Vatican City, Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - Msgr. Francesco Follo, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on the occasion of the 170th session of UNESCO's Executive Council, stressed that a basic philosophical reflection on respect for the human person must guide deliberation on ethical questions.
"If UNESCO wishes to be able to promote the universality and efficacy of ethical norms as stipulated in the document on the ethics of the economy, it must dare to engage in a more basic reflection on the universal need to respect the human being," said Msgr. Follo in his speech given in Paris on Friday, October 8.
He said that "reducing moral problems to purely ethical-technical questions and forgetting the question of the universality of the proposed norms," is a “weak point” in UNESCO’s deliberation.
Msgr. Follo listed the following three reasons for introducing philosophical reflection into ethics:
"Philosophy as a discussion on reality and meaning is the mediating agent of the dialogue that can take place between science and ethics";
Philosophical reflection is a means of "debating the validity and universality of norms";
Philosophical reflection "on the totality of the field of experience must help in articulating ethics of the cultural and religious patrimony of different human communities."
Washington D.C., Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - The president of Catholic University said yesterday that he will allow students to form a chapter of the NAACP on campus under the condition that they do not advocate issues that counter the teachings of the Catholic Church, reported The Associated Press.
Twenty students met last week with CU president Fr. David M. O'Connell and persuaded him to ask the student life staff to revisit the issue.
"We said all along we would be willing to revisit this issue when the students came back in the fall," said university spokesman Victor Nakas.
The university had denied an application to form the student chapter in April on grounds that other campus groups already met the needs of minority students. Administrators also opposed the national NAACP's promotion of abortion rights.
Law student William Jawando had filed the original application to form an NAACP chapter at the university.
He told the AP that the students want to talk about education, health care, voter registration and activism. Jawando assured CU authorities that the new chapter will refrain from advocating any issue in conflict with Catholic teachings.
Kweisi Mfume, president of the NAACP, told the AP his organization has no official position on abortion and that university officials misinterpreted the group’s support of a women's rights march last spring.
Washington D.C., Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - The United States Supreme Court announced yesterday that it would review previous court decisions from Kentucky and Texas over public displays of the Ten Commandments.
Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who had opposed the removal of a Ten Commandments monument in Alabama, told The Associated Press that he's glad the U.S. Supreme Court decided to review the two cases. But Moore said they don't get at the core issue, which is the acknowledgment of God.
Moore predicted the Supreme Court would uphold the Texas display because it was "secularized" from the beginning by nearby historical artifacts, but will reject the Kentucky display because other documents weren't put around it until it was challenged in court.
Moore's monument in Alabama, which courts ordered he remove, was displayed alone in the rotunda of the state judicial building.
"The difference between those cases and my case is the acknowledgment of a sovereign God. It's that simple," Moore said at a news conference.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Moore's appeals of the removal of the monument and of his ouster from office for ignoring the court’s order.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins also welcomed the news of the Supreme Court hearing.
“Publicly displaying of the Ten Commandments recognizes the significant historical contribution made to America and the foundation the Ten Commandments have served to our legal system,” he said in a statement.
"It is naive and incorrect to deny that religion has had a significant historical role in defining the character of our nation,” he added.
Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - The largest pro-life organization in the United States honored Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera today with the Guardian of Truth Award “for his unwavering support to protect human life.”
The American Life League conferred the award to the cardinal at a press conference, where it also unveiled a full-page local newspaper ad, honoring the cardinal and all the Mexican bishops for their firm defense of innocent unborn children.
The award was conferred within the framework of the 48th International Eucharistic Congress, taking place in Guadalajara this week.
"The Mexican bishops, under the leadership of Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera, have been very strong in their support to protect human life," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League. "These honorable men truly serve as an example to bishops and Church laity around the world."
Madrid, Spain, Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - Workers from the private clinic Ginemedex in Barcelona, Spain, acknowledged this week that the facility carries out illegal abortions, including those beyond 24 weeks, for alleged “urgent” health reasons. According to sources, 1,120 late-term abortions are carried out each year on British women.
The findings were reported by two journalists of The Sunday Telegraph, which published a detailed report on abortions at the Barcelona clinic.
According to the Spanish daily ABC, “80% of Ginemedex’s clients come from the United Kingdom, where the law permits abortion up to the 24th week.”
“Some 1,120 late-term abortions are carried out annually at Ginemedex. Probably in most cases the fetus and the mother are in perfect condition, with no physical or mental risks, since otherwise an abortion could be obtained in the United Kingdom legally and cheaper,” said the newspaper.
“If you have a normal pregnancy and you wish to abort, what we put on paper is that there was a gynecological urgency,” a clinic worker told the British journalists, adding that this way the clinic takes advantage of a loop-hole in Spanish law.
London, England, Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - The BPAS “openly recommends those who are at the 24 week limit or beyond to go to the Barcelona clinic if they wish to obtain an abortion, providing the phone number of the clinic without mentioning that the procedure is also illegal in Spain.”
British Health Minister John Reid has announced that an investigation has been launched, because a state-funded institution cannot perform abortions beyond what is specified in British law “nor can it break the law in another European country.”
After being advised by the BPAS to contact the Ginemedex clinic, one of the British reporters, Charlotte Edwards, who is 24 weeks pregnant, called the Barcelona clinic to confirm whether or not she could obtain an abortion. “Edwards recorded the telephone conversations in which personnel from the Ginemedex clinic repeatedly assured here that it provides abortion and falsifies documents, citing ‘gynecological emergency’ as a justification.”
Weeks later, Edwards, together with another reporter, traveled to Barcelona during the 26th week of her pregnancy. Doctor Tanda recognized her and arranged everything for an abortion. “During the visit, one of the nurses told the supposed client that the clinic performs abortions as well on women even after the 30th week, killing the fetus with a lethal injection. After obtaining all this information, the two reporters disappeared and returned to London,” ABC reported.
Brussels, Belgium, Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - Incoming European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso reasserted his confidence in his entire team of designated commissioners on Tuesday after the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee rejected Italy’s Rocco Buttiglione, Italian Catholic politician and friend of Pope John Paul II.
“Mr. Barroso maintains his confidence in the whole team, which of course includes Mr. Buttiglione,” Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, a spokeswoman for Barroso’s team said at a news conference.
The committee narrowly rejected the designation of Mr. Buttiglione as justice and security commissioner on account of his Catholic views on homosexuality and marriage, which outraged liberal deputies at a hearing last week, as well as his affirmation that he would not support any legislative proposal contrary to his moral views.
Many lawmakers have said that his views make him unsuitable to be put in charge of legislative proposals to combat discrimination on grounds of gender and sexual orientation.
However, the European Parliament doesn’t have the power to veto individual commissioners; they must accept or reject the entire executive. A vote of confidence will be taken on Mr. Barroso’s entire team on October 27 and the team will take office on November 1.
The conservative European People’s Party leader Hans-Gert Poettering voiced his support for Buttiglione and implicitly warned liberal and left wing nominees not to block him. The European People’s Party is the largest block in the European Parliament.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - The Argentinean Foundation for Woman (AFW) has released a statement it sent to the Buenos Aires legislature regarding a bill entitled, “Integral Sexual Education,” pointing out that “it is myth that sexual education is not taught in our country.”
According to the AFW, “sexual education” such as that proposed by the bill already exists, because a previous law entitled “Responsible Procreation” “has had as a consequence the increase in the rate of adolescent pregnancies.”
“And informally, the media bombards young people with explicit and stimulating information, which appears to have been compiled by the large contraceptive companies in order to push their products,” the statement reads.
“As parents and citizens,” says the AFW, “we demand the just application of the principle of subsidiarity, by which higher entities help lower entities without interfering in their internal affairs and without undermining their competence.”
“Schools should respect the rights of parents as the first educators of their children, the government should respect all institutions beginning with the family, and analogously the UN committees should respect the sovereignty and free determination of countries and not impose programs or policies on their internal affairs,” the statement adds.
The AFW also called the government’s attitude of “tearing its garments” in response to the increase in adolescent pregnancies “incongruent,” “since the government itself is complicit in not controlling the media, which exposes children to unabashed and unrestrained eroticism.”
“As an example,” cites the AFW, “we can point to the Health minister himself who invites and encourages sexual promiscuity by distributing condoms at parks on Student’s Day.”
“So-called ‘sexual education’ is the beginning of a vicious circle,” the group says. “It talks about ‘safe sex’ while handing out condoms. In this way sexual contact among adolescents increases—sex as a sport—and therefore, the very ones who lack maturity become enveloped in a trap, ‘un-wanted’ pregnancies increase, resulting in abortions, adolescents who abort die, and at the same time people are told that it is because of ‘illegality’ that mothers are dying, thus arriving at the proposed objective: the decriminalization of abortion as a ‘prophylactic’ measure against a ‘health emergency’.”
“It is not right to mortgage away the normal development of children for the advancement of the political agenda of a minority,’ concludes the statement.
Paris, France, Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - For the last three years, the morning-after pill has been distributed to French women without a prescription and to minors for free. The French magazine La Vie (Life) broke the news.
Since March 2001, nurses in colleges and high schools have given the morning-after pill to girls “in distress.” About 800,000 boxes of Norlevo (the morning-after pill) were sold in France last year, about 80,000 of them were distributed to adolescents.
Despite these high numbers, the number of medical abortions performed in France in the same time period has not decreased.
Sao Paulo, Brazil, Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - In an interview with CNA during his recent his visit to Brazil, Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said dialogue with the culture requires first a reaffirmation of one’s own Catholic identity.
The French Cardinal, who is presiding over a series of gatherings at Catholic cultural centers in several Brazilian cities, told CNA that “to dialogue with another means one has to be oneself.” Dialogue is an exchange between two persons; each one has his convictions, and dialogue allows each to understand the convictions of the other, and this is true in all areas of culture.”
“The fundamental reference for our Catholic identity is Jesus Christ who, as Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes states, is the archetype of man,” he added.
“This is the basis upon which we dialogue: that Jesus Christ is the one in whom the fullness of man’s vocation is realized. And, we are members of the Catholic Church, and wherever we are we are always linked to a bishop, who is linked to the Pope, the Successor of Peter.”
Cardinal Poupard underscored the importance of Catholic unity in Latin America, which goes “beyond the economic, ethnic, political and other types of differences.” He pointed out as well that “in facing the problem of globalization we Catholics have an enormous treasure, precisely because we are Catholics; and Catholic means universal, that is, we have 2000 years of experience in globalization.”
As an example, the Cardinal said, “Somebody like me who lives in Rome and works with the Pope as the ‘Minister of Culture,’ lives out this worldwide reality everyday: The Pope who presides over us is Polish, our brother who is responsible for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger, is German; those in charge of the Clergy and the Family are Latin Americans; the one in charge of Divine Worship is African; the one in charge of Education is Polish; and of course, in my dicastery—the Pontifical Council for Culture—my assistant is Mexican, and I have assistants from Brazil, Italy, Romania and Hungary.”
Cardinal Poupard recalled that “the Pope continuously invites us, each day, to evangelize the culture.” “The Gospel is good news, not only for persons but for the culture as well,” he added. “But in order for this news to be well-received it must be received in the language of the culture to which it is directed. And this is the logic of the incarnation. From the beginning all of this has taken place in the life of the Church and of the Christian, who is always an imitator of Christ,” he concluded.
Rome, Italy, Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - Cardinal Jaime Sin, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila and one of the most important figures in the country, was taken to the emergency room of the Cardinal Santos Medical Facility Monday after suffering a heart attack.
According to reports, the 76-year old Cardinal was undergoing dialysis when he suffered a heart attack and was transported to the intensive care unit of the hospital.
Hospital officials said Cardinal Sin was in critical condition and under constant observation.
Father June Sescon, the Cardinal’s spokesman, said the Cardinal’s condition had stabilized but was still worrisome.
Cardinal Sin was forced to retire for health reasons shortly before reaching his 75th birthday despite his great popularity and leadership both in the Church and in the country.
Pope John Paul II named Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales to replace him as Archbishop of Manila.
Denver, Colo., Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - An October 12 New York Times story featuring an interview with Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput that presents the archbishop as saying that Catholics must vote for Bush and against Kerry in this election, has been shown by the original transcripts, released by the Archdiocese of Denver this afternoon, to be misleading.
The New York Times article, penned by David Kirkpatrick, opens by saying that “For Archbishop Charles J. Chaput…there is only one way for a faithful Catholic to vote in this presidential election, for President Bush and against Senator John Kerry.”
“Archbishop Chaput,” writes Kirkpatrick, “said a vote for a candidate like Mr. Kerry who supports abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research would be a sin that must be confessed before receiving Communion.”
However, the original transcript of the interview, recorded by Denver archdiocesan staff, reveal the New York Times report to be heavily truncated and thus slanted to present Archbishop Chaput as a Bush or Republican partisan.
Concerning the statement of confessing after voting for Kerry, Archbishop Chaput said: “The standing is that if you know someone is going to do evil and you participate in that in some way, you are responsible. So it’s not…“if you vote this way, should you go to confession?” The question is, “if you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil?” Now, if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes.”
“There’s a more sophisticated thing here,” he continued, “it’s not so crude. The reason I want to stress that is because it is not like bishops are issuing edicts about who should vote for whom. It’s issuing statements about how a Catholic forms her conscience, or his conscience,” said the Archbishop.
Msgr. Chaput, who has spoken out repeatedly during the last seven years on the foundational issue of abortion for Catholic voters, and the need for Catholics to let their faith influence their positions, made clear that neither he, nor the Church, supports or rejects any particular political party, but has a duty to inform the faithful on Church teaching concerning issues.
“Political parties change their positions, Churches don’t and shouldn’t,” he said. “If the Republican Party would stay with us on these issues, I think there would be sympathy there. If the Democratic Party would be with us on these issues, there would be sympathy there. If they both were, it would be a non-issue in the election perhaps. So, it’s not like we’re with Republicans, it’s that they’re with us.”
“I think if the Republican candidate is pro-life,” added Archbishop Chaput, “he will attract a whole lot of Catholic voters. If a Democrat candidate is pro-life, he’ll attract a whole lot of Catholic voters…It’s not partisan, it’s issue.”
Read the New York Times story at:
Read the full transcript of the original interview at:
Interview PDF Format:
Vatican City, Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II will inaugurate the Year of the Eucharist with the celebration of a Mass t 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 17, at the Altar of the Confession in St. Peter's Basilica.
The Mass will coincide with the end of the International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico and will include a Message from the Holy Father, followed by exposition, adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
Washington D.C., Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - In a letter sent to the Catholic bishops of the United States last week, Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced the beginning of the review process for the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The bishops had adopted the charter – which includes a “one-strike-you’re-out” policy – in June 2002.
At the time of the charter's adoption, the bishops called for it to be reviewed in two years. Those two years are up and bishops have been asked to discuss the revision of the charter in their regions.
Bishops are also asked to hold discussions with their local priests council, the diocesan pastoral council, the diocesan review board, child protection personnel, and educators. The U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse, chaired by Archbishop Flynn, will also consult with the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.
In his letter to the bishops, Archbishop Flynn said the review will be concluded at the U.S. bishops’ June 2005 General Assembly.
The results of discussions called for in the letter are to be returned to the Ad Hoc Committee by Jan. 15.
Vatican City, Oct 13, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II affirmed that human beings are chosen, in the “eternal divine design” to be “holy and blameless people” during today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square, in which he expounded on the opening canticle of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, entitled “God my Savior.”
Through this hymn "the faithful can contemplate and savor this great icon of Christ, heart of spirituality and Christian worship, but also the principle of unity and meaning of the universe and of all of history," said the Pope.
Referring to "the salvific work of the Son," he said this "starts from the eternal divine design that Christ is called to fulfill. In this design shines forth, above all, our being chosen (by God) to be 'holy and blameless people' ... in love. It is therefore, a holiness and a moral, existential and interior purity."
God our Father, "through Christ, destines us to accept the gift of filial dignity, becoming children in the Son and brothers of Jesus. ... Through this path, the Father realizes a radical transformation in us: a complete liberation from evil, 'redemption through the blood' of Christ, the 'remission of sins' through the 'riches of His grace,' said the Holy Father. “
“We are transfigured creatures: our sin has been erased and we fully know the Lord," and this knowledge "introduces us to the 'mystery' of the divine will."
The Pope emphasized in conclusion that this "'mystery' is a transcendent and perfect project; whose content is an admirable salvation plan: 'to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth."