Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s number two State Department official, called Sept. 27 for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in remarks delivered in New York. He insisted that “if we want peace, courageous decisions have to be made.”
The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce has launched an investigation into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates to determine whether the organization is violating regulations on taxpayer funding or failing to report criminal activity.
The new General Instruction of the Roman Missal allows more freedom for bishops to determine norms for the distribution of communion under both forms within their diocese, said liturgist Fr. John Muir.
The National Organization for Marriage announced Sept. 23 that it is launching the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, a new project to defend the freedom to express one’s belief that marriage should be the union of a man and woman without fear of harassment or punishment.
The phenomenon of “global aging” poses serious problems for the world if nothing is done to promote and protect strong families, according to an analysis of the latest U.N. population data.
Adult stem cell researchers have filed an appeal in a lawsuit seeking to end federal funding for embryo-destroying stem cell research.
Pro-life leaders welcomed the recent passage of the “Weldon Patent Ban,” which makes permanent a prohibition on patenting human embryos. Previously, the ban had to be annually renewed.
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference, urged President Obama and his administration to end their attack on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the religious freedom of those who support it.
Today Pope Benedict XVI accepted the early resignation of Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein of Indianapolis due to health issues.
At a summit this past weekend in Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl encouraged theologians involved in re-evangelizing formerly Christian areas to be “rooted authentically in the Good News.”
Catholics in New Hampshire received a new bishop from Pope Benedict XVI on Sept. 19. Auxiliary Bishop Peter A. Libasci of Rockville Centre, N.Y. will serve as the 10th bishop of Manchester, N.H.
Theology professors at a symposium held in the nation’s capital were told that they must combine faith and reason to create a new apologetics based on the love of God.
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, has said that if his bishop does not allow him to return to full-time pro-life work, he will consider being incardinated in a different diocese or founding a religious order to continue his pro-life ministry.
The U.S. State Department’s recent Report on International Religious Freedom is eliciting both praise for its efforts to promote religious rights around the world and criticism for not doing enough.
Catholic bishops and lay people gathered Sept. 14 in Washington, D.C. to remember the life of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, a man who was described as having Christ's cross "engraved upon his heart."
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, says he has begun the process of appealing his suspension from active ministry outside the Diocese of Amarillo.
Hundreds of students at the University of Dallas are questioning the idea of courses for a new degree in pastoral ministry being taught by teachers from the School of Ministry, after one critic alleged some of them have publicly disagreed with Church teaching.
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life on Jan. 24. People of all ages filled the streets, including a large number of young adults who came to show their support for the dignity of all human life.
Rather than writing for a general young adult or college-aged audience, I would like to turn my attention this month to high school students who are in the process of selecting a college to attend. Choices in higher education can be crucial, not only for intellectual formation, but also for spiritual development. The presence of a strong faith community should be a consideration for all serious Catholics as they examine possible college options.The number of young adults who lose their faith in college is staggering. Less than 20% of Catholic college students in America attend Sunday Mass. A large factor in this problem is the change in environment that comes with the transition to college. If you have been Catholic all your life, you may not realize the value of a supportive community of faith. You may spend much of your time around family, friends at school, youth group members and other people who share your values and beliefs. Such people help you to live morally and grow spiritually. It is easy to take this kind of community for granted when it has been readily available your whole life.College, however, is an entirely new world. College campuses are not known for promoting virtue or morality. Religious beliefs are attacked as being old-fashioned and close-minded. There is no shortage of immorality in a college environment – everything from cheating and plagiarism to sex and pornography to drug and alcohol abuse. With temptations running rampant around every corner, it can be very difficult to stand strong and remain committed. Finding other people who are dedicated to living a faith-filled life can make a huge difference.You may think that there is no problem with having friends who do not share your beliefs. While it is not essential that your ideals are exactly identical with every single person you spend time around, it really is important to have a core network of like-minded people who can support you in difficult times. People who do not share your morals may be fun to hang out with, but they can also provide temptation and peer pressure that can be hard to resist. In addition, they will not be able to support you in beliefs that they themselves do not hold. Even if they respect your views, they do not agree with them, and so they cannot support you in your faith and help it to grow.Where will you be four years from now? Will you have fallen away from your faith? Or will you have grown in your faith, allowing it to penetrate and enrich your life in entirely new ways? The answer can be greatly determined by whether you place yourself in a faith-filled community during your college years.How can you find this vital community of faith? One way is by attending a Catholic college. While the people there are certainly not going to be perfect, it will be easier to find people who are committed to living their faith. Many Catholic universities have strong reputations and well-respected academic programs. In addition, they offer students the opportunity to maintain and even grow in their faith life. And while tuition at Catholic schools can be pricey, don’t give up on them simply because of their price tag. Scholarships, grants, loans and work study opportunities are all available to help students pay for college expenses. Catholic universities are certainly worth considering. They allow not only for intellectual formation, but also for spiritual development, resulting in a fuller growth of the whole person.A note on Catholic colleges – any school can call itself “Catholic.” Unfortunately, some schools use this label, but do not adhere to it in their behavior. It is all too easy for an unknowing student to end up at a school that teaches and practices things contrary to the Catholic faith. The Cardinal Newman Society publishes a guide to finding Catholic colleges that truly live up to their name (the guide can be accessed at www.thenewmanguide.com). It may take some additional time and research to ensure that you are finding something authentic, but it is well worth the effort to attend a Catholic college that will nourish and enrich your faith life.Sometimes, however, for academic, financial or other reasons, the best college fit is a secular college. If this is the case, you should look at Catholic campus ministry opportunities at the schools you are considering. Some colleges have a strong Newman Center or FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) program, allowing students who are serious about their faith to come together. Such opportunities will allow you to find other like-minded people. These are people with whom you can connect on multiple levels - whether you are going to Mass and bible study, spending a weekend camping in the woods or having a barbecue while watching the football game. To put it simply, you can find friends who want to have fun, but who will also support you spiritually and morally. And that will be incredibly important as you make the transition into the next stage of your life.
The months leading up to the last presidential election brought with them no shortage of discussion about whether a Catholic could, in good conscience, vote for a candidate who supported abortion. Among the arguments I heard in favor of voting for a “pro-choice” presidential candidate was the claim that the president has very little effect in the realm of abortion. After all, abortion has been legal in the United States for well over 30 years, with both Republican and Democratic presidents in office. Recent pro-life presidents have not managed to overturn Roe v. Wade; in fact, the president’s views on abortion seem to have made very little real difference in past years. Ultimately, the president’s personal beliefs on abortion do not matter, so candidates who support abortion should not be disqualified for Catholic voters. At first glance, this may seem to be true, but we must remember that Roe v. Wade is not a decision that will be overturned in a day. Rather than a mere court ruling, it has become an entire culture. Steps must be taken to erode this culture, and the president can make important progress in taking these steps. After two years, what progress has President Obama made? What steps has he taken? Is he fostering a culture of life or a culture of death? An examination of his record over the last two years reveals just how much of a difference his presidency has made. In addition to the recent controversy surrounding the new health care bill and its potential to fund abortion, Obama has taken numerous concrete steps to further the abortion culture in America:• Within days of taking office, he issued a statement reaffirming his commitment to supporting “a woman’s right to choose” abortion.• During his first week, he announced an executive order to overturn the Mexico City Policy that had prevented taxpayer money from being used to perform or promote abortions overseas.• He has worked to overturn legal protections for medical workers who object to cooperating in abortions.• In his proposed 2010 budget, he eliminated all funding for abstinence-only education programs, a move so extreme that the Senate Finance Committee later voted to reinstate some of the funding.• He signed a bill ending a 13-year ban on taxpayer funding of abortion in Washington D.C. • He signed an executive order forcing taxpayer funding of new embryonic stem cell research, lifting the ban on such funding that had previously been in place. He also rescinded a previous executive order to give taxpayer funding to the morally-acceptable alternative of adult stem cell research.• His administration has openly endorsed and even spent millions of dollars to support the adoption of a new constitution in Kenya that would legalize abortion.• He has appointed two pro-abortion justices to the Supreme Court. This is particularly important because Supreme Court appointments are not for a four or six year term, but for life. Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan will potentially serve as members of the highest court in the United States for decades to come, making many decisions that will bind an entire nation. The role of Supreme Court Justice today is an incredibly powerful role, one that can have a great impact in deciding the fate of controversial policies. Therefore, it is essential to have justices on the court who respect the dignity of human life.The record shows that Obama has taken steps to move America further into a culture of death. His presidency truly has made an impact in the abortion debate. I say this not to point fingers at those who voted for Obama, but to inform readers, because there is another extremely important election coming up this year. More than 460 seats of Congress, in both the House of Representatives and Senate, are up for election this November. Furthermore, this election is the midterm election for Obama’s presidency. Midterm elections are sometimes considered a referendum on the current president’s performance, providing feedback and critiquing presidential policies and progress after two years. Voters this fall will send a powerful message to the current administration – a message of either approval or disapproval. Voting for a strong array of pro-life candidates will proclaim to our nation’s politicians that America does not want a culture of abortion. Failing to do so will send the opposite message. I strongly encourage you to vote this November. Let your voice be heard. We cannot be silent, and we cannot be passive. Vote pro-life this November and help show that Americans support life.