Vatican City, Apr 26, 2004 (CNA) - Representatives of the National Association of Italian Municipalities met with the Holy Father today to celebrate the centenary of Giorgio La Pira. La Pira was a man who worked “for the cause of fraternal existence among nations” and was “an eminent figure in politics, culture and spirituality of the last century,” said the Pope.
“Before the leaders of the world,” said the Holy Father, Giorgio La Pira “set forth with firmness his ideas as a believer and as a man who loved peace, inviting his interlocutors to a common effort to promote this basic good in various spheres: in society, politics, the economy, cultures and among religions.”
The Holy Father quoted from a letter that La Pira had written in 1964, to the then Italian Prime Minister, which sums up the responisbilities and mission of those in political office: ‘Politicians are civil guides to whom the Lord entrusts, through the changing technologies of the times, the mandate to lead peoples towards peace, unity, and the spiritual and civil promotion of each people and of everyone together’.” John Paul II urged the representatives to follow La Pira’s example and “place yourselves generously at the service of your communities.”
Washington D.C., Apr 26, 2004 (CNA) - Only 100,000 to 250,000 people turned out for the pro-abortion march last Sunday in Washingtion D.C. This is a fraction of the predicted one million marchers the organizers had hoped for.
There was no official crowd count, but the Washingtion Police estimated that about 250,000 people were present.
The reported estimates varied according to the sources, with the New York Times estimating some “tens of thousands protesters,” and the Associated Press, who´s pre-march estimate was 750,000, reporting that "tens of thousands of women” were among the no more than 200,000 marchers.
Other media outlets estimated numbers which were far in excess of the police estimate. Reuters reported "hundreds of thousands of protesters" descended on the capital and United Press claimed that 500,000 women attended the march.
These numbers seem only modest exaggerations when compared with the claim by the organizers who, following the march, issued a press release claiming that 1,150,000 people showed up to voice their support of reproductive rights.
Pro-life groups, in addition, say that the numbers estimated mistakenly include the thousands of pro-life protesters who showed up as well.
The presence of the pro-life protesters was considered significant enough for the police to set up barricades to keep the marchers on both sides of the issue separated. The two sides shouted at each other as the marchers passed by.
The march was also used as a platform for expressing anti-Bush sentiment, with many carrying signs such as "Abort Bush" and "Run Bush Run — The Feminists are Coming."
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) speaking at a pre-march breakfast, combined the pro-abortion cause with the anti-Bush agenda when she said the Bush administration was filled with people "who consider Roe v. Wade the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history…All the people are here today not only to march on behalf of women's lives but to take that energy into the election in November."
Volunteers of the Kerry campaign were present handing out literature and campaign paraphernalia.
Some of the celebrities who led the march were Whoopi Goldberg, Kathleen Turner, Ashley Judd, Cybil Shepherd and Ted Turner, founder of CNN.
Many pro-life advocates, such as Deborah Cardamone, whose daughter, Marla, died from a legal abortion when she was 18, were also there to spread the message that abortion hurts women. "I am just here to represent her and all of the other women who didn't have a choice," she told the New York Times. "She was murdered along with my grandson."
Washington D.C., Apr 26, 2004 (CNA) - Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry, has revealed her pro-choice position in an interview published in Newsweek. "Ultimately you're either for choice or you're not, so I am…I ask myself if I had a 13-year-old daughter who got drunk one night and got pregnant, what would I do. Christ, I'd go nuts."
Heinz Kerry, who five years ago allowed that she was not 100 per cent pro-choice (but now says she is no longer allowed such qualifiers for the sake of her husband’s campaign, according to the Newsweek interview) also said that she thought abortion was undesirable and unpopular: "My belief—and I maybe am very wrong—is that women, generally speaking, do not want to have abortions. With the exception of people who are mindless—and there will always be mindless people of both sexes—most women wouldn't want to. So starting on that premise, I'd say it's our duty as a society to help women arrive at the best conclusion.”
The interviewer, Newsweek contributing editor Melinda Henneberger, reports that Heinz Kerry “finds overt sexuality in the culture both sad and demeaning,” but she does, “on the other hand” wish that the Catholic Church reversed it´s position on birth control.
Vatican City, Apr 26, 2004 (CNA) - The Holy Father urged young people to follow the model of the six servants of God he beatified this morning in St. Peter´s square, and “to ardently ask for the light of the Holy Spirit and prudent guides through prayer.”
Servants of God Augustus Czartoryski, a priest; Laura Montoya, Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, Nemesia Valle, Eusebia Palomino Yenes, women religious; and Alexandrina Maria da Costa, a laywoman were all proclaimed blessed today.
Beginning with Blessed Czartoryski of the Salesian Society of St. John Bosco, a Pole, the Pope said that he “presented all his questions and doubts to God in prayer and then in a spirit of obedience followed the advice of his spiritual guides. In this way, he understood his vocation to live poverty in order to serve the least of his brethren.”
He then spoke of Colombian Blessed Laura Montoya, who, “realizing that so many indigenous people who lived far from big cities did not know God, decided to found the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and St. Catherine of Siena, in order to bring the Gospel to those who live in the jungle. … Inspired by her peaceful message, we pray to her today so that the beloved nation of Colombia may soon enjoy peace, justice and integral progress.”
“Blessed Guadalupe Garcia Zavala from Mexico, who renounced marriage,” he continued, “dedicated herself to the service of the poor, needy and sick, and founded the Congregation of the Servants of St. Margaret Mary and of the Poor. With deep faith, boundless hope and a great love for Christ, Mother Lupita sought holiness through love for the heart of Jesus and in fidelity to the Church.”
The mission of Italian Blessed Nemesia Valle, virgin, of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Charity of St. Jeanne-Antida Thouret was “to show God’s love to the needy, the poor and to all human beings in every corner of the earth. … She is an example of luminous holiness, aiming for the high summits of evangelic perfection, and translated into the simple gestures of daily life entirely dedicated to God,” said the Pope.
Salesian Eusebia Palomina Yenes, of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, “was driven by love for the Eucharist and for Our Lady. What was important to her was to love and to serve; the rest did not matter. … In a radical way and while adhering to her opinions, she forged a fascinating and demanding path of sanctity for all of us and especially for the young people of our age,” said the Pope of the Spanish religious.
Finally, the Pope spoke about Portuguese Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa, lay person, of the Union of Salesian Cooperators. He emphasized her “strong will which accepted everything in order to show her love for God. … She mystically relived Christ’s passion and offered herself as a victim for sinners, receiving strength from the Eucharist which was her only sustenance during the last thirteen years of life.”
"Love for Christ is the secret of holiness,"said the Holy Father at the end of his homily, "Let us follow the example of these blessed! Like them, let us offer a consistent testimony of faith and love in the living and working presence of the Risen One!"
Boston, Mass., Apr 26, 2004 (CNA) - Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry received the Eucharist at mass Saturday, one day after Francis Cardinal Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said pro-abortion politicians should not receive it.
The cardinal made this statement at a press conference, during which the new Vatican document on the norms for the mass, was released.
Fr. Joe Ciccone gave Kerry the Eucharist at the Paulist Center, where the politician regularly worships. The priest said he was simply following the directives of the Archdiocese of Boston, which “said we should give him Communion,” reported the Associated Press.
The archdiocese does not refuse Communion to anyone, archdiocesan spokesman Fr. Christopher Coyne told the AP. He said it was up to the individual to decide whether to receive Communion.
The Paulist Center attracts Catholics from a wide geographical area, who disagree with some Church teachings or who feel alienated from the Church. The assembly includes homosexual couples, whose children have been baptized there.
Founded in 1970, the chapel can give all the sacraments, except marriage.
Colorado Springs, Colo., Apr 26, 2004 (CNA) - A conservative Anglican committee submitted a proposal that bars bishops, who supported the consecration of a homosexual bishop in New Hampshire last November, from attending and voting at high-level meetings called by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The proposal, drafted at a three-day summit in Colorado Springs last week, also developed a plan for individual parishes in support of the homosexual bishop. It would remove these parishes from the Episcopal Church and make them independent.
The proposals got the green light from former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, who attended the summit, organized by the Anglican Communion Institute, from April 20 to 22.
Carey, who served as the spiritual leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans before he retired in 2002, said the proposals were a good guideline with the potential of keeping the Anglican Communion together, reported the Associated Press.
Carey said the consecration of openly homosexual V. Gene Robinson as bishop for the Episcopal Church last November has fractured the Anglican Communion. He said the Anglican Church is “in danger” because of this, reported the AP.
He reportedly told the participants gathered at the summit that although the Episcopal Church should be inclusive, the American branch of the Anglican Church went too far by consecrating Robinson, said the AP.
The proposals were submitted to the Lambeth Commission, set up by the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to discuss the implications of the controversial consecration.
Paris, France, Apr 26, 2004 (CNA) - Bishop Jaques Perrier, president of the Bishops Conference of France, has confirmed that Pope John Paul II will travel to Lourdes in August to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
Bishop Perrier said Bishop Renato Boccardo, who organizes papal visits, was in Lourdes last week in order to review preparations that will need to be made for the visit.
Bishop Boccardo said the trip will be a testimony to “the personal devotion and the veneration of the universal Church” towards the Virgin Mary. He added that the Papal trip will be neither a state visit nor a pastoral trip, saying a meeting with the president of France is not currently on the agenda. “A meeting with Jacques Chirac is not on the schedule, but it has not been excluded,” he said.
Bishop Perrier said the Pope will possibly celebrate Mass on August 15, the feast of the Assumption. The trip would be John Paul’s third to France and his second to Lourdes. In 1983 he became the first Pontiff to visit the popular Marian shrine.
Denver, Colo., Apr 26, 2004 (CNA) - Churches are called to build a just society and to work for peace, but it can’t be done without the collaboration of government, said Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver in a column that was published in the archdiocesan newspaper, the Denver Catholic Register.
The archbishop’s column was adapted from similar comments he made at the Rally for Compassion, April 24, on the steps of the State Capitol. Participants at the rally, organized by Catholic Charities Denver, demanded that the state government revises legislation and includes more programs and policies in favor of the poor and the marginalized.
“Churches can’t build a just society alone,” said Archbishop Chaput. “Neither can synagogues or volunteers or charities.
“We need government to do its rightful job, not cut or hobble its services. We need government to serve the common good with laws that defend the weak, and with the money, personnel and other resources to ensure a life of basic dignity for all our people,” he said.
The common good, the archbishop said, includes the right to food, shelter, rest, medical care, necessary social services, decent working conditions and basic economic security for widows, the disabled, the elderly and the unemployed.
“It means special protection for marriage, children and the family, with real equality for men and women,” he continued. “And it also means the right to life of the sick, the dying, the unwanted and the unborn child – because the right to life is the cornerstone of every other human right. Without the right to life, every other right begins to crumble.
“We can’t build justice in foreign countries if we ignore it here at home,” he stated. “We can’t protect our own rights unless we defend the rights of the weakest in our society.”
The archbishop emphasized that public policies are needed “that defend human dignity from conception, through childhood and adulthood, to natural death.”
Archbishop Chaput concluded by reminding Catholics that they need to live their citizenship seriously in this election year.
“Our faith serves the common good not just through Catholic Charities and all our other social ministries, but also in guiding the way we vote for our public officials and the demands for justice that we place on them,” he said.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Apr 26, 2004 (CNA) - During the presentation of the new Vatican document on the celebration of the Eucharist, Redemptionis Sacramentum, Bishop Antonio Baseotto of the Military Diocese of Argentina and member of the Bishops Committee on the Liturgy called on the priests of Argentina to review the manner in which they celebrate the Mass in accord with the document.
Bishop Baseotto asked that “each priest seriously ask himself if he has respected the rights of the lay faithful” regarding the celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy.
Meeting with reporters at the offices of the Bishops Conference of Argentina to explain in detail the new document, Bishop Baseotto regretted that in various parts of the world there exists a “lack of knowledge or ignorance on the part of many priests regarding liturgical norms.”
Although the bishop acknowledged that in Argentina the abuses outlined in the document “are not as common,” he said the instruction will be intensely studied during Argentina’s National Eucharistic Congress which will take place in Corrientes in September.
Bishop Baseotto said that the text emphasizes “the respect that is due the sacrament of the Eucharist because of the presence of Jesus Christ” and he called on priests to seek with “respect and dignity” what is necessary to celebrate the Eucharist.
Mexico City, Mexico, Apr 26, 2004 (CNA) - Bishop Rafael Romo of Tijuana, Mexico, confirmed last week that President Vicente Fox has invited Pope John Paul II to visit the country for the sixth time in order to attend the International Eucharistic Congress which will take place in Guadalajara in October.
Speaking with the “Reforma” newspaper, Bishop Romo said the invitation was delivered to Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Soldano by Mexican authorities.
“The invitation has been sent and has been accepted. Everything now depends on the health and condition of the Pope. The invitation by the government has now been made,” said the bishop.
According to Bishop Romo, “we want to adequately welcome him if he is able to join us.”