Archive of July 6, 2007

Former gay leader goes straight and leaves helm of magazine he founded

Washington D.C., Jul 6, 2007 (CNA) - A young and prominent gay rights activist has abandoned his homosexual lifestyle and written about it in a column this week for World Net Daily.

“In my experience, ‘coming out’ from under the influence of the homosexual mindset was the most liberating, beautiful and astonishing thing I've ever experienced in my entire life,” writes Michael Glatze.

In his column, Glatze tells of the success he had as the founder of Young Gay America and editor of YGA Magazine. He received the National Role Model Award from Equality Forum, produced the first major documentary film to tackle gay teen suicide, and made several media appearances — including being featured in a cover story of Time magazine.

He was also invited as a panelist at the JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Business in 2005. It was after this event, however, that he began to have serious doubts about what he was doing with his life and his influence.

“Knowing no one who I could approach with my questions and my doubts, I turned to God,” he writes. “I'd developed a growing relationship with God … Soon, I began to understand things I'd never known could possibly be real, such as the fact that I was leading a movement of sin and corruption.”

He said it became clear to him that “homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within.” At this point, Glatze was 30, and had been living with a homosexual identity for 16 years.

He came to realize that homosexuality is pornographic; “[it] destroys impressionable [young] minds and confuses their developing sexuality.”

“Homosexuality came easy to me, because I was already weak,” he writes.  He explained that he noticed his attraction to men a year after his father died.  “At an early age, I was already confused about who I was and how I felt about others,” he writes.

“My confusion about ‘desire’ and the fact that I noticed I was ‘attracted’ to guys made me put myself into the ‘gay’ category at age 14.” He came out as gay at age 20, a year after his mother died.

Glatze is frank in saying that homosexuality is “lust and pornography wrapped into one.” He recounts how he has had to learn to deal with lust and to grow in love for himself. He said his homosexuality ended “once I ‘cut myself off’ from outside influences and intensely focused on inner truth – when I discovered the depths of my God-given self at age 30.”

He reflects on his relationship with God through this period of growth and change: “God came to me when I was confused and lost, alone, afraid and upset. He told me – through prayer – that I had nothing at all to be afraid of, and that I was home; I just needed to do a little house cleaning in my mind.”

Galtze says he believes “all people, intrinsically, know the truth. I believe that is why Christianity scares people so much. It reminds them of their conscience, which we all possess.”

“Sexual truth can be found, provided we're all willing and driven to accept that our culture sanctions behaviors that harm life,” he states.

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Trainers set to take legal action over venue for WYD mass

Sydney, Australia, Jul 6, 2007 (CNA) - Organizers of World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney would have to find a new venue for the papal vigil and closing Mass if trainers at Randwick racecourse were to have their way.


Randwick trainers announced they are set to take legal action in an attempt to move next year’s Catholic youth event from the racing headquarters, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.


Trainers found out last week that the racecourse will be shut down for at least 10 weeks to set up for the Pope's visit, with the tracks, 650 horses and 25 trainers forced to evacuate the complex. The trainers, as well as feed merchants, veterinarians and others, subsequently raised concerns that their businesses could be ruined due to a lack of compensation, reported the Herald.


According to the newspaper, a "heads of agreement" between the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) and the World Youth Day Coordinating Authority, with government support, was due to be signed last week.


But Randwick Trainers' Association president Anthony Cummings said “the AJC chairman would be acting outside his charter to sign a document that would host another enterprise to the exclusion of racing and training at Randwick.”


“All parties at Randwick are disappointed in the way this has been handled," Cummings reportedly said. "Generally speaking, there might be compensation, but they are unaware of the fact compensation is unlikely to be what is required."


Cummings did not name a compensation figure, but recent reports predict between $12 million and $50 million. WYD officials have described those involved as "opportunists".


"Rather than be seen as opportunistic and a grab for money, we'd rather see them take it somewhere else and let someone else take advantage of that opportunity," Cummings was quoted as saying.


"The fact is, when it was first mentioned, we were told we might not be able to use the training tracks at Randwick for three days," Cummings explained.


Australian Jockey Club chairman Ross Smyth-Kirk said he met with government officials and the WYD activity is expected to go ahead at Randwick, reported the Herald. Government officials, he said, are working on compensation.

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Vatican to release Benedict XVI's letter on the use of the Tridentine Mass tomorrow

Vatican City, Jul 6, 2007 (CNA) - The Vatican has announced that tomorrow at noon Rome time, the text of Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio on the use of the pre-1970 Roman liturgy, Summorum Pontificum will be published.

Sources familiar with the document say that it is a well-balanced and thoughtfully composed document. The letter will address the use of the Tridentine Mass and how it will affect the unity of the Church, the authority of bishops, and the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council.

Some Jewish leaders have expressed fears that the letter will reinstate the use of prayers that they consider problematic. Benedict XVI’s decree will revive the 1962 rite for the celebration of the Mass, which includes prayers asking God to "take the veil" off Jewish hearts and show mercy "even for the Jews.”

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a U.S.-based Jewish civil rights group, did not seem to be worried about the concerns raised by others.

"From second-hand sources, my understanding is they understand our concern, our sensitivity, our distress," Mr. Foxman said in Rome.

"And I think they're not about to add to that distress after all the efforts we've made with reconciliation."

CNA will publish Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum tomorrow morning at 7:00am EST.

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Lesbian gang violence underreported and on the rise

Washington D.C., Jul 6, 2007 (CNA) - This story has since been discredited by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Click here to read the follow up report.

The incidence of lesbian gang violence in American neighborhoods and schools is on the rise.

Last week, Fox News' O'Reilly Factor reported that gangs, known as Dykes Taking Over (DTO) and Gays Taking Over (GTO), are forcing children into homosexuality. In addition to carrying weapons and violently attacking people, gang members sometimes rape female victims.

FOX News crime analyst Rod Wheeler said there are about 150 such gangs in the DC area, including Washington, Maryland, and Virginia.

Wheeler described a “national underground network” of lesbian and gay gangs that recruit children as young as 10 in schools across the country. He said some of these children reported being forced into performing sex acts with the gang members. 

In a report earlier this year, produced by Eyewitness News Everywhere, Deputy Beverly Cobb of the Shelby County (Memphis) Gang Unit said this type of gang violence was becoming more frequent and more violent.

GTO gang members "are forcing themselves on our young girls in all our schools," she reportedly said. 

Two GTO members, who were imprisoned for robbery, said the group was formed more than a decade ago as a support group for lesbians. However, they admitted that current GTO members are raping girls. The Eyewitness News report also noted that some GTO members are attacking other inmates in prison.

GTO gang violence is not new, but it has gone underreported in the mainstream media. In 2004, NBC10 in Philadelphia reported that DTO members were harassing students. Young female students told of being groped, harassed in school bathrooms and bullied into becoming lesbians.

REAL Women Canada has taken note of violence by and among homosexuals and, in 2004, issued a report stating that homosexual parenting would be harmful to children. 

The report notes "a higher rate of violence in lesbian and homosexual relationships than in married, heterosexual relationships."

A study, published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, examined conflict and violence in lesbian relationships.  "The researchers found that 90% of the lesbians surveyed had been recipients of one or more acts of verbal aggression from their intimate partners during the year prior to this study, with 31% reporting one or more incidents of physical abuse," says the REAL Women report. 

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Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association--We will still "self-elect and self-ordain" bishops

, Jul 6, 2007 (CNA) - China will continue to "self-elect and self-ordain" bishops despite Vatican calls to end the practice, said Anthony Liu Bainian, a vice chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA).


"We ordain bishops only for the sake of evangelization in the mainland. Nobody can stop us," he told UCA News July 3. "Without the contribution of 'self-elected and self-ordained' bishops, the China church couldn't have achieved its development today,” he said.


The Pope's letter to Chinese Catholics, issued June 30, described the "self-elected and self-ordained bishops" in China as "validly ordained." But it said certain bishops among them "lack a pontifical mandate" and are to be considered "illegitimate."


Usually, the elected candidate for bishop applies to the Vatican for approval. However, in some cases the Vatican did not give approval and instead threatened excommunication.


"The fault lies not with China," Liu reasoned. Liu said it is up to Rome to recognize these bishops.


Liu said the CCPA intends to continue in its way as long as there are no advances in China-Vatican relations.


The Pope’s letter to Catholics in China includes two sections on the Chinese hierarchy and appointment of bishops. It reads: "the claim of some entities, desired by the state and extraneous to the structure of the church, to place themselves above the bishops and to guide the life of the ecclesial community, does not correspond to Catholic doctrine."


Liu disagrees with the letter's suggestion that the CCPA places itself above the bishops. He describes the CCPA and its branches in local dioceses as providing a bridge between the church and the government. "We help government officials to understand the church and its doctrines," he explained.


Each of the five government-recognized religions in China has its own patriotic association.

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Venezuelan bishops to respond to attacks by Chavez

Caracas, Venezuela, Jul 6, 2007 (CNA) - Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas told reporters this week the Church would officially respond to the attacks on the bishops by President Hugo Chavez and that the response would be “sensible, thought-out, very mature and respectful.”

Speaking during the 88th Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela, he rejected Chavez’s comments, who said the bishops were “perverts, liars and deceivers” for calling for a debate on constitutional reform.

In referring to the anniversary of the country’s declaration of independence, Cardinal Urosa called on Venezuelans “give the best of themselves” out of love and respect so that Venezuela might be a country where there is “inclusion, respect, social justice, work and progress for all.”

For Catholics, he noted, love of country is of the utmost importance because it is a manifestation of the fourth commandment.  He said the celebration of the country’s independence should be a day of patriotic fervor “which should burn in the hearts of all Venezuelans and should manifest itself in solidarity, the determination to work for the common good without hatred, exclusions or confrontations.”

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No prison sentence for Archbishop of Manizales says Supreme Court of Colombia

Bogotá, Colombia, Jul 6, 2007 (CNA) - The Supreme Court of Colombia has confirmed a lower court ruling from last May that rescinded an arrest warrant and fine against Archbishop Fabio Betancur Tirado of Manizales, who was charged with contempt by a former seminarian.

The process against Archbishop Betancur began when a local judge ordered him to explain to former seminarian Juan Pablo Mejia Granada within 48 hours the reasons for which he was expelled from the Seminary of Manizales in 1999.  The judge ruled that Archbishop Betancur did not comply with his order and issued a warrant for his arrest and fined him.  That ruling was confirmed by a circuit court on last April 20.

The archbishop’s lawyer, Jose Fernando Ortega, appealed the ruling and was granted a new hearing, thus rescinding the lower court’s order.  That ruling was appealed by the lower court judge.

The Colombian Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and has ruled in favor of the appeals court and its ruling to rescind the arrest warrant and the fine.  The case can now only be appealed to Colombia’s Constitutional Court.

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Archdiocese of Bogota awaits definitive verdict against priest accused of abuse

Bogotá, Colombia, Jul 6, 2007 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Bogota has issued a press release saying it is awaiting a definitive verdict in the case of Father Fernando Pineros Rocha, who was initially found guilty of sexual abuse and sentenced to 46 months in prison.

The statement stressed that the archdiocese seeks the truth about the case and that after learning of the initial verdict, it “awaits the definitive ruling” after all the appeals have been processed.

The archdiocese said it “repudiates and profoundly laments all acts against the life and dignity of the human person.” “We reaffirm once again that priests, as citizens, are subject to Colombian and Church laws and are responsible before them for their own actions.”

The statement indicated that in the wake of the initial verdict, the Church Tribunal would follow up with its own canonical process.

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Thousands express support for religious freedom for Christians in Middle East

Rome, Italy, Jul 6, 2007 (CNA) - More than three thousand people marched through Holy Apostles’ Square in Rome on Wednesday to demonstrate “against the exodus and persecution of Christians in the Middle East and for religious freedom in the world.” The march was organized by Magdi Allam, the vice director of the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches supported the march and said he hoped it would bring “positive results for the Holy Land, and for Christians in Iraq and Iran, that they might not feel forced to flee their countries.”

Numerous other bishops expressed their support for the march, including Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar of the Diocese of Rome.

Auxiliary Bishop Shelmon Warduni of Baghdad told participants, “In the name of all those persecuted for the faith I thank you.  I ask to you make the political and religious world and all public opinion sensitive to the plight of persecuted Christians and that you continue to do so in the future.”

Allam told marchers they were gathered together, regardless of creed or nationality, to “affirm and defend the right to religious freedom for all in all parts of the world.”

Former Italian government official Rocco Buttiglione said, “Religious freedom is the heart of all freedom and for the first time the public is being shown that Christians are being persecuted.” 

Regarding the kidnapping of Father Giancarlo Bossi in the Philippines, Buttiglione said, “Public opinion has not been mobilized as in other occasions.  Will the government be moved just as well without the pressure from public opinion?  Maybe yes, maybe no,” he said, but the way Christians are being treated in many regions of the world is “unacceptable.”

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who also attended the march, said the denial of religious freedom is “unacceptable.”  “The fact that people of different religions are here today is a wonderful example and a splendid sign,” he said.

The chief rabbi of Rome, Ricardo Di Segni, said, “It is a moral imperative for us to be here because when a persecuted religious minority or community protests for its rights it then becomes our duty as well.”

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Using education to indoctrinate young people unacceptable archbishop says

Valencia, Fla., Jul 6, 2007 (CNA) - Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco of Valencia, Spain, said this week it is unacceptable to use a class to indoctrinate students with the government’s agenda, as is the case with the administration of President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and the “Education for Citizenship” class, thus aiming “to turn the State into a feudal lord that dictates how its subjects will live, according to its own whims.”

The archbishop said there were serious questions about the true purpose of the Education for Citizenship class. “The intention of promoting a class in order to attain a citizenry in line with the ideological premises of the government cannot be sustained in a state governed by the rule of law, and thus it should be rejected outright,” he said in his weekly pastoral letter.

Archbishop Garcia-Gasco noted that collaboration between the school and parents is very important for the formation of children and that therefore no education reform will be successful if it is not in keeping with this principle.

Education truly advances when the convictions that bring meaning to peoples’ lives are strengthened, and thus a “false neutrality” has no place in education, he said, since “discovering the true values of life, cultivating authentic virtues, is a task much too important to leave God out.”

Parents have a right as the first educators of their children that “can never be subjected to the priorities of any government,” the archbishop continued.  “While governments are democratically elected at the polls, they are not granted absolute rights over the consciences of parents and all citizens,” he added.

Thus, the archbishop warned, the state cannot present itself as “a feudal lord seeking to intervene in the lives of his subjects according to his own whims.”  In a 21st century democratic country, rights must be exercised before the courts and before society, he went on, “such as the right to conscientious objection, which some political groups and commentators want to abolish when it comes to Christians.”

Archbishop Garcia-Gasco noted that current Spanish law is an affront to certain values and aspects of Christian doctrine that are non-negotiable, such as the right to life and the dignity of embryos and the unborn, the value of true marriage between a man and a woman, the role of parents in education and the transcendence of man.

“The task of the Church is to remind people that men and women are made in the image of God and are superior to material things.  Relativist materialism entails the degradation of human dignity, and the responsibility of parents in the education of their children can lead them to refuse to accept a class that may be portrayed as recommendable, but whose ultimate intentions are not as clear as some claim,” the archbishop said.

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