La Paz, Bolivia, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Cardinal Julio Terrazas Sandoval, called on the faithful of Bolivia to show solidarity with the people of Haiti, as their dignity is currently “in the hands of all the peoples of the world.” He then invited Bolivians to tone down the country's upcoming carnival celebrations prior to Lent as a sacrifice for the suffering people of Haiti.
He added that these events should be marked by a “spirit of sobriety.”
“We cannot be content giving only what is left over, the cardinal said at Mass last Sunday. “The situation in Haiti is urgent right now” and as Catholics and believers we are called to a greater level of sharing and giving.
“Hope must take precedent amidst the destruction,” Cardinal Terrazas said, warning that while there may be earthquakes that take the lives of many people, hope will always spring forth. He explained that “hope” is “full of love” and trusts “that this will not go on forever.”
“This is a people that has suffered, a nation poor like our own.” Nonetheless, he continued, they are “a decent people” whose “human dignity is in the hands of all the nations of the world, of all the peoples, especially of Latin America and the Caribbean,” he concluded.
Steubenville, Ohio, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) -
Franciscan University's Institute of Bioethics is hosting a conference in March for health professionals and will address the topic of “Ethical Issues on Suffering and Death.”
“Death and suffering are the two topics that most often confront health care professionals and ethics committees in hospitals,” explained Dr. Patrick Lee, director of the Institute. “When do we withdraw life-sustaining treatment? Why does our society view suffering as the problem to be treated, rather than the mere symptom of a deeper problem?”
The upcoming conference has a particular relevance given the current health care reform effort and comes at a time when right to life issues are at the forefront of legislative debate.
“What's at stake in the current cultural debates about abortion and euthanasia,” Dr. Lee continued, “is whether we as as society are going to recognize the equal and inherent dignity of all human beings or not.”
Several prominent healthcare professionals and speakers will attend the March 26-28 conference and six medical experts will address a wide range of ethical issues faced by healthcare workers today.
Dr. Germain Grisez, professor emeritus of philosophy and moral theology at Mount Saint Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, will give a lecture on the topic, “What Suffering Is and Why God Allows Evil.”
Dr. Theresa Collett, professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, will discuss “The Value of Life and State Action” and Dr. John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, will speak on “Difficulties in End-of-Life Care Decisions.”
Brother Daniel Sulmasy, OFM, MD, PhD, will lecture on “Appropriate Responses to Different Types of Suffering at the End of Life.” Sulmasy is a Franciscan friar, medical doctor, and noted bioethicist. Dr. Rita Marker, executive director of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, will give an overview of “Current End-of-Life Ethical Issues and Dilemmas” and Dr. Andrew Trew’s talk on “Suffering, Death, and the Doctor-Patient Relationship” draws from his work as a member of the Internal Review Board at the Cleveland Clinic.
“Ethical Issues on Suffering and Death” is the fifth conference to be sponsored by the Institute of Bioethics since its founding in 2007. The stated mission of the Institute is “to engage the modern culture and present the truth of the human person, following the call of Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae for universities to provide the research, discussion, and articulation of arguments that stand up for and spread the culture of life.”
CNA STAFF, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - On January 11, Deacon Patrick Moynihan left Haiti for a routine visit back home to the United States. The following day, the largest earthquake in 200 years struck Haiti, with the principle fault line running through the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
Moynihan spent the rest of the week trying to get back to Haiti and the school whose ministry he oversees. He finally returned on January 15 to what he described as “a hundred years later.”
“My first night back at our school in Haiti was all about reunions,” wrote the Deacon. “Keenly aware that I was with people who had experienced something that would make me a stranger to them for a while, I attempted to learn by osmosis what they had experienced by surviving a 7.0 earthquake. It was dark and words failed, so I settled for touching shoulders and grasping hands.”
Deacon Patrick is the president of The Haitian Project (THP), a Catholic Mission which supports and operates Louverture Cleary School (LCS), a tuition-free, Catholic, co-educational secondary boarding school for economically under-privileged Haitian children.
The organization operates under the motto: "What you receive as gift, you must give as gift." (Mt 10:8) For over 20 years, THP and LCS have “educated and nurtured academically talented and motivated students from the poorest Haitian families to maximize their potential and enable them to work toward building a Haiti where justice and peace thrive,” states their website.
Striking proof of the success of this mission is the fact that following the earthquake, THP was able to send one of its students, who is sufficiently advanced in his medical studies to work in the hospital run by the Missionaries of Charity. Another student preparing to be a dentist was also able to offer her services, accompanied by a few other student volunteers. In addition, the school loaned one of their vehicles to the sisters to use as an ambulance.
Because of their extended presence in the country, the relationships they have cultivated, and the past crises they have worked through, the people of THP and LCS are already able to give what they have received as a gift. In his Saturday update on the organization’s website, Deacon Patrick reported: “We have met with Catholic Relief Services and are going to work cooperatively with them. We can do a lot to help with some of their issues in warehousing and sourcing of food through our business partners. We are also on the list to receive food support. Again, a testament to our charism--we will receive and give.”
The school itself was not badly affected by the earthquake. Only one of the buildings has been deemed structurally unsound, and a host of engineers have cleared the other buildings for use. Despite the assurances, the students still choose to sleep outside. “Who could blame them; life had taught him that buildings can just fall down,” wrote Deacon Patrick in his weekly CNA column.
Classes have resumed at the school, at least partially. The students can choose where they feel they need to be at the moment, but the hope is that many will soon be returning to the stability the school offers. Currently, there are about 160 of the 358 students living on campus.
The city of Port-au-Prince itself is recovering much more slowly. The relief efforts are there in force and are even clogging the roadways, which prompted Moynihan to quip, “If I were president, all relief organization organizers would have to carpool.”
The ruins of the National Palace, the Caribbean Market, the Hotel Montana and the Cathedral are a stark reminder of the fact that no one was spared in the quake.
“Haiti’s landscape changed forever. In moments, thousands of buildings became impenetrable tombs. Sidewalks became makeshift coroners’ slabs. With their history shaken out of them, crumbled national landmarks became monuments to fragility. Worse, friends became memories,” mourned the deacon.
Through it all, the Louverture Cleary School and its friends in Haiti and the United States stand as a beacon of hope. At least two of their alumni are confirmed dead, but an equal number are volunteering their medical services to those in need. Having worked through boycotts, hurricanes and the overthrowing of a government, the school has able to quietly continue through it all.
“There is no doubt that this is a singularly hard time in Haiti. For inspiration, I think about the fact that Haiti has survived all types of disasters, natural and manmade, wrote the deacon. “I pick out old faces in the crowds and say to myself, 'Imagine what he or she has survived'.”
“It is a hard time, but not the end of time.”
More information about The Haitian Project can be found at: www.haitianproject.org/
Boulder, Colo., Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - The Catholic campus ministry at the University of Colorado at Boulder will host a debate next Monday on whether the government should recognize same-sex “marriage.” The speakers will be Maggie Gallagher and Jonathan Rauch.
Gallagher, a political and social commentator, has written three books on marriage. She is the president of the National Organization for Marriage, which has led several political battles to preserve or restore the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
“Unions of husband and wife really are unique and deserve their unique status in law, culture and society. These are the only kind of sexual union that can make new life and connect those children in love to their mother and father,” Gallagher has stated, according to a press release from the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center.
“Gay marriage is not about what two people do in private, it is about what government is going to say and do in public. Same-sex unions are not marriages. Treating them as marriages, and particularly misusing government to require others in the society to do so, is profoundly unjust."
Jonathan Rauch, a senior writer for National Journal magazine and a contributing editor of The Atlantic, has authored several books on public policy, culture and economics.
“For the American family and the beleaguered institution of marriage, same-sex marriage is part of the solution,” he said. “When gay couples settle down, form family ties, and make the noblest commitment that most people ever make, it's a win-win--good for them and good for society. I see my job as persuading conservatives to understand that their own case for the social benefits of marriage doesn't suddenly become false when you apply it to gays."
Fr. Kevin Augustyn, the director of campus ministry at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center, explained the motives for organizing the debate. He said the Catholic Church has a “long history” of public debate on important ideas and issues.
“Given the growing national interest in the same-sex marriage debate, the Catholic Center has decided to provide a forum to openly discuss the merits of both sides of this issue, on the campus of Colorado’s flagship university,” he continued.
“In the tradition of the Catholic Center’s patron saint, St. Thomas Aquinas, who intelligently and fervently engaged the ideas and controversies of his day and age with grace, we hope to provide a stimulating intellectual discussion on the same-sex marriage debate,” Fr. Augustyn said.
The debate will take place on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Cristol Chemistry building on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
More information is available at the Catholic Center website at http://thomascenter.org/AquinasInstitute/MarriageDebate.html.
Southbury, Conn., Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - A permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Hartford has spoken about his rescue from the ruins of his destroyed mission house in earthquake-struck Haiti. Though death “filled the night,” he said he believes God still has plans for him and he intends to return to help the country.
Deacon Chuck Dietsch, 66, has served at Sacred Heart Church in Southbury, Conn. for fourteen years. For the past two years he has worked with Haitian Ministries for the Diocese of Norwich.
Last week he was working at Norwich Mission House in a suburb of the capital city Port-au-Prince. There, he helped provide food, shelter, and education while supporting orphanages, parish communities, and medical missions.
The deacon, a stocky man with graying hair, bore several gashes on the left side of his forehead in his appearance at press conference on Monday. He said that he had been in the mission house with its acting director Jillian Thorp when the earthquake struck.
“When the ground began to move, she did not recognize what was happening but, because I lived for several years in California, I knew exactly what it was. I pulled her into a doorway, as I had learned, but I never expected an earthquake of that magnitude in Haiti,” Deacon Dietsch said.
After the quake the two, “by the grace of God,” found themselves alive in a small air pocket.
He and Thorp were buried six feet down and were unable to move in the dark, New England Cable News (NECN) reports. Thorp was trapped on top of Dietsch, whose back was bent over a cinder block.
“The roof of our air-pocket was practically on top of us and one of her feet was caught in rubble,” the deacon said.
His left hand was crushed and pinned by the 2-by-4 lumber piece that kept other debris from falling on them. He suffered excruciating pain
In their first two hours he said he felt “fear, sadness, because I believed I was never going to see my family again, and there was hopelessness.”
As the air began to run out, Deacon Dietsch said, “I remember praying to God ‘I guess it’s just time I go to sleep.’
“For some reason, then I said, ‘no, there’s still hope.’”
Twenty minutes later, rescuers broke through and fresh air filled their cramped space. They were freed at 3 a.m. on Wednesday after 10 hours of being trapped in the ruined building.
“We owe our lives to the Assistant Director of the mission house, a young Haitian man, and two other employees who found us two hours after the quake struck and worked through the night to dig us out, literally with their hands.”
“Unfortunately, the sounds were horrific. Because death filled the night,” he told the press conference.
He and Thorp were “medivaced” from the American Embassy to the Dominican Republic, where they were hospitalized overnight. He was able to call his wife on Thursday, two days after the earthquake struck.
“I spent much time in prayer during the 10 hours Jill and I were buried in the rubble of the house. Because I survived, I know that God has further plans for me. I will need some time to discern what those plans might be. Haiti has once again been thrust onto the world stage as the result of unimaginable tragedy and horror.
“I pray that, this time, the world will take action – yes, to bind up the wounds that are now so raw and bleeding – but also to work together to solve the problems that plague Haiti and her people.”
The deacon said he prayed for Haiti’s support with present emergency aid and also with future assistance to provide “hope and dignity for her people.”
“My family and I will be eternally grateful to Dom, Ti-ton and Milot, the three Haitian men who worked to free Jillian and me. They are our heroes.”
In a note to Sacred Heart parishioners, he explained that his prayers before his rescue centered on asking God for protection and for help for the thousands of other victims. “My prayers also focused on trying to place myself completely in God’s hands and allow him to decide my fate.”
“The mystery that is our God has become an even greater mystery for me,” he remarked.
According to CECN, Deacon Dietsch said he will go back to Haiti when he is physically able and when there is infrastructure to support his work.
College Station, Texas, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - The 40 Days for Life Campaign has announced that 2010’s first campaign of prayer, fasting, pro-life outreach and vigils outside abortion clinics will take place from Feb. 17 to March 28. The effort aims to save women and children from the “tragedy” of abortion and to keep abortion out of U.S. health care legislation.
The Campaign says there will be participants in 156 cities across the U.S. and in four Canadian provinces and three Australian states.
Past campaigns reportedly have attracted more than 300,000 participants and are known to have saved 2,168 children and their mothers from “the tragedy of abortion.”
40 Days for Life also says five abortion centers have closed following its participants’ prayer vigils and 27 abortion industry employees have quit their jobs. These include Abby Johnson, a director of a Texas Planned Parenthood center who has now spoken out against the organization.
"While many see a time of darkness this week as the United States marks the 37th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that imposed abortion on America, and as the U.S. Congress deliberates legislation that could lead to dramatic increases in taxpayer funding for abortion, I see a time of great hope," commented David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life.
“The fact is that even as proponents try to encourage more abortions –and as they try to encourage government funding of abortions—more women are realizing the truth about abortion and rejecting it as an option, and more people are simply saying 'Enough!' and taking a stand against these efforts to promote a culture of death,” Bereit continued.
He added that the campaign dates coincide with the Lenten season, noting that the season presents “a call to sacrifice” that he thinks is central to 40 Days for Life.
“Standing in prayer outside an abortion facility is indeed a sacrifice -- particularly in northern locations where cold temperatures and snowy conditions are often part of the weather landscape in February. But people know their efforts have a profound impact, and so they overlook the inconvenience and their personal discomfort to stand in peaceful witness."
Referring to health care legislation currently in the U.S. Congress, Bereit added that local campaigns will help reinforce the message that “abortion is not health care.”
The 40 Days for Life website lists participating communities at www.40daysforlife.com/location.cfm
Port au Prince, Haiti, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - The charity Aid to the Church in Need has announced that it is sending $100,000 in urgent aid to help more than 200 impoverished seminarians in Haiti after their college collapsed in the earthquake.
The aid, sent from the U.K. office of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), follows news that at least 30 seminarians were killed last week when the massive quake destroyed seminary buildings in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
The aid package, which includes food, medicine, clothing and shoes for the surviving seminarians, follows a desperate appeal from Louis Kébreau, Archbishop of Cap-Haïtien and chairman of the Haiti Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
ACN reports that the Salesian archbishop stressed the needs of the seminarians and said they had nobody to care for them. They were desperate to return to their home dioceses, many of which are a good distance from the capital.
The latest package was agreed upon late Tuesday. Last Friday ACN had dispatched $70,000 for general emergency relief work and more aid from the charity is expected soon.
ACN aid is being channeled through Archbishop Bernardito Auza, apostolic nuncio to Haiti, who is bringing in aid from Santo Domingo in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
Archbishop Auza has reported an “endless list” of death and destruction, saying “all of our beautiful churches are wiped out.”
Seminarians from the Montfordian religious order were trapped and killed in Port-au-Prince when their minibus was crushed by falling debris.
On Saturday he reported that Daughters of Mary religious sisters were still trapped in the rubble. Their provincial had died and those who had been rescued were wounded.
The nuncio said there is total reliance on relief aid.
“I have nowhere else to buy bread. I cannot multiply my sack of rice,” he told ACN.
Bishop Chibly Langlois of Fort-Liberté on Sunday told ACN that he had sent a mission to Port-au-Prince to collect 16 diocesan seminarians, all of whom survived the earthquake.
“One of the seminarians spent two-and-a-half days under the rubble. Another was injured. Three others received shocks and need special care. I have sent two to the Dominican Republic for check-ups and treatment impossible to get in Fort-Liberté.”
He added that the seminarians were unable to recover their belongings and so they are in need of both medical assistance and financial help to secure a change of clothes and other basic necessities.
“We live through this catastrophe clinging to faith and hope,” Bishop Langois commented. “Our prayers do not stop us turning to God who can help us overcome our sufferings through solidarity and communion with others.”
ACN’s further plans include a project assessment trip to Haiti, scheduled for March.
The charity’s Latin America projects department has drafted a five-point strategy prioritizing help for those fleeing the worst-affected areas. The plan also will support key Church structures including the CIFOR pastoral center and repairs for the major seminary, both of which are in Port-au-Prince.
San Francisco, Calif., Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - The sixth Annual Walk for Life West Coast will bring together more than 35,000 pro-life activists on Jan. 23 to advocate an end to “the violence of abortion.” Attendees will hear pro-life speakers describe how abortion hurts women and how all people have a right to life.
The Walk for Life event begins with a rally at 11 a.m. at Justin Herman Plaza. The walk itself starts at noon and proceeds for two miles along San Francisco’s waterfront. It ends in sight of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Attendees come from colleges, high schools and church congregations that range from being local to as far away as Colorado and Texas.
This year marks the joining of San Francisco and Paris as pro-life “sister cities” as Paul Ginoux-Defermont, an organizer of the Marche Pour Le Respect de la Vie will attend.
The Walk was begun in 2005 by a group of San Franciscans seeking to change hearts hurt by “the violence of abortion,” a press release from organizers says. They say the event is non-sectarian and non-denominational and “openly expresses belief in God but welcomes all who share a respect for life.”
It is held on the Saturday closest to the Jan. 22 anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling which mandated permissive abortion laws across the United States.
Several of the Walk for Life’s speakers will draw on personal experience to focus on the exploitation of women driven by what organizers call the “profiteering” of the abortion industry.
Speakers at the 2010 event include undercover student investigator Lila Rose, former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, Silent No More leaders Irene Beltran and Georgette Foley, and 40 Days for Life director David Bereit.
Bereit will receive the Walk’s St. Gianna Molla Award in recognition of his work.
Frank Lee, coordinator of Asian Americans Against Abortion, will give the invocation.
The Walk for Life website is at http://www.walkforlifewc.com/.
Vatican City, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) -
Today Pope Benedict celebrated the feast of the martyr St. Agnes by blessing a group of lambs in the Urban VIII Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace.
Every year on January 21, the Pope blesses a group of lambs which are traditionally less than a year old. The lambs are raised by the Trappist Fathers of the Abbey of Three Fountains in Rome. They are then sheared, and the wool is woven into palliums by the Sisters of St. Cecilia.
The palliums will be given to the new metropolitan archbishops on June 29, the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. Each pallium is comprised of two hanging pieces, front and back. They are worn by the Pope and by the archbishops as a symbol of their apostolic authority and of the special bond between bishops and the Roman Pontiff.
The lambs themselves are a symbol of Purity. The lamb is also a symbol of St. Agnes, a young Roman virgin who dedicated herself to Christ. She chose the martyr’s death over breaking that vow of purity to God by marrying the governor’s son. She was between 12 and 13 years-old when she was executed for her refusal. Her body resides in the basilica named for her, which is located on Rome’s Via Nomentana.
Vatican City, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - The Vatican announced on Thursday the appointment of Ms. Flaminia Giovanelli, “the first woman to hold the position of under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.”
Giovenelli will be working alongside Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson and Bishop Mario Toso S.D.B., who are president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace respectively. The Council is a part of the Roman Curia and was established for the international promotion of justice, peace and human rights based on the teachings of the Church.
The new under-secretary graduated from the University of Rome where she studied political science and later obtained diplomas in library science and religious studies.
In 1974, Ms. Giovanelli began working in the then-Pontifical Justice and Peace Commission and has continued to study issues relating to development, poverty and work in the context of the Church's social doctrine. Ms. Giovenelli also has experience with the development and labor policies of the International Labor Organization, the Council of Europe, the European Union, ECOSOC and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
“The appointment of Ms. Giovanelli,” said a Vatican communiqué, “confirms the great trust the Church and the Holy Father Benedict XVI place in women. In his time, Venerable Pope John Paul II also underlined the need for a 'fuller and meaningful participation of women in the development of society.'”
Vatican City, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - In a letter published today by L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI confirmed that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will remain Vatican Secretary of State although he has reached the age at which prelates are required to submit their resignation to the Vatican.
The cardinal celebrated his 75th birthday on December 2, 2009.
In the letter dated January 15, the Holy Father thanked Cardinal Bertone “for the good carried out” during the years of his “priestly and episcopal ministry.” The Pope then expressed his appreciation for the “long course” of their collaboration stemming from the cardinal's “work as consultant to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
“I also recall your delicate work in establishing dialogue with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre,” the Pontiff continued. Also, “I will never forget the visit in Vercelli, which was for me an occasion for a renewed encounter with a great witness of the faith, St. Eusebius of Vercelli.”
After noting that it was John Paul II who called the cardinal to serve in the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict expressed his admiration for the “sensus fidei” (sense of faith) of Cardinal Bertone, as well as his “doctrinal and canonical” training which has enhanced his work “in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
Because of all these qualities, the Holy Father continued, “I decided in the Summer of 2006 to name you my Secretary of State, and today they are the reasons for which I would like to retain your valuable collaboration.”
In conclusion Pope Benedict XVI expressed his best wishes to the cardinal for his work, entrusting him to the Mary Help of Christians.
Madrid, Spain, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - The International Planned Parenthood Federation has sent out thousands of letters asking for donations to rebuild its clinics in Haiti, which were destroyed by the January 12 earthquake.
The Spanish civil rights website, Hazteoir.org reported that the pro-abortion organization is claiming that it needs the funds for its affiliate, Profamil, to avert a “healthcare emergency” in the country.
In a letter signed by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Regional Director Carmen Barroso, the organization asks for “emergency donations” in order to “provide services for saving lives.”
“Each minute counts! Your tax-deductible donation will directly support the restoration of basic medical services” at Planned Parenthood clinics in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and Port-au-Paix, the letter reads. “This is your opportunity to help our neighbors in Haiti during this time of crisis.”
The letter claims that Planned Parenthood’s affiliate in Haiti has “has worked to improve sexual and reproductive healthcare in Haiti, often providing the only healthcare available in some areas.”
“Now, in this urgent life-or-death situation, the time to act is now. Please be generous!” the letter states.
Madrid, Spain, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - The Salesian Office in Madrid has revised its early estimates on the number of children and teens who lost their lives in the collapsed buildings and schools operated by the order in Haiti. Officials now say that as many as 500 are buried under the rubble after the devastating earthquake.
According to a statement, “the U.N. Crisis Unit has been in communication with Haiti police who, nonetheless, continue the search for survivors.”
“The deaths of three Salesian religious needs to be added to this tragic number,” the statement indicated. “Hubert Sanon, 85, Atsime Wilfrid, 28, and Vibrun Valsaint, 26,” all perished in the earthquake.
The remainder of the 66 Salesian religious in Haiti are safe, “although some suffered minor injuries.”
“The Salesians have opened a line of communication with the mission center in New Rochelle (New York), which is coordinating the assistance, and with the headquarters in Rome,” the statement continued.
“Salesians from the Dominican Republic have already sent 10 trucks full of supplies and medicine. This is in addition to the containers of rice sent from the United States and the collections being taken up by the Salesian Family throughout the world.”
Port au Prince, Haiti, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - In an exclusive interview with Catholic News Agency, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, emphasized that the current situation in Haiti should motivate all Christians, regardless of denomination, to contribute to recovery efforts in the country.
Speaking with CNA outside the Apostolic Nunciature in Port-au-Prince, Archbishop Wesolowski remarked: “We need to pray for the victims and for the deceased.” He added that we must “express our condolences as well to those who have been seriously affected.”
“Prayer is essential, but not sufficient,” the archbishop continued. “Concrete help is needed. Pope Benedict has asked the entire Church to provide assistance to the Haitians.”
Noting the aid which has been sent to Haiti by the Church in the Dominican Republic, the archbishop said, “We are preparing to help for the long term, to help rebuild the Church, the seminaries and what has been lost in Haiti. I am sure that with the help of all Catholics we will be able to do that and more.”
Paris, France, Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - Bishop Richard Williamson, the controversial Society of St. Pius X prelate whose excommunication was only lifted last year, said recently in an interview that talks between his society and the Vatican are a “dialogue of the deaf.”
The prelate spoke in fluent French during a fifteen minute interview, posted online Jan. 14, with a right-leaning French politician named Pierre Panet. When asked by Panet what he knows of the latest negotiations between the society and the Vatican, the bishop said, “I think it will finish by becoming a dialogue of the deaf” since “the two positions in themselves are irreconcilable.”
“For example,” continued Bishop Williamson, “2+2=4 and 2+2=5, it’s irreconcilable. Therefore (I can think) of three things, one: either they say 2+2=4, renounce reality and say 2+2=5 – that is to say the Fraternity would abandon the truth that God forbids us to do, or that those who say that 2+2=5 convert and return to the truth, or the two come half-way, that means everyone decides that 2+2=4 ½ .”
“It’s wrong,” the prelate stated. “Therefore, either the Fraternity betrays itself or Rome converts, or it is a dialogue of the deaf.”
Bishops Richard Williamson is no stranger to controversy and made headlines in the past for diminishing the extent of the Holocaust. He is currently facing a case against him by the Court of Regensburg in Germany regarding his comments.
Excommunicated with four other bishops in 1988 by the Venerable Pope John Paul II, his excommunication was lifted in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI as part of a bid to bring about greater Christian unity. Pope Benedict was unaware of the comments made by Bishop Williamson when he lifted the punishment imposed by his predecessor.
Front Royal, Va., Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - Following the horrific earthquake in Haiti last week, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) launched a campaign to provide what they call “emergency and basic health services” to victims in the country. But according to Douglas Scott, “Planned Parenthood looks at emergency birth control the same way most people view food, water and shelter.”
“Planned Parenthood will use any excuse to ask for money, even when doing so is ridiculous,” said Douglas R. Scott, president of Life Decisions International (LDI).“What the people of Haiti need is food, water, clothing, and shelter. They do not need anything that Planned Parenthood has to offer.”
According to the IPPF website, in addition to “essential basic and primary healthcare” they are also working to provide “specialist maternity and sexual and reproductive health services.” IPPF argued that an increased vulnerability of women to HIV infection and sexual exploitation often follows natural disasters and that “many women lose access to family planning services, exposing them to unwanted pregnancy, and, in cases of rape, access to emergency contraception and counseling.”
IPPF has also sent out thousands of letters asking for donations to rebuild its clinics in Haiti which were destroyed by the Jan. 12 earthquake.
But Scott countered, “Planned Parenthood's deadly network wants to provide 'sexual and reproductive health to people affected by the disaster. While there are many organizations offering essential healthcare to the people of Haiti, Planned Parenthood wants to be sure that this includes birth control and abortion.”
Scott also stated that “This is kind of self-serving opportunism is common for Planned Parenthood.”
According to Scott, after the fall of the Romanian dictator in 1989, Planned Parenthood donated $22,000 to the country to buy abortion equipment and coordinated an airlift of 40,000 condoms. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the organization offered a free week of “reproductive health care” which Scott claims U.S. taxpayers helped underwrite. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Planned Parenthood allegedly raised money to provide “essential medication” and “bare necessities” which consisted of a few months supply of birth control pills and emergency birth control kits, says Scott.
“Planned Parenthood looks at emergency birth control the same way most people view food, water and shelter,” Scott remarked. “And why do I think that not one person left homeless by a disaster was concerned about birth control?”
“I hate to sound cynical, but I am … and my cynicism is based on experience,” the LDI president said.
“What better fund-raising tool is there than a photograph of desperate men, women and children who had been devastated by an earthquake? Planned Parenthood routinely uses natural disasters to raise money, but it addresses not one true need. When people are standing outside with a hand stretched out, they do not expect someone to put a condom or birth control pill in it. Planned Parenthood officials should be ashamed,” he added.
CNA attempted to contact IPPF's headquarters in London but did not receive a reply.
New Haven, Conn., Jan 21, 2010 (CNA) - Just one day before the March for Life in Washington D.C. and the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a new survey shows that the number of Americans who say they are pro-life is continuing to grow. Members of the Millennial generation say abortion is “morally wrong” at a rate of 58 percent.
The survey, which was conducted between December 2009 and January 2010, was co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Marists. It asked, among other things, if abortion was “morally wrong.”
Fifty-six percent of Americans said they thought that abortion was indeed “morally wrong.”
The survey shows that Americans are becoming more pro-life, but more importantly, it showed that the upcoming generations are more pro-life than those nearing retirement.
The “Millennials,” as the generation of 18-29 year-olds is called, responded that abortion is morally wrong at a rate of 58 percent. Sixty percent of those belonging to “Generation X,” or people between 30 and 44, also fell in the pro-life camp.
“Americans of all ages – and younger people in even greater numbers than their parents – see abortion as something morally wrong,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
“America has turned a corner and is embracing life – and in doing so is embracing a future they – and all of us – can be proud of,” Anderson commented.
“Baby Boomers,” or people between the ages of 45 and 64, are less likely to call abortion morally reprehensible, with 51% saying abortion is wrong.
Those over age 65 said abortion is immoral at a rate of 60 percent.
“Advances in technology, show clearly – and ever more clearly – that an unborn child is completely a human being,” Anderson pointed out. “The majority of Americans now understand that abortion has consequences, and that those consequences are not good.”