Archive of April 29, 2005

Pope Benedict’s first trip will be to Bari

Vatican City, Apr 29, 2005 (CNA) - The Vatican has confirmed hopes that recently elected Pope Benedict XVI would travel to Bari to close Italy’s National Eucharistic Conference.

Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released a statement earlier today saying, "I can confirm that the Holy Father Benedict XVI will travel to Bari, Italy, on the morning of May 29, Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, for the closing of the 24th National Eucharistic Congress."

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The “reform of the reform” has begun, says Vatican analyst

Rome, Italy, Apr 29, 2005 (CNA) - In his weekly column, the renowned Vatican analyst Sandro Magister of “L’Espresso” says recent actions and statements by Pope Benedict XVI signal the beginning of the “reform of the reform.”

Magister reveals that the Pontiff had originally wished to celebrate his solemn inaugural Mass inside St. Peter’s rather than in the square, “Because there the architecture better directs the attention toward Christ, instead of the pope.”

In addition Magister notes that the Holy Father told the cardinals in the Sistine Chapel that he would make the Eucharist the center of his program as the successor of St. Peter.  This centrality of the Eucharist, Magister points out, is evident in the attention given to the celebrations that have taken place thus far and have been marked by “lavishness and eloquence of symbols.”

Magister highlights certain details of the inaugural Mass of Benedict XVI that might have escaped the notice of the untrained eye and are eloquent signs of the new Pope’s style.

“With his extraordinary passion for the liturgy, Benedict XVI is unquestionably a pope of the great tradition of liturgical texts, rituals, art, and music,” writes Magister.

He also analyzes some recent writings of Ratzinger the cardinal which provide clues as to what reforms one should expect from the new Pontiff.

The entire article can be found at:

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New Swiss Guard to be sworn in historic ceremony

Vatican City, Apr 29, 2005 (CNA) - The Vatican has announced that thirty-one new recruits of the Pontifical Swiss Guard will take their official oath to guard and defend the Pope in a historic ceremony on May 6th.

The event will be held in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City.

Members of the Roman Curia, diplomatic representatives and civil and religious authorities from Switzerland, as well as family, friends and the close-knit community of Swiss Guard Alumnae will all be present. 

Twenty-five of the recruits will take their oath in German, four in French, one in Italian and one in Romansch, likewise, all will be in full dress uniform for the day.

The history of the Pontifical Swiss Guard is a rich one. Founded by Pope Julius II in 1506, the guard is directly dependant on the Holy See, and its main duties were to guard the person of the Roman Pontiff and the Apostolic Palaces. 

The date of May 6 is the traditional date for the swearing-in ceremony because on that date in 1527, 147 members of the 189-member Swiss Guards lost their lives during the Sack of Rome when they fell in battle, protecting Pope Clement VII and the Church from the onslaught of the troops of Emperor Charles V.

This year’s ceremony will begin at 7:30 a.m. with Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the Swiss Guards and their family members and friends. At 9 a.m., Archbishop Leonardo Sandri will confer military decorations on members of the corps, and fallen members of the guard will be honored as the commander of the guards places a laurel wreath at a special monument to them.

The formal oath will then be read by the Swiss Guard chaplain, which says, "I swear to faithfully, loyally and honorably serve the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI and his legitimate successors, and also dedicate myself to them with all my strength, sacrificing if necessary also my life to defend them.”

“I assume”, it continues, “this same commitment with regard to the Sacred College of Cardinals whenever the See is vacant. Furthermore I promise to the Commanding Captain and my other superiors respect, fidelity and obedience. This I swear! May God and our Holy Patrons assist me."

The recruits will each then, be called by name and, in his native tongue, confirm the oath.

The patron saints of the Pontifical Swiss Guards are St. Martin, St. Sebastian and St. Niklaus von Flue, known as “defender of the peace and father of the Country."

Requirements to become a member of the Guard include being a Swiss Catholic male under the age of 30.

Likewise, they must be unmarried, over 174 cm (5' 8") in height and have obtained a professional diploma or high school degree. The candidate must also have attended Swiss military school.

The guards, who live inside Vatican City, are required to fulfill a minimum term of service of two years.

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European Council rejects legalization of euthanasia

Rome, Italy, Apr 29, 2005 (CNA) - A bill that would have legalized euthanasia throughout Europe, following the Belgian and Dutch models, has been rejected by a vote of 128 to 56 in the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council.

The bill presented by Swiss delegate Dick Marty proposed that experiences with legal euthanasia in Belgium and Holland be studied in order to prevent clandestine acts of euthanasia from spreading in Europe.

In the case of terminal patients, Marty proposed withdrawal of palliative care that provide no hope of recovery because, according to the Swiss delegate, such care would impose “useless suffering” on the patient.   He also expressed support for those treatments that would even “contribute to shortening life.”

The bill was presented with a report by the Committee for Legal Affairs and Human Rights, signed by British delegate Kevin McNamara, who noted that “liberalizing euthanasia would be a first step toward recognizing the right to kill, and I don’t know where this slippery slope would lead us.”

Regarding the Belgian and Dutch experiences, McNamara said their legislation is allowing “deliberate killing.”  On the other hand, he clarified that death from palliative care is acceptable when it occurs as a consequence of such care, and not when what is being sought is the death of the patient.

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Archbishop Chaput: Pope Benedict will have no ‘media honeymoon’

Denver, Colo., Apr 29, 2005 (CNA) - In his most recent weekly column, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput defended Pope Benedict XVI against recent slander and explained why the new Pope would have no “media honeymoon.”

Citing some of the more prominent media attacks, including a recent New York Times column, the archbishop thinks that, “The reason those who oppose authentic Catholic teaching resent [Pope Benedict] is not because he’s harsh — he is exactly the opposite — but because he has a unique serenity and courage.”

“Benedict XVI”, he said, “is not only more experienced in the life of the intellect and Christian conscience than his critics, he’s also more faithful to the mission of the Church and more anchored in the peace that comes from knowing and loving her founder — Jesus Christ.”

Archbishop Chaput went on to explore the reasoning behind much of the smearing of recent weeks.

He noted that “too many American Catholics still don’t want to face is that it’s OK to be Catholic in today’s public square as long as we don’t try to live our beliefs too seriously; as long as we’re suitably embarrassed by all those “primitive” Catholic teachings; as long as we shut up about abortion and other sensitive moral issues and allow ourselves to be tutored in the ways of “polite” secular culture by experts who have little or no respect for the Christian faith that guides our lives.”

The archbishop summarized why, in his view, the media has been so disappointed with the choice of Cardinal Ratzinger for Pope: “He actually believes that what Jesus Christ and His Church teach is true, and that the soul of the world depends on the Church’s faithful witness.”

In conclusion, Archbishop Chaput called on the faithful--“every son and daughter of the Church”—to support the new Holy Father with “enthusiasm, prayers and support.”

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U.S. networks downplay pro-Pope polls, reveal liberal media bias

Washington D.C., Apr 29, 2005 (CNA) - A poll by ABC and The Washington Post demonstrated that 81 percent of U.S. Catholics approve of the selection of Pope Benedict XVI, but both media outlets downplayed these results, observed media analyst Tim Graham.

Instead, they chose to headline another one of the poll’s findings that 66 percent of Americans do not want a change in Senate filibuster rules.

The Media Research Center’s director of media analysis noted that the Post put its filibuster story on page one Tuesday, and placed the pro-Pope poll on page A-11.

He also observed that ABC’s World News Tonight highlighted the filibuster poll Monday, but did not mention the papal poll. Instead, anchor Charles Gibson turned to a brief report on his thoughts about the Pope’s election. ABC’s Good Morning America noted the pro-Pope number in passing Monday.

Graham suggests that the poor reporting on the poll is linked to media bias and the media’s coverage immediately following Pope Benedict’s April 19 election, which was reactionary.

“A persistent network storyline before, during, and after the conclave was how a broad majority of American Catholics were going to be distraught by another conservative Pope,” said Graham.

“In fact, the liberal networks tried hard to lobby the opinions of American Catholics that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was a scary “ultraconservative,” an “extreme conservative,” and even “God’s Rottweiler,’” Graham continued.

Graham tracked the term “God’s Rottweiler”, which was used by several media these last weeks to describe the newly installed Pope.

He discovered the phrase didn’t show up in the Nexis media database until April 4, two days after Pope John Paul died.

“[The term] began in an Australian newspaper, then was regurgitated by Agence France-Presse April 10, and made the New York Daily News April 15. It caught on like wildfire with a media who wanted the Pope to sound like a German movie villain,” he said.

“Did reporters do any research into whether this nickname came from inside the Church, as they often implied, or was it created inside a newsroom?” Graham pressed. He adding that The Daily News claimed it was “gleefully” coined by an anti-Ratzinger Italian cardinal.

“The nickname was ‘too good to check,’” he said.

Tim Graham is author of “Pattern of Deception: The Media’s Role in the Clinton Presidency”. He also contributed to “And That’s the Way it Isn’t: A Reference Guide to Media Bias”.

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USCCB official hails passage of interstate abortion bill, urges Senate to follow through

Washington D.C., Apr 29, 2005 (CNA) - An official of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging the Senate to pass a bill that would prevent adults from accompanying minor girls across state lines for an abortion without their parents’ consent.

It would also oblige doctors to inform parents before performing an abortion on a minor girl who is from out of state.
The House of Representatives passed the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, H.R. 748, yesterday. Cathy Cleaver Ruse praised the passage of the bill, but said the Senate must follow through.

“The practice of taking teens across state lines for secret abortions strikes at the heart of the family and the rights of parents," said the director of planning and information for the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.

Ruse said secret abortions also present “a grave danger” to the girls who undergo the surgical procedure without their medical records, and with no medical follow-up.

This Senate sponsor for the bill is Senator John Ensign (R-Nv.).

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New federal budget ‘hard to justify’: Catholic Charities USA

Washington D.C., Apr 29, 2005 (CNA) - Catholic Charities USA is disappointed that the federal budget for 2006 includes $35 billion in mandatory spending cuts, including $9 billion in the Medicaid program.

Catholic Charities president Fr. Larry Snyder said the decision is “devastating at a time when millions [of Americans] lack health insurance and have no way to pay for medical care.

The cuts, he said, will mostly affect the poor and the elderly. Catholic Charities had lobbied against such cuts earlier this year.

"The level of these proposed cuts is disturbing, especially when the 'savings' from those cuts will be used to justify even more tax cuts,” he said. The budget also calls for additional tax cuts of $106 billion over five years.

“Taking from the poor who have so little to give to those who have so much is hard to justify from a moral perspective,” he said.

Fr. Snyder said he was grateful, however, to a group of senators, led by Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), who fought successfully to curb proposals that would have made even more cuts to Medicaid and other poverty-fighting programs.

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Alaska family files lawsuit over secret, government-funded abortion

Anchorage, Alaska, Apr 29, 2005 (CNA) - The parents of a then 15-year old girl are suing an Alaska hospital whose social worker secretly flew her and her boyfriend to Seattle in March of 2003, on government money to have an abortion.

The social worker, affiliated with Providence Alaska Medical Center failed to notify the parents of their daughter’s pregnancy or the two-day trip.

After calling police to begin a search for their daughter, the parents, whose names are being withheld because of the sensitive nature of the situation, learned from an older daughter about the Seattle trip.

The Alaska House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday to uphold state parental notification laws, which the state has failed to enforce, according to an article in the Anchorage Daily News.

Yale Metzger, attorney for the parents told the Daily News that, "Whether you agree or disagree with parental consent or parental notification, this isn't the right way."

But Karina Jennings, spokesperson for the Catholic Providence hospital, disagrees.

While pointing out that the hospital will not perform abortions themselves, they do often refer women to places that do. "We believe we followed good sound medical practice in this case,” she said.

The girl, now 17, says that she regrets having the abortion, and her parents have stressed that they would have helped to raise it.

The lawsuit also noted that although the girl told her boyfriend’s mother that her parents would not approve of the pregnancy, neither they, nor she, wanted the abortion.

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Vatican to issue last coins with image of John Paul II

Vatican City, Apr 29, 2005 (CNA) - The Vatican put into circulation on Thursday the last series of euros with the image of the late Pope John Paul II.

Sets of 8 pieces will be sold at a price of 23 euros each. 

The Vatican has not yet announced when new coins will be struck bearing the image of Benedict XVI.

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Argentinean bishop: “Benedict XVI was sent by God”

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Apr 29, 2005 (CNA) - Bishop Agustin Radrizzani of Lomas de Zamora, Argentina, said this week Pope Benedict XVI was “sent by God” and he noted that “the announcement of his election brought us joy because orphanhood disappeared as the Lord gave us a new Vicar who would represent Him.”

During a thanksgiving Mass at the local Cathedral, the bishop said it was “very necessary that we learn to love the Holy Father because as of that glorious day of April 19, God has entrusted the leadership of the Church to him.”

“One perceives that love in the people because he was an intimate collaborator of John Paul II, because he is a man capable of understanding the problems of the world, because he understands the hopes and sorrows of our time,” the bishop said.

Bishop Radrizzani explained that the reason for this love is that “he has been given to us by God, and He knows what we need more than we do.”

“To love him means to see things differently than the world does, it means to constantly pray for him, that in his feelings of frailty before the mission God has given him, he might trust in the Lord and in our prayers,” said Bishop Radrizzani.

“We are all the Church and just as we all suffer the problems from problems in our family, so also we suffer from the problems in the Church, and we make the anguishes and sufferings of our beloved Pope our own,” he added.

Lastly, Bishop Radrizzani noted that God wishes to tell us something through the Pope.  “We heard him when, after invoking the intercession of the saints, he said he did not feel alone, and when he told us that his true plan of governing is not to do his own will, nor follow his own ideas, but rather to do the will of God.”

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