Columbus, Ohio, Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - The original Wendy’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio is changing hands more than 30 years after it first opened.The Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Columbus has purchased the building as its new headquarters.
The foundation, created in 1985, provides permanent support for Catholic causes in Columbus such as schools, parishes, and social services, executive director Jennifer Damiano told the community newspaper Columbus Local News. The organization has been operating out of a rented building but is now too large for that space.
On June 30, Wendy’s International and the Catholic Foundation announced the fate of the fast food chain’s first building, opened by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas on November 15, 1969. It closed its doors in March 2007.
The building will be remodeled for both staff offices and to provide space for meetings.
"We will begin our next 25 years as the proud owner of a new home,” Damiano said.
"This restaurant is very significant to the Wendy's family -- it's where the first square hamburgers and Frostys were served by Dave Thomas and his dedicated crew nearly 40 years ago," said David Karam, president of Wendy's. "There's a lot of history in this building, we are very pleased that it will be the new home of the Catholic Foundation and continue to serve the community in a different way."
Damiano said that when the foundation moves into its new offices early next year, it will expand what many call “Cathedral Square.” The new headquarters will help develop “key partnerships” in meeting the “growing needs” of the community.
The Catholic Foundation, a non-profit autonomous organization, has invested more than $40 million in charitable causes within the Diocese of Columbus. It is the planned-giving partner of the diocese.
CNA STAFF, Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) -
A men’s advice column advising men how to encourage their pregnant girlfriends to abort provides an unsettling glimpse into the realities of abortion. One pro-life leader characterized the column, which highlights some men’s personal desires to avoid the burdens of parenthood, as “a primer for coerced abortion.”
The advice column was authored by Isabella Snow, who is described as a Sex Education Correspondent. It was published on AskMen.com, a risqué site which claims seven million monthly visitors.
The column is bluntly utilitarian in style, focusing on pregnancy’s and abortion’s effects upon the relationship of a man and a woman. It ends each paragraph of advice with a summarizing tip labeled “prenatal prep.” The avoidance of children and fatherhood is a repeated theme.
Snow begins by noting that while male readers may hope a woman will “stick to the original plan and terminate the pregnancy,” some women may suddenly want to become mothers “despite previous agreements.” She advises the male reader to try to make his girlfriend consider his wants and desires by approaching her “correctly” and taking care with his “presentation.”
Snow advises discussing a possible abortion on a sofa at home to provide intimacy and “reduced eye contact,” purportedly to make it easier for the woman to speak “openly.”
“You’ll also want to take care with your word choice; pregnant women tend to feel like they’re carrying someone, as opposed to something, even if she is just a month or so pregnant,” Snow adds. “You can’t just talk about having an abortion the same way you’d talk about having a cavity filled.”
“If you don’t want to be a father, you have every right to come out and say so. You don’t have the right to berate her in the process and you should be kind, but you don’t need to understate anything,” the column continues, telling male readers they should use phrases like “I need” instead of “I want.”
The columnist advises readers to emphasize the “significant life changes” involved in having a baby, such as the cost of food, diapers and medical care. The column links to another article detailing the costs of raising a child to 18, an estimated $307,000.
“Who’s going to care for the baby while you’re working? Will you have to move to a new home? Will you have to sell your Harley and get a station wagon?” are questions suggested in Snow’s column, which also advises men not to come across as “whiny.”
While counseling against threats to end the relationship and advising emotional support for the woman, Snow describes these tactics as a matter of self-interest.
An unsupported woman could despair, in which state women “rarely make rational decisions.” Further, the column says, withdrawing from a woman would encourage her to ignore “any needs of yours that she may have been considering.”
Snow tells her readers “[if] your woman decides to have the baby anyway, this does not mean you’re required to get married or move in together.”
“You’ll probably want to provide for your child regardless, but if you’ve been clear about your intentions from the start, you are not obligated to contribute beyond what your conscience and the law expects of you. This was her decision, not yours, and the bulk of the responsibility is now hers.”
“Take a moment to spell this out for her when she gives you the final decision; it may just sway her over to your side,” Snow advises.
CNA sought comment about the column from Serrin Foster, President of Feminists for Life, who initially characterized the column as “a primer for coerced abortion masking itself as choice.”
She said the content of the column “isn’t anything new,” but it does document the pressure a pregnant woman can face from “fearful fathers, embarrassed parents, well-meaning friends, people in medical settings in high schools and colleges who don't see a way for her to have a baby and continue her education or career.”
"It's very reminiscent about what we hear from women who have been to clinics to have an abortion," she remarked, adding that former abortion clinic workers have told similar stories.
In Foster’s view Snow’s column was “absolutely vile” but speaks to “the need of the pro-life movement and the pro-woman and pro-man movement to speak about the importance benefits of having children in their lives.
“As feminists we understand that people all the time have been able to overcome challenges in their lives. People make decisions and she will be forever connected to this child no matter what the outcome.”
Explaining how to speak to a pregnant woman in distress, Foster told CNA “we need to say, 'we can do that'. And your life will be enriched by the experience of being a mother or by knowing that your son or daughter is okay through adoption."
"Your life will take a detour, but it doesn't have to be a dead-end."
She charged that Snow is “robbing” women of the experience of being a mother and is doing a “disservice” to men who will be “robbed” of the experience of being a father.
However, Foster also advised sympathy be shown for the columnist.
“We don't know what has happened to Isabella in her private life to take out whatever she has on other women. We need to reach out to Isabella. Isabella is a person too.
"In a weird way she is alerting women and girls by documenting what has happened all the time to women and little girls especially from older men or people from clinics."
"The best part about this is that Isabella has documented it and now we can warn women and girls that this is a routine - no matter where you hear it from."
CNA also contacted Concerned Women for America but did not receive a reply before publication.
Update: When CNA attempted on Wednesday to access the article again on Askmen.com, we were redirected to the site's main page.
Chicago, Ill., Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - An Iowa pro-life group is being defended against “prejudicial questioning” by the IRS, which is accused of delaying a tax exemption for the non-profit religious organization. The tax collection agency has reportedly refused to grant the exemption until the group pledges to limit its picketing and protesting of Planned Parenthood.
The IRS also questioned the “educational” nature of the Coalition for Life of Iowa’s materials, prayer meetings, talks and other pro-life activities.
Attorneys with the Chicago-based Thomas More Society have defended the Coalition, arguing that the IRS risks violating the First Amendment and calling for the prompt granting of the tax exemption.
“The repeated questioning of the Coalition suggests that the IRS may be denying or delaying tax-exempt status to an eligible organization based solely upon its religious affiliation and speech,” a Thomas More Society press release said. “Many other organizations regularly advocate on both sides of these issues, and they have not been hindered in obtaining or maintaining tax-exempt status.”
Thomas Brejcha, president and chief counsel for the Thomas More Society, said the IRS “erroneously forbade” the Coalition from engaging in advocacy as a 501(c)3 non-profit and also never gave any explanation concerning why their request was relevant.
“The Coalition has clearly and truthfully stated that all its activities fall in line with IRS guidelines,” Brejcha continued. “The IRS is protecting [Planned] Parenthood and harassing the Coalition for Life of Iowa,” he charged.
Valletta, Malta, Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - The editor of a Malta newspaper has commented on President Barack Obama’s choice of Prof. Doug Kmiec as ambassador to Malta, describing the appointment as “somewhat of a poisoned chalice” and noting the controversies concerning Kmiec and his campaign to elect Obama to the American presidency.
Noel Grima, editor of the Malta Independent Online, said that though Kmiec was a Catholic and a pro-life person he has “fallen foul” of some Catholic leaders for his public stances on abortion and other pro-life issues.
Noting Kmiec’s past as a law school dean, a law professor, and a member of the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidential administrations, Grima then discussed Kmiec’s transformation into a supporter of President Barack Obama, an open proponent of abortion rights.
Kmiec had said he was convinced that then-Senator Obama wanted to alleviate social conditions that correlate with abortion. Though describing himself as a Republican and a Catholic who believes in traditional marriage and the beginning of life at conception, he said he believed that president Obama would respect and accommodate opposing points of view.
Grima noted that a priest denied communion to Kmiec at a Mass for a California chapter of Legatus, a Catholic businessman’s group. The priest was forced to apologize to Kmiec by Archbishop of Los Angeles Roger Cardinal Mahony.
“The amount of hatemail and hate comments about him is simply unbelievable,” Grima wrote.
However, Kmiec has also become an ardent defender of the Obama administration.
Listing Kmiec’s defense of Obama’s embryonic stem cell policy, the president’s pro-abortion appointees, and his recent proposal to end state recognition of marriage, Grima also noted that the nominated ambassador has engaged in controversies with several Catholic prelates.
According to Grima, Kmiec has criticized Archbishops Raymond Burke and Charles Chaput and Bishop Joseph Naumann for saying Catholics who support abortion should be denied Communion. Kmiec has called this denial a form of “intimidation.”
Kmiec also labeled as “intrusive” Pope Benedict XVI’s comments to pro-abortion rights Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic and Speaker of the U.S. House. His defense of President Obama’s embryonic stem cell research policy also brought criticism from Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Vatican City, Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - This morning in Rome, the Pope interrupted his series of teachings on the saints to explain the essential thoughts contained in his new social encyclical, published yesterday. In the face of the world's “vast and profound” problems, Benedict XVI stated that the world economy must recover ethical principles.
The encyclical, explained the Holy Father, highlights the fact that "charity in truth is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. ... Only with charity, illuminated by reason and by faith, is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanizing value."
The document, he went on, "intensifies Church analysis and reflection on social themes of vital interest to humankind in our century. In a special way it harks back to what Paul VI wrote more than forty years ago in his 'Populorum progressio.'"
In a manner similar to all papal teachings, Pope Benedict noted that “'Caritas in veritate.' does not seek to offer technical solutions to the enormous social problems of the modern world. ...What it does do is recall the fundamental principles that are indispensable for building human development over coming years."
At the core of the Pope's message is "concern for the life of man, seen as the center of all true progress; respect for the right to religious freedom; ... and the rejection of a Promethean vision of human beings which sees them as the sole architects of their own destiny."
"Upright men and women are needed, both in politics and in the economy, people sincerely concerned for the common good," he said.
Referring then specifically to "world emergencies," the Pope spoke of the urgent need to call "public opinion to the drama of hunger and of food security," which "must be faced decisively, eliminating the structural causes which produce it and promoting agricultural development in the poorest countries."
Any overhaul of the world's economy requires ethics in order to “function correctly,” the Holy Father stressed. “It needs to recover the important contribution of the principle of gratuitousness and the 'logic of giving' in the economy and in the market, where profit cannot be the only rule.
“But this is possible only through commitment on the part of everyone, economists and politicians, producers and consumers, and it presupposes a formation of consciences capable of strengthening moral criteria in the elaboration of political and economic projects.”
Another necessity, the Holy Father proceeded, "is for all humankind to practice a different lifestyle, one in which each individual's duties towards the environment are linked to his or her duties towards human beings, considered both in themselves and in relation to others."
Finally, Pope Benedict turned to the world's “vast and profound problems," and underscored the “need for a world political authority regulated by law, one that observes the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity and is firmly directed towards attaining the common good, while respecting the great moral and religious traditions of humanity."
The Pope finished his address by asking the faithful to pray that "this Encyclical may help humankind to feel itself to be a single family, committed to creating a world of justice and peace." He also called upon them to pray for "the heads of State and government of the G8 who are currently meeting in L'Aquila, Italy. May this important world summit generate decisions and directives that serve the true progress of all peoples, especially the poorest."
Vatican City, Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - In a continued effort to work towards the “repair of all fractures and divisions within the Church,” Pope Benedict XVI undertook today the reorganization of the pontifical commission designed to deal with questions involving the Society of Saint Pius X. The change in organization places the “Ecclesia Dei” Commission under the authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Pope Benedict announced the organizational shift in a Motu Proprio, which was published today under the title “Ecclesiae unitatem.”
The new delegation of powers places the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” under the authority of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, an indication that the problems separating the Society from the Church are primarily doctrinal.
Benedict recalled in his letter that in July 1988, after Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre illicitly consecrated four priests as bishops, Pope John Paul II established the “Ecclesia Dei” Commission to “collaborate with the bishops, with the departments of the Roman Curia and with the circles concerned, for the purpose of facilitating full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals” linked to the Society.
In his letter issued today, Benedict XVI noted that it is his duty as Peter’s Successor to “safeguard the unity of the Church,” and a commitment of his to “achieve a shared witness of faith among all Christians.”
It was in this spirit, said Pope Benedict, that he made his decision in January 2009 to lift the excommunications of the four bishops illicitly ordained by Msgr. Lefebvre, reinforcing that his intention was “to remove an impediment that could hinder the opening of a door to dialogue” and to “invite the four bishops and the Society of Saint Pius X to rediscover the path to full communion with the Church.”
In March 2009, Benedict issued a letter to bishops, in which he further explained that the lifting of the excommunications was a measure taken to “free individuals from the burden of conscience constituted by the most serious of ecclesiastical penalties.”
Acknowledging the difference between disciplinary and doctrinal issues, the Holy Father noted in today's letter that “it is clear that the doctrinal questions remain, and until they are clarified the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers cannot legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.”
“Precisely because the problems that now have to be examined with the Society are essentially doctrinal in nature,” the Pope said, “I have decided…in keeping with what I had intended to do - to reconsider the structure of the Commission "Ecclesia Dei," joining it closely to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
The new configuration of the “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, the Pope said, will allow the Commission to have its own staff, but its president will be the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
In keeping with that plan, the Vatican announced today that Cardinal William Levada, head of the CDF, will become the commission's president and Bishop Guido Pozzo, adjunct secretary of the International Theological Commission and official of the CDF, will serve as the secretary of the commission.
The president and secretary will work to present doctrinal cases and questions for discernment and study.
Benedict concluded his letter by inviting prayers for unity and noting, “With this decision I wish in particular to show paternal solicitude towards the Society of Saint Pius X, with the aim of rediscovering the full communion of the Church.”
Boston, Mass., Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - Mike Lowell, 3rd baseman for the Boston Red Sox, was featured on a CatholicTV talk show on Tuesday. A Golden Glove Winner, 4-time All-Star, and the 2007 World Series MVP, Lowell spoke about baseball, family and the faith that helped him survive his battle with cancer.
Lowell was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Miami at age 3. In the interview with CatholicTV, he recalled the influence of his grandparents, whom he described as “very religious,” and his parents, who instilled family values in him from a young age.
Reflecting on his memories of going to Church together as a family every Sunday, Lowell said, “I think that foundation was set in me at a young age, and I think I used it to help me out in times when things aren’t going so good later on in my life.”
At age 24, Lowell was diagnosed with testicular cancer during a routine physical.
He acknowledged his fear at being told that he had the disease. “That’s a very troubling word,” he said, recalling that his grandmother had passed away from cancer about four years earlier. He remembered his initial reaction being, “Am I going to live or am I going to die?”
As he began to fight the cancer, Lowell came to rely heavily on his faith, family and friends. He spoke of the comfort that came from knowing how many people were praying for him. Looking back in retrospect, he said, “With all the support and all this faith that I had going behind me with my family and my friends, I feel like the cancer had no chance.”
Lowell spoke of the difficult times during the treatment that drove him to cling to his faith when everything else was out of his control. “I’d say my faith was a major reason why I was able to overcome the cancer,” he said.
“I think especially in those times that are tough, if you have a faith that you can lean on, it definitely makes things a lot easier to cope with, and I think you take a more realistic approach,” he added.
The experience with cancer made Lowell stop and re-examine his life. He realized that he needed to make his family and faith priorities in his life. Now, he says, he focuses on being a husband and father, and sees baseball as “a piece of me and not the whole me.”
In addition to reordering his priorities in life, Lowell has also made an effort to reach out to others.
After his recovery, he and his wife set up the Mike Lowell Foundation to help children going through cancer.
“Physically, emotionally, spiritually, it was the most trying thing I had ever gone through,” Lowell recalled, noting all the struggles he went through even though knew he was financially secure. While he was undergoing treatment, he realized how difficult it must be for families with a member, particularly a child, undergoing cancer treatments when the family is not as financially stable.
“If we can financially help out that burden a little bit, I think it makes the whole process of going through cancer a little more do-able, and I think it allows the families to be a little bit more optimistic about their situation.”
Lowell admitted that even as a professional baseball player, he still faces regular “bumps in the road.” But despite the difficulties he has gone through, he is optimistic and grateful. “I don’t view my life as all these tragic moments,” he said. “I view my life as very fortunate.”
As he shares his story with others, Lowell says it is important to remember that everyone goes through tough times, but that “you can find a positive in each obstacle and you can use it as motivation to either achieve a goal or to maximize your talents.”
Now, Lowell is trying to share his precious gift of faith with his two children. “They’re bound to go through things that are going to be tough for them,” he said, explaining that he wants to give them support and strong foundation of faith to deal with those difficult times.
“When all else fails, you’ll always have your faith with you.”
Bogotá, Colombia, Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Archbishop Ruben Salazar, together with other Colombian bishops, has reiterated his willingness to mediate and collaborate in the liberation of hostages still being held by the FARC.
According to a press release, Archbishop Salazar said, “We are always willing to participate as much as possible.” “We have always asked the FARC and the other groups that are holding hostages to liberate them as soon as possible. It is a request we make from our hearts: peace,” he added.
Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Saenz of Bogota said the members of the bishops’ conference “have always been willing to collaborate in everything that has to do with peace.” “The country hopes they liberate all persons held hostage. This would open the way for peace,” the cardinal said.
Likewise, Bishop Jaime Prieto Amaya of Cucuta said mediations “are very important but today a face-to-face meeting is required with the FARC, with the ELN, with all the groups of this armed conflict which we wish to resolve. I would say we are past the time for proposals, we want solutions to this armed conflict.”
“We don’t need anymore initial dialogue to see if we can enter into some kind of plan for an agreement, but each side simply needs to lay out its point of view and then enter into concrete or specific agreements,” the bishop said. “This is fundamental right now because the armed conflict has reached such a degree that this enormous bloodbath that is killing Colombians cannot continue.”
Bogotá, Colombia, Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - During the 87th Plenary Assembly of the Bishops of Colombia, some prelates asked President Alvaro Uribe to consider not running for re-election and to take a break after two terms as the country’s leader.
Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sainz of Bogota said he holds President Uribe “in much esteem,” but added, “Two terms is a lot. He has carried out important work for the good of the country and for peace.”
“It would be better for him if after finishing his second term he left office and later on ran again,” the cardinal stated.
Bishop Nel Beltran Santamaria of Sincelejo encouraged President Uribe to be sensible in considering another run for re-election. “There is a terrible polarization and polarizations have led to great disasters for the country. We have to stop thinking about whether you are 'with me' or 'against me' because that 'with me' or 'against me' can unleash a violence that later cannot be contained,” he said.
Bishop Julio Cesar Vidal of Monteria said Uribe has the right to take a break and spend time with his family, and that he should consider whether remaining in office would benefit him or democracy in Colombia.
Mexico City, Mexico, Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - The Human Rights Commission of the Mexican state of Puebla has rejected a petition to declare unconstitutional a reform of the constitution that protects the unborn, saying “the right to life is the essential foundation for the protection of all other human rights.”
On June 23, pro-abortion organizations asked the Commission to declare the reform unconstitutional, but it replied that there was no basis for “determining that the reform of the Puebla State Constitution was contrary to the General Constitution of the Republic.”
It also noted that while there are “very different and contrasting views on the issue” of abortion in Mexico, the Supreme Court “has ruled there is no constitutional obligation to criminalize or decriminalize abortion, and therefore states have the power to legislate the issue,” as has occurred in Puebla.
In March the Puebla State Congress approved a reform of the constitution that granted legal protection for human life from conception to natural death. It was the result of an effort by lawmakers to head off attempts to legalize abortion in the state.
Washington D.C., Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - Cardinal Justin Rigali, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities, has criticized the new National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines on human embryonic stem cell research, lamenting that they are “even broader” than their draft proposals.
His April 21 statement on the draft guidelines had said federal tax dollars would be used to encourage destruction of “living embryonic human beings” for stem cell research, including “human beings who otherwise would have survived and been born.”
On Tuesday Cardinal Rigali said the final guidelines are “even broader” in that “parents asked to consider having their embryonic children destroyed for research will not even have to be informed about all their other options” but only about options available at their particular fertility clinic.
“Moreover, under the final guidelines, stem cell lines that existed previously or that are produced in foreign countries may be made eligible for federally funded research even if they were obtained in ways that violate one or more of the NIH's own informed consent requirements,” he said.
There was some question about whether the new NIH informed consent requirements would disqualify certain embryonic stem cell lines permitted funding by President George W. Bush’s policy. Some defenders of President Obama’s stem cell policy pointed to this apparent restriction as evidence in its favor.
However, the NIH has announced a compromise that would permit funding for such stem cell lines if scientists
could show they met the spirit of the new standards.
“The comments of tens of thousands of Americans opposing the destruction of innocent human life for stem cell research were simply ignored in this process. Even comments filed by the Catholic bishops’ conference and others against specific abuses in the draft guidelines were not addressed,” Cardinal Rigali criticized.
The cardinal noted that the standards allow federally funded researchers to insert human embryonic stem cells into the embryos of animal species other than primates. Federal grants will also be available even to researchers who themselves destroyed human embryos to obtain stem cells for research.
“Existing federal law against funding research in which human embryos are harmed or destroyed is not given due respect here,” he said in his Tuesday comments.
The Dickey-Wicker Amendment, included in the annual appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since 1996, bars federal funds for research in which human embryos are destroyed, discarded or “knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.”
Cardinal Rigali said the debate on embryonic stem cell research now shifts to Congress, where he said some members believe “even this policy does not go far enough in treating some human beings as objects to be created, manipulated and destroyed for others’ use.”
“I hope Americans concerned about this issue will write to their elected representatives, urging them not to codify or further expand this unethical policy,” his remarks concluded.
Portland, Maine, Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - The group Stand for Marriage Maine has announced it has collected more than the 55,087 signatures required to place on the 2009 ballot a People’s Veto of a state law implementing same-sex “marriage.”
“In just four weeks, we've gathered more than 55,000 signatures from Mainers who believe they, not the legislature and governor, should have the final say on the definition of marriage," said Marc Mutty, chairman of the coalition supporting the ballot proposal and Public Affairs Director for the Catholic Diocese of Portland.
“There has been an extraordinary outpouring of support from voters across the state. This response gives us momentum that will lift us over the first hurdle of putting the issue before the people and, ultimately, carry us to victory in November.”
Bob Embrich, an executive committee member of Stand for Marriage Maine and founder of the Maine Jeremiah Project, said the speed with which the signatures were gathered suggested that Maine citizens want to restore marriage “to its historical and time-honored definition as between a man and a woman.”
“We look forward to submitting the measure for certification and engaging Mainers in a vigorous defense of marriage. Traditional marriage has never lost on the ballot in any state. We expect it to prevail in Maine.”
Stand for Marriage Maine is now collecting additional signatures as insurance for when the Secretary of State certifies their validity.
The coalition was formed after Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed legislation in May approving same-sex “marriages.” It is comprised of the Maine Jeremiah Project, the National Organization for Marriage, the Catholic Diocese of Portland and a number of other organizations and individuals.
Its website is located at http://www.standformarriagemaine.com
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata called on parents this week not to fall into the error and sin of denying their children the sacrament of Baptism, under the false argument that they should let them decide whether or not they want to be Christians when they get older.
“This is not only an error but I would dare say it is also a sin, a lack of piety and love for their children for whom they provide so much care and who they deprive of the greatest of gifts: they deprive them of God,” the archbishop said during his program Keys to a Better World.
He noted that this error is common even among people who have received good formation, and “it is totally contrary to the teaching and discipline of the Church.” “If these parents are really Catholic and live their faith, what more can they desire for their children than the inestimable gift of divine grace?” he asked.
He called it “curious” that some parents would say they want their children to make up their own minds about being Christians when they are older, since they have no problem imposing all kinds of conditions and restrictions on their children in other areas of education, in their tastes and their hobbies, and even in which soccer team they should support.
“They impose a ton of things on them but they deprive them of the gift of faith and the grace of God during the decisive years in which their personalities are being shaped,” the archbishop warned.
He underscored that baptism is still appreciated in Argentina, but that in addition to the problem of some postponing the sacrament until adulthood, there are other problems as well such, as the selection of pagan, aboriginal or bizarre baptismal names.
Archbishop Aguer went on to note that many parents do not appreciate the sacrament and lack clear awareness of the commitment it entails. “Passing on the life of faith to their children implies a commitment to bringing them up in that faith,” he said.
He urged Argentineans not to let the faith become a merely cultural aspect of their lives but to embrace the beauty of Baptism, “because it is there that the pure gift of the grace of salvation, that makes us children of God, is fully made manifest.”
Manila, Philippines, Jul 8, 2009 (CNA) - In a statement released Tuesday, the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines expressed its strong condemnation of the attack by Muslim extremists in Cotabato City outside the cathedral, which left 5 people dead and 34 injured.
The statement signed by conference president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo of Jaro sent condolences to the family and friends of the victims.
Father Edwin De Gracia, pastor of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, said fear among Christians that more attacks will take place has increased in the archdiocese. At the same time, he said, there is a certain hope after the comments made about the attack by Pope Benedict XVI during the Angelus on July 5.
“The Pope asks us not to be overcome by fear, by violence or by the logic of death. We must toil against fear and restore an atmosphere of dialogue in order to build a future together,” the priest said, referring to the tense relationship between Christians and Muslims in the region of Mindanao.
At the same time, Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, who was preaching in the cathedral at the time of the bombing, called on all the faithful to pray for the victims. “To place a bomb near a church where people are worshiping God would be doubly heinous and must be condemned by all people of good will,” he said.