Vatican City, Oct 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI announced the theme of “One Human Family” as the message of the 97th World Day of Migrants and Refugees to be held in January. Echoed by other Vatican officials, the Pontiff stressed the importance of recognizing the “profound link between all human beings” and the need for the rights of all individuals to be protected.
"The World Day of Migrants and Refugees offers the whole Church an opportunity to reflect on a theme linked to the growing phenomenon of migration, to pray that hearts may open to Christian welcome and to the effort to increase in the world justice and charity, pillars on which to build an authentic and lasting peace,” wrote the Pontiff in his opening remarks on Oct. 26.
“All,” he continued, “belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches. It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.”
However, the Pope added, “States have the right to regulate migration flows and to defend their own frontiers, always guaranteeing the respect due to the dignity of each and every human person. Immigrants, moreover, have the duty to integrate into the host country, respecting its laws and its national identity.”
Addressing the situation of refugees and forced migrants, Pope Benedict said that “those who are forced to leave their homes or their country” should be “helped to find a place where they may live in peace and safety, where they may work and take on the rights and duties that exist in the country that welcomes them, contributing to the common good and without forgetting the religious dimension of life.”
At a press conference this morning announcing the Jan. 16 event, Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio – president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People – and secretary Fr. Gabriele Bentoglio stated that there are currently 15 million refugees in the world.
Fr. Bentoglio added that "the number of internally displaced persons, above all as relates to cases of violation of human rights, stands at around twenty-seven million.”
"The challenge," he said, "consists in creating areas of tolerance, hope, healing and protection, and in ensuring that these dramas and tragedies – too often experienced in the past and in the present – never happen again.”
On the inherent struggles within society in welcoming and assimilating individuals from other cultures, Archbishop Veglio noted that “the Holy Father's Message also reinforces the international community's perception of the importance of dialogue and promotes the recognition of human rights for everyone, combating new forms of racism and discrimination.”
Ultimately the objective, Fr. Bentoglio added, is "to guarantee refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons are given the concrete possibility to develop their human potential.”
Pope Benedict also emphasized in his message on human unity that that “the presence of the Church, as the People of God journeying through history among all the other peoples, is a source of trust and hope.”
“It is the Holy Eucharist in particular that constitutes, in the heart of the Church, an inexhaustible source of communion for the whole of humanity,” he underscored. “It is thanks to this that the People of God includes 'every nation, race, people, and tongue,' not with a sort of sacred power but with the superior service of charity.”
Washington D.C., Oct 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) launched a program of “review and renewal” on October 26, acknowledging mistakes and pledging to uphold “Catholic principles” in all future decisions.
The chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' CCHD subcommittee, Bishop Roger Morin, spoke to reporters in an Oct. 26 conference call. He was joined by the bishops' Executive Director for Justice, Peace and Human Development John Carr, and by CCHD director Ralph McCloud. They explained steps being taken to uphold Catholic morality while fighting poverty.
Bishop Morin stressed the importance of the campaign, which he said complements other forms of poverty relief and Catholic action. But he acknowledged that some of its funding choices and associations were made in error, and had caused some Catholics --including some bishops-- to question its work.
Critics have highlighted the campaign's history with groups promoting abortion and homosexuality. The campaign's new guidelines give priority to funding Catholic groups, while screening other recipients more rigorously.
CNA asked John Carr how the new approach would apply to difficult situations, when a choice might arise between achieving important goals with questionable partners, or taking a stand on Catholic “first principles” at the expense of certain worthwhile goals.
“That's not a hard choice,” Carr answered. “If good work is being done, but it's being done by a group that acts in conflict with Catholic social and moral teaching, then they can't have CCHD money.” He promised “a whole new set of tools,” including a new grant process, “to make sure that doesn't happen.” Carr also mentioned an increased oversight role for moral theologians, and a review board for difficult cases.
“We have to be very direct,” Carr emphasized. “A group which may do nice work in housing, but advocates same-sex marriage or federal funding for abortion, is ineligible for CCHD funds-- and if they were to engage in that activity, they wouldn't get it, or would be cut off.”
Bishop Morin agreed, saying the campaign could not become an agent of cooperation with evil in order to accomplish some degree of good. “You're either in, with, and totally committed to what it is that the Church teaches and preaches socially and morally-- or you're not in, and you're not eligible for funding,” the prelate stated.
Deal Hudson of InsideCatholic.com, who has criticized some of CCHD's collaborations, asked about the “tricky issue of coalitions,” citing situations in which a grant from CCHD could go to a collection of groups, some of which may work against the Church, in areas separate from the coalition's aim.
“The coalitions are a complicated area,” Carr said, noting that moral theologians and the planned review board would be offering assistance. He said that while CCHD-supported groups were encouraged to develop such connections, they were “not permitted” to join coalitions working against Church teaching.
He clarified that Catholic groups could join in coalition with groups that happened to hold objectionable positions, provided that the coalition did not serve those ends in any way. But Carr also acknowledged that “the question of scandal” should prevent coalition-building with particularly notorious groups such as Planned Parenthood, even if the coalition's aim was not controversial.
All of the campaign's spokesmen expressed hope that the campaign's new priorities and procedures would improve its effectiveness as an instrument for Catholic evangelization, as well as poverty relief. “CCHD is important not just for what it does,” they reiterated in a document summarizing the changes, “but for how it demonstrates who we are and what we believe.”
Ann Arbor, Mich., Oct 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - To accommodate their rapidly growing community, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist announced today that they will purchase the financially beleaguered John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. near the Catholic University of America.
The center, which was the brainchild of the now retired Archbishop of Detroit, Cardinal Adam Maida, has been beset by numerous financial difficulties over the years. Intended to be a museum and Catholic intellectual hub, the center borrowed heavily from the Archdiocese of Detroit, owing them $40 million as of 2006, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The Ann Arbor sisters have had a different problem as they’ve been unable to build facilities fast enough to house new members.
In an e-mail announcement on Oct. 26, the Dominican order wrote that their community “welcomed 22 aspirants in August of this year – a gift from the Lord that continues to call us to ongoing discernment of how to provide for the formation and education of the young women seeking to enter religious life.”
“In order to plan and care accordingly for these vocations, the Dominican Sisters of Mary,” the community is “in the inspection phase of a purchase and sale agreement to buy a building at 3900 Harewood Road, known to many as the JPII Cultural Center, near the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.”
“It is our hope to use this building as a House of Studies for the continuing education and formation of our Sisters.”
The Dominican sisters made headlines in February, when they made an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show – fielding questions regarding their vocation and discernment, their vows of poverty and chastity, and their life in community. Sister Maria Guadalupe Hallee, Director of Mission Advancement for the sisters, told CNA last March that since the show, almost all the feedback the sisters have received has been overwhelmingly positive.
Santiago, Chile, Oct 26, 2010 (CNA) - Some 80,000 young people joined in the 20th Youth Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Teresa of the Andes to thank God for the rescue of the 33 miners trapped for 69 days in the San Jose mine.
Thousands of young people gathered at 3 a.m. on Oct. 23 and began the nearly 17-mile journey to the shrine. By that evening, the pilgrims had assembled for a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz, Archbishop of Santiago.
In his homily, the cardinal said, “Today the gospel asks us to make Chile a table for all.” He remarked that Christ wants everyone to share at the “table he prepares” as equals.
“Because we have faith and believe in the Lord, we want to fulfill this desire, which is a demanding task that requires that we return to the foundations of our faith.”
Referring to the 33 rescued miners, Cardinal Errazuriz said that like them, young people ought to be capable of saying, “We are all okay in the refuge chamber, which is Christ.” “We must all carry out the task of rescuing each other from marginalization, overcoming difficulties of every kind, whether they be social, economic or racial.”
He encouraged them to look to St. Teresa of the Andes, Chile's first saint, as an example of achieving a profound encounter with Jesus Christ.
“Let us pray to little Teresa to intercede so that we can have such a personal encounter with the Lord, in order to be his collaborators in inviting our country to participate in this table for all,” the cardinal said.
Lima, Peru, Oct 26, 2010 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, noted this week that the family needs God in order to achieve authentic and comprehensive human development.
In his weekly radio program, Dialogue of Faith, the cardinal said, “Society must put the family first, maintaining unity with God and with each of its members.”
After underscoring that a greater understanding of the need for the family must be fostered, the cardinal exhorted parents to always be involved in the formation of their children. He explained that educating them in the faith is the best way for children to become close to God.
Cardinal Cipriani went on to stress the need to keep one’s eyes fixed on God, especially during the difficult moments of life. He also encouraged Catholics to fight against the “inferiority complex” that drives some away from the Church.
“If one is close to God, one strives to discover the good things that are around him. Being permanently close to God is like breathing. We don’t think about doing it, but if we don’t, we will die,” he concluded.
Rome, Italy, Oct 26, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - A parish in the Swiss city of Lucerne recently launched a controversial campaign to distribute condoms to young people. While local Church leaders have not officially responded, the neighboring Diocese of Chur has criticized the idea, calling it gravely irresponsible.
St. John parish in Lucerne—where the campaign has been launched—has already distributed more than 3,000 condoms in order to promote AIDS awareness. The condoms are being handed out to young people at the local train station.
Father Christoph Casetti, spokesman for the Diocese of Chur, said the campaign is irresponsible because it “sends the wrong message” about AIDS prevention. “From a medical point of view it is wrong because we now know that condoms do not offer adequate protection,” he stated.
The Diocese of Basel, in which the parish is located, said it would investigate. It has not yet issued any official statements.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke against the use of condoms in the prevention of AIDS last year. On a flight to Africa for his March 2009 papal visit, the Pontiff noted that “the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem.”
He further explained that the the best response to AIDS is to promote a spiritual and human renewal of people’s understanding of sexuality and to be willing to live true sacrificial friendships with those who suffer from the disease.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Oct 26, 2010 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, has called on the World Health Organization to send aid to Haiti to stop a recent outbreak of cholera in the country.
The cardinal explained that the situation in Haiti is grave—with over 250 who have died from the disease so far. He urged citizens of the Dominican Republic to show solidarity with their neighboring country.
As of Oct. 26, Haiti's Ministry of Health had confirmed 3,342 cases of cholera. Experts expect the number of cases to increase and spread to new areas of the country.
Dominican officials have mobilized to prevent the disease from spreading across the border and have put the entire country on alert.
Washington D.C., Oct 26, 2010 (CNA) - While media pundits have focused on economic issues as key in the 2010 U.S. elections, pro-life leaders say abortion is the “untold story” in politics this year. Pro-life concerns determined the victor in many primary races, while opposition to taxpayer-funded abortion in the health care bill is important to many voters.
Americans United for Life (AUL) vice president for communications Matthew Faraci said there is a “convergence” of economic and pro-life issues in the issue of taxpayer-funded abortion.
“Seven out of ten voters are opposed,” he told CNA, citing a Quinnipiac poll.
In his view, the Republican Party’s pledge to make permanent the Hyde Amendment restrictions on abortion funding makes the pro-life cause prominent “like it hasn’t been in a long time.”
The Susan B. Anthony List aims to play a role in dozens of races. SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser challenged the claim that economic issues are really the deciding factor in the election.
“The people that are saying that the loudest are pundits and folks inside the beltway and in the boardroom of major papers,” she commented. “(Political commentator) Dick Morris is usually a pretty brilliant guy, but he’s saying some pretty stupid stuff right now. And it shows to me that he just hasn’t looked at it very closely yet.”
“The truth is that economic issues are an overriding concern in every household in America, but it’s also true that people can think about more than one issue at a time, and so should leaders,” she told CNA. “This House of Representatives is likely to be among the most pro-life in history. That means it matters.”
Being the most pro-life primary candidate has been pivotal in states such as New Hampshire and California “of all places.”
“It’s the big untold story,” Dannenfelser said. “To have been pro-choice would have been a killer.”
Noting that record-high primary turnout should carry over into the general election, she claimed that the pro-life vote might be “decisive” in close elections.
She noted four Senate races could place pro-life women in the Senate: Carly Fiorina in California, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire. All are Republicans.
The SBA List is also seeking to achieve an “historic moment” of having strongly committed pro-life governors. It favors Arizona’s incumbent Gov. Jan Brewer, New Mexico’s Susan Martinez, Oklahoma’s Mary Fallin, and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley – again, all Republicans.
The pro-life group is also targeting pro-life Democrats who voted in favor of the health care legislation. This drew criticism from Kristen Day, president of Democrats for Life of America (DFLA).
Day said a majority of Americans believe in “the sanctity of life” and people are supporting pro-life beliefs even in times of economic distress.
“This is particularly true in areas where the citizens are naturally Democratic because of their values of economic fairness for everyone, such as Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania. That is why these areas are being targeted by the Republican Party with the aid of Republican pro-life groups which could cause pro-life advocates to lose some of our strongest voices within the Democratic Party.
“Good for Republicans, bad for the pro-life movement,” she told CNA.
Day said it was “vitally important” for Democratic pro-life congressmen to retain their seats so that the pro-life movement remains bipartisan and effective and does not become “a wedge issue to win elections.” She characterized 2010 as a “watershed year” because of the passage of the Pregnant Women Support Act and the health care legislation that guaranteed health insurance coverage for children and pregnant women while in her view prohibiting taxpayer funded abortion.
The SBA List holds that the health care legislation funds abortions. It is running billboards against pro-life Democrats characterizing their vote for health care as a vote for abortion funding. Backers of an Ohio congressman have filed a complaint in Ohio charging that the claim is false. As of Oct. 25, the claims against SBA List were allowed to move forward by federal judge Timothy Black.
Dannenfelser told CNA many of these candidates had initially agreed with the SBA List that adding pro-life restrictions to the bill was “the most important vote since Roe v. Wade.” They later changed their minds.
She claimed it was “politically impotent” to react to a vote for the health care bill by “politically rolling over and praying for breadcrumbs.”
“You don’t see unions behaving like that, you don’t see the NRA behaving like that. Any movement worth its salt doesn’t behave like that.”
Dannenfelser told CNA that Rep. Dan Lipinski, a pro-life Democrat from Illinois, should be the new standard-bearer for pro-lifers in his party. He resisted party leaders to vote against the health care legislation.
“He’s not someone who will cave at the last minute. We want to put wind behind his sails,” Dannenfelser said.
Faraci said that this election cycle is the first time AUL Action is participating. It plans to be “very focused” and “very effective” in its tactics. Its ads are active in twelve races, targeting candidates who “supported taxpayer funded abortion as established in the health care law” in districts where the life issue is of particular importance.
“A lot of them ran as pro-life,” he said of the candidates, commenting that claims that the law does not fund abortion are “just incorrect.”
Asked about the wisdom of targeting pro-life Democrats, he said that a bipartisan pro-life presence is “absolutely” necessary for the long-term success of the movement. However, he explained that AUL Action had made it clear to congressmen that the vote on the health care bill was “extremely important.”
“If they didn’t stick to their pro-life principles, we were going to hold them accountable,” Faraci commented. “I think you will find, after the mid-term elections, that life counts when it comes to elections.”
Kamloops, Canada, Oct 26, 2010 (CNA) - The Bishop of Kamloops, British Columbia, remains hospitalized after suffering severe head trauma in a beating at the rectory of Sacred Heart Cathedral on October 22.
Police arrested a 30-year-old man, suspected of breaking out of a psychiatric ward and making his way to the nearby cathedral, where he is thought to have assaulted the bishop with a blunt object.
Monsignor Jerry Desmond, Vicar General of the Diocese of Kamloops, told CNA that Bishop David Monroe was “resting comfortably” and showing signs of “healing” from his head injuries.
The monsignor reported that he had administered the Anointing of the Sick to Bishop Monroe immediately after his hospitalization in an emergency ward, and noted that the bishop was regaining “some recognition and some speech” after being released from emergency care to a “step-down” unit.
The vicar general confirmed earlier reports that the accused man did not know Bishop Monroe, and had “no distinct motive” for the attack he is suspected of committing. The local man was arrested three hours after police arrived at the cathedral. The suspect was found in a shed on his father's property, after he apparently swam across a freezing river.
The man's parents had committed him to a hospital during a “psychotic attack.” Police say he had escaped by breaking a hospital window during the night, before entering the rectory.
Commenting on Bishop Monroe's suspected assailant, Monsignor Desmond emphasized the man's clear mental instability, describing him as “obviously a very . . . disturbed individual,” and reflecting that there were “two people here who need healing, both the bishop and that person.”
The suspect was due to appear in court on Monday, October 25.
Washington D.C., Oct 26, 2010 (CNA) - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that it is sending a delegation to attend the opening of a new seminary in Havana, Cuba – the country’s first facility of its kind in more than 50 years.
The USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America will travel to Cuba November 3-6, for the opening of the new seminary located 30 miles outside of Havana. The building will be able to house 100 candidates for the priesthood.
John Paul II blessed the cornerstone of the seminary during his visit to Cuba in 1998. The construction has been financed by numerous international institutions, including the Knights of Columbus.
The USCCB delegation will be led by subcommittee member Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, as well as Fr. Andrew Small, National Collections Office director for the Church Latin America, and local clergy from the Archdiocese of Miami.
In addition to the inauguration of the seminary, the group will visit parishes and missions in Havana supported by the Collection for the Church in Latin America.