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Archive of April 2, 2008

Bishop in Pennsylvania cancels visit to Catholic college hosting Clinton rally

Erie, Pa., Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - Bishop of Erie Donald W. Trautman has canceled his scheduled appearance at Mercyhurst College, a Catholic school, because on Tuesday evening is hosting a campaign rally of Senator Hillary Clinton’s, LifeSiteNews.com reports.

Bishop Trautman said in a written statement that he will boycott Mercyhurst College's graduation in May in protest over Clinton’s visit. The bishop explained that he is disappointed in the Catholic school for not reflecting on the Roman Catholic Church's stance on abortion.

Thomas Gamble, the president of the college, allowed the April 1 Clinton appearance despite the teaching of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which specifically forbids pro-abortion politicians from such appearances.

A press release from the college stated, “Mercyhurst has a longstanding policy of not supporting or opposing any particular candidate for political office, in part to protect its nonprofit status. However, realizing that political discourse is a valuable educational tool, Mercyhurst has in the past made its campus available to candidates to share their views, when and where possible and upon formal request.”

According to the press release, President Gamble had invited all major party presidential hopefuls to speak on campus, following the request of the Mercyhurst Student Government.  He recently convened a committee to study school policy and to recommend guidelines for the presence of political candidates and related activities.

"As a Catholic college, Mercyhurst holds itself true to the mission of educating its students in an environment where faith and reason flourish together," Gamble said in the press release.  "We have an obligation to provide a faithful presentation of the teachings of the Church and also to support reason by providing a full range of educational opportunities to our students. It is in the spirit of encouraging dialogue on issues important to the future of the United States and its citizens, whose welfare should be a matter of concern to all of us, that we have chosen to permit this visit."

Gamble said the committee would continue to study its policies concerning political activities on campus.

Tim Broderick of the pro-life group People for Life asked pro-lifers to conduct a “pro-life informational demonstration” at Mercyhurst beginning two hours before the event. 

He told LifesiteNews.com that Senator Clinton’s appearance would "mislead the general public about Hillary and Bill Clinton's extreme commitment to actively promoting abortion in America and around the world."  It would also mislead the public in general and Catholics in particular about the Catholic Church's very cogent recognition that abortion is precisely the murder of an innocent human being, and that establishing legal protection for the unborn is a matter of tremendous urgency.”

"We are hoping the Erie Catholic Diocese will be able to force a cancellation of this event," Broderick said.

The Clinton rally was scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm Tuesday at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center.  According to the school’s press release, the center has a seating capacity of approximately 2,500 people. 

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Leading Mugabe opponent forced into runoff amid vote fraud allegations

Harare, Zimbabwe, Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - Results from Zimbabwe’s presidential election, held last Saturday, indicate that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will defeat President Robert Mugabe.  However, according to the ruling party’s projections, Tsvangirai will be forced into a runoff vote, Reuters reports.

Reuters’ sources with the ruling party, ZANU-PF, said Tsvangirai would fall short of the 51 percent necessary for an outright victory. 

According to two senior government sources, Tsvangirai would get only 48.3 percent of the vote, while Mugabe would receive 43 percent.   A third candidate, former finance minister Simba Makoni, would receive eight percent.

A projection by the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZERN) claimed that Tsvangirai will receive 49.4 percent of the vote, compared to Mugabe’s projected 41.8 percent.

A spokesman for Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) denied a New York Times report that Mugabe’s advisers were negotiating his resignation with the MDC because the president believed a runoff would be demeaning.

"I can confirm that there are no talks with Mugabe," said MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa.

Mugabe has been in power for 28 years.  The country is presently suffering an inflation rate of more than 100,000 percent, food and fuel shortages, and an HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Opposition leaders and international observers accused Mugabe of rigging the last election in 2002.  It is believed that he cannot fix the upcoming election without causing major unrest.

Already some are making allegations of voter fraud. 

"It is now clear that there is something fishy. The whole thing is suspicious and totally unacceptable," Chamisa said.

International Christian agencies have called for immediate government action to stop what observers say appears to be government-led vote fraud.

The Catholic agencies Trócaire and Progressio, the Christian charity Tearfund, and the Swiss-based Foundation for Development and Partnership in Africa have expressed concern about the slow release of election results, according to the Catholic Information Service of Africa (CISA). 

Noel Kutawa, chairperson of ZERN, said the slow reporting is “fuelling speculation that there could be something going on.”

Marwick Khumalo, head of the Pan-African Parliamentary Observer Mission, has also expressed his concerns.

The four international Christian agencies reported that officially announced votes in some cases do not match the tallies registered and displayed at polling stations.  Additionally, some election results posted outside polling stations took more than 30 hours to collate and to be announced.

“The delay in announcing results and the failure of the Electoral Commission to satisfactorily explain the delays to the general public is contributing to tensions and could lead to a situation of instability in the country,” the agencies said.

If the Zimbabwe results require a runoff election to be held, it will take place three weeks from last Saturday.

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Mother takes on Wal-Mart over 7 year-old's exposure to Swimsuit Edition

Washington D.C., Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - A mother in North Carolina is leading complaints about Wal-Mart’s sale of the latest Sports Illustrated “Swimsuit Edition.”

Morality in Media has released the account of a woman who visited a Super Wal-Mart in North Carolina.  The woman’s 7-year-old daughter handed to her grandmother the “Swimsuit Edition,” saying, “Look Grandma, this woman isn't wearing a bathing suit top!”

After the grandmother complained to a Wal-Mart employee, the magazines were removed from the shelf. 

When the family later returned to the store, the mother said, “Wal-Mart had put the magazines back out on the magazine rack at the very same location as before, exposing children of all ages to the cover on the SI magazine.”

After being introduced to a manager, the mother said, “I asked him if there was anything he could do about this.

“He said...he would have to put the magazines back on the shelf because SI rented space...SI was not considered pornographic, and that this issue is being displayed all over the nation. He told me to call 1-800-WALMART and log a complaint.”

Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, commented on the mother’s report.

"In my opinion, SI's Swimsuit Edition 2008 is 'soft-core pornography.' With Playboy magazine, we have full nudity; with the Swimsuit Edition, partial nudity. Otherwise, there is no difference that I can see.

"Surely Wal-Mart executives must realize that males don't purchase the Swimsuit Edition to view art or to choose bathing suits for their wives or girl friends. In the first place, some models aren't wearing anything at all; many aren't wearing anything 'on top;' and most would be arrested in many localities if they appeared in a public place in the 'attire' (or lack thereof) provided them by Sports Illustrated.”

Peters said that state or local public indecency laws would typically prevent individuals from appearing in a public place like Wal-Mart dressed like the “Swimsuit Edition” models.  He also said that many state and local harmful-to-minors sale and display laws also prohibit such nudity.  Neither type of law uses the term “pornographic.”

“Rather than trying to discern whether a magazine depicting naked or semi-naked models is 'pornographic,' Wal-Mart would be better advised to be on the lookout for magazines with 'models' that aren't wearing any or enough clothes,” Peters said.

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Benedict XVI appoints archbishop of Mobile, Alabama

Vatican City, Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - Today the Holy Father appointed Bishop Thomas John Rodi of Biloxi, Mississippi as Archbishop of Mobile, Alabama.  The archbishop-elect will also serve as the temporary Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Biloxi until another bishop is appointed.

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Bishop Rodi was ordained a priest in 1978.  He will be installed as archbishop on June 6, 2008.

As the archbishop of Mobile, he will succeed Archbishop Oscar Hugh Lipscomb who submitted his resignation to the Vatican after reaching the retirement age of 75 over a year ago.

The Pope has also recommended that Bishop Rodi continue to serve as Apostolic Administrator - a move that the archbishop-elect says in a statement, shows the compassion Benedict XVI has for the diocese of Biloxi due to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

“The Holy Father is aware of the continuing efforts of the people of the Diocese of Biloxi to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Promptly after Hurricane Katrina, Pope Benedict sent a personal envoy to the Diocese of Biloxi as a sign of his prayers and support. The decision of the Holy Father, that I am to continue as administrator of the diocese until a successor is appointed, is another visible sign of the Holy Father’s concern for the people of the Diocese of Biloxi. I am most grateful for the Holy Father’s sincere interest in the welfare of the people of Mississippi and, with God’s help I will serve you as administrator until the Holy Father appoints a new bishop.”

Bishop Rodi also expressed his excitement for the new appointment.

“I am both honored and humbled by our Holy Father’s appointment to serve as Archbishop of Mobile. Mindful of my own limitations, and relying upon the help of God, I look forward to serving the people of the archdiocese. I pray that the Good Shepherd will guide me in my new ministry. I am already aware of the deep faith among the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Mobile.”

He also thanked the Diocese of Biloxi for their kindness and offered them words of support.  “The Diocese of Biloxi is vibrant. This is a testimony to the character, love, and faith of the laity, religious, and clergy. I thank you for your kindness to me and for your witness as members of the Church and followers of the Lord Jesus. I am sad that I will soon be leaving Mississippi once a new bishop is appointed. However, I am confident that, with God’s help, the Diocese of Biloxi will have a bright future.”

Bishop Rodi will serve 67,351 Catholics and 127 priests in the Archdiocese of Mobile.

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John Paul II was “a sign and witness of the Resurrection of Christ,” says Pope

Vatican City, Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - Recalling with emotion the passing of Pope John Paul II three years ago today, Pope Benedict said April 2 will remain imprinted on the mind of the Church as the day when the Servant of God departed from this world.

Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for a memorial Mass in honor of the beloved pope, whose abiding memory continues to draw thousands of visitors every day to his tomb inside St. Peter's Basilica.

Pope Benedict said that the life and pontificate, was as a whole and in many specific moments, "a sign and witness of the Resurrection of Christ."

John Paul II died on the eve of the second Sunday of Easter, the fulfillment of the "day that the Lord has made."

The Holy Father said, "Like three years ago, today we are not far from Easter. The heart of the Church is still deeply immersed in the mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord. Indeed, we can read the entire life of my beloved predecessor, in particular his Petrine ministry, as a sign of the Risen Christ.”

Recalling how today is the day John Paul II died, Benedict XVI said, "His agony was beheld by all this "day," in this space-time that is the new ' "eighth day," desired by the Holy Trinity through the work of the Incarnate Word, dead and risen.

"In this spiritual dimension,” the Holy Father said that “Pope John Paul II repeatedly demonstrated that he was some way immersed in this mystery during his life, especially in carrying out the mission of the Supreme Pontiff."

Since childhood, Karol Wojtyla experienced the truth of St. Paul's words, 'if we die with him, we shall also live with him. If we persevere with him, we also reign with him" (2 Tim 2,11-12), the Pope said.

The Holy Father then walked through the life of Karol Wojtyla, narrating his way of the cross.

He encountered these words in facing his way of the cross, that of his family and his people. He soon decided carry his cross together with Jesus, following in his footsteps. He wanted to be his faithful servant, to accept the call to the priesthood, and to commit his entire life as a gift. He did all of this through the unique mediation of Mary, Mother of the Church, Mother of the Redeemer and effectively intimately associated with the saving mystery of his death and resurrection, Pope Benedict reflected.

Speaking of the evening of Saturday, April 2, 2005 when news of John Paul II's death reached the crowds in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict said, "For several days the Vatican Basilica and the square were really the heart of the world. A river of pilgrims made uninterrupted tribute to the venerable body of the Pope and his funeral marked a further testimony of the affection and esteem, which he had won in the souls of many believers and people from every part of the world."

Speaking of John Paul II's legacy and final witness, the Pontiff said, "He had an extraordinary faith in Christ, and with Him entertained an intimate conversation, unique and unbroken. Among his many human qualities and supernatural gifts, [John Paul II] also had an exceptional spiritual and mystical sensitivity. It was enough observe when he prayed: he was literally immersed in God, and it seemed that everything else in those moments was extraneous.

In addition, daily mass was for John Paul II a "living and holy" reality that was the center of each day, and that gave him the spiritual energy necessary to guide the People of God in the unfolding of history, Pope Benedict noted.

To observe him during liturgical celebrations was to be present to the mystery in act; he had an ability to capture the eloquence of the Word of God in the future of history, at the depths of God's plan," the Pope said.

Pope Benedict also turned to John Paul II’s constant encouragement "'Do not be afraid!'  and tied it to the suffering he endured. “He always delivered with uncompromising firmness, first brandishing the pastoral staff culminating in the cross and then, when his physical energies were waning, almost clinging to it, until the last Good Friday when he participated in the Way of the Cross in his private Chapel, clinging to the cross.”

"We can not forget that in his last silent witness of love for Jesus. Even the eloquent scene of human suffering and faith on that last Good Friday, showed believers and the world the secret of the whole Christian life. His "Do not be afraid" was not based on human strength, or about successes, but only on the Word of God on the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ.”

Pope John Paul II’s conformity to Christ lasted until the end of his life, Benedict explained.

"Gradually, he was stripped of everything, down to those last words, his trust in Christ appeared with growing evidence. As it happened to Jesus, it happened with John Paul II to the very end when the words took place of the final sacrifice, the gift of self. And death was the seal of the whole existence given to Christ. [John Paul II] conformed himself to Christ even physically in the case of suffering and the complete confident abandonment in the arms of the Heavenly Father. According to a witness who was nearby, "Let's go to the Father", were his last words to fulfill a life of total striving to know and contemplate the face of the Lord."

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Pope Benedict: Mercy of God is “key” to understanding John Paul II

Vatican City, Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - Speaking to participants of the first World Congress on Divine Mercy who were at a Mass for the third anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II today, the Holy Father explained that the mercy of God was a key to the late Pope’s pontificate.

Pope Benedict said in his homily that the mercy of God was a key to the privileged pontificate of John Paul II, who was deeply devoted to the message of Divine Mercy that came through St. Faustina Kowalska, whom he cannonized in 2000.

Having experienced personally the appalling tragedies of the twentieth century, John Paul II understood that only the Divine Mercy is able to put a limit to evil, and only the love of almighty God can overcome evil and arrogance of the destructive power of selfishness and hatred, the Pope said.

Pope Benedict appealed for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, and for the intercession of Servant of God John Paul II, saying, "please continue to intercede from heaven for each of us, for me especially, that Providence has called to collect his invaluable spiritual heritage. May the Church follow the teachings and examples, continue faithfully and without compromise its mission of evangelization, spreading tirelessly merciful love of Christ, the source of true peace for the entire world."

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Chilean parliament debates bill allowing homosexual marriage and adoption

, Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - According to a report on Lifesitenews.com, a bill has been introduced into the Chilean National Congress to allow homosexuals to "marry" and adopt children.

Officially named the "Bill that Modifies the Civil Code in relation to the Concept of Marriage", it is being promoted by the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (MOVILH) and other homosexual groups, and is similar to one that failed in 2003.

Current Chilean law defines marriage in a traditional manner, stating in Article 102 of the Civil Code that "marriage is a solemn contract by which a man and a woman unite themselves now, and indissolubly, and for life, with the purpose of living together, to procreate, and to give one another mutual aid."

"With the introduction of the marriage law we are taking a historic step that we hope will broaden the debate over our rights," said MOVILH president Rolando Jiménez. "We don't want to continue being second class citizens.  We want complete equality with adoption of children included."

However, the bill was quickly denounced by Chilean Cardinal Jorge Medina, who noted that "before God homosexual behavior is abominable" and said that the new bill is "unacceptable from the Christian point of view."

It was also denounced by Ivan Moreira of the National Chamber of Deputies (Chile's lower legislative house), who lamented the fact that "permitting unions between people of the same sex will require us to legislate so that these couples can adopt children and then what will happen?"

MOVILH reportedly responded by calling Cardinal Medina's comments "brutal and immoral", and characterizing them as expressions of "hate and intolerance", while blasting Moreira's comments as "neo-nazi" and "homophobic".

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Pro-life representatives in Ecuador harassed for abandoning official party line

Quito, Ecuador, Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - Ecuador’s ruling party Acuerdo Pais has launched an aggressive campaign to oust pro-life congresswomen Rossana Queirolo and Diana Acosta from the Constitutional Assembly that is drafting the country’s new constitution.

In recent weeks, Queirolo and Acosta have become the main voices in the Acuerda Pais party to speak out in defense of human life and the protection of marriage as a union between one man and one woman in the text of the new constitution.  Since then, they have become the target of attacks from fellow party members, including Representative Betty Amores, who publicly called on the two to have the “decency” to resign for not sharing the official party position.

Queirolo responded that she was elected “by the people’s mandate and that she would not abandon her personal convictions.  “I am keeping to my position regarding respect for life from conception to death,” she said.

Carlos Polo, director of the Latin American office of the Population Research Institute, called the actions “a grave attack on freedom of thought.  A precedent like this only invalidates the very project of the new constitution.  [President] Correa should realize that going down this road will mean losing the referendum on the final text of the new Constitution.  If Correa is influenced by pro-abortion politicians, the ‘No’ vote on the referendum will be a majority.”

In response to the controversy, Acuerdo Pais published a statement promising to protect life from the moment of conception and to uphold marriage as the union between a man and a woman and to fight discrimination based on “sexual orientation.”

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Cardinal reminds Venezuelan priests they should be disciples and missionaries

Caracas, Venezuela, Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, said this week, “As baptized followers and friends of Jesus, priests are also called to be disciples and missionaries of the Lord.”

During the ordination of four new priests, the cardinal said Venezuela “needs priests who have a profound experience of God and are docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit,” and who can “care for the flock entrusted to them, seeking out the lost, always in profound communion with their bishops, brother priests, religious and laity.”

Likewise, he encouraged the new priests to get involved “in the activities of the Church and in humble pastoral ministry,” to “give witness to the love of Christ with a life full of charity, joy, pastoral creativity, in communion with the bishops and local priests, in fidelity to revealed truth and to the teachings of the Magisterium.”

The people “need priests in the service of life, who are attentive to the needs of the poor, who are committed to the defense of the rights of those who are weakest and are promoters of a culture of solidarity,” Cardinal Urosa stated.

“There are two tasks that define the essence of priestly ministry: ‘being before the Lord,’ that is, living with one’s face turned towards the Lord and particularly having prayer, the liturgy and above all the Eucharist at the center of one’s life,” the cardinal continued.  “Serving the Lord” implies “the correct celebration of the liturgy and the sacraments, carried out with interior participation, that is, from the heart, with living faith and devotion.”

At the conclusion of the ordination, one of the new priests, Father Ramon Cote, spoke in the name of the other three newly ordained and said, “We have been reached by the Good News of Jesus Christ,” we “have become servants of the Kingdom of Christ,” as “the way of life in Jesus Christ is the only way to be fulfilled, in addition to bring us salvation.”

After thanking those who supported them during their formation and deaconate, Cote called on young Venezuelans to “also take up the challenge of surrendering their lives to Christ to serve others.”

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Faithful offered chance to have Pope pray for their intentions

Washington D.C., Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - With less than two weeks left to go before Pope Benedict arrives in the United States, the rector of the National Shrine, Msgr. Walter Rossi, is offering people the opportunity to participate in evening prayer with the Pope by sending him their prayer intentions.

During his visit to Washington D.C., Pope Benedict XVI will tour the Great Upper Church and celebrate a private Evening Prayer with the United States’ bishops on Wednesday, April 16, at 5:30 p.m. (EST). 

The event is closed to the public, but Msgr. Rossi is offering people the chance to have their prayer intentions to be remembered at the Solemn Vespers by the Holy Father. 
 
Anyone who wishes to have their prayer intentions included at the celebration of Vespers, can do so by emailing them to [email protected] no later than Friday, April 11, 2008. 

As the visit of the Pope approaches, Msgr. Rossi asked that the faithful keep the priests and staff of the Shrine in their prayers as they finish their preparations for the Pontiff’s arrival. 

The website for the National Shrine can be found at http://www.nationalshrine.com

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China and Vietnam see boom in converts this Easter

Beijing, China, Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - The local Catholic churches in China and Vietnam have jointly welcomed over 2,800 new converts into the faith during the first week of the Easter Season, which concluded on Divine Mercy Sunday.

According to the Fides news agency, after a three year period of formation known as the catechumenate, the new Christians received the sacraments of initiation in ceremonies held throughout the first week of Easter.

The Diocese of Hong Kong is where the greatest number of converts was received into the Church, numbering 2,800.  Nine people came into the Church on Divine Mercy Sunday in Tie Ling in the province of Liao Ning, and eleven came into the Church throughout the week.

The Diocese of Hong Kong’s weekly bulleting in Chinese, “Kong Ko Bao”, said “entire families” were among those received into the Church, including the four Wu sisters from Holy Redeemer Parish.

“Our Catholic friends have been the seeds of evangelization for us, they have encouraged us to seek out the faith.  Now we are trying to convince our parents to attend catechesis,” the oldest Wu sister said.

Likewise, in the small Vietnamese town of Svay Pak, known for its problems of violence, drug use, prostitution and AIDS, 23 Vietnamese and Cambodian adults were baptized during the Easter Vigil.  There are only 70 Catholic families in town.

 

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Creation of human-animal hybrid embryo triggers debate in UK

London, England, Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - The creation of the United Kingdom’s first human-animal hybrid embryo may increase pressure for tougher regulation of the research, Bloomberg News reports.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales said it was “extraordinary” that the experiment was licensed before a full debate about regulating the techniques had taken place.

Researcher Lyle Armstrong and colleagues at Newcastle University made the embryos using human cells and a cow egg.   DNA from a human skin cell was inserted into a cow egg whose nucleus and genetic material had been removed.

Some scientists claim that embryonic stem cells have large potential for medical treatment because of their ability to turn into any of the cell types found in the human body.  However, zero treatments or therapies have emerged from embryonic stem cell related research. On the other hand, research using adult stem cells has led to over 70 different therapies and treatments.

Researchers want to make hybrid embryos using the DNA of people with incurable conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, and spinal cord injuries.  Stem cells from the embryos, they believe, would help them study such afflictions and develop treatments.

“We've got 3 million patients in the U.K. who could potentially benefit from the treatments that could be delivered by this research,” said Nick Meade, a policy officer for the Genetic Interest Group.

Human eggs are in short supply, and egg donation procedures pose health risks and cause discomfort for women.

John Burn, head of the Institute of Human Genetics at Newcastle University, said in a statement that the new hybrids “will open the door to a better understanding of disease processes without having to use precious human eggs.” 

“Cells grown using animal eggs cannot be used to treat patients on safety grounds but they will help bring nearer the day when new stem cell therapies are available,” he continued.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales addressed the news in a statement on Wednesday, saying, “It does seem extraordinary that the HFEA should have granted a license before there has been a full public and parliamentary debate.''

“There must be a thorough public discussion about the serious ethical issues raised by the possibility of creating human-animal hybrid embryos,” the statement said.  The bishops’ conference argued that embryonic stem cells have not yet produced any cures, saying that medical research should focus on adult stem cells.

David Alton, a Catholic layman and a member of the House of Lords, agreed, saying, “Regardless of where you stand on this issue, it's wholly unnecessary to use human embryos.”

Catholic teaching opposes all research destructive of human embryos.

Catholic leaders in London, Liverpool, and Birmingham joined Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Edinburgh in attacking the research in their Easter sermons.  At Easter Masses, Catholics were given postcards protesting the proposals to send to their parliamentary representatives. 

Cardinal O’Brien has criticized the techniques used in hybrid embryo research, saying that creating such embryos constituted “experiments of Frankenstein proportion.”  Subsequently, Cardinal O’Brien agreed to a Catholic lawmaker’s request that he meet with the researchers who want to use human embryos.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, has also called for the situation to be addressed by establishing a national bioethics panel.

After much pressure, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has allowed members of his Labour Party a “free vote” on an upcoming parliamentary bill regulating human embryo research.  The Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill has a provision that would allow researchers to generate stem cells from hybrid embryos.

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Catholic Relief Services promotes condom use, moral theologian alleges

San Francisco, Calif., Apr 2, 2008 (CNA) - Prominent moral theologian and philosopher Germain Grisez has asked the United States Catholic bishops to investigate policies of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) which he says surreptitiously promote condom use as part of the charitable agency’s overseas activities.

Grisez, Professor of Christian Ethics at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, wrote in the April issue of Catholic World Report that CRS distributes “educational” materials to its partners in Africa and other countries that explicitly encourage condom use to prevent the spread of HIV. 

The materials include a “how-to” guide to condoms aimed at African populations.

In his essay “The Church Betrayed?” Grisez examines documents distributed by CRS to its overseas partners.  He found that, although the documents acknowledge Catholic teaching about abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage, they also describe a CRS policy of “providing full and accurate information” about the use and benefits of condoms in the prevention of HIV.

The documents reveal an apparent policy of deception, specifying that the CRS name and logo must not be included in materials promoting condom use “due to the potential sensitivity of the information contained in these materials among Church partners.”

Grisez is the author of The Way of the Lord Jesus, a three-volume summa of Catholic moral theology.  His article and the relevant CRS documents are available at Catholic World Report’s website, http://www.catholicworldreport.com .

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