Friday, May 26, 2006

Five ways God uses problems, the Catholic Social Thought, and the cellphones of the future are almost here!

We are very pleased to announce several new editorial features that debut this week. Catholic evangelist Bo Sanchez now writes a weekly blog in ParishWorld. His previous articles on fidelity, marriage, and keeping life simple, among others, have been reader favorites in ParishWorld. This week he challenges you to "Keep the number of your heart secret."

Also begining this week, ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion provides short and crisp answers to burning question from Catholics. This week, the topic is "Why do Catholics put so much faith in the rosary?" He still continues to post challenging thoughts in his ParishWorld blog "No crying at my funeral."

"The True Christian Church" is an interesting commentary that explains why the Catholic Church - and not any one of the multitude of Protestant demoninations - is the ‘one true’ Church established by Jesus Christ himself. This is a must read. We also have a touching video about the Sandwich Generation, people who are caught between raising their children and caring for their aging parents. And "Five Ways God Uses Problems" explores how most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their lives.

From the Vatican, Pope Benedict preached that the Ascension of Jesus Christ 'reveals the 'supreme vocation' of every human person. He also said to banish God from society is to banish hope from people's lives. He also chided Canadian Bishops to teach their congregations to rediscover the centrality of the Eucharist. The preacher of the Papal household shares his wonderful homily on Jesus' commandment: "This is my commandment: That you love one another as I have loved you." And see why this writer mean when he says there is no salvation outside the Church.

Here's some good news! A new study has found that the scandal over sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church has not caused American Catholics to leave the church or to stop attending Mass and donating to their parishes. In fact devotion is on the rebound. And while the number of priests worldwide has decreased, the Vatican reports that the increase in Africa and Asia is "heartening.” Now the bad news: As more priest sex abuse trials come close to getting under way, the Catholic Church's local property holdings may soon come into play.

A bigger role for women in the Catholic ministry? Check out this article from Australia. Social justice as the heart of Catholic calling gets a fresh look in this article that explores the Catholic Social Thought and how it guides the faithful to action on some of the most difficult issues of our time.Worldwide, life and social issues continue to reverberate. In Europe, a crisis is forming as marriages and birth rates continiue to drop continent-wide. In Oregon, the state's assisted suicide laws are being blamed for the increase in the rate of elderly suicides. In California, the Parental Notification Abortion Initiative has collected 1 million signatures that could put it back in the ballot for November 2006 elections. And in Vermont this week, Australian Cardinal Pell posed this challenge to Pro-Abortion Politicians: "How come you feel that you're able to go to Communion?"

From Iraq, stories abound about an injured priest hero, a Catholic priest who has become the first chaplain wounded in Iraq. In corners of China, signs are encouraging that a wounded Catholic Church is begining to heal. And globalization rears its ugly head with the release of two reports, one dealing with trafficking in human persons and the other with the international drugs trade.

Marriage becomes a hot topic this week as a small Missouri town of mostly Catholics face accusations of seeking to drive unmarried couples with children out of town on the grounds they do not fit the local definition of a family. While in Washington D.C., a U.S. senate committee voted to send a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on to the full Senate Thursday.

And finally, if you think our internet technology today is just amazing, wait till you get a sense of where wireless technology is headed. The cell phones of tomorow are amazing. and they're just around the corner. And if you haven't heard, US telecom companies are trying to curb free access to the internet by proposing a tiered fee system. If this happens, the inventor of the internet predicts a "dark" internet. Keep your eyes on this issue because the lobbying at the U.S. Congress is fast and furious and you don't want to wake up one day to find your internet completely revamped and not to your liking.

It's been another exciting week at ParishWorld. Have a great and blessed weekend.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Catholics and First Friday Mass, the Da Vinci Code dud of a movie, was Pope John Paul the Fatima Pope, rising on-line evangelization & more

The Da Vinci Code movie opens today, Friday, but already critics unanimously agree that the movie is a dud! But before we get into it, you're probably asking yourself about the above headline regarding our obligation to attend First Friday Mass? You will find the answer at the bottom of this email.

Getting back to the Da Vinci Code, ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion sinks his teeth into the controversy and offers an alternative read that's more exciting with more drama: the Bible. Medieval historian and writer Jeri Westerson gets into the real story behind the Knights of the Templars and the Holy Grail. You have to read this!

In "Who's afraid of the Da Vinci Code," an Opus Dei member tackles the so-called "facts" mentioned in the book and movie. We also have a direct response from the Opus Dei to director Ron Howard's remarks against those who are protesting the movie.

Why are we running all these articles about the movie? Because the threat to the Christian faithful is real. Polls suggests that people are twice as likely to believe that Jesus Christ fathered children after reading the Dan Brown blockbuster and four times as likely to think of the Catholic organisation Opus Dei as a murderous sect.

Let's now move from fiction to fact. In this profile, St. Peter is described as "occasionally naive and fearful, yet honest and capable of repentance." He was not perfect but Jesus still chose him to be the first in a continuous line of Popes who were to lead God's Church on earth.

Was Pope John Paul the Fatima Pope? We have the article that tries to make this case. We also have an account of an inexplicable cure that might facilitate Pope John Paul II's canonization. On this week's 25th anniversary of the assasination attempt on John Paul's life, his successor Pope Benedict echoed the Fatima message, emphasizing a note of hope for the world. The Pope also invited the faithful to pray the rosary, in order to better understand the key moments of salvation history and to help with "spiritual growth."

And the signs to spiritual growth look good. Recent studies show more women, including Ivy League career women, are opting to be stay-at-home moms. And more young people are finding fulfilment in monastic life.

The Pope preached this week that Marriage is the only foundation strong enough to support a society “that can be home to all human beings.” He also speaks out against In-Vitro Fertilization and his household preacher delivers a wonderful meditation "He Prunes Every Branch that Bears Fruit."

A Catholic group reports the abortion industry is dying. Thanks to the efforts of people like Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue. He converted to Catholicism last Holy Thursday. We have his story.

Media News! Sirius Satellite Radio and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York are launching a round-the-clock Catholic Channel. This comes at the heels of reports that pastors everywhere are turning to the Internet to save souls, renew faith, inspire hope — and, not incidentally, to fill their pews.

But Modern “Christian music” faces a different conundrum. This author says it's neither good music nor good Christianity. One writer says the Church is going to be ripped off even more by greedy attorneys with newly passsed laws in California and other states.

Get inspired. "THE SNEEZE," "THE HEART" are warm heart-tuggers you will surely enjoy. A mother explains love and marriage to her son. And here's the tearful lesson many baby boomer parents are facing today: it's the Fine Art of Letting Go.

And finally, remember the First Friday Mass question mentioned above? Here's the answer. Catholics are not really obliged to attend First Friday Mass but millions of people worldwide nevertheless observe this as part of their devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Paul Dion explains how this pious devotion got started.

Have a wonderful week. God bless.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mother's Day, Rapture, Excommunications and a Catholic US president?

Happy Mother's Day to all Moms. The epitome of all mothers is Our Blessed Mother. While most people these days ask, “What Would Jesus Do?” all mothers should challenge themselves to ask, “What would his mother do?”

Sunday is the holiday that salutes all the Moms for all they do for us. And just how much is that? A recent study concluded that a full-time stay-at-home mother would earn $134,121 a year if paid for all her work.

The Catholic Church remain clear, courageous and compassionate in speaking about one of the most vital issues of our time: Marriage. The Church also continues to preach that missionary work is required of all baptized.

Pope Benedict reminds us all this week that over the centuries, bishops have succeeded the original Twelve Apostles, so that through them and over time, "Christ comes to us." And turning to newly ordained priests last week, he reminded them that priesthood isn't a career and their vocation is about serving and not a race to get to the top.

The tension between China and the Vatican over the unauthorized ordination of Chinese Bishops continue to heat up as the Vatican threaten excommunications for the said bishops. And speaking of excommunications, we bring you the most notable excommunications in Catholic Church history.

The Da Vinci Code movie is almost upon us and the heat is beginning to pile up against it. In Singapore, children will be barred from watching it. In the Philippines, Bishops are pushing for a national ban. In Greece, the Orthodox Church is taking action and at the Vatican, Cardinals are urging a boycott and even considering legal action against its fraudulent assertions.

Back in the U.S., is an American Catholic president in our stars? If President Bush has his way, we can. He has endorsed his Catholic brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, as a potential future U.S. president. While Condoleeza Rice, who is about to receive an honorary degree from the Catholic Boston College, is facing opposition because of her role in the Iraq War.

Recently uncovered documents reveal that the first act of Pres. Bill clinton when he assumed office in 1992 was to push the Abortion pill RU-486 upon the American people. Also, an Oregon Bishop warns that the growing social acceptance of contraception and abortion has influenced Catholics to abandon the teaching of the Church. And a recent survey indicates that Americans are becoming pro-life.

We have the story of a Catholic man in Prince Edwards, Canada who has taken to the streets in his fight against abortion. While in Wisconsin, a teacher in a Catholic school was fired for undergoing through in vitro fertilization treatments to obtain her two daughters. And in San Diego, a federal judge ended a 15-year battle over a hilltop cross in the city, ordering the city to remove it.

My daughter was asking me the other day about the Rapture and I thought I should share with you all an article that explains the Catholic understanding of this Evangelical Christian thought.

A Catholic family stars in TV's Extreme Makeover and stands by their faith on the air. And finally, we have the story of a nine-year-old boy who was born deaf and this week found himself singing for the Pope at the Vatican.

Happy Mother's Day. God bless all mothers.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief

Friday, May 5, 2006

May is the month of Mary, the Fatima Pope, finding the lowest gas prices in town and more

Pope Benedict XVI has proposed that during the month of May we rediscover the role of the Virgin Mary in our Christian life. All families are encouraged to pray the rosary together specially during this month.

A new book just released points to the signs in the life of Pope John Paul II that suggest he just might have been the person mentioned in the apparitions at Fatima. Could he really be the Fatima Pope?

While appealing for the conversion of all people to the love of God, Pope Benedict made a plea against war and terrorrism. He looked into the increase in failed marriages and a decrease in birth rates in much of the developed world, and said a lack of true love was behind the trend.

This decline in faith seem to also manifest itself in Canada where a new survey among Canadians show less than one-third of adults in that country are serious about their faith. In Europe, where the decline of faith has been evident for several decades, hopes are high that a landmark meeting between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox would result in the re-evangelization of the continent.

But in China, relations between the Vatican and the state-sponsored Catholic Church are on the rocks as the latter consecrated a second Catholic Bishop in three weeks without Vatican approval.

It lost in the last California elections, but the Parental Consent initiative has secured almost 700,000 of the 900,000 signatures required to put it back on the ballot in November. Also, the California state legislature may yet thumb down a bill that legalizes assisted suicide after about 600 representatives from different Catholic organizations trooped to the capitol.

Just what are the dynamics in play between Presidents, religion, and American moral values? The issue isn't about party affiliations but one's stance on moral values. This was further reinforced by a pronouncement from the Vatican that Church teaching is not "mere opinion" that can be argued one way or the other.

The Da Vinci Code faces a boycott by Catholics as called by a top Vatican official this week. The Church is also weighing whether to allow limited condom use by Catholics. The new U.S. priests being ordained this year cover a wide spectrum. They include a set of twins, grandfathers, former Protestant ministers, the father of a priest and the son of a deacon. It's also interesting to note that the largest segment of seminarian in the U.S. today are Vietnamese and Filipinos.

In Japan, the effect of its declining population means fewer children and more elderly. So toy companies are now making dolls for the elderly.

Catholic evangelist Bo Sanchez is back this week with "How to Find Your One True Love - 8 Steps to Attracting Your Lifetime Partner... Now!" You got to see this.

A few more interesting tidbits. Young girls are more likely than boys to have a cell phone, use the net, listen to radio and read papers. If you feel faint, we have the simple exercises that can keep you from passing out. And if you're afraid of germs, fear not the doorknob. It's the phone you should avoid!

And if you're groaning about the high prices of gas like I am, this web site we found will tell you instantly where to find the cheapest gas prices in your local area.

Finally, I would like to share a refelection emailed to me by ParishWorld blogger Paul Dion.

Why, Lord, are you abandoning me?
I do not want to desert your work, I want to complete it...
Kneeling before your altar, close to the Eucharist, I heard your answer, Lord:
"It is me you are supposed to be following, not my work!"

Makes you think, doesn't it? Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor-in-chief