Washington D.C., Apr 22, 2010 (CNA) - The Family Research Council Action PAC announced plans to raise $500,000 in an effort to “replace” self-described pro-life congressmen and women who voted in support of health care reform.
On Tuesday, the pro-life political action group announced their “20 in '10” initiative which will target districts across the U.S. with the aim of replacing the pro-life politicians in these areas who voted for the health care bill.
“There are good reasons why organizations like ours decided to go the extra mile and create a political action committee as another arrow in its quiver,” said Connie Mackey, president of FRC Action PAC on Tuesday. “The thousands of families that we represent are more energized than ever to replace these so-called 'pro-life' Democrats who voted for a health care bill that for the first time in three decades uses taxpayer funds for abortion on demand.”
According to Congress.org, 11 of the 20 politicians whom the FRC Action PAC is seeking to replace are self-professed Catholics.
These 11 congressman and women include: Rep. Chris Carney (D-Pa.), Rep. John Boccieri (D-Ohio), Rep. Kathy Dahlemper (D-Pa.), Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio), Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio), Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.), Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.), Rep. Carol Shea Porter (D-N.H.) Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas), and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.).
“As pro-life and pro-family voters, we must work together to change the Congress, state governments and ultimately the White House in 2012,” Mackey asserted. “We cannot afford to put hard earned dollars into campaigns of people who 'grow in office' or cannot see their way under the pressure of party politics.”
The other nine targeted in the FRC Action PAC's 20 are: Rep. Gabriel Giffords (D-Ariz.), Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.), Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.), Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) and Rep. Alice Titus (D-Nev.).
Criticism against FRC Action's list of politicians arose on Tuesday after it became apparent that two of the targeted congressmen did not vote for the health care bill.
“There are only two people on the 20 in 10 list who didn't vote for the bill – Walt Minnick (ID-01) and Glenn Nye (VA-2),” said Tim Potter, director of Electoral Relations for FRC Action. “Our language on the site says the 20 in 10 list is an expanded list from our original one. Both Minnick and Nye were on the original list.”
“We are targeting them because they are in conservative districts and were swept into office because of mistakes by their opponents and the Obama electoral wave,” Potter explained.
“It's time to replace this Congress, repeal the government takeover of health care and restore our Constitutional freedoms,” added Mackey. “FRC Action PAC has spent many months researching those races we see as vulnerable and that will have pro-life, pro-family candidates to fill the void.”
Lusaka, Zambia, Apr 22, 2010 (CNA) - Maximum security prisoners and death row inmates in Zambia will receive booklets about the Rosary through a joint initiative of two U.K.-based charities.
A reported 1,600 copies of the booklet, created by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), will be distributed to prisoners in Kamfinsa State Prison and Kabwe Maximum Security Prison. The initiative is conducted by ACN and the charity Crown of Thorns in response to inmates’ requests for more information about the Rosary.
Lisa de Quay, chief executive of Crown of Thorns, told ACN the charity regularly receives many letters from prisoners, including those on death row. She said contact with the prisoners was probably established after a visiting chaplain distributed Crown of Thorns cards describing the rosary prayers.
“Inmates are usually family breadwinners, worried about the poverty and hardship that their crime has left their families suffering and too far from home for their families to visit,” de Quay explained.
“Although kindly treated, most inmates spend years in prison with only the clothes that they were arrested in, and with no soap, and with no blanket or sheet to cover themselves in through the cold months of the year, and (are) often rejected from their society through crime or disease.”
Sending Rosary cards to prisoners and the booklet is making a difference in their lives, she said.
“Their letters will surprise you, (they are) full of the great joy of contact, of being accepted, and of finding God,” she commented.
Another message of thanks came from a maximum security prisoner in Kabwe jail, who called the Rosary distribution “a lamp that one cannot hide under the table.” “It is a light of the world, a light that can be seen thousands of miles up and much farther on land. This light shines before people.
“How thrilling it is to be part of God’s work, shining out in this dark and corrupt world.
“For the love and faith you have for God’s people, I pray that God should bless you all, and that he gives you knowledge that you can share with me.”
Olympia, Wash., Apr 22, 2010 (CNA) - In an effort to prevent traditional marriage supporters from being targeted and harassed, lawyers in Washington state have filed a brief with the Supreme Court to keep the personal information of over 138,000 people private. Arguments will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28.
Protect Marriage Washington filed the brief in the case of Doe #1 v. Reed after the Washington Secretary of State, Sam Reed, sought to release the names, addresses and other information of thousands of individuals who signed a referendum petition in the state opposing same-sex “marriage.”
James Bopp Jr., lead counsel for Protect Marriage Washington, said that traditional marriage supporters whose names were publicized have endured death threats, physical violence and property damage in the state of Washington and across the county. He also asserted that the Washington Secretary of State plans to release the names to groups who have stated their intent to post the information on the internet, aiding those who wish to harass petitioners.
The groups WhoSigned.org and KnowThyNeighbor.org announced last June that they intend to post the names of petition supporters online. The groups explained that they expect individuals to contact the signers for what could be uncomfortable talks about gay “marriage.”
“The First Amendment allows individuals to engage in political speech without being forced to reveal their identities,” Bopp said on Tuesday. “When public disclosure laws like those in Washington force people to reveal themselves, individuals cannot speak without worrying about threats to themselves, their families, or their jobs.”
“The State of Washington should not be allowed to encourage this violence and intimidation by requiring citizens engaging in political speech to identify themselves,” he added.
In Sept. of 2009, a district court issued an order preventing the release of petitioner identities. However, on October 15 of that year, the Ninth Circuit issued a single page order allowing the release of the names. Within the week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency order preventing the release of identities until the appeal is decided.
Doe #1 v. Reed will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28, 2010.
Orlando, Fla., Apr 22, 2010 (CNA) - A pro-life, pro-family Catholic widow named Karen Diebel is seeking the Republican nomination for a Congressional seat in Orlando, Florida, saying it is “critically important” to have a voice for such issues represent the district.
“There is such danger right now, with both the incumbent and the administration. All the decision-making on economic and social issues is in opposition to the values that reinforce and support strong families,” she has said.
According to the Catholic Advocate, Diebel is 43 years old and has three sons ages 10, 12 and 13.
Her husband, an obstetrician, was killed while helping a stranger on the side of a highway in June 2002.
“My life crumbled in an instant, into a million pieces,” she said of her husband’s death. She described herself as now being “older and wiser,” explaining that suffering “gives you a clearer perspective.”
She has credited parish priest Fr. Richard Walsh with helping her survive the tragedy. The priest told her that God has given her many gifts and advised her to think of her blessings even in her sadness.
“Then I thought to myself, ‘I will not be tired anymore’,” Diebel told the Catholic Advocate.
At the time of her husband’s death, she was a director of global solutions for Verizon and worked on business and technological problems for Fortune 100 companies.
After Fr. Walsh’s comments, she became more involved in her community. To provide health care to East Orlando’s uninsured, she co-founded a health clinic memorializing her late husband.
She also entered local politics, becoming vice mayor and a city commissioner of the Orlando suburb of Winter Park.
Diebel told the Catholic Advocate her leadership skills gave her an advantage.
She advocates an “efficient” politics that ensures personal freedoms and does not “waver on first principles.”
A 1989 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she is reportedly “well versed” in Catholic teaching and applies it to her views on public policy.
“My faith gives me strength, a faith that is very clear on the values I need to carry forward in my personal life. We have to make time to do the things we believe in.”
Diebel is the granddaughter of Irish immigrants and most of her family lives in Chicago.
Asked how she could raise three boys while being a member of Congress, she said:
“I am already doing it — we are a very, very tight knit family. My boys are fun and they are strong because they’ve had to be along the way. Even today, professionally, I have to travel, but we often go as a family. They can understand and learn along the way.”
Diebel is seeking the nomination for the 24th Congressional District. She must defeat several Republican opponents in the August 24 primary before facing first-term incumbent Democrat Suzanne Kosmas in the general election.
Last month, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabat described the Congressional race as a “toss-up” between the Democratic and Republican candidates.
Rome, Italy, Apr 22, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Vatican analyst Andrea Tornielli spoke with Joseph Magro, 38, one of eight victims of clerical abuse who met with Pope Benedict XVI during his recent visit to Malta. Magro said the meeting “was truly a most beautiful gift, after all this suffering, we all cried, even the Pope.”
In the interview published by the Italian daily Il Giornale, Magro, who proudly showed the rosary he was given by the Holy Father in Malta, shared details about his meeting with the Pope.
“I did not have any faith in priests. Now, after this moving experience, I have hope again. You people in Italy have a saint. Do you realize that? You have a saint,” he said, referring to Pope Benedict XVI.
Later, explaining his discussion with the Holy Father, Magro said, “When I told him my name was Joseph, the Pope’s eyes grew wide and he said, ‘Joseph, like me!’ Then I asked him: ‘Why did the priest do this to me, why did he abuse me?’ He replied that he prays for me and we then prayed together.”
Magro said he could see that the Pope “felt great sorrow. I could see he was suffering with me. I didn’t want to make him suffer, I didn’t tell him about the abuse that I suffered, but he wept with me, even though he had no fault in what happened.”
After admitting that he did not expect to have this emotional encounter with the Holy Father, Magro said, “This was a great gift for me, to be welcomed in this way and to be listened to by him. I heard his speech at the airport, on Saturday afternoon. He did not say anything about the problem of abuse. But this morning (Sunday, April 18), at 9:00 a.m., I received a call: I was to go to the bishop’s house because I was going to see the Pope.”
“I finally have a little bit of peace thanks to this encounter. He gave me a rosary which I now wear around my neck,” Magro said.
Madrid, Spain, Apr 22, 2010 (CNA) - European parliamentarian Rocco Buttiglione recently called on Catholics to strongly defend Pope Benedict XVI from media criticism. He noted that pedophilia among priests is “much lower than it is in any other professional sector,” and accused the media of “trying to scare families into thinking that it is dangerous for their children to be Catholic.”
During the 5th Conference of Catholics and Public Life, the Italian politician said the data from a study by the University of New York, which includes accusations against Catholic priests from the last 50 years in the U.S., shows that out of 4,392 accusations, “958 were cases of pedophilia, which led to 54 guilty verdicts.”
“In 50 years this equals one guilty verdict for pedophilia per year out of 109,000 Catholic priests in the United States. That is, one guilty verdict for every 2,000 priests.”
Consequently, he concluded, according to this study, the incidence of pedophilia “is much lower than it is in any other professional sector."
Buttiglione said it appears that those leading the campaign against the Pope and the Church have lumped together data from 50 years in order to “create panic among the people and get in the headlines for an attack on the Catholic Church, to which we must strongly respond, as it is unacceptable.”
“They are trying to scare families into thinking that it is dangerous for their children to be Catholic, which is absolute madness, and to give the impression that the Catholic Church does not live up to her principles,” he added.
Buttiglione strongly criticized priests who abuse children, but noted that if the offender were “a Hollywood star, people would come to his defense.”
Those who attack Benedict XVI, he said, didn’t have the courage to do the same to John Paul II “because of the prestige he had.” “But now, with the arrival of Benedict XVI, they have sought their revenge.”
For this reason, he called on the faithful to strongly defend the current Pontiff.
Santiago, Chile, Apr 22, 2010 (CNA) - The newspaper, El Diaro de Chile, published an article last week by Spanish psychologist Jose Maria Amenos Vidal titled, “Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the scientific evidence that supports the relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia.” The author asserts that the cardinal was correct in affirming such a link during his visit to Chile.
Since 1984, Vidal has been a professor of Philosophy and Educational Science at the Central University of Barcelona, Spain, where he is also Director of Seminars in the Departments of General and Social Psychology.
In his article, Vidal recalls that the renowned Spanish doctor and psychiatrist, Aquilino Polaino, an expert in the field, previously pointed out that homosexuality should be considered a mental disease, and must be addressed with psychiatric treatment, under the guidance of the model set forth by Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg.
Aardweg is the Dutch professor and psychologist who years ago, “deciphered the keys to this illness and its treatment.” His model directly clashes with those of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, Vidal said, “because orthodox and heterodox psychoanalysts have defended the unscientific position that homosexuality is the result of hereditary factors.” He noted that “this hypothesis … has been completely ruled out today because of its incongruence with the results of scientific research.”
He added that one can conclude that the “social environment is indeed (homosexuality's) main trigger.”
From this point of view, Vidal continued, “The recent statements by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, during his recent trip to Chile support the scientific evidence derived from statistical co-relational studies between homosexuality and pedophilia.”
Vidal said these studies show that homosexuality is not the result of genetic inheritance or of evolutionism in relation to pedophilia and that it is not disconnected from environmental influence.
Leeds, United Kingdom, Apr 22, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - In response to the media coverage of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, the bishops of England and Wales expressed today their “heartfelt apology and deep sorrow” to victims of sexual abuse and for the Church's previous handling of the scandal. The bishops appealed for prayers, recognized Pope Benedict’s “wise and courageous leadership” and pledged their commitment to the protection of children.
The message, released by the bishops’ conference following their meeting on Thursday in Leeds, stressed that “there can be no excuses” for cases of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The statement will be distributed to all parishes in the country this coming weekend.
First and foremost in their thoughts and prayers, they wrote, are “all who have suffered from the horror of these crimes.” They added that their own distress is "nothing" when compared to the suffering of the abused.
Calling the criminal acts of sexual abuse by clergy and religious a “profound scandal,” the bishops wrote that “they bring deep shame to the whole church.”
"But shame is not enough,” they underscored.
“The abuse of children is a grievous sin against God. Therefore we focus not on shame but on our sorrow for these sins. They are the personal sins of only a very few. But we are bound together in the Body of Christ and, therefore, their sins touch us all.
“We express our heartfelt apology and deep sorrow to those who have suffered abuse, those who have felt ignored, disbelieved or betrayed,” the bishops said. “We ask their pardon, and the pardon of God for these terrible deeds done in our midst.
“There can be no excuses.”
They went on to express their regret and apology for the failings of “some bishops and Religious leaders” in their handling of cases of sexual abuse of minors and to note that the Church's current procedures should have been in place from the beginning.
They further emphasized that “full co-operation with statutory bodies is essential” and pledged their commitment to “continue to make every effort ... to identify any further steps (they) can take.”
“We are committed to continuing the work of safeguarding, and are determined to maintain openness and transparency, in close co-operation with the statutory authorities in our countries,” they added.
“The Holy Spirit guides us to sorrow and repentance, to a firm determination to better ways, and to a renewal of love and generosity towards all in need,” they concluded.
In their message, the bishops invited Catholics in England and Wales to observe the four Fridays of May in “deep prayer of reparation and atonement,” as well as praying for the Pope, “whose wise and courageous leadership is so important for the Church at this time.”
Turin, Italy, Apr 22, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Severino Poletto has invited the faithful to complete a novena as the Pope’s visit to the Cathedral of Turin approaches. Stressing the spiritual foundations of the May 2 visit, the cardinal encouraged prayer as a means of living the "true meaning" of the event.
The novena will run from Friday, April 23, until May 1, the day before the Holy Father’s arrival in the northern Italian city.
Expressing his joy at the “extraordinary gift” of the Pope's visit to the city “to venerate the Shroud, but also to meet with our Christian community,” the Cardinal Archbishop of Turin emphasized the spiritual nature of the event.
“My hope is that the many pilgrims to the Shroud ... realize internally a copious return of spiritual fruits for themselves, for their families and for all of society,” he wrote.
Recalling Jesus’ teaching that we must pray to receive divine grace, the cardinal invited all of the parishes, religious communities and other Church-affiliated entities to participate in the nine-day prayer “to dispose our hearts to welcome the Pope properly.”
Cardinal Poletto asked that the entire archdiocese complete the novena for the Pope and “the intentions that He cultivates in his heart” through Mass, the Rosary, Eucharistic adoration or “at least” by remembering him in their daily prayers. From the sick, he also asked the offering of their suffering for the same cause.
The cardinal concluded by expressing his certainty this collective prayer will be “very effective for living the true spiritual meaning of the Papal visit,” which will serve "to remind us that the contemplation of the suffering of Christ, of which the Shroud is a mirror.” Prayerful preparation should also help the faithful to “see, console and sustain the innumerable physical, moral, spiritual and social sufferings of so many of our brothers and sisters.”
The Shroud, which 200,000 people saw during its first week on display, is on exposition from April 10 to May 23 in the Cathedral of Turin. More than 1.6 million people have reserved tickets.
This is the first exposition of the Shroud since the year 2000, and May 2 will mark the first time a Pope will be in Turin to venerate it since John Paul II was there in 1998.
Washington D.C., Apr 22, 2010 (CNA) - Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos will not celebrate a Solemn High Mass in honor of Pope Benedict’s pontifical anniversary, following recent reports that the prelate endorsed a clerical sex abuse cover up.
Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos of Colombia was originally asked to participate in marking the fifth anniversary of the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI, by celebrating a traditional Latin Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on April 24.
However, last week the French magazine Golias published a letter from Sept. 8, 2001 that featured the cardinal applauding Bishop Pierre Pican for refusing to report an abusive priest to the civil authorities. The priest, Abbot Renè Bissey, was sentenced in 1998 to 18 years in prison for his abuses of minors, while Bishop Pican later received a three month sentence for withholding information.
Cardinal Castrillón has since claimed that the late John Paul II approved of his letter. On April 17, Reuters reported the cardinal as saying that the “The Holy Father authorized me to send this letter to all bishops in the world and publish it on the internet.”
In response to the recently reported scandal, the Paulus Institute, which is coordinating the Mass, said in a April 21 statement that after “consultation” with the cardinal, both have “agreed to seek another celebrant.”
“This action will help maintain the solemnity, reverence and beauty of the Mass,” the statement added.
“We are in the process of seeking another Bishop to celebrate a Pontifical Solemn Mass on Saturday and are confident that one will agree,” continued the statement. “However, in any event, a beautiful, dignified Traditional Latin Mass will be celebrated at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday at 1PM and will be the first time in nearly a half century this has occurred.”
Paul King, president of the Paulus Institute, reiterated to the New York Times on Tuesday that both the cardinal and the institute agreed on the decision to find another celebrant. King expressed his concerns regarding security issues as well as the potential for the recent reports to distract from the event.
“It becomes the center of attention, when the center of attention should be at the main altar,” he said.
Vatican City, Apr 22, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Meeting with the Ambassador of Macedonia to the Holy See on Thursday, the Holy Father expressed "great respect and consideration" for the cultural and spiritual heritage of the country. He also said he hopes that Macedonians will carry forward their principles to confront the relativistic and secular aspects of European society.
On the occasion of the presentation of new ambassador Gjoko Gjorgjevski's credentials to the Holy See, the Pope recognized the significant history of the country and hoped for its continued cultural and spiritual strength.
The Holy Father called the human and Christian values "incarnated" in the lives of Macedonians the "priceless spiritual and cultural heritage of the nation," noting the Holy See's "great respect and consideration" for this heritage.
He added that by standing firm in their spiritual identity, Macedonians "will be able to offer European peoples the contribution of their own experience."
Pope Benedict then wished success for Macedonia's efforts to join the EU, "while accepting the relative rights and duties, and with reciprocal respect for the collective demands and traditional values of each people."
This will ensure their commitment to peace, he said, which is "not just the fruit of human plans and activities, but is above all a gift of God to men and women of good will," who are sustained by justice and forgiveness.
Turning to the issue of an increasingly secular Europe, the Pope said, "My hope is that, in a general context of moral relativism and scant interest in religious experience affecting a part of European society," the Macedonian people "may exercise wise discernment in opening new horizons of authentic civility and true humanism.”
To do so, he concluded, it is important that they "seek to strengthen and maintain the principles that lie at the roots of this people's civilization, at both the individual and community level" including "dedication to the family, defense of human life and the promotion of religious needs especially among the young."
This year marks the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Holy See.
The country has been a candidate for EU membership since 2005.
Vatican City, Apr 22, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of another Irish bishop implicated in the Irish government's Murphy Report. Bishop Jim Moriarty, who has officially been relieved of his assignment as Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, expressed his hope that his resignation would honor survivors and create a better future.
The announcement from the Holy See on Thursday was quickly followed by statements from Cardinal Sean Brady and Bishop Moriarty himself through official Irish Bishops' Conference channels.
The resignation is the third accepted by the Holy Father from an Irish bishop in the last five months together with those of Bishops Donal Murray of Limerick and John Magee of Cloyne.
Bishop Moriarty said Thursday that for the Catholic Church in Ireland, "renewal must begin with accepting responsibility for the past."
The Murphy Report, released on Nov. 26, offered the results of an extensive government investigation into cases of sexual abuses by minors in the Archdiocese of Dublin and shed light on what has been called a "clerical culture" that led to cases of abuse being frequently mishandled and covered up.
The bishop said that although he was not directly criticized in the report, as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin from 1991 - 2002, he "should have challenged the prevailing culture."
"Once more," he added, "I apologize to all survivors and their families," he said.
Repeating his words from Dec. 23, when he offered his resignation papers, he expressed his hope that his stepping down "honors the truth that the survivors have so bravely uncovered and opens the way to a better future for all concerned."
The bishop said that the "long struggle of survivors to be heard and respected by church authorities has revealed a culture within the Church that many would simply describe as unchristian" and has been "profoundly dispiriting for all who care about the Church. "
“Let us be clear,” he said, “our failures have damaged our people’s faith and the strength of our witness.”
Bishop Moriarty echoed the words of Pope Benedict XVI from the Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland last month in which he called for "a new vision ... to inspire present and future generations" and to deliver justice to abuse victims.
Bishop Moriarty tendered his resignation to Benedict XVI in December as did Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field who have not yet received word from Rome.
Recognizing the departure of the bishop and his "great pastoral wisdom and experience," Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady wished him "well in the future" and assured him of his prayers.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, Apr 22, 2010 (CNA) - Yesterday, the Argentinian Catholic News Agency (www.aica.org) reported that hackers sabotaged its website and left anti-Catholic messages posted on its main page.
The news agency (which is not affiliated with CNA) found it interesting that “a message offensive to the Catholic faith was put up in place of a story on the statement by the Argentinian Bishops’ Conference opposing the advancement of legislation on same-sex “marriage.”
The Argentinian Catholic News Agency stated that it “repudiates this act and considers it to be another attack in the campaign to discredit the Church and those who profess the Catholic faith.”