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Archive of May 30, 2009

'Catholic sexual revolution' not proper response, Fr. Granados replies to Christopher West

Washington D.C., May 30, 2009 (CNA) - The debate over whether or not Christopher West accurately conveys John Paul II's Theology of the Body witnessed another addition on Friday as Fr. Jose Granados cautioned that modern society's sexual issues cannot be solved with a 'Catholic sexual revolution.'

Submissions from numerous Catholic theologians, including Drs. David Schindler, Janet Smith and Michael Waldstein have come out in reaction to criticism of the popular work conducted by West.

Dr. David Schindler, dean of the John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C., criticized West’s teaching for significantly misrepresenting Pope John Paul II’s thought, describing his approach as “too much about sex and too romantic” and calling on him to subject his theology to “renewed reflection.”

Dr. Janet Smith argued in favor of Christopher West's views, saying that they were “sensationalized” in the ABC Nightline interview that sparked the debate. Smith also asserted that some orthodox Catholic ethicists agree with West's controversial teaching that anal sex as foreplay that leads to intercourse is morally acceptable.

For his part, Dr. Michael Waldstein said Schindler made “sweeping accusations” against a position he did not recognize as West’s and that the proper forum for this discussion is an academic journal. Waldstein stated that West has correctly identified tendencies within the American culture that treat the body and sex as bad and that West’s main strength is his “effective communication” of John Paul II’s teaching on a popular level.

The latest addition to the debate came on Friday afternoon from Fr. Jose Granados, an associate professor at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.

Fr. Granados took issue with the claim that John Paul II took the sexual revolution a step further, calling it “highly inadequate” and “open to serious misunderstanding.”

Both the Puritanism and the sexual revolution, he charged, see the body “without reference to the dignity of the person and to the plan of God for man; it is deprived of its symbolism and its language.”

“The recovery of the meaning of the body,” Granados explained, “with reference to love and to the mystery of man and God, is the novelty brought about by John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. The Pope’s proposal is not about sexuality, but about the truth of love as the foundation of the person’s dignity and the meaning of reality; and about the family as the place where the person finds himself and his way towards happiness.”

“Moreover, one of the results of the sexual revolution is precisely the pansexualism that surrounds our society. We cannot respond with a different kind of pansexualism, with a sort of 'Catholic sexual revolution,' which in the end promotes a similar obsession with sex, even if 'holy,'” the priest argued.

To read Fr. Granados' full statement visit: http://www.headlinebistro.com/en/news/granados_west.html#

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White House claims no Roe v. Wade ‘litmus test’ for Sotomayor

Washington D.C., May 30, 2009 (CNA) - President Barack Obama never asked U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor whether she supports the pro-abortion rights Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, a White House spokesman said on Wednesday.

“The president doesn’t have a litmus test and that question was not one that he posed to her,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, CNSNews.com says.

The 1973 decision Roe v. Wade struck down most state laws restricting or prohibiting abortion. Nominations to the high court consistently attract speculation about what effects the new justice may have on efforts to overturn or reaffirm the precedent-setting ruling.

In Senate confirmation hearings of recent Republican nominees to the court, nominees refused to state their view of Roe v. Wade on the stated grounds that doing so would appear prejudicial if any abortion-related cases were to come before the high court.

On Thursday the New York Times said that pro-abortion activists are “quietly expressing unease” that Judge Sotomayor might not be a “reliable vote” to uphold Roe v. Wade.

Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said her group was looking forward to learning more about the nominee’s views on “the right to privacy and the landmark Roe v. Wade decision” in Senate hearings.

According to the New York Times, Keenan is pressing senators to make discussion about Roe v. Wade part of the nomination hearings before they vote to confirm Judge Sotomayor.

The nominee has never directly ruled on the constitutionality of abortion. She has ruled against one pro-abortion group’s claim that the Mexico City Policy was unconstitutional, but did so on the grounds of existing precedent.

President Obama has described Sotomayor as having “respect for precedent and a determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand.”

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San Diego officials question pastor about permits for home Bible study

San Diego, Calif., May 30, 2009 (CNA) - A California pastor and his wife have claimed that San Diego County officials asked intrusive religious questions and threatened them with fines because of a weekly Bible study in their home. The incident has prompted a national religious freedom organization to reiterate its willingness to assist anyone in a similar situation.

County officials had responded to a complaint about overflow parking by guests at a monthly dinner and Bible study held at the Pastor David Jones’ Bonita, California house for the past five years.

A friend who was visiting a neighbor of the Joneses complained about the parking overflow.

Pastor Jones told KGTV San Diego that a county code enforcement officer had asked his wife Mary for details about the meetings.

"She said, 'Do you say amen?' and my wife said, 'Well, yes,'" Jones said.

"And she said, 'Do you say praise the Lord?’ she said, 'Well, yes but what does that have to with it?'"

Chandra Wallar of the county’s land use and environment group told KGTV it was the officer’s job to determine what kind of event was being hosted to decide what part of county code the event falls under.

Wallar said Bible studies are “probably in a very gray area,” adding that authorities want to ensure that parking is safe and does not block access to fire trucks or police vehicles.

Attorneys for Jones told KGTV it appeared that the county was backing away from its original warning issued in April.

The written warning to Jones noted an “unlawful use of land” and ordered him to stop hosting “religious assemblies.”

"They can stop religious activities in the courthouses and that but they're trying to stop prayer in my house," Jones complained.

Eric Rassbach, National Litigation Director at the Becket Fund, claimed in a statement that San Diego County had brought “KGB tactics” to Southern California.

"Government agents have no place questioning American citizens about how they choose to worship in their own home."

"Unfortunately this case is not all that unusual,” he added, saying “local zoning apparatchiks” across the U.S. try to shut down home-based Christian Bible studies and Jewish prayer meetings “all the time.”

“People of faith should know that federal civil rights law protects against this kind of government intrusion into matters of conscience, and the Becket Fund is ready to help,” he said.

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Benedict XVI tells children he never imagined he would become Pope

Vatican City, May 30, 2009 (CNA) - During a festive meeting with missionary children at the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI said that he never thought about becoming the Pope, and that even today he still has a hard time getting used to the fact.

“My name is Letizia and I would like to ask you a question.” a little girl said to the Pope.

“Dear Pope Benedict XVI, what did the motto ‘the children help the children’ mean to you when you were a boy?

Did you ever think of becoming the Pope?” another Italian girl asked the Holy Father.

“To tell you the truth,” Pope Benedict responded, “I never thought of becoming the Pope, because as I have already explained, I used to be a fairly naïve young boy in a small country town very far away from [urban] centers in a forgotten province.”

“We were happy to be in this province and we did not think about other things,” he added.

“Obviously, we knew, venerated and loved the Pope, at that time Pius XI, but for us he was at an unreachable height, almost another world. He was our father, nevertheless, a reality that was way above all of us,” the Pope also said.

“And I must say that even today I have difficulty understanding how the Lord could think of me and choose me for this ministry. But, I received it from His hands, even if it is something so surprising that I believe is beyond my strength. But the Lord helps me,” he said.

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