Vatican City, Nov 3, 2003 (CNA) - On Saturday, as the Church celebrated the feast of All Saints, Pope John Paul presided the recitation of the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, saying prayer is the way to reach holiness.
The Pontiff said that the solemnity, celebrated last Saturday, “by inviting us to look at the immense multitude of those who have already reached the blessed homeland, shows us the path that leads to that destination.”
“The Saints and Blessed of heaven remind us, pilgrims on earth, that the support we have every day in order to never lose sight of our eternal destination is above all prayer,” the Pope said.
“For many of them,” he added, “this was the Rosary, a prayer to which a year was dedicated, a year that closed yesterday, that offered a privileged means for their daily talk with the Lord.
The Rosary led them to an ever greater intimacy with Christ and the Blessed Virgin”.
“The Rosary can truly be a simple and accessible way for everyone to holiness, which is the vocation of every baptized person as well today’s feast reminds us,” he concluded.
Vatican City, Nov 3, 2003 (CNA) - On Sunday, November 2, on the occasion of the feast of All Souls, Pope John Paul II reaffirmed the Catholic teaching on Purgatory as a place of purification in preparation for Heaven, by saying that in this solemnity we remember “all those who have left this world and are waiting to reach the heavenly city.”
“The Church,” said the Pope, “has always urged us to pray for the dead. She invites believers to regard the mystery of death not as the last word on human fate but as a journey toward eternal life.”
Explaining a key element of the doctrine of Purgatory, the Pontiff said, “It is an important duty of ours to pray for the dead because although they may have died in grace and in friendship with God, they may still be in need of a last purification in order to enter into the joy of heaven.”
“Prayer for the souls of the dead can be expressed in various ways, including a visit to the cemetery. Going to these sacred places provides an auspicious occasion to reflect on the meaning of earthly life and to nourish, at the same time, hope in the blessed eternity of paradise,” he concluded.
Afterwards, in improvised words in Polish, the Holy Father thanked his fellow Poles from Krakow for having gone to the graves of his parents and his brother in the cemetery at Rakowize to pray for the repose of their souls.
Vatican City, Nov 3, 2003 (CNA) - On Sunday, November 9, Feast of the Dedication of the Patriarchal Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope John Paul II will preside at a Eucharistic celebration in the Basilica of St. Peter’s, during which he will proclaim as blessed five Servants of God.
The future blessed are: Juan Nepomuceno Zegri y Moreno (1831-1905), priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy; Valentín Paquay (1828-1905), priest of the Order of the Friars Minor; Luigi Maria Monti (1825-1900), religious and founder of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception; Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro (1837-1905), virgin and foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of St. Joseph; and Rosalie Rendu (1786-1856), virgin of the Society of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.
, Nov 3, 2003 (CNA) - The Schindlers will try to set the record straight and tell their side of the story on CNN's "Larry King Live" Nov. 6, after their son-in-law, Michael Schiavo, appeared on the same show two weeks ago. On the hour-long program, Schiavo and his lawyer said the parents of Terri Schindler Schiavo, a brain-damaged Florida woman, are really after the $1.2 million awarded to him in medical-malpractice suits in 1992.
The Schindlers appeared on the Christian Broadcasting Network Oct. 24 to rebut Schiavo's allegations.
Schiavo and his lawyers say the money was used to cover Terri's medical expenses and continue to insist that Terri is in a vegetative state and wishes to be allowed to "die with dignity."
But the Schindlers argue that Terri has shown signs of her will to live by having survived six days without her feeding tube, as well as numerous infections, pneumonia and a collapsed lung in the past decade.
The Schindlers also argue that Terri's responses to her mother are not random reflexes, which are consistent with a persistent vegetative state. Mary Schindler told CBN that her daughter responds to her voice by either laughing or crying.
Supporters continue to hold a candlelight prayer vigil outside of the hospice where Terri is being cared for every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening.
, Nov 3, 2003 (CNA) - A UNESCO document calls for international government reform to make abortion available to all women and adolescent girls without restriction.
“Unwanted Pregnancy and Unsafe Abortion” also suggests that governments should subsidize abortions and offer "redress" to women who have been "denied" access to abortions in countries where abortions are legal, reported C-FAM, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, in the Oct. 31 edition of their “Friday Fax” newsletter.
“This information has not been reported anywhere before and it is vital that folks all over the world know,” said C-FAM president Austin Ruse, whose organization broke the story.
UNESCO produced the document in 2002 but it only surfaced in October with the release of this year’s UN Population Fund's State of the World Population report, in which the document is referenced.
The UNESCO document recommends that "governments should make abortion legal, safe, and affordable." It also recommends that governments remove legal restrictions to abortion and family planning services for adolescents and guarantee the adolescents’ privacy, reported C-FAM.
It attacks laws that require parental permission for medical abortions, stating that they can deter teenage girls from seeking an abortion from a medical professional and “leave them to seek alternative, illegal and unsafe abortions elsewhere."
The document also seems to support ways to circumvent restrictive legislation to allow for easy access to abortion. It makes particular reference to the situation in Bangladesh, where abortion is illegal but “menstrual regulation services” are available. In menstrual regulation services, physicians can assist up to eight weeks after the last menstrual period.
“This is conveniently considered family planning and not abortion,” says the document. “Furthermore, as the anti-abortion law requires proof of pregnancy, 'the use of menstrual regulation makes it virtually impossible to obtain the required proof.' Thus, in practice, early term abortion is available; it is just referred to as menstrual regulation."
The document also cites the situation in India, where "abortion strictly on demand is not allowed, abortion for economic or social reasons is, and a very lenient reading of 'mental health' of the woman effectively legalizes the procedure in all circumstances."
In another document, entitled "Review of International Standards for Rights of the Child and Adolescent Rights," UNESCO describes how to pressure individual nations to adopt less restrictive legislation regarding adolescent reproductive rights, saying that it is now possible "to hold countries accountable on the basis of human rights violations.”
Caracas, Venezuela, Nov 3, 2003 (CNA) - The Bishops Conference of Venezuela issued an official statement which was read Sunday in every parish across the country, saying that “the grave political, socio-economic and etho-spiritual crisis” which the country is suffering “demands a peaceful, constitutional and democratic” solution.
Titled, “Peace Begins at Home,” the message explains that “it is unquestionable that Venezuela is in a grave crisis. It is of such magnitude that in order to avoid serious and long-lasting ruptures, and to ensure peace and development, it is urgently necessary that tensions be calmed, that poverty be addressed, and that work for a fraternal and united society” begin taking place.
“In a democracy, these crises are settled by consulting the people. We have repeated it many times: a peaceful, constitutional and democratic solution is urgent. The current constitution allows for referendums, and particularly recalls, as legal instruments for Venezuelans, who exercise their sovereignty as a people. These options guarantee their lawful participation and make them the protagonists” responsible for public political power, wrote the Bishops.
The Bishops also emphasized the “obligation of all, and especially the State through its diverse branches, to guarantee political participation free from intimidation, disqualifications and irregularities, so that we the citizens can be the ones to determine the future that we desire. We say this only because of our concern for a future of peace, liberty and justice for all Venezuelans, without distinction.”
On the other hand, the document says, “the repeated attacks and attempts to discredit the Church will not diminish nor paralyze her ongoing activities through her innumerable and established works in favor of all, especially the poor and needy,” adding that “what we cannot accept is the manipulation and abuse of power” used to issue insults and condemnations.
“Throughout the history of our county, in good times and in bad, the Church has been and is teacher and companion in the defense of human values, promoting respect in the midst of differences, working for human promotion, and opening ways for fraternity and joy,” the prelates said.
“We encouraged by our predecessors and the recent testimony of John Paul II, during the celebration of 25 years of a fruitful Pontificate. In fact, despite his physically limitations, his spirit of service leads him to give himself completely, as a builder of peace and love, until the Lord decides otherwise.”
Bogotá, Colombia, Nov 3, 2003 (CNA) - After recent investigations including statements by three eye-witnesses, the Colombian Attorney General has named Pablo Catatumbo, Western commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), as the author behind the assassination of Archbishop Isaías Duarte Cansino of Cali, Columbia, which took place on March 16, 2002.
The Attorney General also named 3 others material cooperators, including Carlos Augusto Ramírez, who was assassinated on May 30, 2002, in a Colombian prison. The other 2 remain in custody. During the trial, the Attorney General will accuse the members of the leadership of the FARC to be the intellectual authors of the homicide.
Authorities based their conclusions in part on the testimonies of three members of FARC, who agreed to cooperate with the government. According to their statements, five general commanders of the guerrilla organization had agreed to directly order the assassination. One of them, known as “Mincho” told the others, “The bishop must be silenced because he is talking too much.”
According to the Attorney General, guerrilla members on the FARC’s western front were told various times that the organization deemed necessary the assassination of Archbishop Duarte.
According the report, Archbishop Duarte was the victim of a silent war between FARC and drug traffickers of northern Columbia. FARC leaders intended to blame the murder on a well-known drug-trafficker named Diego Montoya Henao. 72 hours after the assassination, the FARC released a public statement accusing Henao of the crime. “We have nothing to do with what has happened,” it said. “We had our differences with Duarte but our methods do not include recourse to cunning political assassinations. We insist that the Attorney General investigate Diego Montoya.”
Archbishop Duarte was aware that the FARC wanted to kill him. He shared this with one of his closest collaborators a few days before his death. He expressed his disbelief that after having assisted in the release of Pablo Catatumbo’s sister, Catacumbo now was looking to kill him. “From now on we need to be very careful because this has become a dangerous situation,” the Archbishop said to confidants.
Those close to Archbishop Duarte said that during one of his many interventions for the release of hostages, he met and conversed with Catacumbo, saying afterwards, “I have never seen the devil, but I suppose this man looks like him more than anybody else I know.”
Rome, Italy, Nov 3, 2003 (CNA) - Human rights groups in Holland have expressed concern over a new law which, if approved, will take Holland one step closer to sanctioning religious persecution.
A group of left-wing Dutch lawmakers has proposed the controversial law that would forbid government employees from wearing religious symbols.
According to the law, no government employee could come to work wearing "a turban, a veil or a cross." Supporters say the prohibition will only "ensure the
separation of church and state."
A spokesman for the group sponsoring the law said it was necessary because those employed by the State "should not mix private things like faith" with their
The law would affect all religious symbols, no matter their size. As such a Christian would not be able wear even a small necklace bearing a cross.