Archive of October 30, 2008

Suspicious ‘educational’ movement launched in Panama

Panama City, Panama, Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - Pro-life leaders in Panama are expressing concern about the new “Citizens’ Movement for Education,” which has been created with funding from UNICEF amidst the debate in the country on a new sexual and reproductive health law that seeks to impose abortion and gender ideology.

Although leaders of the movement said its objective is to promote “equality and quality” in education, pro-life and pro-family leaders warned the movement is led by Raul Leis, secretary of the Adult Education Council for Latin America, whose agenda is to impose gender ideology and abortion in the continent.

Pro-life leaders reiterated their rejection of any attempt to impose educational programs on schools that attack the right of parents to choose the kind of moral formation they want for their children.

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Florida marriage amendment support nears victory level

Tallahassee, Fla., Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - Poll results released last Friday show voter support for Florida’s Amendment 2, which would reaffirm the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, is nearing the sixty percent support required for passage.

“We are gradually gaining steam and have moved from 55 percent to 57 percent. But we are still not at the 60 percent needed for a victory protect marriage in Florida on November 4,” wrote John Stemberger, state chairman of, in a press release.

According to Stemberger, opponents had engaged in “below the belt campaigning” by stealing yard signs, filing frivolous complaints, and making “outright false and fraudulent claims” in television advertising. He claimed the Yes on 2 campaign has suffered from “stunning and unprecedented” media bias and is being outspent by opponents by a three to one margin.

Stemberger said the vote will be “razor close” and appealed for thousands volunteers to help pass the amendment. The campaign asks that people help in making phone calls, erecting yard signs, delivering bulletin inserts to churches, making literature drops at fall festivals, and waving yard signs at precincts on Election Day.

The campaign chairman of also appealed for monetary donations.

“Help us win this battle to protect marriage for generations to come,” Stemberger wrote. 

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Archbishop Gomez: ‘culture of life’ issues cannot be dismissed from public debate

San Antonio, Texas, Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop of San Antonio Jose Gomez has published a column in the San Antonio Express News lamenting the “troubling” absence of life and family issues in public debate. Defending the relevance of “culture of life” issues, he said they are among the “most fundamental concerns of civilization.”

“Regardless which side of these issues a person falls, these are defining principles for any society,” he wrote in his October 29 essay.

He noted that the Express News’ voter guide did not include “fundamental life issues,” adding that people need to know candidates’ positions on the “key issues that protect the right to life” such as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and capital punishment.

Candidates’ position on the definition of marriage should also be a matter covered in such voter guides, Archbishop Gomez suggested.

Noting that “culture of life” issues are often “dismissed as purely religious issues,” he charged that this characterization is “inaccurate.”

“These issues deal with the most fundamental concerns of human civilization,” the archbishop explained. “The strong moral teaching at the foundation of these issues does not disqualify them from deserving serious public discussion, nor deny the impact they have on the common good.”

The labeling of abortion opponents as “one issue” voters, he argued, might keep people from confronting the “moral gravity” of taking an innocent human life.

The label “also avoids the reality that abortion is an issue that affects all segments of our society,” Archbishop Gomez continued, saying that the right to life is the “primary right” guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence.

“Unless we protect this fundamental right of each human person, at all stages of life, no other issue or liberty matters,” he stated.

“Society should not insist that people of faith be silent in the face of grave evil,” his column continued. “We live in a society that would like to privatize religion, to take it out of the public square.  Privatizing religion would be for all people of faith, an unholy compromise. We who profess to believe in God cannot allow him to be banished from the public square,” the archbishop stressed.

Archbishop Gomez also said it is not his purpose, nor the purpose of the Church, to tell people how or for whom to vote.

“However, we have a responsibility to be a voice for the innocent, the helpless, for life itself at this time of political clutter. We cannot ignore these issues, many of which we believe are ‘non-negotiable.’  If our nation loses respect for life and true ‘family values’ it will have lost its moral authority to lead the world.”

Concluding by saying that America was founded upon beliefs in the dignity of the human person, in justice, and in the common good, Archbishop Gomez remarked: “All Catholics and people of faith will be praying for God’s guidance and wisdom as we celebrate our democracy.”

Archbishop Gomez's full column can be read at:

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Bishop corrects Michigan governor’s ‘shocking’ endorsement of embryo research proposal

Lansing, Mich., Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - Bishop of Lansing Earl Boyea has rebuked Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Sunday endorsement of a ballot proposal which would remove many restrictions on destructive human embryo research. He described as “shocking” her mention of her Catholic faith to justify her endorsement.

Speaking at a political rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Granholm endorsed Proposal 2, which would loosen restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and allow surplus embryos from state fertility clinics to be destroyed for research purposes.

"As a Catholic, I can say to be pro-cure is to be pro-life," she said, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

In a Monday statement Bishop Boyea responded to the governor’s comments.

“Of course, Catholics and all other responsible citizens will continue to seek cures for disease and injury,” he wrote. “But to imply that Proposal 2 is a valid expression of Catholic principles is shocking. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The bishop explained that Proposal 2 would give an “unlimited license” to those who perform destructive experiments on human embryos.

“While the Catholic Church strongly supports legitimate forms of stem cell research and all other proper forms of scientific inquiry, the Church also teaches that is it is always immoral to destroy a human embryo. For that reason, the Catholic Bishops of Michigan have taken a strong position in opposition to this well-funded assault on human life.”

“The Truth will never go unspoken,” he continued.

“To be in favor of Proposal 2 is not to be pro-life. A well-formed Catholic conscience would never lead a person to support Proposal 2 ‘as a Catholic’.”

All of the Catholic bishops of Michigan have voiced opposition to the proposal.

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Pope describes Catholicism as the ‘cornerstone’ of Canadian society

Vatican City, Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - Anne Leahy, Canada’s new ambassador to the Holy See, was received by Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday morning at an audience where she presented her credentials. Speaking to the new diplomat, the Pope recalled that Catholicism is the “cornerstone” of Canadian society and encouraged Canadians to rediscover the meaning of individual freedom.  


Pope Benedict began his words to Ms. Leahy by quoting John Paul II from his visit to Canada in 2002. Canadians, said the late Pope, are "heirs to an extraordinarily rich humanism, enriched even more by the blend of many different cultural elements. But the core of your heritage is the spiritual and transcendent vision of life based on Christian revelation which gave vital impetus to your development as a free, democratic, and caring society, recognized throughout the world as a champion of human rights and human dignity."


Soon, Canada and the Vatican will celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations, which the Holy Father characterized as years of encouraging multilateral collaboration to help solve the “many problems that present a challenge for humanity in this age." Two shared initiatives that Benedict XVI singled out for praise were the work to promote the treaty prohibiting anti-personnel land mines throughout the world and the effort to contribute to the “stability, peace, and development in the Great Lakes region of Africa."


The “cornerstone” of the building of Canadian society is Catholicism, the Pope said quoting Ambassador Leahy’s own words.


“Nevertheless,” the Holy Father warned, “profound changes can be noticed today, which are seen in different sectors and at times cause concern to the point of asking ourselves if it does not mean a regression in the understanding of the human being.”


The main areas in which these changes can be seen are the “defense and the promotion of life and the family based on natural marriage,” Pope Benedict said.


For a culture of life to “nourish anew the personal and social existence of Canada,” the Holy Father said that, he believes “it is necessary to redefine the meaning of the exercise of liberty.”


The root of the problem, according to Benedict XVI, is that freedom “is perceived more and more as an absolute value, an intangible right of the individual” without any regard for the fact that God is the one who gives us freedom or thought for the communal impact of individuals’ choices.


“In this interpretation, only the individual can decide and choose the form, characteristics, and ends of life, death, and marriage,” the Pope said.


"True freedom," he observed, "is ultimately based on and develops in God. It is a gift that can be accepted as the seed from which the person and society can grow responsibly and be enriched. The exercise of this freedom implies reference to a natural moral law that is universal, which precedes and unifies all rights and duties. In this perspective, I would like to show my support to all the Canadian Bishops' initiatives in favor of family life and thus of the dignity of the human being.”

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Terrorists bomb Catholic university in Spain

Pamplona, Spain, Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - The University of Navarra, a Catholic school in Pamplona, Spain was bombed by the Basque separatist group ETA on Thursday morning. Initial estimates indicate that 21 people have been injured. 


At around 11:00 a.m. a car-bomb exploded at a parking lot located between the main building and the Library of Humanities, injuring 21 people and destroying 20 vehicles.


"There were other small explosions after the fire set off by the fuel tanks in the parked cars nearby," Bernardino Leon, a University of Navarra professor, told the Antena 3 TV channel.


The bombing against Opus Dei-run University received immediate condemnation from the archbishop of Valencia, Cardinal Agustin García-Gasco,  who called it "an act of abject inhumanity." "I express my deepest solidarity to this great community of students and my utmost repudiation of the terrorists' logic," he said on Thursday.


"This shows another expression of ETA's barbarism and culture of death," Cardinal García-Gasco said in a statement released to also express solidarity with the University's Supreme Chancellor and Opus Dei Prelate, Bishop Javier Echeverría.


"By attacking the University of Navarre, terrorists show where they stand: at the opposite of any human good," the cardinal concluded.


Ángel Gómez-Montoro, the rector of the University, reacted to the attack by saying, "we have decided to go back to normality as soon as possible," and "we will do it without fear or anger."


"This is the time to remember the importance of forgiveness, and we want to call the terrorists to stop making so many people suffer," he stressed.


University students and professors will hold a silent march of protest against violence at noon on October 31.


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Diocese of Scranton warns about messages from liberal ‘Catholic’ groups

Scranton, Pa., Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - The Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania has continued educating its members on the importance of life during this election season.  In a new video titled, “The Catholic Church and Life Issues,” the diocese refutes claims by groups such as Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good that Catholics can vote for a pro-choice politician.


The video, which is posted on the Diocese of Scranton web site, discusses the importance of defending human life this election, though some groups are targeting Catholics to convince them that the issue is not one of relevance.


The same topic was addressed by the Bishop of Scranton, Joseph F. Martino earlier this month when he surprised organizers of a political forum at a Pennsylvania parish.  He warned the faithful in attendance of groups and individuals who wrongly interpret the bishop’s statements – particularly their document on Faithful Citizenship – “to justify their political positions and to contradict the Church’s actual teaching on the centrality of abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.”


The video notes that two groups in particular, Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good “claim to be concerned about Catholic teaching and the common good.”


However, the video notes, that is not the case.  These groups “are telling you that a Catholic may vote for a candidate who supports abortion so long as he is not voting because of the candidate’s support of abortion.”


The groups have distributed postcards to Catholics in the Scranton area saying that Catholics can vote for a pro-choice candidate for grave, moral reasons.  The video addresses this saying that the Catholic bishops have also firmly stated that these reasons “must be proportionate to the evil of abortion.”


“No issue facing Americans in this election rises to that standard because abortion has taken the lives of 48.5 million unborn babies since it was legalized in 1973,” notes the video.


Addressing claims that overturning Roe v. Wade will not end abortion, the video informs viewers that, “the truth is that Roe v. Wade denies the protection of the law to the unborn.  Overturning it will certainly reduce the amount of abortions in this country.”


Catholic citizens ‘are faced with a number of important issues this year,” many of which can be reasonably debated among Catholics.  “However there can be no debate on the relative gravity of issues involving the taking of a human life,” the diocese’s video says.


The Diocese of Scranton also warns its faithful against Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, calling them “neither united nor allied with authentic Catholic teaching.” “Catholics and non-Catholics alike should not be misled by them.”


“Let us pray for the wisdom and good judgment to be faithful citizens precisely because we are faithful to the teachings of the church,” the video concludes.


Bishop Martino also released a pastoral letter in early October to members of his diocese reminding them that as Americans, 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 wrote. “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.”

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Officials order removal of abortion pill advertising in Costa Rica

San José, Costa Rica, Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - The National Control of Advertising Board in Costa Rica ruled this week that radio ads promoting the abortion pill as “emergency contraception” are illegal and ordered them pulled off the air.


The decision was made after the Association for the Defense of Life denounced the radio ads promoting the morning-after pill and sponsored by the “Costa Rican Demographic Association.”


The Association argued that the Ministry of Health did not grant approval to the pill because of its anti-implantation effect on a fertilized ovum.


“Such an effect is not compatible with Costa Rican law, which protects life from the moment of conception,” the Ministry of Health said.


The copy for the radio ad reads: “Did you forget to take the pill for two days or more? There’s another option. Use emergency contraception.  A message from the Costa Rican Demographic Association.”


The National Control of Advertising Board ruled in favor of the Association for the Defense of Life and ordered the ads be pulled immediately. 

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Vatican issues new document on using psychology to improve formation of seminarians

Vatican City, Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - The Congregation for Catholic Education has issued a new document whose purpose is to ensure that adequate discernment and formation is used in recruiting candidates for the priesthood.

According to Father Carlo Bresciani, a psychologist and adviser to the Congregation, the documented presented on Thursday by the prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, follows up on the contributions made by the 1974 document, “Educational Orientations for formation in priestly celibacy,” which recognized that “errors in the discernment of vocations are not rare, and too many psychiatric ineptitudes, more or less pathological, only show up after priestly ordination.”  “Discerning them in time will help avoid such dramas,” it said.

The new document, titled, “Orientations for the use of the psychological competencies in the admission and formation of candidates to the priesthood” was discussed by Fr. Bresciani and other contributors at a press conference this morning.

Father Bresciani synthesized the five fundamental points of the new document as follows:

The protection of the personal privacy and good name of the candidate; the need to carry out therapy during the initial discernment phase and before the person enters seminary or  a house of formation if it is determined to be necessary; religious or seminary superiors should only have access to the results of the psychological review if the candidate has consented in writing, and for the sole purpose of improved discernment and formation; it is also possible that the spiritual director ask, but never impose, that the candidate undergo a psychological review, in order to proceed with greater confidence in the process of discernment and spiritual direction; and lastly, that the condition for readmitting a candidate to the seminary who has undergone therapy is that he provide information about the treatment to his new formation directors, who must verify his psychological condition obtaining the proper information with the written consent of the candidate.

Father Bresciani noted that the new directives were not meant to suggest that priestly formation should be entrusted to psychologists, but that the Church values what “human sciences and psychology in particular, can contribute to the preparation of priests with humanly balanced personalities.”

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Presidential candidate in Panama rejects proposed reproductive health law

Panama City, Panama, Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - Panamanian presidential candidate Juan Carlos Varela has expressed his rejection of a proposed law on sexual and reproductive health that is currently before the country’s National Assembly and said that if the measure passes he would overturn it if elected.

“Governments are elected to govern for the benefit of all and not only for that of their supporters, let alone following internal or external tendencies that complicate life in common,” said Varela, who joined with his opponent Ricardo Martinelli in rejecting the measure.

Varela said the entire country should be allowed to debate the proposal and that it should not be put before the National Assembly.  He said that approval of such a law would constitute an attack on the Panamanian family.

He called on President Martin Torrijos to ask the National Assembly to suspend discussion of the controversial measure, adding that the government should be promoting moral values instead of spending millions on publicity and electoral campaigns. 

Recently, Archbishop Jose Dimas Cedeno of Panama City warned that the proposed law was inspired by gender ideology and would be an attack on the rights of parents to educate their children according to the own moral convictions.

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John Paul II’s Christian humanism ‘rescues’ Vatican II document, Weigel says

Rome, Italy, Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution of the Second Vatican Council, rightly recognized that the question of man’s identity is central to modern life but failed to anticipate many of the changes in modern worldviews and lifestyles. So says George Weigel, Catholic commentator and biographer of Pope John Paul II, who argued on Thursday that the teachings of the late Pope complement the document’s omissions.

Speaking at an international symposium on the Second Vatican Council and the Pontificate of John Paul II at the Seraphicum in Rome, Weigel argued that the late Pope's “new humanism” could “rescue” the insights of Gaudium et Spes from the document’s more dated aspects.

Weigel emphasized that Gaudium et Spes was written against the background of the nuclear age and the Cold War, citing as pivotal events the nuclear attacks on Japan in 1945 and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The latter crisis took place in the beginning months of the Second Vatican Council.

“That juxtaposition of the Council’s opening with the terrifying high point of the Cold War had its effects in the Church’s life in the years immediately following,” Weigel said.

Gaudium et Spes was concerned with “pastoral dialogue” with modernity and with “modern man,” beginning with a reflection on the “human situation in the contemporary world,” the lecturer explained.

The second part of Gaudium et Spes, Weigel said, anticipated Pope John Paul II’s approach in his encyclical Centesimus Annus in its description of a “tripartite” modern society in which politics, culture and economics are in “vigorous interaction.”

“This scheme cleared the path in the development of Catholic social thought to John Paul II’s teaching on the free and virtuous society as one composed of a democratic polity, a free economy, and a vibrant public moral culture, with the last being crucial to the proper functioning of the other two,” Weigel argued.

Weigel suggested that Gaudium et Spes can seem “curiously, even strangely, dated” because its description of the modern world turned out to have been a world that “would soon self-destruct because of internal tensions and contradictions the Council did not address.” The world would not be that of modern man “living under the shadow of nuclear war” but rather “post-modern man,” whom Weigel claimed is beset by more, “and arguably graver” dangers than the Council Fathers imagined.

Listing the positive points of the Vatican II document, Weigel praised its “sympathetic treatment of the contemporary human quest for freedom,” its “dialogical approach” to modern atheism, its celebration of the “genuine achievements” of science and democracy, its ecclesiology of a Church that “proposes, but does not impose” and its teachings on conscience.

He said the Council Fathers’ Pastoral Constitution rightly focused on the human person as modern life’s crucial question.

What Gaudium et Spes Did Not Foresee

While saying the document’s insights remain pertinent and worthy of gratitude, Weigel focused on what he believed Gaudium et Spes did not see or anticipate.

He indicated that doing so would make it possible to understand why the “new humanism” of Pope John Paul II remains “essential” to recover the Pastoral Constitution and for the New Evangelization.

Though Gaudium et Spes acknowledges the changes of a world formed by Freud and Darwin, it did not take advances in genetics into account. It “did not anticipate that biology and the other life sciences would rapidly displace the hard sciences (such as physics) as the source of Promethean threats to the human future – and to man’s self-understanding,” Weigel remarked.

While the Pastoral Constitution depicted Marxism and Sartrean existentialism as the chief philosophical challenges to Christianity, Weigel noted that Marxism was soon to be “in the ash can of history” and Sartrean existentialism is now only of “antiquarian interest.”

Gaudium et Spes, in Weigel’s view, did not perceive that the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and others “would mount a more forceful challenge to the Christian view of the human person (and to the possibility of a truth-centered public moral discourse) than Sartre ever managed.”

Though the Pastoral Constitution welcomed the new roles for women, it also does not seem to have anticipated the “harder-edged forms of the new feminism” that would become mainstream in Western culture a few years after the document’s promulgation.

Likewise, it did not anticipate the emergence of the two-worker family and its effects, the “global plague of abortion,” or the “gay rights” movement and the future “worldwide and historically unprecedented struggle over the very definition of marriage.”

Weigel argued Gaudium et Spes “gave us few, in any, hints that a new gnosticism, teaching the radical plasticity of human nature, was about to hit the western world like a cultural tsunami.” Focused on nuclear weapons, it did not anticipate the changes threatened by biotechnology predicted by Adolus Huxley years before.

Similarly, its counsels on population growth did not foresee the demographic decline of the present age, nor the rise of millions out of poverty. Its suggestion that economic inequality would be a major cause of wars also does not seem to have been born out,

Weigel noted that Gaudium et Spes also did not anticipate globalization and the rise of the Internet, which has made the world almost “a single time zone.” Further, Weigel claimed, the document did not envisage radical secularism or academia’s replacement of an overall coherence of truth with “theories of the inevitable fragmentation and incoherence of knowledge.”

While the document explores modernity’s crisis of religious faith, Weigel asserted it did not question the “secularization hypothesis” about advancing secularism and did not imagine a world that is becoming more religious and more affected by religious belief.

Gaudium et Spes also held that an “intellectually assertive atheism” would continue to challenge the Church, not anticipating a “massive religious indifferentism” that would descend upon Europe.

“Boredom in both its spiritual and metaphysical forms – a debonair indifference to the question of God, and a stultifying lack of awe and wonder at the very mystery of being – would turn out to be a far more lethal, and far more effective, challenge to the biblical view of man than ‘scientific atheism’ or existentialism ever was,” Weigel said.

John Paul II’s Insight Into Man

Weigel emphasized that despite these gaps in Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution nonetheless realized that the “anthropological question” is fundamental, an insight continued by the papacy of John Paul II.

He summarized the questions asked in the future Pope’s essay recommending suggestions for the Second Vatican Council: “What, he asked, was the human condition today? What do people expect to hear from the Church, and what do they need to hear from the Church?”

According to Weigel, John Paul II thought the world needed an “integral vision of the human person, nobler and more comprehensive than other understandings of man then being proposed.

“Defective, truncated, even demonic ideas of human nature, human community, human origins, and human destiny were everywhere; the most lethal of those false ideas created the cultural conditions for the possibility of the civilizational catastrophes of the first half of the 20th century.”

Weigel claimed the future Pope held such atrocities had been made possible by “desperately defective ideas of who man is, which had led to distorted human aspirations and grotesque political projects.”

According to Weigel, then-Bishop Karol Wojtyla emphasized “Christian humanism” as the Council’s focus.

Inspired by St. John of the Cross, the future pontiff acknowledged the “interiority” of human existence and its origin in God, and saw that the intellectual “turn towards the subject,” rightly understood, opens up the question of God.

Bishop Wojtyla based his new humanism in St. Thomas Aquinas’ “realistic ontology,” which trusts in human experience and defends man’s capacity to know truth; which allows a synthesis of past and present thinkers and questions; and which rejects scientific or philosophical reductionism.

Following Max Scheler and early phenomenologists, he learned “feeling and sensibility can disclose metaphysical and moral truths – and that this, too, was part of dealing with man ‘in full ’.”

Weigel claimed that Bishop Wojtlya’s philosophical explorations centered upon the “question of freedom,” in dialogue not only with influential thinkers but also the political situation of post-Stalinist Poland. His resulting thought was positioned “to challenge both the false humanisms of late modernity and the post-modern reduction of freedom to a matter of individualist, autonomous ‘choice’.”

For Bishop Wojtyla, freedom is not a “free-floating faculty of choice” which can attach to anything, but rather a “freedom for excellence” directed towards choosing the good and doing so out of moral habit. In fact, he saw the first view of freedom as the ability to choose indiscriminately as “dehumanizing” and not autonomy but “a prison, with bars of solipsism and locks of ignorance.”

“The post-modern ‘autonomy project’ leads to both auto-enslavement at the personal level and relativism-imposed-by-authoritarianism at the societal level,” Weigel argued, saying that John Paul II challenged this with his belief that freedom is grounded in the Holy Trinity, is always “tethered to truth,” and is always ordered to goodness.

John Paul II’s work continues to be relevant, as his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus anticipates many present challenges, Weigel remarked.

Weigel also named the Pope’s “Theology of the Body” as “perhaps the Church’s most compelling response to the new gnosticism of post-modernity, and challenges postmodern man to rediscover his sacramentality and the sacramentality of the world.”

The Pope critiqued moral relativism in Veritatis Splendor and in Fides et Ratio he challenged post-modern man to achieve a mature humanism. Further, the Catechism produced under his pontificate provided a “comprehensive and coherent account” of Christian life and belief.

“The new humanism of John Paul II,” Weigel concluded, “is a living thing, a growing body of thought that must be nurtured and developed by the late Pope’s intellectual disciples in the decades ahead, if the Church is to respond adequately to the anthropological question that lies at the heart of so many postmodern dilemmas.”

However, Weigel argued that criticisms of that humanism needed to be considered, such as whether his personalism is effective in issues of state power and whether it leads to a “functional pacifism.”

The personalist approach, while pastorally effective, could also weaken the Church’s sense of the moral law. The late Pope’s emphasis on the ministry of Christ risks forgetting the “sovereignty of the Risen Lord” who judges as well as serves the world.

All of these concerns aside, Weigel was confident that engaging these questions will strengthen the position of John Paul II’s thought as a “uniquely valuable resource” in engaging the “anthropological question” of the modern world.

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Cardinal Cipriani calls on parents not to grow weary of teaching the faith

Lima, Peru, Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, has described the Great Mission of Lima as an invitation to all the faithful to learn more about the Word of God, and called on parents and grandparents not to grow wear of teaching the faith to their children.

During the Mass he celebrated for the traditional process of the statue of the Lord of Miracles on October 28, the cardinal explained that the teaching of the faith “is a special moment in which the family extends not only to parents but to grandparents as well.”

“The love of God is much greater than the evil that threatens us.  For this reason, special care should be given to religious education, the teaching of the faith and good example,” the cardinal said.

He went on to stress that Peruvians want “education in the faith, respect for life, for life-long marriage between one man and one woman” and that the Church’s “heart is open to receiving all, but always teaching the truth.”

Cardinal Cipriani also called on Peruvians not to be carried away by violence and criticism.  “Let us seek out the truth, let us demand justice, but let us not allow policies to be put in place that underneath are intended to eliminate our lives.”

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Indian Catholic priest attacked in August succumbs to injuries

Rome, Italy, Oct 30, 2008 (CNA) - An Indian priest from the state of Tamil Nadu who was attacked by Hindu extremists in August died from his injuries this week, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shivraj Patil, proposed a law to stop the wave of anti-Christian violence.

According to the L’Osservatore Romano, Archbishop Raphael Chenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar said the priest “has received the crown of martyrs. He died as a result of Hindu extremist violence.  Now the Christians of Kandhamal have a powerful intercessor in Heaven.” 

Congressman Basudeb Acharya, who introduced the bill to stop the violence, said he did so to denounce “how Christians have been attacked in Orissa, and while their houses were burned and they were killed, the state government stood by as a ‘silent spectator’.”

Fides news agency reported that Archbishop Chenath’s secretary, Father Mrutyunjay Digal, said that “during his life, Father Bernard showed determination and courage in bearing witness to and dying for Christ.  He died as an authentic Christian, and immediately after the aggression he suffered, he forgave his enemies and persecutors.  We offer our affection and prayers to all of his loved ones in order give them strength and encouragement in this difficult moment.”

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