For The Dialog
OCEAN PINES, Md. — When Shawna McCormick learned about a new program for married couples called “Eight Great Dates” sponsored by St. John Neumann Parish, she decided it would be good for her and her husband.
She and her husband are both involved in religious education at the parish and she wanted to see the new ministry succeed. “I figured the best way to do that was to participate.” In addition, “we knew we were getting a great dinner” catered by DeNovo’s Trattoria. Read more »
Eighty-three people were awarded the diocesan Medal of Merit at a ceremony on Oct. 26 at St. John the Beloved Church in Wilmington. Bishop Malooly congratulated the recipients, who were nominated by their pastors for their dedication and service to their parishes. Each parish may nominate an individual or couple — more than one if the parish has a mission church.
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2014 Diocesan Merit Award Recipients
Margaret Consiglio, Cathedral of St. Peter; Andrea Starr, Christ Our King; Terri Yackley, Church of the Good
Shepherd; Sister Margaret Cunniffe, OSF, Church of the Holy Child; Rita Nally, Corpus Christi; James Baaden, Holy Cross; Vivian Duffy, Holy Family; Nancy Clair, Holy Name of Jesus; Paul & Donna Santoni, Holy Savior Mission. Joseph Kendra, Holy Spirit. James & Sharon Levadnuk, Holy Redeemer Mission; Timothy Gallagher, Holy Rosary; Robert Suppe, Immaculate Conception, Elkton; Clyde Hinebaugh, Immaculate Conception, Marydel; Rosemary Boughton, Immaculate Heart of Mary;
Elsa Rodriguez-Trejo, Mary Mother of Peace Mission; Anthony Marchegiani, Our Lady of Fatima; Edward Hessler, Our Lady of Good Counsel. Ricardo Jimenez, Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission; Robert Gay, Our Lady of Lourdes; David & Rose Greytak, Our Mother of Sorrows; John Ward, Parish of the Resurrection; Barbara Kelly, Sacred Heart, Chestertown;
Josephine Jugler, St. Agnes Mission; Robert Howard, St. Andrew Mission; Lois Rubinsohn, St. Ann, Bethany Beach; Paul Smith, St. Ann, Wilmington. Jean Scalessa, St. Anthony of Padua; Kenneth & Jill King, St. Benedict; Michael & Caroline Gumrot, St. Bernadette Mission; Nancy Ludlam, St. Catherine of Siena; Joseph Zimmerman, St. Christopher; Connie Benko, St. Edmond; Alice Betley, Marie Duzynski, St. Elizabeth, Wilmington; Deacon William Nickum, St. Elizabeth Mission, Denton. Lupita Olivares, St. Elizabeth Mission, Westover;
Harry & Evelyn Olszweski, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton; Richard & Sandra Kadera, St. Francis de Sales; Izabela Toner, St. Hedwig; Robert Conte, St. Helena; Thomas & Grace Greenlee, St. John the Apostle; Thomas Seelig, St. John the Beloved; Donald Hudgins Sr., Marie Thomas, St. John/Holy Angels; Theodore & Joyce Redman, St. John Mission, Rock Hall. Mark Record, St. John Neumann; Karen Headley, St. Joseph, Middletown; Eugene M. Julian, St. Joseph on the Brandywine; Denise Scales, St. Joseph, Wilmington; Frank & Eileen Walder, St. Jude the Apostle; Patricia D’Annunzio, St. Jude Mission; Joanne Bishop, St. Luke; Michael Robinson, St. Margaret of Scotland; Valerie Townsend, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Richard Tabinowski, St. Mary of the Assumption;
Madeline Rice, St. Mary Magdalen; Robert Hammerton, St. Mary Refuge of Sinners; Edward Airley Sr., St. Mary Star of the Sea, Church Creek; Patricia McArdle, St. Mary Star of the Sea, Ocean City; Jack Witzman, St. Matthew; Barbara DeBastiani, St. Michael the Archangel; Richard Bockrath, St. Patrick; Linda Michel, St. Paul, Delaware City. Marie Negron, St. Paul, Wilmington; Carol Miller, Ss. Peter & Paul; Jose Hector Garcia, Ss. Peter & Paul Hispanic Community; Vincent Gambacorta, St. Peter the Apostle; Joseph & Grace Wagner, St. Polycarp; Joan Lupinetti (posthumously), St. Teresa of Avila Mission; James King, St. Thomas the Apostle; Joyce Tannian, St. Thomas More Oratory.
A girl in a candlelit vigil at the Far Rockaway Community Church of the Nazarene Oct. 29 to mark the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy making landfall in New York. (CNS photo/Lucas Jackson, Reuters)
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is not promising visitors to the Sistine Chapel more elbow room, but it is guaranteeing a cooler experience.
Marking the year of the 450th anniversary of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s death, the Vatican Museums hope the brand new air conditioning system and the 7,000 new LED lights will preserve the Renaissance artist’s masterpiece for generations to come.
Television cameras, news photographers and journalists were invited to the chapel Oct. 29 for a “before and after” experience. Initially, they viewed the chapel with the lighting installed 20 years ago after the cleaning and restoration of Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes and his massive wall mural, “The Last Judgment.” Then the brighter, cooler LED lights were turned on.
Even with a crowd in the chapel, the room is designed to stay cooler than ever, never going above 77 degrees Fahrenheit, thanks to a new system installed by the U.S.-based Carrier company and adjusted over the past three years with input from the Vatican Museums’ conservation team and its diagnostic and scientific research laboratory.
Antonio Paolucci, museums director, said his team believed the best way to honor Michelangelo was to highlight and preserve the culmination of his life’s work, something which was threatened by the work’s popularity.
When the old lighting and air filtering and conditioning systems were installed two decades ago, he said, the annual number of visitors to the museums and chapel was under 2 million. Today it hosts almost 6 million visitors a year, with more than 20,000 people a day entering during the peak pilgrim and tourist season.
The popularity “required a radical intervention to guarantee air circulation, keep dust and pollutants down, control the temperature and humidity and keep the carbon dioxide at an acceptable level,” Paolucci said.
Carrier and Osram, a German lighting company, donated the new systems, which have an estimated value of about $3.8 million.
Catholic News Service
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, England — Inside this town’s recently refurbished Royal Shakespeare Theater, a massed audience, banked on three floors, gazes attentively out over a wide, brightly lit stage.
“Necessity will make us all forsworn. Three thousand times within this three years’ space; for every man with his affects is born, not by might master’d, but by special grace,” recited the actor playing Berowne in “Love’s Labor’s Lost.”
When the latest production of William Shakespeare’s beloved play opened recently, set in an English mansion before World War I, it attempted to draw new meaning from the Bard’s eternal lines.
A similar task is being pursued by historians and researchers amid claims that Shakespeare was a secret Catholic at a time when the faith faced savage persecution.
“The probability that Shakespeare was a hidden Catholic helps explain the generally recognized enigma behind his work,” said Jesuit Father Peter Milward, an authority on the playwright.
“The Catholic elements visible everywhere in his 37 plays suggest he can be viewed as a champion of medieval Christendom, looking back with nostalgia to England’s past Catholic traditions,” Father Milward told Catholic News Service.
Views of Shakespeare until recently have been dominated by an “old guard” of literary scholars, who have portrayed him as conforming with England’s Protestant establishment, Father Milward said.
Although his vast output explored human emotions and dilemmas, it was held to be essentially artistic, as befitted England’s golden age under Queen Elizabeth I. However, new historical evidence has produced a “turning of the tide,” the Jesuit said.
Shakespeare was most prolific from 1589 to 1613 as the Reformation still was being imposed, causing creative people to avoid drawing attention to their religious beliefs. Some experts now think Shakespeare was deeply religious and that far from going along with England’s official Protestant ideology, the playwright was deeply attached to the Catholic devotions suppressed a generation before.
“Shakespeare rose above the disputes of his day and never descended to sectarian squabbles. But by hiding theological messages in his secular language, he invited his listeners to ponder the heritage they’d lost,” said Claire Asquith, author of “Shadowplay: the Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare.”
“Catholic idioms and images are present throughout his work, in a forgotten world of saints and holy places. It seems we’ve been deaf to this and missed much of Shakespeare’s subtlety as a result,” Asquith told CNS.
Generations of English-speaking children, Asquith argued, were taught an orthodox view of the 16th century, in which a corrupt Catholic church was rightly taken over and reformed by King Henry VIII, allowing an enlightened Protestant-led compromise to be established by Queen Elizabeth.
The interpretation has been challenged in recent years by Catholic historians, who have cited evidence that the destruction of the “old religion,” far from reflecting popular demands, was motivated by top-down political expediency.
Such scholars have depicted Queen Elizabeth as a harsher figure. Some 35,000 people died in prison or on the scaffold during her 45-year reign, and Catholics, loyal to the old faith, were prime targets for repression.
The official hostility was understandable. The queen was declared excommunicated and deposed by Pope Pius V in 1571, and an invasion force, the Spanish Armada, launched with Rome’s blessing 17 years later.
But for ordinary Catholics conditions became intolerable as all non-conforming religious life was driven underground. For a writer such as Shakespeare it would have been dangerous to overtly display Catholic sympathies. Working them into his plays necessitated subtlety and skill.
Clues to Shakespeare’s apparent Catholic loyalty nevertheless have been pieced together.
It is known that his father, John Shakespeare, a Stratford town councilor, ran into trouble because of his Catholic preferences. The surrounding county, Warwickshire, was linked to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Catholic conspirators attempted to blow up King James I and his parliament in London.
The playwright’s eldest daughter, Susanna Hall, is believed to have boycotted Protestant services, while his mother’s family, the Ardens, were related to St. Robert Southwell, a Jesuit priest who was executed in 1595. Historians believe his poetry influenced the writing of “Macbeth” and “Titus Andronicus.”
London’s South Bank, where Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre was situated, was a focus for underground Catholic life. In 1613, three years before his death, the playwright bought a large house in Blackfriars which was used for covert Catholic gatherings.
Although Shakespeare lies buried with his estranged wife, Anne Hathaway, in Stratford’s Anglican church, several witnesses claimed he received Catholic last rites on his deathbed.
Father Milward said coded religious references are widespread in Shakespeare’s work. Citing the fact that Shakespeare’s comedies are set in Catholic Italy, while his ideal heroines show a fullness of grace reminiscent of Catholic notions of the Virgin Mary; the lovers’ go-between in several plays, including “Romeo and Juliet,” is a Franciscan friar who is revered as holy.
Asquith agreed, saying characters such as Malvolio, the mordant puritan in “Twelfth Night,” and the king’s long-lost daughter, Perdita, in “The Winter’s Tale,” personify the religious mentalities of Shakespeare’s time. The plays also are saturated with allusions to Catholic suffering, and can be seen as collective plea for tolerance and reconciliation, she said.
When Asquith’s book was published in 2005, it was dismissed by David Womersley, professor of English literature at Oxford University, as “a tide of wild hypothesis, strained reading and reductive historicism.”
Diarmaid Macculoch, a lecturer on church history at Oxford, has doubts too. When Shakespeare quoted the Bible, he used official Protestant translations, he said.
“Of course, there was some nostalgia for the old religion, and it’s natural Catholics should claim this great cultural icon for themselves,” Macculoch told CNS.
“But Shakespeare’s Catholic family associations prove nothing about his own outlook. It’s wrong to assume his work reflects some popular groundswell in favor of Catholicism.”
While the debate continues, the contrasting views serve as a reminder of Shakespeare’s richness as a writer with a profound grasp of life’s tragic and comic complexities.
“Until precise documentary proof emerges, it’s unlikely there’ll be any consensus among scholars,” said Father Milward, whose books include “The Catholicism of Shakespeare’s Plays” and “Shakespeare the Papist.”
“But Shakespeare has influenced generations of English speakers. If he really was a hidden Catholic, we’ll clearly need to revise our understanding of this crucial period.”
CLAYMONT — Archmere’s volleyball team ended its regular season Monday night by welcoming Concord to the Moglia Fieldhouse, and the Auks showed they are ready for the state tournament with a convincing 3-0 sweep of the Raiders.
Set scores were 25-11, 25-11 and 25-14. The Auks finished the regular season with an 11-4 record, winning seven of their last nine matches since the return of senior hitter Justine Pantaleo, who missed the first six matches because of a high ankle sprain. The only losses during that span were to the state’s top two teams, Charter and Delaware Military Academy. Read more »
DES MOINES, Iowa — The head of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace called food security a moral issue during a keynote address Oct. 14 at the Iowa Hunger Summit.
“Food security and the relationship between food and peace are moral issues,” said Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, speaking in his own diocese. “In our Christian tradition, we believe that lifting people out of poverty and feeding the hungry are serving Jesus in disguise.”
Bishops Pates, who has served as head of the committee for three years, said, “People who can feed and support their families in dignity are less likely to be engaged in conflict. To build a more stable and prosperous world, we need to adopt policies that get at the underlying causes of conflict and hunger. Conflict increases hunger and hunger increases conflict.”
With numerous armed conflicts raging in parts of the world, and the Vietnam War worsening, Pope Paul VI on Oct. 4, 1965, proclaimed before the U.N. General Assembly: “No more war, war never again. It is peace, peace which must guide the destinies of peoples and of all mankind.”
Unfortunately, in 1965 the world did not heed Blessed Paul VI’s prophetic words. Sadly, it has not heeded them since.
From Mexico to South Sudan, from Syria to Ukraine, from Russian and U.S. nuclear weapons threatening each nation to the endless “war on terrorism,” today more than ever the world needs to heed Blessed Paul’s plea: “No more war, war never again. It is peace, peace which must guide the destinies of peoples and of all mankind.”
Since Pope Paul had tremendous respect for all human life, starting at conception, it is providential that the miracle granted by God through his prayerful intercession involved the healing of an unborn child.
According to Vatican Insider, in California an unborn child in 2001 was diagnosed with ascites (liquid in the abdomen) and anhydramnios (absence of fluid in the amniotic sac). When every corrective attempt failed, the doctors said the baby would die before birth or be born with dangerous renal impairment.
When abortion was offered as an option, the mother refused. Instead, she prayed for a miracle asking Pope Paul’s intercession to God. Ten weeks later tests results revealed that the unborn child had significantly improved, and was born by Caesarean section.
The boy is now a healthy adolescent considered completely healed. The Vatican’s medical consultation team headed by Professor Patrizio Polisca confirmed that it was impossible to explain the healing scientifically.
More than 40 years ago Blessed Paul VI foresaw the impending environmental disaster facing humanity today. In his apostolic letter “Octogesima Adveniens” (“A Call to Action”) he warned: “Man is suddenly becoming aware that by an ill-considered exploitation of nature he risks destroying it and becoming in his turn the victim of this degradation.”
In his day, and even more so today, in a world where great economic inequality exists – where the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer – Blessed Paul VI in his prophetic encyclical letter “Populorum Progressio”(“On the Development of Peoples”) clearly challenged this grave injustice.
He wrote, “God intended the earth and everything in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Thus, under the leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should flow fairly to all. …
“Extreme disparity between nations in economic, social and educational levels provokes jealousy and discord, often putting peace in jeopardy.”
Instead of largely ignoring the reasonable and just demands of countless oppressed people, and then going to war against them when they rise up, we should tirelessly work for social justice for all people.
For as Blessed Paul VI continued to teach in “Populorum Progressio,” “When we fight poverty and oppose the unfair conditions of the present, we are not just promoting human well-being; we are also furthering man’s spiritual and moral development, and hence we are benefiting the whole human race. For peace is not simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after day toward the establishment of the ordered universe willed by God, with a more perfect form of justice among men.”
Tony Magliano is an syndicated social justice and peace columnist who lives in the Diocese of Wilmington.
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis called for abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, and denounced what he called a “penal populism” that promises to solve society’s problems by punishing crime instead of pursuing social justice.
“It is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples’ lives from an unjust aggressor,” the pope said Oct. 23 in a meeting with representatives of the International Association of Penal Law.
“All Christians and people of good will are thus called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether it be legal or illegal and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty. And this, I connect with life imprisonment,” he said. “Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty.”
The pope noted that the Vatican recently eliminated life imprisonment from its own penal code.
The pope said that, although a number of countries have formally abolished capital punishment, “the death penalty, illegally and to a varying extent, is applied all over the planet,” because “extrajudicial executions” are often disguised as “clashes with offenders or presented as the undesired consequences of the reasonable, necessary and proportionate use of force to apply the law.”
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, cited by Pope Francis in his talk, “the traditional teaching of the church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor,” but modern advances in protecting society from dangerous criminals mean that “cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”
The pope denounced the detention of prisoners without trial, who he said account for more than 50 percent of all incarcerated people in some countries. He said maximum security prisons can be a form of torture, since their “principal characteristic is none other than external isolation,” which can lead to “psychic and physical sufferings such as paranoia, anxiety, depression and weight loss and significantly increase the chance of suicide.”
He also rebuked unspecified governments involved in kidnapping people for “illegal transportation to detention centers in which torture is practiced.”
The pope said criminal penalties should not apply to children, and should be waived or limited for the elderly, who “on the basis of their very errors can offer lessons to the rest of society. We don’t learn only from the virtues of saints but also from the failings and errors of sinners.”
Pope Francis said contemporary societies overuse criminal punishment, partially out of a primitive tendency to offer up “sacrificial victims, accused of the disgraces that strike the community.”
The pope said some politicians and members of the media promote “violence and revenge, public and private, not only against those responsible for crimes, but also against those under suspicion, justified or not.”
He denounced a growing tendency to think that the “most varied social problems can be resolved through public punishment … that by means of that punishment we can obtain benefits that would require the implementation of another type of social policy, economic policy and policy of social inclusion.”
Using techniques similar to those of racist regimes of the past, the pope said, unspecified forces today create “stereotypical figures that sum up the characteristics that society perceives as threatening.”
Pope Francis concluded his talk by denouncing human trafficking and corruption, both crimes he said “could never be committed without the complicity, active or passive, of public authorities.”
The pope spoke scathingly about the mentality of the typical corrupt person, whom he described as conceited, unable to accept criticism, and prompt to insult and even persecute those who disagree with him.
“The corrupt one does not perceive his own corruption. It is a little like what happens with bad breath: someone who has it hardly ever realizes it; other people notice and have to tell him,” the pope said. “Corruption is an evil greater than sin. More than forgiveness, this evil needs to be cured.”