March 9, 2015 • VOL. 53, NO.5 • Oakland, CA
Shroud may show extent of pain endured by Jesus
PITTSBURGH — Donald Nohs, who is an expert on the Shroud of Turin, believed by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus, says Jesus' passion was much more than a physical suffering. It was the humiliation and embarrassment of being scourged in the nude in front of his mother and friends. The suffering Mary endured, he said, is why she is our greatest intercessory in heaven. He asked the audience to bring Mary into their hearts and walk with her through his presentation to a Pittsburgh audience about the evidence of authenticity for the shroud.
"There was no end to the humiliation," he said. "The embarrassment. The physical pain. No end."
Nohs presented "Discovering Jesus in His Holy Shroud" at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery on Pittsburgh's South Side to a capacity audience of about 550 people.
Nohs, director general of the Confraternity of the Passion International and president of the Holy Face of Jesus, is one of the world's leading authorities on the Shroud of Turin. He has studied the shroud for more than 50 years.
The shroud's existence has been documented for centuries, but the invention of photography in the 19th century revealed that the image of a crucified man was actually a negative image.
Nohs' presentation included authentic replicas of the shroud that present it in both positive and negative images. It is believed to be the largest mobile shroud display in the U.S.
The negative image of the shroud provided a much more detailed image of the crucified Christ. Nohs said it spoke of a man between 5-foot-10 to 5-foot-11 and approximately 175 pounds. He was lean and very well built, and was in good physical condition.
A dorsal image of the shroud, he noted, revealed a long pony tail that extended to the center of the back. It was a trait of a Jewish male from Galilee to wear his hair like that, he said.
Church no haven for abusers, U.S. priest says to Irish meeting
ATHLONE, Ireland — The Catholic Church is "no longer a safe haven for child abusers," said a top priest psychologist who advises the U.S. bishops on child sexual abuse. Msgr. Stephen Rossetti told hundreds of Irish delegates to the first national conference on safeguarding children that the Catholic Church in the United States spent $43 million on child abuse prevention and education just last year. The priest said after his keynote address that secular organizations and other churches in the United States were now coming to the Catholic Church to learn from its policies. More than 5.2 million adults and children have gone through the safe environment training in the United States, and more than 3 million priests, lay employees and volunteers have gone through background checks. He highlighted that in the United States, child abuse rates are dropping throughout society and the church. "At the recorded height, the John Jay Study said 4 percent of clergy were involved as perpetrators. That number has fallen to less than 1 percent. We have turned the corner, but we shall not rest until the number of abused children is zero," he said. Msgr. Rossetti spoke at a Feb. 27-28 conference organized by Ireland's National Board for Safeguarding in the Catholic Church.
Father Hesburgh dies at 97
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Holy Cross Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, who led the University of Notre Dame through a period of dramatic growth during his 35 years as president and held sway with political and civil rights leaders, died Feb. 26 at the age of 97. As the longest serving president of Notre Dame, from 1952 to 1987, Father Hesburgh built the university from a small college primarily known for its prowess on the football field into one of the nation's premier higher education institutions. In announcing the highly regarded priest's death, the university did not cite a specific cause.
DETROIT — Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron said the move from the old chancery to the new downtown home of the Archdiocese of Detroit two blocks away was akin to what Socrates discussed in Plato's dialogues. "You have a 'second sailing,'" said the archbishop in a recent video message to archdiocesan employees. "It's not a totally new reality; you always bring your past with you." But nonetheless, "it's a chance to recapitulate (that reality) and start fresh," he said. On Feb. 13, the 183 employees of the archdiocese's Central Services officially moved into a new chancery building in the first major transition for the archdiocese's headquarters in nearly 80 years. The chancery in Oakland moved to new quarters in 2008 while Archbishop Vigneron was bishop of Oakland.
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone is forming a committee of theology teachers from the archdiocesan high schools to expand and adjust the language of proposed statements on Catholic teaching on sexual morality and religious practice to be included in the faculty and staff handbooks of the four archdiocesan high schools. In a Feb. 24 letter to archdiocesan high school teachers, the archbishop said he would recommend that this committee submit a draft of their additions before the next school year. He also asked that they keep "what is already there" in the proposed statements he announced in early February. The addition of these detailed statements of Catholic teaching on sexual morality and religious is scheduled to take effect in the 2015-16 school year and is not part of the teachers' contract.
First female president
PHILADELPHIA — La Salle University in Philadelphia has made history by choosing a laywoman as its new president. Colleen N. Hanycz is the first female president in the school's 152-year history and also the first lay president, other than interim presidents. Her appointment was announced Feb. 17 and she will begin her tenure in July.
Attacks on religion
WASHINGTON — A new report from the Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas, shows that incidents of "religious hostility" have more than doubled in the United States over the past three years. The report, "Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America, 2014 Edition," chronicles a series of more than 1,300 court cases recently handled or monitored by the institute, a nonprofit legal group that represents plaintiffs who feel their religious liberty has been violated.
PHILADELPHIA — When the Archdiocese of Philadelphia launched its major fundraising campaign Heritage of Faith-Vision of Hope in 2008, its stated goal was $200 million. Six years and more than 50,000 pledges and gifts later, the capital and endowment campaign reported raising a total of $222.2 million. But the $222.2 million includes $36.5 million in pledges made to purely parish-based capital campaigns unconnected to Heritage of Faith. Such "combined campaigns" were subtracted from the total.
DOHUK, Iraq — Dozens of Assyrian Christians were abducted by Islamic State forces during a new offensive against a string of villages in northeastern Syria, aid and civil rights organizations reported. The exact number of people being held was unknown, but Father Emanuel Youkhana, who heads the Christian Aid Program Northern Iraq, CAPNI, said that more than 100 residents had been captured during the assault, which began in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 23.
Reports of aggression
ROME — The Ukrainian Catholic bishops intend to share "the truth" with Pope Francis about the ongoing crisis in their country: that it is not a civil war but "the direct aggression of our neighbor," said the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
— Catholic News Service
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