Vatican City, May 12, 2008 (CNA) - Today the new ambassador from Israel to the Holy See presented his letters of credence to Pope Benedict. After congratulating Israel on its 60 years of statehood, the Pope surveyed the difficulties faced by Christians in the region and called for the Israelis to work for a peaceful resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians.
Mordechay Lewy, the new ambassador of Israel to the Holy See, was received by the Holy Father this morning and extended "cordial good wishes on the occasion of Israel's celebration of 60 years of statehood.”
There are several areas of cooperation between Israel and the Church, given the shared Judeo-Christian heritage, the Pope said, pointing to humanitarian concerns and combating racism.
Dialogue between the two faiths has yielded fruit already, such as "the cultural and academic exchanges that are taking place between Catholic institutions worldwide and those of the Holy Land," Benedict XVI said.
"The holy cities of Rome and Jerusalem", he added, "represent a source of faith and wisdom of central importance for Western civilization, and in consequence, the links between Israel and the Holy See have deeper resonances than those which arise formally from the juridical dimension of our relations."
Pope Benedict then addressed, "the alarming decline in the Christian population of the Middle East, including Israel, through emigration." He observed that "of course Christians are not alone in suffering the effects of insecurity and violence as a result of the various conflicts in the region, but in many respects they are particularly vulnerable at the present time."
Invoking the "the growing friendship between Israel and the Holy See," Benedict XVI expressed the hope that "ways will be found of reassuring the Christian community, so that they can experience the hope of a secure and peaceful future in their ancestral homelands, without feeling under pressure to move to other parts of the world in order to build new lives.”
Beyond the consideration of friendship between the Church and Israel, the Holy Father said that Christians are able to help foster better relationships between Jews and Muslims. "Christians in the Holy Land have long enjoyed good relations with both Muslims and Jews. Their presence in your country, and the free exercise of the Church's life and mission there, have the potential to contribute significantly to healing the divisions between the two communities," he said.
The Pope also waded into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict saying, "I do realize that the difficulties experienced by Christians in the Holy Land are also related to the continuing tension between Jewish and Palestinian communities.”
While recognizing “Israel's legitimate need for security and self-defense” and strongly condemning “all forms of anti-Semitism,” Pope Benedict XVI insisted that all people “be given equal opportunities to flourish.”
“Accordingly, I would urge your government to make every effort to alleviate the hardship suffered by the Palestinian community, allowing them the freedom necessary to go about their legitimate business, including travel to places of worship, so that they too can enjoy greater peace and security,” he said.
Recalling the peace negotiations in Annapolis, the Holy Father said that he prayed “that the hopes and expectations raised there will not be disappointed. ... When all the people of the Holy Land live in peace and harmony, in two independent sovereign states side by side, the benefit for world peace will be inestimable, and Israel will truly serve as 'light to the nations', a shining example of conflict resolution for the rest of the world to follow."
The meeting between with Mr. Lewy concluded with the Pope raising the issues of property taxes on Church lands and buildings in the Holy Land and the continuing uncertainties over Christians’ legal rights and status, especially with regard to the question of visas for church personnel."
"Only when these difficulties are overcome, will the Church be able to carry out freely her religious, moral, educational and charitable works in the land where she came to birth," Benedict XVI said.
Vatican City, May 12, 2008 (CNA) - On Saturday, Pope Benedict addressed members of an international conference marking the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of “Humanae Vitae.” The Holy Father told the participants that new technological developments cannot replace the quality of marital love or the sacredness of life.
Noting that the letter by Pope Paul VI was published on July 25, 1968, Benedict XVI recalled the controversy that surrounded the encyclical as it upheld the tradition and doctrine of the Church regarding the use of artificial birth control.
Despite such controversy, he explained that the letter’s instruction remains relevant even today, "The truth expressed in Humanae vitae does not change," he said. In fact, “in the light of new scientific discoveries its teaching becomes more relevant and stimulates reflection on the intrinsic values it possesses."
The Holy Father affirmed that "in a culture suffering from the prevalence of ‘having’ over ‘being,’ human life risks losing its value. If the practice of sexuality becomes a drug that seeks to enslave the partner to one's own desires and interests without respecting the…beloved, then what must be defended is no longer just the concept of love but, primarily, the dignity of the person. As believers we could never allow the power of technology to invalidate the quality of love and the sacredness of life."
Benedict continued his address by emphasizing natural law.
This law "deserves to be recognized as the source inspiring the relationship between a married couple in their responsibility to generate children. The transmission of life is inscribed in nature and its laws stand as an unwritten norm to which everyone must refer."
This life "is the fruit of a love capable of thinking and choosing in complete freedom, without allowing itself to be overly conditioned by the sacrifice this may require.” When spouses freely choose to love, the Pope continued, “From here emerges the miracle of life which parents experience in themselves as they sense the extraordinary nature of what is achieved in them and through them. No mechanical technique can substitute the act of love that husband and wife exchange as a sign of the greater mystery, in which they are protagonists and co-participants of creation."
He concluded by emphasizing essential components of this love – freedom with truth, and “responsibility with strength of dedication to others,” which finds its expression in sacrifice. Without these principles the community of man does not develop and there is a risk of being trapped in oppressive selfishness.”
Vatican City, May 12, 2008 (CNA) - Thousands of members of the Italian Movement for Life met with Pope Benedict in the Hall of Blessing on Monday morning. The Pope remarked that 30 years of abortion in Italy "not only has not resolved the problems afflicting many women and no small number of families, but it has opened another wound in our societies.”
The Movement for Life, which is led by Carlo Casini, is currently promoting a number of initiatives on the 30th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in Italy.
Benedict XVI noted that protecting human dignity is exceedingly more challenging than 30 years ago. “We cannot but recognize that, in practical terms, defending human life has become more difficult today, because a mentality has been created that progressively devalues human life and entrusts it to the judgment of individuals.”
The consequence of this thinking is a decrease in respect for the human person, “a value that lies at the foundation of any form of civil coexistence, over and above the faith a person may profess," the Pontiff said.
Contrary to the assertions of those who have promoted abortion, it “has not resolved the problems afflicting many women and no small number of families, but it has opened another wound in our societies," said the Holy Father.
The healing of society’s wounds, Benedict indicated, will come from combined efforts to ensure that "institutions once again focus their activities on defense of human life and priority concern for families. ... Families must be helped, using all legislative means to facilitate their formation and their educational work in the difficult social context of today."
"It is necessary to bear concrete witness to the fact that respect for life is the first form of justice that must be applied. For those who have the gift of faith this becomes an imperative that cannot be deferred. ... Only God is the Lord of life. Each human being is known, loved, wanted and guided by Him ... and each has his origins in God's creative plan."
The Pope also underscored that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a fact he pointed to when he addressed the U.N. and called for the recognition that these rights are based on natural law.
The Movement for Life’s involvement "in the political sphere, assisting and encouraging the institutions to ensure that correct recognition is given to the words 'human dignity',” received praise from the Pope for their efforts.
The Holy Father also praised the group’s “initiative in the European Parliament's Commission for Petitions, in which you affirm the fundamental values of the right to life from the moment of conception, of the family founded on the marriage of a man and a woman, of the right of all conceived human beings to be born and educated in a family of parents.”
Benedict XVI concluded by thanking his audience for their service "to the Church and to society. How many human lives have you saved from death! Continue along this path and do not be afraid, so that the smile of life may triumph on the lips of all children and their mothers."
Vatican City, May 12, 2008 (CNA) - On Saturday a decree from the Vatican stated that Benedict XVI will grant the faithful plenary indulgence for the occasion of the two-thousandth anniversary of the birth of St. Paul. The gift of indulgences, states the document, assist in the attainment of purification and honor the great saint.
The Plenary Indulgence will be valid throughout the Pauline Year which will run from June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009. Plenary indulgences, if all the conditions are fulfilled, remove all temporal punishments that afflict people as a result of their sins. The scriptural roots of indulgences are found in Matthew 16.
The decree states that the Holy Father is granting the indulgences to provide the faithful with “spiritual treasures for their own sanctification” in honor of St. Paul.
"In fact, the gift of indulgences which the Roman Pontiff offers the Universal Church, facilitates the way to interior purification which, while rendering honor to the Blessed Apostle Paul, exalts supernatural life in the hearts of the faithful and spurs them on ... to produce fruits of good works."
The means to obtain the plenary indulgence are as follows:
The indulgences are available to "All Christian faithful - truly repentant, duly purified by the Sacrament of Penance and restored with Holy Communion.” The faithful must “undertake a pious visit in the form of a pilgrimage to the papal basilica of St. Paul on Rome's Via Ostiense and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff” to be “granted and imparted Plenary Indulgence for the temporal punishment of their sins.
Each person may obtain an indulgence for themselves or for anyone who is deceased “as many times as the aforementioned acts are undertaken; it remains the case, however, that Plenary Indulgence may be obtained only once a day.”
"In order that the prayers pronounced on these holy visits may lead and draw the souls of the faithful to a more intense veneration of the memory of St. Paul, the following conditions are laid down: the faithful, apart from pronouncing their own prayers before the altar of the Blessed Sacrament, ... must go to the altar of the Confession and pray the 'Our Father' and the 'Creed', adding pious invocations in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Paul; and such acts of devotion must remain closely linked to the memory of the Prince of the Apostles St. Peter."
The document mentions those who may have difficulty traveling to the basilica can receive the indulgence by participating in a celebration for St. Paul. "Christian faithful from the various local Churches, under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion, prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) and completely unattached to any form of sin, may still obtain the Plenary Indulgence if they participate devotedly in a religious function or in a pious exercise held publicly in honor of the Apostle of the Gentiles: on the days of the solemn opening and closing of the Pauline Year in any place of worship; on other days determined by the local ordinary, in holy places named for St. Paul and, for the good of the faithful, in other places designated by the ordinary."
The decree concludes by addressing Catholics who are suffering from sickness or are unable to fulfill the necessary requirements for a legitimate reason. These people “may still receive a plenary indulgence even if they are unable to leave their homes. In these situations, the faithful must fulfill three conditions: While striving to refrain from sin, the person must “spiritually unite themselves to a Jubilee celebration in honor of St. Paul, offering their prayers and suffering to God for the unity of Christians.”
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 12, 2008 (CNA) - A Brazilian lawmaker has proposed legalizing “anonymous birthing” to allow women who do not want to or are unable to raise a child to give birth without identifying themselves and to give the child up for adoption, in hopes that such a measure would reduce the number of abortions and the frequency of infant abandonment. A woman who opted to remain anonymous would be free of all legal and civil responsibilities for the baby.
Representative Eduardo Valverde of the Workers’ Party said the purpose of his proposal is to create a legal alternative for mothers who have no intention of raising their children without excluding them from the free prenatal services offered by the public health system, which he believes should create a special program for women in these situations.
According to the plan, the adoption of the baby would be fast tracked in order for the baby to given to a family eight weeks after birth. Before that time, the parents or family members would be allowed to request custody. The entire adoption process would be handled by the hospital.
The identity of the mother would only be revealed by court order or because of a genetic problem. “With her identity kept secret and a fictitious name, the woman would be able to give birth with all of the necessary healthcare conditions,” Valverde said.
Bogotá, Colombia, May 12, 2008 (CNA) - Dr. Jorge Merchan Price, a general surgeon at the Javerian University, together with leaders of the movement “Blue Doctors” (Medicos azules), has sent an open letter to all gynecologists who perform abortions and to the Colombian Federation of Associations of Gynecology and Obstetrics, urging them to respect the right to life of the unborn as an essential part of their medical practice.
In the letter, which comes two years after Colombia legalized abortion and more than 100 legal abortions have taken place, Dr. Merchan points out that “abortion continues to be a clandestine practice in Colombia, just as it was before it was legalized. This decision did not achieve its objectives with respect to the misunderstood freedom of women and in fact distorted the fundamental and universal right to freedom of conscience especially in the medical community.”
“The consciences of doctors,” he writes, “and with them the universal medical morality, are being held hostage by an arbitrary and capricious ruling of the Constitutional Court with regard to conditional conscientious objection.”
“Doctors do not kill because ‘killing’ is not a medical act: it does not restore health and it does not preserve life,” he added.
Dr. Merchan also pointed out that currently in Colombia, “abortion gynecologists are the ones directly responsible for this unnatural and atrocious crime. And it’s because you, as the directors of the Colombian Federation of Associations of Gynecology and Obstetrics have not only ‘abandoned’ your fellow gynecologists who do respect life and do not want to perform abortions (and who fortunately make up the majority), but you have also lacked the character and the courage to defend the spirit of your profession.”
Merchan accused the Federation of contributing to its own loss of ethical standing by forgetting that its main role and responsibility is not to justify the unjustifiable through the prostitution of the universal and fundamental mission of doctors.”
“That women have the right to abort does not mean that doctors are obligated to kill,” he said. “Doctors do not kill!”
Rome, Italy, May 12, 2008 (CNA) - In an interview with the Catholic organization “Early Christians,” Giovanni Maria Vian, director of L’Osservatore Romano, explained why Pope Benedict XVI is dedicating his Wednesday catechesis to the lives and witnesses of the early Christians.
During the interview, Vian called the early Christians “a light that comes from afar,” as Paul VI called them, and explained that they constitute “the Christian tradition, and this is the reason for the Pope’s decision to speak about them in the weekly meetings he has with the faithful and with visitors.” He has chosen to speak “first about the apostles and the very first generations of Christians, and after about the Fathers of the Church.”
Vian also explained the significance of the fact that Pope Benedict’s reflections help preserve the Church’s tradition. “Tradition means ‘to transmit,’ and tradition is a fundamental and essential concept of the Christian faith. This choice by the Pope is important because it is an invitation to Christians to renew their relationship with the tradition of the faith,” he said.
“It’s evident that the Fathers of the Church are above all intellectuals, masters of the faith, and in speaking of the first Christians one usually thinks of these authors. ‘Fathers’ is a word that in the tradition of the Church means ‘authorized person,’ someone who has authority. On the other hand, the martyrs are witnesses of Christ, because martyr means that, witness.”
Vian said the Fathers of the Church “are exceptional figures, but at the same they are figures who know how to convey their experience of Christ. In his first encyclical the Pope wrote that Christianity is not an ideology or an ethic. It is an encounter with a person, Christ. What the Fathers convey is an experience of Christ, but they do so in a way that is very creative and very simple. That is what the Pope himself is doing,” Vian continued.
He went on to point out that one of the main characteristics of Benedict XVI is that he is “so imbued with Christian tradition that he does not need to include many quotes; rather, he himself is so immersed that he speaks as a Father of the Church, what he says is understood, even though they are profound discourses. It is a way of drawing close to the Christian experience in a very lofty but understandable way.”
“In an age such as ours in which secularism is more and more rampant, it is essential that Christians acquire greater maturity in order to be more responsible and to be able to face these challenges,” Vian said. “The patristic period is essential for Christian thinking and culture.”
Kansas City, Mo., May 12, 2008 (CNA) - Saying her support for legal abortion conveys the erroneous message that the Church’s teaching on abortion is optional, Archbishop of Kansas City Joseph F. Naumann has publicly admonished Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for her veto of an abortion law reform bill passed by the Kansas legislature.
Sebelius, a Catholic, is considered a possible vice-presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. Her campaign has reportedly accepted donations from Dr. George Tiller, an abortionist who performs late-term abortions and is the subject of a Kansas Supreme Court case for allegedly violating the state’s laws on late-term abortions.
Writing in the May 9 issue of The Leaven, the Archdiocese of Kansas City’s newspaper, Archbishop Naumann said that because of the governor’s support for legalized abortion, he had asked her to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until she makes a worthy confession and publicly repudiates her stand on abortion.
The archbishop said that the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act had been passed by “significant majorities” in both chambers of the Kansas legislature.
However, Governor Sebelius vetoed the measure when it came to her desk, saying in her veto message, “For years, the people of Kansas have asked their elected officials to move beyond legislative debates on issues like abortion.” An attempt to override the veto failed in the state Senate by two votes.
Archbishop Naumann, writing in The Leaven, said that Sebelius’ statement gave him the impression that “the governor considered it a waste of the Legislature’s time to pass a statute that attempts to protect some women.” The measure would have required informing women who are considering an abortion about both the development of their unborn child and the alternatives to abortion.
“Evidently, the governor does not approve of legislators devoting energy to protecting children and women by making it possible to enforce existing Kansas laws regulating late-term abortions,” Archbishop Naumann wrote.
He said the veto demonstrated disrespect both for the legislators who had worked on the bill and the Kansas citizens who lament that Kansas has become the late-term abortion center for the Midwest.
The archbishop said it was “even more troubling” that Governor Sebelius’ campaign has accepted contributions from Dr. George Tiller, a Wichita man whom Archbishop Naumann called “perhaps the most notorious late-term abortionist in the nation.” The archbishop said the governor’s campaign has also been supported by Tiller’s political action committees
Archbishop Naumann lamented how Sebelius’ positions contradicted her Catholic faith.
“What makes the governor’s actions and advocacy for legalized abortion, throughout her public career, even more painful for me is that she is Catholic. Sadly, Governor Sebelius is not unique in being a Catholic politician supporting legalized abortion,” he said.
The archbishop said he had met with the governor “several times over several months” to discuss “the grave spiritual and moral consequences of her public actions by which she has cooperated in the procurement of abortions performed in Kansas.” He said he was concerned “as a pastor” both for her “spiritual well-being” and for those misled by what he called her “very public support for legalized abortion.”
He said he hoped such meetings would make her understand the need “to take the difficult political step, but necessary moral step, of repudiating her past actions in support of legalized abortion” and also the need to extend “the maximum legal protection to the unborn children of Kansas.”
The archbishop said that after meeting with several other Kansas bishops, last August he wrote the governor to request that she refrain from presenting herself to receive Holy Communion. He said she should refrain from receiving Communion until she had acknowledged her erroneous stand on abortion, made a “worthy sacramental confession,” and taken the “necessary steps for amendment of her life.” Such steps, Archbishop Naumann said, would include a public repudiation of her previous support for laws and policies that sanction abortion.
Noting that Governor Sebelius had reportedly received Holy Communion at an area parish, Archbishop Naumann said he had written her again asking her to respect his request and not require him to take any additional pastoral actions.
“The governor has spoken to me on more than one occasion about her obligation to uphold state and federal laws and court decisions. I have asked her to show a similar sense of obligation to honor divine law and the laws, teaching and legitimate authority within the Church,” the archbishop said in The Leaven.
The archbishop requested the faithful pray for the governor, saying he hoped his action would both prompt Sebelius to reconsider her position and alert other Catholics to the “moral gravity” of cooperating in the performance of abortions.
In comments to CNA, Archbishop Naumann said that “the governor hasn't responded yet, but we are hopeful that she will.”
According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Governor Sebelius is considered a possible choice for vice-president for Barack Obama, the leading Democratic candidate for the presidency. She is also a member of Obama's Catholic National Advisory Council.
Sacramento, Calif., May 12, 2008 (CNA) - A former NBA basketball star who is a mayoral candidate for the city of Sacramento has been denounced by activists for stating his opposition to homosexual marriage. His opposition, they claim, makes him “not ready to lead this city.”
According to the California Catholic Daily, Kevin Johnson, 42, played for 12 seasons in the NBA before returning to Sacramento to start a non-profit agency to renew a rundown neighborhood and to educate underprivileged children. Political observers believe his bid to unseat incumbent Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo could succeed.
Near the end of a forum for mayoral candidates on May 7, each candidate was asked to give a yes or no answer to the question “Do you support gay marriage?” All of the seven candidates except for Johnson answered yes. Johnson said, “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”
A group of homosexual political activists called a press conference the next day to denounce Johnson’s comments.
“It hit me like a brick,” said Gretchen Bender, a member of the county Board of Education and the first openly lesbian candidate ever elected to public office in Sacramento County. “I've been working with Kevin on this issue. But, based on that comment at the forum, I now think he is acting on religious grounds, and he is not ready to lead this city.”
Six other lesbians involved in Sacramento politics were also part of the press conference.
Johnson, a “born-again Christian,” said his position on same-sex marriage is based on his religious beliefs. After the press conference, Johnson issued a statement in which he pledged his support for various other rights for homosexual couples, saying, “I fully support and will defend the present laws of California recognizing the rights and obligations of same-sex couples in civil unions.”
“I also support equal benefits such as insurance and leave for same-sex couples. The issue of marriage is presently before the California Supreme Court, and I will uphold the law as the court makes its decision. I have never tolerated discrimination or harassment of any kind, and will continue to be vigilant in those efforts,” he said.
Sacramento’s mayoral election will be held on June 3.
Washington D.C., May 12, 2008 (CNA) - Bill Donohue has stepped into the U.S. presidential fray by claiming that Senator Barack Obama’s Catholic National Advisory Council is composed entirely of people who are "dissenters" from the Catholic Church. In response, the advisory council has replied that they view abortion as a “profound moral issue” and that they consider candidates based on a broad set of issues, rather than a single issue.
The scrap with Obama’s advisors, which has developed over the last few days, began when Bill Donohue, the President of the Catholic League, asserted that, “not one of the 26 former and current public policy holders who constitute the group stand with the Catholic Church on all three major issues: abortion, embryonic stem cell research and school vouchers.”
Donohue also provided evidence showing that the overwhelming majority of Obama’s Catholic advisors have a 100% NARAL voting record.
The 26 member advisory council, which includes two sisters and one priest, responded to Donohue’s accusation that they are “dissenters” from the Catholic Church by writing him a letter.
In their letter, the council members counter Donohue’s charge that they don’t follow Church teaching on abortion by saying, “Unlike the Catholic League, the U.S. Catholic Bishops advise careful consideration of candidates’ positions on a broad set of issues.” This type of consideration, according to the council, is bolstered by the U.S. bishops’ document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”.
The advisors quote from paragraph 29 of the bishops’ document, where the bishops explain that Catholics cannot be against abortion and simultaneously ignore other offenses against human life.
They advisors point out that this means, “particular issues must not be misused ‘as a way of dismissing or ignoring other serious threats to human life and dignity’ such as ‘racism and other unjust discrimination, the use of the death penalty, resorting to unjust war, the use of torture, war crimes, the failure to respond to those who are suffering from hunger or a lack of health care or an unjust immigration policy’."
However, the council’s letter fails to mention that the bishops’ document also emphasizes the other extreme position which cannot be held by Catholics. This worldview involves “a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity. The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.”
Instead, the advisors call abortion a “profound moral issue” and deride the Republican Party for promising to end abortion, but in the end only seeking to use the issue to divide voters.
Bill Donohue replied to the council’s letter by saying, “It is more than embarrassing—it is shocking—to read how these Catholics view abortion. The Catholic Church regards abortion, as well as embryonic stem cell research, as ‘intrinsically evil.’ But not these folks. For them, abortion is merely ‘a profound moral issue.’”
He also addressed the advisors’ categorizing of abortion, saying, “Sadly, it has been apparent for years that many who fancy themselves ‘progressive’ Catholics do not treat abortion the way they do racial discrimination. No one in his right mind says that the best way to combat racial discrimination is by changing people’s hearts and minds, not the law. Which is why we do both. But when it comes to abortion—including partial-birth abortion—the progressives settle for dialogue.”
The National Catholic advisors see their role much differently however. They write, “We are proud to be counted among Senator Obama's Catholic advisors. Collectively our experience spans decades of scholarship and service working for and with the Catholic Church on the broad set of issues under the ‘consistent ethic of life.’”
In their letter to Donohue, Obama’s advisors also say that the presidential candidate thinks abortion “presents a profound moral challenge”, but Donohue remains unconvinced.
“It is so nice to know that Obama thinks abortion ‘presents a profound moral challenge.’ Is infanticide another ‘profound moral challenge’? To wit: When he was in the Illinois state senate he led the fight to deny health care to babies born alive who survived an abortion. That, my friends, is not a moral challenge—it’s a Hitlerian decision,” Donohue said.
Obama’s Catholic National Advisory Council Members
Former Congressman Tim Roemer of Indiana
Sr. Catherine Pinkerton, Congregation of St. Joseph
Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin
Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas
Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut
Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont
Representative Xavier Becerra of California
Representative Lacy Clay of Missouri
Representative Rosa. DeLauro of Connecticut -
Representative Anna Eshoo of California
Representative Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona
Representative George Miller of California
Representative Linda Sanchez of California
Mary Jo Bane, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School
Nicholas P. Cafardi, Catholic Author and Scholar, Pittsburgh, PA
Lisa Sowle Cahill, Professor of Theology, Boston College
Tom Chabolla, Assistant to the President, Service Employees International Union
M. Shawn Copeland, Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College
Ron Cruz, Leadership Development Consultant, Burke, VA
Sharon Daly, Social Justice Advocate, Knoxville, MD
Richard Gaillardetz, Murray / Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies, University of Toledo
Grant Gallicho, Associate Editor, Commonweal Magazine
Margaret Gannon, IHM, A Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Scranton, PA
Don Guter, Judge Advocate General of the Navy (2000-2002); Rear Admiral, Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Pittsburgh, PA
Teresa Heinz, Chairman, Heinz Family Philanthropies
Cathleen Kaveny, Professor of Law and Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
Victoria Reggie Kennedy, President, Common Sense About Kids and Guns
Peggy Kerry, Independent Consultant, New York, NY
Jim Kesteloot, President and Executive Director, Chicago Lighthouse
Vincent Miller, Associate Professor of Theology, Georgetown University
David O'Brien, Loyola Professor of Catholic Studies at the College of the Holy Cross
Reverend Michael Pfleger, Pastor of Faith Community of St. Sabina, Chicago, IL
Sr. Jamie Phelps, O.P., Director and Professor of Theology, Institute for Black Catholic Studies, Xavier University
Peter Quaranto, Senior Researcher and Conflict Analyst, Resolve Uganda (Notre Dame Class of 2006)
Dave Robinson, International Peace Advocate, Erie, Pennsylvania
Vincent Rougeau, Associate Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame
Mary Wright, Inter-Faith Liaison, Louisville, KY