Archive of August 13, 2008

Catholic effort launched to support California proposition defending marriage

Sacramento, Calif., Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) -, the campaign favoring Proposition 8, the California initiative that would ban same-sex marriage, on Tuesday announced the launch of the official grassroots effort dedicated to supporting the campaign. The organization Catholics for is led by the Knights of Columbus, the California Catholic Conference and Catholics for the Common Good.

Catholics for is chaired by Bill May, who is also chairman of Catholics for the Common Good.

“Our strong Catholic faith teaches us the importance of treating all of God's children with love and respect, it also teaches us that marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of the family - the first school of love, peace and justice," May said in a statement. "The ruling by the California Supreme Court nullifying the legal definition of marriage in state law was a shock to Catholics and other citizens who are concerned about how this will affect their own children's understanding of marriage.”

California Catholics reportedly played a large role in the passage of Proposition 22 in 2000, which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. The proposition was approved by more than 60 percent of California voters.

Proposition 22 was overturned on May 15, 2008 by the California Supreme Court. The court’s majority found that domestic partnerships are not an adequate substitute for marriage.

Ron Prentice, chairman of, welcomed Catholics to the effort aimed at amending California’s Constitution.  “The fight to protect marriage is an all-encompassing effort that affects everyone in California," he said. "We're honored to have Catholics for offer us their assistance and to add them to our diverse list of supporters. We expect they will help us motivate a groundswell of support for Proposition and we're confident that with that support we will restore the definition of marriage in California, come November.”

Catholics for reportedly supports volunteer activities such as literature distribution and phoning in parishes and surrounding communities. Its website is located at

back to top

Obama needs to address his ‘abortion problem,’ Jesuit professor says

, Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) - St. Louis University philosophy professor Father John F. Kavanaugh, S.J., writing in an open letter in the August 18 edition of the Jesuit weekly “America”, has called on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama to address his “abortion problem” among Catholic voters.

Decrying what he called “a vociferous cadre in the Democratic Party” which has “for too long wielded a dogmatic veto over any discussion of limiting abortions,” Father Kavanaugh argued Obama can appeal to undecided Catholic voters by supporting programs that will reduce the numbers of abortions, giving a place to pro-life Democrats at the Democratic National Convention, and engaging the “arguments and evidence” offered by abortion opponents.

While asserting that Catholic voters do not “think monolithically,” Father Kavanaugh noted that there has been up to a 15 percent rise in Catholics voting Republican in recent U.S. elections. The Jesuit priest wrote to Obama that while some Catholics will vote for him because of anti-Republican sentiment or because Obama’s political agenda appeals to them, some will vote for him “not because of your position on abortion, but despite it.”

In Father Kavanaugh’s view, many Catholics realize that Obama’s approach to “wars of choice, capital punishment, hunger, homelessness, health care and refugees” might better serve “‘the least’ of our brothers and sisters.”

Father Kavanaugh acknowledged that some Catholics will never vote for a Democrat, but emphasized that there is another group trending away from Obama “because they think you not only defend partial-birth abortion but also are against lifesaving therapy for newborns surviving an abortion attempt.”

Saying Obama’s attempts to explain his stand on partial birth abortion and treatments for abortion survivors “seemed evasive,” Father Kavanaugh asked: “Can you just simply affirm your conviction that any newborn, even after an abortion attempt, should be given effective life-sustaining treatment?”

Father Kavanaugh recommended Obama engage in outreach to Democrats for Life of America and Feminists for Life, support Rev. Jim Wallis’ “abortion-reducing agenda,” and engage pro-life arguments.

“You may find that the position of most American men and women is quite different from Naral’s,” he said, advising Obama to press Sen. John McCain and his supporters on the apparent inconsistency of the Republican presidential candidate’s support for embryonic stem cell research.

He concluded his essay in “America” with a rhetorical question: “With your commitment to reasoned, evidence-based and respectful discourse, are you able to challenge your party to welcome pro-life Catholics into its supposed big tent?”

Democrats for Life Reaction

Kristen Day, director of Democrats for Life of America (DFLA), spoke with CNA in a Tuesday interview about the Obama campaign’s treatment of pro-life Democrats.

Though Day said the Obama campaign has not contacted DFLA specifically in relation to Father Kavanaugh’s essay, the campaign is “definitely trying to do outreach to pro-life voters.”

“I think since 2004 we’ve really been talking to the Democratic leadership about the importance of trying to expand the ‘big tent’ of the Democratic Party,” she explained.

“There will be a place for pro-life Democrats at the Democratic convention as well,” Day said.

Referring to reports that pro-life Democrat Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania is being considered for a speaking slot at the convention to be held in Denver later this month, Day said DFLA would be “thrilled” to see Casey speak about pro-life issues.

While it has not been reported that Casey’s hypothetical convention speech would address abortion, Day said “I can’t see him getting up there and not talking about being pro-life. It just wouldn’t make much sense for him to speak.”

“Casey symbolizes the pro-life cause; his name is associated with the issue. That would be the whole point of having him speak.”

Day added that the DFLA will be at the Democratic National Convention to host a Hall of Fame reception for pro-life Democrats and a town hall meeting on abortion reduction.

She said that DFLA has worked with the Democratic platform committee to include pro-life issues, especially in pursuit of her organization’s “95/10” campaign which aspires to reduce the U.S. abortion rate by 95 percent in ten years.

While confirming that the proposed 2008 Democratic Party Platform has dropped the word “rare” from its stand that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare,” Day said two more paragraphs were added discussing the prevention of abortion and the need to support pregnant women.

“We need to provide more support and options for women to carry to term, instead of treating abortion as only option,” Day stated, adding that DFLA is “strongly and unequivocally” pro-life in its support for candidates and policies.

Feminists for Life Reaction

President of Feminists for Life Serrin M. Foster also spoke with CNA on Tuesday, noting that Feminists for Life (FFL) is non-partisan, but also a “very unique group.”

She said that to her knowledge FFL had not been contacted by the Obama campaign in reaction to Father Kavanaugh’s letter. However, she said, she understood why Father Kavanaugh listed Feminists for Life as an organization each candidate could work with.

“Our role is very specific. We are here to help systematically eliminate the reasons that drive women to abortion. We’ll talk to anybody who has been elected to this office to further this goal.” 
Foster asked both candidates to convene a “national summit” on pregnancy and parenting, “not to have war between NARAL and National Right to Life, but to listen to stories of women who felt they had no choice but abortion, to hear stories of parents who struggle in the workplace and at home and at school trying to make it for themselves and their kids, to listen to birth mothers of adopted children.”

“Women don’t want another 35 years of this. Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women. Women have ‘settled for less’,” Foster argued.

She also invited both presumptive presidential nominees to listen to FFL speaker Melissa Ohden, who survived an abortion about five months after her conception.

Foster listed many examples of what she called “pro-woman, pro-life legislation” supported by FFL, including the Violence Against Women Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

She then asked both Obama and McCain to support the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pregnant and Parenting Students Act, which she said would help fulfill the “unmet need of pregnant and parenting students in college” and address the reasons and fears which drive women in college to choose abortion.

back to top

Dismissal of homosexual activist’s complaint against Canadian Catholic magazine appealed

Edmonton, Canada, Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) - A homosexual activist has appealed a decision of the Canadian Human Rights Commission which dismissed his legal complaint charging a Catholic magazine with making derogatory remarks about homosexuals for stating the Catholic teaching on sexual ethics.

In February 2007 Rob Wells, a member of the Pride Center of Edmonton, filed a nine-point complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging that Catholic Insight had targeted homosexuals as a powerful menace and innately evil, claiming it used inflammatory and derogatory language to create a tone of “extreme hatred and contempt.”

Catholic Insight responded to these charges in its January 2008 issue, saying the complaint consists of “three pages of isolated and fragmentary extracts from articles dating back as far as 1994, without any context.”  Catholic Insight continued, saying, “these isolated quotes are not meaningful without the contexts of the articles themselves from which they were culled; in fact, most of them are even out of context from the sentences from which they were taken.”

The magazine further said it regards the charges as “unfounded and made with the intent to harass.”

On July 4, Well’s complaint against Catholic Insight was dropped by the Human Rights Commission “because the material is not likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt based on sexual orientation,” a letter sent to the magazine says.

Undeterred by the commission’s finding, Wells filed an appeal of the decision with the Canadian Federal Court in Edmonton, on July 31, according to a court docket document.

Writing in a July 4 editorial on the Catholic Insight web site, the magazine’s editor Father Alphonse de Valk said the “persecution” of Catholic Insight might not be over, reporting that judicial review of the complaint’s dismissal is possible if filed within 30 days. He said the magazine, which he described as being “of modest budget,” is still liable for $20,000 in legal expenses.

back to top

College student experiences the Catholic response to AIDS in Namibia

Denver, Colo., Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) - Most English majors choose to do their theses on a novel or particular reading genre; however, Sarah Moran, a senior at Regis University in Denver, Colorado decided to travel to the African country of Namibia to receive first-hand knowledge of the Catholic Church’s response to AIDS.

Moran had always been interested in the Church’s social justice teachings, which led her to attend the Jesuit-run university.  Her interest in these teachings also drew her to helping those infected with HIV. Upon looking into opportunities to serve, Sarah saw that many organizations ministering to HIV patients in African countries do so by supplying condoms.  Knowing the Catholic Church’s firm stance against contraception, Moran was curious as to what Catholic organizations did to assist those with AIDS. 

She was put in touch with the Namibian organization, Catholic AIDS Action (CAA), and inquired about volunteering for a month to serve and research for her thesis.  Once the contact was made, she recalled, setting up the volunteer experience was “surprisingly easy.”  Within “a few weeks of the idea,” she had purchased her ticket and was traveling to the country in southern Africa.

Upon arriving in the country’s capital of Windhoek, Moran related to CNA that she was immediately taken care of by those affiliated with CAA.  “I loved the organization,” she exclaimed, “I just can’t say enough words about their work.”

CAA was founded in 1998 by Sr. Dr. Raphaela Händler and Dr. Lucy Steinitz as “Namibia’s first church-based response to the country’s HIV /AIDS crisis.”  Currently, CAA is one of the largest organizations responding to the pandemic in the country.

Moran explained that CAA has four foci: 
1) home-based counseling and care including house visits reminding patients to take antiretroviral treatments, helping with chores and encouragement 
2) Youth education and prevention through programs and activities 
3) Care and support to children and to the vulnerable
4) Voluntary counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS

Joy in the midst of poverty

During her one month stay in Namibia, Moran volunteered her time in Katatura, a suburb of Windhoek, working in youth education and prevention.  “Many of the children had one or both parents who passed away and were living in incredible poverty,” she recalled. 

While she described their personal stories as “heartbreaking,” Moran quickly added that though “so much had gone wrong in their lives, they were still filled with joy.”

The joy of the students, despite their poverty, inspired Moran. 

She recalled how many children lived in homes with tin siding.  One particular young girl, whose parents died from AIDS, lived with her older sister, nieces and nephews in a small hut.  With a tarp roof, they all shared one light bulb, one bed, and one stove.

CAA cares for the children by providing them with the uniforms they need to attend school.  The center also feeds them, gives them opportunities to sing in the choir, play sports, read, or access to computers.  The center also specifically teaches the 300 children who visit it about the dignity of the person.

Attacking the root problems of HIV/AIDS

“Instead of putting a band-aid on the problem, they are trying to fight it at its roots,” Moran said describing the center’s approach to fighting AIDS.  While many AIDS programs focus on handing out condoms, CAA reaches out to help those infected by allowing “God’s love to enter.”  The center works to “create positive preventative care,” Moran said.

One way it does this is through the treatment of HIV/AIDS.  Moran explained that “good treatment is good prevention.”  Many times, AIDS is passed from mother to child.  “If the needs of the mother are met, by providing clean bottles and formula as well as education, the virus isn’t passed to the child.

The center also focuses on prevention and education through empowering the children to become aware of AIDS and the behavioral changes that are needed to prevent infection.  Moran noted that one session discussed relationship skills and gave students the chance to discuss the importance of “abstinence and fidelity in a monogamous relationship.”

Other issues such as communication skills, gender issues and the relationship of alcohol, poverty and AIDS are also discussed.  The children are also educated to make positive choices.

After being back in the United States for a month, Moran is hopeful that the trip will not be her last.  She is considering returning for a year once she graduates next year from Regis University to focus on bringing hope to the Namibian children, especially the younger girls.

She explained that many of the young girls “don’t have hope for advancement, so they find validation of themselves through the opposite gender.”  Moran expressed the desire to assist the women on a spiritual level through the program, ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women).  Instead of turning to a promiscuous lifestyle, the girls will find dignity and hope in Christ, she explained.

back to top

Spanish expert points out importance of Canon Law for life of the Church

Lima, Peru, Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) - The Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Father Luis Felipe Navarro, who is in Peru for a course on Canon Law to be held August 18-21, said that knowing Canon Law is essential for ensuring that the Church is manifested as a “mirror of justice.”
“Twenty-five years have passed since the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law of 1983 and there is still much to be done in applying it… Knowing Canon Law well and faithfully applying it is essential for the Church to be a mirror of justice, speculum iustitiae, as Paul VI said,” Father Navarro emphasized.
Father Navarro also underscored the importance of addressing the issue of the new associations, movements and new communities in the life of the Church from a canonical perspective as well as their charismatic dimension.  “It is undeniable that we living in a new phase in the Church, as the beloved John Paul II said.”
 “The answer Canon law gives to these new challenges is a necessary complement.  On the one hand, it does not limit charisms, but makes them more beautiful, conferring upon them stability and continuity which are necessary.  On the other hand, the legal-canonical perspective allows for the rights of persons who participate in these associative realities as well as of the communities themselves to be protected,” he added.

back to top

Memoirs of Colombian religious who escaped death in Spain to be published

Bogotá, Colombia, Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) - The Colombian daily El Tiempo reports that the Order of the Hospital of St. John hopes to publish the memoirs of Brother Marcos Vergara, a Colombian religious who escaped death during the Spanish Civil War.
According to El Tiempo, the order sent eight Colombian religious “to continue their religious formation and help the sick” in Spain.  “In 1936 anti-Catholic militias of the Spanish Civil War, during the government of Manuel Azana, trapped Brother Marcos Vergara. Knowing that they were going to kill him, he came up with an idea and gave a pen he had in his shirt to his captor,” the newspaper recounted. “Moved by the gesture, the soldier let him escape and kept the fancy pen for himself.”
Brother Vergara “began to flee and upon returning to Colombia, he learned that his seven companions, who were between the ages of 23 and 29, had been massacred in the name of Christ.”
“He did not fall with them because he was in another city, in Malaga, working with victims of the Christian persecution.  The others were carrying out their labors in the Ciempozuelos Mental Hospital, near Madrid, where they were finally surrounded,” the newspaper reported.
“As a survivor of a war that left more than 7,000 bishops, priests and religious dead, years later he became the head of his community and the director of the San Rafael Clinic.  He died 19 years ago and his testimony—until now unknown—has reappeared in a book that Brother Clemente Lopez of the same order is seeking to publish,” the story notes.
The other seven brothers, in addition to dozens of sisters from the same order, were beatified by Pope John Paul II in October of 1992.

back to top

Americans United for Life announces available funding for voter guides

Chicago, Ill., Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) - Yesterday, Americans United for Life announced that funding is available for 501(c) (3) organizations who wish to create and distribute non-partisan educational voter guides for the elections in November.

The president of Americans United for Life (AUL), Dr. Charmaine Yoest explained in a press release that “Voter guides are a way to empower voters to make well-informed choices on election day. Pro-life Americans want to get beyond the spin and know the truth, based on the record, about where the candidates stand.”

AUL vice president and executive director, Daniel McConchie added, “Pro-life voters are a key constituency that both Democrats and Republicans ignore at their peril. Americans United for Life is looking forward to helping pro-life Americans across the country vote their values in this election.”

AUL, the first national pro-life organization in America, spent $215,000 in 2006 on the creation and distribution of 2.8 million voter guides, however, this year the organization has increased funding and plans to spend $500,000 on more than six million guides for distribution across the country.

Organizations interested in applying for voter-guide funds should email Daniel McConchie at [email protected] by September 12. 

back to top

He who prays never loses hope, says Holy Father

Castelgandolfo, Italy, Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) - In Wednesday's general audience, celebrated in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross, also known as St. Edith Stein, and St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, whose feast days the Church celebrates in August.

Speaking from a balcony in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father recalled his recent two-week vacation in Bressanone, Italy.  He said that many people have written him requesting prayer for their intentions. Pope Benedict explained, “They tell me about their joys, but also their worries, their family problems and those at work, the hopes which they carry in their heart and the anguish and uncertainties which humanity is living this moment.” He assured all persons that he remembers their intentions in his daily celebration of the Holy Mass and recitation of the Holy Rosary.

The Holy Father stressed, “He who prays never loses hope, even when he finds himself in difficult situations.” He said that Sacred Scripture and the history of the Church give witness to how prayer sustains the way of the saints and Christian people.

Pope Benedict added: St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross, whose feast the Church celebrated on August 9, and St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, whose feast is tomorrow, the vigil of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, are such examples in our time. The Pontiff reminded his audience that both saints were martyrs in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, witnesses of the love which “defeats the darkness of egoism and hatred.” The Holy Father recalled words attributed St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe: “Hatred is not a creative force: only love is.” On August 14, 1941, the saint died in place of a fellow prisoner.

Edith Stein died on August 6, 1942.  Pope Benedict noted her words to her fellow religious sisters three days prior to her death: “I am ready for everything. Jesus is here among us. I have been able to pray well and have said with all my heart: ‘Ave, Crux, spes unica’.” He explained that the secret of Teresa Benedict of the Cross, co-patron of Europe, was prayer.

The Holy Father concluded by calling on his audience to renew their trust in Mary, “who from heaven watches over us with maternal love.”

After the general audience, Pope Benedict directed these words towards the English-speaking pilgrims: “I am happy to welcome the young Irish pilgrims from Kildare and Leighlin who are with us this morning. My warm greeting also goes to the Heisei youth group from Japan. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims, including those from Guam, Canada and the United States, I cordially invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.”

back to top

‘Reclaiming Fatherhood’ conference to discuss fathers’ losses from abortion

Chicago, Ill., Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) - The “Reclaiming Fatherhood” conference, a national gathering focusing upon the effects of abortion on men whose children have been aborted, is scheduled to take place near Chicago in Oak Brook, Illinois on Sept. 8 and 9. There, several therapists as well as several fathers who have lost children to abortion will discuss topics such as men’s healing after an abortion, abortion’s effects on men’s spirituality, and fatherhood and abortion.

The conference, co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Evangelization, is being organized by the Milwaukee-based National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation, which is headed by Vicki Thorn.

Thorn, who also founded the post-abortion ministry Project Rachel, said the conference aims to bring to light what she calls the “invisible” issue in society and the Church: the effect that abortion has on fathers whose children are aborted.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson explained the reasons for Knights of Columbus’ involvement with the “Reclaiming Fatherhood” conference.

“As an organization of lay men that has a strong history and commitment to life, we think it is very important to highlight the issues faced by those fathers whose children are aborted,” Anderson said in a statement. “There are three victims of every abortion, the child and both of his or her parents, and it is our hope that this conference will be the beginning of a ministry within the Church to these fathers, who grieve the death of their unborn child in isolation and silence.”

Anderson and Thorn said the conference could help men deal with post-abortion trauma similar to the way Project Rachel has helped women who have had abortions deal with emotional and spiritual damage.

In 2007 the Knights of Columbus and the Archdiocese of San Francisco co-sponsored a similar conference, also organized by the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing. The first U.S. conference of its kind dealing with the effects of abortion on men, more than 175 people from nine countries attended.

More information on the upcoming conference is available at

back to top

Legionaries of Christ deliver requested information to Archbishop of Balitmore

Baltimore, Md., Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop of Baltimore Edwin F. O’Brien has said he has received a “rather significant volume of information” from the Legionaries of Christ following his June request for information about their membership and programs in his archdiocese.

In a June 6 letter Archbishop O’Brien wrote to the Superior General of the Legionaries of Christ, Monsignor Alvaro Corcuera Martinez del Rio, asking the leader of the prominent religious order to identify all Legionary-associated clergy, ministries, apostolates and youth programs in the archdiocese.

The archbishop had requested the information be provided within a month of his letter and asked that a Legionaries priest be appointed as a liaison to the archdiocese.

Citing a “sense of secrecy” and “seemingly heavily persuasive” recruiting methods reportedly present among Legionaries-associated programs, he also asked that no “ongoing and individual spiritual direction” be given to youths under the age of 18. He further requested that the archdiocese’s vocations office be informed of all candidates for the priesthood.

Archbishop O’Brien recently told the Baltimore Examiner that the archdiocese had a meeting several weeks ago with three priests from the Legionaries of Christ.

“They handed over a rather significant volume of information concerning membership and the programs that they run,” he said, saying that his further support for the congregation depends on their “ongoing cooperation.”

The archbishop noted he has recently written pastors to welcome approaches from representatives of the Legionaries’ lay association Regnum Christi within their parishes, “especially at the grassroots.”

Scott Brown, executive director of the Legionaries-run Woodmont Academy told the Baltimore Examiner “We are fully in agreement with what the archbishop has asked us to do.”

The Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi have about 70,000 members and 700 priests throughout the world.

back to top

Protestants show interest in ‘wisdom’ of Natural Family Planning

Austin, Texas, Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) - Citing a desire to let their faith in God guide their sex lives and to trust Him in every aspect of their existence, some Protestants have become practitioners of Natural Family Planning (NFP). Eschewing contraceptives, some are now joining Catholics in fertility classes and returning to traditional Christian teaching.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the number of NFP practitioners who are Protestants is difficult to quantify. However, Rev. Amy Laura Hall, a Methodist minister and associate professor at Duke Divinity School, says there appears to be growing interest.

She said that, as a Protestant scholar writing about reproductive issues, she frequently fields questions about family planning. Hall explained that some ask how to avoid preoccupation with finances and social advancement and instead welcome children as gifts from God even if children disrupt the parents’ life plans.

Historically, some Protestant perspectives grew from an antipathy towards Catholic and fundamentalist families, she claimed. The Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church in the U.S., in 1930 changed its teachings which formerly forbade contraception, while Methodist literature after World War II advocated limiting the number of children to an ideally two-child, sex-balanced family.

This history has not prevented all Protestants from considering using NFP.

Phaedra Taylor, 28, told the Austin American-Statesman that she ruled out taking birth control pills after reading claims that the pill can cause abortions by rendering the womb hostile to a newly conceived human life.

"I just wasn't willing to risk it," she said, explaining she wanted her faith to guide her sexual and reproductive decisions after her marriage, before which she had been abstinent. She added that her avoidance of artificial contraception is consistent with her efforts to eat seasonal, locally grown foods and to be a good steward for the Earth.

Her husband David Taylor, 36, who was arts minister at their nondenominational church Hope Chapel, said family planning reveals “a fascinating examination of God's sovereignty and human free will.”

“What does it mean to submit your physical bodies to God's sovereign care? ... God has given us power and freedom to exercise that decision. We can say, 'God, we're going to respect the rhythms you have given us.'”

Both spouses said the NFP method draws them closer, stating they want to wait a few months before trying to conceive.

Megan Tietz, a 31-year-old Oklahoman Baptist and a mother of two, told the Austin American-Statesman “…for me, using hormonal birth control indicates that I don't really trust God with every area of my life.”

“It is an effort on my part to control something that I really believe God can be trusted with," she continued.

However, some Protestants have backed away from their previous support for NFP. Sam and Bethany Torode, authors of “Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception,” said the five years passed since writing their book have “shown that we had a lot to learn about NFP, and that there is a dark side we weren't aware of."

Others see NFP as beneficial.

Katie Fox, 31, is a member of Hope Chapel along with the Taylors.  "I feel like it really works in harmony with the way that God designed our bodies to work," she commented. "In contrast with the pill, which works by altering and suppressing our natural systems, NFP works by supporting those systems in harmony with their functions. It goes with the flow, so to speak. There is a wisdom and a rightness to that which I really appreciate."

Fox has a 1-year-old daughter, explaining that NFP worked until she and her husband “got lazy” one month and had marital relations during her fertile period. She said the pregnancy helped remind them that God was ultimately in charge.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, experts say that, when used to avoid a pregnancy, NFP can fail at rates as low as one percent, though that rate rises to 25 percent when the method is not followed perfectly.

Hall said that some Protestant couples face difficulties when talking to their pastors about the spiritual issues of human reproduction with some, in Hall’s words, being told that they’re “crazy or irresponsible to consider not being on the pill.”

David Taylor agreed that pastors have difficulty addressing the issue, saying “My guess is that most churches are not talking about sexuality.”

back to top

Bishop of Fort Worth met with Episcopal delegation to discuss full communion, prelate confirms

Fort Worth, Texas, Aug 13, 2008 (CNA) - A senior Episcopal prelate recently confirmed that a delegation of Episcopal priests from Fort Worth visited the Catholic bishop of the diocese, Most Rev. Kevin Vann, to discuss how their diocese might enter full communion with the Catholic Church. While the seriousness of the discussion is not yet known, a document presented by the priests claims an overwhelming majority of clergy in the Episcopal diocese favor pursuing plans to bring the diocese into the Catholic Church.

A spokesman for Bishop Vann, bishop of Fort Worth confirmed that the meeting took place, the Dallas Morning News reports.

The Rev. William Crary, who is senior rector of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, confirmed that he and three other Episcopal priests met with Bishop Vann on June 16. They presented the bishop with a document that is reportedly highly critical of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

The Dallas Morning News says the document claims an overwhelming majority of Episcopal clergy favor pursuing an “active plan” to bring the diocese into full communion with the Catholic Church. The document also reports that Episcopal Bishop of Fort Worth Jack Iker is supportive of the effort.

Rev. Crary confirmed Bishop Iker’s support, but did not explain the remarks further. He said it likely would not mean the Episcopal diocese’s “absorption” by the Catholic Church. He said the initiative was part of longstanding efforts to increase cooperation between the Catholic and Episcopal Churches and also to further the goal of Christian unity.

"These discussions between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion have been going on for 42 years," he said, according to the Dallas Morning News. "We would like to bring these down to the local level."

Rev. Courtland Moore, retired rector of St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Arlington, said there is a “very serious attempt” on the part of clergy in the Episcopal diocese to “petition Rome for some kind of recognition.”

“They make it clear that they no longer believe there is truth in the Anglican Communion, and the only way they can find truth is reunion with Rome,” he stated.

Rev. Moore co-chairs the Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, a group which wants the Episcopal diocese to remain in the Episcopal Church. He reportedly obtained a copy of the document presented to Bishop Vann, after which he made it available to reporters.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is reportedly one of the most conservative Episcopalian dioceses. Under Bishop Iker, it has declined to ordain women as priests and has strongly opposed the acceptance of an openly homosexual Episcopal bishop.

The diocese has held one of the two votes required to leave the Episcopal Church and will vote again in November.

back to top

Follow us:

Recent activity: