Archive of August 19, 2008

Bishops encourage Nicaraguans to participate in ‘public life’

Managua, Nicaragua, Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - The Bishops’ Conference of Nicaragua has published a statement in light of the upcoming local elections warning the citizens of “shadows” falling upon the society and also encouraging Catholics to responsibly participate in public life.

In their statement, the bishops acknowledge the “clear indifference” of voters demonstrated by the lack of interest in the elections.  The prelates lamented the “low level of ethics in public discourse, which has become deceitful, full of insults and discrediting of one’s opponent to the point of calumny.”

“These shadows demand an explanation from us and we want to offer our reflection on history from the standpoint of believers,” the bishops said.  “We call for openness to sincere dialogue that has, as its shared objective, the confrontation of the crisis that is hurting us more than others,” they added.

The bishops called on citizens “to persist with their vote,” even though “there can sometimes be doubts about the transparency of the electoral process.”  Therefore, they continued, “we appeal to the sense of responsibility of the laity to be present in public life.”

“Participation in elections is not only a right that we as Nicaraguan citizens have, it is also an obligation to our local community and the nation,” the bishops stated. “Not to vote is to already elect someone; it is conforming one's self with those who are opposed to us.  To evade the responsibility of voting is to renounce the possibility of participating in the development of our local municipalities,” the bishops said.

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‘Plight of Iraqi Christians’ to be honored at dinner

Washington D.C., Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - Next month, will honor Cardinal Mar Emmanuel III Delly, Archbishop of Baghdad and recognize the struggle of Iraqi Christians at its 13th Annual Partnership Dinner.

According to, each year, “the Partnership Award is presented to a distinguished Catholic leader who has shown courage and dedication to his or her life and work.”  Past recipients have included: Archbishop Charles Chaput, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Admiral Jeremiah Denton, Tom Monaghan, Dr. Robby George, Henry Hyde, Fr. Thomas Williams, LC, and Eduardo Verastegui.

This year’s ceremony, which will take place on September 19 at the Willard InterContinental hotel in Washington, D.C., will honor the memories of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho and Fr. Ragheed Ganni.

Father Ragheed Ganni and his companions were killed on June 3, 2007, after celebrating Mass.  Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was kidnapped on February 29 of this year and found dead near Mosul on March 13, 2008.

Annually, the dinner brings together 300 friends and colleagues of (formerly Crisis Magazine), from the fields of politics, the Church, journalism and the arts.

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Most religious believers don’t think discovery of alien life would threaten their faith

Berkeley, Calif., Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - While some news writers and commentators from scientific backgrounds presume that the discovery of extra-terrestrial intelligence (ETI) would undermine religion and religious belief, a new study reports that most religious believers do not think such a novel discovery would shake their faith. One mainline Protestant respondent to the survey even commented “Hey! I'll share my pew with an extraterrestrial any day.”

The findings come from the Peters ETI Religious Crisis Survey, conducted by Ted Peters, professor of systematic theology at both Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Center for Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley California. Also written by research assistant Julie Froehlig, the survey notes several prominent commentators who hold that the discovery of ETI would shake religious belief.

“It might be the case that aliens had discarded theology and religious practice long ago as primitive superstition and would rapidly convince us to do the same,” Arizona State University physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies has said, according to the survey report. “Alternatively, if they retained a spiritual aspect to their existence, we would have to concede that it was likely to have developed to a degree far ahead of our own. If they practiced anything remotely like a religion, we should surely soon wish to abandon our own and be converted to theirs.”

However, the responses given to the Peters ETI Religious Crisis Survey show few religious believers say that the discovery of alien intelligence would affect their religious beliefs.

The survey report summarizes the hypothesis it is testing as: “upon confirmation of contact between earth and an extraterrestrial civilization of intelligent beings, the long established religious traditions of earth would confront a crisis of belief and perhaps even collapse.”

The survey reports that the evidence gathered “tends to disconfirm this hypothesis.”

Surveying 1,325 persons from around the world, the researchers categorized respondents’ religious beliefs as non-religious, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, evangelical Protestant, Jewish and Buddhist. Categories with a sample size of less than 35 were not used in the survey.

The researchers asked respondents whether the confirmed discovery of intelligent beings living on another world “would so undercut my beliefs that my beliefs would face a crisis.”

Less than ten percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, excepting Jews, who agreed or strongly agreed at a rate slightly over ten percent. While about ten percent or less neither agreed nor disagreed, 89 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed.

Among Catholics, eight percent agreed or strongly agreed while 82 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed.

One Catholic survey respondent commented, “I believe that Christ became incarnate (human) in order to redeem humanity and atone for the original sin of Adam and Eve. Could there be a world of extraterrestrials? Maybe. It doesn’t change what Christ did.”

“Within the scope of Christian theology, it appears that little if any beliefs preclude the existence of extraterrestrial beings,” the survey report says. “Their presence would at most widen the scope of one’s understanding of creation and create some puzzles for how Christians understand the work of salvation.”

When asked whether they believed the confirmed discovery of extra-terrestrial intelligence would throw their religious tradition into a crisis, 78 percent of all respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed, with only 11 percent being in agreement or strong agreement.

Catholics disagreed or strongly disagreed at a combined total rate of 66 percent, while 22 percent agreed or strongly agreed.

Respondents were then asked that even if their own religious traditions were unaffected by such a discovery, they believed other religions’ traditional beliefs would be undermined to such an extent that those religions would face a crisis. Overall, 35 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed while 41 percent agreed or strongly agreed. Among Catholics 40 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed, while 30 percent agreed or strongly agreed.

Curiously, the non-religious respondents composed the group most confident that the discovery of extra-terrestrial intelligence would undermine traditional beliefs and cause a crisis in religion. While only 20 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed, 70 percent were in agreement or strong agreement with such a statement.

Trying to explain the disparity between religious and non-religious respondents’ estimates of the fragility of religion, the report writers said “it appears that people who embrace a traditional religious belief system do not fear for their own personal belief; nor are they particularly worried about their own respective religious tradition. A shred of evidence suggests that believers in one religious tradition might be more inclined to impute fragility to other religions to which they do not subscribe or about which they know little.”

“Non-religious people seem to know too little about religious people, because they are mistaken in their assessment of the fragility of religious beliefs.

The report writes that the survey does not confirm the hypothesis that “the major religious traditions of our world will confront a crisis let alone a collapse” in the event of the discovery of alien intelligent life
“Furthermore, it appears that non-religious persons are much more likely to deem religion fragile and crisis prone that those who hold religious beliefs,” it says.

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Researcher to re-examine radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin

Colorado Springs, Colo., Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - The Shroud of Turin Center in Colorado Springs is preparing linen samples similar to the materials used in the Shroud of Turin in an attempt to determine whether or not the carbon dating tests of the shroud could have been skewed by contamination from atmospheric carbon monoxide.

The Shroud of Turin is considered by some to bear an image of the face of Jesus Christ. Made of herring bone linen, the shroud has dimensions of about 4 feet by 14 feet. It bears faint brown discolorations forming the negative image of a man. Its positive image, revealed by modern photography, shows the outline of a bearded man.

Skeptics contend that the shroud is a medieval forgery.

At a conference sponsored by the Shroud Science Group at Ohio State University this weekend, the Los Alamos National Laboratory presented findings that the 1988 test results were flawed because the tested linen samples may have been from material added to the shroud during medieval repairs, the Los Angeles Times says.

A researcher at Oxford University has said he will re-examine the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin to determine whether a previous test which dated the Shroud to the 13th and 14th centuries is accurate.

Christopher Ramsey, head of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, in a statement on his website said “There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow, and so further research is certainly needed.”

“Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information," he continued.

Though Ramsey has agreed to collaborate with shroud researchers, he said he does not believe contamination would have had much effect.

The reexamination of the radiocarbon dating of the shroud has been advocated by John Jackson, a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Jackson, who with his wife Rebecca runs the Colorado Springs-based Shroud of Turin Center, hypothesizes that the previous carbon dating test results were skewed by elevated levels of carbon monoxide.

While he does not accept the Los Alamos researchers’ contention that some materials in the shroud were added later, John Jackson suggests that atmospheric carbon monoxide could have contaminated the shroud during its long history.

John and Rebecca Jackson say that some evidence, such as the characteristics of the cloth and the details of the image, suggest a much older origin of the shroud. At present John is preparing linen samples to be tested for carbon monoxide contamination, which could be compared to the shroud to prove or disprove his hypothesis.

"If we get to the point where we believe we have a viable hypothesis that works in the lab, then we have scientific grounds to go to Turin and say, 'Here's what we think has happened to the shroud. These are the effects we need to look for. Can we please have access?'" said Jackson, the Los Angeles Times reports.

John Jackson, 62, is a devout Catholic and a former professor at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory. He has been interested in the shroud since he first saw its famous image at the age of 13.

“If you love Christ, why wouldn't you want to explore the possibility that you have an artifact of his material existence on Earth?" he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He added that his faith isn't incompatible with his scientific training: "How I think about the shroud comes from the shroud. It's not, 'Gee, I'm a Christian, so I'll force it to be what I want it to be.' That's not scientific logic.”

John’s wife Rebecca, 60, is a convert to Christianity from an Orthodox Jewish background. She moved to Colorado Springs from Brooklyn, New York after enlisting in the army. In 1990, while watching a documentary on the shroud, she began to think the face in the shroud’s image looked like that of her grandfather.

She met John while pursuing her interest in the shroud.

Speaking to CNA in a Monday phone interview, John Jackson explained that the hypothesis of carbon monoxide contamination in the shroud has “serious potential” for upsetting the previous radiocarbon dating of the shroud, but first it must be determined if the hypothesis has scientific merit.

He emphasized that the samples he is preparing are not from shroud but rather are “control linen samples” exposed to conditions similar to those the shroud is believed to have experienced. This preparation process, he said, is going to take a “considerable amount of time” because there are many parameters to the hypothesis.

“We have to be able to address these various parameters and we have, at the moment, only one reaction chamber to be able to do all these different experiments. Any one experiment takes a considerable amount of time to perform.”

Jackson said the research preparations could move more quickly, but he noted their progress is relative to the donations the Shroud Center receives.

“It’s going to take months to several years, I would say,” he told CNA.
If it is shown that gaseous contamination can affect the carbon dating of the shroud, Jackson said, the research would have implications for the radiocarbon community in general.

“It’s important that we bring the radiocarbon community into this project through Oxford so we are not leaving it just to us to say that the radiocarbon dating of shroud was in error, if indeed it is, so that they can be partners in that.”

“I believe they’re genuinely interested in getting an accurate date of the shroud,” he said.

Jackson claimed other linen samples subjected to radiocarbon dating have given misdates as well.

Further, he repeated that historical and archaeological studies of the shroud suggest an earlier date, mentioning its Jewish style of weaving and burial procedure

“The radiocarbon date looks to us like an outlier.”

“I’m very pleased to see the very wide interest in the shroud,” he told CNA, noting the recent Los Angeles Times article on the shroud was listed as the most viewed and most e-mailed article on the paper’s website.

“It would be meaningful to the world if it is authentic, it would be the premier archaeological artifact that could take us into the tomb of Christ, scientifically,” he concluded. “Not to replace faith, but to help us go into the tomb even before Peter and John. That is a really exciting possibility nearly 2,000 years later.”

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Catholics who support abortion should not receive Communion, says Archbishop Burke

Rome, Italy, Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - The prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Archbishop Raymond Burke, said this week that Catholics, especially politicians, who publically defend abortion should not receive Communion, and that ministers of Communion should be responsibly charitable in denying it to them if they ask for it, “until they have reformed their lives.”

In an interview with the magazine, Radici Christiane, Archbishop Burke pointed out that there is often a lack of reverence at Mass when receiving Communion.  “Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ unworthily is a sacrilege,” he warned.  “If it is done deliberately in mortal sin it is a sacrilege.”

To illustrate his point, he referred to “public officials who, with knowledge and consent, uphold actions that are against the Divine and Eternal moral law."  He then gave the example of politicians who "support abortion, which entails the taking of innocent and defenseless human lives.  A person who commits sin in this way should be publicly admonished in such a way as to not receive Communion until he or she has reformed his life,” the archbishop said.

“If a person who has been admonished persists in public mortal sin and attempts to receive Communion, the minister of the Eucharist has the obligation to deny it to him. Why? Above all, for the salvation of that person, preventing him from committing a sacrilege,” he added.

“We must avoid giving people the impression that one can be in a state of mortal sin and receive the Eucharist.”

He explained that when the person is allowed to receive Communion, a second form of scandal consists: “leading people to think that the public act that this person is doing,” a sin, “which until now everyone believed was a serious sin, is really not that serious.” 

“If we have a public figure who is openly and deliberately upholding abortion rights and receiving the Eucharist, what will the average person think? He or she could come to believe that up to a certain point it is okay to do away with an innocent life in the mother’s womb,” he warned.

Archbishop Burke also noted that when a bishop or a Church leader prevents an abortion supporter from receiving Communion, “it is not with the intention of interfering in public life but rather with the concern of the spiritual state of the politician or public official who, if Catholic, should follow the divine law in the public sphere as well.”

“Therefore, it is simply ridiculous and wrong to try to silence a pastor, accusing him of interfering in politics so that he cannot do good to the soul of a member of his flock,” he stated.

It is “simply wrong” to think that the faith must be reduced to the private sphere and eliminated from public life, Archbishop Burke said, encouraging Catholics “to bear witness to our faith not only in private in our homes but also in our public lives with others in order to bear strong witness to Christ.”


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Three Mexican brothers ordained in historic ceremony

Guadalajara, Mexico, Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - Three Mexican brothers, Alberto, Jesus and Andres Garcia Gutierrez, were ordained to the priesthood by the Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, in an historic celebration for their archdiocese.

The ordination, which took place at the Cathedral of Guadalajara on Sunday, August 17, was an unprecedented event in the Archdiocese of Guadalajara.  “According to historical records, there is no record to date of three priests who are brothers being ordained on the same date,” officials said.

Alberto and Andres finished their formation with the Legionaries of Christ in Rome.  Alberto will be going to Brazil as missionary and Andres will be an associate pastor in Mexico.  Their brother Jesus, who also studied with the Legionaries, completed his formation at the Diocesan Seminary of Guadalajara, where he will have his first assignment as a priest.

The three brothers will concelebrate their first Mass at the Parish of St. Sophia in Tlaquepaque on Friday, August 22.

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L'Osservatore Romano: Death of Bishop Egger is loss for Synod on the Bible

Rome, Italy, Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - The L'Osservatore Romano (LOR) published an article this week noting that the unexpected passing of Bishop Wilhelm Emil Egger of Bolzano-Bressanone, where Pope Benedict XVI recently spent his vacation, is “a loss for the Synod on the Bible” which will be held on October.  An expert in Sacred Scripture, Bishop Egger had been named special secretary for the event.

Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, called the death of Bishop Egger “a great loss, and his contribution and guidance will be missed. He was a friendly person who was sensitive to the problems of today’s world, which he always read in light of the Bible. He was in love with the Word of God.  It is comforting to know that from Heaven he will be participating in the Synod.  He had been actively involved in drafting the Instrumentum laboris, and death took him by surprise while he was preparing for the Synod,” the archbishop said.
Archbishop Eterovic also noted how the late bishop had humbly and thankfully accepted the nomination to be the Synod’s special secretary.  His task was to “coordinate the work of experts and look after the drafting of proposals and other documents that the synod fathers would vote on.”

“In order to have such complete work it is necessary to have someone who is a specialist in matters of the synod, and Bishop Egger was certainly such a person,” he added.

Several months ago, Bishop Egger told LOR that he hoped the Synod on the Word of God would help the Church “to become an increasingly larger Bible group made up of men and women who, under the guidance of the Magisterium, participate in the prayerful reading of Scripture in order to be evangelized and to become evangelizers.”

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Bishops of Ecuador ratify statement on new Constitution

Quito, Ecuador, Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - Yesterday, the Bishops’ Conference of Ecuador unanimously voiced support for their statement from July 28 in which they questioned the controversial new Constitution being promoted by President Rafael Correa.  The new Constitution does not guarantee the right to life from the moment of conception, attacks the family and the rights of parents to educate their children according to their own convictions.

In reference to their July statement, the bishops explained that their comments have been clearly and precisely explained to the public by Church representatives, “especially Archbishop Antonio Arregui.”  At that time the bishops said the new constitution would increase the power of the State, jeopardize the protection of the right to life of the unborn and undermine parental authority in the field of education, as well as make same-sex unions the equivalent of marriage.

After explaining that the bishops have the right to speak out whenever human life is attacked, they noted that their new statement is a confirmation of the “full and undisputable freedom of the clergy to preach, expound and defend Catholic dogmas and morals.”

“In fulfillment of our mission, we will continue offering pastoral guidance regarding the points raised on July 28.  We will try to enlighten reality with the Word of God so that Catholics and people of good will, after informing themselves properly, can freely and deliberately vote with their consciences” on the referendum in September that will approve or reject the new Constitution.

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Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux to be beatified in France

Vatican City, Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - Today Pope Benedict XVI approved the rite of beatification for the parents of St. Theresa of Lisieux, Louis Martin and Marie Zelie Guerin.  They will be beatified on October 19 in Lisieux, France.

According to the Office of Liturgical Celebrations, the beatification ceremony of the parents of St. Therese, Doctor of the Church and Patron of Missions, will take place in the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux.

The Pontiff also approved the beatification of four Servants of God:

  • Vincenza Poloni Mary -  virgin and founder of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy, on Sunday, September 21 in Verona Italy.
  • Miguel Sopocko – priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus, on Sunday, Septmber 20, in Bialystok, Poland.
  • Francesco Pianzola, - priest and founder of the Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Queen of Peace, on Saturday, October 4, in Vigevano, Italy.
  • Giovanni Francesco Bonifacio - priest and martyr, also on Saturday, October 4 in Trieste, Italy.

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Catholic schools must strive to form saints, says bishop

Kansas City, Mo., Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - In his column in the Catholic Key, Bishop Robert W. Finn from the Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph emphasized that “Catholic schools exist for a supernatural purpose:” to assist students in developing virtue on their path to ‘eternal salvation.’ 

Around this time of year, the Bishop Finn began, “Students all over the diocese get their back packs together, some put on uniforms, and everyone begins getting up a bit earlier and ready for school…The new year begins and our Catholic schools remain a big part of it: for many generations - and for thousands of students.”

He noted that Catholic schools don’t focus solely on “measurable outcomes, or even helping students learn essential facts and marketable skills that prepare them for employment.”  But rather, “Catholic schools exist for a supernatural purpose.” 

Bishop Finn continued by emphasizing that the schools are “about the formation of men and women in all aspects of life and living. Each student must be what God intends him or her to be. They must be helped toward their eternal salvation.”

The schools must “lead to the development of men and women who live virtue, understand better the mystery and meaning of life, and who will be set on a path which acknowledges the mystery of the Cross and has heaven as its ultimate goal.”

To do this, Catholic schools must be based on “an authentic vision of what a person is and what his or her eternal destiny entails.”  Humans were not created for “material success or sexual gratification,” the prelate remarked.  “Rather, we are made for life-long faithful commitments that appropriately express our gender, our vocation and utilize our talents generously.”

Bishop Finn also noted the importance of prayer in Catholic schools.  “In our schools we pray. We need to pray. Prayer is a response to our sense of God's presence with us always, our readiness to be intercessors for one another, and the realization that we are persons constantly in need of God's light and grace. God is first, and when we put Him first, all the other good things find their proper place. We worship him in the community of the Church and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the font and highest expression of our life.”

“I pray that in our schools - from early childhood to university - we will be forming saints. Through obedience to the Holy Spirit, and His light entrusted to the Apostles, may our students begin to be more like Jesus Christ to the glory of the heavenly Father.”


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Memorial Mass honoring Servant of God, Vincent R. Capodanno to be held next month

Washington D.C., Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - A memorial Mass for Father Vincent R. Capodanno, U.S. Navy Chaplain will be celebrated September 4 to commemorate his 1967 Vietnam battlefield death while administrating the sacraments to the dying 1st Battalion; 5th Division Marines.
Vincent Capodanno was born on February 13, 1929 in Staten Island, New York.  After his ordination, he worked as a missionary in Taiwan and Hong Kong before serving in the Marines as a United States Navy Chaplain. 
In 1966, "Fr. Vince" was sent to Vietnam.  According to CatholicMil.Org, "He gained a reputation for always being there--for always taking care of his Marines."
On September 4, 1967, Chaplain Capodanno received word of a battle taking place, Operation Swift.  He knew that it wouldn't be easy, and that the fighting was fierce, but he went among the wounded and dying, to give last rites to his Marines.  Though blasts wounded his face and hands, "Father Capodanno moved to help a wounded corpsman only yards from an enemy machinegun. Father Capodanno died taking care of one of his men."
Fr. Capodanno was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in recognition of his selfless sacrifice and was given the title "Servant of God' on May 21, 2006, thirty-nine years after his death on the battlefield of Vietnam.
The memorial Mass marking the 41st anniversary of his death is being requested by CatholicMil.Org, who is also the petitioner for his cause of Sainthood.

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Bishops announce Novena for Faithful Citizenship, to be prayed before November elections

Washington D.C., Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is encouraging Catholics across America to pray a novena for life, justice, and peace called ‘Novena for Faithful Citizenship’ before the elections in November.

In a press release from the USCCB, Joan Rosenhauer, Associate Director for the USCCB's Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, explained that this timely novena is a component of "the bishops' campaign to help Catholics develop well-formed consciences for addressing political and social questions."

Additionally, in November 2007, the bishops issued their statement on forming consciences for faithful citizenship.  It states, “Conscience always requires serious attempts to make sound moral judgments based on the truths of our faith."

Helen Osman, USCCB Secretary of Communications, expressed hope that the novena could help "Catholics enter into prayerful reflection as they prepare to vote."

Osman continued saying that the USCCB wants to support Catholics as they weigh pre-election issues and that "providing a prayer resource on the Web can help us focus on our common values and identity as Catholics."

The USCCB explains that the Novena for Faithful Citizenship runs for nine days and can be used "in any way that works best for a community or individual," said Rosenhauer.  This includes saying the novena for nine consecutive days, one day each week for nine weeks, or for nine days prior to the election.

The novena will be available for download until the election at

For other Faithful Citizenship resources, visit

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Major parties’ presidential nominees to announce running mates soon

Washington D.C., Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - Presumptive Republican nominee and Arizona Sen. John McCain will reportedly announce his running mate pick on August 29, his 72nd birthday, at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, UPI reports.

His leading choices reportedly include former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

"McCain views this as the one decision that he has total, utter, non-negotiable control over," one campaign official told the Washington publication Politico.

Pawlenty was raised Catholic but now attends an evangelical Protestant church.

McCain recently said that he would not rule out a running mate favorable to abortion rights. Romney had a pro-abortion record as governor but professes to have become pro-life.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is also expected to announce his running mate choice soon, amNewYork reports. amNewYork lists possible choices as Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, and Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed.

amNewYork describes Gov. Kaine as a “religious Catholic” and Sen. Reed as a “devout Catholic.”

Sen. Biden, too, is reportedly Catholic, yet all three Catholic Democratic contenders are supportive of abortion rights.

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California Supreme Court rules against doctors who declined to inseminate lesbian

Sacramento, Calif., Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - In a unanimous ruling that could have wide-ranging effects on the free exercise of conscience and the progress of homosexual activism, the California Supreme Court on Monday ruled against two doctors who declined to artificially inseminate a lesbian because they strongly believe children should be raised by a mother and a father.

The two doctors, who are Christians, reportedly did not want to participate in an act that would deliberately exclude a father when Guadalupe Benitez and her partner, Joanne Clark, sought to receive artificial insemination.

Although the doctors paid for a referral to other fertility specialists without any objections to performing the procedure, Benitez sued both under California’s civil rights laws.

The Christian Medical Association’s CEO Dr. David Stevens attacked the decision, saying in a press release:

“This case was never about discrimination against patients on the basis of sexual choices; it was about discrimination against healthcare professionals on the basis of their sincerely held ethical standards. The physicians in this case had determined to only provide in-vitro fertilization to married patients. That's hardly a novel or extreme ethical position.

"Physicians of course must treat all patients with compassion and respect, regardless of the belief systems or sexual norms of the patients. But tolerance is a two-way street: we must also respect the right of healthcare professionals to make decisions based on ethical standards.”

Dr. Stevens claimed the court decision exceeded the courts’ “proper reach,” violates “long- established principles of medical ethics,” and conflicts with the First Amendment and federal laws protecting the rights of conscience.

“This decision reaches beyond the medical profession. Taking away the First Amendment rights of healthcare professionals puts at risk the rights of every working American,” Stevens said.

He cited the American Medical Association’s code of ethics, which holds “neither physician, hospital, nor hospital personnel shall be required to perform any act violative of personally held moral principles.”

Dr. Stevens added that if physicians perceive a conflict between providing a service and being true to their consciences, they most likely will stop providing the service.

“If the courts are going to decree that only a certain type of physician may practice in California, the net result is that patients will have decreased access to physicians,” he said.

Writing in a press release, the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) said that the California Supreme Court’s decision could have far reaching effects. For example, regardless of their beliefs, the precedent could mean that everyone in the state’s wedding industry could be compelled to service homosexual weddings or California family lawyers could be forced to handle adoptions and divorces for same-sex couples.

“This case starkly demonstrates the take-no-prisoners approach of the gay rights movement,” said PJI President Brad Dacus. “They will not stop until they have silenced or bankrupted every voice of conscience who disagrees with them. In light of this and similar rulings, PJI is redoubling its efforts to defend people of faith who will not compromise their moral values.”

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Pro-life Republicans: McCain seriously considering pro-choice VP

Alton, Ill., Aug 19, 2008 (CNA) - The Republican National Coalition for Life is calling on voters to contact the McCain Campaign to encourage them to select a pro-life vice-presidential candidate.

Executive Director Republican National Coalition for Life Colleen Parro explains, “Informed sources tell us that top-level officials in the McCain campaign have been calling certain state Party chairmen to find out what they think the reaction of Republican voters would be in the event that John McCain chooses a pro-abortion-choice running mate.”

She continues, “Why would they do that, unless McCain is seriously considering someone like Pennsylvania’s Tom Ridge, or even a liberal Democrat like Joe Lieberman?”

She recalls that Sen. McCain declared at the Saddleback Forum that he “will be a pro-life President and this presidency will have pro-life policies.  That’s my commitment.”

Parro points out that because “he has made that commitment, the expectation on the part of many pro-life and pro-family conservatives is that John McCain, if elected President, would nominate pro-life judges to the federal courts and the Supreme Court, would be totally dashed if he chooses a running mate who is not pro-life.”

“It is our position that a VP nominee who is not pro-life is unacceptable. It would be a slap in the face to the base of the Party and would most likely cost McCain and the Republican Party, the election.”

The Republican Coalition for Life is encouraging voters to contact the McCain campaign to make their views known:

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

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