Archive of September 24, 2009

‘Stay Home, Stay Happy’ Wisconsin mom writes book about motherhood experience

Superior, Wisc., Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - Rachel Campos-Duffy, mother of five children under the age of 10 and an active member of Ashland, Wisconsin’s Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Community, just wrote what she calls a “love letter” to stay-at-home-moms.  The letter is actually a book, “Stay Home, Stay Happy: 10 Secrets to Loving At-Home Motherhood,” which was published at the end of August by the Penguin Group.


In her late-night writing and editing of the new book, Campos-Duffy took care to include “common sense and practical ideas that we all need to be reminded of,” she said in a recent interview. 


“I wanted to edify women who have chosen to be at home with their families,” she said.


The world at large can often be oblivious to what transpires in a home, including the ongoing efforts of stay-at-home mothers, Campos-Duffy said.


“There’s just not a lot of validation,” she said.  “But it’s never been a better time to be an at-home mom.”


For one thing, men as husbands and fathers are more open to partnership in the home than they were decades ago, she explained.  Technological advances, like the Internet, make it easier for at-home parents to reach outside of their homes, beyond what once was often an isolated experience for women, she continued.


And most of all for Campos-Duffy is that “women can get a lot of pleasure out of being an at-home parent,” she said. 


Along with having written “Stay Home, Stay Happy,” Campos-Duffy is a regular contributor to the blog site, she makes guest appearances on television talk shows, and she got her start in the visual vein of media while participating in the MTV Real World series. 


Later on, in 1999 and again in 2003, Campos-Duffy made on-air attempts to join the hosting line-up of the daytime talk show, The View, but each time she was not chosen for the position.  Rather than be deterred by what some might call failure, Campos-Duffy found inspiration.


“I thought it was a sign from God that I was already doing what I was supposed to be doing,” she said.  She looked to her developing children as evidence of her valuable work as a mother.


“They have an understanding of God,” she said.  “What I am doing is producing good fruit.”


Campos-Duffy sees her husband, 2010 U.S. Congressional Candidate Sean Duffy, as a source of support, and she says his appreciation of her work trickles down to their children, which helps her even more in her role as a parent.  But being a Catholic parent is not always easy in our secular culture, she explained.


“We have to do it. There is so much wisdom and beauty in our Catholic faith,” she said. 


“But you also do have to be constantly recommitting yourself.” 


With those recommitments come joys, as children who learn the Catholic faith in their homes often give parents opportunities to “experience their faith again for the first time,” she said.


The home environment itself is very important in these interactions as a Catholic family, Campos-Duffy describes in the eighth chapter of “Stay Home, Stay Happy.”


“In Catholic theology the home is actually called ‘the domestic church,’” she writes.  “The lessons in love taught in the home have a greater impact on the world than the things that happen in places of commerce or government.  Character, honesty...these virtues are first and best learned in the family home, where members learn to love, share, and care for one another.”


Campos-Duffy’s book is not altogether focused on Catholicism in the home, though a strong element of her faith weaves its way through, clearly reflecting her priorities as a parent.  She is quick to point out, however, that the techniques and ideas she shares may not fit everyone’s needs.


“But the book contains common sense, practical ideas that we all need to be reminded of,” she said.


Take for instance chapter 10, in which Campos-Duffy writes that “Being an at-home parent does not make you a better parent.  What it does afford you is more opportunities to become the best parent you can be.” 


With that striving can come a simultaneous need for a reality check, as at-home parents have opportunities to fall short of their own expectations because they have more opportunities to interact with their children, she explains. “But that also means that there are more occasions to reconcile and plenty of time to learn about and from one another in the process,” she writes.


Ultimately, Campos-Duffy hopes that her book will motivate and remind at-home moms to recognize and indulge in the pleasurable and satisfying aspects of their work.


“There is a way to do it and be joyful,” she said.


Printed with permission from the Catholic Herald, newspaper for the Diocese of Superior, Wisconsin.

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Mexican youth should not be afraid to express their religious beliefs

Mexico City, Mexico, Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - The director for Latin America of the Knights of Columbus, Mr. Luis Guevara, said this week that the young people of Mexico should not be afraid to publicly express their religious beliefs.  He made his comments just before the launch of the Voices Symposium, which will take place September 25 and 26 in Mexico City.
The free event is being organized by the Knights of Columbus, the Becket Fund For Religious Freedom and  the Archdiocese of Mexico City. It will feature discussions about aspects of religious freedom that affect Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Canada, Brazil and the United States.
Guevara also said young people have a special role to play in strengthening Mexico’s democracy by building a country that is “inclusive and where civil and human rights are fully respected.”  “Religious freedom, defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is the cornerstone of all other rights,” he said.

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International Week of Prayer and Fasting to ask God for mercy

Washington D.C., Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - The 2009 International Week of Prayer and Fasting will take place from October 2-12 to pray for peace and an end to abortion.

Organizers of the 17th annual Week of Prayer and Fasting comprise a coalition of Catholic and Christian organizations. They said the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Rosary are “supernatural heavenly weapons to prevent disasters, wars and degeneration.”

The goals of this week of prayer are the conversion of nations, peace and an end to abortion. Its theme is “God’s Plan for Life and Love.” Organizers are asking people to attend the week’s events in Washington, D.C. if possible and also to fast, go to confession, attend daily Mass and offer prayers such as Holy Hours, Rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets.

Activities during the Week of Prayer and Fasting include a Young Adult Festival and Eucharistic Prayer Vigil, which will both have relics of the Passion present.

A series of speakers will make presentations at the John Paul II Cultural Center on October 10. The speakers include Chris Horn, Chris Padgett, Christina Condit, Kristan Hawkins and Fr. Clement Machado.

On the evening of October 11, a banquet will be held with a reception and dinner with former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. Speakers at the October 12 Eucharistic Prayer Vigil at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception include Jennifer O’Neill, Dr. John Jackson, Fr. Clement Machado, Fr. Frank Pavone, Patty Fason, Melissa Ohden and Dan Lynch.

The Week of Prayer and Fasting website is at

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California Catholic high school denies it registered for homosexual curriculum

Belmont, Calif., Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - Notre Dame High school in Belmont, California has responded to reports it had been registered to show films and use school materials produced by a homosexual activist group. The school says it has not shown such films, has not used related materials and has also requested it be removed from the group’s website and database.

Youth in Motion, a partnership between the Gay-Straight Alliance Network and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media group Frameline, claimed on its website that over 200 California high schools and middle schools had signed up to show and discuss its films.

In one film, a boy “comes out” by wearing his mother’s bikini. In another, Native American spirituality is used to depict LGBT people as being “two-spirited.”

Notre Dame High School, a Catholic girl’s school sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, was on the list of schools registered for the Youth in Motion curriculum.

“Notre Dame High School, Belmont has not shown films and has not used school materials from Youth in Motion and requested and received confirmation of removal from its website and database on September 21, 2009,” a September 22 statement from the school said.

“As a Catholic High School with a four year Religious Studies Requirement, Notre Dame’s faculty and administration faithfully adhere to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church in curriculum and instruction, policies, and programs,” the statement continued.

The school said it is “privileged to serve the Church” in its mission to “promote justice and peace and to develop responsible young women of active faith, strong intellect and Christian leadership in an environment of academic excellence and mutual respect.”

Parts of the Youth In Motion discussion materials encourage students to question whether religious and cultural celebrations such as bar mitzvahs wrongly discourage homosexual and transgender lifestyles, the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) reported.

The PJI said it was not clear whether the films were being shown predominantly during class time or in meetings of LGBT student clubs at the schools which Youth In Motion claimed to be registered.

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Cardinal Mahony says abortion should not be funded by health care bills

Washington D.C., Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - Responding to a reporter’s question about the place of abortion in health care, Archbishop of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has said abortion should not be in the health care reform bill and that President Obama believes similarly.

The cardinal briefly spoke to at a Sept. 22 panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on faith communities’ involvement in immigration reform. The event was sponsored by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

Asked whether he thought that the proposals fund abortion and whether they should be amended to explicitly prohibit abortion, he said the issue was “way beyond his field,” which is immigration.

“I really haven’t kept up on that, and I spend all my time on this other [topic]. You have to get somebody who spends time on that,” he remarked.

Asked whether he believed abortion should be funded under the health care reform bill, Cardinal Mahony said “No, but that’s what the president said, too.”

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Catholic Medical Association evaluates health care reform proposals

Washington D.C., Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - The Catholic Medical Association on Monday wrote an open letter to Catholic organizations and individuals to express its views on “key prudential aspects” of health care reform proposals. Some provisions risk violating the patient-doctor relationship and could threaten the dignity of human life, the association says.

The letter, signed by Catholic Medical Association (CMA) president Louis C. Breschi, M.D., expressed a desire to collaborate with others to shape legislation “in harmony with the Catholic faith.” The CMA said its views reflect years of experience in serving patients.

“We believe we are facing a crisis, not only in health-care financing and delivery, but in the health-care reform process itself,” the CMA wrote.

The country has the opportunity and obligation to craft “effective, ethical” responses to the crisis in health care financing and delivery, the organization continued, but it warned there is a danger that “misguided legislation” could worsen the problems.

According to the CMA, problems in health care include a lack of “consistent access” to affordable insurance and to appropriate health care. Services are also “expensive and fragmented.”

These problems, the association claimed, result largely from “misguided” tax, employment and government policy incentives. The organization criticized “increasing third-party payer intrusion” into the patient-physician relationship.

While Catholic ethical and social principles should be the subject of agreement, the CMA said these principles’ application is the main question.

In the association’s view, present reform proposals rely heavily on the federal government to “dictate” solutions and will empower “a small group of unelected government bureaucrats and committees” to determine the composition and cost of health insurance policies, the reimbursement of providers and the approval of treatments.

“We think this government-controlled approach is flawed in principle and ineffective, if not dangerous, in practice,” the CMA wrote, charging that the approach “clearly violates” the principle of subsidiarity and will be ineffective.

According to the CMA, Medicare will be insolvent by 2017. Further, Medicaid costs have run out of control to the point that 40 percent of physicians no longer accept it because of money-losing reimbursement rates.

The current health care reform proposals are also “dangerous” because of the presidential administration’s “repeated failures to accord proper respect for the dignity of human life.” The CMA cited the reversal of the Mexico City Policy and funding for human embryonic stem cell research, claiming that the Obama administration wants to make such policy decisions difficult or impossible to overturn.

Saying there have been some “misunderstandings” about health care provisions concerning end-of-life consultations, the CMA said “serious concerns” remain about funding the care of the seriously ill and the dying.

“Giving the federal government the power, and primary responsibility, to contain medical expenditures could threaten the provision of medical care to the most vulnerable, the elderly and chronically ill,” the organization said.

CMA's Solutions

The CMA proposed legislation that allows individuals and families to purchase health insurance that “meets their needs and also respects their values.” The association suggested this could be done by re-assigning the tax deduction for health insurance from employers to individuals and by bringing “appropriate incentives” from the market economy to health insurance companies to increase competition and correct regional insurance monopolies.

“Congress can also tailor programs to assist those most in need, the working poor, the unemployed, and those currently uninsurable due to preexisting conditions,” the open letter said.

The CMA endorsed “greater individual accountability” in health care spending, noting that 70 percent of spending is for conditions directly influenced by personal behavior.

Further, the CMA called upon Catholics and Catholic organizations to reaffirm the “foundational” teachings of the Church and to unite to defend the sanctity of life and conscience protections. The CMA also urged respect for subsidiarity, saying that medical decisions are best made within the context of the individual parent-physician relationship.

“We are convinced that if this important principle of Catholic social teaching is not correctly upheld, then short-term measures to defend the right to life and respect for conscience will ultimately fail and the patient-physician relationship will be irreparably compromised,” the organization said.

“It would be better to forgo long-needed changes in health-care financing and delivery in the short-term if these would lead to a long-term, systemic policy regime that is inimical to respect for life, religious freedom, and the goods served by the principle of subsidiarity,” the CMA said, calling for “principled and practical” reform measures.

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Be personally responsible for God's gift of creation, Benedict XVI counsels

New York City, N.Y., Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - Adding his voice to the U.N. Summit on climate change, Pope Benedict XVI sent a video message to the meeting in New York on Tuesday. The Holy Father reminded the participants that "the natural environment is given by God to everyone, and so our use of it entails a personal responsibility towards humanity as a whole."

In his video message, which was made public today, Pope Benedict began by saying that his reflection was based on the "relationship between the Creator and ourselves as guardians of His creation."

"The Earth is indeed a precious gift of the Creator Who, in designing its intrinsic order, has given us guidelines that assist us as stewards of His creation," the Pontiff continued.

This is framework within which the Church sees "that matters concerning the environment and its protection are intimately linked with integral human development," he explained, pointing to his statement in his recent encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate," where he said that these issues demonstrate the "'pressing moral need for renewed solidarity' not only between countries but also between individuals."

Because the natural environment is "given by God to everyone," the Holy Father underscored that "our use of it entails a personal responsibility towards humanity as a whole, particularly towards the poor and towards future generations."

The Pope then urged world leaders to speak with a united voice on the issue: "How important it is then, that the international community and individual governments send the right signals to their citizens and succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment! The economic and social costs of using up shared resources must be recognized with transparency and borne by those who incur them, and not by other peoples or future generations. The protection of the environment, and the safeguarding of resources and of the climate, oblige all leaders to act jointly, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the world."

Returning to the theme of his encyclical, Benedict XVI urged the leaders to jointly "build an integral human development beneficial for all peoples, present and future, a development inspired by the values of charity in truth. For this to happen it is essential that the current model of global development be transformed through a greater, and shared, acceptance of responsibility for creation: this is demanded not only by environmental factors, but also by the scandal of hunger and human misery."

The Holy Father concluded by inviting participants in the U.N. summit "to enter into their discussions constructively and with generous courage. Indeed, we are all called to exercise responsible stewardship of creation, to use resources in such a way that every individual and community can live with dignity, and to develop 'that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God.'"

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Knights of Columbus founder's cause for sainthood moves forward

Hartford, Conn., Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - The cause for sainthood of Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, took another step forward this week, with the submission of a supplemental report on a potential miracle attributed to the priest’s intercession.

The Knights of Columbus announced today that officials from a supplemental tribunal of the Archdiocese of Hartford –of which Fr. McGivney was a parish priest- formally sent a new report to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The information gathered by the tribunal included testimonies from witnesses to the supposed miracle as well as the statements of several medical doctors about the circumstances surrounding the reported miracle.

The small ceremony in which the new report was signed and presented to Archbishop Henry Mansell was attended by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, other Supreme Officers, three relatives of Father McGivney and a number of archdiocesan officials.

The submission of the new report “marks an important step forward. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints will now have valuable additional testimony that clarifies and adds significantly to the original submission,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said.

“Father McGivney’s beatification would be an important event,” Anderson added, “not only for Knights of Columbus, but for the many thousands of parish priests who quietly do the Lord’s work in parishes each day and regard him as an outstanding example for priests everywhere.  In this ‘Year for Priests’ it is an especially appropriate step forward.”

The cause for Father McGivney’s sainthood was opened by Hartford Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin in December 1997. The cause was presented to the Vatican in 2000, and Pope Benedict XVI declared him “Venerable” in March, 2008.

Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882 and died in 1890 at the age of 38.

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Pope Benedict XVI given copy of new Japanese Catholic Encyclopedia

Vatican City, Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - At the conclusion of this week’s Wednesday general audience, Pope Benedict XVI was given a copy of the four volume Japanese Nova Catholic Encyclopedia, the culmination of 30 years of research and work.
Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau, secretary emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education and promoter of the project together with the Sophia University of Tokyo, said a “key aspect” of the project was the participation by Catholics, Protestants and non-Christians.  The encyclopedia covers a wide range of subjects including the Second Vatican Council and the reality of the Church in Japan today.
Archbishop Pittau also explained that the project’s curator was Jesuit Father Shunichi Takayanagi, “one of the most important Japanese theologians,” and that it is constitutes “an important contribution for dialogue and the enculturation of the faith.”

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Catholic weekly in Poland fined for questioning 'award' granted to woman who sought illegal abortion

Krakow, Poland, Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - A Polish court has imposed a fine of $10,288 on the Catholic weekly "Gosc Niedzielny" of the Archdiocese of Katowice for questioning a ruling by the European Human Rights Court that ordered the state to pay a large sum of money to a short-sighted woman who was denied an illegal abortion.
The woman in question was Alicja Tysiac, a mother pregnant with her third child who asked to have abortion in 2000 when she learned her unborn child could inherit her shortsightedness.  Tysiac’s case was studied by several Polish doctors who said it did not meet criteria for a legal abortion.  Although she insisted on aborting her child, doctors told her that the baby posed no risk to her life. She eventually gave birth and afterwards suffered from a partially detached retina, which made her shortsightedness worse.
Her case is being used by numerous anti-life groups to push for abortion in Poland and was brought before the EU Human Rights Court in Strasburg.  In 2007 it ruled that she be paid $36,710.  Poland unsuccessfully appealed the ruling.
Now, Tysiac will receive $10,288 additional dollars as a result of the fine imposed on the Catholic weekly Gosc Niedzielny for “offending” her with the article by its editor Father Marek Gancarczyk.
“We live in a world in which a mother receives an award for all her efforts to kill her child, even though she was not allowed to do so,” the priest wrote.
He compared abortion to Nazi practices and lamented that people “have become accustomed to murders carried out outside the gates of a (concentration) camp.”
The weekly protested the ruling because it violates freedom of expression and said it would file an appeal.

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Catholic rapper ‘in good spirits’ after multiple strokes

Steubenville, Ohio, Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - Bob Lesnefsky, better known as "Righteous B," is in the hospital following a series of three strokes that hit the 31 year-old Catholic rapper and founder of Dirty Vagabond Ministries seemingly out of nowhere. His brother Andy reports that "the B" keeps saying that he "feels really loved" and that "he has no idea how he can ever thank everyone" for the outpouring of support they’ve been receiving.

On Wednesday, September 16, Righteous B went to the hospital with what the family thought was a severe migraine. Doctors later confirmed that he had experienced multiple strokes affecting the right side of his brain. They also discovered the blood clot responsible for the damage, which had moved and was no longer in danger of causing another stroke. Throughout the whole ordeal, Righteous B has been in good spirits, saying "Jesus saved his life."

The left side of his body, however, is still significantly numb, and he will face a long and arduous road toward recovery. The Catholic youth minister will also have to undergo rehab to teach the functional parts of his brain to do what the now-dead parts once handled. Nevertheless, he and his family are thankful for the outpouring of support they have received from friends, family and fans.

The website serves both as a center for updates on Righteous B’s recovery and as a place where people can donate to the family, who are placing their trust in God while Bob, who is self-employed, is unable to work. The website recommends that people who are interested in helping Bob and his family out for the long term should make monthly donations to his outreach, Dirty Vagabond Ministries.

Righteous B’s ministry focuses on bringing Christ to inner-city youth through mentoring, discipleship and relationships in a way the kids can relate to. Instead of formal youth group meetings, their website,, says, they focus on reaching out to individuals through community centers located in very urban areas. Dirty Vagabond Ministries has the "aim of raising pastoral leaders in the urban church with the intent on keeping them in urban communities to mentor others."

The ministry is currently active in Queens and Rochester, New York, and Steubenville, Ohio.

The family says they will forward messages to "the B" ([email protected]) and welcome prayers, support and stories of why Righteous B has been important to you.

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Mother McCrory's miracle investigation goes to the Vatican

Piscataway, N.J., Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - The Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey has completed its role in an investigation of a possible miracle performed by Servant of God Mother Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory, the foundress of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. The investigation is to be continued at the Vatican and could lead to Mother McCrory being declared “Blessed” by the Church.

A ceremony at the diocesan headquarters concluded the local inquiry, which began on May 20, 2009. The investigation has been handed over to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which will determine the authenticity of the miracle as well as if it can be attributed to Mother McCrory.

The Carmelite sister was a woman of great faith who spent her life caring for the elderly and ailing in long-term care facilities operated by her order. She died in 1984 at age 91.

The Vatican has already released a degree of “Juridical Validation” for the diocesan investigation of her life undertaken by her home diocese, the Diocese of Albany. 
According to Lori Albanese, Chancellor of the Diocese Metuchen and notary of the investigation, 10-15 individuals were interviewed regarding the case, including family members, people who prayed for the miracle, the doctors involved, as well as two medical experts who are independent of the Church and of the case. "We were very pleased with the quality of testimony," Albanese said. "The witnesses were very accessible."

The local bishop, Most Rev. Paul G. Bootkoski told, "I'm pleased that the investigation was completed within four months.” He added,  "we were honored to be asked by the Vatican to investigate the possible miracle.” Details of the miracle have not been released to the public.

On September 24, CNA spoke with Mother Mary Mark Randall, the Superior General of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm.

Mother Mary Mark revealed that the miracle being investigated involves a family in the diocese who prayed for Mother McCrory’s intercession when they found out their unborn child had been diagnosed with a severe genetic defect. When their baby girl was born, the abnormality was not as severe as doctors had anticipated.

According to Mother Mary Mark, “the child is doing fine now. She is leading a normal life.” She also said that the little girl was related to one of the members of the order.

The progression of this investigation as well as the 80th anniversary of their founding gives the sisters dual cause to celebrate this year. The sisters, who say a prayer for Mother McCrory’s canonization every day, “are very happy that [the investigation] is progressing,” Mother Mary Mark told CNA. “It’s quite an honor for us to have our foundress recognized for the good works she did and the person she was.”

Since Mother McCrory only stepped down from being Superior General in 1978 and lived in the motherhouse in Germantown, N.Y. until her death in 1984, many of the sisters knew her, though there are only one or two still alive who worked closely with her.

The sisters said they have been receiving more attention since the cause for Mother McCrory’s sainthood went public. People have been emailing them with prayer intentions and they have experienced increased membership in their Teresian Society, an organization dedicated to furthering Mother McCrory’s cause.

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Spanish court rules in favor of 300 cases of conscientious objection

Madrid, Spain, Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - A civil rights organization in Spain is praising two rulings by the Supreme Court of Castilla y Leon exempting three students from taking the Education for the Citizenry course. The group said it hopes that the other 285 cases still pending will be similarly decided.
Salamanca For Freedom in Education praised the court for allowing the three students to opt out of the controversial school course, with no negative effect on their grades.
In the Spanish province of Castilla y Leno, some 3,395 cases of conscientious objection to the course have been filed, making it the province with the highest number of cases.
Francisco Jose Ramos Vega, who represents most of the students and their parents, said the rulings show that Spain’s Supreme Court has not settled the question of conscientious objection to the course Education for the Citizenry.  He also said the rulings could be applied in other autonomous communities where there are cases pending.
A spokesperson for Salamanca for Freedom in Education explained that the rulings constitute “a victory for parents in the defense of their freedom and in their struggle for the education of their children according to their convictions.”

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Meeting after pro-homosexual ELCA decisions could reorganize American Lutheranism

Indianapolis, Ind., Sep 24, 2009 (CNA) - Following the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s controversial recent assembly, a two-day gathering of Lutherans will begin in Indianapolis on Friday. Organizers say the meeting will begin the creation of an alternative fellowship for Lutherans who uphold traditional marriage and are unwilling to support the new changes in the church’s teaching.

In August the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly approved a new policy that no longer declares marriage as “the appropriate place” for sexual relations, but rather calls for “social trust” in associations that are “loving” and “committed.”

The assembly, which met in Minneapolis, Minnesota, claimed that consensus does not exist on homosexuality. It recognized four “conscience-bound beliefs” ranging from disapproval of all homosexual relations to honoring them as equally valid marriages.

The gathering also voted to allow pastors to be in homosexual relationships.

In response to the changes, 1,200 Lutherans will attend the convocation of Lutheran Coalition for Reform (CORE). The convocation will have as its theme “What After Minneapolis?”

Organizers were forced to close registration on September 14 because of space limitations and had to move the event to from Christ the Savior Lutheran Church to the Catholic Holy Spirit Parish in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers.

“It is wonderfully ironic that Lutherans who started 500 years ago as a movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church would now return to a Catholic Church to re-form themselves,” said Lutheran CORE director Rev. Mark Chavez of Landisville, Pennsylvania.

Chavez said the disagreement is not about sex but about the “source of authority” in the ELCA.

“The assembly’s sexuality decisions have opened the eyes of people to the biblical and theological crisis in the ELCA,” he added. “We have no objection to the Confession of Faith in the ELCA constitution. The ELCA says that the Bible is the source and norm of its faith and life, but the actions of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly have shown that the ELCA does not practice what it says it believes.”

The Lutheran CORE meeting says it intends to be a “confessional and confessing movement” that is “rooted in Scripture, creeds, and confessions” and open to all Lutherans in North America. It aims to be an “umbrella group” for other Lutheran movements both within and outside of the ELCA.

The meeting will consider a resolution that organizers say could possibly reconfigure North American Lutheranism.

“This is an exciting and hopeful time for confessional Lutherans in North America,” said Rev. Paull Spring, chair of the Lutheran CORE Steering Committee from State College, Pennsylvania.

Spring, who is retired bishop of the Northwest Pennsylvania Synod, said the organization’s ministries have received an “incredible outpouring of support” and reported that people and churches are joining the coalition for reform at an almost overwhelming pace.

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