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Archive of May 15, 2006

Vatican denies alleged “scandal” of official and announces it will take legal action

Vatican City, May 15, 2006 (CNA) - The Press office of the Vatican released a strong message this Sunday Morning, strongly denying charges of a scandal, in which a Priest, part of the Vatican Secretary of State would be involved.

Some Italian newspapers made their headlines on Saturday, alleging that a “monsignor,”-not a bishop- had been caught by the police, as he was on his way to commit some sexual misdeed with another adult.

According to this story, denounced as false by the Vatican, the official would have tried to escape in his vehicle, injuring two or three persons, and running into the policemen that caught him.

“Having investigated the case at the Secretary of State-the press release continues- the Press Office is now in the position to affirm that the news that spread this morning through the newspapers on the Vatican priest has no foundation.”

“It is foreseeable that it will take legal action against those who have contributed to defame a number of Vatican officials,” the declaration concludes.

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Believers are called to open their arms and hearts to everyone, whatever their country of origin, says Pope

Vatican City, May 15, 2006 (CNA) - “Christians must particularly open their hearts to the lowliest and the poorest, in whom Christ Himself is especially present,” Pope Benedict XVI declared
as he received this morning the participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant peoples.

The theme chosen for the reunion is "Migration and mobility from and to countries with a Muslim majority." Pope Benedict highlighted the Catholic Church's awareness of the fact that "inter-religious dialogue is part of her commitment to serve humanity in the modern world." In our time, "Christians are called to cultivate a form of open dialogue on religious problems, not renouncing the presentation ... of the Christian message in keeping with their own identity."

After stressing the importance of reciprocity in dialogue, Benedict XVI praised the efforts being made "to create, with immigrants, relations of mutual knowledge and respect, which are extremely useful in overcoming prejudices and closed minds."

"In this activity of welcome and dialogue with migrants and itinerant peoples, the Christian community has as its constant point of reference Christ Who left His disciples, as a rule for life, the new commandment to love." For this reason, the Pope added, "believers are called to open their arms and hearts to everyone, whatever their country of origin, leaving the task of formulating appropriate laws for promoting healthy coexistence to those responsible for public life."

"Christians," the Pope continued, "must particularly open their hearts to the lowliest and the poorest, in whom Christ Himself is especially present. ... Obviously, it is to be hoped that Christians emigrating to countries with Muslim majorities, find there welcome and respect for their religious identity."

In closing his address, the Holy Father thanked the dicastery for their efforts in favor of "an organic and effective form of pastoral care for migrants and itinerant peoples. ... No one should doubt that this is an important frontier in the new evangelization of the modern globalized world."

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Benedict XVI recalls miraculous saving of Pope John Paul II in assassination attempt

Vatican City, May 15, 2006 (CNA) - During the Sunday Angelus he presided over this morning, Pope Benedict recalled today the apparitions in Fatima and the prophecy uttered by the “Lady of White Light” to the shepherds: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”  He recalled as well the miraculous saving of his predecessor John Paul II by “the intervention of a maternal hand.”

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the assassination attempt against Pope Wojtyla, in which the “Servant of God, John Paul II, felt he had been miraculously saved from death by the intervention of ‘a maternal hand’, as he himself used to say. His entire pontificate was marked by what the Virgin pronounced at Fatima”.

Only yesterday, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was welcomed in St Peter’s Square by tens of thousands of believers, and a plaque was unveiled in the square on the exact spot where the attempt to take the life of the Polish Pope took place.

Benedict XVI recalled that the message the Virgin entrusted in Fatima, “was a strong call to prayer and conversion. It was a truly prophetic message considering that the XX century was ravaged by unheard-of destruction caused by wars and totalitarian regimes, as well as long drawn out persecution against the Church”.

Pope Benedict commented briefly on today’s Gospel. “In this Sunday of Easter, the liturgy offers us a reading of the Gospel of Saint John, in which Jesus, talking to his disciples during the Last Supper, is exhorting them to abide by Him as the branches to the vine. This is a parable that is truly significant, as it expresses with great relevancy how Christian life is a mystery of communion with Jesus.”

“A certain way of remaining united in Christ is to have recourse to the intercession of  Mary,” the pope reminded.

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Euthanasia Bill defeated in British House of Lords

London, England, May 15, 2006 (CNA) - The British House of Lords voted 148-100 against a measure that would have legalized assisted suicide in the European nation. The vote is a huge victory for pro-life advocates, disability groups and doctors who campaigned together to stop the bill from becoming law.

The Lord Joffe  bill would have allowed physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients with less than six months to live. It would have had Britain join the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland as well as the state of Oregon in legalizing the grisly practice.

Peter Saunders, director of the Care Not Killing campaign group that included various organizations, agreed and said before the vote, "We believe that this is a very bad bill and one that would create great problems for old and sick patients and the medical and nursing professions."

The Vote that occurred on Friday, came the same day religious groups wrote letters to members of the House of Lords condemning the legislation, among them Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Catholic Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, and Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, wrote letters to members of the House of Lords condemning the legislation.

"Such a bill cannot guarantee that a right to die would not, for society's most vulnerable, become a duty to die," they wrote.

Together the groups presented petitions of more than 100,000 British residents to Prime Minister Tony Blair urging opposition to the bill.

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Argentinean lawyers reject AIDS prevention manual for students

Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 15, 2006 (CNA) - The Corporation of Catholic Lawyers in Argentina has rejected the distribution of a manual on AIDS prevention to 11 year-old students, saying it would expose children to various forms of promiscuity without their parents’ knowledge.

In a statement, the lawyers argued that the text, which was originally published in 2005, would expose students to information on masturbation, the use of condoms and other aberrant forms of sexual relations.

They pointed out that Argentina’s Ministry of Education, working with officials of the United Nations Development Program, claims it is “necessary and opportune to offer this kind of material to educational institutions.”

The lawyers also noted that the manual graphically encourages masturbation as a healthy and normal activity and that among the different methods for preventing the spread of AIDS, condoms are the most effective.

“Even at the risk of shocking readers, we have deemed it necessary to reproduce word-for-word this shameless game which the Ministry has proposed for all public and private schools, so that the entire country might know what those who wish to push sex-ed forward in Argentinean schools think about man, the world and life,” the lawyers noted.

Lastly, the group of Catholic lawyers demanded the competent authorities immediately rectify the situation, “not only for the sake of Christian principles but also for that of the sensible and reasonable educational philosophy shared by the members of other faiths and even by people of good will who are not members of any faith.”

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Pro-life groups in Colombia prepare legal challenges against high court ruling legalizing abortion

, May 15, 2006 (CNA) - Two pro-life associations in Colombia have expressed their rejection of a ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court legalizing abortion in certain cases and said they are committed to preparing legal challenges to overturn the unjust decision.

Ilva Hoyos, president of Red Futuro Colombia, deplored the high court’s ruling and said it was legally unacceptable to defend the thesis that the mere existence of a human being is a violation of the fundamental rights of another.  Hoyos called for Colombians to act “as an army of citizens in defense of the Constitution, which rests upon the respect for human dignity.  We should also demand that the media faithfully keep its constitutional mandate to inform and to receive truthful and impartial information.”

Martha Saiz de Rueda, president of Cultural Foundation for Human Life—an organization affiliated with Human Life International, said she hopes people will take the necessary actions and refuse “to march to the beat of the drums of death that hail from the UN and certain organizations in the United States.”

She said the high court justices have ignored the more than two million people who signed petitions and the more than 30,000 letters sent by children calling on the court to “protect its tradition of respect for human dignity.”

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State church installs bishop, ordained without Vatican consent in 2000

Beijing, China, May 15, 2006 (CNA) - China's state-approved Catholic Church welcomed the installation Sunday of another bishop who was not approved by the pope, exacerbating Beijing's already strained relations with the Vatican.

Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu celebrated mass for 500 Catholics and Chinese officials in a church in the southern city of Ningde to mark his formal appointment as head of the Mindong Diocese. Hong Kong Cable TV showed Zhan holding a gold staff and wearing the white miter used by bishops.

The ceremony compounded deteriorating relations between the Vatican and China. A few months ago, Catholics hoped that back-channel communications and concessions from the Vatican would end a rift between the Vatican and the state-approved church.

Bishop Zhan Silu decided to install himself as bishop of the diocese, even though he is unpopular with most Catholics of the diocese and despite having become bishop in an illicit ceremony, that of January 6, 2000.

The Mindong Diocese consists almost entirely of believers who belong to the underground Church: out of 80,000 Catholics, more than 70,000, well organized and with a lot of vitality, are underground and can count on over 45 priests, 96 nuns and 400 lay catechists.

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City officials in Croatian city tell tourists to cover up

Zagreb, Croatia, May 15, 2006 (CNA) - The Croatian city of Vrbnik on the island of Krk has decided to do something about the bikini-clad tourists that have become a common sight in the city’s historic section. City officials have made Vrbnik the first city in the Adriatic region to establish a “chaste zone.”

The new ordinance means that in the city’s historic district, signs will be posted requesting that tourists cover up and leave the bikinis and swimsuits for the beach, as such attire is “inappropriate for an area that is full of sacred places.”

Vrbnik, where Cardinal Josip Bozanic of Zagreb was born, has been a traditionally Catholic stronghold in the region.

The decision by city officials was made after a recommendation by the Diocese of Krk’s vicar general, Msgr. Ivan Kordic, who said there was a need to set up “chaste zones” throughout the Adriatic region of Croatia, which is a popular summer tourist destination.  Msgr. Kordic’s recommendation sparked intense debates among those in favor and those opposed to the idea.

One city official told the Croatian daily Jutarnji list that the ordinance was “not a question of prohibitions, but rather a call for the courtesy, decorum and elegance that are appropriate for an historic city district where many sacred buildings are located.”

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Korean Catholic Church launched administrative streamlining of Korean dioceses through computer software

Seoul, South Korea, May 15, 2006 (CNA) - A software program to set all the parishes of South Korea in a network and to streamline their administrative management has been launched last week with the support of the Woori Bank who will manage the network.

Recently nominated Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, Seoul Archbishop, along with Hwang Young-key, president of the Woori bank , have signed a contract to implement the system on April 10 – a press release  from the Archdiocese made the announcement. The two parties involved are committed to work together to computerize the administration of the Church in Korea.

“United computerized system Yangup” is the name of this software, that will connect all the parishes  and dioceses of the country.

The aim announced in the press release is to implement the system in the first half of 2007, and to have it full-fledged by the end of that year.

According to Father Patrick Joo Ho-sik, director of the Internet Catholic Center of the archdiocese of  Séoul, “the computer system will bring all the dioceses in one administrative management program, which will save them the cost of implementing their own software.”

All the dioceses are currently updating their administrative documents in order to adapt to the new system. The whole cost of the operation, about 2.7 euros,  will be financed by the Woori bank.

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South Korea indicts scientist for stem-cell fraud

Seoul, South Korea, May 15, 2006 (CNA) - Cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk was indicted Friday on charges of fraud, embezzlement and bioethics violations in a scandal over faked stem-cell research, reported the Associated Press.

Hwang was hailed worldwide until investigations late last year showed that he had fabricated key data. The scientist had claimed that he created the world's first cloned human embryos and extracted stem cells from them.

Hwang was charged with fraud for accepting $2 million in private donations based on the outcome of the falsified research, and for allegedly embezzling nearly $900,000 in private and government research funds, reported the AP.

Five members of Hwang's research team were indicted as well. Three were charged with fraud, one with tampering research samples and one with bioethics violations, reported the AP.

Hwang acknowledged that he inflated and fabricated data in his renowned 2005 paper, but he accused other researchers of deceiving him with falsified results. It was unclear when Hwang became aware he had been deceived.

Hwang maintains he has the technology to do what he claimed, but South Korea's Health Ministry withdrew his research license. He has also been fired from Seoul National University where he was a professor in the veterinary department, reported the AP.

The government also conducted an audit of his finances. Auditors say it is unclear how Hwang spent $2.6 million he received in government funds and private donations, reported the AP. Last year, Hwang received $33 million in government funds and $6.4 million in private donations.

Hwang was hailed worldwide until investigations late last year showed that he had fabricated key data. The scientist had claimed that he created the world's first cloned human embryos and extracted stem cells from them.

Hwang was charged with fraud for accepting $2 million in private donations based on the outcome of the falsified research, and for allegedly embezzling nearly $900,000 in private and government research funds, reported the AP.

Five members of Hwang's research team were indicted as well. Three were charged with fraud, one with tampering research samples and one with bioethics violations, reported the AP.

Hwang acknowledged that he inflated and fabricated data in his renowned 2005 paper, but he accused other researchers of deceiving him with falsified results. It was unclear when Hwang became aware he had been deceived.

Hwang maintains he has the technology to do what he claimed, but South Korea's Health Ministry withdrew his research license. He has also been fired from Seoul National University where he was a professor in the veterinary department, reported the AP.

The government also conducted an audit of his finances. Auditors say it is unclear how Hwang spent $2.6 million he received in government funds and private donations, reported the AP. Last year, Hwang received $33 million in government funds and $6.4 million in private donations.

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Catholic grade-schoolers cut their locks for a cause

Kansas City, Mo., May 15, 2006 (CNA) - Eight third-graders and their teacher at All Saints School in Kansas City made a special field trip to a hair salon last month. It wasn’t a fashion stop but a chance to “pay it forward” and to express their faith in a concrete way.

Sue Hoffman and her students walked into Hair Mania April 24 to cut their hair for a cause, reported the diocesan newspaper of Kansas City, The Leaven. They donated their locks to Locks for Love, an organization based in Florida that provides hairpieces to children undergoing chemotherapy.

Seven other people, who could not be there at that time, had their hair cut separately and donated it to the cause.

Hoffman explained that the students were motivated to help others by the generosity that they have received over the years. This inner city school, with 315 students, has frequently received generous assistance of some other Catholic schools in the archdiocese and organizations.

“We wanted to give back,” Hoffman told The Leaven. “We can’t give money, but we can give our hair.”

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Spanish bishops decry European resolution on homophobia as excuse to legitimize same-sex couples

Madrid, Spain, May 15, 2006 (CNA) - The executive committee of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference has warned against a recent resolution from the European Parliament condemning homophobia and rejecting discrimination against homosexuals, could threaten marriage and the entire social order in Europe.

“This resolution, under the pretext of preventing discrimination against homosexual persons, directly promotes the idea that unions between a man and a woman and unions between same-sex couples must be treated equally,” the bishops said in a statement.

The resolution, which was passed on January 18, 2006, “falsifies the truth founded upon the nature of man, who is created male and female,” the bishops continued.  Although the member states are not obligated to alter their laws on same-sex unions, the resolution “represents moral pressure” to do so.

In addition, the bishops warned that using the educational system to discourage “homophobia” “carries with it the danger of introducing this deformation of the truth into the minds of children and young people.”

The bishops expressed their unity with other episcopal conferences and individuals who have spoken out “against this resolution that attacks the correct functioning of the European Union.”  They also called on the members of the EU Parliament to “avoid actions in the future that would endanger freedom of conscience in the Union.”

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October 21, 2014

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Lk 12:35-38

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Gospel:: Lk 12: 35-38

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Lk 12:35-38

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