Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pontiff Calls for "Ecology of Man," Warns Against New Theories of "Gender"

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

VATICAN CITY,(Zenit.org).- While protecting nature is an essential mission of the Church, it's no more important than protecting the nature of the person, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope spoke today of what he termed an "ecology of man" during his traditional exchange of Christmas greetings with prelates and members of the Roman Curia.

"Given that faith in the Creator is an essential element of the Christian creed, the Church can not and should not limit itself to transmitting to the faithful only the message of salvation," he affirmed. "It also has a responsibility with creation, and it has to fulfill this responsibility in public."

The Pontiff added that while the Church needs to "defend the earth, water, air, as gifts of the creation that belongs to all of us [... ], it must also protect the human being from his own destruction."

"It is necessary that there be something such as an ecology of man, understood in the proper manner," he said.

This human ecology, he affirmed, is based on respecting the nature of the person, and the two genders of masculine and feminine.

Always current

"It is not outmoded metaphysics," Benedict XVI affirmed, "when Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected."

He said it has more to do with "faith in the Creator and listening to the language of creation, the contempt of which will lead to the self destruction of humanity."

The Pope warned against the manipulation that takes place in national and international forums when the term "gender" is altered.

"What is often expressed and understood by the term 'gender,' is definitively resolved in the self-emancipation of the human being from creation and the Creator," he warned. "Man wants to create himself, and to decide always and exclusively on his own about what concerns him."

The Pontiff said this is man living "against truth, against the creating Spirit."

"The rain forests certainly deserve our protection, but man as creature indeed deserves no less," he added.

Benedict XVI explained that great theologians have "qualified marriage, that is to say, the link for life between man and woman, as a sacrament of creation, instituted by the Creator."

"This forms part of the announcement that the Church should offer," he concluded, "in favor of the creating Spirit present in all of nature, and in a special way in the nature of man created in the image of God."

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

40 Days For Life To Speak At Personhood Conference

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
30 December 2008
CONTACT: Katie Walker
540.659.4942| kwalker@all.org

40 DAYS FOR LIFE LEADER TO SPEAK AT PERSONHOOD CONFERENCE

Washington, D.C. (30 December 2008) – David Bereit, director of the nation-wide 40 Days for Life campaign that has reinvigorated the grassroots pro-life movement, will be speaking at American Life League's Personhood Conference Jan. 23, 2009.

Bereit's revolutionary campaign, combining prayer, fasting, constant vigil and community outreach touched 204 cities across 49 states.

He is part of an exceptional group of speakers taking part in the Ninth Annual Training and Activism Week in Washington, D.C.

"David Bereit is a hero in the pro-life movement," said Marie Hahnenberg, project director for the 2009 Training and Activism Week. "His dedication to ending abortion through regular, peaceful presence outside of Planned Parenthood facilities and other abortion clinics has sparked a passion in thousands of people for protecting and defending the preborn."

Reports from around the country say that at least 1,100 lives have been spared from abortion thanks to the 40 Days for Life campaign.

"He has inspired so many people to become activists in their home towns and we are very happy to have him share his knowledge and experience," Hahnenberg said.

The ALL Training and Activism Week and Personhood Conference on Jan. 23 will also feature ALL president Judie Brown, Ambassador Alan Keyes, Kristi Burton, architect of the Colorado Personhood movement, Lila Rose, president of Live Action Films and renowned pro-life blogger Jill Stanek. David will be speaking on how to use today's technology to spread the pro-life, personhood message.

The event celebrates the reinvigoration of the personhood movement that works toward cultural and legislative recognition of all human beings from the moment of creation until natural death.

American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to natural death. For more information or press inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:

_______________________________
Katie Walker
Director of Communication
American Life League
1179 Courthouse Road
Stafford, Virginia 22554
540.659.4942
kwalker@all.org

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Mystic Monk Coffee - Helping the Portiuncula Hermitage and Birthright

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

The Portiuncula Hermitage is committed to tithing ten percent of their Mystic Monk Coffee Sales Commissions to Birthright (a loving alternative to abortion)!

Mystic Monk Coffee is roasted by the Carmelite Monks, a Roman Catholic monastery in the silence and solitude of the Rocky Mountains of northern Wyoming. The monks live a hidden life of prayer and contemplation in the pursuit of God. The monastery is inundated with young men who seek to leave everything to pray for the world, in a tradition at least a thousand years old. It is the monks’ great joy and privilege to share the fruit of their life with you in every cup of Mystic Monk Coffee.

What is the Carmelite Monks' goals in roasting Mystic Monk Coffee? They hope that this new monastic industry will help them to establish their Catholic monastery in the mountains of Wyoming. Catholics everywhere love coffee and why not buy their coffee from Catholic monks who are laboring to take vocations?

Every Catholic monastery has its own manual labor, a way to support itself by its own hands. Then it usually sells what it makes as its monastery gift item. Coffee is unique in that Catholics everywhere drink coffee daily. So this is a monastery gift for every day of the year. Catholics should find this as another way to integrate the church into their daily lives, through Catholic coffee. Every morning as they sip their coffee, why not think of the church and say a morning offering to Christ?

Mystic Monk Coffee is pleased to offer the socially conscious consumer a coffee that respects the value of every human life and the right and dignity of every person, especially the unborn. Fair Trade Organic is a decision to act with social justice.

The monastic life is one of ordered perfection, which you will taste in every bag of Mystic Monk Coffee. Passionate about perfection, no challenge is too great for Br. Java and the monks, if it will result in a Mystic Monk brew suited for the most discriminating coffee drinker. The Carmelite monks have mastered the ancient art of roasting coffee, laboring with steadfast determination to make each cup of coffee simply superb. Taste the monastic perfection in each brew, which makes all the difference.


The Portiuncula Hermitage is committed to tithing ten percent of their Mystic Monk Coffee Sales Commissions to Birthright (a loving alternative to abortion)!

Please remember to keep the pre-born in your prayers!

To order direct, simply click on the Mystic Monk Coffee Icon on the rigt side of this page:

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Pope prays for families, especially those in difficulty

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Christmas celebrations underscore the importance of the family in people's lives, but for many it also is a time when wounds caused by one's family become more painful, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Reciting the Angelus Dec. 28, the feast of the Holy Family, Pope Benedict prayed for families in difficulty and for family members who are sick or out of work.

"Christmas is the family celebration par excellence," the pope told visitors in St. Peter's Square. "This is demonstrated by many traditions and social customs, especially gathering together as a family to share festive meals and exchange best wishes and gifts."

But, he said, it also is a time when "the discomfort and pain caused by certain family wounds are amplified."

The pope prayed that all Christian families would model their relationships on those of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, working together, trusting in God and taking care of one another.

Speaking in Spanish, he sent his best wishes to people gathered in Madrid, Spain, "to pray for the family and to commit themselves to working on its behalf with strength and hope."

"The family certainly is a grace of God, which allows us to see who he is: love," Pope Benedict said.

"Dear families, do not let your love, your openness to life and the incomparable bonds that unite your home diminish," he said. "Constantly ask the Lord for this; pray together so that your plans may be enlightened by faith and strengthened by divine grace."

The pope said he is close to all the world's families, "praying to the Lord especially for those in every family who have greater need for health, work, comfort and companionship."

"We entrust to the Lord every family, especially those most tried by the difficulties of life and by the wounds of misunderstanding and division," he said.

He also asked people to pray for the success of the Sixth World Meeting of Families, which will take place in Mexico City Jan. 14-18. The Pontifical Council for the Family is organizing the event.

Mexican church and government leaders had invited Pope Benedict to Mexico to preside over the celebration, but his doctors advised against the trip because of the city's high altitude, said Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the council.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

To reach young, church must explain core beliefs, official says

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


By John Thavis
Catholic News Service


VATICAN CITY – If the church wants to reach young people today, it must avoid the temptation to “fudge” on core Catholic beliefs in an effort to make them more agreeable to contemporary tastes, a Vatican official said.

Instead, it should confront with courage the major barriers in modern evangelization, including cultural resistance to the proclamation of Christ as the unique savior, said Dominican Father Augustine DiNoia, undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“No one in his or her right mind will be interested in a faith about which its exponents seem too embarrassed to communicate forthrightly,” Father DiNoia said.

“We have to be convinced that the fullness of the truth and beauty of the message about Jesus Christ is powerfully attractive when it is communicated without apologies or compromise,” he said.

Father DiNoia made the remarks in the Carl J. Peter lecture delivered Dec. 7 at Rome’s Pontifical North American College. His speech took its theme from Pope Benedict XVI’s talk to U.S. bishops last April, when the pope said they could best help people meet God by “clearing away some of the barriers to such an encounter.”

Father DiNoia said these barriers are in part intellectual, and can be remedied by robust preaching and teaching that responds to the younger generation’s openness to discussion and debate.

“In our conversations with young people, we have to avoid the temptation to fudge – to adapt the Catholic faith so as to make it palatable to modern tastes and expectations,” Father DiNoia said.

“This so-called ‘accommodationist’ approach generally fails, and it fails doubly with young people. There is a risk in this approach that the Christian message becomes indistinguishable from everything else on offer in the market stalls of secularized religious faith,” he said.

Father DiNoia examined what he said were the three biggest obstacles to evangelizing young people today. The first, he said, is “the notion that it is arrogant to claim that Jesus Christ is the unique mediator of salvation.”

He said that in confronting this barrier the church needs to first make clear that faith in Christ’s uniqueness does not devalue other religions, which are worthy of respect and study as “monuments to the search for God.”

But what makes Christianity different is that it is principally about “God’s search for us” and God’s desire to give human beings a share in divine life, he said.

“Given that salvation in the Christian sense of the term involves both reconciliation of sinners and the elevation of creaturely persons to a new kind of life, it cannot come from within this world. Saviors are a dime a dozen when one fails to grasp what’s really at stake. We need to be delivered not just from error, or suffering, or desire, or injustice, or poverty,” he said.

“God desires nothing less than to share his life with us,” he said. Only Jesus Christ could accomplish that, he said, and Christians need to affirm that in bringing salvation for them and for others, Jesus is “not just any savior.”

Father DiNoia identified a second barrier to the evangelization of young people in the mistaken and predominant belief that being a Christian means giving up one’s freedom and replacing it with conformity to an external set of rules.

It is true that Christian faith requires conformity to Christ, he said. But this is not a “slavish conformity”; it presupposes the full realization of the unique human person, not his suppression, he said.

The third major barrier, Father DiNoia said, is the idea that the church’s moral teachings are more or less arbitrary, allowing or forbidding certain things regardless of their real relationship with human goodness.

Young people need to know that the church rejects this “culture of legalism” in theology, and that Catholic teachings are aimed primarily at fostering virtue, not instilling obedience. Like an athlete’s exercise and diet regime, which prepares him for a good performance, the church’s moral teachings are designed to lead the person to goodness and happiness, he said.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pope Speaks Up for Abused Children, Says All Must Work to End Their Suffering

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

VATICAN CITY,(Zenit.org).- Reflecting on the mystery of the birth of the Christ Child, Benedict XVI called for taking greater care of all children, especially those who suffer and are most in need.

The Pope said this during the homily he gave at Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in which he first offered a meditation on the mystery of the Incarnation.

"God dwells on high," he began, "yet he stoops down to us! God is infinitely great, and far, far above us. The One who has no equal, who 'is seated on high,' looks down upon us. He stoops down. He sees us, and he sees me."

"God's looking down," the Pontiff explained, "is much more than simply seeing from above. God's looking is active. The fact that he sees me -- that he looks at me -- transforms me and the world around me.

"In looking down, he raises me up, he takes me gently by the hand and helps me to rise from depths toward the heights."

The Holy Father further reflected that "God's stooping down became real in a way previously inconceivable" when Christ was born.

"He stoops down," the Pontiff explained. "He himself comes down as a child to the lowly stable, the symbol of all humanity's neediness and forsakenness.

"God truly comes down. He becomes a child and puts himself in the state of complete dependence typical of a newborn child."

Poor and helpless

"The Creator who holds all things in his hands, on whom we all depend, makes himself small and in need of human love," he added.

Benedict XVI said that not only did God become a child, but that he came as a poor child -- a "homeless child."

"With these thoughts," he continued, "we draw near this night to the child of Bethlehem -- to the God who for our sake chose to become a child. In every child we see something of the Child of Bethlehem. Every child asks for our love.

"This night, then, let us think especially of those children who are denied the love of their parents. Let us think of those street children who do not have the blessing of a family home, of those children who are brutally exploited as soldiers and made instruments of violence, instead of messengers of reconciliation and peace.

"Let us think of those children who are victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse, and thus are traumatized in the depths of their soul."

"The Child of Bethlehem summons us once again to do everything in our power to put an end to the suffering of these children, to do everything possible to make the light of Bethlehem touch the heart of every man and woman," the Pontiff said. "Only through the conversion of hearts, only through a change in the depths of our hearts can the cause of all this evil be overcome, only thus can the power of the evil one be defeated.

"Only if people change will the world change; and in order to change, people need the light that comes from God, the light which so unexpectedly entered into our night."

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Friday, December 26, 2008

"Merry Christmas???!!!" ... "You're Fired!"

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Fla. woman claims 'Merry Christmas' got her fired

By MELISSA NELSON

PENSACOLA, Fla. – A Christian woman claims she was fired from her job because she greeted callers with "Merry Christmas," but the vacation rental company says it's no Scrooge and the woman is just a disgruntled employee.

Tonia Thomas, 35, said she refused to say "Happy Holidays" and was fired, even after offering to use the company's non-holiday greeting. The Panama City woman filed a federal complaint that accuses the company of religious discrimination. She is seeking compensation for lost wages.

"I hold my core Christian values to a high standard and I absolutely refuse to give in on the basis of values. All I wanted was to be able to say 'Merry Christmas' or to acknowledge no holidays," she said Tuesday. "As a Christian, I don't recognize any other holidays."

Thomas said she is Baptist.

Her former employer, Counts-Oakes Resorts Properties Inc., said she wasn't fired for saying "Merry Christmas," but would not elaborate.

"We are a Christian company and we celebrate Christmas," said Andy Phillips, the company's president. Thomas is "a disgruntled employee," presenting a one-sided version of what happened when she was fired Dec. 10, Phillips said.

Liberty Counsel, an Orlando-based legal group that advocates for people discriminated against because of their religion, is representing Thomas before the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. Their complaint also accuses the company of harassing and taunting Thomas after she was fired by calling the police to watch her pack her belongs and leave.

Thomas could have hard time winning the case, said G. Thomas Harper, a Jacksonville-based labor attorney who writes a newsletter on Florida employment law.

"I wouldn't think an employee has the right to insist (on saying Merry Christmas) unless that really is a tenet of their faith. She would have to make a strong case that was part of her beliefs, if not, it becomes insubordination," he said.

Thomas has found another job, but she makes less than the $10.50 an hour she earned with the rental company. She said the trauma of being fired and the pay cut has made for a tough holiday season for herself, her husband and their 6-year-old son.

Harper said when it comes to holiday greetings, the smartest choice might be ignoring the season.

"The best option is just not to say anything," he said.

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Pope Urges All to Do Their Part, Says Self-interest Will Lead to World's Demise

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Pontiff Urges All to Do Their Part, Says Self-interest Will Lead to World's Demise

VATICAN CITY, (Zenit.org).- Without a little more solidarity and a little less selfishness, the world will "fall apart," says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today in his Christmas message, delivered from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica before imparting the blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world) and extending Christmas greetings in 64 languages.

Offering a meditation on the mystery of Christmas, the Holy Father called the celebration a "feast of light" that begins with a small glimmer in the night, which then spreads out "from a precise point in the universe: from the stable of Bethlehem, where the divine Child was born."

"Indeed, he is the light itself, which begins to radiate, as portrayed in so many paintings of the Nativity. He is the light whose appearance breaks through the gloom, dispels the darkness and enables us to understand the meaning and the value of our own lives and of all history," the Pontiff reflected."

Benedict XVI turned his attention to Mary and Joseph, "who that night welcomed the incarnate Word, awaiting it with love, along with the shepherds who kept watch over their flocks."

"A small community, in other words, which made haste to adore the Child Jesus; a tiny community which represents the Church and all people of good will," he added.

The Pontiff affirmed that even today there are many who await the Christ Child. He said they "seek him in their lives ... turn their hearts to him ... yearn to see his face and to contribute to the coming of his Kingdom."

The Pope called the Christmas message of one hope, and one that "is meant for all men and women."

"Jesus was born for everyone," he said, "and just as Mary, in Bethlehem, offered him to the shepherds, so on this day the Church presents him to all humanity, so that each person and every human situation may come to know the power of God's saving grace, which alone can transform evil into good, which alone can change human hearts, making them oases of peace."

Light in the darkness

"May the many people who continue to dwell in darkness and the shadow of death," the Holy Father continued, "come to know the power of God's saving grace! May the divine Light of Bethlehem radiate throughout the Holy Land, where the horizon seems once again bleak for Israelis and Palestinians. May it spread throughout Lebanon, Iraq and the whole Middle East.

"May it bring forth rich fruit from the efforts of all those who, rather than resigning themselves to the twisted logic of conflict and violence, prefer instead the path of dialogue and negotiation as the means of resolving tensions within each country and finding just and lasting solutions to the conflicts troubling the region."

Benedict XVI expressed a desire that this light bring "transformation and renewal" and other areas such as Zimbabwe, which he said has been "trapped for all too long in a political and social crisis which, sadly, keeps worsening."

The Pontiff also mentioned other troubled spots such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, the war-torn region of Kivu, Darfur, in Sudan, and Somalia, "whose interminable sufferings are the tragic consequence of the lack of stability and peace."

"This light is awaited especially by the children living in those countries," he added, "and the children of all countries experiencing troubles, so that their future can once more be filled with hope."

He continued: "Wherever the dignity and rights of the human person are trampled upon; wherever the selfishness of individuals and groups prevails over the common good; wherever fratricidal hatred and the exploitation of man by man risk being taken for granted; wherever internecine conflicts divide ethnic and social groups and disrupt peaceful coexistence; wherever terrorism continues to strike; wherever the basics needed for survival are lacking; wherever an increasingly uncertain future is regarded with apprehension, even in affluent nations: in each of these places may the Light of Christmas shine forth and encourage all people to do their part in a spirit of authentic solidarity."

"If people look only to their own interests, our world will certainly fall apart," the Holy Father affirmed.

Benedict XVI called the world one of "potential" and "frailty," and said that from it "there shines forth the light of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High and the son of the Virgin Mary."

"Let us go, then, brothers and sisters!" he urged. "Let us make haste, like the shepherds on that Bethlehem night. God has come to meet us; he has shown us his face, full of grace and mercy!

"May his coming to us not be in vain! Let us seek Jesus, let us be drawn to his light which dispels sadness and fear from every human heart. Let us draw near to him with confidence, and bow down in humility to adore him."

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

The First Live Nativity Scene For Midnight Mass In Greccio in 1223 A.D.

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

What St. Francis did on the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ near the little town called Greccio in the third year before his glorious death should especially be noted and recalled with reverent memory. In that place there was a certain man by the name of John, of good reputation and an even better life, said to him: "If you want us to celebrate the present feast of our Lord at Greccio, go with haste and diligently prepare what I tell you. For I wish to do something that will recall to memory the little Child who was born in Bethlehem and set before our bodily eyes in some way the inconveniences of his infant needs, how he lay in a manger, how, with an ox and an ass standing by, he lay upon the hay where he had been placed." When the good and faithful man heard these things, he ran with haste and prepared in that place all the things the saint had told him.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Celano, First Life - 84

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mystic Monk Coffee Rated "Outstanding" by Coffee Review, the World's Most Respected Coffee Guide!

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Please remember that The Portiuncula Hermitage is committed to tithing all Mystic Monk Coffee Sales Commissions to Birthright!


COFFEE REVIEW

Overall Rating: 90 points

Aroma: 8
Acidity: 7
Body: 8
Flavor: 8
Aftertaste: 8
Roast (Agtron): Medium (48/63)

http://www.coffeereview.com/review.cfm?ID=1770

Origin: Not disclosed.

Notes: Monk's Christmas Blend combines eight different coffees. Mystic Monk Coffee is a small-batch roaster associated with a Carmelite monastery located in the Rocky Mountains of northern Wyoming. Roastmaster Brother Java emphasizes his artisan approach to roasting and his commitment to quality. For more information simply click on the "Mystic Monk Icon" on the right side of this page.

Blind Assessment: Balanced, quietly complex aroma: ripe tomato, lemon, nut, flowers, milk chocolate. The aromatic notes deepen in the big-bodied cup; the chocolate darkens, an earth note turns up, tart lemon and sweet floral notes persist. Clean, rich finish.

Who should drink it: With eight components this blend could end up blurred in impression, but it manages to make its aromatic layering readable and original.



About Coffee Review:

The concept was simple: conduct blind, expert cuppings of coffees and report the findings in the form of 100-point reviews, much like those that exist in the wine industry. Since I founded the Coffee Review in February 1997 with Ron Walters, it quickly has become the world's largest and most respected coffee buying guide.

The Portiuncula Hermitage is committed to tithing all Mystic Monk Coffee Sales to Birthright!

Please remember to keep our pre-born in your daily prayers!




To Order Direct, simply click on the "Mystic Monk Icon" on the Right Side of this page!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

U.S. Announces New Conscience Protection Rules for Medical Field

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Washington DC,(CNA).- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Thursday issued a final regulation explicitly clarifying the rights of health care providers to decline participation in services to which they object in conscience. The rule will help protect those individuals and institutions in the medical field who object to abortion.

An HHS press release reported that several statutes have been enacted by Congress to "safeguard the freedom of health care providers to practice according to their conscience."

"The new regulation will increase awareness of and compliance with these laws," it continued.

"Doctors and other health care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said. "This rule protects the right of medical providers to care for their patients in accord with their conscience."

"Many health care providers routinely face pressure to change their medical practice – often in direct opposition to their personal convictions," said HHS Assistant Secretary of Health, Admiral Joxel Garcia, M.D. "During my practice as an OB-GYN, I witnessed this first-hand. Health care providers shouldn’t have to check their consciences at the hospital door."

According to the HHS press release, the final rule clarifies that non-discrimination protections apply to institutional health care providers as well as individuals who work for recipients of HHS funds. Under the rule recipients of certain HHS funds will be required to certify their compliance with conscience protection laws.

The HHS Office for Civil Rights has been designated as the entity to receive violation complaints. If a state or local government or entity is in violation of the statutes, HHS officials may assist them in becoming compliant. If such efforts fail, the entity may be penalized by termination of funding and may be required to return funding already received.

The HHS also encourages providers to disclose to patients what services they do not provide.

Describing remarks received concerning the proposal, the HHS press release said "the comments consistently bore out the necessity of the regulation to implement the statutes enacted by Congress."

"Many commenters exhibited a lack of understanding of these laws. Others articulated a general knowledge that conscience protections exist for providers, but the scope of these protections was not always widely understood. Still other comments came from health care workers relating personal experiences of what they perceived to be discrimination on the basis of their personal or religious beliefs."

Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the 16,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA), on Thursday welcomed the regulation, saying it will "protect patients and patient access to physicians who adhere to life-affirming ethical standards."

"By protecting physicians and other healthcare professionals who still adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, the Judeo-Christian Scriptures and other objective standards of medical ethics, this regulation serves to protect patients who want access to conscientious and compassionate care from life-affirming physicians," he continued, adding "this regulation insures that physicians and others won’t be run out of the profession for upholding those standards."

According to Dr. Stevens, only 38 percent of Americans realize that physicians may not legally be coerced into performing or referring for abortions. He also reported that 41 percent of CMA members who responded to a survey reported being "pressured to compromise Biblical or ethical convictions."

"Physicians report being forced out of medical positions, residents report loss of training privileges, and students report discrimination in medical school admissions," he stated. "Medical students have been reporting to us that they are deciding not to pursue careers in obstetrics and gynecology for fear of coercion to do abortions."

The rule is opposed by many abortion rights groups and also by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association. Sources close to President-elect Obama’s transition team told the Wall Street Journal the Obama administration will try to change the rule through the HHS regulatory process.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Health Association, which represents Catholic hospitals, both support the new rule. They say it is needed to protect health care providers from being forced to perform sterilizations and abortions.

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Misreporting Religion

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Blind Spots and Biases in Media Coverage


By Father John Flynn, LC

VATICAN CITY, (Zenit.org).- Accuracy and objectivity are traits often lacking in the media's coverage of churches and religion in general. A case in point is the recent Newsweek article on same-sex marriage.

The magazine published a cover story by Lisa Miller in the Dec. 15 issue arguing that we can't take the Bible as a reliable source on what marriage should be like. Miller also affirmed that neither the Bible nor Jesus explicitly defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Miller's article was widely criticized for its selective quoting of Bible passages and for simply ignoring much of what Scripture does say about marriage. Newsweek itself acknowledged that her opinions drew thousands of critical e-mails.

The ignorance displayed in the Newsweek article is, however, far from an isolated case. On Dec. 15 the reader's editor of the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper had to admit that they had confused Mary's Immaculate Conception with the virgin birth of Jesus in a story published, no less, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The editor also had to admit that, as one priest who wrote to them pointed out, this is a frequent mistake. In fact, seven times in the last 10 years the Guardian has had to publish corrections on this topic.

Another glaring mistake was made July 7, this time by FoxNews, when it was reported that Webster Cook, a student at the University of Central Florida, smuggled a consecrated host out of a Mass. The reporter misstated that the host is believed by Catholics "to symbolize the body of Christ."

Commentators quickly pointed out that the Catholic Church does not believe the Eucharist to be a mere symbol, but to be the true Body of Christ. FoxNews did correct the story, but even so the current version, while acknowledging that Catholics believe it to Christ's body, says that this comes about when the host is "blessed," instead of the correct term, "consecrated."

Getting it

Trying to understand why the media so often get it wrong on religion is the aim of a collection of essays just published: "Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion," (Oxford University Press).

Edited by Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Roberta Green Ahmanson, the book's foreword starts by noting that many journalists are simply illiterate when it comes to knowing what the Bible contains. Unfortunately, the foreword commented, a journalist with secular blinkers will simply miss out on many of the most important events and trends of our time.

In his contribution, Allen D. Hertzke, professor of political science at Oklahoma University, accused the mainstream press of missing out on one of the great developments in foreign policy in recent times.

Hertzke explained that a new human rights movement arose in the mid '90s to defend religious freedom and human rights. Important legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress, including the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

He made an in-depth study of the media coverage during the years that the major legislative bills were passed and concluded that the role of the faith-based alliance of groups that were a major force in the process was often misunderstood.

The professor noted, for example, that the New York Times often seemed to struggle to make sense of the legislative processes, often simply characterizing the push as a cause of the "Christian Right," thus ignoring the role played by the diversity of groups ranging from Jews to Tibetan Buddhists.

Likewise, Hertzke added, the campaign against trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation is another area where religious groups played a pioneering role, only too often overlooked by the media.

Papal focus

http://www.zenit.org/article-24637?l=english

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Church Lived New Pentecost in '08, Says Pontiff

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Recalls Lessons From Synod of Bishops



VATICAN CITY, (Zenit.org).- The world Synod of Bishops celebrated in Rome in October was an opportunity to "experience that in the Church there is Pentecost also today," says Benedict XVI.

This was one of the affirmations made by the Pope today when he had his traditional exchange of Christmas greetings with prelates and members of the Roman Curia. In this annual address, the Holy Father highlights key events of the year; this year he also touched on July's World Youth Day and his trips to the United States and France.

In the synod, he said, "pastors from all over the world gathered around the Word of God, which had been raised up in their midst; around the Word of God, whose great manifestation is found in sacred Scripture."

This Pentecost experience, the Holy Father suggested, had two senses: On one hand, "the Church speaks in many tongues, since all the great languages of the world are represented in it." But there is also a deeper meaning, he continued: "In [the Church] the multiple forms of the experience of God and the world, the richness of cultures, are present. And only thus does the amplitude of human experience appear, and from that, the amplitude of the Word of God."

Nevertheless, the Pontiff said that the synod fathers also "understood that Pentecost is still 'on the way,' is still incomplete: There are a multitude of tongues that still await the Word of God contained in the Bible."

God speaks

Benedict XVI suggested that the most important element of the synod was "rediscovering something that in day to day life we take for granted: the fact that God speaks, that God responds to our questions, the fact that he, though in human words, speaks in person and we can hear him and, in hearing him, learn to know and understand him."

The Word of God, he continued, "directs itself to each one of us, speaks to the heart of each one."

The Pope added: "[W]e have realized again that -- precisely because the Word is so personal -- we can understand it in the correct and total way only in the 'we' of the community instituted by God: always remaining aware that we can never exhaust it entirely; that it has something new to say to every generation."

The Holy Father expressed his hope that "the experiences and accomplishments of the synod efficaciously influence the life of the Church."

He particularly mentioned the unprecedented participation of Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, and of Shear Yashuv Cohen, chief rabbi of Haifa.

Regarding the intervention from Bartholomew I, the Pontiff said it was "an important moment for the synod, and even more, for the journey of the Church in its entirety."

He also recalled the "moving testimonies of laypeople from around the world, who not only live the Word of God but also suffer for it."

"We have seen that the message of Scripture does not remain in the past nor can it be enclosed there; God, ultimately, always speaks to the present, and we will have heard the Bible fully only when we have discovered this 'present' of God who calls us now," the Bishop of Rome said. "This Word has shaped a common history and it wants to continue doing so."

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

In Defense Of Pastor Rick Warren

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, STL, president of Human Life International and a Catholic priest, challenged Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA to reconsider his participation in the upcoming inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Barack Obama.

In a statement issued December 19, Rev. Euteneuer said “We applaud Pastor Warren’s support of pro-life causes as well as his defense of traditional marriage,” said Father Euteneuer. “This is why we are concerned that his high-profile and explicitly Christian prayerful invocation at President-elect Obama’s inauguration may be perceived as an endorsement, even a blessing, of what will likely be the most anti-life administration in the history of this country.”

President-elect Obama has promised to sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which pro-life advocates see as a massive assault on the dignity of life. He is also widely expected to reverse

President George W. Bush’s executive order reinstating the Mexico City Policy, which prevents funding of international groups and programs that advocate abortion, as well as funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) which, among other assaults on life, has been demonstrated to support coercive “family planning” measures in China, including forced abortions and sterilizations.

“President-elect Obama has given every indication that he has no respect for the lives of the unborn, and whenever given the opportunity, has promised to enforce the most extreme demands of anti-life groups,” said Father Euteneuer. “This extremist agenda should not be seen to have the endorsement of pro-life leaders such as Pastor Warren.”


“I respect the personal relationship that Pastor Warren has with Mr. Obama,” said Father Euteneuer. “But such a public and explicitly Christian endorsement as this invocation is certainly confusing to those who know Mr. Obama’s record on life issues. We respectfully ask Pastor Warren to reconsider his participation in the inaugural ceremonies, given Mr. Obama’s extremist anti-life views.”



So what does St. Francis of Assisi have to say about all this?

"There should be no brother or sister in the whole world who has fallen into sin, no matter how far they have fallen, who will ever fail to find your forgiveness for the asking, if they will only look into your eyes. And if they do not ask forgiveness, you should ask them if they want it. And should they appear before you a thousand times, you should love them more than you love me, so that you may draw them to God; you should always have pity on such people..."

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Social Justice Groups Meet with Obama Team, Bishops Express Doubt

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Social Justice Groups Meet with Obama Team, Bishops Express Doubt


Washington DC, (CNA).- President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team held an hour and 15 minute meeting on Tuesday with just over a dozen social justice groups that presented what they see as the concerns of Catholics. In response, some Catholic bishops and commentators have told CNA that they don’t believe these groups’ concerns resonate with those of the Church.

The discussion between the Obama transition team and the different representatives touched on international development and trade, health care reform, reducing abortions, immigration, domestic policy and poverty reduction, and the environment.

The meeting of the 14 different organizations was organized by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and the lobbying group “Network,” which describes itself as "a progressive voice within the Catholic community" that lobbies Congress on justice and peace issues.

Sr. Simone Campbell, director of Network, told the National Catholic Reporter that the meeting was called to "acknowledge the work that some of the Catholic groups had done in the Catholic community during the election and to begin to develop relationships for ‘post-Jan. 20,’ when the new administration takes over after Obama’s inauguration."

James Salt, Organizing Director of Catholics United, explained to CNA that Catholics United participated in the meeting by highlighting "key policies that are important to Catholics.

"Specifically we want the new administration to take seriously its commitment to reduce abortions in America. People of goodwill from both sides of the conversation can agree that 1 million abortions a year are 1 million abortions too many. We wanted to make sure that the Obama administration knew this was one of our highest priorities."

Yet, when Salt was asked if Catholics United planned to hold Obama accountable for his pledge to work to reduce abortions, he was cautious. "We're hopeful that the Obama administration is with us on abortion reduction. We were not there to make asks, but rather to build consensus around real solutions."

Both Salt and Kelley confirmed to CNA that there was no one officially representing the Catholic Church present at the meeting, although they thought that an Obama team representative had met with key bishops at the USCCB.

Bishop Thomas Wenski, the chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, reacted to the meeting by saying, "while the Obama transition team is free to meet with anyone they wish…the fact is that the only ones who speak for the Catholic Church are the bishops.

Finally, Brian Burch, who heads a group of four lay Catholic organizations in the political, legal, research and educational fields, also expressed misgivings about the ability of the social justice consortium to rein in Obama’s policies.

"We are pleased to hear that the Obama transition team is interested in talking with Catholics, but caution that such conversations must be weighed against his reported plans on abortion policy, including his Cabinet selections thus far. Specifically, we remain concerned that the new Administration is composed of leading abortion advocates who are preparing to overturn a large number of existing pro-life laws, while proving hundreds of millions of new taxpayer dollars for abortion.

"The fact that transition officials are consulting a select group of Catholic organizations who supported Obama's candidacy is not surprising. Whether these groups, some of whom claim to adhere to Catholic teaching, are able to hold him accountable on the issue of life, remains doubtful."

Read entire article:

http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=92748

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Father Cantalamessa Reflects on Mary as Role Model

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


VATICAN CITY, (Zenit.org).- The preacher of the Pontifical Household is urging the faithful to follow the example of Mary and give birth to Christ this Christmas. Not physically, of course, but spiritually.

Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa reflected today on giving birth to Christ in one's heart during his third and last Advent sermon this year at the Vatican in the presence of Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia. The talks centered around the theme: "When the Fullness of Time Had Come, God Sent his Son, Born of a Woman: Going With St. Paul to Meet the Christ Who Comes."

"We are mothers of Christ when we carry him in our heart and in our body by divine love and with a pure and sincere conscience," Father Cantalamessa said, quoting St. Francis of Assisi. "We give birth to him through holy works, which should shine forth as an example for others.

"How holy and dear, pleasant, humble, peaceful, lovable and desirable above all things it is to have such a brother and such a son, our Lord Jesus Christ!"

"The saint is telling us that we conceive Christ when we love him with a sincere heart and with rectitude of conscience, and we give birth to him when we accomplish holy deeds that manifest him to the world," the preacher explained.

"For St. Bonaventure," he continued, "the soul conceives Jesus when, dissatisfied with the life he is living, prompted by holy inspirations and inflamed by holy ardor, he resolutely tears himself away from his old habits and defects, is in a way made spiritually fertile by the grace of the Holy Spirit and conceives the project of a new life. Christ has been conceived!"

"Once conceived, the blessed Son of God will be born in the heart so long as this soul, after having made a right discernment, asked for appropriate advice and called upon God for help, puts his holy plan immediately into practice and begins to realize that which had been ripening in him but which he had always put off for fear of being incapable of succeeding in it," the preacher added.

Father Cantalamessa warned, however, that "this project of a new life must translate itself, without delay, into something concrete, into a change, possibly even external and visible, in our life and in our habits."

"If the plan is not put into action," he explained, "Jesus is conceived, but he is not born. It will become one of the many spiritual abortions."

"If you decide to change your lifestyle and enter into the category of the poor and humble, who, like Mary, only seek the grace of God, without worrying about pleasing men, then, St. Bonaventure writes, you must arm yourself with courage, because you will need it," the preacher concluded.

He then offered the example of the Mother of God, suggested "to bring this new drive to our spiritual life: to truly conceive and give birth to Jesus in us this Christmas. "

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Warm Glow Candles Outlet Selling Mystic Monk Coffee

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Warm Glow Candles is selling "Mystic Monk Coffee" through the Portiuncula Hermitage and Retreat Center in their Outlet Store located in Indiana at Exit 145 on I-70 (Centerville, Indiana Exit).

Please remember: when you order Mystic Monk Coffee Through The Portiuncula (the Little Portion), ten percent of their sales are donated to Birthright (a loving alternative to abortion!)


FAIR TRADE / ORGANIC

Mystic Monk Coffee is pleased to offer the socially conscious consumer a coffee that respects the value of every human life and the right and dignity of every person, especially the unborn. Fair Trade Organic is a decision to act with social justice.

The monastic life is one of ordered perfection, which you will taste in every bag of Mystic Monk Coffee. Passionate about perfection, no challenge is too great for Br. Java and the monks, if it will result in a Mystic Monk brew suited for the most discriminating coffee drinker. The Carmelite monks have mastered the ancient art of roasting coffee, laboring with steadfast determination to make each cup of coffee simply superb. Taste the monastic perfection in each brew, which makes all the difference.


The Portiuncula Hermitage is committed to tithing all Mystic Monk Coffee Sales to Birthright!

Please remember to keep our pre-born in your daily prayers!

To order direct, simply click on the Mystic Monk Coffee Icon on the right side of this page:

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Excommunication of Fr. Bourgeois Certain, Vatican Official Says

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Here's some good news for a change:

Excommunication of Fr. Bourgeois Certain, Vatican Official Says

Vatican City, Dec 17, 2008 (CNA).- A Vatican official has said that the excommunication of Fr. Ray Bourgeois, an American Maryknoll priest who advocates the ordination of women, will "certainly take place" unless the priest renounces his stand.

In exclusive comments made to CNA, the official called Fr. Bourgeois’ November letter defending his stand a "sad piece of propaganda" and argued the dissenting cleric takes his inspiration from American newspapers rather than Catholic doctrine.

Fr. Bourgeois, who is involved in organizing human rights protests at the military training school formerly known as School of the Americas, has called the Catholic position on women’s ordination "sexist." In August, he delivered a homily at a ceremony at a Unitarian church purporting to ordain a woman to the Catholic priesthood.

In an October 21 letter, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave Fr. Bourgeois 30 days to renounce his public support for the ordination of women, on penalty of excommunication.

In a November 7 letter, Fr. Bourgeois said he was compelled to take his stand as a matter of conscience and would not renounce it. The priest said he knew many women who feel called to the priesthood and argued that the Church cannot treat this reputed vocation as invalid.

He characterized the "exclusion of women from the priesthood" as an "injustice."

CNA spoke with an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the case of Fr. Bourgeois. The official reiterated that all procedures at the CDF are confidential. However, since Fr. Bourgeois decided to make public his letter to the Congregation, he said that "clearly the letter is a sad piece of propaganda and in no way expresses any doctrinal substance for his position."

"Rather, Fr. Bourgeois feels he can engage with the (CDF) to change the doctrine of the Church… quoting American newspapers as if they were a source of any kind of Catholic doctrine."

The official said that the formal excommunication will "certainly take place" as soon as the CDF "responds personally to the letters sent either supporting or denouncing (Fr. Bourgeois.)"

"Of course, Fr. Bourgeois could avoid excommunication at any point if he recants, but unfortunately all his latest actions do not seem to point in that direction," the official told CNA.

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Analysis: "Emergency Contraception" and the Betrayal of Catholic Principles in Boston

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Boston,(CWNews.com) - A young woman calls a hospital emergency room, to ask if the staff will dispense an abortifacient pill to a rape victim. The response: "No, we don't do that, you know we're a Catholic hospital."

That, according to the Boston Globe, was "an illegal answer."

The Globe explains that under Massachusetts law, all hospitals are required to provide the "morning-after" pill on request to women who report that they have been raped. To test compliance with the law, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts had someone call 70 emergency rooms around the state, to ask if the pill was available. It was, in 68 cases. But two hospitals-- both affiliates of the Caritas Christi Health Care chain which is operated by the Boston archdiocese-- said they would not furnish the pill. So the Globe story carried the headline: "In survey, Caritas hospitals gave illegal answer."

Actually only two of the Caritas hospitals provided that answer. The Globe does not disclose how many Caritas institutions were included in the survey. Caritas Christi responded to the story with a statement affirming that all of its affiliates should comply with the Massachusetts law.

This Globe story exposes layer upon layer of the corruption that infects what was once a solidly Catholic community in Boston. Consider:

1. Massachusetts law does indeed require hospitals to dispense the "morning-after" pill to rape victims. The law passed through the legislature without serious opposition, despite the fact that a majority of lawmakers identify themselves as Catholics.

2. The Caritas Christi hospitals are complying with the law, despite the fact that the "morning-after" pill causes abortions. Last week's new Vatican instruction on bioethics confirmed that the use of this pill is "gravely immoral."

3. When two Catholic-hospital employees said that they could not fulfill an immoral request, they quickly became the targets of a pro-abortion publicity campaign, abetted by the region's most powerful media outlet.

4. Worse, their employers at a Catholic health-care institution, rather than applauding the employees for showing sound moral judgment, conceded that their answers had violated corporate policy. Emergency-room personnel who followed Catholic ethical principles were put on notice that their Church-owned employer would not support them.

5. The "survey" that formed the basis for the Globe story was done by NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts: a group with an obvious vested interest in the issue. Yet the Globe accepted and promulgated the results of that unscientific survey without question or critical comment.

6. The NARAL researcher "posed as a rape-crisis counselor" when calling emergency rooms, the Globe discloses. In other words the researcher deliberately misled the survey subjects. Both NARAL and the Globe skip over the ethical questions raised by such a "research" project.

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Holy See: Homosexuality Statement Goes Too Far

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"



Says It Challenges Existing Human Rights



NEW YORK,(Zenit.org).- A U.N. declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity goes "well beyond" the intent of condemning violence against homosexuals, says the Holy See.

This was affirmed in a statement from the Holy See delegation, delivered at the 63rd session of the U.N. general assembly, in response to the U.N. declaration presented today.

"The Holy See appreciates the attempts made in the declaration on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity […] to condemn all forms of violence against homosexual persons as well as urge states to take necessary measures to put an end to all criminal penalties against them," the Holy See statement affirmed.

But, it cautioned that "the wording of this declaration goes well beyond the abovementioned and shared intent."

The delegation explained, "In particular, the categories 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity,' used in the text, find no recognition or clear and agreed definition in international law. If they had to be taken into consideration in the proclaiming and implementing of fundamental rights, these would create serious uncertainty in the law as well as undermine the ability of states to enter into and enforce new and existing human rights conventions and standards."

Sixty-six of the 192 U.N. member states signed the declaration, including all the nations of the European Union. The United States did not sign, indicating a reservation similar to that voiced by the Holy See: a lack of legal clarity in the declaration's wording. Muslim nations were also opposed to the declaration.

The Holy See said the declaration goes beyond the goal of "rightful condemnation of and protection from all forms of violence against homosexual persons," and instead "gives rise to uncertainty in the law and challenges existing human rights norms."

"The Holy See continues to advocate that every sign of unjust discrimination toward homosexual persons should be avoided and urges states to do away with criminal penalties against them," the Holy See statement concluded.

Homosexuality is against the law in several dozen U.N. member states, and in some cases, can even be punished by execution.

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Benedict XVI Decries Advance Toward Euthanasia

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Tells Luxembourg Envoy That Taking Innocent Life Is Wrong



VATICAN CITY, (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is expressing his "deep concern" for the advance of euthanasia legislation in Luxembourg, saying that politicians should remember that taking innocent human life is always wrong.

The Pope's words came today as the Luxembourg Parliament was reaching an initial narrow approval of euthanasia legislation after a five-hour debate. The vote was 31 in favor and 26 against, with three abstentions. The bill might still be defeated, keeping Luxembourg from becoming the third European Union nation to approve euthanasia, after Belgium and the Netherlands.

The Holy Father, meanwhile, was receiving the new Luxembourg ambassador to the Holy See, Paul Duh, and in his address to him, the Pontiff took the occasion to speak out against euthanasia.

Benedict XVI expressed his "most deep concern about the text of the law on euthanasia and assisted suicide."

He noted that the bill is accompanied by legislation that itself contradicts the text, foreseeing regulations to develop palliative care so as to make suffering more endurable in the final stage of illness and to favor appropriate human support of the patient.

Nevertheless the bill, the Pope lamented, "concretely legitimizes the possibility of ending life."

"Political leaders, whose duty is to serve the good of man, as well as doctors and families, must remember that the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always bad from the moral point of view, and can never be licit," he continued. "Love and true compassion embark on another path.

"The request that arises from the heart of man in his supreme confrontation with suffering and death, especially when he feels the temptation to let himself be overcome by desperation, and feels lost to the point of wanting to disappear, is above all a petition for someone to accompany him and a call to greater solidarity and support in this test.

"This call can seem demanding, but it is the only one worthy of the human being, and it opens to new and deeper solidarity, which enriches and fortifies family and social bonds."

Addressing the people of Luxembourg, Benedict XVI appealed to their "Christian and humanistic roots," and asked them to reaffirm the "greatness and the inviolable character of human life."

Today's Parliament approval was the first reading of the bill, which was significantly modified since an earlier version was approved. Another reading will most likely be scheduled.

Furthermore, the chief of state, Grand Duke Henri, has said that he will not approve the legislation. His position has brought a call to amend the Constitution, stripping the monarch of his power to approve laws, and giving the position a purely ceremonial rule. Such a Constitutional amendment would be necessary before the euthanasia legislation could become effective.

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Gay rights declaration a first for UN

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Robert Chesal*


In a first the UN General Assembly has denounced homophobia, this despite strong opposition by many Islamic countries and the Vatican. Sixty six countries supported a Franco-Dutch declaration that called for anti-gay laws around the world to be scrapped. The declaration says that "sexual orientation or identity should never be cause for any legal sanction such as execution, arrest or detention".

Boris Dittrich, director of Human Rights Watch's section for gay rights, said the move was a remarkable one and he stressed that many African countries had joined in too.


"It is extremely important because all of these countries united behind a declaration calling on all other countries to stop discriminating against gays, lesbians and transgender individuals. It is the first time that this has been on the agenda of the General Assembly. It's a historic moment."


Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, who had come to New York for the occasion, applauded this "very special day for the UN". He added that the UN has neglected gay rights for too long.

The declaration implicitly criticises the more than 80 countries that have repressive laws on homosexuality. In seven countries homosexual acts are a capital offence.

The United States did not support the declaration against homophobic legislation, which does not come as a surprise, given the policies of the Bush Administration over the past eight years. It's not yet clear how Washington will vote on a gay rights UN resolution under Obama. But there is one indication: Barack Obama has chosen a vocal opponent of gay marriage to read the sermon during his inauguration on 20 January.

Father Rick Warren was a driving force behind the November referendum in California which terminated the right to a gay wedding. Warren drew a comparison between same sex marriage and paedophilia, incest and polygamy.

Gay rights activists in the US are complaining that they feel cheated after they expressed support for Obama during the campaign. They are trying to convince Obama to appoint a different religious leader for his inaugural sermon.

Resistance from Rome
The document is not binding, but it has caused anger in religiously conservative countries. Resistance to the declaration was led by the Vatican, with the support of 56 countries. Archbishop Migliore says the Vatican sees no good in the declaration because it would create "new categories which have to be protected from discrimination", and because it would lead to discrimination against the traditional heterosexual marriage. "States that do not want to recognise gay marriages will feel put under pressure," says Migliore.

Conservative alliance
The Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), the world's biggest association of Muslim states, does not support the Vatican. Yet many OIC members oppose the declaration. Mr Dittrich thinks that most opposition will come from conservative Islamic countries.

"Countries such as Egypt, Uganda and Saudi Arabia are strongly opposed to the merest discussion of the fact that human rights violations should end, so that you cannot simply put gays in prison, or torture them or condemn them to death. They don't want to talk about that."

Advocates of gay rights, too, fear that the declaration will drive opponents into each other's arms. A similar thing happened in Cairo during the UN family conference of 1994, when a conservative alliance was formed between the Vatican, Islamic countries and a large number of Latin American countries, which wrecked a proposal to recognise the right to have an abortion.

Gay rights activists are hoping that the declaration is a first step towards a formal UN resolution. Resolutions require a majority in the General Assembly to be adopted. Mr Dittrich thinks it will probably be a number of years before that happens.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Paul Weyrich: Third Branch Conference Statement On His Passing

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

From Manuel Miranda
Chairman
Third Branch Conference.

"There is no one - no one person - who has been more significant to the daily life of the Conservative movement than Paul Weyrich. There has been no one who better understood the full range of issues that affect Americans or which are affected by Washington."

"I lose a close friend and ally on the effort to reclaim the Constitution from judicial usurpation. I might not have succeeded in opposing the Harriet Miers nomination without Paul's support. And I would certainly not have continued as a public advocate without his friendship."

"This was a truly great man, who overshadowed all the elected leaders who occupied the same time and space that he did."

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How do we stop Abortions? Grow in Holiness!

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

"Our interactions with the Father and our acceptance of his love and forgiveness help us to grow in holiness. The more we turn to the Father and receive his love for us, the more we become like Jesus. We must have a true desire to grow in holiness, to receive the virtues, to surrender our lives as Jesus surrendered his life to the Father. We must have a true desire to grow in charity.

"Like the prodigal son, we too must come to our senses. Too often today we justify sin, deny sin, or think of an evil as a good. We see this in the abuse of drugs and alcohol, in the lack of respect for others, in the gossip and talking behind another person’s back, in cheating to get ahead, in the holding of grudges, in the refusal to forgive, in the objectification of women, in the misuse of our sexuality, and in the taking of innocent human life.

"The sacrament of reconciliation is essential for growth in holiness. One of the reasons today for a lack of holiness is that we do not celebrate regularly the sacrament. If we are truly serious about coming to our senses and receiving the Father’s love for us then we will go to Confession not just during Lent and Advent, but at least every month. The sacrament of reconciliation helps us to see our sins, to seek God’s mercy, and to experience his tender love for us.

"Lent and Advent is a time for us to examine our lives in the light of the Father’s love for us. The prodigal son comes to his senses as he remembers all that he had at his home, most especially the love of his father. Our true home is in the heart of the Father, and only in remembering that truth will we be able to recognize our sin, seek God’s forgiveness, and grow in holiness.

As we grow in holiness we grow in charity. In receiving the Father’s love for us we will learn to love our neighbor as God loves our neighbor. We will desire to exercise charity in our homes, workplaces, society and world. We will grow in the fruits, virtues, of the Holy Spirit, “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity” (Gal. 5:22-23). We will be willing to forgive as our Father forgives us (Mt. 6:14-15), and we will be merciful as the Father is merciful with us (Lk. 6:36). We will keep the commandments, live the beatitudes, and 'feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those who are sick and in prison, welcome the stranger' (Mt. 25:31-46).

"Conversion and growth in holiness do not happen overnight. We can become overwhelmed and discouraged if we think we must have all of these signs of holiness. We must remember that every saint, save the Blessed Mother, was a sinner. Some were great sinners and others less. For most saints it took many years to become holy, it was not achieved overnight nor without trials and failures. Perseverance was a must. And what every saint realized was that they were loved unconditionally by the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – that God was truly for them and desired only the good for them. Today we too must recognize the same if we are to become saints. My prayer for every Catholic is that each one of us will respond to the call of Jesus and grow in holiness during the Lenten and Advent seasons."

Rev. Samual J. Aquila

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Pope Benedict XVI : Simple Christmas Festivity Contrasts with Hedonism and Pride

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Wednesday Audience: Simple Christmas Festivity Contrasts with Hedonism and Pride

Vatican, Dec. 17, 2008 (CWNews.com) - Christmas is a season of "universal festivity," Pope Benedict XVI told his weekly public audience on December 17.

Breaking from his series of talks on the influence of St. Paul, the Holy Father told the crowd in the Paul VI auditorium: "Even non-believers perceive something extraordinary and transcendental" about the Christmas season.

However, the Pope warned, "under the drive of a hedonist consumerism, Christmas runs the risk of losing its spiritual meaning, reduced to a mere commercial occasion to buy and exchange gifts." In a way, he suggested, the world's current economic difficulties might "serve as a stimulus for rediscovering the warmth of the simplicity, friendship, and solidarity that are the typical values of Christmas."

The festive spirit of Christmas, the Pontiff continued, "signs of the gift of life." As we turn our eyes toward the infant Jesus in the manger, Christians should be grateful for that gift and ready to welcome it everywhere, he said; and that welcome should take the form of caring for those in need. "Contemplating Him in this crèche how can we not think of all the children who still today, in many regions of the world, are born amidst such poverty?"

However, even the festive spirit of the season falls short of capturing its true significance, the Holy Father said. The Nativity is not merely a joyous event by "the central event of history." In celebrating that event, the Church marks "the recurring annual cycle of the myster of our salvation."

"At Christmas, therefore, we do not limit ourselves to commemorating the birth of a great person," the Pope went on. We recognize the Word made Flesh, and realize that "it is a Word addressed to us." The meaning of that Word is encapsulated in the event, the Pope said. The almighty God "reveals Himself to us as a poor infant in order to conquer our pride."

Today's audience was the final regular Wednesday appearance for Pope Benedict XVI during this calendar year. Next Wednesday, December 24, the regular midday audience will not be take place because of preparations for the midnight Mass of Christmas Eve. The following Wednesday is December 31, and the Pontiff will be leading the traditional year-end Te Deum, in thanksgiving for the graces of the passing year.

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"New Human Rights" at Risk of Becoming "Self-serving Ideologies" Cautions Archbishop

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Vatican City, Dec 17, 2008 (CNA).- Today an address by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi was published in which he discusses the risks involved while searching for ‘new’ human rights.

The prelate affirms that "when a breach is caused between what is claimed and what is real through the search of so-called 'new' human rights, a risk emerges to reinterpret the accepted human rights vocabulary to promote mere desires and measures that, in turn, become a source of discrimination and injustice and the fruit of self-serving ideologies."

Archbishop Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, continues his address on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by noting that this anniversary of the Declaration, "leads us also to reflect on its implementation."

"In a world of too many hungry people, too many violent conflicts, too many persons persecuted for their beliefs,” he continues, “there remains a long road to walk and the duty to eliminate every discrimination so that all persons can enjoy their inherent equal dignity."

The prelate then encourages the U.N. and its specialized agencies "to faithfully translate the principles of the Declaration into action by supporting States in the adoption of effective policies truly focused on the rights and sense of responsibility of everyone."

"Every human being,” he went on, "has the right to an integral development and 'the sacred right' to live in peace.” Human rights are not solely the “entitlement to privileges,” but are “rather the expression and the fruit of what is noblest in the human spirit: dignity, aspiration to freedom and justice, search for what is good, and the practice of solidarity.”

“In the light of the tragic experiences of the past and of today,” he concludes, “the human family can unite around these values and essential principles, as a duty toward the weakest and needier and toward future generations."

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Vatican prefect praises traditional manner of receiving Holy Communion

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, whom Pope Benedict appointed last Tuesday as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has praised the traditional manner of receiving Holy Communion. The comments, which were made during a telephone interview, were published Sunday in a Madrid newspaper.

During the interview, in which Cardinal Canizares Llovera is characterized as a man who combines commitment to principle with “exquisite tact and gentleness,” the prefect said, “What does it mean to receive Communion in the mouth? What does it mean to kneel before the Most Holy Sacrament? What does it mean to kneel during the consecration at Mass? It means adoration, it means recognizing the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; it means respect and an attitude of faith of a man who prostrates before God because he knows that everything comes from Him, and we feel speechless, dumbfounded, before the wondrousness, His goodness, and His mercy. That is why it is not the same to place the hand, and to receive Communion in any fashion, than doing it in a respectful way; it is not the same to receive Communion kneeling or standing up, because all these signs indicate a profound meaning. What we have to grasp is that profound attitude of the man who prostrates himself before God, and that is what the Pope wants.”

http://www.catholicculture.org/

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UNICEF: Daycare is "A high-stakes gamble with today's children and tomorrow's world"

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Being on record as a strong advocate for the extinction of the United Nations(Marxist-Leninist, Anti-God, One-World Government), I have to admit that perhaps even these blind squirrels have finally found an acorn!


By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

December 16, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A surprising new document from UNICEF puts the spotlight on the possible fallout of the decreasing role of the family in raising young children, and the proliferation of daycare in affluent western nations.

“What we are now witnessing across the industrialized world,” says the UNICEF report, “can fairly be described as a revolution in how the majority of young children are being brought up."

The report observes that "most children in the developed world are spending their earliest years in some form of care outside the home.” According to the organization, “80 per cent of children aged three to six are in some form of early childhood education and care outside the home,” and “about one in four under the age of three are also cared for outside the home — with the proportion rising to one in two in some countries.”

The report concludes that, "To the extent that this change is unplanned and unmonitored, it could also be described as a high-stakes gamble with today's children and tomorrow's world."

Martha Friendly, director of the Toronto-based Childcare Resource and Research Unit, commented on the UNICEF study in a CBC report, saying, "The child-care transition," that is, the transition from children being raised by their parents to being raised by state-run institutions, “is being facilitated by public policies in most countries."

There remain significant unanswered questions, however, about the wisdom of implementing policies that encourage parents to turn towards daycare out of necessity, rather than caring for them in their own homes. LifeSiteNews has reported on many studies that have shown the negative consequences of daycare and preschool environments on young children.

The most comprehensive study done in the US was released last year and found that the more time children spent in center-based care before kindergarten, the more likely their teachers were to report such problem behaviors as "gets in many fights," "disobedient at school," and "argues a lot." (See "Largest US Child Study Finds Early Child Care Linked to Aggression and Disobedience": http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/mar/07032607.html).

Other studies have found everything from increased frequency of illness to impaired social and emotional development in children attending preschool centers.

“The biggest eye-opener is that the suppression of social and emotional development, stemming from long hours in preschool, is felt most strongly by children from better-off families,” said UC Berkeley sociologist and co-author Bruce Fuller, who performed research on the question in California in 2005.

A study released in 2006 of universal daycare as currently offered in Quebec revealed that children in daycare were 17 times more hostile than children raised at home, and almost three times more anxious.

The researchers of the Quebec study, led by University of Toronto economist Michael Baker, also found a negative effect on parents. “Our analysis also suggests that the new childcare program led to more hostile, less consistent parenting, worse parental health, and lower-quality parental relationships,” they said

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Pope Gives Themes for Next 3 Youth Days

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is inviting youth to celebrate the next two World Youth Days at the diocesan level, leading up to a culmination in the 2011 Madrid event.

A statement from the Holy See affirmed that the Pope picked event themes for the '09 and '10 youth days, "so as to help build a spiritual itinerary that will culminate in the World Youth Day celebrations scheduled to take place in Madrid, Spain."

The theme of the 2009 World Youth Day, which will be celebrated next Palm Sunday in Rome and in each diocese, is: "We Have Set Our Hope on the Living God" (1 Timothy 4:10).

In 2010, the celebration will also be held on Palm Sunday in all dioceses, with the theme: "Good Teacher, What Must I do to Inherit Eternal Life?" (Mark 10:17).

These celebrations will lead up to the international World Youth Day in Madrid, scheduled for Aug. 16-21, 2011, with the theme: "Rooted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith" (Colossians 2:7).

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Cardinal Arinze Presents "Letter to Young Priest"

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Book Defends Value of Celibacy



VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2008 (Zenit.org).- A priest who lives his celibacy with joy, fidelity and a positive spirit is a testimony that cannot be ignored in today's world, says Cardinal Francis Arinze.

The cardinal, who just retired last week from his post as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, affirmed this today when he presented on Vatican Radio his book "Riflessioni sul sacerdozio. Lettera a un giovane sacerdote" (Reflections on the Priesthood: Letter to a Young Priest). Excerpts from the volume were published by L'Osservatore Romano.

"The Church has always had great esteem for the celibacy of priests," the cardinal wrote. "Christ lived a virginal life, taught chastity to his disciples, and proposed virginity to those who are willing and able to follow a similar call."

"In priestly life, perpetual celibacy for the Kingdom of Heaven expresses and stimulates pastoral charity," he added. "It is a special fount of spiritual fruitfulness in the world. […] It is a testimony that stands out before the world as an efficacious way to follow Christ."

The cardinal said that in today's world, "immersed in an exaggerated preoccupation with sex and the violation of its sacredness […] a presbyter who lives his vow of chastity with joy, fidelity and a positive spirit is a testimony that cannot be ignored."

Through priestly celibacy, the prelate continued, "the presbyter consecrates himself more directly to Christ in the exercise of spiritual paternity." He is more available "as a minister of Christ, spouse of the Church," and he can "truly present himself as a living sign of the future world, which is already present through faith and charity."

Loneliness

The priest "should not doubt about the value or the possibility of celibacy because of the threat of loneliness," Cardinal Arinze contended, because solitude is also present to a certain degree in every state of life, also in matrimony.

Thus, he affirmed, it would be erroneous to try to avoid loneliness, "diving more and more into activities and continuously organizing new meetings, trips or visits." Instead, what the priest needs "is silence, tranquility and recollection to be in the presence of God, to give greater attention to God and to encounter Christ in personal prayer before the tabernacle."

"Only then will he be able to see Christ in every person that he encounters during his ministry," the prelate stated.

Fraternity

The retired Vatican official acknowledged that fraternity is also important in living celibacy. "The ideal is that the bishop makes it so that priests live in pairs or trios by parish, instead of alone," because "they need each other to make their potential grow to the maximum."

The priest's master and teacher is Christ, the cardinal recalled, and even if it is not possible to imitate him in the tiniest detail, "this does not exempt us from following him in the closest way possible."

Cardinal Arinze also mentioned the other two evangelical counsels in the life of the priest: obedience and poverty.

Obedience to the Pope, the bishop and their representatives is based in faith, he said, "and it is the instrument by which the priest gives God the opportunity to avail entirely of himself so as to fulfill the mission of the Church."

"God protects the priest who respects and obeys his bishop with firm fidelity and nobility of character," the cardinal said.

And the virtue of poverty, he continued, involves the priest's use of his money, avoiding anything that could lead to attachment to earthly goods or be an inclination to excessive spending. The priest, he said, should remember the poor, the sick, the elderly and all those with needs. His means of transportation, his house and furnishings, his way of dressing -- all should avoid being like the rich and powerful.

The cardinal suggested that a test of priestly generosity is to ask himself how well he lives charity, and how many poor people -- needy seminarians or consecrated persons -- will mourn his death as the loss of a father in Christ and a benefactor.

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Mystic Monk Coffee: Give A Pro-Life Christmas Gift!

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Mystic Monk Coffee: Order Through The Portiuncula and Donate to Birthright!


The Portiuncula Hermitage is committed to giving ten percent of their Mystic Monk Coffee Commissions to Birthright (a loving alternative to abortion)!

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The Portiuncula Hermitage is committed to giving ten percent of their Mystic Monk Coffee Commissions to Birthright!

Please remember to keep our pre-born in your daily prayers!

To order, simply scroll down and click on the Mystic Monk Coffee Icon on the right side of this page:

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pope: Church-State Separation a Sign of Progress

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Says Division Between Caesar and God Is Fundamental



ROME,(Zenit.org).- Church-state separation is one of the signs of the progress of humanity, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this Saturday when he visited the Italian embassy to the Holy See.

The Church "not only recognizes and respects the distinction and autonomy" of the state vis-à-vis the Church, but also "takes joy in this as one of the great advances of humanity," he said.

This separation is "a fundamental condition for [the Church's] very liberty and the fulfillment of its universal mission of salvation among all peoples," the Holy Father added. "This brief visit is conducive to reaffirming that the Church is very aware that the distinction between what is of Caesar and what is of God belongs to the fundamental structure of Christianity."

At the same time, he added, the Church "feels that it is her duty, following the dictates of social doctrine, developed from what is in conformity with the nature of every human being, to awaken moral and spiritual forces in society, contributing to open up wills to the authentic demands of the good."

The Pontiff continued: "Reclaiming the value that ethical principles have, not only in private life but rather fundamentally for public life, the Church contributes to guaranteeing and promoting the dignity of the person and the common good of society.

"In this sense, the desired cooperation between Church and state is truly fulfilled."

History

Benedict XVI is the fourth Pope to visit the Italian embassy. Pope Pius XII started the tradition in 1951.

Saturday's visit marked the upcoming 80th anniversary of the Lateran Treaty, to be celebrated in February, which established the separation of the Italian republic and Vatican City State.

The Holy Father expressed his gratitude for the "contribution of the Italian authorities so that the Holy See can freely develop its universal mission and therefore maintain diplomatic relations with so many countries of the world."

The "fruitful relationship" between Italy and the Holy See, the Pontiff continued, implies "a very important and significant understanding in the current world situation, in which the perpetuation of conflicts and tensions between peoples makes collaboration between those who share the same ideals of justice, solidarity and peace ever more necessary."

Benedict XVI also noted the significance of the Italian embassy using the palace of St. Charles Borromeo, who has a young cardinal and collaborator of his uncle, Pope Pius IV, worked in the diplomacy of the Holy See.

After a deep conversion, the saint was eventually made the archbishop of Milan, a task to which he dedicated himself tirelessly, especially during the plague.

The life of this saint, to which the chapel of the reformed palace of the embassy is dedicated, "shows how divine grace can transform the heart of man and make it capable of love for one's brother to the point of sacrificing oneself," the Pope said. "Those who work here can find in this saint a constant protector, and at the same time, a model in whom to find inspiration."

Finally, the Holy Father took the opportunity to wish a merry Christmas to the authorities of Italy and the whole world, "whether or not they have diplomatic relations with the Holy See."

"This is a desire," he said, "of light and authentic human progress, of prosperity and concord, all realities to which we can aspire with trusting hope, because they are gifts that Jesus has brought to the world by being born in Bethlehem."

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Texas Catholic Hospitals Challenge Bishop: Announce Plans to Continue Sterilizations

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Tyler, Texas, (CWNews.com) - A Catholic hospital system in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, has announced that it will continue to perform sterilizations despite an explicit order from the local bishop to stop the procedures.

Trinity Mother Frances Health Care System, which had earlier responded to criticism by Bishop Alvaro Corrado by saying that its hospitals had performed sterilizations under a "good-faith interpretation" of Church teachings, has now made a stronger claim: "Medically necessary indirect sterilizations are permitted," the Trinity Mother Frances argued, in cases of medical necessity.

In November, Bishop Alvaro Corrada of Tyler issued a public statement acknowledging with regret that Catholic hospitals in his Texas diocese had performed sterilizations, and saying that these procedures constituted a clear violation of Church teaching. The bishop ordered the hospitals to stop the sterilizations immediately, and advised those involved in the operations to recognize their error and confess their sins.

The immorality of intentional sterilization, Bishop Corrada said, "cannot be altered by appeals to erroneous theological opinions." He added that the ban on such procedures is "infallibly and universally taught by the Catholic Church."

Nevertheless Trinity Mother Frances argues that "indirect" sterilizations may be justified on a case-by-case basis by the attending physician. The health-care system cites paragraph 53 of Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Facilities, a document prepared for the US bishops' conference. That paragraph states: "Procedures that induce sterility are premitted when their direct effect is the cure or alleviation of a present and serious pathology and a simpler treatment is not available." That paragraph in the US bishops' document includes a footnote citing a Vatican instruction which stipulates that tubal ligations-- the type of sterilizations performed at Trinity Mother Frances-- cannot be justified.

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Catholics and Orthodox Unite to Defend Family

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


TRENT, Italy, DEC. 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).- With families in Europe facing new and greater challenges, Catholic and Orthodox bishops are uniting to offer a common defense of the sacrament of marriage and the bases of the family.

Last week, at the first common forum between Catholic and Orthodox bishops on the theme of family, the prelates considered their common vision of family values, and aimed to offer a joint pastoral plan. During the working sessions, the bishops discussed their common understanding of the complementarity of man and woman, the sacramental character of indissoluble marriage, and theological understandings of the family.

The forum was sponsored by the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe. Among the participants were Monsignors Grzegorz Kaszak, Bernard Munono, and Jacques Suaudeau, members of the Pontifical Councils for the Family, and for Justice and Peace, and the Pontifical Academy for Life, respectively.

According to Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of Vienna and Austria, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II, who died Dec. 5, was an ardent supporter of the forum.

Both delegations affirmed their understanding of matrimony between a man and a woman as part of God's plan, and not a simple human institution.

To support this vision, Bosnian Orthodox theologian Vaclav Jezek urged an "authentic theology on the relationship between men and women, and between parents and children."

"The family is not the product of a coincidence," he said, "but rather the perfect image of communion."

The prelates further affirmed their common vision of marriage as an indissoluble union between man and woman, and human fertility as a gift of God.

They expressed concern about the situation of the family in the West, particularly low birth rates, the consequences of gender theories, and the imposition of the idea that homosexual unions are the same as marriage.

Bishop Alfeyev lamented the position of the Christian West, "which pressures the Third World and the Islamic world to accept contraception, abortion and sterilization."

Meanwhile, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Monsignor Kaszak, decried the imposition "on consciences" of ideologies contrary to the family. "These challenges are sufficient reason to motivate us to carry out common actions in defense of matrimony and the family against various attacks," he said, "and to bring to light more and more the beauty of the divine plan for Christian homes."

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI under-fire for 'negative' statements

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Who the heck does Marco Politi think he is?

From the American Papist:

http://www.americanpapist.com/blog.html

Pope Benedict XVI has come under fire from a leading Vatican watcher as "The Pope who says No" following a series of "negative" Vatican statements on homosexuality, the disabled and bio-ethics.

Marco Politi, the veteran Vatican correspondent of La Repubblica, said this was "yet another papal no" after Vatican opposition to UN declarations on the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the rights of the disabled, on the grounds that they could be seen a sanctioning gay marriage and abortion.

"It is one veto after another" Mr Politi wrote. "Not to this, no to that. No, no, no". He said the Vatican was clearly aware that under Pope Benedict it was acquiring a reputation for "banning everything", since it had issued a "pre-emptive statement" noting that "on a superfical first reading" the document on bio-ethics "might give the impression of being a collection of prohibitions". "But that is precisely the public perception", Mr Politi said. (UK Times Online)

Oh brother, nothing new here. Mr. Politi risks acquiring a reputation for "missing the point of everything".

As I first heard my parish priest say, behind every No of the Church (and of God), is a deeper Yes. The Church affirms the dignity of the person and denies those procedures which endanger it.

And the rest of the article is a catalogue of inaccuracies. It always really gets me the way the UK tabloids can be so anti-Catholic, and specifically anti-Pope. I realize this was an Italian journalist, but the UK tabloids are always seem eager to pick this sort of trash reporting up and republish it.

I have to say, finally, that the published comments made in response to the UK Times article reveal a wonderful example of faithful Catholics actively defending the Church and the Pope online. Good for them!

Labels: stupid reporting

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bishop Wenski Says Pro-life Laws "Moral Imperative"

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Orlando,(CNA).- Bishop Thomas Wenski of the Diocese of Orlando, Florida has written an essay reaffirming that Catholic support for legal protections for the unborn child is a “moral imperative.” His essay also warns that the proposed federal act FOCA could endanger even minor abortion restrictions.

Bishop Wenski began his essay in The Ledger by congratulating President-Elect Barack Obama, saying his election could signify a welcome “repudiation of racism.” He noted that had the nineteenth century Dred Scott Supreme Court Decision ruling, which considered if African-Americans were property and “somehow less than persons under law,” remained in effect Obama could never have been elected.

The bishop then compared Dred Scott’s denial of legal protections to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which imposed permissive abortion law nationwide.

“A well ordered state should protect the lives of all, especially the lives of the most vulnerable. For this reason, we can never accept Roe v. Wade as a permanent fixture of constitutional law nor can we ever stop working to restore recognition for the human rights of the unborn child. Killing the unborn child is always wrong - to make it a ‘right’ is a travesty of justice.”

Reversing Roe v. Wade, he said, is a “moral imperative” for Catholics and all those who support human life.

Bishop Wenski also lamented the proposed Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), saying it would “further enshrine the bad law” of Roe v. Wade by overturning the “modest restraints and regulations” on the abortion industry.

FOCA, which Obama has pledged to sign, could endanger parental notification laws, bans on partial-birth abortion, and assistance to infants who survive an abortion.

“Taxpayers would be forced to subsidize abortions as restrictions on federal funding of abortions would be abrogated. The freedom of conscience of health-care workers not to participate in abortions would be compromised,” Bishop Wenski claimed.

Citing Obama’s promise of unity, the bishop said passing FOCA would only provide more division.

“The common good is not served by making wrongs - like abortion - into ‘rights’,” he concluded.

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