Archive of March 4, 2005

Chaput defends Church’s role in public life

Denver, Colo., Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - Speaking to a sometimes hostile crowd of civic and business leaders on Tuesday, Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput set out to defend the role of the Church in public life.

Archbishop Chaput’s address to about 120 people at the City Club of Denver was followed by a sometimes-tense period of question and answer in which Chaput pulled no punches in defending the work of the Church.

In his speech, the Archbishop cited the Church’s exhaustive work defending the poor and helpless and being voice on issues like the death penalty.

“As a Church,” he said, “more than 80 percent of our time, resources, ministry personnel and lobbying efforts go to issues that have nothing to do with abortion. But you’ll never see that on anybody’s front-page either, because it isn’t news.”

The Archbishop pointed out that “Catholics have always been active on a very wide range of political issues, both individually and as a Church. This is normal and sensible. It’s so normal that nobody pays attention – until they disagree.”

During the luncheon’s question and answer period, one woman asked Archbishop Chaput, "Why do (religions) feel they have to impose their views on us?"

“If we don’t”, the Archbishop quickly retorted, “you’ll impose your views on us.”

Another asked, to the applause of many audience members, “When is the Church going to agree to pay taxes?”

Archbishop Chaput shot back, “I run 50 Catholic schools that keep you from paying more taxes - is that worth it to you?”

He added that it’s the state, which recognizes that tax exemptions allow religious groups to mount massive social service programs, which benefit all society.

Inevitably, the question of abortion came up and the Archbishop’s passion for the subject became audible in his voice. “That dear baby who gets aborted is who I'm protecting. Somebody doesn't just get hurt with abortion - they get killed”, he said.

He also added, when asked about unwanted children, that, “I'll take any child that's unwanted and find them a home and take care of the mother. You have my personal pledge on that.”

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Bishop Olmsted makes case for the need to kneel during consecration

Phoenix, Ariz., Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - Kneeling during mass plays a central role in worship and must be encouraged in Catholic parishes, said Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. In his recent column in the Catholic Sun, the bishop of Phoenix offered strong reasoning in favor of kneeling during the consecration at mass, a practice lost in many Arizona parishes and elsewhere.

“The practice of kneeling assists our whole person to be attentive to the Lord, to surrender to His will, to lift our soul and our voices in worship,” said Bishop Olmsted.

The human body has a vital role in the “full, conscious and active participation in the Sacred Liturgy,” he said.

He cited the General Instruction for the Roman Missal, which states that worshippers “should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.”

He pointed out how kneeling was a sign of worship and humility practiced in Biblical times and how the Bible says that Jesus and the Apostles knelt to pray.

“To bend one’s knee before God [in Biblical times] was a profound act of worship; it stated boldly yet simply that God is the source of all power and that the one on bended knee is ready to place his life and all his energy at the service of the Lord,” he wrote.

He also cited St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians as the “strongest theological foundation for kneeling”: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” (2:6-11)

“Kneeling is more than a gesture of the overly pious,” he wrote. “It is a fundamental act of faith, a strong expression about Who stands at the center of one’s life and Who stands at the center of all creation.

“Bending the knee at the name of Jesus is a decisive act of those with athletic souls and humble hearts. There is nothing passive about kneeling in humility and adoration,” he continued. “When the knees act in response to a heart that loves Christ, there is unleashed a force so strong it can change the face of the earth. Grace is the name we give to this force.”

He added that according to Abba Apollo, a desert father who lived about 1,700 years ago, “the devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt.

“Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil,” he said, citing Isaiah and Romans. “But when we kneel at Jesus’ name, when we bow down in service of others, and when we bend the knee in adoration, we are following in the footsteps” of the saints.

For the full article, go to:

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Florida Bishops break silence on Schiavo case

Clearwater, Fla., Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - In a statement made public yesterday, but dated February 28th, the Florida Catholic Conference broke their silence regarding brain-damaged Terri Schiavo, who has spent the last ten years in hospice care unable to speak or move.

A Florida judge ruled last week that Terri’s husband, Micheal Schiavo could remove the feeding tube, which provides her with daily food and water, in two weeks.

Many Pro-life organizations have been urging the Florida bishops to speak out for Terri and her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who have vowed to continue the fight to save their daughter’s life.

In their statement, the bishops were quick to point out that “Mrs. Schiavo is not ‘brain dead’ or comatose.”

They added that she “is a defenseless human being with inherent dignity, deserving of our respect, care and concern.” 

“Her plight”, they continued, “dramatizes one of the most critical questions we face:  To be a truly human society, how should we care for those we may not be able to cure?”

The bishops indicated that in their previous statements, they had “made it clear that there should be a presumption in favor of providing nutrition and hydration even by artificial means as long as it is of sufficient benefit to outweigh the burdens involved to the patient.” 

They reiterated that plea, asking that, “Mrs. Schiavo [continue] to receive all treatments and care that will be of benefit to her.”  

The statement also cited Pope John Paul II, who said March 2004 that, “the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act.”

The bishops closed the statement clearly indicating their desire that those persons responsible for Terri “will see that she continues to receive nourishment, comfort and loving care.”

The statement was signed by, Archbishop John C. Favalora of the Archdiocese of Miami, and Bishops John J. Nevins of the Diocese of Venice, John H. Ricard, SSJ of the Diocese of Pensacola/Tallahassee, Victor Galeone of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Gerald M. Barbarito, JCL of the Diocese of Palm Beach, Thomas G. Wenski of the Diocese of Orlando, Felipe J. Estévez of the Archdiocese of Miami and Robert N. Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Schiavo’s home diocese.

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U.S. has not backed down on pro-life stance to U.N.

, Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - Contrary to what many media sources have been reporting, the U.S. has not backed down on what has been called a contentious proposal to the U.N. that a document on women’s equality does not support abortion as a “right.”

A spokesman for the U.S. delegation at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) told CNSNews that media reports were wrong and in truth, the group is still in deliberations and has not decided what to do.

The U.S. delegation had called for the drafting of a brief document to be included in the reiteration of a platform agreed upon at a Beijing women’s conference in 1995.

The addendum was to clarify that the platform did not include any new rights and did not include the “right to abortion."

The proposal was met with a storm of protests from numerous governments and non-governmental organizations at the U.N meeting.

By Wednesday evening, many news outlets, including the New York Times had reported that the U.S. delegation had relented in their proposal.

At a press briefing yesterday, Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, head of the U.S. delegation was asked whether or not the group had in fact dropped the proposal.

She responded, “We are waiting for instructions from Washington, but at the moment, no.”

Many pro-life groups are urging the U.S. delegation not to back down from what they see as an important proposal, saying that abortion can never be a “human right.”

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Schindlers request new trial in Terri Schiavo case based on judge's error

Seminole, Fla., Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - The attorney for Terri Schindler Schiavo's parents has filed a new motion, alleging that Judge George W. Greer’s decision in February 2000, authorizing Terri’s death, was “erroneously influenced” by a mistake in fact. 

The motion asks Judge Greer to correct his mistake by either reversing his 2000 order or conducting a new trial.

The motion points out that Judge Greer made a clear mistake by discounting the testimony of Terri's friend, Diane Meyer, said attorney David Gibbs, who filed the motion in Pinellas Country Probate Court March 2.

Meyer testified that, in 1982, Terri told her she did not agree with the decision by Karen Ann Quinlan's parents to take their daughter off life support.

Judge Greer finally concluded that this conversation could not have occurred in 1982. He concluded that Terri's statements to her friend did not indicate end-of-life wishes made as an adult, because Terri would only have been 11 or 12 years old in 1976, the year he believed Karen Ann Quinlan had died.

However, Karen Ann Quinlan did not die until 1985, some nine years after her court case ended and her respirator was removed. Apparently, none of the attorneys working on Terri’s case in 2000 noticed this mistake in dates.

“No one told Judge Greer that Karen Ann Quinlan was alive in 1982, making it entirely appropriate for Diane and Terri to discuss her situation,” Gibbs said, adding that a Florida attorney pointed out the mistake to him last week.

"It was not Diane Meyer who was mistaken; it was Judge Greer,” Gibbs said in a statement.

“As an officer of the court, I feel obliged to provide this information to Judge Greer in the form of a motion asking him to declare that, in fact, a mistake in dates had erroneously influenced his decision in 2000,” said Gibbs.

"If Judge Greer's 2000 Order authorizing Michael Schiavo to end his wife's life were a criminal death sentence, Terri would be entitled to a new trial on the basis of reversible error,” he continued.

“Although Terri is not a criminal, she is still under a court-imposed death order, an order that is the equivalent of a death penalty. Therefore, we are asking Judge Greer to correct his mistake by either reversing his 2000 Order or conducting a new trial,” said Gibbs.

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European University Day seeks to build ‘new humanism’

Vatican City, Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - "Intellectual and Scientific Research, a Way to Meet Christ", will be the theme of a gathering of young Europeans as a prelude to this summer’s World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany.

The Third annual European Day for Universities will be celebrated throughout Europe tomorrow. Today, the Vatican released details of the event.

At 5:30 p.m. in Paul VI Hall in the Vatican, there will be a Marian prayer vigil in the Paul VI Hall during which Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar for Rome, will read a message from the Holy Father expressing his solidarity with the gathered young people.
The Vatican noted that there would be a satellite linkup broadcasting simultaneous events in cathedrals and shrines throughout Europe.

The national gatherings will be led by Cardinals Maximilian Sterzinsky in Berlin, Jose da Cruz Policarpo in Lisbon, Lubomyr Husar in Kiev, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela in Madrid, Josip Bozanic of Zagreb, and Tarcisio Bertone in Genoa, and by Archbishops Francesco Cacucci in Bari, Ioan Robu in Bucharest, Stanislav Szyrokoradiuk, auxiliary of Kiev, Wasyl Medwit, apostolic vicar of the apostolic exarchate of Kiev, Rrok Mirdita of Tirana and Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster.
The Vatican estimates that nearly 10,000 young people will be present in the Paul VI Hall where a number of them will give reflections and testimonies of their faith.  All will recite the rosary as well.
In addition to these events, the Pontifical Lateran University will hold a three-day European workshop for university professors on the theme "Intellectual Research, A Way to Meet Christ. The teaching of the Encyclical 'Fides et Ratio'."

Copies of the encyclical will be given to university students. Following the vigil in Rome, young people will accompany the Cross, in a candlelit procession to the church of St. Agnes in Piazza Navona.
The university day is being organized by the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe with the purpose, says a communique from the group, of "building a new humanism, gift and resource for the continent's future generations."
The press release says that, "The aim of this annual day, is to respond to the extraordinary Magisterium of John Paul II who called on university communities, as centers of scientific research, of producing knowledge and of the cultural and professional formation of the young generation, to build a new humanism which proposes once again the Christian roots of Europe by bringing them out into the open.”
"The foundations of this humanism”, the statement continues, “are trust in reason as a tool for getting to know the truth about humanity, the primacy of the person over technology, the opportunities that globalization offers to the world today to promote communion and friendship between peoples, the need to participate in social and political life with a view to serving one's brothers and sisters, and the development of intellectual charity as a mission of the university world."

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New research on science and theology to be presented at Vatican

Vatican City, Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - The Vatican announced today that next Friday, March 11th, new research will be presented on the relationship between science, philosophy and theology.

The presentation will be on the second phase of the STOQ Project (Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest), what is being hailed as one of the most prestigious current research programs on the three disciplines.
The project is being coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Culture and involves the Pontifical Lateran and Gregorian Universities, as well as the Pontifical Athenaeum "Regina Apostolorum."
Those participating in the presentation include, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and William R. Shea, holder of the Galileo Chair of History of Science at the University of Padua, Italy.

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Gonzaga University discriminates against Christian students, columnist says

Spokane, Wash., Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - A distinguished law professor at UNC-Wilmington recently wrote the president of the Jesuit-run Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., pointing out that the school’s policies discriminate against Christian students.

Mike Adams, a vocal critic of the diversity movement in academia, said the Catholic university’s treatment of Christian students is “deplorable.”

In a letter to Gonzaga University president Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, published in Heritage, Adams pointed out that the only two Christian clubs recently formed at the law school—the Christian pro-life group and the Christian Legal Society—have been refused official recognition, and their promotional signs have been regularly defaced.

Adams said he had received a letter from two third-year law students at Gonzaga University, who said they had experienced first-hand the school’s trampling of the rights of Christian students.

According to Adams, “the students described the law school as one that is ‘secular’ and which fraudulently holds itself out to be Catholic.” Specifically, the students accused the university of violating the rights of their first Christian pro-life group.

The Student Bar Association denied official recognition of these groups based in their requirement that executive leaders sign a statement of Christian faith, said Adams. The Student Bar Association said this requirement violated the university’s “non-discrimination” policy.  In other words, every club must allow any student the opportunity to hold offices in any club.

Adams also said many of Gonzaga University’s professors “promote and/or support homosexual and abortion rights and student clubs that support these causes.” He added that openly homosexual students have served as president of the Student Bar Association for two of the last three years.

“However, your tolerance for those who directly oppose Catholic doctrine is not always extended to those who support it,” he said.

Adams is calling on the university administration to tell the Student Bar Association to recognize these Christian student groups so they can use student fees to promote speakers and events.

“The situation of forcing your Christian law students to pay mandatory student fees, which fund secular student groups, while their own club flounders in second-class status, is simply unacceptable,” wrote Adams.

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Catholic Charities welcomes senators' antipoverty agenda

, Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - Catholic Charities USA welcomes some senators’ efforts to put poverty issues on the Congressional agenda, calling their proposals “a good first step in addressing the needs of the nation's low-income families.”

Sens. Rick Santorum (R—PA), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R—TX), Sam Brownback (R—KS), and Jim Talent (R—MO) outlined their antipoverty agenda at a press conference yesterday.

The senators' proposed plans would reintroduce the CARE Act, create individual development accounts and work opportunity tax credits, and provide more support for former prisoners reentering society.

The CARE bill would provide crucial assistance to social service agencies that provide care to children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities, said Catholic Charities’ vice-president for social policy Sharon M. Daly.

"But to truly be effective, Congress must also protect key programs from budget cuts and adopt other needed antipoverty measures," said Daly.

Catholic Charities urges senators to ensure that any welfare reform would include a significant increase in childcare subsidies and allow parents to invest more time in job training and treatment for mental health and/or substance abuse.

Catholic Charities says Congress must also work to increase the minimum wage and affordable housing, especially for senior citizens and families with children.

It voiced its strong opposition to proposed budget cuts to vital affordable housing programs, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other safety net programs.

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Ecuadorian bishop warns power grab could lead to dictatorship

Quito, Ecuador, Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - Bishop Julio Teran Dutari of Ibarra, Ecuador, expressed his support this week for the recent declaration of the Bishops Conference of Ecuador denouncing the concentration of power as a possible prelude to dictatorship, and he reaffirmed that “this is not a position against any one individual but rather an analysis of what is happening in the country.”

The bishop explained that the Conference makes declarations based on objective analysis of the state of the country and he recalled that, “We have heard about the concentration of powers in one political direction under the leadership of the President of the country.  It is a fact everyone knows about.”

“If we have said that this situation could lead to anarchy or a dictatorship, it’s not a position against any one person but rather an analysis of what is happening in the country,” the bishop explained.

In response to the current political state of the country, Bishop Dutari emphasized, “There is no time for mutual accusations and much less for mudslinging and discrediting the other side.”

“We all must assume the responsibility of seeking out paths forward. Of course we have to count on the Government because it has the authority.  We are all responsible for collaborating so that authority is duly exercised, within constitutional norms,” he added.

On the other hand, Bishop Dutari responded to lawmakers who have criticized the declaration, emphasizing that it has been misinterpreted to mean the bishops are “taking a position in favor of a specific political party” and against others.  “There is no reason to have this kind of reaction,” the bishop stated.

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Pope speaks “strongly” against culture of death in latest book, says Vatican watcher

Rome, Italy, Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - In his weekly column for L’Espresso Online, Vatican watcher Sandro Magister notes that although Pope John Paul II has temporarily lost his voice, “he speaks strongly and clearly” in his latest book, “Memory and Identity.”

According to Magister, the Pope has not spoken so boldly against democracies that pass legislation in favor of abortion and against life and natural law since his 1995 encyclical “Evangelium Vitae.”

Magister says that coinciding at least partially with non-Christian writers who, nonetheless, recognize the role of natural law—such as philosopher Leo Strauss and scientist Leon Kass—“the ‘anti-modern’ John Paul II is anything but behind the times.”

“Memory and Identity” is a collection of conversations that took place in 1993 between John Paul II and two Polish philosopher friends, Josef Tischner, who died in 2000, and Krzysztof Michalski.

Ten years later, in 2003, the Pope decided to organize the subjects they discussed and add a conversation he held with his personal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, which includes thoughts on the assassination attempt of May 13, 1981, the spread of terrorist networks throughout the word, the attacks of 9/11 and the massacre of children at Beslan, Russia.

In the book Pope John Paul II acknowledges that democracy is the most natural form of government for man, but at the same time he points out that the democratic system cannot violate natural law.  Thus he concludes that laws against life, such as those that legalize abortion, euthanasia or “homosexual” marriage completely lack all juridical validity.

In his article, Magister presents the opinions of two important Italian intellectuals regarding the Pope’s criticism of Western democracies.  Giovanni Satori, Professor of the University of Florence and frequent critic of the Pope’s positions, acknowledges that the accusation that democracy can become tyranny when it violates natural law “has precedent even outside the Church, in secular thought.”  He cites Jacob L. Talmon, author of “Totalitarian Democracy,” as an example.

Silvio Ferrari, Catholic and Professor of the University of Milan, warns of the problem of democracy becoming mere a formality behind which totalitarianism hides itself, but he acknowledges that there is no other viable alternative to democracy.

Magister’s complete article can be found at:

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Brazilian mayor accused of involvement in murder of US missionary

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - The mayor of Anapu, Brazil, Luiz Reis do Carvalho, denied having any role in a supposed plan to protect the perpetrators of the murder of a US missionary, Dorothy Stang, who was gunned down on February 12 in a small town in the state of Para.

Carvalho was named by two of the suspects being held for the murder of the 73 year-old missionary.  The suspects claimed Carvalho was mentioned as somebody who would provide money for their defense.  Carvalho told TV Globo he was surprised and “outraged” by the accusations.

Local officials said Carvalho was an old adversary of Stang and they called for an investigation into the accusations.

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Duhalde favorite among pro-abortion presidential candidates in Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - Ex-President of Argentina Eduardo Duhalde has become the favored candidate of pro-abortion groups in the upcoming national elections after joining with his wife in calling for the legalization of abortion in the country.

In response to the controversy surrounding legalized abortion sparked by the apology of the Health Minister, Gines Gonzalez, Duhalde confessed he was in favor of abortion in cases of rape or life of the mother.

Referring to the same position expressed by his wife, who is now a representative, Duhalde said he shares that idea; “therapeutic abortion is one thing about which very few disagree.”

Speaking on local radio, Duhalde noted that abortion is considered a crime by the country’s penal code but is rarely enforced.

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Mexican bishops demand changes in campaign promoting homosexuality

Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 4, 2005 (CNA) - During a press conference the Bishops Conference of Mexico issued a request that the Secretariat of Health modify a campaign against homophobia because by centering it on a “false anthropological basis,” it ends up promoting homosexuality.

The president of the Bishop’s Committee on the Family, Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar, said that while tolerance of homosexual persons should be fostered, the ads produced by the campaign make homosexuality appear natural and present it “as a legitimate personal choice.”

Bishop Aguilar said the anthropological basis of the campaign is “false and deceptive,” because it twists “concepts and language,” although its authors say it is based on pluralism, tolerance and non-discrimination.

The bishop noted that the Church affirms that “homosexual persons have all of the dignity that corresponds to them has human persons,” and that therefore they should be respected and not discriminated against.

He added, however, that the homosexual inclination is in itself disordered, but that “it is not a sin” if there is no intention of nourishing it “through homosexual acts,” which are indeed “intrinsically disordered.”

Regarding homosexual unions, Bishop Aguilar explained that “ontologically it is impossible to treat unequal things as equals.  Marriage based on the heterosexual relationship between man and woman is one thing; unions between persons of the same sex are something very different.

He noted that “only sexual diversity” allows for “natural sexual and emotional complementarity and the possible gift of new life.”  Same-sex unions lack these aspects, he said, since they “are intrinsically sterile,” despite efforts to mimic “natural physiological and psychological acts” in order to achieve “an apparent unitive aspect of sexuality.”

Bishop Aguilar said it is important to avoid homophobia, but it should not be forgotten that homosexuality is against the natural law.

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