Archive of May 19, 2010

Benedict XVI to welcome Spanish president on June 10

Rome, Italy, May 19, 2010 (CNA/Europa Press) - The meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will take place on June 10 at the Vatican, according to Spain’s ambassador to the Holy See, Francisco Vazquez.  Speaking to the media, Vazquez said the visit would take place just after the Pope’s apostolic trip to Cyprus June 4-6.

News of the upcoming meeting was made public last Friday by Spain’s Vice President, Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega.  However, it was the Spanish ambassador to the Holy See who confirmed the date of the encounter.

As is custom, in addition to meeting with the Pope, Zapatero will meet with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.  Zapatero will not be accompanied by his wife or by any Spanish officials. 

“We have spent several months preparing for this meeting,” Vazquez said, adding that Spain and the Vatican have experienced a year of “intense” relations. 

Apart from Zapatero’s visit to the Vatican in June, the Pope will also visit Spain in November, as the country intensifies its preparations for World Youth Day next summer.

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Fatima message goes beyond dangers and horrors of history, Pope says

Vatican City, May 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - During Wednesday's audience, the Holy Father offered an overview of the many events of his Apostolic Journey to Portugal from a week earlier, highlighting his impressions and the principal messages he delivered. The Pope revisited the message of Fatima and spoke of the support he felt from his "beloved predecessor."

More than 13,000 people were in attendance in St. Peter's Square, experiencing another mild day in a string of unseasonably cool days in Rome.

As is customary, the Holy Father used today's general audience to review his just completed trip to Fatima. He said that the "almost palpable" presence of the Virgin Mary is present there and that there is "an atmosphere of authentic mysticism" that characterizes the city.

Pope Benedict called the Mass at the Fatima Shrine on May 13 with 500,000 people the culmination of the visit.

Explaining his invitation at Mass for the faithful to "rejoice fully in the Lord" and His merciful love, Pope Benedict said that it is in these words from the Book of Isaiah that we find the "demanding" message of hope, responsibility and consolation of Our Lady of Fatima.

"It's a message centered on prayer, on penance and conversion, that is projected beyond the threats, dangers and horrors of history, inviting mankind to trust in the action of God, to cultivate great hope, to experience the grace of the Lord so as to fall in love with Him, source of all love and peace."

In retrospect, for Benedict XVI, the entire pilgrimage was "a touching experience, rich with so many spiritual gifts."

He said, "While the images of this unforgettable trip, the warm and spontaneous welcome and the enthusiasm of the people remain fixed in my mind and heart, I give praise to the Lord because Mary, appearing to the three shepherd children, opened in the world a privileged space to find the divine mercy that heals and saves."

He also commented that for the duration of his four days in the nation he felt "spiritually sustained" by his "beloved predecessor," Venerable John Paul II.

As Benedict XVI noted during the audience, the late Pope had gone to Fatima three times during his pontificate, giving thanks to Our Lady particularly for the "'invisible hand' that freed him from death" during the assassination attempt in 1981.

In closing, the Holy Father asked for people to join him in prayer, asking that the efforts of those who work in service of the Gospel and for the "true good of man" in Portugal be blessed, and that through the intercession of Mary, the Holy Spirit may make the Apostolic Journey "fruitful."

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Archbishop Listecki says bishops responsible for sex abuse cases, not Vatican

Milwaukee, Wis., May 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Responding to a recent lawsuit that argues the Vatican is responsible for bishops who failed to report clerical sex abuse, Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee weighed-in on the issue Tuesday, stressing that according to cannon law, the responsibility “always falls on the shoulders of the bishops,” not the Vatican.

The Wisconsin archbishop made his comments to local TV channel WISN 12 News in the wake of attorney William McMurry's attempt to lodge a federal lawsuit against the Vatican in Louisville, Kentucky.

McMurry is seeking class-action status for a case involving three men who claim they were abused by priests decades ago. He also represented 243 sex abuse victims who settled with the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2003 for $25.3 million.

Jeffrey Lena, the Vatican's lawyer in the U.S., argued on Monday that that U.S. bishops do not qualify as employees of the Vatican and that therefore the Holy See cannot be implicated for the failure of the bishops to report clerical sex abuse.

Archbishop Listecki said he believes the Vatican is trying to teach people about the difference between the actions of the bishops and the jurisdiction that the Holy See exercises under canon law.

“As individuals try to make the chain and try to go up and lay a larger and larger responsibility,” he said, “you have to take a look at what procedures govern the church, and I think the Vatican was just pointing that out to people, a type of education.”

“In canon law, the responsibility always falls on the shoulders of the bishops,” the archbishop underscored.

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Pope Benedict to bless statue created to celebrate Nazi departure

Rome, Italy, May 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Vatican announced Wednesday that this summer the Holy Father will visit and bless a restored statue of Mary that overlooks the city of Rome. The Virgin, which was created in thanks for the city being peacefully liberated from the Nazis during World War II, was damaged in a storm last year.

In 1953, the statue was placed on a hill near the Vatican in a part of Rome called Monte Mario to remember the intercession of the Virgin Mary in securing the peaceful liberation of the city from Nazi occupants during World War II.

A popular 1944 initiative promoted by the local religious community of "Orionini" in Rome promised "charity and faith" in exchange for the bloodless transition of the city from the hands of German soldiers. Over one million people signed the petition at the time and the vow was made publicly before a statue of Our Lady of Divine Love in St. Ignatius parish on June 4.

Following the departure of Nazi troops, which took place seven days after the public vow, Pope Pius XII celebrated Mass at the church, thanking the Virgin Mary for protecting the Eternal City and its inhabitants "against all human predictions."

After having been blown to the ground during a storm last October, the 30-foot tall gilded copper statue has been restored and repositioned atop its 60-foot tall pedestal.

Pope Benedict will make the short excursion outside the Vatican walls on June 24 to bless it and visit a local Dominican convent. After disaster struck last fall, he said he hoped the statue would be speedily replaced "for the devotion of all Romans."

The statue was designed by a Jewish sculptor named Arrigo Minerbi, who was protected by the "Orionini" during the War. Despite its size, it is referred to affectionately by Romans as the "Madonnina," or "little Madonna."

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Anglican leaders around globe decry ordination of openly lesbian bishop

Los Angeles, Calif., May 19, 2010 (CNA) - In response to an openly gay woman being ordained a bishop in the Episcopal Church on Saturday, Anglican leaders from around the world decried the action  as “gravely concerning and wrong,” with some adding that the move has “hurt and alienated” many within the Episcopal community.

Fifty-five year-old Mary Glasspool, an openly parterned lesbian, was ordained a bishop at Long Beach arena on May 15.  Some 3,000 people attended the ceremony which featured a procession with liturgical dancers in bright colored outfits, costumed dragons and drums, according to Virtue Online.

This recent move by the Episcopal church in the U.S. has caused tremendous controversy within the global Anglican church, prompting Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to issue a statement of caution when the announcement of Glasspool's ordination was first made last year. He urged church leaders at the time to consider the “implications and consequences of this decision.” Archbishop Williams wrote in March that the Episcopal leaders' later confirmation of Glasspool's election as bishop-suffragen was “regrettable.”

Several world leaders within the Anglican community denounced Saturday's ordination.

“The decision of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America to consecrate as a bishop a woman in a sexually active lesbian relationship is gravely concerning and wrong,” said Rev. Dr. H. William Godfrey, bishop of the the Anglican Church of Peru on May 15.

“It is impossible,” he added, “to know by what authority the Episcopal Church is taking this action. It is disobedient to the Word of God, to the teaching of the Church, and deeply hurtful and damaging to their Christian brothers and sisters.”

“It appears,” the bishop observed, “that their decision is being taken in accord with their instincts and feelings, and the ways of the liberal society in which they live, and that they have forgotten the moral values and teachings of the Holy Scriptures and their Church.”

A coalition of Evangelical Anglicans in Ireland issued a joint statement expressing support for those within the Episcopal community who feel “hurt and alienated” by Glasspool's ordination.

“Many Christians of all traditions and denominations will share our sorrow and see Mary Glasspool's consecration as a defiant rejection of pleas for restraint and, even more importantly, as a rejection of the pattern of holiness of life called for in Scripture and endorsed by believers over the centuries,” they wrote on Sunday.

Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti, Bishop of the Diocese of Recife in Brazil, said in a statement on May 15 that the ordination was “lamentable” and that it has caused “a de facto rupture” within the Anglican community.

The bishop of the Diocese of Caledonia, Rev. William Anderson, added that he “can only hope that the Archbishop of Canterbury will finally accept that bishops and national churches who choose to willfully ignore the teaching of the Anglican Communion and Holy Scripture, ought to suffer the natural consequence of choosing to go their own way - which is to say, that they ought to be considered to have left the Anglican Communion.”

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Catholic schools have 'right' to protect best interests of children, asserts author

Boston, Mass., May 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - As controversy swirls around the Archdiocese of Boston's decision to undermine a pastor who denied enrollment in a Catholic elementary school to a lesbian couple's child, Dale O'Leary, a noted Catholic author and international lecturer, is defending the Catholic Church's right to protect what she calls “the best interests of all the children.”

In an article provided to CNA, O'Leary argues that the Catholic Church cannot and will not compromise on Church teachings or “hide the truth.” Because of this, she notes, an awkward and potentially harmful situation for same-sex couples seeking admission for their children in Catholic schools may emerge.

“What is in the best interest of the children of same-sex couples and the other children?” O'Leary asks. “If they accept the children in the school, the children will either be alienated from their parents on whom they rely or alienated from God who would be seen as condemning their parents’ choices.”

“While older children might be able to understand and even appreciate the Church’s teaching, younger children certainly will not,” she added. “To them it will just seem mean. It will put the teachers in an untenable position and confuse the children’s classmates.”

“Therefore,” she argues, “it is reasonable for Catholic elementary schools to explain to same-sex couples that this is not the place for their children.”    

Ms. Dale O'Leary's article “Catholic Schools” is published below.

Catholic Schools

by Dale O’Leary

Today Catholic schools, and Catholic elementary schools in particular, face a difficult problem. What should they do when parents, who are openly living contrary to the Church’s specific teachings on marriage and sexuality, want their children admitted? The teachers cannot -- must not -- compromise Catholic moral teachings, that is the very reason for their school’s existence, but in doing so they realize that they will be teaching the children that some of their parents’ choices are wrong. The teachers cannot water down the Church’s teachings because there are children in the class that come from broken homes or live in homes with two ‘mommies” or two “daddies.”.

The concept of father and mother is central to Catholic theology. God is our Father in Heaven, not a generic parent. Jesus is our brother, and therefore the Blessed Mother is our mother. Every biological father has from the moment his child is conceived the awesome responsibility of being an image of God the father. Failure to do this carries terrible consequence for the child’s faith and sense of security and for society. Two mommies or no mommy is not God’s plan.

Every child has a biological father and mother. Separation from one or both parents is always perceived by the child as a loss. A fatherless family is not equal to a father/mother family. Tragedies happen – death, divorce, desertion, single parenthood. When they do, the adults involved must cope as best they can, but no one should purposefully make a tragedy.

When two women decide to conceive a child by artificial insemination donor, they are purposefully creating a tragedy. Given the limited number of children available for adoption, children should not be placed in homes with two parents of the same sex.

Teachers in a Catholic school cannot promote “diversity” in family styles. They cannot pretend that Heather has two Mommies or that it is good for Gloria to go to Gay Pride rallies.

Parents who send their children to Catholic schools need to understand this. If, in spite of this, same-sex couples insist on applying,  they need to be told in no uncertain terms that were their children admitted they would be taught what the Church teaches and if their child’s classmates ask why Suzie has two mommies, they will be told that Suzie has one mommy and another woman lives in their house, but God’s plan is for every child to have a mommy and a daddy.

What about children whose parents divorce and one or both remarries?

If the parents choose a Catholic school or even CCD for their children, the teachers cannot compromise the truth.    

I was given the responsibility of presenting the Church’s teaching on marriage and divorce to a seventh grade class. In the front row was a boy whose family I knew. His father had recently divorced the boy’s mother to marry a younger woman. I presented the teaching clearly and unambiguously. The boy looked me in the eye and said, “Are you saying that God doesn’t like divorce?”

“Yes,” I responded, “in the book of the prophet Malachi it says God hates divorce.”

He replied, “Good.”

I knew that this boy had borne the pain of divorce and he was glad that God was on his side. We must be on the side of the children. We cannot assume that the children want to be protected from the truth.

Persons in same-sex relationships who have children naturally want to protect their children’s feelings. They aren’t going to want their children to be exposed to the truth. A Catholic school cannot agree to hide the truth.

Once people go down the wrong path, there are no good answers. Either the children will be denied the benefits of a Catholic education and feel rejected because they can’t go to Catholic school or they will be admitted and then find out that God doesn’t approve of their parents’ choices or they will be admitted and the school will compromise its principles. If this happens, the other students will be confused about the Church’s teaching and not understand why God doesn’t approve of Suzie’s mommies who so nice and bring cookies and help out in the cafeteria.

So what is the school to do? What is in the best interest of the children of same-sex couples and the other children? If they accept the children in the school, the children will either be alienated from their parents on whom they rely or alienated from God who would be seen as condemning their parents’ choices. While older children might be able to understand and even appreciate the Church’s teaching, younger children certainly will not. To them it will just seem mean. It will put the teachers in an untenable position and confuse the children’s classmates. Therefore, it is reasonable for Catholic elementary schools to explain to same-sex couples that this is not the place for their children.    

The real question is: Why would a same-sex couple want their children in a Catholic school? Surely, they know the Catholic Church’s teaching. If they think that teaching will change, they are gravely mistaken. One can only assume that they hope that their presence at school events and their acceptance into the community will undermine that teaching and they are using their children as pawns.

The Catholic Church has every right not to allow its schools to be used in this way and in doing so, they are protecting the best interests of all the children.

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Sister violated more than Catholic teaching in sanctioning abortion, ethicist says

Phoenix, Ariz., May 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - A religious sister who was on a Catholic hospital panel that approved a direct abortion has excommunicated herself, the Diocese of Phoenix said on Tuesday. While one of the hospital’s doctors has defended the sister, a Catholic ethicist says direct abortion is a “crime” against the unborn child who is killed.

The abortion took place late last year at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. The mother was 11 weeks pregnant and was seriously ill with pulmonary hypertension, a condition worsened and possibly made fatal by pregnancy, according to the Washington Post.

An ethics committee which included doctors and hospital administrator Sr. Margaret McBride ruled that the abortion was necessary. Sr. McBride has been reassigned from her job as vice president of mission integration at the hospital.

In a Tuesday “Questions & Answers” document, the Diocese of Phoenix’s Office of Communications explained that Sr. McBride was excommunicated because “she gave her consent that the abortion was a morally good and allowable act according to Church teaching. Furthermore, she admitted this directly to Bishop Olmsted. Since she gave her consent and encouraged an abortion she automatically excommunicated herself from the Church.”

But Dr. John Garvie, chief of gastroenterology at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, defended Sr. McBride in an opinion piece published Tuesday in the Arizona Republic, calling her a “courageous” and “valued” member of the hospital leadership.

He characterized the Saturday article in the paper as suggesting that Sr. McBride “violated the Catholic principle of the sanctity of life by condoning an abortion in order to save a mother’s life.”

“Let me assure all that there is no finer defender of life at our hospital than Sister McBride,” Garvie wrote, saying the sister is considered the “moral conscience of the hospital.”

Calling the sister a “champion of compassionate, appropriate care for the sick and dying,” he said he was disappointed that she had been reassigned. “This leaves the impression that she did something wrong,” the doctor argued. “What she did was something very few are asked to do; namely, to make a life-and-death decision with the full recognition that in order to save one life, another life must be sacrificed.”

His letter concluded by saying medicine will always be “an imperfect science.”

CNA spoke about the Phoenix case and Dr. Garvie’s opinion piece in a Tuesday phone call with Dr. John Haas, president of the Philadelphia-based National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Haas emphasized he did not know the exact details of the case or what kind of information had been presented to Sr. McBride and the hospital’s advisory board. He speculated that the information was possibly not clear enough or perhaps misunderstood.

“What I can say is that a direct abortion, a direct killing of an innocent human life, is always wrong. If that is precisely what occurred in this case, then that was wrong.

“Any direct assault upon an innocent human life violates the sanctity of human life.

“One cannot directly sacrifice one life to save another,” he explained, because this “places greater value on one life over another. Every life is equally precious in the sight of God and inviolable.”

Responding to Dr. Garvie’s opinion piece, Haas also addressed some clinical questions. He reported that many physicians have told him that one “almost never” encounters a situation in modern medicine in which a life would have to be sacrificed to safe another.

“There are ways in which the dilemma can be addressed that might indirectly pose a threat to the life of the unborn child, which may indeed result, indirectly, in the loss of the life of the unborn child,” he explained, noting interventions to treat the underlying illness or pathology the mother is suffering. “But one cannot directly take the life of an innocent child.”

To say this is not medicine, but rather the statement of “an inviolable moral principle.” “It doesn’t matter if you’re engaged in a just war, where you cannot directly kill non-combatants, or whether you’re involved in a hospital situation,” he added.

“We have to be clear that this is not just a teaching of the Church,” Dr. Haas told CNA. “The direct taking of innocent human life through abortion was something criminally sanctioned by the state. It continues to be a crime against the one who is killed through this action.”

“We just have to preserve the sanctity of each individual human life.

“Who’s going to begin defining the circumstances in which an innocent person may be killed?

“It is dangerous enough for just one single person, as in this case. But if you establish as a principle that a life can be taken under certain circumstances, then nobody is safe.”

He alluded to a song from the Gilbert and Sullivan musical “The Mikado,” in which the Lord High Executioner character applies the death penalty for increasingly trivial offenses.

“It’s a parody, but it just points out that you can’t breach the moral law.”

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Cardinal O’Brien offers prayers for Britain's papal nuncio after stroke

Glasgow, United Kingdom, May 19, 2010 (CNA) -

The Archbishop of Edinburgh has promised prayers for the papal nuncio to Britain, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, who suffered a stroke on May 17.

"I have advised the members of our (bishops’) Conference letting them know of the nuncio's illness and also asking for their prayers," said Cardinal Keith O’Brien in a statement.

"The Nuncio has been a great friend to us all here in Scotland, we have always welcomed his presence among us,” he continued, noting the nuncio’s appearance at a March 21 Mass in Glasgow to mark the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s election.

“On behalf of the Catholics of Scotland, I offer him the promise of our prayers for a steady recovery."

According to, the Spanish-born papal nuncio is 72 years old. He previously served as pro-nuncio to Cuba, nuncio to the Democratic Republic of Congo and nuncio to the European Community.

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Death penalty and abortion on same level, says Mexican governor

Guadalajara, Mexico, May 19, 2010 (CNA) - The governor of the Mexican State of Jalisco, Emilio Gonzalez Marquez, who has asked the country’s Supreme Court not to include the morning-after pill in government-run health care, stated this week that executions, the death penalty and abortion are all on the same level.

In an interview on Mexican radio regarding the morning-after pill, Gonzalez explained that he is a “defender and promoter of life."

"Everything that has do with death, whether it be drug trafficking, kidnapping, death penalty, or abortion, I put them all on the same level.”

“Whoever kills a defenseless human being, who executes a person, whoever kidnaps and kills ... that is part of the culture of death, and I’m sorry, I am a person who defends life,” he said.

He said his pro-life position was not based on religious reasons but rather comes from his knowledge “that I am a person and I don’t have the right to take the life of another person."

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Vatican issues stats on Catholic presence in Cyprus

Vatican City, May 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -

In light of Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming trip to Cyprus early next month, the Vatican released several facts about the country's Catholic population and reiterated the historic importance of the Holy Father releasing the working document for the Middle East Synod of bishops during the trip.

Pope Benedict is visiting the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus, home to 800,000 people,  from June 4-6. The country is home to 13 parishes, two bishops, and 30 religious and diocesan priests.

Despite the nation being only 3 percent Catholic and currently training only one seminarian, the Vatican reported on Wednesday that Catholic Church in Cyprus has a significant presence in the country. The Church oversees two hospitals, three health clinics, six orphanages and plays a significant role inthe education of young people.

During his visit, the Holy Father will release the “Instumentum Laboris” or working document for the Synod of Bishops' Special Assembly for the Middle East that will take place in Rome next October.

Cyprus is considered to be a focal point for Christian efforts in the promotion of peace in the Middle East, where relationships between Muslims and Christians are strained, and with the latter often facing persecution.

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Pope will be a 'massive' moral influence in Cyprus, ambassador asserts

Nicosia, Cyprus, May 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -

The Cyprus ambassador to the Holy See asserted that the “moral influence” of Pope Benedict XVI will be “massive” during his upcoming trip to the Mediterranean island, which is currently under Communist leadership in the south and under Turkish occupation in the north of the country.

In an interview with, Ambassador George Poulides spoke on the preparations and overall significance of the Holy Father's June 4-6 visit to Cyprus. The Pontiff will make history on the island by releasing a working document for the synod of bishops in the Middle East, which is aimed at promoting peace and helping end religious persecution in the region.

“The preparations have reached fever pitch,” Ambassador Poulides said of the papal visit. “Both the Government, the Orthodox Church and the Catholic community are working non-stop for this important occasion.”

“Not only is the vast mobilization of all Cypriots expected, but also the dynamic flow of hundreds of journalists from every part of the world. In addition, many of the faithful will arrive from neighboring countries in the Middle East, together with their Bishops,” he told

Ambassador Poulides expressed what he believes to be the Holy Father's intent for the visit, saying that first and foremost “Pope Benedict XVI wishes to send a sign of peace and justice toward the people of Cyprus and a message of sympathy and support for the efforts of the government of the Republic of Cyprus” which seeks to unify the island and remove the Turkish military from the northern portion of the island.

The ambassador explained that following the Turkish invasion of 1974, the “Holy See and all succeeding Pontiffs have indeed been noble defenders of international law, always calling, with great coherence, for the application of the numerous resolutions of the United Nations which condemn the Turkish intervention.”

Ambassador Poulides also mentioned the the significance of Holy Father's release of the working document for the Middle East Synod, saying that it will make Cyprus “the focal point of Christian efforts in favor of peace in the tormented region of Middle East.”

“It concerns an event of great importance,” he observed, “as it will not strictly be about political issues, but also the crucial question of the relations between Christians - as a whole - and Muslims, wherever the latter compose the majority of the population.”

When asked about the Communist leadership in the country, the ambassador said that he could not see how the current president “could negatively influence the excellent relations established between Cyprus and the Holy See.”

“The President declares himself a believer, but even if he wasn’t, I can assure you that the relations with Vatican would still been excellent,” the ambassador told

On whether or not he is confident that the Holy Father's visit will help bring peace in the area, Ambassador Poulides asserted that “moral influence of Pope is massive.”

“The Pontiff brings a message of peace and justice that travels beyond the Christian world,” he underscored. “Even his mere presence on this wounded island constitutes a vigorous protest against the injustice and the violence that the Cypriot people have undergone, namely the Turkish occupation.”

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Illegal immigration needs 'humane' fix, bishops state as Mexican president visits

Washington D.C., May 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City and Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz of Tijuana, Mexico have issued a joint statement for Mexican President Felipe Calderón's visit to the United States. Calling on both leaders to reform migration policy, they urged a “humane” response to illegal immigration.

Bishop Wester chairs the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), while Archbishop Romo heads the Mexican Episcopal Conference’s Migration Commission.

“We urge both President Obama and President Calderon to work cooperatively toward the mutual goals of creating a safe border and a humane and fair immigration system,” they said.

Their Wednesday statement called the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico “extremely important,” adding that mutual cooperation and understanding is “paramount.”

“We pray that this visit will strengthen the political and policy-based relationship of the two leaders and their countries,” they said in their statement.

The bishops urged both leaders to focus upon immigration and its impact upon the most vulnerable, the migrant workers and their families. Illegal immigration should be prevented in “a humane manner” and not by total emphasis on enforcement measures, the two prelates advised.

“While we respect the obligation of both countries to ensure the integrity of their borders and the security of their peoples, we believe they can achieve these goals without sacrificing the basic human dignity and rights of the migrant.”

Calling for both countries to make a critical examination of their immigration policies, the statement said immigration reform legislation in the U.S. should become a priority.

They stated that the current U.S. immigration system does not provide sufficient legal visas for immigrants to work in jobs important to the U.S. economy. A system with more avenues for legal migration would reduce both the exploitation of migrants by human smugglers and the number of migrant deaths in the desert. Reform would also bring migrants “out of the shadows, so that they can live with their families without fear,” the prelates added.

Turing to Mexico, the two bishops said changes are necessary to prevent the abuse and exploitation of migrants by “criminal elements and corrupt officials.” They also urged a living wage employment for low-skilled workers so that they can remain home and “support their families in dignity,” which they argued would reduce illegal immigration over the long term.

Speaking about aid agreements and economic pacts, the bishops said that they should address the movement of labor in the future and consider the impact such agreements may have on migration.

“The United States and Mexico face a crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, with drug cartels and human smuggling networks battling with law enforcement and placing citizens of both sides of the border at risk,” Bishop Wester and Archbishop Romo continued. “Repairing the immigration laws in both countries would help take migrants out of the enforcement equation and would permit law enforcement to focus their limited resources on criminal networks.”

Bi-national cooperation will solve immigration in a manner which serves the interests of both nations and respects the rights of both U.S. and Mexican citizens, their statement concluded.

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Mexican bishop discusses experience as apostolic visitor to Legionaries

Mexico City, Mexico, May 19, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Bishop Ricardo Watty Urquidi of Tepic, Mexico, one of the five bishops who carried out the Apostolic Visitation of the Legion of Christ, discussed his experiences during the process and explained to reporters yesterday that the results of the Vatican investigation would soon be released.

Bishop Watty noted that he could not give full details of the visit, because, “I have to be very careful because the Holy Father is the one responsible for speaking and acting regarding the Visitation.”

The bishop continued his remarks by lamenting the double life of Father Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Commenting on the 43 communities he visited in Mexico and Central America during the investigation, Bishop Watty said that most of them “said they needed help.”

“Faced with this reality,” he added, “they felt discouraged, affected and hurt.” He said that the members “have slowly learned that the way in which Fr. Maciel lived and acted affected what he began, which is the work of the Legionaries and its associated movement, Regnum Christi.”

After interviewing 360 Legionaries, reading and reviewing numerous testimonies, and after meeting with Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, William Levada and Franc Rode, the prelate said that now “the Pope has five extensive reports to read, listen to and manage,” along with the team “he deems fit to put together.”

The Mexican prelate added that the five bishop visitors focused heavily on the person of Fr. Maciel during the investigation. Noting that the founder was a very troubled individual who caused “much” harm, Bishop Watty said that the apostolic visitors discovered in their findings “a very immoral person, who was not in accord with the Gospel, not even human dignity.”

“There’s nothing else we can say,” the bishop said. “The rest must be left to those who can study his personality, but that is how it looks –  that he affected the work he had begun. The positive aspects of his personality had an impact but so did the negative ones, and that is what the Church is concerned about right now.”

Bishop Watty said it was necessary to reach out to the victims of Maciel’s abuse, both inside and outside of the Legion.“This was how we felt, and the Pope was in agreement, as he has been courageously doing. In the name of the Church we must reach out to them.”

Regarding the leadership of the congregation, Bishop Watty asserted that the “entire structure of authority within the Congregation of the Legionaries needs to be rebuilt and made to be more in accord with way authority works in the Church, that is to say, more evangelical.” He also said in his comments that the Legion’s formation program also needs to be reviewed and revised. 

Bishop Watty’s complete comments can be heard in Spanish here:

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