Vatican City, Feb 19, 2004 (CNA) - The Holy See announced today that Pope John Paul II will canonize on May 16 six blessed including Gianna Beretta, the Italian woman who rejected a cancer treatment in order to save her unborn child forty years ago. An Ordinary Public Consistory presided over by the Holy Father took place this morning in the Clementine Hall in the Apostolic Palace, during which the date of the canonization was set.
The list of blessed includes also four priests from Italy, France, Spain and Lebanon; and a religious woman who founded a community after she lost her husband. They are the following:
- Blessed Luigi Orione, priest and founder of the Little Work of Divine Providence and of the Congregation of the Little Sisters, Missionaries of Charity.
- Blessed Annibale Maria di Francia, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Rogationist Fathers of the Heart of Jesus and of the Religious Daughters of Divine Generosity.
- Blessed Jose Manyanet y Vives, priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sons of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
- Blessed Nimatullah Al Hardini, priest of the Lebanese Maronite Order.
- Blessed Paola Elisabetta, nee Costanza Cerioli, widow Busecchi-Tassis, foundress of the Institute of Religious of the Holy Family.
Vatican City, Feb 19, 2004 (CNA) - The Pontifical Academy for Life opened this morning its 10º General Assembly in the Vatican. The theme of this year’s meeting is “The Dignity of Human Procreation and Reproductive Technologies: Anthropological and Ethical Aspects.”
The experts opened their meeting with a Mass to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the academy’s founding by Pope John Paul II.
The Holy See informed that the assembly, which will end on February 22, has scheduled morning and afternoon sessions during which 26 Roman Curia officials, doctors and experts in genetics, bioethics, medical ethics, human reproduction, moral theology and psychology will make presentations. An audience with the Holy Father is also scheduled.
Each work day will start with Mass in the chapel of the St. Martha Residence in the Vatican. Today’s morning session focused on the spiritual and moral figure of the academy’s first president, Prof. Jerome LeJeune, who died shortly after being named to this position, and on the teachings of Pope John Paul II on human life. A concert is scheduled for the afternoon.
Friday, February 20, participants will study the biblical and theological meaning of human procreation, artificial procreation in all its implications and fatherhood and motherhood faced with the technologies of artificial procreation: anthropological considerations.
Saturday morning, February 21, will be dedicated to the psychological and spiritual repercussions of artificial procreation for women and families and alternative anthropological approaches, and to the juridical aspects in the making of right-to-life laws in a pluralistic society. Six round table discussions are scheduled for the afternoon.
The final day of the plenary assembly, Sunday, February 22, will feature communications by the academy’s President, Prof. Juan de Dios Vial Correa, and Vice President, Bishop Elio Sgreccia, a general discussion on and proposals for the theme for the 2005 meeting and the presentation of the draft of the Final Document.
Vatican City, Feb 19, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II sent his condolences to the Iranian people affected by the train accident that claimed the lives of 300 people, including rescue workers and local authorities.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, sent a telegram in the Holy Father’s name, to government authorities in Iran.
The Holy Father “expresses his deepest sympathy to the authorities and to the Iranian people, once again in mourning for this railroad disaster. He entrusts the many victims to the mercy of the All Powerful and hopes that the families which have been so tried by this drama may benefit from the comfort of the solidarity of the authorities and those around them.”
“The Pope invokes on all persons touched by this terrible accident, especially the wounded and those who saved them, blessings from on high,” the message concludes.
Westminster, Colo., Feb 19, 2004 (CNA) - Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, said the media’s portrayal of sex poses a danger to the future health and happiness of children, reported the Irish Examiner.
The cardinal made this statement in an address at the University of Wales Swansea Theology Society.
Although the cardinal said welcomes greater openness about sex, he suspects "more often than not" that there is no "real context" to the presentation of sex in the media.
The cardinal recognized that sex is used to sell goods in the marketplace. It is portrayed as "something, which has no real significance," said the cardinal, and love and commitment are hardly ever mentioned.
"Sex divorced from love, from commitment, from fidelity, and from the desire to have children is a trivialization of something profound and extraordinarily important," he said
“The breakdown in family life, the increase of divorce, the ease with which sexual relationships become 'passing' and peripheral, is in danger of inflicting very real and long-lasting damage on our society," he said.
Chicago, Ill., Feb 19, 2004 (CNA) - About 150 supporters of same-sex marriage marched and rallied across the street from the residence of Cardinal Francis George Feb. 14. The archbishop of Chicago has spoken publicly against the Illinois same-sex bill and equal marriage rights for homosexuals.
The Valentine’s Day rally in Chicago was part of a nation-wide series of protests.
Several homosexual rights and advocate groups participated and spoke at the rally.
Demonstrators against same-sex marriage were also present. Some protesters shouted down a woman, who read the Catechism on Homosexuality. But police protected her right to continue reading out loud. Other protesters stood silently with their signs in favor of maintaining the current legal definition of marriage.
, Feb 19, 2004 (CNA) - The Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is urging the Michigan Legislature to vote against a constitutional amendment that would reinstate the death penalty in the state.
In a press release yesterday, the MCC expressed its firm opposition to the proposed legislation, stating that: “On the issue of capital punishment, as with abortion or assisted suicide, the Catholic Church has consistently advocated against the use of lethal means to solve social issues.”
MCC vice-president for public policy Paul A. Long said his organization “will vigorously oppose legislation that attempts to establish a culture of death in Michigan.
“We do not challenge society's right to punish the serious and violent offender,” he said. “But, to serve as an effective deterrent to crime, any punishment must be swift, sure and even-handed. Capital punishment fails in all these categories."
The proposed legislation comes in response to two Detroit police officers who were gunned down during a routine traffic stop recently.
Similar legislation had been proposed previously, but it had been defeated in 1999.
In statement, released by the MCC in 1999, the conference said they believe “a principled and consistent rejection of death-dealing as a policy instrument is required to uphold the dignity of human persons and the value of human life.
“Such a position does not ignore the reality of human sinfulness in the world. On the contrary, we recognize that, given human sinfulness and selective compassion, lethal means will appeal to some people as a solution to one or another social problem, be it those of unwanted pregnancies, burdensome patients or remorseless killers," the 1999 statement continued. The MCC maintains the same position on the issue in 2004.
Madrid, Spain, Feb 19, 2004 (CNA) - In anticipation of the coming general elections on March 14, the leadership of the Spanish Bishops Conference has published a statement calling for support for proposals that protect the right to life, support the family and unconditionally reject terrorism.
In the statement entitled, "Voting, a Right and a Duty," the bishops call on voters to choose between "the proposals and promises with clarity and critical judgment," making an effort "to know the truth about the candidates and their platforms."
Likewise they also underscored the "moral obligation" of the candidates and the media to facilitate "the knowledge of truth about the platforms and intentions of the different parties."
The bishops also call on voters to consider issues such as "the effective protection of the right to life of each human being from conception to natural death," adding that "the production of human embryos and in particular their premeditated fate to be killed through scientific study, procured abortion, in any form, and euthanasia" are all "attacks on the right life."
The bishops call on voters to give "clear and decisive support to the family, founded upon the indissoluble union of live and love between one man and one woman, that is, in a true marriage."
The bishops also showed their support for "social and economic policies that respect and promote the dignity of persons," and that manifest the solidarity of our country with those peoples that are most in need.