Archive of February 20, 2004

John Paul II exhorts French to live and pass on the faith daily

Vatican City, Feb 20, 2004 (CNA) -

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Scientific rigor and Christian ethics to avoid aberrations, Pope suggests

Vatican City, Feb 20, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II said today that combining scientific rigor with the demands of anthropology and Christian ethics guarantees respect for human life in experiments.

The Holy See published today the message from the Pope to participants in the Day of Commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Pontifical Academy for Life. The text, dated February 17, was read yesterday afternoon by Bishop Elio Sgreccia, Vice-President of the Academy, to the attendants of the 10th General Assembly.

John Paul II writes that “with the passing of the years, the importance of the Pontifical Academy for Life is ever more evident. The progress of biomedical sciences, while providing promising prospects for the good of humanity and the cure of serious and painful infirmities, often presents serious problems in relation to respect for human life and the dignity of the person.”

“It is necessary to sensitize researchers ever more, especially in the biomedical field, to the beneficial enrichment that can comes from combining scientific rigor with the demands of anthropology and Christian ethics,” he stressed.

The Pope denounced that “the growing domination of medical technology over the processes of human procreation, discoveries in the field of genetics and molecular biology, changes in the therapy management of seriously-ill patients, together with the spread of currents of thought of utilitarian and hedonistic inspiration, are factors that can lead to aberrant behavior as well as to the creation of unjust laws in relation to the dignity of the person and the respect demanded by the inviolability of innocent life.”

After stressing that the contribution of academicians “is fundamental for intellectuals, especially Catholic intellectuals,” the Holy Father referred to the responsibility that they have in the field of bioethics.  “I thank you for your commitment in examining specific questions of great interest and also in promoting dialogue between scientific research and theological and philosophical reflection guided by the Magisterium”, he concluded.

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EWTN to air live Town Hall meeting on the report on clerical sexual abuse in the U.S.

, Feb 20, 2004 (CNA) - The EWTN Global Catholic Network will air a live Town Hall Meeting on the report by the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth on the date of its release, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. It will be broadcast on television, radio and the Internet from the Caldwell Hall Auditorium at The Catholic University of America.

Raymond Arroyo, EWTN news director, will host and moderate the Town Hall. The National Review Board is scheduled to release the last of three reports on clergy sexual abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church. The report is expected to contain the findings of a survey by criminologists, detailing all known allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests in the past 50 years. It will also include a preliminary analysis of the causes and context of the abuse, based on interviews the review board conducted with bishops, victims and offenders.

Members of the review board, Catholic scholars and writers, and members of the clergy will discuss the report and its implications. Panelists include national review board members Robert Bennett, Anne Burke and William Burleigh; editors Kate O’Beirne and the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus; scholar George Weigel. It will also include members of the clergy, including Bishop John D’Arcy of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee and Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis. The 90-minute program will include questions from a studio audience as well as from a worldwide viewing audience. Encore times for the show are: Feb. 28, 1 a.m., Feb. 29, 4:30 p.m., March 1, 10 a.m. and 11 p.m.

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More screens added for The Passion of the Christ

Los Angeles, Calif., Feb 20, 2004 (CNA) - The demand for showings of The Passion of The Christ is so great that 4,000 prints of the film are set to screen in 2,800 theaters on multiple screens, that’s up from an original 2,000 just one week ago, reported Icon, the film’s production company.

In fact, some theaters will begin screening Tuesday at midnight and continue to run the film 24 hours a day non-stop. As well, 800 theaters will begin screening the movie this Monday for churches that have purchased the entire house, reported Hollywood Jesus.

Bob Berney of Newmarket, the distributor of The Passion in the U.S., said the demand has been picking up in the last few days. He expects requests from more theaters and for more prints before the film opens next week, Ash Wednesday, particularly after the interview with Diane Sawyer that aired on ABC Primetime last Monday. That broadcast received the #1 rating with 17 million viewers.

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Portuguese public official calls adoption of children by homosexuals “perversion”

Lisbon, Portugal, Feb 20, 2004 (CNA) - A Portuguese government official in charge of a committee implementing the country’s new law on adoption said that homosexuality is not “normal behavior” and that European laws allowing adoption by same-sex couples is “perversion.”

Responding to reports that a lesbian couple has been granted permission to adopt two twin sisters in Pamplona, Spain, Luis Villas-Boas, a clinical psychologist by profession, said it is preferable that a child spends his whole life in an institution or a foster family rather than undergoing “the tragedy of being educated by homosexuals, whether it’s just one or two.”  

Villa-Boas told the newspaper “Público” that although it was a decision made by a judge in Spain, “what is occurring in the world is too serious,” and he warned that infants who grow up in “a homosexual environment” suffer consequences that should be avoided.

The world scientific community knows today that homosexuality is not genetic,” and therefore a child raised by two people of the same sex will tend to “interiorize attitudes, lessons and reactions from the environment in which he exists,” interfering with his “natural sexuality.”  Villa-Boas said this represented an “attack on the rights of children.”

He also warned that the affection homosexuals show towards children “is false affection which is neither organized nor structured,” because “they please themselves through the child.”

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Pro-lifers denounce campaign to promote “morning after pill” in Honduras

Tegucigalpa, Feb 20, 2004 (CNA) - The Pro-Life Committee of Honduras is denouncing a campaign launched by the Ministry of Health to promote the distribution of the morning after pill despite its abortifacient nature.

In a statement the group underscores that the campaign “openly violates national law” which is founded upon the “recognition of the rights and irreplaceable value of each human life.”

The group explains that the “Ministry of Health of Honduras, the Honduran Association for Family Planning and Marie Stopes Honduras open promote the distribution and use of the morning after pill in the country,” adding that “in recent days a campaign has been launched aiming at kids and inviting them to use it.”

The “emergency contraception” kits contain “a small plastic bag with eight pills, three condoms, and two pamphlets that do not include any information other than a brief mention of side effects, such as nausea and hypersensitivity in the breasts, headaches, water retention and dizziness,” warns the Committee.

 “In Honduras,” it continues, “the law recognizes that life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore it is ironic that the state itself openly violates national legislation which, in this area, is founded upon the recognition of the rights and irreplaceable value of each human life.”

The Committee concluded hoping for a strong public reaction against the acceptance of abortion in Honduras. 

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Parental notification law may be put on election ballot

Tallahassee, Fla., Feb 20, 2004 (CNA) - A group of Republican lawmakers wants to put the question of parental notification on the election ballot this November. The House Judiciary Committee will look at the issue on Tuesday.

Lawmakers say they want to strengthen parents' rights over the health of their children, which could include notification if an underage girl seeks an abortion.

Currently under Florida's Constitution, minors have the same privacy rights as adults.

Two previous parental notification laws were struck down in 1988 and 1999.

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