Archive of October 31, 2009

Omaha physician travels overseas to train doctors in natural reproductive technology

Omaha, Neb., Oct 31, 2009 (CNA) - During a recent trip to Nigeria and Poland, a local doctor witnessed enthusiasm for the natural reproductive technology he created in Omaha. Dr. Thomas Hilgers, an obstetrician/gynecologist and director of the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, traveled to Lagos, Africa, and Lublin, Poland, in September to finish training more than a dozen physicians and medical professionals in NaProTECHNOLOGY.

NaproTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology) is a women's health science that monitors and maintains a woman's reproductive and gynecological health.

Seven physicians in Lagos and eight in Lublin are now certified to serve as natural family planning medical consultants using the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, which was developed at the Pope Paul VI Institute.

It was the first time the institute took its medical consultant training beyond the U.S. border, although 97 practitioners are active in several foreign countries. These practitioners, however, all traveled to the United States to receive their training.

To date, the institute has trained more than 400 active FertilityCare practitioners.

NaProTECHNOLOGY provides medical and surgical treatments that works completely with the reproductive system.

"There was a lot of enthusiasm in both places," Hilgers said. "The doctors that we graduated in Africa and Poland are so excited about their new training and what they can do with NaProTECHNOLOGY."

The trip was part of an outreach to medical professionals in parts of the world that haven't been exposed to the institute's work. For years, the institute has trained educators from other parts of the world to adopt and teach its programs, including the Creighton Model FertilityCare education programs.

"We embarked on this recent trip because of the inability of doctors in Lagos and Lublin to come to the United States for training," Hilgers said.

The women's science uses the FertilityCare System to monitor the occurrence of hormonal events during the menstrual cycle, and provides information that can be interpreted by a woman and physicians specifically trained in the system.

The science works with the procreative and gynecologic systems. When these systems function abnormally, NaProTECHNOLOGY identifies the problems and works with the menstrual and fertility cycles that correct the condition and sustain the procreative potential.

Hilgers said the visit to Poland was timely because of a debate in the Polish Parliament to make in vitro fertilization illegal. His science is being held as the alternative to the in vitro fertilization program, he said.

"IVF doesn't care what's wrong with you, but NaProTECHNOLOGY does," Hilgers said. "Although there is no cure for infertility yet, there can be a cure and it's important that we find one. The only way we're going to get there is through NaProTECHNOLOGY because we look at the underlying problems and we treat those."

In vitro fertilization is "one great big human experiment" that's been going on for 30 years, said Hilgers, a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine.

"We've had defective babies born as a result of it. We've had millions of embryos destroyed or lost as a result of it, and we have between 4,000 and 5,000 embryos stored in freezers because of it. There's also this move to do embryonic stem cell research and cloning because of it," he said. "We've never had a national debate over it, and I think that's pretty sad."

NaProTECHNOLOGY provides a different way of approaching things, and with it comes a different level of respect, he said.

"There needs to be a national debate on these issues because there are ways to do this that are more effective," Hilgers said. "With NaProTECHNOLOGY, the underlying causes get treated or at least the ones we know about, and that's really important."

Printed with permission from the Catholic Voice, newspaper for the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb.

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Cardinal Terrazas urges Bolivian officials to crack down on drug trafficking

La Paz, Bolivia, Oct 31, 2009 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval, has called on officials to track down those attempting to increase drug trade in Bolivia, a country that has been tagged as one of the largest illegal drug producers in the world.

On October 15, the U.S. State Department issued a report identifying Bolivia, Burma and Venezuela as countries as failing "demonstrably" in following international counternarcotic agreements. Bolivia is also among a list of 20 nations listed as large producers of illegal drugs.

During Mass at the local Cathedral, the cardinal noted that drug trafficking is an evil unseen by those who do not want to see, "but we believers need God to open our eyes."

"And so let us find those who are interested in spreading this and why it is so easy to get these drugs that destroy the hearts and souls of people," the cardinal said.

He added that love and understanding are needed to break into the world of criminality and insecurity.

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Upcoming movie about St. Josemaria Escriva focuses on love, forgiveness and redemption, says director

Madrid, Spain, Oct 31, 2009 (CNA) - Award-winning director Roland Joffé discussed his upcoming film “There Be Dragons” in a Thursday press conference. The film, set during the brutal Spanish Civil War and based on the life of St. Josemaria Escriva, can teach about love and forgiveness between families and enemies, Joffé said. 

The film begins with a young journalist, estranged from his military father Manolo, who conducts research on the life of Opus Dei founder and priest St. Josemaria Escriva. He discovers his father was a childhood friend of the future saint, and also uncovers family secrets.

The movie then flashes back to the Spanish Civil War. There, a young Manolo played by actor Wes Bentley becomes obsessed with the Hungarian revolutionary Ildiko, played by actress Olga Kurylenko. She rejects him in favor of the militia leader Oriol, moving Manolo to jealousy and betrayal.

At the same time Josemaria Escriva, played by Charlie Cox, grows in his life of faith. 

Joffé, director of "The Mission" and "The Killing Fields," explained to the Thursday press conference that he had initially intended to decline “There Be Dragons.”  While writing his “thank you, but no” letter, Joffé explained, he watched a DVD of St. Josemaria sent by one of the producers.  At one point in the DVD, a girl told St. Josemaria about her intent to convert to Catholicism and the problems it could cause with her Jewish parents. To this, the priest emphasized the necessity for her to honor her parents as “absolutely close to God.” 

It was such a “warm reply,” Joffé said, that he sketched a dramatic scene of a similar event and was “hooked.” He then accepted the offer to direct the film. 

According to Joffé, St. Josemaria “saw that saintliness didn’t require withdrawal into religious order or require one to become a priest. Saintly acts could be performed by ordinary people in their everyday lives, which was a radical idea.”

This idea is open to so many people, Joffé said, because it encourages a spiritual relationship with God in “very simple things,” in cooking a meal, being with one’s family, or even having a fight.

This provided an insight for the movie, which faced the difficulty of dramatizing a saint’s life. Joffé said he could portray ordinary people trapped in war in an “extraordinary and touching way.” 

Redemption and forgiveness 

Joffé added that Christian redemption is a major theme of the movie. Christianity is based on love and forgiveness, and redemption “can’t come without love.” 

Describing the character Manolo as the “antithesis” of Josemaria, the director reported that he commits a horrible act but must try to come to terms with it.

The director also noted the importance of forgiveness for a community and for Christianity.

“Nobody in Christianity is outside. You’re constantly offered the chance to arrive at the point to understand and accept redemption… There is no ‘end’ to this journey, it’s a continuing one in which each person is finding their own route. But it is a journey, and even your failure is part of that.”

Whole vs. divided

 The director Joffé further explained the movie, naming as another of its themes the difference between a whole and a divided character. 

The character Manolo is pulled in different directions, he explained, and is in some ways a Judas figure. However, the final action between him and Ildiko is a “saintly act” that people may find “shocking.”

War and Reconciliation 

Noting the troubled legacy of the Spanish Civil War, Joffé said he hoped Spanish viewers will come to see the “complexity in human relationships” which is not often included in history. 

“Take the hatred away,” he exhorted. “Love and affection has to stay, but can’t be allowed to ossify into ideological rigidities. 

“I would be the proudest man in the world if only 10 percent came out of the cinema thinking ‘reconciliation matters.’” 

The world audience for “There Be Dragons,” Joffé said, can find a common touchstone in the recognition that civil war is a metaphor for the family. 

“Most families are in civil wars,” he claimed. “You can look at life as a metaphor for mistrust and fear, or as an opportunity for love… It’s a choice, and in making that decision you become free. You do not become free when you hate. The weird thing is when you really love, you feel it like a breath of freedom, you think ‘Oh my God, I’ve chosen this, and it’s beautiful’.”

The $35 million film was shot in Argentina and Sepulveda, Spain. Many individual investors were approached by the producers and invested large and small sums. Some investors were members of Opus Dei, while Spanish television money also helped fund the project.

“There Be Dragons” will be released sometime in 2010. Its website is at



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Nebraska late-term abortionist supports Speaker Pelosi’s health care bill

Washington D.C., Oct 31, 2009 (CNA) - Nebraska late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart was present at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s press conference in support of her new health care reform bill, a pro-life group reports.

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), spotted Carhart holding a sign at the Thursday morning press conference in support of Speaker Pelosi’s proposal.

He is currently under investigation by the Nebraska Attorney General for unsafe medical practices. He allegedly allowed non-licensed persons to give injections, start IVs, and administer controlled substances.

A CWA picture of Carhart shows him at the press conference holding a sign for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).

RCRC says on its website that it is “deeply troubling” that coverage for abortions remains “unsettled.” It endorses the “status quo” of funding abortion with federal dollars only in cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of a woman.

However, at present the health care reform bill lacks a Hyde Amendment or other explicit prohibitions on abortion funding. The Associated Press has reported that the proposed House health care legislation would create “a new stream of federal funding” not covered by current abortion funding restrictions.

Wendy Wright charged that Speaker Pelosi’s bill has gained the support of “the nation's most notorious partial-birth abortionist.”

“Pelosi's bill can now be rightly called an abortionist's dream,” she added. “Under her bill, government money will pay for abortions, even the kind that Carhart commits -- late-term abortions against viable babies that put women's health at risk."

Carhart’s legal challenge to a federal ban on partial-birth abortions was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court by a 5-4 vote in 2007.

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Indian state releases postage stamp honoring founder of Little Sisters of the Poor

Bangalore, India, Oct 31, 2009 (CNA) - On Thursday the governor of India’s state of Karnataka released a postage stamp honoring St. Jeanne Jugan, the founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Gov. H.R. Bhardwaj announced the stamp’s release at a home for the aged run by the sisters at Richmond Town. Present at the ceremony were Archbishop of Bangalore Bernard Moras, chief postmaster general of Karnataka Circle M.P. Rajan, and state legislators N.A. Harris and B. Chidananda.

The stamp marked St. Jeanne Jugan’s canonization and the 130th anniversary of her death. According to SAR News, The stamp has a portrait of the saint with the façade of the old age home in the background.

Gov. Bhardwaj said the stamp honored St. Jeanne, “a saint of hope for the aged poor,” for her sacrifice and her legacy of service.

According to the governor, the Little Sisters of the Poor first came to India in Calcutta, where they opened their first home for the aged 127 years ago. The Little Sisters came to Bangalore in 1900.

The congregation the saint founded has 2,700 sisters caring for more than 13,000 needy elders in 202 homes in 32 countries, he reported.

St. Jeanne was born in northern France during the French Revolution, when religious congregations were suppressed by the national government. She became a nurse and joined the Third Order of the Admirable Mother, with whom she prayed, visited the poor and taught the catechism to children.

In 1839 she and two companions brought their first permanent guest to their house in the city of Saint-Sevran.

St. Jeanne, known as Mother Marie of the Cross, had founded six more houses for the elderly by the end of 1849. Pope Leo XIII approved the Little Sisters of the Poor’s constitutions in 1879. St. Jeanne died that same year on August 30, SAR News reports. She was beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2009.

Find out more about the Little Sisters of the Poor at:

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Cardinal Levada: No 'celibacy issue' exists in reception of Anglicans into Church

Vatican City, Oct 31, 2009 (CNA) -

In an extensive clarification released on Saturday by the Vatican press office, Fr. Federico Lombardi made clear, on behalf of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Levada, that there is no “celibacy issue” delaying the publication of the Constitution that will establish the procedure for Anglicans to be received into the Catholic Church.

In a statement released in English –breaking the common use of Italian- Fr. Lombardi explained that “there has been widespread speculation, based on supposedly knowledgeable remarks by an Italian correspondent Andrea Tornielli.

The Vatican analyst suggested that the delay in the publication of the Apostolic Constitution on Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church is due to "more than ‘technical’ reasons.”

“According to this speculation, there is a serious substantial issue at the root of the delay, namely, disagreement about whether celibacy will be the norm for the future clergy of the Provision,” Fr. Lombardi’s said.

Responding to other claims that the rule of celibacy for Latin rite clergy would be open to discussion, Fr. Lombardi offered the official comments of Cardinal Levada.

“Had I been asked I would happily have clarified any doubt about my remarks at the press conference. There is no substance to such speculation. No one at the Vatican has mentioned any such issue to me.”

According to Cardinal Levada, Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution will be ready “by the end of the first week of November” and its delay “is purely technical in the sense of ensuring consistency in canonical language and references.”

The Prefect of the Congregation also explained that “the drafts prepared by the working group, and submitted for study and approval through the usual process followed by his congregation, have all included the following statement, which is currently Article VI of the Constitution:

- 1. Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. In the case of married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI Sacerdotalis coelibatus, n. 42 and in the Statement "In June" are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of Code of Canon Law  277, §1.

- 2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.”

Cardinal Levada further explains that “this article is to be understood as consistent with the current practice of the Church, in which married former Anglican ministers may be admitted to priestly ministry in the Catholic Church on a case by case basis.”

With regard to future seminarians, the Cardinal explains that “it was considered purely speculative whether there might be some cases in which a dispensation from the celibacy rule might be petitioned.”

“Objective criteria about any such possibilities (e.g. married seminarians already in preparation) are to be developed jointly by the Personal Ordinariate and the Episcopal Conference, and submitted for approval of the Holy See,” Cardinal Levada said.

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