Quebec City, Canada, Aug 10, 2008 (CNA) - Nearing the close of their 126th Supreme Convention in Quebec City on Thursday, the Knights of Columbus approved resolutions calling for the legal protection of marriage and asking Catholics holding elected office to “be true” to their faith by acting “bravely and publicly in defense of life.”
In one resolution at the fraternal charitable organization’s annual convention, the Knights called for “legal and constitutional protection ... for the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.” The resolution declares that marriage is a “natural institution based on ancient human values” that over time has become a “unique and deeply rooted social, legal and religious institution.”
Marriage, the resolution said, provides the best environment in which to protect children and also “reflects the natural biological complementarity between man and woman which predates the state and which is woven into the social and religious fabric of every major culture and society.”
Another resolution passed by the Knights advocates building a “culture of life” and opposing “any governmental action or policy that promotes abortion, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, euthanasia, assisted suicide and other offenses against life.”
Knights of Columbus delegates also exhorted “our fellow Catholics who are elected officials to be true to the faith they claim to profess by acting bravely and publicly in defense of life.” Such officials, the resolution advised, should affirm with Pope Benedict XVI that “there can be no room for purely private religion.”
The resolution reaffirmed the organization’s policy of not inviting to any Knights of Columbus event persons “who do not support the legal protection of unborn children.”
In his opening convention address delivered earlier this week, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson urged Catholic voters to “stop accommodating pro-abortion politicians” and to “say ‘no’” to every political candidate who supports abortion.
Other resolutions passed at the convention addressed religious freedom, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, decency on the internet and in the media, Catholic education, and the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance.
The Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest organization of Catholic laymen, was founded in 1882 and has more than 1.75 million members around the world.
Quebec City, Canada, Aug 10, 2008 (CNA) - Jean Tremblay, mayor of the Quebec city of Saguenay, has reaffirmed his intention to continue to pray before monthly city hall meetings despite criticisms, a Human Rights Commission (HRC) ruling, and further possible legal action.
"My religion has always been more important than my career. I go to Mass every day. I have no intention of betraying my faith, I'd be too ashamed to show up 'on the other side' in front of God," said Tremblay, according to news reports.
Canada’s Human Rights Commission on May 15 ordered the mayor to stop praying before the meetings after citizen Christian Joncas filed a complaint. A second complaint has been filed by Alain Simoneau on behalf of the Mouvement laïc québécois, which could involve a $100,000 lawsuit.
Tremblay said he has prayed for the two men, but said he will not stop the prayers without a majority consensus from his city’s citizens.
"In a democratic system, it is the majority that imposes its law. I am in politics and a politician, who rules his case in the elections. I will not fold for one individual.”
The mayor claimed that so far his stand has “not cost a penny to the municipality.” He further compared the attempts to end the prayers to the actions of present and former communist countries.
"You could see it in China or Russia, not here. It is currently exceeding the limits with that case," he said.
In the past Mayor Tremblay has criticized the increase of secularism in Quebec and has called for a revival of the Canadian province’s Catholic heritage.
Bressanone, Italy, Aug 10, 2008 (CNA) - Reflecting on the joy of the young people at last month’s World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, Pope Benedict encouraged his audience to renew their relationship with God, dedicating time to silent prayer.
Speaking in Bressanone, Italy, where tomorrow he will conclude his two-week summer vacation, the Holy Father said he felt “at home” in the familiar surroundings and thanked the hospitality of the local inhabitants. He told his audience that he was grateful to God for the physical and spiritual renewal and that he “was able to rest in a manner suitable to a minister of God:” dedicating himself to prayer, reading and meditation, away from the daily worries of a pastor.
The Holy Father then recalled his experience in Sydney and the joyful faces of young people from around the world. He called them a “sign of authentic joy…always peaceful and positive.” To be joyful, Pope Benedict continued, “they did not need to resort to being vulgar and violent, to alcohol and drugs.”
The Holy Father said that other young people seek to calm interior emptiness and the boredom that accompanies it with “new experiences, more emotional, more ‘extreme’.” But the soul, he added, “does not find rest in this way. The heart does not feel joy nor find peace, but ends up feeling more tired and sad than before.”
Pope Benedict continued, “I referred to young people because they are often the most eager for life and new experiences and therefore, also the most at risk.” He reminded his audience that his reflection is valid for all people: “the human person is truly renewed only in a relationship with God.”
The Holy Father concluded by asking those in attendance to pray that vacations may be “days of true relaxation.”
After the Angelus, the Holy Father directed these words towards the Italian-speaking pilgrims:
“I offer a warm-welcome to the Italian-speaking visitors, in particular those from the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone and young people and families from other Italian dioceses. I thank all of you for your presence and affection. I offer a warm-welcome to the journalists who have covered my vacation in Bressanone. I thank you, dear friends, for your work and I assure you of my prayers for your intentions.”