Archive of March 19, 2009

Polish press reports John Paul II to be beatified on April 2, 2010

Rome, Italy, Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II could be beatified on April 2, 2010, exactly five years after his death, according to a report in the Polish newspaper Dziennik, which claims the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints has already made the decision. 

At the beginning of this month, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow said the beatification process of Pope John Paul II was about to be concluded and that Benedict XVI himself wanted to close the process “as soon as possible” because that “is what the world is asking for.”

The beatification process of John Paul II began on June 28, 2005, two months after the death of the Pontiff thanks to a dispensation granted by Pope Benedict. The dispensation waived the normal five-year waiting period after a person dies that the Church requires before a cause for canonization can be opened.

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Planned Parenthood statutory rape cover-ups continue

Phoenix, Ariz., Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - In a continuing investigation into Planned Parenthood, the student-led non-profit Live Action Films has produced video footage showing staffers at two Planned Parenthood clinics in Phoenix, Arizona avoiding their legal obligations to report statutory rape.

Instead of reporting the abuse, the clinics offered to help secure a judicial bypass for someone they thought was a 15-year-old girl with a much older boyfriend.

Arizona law states that sex between an adult and a minor is punishable as a felony. State law also mandates the reporting of suspected statutory rape.

College students Lila Rose and Jackie Stollar entered two Planned Parenthood clinics while posing as 15-year-old girls. Stollar claimed she was pregnant and Rose, who is Live Action Films president, played the role of her friend.

On July 9, 2008 the student investigators spoke with a staffer at the first Planned Parenthood clinic. One student asked the staffer, who was named as “Erica,” how old she had to be to get an abortion. The staffer said she must be 18 or older to obtain an abortion unless she acquires a “judicial bypass.”

“You would have to call our counselor and arrange it with her, and what she will do is she will go with you to court. From what I hear, it’s a very, um, easy process,” the staffer Erica explained.

Stellar then whispered “There’s another problem, um, he’s a lot older than me. And I don’t know if she’s gonna ask questions about that or if the judge is gonna ask questions about that.”

“I would probably confide in her about that,” Erica advised. “I know that she’s really good at, she wants to help anybody who comes to her.”

Rose, then asked “So like if he came in and paid for it, like with her, that wouldn’t be an issue.”

“No, we don’t ask any questions,” the Planned Parenthood staffer answered, claiming it is only a “big issue” if the girl is 13 or under.

The investigators proceeded to another clinic, where they spoke with a staffer named as “Suzy”

Telling Suzy she is trying to obtain a judicial bypass, Stellar said “I’m only 15 and my parents can’t know about it.”

While speaking to the staffer, the age of the student’s supposed boyfriend became a topic of conversation.

“Everything is confidential here,” the staffer assured, before Stellar stated that her boyfriend is 27 years old.

“I can't say 'Don't,' you know, or 'I'm gonna go and do this.' I cannot be that way, it's not me," the Planned Parenthood staffer said to Stellar, whom she believed to be a 15-year-old girl.

“When you go over to the counselor, she might ask you certain questions, she might say some stuff, you know what I mean? But all that, it’s up to you, you know what I mean?”

The video investigations are part of the Live Action Film’s Mona Lisa Project, which probes Planned Parenthood clinics to document staffers’ responses to alleged cases of statutory rape. Following the group’s investigation in Indiana, state prosecutors launched investigations into Planned Parenthood of Indiana.

In February, Live Action exposed a similar case at a Tucson, Arizona Planned Parenthood clinic. In 2002, an Arizona judge found the abortion provider negligent for failing to report the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl by her 23-year-old foster brother.

"By keeping information about rapists confidential, Planned Parenthood enables sexual predators to continue violating young girls. If Arizona state authorities investigate Planned Parenthood's statutory rape reporting practices, they can help bring an end to these crimes," Lila Rose said in a Wednesday press release.

The seven minute video of the two Arizona clinic visits is viewable at

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Cardinal Mahony appears in court for Fresno sex abuse trial

Los Angeles, Calif., Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - Archbishop of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony on Tuesday testified at a civil trial concerning a clergy sexual abuse case in the Diocese of Fresno. He told jurors he did not recall any allegations of sexual abuse during his time as an official there, and that if someone was aware of it occurring it should have been reported immediately.

Cardinal Mahony was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fresno in 1962 and became its auxiliary bishop in 1975.

Two brothers, George and Howard Santillan, allege that they were molested by a parish priest in the town of Wasco between 1959 and 1973. They also allege in the lawsuit that the diocese failed to protect the children from abuse and failed to address it, the Los Angeles Times reports.

George Santillan is now a 59-year-old retiree living in Arizona. He watched the three-hour deposition from the audience.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers subpoenaed the cardinal, believing his deposition offers evidence that the diocese may have been informed of the alleged molestation by a housekeeper. According to court documents, the housekeeper let the boys into the accused priest’s rectory bedroom and knew they were alone with him.

"I don't recall any case while I was here of allegations of sexual abuse of a child," Cardinal Mahony testified. "I don't know how it would be handled, because I don't recall it."

He said there were no “procedures” or “handbooks” to describe church employees’ duties to report abuse. According to the Los Angeles Times, the cardinal said he would have expected the housekeeper to come forward.

"She should tell somebody," he testified. "If anyone has knowledge that a child was in danger, any human being has to do something about it."

The cardinal said that during his time in the Diocese of Fresno, sexual abuse of children was not discussed as an issue among church officials or even society at large.

“Any kind of problem like this was looked at as a spiritual failure." "It was dealt with as a spiritual problem," Cardinal Mahony said, explaining the cultural attitudes of the time.

Jeff Anderson, a plaintiff’s attorney, asked the cardinal what hypothetical situations could be considered grounds to suspect child sexual abuse by priests. The Los Angeles Times reports that he “balked” at the line of inquiry and said the attorney should focus on the actual case before the court.

Anderson asked the cardinal if he had ever had boys visit him in his private quarters. The cardinal answered that he had not, except for possibly his nephews.

"It just wouldn't be appropriate. I avoided it at all costs,” the cardinal said.

Anthony De Marco, another plaintiff’s attorney, asked him about the propriety of a priest massaging a child. The cardinal said it was inappropriate but may not have raised concerns at the time.

“In those days, that was not in somebody's forethought that it was a sexual thing," he said.

On Monday the cardinal’s attorney had asked the presiding judge to allow the cardinal to enter the courthouse through a separate entrance, citing security reasons. The request was denied.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Cardinal Mahoney was accompanied by two attorneys and a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Fresno County sheriff’s deputies escorted the group to and from the courtroom while camera and photo crews surrounded them.

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Gov. Sebelius urged to match ‘record to rhetoric’ by signing ultrasound bill

Wichita, Kan., Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is being urged to sign new state legislation that would require Kansas abortionists to offer women an ultrasound image or heartbeat record of their unborn child before an abortion procedure. One pro-life advocate said the governor’s refusal to sign the bill would “extinguish” hopes she would work to reduce abortions.

On Tuesday the Kansas Senate voted in favor of the bill by 36 to 2. The “Woman’s Right to Know Act,” S.B. 238, would also require clinics to post signs saying that coerced abortions are illegal.

Both the Senate and the House votes on the bill gave it more than the two-thirds majority support necessary to override a veto, the Kansas City Star reports. Once the legislation is enrolled, Gov. Sebelius will have ten days to sign the law, veto it or allow it to become law by inaction.

Brian Burch, President of the Chicago-based Catholic organization Fidelis, urged the governor to sign the legislation before she attends her confirmation hearings concerning her nomination to become U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“Some pro-life defenders of Gov. Sebelius, including the governor herself have argued that she is open to common sense, bipartisan solutions to reducing the number of abortions,” Burch said. “The Kansas House and Senate have answered their call with this legislation, passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan approval. The Governor has a wonderful chance to match her record with her rhetoric.”

“If the Kansas Governor vetoes this bill, she will not only dash the hopes of her pro-life supporters, but also forfeit any claim to genuinely wanting to help women overcome the tragedy of abortion. Politically, she has no choice but to sign this bill,” Burch claimed.

He reported that bill sponsor and Kansas legislator Rep. Lance Kinzer told him that the central focus of his legislation was to find “true common ground and political consensus” on abortion. The “overwhelming" majority support proved the “good balance” achieved by the bill.

“If there is such a thing as ‘common ground’ on abortion, this is it,” Burch said. “It simply allows women greater access to information about their unborn child.”

“If Gov. Sebelius vetoes this bill, then there's simply no 'Catholic' defense of Kathleen Sebelius, if there ever was one to begin with. A veto would extinguish any hope that Sebelius will actually work to reduce the tragic number of abortions in America today,” Burch claimed.

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Pope encourages Muslims to promote ‘genuine religion’

Yaounde, Cameroon, Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - Pope Benedict began the last full day of activities on the Cameroon leg of his visit to Africa by meeting with representatives of the Muslim community. He noted that Christianity and Islam share some of the same beliefs and called on the leaders to help foster "genuine religion" which involves reason and religious beliefs working in harmony.

The meeting with representatives of the Muslim community began at 9:00 on Thursday morning with a few words from the Islamic Cultural Association of Cameroon’s President Amadou Bell.

The Holy Father then addressed the group discussing how religion can make an essential contribution to understanding culture and the world, and to the peaceful coexistence of peoples.

With 20 percent of its population being Muslim, Pope Benedict pointed out that "Cameroon is home to thousands of Christians and Muslims, who often live, work and worship in the same neighborhood."

Continuing with a theme that has been prominent in discussions between Catholic and Muslims, Pope Benedict encouraged the Muslim leaders to engage in a dialogue between religion and human reason.

"I believe," he said, that a "particularly urgent task of religion today is to unveil the vast potential of human reason, which is itself God's gift and which is elevated by revelation and faith. Belief in the one God, far from stunting our capacity to understand ourselves and the world, broadens it."

The Pope also provided an example of how faith and reason can give a deeper insight into the truth when they work in harmony.

"Although [God's] infinite glory can never be directly grasped by our finite minds in this life, we nonetheless catch glimpses of it in the beauty that surrounds us. When men and women allow the magnificent order of the world and the splendor of human dignity to illumine their minds, they discover that what is 'reasonable' extends far beyond what mathematics can calculate, logic can deduce and scientific experimentation can demonstrate; it includes the goodness and innate attractiveness of upright and ethical living made known to us in the very language of creation.

"This insight," he added, "prompts us to seek all that is right and just, to step outside the restricted sphere of our own self-interest and act for the good of others.

"Genuine religion," the Pope stated, "widens the horizon of human understanding and stands at the base of any authentically human culture. It rejects all forms of violence and totalitarianism: not only on principles of faith, but also of right reason. Indeed, religion and reason mutually reinforce one another since religion is purified and structured by reason, and reason's full potential is unleashed by revelation and faith."

The Holy Father finished his brief remarks by calling on Muslims to "imbue society with the values that emerge from this perspective and elevate human culture, as we work together to build a civilization of love.

"May the enthusiastic co-operation of Muslims, Catholics and other Christians in Cameroon be a beacon to other African nations of the enormous potential of an inter-religious commitment to peace, justice and the common good!"

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Africa can become the continent of hope, Pope Benedict says

Yaounde, Cameroon, Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - Today, on the Feast of St. Joseph, the Holy Father spoke to a vast crowd at the Amadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon. He encouraged the faithful to make Africa the continent of hope by following the example of St. Joseph, especially in times of trouble.


Upon arriving at the stadium, the Pope wove his way through the crowd in the popemobile, before entering the sacristy and beginning the celebration of a Mass marking the publication of the "Instrumentum laboris" (working document), of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.


In his address to the Cameroonian audience, the Holy Father stressed that God is the Author of Life and explained that “family today…is experiencing a difficult time,” but that “fidelity to God will help see it through.”


Society, the Pope said, has slowly been turning against the family. “Certain values of the traditional life have been overturned. Relationships between different generations have evolved in a way that no longer favors the transmission of accumulated knowledge and inherited wisdom. Too often we witness a rural exodus ... [and] the quality of family ties is deeply affected by this. Uprooted and fragile members of the younger generation who often - sadly - are without gainful employment, seek to cure their pain by living in ephemeral and man-made paradises."


But this is not “an irreversible, inevitable development,” the Holy Father countered. 


In the face of these challenges, Africans must realize that “life as a gift from God,” he counseled.


“According to both Sacred Scripture and the wisest traditions of your continent, the arrival of a child is always a gift, a blessing from God. Today it is high time to place greater emphasis on this: every human being, every tiny human person, however weak, is created 'in the image and likeness of God.'"


The Pope then proclaimed the Gospel, saying, "Sons and daughters of Africa, do not be afraid to believe, to hope, and to love; do not be afraid to say that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that we can be saved by Him alone.”


Africa is called to hope through Christ the Pope exclaimed.  “With Jesus Christ, who trod the African soil, Africa can become the continent of hope! We are all members of the peoples that God gave to Abraham as his descendants. Each and every one of us was thought, willed and loved by God. Each and every one of us has a role to play in the plan of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”


The Pontiff then encouraged the congregation to turn look to St. Joseph’s example in times of trouble.  "If discouragement overwhelms you, think of the faith of Joseph; if anxiety has its grip on you, think of the hope of Joseph, that descendant of Abraham who hoped against hope; if exasperation or hatred seizes you, think of the love of Joseph, who was the first man to set eyes on the human face of God in the person of the Infant conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary."


Focusing on fathers, he urged them to take St. Joseph as their model. "He who kept watch over the Son of Man is able to teach them the deepest meaning of their own fatherhood," the Holy Father said. "In the same way, each father receives his children from God, and they are created in God's own image and likeness.”  He also prayed: “Dear fathers, like St. Joseph, respect and love your spouse; and by your love and your wise presence, lead your children to God, where they must be."


Finally, turning to children without a father, those separated from their parents, abused or living in poverty, the Pope reminded them: “God loves you, He has not forgotten you, and St. Joseph protects you!"


Following the Mass, the Pope consigned the working document to the presidents of African national and regional bishops’ conferences. The theme of the meeting, which will be held at the Vatican in October 2009, is "The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace: 'You are the salt of the earth. ... You are the light of the world.'"

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Luxembourg legalizes euthanasia after putting limits on Grand Duke’s power

Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - The Parliament of Luxemburg approved a law Tuesday legalizing euthanasia by a vote of 30-26, after limiting the powers of the Grand Duke Henry I, who had refused to sanction the measure for reasons of consciences.


Luxemburg has thus become the third EU country to enshrine euthanasia for the terminally ill in its law.


The new norm exempts doctors from legal or civil action for responding to a request for euthanasia or assisted suicide by an adult or a minor who has been diagnosed with an irreversible illness.


The measure was debated by the Luxemburg Parliament last December, but on that occasion the Grand Duke announced he would not sanction the measure. Consequently the anti-life Parliament passed a change to the Constitution to limit the Duke’s powers. Now Duke Henry I will not have to sanction laws for them to take effect, he will merely promulgate them.


Media reports at the time claimed the Grand Duke was repeating the crisis provoked in 1990 by his uncle, King Baldwin of Belgium, who refused to sign the legalization of abortion approved by the two Belgian legislative houses.  Until now Holland and Belgium were the only two EU countries that allowed euthanasia under certain conditions.

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Brazilian abortion advocates using attacks on archbishop as a 'smokescreen'

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - A Brazilian pro-lifer has explained to CNA that the recent abortion performed on a 9 year-old girl in Recife, Brazil was surrounded by serious irregularities, and that the attacks on Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho over his mentioning of excommunications were created by abortion supporters as a diversionary tactic.


According to Alberto Monteiro, nobody knew that the girl was being kept in isolation by a social worker at a state hospital, where preparations for a “legal” abortion were being made. Furthermore, he charged that once employees of the hospital learned the girl’s biological father was willing to save her children with the help of Bishop Francesco Biasin, they allowed a pro-abortion organization to convince the girl and her mother to move to a private clinic where the abortion was finally carried out.


In the wake of the tragedy, the Brazilian and international media devoted its coverage to Archbishop Sobrinho’s statement that all those involved in the abortion, with the exception of the girl, had excommunicated themselves from the Church. Monteiro pointed out that in the lead-up to the abortion, the press gave absolutely no coverage to the efforts of the girl’s father, who was always opposed to the abortion, to try to intervene and help her.


He said the girl’s father exhausted every means to remove the girl from the hospital where she was kept isolated, even though the law indicated that any medical care given to minors must be done with the express approval of the parents. However, the father was only met with resistance and was deceived by a social worker from the hospital, who said the girl would die if she did not undergo an abortion.


“No doctor, psychologist or other professional explained anything to the father,” Monteiro related. “The social worker kept the girl isolated and fought city officials from Alagoinha, the girl’s hometown, who asked that the abortion not go forward. When the father and city officials asked about the health of the girl, who was five months pregnant with twins, the social worker responded: ‘There aren’t three children here, we only have one registered.  The other two are embryos.”


The father then sought the help of his local bishop.  Bishop Biasin, who has not been interviewed by the Brazilian press, sent doctors and psychologists from the diocese to evaluate the girl, but she had been transferred to another facility by her mother, who was convinced by the pro-abortion NGO Curumim to submit her daughter to an abortion.


Monteiro argued that the pro-abortion movement has tried to sway public opinion in favor of legalizing abortion with cases like that of the pregnant 9 year-old, especially in the wake of actions by the Ministry of Health in January to allow more abortions in cases of rape and fetal deformation.


The Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo reported that the government of President Lula is promoting abortion services, equipping hospitals and training health care workers so that more women will have abortions.  The newspaper considered the increase in legal abortions by 43% in one year to be a great achievement.


“However, if the people know what had truly happened with this girl, abortion would be even more unpopular in Brazil and in the world,” Monteiro stated.


He noted that the lie that the girl’s heath was in danger was repeated constantly by the media. 


“The girl’s life was never at risk,” Monteiro asserted.  “In Brazil every year there are 30,000 pregnancies in girls under the age of 14, and not one case of death because of pregnancy has been reported as long as there is prenatal care and a c-section delivery.”


Monteiro asserted that the argument put forward by the government of President Lula is that the number of abortions should be increased since women and girls are subjected to abuse and deception, but ironically, that reasoning led to the abuse and deception that the 9 year-old Recife girl suffered.


“They will stop at nothing and will continue talking about a false excommunication of the girl, abusing with impunity these poor women and even these young girls who have fallen into misfortune,” Monteiro said.

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Protecting life is the best news in this time of general crisis, bishop says

Madrid, Spain, Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - Bishop Francisco Cerro of Coria-Caceres in Spain, said this week in an article that “protecting life, which is the Gospel of life and the commitment of the Church, is without a doubt the best news in this time of general crisis.” He also clarified that the Church “is not against anyone, she is against everything that, under the guise of progress, goes against human life.” 


In his article the bishop called arguments used to defend abortion, terrorism and war “terrible,” because they are based on the premise that “anything that is a threat must be destroyed.”


“The unborn child is a threat, he needs to be eliminated. The elderly man is a threat, he needs to be eliminated. This person, this group is a threat, they need to be destroyed even with bombs or terrorist attacks. And the day other persons or other groups become bothersome, what will happen? We may be destroying a society and who knows how far it will go,” the bishop asserted.


Recalling that the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights was celebrated last November, the bishop insisted that the rights of man are rooted in the dignity of every human being, which for Christians springs from man being made in the image and likeness of God.


“The right to life, from conception to natural death, is the first right announced by the Pope (John Paul II in the encyclical Centessimus Annus), and is the condition for every other right.  But the repeated solemn proclamations of the rights of man are contradicted by a harsh reality: abortion, wars and violence of all kind; genocide and mass deportations, new forms of slavery and trafficking in human beings, famine, child soldiers,” the bishop said.

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Bishop Morlino: Church is in 'the Truth business' and must respond to credibility crisis

Madison, Wis., Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - In a column published today by the Madison Catholic Herald, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, reminds Catholics that the Church’s real business is Truth, not conforming to subjective desires or cultural trends. Bishop Morlino also warns Catholics that they need to respond to what he describes as a "credibility crisis."

In his reflection “at the midpoint of Lent,” Morlino recalls last Sunday’s Gospel reading about Jesus' reaction to the moneychangers and traders in the Temple.

“I myself do not get angry often,” writes Bishop Morlino, “but sometimes I get angry, and it is consoling to me that Jesus got angry too when things went too far - when they turned His temple into a market place.  He Himself got angry and he made a whip of cords, and we should think about that from time to time.”

“The Church is here to teach the Truth and thus to sanctify the world.  The Church is in the Truth business,"  the Bishop of Madison says, reminding  that  “in addition to those Truths which we can know by reason alone, by the Natural Law, there are Truths which we, as Catholics, must accept both from Divine Revelation in Holy Scripture and through the Authentic Magisterium of the Church.”  

“How often” -he asks- “are we left confused, thanks to the many different voices we hear, both within and outside the Church, and how often are we left doubting the Truths which the Church Christ Himself has founded and has promised to build up, proclaims.”

In his column, the Bishop claims that the Church is “in the midst of a credibility crisis,” and goes on to lay out “the core reasons” for the crisis.

“As we all should know from our Catechisms, there are four ‘marks of the Church’ which are fundamental to our being the Church founded by Christ.  We proclaim that we are one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.” 

These four marks have implications for how the Church behaves, Morlino says. The Church should be “united and undivided,” “aim at holiness," be "universal" and be faithful to the fact that “we bishops, as unworthy as we might personally be, are called to continue to preach the Truth of the faith (not our own ideas) in season and out of season, whether it is popular or not.”

“We proclaim that we as a Church are one, but how many examples of division can we point to which call into question whether or not we are one?  How many times have we failed as a Church, especially we bishops, to proclaim with our lives and as a Church that we are holy?  How often do we declare, though our attempts to say that we are one type of Catholic or another, that the Church is not universal?  And how easy is it to see our brothers and sisters, or even ourselves, insisting that the Church is not apostolic by attacking the bishop?” he writes. 

“My friends,” he continues, “we have a credibility crisis and the only way to address it is for each of us, especially me, to consider what we are doing in our personal lives, in our families and in our parishes, to live out the life of the Church as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.  Christ said that He would remain with us and He will give us all we need if we cooperate in building up His Church!”

In the column, Bishop Morlino commits himself to “work harder at holiness,” and relates that he spends “much time in the chapel each day and sometimes in the middle of the night, and I continue to try to grow in holiness, but it is a lifetime of work for each of us.”

“I pray that we can stop seeing ourselves as one type of Catholic versus another, or as members only of one parish, or followers of this or that priest, but that we can recognize our life of faith in the Church of Madison and in the universal Catholic Church.”

“I will lead this Church, which has been entrusted to me, in the Truth which Jesus has given us and which the Holy Spirit has promised to sustain.  Please pray with me, let it be so!” he concludes.

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Archbishop explains working document for African Synod

Yaounde, Cameroon, Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - Following the conclusion of Mass in Yaounde on Thursday afternoon, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops gave a short presentation of the working document of the forthcoming bishops’ Synod for Africa.


The Instrumentum laboris, or the working document of the African Synod of Bishops, provides guidelines for the discussions to be held by the Special Assembly of Bishops for Africa, which will take place at the Vatican from October 4 to 25. The document is comprised of four chapters and includes a preface which provides certain parameters for reading the text.


The first chapter describes the situation of the Church in Africa today, examining the implementation of the 1995 Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Africa" and its relevance in the new social context. Having identified a number of critical areas in the cultural, economic and political fields, the focus switches to theological reflections on reconciliation, justice and peace, which are the main topics of the upcoming Synod.


Chapter two underlines the urgent need for justice and peace in Africa. The African notion of reconciliation is intimately associated with the concept of justice and peace, in the desire to restore harmony between victims and offenders, and with society at large.


The next chapter focuses upon the mission of the Church, the Family of God. Through her activity, the Church becomes a sign and instrument of reconciliation. In order to promote justice and peace she is committed - through her educational and healthcare structures, and development programs - to evangelization and human promotion at the service of all mankind. The Catholic Church is open to dialogue with other Churches and ecclesial communities, as well as with traditional African religions and Islam.


The last chapter of the document reflects upon the life witness of all members of the People of God: bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay people, including all ecclesial structures and institutions. Emphasis is given to the particular tasks incumbent upon Christians active in society: politics, the armed forces, finance, education, healthcare, culture, the social communications media and international organizations.


The Instrumentum laboris concludes with a prayer to Holy Mary, Our Lady of Africa, entrusting the preparation and fruits of the Second Special Assembly for Africa to her intercession.  This, Archbishop Eterovic noted, is the first time the Holy Father has composed a prayer for such a purpose.

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Catholic ties of new ‘Women’s Ambassador’ come under scrutiny

Washington D.C., Mar 19, 2009 (CNA) - A new report shows that Melanne Verveer, President Obama’s nominee to the new position of Ambassador-at-Large for Women’s Issues, has ties to groups such as Catholics in Alliance and the National Catholic Reporter. Though an “ardent supporter of abortion,” Verveer also worked for the predecessor to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Jack Smith, editor of the Catholic Key newspaper for the Archdiocese of Kansas-City-St. Joseph, on Tuesday reported several of Verveer’s connections.

She has worked as Chief of Staff to then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, for various pro-abortion “rights” politicians.

As Executive Vice-President of People for the American Way, Verveer helped organize the 1987 rejection of Judge Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the acceptance of which would have endangered Roe v. Wade’s place in constitutional law.

According to the Catholic Key, Verveer also has ties to Catholic organizations. Before working at People for the American Way, Smith reports, Verveer was Coordinator for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs for the U.S. Catholic Conference, which would later be renamed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In 2002, Verveer was appointed to the board of the National Catholic Reporter, a newspaper which frequently dissents from Catholic doctrine.

In 2004 Mike McCurry, then-spokesman for the John Kerry presidential campaign, said Verveer helped the pro-abortion “rights” Democrat craft his Catholic image.

Verveer was also reportedly an original board member of the group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and is presently on the group’s Advisory Council.

On March 6 President Obama announced the creation of the position of Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, a move that coincided with the wishes of the numerous abortion-promoting groups.

A January 23 letter sent to Obama from the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Feminist Majority, the International Planned Parenthood Federation and several other groups praised his lifting of the Mexico City Policy. The groups also asked that he work to “ensure that officials from your Administration act as a strong voice for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United Nations and other international arenas and do all in their power to translate international agreements into actions that improve women’s lives.”

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