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Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – October 1, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on October 1

4:00 – 6:00 – The Pope Interview: Take 2
Pope Francis has again causes a sensation with a lengthy interview, telling the Italian daily La Repubblica that he will work toward a Church “that is not just top-down but also horizontal.” The interview—which appeared on the same day the Pope began consulting with the Council of Cardinals about possible Vatican reforms— ranged over the Pope’s hopes for the Church, his concerns about youth unemployment and neglect of the elderly, his favorite saints, and other topics. The interview was conducted by Eugenio Scalfari, the atheist founder of the left-leaning Repubblica. Earlier in September the newspaper had published a long letter from Pope Francis, responding to an editorial by Scalfari. Now, Scalfari reveals, the Pontiff followed up with a phone call, suggesting a meeting. That meeting, which took place last week at the Pope’s apartment in the Casa Sanctae Marthae, furnished the material for the interview. Scalfari opened the conversation by expressing some misgivings that the Pope might try to convert him. The Pope quickly put him at ease. “Proselytism is solemn nonsense,” he said. “We need to get to know each other.” In answer to a leading question about the problems facing the Church today, Pope Francis answered: “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old.” We look at this most recent interview.

"I Will Change the Church" – On Super 8 Eve, Reports Tip Interview #2

 
Monday, September 30, 2013
 
Six and a half months into the new Rule of Francis, among other patterns to emerge is that, when the Pope gets excited, he likes to “load the cannon.”

One earlier example of this came on 5 July, when – within a matter of hours – Papa Bergoglio released his first encyclical (a work “of four hands” with his predecessor), announced the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II and made his first joint public appearance with B16. And now, on the day that he formally set next 27 April for the first sainting of two Popes at once – and with the all-important summit of what’s now officially in business as the “Council of Cardinals” opening in the morning – an already full news-cycle will reportedly soon see an added dose of chaos: namely, another interview.

The Pope’s second on-the-record conversation to emerge in 11 days, a notice late tonight on the website of Italy’s largest daily, La Repubblica, announced the imminent publication of an interview with Francis conducted by the paper’s co-founder, the atheist Eugenio Scalfari, long a significant figure of the Italian Left. It’s not the first interaction between the two; a July letter Scalfari sent to Francis was replied to by the pontiff in an extensive op-ed for the paper earlier this month.

The news was likewise relayed in a midnight tweet from the daily’s editor, Ezio Mauro.

 

For once, an exposé that helps the Vatican bank

  • “Earthquake at the Vatican Bank,” a story in the Oct. 3 edition of l’Espresso
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Steamy magazine exposés are rarely good news for the people or institutions featured in them. That’s probably especially true for the troubled Vatican bank, which over the years has been the church’s premier magnet for conspiracy theories and scandals of every imaginable sort.

On Friday, however, the bank finally caught a break.

There was yet another gossipy piece in an Italian newsmagazine, in this case l’Espresso, featuring ominous storm cloud art, which was full of unnamed sources describing an “earthquake” related to the bank. (The place is technically the “Institute for the Works of Religion,” often referred to by the Italian acronym IOR.)

Immediately after it appeared, the piece had phone lines buzzing inside the Vatican, in part because after last summer’s leaks scandal, the perception that insiders are spilling the beans to reporters usually means going to Defcon 1.

Yet despite the melodramatic flourishes in the piece, its overall effect is probably to burnish, rather than erode, the bank’s new image. 

Explore our print edition, featuring our annual Health & Well Being special section.

That’s because the “earthquake” to which the title refers is a growing sense of shock that bank officials aren’t just talking about transparency, but actually implementing it – beginning with insisting that Vatican personnel, including those at the very top of the food chain, explain where the money they have parked at the bank comes from and what they’re doing with it.

“In the Vatican, the unthinkable is happening,” the article reports. “A deadly tightening up has been imposed … in the name of legality and absolute transparency.”

For most outsiders, the application of tighter controls probably seems less unthinkable than long overdue. Aside from its checkered historical past, such as the celebrated scandals involving Roberto Calvi and the Banco Ambrosiano in the 1980s, the IOR has recently stumbled through a series of embarrassments:

Read the rest here: http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/once-expos-helps-vatican-bank

After Years of Decline, Catholics See Rise in Number of Future Priests

    

seminary
Faculty and candidates for graduation assemble in the Bruening-Marotta Library of Saint Mary Seminary in Wickliffe, Ohio, on May 8, 2013. (Photo by Renata M. Courey / courtesy Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology and Diocese of Cleveland)

After decades of glum trends—fewer priests, fewer parishes—the Catholic Church in the United States has a new statistic to cheer: More men are now enrolled in graduate-level seminaries, the main pipeline to the priesthood, than in nearly two decades.

This year’s tally of 3,694 graduate theology students represents a 16 percent increase since 1995 and a 10 percent jump since 2005, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).

Seminary directors cite more encouragement from bishops and parishes, the draw of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and the social-justice-minded Pope Francis, and a growing sense that the church is past the corrosive impact of the sexual abuse crisis that exploded in 2002.

Ultimately, it was “a calling in my heart,” says Kevin Fox.

He walked away from his electrical engineering degree and a job in his field, working with CT scanners, to enter St. Mary Seminary in Wickliffe, Ohio, in his home diocese, Cleveland, this fall.
“I always had an inkling that I might want to be a priest and my parish priest told me he thought I might be called,” said Fox, 24. “But I put it aside.”

With a fresh degree from Case Western Reserve and his first post-graduation job, Fox soon realized the secular path “wasn’t filling my soul with joy.”

Now, after years of pure science, Fox is immersed in pure theology–and loving it. The challenges of the culture, such as crude jokes from strangers about the abuse crisis, have not dissuaded him.

Read the rest here: http://www.charismanews.com/world/41158-after-years-of-decline-catholics-see-rise-in-number-of-future-priests

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – September 30, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on September 30

4:00 – Kresta Comments – Reza Aslan’s “Five Myths About Jesus”

4:20 – The Testimony and Writing of Elizabeth Ficocelli
Elizabeth Ficocelli is a best-selling, award-winning author of fourteen books for adults and young people, including Seven From Heaven: How Your Family Can Find Healing, Strength and Protection in the Sacraments; Lourdes: Font of Faith, Hope & Charity; Shower of Heavenly Roses: Stories of the Intercession of St. Thérèse of Lisieux; and The Imitation of Christ for Children. She here in Southeast MI today and stops into the studio to talk about her faith journey, her writing, and her passion for the Faith.

5:00 – Kresta Comments – Reza Aslan’s “Five Myths About Jesus”

5:20 – Kresta Comments – “Miss World” Pageant in Bali And The Muslim Reaction

5:40 – Partnering for Catholic Education in Kenya
Two schools – Embul-Bul Catholic Schools and St. Andrew Nkaimurunya are both located in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya where the unemployment rate is 40%, half of the population lives below the poverty line, life expectancy is just 63 years and infant mortality rate is 43 deaths  for every 1,000 births. Though Kenya offers free public education, in reality too few public schools exist — most are full and turn children away. They also turn away children who are academically behind for the ironic reason that they were previously unable to attend school. But Embul-Bul and St. Andrew welcome children off the streets and provide them with a quality education, daily nutritious lunches and a firm grounding in Catholic moral values. Jim Cavnar of Cross Catholic International Outreach is here to talk about their partnership with Ave Maria Radio to provide scholarships for Kenyan children.

Are We Obsessed?

     

Dr. Ed Peters’ blog

St. Dominic Chapel
From Providence College’s website:
“The Catholic and Dominican character of Providence College precisely as a college is most evident in its approach to faith and reason.”
About Drs. John Corvino and Dana Dillon, and about Providence College, I know next to nothing, and so can say next to nothing; about the ‘gay marriage’ debate—or at least about some Catholic principles applicable to the ‘gay marriage’ debate—I know something and so can say something.

Inviting a speaker to a college campus to address a volatile issue and offering (if belatedly) to provide a rebuttal speaker, but then cancelling the whole event apparently because management doesn’t like the views to be expressed by the original speaker, is the stuff of which higher education public relations disasters are made. But while Providence College works through its image problems (and, given the institutional identification with the Catholic Church, while the Church faces yet another PR mess not of her own making), it might help to step back and ask, what exactly was to be debated at the Providence ‘gay marriage’ debate in the first place?

Considering her age (+2,000 years), her membership (+1,000,000,000), and her range of concerns (eternal salvation and human civilization), the Catholic Church has a remarkably short list of non-negotiable assertions. Some of these non-negotiable assertions deal with dogma (e.g., Jesus is divine and human, or, there are exactly seven sacraments) and some of these non-negotiable assertions deal with doctrines (e.g., the Church has no power to ordain women to priesthood, or Thomas More is a saint) but in both cases, the assertion being made is, Catholics hold, being made with infallible certainty.

Now, among the assertions made by the Church with infallible certainty, I have argued, is this one: God made marriage to exist between one man and one woman. Catholics could debate, say, whether this assertion is a dogma to be believed or a doctrine to be held, or whether the assertion is knowable by reason alone or requires the gift of faith. Catholics could even debate whether civil unions of one sort or another between two persons of the same sex are good for society or bad. But Catholics cannot, I suggest, argue whether true marriage exists only between one man and one woman. To debate whether marriage can exist between two persons of the same sex is to imply that some Catholic non-negotiables can be negotiated by Catholics.


Dr. Ed Peters, canon lawyer

Read the rest here: http://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/what-was-there-to-debate-at-providence/

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