Houston, Texas, Oct 27, 2008 (CNA) - Catholic Texans will have the opportunity to show their support for life and the dignity of the human person at a Pilgrimage for Life that will be led by Cardinal DiNardo of Houston just before Thanksgiving.
The event, which is being hosted by the Texas Catholic Conference, will take place on Monday, November 24, and will be dedicated to encouraging society to fully embrace the fullness of Church teaching on the life and dignity of the human person, from conception to natural death.
The pilgrimage will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal DiNardo at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Huntsville. Following Mass, Cardinal DiNardo will lead a one-mile prayerful procession from an abortion referral center to the Texas death row.
“Pilgrims may also choose to stay at the parish for adoration and guided reflection on the Stations of the Cross and Catholic social teaching,” according to the Texas Catholic Conference.
For more information visit: http://www.txcatholic.org/pilgrimage.asp
Washington D.C., Oct 27, 2008 (CNA) - To demonstrate the impact that allowing same-sex marriage has on society, iVoteValues has produced a short video showing how the gay agenda in schools impacts children and families.
iVoteValues, a collaborative effort from the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family recently released a video titled, “Gay Agenda in Schools.” In it, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, explains how same-sex marriage impacts everyone.
“You may be asking yourself, how will same-sex marriage affect my family? Well, based on the evidence, everything changes when same-sex marriage becomes legal. If it is legalized, it must be taught as normal, acceptable and moral behavior in every public school.”
“Don’t believe me? It has already happened in Massachusetts,” Perkins states in the video.
In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to permit homosexual marriage in the United States. This decision has impacted students within the public school system as young as five who are taught that same-sex marriage is acceptable.
In the video, Perkins also speaks with two families who discuss their experiences of same-sex marriage being taught in schools.
The first family, the Parkers, explain that their kindergarten son was given a book about homosexuality in a “diversity book bag.” The parents were not given prior notification.
The second family, the Wirthlins, tell the story of their seven year old son coming home from school after a teacher read his class the book, “King and King,” in which a prince falls in love with another prince.
Mr. Wirthlin notes that “it’s a story that introduces the story of men having a relationship and getting married.” Wirthlin and his wife also explain in the video that homosexuality was presented to their son as something that is “good and right.”
The stories of these families show that voting in this election on same-sex marriage “affects every family and every child,” Perkins concludes in the video, “including yours.”
Vatican City, Oct 27, 2008 (CNA) - The working sessions of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops ended Saturday morning when the Synod Fathers approved 55 propositions to present to Pope Benedict XVI.
The Pope has ordered the publication of a provisional and unofficial Italian-language version of the propositions. This marks the second time that Pope Benedict has allowed the publication of the closing propositions of a synodal assembly, the Vatican Information Service reports.
Normally the propositions are presented privately to the Pope, who considers them as he prepares the official closing document of a Synod, the Apostolic Exhortation.
The first part of the list, “The Word of God in the Faith of the Church,” focuses on the duty of pastors to educate the faithful to help them strengthen their relationship with Jesus Christ, through reading and meditating upon Scripture.
The Synod also asks pastors to be “sensitive to the rediscovery of natural law and its function in the formation of consciences,” saying the “great progress of science” in its knowledge of the natural world can obscure the ethical message of nature.
The propositions analyze the relationship between the Old and the New Testaments, after which they note that the poor are “in need not only of bread but also of the words of life” and have a preferential right to know the Gospel.
In the second section of the Synod’s propositions, focused on the theme “The Word of God in the Faith of the Church,” the Synod Fathers suggest that the Bible be placed in a visible position inside churches. They state that the Word of God must be clearly proclaimed by people who have “familiarity with the dynamics of communication.”
The Synod propositions stress that a homily must be well-prepared, keeping in mind the day’s biblical readings, what the readings mean to the priest, and what he must say to the community in response to their situation. Though the liturgy of the Word is a privileged place for encountering Christ, it must not be confused with the liturgy of the Eucharist.
One of the propositions reflects the Pope’s suggestions that scriptural interpretation ought to follow the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum in attending to both the historical and the theological aspects of Scripture. Pope Benedict had said in an address during the Synod that where the interpretation of faith is lacking, “positivist or secularist” interpretations will arise which exclude the divine from human history.
Promoting “lectio divina,” the prayerful reading of Scripture, is also emphasized in the Synod’s propositions.
Encouraging the laity in their efforts to transmit the faith, the Synod Fathers’ propositions underline the indispensable role of women especially within the family, in catechesis, and in the lectorate.
The final part of the list of propositions, “The Word of God in the Mission of the Church,” discusses the Word of God and liturgical art and the translation and interpretation of the Bible. Warning against sects and fundamentalist readings of the Bible, the propositions highlight the importance of the communications media for evangelization.
The section also discusses the promotion of pilgrimages, the study of Holy Scripture in the Holy Land, and the relationship between the Word of God and environmental protection.
Discussing dialogue with Jews and Muslims, the Synod Fathers call for inter-religious dialogue to be strengthened, insisting “that all believers be effectively guaranteed the liberty to profess their religion in private and in public, and that freedom of conscience be recognized.” The bishops suggest episcopal conferences should promote meetings and dialogues with Jews.
According to the Synod Fathers, “reciprocity” and freedom of conscience will be an important part of dialogue with Muslims.
The final proposition of the Synod is dedicated to the Virgin Mary as the model of the Church’s faith and suggests that the faithful be further encouraged to pray the Angelus and the Rosary.
On Friday Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, announced the names of the twelve prelates elected members of the Twelfth Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, and of the three members appointed by the Holy Father. Archbishop of Chicago Cardinal Francis George, who heads the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, was chosen for the council.
Vatican City, Oct 27, 2008 (CNA) - On Friday afternoon patriarchs and archbishops from Eastern Catholic churches who were participating in the Synod of Bishops appealed to Pope Benedict XVI “in favor of our brothers and sisters of the East,” asking for the confirmation of all attempts being made to “favor peace, freedom, and truth in love” in Lebanon, Iraq and India.
In the appeal, which was published in the pages of L’Osservatore Romano, the prelates write:
“Our hearts are moved by the suffering of so many of our sons and daughters of the East. Children and youth, people in extreme difficulty because of their age, health or essential spiritual and material needs; families perennially tempted to despair over the present and the future. We feel it our duty to voice their justifiable hopes that everyone may soon be guaranteed a dignified life, in fruitful social coexistence.
“Peace is the work of justice! This is an imperative we cannot ignore. We ask, then, for peace in justice, of which real religious freedom is a guarantee, and especially for the Holy Land which was the birthplace of Christ the Redeemer, for Lebanon, Iraq and India.
“We remain close to people suffering for their Christian faith and to all believers prevented from professing their religion. We pay homage to Christians who have recently lost their lives for faithfulness to the Lord.”
According to the Vatican Information Service, the appeal’s authors continue by noting the encouragement of the Pope and the Synod Fathers. The writers ask that Christians and all men of good will demonstrate respect and acceptance of others in daily life. They ask that pastors and religious leaders preach and support such action by sustaining and increasing “initiatives of mutual understanding, dialogue, and assistance.”
The prelates also ask that the international community and politicians guarantee “true religious freedom” with legislation which overcomes all discrimination and helps those who are forced to leave their own land for religious reasons.
On Sunday after the Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI joined the patriarchs’ and archbishops’ appeal by defending Christians in Iraq and India who are “victims of intolerance and violence.”
The Pope asked civil and religious authorities to make every effort to restore immediately civil coexistence, explaining that “honest and loyal citizens” should be able to count on “adequate protection” by the State. Such authorities should make “significant and explicit gestures” out of friendship and consideration toward minorities, Christian or otherwise, defending “their legitimate rights.”
Tegucigalpa, Oct 27, 2008 (CNA) - Citing its pro-abortion rights and anti-parent content, a coalition of pro-family and pro-life groups has published an open letter to Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, asking him not to sign the convention on the rights of young people at the upcoming Latin American Summit of Heads of State and of Government, which will take place in San Salvador at the end of the month.
The letter warns that “the document pushes ‘Reproductive Sexual Health’ and ‘Gender Ideology.’ It has been proven that these terms, although they sound good, are used to promote an agenda in favor of abortion, abortifacient pills, homosexuality and other sexual deviations, sterilizations and other artificial forms of birth control for teens without the knowledge or consent of their parents.”
“Mr. President, do not sign it, because the solutions being proposed clearly favor economic interests that exploit young people by selling them products, instead of providing them true education in affectivity and sexuality, promoting self-control and educating their wills,” the letter continued.
“Mr. President, do not sign it, because unfortunately in our countries what we have least seen are abstinence programs. On the other hand, the solution that has been given to young people is contraceptives, and the results are obvious.”
The letter pointed out that deceitful language is being used in the Convention, such as “reducing ‘unsafe abortions,’ in an attempt to make people think that legal abortion is ‘safe abortion.’ Safe abortions do not exist. The baby is always killed and the woman is the second victim of this industry which incites promiscuity in order to make her into a ‘loyal customer’.”
“Mr. President, do not sign it, because nowhere does it speak of the importance of parents and the primary, principal and irreplaceable teachers of their children, and it attacks parental authority and laws that protect the rights of parents,” the letter indicated.
Madrid, Spain, Oct 27, 2008 (CNA) - The president of the Spanish Bishops’ Committee on Education, Bishop Casimiro Lopez Llorente of Segorbe said last week parents have the right to conscientiously object to the controversial material included in the Education for Citizenship course which the government is imposing on all schools.
During a ceremony opening the new academic year at the Catholic University of Avila, Bishop Lopez Llorente said he has requested that the contents of the course be modified and that questionable ideological material be removed.
“I have submitted a proposal which is viable and within the law that modifies the decrees so that this course will conform to the Constitution and its principles, to fundamental rights and to the structure and functioning of society, and I think this is in conformity with what the European Union is requesting,” the bishop said.
His proposals would eliminate from the course all content that is based on an “anthropology that disregards God, moral relativism and all discussions of gender ideology.”
“If this is not possible, and I think it is, it would be good if it were at least optional and that those who do not want to take it for reasons of conscience were at least respected,” the bishop added.
“The choice to object is a position that is totally correct and even constitutional allowed according to the Supreme Court,” he told the thousands of parents who have refused to allow their children to take the course. “In no way are they disobedient and they should never be threatened,” he said.
Washington D.C., Oct 27, 2008 (CNA) - Bill Roth, president of the Catholic Democrats political action committee, recently spoke about pro-life Catholics who strongly oppose the idea that voting for Barack Obama is a viable Catholic option, describing them as followers of “pelvic theology.”
Roth made the derisive comments while speaking to Rick Maese, a journalist from the Baltimore Sun. Maese reported Roth's remarks on Saturday in the Baltimore Sun article “Democrats again face the Catholic challenge.”
Roth, who claims to promote “civility” in intra-Catholic disagreements about abortion, told Maese that the American Roman Catholic Church is split between "believers in social theology" who are most concerned about poverty, health care and war, and "those with a firm adherence to pelvic theology," who are driven to the polls by issues such as abortion and same-sex marriages.
“Emotions have grown heated, with Biden under attack from national Catholic groups for his views on abortion, and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin energizing many socially conservative voters,” writes Maese.
Maese also recalls that “the top vote-getter in the past nine presidential elections has won a majority of the Catholic vote. If Obama and Biden - who would be the first Catholic vice president - are to win in November, many analysts say it will be because Democrats successfully wooed undecided Catholics, including those grappling with the ticket's support of abortion rights.”
“Just like the American people, Catholics are divided, but not along party lines,” Roth told the Baltimore Sun.
The article also quotes Patrick Whelan, head of “Catholic Democrats,” a Boston-based organization. Whelan slammed the Knights of Columbus for running a full-page open letter in USA Today, signed by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, calling on Biden to “secure the rights of the unborn.”
Whelan called the Knights of Columbus letter a "smear" against Biden that fails to "recognize the common ground that exists" on the abortion debate for many voters.
“It's got to be the new narrative for the future: Let's work together and not just scream at each other about abortion,” Whelan is quoted in the Baltimore Sun. “The major Catholic story line in this election could be, ‘Which narrative wins?’”
“Still, despite these efforts, Catholic voters in recent weeks seem to be breaking toward the Republican ticket,” Maese continues.
Consulted by CNA about Roth and Whelan’s comments, Austin Ruse, President of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute said that “there is no one poorer or more defenseless in the whole world than a little baby marked for death through abortion. That someone like Mr. Roth cannot find this person within his heart and within his social justice vision reflects pitiably upon Mr. Roth.”
“One day a future Pope will apologize for Mr. Roth and others like him who ignored the teachings of the Church and the cries of these poorest among us,” Ruse said.
Panama City, Panama, Oct 27, 2008 (CNA) -
Local media in Panama reported last week that the country’s Ministry of Social Development is driving the creation of the so-called “Institute for Women,” which will promote gender ideology, abortion and same-sex unions.
Last week, the National Assembly of Representatives approved a measure that would create the Institute. Social Development Minister Maria Roquebert Leon called it the “most important” step for institutionalizing the rights of women.
The Institute will participate in projects aimed at maintaining society “free of gender inequalities.”
Recently, pro-life and pro-family groups criticized the Ministry for Social Development for promoting the controversial “law on the comprehensive protection of childhood and adolescence, which attacks parental authority.”
San Diego, Calif., Oct 27, 2008 (CNA) - Salvatore Cordileone, auxiliary bishop of the San Diego diocese, has written to San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and the San Diego City Council as the council considers on Monday a resolution concerning whether the city will officially oppose Proposition 8. The bishop’s letter argued that passing the resolution would not represent the consensus of San Diegans and would weaken the family.
“We need to be supporting and strengthening the institution of marriage for the sake of children, not redefining and weakening it,” he wrote.
Bishop Cordileone’s letter, dated Oct. 21, 2008, was republished by the California Catholic Daily.
He began his letter by saying: “Those of us who favor preserving marriage as the union of a man and a woman in California are wondering what ever happened to our democracy.”
Citing the 61 percent of voters who in 2000 passed Proposition 22, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, Bishop Cordileone charged that the will of this majority was overturned by the California Supreme Court earlier this year.
“Defining marriage as it has been understood in every society since the beginning of the human race is hardly the stuff of which unconstitutional laws consist,” the bishop wrote.
Many people, “trusting in the democratic process,” had expended “vast resources of time, energy and capital” to pass Proposition 22.
The bishop mentioned that the California attorney general had not only refused to stay the Supreme Court decision which overturned Proposition 22, he had “in an unprecedented move,” changed the title of the proposition after its qualification for the ballot in a way that “prejudices” the wording.
Bishop Cordileone also decried the repeated theft of “Yes on 8” signs and the severe beating of a Proposition 8 supporter in Modesto.
“And yet, not a peep from our elected officials decrying this violence and intolerance,” he commented.
Noting how he had previously written a letter to the city council stating that the issue was divisive, he commented: “The experience over this last year has more than adequately demonstrated that it is true.”
Saying that the San Diego city council could speak for the entire city, the bishop asked whether council members had surveyed area residents.
“How can you presume to speak for the entire city when a majority – or at least, a very sizeable minority – is in favor?” he asked.
“Why are our thoughts and feelings not worthy of equal consideration to theirs, especially when we can offer many rational, cogent arguments to justify our position? We support marriage because marriage benefits everyone; we abhor violence and unjust treatment against people who disagree with us. Nonetheless, we are accused of discrimination. Who, though, is being discriminated against now?” the bishop continued.
Bishop Cordileone noted how the city had changed for the worse, witnessing a decline of safety and a decline in secure home life for children.
“What, though, can be a greater benefit to children and young people than growing up with their mother and father married to each other in a low-conflict relationship? We need to be supporting and strengthening the institution of marriage for the sake of children, not redefining and weakening it.”
After charging that same-sex marriage intentionally deprives children of a mother and a father, he appealed to the council members to defeat the resolution opposing Proposition 8.
“After having made such laudatory and inspired commitments to our youth, please, do not now sell them down the river by telling them that it’s not important for them to have a mother and a father.
“Please do not divide our community any more bitterly than it already is. Please do not betray the trust the public has placed in you. Please do not disenfranchise those who worked so hard to give Californians the opportunity to decide,” he concluded, asking that the democratic process be allowed to work.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct 27, 2008 (CNA) - Bishop Marcelo Raul Martorell of Puerto Iguazu in Argentina told the faithful last week they should participate in civil life, especially in politics, and said abstaining from involvement in secular affairs is a “grave omission.”
“The Church invites everyone to participate in politics and in secular affairs, and it is a grave omission for the faithful to abstain from being an effective Christian presence in those areas,” he said.
The bishop also underscored that “following Jesus Christ always implies a commitment to the truth and to love of neighbor, with the desire making society grow and transforming it into one that is more just and evangelical, until the Lord comes.”
Likewise, Bishop Martorell insisted that Christians must defend “the freedom of every man to honor God above any law and political authority,” and they must be convinced that “God can also use even the most adverse and irreligious political situations to bring about the story of salvation.”
“Let us always keep this reality in mind and let us confidently hope in the designs of the Lord of history and of life, who knows the opportune time to intervene for salvation,” the bishop said. “Let us pray to Mary Most Holy to intercede before Jesus that through the light of the Holy Spirit we will be able to correctly read the present history of our lives,” he stated.