Archive of April 12, 2008

Vatican cardinal weighs in on pro-abortion politicians and Communion

CNA STAFF, Apr 12, 2008 (CNA) - A newly released video of a 2007 appearance of Francis Cardinal Arinze shows the cardinal addressing the issue of Catholic politicians who support permissive abortion laws but also present themselves for Holy Communion. 

Speaking in a “Question and Answer” session at gathering for Familyland USA in 2007, the cardinal said the answer to the question was so obvious that even children preparing for First Communion could answer it correctly. 

In a satirical manner, Cardinal Arinze criticized a standard pro-abortion political argument.

“To the person who says, ‘Personally, I am against abortion, but then if people really want to do it I leave them free’ you can say ‘You are a member of the senate or the congress. 

“‘Personally I am not in favor of shooting the whole lot of you, but if somebody else wants to shoot all of you in the senate or all of you in the congress, it’s just pro-choice for that. 

“’But personally I’m not in favor.’

“That is what they are saying,” the cardinal argued.

“They are saying that personally, he is not in favor of killing these millions of children in the womb, but if others want to do it, he is pro-choice.”

Cardinal Arinze made a joking aside, saying, “And then you ask me ‘What does the Holy See do, why doesn’t the Pope send a dozen Swiss Guards to arrest them all’.”

The cardinal continued, “You may have heard about the letter that the present Holy Father, as prefect of the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith, sent to American bishops on that issue.

The letter, which was issued in 2002, addresses the “cultural relativism that exists today” and condemns “the opinion expressed in the public sphere that such ethical pluralism is the very condition for democracy”.  It also goes on to elaborate the obligations of Catholics in this cultural situation, focusing on life issues.

“So the matter is very clear,” Cardinal Arinze said.

The cardinal noted that he is often asked if a politician who votes for abortion should receive Holy Communion.

He said his reply was, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

“Get the children for first communion and say to them, somebody votes for the killing of unborn babies, and says, I voted for that, I will vote for that every time and these babies are killed, not one or two, but in millions, and that person says I am a practicing Catholic, should that person receive communion next Sunday?

“The children for first communion will answer that at the drop of a hat.  You don’t need a cardinal to answer that.”

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Fr. Pavone produces video to show horror of abortion

, Apr 12, 2008 (CNA) - In an effort to make the brutality of abortion more widely known, Father Frank Pavone, President of Priests for Life, has released a video in which he describes what he says was a common procedure used in abortion, “dilatation and evacuation.”

Showing the forceps used in abortion, Father Pavone demonstrated the abortionist’s methods.

“What happens in a dilatation and evacuation abortion is simply this: 

After the cervix has been dilated, the forceps are introduced into the uterus.  The abortionist is operating blindly here, he does not see the baby.  He goes completely by feel, and the forceps are used to grab one of the extremities of the child in this fashion…

And to pull them off, literally, this is a dismemberment abortion.  The legs are pulled off the child, the arms are pulled off, the rest of the body is taken out piece by piece, and then the head is crushed and the contents of the head come out as well.”

Abortionist Martin Haskell describes the procedure this way:

“When the procedure is started, we know the fetus is still alive, either because we can feel it move… or we actually see a heartbeat as we're starting the procedure.

“It's not unusual at the start of D&E procedures that a limb is acquired first and that that limb is brought through the cervix…”

"When you're doing a dismemberment D&E, usually the last part to be removed is the skull itself and it's floating free inside the uterine cavity... rather like a ping-pong ball floating around…”

The surgeon is using his forceps to reach up and grasp something that's freely floating and is quite large…”
“So typically there's several mis-directions, mis-attempts to grasp. Finally at some point either the instruments are managed to be placed around the skull or a nip is made out of some area of the skull that allows it to start to decompress. And then once that happens, the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece..."

Father Pavone said that diagrams and written descriptions of abortion procedures from medical textbooks and abortionists can be obtained at the Priests for Life website, which is located at

“Some people think that because I am a priest saying these things, that this is all just religious belief.  My friends, I have just described to you what an abortion is.  If I take off my collar and describe to you what an abortion is, I will be saying exactly what I just said,” he reasoned in the video.

“The legs and the arms of the baby are torn apart, and the head is crushed.” “This is not just about religion, this is about what an abortion actually is,” Father Pavone said.

In the video, Father Pavone also displayed ads from a yellow pages business directory advertising abortions performed up to 26 and even 28 weeks into a pregnancy.  He said some abortionists are known to perform abortions 32 weeks and later into a woman’s pregnancy.

“If we’re going to talk about abortion in this country, let’s make sure we know what we’re talking about,” Father Pavone said.

“And let’s work to bring it to an end.”

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CNA director to provide analysis of Pope’s visit for NY Times

, Apr 12, 2008 (CNA) - The Director of Catholic News Agency, Mr. Alejandro Bermudez, will be contributing to a New York Times blog covering of the papal visit of Pope Benedict XVI.

Bermudez joins several other experts at the blog, titled “A Papal Discussion.”  The blog will provide analysis of events surrounding Pope Benedict’s visit to Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Laurie Goodstein, the national religion correspondent for the New York Times, said in an email that the blog’s focus will be on analysis of the papal events rather than reporting.  Contributors’ blog articles, she said, will analyze the events of the visit from an intellectual, theological, and cultural perspective.

According to Bermudez, basic translation of the Pope’s actions and statements would be one facet of his commentary.

“For many people, Pope Benedict speaks in ‘Ratzingerean,’” Bermudez said.  “In actuality, he just speaks in plain Catholic, but ‘plain Catholic’ has become hard to understand even for normal Church-goers. If you want my two cents about my analysis, you can expect me to try and provide an understandable explanation of the scope and vision behind the Pope's words.”

Bermudez, in addition to directing Catholic News Agency, also heads the Association for Catholic Information (ACI) the umbrella organization for CNA, ACI Prensa, and ACI Digital news agencies. 

Bermudez is also a member of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, known in English as the Christian Life Movement.  The Sodalitium was founded in Lima, Peru in 1985, and in 1994 the Holy See recognized it as an International Association of Christian Faithful of Pontifical Right.

The New York Times blog “A Papal Discussion” is located at

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Archbishop calls for international mediation to end Zimbabawe election crisis

Johannesburg, South Africa, Apr 12, 2008 (CNA) - The Catholic Church in Southern Africa has called for international mediation to end a political stalemate in Zimbabwe, accusing President Robert Mugabe’s government of lack of respect for the democratic process. Mugabe’s regime has delayed the release of the results of the March 29 presidential vote causing the opposition to suspect tampering.

Regional heads of state have scheduled a Saturday meeting to address the crisis, and a leading Catholic bishop has called for a leader like former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to mediate between the conflicting Zimbabwean factions.

On Thursday, Archbishop of Johannesburg Buti Tlagale, OMI, who is also president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, said the situation in Zimbabwe had become a matter of regional, continental, and international concern.

“As President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference and on behalf of the Catholic Community in Southern Africa, I call on the leaders of the Southern African Development Community and the African Union to act swiftly to diffuse this tension by mandating a mediator of sufficient international repute, such as Kofi Annan, to ensure a solution that is acceptable to all Zimbabweans.”

According to CISA, Archbishop Tlagale urged South African President Thabo Mbeki and other African leaders to intervene for the release of election results.

“The postponement of the release of the results has only fuelled tension and fear in Zimbabwe,” the archbishop said.  “The credibility of a peaceful vote has been undermined by this delay and the posturing by political parties. This time of uncertainty has created an opportunity for lawlessness.”

Agenzia Fides reports that Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused Mugabe of committing a “de facto coup” by deploying military soldiers throughout the country.  “It has been a tactic used to intimidate the people before voting,” said Tsvangirai, who is visiting other countries in the region to ask for their intervention.

Some Zimbabwean newspapers have published a memo allegedly from high-ranking MDC members outlining the means of tampering with election results, but party leaders have dismissed the document as a fabrication from Mugabe’s regime.

Amnesty International has reported widespread incidents of post-election violence.  On Friday, according to the New York Times, the MDC said that Tsvangirai’s lawyer had been arrested.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, head of the South African Development Community (SADC), said the Saturday SADC meeting in Luzaca, Zambia must address the crisis.

“Due to the worsening situation in Zimbabwe, I believe that the question should be addressed by the Heads of State,” President Mwanawasa said, according to Agenzia Fides.  The Zambian president has distanced himself from the favorable attitude other African countries hold towards Mugabe’s regime.  He has called Zimbabwe a “sinking Titanic.”

According to the BBC on Friday, President Mugabe will not be attending the weekend summit, but will send a government minister to the meeting.

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