St. Augustine Catholic
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catholic news from around the world
U.S. Immigration
Florida Bishops call for reform

>>Immigration rallies draw crowds Calls for a work, school and a shopping boycott – combined with broader calls to rallies, prayer services and other events – drew crowds across the country May 1 as supporters of immigration reform staged their second day of major activities in less than a month.

The Florida Catholic Bishops in a March statement called on Catholics to “hear the immigrants’ cries for justice.” They said the current system is profoundly broken, separates families and facilitates exploitation. “We need to reform this broken system to create avenues for legal immigration, to bring people out of the shadows and enable them to enjoy fully the freedom and individual rights on which this country was founded,” said the Florida Bishops. Adding, “We need an earned legalization provision. We will not resolve the current problem with proposals that created an indefinite and temporary status, leading to a permanent second-class status.”

Marchers hold signs in Chicago May 1 during a massive rally calling for changes in immigration law

>>U.S. cannot remain silent on Darfur As thousands of Americans gathered at “Save Darfur” rallies across the country April 30, the nation’s Catholic bishops joined with other religious and political leaders in calling for greater U.S. efforts to end the genocidal campaign against the non-Arab population of Sudan’s Darfur region.

“Sunday’s ‘Save Darfur’ rally should remind our leaders that our nation cannot remain silent in the face of killings, rape and wanton destruction,” said Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Policy. “Our country can and must do more, much more, to defend and protect innocent civilians in Darfur. Anything less would be unworthy of us as a people committed to human life and dignity,” he added.

>>No easy answer to end-of-life care questions Father Michael Place, vice president for ministry development at Resurrection Health Care in Chicago, and John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, agreed that questions about Catholic teachings on end-of-life decisions and their specific application in the case of Terri Schiavo last year will not be easily resolved.

“While it is easy to agree that all life is sacred, it is not as easy to describe the moral responsibilities and obligations that follow,” said Father Place. “The resolution of a moral conundrum at the end of life is not easily resolved by simply applying an abstract principle,” said Haas. “There are countless variables which have to be worked into the equation in each separate, individual case.”

The two were among the speakers at a conference co-sponsored by the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture and the Fordham Center for Ethics Education.

>>Scholars correct Christian tradition on Mary Magdalene The fanciful fictions about Mary Magdalene in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code are not the only errors about the biblical saint that modern scholars are seeking to correct. They are also trying to set straight centuries of erroneous Christian tradition regarding her that developed, especially in the West.

St. Mary Magdalene is depicted in a stained-glass window in Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

In A.D. 591 Pope St. Gregory the Great preached a sermon in which he identified as one person the New Testament figures of Mary Magdalene, the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet and washed them with her tears, and the Mary who was the sister of Lazarus and Martha of Bethany. Although he was only reflecting a tradition that had gained some ground in the West (and was resisted by many of the church’s early theologians), the sermon became a reference point for later scholarship, teaching and preaching in the West, Father Raymond F. Collins, a New Testament scholar at The Catholic University of America, said in an interview.

The Greek Fathers – the great theologians of the early church in the East, who wrote in Greek – consistently maintained that Mary Magdalene, the unnamed repentant sinner and Mary of Bethany were three distinct women. That remains the tradition in the Orthodox churches.