Archive of February 24, 2005

Pope resting after tracheotomy surgery

Vatican City, Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - Vatican Press Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls confirmed a short time ago that doctors at Rome’s Gemelli hospital have successfully performed a tracheotomy on Pope John Paul II.

The Vatican indicated that the procedure lasted about 30 minutes and that the Pope is now resting following the surgery and will not be transferred to intensive care.

Gemelli spokeswoman Nicola Cerbino read a statement to the press, saying that the “influenza that lead to the Pope’s hospitalization in the Gemelli Hospital has presented some complications with episodes of respiratory problems.”

“This”, she said, “lead to the decision to perform an elective tracheotomy to facilitate suitable breathing for the patient and to favor the resolution of the laryngeal pathology.”

Cerbino added that the Pope, “properly informed, gave his consent for the intervention.  Surgery began to 8:20pm (Rome time) and finished at 8:50pm.  It had a positive result”, she said. 

She also added that, “The Pope will spend the night in its room.” 

The surgery was performed by Prof. Gaetano Plaudetti, of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and Dr. Angelo Camaioni, from the Hospital S. Giovanni of Rome, with the attendance of Prof. Giovanni Almadori.

The Gemelli’s attending physician, Renato Buzzonetti was also present for the surgery.
The Pope was taken by ambulance to the hospital this morning around 11am due to what the Vatican called a relapse of the flu that hospitalized him for ten days on February 1st.

Faithful across the globe have been offering prayers and petitions for the recovery of the aging Holy Father.

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Pope readmitted to hospital; Vatican cites flu-relapse

Vatican City, Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - The Vatican announced this morning that Pope John Paul II has been readmitted to Gemelli hospital with a relapse of the flu, which sent him to the hospital for ten days on February 1st.

Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls told journalists this morning that, "As of yesterday afternoon, Wednesday February 23, the Holy Father showed signs of a relapse of the flu syndrome which had affected him in preceding weeks. For this reason the Pope was admitted this morning to Gemelli Polyclinic for opportune specialized treatment and for further tests."

The Pope’s return to the hospital comes after yesterday’s Wednesday audience; the Holy Father’s longest public appearance since leaving the Gemelli. He spoke via television to thousands of pilgrims for approximately 25 minutes.

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Cardinal announces five to be canonized

Vatican City, Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, by request of the Pope this morning, presided at the Ordinary Public Consistory for the canonization of five Blesseds in a ceremony held this morning in the Vatican.

The Holy Father wrote to the Cardinal that, "For reasons of prudence, I have been advised to follow (the consistory) from my apartments via an internal television link.”

He then entrusted Cardinal Sodano, “the task of presiding that gathering, and authorize you to proceed, in my name, with the various acts scheduled to take place.”

The Pope asked the Cardinal to announce that, "Following the favorable opinion, already expressed in writing by cardinals from all over the world, and by archbishops and bishops resident in Rome, I intend to set the date of Sunday October 23, 2005, for the canonization of the following five Blesseds.”

Those set for the canonization include, Jozef Bilczewski, bishop; Gaetano Catanoso, priest, founder of the Congregation of the Veronica Sisters of the Holy Face; Zygmunt Gorazdowski, priest, founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph; Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, priest of the Society of Jesus; Felice Da Nicosia (Filippo Giacomo Armoroso), religious of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

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Schiavo case given renewed hope

Clearwater, Fla., Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - A Florida judge yesterday, gave 41-year old brain damaged Terri Schiavo until at least Friday before her husband will be able to remove her feeding tube and effectively end her life.

A court order, sought by Schiavo’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, to delay the tube’s removal was set to expire Tuesday. Florida Judge George Greer however, who has been hearing the case for the last four years ordered an emergency stay until 5pm EST Wednesday.

That date has now been extended to Friday so that Judge Greer can consider new motions from Schiavo’s parents.

A fight has raged between Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband, who maintains that his wife would never have wanted to be kept alive in her current state, and her parents who argue that their daughter never stated anything of the sort and could still be conscious.

Brian Clowes, a representative from Human Life International spoke with CNA this morning. He commented that, “here’s a person who has a possibility of waking up, and if there’s any possibility of that at all, we have a responsibility to keep her alive.”

“Food and water”, he said, “are the absolute least we can do.”

Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, President of Human Life International commented the group adamantly repudiates “the cowardly exercise of raw power and hatred that is incarnate in the campaign of husband Michael Schiavo and his legal team to kill a precious child of God.”

Florida Governor Jeb Bush and other Republican leaders are reportedly seeking ways to intervene in the case without “disrespecting the laws of the State of Florida.”

Bush intervened in 2003 by quickly signing a bill into law, which would keep Schiavo alive. That law was recently overturned by the Supreme Court and deemed unconstitutional.

Many Pro-life supporters are closely watching the case, which could set a deadly president in the so-called “right to die” debate, raging nationwide.

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US Senators buoyed by UN ban on cloning

Washington D.C., Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - United States Senators this week were encouraged by a United Nations declaration, calling on all nations to ban all forms of human cloning. A report in the latest issue of Culture & Cosmos says some insiders see the declaration as a positive step in the effort to pass a total ban on cloning in the United States.

The declaration, passed by the UN's legal committee Feb. 18, calls on member states "to prohibit all forms of human cloning inasmuch as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life."

It came after three years of deadlock between a group of member states that wanted a total ban on cloning and a group that wanted to permit the cloning for research purposes, which would involve the creation and destruction of human embryos. The vote was 71 in favor of a total ban; 35 were opposed; 43 member states abstained.

“I am pleased that a UN committee recently recognized the dignity of human life and recommended that member states enact a comprehensive ban on human cloning,” said Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) according to Culture & Cosmos. He expressed his commitment to continue working toward legislation that will ban human cloning in the U.S., and “protect the sanctity of human life.”

According to Culture & Cosmos, Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) plans to reintroduce legislation to ban cloning in the Senate in the coming weeks. The bill has been approved in the House of Representatives twice and has the support of President Bush but it stalled both times it reached the Senate.

Supporters of the cloning ban plan to cite the declaration as proof that allowing human cloning is really being out of touch with the international community.

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“Memory and Identity”: The Pope proves himself an “exceptional European”

Madrid, Spain, Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - Referring to the new book by Pope John Paul II, “Memory and Identity,” Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco of Madrid said this week the Pontiff proves himself an “exceptional European in his reflections and memories”.

John Paul II is “a first-class European,” the cardinal said, with rich experience that few politicians and top officials of public life “can equal.” 

The book, which was released simultaneously in Italy, Germany and Brazil, closes out a trilogy that began with “Gift and Mystery,” in which the Pope wrote about his 50 years as a priest, and was followed by “Get Up, Let’s Go,” which he wrote to mark the 25th anniversary of his episcopal ordination.

Cardinal Rouco maintained that in the book, which is a summary of philosophical and theological conversations between the Pope and two Polish philosophers, Józef Tischner and Krzysztof Michalski, about the dictatorships that characterized the twentieth century, John Paul II directly addresses a series of issues in same way in which “he has related with the outside world.”

The cardinal pointed out that in “Memory and Identity,” “it’s the Pope” who is reflecting, but it’s also “a Pole,” “a first-class European,” almost unmatched by other “men of culture or politics,” and mainly, “it’s a citizen of the world.”

Although the Pope doesn’t cease to be Bishop of Rome in writing this book, “Memory and Identity” should be considered a “particular work” of John Paul II, said Cardinal Rouco, as opposed to his “magisterial” ones.  According to the cardinal, with these types of publications, the Holy Father has established a “new formula” for “communicating with the Church and with humanity.”

The “New Evangelization” is “the inspiration behind the entire book,” the cardinal added, arguing that in no other document does the Pope “align himself so closely with the Evangelii Nutiandi” of Paul VI.

The book is now in stores, and in addition to the first versions in Italian, German, Portuguese and Spanish, it is expected to be published in 40 different languages.

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Discussions to save Anglican Communion still under way

Newry, Ireland, Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - Efforts to save the worldwide Anglican Communion from schism are still under way as Anglican primates continue with their five-day meeting in Northern Ireland this week.

Thirty-seven senior archbishops and primates, from all continents, gathered Sunday to discuss the future of the Anglican Communion in light of the divisive issue of homosexuality among the clergy.

Several conservative denominations have threatened to leave the communion if liberal churches refuse to repent for their lax views of homosexuality. The Anglican church in the United States, known as the Episcopalian Church, is particularly under attack for having consecrated an openly homosexual clergyman, Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire. Some want the U.S. church thrown out of the communion.

In firm opposition to homosexuality among the clergy is Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, the head of the largest single church in the communion. In many parts of Africa, homosexuality is a criminal offence and members of the church who come are homosexual are persecuted.

Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who heads the communion, is presiding over the five-day meeting. Sympathetic to the plight of homosexuals, he has tried to maintain an impartial position in the debate.

The primates are to discuss adopting the Windsor report, published last October, which recommends the traditionally autonomous provinces of the communion adopt a common covenant of agreed belief and resolve future disputes by referring them to the Archbishop of Canterbury and a panel of advisers.

However, there are fears that if the Archbishop of Canterbury were to arbitrate such disputes, his role would become too politicized. There are also fears that a common disciplinary framework would enable fundamentalist bishops to veto the activities of other churches, considered to be more liberal.

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Bishops urged to take action, uphold Church teaching in Terri Schiavo case

Washington D.C., Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - The American Life League is urging Catholics bishops to take up the fight to save Terri Schiavo’s life. The Florida woman, who has been severely physically and mentally disabled for the last 13 years, is being kept alive by tube feedings.

While she remains in hospital and is unable to speak, she has repeatedly responded to stimuli, such as music and her mother’s voice.

However, her husband, Michael Schiavo, has been fighting Terri’s family in court for the right to remove the feeding tubes and effectively have her starve to death. The courts recently ruled in his favor.

“We implore Catholic bishops — and in particular, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg — to take up Terri's fight in both prayer and action and to uphold Church teaching regarding the dignity of human life,” said Joe Starrs, director of American Life League's Crusade for the Defense of Our Catholic Church.

Citing the Pope’s statements in March 2004, Starrs said: "The Holy Father has made it quite clear that it is our moral obligation to provide food and water to human beings. There is no excuse for the timidity that many in the Catholic hierarchy are displaying in this life-and-death situation."

While a number of U.S. bishops have spoken out strongly in Terri's defense, the response by the Florida Catholic Conference has been minimal.

"The lack of clear, decisive action by Bishop Lynch and far too many of his brother bishops across Florida and across the nation has been more than disappointing," Starrs said in a press release.

"It is shameful that any bishop could find it acceptable to sit by virtually silent while one of the flock is brutally and publicly murdered," said Starrs. "Terri is a human being who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We must not permit a slow, painful death to be imposed on her."

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Holy See praises UN delegations which support ‘distributive justice’

Vatican City, Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - On Tuesday, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the 59th General Assembly on behalf of the Catholic Church.

He spoke to informal consultations regarding the Vatican’s stance on a Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and the Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The archbishop underlined the Holy See's interest in Recommendation No. 7, namely, that official development assistance, or ODA, should be based on actual needs, rather than assigned targets.

Migliore said that, "many experts concur that extreme poverty and hunger derive in great part from the inequality in the distribution of income on the one hand and in conspicuous over-consumption on the other."

He continued, saying that, "My delegation strongly believes that the entire system of solidarity needs to be reshaped; ODA must be increased, not just spent better; and above all, policies to eradicate poverty must continue to concentrate not only on 'what' or 'how', but firstly on 'who'.”

A clear idea of who the poor are, followed by practical, direct, personal assistance to them through people-centered policies must always be borne in mind."

"The Holy See," Archbishop Migliore told the UN, "is pleased to align itself with delegations which support a social policy which includes distributive justice," adding that such policies should "become the basic yardstick for measuring the quality and pace of development."

With regard to the Practical Plan, he said, "emphasis must continue to be placed on investments to empower poor people, especially women, in ways that respect the individual's will and do not lead to unacceptable conditions being placed on the liberty of those to whom assistance is offered.”

“We are convinced”, he said, “that the MDGs ... can only be achieved if poverty eradication policies are aimed squarely at the poor as persons of equal worth; if serious progress is made in good governance and combating corruption; if financial and trade reform is adequately introduced to make markets work in favor of developing countries; if the long-standing 0.7% GNP (gross national product) pledges are truly honored in justice and solidarity; and if debt is cancelled in all the applicable cases."

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Augustine Institute to open in Denver

Denver, Colo., Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - For years, Tim Gray has been dreaming of a theological institute in Denver that would blend solid theology with practical evangelization tools. Next fall, that dream will become reality as the Augustine Institute opens its doors for lay people seeking to spread the Gospel more effectively.

The Augustine Institute, which will make its home in the Archdiocese of Denver, offers accredited Master’s degrees in Evangelization, Catechesis and Sacred Scripture.

“I’m thrilled that this dream is becoming reality”, commented Gray. “The school is a marriage of practical skills and great theology.”

Those slated for the school’s faculty include noted theologians, Dr. Joe Burns, Sean Innerst, Curtis Martin, and Augustine Institute’s president Jonathan Reyes.

“I think we have a top-notch faculty”, noted Gray, “I’m honored to be working with them.”

Archbishop Charles Chaput has said that he believes the Institute “will some day draw young people from all over the world and train them to take the New Evangelization back to their homes, parishes, schools and communities.”

Even though word is just beginning to spread about the institute, Gray commented that the “initial feedback has been fantastic” and that, applications have been steadily flowing in.

“I think we’ll end up with more applicants than we can take”, he said.

The structure of the Augustine Institute is based on three major components; intellectual formation, character formation and practical training. The school says that this structure will “form Catholic leaders who embody in their lives what they know in their intellects.”

More information about the Augustine Institute can be found at, or by calling 303-715-3279.

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Catholic population dispersed by Bosnia-Herzegovina conflict

Rome, Italy, Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - The Franciscan Superior of the Province of Bosna Srebrena, Father Mijo Dzolan, warned that the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina has led to the dispertion of the population in general, and the Catholic population in particular.  “Before the conflict there were around one million Catholics. Now there are only 500,000,” he said.

During his visit to Aid the Church in Need, Father Dzolan pointed out that Catholics in his country are not satisfied with the Dayton Accords, which divided Bosnia-Herzegovina into the Republic of Serbia and the Croat-Musilim Federation.

“They feel unsafe.  Many of them want to go to Croatia or other European countries where the have family,” he explained.

“The radicalization of politics and religion on all fronts is one of the most troublesome consequences of this war,” the Franscican priest said.

Regarding the growing Islamic influence in the region, Father Dzolan said there are increasingly less Muslims looking toward the good of Europe.  “In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Arab countries are having great influence, mostly due to their economic investments,” he noted.


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Colorado couple teaching young children to fall in love with prayer

Boulder, Colo., Feb 24, 2005 (CNA) - It’s teaching three-year olds to pray the rosary. Two-year olds are surprising their parents by reciting the sign of the cross in Spanish. Parents nationwide are singing the praises of a new tool for teaching prayer to the very young.

Holy Baby! Seven Prayers in Seven Languages is a DVD created by Boulder, Colorado couple Wayne and Dede Laugesen, two journalists and parents who have decided to devote their time to producing what prominent Catholic author Jeff Cavins calls “a marvelous tool for families.”

Using colors, toys, bright lights and music, host Baby Scholastica, an animated baby dressed as a nun teaches her young viewers to pray the seven prayers of the rosary, each time in seven different languages - English, Spanish, French, Latin, Vietnamese, German and Portuguese.

The use of different languages, said Dede Laugesen, is to “enhance language development as well as to emphasize the universality of Catholicism.”

The Laugesens began the Rosary Project Inc., which produces the DVDs in response to Pope John Paul II’s 2002 call for Catholics to teach the rosary and other prayers to their children. The birth of The Rosary Project coincided with the Holy Father’s instituting of the Year of the Rosary.

“I believe that because we were created to be in relationship with God and because prayer is the language we have been given by our Lord, that even the smallest hearts will respond well to the sound and expression of prayer”, Dede Laugesen told CNA.

The video has been likened to the Baby Einstein and Baby Genius series for its use of colors, shapes, bright lights and music to draw young viewers into its unique content.

Dede Laugesen told the Denver Catholic Register in 2003 that, “The Holy Father has said we should embrace technologies available and use them for promotion of the Gospel.”

So far, the DVD’s, aimed at children under 5, are being carried at nearly 500 Catholic retail stores across the country with plans to grow. But the Laugesens said that it’s been word of mouth that has played the major role in the video’s popularity.

They cited the “many, many calls and letters we are receiving from satisfied customers whose children so love and benefit from Holy Baby! that they now want to help us get this DVD into more homes of families with small children.”

Because of the huge success of the first Holy Baby!, the Laugesens recently announced that a second DVD is now in production. Holy Baby! Family Feast-Prayers and Songs from the Eucharist is expected to be released sometime this summer.

The new video will focus on exposing youngsters to the parts of the Mass, and like the first Holy Baby!, present the prayers and songs in many languages. It will also feature two new characters to accompany Baby Scholastica; Baby Bosco and Baby Imelda.

The Laugesens, who are proud parents of four boys, aged 1 through 9 have garnered huge praise for their work from many around the country, including Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver. 

He called the videos “a beautiful aid for families who want to begin their children on a walk with the Lord.”

Holy Baby! Family Feast is the second of a planned series of five videos in the works for production over the coming years. Added Dede Laugesen, “I love the work the Lord has given us.”

More information on the Rosary Project can be found at

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