Archive of March 4, 2010

Radical feminist proposal for UN ‘super agency’ wins Obama administration backing

New York City, N.Y., Mar 4, 2010 (CNA) - The Obama administration has endorsed a proposal to create a new U.N. “super agency” to advance extremist feminist ideology, the Population Research Institute (PRI) says. The organization warns the agency could engage in “cultural imperialism” in service to radical causes.

The proposed agency is supported by a consortium of feminist organizations called the Gender Equality Architecture Reform Campaign (GEAR). The proposal came at the New York meeting of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. The Obama administration and the European Union immediately seconded the proposal, which appears to have a good chance at passage.

The existing multiple low-level U.N. offices and commissions have long discontented feminists, according to PRI.

The new agency would create one agency from four existing entities: the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women, the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.

PRI explains that the Division for the Advancement of Women has a universal U.N. mandate that would then serve the new bureaucracy. The proposed organization would be headed by a U.N. Under-Secretary General, who would report directly to the U.N. Secretary General.

The draft proposal urges the establishment of the agency before the end of the current session of the General Assembly, advocating it be dedicated to “gender equality” and the “empowerment of women.”

PRI says such concepts have been used to justify the admonishing of Belarus for celebrating Mother’s Day and the chastising of Denmark for having too few female generals in the ranks of its military.

Radical feminists reportedly believe that such an agency would give them access to both the money and power their need to advance their agenda.

GEAR representative Charlotte Bunch said a billion dollars is needed for the agency to be effective on the ground level. She said this funding would be “catalytic” and necessary only to launch the organization.

PRI president Steven Mosher said the pro-life, pro-family movement should “absolutely oppose” the creation of the agency. He said its “radical feminist goals” would undermine marriage and weaken the family.

"What is being proposed is a very powerful agency with a global mandate to restructure relations between the sexes. If the past is any indicator, it will be used to impose the lifestyle of Manhattan and Hollywood feminists on family-centered countries and cultures. It is cultural imperialism at its worst," Mosher said.

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Catholic charity helps provide new facility for mentally disabled in Egypt

Cairo, Egypt, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA) - The Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in need (ACN) reported on Wednesday that they are helping fund a new center for the mentally disabled in Egypt. The new facility will allow for those who minister to the disabled population to leave their current center in the desert.

Magdi Asham Henein, a member of the Al-Fulk community in Minia, Egypt, thanked ACN profusely on Wednesday, saying “We cannot integrate people into society if we are living in the desert – and with the help of ACN we have bought the land for the new community building.”

Aid to the Church in Need has already provided over $20,400 and pledged further assistance in the construction of the new facility. Underscoring the importance of his community's work, Henein explained that “10 years ago people were rejected in society, nobody understood the nature of mental handicap – it was seen as a punishment from God.”

In addition to often being thrown out and rejected by their families, “Mentally handicapped people were suffering a lot in society – many were living in the streets, and passers-by would make fun of them,” Henein said. “They were completely marginalized.”

The Al-Fulk community, who's name means “the Ark,” has helped provide a workshop in Minia, where people with mental disabilities can make candles and receive payment for their labor. Henein said that the new facility will not only continue this work but will also “create some kind of social life for the residents with mental disabilities – they like to buy things from shops and to visit people,” he explained.

Al-Fulk, which was founded in 2002, is affiliated with L’Arche international but is overseen by the Coptic Catholic Diocese of Minia.

“The changes in their lives are a sign of resurrection,” Henein continued, saying, “they were completely marginalized but now they have changed, a resurrection has taken place for them and for their families.”

“Society has changed its attitudes, so there is a resurrection both for the person and for the wider society.”

ACN called the Al-Fulk group a sign of unity since there are members of the Catholic and Orthodox faith who live and work together. The community hopes that Muslims will soon be a part of their effort as well.

“Muslims are the majority,” said Henein, “but our work is not widely known and Muslims can be suspicious of it.”

“But in the future,” he noted, “Al-Fulk could be a bridge bringing Muslims and Christians together – as other social activities of the Church manage to do.”

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Philippines bishops warn against govt. condom campaign

Manila, Philippines, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA) - The Catholic bishops of the Philippines, discussing efforts to reduce the spread of AIDS, have reiterated the importance of premarital chastity and spousal fidelity. They charged that condoms, promoted by a new government campaign, should carry warning labels because they create a false sense of security and encourage promiscuity.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) passed a resolution condemning the government program. The bishops also advocated a ban on condom advertisements in newspapers and magazines and on radio and television.

A CBCP statement written by Conference President Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar said that the Church has shown “love and compassion” towards those who suffer while holding that formation in “authentic sexual values” is the only effective way to curb the spread of AIDS.

“Given its high failure rate, the condom cannot really put a stop to AIDS,” the CBCP commented.

Studies indicate that under ideal conditions condoms can be 99 percent effective in preventing HIV infection. However, studies such as one presented at a June 2001 workshop held by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have reported an effective prevention rate as low as 85 percent.

The Philippines bishops said the condom actually contributes to the spread of AIDS by condoning promiscuity outside of marriage. They suggested the Department of Health require a warning label, like those on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, saying “condoms may fail to protect from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.”

The bishops cited a 1993 pastoral letter on AIDS which said the Church “spares no effort to help prevent the spread of AIDS.”

Philippines Health Department records say there are 629 confirmed cases of HIV/AIDS in the country, out of a population of about 93 million, the AFP reports. Experts say many cases go unreported.

Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral recently reacted to the bishops’ criticism of her department’s free condom distribution campaign by blaming the Church for hindering efforts against the spread of sexually transmitted disease.

The CBCP questioned whether a condom campaign was the best use of resources. The prelates advised that funding for condom promotion instead be used to fight diseases that affect millions of Filipinos, such as diarrhea, bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis and influenza.

Basic needs such as food, medicine, education and work also require resources, they added. The bishops further charged that it was unjust that Catholics were taxed for purposes against their moral beliefs.

According to the CBCP, the “condom business” is a multi-million dollar industry that targets adolescents “at the expense of morality and family life.”

Condom ads should be banned because they desensitize the consciences of youth and “weaken their moral fiber as future parents,” the Conference statement argued.

“We urge parents, professional associations, civil society, youth organizations, the government, and the mass media, to be vigilant and take positive steps in guarding the total health and welfare of our people, and to form families in real loving and responsible relationships,” the bishops’ statement concluded.

“Parents in particular should stand for their constitutional right to rear their children according to their values, and not allow any ideological, commercial, political or international strategic interest to stand in their way.”

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Bishops of Portugal announce initiatives to prepare for Pope's visit

Lisbon, Portugal, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - As the date of Pope Benedict XVI's arrival nears, the bishops of Portugal have made a call to the people of the country to prepare themselves, the Church and society to welcome him. They also exhorted the population to use the Apostolic Visit as a "seed that sprouts and gives fruits of spiritual renewal."

The Portuguese episcopal conference circulated a letter to prepare for Pope Benedict's trip to Lisbon, Fatima and Porto between May 11 and 14 of this year, calling the visit an "event of singular importance."

For this reason, they wrote, "it must be prepared appropriately, not just in an outer glow and a festive atmosphere, but especially in the realm of faith, of construction of ecclesial unity and of a more just and fraternal society."

Noting the "happy coincidence" of the pilgrimage coming just after Lent and Easter, the bishops called for people "to reflect and meet the challenges" included in the Pope's Lenten message, themed, "The justice of God has been manifested through faith in Jesus Christ."

The Portuguese bishops promoted putting individualism aside, living a life of constant conversion, promoting justice, especially to the most vulnerable, and announcing the Gospel with the "face of a saved people" as good Lenten preparation.

"The dynamism of the Easter of Christ," they added, "must embody attitudes and gestures of persevering hope and creative love."

The bishops expressed their hope that preparations for the papal pilgrimage will revive faith, create possibilities for solutions to "difficulties and crises" in society, and strengthen charity and unity in the nation.

The note also outlined "concrete actions" that would be useful in preparation for Pope Benedict's arrival. Among their "tips," they suggested considering the visit in personal and communal prayer intentions, making use of Church-sponsored activities to further knowledge issues relating to the Pope, Church teachings and Catholic tradition and promoting participation in the Eucharistic celebrations to be presided over by the Pope.

"We appeal to everyone," concluded the bishops, "to not let this visit of the Holy Father be a mere passing event... but that it be first a seed that sprouts and bears fruit of spiritual, social and apostolic renewal."

The bishops invited the participation of all the residents of Portugal in the May celebrations. "The Pope wishes to welcome everyone, regardless of their creed or ideology," they wrote.

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Cardinal announces prayer campaign for Chile

Santiago, Chile, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA) - Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz of Santiago is urging the faithful of Chile to unite in prayer each day at 7 p.m. local time to remember the victims of the country's recent earthquake, and to thank God for the gift of life.

The prayer campaign began on March 2 at 7 p.m. when the bells of the Cathedral of Santiago rang as a sign of unity and hope in response to the tragedy Chile is experiencing because of last Saturday's earthquake.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Santiago asked all the churches within the archdiocese to ring their bells each day at 7 p.m. “to remind us that there are people in need who await our prayers and solidarity.”

Cardinal Errazuriz also encouraged the Chilean people by emphasizing the greatness of their country. “God has given us a country like very few that is beautiful and abundant in its own natural resources. We are proud to be Chileans and we have opted to continue living in our homeland.”

The cardinal also thanked God for the survivors. “After the terrible catastrophe, we thank God with all our hearts for not losing the gift of life,” he said. As long as our loved ones are alive, “the things we have lost are of little importance. If they have died, we are filled with sadness but also hope,” he concluded.

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Benedict XVI announces new members of Eucharistic Congress Committee

Vatican City, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI nominated four clergymen from within the Vatican to the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses on Thursday. The new members will work to celebrate and prepare the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in Dublin in 2012.

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship the Discipline of Sacraments were appointed today. Also named to the committee were two priests: Theologian Fr. Wojciech Giertych of the Papal Household and Fr. Theodore Mascarenhas of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Organizers in Ireland describe the upcoming Eucharistic Congress as “an international gathering of people which aims to: promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church, help improve our understanding and celebration of the liturgy and draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist.”

Congresses take place every four years and offer liturgical and cultural events along with lectures and workshops to the faithful. The theme for the 2012 International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) is “The Eucharist: Communion with Christ and with one another.”

Four years ago, Quebec City hosted the event, but the last time an IEC took place in Ireland was in 1932. The 2012 Congress will take place from June 10-17.

The event will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Second Vatican Council, which Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin called “a moment of renewal for the Church's teaching and for her understanding of herself as Body of Christ and Body of God” when he announced the context and theme of the IEC in 2009.

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Plans for papal meeting with Maltese youth emerge

Valletta, Malta, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - More details have come to light on Pope Benedict XVI's trip to the Mediterranean island of Malta this coming April. During his encounter with youth on the second day of his travels, the Pope is set to exchange words with the young Maltese from an "eco-friendly" stage.

Concerts will begin hours before the arrival of the Holy Father to the Valletta Waterfront on April 18, with bands and individual artists beginning to play at 2:30 p.m., according to the Times of Malta. A choir of nearly one hundred members will take the stage 45 minutes before the Pope's appearance at 5:15 p.m. He is set to arrive on a catamaran after crossing the Great Harbor from Kalkara.

Benedict XVI will spend an hour with the youth there, listening to the words of several young Maltese delegates and responding with a speech of his own. A young person active in the Church, a young family, a man preparing for the priesthood and a person who is "distant from the Church" have been chosen to address the Holy Father.

Fr. Charles Cordina told the newspaper that the youth event is especially important because the Maltese bishops specifically requested the audience.

He explained, "We could have organized a meeting with all the Maltese clergy but the bishops felt that a meeting with young people would be better because they are the future of the Church and our country."

Following the youth encounter, the Pope will go to the airport, leaving continuing festivities behind.

Five hundred young people are taking part in the organization of the event which features an "eco-friendly" stage, designed by 25-year old architect Daniel Darmanin, and made of recyclable cuts of wood to be dismantled and reused at the conclusion of the event.

Organizers of the event expect 14,000 young people to welcome the Pope.

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Jewish author describes Pius XII as enemy of Nazi regime

Rome, Italy, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA) - Joseph Roth was a famous novelist and Austrian Jewish journalist who produced most of his works in exile due to the Nazi invasion of his country. Days after the inauguration of Pius XII as Pontiff, Roth praised his election and remarked that the new Pope was an “enemy of the pre-apocalyptic beasts” of Nazism that were governing Germany.

On Wednesday, L'Osservatore Romano (LOR) published text by Roth written in March 1939 for the "Österreichische Post," the Austro-Hungarian monarchy’s newspaper that was printed in Paris.

The article recounted Roth's experience of being in St. Peter's Square on March 12 for the papal inauguration. “The new Pope has been crowned and thus in the middle of the year, a new year, a new decade begins. Judging by his physical characteristics and posture ... this Pope seems to represent, with a zeal that has self-renunciation as its bastion, and a capacity to renounce what is a given, one of the oldest ideals of the Church, the diplomatic spirit, which can never be abdicated,” Roth wrote.

In the same article, the Jewish writer, who in his younger years signed his work as “Joseph the Red,” for his closeness with Communism said, “The (Nazi) pre-apocalyptic beasts who now dominate politics are already alluding to their true motives for persecuting the Church. He (Pius XII) is the only one who really hurts them. What’s more, those who were not afraid of the Pope before are now afraid of this one.”

The LOR article explained that this writing by Roth constitutes “an unusual apology for Catholicism, from the point of view of someone who is immersed in an endless escape and is seeking the help of the oldest institution.” The article has a few lines “celebrating the diplomacy of the Pope” who was also the Apostolic Nuncio to Germany when he “signed the Concordat and 50 statements of protest sent to the National Socialist government because of its repeated violations.”

Roth also wrote articles for the "Österreichische Post" that were critical of Marxists biases and of the superficiality of several Vatican observers.

Other books by Roth include, “The Flight Without End,” and “The Rebellion.” His most famous work is “The Radetzky March,” which follows a family during the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


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First gay 'marriage' takes place in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA) - Damian Bernath and Jorge Salazar have become the first same-sex couple to “marry” in the city of Buenos Aires. Their ceremony took place Wednesday despite requests from the Archbishop of Buenos Aires and the Corporation of Catholic Lawyers that the city's mayor appeal the decision allowing the “marriage.”

Last week, Judge Elena Liberatori ordered the Civil Registrar to allow the ceremony despite warnings from Catholic lawyers that it would be an “irreparable impediment” going against true marriage, the union of a man and a woman, which is the foundation of the family.

Although the lawyers filed an appeal, it was rejected and the ceremony was ordered to take place.

This is the second same-sex “marriage” in the country. The first took place last December in the city of Ushuaia.

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Traditional Anglican community requests to join Catholic Church

Orlando, Fla., Mar 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - On Wednesday, leaders of the U.S. branch of the Traditional Anglican Communion formally requested to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.

In a statement released yesterday from a meeting of the House of Bishops in Orlando, the Church announced, “We, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America of the Traditional Anglican Communion have met in Orlando, Florida, together with our Primate and the Reverend Christopher Phillips of the 'Anglican Use' Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement (San Antonio, Texas) and others.”

“At this meeting, the decision was made formally to request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States of America by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” the statement said.

The decision follows Pope Benedict XVI's publication of “Anglicanorum coetibus,” which was released last year and addressed measures planned by the Vatican to allow Anglican communities to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.

Rev. Fr. David McCready, associate rector at St. John's Cathedral in the Diocese of the Missouri Valley, offered his opinion to CNA on what will ensue after yesterday's decision.

The associate rector explained that a long process and several stages are ahead for the Anglican church community. According to Fr. McCready, each diocese will have to meet for an individual synod and eventually come together for a national one. The rector believes that although there could be initial resistance among some within the Anglican community, as “people are often worried of what they don't know,” eventually, once things are clarified, unification on the move should not be an issue.

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Abortion supporter seeking to represent Mexico before UN

Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA) - The regional director of the Center for Studies and Integral Formation of Women, Patricia Lopez, denounced the president of the National Women’s Institute, Rocio Garcia Gaytan, for attempting to monopolize the Mexican delegation attending the 54th meeting of the Conference on the Status of Women, which is currently taking place at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

In an article published in the magazine “Grafico,” Lopez said that Garcia Gaytan “refers to herself as the only voice speaking on behalf of Mexico.” The problem is not that there is one voice, Lopez explained, but rather that the pro-abortion position “Rocio Garcia intends to impose”

“It has more to do with intolerance than the search for consensus among the groups in civil society that for years have worked on topics related to women,” Lopez added.

“Rocio Garcia said the only voice that will be heard at Beijing +15 is hers,” explained Lopez, quoting Garcia as saying, “the negotiations are exclusively under my charge and that of the mission, and consequently organizations from civil society have no power to make any statements.”

She noted that Garcia only represents a small minority, not the majority of Mexican women.

Patricia Lopez remarked that her center is committed to fighting authoritarianism and intolerance. “We will make our voices heard and will ensure that the voices of all women, the feelings of all women, not just one sector, are present in the most important international forums.”

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US ambassador to Vatican: Obama's foreign policy is marked by audacity and hope

Rome, Italy, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA) - In his first interview since taking his place in the Vatican City as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Miguel Umberto Diaz spoke with Italy's Christian Family magazine for an article titled "Vatican and USA - Together for Peace." The ambassador also reflected on how he believes that President Obama's foreign policy is characterized by audacity and hope.

Ambassador Diaz was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See last August by President Barack Obama and his credentials were later accepted by Pope Benedict XVI.

According to his Department of State biography, at the time he was chosen to be the U.S. diplomat to the Holy See, he was on the theology faculties of the
College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. and Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn.

He obtained his master's and doctorate degrees in theology from the University of Notre Dame, where he later taught as a professor.

Dr. Diaz is a board member of the Catholic Theological Society of America, past president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States and participates in the speaker's bureau "Voices for the Common Good."

Asked by Christian Family what sort of image the Holy Father has in the U.S., the ambassador said that a "large part of American people see in the Pope a moral guide for the whole world and the leader of an institution engaged in humanitarian aid and conflict resolution."

For these reasons, he added, the U.S. Government wishes continue deepening relations with the Holy See.

He went on to list commitment against hunger in the world, human rights, religious freedom, global health, fighting against human trafficking, and working for peace and security as major areas in which the U.S. and the Vatican see eye-to-eye and are collaborating.

"This is a vision fully shared by Obama," Diaz added. "I also believe that together with the Holy See we can face the great challenge of the 21st century: that of diversity, determined by migrations and demographic changes."

"The diversity of peoples, races, cultures and religions shouldn't scare us if we are able to confront them positively and constructively."

The positive contribution of the U.S., he explained, can be seen in its history of unity through diversity. Dr. Diaz himself was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to Florida with his parents when he was a youth.

Responding to a question on what the Church can contribute, he answered, "The strength of the Church is in its being Catholic, so, universal, and neutral. It represents a moral voice for the entire world."

Ambassador Diaz said that the U.S. sees relations with the Holy See as expanding beyond the Vatican City's walls to missionaries, volunteers, schools and hospitals. "This presence of the Church represents an incredible potential that has a positive impact on the entire human family, also (those who are) non-Christian,” he told Christian Family.

The ambassador also fielded a question about the U.S. relations with the Muslim world, for which he said that "we need to show mutual comprehension and friendship, we must reject the use of religion for violent purposes, protect the common good and embrace the differences constructively."

He answered positively that this is being achieved at the moment, using the example of the withdraw of American troops from Iraq. "Realistically it's a difficult job," he said, "there are obstacles, but we cannot do it overnight, you need so much patience and trust. We need to practice the foreign politics of listening, theorized by President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton."

However, Ambassador Diaz did not mention any of the anti-life decisions made by President Obama, including the rescinding of the Mexico City policy, the lifting of President Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and his efforts to promote a homosexual agenda.

Diaz acknowledged last year's awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize as "a recognition of Obama's efforts to face the great challenges of the century constructively," pointing out that the president does so through a leadership style that "knows how to listen to and involve other protagonists from the international scene."

He brought up Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope," saying, "I think that both the former and the latter (words) are guiding him in his actions."

Asked if by following Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Caritas in veritate one could avoid the financial and economic crises of the world, Diaz responded, "The Encyclical speaks to today's world.”

"The Pope asks for transparency, responsibility, a less selfish distribution of resources, greater interdependence in cooperation between the nations of the world. These are all principles embraced by President Obama. Let's remember that his motto is 'Yes we can' not 'Yes I can.'"

"Barack Obama's is a call to common responsibility," Diaz said.

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Legion of Christ responds to founder's alleged children

Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Legionaries of Christ released two statements today responding to the dramatic revelations by a woman and her three sons who claim to be the wife and children of Fr. Marcial Maciel. During an interview in front of a large television audience in Mexico, Blanca Estela Lara Gutiérrez and her sons charged that Fr. Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, led a parallel life.

The interview coincided with a visit to Mexico made by Father Álvaro Corcuera L.C., currently the director of the Legion of Christ.

During the interview, Lara Gutiérrez said that she met Fr. Maciel in 1970, when she was 19 years old. Maciel was 56 at the time. He told her that his name was “Raúl Rivas” and that he was a widower.

Though they never officially married, Lara Gutiérrez said that Fr. Maciel had two children her and adopted a third whom she had from a previous relationship. The children were registered as Omar, José Raúl, y Cristian González Lara.

During the long interview, which was rebroadcast in Spanish on Thursday by CNN for viewers in Latin America, the three children gave intensely dramatic details about how they were sexually abused as children by “Raúl Rivas.” They also spoke of how they came to know their father’s real identity and how they reacted to the accusations presented to the Holy See against Fr. Maciel.

At the end of the program, the González Lara family demanded the attention both of the Legionaries and of the Vatican.

In reaction to the interview, Jim Fair, spokesman for the Legion in the United States told CNA that he was “shocked and disappointed.  But the Legion wants to act responsibly, get to the bottom of things and correct what needs to be corrected.”

On Thursday, the Legion of Christ in Mexico released two simultaneous statements through which they expressed their pain and solidarity with Fr. Maciel’s alleged family, though they neither confirmed nor denied the allegations. The statements also revealed that Raúl González, who has been acting as the spokesperson for the family, has previously requested $26 million from the Legion in exchange for not breaking the story.

The first statement said that the Legionaries “share the suffering and pain of the members of the González Lara family, understanding the difficult circumstances they have lived and are living.”

“In recent years, the Legionaries of Christ have gradually come to know, with surprise and great sorrow, hidden aspects of the life of Fr. Maciel. We confirm our commitment to act in truth and charity. We renew our request for forgiveness from the affected people for all of the suffering this has caused and for the ensuing scandal,” added the statement.

The same statement made public a letter that Fr. Carlos Skertchly, L.C. wrote to Raúl González Lara on January 12, 2010.

“At this time, it is impossible for Fr. Álvaro Corcuera to come to Mexico to meet with you as you requested, so he asked me as his representative to be available to meet with you and listen to you,” Fr. Skertchly informed him in the letter.

“Our intention as members of the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ is to do whatever is possible to uncover the truth about our founder’s life, to look for the best solutions—in a spirit of gospel charity—to the complex situations that are presenting themselves, and to reach out pastorally to all of the people who have suffered or who may be affected by it.”

Fr. Skertchly also recounted his interaction with Raúl González Lara, writing, “On January 8 in the afternoon, I received your phone call, in which you confirmed your request, affirming that ‘if you give me the money ($26 million), I will keep quiet about the truth,’ and you asked for a response by January 13 at the latest,” the letter continues.

“In no way can we accede to your request for money in exchange for silence. While we value all of the pain and suffering that you have shared with us, and we deplore the evil of scandal that may follow, we will never accept petitions of this sort, which are also illicit. We prefer to seek and face the truth, no matter how painful it may be,” affirmed Fr. Skertchly.

In the second statement, Fr. Jesús Quirce Andrés, L.C., rector of Anáhuac University, who was mentioned by the González Lara family in the interview, stated that he been involved in conversations with Raúl González at Gonzalez’s request beginning on April 18, 2008. Raúl had presented himself to the university, requesting to speak “with someone in authority.”

“At the beginning of October of 2008, he told me that his father had mentioned that his will was to leave a legacy of $6 million for Raúl, his younger brother, and his mother,” said Fr. Andrés.

“He never told me that he had been abused by his father,” says Fr. Andrés’ statement, in which he indicated that he “had never made these facts public out of respect for the privacy that Raúl himself requested of me on various occasions.”

“I was ignorant of the fact that our conversations had been recorded by Raúl. It surprises and offends me, especially since Raúl himself had asked for complete reserve and discretion regarding the topic,” wrote Fr. Andrés.

Raúl González ceased all personal contact with Fr. Andrés in February of 2009.

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Mexican bishops: Fr. Maciel’s new revelations should not affect Apostolic Visitation

Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 4, 2010 (CNA) - The Mexican Bishops’ Conference (CEM) released a brief statement today saying that the latest revelations involving the founder of the Legion of Christ, Fr. Marcial Maciel, should not derail the Apostolic Visitation of the congregation that is being carried out by five bishops on behalf of the Holy See.

On Wednesday a popular Mexican TV and Radio program revealed the identity of a woman and three men who claim to be, respectively, the wife and three children of the late Fr. Maciel.

The statement issued by the Mexican bishops was signed by its Secretary General, Bishop Víctor René Rodríguez Gómez, and says that “in response to the demands for a statement from the Mexican Bishops Conference … we are united to the desire of the members of the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ to … know the truth regarding the different situations of their Founder’s life, which as Church we find sad and painful.”

The bishops also said that “we are close to the persons who have suffered these abuses and we demand that justice be made both in the cases related to the Church as well as other sectors of civil society.”

Nevertheless, the Mexican bishops cautioned that “to find the truth does not mean to poison the Apostolic Visitation” of the Legion of Christ that will end later this month.

“On the contrary, as has been expressed by the Legionaries of Christ, the important thing is to be truthful and share the sadness and pain with all those who lived such difficult situations,” the statement adds.

“We are united in prayer to the Holy Father, the Legionaries of Christ and the persons who could have been affected by the conduct of Fr. Marcial Maciel so that our Heavenly Father may give them comfort,” the bishops said in closing.

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