, Oct 26, 2004 (CNA) - The English translation of Pope John Paul II’s latest book, entitled "Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way," has hit the bookstores. The much awaited translation comes two months after it’s original publication in Italian as “Alzatevi, andiamo!” and is also available as an audiobook and in a large-print edition.
The book is filled with Pope John Paul II's personal recollections of his life and his thoughts on issues facing the world now. It covers the period from 1958, when he was called from a canoeing trip to be told he was named a bishop of Krakow, to his election as the first Polish Pope in 1978.
"Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way," has also been described a call to action. In it, the Pope discusses the strength of mercy, the importance of harmony between faith, reason and the heart, and the necessity of encouraging children to pray. He also discusses the priestly celibacy and his passion for theatre.
San Francisco, Calif., Oct 26, 2004 (CNA) - The Christian Legal Society chapter at the University of California, Hastings College of Law, filed a lawsuit Oct. 22 against school officials, reported the Christian Wire Service.
The student group says it was denied official recognition by the university because it would not agree to accept members and officers, who openly oppose their Christian beliefs.
The university claims the chapter’s leadership and membership criteria violate the school's Policy on Nondiscrimination. But the Christian Legal Society claims that the university is violating the First Amendment rights.
The student group asked school officials in early September to exempt it and other religious student organizations from the religion and sexual orientation portions of the policy.
School officials denied the chapter's request, stating “to be one of our student-recognized organizations, the CLS chapter must open its membership to all students irrespective of their religious beliefs or sexual orientation.” The school then stripped the student group of its yearly funding.
“It is outrageous that the University of California, which was at the epicenter of the struggle for campus free speech in the 1960s, should now refuse to recognize a student group's fundamental right to choose to associate with those who share their beliefs,” stated Steven H. Aden, chief litigation counsel for the Center for Law & Religious Freedom.
The lawsuit was filed by the Christian Legal Society's Center for Law & Religious Freedom, the Alliance Defense Fund, and allied attorneys Timothy Smith and Stephen Burlingham in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of the plaintiffs.
The Christian Legal Society, founded in 1961, is the national membership organization of Christian attorneys, judges, law professors and law students, as well as supportive laypeople in all 50 states and in more than 1,100 cities.
Madrid, Spain, Oct 26, 2004 (CNA) - The spokeswoman for the Association of Abortion Victims (AAV) in Spain, Victoria Uroz, denounced the Red Cross this week for promoting the propaganda material of the Schering Laboratory, which manufactures the morning after pill, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which receives funding from abortion clinics in Spain and from Schering.
In an article published by Noticias.com, Uroz said that despite the fact that the humanitarian agency recognizes that knowledge about contraceptive methods does not protect against unwanted pregnancies, nevertheless the Junior Red Cross “has provided financing since last November for a bus and for a website that offers totally biased information about sex. It aims to enlighten young people about sexuality with the supposed objective of alleviating the increase in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.”
Uroz said, “The economic interests of the campaign promoted by the Red Cross are clear: it seeks to advertise for IPPF clinics and offer conferences on how to use condoms, the birth control pill and the morning after pill.” Chastity and the responsible use of one’s sexuality are completely excluded, she added.
The campaign’s website shows graphic sexual images and gives detailed information on sex in a way that is completely biased against traditional values, Uroz said. She urged people to withhold their donations to the Red Cross because of the “safe-sex” campaign.
Mexico City, Mexico, Oct 26, 2004 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, warned this week that if the current political confrontations are not put to an end, the country should expect more violent acts to take place, as occurred in recent days when the President’s motorcade was attacked and the Congressional building was occupied.
“We run the risk that Mexico will suffer because all of this confrontation prevents the country from moving forward. Many who might have invested in Mexico look elsewhere and even tourism declines,” he told reporters after celebrating Mass at the Archdiocesan Cathedral.
He also emphasized that everyone has freedom of expression and assembly but that property and institutions should not be harmed.
“What cannot happen is for people to show disrespect for our institutions, because the country is then at risk. Today the Judicial Branch is discredited, tomorrow the Congress building is occupied, and the next day the President’s motorcade is attacked. Mexico cannot continue like this because it just leads to more violence,” he stated.
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct 26, 2004 (CNA) - Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez of San Juan, Puerto Rico, issued a Pastoral Letter on the Family this past weekend in which he reaffirmed the need to protect the concept of marriage as a union between man and woman.
In the letter entitled, “The Family: Bright and Unalterable Gift of the Love of God,” the Archbishop underscored that “with the new tendencies in all of the countries of the world, the institution of the family has suffered immense attacks, beginning with religious indifferentism, followed by abortion, euthanasia, violence, the abandoning of the elderly, crime, the use of drugs and alcohol, etc.”
“One of the tendencies has been the desire to redefine both the family and marriage. The Church throughout the world has emphasized the need to defend, promote and strengthen the family according to the Creator’s design,” he warned.
Archbishop Gonzalez recalled that “the family is an inalterable gift of the love of God” to the human being, “so that for the first time he might experience love, which is a reflection of His own divine love, through the love of his parents, which at the same time is a gift which is offered mutually and freely.”
“We cannot alter or mess with the order of creation because creation follows its own logic, it is not the result of mere chance but rather of the decision by the Creator to establish the family, built upon the union of one man and one woman,” he added.
The Archbishop defended the rights of parents to educate their children about sexuality and he warned that in making changes to civil law one must remember that the law creates a perception of what is moral in society by approving certain activities as licit.
“He also exhorted the media to “keep in mind its effects on the institution of the family and marriage.”
Paris, France, Oct 26, 2004 (CNA) - An ad campaign intended to stem anti-Semitism in France got pulled at the last minute after its blatant disrespect for Catholicism caused a wave of negative reactions.
The Union of Jewish Students of France issued a statement Sunday that it plans to “modify” its publicity campaign, which featured an image of Jesus and the Virgin Mary with the slur “Dirty Jew” scrawled across it to mimic graffiti.
Not only Christians, but numerous different social groups and individuals reacted in opposition to the ad after newspapers ran articles previewing the ads last week. The ads were scheduled for publication this week.
Faced with the reactions to this campaign, the Jewish group “decided to modify the visuals,” the group said in a statement. The group organized the campaign, it said, in the face of a rising tide of anti-Semitism in France and Europe.
The group’s president, Yonathan Arfi, said the group meant no harm and thought these advertisements were “good” and “strong.”
, Oct 26, 2004 (CNA) - The President of the Colombian Bishops Conference, Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Saenz, denounced a Danish non-governmental organization this week for making a donation of $8,500 to the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Cardinal Saenz, Archbishop of Bogota, said the donation made by the organization “Rebellion,” based in Denmark, was especially serious because “it breaks the principle of international solidarity in the rejection of all types of violence.”
Cardinal Rubiano added, “It is absurd that these international organizations make themselves the spokesman of a reality which they really are not living.” He also expressed dismay that this Danish association did not know that the FARC is a terrorist organization.
Vatican City, Oct 26, 2004 (CNA) - The first International Meeting on Pastoral Care for Street Children was inaugurated yesterday in the Vatican by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and brought together participants from various continents to reflect on the plight of street children around the world.
The objective of the two-day meeting, which ended today, was to find a general pastoral answer to the problems faced by street children and, according to Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao – president of the council - “to give visibility to all the private and institutional efforts, associations and non-governmental organizations, to the volunteers and groups committed to helping each and every marginalized child."
Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, council secretary, noted that there are 100,000,000 children, according to Amnesty International and 150,000,000 children, according to the World Labor Organization, who live on the street in cities in the southern hemisphere.
He said that the children - 45 million in Latin America, 10 million in Africa and 40 million in Asia - "are victims of family break-ups, of sprawling urbanization, migration and the numerous wars of our times."
Archbishop Marchetto said that "street children arrive in the arms of this 'step mother,' the street, with the momentary illusion of finding an 'island' of salvation which does not exist, in the hopes of finding freedom and strong emotions, with the use of alcohol, drugs, and crime."
He noted that it is important to understand the reasons why children end up on the streets in the hope of finding a solution to their problems. He pointed to "destabilizing family elements (death, divorce, second marriages, conflicts, tension) and the factors of the disintegration of street children with the family."
Archbishop Marchetto also pointed to the embracing of a child or groups of children in an educative, formative and social dimension as a possible response, and emphasized the need to break down barriers between children and their parents, in order that they can live at home and pursue their education.
Vatican City, Oct 26, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II received 800 fellow Poles from the newly instituted diocese of Bydgoszcz in Poland, this morning who, noted the Pope, were in Rome "to thank God for the foundation of your diocese and, at the same time, to express the bond that links every local Church with the Holy See and the Successor of Peter."
“I am happy that instituting the new diocese has been received with joy and that you are working in every way so that all the necessary structures for its good functioning will be established,” he said to the pilgrims in the Paul VI Hall.
“I hope that your efforts and the close collaboration of priests, religious communities and all the faithful with the bishop will bear abundant fruit. Together, commit yourselves for the spiritual development of everyone and seek especially to take care of those who need the Church's help."
The Holy Father blessed the pilgrims and asked them to "bring this blessing to your homes and other milieux. May it also embrace young people, children, and above all those who suffer," he said.
Abuja, Nigeria, Oct 26, 2004 (CNA) - Knights of Columbus CEO Carl A. Anderson, consultor to the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace who were meeting in Rome this week, said in a news conference that the compendium of the Church’s social teachings comes at a time in which the “world confronts very serious concerns,” including the implications of the result of the presidential election.
The theme of the council’s meeting is "The Pastoral Action of the Church in the Social Sphere from 'Gaudium et Spes' to Today: Problems and Perspectives."
"Seven years ago, the Synod for America delved deeply into a broad range of social justice concerns in the western hemisphere,” said Anderson at the news conference. “It fostered new relationships and new partnerships among church leaders throughout North and South America, and a much greater appreciation for the importance of the Church's teaching on matters of social justice in the Americas.”
The recent release of the compendium of the Church’s social teachings, requested by the synod, "is especially timely, as the world confronts very serious concerns regarding peace and social justice in the Mideast, the march toward European unity and the need to acknowledge and embrace the continent's deep roots in Christianity, and the implications of the outcome of next week's election in the United States,” he said.
Anderson underscored the importance of bearing "in mind the responsibility of each person in the renewal of modern culture and society, and the role in this effort that his Holiness has assigned to lay Catholic organizations like ours. The Knights of Columbus enthusiastically embraces the goals of peace and justice, and the opportunity to serve our church and all mankind in this crucial work.,” he said.
Washington D.C., Oct 26, 2004 (CNA) - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) launched a nationwide two-week ad campaign on stem-cell research today.
The ads, aimed at explaining the distinction between embryonic stem-cell research and adult stem-cell research, will appear in the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Times, the National Catholic Reporter and diocesan publications.
The campaign message is that science does not have to kill in order to cure.
Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., director of Planning and Information for the USCCB's Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, explains that embryonic stem-cell research requires the destruction of human life at the embryonic stage.
"Adult stem-cell research is already helping people with many diseases, including heart disease, spinal cord injury, even Parkinson's disease," she said, unlike embryonic stem-cell research that “comes with a hefty price tag: the deliberate destruction of human life.”
The USCCB had also put out an an informational flyer, "Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning: Questions and Answers."