Archive of January 28, 2004

Education in peace, key to preventing genocide, Vatican says

Vatican City, Jan 28, 2004 (CNA) - During his intervention at the Fourth Stockholm International Forum “Preventing Genocide,” Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations, insisted that education in peace and mutual understanding is the key to preventing future genocides.

“Humanity has seen world wars, genocides, mass murders, and ethnic cleansings,” said Migliore. “However, among all forms of large-scale violence, genocide sets itself apart by the evil motivation behind it, namely, its specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a nation, a race, an ethnic or religious group, a defenseless or vulnerable group of human beings, simply for being such.”

“My delegation,” he stated, “wishes to highlight three specific points: first, the need to implement existing legal instruments against genocide; second, the central role of the international, regional and sub-regional organizations; third, the commitment to education and vigilance against genocide.”

The Nuncio emphasized that the instruments and structures against genocide "have not prevented new genocides from happening.”

“The international community is duty-bound to examine why they failed; have they become wanting in the face of evolving criminal strategies, or due to a lack of political will to implement them or due to interests overriding the survival of a nation or a group, or due to all these factors combined.”

Archbishop Migliore closed by stating that “educating individuals and communities on the horrors of genocide is a perennial and ever-timely duty incumbent upon us all.” “Genocide remains, unfortunately, a constant menace in some regions of the world” and “is latent in places where eliminating the other is considered a 'fast solution' to drawn out rivalries and unresolved conflicts.”

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Papal message for Lent to focus on children

Vatican City, Jan 28, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul’s Lenten Message for 2004 will be entitled, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,” the Holy See’s Press Office announced today.

The document will be presented in the Holy See Press Office at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow by Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, President of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum.”

Joining him will be Msgr. Karel Kasteel, Council Secretary, and Fr. Angelo D’Agostino, S.J., founder and medical director of “Nyumbani,” The Children of God Relief Institute of Nairobi, Kenya.

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Campaign promotes "parents right to know" before daughters under 18 get abortion

Los Angeles, Calif., Jan 28, 2004 (CNA) - Catholic organizations have less than 80 days to gather one million signatures in support a ballot measure to change the law and give parents the right of notice before abortion providers can perform abortions on their daughters under the age of 18.

Your Catholic Voice, a California-based organization, has joined the California Catholic Conference of Bishops and many other organizations in support of the Parental Notification Initiative.

Ballot supporters are seeking to gather one million signatures by April 15 through churches, schools and Catholic lay and religious organizations.

“We can meet that challenge, but only with your help,” said Your Catholic Voice.

The organization is asking each Catholic to circulate at least one petition and have a team of volunteers running the petition at every parish in California.

“Public opinion polls show 71% of Californians support this initiative,” said Your Catholic Voice. “However, we also know that the abortion industry, which argues that minor children have rights to privacy from their parents, will fight these fundamental parental rights with every penny they can muster. We will have to fight them with our dedication and personal involvement.”

To order petitions, go to:

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Contest asks youth to think ‘family’

, Jan 28, 2004 (CNA) - A competition launched by the World Youth Alliance is asking young people, aged 10 to 30, to tell them why their family matters.

The winner of the “Family Matters” competition will be invited to attend the Europe4Family event in Brussels, Sept. 9-12. 

Europe4Family will gather thousands of European youth, who will walk or bike to express their support for the family and to demand more pro-family legislation in the European Union.

Youth must e-mail their entries of 50 words or less to [email protected] by April 1. Participants need to include their name, date of birth, complete address and telephone number.

Results will be announced on International Day of the Family, May 15, on the Europe4Family Web site. The best entries will be exhibited at the European Parliament in Brussels.

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Bishops celebrate Catholic School Week with students

Newark, N.J., Jan 28, 2004 (CNA) - Archbishop John Myers will join students in celebrating Catholic Schools Week, by visiting the Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of Newark.

Bishop David Arias, regional bishop for Hudson County, will also make a school visit to St. Aedan's School in Jersey City Friday morning. The school will be putting on a film festival and "International Food Day," reported the Jersey Journal

Archdiocesan spokesman Jim Goodness said the bishops are visiting schools to let parents know they support Catholic schools. Many Catholic schools across the United States have been closing due to lower enrollments.

Catholic Schools Week began Sunday and will run until Jan. 31.

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Church in Mexico warns of excommunication for use of "morning after pill"

Mexico City, Mexico, Jan 28, 2004 (CNA) - The president of the Health Care Ministry of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, Fr. Jorge Palencia, is warning that people who use the “morning after pill” incur the canonical penalty of excommunication.

Fr. Palencia explained that this is not a “new” penalty created by Church in response to the controversial decision of the Secretary of Health to authorize the pill, which he called “post-coital hormonal contraception.”

Since one of the effects of the “morning after pill” is the prevention of implantation of a fertilized ovum, it results in an abortion, a crime which in the Catholic Church is already subject to the canonical penalty of excommunication reserved to the bishop.

Fr. Palencia said that “excommunication is an edict which is promulgated.  Each Christian knows that when one has passed the limit of going against the Eucharist or life, one is ‘de facto’ excommunicated, because one has separated oneself from the communion of believers.”

“The Church cannot be silent in the face of a genocide of this magnitude that approaches.  In the text of this norm the intention of population control is apparent, and we wonder:  Is the state truly the judge that determines how many people will live or the executioner who, using the Mexican tax-payers money, kills the innocent.”

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God is “a vigilant Presence on the side of good,” Pope says

Vatican City, Jan 28, 2004 (CNA) - Resuming his commentary on the Psalms, Pope John Paul said during his Wednesday catechesis that God is not indifferent to good or evil, but takes the side of the good.

Speaking about Psalm 10, “The faith of the just is in the Lord,” the Pope said that “the spiritual tone of the entire hymn is expressed well by the concluding verse: ‘The Lord is righteous, He loves righteous deeds.’”

“This is the root of all faith and the source of every hope in the day of darkness and trial. God is not indifferent to good and evil. He is a good God and not a dark power, indecipherable and mysterious,” he added.

John Paul II indicated that in the first of the two episodes of the psalm “the godless one is described in his apparent triumph,” as the one who wants “to violently strike his victim, the faithful” and the faithful “feels alone and powerless before the eruption of evil.”

He went on to say that in the second episode, “the Lord, seated on his celestial throne, embraces with His penetrating gaze the entire human world. From that transcendent position, sign of omniscience and divine omnipotence, God can examine and evaluate each person, distinguishing good from evil and condemning injustice with force.”

“The Lord,” he added, “is not a remote sovereign, closed in His golden world, but rather He is a vigilant Presence that is on the side of good and justice. He sees and provides, intervening with His word and action.”

The godless one, “rained down upon with coals fire and brimstone, symbols of God's judgment,” experiences first hand that “there is a God Who judges on the earth.”

The Pope emphasized that “the last verse opens up the horizon to the light and peace destined to the just man who will contemplate his Lord, a just judge, but overall a merciful liberator: ‘The upright will behold His face’.”

“It is an experience of common joy and of serene faith in God Who frees man from evil,” he added.

The Pope concluded by comparing the Psalm’s hero to Christian martyrs: “Many just men throughout history have had a similar experience. Many stories describe the faith of the Christian martyrs in the face of tempests and their firmness in not shunning the trial.”

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Swift change in Brazilian episcopate as Pope accepts resignation of three Cardinals

Vatican City, Jan 28, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II made a significant change in the Brazilian Episcopate by simultaneously accepting today the resignation of three Cardinals.

The Pope appointed replacements for Cardinal Aloisio Lorscheider, O.F.M., of Aparecida –where one of the world’s largest Marian shrines is located--Cardinal Serafim Fernandes de Araujo of Belo Horizonte, and Cardinal Jose Freire Falçao of Brasilia, Brazil’s capital city.

The Pope appointed Bishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Auxiliary of Brasilia and former Secretary General of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference as the new head of Aparecida.  The archbishop-elect was born in Capela Nova, Brazil in 1937, and was ordained a priest in 1968.

Bishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, Auxiliary of Sao Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, has been named Archbishop of Belo Horizonte. The archbishop-elect was born in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1977.  He obtained a doctorate in Biblical Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and is head of the Commission of Doctrine in the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference.

Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz of Maringa is the new Archbishop of Brasilia.  Born in April, 1947, Archbishop Aviz was ordained a priest in November 1971. He graduated in Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University and is a member of the Commission of Doctrine in the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference.

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