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Archive of March 8, 2013

Planned Parenthood under fire after botched Colo. abortion

Colorado Springs, Colo., Mar 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - An attorney has called for greater Planned Parenthood accountability after a Colorado clinic allegedly performed abortion without anesthetic on an unwilling woman which sent her to the hospital.

“Ayanna is very fragile and understandably upset by all of this,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Michael Norton told CNA March 6.

“However, she's very brave and has come forward and wants to see Planned Parenthood held accountable for how it treated her. And it should be held accountable.”

Ayanna Byer, 40, had initially sought a chemical abortion at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic in October 2012. The clinic determined she was later in pregnancy than she initially believed and employees began to “pressure” her to decide to have a surgical abortion, her Feb. 6 complaint against Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains charged.

She agreed to the abortion on the condition that she receive intravenous anesthesia. However, the doctor began the abortion before clinic employees administered the anesthetic. The doctor allegedly began the abortion despite her request that he stop.

Byer was “fully awake” during the procedure and was “forced to feel the full pain of the procedure against her will,” her complaint charged.

Two days after the abortion, she went to the emergency room at Penrose Hospital where staff told her she needed an emergency procedure because the abortionist failed to complete the abortion and had left fetal tissue inside her body, which had caused the infection.

Norton said that Steven A. Foley, the attending doctor at the emergency room, was “very upset” by Byer’s condition and contacted Norton’s Denver-area law firm because of it.

Foley said in a statement that Byers was “septic with a high fever” and required an “immediate high-risk surgery”to remove the remaining tissue. He said it is “not acceptable” to refer patients to the hospital emergency department and assume the on-call doctor will take care of the complications.

Norton referred the case to Doug Romero, a Colorado attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom, who is handling the lawsuit.

Norton said that the case shows the need to examine taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, which receives taxpayer funding for family planning services but not abortions.

“This is the kind of organization that we would not want more than $540 million in taxpayer dollars to go to,” Norton said.

“They are not responsible and tax dollars ought to be used for the common good. They simply promote their self-interest and their bottom line. That’s really seen vividly here in what happened to Ayanna.”

Norton said Colorado has “very minimal” regulation of abortion facilities, though the doctor involved in the case will face a forthcoming complaint against him before the state medical board.

He said that Alliance Defending Freedom seeks “to hold abortionists accountable” through uncovering heath care fraud committed by abortion providers and through examining “botched abortions.”

Norton said the Alliance Defending Freedom often finds that abortionists don’t have medical doctors on staff. This means the doctors leave before any medical problems are discovered. When complications happen, the abortion clinic then has to call 911 and ask for an ambulance to take the woman to a nearby hospital.

“Abortion is a tragedy for everyone that’s involved, the mother, the father and of course the unborn child, but I think it also has to be a tragedy for those involved in what is a very evil industry,” Norton said.

Norton said his organization hopes that abortions will no longer occur in the U.S. but it is still encouraging women who undergo abortions to come forward “and hold abortionists accountable for their wrongs.”

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Cleveland diocese mourns excommunicated priest

Cleveland, Ohio, Mar 8, 2013 (CNA) - Bishop Richard G. Lennon of Cleveland announced the excommunication of Father Robert Marrone on March 4, calling people to pray for the priest, who had refused two years of reconciliation attempts.

“We are saddened by this development” Robert Tayek, the diocese's public relations director, told CNA March 7.

“The priests, religious, and lay faithful of the Diocese of Cleveland are exhorted to pray for the reconciliation of Father Marrone with the Catholic Church,” wrote Bishop Lennon March 4.

“With concern for the welfare of the faithful of the Diocese of Cleveland and in order to avoid confusion, error, and scandal I...have judged it necessary to take the most serious step of declaring the incurred latae sententiae excommunication of Reverend Robert J. Marrone,” he said.

Fr. Marrone went into schism and excommunicated himself over a matter of a parish closing.

In March 2009, the Cleveland diocese underwent a downsizing that closed some 50 parishes, including St. Peter's, of which Fr. Marrone was the pastor. After the closing was announced, some members of the parish formed an independent non-profit called the Community of St. Peter.

In April 2010, Fr. Marrone took a year-long leave of absence from ministry, with the understanding that he could not publicly celebrate the sacraments during that time. Despite this, he knowingly and repeatedly did so as “pastor-administrator” of the Community of St. Peter, Bishop Lennon wrote.

During that leave of absence, Bishop Lennon repeatedly tried to reconcile Fr. Marrone and the Community of St. Peter with the diocese, to no avail. Bishop Lennon sought unsuccessfully to engage Fr. Marrone in discussion to persuade him to reconciliation in January 2011, and several times throughout 2012.

Four months ago, Fr. Marrone received a formal canonical warning and received an advocate from another diocese to represent him. However, he refused to even respond to his advocate.

Bishop Lennon said that it is “with sadness” that he had to recognize that Fr. Marrone had broken from communion with the Church and gone into schism, after more than two years of trying to reconcile him with the Church.

The bishop noted that his decision was made “after due process in law,” with “prayerful reflection on the peace and welfare of the Church,” and “with due regard to my responsibilities as the Bishop of Cleveland.”

The decree began with several references to the documents of Vatican II, which stress the God-given gift of unity within the Church.

The diocese noted that excommunication is a “medicinal penalty.”

“It is my prayer that the declaration of excommunication may impress upon Father Marrone the serious nature of the offense he has committed, and thus with haste he may seek to reconcile with the Catholic Church which in all places and in all times seeks to extend the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ to all people,” wrote Bishop Lennon.

Since Fr. Marrone is excommunicated, he may not licitly receive or celebrate any of the sacraments. The diocese said that attending Mass “at the Community of St. Peter or any other schismatic parish” does not fulfill one's Sunday obligation.

Bishop Lennon concluded, saying that “it remains my fervent hope that Catholics everywhere can once again be united by prayer and charity.”

“I pray that we may come together with God's help and strive to strengthen our diocesan Catholic community of Cleveland,” he said.

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Catholic University students use spring break to serve

Washington D.C., Mar 8, 2013 (CNA) - Almost 100 students and staff at the Catholic University of America are giving up their spring break to take part in mission trips abroad and service projects within the U.S.

Brother Jim Moore, O.F.M. Conv., said there was a “tremendous response” among students to the proposal to make a mission trip.

“It’s great for me … to see their faith, to see their excitement about living out the Gospel in what they do,” he said in a Feb. 27 statement.

Br. Moore, who is coordinating the trips, is the university’s associate campus minister for justice and missions. The mission trips and domestic service projects are taking place over the university’s spring break from March 4 to March 10.

Billy Conlon, a senior who is a student leader for a 20-student mission trip to Jamaica, said mission trips are “sacrifices” of time, money and freedom.

“But they also present the perfect opportunity to not only explore the world but also to learn about a new part of yourself by leaving your comfort zone and facing your fears,” he said. “My goal is for the students…to not be afraid to take that leap of faith.”

Another group of 11 is headed to Ecuador.

Both mission trips are sponsored by the university’s campus ministry. Trip participants will take part in several service projects and immerse themselves in the local community.

The mission trip participants have already taken part in a Martin Luther King Day of Service, an overnight retreat and fundraising efforts.

Other students are helping those who are in need closer to home.

The Catholic University of America’s Habitat for Humanity chapter is sponsoring domestic service programs for three groups, each made up of 19 students and one staff member. The groups will work in Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans.

Kathleen Lavoie, a university senior, said students tend to find the trips “very rewarding” and “eye-opening.”

“Most students are impacted when they meet the homeowner, hearing the homeowner’s story and learning how much hope we give them from helping build their house,” she said.

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As conclave nears, tactics get more aggressive

Rome, Italy, Mar 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The media silence of the cardinals resulted in an anonymous interview to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica in which a source claimed there is “a lobby” of leakers.

That group is composed of people “coming from the State Secretariat, the Vatican City State administration, the APSA (a sort of Vatican Central Bank) and the Italian Bishops’ Conference,” the unnamed source said.

“The problem is not the kind of news, but that such confidential news broke out,” said a Vatican Secretariat of State official who spoke to CNA under the condition of anonymity.

So the question that lingers on the minds of many is: Why have the leaks resumed?
 
While press attention has focused on the American cardinals’ daily briefings being canceled, they were not the real problem, as the bishops’ conference spokesman explained.  

“Concern was expressed in the General Congregation about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers”, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, said in a March 6 statement.
 
On March 5th, 6th and 7th, details about the discussions taking place at the cardinals’ preliminary meetings were published in the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

These talks are confidential and everyone from the cardinals to the translators has taken an oath of secrecy, so as to guarantee a certain freedom of speech.
 
On the other hand, leaking information from these gatherings has always been a way of influencing the conclave and the life of the Church in general.
 
In the 1978 conclave, Cardinal Giuseppe Siri was one of the most valued papal candidates. Before entering the conclave he gave an interview to the Italian local paper Corriere Mercantile, with the condition that it would be published when the cardinals were already “closed” in the Sistine Chapel, without any opportunity to read newspapers or hear about what happened in the “external world.”  
 
But what actually happened was that the interview was published a few hours before the conclave, so the cardinals were able to read it.

In the interview, Cardinal Siri attacked the way the Second Vatican Council’s reforms had been implemented, which turned part of the College of Cardinals against him.
 
This anecdote proves that the press is part of the strategy for the conclave.
 
This is why cardinals affiliated with the Curia re-opened their confidential relationships with the media when the preliminary meetings began.
 
Sandro Magister, a prominent Vatican analyst, said in a March 7 conversation that “Even Joaquin Navarro Valls, under John Paul II’s pontificate– had his favorite journalist whom he gave news to. And also (now Cardinal) Stanislaw Dziwisz, John Paul II’s particularly powerful secretary, used to inspire some of the articles published by the press.”
 
However, that paradigm changed considerably under Benedict XVI.
 
His personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, was known for his zeal in filtering access to papal audiences and for not being closely connected with the press. The result was that few pieces of information made their way out of the papal apartment and just a few bishops and cardinals had direct access to the Pope.
 
This left the Curia officials who were used to having information in the dark, and it also indirectly influenced the Pope’s former butler – Paolo Gabriele – to launch the now infamous Vatileaks scandal.
 
The interview published March 7 in La Repubblica is a signal that Paolo Gabriele is not alone, and that confidential information will continue to find its way out of the Vatican.
 
“In fact,” a well-informed monsignor who has close ties to the Vatican explained, “they want Vatileaks to be determining.”

Those affiliated with the Curia “attack the lack of transparency of Benedict XVI’s Curia, and they claim that this is in contrast with Benedict XVI’s commitment to transparency.

“Transparency does not mean, on the other hand, a lack of confidentiality.”

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Conclave date to be announced after 7 pm local time

Vatican City, Mar 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) -  

The day when the cardinals begin to vote for the next Pope will be announced after 7:00 p.m. local time.

“The result of the voting of when the conclave will take place will be announced after the cardinals’ afternoon meeting at 7:00 p.m.,” said the Holy See’s press office director, Father Federico Lombardi.

“The conclave will not be tomorrow or Sunday, but it could be sometime early next week,” said Fr. Lombardi.

He added that the cardinals will meet in a session tomorrow morning, but not in the afternoon. On Sunday, many of the cardinals will celebrate Mass in their titular churches.

The last cardinal who will take part in the preliminary meetings and the conclave arrived in Rome on the afternoon of March 7. The group is now complete and can agree on the date of the conclave.

There were 151 cardinals present in yesterday afternoon’s preliminary session and the two newly arrived cardinals took the oath in this morning's gathering.  

The cardinals spoke about interreligious dialogue, bioethics, justice in the world, a positive proclamation of love and justice, and on collegiality among the world bishops. 

Cardinals spoke this morning about the ‘Adopt a cardinal’ online initiative to pray so each cardinal makes the right vote. Over 220,000 people have adopted one so far.

They also covered the role of women in the Church.

Over 100 cardinals have spoken so far in the preliminary meetings, which began on March 4 and there were 18 interventions this morning.

There will also be confessors available for the cardinals during the conclave, who are like them under oath.

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New Pope will have to wait to move in

Rome, Italy, Mar 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - No one knows who the new Pope will be, but it can be said with certainty that he will be temporarily staying in a new apartment after he is elected.

“The new Pope will be staying here because the apartment in the Apostolic Palace is still sealed and it needs some renovations,” Father Federico Lombardi told journalists March 8.

“Like Pope Ratzinger,” he explained, “he will be staying in Casa Santa Marta for the first few weeks.”

The news was accompanied by a video tour of Casa Santa Marta, the hotel-like building where all of the cardinals will be staying during the conclave.

The future Pope will be staying in a suite that features a modest bedroom, sitting room and study.

Earlier in the March 8 press conference, Fr. Lombardi announced that the date of the conclave to elect the new Pope would be made public after 7:00 p.m. tonight. It will not begin this weekend but will kick-off sometime early next week, said.

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Cardinals select Tuesday, March 12 for conclave

Vatican City, Mar 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - After five days of meetings, the College of Cardinals has voted to hold a conclave to elect the next Pope on Tuesday, March 12.

“The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013,” Father Federico Lombardi said in a March 8 message to reporters.

The cardinals will celebrate a Mass For the Election of a New Pope in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning and “in the afternoon the cardinals will enter into the Conclave,” he confirmed.

Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam arrived in Rome on Thursday afternoon and with his presence the College of Cardinals reached its full number.

The cardinals were able to choose an earlier date than was previously allowed under Church regulations because Benedict XVI issued a declaration to make that possible.

In the 2005 conclave that elected Benedict XVI as Pope, there were 115 cardinals voting and that number is the same for this time around.

The cardinals will need to reach a two-thirds majority to choose a new Pope, which means 77 votes will be necessary for one candidate before white smoke will be seen coming out of the Sistine Chapel chimney.

After entering the Sistine Chapel for the conclave on Tuesday, the cardinals will listen to a meditation on the challenges facing the Church. Cardinal Prospero Grech, a member of the Augustinian order, will give the meditation concerning their grave duty and the need to act for the good of the universal Church. From Malta, Cardinal Grech is 87 and thus not a cardinal-elector. He will leave the Sistine Chapel shortly before voting begins.

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Rome youth center to host perpetual adoration during conclave

Rome, Italy, Mar 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - A center for students and young people in Rome has announced that it will host 24-hour Eucharistic adoration to pray for the Church and the cardinals in the upcoming Papal conclave.
 
“Like the apostles were united together with Mary in the Cenacle at Pentecost, today again the cardinals pray in attitude of availability to the Holy Spirit,” the center’s chaplain, Fr. Fabien Lambert, said in a March 8 statement.

“We would also like to unite ourselves with our cardinals and with all of the Church to pray and intercede for the conclave,” he added.

This news follows Vatican press director Fr. Federico Lombardi’s March 8 announcement that, after five days of general meetings, the cardinals have decided to start the Papal conclave on Tuesday, March 12.

The cardinals will celebrate a Mass for the Election of a New Pope in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning and “in the afternoon the cardinals will enter into the Conclave,” Fr. Lombardi confirmed.

Adoration at the Centro San Lorenzo will begin one day prior to the start of the conclave at 11 a.m. local time and will continue “until the end of the Conclave.”

On March 15, the center will also host a Eucharistic procession to St. Peter’s Square followed by the recitation of the Rosary on the steps of the Basilica and Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Giovanni D'Ercole of L’Aquila, Italy.

The Centro San Lorenzo was founded in 1983 by Pope John Paul II as an international center dedicated to the youth of the world. Its aims are to enrich and form young pilgrims “in their faith within the context of prayer, the Sacraments, and Catholic community.”

In addition to welcoming young pilgrims from around the globe, the Centro San Lorenzo serves as the official home to the World Youth Day Cross.

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Maryland advances towards abolishing death penalty

Baltimore, Md., Mar 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Maryland senate has passed a bill that would locally overturn the death penalty, placing the state closer to outlawing the practice.

“It’s time to end this ineffective and expensive practice and put our efforts behind crime fighting strategies that work,” Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said in a statement.

The Maryland state senate voted 27 to 20 on March 6 to repeal the death penalty. If passed, the legislation would would replace death sentences with life in prison and no possibility of parole.

If the bill becomes law, the five inmates currently on death row would not be affected by the new measure.

It moves next to the state House of Delegates, which could vote on the legislation early next week. The bill has the support of the state Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch, along with 67 co-sponsors- four delegates shy of a majority.

“I keep hearing that everything is on track for passage in the House, and it would take something extraordinary to derail it,” Delegate Sam Aurora, one of the bill's co-sponsors, to the Washington Times.

The death penalty is currently legal in 33 states, including Maryland, though Maryland has not executed a prisoner since 2005.

Governor Martin O’Malley is a strong supporter of the bill, introducing it in January alongside its co-sponsors. O’Malley has attempted to repeal the death penalty since first taking office in 2007. In 2009, he sponsored a bill opposing capital punishment within the state, though it was rejected by the state Senate.

The bill has been endorsed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Archbishop William E. Lori of the Baltimore archdiocese has been a vocal supporter of the measure.

Archbishop Lori testified in Annapolis on Feb. 14 before the state Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. The hearings marked the first time that the archbishop, who chairs the Maryland Catholic Conference, has appeared before the Maryland General Assembly.

“While those who have done terrible harm to others deserve punishment,” he said during his remarks, “we urge a response that meets evil with a justice worthy of our best nature as human beings, enlightened by faith in the possibility of redemption and forgiveness.”

If the legislation passes the local house, it may be placed on a referendum before the state’s citizens, who could overturn the vote. The outcome of that measure, if taken, would not be known until November.

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Arkansas passes nation's broadest abortion restrictions

Little Rock, Ark., Mar 8, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Arkansas legislators have overridden a veto by the governor in order to prohibit most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, the earliest ban of any state in the country.

“I feel grateful that people recognize that the abortion policy of this nation has not made abortions rare,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jason Rapert, in a statement. “In Arkansas, we have now recognized the need for a more balanced policy, and Roe v. Wade has allowed us this option.”

“I am so proud of my fellow legislators for standing up and protecting the lives of unborn children,” he continued. “When there is a heartbeat, there is life.”

The Arkansas Human Heartbeat Protection Act bans nearly all abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The so-called “heartbeat bill” is named after its supporters’ argument that unborn babies deserve legal protection once a heartbeat can be identified on an abdominal ultrasound.

The new law – which will go into effect this summer – prohibits abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, except in cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is endangered.

State legislatures enacted the bill by overturning the veto of Arkansas governor Mike Beebe with a 56-33 vote in the state House of Representatives and a 20-14 vote in the state Senate.

The passage of the law comes within a week of the Arkansas legislature’s approval of another pro-life bill banning abortion after 20 weeks, the point at which scientific evidence indicates that the unborn can feel pain. That bill was also vetoed by the governor, and the veto was likewise overridden by the legislature, going immediately into effect.

Governor Beebe, who has supported some other laws limiting abortion in the past, cited concerns over the laws’ constitutionality as his primary reason for vetoing the fetal heartbeat bill. Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocacy groups have pledged to fight the legislation.

Pro-life organizations are concerned about the effects of a lawsuit challenging the new law. Patrick Gallaher, executive director of Catholic Charities of Arkansas and a lobbyist for the Diocese of Little Rock, warned that the law may be politically and financially risky.

“If the state were to lose it would be very costly and may actually wind up bankrolling pro-abortion well into the future,” Gallaher said to the Arkansas Catholic newspaper in Little Rock.

Similar concerns were echoed by Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life, which neither officially supported nor opposed the bill.

“We are incrementalists. That's our strategy,” Mimms told the Associated Press. “We try to make inroads where we can. We would love for the heartbeat to be able to be held constitutional.”

Going forward, the Republican legislature intends to use their momentum to continue fighting abortion within the state. Sen. Rapert is hoping to cut public funding to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortion.

“I'm glad for them to do education and do those sorts of things, but I do not like them utilizing funds, indirectly even, to support their efforts with abortion in our state,” Rapert said, according to the Associated Press.

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