Front Royal, Va., Oct 31, 2005 (CNA) - The head of the world's largest pro-family organization is urging President George W. Bush to open the public debate and legal fight against the abortion industry.
"For 33 years, the unborn child has been denied the right-to-life and the American people have been denied their right to self governance. The public fight over abortion has been put off for too long and that must come to an end,” said Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International (HLI).
"Mr. President, now is the time to stand and fight against the abortion industry and their water carriers in the United States Senate," he said.
Fr. Euteneuer also commended Harriet Miers' decision to remove herself from consideration for the Supreme Court. He noted the demands on the part of pro-abortion senators for a “consensus candidate” to replace Miers. “The Senate will attack any nominee with a history of respecting human dignity,” he said.
"Harriet Miers made the right decision. In choosing to withdraw she put the best interests of our country and the Supreme Court above her own self-interests," he stated. "We hope that the president will demonstrate an equal measure of courage and integrity by choosing a nominee who is unapologetically pro-life."
Fr. Euteneuer said more Catholics voted Republican in this last November's election than anytime since 1928 because “they believed the administration would appoint judges who respect the Constitution and the inalienable rights of every human life.”
He assured the president that Catholics “will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the president to defend any nominee who has a clear record of respecting the life of the unborn child."
South Orange, N.J., Oct 31, 2005 (CNA) - An associate dean at Seton Hall University has been demoted after publicly stating that the Catholic Church is unfairly attacking homosexuals and making them scapegoats for the sex-abuse scandal.
W. King Mott, who is openly homosexual and lives with his partner, published his views in a letter that appeared in The Star-Ledger of Newark Oct. 19.
The following day, the school's dean, Molly Smith, asked Mott to step down, saying it was inappropriate for the associate dean to publish his comments while identifying himself as part of the administration at the Catholic university, reported The Star-Ledger.
Mott has been working at Seton Hall for the last seven years, three of them as associate dean. The 44 year old said he believes a university should be a place for free expression of ideas but he holds no ill will toward Smith.
Mott said Friday will be his last day as an associate dean, and although he also teaches in the school's political science department, Mott said he would begin looking for a new job.
Chicago, Ill., Oct 31, 2005 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Chicago has reached an out-of-court settlement with 24 people who say priests sexually abused them as minors. The sum of the settlement has not been disclosed, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.
At a press conference Thursday, lawyers for the victims and archdiocesan spokesman Jim Dwyer said the settlement involves 14 current or former priests, none of whom is currently in active ministry.
The five of the men are deceased; the other nine have been permanently removed from ministry, said Dwyer.
Since 1950, the archdiocese has received credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors against 60 priests, Dwyer said.
Victims’ lawyers commended archdiocesan officials for their willingness to negotiate and settle with abuse survivors whose cases were beyond statutes of limitations. They also said the archdiocese should release a comprehensive list of priests who stand accused of abusing minors.
But Dwyer said the archdiocese would not publish such a list as not all of the allegations are proven or credible.
Vatican City, Oct 31, 2005 (CNA) - On Saturday, Pope Benedict expressed his personal condemnation of recent anti-Israeli statements, and called on the international community to show its solidarity against increased violence in the Holy Land.
The Holy Father’s declaration was made public over the weekend by Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro Valls.
In it, the Pope said that "The serious events in the Holy Land over the last few days are a cause of grave concern to the Holy See which, uniting itself with the entire international community, expresses its own firm condemnation of acts of violence - the terrorist attack on Hadera and the subsequent retaliation - from whichever side they come, and of certain particularly serious and unacceptable declarations denying the right of existence to the State of Israel.”
Last week, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed to speak for his entire nation when he commented that Israel should be “wiped off the map.”
"On this occasion,”, the Pope said, “the Holy See reaffirms the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security, each in their own sovereign State.”
"At the same time,” the Pope continued, “the Holy See feels the duty to renew its appeal to the leaders of all the peoples of the Middle East, to listen to the longing for peace and justice that rises from the population…”
He also called on them the leaders “to avoid actions and decisions leading to division and death, and to commit themselves with courage and determination to creating the minimum conditions necessary for dialogue to resume, which is the only way to guarantee a future of peace and prosperity to the children of that land."
Vatican City, Oct 31, 2005 (CNA) - This past weekend at the Vatican, eight Spanish martyrs moved one step closer to Sainthood when they were beatified in a ceremony led by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Speaking by order of the Holy Father, the Cardinal pronounced as blessed, Servants of God: Josep Tapies Sirvant and six companions, priests, martyrs; and Maria de los Angeles Ginard Marti, professed religious of the Sisters Guardians of the Eucharistic Cult, virgin and martyr.
The event occurred during a special Eucharistic ceremony in which Cardinal Martins read an Apostolic Letter from the Pope making the pronouncement.
At the end of the ceremony, Pope Benedict himself made an appearance at the basilica to venerate the relics of the martyrs and to address the Spanish and Catalan pilgrims present.
"During the religious persecution in Spain," he said, "the exemplary group of priests of Urgell gave up their lives for their faithfulness to the priestly ministry, which they carried out with great commitment in the parish communities entrusted to their care.”
“Bearing witness to their priestly condition and forgiving their persecutors,” the Pope continued, “they gave their lives while invoking the King of the Universe."
Benedict also expressed his hope that the newly blessed priests would "intercede for the diocese of Urgell and for other Spanish dioceses, for priestly and religious vocations, and for the growth of Christian virtues in all the faithful."
The Pope specifically recalled how Blessed Maria de los Angeles, who was born in the diocese of Mallorca, "suffered martyrdom in Madrid during the same period of persecution. Totally committed to the Lord in religious life, she dedicated long hours to the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, yet without neglecting her service to the community.”
“Thus”, he reflected, “did she prepare herself to give her life as a supreme expression of love for Christ."
"For us,” the Pope told the crowd, “these new Blesseds are a living example of priestly identity and religious consecration."
"Let us give thanks to God”, he implored, “for the great gift of these heroic witnesses of the faith. Blessed Josep Tapies and Blessed Maria de los Angeles, pray for the ecclesial communities of Urgell, Madrid, Mallorca and all Spain! Amen."
Vatican City, Oct 31, 2005 (CNA) - As the Church prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of Vatican Council II in December, Pope Benedict yesterday, reflected on the historic and continued value of the documents that the council produced, particularly, for the life of the Church today.
The Pope delivered his remarks shortly before praying his weekly Angelus prayer with a crowd of thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
The Church recently celebrated the anniversary of the seventh Vatican II council session on October 28th. That session was followed in 1965 by another three, before finally closing on December 8th of that year.
The Pope appeared at his study window yesterday and recalled how "most of the conciliar documents were approved during the final phase of that historic ecclesial event, which had begun three years earlier."
He noted that all the texts "maintain their value and their contemporary significance which, in some ways, has even increased.”
He specifically mentioned the "Decrees 'Christus Dominus' on the pastoral office of bishops in the Church, 'Perfectae caritatis' on the renewal of religious life, and 'Optatam totius' on priestly training; and the Declarations 'Gravissimum educationis' on Christian education, and 'Nostra aetate' on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions."
Continuing, he said that while “the themes of priestly formation, consecrated life and Episcopal ministry have been the subject of three Ordinary Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops, held respectively in 1990, 1995 and 2001. ... The document on education is less well-known.”
But the Church, he said, “has always been committed to the education of young people." Even today, "in the age of global communications, the ecclesial community is aware of the importance of an educational system that recognizes the primacy of men and women as persons.”
“The first and most important educators”, he said, “are parents, helped, in accordance with the principle of subsidiary, by civil society. A special educational responsibility is felt by the Church, to which Christ entrusted the task of announcing 'the way of salvation'."
The Pope went on to speak of the historic 'Nostra aetate,' document, highlighting its "great contemporary significance" because it concerns the attitude of the Christian community towards non-Christian religions.
Noting the Church's mission of "promoting unity and love among men," the Pope said that Vatican Council II "rejects 'nothing that is true and holy' in other religions and to everyone announces Christ, 'way truth and life,' in Whom all human beings 'find the fullness of religious life'."
Benedict said that "With the Declaration 'Nostra aetate,' the Council Fathers proposed certain fundamental truths: ... the special link binding Christians and Jews, ... esteem for Muslims and followers of other religions, ... and the spirit of universal brotherhood that prohibits any kind of discrimination or religious persecution."
A special ceremony celebrating ‘Nostra aetate’ was held last week at the Vatican. It brought together religious leaders, especially Jewish, from around the world to discuss the effects and future ramifications of the document.
Washington D.C., Oct 31, 2005 (CNA) - Still recovering from the rejection of Harriet Miers, his first pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, President Bush received welcome support from many pro-lifers and religious groups today for his latest pick of Judge Samuel Alito to fill the spot.
While the debate over Alito, announced this morning, has yet to play out, many are praising the nominee for his strong anti-abortion stance, especially in a well known case against Planned Parenthood in 1991.
In it, Alito, a Catholic, was the lone dissenter in a decision which struck down a Pennsylvania law requiring women to tell their spouses if they were going to have an abortion.
In this morning’s nomination, the president stressed that 55-year old Alito has more judicial experience than any other Supreme Court Justice has had in over 70 years. This was a heavy point of contention with the nomination of Miers, who had never served as a judge.
Fr. Frank Pavone, head of the group Priests for Life, thanked the president for “swiftly” naming a new nominee and thus, “fulfilling his [presidential] duty.”
Calling also on the U.S. Senate to likewise deliberate in a quick and fair manner, Fr. Pavone recalled that “The nation is in a culture war, and there's no need to hide that fact.”
“Some Senators”, he said, “will oppose any change on the Court that would threaten so-called 'abortion rights.' But the American people are already deciding that their Constitution does not permit dismembering children. It is inevitable that the Court will catch up."
Rev. Rob Schenck, of the National Clergy Council said that he is "initially heartened by the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.”
“From what we know,” he said in a statement this morning, “Judge Alito has a proven track record of respect for the original intent of the framers of the constitution when it comes to the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage, and the public acknowledgment of God.”
Schenck and his group “are calling on Christian people of every tradition to pray for Judge Alito and the members of the US Senate as the confirmation process begins, and for the future of the Supreme Court."
Jan LaRue, of the group, Concerned Women for America, who had staunchly criticized Miers, praised Alito’s pick, saying that "He has all of the qualifications needed: intellect, knowledge and experience in constitutional law, integrity, competence, humility and judicial temperament."
No date has yet been set for Senate hearings on the new nominee, but watchers speculate that they will most likely take place after Thanksgiving.
Vatican City, Oct 31, 2005 (CNA) - On Monday, the Holy See announced Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer and mission intentions for the month of November. Both seek to build up the vocations of married people and priests.
Specifically, the Pope’s general prayer intention for the month of November is: "That married people may imitate the example of conjugal holiness shown by so many couples in the ordinary conditions of life."
Similarly, his mission intention is: "That pastors of mission territories may recognize with constant care their duty to foster the permanent formation of their own priests."
Madrid, Spain, Oct 31, 2005 (CNA) - The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, Bishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez said this week he supports the neutrality of the State regarding religion, but he defended the right of Catholics to participate in public life and to exercise their freedom of religion.
During a gathering on dialogue between cultures and religions organized by the Atman Foundation, Bishop Blazquez, participating in a panel on the compatibility of democracy and a state religion, called on the State to work together with the different religious confessions.
The bishop called Vatican II an important event for his generation and his guide. “We all have a right to religious freedom, which cannot be forced nor imposed, neither towards the interior nor toward the exterior, both in private and in public,” he added.
Bishop Blazquez also noted that the Catholic Church in Spain has always been open to dialogue and collaboration with the government, with political leaders, with cultural leaders and institutions, in order to achieve reconciliation. “That is our position today,” he stated.
Lastly, Bishop Blazquez acknowledged the benefits of a secularism that respects plurality, “and on the basis of that premise a religiously-neutral State that respects all religions is good, “but that is not the case with a secularism that seeks to suppress the religious freedom of citizens.”
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct 31, 2005 (CNA) - As the month of the Rosary draws to a close, Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Tarazona, Argentina, said recitation of the traditional devotion is an answer to the believer’s need for contemplation while at the same time it strengthens one’s vocation to love.
“As a simple prayer, it can be continuously repeated while traveling or while one is waiting for a long period of time. It focuses us and brings us into the deepest core of our lives, it leads us to our heart of hearts,” he added.
Bishop Fernandez emphasized that “although it seems like it is a prayer addressed only to Mary, the center of the Rosary is Jesus Christ, because we pray with Mary, repeating again and again: ‘Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus’.”
Through the four sets of mysteries, he continued, we reflect on the life of Jesus, in order to receive the fruits of His redemption. The Rosary is about “contemplating Jesus Christ from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, because there is no better school than her for the Christian.”
The bishop exhorted Argentineans to pray the Rosary either alone or as a family for peace in the world and to honor the Blessed Mother, who plants the seeds of peace and love in each human heart.
Valencia, Fla., Oct 31, 2005 (CNA) - The President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, announced last week that parishes around the world will be able to offer a special family catechesis in preparation for the IV World Meeting of Families, which will be celebrated on July 1-9, 2006 in Valencia, Spain, July 1-9.
Speaking to the Avan news agency after meeting with pastors of the Archdiocese of Valencia, the cardinal announced that the short catechesis would soon be distributed to all of the world’s bishops’ conferences.
Likewise, Cardinal Trujillo expressed his confidence that Pope Benedict XVI would attend the meeting in Valencia. “The important effort launched by both priests and laity in Valencia will be reflected in the event and also in the months that precede it,” he added.
More information on the meeting and the catechesis program can be found at www.emf2006.org