Madrid, Spain, Oct 12, 2010 (CNA) - A Spanish pro-life leader is calling for the government’s Equality Minister Bibiana Aido to resign after she claimed that abortion is “not the taking of a human life” because there is no scientific consensus on when life begins or what human life means.
Dr. Gador Joya, a specialist in pediatrics and spokesperson for the organization Right to Life, called Aido’s remarks “foolish” and said they are “not only refuted by scientific reason,” but also by Spain’s constitution.
“It is scientifically indisputable that human life begins at the moment of fertilization,” she said.
Under Spanish law, abortions are illegal after the unborn child has reached 14 weeks of age. Aido has previously asserted that an unborn child prior to 14 weeks of age is “a living being, but not a human being.”
Joya said it makes no scientific sense to claim that an unborn child suddenly becomes “human” at 14 weeks. Each time Aido “kicks science, children die,” she added.
On Oct. 6, in a written response to questions from Rep. Carlos Salvador of Spain’s Congress of Deputies, Aido asserted: “Abortion is not the taking of a human life because there is no unanimous opinion or scientific evidence about the concept of human being, since by human life we mean a complex concept based on philosophical, moral and social ideas that are definitely subject to personal opinion or preferences.”
According to Joya, this response shows an ignorance of scientific fact and also the willingness of the Spain’s socialist government to destroy innocent life “under the cover of lies.”
Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Oct 12, 2010 (CNA) - Reaction to the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Medicine to Robert Edwards ignored that the true agenda of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) includes hubris towards human life and the dominance of scientists over society, a Scottish columnist has argued.
While some have attacked the Catholic Church’s criticism of the Nobel Committee, Gerald Warner said in The Scotsman, the Church’s reaction was “no more aggressive” than the professor’s own comments.
According to Warner, the IVF pioneer Edwards has said of his work: “I wanted to find out exactly who was in charge, whether it was God Himself or whether it was scientists in the laboratory - It was us! The Pope looked totally stupid.”
“That hubristic claim revealed the true IVF agenda, which was not primarily to assist childless couples,” Warner charged. “Above all, it was about the right of scientists to dominate society with a dehumanizing technology which nobody must presume to constrain.”
The columnist said that no critics have stopped to ask why the Church condemns IVF. According to Warner, the Church accepts the “scientific principle recognized since 1883” that a human being comes into existence at the moment of fertilization.
“That confers an inviolable right to life,” he continued, noting Catholic teaching that IVF wrongly separates the unitive and procreative purposes of marriage.
“(I)n practical terms it has killed millions of human embryos,” Warner said of the procedure. In his view, a development of immense moral implications has been allowed “without serious debate.”
Deeming the record of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to be “appalling,” he said it has worked opposite to its purpose of protecting the special status of the human embryo and has never refused a research license.
“(I)t might as well have never existed,” Warner wrote, noting that it is about to be abolished and replaced by the Care Quality Commission with possibly “even less oversight of this morally acute area.”
Ottawa, Canada, Oct 12, 2010 (CNA) - Ottawa police arrested five people on trespassing charges for attempting to display graphic posters of abortion at Carleton University after the university administration turned down the students’ display application.
Four Carleton students, members of the group Carleton Lifeline, and one other supporter were arrested on trespassing charges on Oct. 4. They tried to display posters from the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) on the heavily used campus square called the Tory Quad.
The four-by-eight-feet posters show bloody images of aborted fetuses with images from the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide. They were confiscated and given to police as evidence.
Carleton spokesman James MacDonald told the National Post that no students are allowed to set up displays on that area of campus. He said the graphic nature of the photos was another reason for rejecting the application.
He said that the university offered the students an alternative space where interested students could go to see the posters.
Carleton Lifeline president Ruth Lobo, one of those arrested, said the alternative site was lightly traveled and “like a tomb.” She justified the posters on the grounds that the abortion debate is meaningless without specific images.
“No one really understands the debate until they see consequences of abortion. The university is supposed to be a place of free ideas,” she told the National Post.
She also cited Time Magazine’s recent photo of an 18-year-old woman whose nose and ears were cut off by the Taliban to show the atrocities in Afghanistan.
MacDonald told The Charlatan that the pro-life advocates indicated to police that “they wouldn’t respect the fact that we told them they didn’t have permission to set up in the quad.”
Rebecca Richmond, a member of the National Campus Life Network present during the arrests, said she was concerned with what she saw, calling the arrests “a message of discrimination that goes across the country.”
For his part, fourth-year Carleton student Scott Bacon called the attempts to relocate the display “insulting” and the arrests “a sad day for Carleton.” He had remained on the scene amid the arrests and continued to hand out pro-life pamphlets.
The students’ lawyer, Albertos Polizogopoulos, said they feel their application was refused “simply because their opinions are unpopular.”
“They believe the university has acted outside of their own policies” against discrimination and in favor of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas.
“This is not a case of pro-life versus pro-choice; this is a free speech issue,” he told the National Post.
The Charlatan reports that those arrested face a $65 fine.
Another case of pro-life students displaying GAP posters is ongoing at the University of Calgary. Eight students were charged with trespassing but the Crown declined to prosecute. They have appealed a school ruling that they are guilty of non-academic misconduct.
Vatican City, Oct 12, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Vicenza as the new Archbishop of Turin. The appointment makes Archbishop Nosiglia the new custodian of the Shroud of Turin. He will succeed Cardinal Severino Poletto, who submitted his resignation upon reaching the retirement age of 75.
The new Archbishop of Turin was born on October 5, 1944 in Rossiglione, Italy in the Diocese of Acqui. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1968 and was named Auxiliary Bishop of Rome on July 6, 1991. He was ordained a bishop on December 14 of the same year.
On October 6, 2003 he was transferred to the Diocese of Vicenza. Among the posts he has held are president of the National Council of Catholic Schools, president of the International Organization of Catholic Education, delegate of the Council of European Bishops of Europe for Catechesis and Campus Ministry.
He is currently the vice president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, a post he has held since May of this year.
Santiago, Chile, Oct 12, 2010 (CNA) - As rescuers prepared to extract one-by-one the 33 miners trapped in the San Jose Mine in Chile, the president of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic, encouraged believers to intensify their prayers for the success of the rescue operation, which will begin Oct. 13.
Bishop Goic encouraged the faithful to attend the prayer vigils and special Masses scheduled to be held at churches across the country.
“This is an opportune moment for the entire Church to unite in this prayer of faith and hope,” he said.
Havana, Cuba, Oct 12, 2010 (CNA/Europa Press) - The Archdiocese of Havana announced Oct. 9 that three more political prisoners will be released shortly by Cuba’s communist government.
The prisoner releases are the result of an ongoing mediation effort being carried out by Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino of Havana and Spain’s Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos.
Those to be released are: Ciro Perez Santana, sentenced to 20 years and imprisoned since 1994, along with Arturo Suarez Ramos, who has completed 22 of his 30 year sentence, and Rolando Jimenez Posada, who was sentenced to 12 years on April 25, 2003.
With their release, a total of 42 out of the 52 political prisoners promised freedom by President Raul Castro will be have been sent to Spain. The 52 had been identified by Amnesty International as “prisoners of conscience.”
Vatican City, Oct 12, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The survival of the Christian minority and the need for greater missionary zeal in the region were among the key topics to emerge from the initial sessions of the special Synod for Bishops on the Middle East.
Coptic Bishop Yohannes Zakaria of Luxor, Egypt warned that the tiny Christian minority "is fighting against the danger of its own decline.”
He said the Church in the region must renew its commitment and its enthusiasm for mission.
Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour of Haifa, Israel said that Christians in the region face daily threats from governments that want to expel them from the land.
Christians of the Middle East, he said, have been both "condemned and privileged to share oppression, persecution and suffering with Christ.”
"He is risen," the archbishop said, "but his cross is still high in our sky. Our Christianity is still hanging on that terrible cross."
Archbishop Chacour appealed for greater solidarity with the persecuted Church in the region. Christians in the West must remember that the Church in the Middle East is more than just the “holy places” of Christian antiquity. The Church there is also “the living stones” of the present day Christian communities.
“Being the archbishop of the largest Catholic Church in the Holy Land, the Melkite Catholic Church, I insistently invite you and plead with the Holy Father to give even more attention to the living stones of the Holy Land. …We want to stay where we are, we need your friendship more than your money.”
The Oct. 10-24 synod was called by Pope Benedict XVI following his 2009 pilgrimage to Jordan, Israel and Palestine in order to encourage and strengthen the Church in the Middle East.
Vatican City, Oct 12, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Catholic immigrants from Middle Eastern countries often come to the West harboring prejudices against Jews and Muslims, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles told a special assembly of the world’s bishops Oct. 11.
“Often Middle Eastern Christians come to North America with attitudes and opinions toward both Muslims and Jews that are not in keeping with the Gospel or with the strides we have made in the Church’s relations with other religions,” Cardinal Mahony said in an address to the Vatican Synod of Bishops for the Middle East.
Cardinal Mahony said that in Los Angeles, Catholics must live “‘up close’ with peoples of many different faiths.” That requires sensitivity on the part of immigrants and, more importantly, a willingness to forgive.
“I have found that the biggest challenge we face with our immigrant peoples -- whether they be Middle Eastern Catholics or Vietnamese Catholics who have fled their country for southern California, or Cubans who have fled Cuba for the Miami shores -- is … to help them respond to the grace of giving witness to the Gospel by forgiving those enemies who quite often are the principal reason for their leaving their homeland to find peace and justice on our shores,” Cardinal Mahony said.
Acknowledging “the hemorrhaging of Christians from the Middle East” caused by warfare and economic insecurity, the cardinal said these immigrants should be challenged to correct their “erroneous beliefs” and to be an example to Christians in their homelands.
“Although they may not want to hear it, Christians living in the Middle East and emigrating to the West need to be challenged to be a sign of reconciliation and peace,” he said.
In his 25 years in Los Angeles, the cardinal said the archdiocese has continued to welcome Assyrian-Chaldean, Coptic, Greek Melkite, Maronite, and Syriac Catholics, often providing them with financial assistance and support in establishing parishes, schools, and cultural institutions.
Although he encourages these Eastern Catholics "to be themselves,” and maintain their attachment to their baptismal communities, he said that unfortunately, “many Eastern Catholics coming from the Middle East do not do this and simply become Roman Catholic.”
More must be done to promote the distinct identity of Eastern Catholics immigrating to the United States, the cardinal emphasized.
For instance, many Eastern Catholic churches admit infants to the Eucharist beginning with baptism. However, when these Eastern Catholics attend Roman Catholic Masses, their children are often refused Communion because of their age.
The cardinal urged “greater sensitivity to very practical matters” of catechesis and pastoral care.
Cardinal Mahony made his remarks on the second day of the Oct. 10-24 synod, which has gathered 185 bishops from around the world to discuss the future of the Church in the Middle East. He is one of 12 bishops from the United States and Canada participating in the synod.
Vatican City, Oct 12, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The new Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization was unveiled at a press conference at the Vatican Oct. 12.
Pope Benedict XVI has created the new Vatican office to address the growing problem of secularization and the “eclipse of God” in the nations of Europe and the West.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the new office, presented a letter from Pope Benedict outlining its mandate.
According to the Pope, the Church faces a new challenge today in its mission of evangelization. That is the “phenomenon of the detachment from the faith, that has progressively manifested itself in societies and cultures that for centuries appeared to be impregnated by the Gospel.”
In his letter, the Pope described a religious landscape in the once-Christian West that is now characterized by a kind of practical atheism, where "economic well-being and consumerism ... inspire and sustain a life lived 'as if God did not exist.'"
In addition to widespread attitudes of indifference to religion, he also noted that in some places deliberate efforts are being made at "uprooting" the historic Christian faith.
In countries where ancient Christian traditions are threatened with eclipse, the Pope said, “only a new evangelization can ensure the growth of a clear and profound faith, capable of making of these traditions a force of true freedom."
To aid this new evangelization, the new pontifical office, known as a dicastery, will work with local bishops to promote missionary initiatives. The Pope stressed the need to find creative new ways to use communications media and to promote the Catechism of the Catholic Church as the "essential and complete formulation of the content of the faith for the men of our time."
Opposing the secularization and “de-Christianization” of the West has long been a deep concern of the Pope.
In a letter he sent to the world’s bishops in March 2009, Pope Benedict wrote that “the supreme and fundamental priority of the Church and of the Successor of Peter at the present time” is "to lead men and women to God."
"In our days," the Pope explained, "when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God.”
In first announcing his plans for the new pontifical council at a vespers service, June 28, the Pope said that in the West, “Churches with an ancient foundation … are experiencing the progressive secularization of society and a sort of ‘eclipse of the sense of God,’ which pose a challenge to finding appropriate to propose anew the perennial truth of Christ's Gospel.”
In selecting Archbishop Fisichella to head the new office, the Pope has chosen a moral theologian with a longstanding concern for the Church’s engagement with the modern world. Archbishop Fisichella is said to have collaborated with the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the drafting of “Fides et Ratio” (“Faith and Reason”), Pope John Paul II’s 1998 encyclical letter on philosophy. Most recently, he served as head of the Pontifical Academy of Life.
Benedict established the office by a document known as a moto proprio (Latin for “of his own accord”). His apostolic letter establishing the office is entitled “Ubicumque et Semper (Everywhere and Always)."
"The Church has the duty to announce always and everywhere the Gospel of Jesus Christ," the letter begins. The "evangelizing mission," he adds is a continuation of Jesus' will and "is necessary and insubstitutible for the Church, an expression of its very nature."