Archive of July 25, 2007

Spanish court allows complaint against abortion doctor to go forward

Madrid, Spain, Jul 25, 2007 (CNA) - A court in Barcelona has allowed a lawsuit filed by the association E-Cristians to go forward against abortion “doctor” Carlos Morin and his accomplices for carrying out illegal abortions.

After state attorney Ana Jose Crespo Cuadrado filed a brief recommending the lawsuit proceed, the court gave the green light for investigations into Morin’s activities and those of the Clinics Ginemedex, TBC, EMECE and Barnamedic of Barcelona.

E-Cristians said it was pleased at the news and that it hoped the investigations would “clear up the truth about the activities of Doctor Carlos Morin.  E-Cristians is committed to cooperating fully with the investigation.”

Crespo proposed that the investigations fully respect the privacy and medical records of the patients, and therefore she recommended medical files, hard drives and books from the entities being investigated not be requested.  Instead, she proposed the government’s Social Security administration present the work history of the clinics in question, and that the department of Health in Catalonia provide documentation on the inspections that have been carried out at the clinics.

In addition, she suggested entering into evidence the statements by Morin and the report compiled by British journalists Daniel Foggo and Charlotte Edwards of the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph in October of 2004, as well as a TV program produced by Danish journalists and aired in October of 2006.

E-Cristians filed the lawsuit against Carlos Morin in November of 2006.  Morin had been imprisoned in 1989 after being accused of performing illegal abortions at the Ginetec clinic.

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Pope prays for victims of bus accident in France

Vatican City, Jul 25, 2007 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI expressed his sorrow this week and offered prayers for the victims of the bus accident in France, which took  the lives of 27 Poles who were returning from pilgrimages to various Marian shrines in Europe.

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, sent the telegram in the name of the Pope to Archbishop Zygmunt Kaminski of Szczecin-Kamien.

“The pilgrims' route was interrupted in a dramatic way on the way back from La Salette, becoming the end of the earthly pilgrimage for some,” the telegram indicated.  "We are comforted by our faith in Divine Mercy, which calls us to believe that they have found their place in the glory of the Eternal Father."

For the dead, the Pope implored "the gift of eternal life in the glory of the union with Christ," and assured his prayers that the injured would be restored to health.

The Holy Father "invokes the gift of courage and consolation in this time of sorrow" upon the families of the dead and injured, the telegram read.

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Archbishop clears up media distortions about Pope’s Motu Propio on Latin Mass

Valladolid, Spain, Jul 25, 2007 (CNA) - Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez Plaza of Valladolid (Spain) said this week the Pope’s intention behind allowing greater use of the Missal of 1962 is not to turn the clock back, as many have said, but rather to foster “unity among Catholics, especially during the celebration [of the Mass] and to reconcile the Church with her liturgical past prior to Vatican II.”
“Even though the media has repeated it so many times, the Pope has not decided that we are going to return to celebrating the Mass in Latin.  To say such a thing is not only ignorant, it’s also thoughtless. It has always been permitted to celebrate the Mass in Latin, even after Vatican II, and the books of the liturgical reform were written in Latin and later translated into the different languages,” Archbishop Rodriguez explained.

He stressed that the Pope is not discrediting Vatican II with the Motu Propio or acquiescing to the Lefebvrists, as he knows the differences with them “are not only liturgical;  the Pope reaches out his hand but he does not compromise his own profound convictions.”

Archbishop Rodriguez noted that the Pope “has reaffirmed the authority of Vatican II and he has reiterated that the liturgical reform is well-founded.”

“In the text of the Motu Propio it is clearly indicated that the celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of 1970 is the ‘ordinary’ form of our liturgy,” the archbishop continued.  “The celebration according to the Missal of 1962, promulgated by John XXIII, is the ‘extraordinary form,’ even though it is desired by a determined number of Catholics.”  “This is not, therefore, a question of ‘going back to Latin’,” he stated. “In practice, nothing will change for the great majority of Catholics.”

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Australian citizenship test will include Christian heritage

Sydney, Australia, Jul 25, 2007 (CNA) - The compulsory citizenship test that measures understanding of Australian values will include questions on the country’s Judeo-Christian background.

The Immigration Department's senior official, Andrew Metcalfe, has confirmed that would-be citizens should expect questions on Australia's post-1788 religious heritage, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.

The citizenship test will include 20 multiple-choice questions, including three that relate specifically to national values. While the test's pass rate is 60 percent, applicants must get all three "Australian values" questions right to pass. There is no limit to the number of times applicants can take the test.

Metcalfe recently told a hearing of the Senate's Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee that he thought Australian values and beliefs could be traced back to the “body of knowledge that derives from the Old Testament and upon which the Judeo-Christian background is based.”

In speaking in Parliament about the new law in May, the Minister for Immigration, Kevin Andrews, noted: "British settlers of Australia brought with them the Anglo-Celtic principles and traditions of Christianity, the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment.”

Christian groups had lobbied the government to acknowledge this background in its primer on what defines Australia.

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Muslim businessman takes over Kerala's century-old Catholic daily

Thiruvananthapuram, India, Jul 25, 2007 (CNA) - A Muslim businessman has become owner of a newspaper that the Catholic Church ran for more than 100 years in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

M.A. Pharis, 46, has become chairperson of the public limited company that owns Deepika (little lamp), Kerala's oldest Malayalam-language daily. He is replacing Bishop Mathew Arackal of Kanjirappally, who had led the company since 2003.

Deepika's print line began to carry Pharis' name on July 16, but neither the daily nor its sister publications announced the change in their news columns. Other local dailies broke the news on July 17.

The Kerala-based Carmelites of Mary Immaculate congregation launched Deepika in 1887. Two priests, Fr. Nidhirikkal Manikkathanar and Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara, called it Nazrani Deepika when it began. In the local dialect, Nazrani means "Christian," or a follower of the Nazarene.

The newspaper was operated by the religious congregation until 1989, when ownership shifted to "Rashtra Deepika Limited," a newly created public limited company. Laypeople, dioceses and congregations shared ownership of the company that increasingly incurred heavy losses.

Deepika was once Kerala's leading daily, with a circulation of about 300,000. It now trails in third place among local dailies.

To help the company, the synod of Syro-Malabar bishops appointed Bishop Arackal as the company's chairperson. The prelate reportedly brought in Pharis to invest in the company and to help it get over the financial crisis.

Bishop Arackal told UCA News "the changeover was nothing unusual," only part of executing decisions of the company's board of directors.

A journalist working for the company, who asked not to be named, told UCA News that Pharis introduced a voluntary retirement scheme to lay off excess staff, but it in practice, it was used to help remove journalists who resisted his policy changes.

Shaji Jacob, a Catholic who had worked for Deepika for 20 years, told UCA News that the paper has been following Pharis' policies since 2005. He said the two priests who serve as the newspaper’s managing director and general manager are merely kept there to try to retain Catholic readers.

But Jomon Puthenpurackal, a Catholic social activist, said Deepika has already lost its image as a value-based publication.

Kuriakose Ellenkiyil, an elderly reader of the newspaper, remarked that it was sad to see the Church surrender control of the historic newspaper. The newspaper had stood for the rights of Christians in the state and "made innumerable contributions for the Church's development," he told UCA News.

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Relics of armed services' patron saints to go on tour

Los Angeles, Calif., Jul 25, 2007 (CNA) - Two Los Angeles based organizations are marshalling the heavenly forces to protect those who serve in the US armed services.

Called Operation: Special Intention, the International Crusade for Holy Relics
(ICHR) and the deacons of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are launching a tour of the relics of the patron saints of the armed forces.

The relics of St. Anthony of Padua, patron of sailors, St. Therese of Lisieux, patron of
pilots and air crews and St. Ignatius of Loyola, patron of soldiers will travel through the Archdiocese of Los Angeles beginning July 25th at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

The faithful are invited to offer prayers and to venerate the Holy Relics of the Saints. ICHR notes that some Christians regard veneration of relics as false worship. However, the purpose of venerating relics is actually to “beg them [the saints] to pray for us through the merits of Jesus Christ, while we ask Jesus to help us through his own merits.”

Thomas Serafin, ICHR president said, “With the men and women of our armed forces deployed in harm’s way throughout the world, we wanted to find a way to let those of us on the home front support the troops with our prayers for their safety and for peace in the world.” He continued, “It is also an opportunity for us to pray for the souls of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

The tour will run through August 8. After the tour of parishes in Los Angeles, the relics will be made available to other dioceses around the country. More information is available at 

The ICHR promotes education, preservation and veneration of relics. For
more than a decade it has battled the illicit sale of relics on the internet, and has rescued thousands of religious artifacts slated to be sold or thrown away.

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Pope Benedict discusses the pastoral situation of Church in Italy with priests

Lorenzago di Cadore, Jul 25, 2007 (CNA) - During a meeting on July 24 with some 400 priests from the dioceses of Belluno and Treviso in northern Italy, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about God, modern man, and the Church.

“We spoke about God, the Church, and humanity today, and above all, about the fact that we are the Church and that in this journey we must all collaborate,” the Holy Father said about his meeting with clergy at the Church of St. Justin the Martyr in the small town of Auronzo.

During the meeting the Pope fielded questions from the priests about the main pastoral priorities of the Church in today’s world.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio the Pope discussed such themes as “the problem of formation of young people and their moral conscience, the problems in priestly life, the priorities for ministry in current-day Italy and the historical development of the [Church’s] situation.”

The Pope also discussed evangelization with the priests and “respectful dialogue with other religions, in the context of massive immigration,” as well as the “ever delicate issue that involves so many people and so many priests, which is that of the divorced and remarried and those living together, and consequently, how to reconcile mercy with the truth.”

“In addition,” Father Federico continued, the meeting also focused on “fidelity to the Council and its spirit.”  The Pope has often spoken about a pervasive misunderstanding of Vatican II, emphasizing that the Council did not constitute a break from the past.

After the meeting, the Pontiff greeted the thousands of people gathered outside the church, thanking them for their affection and welcome.  He called his meeting with the priests a “very beautiful encounter.” 

Speaking about his vacation time the Pope said, “Here I can rest not only in body but also in spirit.” “And I can breathe not only the fresh air of the Creator but also the air of friendship and cordiality, for which I am very grateful,” he said, as he prepared to return to Lorenzago di Cadore.


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Taliban grows impatient, kills South Korean hostage

Kabul, Afghanistan, Jul 25, 2007 (CNA) - Taliban militants in Afghanistan who took 23 South Korean Christians hostage, have reportedly killed one of them after losing patience with negotiations, claimed their unofficial spokesman.

"Since Kabul's administration did not listen to our demand and did not free our prisoners, the Taliban shot dead a male Korean hostage,” Qari Yousef Ahmadi, the alleged news representative for the Taliban, told Reuters by phone from an unknown location.

Ahmadi said earlier that the insurgents would kill “a few” of the hostages before 5:30 a.m. EDT after talks over the fate of the 23 South Korean Christian hostages had stalled. Three deadlines have passed since the Koreans were abducted last Thursday, with the latest being Tuesday 10:30 a.m. EDT.

“The Taliban have lost their patience with it all so they will be killed…because a lot of time has passed since the deadline and there has been no response,” Ahmadi told AP by satellite phone before the news of a first killing was reported. “The Taliban takes no responsibility for the killing.”

The threat came as a surprise to Ali Shah Ahmadzai, the police chief of the Ghazni province where the hostages were captured, who said negotiations were moving in a positive direction.

“I don’t know why they’ve suddenly changed their mind,” Ahmadzai said, according to AP. Several of Ahmadi’s past statements have turned out false or contradicted other statements by Taliban, leading some to question the reliability of his information.

“My message to the Taliban is to use tolerance and be patient,” the provincial police chief said. “This (killing hostages) is against the Afghan culture.”

It has been nearly a week since the group of South Korean Christians was kidnapped while riding in a bus to the southern city of Kandahar, where they planned to do medical work and teach English.

The militants have accused the Koreans of being on an evangelistic mission, but South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun as well as the senior pastor of the hostages’ home church, the Rev. Park Eun-jo, emphasized that the volunteers were there to provide free medical or educational services with no missionary intentions.

The Taliban is demanding for the Afghan government to release a similar number of Taliban prisoners and for South Korea to remove its 200 troops from the country in exchange for the captives.

So far, the Afghan government has not agreed to release the prisoners and South Korea has emphasized that the troops, who are mostly doing humanitarian work, will leave Afghanistan by the end of the year as scheduled.

The kidnapping of the 23 South Korean Christians is the largest abduction of a group of foreigners in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

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Personal friend of Benedict to defend pontiff's statements on Latin Mass, Protestants

West Covina, Calif., Jul 25, 2007 (CNA) - A personal friend of Pope Benedict XVI will defend the pontiff's recent controversial remarks, supporting the traditional Latin Mass and saying that non-Catholic Christian communities cannot be called churches “in the proper sense.”

Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, will make his remarks at the annual Catholic Family Conference in Anaheim, California, July 28. His talk will explain what the Pope's Apostolic Letter authorizing wider use of the Latin Mass means for Catholic faithful, their parishes, and the Catholic Church in the United States.

He will also clarify what the Pope meant in his comments about non-Catholic Christians, why non-Catholics should not take offense at them, and what they mean for interfaith relations.

Fr. Fessio is currently a theologian in residence at the new Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida. He is also the founder and former president of Ignatius Press, the St. Ignatius Institute of the University of San Francisco, and Campion College.

He wrote his dissertation under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the University of Regensburg in 1975, and for decades was the exclusive publisher of his books in English.

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New director for Vatican publishing house

Vatican City, Jul 25, 2007 (CNA) - Salesian Father Giuseppe Costa has been named the new director of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Vatican’s publishing house, replacing the outgoing director Father Claudio Rossini, who held the post for five years.

In a press release, Father Rossini was praised for his “professionalism” in making known the messages of the Pope and the Magisterium of the Holy See.  In gratitude for his service, he received the award “Pro ecclesia et Pontifice” from Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

The new director, Father Costa, has “vast experience in the field of publishing,” the statement indicated. 

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Young priest gives up drinking in solidarity with minors

Barrington, R.I., Jul 25, 2007 (CNA) - A 25-year-old priest has made headlines after delivering a homily on Sunday in which he urged parents not to abuse alcohol and to model appropriate behavior to their children and teens.

Fr. Matthew Glover, associate pastor of St. Luke Parish in Barrington, told parishioners they are in denial about the problem of teenage drinking in town after a local teen died while boating with friends. Patrick Murphy, 17, was killed last week while knee-boarding in the Barrington River. Authorities say alcohol was involved.

"Our kids drink because we drink,” Fr. Glover told the assembly at Sunday Mass. “They see us getting smashed at the country club or Chiazza or wherever it is, and that's why they drink.”

“And please, and please, please, shame on us if any us allow our kids to drink at home tomorrow. If you teach them to drink at home, then you teach them to drink somewhere else," Fr. Glover said.

Fr. Glover said he plans to take his own advice and give up alcohol.

The full homily of Fr. Glover can be downloaded at

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