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Archive of November 4, 2008

We ‘will be judged by how we vote,’ says Fargo bishop

Fargo, N.D., Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) - At a Mass marking the completion of the 40 Days for Life campaign in Fargo, North Dakota, Bishop Samuel J. Aquila reminded his congregation that no Catholic can vote for someone who supports an intrinsic evil and that all Catholics “will be judged by how we vote.” 

“Judgment is real, just as heaven and hell are real,” Bishop Aquila explained during his homily in Fargo yesterday.  “When the soul separates from the body and comes before God, we will be judged on how we lived. It’s important to understand the reality of that judgment.” 
 
According to a press release from the diocese, Bishop Aquila urged the congregation to reflect upon the four last things and how they apply to the 40 Days for Life campaign. The 40 Days for Life North Dakota effort of prayer, fasting and peaceful, prayerful witness outside the state’s only abortion facility began Sept. 24, in conjunction with similar campaigns in more than 170 cities across the nation.

During the 40 days, hundreds of volunteers, prayed in one-hour shifts, 24-hours-a-day, on the sidewalk outside the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, a clinic which averages 20 abortions each week.

Bishop Aquila also touched on the Church’s teaching on intrinsic evils and their relevance in Tuesday’s election during his homily.

“An intrinsic evil is anything that is always and at every time wrong – that can never be seen as a ‘good’.” He noted the intrinsic evils of abortion, contraception, premarital sex, same-sex acts and the taking of innocent human life during war.

“All of those are intrinsic evils, and no society, and no person if he is Catholic, can ever support an intrinsic evil nor can he or she ever vote for someone who supports intrinsic evil. It is important to understand that, and to understand that truth especially in the upcoming election. Because, yes, all of us will be judged by how we vote. And, yes, there are many Catholics with erroneous consciences who have made prudential judgments that are wrong and have consistently made prudential judgments that are wrong. Either they do not fully understand the teaching of the Church or they choose to ignore that teaching and they choose an evil, and an intrinsic evil.”
 
“For any society to be just, it must reflect the order of God,” the prelate continued. “There are fundamental rights that no one can violate and those are the inalienable rights that our forefathers recognized so clearly -- and note the order -- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The bishop was careful to note that American Catholics must be concerned about other issues impacting the country such as the economy, the war in Iraq, immigration and other issues, however, he emphasized that “we must recognize that first must come the fundamental right to life…the respect for human life from the moment of conception to natural death.”

Bishop Aquila concluded his homily by encouraging the members of his diocese to persist in the fight for life.  “It is important for us to never give up the battle that is taking place within our country.  Even as we close these 40 days, I encourage each of you to continue to stand for the gift of life. I encourage you to continue to pray and fast in your own homes. I encourage you to pray in front of the abortion clinic, to pray for the conversion of all those who support a so-called right to abortion, because, by doing that, they are risking hell. When one looks at the Gospel, and looks at the teaching of Jesus, that is what they are risking.”

An audio recording of the homily is posted at:  http://www.fargodiocese.org/Bishop/Homilies/40DaysforLifeHomily11-2-08.mp3

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Church attendance ‘strongest gap’ in presidential candidates’ support

Washington D.C., Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) - Evangelical voters’ aversion to voting for a Democratic president appears to have changed little, a recent poll indicates, though their support for Sen. John McCain still lags behind their strong showing for George W. Bush.

According to polls released by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, only 22 percent of white evangelicals support Sen. Barack Obama, a percentage identical to the number who supported Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.

About 65 percent of white Evangelicals support Sen. McCain, compared to the 70 to 75 percent reported to have favored Bush in the 2004 election. A Gallup poll published on October 27 shows Hispanic Evangelicals supporting McCain over Obama by 46 to 43 percent.

According to Pew, white Mainline Christians are evenly split, with 46 percent favoring McCain and 47 percent supporting Obama.

James Tonkowich, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, commented on the poll results in a press release, saying frequency of church attendance continues to be one of the “strongest gaps in support” between McCain and Obama.

“The more often voters are in the pews, the more often they are likely to favor Sen. McCain,” Tonkowich remarked.

“Statements by Evangelical leaders such as Jim Wallis or National Association of Evangelicals Vice President Rich Cizik about the competitive nature of the Evangelical vote appear largely unfounded.

“Despite some Evangelical leaders’ attempts to shift attention from traditional social issues to what they term a ‘broadening agenda’, we are not seeing a significant difference in Evangelical support between polling in the 2004 election and polling for the 2008 election.

“Cizik, especially, seems to be speaking more to his own wishes of how Evangelicals would vote rather than any actual polling of Evangelicals in the pews.”

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Head Knight of Columbus warns Freedom of Choice Act threatens pro-life successes

New Haven, Conn., Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) - Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, has published a message regarding the upcoming election. Praising the “many small successes” of the pro-life movement, he warns that even these minor restrictions on abortion could be invalidated if the Freedom of Choice Act passes.

Calling the work of the pro-life movement a “difficult struggle,” Anderson notes that though the “ultimate goal” of overturning Roe v. Wade “remains somewhere in the future” many small accomplishments have been achieved.

Among these, he lists: the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funding for abortions; the federal ban on partial-birth abortions, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in April 2007; the “Mexico City policy” which bars the use of federal taxpayers’ money to pay for abortions in other countries; state parental consent laws; state late-term abortion restrictions; state conscience protection laws for pro-life professionals and institutions; laws which require counseling for those considering an abortion; and laws providing for ultrasounds before an abortion.

However, Anderson warned:

“All of these restrictions on abortion - all of the progress we've made over the past 35 years in trying to limit and reduce abortions in the United States - would be invalidated with the stroke of a pen if the next Congress passes, and the next president signs, the so-called ‘Freedom of Choice Act’.”

He asked readers to learn whether candidates for whom they might vote favor or oppose FOCA.

In addition, he noted that the Knights of Columbus have provided more information on FOCA and other life issues at their web site at http://www.kofc.org/pro-life

“Remember,” Anderson concludes, “all that we've done together since Roe to save the lives of the unborn is at stake.”

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U.S. Vatican official: vote pro-life and pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Vatican City, Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) - In an interview with Inside the Vatican Magazine’s correspondent Andrew Rabel, Archbishop Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St Louis (MO) and Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura at the Holy See, called on Catholics to cast their vote knowing that abortion is the fundamental moral issue, and praying to Our Lady of Guadalupe to help put an end to abortion in the U.S.

During the interview, Rabel asked the Cardinal-to-be about Archbishop Chaput’s description of Senator Obama as the biggest supporter ever of abortion rights in a presidential race.

“My fellow citizens of the United States of America – Archbishop Burke responded- should be deeply concerned about any candidate for the presidency who supports legislation which permits the destruction of human life at its very beginning, the killing of babies in the womb, or legislation which violates the integrity of marriage and family life.”

“A good citizen –he added- must support and vote for the candidate who most supports the inalienable dignity of innocent and defenseless life, and the integrity of marriage.”

“To do otherwise, is to participate, in some way, in the culture of death which pervades the life of the nation and has led to so much violence, even in the home and in educational institutions,” Burke explained.

Inside the Vatican (ITV) also asked the Archbishop if he believed describing the Democratic Party as one becoming "the party of death" was a fair statement, especially “when you consider that the Republican administration has become involved in an unpopular war?”

“It is not my intention to engage in partisan politics. I wish that both of the major political parties in the United States of America were more coherent regarding the right to life. The Democratic Party, however has, over the years, put forth and defended a political agenda which is grievously anti-life, favoring the right to procured abortion and ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex,” the former Archbishop of St. Louis responded.

“One can legitimately question the wisdom of the decisions taken in the war in Iraq, but war in itself is not always and everywhere evil, as are, for example, procured abortion, human cloning, embryonic stem-cell research, and the so-called ‘marriage’ of persons of the same sex.” The Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura went on to explain that the engagement of the nation in a war cannot be placed “on the same moral level as the nation making laws which permit the wholesale killing of the unborn or the artificial generation of human life or experimentation on embryonic human life or ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex.”

Archbishop Burke strongly rejected the notion that emphasizing the issue of abortion would be taking “single issue politics too far.”

“Procured abortion”, he responded, “is the fundamental moral issue in the safeguarding and fostering of human life. To make economics or the environment the fundamental political issue, when life itself, in its most innocent and defenseless form, remains unprotected is morally irresponsible.”

Burke acknowledged that the government of the United States must address a number of critical issues, including the current and most serious economic crisis, “but it must address first its duty to promote the common good by defending the life of every human being, from the moment of its inception, and by safeguarding the integrity of marriage and the family.”

As the interview came to a close, the archbishop said that “the Mother of God, by her apparitions as Our Lady of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego, fostered, in a dramatic way, the respect for all human life. Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe brought an end to the cruel practice of human sacrifice, and brought together into one race the Native Americans and the Europeans who were on the verge of a bloody conflict.”

“I have been praying fervently, through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that the citizens of the United States of America will vote, on November 4th, for the safeguarding of the right to life and of the integrity of marriage,” he concluded.

Read the full interview at Inside the Vatican's website: http://www.insidethevatican.com/newsflash/2008/newsflash-nov03-08.htm

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Historic Catholic-Muslim dialogue gets underway at the Vatican

Vatican City, Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) - Catholic-Muslim dialogue took a step forward today as representatives from the two different religions met at the Vatican. The two-day meeting will focus on the need for respecting human dignity, religious freedom and the theological aspects of “Love of God and Neighbor.”

On October 13, 2007, 138 Muslims leaders sent an open letter to numerous Christian churches requesting that channels of dialogue be established between the two faiths. The Muslim scholars and religious leaders proposed that the “Love of God and Neighbor” be the theme for the discussions since these are beliefs held in common by both religions.

Pope Benedict XVI responded to the request for dialogue on November 19, 2007 saying that while the two faiths do hold these tenets in common, Christianity has developed an understanding of the paramount importance of human dignity and religious freedom. Any discussion about the love of God and neighbor must lead to the acceptance of religious freedom and the defense of human dignity.

The first seminar organized by the Catholic-Muslim Forum was held this morning at the Vatican and the meeting will culminate with a meeting with Pope Benedict on November 6.

According to a press release from the Holy See Press Office, the theme of the Seminar - "Love of God, Love of Neighbor" - will be tackled from two main standpoints: "theological and spiritual fundamentals" and "the dignity of the human person and mutual respect." The Catholic and Muslim sides will both deliver reports on each of these sub-themes, and their statements will serve as a launching pad for the subsequent debates. Each of the two sides in the meeting will be composed of 29 people, including experts, religious authorities and advisers.

Following the address by the Holy Father on Thursday, a public session of the forum will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Catholic and Muslim representatives will present a joint declaration approved during the course of meeting and answer any questions about the forum that are posed by the audience.

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‘Jane Roe’ releases video encouraging Americans to vote for life

CNA STAFF, Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) -

Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff in the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion 35 years ago, has released a video encouraging Americans to cast their ballot for a candidate who will appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices.

 

In the video, produced by Just ONE Judge, McCorvey emphasizes the importance of today’s election as the next president’s Supreme Court nominations will likely have far-reaching effects on life issues.  “This is the first time I’ve felt really had a voice in what was going on in terms of really reversing the decision of the Supreme Court,” said McCorvey.  “I’m proud to be pro-life now rather than pro-abortion.”

 

According to a press release from Just ONE Judge, McCorvey began speaking out against abortion nearly ten years ago after a conversion to Christianity. 

 

Just ONE Judge, a non-partisan, non-denominational group, is working to educate voters and is asking them to support candidates who support the nomination of Supreme Court Justices who are pro-life.  In McCorvey’s video, the group emphasizes the importance of each individual’s vote for life and encourages voters to sign an online petition which will be presented to the new U.S. president and Senate to demonstrate that citizens are passionate about life issues.

 

“I’m working as a catalyst to assist other pro-life individuals and organizations in their particular areas of expertise. Just ONE Judge is so important because it emphasizes how one person can make a difference.  I know how important one person is and I want to do what I can to get 2 million individuals to sign the pledge,” said McCorvey.

 

The National Grassroots Director of Just ONE Judge, Joe Condit, also noted that today’s election is not just about politics, “but something far more important.  It’s about preserving Life, from natural conception to natural death.  And it is about redeeming America as a nation committed to life and liberty and justice for all.” 

 

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Prop. 8 foes criticized for Mormon missionary home invasion ad

Sacramento, Calif., Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) - In what one Catholic bishop called “a blatant display of religious bigotry and intolerance,” a commercial advocating a “no” vote on Proposition 8 depicts Mormon missionaries invading the homes of a lesbian couple.

The California ballot’s Proposition 8 would restore the legal definition of marriage to being between one man and one woman. Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court imposed same-sex marriage on the state.

In the 60 second commercial, produced by the Courage Campaign Issues Committee, two missionaries knock on a door and say they are from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They tell the lesbian couple “we are here to take away your rights.”

They enter the house, take away the women’s rings, and ransack their home looking for their marriage license. Finding it, they tear it up.

At the close of the commercial, the missionaries walk away, saying “that was too easy, yeah, what should we ban next?”

“The message behind the commercial is the Mormon Church is literally invading the houses of Californians through their TV sets, spreading lies and taking peoples’ lives away from them,” Rick Jacobs of the anti-Prop. 8 Courage Campaign told CBS Channel 2 KUTV. “The church has been hiding behind its secrecy.”

Jacobs said the commercial will air today in various parts of California on MSNBC and CNN.

Scott Trotter, a spokesman with the LDS Church, responded to the advertisement:

“The Church has joined a broad-based coalition in defense of traditional marriage.  While we feel this is important to all of society, we have always emphasized that respect be given to those who feel differently on this issue.  It is unfortunate that some who oppose this proposition have not given the Church this same courtesy.”

The California Catholic Conference on Monday condemned the ad as “bigoted and intolerant.”

Most Rev. Stephen Blaire, Bishop of Stockton and President of the California Catholic Conference, commented in a press release, calling the ad “a blatant display of religious bigotry and intolerance” and expressing dismay any public media outlet would air it.

“The YES on 8 campaign is not about discrimination and intolerance; it is about restoring the traditional definition of marriage for the good of society and children," said Bishop Blaire. "All individuals and groups, whether religious or not, have both a right and a responsibility to participate in a civil debate about this important issue. From the beginning of this campaign the Catholic Conference has stressed the importance of mutual respect and denounces this type of religious bigotry."

The ad is viewable on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q28UwAyzUkE

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Exhibit on Pius XII shows historical truth and demolishes black legend

Vatican City, Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) - The president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science, Archbishop Walter Brandmuller, presented on Monday the exhibit “Pius XII: The Man and His Pontificate.” The exhibit shows the historical truth about Pius XII’s papacy and how he saved thousands of Jews during World War II.
 
According to the L’Osservatore Romano, the exhibit, which will be on display November 4 through January 6, 2009, at the Vatican, was presented during a press conference by the president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science, Archbishop Walter Brandmuller, who said it was created “at the explicit request of Pope Benedict XVI.”

He also explained that the exhibit was “opportune considering that since 1963—with the theatrical release of ‘The Vicar’ (which defamed Pope Pius XII claiming he was close to Hitler) by Rolf Hochhuth—an orchestrated campaign of defamation has been waged against the memory of the Pontiff.”

“The 50th anniversary of the death of Pius XII has motivated the Pontifical Committee to do justice to a great Pope who in life already enjoyed the admiration of contemporaries regardless of their religious convictions,” Archbishop Brandmuller said.  “This is not meant to be an apologetic. It’s enough to say that it’s intended to make the historical truth known, to show that the accusations launched against Pope Pacelli cannot claim to be based on serious historical research and that it is increasingly more obvious that they are completely unfounded,” he stated.

“Our hope is that the exhibit can show not only the importance of Pope Pacelli but also the spiritual and especially supernatural dimension of this Roman pontificate,” he added.

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Lawmakers who vote in favor of abortion in Uruguay incur excommunication

Montevideo, Uruguay, Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop Nicolas Cotugno of Montevideo told the Uruguayan daily El Pais that lawmakers who vote in favor of the legalization of abortion incur automatic excommunication, and stressed that “the values of the human being are not subject to vote.”

As the country’s House of Representatives prepared to vote on a reproductive health law that included the legalization of abortion, the archbishop explained that canon law stipulates that “all those who vote, support and promote abortion are in fact excommunicated.  And it is an excommunication that, according to canon law, is immediate. They are ipso facto excommunicated.”

There are interests behind this, everything that came for the North, from the meetings in Cairo and Beijing.  The U.N.—which is terrible—is pushing for the legalization of abortion for a different vision that is contrary to the family and to the tradition of humanity.  Never before was the nature of the family as the basic cell of society put into question,” he said.

“This is not about religious issues,” the archbishop underscored, but rather about a reality which is not derived from ideological or cultural beliefs, but from natural law that precedes even the very existence of the human being.

Without this truth as the common denominator among all peoples, the archbishop continued, “What universal reference can there be in humanity that ensures human rights? What other human right is more basic than that of the being born and living? Who are we to say, ‘You cannot live, you have no right to life, you have to die’?” he asked.

Archbishop Cotugno expressed his hope that President Tabare Vasquez would veto the measure if it is approved by the House. “I think he is a person of his word. I don’t have any reason to think he will change his mind,” the archbishop said.

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Xavier University criticized for hosting Obama event

Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) - Xavier University has drawn criticism for hosting a “Countdown to Change” get-out-the-vote event sponsored by Obama for America on Monday, the day before today’s election.

According to an announcement on the university’s web site, the school is not supporting the event. The announcement also notes that the McCain Campaign visited the campus last June.

The university is providing a venue and working with the Obama campaign to coordinate logistics.

“This event falls within Xavier’s commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and to the orderly discussion of issues confronting society,” Xavier University said.
Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society, criticized the university:

“Allowing the Obama campaign to come onto a Catholic campus and encourage students to vote for a vehemently pro-abortion candidate on the eve of the election is a scandal.

“If Xavier University wants to engage students in politics, it could have encouraged them to vigorously oppose the destruction of innocent human life.”

A Cardinal Newman Society press release noted that Sen. Obama has pledged that his first act as president will be to sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act, which would abolish present limitations and restrictions on abortion.

The Cardinal Newman Society also cited the U.S. bishops’ 2004 document “Catholics in Political Life,” which states:

“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

The get-out-the-vote event features performers Mary J. Blige, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and media executive Kevin Liles. Its stated purpose is to encourage young voters to be informed about their voting rights and to “make their vote count.”

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Archbishop concerned that abortion could spread to all of Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico, Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) - Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago of Leon in Mexico has expressed his concern that the legalization of abortion up to the twelfth week in Mexico City could spread to the entire country.

“I am thinking about Mexico. What worries me is that this law that exists in Mexico City could spread to other states of the republic,” the archbishop said at the end of Mass on Sunday.

He stressed that even though abortion is legal, it is still a crime. “If someone goes to a place (Mexico City) to get an abortion because it is allowed there, that person still has a grave moral responsibility, because not everything that is legal is moral.”

The archbishop denounced the political forces that want to get abortion legalized in his own state of Guanajuato. However, he reiterated his confidence that “sensibleness, prudence and the formation of a conscience respectful of the family and pro-life values will save us from this kind of legislation.”

Archbishop Martin Rabago also said that women who are in difficult pregnancies should not be abandoned or left in despair.  “They should be supported not to take such a dramatic decision as abortion.  We want the culture of life to be established and strengthened,” he said.

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Salvadoran bishops call on priests to refrain from political activities

San Salvador, El Salvador, Nov 4, 2008 (CNA) - The Bishops’ Conference of El Salvador has called on priests and religious to foster harmony among all Salvadorans and to abstain “from all active participation in politics,” as elections in the country draw near.

In a statement, the bishops said that “because of her universality and catholicity, (the Church) cannot attach herself to historical contingencies.” However, they also noted that as citizens, priests have the right to express a personal opinion and to exercise “in conscience” their right to vote.

The bishops urged Salvadorans to work for peace, unity and dialogue amidst the diversity of opinions in the country. 

Archbishop Fernando Saenz Lacalle of San Salvador explained during a press conference that the statement is intended to keep politics out of homilies, which are supposed to “convey the voice of God and the teaching of the Church and not be part of partisan political campaigns.”

On January 18, 2009, voters in El Salvador will cast their ballots for the Legislative Assembly and the Central American Parliament, as well as for the mayors of 262 municipalities in the country. Presidential elections will take place on March 15.

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