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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 Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Prayer is not a magic wand that fulfills your desires, but it is what helps you keep the faith when you don't understand God's will, Pope Francis said. Prayer is meant to be "our daily bread, our powerful weapon and the staff for our journey," he said May 25 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. In his catechesis, the pope talked about the Gospel parable of the persistent widow, who incessantly appealed to a corrupt judge for justice. Judges at the time were supposed to be filled with the fear of God as they impartially and faithfully upheld the laws of Moses, the pope said. But the judge in this parable was dishonest and only cared about himself. He had no interest in protecting the rights of the weakest and easily exploited members of society, which included widows, orphans and foreigners, he said. "Faced with the judge's indifference, the widow resorted to her only weapon -- to keep incessantly pestering him, presenting him with her appeal for justice," the pope said. The judge finally gives in, he said, "not because he is moved by mercy or because his conscience forces him to," but because of her perseverance. He realizes he will never rid himself of her until he delivers a just decision, and so he does, the pope said. He said Jesus uses this parable to show that if a widow with no clout or influence could sway an uncaring judge merely through her patient and persistent pleas, then imagine how powerful that same force of prayer is when directed toward a loving, merciful and benevolent God. Jesus is showing how important and necessary it is to pray tirelessly, all the time and not just every now and then, "when I feel like it," the pope said. "We all experience moments of exhaustion and discouragement, above all when our prayers don't seem to work," he said. Contrary to the stubborn judge, he said, God speedily secures "the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night," according to the Gospel of St. Luke (18:1-8). But that doesn't mean God will respond when "and in the ways that we want. Prayer is not a magic wand," the pope said. When Jesus prayed that his father spare him from "the bitter cup of his passion," he also put himself fully in God's hands, asking that the father's will -- not his own -- be done. Jesus shows how prayer is about strengthening one's relationship with the father -- transforming one's own wishes and conforming them to God's will, he said. Prayer "helps us keep our faith in God and to trust him even when we do not understand his will." "Prayer is what keeps the faith; without it, faith wavers," Pope Francis said. And it is in prayer that people experience the compassion of God who comes to his children "filled with merciful love." - - - Follow Glatz on Twitter: @CarolGlatz- - -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.

  • By Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A former consultant to a pontifical commission who denied to a Vatican court that she leaked documents about the Vatican's financial reform had admitted to sending the documents when she was first interrogated, a Vatican policeman said. Stefano DeSantis, an officer investigating the leaking of the documents, testified May 24 that Francesca Chaouqui told Vatican police officials she sent documents regarding the Vatican Asset Management (VAM) to Gianluigi Nuzzi, author of "Merchants in the Temple." "We never assumed that she gave the documents, she admitted to it," DeSantis told the court. Chaouqui is on trial along with Msgr. Vallejo Balda, secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and Nicola Maio, the monsignor's former assistant, for "several illegal acts" of leaking Vatican documents. Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, author of "Avarice" are accused of "soliciting and exercising pressure, especially on (Msgr.) Vallejo Balda," to obtain the documents. The trial session May 24 began with the cross-examination of Gianluca Gauzzi, deputy commissioner of the Vatican police, by the defendants' lawyers regarding his testimony May 16 on the contents of Msgr. Vallejo Balda's computer and telephones. When asked by Laura Sgro, Chaouqui's lawyer, about the examination of the WhatsApp chats between Chaouqui and Msgr. Vallejo Balda, Gauzzi stated the police saw the message exchange on the Spanish monsignor's phone. Chaouqui, he added, deleted the messaging application from her phone before handing it over to the Vatican's IT experts as part of the investigation. Taking the stand after the deputy commissioner, DeSantis said Vatican police intensified their investigation after a break-in at the office of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See and discovered that several hard disks appeared to have been copied. Investigators questioned the prefecture's IT technicians and employees to verify whether they transferred the computer's content and discovered suspicious messages and emails sent by Msgr. Vallejo Balda to Nuzzi and Chaouqui. When the commission's work was ended, DeSantis said, Chaouqui seemed to be upset that she wasn't given another position at the Vatican, prompting her husband, Corrado Lanino, to send Msgr. Vallejo Balda a message that could appear threatening. "Be careful humiliating her because she can be dangerous given her contacts," DeSantis said Lanino told Msgr. Vallejo Balda in one email exchange. Regarding Chaouqui's initial confession of sending documents to Nuzzi, DeSantis told the court that she exhibited "exemplary behavior" when she gave the Vatican police her formal statement and she even made clarifications to her formal declaration before signing it. During cross-examination, Chaouqui's lawyer argued that while she did admit sending documents to Nuzzi, she did not mention passing along "secret" or "private" documents in her admission. In a declaration made to the court, Chaouqui said she assumed the documents the police asked about were invitations to a controversial banquet held on the prefecture's veranda during the canonization Mass for St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII. The veranda overlooks St. Peter's Square. DeSantis countered saying that as a member of a commission that handles sensitive financial information and that answers directly to Pope Francis, Chaouqui should have known better. He also told the court that following Chaouqui's arrest, she revealed she was pregnant and the Vatican police allowed her to stay with her husband at a Salesian house near the Vatican. DeSantis said that although she seemed fine upon her arrival, on two consecutive nights she said she was feeling ill and asked to go to the hospital. The police escorted her to a nearby hospital and were later reprimanded by a doctor for bringing a perfectly healthy patient into the emergency room while others in more dire circumstances had to wait, the police officer testified. "The doctor said, 'For me, this women can even walk home on her own two legs,'" DeSantis recalled. After the second trip to the hospital, Vatican police allowed her to go home. Although Chaouqui, whose due date was in early June, was present for only half of the May 24 session, she used social media to defend herself. "The game goes on in a war where the one who will lose is the church," she wrote on her Facebook page. "I am here, more than ever, awaiting the verdict. Then it will be my turn to have the (last) word from the pages of my book." - - - 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: NS photo/Simon CaldwellBy Simon CaldwellLIVERPOOL, England (CNS) -- Myanmar's first cardinal has thanked the Christians of the West for helping to bring democracy to his country. Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon said the Catholic Church was "at the forefront" of supporting the people of Myanmar, formerly Burma, during a dictatorship that lasted half a century. Preaching at a May 22 Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool, he declared: "Today, we are free." "The world community refused to accept the oppression ... and spoke against that," Cardinal Bo said. "The church as a community refused to allow the oppression of Christians and others in Burma," he said. "Every church, including the U.K. church, was at the forefront of supporting us." The cardinal told the congregation that Catholics "are united by a special bond of community. It is this sense of community which has helped many Christians around the world to survive hardship and emerge stronger. "My heart is filled with gratitude to all the Christians, civil society leaders and governments, that the sense of community helped them to think of Burma," he added. "Your concern has led us to see the light of democracy, and I urge you to continue to accompany us, especially through your prayers." Cardinal Bo's visit to Liverpool was the final stop of a British tour at the invitation of the charities Aid to the Church in Need and Christian Solidarity Worldwide. His visit came six months after the National League for Democracy won a landslide election that ended about 50 years of dictatorship in the Southeast Asian country. Cardinal Bo told the congregation in Liverpool that the dictatorship was a long "Calvary" for the people of his predominantly Buddhist country. "We were a crucified nation," he said. "Propagation of Christianity was banned, new churches could not be built, and personnel had to be sent out of the country for any training. In many places, being Christian was the greatest liability. "The language and cultural rights of our people were taken away by the one-language, one-race and one-religion policy," he said. "Yet God did not abandon our nation. The church was like the mustard seed and, like the biblical example, it grew into a tree," he said. In the midst of the oppression, he said, the Catholic Church in Myanmar became a "young and vibrant church." "The church grew from just three diocese to 16 dioceses," Cardinal Bo said. "From 100,000 people, we are over 800,000 faithful, from 160 priests to 800 priests, from 300 religious we are now 2,200 religious and 60 per cent of them are below the age of 40." Now, he said, Myanmar sends missionaries to other countries. Cardinal Bo reserved special praise for Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose "moral courage," he said, had defeated "one of the most arrogant armies in the world. He said the periods she spent under house arrest -- 15 of 21 years -- were episodes of "redemptive suffering" that "melted decades of oppression." "A new democracy has been born in this nation," said Cardinal Bo. "Myanmar is proud today that its Easter moment came in the most peaceful manner. "Here was a woman whose belief in peace and nonviolence stands in stark contrast to the violent conflicts in many parts of the world," he said. "It is a great inspiration that peace is possible and moral power still can overcome tremendous suffering."- - -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.

  • By Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Holiness doesn't depend on superhuman powers, but rather demands a heart filled with courage, hope and grace that strives for conversion each and every day, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass. In fact, holiness is reached by taking tiny steps, like biting your tongue every time there is the urge to gossip or demean somebody, he said May 24 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. "Bite your tongue a little. Your tongue will swell up a bit, but your spirit will be holier," the pope said. "Holiness is a journey. Holiness cannot be bought, it is not sold" and it is not given away as a reward, he said. It is "walking in God's presence in an irreproachable way." Every person is responsible for striking out on a path of holiness, he said. "I have to do it, someone else can't do it in my name. I can pray for someone else to be a saint, but he has to take that path, not me." The holiness Christians must strive for is an "everyday" task often carried out in anonymity, he said. This journey first demands courage, "the courage to move forward," he said. That courage is inspired by hope -- the hope "in an encounter with Jesus." However, people cannot live holy lives on their own. "It is a grace of God and we must ask for it" and be open to receiving it, he said. Christians must not conform themselves to the world, but must "change one's own heart from within -- in an ongoing, daily intense activity within." Conversion isn't telling the priest, "Oh father, for me to convert I must do penance -- give me a clobbering," he said. The process of conversion requires small concrete steps, he said. For example, "If you are able to not speak badly about someone else, you are on the right path for becoming a saint. It's that easy." Tackle the little things and "don't turn back, always move forward" with hope and strength, he said.- - -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/Max Rossi, ReutersBy Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After five years of tension and top-level silence, Pope Francis and the grand imam of one of the most important Sunni Muslim universities in the world embraced at the Vatican May 23. "The meeting is the message," the pope told Ahmad el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar University, as the religious scholar approached him just inside the door of the papal library. El-Tayeb's spring visit was the first meeting between a pontiff and a grand imam since the Muslim university in Cairo suspended talks in 2011. Established in 1998, the formal dialogue between al-Azhar and the Vatican started to fray in 2006, after now-retired Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech in Regensburg, Germany. Al-Azhar officials and millions of Muslims around the world said the speech linked Islam to violence. Al-Azhar halted the talks altogether in 2011 after the former pope had said Christians in the Middle East were facing persecution. Al-Azhar claimed that Pope Benedict had offended Islam and Muslims once more by focusing only on the suffering of Christians when many Muslims were suffering as well. In February, Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, delivered a letter to el-Tayeb from Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, council president, inviting him to the Vatican to meet the pope. Cardinal Tauran and Bishop Ayuso welcomed the imam to the Vatican May 23 and accompanied him to the papal meeting. Pope Francis sat to the side of his desk facing the grand imam rather than behind his desk as he customarily does when meeting with a visiting head of state. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the pope spoke privately with el-Tayeb for 25 minutes and the conversation included a discussion about "the great significance of this new encounter within the scope of dialogue between the Catholic Church and Islam." "They then dwelled upon the common commitment of the authorities and the faithful of the great religions for world peace, the rejection of violence and terrorism (and) the situation of Christians in the context of conflicts and tensions in the Middle East as well as their protection," Father Lombardi said in a statement. At the end of the audience, Pope Francis presented the grand imam with two gifts: a copy of his encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home" and peace medallion depicting an olive tree holding together two pieces of a fractured rock. In an interview after the papal meeting, el-Tayeb said the "circumstances" that led his institution to halt the dialogue with the Vatican "no longer exist," so the Vatican and the university can "continue our holy mission, which is the mission of religions: 'to make people joyful everywhere,'" by teaching them about God. Meeting Pope Francis, "the first impression, which was very strong, is that this man is a man of peace, a man who follows the teaching of Christianity, which is a religion of love and peace," and "a man who respects other religions and shows consideration for their followers," the imam told Vatican Radio and L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. Religious leaders today, he said, have a "heavy and grave" responsibility to teach people the true path to happiness and peace. "Man without religion constitutes a danger to his fellow man, and I believe that people right now, in the 21st century, have started to look around and to seek out wise guides to lead them in the right direction," el-Tayeb said. Al-Azhar, as a reference point for many Sunni Muslims around the world, is engaged in an ongoing program to clarify the meaning of classical Islamic texts and make clear to Muslims, including schoolchildren, that groups claiming to base their violent actions on Islam are promoting "a deviant understanding" of the faith. The Middle East, he said, has seen "rivers of blood and cadavers," in part because of the misuse of religion. "Islam and Christianity have nothing to do with those who kill, and we asked the West not to confuse this deviant and misled group with Muslims," the imam said. "The issue must not be presented as persecution of Christians in the East, but on the contrary there are more Muslim than Christian victims, and we all suffer this catastrophe together." "We must not blame religions because of the deviations of some of their followers," he said, "because in every religion there exists a deviant faction that raises the flag of religion to kill in its name." After meeting the pope, the grand imam was scheduled to travel to Paris to open the second international conference on "East and West: Dialogue of Civilizations" May 24 sponsored by al-Azhar University and the Catholic Sant'Egidio Community. - - - 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.