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Archive of August 14, 2009

Kansas parish opens adoration chapel

Wichita, Kan., Aug 14, 2009 (CNA) - When Father James Billinger finished talking to Bishop Michael O. Jackels last year about his reassignment to Holy Savior Parish in Wichita, Kansas, Fr. Billinger left the Bishop’s office, drove over to Holy Savior Church – and found the church locked. "I promised myself that at some point we would work it out where people could come and pray during the day," he said.

Father Billinger said he reaped great spiritual benefits from the adoration chapels at parishes where he was previously assigned. "And I wanted that for Holy Savior," he said.

So Father Billinger went back to Bishop Jackels for permission and floated the idea to parishioners.

Today the parish has 40-hour adoration, from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday in a location that needed little renovation.

The adoration chapel is housed in a bedroom used by the housekeeper when the house was constructed. Because it has its own entrance, it was perfect for the chapel.

"It didn’t need much renovation," the pastor said. "It just worked out beautifully, like it was designed for that someday."

Pews found through the diocesan Clergy News Notes were trimmed to fit the chapel and parishioners renovated the bedroom. "One very gifted carpenter made the tabernacle," Father Billinger said.

The parish has responded beautifully, Father added.

"Everything flows from the Eucharist, our faith, our moral life, our life of service – everything flows from the Eucharist, Jesus in the Eucharist," he said, "and so that’s why we see it as a great benefit for the parish."

Anita Guidry, a Holy Savior parishioner for nearly 50 years, is coordinating the adoration chapel.

"When Father Billinger first mentioned it, I couldn’t believe we were going to have an adoration chapel," she said. "We’ve never had anything like that – it’s so lovely, so peaceful."

Guidry said the parish works hard to educate the children of Holy Savior Catholic Academy but that the chapel is something to help the adult parishioners further their Christian journey.

"I feel reverent in church but in the adoration chapel it’s you and Jesus, you’re kind of taking care of him," she said. "It’s such a powerful feeling."

She said anyone is welcome to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament at Holy Savior’s adoration chapel, including nearby college students.

Guidry said students at nearby Wichita State University have discovered the benefits of adoration.

It has benefited the parish, too. One student volunteered to be an adoration chapel "captain" during one day of the week, Guidry said, and then transferred his parish membership to Holy Savior.

Printed with permission from the Catholic Advance, newspaper for the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas.

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Court waives charges against pro-lifer accused of blocking abortion clinic traffic

Overland Park, Kansas, Aug 14, 2009 (CNA) - A Kansas court has dismissed criminal charges filed against a pro-life woman who was arrested in the driveway of an abortion clinic for allegedly blocking traffic entering and leaving its parking lot. A police officer contradicted the city’s claim that she had been ordered to cease her activities before her arrest.

Along with several other pro-life advocates, Carrie Kafka, an employee of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, has reportedly distributed educational information on a monthly basis for over a year on a public sidewalk next to an Overland Park, Kansas Planned Parenthood abortion clinic parking lot.

According to a press release from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), Kafka was careful not to trespass or obstruct traffic entering or exiting the clinic and interacted only with those who willingly stopped their cars and invited a conversation.

Kafka was arrested by Overland Park Police in March for criminal trespass, despite never crossing onto Planned Parenthood property. The charge against her was changed to allege she obstructed vehicles entering and leaving the parking lot.

Security video contradicted the charges, as did a police officer’s testimony.

ADF Litigation Counsel Daniel Blomberg on Wednesday argued at Kafka’s trial that she should not have been arrested because she never violated the relevant ordinance. Further, he said, city police failed to order her to cease conduct and leave, as required by the ordinance.

The Overland Park Municipal Court agreed that Kafka was wrongly arrested and dismissed the charges against her.

“Pro-life advocates shouldn’t be arrested on trumped-up charges and denied their free speech rights,” Blomberg said in a statement. “We are pleased that the court dismissed the charges against Ms. Kafka so she can once again exercise her First Amendment rights.”

ADF attorneys are considering whether to file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance, which they claim is overly broad and would outlaw a variety of acceptable and legal activities.

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California same-sex ‘marriage’ proponents conflicted over future plans

Sacramento, Calif., Aug 14, 2009 (CNA) - Backers of California’s Proposition 8 have said that same-sex “marriage” proponents are in “ongoing conflict” about their plans to try to repeal the state ballot measure which restored the definition of marriage. One homosexual advocacy group has admitted that voters’ support for redefining marriage is now “stagnant.”

On Wednesday a group called Courage Campaign announced they will still pursue a constitutional amendment to instate same-sex “marriage” in 2010, while the group Equality California has said it will pursue such a measure in 2012.

Courage Campaign Chairman Rick Jacobs told the Los Angeles Times that much of its growth took place after the passage of Proposition 8.

“Our members have been adamant,” he said.

Meanwhile, Equality California’s political analysis found that most of the group’s top 100 donors to its campaign against Proposition 8 would be reluctant or unwilling to participate in a 2010 campaign. They estimate a successful campaign would need between $30 million and $50 million in funding.

The group’s analysis, published on its web site, noted the “sobering points” that support for same-sex “marriage” is stagnant in the state and that there was no “buyers’ remorse” about the outcome of the election.

“So many of us had hoped beyond hope that or rallies, demonstrations and expressions of sadness and anger would have caused voters who voted yes to change their position. That is not the case,” Equality California said.

The group recommended more local organization and sharing the stories of “married” same-sex couples and their friends and family members. It advocated knocking on 40,000 doors in neighborhoods where Proposition 8 was successful and also recruiting 100,000 “Equality Advocates” to speak with more than 300,000 Californians.

Equality California’s analysis said the group has met with LGBT leaders in “communities of color” to determine how to appeal to minority voters, who often strongly supported Proposition 8. The group also met with allied clergy, political consultants and LGBT organizations that “work with youth and in schools.”

The analysis also noted that the majority of younger voters opposed Proposition 8. Equality California also predicted that supporters of the traditional definition of marriage will die off and that younger voters will not change their opinion on same-sex "marriage."

Ron Prentice, Executive Director of Proposition 8 backer ProtectMarriage.com, said the differences between the Courage Campaign and Equality California shows that the latter group does not speak for a unified movement. He characterized its decision to postpone its proposal until 2012 as a “crass political decision.” He reported that the Courage Campaign’s move has forced Equality California to pledge support for the 2010 measure if it qualifies for the ballot.

Even in a 2012 vote, Prentice predicted, “they will lose then just as surely as they would in 2010 or any other year. The people have spoken twice on this issue, both times reaffirming traditional marriage.  If asked to do so, they will indeed vote again to protect traditional marriage.”

“The pro-gay marriage advocates had all the advantages they could ever hope for in 2008, including a misleading ballot title and summary, the sympathetic (and ultimately proven to be false) claim that a vote for Prop. 8 would be a vote to ‘divorce 18,000 couples,’ the benefit of asking for a ‘no’ vote, and a very favorable electorate driven by the historic election of Barack Obama as President. They will never have these advantages again,” he said.

He predicted they will fail because “the people are not with them,” saying most public polling shows that support for same-sex “marriage” has peaked and retracted significantly from its highest point.

Prentice said that ProtectMarriage.com is working “aggressively” to educate the public about the “very vital role” that marriage plays in society.

“While the other side issues many press releases about their activity, we are quietly but effectively building on our majority in California,” he said.

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Pope to close Year for Priests in Rome with huge meeting

Vatican City, Aug 14, 2009 (CNA) - The Congregation for the Clergy, headed by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, announced this week that the Pope Benedict XVI plans to close the Year for Priests by convoking a huge meeting of priests from around the world between June 9-11 in Rome.

Every Catholic priest in the world—there are around 407,000—is invited to the meeting, which will have the theme of “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of the Priest."

The program, announced by the Congregation for the Clergy today, indicates that the first day of the gathering will take place at the Basilica of Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls and will have as theme "Conversion and Mission." The activities will include prayer, a conference to discuss the subject, Eucharist adoration, an opportunity for Confession and a Mass.

On day two, June 10, the theme will be "Cenacle, invocation to the Holy Spirit with Mary, in fraternal communion." The venue for the morning reflections will be the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, while in the evening a “priestly vigil” will be held at Saint Peter's Basilica. The vigil will consist of priests offering their testimonies, singing and adoration of the Eucharist. Pope Benedict XVI will be present at the vigil and will greet the priests.

The Year for Priests will be brought to a close on Friday, June 11, which is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Pope Benedict XVI will preside over a Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica to conclude the Year for Priests. The final day of the meeting will have "With Peter, in ecclesial communion" as its theme.

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Cardinal Castrillon confirms reports of telephone conversation with FARC leader

Bogotá, Colombia, Aug 14, 2009 (CNA) - The president emeritus of the Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, confirmed to reporters this week that he has spoken on the phone with the FARC leader Guillermo Leon Sanchez, know as “Alfonso Cano.”
 
“Yes, I have spoken on the phone with ‘Alfonso Cano’ and with another leader whose name I can’t remember right now,” the cardinal said after meeting with Colombian president Alvaro Uribe.
 
During their conversation, the FARC leaders said they plan to present the government with a peace proposal.
 
Last April, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said the only people authorized to contact the FARC and establish agreements about the release of prisoners were members of the Church and the International Red Cross. However, two months later he authorized opposition lawmaker Piedad Cordoba to make contact with the rebel group.

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Mexican bishop extremely saddened by fatal accident he caused

Mexico City, Mexico, Aug 14, 2009 (CNA) - The Diocese of Cordoba in Mexico has expressed sadness over an accident caused by Bishop Eduardo Patino Leal, who fainted while driving. The accident left five people injured and one person dead.
 
The diocese said Bishop Patino was driving his pickup on the way to a meeting when he fainted and ran over six people. One of the bystanders was killed. The bishop suffers from diabetes, which officials said was probably the cause of his fainting spell. 
 
When he regained consciousness, Bishop Patino realized he had crashed his pickup into a post and had run over several individuals. Police officers helped him out of the vehicle and said he was extremely upset and showed signs of hypertension and dizziness. He had also injured his right hand in the accident.
 
The diocese said Bishop Patino is very saddened by the incident and has offered his prayers and sincere apologies to the family members of the victims.  “He joins his sorrow to that of each of them as if they were his own family,” the statement said.
 
Bishop Patino offered his full cooperation to police in their investigation of the incident.

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Church in Nicaragua rejects Sandinista attacks outside Cathedral of Managua

Managua, Nicaragua, Aug 14, 2009 (CNA) - The clergy of the Archdiocese of Managua said Wednesday they were “profoundly worried and saddened” by the attacks on peaceful protesters by Sandinista sympathizers outside the Cathedral of Managua.
 
In a statement read by Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Jose Baez, the clergy said it was “alarming that the attacks were not an isolated incident but part of a policy of intolerance and total disrespect for the freedom of expression and assembly that each citizen enjoys.  As believers we consider such actions to be an attack on the sacredness of the human person created in the image of God and temple of the Holy Spirit and a profanation of the sacred space of our Cathedral.”
 
They said Nicaragua urgently needs peace, “which for Christians means the absence of all forms of violence and a sincere commitment to the wellbeing of others, regardless of their ideology, political affiliation or social condition.”
 
The clergy called on Nicaraguans to “practice tolerance and peace, to use reason in explaining and defending their own ideas and not to succumb to the temptation of violence, since the Lord says, ‘He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.’”

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Spain's Justice Minister says doctors not allowed to object to abortion

Madrid, Spain, Aug 14, 2009 (CNA) - The Collegial Medical Organization and various pro-life groups in Spain have strongly rejected statements by the country’s Minister of Justice, Francisco Caamano, who said Thursday that “there is no room for conscientious objection” when it comes to abortion. 
 
The president of the Collegial Medical Organization, Dr. Juan Jose Rodriguez Sendin, said, “The right doctors have in Spain to conscientious objection is going to be respected, whether they like it or not, and it is better this is accepted on good rather than on bad terms.”
 
Conscientious objection is universally recognized in the medical profession, he insisted, noting that the commitment not to kill, not to abort, not to take part in torture, not to betray patients has been part of medical practice for more than 40 centuries.
 
“It should not seem strange to any normal person that doctors do not want to perform abortions, what ought to seem strange is the opposite,” he added. “Because it is not an ideological problem, it is simply a question of freedom. For this reason, we are going to defend the right of doctors to conscientious objection,” Rodriguez said.
 
The Association for the Defense of Conscientious Objection issued a press release calling the statements by the Minister of Justice “sectarian, imprudent and revealing of a manifest scorn for constitutional law, which considers conscientious objection to abortion a right of doctors and other health care professionals.” 

“For the vast majority of doctors, the rejection of abortion is not based on moral principles but on the conviction that it presupposes ending human life,” the association warned.
 
It also noted that conscientious objection is the last resort for a citizen “when an obligation imposed by law causes rejection or a grave moral conflict.”   “We are certain that the Minister would not want to ‘taste his own medicine’ if he found himself in other circumstances,” the group said.
 
“We deplore the ‘crusade’ that has been launched in recent days against freedom of conscience,” the association said, calling on the Minister of Justice to publicly clarify “whether his respect for freedom of conscience is sincere or is subject to political interests.”
  
Right to Life spokesperson, Gador Joya, warned Caamano that no minister and no government “can force a doctor to end a human life and harm the health of his patients. No matter what Mr. Caamano says, we doctors protect life and care for our patients. The vast majority does not practice abortion nor will we,” she stressed.

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Chilean bishops propose Jubilee Indult to mark country's bicentennial

Santiago, Chile, Aug 14, 2009 (CNA) - During a cordial meeting on Wednesday with President Michele Bachelet, the executive committee of the Chilean Bishop’s Conference proposed a “Jubilee Indult” for prisoners in order to mark Chile’s bicentennial celebration of independence in 2010.
 
During the meeting which was described as “amicable and productive,” the bishops discussed a wide range of issues affecting the country with President Bachelet.  “Among other issues discussed, we presented to Madam President some of our expectations for the upcoming Bicentennial Independence Celebration and told her of the Church’s interest that it be an occasion for the whole of Chilean society to reflect on the great values that characterize our peaceful life together,” the bishops said.
 
They also presented Bachelet with their idea of granting a “Jubilee Indult” to those who have been “condemned by the courts of justice” and said they would soon lay out a “concrete proposal” that could be put before the Chilean people for consideration.
 
The bishops expressed gratitude for the good will Chileans have shown toward their proposal, which stems from “our gospel mandate in keeping with one of the oldest traditions of the Bible and of our country’s history.”
 
The Jubilee Indult could involve the release of prisoners who took part on both sides of dictator Augusto Pinochet's “dirty war,” which involved a brutal crack down on dissidents and citizens in the 1970s and 80s.

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