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Archive of February 22, 2007

Canadian cell provider reverses porn decision after Catholic protest

Vancouver, Canada, Feb 22, 2007 (CNA) - The second-largest phone company in Canada has reversed its earlier decision to begin selling pornography thought its mobile phone service after numerous customers, including the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, threatened to cancel their contracts.

"It was the type of feedback and the sincerity of it that caused us to reflect on the service and ultimately to withdraw it," Telus spokesman Jim Johannsson told Reuters in an interview.

The decision came after Vancouver Archbishop Raymond Roussin published an article in his Archdiocese’s paper “The B.C. Catholic” earlier this month.  The archbishop called the company’s plan to be the first North American carrier to offer pornographic downloads, “disappointing and disturbing.”

Roussin pointed out the "increasing awareness about the problem of sexual addiction to pornography through internet access, and the abuse that this perpetuates on vulnerable persons.”

According to Bloomberg, the archbishop urged his some 400,000 Catholics, along with all parishes and Catholic schools to end their contracts with Telus because of the content.

Since January, Telus subscribers had been offered the possibility of downloading pornographic images for $3 (Canadian dollars) and videos for $4.  While the Telus users can still access pornography through their phone’s internet service, the company will no longer be providing porn for a profit.

A statement from Archbishop Roussin expressed his thankfulness that the company will no longer directly profit from the sales.  "I am pleased and grateful that Telus has decided to remove itself from the business of profiting from pornography," he said in a statement posted on the Archdiocesan website.

Archdiocesan spokesman Paul Schratz told Bloomberg that in addition to the number of Catholic individuals who use the company’s communication services, Telus currently provides phones and other services for about 130 parishes and schools in the archdiocese.

"The response was still coming in steadily right up until the time Telus changed its mind," Schratz said in an interview. The decision is "positive in the sense that Telus has listened to the voices of the people."

While Toronto-based researcher SeaBoard Group has estimated that the cell-based porn market will generate $900 million worldwide by 2008, a spokesman for Telus said the decision will have "no material impact" their sales.

Since the Archdiocese and individuals began speaking up, Telus shares have seen a decline of 15 Canadian cents, to C$58.23, on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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New York Times refuses corrective op-ed regarding Salvadoran abortion story

, Feb 22, 2007 (CNA) - The New York Times has refused to publish a corrective op-ed from the Salvadoran group Yes to Life.  The letter reportedly points out further errors in a piece the newspaper printed last month about abortion in El Salvador.

Several groups have attempted to correct the New York Times story, which Salvadorans and pro-lifers say is full of inaccuracies.

The Times inaccurately reported that women in El Salvador are imprisoned for up to 30 years for abortions. It also claimed that one woman, featured in the story, who was imprisoned for infanticide was actually imprisoned for an abortion. 

The latest letter rejected by the Times was written by Julia Regina de Cardenal, President of ‘Yes to Life,’ and one of the experts who was quoted in the original Times piece.  De Cardenal’s letter attempted to set the record straight on the U.S. new-giant’s story, LifeSiteNews.com has reported.

"Salvadoran reporters who investigated the issue of criminal prosecutions for abortion said that in the past seven years they found only three women were convicted for procuring illegal abortions and none of them were imprisoned,” wrote De Cardenal in her letter. “The primary purpose of criminal prosecutions is to charge abortionists who take advantage of women who find themselves in difficult situations."

"Government figures show maternal mortality went down in years following the tightening up of our abortion law. Women are safer because of our laws,” wrote Cardenal in response to the original Times article’s claim that women’s health has suffered under the abortion laws.

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Planned Parenthood launches pro-abortion cell phone service

Washington D.C., Feb 22, 2007 (CNA) - Planned Parenthood Wireless has launched a new affinity program that allows its supporters to sign up for mobile phone service and see 10% of their monthly bill used to support the abortion business, reported LifeNews.com.

The pro-abortion group will include action alerts and information customers' monthly bills, and 30 free minutes of calls every month. Customers will receive pro-abortion text messages. New customers can keep their current cell phone number and get a free phone for signing up.

The service is handled by Working Assets, which has provided long-distance phone services for Planned Parenthood for years. According to LifeNews.com, the two companies partnered to generate phone calls to South Dakota residents last year, urging citizens to defeat a statewide abortion ban.

Like many other affinity phone service companies, Working Assets contracts with a larger phone company (in this case Sprint) to provide telephone access to its customers.

Pro-lifers also have companies that provide various communications services, including the Missouri-based Pro Life Communications and Amerivision Communications, also known as LifeLine Communications or Affinity 4.

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Pope expresses admiration for missionaries in Brazilian Amazon

Vatican City, Feb 22, 2007 (CNA) - On the occasion of Ash Wednesday, which in Brazil marks the beginning of the Campaign of Fraternity - dedicated this year to the defense of Amazonian inhabitants - Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter expressing his admiration for the heroic missionaries who preach the Gospel in that region.

In his letter, the Pontiff underscores that Lent is “a time in which each Christian is invited to reflect in a particular way on the diverse social situations of the Brazilian people which demand greater fraternity.”

Referring to the campaign’s goal of helping the peoples of the Amazon, the Pope pointed to the related issue of the defense of the environment and noted that the Amazon region “constitutes a common patrimony that, because of its environmental, economic, socio-political, and human reality, requires special attention from the Church and from Brazilian society.”

“In continuity with my venerable predecessors,” the Pope continued, “I desire to make an act of gratitude to all those brave missionaries who have dedicated themselves and are dedicated, even at the expense of their own lives, to bringing the Catholic faith to the cities and towns of the region; men and women who, out of love of God, devote their bodies and souls to the spreading of the Kingdom of God in this Land of the Holy Cross.”
 
“As the Campaign of Fraternity begins this year, I renew my hope that the diverse sectors of civil society will come together on the issue of the Amazon in respect for the ethical demands of justice and of respect for life,” the Pope said in conclusion, imparting his Apostolic Blessing upon all Brazilians.

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Cardinal Lopez Trujillo to consecrate world’s families to the Sacred Heart

Barcelona, Spain, Feb 22, 2007 (CNA) - The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, will consecrate the families of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 3rd during the closing of the International Congress “Cor Iesu, Fons Vitae” (Heart of Jesus, Source of Life) at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Barcelona.

The cardinal will lead the ceremony after delivering a message entitled, “The Heart of Jesus as Source of Life for the Family” and after concelebrating at a Mass presided by the Apostolic Nuncio of Spain, Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro.

The Congress will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, established by Blessed Pius IX, and the 50th anniversary of the publication of the encyclical “Haurietis Aquas” by Pius XII.

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Pro-life group hails TIME report on pregnancy centers

Columbus, Ohio, Feb 22, 2007 (CNA) - Heartbeat International president Peggy Hartshorn has expressed her gratitude for a TIME magazine featuring the life-saving work of the country’s pregnancy resource centers as its cover story this week.

“The Abortion Campaign You Never Hear About” reveals one of America’s best kept secrets, said Hartshorn in a statement. The magazine has a circulation of more than four million.

The article features the Asheville Pregnancy Support Services in Asheville, North Carolina, one of the thousands of crisis pregnancy centers in the U.S. The crisis pregnancy center movement is reportedly growing, raising alarms with pro-abortion groups.

These centers are typically Christian charities, the article points out, often under the umbrella of one of three national groups: Care Net, Heartbeat International, or the U.S. National Institute of Family and Life Advocates.

The article also reports on the pro-abortion lobby’s reaction to these centers and the ongoing debate about whose information (on either side of the debate) is accurate. It explores the dialogue that has emerged between some pro-abortion and pro-life people in Asheville in an effort to find common ground; the group is called Blue Moon.

“Heartbeat International pregnancy centers are providing a level of care that guards the health of women facing an untimely pregnancy,” continued Hartshorn in her statement. “We are working to protect the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of each woman that comes to us for help.”

“Close to 80 percent of post-abortive women have said they would have given birth if they had received support and encouragement, but most receive threats and hostile opposition to a possible decision for life,” said Hartshorn. “We want to be that support that allows them to welcome new life as a gift.”

Heartbeat International, founded in 1971, is an interdenominational Christian association of more than 1,000 pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, non-profit adoption agencies, and medical clinics in 47 states and 37 countries.

Option Line (800-395-HELP), a joint venture with Care Net, connects callers with local pregnancy centers. Each month Option Line responds to approximately 20,000 women.

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Mission in Peruvian Andes concludes with 1000 baptisms

Lima, Peru, Feb 22, 2007 (CNA) - The “Great Mission” to the Peruvian province of Carabaya ended this week, with more than 140 missionaries participating under the guidance of Bishop Kay Schmalhausen of Ayaviri and more than 1000 people receiving the Sacrament of Baptism.
 
During the Mass closing the three-week long mission, Bishop Schmalhausen thanked the missionaries for their generous service and invited residents of the area to assume the reins and “become catechists and missionaries in your own neighborhoods, towns, and communities, as there are still many who desire to know Christ but have not yet encountered somebody to opportunely proclaim Him.”

The 140 missionaries, mostly young people from the movement Lumen Dei, came from Lima, Arequipa, Cuzco, and Tacna.  They visited towns in the Peruvian Andes during the most of February.

The mission also provided local residents the chance to go to confession, receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and allowed many couples to begin marriage preparation.

The Provincial Superior of Lumen Die, Father Emilio Acebedo, and other priests of the movement also participated in the final Mass.

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Pope Benedict XVI encourages priests to offer new opportunites for Italian youth to discover God

Vatican City, Feb 22, 2007 (CNA) - This morning Pope Benedict XVI held his traditional meeting with the parish priests of Rome to celebrate the Feast of the Chair of Peter.  The Holy Father spoke briefly with his priests and also fielded their questions.

In what was described as a climate of happiness and fraternity, the Roman parish priests spoke with the Pontiff specifically about the proclamation of the Gospel in an increasingly secularized world and on the challenges surrounding the transmittal of the faith to younger generations.  

Nine Roman priests presented questions to the Holy Father regarding topics such as youth ministry, the importance of Sanctuaries, using sacred art as instruments of evangelization, and the role of ecclesiastical movements.

The Holy Father emphasized that the fundamental mission of Rome´s clergy is to "bring the new generations closer to the Gospel."  

"Many youth live in a world far from God," the Pope stated in commenting on the growing chasm between adolescents and the Church, "a consequence of a cultural context in which such an encounter is made difficult."  

As a result of this, “the highest priority” of the Roman parish priest is to provide opportunities for today’s youth to discover God, he said.

"In Italy I see how the faith is still deeply rooted in the heart of Italian society, but it is also threatened," stated the Pope.  

The Holy See, by way of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Press Office, plans to make public entire text of the Holy Father’s conversation with his priests in the next few days.

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Cardinal Ruini: The teachings of Pope Benedict transmit the joy of being believers

Rome, Italy, Feb 22, 2007 (CNA) - At the beginning of Thursday morning’s meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the priests of the Diocese of Rome, a brief introduction was given by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar General for the Diocese.  The Cardinal thanked Pope Benedict for his teaching and for the way in which he transmits the joy of being a Christian believer.

In introducing the question and answer session between the priests and the Holy Father, Cardinal Ruini offered his gratitude to the Pope, saying, " Many are your actions for the whole world, but also specifically for Rome and for Italy, which help us understand more deeply and with extraordinary clarity the Mystery of our faith both in itself and in its multiple implications on the reality of our life.”

The Cardinal recalled that the Diocese of Rome’s pastoral focus for the year is also inspired by the Holy Father and his teaching on, "the joy of faith and the education of the young generations."  

“Thus we continue our commitment to prayer and mission,” the Cardinal concluded, “which is addressed mostly to the families, and try to help especially the young to meet the Lord Jesus Christ, as it is the young who are most exposed to secularization and Christianization processes, but who also deeply feel the need of a meaning for their life.”

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Messori reveals names of anti-Christian “lobbies”

Madrid, Spain, Feb 22, 2007 (CNA) - In an interview with the Italian daily “La Stampa,” journalist and writer Vittorio Messori recently denounced the World Health Organization (WHO), certain Masonic groups, gay rights organizations, pharmaceutical corporations, and powerful ecological organizations as anti-Catholic “lobbies” that “hate Christianity out of nostalgia for paganism.”

Messori told the Italian newspaper, “The actions of these influential pressure groups are not only directed against marriage and the family from the perspective of the faith, but also at any ethical and moral concern of the Church.”  He pointed to the World Health Organization as a prime example of a “politically correct” radical liberal organization that seeks to promote “contraception, abortion, and prenatal testing to eliminate fetuses with deformations.”  Other groups promote a radical environmentalism that is linked to paganism, he said, and certain Masonic organizations, especially in Latin America, “influenced by the French and the Spanish, are also hostile to Catholic morality.”

These “lobbies referred to by the Pope,” Messori continued, “include large homosexual organizations, many from the English-speaking world.  Like all minorities, gays often fight among themselves in their communities, but especially in the US they overcome their disagreements through a practically unanimous aversion to ‘papist’ ethics.”

He also noted the influence of the “colossal pharmaceutical industry” which makes millions from the sale of contraceptive pills, condoms and other drugs that violate the Church’s moral teaching.

While Messori said that many of these problems constitute a frontal assault on the Church from outside, he also noted that the Church sufferers from within as well.  “Sometimes I have the impression that the Pope is a general without troops,” he stated.

“Today we are witnessing a kind of hidden schism among believers who, without publicly showing it, in private do not obey the moral norms of the Church.  They are people who, if you ask them, say they are Catholic, they even go to Mass, but they do not follow the directives on sexual and family ethics.  This includes everything from the use of contraceptives to the acceptance of divorce, living together outside marriage, homosexuality and even abortion,” Messori said.

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