Buenos Aires, Argentina, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - Catholic Action of Argentina has called on the country’s lawmakers not to redefine marriage in Argentina, saying it is a natural institution based on the heterosexuality of the couple and cannot be viewed as discriminatory.
“To support same-sex unions under the principle of non-discrimination is an error, as the law does not discriminate by demanding that marriage be between a man and a woman, in recognition of the natural reality upon which marriage is founded,” the organization said in a statement.
Officials must “protect marriage between a man and a woman through laws that guarantee and support its irreplaceable role and its contribution to the common good of society, respecting the principles of natural law and the public order of Argentina,” it said.
Laws are what guide society, the organization stated, and thus changes to the law and the legalization of same-sex unions would alter the very essence of marriage.
“To make both realities equal would be to ignore human nature in which man and woman seek each other out, their reciprocity and complementarity,” the group warned.
Madrid, Spain, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - A Cuban immigrant living in Spain stated this week that the Socialist government’s mandatory education course, “Education for the Citizenry,” reminds him of the indoctrination students receive in Cuba under the Castro regime.
Omar Rubio Garcia, who has objected to the fact that his daughter is required to attend the class, remarked that he found it unbelievable that 20 years after leaving Cuba he has had to confront totalitarian indoctrination once again. “Now I have to defend my daughter from indoctrination in the radical fascist culture of the left,” and ensure that it does not “undermine, manipulate or cast doubt on” the love, belief in God and upbringing Garcia has worked to provide for her.
Garcia recounted the harassment he and his daughter have received from school officials for being the only family to object to attending the course. He criticized the content of Education for the Citizenry as “provocative, morbid, anti-democratic and totalitarian,” and added that the course “divides parents and children.”
Garcia urged parents to resist the efforts by “ideological mercenaries and left-wing ‘fascists’ to manipulate without any moral or ethical scruples the relationship of love and formation between parents and children.”
Experience has taught him, he warned, that the failure to resist “these left-wing, fascist ideologues can be very costly, as our children will question us first because of our ignorance and later they will judge us for our lack of action.”
Khartoum, Sudan, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - Though areas of Sudan have reported peaceful elections, a bishop in the south of the country warns that genocidal violence could begin again. The transformation of political disputes into serious conflict is now “a likely scenario,” he says.
Bishop of Tombura-Yambio Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, commenting in a statement to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), said people’s frustrations were heightened by allegations of corruption in the April 11-15 general elections. The elections were the first multi-party poll in 25 years.
President Omar al Bashir’s National Congress Party, the incumbent party in Khartoum, was victorious in the election. Sitting Vice-President Salva Kiir and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) scored up to 90 percent in its southern heartlands.
The election was marred by reports of voter intimidation, vote-rigging, ballot mix-ups and breaches of voter privacy.
An arson attack on a truck transporting ballot papers took place in Bishop Hiiboro’s region of Western Equatorial State.
“The election results may spark serious violence [soon],” the bishop told ACN. “The violence may be compared to nothing less than a genocide because there are many deep-seated animosities in the hearts of many people of different ethnic groups in the south.”
He warned that resentment festers over unresolved issues such as the border dispute between north and south Sudan centering on the oil-rich Abyei region.
“Until this self-inflicted crisis is managed in a constructive way, the possibility of the entire nation descending into the abyss is a likely scenario.”
The possible secession of South Sudan, due to be voted on in a January referendum, brings related questions of transportation and commercial relations with the north, oil revenue sharing and citizenship rights.
These issues were to be resolved after the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which gave semi-autonomy to South Sudan after more than 20 years of civil war between the Islamist regime in Khartoum and the SPLM rebels in the south.
Bishop Hiiboro blamed the SPLM for the lack of progress.
“The sole responsibility for this debacle lies in the hands of the southern Sudanese themselves both within the camp of the ruling party and other political parties.
“The senseless death of southern Sudanese citizens is going to be due to the inability of the political leaders to craft a better conflict resolution process.”
“Pushing differences to the point of national meltdown and exasperating tribal and religious differences just to come to power or to retain power at all costs is out of the domain of healthy politics,” he told ACN.
No people deserve this “toxic politics,” he commented.
The bishop’s warning of violence comes amid reports that the recent election took place peacefully.
Last week Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur of Khartoum told ACN that violence was unlikely because the major political parties had too much at stake to allow the democratic process to stall.
The situation may be different in Bishop Hiiboro’s diocese, which has suffered atrocities inflicted by rebels in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Last summer the LRA carried out crucifixion-style killing in Nzara near Yambio, ACN reports. At about the same time, Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in neighboring Ezo was desecrated and 17 mostly young people were abducted.
Washington D.C., Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced that 13 additional human embryonic stem cell lines have been approved for federal funding and added to its Stem Cell Registry.
The total number of federally funded stem cell lines derived from killing human embryos is now at 64, with another 100 lines pending approval for federal funding.
Four of the new approved stem cell lines come from the WiCell Research Institute of Madison, Wisconsin. They had been approved for funding under the George W. Bush administration.
NIH Director Francis S. Collins said the action should provide “welcome reassurance” to researchers working on the older stem cell lines.
“Scientists can continue their studies without interruption, and we can all be assured that valuable work will not be lost," he commented in an NIH statement Wednesday.
In a 2001 executive order, President Bush had approved federal funding for some embryonic stem cell lines, but he barred funding for any stem cell lines created after the issuance of his order.
In March 2009 President Barack Obama removed the funding restrictions with an executive order of his own.
His order was criticized by ten members of the President’s Council on Bioethics, who characterized it as “a step backward” from a reconciliation of “the needs of research and the moral concerns of many Americans.”
In a March 25, 2009 statement they urged alternative sources of stem cells which do not require destroying human embryos.
Fr. Thomas Berg of the Westchester Institute for Ethics & the Human Person, has noted that the Catholic Church “enthusiastically” supports most forms of stem cell research.
“We cannot, however, support research which involves the creation and destruction of human embryos,” he explained.
Washington D.C., Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - Responding to claims that pro-life groups opportunistically used pro-life concerns to stop the recent health care reform bill’s passage, the editors of Public Discourse have defended the pro-lifers’ strategy as a non-partisan and “independent” response to the “hollowness” of the legislation’s treatment of abortion funding.
In comments made after the passage of the health care reform law, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) accused the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) of “hypocrisy” and of “just using the life issue to try to bring down health care reform.”
The editors of the lay Catholic magazine Commonweal were similarly critical, suggesting that pro-life groups including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) were “lobbying groups hoping to stop Obamacare.”
Depicting Stupak as someone resisting “Republican efforts to sabotage health care reform,” the Commonweal bloggers claimed that Americans United for Life (AUL) had lost its credibility as a non-partisan pro-life organization.
The editors of the online journal Public Discourse replied to these charges in an April 28 essay, criticizing the “insinuation” that concern about the bill’s expansion of abortion was “a mere pretext.”
According to the journal's editors, the legislative picture was much less clear than the Commonweal editors depicted it.
The Stupak Amendment, the Discourse's editors wrote, found “skepticism or outright opposition” from many conservatives, who thought it would help the bill pass. One leading blogger dismissed it as just a way for conservative Democrats to “save face.”
For their part, pro-life groups “threatened to revoke the pro-life credentials” of any Republican voting against the amendment, Public Discourse said.
“This legislative arm-twisting effectively ensured the passage of the bill, and it did so with the votes of many who had adamantly opposed it,” the editors continued. “If pro-life organizations hadn’t forced GOP members to make this pro-life, pro-reform vote, there would likely be no health care bill today. Congressman Stupak and the editors of Commonweal ought to pause for a moment to give that fact some consideration.”
After the Stupak Amendment passed the U.S. House, Republican strategists Erick Erickson and Patrick Ruffini said conservatives should “blame National Right to Life” for the passage of health care. Erickson also accused NRLC of undercutting conservatives to raise money, while the Wall Street Journal editorial board said Stupak had “played pro-lifers like a Stradivarius.”
In another show of independence, Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the Susan B. Anthony List, published an editorial threatening support for pro-life Democrats if Republicans fell short on abortion.
The editors of Public Discourse noted that the USCCB touted the superiority of the House bill over the Senate bill on all criteria, including pro-life concerns.
“Clearly, the pro-life organizations’ strategy was independent of a Democratic or Republican agenda. Little surprise, then, that it alienated partisans on both sides—the partisans at Commonweal included,” they wrote.
Public Discourse accused Commonweal of partisanship in their “persistent misrepresentation” of President Obama’s executive order on abortion funding, the funding of Community Health Centers, and the original Senate compromise language on insurance funding.
Commonweal’s praise for the executive order, they said, ignored court precedent defining Medicaid as including abortion services unless statutory law explicitly forbids it.
“The statutory requirement prevails over the executive order,” the Public Discourse editors said, noting the need for the language of the pro-life Hyde Amendment.
“The new legislation did not extend the Hyde Amendment to new funding streams,” they continued. “The House bill would have done that; the Senate bill did not. No wonder Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood made no real effort to resist the executive order. The order was, as she put it, merely ‘symbolic.’”
A gap in the health care funding restrictions also will result in funding for abortions at Community Health Care Centers, they warned. Further, the new health care law lacks a “critically important” clause of the Hyde Amendment which bars funding for health plans that include elective abortions.
“Over the course of the health care debate, the major pro-life groups and the Catholic bishops faithfully adhered to the cause of life. They recognized the hollowness of Obama’s executive order, anticipated the threat posed by funding of Community Health Centers, and saw through an insurance funding scheme that claims to honor the Hyde Amendment’s principle while gutting its policy and violating its spirit.”
These actions sometimes advanced or retarded health care, but their steadfastness in their principles “deserves praise,” the Public Discourse editors concluded.
Vatican City, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - On Friday, the Vatican Press Office released the Holy Father's prayer intentions for the month of May. In his intentions, the Pontiff prays for an end to the trafficking of millions of women and children.
Pope Benedict's general prayer intention is: "That the shameful and monstrous commerce in human beings, which sadly involves millions of women and children, may be ended."
His mission intention is: "That ordained ministers, religious women and men, and lay people involved in apostolic work may understand how to infuse missionary enthusiasm into the communities entrusted to their care."
Madrid, Spain, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - The National Association for the Defense of the Right to Conscientious Objection (ANDOC) has criticized Health Secretary Jose Martinez Olmos for calling the sale of the morning-after pill in pharmacies a triumph. The organization explained that by increasing the availability of the pill, ideological criteria has prevailed over scientific and health care concerns.
“The ones who should be congratulating themselves for the two-fold increase in sales of the pill are first of all, the manufacturing laboratories who have made a killing,” explained ANDOC to the newspaper, El Pais. The group added that “to a lesser degree, certain pharmaceutical companies that have collaborated out of fear or economic interest” are also benefiting from the sales.
The increased sales of the pill indicate that many women are using it as “just another contraceptive” and not as an “emergency” drug like the government claimed they would, ANDOC continued. “Likewise this reveals an ignorance that the at-home abortions caused by the pill, no matter how small the embryo, do not cease to be abortions.”
In addition, the organization warned that the lack of a required prescription has led to the disappearance of any sort of health care controls over the use of the drug. The guidelines for dispensing the pill have been blocked by the Ministry of Health, which has limited itself to publishing “a pamphlet that is more appropriate for a supermarket than for a healthcare establishment.”
“The Ministry of Health has taken a political measure and ‘sold’ it to the citizens, using demagogic and miracle-product marketing criteria,” the group concluded.
Vatican City, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, offered a concert on Thursday evening in commemoration of the five year anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate. In his address beforehand, the president was clear in his support for the Pope and his appreciation for priests throughout the nation.
The event took place in Paul VI Hall within the Vatican and was attended by thousands of guests who had the rare opportunity to park their cars in St. Peter's Square.
Before the orchestra played, President Napolitano greeted the Pope, welcoming the music as "an offering of serenity in the difficult and often harsh times that we live."
He went on to express the "intense, affectionate closeness" of the goverment and the Italian people to the Pope and recognized the contribution of priests, through their spiritual and social commitment, to the "pursuit of good and harmony" in Italy.
Following the concert by the Youth Orchestra of Fiesole, in which pieces by Mozart, Beethoven and Milanese composer Giovanni Battista Sammartini were played, the Holy Father addressed to the gathering.
Benedict XVI thanked the president and all other contributors for the organization of the concert, which he called a "joy," and said that in it he saw "another sign of the affection that the Italian people nurtures towards the Pope."
Fr. Jim Rafferty of Scranton, Pa., who was in attendance at the concert, told CNA that the atmosphere was "very cordial and reverent" and noted "a sense of solidarity around the Holy Father."
CNA also caught up to Vatican expert Sandro Magister afterwards who called it a "splendid occasion" for an encounter between the two leaders. He also reflected on the significance of the president's recognition of the role of priests in Italian society as a "rather important signal" in current atmosphere surrounding the Church.
The concert is an annual event given as a gift from the Italian President to the Holy Father for the anniversary of his election as Pope. The milestone was officially celebrated on April 19, at which time the Pope was treated to lunch by members of the College of Cardinals.
Vatican City, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The global economic crisis has shown not only the fragility of the system but also the flawed assumption that the market is capable of correcting itself, said the Pope on Friday. He added that economic questions should always maintain an appreciation for the human dimension.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke with participants in the 16th Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to inaugurate their five-day conference themed, "Crisis in a Global Economy. Re-planning the Journey."
Observing that "the worldwide financial breakdown has ... demonstrated the fragility of the present economic system and the institutions linked to it," the Holy Father explained that the crisis "has also shown the error of the assumption that the market is capable of regulating itself, apart from public intervention and the support of internalized moral standards."
At the root of this assumption, he continued, is "an impoverished notion of economic life as a sort of self-calibrating mechanism driven by self-interest and profit-seeking."
Within this perspective, "the essentially ethical nature of economics as an activity of and for human beings" is overlooked.
"Rather than a spiral of production and consumption in view of narrowly-defined human needs, economic life should properly be seen as an exercise of human responsibility, intrinsically oriented towards the promotion of the dignity of the person, the pursuit of the common good and the integral development – political, cultural and spiritual – of individuals, families and societies."
The Pope went on to say that "an appreciation of this fuller human dimension calls, in turn, for precisely the kind of cross-disciplinary research and reflection which the present session of the Academy has now undertaken."
Among the principles involved in the "re-planning of the journey," he said, there must be a place for "the promotion of the common good, grounded in respect for the dignity of the human person and acknowledged as the primary goal of production and trade systems, political institutions and social welfare."
It is important, he added in conclusion, that "economic decisions and policies must be directed towards 'charity in truth' ... For without truth, without trust and love for what is true, there is no social conscience and responsibility, and social action ends up serving private interests and the logic of power, resulting in social fragmentation."
Vatican City, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -
The Holy Father emphasized the value of music to the education of new generations after a concert given by a youth orchestra to commemorate the completion of his fifth year as Pontiff. According to the Pope, music "can open hearts and minds to the spiritual dimension" and contribute to a better future for mankind.
As a gift from the Italian President, the Fiesole Youth Orchestra played for Pope Benedict and thousands of others during the Thursday evening concert at the Vatican.
Recognizing the work of the Fiesole School of Music in the formation of young people through music education, the Holy Father said that in general the study of music has great value in the education of the person.
It "produces positive effects on the development of the individual, favoring harmonious human and spiritual growth," he said.
The experience of a school such as that of Fiesole, the Pope went on, is particularly relevant in the face of today's reality which is marked by the difficulty of educating.
It appears that education is ever more "arduous and problematic," he said, noting that the difficulty of "transmitting basic values of existence and an upright behavior to the new generations" concerns parents, schools and all others in education.
"The current social situation demands an extraordinary commitment to the education of new generations,” he observed.
All young people are sensitive "the great ideals of life" and their needs and expectations cannot be ignored, nor can the obstacles and threats they might encounter, Pope Benedict said.
“They feel the need" for "authentic values such as the centrality of the person, human dignity, peace and justice, tolerance and solidarity. They also seek spirituality and transcendence, often in a confusing and contradictory way, to find harmony and balance."
In this regard, the Holy Father pointed out that "music can open hearts and minds to the spiritual dimension, and leads people to raise up their eyes to Heaven, to open themselves up to the absolute Good and Beauty, which have their ultimate origin in God."
The joy related through song and music, concluded the Pope, are a “constant invitation for believers, and for all men and women of good will, to work so that humankind has a future rich in hope."
Pope Benedict XVI asked for payers, so that "beginning the sixth year of my Pontificate, I may always carry out my ministry as the Lord would wish."
Bogotá, Colombia, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - The president of Laity for Colombia, Carlos Corsi Otalora, noted this week that those attacking Pope Benedict XVI over cases of pedophilia are doing so because they do not support Christian sexual morality.
Citing an article that appeared on March 26 in the French weekly, “Rivarol,” Otarola recalled that those individuals and groups who accuse the Pope of covering up clerical sex abuse with minors, “directly reject Christian morality on sexuality, which is the foundation for the universal condemnation of pedophilia. They look at the speck in their brother’s eye without seeing the beam in their own, as the Gospel phrase goes,” he added.
“They are driven to despair by the testimony of virginity of celibate priests, of religious faithful to their vows, of young and adult lay people, celibate and married who live the virtue of purity.” The model of that purity, he added is “St. Maria Goretti, an 11 year-old girl who defended purity with her very life in order to be faithful to the Gospel,” Otalora said.
Bogotá, Colombia, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - Archbishop Emeritus Alberto Giraldo Jaramillo of Medellin said just hours before formally handing over the reigns of the archdiocese that building peace in the country is possible, but it must be done with dialogue and respect.
Speaking to the Colombian daily “El Tiempo,” the archbishop referred to the issue of peace in the country and said efforts must be made to “continue seeking avenues with these (armed) groups to ensure life is respected.”
The prelate retired from his post at the age of 75.
Over his 13 years as head of the Archdiocese of Medellin, Archbishop Jaramillo said that there was much emphasis “on spiritual, intellectual and human formation and care of priests and parish communities.”
In addition, 25 new parishes were built. “There are now 320 parishes and 11 building projects,” he said.
Regarding pedophilia, he said that in Medellin, “We have been providing formation workshops on human and emotional maturity for priests and seminarians. I think we have done the best we can in this area.”
Mexico City, Mexico, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - President of the Red Pro Yucatan Network, Ivette Laviada, called for the protection of a 11-year-old pregnant girl from Quintana Roo, Mexico, saying that abortion would only bring more tragedy to her life. The girl is currently receiving care and assistance from pro-life groups.
The young girl was sexually abused by her stepfather, and became pregnant at the age of 10.
“For those of us who support life, the termination of a pregnancy is not the solution, as it would add more tragedy to the situation: the death of the most defenseless human being in the mother’s womb! An innocent life, just as innocent as the girl who carries it in her womb,” Laviada said in an article.
She warned that this is not the only case of a girl who has become pregnant through rape in Quintana Roo, as some 16 underage girls have reported similar situations so far this year.
Laviada denounced that even though the laws in Yucatan protect the unborn and that 18 weeks is beyond the legal limit for an abortion in cases of rape, there are some who insist on submitting the girl to abortion. Even her doctor has said that though hers is a high-risk pregnancy, an abortion “would pose greater risks to her health and endanger her life.”
“Those of us who support life want both the mother and child to live, since the right to life is fundamental,” she said.
For this reason, Laviada continued, “public policies that provide certainty to pregnant women so that they have the right to services and public programs to resolve their problem without sacrificing the life of their child” must be pursued.
She also urged that adoption in cases such as these be promoted and encouraged.
Turin, Italy, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The city of Turin is preparing for the arrival of Pope Benedict and an estimated 100,000 other pilgrims this weekend. The city's archbishop told reporters on Thursday, that he hopes the visit will be celebrated in the future and serve as an impetus for increased evangelization.
The Holy Father will be traveling to the northern Italian city on Sunday morning and returning to the Vatican in the evening. The day will see him celebrate Mass with 25,000 people in the open air of St. Charles Square, officiate a youth celebration, venerate the Shroud in the cathedral and visit with the sick.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference reported by Vatican Radio on Thursday, Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin called the visit "an exceptional event," especially as it pertains to grace. It's an occasion, he said, "to give new impetus to the faith."
The visit is particularly significant for two reasons: it is both "a pastoral visit to the city and a moment of reflection and prayer before the Shroud," he said.
Cardinal Poletto has repeatedly called the much-awaited meditation by the Pope on Christ's passion "the most precious gift of this exposition."
The cardinal also emphasized that the exposition of the Shroud and the Pope's visit will be continue to be celebrated into the future. They aren't "occasional events" after which the city "turns the page and the day after returns to live as before," he said.
"For me they are ... moments of growth, of development, of future commitment so that our Church might be always more up to the task of taking on the challenges of the times, especially the challenge of evangelization."
Since its opening on April 10, the Shroud has been seen by an estimated 450,000 of the 1.7 million people who have pre-booked tickets for the exposition, which runs until May 23. 100,000 pilgrims are expected for this weekend alone according to Italy's La Repubblica newspaper.
Caracas, Venezuela, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - An elderly Catholic priest was found dead at home in a small eastern Venezuelan town Thursday morning. While some reports claim the priest was a victim of a robbery, authorities are still investigating the crime.
Fr. Esteban Woods, a native of Vancouver, Washington had served the Catholic Church in the state of Bolivar, Venezuela for nearly half his life.
Local media reports that parishioners first knew something was wrong when the elderly priest didn’t go out for his 5 a .m. jog. When he wasn't available to open the doors of the church that morning, locals went to his house where they found his body. The missionary priest had been gagged and stabbed multiple times.
The Bishop of Ciudad Guayana Mariano Parra, commented on the tragedy saying that the murder of Fr. Woods is a “sign of the violence” that is being experienced throughout Venezuela.
Vatican City, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer, priest of the Benedictine order, who headed a Vatican department dedicated to the liturgy, and then later, one dedicated to achieving reconciliation with the St. Pius X Society, died Friday morning at the age of 98.
The Holy Father remembered him in a telegram to the abbot primate of the Benedictine Confederation on Friday in which he recognized the "the indelible memory" left by the cardinal "of an industrious life spent with mildness and rectitude in coherent adherence to his vocation as a monk and pastor, full of zeal for the Gospel and always faithful to the Church."
Pope Benedict further recalled Cardinal Mayer's "knowledgeable commitment in the field of the liturgy and in that of universities and seminaries, and especially his much appreciated service to the Holy See" in various roles.
He was ordained as a Benedictine priest in 1935 and later spent years dedicated to study, teaching and administration at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome. During his time as rector of the college from 1949-1966, he founded the Pontifical Liturgical Institute and participated in the Second Vatican Council.
He returned to his native Germany in 1966 when he was named Abbot of Metten but was called back to Rome by Pope Paul VI to serve as Secretary of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes in 1971.
The same Pope ordained him an archbishop in 1972.
He was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1985 and then named the prefect of the Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship, where he served until 1988. He then led the Commission Ecclesia Dei as its president until his retirement in 1991.
Pope Benedict XVI concluded his telegram on Friday by offering "fervent prayers that the Lord may welcome this worthy brother into eternal joy and peace."
The cardinal's funeral will take place St. Peter’s Basilica next Monday morning and is to be presided over by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Dean of the College of Cardinals.
Rome, Italy, Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - Members of the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project are preparing for their upcoming conference that will take place at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross May 27-29. The group seeks to bring together philosophers, theologians, psychologists, physicians, scientists, and artists to unpack the original insights of Dietrich von Hildebrand's most important philosophical work, “The Nature of Love.”
Also scheduled is a retreat for business leaders on cultural renewal.
Hildebrand, a major Christian philosopher, religious writer, and courageous intellectual opponent of Hitler and Nazism died in 1977. During his lifetime, he stressed the importance of love, saying: “Love alone brings a human being into full awareness of personal existence. For it is in love alone that man finds room enough to be what he is.”
“Hildebrand defined his heroic battle against Nazism as the 'struggle for the person,'” said John Henry Crosby in an April 28 statement. Crosby co-founded the project in 2004. “While the threat of Nazism is gone today, human dignity is as endangered as ever before. We want to contribute to the perennial task of clarifying and defending human dignity, and we want to do so through the lens of love."
The philosopher and writer was a friend of Pope Pius XII, who referred to von Hildebrand as a "twentieth century doctor of the Church." He has also been praised by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, the latter of which served as an Honorary Member of the project until his 2005 election. “The Project would not exist today were it not for the generous support of Pope Benedict XVI," said Crosby. "The Holy Father's many acts of friendship, including a sizeable grant from the Papal Foundation and a wonderful letter of support, have allowed us to gain a footing on the world stage."
The Von Hildebrand Legacy Project also announced that the conference is being underwritten by two United States-based foundations: the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the Our Sunday Visitor Institute . Additionally, it has received the Patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
"This patronage is for us a great honor," said Crosby. "We hope it marks the beginning of an important collaboration."
Washington D.C., Apr 30, 2010 (CNA) - The U.S. Senate’s introduction of a proposed framework on immigration reform is “an important first step” towards a comprehensive measure, the U.S. bishops have said. They urged bipartisan legislation which “affirms the rule of law and basic human rights,” but also said they “strongly oppose” the idea of extending “marriage-like” immigration benefits to same-sex relationships.
The framework, developed by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York), has been endorsed by the Senate leadership, a press release from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reports.
Bishop of Salt Lake City John C. Wester, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, spoke on behalf of the bishops with a Thursday statement endorsing the effort.
He explained that the bishops support the “general direction” of the framework, including a legalization of the undocumented and improvements to the United States’ employment and family-based immigration systems.
However, he said the bishops “strongly oppose” the proposal to extend “marriage-like” immigration benefits to same-sex relationships. The proposal threatens to undermine the chance to create a “common solution” to immigration reform.
The bishop also voiced concerns about the increases in law enforcement resources. He claimed that the U.S. has poured “billions of dollars” into immigration enforcement over recent years, arguing that this has not solved the problem but has led to the abuse of immigrants in some cases.
Bishop Wester pledged support for the inclusion of provisions that address the factors that compel migrants to come to the United States, such as a lack of economic development. This would help prospective migrants “remain in their countries and support their families in dignity.”
“We call for a robust but civil debate. This issue can no longer wait and should not be politicized or held hostage to ideology. Our immigration system is badly broken and is in need of immediate repair,” his statement concluded.