Archive of April 16, 2010

Wisconsin shrine to install St. Gianna Molla relic

La Crosse, Wisc., Apr 16, 2010 (CNA) -

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin announced the upcoming installation of a first-class relic of St. Gianna Molla that will take place following a Mass which will honor the saint.

On April 25, the shrine will hold Mass along with a prayer service, veneration and installation of the relic. A blessing for mothers and married couples will also be given.

The local La Crosse Tribune reported that the relic consists of three hair strands from the Italian saint.

“We’re very, very honored to have that here. It’s through the graciousness of the family,” said Sister Christa Marie, executive director of the shrine. Sister Christa Marie told the La Crosse Tribune on March 27 that she had asked the saint’s son, Pierluigi, if the family would provide the relic after he spoke at the shrine last July.

St. Gianna died in 1962 shortly after giving birth to her fourth child. The pediatric surgeon developed uterine tumors while pregnant and was advised by doctors to terminate the pregnancy. She refused, and chose to give birth, dying a few days later at the age of 39.

“One person’s life and one person’s death has had such an impact on so many lives,” Sister Christa Marie said. “She lived a beautiful, Christian life. She did live ordinary in an extraordinary way.”

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which opened in 2008 under the direction of  Archbishop Raymond Burke, recently installed a first-class relic of St. Faustina Kowalska on Divine Mercy Sunday. The relic of the Polish saint who died in 1938 consists of bone fragments which were brought to the La Crosse diocese from Rome by Archbishop Burke. 

Sister Christa Marie spoke to the La Crosse Tribune on the importance of relics, saying, “It's an ability to connect. It just reminds us that we are one big family.”

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Sudan bishop raises concerns of foul play during elections

Khartoum, Sudan, Apr 16, 2010 (CNA) - A bishop in Sudan has expressed concern that allegations over foul play in the nation's recent elections could stir up a major political dispute and hinder progress towards democracy.

Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur of Khartoum recently told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about his fears, saying that alleged electoral malpractice and last minute withdrawal of candidates has shaken the confidence of voters in Sudan.

Polling took place on Sunday, April 11, in the first nationwide election since 1986. ACN reported that the election is considered crucial concerning next January's referendum in which southern inhabitants will decide whether to remain part of a united Sudan or create a new country for themselves.

Bishop Adwok told ACN that alarm has been raised over reports of voter intimidation, poor organization of electoral ballots and stations and vote rigging by the National Congress Party, which currently governs Khartoum.

“The reports of irregularities make one wonder whether in the end these elections will qualify to be called ‘free and fair,’” he said on Thursday. “When the election results come out, it is quite possible that there will be some tension and indeed confrontation between the contesting parties. The electoral fairness will certainly be brought into question.”

The prelate also discussed his worry that the recent election would fall short of the recommended political development as set forth in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement Act (CPA). The Act was established in 2005 and ended more than 20 years of civil war between the Khartoum-based Islamic government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the rebel movement in the south. Both groups have been granted a temporary power-sharing deal.

Addressing the withdrawal of candidates, which he says has been a huge setback to many voters, the bishop stated, “For us here in the north, it seems there has been a lack of candidates willing to promote a vision of Sudan which is multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-religious as the interim constitution states.”

“People want unity in diversity,” Bishop Adwok added. He also said many people were distressed when the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) withdrew its candidates.

“After the SPLM pulled out, people in Kosti – including Christians – have been asking ‘What should we do.’”

Despite the difficulties, however, Bishop Adwok claimed that the people were determined to vote. “The attitude of the people is really a clear sign that they wanted these elections,” he asserted. “They want real democratic transformation to take place. This comes after years of military dictatorship for the North.

“For the South, they want the freedom to decide their destiny in the forthcoming referendum elections in 2011.”

“This election is a trial ahead of the referendum. It will enable us to see for ourselves the performance of those candidates who are elected in the run up to next January,” Bishop Adwok concluded.

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USCCB survey shows parents concerned about youth access to unwholesome media

Washington D.C., Apr 16, 2010 (CNA) - A survey of parents sponsored by the U.S. bishops find they are deeply concerned about content in media and want help from the media industry and government to control children’s access to it.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) study, “Parents’ Hopes & Concerns About the Impact of Media on their Children,” was commissioned in response to a notice of inquiry by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Over 80 percent of parents say they want to be able to control access to content that depicts violence, sex, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse and profane language, the USCCB reports. Illegal drug use and alcohol abuse are special concerns, though they are not considered by many ratings and parental control system.

According to the survey, parents are more concerned about inappropriate content on television and the Internet than they are about video games, cell phones or music. Over 90 percent say their family has rules about what media their children can use and watch. More than half say they use parental controls for television, the Internet and video games.

Most respondents said that better understanding of parental controls, ability to block inappropriate ads, and greater availability of pre-set parental controls would increase their use of parental controls.

About 75 percent of parents said makers of media products should do more to help protect children from inappropriate content, while 58 percent said the government should also do more.

The survey results suggest that more parents are using the V-Chip ratings blocking technology than was previously thought.

The USCCB study recommends expansion of media content ratings to include illegal drug use, alcohol abuse and smoking. It also suggests not overlooking the impact of television content by placing greater emphasis on media such as the internet and social networking.

The bishops' conference advised that policymakers and broadcasters develop resources to empower parents and other television viewers to block unwanted television ads.

The USCCB also said it supports the continued use of the V-Chip and initiatives to make its use more widespread and parent-friendly. It also endorsed a “comprehensive approach” involving parental responsibility and greater government and industry involvement.

“Our nation's transition to digital television offers an excellent opportunity to provide children with additional protection,” said Bishop Gabino Zavala, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Communications. 

“The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is grateful to the FCC for its efforts to empower parents and protect children in an evolving digital landscape. We encourage the Commission to act on parents’ concerns revealed in this USCCB study.”

The survey, conducted Feb. 16-20 by the Virginia-based Issues and Answers firm, consisted of a random digit dial telephone survey of 500 parents of children ages 2-14. It claims a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

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‘Three-parent’ embryo experiments abuse humanity, pro-life group says

London, England, Apr 16, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Newcastle University experiments that create human embryos from three genetic parents kill and abuse human beings, a British pro-life group has said, reminding researchers that each embryo is “a member of the human family.”

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) responded to scientists at Newcastle University in England who said they created embryos using genetic material from two women and one man to address mitochondrial diseases.

Damaged mitochondria, the “batteries” of the cell, are passed on by the mother. About one in 200 children is born each year with mutations in his or her mitochondrial DNA.

In most cases, this causes only mild disease if any symptoms appear.

Around one in 6,500 children is born with mitochondrial disease, which can cause serious and often fatal conditions such as muscular weakness, blindness and heart failure.

According to BBC News, the technique could allow the replacement of defective mitochondria during in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Their research used newly conceived human embryos “left over” from IVF treatment. Nuclei from the union of the father’s sperm and the mother’s egg were removed, leaving behind the faulty mitochondria. The nuclei were then put into another egg from which the nucleus had been removed, but which retained its mitochondria.

The new embryo contained the genes from both parents plus a small amount of mitochondrial DNA from the donor egg, the BBC says.

The study’s lead author, Prof. Doug Turnbull, compared the technique to changing the battery on a laptop.

"The energy supply now works properly, but none of the information on the hard drive has been changed,” he commented.

The human embryos were used under a license granted by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). The license was refused twice before being granted five years ago.

The law currently prevents the technique from being used in fertility treatment.

SPUC communications manager Anthony Ozimic commented on the experiments in a Thursday statement:

"None of the 80 or more embryos created by the Newcastle team were allowed to live. Each of those embryos were members of the human family, with a right to life equal to those of the scientists who killed them. Human life begins at conception. Any grounds for denying human rights to human embryos are arbitrary and self-serving.

“Creating embryonic children in the laboratory abuses them, by subjecting them to unnatural processes.”

Ozimic warned that the technique might lead to “developmental abnormalities,” as seen in IVF and cloning.

"Scientists should respect human life and pursue ethical alternatives which are much more likely to be successful in the long-term," he urged.

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Pope spends birthday in the Vatican, prepares for Malta

Vatican City, Apr 16, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -

Just one day before his first Apostolic Journey for 2010, Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating his 83rd birthday today. This afternoon he will spend some time resting as the final preparations are being made for his whirlwind trip to the Mediterranean island of Malta.

The Holy Father will spend his birthday in the Vatican, before an event-filled weekend in Malta.

Besides separate morning audiences with Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who is the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, five Brazilian bishops finishing up their “ad Limina” visit and 120 members of the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, no specific plans for the day have been made public.

In the meantime, the island of Malta is preparing for the Pope’s arrival.

He will only be in the island country for a little over 26 hours, beginning with his arrival on Saturday afternoon. Despite the short duration of his trip, the Pope has three major engagements in addition to arrival and departure ceremonies. The Holy Father is expected to be joined by tens of thousands of Maltese at his major events. In anticipation of the crowds, stages have been prepared for Mass in the main "Granaries" square of Floriana and on the capital city of Valleta's waterfront for a meeting with the youth.

The other major stop, is a visit to the Cave of St. Paul in Rabat, thought to have been where the saint preached when he was shipwrecked on the island 1,950 years ago.

Archbishop Paul Cremona of Malta made the final inspections of the venues on Tuesday and everything appears to be in order. Local media has reported that security has been increased for the occasion after plans were announced in the British media of possible demonstrations against the papal visit.

Vatican insiders say that the Pope may also make time during his visit to meet with victims of sexual abuse by priests. Holy See spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, speaking to journalists this week at a press conference about the trip, said that while he couldn’t confirm such a meeting, the possibility couldn’t be excluded.

The possible encounter would follow this week's meeting between Archbishop Cremona and victims, during which an audience with the Pope was requested.

The Holy Father will return from his first trip to Malta on Sunday afternoon, and the following day will mark the milestone of the fifth anniversary of his pontificate.

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Expert on women’s issues urges assistance for pregnant girl in Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico, Apr 16, 2010 (CNA) - Patricia Lopez Mancera of the Center for Women’s Studies and Comprehensive Formation in Cancun, Mexico said this week that medical care must be guaranteed for a nine year-old girl named Amalia who is 14 weeks pregnant as a result of being sexually abused by her supposed stepfather.

“The doctor says both mother and baby are okay and that the pregnancy can continue, so we are expecting the girl to receive adequate medical care.”  Mancera explained on local radio that the young girl is not currently in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, “she is undergoing tests elsewhere and is awaiting the results.”

Mancera recalled that the recent constitutional reform in Quintana Roo guarantees and protects the right to life from the moment of conception but does not criminalize women who undergo an abortion.

Earlier this week, CNA published an interview with the president of Alliance for the Family, Christine de Marcellus de Vollmer, in which she explained that abortion does not protect pregnant teens, but instead covers up the sexual abuse, which is often committed by their mothers' live-in boyfriends.

De Vollmer called for these women not to be treated as instruments in the pro-abortion campaign of feminist groups that wish to legalize abortion on demand.

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Vatican health minister, hospital chaplains on pilgrimage to Lourdes

Vatican City, Apr 16, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Members of the Pontifical Council for Health Care and a diverse group of hospital chaplains from all over the globe are on pilgrimage to the French towns of Lourdes and Ars this week. The journey of “prayer and renewal” is just the latest initiative promoted by the pontifical council in its jubilee year.

Led by the Vatican “health minister,” Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, who is the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care (PCHC), the group began their route of reflection, spiritual growth and prayer on Wednesday. Other leaders in Church health ministry, a mariologist and 70 hospital chaplains from 12 countries representing almost every continent are also taking part.

Archbishop Zimowski explained in a statement that the aim of the pilgrimage is “prayer and renewal of the common pastoral commitment to the service of Jesus dead and risen and of his Church, through the treatment and pastoral assistance of the sick and suffering.”

The group has been in Lourdes for the first two days of the trip, but on Friday members will be in Ars, the French town where St. Jean Vianney carried out his ministry. St. Jean is the patron of the ongoing Year for Priests, which will end on June 19, 2010.

The trip is taking place during the 25th anniversary of the Council’s founding and the 150th year since St. Vianney’s birth, events that Archbishop Zimowski described as of “great importance” in germinating the current pilgrimage.

The coincidence of these celebrations, he said, has “driven our Pontifical Council to organize several initiatives to revive our commitment to deepening (our) biblical, theological, spiritual and pastoral motivations ..." This renewal should take into account "the tasks to which we are called and the final orientation of our projects and our actions to better face present and future challenges,” he added.

The major celebration to mark the Council's jubilee took place over three days in February, coinciding with the 18th World Day for the Sick. Events during the celebration included an art exhibition focused principally on PCHC founder Pope John Paul II, an international symposium examining the Apostolic Letter “Salvifici Doloris” and the council-founding Motu Proprio “Dolentium Hominum” and a procession of St. Bernadette’s relics to St. Peter’s, followed by Mass presided over by Pope Benedict XVI.

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Spanish bishops send condolences to Poland following tragic plane crash

Madrid, Spain, Apr 16, 2010 (CNA) - Archbishop of Madrid Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, sent a letter of condolence to the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Poland, Bishop Jozef Michalik, expressing sorrow for the airline crash in Smolenk, Russia, last Saturday.

In their letter, the Spanish bishops expressed their dismay over the tragedy that took the lives of all who were on board, including the President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, his wife and Bishop Tadeusz Ploski of the Military Diocese.

“The member bishops of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, with the entire pilgrim Church in Spain, are united in sorrow with the Church and the Polish people.  We offer our prayers and supplication for the eternal repose of the deceased, for the consolation in the faith of those who have lost loved ones, and for the development of Polish nation in peace and prosperity.”

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Vatican: Letter endorsing abuse cover-up shows why Curia was reformed

Vatican City, Apr 16, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Late Thursday afternoon, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi released a statement about a letter from 2001 in which a cardinal appears to applaud a French bishop for his decision to not report a case of priestly sexual abuse to civil authorities. The spokesman said that cases such as this one highlight the importance of changes that were made giving the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith jurisdiction over cases of sexual abuse of minors.

A letter from September 8, 2001 has been published online by French magazine Golias, in which then-prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, offered congratulations to Bishop Pierre Pican for choosing not to report a priest who had been accused of sexual abuse to civil authorities.

The priest, Abbot Renè Bissey, was sentenced in 1998 to 18 years in prison for his abuses of minors, according to Italy's La Stampa. Bishop Pican later received a three month sentence for withholding information.

In 2001, Cardinal Hoyos wrote him a letter in which he says, "I congratulate you for not having reported a priest to the civil administration."

The cardinal adds later that he "rejoices" that he has a brother in the episcopate who would choose prison over reporting a priest under his watch.

Responding on Thursday, Fr. Lombardi said that the letter serves as confirmation of how timely the decision made in 2001 to channel all cases of sexual abuse through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was. This move guaranteed a “rigorous and coherent management," the spokesman said.

Prior to 2001, all cases of sexual abuse involving priests went to the Congregation for the Clergy, and at that time, there was a disagreement between cardinals about whether priests who were found guilty should be prosecuted under both civil and canon law or just under Church law.

Referring to the change in jurisdiction, Fr. Lombardi explained that it happened with the approval of John Paul II's Motu Proprio in May of that year.

After assuming control of the case load, then-Cardinal Ratzinger implemented norms for dealing with cases of sexual abuse by priests, which were made public by the Vatican on April 12.

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Pamphlet warns of Spanish government's promotion of sex ed

Madrid, Spain, Apr 16, 2010 (CNA) - The Spanish organization, Professionals for Ethics has published a pamphlet titled, “The Sexual Education the Government Wants to Give Your Children.”  In it, the group breaks down “the key points of the section on education in the new abortion law and why the State cannot impose a specific morality on citizens.”

Professionals for Ethics said the pamphlet is part of an effort to warn citizens about the government’s “moral and sexual formation plan” for schools, which is part of the country's new law on abortion.

The law will go into effect July 5, 2010.

With the material from the Education for the Citizenry course, now “affective-emotional formation, gender perspective, sexuality understood apart from love, marriage and the family, and absolute moral relativism have been implemented into required education,” the organization said.

Now, it added, the government “proposes to continue misinforming young people with a materialistic and hedonistic view of reality, without reference to commitment, fidelity, love and the family.”

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'Evil never has the last word,' Benedict XVI reminds Papal Foundation

Vatican City, Apr 16, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -

On Friday, Pope Benedict XVI met with members of the Papal Foundation during their annual pilgrimage to Rome. He thanked them for their contributions to the charities that he supports and reminded them that our future is in God's hands.

The occasion, which saw the attendance of approximately 120 donors, took place just after noon in the Clementine Room of the Apostolic Palace.

Noting the joy of the Easter season present at their meeting, the Holy Father recalled his words before the empty tomb of Christ on his visit to the Holy Land last May.

In rising to new life, said Pope Benedict, the Lord teaches "that evil never has the last word, that love is stronger than death, and that our future, and the future of all humanity, lies in the hands of a faithful and provident God."

He stressed that the Church is always called "to proclaim this message of hope and to confirm its truth by her practical witness of holiness and charity."

The Holy Father went on to express his appreciation to the Papal Foundation for advancing this mission through its charitable support that assists those in developing countries, educates future leaders of the Church and promotes missionary work worldwide.

The Papal Foundation supports projects based on requests of the Holy Father, including everything from the construction of religious institutions in Eastern bloc countries to food relief, education and health clinics in Africa. In addition to lay faithful, the membership of the Pennsylvania-headquartered foundation also counts 10 American cardinals.

L'Osservatore Romano reported that the total gift from the Foundation this year was $6.2 million for a total of 97 different projects. The group also provides scholarships for priests, religious and lay people attending pontifical universities or institutes.

Since 1990, the group has donated more than $60 million to charity.

Before imparting the Apostolic Blessing upon those present and their families, the Holy Father asked the donors to pray for the "the needs of the universal Church" and to "implore a renewed outpouring of the Spirit’s gifts of holiness, unity and missionary zeal upon the whole People of God."

At the end of the audience, Papal Foundation members sang "Happy Birthday" and presented the Pope with a cake. Pope Benedict also received a copy of Eric Hansen's book "Peter's Partner," which speaks of the commitment of the Foundation's creator, Cardinal John Joseph Krol, and his successor, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

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Cardinal Sodano to represent Pope at funeral of Polish president

Warsaw, Poland, Apr 16, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Concelebrating with the bishops of Poland, Cardinal Angelo Sodano will preside over a public funeral Mass for the victims of the plane crash that claimed nearly one hundred lives last Saturday. Before the funeral Mass this coming Sunday, the cardinal will lead a second Mass before the burial of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria.
Warsaw's historically significant Pilsudski Square will be the site of a public funeral celebration for the many who died when their plane went down near the airport of Smolensk, Russia last week. According to Vatican Radio, members of the Polish Episcopal Conference will celebrate the Mass along with Pope Benedict's delegate, Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

After Sunday's Mass, the mortal remains of President Kaczynski and his wife will be brought to St. Mary's Basilica in Krakow, where a second Mass will take place, also under the cardinal's direction. President of the Polish parliament and interim Head of State, Bronsilaw Komorowski, and Solidarnosc (Solidarity) movement president Janusz Sniadek will make addresses during the celebration

Afterwards, Cardinal Archbishop Stanlaw Dziwisz of Krakow will oversee a liturgical ceremony at Wawel Castle, where the couple are expected to be buried alongside the kings of Poland and other important historical figures.

A memorial Mass for the President, his wife and all the victims of last Saturday's plane crash was held Thursday evening in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Cardinal Sodano presided over the celebration, at which many diplomats and foreign diplomats to the Holy See were present.

Vatican Radio reported that the cardinal called for deep faith to sustain Polish Christians at this time and entrusted the dead to the merciful hands of God.

A potential hazard to the ceremonies over the weekend could be the volcanic eruption in Iceland which, due to the large volume of ash emitted into the atmosphere, has closed down airports across Europe, including in Poland. Jacek Sasin, an official from the chancellor's office in Poland, told reporters that the ceremonies would be postponed only in the "case of absolute emergency."

President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev are among the 80 foreign delegations expected for the funeral in Krakow on Sunday.

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Spanish region offers abortion discounts

Madrid, Spain, Apr 16, 2010 (CNA) - The Spanish Federation of Pro-Life Associations warned this week that while “Spain has gone crazy” with its new law on abortion, the region of  Andalucia, “has completely lost its way” as it is offering discounts for abortions.

“It makes us very sad to see how death has become a business, that discounts are given to those who kill their own children,” the federation said in a press release.

It said that the marketing of innocent lives is not only an assault on the unborn but also on mothers, “who are not offered help to continue ahead with the new life that is growing within them and who are encouraged to make an irreversible decision that could ruin their lives.”

 Abortion is not a healthcare service but rather “a violent and inhumane procedure that leaves terrible emotional scars and sometimes endangers women's future maternity,” the federation said.

It is a practice unsuitable for civilized countries, which are supposed to “care for the physical and psychological health of their inhabitants.”

“A government that permits and fosters these ‘discounts’ from the promoters of death … cannot fall any lower,” the federation said.

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Cardinal Bertone correct in linking clerical sex abuse and homosexuality, says psychiatrist

West Conshohocken, Pa., Apr 16, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Following Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s comments in Chile about a link existing between homosexuality and pedophilia in cases of clerical sexual abuse, both Church officials and secular figures clarified his statement. But Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist with experience treating sexually abusive priests, told CNA that the cardinal's statement is accurate. 

At a press conference last Monday evening at the Pontifical Seminary of Santiago, Chile, the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said, “Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia.” Instead, they have found a “relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia,” he added.

Many gay rights organizations reacted vehemently to Cardinal Bertone’s statement, leading Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press office, to assert that “it obviously refers to the problem of abuse by priests and not in the population in general."

A statement from the French Foreign Ministry calling the linkage “unacceptable” was followed by a statement by Fr. Marcus Stock, the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. “To the best of my knowledge, there is no empirical data which concludes that sexual orientation is connected to child sexual abuse,” he said.

“The consensus among researchers is that the sexual abuse of children is not a question of sexual ‘orientation,’ whether heterosexual or homosexual, but of a disordered attraction or ‘fixation,’” Fr. Stock added.

However, a U.S. psychiatrist with experience in treating priests with pedophilia disagrees that there is no link between homosexuality and sexual abuse of children. “Cardinal Bertone's comments are supported completely by the John Jay study report and by clinical experience,” Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons told CNA. “In fact, every priest whom I treated who was involved with children sexually had previously been involved in adult homosexual relationships.”

Fitzgibbons, who has been the director of Comprehensive Counseling Center in West Conshohocken, Penn. since 1988, has worked extensively with individuals suffering from same sex attraction (SSA) and priests accused of pedophilia. He also presently serves as a consultant to the Congregation for the Clergy at the Holy See.

In his 2002 “Letter to Catholic Bishops,” Fitzgibbons identified priests prone to sexual abuse as having suffered “profound emotional pain” during childhood due to loneliness, problems in their relationships with their fathers, rejection by their peers, lack of male confidence, and poor self image or body image. Fitzgibbons said that these experiences lead priests especially to direct their sadness and anger towards the Church, her teachings on sexual morality, and the Magisterium.

He also noted that priests who have engaged in sexual misconduct with minors suffer from a “denial of sin in their lives.” “They consistently refused to examine their consciences, to accept the Church's teachings on moral issues as a guide for their personal actions, or regularly avail themselves of the sacrament of reconciliation. These priests either refused to seek spiritual direction or choose (sic) a spiritual director or confessor who openly rebelled against Church teachings on sexuality,” the letter said.

When asked what sort of new information has become available since the publication of the letter, Fitzgibbons put an emphasis on narcissism. “This epidemic personality weakness in the west predisposes individuals to excessive anger, the worship of self, rebelliousness against God and His Church particularly in regard to sexual morality and sexual acting-out,” he said.

The psychiatrist also reviewed the findings of the John Jay researchers, who reported that 81percent of the victims of clerical sexual abuse were male, 51 percent of whom were age 11-14, 27 percent were aged 15-17, 16 percent between 8-10, and 6 percent were under 7 years of age, emphasized Fitzgibbons.

For priests who do suffer from SSA, “I would recommend that they become more knowledgeable about the emotional origins and healing of same-sex attractions, as well as the serious medical and psychiatric illnesses associated with homosexuality,” advised Fitzgibbons. “We have observed many priests grow in holiness and in happiness in their ministry as a result of the healing of their childhood and adolescent male insecurity, loneliness and anger and, subsequently, their same-sex attractions.”

Because of the link between homosexuality and clerical sexual abuse mentioned by Cardinal Bertone, priests and seminarians with same sex attraction have a solemn responsibility to seek help and to protect the Church from further shame and sorrow, said Fitzgibbons.

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President Obama's motives in granting hospital visitation rights to homosexuals questioned

Washington D.C., Apr 16, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - On Friday morning, President Obama granted hospital visitation rights to individuals who are not married or blood related to patients, including homosexual couples.  While the Catholic Heath Association supported the move, the Family Research Council expressed concern that the directive “undermines the definition of marriage.”

President Obama's Friday statement mandated that the Department of Health Human Services prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation. In a memo he noted that across America, “patients are denied the kindness and caring of a loved one at their sides,” be it a widow with no children, members of religious orders or “gay and lesbian Americans who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives.”

In a statement on Friday, Sr. Carol Keehan, executive director of the Catholic Health Association, voiced her support of the mandate.

“The Catholic Health Association has long championed the rights of all patients to designate who they want to speak for them in health care decisions when they are not able to speak for themselves,” Sr. Keehan said. “Having that person clearly designated is not only a basic human right, it also greatly facilitates care.”

“All persons of goodwill can understand and agree that when a person is sick, they deserve to decide who they want to visit them,” she added. “The Presidential Memorandum issued by President Obama reaffirms these basic human rights for each person at most critical points of their lives.”

Peter S. Sprigg from the Family Research Council, however, criticized the move and expressed concern that the effort is part a larger agenda to undermine traditional marriage and appease the gay constituency who supported the president during his campaign.

“In its current political context, President Obama's memorandum clearly constitutes pandering to a radical special interest group,” he said Friday in the Washington Post.

Though Sprigg clarified that his organization does not take issue with granting gay couples the power of attorney in cases of hospital visitation, he stated his belief that the “memorandum undermines the definition of marriage.”

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