Vatican City, Jul 14, 2005 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI joined millions of Londoners today who, during the morning commute observed two minutes of silence to mark the one week anniversary of a series of bomb attacks which rocked that city.
All across Europe, traffic and business will stop as mourners honor the 52 slain victims of the explosions.
According to Joaquin Navarro-Valls, Vatican press office director, the Holy Father, who is currently vacationing the northwest Italian alps, participated in the two minutes of silence from his vacation spot to honor the victims killed in London on July 7th.
Navarro-Valls is accompanying the Pope, on holiday at Les Combes in the Valle d'Aosta announced today around noon that Benedict "prayed for the victims of terrorism, for their families and, specifically, for peace. He also prayed that such acts of violence are not repeated."
The press office director also noted that the Pope prays the Angelus every day, and that "on this occasion he prayed for the needs of the world."
Glen Ellyn, Ill., Jul 14, 2005 (CNA) - The Illinois Family Institute condemned Gov. Rod Blagojevich's decision to create a public fund that will support embryonic stem-cell research.
The governor issued an executive order July 12 that instructs the Illinois Department of Public Health to create the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute and disburse $10 million to support medical research for cures and treatments. The institute is expected to be up and running by the end of the year.
"The governor has done an end-run around the legislative process to fund research that advances a utilitarian agenda in which the end justifies the means," said the family institute’s executive director Peter LaBarbera in a press release July 12.
According to LaBarbera, Blagojevich has “misuse[d] his executive power to endorse liberal-agenda positions on life issues at the expense of reasoned democratic debate that would let the people of Illinois have their say on these matters.”
The social activist cited neuroscientist Dr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, who states that embryonic stem-cell research is “always morally objectionable, because the human embryo must be destroyed in order to harvest its stem cells.”
LaBarbera pointed out that many advances have been made with adult stem-cell research, “and none so far” with embryonic stem cells.
“There is no need to inject scarce taxpayer dollars into one side of this moral debate,” he said.
Cheyenne, Wyo., Jul 14, 2005 (CNA) - A $2-million land donation has made it possible to realize Wyoming’s first Catholic college. Wyoming Catholic College will begin accepting students in the fall of 2007 at an interim campus in Lander; the permanent home will be the scenic Broken Anvil Ranch, 12 miles south.
Franci Mortenson-Perkins gave the 2,155 acres of deeded and leased state and federal lands to the college. The gift includes a long-term lease of an additional 6,200 acres of adjacent deeded lands.
Bishop David Ricken of Cheyenne said Wednesday at a press conference that the four-year Catholic liberal arts college is an idea that came from prayer.
The campus will be "imbued with the spirit of Catholic morality and tradition where students will be immersed in the natural world," Bishop Ricken said.
The college will also be the state’s second four-year institution of higher education. The documents to formally incorporate Wyoming Catholic College were filed Monday.
Mortenson-Perkins said the donation stands as a legacy to her late husband Christopher Mortenson and herself for the young people of the region.
"The Broken Anvil Ranch is a special place, and I am especially pleased that it will remain, in perpetuity, a place of learning,” she was quoted as saying.
Washington D.C., Jul 14, 2005 (CNA) - Catholic high school principals and presidents will gather for a weeklong conference, July 18-22, to acquire more knowledge and skills to work effectively within the president/principal model, which is becoming increasingly popular in Catholic schools across the country.
The national conference, held at Catholic University, will offer 11 professional workshops as well as opportunities for principals and presidents to network. It is sponsored jointly by CUA, Saint Louis University and the University of San Francisco.
The theme of the conference is Growing and Developing: The Catholic Secondary School President/Principal Model.
The president/principal model is a management strategy that started in high schools sponsored by religious communities, but it is quickly being adopted by diocesan secondary schools.
The model assigns to the president responsibility for long-term planning, fiscal management, alumni affairs, board leadership, recruitment, institutional advancement, Catholic identity, public representation and fundraising and development efforts.
The principal is chiefly responsible for academic and student affairs, student services, admissions, school ministry, and the hiring and supervision of teaching faculty and support staff.
Of the 1,225 Catholic secondary schools nationwide, 47 percent use the president/principal model. Among those using the model, 31 percent are diocesan schools, a number that has increased by 18 percent since 1999, says Sr. Mary Frances Taymans, SND.
The executive director of the Department of Secondary Schools at the National Catholic Educational Association explains that the model "represents a response to the need for additional administration in Catholic high schools as the demands on principals have become more complex.”
For more information about the conference, e-mail: [email protected]
Ottawa, Canada, Jul 14, 2005 (CNA) - With only 33 days to go, Canadian Catholics are geared up for World Youth Day 2005.
To date, more than 6,200 Canadian youth have registered for World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne, Germany, up 50 percent from WYD 2000 in Rome, reports the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The largest Canadian delegation is from the Archdiocese of Montreal with more than 900 pilgrims, reports Sr. Francine Guilmette, FMA, co-ordinator of the archdiocesan WYD Office.
Almost 30 Canadian bishops — including the country’s three cardinals — are expected to attend the international youth event, Aug. 16-21.
The Canadian Catholic press will also have a strong presence.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, who was national director of WYD 2002 in Toronto and is now CEO of Salt + Light Television, was in Cologne recently to finalize television coverage arrangements for the Canadian Catholic network, EWTN and the French-language arm of the CBC, called Radio-Canada. The three broadcasters will share a platform in Cologne.
Several diocesan papers have also made arrangements to have reporters on site.
Covina, Calif., Jul 14, 2005 (CNA) - Following a heartbreaking battle to save the life of their brain-damaged daughter last spring, Bob and Mary Schindler, parents of Terri Schiavo, are scheduled to make a special appearance at this month’s National Catholic Family Conference in Anaheim, California.
The Schindler’s, who made headlines during their battle to halt a court-ordered starvation of their daughter--set in motion by Terri’s husband Michael Schiavo--will speak to conference participants on how to avoid what organizers call “similar nightmares” to theirs.
Ruben Quezada of Catholic Resource Center, the conference’s sponsor organization, told CNA this morning that they chose to invite the Schindlers because of their close alignment to the group’s mission, which is to “defend life in all matters.”
The Terri Schiavo case, he said, “was one that opened the eyes of thousands of people…but it’s a situation which should have been brought up years ago.”
He noted that while Terri’s body of has already been examined following her death, “it’s time now to examine our souls…to educate people” on the need to defend life.
“We invited the Schindlers”, he said, “to share their testimony and how their faith played a role.”
Quezada noted that following the Schindler’s presentation, the conference will welcome Br. Paul O’Donnell, to explain the Church’s teaching on matters like Schiavo’s and where Catholics ought to stand. He will be followed by attorney Mark Henry, who will explain to listeners how to avoid being placed in a situation similar to the Schindler’s.
The organization is already boasting a pre-registration of over 4500 for the July 23rd through 24th conference.
Added Quezada: “it’s going to be a huge event this year.”
More information can be found about the Catholic Family Conference by visiting www.catholicRC.org
Vatican City, Jul 14, 2005 (CNA) - During a speech to the United Nations Economic and Social Council yesterday, the Vatican’s Archbishop Celestino Migliore stressed that the unprecedented aid and support sent to areas ravaged by last December’s tsunami, “must not be squandered.”
The archbishop, who is permanent observer to the U.N. discussed the aid given to those affected by the catastrophe and the task of rebuilding the countries involved during his speech. The U.N. council held a special session which looked at "special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance."
Archbishop Migliore praised the Holy See and other charitable organizations for their swiftness in responding to the December 26th disaster.
"Dozens of Catholic agencies quickly followed this up,” he said, “with projects for the reconstruction of homes and schools" in the countries affected. "It is estimated that around 650 million dollars has been made available by agencies related to the Holy See to the peoples affected by the tsunami."
He noted that "the funds just mentioned were firstly applied to the most urgent emergency needs: safe drinking water, food, shelter, clothing, etc. ... Refugees, internally displaced persons, and women and children especially vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, were among the first to be helped.”
“After the emergency phase,” the archbishop added, “reconstruction and rehabilitation projects were begun, including the rebuilding of homes, schools and hospitals, not to mention the provision of agricultural and fishing equipment."
Noting the importance of spiritual and religious support in the rebuilding process, the U.N. observer also highlighted the Vatican’s commitment "in all circumstances to respect religious and cultural differences, and to work amicably to facilitate greater trust among believers of all faiths and non-believers. Inter-religious cooperation and peace-building initiatives will continue to form an important element of the Church's work."
Archbishop Migliore also discussed the planning and distribution of resources, saying, "Our agencies and institutions in the areas affected by the tsunami specifically examined ways of avoiding the creation of a bloated bureaucracy to deal with the emergency, in order to ensure the delivery of the greatest amount of funding to its proper final destination."
The prelate closed his presentation to the U.N. council by noting that ironically, the tsunami disaster "has actually presented the affected governments and peoples with an unprecedented opportunity for reconstruction and development.”
“The internal, bilateral, north-south and south-south cooperation which was seen at the time is a platform, not to be squandered, but to be built upon for the good both of the survivors and of all the peoples of the region."
Madrid, Spain, Jul 14, 2005 (CNA) - Bishop Juan Jose Asenjo of Cordoba, Spain, warned this week that society “will end up sooner or later paying for the decision to make same-sex unions equal to marriage.”
The legalization of homosexual “marriage” “will have negative consequences for the family and for children adopted by homosexual couples,” the bishop said during a press conference at the University of Almeria, where he is participating in summer courses.
Bishop Ansejo expressed regret over the decision by the country’s political leaders “to consider homosexual unions as ‘marriage’ and to grant approval to these unions.”
He noted as well the existence of a “secularist offensive in Spain that shows little respect for the rights of the faithful and for religious freedom.”
Caracas, Venezuela, Jul 14, 2005 (CNA) - The Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela concluded its Plenary Assembly this week with a call to engage in dialogue to defend life from the moment of conception against efforts to legalize abortion in the country.
A statement by the Conference deplored the actions of certain “persons and groups” who do not recognize the right to life as “fundamental and unrenounceable. We profoundly deplore this and we invite them to reflection and dialogue.”
The bishops recalled that “the Gospel leads us to strongly proclaim that life is the most fundamental right. The followers of Jesus Christ, together with other believers and men and women of good will, are called to be defenders of this right, in its beginnings, in its development, in its end.”
Those who would promote attacks against life are “the authors of a particular form of the culture of death,” they stated.
“The proposal to change the Penal Code in order to legalize abortion in certain cases deserves special attention. As the Church we reaffirm our position in defense of life,” the bishops said, adding that it “is not acceptable to sentence to death the most defenseless, those recently conceived.” “We plead for proper attention to be given, in diverse areas, to those women suffering from these abuses and we demand the strict application of justice in those cases that merit it.”
In their statement the bishops’ reiterated the Church’s “option for a culture of life and of peace,” and they called on Venezuelans to allow the values of their faith to “illuminate the paths on which the country should walk.”
Madrid, Spain, Jul 14, 2005 (CNA) - The Vice President of the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, Archbishop Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Toledo, denounced the educational policy of the Spanish government this week as an attempt to “invade” the private sector of citizens that could lead to “a type of totalitarianism that no democratic voting could ever justify.”
In conference at a summer course on Church-State relations organized by the St. Paul University, the archbishop warned that when “a State tends to invade the private spheres of people or attempts to promote social changes and a new culture desired by some group in power,” it falls into “a sort of totalitarianism that no democratic voting could ever justify.”
During the event, which was also attended by Spain’s Minister of Justice, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, Archbishop Cañizares said the current “invasion” of the State suggests a violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens.
Referring to the issue of religion in schools, he warned that any “monopolizing tendency” on the part of the State implies “a grave danger of ideological manipulation from political power.” Although two proposals on education rolled out by the government last March and June envision schools to be strictly “public and secular,” the archbishop noted that the Constitution does not envision a purely secular State and that in addition it cannot be ignored that the majority in Spain is Catholic.
Cologne, Germany, Jul 14, 2005 (CNA) - Seminarians from around the world have until the end of July to register for a special meeting with Pope during World Youth Day in Cologne in August.
According to organizers of event, there are two international gatherings of seminarians scheduled for WYD. The first will be a holy hour presided by the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, which will be open to all seminarians, priests involved in their formation and young men interested in the priesthood. This event will take place on Wednesday afternoon, August 17.
The second meeting will be presided by Pope Benedict XVI and will take place on Friday, August 19 at 5pm at the Church of St. Pantaleon in Cologne. In order to obtain one of the 5,000 passes to the event, seminarians must register by July 31.
Passes can be picked up between August 15-18, from 10am to 10pm and on Thursday, August 19, until 2pm at the Church of St. Pantaleon. Seminarians are required to present a letter from their respective bishops verifying their enrollment in seminary as well as personal identification documents.
In order to obtain one of the 5,000 passes to the event, seminarians must register online by July 31 at: http://www.wjt2005-seminaristen.de/index_e.htm