Archive of October 12, 2004

International Eucharistic Congress opens in Guadalajara, Mexico

Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct 12, 2004 (CNA) - The 48th International Eucharistic Congress, which opened with a solemn Eucharistic liturgy the evening of October 10 in Guadalajara, Mexico, began six days of formal meetings yesterday morning in the presence of Cardinals Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara and Josef Tomko, the Holy Father's legate to this event, and thousands of delegates from around the world. The theme of the congress is: "The Eucharist: Light and Life of the new Millennium."

Each day starts with a plenary session and has a specific theme: on Monday, October 11 the theme was "We want to see your face, Oh Lord!"; Tuesday: "Eucharist, Viaticum on the Journey, Accompanies Our Pilgrimage"; Wednesday: "Eucharist, Mystery of Communion and Mission"; Thursday: "Eucharist, Center of Church Life"; Friday: "Eucharist, Exigency and Model of Sharing"; Saturday: "Eucharist, Fount of Evangelization."

At the start of the congress, special reports were given on the ecclesial importance of the Eucharist on each of the continents. The program features perpetual Eucharistic adoration at designated sites of adoration, recitation of the rosary in various pastoral centers on October 12, and a solemn procession with the Most Holy Sacrament on the streets of Guadalajara and a blessing in Liberation Square in the historical center of the city on October 14.

Today, October 12, there will be a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Zapopan in Guadalajara, starting at 6 a.m. local time and concluding with Mass at 10 a.m.

The Eucharistic Congress will close in Mexico on Sunday, October 17, with Mass at 10 a.m. in  Jalisco Stadium. Simultaneously there will be a television linkup with Rome and St. Peter's Square during which time Pope John Paul II will open the Year of the Eucharist.

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Two intellectuals respond to Notre Dame Dean’s support of Catholics voting for Kerry

, Oct 12, 2004 (CNA) - Prominent Catholic intellectuals Robert P. George and Gerard V. Bradley of Notre Dame University have written a vehement response to an article by Mark W. Roche, a Notre Dame University dean, that appeared in the New York Times yesterday encouraging Catholics to vote for Sen. John Kerry as the best means of fighting abortion.

In their response entitled “Not in Good Conscience,” Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law at Notre Dame and former President of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, argue that considering his positions and voting record on abortion and embryo-destructive research, to support  John Kerry’s bid for the presidency would be to help Kerry perpetuate a great evil.

Roche’s New York Times article, “Voting our conscience, not our religion,” stated that “History will judge our society’s support of abortion in much the same way we view earlier generations’ support of torture and slavery,”  and then argued that Catholics should vote for John Kerry in the upcoming election because his policies on social issues such as health care and the environment will be more effective in bringing down abortion rates than will direct opposition to permissive abortion laws, and that the issues of abortion and embryo-destructive research are not the only life-and-death issues in this election.

Pointing out Kerry’s perfect voting record on pro-abortion and embryo-destructive research legislation, and the fact that neither he nor Bush will abolish the death penalty, George and Bradley point out the logical fallacies in Roche’s argument.

They point out that issues such as the death penalty do not have the “same status or urgency as the Church’s teaching against the direct killing of the innocent, whether in abortion, embryo-destructive research, euthanasia, or the deliberate targeting of civilians in warfare. Nor is the degree of injustice the same or even close to the same.  Nor is the scale of the wrong anything approaching 1.3 million deaths by abortion plus thousands more, if Kerry gets his way, in embryo-destructive research.”

Moreover, they point out, Catholics are not bound to specific policies on health care, environmental protection, agricultural policy, immigration, tax policy, the minimum wage, and a host of other issues; “No Catholic is bound by them in the way that every Catholic is bound to oppose policies that license the injustice of deliberately taking of innocent human life.”

Roche’s argument that during the Clinton years the abortion rate dropped by 11% is also attacked by George and Bradley who point out that it had nothing to do with Clinton, but the fact that the house was controlled by a Republican majority who put forward pro-life initiatives which even then were slmost always vetoed by Clinton and almost all the Democratic members of the House; the rates lowered in spite of the Democratic presidency not because of it.

George and Bradley sum up Roche’s argument as saying that “that the pro-life thing to do is to vote against the pro-life party and in favor of the party that would (1) implicate Catholics and other pro-life citizens in the evil of abortions by paying for them with taxpayer’s money, (2) make sure that every single one of its Supreme Court nominees will support the virtually unlimited abortion license created in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, and (3) create a massive industry in the production and destruction of embryos for purposes of biomedical research.”

They note that Kerry’s position on abortion and embryo-destructive research -  what Roche has equated with slavery and torture in the nineteenth century as the great evil of the day – is worse even  than voting for Abraham Linclon’s democratic opponent Stephen Douglas in 1860 : Douglas “at least supported allowing states who opposed slavery to ban it.  And he did not favor federal funding or subsidization of slavery.  John Kerry takes the opposite view on both questions when it comes to abortion.  When it came to the great evil of his own day, Senator Douglas was merely John Kerry light.

Read the entire response at:

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Pope's Apostolic Letter for the Year of the Eucharist now available in English

Vatican City, Oct 12, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine,  "Stay with us, Lord," on the occasion of the Year of the Eucharist, is now available in English.

Read it at :

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Catholic Church donations boost marriage protection campaign

Lansing, Mich., Oct 12, 2004 (CNA) - The Catholic Church of Michigan has donated about $500,000 to a state campaign to protect marriage, reported The Associated Press.

Financial reports filed with the state Oct. 8 indicate that Citizens for the Protection of Marriage has raised more the $1 million from January to October 2004. All Catholic dioceses in Michigan were counted among the 400 donors to this fund. The state’s bishops also sent letters to all parishes in support of the campaign and asked priests to preach on it.

The campaign supports Michigan's Proposal 2, which would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the state constitution. It would also include a provision stating that public employers do not have to offer typical marriage benefits, such as health care insurance, to the partners of unmarried employees, regardless of the partner's sex.

Same-sex marriage already is banned in Michigan, but campaign supporters want stronger language in the constitution to better prevent judges or lawmakers from changing the law.

Nine other states are also putting the same-sex marriage question to their citizens as a ballot proposal this November.

The main campaign group opposing Proposal 2, the Coalition for a Fair Michigan, has raised about $198,000.

For more information, go to:

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Catholic Familyland to hold conference on family and the Eucharist

Bloomingdale, Ill., Oct 12, 2004 (CNA) - Families across the world are expected to attend the Catholic Familyland Bloomingdale Indiana for the 16th International Totus Tuus Consecrate Them in Truth Family Conference, Oct. 15-17.

The conference will focus on the Eucharist, the family and the media. It is based on the Pope's latest encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, which focuses on the Church and its relationship to the Eucharist.

"We hope to give participants the opportunity to learn how the Eucharist must be the main factor in building up their family, parish and neighborhood," said Jerry Coniker, co-founder of Catholic Familyland.

Events include eucharistic adoration, Divine Mercy chaplet and benediction, sung rosary, music concerts and seminars. Bishop Roger Foys of Covington, Ky., is expected to celebrate mass Oct. 15.

Speakers include Dr. Scott Haun, professor of theology and Scripture. He will give a talk called "Swear to God: The Promise of the Sacraments." Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR, chancellor of the university, will speak on "Eucharistic Amazement", and Jerry Coniker will speak on "Catholic Family Culture and the Eucharist." Kimberly Hahn, author, will discuss "The Eucharist as Life Giving Love." Jeff Cavins, director of programming and production of Starboard Network radio stations, will present "The Home: The Center of Catechesis."

Families will also reflect on the papacy of Pope John Paul II titled "Be Not Afraid Family Hour."

Programs for children will be available, including Saints Under Construction for children, ages 4-9, and Totally Yours for children ages 10-12. A program will be available for children ages 13 and up. Noah's Nursery will provide care for toddlers.

For information and a schedule of the weekend’s events, call 1-800-773-2645.

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Carmelites sell oldest monastery in Canada

Montreal, Canada, Oct 12, 2004 (CNA) - Seeking the peace and quiet needed for their monastic life, the Discalced Carmelites sold their first foundation house in Canada. The 1875 convent, located in Montreal’s trendy and densely populated Plateau Mont-Royal district, no longer suited their monastic ritual, said Carmelite spokesperson Francois Morin.

“There are factories nearby that rent their space to rock bands for practice,” Morin explained. “They wish to relocate in a more rural setting.”

The public-relations specialist declined to give the purchase price, but the municipality evaluated the 176,104-square-foot site at $2.2 million.

The nuns sold their property to a housing company, Groupe Prevel, and have planned to relocate to Lanoraie, about one hour away from Montreal, in the Diocese of Joliette. Morin said the nuns accepted Prevel’s offer because of the company’s reputation for preserving the historic patrimony and architecture of the sites it buys.

Another factor influencing the nuns’ decision to sell the monastery was the state of the 25-foot high stone wall that surrounds the site, which extends one city block. The nuns had already invested a lot of money into it over the years, but the cost of repairing the 130-year-old wall, now estimated at more than the value of the property – between $3 and $4 million – was too exorbitant, said Morin.

Eighteen sisters currently live at the monastery, located on Carmel Avenue. No date has been set for the nuns’ departure and construction of the new monastery is yet to begin.

However, the Carmelites plan to continue supplying Montreal-area parishes with Communion wafers, which they make from biological wheat that is grown on farms in the Lanoraie region.

The sale is another in a series of religious property sales in the Montreal region in recent years. Several orders have sold historic properties to either preserve their monastic way of life or to reflect their shrinking membership.

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Archbishop compares support for homosexual “marriage” with support for Hitler

Madrid, Spain, Oct 12, 2004 (CNA) - Archbishop Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain, said this week a new law that would make homosexual unions equivalent to marriage “goes against nature, family, and a healthy society,” and he underscored that even though the majority might support it, “that doesn’t make it right, just as it wasn’t right to support Hitler.”

According to the Archbishop, the only true marriage is that between one man and one woman, “anything else is not marriage.  We cannot confuse these terms.”

“If I think it is okay for me to steal, who says I can’t, since I am free to do so?  Moreover, the majority is sometimes wrong.  It’s not right just because the majority of the people support it.  The majority supported Hitler, and they were wrong,” said Archbishop Cañizares.

One of the problems facing humanity today, he went on, is that people “do not think about the truth and about the nature of things” and they insist, “Man is free to do whatever he wants.”

By opposing that homosexual unions be made equivalent to marriage, the Church “is not going against anything or anybody.”  “We’re not talking about the will of the majority or the minority, but rather about respecting the truth about things,” he concluded.

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Bishops got tough reaction from Supreme Court of Canada

Ottawa, Canada, Oct 12, 2004 (CNA) - The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops were met with skepticism from Canada’s highest-ranking justices when they presented their brief against same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court of Canada Oct. 7.

The bishops were among the groups to intervene at the Supreme Court in the federal government’s same-sex reference case. The court heard arguments for and against same-sex marriage Oct. 6 to 8, which it is expected to consider before making its nonbinding legal opinion on a draft federal bill to legalize same-sex marriage. The decision is expected in several months.

In his arguments, the lawyer for the Canadian bishops’ conference, William Sammon, said marriage as the union of a man and a woman is “ideal” for society. Justice Jack Major challenged Sammon, saying: “The ideal you speak of becomes more and more idealist, doesn’t it?”

Justice Ian Binnie challenged a brief presented by the Christian group Focus on the Family, which argued that the main purpose of marriage is procreation and the raising of children. Binnie dismissed the argument, saying: “To reduce the whole thing to procreation seems to be an oversimplification.”

The Islamic Society of North America also presented a brief, which stated that same-sex marriage violates the freedom-of-religion guarantees in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But Justice Rosalie Abella, who was appointed to the high court last week, said: “There are many religious institutions who are not in favor of divorce, but we have divorce available. How is it a diminishment of religious freedoms?”

The government of the province of Alberta, the only province to present arguments against same-sex marriage, said same-sex marriage pushes the “natural limits” of marriage and would require a constitutional amendment since the power over marriage bestowed on the federal government at the nation’s founding did not include homosexuals.

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