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Archive of November 1, 2008

Lifesaving 40 Days for Life campaign nears end

Washington D.C., Nov 1, 2008 (CNA) - The pro-life organization 40 Days for Life is nearing the end of its Fall campaign of prayer, fasting, and vigils near abortion facilities. Leaders claimed the campaign helped save 441 babies from abortion and advanced outreach to those who suffer the aftereffects of or have assisted in abortions.

The campaign began on September 24 and included participants in 175 communities in 47 states and two Canadian provinces. It formally ends on Sunday.

“Even after praying and fasting for 40 days - and being involved in vigils that in many cities went round the clock, seven days a week -many of the people who are participating in this campaign simply don't want to see it end," said David Bereit, national campaign director of 40 Days for Life. "Tens of thousands of people have prayed in front of abortion facilities, many for the first time. They see the impact of that peaceful presence, and they yearn to keep going."

"People across the country have expressed an interest in getting involved in the effort to end abortion," Bereit continued, "but far too often, they didn't know where to start. 40 Days for Life provided a starting point. Now they've seen what can happen; and now that they've taken that first step, they're eagerly anticipating additional opportunities for continuing their pro-life outreach."

Bereit added that the campaign’s vigils show the importance of being physically present at the clinics.

“This is where the evil of abortion is committed; this is where the evil of abortion must be confronted. People who seek the services of abortionists are people who have lost hope. The sight of people engaged in peaceful, prayerful vigil sends a message of hope at precisely the time these women need it the most. We must - and we will - continue to be present to offer that hope.”

Some volunteers in some cities are discussing extending the daily vigils, even until the clinics are closed. Volunteers have reportedly expressed interest in becoming involved in sidewalk counseling, post-abortion ministry and pregnancy resource centers.

“We know of at least 441 lives that were saved from abortion as a result of the 40 Days for Life effort thus far," said Bereit. "But those are not the only lives that have been changed. We hear every day about people seeking help who have been dealing with abortion experiences - some of them have been hurting for more than 30 years. There are people in the abortion industry who have been touched by this effort. They, too, are witnessing the power of prayer at work first hand.”

“We've seen the evidence that God has blessed this effort, and we can't wait to see where He will lead us next,” Bereit concluded.

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Pope encourages Church movements to cultivate fruits of the Holy Spirit

Vatican City, Nov 1, 2008 (CNA) - The movements and new communities within the Church are like “eruptions of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in contemporary society,” the Pope said today at an audience with Charismatic Catholics in Rome.

 

Participants in the 13th Conference of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowship were received by Pope Benedict at the Vatican on Friday morning.

 

"As I have stated on other occasions," the Pope said, "ecclesial movements and new communities, which have flourished since Vatican Council II, constitute a unique gift from the Lord and a invaluable resource for the life of the Church. They should be welcomed with confidence and esteemed for their various contributions so that they might be of efficient and fruitful benefit to all."

 

The charisms of the Holy Spirit have an impact on the local Church too, said the Pope as he expounded on one of the conference’s themes. The Holy Father asserted that the New Testament tells us that charisms appear as visible signs of the coming of the Holy Spirit, and that these charisms are “not a historical event of the past, but an ever-living reality” in the Church.

 

"The movements and new communities,” Pope Benedict said, “are like eruptions of the Holy Spirit in the Church and contemporary society. We can affirm that one of the elements and positive aspects of the Communities of Charismatic Covenant Renewal is the emphasis that the charisms and gifts of the Holy Spirit receive in these and their merit is in having recalled the actuality of these [charisms and gifts] in the Church."

 

Benedict XVI also recalled that both Vatican II and the Catechism of the Church praise the good accomplished by Catholic charismatic communities, while also emphasizing that their authenticity is “guaranteed by their openness to submit to the discernment of ecclesial authority. Precisely because there is a promising flourishing of ecclesial movements and community, it is important that pastors practice a prudent and wise discernment process with them."

 

The Holy Father, eager to promote the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church, mentioned that he knows that “various ways are being studied to give papal recognition to new ecclesial movements and communities and that those who have already received it are not few in number. ... Pastors, above all the bishops, should keep this fact in mind when discerning according to their competency."

 

As the meeting with the Catholic Charismatic communities drew to a close, the Pope encouraged them to continue in their efforts to safeguard their Catholic identity as well as their ecclesial nature. Doing so, he commented, "will allow you to give everywhere a living and active witness of the profound mystery of the Church. Thus the ability of the various communities to attract new members will also grow."

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Archbishop advocates responsible lending in response to credit crisis

, Nov 1, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the apostolic nuncio leading the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations, on Thursday addressed the global financial crisis, making a call for ethical responsibility and the use of lending only for truly productive investments.

A severe worldwide shortage of credit has resulted after speculation in U.S. real estate loan securities lost creditworthiness and possibly billions of dollars in value when housing prices deflated.

The archbishop said that his delegation endorses the views of economists and analysts who attribute the crisis to a lack of an effective regulatory system, a disregard for regulatory and supervisory structures, and a disregard for the rules of accountability and transparency.

However, Archbishop Migliore insisted that the causes of the crisis also involve immoral conduct, such as profiteering and unscrupulous pursuit of gain. He called for not only effective regulation, but “a high standard of ethical conduct on the part of financial leaders themselves.”

“Our reaction should not be limited to deploring the crisis and offering formal expressions of sympathy to the poorer countries and social strata which have been affected. We need to come up with the ways and means to avoid similar crises in the future,” he insisted.

The archbishop claimed that governments and institutions were lax in following regulations at high levels. He also reported that international financial institutions had implemented oversight in poorer countries, but did not do so in developed countries.

“Now that the latter have collapsed, the former also have to bear the consequences,” he continued.

“Government is the exercise of the virtue of prudence in the enactment of legislative and executive measures capable of directing social activity towards the common good,” Archbishop Migliore said, arguing that the principle of subsidiarity requires that governments and international agencies ensure solidarity “on the national and global levels and between generations.”

The apostolic nuncio also directed some comments towards the financial sector.

While granting that lending is “a necessary social activity,” the archbishop said financial institutions and agents are responsible for ensuring that lending “fulfills its proper function in society” by connecting savings to production. Lending should be “a part of the product chain of goods and services, and not an independent activity.”

“If lending is seen merely in terms of trading off financial resources without regard for their reasonable use, it fails to be a service to society.  When attempts are made to conceal the real risk that loans will not be repaid, savers are cheated and lenders become actual accomplices in theft,” Archbishop Migliore insisted.

The prelate then reminded his listeners of those at the edges of the financial system such as retired persons, small family businesses, cottage industries and countless employees for whom savings are an “essential means of support.”

Noting that the crisis also found encouragement in “the general public and its choice of values and lifestyles” he commented that a lifestyle or economic model “solely based on increased and uncontrolled consumption and not on savings and the creation of productive capital” is “economically unsustainable,” as well as environmentally unsustainable.

Further, such lifestyles or models are unsustainable for human dignity itself because “the irresponsible consumer renounces his own dignity as a rational creature and also offends the dignity of others.”

Calling for “credibility” and “authenticity” to be restored to lending, the archbishop said there is a need to “invest in people.”

He further suggested that aid to the poorest populations be a part of post-bailout expenditures, endorsing the “positive experience” of microcredit. Adding that grants for health, education, housing, and other basic services should be provided, he explained they are the “most profitable investments” because “they alone ensure the harmonious functioning of society as a whole.”

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