Brian R Corbin's Reflections on Religion and Life

Living Your Faith as Citizens and Leaders in Politics, Culture, Society and Business

Choose Fair Trade for Mothers Around the World!

Surprise the mothers in your life with a beautiful, ethical gift from Work of Human Hands (a partnership with SERRV) – a gift that makes a real difference in the life of an artisan and her family. Your purchase helps a mother to feed her family, send her children to school, and access basic medical care. What better way to honor our mothers?

Be sure to place your order by April 30 for ground shipping to the West Coast and May 4 for the East Coast to arrive in time for Mother’s Day. Upgraded shipping is also available.

Stock up on Divine Chocolate Before Temperatures Rise!
Whether you choose Divine Chocolate as a gift or to have some stock in your pantry, now is the time to buy. We have Dark Fruit and Nut Bars on sale for $15.00 a case, and /Divine Chocolate Coins for only $2.00.

When temperatures reach 80 degrees anywhere between our Maryland warehouse and your address, we must use special packaging that requires a shipping surcharge. We also anticipate a pricing increase in the fall due to the rising value of cocoa.

Visit to learn more


To Order
Phone: (800) 685-7572
Fax: (888) 294-6376
Mail: Work of Human Hands
500 Main Street
New Windsor, MD 21776

SERRV is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating poverty wherever it resides. Catholic Relief Services and SERRV thank you for choosing fair trade!

Filed under: consumerism, Fair Trade, Market Place

Vatican newspaper: No radical changes in Obama’s first 100 days

LOSSERVATORE-OBAMA Apr-29-2009 (280 words) xxxi

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican newspaper said President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office have not confirmed the Catholic Church’s worst fears about radical policy changes in ethical areas.

The comments came in a front-page article April 29 in L’Osservatore Romano, under the headline, “The 100 days that did not shake the world.” It said the new president has operated with more caution than predicted in most areas, including economics and international relations.

“On ethical questions, too — which from the time of the electoral campaign have been the subject of strong worries by the Catholic bishops — Obama does not seem to have confirmed the radical innovations that he had discussed,” it said.

It said the new draft guidelines for stem-cell research, for example, did not constitute the major change in policy that was foreseen a few months ago.

“(The guidelines) do not allow the creation of new embryos for research or therapeutic purposes, for cloning or for reproductive ends, and federal funds may be used only for experimentation with excess embryos,” it said.

It added that the new guidelines “do not remove the reasons for criticism in the face of unacceptable forms of bioengineering” but are “less permissive” than expected.

The article saw a positive sign in the recent introduction of the Pregnant Women Support Act, which would help women overcome problems that often cause them to have abortions. It was sponsored by a group of pro-life Democrats.

“It is not a negation of the doctrine expressed up to now by Obama in the matter of interruption of pregnancy, but the legislative project could represent a rebalancing in support of maternity,” the newspaper said.

Filed under: Politics, Social Doctrine

Pope creates five saints, says they hold lessons for economic crisis


By John Thavis Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI canonized five new saints and said their dedication to the Eucharist, the poor and the world of work made them models for today’s Christians in an era of economic crisis.

By orienting their lives to Christ, the five men and women showed that “it is possible to lay the foundations for construction of a society open to justice and solidarity, overcoming that economic and cultural imbalance that continues to exist in a great part of our planet,” the pope said. The pope celebrated the canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square April 26, joined by tens of thousands of pilgrims who held up photos or drawings of the saints.

Four of the new saints were Italian and one was Portuguese. Dressed in bright gold vestments, the 82-year-old pontiff listened as biographies of the five were read aloud, and then pronounced the canonization formula, drawing applause from the crowd. Afterward, relics of the new saints were brought to the altar. In his homily, the pope said the saints’ life stories hold valuable lessons for modern Christians. Each of the newly canonized had a special devotion to the Eucharist, and each transformed that spiritual power into social action, he said.

The five new saints are:

 — St. Arcangelo Tadini, a parish priest from the northern Italian area of Brescia, who preached strongly in defense of workers’ rights during the industrialization period of the late 1800s. He organized an association to help factory workers, established a spinning mill to give young girls of the area gainful employment, and eventually founded a religious order of sisters who worked alongside women in the factories. Pope Benedict said his Gospel-inspired social activity was “prophetic” and is particularly relevant in the current economic crisis. He said the saint taught people that a deep personal relationship with Christ is the key to bringing Christian values into the workplace.

 — St. Bernardo Tolomei, who, inspired by his love for prayer and for manual labor, founded a unique Benedictine monastic movement in Italy in the 14th century. Born in Siena, he was forced by an onset of blindness to give up a public career, and he decided to found a small hermitic community. He later founded the monastery of Santa Maria di Monte Oliveto Maggiore, and died in 1348 of the plague while helping victims of the disease; his burial place, in a common pit, has never been found. The pope called him “an authentic martyr of charity” and said his service to others was an inspiration to all.

 — St. Nuno de Santa Maria Alvares Pereira, a Portuguese army hero in the late 1300s, who, after the death of his wife, abandoned his military career and gave up his wealth to enter a Carmelite monastery. In particular he helped the poor, distributing food to the needy. He was totally dedicated to Marian prayer, and fasted in Mary’s honor three days of the week. The pope said he was happy to canonize a person whose faith grew while in the military, a context generally viewed as unfavorable to holiness. It demonstrates that the values and principles of the Gospel can be realized in any situation, especially when they are employed for the common good, he said.

 — St. Geltrude Comensoli, born in the mid-19th century in the Brescia area, who established a religious institute dedicated to the adoration of the Eucharist. In approving the institute in 1880, Pope Leo XIII asked her to include as part of its mission the education of young female factory workers. Pope Benedict said this connection of contemplative charity with “lived charity” was particularly important “in a society that is lost and often wounded like our own.” He said the saint’s life shows that adoration takes precedence over acts of charity, because “from love for Christ died and resurrected, and truly present in the Eucharist, comes that evangelical charity that pushes us to consider all men as brothers.”

— St. Caterina Volpicelli, who founded a community of sisters centered on Eucharistic adoration and service to the poor, especially young orphans, in the slums of Naples in the mid-1800s. The pope said she correctly saw that in order to bring the Gospel to bear on society it was necessary to “liberate God from the prisons in which man has confined him.” Banners depicting the newly canonized were hung on the faOade of St. Peter’s Basilica, and fluttered in the breeze during the two-hour liturgy.

At the end of the Mass, the pope greeted pilgrims in several languages and said he hoped the new saints would inspire people to witness the Gospel courageously in their daily lives.

Filed under: consumerism, Culture, Market Place, Papal Teachings, Social Doctrine, Social Justice, Spirituality

UN conference was exploited for extremist remarks, says Vatican rep

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — An international conference dedicated to combating racism unfortunately was used as a platform for taking “extreme and offensive political positions the Holy See deplores and rejects,” said the chief Vatican representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva.

The Durban Review Conference was meant to be an “occasion to set aside mutual difference and mistrust; reject once more any theory of racial or ethnic superiority; and renew the international community’s commitment to the elimination of all expressions of racism,” said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi.

While the work of the April 20-24 conference took a step forward in combating racism, it “has unfortunately been used to utter extreme and offensive political positions,” which do not contribute to dialogue, “provoke unacceptable conflicts, and in no way can be approved or shared,” he told conference participants in Geneva April 22. The Vatican released a copy of the archbishop’s remarks late that same day.

The archbishop was referring to remarks Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made about Israel at the U.N.-sponsored conference April 20.

Ahmadinejad said that Israel had “resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering” and had established a “totally racist government in the occupied Palestine.” His comments prompted a temporary walkout by dozens of diplomats in attendance.

The U.N. conference, which was a follow-up meeting to examine a statement adopted in 2001 at the U.N.’s first conference on racism held in Durban, South Africa, was being boycotted by the United States, Canada and several other Western countries. The boycott stemmed from fears the Geneva conference would provide a platform to critics of Israel.

Archbishop Tomasi underlined the Vatican’s position, which also had been expressed by Pope Benedict XVI April 19, that participation in the conference was an important way to promote concrete measures to prevent and eliminate every form of racism and intolerance.

The reason most countries chose to participate in the conference and not walk out was a desire to make progress in eliminating old and new forms of racism, said the archbishop.

U.N. officials said that the text under consideration in Geneva was revised in recent months, and the latest draft does not include references to Israel or Zionism.

Archbishop Tomasi told Catholic News Service April 20 that much more significant than Ahmadinejad’s speech were the real advances made in the draft conference document, which recognizes the Holocaust as something not to be forgotten and condemns anti-Semitism as well as intolerance against other religions.

In his speech April 22 to U.N. delegates, the archbishop said racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance “are evils that corrode the social fabric of society and produce innumerable victims.”

“Combating racism is a necessary and indispensable prerequisite for the construction of governance, sustainable development, social justice, democracy and peace in the world,” he said.

Coming together to share ideas and implement recommendations “is the duty and responsibility of everyone,” he said.

Archbishop Tomasi said education, the media and faith-based communities play an instrumental role in helping shape mentalities and consciences that are free from fear and prejudice against others.

He also expressed the Vatican’s alarm at “the still latent temptation of eugenics that can be fueled by techniques of artificial procreation and the use of ‘superfluous embryos.'”

“The possibility of choosing the color of the eyes or other physical characteristic of a child could lead to the creation of a ‘subcategory of human beings’ or the elimination of human beings that do not fulfill the characteristics predetermined by a given society,” he said.

He also warned against the introduction of “excessive measures and practices” in the legitimate fight against terrorism.

Efforts for greater security should never exacerbate people’s irrational fear of foreigners or undermine the protection and promotion of human rights, he said.

Filed under: Official Statements, Social Justice

Catholic Charities Men Who Cook

Catholic Charities Regional Agency will host their annual MEN WHO COOK fundraiser on Friday May 15, 2009 at 6 pm at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Youngstown, OH.

Proceeds from this event will support the agencies’ work in case management and material assistance to young families living  in Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties.

Cost: $35.00 per ticket

Contact:  330-744-3320

ask for Carolyn or NanciLynn

Filed under: Uncategorized