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Archive of April 19, 2009

New Catholic university inaugurated in south Sudan

, Apr 19, 2009 (CNA) - St. Mary’s University of Juba, a Catholic university in the south Sudan, was officially inaugurated on April 16.

The Sudan Tribune said that the new university is the second in Juba, the capital of the semi-autonomous region that is recovering from more than 20 years of civil war. Students began classes last month.

The university’s inauguration was officiated by Southern Sudan’s state Minister of Gender, Social Welfare and Religious Affairs Mary Kiden Kimbo, the Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA) reports.

She officiated on behalf of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

“Ignorance would be more expensive to eradicate than poverty, the father of chronic diseases in Southern Sudan,” she said, thanking a church official for supporting the people’s movement during the war and for providing relief, healthcare and education in peacetime.

According to CISA, Central Equatoria State minister of Education Stephen Lemi Governor praised the Catholic Church for its work in developing human resources in Southern Sudan, where he said many people had lost opportunities for better education during the war.

Archbishop of Juba Paulino Lukudu Loro thanked the donors who helped build the university, asking them not to abandon the archdiocese.

He also urged all southern Sudanese to be responsible in nurturing the institution to become the best of its kind.

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Most Americans oppose revoking conscience protection rule for medical workers

Washington D.C., Apr 19, 2009 (CNA) - About 87 percent of U.S. adults support conscience protections for health care providers, a new poll reports. A majority also oppose the revocation being considered by the Obama administration of a new regulation designed to secure conscience protections for pro-life medical professionals.

The poll, conducted by the polling company, inc./WomanTrend on behalf of the Christian Medical Association, showed majority support for new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation currently under review by the Obama administration.

About 62 percent of respondents said they opposed revoking the rule, while only 30 percent supported its revocation. Even a majority of self-described “pro-choice” respondents opposed the possible revocation.

The poll surveyed 800 American adults and claims a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Dr. David Stevens, M.D., CEO of the Christian Medical Association, discussed the HHS rule at an April 8 press conference announcing the poll results.

“There is a well-funded and increasingly successful effort to discriminate against healthcare professionals based on their deeply held religious and moral beliefs,” he said. “In some states, pharmacists must dispense certain medications or lose their licenses. Students are denied admission to medical schools or residency programs because they are not in favor of abortion. Doctors and nurses are losing their jobs or a promotion because of their beliefs.”

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has stated that it is unethical for doctors to refuse to refer for abortions, he reported.

“Right of conscience is under attack and that is dangerous for our country, our healthcare system and every patient,” he continued. “Do we want our professional schools to ethically neuter doctors of all moral convictions not approved by the government?”

The rules, he said, “educate the country on this issue. They provide a place to report discrimination. They require employers and educators to take 30 minutes to certify they have non-discrimination policies in place. What is so earth shaking about that?”

He accused the Obama administration and its allies of “raising a smokescreen” with claims that the rules are too burdensome.

Dr. John Bruchalski, an OB/GYN at the pro-life medical practice in Fairfax, Virginia called the Tepeyac Family Center, also defended conscience protections in his statement at the April 8 press conference.

He recounted how his practice helped save a woman’s baby, Joey, whom other doctors wanted to abort after his mother’s amniotic fluid drained.

His mother “went from one doctor to another looking for someone who wouldn’t perform an immediate induced abortion. She was looking for someone who wanted to help her baby live. She found us – 35 miles from her home,” the doctor said.

“We nurtured her, ignoring calls from others to perform an induced abortion. The result is that Joey was born alive… Joey is alive today because our doctors were able to follow our consciences.”

“If conscience is compromised, freedom becomes a farce, a façade,” Dr. Bruchalski remarked.

Deirdre McQuade, spokeswoman on abortion at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), welcomed the poll results and urged HHS to keep the current regulation in place.

“The Obama administration has moved to rescind a vital HHS regulation protecting the conscience rights of health care providers," she said in a press release. "But according to this new survey, the majority of Americans—whether 'pro-life' or 'pro-choice', male or female, Republican or Democratic—support the regulation and oppose its rescission.”

The USCCB has created a web page advocating for the “strongest” protection of conscience rights at www.usccb.org/conscienceprotection.

More information on the poll is available at http://www.freedom2care.org/

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God's love unites humanity into a single family, Pope Benedict says

Vatican City, Apr 19, 2009 (CNA) - At the Regina Coeli on Sunday, which he recited with pilgrims at Castelgandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI focused on the themes of the Divine Mercy and the unity of the Church. The “merciful love of God,” he said, “firmly unites the Church” and makes humanity “a single family.”

Pope Benedict also recalled that it was John Paul II who pointed out "to all the risen Christ as the source of trust and hope, accepting the spiritual message transmitted by the Lord to Saint Faustina Kowalska, synthesized in the invocation 'Jesus, I trust in you!'"

The Holy Father began by expressing his thanks for the greetings he had received for his birthday on April 16 and for the anniversary of his election as pontiff on April 19, 2005. "In the atmosphere of joy that comes from faith in the risen Christ," he said, "I desire to express a most cordial 'thank you' to all those, and they are truly many, who have sent me a sign of affection and spiritual closeness in these days, both for the Easter celebrations and for my birthday, April 16, and also for the fourth anniversary of my election to the see of Peter, which falls today. I thank the Lord for all of this sincere affection.”

“As I had the opportunity to say recently, I never feel alone,” he continued. “Even more during this extraordinary week, which in terms of the liturgy constitutes a single day, I have experienced the communion that surrounds and supports me: a spiritual solidarity, essentially nourished by prayer, which is manifested in a thousand ways.”

“From my co-workers in the Roman curia to the parishes that are geographically farthest away, we Catholics form and must feel ourselves to be a single family, animated by the same sentiments as the first Christian community, about which the text of the Acts of the Apostles that is read this Sunday says: 'the multitude of those who had become believers had one heart and one soul.'”

"The communion of the first Christians had the risen Christ as its true center and foundation," the Pope explained. "The Gospel says, in fact, that at the moment of the passion, when the divine Teacher was arrested and condemned to death, the disciples fled.”

“Only Mary and the women, together with the apostle John, stayed together and followed him all the way to Calvary,” he continued. “Once he had risen, Jesus gave his followers a new unity, stronger than the kind they had before, invincible, because it was founded not on human resources, but on the divine mercy, which made them feel they were all loved and forgiven by him.”

“It is therefore the merciful love of God that firmly unites the Church, today as yesterday, and makes humanity a single family; the divine love, which through Jesus crucified and risen forgives our sins and renews us from within," he concluded.

Immediately after the Regina Coeli, the Holy Father greeted Orthodox Christians who celebrated Easter on Sunday, according to the Julian calendar.

"I extend a cordial greeting and best wishes to the brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches which, following the Julian calendar, celebrate Easter today,” Pope Benedict said. “May the risen Lord renew in all the light of faith, and give an abundance of joy and peace."

Speaking to the pilgrims, Benedict XVI also spoke about the United Nations conference beginning tomorrow in Geneva, Switzerland, reviewing the 2001 Durban Declaration against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Benedict XVI expressed his hope for common, constructive work to put an end to every form of racism with education.

"The Durban Declaration recognizes that 'all peoples and persons form a human family, rich in diversity,” he said. “They have contributed to the progress of the civilization and the cultures that constitute the common heritage of humanity.”

“On the basis of these affirmations, firm and concrete action is required on the national and international level, to prevent and eliminate every form of discrimination and intolerance,” he continued. “Above all, a vast work of education is required, to uphold the dignity of the person and protect his fundamental rights.”

“The Church,” he explained “for its part, reiterates that only the recognition of the dignity of man, created in the image and likeness of God, can constitute a sure point of reference for this effort.”

“This common origin, in fact, gives rise to a common destiny of humanity, which should bring forth in each and in all a strong sense of solidarity and responsibility,” he added. “I express my sincere hope that the delegates at the Geneva conference may work together in the spirit of dialogue and mutual acceptance to put an end to every form of racism, discrimination and intolerance, marking a fundamental step toward the affirmation of the universal value of the dignity of man and his rights, in a context of respect and justice for every person and people."

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