Archive of September 28, 2004

Bishop Gracida explains how and why pro-abortion Catholic politicians must be denied Communion

Corpus Christi, Texas, Sep 28, 2004 (CNA) - In a statement sent to Catholic News Agency, Bishop Rene Gracida, emeritus of Corpus Christi (Texas), explained why there is no excuse to not deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, and describes in detail a case he dealt with during his tenure as Bishop of Corpus Christi.

Bishop Gracida, with reference to the Code of Canon Law, the Scriptures, and the teaching of the Magisterium, clearly and unequivocally presents the Catholic Church’s prohibition against the reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion Catholics.

Since this prohibition is based on divine revelation, writes Bishop Gracida, the Church, and therefore bishops and priests at the Communion rail, have no right to oppose it and have a duty to protect the Sacrament of the Eucharist – Christ Himself – from objective and grave sacrilege.

He staunchly affirms, in a paragraph clearly aimed at certain U.S. bishops and priests, that those “who maintain that they cannot support the refusing of Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians because the time of the distribution of Holy Communion is a time of unity in the Body of Christ are indeed relativizers of the objectively established precepts.”

The bishop charges that they are “guilty of relativizing the objectively based precepts” and thus they “directly relativize Truth Himself!”

The bishop states that “there can be no doubting that most of the major political figures who are on record publicly as favoring abortion-on-demand, euthanasia, cloning or fetal experimentation …qualify for being denied Holy Communion.”

However, he also states that “there is no need for public denial of Holy Communion…it  can be carried out in complete privacy and confidentiality,” without requiring the “worst case scenario” of a loud public confrontation between a pro-abortion politician and the priest distributing communion.

Included in the bishop’s statement is a 1993 case history of his implementation of the Church’s prohibition against a self declared “very good Catholic” politician, a member of the House of Representatives of the Texas Legislature, who’s public support of abortion in an interview with the Corpus-Christi Caller Times – a strongly pro-abortion newspaper -  constituted a public scandal.

Bishop Gracida wrote to the politician as his pastor, since he was domiciled in Corpus Christi, explaining Catholic teaching on the issue, and that no Catholic in good standing may hold views contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church. He invited him to meet with him with an aim to elicit a public retraction.

The politician never responded, nor did he respond to a letter sent six months later by Bishop Gracida after the same politician publicly re-affirmed his pro-abortion stance. In this letter the bishop warned him that if he did not repent, that he would have no choice but to impose an interdiction forbidding the man to receive the sacraments of the Eucharist or the Annointing of the Sick.

Therefore the interdiction was imposed, and, the bishop states, had not been lifted at the time of the man’s death in 2001. If the man had received Communion in the years before his death it would have been a further sacrilege.

To read the full text:

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Muslim terrorists kill nine young Christians in Iraq

Konigstein, Germany, Sep 28, 2004 (CNA) - The International Catholic aid agency Aid to the Church in Need announced on Tuesday that Christians are increasingly becoming the target of terrorist attacks in Iraq.

On Sunday, nine young Christians were murdered in Baghdad as they were returning home from their work at a leisure club.

The information was given to the German organization based in Königstein, near Frankfurt by a “direct contact with Church circles in Baghdad.”

The victims were three brothers of one family and two brothers of a second family, together with four of their friends.  All nine are members of the Chaldean Catholic Church.

Earlier last week a young man from Mosul was kidnapped by terrorists and beheaded. He too was a Chaldean Christian, in his thirties, who ran a small souvenir and gift shop close to the university.

Priests of the Chaldean Catholic Church also frequently receive threats. In one instance the murder threats were so specific that the local bishop was forced to transfer the priest concerned to another town.

Since the official end of the war a year and a half ago, over 80 Christians have been murdered by Islamic terrorists, 20 of them this September alone.

Two of them were beheaded with swords. Their murder was filmed and copied onto CDs, which were then circulated in Mosul.

Churches and priests have also been attacked. Father Sabah Kamura only narrowly escaped an attack with machine guns and hand grenades on  September 10. On the same day the church of St George in Doura, a suburb of Baghdad, was also the target of a bomb attack.

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Responding to evil with good, theme for 2005 World Day of Peace, Vatican announces

Vatican City, Sep 28, 2004 (CNA) - The theme of Pope John Paul II’s Message for the 38th World Day of Peace on January 1, 2005,  made public today, is "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good."

The Pope’s message, according to the statement, "seeks to solicit awareness of evil as the cause and source of conflicts and wars, and at the same time, of the inseparable link between moral good and peace. Peace is, in fact, a good that comes as the fruit of inspired choices for good and oriented toward good."

The message emphasizes "behavior which leads to the exercise of personal and collective responsibility which has the special characteristic of looking for good."

"The will to seek out good and avoid evil must take into account the numerous social and economic problems that weigh on the lives of peoples - inequality, poverty, wide-spread injustice, insecurity - in order to find a solution inspired by justice and solidarity," reads the statement.

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Pope to proclaim 5 new blessed, Gibson's inspiration for "The Passion of the Christ"

Vatican City, Sep 28, 2004 (CNA) - Anne Catherine Emmerick, whose book “Passion of Our Lord” inspired Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” will be beatified along with Servants of God, Pierre Vigne, Joseph-Marie Cassant, Maria Ludovica De Angelis, and Charles of Austria by Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday October 3 at 10am.

Pierre Vigne was a priest and founder of the Congregation of Sisters of the Most Holy Sacrament;

Joseph-Marie Cassant was a priest and  monk of the Reformed Cistercian Order;

Anna Katharina Emmerick was virgin of the order of Regular Canonesses of St. Augustine;

Maria Ludovica De Angelis was a virgin of the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy of Savona;

and Charles of Austria, was Emperor and King of Austria.

The statement announcing their beatification states that "In the life of the five new Blesseds the centrality of the Eucharistic mystery is seen as a source of charity and of the Church's mission. Their witness is an invitation for all the faithful to start the Year of the Eucharist with joy and commitment."

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Indian bishops condemn attacks against Missionaries of Charity

Rome, Italy, Sep 28, 2004 (CNA) - The state of Kerala in southern India was the scene Sunday of a new attack on Catholics.  This time, the victims were sisters from Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, who were beaten while they were serving food to the poor.

According to “The Hindu” newspaper, the nuns were assaulted with rods by Hindu extremists and warned not to enter the local villages.

Four nuns, three brothers and two drivers from the congregation were treated for wounds to the head.  At present police have rounded up 14 Hindus involved in the attacks.

The EFE news agency reported that the attacks took place in Kerala’s Kozhikode district, first when the sisters attempted to distribute food to “untouchables,” and second when the regional superior of the order arrived with seven other nuns to see what had occurred. 

Some fifty individuals, carrying signs in support of extremist Hindu political parties, attacked the sisters and their companions.

Regional police chief Arvind Ranjan said, “These are very serious acts,” and he assured that police are investigating those responsible for the assaults.

Hindu extremists are responsible for a number of attacks and threats against Christians in different regions of India.  They accuse the Missionaries of Charity of converting lower caste Hindus to Christianity.

Some regions have passed laws prohibiting Hindus from converting to other faiths.

Nevertheless, the Missionaries of Charity have denied they are engaging in proselytism.  They tend to “Hindus, Muslims and Christians,” without requiring that anybody convert to Catholicism.

Energetic condemnation

The Fides news agency published the official reaction of the Bishops Conference of India.  “We strongly condemn the attacks against the Missionaries of Charity which took place yesterday in Kerala.  We are very concerned about the worsening of Hindu fundamentalist groups who seek a political role,” said Fr. Babu Joseph Karakombil, spokesman for the Conference.

Fr. Karakombil added, “We have received the solidarity expressed by civil organizations and institutions, and by numerous Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist religious groups.”

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Holy see wants multinational force in Iraq, says Vatican observer

Rome, Italy, Sep 28, 2004 (CNA) - Sandro Magister of the Italian weekly “L’Espresso” is reporting in his column this week that the Holy See is interested in promoting the presence of a multinational force in Iraq in order to support the government of Iyad Allawi.

According to Magister, the signs of this Vatican concern can be seen in various statements issued simultaneously by different Vatican authorities, from an unusual interview granted by Cardinal Angelo Sodano to the Italian daily “La Stampa,” to the editorial of the Catholic Church’s daily “L’Avvenire,” which clearly calls for military support for the Allawi government and the new democracy in Iraq.

“The Pope and the authorities of the Roman Church have not said so in first person,” writes Magister, “but they have clearly indicated such.  They would be very happy with a massive commitment from NATO in Iraq in order to support the Allawi government and defend free elections.”

According to Magister, this idea was favored in an editorial on the front page of Avvenire on September 26

Written by International affairs expert Vittorio Parsi, professor at the Catholic University of Milan, the editorial clearly calls for intervention by the West in order to bolster the Iraqi government.

The same call was also made, says Magister, by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar of Rome and President of the Italian Bishops Conference, in a recent conference on the threat of radical Islam.

Magister’s column includes the Parsi editorial in its entirety, the interview with Cardinal Sodano, and the address by Cardinal Ruini on the “Islamic Threat.”

The complete column is available at:

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Ecumenical center decries Florida court’s decision in Terri Schiavo case

Tallahassee, Fla., Sep 28, 2004 (CNA) - A pro-family, ecumenical organization decries the Florida Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Terri’s Law, “thus paving the way for the medical murder of Terri Schiavo,” says a press release.

The court ruled that Terri’s Law, which allowed Florida Governor Jeb Bush to order the reinsertion of the disabled woman’s feeding tubes, violated the constitutional separation of powers.

“It’s ironic when you consider that the judiciary violates the separation of powers – by usurping legislative authority – on a regular basis,” said Jean Heise, special advisor to The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society.

“That’s what the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court did when it ordered the state’s legislature to establish gay marriage. And that’s what this very court did in 2000, when it told the state to continue doing recounts, despite a 15-day deadline for finalizing the vote, established by the legislature,” she pointed out.

“Society should always give the benefit of the doubt to life,” she said. “And in Terri’s case, there is ample evidence that this is a life worth preserving.”

Terri Schiavo became disabled in 1990 when, under unexplained circumstances, oxygen to her brain was cut off for several minutes. In 2000, her husband won a court case to have her feeding tubes removed. Doctors had testified that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state.

But more than a dozen other medical experts agree with Terri’s parents that their daughter is alert, has a strong will to live and could be rehabilitated with therapy.

“It’s a sad state of affairs when the judiciary – which should be dedicated to vindicating the rights of the innocent – instead becomes the executioner of the most vulnerable among us,” said Heise.

The Howard Center for Family Religion and Society founded the World Congress of Families.

To read the center’s pro-family declaration, go to:

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Argentinean Archbishop says “sex-ed” programs anything but education

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sep 28, 2004 (CNA) - In his weekly television program, “Keys for a Better World,” Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina, denounced “sex-ed” programs that are being proposed for use in schools as “the complete opposite” of what education in chastity and love should be.

According to Archbishop Aguer, the sex-ed programs promoted by international organizations have a “totalitarian aspect, as they ignore the rights of parents, who are always primarily responsible for the education of their children, and this right is preeminent with regards to these matters that are so essential and so important in the formation of one’s personality.”

Health officials in Argentina have planned in 2005 for the distribution of 5 million oral contraceptives, 850,000 injectible contraceptives, 460,000 intrauterine devices, 8 million condoms, as well as other contraceptives.

Archbishop Aguer denounced the current “National Law on Sexual Health and Responsible Procreation,” for requiring schools to provide instructions on these issues.  “I think these figures reveal the focus of these types of projects which tend to propose education on human sexuality and provide tools ‘to cure oneself’, as they say,” he explained.

Archbishop Aguer explained that there are alternative programs which suggest that the State “propose sexual education workshops for parents,” adding that “it is often said that parents are the ones with the right and the duty to educate their children in these matters but that they are not competent.”

“It is essential to respect the rights of parents regarding the philosophical and even spiritual or religious formation which they wish to impress upon their children,” he stated.  The archbishop said that “something very important for young people and for all of society is at risk” and that the only alternative is “that of an integral education that understands sexuality in the context of the whole human person and is truly oriented towards love, the family, and the formation of the emotions, and not only a superficial instruction that broadcasts a false sense of security and leads to promiscuity and early contact, even earlier than that that we must lament in today’s world, with sexual experience.”

Lastly the archbishop said it is the duty of the bishops to preach and catechize “seriously on the 6th Commandment and its implications and on the virtue of chastity.  This is healthier and more dignified than distributing condoms.”

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Cardinal Herranz denounces aggressive “secular fundamentalism” in Spain

Rome, Italy, Sep 28, 2004 (CNA) - The President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Cardinal Julian Herranz, denounced this week the aggressive “secular fundamentalism” that is being imposed in Spain and which “could have very negative repercussions on fundamental sectors of society, such as marriage, the family and young people.”

The Cardinal made his statements as he presided at a Mass in the Roman Basilica of St. Augustine for the repose of the soul of the Archbishop Emeritus of Toledo, Spain, Cardinal Marcelo Gonzalez Martin, who recently passed away.

Cardinal Herranza expressed his concern, “which is shared by many Spaniards and by the Bishops Conference,” at what is happening “in our country both in politics and in public opinion.”

“The democratic concept of the secular state, which is right, is being transformed into something else in Spain: that of secular fundamentalism, and we share the fear that, regarding certain legislative measures currently in progress, this aggressive secularism will have negative repercussions on fundamental sectors and values of society,” the Cardinal said.

He added that the legislative measures are not only against the morals of Catholics and of other religions, but also against natural law and “the secular judicial concept itself of the common good.”

Concluding his homily, the Cardinal prayed to God “that no totalitarianism or secular and anti-religious fundamentalism would prevent the Spanish people from living together in peace and from working together in favor of the authentic progress of freedom—which is inseparable from the truth—in Spanish democracy.”

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Spanish political party issues clarification regarding reference to Christianity in statutes

Madrid, Spain, Sep 28, 2004 (CNA) - Members of Spain’s Popular Party have rejected efforts to strip their statutes of a reference to “Christian humanism” as a philosophical source of the party.

The more than three thousand delegates that will participate in the 15th Popular Party Convention the first weekend of October refused to erase the reference to “Christian humanism” and substitute it with “Traditional Western humanism” in the party statutes, proposed through numerous amendments by Gabriel Elorriaga and Ana Pastor. 

According to the proponents of the revised text, traditional western humanism is a more comprehensive term that incorporates, in addition to Christianity, the values of the Enlightenment, which have provided the foundation for the development of pluralistic democracies.  Likewise, they argued, in other statutes of the Popular Party, led by former president Jose Maria Aznar, the phrase “traditional western humanism” was adopted almost two years ago.

Nevertheless, delegates rejected those arguments and voted to keep the reference to Christianity.

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