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Archive of May 15, 2007

New survey reveals Americans in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade

Alexandria, Va., May 15, 2007 (CNA) - The results of a new poll on America’s opinion regarding abortion are in, and they do not look good for the pro-abortion lobby. According to the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the Judicial Confirmation Network, the new poll shows that when voters are educated on how Roe v. Wade really affects the availability of abortion, there is a substantial change in their opinions.

 

Armed with this new understanding of where the country’s mind is on abortion, the two pro-family networks plan to launch a campaign to educate the public on this crucial issue.

 

“We believe this is the perfect moment in the wake of the Gonzales v. Carhart partial-birth abortion decision, and while the abortion issue is center stage in the presidential campaign to implement a comprehensive national education campaign about Roe.”

 

In order to prepare for the upcoming educational effort, the research firm Ayres, McHenry & Associates was hired to conduct a national survey of registered voters on abortion issues.

The aim of the survey was to determine if further education on the implications of Roe v. Wade would change people’s minds. Here is how it proceeded, “The survey first asked participants whether they would like the Supreme Court to overturn its Roe v. Wade ruling. It then asked them whether they believed that abortion should be legal or illegal in each of twelve circumstances. The surveyor then briefly informed the participants (1) that Roe prohibits states from restricting abortion during the first six months of pregnancy in any of those circumstances, and (2) that if Roe were overturned states could make abortion policies that would permit abortion for some reasons and bar it for others. Participants were then asked again whether they would like the Supreme Court to overturn Roe.”

Some substantial changes were also noted when those being surveyed were informed about how Roe functions in practice. “With even this brief education about what Roe really means, public opinion on overturning Roe swung a full 16 points in the direction favoring the reversal of Roe: from 55 to 34 percent against overturning Roe to 48 to 43 percent against. In the face of more than three decades of media misrepresentation about what Roe means and what overturning it would mean, this swing is very striking.”

 

Other notable changes include, “Republicans initially favored the overturning of Roe by 60 to 32 percent. By the end of the survey, that already whopping margin had increased to 67 to 29 percent. As well as, the swing among Democratic voters was especially marked: 26 points in the direction of favoring a reversal of Roe.”

 

For more information please go to, http://judicialnetwork.com/

 

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Cardinal Bertone delivers papal message to 250 Christian movements

Vatican City, May 15, 2007 (CNA) - Over 250 Christian movements and communities gathered in Stuttgart, Germany this past Saturday for an event called, “Together for Europe 2007”. The purpose of the gathering was to focus on “the role of young people, as the expression of Europe’s future” and to draw attention to Africa. Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. delivered a message in the Pope's name to the ecumenical assembly.

The cardinal pointed out how the current initiative "has come to life through the good ecumenical intuition of Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican groups," seeking "to underline the need to re-affirm together faithfulness to the Gospel in a Europe that risks losing its original values and giving up on its Christian roots.

"The words of the Venerable Pope John Paul II," Cardinal Bertone adds, "seem to be more relevant than ever: 'I would like to mention in a particular way the loss of Europe's Christian memory and heritage, accompanied by a kind of practical agnosticism and religious indifference whereby many Europeans give the impression of living without spiritual roots and somewhat like heirs who have squandered a patrimony entrusted to them by history.'

"Pope Benedict XVI echoes this consideration. From the beginning of his pontificate he has never missed an opportunity to recall the importance of safeguarding the Christian inheritance, the particular richness of the European continent.

"The appeal not to lose our roots is like a repeated invitation to work concretely so that believers in Christ of different confessions may unite their efforts in the service of such a timely and relevant cause. It is a matter of defending a human and spiritual heritage that is vital for the authentic development of Europe."

Benedict XVI's wish, is "that the meeting 'Together for Europe' may strengthen the desire for communion that animates lay movements and communities of the different Churches; that it may contribute to overcoming prejudices, nationalism and historical barriers, and may urge people to work so that the spiritual dimension may not weaken in the Europe of post-modern times.

"All human efforts would amount to nothing," the message concludes, "were we to be separated from divine support, because 'unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build'."

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Giuliani says he will not challenge Pope on abortion-Communion

Washington D.C., May 15, 2007 (CNA) - Rudy Giuliani refused to challenge Pope Benedict XVI, who said last week that Catholic politicians who favor abortion have excommunicated themselves and should not take Communion.

The former mayor of New York is pro-abortion and said his differences with the Catholic Church are between him, God and his confessor, not the Pope. Giuliani is running for the leadership of the Republican Party.

"I don't get into debates with the Pope," Giuliani told reporters. "Issues like that for me are between me and my confessor. ... I'm a Catholic and that's the way I resolve those issues, personally and privately.

Giuliani resorted to the common false idea that there can be a split between what one believes in public and what one legislates for the sake of the common good.  "That's what religion is all about — it's something that's between you and your conscience and God and then whoever your spiritual advisers are," he was quoted as saying.

The Giuliani campaign Wednesday night deflected questions about Giuliani's spiritual advisers and whether he takes Communion, saying that those are private issues.

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Catholics urged to support new pro-life film

Washington D.C., May 15, 2007 (CNA) - Catholics must rally to give the pro-life feature film Bella a chance at a good theater run in the United States, says Colin Mason, media director for Population Research Institute.

Mason is urging Catholics across the country to call the film’s producers and tell them how important the film is. He also suggests organizing church groups and youth groups to see the film so that it can get a wider distribution. The film delivers a pro-life message in a way that is appealing to younger people and the general public, it will get wider distribution.

Bella, which is produced by Metanoia Films, tells the story of a young single waitress in New York City who becomes pregnant, loses her job, and struggles with the decision of whether or not to keep her child.  In the meantime, she encounters a mysteriously compassionate Latino chef, who has suffered a tragedy in his past, and is perhaps the only person in her life who really cares about her. During the course of the film, a decision is reached that will change both of their lives.
 
The film won the Toronto’s coveted People’s Choice Award in September 2006.  It is currently touring colleges to create interest in a theatrical run. Mason, who recently watched the film, with about 200 students from Christendom College, said, “The experience was deeply rewarding to me.”
 
“Bella is not only an artistic triumph, but a moral and spiritual one as well,” he stated.  The film is ideal for anyone who is an adolescent or older since it does not contain violence, sex or blasphemy.
 
“Without pontificating or moralizing, the movie is artistically direct, viscerally powerful, and steadfastly pro-life,” said Mason. “There is no pretentious posturing, no political overtones.  It’s just simple, and powerful, stirring basic emotions that are fundamental to the human experience.  So fundamental, in fact, audiences of all political persuasions have fallen for the film.”
 
Metanoia Films, the small production company responsible for the movie, states its mission as “to use film to make a positive difference in the culture and in peoples’ lives.”

A preview of the film is available at  www.bellathemovie.com

To contact Metanoia email [email protected].

 

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Kansas governor lends support to Planned Parenthood

Kansas City, Mo., May 15, 2007 (CNA) - Operation Rescue has planned to hold a protest this evening against Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

Sebelius’ association with Planned Parenthood is particularly scandalous because she professes to be Catholic. Recent charges leveled at the organization hosting the fundraiser also add to the gravity of her decision to lend support to the event. 

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has been under investigation for illegally concealing child rape and committing illegal late-term abortions.
 
One such incident involved Planned Parenthood representatives being taped coaching what they thought to be a pregnant 13-year-old caller on how to protect her allegedly 22-year-old boyfriend from being reported as a suspected statutory rapist.
 
This is not the first time that the governor has sparked controversy by associating herself with pro-abortion causes. In the past, she accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from late-term abortionist George R. Tiller, who was charged with 30 criminal counts related to illegal late-term abortions. However, the charges against Tiller were dismissed by one of Sebelius' political allies, District Attorney Nola Foulston.

Sebelius has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential nominee for the Democratic Party or cabinet appointee should a Democrat win the presidency.

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Adult stem cells outperform embryonic stem cells

Gainesville, Fla., May 15, 2007 (CNA) - The American College of Pediatricians is calling for an end to embryonic stem cell research and recommends the exclusive support of already proven effective adult stem cell research.

"Not only does embryonic research require taking the life of human embryos, it also prolongs needless suffering by delaying the development of more promising adult stem cell treatments and cures," said Dr. Michelle Cretella, a fellow of the American College of Pediatricians.
 
Research using non-embryo sources of stem cells, including amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, placenta and adult blood, fat and various organs, have yielded impressive results.
 
These results include the routine use of adult stem cells in certain forms of cancer therapy. Over the last decade, these cells have been used to successfully treat spinal cord injuries, heart failure, Parkinson's disease, diabetes and dozens of other conditions in human trials.
 
Instead, embryonic stem cell trials have produced the wrong tissue, forming tumors and triggering immune rejection.
 
“Every dollar spent on the failed and unnecessary process of embryonic stem cell research, steals resources away from the potential of adult stem cell research. This is fiscally irresponsible and medically unconscionable,” said a statement from the American College of Pediatricians.

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First “patriotic” bishop named by Communist government in China dies

Rome, Italy, May 15, 2007 (CNA) - This past Saturday, the first bishop to be named by the Communist government to the Patriotic church, Dong Guangqing, passed away in the province of Hubei. His death comes just one month after the death of the top leader of the Patriotic Catholic Association in China, Bishop Fu Tieshan of Beijing, who was appointed by the government in 1979 without Vatican approval.

Dong Guangqing, 90, was ordained bishop of the diocese of Hankou in 1958 by the Patriotic Catholic Church of China, which is controlled by the Communist government and operates independent of Rome.  Dong was also president of the Patriotic Catholic Association of Wuhan, vice president of the National Administrative Committee of the Chinese Catholic Church and a member of the Chinese University of Catholic Bishops.

The deaths of the two bishops leave open the question of whether Beijing will continue to maintain a posture of confrontation with the Holy See, deepening the divisions between the minority “patriotic church” and the growing underground Catholic community, or put an end to the division of Catholics in China.

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Overwhelming majority of atheists oppose legalization of abortion in Brazil

, May 15, 2007 (CNA) - A study by the firm Datafolha has revealed that 82 percent of Brazilians who claim to be atheists oppose the legalization of abortion in the country.  Analysts say the survey shows that the defense of life is not a religious but a humanitarian issue.

80 percent of Brazilian atheists also oppose liberalizing abortion for such cases as anencephaly (a congenital absence of all or a major part of the brain). The study shows that people who say they practice no religion are more firmly against abortion that those who belong to some of the Afro-Brazilian religions.

Carried out between March 19 and 20, the survey also showed that 90 percent of the populace opposes the total legalization of abortion.  74 percent do not want abortion to be legal anymore than the current circumstances allow and favor no change in the law.

The study was based on a survey of six thousand Brazilians above the age of 16 throughout the country.

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Spokesman for CELAM says political involvement by priests destroys unity

Aparecida, Brazil, May 15, 2007 (CNA) - Speaking about the issue of liberation theology and its impact on the clergy, the spokesman for the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council, Bishop Hector Gutierrez Pabon, said Sunday that priests who get involved in politics “immediately break the unity and the mission they were entrusted with.”

 

During a press conference following Pope Benedict XVI’s discourse inaugurating the CELAM conference, Bishop Pabon explained that some priests and their communities want to take advantage of the leadership and organizational skills of our priests. The danger of this is that it threatens to turn them into political partisans.  “The Church has had experience in this area and has been very clear: to each his own.”

 

“As soon as a priest becomes political, the unity and the mission that he was entrusted with, which is to make the message of the Lord known to all without regard for social class or political beliefs, are immediately broken,” Bishop Pabon stressed.

 

He noted, however, that bishops become involved in politics in so much as the issue is a matter of the “common good and is based on the Gospel and is spelled out by the Church in her social teaching.”

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Pope to remain in Castel Gandolfo until next Friday

, May 15, 2007 (CNA) - After his return to Rome from Brazil, where he presided over the inauguration of the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishop’s Council, Pope Benedict XVI traveled to his residence at Castel Gandolfo where he will remain until next Friday.

Upon arriving at the Ciampino airport outside Rome, the Holy Father was greeted by Italy’s Minister of Family Affairs, Rosy Bindi, the vicar of the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, and other prelates.

This Wednesday the Pontiff will take a break from his habitual weekly audience at St. Peter’s Square.

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Bishops at CELAM conference yet to decide on issuance of final document

Aparecida, Brazil, May 15, 2007 (CNA) - The president of the Department of Communications of the Latin American Bishops’ Council (CELAM), Archbishop Baltasar Porras, said this week the bishops meeting at CELAM’s general conference in Brazil have the authority to decide whether or not to issue a final document.

During a press conference on Monday, Archbishop Porras also said the CELAM conference “is not a secret meeting.  If a document is approved, it will be sent to the Pope for recognition as is normally done.” The approval from the Holy Father will then take “less than one month” while he reviews it.

The president of CELAM, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, told reporters CELAM leaders would meet with Pope Benedict XVI on June 11 in order to review the document, if one is approved.  He noted that a document would be “the teaching of the bishops and not the Pope,” although it would be subject to the Pope’s review.

“The Pope came and gave his discourse, but he still remains involved by reviewing the work of the bishops,” he said.

Cardinal Errazuriz also discussed the voting system that the bishops will use during the meeting.  “First a draft document will be presented. Then it will be reviewed and improved in committee.  Then it will be brought back to the main body and will be subjected to a vote paragraph by paragraph.  I approve, I don’t approve, or I approve with these modifications.”

“If it is not approved and somebody is interested in submitting a new issue to vote, he will need the support of some of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences in order for it to be discussed again.  Many of these votes will be done electronically,” he explained.

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Archdiocese Reacts to New Adoption and Sex Ed. Laws

Denver, Colo., May 15, 2007 (CNA) - Colorado has two new laws on its books and both of them were opposed by the Colorado Catholic Conference. The first law allows live-in same sex or heterosexual partners to adopt children without the normal legal review process. While the second law requires that all public school districts implement a “science-based” content standard for sexual education courses.

 

According to the Colorado Catholic Conference, the adoption law is faulty because it “fails to recognize the intricacies of adoption law and processes, and is not in the best interests of the children or people of Colorado.” Another issue raised by the House bill (1330) being made law, is that it “clearly circumvents the expressed will of Colorado voters who rejected Referendum I in November of 2006.  Referendum I would have allowed same-sex couples the possibility of adopting children.”

 

The new law about sex education confronts Catholic values from another angle. The law requires that sexual education courses make some reference to abstinence education, but also mandates that contraception and other “science based” instruction be included. This is problematic for schools that receive Title V funding from the federal government which gives funding to schools for teaching only abstinence-based sexual education courses.

 

“Although this law does address the need for abstinence education it also mandates the teaching of contraceptive methods and practices. This legislation will eliminate a public school district’s ability to retain local control over the content of human sexuality courses taught in their schools,” the Conference noted.  


Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, PA, recently addressed U.S. legislators on the same issue. He said that, “so-called “comprehensive” sex education programs that mention abstinence within the discussion of premarital sexual experimentation is not an appropriate alternative.”

“‘Comprehensive’ sex education,” he said, is “more accurately described as compromised education. The abstinence message is mentioned, but then undermined with the false message that premature sexual experimentation does no real harm if steps are taken to avoid pregnancy.”

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