Madrid, Spain, Jul 30, 2012 (CNA/Europa Press) -
The spokeswoman for Spain's Right to Life group has urged the country to recognize that a proposal to outlaw abortion in cases of fetal handicaps shows that the procedure should be “completely” abolished.
In a statement issued on July 26, Gador Joya said the organization agrees with “the basis and the logic” of a proposal made by the Minister of Justice Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon to prohibit abortion in cases of fetal handicaps.
In her opinion, she added, it “inevitably leads to the complete abolition” of abortion.
Abortion in such cases amounts to “discrimination against handicapped human beings. To protect their right to life is a fundamental ethical and juridical principle that, nonetheless, continues to be violated in many countries,” Joya said.
“The argument of non-discrimination implies that every human life should be protected, not only those of persons who are handicapped.”
Joya said the announcement by the Justice Minister has made the promoters of abortion “nervous,” because they know that abortion for reasons of fetal handicaps is “the most shameful” example of this practice.
For this reason, she underscored, Ruiz-Gallardon “should not stop here.” He should move now on expanding the proposal beyond just abortion in cases of fetal handicaps and the requirement for parental consent.
Rome, Italy, Jul 30, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) -
The Church in Pakistan said that all of the efforts to prevent the execution of Catholic mother Asia Bibi requires prudence on the part of her defenders.
According to Gaudium Press, the director of the National Committee on Justice and Peace of the Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, Father Emannuel Yousaf Mani, said the concern about the international campaigns to help Bibi is understandable.
“But the life of this woman is very important to us, and we will do nothing to endanger her life...We should wait in silence for the Court to hear her appeal.”
Bibi's case gained worldwide attention in 2010 when she was condemned to death for allegedly violating Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which state that anyone who offends Islam will be hanged. Critics say the country's blasphemy laws are often unjust and have become a tool for abusing religious minorities as well as vengeance between Muslims.
Bibi is still awaiting a ruling on the appeal of her death sentence and has been moved to an isolated cell without any windows, sink or toilet because of Muslim threats against her life.
Fr. Yousaf said that caution on the part of the Church in Pakistan arises from concerns that those who “pressured for an indult in favor of Bibi ended up being killed by Muslim extremists.”
A “pardon amidst a climate of contentious public opinion,” he added, “would not necessarily save the lives of Asia Bibi and her family.”
Muslim Governor Salman Taseer was the first to lose his life for his support of Asia Bibi when he was gunned down in 2011 by a member of his own security detail, who afterwards said he was proud that he had killed him because of his comments criticizing Pakistan’s blasphemy law.
That same year, a group of extremists killed the only Catholic in the Pakistani government, Shabaz Bhatti, who was the Minister of Affairs for Minorities and who opposed the law on blasphemy and spoke out publicly in defense of Bibi.
Lastly, Anne-Isabelle Tollet, the journalist and author of the book, “Get Me Out of Here,” which recounts the personal drama of Asia Bibi, said all the members of Bibi’s family “are under death threats and live in hiding, moving frequently and unable to work.
The children miss their mother very much and they have stopped going to school out of safety concerns. The youngest child is only nine years old.”
Asia Bibi is currently in solitary confinement due to the threats she receives from other inmates. One Muslim cleric named Peshawar has offered 5000 Euros to the person who kills her.
London, England, Jul 30, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Today marked the launch of a major Olympic event that you won’t find in the official Games brochure, 24-hour Eucharistic adoration.
“We’re flying the flag for Christ if you like,” said Franciscan Father Francis Conway of St. Francis of Assisi Friary in Stratford, the Catholic Church closest to the Olympic village in London’s East End.
“We will have Eucharistic adoration from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., when another East End parish will take over from 6 p.m. till late, and then a third parish will continue through the night until we take over again at 9 a.m.,” Fr. Conway explained.
The two other parishes participating are Our Lady and St. Catherine of Siena in Bow and St. Antony of Padua in Forest Gate.
Until Aug. 12, London is hosting over 10,000 athletes from more than 200 countries, along with an estimated 5-6 million visitors from the United Kingdom and beyond.
Fr. Conway explained that the parish has drafted in extra priests from Portugal, France, Colombia, Singapore and elsewhere to cope with the expected pastoral demand from both Olympic participants and tourists.
“We don’t really know what to expect, but we’re ready,” he said. Yesterday, for example, “we had an archbishop from Puerto Rico arrive along with the Puerto Rican athletes to say Mass.”
“Obviously a lot of people have come to Stratford, and we felt we had to offer them a place of rest and hospitality.”
The parishes of London’s East End have the advantage that they are already multicultural and multi-lingual, since many recent immigrant communities have settled in the area. In fact, St. Francis parish kicked off the Olympics with an “international evening.”
“People were invited to wear their national costumes, and we had festivities and games as we watched the Olympic opening ceremony on television,” Fr. Conway said.
Over the next two weeks, the parish will hold a series of events, including prayer evenings and healing services. It is all part of the Catholic Church in England’s wider initiative to mark the 30th Olympiad.
Washington D.C., Jul 30, 2012 (CNA) -
The U.S. bishops have joined more than 130 organizations urging legislation to help reunite children who have been separated from family members due to immigration measures against their parents.
The Help Separated Families Act will help improve the chances that “children placed in the child welfare system as a result of immigration enforcement actions against their parents can ultimately reunify” with their family members, the groups said.
In a July 23 letter to members of Congress, they argued that the bill plays a “critical” role in ensuring that “child welfare practice upholds the principles of child well-being and family unity.”
Signatories of the letter included national and state-level organizations such as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, National Alliance for Immigration Reform, Texans United for Families and DREAM Activist California.
The organizations voiced support for the Help Separated Families Act of 2012, which was introduced by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.).
The bill would forbid immigration status alone from being a factor in decisions about child placement. It would prohibit questions about caregivers' immigration status, except for purposes of eligibility for relevant services and programs.
In addition, the proposed legislation would ensure that certain forms of foreign identification are adequate for a background check.
It would also provide for waivers of certain requirements that that would otherwise stop children from being placed with a relative due to a minor legal infraction.
Furthermore, the bill would prohibit child welfare agencies from filing for termination of parental rights in most cases when a parent's immigration proceedings are the main reason for the child being in foster care.
Signers of the July 23 letter argued that the Help Separated Families Act is a step forward in overcoming several significant “barriers to reunification.”
“The statistics clearly demonstrate that immigration enforcement activities are tearing families apart, sometimes permanently,” they said.
They pointed to reports by the Department of Homeland Security that over 46,000 parents of U.S. citizen children were removed from the U.S. during the first six months of 2011.
In addition, a report by the Applied Research Center indicates that about 5,100 children are currently in the child welfare system because of their parents' detention or removal.
“When a child enters the child welfare system, reunification efforts are often complicated by disconnects between the immigration system and state child welfare systems,” the signatories explained.
Although it is considered ideal to place children separated from their parents with other family members, many child welfare agencies will not place children with undocumented relatives, even if they are otherwise qualified to be caregivers, they said.
Furthermore, they observed, parents who are detained or removed for immigration reasons sometimes experience an “inappropriate termination of their parental rights” because they are not able to participate in family court hearings or meet case plan requirements.
To address these problems, the signers of the letter urged members of Congress to support the Help Separated Families Act.
Doing so, they said, will help to ensure that immigration enforcement policies do not leave children “permanently and unnecessarily torn apart from their parents or other family members.”
Vatican City, Jul 30, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano has published an article sharply criticizing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for securing $4.6 billion dollars over the next eight years to promote contraceptives, starting in Africa.
In her July 29 front-page story, reporter Giulia Galeotti said Melinda Gates, who self-identifies as Catholic, “has gone astray.”
Gates, the wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, helped organize a July 11 summit to garner funding pledges for family planning in Africa and southeast Asia. Summit attendees included African heads of state and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a video for the event, whose NGO partners include abortion providers like the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International.
In her article, Galeotti argued that in her attempts to push contraception in developing countries, Gates “is confused by a misinformation and by issues that persist in this area.”
“To still believe in a Catholic Church that, through opposition to the condom, allows women and children to die because of misogynous intransigence is an unfounded and offensive interpretation,” she underscored.
Galeotti noted that “as Paul VI wrote in Humanae Vitae (perhaps the most notorious victim of this kind of false information), the Church is in favor of the natural regulation of fertility, that is, the methods based on the interpretation of the body’s signs and indicators.”
She pointed to the research of the Australian couple, John and Evelyn Billings, who discovered the natural method knowing as the Billings Ovulation Method.
“It allows women to determine whether or not they are fertile, and based on this determination they can choose their sexual behavior,” she said.
Galeotti noted that the Chinese government has promoted the Billings Method with great success in its search to find a method that is free and does not endanger the health of women.
She rejected the skepticism towards the Billings Method – which has a 98 percent accuracy rate – by those who claim it is unscientific or naïve, adding that baseless accusations are probably not spread by coincidence. Galoetti noted that the method is easy to learn and practice, even by people who are illiterate, and does not require help from third parties.
Another “inconvenient” fact about it is that is completely free and thus deprives the pharmaceutical industry of profits from chemical contraceptives.
Although every foundation is free to donate to whatever cause it wishes, it is not free “to persist in misinformation and present things in a false way,” Galeotti said.