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Archive of November 19, 2007

Locations for visits to new cardinals published

Vatican City, Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations has published the locations and times for those who wish to visit with the newly created cardinals following their elevations to their new rank this coming Saturday.

Visits can be paid to the cardinals between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 24 at the locations listed below.

The consistory for creating the 23 new cardinals will be held in St. Peter's Square at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday, November 24.

Also in St. Peter's Square, at 10.30 a.m. on Sunday, November 25, Solemnity of Christ the King, the Holy Father will preside at a concelebrated Mass with the new cardinals, during which he will give them their ring of office.

Locations for courtesy visits:

Paul VI Hall:

Atrium: Cardinals Francisco Robles Ortega, Urbano Navarrete S.J. and Umberto Betti O.F.M.

Hall: Cardinals Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente, Sean Baptist Brady, Lluis Martinez Sistach and Andre Vingt-Trois.

Palace of the Governorate of the Vatican City State:

Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo.

Palazzo Della Canonica – Fabric of St. Peter’s:

Vicariate of Vatican City: Cardinal Angelo Comastri.

Library: Cardinal Giovanni Coppa.

Apostolic Palace:

Sala Regia: Cardinals Leonardo Sandri and John Patrick Foley.

Hall of Blessings: Cardinals Theodore-Adrien Sarr, Oswald Gracias, Daniel N. DiNardo, Odilio Pedro Scherer, John Njue, Emmanuel III Delly, Estanislao Esteban Karlic.

Sala Ducale: Cardinals Paul Josef Cordes and Stanislaw Rylko.

Sala dei Paramenti 1: Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

Sala dei Paramenti 2: Cardinal Raffaele Farina S.D.B.

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Archbishop Broglio appointed to serve U.S. Military

Vatican City, Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - The Vatican announced today that Archbishop Timothy Paul Broglio has been selected to be the Archbishop of United States Military Services, taking the place of Archbishop Edwin Frederick O’Brien who was named Archbishop of Baltimore in July 2007.

Archbishop Broglio was born in 1951, and was ordained in 1977 to the Diocese of Cleveland.  After serving there for two years, he returned to Rome to continue his studies at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. 

Currently, Archbishop Broglio serves as Apostolic Nuncio to Dominican Republic as well as the Papal Delegate to Puerto Rico.

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Defend marriage and family life at all costs, Benedict XVI tells Africans

Vatican City, Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI had a special message for Africa in his meeting with the bishops of Kenya today. As the bishops completed their “ad limina” visit, the Pope exhorted them to defend “at all costs” the institutions of marriage and family life, which are under attack from the “globalized secular culture”. 

 

Praising the esteem in which Africans hold marriage and family life, the Holy Father told the Kenyan bishops that “[t]his precious treasure must be guarded at all costs.” The cause of “the ills besetting some parts of African society, such as promiscuity, polygamy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, can be directly related to disordered notions of marriage and family life,” Benedict noted.

 

"For this reason," he added, "it is important to assist parents in teaching their children how to live out a Christian vision of marriage, conceived as an indissoluble union between one man and one woman, essentially equal in their humanity and open to the generation of new life.”

 

Pope Benedict showed particular concern that authentic African culture is being undermined by anti-life movements. "While this understanding of Christian family life finds a deep resonance in Africa, it is a matter of great concern that the globalized secular culture is exerting an increasing influence on local communities as a result of campaigns by agencies promoting abortion,” he said. "This direct destruction of an innocent human life can never be justified, however difficult the circumstances that may lead some to consider taking such a grave step.”

 

The Holy Father also instructed the bishops that “[w]hen you preach the Gospel of Life, remind your people that the right to life of every innocent human being, born or unborn, is absolute and applies equally to all people with no exception whatsoever."

 

Out of concern for the women who find themselves in difficult circumstances, the Pope reminded the Catholic community that it “must offer support to those women who may find it difficult to accept a child, above all when they are isolated from their family and friends.” Catholics should also “be open to welcome back all who repent of having participated in the grave sin of abortion, and should guide them with pastoral charity to accept the grace of forgiveness, the need for penance, and the joy of entering once more into the new life of Christ."

 

Benedict XVI pointed out how the Church in Kenya "is well known for the fine contribution made by its educational institutions in forming generations of young people in sound ethical principles and in opening their minds to engage in peaceful and respectful dialogue with members of other social or religious groups.

 

"At a time when a secularist and relativist mentality is increasingly asserting itself through global means of soial communication, it is all the more essential that you continue to promote the quality and the Catholic identity of your schools, universities and seminaries. Take the steps necessary in order to affirm and clarify their proper institutional status," he concluded. "Today there is a particular need for highly trained professionals and persons of integrity in the area of medicine, where advances in technology continue to raise serious moral questions."

 

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Mother delivers quintuplets after refusing multiple abortions

London, England, Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - A Russian mother has given birth to quintuplets despite opposition from doctors who wanted her to abort some of them. Varvara Artamkin and her husband Dimitri had to travel to England in order to keep all of their children.

She and her husband Dimitri, a 28 year-old math professor, were told by Russian doctors that they would not treat Varvara during her pregnancy unless she aborted two or three of her babies.  The doctors said the 'selective terminations,' as the abortions are called, were essential to giving the remaining babies a chance of survival.

Mr. Artamkin's grandmother, Irina, 74, speaking from her home in Moscow, described their plight: "They went to several maternity hospitals to ask them to take her on but the doctors kept saying they would only accept her on the condition that she terminated two or three of the babies."

Irina continued:  "Our families are very religious people - Varvara's father is an archpriest - and the church teaches that abortion is murder. Varvara and Dimitri wanted all their babies and they would not agree to such a condition."

The expecting parents were too poor to seek treatment abroad, but Vavara's father, a senior priest in the Russian Orthodox Church, secured anonymous benefactors in Oxford who are paying the bill for the care of Varvara and all her new daughters.

Dimitri's sister, Maria, 24, said: "For me, that they were born alive was a miracle. It was all in God's hands and I was elated. We will go to church and light a candle for each baby."

Varvara gave birth in an Oxford hospital a week ago to five daughters 14 weeks pre-mature. As of Thursday, all of the newborns were said to be doing "very well."


 

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Largest sexual abuse settlement reached with Oregon Province Jesuits

Portland, Ore., Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - The largest settlement yet against a Catholic religious order has been reached between the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus and several sexual abuse victims in Alaska, according to Anchorage lawyer Ken Roosa. 

The AP has reported that the Jesuit order will pay $50 million to compensate damages that involved roughly 13 priests during the years of 1961 and 1987 with victims ranging from age five to teenagers.

There are ten provinces within the Jesuit Order in the United States.  The Oregon Province that consists of the states Oregon, Montana, Washington, Idaho and Alaska reports to superiors in Rome and is separate from the Archdiocese of Portland.

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Holy See desires rapid conclusion of talks with Israel, says Vatican spokesman

Vatican City, Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - The director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, reacted this weekend to statements by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the former Apostolic Nuncio to Israel, who said he had reservations about the current negotiations between the Holy See and that country, saying the archbishop’s comments represent “his thought and this personal experience gathered during his years of service” in the Holy Land.

“The interview with Archbishop Sambi, was published on the website www.terrasanta.net, reflects his thought and his personal experience gathered during his years of service at the Apostolic Delegation of Jerusalem, and as nuncio in Israel,” Father Lombardi stated in a press release.

“The Holy See, for its part,” the statement continued, “reiterates its previously stated desire during the recent visit by President Peres with the Holy Father—‘for a rapid conclusion to the important negotiations already in progress’ in order to find a common solution to existing problems.”

In the interview, Archbishop Sambi, current Apostolic Nuncio in the United States, said the economic accord between the Holy See and Israel has still not been signed “after almost ten years of useless negotiations because of the continuous delays on the part of the Israeli delegation in holding meetings, the delegation’s lack of decision-making authority, in a word, because of the absence of political will.”

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Vatican official says UN moratorium on death penalty step in the right direction

, Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, said this week the recent resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly calling for an international moratorium on the application of the death penalty is a “relevant step” in the defense of life, although it only has “symbolic value” since it is not “an agreement that binds countries.”

The resolution, which was supported by 99 countries, with 52 voting against and 33 abstaining, “is very important, and it is gratifying that so many Catholic organizations have worked for this and thus they have the right to be pleased.”

“I am very happy,” Cardinal Martino said. “I was the Holy See’s representative to the United Nations for more than 16 years and during that time I collaborated in two efforts during the 90’s to achieve this moratorium: we worked very hard and we were discouraged when the votes were tallied, the project had to be withdrawn because the numbers were just not there.  This time the numbers are there and for this reason I am very pleased.”

Mario Marazzit, a spokesman for the Sant’Egidio Community, said, “The vote is historic, because it is very strong moral pressure and it points to a standard that has become important for all of the countries that do not use the death penalty yet.” He said he was hopeful the resolution would have an impact on the laws in individual countries.

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Elderly and infirm are not “a problem,” Pope says

, Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - During an audience on Saturday with participants of the 22nd international conference promoted by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI called for complete respect for the life and human dignity of the infirm and the elderly, who are often marginalized as a “weight” and a “problem” by “today's mentality of efficiency."

The Pope commented on the theme of the conference, "The Pastoral Care of Elderly Sick People,” which is of interest to “an increasingly larger population, which has many needs and at the same time unmistakable human and spiritual resources.”

“Today's mentality of efficiency" views elderly sick people as "a 'burden' and a 'problem' for society,” the Holy Father said in his message. "Those who have an understanding of human dignity, however, know that the elderly must be respected and supported while they face the serious difficulties linked to their state," he added.

The elderly who are affected by incurable illnesses need palliative care that is able to mitigate the pain, the Holy Father said, in order to face "in a conscious and human way the last stage of earthly existence, to serenely prepare for death."  Moreover, in addition to competent medical care, "the sick need understanding, comfort and constant encouragement and accompaniment."


John Paul II and suffering

Noting that for Christians death is a “journey towards the embrace of the heavenly Father, full of tenderness and mercy” and that the sick need the support of their family and the Sacraments, the Pope recalled the witness of John Paul II.

“On numerous occasions, my venerable predecessor John Paul II, especially by offering an "exemplary witness of faith and courage" in his illness, exhorted scientists and physicians to never cede "to the temptation to have recourse to the practice of shortening the life of the elderly or the sick, practices that would in fact result in forms of euthanasia."

He also exhorted those charged with care for the infirm, as well as politicians and administrators, to never forget that “the temptation of euthanasia appears as one of the more alarming symptoms of the culture of death that is advancing above all in the society of well-being."

Benedict XVI called for a “general commitment” to respect human life not only in Catholic hospitals but in all places that offer medical care, and he exhorted “believers facing illness and death to "not to lose their serenity, because nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of Christ."

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New book responds to “Golden Compass”

Hollywood, Calif., Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - Both supporters and critics have described the upcoming children's fantasy movie "The Golden Compass" as the "anti-Narnia."  It is based on Philip Pullman's controversial "His Dark Materials" trilogy, a series which has been criticized for promoting atheism to children and attacking Christianity. 

A new book has been published to assist concerned parents and readers everywhere in responding to Pullman's vision.

Titled "Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children's Fantasy", by Sandra Miesel and Peter Vere, the book examines the truth about Pullman and his books.  It explores his beliefs about God, religion, Christianity, the Catholic Church, and atheism as well as how he tries to advance his opinions through his written work. 

The authors also explain Pullman's strong disdain for Christian fantasy writers like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, while comparing his work to that of other children's and fantasy literature.

The authors bring notable qualifications to their critique. 

Sandra Miesel, a co-author of the best-selling book "The Da Vinci Hoax", has master’s degrees in both biochemistry and medieval history from the University of Illinois.  A writer, critic, and editor of fiction, she has worked with many well-known fantasy and science fiction authors.

Her co-author Peter Vere, a canon lawyer and Catholic journalist, has previously written about Pullman's work for several publications, including The Washington Times and This Rock magazine.

"Pied Piper of Atheism" will address the many objectionable aspects of Pullman's books in a non-sensational, fair, but firm manner.

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Papal chaplain appointed Bishop of Middlesbrough

, Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI recently selected Monsignor Terence Patrick Drainey, a papal chaplain, to become Bishop of Middlesbrough.

A graduate and past spiritual director of Royal English College, Valladolid, the 58 year-old Bishop-elect Drainey is currently president of the seminary at Ushaw College in Durham.

He also spent five years in Western Kenya.

In a letter to his future diocese in Middlesbrough, Bishop-elect Drainey gave thanks to God for his appointment.  After expressing gratitude to Pope Benedict for his decision, he wrote of his eagerness to become their bishop:  "All my life as a priest I have only wanted to be a pastor serving the Lord and his people wherever the Church has sent me. So I sincerely rejoice to be given the ministry of pastor of this great diocese rich in lives faithful to the Gospel throughout history and to this present day."

He further wrote of the Christian mission to evangelize, saying "the Gospel that we bring must proclaim God’s infinite love and pardon. Even in darkness we trust that Christ will be our light and as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, we can face all disappointments, broken promises and even overcome despair. It is in this joyful hope that I look forward to serving the people of the Diocese of Middlesbrough as soon as I can."

Bishop-elect Drainey will fulfill his duties as a seminary president until the end of the current term.  He will be ordained to the episcopacy on January 25.

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Illinois pro-lifers face threat of paddy wagon for Planned Parenthood protests

Aurora, Ill., Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - Pro-life activists protesting a new Illinois Planned Parenthood location are facing conflicting legal advice from city officials and threats of mass arrests from the local police chief.

Large protests take place monthly at the Aurora, Illinois Planned Parenthood facility, which is the largest of its kind in the nation.  Protestors have alleged First Amendment violations of their free speech rights, and a lawsuit is pending against the city. 

Aurora Police Chief William Powell claims the protestors have been "threatening" and called a paddy wagon to last month's protests.  At Tuesday's City Council Meeting, Chief Powell stated "I hope [demonstrators] will go along with what we ask them to do. If not, I will guarantee there will be arrests made."

"We have bent over backwards to accommodate the protesters there, but they are starting to abuse us," Powell said, according to the Herald News. "They threaten us out there; they threaten to sue us. They shove cameras in our faces as a way to intimidate us and get what they want."

Eric Scheidler, Communications Director for the Pro- Life Action League and an Aurora resident, joined by other protestors, had a heated discussion with Chief Powell at the Planned Parenthood site Friday morning.

"Chief Powell was visibly irate as we tried to discuss the plans for the gathering tomorrow," states Scheidler. "When I brought up that the city's outside counsel had given us directives as to the operation of the protest, he said he didn't care about what the attorney said, he would do what he wanted to do. At times, he was so angry that another officer intervened to calm him down."

Scheidler told the Herald News that local police have been inconsistent in their instructions on what pro-life protesters should do. Every protest seems to include new directions on where to stand or what laws to follow, he says, and he can't seem to get a clear answer from local officials.

"I don't know how to deal with people with whom communication seems to be impossible," he said. "I would welcome a clear, concise statement, if I had any confidence it would be adhered to and followed."

Chief Powell said he has no plans to give the pro-life advocates clear instructions on how to legally protest the new center in upcoming events.

Instead of clear instructions, Scheidler says that the police arrived on the scene and began to “intimidate hundreds of Aurora citizens with an armored paddy wagon, constant video surveillance and the city's lawyer in tow."

The opening of the Planned Parenthood facility was scheduled for mid-September, but it was delayed after allegations the facility acquired its occupancy and building permits through deceptive practices.  Though the facility opened on October 2, various investigations regarding zoning issues are still ongoing.

Mr. Scheidler vows that the monthly demonstrations will continue, "Regardless of the threats and tactics the city uses to try to keep their citizen's voices from being heard, we will be here praying and marching until no more innocent human lives are slaughtered in our town."

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Japan faces population implosion

Tokyo, Japan, Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - The dwindling population of Japan will threaten the "foundation of communities," -- police, fire, and other basic services -- an impending white paper by the Japanese government will report.

Japan's population peaked in 2005 at 127 million people.  Current projections forecast a decline of thirty percent by 2050 to 89 million people.  On average Japanese women have only one child.  The birth rate must average 2.1 children per woman to maintain the population.

At the same time, Japan's population is among the oldest in the world, averaging 43 years of age.  By the year 2050, the average Japanese person is predicted to be 61 years old.

During Japan's 2007 Children's Day, the government noted that the number of children in Japan had declined for the 26th consecutive year.  2,000 junior and senior high schools have closed due to lack of children, and some of these buildings are being converted into senior care centers.  Pediatricians are changing their specialty to geriatric care, while some lonely seniors pretend child-like robot dolls are substitute grandchildren.

Brian Clowes, writing for Human Life International, declares "if a government promotes “family planning” for decades, if it drills into the people's heads the idea that children are messy, noisy, expensive, and bad for the environment, once it has promoted and funded millions and millions of abortions, there is really no way back."

He cites as most problematic young Japanese women's aversion to marriage.  Seventy percent of young single women say they have no intention of getting married.

"The only solution to the plague of depopulation is to rekindle the love of God and children in the people's hearts. The Japanese must undo three decades of anti-natalist propaganda with an intensive program of teaching the people the value of family, the beauty and joy that children provide, and the satisfaction of fidelity to a husband or a wife until death," Clowes writes.

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Future Health Minister of Argentina to maintain predecessor’s pro-abortion stance

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - The new Health Minister of Argentina, Graciela Ocana, who was recently named to the post by President-elect Cristina de Kirchner, said she would maintain the pro-abortion stance of her predecessor.

Ocana first took a post in the administration of Nestor Kirchner in 2004 after having been a representative for the province of Buenos Aires in the national congress.

As a congresswoman, Ocana voted in favor of the morning after pill, homosexual unions, “reproductive” health laws and obligatory sex-ed in schools without parental consent.

According to some media reports, Ocana decided not to have children because of trauma she suffered as a child. She was raised by her grandparents from the age of five after her mother died giving birth to her brother.

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EU approves resolution condemning persecution of Christians

Strausburg, Pa., Nov 19, 2007 (CNA) - The European Union has approved a resolution condemning the persecution of Christians in some parts of the world. 

According the SIR news agency, Mario Mauro, vice president of the European Parliament and sponsor of the measure, said, “Religious freedom is the test for other freedoms and rights, and the persecution of Christians throughout the world is one of the greatest challenges to human dignity.”

The measure, which has the support of the Socialist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and others, condemns all acts of violence against Christian communities especially in Africa and Asia, and it calls on the countries in question “to provide the necessary guarantees for religious freedom and the security of Christian communities.”

In addition to mentioning several cases of persecution of Christians in Pakistan, Gaza, Turkey, China, Vietnam, Sudan, Iraq and Syria, the measure “deplores the kidnapping of Father Giancarlo Gossi in the Philippines, strongly condemns the murder of journalist Hrant Dink and of Father Andrea Santoro in Turkey, as well as underscores the problems of freedom of expression in China and repression in Vietnam.

“Thanks to today’s vote—which had only two votes against and one abstention—the European Commission will have to take steps to develop and plan for cooperation and aid to be given on the condition that the principle of respect for true religious freedom is respected,” Mauro said.

Lastly, the resolution also emphasized “the importance of dialogue between religions in order to promote peace and understanding between people, and calls on religious leaders to fight “against extremisms and to promote mutual respect,” Mauro stated.

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