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Archive of June 15, 2004

Communion at the center of Bishops’ meeting

Denver, Colo., Jun 15, 2004 (CNA) - While US Bishops were getting ready to discuss this afternoon at the Inverness hotel in Denver a common stand on weather to deny Holy Communion  to Catholic public authorities who support abortion, pressure groups outside the hotel exchanged words on the issue.

In an empty construction field across the street from the Inverness –which has been closed to the press, - American Life League’s Judy Brown read a statement announcing the release of a “Crusade for the defense of our Catholic Church.”

The “Crusade” will kick off on Wednesday with a full-page ad on USA Today. The ad says: “This Sunday, as many as 500 pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians will be allowed to receive the Holy Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ, because nearly all Catholic bishops have chosen not to enforce Church Law.”

“Under Canon Law 915, America’s  Catholic bishops, priests, deacons and Eucharistic ministers have an obligation to end this public sacrilege being perpetrated by so-called Catholic, pro-abortion public figures against the body and blood of Christ,” the statement also says.

60 feet from the ALL press conference, six members of “Call to Action” were holding a prayer vigil in beach chairs and displaying banners calling bishops to accept the ordination of women.

“The denial of communion by some bishops to Catholic politicians on various single issue grounds goes against Catholic teaching and seems more like partisan politics than inclusive church,” said Amy Sheber Howard, Vice president of Call to Action.”

“The Catholic community, just as the larger society, must be able to have civilized discussion about important issues on which people of good will can have different opinions and differing strategies fro achieving the common good,”  said Lena Woltering, a CTA national board member.

Another 10 feet away from the small CTA group, pro-life leader Randall Terry and some companions were holding a large sign saying “Bishops please deny communion to Kerry & Co.”

Terry, Founder of Operation Rescue is leading a 50 hour continuous vigil to pray for bishops “to deal with the scandal involving John Kerry and others. He has also sent a letter to all US bishops asking each one of them “to clearly state two things to the public at large, and to the Roman Catholic community in particular in your diocese:

1) that any politician or candidate who supports abortion is not permitted to receive Communion in your diocese.

2) That Roman Catholics in your diocese cannot in good conscience support a candidate for any office from any party as long as that candidate supports abortion.”

After discussing aspect related to the Dallas Charter during Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, the Bishops have embarked in the discussion of the issue of communion. No statement has been announced.

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Bush rejects calls on stem-cell research

Washington D.C., Jun 15, 2004 (CNA) - President George W. Bush rejected calls yesterday from Ronald Reagan's family and others to relax restrictions on stem-cell research in order to pursue potential cures for illnesses, reported The Associated Press.

Bush, who opposes using embryos for stem-cell research, signed an executive order in August 2001, limiting federal funding for stem-cell research to the 78 embryonic stem-cell lines then in existence.

Shortly before Reagan's death, 58 senators asked Bush to relax the restrictions. The call to do so increased last week after the former president’s death.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan told AP that President Bush, “doesn't believe we should be creating life for the sole purpose of destroying life.”

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Vatican holds consultation on “New Age”

Vatican City, Jun 15, 2004 (CNA) - The “New Age” is the topic of a three day consultation at the Vatican that bagan yesterday as a follow-up to the February 2003 provisional document entitled "Jesus Christ Bearer of Living Water, A Christian Reflection on the 'New Age'."

The consultation is the initiative of the Interdicasterial Commission for Reflection on "Sects and New Religious Movements" and includes members of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Councils for Promoting Christian Unity, for Culture and for Inter-religious Dialogue, as well as 20 experts on the subject from around the world.

Two of the topics to be discussed will be a discernment about and psychological techniques promoted by the 'New Age' and a deeper study between 'New Age' proposals and Christian spirituality.  Participants will  try to suggest some ideas for a pastoral reflection on the "New Age" for episcopacies.

The various topics were compiled according to the responses to a questionnaire sent out to episcopal conferences following the publication of “Jesus Christ Bearer of Living Water,” asking for suggestions of topics for study.

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Facts of the Inquistion must be known in order to correct “false images,” says Pope

Vatican City, Jun 15, 2004 (CNA) - A volume entitled “The Inquisition,” based on the Symposium on the subject that took place in the Vatican in 1998 was presented this morning by Cardinals Roger Etchegaray, former president of the Central Committee of the Grand Jubilee of the Year 2000, Jean-Louis Tauran, archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church and George Cottier, O.P., pro-theologian of the Pontifical Household.

The Holy Father wrote a message on the occasion affirming that the symposium and presentation of the volume responds concretely to a desire expressed in the Apostolic Letter “Tertio Millennio Adveniente (1994)”:

"As the second millennium of Christianity comes to an end, it is appropriate therefore that the Church assumes a greater awareness of the sins of its sons and daughters when recalling the circumstances in which, throughout history, they deviated from the spirit of Christ and His Gospel, offering to the world the spectacle of ways of thinking and acting that were true forms of 'counter-witness and scandal', instead of witness to a life inspired by the values of faith."

"In public opinion," writes the Pope, "the image of the Inquisition represents in some way the symbol of this counter-witness and scandal. In what measure is this image faithful to reality?”

“Before asking for forgiveness”, writes the Pope, “it is necessary to know exactly what are the facts and to recognize the shortcomings with respect to the evangelical needs in appropriate cases. This is why the Committee referred to historians whose scientific competence is universally recognized."

John Paul II recalls that on March 12, 2000, a Day of Forgiveness was celebrated and forgiveness was asked "for the errors committed in the service of the truth when unethical methods were used."  This petition for forgiveness "is also valid for the drama related to the Inquisition as well as the wounds that are its consequence. ... This volume," he concludes, "is written in the spirit of this petition for forgiveness."

Professor Agostino Borromeo, responsible for the volume, also spoke during the conference. He said that the volume is “a point of reference for studies on the Inquisition” for three reasons:

“In the first place, for the scientific rigor of the reports, exempt from controversy or an apologetic nature which is typical of recent historiography;

In the second place, for the richness of the information laid out which allows us to look at many places so widespread among non-specialists (the use of torture and the death penalty were not as frequent as once believed);

And in the third place, due to the amplitude of the volume, it is a reason to hope that intellectual debate on the theme is sparked and that there is stimulus for new research."

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Pope makes massive changes in Barcelona, appoints new bishops

Vatican City, Jun 15, 2004 (CNA) - Today the Holy Father erected two new dioceses in Cataluña, Spain, from the territory taken from the archdiocese of Barcelona, which has at the same time been raised to a metropolitan see.

The two new dioceses created are the see of Terrassa and that of Sant Feliu de Llobregat. The new diocese of Terrassa has about 1 million inhabitants, 12

deaneries, and 120 parishes. The diocese of Sant Feliu de Llobregat has 670,000 inhabitants and 9 deaneries and 121 parishes.

Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See press office, who made the announcement, said that “dividing the great archdiocese of Barcelona has been under study for several decades. In the early 1980s, in fact, the then archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Narciso Jubany, B.M., had taken several steps with the prospect of creating two new dioceses.”

After this division, the population of the archdiocese of Barcelona will remain about 2.5 million.

The Holy Father appointed Bishop Josep Angel Saiz Meneses, auxiliary of Barcelona, Spain, as bishop of Terrassa, and Bishop Agustin Cortes Soriano of Ibiza, Spain, as bishop of Sant Feliu di Llobregat.

The new Metropolitan Archbishop of Barcelona is Lluis Martinez Sistach, formerly metropolitan archbishop of Tarragona, Spain.

He succeeds Cardinal Ricardo Maria Carles Gordo whose resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Barcelona was accepted upon having reached the age limit.  The resignation from the pastoral care of the office of auxiliary of Barcelona, Spain, presented by Bishop Pere Tena Garriga upon having reached the age limit was also accepted.

The Pope also appointed Fr. Jaume Pujol Balcells, professor of theology and director of the Superior Institute of Religious Sciences in the Faculty of Theology at University of Navarre as metropolitan archbishop of Tarragona, Spain.  The archbishop-elect was born in Guissona, Spain in 1944 and was ordained a priest in 1973.

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Irish singing raises funds for Catholic charity in Fiji

Ottawa, Canada, Jun 15, 2004 (CNA) - The ING National Capital Marathon had a unique participant this year. Patrick McLaughlin, a resident of the Greater Montreal area, joined in the event, playing instruments and singing traditional Irish songs in an effort to raise funds for a Catholic charity that is close to his heart.

McLaughlin was one of 142 people who participated in the 42-km Marathonwalk, which was included as part of the Ottawa race, held at the end of May.

Unlike the other participants, however, McLaughlin played his Irish drum and sang a potpourri of songs in an effort to raise funds for the construction of primary schools in Fiji, where his sister, a Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, is in charge of operations. The children in the villages she serves do not have access education since the government does not have the funds to build schools there.

McLaughlin’s international repertoire included Irish, French, English, Welsh, Scottish, Caribbean, American, Australian, Italian, Spanish and Jewish music. His first song was the Gaelic ‘Buachaill ó’n Éirne’.

A group of fellow walkers accompanied McLaughlin for about 35 km. They joined in the singing and even played the boran, spoons and bones; they crossed the finish-line to ‘Alouette, gentille alouette’. The 66-year-old completed the walk in 6 hours 37 minutes.

The Irish native first moved to the province of Quebec in 1972 to study counselling psychology at McGill University in Montreal.

For more information, e-mail: [email protected]

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To disregard God is suicide for man, says Spanish Archbishop

Madrid, Spain, Jun 15, 2004 (CNA) - During the celebration of Corpus Christi, Archbishop Carlos Osoro of Oviedo said that to disregard God is suicide for mankind and society.

“To disregard or push God aside is suicide for the existence of mankind and society,” said Archbishop Osoro, who argued that in the current historical moment “mankind cannot achieve peace on his own.”

In this sense, the Spanish archbishop called on Christians “to take to the streets” and he emphasized the importance of the Eucharist, which “keeps the Church from closing in upon herself.”

After the celebration of the Eucharist, the Archbishop led the traditional Corpus Christi procession.

The mayor of the city and his entire staff participated in the procession through the streets of Oviedo and Archbishop Osoro led the faithful in the public veneration of the Blessed Sacrament.

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Archbishops says Venezuelan Catholics should consider themselves “privileged” for having faith

Caracas, Venezuela, Jun 15, 2004 (CNA) - Archbishop Jorge Urosa of Valencia, Venezuela, told Catholics this past weekend they should value their faith and consider themselves “privileged” for having a life of hope.

“We should feel proud of being Catholics, of the wonders of joy of our Catholic identity.  We are privileged to have so many gifts that the Lord constantly bestows on us,” the Archbishop said during the celebration of Corpus Christi.

“We live almost oblivious to these things.  We don’t give them much importance and we just take for granted that we are Catholics, that we have been baptized, that Jesus is in the tabernacle waiting always for us to comfort us, to encourage us to live a holy life,” he said.

The Archbishop added, “There are many people who think their lives are without hope.  How wonderful that we have faith in Christ our Lord!  It is a gift from God that we should be grateful for and value and say: I am Catholic and proud of it.  I value Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.”

During the Mass celebrated in the Church of Saint Anthony, Archbishop Urosa reflected on the importance of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and called St. Anthony of Padua an “example of commitment to Jesus Christi, of faithfulness to His word.”

The archbishop emphasized that the Eucharist is one of “the most wonderful miracles of the love and power of God.  It is the miracle of Our Lord Himself, the God of heaven and earth, becoming our nourishment so we can continue on our journey in this life until our goal of eternal salvation and to be able to participate forever in the banquet of the Kingdom of God.”

The word of Jesus Christ cannot deceive, but rather is always fulfilled, he added.

“The word of Christ is certain and powerful, therefore when we receive the Eucharist in Holy Communion, we know we are not receiving a wafer. We are receiving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who is the way, the truth and the life, our savior, the light of the world,” he said.

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Mankind and society have a need for God, Archbishop tells Bolivians

La Paz, Bolivia, Jun 15, 2004 (CNA) - During the celebration of Corpus Christi in Bolivia, Archbishop Edmundo Abastoflor of La Paz told President Carlos Mesa, local leaders and the faithful gathered together for the ceremony that systems which ignore God fail to provide for the well being of mankind.

Presiding at the Eucharist in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, Archbishop Abastoflor recalled that “bread also comes from God, for He has placed in the earth all that is necessary for the nourishment and development of humanity.”

Nevertheless, he added, “the problems of production and of an equitable distribution of goods are just as complex as human nature, and no system can solve them until we learn to listen to the word of God.”

In his homily, the Archbishop recommended reviewing systems in order to achieve a more just society.  “Systems come from us but they need to be confronted, scanned, we would say today, by the word of God.  Those who listen He will teach to build a world of justice, peace and shared bread,” he said.

 According to Archbishop Abastoflor, “for this is what we pray to God for our Bolivia on this feast of Corpus Christi, for her leaders and for all her citizens.  May Christ who today makes Himself present here help us to build a Bolivia with justice, with peace and with shared bread.”

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