Cardinal Donald Wuerl Starts Blogging

At Seek First the Kingdom:

While I have enjoyed for many years writing articles and even doing a weekly television program, this is my first venture into the world of blogs.

What I would like to do in this blog is to talk about our Catholic faith, what it teaches, why it is so important, certainly to me, and why, I hope, it would be important to you.  My plan is to take some aspect of the teaching of the Catholic Church and comment briefly on it in the hope that there might be readers who would find this helpful or at least engaging.  For example, as we enter the Lenten season, I would like to share with you in the future some thoughts on what this time of penance and spiritual renewal means.

The title for the blog, “Seek First the Kingdom,” comes from the challenge of Jesus to his disciples that in the midst of all the things that make up our daily life we would keep our hearts clearly focused on something that is not as visible as the creation around us, but is every bit as real – the presence of God in our lives.  This presence we call the kingdom of God and it finds its expression in the things that we say and do…

Continue reading his blog here.

Most of you will recall that His Eminence Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, was appointed to oversee the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus in the United States.

So a warm welcome to the world of blogging, Your Eminence.



Catholic Church Asks Israel’s President to Help End Attacks on Christian Places of Worship

JERUSALEM (AP) — A top Roman Catholic official has taken the rare step of asking Israel’s president to help put an end to attacks on Christian holy sites.

The custodian of holy places in the Holy Land, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, recalled in his letter sent Sunday to President Shimon Peres that vandals spray-painted “Death to Christians” and “We’ll crucify you” on the Baptist Church in Jerusalem and similar hate graffiti on a Greek Orthodox monastery in the city.Pizzaballa wrote that “red lines that must not be crossed have been crossed” and asked Peres’ help to eradicate “this dangerous phenomenon.”

The anti-Christian graffiti is suspected to be the work of Jewish extremists.

There was no immediate comment from Peres’ office, though the president has condemned the violence in the past.




Pope Benedict XVI to Have Own Personal Twitter Account

The Pope is to have his own personal Twitter account, in the Vatican’s latest move towards embracing new technology.

A Tweeting Pope:

The Holy See denied that it was dumbing down Catholicism by squeezing the wisdom of the gospels into messages of 140 characters or less.

The Vatican is trying to reach out to an increasingly internet-savvy audience and has already established a presence on YouTube and Facebook.

Monsignor Paul Tighe, from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said that many of the themes contained in the Bible were “readily rendered in just 140 characters”.

“To those who say it’s dumbing down, no, this is entry level, to provoke people’s interest and to invite them then to follow the message and read the text,” he told Vatican Radio.

“Many of the key gospel ideas are readily rendered in 140 characters –this is not the only way the Church speaks but it’s an avenue that is open to us and it’s pithy, succinct and it’s one I think that we’re quite good at.” The Pope’s Twitter account is likely to be @BenedictusPPXVI, the Italian media said.
He is not expected to personally write every message, but he will authorise them before they are sent out by Vatican aides.

“Naturally he will approve every message,” said Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, the president of the Pontifical Council.

Exactly when the Pope’s account will be opened still had to be decided, said Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, although he said “the green light” for the project had been given.

The Vatican already has a Twitter presence, @Pope2YouVatican, which Benedict XVI is using to send a tweet once a day throughout the 40 days of Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday.

“The idea was very simply to try and use Twitter to share with people the essence of the Pope’s message for Lent, so over the 40 days of Lent to tweet every day one of the ideas of this message,” Msgr Tighe said…

And why not?

The technology is there. Use it. For good. For spreading the Faith.



Eating Bitterness: Catholics in China

In this Catholic World Reportcolumn, I will be providing monthly reports on the situation of the Church in China. Today, China has the world’s fastest growing economy, the fastest growing cities, the second fastest growing population, and probably the fastest growing number of Christians. When Chairman Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People’s Republic in China in 1949 there were around four million Christians in China. Today, 63 years later, there are around 70 million.

I was in China a few months ago with several Catholic friends, with whom I discussed the situation of the Church in that country, prayed, and visited new places with histories both sad and joyful. During my many visits to China over the years, I have learned that faith is strong there, perhaps—who am I to judge?—even stronger than in my own country. In a country ostensibly cut off from the Holy Father, I have seen a deeper commitment to him than I have in any other place. In a country seemingly divided into two Catholic communities I have seen greater unity than I have observed elsewhere.

And in a country where Catholics have lived a life of, as they say, chiku (“eating bitterness”), I have seen countless faithful bear witness to Henry David Thoreau’s remark, “The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.”

It would be easy to write a column each month on the “suffering Church” in China—reporting arrests, church closures, and state-Church tensions. But that would be a misrepresentation of what Catholic life is like in China today in the 21stcentury. It would also be easy to read official state sources about religion in China and report on how China’s Catholics are thriving and happy under their new state leaders. But I shall attempt to report on what is really happening in China’s Catholic Church, taking as my motto Flannery O’Connor’s insightful quip, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”

The Church in China Today

In the opening line of his 2007 encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI began with the words of St. Paul to the Romans: “Spe salvi facti sumus,”in hope we were saved. I think that one of the more positive trends in the Church in China today is the trend toward a sense of hope. And it was Benedict XVI who, on February 18, 2012, bestowed the red hat to Hong Kong’s Bishop John Tong, making him a cardinal. It marked an important moment in the future of the Catholic history of China; Tong is only the seventh Chinese man to be elected a cardinal in the history of the Catholic Church, and he is the first Hong Kong-born Chinese to receive this honor. Cardinal Tong’s appointment is significant, not only as he is in many ways the successor of his influential Chinese predecessor, Joseph Cardinal Zen, but because Tong is uniquely informed regarding the state of the Church in China today…

Continue reading here.