Archive of April 19, 2004

Vatican clears the way for new saints, including American “Angel of Molokai”

Vatican City, Apr 19, 2004 (CNA) - On Monday morning, in the presence of Pope John Paul, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints promulgated 15 new decrees that will open the way for two canonizations and 10 beatifications, eight of them for martyrdom.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the congregation, announced a miracle that paves the way  for the canonization of Blessed Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901-1952), a chilean Jesuit who promoted priestly vocations among university students and developed one of the most effective organizations to help the needy in Chile, the “Hogar de Cristo” (Home of Christ).

The other future saint is Blessed Felice Da Nicosia an italian professed lay member of the Order of the Friars Minor Capuchin (1715-1787).

The two future blessed are Pierre Vigne, a French priest founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Holy Sacrament (1670-1740); and Venerable Servant of God Jean du Sacré Coeur, French, née Léon-Gustave Dehon, founder of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (the Dehonians) (1843-1925).

The martyrs to be proclaimed blessed are all Spanish victims of the brutal anti-Catholic movement that killed more than 5,000 priests before and during Spain’s Civil War (1936-1939). They are Jose Tapies Sirvant, Spanish (born 1869), and his six companions: Pascual Araguas Guardia (1899), Silvestre Arnau Pascuet (1911), Jose Boher Foix (1887), Francisco Castell Brenuy (1866), Pedro Martret Moles (1901) and Jose Juan Perot Juanmartí, French (1877), all priests of the diocese of Urgel (Spain.) According to the Vatican decree, they were “murdered due to hatred of the faith during the religious persecution in Spain in 1936.”

Also to be proclaimed blessed are Maria de los Angeles Ginard Marti, Spanish (1894), religious of the Congregation of Sisters, Zealous of Eucharistic Devotion also  killed due to hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.

Heroic Virtues The Congregation also proclaimed the heroic virtues of nine other Servants of God. The proclamation of Heroic Virtues is the step previous to the proclamation of a miracle that will lead to a beatification.

The list includes Servant of God Mary Anne Barbara Cope (1838-1918),  a German-born American, known as “Mother Marianne of Molokai,”  also as “the Angel of Molokai”. She was a religious of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Syracuse, New York. In June 1883, during the second year of her second term as provincial superior, Mother Marianne Cope received a letter from a priest in Hawaii begging for help. He had sent a similar letter to more than 50 religious communities in the United States.

Mother Marianne's was the only response. On October 22, 1883,  she and six other sisters left bound for Hawaii expecting to be there only for a few weeks. But she would never return and would die among the lepers.

The Congregation´s list also includes  Francesco Maria Greco, Italian, priest and founder of the Congregation  the Little Sisters, Workers of the Sacred Hearts (1857-1931);  Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, Argentine, priest (1840-1914);  Silvio Gallotti,  Italian, priest (1887-1927);  Felice Prinetti, Italian, priest of the Congregation of the Oblates of Our Lady and founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Joseph (1842-1916); Candelaria de San Jose, Venezuelan, née Susana Paz Castillo Ramirez, religious and foundress of the Congregation of the Carmelite Sisters of the Third Order, now known as the Carmelite Sisters of Mother Candelaria (1863-1940);  Servant of God Teresa del Corazon Inmaculado de Maria, Spanish, née Teresa Guasch y Toda; religious, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Teresian Carmelite Sisters of St. Joseph (1848-1917); Maria della Passione di Nostro Signore Gesu Cristo, Italian, née Maria Grazia Tarallo,  religious of the Institute of the Sisters, Crucified Adorers of the Eucharist (1866-1912); and  Maria del Pilar Cimadevilla y Lopez-Doriga, Spanish child (1951-1962).

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Instruction with liturgical norms on the Eucharist to be "released" on Friday

Vatican City, Apr 19, 2004 (CNA) - On Friday, April 23  the Vatican will present  the Instruction of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments “‘Redemptionis Sacramentum’, on several things that must be observed and avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist.”

The document, regarded as a compendium of the norms ruling the conduct of both celebrants and participants during the celebration of the Eucharist, will be presented  by Cardinal Francis Arinze, and Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, respectively prefect and secretary of the congregation, and Archbishop Angelo Amato, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Also present will be Cardinal Julian Herranz, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative texts.

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Pope calls for kidnappers to release hostages out of humanity

Vatican City, Apr 19, 2004 (CNA) - On Sunday, at the end of the noon prayer of the Regina Caeli, Pope John Paul called for kidnappers of hostages in Iraq to show "humanity" and return the hostages to their families.

"I am particularly close in thought and prayer to the families of all those who fear for the fate of their loved ones, especially all those who have been taken hostage," the Pontiff said.

"I invite the kidnappers to have feelings of humanity," "I entreat them to give back to the families the persons who are in their hands, while I pray to merciful God for the populations of the Holy Land and Iraq and for all those in that region who work for reconciliation and peace," the Pope added.

Fifteen foreigners, including two Americans, are missing after a wave of abductions that erupted earlier in April.

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Colorado’s politicians react to Denver archbishop’s strong words

Denver, Colo., Apr 19, 2004 (CNA) - Archbishop Charles Chaput’s recent opinion column created a stir among Colorado politicians after he stated that Catholic politicians must advocate laws that respect the sanctity of life. The archbishop of Denver also suggested that those who break with Church teachings on sanctity-of-life issues are  only “Catholic” by name.

The archbishop made this statement last week in his column that appears in the archdiocesan newspaper, the Denver Catholic Register.

The Denver Post reported that two Republicans publicly supported the archbishop’s statement, while one Democrat spoke out against it.

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful and renowned brewery owner Peter Coors thinks the archbishop is right to challenge Catholic politicians to follow Church teachings, reported the Post. Coors is a staunch Catholic, who opposes abortion rights and the death penalty.

Another Catholic politician, GOP candidate and former Congressman Bob Schaffer, who has a strong pro-life voting record, also supports the archbishop.

However, Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar said that abortion is a question to be settled "between a woman and her God" and that he does not think it's up to the archbishop “to create litmus tests to determine who is Catholic,” reported the newspaper. The candidate, who says he once wanted to become a priest,  also supports the death penalty.

"The archbishop can have his point of view as leader of a church, but I think when the archbishop tries to influence the outcome of elections and get involved in government and directing voters, he's gone beyond the line of what should not be breached in our American democracy, where we believe fundamentally in the separation of church and state," Salazar said.

Nevertheless, archdiocesan spokesman Sergio Gutierrez have said that Archbishop Chaput and his assistant, Bishop Jose Gomez, “plan to bring up the issue again in the coming months,” including talks with the Senate hopefuls about how their faith affects their public lives.

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The Gospel is guide to understanding history, says Pope

Vatican City, Apr 19, 2004 (CNA) - In a message addressed to the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding, Pope John Paul II underscored that the Gospels are a reference point that help to better understand mankind’s history.

As he emphasized the importance which the Church gives to the promotion of culture in general and to history in particular, the Holy Father underscored the importance of “cultivating a serious historical knowledge of the diverse fields in which the life of individuals and communities is articulated.” “There is nothing more inconsistent than people or groups without a history.  Ignorance of one’s own past leads fatally to a crisis and to the loss of identity for individuals and communities,” he added.

The Pope said that the believer historian knows he possesses in Sacred Scripture a key to understanding mankind and the world.  “It is in the biblical message, in effect, that the human adventure is known in its most hidden aspects:  the creation, the tragedy of sin, the redemption.”  The people, places and events of history are thus better understood.

John Paul II emphasized that renewed historical studies can lead to more peaceful coexistence among peoples,  and that “historical research free of prejudices and based solely on scientific documentation has an irreplaceable role in breaking down the walls that exist between peoples.”

The Pope recalled that “the Church herself is an historical phenomenon and therefore, an eminent object of historical science.”  Therefore, “the history of the Church is an appropriate place for getting to know the truth of the faith itself.”

Lastly, referring to the study of Church history, the Pope underscored: history teaches that each time in the past new knowledge of the sources is acquired, the groundwork is laid for a new flourishing of ecclesial life.  If history is the teacher of life, as an ancient Latin expression goes, the history of the Church can well be called ‘teacher of the Christian life’.”

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The Philippines are “a light” for evangelization of Asia, Pope says

Vatican City, Apr 19, 2004 (CNA) - “The Philippines is truly a ‘light’ for the evangelization of the Asian continent,” said John Paul II  on Monday morning during a meeting with the new ambassador of the Philippines, Leonida L. Vera.

The Pope recalled that the Philippines “has kept the Christian faith strong” despite obstacles, and that the experience of World Youth Day, celebrated in Manila in 1995, “was an example of your nation’s desire to exercise this responsibility” of preserving the values of its heritage and extending the ideals of Christian culture in the world.

Referring to the serious problem of poverty in the Philippines, and in Asia in general, the Pope said that in order “to deal with poverty effectively, every sector of society must work together in search of solutions.”

Speaking about capital punishment  - a  topic of national debate in the Philippines - the Holy Father  said that  “I would reiterate that the ends of justice in today’s world seem better served by not resorting to the death penalty.” “While civil societies have a duty to be just, they also have an obligation to be merciful,” he said.

In light of the spread of violence in the Philippines, the Pope made an appeal to all parties “to end the terrorism which continues to cause so much suffering to the civilian population, and to embrace the path of dialogue which alone will enable the people of the region to create a society that guarantees justice, peace and harmony for all.”

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Floridians to vote on parental notification law

Miami, Fla., Apr 19, 2004 (CNA) - On November 2, the voters of Florida will not only play a decisive role in the presidential elections, they will also vote on a constitutional amendment requiring minors to notify their parents before seeking an abortion.

The Florida State Senate approved the bill 27-13, and the measure will now come before the general electorate.

''If the parents need to be told their child is being taken on a field trip to the zoo, shouldn't a father or mother or guardian be told that their child is about to undergo a physiological, a psychologically invasive procedure that's irreversible?'', asked Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican who led the effort to pass the legislation.

Johnnie Byrd, Speaker of the House of Representatives, which recently approved the measure, expressed his confidence that parents will be able “to know that their daughters who are minors are making such an important decision.”

“I am happy the problem is being addressed.  I think it is a good first step, and we’ll see what happens,” Byrd added.

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Expert confirms abortifacient nature of morning after pill

Washington D.C., Apr 19, 2004 (CNA) - As debate continues about the inclusion of the morning after pill in family planning programs throughout Latin America, an expert in the field has confirmed that science does not hide the abortifacient nature of the drug, even though promoters insist on calling it just another “contraceptive.”

In an article, Dr. German Alvardo, Post-Doctoral Fellow at John Hopkins University, said that “emergency oral contraception (AOE, also called the morning after pill), when taken after fertilization, is abortifacient and does not just simply prevent ovulation, as some would have us believe.”

“The famous pill prevents implantation of the human embryo in the walls of the mother’s uterus, which if it weren’t for the AOE would take place between the sixth and eighth day of life,” underscored Alvarado, who has a Master’s in public health from the University of Brussels.

Alvarado said that “since 1946 science recognizes that human life begins at the moment of fertilization (Declaration of the World Medical Association).  Fertilization can take place as soon as 2 hours after sexual relations or it can take as long as 72 hours.”

The Peruvian doctor underscored that “independently of whatever institution or person who wants to fool us ‘with the manipulation of words’, it is scientifically true that the oral emergency contraception is abortifacient and therefore, kills.”

“Nobody has been able to disprove the argument that human life begins at fertilization.  No utilitarian ‘consensus’ should approve the AOE therefore,” added Alvarado.

“Certain feminists want to deceive people because they do business with certain pharmaceutical companies, and they are in the business of killing, and what is worse, they do so under the banner of science and human rights,” he explained.

Alvarado recalled the tragic medical experiments of the Nazis, some of which were carried out with the cooperation of pharmaceutical companies, the Tuskegee syphilis study in Alabama (1932-1972) carried out on blacks by the US Public Heath Service, and the Willowbrook Study of New York (1963-1966) carried out on mentally retarded children.

“Sometimes in the name of science and technology, horrible crimes against humanity have been committed,” he recalled, adding that “as a doctor, I defend life and health and I fervently reject emergency oral contraceptives.”

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