Archive of July 18, 2007

Pittsburgh receives Bishop David Zubik as its new shepherd

, Jul 18, 2007 (CNA) - This morning the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI has named the Bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Most Reverend David A. Zubik as the Bishop of Pittsburgh. Bishop Zubik’s reaction to the news was that he was “stunned” to hear of his appointment by the Pope.

At a press conference this morning to announce his appointment to head the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop Zubik spoke about the speculation in the press as to who would be the new leader for the diocese.

The speculation came in the form of a list dubbed, “The Magic Ten” that the press had created in anticipation of the Vatican filling the vacant see. Zubik said that he was amused to see his name on the list and then joked that, “Obviously all of you [the press], must be more in contact with God than I am.”

When asked to recall the moment he received the news of his new position he said, “It’s one of those times where you remember exactly where you were when it happened…I remember that I received the call at 3:35 pm on July 9th. That is also the time I was born at, 3:35.”  The charge d’affaires of the Vatican nunciature, said to me, “I have some news that will change your life,” after which he told him of the Holy Father’s decision.

Bishop Zubik said that his reaction to the news was that he was “stunned.”  “I am stunned and excited: stunned that God would have so much trust in me, and I’m excited to see what God’s grace can do.”

The new bishop also took time to thank all of his predecessors for their influence and example to him. In particular, he mentioned the previous Bishop of Pittsburgh and current Archbishop of Washington D.C. Donald Wuerl, as his mentor and an example of being a servant leader.

Upon hearing of Zubik’s appointment, Archbishop Wuerl wrote, “Personally, I rejoice with the news of this appointment. I am very pleased for what it will mean to the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Bishop Zubik knows, loves and has served the Church of Pittsburgh, and has walked with it through all of its many moments of challenge and development for the past 20 years. My prayer is that God will bless him and his ministry and of course the Church of Pittsburgh.”

The newly appointed bishop says that his plans for his new diocese are to continue to try and involve the laity in leadership, foster good relationships with people of other faiths, and to continue to strengthen the already strong Diocese of Pittsburgh.  

Bishop Zubik closed the press conference by saying, “I beg for your prayers, patience, and your participation in the sacred service of leadership. I ask you to walk with me toward the kingdom.” He also invoked the protection of Mary the Mother of Jesus and offered God’s blessing to those gathered—“May God bless us always and in all ways.”

Bishop Zubik will be installed as Bishop of Pittsburgh at Saint Paul Cathedral, Oakland, on September 28, 2007, which he noted is the 49th anniversary of the late Pope John Paul II’s ordination as a bishop.

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Brazilian bishops seek to host WYD 2015

Sao Paulo, Brazil, Jul 18, 2007 (CNA) - The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil has published a pamphlet in which they propose World Youth Day 2015 be held in their country, with possible host cities being Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, or Rio de Janeiro.

World Youth Day, which is held every three years, should take place in 2014 but the bishops say 2015 would be more convenient as it is possible that in 2014 Brazil may host the World Cup of Soccer. The bishops said holding the event in 2013 would be unrealistic as preparations for the World Cup would be absorbing resources.

President Lula da Silva has expressed his support of the idea.  The next World Youth Day will be held in Sydney, Australia, in 2008.

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California Marriage Amendment approved for citizen petition

Washington D.C., Jul 18, 2007 (CNA) - The Attorney General’s Office yesterday approved the California Marriage Amendment for circulation as a citizen petition.
Pro-marriage supporters will now move forward with the campaign to gather 694,354 valid signatures to qualify the amendment for the ballot. California is seen by many in the pro-marriage movement to be crucial for the national defense of marriage.

One of the major players in the pro-marriage campaign is the Alliance for Marriage Foundation, a non-partisan, multicultural coalition, which recently launched the California Latino Steering Committee to Protect Marriage.

The foundation’s president, Matt Daniels, warned that “radical activists have worked through the courts and legislature to void the democratic will of the people, and to strike down the commonsense definition of marriage” since the referendum on Proposition 22.

On March 7, 2000, 61.4 percent of California voters cast their ballots in support of Proposition 22, the California Defense of Marriage Act. While short of a state constitutional amendment, this referendum vote protects marriage in California as the union of a man and a woman.

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Minnesota Supreme Court overturns convictions of pro-life protestors

Minneapolis, Minn., Jul 18, 2007 (CNA) - The Minnesota Supreme Court handed down an important ruling July 12 that reversed the convictions of pro-life protesters Ron Rudnick and Luke Otterstad.

Rudnick and Otterstad were convicted by a lower court for displaying large signs on an overpass on two occasions in the Twin Cities suburb of Anoka, Minnesota just weeks before the 2004 national elections.

One sign displayed a large color photo of the aborted infant, "Baby Malachi". Next to it was a large handwritten sign that branded a local Congressional candidate as "pro-abortion."

On both occasions, the pro-lifers were arrested and jailed by Anoka police, who also took their signs. Charges of "criminal nuisance" and a violation of Anoka's sign ordinance were upheld by a trial judge. Stiff fines and prison sentences were imposed. Chicago's Thomas More Society was asked to help and underwrote an appeal.

Appellate judges upheld both convictions, but Minnesota's Supreme Court allowed a further appeal. Oral arguments were held in November, and last week the court ruled that the prosecution had not proven the signs a criminal "nuisance" or that Anoka's sign ordinance even applied.

Two other justices agreed with Justice Alan Page, who wrote in his concurrence that defendants' First Amendment rights were violated as the prosecution had been "content-based" – aimed at the pro-life message.

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Schiavo brother heads effort to stop Kevorkian event at University of Florida

Tampa, Fla., Jul 18, 2007 (CNA) - Dr. Jack Kevorkian is scheduled to speak at the University of Florida Oct. 11 for a $50,000-speaker fee.

"We figure that this will be a great way to engage our student body and entertain," said Steven Blank of ACCENT, the University of Florida student-government funded speaker's bureau.

"We do understand that this will spark controversy. And that is something we have done in the past," Blank told

Kevorkian, who is known to have assisted about 130 people to commit suicide, was released from prison earlier this year on "good behavior" after serving only eight years of a 10-to-25-year sentence. He received the sentence for the second-degree murder of Thomas Youk, which he televised. Shortly after being released from prison, the infamous doctor declared his intention to continue advocating for assisted suicide on demand.

When asked whether ACCENT was concerned about giving a public platform to a convicted murderer, Blank said ACCENT was not necessarily advocating Kevorkian's opinions.

"We aren't bringing him in to try to convince people of his views but to engage the student body, and they can choose for themselves," said Blank. He said ACCENT believed adding Kevorkian to the roster of speakers would add a positive "diversity" to the speaker lineup.

However, the brother of Terri Schiavo, Bobby Schindler, is concerned about Kevorkian’s speaking engagement at the university.

"He's targeting our college kids, and I find it very troubling," Schindler told LifeSiteNews. "We're sending this message to our young kids that the answer to human suffering and the chronically ill is to kill, and it's extremely dangerous and troubling."

While in prison, Kevorkian had stated in an interview that he would have killed Terri Schiavo, had her husband asked him.

Schindler, who had worked tirelessly to protect his sister from a painful death by dehydration and starvation, also criticized ACCENT for claiming not to take sides and for presenting the issue for consideration.

"How can that be if they're only getting one side of the issue?” he was quoted as saying. “They're not having someone speaking on compassion, and why assisted suicide is potentially destructive. … I don't see how the students are going to choose if they're only going to hear one side of the argument."

Schindler has launched a petition to stop Kevorkian's appearance at the University of Florida.

For the petition, go to:


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Venezuelan bishop calls Chavez's idea of no presidential term limits an “atrocity”

Caracas, Venezuela, Jul 18, 2007 (CNA) - The vice president of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Roberto Luckert of Coro, defended the analysis of the current state of the country made recently by the bishops and asked President Hugo Chavez to respond “point by point as to where we lied.”

“What did we say in the document? We took an x-ray of the country. Let him respond point by point as to where we lied,” the archbishop said. The prelate’s challenge comes after Chavez called the bishops “perverts” and “liars.” Earlier this week, the Venezuelan president also said that the bishops were “acting like a political party.”

Chavez recently proposed abolishing the current term limits on the presidency as part of his constitutional reform package. However, Archbishop Luckert said he was against the idea of no term limits on the presidency as part of the constitutional reform, calling it an “atrocity” and a “euphemism.” 

“It would seem like those of us Venezuelans who don’t understand are brutes and ignoramuses, but this is part of the example of Fidel, who has been installed in that country for life and will only give up power when he surrenders his soul to God,” the archbishop said.

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Lawmakers present proposal to proclaim Christ King of Poland

Warsaw, Poland, Jul 18, 2007 (CNA) - Forty six Polish lawmakers signed a proposal last week that would proclaim Christ as King of Poland.  The idea is being promoted by the League of Polish Families, the Law and Justice Party, and the Party of Farm Workers.

Representative Artur Gorski of the Law and Justice Party is leading the initiative.  “We want Jesus Christ to be named king of the Poles,” he said, adding that, “More than ever Poland needs leadership and divine help to face new times. Some may mock our proposal, but for me it is a question of religious sensibility and political respect,” Gorski said in an interview with the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

He said he was hopeful the Church would support the measure.  “All I can say is that since I first spoke of this idea I have received nine thousand letters of support,” he stated. 

350 years ago King John II Casmir proclaimed the Virgin Mary as Perpetual Queen of Poland.

The president of the Congress, Marek Jurek said, “Before debating anything we need to know what the Church thinks.”

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Expert says Peres brings hope for inclusion of Fundamental Accord in Israeli laws

Jerusalem, Israel, Jul 18, 2007 (CNA) - Franciscan priest and expert in Vatican foreign relations, Father David Jaeger, said this week there is new hope that with the recently elected President of Israel, Shimon Peres, the Fundamental Accord signed with the Holy See will be incorporated into Israeli law.

“It’s important to remember that Peres was Minister of Foreign Relations when the Fundamental Accord was signed between the Holy See and Israel and when diplomatic relations between the two sides were established,” Father Jaeger said.  “Thus one can legitimately hope that, at least for security reasons, the new President will do everything he can to include the historic agreement in Israeli legislation,” he added.

According to Father Jaeger, “The designation of this 84 year-old man and evident properness of the election of this man show the senselessness of the offenses that have existed here and there, even by people of great qualities and merit, in relation to their age.” Some wrongly believe that "old age in itself deprive[s] authority from those who have received from providence the grace of living such a long life, in order to carry out tasks of great responsibility.  In the Bible we can see many examples of this,” he said.

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German bishops urge protection for human embryo

Berlin, Germany, Jul 18, 2007 (CNA) - In response to a recent declaration by the National Ethics Council of Germany mentioning the possibility of changing the country’s laws on stem cells to allow scientists to harvest them from human embryos, the Bishops’ Conference of Germany said this week that the defense of the embryo as a human person “must not be forgotten.”
In a statement signed by conference secretary Father Hans Langendörfer, the German bishops warned against a weakening in the constitutional protection of the human embryo, which would result from the abolishing of a prohibition against using embryonic stem cells produced before January 1, 2002.

“There is no reason to abolish ethical decisions for the long term in our legal system,” the bishops said.

They noted that current German law does not allow the killing of human embryos and that it should remain that way in the future, “especially considering that the promotion of alternative ethical methods to find new possibilities for therapy and cures have not been completely developed.”

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Pope Benedict sends his condolences to all involved in horrific Brazilian airplane crash

Vatican City, Jul 18, 2007 (CNA) - Upon hearing of the horrific airplane crash in Brazil, Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. sent a telegram to Archbishop Odilo Pedro Scherer of Sao Paolo, Brazil conveying the Holy Father’s condolences.

The crash occurred when a TAM Airlines Airbus A320 was attempting to land in a driving rainstorm at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport. The aircraft struck a building and burst into flames before careening across a multilane highway. The passengers and victims on the ground bring the death toll to more than 200 people.

The text of the telegram is as follows: "The Holy Father, distressed by the hundreds of victims of the air disaster in Sao Paolo, which he visited not long ago, wishes to give his most heartfelt condolences to all their relatives. He gives assurances of his prayers for the dead and invokes the strength and consolation of God for the injured and for all those affected by this tragedy, granting everyone, as a sign of his spiritual closeness, his consoling apostolic blessing."


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Washington Post film critic alleges film should include choice for abortion; Kristen Fyfe responds

Washington D.C., Jul 18, 2007 (CNA) - The ridicule of two box office summer hits by film journalists for the scripts’ absence of abortion has got Kristen Fyfe, a senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, riled up. 

The two films, Waitress and Knocked Up both have main characters who are pregnant, unmarried, and unhappy with their pregnancies. But both main characters decide to have their babies.

Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday suggests in her July 15 article that because the characters in these films never consider abortion, the movies are flawed and represent Hollywood’s “moral hypocrisy.”

Hornaday also cites New York Press film writer Jennifer Merin, who writes: “I think it’s shocking that the subject of abortion as a choice has been so eliminated from the discussion.”  That the topic isn’t “even on the table” destroys, according to Merin, “anyone’s claim that Hollywood has a liberal agenda.”

Hornaday adds: “It’s a setup that has some viewers, especially women who came of age in a post-Roe v. Wade America, wondering just what world these movies are living in.”
However, Fyfe shoots back at the film critics, suggesting instead that they aren’t in touch with the real world.
“Hornaday and other feminist, pro-abortion journalists just can’t fathom a world – the real world – where some people, regardless of marital status, will choose to exercise personal responsibility and carry a pregnancy to term,” writes Fyfe.  “[They] will choose to give birth to the human being growing within them. [They] will choose life.
“Lots of people are doing it [not having abortions], Ann.  In the real world and in the movies,” she writes.

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