Archive of November 12, 2009

Right to life is not merely a Catholic issue, says nuncio in Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico, Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - During his remarks at the opening of the 88th Plenary Assembly of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference, the country's Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Christoph Pierre noted that the “right to life is an issue that pertains not only to Catholics, but to all.”

Not only is it “a secular value,” he added, “it is the foundation of secularism.”

The archbishop explained that the Church is often accused of “hegemony, that is, of wanting to insert herself into an area that is not hers: that of individual rights.”

Thus, he continued, “when opposition is expressed to legislation that protects an element of individual rights, for example, the ‘right’ to abortion, it is considered by some to be an attack on democracy.”

This mentality represents the “secular paradigm” of the day, according to which, “the well-being of a democracy is proportional to the extension of individual rights—a theory which in substance is aimed also at limiting the public presence of the Church, inviting believers to keep religion a private matter and to behave like citizens ‘with a Gospel’,” the prelate added.

And yet, the nuncio said, “the defense of the individual which has taken on preeminence in modern times, has its roots in the right to life. In our times, secular thought has forgotten this dimension, transforming life into a variable dependent on demographic development, on a woman’s choices, on the evolution of customs.”

“That the Pope and the Church confirm life as the absolute it is, for the secular fundamentalist, it is the strongest, most scandalous and incomprehensible statement.” However, “at the same time, it is that which is most listened to and appreciated by the Catholic laity and increasingly more so, by non-believers,” the nuncio concluded.

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Priests must be living extensions of Christ in a flawed world, bishop’s new book says

Omaha, Neb., Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - Bishop of Green Bay David Ricken has published a book for priests to help them build their bond with Christ and strengthen their priestly identity. In a fallen but redeemed world, he writes, priests must never lose sight of their role as “living extensions of Jesus Christ.”

His book, “Be Thou My Vision: Meditations on the Priesthood,” asks what it means to be a priest in “these times of illusions and false prophets.” A press release describes the work as a series of short meditations that will lead priests n a contemplative journey that will deepen and renew their love for their vocation.

Bishop Ricken notes world conflicts, a “pagan and secular society where almost anything goes,” broken families and Church scandals as some of the problems priests must deal with.

“Like it or not, this is the world redeemed by Jesus Christ,” he writes. “This is the world to which we are commissioned to bring hope and cheer — the promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Priests should be living examples of His hope, His cheerfulness, and His promise.”

Christ is “with us and beside us every step of the way,” the bishop continues. “We are living extensions of Jesus Christ, and once we lose sight of this truth we lose the most powerful tool in our spiritual arsenal: a living sense of that bond we have with Jesus Christ, with the God Who created us and led us into the priesthood.”

Bishop Ricken’s book comes in the Year for Priests, initiated by Pope Benedict XVI on June 19, 2009. Opening the year, the Pontiff noted the need for priests to have an “inner strength” and “spiritual firmness” to safeguard their priestly identity and to avoid the negative effects of “the worldly mentality.”

“Be Thou My Vision” is published by the Creighton University-based Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, Nebraska.

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Diocese of St. Augustine archive hosts oldest American documents

St. Augustine, Fla., Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - The oldest extant European documents written in U.S. continental territory are now hosted at the Archives of the Diocese of St. Augustine. They collect the diocese’s parish registers and bishops’ papers alongside microfilm documenting explorations, corsair attacks, slavery and reports on Indian customs and languages.

Bishop of St. Augustine Victor Galeone dedicated a new center for the Archives of the Diocese of St. Augustine on Sept. 22.

“These are the historical papers, in the original and on microfilm, that record the beginnings of our country’s first parish, St. Augustine, Fla. (in 1565), through an interregnum when Great Britain ruled Florida (in 1763-84), up to and following the creation of the Diocese of Saint Augustine (in 1870), and as far as the present day,” commented Dr. Michael Gannon, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Florida.

“It is a story that, in 2015, will be 450 years old,” he said, according to the Diocese of Saint Augustine.

Gannon told the Associated Press that the archives are “a pocketful of miracles.” The documents traveled to Cuba, back to St. Augustine and then to South Bend, Indiana.

One of the earliest documents, dated Jan. 24, 1594, is a handwritten record by Fr. Diego Escobar de Sambrana. It describes the marriage of soldier Gabriel Hernandez to Catalina de Valdes in St. Augustine.

That marriage took place 13 years before the first successful English settlement was established at Jamestown, Virginia and 26 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts.

The archives’ artifacts include materials of the Spanish Navy admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who founded St. Augustine in 1565.

The collection is missing the first 29 years of documented life in St. Augustine. Prof. Gannon believes the missing records may have been destroyed by the forces of Sir Francis Drake, the English privateer who sacked the town in 1586.

Gannon recounted to the Associated Press his effort to collect the archives, which began in 1961. He found documents in several places: the closet of the cathedral rectory in St. Augustine, in the University of Notre Dame’s library attic, and in two large Victorian houses that were about to be demolished.

"I felt especially blessed, as though divine force was leading me one step ahead of the cleaning lady, one step ahead of the wrecking ball, one step ahead of a possible fire," he said.

Kathleen Williams, executive director of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., spoke at the dedication of the archive building.

She said some of the materials were “incredible” and “a real joy to see.”

“It gave me chills,” she told the Associated Press.

Dr. Timothy Matinova, a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, said that the collection is an important resource for American Catholic history.

"As Hispanic Catholics grow in number across the country, the legacy of colonial Catholicism becomes all the more important to research and remember,” he said.

In 2005 Bishop Galeone designated the diocesan records from 1594 to 1905 as the official historical archives of the diocese. Diocesan chancellor Fr. Michael Morgan led the formation for the 1565 Committee to help the diocese in preserving the records and to establish a major research center for the study of Christianity in North America.

According to the Diocese of St. Augustine, the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine provided their own archive building to help house the diocesan archives. The two-story building was completely renovated to house a fireproof and flood proof vault for the documents.

Curators intend to digitize the archives so that they can be easily and safely used by researchers.

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Pontifical Council for Culture lecture series to engage North America, starting in Steubenville

Steubenville, Ohio, Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - The Pontifical Council for Culture will begin its “intentional engagement” of North America with a December conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Officials from the Pontifical Council will discuss the history of the council’s work and also the Church’s engagement with science after Darwin and Galileo.

The Pontifical Council will host a series of conferences in the U.S. and Canada to strengthen Vatican dialogue with North American audiences, Franciscan University reports. The series, titled “From Sea to Shining Sea: Faith and Culture in North America,” will have its first conference at the Steubenville, Ohio-based university from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4.

Much of the conference will consist of private meetings to lay the foundation for future gatherings, but two lectures will be open to the general public.

On Dec. 3 the undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, will deliver the Paul and Barbara Henkels Lecture. His talk is titled “The Church’s Engagement With Science After Darwin and Galileo: Overcoming Cultural Icons.”

Msgr. Sanchez is responsible for all questions concerning the dialogue between science and faith for the Pontifical Council. He is also on the directing committee of the Rome-based organization Science, Theology and Ontological Quest, whose purpose is to strengthen the connections between science, theology and philosophy.

A talk by another official with the Pontifical Council, Richard Rouse, will be delivered on Dec. 2. He will discuss “Engaging With Cultures in the New Evangelization: An Historic Overview of the Pontifical Council for Culture.”

Rouse, who has been with the Council since 2003, serves as its point man in English-speaking countries. He will explain what led to the founding of the Council by Pope John Paul II in 1982.

The conference series will bring together leading North American Catholics with intellectuals from secular or non-Catholic perspectives. Topics for discussion will include man and his place in the world, human dignity, politics, the arts, and science.

Dr. Max Bonilla, vice president for Academic Affairs at Franciscan University of Steubenville and North American coordinator of the conference series, said that the project begins the “intentional engagement” of North America, which he described as one of the key populations within the Church.

“The Council for Culture is very attentive to the Holy Father’s desires for the proclamation of the Gospel and the promotion of a dialogue between faith and culture throughout the world. This will provide what, with God’s blessing, will be a strong network of communication for a fruitful dialogue in this area of the world,” Dr. Bonilla explained.

The Pontifical Council is tasked with advancing dialogue with non-believers and promoting the role of faith in the life of contemporary cultures. It aims “to help people of all cultures become increasingly open to the Gospel so that men and women of science, letters, and the arts may know that the Church acknowledges their work as a service to truth, goodness, and beauty,” according to its Vatican profile.

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Religious exemptions in D.C. same-sex ‘marriage’ bill are too narrow, archdiocese says

Washington D.C., Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - The Archdiocese of Washington has criticized a D.C. City Council committee for narrowing the religious freedom exemptions in a bill that would recognize same-sex “marriage.” The archdiocese says the bill leaves religious organizations and individuals at risk of lawsuits for adhering to their beliefs and could endanger Catholic social services.

While the proposed bill presently says religious organizations do not have to participate in the “solemnization or celebration” of a same-sex marriage ceremony, a previous version of the bill had exempted such organizations from having to promote “marriage that is in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs.”

The revised vision, the archdiocese said in a Tuesday statement, “significantly narrows” the exemption to the promotion of marriage “through religious programs, counseling, courses or retreats.”

The archdiocese said that those who refuse to promote and support same-sex “marriages” in a “host of settings where it would compromise their religious beliefs” would risk facing legal action. Such settings could include employee benefits, adoption services and the use of church halls for non-wedding events for same-sex couples.

“Religious organizations such as Catholic Charities could be denied licenses or certification by the government, denied the right to offer adoption and foster care services, or no longer be able to partner with the city to provide social services for the needy,” the archdiocese warned.

According to the Washington Post, churches would have to abide by aspects of the city’s Human Rights Act, which includes a ban on discriminating against homosexual employees who choose to “marry.”

“The bill provides no exemption for individuals with sincerely-held religious beliefs, as required under federal law,” the archdiocese’s statement noted. “In fact, one council member opposed an amendment that would have respected an individual’s federally-protected, deeply-held religious beliefs by saying that would encourage a ‘discriminatory impulse.’”

The archdiocese charged that the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, which is handling the bill, has rejected the concerns voiced in testimony from the archdiocese, the American Civil Liberties Union, the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, and nationally recognized legal scholars.

These experts cited Supreme Court case law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and also the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

The archdiocese has also argued that individuals should be able to exempt themselves from participation in same-sex “weddings” and other activities.

At a city council hearing on Tuesday, Council member Mary M. Cheh questioned why wedding photographers should be allowed to choose the clients they serve.

“That would be discrimination, right?” she asked.

Jane G. Belford, the chancellor of the archdiocese, in a letter to Council member Phil Mendelson, noted the archdiocese’s opposition to the redefinition of marriage in the District but also defended broad religious exemptions if such a law should be passed.

She argued that the bill is not accurately framed as “a clear cut matter of equality and civil rights” but must be seen in the context of balancing competing interests: “The interest of the homosexual community to be able to marry freely and the interests of the religious community to be able to practice religion freely."

Noting that the RFRA requires the District government to burden an individual’s religious practice in the “least restrictive means possible,” Belford said: “The outright prohibition of the observance of a sincerely held religious belief about marriage cannot possibly be said to be the least restrictive means in this case.”

The Washington Post said it was doubtful the archdiocese would be successful.

Edward Orzechowski, president/CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, said his organization was concerned the narrowing of the exemption would cause the government to discontinue its partnership with Catholic Charities and would “open up the agency to litigation and the use of resources to defend our religious beliefs rather than serve the poor.”

The bill is now headed to the full City Council.

The archdiocese said Catholic teachings recognize that all individuals have equal dignity and deserve equal respect, but by its very nature marriage “must be between a man and a woman.”

“One essential purpose of marriage is an openness to creating and nurturing the next generation, which is the reason that governments and cultures throughout all time have given these relationships special recognition and support,” the archdiocese said.

There are over 580,000 Catholics in the District of Columbia and five Maryland counties. In the District there are 40 parishes, 21 Catholic schools and 25 corporations in service to the community.

The archdiocese has set up a website on marriage at

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Pope commemorates anniversary of Rome's LUMSA University, encourages pursuit of truth

Vatican City, Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) -

In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the foundation of Rome’s LUMSA university (Libera Universita Maria Santissma Assunta,) the Holy Father received 7,000 members of the institution today.  Acknowledging the university's well-defined Catholic identity, he called them on to a further “dialogue between faith and reason, in an ideal attempt to integrate knowledge and values.”

The Pope noted that the university came into being as a result of Pope Pius XI's Encyclical “Divini illius Magistri” and began its activities in the climate of commitment to education inspired by the encyclical. He told his audience that their university began “with a well-defined Catholic identity, also with the encouragement of the Holy See with which it maintains very close ties.”

Pope Benedict also told the members of the university that the LUMSA’s dual focus, that of “remaining faithful to the original idea of [foundress] Mother Tincani and, at the same time, responding to the new challenges of society” is still necessary today.  The Pontiff added that the task of teaching is of critical importance, since “any profession can become an occasion to bear witness to values that were absorbed during the academic period, and to translate them into practice."

Then Pope Benedict emphasized the transcendent nature of universities and their studies, which don’t have their end simply in the acquisition of knowledge. “Today, as yesterday, the university needs true masters capable of transmitting, alongside academic information and knowledge, rigorous research methods and profound motivations.”

Commending the university itself for its dedication to the ideals upon which it was founded, The Holy Father said, “LUMSA is a Catholic university which has this Christian inspiration as a specific element of its identity… it aims to undertake academic activity oriented towards the search for truth, in a dialogue between faith and reason, in an ideal attempt to integrate knowledge and values.”

The Holy Father concluded by calling on the students to maintain their “hearts and minds open to the truth” in order to become “builders of a more just and united society.”

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Italian mayors respond to Strasbourg ruling by hanging more crucifixes in schools

Rome, Italy, Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - A number of Italian officials have responded to the ruling by the European Human Rights Court that ordered schools in Italy to remove crucifixes from the classrooms by taking unprecedented measures to preserve the Christian symbol.

According to the Italian daily “Avvenire,” the mayor of Sezzadio, Pier Luigi Arnera, has leveled a fine of 500 euros against anyone who removes a crucifix from a public place.

Arnera explained that the displaying of the crucifix in “places other than churches does not affect the dignity of anyone, because it is one of our cultural references.”

Likewise in the cities of Sassuolo and Trapani, officials have acquired dozens more crucifixes to display them in public schools.

In Montegrotto Terme, digital billboards that normally are used to inform the public are now displaying the crucifix with the phrase, “We will not take it down.”  The mayor of Assisi has ordered that Nativity scenes be displayed in addition to the crucifix in public offices.

In Varesotto a local contractor placed a 16-foot cross on his farm in order to express his indignation over the EU court ruling.

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Irish missionary priest freed after month of captivity

Manila, Philippines, Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - After being held hostage for just over a month, Irish missionary priest Fr. Michael Sinnott was freed on Nov 12. Despite a serious preexisting heart condition, Fr. Sinnott was reported to be in good health.

On Oct. 11, Fr. Sinnott was taken at gunpoint by six men who stormed his home in Pagadian City on the island of Midano. According to Reuters, witnesses said the elderly priest was bundled into a van and later dragged into a boat.

Combined efforts from the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities for the Government of the Philippines and the Moro-Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) helped negotiate Fr. Sinnott's release.

The MILF has not disclosed where they found Fr. Sinnott or any details about the kidnappers.

Mohager Iqbal, chairperson of the Maguindinao-based MILF peace panel did however say that members of his task force had spoken with relatives of the abductors and applied “moral pressure” but insisted that no violent tactics were used. He also stressed that no ransom was paid for Fr. Sinnott, though “hundreds of thousands of pesos were spent by the MILF in its efforts to recover Fr. Sinnott.”

Local news stations reported that Fr. Sinnott is receiving medical care at a clinic in Zamboanga City. 

Carlos Sol, head of the secretariat for the Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, has said that although Fr. Sinnott is slightly confused, he is in good condition. “I told him he looks strong,” said Sol, who went on to explain that once Fr. Sinnott has recovered, he will most likely be taken to Manila to be presented to the president of the Republic of the Philippines.

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Benedict XVI surfs the web and uses email

Vatican City, Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, shared this week that the Holy Father has an appreciation for new developments in technology and is comfortable surfing the internet and using email.
During an interview with the program “Studio Aperto” on the Italia 1 TV network, Archbishop Celli added, while the Pope doesn't have a personal email address, he “sends his own personal emails. He does! He has great appreciation for new technology.”
The archbishop explained that while the Pope “cannot respond to the millions of messages that arrive in his inbox,” he is committed to “offering his prayers for all who write to him.”
“The internet is an excellent means of communication,” he continued.  “We are seeking to be present where the people are, especially the youth.”

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Father Lombardi presents new CD featuring voice of Pope Benedict

Vatican City, Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - This week, the director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, presented a new CD which contains modern sacred music and features the voice of Pope Benedict XVI.

The new album, titled, “Alma Mater, Music from the Vatican,” features eight pieces of modern sacred music with recordings of the Pope speaking and praying in Latin, Italian, Portuguese, French and German.  The Pope’s voice is accompanied by the choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome, directed by Msgr. Pablo Colino.

The music was performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London.

During the press conference presenting the new CD, Father Lombardi said the idea to make the CD came from Giulio Neroni, who brought the proposal to the Vatican Secretary of State.  St. Paul Multimedia agreed to produce the album, with the assistance of Vatican Radio for the recordings of the Pope.

The eight pieces on the CD feature prayers and reflections of the Pope on Marian themes.  Seven pieces feature the Pope speaking, and one includes the Holy Father singing the Regina Coeli.  The liner notes include Marian reflections written by Cardinal Angelo Comastri.

Father Lombardi noted that profits from sales will be donated to humanitarian or cultural organizations that provide aid to children.

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South Carolina Catholic becomes 'Jeopardy! Teen Tournament' semi-finalist

Mount Pleasant, S.C., Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - Will Dantzler, a senior at Bishop England High School in Charleston, S.C. has scored big on the “Jeopardy! Teen Tournament” so far, and he isn’t finished yet. The weekly altar server will compete in the semi-finals tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST.

His parents, Lynn and Mary Helen Dantzler of Mount Pleasant, are understandably proud of their son, who plays football for the Battlin’ Bishops and serves on the altar at Stella Maris Church every Sunday.

Will said being an active Catholic was helpful in at least one category.

“My favorite category on ‘Jeopardy!’ is anything pertaining to the Bible,” he said in an e-mail to The Miscellany. “Since I’ve had four years of theology courses at Bishop England, I feel prepared for anything biblical.”

Not so much with the pop culture questions, though. Will said it became evident in the very first game that this group of trivia buffs wasn’t tuned in to the world of movies and celebrities.

“Nobody even rang in for four of the five movie clues,” he wrote.

His mom said it was actually humorous because the producers thought pop culture would be a big hit.

“These kids just didn’t know it the way they did geography or English literature,” she said in a phone interview.

Watching “Jeopardy!” together has always been part of the family routine, and Mrs. Dantzler said they are very competitive with one another, but admitted Will is the champ. He said he and his friends also participate in trivia night at local restaurants.

Will said the hardest part of the tournament so far wasn’t knowing the answers, but being fast enough to hit the buzzer before anyone else.

“All three contestants are trying to get in on just about every question, so you have to time it perfectly just to get a chance to respond,” he said.

His reflexes and knowledge led him from a field of 75,000 who tried out for the show. Mrs. Dantzler explained that the number was whittled down in the first phase by an online test, which 10,000 teens passed. From that, 300 were chosen for the next round of competition, with mock shows and further testing at six sites around the country.

Finally, 15 players were left to participate in the show.

Now, in the semi-finals, nine remain: the top five winners of the first week, plus four wildcards who had the next-highest earnings after the winners.

Will said the contestants still on the show haven’t actually won any money yet. The winner of the final round will receive $75,000; the first-runner up $25,000 or the earnings total, whichever is higher; and the second-runner up $15,000 or the total.

“I plan to use any winnings to contribute toward my college education,” he said.

Printed with permission from The Catholic Miscellany, newspaper for the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina.

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Spanish bishop encourages women who have aborted to receive Sacrament of Reconciliation

Madrid, Spain, Nov 12, 2009 (CNA/Europa Press) - The secretary general of the Spanish bishops' conference, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino of Madrid, encouraged women who have aborted to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

During a breakfast in the Spanish capital, Bishop Martinez Camino said the Church reaches out to women who are feeling tempted to have an abortion or have already experienced this tragedy.

He then stressed that God’s mercy awaits those tormented by abortion.  “Those who have not gone to confession are encouraged to do so because God wants to offer them a solution and deep peace,” he said. The Church “defends the rights of the innocents,” and is “conscious of the problem that [abortion] entails.”

“She is not merciless towards those who fall into sin,” he continued.

Bishop Martinez Camino warned lawmakers that support of the proposed law on abortion would constitute “public sin” and would place them in an “objective state of sin.”  While “the Church cannot judge their subjectivity,” he added, those who “directly collaborate” in an abortion incur excommunication.

The bishop said lawmakers and voters must consider the issue of life above their own political party platforms and party leaders.  Those who affirm that an innocent life can be taken find themselves “in contradiction with Divine and Catholic law,” he added.

He then praised health care workers and others who have exercised their right to conscientious objection “with civic and moral courage,” and he warned against the “grave manipulation” of portraying abortion as a medical procedure, as “abortion is never a cure because pregnancy is not a disease.”

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Adult Stem Cells Saved My Life campaign set to launch

Kansas City, Kan., Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) -

The Family Research Council, (FRC) has announced the beginning of its campaign to spread awareness about how successful adult stem cells are in treating a variety of diseases. The most recent count places the number of conditions successfully treated at close to 80.

On Saturday, November 14, 2009, the FRC will kick off the “Adult Stem Cells Saved My Life Education & Awareness Campaign” at the Town Hall in Shawnee, Kansas. At the premier, they will publicly launch and present the stories of people who have been successfully treated with adult stem cells via short videos.

Laura Dominguez knows firsthand about the impact a stem cell treatment can make.

In the summer of 2001, when Dominguez was just 16 years-old, she was involved in a car accident that broke her neck, paralyzing her from the neck down.

After a Portuguese surgeon took stem cells from her nose, cultured them, and used them to replace the scar tissue in her neck, she is now able to feel her body below her chest. She can grasp and move the mouse of a computer and is able to walk with leg braces. Though her range of motion is limited compared to her abilities before the accident, due to the treatment which used her own stem cells, she is no longer a paraplegic.

David Prentice, Ph.D., formerly a professor at Indiana State University who now works full time with FRC, told CNA that this campaign is about awareness. “This (adult stem cell research) is out there. There’s more coming.” Prentice noted that the majority of people don’t even know about adult stem cell treatments and how effective they are.

According to Prentice, the exact number of conditions that can be successfully treated by adult stem cells “is growing weekly. It’s over 70, and soon it will be 80.”

Currently the most common and effective treatments using stem cells are various forms of cancers and anemias, he said, though adult stem cells have also repaired heart attack damage, treated leukemias, lymphomas, spinal cord injuries and helped patients with multiple sclerosis and juvenile diabetes. 

When asked about the embryonic stem cell research debate, Prentice noted, “No human beings have even been injected yet” in embryonic stem cell research. Published science, however, has verified the successful treatments of thousands of patients using adult stem cells.

“Lets focus on helping the patients, and helping them now,” Prentice said. “We’re not even talking about embryonic stem cell research. It’s not helping anybody. It’s not even helping the lab rats.”

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Bishop D’Arcy says successor’s appointment ‘not too far away’

South Bend, Ind., Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend John M. D’Arcy, announcing his approval of plans to relocate a diocesan high school, has noted that the appointment of his successor “cannot be too far away.”

His comments came in a statement posted on the diocese’s website on Wednesday. There, he discussed how the diocese had been offered property at the present location of St. Joseph Medical Center as a new location for St. Joseph’s High School.

Bishop D’Arcy said a bishop must be a “good steward” and the proposed new school building cannot be so expensive that it is built “on the backs of families.”

“Indeed, I have to keep in mind my successor, and must not place an undue burden on him. The appointment of a new bishop cannot be too far away. I have made it clear that he will need to review this decision and, indeed, it will be his obligation to do so. But I always believed that, in light of my long tenure here, I had the obligation of making a firm decision while still bishop.”

The typical retirement age of a bishop is 75. Finding a replacement for Bishop D’Arcy, who is 77 years old, is an important decision for Pope Benedict since D'Arcy's diocese encompasses the University of Notre Dame.

Expressing the diocese’s commitment to its four “excellent” high schools, he noted those involved in the decision included parents, faculty, officials at the University of Notre Dame, the Brothers of the Holy Cross and many others.

He then announced many conditions for the relocation of the school. The cost of building the new high school, $35.5 million, must be met and cash on hand must total $26.6 million by June 2011.

If conditions for the relocation are not met, he said, planning will turn to renovating the current St. Joseph High School site and building.

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LA Times attributes pro-Obama Catholics’ statement to the USCCB

Denver, Colo., Nov 12, 2009 (CNA) - In a November 8 article titled “House votes for ban on abortion subsidies,” the Los Angeles Times quoted a statement from the pro-Obama group Catholics United attributing it to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The article in the LA Times, which remained uncorrected on Thursday evening, covered the final vote on the House health care bill and the previous passage of the Stupak amendment.

"The amendment, offered just prior to the vote on the healthcare bill, passed 240 to 194,” wrote LA Times’ reporter Kim Geiger.

Geiger then added: “The compromise won immediate support from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which urged Catholics to ‘lend their full-throated support’ to the Democrats' healthcare bill.”

“‘The bishops' stamp of approval means that this bill is unambiguously pro-life and we will vigorously oppose those who suggest otherwise,’ the conference said in a statement Saturday,” Geiger added in the story.

Nevertheless, the words attributed by the LA Times to the USCCB actually belong to a statement released by Chris Korzen, Executive Director of the independent, pro-Obama group Catholics United, which has supported the president’s health care bill even when the U.S. bishops where opposing it before the Stupak Amendment passed in the House.

The quote mistakenly attributed by the LA Times to the USCCB is taken from the fifth paragraph of  Korzen's statement, which was released  late on Saturday.

The Readers' Representative for the LA Times, Jamie Gold, told CNA via email that "a for-the-record will be forthcoming."

The true USCCB  statement, released on Monday, November 9, a day after the original LA Times story was published,  was laudatory of the Stupak Amendment, but much less enthusiastic than Catholic United's on the health care bill.

In the USCCB statement, Cardinal Francis George said the bishops were thankful that “the Representatives honored President Obama’s commitment to the Congress and the nation that health care reform would not become a vehicle for expanding abortion funding or mandates.”  But the USCCB president also warned that “the Conference will remain vigilant and involved throughout this entire process to assure that these essential provisions are maintained and included in the final legislation.” 

“We remain  deeply concerned about other aspects of health care reform as the debate now moves to the Senate, especially as it affects the poor and vulnerable, and those at the beginning and end of life. We will continue to insist that health care reform legislation must protect conscience rights.  We support measures to make health care more affordable for low-income people and the uninsured. We remain deeply concerned that immigrants be treated fairly and not lose the health care coverage that they now have,” Cardinal George stated.

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