ruled that a one-line (14 word) ballot measure was too broad and covered more than one subject. The simple pro-life measure which was rejected read: "In the great state of Nevada, the term 'person' applies to every human being."
Regarding the ruling, the judge said, "The issue to me is, are we adequately informing voters on what they're voting on" and claimed that "There's no way for the voter to understand the effects of the initiative."
Cynic's translation: "Truth be d*mned. Who cares if they're persons? We don't want to have to give fellow human beings rights if doing so might interfere with our materialistic lifestyles."
The decision is expected to be appealed.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you..." (Jer. 1:5)
The Church's freedom in the U.K. may be severely threatened by a controversial equality bill according to a new report by "the leading charity – backed by a legal opinion from a leading QC". It is feared that the bill will make it illegal for the Catholic Church and other Catholic organizations and charities to hire and fire based on allegiance to Church teachings. For example, a Catholic charity may be prohibited from firing openly gay employees and they may be forced to hire non-Catholics. Also, the Church may be prevented from hiring only male, celibate priests. The fact that the Church has important reasons for maintaining priestly celibacy (click here) or the fact that the male gender is essential for the valid transmission of priestly orders (click here) may not prevent such practices from being considered "illegal" under the controversial equality bill that is likely to severely threaten religious freedom in the country.
LifeSiteNews is reporting on an "insightful analysis" written by "one of the world's best-known critics of the Harry Potter series." The critic says the popular Twilight vampire novel series "dangerously twists evil into good and may even be demonically influenced." He notes similarities between the vampire book author's experiences and the Harry Potter author's experiences - both received ominous "inspiration" for their work (the vampires author heard "quite literally, voices in my head" as she wrote and had a "terrifying conversation" in a dream; the other author says "The character of Harry Potter just popped into my head, fully formed" and claimed the books "almost wrote themselves", an experience she called "quite spooky"). The critic also notes that both novels are "permeated with occultism", and that both writers were novices before authoring these books (both are now multi-millionaires). Looking at their similar experiences and the occultism in the works, the critic asks, "Based on this, it's appropriate to wonder, is there a supernatural source behind these revelations?"
The works have been condemned by various persons in the Church (including the Chief Exorcist of Rome, Father Gabriele Amorth, who said, "Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil"; Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, who said, "It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly"; and Monsignor Franco Perazzolo of the Pontifical Council of Culture who referred to the recent vampire film as "a moral vacuum with a deviant message"). Unfortunately, both works are "immensely popular", even among some Catholics who fail to see the moral dangers - in fact, many Catholics even allow their children to be exposed to these works which are "permeated with occultism".
"Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour." (1 Pt. 5:8)
An uproar has developed over an image of the disgraced former Archbishop of Milwaukee, Archbishop Rembert Weakland, which appears in St. John the Evangelist Cathedral. The homosexual former Archbishop of Milwaukee - "the most liberal bishop in America" who "wore his dissent as a badge of honor" - is no stranger to scandal. The former Archbishop shuffled around priests who faced abuse allegations and also paid "hush money" to a seminarian he had an affair with. He just recently published a controversial memoir and claims he had "no understanding" of the criminal nature of s*xual abuse of minors, and indicated that he "accepted naively the common view that it was not necessary to worry about the effects on the youngsters: either they would not remember or they would 'grow out of it'". Accordingly, victims groups are upset about the image, commissioned in 2000, which "portrays the former archbishop alongside images of the Virgin Mary, St. John and various other figures including children." The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has, unfortunately, defended the image even though it claims that its "priority remains to work toward healing and resolution. Identifying ongoing sources of pain is important to that process." Church leaders: Heal our pain - smash the image! One can't help but think Church leaders in a holier age would have already done so - without having to be told.
As predicted, Portugal's parliament has passed a bill to 'legalize' homosexual 'marriage' in the traditionally Catholic country. The measure must be reviewed in committee before coming back for a final vote. It is possible that the final vote will occur prior to Pope Benedict's May visit to the country.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Certain Muslims in Malaysia, angry over a controversial court ruling which permits a Catholic newspaper to use the word "Allah" as a translation for God, are apparently firebombing non-Islamic religious structures in the area, including at least one Catholic church. These militant actions are occurring despite the fact that the court ruling has been suspended.
In the wake of the Christmas Eve incident where Pope Benedict was knocked to the ground by a mentally ill woman - only one of a number of recent security incidents - there has been talk about bringing back the traditional sedia gestatoria ("portable papal throne for carrying the Pope on solemn entries"). The following is an excerpt from a recent Catholic Herald article:
"One only has to look at old black and white footage of pontiffs prior to Paul VI to see how popes always used to enter the basilica being carried shoulder high in the sedia gestatoria. Not only that, but there was always a throng of people around the chair, not only the actual bearers but numerous chamberlains and nobility and a large number of guards: Swiss Guards, uniformed Gendarmes, the Palatine Guard and Noble Guard. These comprised the old papal court which Pope Paul VI abolished and which formed a kind of buffer zone between the Pope and the crowds, no doubt as much a practical defence measure as a piece of ceremony.
The use of the sedia continued until very recently and many are unaware that the last pope to use the sedia was actually Pope John Paul I. While the abolition of this ancient form of transport may have since been considered appropriate in the context of the late 20th century and the [supposed] need to democratise the appearance of papal ceremonies, the reality has left the Pope an isolated and vulnerable figure separated from the deacons ahead and the MCs behind, one who appears all too often like the figure in the Third Secret of Fatima: a victim walking alone simply waiting to be attacked."
They also note that bringing back the sedia gestatoria would "save an elderly [Pope's] tired legs" and would allow people to see the Holy Father better.
Bring back the sedia gestatoria!
A press release of the Archdiocese of Hanoi reports that "Police attacked the [Dong Chiem parish on Wednesday], in the early morning, when both its pastor and the pastor's assistant were at the annual retreat in the Archbishop Office. An estimated 500 heavily armed and well-entrenched police officers and a large number of trained dogs were deployed in the area to protect an army engineering unit that destroyed a large crucifix erected on a boulder inside the parish cemetery,"
News accounts indicate that the police attacked parishioners who had "rushed to the site to protect their crucifix". At least six parishioners were hurt, with at least two of those sustaining serious injuries. One article describes the incident as "one of the most serious recent incidents in a long-running series of church-state land disputes."
The following are a few highlights from a recent address of Msgr. Guido Marini, the Pontifical Master of Liturgical Ceremonies, on the 'reform of the reform'...
* "[T]here is an urgent need to reaffirm the 'authentic' spirit of the
liturgy, such as it is present in the uninterrupted tradition of the Church,
and attested, in continuity with the past, in the most recent Magisterial
teachings: starting from the second Vatican council up to the present
pontificate. I purposefully used the word continuity, a word very dear to
our present Holy Father. He has made it the only authoritative criterion
whereby one can correctly interpret the life of the Church, and more
specifically, the conciliar documents, including all the proposed reforms
contained in them."
* "[I]t is not difficult to realize how far distant some modes of conduct are from the authentic spirit of the liturgy. In fact, some individuals have managed to upset the liturgy of the church in various ways under the pretext of a wrongly devised creativity. This was done on the grounds of adapting to the local situation and the needs of the community, thus appropriating the right to remove from, add to, or modify the liturgical rite in pursuit of subjective and emotional ends. For this, we priests are largely responsible."
* "The liturgy is not a closed circle in which we decide to meet, perhaps to encourage one another, to feel we are the protagonists of some feast. The liturgy is God's summons to his people to be in His presence; it is the advent of God among us; it is God encountering us in this world."
* "Without recourse to a detailed historical analysis of the development of Christian art, we would like to reaffirm that prayer facing east, more specifically, facing the Lord, is a characteristic expression of the authentic spirit of the liturgy."
* "[E]verything in the liturgical act, through the nobility, the beauty, and the harmony of the exterior sign, must be condusive to adoration, to union with God: this includes the music, the singing, the periods of silence, the manner of proclaiming the Word of the Lord, and the manner of praying, the gestures employed, the liturgical vestments and the sacred vessels and other furnishings, as well as the sacred edifice in its entirety. It is under this perspective that the decision of his Holiness, Benedict XVI, is to be taken into consideration, who, starting from the feast of Corpus Christi last year, has begun to distribute holy Communion to the kneeling faithful directly on the tongue. By the example of this action, the Holy Father invites us to render visible the proper attitude of adoration before the greatness of the mystery of the Eucharistic presence of our Lord."
* "This is, among other things, the true novelty of the Christian liturgy with respect to every other act of worship: God Himself acts and accomplishes that which is essential, whilst man is called to open himself to the activity of God, in order to be left transformed. Consequently, the essential aspect of active participation is to overcome the difference between God's act and our own, that we might become one with Christ."
* "I mention the external actions because, should they become the essential preoccupation and the liturgy is reduced to a generic act, in that case the authentic spirit of the liturgy has been misunderstood. It follows that an authentic education in the liturgy cannot consist simply in learning and practicing exterior actions, but in an introduction to the essential action, which is God's own, the paschal mystery of Christ, whom we must allow to meet us, to involve us, to transform us. Let not the mere execution of external gestures be confused with the correct involvement of our bodies in the liturgical act. Without taking anything away from the meaning and importance of the external action which accompanies the interior act, the Liturgy demands a lot more from the human body. It requires, in fact, its total and renewed effort in the daily actions of this life. This is what the Holy Father, Benedict XVI calls 'Eucharistic coherence'. Properly speaking, it is the timely and faithful exercise of such a coherence or consistency which is the most authentic expression of participation, even bodily, in the liturgical act, the salvific action of Christ."
* "Sacred music, moreover, must never be understood as a purely subjective expression. It is anchored to the biblical or traditional texts which are to be sung during the course of the celebration. More recently, Pope Saint Pius X intervened in an analogous way, seeking to remove operatic singing from the liturgy and selecting Gregorian chant and polyphony from the time of the Catholic reformation as the standard for liturgical music, to be distinguished from religious music in general. The second Vatican Council did naught but reaffirm the same standard, so too the more recent magisterial documents."
In response to a recent court ruling requiring that crucifixes be removed from public schools in Italy, LifeSiteNews reports that "Italy's Constitutional Court has issued a ruling asserting the supremacy of Italian law and custom over the orders of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)." They note that the court ruling banning crucifixes "lacks legitimacy" because it conflicts with provisions of the Italian Constitution. The ECHR ruling sparked outrage in Italy and elsewhere.
NCR is reporting that sisters who support the Vatican's investigation of female religious orders in the U.S. are being "silenced" by their superiors. One sister who "fully attest[s] to the need for this visitation" said that her community's leaders "want Jesus but not the Church." Some women religious have reportedly been blocked from accessing the Internet "to squelch participation in the visitation." NCR notes that the recently opened online discussion group for sisters who support the visitation had 79 members within just a few weeks.
Liberal sisters have both resisted and publicly criticized the (long overdue!) investigation - some even claim to be "puzzled" by it. However, it is well known that modernist sisters in the U.S. have promoted liberalism, dissent, radical feminism, anti-clericalism, paganism, New Age practices, and witchcraft. Within some circles, there has even been talk of "moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus."
The number of female religious in the U.S. has declined by over 50% since the 1960's. However, in contrast to the aging and shrinking liberal communities, the traditional communities are young & flourishing.
Recent news highlights...
* Tragic: Catholic Portugal is reportedly "set to legalize gay 'marriage'"
* 2012 not the "end of the world": Vatican astronomer notes that "People have been predicting the end of the world since the dawn of humanity" and also notes that "These beliefs spread because we are all tempted by the desire to possess secret knowledge of the future, thinking that it will make us more powerful than others. In reality, this is only a sign of bad science or bad religion." Instead, he gives two precautionary measures "to increase the possibility of a long and healthy life", namely "stop smoking and fasten your seatbelt" [Related: Jesus' Second Coming (Topical Scripture)]
* Heartbreaking: Planned Parenthood is turning a former bank building in Texas into the "largest abortion clinic in the U.S." The facility will include a surgical wing "equipped to provide late-term abortions"
* New study reveals that "children who had been physically disciplined when they were young, between the ages of 2 and 6, grew up to be happier and more successful, performed better at school as teenagers and were more likely to do volunteer work and to want to go to university, than those who had never been spanked." [Related: User-Submitted Article on Spanking]
* Hold your cookies: Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran decries "ignorance of Islam", saying "I wonder if these persons [referring to Swiss persons who - with a "feeling of fear" - voted to ban construction of new Muslim minarets] know Muslims, if they have ever opened the Qur'an." Commentary: Isn't it shocking to hear a Cardinal suggesting persons subject themselves to the offensive - even blasphemous - material in this "holy book"? Doesn't history speak clearly enough for him? Don't the publications which clearly expose the ...um... 'peaceful' parts of this "central religious text of Islam" speak clearly enough? Does the Cardinal also suggest persons drink poison to experience for themselves what it's like? Rather than advising people to read material that offends God, perhaps the good Cardinal should spend more time on the truly holy book of his own religion - the Holy Bible - perhaps starting with passages where followers of Christ are instructed to be on guard against those who distort truth and where we are told to flatly reject error in matters of religion.
* The Iowa Catholic Conference has joined secular efforts to outlaw seemingly astronomical interest rates on "payday loans". Missing from news accounts: The word "usury", mention of lenders' risk on such loans, and references to the voluntary nature of such agreements (regrettable though they be).
Various blogs are reporting that a new director for the Sistine Chapel choir has been chosen. NLM names the new director, a Salesian, as "Dom Massimo Palombella, director of the Inter-University Choir of Rome and a specialist in chant and the full range of polyphonic sacred music." Observers anticipate an official announcement soon.
Some recent news highlights include...
* Pope Benedict's planned visit to a Jewish synagogue in Rome on January 17 is expected to go ahead as planned, despite some Jewish anger over the Holy Father's declaration of Pope Pius XII as venerable
* Muslims in Malaysia are angry over a court ruling which permits a Catholic newspaper to use the word "Allah" as a translation for God. The paper claims it is the "only suitable word for God in Malay". The controversial ruling in the Muslim-majority country has sparked protest, which has included both an organized online effort by a group of Muslims who reject the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims & the hacking of the Catholic newspaper's website. The government is expected to appeal the ruling on this "very sensitive issue"
* Two new members have been named to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, including a priest from a traditional institute (the FSSP)
* "Timeless treasures" from the Vatican's Secret Archives have been published for the first time in a 252-page illustrated book which is available to the general public. A special limited edition of the book - priced over $8,000 - is also available to about 30 buyers
* A bishop in China's underground Catholic Church died on December 30 at the age of 87. Bishop Leon Yao Liang was imprisoned for more than 28 years for his fidelity to the Catholic Church. News of his death is said to have been "tightly controlled" by Chinese authorities
* The Irish Cardinal Daly has died at age 92
* A new Archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome Listecki, is being installed. He replaces Archbishop Dolan who was transferred to New York last year
* Bishop D'Arcy has celebrated his final Mass in South Bend as the head of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. He will be replaced by Bishop Kevin Rhoades
* Atheists in Ireland have published blasphemous statements on a website to challenge a new anti-blasphemy law which threatens fines of up to 25,000 euros (which may total more than $35,000 U.S.)
* Schism in Uganda: Twenty priests who reject their vow of celibacy have reportedly left the Catholic Church to form a new "church". The vow-breaking, schismatic priests now face excommunication [Related: Why Priestly Celibacy?]
* A former Argentinean archbishop has been sentenced to eight years in prison for abuse of a seminary student
* Heartbreaking: PP has reported that more than 1.1 million "abortion services" were provided in 2008, more than double the amount provided in 2007. Despite the huge increase, they say the figures "remain low" and claim that "much needs to be done". They plan to "seize upon" what they see as "growing international interest" and hope to garner new support & financing for their anti-life agenda
Note: Dates in brackets may refer to date news brief was added to MCS news page
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Council of Catholic Analysts of Mexico criticizes Mexico's City's new laws: "The legalization of these homosexual unions and their adoption of children, together with the perverse legalization of abortion in Mexico City in 2007, show us the degree of scorn for children and human life that local lawmakers display" [1/30]
U.S. bishops call for comprehensive, long-term aid to Haiti, including trade preferences, debt cancellation, long-term funding, and "dependable flows of international assistance that target all sectors of Haiti's needs, including infrastructure, health care, education, psycho-social support, law enforcement, judiciary, and economic and agricultural development" [1/29]
Pope Benedict reminds officials of the Roman Rota that an annulment can never be granted to a Catholic whose marriage is valid according to Church law; Holy Father reminds that charity requires upholding justice and truth [1/29]
Unbelievable: Bishop of Albany approves Catholic Charities' proposal to distribute free needles to drug abusers; Catholic Charities' CEO considers the "tragically deceitful" cooperation in evil as "common sense" [1/29]
British filmmakers think they have solved "archeological mystery" concerning aqueduct that supplied "the ancient city of Rome & the early Vatican"; Team member claims that "The water from this site would have supplied the early Vatican and would have been used to baptize some of the first Christians" [1/29]
Some good news: Federal immigration judge grants political asylum to German family persecuted for homeschooling; Judge said: "The rights being violated here are basic human rights that no country has a right to violate" and called persecution of homeschoolers "repellent to everything we believe as Americans" [1/27]
Pro-life group issues report on President Obama's nominations & appointments; Group's founder says "President Obama has nominated and appointed the most radical group of ideologues ever assembled by an American President" [Warning: Article contains disturbing, graphic references] [1/27]
Some good news: More persons view abortion as "morally wrong"; Survey says 58% of persons aged 18-29 consider abortion "morally wrong", while 60% or more persons aged 30-44 and 65+ consider abortion "morally wrong" [1/23]
What a joke: Notre Dame's Fr. Jenkins goes to Washington for pro-life rally; President of ND still refuses to ask for leniency for pro-lifers arrested for peacefully demonstrating on his campus [1/22]
Sinful AND bad for your health: In addition to already known risks, a new study finds link between use of c*ntraceptives and decreased bone density; Study found 5.9% decrease in bone mineral density of the spine in young women taking c*ntraceptive pills for more than a year [1/22]
Abortion/Breast Cancer Coalition sends letter to Congress asking that the US National Cancer Institute be "called to the carpet" over alleged "ongoing efforts to ignore or cover up" the evidence supporting the link between breast cancer and abortion; Organization claims that NCI is "not providing accurate information" about medical risks concerning (the gravely sinful acts of) abortion & contraception [1/21]
Facing probable demise of existing healthcare bills, pro-lifers are still concerned about talk of "starting over", claiming that "opposition must remain in place because any new health care bill could easily fund abortions and require just as much opposition - if not more - because it would be designed to secure enough votes to receive congressional approval" [1/21]
Pro-lifers applaud Massachusetts' election impact on healthcare legislation; Even though senator-elect is not pro-life, advocates say vote is still "tremendously helpful" since the newly elected senator opposes the pro-abortion healthcare bill [1/20]
Bishop of Honolulu urges Catholics to voice opposition to homosexual 'civil union' proposal; Says "In many places throughout our country and the world, and now here in Hawaii, some are attempting to distort this natural relationship by claiming the right of persons of the same sex to marry. They point out that it is discriminatory to allow opposite-sex couples to marry but to disallow the same for same-sex couples. And they are correct! It is discriminatory, making distinctions between one and another. But not all discrimination is unjust. Some is quite justified because it is based on reality and truth. While every person, no matter his or her sexual orientation, is worthy of dignity and respect and has certain inalienable rights given by the Creator, there is no right for people of the same sex to call their unions marriage. ('Civil unions' is simply a euphemism for same-sex marriage.)" [1/20]
SSPX's Williamson says position of Vatican and position of the SSPX are "absolutely irreconcilable"; Claims that "Either the SSPX becomes a traitor or Rome converts or it's a dialogue of the deaf" [1/20]
Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Mexico City warns of danger of homosexual adoption; Says "No matter how good the intentions of homosexual 'parents' might be, their mere lifestyle will impact children greatly"; Concludes that "Growing up in a homosexual environment cannot be good for a child. The testimonies of those who have experienced the trauma of being raised by homosexuals are proof" [1/20]
New study says mortality rates from "all causes" are "significantly" higher with increased television viewing; Each hour spent daily in front of TV may be associated with 18% increased risk of cardiovascular disease related death [1/19]
Vietnamese government denies blowing up crucifix, blocks Catholic news sites; Government says it "dismantled" the crucifix but bishop says "No, it was not dismantled as distorted by The Vietnamese News Agency in a report that contradicted the statement of the archdiocese of Hanoi" [1/19]
Pope Benedict's address at Roman synagogue interrupted seven times by applause; Pope decries "failings" of some persons during the Jewish holocaust, but notes others "reacted with courage, often at the risk of their lives"; Holy Father notes that "The Apostolic See itself provided assistance, often in a hidden and discreet way"; Pope reflected on the Ten Commandments which are "a 'great ethical code' for all humanity" and spoke of his hope for "a growing fraternal love, expressed also in closer co-operation, so that we may offer a valid contribution to solving the problems and difficulties that we still face" [1/18]
Final healthcare bill which is expected to contain "massive abortion funding" is reportedly "very close" to completion; Given the political climate, though, pro-lifer claims "Obamacare isn't a done deal yet" [1/15]
Prefect of Congregation for the Clergy says the Irish abuse cases "do not relate to the entire episcopal ministry"; Says "These are of course very serious, criminal happenings which the Church can in no way tolerate. But let me repeat it, the vast majority of priests worldwide are decent people, committed to their ministry, ready to give their entire lives, often lose their lives, for the Gospel" [1/14]
New bishop of Ft. Wayne-South Bend tells faithful to "Never be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord"; Bishop says "we should always be proud to profess our Catholic faith, doing so with courage and without equivocation" [1/14]
Former prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints critical of Cardinal Schönborn's recent visit to Medjugorje; Regarding the alleged 'apparitions', he says "The Madonna could not, in any case at all, be anti-hierarchical and incite disobedience, even if the Bishop of Mostar were wrong"; Reminds that conversions happen regularly in ordinary parishes and are not proof of authenticity of alleged 'apparitions' [Related Resource: Marian Apparitions at Medjugorje: True or False?] [1/14]
Victims of earthquake in Haiti include Archbishop of Port-au-Prince who was found dead; Apostolic nuncio reports that "Port-au-Prince is completely devastated. The cathedral and the archbishop's residence, all the big churches, all the seminaries are reduced to rubble"; Seminarians believed to be trapped under the rubble in Haiti, "the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere" [1/13]
Mexican Cardinal Archbishop reminds that Church leaders "cannot be silent in the face of attacks on marriage and the family"; Reminds that at our judgment God "will ask us to account for the times we were too embarrassed to speak of Jesus' name"; Recalls that "We, the shepherds of the People of God, cannot put men and their laws before God, as God's law is supreme and unending. Every human law that goes against it is immoral and perverse, as going against His will brings society to moral degradation and ruin" [1/13]
Despite dire situation in France, French Catholicism is "flourishing" in small pockets "where traditional liturgical practice, combined with traditional moral doctrine, is encouraged"; TLM has been a "catalyst for growth" in the "few areas" where accepted by the bishops [1/13]
Attempted assassin of Pope John Paul II says he will answer questions about the attack after he is released from prison next week; However, gunman's "contradictory statements, including claims to be a Messiah, have frustrated prosecutors over the decades and raised questions about his mental health" [1/13]
Archbishop Burke celebrates Red Mass in Phoenix; Reminds that "Saint Thomas More understood that there could be no contradiction between his service of his nation and his service of God, and that, in fact, he could only serve his nation truly and faithfully by his true and faithful service of God" and notes that we live in "a society which is abandoning its Judeo-Christian foundations, the fundamental obedience to God's law which safeguards the common good, and is embracing a totalitarianism which masks itself as the 'hope,' the 'future,' of our nation. Reason and faith teaches us that such a society can only produce violence and death and in the end destroy itself" [1/13]
'Global warming' alarmists won't give up despite possible upcoming three decade long 'mini ice age': Proponent claims the "lengthy cold weather is merely a pause - a 30-years-long blip - in the larger cycle of global warming" [1/12]
Catholic League says Justice Department nominee "wants to punish the Church"; Says nominee "is not the first anti-Catholic chosen by Obama, but she is by far the most extreme and most dangerous" [1/12]
Unbelievable: Ignoring the negative judgments, lies, disobedience, questionable messages & bad fruits, Cardinal Schönborn compares alleged apparitions at Medjugorje to Lourdes [Related Resource: Marian Apparitions at Medjugorje: True or False?] [1/12]
Vatican newspaper says blockbuster movie Avatar is a "rather facile anti-imperialist and antimilitarist parable which doesn't have the same bite as other more serious films"; Vatican Radio accuses the film - which, among other things, has been criticized for holding "liberal environmental and anti-military messages" - of being "a wink towards the pseudo-doctrines which have made ecology the religion of the millennium" [1/11]
Ridiculous: Attempted assassin of Pope John Paul II who may be released from prison later this month wants multi-million dollar book deal, interview; Says his plan is to "proclaim the end of the world and to write the perfect gospel" and "the perfect Christianity that Vatican has never understood" [1/11]
Chair of U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage praises NJ vote to defeat bill that would have 'legalized' homosexual 'marriage'; Archbishop notes that "Preserving marriage between one man and one woman is a matter of justice; indeed it is one of the premier social justice issues of our time" and reminds that "It does not deny but rather supports basic human rights -especially the rights of children" [1/11]
Pro-life group issues letter detailing six ways the Senate healthcare bill mandates taxpayer funding of abortion; The group believes that "enactment of the abortion-related provisions of the Senate-passed health care bill would ultimately result in substantial expansions of abortion, driven by federal administrative decrees and federal subsidies" [1/11]
In wake of bloody riots between immigrants and Italians as well as anti-Christian violence elsewhere, Pope Benedict says that "Violence must never be a way to resolve difficulties"; Holy Father reminds that Baptism "provides a model for society: that of being brothers. Fraternity cannot be created through an ideology, even less so by a decree on the part of some authority. We recognize one another as brothers on the basis of a humble but profound awareness of being children of the one heavenly Father. As Christians, and thanks to the Holy Spirit we received at Baptism, our lot is to have the gift and the commitment of living as children of God and as brothers, in order to become a 'leaven' for a new humanity, united and rich in peace and hope" [1/11]
Regarding the Christmas Eve incident in which a mentally ill woman was arrested after jumping the security barrier at St. Peter's, a chief security officer says "That night everything worked perfectly, according to the usual standards", noting that the director of Vatican security services "reacted in a split second"; The quick reaction, however, did not prevent the Pope from being knocked to the ground [1/8]
HLI president predicts global disaster over abortion; Says "We've got a serious crisis on the horizon. I'm not a prophet of doom but I don't see this going any other way but a serious political crisis that's going to affect the globe"; To be saved from impending disaster, he says "We have to turn back to God" [1/7]
Federal study concluded in 4/09 shows "strong correlation" between oral c*ntraceptives and breast cancer as well as a link between abortion and breast cancer; Group questions why the study has not garnered major media attention [1/7]
Czech cardinal warns: "if Europe doesn't change its relation to its own roots, it will be Islamized"; Says "Europe has denied its Christian roots from which it has risen and which could give it the strength to fend off the danger that it will be conquered by Muslims -- which is actually happening gradually" [1/6]
Online TLM petition [1/5]
Note: Dates in brackets may refer to date link was added to MCS news page
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