Archive of October 17, 2007

Pope Benedict names 23 new cardinals with a couple surprises

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - As was reported yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI announced the names of the new cardinals following today’s general audience. The Holy Father’s newest selections contain a couple surprises: the first US cardinal from a Texas diocese and a break with the precedent set by Paul VI to keep the number of papal electors limited to 120 cardinals.

Pope Benedict announced the names of 23 prelates who will be made cardinals in a consistory on November 24, the eve of the Feast of Christ the King. Of the 23 new cardinals, 18 will be under the age of 80, thus bringing the total number of electors to 121.

"The new cardinals come from various parts of the world," said the Holy Father. "And the universality of the Church, with the multiplicity of her ministries, is clearly reflected in them. Alongside deserving prelates who work for the Holy See are pastors who dedicate their energies to direct contact with the faithful."

Two Americans are among the cardinals-designate, Archbishops John Foley and Daniel DiNardo. Their selection brings to 17 the number of U.S. cardinals; after the November consistory, 13 of the U.S. group will be possible papal electors.

The Holy Father also mentioned that he wished to honor a Polish bishop who died on Tuesday. "Among these, I had also intended to confer the dignity of cardinal upon the elderly Bishop Ignacy Jez of Koszalin-Kolobrzeg, Poland, a worthy prelate who died suddenly yesterday. We offer a prayer for the repose of his soul."

He continued: "There are other persons, very dear to me who, for their dedication to the service of the Church, well deserve promotion to the dignity of cardinal. In the future I hope to have the opportunity to express, also in this way, my esteem and affection to them and to their countries of origin."

Benedict entrusted the future cardinals "to the protection of Mary Most Holy asking her to help each of them in their new tasks, that they may know how to bear courageous witness in all circumstances to their love for Christ and for the Church."

The new cardinal electors are as follows:
- Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
- Archbishop John Patrick Foley, pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
- Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
- Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum."
- Archbishop Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City and president of the Fabric of St. Peter's.
- Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
- Archbishop Raffaele Farina S.D.B., archivist and librarian of Holy Roman Church.
- Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente of Valencia, Spain.
- Archbishop Sean Baptist Brady of Armagh, Ireland.
- Archbishop Lluis Martinez Sistach of Barcelona, Spain.
- Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris, France.
- Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, Italy.
- Archbishop Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar, Senegal.
- Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Bombay, India.
- Archbishop Francisco Robles Ortega of Monterrey, Mexico.
- Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Odilio Pedro Scherer of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
- Archbishop John Njue of Nairobi, Kenya.

Having pronounced the names of the new cardinal electors, the Pope then indicated that he had also decided to elevate to the dignity of cardinal "three venerable prelates and two worthy priests," all over the age of 80 and hence non-electors, for their "commitment and service to the Church." Their names are:

- His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq.
- Archbishop Giovanni Coppa, apostolic nuncio.
- Archbishop Estanislao Esteban Karlic, emeritus of Parana, Argentina.
- Fr. Urbano Navarrete S.J., former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University.
- Fr. Umberto Betti O.F.M., former rector of the Pontifical Lateran University.


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Eusebius of Vercelli: to live in harmony and be constant in prayer

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - The Holy Father continued his series of homilies on the Fathers of the Church, speaking today in St. Peter’s plaza about St. Eusebius of Vercelli. He emphasized that his example should inspire Christians to keep the faith, live in harmony and remain in constant prayer.

Eusebius was born in Sardinia at the beginning of the fourth century, educated in Rome and eventually elected Bishop of Vercelli.  “There he founded a priestly community inspired by the early monastic communities of Egypt, and helped to spread the ideal of apostolic holiness throughout northern Italy”, the Holy Father remarked.

Eusebius tirelessly defended the truth that Jesus is fully God, which was proclaimed at the Council of Nicaea, even at the cost of exile.

“His example of pastoral zeal greatly influenced many of his contemporaries,” the Holy Father noted, “including Saints Ambrose and Maximus of Turin.” Eusebius’ Letters testify to his closeness to the faithful of Vercelli, as well as his concern for those who were not of the faith.

“His episcopal ministry was shaped by his commitment to the monastic ideals of contemplation and self-discipline. He thus found the strength to resist every form of external pressure in his faithful service to the Gospel”, Benedict observed.

Finally, the Holy Father prayed, “May his teachings and example inspire us, in all our life and activity, to ‘make every effort to preserve the faith, to live in harmony and to be constant in the practice of prayer’ (cf. Ep. II).

In English, the Holy Father greeted the members of Serra International, and invoked “God’s abundant blessing…upon all the English-speaking visitors, including those from England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Japan, the Philippines and the United States.”

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Oregon woman prevented from starting petition to protect life; State being sued

Ann Arbor, Mich., Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - The Thomas More Law Center has filed a lawsuit against the Oregon Secretary of State and the Attorney General alleging that they improperly denied a citizen's request to circulate a petition that would amend the Oregon constitution to end abortion in the state.

Oregon citizen Kelley Le Claire proposed a human life amendment that would extend constitutional rights, including the right to life, to all human beings from the moment of fertilization.  If adopted by Oregon voters, the amendment would provide a direct challenge to the central holding of Roe v Wade by establishing personhood from the moment of fertilization as a matter of state constitutional law.

The lawsuit alleges the petition initiative was improperly denied in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and other state and federal statutory rights.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for the Thomas More Law Center, commented, “Frustrated by lack of action to confront Roe head-on at the national level, there is increasing pressure by grassroots, pro-life activists to initiate such action state by state.  This initiative petition is one such example.  The Thomas More Law Center is committed to supporting such efforts.  After 34 years of abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, resulting in over 45 million dead babies, ‘wait’ is not an option.”

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Holy See to UN: Diplomacy, not war, is the way to discourage nuclear weapons

, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - The apostolic nuncio heading the Holy See's permanent observer mission to the United Nations has called for extensive diplomatic activity to further nuclear disarmament around the world, and indirectly condemned possible American military action against Iran for its nuclear program.

On Tuesday Archbishop Celestino Migliore addressed the United Nations on the best methods to support the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which seeks to prevent states without nuclear weapons from acquiring them.  The archbishop underlined the necessity of diplomatic action and warned against military solutions.

"All the tools of diplomacy must be used to defuse crises concerning attempts by some countries to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities and to dissuade others from ever taking such a dangerous road.  Belligerence by anyone would only worsen a delicate situation and could inadvertently lead to conflagration with immense additional suffering on a humanity already overburdened with the ravages of war," he said.

The archbishop also had a message for the world’s nuclear powers, saying that they have a "particular responsibility" to disarm their nuclear weaponry.  He claimed that nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are mutually reinforcing phenomena.  Both are required for a nuclear-free world.  He suggested that failed negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons and plans to modernize existing nuclear arsenals jeopardized the Non-proliferation Treaty itself.

Archbishop Migliore underlined the Holy See's position that "nuclear weapons contravene every aspect of humanitarian law."  People of good faith, he said, must work to prevent the "horrors of nuclear war."

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and a worldwide ban on fissile material were both recommended by the diplomat. He held that it was not technical problem but rather a lack of political will that was hindering such efforts.

The archbishop also voiced concerns about the illicit arms trade encouraging and prolonging armed conflicts around the world. He concluded by endorsing efforts to secure an international arms trade treaty.

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Sexual abuse lawsuit against Mexican Cardinal dismissed

Los Angeles, Calif., Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - A Los Angeles judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday against Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera, who had been accused of transferring a priest accused of sexual abuse to the United States with the co-operation of Catholic authorities in the United States, the Associated Press reports.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu M. Berle dismissed the suit because the plaintiff did not have enough evidence against the cardinal.  The judge likewise dismissed claims against the Mexican Diocese of Tehuacan, where the cardinal was bishop at the time he transferred the priest.

The plaintiff alleged that Father Nicolas Aguilar Rivera raped him in his room at the rectory when he was twelve years old.  The priest allegedly threatened to abuse his siblings if he did not keep silent.

Cardinal Rivera, who is not related to the priest, declared that he had sent a letter to Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony in 1987 warning that the priest had "homosexual problems."  A Los Angeles archdiocesan spokesman has said Cardinal Mahony never received the letter.

The accused priest fled to Mexico after he was accused of sexual abuse in Los Angeles.  He has since been charged in California with 19 felony counts of committing lewd acts on a child.  At first he secured permission under false pretenses to serve as a priest in Mexico City, but fled when Cardinal Rivera was appointed to the archdiocese.  The priest's current whereabouts are unknown.

Mike Finnegan, the plaintiff's attorney, criticized the decision dismissing the lawsuit.  "It was a legal technicality," he said. "It didn't reach any of the merits of the case, and it didn't get to the key issues in the case, which is Cardinal Rivera's complicity in sending (the priest) to the United States as a child molester."

Cardinal Rivera's spokesman, Hugo Valdemar, said that the cardinal was happy with the decision.  "We are happy and satisfied that the judge confirmed what we have always said: This isn't a case to be judged in the United States," Valdemar said.  He noted the plaintiff had every right to present a complaint in Mexico.

Finnegan plans to pursue a lawsuit in Mexican courts.

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Indian layman brings 600 people to the faith

Hyderabad, India, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - Clergy and laity had high praise for Lingareddy Johannes Reddy, an Indian layman in the Archdiocese of Hyderabad who has spent more than five decades preaching Christianity and helping the needy. 

Reddy, a 77 year-old father of eight, has spent his life ministering to the people of Mariapuram.  Archbishop Marampudi Joji of Hyderabad met Reddy during a recent pastoral visit, calling him "a great builder of people."

Reddy's and two other Catholic families moved to the area when he was a teenager.  They were the only Catholics for miles.  They bought some land and called it Mariapuram, which means "Mary's Village."  Because of the remoteness, a priest could only visit twice a year from a neighboring diocese.

Reddy didn't have a Bible when he began teaching villagers the basics of Catholicism. He said he learned the basics as a child from his father, who would explain them in the evenings after farm work. Reddy said he wanted to share the "strong Catholic faith and firm belief" he had inherited.  As many as 200 people would attend his evening catechetical classes, which sometimes lasted beyond 10 pm.  His wife Jetrudamma also taught prayers, and Reddy would conduct prayer services.

He also engaged in the corporal acts of mercy.  He distributed food to the poor, provided jobs to the unemployed, and treated some ailments of his neighbors even though he had only a fourth-grade education.  He even helped settle family problems and land disputes.

In 1968, 170 people of Gattupally village were baptized.  Ten years later, the archbishop of Hyderabad sent a priest to begin a mission in the area.  Reddy acknowledges that on his own he brought about 600 people from three neighboring villages to the Church.  The parish now has more than 1,200 Catholics.

One of his sons became a Jesuit priest, while another studied medicine and now treats the village.

Father Stanislaus Manickyam, a local priest, says that Reddy has inspired local Christians to lead a good Christian life.

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San Diego Diocese in need of a financial miracle

San Diego, Calif., Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - The financial situation in the Diocese of San Diego is looking grim in the wake of the $198 million sexual abuse settlement. Hoping to prevent the sale of the diocesan headquarters and seminary, Bishop Robert Brom has launched a fundraising campaign called “Embracing Our Mission.”

“I need your help to cover the expense we incurred recently through compassionate outreach to our brothers and sisters who suffered sexual abuse within the family of the church,” Bishop Brom wrote in a letter that will be sent to every member of the diocese.

If the “Embracing Our Mission” campaign is not successful, Brom said the diocese has only two other properties that could be sold – its headquarters in Bay Park and St. Francis Seminary in Linda Vista.

The appeal is not limited to just the laity. Priests are being asked to contribute the equivalent of one of their monthly salary or $1,535 to help reach the $25 million needed.

The idea for priests to contribute actually came from the clergy of the diocese. Fr. Charles Fuld, pastor of Ascension Church in San Diego, said he wrote a “very enthusiastic” letter urging people to contribute.

This past Sunday, Fr. Fuld also preached about donating. After preaching about the healing of the ten lepers, he said: 'Our bishop is asking for a miracle now, too. He'd like to save these final remaining properties because they are so vital for doing the work of the diocese.' ”

Fuld added: “My point is, of course, we are all one church. We need to be there for each other. We need to help each other, in good times and bad.”

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Catholic schools in Dayton launch largest collaborative program in nation

Dayton, Ohio, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - A new approach for both Catholic schools and parishes in the Dayton Deanery is designed to strengthen Catholic education in the area and increase efficiency.


Under the Catholic Education Collaborative, all the Catholic schools in the deanery, including 18 elementary and three high schools, will work together on areas such as professional development for educators, purchasing and student enrichment. The collaborative is one of the largest in the nation, archdiocesan officials said.


Among the benefits of the collaborative are increased purchasing power, new program opportunities for students and the ability to better analyze the cost of providing Catholic education.


"This is a new model of doing Catholic schools," Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk said. "It’s innovative. I think it’s going to enhance Catholic education in this area of our archdiocese.’’


Archdiocesan and school officials unveiled details of the collaborative Oct. 1. The collaborative is currently a 5-year effort, which began with the current school year.

Shifting demographics, a changing economy and fewer religious in Catholic schools have caused Catholic officials to reevaluate the way Catholic parishes and schools operate.

"Our schools can no longer survive if we continue the model of one parish, one school," the archbishop said. "We don’t have enough enrollment. We don’t have enough resources. And we have to find another way to do it."


What became the Catholic Education Collaborative got its start in the spring of 2004 when a think tank made up of principals, pastors, officials from the University of Dayton and area business leaders was formed to discuss the challenges and possibilities of Catholic education in the deanery, said Father David Brinkmoeller, pastor of St. Helen Parish and dean of the Dayton Deanery.


In 2005, feedback from parish representatives was gathered, which in turn led to a meeting early last year.


"What we learned at the meeting was that there is a tremendously high commitment to Catholic schools here in the Dayton area," said Father Brinkmoeller, who became a key participant in the process early on. "There was a consensus that we need to do something new and stronger."


For much of the last year, officials have been forming the collaborative concept and meeting with parish and school officials to gauge interest. Parishes and schools committed to the collaborative over the spring and summer.


"This has given us a chance to say what we are about and there are so many people now who are buying into a bigger vision of positively impacting kids’ lives," Father Brinkmoeller said. "So this is another kind of power. This is people power, getting people together for the sake of a very important mission."


During the first year of the collaborative, all the schools are partners in the venture, which provides them the benefits of cooperation while retaining their autonomy.

For example, academic professionals and resources from the University of Dayton can better help the schools as a group as opposed to working with them individually.


"We can now pool our needs and talk with (UD) in a way they can really respond," Father Brinkmoeller said. "We can plan to do things much more intelligently."


Among the strategies offered by the collaborative are enhanced curriculum for the schools and utilization of the resources from the higher education institutions.


"We can do some outstanding things in math and science education with our students, but we can also do unified work in the arts," said Marianist Brother Ray Fitz, former president of UD and another key participant in the collaborative discussions. "Exciting things can happen in foreign language studies through the work of telecommunications."


Professional development for teachers is also a key goal of the collaborative. Such development will enhance the academics of Catholic education in the deanery.


"We want our teachers and our faculties to continue developing excellence in their teaching and integrating faith in the learning process," Brother Ray said. "We want all our schools to be excellent places to work."


The collaborative can provide enrollment and tuition services, facility management, collaborative purchasing and vendor savings programs. It can also provide cooperative recruitment and marketing, and cooperative development strategies.


"We believe a large amount of efficiencies can come by bringing these services together," Brother Ray said.


As part of the process, each parish and school was given a breakdown of their estimated cost savings based on their level of participation in the collaborative.


Beginning in the second year, there may be opportunities for schools to choose to be managed by the collaborative. Those schools, to be known as "member" schools, will see increased benefits, officials said.


"I think part of the beauty of what we’re starting here today is that there are different levels of cooperation," Archbishop Pilarczyk said. "No parish is forced to be part of this to any degree."


The collaborative concept has generated some positive feedback from school principals.

"I think principals are excited about the potential opportunities that we can do together, especially in the area of professional development," said Anne Battes, deputy superintendent of Catholic schools for the archdiocese and president of the collaborative. "I think as we go forward and we grow, our teachers and our parents will begin to experience the benefits of the collaborative."


The collaborative is one of several models of Catholic school governance now being used in the archdiocese. Others include consolidation of schools, the creation of private schools and the establishment of inter-parish schools.


Published October 12, 2007 in the Catholic Telegraph.


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Iraqi Archbishop appeals to world to help Iraqi Christians

Baghdad, Iraq, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - The Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Basilios Georges Casmoussa, has called on Christians around the world to help Iraqi Christians.

Speaking to the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), he urged Christians to pressure political leaders to help those peoples whom they have "abandoned on the altars of their political and economic interests."  "We are not mere puppets, nor are we simply firewood to be thrown on the fire," he continued. 

The archbishop linked Iraqi Christians' efforts to survive in the "country of their fathers" to the task of improving living conditions for all Iraqis.

Archbishop Casmoussa also asked for prayers for two Iraqi priests who were kidnapped on Saturday.  One victim, Father Mazen Mattoka is a newly ordained priest, while the other, Father Pios Affas, 68 year-old in poor health, was about to take charge of the Center for Biblical Studies in Mosul.  The archbishop asked believers to intensify their prayers "in the certainty that God, our loving Father, loves us more than we love ourselves."

One ACN official described the situation for Christians in Iraq as "extremely difficult" and called for prayer and solidarity with them.

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Prominent Venezuelan cardinal dead at 86

Caracas, Venezuela, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - Archbishop Baltazar Porras, president of the Committee on the Media of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference, announced on Tuesday the death of Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara, one of the most important figures in the history of the Church in Venezuela.

“The death of Cardinal Castillo Lara is cause for mourning not only for the Church and for Venezuelan society, but for the universal Church as well.   We all know of this role at the side of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, occupying very important posts and responsibilities,” the archbishop said.

Rosalio Castillo Lara was born on September 4, 1922, in San Casimiro in the Diocese of Maracay and was a nephew of Lucas Guillermo Castillo, Archbishop of Caracas.  He studied at the Salesian school in Bogota, Colombia.

He obtained his doctorate in Turin, Italy, and also studied at the University of Bonn in Germany.  He was ordained to the priesthood on September 4, 1949, in Caracas and was director of studies at the Institute of San Jose in Los Teques from 1949-1950.

On October 5, 1981, he became President of the Disciplinary Commission of the Roman Curia and Pro President of the Pontifical Commission for the revision of the Code of Canon Law.  In 1985 he was named president of that commission. 

He received the cardinal’s hat on May 25, 1985 and held important posts at the Vatican, including president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See.  He oversaw the construction of the Casa Santa Marta, where the cardinals stay during a conclave.

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Vatican commission denounces corruption and “neo-Marxism” in Latin America

Rome, Italy, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - The Holy See Press Office released a statement on the twelfth meeting of the special Council for America of the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, which was held October 9 and 10 and focused on the main threats that hang over the continent.

Presided over by Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, the meeting was attended by four cardinals and eight archbishops and bishops.

The prelates reflected on the social and ecclesial situation in the different countries of the American continent, using John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America as a guidepost.

According to a press release from the Synod, “immigration represents one of the areas of greatest concern,” with “the situation of immigrants deported back to their native countries especially delicate.”

They also discussed problems related to drug trafficking, violence, political corruption and “the promotion of a series of laws—on abortion and euthanasia—contrary to ethical norms.”

The prelates also pointed out the continued spread of neo-Marxist ideology that “provokes imbalance in international relations and internal realities of [those] countries and attempts to ignore the Catholic Church and not consider her part of the social dialogue.”

In the ecclesial arena, the statement continued, “the increase in vocations to the priesthood is cause for comfort.”

In addition, “the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops’ Council held in Aparecida, Brazil, has inspired much hope,” the prelates said.

Regarding Pope Benedict XVI’s post-synod apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, the prelates pointed to the “many positive signs in the American continent related to the repercussions of the document, which has given renewed impulse to the celebration and adoration of the Eucharistic mystery.”

The next gathering of the special Council for America will take place November 18-19, 2008.

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Nurses denounce infanticides at Puerto Rican hospital

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - At least 52 nurses from the maternity ward at the Hospital Universitario in San Juan announced this week they would no longer assist at abortion procedures there because of disagreements over the macabre methods that are used.

The newspaper El Visitante published an interview with a spokeswoman for the nurses, who said they decided to oppose the procedures after the hospital issued its “Protocol for Terminating Pregnancies,” which outlines methods for performing abortion.

The Hospital Universitario provides services to patients with multiple traumas or conditions that cannot be treated at other facilities and functions with public monies, and although abortion is not illegal, the US Supreme Court has ruled that states—including US territories—are not required to “enter into the business of abortion” and that there is no right to government assistance for abortion.

The spokeswoman for the nurses pointed out that nonetheless the number of abortions at the publicly funded Hospital Universitario has increased and that an estimated one hundred babies have been killed there in the last two years.

“Two or three years ago there were very few cases.  We were told that the patient had already initiated an abortion before arriving at the hospital.  Later we discovered that was not the case and that they were being admitted to have an abortion,” she said.

The hospital’s Protocol on abortion procedures includes a list of “feticides” that can be used to kill the baby in utero beyond the fourth month of pregnancy.  One of the more common methods is the administration of the drug Cytotec, which provokes contractions and the expulsion of the baby.  “Do you know what it’s like to see the baby moving his little feet and hands and not to be able to do anything?” the nurse said. She said because the babies are still underdeveloped they cannot survive outside the womb, and they are often left exposed until they die of asphyxiation.

Another practice used at the hospital is the injection of the drug Digoxin into the heart of the unborn baby, to cause death through cardiac arrest.  The baby is then suctioned out of the womb.  While hospital procedures say this method should be used for abortions at 18 weeks or less, the nurse spokesman said they have seen the method used on women who are 26 weeks or six months pregnant.

The list of feticides also includes potassium chloride, a drug commonly used in the lethal injection of death row prisoners and for euthanizing pets.  The solution causes cardiac arrest, but death penalty opponents have pointed out that because it causes severe pain veterinarians are required to sedate animals before administering it.

The nurse spokesman said many abortions are performed because of “health reasons” or because of rape or incest.  “Sometimes we talk to these women and they tell us that in reality they were not raped, but rather they had problems with the child’s father and could not have the baby now,” she said.

She said most of the doctors at the hospital also do not agree with the policies, and that the hospital has plans to hire other doctors and nurses who will carry out the abortions.  The new personnel, she added, “would be paid with public funds.”

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Let’s not be ashamed of the Gospel, says president of Pontifical Council for the Laity

Sydney, Australia, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - “Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel, let us not hold back because of fear, [do not have] absurd inferiority complexes before a world that always denies God.  Let us be brave,” said Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

The archbishop made his comments during a Mass concluding the second day of work at a preparatory meeting for World Youth Day 2008.  Addressing the more than 200 delegates from over 100 countries gathered at the event, Archbishop Rylko explained, “Not being ashamed of the Gospel means having the courage to speak of God to the people we encounter, even though they may live amidst indifference and superficiality.”

“We have nothing more precious to offer our young people who thirst for God,” he said.

“Evangelizing is not easy and it is not only a question of the language that is used or of communication, but rather of being credible and consistent witnesses,” the archbishop noted.

“Christ puts before us the contrast between a person’s exterior and interior life,” Archbishop Rylko emphasized.  “He who wishes to evangelize young people cannot limit himself to being a teacher but also must be concerned about being a credible witness so that young people can confront their contradictions. They ask to be continually in discussion,” he said.

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John Paul II showed world the infirm have much to say, cardinal states

Rome, Italy, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - During the presentation of a book about the last days of John Paul II, Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran said Pope Wojtyla “showed the world with his illness that the infirm have much to say.”
During the presentation of the book “Papa Wojtyla. L'addio” (Pope Wojtyla. The Goodbye), by Vatican analyst Marco Politi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue said John Paul II taught us that “death is only a journey.”

“The Pope struggled to remind us that death is a step, but that we must live with an intense desire for God,” the cardinal said, describing John Paul II as “an exceptional man, a visionary and prophet, but above all a credible witness of the Gospel.”

“John Paul II,” he continued, “was a Christian who resisted and did not give in, and to those who asked him to resign, the Pontiff responded, ‘no,’ because he would carry his cross until the end.”

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Reports about SSPX doctrinal commission said to be untrue

CNA STAFF, Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - Contrary to earlier reports by the website Le Foum Catholique and subsequently CNA, the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) denies that it is holding doctrinal talks with the Vatican.

According to the website The Remnant (, “The SSPX denies having any doctrinal discussions at present either with officials or theologians of the Vatican,” said Fr. Arnaud Sélégny, Secretary General of the SSPX.

“Bishop Fellay has not, and did not, appoint any theologian priests of the SSPX mentioned in the ‘news’ forums to carry on such doctrinal discussions,” he said.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the SSPX, has repeatedly outlined that prior to doctrinal discussion with the Holy See, he hopes for the lifting of the decrees of excommunication against the SSPX’s four bishops.

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Archbishop of Denver receives Mormon award

Denver, Colo., Oct 17, 2007 (CNA) - While acknowledging extreme religious differences, two church leaders stood together to defend traditional marriage and emphasize the importance of family life.

The Denver Post reports that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Colorado presented its 2007 Family Values Award to Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver on Tuesday night.

LDS Elder Steven E. Snow, said Chaput was "a voice of courage, for whom we are grateful."

"On some key issues facing Americans today - the nature of marriage and family and the sanctity of human life, among others - Catholics and Mormons have the same concerns and similar values rooted in our belief of a loving God," Chaput said. "It makes sense to work together and support each other whenever we can, and the Catholics warmly welcome that."

The Colorado Family Values Awards recognize those who are "striving to advance standards and values that are consistent with the church's position on the family," according to LDS literature.

"The sincerity of the LDS commitment to family life makes this award especially meaningful," Chaput said.

Chaput noted that Mormons and Catholics could recognize their differences while sharing genuine respect and friendship. If different faiths worked together, Christian views on the family would be more difficult to push aside, he said.

"Religion is constantly under pressure today from critics who portray it as dangerous and divisive and seek to push it out of American public life," Chaput said. "Different religious communities working together are even more effective in defending their common beliefs."

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