Vatican City, Jan 7, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Joseph F. Naumann, auxiliary of St. Louis, MO; a strong supporter of the Pro-life movement; as Archbishop coadjutor of Kansas City in Kansas.
Bishop Joseph F. Naumann was born on June 4 1949 at Saint Louis (Missouri). He started his first theological studies at the Saint Louis Prepatory Seminary South in 1963, and then at the Cardinal Glennon College and the Kenrick Seminary.
He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis on May 24, 1975.
He has been Vicar of the Saint Dominic Savio Parish in Affton (1975-1979), Vicar of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Saint Louis (1979-1984), Archdiocesan director of the Pro-Life Office and Vicar of Blessed Sacrament Parish at Saint Louis (1984-1989); Pastor of the Ascension Parish in Normandy (1989-1994), and Vicar General (1994 - 2003).
He was appointed Auxiliary bishop of Saint Louis on July 9 1997.
As Archbishop Coadjutor, he will succeed Archbishop James Patrick Keleher (72) at the head of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
Vatican City, Jan 7, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II dedicated his first catechesis of 2004 to reflect upon “The divine maternity of Mary”, and called Christians to contemplate the Mother of God before the Christmas season ends.
“Mary, Mother of God!,” exclaimed the Pope during the general audience at the Paul VI Hall.
“This truth of faith which is deeply linked to the feast of Christmas is particularly clear in the liturgy of the first day of the year, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Mary is the mother of the Redeemer; she is the woman chosen by God to carry out the project of salvation centered on the mystery of the Incarnation of the divine Word,” he added.
“Mary's entire life is closely tied to Jesus' life. At Christmas it is she who offers Jesus to mankind,” the Pontiff also said.
He explained that “on the cross, at the supreme moment of carrying out the mission of redemption, it will be Jesus to make a gift for every human being of His mother, such a precious heritage of redemption. The words of the Lord on the cross to the faithful disciple John are His testament. He entrust His mother to John and at the same time He entrusts the apostle and all believers to the love of Mary.”
“At the end of Christmas season, let us stop to contemplate in the manger the silent presence of Our Lady beside the Child Jesus. The same love, the same care that she had for Her divine Son, she reserves for us. Therefore, let us allow her to guide our steps in the New Year,” John Paul concluded.
Washington D.C., Jan 7, 2004 (CNA) - The more than 300-pages long Audit on the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People have been made avialable to public by the United States Bishops’ Conference (USCCB.)
The full document, including individual reports on the compliance of each diocese, as well as the commendations or instructions or recommendations, is now available on the USCCB Web site at: http://www.usccb.org/ocyp/audit2003/report.htm
The independent compliance audit included 191 of the 195 dioceses and eparchies. Three could not be audited due to scheduling or legal issues. An eparchy, created in mid-2002, was not included in the current audit.
The Boston-based Gavin Group, headed by William Gavin, a former FBI official, conducted the audit. The 54 auditors, most of them former FBI agents, held interviews in each diocese, mostly in teams of two, between June and November 2003.
“The audit process found all dioceses and eparchies to be compliant with some or all of the articles of the charter,” says the report. Of those audited, “171 (90 percent) of the dioceses and eparchies are compliant with all provisions of the charter.”
Auditors assessed how well each diocese had implemented the articles present in the four sections of the charter on promoting healing and reconciliation; guaranteeing effective response to allegations of abuse of a minor; ensuring accountability of procedures, and; protecting the faithful in the future.Findings
Auditors found that most dioceses and eparchies conduct background checks on clergy and staff, as well as screening candidates for the priesthood. Most also had established review boards and providing various types of assistance to sexual-abuse victims.
Of the 191 audited dioceses, 129 dioceses (68 percent) received commendations for innovative procedures and transparency about the problem of sexual abuse.
However, 131 instructions were issued to 57 dioceses (30 percent). An instruction was issued when a particular article of the charter had not yet been implemented. Auditors specified a date by which action was to be taken to correct the situation.
The most common instructions dealt with the establishment of codes of conduct, the development of safe-environment programs, and the institution of background checks. By the end of the audit, about 62 percent of these instructions were addressed.
There were also 297 recommendations issued to 125 dioceses (65 percent), when an article was not implemented completely or when its implementation could be improved. The most common recommendations were regarding pastoral outreach, review boards, safe environments, and background checks. By the end of the audit, 258 of these recommendations were addressed.
Thirty-four of the audited dioceses (18 percent) had unaddressed instructions and/or recommendations by the end of the audit.
“A significant amount of progress has been made by the Catholic bishops and eparchs, as measured by the compliance audit process,” reported the Gavin Group.
“Some dioceses and eparchies have exceeded expectations by fully implementing the charter and establishing themselves as role models for other dioceses and eparchies,” says the report. “For a variety of reasons, such as limited resources, personnel shortages, and lack of direction and training, some dioceses and eparchies will have to take additional actions to be fully compliant with the entire charter.
“Neither this audit process nor the full and complete implementation of the charter will provide a total guarantee that there will never be another case of child or youth sexual abuse committed by a member of the Catholic clergy,” says the report. “However, the continuous efforts of bishops, eparchs, clergy, and the laity to address this problem will foster a greater degree of confidence that children and young people will be safe and secure in Catholic Church environments”.Recommendations for dealing with sexual abuse
Auditors also made 52 recommendations on how the Catholic Church might better address the problem of sexual abuse of minors. While the audit was designed to measure the implementation of the charter at the diocesan level, auditors recommended that the charter be implemented at the parish level as well.
“This is particularly important because children and young people are most involved in church activities at the parish level,” says the report.
Among their many recommendations, auditors said each bishop should meet with each person who has made an allegation of sexual abuse and encourage victims to come forward through periodic public announcements.
Auditors also recommended that each diocese provide to the Office of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board, on an annual basis, the number of allegations of sexual abuse reported during that year and the status of these cases.
Sydney, Australia, Jan 7, 2004 (CNA) - The Australian Medical Association says the decision to make the morning-after pill the first contraceptive available in the country without a prescription was a mistake, reported the Australian Associated Press (AAP) Jan. 1.
The contraception Postinor-2 became legally available over the counter Jan. 2.
AMA ethics committee chairwoman Dr. Rosanna Capolingua called on Health Minister Tony Abbott to reverse the decision, arguing that pharmacists were not prepared to deal with the sensitive matter of emergency contraception.
A consultation with a doctor also offers women the chance for appropriate counseling and advice on emergency contraception, Capolingua added.
Washington D.C., Jan 7, 2004 (CNA) - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced a new law, signed by New Jersey Governor James McGreevey Jan. 4, that legally sanctions research requiring the destruction of human embryos. The law also permits experimentation on cloned human babies throughout pregnancy.
“The New Jersey law is designed to encourage government-sanctioned ‘human fetus farms’,” said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, director of planning and information for the Pro-Life Secretariat of the USCCB.
“This is the most extreme, inhumane pro-cloning legislation in the country,” said Ruse. “It should be scorned by every American who believes in common decency and basic human rights for all.”
The law, supported by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, promotes somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning) and the development of human embryos up through late fetal stages, so they can be aborted for stem cells and tissues up to the time of birth.
The law only explicitly prohibits cloning "an individual" which the bill defines as, "the replication of a human individual by cultivating a cell with genetic material [the SCNT cloning process] through the egg, embryo, fetal and newborn stages into a new human individual."
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan 7, 2004 (CNA) - A federal judge’s decision last Saturday to remove a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of St. Nicholas from the entrance to the Supreme Court building has sparked angry protests from various organizations which have called the decision illegal.
Judge Susana Cordoba had ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by the Association for Civil rights, which claimed the statue of Mary in the Supreme Court building “endangers judicial impartiality and violates the right to the equal treatment of persons.”
Moreover the ruling by Cordoba had been appealed by other organizations, and therefore the removal of the statue was not to take place while the appeal was still pending.
The organization Pro-Life said the ruling “is explained only by the systematic and sustained campaign being carried out to damage and attack the Catholic faith.”
Pro-Life denounced the ruling as “a deliberate attack on the Catholic faith and on one of its most venerated symbols, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.”
The group said the removal of the statue, “which took place secretly on a Saturday and during the court recess...constitutes a grave attack on freedom of religion which, both in private and in public, is protected by the national Constitution.”
Militant atheism “is becoming rampant in a country which invokes God’s protection in the preamble of its Constitution,” Pro-Vida said.
Other pro-life groups referred to the nomination of a self-declared “militant atheist” to the Argentinean Supreme Court by President Nestor Kircher as further evidence of growing secularization in the country.
Madrid, Spain, Jan 7, 2004 (CNA) - On January 1 a new organization sponsored by a group of doctors and scientists was officially inaugurated in Spain that will work to promote and synthesize the teaching of natural family planning methods.
According to members of the organization, the International Certifier of Fertility (CIFER) will operate “with the same level of professionalism and excellence which characterizes quality control groups in the business world.”
“CIFER is being created as means of support for centers that teach natural family planning as a way of life that respects the dignity of human life,” sources said.
The organization was founded in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in August 2002. This week it inaugurated its international offices, which are located in Valencia, Spain.
Information in Spanish can be found out http://www.cifer.info/ .
Madrid, Spain, Jan 7, 2004 (CNA) - Despite working in a majority Muslim country, Catholic Charities in Iran has been one of the most efficient organizations in responding to the needs of earthquake survivors in the city of Bam, sending nearly 30,000 food baskets, 9,000 household supplies and 3,000 personal hygiene packets to those in need.
The organization has also brought hundreds of blankets, stoves, jackets, flashlights and batteries to those affected by last December’s deadly earthquake.
Catholic Charities International has redirected more than a million dollars emergency funds to the offices in Iran, and Catholic Charities offices in France and Germany have sent experts to the city to help with relief efforts.
Catholic Charities of Italy has also sent its own team of experts to assist in the humanitarian work.
Catholic Charities of Iraq announced it will ship 100 portable toilets and water purification machines to Bam as soon as the logistics can be arranged.
Catholic Charities of Chile will be launching a fund-raising campaign in parishes throughout the country next Sunday, January 18, and monies will be sent to the Iranian Bishops Conference through Catholic Charities International.