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TEENS AND CHASTITY: Catholic Program

Length45 min.
Age GroupJS - Jr-Sr High School
PublisherCenter for Learning
TopicsHuman Sexuality
Communication
Relationships
Values

In an honest presentation to teens, Molly Kelly explains that chastity solves many of today's problems, such as teen pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases including AIDS, abortion, and the harmful side effects of contraception. Molly reflects on how th

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  • By Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Italian authorities arrested six suspects who allegedly received orders from the Islamic State terrorist group to attack the Vatican and the Israeli embassy in Rome. The arrests made in Lombardy and Piedmont April 28 were the result of a joint operation coordinated by the district attorney of Milan and the Italian anti-terrorism agency. According to the Italian news agency ANSA, authorities arrested Abderrahim Moutaharrik and his wife, Salma Bencharki; Abderrahmane Khachia, and three people who have maintained contact with a couple that left Italy to join the Islamic State in Syria. All of the suspects are of Moroccan origin. A warrant has been issued for the couple, Mohamed Korachi and his Italian wife, Alice Brignoli, who are believed to have left for Syria in 2015. Authorities monitored a series of conversations between the suspects via WhatsApp. One of the messages sent to Moutaharrik said: "Dear brother Abderrahim, I send you ... the bomb poem ... listen to the sheik and strike," ANSA reported. Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli told reporters authorities believe the word "sheik" is a reference to Islamic State leader Abu-Bakir Al-Baghdadi. He also said the messages, intercepted in February and March 2016, mentioned a strike against the Israeli embassy as well as against Christian pilgrims in Rome for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. "I swear I will be the first to attack them in this Italy of crusaders, I swear I'll attack it, in the Vatican God willing," a message from one of the arrested suspects stated, according to ANSA. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, expressed his confidence in the current security measures in place for the Holy Year. "The preventative security measures in place to protect pilgrims during the jubilee year are serious and functioning properly, as everyone can see and have witnessed. Therefore, there appears to be no need to modify them," he told Catholic News Service April 29. - - - Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS/courtesy Vatican ObservatoryBy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Of the many momentous or menial tasks women religious perform, one of the better-kept secrets has been the role of four Sisters of the Holy Child Mary who were part of a global effort to make a complete map and catalog of the starry skies. Up until recently, the women were no more than nameless nuns whose image has long been preserved in a black and white photograph that showed them wearing impeccably ironed habits and leaning over special microscopes and a ledger. But now their identities have been pulled out of obscurity by Jesuit Father Sabino Maffeo, assistant to the director of the Vatican Observatory. He stumbled onto their names as he was going through the observatory archives, "putting papers in order," he told Catholic News Service April 26. Sisters Emilia Ponzoni, Regina Colombo, Concetta Finardi and Luigia Panceri, all born in the late 1800s and from the northern Lombardy region near Milan, helped map and catalog nearly half a million stars for the Vatican's part in an international survey of the night sky. Top astronomers from around the world met in Paris in 1887 and again in 1889 to coordinate the creation of a photographic "Celestial Map" ("Carte du Ciel") and an "astrographic" catalog pinpointing the stars' positions. Italian astronomer and meteorologist, Barnabite Father Francesco Denza, easily convinced Pope Leo XIII to let the Holy See take part in the initiative, which assigned participating observatories a specific slice of the sky to photograph, map and catalog. Father Maffeo, an expert in the observatory's history and its archivist, said Pope Leo saw the Vatican's participation as a way to show the world that "the church supported science" and "was not just concerned with theology and religion." The Vatican was one of about 18 observatories that spent the next several decades taking thousands of glass-plate photographs with their telescopes and cataloging data for the massive project. But the project at the Vatican Observatory began to suffer after Father Denza died in 1894. When Pope Pius X found out the new director wasn't up to the job, he called on Archbishop Pietro Maffi of Pisa to reorganize the observatory and search for the best replacement, Father Maffeo said. In 1906, the archbishop found his man at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. -- Jesuit Father John Hagen who had been heading its observatory there since 1888 and was renowned for his research on "variable" stars, which have fluctuating brightness. Though he had extensive experience in astronomy, Father Hagen never did the kind of measurements and number crunching required for the astrographic catalog, Father Maffeo said. "So he went to Europe to see how they did it and saw that in some observatories there were women who read the (star) positions and wrote them in a book with precise coordinates," the 93-year-old Jesuit priest said. The astronomers told Father Hagen that once the young women "were shown how to do it, they were very diligent," Father Maffeo said. At the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, for example, they even were referred to as "lady computers" because of the skill needed to calculate the coordinates according to set formulae. When Father Hagen wondered where he might be able to hire young women for the Vatican, "he immediately thought -- nuns," and contacted the Sisters of the Holy Child Mary, who were located nearby, Father Maffeo said. Coincidentally, Mary is often symbolized in Catholic Church tradition by a star. In a letter dated July 13, 1909, to the superior general, Mother Angela Ghezzi, Archbishop Maffi said the Vatican Observatory "needs two sisters with normal vision, patience and a predisposition for methodical and mechanical work." Father Maffeo said the sisters' general council was not enthused "about wasting two nuns on a job that had nothing to do with charity." However, Mother Ghezzi was "used to seeing God's will in every request," he said, and she let two sisters go to the observatory. Work for the sisters began in 1910, but soon required a third and later a fourth nun to join the team. Two would sit in front of a microscope mounted on an inclined plane with a light shining under the plate-glass photograph of one section of the night sky. The plates were overlaid with numbered grids and the sisters would measure and read out loud each star's location on two axes and another would register the coordinates in a ledger. They would also check enlarged versions of the images on paper. The Vatican was one of about 10 observatories to complete its assigned slice of the sky. From 1910 to 1921, the nuns surveyed the brightness and positions of 481,215 stars off of hundreds of glass plates. Their painstaking work did not go unnoticed at the time. Pope Benedict XV received them in a private audience in 1920 and gave them a gold chalice, Father Maffeo said. Pope Pius XI also received the "measuring nuns" eight years later, awarding them a silver medal. The Vatican's astrographic catalog, which totaled 10 volumes, gave special mention to the sisters, noting their "alacrity and diligence," uninterrupted labors and "zeal greater than any eulogy" could express at a task "so foreign to their mission." The international project to catalog star positions and build a celestial map ended in 1966 and recorded nearly 5 million stars. The catalog consists of more than 200 volumes produced by 20 observatories and the unfinished map is made up of hundreds of sheets of paper -- all work culled from more than 22,000 glass photographic plates of the sky. Father Maffeo said, "Never before had there been a presentation of the stars as vast as this." While the project was quickly eclipsed by huge technological developments in surveying stars, modern-day scientists eventually discovered that comparing the star positions recorded a century earlier with current satellite positions provided valuable information about star motions for millions of stars. The project showed that even in a new era of satellites and software, quaint glass-plate photographs and "lady computers" weren't wholly obsolete. - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Yuri Gripas, ReutersBy Kurt JensenWASHINGTON (CNS) -- House Speaker Paul Ryan apologized for his earlier criticism of recipients of government benefits as "takers and makers," and said Republicans strive for a country that is "open, diverse, dynamic" in a speech at Georgetown University.Ryan's one-hour talk April 27 at the Jesuit-run university's Gaston Hall was billed by him as an effort to reach out to millennials. Political observers described it as an effort to soften his image in preparation for a 2020 run for the presidency.The speech came nearly four years to the day that the Wisconsin Republican told a Georgetown audience, "The work I do as a Catholic holding office conforms to the social doctrine as best I can make of it."This time around, however, Ryan said nothing about his Catholic beliefs."What prompted you to reconsider your previous statements about poor people as takers?" asked Rachel Hirsch, a graduate student."I was just wrong," Ryan replied. "I didn't mean to give offense. ... There are people who get knocked down in life. And to lump an entire category of people in one broad brush is wrong, I think."He added that the only way to deal with his previous rhetoric is, "Just own up to it. Just fess up and fix it."His 2012 remarks at the university were a flashpoint of that year's presidential campaign when he ran for vice president on the Republican ticket headed by Mitt Romney.Ryan had been criticized by advocates of poor and marginalized people for his stance. Rather than chastise, however, charitable organizations, led by Catholic Charities USA, have worked with Ryan and his staff for months to showcase programs that aid poor families, homeless individuals, the sick and the elderly while stressing the importance of a federal partnership to support such efforts because the nonprofits would be overwhelmed if left to provide social services solely on their own.Ryan's words were a version of the apology he has been offering in speeches and TV interviews since January. His language to students was less strident than during his first visit, but he did not get into the specifics of policy proposals."I want to make my case: Why support Republicans? I'm going to go out on a limb and assume the thought had not occurred to most of you. So here's how I'd sum it up: The America that you want is the America that we want -- open, diverse, dynamic. It is what I call a confident America, where the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life, where we tackle our problems together so that all of us can thrive," Ryan said.In response to a student question, Ryan said action by Congress on immigration reform "will have to wait for the next president" and repeated his familiar accusation of President Barack Obama "going around Congress and making laws" with executive orders.Securing the border, he said, is about "heroin and opiods. This is about ISIS. It's not about Latinos. It's not at all about that."Ryan called for "more competition in student lending" to provide more alternatives in college choices. "Look, I love this school, you've had some awesome basketball teams ... but not everyone can afford a place like this," he said.Ryan did not mention Donald Trump or any other Republican presidential candidates by name. One student, who said he was a Republican, said he was unhappy with both Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and asked Ryan if there was a reason for hope.Ryan maintained his neutrality on the race for the Republican nomination, but added, "I have never seen the well poisoned as much as it is these days. ... I'd like to say it's just the Democrats, but it's not -- it's both."He decried the use of "identity politics" as a successful political strategy. "Now unfortunately, both sides are playing this game. And all it's doing is dividing us as a country," he said.With "45 million people out there in poverty" and anxiety about stagnant wages, "right now in the primaries, it's being accelerated and exacerbated. Gas is being thrown on the fire," he added."Republicans lose personality contests anyway. We always do. I've learned that lesson the hard way. But we win ideas contests. And this is what we want to have is an ideas contest."- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Deirdre McQuadeBy Nancy O'BrienWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Many paths led Richard Doerflinger into pro-life work. And now his path is taking him into retirement as associate director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities and eventually across the country to Washington state. Doerflinger, a 63-year-old native of the New York borough of Queens, served for 36 years as legislative assistant, assistant director, associate director for policy development and, since 2008, as overall associate director of the secretariat. His retirement was to begin April 29. Although he did not know it at the time, his first pro-life influence came when he was 14. His older brother Eugene was involved in a car accident and was left in what is now called a persistent vegetative state for several months. Doctors told Doerflinger's parents that Eugene's "life was over" and urged them to let him die, the younger Doerflinger said. Instead, they took him home and cared for him there until Eugene "became fully aware of the people around him." "From that I learned never to give up on people and about the unconditional love of a family," Doerflinger said. But there was another bitter lesson when Eugene and his family realized how difficult it was for him to learn to stand and walk again when doctors had failed to treat his dislocated shoulder after the accident. His journey then took him to the University of Chicago, where he met and married his wife of 38 years, Lee Ann. Starting out as a chemistry major and pre-med student, he began to find his philosophy courses "much more interesting," so he switched to religious studies and theology. Doerflinger came to Washington as a doctoral student in theology at The Catholic University of America, where his wife, a French language and literature major, worked as a legal secretary "to support her poor, starving student husband," he said with a laugh. She eventually became a natural family planning instructor for the Archdiocese of Washington. Wanting to contribute to the family finances, he heard about a job as a legislative assistant in the pro-life office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Even though he had no legislative experience, "I walked in and was hired," he said. Although his science background served him well on the technical aspects of pro-life work, "everything I know about public policy I learned on the job," Doerflinger said. But the job was a good fit because "I can't remember a time when I did not find the Catholic Church's position on life compelling," he added. Over the next 36 years, there were both highs and lows for the pro-life movement. "The high points would involve the passage of the ban on partial-birth abortion and the Supreme Court decision upholding that ban, the Weldon Amendment on conscience rights in 1994 and the Dickey Amendment on federal funding of embryo research in 1995," he said. "One of the biggest victories happened before my time in 1976 with passage of the Hyde Amendment," which forbids federal funding for most abortions or abortion-related care and continues to be included in many federal appropriations bills, Doerflinger added. Among the low points he cited were "the failure of Congress to retain the Stupak Amendment," which would have prohibited any federal funding of abortion in the Affordable Care Act. "Sixty-five Democrats supported (the Stupak Amendment) in the House, but the Senate decided to do their own, more problematic bill," Doerflinger said. "I also regret that we never got Congress to do a real ban on human cloning or to act against the use of federally controlled drugs in assisted suicides," he said. Asked about the changes that have taken place in pro-life work during the past three decades, Doerflinger explained that "the public policy debate has moved, at least for now, from efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade outright to ways of reducing abortion and testing the envelope on what the (Supreme) court has set out." "There is more state legislation passed than ever before and a lot of it is pressing that envelope," he added. "But even those modest laws do have an effect on reducing the abortion rate." Doerflinger said he was "delighted" to turn over the reins to his successor, Greg Schleppenbach, executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, who was to begin work at the USCCB May 16. "He really knows these issues and he's a better coalition builder than I am, so now he can do this on the national scene," he said. Doerflinger will continue as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, to which he has belonged since 2011, and as a public policy fellow at the University of Notre Dame's Center for Ethics and Culture and at the National Catholic Bioethics Center. At the Vatican, he and his colleagues at the academy have been discussing issues such as the challenges to presenting the Catholic vision in a secularized society and the relationship between faith and science. "Throughout the whole stem-cell debate, we were constantly being told that religion was getting in the way of science," Doerflinger said. "But now the research that is moving most rapidly to cure a disease is the research we have been urging people to explore instead -- adult stem-cell research." Richard and Lee Ann Doerflinger have raised four children, including Army Spc. Thomas Doerflinger, who died in combat in Iraq in 2004 at the age of 20. Although his parents continue to grieve the loss of their oldest son, "Thomas was a smart young man who knew what he was getting into. He wanted to do something meaningful, something important ... and he was very matter-of-fact about the possibility of dying." But, he added, "I have a great deal of sympathy for those who do not have their faith to support them" in such a tragedy. Now that daughters Anna and Maria and son Matthew are out on their own, Doerflinger promised his wife, a native of Washington state, to "give her side of the country a chance." They plan to move north of Seattle after they sell their home in Maryland. "There are all kinds of articles I have not had a chance to write because of the day-to-day crises of the job," he said. "I am certainly going to stay involved in these matters, just at a slower pace."- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy RTEBy Nick BramhillDUBLIN (CNS) -- An Irish Catholic street cleaner, who was filmed by a TV documentary crew as he temporarily swapped his job in the Irish capital for the poverty-stricken Philippines, has pledged to spend the rest of his life helping the struggling family he lived with. Mark Crosbie, a street cleaner with Dublin City Council, told how his perspective on life has changed forever since he spent a few days cleaning the streets of the Philippines' densely populated capital, Manila, for an Irish TV documentary, "Toughest Place To Be." As part of the program, which was watched by 330,000 viewers when it was screened in mid-April ago on RTE, Ireland's state broadcaster, the 47-year-old father-of-two stayed with the family of a local street cleaner, Mel Macaereg, who earns $15 a week to support himself, his wife, Merney, and their six children. But since filming ended in January, Crosbie has maintained weekly contact with his host family and has set up a charity drive to raise funds for the wider community that took him in. Crosbie, who sweeps the cobbled streets of Dublin's Temple Bar district for a living, said: "The poverty I saw over there was on a level I'd never seen before, and I struggled to adjust to life back in Dublin when I came back. I was scarred by it, but it was a positive scar. "The people I met had literally nothing, yet they embraced me and looked after me like I was one of their own. They were probably the warmest and most generous people I've ever come across. "I felt very emotional when I said my goodbyes to the family and I left them everything I had brought over with me, because I felt it was the least I could do. That wasn't shown in the documentary, but I left my possessions on the bed I'd been sleeping in -- clothes, toys for the kids, biscuits, coffee and about $450 in cash. I'm not looking for any credit for that, it was just the right thing to do. "If I'd have had $10,000 with me, I'd have left them that too," he added. Crosbie said he would love to help everyone he met in the Philippines, "but obviously I can't make things better." He added he planned to do a sponsored climb of the holy mountain Croagh Patrick in August to raise money for the community. Manila is home to 25 million people, 4 million of whom live in slums. In the documentary, Crosbie witnessed firsthand the daily hardship facing thousands of people. He visited a city dump, where hundreds of impoverished people spend their days searching through rubbish for items they could sell. "Going over there was probably the best thing I've ever done. It opened my eyes in a way I could never have imagined," Crosbie said. "I found it very hard for the first couple of weeks when I returned to work in Dublin. The things people were moaning about really didn't seem to matter in comparison."- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.