Boys’ Haven begins to train workers for equine industry

A Louisville archdiocesan agency that serves abused, homeless and struggling youths is opening a new horse barn — on the Monday after the Kentucky Derby, naturally — so that clients can be trained to work in the area’s thriving equine industry, according to this story in The Record in Louisville.

‘Origins’ this week features abortion ruling, climate change, Iraq, and more

Here’s the rundown on what’s in the latest edition of Origins: CNS Documentary Service:

  • The syllabus of Gonzales v. Carhart outlines the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. (Subscribers: click here)
  • Climate change threatens everyone, but some people, nations and regions are more threatened than others. That’s why “a sound concern for the environment cannot be separated from a genuine concern for poverty,” says Archbishop Celestino Migliore. (Subscribers: click here)
  • Archbishop Silvano Tomasi calls attention to the plight of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons, and especially that of the women, elderly and children he says bear the brunt of the tragedy. (Subscribers: click here)
  • The Eucharist must be at the heart of all Catholic education, says Cardinal Justin Rigali. But this eucharistic spirituality must not be limited to participation at Mass and private devotions, he says; it must embrace the whole of life and make a clear connection between the Eucharist we celebrate and our daily life. (Subscribers: click here)
  • Bishop Gregory Aymond says Catholic teaching would permit the withdrawal of extraordinary medical treatment for Emilio Gonzales, a dying 17-month-old boy at Children’s Hospital of Austin whose mother has been fighting for the continued medical treatment of her son. (Subscribers: click here)

Surviving the Virginia Tech shootings

If out of tragedy comes triumph, then one of the best stories to come out of the Virginia Tech massacre was the story of Derek O’Dell from Jean Denton, who writes for The Catholic Virginian, newspaper of the Diocese of Richmond. If you missed it earlier, O’Dell’s story of faith as the gunman opened fire on his German class in Norris Hall is remarkable in its simplicity. And he says God answered his prayers with a miracle: More people in his classroom survived the shooting than he initially thought.

The church in the South: growing pains

In a feature article in its May edition, St. Anthony Messenger magazine reports that the church in the U.S. South has been blessed with amazing growth since 1966 due to a number of factors. But new members bring new challenges.

Retiring pastor recalls struggles for justice and peace

A priest well-known in the Diocese of Oakland, Calif., for his justice advocacy is retiring from active ministry this spring. The Catholic Voice in Oakland says Father Tony Valdivia presided over his last Holy Week at his parish, but neighborhood shootings at week’s end left a young parishioner dead and two others hospitalized, reminding him of how difficult the past year has been.

More links …

CNS stories on limbo

When the Vatican’s International Theological Commission issued its document on limbo this month, readers of the Catholic press should not have been surprised at its content. Take a look at this CNS headline from last October: Theologians: Unbaptized babies in heaven makes more sense than limbo. That was on a story about the commission’s meeting last fall, at which members were in agreement on what the document should say — they just had not yet put the finishing touches on it.

The CNS story on the document is here. Readers also should not miss the CNS analysis of the document by CNS Rome bureau chief John Thavis (Critiquing limbo: Vatican responds to changes in theological thought):

Some people saw (the commission’s conclusions) as a reversal of a centuries-old Catholic principle. But rather than announcing a radical break with the past, the commission said it was assessing an issue in theological evolution.

The very first sentence of the document signaled an important distinction when it spoke of the “hierarchy of truths” in Catholic doctrine. The teaching on limbo was among those never addressed by Scripture and never defined as dogma and is therefore subject to theological development, it said.

Thavis also notes that the document “goes beyond strictly theological opinions” and also cites the need for the church to read “the signs of the times” to better understand the Gospel.

In unusual detail, it listed several such signs that support the idea of hope for the salvation of unbaptized infants: the warfare and turmoil of the international scene and the church’s awareness of its mission as a bearer of hope; greater emphasis on God’s love and mercy in a world of suffering people; renewed concern for the welfare of infants in societies that are scandalized by the suffering of children; and increased dialogue with people of other faiths, which encourages the church to have greater appreciation for the “manifold and mysterious ways of God.”

Origins, the CNS documentary service where the document first appeared, also provides some helpful background on the commission itself, since many Catholics probably have never heard of it. In the margin notes published with the document, it notes that the commission was instituted by Pope Paul VI in 1969 and that in 1979 Pope John Paul II praised the help the commission gives the church in theological matters. Origins’ margin notes — a great treasure of cross references to previous church documents — also provides short excerpts from seven previous commission texts so readers can see some of the other issues the commission has tackled. (The margin notes are also available online to Origins subscribers, who can click here for the entire document and notes, which are posted after the full text.)