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Monday September 13, 2010


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Fast, Pray, Love: Bishop Urges Pastors to Join 40 Days for Life

By Peter J. Smith

FARGO, North Dakota, September 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic bishop in North Dakota has asked priests and pastors of his diocese to take the lead this year in the 40 Days for Life campaign.

Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo sent a letter dated August 27 to his Catholic priests asking them to attend 40 days vigils alongside many of their parishioners who have “joined with people of other faiths to raise awareness of the scourge of abortion on our state” since fall 2007.

The 40 Days for Life campaign in North Dakota starts September 22 and will run through October 31.

While pointing out that pro-life Catholics have prayed for an end to abortion in their homes, churches, and chapels, Aquila asked his priests to dedicate some time for visible witness with the faithful on the sidewalk outside the abortion facility in Fargo.

“I know what a busy time this is for you in the parishes, yet I ask that you schedule one more very important thing on your calendar: your hour of prayer outside the abortion facility,” wrote Aquila. “I encourage you to tell your parishioners when that hour will be so that they may join you, or pray in union with you from wherever they may be at that time.”

Aquila also said that on Sunday, September 26, he would lead the annual Eucharistic procession, the Walk with Christ for Life, to the abortion facility. On Thursday, October 28 at 2 p.m., he will join pro-life witnesses praying at the abortion facility, after the conclusion of the Diocesan Pastoral Council meeting.

Aquila urged his pastors to “make every effort to encourage your parishioners to pray and fast during the 40 Days for Life North Dakota campaign.” He added that many groups and individuals “have been blessed by the sacrifices they have made as witnesses to the dignity of all human life.”

This year’s 40 Days for Life campaign has a record 238 locations in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Northern Ireland and Denmark. The multi-faith campaign is a peaceful 40 day vigil of prayer, sacrifice, and fasting outside abortion facilities with the goal of ending abortion and building a culture of life starting with local communities.

To read Bishop Samuel Aquila’s letter to priests click here.

To learn more about 40 Days for Life visit here.

To learn more about 40 Days for Life North Dakota visit here.

Read related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

In the LifeLight: 40 Days for Life Leader Talks Saving Lives, One Prayer at a Time

https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/jul/10073016.html

40 Days For Life Starting September 22 in Cities across Canada

https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/sep/10090201.html

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Archbishop Nichols’s Comments on Gay Unions Endanger the Souls of My Children

Commentary by John Smeaton, Director of SPUC

LONDON, September 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – These are dangerous times for families in Britain – and they are dangerous times too for Catholic families in Britain.

In today’s Telegraph, Archbishop Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, described as the “leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales” is interviewed by Neil Tweedie. He asks the archbishop whether the Catholic church should one day accept the reality of gay partnerships, who replies:

“I don’t know … “

Now this is not an off-the-cuff, careless, remark by His Grace. He means what he says. Only two months ago I watched him in an exchange on Catholic teaching and gay unions during an interview on BBC’s Hardtalk (Friday, 2nd July). Stephen Sackur, the Hardtalk interviewer, asked the archbishop:

“Some of their vicars are also prepared to sanction gay unions. That church is showing flexibility. Is the Catholic church not going to have to do the same eventually?”

To which the archbishop replied

“I don’t know. Who knows what’s down the road?”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

“Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” (Part Three, Section Two, The Ten Commandments, Article 6)

I am in no position to judge where Archbishop Nichols stands in the sight of God when he makes statements so clearly at odds with Catholic teaching. However, as a Catholic parent, I am in a position to say, and on behalf of Catholic parents I meet up and down the country, that Archbishop Nichols’s, my archbishop’s, comments are dangerous to the souls of my children. And as a pro-life campaigner, I once again recall the late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, who taught in paragraph 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

Elsewhere in the Telegraph interview, in the context of the sexual abuse of children, Archbishop Nichols says:

“I can assure people that children in the care of the Catholic Church, in schools and parishes, will be safeguarded. They can be confident of that.”

Yet children returning this autumn term to Catholic schools up and down the country will be subjected, courtesy of Archbishop Nichols and the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, through the agency the Catholic Education Service, to the government policy of giving schoolgirls, under the age of consent, access to secret abortions without parental knowledge or consent. They are delivering Catholic and non-Catholic children to the abortionists – and I can think of no greater abuse of children and parental rights and responsibilities than that.

This commentary was originally published on the John Smeaton blog https://spuc-director.blogspot.com/

See Follow up commentary:

Pope Benedict Contradicts Archbishop Nichols on “gay unions”

Just two days after Archbishop Vincent Nichols said, for the second time in recent weeks, that he did not know if the Catholic Church would “accept the reality of gay partnerships” (11th September) or “sanction gay unions” (2nd July), Pope Benedict has made a statement which, effectively, puts Archbishop Nichols firmly in his place.

https://spuc-director.blogspot.com/2010/09/pope-benedict-contradicts-archbishop.html

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Catholic Marriages Plummet in Britain

By Hilary White

LONDON, September 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In the lead-up to the pope’s visit, the Catholic bishops have striven to create a positive spin on the situation of the Catholic Church in Britain, but statistics have shown dramatic drops in most indicators of Catholic life since the 1982 visit of Pope John Paul II. Most significant, particularly in the light of Pope Benedict’s emphasis on the value of marriage, has been the precipitous drop in Catholic weddings in all dioceses in the country.

Figures released this week by the Daily Telegraph show that in the archdiocese of Westminster, the largest and statistically healthiest UK diocese, the number of marriages has plunged from 3,178 in 1982, to 1,139.

Overall, the Catholic population in the central London archdiocese has risen by over 40,000, likely due to immigration. So have the numbers of adult converts, priests, child baptisms and women entering religious life. But at the same time, five parish churches and 44 Catholic schools have been closed.

In a recent interview with Rome-based Zenit news, Westminster pastoral affairs director Edmund Adamus called Britain the “geo-political epicentre of the Culture of Death,” a country that has abandoned marriage and legal protections for the unborn and vulnerable people. These comments, the first from a high-level diocesan official that show anything other than a rosy picture of British Catholic life, were immediately repudiated by his boss, Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

Kieran Conry, the bishop of Arundel and Brighton, went as far as to state that there are no problems in the Catholic Church in Britain.

Conry told the Guardian, “Pope Benedict is coming to a country where Catholicism is unusually stable, cohesive and vibrant enough in the current overall context of decline of interest in the church in Western Europe.” In fact, the pope, he said, “may well be relieved to be coming to a place where, unlike some of his other recent trips, there are no big problems for him to sort out.”

In Conry’s southern coast diocese, however, while the overall Catholic population and the number of child baptisms have increased, the number of marriages has fallen since 1982 from 890 to 501. There are 33 fewer priests (210 to 177) and the number of women religious has dropped from 90 to 57. In addition, three parishes and 26 schools have closed.

Around the country, the statistics are even less encouraging.

In the diocese of Plymouth, the overall Catholic population has risen by 8,921, but 27 parishes and 21 schools have been closed and the number of priests has dropped by 18. Child baptisms are down, as are adult conversions and the number of women in convents. Between 1982 and 2010, marriage numbers have fallen 60 percent to 187 from 467.

In Nottingham in central England, there are 31 fewer priests, 12 fewer schools, drops in child baptisms and adult conversions and the number of marriages fell from 1,131 to 383. In Leeds marriages dropped from 1,334 to 104. In Salford the number plunged from 2,402 to 688.

Fr. Timothy Finigan, a parish priest in the London diocese of Southwark and founder of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life, told LifeSiteNews.com that in general Catholics of Britain have followed the trend in the secular world of rejecting marriage.

“Sadly, Catholics who are not well catechised tend to follow the prevailing culture.”

“In the UK, marriage is regarded by many as risky because of the possibility of divorce,” he said. “They have not been helped to understand that non-marital relationship are far more likely to break up.”

He also pointed to a deeper cause, saying that men in particular are unwilling to commit to a permanent relationship. They suffer from “a mistaken belief that commitment involves predicting the future instead of making a promise whatever the future holds.”

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More Pope London Visit Newsbytes – The Tide is Turning

LONDON, September 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As predicted, the media coverage is starting to turn around, and more voices are being heard that are saying, ‘Enough of this shrill anti-Catholic hysteria’.

Papal visit: Bungled planning and embarrassing leaflets expose the public sector mentality of Church bureaucrats

The Church’s bureaucracy has far too much of the flavour of the public sector. You have large numbers of people doing really quite cushy jobs, but with little benefit to the Church. (I mean non-ordained, secular employees, mainly.) And the truth is that some of them lack any dynamism and flair, and are complacent, feeble and risk-averse.

https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewmcfbrown/100053269/papal-visit-bungled-planning-and-embarrassing-leaflets-expose-the-public-sector-mentality-of-church-bureaucrats/

Archbishop Nichols can talk the talk, but now it’s time to knock heads together

The fact remains that on Vincent Nichols’s watch too much money has been spent on too meagre a result. In the process of back-pedalling out of venues (Coventry) and sending uninspiring and error-strewn promotional material to parishes and schools, the organisers of this visit have wasted millions of pounds. Where was Archbishop Nichols in all this? Surely he should have been monitoring their lack of progress and taking action against those responsible for the chaos.

https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/cristinaodone/100053240/archbishop-nichols-can-talk-the-talk-but-now-its-time-to-knock-heads-together/

Atheist Brendan O’Neill Says “Knock Off the Pope Bashing, You’re Making Yourselves Look Ridiculous”

https://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9495/

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Toronto Archbishop on Catholic School Trustees: ‘Should Be Faithful Catholics’

By Patrick B. Craine

TORONTO, Ontario, September 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As Ontario’s October 25th municipal election approaches, Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto has called on the Catholic constituency to choose school board trustees that exemplify the practice of the Catholic faith.

In a pastoral letter read at Sunday Masses this past weekend, the archbishop emphasized that a Catholic trustee “should be a faithful practicing Catholic.”

“This election is enormously important,” he said. “It allows the members of our Catholic faith community to have essential input into the governance of our Catholic schools.”

Archbishop Collins’ letter comes as Catholic schools are faced with a concerted campaign from Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government to impose and promote acceptance of homosexuality through their Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy.

Though approved by the Ontario bishops’ Institute for Catholic Education (ICE), the equity strategy has been condemned by Catholic groups because it requires Catholic schools to recognize special rights for homosexuals. The Vatican has specifically warned that such a recognition “can easily lead, if not automatically, to the legislative protection and promotion of homosexuality.”

Campaign Life Coalition recently launched a campaign to have the equity strategy scrapped; the organization believes the equity issue is crucial in the upcoming election. They have distributed a questionnaire to all candidates to assess their commitment to Catholic teaching and faith as well as life and family issues, and the results will be posted on their website shortly.

In his letter, Archbishop Collins called on Catholics to register as Catholic School Supporters, and to “assess the candidates carefully.” He said trustees should be “exemplary in personal integrity and conduct” and have “a well developed understanding of Catholic Education.”

“The well-being of Catholic Education depends to a great degree on the trustees whom we elect,” he said. “We literally entrust Catholic Education to the trustees, and it is crucial that they be faithful to that trust.”

Due to the “extraordinary importance” of the Catholic trustee election, Archbishop Collins has lifted the archdiocesan policy against political campaigning on church property. “Candidates for Catholic School Board Trustee will be permitted to present information to parishioners outside of our churches, from Sunday, September 12th until Sunday, October 17th,” he said.

Archbishop Collins’ pastoral letter can be found on the Archdiocese of Toronto website, along with a video and other resources for the election.


See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Catholics’ Constitutional Rights No Safeguard Under Ontario Equity Strategy: CLC

https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/sep/10090708.html

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HALF A CENTURY AGO

“Religious liberty is under assault today in ways not seen since the Nazi and Communist eras.”

Archbishop Charles Chaput, August, 24, 2010

Dear Friends,

We are 29% of the way through out fundraising campaign, but have only reached 10% of our goal. Many thanks to those who have responded! For the rest, please consider the thought provoking message below:

Half a century ago, not many could have imagined the need for LifeSiteNews .

Why? Because fifty years ago, just as the sexual revolution was beginning, no one would have dreamt of gay “marriage”. It was universally held that marriage could only be between one man and one woman. News sources never mentioned sex education in schools because teachers weren’t giving explicit instruction on sexual practices, handing out condoms to high school students and providing abortion referrals.

They would have been thrown in jail if they abused their students in any of these ways.

Fifty years ago, it wasn’t necessary to publish news stories on abortion. We wouldn’t have had to investigate local Planned Parenthood clinics and how they’re covering up statutory rape cases. The idea that an unborn child was a distinct human life was understood as plain common sense.

The fact that mothers are now encouraged to choose to kill their own children would have been viewed as something out of a horror movie and an unspeakable rejection of natural law and human dignity.

Fifty years ago giant foundations and international agencies such as the United Nations and the World Bank were not spending billions on aggressive population control measures that include abortion, sterilization and imposing radical social change measures throughout the world.

Lastly, fifty years ago, the entertainment industry and almost all the mainstream media were not severely complicit, as they are now, with massive assaults on life, family and the principles of Judeo/Christian civilization. The Christian media were not nearly as weak and compromised then as very many have been for the past few decades.

LifeSiteNews came into existence out of dire necessity.

We exist because it has now become necessary to defend our most basic human rights – a concept which would have seemed so ridiculous to those of us in free nations half a century ago. Yesterday’s immorality has devastatingly become today’s morality.

How did it all come to this?

During his recent visit to Slovakia, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Colorado, spoke on the disintegration of traditional values in Western culture. Archbishop Chaput warned that we now “face an aggressively secular political vision” that “routinely take[s] actions that undermine marriage and family life.”

Due to their obsession with power and influence, these political authorities reflect the totalitarian regimes of the past, yet they’ve learned to manipulate the masses through eloquence, charm, and charisma.

His Excellency explained that “when the state becomes an idol, men and women become the sacrificial offering,” thereby exalting the strong at the expense of the weak. This ideology explains how we have come to witness one of the most extreme acts of barbarism in human history – abortion.

Mankind has become so manipulated that we don’t even recognize human life anymore.

Archbishop Chaput calls us to “live within the truth” by “telling the truth and calling things by their right names. And that means exposing the lies by which some men try to force others to live.”

LifeSiteNews has uniquely recognized and answered that very same call since the time of our founding as an alternative Internet news service in 1997.

We saw then much of what Archbishop Chaput spoke about on August 24, 2010. And we have been trying with all our abilities and limited resources to convince many others about the dangers we face. We have been trying to report on the real solutions to those dangers – solutions that require taking courageously counter-cultural actions.

LifeSiteNews has been compelled to make its mission one of boldly reporting the truth and educating and activating society to bring about critically needed cultural change. And, if you are a regular LSN reader, you understand that our unique reporting is needed now more than ever.

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Pope: Church Must Reject All ‘Alternative Models of Family Life’

Encourages Christians to reinforce faith as foundation for culture

By Kathleen Gilbert

VATICAN CITY, September 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – All legal recognition of “alternative” means of pursuing a family life, such as homosexual “marriage” and civil union laws, threatens to undermine the true model of marriage as the permanent bond of one man and one woman for the procreation of children, said Pope Benedict XVI on Monday.

The pontiff said that “the Church sees with concern the growing attempt to eliminate the Christian concept of marriage and family from the consciousness of society.”

“The Church can not approve legislative initiatives involving a reappraisal of alternative models of married life and family. They contribute to the weakening of the principles of natural law and so the relativization of all legislation and also the confusion about values in society,” said the pontiff in an address to the new German ambassador to the Holy See.

The pope said that, “Marriage is manifested as a lasting union of love between a man and a woman, which is also always oriented toward the transmission of human life,” noting that such a bond “requires a certain maturity of the person and a fundamental social and existential attitude.”

Benedict also took the occasion to exalt the centrality of human life, particularly frail and dependent human life, as something that “always has priority over anything else.” “When once we begin to distinguish – and often this happens already in the womb – between life worthy and unworthy to live, any other stage of life will not be spared, much less the elderly and the infirm,” he said.

The pontiff also criticized Christians who, rather than becoming “guarantors” of the faith “without compromise,” “tend to show an overriding inclination towards more permissive religious convictions.” For example, those who replace the personal, moral Christian God with a mysterious “supreme being” render null the conflict between good and evil, and so rob society of the impetus to constantly pursue the good: “If God does not have His own will, then good and bad end up being indistinguishable. … Man thus loses the moral and spiritual energy necessary for the overall development of the person,” he said.

As new relationships are developing in recent times between church and state, said Benedict, it is incumbent upon Christians to “follow this development in a positive and critical way, as well as to refine men’s senses for the fundamental and continuing importance of Christianity in laying the groundwork to form the structures of our culture.”

Click here for the original text (in Italian).

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Manslaughter Case against Massachusetts Abortionist Begins Today

By Kathleen Gilbert

BOSTON, September 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The trial into charges of involuntary manslaughter against a Massachusetts abortionist whose botched abortion killed Laura Hope Smith, 22, begins Monday, exactly three years after the young woman’s death, according to an Associated Press report.

Prosecutors charged Dr. Rapin Osathanondh of Cape Cod with manslaughter in July 2008 in connection with the death of Smith, 22, whose heart stopped during an abortion. Osathanondh resigned his license in February 2008, the same day the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine issued charges against him over the incident.

The board said that Osathanondh “engaged in conduct that calls into question his competence to practice medicine,” including failing to monitor Smith’s heart or “adhere to basic cardiac life support protocol,” and failing to call 911 immediately after her heart stopped. The abortionist, said the board, also neglected to keep oxygen or a functioning blood pressure monitor in the room, and later lied to cover up his negligence.

A Boston attorney specializing in medical malpractice cases told the AP that bringing criminal charges in such a case was extraordinary, implying an extreme level of negligence, as most such cases are handled in civil court.

“The more extreme the action, the more extraordinary the negligence, the more likely it is that it may cross over that line where it also becomes criminal,” said attorney Andrew Meyer.

Osathanondh will face the charges in Barnstable Superior Court.

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Santorum: ‘Separation of Church and State’ Meant to Protect Church from Gov’t, Not Vice Versa

By Kathleen Gilbert

HOUSTON, Texas, September 13, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute” – these words of U.S. President John F. Kennedy helped bring about today’s “privatization of faith,” which allows politicians to rationalize away their abandonment of moral principles in the public square, according to former U.S. senator Rick Santorum.

In a speech last Thursday at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas Santorum contemplated the consequences of Kennedy’s famous words, just before the fiftieth anniversary of the late president’s address. His remarks were published in full by Catholic Online Monday.

The former U.S. senator pointed out the problems that arise from Kennedy’s appeal to a “conscience” that is free off religious influences. The late president stated: “Whatever issue should come before me as President, if I should be elected, on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject I will make my decision … in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates.”

“I too use my conscience as a guide, but you are not born with a competent conscience; it is formed and continues to be formed by something and reflects that formation,” said Santorum. “If faith in objective and eternal truths is no longer going to inform your conscience what moral code will? And where does that code come from? And what is the basis of its authority? Doesn’t the public have a right to know? Yet Kennedy’s followers never tell us.”

Santorum also pointed out that according to current standards, consciences that are not rooted in faith “can be permitted to freely apply their ideas in making laws and deciding cases.” But, he continued, “On the other hand, consciences rooted in a belief in God are free to apply their ideas to personal matters; but if your beliefs, in the words of my former senate colleague Chuck Schumer, are ‘deeply held beliefs’ that impact your public positions – they must be excluded.”

Santorum took as an example the infamous speech of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo at the University of Notre Dame in 1984. Cuomo had justified his support of abortion laws despite his Catholic faith by declaring that, while privately opposed to the killing of the unborn, he would not impose his belief on others, who may believe differently. “This political hand washing made it easier for Catholics to be in public life, but it also made it harder for Catholics to be Catholic in public life,” said Santorum.

“Cuomo’s safe harbor is nothing more than a camouflage for the faint of heart – a cynical sanctuary for concealing true convictions from the public, and for rationalizing a reluctance to defend them. Kennedy, Cuomo and their modern day disciples on the secular left would resolve any conflict between religion and politics by relegating faith to the closet.”

While Kennedy’s famous speech was intended to assuage fears that the pope would influence the Catholic president’s administration, Santorum said that, by twisting the original meaning of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Kennedy’s words “sealed off informed moral wisdom into a realm of non rational beliefs that have no legitimate role in political discourse.”

“On that day, Kennedy chose not just to dispel fear, he chose to expel faith,” he said.

The notion that religion should not influence government was introduced relatively late in American political history; the original intention behind the so-called “separation of church and state,” he explained, was to protect religion from the government, not the other way around. “Kennedy’s misuse of the phrase constructed a high barrier that ultimately would keep religious convictions out of politics in a place where our founders had intended just the opposite,” he said.

But ultimately, he said, the freedom of religion and conscience – which Kennedy’s promises end up threatening, rather than aiding – “is the trunk from which all other branches of freedom on our great tree of liberty get their life. Cut down the trunk and the tree of liberty will die and in its place will be only the barren earth of tyranny.”

Therefore, said the former senator, Americans should fight against the forces that antagonize people of faith, in order to preserve the virtue that is fed by faith and leads to true liberty. He quoted political philosopher Edmund Burke, who explained that “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites … Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.”

“Virtue requires faith because faith is the primary teacher of morality. That is not to say that one cannot be virtuous without faith, but for society as a whole faith is the indispensable agent of virtue,” said Santorum. “Faith requires freedom.”

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