Archive of June 5, 2010

Murdered bishop had 'big heart' and 'passion' for ministry, recalls Canadian prelate

Nelson, British Columbia, Jun 5, 2010 (CNA) - A friend of 30 years described Bishop Luigi Padovese, who was recently murdered in Turkey, as a scholarly man with “big heart” and a “passion” for his ministry within the country.

In an exclusive interview with CNA, Bishop John Corriveau of British Columbia recalled the life and work of the late Italian prelate and also warned against overgeneralizing the tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East, saying that the situation varies in each country.  

Bishop Luigi Padovese, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia, was reportedly stabbed to death in Iskendurun, Turkey on Thursday by his driver, who also served as his aide. According to Italy's ANSA news agency, Turkish police have detained the alleged killer and have not yet established a motive. The accused is said to be Muslim.

Bishop John Corriveau of Nelson, British Columbia, remembered his brother bishop as “a scholarly man” with a “particular passion” and devotion to Turkey, “the land of St. Paul.”

Speaking to CNA on Friday, he recalled meeting Bishop Padovese some 30 years ago in Rome, when the Italian prelate was named president of the Franciscan Institute.

“I knew him in that capacity as president of the Franciscan Institute in Rome,” Bishop Corriveau explained. The Italian bishop was “a very broadminded person, a very loving and trusting person – his faith opened him wide to the world,” he added.

When the Holy Father was seeking to appoint a shepherd within Turkey several years ago, Bishop Padovese “was a natural candidate when the Holy Father was looking for a vicar apostolic,” Bishop Corriveau noted.

“He knew the area well and certainly had a passion for it.”

Involved in a number of Vatican congregations, Bishop Padovese “was always a very active and inquiring man” with a “big heart” and a love for his ministry within Turkey.

In light of the Holy Father's current apostolic visit to Cyprus in the Middle East, some have speculated that the bishop's death might influence the papal trip. Pope Benedict clarified on the papal plane this morning that the recent event would not affect the theme of his visit nor change dialogue with Islam.

When asked to comment on the bishop's death in relation to the apostolic visit, Bishop Corriveau warned against overgeneralizing the tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East.

“Each country is different,” he emphasized, adding that “Turkey has been one of the easier places to work – there's relative freedom of movement and action” for Christians.

“Of course,” as Catholic leaders, “you have to work with great respect for Islam,” he added, but “the difficulty there I don't think is so much on an official level – the government is very tolerant.”

The difficulties that cause religious tensions, he explained, lie with “fanatical groups that are operative in the world.” These groups “can ignite passion in people that becomes very difficult to deal with” as well as “create a situation of some danger for Christians and in particular for high profile Christians,” he observed.

However, “I think particularly Bishop Luigi had reasonably good rapport” with those he worked with in Turkey. “He was also in dialogue groups and the like.”

In his concluding remarks describing Bishop Padovese, the Canadian prelate remembered the well-loved bishop as “open to every manifestation of goodness in the world.”

“He didn't live his faith in a partisan way – he lived his faith as the openness of the Gospel to the world. It was a beautiful quality in him.”

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New remote system to dispense abortion pill in Iowa draws fire from pro-life leaders

Des Moines, Iowa, Jun 5, 2010 (CNA) - A new remote-control abortion pill-dispensing system being used by Planned Parenthood in Iowa has come under fire from pro-life advocates who say the “telemed abortion” method kills unborn children, bypasses the doctor-patient relationship and risks the life and health of mothers.

“This is how far we have fallen. Drugs strong enough to kill and expel a baby are dispensed like aspirin,” commented Priests for Life President Fr. Frank Pavone in the National Catholic Register.

The remote system allows a Planned Parenthood physician from Des Moines to talk to each patient at another Planned Parenthood outlet by video conference, the Des Moines Register reports. The physician can then press a computer button to open a drawer in front of the patient to provide the abortion pills.
The physician, as many as 190 miles away from the patient, then remotely watches as she takes the first dose of the abortion drug.

Before the system is used, the prospective clinic patient who inquires about abortion is tested for pregnancy and given an ultrasound if pregnant. After counseling, patients are given information about the abortion pills and watch an eight-minute video about the drug and its possible side effects.

Patients are to return to the clinic two weeks after taking the drug for examination.

The Planned Parenthood video shows a re-enactment of a follow-up visit in which an actor in a white coat tells a woman portraying a patient “Well, you’re no longer pregnant.”

"That's great," the woman replies. "I really would like a baby sometime. But right now, we just can't afford it. I'm really glad we had this choice."

After watching the video, the prospective patient is asked whether she wants to obtain the drugs via the remote system. If she uses the system, the doctor goes over her medical history and discusses how the drugs work before sending the computer command to open the drawer with the abortion pills.

Pro-life advocates with Operation Rescue have filed a complaint with the Iowa Board of Medicine, saying the practice violates a state law requiring abortions to be performed by a physician.

"Clearly it's unsafe for the unborn baby, but I think it also puts the mother's life at risk," said Troy Newman, national president of Operation Rescue. "And it's illegal. That's the bottom line."

Planned Parenthood physician Dr. Tom Ross, who uses the system, told the Register that it “absolutely” fulfills his legal obligation to oversee the abortion. He said he is confident the state board will approve the system, charging that the objecting group wants to create roadblocks to abortion access.

Ross also said he and others hope more physicians will offer the abortion drugs, but few doctors want to do so. This reluctance is one motive for the new video conference system.

Planned Parenthood told the Register it had hired an independent researcher to survey 400 patients, half of whom used the system and half of whom had face-to-face meetings with a doctor. In the first group, 94 percent were “very satisfied” with the experience, compared to 88 percent in the latter group.

Fr. Frank Pavone said the remote system is evidence that “the abortion industry is frantically trying to make up for the lack of staff willing to perform abortions.”  “…doctors who have too much of a conscience to kill children with forceps are proving to have too much of a conscience to kill them with pills,” he wrote in the National Catholic Register, encouraging pro-lifers to “keep sounding the alarm.”

Another critic of the system was Abby Johnson, a former clinic director of a Texas Planned Parenthood affiliate who became pro-life after witnessing an abortion.

“Even when I was a 2008 Planned Parenthood ‘employee of the year,’ I thought this system sounded risky,” she wrote in an opinion piece in the Iowa Gazette.

She charged that Planned Parenthood is certain to downplay the risks because “abortion is the organization’s biggest moneymaker.”

The abortion pill RU-486 is “far from risk-free,” she commented, noting that at least six U.S. women have died from the pill in the past five years.

The teleconferencing scheme, in her view, “completely bypasses the foundational in-person, doctor-patient relationship that is necessary for real health care.” Noting the rural nature of many of Planned Parenthood’s Iowa facilities, she said it was “downright scary” to think of what will happen to women who suffer complications from the abortion drugs.

According to Johnson, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has spoken “glowingly” of the telemed abortions and has indicated plans to roll out the system nationwide.

Johnson closed her Gazette essay by calling on the Iowa Board of Medicine and the FDA to take immediate action to halt the telemed abortions, also urging Iowans to demand a stop to state taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.

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Mission trip shows NY youth a different world

Buffalo, N.Y., Jun 5, 2010 (CNA) - Koty Mann will never drink a Coke without thinking of the homeless. During a mission trip to Nicaragua, the 16-year-old saw a man living in a shelter built from Coca-Cola and Dasani vending machines. “It never leaves your heart; remembering all the people down there is like a slideshow that keeps going through your head,” he said.

Mann and 16 others from St. Gregory the Great Parish in Williamsville traveled to the city of Hogar Belen-Diriamba, where they stayed with Mustard Seed Communities, a non-profit organization that provides homes for abandoned and handicapped children in poor countries. “They’re kind of abandoned in their country because they’re more expensive to take care of for their parents, and the poverty there doesn’t allow their parents to take care of them,” said Tom Warner, 15.

The largest country in Central America, Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas. The economy is still recovering from a civil war that took place in the 1980s and a 1972 earthquake in the capital city of Managua.

During the mission trip, the crew helped build a new home for the growing number of children cared for by Mustard Seed. Without the use of modern tools they spent the better part of a week in April mixing concrete with shovels, moving cinder blocks, shoveling dirt, and tying wires around support poles. The new house will be home to 16 needy children.

Needy doesn’t begin to describe what the crew saw. During a day in Managua, they visited a dump where 3,000 lived in makeshift shelters built from sheet metal blankets, and in one case, discarded Coke machines.

“It helped me put things in perspective, to see how fortunate we really are,” said Warner. “It kind of made me want to live more simply. We really don’t need half the stuff that we have. They could use it so much more than we could.”

They also handed out food with a ministry called “Christ in the Garbage.”

“When we went to the dump, I couldn’t believe it was real, like it was their real life,” said Angela Miranda, 16. “It was hard for me to accept that this is what they had to go home to every day and they couldn’t fly off on a plane to what we have here.”

While in Managua they also hung out with kids aged 4-10 for an afternoon. Spanish is the language of the area, but some kids don’t speak at all. They managed to communicate through hand signs and gestures, and hugs. “They loves hugs,” said Miranda. “When we were working they would come over to us and try to play with us. So we would take breaks with them. There was one that would make us play fight in a ring that he drew in the dirt. He was a bundle of joy.”

Although they knew they were in for a week of hard work in the hot sun, they went anyway, partly as an answer to a calling and partly to see how others in the world live.

“I thought it would be a great experience to have, to put things in perspective. After you go down you know what it’s really like. I like to help people,” said Warner, who helps pack clothes and food and load trucks for Ann Marie Zon’s Nicaraguan mission. “It was cool to see the people I have been working all summer to help.”

Klara Chomicka, 17, signed up because she thought it would be cool to hang out with her friends for a week. “Before I went on this trip whenever I saw the statistics on poverty, I would read them and be sad, but it didn’t really affect me in any way. When I actually saw the people it really made me want to so something about it. I can see the kids’ faces and know whatever I do will make a difference.”

Despite the hard work coming home seemed to be harder than leaving.

“Everything at home seems almost insignificant,” said Pamela Meyerhofer, 18. “Things that were stressful and tough about daily life here, just seem pointless and dumb. There’s not the motivation to do those things that were stressful before. That was one of the hardest parts for me coming home, adjusting back into some sort of normalcy.”

Meyerhofer had the unique experience of celebrating her18th birthday on the way home from Nicaragua. “I loved doing that for my 18th birthday. I just think it’s the best way to show that I’ve grown up, as an adult, become more aware of the world and the way other people live,” she said.

In recent years, St. Greg’s has taken several mission trips through the United States, including New York City and New Orleans. This trip was designed to give the youth a view of the bigger world.

“I could speak for a whole year to these same kids about putting their faith into action and they’d look at me and say, ‘OK.’ As soon as you take them to a place like this, or New Orleans when Katrina came, all of a sudden they make a natural connection that somehow they have to learn how to live out their faith,” said Father Joseph Gatto, pastor of St. Greg’s, who chaperoned the trip along with Joe Chernowski, St. Greg’s youth minister and Msgr. Robert Zapfel, pastor of St. Leo Parish in Amherst.

Printed with permission from the Western New York Catholic, newspaper for the Diocese of Buffalo.

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Holy Father suggests that moral insight, courage needed in politics

Nicosia, Cyprus, Jun 5, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - After meeting privately at the presidential palace of Cyprus in the capital city of Nicosia with president Demetris Christofias, the Holy Father spoke to diplomats and civil authorities in the palace gardens. He emphasized the importance of “clear moral insight and courage” to their service for the common good.

The encounters with the president and public servants were the first on the schedule for the second day of the Holy Father’s Apostolic Journey to Cyprus, where he will be until Sunday afternoon.

Recalling the example of Archbishop Makarios III, who was elected the nation’s first president of 50 years ago, the Holy Father asked the government representatives to be “like him” in committing their public service to the good of society.

Indirectly referring to the political situation on the island of Cyprus, which has been divided into the Turkish Cypriot-governed North and the Greek Cypriot-governed South, the Pope observed that in “delicate political situations,” public servants can create “a much greater good for entire societies and peoples” through the exercise of truth, integrity and respect when relating to others.

From a religious perspective, the Pope explained, we are called as members of God’s “single human family” to “foster unity and to build a more just and fraternal world based on lasting values.”

He highlighted a lesson from the ancient Greek philosophers who taught that the common good “is served precisely by the influence of people endowed with clear moral insight and courage.” In this light, he offered suggestions to the gathering on how to pursue truth and “bring greater harmony to the troubled regions of the earth.”

The promotion of moral truth, he said, means “acting responsibly on the basis of factual knowledge, rising above the situation to obtain an objective and comprehensive vision. He said it also consists of “deconstructing political ideologies which would supplant the truth” and requires “a constant effort to base positive law upon the ethical principles of natural law.”

From the presidential palace, the Holy Father moved on to St. Maron elementary school, where he met members of the island’s Catholic communities.

The Holy Father's full remarks can be found here:

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Dialogue needed for trust, lasting peace, says Benedict XVI to minority Catholics in Cyprus

Nicosia, Cyprus, Jun 5, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - On Saturday morning, the Pope urged the people of Cyprus to build lasting peace and harmony based on mutual trust. Commenting on the “unique circumstances” of Catholics on the island nation, he encouraged their efforts towards full unity with Christians and continued dialogue with non-Christians.

The meeting between the Holy Father and members of the Maronite, Armenian and Latin Catholic traditions took place mid-morning on a beautiful day at St. Maron elementary school in the capital city of the Nicosia. Addresses were exchanged between Archbishop Youssef Soueif of the Maronites and the Pope.

In his words to the group, Pope Benedict XVI remembered the long tradition of the Church in Cyprus and told them that, as “Christ’s followers of today,” they continue to be called to bear witness in promoting “the Gospel values” of their predecessors.

In the “unique circumstances” of the Church in Cyprus, he said that they are given the ability to contribute to “the goal of Christian unity.” This objective, he added, along with the search for dialogue with non-Christians, is “an essential part of our Church’s life and mission.

Over 80 percent of the of the island’s inhabitants are Christian, the vast majority being Orthodox, while the Muslim population makes up 18 percent of the nearly 800,000 inhabitants.

Specifically speaking of inter-religious dialogue, the Pope noted on Saturday that “much still needs to be done throughout the world.

“This,” he pointed out, “is another area where Catholics in Cyprus often live in circumstances which afford them opportunities for right and prudent action. Only by patient work can mutual trust be built, the burden of history overcome, and the political and cultural differences between peoples become a motive to work for deeper understanding.”

He went on to urge them “to help create such mutual trust between Christians and non-Christians as a basis for building lasting peace and harmony between peoples of different religions, political regions and cultural backgrounds.”

Turning to the Year for Priests before closing, the Holy Father said that throughout the Year a new awareness has come about in the Church of the "need for good, holy and well-formed priests" and religious who are totally committed to Christ and evangelization.

A group of young people performed a choreographed routine for the group before the end of the morning, at which time the Pope parted for his meeting with the Orthodox Archbishop of All Cyprus Chrysostomos II.

The Pope's full address can be found here:

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Holy Land must be source of concern to all Christians, declares Pope

Nicosia, Cyprus, Jun 5, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Addressing the leader of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus at noon on Saturday, the Holy Father highlighted the importance of supporting the Churchs in the Middle East.

Pope Benedict XVI met on Saturday with His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus after having spoken earlier in the morning with the country's president, a group of diplomats and civil authorities and Catholic families at a school.

In his brief address in St. John's Cathedral, the Holy Father thanked the Orthodox Church for its continued commitment to dialogue towards full and visible communion. He prayed that the population of the island "will find the wisdom and strength needed" to settle unresolved issues, achieve peace and reconciliation from years of inter-religious and political conflict, and ensure that the rights, including the freedom of religion, of all.

Noting the traditional consideration of Cyprus as part of the Holy Land, the Pope observed that "the situation of continuing conflict in the Middle East must be a source of concern to all Christ’s followers.

"No one can remain indifferent to the need to support in every way possible the Christians of that troubled region, so that its ancient Churches can live in peace and flourish."

Highlighting the strong relations between the Churches during his address, Chrysostomos II said that the 21st century has represented an "age of dialogue, rapprochement and reconciliation," adding that the Orthodox Church of Cyprus has "decided to continue this meaningful path and full of peace because we are sure that this is our mission given to us by the will of God, full of goodness."

The Pontiff then expressed his hope in a future of ecumenical cooperation, and mutual efforts towards peace, reconciliation and stability between the island and the rest of the Holy Land. He parted by wishing "the joy of the Risen Christ" to the people of the country in Greek.

The Holy Father went on to visit the Icon Museum and other sites within the archdiocesan offices before attending a lunch with His Beatitude and returning to tye apostolic nunciature to rest before the afternoon Mass. 

Benedict XVI's full remarks can be found here:

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Benedict XVI offers ‘heartfelt condolences’ for murder of Bishop Padovese

Vatican City, Jun 5, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - On Saturday, a telegram was sent on behalf of the Holy Father expressing his sorrow for the death of Bishop Luigi Padovese. The prelate, who was the apostolic vicar of Anatolia, was murdered in the Turkish city of Iskanderun on Thursday.

The telegram, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, was sent to Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, apostolic nuncio to Turkey on Saturday.  It read: "Deeply saddened by the murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese, apostolic vicar of Anatolia, the Holy Father asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful of the Church in Turkey. He joins all of you in commending the noble soul of this beloved pastor to the infinite mercy of God our Father and in giving thanks for the selfless witness to the Gospel and resolute commitment to dialogue and reconciliation which characterized his priestly life and episcopal ministry.

The message concluded saying, “United with all who mourn Bishop Padovese in the hope which draws its certainty from the resurrection, His Holiness cordially imparts his apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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The cross offers ‘unlimited hope to our fallen world,’ teaches Holy Father in Cyprus

Nicosia, Cyprus, Jun 5, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - In his homily this afternoon in Cyprus, the Holy Father spoke of the world’s need for the “Cross of Christ,” and explained that it alone is capable of providing the “unlimited hope” that every human heart craves.

Pope Benedict began his homily in reference to the Cross of Christ, saying that while many wonder why Christians “celebrate an instrument of torture,” he explained, it is because of the death and resurrection of Christ that the cross also represents “the definitive triumph of God’s love over all the evil in the world.”

After briefly reflecting on man’s struggles in Salvation History, the Pontiff said that, “we see clearly that man cannot save himself from the consequences of his sin. … Only God can release him from his moral and physical enslavement. And because he loved the world so much, he sent his only-begotten Son, not to condemn the world – as justice seemed to demand – but so that through him the world might be saved.”

This makes the cross “something far greater and more mysterious than it at first appears,” he continued. “It is indeed an instrument of torture, suffering and defeat, but at the same time it expresses the complete transformation, the definitive reversal of these evils: that is what makes it the most eloquent symbol of hope that the world has ever seen. It speaks to all who suffer – the oppressed, the sick, the poor, the outcast, the victims of violence – and it offers them hope that God can transform their suffering into joy, their isolation into communion, their death into life. It offers unlimited hope to our fallen world.”

The Pontiff emphasized that the world needs the cross, adding that it is “not just a private symbol of devotion,” but it “speaks of hope, it speaks of love, it speaks of the victory of non-violence over oppression, it speaks of God raising up the lowly, empowering the weak, conquering division, and overcoming hatred with love.”

“A world without the cross would be a world without hope, a world in which torture and brutality would go unchecked, the weak would be exploited and greed would have the final word. Man’s inhumanity to man would be manifested in ever more horrific ways, and there would be no end to the vicious cycle of violence. Only the cross puts an end to it.”

Benedict XVI then explained that in proclaiming the Cross of Christ with our lives and works, we do not proclaim ourselves, but rather we proclaim Christ.  “We are not offering our own wisdom to the world, nor are we claiming any merit of our own, but we are acting as channels for his wisdom, his love, his saving merits. We know that we are merely earthenware vessels, and yet, astonishingly, we have been chosen to be heralds of the saving truth that the world needs to hear.”

The Holy Father then turned to the priests present at the Mass and asked them to reflect “on the words spoken to a newly ordained priest as the Bishop presents him with the chalice and paten: ‘Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross’."

As we proclaim the cross, the Pope continued, “let us always strive to imitate the selfless love of the one who offered himself for us on the altar of the cross, the one who is both priest and victim, the one in whose person we speak and act when we exercise the ministry that we have received. As we reflect on our shortcomings, individually and collectively, let us humbly acknowledge that we have merited the punishment that he, the innocent Lamb, suffered on our behalf. And if, in accordance with what we have deserved, we should have some share in Christ’s sufferings, let us rejoice because we will enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed.”

Benedict XVI spoke of the priests and religious communities that bear witness to the Cross of Christ in the Middle East: "Their presence alone is an eloquent expression of the Gospel of peace, the determination of the Good Shepherd to care for all the sheep, the Church’s unyielding commitment to dialogue, reconciliation and loving acceptance of the other. By embracing the cross that is held out to them, the priests and religious of the Middle East can truly radiate the hope that lies at the heart of the mystery we are celebrating in our liturgy today.

To read the Pope’s full homily, visit:

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