Archive of September 5, 2009

Diocese helps Mississippi resident get into new home

Lucedale, Miss., Sep 5, 2009 (CNA) - When Diocesan Office of Long Term Recovery case manager Natalia Christensen first visited Eunice Jack’s house several weeks ago, she said it was in bad condition.  Roof damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina had taken its toll and on the structure and, to make matters worse, Jack, who has had several strokes, was living without air conditioning in sweltering heat.


“When I went to visit her, I was covered in sweat and my head was pounding. It was unbearable. She was sitting in front of a fan watching TV,” Christensen said.


“It was the middle of the summer and there was no AC in the house. It was an emergency situation, so, health wise, it was very important that we help her.”


That’s when El Paso Southern Natural Gas Company of Picayune came to the rescue.

The company donated a trailer for Jack and her sister, Mae, to live in.


“The trailer came from one of our locations in St. Bernard Parish. We had bought several trailers after Hurricane Katrina to house our people at a compressor station and now we have built living quarters for them and had some trailers that we wanted to donate,” said Mike Roberts, offshore operations supervisor for El Paso Southern.


“I got in touch with St. Charles Borromeo Church in Picayune and they got me in touch with the Diocesan Office of Long Term Recovery and its been probably six months leading up to getting the trailer set. It feels great to be to do this for this family.”


Family and friends of Eunice Jack gathered at the trailer for an August 31 dedication.


Doris Alexander, a volunteer case worker, has know the Jack family all of her life and said, “You couldn’t have chosen a better family.”


“These are Christian people,” Alexander said. “They are hard working and they’re community minded people. They are a group that prays together. They love each other and they do for each other when there’s a need and we appreciate that about them. You’ve chosen well.”


Mae Jack said the new trailer is a prayer answered.


“Thank y’all. Y’all just don’t know what you’ve done for us,” said. “We’ve been praying and fasting for this for the longest and God has answered our prayers.”


Jennifer Williams, diocesan director of Catholic Social and Community Services, said the assistance rendered by the City of Lucedale in helping to move the Jacks into the new trailer has been invaluable.


“We’ve built house across the gulf coast and a little north of the gulf coast and the City of Lucedale has, by far, been the most active in the recovery of its residents,” she said.


“It’s really nice to see a community be what that word means – a true community in helping each other out.”


Lucedale City Clerk Kathy Johnson summed up the day with three words.


“God is good,” she said, eliciting a chorus of “amen’s” from the packed house.


“We appreciate the ones who gave, the ones who worked with them, but, Miss Eunice, we appreciate you and your family for being a very important part of this community and that’s what it’s all about is people helping people and people reaching out.”


Lucedale building inspector and zoning enforcement officer Frank Johnson said that Christensen, fellow case manager Hien Nguyen and all of the employees of the Diocesan Office of Long Term Recovery are to be commended for their efforts in helping Jack and others get back into safe and comfortable housing.


“It means a whole lot,” he said. It’s just wonderful for these people and for the city. It’s been a pleasure to work with this organization. It really has.”


The dedication of Jack’s trailer was the first of two held August 31 in Lucedale. DOLTR officials also dedicated a trailer belonging to Teena Long and her two teenaged sons and, several days earlier, dedicated a house in Moss Point.


Printed with permission from the Gulf Pine Catholic, newspaper for the Diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi.

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Despite disavowal of radical sex ed guide, UNFPA continues activist training

Berlin, Germany, Sep 5, 2009 (CNA) - While criticism has caused the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to pull its name from a graphic sex ed guide, the organization has just completed a conference in Berlin to train 400 activists to demand countries fund and provide similar programs and abortions.

The Non-Governmental Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Development met from September 2-4. The German government co-sponsored the forum with the UNFPA.

Wendy Wright, president for Concerned Women of America, and Samantha Singson, Director of Government Relations at the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), were at the conference and reported on it in a C-FAM press release.

Sessions at the conference trained activists to agitate for more money from countries and foundations. They were taught how to pressure governments to provide sex education and abortion and how to train youth to advocate for abortion and “sexual rights,” C-FAM says.

Materials titled “Ensuring Women’s Access to Safe Abortion” and “I Need an Abortion” were distributed to attendees.

A statement to be released at the end of the conference tells countries to provide abortions through public health systems and to guarantee “sexual and reproductive rights as human rights.”

It also calls for the elimination of parental and age restrictions for youth access to “the full range of sexual and reproductive health information and services.”

Further, the conference statement calls for increased funding for non-governmental organizations to expand advocacy.

UNFPA director Thoroya Obaid told the conference: "Unlike us at the U.N. who are held accountable by intergovernmental mechanisms, you as NGOs have more freedom and space to push the agenda ahead."

In related news, recently broke a story on a sex ed guide titled, “International Guidelines on Sexual Education,” and put out by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in cooperation with the UNFPA. The guide, published in June, advocates teaching 5 to 8 year olds about self-abuse. It calls for children ages 9 to 12 to be taught about abortions, while by age 15 it recommends teaching them about “advocacy to promote the right to and access to safe abortion.”

According to C-FAM, the guidelines are identical to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and one of the guide authors is a former SIECUS employee.

Samantha Singson commented on the controversy, saying “In the same week that UNFPA backtracked on putting its name on the sex ed manual, it trained activists to demand ‘comprehensive sexuality education’ and access to abortion for all youth."

Wendy Wright was also critical:

"UNFPA tells people to 'create a need' for reproductive health care. Now we can see that UNFPA creates the need for abortion, HIV/AIDS treatments and other health care by teaching kids as young as five to be sexually active.”

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Sister barred from teaching catechesis due to dissent on women’s ordination

Cincinnati, Ohio, Sep 5, 2009 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Cincinnati Daniel Pilarczyk, citing his duty to safeguard authentic Catholic teaching, has barred a religious sister from teaching on behalf of the archdiocese after she refused to adhere to Catholic teaching on the ordination of women.

Sister of Charity Louise Akers, 66, was listed as an advisory board member for the Women’s Ordination Conference. Her photo and name were also on the site.

In April the archdiocese’s Office of Catechesis and Evangelization removed her from its list of approved teachers and speakers for archdiocesan programs and events.

In an early August meeting, she and Archbishop Pilarczyk discussed her removal from the list. According to the Catholic Telegraph, the archbishop told her that permission to teach would be restored if she rescinded her support for women’s ordination and disassociated herself from the Women’s Ordination Conference publicly.

Sister Louise has removed her name and photo from the group’s website but has said she cannot publicly withdraw her support for women’s ordination.

Speaking to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Sister Louise said her position concerned “an issue of justice within the Church” motivated by her belief in “the value, dignity and equality of women in the Church.”

According to the Enquirer, she characterized women’s ordination as both a practical and a fairness issue. She claimed the practice would address a shortage of priests and would put women on equal footing with men in the church.

Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco told the Enquirer that the refusal of permission to Sister Louise was based on the principle that “someone who is teaching in the name of the church should be in accord with the teachings of the church.”

"Some people argue that ordaining women is a justice issue," Andriacco said. "The Church would say there is only injustice when you deprive someone of something they have a right to. Ordination is not a right, nor is the ability to teach in the name of the Church."

He added that the Church clearly states that because Christ chose only male apostles, the Church must ordain only male priests.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the ordination of women “is not possible,” as only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination.

Sister Barbara Hagedorn, president of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, said in a written statement that Sister Louise is “a member in good standing” and reported that the sister cannot “refute her beliefs on this issue” as “a matter of conscience.”

According to the Catholic Telegraph, she added “the issue remains between the archbishop and Sister Louise Akers,” saying the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati support Sister Louise “and all those involved in this difficult situation.”

Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the Women's Ordination Conference, claimed that the archbishop’s denial of permission for Sister Louise to teach was “just bullying,” the Enquirer reports.

Archbishop Pilarczyk discussed the case with The Catholic Telegraph.

“Questions have been raised about the role of a diocesan bishop and the teaching of catechetics in his diocese. It is a bishop’s responsibility to provide authentic and orthodox Catholic teaching in his diocese. Persons who are not in accord with the teaching of the church should not expect to be allowed to teach catechetical leaders or others in the name of the church.”

He explained that teachers of the Catholic faith teach more than infallible doctrines, but what is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Tricia Hempel, editor of the Catholic Telegraph, told CNA in a Friday phone call that no further statement on the case would be issued.

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N.J. bishops add their voices to call for ‘fair and just’ health care reform

Camden, N.J., Sep 5, 2009 (CNA) - The bishops of Camden and Trenton, New Jersey have urged the state’s congressmen to remember that health care should protect the most vulnerable in society, asked them to work to prohibit the funding of abortion and to uphold conscience protections for those in health care.
The letter, dated August 26, was sent to Representatives Frank LoBiondo (R), John Adler (D) and Robert Andrews (D) by Bishop Joseph Galante of Camden and Bishop John M. Smith of Trenton.  The bishops wrote that the reform of health care is a “vital national obligation” and a right that “should not depend on where your parents work, where you live, where you were born or how old you are.” 
At the same time, the bishops stated, health care reform must be “fair and just.”
Catholic tradition, they continued, emphasizes that the “moral measure” of health care is the impact it has on the weakest in society:  “babies in their mother’s womb, and the very sick and old at the end of life, those without access and power.”
Though the bishops said that health care reform is needed, they also explained that they cannot support it if it takes away conscience protections or policies that prohibit the government funding of abortion.

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