Archive of January 23, 2006

Opus Dei says film version of Da Vinci Code should receive adult rating

, Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - Opus Dei is urging film ratings boards to give the film The Da Vinci Code an adult rating because it says children should not be exposed to the lies it promotes about Catholicism and Jesus fathering a child.

The film, which has a May 19 release date, is based on Dan Brown’s bestselling novel about an alternative theory behind the Holy Grail. The book also wrongly presents Opus Dei as an evil sect within the Catholic Church.

Opus Dei spokesperson Marc Carroggio said adults are able to distinguish between fact and fiction but children are unable to make such proper judgments.

Carroggio said Opus Dei is not planning to organize any boycotts of the film. He told Zenit in a recent interview that he believes the film will result in “indirect publicity” for Opus Dei and an opportunity to speak about Jesus with the masses.

The film is directed by Ron Howard and stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou.

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Florida bishops urge governor to grant clemency to two on death row

Tallahassee, Fla., Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - Florida's bishops have urged Gov. Jeb Bush to consider granting clemency to two convicted murderers who are scheduled for execution by lethal injection in the next 10 days.

''Reflecting on the continuous exposure to violence in society, which hardens the hearts and minds of even our youngest members, we reiterate our plea for respect for life, even for those who are guilty of violence,'' the bishops said Thursday in a public statement.

The pain of the victims’ families “cannot be wiped away by another death,” they wrote.

The Catholic governor, who has already signed the inmates’ death warrants, has not yet responded to the request, reported The Associated Press.

Clarence Hill’s execution is scheduled for Tuesday. Hill, 47, was convicted for killing a police officer during a 1982 bank robbery.

Arthur Rutherford's execution is scheduled for Jan. 31. Rutherford, 56, was convicted for killing a woman by drowning in 1985. An appeal for Rutherford is scheduled for Jan. 26.

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Ayotte decision on parental notification has limitations, say US bishops

Washington D.C., Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - The Supreme Court’s 9-0 decision in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England regarding New Hampshire’s parental notification law leaves parents and legislators with “more question that answers,” said a spokesperson for the U.S. bishops’ pro-life office.

“The lower court, appropriately, was told it should not have preemptively invalidated an entire abortion regulation on the basis of a potentially unconstitutional application to a small number of hypothetical cases,” said Deirdre McQuade, director of planning and information for the Pro-Life Secretariat.

“We welcome this development and hope it will end the disposition of lower courts to enjoin the enforcement of reasonable, commonsense abortion regulations for years while challenges are appealed,” she said in an official statement.

But the Court did not address the legal questions regarding to the so-called health exception first established 33 years ago in Doe v. Bolton, McQuade said.

“This case concerns the validity of a New Hampshire law that lets parents participate in life-shaping decisions of their children. That law reflects the common sense principle that caring parents know best what their children need,” she said.

“But neither the lower courts nor state legislatures have been given the guidance necessary to address these issues. And that is unfortunate.”

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Democrats not holding to promises for Catholic outreach, says Catholic League

, Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - The Democratic National Committee has not developed Catholic outreach or rethought its position on abortion despite promises it made after the 2004 general election to do so, observed Catholic League president Bill Donohue.

Donohue decided to follow-up on these promises by conducting a search on the DNC Web site. According to Donohue, a keyword search for “Catholic outreach” only turned up “a statement opposing a voucher program designed to help Catholic schoolchildren who were devastated by Hurricane Katrina.”

The Web site also features an interview with Eleanor Smeal on Samuel Alito. Donohue was dismayed that the DNC would choose to highlight Smeal, whom he describes as “anti-Catholic.”

Donohue quoted Smeal as saying Oct. 31 that if Alito were to become a Supreme Court Justice, “the majority of the Court would be Roman Catholics, which would underrepresent other religions, not to mention nonbelievers.”

“It’s not just the DNC that doesn’t get it,” said Donohue is a press release. “Consider that the following members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have already declared their opposition to President Bush’s Catholic nominee to the high court: Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, Patrick Leahy and Ken Salazar. All are Catholic and all are Democrats.

“Following Smeal’s logic, are there too many Catholics on the Senate Judiciary Committee?” he remarked.

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Papal message to conference on Vatican II encourages correct reading of the Council

Lima, Peru, Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - In a special message from Pope Benedict XVI to the participants of the conference “Vatican Council II: Perspectives for the Third Millennium,” the Holy Father renewed his call to promote a correct interpretation of the Council in order to put its numerous fruits into practice.

In the message, sent in the Pontiff’s name by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Pope Benedict XVI sent his cordial greetings to the nearly 800 participants gathered at the “Antonio Raimondi” Hall in Lima, saying he hoped the outcome of the meeting “would help deepen the understanding of the Council’s message, thus bearing forth abundant fruits of renewal and holiness in the Church.”

“In giving thanks to God for the gift of the Council—the most important ecclesial event of the 20th century,” the message continued, “we should find in it the source of an authentic renewal that would make it possible to address the challenges the Church and humanity face in the Third Millennium.”

The message, signed by Cardinal Sodano, noted that the interpretation of the Council needs to be “guided by a correct hermeneutic” and with the conviction, “affirmed by the Council itself, that all renewal in the Church consists essentially in an increase in fidelity to her vocation.”

“Today it is possible to look upon the Second Vatican Council with gratitude, as the Holy Father Benedict XVI has noted, and if we read it and receive it under the guidance of a correct reading and a proper interpretation, it will increasingly become a force of the ever-needed renewal of the Church,” the message indicated.  “In this sense the Council is at once a gift and a challenge.”

“With these vivid desires, and invoking through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, abundant divine gifts upon the participants in this Conference, the Holy Father warmly imparts his apostolic blessing,” the message concluded.

The conference on Vatican II, which ended on January 22, was attended by a number of significant figures in the Church, including Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima, Archbishop Alcides Mendoza Castro—the youngest bishop who attended the Council, Bishop Amaury Castanho of Jundiai, Brazil; Luis Fernando Figari, founder of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, Pedro Morandé of Chile, member of the Pontifical Academy of Science: Vicente Espeche Gil, member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and former Argentine ambassador to the Holy See.

The keynote speaker at the conference, Luis Fernando Figari, who is also a member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, recalled that Pope Benedict XVI has pointed out that “nobody can deny that in vast parts of the Church, the reception of the Council has been problematic.”

“The unfortunate existence of an incorrect understanding of the Council has led the Magisterium to denounce on many occasios the deviations and false readings. The Supreme Pontiffs have repeatedly encouraged a correct reading of the Council that expresses the vitality of the Church,” Figari said.

““The Council teaches that the separation between the faith one professes and one’s daily life must be considered as one of the greatest problems of our time,” he added.  “The Council’s response is that of a faith lived out daily that gives glory to God,” Figari said in conclusion.

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Bishop explains crisis in Catholic education…and what to do about it

Lima, Peru, Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - During an energetic presentation at the conference “Vatican Council II: Perspectives for the Third Millennium,” held last weekend in Peru, Auxiliary Bishop of Lima Pacifico Tomassi explained in detail the current crisis in Catholic education, saying the answer to the problem is a return to the teachings of Vatican II.

“The Church has always seen the education of man as an essential part of her very mission. Throughout the two thousand years of her history, the Church has always been concerned with the issue of education,” Bishop Tomassi said.

“We could say that charity and culture are signs of her mission, and within culture, the work of the Church in education is as old as the Church herself.  How can we fail to recognize, for instance, the valuable contribution of innumerable Catholic schools and universities throughout the history of humanity?” he asked.

Bishop Tomassi recalled that the Council fathers saw it necessary, “in order to express the fundamental importance of education, to dedicate one of its documents to the issue of education: the declaration Gravissimum educationis, on Christian education.”

Post-conciliar challenges

Bishop Tomassi spoke on the crisis in Catholic education that followed the Council.  “If Pope John XXIII had said it was necessary to open the windows of the Church to let in fresh air, in reality many felt that what entered was a hurricane that caused distress and suffering and even concern for the future. Today, as we remember those times, we wonder: What happened? How was this possible?” Bishop Tomassi asked.

Continuing on he mentioned a few of the results of the crisis in education following Vatican II:

“Catholic schools run by religious were abandoned because they did not see them as a privileged means and place of evangelization.”

 “Institutes operated by members of religious communities began losing personnel either because of the crisis and abandonment of religious life that became so common or frequent, or because professionalism prevailed over commitment to their vows.”

“A false liberation that demanded one abandon one’s community and its schools in order to become a worker and to blend in,” or to live out the so-called insertion into the world.

“Some considered themselves to be infallible bearers of the truth, writing in books and in magazines or speaking on television, calling those who do not share their vision right-wingers and conservatives; or publishing articles and blackmailing the hierarchy, which was forced to remain silent in order to avoid confusion and scandal.”

“In the name of autonomy and freedom, Colleges and seminaries attempted to justify, and still do, their infidelity to the Magisterium of the Church, placing into question doctrinal matters already defined by the Magisterium or presenting errors as if they had the right to discuss them; and despite this, continuing to claim they are Catholic.”

“And we even had religious who, under the pretext of identifying with and serving the poor and of breaking with the injustices and the dominant powers, abandoned the classrooms and even their own communities, opting instead for violence and terrorism.”

At the same time, Bishop Tomassi pointed out the great sacrifices of “religious who, practically alone and unnoticed, led their schools forward; or the laity who, faced with so much distress, armed themselves with fortitude and zeal in order to fulfill their mission as Catholic teachers; and even bishops who struggled for the truth of Jesus and the Church to heroic degrees.”

“These and other experiences,” the bishops continued, “should teach us that the questioning and abandoning of the Magisterium of the Church, for whatever motive or reason, may be popular and applauded by many, but its fruits are always sterility and destruction.  And we should always give thanks to God, who was the One who guided His Church through the stormy seas, until the wisdom and holiness of many Catholic teachers (both lay and religious) helped reencounter the ideals and the true place of honor of Catholic education, which forever reside in love of the Church and faithfulness to Christ the Teacher.”

Bishop Tomassi concluded his comments noting that in today’s world of global communications, “the Church sees the importance of an educational system that recognizes the primacy of man as a person, open to the truth and to goodness.  The Church, to whom Christ entrusted the mission of proclaiming ‘the path of life,’ feels she has a special educational responsibility,” he stated.

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Pope blesses traditional lambs for Feast of St. Agnes

Vatican City, Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - On Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI continued an annual tradition marking the feast of St. Agnes, by blessing two lambs, whose wool will be used to make the palliums, yearly given to new metropolitan archbishops during the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The palliums, which are woolen stoles given to metropolitan archbishops who have been appointed within the last year, will be embroidered with six black crosses and worn over the shoulders.

Each has two hanging pieces, front and back. They are worn by both the Pope and the archbishops as a symbol of authority and the special bond between bishops and the Roman Pontiff.

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Swiss Guard celebrate 500 years of service to Pope, worldwide Church

Vatican City, Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - Yesterday in the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI was on hand to celebrate 500 years of Swiss protection for the Holy See and for his own office as Pope.

He told a group of thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square, that "500 years ago, on January 22, 1506, Pope Julius II welcomed and blessed the first contingent of Swiss Guards, come to Rome to ensure the defense of his person and of the Apostolic Palace. Thus the Pontifical Swiss Guard was born.”

70 members of the Guard, all wearing full gala uniform, were present for the anniversary celebrations.

"In recalling that historic event,” the Holy Father said, “it is my pleasure today to greet the members of this blessed corps, upon whom, as a sign of appreciation and recognition, I impart my heartfelt apostolic blessing."

Prior to the Pope’s weekly Angelus prayer, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, who is also dean of the College of Cardinals, celebrated a Mass at the Vatican's Sistine Chapel to commence the 500th anniversary celebrations.

In his homily, the cardinal recalled the solemn vow that new recruits to the Swiss Guard make each year to "serve faithfully, loyally and honorably the Supreme Pontiff and his legitimate successors with all your strength, sacrificing, when necessary, even your lives in his defense."

He then recalled that fateful January 22nd, 500 years ago, when 150 Swiss Guards entered Rome to defend the See of Peter, quoting the Swiss Protestant reformer Ulrich Zwingli who, while he was still a member of the Catholic Church said, "The Swiss see the sad situation of the Church of God, Mother of Christianity, and realize how grave and dangerous it is that any tyrant, avid for wealth, can assault with impunity, the common Mother of Christianity."

"Even today," Cardinal Sodano said, "these words serve to remind the Swiss Guard of that higher inspiration which must stimulate their service as, with the eyes of faith, they see in each Roman Pontiff the principle of the visible unity of the Holy Church of God."

He closed his time with the guard by inviting them, in remembrance of this solemn anniversary, to have "ever greater love for the Church of Christ."

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If Christians faithfully pray for unity, says Pope, their prayer will be satisfied

Vatican City, Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) -  As the Church continues to celebrate The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Benedict told thousands of listeners, gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly Angelus Sunday, that prayer must constitute the soul of the entire ecumenical movement.

The Week of Prayer, which is being celebrated from January 18th to the 25th, was born at the beginning of the last century.

Benedict explained that now, the Prayer Week has become "an ecumenical point of reference in which Christians from various confessions all over the world pray and reflect, on the basis of a single biblical text."

He went on to speak on this year's theme, which is taken from the Gospel of Matthew: "If two or three of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."

"How much faith and how much hope”, reflected the Holy Father, “do these words of the Lord Jesus infuse!”

“In particular,” he said, “they encourage Christians to ask God together for that full unity among them, for which Christ Himself ... prayed to the Father during the Last Supper.”

He said that “It is easy to understand, then, why we Christians invoke the gift of unity. ... If we do so with faith, we may be sure that our request will be satisfied. We do not know how, nor when, because it is not for us to know these things, but we must not doubt that one day we will be 'a single thing,' just as Jesus and the Father are united in the Holy Spirit.”

"Prayer for unity," the Pope continued, "constitutes the soul of the ecumenical movement, which ... is developing throughout the world.”

He pointed out that “there is no shortage of difficulties and trials,” but said that “even these are not without spiritual benefits because they encourage us to exercise patience and perseverance, and to grow in fraternal charity.”

“God is love,” he stressed, “and only by converting to Him and accepting His Word will we find ourselves united in the single mystical Body of Christ."

Encyclical themes

Pope Benedict said that "The expression 'God is love,' which in Latin is 'Deus caritas est',” is the title of his first papal Encyclical, due to be published Wednesday, January 25, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

He said that he was “pleased that it coincides with the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. That day I will go to the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls to preside at Vespers in which representatives of other Churches and ecclesial communities will also participate."

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Pope says Christians need to reclaim idea of love, integrate it toward God, others

Vatican City, Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - Earlier today, Pope Benedict XVI participated in a congress organized by the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, in which he laid out to participants the major themes of his new Encyclical and told them that Christians must reclaim the misused and often abused concept of “love.”

The event is taking place Monday and Tuesday of this week in the Vatican's New Synod Hall, on the theme, " ... But the greatest of these is love," taken from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians.

The congress was originally scheduled to be held following the release of the Pope’s first Encyclical “Deus Caritas est”, but the document’s release has been delayed to Wednesday--reportedly because of translation difficulties.

In his address, the Holy Father made frequent reference to the Encyclical, which is still largely being used as a staging point for the meetings.

He began his address by referring to Dante‘s Divine Comedy, which he called a “cosmic journey” in which the reader takes a front row seat.

He said that this journey "ends before the eternal light, that is God Himself, before that Light which is, at the same time, 'the love that moves the sun and the other stars'."

The God Who appears in Dante's central circle of light has a human face and, we may add, a human heart. Dante's vision shows the continuity between the Christian faith in God and research based on reason.”

“At the same time,” he said however, “there appears a novelty that goes beyond all human research: the novelty of a love that impelled God to assume a human face, to take on flesh and blood. ... The 'eros' of God is not just a primordial cosmic force, it is the love that created human beings and stretches reaches out towards them."

Need for reclamation

"The word 'love,'“ the Pope said, “is so overused today, that one is almost afraid to pronounce it. Yet, ... it is the expression of a primordial reality, ... and we must retrieve it, ... so that it may illuminate our lives.”

He said that this awareness “is what induced me to choose love as the theme of my first Encyclical. I wanted to try and express, for our own times and our own lives, something of that which Dante encapsulated in his vision."

“Faith”, he continued, should become "a vision-understanding that transforms us…I wanted to highlight the centrality of faith in God, in the God Who assumed a human face and a human heart. ... In an age in which ... we are witnessing the abuse of religion even unto the apotheosis of hatred.”

He stressed that “we have need of the living God Who loved us even unto death. Thus, in this Encyclical, the themes of God, Christ and Love are fused together as a central guide to the Christian faith."

The Holy Father admitted that "A first reading of the Encyclical could perhaps give rise to the impression that it is divided into two parts with little in common between them: a first theoretical part discussing the essence of love, and a second part covering ecclesial charity and charitable organizations.”

He pointed out however, that he “was interested precisely in the unity between the two themes, only if seen as a single thing can they be properly understood.”

“On the basis of the Christian image of God,” Benedict continued, “it was necessary to show how man was created to love, and how this love, which initially appears above all as 'eros' between man and woman, must then be internally transformed into 'agape,' into the giving of self to others."

He stressed that "On this basis, it was necessary to clarify how the essence of the love for God and for others, ... is the core of Christian life, the fruit of faith."

Then, he said, in the second part of the document, “As to the divine Logos, corresponds the human proclamation of the word, so to the Agape which is God himself, should correspond the agape of the Church in its charitable work…It was necessary to highlight that the totally personal act of 'agape' can never remain a purely individual issue, rather it must also become an essential act of the Church as community; in other words, it also needs the institutional form that finds expression in the community activity of the Church."

The Pope concluded his address saying that "The ecclesial organization of charity is not a form of social assistance, a casual addition to the reality of the Church. ... Rather, it is part of the nature of the Church, ... [and] must in some way make the living God visible.”

“The spectacle of suffering man touches our hearts,” he said. “But charitable commitment has a meaning that goes well beyond simple philanthropy. It is God Himself Who encourages us from within our most intimate selves to alleviate misery. ... It is He Himself Whom we carry into a suffering world.”

He closed, by affirming that “The greater the awareness and clarity with which we bear Him as a gift, the more effectively will our love change the world.

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Sacrifice of unborn babies can become triumphant in the light of Christ, pastor tells large crowd at Denver Cathedral

Denver, Colo., Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - Hundreds of Catholics young and old alike--including a number of small children wearing shirts emblazoned with the words, ‘I’m a child, not a choice”--packed into Denver’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral Saturday to sadly commemorate 33 years of legal abortion in the U.S.

Faithful in Denver joined thousands nationwide who commemorated the January 22nd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade--which legalized abortion in the country--with marches, rallies and prayer.

Colorado was the first state to legalize abortion following the 1973 decision.

Following the annual Mass, celebrated by Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput, much of the crowd processed down Colfax Avenue to the Colorado State capital building, where thousands gathered to take part in the annual March for Life rally, sponsored by the Colorado Right to Life.

The Archbishop was flanked by a large group of his brother priests from around the Archdiocese as well as the Knights of Columbus who processed from the Cathedral in full regalia.
Speaking on the Gospel reading, taken from the Book of Matthew, homilist, Fr. Andreas Hoeck, who is a professor at the Archdiocese’ St. John Vianney Seminary and resident priest at the Cathedral, said that “those who devalue the fruit of the womb to be nothing, they think themselves to be everything.”

He equated the concept of abortion, as well as those who procure it, to lawlessness, citing St. Paul, in saying that “Jesus, in His death has destroyed death now…and has brought life and immortality.”

“Our faith,” he said, “helps us to understand that if we can see the sacrifice of our innocent children--who are not allowed to come into this world to glorify God--that their sacrifice becomes triumphant and glorious in the light of Jesus Christ.”

Fr. Hoeck challenged the crowd to “settle for nothing less than the legal guarantee of the right to life…the legal reversal of abortion in our country.”

The young teaching the old

28-year old Andy Remstead, who attended Mass with his expectant wife Alissa, said that although he’s taken part in the Roe vs. Wade memorial for the last three years, preparing to be a new father made this year different.

Although he says he‘s always been strongly opposed to abortion, “Something about the first time the baby kicked,” he said, “made my whole perspective change.”

“Up until that point, it had always been sort of an abstract concept, but I realized, the first time I felt the kick, that there’s something really serious going on here.”

Monica Leonard agreed. She attended Mass and the rally with her 5 children said that she came to witness and let people know how wrong abortion is. “It has to end”, she said simply.

Toward the end of the Mass, Elizabeth Miller, a 7th grader at a local Catholic school, got up to read her award-winning pro-life essay entitled; ‘Life is worth living.”

Afterward, Archbishop Chaput equated the reading to a major thrust he sees in the New Evangelization; a movement called for by the late Pope John Paul II.

“I often say,” the Archbishop told the crowd, that “the old evangelization was generally elders teaching younger people the faith, [but] one of the signs of the New Evangelization is the young teaching their elders the faith.”

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First Bishop named by Pope Benedict ordained head of Sioux City

Sioux City, Iowa, Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - On Friday, at Sioux City, Iowa’s Church of the Nativity, Denver’s Monsignor Walker Nickless was ordained as the first bishop to be appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, filling a two year void, in Sioux City and becoming the Diocese’s 7th Bishop.

Bishop Nickless, who comes to Iowa from the Archdiocese of Denver, told the crowd--with tears in his eyes--that "I hope you will forgive me if I do not find all the right words to tell you what is in my heart. I have never been received more warmly, and your generous gift means so much to me. . . . For me, serving the people of this diocese is a gift, a privilege, and I pledge my life to that."

According to the Des Moines Register, Monsignor Tom Fryar, the Archdiocese of Denver’s vicar for clergy called Nickless "the cream of the crop…He is a learned man with excellent skills."

58-year old Bishop Nickless held Msgr. Fryar’s position for 13 years.

On Friday however, he told his new flock in Sioux City that “the mission has begun.”

The Sioux City Diocese is home to approximately 100,000 Catholics

Dubuque Archbishop Jerome Hanus presided over the ordination, but a throng of other priests and bishops were on hand for the celebration, including Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput.

During the Mass, Archbishop Hanus said that  "the priest who will be ordained during this ceremony to serve as bishop of Sioux City did not choose himself…Like most of us who have received a similar call, there was plenty of hesitation and doubt and fear.”

But, he said, “One says yes only out of love of Christ and his church.”

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Teacher says potentially far more lucrative, to sue the Catholic Church, or any church or private organization, than it is to sue the local public school district

Denver, Colo., Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - In a column last week in the Denver Rocky Mountain News, by Susan Malone Maier, a teacher at Denver’s Saint Vincent de Paul School, she raises the issue of sexual abuse of minors in schools, and the protection they enjoy under Colorado law from any pursuit.

The Associated Press reported last year that in some states sexual abuse is the main reason public school teachers lose their licenses.  Colorado public schools are not exempt from the abuse problem.  Professor Charol Shakeshaft of Hofstra University, among others, argues that up to 15 percent of all public school students nationally are the victims of sexual misconduct by a staff member, ranging from kissing to sexual intercourse, by the time they finish high school. 

The evidence also suggests that from 1 percent to 5 percent of the teaching profession and up to 25 percent of all public school districts have problems of sexual abuse.

She therefore states that it is a lot easier, and potentially far more lucrative, to sue the Catholic Church, or any church or private organization, than it is to sue the local public school district.  The reason is simple.  Public school districts enjoy sovereign immunity unless the state legislature says otherwise.  So far, Colorado legislators have kept that immunity in place.  As a result, public school districts have a sharply reduced liability for incidents of sexual abuse.

Under Colorado law, parents have much less time to identify, report and legally pursue sexual abuse committed by a public school employee than if the same abuse is committed by the employee of a religious or private organization.  The amount of money they can recover in damages is also drastically limited.

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President addresses "March for Life" Participants over the phone.

Washington D.C., Jan 23, 2006 (CNA) - Today around noon, U.S president George W. Bush addressed over the phone the crowd gathered in front of Capitol Hill for the annual March for Life, giving them his support and emphasizing the work done under his presidency to favor a culture of life.
Calling from Manhattan, Kansas. He thanked the participants for their “devotion to such a noble cause.”

He reminded them of his commitment to the value of human  “the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence apply to everyone, not just to those considered healthy or wanted or convenient. These principles call us to defend the sick and the dying, persons with disabilities and birth defects, all who are weak and vulnerable, especially unborn children. (Applause.)

President Bush also underlined the progress made under his presidency to restrict the practice of abortion, among which to ban the use of taxpayer money on programs that promote abortion overseas, the ban on partial-birth abortion.

“We're vigorously promoting parental notification laws, adoption, teen abstinence, crisis pregnancy programs, and the vital work of our faith-based groups. We're sending a clear message to any woman facing a crisis pregnancy: We love you, we love your child, and we're here to help you.”

“We also must respect human life and dignity when advancing medical science, and we're making progress here, as well,” referring to the bill supporting ethical treatment and research using stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

“By changing laws we can change our culture.”

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