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Frequently Requested Origins Documents

Here is a list of recent documents that have been requested frequently by our readers. To view a document just click on the headline or the "Go To" button.

VOLUME: 32 ISSUE: 46 DATE: 20030501 SIZE: 108890
"Ecclesia de Eucharistia": Encyclical
by Pope John Paul II

John Paul II/Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia "The church was born of the paschal mystery. For this very reason the eucharist, which is in an outstanding way the sacrament of the paschal mystery, stands at the center of the church's life," Pope John Paul II says in "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" ("Church of the Eucharist"), his 14th encyclical. He signed it April 17, Holy Thursday. In the eucharist, "Jesus Christ entrusted to his church the perennial making present of the paschal mystery.... The thought of this leads us to profound amazement and gratitude," the pope writes. He wants "to rekindle this eucharistic 'amazement' by the present encyclical." Appealing urgently that liturgical norms for the eucharist "be observed with great fidelity," the pope says, "Liturgy is never anyone's private property, be it of the celebrant or of the community." He stresses that a community gathered to celebrate the eucharist "absolutely requires" an ordained priest's presence as president. The eucharist, he says, "is the principal and central raison d'etre of the sacrament of priesthood."

VOLUME: 33 ISSUE: 31 DATE: 20040115 SIZE: 137868
Report on Implementation of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People"
by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Office of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board

Report on Implementation of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" The first annual report on diocesan implementation of the U.S. bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" was released Jan. 6 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill., president of the USCCB, explained in an introduction that the report is "based on a compliance audit of virtually all dioceses and eparchies of the United States by an independent auditor." Gregory said the report indicates that U.S. dioceses and Eastern-rite eparchies " have put a tremendous effort into making the charter very much a part of the life of the church since the [bishops' June 2002] Dallas meeting. This report also shows that in Dallas we could not foresee everything that needs to be done. And so the report contains valuable general recommendations for further strengthening the church's response to the sexual abuse crisis in all its dimensions." The bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," adopted in Dallas, came in response to th e crisis in the church in the United States involving the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and other church representatives. The charter (Origins, Vol. 32, pp. 409ff) called for the establishment of an Office of Child and Youth Protection at the bishops' conference.

VOLUME: 33 ISSUE: 20 DATE: 20031023 SIZE: 56791
Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility
by USCCB Administrative Committee

USCCB Administrative Committee/2004 Election Year Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility "As we approach the elections of 2004, we renew our call for a new kind of politics - focused on moral principles, not on the latest polls; on the needs of the poor and vulnerable, not the contributions of the rich and powerful; and on the pursuit of the common good, not the demands of special interests," the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Administrative Committee says in "Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility," a statement for the 2004 U.S. political campaign year unanimously approved by the 47-member committee in September and made public Oct. 13. A similar document has been issued before each presidential election over the past 28 years. The new statement discusses the church's role in an election year, Catholic politicians, themes of the Catholic social tradition that "anchor our community's role in public life," moral priorities for public life and other matters.

VOLUME: 33 ISSUE: 12 DATE: 20030828 SIZE: 43448
The Identity and Purpose of Religious Life
by Brother Sean Sammon, FMS

Brother Sammon, FMS The Identity and Purpose of Religious Life Those in religious life are "called to be our church's living memory, reminding it constantly about the nature of its identity. That is our prophetic role. Let's be honest, though. We cannot give what we do not have. We have no business making recomm endations to others without taking the same good advice to heart ourselves," Marist Brother Sean Sammon said in an Aug. 8 speech in Louisville, Ky., to the Conference of Major Superiors of Men annual assembly. He is superior general of the Marist Brother s. Sammon said that while Vatican Council II "tackled the necessary and urgent challenge of defining the rightful place of lay men and women within our church," it was less successful in the "attempt to redefine the nature and purpose of consecrated life ," and "during the years since ... we have been similarly unsuccessful in explaining to ourselves and others just who we are and what it is that we cherish and hold dear." Important choices about "our identity and purpose as a group lie ahead," said Sammon.

VOLUME: 33 ISSUE: 29 DATE: 20040101 SIZE: 28592
Message for the 2004 World Day of Peace
by Pope John Paul II

John Paul II/2004 World Day of Peace Message An Ever Timely Commitment: Teaching Peace "The scourge of terrorism has become more virulent in recent years and has produced brutal massacres which have in turn put even greater obstacles in the way" of peace, Pope John Paul II said in his message for the Jan. 1, 2004, World Day of Peace, relea sed Dec. 16 by the Vatican and titled "An Ever Timely Commitment: Teaching Peace." But if the fight against terrorism is to be won, he said, it "cannot be limited solely to repressive and punitive operations." Even when the use of force is necessary, it must "be accompanied by a courageous and lucid analysis of the reasons behind terrorist attacks," he said. "The fight against terrorism must be conducted also on the political and educational levels ... by eliminating the underlying causes of situations of injustice ... and ... by insisting on an education inspired by respect for human life in every situation."

VOLUME: 33 ISSUE: 25 DATE: 20031127 SIZE: 47336
Popular Devotional Practices: Basic Questions and Answers
by U.S. Bishops

Prayer and Worship/U.S. Bishops' Meeting Popular Devotional Practices: Basic Questions and Answers "The church has learned from experience that authentic popular devotions are an invaluable means of promoting an increased love of God.... Popular religiosity, of course, certainly has its limits. It is often subject to penetration by many distortions of religion and even superstitions.... This should not obscure, however, the great benefits to be derived from the practice of sound popular devotions," the U.S. bishops say in a pastoral statement they approved Nov. 12 during their fall meeting in Washing ton. Titled "Popular Devotional Practices: Basic Questions and Answers," the statement responds to 12 specific questions, among them: "What is the relationship between popular devotions and the liturgy" or "between popular devotions and the Bible?... Wha t is the relationship between popular devotions and culture?... How does our veneration of Mary and the saints relate to our worship of God?" The statement says that "proper veneration of Mary does not detract from worship of God....

VOLUME: 33 ISSUE: 13 DATE: 20030904 SIZE: 40054
Planning for the Future of a Diocese's Parishes
by by Bishop Samuel Aquila

Bishop Aquila/Fargo, N.D. Pastoral Planning for the Future of a Diocese's Parishes A yearlong process of pastoral planning for the future of parish structures in the Diocese of Fargo, N.D., is outlined in a July 25 pastoral letter titled "Communities of the Christian Faithful," by Bishop Samuel Aquila. "The ultimate question we see k to answer is this: What should our parish life and organization look like in order to best preach and celebrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" Aquila said. As the planning process unfolds, he wrote, "both pastors and deans have a grave pastoral responsib ility to facilitate the discussion and assure that all who care to be involved are heard and respected.... Charity and civility must guide our conversation." Aquila said that in the evaluation of parish organization, clustering and consolidation, the are as of liturgy, education and charity must be taken into account. Among the pastoral letter's planning guidelines are specific criteria to consider regarding parish consolidations.

VOLUME: 33 ISSUE: 15 DATE: 20030918 SIZE: 42072
Renewal of the Priesthood in the Post-Dallas Era
by Father Stephen Rossetti

Father Rossetti Renewal of the Priesthood in the Post-Dallas Era A likely grace that will come from the tragedy of the sexual abuse crisis "will be the renewal of the church in general and, in specific, a renewal of the clergy," Father Stephen Rossetti, president of the St. Luke Institute in Silver Spring, Md., sa id in a Sept. 8 address in Washington to a convocation of priests of the Archdiocese of the Military Services. "If we are willing, these days offer to us a chance of renewal, to make a good priesthood and a strong church community even better," Rossetti said. He discussed the possibilities for clergy renewal in terms of their lives as Christians, as priests and as church leaders. "Priests are first and foremost children of God and followers of Jesus, that is, Christians," said Rossetti. "Essential to th e renewal of the priesthood is our renewal as Christians," he added. "When we have come personally to know our sinfulness and God's forgiveness, there can be no room for arrogance or clericalism.

VOLUME: 32 ISSUE: 08 DATE: 20020704 SIZE: 127300
Starting Afresh From Christ: A Renewed Commitment to Consecrated Life in the Third Millennium
by Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life

In an instruction that views the difficulties, trials and challenges experienced in the consecrated life today as "a new opportunity to rediscover more profoundly" its meaning and quality, the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life says that "consecrated persons are called by the Spirit ... to give new vigor to the prophetic dimension of their vocation." The instruction, titled "Starting Afresh From Christ: A Renewed Commitment to Consecrated Life in the Third Millennium," was issued June 14. Consecrated life encompasses both contemplative and apostolic men's and women's religious orders, secular institutes, societies of apostolic life and others. A main focus of the instruction is spiritual life. "The Spirit alone can keep alive the freshness and authenticity of the beginnings while at the same time instilling the courage of interdependence and inventiveness needed to respond to the signs of the times," it says.

VOLUME: 32 ISSUE: 11 DATE: 20020815 SIZE: 20993
Where Do We Go From Here? Address to Priests
by Bishop Wilton Gregory

"Too many priests and bishops do not have enough good priest friends," Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill., said in a July 8 address to priests of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Gregory is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He said he spoke at "a moment in the life of our church in the United States that leaves most of us somewhat confused, disheartened, angry and perhaps unsettled." But he suggested that "there has never been a moment in the history of the church in the United States when bishops and priests may have needed one another more" - a moment that comes "after more than six months of public disclosures of the brokenness of too many of our brothers in the priesthood, after the harsh and often justified expressions of anger at the disastrous pastoral judgments of too many bishops, after the incredible shame that our Catholic people have been asked to endure."

VOLUME: 32 ISSUE: 15 DATE: 20020919 SIZE: 23272
New Cathedral Dedicated in Los Angeles
by Cardinal Roger Mahony

"This cathedral exists to effect in us an extraordinary transformation.... We must welcome the word and allow ourselves to be transformed by it. Only when that occurs will this majestic cathedral begin to fulfill the dream and meet the expectations which have been ours from its beginnings," Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles said Sept. 2 in his homily during the Mass dedicating the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. Mahony said: "The great cathedrals have been shaped by the craft and loving skills of countless artisans, many anonymous. Here we will strive to become different kinds of artisans, of peace and good will, forging links among diverse groups." The cardinal pointed out that "from here we glimpse our great city of many cities, the home of peoples of many races, lands and languages."

VOLUME: 32 ISSUE: 07 DATE: 20020627 SIZE: 25055
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
by U.S. Bishops

"We pledge most solemnly ... that we will work to our utmost for the protection of children and youth," the U.S. bishops say in the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" approved June 14 by a vote of 239-13 during their national meeting in Dallas, Texas. The bishops want to demonstrate "that we comprehend the gravity of the sexual abuse of minors" by anyone acting in the church's name. The charter calls for every diocese and Eastern-rite eparchy in the United States to "have mechanisms in place to respond promptly to any allegation where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred."

VOLUME: 32 ISSUE: 17 DATE: 20021003 SIZE: 41554
The Priest as a Man of Communion
by Father Stephen Rossetti

"The question I have posed is not what is wrong with the priesthood but what is right with it," Father Stephen Rossetti said in an address in Boston Sept. 18 to the convention of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors. Rossetti is president of St. Luke Institute in Maryland, which treats priests and religious with emotional problems and addictions. He said that "in the midst of the child sexual abuse crisis ..., a basic assumption about priesthood quickly emerged" - namely, that "there is something fundamentally wrong" with it. But, said Rossetti, "there are many things right with the priesthood, with our seminaries and with vocational discernment and formation today. This must be the backdrop to any discussion of the issues; otherwise we are giving a skewed and false impression."

VOLUME: 31 ISSUE: 09 DATE: 20010719 SIZE: 68321
Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services
by U.S. Bishops

The U.S. bishops approved a revised text of their "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" by a vote of 209-7 June 15 during their spring meeting in Atlanta. The new text deletes an appendix to the text the bishops approved Nov. 17, 1994 (Origins, Vol. 24, pp. 449ff in the edition dated Dec. 15, 1994) on principles governing cooperation with others in the health care field. The appendix explained the meaning of formal and material cooperation, and of immediate and mediate material cooperation. The revised text, explaining why the appendix is omitted, says "experience has shown that the brief articulation of the principles of cooperation that was presented there did not sufficiently forestall certain possible misinterpretations and in practice gave rise to problems in concrete applications of the principles. Reliable theological experts should be consulted in interpreting and applying the principles governing cooperation, with the proviso that, as a rule, Catholic partners should avoid entering into partnerships that would involve them in cooperation with the wrongdoing of other providers."

VOLUME: 31 ISSUE: 26 DATE: 20011206 SIZE: 61267
Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life
by U.S. Bishops

"It is our hope and expectation that in focusing on the need to respect and protect the lives of the innocent unborn and those who are disabled, ill or dying, we will help to deepen respect for the life of every human being," says the revised "Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life" approved by the U.S. bishops Nov. 14 during their Washington fall meeting. The plan last had been revised in 1985. It focuses on abortion and euthanasia, while affirming a consistent ethic of life. "Far from diminishing concern for abortion and euthanasia or equating all issues touching on the dignity of human life," a consistent ethic recognizes "the distinctive character of each issue while giving each its proper place within a coherent vision," the plan says.

VOLUME: 31 ISSUE: 31 DATE: 20020117 SIZE: 46641
Equipping the Saints for the Work of Ministry
by Bishop James Moynihan

Pastoral planning for the future of parish ministry and life should "avoid short-term decisions that need to be repeatedly revisited" and should benefit from the participation of "every parish and pastoral agency, regardless of influence, history or size," Bishop James Moynihan of Syracuse, N.Y., said in a Nov. 1 pastoral letter titled "Equipping the Saints for the Work of Ministry." In light of the impact of changing population patterns, the reduced number of priests and religious available to serve, a renewed understanding of baptism and other factors, Moynihan urged that planning not be hindered by such obstacles as the temptation "to say that these things won't happen in 'my parish'" or the temptation "to lead in little ways" when "the signs of the times seem to be inviting us to be as creative in fashioning the church of the third millennium as were our great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers."

VOLUME: 31 ISSUE: 39 DATE: 20020314 SIZE: 27582
Liturgy, Law and Life
by Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk

"For many, perhaps most, Catholics at some time or another, the liturgy has become a war zone. And the war doesn't show signs of being over yet," Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati said in a Feb. 20 address to a diocesan liturgy conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. He said he believed "that we can make a contribution toward liturgical peace ... by addressing two fundamental questions, on the answers to which I think people of varying opinions and tastes might be able to agree. The first question is, What is the liturgy for?" Second is "the question of law. What is the law for? That is to say, how is the law supposed to be used? How does it oblige?" Pilarczyk said it is the teaching of the church "that the liturgy is the peak point of the church's activity. Taking part in the church's praise of God is the goal toward which all Christian activity is directed," and Vatican II called for people to participate knowingly, actively and fruitfully. Taking up his second question, Pilarczyk said that "the law is the law, and we are not free to mess with it."

VOLUME: 31 ISSUE: 11 DATE: 20010816 SIZE: 54372
Major Currents of Our Time: What They Mean for Preaching the Gospel
by Father Robert Schreiter, CPPS

Father Schreiter/Dominicans' General Chapter Major Currents of Our Times: What They Mean for the Church There is "a responsibility now to probe as deeply as we can into the movements and currents of our own time in order to live out faithfully the commitments to preach the Gospel which are incumbent upon us," Precious Blood Father Robert Schreiter told participants in the general chapter of the Dominican order, held July 10 - Aug. 8 at Providence College in Providence, R.I. Schreiter is professor of doctrinal theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He focused on "three major themes which are shaping our life in the world today." The first, globalization, represents "a framework in which to situate our world," he said. The second, "the uneasy coexistence of the premodern, the modern and the postmodern" today, represents a lens through which to view the world.

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