Archive of November 5, 2004

Pro-life Democrats urge DNC to change its abortion position

Washington D.C., Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - Democrats For Life of America urged the Democratic National Committee to concede its pro-abortion position today on the heels of one of the worst Election Day performances in recent memory.

Democrats For Life says the election results show the DNC is out of touch with the electorate. It also points to a CBS News poll, which indicates that delegates to the DNC convention were twice as likely as Democratic voters to support abortion in all cases.

"The good news is pro-life Democrats are winning campaigns….because they withstand the pressure of the national party and represent the values of their local communities,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life.

For example, West Virginia elected a Democrat as governor despite the fact that President George W. Bush carried the state, she said.

“When Democrats take a stand and protect the rights of the unborn, we win elections. When Democrats campaign on a pro-abortion platform, they lose," she stated.
Democrats For Life of America is a grassroots organization, founded in 1999. It has 32 state chapters and plans to expand to the rest of the country states by the end of the year.

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Deep spiritual life, based in sacraments, is the soul of apostolate, says Pope

Vatican City, Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II, on receiving participants in the General Chapter of Augustinian Recollects this morning, spoke on the necessity of founding “authentic renovation” and “apostolic initiative” on a “deep spiritual life.”

The Pope expressed the Church's gratitude "for their life witness as consecrated religious and for their apostolic activity carried out in 18 countries and three continents" where they are present.

The Chapter "is a decisive moment for the life of the order," said the Holy Father. It is also "an eminent expression of the unity that must reign among all religious around the one vocation and mission of the Church."

"A deep spiritual life," said the Pope, "so linked to your tradition of observance and contemplation, interior life and tireless search for God, is always the starting point for authentic renovation and the soul of every apostolic initiative."

“Progress in the supernatural life, based on arduous prayer and participation in the sacraments, is a fundamental premise for fruitful apostolic activity,” he said.

The Pope stressed “in particular, the Eucharist, which is the real presence of Christ in the history of man. It is also the 'font and epiphany' of the fraternal communion that must reign in your communities and must be a lively message of peace in a world frequently dominated by rivalry and conflict."

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Cardinal Rigali urges Pres. Bush to continue defense of unborn and of marriage

Philadelphia, Pa., Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - Cardinal Justin Rigali issued a statement following  President Bush’s re-election expressing “prayerful good wishes” for the president and his family, and urging him to “remain steadfast in the defense of traditional family values” and to continue stressing the need to protect the most vulnerable and the unborn.

”My brother bishops and I will strive to work with the President as he deals with the difficult issues facing our nation,” said the Cardinal.  “I commend President Bush for his emphasis on the sacredness of human life demonstrated during his first term and I urge him to continue in his second term to stress the need to protect the most vulnerable among us and all human life.”

”I ask the President to remain steadfast in the defense of traditional family values and in recognition that marriage exists only between one man and one woman,” said Cardinal Maida. 

“It is my hope for the future,” he added, “that the government of the United States will protect the unborn, ensure compassion for the poor and needy, seek justice for the oppressed and work unremittingly for world peace.”

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Ideological attacks on marriage and family, sects, poverty, among challenges for Church in Americas, says Pope

Vatican City, Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II, during a meeting this morning of the ninth post-synodal council of the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops for the Special Assembly for America, listed various challenges that are at the forefront of the Church’s concern in the Americas.

The Pope mentioned "the nefarious actions of sects, the sale and use of drugs; modern ideologies that believe that the concept of the family founded on marriage is outdated; the growing divide between the rich and poor; human rights violations; migration movements and the complex problem of foreign debt," as core problems to be faced by the bishops in the coming years.

The Holy Father also mentioned the "culture of death, which is expressed in many ways, such as the arms race" and "the unleashed violence of guerrilla warfare and international terrorism."

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JPII Cultural Center promotes dialogue between faith and culture, says Pope

Vatican City, Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II welcomed Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit and the trustees of the John Paul II Cultural Center this morning and thanked them for their "support of the Center's work of promoting dialogue between the worlds of faith and culture.”

“It is my hope,” said the Pope to the trustees, in Rome on their annual pilgrimmage, “that the Center will bring the truth of the Gospel and the wisdom of the Church's tradition to bear on the great issues shaping contemporary society. May your pilgrimage to the Eternal City lead all of you to deeper union with the Lord and His Church."

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Pope to preside at Mass for deceased cardinals and bishops

Vatican City, Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II will preside at a Mass on November 11 at 11.30 a.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica for the repose of the souls of the cardinals and bishops who died during the last year.

Cardinal Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, will celebrate Mass along with other cardinals.

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British debate "designer babies," government authorizes more experiments

London, England, Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - The debate on “designer babies” has intensified in the UK after the government authorized a local university to screen embryos in order to “prevent” colon cancer.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the country's fertility watchdog, said it granted a license to University College Hospital in London to screen for familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), a cancer that usually occurs in children in their early teens.

If the test is positive, couples can request that through in vitro fertilization only embryos free of that particular gene.

According to the HFEA, there is a fifty percent possibility parents can pass the gene on to their children.  Nevertheless, this type of cancer does not normally develop until a person is 20 years old and may not even appear until the age of 40.  This means that some embryos that may never develop the disease would be eliminated.

The authorization to screen embryos according to their genetic code has ignited debate on “designer babies” among the British.

Pro-life groups have warned that the HFEA decision will lead to the elimination of human beings that would perhaps never develop the disease.  Likewise they recall that this type of cancer can be prevented by other means such as surgery.
Josephine Quintavaller, of the group "Comment on Reproductive Ethics", warned, “Here we are not talking about curing disease, but about eliminating its carrier:  this is very poor medicine.”  He underscored that this illness “takes 20 years to appear and with the rate at which medicine is advancing it possible that by then a cure will be found.”

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Catholic Charities network ranked third-largest nonprofit in the U.S.

, Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - The Catholic Charities network has been ranked third among the nation's largest nonprofits by The NonProfit Times.

The Catholic Charities network, which includes more than 1,400 local agencies and institutions nationwide, moved up one slot from its fourth position ranking last year. To be included in the "NPT 100," nonprofits must raise at least 10 percent of their total revenue from public sources, such as individual donors and foundations.

The Catholic Charities network also moved closer to the top 10 in The Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual "Philanthropy 400."

The network moved up two slots from 13th in 2002 to the 11th position in 2004. The Chronicle bases its rankings on the amount of private support received by nonprofits.

Catholic Charities agencies provide a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from day care and counseling to food and housing. In 2003, local Catholic Charities agencies provided help for nearly seven million people, regardless of religious backgrounds.

The combined revenue of the Catholic Charities network for 2003 was $2,858,623,665. Nearly 90 percent of these funds were spent on programs and services. The network's expenses, such as programs and services, for 2003 were $2,861,694,876.

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Australia’s Health Minister speaks out on abortion

Sydney, Australia, Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - Australia’s Health Minister Tony Abbott is worried about the number of abortions in the country, and he has called for a public debate in the House despite public opposition from Coalition colleagues for a debate.

"Do we really think 100,000 abortions a year represents Australia's best self? That's the issue I think people need to ponder," he said, according to The Australian.

"I think women's right to choose is a good principle, but is it an unforced choice?” he asked. “Are people being railroaded into this by parents, husbands, boyfriends and the culture of convenience? I think that's a question we will consider."

South Australian senator and Senate whip Jeannie Ferris said Abbott's remarks overlooked what an emotionally traumatic experience abortion is for women.

"It suggests that all of this pain and emotionally traumatic experience is only borne by women and not by men," she said.

Coalition MPs received a letter from party whip Kerry Bartlett Monday urging them not to talk to the media about abortion, but the letter was widely ignored by MPs who have been outspoken on the issue.

Abbott, Nationals leader John Anderson and South Australian Liberal Christopher Pyne have raised concerns about the number and timing of abortions in Australia.

Abbott said no one is proposing changes to the country’s abortion laws at this point. But MPs want the debate, particularly on the issue of late-term abortions. Some in the Coalition are looking at a private member's bill that would restrict late-term abortions. 

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Pro-life group says federal funding for Planned Parenthood should be cut

Washington D.C., Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - Tuesday’s election results show that Planned Parenthood is "simply out of touch with American values" and should stop receiving federal funding, said Jim Sedlak, executive director of American Life League's STOPP International.

The failure of several of Planned Parenthood’s pre-election efforts show clearly that “Americans do not adhere to the value-free, humanistic religion that Planned Parenthood pushes on children, families and communities," he said.

"We call on President Bush and all other elected officials to end the flow taxpayer money to this organization, which currently gets more than $250 million a year," said Sedlak.

Sedlak pointed out that Planned Parenthood officially endorsed and worked for the election of pro-abortion candidate Senator John Kerry, but he was defeated by almost four million votes.

Planned Parenthood also fought against a parental notification amendment in Florida, which would prevent underage girls from obtaining abortions without their parents' knowledge, he said. The amendment passed by a huge margin of 65 percent to 35 percent.

Finally, Planned Parenthood opposed state amendments that define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. However, the amendments were overwhelmingly passed in 11 states, he indicated.

"This election is a complete repudiation of Planned Parenthood's positions and programs," said Sedlak. As a result, he said, federal funding should be cut.

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Archbishop says Christians suffer political and intellectual persecution in Europe

Madrid, Spain, Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - In a pastoral letter issued this week, Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco of Valencia, Spain, said today in Europe there is a strong temptation to promote the political and intellectual persecution of believers.  “Nothing good can come from these attitudes,” he stated.

“Attacking Christianity promotes neither freedom nor the happiness of citizens,” said the Archbishop, adding that “today in Europe, among political leaders there is a strong temptation to promote attitudes that intellectually and politically persecute believers.”

In his letter entitled, “The Purpose of Education,” the Archbishop defended the commitment to education as a commitment “to the freedom and happiness of those we are educating,” and he added that “without this commitment it is impossible to educate.”

Archbishop Garcia-Gasco criticized those states that “take advantage of the common good” rather than “serve the common good.”  Such states try to make people “submit to the particular projects of the government and seek a monopoly on education, as well as making schools and universities uniform and indistinguishable in order to have more control over society.”

Therefore, the Archbishop insisted that “each day it is more urgent that we reclaim the right to education in all of its fullness,” and he argued that “we cannot be content with the State just guaranteeing the resources which make education possible for all, nor even with the requirement that education be of high quality.”

“We are within our rights to demand that education be genuine, that is, in conformity with the dignity of each human being.”

States “should favor freedom in education so that the dignity of the person is not just a mere slogan that is not carried out,” he argued.

The Church “reclaims the right to education, in schools, in social services and in universities because she believes that the human person is only happy when he recognizes with his intelligence and chooses with his freedom his own vocation.”  Human fullness “can never be imposed by force, but rather must always be freely proposed,” the Archbishop concluded.

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John Paul II celebrates feast day with large group of Polish

Vatican City, Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II celebrated his patron saint’s feast day, St. Charles Borromeo, by interrupting his routine work schedule to hold an audience with some 1,000 Polish pilgrims who gathered to send him their greetings.

After meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, the Pope met with his fellow countrymen in the Paul VI Hall.  The Polish pilgrims were from the Diocesis of Gdansk.

The Pope, whose baptismal name is Karol (Charles) Wojtyla, thanked the pilgrims and recalled St. Charles Borromeo as “a diligent bishop” who cared for the poor. The saint’s charity, he said, was based on his love for Christ.

The Pope said St. Charles also celebrated the Mass with great devotion.  “I remember him as we begin this year of the Eucharist, so that he might be an example for all Christians,” he stated.

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Spanish Health Minister seeks to have abortion pill distributed nationwide free of charge

Madrid, Spain, Nov 5, 2004 (CNA) - Spain’s Health Minister, Elena Salgado, is set to propose to all of Spain’s autonomous communities that the morning after pill be distributed nationwide free of charge.

Speaking to reporters of the Spanish newspaper, “La Razon”, sources from the Health Ministry said the intention of the government is for the pill to be distributed throughout the country beginning in 2005, since up to now it is only available in Andalusia, Extremadura, Navarra, Cantabria y Catalonia.

The decision is based on a non-binding proposition which the health committee of the House of Representatives sent to the government last October 6 and which promotes the free distribution of the abortion pill under physician guidance.

According to La Razon, the Health Ministry will make a decision “after a detailed analysis is concluded” on the cost this pill entails in the five regions that currently distribute it.

The newspaper recalled that one of the first objects of the Spanish socialist party upon assuming power “was to promote the necessary conditions” so that the pill would be available in all emergency rooms throughout the country “to lessen the number of abortions.”  However, the report mentioned nothing about the abortifacient nature of the morning after pill. 

La Razon reported that the drug, which is commercialized in Spain under the name of Norlevo, “can produce side-effects” in those who use it, such as intestinal problems, chest pain, changes in the menstrual cycle and even ectopic pregnancy, “which can endanger the life of the mother, if it fails.” 

In March of 2003, family members of 100 British women sued three laboratories that manufacture the pill, alleging they were not warned about the risks and possible side-effects, which led to the deaths of seven women.

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