Tuesday, February 28, 2012


A press communique announced  the outcome of the deliberations of the recent seventh meeting of the Twelfth Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.The communique  noted that the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is scheduled to take place on 7 to 28 October on the theme: "The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith".

In the context of the working document for the forthcoming Assembly, the communique noted that the influence of modern culture  makes transmission of the faith particularly difficult, and represents a challenge to the church.  The family was identified as the primary place for the transmission of faith.  "There the faith is communicated to young people who, in the family, learn both the contents and practice of Christian faith."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Upon This (Clarke County) Rock

Construction on Hobert Hall is proceeding apace despite the Clarke County Shale.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pope Addresses Faithful

Vatican City, 19 February 2012  Following this morning's concelebration of the Eucharist with the twenty-two cardinals created in Saturday's consistory, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He observed that yesterday's consistory took place against the backdrop of the Feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter, which had been brought forward to this Sunday to ensure it did not coincide with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

The Holy Father said "this Sunday is a particularly joyful one here in the Vatican, because of yesterday's consistory in which I created twenty-two new cardinals. This morning I had the joy of concelebrating the Eucharist with them in St. Peter's Basilica, over the tomb of the Apostle whom Jesus called to be the 'rock' upon which to build His Church. I therefore invite you all to pray for these our venerable brothers, who are now more deeply committed to collaborating with me in guiding the universal Church, and to bearing witness to the Gospel even unto the sacrifice of their lives. This is the significance of their red garments: the colour of blood and of love"..…(Vatican Information Service)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

HHS Contraceptive Mandate: Conscience Rights

Today's Sacred Heart Church Bulletin included a notice from the Diocese of Arlington urging parishioners to contact their Senator and Representative in Congress urging them to join the cosponsors of  H.R. 1179 and S.1467 the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011 or to thank them if they have already done so.
 There are 209 cosponsors of the House Bill including Virginia Representatives: Wolf  [VA-10], Griffith  [VA-9], Goodlatte  [VA-6], Rigell [[VA-2] and Wittman [VA-1]. In the Senate, there are 37 cosponsors. Neither Virginia Senator has joined as a cosponsor.
Congressional  Findings and  the Purposes  (section 2 of the Bill)
(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:
(1) As Thomas Jefferson declared to New London Methodists in 1809, `[n]o provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority'.
(2) Jefferson's statement expresses a conviction on respect for conscience that is deeply embedded in the history and traditions of our Nation and codified in numerous State and Federal laws, including laws on health care.
(3) Until enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148, in this section referred to as `PPACA'), the Federal Government has not sought to impose specific coverage or care requirements that infringe on the rights of conscience of insurers, purchasers of insurance, plan sponsors, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders, such as individual or institutional health care providers.
(4) PPACA creates a new nationwide requirement for health plans to cover `essential health benefits' and `preventive services' (including a distinct set of `preventive services for women'), delegating to the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to provide a list of detailed services under each category, and imposes other new requirements with respect to the provision of health care services.
(5) While PPACA provides an exemption for some religious groups that object to participation in Government health programs generally, it does not allow purchasers, plan sponsors, and other stakeholders with religious or moral objections to specific items or services to decline providing or obtaining coverage of such items or services, or allow health care providers with such objections to decline to provide them.
(6) By creating new barriers to health insurance and causing the loss of existing insurance arrangements, these inflexible mandates in PPACA jeopardize the ability of individuals to exercise their rights of conscience and their ability to freely participate in the health insurance and health care marketplace.
(b) Purposes- The purposes of this Act are--
(1) to ensure that health care stakeholders retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions, without fear of being penalized or discriminated against under PPACA; and
(2) to ensure that no requirement in PPACA creates new pressures to exclude those exercising such conscientious objection from health plans or other programs under PPACA.

According to the analysis of the Congressional Research Service the effect of the Bill would be to:
 Amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to permit a health plan to decline coverage of specific items and services that are contrary to the religious beliefs of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan or the purchaser or beneficiary (in the case of individual coverage) without penalty.  Declares that such plans are still considered to: (1) be providing the essential health benefits package or preventive health services, (2) be a qualified health plan, and (3) have fulfilled other requirements under PPACA.

Declare that nothing in PPACA shall be construed to authorize a health plan to require a provider to provide, participate in, or refer for a specific item or service contrary to the provider's religious beliefs or moral convictions. Prohibits a health plan from being considered to have failed to provide timely or other access to items or services or to fulfill any other requirement under PPACA because it has respected the rights of conscience of such a provider.

Prohibit an American Health Benefit Exchange (a state health insurance exchange) or other official or entity acting in a governmental capacity in the course of implementing PPACA from discriminating against a health plan, plan sponsor, health care provider, or other person because of an unwillingness to provide coverage of, participate in, or refer for, specific items or services.

Create a private cause of action for the protection of individual rights created under this Act. Authorizes any person or entity to assert a violation of this Act as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding.

Designate the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to receive and investigate complaints of discrimination based on this Act.
Makes this Act effective as if it were included in PPACA.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Reminder: Lenten Fast and Abstinence

UPDATE on HHS Contraception Policy

The Virginia Catholic Conference represents Bishop Francis DiLorenzo, Diocese of Richmond, and Bishop Paul Loverde, Diocese of Arlington, on matters before the Virginia General Assembly, the U.S. Congress, and the state and federal administrations and their agencies.
The Virginia Catholic Conference has issued a critical position update on the HHS rule mandating  contraception services in all health plans.

Bishop Loverde has also issued a further statement  on the "Accommodation " of HHS policy.


Pope Benedict XVI creates twenty-two Cardinals

Benedict XVI celebrated the fourth ordinary public consistory of his pontificate In St. Peter's Basilica  this morning, during which he created twenty-two new cardinals.The Pope pronounced the the formula of creation of the new cardinals, their names and the diaconate or presbyteral order to which they have been assigned. The new cardinals  recited the Creed and swore their faithfulness and obedience to the Pope and his successors, then each one received his red biretta and ring from the hands of the Pope.

Timothy Michael Dolan,head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was among the newly created Cardinals. He received the title of Nostra Signora di Guadalupe a Monte Mario.

The College of Cardinals now has 213 members. Of these, 125 are under the age of eighty and eligible to vote in an eventual conclave for the election of a new Pope. The number of non- electors, cardinals over the age of eighty and ineligible to vote in a conclave, was increased by 4 to 88.

The current members of the College of Cardinals come from seventy-one nations distributed throughout the continents as follows: Europe 119, North America  21, Latin America 32, Africa 17, Asia 20 and Oceania 4.

From   Vatican City, 18 February 2012 (VIS) -

Friday, February 17, 2012


 Tomorrow Saturday 18 February, the Vatican Information Service will issue a special bulletin for the occasion of the ordinary public consistory during which the Holy Father will appoint twenty-two new cardinals.Vatican City, 17 February 2012 (VIS)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stations of the Cross at Saint Bridget During Lent

The schedule 
Stations of the Cross at Saint Bridget's
  • February 24 at 7PM.........led by Fourth Grade
  • March 2        at 7PM.........led by Youth Group
  • March 9        at 7PM.........led by Fifth Grade
  • March 16      at 7PM.........led by Sixth Grade
  • March 23      at 7PM.........led by Seventh Grade
  • March 30      at 7PM.........led by Eighth Grade
  • Good Friday  at 3PM........led by Priest

Joint Communique of Holy See and UK Government

 Following are extracts from the  joint communique of the Holy See and the government of the United Kingdom on the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two States.
"The Holy See and Her Majesty’s Government reaffirmed the need to promote integral and sustainable global development, based on the centrality of the human person and grounded in the principle of the inherent human dignity and worth of each person
"The Holy See and Her Majesty’s Government share a commitment to work at the United Nations and other fora to strengthen the international focus on conflict prevention, disarmament, arms control and non proliferation, aimed at protecting human life and building a world more respectful of human dignity.
"Her Majesty’s Government welcomed His Holiness Pope Benedict’s support for the ongoing process of reconciliation in Northern Ireland, the establishment of stable, inclusive political institutions, and efforts to build a peaceful, stable and prosperous future for all parts of the community. Her Majesty’s Government and the Holy See agreed that the use of violence for political ends is deplorable, and must be set aside in favour of constructive dialogue for the well-being of the whole community.
"With regard to the changes which have occurred in North Africa and the Middle East, the Holy See and Her Majesty’s Government stressed the importance of undertaking real reforms in the political, economic and social realms, in order better to ensure the unity and development of each nation, in responding positively to the legitimate aspirations of many people for peace and stability. In this context, reference was made to the role which Christians can play and to the importance of inter-religious dialogue. The Holy See and Her Majesty’s Government expressed the hope for a resumption of negotiations in good faith between Israelis and Palestinians so as to bring about a lasting peace. They renewed their appeal for an immediate end to violence in Syria and stressed the need for co-operation to overcome the present crisis and work towards a harmonious and united coexistence.- Vatican City, 15 February 2012 (VIS)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bishops Reject Obama Comprimise on HHS Contraception Mandate

Late Friday afternoon the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement rejecting the Obama compromise on the HHS Contraception Mandate, and called for complete recession of the mandate. The statement noted that the President has done two things earlier in the day.
"First, he has decided to retain HHS's nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients. This is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern. We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty. Second, the President has announced some changes in how that mandate will be administered, which is still unclear in its details. As far as we can tell at this point, the change appears to have the following basic contours:
·It would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write. At this point, it would appear that self-insuring religious employers, and religious insurance companies, are not exempt from this mandate
We will therefore continue—with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency—our efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government. For example, we renew our call on Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. And we renew our call to the Catholic faithful, and to all our fellow Americans, to join together in this effort to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all"

The New York Times coverage of the USCCB Statement here.

Ash Wednesday, February 22

Ashes will be distributed during the noon Mass at Saint Bridget.

First Penance, Saturday February 25

Saint Bridget students who will make their First Reconcillation should report to Muldowney Hall by 8:45 AM on February 25.  Any parent who was unable to attend the informational meeting on January 17, should contact the Sacred Heart Religious  Education office (540 662 2651) for missed details.

Friday, February 10, 2012

HHS Rule on Contraception Services Resolved?

The New York Times reported at 1pm Friday.
President Obama announced a plan on Friday responding to wide spread concern about the new HHS requirement  that all health insurance plans, including those offered by Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and charities, provide free birth control to female employees. Under the plan,” Religious liberty will be protected, and a law that requires free preventive care will not discriminate against women,”  said the president.
Administration officials said the “accommodation” sought to demonstrate respect for religious beliefs. It will be similar to the plan of Hawaii in which employees at religious institutions whose health insurance plans do not offer free contraception can get birth control through side benefits. In Hawaii, the employees nominally pay for the benefits. The Obama proposal would shift the cost to insurers. Administration officials hope that insurers will not object because contraceptives may save more money than they cost because they prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Mr. Obama called Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, to inform them of the modification of the HHS rule..
Sister Keehan stated “The Catholic Health Association is very pleased with the White House announcement that a resolution has been reached that protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions,”  “The framework developed has responded to the issues we identified that needed to be fixed.”
Archbishop Dolan of New York, called the move a “step in the right direction,” but said the bishops would reserve judgment on the plan until they had the details.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

High Profile Democrats Oppose HHS Mandate

A growing number of  President Obama supporters have joined Republicans in opposing the recent HHS mandate on contraception. These include Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois and freshman Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who called the HHS edict “un-American” and a “direct affront to the religious freedoms protected under the First Amendment.”

Prominent Democratic defectors include swing-state senator Bob Casey (Pennsylvania) who will be on the November ballot  and House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Connecticut).

And the criticism was not limited to Catholic politicians. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), an Orthodox Jew, tweeted Wednesday that he opposed the administration’s mandate.

Timothy Kaine, former Governor of Virginia and former Chair of the DNC, is the latest Democrat to assail the  HHS rule forcing religious institutions to violate their conscience. Today's Washington Post reports on an interview recorded Tuesday for the program "Hearsay with Cathy Lewis" on WHRV-FM in Hampton Roads. The transcript quotes Kaine,"I have definitely expressed my grave concerns to the White House about that, I support the contraception mandate, but there should be a religious employer exemption that is broader than the one they propose".

The interview has not yet been aired.  According to the Post, the transcript of Kaine's remarks was provided to the Washington Post by the Kaine for Senate Campaign.

Kaiser Health News  is following this with links to  Washington Post, National Journal, Politico and USA Today
The Kaine Interview will be aired on WHRV-FM  "Hearsay with Cathy LewisFebruary 13 - Monday at noon.
Hearsay with Cathy Lewis may be found here.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Towards Healing and Renewal: an International Symposium

Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, delivered a lecture at the symposium being held in Rome's Gregorian University from 6 to 9 February. The event, which brings together bishops and religious superiors from all over the world, is focused on the Church's commitment to protecting minors and vulnerable people from abuse.
Speaking in English, Cardinal Levada noted, " ... the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a circular letter to assist episcopal conferences in developing guidelines for dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by clerics". That letter, dated 2011, calls for standards to evaluate the suitability of clergy and other persons who minister in Church institutions and agencies; and for education programs to be set up for families and Church communities to ensure the protection of children and young people.
He reiterated that bishops and religious superiors must "exercise even greater scrutiny in accepting candidates for the priesthood and religious life, as well as providing formation programmes that provide the necessary foundational human formation, including appropriate formation in human sexuality".
"For many if not most victims a first need is to be heard, to know that the Church listens to their stories of abuse, that the Church understands the gravity of what they have suffered, that she wants to accompany them on the often long path of healing, and that she has taken or is willing to take effective steps to ensure that other children will be protected from such abuse", Cardinal Levada said. In this context he also noted the example set by the Holy Father in meeting with abuse victims during his apostolic trips.
Noting that the sexual abuse of minors is not only a crime in canon law, but is also a crime that violates criminal laws in most civil jurisdictions, Cardinal Levada stated, “The Church has an obligation to cooperate with the requirements of civil law regarding the reporting of such crimes to the appropriate authorities".
At the end of his address, the Cardinal expressed the hope that the symposium would be "a source of expertise and hope for those who seek to eliminate the scourge of sexual abuse of minors from society at large". (from Vatican Information Service)

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

2012 Lenten Message of Benedict XVI

The theme of  the Papal 2012 Lenten Message is taken from the Letter to the Hebrews:
The Holy Father observed, "The Lenten season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity. This is a favourable time to renew our journey of faith, both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the word of God and the Sacraments"….
"This year I would like to propose a few thoughts in the light of a brief biblical passage drawn from the Letter to the Hebrews: “Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works'"….
"This first aspect is an invitation to be 'concerned'. ... The verb which introduces our exhortation tells us to look at others, first of all at Jesus, to be concerned for one another, and not to remain isolated and indifferent to the fate of our brothers and sisters. All too often, however, our attitude is just the opposite: an indifference and disinterest born of selfishness and masked as a respect for 'privacy'….
"In a world which demands of Christians a renewed witness of love and fidelity to the Lord, may all of us feel the urgent need to anticipate one another in charity, service and good works. This appeal is particularly pressing in this holy season of preparation for Easter".
A more complete version of Benedict’s message may be found in the Vatican Information Service News Release of February 7. ( Vatican Press Office -- Sidebar)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Bishops Loverde and DiLorenzo on HHS Rule

Recently HHS announced that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Bishop Loverde has spoken out about this earlier. (See recent post.)
Now the bishops of Virginia's two Catholic dioceses have issued a letter to the Faithful:
1. requesting them to commit to prayer and fasting so that"...wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored, and
2. recommending that they read the statement by the U.S. Bishops, to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Administration’s decision.

Ground Breaking Ceremony for Hobert Hall

The Ground Breaking Ceremony for Hobert Hall took place after Mass on Sunday, February 5th. Despite the snowy weather an enthusiastic crowd witnessed the event. Mike Malucci, Carl Hales and Michael Hobert assisted Father Krempa with the ceremonial duties.

A unidentified youngster pitched in with the digging.

After the ceremony, the Men's Club offered coffee and donuts in the Narthex. while Father Krempa was interviewed by a reporter.