Washington D.C., Jul 4, 2008 (CNA) - Political analyst Deal Hudson has argued that supporters of Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, are misrepresenting or even denying Obama’s support for “infanticide.” Hudson charges the Senator with supporting infanticide through his opposition to protections for infants who survive abortion attempts.
Writing on InsideCatholic.com, Hudson cites Obama’s opposition to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA), which was first introduced into the Illinois legislature in 2001 after nurse Jill Stanek reported that babies who were born alive after abortion attempts at Christ Hospital in Illinois were left to die without attention from medical personnel.
During Stanek’s testimony before the Illinois legislature’s Judiciary Committee, on which then-state Senator Barack Obama sat, Obama asked whether the bill would subvert a woman’s right to an abortion. According to Hudson, Obama voted against the bill in committee but voted “present” on the Illinois Senate floor.
The bill was defeated, but reintroduced in 2002. That year, Obama again voted against the BAIPA legislation in committee. In the full Senate vote, Obama voted “no” and led the opposition to the bill.
He was the only state senator to speak against the bill on the Senate floor, saying:
“Whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the Equal Protection Clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a -- a child, a 9-month old -- child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it -- it would essentially bar abortions, because the Equal Protection Clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an anti-abortion statute.”
In 2002 Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama’s recent opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted in favor of a federal version of BAIPA, which passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 98-0.
Obama, Hudson argues, consistently opposed the law. In 2003 the state version of BIPA was introduced to the Illinois legislature for the third time. The Senate’s Heath and Human Services Committee, which was then chaired by Obama, refused to bring the bill to a vote.
The Born Alive Infants Protection Act passed the Illinois legislature only in 2005, after Obama had left the body.
In his InsideCatholic.com essay, Hudson criticizes some Obama supporters’ argument that Obama’s several votes against BAIPA were not evidence of support for infanticide because the senator merely intended to uphold Roe v. Wade.
“Such bad logic completely detaches Obama's act of voting against the bill from its consequences,” Hudson asserts. “Without the passage of the bill infants born in Illinois remained vulnerable to the lack of treatment witnessed first-hand in Christ Hospital by Jill Stanek.”
Obama’s attempt to appeal to political moderates, Hudson argues, will have to work to overcome his past opposition to BAIPA.
“Once American voters start asking Obama why he would allow doctors and nurses to deny medical treatment to a newborn child it may raise the larger question about moral judgment,” Hudson writes. “Just the mere posing of that question to a candidate like Obama will strip him of his air of inevitability.”
Madrid, Spain, Jul 4, 2008 (CNA) - The bishops’ conferences of Europe issued a statement at the end of their meeting in Covadonga, Spain, in which they encouraged the Church to give “witness to the risen Christ, to give Europe back to God with humility and liberty” in the midst of a secular society.
In their statement, the bishops said that Christians in Europe “have an opportunity: to give witness to how the Christian faith possesses a singular richness for humanity. The Church should be herself and overcome in her interior the temptation to secularization.”
“In Europe there is room for this healthy identity and for a serious and open-minded proposal of the faith,” the bishops said. They noted that the faith is capable of “fulfilling the deepest aspirations of humanity, broadening the horizons of reason beyond the merely scientific, and of fostering culture. There are many experiences, both at the parish level and within old and new spiritual movements, that show that it is possible to live a Christian life in a secularized culture.”
“It is time to deepen our Christian identity, our membership to the Church, our communion and our responsibilities with the people of today,” the bishops said.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul 4, 2008 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, warned against the modern forms of slavery and exploitation during a Mass this week for immigrants, women involved in prostitution and victims of slave labor.
During the Mass, which commemorated the anniversary of the International Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and was held at the shrine of Our Lady of Immigrants in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio pointed to the need to work for ending modern-day forms of slavery. “Our country shelters slave traders: men and women who buy and sell people. Men and women who act at the same as those Egyptian foremen did with the Israelites: they beat them, the make them work more, the take away their papers so they cannot travel about. You all know about this,” the cardinal said.
According to the AICA news agency, Cardinal Bergoglio said, “Here in Buenos Aires, in the big city, in this city that is more modern every day, there also are migrant brothers and sisters who are working 20 hours a day, 18 hours a day, they get very little pay and a salami sandwich. … These modern-day slave traders could care less that kids are dying,” he said.
“Since we are Christians we also pray to God to touch the hearts of these men and women who enslave because they are also slaves themselves. Slaves of something else: of greed, pride, self-importance and evil. I pray to you for them but above all I come to you to pray for our humble brothers and sisters…who are subjected to this slavery,” the cardinal said.
Rome, Italy, Jul 4, 2008 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI will take part in a continuous Bible reading for the Italian state broadcaster RAI, it has been announced. He will begin the six-day marathon recitation by reading the first chapter of Genesis in Italian on October 5.
The Pope’s reading will take about an hour. Organizers have not decided whether to broadcast the Pope’s reading live or to prerecord it, according to ANSA. Pope Benedict has reportedly expressed a preference to read live from St. Peter’s Basilica.
“I think the fundamental element that convinced Benedict XVI to take part in the television program was the fact that he will not be commenting but simply giving a pure reading of the text, a pure announcement of the Word,'' said Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi, who is president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Monsignor Ravasi added that the Pope’s participation will be an “appeal” to the Catholic Church to return to “studying and deepening its knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, to find again that base element and point of departure.”
The Pope’s reading will be followed by a reading from Rome’s Chief Rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, who will read Genesis in Hebrew. The recitation will close on October 10 with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who will read the 22nd chapter of the Book of Revelation.
A total of 1,200 people will take part in the project, including cardinals, rabbis, politicians, academics, athletes, students, soldiers, and factory workers. Other languages will be used; for instance, the beginning of St. John’s Gospel will be read in Greek.
Giuseppe De Carli, the head of RAI’s Vatican Department, said Muslims too could participate in the project.
“Even though the Bible is not a sacred book for people of the Islamic faith, if they would like to read a passage we have nothing against it,” De Carli said, according to ANSA.
Mexico City, Mexico, Jul 4, 2008 (CNA) - Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain on early Thursday morning visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe before meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the end of his three-day Latin America visit aimed at promoting free trade.
McCain said has he planned to seek President Calderon’s help in addressing illegal immigration, the Associated Press says.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is Mexico’s holiest Catholic site. Catholic and Hispanic voters are expected to be key swing voters in the November presidential election.
Catholic political analyst Deal Hudson commented on McCain’s visit to the Basilica, saying:
“I'm very glad he is doing this -- I was hoping at some point President Bush would make such a trip and visit the Shrine. It's an exceedingly powerful place for anyone who visits there, as I found out on my pilgrimage in the fall of 2004. No one can come away from the Shrine without a better understanding of the Catholic Church, and if you are Catholic, a deeper understanding of your faith.”
Vatican City, Jul 4, 2008 (CNA) - The Vatican released Pope Benedict XVI’s official schedule today for the visit he will make to France in September to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes.
The Holy Father’s trip, which will last from September 12-15 will involve meetings with civil authorities, leaders of the Jewish community, contributors to the world of culture, priests and other clergy, the sick and the youth.
His schedule is as follows:
Friday, September 12
Depart from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 9:00 a.m.
Arrive at Orly airport in Paris at 11:00 a.m.
Welcome ceremony and courtesy visit to Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France, 12:25 p.m. at the Elysee Palace, followed by a meeting with the authorities of State to whom the Pope will deliver a discourse at 1:00 p.m.
Meeting with delegates from the local Jewish community at the apostolic nunciature in Paris at 5:00 p.m.
At 5:30 p.m. he will travel to the city's College des Bernardins where he will encounter representatives from the world of culture.
At 7:15 p.m. he will preside at Vespers in the cathedral of Notre- Dame with priests, religious, seminarians and deacons, and at 8:30 p.m. greet young people gathered in front of the building.
Saturday, September 13
The Holy Father will make a brief visit to the Institut de France at 9:10 a.m.
He will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. on the Esplanade des Invalides.
At 4:30 p.m. he is scheduled to travel by plane to Lourdes where, at 6:30 p.m., he will visit the church of the Sacred Heart and the Cachot (house of the Soubirous family), then proceed to the Grotto at 7:15p.m.
At 9:30 p.m. he is due to close the torchlight Marian procession on the esplanade of the Shrine of Lourdes.
Sunday, September 14
At 10:00 a.m. the Pope will celebrate Mass on the Meadow in Lourdes for the 150th anniversary of the apparitions, and then pray the Angelus.
At 5:15 p.m. he is due to meet with French bishops in the Hemicycle Sainte-Bernadette and, an hour later, he will address participants in a Eucharistic procession on the Meadow.
Monday, September 15
At 8:45 a.m. on the Pope will visit the Oratory of the Hospital in Lourdes, then celebrate Mass for the sick in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary at 9:30 a.m.
His departure ceremony is due to take place at 12:30 p.m. in the airport of Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrenees and the Pope's plane is scheduled to arrive at Rome's Ciampino airport at 5:15 p.m.