Washington D.C., Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - Yesterday, in an official briefing before the House International Relations Committee, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Chief of Staff Mark Malloch Brown clarified that the term “reproductive health” does not include abortion.
“The UN refuted the idea that abortion is part of reproductive health. This is a clear rejection of the abortion lobby’s efforts to use this term to pressure pro-life countries to remove protections for unborn children,” said Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey.
During yesterday’s on-the-record public briefing, Congressman Smith referenced a section of the 2005 UN General Assembly World Summit Outcome document which refers to “Gender equality and empowerment of women.” One of the priorities of Section 58 (c) is “ensuring equal access to reproductive health”. During the following exchange, Congressman Smith asked for clarification as to whether the UN considers abortion to be part of “reproductive health”:
Congressman Chris Smith:
“I’m talking about, if I could, Mr. Chairman [Congressman Henry Hyde], about the UN itself, not UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population) , whether or not in an action document like this where very strong principles are enunciated, whether or not you interpret that language to mean abortion - reproductive health?”
Mark Malloch Brown, a British citizen replied:
“We do not interpret it as being abortion.”
Congressman Chris Smith:
“I appreciate that.”
“I appreciate Mr. Brown’s clear rejection of the idea that reproductive health includes abortion. Now we can work together to ensure that true reproductive health helps women and unborn children and resist efforts to export the killing of unborn children to developing countries,” said Smith.
The hearing involved also John Bolton, Ambassador of the United States to The UN, which also criticized the term “ Reproductive health”, along with Cardinal Angelo Scola in his speech to the General Assembly last week. Cardinal Scola preferred the more simple term “Health of women and children.”
(The video of this exchange can be found on the House International Relations Committee website at:
Vatican City, Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - During a visit this morning to Rome's "Bambino Gesu" pediatric hospital, near the Vatican, Pope Benedict praised hospital workers and asked that the "Church herself may be the heart of the hospital", and that it would draw strength from Jesus, present in the Eucharist--the "gentle Doctor of body and soul."
Bambino Gesu is officially the property of the Holy See and is internationally-renowned for its care of children, both in the field of medical care and of biomedical research.
During his time, the Holy Father visited a number of the hospital's departments and visited briefly with many sick children and their families.
He then continued to the center's lecture hall where he greeted the hospital president, members of the administrative council, the medical staff and the civil authorities.
Prior to the Pope's address, hospital president Francesco Silvano recalled "Bambino Gesu's" history, noting that it was founded in 1869, thanks to "a charitable gesture by the noble family of Salviati (who) ... 80 years ago donated it to Pope Pius XI. Since then the hospital has been considered an organ of the Holy See, under the governance and control of the Secretariat of State."
Speaking to the group, Pope Benedict explained that he had chosen the Bambino Gesu for his first hospital visit as Pope, for two main reasons: "because this institution belongs to the Holy See," and "so that I too can bear witness to Jesus' love for children. ... In everyone who suffers, even more so if they are small and defenseless, there is Jesus Who welcomes us and awaits our love."
He highlighted how work in the hospital "calls for great willingness and constant efforts to increase available resources, it requires attention, a spirit of sacrifice, patience and disinterested love, so that mothers and fathers may find here a place that breathes hope and serenity, even in moments of acute apprehension."
"Here you concern yourselves", he continued, "with ensuring excellent treatment, not just from the point of view of healthcare, but also in human terms. This approach, which is valid for all healthcare centers, must especially distinguish those that are inspired by evangelical principles."
The Pope thanked hospital personnel for their part "in this work of such great human value, which also represents a most effective form of apostolate," the Pope said: "May the Church herself be the heart of the hospital: from Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist and the gentle Doctor of bodies and souls, draw the spiritual strength to comfort and cure the patients here."
In conclusion, Pope Benedict said that in the hospital it is possible "to offer concrete and effective witness of the Gospel, in contact with suffering humanity. Here, through deeds, the power of Christ is proclaimed, Who with His spirit heals and transforms human existence. Let us pray that, together with the cure, the love of Jesus is imparted to the young guests."
Sacramento, Calif., Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - Yesterday Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 849, a bill proposed by Assemblyman Leno, (D-San Francisco), a measure that would have legalized same-sex marriage in California.
"We are tremendously grateful that the governor followed-through on his promise to veto legislation that would have derailed the institution of marriage," said Karen England, Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute, a pro-family grassroots organization.
"Nearly two-thirds of Californians voted just five years ago that the institution of marriage is for one man and one woman only," said England. "We’re glad to see that the governor, unlike our legislature, respects the commonsense of the people."
AB 849 passed through the state senate and the assembly, by a mere single vote in each house, thus making California the first legislative body in the nation to approve homosexual marriage without judicial decree.
CRI strives to support family-friendly policies throughout California's communities and the state Legislature.
Vatican City, Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - This morning, the Vatican announced Pope Benedict's prayer intentions for the upcoming month of October. In them, the Holy Father focuses his attention on asking God to strengthen Christians in the face of an increasingly hostile secular society.
The Pope's general prayer intention for the month is, "That Christians may not be discouraged by the attacks of secularized society, but with complete trust, may bear witness to their faith and hope."
Likewise, his mission intention is, "That the faithful may join to their fundamental duty of prayer the support also of economic contributions to the missionary works."
Washington D.C., Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - The confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court "is an encouraging sign that this time, at least, pro-abortion groups did not have the ability to hijack the judicial nomination process in Washington,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, who attended Roberts' swearing-in ceremony at the White House.
“Chief Justice Roberts responded to his harshest critics on the Senate Judiciary Committee with skill, honesty and good humor,” he continued.
A number of Catholic organizations issued statements yesterday congratulating Judge John Roberts on receiving Senate confirmation as the 17th Chief Justice of the United States.
“It is disappointing that 22 senators chose to vote against a man who is so clearly well-qualified for this position,” said Anderson. He said the Knights are glad that opponents did not resort to a filibuster, and hope that “future nominations to the Supreme Court will be handled in a similarly straightforward manner."
Concerned Women for America also noted that 22 Democrats voted against Roberts.
"Judge Roberts deserved unanimous confirmation by the Senate and the fact that he didn't get it is further proof of how the left is politicizing the judiciary," said Jan LaRue, CWA's chief counsel.
However, LaRue said Roberts’ opinions and statements during the nomination process assure Americans that “'Equal Justice Under Law' under the Roberts Supreme Court is a personal guarantee and not just words carved in granite.”
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said he and the members of his organization “look forward to this new chapter in the history of the Supreme Court.
“We ask the Holy Spirit to give the new Chief Justice the wisdom and prudence that this role requires," he said.
"We also pray that all Americans will come to a new understanding of the proper role of the Court, which is to apply the laws created by the people through their elected legislatures, rather than replace those legislatures with policy-making of its own," he concluded.
New Orleans, La., Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - Archbishop Alfred Hughes of the hurricane-ravaged Archdiocese of New Orleans has announced that he will celebrate the first Mass in the city’s historic French Quarter since Hurricane Katrina as the St. Louis Cathedral reopens this weekend.
The Archdiocese reported that 69 of their 142 parishes will celebrate Mass this weekend, marking a hopeful turning point in recovery efforts.
The city and surrounding gulf coast were devastated by the category 4 hurricane and subsequent flooding earlier this month.
New Orleans’ French Quarter however, sustained relatively light damage during the massive storm, and to the relief of many, the famous Cathedral weathered the storm all but unharmed.
Officials have said that nearly a third of the city’s evacuated residents will be allowed to return at their own risk Friday.
Archbishop Hughes will celebrate Mass at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 2nd. A list of open parishes is available at the Archdiocese’s website at: http://www.archdiocese-no.org
, Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - The Anglican Church in America has decided to seek union with the Roman Catholic Church. If unification were successful, this would be the first post-Reformation church to reunite with Rome, reports journalist Ken Tatro from “keep me current” in Oregon.
The Anglican Church in America is part of the worldwide Traditional Anglican Communion, which consists of churches that split from the mainstream Anglican Communion in 1979 in opposition to the ordination of women clergy and to changes made to the Book of Common Prayer, which includes the basic doctrines and prayers.
Tatro reported that an international gathering of members of the Traditional Anglican Communion, including their highest-ranking cleric, Archbishop John Hepworth, met at St. Paul’s in Portland last week.
They voted in favor of starting a formal discussion with Rome and eventually creating what is called a “single Eucharist community.” This would allow members of the Traditional Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church to take communion at each other’s churches.
The leaders hope to propose a formal plan to the Vatican by next year. It is unclear how long the process of reunification will take.
Despite unification, from a basic theological and operational standpoint, nothing will be different within the church, said Very Rev. Lester York, dean of St. Paul’s.
York told Tatro that St. Paul’s is gaining membership as the Episcopal Church ordains homosexual clergy and debates blessing same-sex unions. He said his church is attracting people who no longer find the liberalism of other Protestant faiths acceptable.
Formal unity with Rome would better reflect the sect’s doctrine, York told the reporter. He said his church’s beliefs are similar to Roman Catholic and has the same seven sacraments.
Traditional Anglican Communion leaders have been discussing unification with Rome for the past few years, York reported. These discussions have included former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI.
Adelaide, Australia, Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - Mental health and human dignity will be the focus of the next international gathering for the World Day of the Sick, Feb. 9-11, held in Adelaide, Australia.
The event will gather 30 Vatican dignitaries, and hundreds of bishops and health experts from around the world. Pope Benedict XVI is not expected to attend. The event is held on a different continent every five years.
Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide suggested the city after Papua New Guinea indicated it did not have the resources to host the event, reported Adelaide’s The Advertiser.
Head of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, was in Adelaide this week to announce the Pope's decision.
He revealed Pope Benedict had a deep personal interest in the plight of the mentally ill, after the Nazis killed a relative with mental illness, reported the newspaper.
The event includes a public conference and a mass at St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral, where the sick will be anointed with holy oil.
South Bend, Ind., Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has decided to reply to “The Da Vinci Code” through a documentary film to be aired on NBC in April.
The bishops hired NewGroup Media in South Bend to produce the documentary, which will be filmed on location in the Holy Land, Greece, Turkey and Italy, reported the South Bend Tribune.
"Jesus De-coded: Catholic Perspective on the 'Da Vinci Code' " will look at the Church's position on issues raised in the novel and is expected to be broadcast before the release of Ron Howard’s film, based on the book and starring Tom Hanks.
"We feel sometimes that the material (in the book) is presented in a way that is speculative about the life of Jesus," USCCB communications director Manis Calco told the newspaper. "This certainly is a chance for us to put forth our own teachings."
Using re-enactments, interviews with scholars, art imagery and location shooting, "Jesus De-coded" will focus on the Catholic Church's position on three issues raised in Dan Brown's novel: the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, the development of the canon of the Scriptures, and the role of women within the early Church.
The film will be directed by New Group partner Christopher Salvador and written and produced by Sr. Judith Zielinski. The Franciscan nun also serves as director of NewGroup's faith and values division. Shooting will begin in November.
Ratisbon, Germany, Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said this week the Christian roots of Europe “must not be forgotten.” “It is unacceptable that the European Constitution, as opposed to the constitutions of the different German states and of Germany’s federal constitution, includes no reference to God.”
Kohl made his comments during a series of conferences organized by Bishop Gerhard Ludwig of Ratisbon. Bishop Ludwig invited the former “Chancellor of unity,” as he is known, to open the series with a conference on “The Order of European Values and the Unity of Europe.” During his presentation, Kohl spoke of the responsibility Christians have in society and in the development of the European Union. He expressed regret at the decreasing number of Christians on the continent, but he said the expansion of Europe towards the east was a positive sign that would bring new possibilities to Europeans.
Some 1000 people were in attendance at the first in the series of conferences, including the retired Auxiliary Bishop of Ratisbon, Vinzenz Guggenberger, Bishop Frantisek Radkowsky of the neighboring diocese of Pilsen, and Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis.
Manila, Philippines, Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan in the Philippines, said this week, that the regaining of moral values and the fight against corruption continue to be a priority for the good of the country. He warned against a possible resurgence of the “jueteng,” or illegal gambling that has become rampant in some parts of Philippines.
In statements to The Philippine Star, the archbishop noted that “nobody in the current Administration seems to be prepared” to confront the gambling lords, not to mention incarcerate them.
Archbishop Cruz, who is leading an effort to stop the illegal gambling, estimates the games move approximately 17.7 million dollars. He added that gambling lords have bought off “powerful leaders,” which explains why “none of them have been brought to justice up to now.”
Mexico City, Mexico, Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - The Bishops’ Conference of Mexico announced this week Pope Benedict XVI has designated the Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, to be co-president of the Synod of Bishops, set to begin this weekend in Rome.
In addition, the names of other Mexican bishops who have been designated as delegates were also announced. They include Bishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago, President of the Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Miguel Angel Alba Diaz of La Paz, Auxiliary Bishop Jose Trinidad Gonzalez Rodriguez of Guadalajara, and Bishop Juan Manuel Mancilla of Texcoco. Pope Benedict also named two other cardinals of Africa and India to be co-presidents of the Synod along with Cardinal Íñiguez.
The Synod, which will run until October 25, will bring to a close the Year of the Eucharist proclaimed by John Paul II.
The Mexican bishops said the “international exchange and debate will be important for attaining a more profound reflection on the faith and the practice of Eucharist life in the universal Church.”
Lima, Peru, Sep 30, 2005 (CNA) - Diverse Catholic associations in Lima and Bolivia have organized youth gatherings to follow up on the historic meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany.
In Peru, the Christian Life Movement (CLM) organized gatherings with pilgrims and their family and friends in order to share testimonies about the experience in Cologne.
Some 800 people met at the Our Lady of Evangelization Pastoral Center in Lima to pray the rosary in thanksgiving and to mediate on the pilgrimage of the Magi and their encounter with the Lord.
CLM members presented a brief theatrical play in which various young people shared their stories about each day spent at World Youth Day.
“Just as the Magi returned home by another route after their encounter with the Lord, we also can say that we have changed, that the encounter with the Lord has left us different and that we are walking on different paths in our lives after this pilgrimage,” said Gianfranco Castellanos, one of the event’s organizers.In Santa Cruz, Bolivia, some 1000 young people gathered for an event organized by the Salesians under the WYD theme, “We have come to adore Him.” Young people from La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca, Oruro, and Potosi met for a musical festival on September 25 and attended a special Mass the next day.
After Mass, the young people processed to different parishes in Santa Cruz for Eucharistic adoration.