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Archive of February 2, 2005

Pope thanks faithful for their “fervent prayers”

Vatican City, Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - Today while presiding at a Mass for the annual Day for Consecrated Life, Archbishop Franc Rode, prefect for the Congregation for Consecrated Life, relayed a message from the Pope John Paul II thanking those who have been praying for his health.

The Pope was taken to the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome late Tuesday evening for complications stemming from his recent bout with the flu, where he currently stays.

The Archbishop said to those gathered that, "I bring you the greetings of the Pope, who thanks you for your affection and your fervent prayer." He also conveyed the Pope’s greetings and blessing.

The Holy Father was originally scheduled to celebrate the Mass for the Day for Consecrated Life himself before the flu caused him to temporarily cancel all of his engagements.

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Italian Health Minister optimistic about Pope's recovery

Vatican City, Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - Pope John Paul's health is improving and doctors are optimistic about his recovery, Girolamo Sirchia, Italy's health minister said this afternoon.

Sirchia,  a doctor who visited the Holy Father at Rome's Gemelli hospital said that “the medical bulletin that has been released (by the Vatican) is absolutely truthful." 

The Vatican said earlier the Pope's condition had stabilised after he was rushed to hospital on Tuesday with acute breathing problems.

“We are more optimistic today than yesterday,” Sirchia also told the journalists.

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Pope’s condition improves overnight but will remain in hospital

Vatican City, Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - This morning Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released a statement saying that the condition of John Paul II, who was hospitalized last evening due to flu complications, had improved overnight.

In the statement to journalists this morning, Navarro-Valls said that, "During the night, respiratory assistance therapy was continued which allowed for a stabilization of the clinical picture. Cardio-respiratory and metabolic parameters are currently within normal range.”
 
Thus the diagnosis of an acute laryngeal tracheitis with episodes of laryngeal-spasms, which I communicated last evening, is confirmed.”
 
"During the night the Holy Father rested for several hours”, he said.
 
He continued that the “Holy Father's condition has been monitored by Prof. Rodolfo Proietti, the director of the emergency department."
 
Speaking from the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome, Navarro-Valls noted that Pope John Paul, after resting fairly well during the night, celebrated Mass from his hospital bed at 10:15 this morning with his secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz and even had a light breakfast "and some coffee."

His fever is "very, very slight." He said that last evening's hurried admission to the hospital was "a precautionary measure" given that the 84-year old Pope had difficulty breathing. He told the press that John Paul II was transported to Gemelli by Vatican ambulance at approximately 10:50 p.m.
 
Navarro-Valls, who is also a medical doctor, denied reports that the Pope had lost consciousness, had a CAT scan, or underwent a tracheotomy.
 
The Vatican spokesman said that the content of this morning's statement was coordinated with the Pope's personal physician, Dr. Renato Buzzonetti. He added that no further medical bulletins are expected today.
 
Navarro-Valls left the hospital in late morning, about an hour after the Pope's physician had arrived. The spokesman said, "I am going home, the situation is calm. There is no reason for alarm." He added that "a sign that the Holy Father's situation is not especially worrisome is that his personal doctor arrived" only in mid-morning.  

This is the ninth time the Holy Father has been admitted to a hospital during his pontificate: Two of those occasions - July 1993 and August 1996 - were only for a few hours to undergo a CAT scan.
 
The Pope’s previous visits to the hospital include:
 
1981: May 13, admitted to Gemelli Hospital after being shot in St. Peter's Square, undergoes a six-hour operation.
1981: June 20, Pope is readmitted to Gemelli and undergoes a second surgery on August 5th.
1992: July 15, surgery for benign tumor in colon.
1993: July 2, undergoes CAT scan as a follow-up to 1992 surgery; in Gemelli for several hours in the evening.
1993: November 11, in Gemelli polyclinic following fracture of his right shoulder.
1994: April 29, admitted to Gemelli following a fall the previous evening during which he broke his femur.
1996: August 14, at Regina Apostolorum Clinic in Albano, undergoes a CAT scan.
1996: October 8, undergoes an appendectomy at Gemelli Hospital.

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Vatican source warns against so-called "expert" speculations on Pope's health

Vancouver, Canada, Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - This morning, a Vatican source contacted by CNA warned about confusion that so-called "experts" consulted by the secular media can create regarding the true state of the Pontiff’s condition.

“It would be irresponsible to be overoptimistic about the Holy Father’s health and about the outcome of the current episode,” the Vatican official told CNA, but he also explained that much of the medical commentaries being delivered by the secular press are “inaccurate and merely speculative.”

“Experts from around the world are describing tens of different scenarios and suggesting a variety of possible treatments,” the source said. “But people must remember that the only ones who actually know exactly what is happening with the Pope from a medical standpoint, are his medical team of Professor (Rodolfo) Proietti  (head of the emergency unit at Gemelli Hospital,) and Professor (Renato) Buzzonetti  (the Pope’s personal physician.)”

“There is no one, absolutely no one at the Vatican”, he concluded, “interested in hiding the Pope’s true condition, and the Vatican Press Office has been consistently transparent in informing the public about the Pope’s health.” 

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High School Student Speaks out on abortion debate

Denver, Colo., Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - Michelle Bauman, a 15-year-old sophomore at Bishop Machebeuf High School in Denver recently added her voice to those surrounding a debate over a Boulder parish and its burial of almost 500 aborted babies last month.

Bauman wrote a brief paper for her honors English class in response to an article she read in the Denver Post, which discussed the uproar surrounding the burial, something that has thrust the abortion debate into the public spotlight in the Denver area media.

Sacred Heart of Mary had been burying the cremated remains of babies from the Boulder Abortion Clinic, the first free-standing, legal abortion clinic in the country, quietly for years before the church went public in January. The remains came from a local mortuary who receives them from the abortion clinic.

Bauman’s paper responds to the pro-abortion uproar stemming from the incident and attempts to highlight the clear flaws in the arguments.

She poses the question, “If a fetus is simply a mass of tissue, as abortionists claim, why do abortion clinics give these aborted fetuses to mortuaries?”

Bauman continued, “When a person has their appendix, their tonsils, or a tumor removed from their body, it is either sent to a lab for examination or disposed of according to the guidelines of medical waste…The very fact that these fetuses were even at a mortuary suggests that the fetuses are human people.”

She goes on to point out that Dr. Warren Hern, who runs the Boulder Abortion Clinic cited Sacred Heart’s burial as a “macabre death ritual”, and talks about exploiting a “mother’s tragedy” suggesting that “death” refers to a human person, not a piece of tissue, and the term, “mothers” suggests that the remains were truly babies.

Bauman’s arguments echo much of the pro-life conversation stemming from Boulder recently. A state law maker remarked at the January burial that according to Colorado law, the abortion clinic would have to define the remains as human persons to be able to bring a legal suit against the parish.

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Catholic leaders of Archdiocese of Denver to receive Papal Honors

Denver, Colo., Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - According to the Archdiocese of Denver, Pope John Paul II has recently named six area couples and five individuals as recipients of significant papal honors.

The Pope named five of the Denver couples for induction as dames and knights into the papal knightly Order of St. Gregory the Great, and a sixth as recipients of the Benemerenti Award for exceptional service to the Catholic Church.

The Archdiocese stated that the knightly awards are often “seen as a ‘lifetime achievement’ recognition,” and noted that “these are the first such papal appointments in the Archdiocese of Denver in recent memory.”

The Holy Father named Catholic philanthropists John and Carol Saeman as Knight and Dame Commander of the order of St. Gregory the Great. They join Archdiocesan Chancellor Francis Xavier Maier and his wife Suann Therese, Deacon Clarence and Wanda McDavid, Deacon Alfonso and Frances Sandoval and philanthropists Thomas and Judith Morroni who were each named as knights and dames respectively.

Curtis Martin, president and founder of the FOCUS college ministry and his wife Michaelann were named to receive the Benemerenti Medal, which awards exceptional service to the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver nominated the couples for the award and told the Denver Catholic Register, “Each spouse has served the Church in a distinguished individual way and is fully deserving of the honor on the merits of his or her own witness, but each spouse has also supported the other’s vocation in a manner that offers a heroic model of Christian family and married love.”

In addition, the Pope named five Denver area individuals to receive the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontificate award which recognizes extraordinary service to the Church and the papacy.

Recipients of the Cross Pro Ecclesia it Pontificate include Noreen Begordis, Vincent Cook, Rodney Lenz, Sister M. Timothea Elliot, R.S.M., and Sister Sharon Ford, R.S.M.

Archbishop Chaput will confer the prestigious awards at a February 6th Mass at Denver’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

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Canada introduces same-sex marriage legislation

Ottawa, Canada, Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - Prime Minister Paul Martin’s Liberal government introduced same-sex marriage legislation in the House of Commons yesterday. If passed, as expected, it will make Canada the third country in the world to allow same-sex marriage.

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said he is confident that the bill will be passed quickly. He told CBC Radio yesterday that successive court decisions and debates in Parliament have determined that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right.

The only way the government can override same-sex marriage legislation and the equality rights guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is by invoking the notwithstanding clause, Cotler told the CBC.

Cotler said the government has no intention of invoking the clause to override the Charter.

Martin reaffirmed that the bill will be put to a free vote in Parliament. However, earlier reports state that cabinet is expected to vote according to party lines.

The proposed legislation stipulates that religious groups and organizations can refuse to marry same-sex couples. However, in a CBC report that aired earlier yesterday, Cotler said that when equality rights and religious rights face off, “equality rights always trump religious rights.”

Meanwhile, a Newfoundland city mayor resigned as a marriage commissioner because he does not agree with same-sex marriage.

Mayor Claude Elliott of Gander, Nfld., was officiating at civil weddings. He told the CBC yesterday that he doesn’t think he will be the last marriage commissioner to resign. A Newfoundland provincial court legalized same-sex marriage Dec. 20.

Elliott said most members in his community do not agree with same-sex marriage and respect his decision to resign.


*Correction

CNA made an error in attribution. The statement that “equality rights always trump religious rights” was wrongly attributed to Justice Minister Irwin Cotler. The phrase should have been attributed to Conservative MP Vic Toews, who made the comment in response to the same-sex marriage bill. CNA apologizes for the error.

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Dioceses celebrate ‘beauty of Catholic education’

Pittsburgh, Pa., Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - Catholic schools across the country are celebrating excellence in education this week and promoting the benefits of combined academic and faith formation.

Catholic Schools Week, created more than 30 years ago, also serves as an opportunity for Catholic schools to promote themselves and to reach out to the community.

"The whole idea is to celebrate the beauty of Catholic education," St. Gertrude School Principal John Coury told the Valley News Dispatch last week.

The annual event is organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Catholic Education Association. It began last Friday and will run until the end of this week. This year's theme is "Faith in Every Student."

Most schools begin the activities with a special Mass, and many schools hold open houses, showcasing student projects and offering tours of the school to the community.

Catholic schools in the Greensburg and Pittsburgh dioceses are celebrating with a mix of activities, reported the Valley News Dispatch.

Divine Redeemer School in Ford City, for example, will offer a puppet show that promotes self-esteem, and a special reading event.

Joseph Mauro, principal of Divine Redeemer, told the Dispatch that Catholic Schools Week “helps instill in the kids a pride in the academic education and Gospel values they learn.”

St. Gertrude's activities began last week with a family night on Friday, which included a performance by a local rock band. Other activities include a Lewis and Clark presentation by a local family, and a workshop with the Carnegie Science Center.

"Catholic schools have long been a beacon of light and hope for our families," Fr. Kris D. Stubna, the Pittsburgh Diocese's secretary of education, told the newspaper. "Our schools provide an array of extracurricular opportunities, a disciplined and safe learning environment, a strong program of moral and ethical formation and a highly qualified and dedicated staff."

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Harrisburg bishop’s alma mater raises funds since ordination

, Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Harrisburg returned to his alma mater yesterday to mark Catholic Schools Week and to unveil a sum of $62,000, which the school recently received in donations.

Since Bishop Rhoades’ ordination to the episcopate, Lebanon Catholic High School has received much-needed funding, including one donation for $25,000. Funds collected to date have been earmarked for scholarships and improvements to the curriculum.

A few years ago, all Catholic schools in Lebanon County were consolidated under one roof, due to a lack of funding and declining enrollment. As a result, Lebanon Catholic High School now offers K through Grade 12.

The school has also had difficulty raising money to upgrade the building, but school officials hope this will become a little easier with the bishop’s backing. During his visit, the bishop approved a $2.5 million capital campaign.

Bishop Rhoades led the student body in morning mass and then took a tour of the school.

He is the second Harrisburg bishop to come from Lebanon Catholic. William Cardinal Keeler is the first.

Bishop Rhoades said the school’s recent success in fundraising has filled him with a lot of hope for the future. He said he is committed to making the school work.

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La Quinta Inns orders abortionist to stop using hotel as hospital

Wichita, Kan., Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - La Quinta Inns has ordered late-term abortionist George Tiller to stop using its hotels to provide ongoing medical care to abortion patients undergoing multiple-day procedures at his clinic, reported Operation Rescue.

Due to pressure from pro-life organizations, the corporate head office sent an investigator to Wichita and discovered that Tiller’s nurses were renting rooms at the local La Quinta Inn in order to provide ongoing medical care to abortion patients.

La Quinta Inn representative Teresa Ferguson informed Operation Rescue that Tiller was called by the corporate office and told to immediately stop the practice, which they had determined to be an illegal one.

"Thanks to hundreds of men and women of conscience who called and brought Tiller's association with the La Quinta to the attention of the corporate office, an end has been put to this apparently illegal arrangement," said Operation Rescue president Troy Newman.

Ferguson said Tiller was told he could no longer use the La Quinta name in any of his literature or on his Web site.

The news comes days after one of Tiller's patients died from abortion complications.

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Roman Rota judge says homosexual unions cannot be considered marriages

Rome, Italy, Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - The Dean of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, Polish Cardinal Antoni Stankiewicz, expressed his rejection of homosexual unions and their legalization in some countries, because “they cannot be considered as marriages.”

During the opening ceremony of the new judicial term of the Roman Rota, the cardinal explained that equal treatment of homosexual unions and marriages, “as has been decreed in the legislation of various countries, does not therefore make them valid, despite their eventual legislation.”

Last Saturday, Pope John Paul II warned against the problems of automatically recognizing the nullity of failed Christian marriages and he warned against influences that might induce "the parties to take recourse to forms of falsehood or even corruption" in order to obtain a favorable judgment.

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Cardinal Rivera reiterates that complete happiness is found in Heaven

Mexico City, Mexico, Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - The archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, said this week Christians are called to look for complete happiness, “which begins here and reaches its fullness in the final encounter with God.”

During a homily at Mass at the archdiocesan cathedral, the Cardinal pointed out that few people know what happiness is and how to obtain it.  He said it “cannot be bought” and that many people can’t find meaning in their lives because they base everything on money, pleasure and power, and they even fall into the mistake of seeking after cults and gurus who “promise a path to light and happiness.”

Cardinal Rivera explained that one of the greatest indicators of whether a person understands “the difficult art of knowing how to live,” is a person’s interior happiness.

He recalled that, “Life is full of problems and conflicts.”  Nevertheless, today’s society “teaches us to find happiness in the wrong ways,” which lead us “to live in a miserable fashion.”

Therefore, referring to the Beatitudes, the cardinal said they “invite us to ask ourselves whether or not we have our lives in order” and to get rid of what is wrong in our lives.

“It is a lie that Christians are called to live renouncing and sacrificing themselves for sake of sacrificing, that they should resign themselves to live a life less happy than that of others.”

He said they are called instead to “live with a simpler heart, with an interior purity, without so much desire and anxiety to accumulate” and to be “more attentive to those who suffer,” trusting in God who “loves unconditionally.”

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Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez calls on Dominicans to unite in prayer for nation

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Feb 2, 2005 (CNA) - The archbishop of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, issued a call to the more than 20,000 people gathered in the Olympic Stadium to unite together in “an intense network of prayer” to overcome the problems that are affecting the country.

During the huge gathering, the cardinal also prayed for the Dominican president Leonel Fernandez and his collaborators, for lawmakers and the country’s judges, that they might always be faithful to their vocation.

During the Eucharist which was attended by religious and lay people from the 189 parishes of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo, the cardinal unveiled a new pastoral plan, which proposes facilitating the work of evangelization by bringing the Church together in the pursuit of common goals. 

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