Archive of December 2, 2005

Pope Benedict could visit Poland in June 2006

Krakow, Poland, Dec 2, 2005 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Krakow and former personal Secretary of Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz announced that Pope Benedict XVI could make a visit to the land of Pope Karol Wojtyla next  June.
In an interview given to the Polish national radio, Archbishop Dziwisz said that Pope Benedict might come to Poland on June 10 and 11 of next year. 

Archbishop Dziwisz is now in Rome as part of a delegation of Polish Bishops accomplishing their Ad limina visit. On Thursday December 1st , he met personally with the Pope and according to what he said to the polish radio, they talked “not only about spiritual issues, but also about the concrete aspects of his next trip to Poland.”
The Archbishop noted that, although the itinerary is not settled yet, Benedict XVI could visit Krakow, the Marian Sanctuary of Czestochowa and possibly Auschwitz.

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Papal preacher begins Advent meditations on modern-day faith in Christ

Vatican City, Dec 2, 2005 (CNA) - Earlier today, Pope Benedict attended the first in a series of four Advent reflections given by well-known author and preacher to the papal household--Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M Cap.

Held in the Vatican’s Redemptoris Mater chapel, today’s sermon began the series on the theme: “We preach Jesus Christ as Lord--Faith in Christ today.” The theme is partially taken from St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.

Fr. Cantalamessa, who was appointed preacher to the papal household by the late John Paul II in 1980, traditionally delivers weekly reflections to the Pope, Cardinals, and Bishops of the Roman curia during Lent and Advent each year.

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Cardinal McCarrick urges Bush to protect the poor

Washington D.C., Dec 2, 2005 (CNA) - In a private Oval Office meeting yesterday Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington urged President George W. Bush to ensure that trade negotiations taking place this month in Hong Kong protect the interests of the poor around the world.

“The fight against poverty around the world is vital to establishing solidarity among peoples and nations,” said Cardinal McCarrick after the meeting in his notes to White House media. “Global trade rules, when framed from the perspective of the ‘least among us,’ can lead to more equitable prosperity and stability in a world where growing inequality and instability are very often dangerous realities.”

Cardinal McCarrick’s meeting with the president comes days before the sixth ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization, slated for Dec. 13-18, in Hong Kong. The current Doha Round of negotiations, begun in Doha, Qatar, in 2001, was expected to promote human development in poor countries through global trade, something critics claim is not currently happening.

The cardinal lauded the proposed changes in United States agricultural policies and their anticipated impact on world trade, and he urged the president to work to “substantially reduce, if not eliminate, trade-distorting federal subsidies while protecting small and medium-sized farms in the United States.”

In his remarks to the White House media, the cardinal cited Pope Benedict’s recent call to those participating in the Hong Kong meeting to focus on the needs of the poor and the disadvantaged.

“At the same time, trade alone is not enough in the fight against poverty,” he said. “We welcome the president’s leadership in promoting more foreign aid and debt relief for poor countries, including funding for the fight against HIV-AIDS, and urge him to build on this work and to secure the necessary resources.”

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“Deus Caritas est,” might be the first Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI

Rome, Italy, Dec 2, 2005 (CNA) - The Italian daily “La Stampa,” announced today that the Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, that other source already mentioned would be versed in the theme of Charity, could be released in the beginning of January, probably on January 6, day of the Solemnity of the Epiphany.

Again according to La Stampa, the Encyclical will bear the date of December 8, 2005, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, an emblematic date not only for its Marian character, but also because it coincides with the 40th anniversary of the closing of the Vatican II Council.
A source in the Vatican, commented to CNA that the date of release announced by La Stampa is only an approximation because  the Holy See usually doesn’t  release important document on holidays, as the Epiphany is at the Vatican or in many European countries. “It is more probable that the Encyclical will be released later in January, although the exact date is given only a few days before,” said the source.

The title of the Encyclical, again according to La Stampa, centered on the theme of Christian  Charity and the Love of God will be “Deus Caritas est,” (God is Love), taken from the fourth chapter of the First Letter of Saint John.

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Hawaii high court says fetus not a person, reverses mother’s manslaughter charge

Honolulu, Hawaii, Dec 2, 2005 (CNA) - Yesterday, the Hawaii state Supreme Court handed over a precedent-setting opinion, ruling that 32-year old Tayshea Aiwohi could not be convicted of killing her unborn child, because at the time, it was not a “person.”

In July of 2001, Aiwohi gave birth to her son, Treyson, who died two days later due to his mother’s use of methamphetamine while she was pregnant.

She was initially convicted of manslaughter but was able to appeal the decision all the way to the high court. To date, no appeals court in the U.S. has ever upheld an manslaughter charge for a mother who caused the death of her child while pregnant.

In their Thursday decision, all five of Hawaii’s Supreme Court Justices agreed that the charge should be overturned because, they said, the child was not a “person” when Aiwohi smoked the drug.

When he was born, Treyson was found to have had high levels of methamphetamine in his system and Aiwohi even admitted to having taken a “hit” on the morning of his birth.

According to the Honolulu Advertiser, City Deputy Prosecutor Glenn Kim, who handled the trial and appeal, was disappointed in the decision. "We continue to believe that babies such as Treyson Aiwohi deserve the protection of the law," he said.

"And we also continue to believe that people like Tayshea Aiwohi doing what she did to her baby continue to deserve to suffer the consequences of the law for those actions."

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Proponents of parental notification in California vow to try again

Los Angeles, Calif., Dec 2, 2005 (CNA) - Supporters of a parental notification bill have announced that they will start collecting signatures in late January or early February in hopes of getting the measure before voters again in the 2006 general election.

Supporters are renewing efforts after a similar bill — Proposition 73 — was defeated in the Nov. 8 vote, 53 percent to 47 percent. The bill would require doctors in California to notify the parents of girls under 18 before the girl can have an abortion.

The bill was endorsed by Catholic parishes and the California Conference of Catholic Bishops. Pastors were urging parishioners to vote for the proposition. Backers of “parental notification” cite various factors in the defeat of Proposition 73, which for many months was ahead in pre-election polls.

Analysts say factors included mass media campaigns against the bill and the resulting confusion among voters about what the bill was actually proposing.

A story about the defeat of Proposition 73 carried the headline: “Dicen no al aborto los californianos” (Californians say no to abortion). Evidently, many voters believed that requiring parents to be notified before their minor daughter receives an abortion meant that the abortion was acceptable.

Planned Parenthood spent millions of dollars in its campaign against Proposition 73, including more than half a million dollars in television and radio ads. The California Democratic Party and the American Civil Liberties Union also campaigned against it.

Antonia Muñoz of Resurrection parish in East Los Angeles told the Catholic newspaper La cruz del Sur that Planned Parenthood was calling the people at home and telling them to vote against the bill.

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Meeting between Pope, Russian Orthodox leader unlikely, says Vatican envoy

Moscow, Russia, Dec 2, 2005 (CNA) - A high-ranking Vatican envoy yesterday praised progress in the Holy See's cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church, but indicated that its leaders will likely not hold a meeting any time soon.

"We established a heartfelt mutual understanding between our churches, and we see in this a source for future cooperation," said Cardinal Renato Martino of his meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II, reported the News Russia Web site.

Pope Benedict XVI has pledged to make healing strained ties with the Orthodox Church a fundamental commitment. When journalists asked if a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II was imminent, Cardinal Martino said: "We begin with small steps."

Cardinal Martino, who heads the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, noted that the two churches have similar positions on social issues and that a conference on that subject could be held by delegates of both churches.

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Free contraceptives do not promote responsability, Colombian bishops warn

, Dec 2, 2005 (CNA) - The Secretary General of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Bishop Fabian Marulanda, warned this week that the free distribution of contraceptives by the government is not a way to encourage people to be responsible for their actions.

City officials in Bogota recently approved the free distribution of condoms, birth control pills, contraceptive patches and implants, as well as sterilization procedures, with the supposed purpose of reducing unwanted pregnancies.  Nevertheless, Bishop Marulanda warned that often the “cheapest” methods are the ones that lead most to irresponsibility and permissiveness.

“The state’s duty is to provide sufficient information about family planning methods, and this is what the country of Colombia is not doing, because there is an enormous lack of sexual education,” he explained.

According to the bishop, when slogans and advice about safe-sex and sex for pleasure are used to promote contraceptives, and values such as self-control and responsibility are not encouraged, the result is “a greater laxity in mores.”

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Venezuelan archbishop suggests postponing elections in wake of accusations of fraud

Caracas, Venezuela, Dec 2, 2005 (CNA) - Archbishop Roberto Luckert of Coro, Venezuela, has called for the postponement of this Sunday’s elections in order to clear up any doubt about electoral fraud and to guarantee transparency in the process.

Three opposition parties have already announced their withdrawal from the parliamentary elections, citing the lack of guarantees against voter fraud.

“The best thing would be for this process to be postponed, for corrective measures to be adopted and doubts be cleared up.  Thus we will all be able to trust in the legal process,” the archbishop said.

Regarding the proposal by some voter awareness groups that people gather in churches to pray for the country, Archbishop Luckert said it was a “good idea” as long as “there is no intention to politicize such gatherings or proselytize inside the church.”

“The churches are going to be open, as they are every Sunday, for people to go and pray for peace and understanding,” he said.

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Italian bishops discourage mixed marriages

Rome, Italy, Dec 2, 2005 (CNA) - The Bishops’ Conference of Italy has issued a statement discouraging mixed marriages, especially between Catholics and Muslims, citing the numerous problems such unions pose for couples.

“Because of the experience of recent years, we would advise against, or least discourage, mixed marriages,” the bishops stated, saying that such unions are “inherently fragile,” that mixed couples tend to disagree about “the religious education of their children” and that couples often have opposing views regarding “the role of women” and the very meaning of marriage.

“In addition to difficulties of each couple, Catholics and Muslims who wish to form a family encounter problems related to profound differences of a religious and cultural nature,” the bishops warned. 

The statement calls for priests who celebrate such unions to seriously question engaged couples about religion, their knowledge of each other’s culture and the type of religious education they wish to provide their children. 

In Italy mixed marriages have increased from 8,600 in 1992 to 19,000 in 2005.

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“Christmas is Jesus,” campaign will bring true sense of the feast to hundred thousands of poor children in Peru

Lima, Peru, Dec 2, 2005 (CNA) - The “Christmas is Jesus” campaign which since 15 years is organized by the Christian Life Movement (CLM) has set itself the task to bring forth to 100 thousand children of the most poor parts of Peru the true meaning of this holiday.

“Christmas is Jesus” has gathered this year more than 10 thousand voluntaries, from high schools, universities and professionals who came to prepare the visits to different settlements in Lima, Arequipa, and other minor cities of the country.
From November 26 to January 6th, the minors will have a day of feast in which they will celebrate the birth of Christ with catechesis, games and music. Moreover, each kid will receive a gift, chocolate and paneton.

Although traditionally, the voluntaries of the campaign are students, this year the initiative counts on the help from working people from various corporations who have added themselves to this solidarity and evangelization initiative. 
The CLM will organize a national fund raiser on December 3rd to finance the campaign.

The CLM is a catholic association that sprang up in Peru in 1985 as part of the Sodalite Family. Today it gathers more than 40 thousand members throughout America, Europe, Asia and more recently Africa. Its mission is to promote a new evangelization and reconciliation, with a stress on youth, culture and a commitment to the most in need.

For more information, you can visit the following website:

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