Archive of April 15, 2005

Vatican official: Latin America ready to give the Church a pope

Vatican City, Apr 15, 2005 (CNA) - Archbishop Cipriano Calderon Polo, Vice President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and member of the Congregation for Bishops, said Thursday the Church in Latin America is “mature” and ready to give a Pope to the universal Church.

Archbishop Calderon, who accompanied Pope John Paul II on all of trips to Latin America, first as director of the Spanish edition of L’Osservatore Romano and later as Vice President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, told CNA that the Pontiff “coined the phrase ‘Continent of hope’ in reference to Latin America which, after 500 years of being evangelized, is now itself evangelizing.”

“The Holy Father pointed out on one occasion that Latin America was preparing to reevangelize Europe and to evangelize other regions of the world; and he saw this as the plan for the region for the Third Millennium,” Archbishop Calderon noted.

The Spanish prelate also stated that “Latin America is now a mature Church, ready to give a Pope to the universal Church, if not during this conclave, then during the next.”

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‘Jesus alone can satisfy man’s hunger for love; thirst for justice’, wrote John Paul II

Vatican City, Apr 15, 2005 (CNA) - Today the Vatican released Pope John Paul II’s message for this year’s annual World Mission Day, which he wrote before his death.

The theme of the October 23rd celebration is to be: "Mission: Bread broken for the life of the world." The Holy Father’s message was dated February 22, 2005, Feast of the Chair of St Peter.

It has been published in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

In it, the pope wrote that, "World Mission Sunday, in this year dedicated to the Eucharist, helps us to better understand the 'eucharistic' sense of our life as we relive the emotion of the Upper Room when, on the eve of His passion, Jesus offered Himself to the world."

He referred to his recent Apostolic Letter 'Mane nobiscum Domine', in which, he said, “I invited you to contemplate Jesus in the 'breaking of the bread' offered for the whole of humanity.”

Following His example we too are called to offer our life for our brothers and sisters, especially those most in need. ... In this way, while the Eucharist helps us to understand more fully the significance of mission, it leads every individual believer, the missionary in particular, to be 'bread, broken for the life of the world.'”

"In our day”, the Holy Father continued, “human society appears to be shrouded in dark shadows while it is shaken by tragic events and shattered by catastrophic natural disasters. ... Present in the Eucharist, the same Redeemer ... continues through the centuries to show compassion for humanity poor and suffering.”

John Paul noted that, “it is in His name that pastoral workers and missionaries travel unexplored paths to carry the 'bread' of salvation to all.”

“Jesus alone”, he wrote, “can satisfy humanity's hunger for love and thirst for justice; He alone makes it possible for every human person to share in eternal life: 'I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever' (Jn 6,51)."

"We who nourish ourselves with the Body and Blood of the crucified and risen Lord, cannot keep this 'gift' to ourselves,” he wrote.

“On the contrary we must share it. Passionate love for Christ leads to courageous proclamation of Christ; proclamation which, with martyrdom, becomes a supreme offering of love for God and for mankind. The Eucharist leads us to be generous evangelizers, actively committed to building a more just and fraternal world.”

The pope also expressed his sincere “hope the Year of the Eucharist will inspire every Christian community to respond with 'fraternal solicitude to some of the many forms of poverty present in our world" (Mane nobiscum Domine 28), because 'by our mutual love and, in particular, by our concern for those in need we will be recognized as true followers of Christ (cf. Jn 13:35; Mt 25:31-46).”

This will be the criterion by which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations is judged.' (Mane nobiscum Domine 28)."

“In Christ's name”, he said, "missionaries all over the world proclaim and witness to the Gospel. ... How many missionary martyrs in our day! May their example draw numerous young men and women to tread the path of heroic fidelity to Christ! The Church has need of men and women willing to consecrate themselves wholly to the great cause of the Gospel.”

Concluding, he wrote that, "World Mission Sunday is an opportune occasion to increase our awareness of the urgent necessity to participate in the evangelizing mission undertaken by the local communities and many Church organizations, in particular the Pontifical Mission Societies and the Missionary Institutes.”

This mission requires the support not only of prayer and sacrifice, but also of concrete material offerings. I take this opportunity to recall once again the valuable service rendered by the Pontifical Mission Societies and I ask you all to support them generously with spiritual and material cooperation."

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Cardinals continue to discuss state of the Church in the world as conclave approaches

Vatican City, Apr 15, 2005 (CNA) - Earlier today, 138 cardinals gathered at the Vatican to prepare to select a new pope, met for their eleventh General Congregation of Cardinals.

Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the Holy See’s press office director, said in a statement this morning that, "After reciting the prayer to the Holy Spirit, the cardinals dedicated the entire morning to an exchange of ideas on the problems of the Church and of the world.”

"Also today,” he added, “several cardinals who headed congregations and pontifical councils of the Roman Curia laid out the most important problems faced by their dicasteries.”

Activities for the conclave will begin at 10 a.m. on Monday with a Mass for the election of the Roman Pontiff, which will be celebrated by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. 115 Cardinals will then take their places in the Sistine Chapel to set to work electing a new shepherd for the Church.

As in the past General Congregations, the cardinals concluded today with the Regina Coeli prayer.

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Spanish journalist: “young people should go to Cologne to pay homage to John Paul II”

Vatican City, Apr 15, 2005 (CNA) - The renowned Spanish journalist Paloma Gomez Borrero, the only female journalist who accompanied the Pope during all 104 of his apostolic trips around the world, said Thursday that young people from all of the continents should attend World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, in August.

In an interview with CNA, Gomez Borrero, author of the best-seller in Spanish, “El Papa Amigo” (“The Pope Friend”), noted the magnetism of Pope John Paul II with young people; she said the World Youth Day that most impacted her was that of Denver in 1993.

“What happened in Denver was completely unexpected,” she said.

“That hundreds of thousands of young people in a country with no tradition of pilgrimages, in a city with a Catholic minority, would mobilize themselves to meet with the Pope, to listen to him and follow him took the world by surprise,” she added.

“The mark left by the Holy Father in Denver was as important and unexpected as that of the World Youth Day in Paris, where “a secularized Paris expected some 200,000 young people from Europe to attend, and instead more than a million came,” Gomez Borrero noted.

“I want to especially call on all young people of the world to attend World Youth Day in Cologne, because Karol Wojtila will be present there more than ever, and they must respond to the call of the one who gave so much for young people,” she said.

Young people need to remember that they are not John Paul II’s kids, but rather, the Pope’s kids, “and this means they follow the call of whoever the Successor of Peter is,” she concluded.

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Sistine Chapel chimney ready for conclave

Vatican City, Apr 15, 2005 (CNA) - This Thursday workers at the Vatican finished installing the chimney in the Sistine Chapel that will send the famous black or white smoke into the air, announcing the election of a new Pope or the continuation of voting in the Conclave that will begin on Monday.

Workers first cleaned the ducts of the stove where the ballots cast by cardinal electors are burned, sending out white smoke if a Pope is elected, and black smoke if the vote was inconclusive. 

The stove is same one used almost 27 years ago to announce the election of Pope John Paul II.

However, in addition to cleaning the ducts and installing the chimney that will protrude above the roof of the Sistine Chapel, modern science will also ensure the proper results are conveyed: chemicals will be used to ensure the black smoke is truly black and the white smoke is indistinguishably white. 

On Friday, a group of journalists chosen by lot will be allowed to visit the Sistine Chapel, which has now been prepared for the opening of the Conclave.

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Denver women commend governor for veto of emergency contraception bill

Denver, Colo., Apr 15, 2005 (CNA) - Yesterday at the Colorado State Capitol building, over 40 people turned out at a press conference to show their support for Governor Bill Owens’ decision to veto an emergency contraception bill passed by the state legislature.

The Catholic governor has been taking considerable heat for his decision, in which he called House Bill 1042 a violation of religious freedom.

Critics of the bill, including Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput, have said that it violates the religious freedom of hospitals, particularly Catholic ones, by forcing them to offer information on abortion to victims of rape.

A panel of three Denver-area women presented yesterday’s press conference. Jamila Spencer represents the Colorado Catholic Conference, Terri Polakovic, ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women), and Alexis Wagner, President of the University of Colorado’s Respect Life Committee also presented.

Wagner expressed her gratitude to the governor for his moral courage in striking down the bill, which, she noted, “offends the fundamental rights of the unborn.”

She also empathized with the governor’s difficult position and echoed the words of Archbishop Chaput in his February column, in which called the bill well intentioned, but seriously flawed.

In response to some of the more hostile reporters gathered yesterday, Spencer explained that HB 1042 “was not about educating women on emergency contraception…it was about making referrals or requiring Catholic hospitals to supply emergency contraception.”

She clarified the fact that emergency contraception often aborts an unborn, but conceived child.

“We must”, she emphasized, “allow Catholic hospitals to define pregnancy under their own terms.”

In cases of rape, Spencer said that “the rapist should be punished—not the child.”

She likewise outlined the Catholic Church’s stance saying that, “all human life is valuable. To ask the Church to choose between a woman and her child is to ask the Church to choose one life over another.”

“The Church will never do that,” she said.

Kathryn Johnson, a student at the University of Colorado Medical Center, now in her residency, commented that, “it’s really alarming that so many senators want to define for doctors how to do their work. It’s a really alarming double standard.”

Added Spencer: “[The bill suggests] that the state of Colorado knows better than the Catholic hospitals.”

“It absolutely breeds intolerance.”

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New U.S. ambassador named to Vatican

Washington D.C., Apr 15, 2005 (CNA) - President George Bush has named an Oklahoma businessman, Francis Rooney III as the U.S.’ new ambassador to the Vatican.

Rooney, CEO of the Florida-based investment firm, Rooney Brothers Inc., will replace Jim Nicholson, who was named head of the Office of Veterans Affairs by the Bush administration in January.

Rooney was a founding member of the Tulsa committee on foreign relations, as well as a member of numerous city and state task forces and committees in his native Oklahoma.

Currently, he is a Member of the Board and Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee of the St. Francis Health System, the largest Catholic health system in Oklahoma; a member of the School of Architecture Council of The University of Notre Dame; and a member of The Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Rooney is a graduate of Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center. He is a member of the bar association of the District of Columbia and Texas.

He and his wife Kathleen have three children, aged 22, 19 and 17.

Rooney, who is fluent in Spanish will most likely present his letters of credence to the new pope who will be elected in next week’s papal conclave.

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Marian conference to receive monstrance blessed by John Paul II

Salt Lake City, Utah, Apr 15, 2005 (CNA) - A monstrance, blessed by Pope John Paul II specifically to encourage prayer for vocations, will make a three-day stop at Our Lady of Fatima Conference next month. The will be in Salt Lake City, Utah, May 6-8.

This monstrance is one of six, which the late Pope blessed Nov. 24, 2004 to launch adoration for vocations on an international scale during this Year of the Eucharist.

"This is our opportunity to be in solidarity with the world in praying for vocations," said Fr. Edward Burns, executive director of the Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Fr. Joseph Marcello of the Diocese of Salt Lake City said: “Many parishioners in the diocese have commented that they feel, on some level, a personal connection with the Holy Father, and they are able to respond personally to his invitation to deepen their appreciation for the gift of the Eucharist this year, while asking the Lord to send priestly vocations to our diocese.”

One monstrance was blessed for each of the following six regions: the United States and Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.

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Terri Schiavo attorney calls on court to protect life of elderly woman

Lagrange, Ga., Apr 15, 2005 (CNA) - David Gibbs, lead counsel for the parents of the late Terri Schiavo, has called on a Georgia Probate Court Judge to protect the innocent life of Mae Magouirk, an 81-year-old widow whose feeding tube was removed with court permission.

Mae Magouirk was placed in a LaGrange, Georgia, medical facility March 13 with a dissected aorta, a congenital medical condition shared by other members of her family. But her granddaughter, Elizabeth Gaddy, had her placed in a hospice March 22, despite objections by Magouirk's sister and brother, who are her closest next of kin.

Magouirk's siblings discovered March 31 that Gaddy had decided her grandmother would be denied life-sustaining nourishment and fluids, even though she was not terminal, comatose, or in a vegetative state, and even though the provisions of her living will request feeding and hydration.

Magouirk’s siblings brought this matter before the courts and the media in an attempt to save her life.

After court proceedings, the intervention of a panel of three doctors, the support of the friends of Terri Schiavo, and the outreach by her siblings in neighboring Alabama, Magouirk was rescued from Hospice LaGrange April 9 and flown by lifesaver helicopter to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center, where she is now receiving nourishment, fluids and proper medical attention.

Although a Troup County Probate Court compromise was reached April 4, Magouirk’s nephew, Kenneth Mullinax, reports that Gaddy was appointed as temporary guardian by Judge Donald W. Boyd and has issued an order to the UAB Medical Center denying other family members full visitation rights and access to medical information.

Magouirk's brother filed a motion April 13, asking for restoration of visitation rights and medical record access for family members.

"I am shocked and dismayed that within mere hours of Terri's death, another court in Georgia was subjecting an 81-year-old widow to the very same inhumane treatment as Terri Schiavo," said David Gibbs, who was contacted by Mullinax regarding the case.

Gibbs said he urged Judge Boyd to grant the family’s request and to “go one step farther and recognize Beth Gaddy's financial interest in this case.

“Not unlike Michael Schiavo's conflict of interest with his wife, Beth Gaddy and her brother and sister are the sole beneficiaries of Mrs. Magouirk's estate,” Gibbs said. “As such, Ms. Gaddy should not be given court authority to make medical care decisions intended to result in Mrs. Magouirk's death in violation of her written living will."

Gibbs added that Magouirk has a living will, an element that the Schiavo case did not have.

"It would seem obvious that Judge Boyd should honor Mrs. Magouirk's living will and award her guardianship to family members who would honor her wishes,” said Gibbs.

“This case again points up the need for our nation to seriously consider the need for federal legislation permitting federal habeas-type review for court decisions that are intended to result in the death of the elderly and disabled."

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Funeral held for pre-born baby found in wastewater

Sayreville, N.J., Apr 15, 2005 (CNA) - A funeral was held April 11 for a five-month-old fetus found at the county’s wastewater treatment plant last week, reported the Suburban Daily.

About 50 people attended the funeral for John Paul, named after the late Pope by Our Lady of Victories Pro-Life Group that organized the funeral.  Fr. Michael Krull, pastor at Our Lady of Victories Church, conducted the funeral.

Janice O’Brien, chairwoman of the pro-life group and wife of Sayreville’s mayor, decided to organize the funeral when she read the news about the pre-born baby April 6.

Robert Latham was on duty at the Middlesex County Utilities Authority when the fetus was discovered in a bar screen used to catch large objects within the waterway. He reported the finding to authorities.

He said medical examiners believed a woman must have had a “spontaneous miscarriage” and flushed the fetus down the toilet.

“It just seems like [the mother] panicked and didn’t know what to do,” O’Brien told the newspaper. “We want this mother to be at peace and know that he is taken care of.”

Latham said the funeral was a “wonderful” idea. He attended, along with his wife and their six children.

The baby was to be buried in a part of the Catholic cemetery dedicated to infant deaths, but Fr. Krull decided to bury the fetus at the entrance of the cemetery instead, below a statue of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, as a reminder “of the beauty and dignity of life.”

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Catholic doctors speak against access to morning-after pill without a prescription

Boston, Mass., Apr 15, 2005 (CNA) - Catholic doctors expressed their position in the ongoing debate on legislation that would require hospitals to offer rape victims the morning-after pill and allow pharmacists to sell the abortifacient drug without a prescription.

Catholic doctors told a Joint Public Health Committee at Beacon Hill yesterday that such legislation would be problematic, as it would require them to act against Catholic teaching. 

“I'm a Catholic. I cherish my faith. Emergency contraception is bad medicine,” Dr. Helen Jackson, president of the Catholic Physicians' Guild, reportedly told the committee.

The Boston Herald reported that Dr. Gertrude Murphy, a retired pediatrician, said this legislation could be a “huge problem” for Catholic hospitals, particularly if a “conscience clause” isn't included.

“No Catholic hospital that is truly a Catholic hospital would be able to prescribe emergency contraception to all rape victims,” unless they had determined the woman hadn't yet ovulated, said Murphy, an honorary staff member of St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston.

Supporters of the legislation attended the hearing, saying the drug could prevent hundreds of thousands of abortion procedures.

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