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Archive of July 29, 2009

Wrestling coach charges Muslim principal with anti-Christian bias after losing job

Dearborn, Mich., Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - A federal lawsuit has been filed against a Michigan high school and its Muslim principal, charging that a respected wrestling coach’s contract was not renewed because of anti-Christian bias and his association with another coach who ran a wrestling camp where a young Muslim converted to Christianity.

Gerald Marszalek had coached wrestling for 35 years at Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan. According to the Thomas More Law Center, which filed the suit, he had achieved a “legendary status” in the wrestling community through his numerous victories and his students’ success in being accepted to collegiate programs.

He was elected to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame and named “Sportsman of the Year” by the All-American Athletic Association.

The coach had garnered more than 450 wins. According to the Chicago Tribune, his attorney Brandon Bolling said Marszalek wanted to complete “one last season” to try to achieve 500 wins.

However, Marszalek was not allowed to reapply for his coaching position.

The lawsuit alleges that the school’s Muslim principal Imad Fadlallah unjustly blocked the application. The principal was particularly upset when an assistant coach of Marszalek, Protestant minister Rev. Trey Hancock, held a summer wrestling camp at which a Muslim camper converted to Christianity.

The camp was not connected with either the school or Coach Marszalek.

“Principal Fadlallah was so upset by the conversion that he punched the student and informed him he had disgraced his family,” a Thomas More Law Center press release says. Fadlallah was found innocent of the charges at a Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education meeting last May.

Dearborn is one of the most densely populated Muslim communities in the United States, with about 30,000 of its 98,000 residents being Muslim. An estimated 80 percent of students at Fordson High School are Arabic and mostly Muslim.

The Law Center argues that Principal Fadlallah sees Fordson as a Muslim school both in students and in faculty.

The principal ordered Coach Marszalek to ban assistant coach Hancock, a volunteer, from the high school and all wrestling events. The assistant’s son was an All State wrestler on the team, allegedly making the order impossible to enforce.

He also ordered that Hancock’s son was not to be acknowledged at wrestling meets and barred the Hancock family from helping out at school concession stands during events.

The suit alleges that the principal did so because “as a Muslim, he disagreed with Hancock’s Christian beliefs, practices, expressions and associations.” It also claims untoward treatment of Marszalek and other coaches because of their Christian beliefs.

When the wrestling season concluded, Coach Marszalek was not allowed to reapply for his coaching position. The Thomas More Law Center charged that this was a “clear violation” of teacher’s union rules but the union did not assist the coach.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented on the lawsuit, charging:

“We are getting a glimpse of what happens when Muslims who refuse to accept American values and principles gain political power in an American community. Failure to renew coach Marszalek’s contract had nothing to do with wrestling and everything to do with religion.”

John Artis, former superintendent of Dearborn Public schools, told the Chicago Tribune that the coach was an at-will employee who reported to the principal. He said discrimination on the basis of religion had no role in the coach’s dismissal.

“There were a number of things tied into that. ... A tough decision had to be made,” he said.

The lawsuit charges violations of both the U.S. and Michigan constitutions and statutes including Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights laws. Marszalek is seeking back pay, damages and reinstatement as wrestling coach.

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New research backs abortion-breast cancer link

Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - A Turkish researcher has reported a statistically significant 66 percent increase in breast cancer risk among women who have had an abortion.

Dr. Vahit Ozmen and his colleagues at the Istanbul Medical Faculty and Magee-Women's hospital conducted a retrospective study in breast cancer risk factors which discovered the connection. Their study was published in the World Journal of Surgical Oncology, an open access, peer reviewed online medical journal.

The researchers also reviewed the contemporary literature on the possible abortion-breast cancer link, saying “the majority of the studies reported that induced abortion was associated with increased breast cancer risk.”

Their study also found significantly decreased breast cancer risks for women who use oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy. According to the Poughkeepsie, New York-based Breast Cancer Prevention Institute (BCPI), this contradicts findings of the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Cancer Institute and “what has been almost universally observed around the world.”

BCPI director Joel Brind, a professor of endocrinology at Baruch College at City University of New York, said the findings call into question the National Cancer Institute’s 2003 declaration that it was “established” that there was no connection between abortion and breast cancer.

In an analysis of the study Brind said the researchers probably underestimated the breast cancer risk associated with abortion because of “selection bias,” in that a disproportionate number of women with modern lifestyles, including abortions, were likely overrepresented among the controls. If there is indeed a link between abortion and breast cancer, their cancer rates would have been elevated but nonetheless classified as normal.

He suggested these modern women would also be more likely to take contraceptives and hormonal therapies, but also would live healthier lifestyles. The “protective effects” of their modern lifestyles would then correlate with lower cancer rates.

The new study, Brind said, is “honest research” that cracks the “wall of denial erected by our increasingly nonsensical and bizarre political institutions.”

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Responding to Episcopalians, Archbishop of Canterbury proposes ‘two-track’ church

London, England, Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head cleric in the Church of England, has responded to the Episcopal Church’s decision to allow the ordination of homosexual bishops. Saying that a change in Anglican teaching, if necessary, would require broader agreement, he proposed a “two-track” church structure which recognizes “two ways of being Anglican.”

On July 14, the Episcopal Church’s General Convention voted to approve homosexual bishops. It was seen as a rejection of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s and the Anglican Communion’s call for a moratorium on the practice.

Writing in a July 27 document titled “Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future,” Archbishop Williams said the wording of the resolution showed that it did not want to “cut its moorings from other parts of the Anglican family.” The two most controversial resolutions, he said, do not have the “automatic effect” of overturning the moratoria on homosexual clergy.

However, he said the resolutions do not suggest the General Convention will “repair the broken bridges into the life of other Anglican provinces” and have led to the expression of “very serious anxieties.”

He said the issue is not simply about civil liberties, human dignity, or the freedom of individual Christians to form their consciences.

“It is about whether the Church is free to recognize same-sex unions by means of public blessings that are seen as being, at the very least, analogous to Christian marriage,” he said.

Based on the Christian Church’s consistent reading of the Bible for two millennia, the archbishop said, an innovation would require “the most painstaking biblical exegesis” and “a wide acceptance of the results within the Communion.”

“This is not our situation in the Communion,” he said, noting that persons living in homosexual unions cannot represent the Anglican Church without “serious incongruity.”

He also counseled Anglicans to recall how a local church decides on a “sensitive and controversial matter” so as not to be “completely trapped in the particularly bitter and unpleasant atmosphere of the debate over sexuality, in which unexamined prejudice is still so much in evidence and accusations of bad faith and bigotry are so readily thrown around.”

Noting past Christian errors, he also warned about the danger of a local church simply becoming “isolated and imprisoned in its own cultural environment.”

He suggested the possibility of a “twofold ecclesial reality,” with a “covenanted” Anglican global body fully sharing a vision of how the Church should be. To this would be joined “in less formal ways” associated local churches in “various kinds of mutual partnership.”

Rather than a “two-tier” system, he suggested, this is a “two-track model” with two ways of “witnessing to the Anglican heritage.”

“The ideal is that both 'tracks' should be able to pursue what they believe God is calling them to be as Church, with greater integrity and consistency,” he continued.

“It helps to be clear about these possible futures, however much we think them less than ideal, and to speak about them not in apocalyptic terms of schism and excommunication,” he said, stating that they are “two styles of being Anglican.”

“All of this is to do with becoming the Church God wants us to be, for the better proclamation of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ,” the Archbishop of Canterbury’s document concluded. He said the present situation should be seen not as “an unhappy sent of tensions” but rather “an opportunity for clarity, renewal and deeper relation with one another” and with God.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s conciliatory statement contrasts with the response of prominent biblical scholar and Anglican Bishop of Durham N.T. Wright, who said the Episcopal Church’s recent decision formalized a “schism” and marked a “clear break” with the Anglican Communion. Bishop Wright also criticized those Episcopalians who have “long embraced a theology in which chastity, as universally understood by the wider Christian tradition, has been optional.”

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Pope ends vacation, travels to Castelgandolfo

Vatican City, Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - After spending more than two weeks at a chalet in the Italian Alps, Pope Benedict wrapped up his vacation on Wednesday evening.

During his time at Les Combes, the Holy Father spent time working on the second installment of his book, Jesus of Nazareth. The relative leisure of his trip was interrupted on July 16 when Benedict tripped and fractured his wrist while trying to find a light switch.

This evening the Pope will travel by helicopter to Caselle airport near the northern Italian city of Turin. From there he will fly by plane to Rome's Ciampino airport.

Pope Benedict XVI will then be taken by car to the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, where he will spend the rest of the summer and continue treatment of his right wrist.

The Pope will maintain a light schedule during August, the traditional month for vacation in Europe.

On Saturday, August 1 he is scheduled to receive around 100 athletes who are currently participating in the world swimming championships in Rome. On Sunday, August 2 he will pray the Angelus from the balcony overlooking his summer residence's courtyard.

Weekly general audiences will resume on Wednesday, August 5.

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Parents worry successful Brooklyn school will lose its Catholic identity

Brooklyn, N.Y., Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - Fr. Daniel Murphy's decision to replace a Brooklyn school’s long-time principal has infuriated parishioners who not only believe he was unjustly let go, but are also concerned that under new leadership, the school will be converted into a charter school.

Furious parishioners at the Church of St. Saviour in Brooklyn, New York told CNA that they began to think something was amiss last April when the parish’s pastor, Father Daniel Murphy, decided not to renew James Flanagan’s contract and replaced him with pastoral parish council member, Maura Lorenzen.

Flanagan, who has over 40 years of education experience, was just about to finish his 25th year as principal of the school.

Parents and students were shocked. One parent, Becky McClintock explained to CNA that she discovered that Flanagan would not be returning as principal "on Mother’s Day from someone from another parish. I didn’t know what they were talking about."


"I went in the next day and found teachers crying and I found Mr. Flanagan and he confirmed it for me."

The decision seems to be the result of a deteriorating relationship between the pastor and principal, which is documented over six pages of complaints in Flanagan's personnel file.

One incident shared with CNA referred to a disputed quote from an auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano.

The bishop’s words came from a meeting in which he spoke about the diocesan plan to convert all Catholic schools into academies by 2013, meaning that the schools will be under the guidance of a board, instead of solely the pastor. During the January 2009 meeting, Bishop Caggiano said, St. Saviour isn’t "ready for that change now."

Fr. Murphy wrote in the personnel file that when he heard this, "I had to think, ‘Mr. Flanagan is why we’re not ready’ and then consider how we could get ready, certainly not by continuing on the same path."

"With all the momentum now gathered toward reviving Catholic schools, this is the right time for SSES to make this change, especially since the Park Slope demographics call for something new and vibrant as much as the efforts by the diocese do," Fr. Murphy wrote.

However, Flanagan and other parishioners such as Jim Gange explained that the pastor took the bishop’s words out of context.

"The bishop’s explanation was that St. Saviour’s was successful and that parents wouldn’t understand the need to change to a new model," Flanagan told CNA.

The bishop confirmed this to Flanagan in a May 2009 meeting.

Feeling he was unjustly replaced, Flanagan appealed to the superintendent’s office where he won the appeal. However, they informed him that they couldn’t force the pastor to re-hire him.

When Flanagan turned to the diocese, he heard the same story. Fr. Kieran Harrington, spokesman for the Diocese of Brooklyn explained, "We do not in Brooklyn have a Catholic school system. He did not work for the diocese, he worked for St. Saviour. He was a contract employee and Fr. Murphy did not renew his contract."

"We don't make the decision. At the end of the day we have to stand by the pastor."

However, some of the parents at St. Saviour are not content to leave the decision where it stands.

McClintock, who is also president of the home school board, explained that "no one deserved the kind of mistreatment that Mr. Flanagan has received." As principal, "he has done a phenomenal job," which is something "I say as a friend and as a parent." Not only does Mr. Flanagan know the name of every child in the school," he also lives out his Catholic beliefs.

"If you want someone who is a phenomenal example of someone living the faith, it’s Mr. Flanagan," she added.

Jim Gange, who has three children at the school, also praised Flanagan. "He is a very, very religious man. He is everything you would want in a principal."

McClintock and other parents and parishioners upset by the principal’s dismissal began picketing in front of the church two months ago and have started a petition that has been signed by over 680 people. It "basically informed people about the injustice that has occurred and we want action taken. We want to be heard and want a response. We want him reinstated and we want all of this to stop," said McClintock.

Flanagan commented on the support, saying that it has "been overwhelming from the parents and the school and a lot of the parishioners too."

Along with voicing their support for Flanagan, parents are also criticizing the intentions of Fr. Murphy. They believe that with Flanagan out of the way, Fr. Murphy and Maura Lorenzen, the new principal, want to convert St. Saviour’s into a charter school.

Their suspicions stem from minutes of a May 12 Parish Pastoral Council meeting where it was recorded that one member of the council "distributed two documents about ‘Charter Schools’, which is a route some (e.g. Mayor Bloomberg) felt local Catholic schools might pursue, and said that she thought Maura Lorenzen was preparing some material on the subject for a future meeting…"

In addition, they are accusing the pastor of being anti-family and instead being more "inclusive."

St. Saviour’s website describes its current mission: "We at St. Saviour commit ourselves to do all that we can to make our parish a place where everyone can truly feel at home and welcomed: the young, the old, and those in between; women and men; the sinner and the saint; gay and straight; the single and the married; the divorced and the widowed; the disappointed and the hurt; everyone. We do what we can to heal hurts, we want to listen, we want to be lovingly present, we want to be inclusive, we want to be, as fully as we can be, the Church that Jesus founded."

Every attempt by CNA to contact Fr. Murphy for over a week was left unanswered.

However, Flangan told CNA that overall, his time at St. Saviour has "been a wonderful experience. The school has really plowed a really good trail into becoming a superb Catholic school. We’ve managed to move it forward through excellent faculty and support from the rectory."

Mr. Flanagan added, "I would like to see a peaceful resolution of this, and I’ve been trying to get that for several months now."

 

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Transsexual attacks priest during Mass in Italy

Milan, Italy, Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - Police in Milan detained a Brazilian transsexual on Sunday after he stripped naked in front of the altar during Mass and began to attack the priest who was presiding over the Mass.
 
The incident occurred at the Church of St. Babila at the 8:30am Mass on Sunday.
 
According to ANSA news agency, the subject entered the church and approached the altar, where he stripped naked. “Afterwards he took a pole used by the sacristan to close doors and approached the celebrating priest.  Several people in congregation tried to stop him, and the man went to the baptismal chapel and began striking a commemorative plaque full of money, which he tried to steal.
 
Police arrested the Brazilian man and charged him with theft, property damage, public disruption and resisting arrest.

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Creation must be protected to achieve peace, Pope will say in message

Vatican City, Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI will focus on how cultivating peace is tied to protecting creation for his 43rd World Day of Peace message this coming January. Drawing on his recent social encyclical, the Pope will highlight how this connection is further heightened by the "many problems concerning man's natural environment," such as climate change and the ways biotechnology is used.

"If you want to cultivate peace, protect the creation" is the theme chosen by Benedict XVI for his Message for the 43rd World Day of Peace, which will be celebrated on January 1, 2010.

According to a Vatican press office statement, the theme "aims to raise awareness about the strong bond that exists in our globalized and interconnected world between protecting the creation and cultivating peace."

This connection is "further accentuated by the many problems concerning man's natural environment, such as the use of resources, climate change, the application and use of biotechnology, and demographic growth," the statement says.

Unless the human family responds to the need to protect creation with a "renewed sense of social justice and equity, and of international solidarity, we run the risk of sowing seeds of violence among peoples, and between current generations and those to come," the message warns.

In particular, the Pope's message will draw upon paragraphs 48 to 51 of "Caritas in Veritate" to "make it clear that the protection of the environment is a challenge for all humankind. It is shared and universal duty to respect a collective asset destined for everyone."

Finally, the statement from the press office emphasizes that humanity must face the ecological questions of today for the right reason. They should be confronted," not just because of the dreadful prospects that environmental degradation presages" but out of a strong motivation for peace.

 

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Pope Benedict says his guardian angel allowed accident to teach him humility

Les Combes, Italy, Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI said today that his guardian angel did not prevent him from fracturing his wrist earlier this month. He suggested his angel was “certainly following superior orders” in order to use the accident to teach him humility and to provide him with more time for prayer.

Speaking at the Alpine resort Les Combes, where he tripped and injured his wrist ten days ago, the Pope thanked law enforcement officials for being “like angels” in their response to his accident.

"Unfortunately, my own guardian angel did not prevent my injury, certainly following superior orders," Pope Benedict said, according to the Associated Press.

“Perhaps the Lord wanted to teach me more patience and humility, give me more time for prayer and meditation,” he continued.

The Pope had fractured his right wrist in his fall at his mountain chalet. He had surgery at a local hospital on July 17 and spent the remainder of his two-week vacation in a cast.

He maintained his public schedule but the cast made writing by hand difficult.

Pope Benedict had hoped to use his vacation to make progress on the second part of his book project Jesus of Nazareth. Instead of writing, he used a tape recorder to collect his thoughts.

The Pope left Les Combes on Wednesday evening to spend the rest of the summer in Castelgandolfo, the papal summer residence near Rome.

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Ukranian Catholic Eparch of St. Josaphat retires, Pope names administrator

Vatican City, Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - Benedict XVI this morning accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Mikhail Moskal, Eparch of St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio and appointed an apostolic administrator to lead the eparchy—the Eastern Catholic equivalent of a diocese—until a new eparch is named.

Bishop John Bura, currently an auxiliary of the Archeparchy of Philadelphia of the Ukrainians was chosen by the Pope to become the new apostolic administrator “sede vacante” of St. Josaphat in Parma.  Bishop Bura will replace Bishop Robert Mikhail Moskal whose resignation was accepted by the Holy Father today. 

Moskal was Philadelphia’s first eparch.

Born in 1944 in Wegeleben, Germany, Bishop Bura moved to New Jersey with his family in 1950.  Nine years later, he entered Saint Basil the Minor Seminary in Stamford, Connecticut and studied there until 1963. He went on to study theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C and then at the St. Josaphat Ukrainian Seminary.

In 1971, he was ordained a priest for the Archeparchy of Philadelphia. After his ordination, he served in various pastoral and administrative ministries, taught religion classes in Ukrainian and served as vice-rector of Saint Basil Seminary in Stamford.  He later went on to become the rector of St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Washington, D.C. and served as a pastor before being named auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Philadelphia in 2006.

The Eparchy of St. Josaphat consists of North and South Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, western Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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Argentinean archbishop stresses supernatural dimension of priesthood

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina encouraged the faithful this week to focus on the supernatural dimension of the priesthood in response to a culture that only sees the priest as “a person devoted in generic terms to the service of others.”
 
During his weekly radio program, the archbishop said the Year for Priests is an occasion for emphasizing the religious and supernatural dimension of the priesthood amidst the influence of today’s culture which leads people to see the priest as “simply a person devoted in generic terms to the service of others, as an agent of social promotion,” and not as a man of God.
 
Archbishop Aguer recalled that the role of the priest is “to teach, sanctify and pastorally guide the people of God,” which is a ministry proper to bishops, as successors of the apostles.
 
However, he warned that modern society not only fails to appreciate the spiritual dimension of the priesthood, but also seeks to “gleefully highlight the bizarre,” and the scandals and failings of some members of the clergy, without acknowledging “the exemplary life and generous commitment of so many priests, the silent majority, who faithfully carry out their ministries.”
 
For this reason, he called on the faithful to not only pray for more vocations to the priesthood, but also for the holiness of priests. “I think it is important that we all take advantage of this time, especially in order to acquire a more clear conscience about exactly what the priest is and about what can and should be expected of him,” the archbishop said.

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Church does not approve of therapeutic abortion, says diocesan official in Nicaragua

Managua, Nicaragua, Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - The Pastoral Vicar of the Archdiocese of Managua, Bishop Miguel Mantica, said last week the Catholic Church does not support or approve of abortion, nor does it approve of so-called “therapeutic” abortion.
 
Bishop Mantica’s comments came in response to a report by the newspaper La Prensa, which he said manipulated recent comments about the subject by Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.
 
In statements to CNA, he said the paper erroneously claimed the Church supports a move to legalize “therapeutic” abortion in Nicaragua. He also cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that “human life must be absolutely respected and protected from the moment of conception.”  “That is a key point,” he emphasized.
 
Human life “cannot be violated in any way, much less by committing homicide, even if during the pre-natal phase, when the child is still in his mother’s womb,” Mantica continued.  “This is a constant teaching of the Church that goes back to the first centuries when abortion was always condemned unambiguously.  This is a point that has always been very clear,” he said.
 
Responding to the newspaper’s insinuation that a recent article in L’Osservatore Romano suggested a change in Church teaching on abortion, Bishop Mantica said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently stated that the Church “has not changed nor can she change” her teaching on abortion.
 
While a woman’s choice to undergo an abortion may entail tragic or painful dimensions, he said, “We cannot therefore justify the killing of any person.”
 
He also pointed out that the real reason behind the push for therapeutic abortion is to get abortion on- demand legalized.

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Unknown assailants rob Argentinean bishop and priests

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - Argentinean Bishop Fernando Carlos Maletti and seven other priests who were with him at the diocesan chancery, were robbed by two armed men on July 23.
 
According to media reports, the bishop told police that the two men entered and “told us they were going to rob us, and they told us to give them all the money we were carrying while they searched the offices for any valuables.”
 
The newspaper La Nacion reported that the two men made off with around $2000, a DVD player, a cell phone and a set of computer speakers. 

Bishop Maletti said it was the first time in his eight years in San Carlos de Bariloche that he has been the victim of a crime.  “Nobody is immune,” he said.  “We all bear responsibility for the huge social debt that Argentina has, and the kids that assaulted us are victims of that debt,” the bishop said.

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Nuncio in Mexico says clerical abuse merits ecclesial and civil punishment

Mexico City, Mexico, Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - In a meeting with local reporters, the Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico, Archbishop Christopher Pierre, said that any case of proven clerical abuse merits severe ecclesial and civil punishment.

While encouraging Mexicans to fight against violence, the archbishop also noted that the Church respects every investigation and all legal processes.

“Violence stems from the anguish in peoples’ hearts, it stems from families because of a lack of education, a lack of moral, spiritual and religious values,” he added.

Regarding abortion, the nuncio insisted that the role of the Church is always to defend every human being from conception to natural death.

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Pro-lifers send Congress 100,000 letters urging no abortion funding in health care bill

Washington D.C., Jul 29, 2009 (CNA) - Over 100,000 letters have been sent to Congress from pro-life advocates asking that abortion be excluded from any national health care reform effort.

President Barack Obama himself, speaking to CBS’ Katie Couric last week, acknowledged a tradition of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care. However, Congress has voted down several health care bill amendments seeking explicit assurance that abortions will not be funded.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, announced the 100,000 letters and commented on the issue in a Tuesday press release.

“Americans are urging Members of Congress to preserve the real common ground, our long-standing tradition of limiting taxpayer funds for abortion,” she said. “This is exactly the type of policy the President has sought to achieve, one that stands the test of time, has popular support and appeals to members on both sides of the aisle.”

“Yet both the House and Senate versions of health care reform legislation seek to undo this commonsense policy,” she charged. “Without language to explicitly exclude an abortion mandate, the legislation will result in Americans footing the bill for abortion on-demand in the largest expansion of government-backed abortion since Roe v. Wade.”

Citing ambiguities in the legislation, many pro-life groups are certain that Health and Human Services officials or federal judges will define abortion as a part of basic health care covered by the proposed bill. They have formed a coalition called Stop the Abortion Mandate.

“Families are at the very heart of the health care issue, continued Dannenfelser. “And with pregnancy there are always two patients, mother and baby. We must establish a health care system that respects, protects and cherishes both. Congress should explicitly exclude an abortion mandate and preserve the common ground policies supported by the growing majority of pro-life Americans.”

The Susan B. Anthony List, which claims over 162,000 members across the United States, reports that in 2009 its members have sent nearly 400,000 letters asking Congress not to fund abortions, including 112,000 specifically commenting on health care legislation.

According to the Susan B. Anthony List, a recent action alert from NARAL Pro-Choice America reported the sending of 12,500 letters to the Senate in support of an abortion mandate.

Pro-life advocates are also concerned that section 1233 of the House bill will serve as a back door to government promotion of euthanasia. The section requires Advance Care Planning Consultations on "the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration" and other end of life treatments.

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