Archive of October 14, 2008

Oregon court orders IVF embryos in divorce case destroyed

, Oct 14, 2008 (CNA) - The Oregon Court of Appeals in a Wednesday decision denied a father’s appeal to keep his six frozen embryos alive. The court, ruling that the issue is a matter of private property, declared that the embryos be destroyed by thawing, as ordered by his ex-wife.

In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that the father, Dr. Darrell Angle, had no right to “impose a genetic parental relationship” on his ex-wife, Dr. Laura Dahl. According to LifeSiteNews, she did not wish to be considered the mother of the pre-born children in the event that they were carried to term.

Angle argued that the embryos were alive and deserved to be protected from destruction.

The couple married in 2000 and gave birth to a son. In 2004 they decided to conceive again through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The treatment failed, leaving six embryos frozen for preservation. The couple had signed an agreement naming Dahl the default decision-maker concerning the embryos, should the couple separate.

After the couple’s divorce, Dahl said she wished to destroy the embryos because she “did not want anyone else to raise her child” and feared any children allowed to be born would try to contact his or her sibling, the couple’s naturally-conceived son.

Angle asked the court to reconsider, saying "there's no pain greater than having participated in the demise of your own child,” LifeSiteNews reports.

In his appeal to the higher court, Angle asked the decision be overruled as an unfair distribution of property. He argued the OHSU agreement should be voided because his desire to save their lives was more valid than his wife’s desire to avoid the birth of another child.

Dahl countered that the court should not favor Angle “in a way that could result in the birth of a child over the objections of a source of the genetic material.”

According to LifeSiteNews, the court narrowly avoided calling the embryos “property” but decided authority over the embryos constituted a matter of private property, as Angle had argued. However, the court ruled in Dahl’s favor.

The court cited related state appellate court rulings, such as Tennessee’s Davis v. Davis which ruled “the husband's interest in not procreating outweighed the wife's interest in donating the eggs to another couple.”

Over 100,000 frozen embryos are cryogenically stored throughout the country.

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Archbishop of Melbourne calls abortion bill a ‘betrayal’ of shared humanity

Melbourne, Australia, Oct 14, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart on Saturday decried the passage of the Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008 in the state of Victoria as “a betrayal of our shared humanity, a betrayal of women, a betrayal of the innocent unborn child that we would ease the way to the destruction of 20,000 unborn children annually.”

The bill, which removes abortion from the Crimes Act, was passed on Friday in Victoria’s Upper House 23 to 17, with all amendments to the bill being rejected.

“For the time being the battle is lost in the legislature. But not in the hearts and minds of good people,” the archbishop said in reaction to the bill’s passage. He described himself and others in the community as people “filled with a profound sadness and anguish” because the parliament has legalized the destruction of children “up to the moment of birth.”

Saying that our shared humanity “demands that we assist mothers with an unwanted pregnancy to enable them to carry their child to term,” he said the Church and “all people of goodwill” will redouble their efforts “to foster and promote a culture that is pro-life; one that defends and supports women in their inspiring role of motherhood.”

Archbishop Hart criticized the bill for offering nothing to support women with unwanted pregnancies, but instead makes easier “the way to the legal destruction of their child,” a course of action the archbishop described as universally recognized as “regrettable and distressing.”

He listed several other problems with the bill: “The Bill overrides the conscientious objection of medical professionals. It makes a mockery of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. It contravenes the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

The archbishop said Catholic hospitals will continue to provide services “in a way consistent with Catholic teaching and code of ethics.”

“Catholic hospitals will not perform abortions,” he stressed. “Catholic hospitals will not provide referrals for the purpose of abortion. This is irrevocable.”

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Palin blasts Obama for opposing legal protections for infant abortion survivors

Johnstown, Pa., Oct 14, 2008 (CNA) - Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, in a speech at a Saturday rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, has attacked what she called Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama’s “extreme and troubling” stand on abortion. Palin argued that there are few issues more important than who is protected under law and insisted that everyone “belongs in the circle of protection.”

“As defenders of the culture of life, John McCain and I believe in the goodness and potential of every innocent life,” Gov. Palin began. “I believe the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are least able to defend and speak for themselves.  And who is more vulnerable, or more innocent, than a child?”

“Every innocent life matters,” she continued. “Everyone belongs in the circle of protection. Every child has something to contribute to the world, if we give them that chance. There are the world’s standards of perfection … and then there are God’s, and these are the final measure. Every child is beautiful before God, and dear to Him for their own sake.”

Palin recalled how she greeted the news that her youngest son Trig would have “special needs” before turning to an attack upon Sen. Obama.

“At first I was scared, and Todd and I had to ask for strength and understanding.  But I can tell you a few things I’ve learned already.  … As for our beautiful baby boy, for Todd and me, he is only more precious because he is vulnerable.  In some ways, I think we stand to learn more from him than he does from us.  When we hold Trig and care for him, we don’t feel scared anymore.  We feel blessed,” Palin said.

“It’s hard to think of many issues that could possibly be more important than who is protected in law and who isn’t – who is granted life and who is denied it.  So when our opponent, Senator Obama, speaks about questions of life, I listen very carefully.”

Palin attacked Obama’s remarks he made in a Johnstown appearance about not wanting his daughters “punished with a baby.”

“It’s about time we called him on it,” she said, charging that the Democratic presidential candidate is “vague and evasive” on the subject.

Palin argued that Obama has voted against bills to end partial-birth abortion, citing Democratic Sen. Patrick Moynihan’s description of the procedure as “too close to infanticide.”

She then noted Obama’s Illinois Senate votes against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA), charging:

“Barack Obama wouldn’t even stand up for the rights of infants born alive during an abortion. These infants – often babies with special needs – are simply left to die. “

She also stated that Obama had misrepresented his record on BAIPA.

“In short, Senator Obama is a politician who has long since left behind even the middle ground on the issue of life.  He has sided with those who won’t even protect a child born alive,” Palin asserted.

Noting that there are many concerns at issue in the election, Palin commented:

“It’s easy to forget even as deep and abiding a concern as the right to life.  And it seems our opponent hopes that you will forget.  Like so much else in his agenda, he hopes you won’t notice how radical his ideas and record are until it’s too late.”

She claimed that Obama would support “activist courts” that will “continue to smother the open and democratic debate we need on this issue, at both the state and federal level.”

Earlier that week, in a Thursday interview with radio show host Laura Ingraham, Palin called Obama’s position on the Illinois BAIPA “absolutely atrocious” and “appalling,” Cybercast News Service says.

“I wish I had more time to explain to people what Barack Obama’s position has been on this.  Because I think, Laura, it has been missing out there in the discussion, in the debate, about the choices that they have in candidates on November 4th.”

“I think that if more Americans could understand how absolutely extreme that position is, there would be a heck of a lot more outrage than we already see,” she continued.

Palin also attacked Obama’s BAIPA position while speaking at a town hall meeting in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Thursday.

“What I don't find compassionate is Barack Obama's vote, as an Illinois senator, when three times he had the chance to vote to be able to provide health care for a child who was born alive as a result of a botched abortion,” she said.

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Holy Father attends symphony to celebrate birth of St. Paul

Rome, Italy, Oct 14, 2008 (CNA) - After attending a concert performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to celebrate the birth of St. Paul, the Holy Father offered his praise saying that the symphony "translates the faith of its author, who with his compositions was capable of transmitting a religious vision of life and history."


The orchestra conducted by Christopher Eschenbach, played the sixth symphony of Anton Bruckner. The concert was offered to the Pope and the Synod Fathers by the "Fondazione pro Musica e Arte Sacra" (Foundation for Music and Sacred Art) in order to commemorate the bi-millennium birth of St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles.


In brief remarks delivered at the basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls, Benedict XVI expressed his delight at attending the Vienna Philharmonic's "masterly" interpretation of Bruckner's symphony.


"We could say that Anton Bruckner, drawing from the Austrian Baroque and the Schubertian tradition of popular song, brought the romantic process of interiorization to its extreme consequences."  The Pontiff also commented that "listening to this famous composition in the basilica dedicated to St. Paul, we are spontaneously drawn to a passage from the First Letter to the Corinthians in which the Apostle, having spoken of the diversity and unity of charisms, compares the Church to the human body, made up of members very different one from the other but all indispensable to its correct functioning. In the same way, this orchestra and choir are formed of various instruments and voices which, in harmony together, produce a melody sweet to the ear and to the spirit."


The Pope also expressed his hope that the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, "may truly become a fulcrum for liturgical, spiritual and artistic initiatives that aim to rediscover his missionary work and theological ideas."

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Bishops of persecuted Christians speak on faithfulness to the Word of God

Vatican City, Oct 14, 2008 (CNA) - Tuesday morning’s meeting of the synod of bishops on the Bible saw Cardinal Emmanuel Delly of Baghdad, Iraq and Bishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Lihn of Thanh Hoa, Vietnam speak about how their flocks remain faithful to the Word of God amidst persecution.


“I am a son of the land of Abraham, Iraq,” Cardinal Delly began as he spoke passionately about the seemingly impossible struggle to bring peace to his country. Saying that the Church has “tried everything to obtain peace and serenity for the country,” the leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church described the situation as “disastrous and tragic” in some parts of Iraq.


“Life is a Calvary,” Cardinal said as he went through a litany of the dangers and fears his flock is subjected to, including kidnapping and extortion.


For Iraqi Christians, “To live the Word of God means to us to bear witness to it with the cost of our own lives,” the prelate said, as he recounted how numerous Christians had been kidnapped or in some cases murdered.  In particular, he recalled Archbishop Faraj Rahho of Mosul, Fr. Raghid Ganni, two other priests and six other young persons who were killed.


“Because of this, I beg of you to pray to the Lord Jesus, the Word of God, for us and with us, and to share our concerns, our hopes and the suffering of our wounded, so that the Word of God made flesh stays in His Church and with us as good news and support.”


Following Cardinal Emmanuel Delly’s words, Bishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Lihn of Thanh Hoa, Vietnam took the floor to speak about how the Word of God sustains his flock in spite of Vietnam’s history of “hatred, ideological wars and discrimination.”


Nevertheless, the Vietnamese Christians remain “more convinced than ever that only in the Word of God can they persevere in love, joy, peace, communion and tolerance,” Bishop Nguyen said.


The Vietnamese bishop also related an interesting story to illustrate how “the Word of God continues to sustain the Church in Vietnam.”


Shortly after the canonization of the 117 Vietnamese martyrs in 1988, thousands of people belonging to various ethnic minorities converted to the Catholic faith en masse.


“The strange thing is,” Bishop Nguyen observed, “many of them admitted they had listened to a Protestant radio station in Manila, Philippines, but converted to Catholicism. Thus the Protestants sow and the Catholics reap. The Word of God, ringing out from afar and reaching their ears, became a source of hope for these people, who live among the mountains deprived of everything and without a future.”


Bishop Nguyen finished his remarks by saying that “as a Vietnamese Christian I would like to reiterate my conviction that amidst persecutions our greatest grace is faithfulness to the Word of God."

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Abortion supporters are outside the Church, says Mexican cardinal

Mexico City, Mexico, Oct 14, 2008 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, said this week those who promote and approve laws in favor of abortion are outside the Catholic Church and should not receive Communion.


During his homily at the Mass in honor of Our Lady of Zapopan, the cardinal encouraged those present to defend life from conception to natural death.


“Abortion defenders will not go to the eternal banquet, murderers will not go to the eternal banquet, the unjust who strip the poor of everything and leave them to die of hunger and illness will not go the eternal banquet either, because they are against life,” Cardinal Iniguez explained.


Before the hundreds of faithful gathered in the church, the cardinal stated, “Three years ago in Rome [the Church] said that those who do not defend life and who promote abortion and similar things through laws should not approach to receive Communion. They are not worthy to receive this sacred mystery.”


Likewise, the cardinal reminded those present that the intention of their celebration was to “pray to the Virgin for respect for life and the family, which is the sanctuary of life, it is where life is born and grows.” 

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Salvadoran archbishop demands transparency about summit on ´Youth and Development´

San Salvador, El Salvador, Oct 14, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop Fernando Saenz Lacalle has called on officials to be transparent about the issues that will be discussed at the 18th Latin American Summit of Heads of State and Government, which will take place October 29-31 in San Salvador on the subject, “Youth and Development.”


“I invite the Government to publish as soon as possible the totality of the documents that will be adopted,” so that they can be made known to the public, the archbishop said, warning that there is concern that “some of the documents that have been leaked are an attack on natural law,” the Salvadoran Constitution and “the moral values and principles that the vast majority of Salvadorans consider important.”


The archbishop said he was worried about “the lack of transparency regarding the commitments that are supposed to be made at the next Latin American Summit on Youth,” commitments which President Antonio Saca has pledged to sign.


He pointed out that many institutions that work with young people have requested to see the documents that will be adopted, “but they have not received them.”


“In response to request for the documents, official sources have referred us to the Summit’s website, but the information there is not complete,” the archbishop said. “Why don’t they want to make all of the documents public?  What do they have to hide?” he asked.

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Iraq has become place of death for Christians, priest warns

Rome, Italy, Oct 14, 2008 (CNA) - Father Philip Najim of the Patriarchate of Babylonia of the Chaldeans, warned this week that violent anti-Christian violence carried out by Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq has turned the country “into a place of death, a country in which the death and harming of defenseless people has become an industry.¨


In an interview with the L’Osservatore Romano, Father Najim explained that with this wave of violence, those paying the price are “the Christian communities of Mosul, which in recent days have suffered persecution.  Just today (Sunday) alone, one thousand people have had to abandon their homes after threats from unscrupulous terrorist groups.”

After pointing out the Church’s work to help people by offering them refuge in monasteries and convents, Father Najim said Mosul is currently “a prisoner of dark forces, of criminal gangs who want to postpone and block any peace process that the Iraqis wish to reach.

“The situation in Mosul has gotten worse,” he continued.  “There is a sinister interest in getting rid of the Christians in this city.  This is a black policy which does not favor man, it´s not a policy that seeks to improve the situation and bring democracy to the country.  We cannot have peace when life is not respected, especially human life, which is a natural right and above all a gift from God.”

Father Najim said the Government “is doing nothing” and that the international community is silent.  “The occupational forces in Iraq also contribute to destabilizing the country, because they are not able to guarantee peace. No one cares about us or about Iraq.  In this interview I want to get everyone’s attention so that they will intervene and put an end to the violence and respect life,” the priest said.

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Cardinal Bertone encourages recovery of Sacrament of Reconciliation

Rome, Italy, Oct 14, 2008 (CNA) - During the Synod of Bishops this week, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, encouraged the recovery of the Sacrament of Reconciliation because it has become increasingly less common among the faithful.


According to the L’ Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Bertone explained that “it is important that the confessor feels responsible for inviting the penitent to read Sacred Scripture” and that “he assumes this effort. ¨ ¨Perhaps the Synod could make a specific invitation in this regard.”


Cardinal Bertone described what using Scripture in Confession could look like, saying, “The Word of God enlightens the faithful to know their sins, calls them to conversion and infuses in them faith in the mercy of God.  Then, if opportune, the priest or the penitent himself, reads a text from Sacred Scripture. The reading can take place as well during preparation for the Sacrament (in addition to the examination of conscience).”


“The readings of the day could also be suggested, or some verses that speak of the mercy of God could be recited from memory or that invite the person to do penance and be converted,” the cardinal said.

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Bishop of Fresno removes priest who opposes Prop. 8

Fresno, Calif., Oct 14, 2008 (CNA) - Bishop of Fresno John Steinbock has removed and suspended from the priesthood a pastor who told parishioners to oppose Proposition 8 and declared himself to be a homosexual. The bishop’s letter to the priest charged him with contradicting the teaching of the Catholic Church and bringing scandal to the parish and to the whole Church.

Proposition 8 is a ballot measure for California which, if passed, will amend the state Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. The California Supreme Court had imposed same-sex marriage on the state in a May decision.

On October 5 Father Geoffrey Farrow, who until recently pastored the St. Paul Newman Center in Fresno, told parishioners he opposed the marriage initiative after his homily at the 11 a.m. Mass, the California Catholic Daily reports. In a television interview before the Mass on KFSN-TV in Fresno, the priest admitted his own homosexuality.

When news of Fr. Farrow´s stance reached Bishop Steinbock, he took away the priest’s diocesan salary and health benefits, telling him not to return to the Newman Center or any other parish in the diocese he had previously served.

“Your statement contradicted the teaching of the Catholic Church and has brought scandal to your parish community as well as the whole Church," Bishop Steinbock said in a letter to the priest, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Father Farrow responded in an October 9 post to his blog, saying “In all candor, I had anticipated that response which is why I had removed my personal property from the parish house and offices. I bear no personal antimosity (sic) to the bishop for his decision.”

He continued to oppose Proposition 8, writing: “I am however, making good use of my time. I am speaking with various groups and individuals who are working very hard for the ‘NO on Proposition 8’ campaign. I have to tell you, this is a fight for all of us, not just for people in the state of California.”

“If the yes on prop. 8 party wins, they won't stop with robbing gay and lesbian people in California of their right to marry,” he continued, claiming the initiative’s backers would target domestic partnership laws, adoption laws, and employment protection laws.

“Essentially, they would like gay and lesbian people to have no rights at all and simply to not exist,” he claimed.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Bishop Steinbock had already ordered Father Farrow against “using the Internet as a means of continuing your conflict with the Church's teaching.”

The 50-year-old Father Farrow was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fresno in 1985. He has served as an Air Force reservist as chaplain at Edwards Air Force Base.

On Sunday a letter from Bishop Steinbock reiterating the Church’s support for Proposition 8 was read at Sunday morning Masses at the St. Paul Newman Center. According to the California Catholic Daily, some applauded the letter and others walked out.

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Rule of law’ helpful in addressing economic crisis, archbishop tells UN

, Oct 14, 2008 (CNA) -

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the apostolic nuncio leading the Holy See’s observer mission to the United Nations, on Tuesday addressed the Sixth Committee of the U.N. General Assembly on international aspects of the rule of law. The current economic crisis, he said, “shows that a strong rule of law could be very helpful in the promotion of fair and stable economic development.”

“The interconnected nature of the global market has increased the need for debate on and implementation of the rule of law, so as to establish a more just global economic system,” he continued. “In the developing world, the rule of law can provide social and economic growth while in the developed world, through just regulations, it can ensure greater economic stability and fairness.”

The archbishop insisted that the rule of law is the mechanism by which international organizations and national governments “are called to provide effective recognition of the dignity of all persons regardless of their social, economic, or political status.”

However, the rule of law is presently perceived to be more of a bureaucratic exercise than a reasonable implementation of helpful laws. In such a situation, “the rule of law could become insufficient by itself to defend the dignity of the human person.”

“The rights of persons are not simply a set of legal norms but represent, above all, fundamental values.”

Archbishop Migliore emphasized that these values must be sustained and fostered by society to safeguard the dignity of persons in culture, the public sphere, and the conduct of society.

“Although the rule of law is not in itself sufficient, it remains nevertheless an indispensable instrument for the protection of human dignity,” the archbishop continued, noting the implied demand for the rule of law in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The rule of law, he continued, is a vital component of states to protect their peoples from genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

“It also provides for the international community to intervene when a State is unable or unwilling to exercise this fundamental responsibility,” he added, while clarifying that such intervention does not concern only the use of force.

He suggested that the U.N. enhances the rule of law by making international treaties and conventions and directing more attention to international norms.

Archbishop Migliore concluded by recalling that U.N. agencies and monitoring bodies must respect the intent and desires of their member states.

“A treaty body system which moves away from the original intent of the parties and expands its mandates beyond the power given by States, risks undermining its own credibility and legitimacy and can discourage States from joining conventions,” he said.

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