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Archive of July 28, 2010

Susan B. Anthony List targets California’s pro-life Hispanics in Senate race

Sacramento, Calif., Jul 28, 2010 (CNA) - The Susan B. Anthony List has launched a campaign effort to educate Hispanic voters about what it considers to be the pro-life qualifications of California U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said that Latino voters are an increasing percentage of voters and polls show an “overwhelming majority” of them consider themselves to be pro-life.

“We've been waiting for Carly Fiorina since the day Barbara Boxer was elected. Carly embraces and advances the rights of women and unborn children, following in the footsteps of the earliest women in politics. This is important to all Californians and especially to the Hispanic community," Dannenfelser commented in a Tuesday press release.

The Republican Fiorina’s Democratic opponent, Sen. Barbara Boxer has long been a leading advocate of permissive abortion laws.

The Susan B. Anthony List reported that the $100,000 effort will include a bus tour to predominantly Hispanic areas as well as a bilingual Google ad campaign targeting California Latino voters concentrated in eight congressional districts.

Organizers claim the Google ad campaign has the potential to reach three million Hispanic voters.

Fiorina’s campaign website describes her as pro-life and says she believes life begins at conception. It also cites her “A” rating from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). However, according to the Los Angeles Times, she supports legal abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when the mother’s life is endangered.

The candidate supports the death penalty. She considers border security a priority in addressing illegal immigration, while supporting an “effective” visa program and temporary worker program.

Fiorina’s website says she believes marriage is “between a man and a woman.” She reportedly supported Proposition 8, the ballot measure which restored the legal definition of marriage to be between a man and a woman.

Dannenfelser said that the Susan B. Anthony List’s efforts aim to help pro-life Latinos understand there is “no greater contrast” between Fiorina and Boxer, deeming the latter’s “pro-abortion agenda” to be “increasingly unpopular.”

"Paired with her consistently pro-abortion voting record, Boxer's support for the federal health care bill including taxpayer-funded abortion should tell Latino voters everything they need to know about which candidate does and does not represent their views," Dannenfelser added.

The Susan B. Anthony List’s effort is conducted in conjunction with the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles’ $1 million effort.

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Sainthood cause of ‘snowshoe priest’ heads to Vatican

Marquette, Mich., Jul 28, 2010 (CNA) - Following a four-month investigation, the Diocese of Marquette has closed its inquiry into an alleged miracle attributed to its first bishop, Servant of God Frederic Baraga, who is known as the “snowshoe priest.” The inquiry now proceeds to the Vatican for further consideration.

The alleged miracle concerns a reputed tumor found on a patient’s liver in various diagnostic tests. The patient, the patient’s family and their parish priest prayed for healing through the intercession of Bishop Baraga. Bishop Baraga’s stole was also placed on the patient’s abdomen, after which the patient’s pain ceased.

An exploratory surgery by doctors found no tumor, according to the diocese.

Bishop Baraga was born in Slovenia in 1797. He came to the United States in 1830 as a missionary to the Odawa and Ojibwa tribes of the upper Great Lakes region, traveling through the vast territory by canoe, boat, horse, snowshoes and dog sled. His Ojibwa-English dictionary is still in use today.

Consecrated a bishop in 1853, he served as the Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie, which would later be called the Diocese of Marquette. He died in 1868. The Bishop Baraga Association was established in 1930 to promote his cause for sainthood, which was officially opened in 1952.

The tribunal investigating the bishop’s alleged miracle collected medical documentation and interviewed witnesses, including doctors and medical personnel involved in the treatment.

The diocesan inquiry closed with a July 17 ceremony at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. Members of the canonical tribunal which examined the possible miracle signed papers attesting to their work and verifying the authenticity of the documents.

Further inquiry at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints will examine the tribunal’s work,  determine whether the event cannot be explained by science and whether it could be attributed to the intercession of Bishop Baraga. After reviewing a document detailing the bishop’s life and virtues, the congregation will then advise Pope Benedict about the cause.

The Pope will decide whether to bestow the title “Venerable” on Bishop Baraga, the Diocese of Marquette reports. If the miracle is verified and attributed to the bishop, the Pope will decide whether to beatify him. Another recognized miracle would be necessary for Bishop Baraga’s canonization.

The postulator of Bishop Baraga’s cause is Dr. Andrea Ambrosi of Rome.

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Canadian Anglican Catholic group votes to unite with Rome

Vancouver, Canada, Jul 28, 2010 (CNA) - With “overwhelming support,” a recent meeting of leaders in the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) voted to unite with the Roman Catholic Church through the Apostolic Constitution created by Pope Benedict XVI.

The ACCC, part of the Continuing Anglican Movement, is made up of more than two dozen congregations. Its Eighth Provincial Synod and Thirteenth Diocesan Synod were held simultaneously at the Rosemary Heights Retreat Center in Surrey, British Columbia.

The website VirtueOnline.org published a letter from Dean Shane B. Janzen detailing the event.

The meeting was attended by four ACCC bishops, including Bishop Peter Wilkinson, the communion’s Metropolitan and Ordinary. Archbishop John Hepworth, the Australia-based Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), was also present.

The discussion included the House of Clergy and the House of Laity and focused on the implementation of a proposed Canadian Anglican Catholic Ordinariate under the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus.”

Support for the Ordinariate was unanimous in the House of Clergy and received 25 of 30 votes from lay delegates, with two members opposing the proposal and three abstaining.

The synod then passed a resolution enabling Bishop Wilkinson, with the advice and consent of the Provincial Council, to enact the necessary canonical ordinances and rules to establish the Ordinariate.

The House of Clergy elected members of the Interim Governing Council, which nominated and elected Bishop Wilkinson as the first Bishop Ordinary of the proposed Ordinariate.

According to Dean Janzen’s letter, the Diocesan Council also made financial changes to ensure that the diocese’s restricted funds are protected from “any potential litigation.”

Dean Janzen wrote that the focus of the synod was “the worship and praise of Almighty God; the proclamation of Christ's saving Truth; and faithful witness to the faith, order and discipline to Christ's one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.”

He reported that attendees left with “a renewed sense of optimism for the future and a clear vision for the present.”

“With the overwhelming support of clergy and laity for unity with the See of Peter and the establishment of a Canadian Anglican Catholic Ordinariate, our Diocese is now able to move forward united, renewed, and hopeful,” his letter read, according to VirtueOnline.

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Lord Patten: Papal visit to UK might surprise critics

London, England, Jul 28, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) -

The importance of Great Britain's relationship with the Holy See could surprise critics during the papal visit there this fall. In spite of the complications in planning the joint state and pastoral visit, the U.K.'s special representative for the occasion is predicting it will be a "terrific success."

Speaking to Vatican Radio in an extensive interview, Lord Christopher Patten countered some of the criticism being batted around by the British media in the lead up to the Pope's visit to the U.K. in September.

Lord Patten told Vatican Radio, “I think at the outset, and this is no criticism, people had perhaps underestimated the complexity involved in fitting together the state visit aspect and the pastoral aspects as if they were a seamless whole.

"It's incomparably more difficult arranging the state visit of the Holy Father than arranging the state visit of even, I suspect, President Obama," he said, explaining that preparations for a visit from the president would not include hosting a hundred thousand people at an outdoor venue.

The most recent estimates put the number of attendees at the Sept. 19 beatification ceremony for Cardinal John Henry Newman in Birmingham at 70,000. An evening prayer ceremony in London's Hyde Park and a Mass in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park, are each expected to draw tens of thousands of people.

"The difficulties in getting all this together," Lord Patten added, "I think were a little underestimated, but now I think we’re on top of things."

He said that, between the pastoral and state aspects, the visit will provide a platform for the government to show just how much it has to talk about with the Catholic Church. He referred specifically to "the Millennium Development Goals, environmental protection, global equity and disarmament issues. On the domestic agenda, the two will be able to discuss ways to strengthen the relationship between faith groups.

"When we ‘parade’ the importance of this relationship," he concluded, "we will perhaps even surprise some people who have been critical of this visit in the first place.”

First among critics' concerns is the cost to taxpayers of organizing the trip and providing security. Lord Patten put the total public expense of the four-day trip somewhere between 15 and 19 million dollars, which, he said, should be considered in the context that around 30 million dollars was spent for the one-day G20 summit last year.

As for the economic activity generated by the Holy Father's short stay in the U.K., the Scotland Evening Times reported this week that city officials in Glasgow alone expect to benefit to the tune of over 14 million dollars. Half, they estimated, would come in cash and the remainder is possible gain from the worldwide exposure offered by international media covering the event.

Lord Patten told Vatican Radio that he's "absolutely confident" that all the arrangements put in place will serve to make the papal visit "a terrific success."

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Holy See and Russia establish full diplomatic ties

Vatican City, Jul 28, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Just under two weeks ago Russian officials accepted the credentials of Archbishop Antonio Mennini as the first papal nuncio to their country. The event ushers in a new era of full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Russian Federation.

The Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano (LOR) newspaper reported that Foreign Affairs minister Sergei Lavrov met with Archbishop Mennini on July 15 in Moscow to seal full diplomatic relations, which Pope Benedict XVI and president Dmitry Medvedev had agreed to last December. Just a month ago, on June 26, the Holy See accepted the credentials of Mr. Nikolai Sadlichov as ambassador from Russia.

The Russian vice minister for foreign affairs, Alexandr Krusko, welcomed the nuncio on behalf of President Dmitry Medvedev and highlighted the increasing "spirit of harmony and cooperation" between the Holy See and Russia in recent years, according to LOR.

The Vatican paper added that "the vice minister hoped for an even more fruitful collaboration on the great moral and ethical challenges that are posed to man today."

During the ceremony, Archbishop Mennini assured his dedication to the strengthening of relations between the two sides and his commitment to the "spiritual and moral growth of the people of Russia."

The Holy See and Russia have maintained limited diplomatic relations since 1990, after the fall of the USSR, but had not formally exchanged ambassadors until now. The decision was made on Dec. 3, 2009, when, after meeting with the Pope at the Vatican, President Medvedev asked his Foreign Affairs department to pursue full diplomatic ties for the first time.

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Chilean bishop reaffirms Church’s commitment to defending human rights

Santiago, Chile, Jul 28, 2010 (CNA) - The president of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Alejandro Goic, remarked this week that the Church will always defend human rights because part of her mission is the protection of human dignity.

The bishop made his statements after meeting with family members of executed political prisoners and dissidents who were detained and went missing.  “For this reason,” Bishop Goic explained, “in the past, the Church defended human rights, as she does today and will continue to do so as long as she exists.

Asked why he had not met with the family members before, the bishop said it was not because of any “ill will.”  He added that the bishops “have been pleased to meet with them and listen to their petitions, longings and concerns.”

Bishop Goic also expressed his appreciation for Chilean President Sebastian Pinera’s decision to reform the country’s prison conditions.

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Church in Latin America urges faithful to remember Haitian earthquake victims

Port au Prince, Haiti, Jul 28, 2010 (CNA) - Bishops in Latin America and the Caribbean have expressed solidarity with Archbishop Louis Kebreau, the president of the Haitian Bishops’ Conference, and have called for continued assistance to the country, which is still suffering from the January 12 earthquake.

“We cannot forget this brother country, to which we manifest our solidarity and closeness once again. We must look forward together with them,” the bishops said after a meeting convened by the Church in Haiti.

They added that the Social Observatory of the Latin American Bishops’ Council will be the go-between for the region’s bishops’ conferences, in order to move forward with a second wave of aid. 

“We recognize that the pilgrim Church of Haiti encourages us to walk with hope in order to discover God’s plan in this tragic and challenging incident and to grow as a missionary Church in communion,” the bishops said in their statement.

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Ariz. Catholic bishops praise ruling against immigration law measures

Phoenix, Ariz., Jul 28, 2010 (CNA) - After a federal judge blocked certain parts of the controversial Arizona immigration law – which is slated to go into effect tomorrow – the Catholic bishops of Arizona lauded the move, saying they “commend” the judge for prohibiting the “more problematic provisions” of the law.

The immigration law, otherwise known as SB 1070, has been a source of contention and debate among citizens across the U.S. because of media reports that the law made it a crime to be in the state illegally and allowed police to arrest and question suspected individuals about their status without a warrant. The law also reportedly criminalized transporting illegal immigrants anywhere in Arizona, even if by family members.

The Associated Press (AP) reported on July 28 that one day before SB 1070 took effect, Federal Judge Susan Bolton blocked the more controversial aspects of the law, such as sections that required officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws. The judge also removed mandates that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times and others that made it illegal for undocumented workers to seek employment in public places. Bolton additionally prevented officers without warrants from making arrests of suspected illegal immigrants.

In a statement provided to CNA by Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, the Arizona bishops said that they “commend Judge Susan Bolton for enjoining some of the more problematic provisions of SB 1070,” and “ hope that reaction to her ruling will be expressed only in peaceful and legal ways.” 

“The bishops are very pleased with the ruling today,” Johnson told CNA by phone on Wednesday. Now that the laws most “problematic” aspects have been “set aside,” he added, “we will continue to watch how the rest of the bill is implemented and also continue to push for what is ultimately needed, and that's immigration reform on the federal level of a more comprehensive nature.”

Continuing in their joint statement, the Arizona bishops lamented the country's “broken immigration system” and and called for renewed efforts in policy reform.

“The tragic consequences of the failure of our nation’s political leadership to enact reform of our immigration system have included the deaths of thousands of people,” they said. “Migrants – women, men, children in desperate circumstances – have died trying to enter our country.”

“U.S. citizens have died because of crimes committed by drug smugglers, people smugglers and weapons smugglers,” the border state's bishops added. “We pray for those who have died and for their grieving families.” 

“And we pray that our senators and representatives will put aside their partisan divisions and go to work immediately to fix the broken immigration system.”

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New Academy for Life head blasts Spanish president for abortion law

Rome, Italy, Jul 28, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The new Spanish law which could make abortions a "right" for young girls was deemed senseless by the new head of the Pontifical Academy for Life. The man leading the government that passed the law, President Zapatero, is "incapable of understanding what a right is," he said.

In an interview with Il Consultente Re, an Italian Catholic monthly, the new Pontifical Academy for Life president Msgr. Ignacio Carrasco addressed the legislation recently passed in Spain under the administration of President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The law, allowing girls 16 years-old and above to abort their children up to the 14th week without obtaining parental permission, was passed by the Zapatero government on July 5 of this year.

Msgr. Carrasco called the law "senseless, absolutely senseless" and added that "it corresponds to Zapatero's mentality.

"He has a fixed idea, the question of rights," the monsignor asserted. "Everything presented to him as a right, he promotes; but he's uncapable of understanding what a right is."

The head of the Academy for Life noted that the law has not yet been enacted, despite the Spanish government's vote to pass it into law. The law is now being examined as to its constitutionality by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

"The point," said Msgr. Carrasco, "is that the new law understands abortion as a right: if it is, a woman can decide to do what she wants, without consulting or explaining her choice to anyone.

"The new law, I repeat, is an expression of the incapacity to understand what a right is. The problem is serious, not only in Spain."

He explained that this decision illustrates an increasing tendency to "subtlely introduce the doctrine of absolute individual rights in the doctor-patient relationship: the doctor with his ethics and directions begins to give way to the judge ... "

It's a development, he said, that "for me is very unnerving, as it would also mean the twisting of medicine."

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Peruvian archbishop addresses need for virtuous people to transform society

Lima, Peru, Jul 28, 2010 (CNA) - Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura celebrated Mass on Sunday to mark the 189th anniversary of Peru’s independence. The prelate urged the faithful to overcome their selfishness and remarked that Peru needs “virtuous men and women” who “seek the truth, the good and live in love.”

The archbishop made his statements on July 25 at the Basilica of Piura in celebration of the country’s Independence Day on July 28.

He noted that the conflicts, protests and complaints coming from some in the country are result of “losing sight of Peru as a whole.” “We all form part of Peru, whether we live on the coast, in the mountains or in the rainforest.  While there are many ways to be a Peruvian, there is only one Peru and we are all indebted to her and we must work for her greatness,” he said.

The archbishop encouraged Peruvians to overcome their selfishness and particular local or partisan differences. He said country needs the formation of “virtuous men and women at all levels of society who are not involved in shady activities or evil behavior, but rather who seek the truth, the good and live in love.”

He then called for the upcoming elections to take place in a climate of respect and civility, noting the importance of defending the unborn.

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Cardinal Newman and Pope Benedict share fight against relativism, writes Vatican expert

Vatican City, Jul 28, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Similarities between the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal John Henry Newman are detailed in Wednesday's edition of Il Foglio. According to the author, at least one major element unites their thought - their aversion to a relativistic society.

Vatican expert Paolo Rodari examines the Pope's interest in the soon-to-be beatified English cardinal in an article titled, "The fight against relativism of B-XVI is the same as Newman's one hundred years ago."

The Il Foglio writer refers to the argument of Msgr. Roderick Strange, who in his "spiritual biography" of Cardinal Newman, illustrates a moment when then-Cardinal Ratzinger showed a "bond" with the founder of the Birmingham Oratory.

Holding the floor before the College of Cardinals on the eve of the papal enclave in which he was elected in 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger spoke of the "dictatorship of relativism" threatening the world, in which nothing is definite and the only thing that remains is "oneself and one's desires."

This, wrote Msgr. Strange, is a "not necessarily coincidental" link to Cardinal Newman's own premise of a "simply non religious world."

Relativism, explained Rodari, represents a "threat" for the Pope, "because when truth is abandoned, freedom is also left behind... and it slides towards totalitarianism."

In his book on Newman, Msgr. Strange goes on to describe a further occasion for comparison, when at a conference for the 100th anniversary of Cardinal Newman's death, "Ratzinger makes reference to the link between truth and personal conscience."

Newman, pointed out Cardinal Ratzinger, "taught that the conscience must be nourished as a way of obedience to objective truth.

"And Newman's entire life witnesses that conviction," he said.

So, continued Msgr. Strange, during World War II, the future Pope "experienced what Newman had predicted: the consequences of when revealed religion is not recognized as true (and) objective, but is considered as something private from which the people might choose for themselves whatever they like."

Newman, concluded Rodari, went "straight to the heart" of the issue when, on being named cardinal in 1879, said "Religious liberalism is the doctrine according to which there doesn't exist any positive truth in the religious field, but that any creed is as good as any other; and this is the doctrine that, day after day, is acquiring consistency and vigor.

"This position is incompatible with every recognition of a religion as true."

And, as this worried Cardinal Newman, it also "worries Ratzinger today," concluded Rodari.

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Judge rules against Christian banned from Eastern Michigan counseling program

Grand Rapids, Mich., Jul 28, 2010 (CNA) - Attorneys of the Alliance Defence Fund (ADF) are preparing to appeal a federal judge's decision that a Christian student's beliefs about homosexuality were an acceptable grounds for her dismissal from a graduate program in counseling at Eastern Michigan University.

Julea Ward enrolled in the university's counseling practicum course in January 2009, and was assigned to a client who sought assistance with a homosexual relationship. Ward considered herself unable to assist the client under the circumstances, due to her own moral and religious beliefs, and was advised by her supervisor to reassign the client.

Eastern Michigan University, however, responded to the situation by initiating disciplinary procedures against Ward, involving a “remediation” program. According to ADF, the “remediation” amounted to an ultimatum: Ward would either “see the error of her ways” and change her beliefs about sexual morality in order to encourage her clients in same-sex relationships, or be dismissed from the counseling program.

The university argued that she broke both school policy and the American Counseling Association code of ethics.

But Ward maintained that faculty members questioned her in an “inappropriate and intrusive” manner regarding her Christian faith before formally expelling her from the program. She appealed to the dean of EMU's College of Education, who upheld the decision. In April 2009, with the assistance of ADF, she brought a lawsuit against the university.

In March of this year, a district court in Michigan ruled that those professors responsible for Ward's expulsion could be held liable for discriminatory actions against her. This week, however, the court issued a summary judgment in favor of the EMU professors.

ADF maintains that the university's policy is both personally discriminatory and legally unconstitutional. The professors' real aim, they say, was “to make all students conform to the views promoted within their schools” on “some of the most important and controversial social and moral issues of our day.”

David French, senior counsel for the ADF's regional center in Tennessee and an attorney for Julea Ward, said that the academic freedom and constitutional rights of his client and others were at risk in the wake of Monday's decision. “Christian students,” he said, “shouldn't be expelled for holding to and abiding by their beliefs.”

French also stressed the unprecedented nature of the court's summary judgment. “To reach its decision, the court had to do something that's never been done in federal court: uphold an extremely broad and vague university speech code.”

Additionally, he pointed out that Ms. Ward had not personally refused the client her assistance, but merely followed the advice of her supervisor as to how her dilemma should be resolved.

Declaring his intention to move forward with an appeal, Mr. French expressed his confidence on Tuesday that his client would be vindicated. “We trust,” he said, that “the Sixth Circuit will understand the constitutional issues involved in this case.”

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