Archive of November 1, 2006

Statue of John Paul II to be unveiled on All Saints Day in Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico, Nov 1, 2006 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, will unveil a bronze statue of Pope John Paul II today in the archdiocesan cathedral.

According to the Notimex news agency, hundreds of Mexicans contributed to the material for making the statue by donating keys.

On Wednesday, All Saints Day, “we will inaugurate the statue that was born in the hearts of all of you buy donating a key so that this statue could be possible…On that same day the President (Vicente Fox) will inaugurate the (restoration) works that were made possible during his term,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Rivera also said that during the ceremony the Cathedrals new floor, restored reredos and organ will also be inaugurated.

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Sanctity simply requires listening to Jesus and following His will, Pope says

Vatican City, Nov 1, 2006 (CNA) - Thousands of faithful crowded into St. Peter’s Basilica today for the celebration of Mass for the Solemnity of All Saints, presided over by Pope Benedict XVI.  The Holy Father recalled, in his homily, that sanctity simply consists in serving Jesus, listening and following without loosing heart in the face of difficulties.

“It is not necessary to carry out extraordinary acts and works, nor to possess exceptional charisms…it is necessary first of all to listen to Jesus and then to follow Him without loosing heart in the face of difficulties,” Pope Benedict offered in response to the question, “How can we become saints - friends of God?”

The Pontiff said that, “the saints are not only a meager caste of chosen ones, but a numberless crowd,” in which, “there are not only the officially recognized Saints, but also the baptized of all times and nations who have sought to carry out the Will of God with love and fidelity.”

He also stressed that those gathered in the heavenly host each exhibited the, “will to embody the Gospel in their existence, under the impulses of the eternal animator of the People of God, who is the Holy Sprit.”

The Pope quoted St. Bernard in his response to the question of offering tribute to the saints, saying, “’Our Saints do not need our honor and do not receive anything from our ‘worship.’  But for my part, I mush confess that when I think of the Saints, I find myself burning with great desires.’ This, therefore, is the significance of today’s solemnity,” Pope Benedict said, “our looking upon the luminous example of the saints ignites in us the great desire to be like the saints: happy to live close to God, in His light, in the great family of the friends of God…and this is the vocation of each of us.”

“The experience of the Church shows that all forms of holiness, even though proceeding in different ways, pass always through the way of the cross…The biographies of the saints speak of men and women who, docile to the Plan of God, have faced at times tests and indescribably suffering, persecution, and martyrdom.  They have persevered in their work, ‘they have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14),’” the Pope continued.   

He also recalled that while true joy comes from trusting in the Lord, “the only true cause of sadness and misery for mankind is to live far from Him.”

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Dissenting Canadian priest enters into politics

Montreal, Canada, Nov 1, 2006 (CNA) - A Canadian parish priest, who has been an outspoken supporter of abortion and same-sex marriage, announced last week that he will be running in a federal by-election for the separatist Bloc Quebecois Party this month.

Fr. Raymond Gravel of the Diocese of Joliette said he will run as a candidate in the riding of Repentigny, located north of Montreal.

According to a report by, he was granted the permission of his bishop to run for public office, despite a prohibition of such activity in the Church's Code of Canon Law.
In his blog, Waiting in Joyful Hope, Montreal priest Fr. Tom Dowd, underlines that the Code of Canon Law, canon 285, forbids all clerics from entering political life.

Seminary professor and Canon Law expert Edward Peters makes a similar point on his blog, “In the Light of the Law,” noting that the entire story seems to wrought with Canonical errors.  “In short,” Dr. Peters says, “it seems that someone has either thoroughly confused Canon 285 with Canon 287 (which allows priestly participation in the governance of unions or political parties), or has deeply disregarded Canons 87 and 90.”  Canons 87 and 90 state, respectively, that a bishop cannot offer a dispensation reserved to the Holy See and that a dispensation cannot be granted without a “just and reasonable cause.”

A former homosexual prostitute, Fr. Gravel was ordained a priest in 1986. However, since then, he has voiced continuous opposition to the Church’s teachings on celibacy, homosexuality, and the sanctity of life.

In February, he was one of 19 priests to create a huge Canadian media stir when they issued a letter of dissent to the Canadian bishops regarding the bishops’ stance against same-sex marriage.
Gilles Ferland, communications director for the Diocese of Joliette, told LifeSiteNews that part of the agreement with the bishop was that Fr. Gravel would not take positions as a politician that "go against the doctrines of the Church." He added that the Vatican was not consulted in the decision, but the diocese's council of priests was consulted and agreed.

Fr. Dowd adds that Fr. Gravel did not obtain permission from the Vatican to enter into political life. “This was confirmed by the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada himself,” he writes.

According to Fr. Dowd, Fr. Gravel’s bishop also warned him that if he were to enter into political life he would have to give up all public ministry.

“He [Fr. Gravel] will still be required to maintain all priestly obligations (particularly celibacy), but he will only be permitted to celebrate mass privately — no funerals, no marriages, no baptisms, no preaching in church, etc.,” he writes.

Dr. Peters, notes that although the ministerial “restriction” twist is “interesting,” there are still, “no conditions upon which episcopal ‘permission’ to hold governmental office can be given to a priest.”

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Women's group releases list of pro-family, pro-life referenda

Washington D.C., Nov 1, 2006 (CNA) - Women’s public policy organization Concerned Women for America has released a list of state referenda regarding family and life issues, which will be voted on in the United States this November.  

Mike Mears, Director of State Legislative Relations for the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC), noted in a CWA press release, “Many states will have at least one initiative that pro- family, pro-life Americans will want to pay attention to.”

“We want to make sure our folks know about these critical referendums which will preserve marriage as a one-man, one-woman institution,” Mears added.

“Right now, it’s popular to cover only the negative ads the candidates are using against each other. Here’s a thought: let’s talk about things that matter, like protecting marriage in eight more states, standing up for the unborn like they are doing in South Dakota, and protecting private property rights in Nevada and other states. CWA is going to do everything we can to get the message out on these critical referendums around the country in these last few days,” Mears said.

CWA’s list of state referendums can be found on their website, here:

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Queen ‘delighted’ by royal marriage at the Vatican

London, England, Nov 1, 2006 (CNA) - For the first time in 400 years, a member of the British Royal Family will marry in a religious ceremony at the Vatican and the Queen of England has expressed her approval.

Lord Nicholas Windsor, son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, will marry British-born Croatian Princess Paola Doimi de Frankopan Nov. 4 in the Church of Santo Stefano degli Abissini, in the Vatican.  Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster, who like Lord Nicholas is an Anglican convert to Catholicism, will preside at the wedding ceremony.

Queen Elizabeth is reportedly “delighted” by the marriage and has granted the couple permission to marry at the Vatican, reported The Universe.

The 36-year-old royal was received into the Roman Catholic Church in a private ceremony in 2001. His fiancée is also Roman Catholic. His mother was the first member of the British Royal Family in modern times to convert to Catholicism in 1994.

In converting, Lord Nicholas has permanently forfeited his right of succession to the British throne. The Act of Settlement bars past or present Roman Catholics, those who marry Roman Catholics, as well as their children, from succession to the throne.

Lord Nicholas met his fiancé at a New York party in 2001. They announced their engagement on Sept. 26, 2006 and married in a civil ceremony on Oct. 19.

Queen Elizabeth said she would attend a reception for the couple at St James' Palace in January. Prince Charles, who is the groom’s godfather, will also attend the reception along with other members of the royal family.

The prince, however, will be unable to attend the church ceremony as he will be returning from an official visit to Pakistan at the time, a spokesperson told The Universe. His trip was arranged many months ago.

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Mass. bishops urge action from Catholics re marriage amendment

Boston, Mass., Nov 1, 2006 (CNA) - The bishops of Massachusetts are calling on Catholics to contact their state senators and representatives and to urge them to advance the Marriage Amendment, which would protect the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Massachusetts State Legislature must vote on the amendment (H.4617) by the end of this year. The Senate and House are scheduled to meet in Constitutional Convention Nov. 9, two days after the General Election, to take up all proposed amendments, including the Marriage Amendment.

Supporters of same-sex marriage are urging legislators to boycott the Constitutional Convention to deny the vote that would be needed to pass the Marriage Amendment, the bishops said.

In fact, if enough members walk out or fail to show up for debate Nov. 9, a legislative vote would be prevented, and the Marriage Amendment would inevitably die, the bishops stated in their message. This would deny citizens their right to vote on the issue in a 2008 ballot.

Supporters of traditional marriage must counteract the current efforts and urge their legislators to show up Nov. 9 and to vote, the bishops said. They also urged Catholics to pray and to gather in front of the State House in Boston to show their support for traditional marriage and the people’s right to vote on marriage in a 2008 ballot.

The message was issued by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Bishop George Coleman, Bishop Timothy McDonnell, and Bishop Robert McManus.

Citizens can reach their legislators by dialing the State House in Boston at 617-722-2000 and asking to be forwarded to the legislator’s office.

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Catholic MP loses seat for ‘misusing’ Pope’s name

Kochi, India, Nov 1, 2006 (CNA) - A Catholic politician in India has lost his seat as a member of Parliament after a high court ruled that he “misused” the names of Pope John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to win votes from Christian citizens.

The Kerala High Court ruled Oct. 31 that P. C. Thomas used his religious affiliation to win over voters in the May 2004 election, reported the Indian Catholic News Service.

In an 81-page judgment, Justice C N Ramachandran Nair said Thomas violated two sections of the Representation of the People Act -- 123(3) for circulating leaflets and calendars seeking votes of Christians and 123(5) for using vehicles to transport voters to polling booths, the INCS reported.

The court ruled that P. M. Ismail of the Communist Party of India, who petitioned the case in court, should have won the seat.

According to ICNS, the leaflet in question, which was published in the name of John Kachiramattum of the Catholic Congress, said Pope John Paul II had exhorted Christians to participate in the national mainstream. It also stated that Thomas had attended the beatification ceremony of Mother Teresa and that he had kissed the Pope's palm. There leaflet urged people to vote for Thomas, who was a described as a representative of Christians and compared with the biblical character Joseph, the court pointed out.

The court said 50,000 leaflets and calendars had been printed and extensively circulated in the constituency by Thomas's party workers and with his knowledge.

Thomas had won the election by 529 votes. The court ruled that his opponent Ismail would have received at least 265 more votes had it not been for Thomas’ “corrupt practices.”

The court granted a one-month stay on the application of the judgment to enable Thomas to file an appeal. Thomas said he will file an appeal in the Supreme Court.

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Archbishop of Oaxaca calls for restoring of order amidst outbreak of violence

Mexico City, Mexico, Nov 1, 2006 (CNA) - Archbishop Jose Luis Chavez Botello called on society to collaborate in the restoration of public order in his city of Oaxaca and to report correctly about the actions of federal police agents, because “manipulation only provokes bewilderment, mistrust, fear, and desperation.”

“If…federal agents are to restore order and not oppression, it is important that citizens of moral prestige, human rights commissions, and the media should follow this important task as faithful witnesses and duly report to society,” the archbishop said in a statement.

He stressed that the intervention by federal police was a chance for citizens of Oaxaca to demonstrate they are truly “at the service of the guarantees and fundamental rights of every human person.”

The archbishop called on local residents to accept the intervention with patience and responsibility and to refuse to give in to temptations for vengeance.  “Nobody with a heart scarred by selfishness and hatred can truly help in rebuilding society,” he said.

Archbishop Chavez also encouraged the faithful to “intensify their prayer” and he asked pastors to keep churches open so that people could pray.  “Only in unity, and social responsibility and peace can we achieve a better future,” he stressed.

As of Wednesday morning the Associated Press reports that although federal police have quelled some of the violent protesters, at least one federal official acknowledged the government had not gained complete control of the capital city of 275,000, which has been under siege for five months by striking teachers and leftist anarchists demanding the resignation of Gov. Ulises Ruiz.

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Great majority of Chileans support life-long marriage and reject abortion

Santiago, Chile, Nov 1, 2006 (CNA) - A new poll has revealed that the vast majority of Chileans understand that marriage is a life-long commitment and that women do not have the right, under any circumstances, to undergo an abortion.

The poll, carried out by the Catholic University and Adimark, revealed that 77.4% of Chileans agree that marriage is for life.  70% agree that women do not have the right to undergo an abortion under any circumstance.

39% of those polled said they supported abortion in cases of rape, but only 9.1% said they supported abortion for economic reasons.

42.7% believe people should not live together before marriage and 53.7% think those cohabiting should get married if they have kids.

84.2% said people should stay in touch with their families even if they don’t have that much in common, and 70% said they get along better with family than with friends.

2,042 people were interviewed for the poll.

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Bishop says new education law main challenge to Venezuela

Konigstein, Germany, Nov 1, 2006 (CNA) - During a visit to the international headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Jose Luis Azuaje of El Vigia said this week, “The main problems the Catholic Church in Venezuela has to face are a Law of Education, soon to be implemented, as well as the forthcoming approval of a curriculum which will ban religious education from schools.”

“We urgently need to use the means of mass media in order to educate people to be critical about the government’s doctrinal messages,” the bishop said during his visit. “The Social Doctrine of the Church must be the fundament of social, political and cultural formation and education.”

“Politics in Venezuela are affected by intolerance.  In addition, I doubt that there is still separation of powers,” he added.

Bishop Azuaje thanked Aid to the Church in Need and said, “Your charity has been present for many years in the whole world and especially in countries which undergo a similar experience like ours. We in Venezuela are just at the very beginning.”

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