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Archive of October 15, 2004

Bush and Kerry answer why Catholics should vote for them

Washington D.C., Oct 15, 2004 (CNA) - In an exclusive interview with the Catholic Digest, presidential candidate Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush each gave specific reasons they believe Catholics should vote for them.

Each candidate zeroed in on important areas for Catholics. Whereas Bush argued from the standpoint of the culture of life, Kerry based his reasons on the social teachings of the Church. 

Bush said he believed that a review of his record would show that he supports “the same values and policies that have been at the heart of Catholic life in America: protecting life, defending human dignity, promoting policies that support marriages and families, and compassion for a neighbor in need.”

He pointed out that he signed the Partial Birth Abortion Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act Unborn Victims of Violence Act and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. His administration also implemented the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health coverage for prenatal care and delivery to mothers, he underlined. He would continue to support crisis pregnancy centers, adoption incentives, and parental notification laws.

“I am working to build a culture of life because every person, no matter how frail or vulnerable, young or elderly, is a blessing,” he told the Catholic Digest. He said he supports a total ban on euthanasia and human cloning because “human life is not a commodity, and I do not believe that it should be created for the sole purpose of destroying it.”   

Bush said he also supports a constitutional amendment to preserve the sanctity of marriage.

The President observed that “something positive is happening in America.” He has noted that many people in his travels throughout the country have told him that they are praying for him – something that was not very common only four years ago.

Kerry responds

Senator John Kerry took a different tact, underlining the “long and rich history of Catholic social teaching [which] calls us to seek a new kind of politics, one that is focused on moral principles, the needs of the poor and vulnerable and the pursuit of the common good.”

He told the Catholic Digest that as president he would provide leadership that will embrace the common good.

Kerry referred to the war in Iraq and the continuing financial stresses that American middle class families are being placed under, due to declining incomes and cost-of-living increases, especially with regard to education, health care, and energy.

“President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney believe that more wealth for the most fortunate will somehow lead to success for everyone else. We believe that America always does best when all Americans have the opportunity to do well,” he said, adding that a government under his leadership would not raise taxes for the middle class.

Kerry said his plan “is rooted in the values Catholics know well: freedom, family, work; opportunity, equality, responsibility; love of country and faith. It reflects certain unshakable principles: that all Americans deserve an equal chance to rise as high and go as far as their hard work and God-given talents can take them; that America's strength and security depend on our ability to be true to America's values – at home and abroad; that war should be the last resort, not the first, in the use of American power; and that government has a limited but essential role in American life, beginning with the safety of our people.”

Kerry recognized that the things Americans believe “are the values our parents and faith taught us, and the lessons America gave – that freedom is sacred, and opportunity must be shared; that responsibility brings strength, and trust requires truth; that faith is a comfort, and service a blessing.”

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Pope thanks Catholic radios for working to consolidate Europe's Christian identity

Vatican City, Oct 15, 2004 (CNA) - In an audience with members of the European Conference of Christian Radios (ECCR) today Pope John Paul II thanked the "numerous European Radios, from the Atlantic to the Urals" for having worked over the years "to consolidate, among listeners, the awareness of their common Christian roots and to stimulate in them a commitment to serve peace."

By your work, the Holy Father said to the 400 participants who were in Rome to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the conference’s founding, "you have thus given a precious contribution to building Europe on ethical and spiritual foundations, promoting understanding and bringing the people of our continent closer to each other."

“Persevere with generosity in this important mission,” exhorted the Pope. “May your voices, in the variety of your respective programs, continue to give witness to Christ, salvation of the world, and to announce His Gospel of peace to everyone."

The aims of the ECCR are to promote human rights, democracy and a "European conscience" among peoples and to share experiences among Christian radios.

ECCR was founded in Brussels in 1994 by four radio organizations: COPE in Spain, RCF in France, CORALLO in Italy and RR, Radio Renascenca in Portugal and has NGO (Non-governmental organization) status.

It is comprised of 14 members and 2 "friends," including Vatican Radio and Radio Suisse Romande.

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Judge rules mountaintop cross can stay

Rancho Santa Fe, Oct 15, 2004 (CNA) - A ruling by a federal court judge Oct. 12 stopped plans by the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association to remove a 43-foot cross that has stood on the summit of Mt. Soledad for more than 50 years.

The judge ruled that the City of San Diego rightfully owns the contested land atop Mt. Soledad.

The leadership of the memorial association, which is a veterans group, had privately agreed with an ACLU-backed atheist to move the cross 1,000 yards down the hill out of full public view in exchange for a halt to his 15-year-old lawsuit, aimed at tearing down the cross.

San Diego voters will now vote in November on whether to authorize a new sale of the land to a private owner that would have the option of preserving the cross.

The West Coast Regional office of the Thomas More Law Center had filed a brief in federal court on behalf of a former Navy fighter pilot, challenging the attempt by the Memorial Association to remove the cross.

The cross was erected in 1954 and today honors veterans of World War I and II and the Korean War.

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Kerry misleads nation on Catholicism, says Catholic League

, Oct 15, 2004 (CNA) - Catholic League president William Donohue said the remark Senator John Kerry made about abortion during the final debate of the presidential race Oct. 13 is erroneous and misrepresents Catholicism.

When asked about his support for abortion rights Oct. 13, Kerry said: “I believe that I can’t legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith.”

“In making this argument, Kerry erroneously equates the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion with the Church’s dogmatic teachings on such subjects as the Trinity, Incarnation and Immaculate Conception,” Donohue said.

“There is a fundamental difference between a human rights issue like abortion, and the Church’s teachings on the Trinity,” Donohue explained. “Were Catholic bishops to advise Catholic legislators to pass laws demanding that all public school students be instructed in the wisdom of the Trinity, they would be crossing the line between church and state.

“But when the bishops exhort Catholic lawmakers to pass laws aimed at curbing child abuse—whether committed in the womb or after birth—they are exercising their episcopal authority in a responsible way,” he said.

“The same analogy works with other religions,” Donohue pointed out. “It is one thing for a Jewish senator to push for legislation requiring a reading from the Torah before the start of senatorial committees, quite another to promote hate crimes legislation. Similarly, it is one thing for a Muslim congressman to mandate that all Americans adopt the sexual practices that Muslims observe during Ramadan, quite another to push for laws banning racial profiling. 

“So for Senator Kerry to suggest that he cannot make a civil rights argument protecting the unborn—one which has everything to do with biology, not theology—is pure nonsense,” Donohue said. “If Kerry wants to defend abortion-on-demand, he can do so.  But he has no right to position himself as the grand sage who stands up against those bullying bishops.”

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Buttiglione’s defense of Christian principles fuel an EU debate

London, England, Oct 15, 2004 (CNA) - British paper “The Guardian” published yesterday a collection of reactions to the effort of some congressmen of the European Union to block Catholic Italian Minister Rocco Buttiglione from serving as a Commisioner.

Reaction shows  that, after a harsh reaction against his Catholic views on homosexuality and marriage, the table seems to be turning in favor of the Italian intellectual and former Minister of European Affairs, who is also a close friend of Pope John Paul. 

The October 13 editorial of the Wall Street Journal Europe stated: "Judging from the hysterical reaction of the Socialist members of the European parliament, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Torquemada himself has arisen from his grave to usurp the European commission's justice and home affairs portfolio and reinstitute the inquisition. 'Shocking,' was how Josep Borrell, the Socialist president of the parliament described Rocco Buttiglione's statements on homosexuality and marriage.”

"Mr Buttiglione, an Italian philosophy professor, devout Catholic and friend of the Pope, became the first [European] commission appointee ever to be singled out and called unacceptable by a parliamentary committee,” pointed out the editorial.

Noting that the commission president,  José Manuel Barroso, will have a meeting on October 21 before deciding how to respond, the editorial suggests that “he carefully study the committee transcripts. The outrage about Mr Buttiglione's statements speaks volumes about his accusers' own secular extremism but says little that would suggest the philosopher is a Christian fundamentalist or unfit for the job."

Ernesto Galli della Loggia of Italian paper Corriere della Sera, October 13 wrote that "No Catholic, I believe, could ever have said he or she considered homosexuality morally acceptable or was indifferent to it. [So] what else could any Catholic faithful to the teaching of the church have said?”

He explains that the protestations of the European Parliament members “means, in practice, that, with a few exceptions, anyone who adheres to Catholicism or shows it without reticence is no longer suitable to hold a position at the top of the EU [and that] Catholic Christianity is substantially incompatible with the principles on which Europe as an institution is based.”

He writes that "the prevailing middle-class progressive thinking ... instead of political values now proclaims the values of 'rights' that are supposedly ethically superior and that find their new, shining Jerusalem in grey Brussels."

"The assessors ... have discriminated against a person on the basis of his faith and his ideas,” wrote Maurizio Blondet, of another Italian paper, Avvenire, October 13.

“But the wicked delight,” he continues, “and the open sneering that came from certain circles is even more ominous: it is almost as if it was a good joke to deprive a man of his fundamental rights.”

Blondet writes that “the fact that those sneers come from the sector that calls itself 'secular' and 'liberal' throws a dark shadow over the future of freedom in Europe: the principle of non-discrimination ought to be held dear, above all by that sector."

Reaction from Germany shows disappointment with the European Parliament’s handling of the affair. Cornelia Bolesch, of German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 13, wrote: "The European parliament has failed its first practical test” and “have enmeshed themselves in playing undeserving political games.”

“The Christian Democrats want to drop the Hungarian [appointee for energy commissioner], Laszlo Kovacs, if the Socialists do not change their anti-Buttiglione line,” she writes, and predicts the outcome of the melée: “Mr Barroso cannot do anything else. He must keep Mr Buttiglione."

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Catholic pharmacist fights for conscience clause, right to refuse to provide abortion drugs

Calgary, Canada, Oct 15, 2004 (CNA) - Calgary pharmacist Maria Bizecki, who had been fired for refusing to fill prescriptions for the morning-after pill, says Catholics must resist the social engineering aimed at the destruction of human life, reported the Western Catholic Reporter.

"If we are not persistent and don't challenge (pro-abortionists), then we are forced to live by their morals," she told 75 people, attending a fundraising event to support freedom of conscience causes Oct. 12.

Two years ago, Bizecki became the subject of an internal review by the Alberta College of Pharmacists after she refused to dispense the morning-after pill and other products to which she is morally opposed.

Late last year, she reached an agreement with the college and her employer, Co-op Pharmacy, that allows her to decline filling prescriptions designed to cause an abortion. The agreement is a victory of sorts for pro-life pharmacists.

Bizecki, who is active with Concerned Pharmacists for Conscience, has been working to develop a conscience clause for pharmacists since 1996. Pharmacists are not dispensing machines, says Bizecki, but highly trained professionals with ethical and moral accountability.

"If you haven't noticed, there is a big fight that's going on in the world today and that's Christ's fight, not our own fight," Bizecki told the group.

Archbishop Thomas Collins praised Bizecki for her stand and said her actions are an example for the whole Christian community.

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Free copies of Catholic ‘voter’s guide’ made available

Los Angeles, Calif., Oct 15, 2004 (CNA) - A Catholic organization has made their voter’s guide for Catholics available for free on its Web site.

Catholic Answers will provide one free copy of its “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics” to each person who requests it on its Web site, www.catholic.com. Bulk orders are available at a low cost. Readers can also access the document in electronic format.

The book provides clear and concise answers from official Church teaching on five crucial moral issues: abortion; euthanasia; fetal stem-cell research; human cloning and same-sex marriage. It provides readers with complete references to the Church documents cited.

The Web site also includes a video from Patrick Madrid regarding the pro-life vote.

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Congressman says Peruvian Health Minister lied about morning after pill

Lima, Peru, Oct 15, 2004 (CNA) - A Peruvian congressman has accused the country’s Health Minister, Pilar Mazzetti, of violating the Constitution by lying to the country about the abortifacient nature of the morning after pill.

Judith de la Mata, member of the opposition APRA party, said Mazetti has violated the Constitution and has misled the nation.

In a 28-page document addressed to the President of the Congress, De la Mata explains that Mazzetti does not have sufficient basis to disprove the third effect of the drug, which makes it an abortifacient according to Peruvian law.

Mazzetti is also accused of lying in order to implement the so-called emergency oral contraceptive in Peru, thus making a mockery of the country’s laws that prohibit abortion and protect human life from the moment of conception.

De la Mata argues that Mazzetti has intentionally disregarded studies and articles that indicate the presence of the drug’s third effect, as well as statistical analysis that shows that it is not possible that the pill’s only effects are the slowing or inhibiting of ovulation and the thickening of cervical mucus.

Since she became Health Minister, Mazzetti has insisted in all her public appearances that the morning after pill does not prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum, despite the fact that manufactures of the drug acknowledge that it does.

On Thursday, hundreds of Peruvian physicians have  signed a statement opposing it.

The statement recalled that the pill’s abortifacient effect (that of preventing embryo implantation on the walls of the uterus) had been systematically denied by health officials and abortion activists under international pressure.

The statement hinted that local organizations such as INPPARES-IPPF, APPRENDE, Flora Tristán, Manuela Ramos, APROPO, DEMUS, Forosalud, CSRD-Gates Institute and also international organizations such as UNFPA, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, CLADEM, FIGO, CLAE,  and others were involved in pressuring the Peruvian governments health officials.

Pointing to the misleading attitude of Mazzetti, the physicians demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Morning After Pill and ask the Peruvian Ministry of Justice to fulfill its own duty of protecting the constitutional rights of the embryo.

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