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Archive of October 31, 2008

Planned Parenthood nurse admits babies’ survival of late-term abortion happens

Arlington, Va., Oct 31, 2008 (CNA) - Students for Life of America (SFLA) has released a new undercover video of a nurse at a New Jersey Planned Parenthood facility describing how an abortion would be performed on a 22 week-old unborn child and admitting that some babies survive such abortions.

“It does happen,” the nurse said.

The video evidence suggests that the practice of allowing babies who survive abortions to die without care continues.

In the video a pregnant woman speaks with a Planned Parenthood nurse at a Freehold, New Jersey facility reportedly funded by federal taxpayers under Title X.

Under Title X guidelines facilities that receive funding cannot use the funds to cover pregnancy care, such as obstetric or prenatal care and cannot use the money to provide abortions. According to title’s statutes, health care workers must provide neutral, non-directive information on the options available to their clients. This includes referrals for prenatal care and delivery; infant care, foster care or adoption; and abortion.

In SFLA’s video, the nurse explains to the pregnant woman the late-term abortion procedure, while the woman questions the nurse about the details.

“Is the baby alive?” asks the pregnant woman.

“Usually not,” the nurse replies.

The woman again asks if the baby could be born alive, to which the nurse responds:

“Usually, for the most part no, but it does happen.”

“It’s an actual delivery,” her explanation continues, “but it wouldn’t be able to survive on its own, so eventually the baby does die.”

The SFLA video also criticizes Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama for opposing a state Born Alive Infants Protection Act while an Illinois lawmaker. Obama argued that the bill would violate Roe v. Wade, was medically unnecessary, and would burden “the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion.”

Kristan Hawkins, SFLA Executive Director, commented on the video:

“I was absolutely stunned when the Planned Parenthood nurse revealed that allowing a baby to die after being born alive is a common practice for abortionists. It begs the question of why a presidential candidate will not support human rights protections for babies born alive during an abortion procedure. This is outright infanticide, and a candidate for President defends it!”

SFLA has called on Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood, which reportedly receives about $300 million in taxpayer funding each year. Additionally, the group asks that Sen. Obama explain and reconsider his opposition to protecting those who survive abortions.

The video is viewable on YouTube and on Eyeblast at http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/video.aspx?v=e46UqG8zSU

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Bishop Finn exhorts Catholics to ‘stand up fearlessly’ against ‘tyranny of choice’

Kansas City, Mo., Oct 31, 2008 (CNA) - Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph Robert Finn has reminded the faithful that their salvation is at stake in the battle for holiness. Decrying the “casual manner” in which many Christians live within the “culture of death,” he urged Catholics to “stand up fearlessly against the agents of death.”

Writing in his October 29 column for the Catholic Key, Bishop Finn began by recounting his recent celebration of a Traditional Latin High Mass, saying it highlights our participation with the Communion of Saints and its elements give us a “striking image of the Heavenly Jerusalem” which is our “ultimate home.”

“The ultimate goal of everything we do is to get ourselves to heaven and bring with us as many as we can,” he continued, focusing his remarks on the “Church militant,” the Church on earth.

The Church militant’s purpose, the bishop explained, is to “‘fight’ against the enemies of Christ's justice and truth and light and life.” This fight requires our attentions in a “peaceable but serious manner.”

Lamenting the “casual manner” of some Christians, he said St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reminds us that we are in a battle “not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities and powers, with the rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in heaven.”

“What is at stake in this battle is our immortal soul, our salvation,” Bishop Finn insisted. “My responsibility as bishop is with the eternal destiny of those entrusted to my care. My total energies must be directed to the well being of those who otherwise may come under the spell of a radically flawed and fundamentally distorted moral sense, at odds with what our Mother the Church teaches.”

“The direct willful destruction of human life can never be justified; it can never be supported. Do you believe this firm teaching of the Church?” he asked.

Bishop Finn noted that priests and ministers in Canada had been brought before government tribunals for preaching and teaching in support of marriage, being charged with “hate speech” against homosexuality.

“In light of the tyranny of choice growing each day in our own beloved country, we ought to be ready for similar attacks on religious freedom,” he warned.

“We must not fail to preach the Gospel. We can not withhold the truth of our faith. That is why I will never be silent about human life,” Bishop Finn insisted.

“What about you?” he asked.

Noting that Christ told the apostles they would be hated by the world, just as He was, the bishop said Christians must never resort to violence but “we must stand up fearlessly against the agents of death, the enemies of human life.”

People can come under Satan’s spell, the bishop warned, describing such people as “willing agents of death, numbed and poisoned in this culture of death.”

“What about you?” he asked again.

He concluded his column with an exhortation, saying “let us call upon the Saints to inspire us, befriend us, and pray for us,” and adding counsel to pray for those in Purgatory.

“And let us resolve to be warriors of the Church militant; warriors with our eyes fixed on heaven,” Bishop Finn closed. “Let us ask God's mercy and strength to persevere in our call - individual and collective - to holiness. Mary, Mother of the Church, Pray for us!”

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Vatican cardinal to emphasize the Catholic identity of Church charities

Vatican City, Oct 31, 2008 (CNA) - On Monday, November 3, Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, will meet with the U.S. bishops to speak with them about the need to maintain the Catholic identity of the charitable outreach of the Church.

 

The president of the council, who in effect oversees all of the Church’s charitable activities, will travel to the United States to meet with the bishops during their November 10-13 meeting in Baltimore. 

 

The overriding concern of Cardinal Cordes’ address to the bishops will be to stress that Catholic charities cannot see themselves as philanthropies since their aim as Catholic institutions must be to offer the supreme act of charity, the announcing of the Gospel.

 

The cardinal, along with the directors of Catholic Charities, USA and Catholic Relief Services, will focus their discussions on Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, “God Is Love.”

 

Cardinal Cordes’ visit with the bishops comes in the wake of a branch of Catholic Charities being involved in an abortion in Virginia and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development having to withdraw funding from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

 

During his seven day stay, Cardinal Cordes will also give conferences on charity throughout the Archdioceses of New York, Denver and Newark, New Jersey.  While in New Jersey, the prelate will receive a doctorate “honoris causa” from Seton Hall University, the oldest Catholic diocesan university in the United States. The cardinal is also looking forward to his time in Denver because of his fondness for the outdoors.  

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Pope’s November prayer intentions released

Vatican City, Oct 31, 2008 (CNA) - Today the Vatican’s press office released Pope Benedict’s prayer intentions for the month of November. The Holy Father is praying that the example of the saints will encourage everyone in holiness and that the Church in Asia will find the best ways to announce the Gospel.

Benedict's general prayer intention for November is: "That the testimony of love offered by the saints may fortify Christians in their devotion to God and their neighbor, imitating Christ who came to serve and not to be served".

His mission intention is: "That the Christian communities of Asia, contemplating the face of Christ, may know how to find the most suitable ways to announce Him, in full faithfulness to the Gospel, to the people of that vast continent so rich in culture and ancient forms of spirituality".

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Pope meets with president of Lebanon, discusses country’s struggles

Vatican City, Oct 31, 2008 (CNA) - This morning Pope Benedict XVI met with the President of Lebanon, His Excellency General Michel Sleiman and his entourage.  The Pope and Vatican prelates showed their appreciation for the president’s work to encourage political dialogue and prayed for the safety of Christians in the Middle East.

 

Following the meeting with the Holy Father, the Lebanese president met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, His Excellency Mr. Fawzi Salloukh, the Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, and His Excellency Msgr. Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

 

During their discussion, the Vatican officials affirmed their interest in Lebanon and its continual struggle to safeguard its unique identity.   Within the past 20 years, the country has shifted from a predominately Christian country to a Muslim one, yet the two religious groups have continued to work side by side.

 

The Vatican delegation also expressed its appreciation at today’s meeting for the “effort that the country’s leaders have carried out to bring institutional life back on the track of normal political dialogue.”  “In this way, every component of the Lebanon population might offer its contribution to the common welfare and see their concerns and expectations met with due consideration.”

 

Beginning in July 2006, the country was hit by air raids from Israel due to the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah.  Additionally, the Lebanese parliament has been divided between a group comprised of Christians, the Druze, anti-Syrian Sunnis and Hezbollah.

 

Finally, the group “touched on hopes for a rapid and just solution of the Palestinian question, noting the conditions and problems of the Christian communities in the Middle East,” concluded the release.

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Italian senate approves motion condemning persecution of Christians

Rome, Italy, Oct 31, 2008 (CNA) - The Italian Senate has unanimously approved a motion condemning the persecution of Christians throughout the world, especially in the East. The motion unifies four measures that were all similar.

According to the L’Osservatore Romano, the motion encourages the government of Italy “to work at all community and international offices, as well as in the ambit of bilateral international relations, to ensure that the fundamental rights of persons and religious freedom are guaranteed, and that there be an end to violence and persecution fed by ethnic and religious fundamentalism in the countries or areas that are part of the world crisis.”

The motion exhorts the government to “take up an initiative that highlights the persecution suffered by Christian communities in India, Iraq and other countries from extremist and fundamentalist groups” and to bolster the international role the European Union has to play in protecting and promoting human rights and peace.

Italy’s President, Giogio Napolitano, told L’Osservatore Romano he hoped the West would raise its voice to put an end to the persecutions.

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Pope says no to chaos, points to God as author of universe

Vatican City, Oct 31, 2008 (CNA) - On Friday, the first of a four day meeting held by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on the topic of evolution, Pope Benedict drew a hard line against those who say that God did not create the universe.

Pope Benedict’s 15 minute-long speech to the academics was packed with theological reflection and insight into the issues that the scientific and academic communities must grapple with to come to a fuller understanding of the universe.

The Holy Father began his talk by pointing out that both Pius XII and John Paul II emphasized that "there is no opposition between faith's understanding of creation and the evidence of the empirical sciences.”

Benedict XVI then traced the development of philosophical thought on the origins of the universe. “Philosophy in its early stages had proposed images to explain the origin of the cosmos on the basis of one or more elements of the material world. This genesis was not seen as a creation, but rather a mutation or transformation."

As the philosophical world further contemplated life’s origins, it came to realize that, "In order to develop and evolve, the world must first 'be,' and thus have come from nothing into being. It must be created, in other words, by the first Being who is such by essence," the Pope explained.

"To state that the foundation of the cosmos and its developments is the provident wisdom of the Creator is not to say," Benedict XVI said, referencing St. Thomas Aquinas, "that creation has only to do with the beginning of the history of the world and of life. It implies, rather, that the Creator founds these developments and supports them, underpins them and sustains them continuously."

The Pope also drew on Galileo who "saw nature as a book whose author is God in the same way that Scripture has God as its author." Contrary to those theories of evolution that describe creation as emerging from chaos, Pope Benedict asserted that "this image also helps us to understand that the world, far from originating out of chaos, resembles an ordered book; it is a cosmos."

Moreover, mankind is more than a “simple living being,” the Pope stressed, in fact, he is a “spiritual being” that has a capacity for God and is transcendent in nature. This is why, he concluded, "the Magisterium of the Church has constantly affirmed that 'every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not 'produced' by the parents - and also that it is immortal.' This points to the distinctiveness of anthropology and invites exploration of it by modern thought."

Pope Benedict XVI closed his address by recalling the words of his predecessor John Paul II to the academy in November 2003: "scientific truth, which is itself a participation in divine Truth, can help philosophy and theology to understand ever more fully the human person and God’s Revelation about man, a Revelation that is completed and perfected in Jesus Christ. For this important mutual enrichment in the search for the truth and the benefit of mankind, I am, with the whole Church, profoundly grateful."

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Halloween a superstitious triviality, says Argentinean archbishop

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct 31, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata in Argentina said this week that the pagan feast of Halloween is “foreign to Christian tradition” and has become a “superstitious and empty way of imposing mindless triviality.”

In a commentary entitled, “Halloween is a strange feast,” the archbishop said the day has its origin in the Celtic New Year which celebrated the return of the spirits of the dead to their homes. Given this background, the archbishop asked, “Do those who adopt this way of in reality celebrating death, the devil and Hell have a conscience?”  “Most of those who adopt this observance are probably ignorant of what they are doing and why they are doing it,” the archbishop stated.

He noted that the observance of Halloween is mixed with Christian festivities whose meanings are totally contrary to Halloween.  “On November 1, we celebrate a liturgical feast that is a fundamental truth of our faith, which we profess when we say, ‘I believe in the communion of saints.’  On November 2, we make visits to the cemetery as a religious and profoundly human gesture, inspired by the hope in the resurrection.”

“Nothing could be further from the empty and superstitious way that this mindless triviality is imposed,” he added.

The archbishop encouraged Christians to celebrate the Christians truths of these days with renewed faith as a “response to the real concerns of mankind today.”

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Holy Father denounces pride, teaches way to true wisdom

Vatican City, Oct 31, 2008 (CNA) - Yesterday evening the Holy Father met with professors and students from the Roman pontifical universities to kick off the academic year.  In his remarks, the Pope clarified how to avoid pride by becoming “truly wise before God.”

Pope Benedict XVI began his address to the audience by distinguishing between the wisdom of God and the “wisdom of the world.”  The Pontiff affirmed that the latter “is a way of living and seeing things divorced from God, following dominant opinions according to the criteria of success and power.”  However, he continued, “‘Divine wisdom' consists in following the mind of Christ; it is Christ who opens the eyes of the heart to follow the path of truth and love.”

Tying in the Apostle to the Gentiles, Pope Benedict went on to say that “St. Paul exhorts those who consider themselves wise according to the criteria of the world to 'become fools' in order to become truly wise before God.”  He continued, “Paul - following Jesus - opposes a type of intellectual pride in which human beings, even though knowing much, lose the sensibility of truth and the ability to open themselves to the newness of divine action."

The Pope recalled that St. Paul "denounced the poison of false wisdom, which is human pride.”

“What is harmful is not knowledge in itself but rather the presumption, the ‘boastfulness’ of what we have come to - or believe we have come to – know,” Benedict explained. “It is precisely in this that revolts and discord have come from within the Church and, analogously, in society.”

“Therefore,” he continued, we must “cultivate the wisdom, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit."

"The 'thinking of Christ' that we have received through grace purifies us of false wisdom. We come to this 'wisdom of Christ' through the Church and in the Church, letting ourselves be carried on the river of its living tradition."

The Holy Father concluded by sharing his desire that the professors and students fervently dedicate themselves “to intellectual work, free of the temptation of pride, and boast always and only in the Lord."

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Pro-Obama Catholics plan ‘stop the vote’ at parishes

Denver, Colo., Oct 31, 2008 (CNA) - Priests for Life is warning that James Salt and Chris Korzen from the pro-Obama organization Catholics United sent a blast email on Thursday offering instructions on how to prevent pro-life Catholics from distributing electoral guides near Catholic parishes around the country. Fr. Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, has also pointed out that the Catholics United plan could have negative legal consequences.

 

In a message sent from the email address  [email protected] under the subject "Help Protect Catholic Churches from Political Manipulation,"  James Salt and Chris Korzen say that with less than a week to go until Election Day, things are getting ugly. “In a final act of desperation, the religious far right is calling on its activists to defy the U.S. Catholic Bishops' order to keep unapproved election materials from church property by doing a 'literature drop' at parishes across the country.  The goal of this activity is to convince Catholics that it's immoral to vote for candidates who don't subscribe to the right's narrow agenda."

 

The email goes on to warn that last Monday, "the partisan group Priests for Life held a teleseminar to train some 3,300 activists nationwide on how to place divisive political literature on the windshield of every churchgoing Catholic's car this Saturday and Sunday."

 

Salt and Korsen then announce that  Catholics United is "spearheading an effort to put the brakes on the religious right's plans in as many parishes as possible," and is asking followers to "call your pastor and encourage him to instruct the ushers to monitor the church parking lot during the worship service."

 

They also promise to provide "detailed information on how you can protect churches in your neighborhood."

 

"The extreme right will stop at nothing to distort church teaching for political gain. It's time to say that enough is enough. Catholics are tired of our faith being used as a political weapon," concludes the email of the pro-Obama organization.

 

On Friday, Fr. Frank Pavone, President of Priests for Life, emailed James Salt and Chris Korzen. "I don't know if you attempted to speak with me before sending this out, but we would welcome such an approach in the future," Fr. Pavone wrote.

 

"Please inform those to whom you communicate that they might also want to alert their pastors that a large number of people are ready to file lawsuits against any individual or institution who tries to intimidate or prevent citizens from fostering the electoral process or informing their fellow citizens about the candidates," the priest warned.

 

Fr. Pavone explained that while "Priests for Life" is not initiating any such activity, "many people have told us they are ready to do so depending on what happens this weekend."

 

"Pastors and dioceses –he added- want to avoid 'legal entanglements,' and the activity you recommend here will get them entangled far faster than mine will."

"Obviously, an email like the one you sent below would implicate you in such entanglements as well," Fr. Pavone said in reference to the group’s email.

 

Finally, Fr. Pavone thanked Korzen and Salt for the extra publicity, and asked them to "be sure to register for the November 5 teleseminar as well."

 

Speaking to CNA, Fr. Pavone said that he devoted a significant part of the homily he preached this Friday on EWTN to urge Catholics to get out and distribute literature in the parking lots of parishes. "I encouraged them to do so especially this weekend, which obviously will be decisive for the outcome of the elections," he told CNA.

 

CNA attempted to get reaction from Chris Korzen but was unable to before press time.

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