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Archive of October 28, 2003

Disability rights coalition supports Terri Schiavo's right to life

Washington D.C., Oct 28, 2003 (CNA) - A coalition of 14 disability rights groups issued a statement yesterday in support of Terri Schiavo's right to life.

"As spokespeople for millions of Americans with disabilities and their families, we stand with (Terri Schiavo) to protect her civil and human rights as a living American," the statement said. "She requires the equal protection of the law."

The coalition includes ADA Watch, Center on Human Policy and World Association of Persons with Disabilities.

However, the brain-damaged Florida woman, who recently had her feeding tube reinserted upon the order of Gov. Jeb Bush, is still at the heart of a heated legal battle. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, plans to file a suit against Bush Wednesday. Michael plans to argue in court that Bush's order to reinsert the feeding tube is unconstitutional. 

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Europe and the U.S. must partner in current “age of uncertainty”

Rome, Italy, Oct 28, 2003 (CNA) - Europe must enter into a partnership with the United States and make strides to share fully in the responsibility for international security if it is to enjoy and extend peaceful coexistence in the world, says Catholic author Vittorio Emanuele Parsi in his latest book.

“The Inevitable Alliance: Europe and the United States” was released just days after the U.S. and Europe passed Resolution 1515 at the United Nations. Journalist Sandro Magister recently reviewed the book.

Parsi teaches geopolitics at the Catholic University of Milan and at the Graduate School of Economics and International Relations. He is also part of Camillo Cardinal Ruini’s think tank and a writer for the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference.

The Catholic author, however, has frequently opposed the Vatican’s views of war and peace since Sept. 11. In particular, he opposes the Church’s view on the war in Iraq, the Bush administration and Israel. He agrees with Poland’s decision to side with the U.S. on the eve of the Iraq war. In keeping with this recent tradition, Parsi continues to draw away from the Vatican in his new book. 

Magister writes that Parsi argues that the system of international relations, which has regulated the world for more than three centuries, is finished. The world has entered an “age of uncertainty” and disorder, writes Parsi. Each region has its own rules: Asia resembles 19th-century Europe, the Middle East has religious wars, and the new menace of terrorism is not identified with any one state or territory.

The United States understands this new world order, argues Parsi, but Europe does not.

While, Parsi does not criticize the Vatican directly, he attacks the pacifist movements – including the Catholic ones – accusing them of being incapable of offering any real alternatives to war, writes Magister in the review. Parsi also associates pacifist movements with the “prelates who, susceptible to the fascination of the marching crowds, break out into unlikely anathemas, thus running the risk of muddying the clarity of the pope’s position.”

Magister says that Parsi does not recognize the same strong moral sense in the pacifist movement that he sees expressed in the “ethically responsible” decisions of Tony Blair, for example, “who prefers battle to surrender.”

If Europe has the good fortune to live in its “Kantian paradise regulated by laws, and not by force,” it is because “someone else is doing the dirty work of maintaining security,” he writes. Europe must acknowledge that, create the appropriate alliances and be committed to act.

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Chilean Cardinal Calls For Vigorous Investigation Into Pedophile Ring

Santiago, Chile, Oct 28, 2003 (CNA) - The Cardinal said the police investigation “is looking into the background information it has obtained concerning the several year-long operation of a pedophile ring, which has caused grave harm to children who live in poverty and abandonment.”
 
“This grave transgression is a source of great pain and ‘is rightly considered a crime by society and an appalling sin in the eyes of God,’” he added, citing the words of Pope John Paul II.
 
According to the Cardinal, this dreadful phenomenon is a result of “contempt for the personal dignity of those who are most week and helpless, the power of money which corrupts minors, sexual and emotional disorder in adults, and the desperation of a child who is unloved and rejected in his home.”
 
“Our country has shown its ability to react strongly to signs of ethical corruption such as these.  Therefore, I would like to express the complete support of the Church in Santiago to those involved in this investigation, so that the facts are uncovered and justice will be done,” the Cardinal said in his statement. 
 
“We entrust this investigation to God, who is just and merciful.  We pray for the gifts of strength, truth, justice and prudence for all.  And let us fervently ask the Lord to comfort with his love those who have been victims of abuse, and to help us build our society upon the values of the Gospel,” he concluded.  

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“Being” Is Better Than “Having,” Vatican Official Reminds Advertisers

Vatican City, Oct 28, 2003 (CNA) - Addressing the World Federation of Advertisers on the occasion of the federation's 50th anniversary, Archbishop John Foley, President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications, reminded advertisers that the drive to sell products must not prevail over human dignity.

During his talk entitled, "A Good Name is the Best Advertisement," the Philadelphia-born Archbishop noted the positive contributions that advertisers make to economic, social and even moral progress, but nonetheless underscored “several principles and concerns.”

The first, he said, is “Being is better than having,” saying our God-given dignity depends on the former, not the latter. He exhorted advertisers “not to put poor people down, even subconsciously. Emphasize quality, emphasize efficiency, emphasize even better grooming and cleanliness and good appearance - but please do not suggest that a possession is going to make one person better than another person.”

“A second principle,” Archbishop Foley added, “is: Each person must be treated with respect. We resent it as employees if we are treated as factors of production rather than as persons; we can resent it in advertising if individuals depicted are portrayed as objects rather than as persons and, indeed, if we -- the audience of consumers – are treated as so many numbers to be reached instead of as persons to whom an important message is to be communicated.”

“A third principle of ethics in communications,” he remarked, “is the common good. A growing concern in democratic societies is the ethical aspect of political campaigning” when, for example, “the costs of advertising limit political competition to wealthy candidates or groups,” thus obstructing the democratic process.

“As you know,” concluded Archbishop Foley, “advertising profoundly affects the values and the morals in society - and not just people's buying habits. I hope you realize your own power - and that you continue to use it responsibly, as so many of you do.”

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The Pope Is Already “John Paul The Great” Says Mexican Cardinal

Mexico City, Mexico, Oct 28, 2003 (CNA) -
 
The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, says because of everything Pope has done for the Church and because of his witness to the Christian life, the Holy Father already is “John Paul the Great.”

Because of an injury he sustained while at the Vatican, Cardinal Rivera was unable to preside at a Mass in Mexico in honor the Pontiff for his 25th Anniversary, but the Apostolic Nuncio for Mexico, Archbishop Guiseppe Bertello, read the homily that the Cardinal had prepared.

The Mass was celebrated in the Basilica of Guadalupe, and was attended by civil authorities and a multitude of faithful.

In his homily, Cardinal Rivera thanked God for the “great gift to Church” that the Pontificate of John Paul II represents, “a gift for the entire world, and especially a great friend for Mexico, since we have seen in him the great love God has for us.”

“In this Mass of thanksgiving, we are in communion with all of the Churches throughout the world that are giving glory to Lord in these days, because during the last 25 years we have all seen that the Holy Father has been and continues to be a beautiful letter from God to the world,” he added.

The Cardinal said that “soon we will celebrate 25 years since the Pope’s first apostolic visit to the hill of Tepeyac, where he entrusted his apostolic mission to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Dark Virgin, as he affectionately has called her, and where, according to his own words, God inspired in him the missionary style of his Pontificate.”

Cardinal Rivera also commented on the Marian aspect of this Pontificate, saying the Pope’s devotion to Mary “is not only a feeling or cultural or family tradition, it has profound roots in the Gospel and in theological study.”  “Reflection upon the Virgin Mary led John Paul II to consider the place of women in the world and in the Church, especially in his Apostolic Letter ‘Mulieris Dignitatem’, on the dignity and vocation of women.”

He also said “one of the many characteristics of the Holy Father has been his courage in proclaiming the Gospel in concrete situations, contrasting the will of God with the thinking of man.”

“Just as the Apostle Paul never looked for praise or honor from men, but rather cared for his sons and daughters as a mother does, the Pope has endured criticism and insults, all the while showing gratitude, love, and bringing down the walls of hatred and whatever creates division. Just as Paul, he endures suffering to fill up in his earthly life what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ,” the Cardinal said.

“For this reason, and for everything His Holiness does, he is already ‘John Paul the Great.’ Let’s pray to God, who chose him and sent him to us as a great gift,” he concluded.

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Gay Episcopalian bishop commits to be consecrated Sunday

Washington D.C., Oct 28, 2003 (CNA) - Canon Gene Robinson, the Anglican communion of churches' first openly gay bishop, has pledged to defy world leaders of the church and proceed with his consecration this Sunday in the U.S.

Church leaders had urged him not to go through with the consecration after an emergency meeting in London 10 days ago. They warned that the decision could tear the church apart.

Conservatives and evangelicals have already threatened to declare themselves out of communion with the U.S. Episcopal church, which endorsed Robinson's appointment, or align themselves with Canadian congregations. Robinson’s opponents are currently planning a new church structure.

During their meeting Oct. 4, the pope also warned the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, that the gay bishop’s stand could create a rift between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church as well as greater roadblocks in the ecumenical dialogue between the two churches.

Robinson, 56, a divorced grandfather with two daughters, has lived with his homosexual partner, Mark Andrew, for 13 years. He said he has received messages of support as well as abusive mail. The canon is under 24-hour police protection.

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Italian Court Grants Demand By Muslim To Remove Crucifix From School

Rome, Italy, Oct 28, 2003 (CNA) - The Italian government and the Bishops Conference of Italy protested the decision of Judge Mario Montanaro, who ordered the crucifix be removed within a month. 
 
Montanaro ruled in favor of Adel Smith, a prominent Muslim leader in the country whose children attend a public school in Ofena, after school authorities refused to take the crucifix down since it represents the faith of the vast majority of students.
 
Two years ago Smith had asked school officials to remove the cross, and after they refused he posted a sign on one of the school’s walls that read, “Allah is great.” The sign was promptly taken down.
 
This year, Smith demanded a “surah”—a principal teaching from the Koran—be posted on the wall.  Officials denied his request, at which point Smith took his case to court to demand the removal of the crucifix, bringing a suit before the Ministry of Education as well that could result in the order be extended to the rest of the county’s public schools.
 
The controversial decision of Judge Montanaro argued the presence of the crucifix in classrooms “communicates an implicit adherence to values which do not really reflect the common heritage of all citizens,” despite the fact most of Italy is Catholic.
 
The Minister of Justice, Roberto Castelli, has announced he will investigate the decision to determine if it violates current laws on the books, and if so, he will impose disciplinary sanctions against Judge Montanaro.

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