Archive of May 25, 2013

Ariz. abortion law hoped to win Supreme Court support

Phoenix, Ariz., May 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against an Arizona law banning abortions after 20 weeks, but backers of the measure are hopeful that the case will result in a favorable Supreme Court decision.

“The decision from the Ninth Circuit was expected, but is nonetheless disappointing,” Ronald Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, told CNA May 23.

“I have always felt that the United States Supreme Court would have the last word on this case. There is also some comfort in knowing that the Ninth Circuit is the most overturned circuit in the country.”

A three-judge panel from the federal appeals court unanimously said the law violated both Roe v. Wade and the 2007 decision Gonzales v. Carhart.

“Arizona simply cannot proscribe a woman from choosing to obtain an abortion before the fetus is viable,” the panel said.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law in April 2012. It barred abortions after 20 weeks into pregnancy, excepting only medical emergencies that threaten the life of the mother. A federal district judge upheld the law in July, the Arizona Republic reports.

Cathi Herrod, President of the Center for Arizona Policy, charged that the Ninth Circuit decision disregarded evidence that proves unborn children can feel pain in the womb at 20 weeks or later.

“The court put a pro-abortion ideology before the health and safety of women and preborn children,” Herrod said May 21. “The court held to the vague standard that abortions can only be limited based on whether the child is viable, even though they confessed viability is not a ‘fixed’ point.”

State Sen. Kimberly Yee, a Phoenix Republican who sponsored the bill, said she is optimistic that the Supreme Court will take up the case.

Yee, who herself is 20 weeks pregnant, referred to her own pregnancy. “Without a doubt, this is life,” she said.

Supporters of the court’s decision include attorney Janet Crepps of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights.

She said constitutional law protects the right to choose abortion up to the point of the viability of the unborn child.

“The state can’t cross that line, it can’t fudge that line,” Crepps told the Arizona Republic.

Maricopa County Attorney General Bill Montgomery said he will appeal to the Supreme Court. He said the law is an opportunity for the court to consider other issues than viability alone, including arguments based on advances in medical technology that provide evidence that unborn babies can feel pain. He said the court can also consider the health risk to women from abortions performed after 20 weeks.

However, the Supreme Court must first decide to hear the case.

Johnson said Arizona’s partial-birth abortion ban remains in effect. The state has several other pro-life laws that require informed consent and a 24-hour waiting period for women considering abortions.

“These laws are making a difference in reducing the number of abortions and protecting unborn babies,” he said.

The Arizona court case comes after Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted on three counts of first-degree homicide for killing babies born alive. Recent news stories have focused attention on allegations that Texas abortionist Douglas Karpen delivered late-term babies and killed them in gruesome ways.

Johnson said he believes that these controversies surrounding these cases “have helped expose the inhumanity that occurs within the abortion industry.”

“It also shows that while good laws are important, more needs to be done to make sure that pro-life laws are being followed,” he said.

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A Hall of Famer and generous giver

Detroit, Mich., May 25, 2013 (CNA) - When a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is talking, you expect to hear plenty of stories from his days on the playing field.

That’s a logical assumption to make, unless the former player is Joe DeLamielleure. The day that he was interviewed for this story, he had spoken to school kids.

Today’s National Football League, of course, is a lot different from when he played for the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns over a 13-year career that spanned the 1970s and 80s.

“The NFL became ‘entertainment’ once it got to be the 1990s,” says the former offensive lineman. “You weren’t going to be rich the rest of your life before that. Guys were going to work in the offseason.”

So what did he say to the students two days ago, then?

“I tell kids, ‘If you think fame and fortune are the most important things, think…who won the Oscar two years ago?  Who won the Super Bowl two years ago?’ And then I say, ‘Who’s your best friend? Who was your favorite teacher?’ … Fame is fleeting, it comes and goes. Character and friends last forever. If you think sports is the answer, look at people who played sports and where are they now? O.J. (Simpson): Jail. Lawrence Taylor: Went to jail, but is out now.”

Let the record show that DeLamielleure was one of running back Simpson’s blockers when he ran wild for the Bills, including being the first to hit 2,000 yards rushing, in a 14-game season. That was a part of what led “Joe D.” to eventually be enshrined in Canton, Ohio. And once he got there?

“I decided if I got in the Hall of Fame I’d use it as a platform to get some information out to the public.”

In reality, the now 62-year old seems to be talking more from a pulpit. That is, when he’s not busy helping. And in ways that far exceed talking to kids at a school.

Four years ago, DeLamielleure and two of his teammates from college rode bicycles from the football stadium at Michigan State University to Matamoros, Mexico, to raise funds for an orphanage that one of the three founded there.

Two months from now (beginning on July 13) the first round pick by the Bills in 1973 will begin walking from Buffalo to Canton for Grace’s Lamp. The next month (on Aug. 19) he and other NFL colleagues will be in Chicago to participate in a golf tournament for the orphanage in Mexico. He has also participated in "Taste of the NFL." Held in conjunction with the Super Bowl, proceeds from that initiative benefit food banks in every NFL city.

He can point directly to where this generous spirit came from.

“When I grew up (in Center Line, Michigan) we had ten kids in the family. Factories all around. All the neighbors always shared. Everybody’s house was everybody’s house. Someone outgrew a shirt and brought it to a neighbor. We shared meals. My father-in-law was a big worker with St. Vincent de Paul. Our family, we didn’t have a lot but what we had we shared with everyone. I thought we were rich; we never wanted for anything. You learned to share from being in a big Catholic neighborhood.

“I was brought up with all this. It was always such a big part of our lives. If we had a thunderstorm at night, my mom would wake everybody up and say the Rosary so we’d be safe. Fifteen minutes later when the storm would end she’d say, ‘see?!’ In May, Mary’s month, we had to come in at 7:30 and kneel down and say the Rosary along with the radio. Even if we were outside playing.”

Not coincidentally, DeLamielleure says that he’s “a big Rosary guy,” adding, “I’m holding one in my hand right now while we’re talking.”

Noting that he has another interview the day after this one, DeLamielleure says that, “I always say God don’t let me talk, talk through me.”

His faith even played a part in what college he ended up going to.

“Duffy Daugherty (head coach from Michigan State) came to my house and looked around and saw all these rosaries and candles. The next time he came he brought Fr. Lambert with him. My dad said, ‘That’s it, you’re going to Michigan State.’ Duffy told my parents, ‘If he comes Catholic, he leaves Catholic.’”

But then he graduated from Michigan State, got drafted, and instead of blocking, found what would be a temporary block in his way, although he used it to perform a spiritual self-audit.

“I flunked my physical when I got drafted by the Bills. They said there was a problem with my heart. My wife and I were scared. They found out I could play, but, during that four-week period, my wife said, ‘No big deal, you could coach or do something else.’ It had no bearing on her. My brother Darryl, who just passed away last month and was a great Christian, said I needed a new heart. He said it was a wake-up call to keep my heart pure and clear. It’s not about material things. I realized you can’t have a hardened heart.”

So now he takes regular doses of Catholicism, attending Mass every day.

“I always loved the time of just being alone with God. I always thought that when I go to Mass I try to listen to the readings a lot better during the week. So I listen real intently to the words. The bottom line to me is Jesus came here to serve and by serving and have people watch Him they follow Him. What other person since the beginning of time has been number one that long?  He has won all the Super Bowls. If you believe in God and serve him and do what he says to do in the Bible, you won the game.”

Posted with permission from the Catholic Sports Association, an organization dedicated to highlighting Catholic sports professionals and enriching junior high and high school student-athletes with Catholic sports articles, conferences, a Web series, and other programs.

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Survey on priests' dislike of Missal may be inaccurate

Hamden, Conn., May 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - A survey of U.S. priests' attitudes towards the new English translation of the Roman Missal showing “widespread skepticism” may be inaccurate because of its methods, according to a polling expert.

On May 21, St. John's School of Theology, located in Collegeville, Minn., released its survey results saying that the majority of priests in America dislike the new Missal.

Of the some 1,500 priests who responded to the survey, 39 percent like the new text, and 59 percent dislike it, according to the Collegeville survey.

“All 178 Roman Catholic Latin rite dioceses in the U.S. were invited to take part in this study; 32 dioceses the period February 21 – May 6, 2013, priests in participating dioceses were invited to participate in the online survey via an email to all priests on the diocesan distribution list,” according to the survey's executive summary.

Peter Brown, who is assistant director of Quinnipiac University's Polling Institute, discussed polling procedures with CNA May 23. “Random sampling is the key to getting accurate poll results,” he said.

Since only a few dioceses chose to participate in the survey – just under 18 percent – and only some priests in those dioceses chose to respond, survey respondents were “self-selecting.”

“They participated not randomly, but because they were the ones that chose to respond,” Brown explained. “Self-selected samples are not generally thought of....they don't produce a random sample.”

Since polls rely on a small number of people to represent the attitudes or beliefs of a larger population, “you have to be absolutely sure that the random group is a random group.”

The Collegeville survey, Brown said, “might not meet those criteria” since its participants were self-selecting.

“It's very difficult to know exactly” in this particular case, he added, though he had noted that self-selecting samples are generally not random.

The survey's project manager, Chase Becker, is a graduate student in liturgical studies at St. John's School of Theology, and holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy. No ostensible polling experts were involved, and the survey's professional consultant was an associate professor of psychology at the institution.

The poll also had no indication of its margin of error.

The survey's results were welcomed by vocal critics of the new translation, such as Bishop Donald W. Trautman, Erie's bishop emeritus. He said the texts of the new Missal are “unintelligible and non-proclaimable” and have “lengthy sentences.”

And Bishop Robert H. Brom of San Diego complained that opening prayers in the newly translated Missal are “especially difficult” and said the Missal has “strange vocabulary.”

Meanwhile, Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, executive director of the group responsible for preparing the new Missal, noted that “the 1,536 priests who responded may represent less than 3.7 percent of priests in the US...a significant fact in determining just how representative this consultation can be considered.”

Jeffrey Tucker, director of publications at the Church Music Association of America, noted that the survey “lacks demographic data,” failing to break down priests' response by their age and other factors.

“I suspect a generational split is at work here. It shouldn't really be surprising that some priests of an older generation are annoyed,” he wrote May 21 at The Chant Café website. “They came (to) terms with one way, received vast amounts of catechesis along these lines, and developed a more casual liturgical style to go with it, and now they are told to do it another way.”

The new translation of the Missal, which has been in use since Nov. 27, 2011, is more faithful to the Latin original than was the translation in use since the 1970s.

In accord with a 2001 document on the implementation of Vatican II, the new translation is meant to be closer not only to the sense of the original Latin, but its structure as well, and is less informal than the 1970s translation.

A poll conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate surveyed American Catholics, not only priests, about their perception of the new Missal last September. That poll showed that Catholics in the pews have overwhelmingly been positive about the new translation.

Seventy percent of those polled agreed that “the new translation of the Mass is a good thing.” And those who attend Mass at least weekly were even stronger in their approval, at 80 percent. The poll had a margin of err of plus or minus three percentage points.

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Don't create sacrament of 'pastoral customs,' Pope preaches

Vatican City, May 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Francis warned that some Christians establish the eighth sacrament “of pastoral customs” when they insist on protocol instead of seeking to meet spiritual needs.

He made his remarks during his May 25 homily on the Gospel reading from Mark 10 in which the disciples rebuked people who were bringing children to Jesus.

“I remember once, coming out of the city of Salta, on the patronal feast, there was a humble lady who asked for a priest’s blessing,” Pope Francis recalled in the chapel of St. Martha’s House.

“The priest said, ‘All right, but you were at the Mass’ and explained the whole theology of blessing in the Church. You did well: ‘Ah, thank you father, yes father,’ said the woman. When the priest had gone, the woman turned to another priest: ‘Give me your blessing!’

“All these words did not register with her,” the Pope underscored, “because she had another necessity: the need to be touched by the Lord. That is the faith that we always look for, this is the faith that brings the Holy Spirit. We must facilitate it, make it grow, help it grow.”

He also pointed to the story of the blind man of Jericho, who was rebuked by the disciples because he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“The Gospel says that they didn’t want him to shout, they wanted him not to shout but he wanted to shout more, why? Because he had faith in Jesus! The Holy Spirit had put faith in his heart. And they said, ‘No, you cannot do this! You don’t shout to the Lord. Protocol does not allow it.’”

Pope Francis also used a more modern example by describing an encounter of a young couple with a parish secretary.

“‘Good morning, the two of us - boyfriend and girlfriend - we want to get married,’” the couple says.

“And instead of saying, ‘That's great!’ They say, ‘Oh, well, have a seat. If you want the Mass, it costs a lot ... .’ This, instead of receiving a good welcome – ‘It is a good thing to get married!’ – But instead they get this response: ‘Do you have the certificate of baptism, all right ... .’ And they find a closed door,” the Pope said.

He described the situation as one where a “Christian has the ability to open a door, thanking God for this fact of a new marriage” but instead the secretary controlled the faith when it was possible to have facilitated the couples’ faith.

“There is always a temptation,” he said, “to try and take possession of the Lord.”

Before finishing his homily, Pope Francis painted one final scenario, that of a single mother who wants to have her child baptized.

“Think about a single mother who goes to church, in the parish and to the secretary she says: ‘I want my child baptized.’

“And then this Christian, this Christian says: ‘No, you cannot because you're not married!’

“But look, this girl who had the courage to carry her pregnancy and not to return her son to the sender, what is it? A closed door! This is not zeal! It is far from the Lord! It does not open doors!

“And so when we are on this street, we have this attitude, we do not do good to people, the people, the People of God. But Jesus instituted the seven sacraments, (and) with this attitude and we are establishing the eighth: the sacrament of pastoral customs!” he warned.

The Pope noted, “Jesus is indignant when he sees these things” because those who suffer are “his faithful people, the people that he loves so much.”

He concluded his homily by asking everyone to think about “the Holy People of God, a simple people, who want to get closer to Jesus and we think of so many Christians of goodwill who are wrong and that instead of opening a door they close the door of goodwill ... So we ask the Lord that all those who come to the Church find the doors open, find the doors open, open to meet this love of Jesus. We ask this grace.”


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Dignity of man central to 'rethinking solidarity,' says Pope

Vatican City, May 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News) - Speaking to an international group dedicated to promoting education of the Church’s social teaching, Pope Francis called for a new economic view that places the human person at the center.

“We must return to the centrality of man, to a more ethical view of business and human relations, without the fear of losing something,” the Pope said on May 25.

Pope Francis addressed members of the Fondazione Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice at the end of their three-day conference at the Vatican. Founded by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1993, the organization is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

The Holy Father greeted the members of the international gathering and thanked them for their efforts to promote a greater understanding of the Church’s social doctrine.

He reflected on the theme of the conference, “Rethinking solidarity for employment: the challenges of the 21st century.”

The call to “rethink solidarity” is not a call to challenge Church teaching, but rather to apply it to the new circumstances and situations presented by the ever-changing socio-economic development of the modern world, the Pope said.

It is also an opportunity to deepen reflection on the value of solidarity, a key component of Catholic social teaching which is deeply rooted in the Gospel, he added.

Pointing to the “current economic and social crisis,” Pope Francis explained that rising joblessness makes the task of rethinking solidarity more urgent.

“There is no worse form of material poverty… than that which makes it impossible to earn a living and which deprives someone of the dignity of work,” he stated.

“The current crisis is not only economic and financial, but is rooted in an ethical crisis and anthropology,” the Holy Father observed, noting that all too often, profit and power are turned into “idols,” while the value of the human person is forgotten.

He reiterated the words of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, that the human dimension of the economic sphere must not be forgotten.

He also urged the restoration of solidarity as a “social value,” noting that much of the business and economic world do not hold it in high esteem.

Observing that ethical and economic problems are widespread, Pope Francis stressed that rethinking solidarity will require not only aid to the poor, but also a global reform of the system in ways that respect the inherent rights and dignity of the human person.

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