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Archive of October 2, 2008

Archbishop of Portland rebukes Catholic Oregon governor for hosting NARAL fundraiser

, Oct 2, 2008 (CNA) -

The Archbishop of Portland, Oregon John G. Vlazny is lamenting the fact that Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has become “a source of embarrassment for our church and a scandal for the Catholic community” by hosting of a “political gala” for NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon this coming Friday.

Labeling the Catholic governor’s appearance a seeming “deliberate dissent” from the teachings of the Church, Archbishop Vlazny is calling upon Catholics to contact the governor and extending them an invitation to an upcoming Respect Life Mass.

In a Tuesday statement from the Archdiocese of Portland, the archbishop rebuked the governor, who with his wife is scheduled to be an “honorary host” for the fundraising dinner at a Portland hotel.

Archbishop Vlazny wrote:

“It has come to my attention that Governor Ted Kulongoski will be hosting a NARAL Pro-Choice political gala two days before our Respect Life Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

“This is a source of embarrassment for our church and a scandal for the Catholic community. For a Catholic governor to host an event of this sort seems a deliberate dissent from the teachings of the Church.

“As I wrote in the Catholic Sentinel in August ‘the very core of all Catholic moral and social teaching is respect for the dignity of everyone. Ours is a rich heritage of social teaching which forms the basis of what it means to be a faithful citizen as a Catholic.’”

Saying the “grave evil of abortion continues to be promoted as a legitimate moral choice by Governor Kulongoski and NARAL,” Archbishop Vlazny invited Catholics to attend evening Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, the day of the NARAL gala.

He also invited Catholics to attend the Respect Life Mass at the cathedral on Sunday.

Gov. Kulongoski spokeswoman Anna Richter Taylor characterized the governor as a longtime supporter of a woman's right to choose an abortion.

"The archbishop is the governor's pastor, and he has only respect and admiration for the archbishop," Taylor said. "They obviously disagree on the issue of choice.”

Archbishop Vlazny’s statement concluded with a call for Catholics to contact the governor.

“I call upon our Catholic people to express their displeasure to the governor and to remind him of the demands of personal integrity as a member of our faith community in the exercise of his office and public activities,” he wrote, adding the governor’s phone number for public comments.

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Opus Dei to produce Italian cartoon and mini-series on St. Josemaria Escriva

Rome, Italy, Oct 2, 2008 (CNA) - As the eightieth anniversary of its October 2, 1928 founding approaches, Opus Dei is producing an Italian TV cartoon and mini-series on the life of its founder St. Josemaria Escriva.

The cartoon is in its production phase at Mediaset, a media company owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Opus Dei spokesman Pippo Corigliano told ANSA on Wednesday that the children’s cartoon will give a “necessarily simple” view of the Spanish priest who founded the organization and was canonized in 2002.

The miniseries, developed by the media company RAI, aims to include more diverse opinions of the saint.

Opus Dei has about 90,000 members in 90 countries, a few of whom are priests. While about one third of the lay members are celibate, living in Opus Dei centers and devoting themselves to social and charity work, the majority lead regular family lives.

The organization was depicted as sinister in Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code. In the book and movie, the villain is an albino monk assassin from Opus Dei, even though the group has no monks.

Corigliano told ANSA that the popularity of the books had helped spark interest in Opus Dei.

“Especially after the film came out there was a huge fascination about us on the part of the media and the general public,” he said, explaining that the new media drive aims to correct views about the organization.

Brian Finnerty, a spokesman with the U.S. Communications Office of Opus Dei, told CNA on Wednesday that an animated English-language program on the life of St. Josemaria already exists and has been shown on EWTN. The program, produced in Spain, is titled “God’s Footprints: The Life of St. Josemaria Escriva.”

That program was apparently not created in response to the Dan Brown book.

Finnerty spoke to CNA about the lingering effects of The Da Vinci Code at Opus Dei.

“Immediately after the movie came out, there was a sharp drop-off in attention,” he explained.

“The controversy died out. There is no longer any suspense about what would be in the movie and how people would react to it. After the movie came out, the topic became a whole lot less newsworthy.”

According to Finnerty, the book and movie had resulted in elevated hits to the group’s web site, more inquiries, and several projects intended to “keep up the dialogue with the movie.”

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Bishop of Scranton pledges vigilance in correcting pro-choice Catholic politicians

Scranton, Pa., Oct 2, 2008 (CNA) - Bishop Joseph F. Martino of the Diocese of Scranton has directed a pastoral letter on pro-life matters to be read at all weekend Masses of the upcoming Respect Life Weekend, saying Catholic efforts on such issues have “more significance than ever.” Discussing the societal breakdown in the wake of the sexual revolution, Bishop Martino explains Catholic teaching, and pledges “vigilance” in correcting Catholic pro-abortion rights public figures.

The pastoral letter, which is also to be circulated with all parish bulletins this weekend, could have political ramifications for the Catholic vote in Pennsylvania, a key swing state in the 2008 presidential election.

In his letter Bishop Martino explained the origin of Respect Life Sunday in 1972, saying Catholics continue to observe the date with devotions and pro-life activities “in order to advance the culture of life.”

“Never have we seen such abusive criticism directed toward those who believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death,” he remarked.

Noting Pope Paul VI’s 1968 predictions that widespread use of contraceptives would lead to increased marital infidelity, lessened regard for women, and a general lowering of moral standards especially among the young, he said the Pope’s teaching has proved accurate.

“As if following some bizarre script, the sexual revolution has produced widespread marital breakdown, weakened family ties, legalized abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, pornography, same-sex unions, euthanasia, destruction of human embryos for research purposes and a host of other ills,” Bishop Martino wrote.

Turning to abortion, he said laws that protect abortion “constitute injustice of the worst kind.” Saying science confirms that human life begins at conception, he denounced “several false claims” that the beginning of life is uncertain.

Because of abortion, the bishop wrote, “the weakest and most vulnerable are denied, because of their age, the most basic protection that we demand for ourselves. This is discrimination at its worst, and no person of conscience should support it.”

Noting that there are other important areas of political consideration, such as health care, education, economic security, immigration, and taxes, he stated “the solutions to problems in these areas do not usually involve a rejection of the sanctity of human life in the way that abortion does.” Being correct on other issues “fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life.”

“The finest health and education systems, the fairest immigration laws, and the soundest economy do nothing for the child who never sees the light of day,” Bishop Martino commented. “It is a tragic irony that ‘pro-choice’ candidates have come to support homicide – the gravest injustice a society can tolerate – in the name of ‘social justice’.”

“National Right to Life reports that 48.5 million abortions have been performed since 1973,” he continued. “One would be too many. No war, no natural disaster, no illness or disability has claimed so great a price.”

Bishop Martino explained that though the Church assists the State in promoting justice, her primary concern is to assist men and women in achieving salvation.

“For this reason, it is incumbent upon bishops to correct Catholics who are in error regarding these matters. Furthermore, public officials who are Catholic and who persist in public support for abortion and other intrinsic evils should not partake in or be admitted to the sacrament of Holy Communion,” he said, adding that he will be “vigilant” on this subject.

Bishop Martino characterized the Church’s role as that of a “prophet in our own country” reminding Americans of the Declaration of Independence’s assertion that all men are “created equal” with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

“The Church’s teaching that all life from conception to natural death should be protected by law is founded on religious belief to be sure, but it is also a profoundly American principle founded on reason,” he continued. “Whenever a society asks its citizens to violate its own foundational principles – as well as their moral consciences – citizens have a right, indeed an obligation, to refuse.”

As an example of moral conscience, the bishop cited Bishop of Munster Gustave von Galen’s delivery of a 1941 homily condemning the Nazis’ murder of the mentally ill by euthanasia.

“My dear friends, I beg you not to be misled by confusion and lies,” Bishop Martino added. “Our Lord, Jesus Christ, does not ask us to follow him to Calvary only for us to be afraid of contradicting a few bystanders along the way. He does not ask us to take up his Cross only to have us leave it at the voting booth door.”

Noting Pope Benedict XVI’s comments that “God is so humble that he uses us to spread his Word,” the bishop said that Catholics are privileged to proclaim the “gospel of Life” which “resonates in the heart of every person – believer and non-believer – because it fulfills the heart’s most profound desire.”

“Let us with one voice continue to speak the language of love and affirm the right of every human being to have the value of his or her life, from conception to natural death, respected to the highest degree,” Bishop Martino concluded, exhorting his flock to pray the Rosary for “the strength and fortitude to uphold the truths of our faith and the requirements of our law to all who deny them.”

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German weekly highlights role of the Stasi in attempt on John Paul II’s life

Rome, Italy, Oct 2, 2008 (CNA) - The German weekly Der Spiegel has published a report indicating that Communist Germany’s Ministry for State Security (Stasi) unleashed “one of the largest campaigns of misinformation in its history” in order to deflect investigations into the attempt on the life of John Paul II in 1981 towards Turkish extremists.

According to the ANSA news agency, the article features new documents discovered in German state archives that reveal that the Stasi “tried to help the Bulgarian secret service. The organization enrolled a young Turkish citizen, Ismet Erguen, who began her mission in Berlin in February of 1982.”

“The documents show Erguen was involved until 1989, although today she denies ever having been an agent of the Stasi,” the news report indicated.

“The head of the foreign information sector of the Stasi, Markus Wolf, who died in 2006 at the age of 83, received a request for help from the Bulgarians in 1981 after the arrest of Ali Agca, as they were concerned that the Western media were focusing on a supposed Soviet-Bulgarian link in the assassination attempt.”

Der Spiegel claims that “the purpose was to divert suspicion towards the Gray Wolves, an extreme right-wing Turkish group.”

Wolf was satisfied with Erguen’s work because even today, “a legend exists according to which it was the Gray Wolves that gave orders to Agca,” the newspaper reports.

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Real faith does not impose itself, Pope Benedict teaches

Vatican City, Oct 2, 2008 (CNA) - Bishops and other clergy from Kazakhstan and Central Asia, a region with few Catholics, met with Pope Benedict this morning at the Vatican. The Holy Father encouraged the prelates to "keep the flame of faith alive among the Christian people" and spoke about the dangers of religious fundamentalism.

Pope Benedict began his remarks by inviting the prelates to give thanks to God that, "despite the severe pressures suffered during the years of the atheist communist regime, the flame of faith remained alight in believers' hearts thanks to the zealous sacrifice of priests, religious and lay people."

After encouraging the bishops not to lose heart even though the Catholic community is "a small flock," Benedict XVI called on them to allow themselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit and "to keep the flame of faith alight among Christian people. Conserve and draw vantage from the important pastoral and apostolic experiences of the past," he told them.

Other ways to keep this flame alive are to "Continue to educate everyone in listening to the Word of God and arouse, especially in the young, Marian devotion and love for the Eucharist. Spread the practice of the Rosary among families. Patiently and courageously, seek new forms and methods of apostolate, making it your concern to modernize them in accordance with today's needs, bearing in mind the language and culture of the faithful entrusted to you care," the Pope said.

These efforts must be buttressed by the bishops’ support for their priests and religious. This consists in having "constant recourse to God in prayer and in the constant search for unity among yourselves, and within each of your ... communities," Benedict taught.

Pope Benedict also touched on "the blight of violence and terrorism" and the "spread of extremism and fundamentalism" in the world.

The solution Pope Benedict pointed to is to fight terrorism and fundamentalism with the rule of law. "However," he warned, "the force of law must never itself become iniquity, nor can the free exercise of religion be limited, because freely to profess one's faith is a fundamental and universally-recognized human right."

In contrast with religious fundamentalists, Benedict XVI underlined how "the Church does not impose but freely proposes the Catholic faith, well aware that conversion is the mysterious fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit. Faith is a gift and a work of God, and hence excludes any form of proselytism that forces, allures or entices people by trickery to embrace it."

Addressing religious freedom again, the Holy Father explained that, "A person may open to the faith after mature and responsible reflection, and must be able freely to realize that intimate aspiration. This benefits not only the individual, but all society, because the faithful observance of divine precepts helps to build a more just and united form of coexistence."

The Pope finished his address with an expression of thanks to the priests and religious who work in the various ecclesiastical circumscriptions: Almaty, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

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Global security must not rely on nuclear weapons, Vatican official stresses

Vatican City, Oct 2, 2008 (CNA) - The International Atomic Energy Agency is currently holding its General Conference in Vienna, Austria. Archbishop Dominique Mamberti addressed the assembly regarding the necessity of working to ensure the use of nuclear technology for the good of all the people of the world.

Speaking to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday, Archbishop Mamberti recalled how the IAEA works "to protect and promote life in a most crucial area of human endeavor: the peaceful use of nuclear energy."

The first topic raised by the prelate, who is in charge of the Vatican’s relations with States, is the necessity of working together to share expertise in the three areas of its mandate: technology, safety and verification. The IAEA’s efforts should "always be to unite and associate, not to divide and oppose," he said.

Cooperation between States is the desire of the Holy See, Archbishop Mamberti explained, saying that they should "promote nuclear safety and security, ensure the non-diversion of nuclear materials and the absence of undeclared nuclear activities. These instruments will not only contribute to the fight against nuclear terrorism, but also to the concrete realization of a culture of life and peace capable of promoting in an effective way the integral development of peoples."

"A second level of the 'working together obligation' is working together for the use of peaceful and safe nuclear technology respecting the environment and ever mindful of the most disadvantaged populations," said Archbishop Mamberti, going on to point out that globalization imposes upon the IAEA the obligation of "working together to contribute not only to a specific project or to a certain government or agency, but above all to the good of all the people of the world. Thus, the worth of a project will be measured by the impact it will have on cultural and other human values, as well as on the economic and social well-being of a people or nation."

The third obligation identified by the Holy See secretary for Relations with States was that of "working together for nuclear disarmament." The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, "the cornerstone of the global nuclear non- proliferation regime, ... must not be allowed to be weakened," he said.

"The Holy See entreats and encourages those in authority to come together in order to resume with greater determination a progressive and mutually agreed dismantling of existing nuclear weapons," said the archbishop in conclusion. "Global security must not rely on nuclear weapons. The Holy See considers the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty an important tool to achieve this aim."

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New book recounts Pope Pius XII’s efforts to save thousands of Jews

Rome, Italy, Oct 2, 2008 (CNA/Europa Press) - A new book by the Italian-American nun and expert in literature Sister Margherita Marchione entitled, “Pius XII: The Truth Will Set You Free,” has hit book stands in Italy as the 50th anniversary of the death of the late Pontiff approaches on October 9.

Through direct testimonies, documents and photographs, the book rehabilitates the figure of Pius XII and shows his active commitment in support of the Jewish people during World War II.

Speaking about the new book, Sr. Marchione stressed the need to “speak the truth” about the work the Catholic Church carried out during the papacy of Pius XII to defend and save the Jews from the Nazi persecution.

“In Rome alone some 5,000 Jews were saved” by taking refuge in monasteries, churches and even inside the Vatican, she said.

Marchione said she hopes the book will remove the shadows that have surrounded the figure of Pius XII, who has been criticized for his alleged silence in the face of the Nazi holocaust.  No “historically objective and well-documented method of research” supports such a claim which, she added, “is the result of prejudice and of precipitous and superficial analysis.”

“In reality Pius XII saved the lives of thousands and thousands of Jews and other persecuted people.  Many church buildings, including his residence at Castel Gandolfo, were transformed into places of refuge. Everything took place not only thanks to his consent, but also by order of Pius XII,” the book’s publisher, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, said in a statement.

The Vatican has always defended the position taken by the Pope, who preferred “to maintain maximum reserve and work in silence in order to prevent bloody reprisals and a worsening of the violence.”

In fact, the neutral position maintained by the Pope was only “apparent,” since his speeches on Nazism were “clear and never ambiguous,” as was the case with the encyclical “Summi Pontificatus” published in 1939 or the radio message broadcast on Christmas Day 1942,” the statement continued.

Marchione’s book includes a prologue by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who stressed the work’s “fundamental importance” for recalling the efforts of Pius XII to save the Jews.

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Mosaic of portraits being prepared for World Meeting of Families 2009

Mexico City, Mexico, Oct 2, 2008 (CNA) - The organizing committee of the Sixth World Meeting of Families has invited the families of the world to send their pictures to be part of a “Mosaic of the Families,” which will be unveiled during the event in January of 2009 in Mexico City.

The Ruiz Tolentino family of Ecapetec, Mexico, was the first to respond to the call by the organizing committee, which will use the pictures for the mosaic that will be an image of Pope Benedict XVI.

Up to now some 300 pictures have been sent in from 25 countries around the world.

Families interested in sending in their pictures have until December 12, 2008, to send them to the following email addresses: [email protected] (Spanish) and/or  [email protected] (English).

Pictures should be sent as JPGs, with the name of the head of the family (or of the one sending the picture), the family’s last name, the country of origin and the city of residence. The pictures should not exceed 4 megabytes and should not be taken with a cell phone camera

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Proposed Freedom of Choice act would increase abortions, Bishop Finn says

Kansas City, Mo., Oct 2, 2008 (CNA) - Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, writing in his diocesan newspaper, has discussed the proposed Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which he said would overturn all existing federal regulations on abortion. Claiming the passage of the act would lead to an increase in abortions, he also questioned whether pro-life supporters of pro-choice politicians have their priorities “backwards.”

Writing in his latest column for The Catholic Key, Bishop Finn said “It is clear that FOCA would immediately make null and void every current restriction on abortion in all jurisdictions.”

Though Bishop Finn did not mention any presidential candidates by name, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama has pledged to pass FOCA as his first act as president.

The legislation, which was first proposed in 1989, was reproduced in its current form by Bishop Finn in his October 1 column:

“A government may not (1) deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose – (A) to bear a child; (B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or (C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or (2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.”

According to Bishop Finn, the bill would overturn many state laws, such as abortion reporting requirements in all 50 states. It would additionally overturn states’ laws concerning parental involvement, restrictions on later-term abortions, conscience protection laws for individual health care providers, bans on partial-birth abortions, conscience protection laws for institutions, requirements for counseling before an abortion, and laws providing ultrasounds to distressed women before an abortion.

Bishop Finn said there is “very significant evidence” that the passage of parental involvement laws and ultrasound requirements help reduce the number of abortions, particularly among teenagers.

The bishop then turned to the group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, which in Bishop Finn’s description says “that electing candidates who have permissive or clearly pro-choice stances in support of abortion, but are determined to provide more assistance to poor and vulnerable women and families would actually help to reduce abortions in the United States.”

He said he believes the group “has its priorities backwards.”

“It seems unlikely that candidates advocating full access to abortion – which attacks the most vulnerable poor, the unborn - will at the same time have a consistent or principle-based plan for helping other poor people,” the bishop remarked.

“When a candidate pledges to provide ‘comprehensive sex education’ to school children and promises to promote – or to ‘sign immediately upon taking office’ - the Freedom of Choice Act, Catholics and all people of good will have cause to question the sincerity of the candidate’s determination to reduce abortions, when these already existing limits have caused a decrease of more than 100,000 abortions each year.”

Referring to a pastoral letter jointly authored with Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, Bishop Finn wrote:

“If we are inclined to vote for someone despite their pro-abortion stance, it seems we are morally obliged to establish a proportionate reason sufficient to justify the destruction of 45 million human persons through abortion. If we learn that our ‘candidate of choice’ further pledges – through an instrument such as FOCA - to eliminate all existing limitations against abortion, it is that much more doubtful whether voting for him or her can ever be morally justified under any circumstance.”

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NY state bishops say right to life outweighs other issues in voting

Albany, N.Y., Oct 2, 2008 (CNA) - As various bills which could instate same-sex marriage or force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions are being considered in the state legislature, the Catholic bishops of New York state have issued a new document on the duties of Catholics in the public square.

Saying political engagement must be viewed “through the lens of our faith,” the bishops urged that Catholics let their political judgments be guided by “the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Church.”

The document “Our Cherished Right, Our Solemn Duty,” states that there are many important issues such as the right to life, issues of war and peace, the education of children and how we treat the poor and vulnerable. While all must be considered, “not every issue is of equal moral gravity.”

“The inalienable right to life of every innocent human person outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment, such as how best to meet the needs of the poor or to increase access to health care for all,” the New York bishops’ document says.

“The right to life is the right through which all others flow. To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholics should consider them less acceptable for public office.”

The New York bishops also reference the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” which states “Those who knowingly, willingly, and directly support public policies or legislation that undermine fundamental moral principles cooperate with evil.”

“Our Cherished Right, Our Solemn Duty” also asks Catholics to examine candidates at the state level, lamenting the lack of news and the difficulty of obtaining voting records on such persons.

“While we as Church officials cannot and do not endorse candidates for office,” the bishops continue, “we encourage you to properly form your conscience by reflecting on the moral and social teachings of our Church and we strongly urge you to vote on November 4. For when we vote, we are exercising our cherished right and our solemn duty as Americans and as Catholics.”

At the close of their document, the New York bishops present a list of “important questions” for political candidates. The list includes questions on the right to life, parental rights in education, protecting marriage, immigration reform, access to health care, protecting the poor, and religious liberty.

Dennis Poust, Director of Communications at the New York State Catholic Conference, spoke to CNA on Thursday about the motives behind the document.

“Two years ago the bishops attempted to help Catholics at election time with the state legislative elections by doing a candidate survey,” he explained.

However, the response rate was “really terribly low.”

“People just ignored it, or they wouldn’t answer the questions. They didn’t want to go on record,” Poust told CNA.

He said the bishops are seeking a new way to remind Catholics of their obligations and to discuss important issues, similar to what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has done with their document “Faithful Citizenship.”

Asked about the issues active in New York state, Poust said the abortion issue was not at stake.

Calling New York “the most liberal abortion state in the country,” he commented that “even commonsense restrictions do not get to the floor of the legislature.”

“Same-sex marriage is a big issue here,” he continued, noting that New York Governor David Patterson is “strongly supporting it.” Poust noted that the governor had instructed state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states.

Further, he commented that the New York State Assembly has already passed a same-sex marriage bill, which is opposed by the GOP-controlled New York Senate.

However, the Republicans control the Senate only by a few votes. If control swings to the Democrats, Poust reported, same-sex marriage “could become a reality in this state.”

Poust also described proposed state legislation that would open a window on the statue of limitations for civil claims of sexual abuse of a minor.

Poust stated that the proposal is “aimed at destroying the Catholic Church.” Comparing the proposal to similar failed Colorado legislation, he said the bill would allow people to sue private institutions “going back 60 or 70 years” but not public institutions.

The New York legislature’s proposed Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act is also a threat to religious freedom for Catholics and other pro-life groups. The bill would state abortion is a “fundamental right” and, Proust said, could conceivably force Catholic health care providers to perform abortions.

Another possible outcome would be putting Catholic hospitals out of business as well as Catholic charities which refuse to provide or refer for abortions.

The bill was pushed “very heavily” by the disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Poust told CNA. While Gov. Patterson has supported the bill, he has not indicated if it is going to be a political priority.

CNA asked Poust if the New York bishops’ conference take a stand on whether the abortion issue can qualify or disqualify a candidate.

He explained that the document echoes the U.S. bishops’ remarks in “Faithful Citizenship” and reiterated the New York bishops’ comments that the extent to which candidates support abortion, should make them “less acceptable” to Catholics.

While a candidate’s support for abortion could disqualify him or her as an ethical choice, there could be “morally grave” reasons to support a pro-abortion rights candidate, he added.

However, Poust characterized such cases as requiring “a very high bar” of judgment and a “very difficult bar to pass.”

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Use the media to transmit the Word of God, says Holy Father

Rome, Italy, Oct 2, 2008 (CNA) - In a message sent through Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Pope Benedict XVI sent greetings to the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Europe who are meeting until October 3 in Hungary and discussing among other issues the them of “The Church and the media.”  In his message the Pope encouraged the use of the media to transmit the Word of God.

The Vatican Secretary of State said, “The Holy Father is happy to have been informed of the meeting of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Europe, taking place in Esztergom September 30—October 3, 2008, and he sends his cordial greetings to all those present. Since one of the first themes to be discussed is that of the relationship between the Church and the media, he encourages each one of you to make the best use possible of its opportunities and dispositions in order to disseminate the Word of God in your respective countries.”

“In this year dedicated to the Apostle St. Paul, who expressed the truth of the Gospel in accessible terms to a vast and varied audience, the ‘modern areopagos’ deserve particular attention from the pastors of the Church.”

The Pontiff also called for pastoral care for those involved in the media to help them to be more “respectful of the truth” and “of the dignity of the human person, so that their message can truly contribute to the building of the Kingdom of God on earth.  Entrusting you all to the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Europe, the Holy Father cordially imparts his blessing,” the letter closes.

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