Archive of January 21, 2009

Archbishop Marchetto highlights contribution of foreign students in U.S.

Rome, Italy, Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - The secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, is currently visiting various Catholic universities in the United States, and is using the opportunity to highlight the contribution and treasures of foreign students in the U.S.

According to the L’Osservatore Romano, the archbishop underscored that “foreign students are the most authorized ambassadors and the most persuasive agents of the market. In a climate such as today’s, which is marked by the spread of xenophobia, global terrorism and a growing instability in various parts of the world, young people, particularly students, can become a prophetic sign that brings peace and reconciliation.”

During his visit to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Archbishop Marchetto explained that in addition to being an economic benefit to the country, “international education is closely linked to policies associated with immigration and to the workplace, to national education, to commerce and other sectors of national development.”

He went on to point out that the education of these students is also important for relations, “whether they are bilateral or international,” which are a “means for building up long-term relations of reciprocal influence.”

The Church also “recognizes that the positive experiences of students, even though they are far away from home, they keep in touch or interact with their countries of origin, and bear spiritual and human fruit.”

Archbishop Marchetto went on to mention the need to welcome foreign university students, which requires “an open mind and concrete willingness.”  “In other words, openness is something that should be a priority.”

The Vatican newspaper said the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia are the countries which receive the most foreign students. In the U.S., where most go, the largest group comes from India (15%), followed by China (13%) and Korea, Japan and Canada, totaling 632,805 students.

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Jurist predicts ‘terrible conflict’ will endanger U.S. Catholics’ religious freedom

Washington D.C., Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - Former Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork has predicted that upcoming legal battles will have significant ramifications for religious freedom. He names as issues of major concern the continued freedom of Catholic hospitals to refuse to perform abortions and the likely “terrible conflict” resulting from the advancement of homosexual rights.

Speaking in an interview published Tuesday by Cybercast News Service, Judge Bork discussed the contentious nature of modern politics.

“Everything is up for debate these days. I can’t think of anything that isn’t,” he said.

“You are going to get Catholic hospitals that are going to be required as a matter of law to perform abortions,” he claimed.

“We are going to see in the near future a terrible conflict between claimed rights of homosexuals and religious freedom… You are going to get Catholic or other groups’ relief services that are going to be required to allow adoption of a child by homosexual couples.  We are going to have a real conflict that goes right to the heart of the society.”

Asked whether there was a freedom of conscience clause anywhere in the Constitution that might prohibit the U.S. government from compelling a religious hospital to perform abortions, he replied:

“Well, the free exercise of religion clause might fulfill that role.”

He agreed with the CNS interviewer, Editor in Chief Terry Jeffrey, that such coercion forces someone to act against their religion and could be construed as a violation of the right to free exercise of religion.

However, Judge Bork was unsure about whether the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold such a right. He predicted the decision would rest with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in some cases sides with liberals and at other times with “originalists,” those who profess to hold a more tradition-minded interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

“It depends upon Anthony Kennedy,” Judge Bork told CNS. “Now, it’s a funny situation in which the moral life of a nation is in effect decided by one judge, because you have four solid liberal votes, four solid originalist votes, and one vote you can’t predict too accurately in advance.”

Though Justice Kennedy is a Catholic, he sided with the majority who upheld the pro-abortion rights Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Judge Bork said that a decision involving the freedom of Catholic hospitals to refuse to perform abortions would split by a 5-4 vote.

“But I don’t know which way,” he added.

The Cybercast News interview with the jurist also touched upon the place of religion in public life.

“I don’t think the disputants talk much about God anymore,” Judge Bork commented. “That’s one of the things that I think is regrettable--and I know liberals have said the same thing, it is not a conservative position particularly--but it is regrettable that religion has dropped out of our public discourse.  I think it impoverishes it and makes it more violent.”

He explained that he believed this violence was not armed conflict, but rather “violent language and propaganda.”

Judge Bork said he also thought that America is “now going down a path towards kind of a happy-go-lucky nihilism.”

“A lot of people are nihilists,” he continued. “They don’t think about religion. They don’t think about ultimate questions. They go along. They worry about consumer goods, comfort, and so forth. 

“As a matter of fact, the abortion question is largely a question about convenience. If you look at the polls about why people have abortions, 90 percent of it has nothing to do with medical conditions. It’s convenience. And that’s I think an example of the secularization of an issue that ought to have a religious dimension.”

When asked whether a nihilistic society can remain “happy-go-lucky” for long, Judge Bork replied:

“I don’t know. I guess we are going to find out.”

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Catholic college students to participate in March for Life en masse

Washington D.C., Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - Thousands of Catholic college students and faculty will participate in the National March for Life in Washington, DC this Thursday.

The March began in 1974, one year after the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade imposed permissive abortion laws nationwide, and has drawn tens of thousands of protestors to the nation’s capital for decades.

Pre-eminent among the colleges participating in the March is the Front Royal, Virginia-based Christendom College, which has participated in the demonstration since 1974. It will bus all of its students to Washington, and for the third time will lead the March with its school banner.

Magdalen College’s entire student body will travel about 500 miles from Warner, New Hampshire to march for the second straight year. Students solicited donations for the trip.

“We mourn the intentional killing of millions of innocent babies and the suffering of pregnant mothers from these killings, and we wish to show America our determination to defend life, and our unequivocal endorsement of the Culture of Life,” Magdalen President Jeffrey J. Karls said, according to the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS).

Hundreds of students will be housed at Catholic University of America’s (CUA) DuFour Center and the nearby Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Nearly 200 students from CUA have volunteered to assist the March and to serve as ushers at the pro-life Masses, such as the January 21 National Prayer Vigil for Life, which is expected to draw around 16,000 people this year.

“I have seen the hundreds of students who come to the Vigil and then stay on to sleep overnight in the crypt of the Shrine,” said Joseph A. Esposito, director of CNS’s Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Education. “It is truly an awesome experience to see this outpouring of support from young people, and it makes you thankful for the high schools and colleges which help nurture this prayerful dedication.”

About 750 students from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio will attend the March. Emily Espinola, Campus Students for Life vice president, described her university as “very pro-life” and explained that her organization’s main focus on campus is “educating students about the pro-life movement and how they can be pro-life.”

Espinola said her group’s activities include holding prayer ministry outside clinics, training sidewalk counselors, hosting prominent speakers and educational talks, and connecting with students from other schools to train pro-life leaders.

Benedictine College in Kansas will send about ten percent of its student body to the National March, a figure 60 percent higher than last year. Those students who remain in Kansas will hold a 24-hour prayer vigil at St. Benedict’s Abbey Church.

The West Coast March for Life, to be held in San Francisco on January 24, is expected to draw about two-thirds of the student body from Thomas Aquinas College, based 400 miles away in Santa Paula.

“We are heartened by the Catholic college officials, faculty and students who are standing up in defense of innocent human life, an important way of living out their Catholic identity,” said Esposito. “The enthusiasm of thousands of students, administrators and faculty for the March for Life and other pro-life activities gives us renewed optimism that the moral crime of abortion will eventually end.”

“The pro-life dedication of these and other Catholic colleges is part of the ‘springtime’ of spiritual revival in Catholic higher education,” he continued. “We are blessed to have this profound witness intensifying as we engage a disturbingly hostile culture.”

This year’s National March for Life will begin Thursday, January 22 at 12:00 p.m. on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

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Evangelicals in Spain support Socialist plan to dissolve Catholicism

Madrid, Spain, Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - The executive secretary of the Federation of the Evangelical Entities of Spain, Mariano Blazquez Burgo, has asked the Socialist government to pass a law on the “neutrality” and “laicity” of the State, in order to establish a common equality among all the churches that exist in the country.

“We are asking for two laws: one on religious entities and the other on neutrality, laicity, a word which does not frighten me,” Blazquez told reporters during the celebration of the 130th anniversary of the evangelical church of the city of Gijon.

According to the daily “La Nueva España,” evangelicals want the State “to be neutral with regards to all religious beliefs, by advancing laicity, and also with a statute of equality shared by all the churches established in Spain.”

“Not privileges for the churches, but a common statute for all religious entities that is clear and just in rights and obligations,” Blazquez stated, adding that during the Spanish Civil War, evangelicals showed “sympathy for the Republic, saying they were spiritual liberating our nation.”

Since taking power, the government of President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has made it a priority to remove any religious expression from public life and to impose its own moral formation on students through the Education for Citizens course, which thousands of parents have rejected because of its secular and ideological nature.

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Italian politician reveals his mission in the EU: prevent discrimination of Christians

Rome, Italy, Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - In an interview with the L’Osservatore Romano, Italian politician Mario Mauro said he sees the prevention of discrimination against Christians as an important aspect of his new role in the European Union.

In the interview, Mauro, who is vice president of the European Parliament, said that in assuming his new role at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), religion will play a part. “Although no political problem can be resolved with religion, it is also true that no political problem can be resolved going against religion,” he said.

Mauro went on to state that the situation for Christians is most complicated in “Caucasian areas and in the countries of the East.”

“In the countries of the former Communist block the problem is centered upon when and how to return the goods and property that belong to the religious communities of these countries, in the nations of the European Union, we find the problem is discrimination, probably more subtle—but often more consistent—which has to do with the right of considering the expression of faith as a factor in public life, and not simply as a private act.”

Commenting on the dominance of secularism and relativism in Europe, Mauro said, “We are often made to think that both serve to combat intolerance. But if we forget that the religious dimension sees man as the potent factor in the realization of humanity, we run the risk of falling into intolerance ourselves.  And this is a very important fact which influences the relationship between religions.”

After noting that in many areas of the Middle East Christianity is identified with the West, Mauro pointed out that “in reality in those countries Christian communities have more ancient origins that in the current religious majorities.”

Overall, Mauro described discrimination against Christians “in the context of the countries that belong to the OSCE, and in particular those of the West,” as resulting from “a prejudice that in time becomes more established and ends up becoming a sort of secularism.”

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Christian unity requires ‘authentic interior renewal,’ Pope exhorts

Vatican City, Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - At today's general audience, Pope Benedict highlighted the current celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and emphasized the need for Christians to undergo “authentic interior renewal.” This renewal, he said, will allow Christians to give a united witness to an increasingly divided world.    

Addressing the pilgrims assembled in the Paul VI Hall this morning, the Holy Father explained that full unity is linked to the very life and mission of the Church in the world. “It is important that each Christian community become aware of the importance of unity, which is above all a gift of God,” he said.

The way to seek unity, Benedict XVI said, is to implore it “with tireless and faithful prayer, escaping our own concerns and addressing ourselves to Jesus. This is the invitation the 'Week' makes to believers in Christ from all Churches and ecclesial communities. Let us respond generously."

From the words of the Prophet Ezekiel, the Holy Father noted that "the Lord wishes all His people to proceed patiently and perseveringly towards the goal of full unity.” “Such a commitment requires humble and docile adherence to the command of the Lord, Who blesses it and makes it fruitful."

The Pontiff indicated that Ezekiel's vision has particular significance for the entire ecumenical movement, “because it highlights the vital need for authentic interior renewal in all members of the People of God, a renewal which only God can bring about.” “The week of prayer for unity thus becomes, for all of us, a stimulus to a sincere exchange of ideas, to an ever more humble acceptance of the Word of God, and to an ever deeper faith,” he added.

The Pope also offered a sketch of his ecumenical meetings over the past year. First, he mentioned his three meetings with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, and the patriarch's participation in the Synod on the Word of God held in the Vatican in October 2008.

Benedict XVI then spoke of the pain he shared with the Moscow Patriarchate for Alexy II’s death. He continued, “I remain in communion of prayer with these our brethren as they prepare to elect a new patriarch of their great and venerable Orthodox Church.”

Additionally, the Holy Father mentioned that he has had the chance to meet representatives of the various Christian communities of the West, with whom he said he continues “to consider the important witness Christians are called to give today, in a world ever more divided and facing so many cultural, social, economic and ethical challenges."

As he closed his words to the faithful at the general audience, Pope Benedict urged Christians to make St. Paul’s words in the Letter to the Ephesians their own, following Paul’s “supreme witness of faithfulness and of love for Christ.”

“The desire dwelling in our hearts is that the day of full communion may come quickly, when all the disciples of our one Lord may finally celebrate the Eucharist together, the divine sacrifice for the life and salvation of the world," the Pope said.

Following the audience, as is the tradition for today's feast of St. Agnes, the Pope blessed two lambs, the wool of which will be used to make palliums bestowed on new archbishops on June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Subsequently, the Holy Father received the tile of honorary citizen from the Austrian town of Mariazell, home of a famous Marian shrine he visited in September 2007.

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Holy Father honors the late Cardinal Stephanos II Ghattas

Vatican City, Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - Today the Holy Father sent a telegram to the Patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt, His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, to express his condolences upon the death of Cardinal Stephanos II Ghattas, patriarch emeritus.  The prelate died yesterday in Cairo, Egypt at the age of 89.


In the telegram, Pope Benedict wrote of his prayerful union with the Coptic Catholic Church, “with the family of the deceased and with all those who mourn."  He also asked “the risen Christ to welcome into His joy and peace this faithful servant of the Church who, first as a missionary of the Congregation of the Mission, then as bishop of Luxor, and finally as patriarch, committed himself with zeal and simplicity to the service of the People of God, in a spirit of dialogue and coexistence with everyone."


The Pope concluded his message by conferring his apostolic blessing upon “bishops, priests and faithful of the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria, upon the Lazarist confreres of the late cardinal, upon his family and upon all those who, with hope, participate in his funeral."





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Church in Spain demands right to choose religion teachers

Madrid, Spain, Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - The Supreme Court in Spain has stripped the Diocese of Canarias of the right to determine the qualifications of teachers hired to teach the Catholic faith.

The court ruled this week in favor of a woman who is living with another man outside of marriage, whom the Diocese said was incompetent to teach religion.

According to the court ruling, the diocese would have to give back pay totaling $12,888 to Maria del Carmen Galayo.

Galayo, who is still married but is separated and in new union outside the Church, was let go by the diocese, which said her situation of adultery was not compatible with the moral principles the Church publicly requires for teaching religion to minors.

With the support of the local media, Galayo filed a lawsuit claiming Church officials had “unduly interfered in her private life,” and demanded not only economic compensation but also that she be given back her teaching position.

The Court ruled against an appeal by the diocese of a lower court ruling, which means the diocese will have to pay Galayo for lost wages. The diocese could appeal to the Constitutional Court to retain the right to refuse to allow Galayo to return to her teaching post.

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Procession to graves of the unborn to mark Roe v. Wade

Denver, Colo., Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - Thursday, as people around the country gather to make known the tragedy of abortion, Catholics in Boulder, Colorado are organizing a Mass and procession through a cemetery where 6,000 aborted babies are buried.

The ceremony to honor those killed by abortion is being held to commemorate the Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion on-demand on January 22, 1973.

While protests will be held around the nation tomorrow, Sacred Heart of Mary’s candlelight procession will be unique since protesters will make theis way through Sacred Heart of Mary Cemetery, where 6,000 aborted babies are buried.

The story of how the babies came to be buried in the parish cemetery is unusual in its own rite. In 1996, the Boulder Abortion Clinic contracted with a local mortuary to cremate and dispose of remains of the children it aborted. The mortuary secretly sent the cremated ashes to Sacred Heart of Mary for burial and a prayer service.

The parishioners at Sacred Heart of Mary also maintain a Memorial Wall for the Unborn near the cemetery that lists the children buried there with a name that was given to them.

"‘The Wall’ promotes healing for anyone who has lost a baby to abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth," said Suzie Lavelle, chairman for the Memorial Wall for the Unborn committee.

"Individual burials continue at the Memorial Wall, and mass burials are available on request," she added.

The events will begin with a Solemn Mass at 6:00 p.m., followed by a Rosary for the unborn and the candlelight procession at 7:45 p.m.

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Young boy with fatal condition survives against the odds

Tampa Bay, Fla., Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - A three-year-old boy with thanatophoric dwarfism who was not expected to live long after birth has come a long way. Ignoring the typical medical advice to either abort her child or not provide life-sustaining treatment after his birth, his mother gave birth to the boy she describes as a charmer with an engaging smile.

Lively young Samuel Mann lives in Tampa Bay, Florida with his parents Ralph, who is a 51-year-old lighting installer, and Evelyn, 43. In a Wednesday phone interview with CNA, Evelyn spoke about the joys and struggles of raising Samuel and about the family’s recent trip to Disneyworld.

Evelyn, a claims processor at an auto company, told CNA that Samuel is “a ham.”

“He’s full of life. He smiles and he laughs and he has a way of communicating without saying words, because he’s not speaking yet.”

Three years ago, medical tests about 20 weeks into Evelyn’s pregnancy made Samuel’s future look bleak.

“We were told about week 20 that there was a problem. We actually didn’t believe the first doctor, and we couldn’t find anybody to get a second opinion in Tampa, so we actually drove to Orlando.”

There a geneticist said Samuel had either brittle bone disease or thanatophoric dwarfism.

“I give that geneticist kudos for acknowledging my faith, because that was another really hard thing,” Evelyn commented. “We trust and believe in God, and some didn’t want to acknowledge that side of us, but that geneticist did.”

Pregnant women whose unborn children are diagnosed with thanatophoric dwarfism are often advised to undergo “therapeutic” abortion. If the baby is born, parents are advised to refuse life-sustaining treatment.

Evelyn told CNA that the doctors “looked depressed” when she and her husband left the office because it was a “lethal diagnosis.”

“I don’t think you’ll find a picture of a survivor in a textbook,” she remarked about Samuel’s odds.

Instead of Death, Life

“When we left there, I felt like God gave us a peace that passes all understanding. It was really amazing. Both my husband and I were just at peace.”

“Somehow in our hearts we knew, and I think that was a gift from God, that it was all going to be okay.”

Despite complications from polyhydramios, which is a condition of excess amniotic fluid, Samuel was delivered by C-section 35 weeks into the pregnancy.

His first weeks home were toughest on his parents.

“If he disconnected from his hoses, we had to get him hooked up immediately or he would turn blue,” she reported.

“Initially, it was like that, touch-and-go. My husband would take the night-shift.”

Doctors had to give Samuel a tracheotomy and a ventilator because of a lung deficiency, a condition that is still with him, Evelyn explained.

Samuel still has times of troubled breathing, which require doses of abuterol. He also requires a treatment to remove fluid from his lungs.

Because his ribs are thick and rigid, Samuel lungs can press down on his stomach, but Evelyn doesn’t think it will become a big problem. “He’s a dwarf, so he’s a little guy,” she said, saying his small size and little growth may render this issue less of a problem.

“Now he is a lot more stable,” she said, reporting that Samuel is even going off the ventilator for short trial periods.

Though Samuel also requires a gastric tube, he now eats “very voraciously.”

“He enjoys eating. That’s a real surprise. It’s very unusual for him to take to eating the way he has.”

Evelyn told CNA her son, like other children, likes to crawl and play with balloons and toys. Noting his condition’s description “thanatophoric” derives from the Greek word meaning “death-bringing,” she joked that it really should be called “life-bringing.”

“He’s a joy, I don’t know how else to put it. One of the doctors said that he looked at his x-ray and looked at Samuel’s structure, and then looked at Samuel sitting on the hospital bed smiling.”

“The doctor said, ‘The two pictures don’t match!’” Evelyn told CNA.

Addressing other women who face such trials, she said “My heart goes out to women who are pregnant and are given negative diagnoses.”

She said she has corresponded with other women whose unborn children have thanatophoric dwarfism or other severe conditions.

“We’ve lived this journey, and we want to be able to hold a hand out to those behind us and say ‘Look, nothing is impossible with God’.”

She further advised “Pray, believing what God can do, not pray ‘hoping’.”

“What ultimately happens is what’s up to God, but for us he’s given us a beautiful son.”

Offering Hope

Evelyn told CNA how one woman she had conversed with wrote back after her child’s death.

“She said ‘thank you for giving me hope,’ even though it wasn’t the result that we would hope for.

“She at least during that process had hope, and that means a lot to me. Only God knows, he’s the only one that knows, and I don’t think that hope should be taken away from anybody.”

Reflecting upon her pregnancy with Samuel, Evelyn suggested that “the biggest thing that the medical community isn’t equipped to provide is hope.”

“Given a negative diagnosis, I didn’t feel like I was receiving hope from the medical community. I had to get that from my own faith, as well as the prayers of people at church and family and friends. I think it’s really important that no pregnant woman with a negative diagnosis should be deprived of that hope.”

The Manns themselves found joy when Samuel and his family, with the assistance of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, recently visited Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida.

“The joys are just seeing him smile and laugh,” Evelyn said. “At Disneyworld, they put us to head of the line, with Disney characters. At one point Samuel was laughing and smiling, and at that moment I looked over and all of these people were smiling too.

“His smile is so engaging,” she said.

Their Orlando trip also included a visit to SeaWorld, where the Mann family passed through a walkway surrounded by an aquarium of fish.

“He loved it!” Evelyn said of Samuel. “He was kicking his legs and he was smiling. My heart was full. I was so happy he could see something he could enjoy so much.”

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Church should use the internet to proclaim the Gospel, clergy say

Rome, Italy, Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - At the conclusion of the meeting in Rome entitled “The Church in Network 2.0,” promoted by the National Office for Social Communications and by the Information Services of the Bishops’ Conference of Italy, participants agreed that the Church should take greater advantage of the Internet in order to proclaim the Gospel.

After noting that the internet has exploded during the last 15 years, the L’Osservatore Romano quoted Archbishop Mariano Crociata, secretary general of the Bishops’ Conference of Italy, who said that the prevalence of the internet demands that the Church be present there.

In response to the challenges posed by the internet, Archbishop Crociata said there is a need for guidelines and norms to help “interpret this world.” He also stressed that the concrete existence of persons must never be ignored in the environment of the internet.

Father Domenico Pompili, director of the bishops’ National Office for Social Communications, said many of the challenges posed by the internet could also become opportunities for spreading the Gospel.  In this way, he added, “attentive to the development of instruments of communication, the Church manifests the need to make correct use of them.”

In the opinion of Adriano Fabris, professor of philosophy at the University of Pisa, the internet has the potential for “great opportunities” as well as great injustice, and that if “used with discernment, it can provide the occasion for new and more effective ministry.”

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Bill would allow U.K. royalty to marry Catholics without forfeiting crown

London, England, Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - A plan proposed by an MP would change two long-standing British laws by allowing daughters to be placed in line for the throne and by permitting members of the Royal Family to marry Catholics without sacrificing the right to royal succession.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Evan Harris, a Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon proposed the bill “to reverse centuries of discrimination against Catholics.”

“It is wrong that anti-Catholic discrimination is written into the U.K.'s constitution,” Harris further explained.

Currently, the constitution bars British monarchs and their heirs from becoming or marrying Catholics according to the 1701 Act of Settlement. 

Last year, the law made international headlines when Autumn Kelly, a Catholic woman now married to Peter Phillips, Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest grandson, renounced her Catholicism so her husband could remain in the running for the royal crown.

Phillips is currently 11th in line for the throne.

Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor lent his support to the bill saying, “This is an anomaly in the law which I am sure will be repealed in the future."

In addition to ending what he termed, “anti-Catholic discrimination,” Harris’ bill would also allow a woman to succeed her father as Queen.  The MP argued, “It is not acceptable that our law continues to relegate women down the succession to the Crown, at a time when no sane politician would argue in its favor."

The U.K. currently follows the common law of “primogeniture,” the right of a first-born son of a family to inherit the entire estate. 

Harris noted that the new bill, which is scheduled to be debated in March, would not impact the religion of the Monarch who “as head of the established Church is required to be in communion with the Church of England."

The Daily Telegraph reports that this is thought to be the first time the change has been proposed by MPs as legislation.


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Website of Congregation for the Clergy celebrates 10 years

Rome, Italy, Jan 21, 2009 (CNA) - The website of the Congregation for the Clergy,, is celebrating its 10th anniversary since its inception in December of 1998.  In addition to serving the Catholic clergy, it also provides more than 12,000 documents on the Bible, magisterial teachings, the fathers of the Church, homilies and photos.  The site is visited by more than 80,000 people per year.

In a brief dialogue with the L’Osservatore Romano, Msgr. Lucio Adrian Ruiz, an official with the Congregation in charge of its internet services, said the Congregation has also offered material to individuals who do not have access to the internet.

 “We have produced two CD-Roms: ‘Smart-CD’ and ‘Bible-Clerus’.  The former is available in seven languages: French, English, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish and German. It is a complete reproduction of the entire site containing some 12,000 documents,” Msgr. Ruiz said.

 Likewise, in the case of Bible-Clerus, “It contains the Bible, interpreted according to the magisterium of the Church by theologians and literary experts. It includes Catholic bible translations, texts of the Pope, codices and works of twenty doctors of the Church.”

 “We have made 140,000 copies of these two CDs, especially for countries where there is no access to the internet,” he said in conclusion.

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