Print Edition: Feb. 22, 2015
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BY Jim Cosgrove
Blind Mexican Singer Witnesses to God's Love
LOS ANGELES TIMES, Aug. 2-“All eyes are fixed on 16-year-old Sandy Caldera, standing in front of the altar at Our Lady of Loretto Church in Echo Park,” wrote the Times' Joseph Trevino.
In mostly Catholic churches in Latino neighborhoods throughout Southern California, Sandy, a blind gospel singer from Tijuana, “is packing the pews with thousands of people, who are drawn to her powerful, throaty voice and spiritual ballads about overcoming life's ordeals,” reported Trevino.
“I used to see my handicap as a limitation. Now I see it as a gift. It brings me closer to people,” especially children, said Sandy.
Her family has financed the recording of six CDs. But her latest album, Solo con Dios (Only with God), has been released by a Christian label, and there are plans to have Sandy's songs aired on mainstream Spanish-language radio stations. A promotional tour is also in the works.
Sandy's parents, devout Catholics, at first struggled with their daughter's handicap, discovered at birth. “Little by little, we've understood that [God] had a plan for her,” explained Sandy's mother, Constanza, who accompanies her on her trips.
The young artist credits a priest from a poor parish in Tijuana with launching her singing career. The church's catechism program needed to build a room to teach children.
The priest suggested that 9-year-old Sandy help by recording a tape with her songs, with proceeds going toward construction of the room. The tape was dedicated to slain Guadalajara Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo.
Since then, Sandy has traveled throughout Mexico, Latin America and the United States.
‘Power For Living’ Commercials Hit by Time
TIME, Aug. 9-Time's David Van Biema initiated a search for information about the “secretive” DeMoss Foundation by wondering who's behind those Power for Living commercials.
“Like a majority of DeMoss undertakings, the Power for Living campaign turns out to be a simple call to Christ. But a significant minority of the foundation's projects are harder edged, targeting abortion and gay rights and promoting a vision of a Christian America some find overzealous,” said Van Biema, who asks: “What are its larger social goals?”
Time reports that the DeMoss family is not only evangelical Protestant but politically conservative. Its members have either worked for or donated money to the campaigns of such figures as Newt Gingrich and Jesse Helms.
The family foundation was also responsible for pro-life commercials in the early 1990s that carried the message, “Life. What a beautiful choice.”
The Power for Living booklet itself “employs simple metaphors … in support of the classic invitation: ‘I want You, Jesus, to take over my life.’”
“Given their history, I'm looking for the other shoe to drop,” said Chip Berlet of what Time calls the “left-of-center Political Research Associates.” Berlet pointed to a book financed by the foundation that lists the homosexual-rights movement, abortion and “our humanistic, secular public school system” as proof that “Americans have lost their way in part because they do not know their own Christian heritage.”
The foundation's 1997 tax filings “show both sides of the group's character,” said Van Biema. Of the $25 million in expenditures, “three-fourths of DeMoss's giving qualifies as relatively non-controversial,” he concluded. However, “1.6 million went to the American Center for Law and Justice, a nonprofit law firm founded by Pat Robertson that opposes gay marriage, defends abortion protesters and promotes various types of school prayer.”
If the mainstream news media views those causes as “hard edged” and worthy of careful scrutiny, it's no wonder the DeMoss folks are so secretive.
Excerpts from select publications
BY Jim Cosgrove
Is It a Hate Crime to Be a Christian?
CABLE NEWS NETWORK, Oct. 18-The ugly and tragic death of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual who was tortured and murdered in a Wyoming robbery, drew criticism from every commentator who mentioned it. But some, not content with criticizing the killers, blamed Christians as well.
At least one even charged that Catholics become complicit in such violence simply by criticizing the notorious New York play, Corpus Christi, which depicts its main character as a homosexual who sodomizes his disciples.
“If it's blasphemous for the image of Jesus Christ to be gay, then they're saying that it's blasphemous for anyone to be gay,” Chris Quinn, director of the New York City Anti-Gay and Lesbian Violence Unit, told the Oct. 17 Philadelphia Inquirer. “That's a dangerous message to send out, in light of the kind of violence against gays we've seen recently.”
Gary Bauer, president of the Family Research Council, has been particularly targeted by such charges because his organization has sponsored high-profile advertisements featuring homosexuals who say their lives were improved by changing their sexual orientation and who invite others to do the same.
Bauer defended himself recently on the program Late Edition. “It's not just that I was attacked this week,” he said. “Any believer in this country… Catholic, evangelical, Orthodox — all of them were smeared this week. Those two men in Wyoming were not Christians — they were thugs. And if they were a sign of anything they're a sign of the breakdown of values, not the growth of the Christian faith.”
Bauer also said he opposes “hate crimes” legislation that many have proposed. “Look, every murder is a hate crime,” he said. “The idea that somehow having additional penalties in Wyoming would have made any difference in this case is absurd. These two thugs ought to have the books thrown at them, but they ought to have the book thrown at them if they had murdered a 70-year-old woman. It doesn't matter who the victim is; a murder is a murder … and they ought to be punished to the full extent of the law.”
Oklahoma City Victim's Father Opposes Execution
SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, Oct. 18-It is easy to be against the death penalty — until it's your daughter who was murdered. That's what Bud Welch told the San Francisco Examiner in a story reprinted in the Detroit News Oct. 18.
Welch lost his 23-year-old daughter, Julie Marie Welch, when Tim McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. “I was filled with so much rage, revenge, and hate. Once [McVeigh and Terry Nichols] were identified and charged, all I thought was, ‘Fry ‘em,’” Welch told the paper.
Later, he reconsidered. “I wanted to know: After they were tried and executed, how was that going to help me? I struggled with that question for two or three weeks. And I finally realized … [execution] won't bring Julie Marie back. Revenge, hatred, and rage — that's why Julie Marie is dead today.”
A Catholic nun whom the paper didn't identify later helped him set up a lengthy meeting with Tim McVeigh's father and sister, Bill and Jennifer McVeigh at their home, said the report. “When I got ready to leave, Jennifer hugged me and then she just took to sobbing,” Welch told the paper. “I … said, ‘Honey, the three of us are in this together for the rest of our lives…. I don't want your brother to die, and I'll do what I can to help.’”
Now, Welch is speaking publicly against McVeigh's death sentence. “I go to Mass every week, but I'm not an overly religious person,” he is quoted saying. “I'm not a born-again Christian…. But I've somehow felt closer to God than I ever have since I met with Bill and Jennifer. It was the most satisfying thing I've done in my life.”
Saint for the Next Millennium Gets National Shrine
DETROIT NEWS, Oct. 17-"It's official,” begins the report from Royal Oak, Michigan. The Shrine of the Little Flower there has been named a national shrine by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, which makes it a national pilgrimage site for St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower for her desire to be a small, unassuming creature that quietly delights God.
The report quoted the Shrine's pastor Father William Easton about St. Therese, who last year was named a doctor of the Church. “Pope John Paul II has often spoke of St. Therese as the saint for the next millennium,” he told the paper.
The paper described the Shrine building's 1933 architecture as “notable,” saying, “it soars four balconies high and seats 3,000.”
Excerpts from select publications
BY Jim Cosgrove
‘Pro-Choice’ Jewish Group Takes a Pro-Life Stand
WASHINGTON TIMES, September 6 — Thirty-four Jewish women from the “arts elite” of New York have formed a group called STOP, Standing Together to Oppose Partial Birth Abortion. The Washington Times described them as overwhelmingly Democratic and pro-choice actresses, TV producers, theater agents, authors, columnists, and singers.
The group's founder, Sandi Merle, a lyricist and songwriter in New York, told the paper her group would lobby Jewish lawmakers. STOP points out that Jewish belief cannot countenance the extreme pro-abortion positions of those Senators who continue to protect the procedure in which labor is prematurely induced in the weeks before a baby's due date, so that the baby can be partially born and then killed, its skull punctured with scissors and then crushed.
In the report, the group compares that form of abortion to experiments by doctors in Nazi Germany, and calls it infanticide.
One STOP target identified in the article is Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the respected Democrat who said President Bill Clinton's behavior was “immoral,” “harmful,” and “disgraceful.”
Critics claim he has a “moral blind spot” because his influential vote almost single-handedly keeps partial birth abortion legal in the United States against the wishes of a vast majority of Americans who consider it immoral, harmful, and disgraceful.
Bill Bradley's Presence at Notre Dame Assailed
PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, September 9—Notre Dame has come under fire for a public policy class there featured, said an article attributing an Associated Press wire report. The class's professor is popular former Senator Bill Bradley, whose influential votes provided a crucial defense of abortion in the United States during his 18 years of public life, according to the report.
Joseph Scheidler, a graduate and former instructor at Notre Dame, calls Bradley the “abortion senator” because of his long record of votes for abortion.
Scheidler is reported saying that for the school to offer his course is like offering a course on the sacrament of marriage taught by Hugh Hefner, Playboy magazine founder.
The university, through a spokesman, said that Notre Dame agrees with Scheidler, and believes Bradley's views on abortion are “wrong.” But he said Notre Dame hired Bradley because the university wanted students to hear his contrary ideas as part of an “open forum.”
Alaskan Bishops Defend Marriage
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, September 8—Alaska's Roman Catholic bishops have released a pastoral letter reaffirming the Church's teaching that marriage is only possible between a man and a woman. It calls same-sex marriage “an oxy-moron.”
The timing of the letter is important. Voters will decide in November whether or not to amend Alaska's constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman only, said the report. The report quoted Anchorage Archbishop Francis Hurley saying, “We decided to speak on the issue for the benefit of our people. There's nothing telling anybody how to vote.”
The bishops' three-page document was mailed to Alaska's 40,000 Catholics. The marriage amendment was written after state Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski told Alaskans they do not have the right to protect marriage without it, said the report.
The report said the bishops mention Judge Michalski's decision, claiming his court “opens the door to change the nature of marriage. It dismisses male and female sexuality as integral to marriage. It eliminates the unique intimacy of a man and a woman that is achieved in no other setting. It discards consideration of the procreation of children. It changes, also, the meaning of family.”
They also praised the amendment, saying, “We personally give a firm and unqualified ‘yes’ to that amendment because the amendment gives a firm and unqualified ‘yes’ to marriage as marriage has been and is understood in our state and our nation and in our Church.”
Charismatic Conferences Attract Press Attention
LOS ANGELES TIMES September 6 — Catholic Renewal Convention in Anaheim attracted 12,000 people to the Convention Center of Disneyland's home town.
“The convention is evidence of the growing foothold of the charismatic movement in the Roman Catholic Church,” said The Los Angeles Times, comparing the movement to Pentecostalism and its stress on personal experience of the Holy Spirit.
“Charismatic church services also are generally more demonstrative,” said the paper, “which supporters say taps into the growing popularity of evangelical faiths.” Event organizer Fr. Kevin O'Grady said that convention Mass attendance was three times Christmas and Easter levels.
The same day, the San Antonio Express News reported on a Charismatic Conference there, drawing 1,500 people, a third of whom were teen-agers and young adults.
That conference, “Holy Spirit: Lord and Giver of Life,” featured youth events. Before Mass, “teen-agers crowded onto a stage to show off some of their enthusiasm in songs that featured tambourines, electric guitars, and words illuminated on a wall by a projector,” said the report.
Auxiliary Bishop Patrick Zurek was the homilist at the San Antonio conference Mass.
Excerpts from select publications
BY Jim Cosgrove
New Law Would Protect California Religious Freedom
LOS ANGELES TIMES, August 29-The Los Angeles Times reported that a bill on Governor Wilson's desk would deliver greater religious freedom — but not school prayer — to students at public schools.
“AB 1617, the Religious Freedom Protection Act, would prevent state and local governments from interfering with religious observances unless a compelling reason could be shown,” said the report.
It cited several examples: it would allow Jewish students to wear a Yarmulke and Sikh youth to wear a turban, even if there was a “no hat” policy at the school. The school could maintain its policy for a serious reason, the report said.
Another: the law would allow students to get perfect-attendance awards, even if they missed school for Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, or observed the Jewish new year or the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival.
It might also address situations like that in one Southern California school district, which from 1995-1997 consistently scheduled important school events on Jewish High Holy days, apparently unaware of them.
Said the report, “The bill is a direct response to a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed by Congress in 1993.” The California measure institutes the provisions of RFRA on the state, rather than the federal, level.
Caution Called for in Assessing Global Warming
NEW YORK POST, August 27-David Gelernter's expertise is twofold: art and computers. But since becoming a victim of the unabomber — Gelernter was targeted for his interest in technology — he has studied the brand of radical environmentalism that drove Ted Kaczinsky, who is serving time for attacking him.
He criticized the World Council of Churches for being too quick to endorse the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty that would see Americans spend some $7 to $12 billion annually to reduce carbon monoxide emissions in an effort to save the world from over-heating.
He wrote, “The problem is, first, that there is no scientific consensus on global warming.” He cited Facts, Not Fear, a book by Michael Sanera and Jane Shaw, and pointed out that temperatures have only risen one degree in one century — and for reasons that are not clear.
“It's possible that our carbon-dioxide exhaust is trapping heat like the glass of a greenhouse, and thereby heating things up. But if you endorse this theory, why did average temperatures rise faster in the 1910s and ‘20s (before the modern surge in carbon dioxide) than over the last few decades? Why did they fall between 1938 and 1970, as carbon dioxide increased? Does your theory account for the long-term temperature cycles that happen by themselves? There has been a lot of global warming since the last Ice Age.”
He said the Catholic and Orthodox Jewish positions on global warming are the wisest: that it is in the realm of scientific speculation, not religious faith, and that it does not pose a clear enough threat to justify large expenditures of money.
Gelernter said that the money some would spend on global warming could be better spent on charity. “How about if we established a national grant program for mothers who want to stay home and rear their children but can't afford to, or have husbands who won't let them? I'm not proposing such a program. But it would make far better sense on moral terms than what Church leaders are promoting.”
Reader Defends Faith
TOLEDO BLADE, July 30-Greg Fawcett, a Toledo Blade reader, recently responded to an op ed that the paper published by Eileen Foley that he called, “one of the most offensive and mean-spirited I have ever read.”
He said, “I can't help but wonder when will The Blade, ‘One of America's Great Newspapers,’ give one-fourth of an editorial page so an anti-Semite or an anti-Muslim can trash and disrespect those that they dislike. Apparently, if you want to slam and print anti-Catholic remarks or attack Christian values, it's open season at THE BLADE given Ms. Foley's disrespectful tirade about a faith followed by more than 950 million people worldwide.”
He pointed to Mary as a refutation of Foley's claim that the Church is antagonistic to women.
He concluded that Foley “apparently is a fallen-away Catholic. That is sad, for it is apparent that she is… uninformed on the Catholic faith. … Peace be
with Ms. Foley. Maybe she let her anger go. Try to be the open-minded, tolerant, and compassionate person that followers of the Catholic and other religious faiths struggle to model and live up to every day. I'll pray for her.”
BY Jim Cosgrove
Archdiocese 1, Time Warner 0
It isn't often that an archdiocese is pitted against a Time Warner entertainment company, but in San Antonio, Texas, Archbishop Patrick Flores has rescued the city's Catholic television station from an untimely demise at the hands of one of the giant's subsidiaries.
In April, San Antonio's cable system, Paragon, informed the archdiocese that they were planning to move Catholic Television San Antonio from a channel accessible to all basic television subscribers, to one available only to those who pay extra.
Archbishop Flores vigorously opposed the move, claiming that the change would mean abandoning most of its viewers—many of whom rely on the channel, but who are often poor. He said the move would cause the ministry's demise. The city council and religious leaders in the city agreed.
Faced with a quickly growing number of critics and no allies, Paragon gave in May 26, reaching an agreement that allows the archdiocese to stay on the basic services—and granting them $50,000 to announce the resolution of the issue. The cable company claims the move will cost them $1 million a year by supplanting a money-generating preview channel.
The San Antonio Express-News of May 27 quoted reactions to the decision. “We had not given up praying and I think the hearts of everyone involved have been moved,” Archbishop Flores said at City Hall minutes after reaching the agreement with Paragon Cable.
Paragon, said, “It feels great that the whole thing worked out for the archbishop and Catholic television.”
Bishop Opposes Homosexual Parade
When homosexual activists in the Gay Pride Alliance announced their intention earlier this spring to parade through the streets of Corpus Christi, Texas, on Trinity Sunday (June 14), Bishop Roberto Gonzalez quickly registered his opposition.
He wrote a letter to city officials pointing out that a city-sanctioned parade of homosexuals would “send the wrong message to the children and young people” by promoting a homosexual lifestyle and fostering a hostile climate in the city, the San Antonio Express-News reported May 28.
Local evangelical Christians also reacted, scheduling a March for Jesus the same weekend, in hopes of drawing a larger crowd.
Critics in the city council were satisfied when the homosexual activist group issued rules barring revealing clothing, nudity, real or acted-out public sex acts, and requiring that drag costumes be “in good taste.”
Critics say that the very need for such rules demonstrates the dangers inherent in a parade that celebrates preference for particular sexual acts.
Candidate Jeb Bush Changed by Conversion
Time magazine's June 8 profile of Jeb Bush, the former president's son and leading candidate for governor of Florida, calls him “the most unusual of the Bush kids.” The reason? For one, he is Catholic.
The report explains that Bush left his family's Maine-Washington-Houston orbit while still in high school to study in Mexico. He returned in love with a Colombian-Mexican girl whom he later married. It was largely for her sake that he settled in Miami—a place where the Bush name had fewer connections than in Texas, where his brother George W. now resides in the governor's mansion.
The article says that “Bush recently made perhaps the ultimate leap for the son of the ultimate Wasp: he converted to Catholicism. It wasn't entirely an alien experience. Bush has been accompanying his wife to church off and on since their 1974 marriage, and many observers had erroneously concluded that he had already adopted her religion. But it happened only three years ago.…”
Bush told the magazine, “I vowed to myself after the election that I would convert. It turned out to be a pretty therapeutic thing.… Had I won, I would have been
up in a cocoon in Tallahassee and protected.… I'm convinced that I'm better off for not having won.”
After his defeat, Bush began to attend RCIA courses at his local parish. He enjoyed his classmates, saying, “[T]hese were real people, and it was so much fun to talk about normal things and to be treated as just a normal, ordinary person.” The experience brought him closer to his family as well, he is quoted saying.
Observers see a marked difference in Bush even in his campaigning, said the article. He now campaigns in black neighborhoods and other places that formerly were neglected by many Republican campaigns.
The issues he is promoting? Economic growth in poor neighborhoods, adoption, privatization of government, and compassion.
“Compassion must mean suffering with others and acting on the consciousness of your suffering with the people who are really in need,” he told Time.
BY Jim Cosgrove
The alleged weirdness of Californians, the subject of many jokes, may be scientifically measurable, according to Wade Clark Roof, president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Roof, who is also a professor at University of California-Santa Barbara was quoted in the Los Angeles Times April 25 saying that it's the peculiar quality, not the quantity, of religion in California that's different.
“Because of the region's diversity of religions, the frontier psychology, its great individualism, this part of the country has never had a religious establishment,” the paper quoted Roof saying.
For instance, nearly a third of self-described Christians in California believed in reincarnation in a study Roof conducted in 1988.
“The West Coast's heritage lends itself to the playful cultivation of an inner life through concentration and contemplation, in its quests for the divine, in its belief in spiritual growth, and in its dialogue between Western and Eastern religious themes,” Roof said.
Influences such as immigration from Asia are found elsewhere in the country. But, said Roof, in what may itself be a peculiarly Californian turn of phrase, “West Coast entrepreneurs are second to none at popularizing and commodifying spirituality.”
Drugs, Shrinks, and God in Hollywood
Many newspapers have recently noted that Hollywood seems to be rediscovering religion. But an April 24 report in the Philadelphia Inquirer also noted another phenomenon: Hollywood more often treats therapy and drugs as religion. The report cited several examples:
l Good Will Hunting, in which “a young genius struggling with the responsibilities of his intellectual gifts attempts to sort out his problems by consulting with a psychologist.”
l As Good as It Gets, in which “a mean-spirited loner (Jack Nicholson) becomes a sweet, generous man almost overnight. Later, we learn that in order to court a woman, he started taking the medication that had been prescribed by his psychiatrist, and this accounts for his improved disposition.”
To emphasize the trend, the report said, “When movies challenge or examine these prevailing beliefs, they can seem downright subversive. So it was with The Sweet Hereafter and The Ice Storm, two of last year's most remarkable movies.”
“The Sweet Hereafter questioned whether secular remedies (like civil litigation) provide an adequate way of dealing with the kind of unfathomable tragedy (a school-bus crash with multiple fatalities) that visits a small town.”
“The Ice Storm pointed to a collapse of spiritual authority as part of a cultural malaise that helped destroy families amid the social upheaval of the 1960s.”
Returning to the Church
Eight-year-old Kevin Windle received his first Communion at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Columbus, Ohio, this month carrying a small prayer book in his pocket. His grandfather had carried that same book to the altar rail 58 years ago when he made his first Communion.
The Columbus Dispatch reported the story April 27, pointing out that many American families — like the Windles — are returning to the Church after an absence. Kevin Windle was baptized that same day.
A hunger for spirituality is bringing adults back to the Church, said Father Larry Hemmelgarn, a diocesan spokesman, according to the article. Consumerism makes Americans long for something “more than ourselves … and that leads to a rise in the practice of organized religion.”
“Each time, I'm reminded of my own [first Communion] and the joy I had, and I see the joy they have,” said Father Carmen Arcuri, of the Windles’ parish. “It's the highlight of my year.”
BY Jim Cosgrove
Benetton Cries for Argentina
Reuters reported March 27 that, “An exhibition in Buenos Aires by controversial Benetton photographer Oliviero Toscani was canceled by its presenters after a flap over a photo deemed offensive to Catholics, a company spokes-woman said.’
First, officials “asked that a photo of a 13-year-old girl dressed in a nun's habit kissing a 14-year-old boy in priest's garb be pulled from the show, said Josefina Braun, Benetton's director of communications for Argentina and Uruguay.’
"Benetton's answer was to scrub the entire exhibit, which featured about 40 photos previously used in Benetton ads that were to be shown in the city's Recoleta Cultural Center.’
The photographer reportedly called critics’ opinions of his work a “neuropsychiatric problem.’
Toscani, whose pictures include some called “image terrorism” by Vatican officials according to the report, said he was mystified as to why the photo was banned, saying the move “left everyone poorer.’
Irish Public Schools Can Pay Priests
In the United States, it is only relatively recently that the use of state funds for religious schools was deemed unconstitutional. Ireland recently rejected our example.
"The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an application by the Campaign to Separate Church and State to prevent the minister for education paying chaplains in community schools,” said the March 26 Irish Times.
"The court ruled such payments were constitutional, but added that it was constitutionally impermissible for a chaplain to instruct any child in a religion other than the child's own without the consent of parents.’
"Mr. Justice Barrington also said a religious denomination was ‘not obliged to change the general atmosphere of its school merely to accommodate a child of a different religious persuasion who wishes to attend that school.’”
BY Jim Cosgrove
Cardinal Stafford on Laity and World Youth Day
Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, the head of the Pontifical Council on the Laity, had two messages for the flock he guided as archbishop of Denver. The cardinal was back home for the summit on technology and the Church.
The Rocky Mountain News (March 30) reports that he took the occasion to stress the importance of the laity in the Church's mission—and the difficulties they can therefore expect to face. The article said Cardinal Stafford believes lay Catholics are the “backbone” of the Church.
"Indeed,” he said, “for lay Christians trying to live out their faith today— say, in the realms of medicine, technology, and politics—‘;the world is increasingly difficult’.’
"Yet, it is those who succeed who will bring back to public life something woefully lacking today,” which the prelate called “nobility of spirit.’
Cardinal Stafford also wanted to talk about the 1993 World Youth Day that was held in Denver, according to a March 30 Denver Post Report.
"In particular, [Cardinal] Stafford spoke about Butterfly Hill at Cherry Creek State Park, where 500,000 people gathered to see the Pope and celebrate the final hours of the 1993 conference.’
"[The cardinal] believes that just as butterflies go through a metamorphosis, there was a metamorphosis of the spirit at Butterfly Hill on Aug. 14 and 15 of 1993 that profoundly impacted the youth of the world.’
"Retired Denver police officer Phil Harrington, who was at Sunday's reception for [Cardinal] Stafford, remembers that before the Pope's arrival in Denver, the city had experienced what became known as ‘The Summer of Violence.’”
Harrington, a Catholic deacon also ordained by the cardinal, said the Pope's visit there had “a calming effect” that was evident when he arrived.
The Consensus Catechism
The Presbyterian Church, following the Catholic Church's lead, plans to release its own catechisms, the Associated Press reported March 28, 1998.
Like their predecessor, the new catechisms will be conversational in tone. “But unlike the 688-page Catholic catechism, the Presbyterian catechisms avoid definitive stands on such issues as abortion and homosexuality that have divided the denomination in recent years. As with earlier catechisms, the 14-page Study Catechism and the five-page First Catechism—a simpler document intended for ages 10 and up—focus on traditional teachings.’
But the catechisms won't avoid all recent or contentious issues: they affirm “modern scholarship as a tool for interpreting the Bible,” and the importance of the environment, the report stated.
One Presbyterian scholar is quoted saying, “We tried very much to produce a consensus document, the broad consensus, the broad middle within the Presbyterian Church.’
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