Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug 25, 2008 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI encouraged Argentineans to “generously contribute” to the 39th annual National Collection “More for Less,” which will take place on Sunday, September 14, in all parishes throughout the country.
In a message sent by the Apostolic Nuncio to Argentina, Archbishop Adriano Bernardini, to the members of the bishops’ Committee for Aid to the Regions Most in Need, which is organizing the collection, the Holy Father expressed his support for the initiative and urged Argentineans to “strengthen the bonds of solidarity” among themselves.
After sending greetings to the promoters, collaborators and participants of the collection, the Pope encouraged the faithful “to support and increase appropriate initiatives aimed at overcoming situations of poverty.”
Likewise, the Holy Father called for a “decisive commitment to foster hard work, honesty, a spirit of participation, and a respect for justice and human rights.”
The Pope also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the people and the institutions that generously contribute to the success of the collection and affectionately imparted his Apostolic Blessing upon them.
La Paz, Bolivia, Aug 25, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop Tito Solari of Cochabamba, Bolivia, has called on Bolivians to reflect and to seek out paths of reconciliation and dialogue in order to stop violence, because otherwise, “it will destroy us all.”
In a recent message, the archbishop referred to the latest acts of violence carried out against people with disabilities and police officers and to confrontations between students and parents.
“We must put a stop to the violence or it will destroy us all,” said Archbishop Solari.
“Our reflection is focused in a particular way on the confrontation that is occurring between students and parents. Here we see that the culture of violence in which we are submerged has penetrated into the heart of the new generations and could even wound the family itself, the fundamental cell of our society,” the archbishop warned.
For this reason, he called for calm in order to reflect and “to seek out paths of reconciliation and dialogue.” “Let us leave aside offensive and violent language. Let us avoid images of confrontation. Let us not be overcome by evil, but rather overcome evil with good,” the archbishop stated.
Denver, Colo., Aug 25, 2008 (CNA) - The selection of Sen. Joseph Biden as Barack Obama’s running mate is drawing a chorus of disapproval from Catholic intellectual and pro-life leaders because of Biden’s longstanding support for abortion. Most recently, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver has said that Biden should refrain from Communion.
Over the weekend, CNA spoke with several prominent Catholics regarding Biden’s nomination for the Democratic vice-presidential slot. The well-known Catholic intellectual and author George Weigel explained to CNA that Obama’s choice was expected. “Barack Obama is a pro-abortion radical, so there's nothing surprising about his choosing a pro-abortion running mate,” said Weigel.
According to Weigel, an Obama-Biden ticket is “deeply disturbing” because “neither Senator Obama nor Senator Biden seems to have taken Catholic arguments about the first principles of justice seriously.”
“The Church's pro-life position is not ‘sectarian;’ it can be engaged by anyone willing to work through a serious philosophical argument,” Weigel asserted. “Neither Obama nor Biden seems willing to do that -- which casts a rather large shadow over their claims to be the ticket of thoughtfulness and intellectual seriousness.”
Weigel predicts that the choice of Biden will present the public with the sight of "‘Catholics for Obama’ tying themselves into even tighter theological pretzels, as they try to justify a vote for what seems likely to be the most radically pro-abortion ticket in American history.”
Deal Hudson, a Catholic political analyst, commented to CNA that the selection of Sen. Biden by Obama “has underscored his abortion extremism.” On the other hand, the tapping of the senator from Delaware may have some positive implications for Obama as well, noted Hudson, who called him “an affable, veteran politician who is unlikely to repeat the 2004 mistakes of Sen. John Kerry by overselling his ‘Catholic’ credentials.”
Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, took a broader view of Barack Obama’s vice presidential selection, calling it “a wake-up call to the Church (clergy and laity alike).”
Among the steps that the Church needs to take, said Fr. Pavone, are: to “improve the way we hand on the Faith, be willing to exercise the spiritual work of mercy of admonishing the sinner, and to keep politically active so that such people are voted out of office.”
Politicians, Fr. Pavone underscored, are engaged in publicly expressing “their support for keeping abortion legal” while at the same time consistently refusing to admit what abortion is. He added, “if a politician cannot respect the life of a little baby, how is he supposed to respect yours and mine?”
Austin Ruse, the head of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, reacted to the news of Sen. Biden’s selection by saying, “The Democrats are slapping faithful Catholics right in the face. First, they will nominate the most pro-abortion candidate in history. Then they refuse to invite the beloved Archbishop of Denver even to offer a prayer at their convention. And now they nominate a pro-abortion Catholic as vice-president. Only self-hating Catholics could vote for this ticket.”
The president of the national Catholic advocacy group Fidelis, Brian Burch, interpreted the Biden pick as having “re-opened a wound among American Catholics.” He added that, “the American bishops have made clear that Catholic political leaders must defend the dignity of every human person, including the unborn. Sadly, Joe Biden's tenure in the United States Senate has been marked by steadfast support for legal abortion."
Burch also highlighted the fact that, “Biden's own bishop, Bishop Michael Saltarelli of Wilmington, Del., has said that the issues pertaining to the sanctity of human life are the ‘great civil rights issues of this generation’.”
Bishop Saltarelli denounced the notion that politicians can 'personally oppose' abortion, but refuse to pass laws protecting the unborn. In fact, Bishop Saltarelli has made clear that pro-abortion Catholic politicians should refrain from receiving the Eucharist.
On Monday morning in Denver, where the Democratic National Convention is underway, Archbishop Charles Chaput told the Associated Press that because of support for abortion, Biden should refrain from taking Communion.
During his tenure in the senate, Joe Biden has voted numerous times in support of abortion and has characterized himself as a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade.
Biden also revealed at a Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas last November that his criteria for selecting nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court would include a pro-Roe test.
“I would not appoint anyone who did not understand that Section 5 of the 14th Amendment and the Liberty Clause of the 14th Amendment provided a right to privacy,” Biden said. “That's the question I'd ask them. If that is answered correctly, that that is the case, then it answers the question, which means they would support Roe v. Wade."
Denver, Colo., Aug 25, 2008 (CNA) - In a statement eloquently titled “On the Separation of Sense and State,” the Archbishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., and his Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley harshly criticized Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, for giving a confusing view of the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion, during a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Catholic public leaders inconvenienced by the abortion debate” –says the statement- “tend to take a hard line in talking about the ‘separation of Church and state.’ But their idea of separation often seems to work one way.”
“In fact, some officials also seem comfortable in the role of theologian. And that warrants some interest, not as a ‘political’ issue, but as a matter of accuracy and justice.”
Archbishop Chaput’s statement recognizes Pelosi as “a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills” but adds that “regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them.”
During the Meet the Press interview on August 24, Pelosi responded to a question about when human life begins by saying that “as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition . . . St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose.”
The Archdiocese of Denver argues that since Speaker Pelosi claims to have studied the issue “for a long time,” “she must know very well one of the premier works on the subject, Jesuit John Connery’s Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective (Loyola, 1977).
The statement recall’s Connery’s conclusion: “The Christian tradition from the earliest days reveals a firm antiabortion attitude . . . The condemnation of abortion did not depend on and was not limited in any way by theories regarding the time of fetal animation. Even during the many centuries when Church penal and penitential practice was based on the theory of delayed animation, the condemnation of abortion was never affected by it. Whatever one would want to hold about the time of animation, or when the fetus became a human being in the strict sense of the term, abortion from the time of conception was considered wrong, and the time of animation was never looked on as a moral dividing line between permissible and impermissible abortion.”
The Archdiocese’s statement also quotes “the blunter words of the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.”
Bonhoeffer, a strong critic and later victim of the Nazi regime in his native Germany wrote that “the destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.”
Archbishop Chaput’s statement continues, explaining that, “ardent, practicing Catholics will quickly learn from the historical record that from apostolic times, the Christian tradition overwhelmingly held that abortion was grievously evil. In the absence of modern medical knowledge, some of the Early Fathers held that abortion was homicide; others that it was tantamount to homicide; and various scholars theorized about when and how the unborn child might be animated or ‘ensouled.’ But none diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early Church closely associated abortion with infanticide. In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong.”
Archbishop Chaput also highlighted that “we now know with biological certainty exactly when human life begins. Thus, today’s religious alibis for abortion and a so-called ‘right to choose’ are nothing more than that – alibis that break radically with historic Christian and Catholic belief.”
“Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it – whether they’re famous or not – fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith,” the statement adds.
Finally Archbishop Chaput recalls that “the duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the ‘separation of Church and state’ does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But of course, it’s always important to know what our faith actually teaches.”
Read the full statement at: http://www.archden.org/images/ArchbishopCorner/ByTopic/onseparationofsense&state_openlettercjc8.25.08.pdf
Guayaquil, Ecuador, Aug 25, 2008 (CNA) - Top Evangelical leaders in Ecuador met with the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Ecuador, Archbishop Antonio Arregui, in order to show their support for the Catholic Church’s position on the controversial new Constitution being promoted by the government.
Jose Medina, a member of the Council of Elders of the Evangelical Church, and Pedro Medina, president of the Evangelical Laity of Ecuador, attended a meeting at the Archdiocese of Guayaquil to show their solidarity with Archbishop Arregui, who has been the target of criticism by the government, and express their support for the Catholic position.
“We wish to express to you our most sincere support for the work you are carrying out in defense and in benefit of life and the family in Ecuador,” Pedro Molina said.
“We would like to take this opportunity to not only support your work but also your statement, which encompasses the thinking of the Church and the Christian people of Ecuador,” he added.
Archbishop Arregui thanked the leaders for the support. ‘I reiterate my gratitude to the lay Evangelicals of Ecuador who are represented here. It is a joy to learn that the common Christian heritage of speaking out in defense of the family, life and peace is a top priority,” he said.
The Council of Elders of the Evangelical Church is the highest church authority for evangelicals in the country and brings together the more than seven thousand Evangelical denominations present in Ecuador.
Denver, Colo., Aug 25, 2008 (CNA) - Around 5,000 Latinos gathered in Denver on Sunday afternoon to show their support for marriage and the family, making the gathering the largest to-date. While far smaller protests received local media coverage, the rally has been virtually blacked-out by the news media.
The historic rally, which was organized by the Alliance For Marriage, drew thousands of enthusiastic Latinos from the greater Denver-metropolitan area and included speeches by Catholic and Evangelical leaders from Colorado, California, and Arizona. Police estimates placed the crowd for Viva La Familia! at 4,000 to 6,000 people.
Speakers for the event included Rev. Sam Rodriguez, Jr., the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Luis Soto, the Executive Director of Centro San Juan Diego, which is run by the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver; Alejandro Bermudez, the Director of Catholic News Agency; and Rev. Eve Nunez, President and Founder of the Arizona Latino Commission.
Mr. Soto encouraged the crowd, saying, "Viva la Familia! reminds us all that the most important social institution is the family."
Entertainment was provided by the famous Mexican performer Cepillín, who has been a TV star in 18 countries for many years. The event also featured the Catholic recording artist Ge'La.
The unprecedented gathering of Latinos went uncovered by the local news media. Instead, local news channels chose to cover a demonstration by about 1,500 anti-war protestors and a martial arts training session for protestors from the anti-war group Re-create 68, which was held in preparation for their first demonstration.
Castelgandolfo, Italy, Aug 25, 2008 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI expressed gratitude for the concert performed in his honor at the Swiss Hall of the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo this weekend, and in his remarks at the conclusion of the concert he emphasized the importance of music in transmitting the profound experiences of the soul.
After thanking Ivonne Timoianu, who played the violoncello and the former Austrian ambassador to the Holy See, Christoph Cornaro, who played piano, for the “magisterial performance” of Franz Schubert’s “Winter Journey,” Benedict XVI noted that the piece describes “the intense atmosphere of sad loneliness caused by his [Schubert’s] delicate state of health and his sentimental and professional disappointments.”
“It is an interior journey that the celebrated Austrian composer wrote in 1827, just one year before his premature death at the age of 31,” the Pope added.
“When Schubert brings a poetic text into his universe of sound, he performs it through a melodic link that penetrates the soul with sweetness, bringing the listener to feel his same nostalgic consummation, the same call of that truth of the heart that goes beyond all rationality. In this way a picture is born that speaks of genuine everyday life, of nostalgia, of introspection and of the future,” the Holy Father continued.
“The spontaneous and exuberant young Schubert was successful in communicating—to us here tonight as well—what he lived and experienced. He is worthy therefore of the universal acclaim that is given to this illustrious genius of music, who honors European civilization and the great culture and spirituality of Christian and Catholic Austria.”
“Comforted interiorly by the splendid musical experience of tonight, we renew our gratitude to those who have promoted this concert and those who have magnificently performed it,” the Pontiff said in conclusion.
Denver, Colo., Aug 25, 2008 (CNA) - Senator Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for Vice President, is a Catholic who openly defends his faith, but who supports Roe v. Wade and legalized abortion. At the Democratic National Convention, Democratic delegates of all stripes—pro-life, pro-legalized abortion, Catholic, and non-Catholic—appear to be happy with Obama’s choice of running mate.
All of the approximately 25 delegates and alternates interviewed by Catholic News Agency expressed support—sometimes enthusiasm—about Biden as a running mate. His faith, and his abortion stance seemed to play almost no role in their views of him.
But Biden is not shy about his faith. In an April 2006 episode of the HBO talk show Real Time, Bill Maher was assailing political figures for being too overtly religious, when Biden interrupted to relate a conversation he once had with a Democratic colleague. Biden told this fellow senator that his mother dedicates a rosary every Sunday to her deceased brother. “And he looked at me and said, ‘I think that’s quaint.’ And I said, ‘…were we not senators, I’d rip your goddamn Adam’s apple out, because who the hell are you to look at my mother and say it’s “quaint”?’ We have too many elites in our party who look down their nose on people of faith.”
Biden on another occasion showed willingness to use violence in defense of his faith. In 2005, the Cincinnati Enquirer quoted him as saying, “The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious, I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.”
And in this race, Biden is already playing up his Catholic identity. On the eve of the Convention, the major television networks carried footage of his coming out of Sunday Mass back home in Delaware and speaking with his priest.
Biden is outspokenly pro-choice, with a record of fighting to save Roe v. Wade. On the other hand, he consistently votes to outlaw partial-birth abortion on the federal level. Choosing a pro-choice Catholic could help or hurt Obama among Catholic voters.
Joshua Mercer, spokesman for Fidelis, a pro-life Catholic political action committee and advocacy group, argued that, “It will ultimately hurt Obama to have a Catholic pro-abortion running mate, because the issue will come up again.”
The battle for the Supreme Court, the crux of the policy struggle over abortion, is where Biden has most pleased the defenders of legalized abortion, and it is one reason activist groups support him.
Biden, as a member and former chairman of the Judiciary Committee has been at the heart of this battle, and consistently has fought against judges who might overturn Roe v. Wade, a decision he has supported with public statements and a “sense of the Senate” resolution.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan noted her appreciation in a statement, released after Biden was named: “Sen. Biden has a strong record of opposing judicial nominees with hostile anti-choice records. He voted against George W. Bush’s two anti-choice nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and he opposed anti-choice Justice Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Court as well as multiple anti-choice nominees to lower federal courts.” Additionally, he was at the forefront of the liberal defeat of Judge Robert Bork, nominated to the Supreme Court in 1987.
Four years ago, at the Democratic convention in Boston, delegates heavily placed judges as a top reason for supporting John Kerry, understanding that it is the Supreme Court, not elected legislators, keeping abortion legal for nine months of pregnancy.
In interviews Monday with arriving delegates, Biden’s faith and his abortion views had little impact.
John Hadley, Jr. is a Catholic from Pelousas, Louisiana, who sends his children to Catholic school. Hadley describes himself as “100 percent pro-life” and acknowledges that Biden and Obama are not. Still, he supports the Democratic ticket without hesitation and was cheered by Obama’s choosing a Catholic running mate. Noting that the last Catholic in the White House was Kennedy, Hadley said, “It’s about time” Americans put another Catholic there.
When asked about Biden’s being a Catholic who supports legalized abortion, Hadley responded, “As a Catholic, that’s a decision that Biden and God are going to have to work out at the Pearly Gates.” While stating Biden should talk to his pastor about his positions on abortion, Hadley said it didn’t affect his support for Biden.
Larry Veselka a delegate from Houston, Texas who supports legalized abortion, disagrees with Biden’s support of a ban on partial-birth abortion, but that disagreement doesn’t bother him. “Biden starts from the belief that a woman has a right to choose, and that’s what matters.”
Timothy P. Carney is the editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report and a columnist for the Washington Examiner.
Denver, Colo., Aug 25, 2008 (CNA) - Tim Gill, a multi-millionaire from Colorado who has funded homosexual activism throughout the United States, spoke at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) Delegates Caucus at the Democratic National Convention on Monday, outlining how he has worked to advance homosexual causes in U.S. politics. Gill endorsed undermining rising politicians critical of homosexual advocacy by targeting donations to benefit their opponents on the state level.
Gill, who was introduced at the caucus as one of the nation’s largest funders of LGBT “civil rights initiatives,” reportedly has spent $150 million on LGBT issues. He is the former CEO of the software publishing company Quark, Inc. and is also the founder of the Gill Action Fund, a major backer of homosexual political candidates and causes.
“Every single advance for gay rights has come at the state level,” Gill said, saying the most important thing the Democratic LGBT delegates could do is “go back and support those pro-gay state legislators, and eliminate the anti-gay state legislators.”
He encouraged the delegates to donate to state candidates out of state, especially in rural areas.
The billionaire homosexual activist also counseled the audience not to donate to unwinnable races, but rather to focus their donations where they will most likely change the outcome of elections.
“Just a little bit of money goes a long way,” he said.
If all the LGBT delegates donated fifty dollars to specially targeted races, which he numbered at no more than ten or twenty per election year, Gill said “we can get rid of them.”
By successfully changing Republican legislatures to Democratic ones, Gill claimed, “the net result is always good for gays.”
Though he was a Democrat speaking at the Democratic National Convention, Gill claimed he and the LGBT delegates were in a “battle for the soul of the Republican Party,” a party which he claimed was controlled by “a bunch of bigots.”
“The only way bigots are going to learn is if we take their power away from them,” he asserted.
He counseled the delegates to find the next Rick Santorum, the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, and “end his career.”
Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, a Republican, who opposed homosexual causes, lost to the Democratic Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. in 2006. Gill took credit for helping bring about Santorum’s loss.
Organizers at the LGBT Caucus claimed as members at least 274 of the more than 4,000 DNC delegates attending the convention.