Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pope urges Russia's Catholic bishops to work with Orthodox

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Catholics in Russia must work together with the country's much larger Orthodox community to defend human life and the family and promote strong moral values, Pope Benedict XVI said.

The pope met the four Catholic bishops of Russia Jan. 29, the last day of their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses and just two days after the Russian Orthodox Church elected a new patriarch.

In a situation where Catholic-Orthodox differences involving theology, church structure and practice make formal dialogue a challenge, the pope said, the bishops must engage in dialogue on a personal level.

"Such contacts contribute to greater mutual understanding, thanks to which it is possible to work together in areas of common interest," he said.

"It is important that Christians unite to face the great cultural and ethical challenges of the present moment concerning the dignity of the human person and his inalienable rights, the defense of life at every stage, the safeguarding of the family and other urgent economic and social questions," the pope said.

In a country like Russia, so deeply marked by more than 1,000 years of Orthodox tradition and culture, "it is essential to take into account the necessity of a renewed commitment to dialogue with our Orthodox brothers and sisters," Pope Benedict said.

While again offering his best wishes to Patriarch-elect Kirill of Moscow, the pope also prayed that God would "confirm us all in the commitment to walk together on the path of reconciliation and fraternal love."

Pope Benedict told the Catholic bishops he understood the challenges of ministering in Russia and he praised their efforts to "relaunch liturgical-sacramental participation, catechesis, priestly formation and the preparation of a mature and responsible laity" after decades of communist repression of church activities.

In addition to the lingering effects of communist atheism, he said, Russia also is experiencing a crisis in family life, a sharply declining birthrate and other problems common to Western industrialized nations.

"These problems also worry government authorities, with whom it is therefore advisable to collaborate for the good of all," he said.

Pope Benedict told the bishops not to let themselves be discouraged when results do not seem to match the amount of effort they put into pastoral programs.

"Nourish in yourselves and in your collaborators an authentic spirit of faith," trusting that Jesus will make their efforts bear fruit in time, he said.

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Pope: Christians must show world that unity is possible

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- United in their baptism and their faith in Jesus, Christians have an obligation to show the world that differences in language and culture do not have to lead to division and violence, Pope Benedict XVI said.


"The world needs a visible sign" of unity, the pope told members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

The pope met Jan. 30 with the commission members, who represent the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church, Coptic Orthodox Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Syrian Orthodox Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and Eritrean Orthodox Church.

Each of the churches involved in the dialogue brings the richness of its own traditions along with a commitment "to overcome the divisions of the past and to strengthen the united witness of Christians in the face of the enormous challenges facing believers today," the pope said.

While united spiritually as disciples of Christ, he said, Christians also are called to be united visibly as one church.

"We need only cast our minds to the Middle East -- from where many of you come -- to see that true seeds of hope are urgently needed in a world wounded by the tragedy of division, conflict and immense human suffering," the pope said.

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Stimulus No Place for Ideology, Say US Bishops

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"




Chide Congress for Slotting Money for Contraception



WASHINGTON, D.C., (Zenit.org).- The stimulus package designed to brake the worldwide recession is no place to tout ideologies that have nothing to do with the economy, says a U.S. bishops' representative.

Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chairman of the U.S. episcopal conference's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called Wednesday on Congress to keep their priorities straight.

"I urge you to make the lives and dignity of poor families and vulnerable workers central priorities as Congress adopts an economic recovery package," he wrote to Senators and Representatives.

The prelate noted how low-income families and persons are those experiencing the hardest hit from the recession and with the "least capacity to cope in this time of economic crisis."

And, the prelate contended that low-income people "are also likely to use these new resources quickly to purchase the essentials of life and to help move our economy forward. Economic policies that assist and protect 'the least among us' are the right thing to do morally. I believe they are also very effective economically."

Not now

On the other hand, Bishop Murphy emphasized, an economic-stimulus package is no place to "advance ideological or partisan agendas."

He decried "measures to expand contraception coverage or prescribe rules for immigrant employment" as "particularly inappropriate in legislation to promote economic recovery."

The bishop stated, "We strongly oppose the specific sections that target efforts to expand coverage for family planning -- and only family planning -- for low-income and temporarily unemployed women. They neglect women's real needs and serve no legitimate purpose for an economic stimulus package."

At the urging of President Barack Obama, this measure was in fact dropped from the stimulus bill, as it promised to create a roadblock for bipartisan approval of the package, something already proving elusive.

The bishop also said, "We also strongly oppose a provision in the bill that would require the use of the E-verify employer verification system by every organization receiving funding from the stimulus package. […] We urge you to remove this provision from the bill and defer its consideration to a more appropriate vehicle, such as legislation that reforms the nation's immigration laws."

Good to be done

On the other hand, Bishop Murphy voiced his support for a whole list of things that could stimulate the economy, including "the refundable child tax credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit"; "more resources for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- food stamps, and expanding eligibility for unemployed workers and legal immigrants"; "efforts to protect low-income families from losing Medicaid and social service assistance"; "increased funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help poor families cope with costly heating oil and gas bills," etc.

The bishop urged Congress to act "quickly and wisely."

"This is no time to seek economic or partisan advantage," he declared. "This is a time to pursue the common good, beginning with help for the families and communities most hurt by this crisis

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Friday, January 30, 2009

NBC Television Rejects Pro-Life Ad During Superbowl

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

NBC television has rejected a pro-life advertisement which Catholicvote.org bought for a slot in the Super Bowl because the ad contains a pro-life message. The 30-second ad features ultrasound pictures from a baby in its mother’s womb. There is nothing either graphic or political and the word abortion is not even used. In fact, no words are spoken, only graphics that appear on-screen. Yet, the message is extremely powerful.

E-mail your comments to NBC. As of the time of this alert, NBC had not sold out all their ad slots, so there is still time for them to reconsider. In addition to sending an e-mail, please call NBC Entertainment at 818-840-4444. Tell the operator that you want to urge NBC to reconsider airing the Super Bowl ad produced by Catholicvote.org.

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Sister Briege McKenna: Bishops And Abortionist Politicians

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Rosemary Swords: How would you advise bishops in dealing with politicians who advocate pro-choice legislation

Sister Briege: The bishop has to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If as a politician you have the power to make abortion legal, and you do it, eventually the Church has to say you are excommunicated. But the Church is very patient, like a good mother.

Read entire interview:

http://www.sisterbriege.com/Irish%20Catholic/irishcatholic.htm

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vatican Prelate: U.S. Bishops Abandoned Pro-Life Teachings

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Exclusive Interview: Leading Vatican Prelate Says Document of US Bishops Partly to Blame for Election of “Most Pro-Abortion President”

Also says Bishops’ Catholic News Service needs to be given "some new direction"

By Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, January 28, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A document of the US Catholic Bishops is partly to blame for the abandonment of pro-life teachings by voting Catholics and the election of the “most pro-abortion president” in US history, one of the Vatican’s highest officials said in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, named a document on the election produced by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that he said “led to confusion” among the faithful and led ultimately to massive support among Catholics for Barack Obama.

The US bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” stated that, under certain circumstances, a Catholic could in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports abortion because of "other grave reasons," as long as they do not intend to support that pro-abortion position.

Archbishop Burke, the former Archbishop of St. Louis Mo. and recently appointed head of the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church, told LifeSiteNews.com that although “there were a greater number of bishops who spoke up very clearly and firmly ... there was also a number who did not.”

But most damaging, he said, was the document “Faithful Citizenship” that “led to confusion” among the voting Catholic population.

“While it stated that the issue of life was the first and most important issue, it went on in some specific areas to say ‘but there are other issues’ that are of comparable importance without making necessary distinctions.”
Archbishop Burke, citing an article by a priest and ethics expert of St. Louis archdiocese, Msgr. Kevin McMahon, who analysed how the bishops’ document actually contributed to the election of Obama, called its proposal “a kind of false thinking, that says, ‘there’s the evil of taking an innocent and defenceless human life but there are other evils and they’re worthy of equal consideration.’

“But they’re not. The economic situation, or opposition to the war in Iraq, or whatever it may be, those things don’t rise to the same level as something that is always and everywhere evil, namely the killing of innocent and defenceless human life.”

Archbishop Burke also cited the work of the official news service of the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference, that many pro-life observers complained soft-pedalled the newly elected president’s opposition to traditional morality.

“The bishops need to look also at our Catholic News Service, CNS, they need to review their coverage of the whole thing and give some new direction, in my judgement,” he said.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Archbishop Denounces "Biological Colonialism"

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"



Eggs of African Women to Be Used in Research Abroad



JOHANNESBURG, South Africa,(Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Johannesburg warned of legislation that will allow the harvesting of eggs from African women for investigation purposes in other countries.

Archbishop Buti Joseph Tlhagale underlined this in his opening address at the plenary assembly of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, which began Thursday. The archbishop is the president of that episcopal group.

Among other things, the archbishop called attention to the "global ethic" and its challenge to Churches. He described it as "the global postmodern ethic that puts great value on differences," and "maintains that reality is a social construct, that truth is what you make of it."

With this lack of objective truth, Archbishop Tlhagale noted, "the authority of the Word of God has been turned on its head."

He added: "God himself has been knocked off the pedestal. […] Natural law is seen as an integral part of ancient explanations or mythologies. A whole new vocabulary and concepts have been produced by the postmodern global ethic."

The prelate asserted that in this worldview, the "right to choose" is promoted as the fundamental norm. As a consequence, he said: "One can freely choose bisexuality, homosexuality, lesbianism, heterosexuality. Children now have the right to choose abortion irrespective of their parent’s beliefs. They too have equal rights."

On the doorstep

Under this flag, the archbishop identified euthanasia as an attempt to exert the "right to choose," along with "reproductive health" as the "right not to reproduce."

He affirmed: "It was the 1995 Beijing conference that jettisoned the complimentarity of man and woman. The goal is to achieve an asexual society, a society free of sexual labels.

"The Cairo Conference spoke of family under all its forms in order to include families of same-sex parents. There is a concerted effort to eliminate words such as virginity, chastity, spouse, husband, wife, marriage, etc."

Archbishop Tlhagale further warned his listeners of continuing attempts to legalize abortion and in vitro fertilization in African countries, with the African Union's Maputo Protocol and the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Among his main concerns, he said: "Such legislation will make it possible to poach ovarian human eggs from African women. Harvesting ovarian human eggs in Africa will help meet the needs of embryonic stem cell research in industrialized countries.

"It is illegal to use British eggs in Great Britain. Biological colonialism is on our doorstep."

The archbishop concluded by posing a question: "Do Church leaders have a say in these complex moral issues of the day or are we simply left to the mercy of unscrupulous campaigners?"

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bishop Robert J Herman Addresses "Unsaved Catholics"

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

I used to get upset with my Evangelical brothers and sisters when I would hear them say that Catholics were unsaved. Now, after witnessing 54 percent of my Catholic brothers and sisters voting for an Abortionist, I had to grudgingly admit that they were right. This opinion is also held by Bishop Robert J. Hermann:

Bishop Hermann Issues a Wake-Up Call to All

Bishop Robert J. Hermann, archdiocesan administrator for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, says President Barack Obama would not have been elected without the support of lax Catholics.

Bishop Hermann began his comments by quoting Joseph Bottum, in an article entitled “Abortion after Obama,” writing in the January 2009 edition of First Things, pages 13-15, where he tells us, “Now the 2008 election has brought us the presidency of Barack Obama, the most consistent supporter of legalized abortion ever nominated by a majority party.”

Bishop Hermann reminds us that when Obama was asked about making decisions as to when a baby gets human rights, he answered, that “is above my pay grade.” Moreover, that Obama stated he would not want his daughters “punished with a baby.”

Bishop Hermann reminds us that, Obama said upon taking office, he would remove all federal restrictions on funding embryonic stem-cell research and that he also intends to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which will invalidate for the entire country all restrictions on abortion before viability, including parental notification, waiting periods and partial-birth abortion bans. Finally, that President Obama has no problem supporting legislation that would even kill a child who survived a botched abortion.

Obama’s attitude was clear prior to the election.

Bishop Hermann said, “In our Supreme Court and in our Congress, we have a plethora of so-called Catholics who are failing to live their Catholic identity. Over 50 percent of our electorate voted for a president who is one of the most pro-culture-of-death candidates from a major party to run for the highest office of the land. Yes, we can thank one-half of our Catholics for bailing out on their faith!”

Bishop Hermann then goes on to tell us, “But there is more! Our laxity in living our Catholic life has blinded us into not seeing the role of Satan in the culture of death. Satan is having a heyday in our midst, because he has managed to remain invisible in the culture of death, and our laxity has granted him that luxury. Since we are not steeped in the Word of God as we should be, we do not recognize his darkness in our society. Our first reading from Hebrews tells us, “The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. That Satan is very alive in influencing all of us is his best-kept secret. Becoming steeped in the Word of God and the teachings of the Catholic Church exposes his evil machinations.”

Bishop Hermann then goes on to encourage Catholics to undergo a profound transformation; to “Live our lives in such a way that we will be unafraid to witness to what we believe and live.”

Bishop Hermann speaks of the “glorious opportunity we all have to make a difference in the pro-life cause.” But that, “Until we are willing to be politically incorrect in order to be biblically correct, we will never convince anyone that our religion is worth living.”

The Bishop gives us an example of what can be done, “It does not take 100 percent of our Catholics to transform this country. If 75 percent of our Catholics were steeped in Catholic identity, the abortion issue would be over for our entire country. We have many, many evangelicals on our side in the culture of life. Look at how many more of them would flock to our side if we really lived our Catholic teachings! They, too, are looking for changeless principles lived out in practice.”

Once again, Bishop Hermann has spoken out plainly and clearly. In addition, while Bishop Hermann’s words may have been directed at Catholics, the core of his message is a reminder and good advice for us all. We must wake-up, pay attention, and be diligent. It is easy to be deceived and led down the wrong path, but difficult to make your way back.

We love Bishop Hermann. He keeps this up and he’s going to convert us.

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"Cafeteria Catholics" Unite With Obama

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


“Cafeteria Catholic” is a term used to describe people who enjoy a Catholic self-identification, on some level, but reject all or part of Catholic teaching.

Most of them are modest about their views, only wanting to live and let-live, but others become aggressively evangelical, expecting the Church to change positions held for 2000 years, for which the blood of saints was spilled, to whore after current theological or liturgical fashions. These are the Tyrants of Relativism, bullying hapless pew-warmers and priests.

Busy, busy, busy. Catholics United, Pax Christi USA, Network, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Jesuit Conference, School of the Americas Watch, Franciscan Action Network, Sisters of Mercy, Africa Faith and Justice Network, the Center of Concern, Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice, and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good are some of the groups involved in political activism that has caused them to compromise Catholic moral principles – and in some cases, to ditch those principles altogether.

Catholics United and its partner organization Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACD), for example, have openly endorsed pro-choice, Democratic candidates. Others among the above have been involved for decades with the dissident Call to Action movement, working inside the Church to change moral truths and Church structures. So, we’re not talking about folks who are representative of Catholicism. They only represent themselves, bound by the prejudices of their own, particular era and geography.

In July 2008, CACD sponsored a convention and, with these aforementioned groups, prepared a “Platform for the Common Good,” giving high priority to environmental concerns, international development and trade, health care reform, immigration, domestic policy, and poverty reduction. Those are important issues but what about the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death? Their view of the “common good” overlooked that rather fundamental point.

Stephanie Block is the editor of Los Pequenos - a New Mexico-based publication. Her columns are made possible by the sponsorship of generous individuals who believe information about the development and dissemination of progressive ideology needs to be more widely understood. Please fell free to share -- acknowledging authorship -- these articles with others.

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Conversion Will Bring Unity, Says Pontiff

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Reflects on Paul's Change of Heart



VATICAN CITY, (Zenit.org).- If Christians allow themselves to be continually converted to the Lord, the day will come for full Christian unity, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today before praying the midday Angelus with crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square. He dedicated his reflection to today's feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

"Paul's conversion matured in the encounter with the Risen Christ; it was this encounter that radically changed his existence," the Holy Father said. "[...] Saul converted because, thanks to the divine light, 'he believed in the Gospel.'

"His conversion and ours consists in this: in believing in Jesus dead and risen and in opening up to the illumination of his divine grace. In that moment Saul understood that his salvation did not depend on good works done according to the law, but on the fact that Jesus died even for him -- the persecutor - and he was, and is, risen."

The Pontiff said that converting means believing that Jesus died on the cross "for me," and that risen, he lives "with me and in me."

"Entrusting myself to the power of his forgiveness, letting myself be led by the hand by him, I can get out of the quicksand of pride and sin, of lies and sadness, of selfishness and every false certainty, to know and live the richness of his love," he said.

Benedict XVI contended that the call to conversion has particular urgency today, on the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

"Of course we Christians have not yet achieved the goal of full unity, but if we let ourselves be continually converted by the Lord Jesus, we will certainly arrive there," he affirmed. "May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the one, holy Church, obtain for us the gift of a true conversion, so that the desire of Christ, 'ut unum sint,' be realized."

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Pope Urges Journalists to Live Values

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Encourages Their Capacity for Dialogue With World



VATICAN CITY, (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is inviting Catholic journalists to bear witness to their faith by the life they lead.

In a message sent to the president of the Catholic Union of the Italian Press (UCSI), Massimo Milone, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the union's foundation, the Pope called on journalists to live consistently with the ideals they profess. He said the world expects this sort of example from Catholics.

Expressing his "appreciation for the precious service the UCSI has offered in the course of its 50 years of life to the Church and the country," the Bishop of Rome recognized that "many things have changed" since its birth -- "in the most visible way in sectors from science to technology, from economy to geopolitics; in a less apparent way, but more profoundly and more disconcertingly, in the ambit of current culture."

In the latter, he observed, "there seems to be a notable flagging of respect for the dignity of the person and the sense of values such as justice, freedom and solidarity, which are essential for the survival of society."

In this context, the work of Catholic journalists, "anchored in a patrimony of principles rooted in the Gospel," has become more difficult today, the Pontiff said.

Along with a sense of responsibility and a spirit of service, he continued, the members of the UCSI need an "always more notable professionalism and a greater capacity for dialogue with the atheist world, in search of shared values."

"The more consistent is the witness of your life, the larger your audience will grow," the Pontiff told them. "Not a few of your nonbelieving colleagues privately expect from you the silent witness, without ostentation but with substance, of a life inspired by the values of the faith."

Recognizing that Catholic journalists are committed to "a task that is more and more demanding, in which the spaces of freedom are often threatened and economic and political interests often overcome the spirit of service and the criteria of the common good," the Pope encouraged them "not to give in to compromises of such important values, but to have the courage of consistency, even at personal cost: A serene conscience has no price."

In this regard he assured them that he would pray to the Lord, asking him to help them fulfill the exhortation made by St. Peter: "to be always ‘ready to reply to whoever asks you about the reason for your hope.'"

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Congressman Mike Pence Statement On Obama To Fund Abortions Overseas

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2009

CONTACT: Daniel Son
(202) 226-4379 (press office)



PENCE STATEMENT ON OBAMA ORDER TO FUND ABORTION PROVIDERS OVERSEAS



WASHINGTON, DC-U.S. Congressman Mike Pence released the following
statement on President Barack Obama's executive order to reverse the
so-called "Mexico City policy," which prohibited U.S. tax dollars from
funding abortion providers overseas:


"It is morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of
pro-life Americans to promote abortion around the world. I am profoundly
disappointed that one of the first executive decisions of the Obama
Administration would be to make American foreign aid available to
organizations that perform or promote abortion as a means of birth
control. The reversal of the longstanding 'Mexico City' policy by the
Obama Administration is a disservice to legions of pro-life Americans
and to unborn generations around the globe.


"By opening up the possibility for U.S. tax dollars to go to abortion
providers abroad, President Obama has set a course that goes in a
direction that is antithetical to the sacred beliefs of millions of
Americans who treasure the right to life. I urge our new president to
reconsider this executive order and reinstate the historic protections
that have been enshrined in American foreign aid for most of the past
quarter century."

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

B-I-N-G-O !

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Reject ‘help’ from dubious sources, Vatican official tells RP bishops

MANILA, Philippines — A Vatican official has told Philippine Catholic bishops to reject “help" or donations from groups or individuals with dubious purposes, the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) online site (www.cbcpnews.com) reported Saturday.

Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, who is known as the Pope’s “top lieutenant on charitable activities," warned the bishops of “hoodwink help" and reminded them to keep alive the right essence of charity, the report said.

“It’s important to consider the right meaning of helping," Cordes said in the report.
“Beware of the Trojan horse. They come... they are friendly to win or take you over. That’s often the case," he said.

He said the real generosity is giving help without asking something in return. “This is the true collaboration of selfless people," said Cordes.

The report said Cardinal Cordes’ reminder was significant because some bishops have been reported receiving gifts from Malacañang several months ago.

“While in 2004 the CBCP has made it a policy never to accept donations that come from gambling, some church institutions are still reportedly receiving assistance from government’s gambling agencies," the report said.

Cordes, who is also the president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican’s coordinating body for charity, met the bishops Thursday and gave lecture about the Pope’s first encyclical “Deus Caritas Est."

He arrived in the country last Monday and flew back to Rome Saturday morning.

Over the week, Cordes visited depressed areas in Metro Manila to deliver the Pope’s message to help the poor people.

He also called on the government to work on poverty in the country.

“I call on all the sensitive and responsible government not to abandon the marginalized sector, and to teach them and help then stand on their own," Cordes was quoted as saying. -

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Vatican Aide: Media-Day Message a "Turning Point"

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Archbishop Celli Notes Pros and Cons of New Technologies



VATICAN CITY, (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's message to youth on the possibilities and dangers of the digital age constitutes something of an "authentic turning point," says Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli.

The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications said this Friday upon presenting the Pope's message for the 43rd World Communications Day, which will be observed May 24. The theme for the day is ""New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship."

To a room packed with more than 200 journalists and 24 television cameras, the president of the media dicastery noted that while "all messages that accompany the World Communications Day has its story, I don't think I exaggerate too much when I say that we are seeing, on this occasion, an authentic turning point."

"Perhaps never before has a message been so strong and so demanding," he added.

The archbishop said the theme itself "not only puts us at the center of new technologies, but it also explores its effects, and it does so directed in particular to the digital generation, interacting in a particular way with the youth."

"The message underlines the values promoted in this environment, beginning with friendship and the new network of relationships that now are possible thanks precisely to these new technologies," said Archbishop Celli.

The Italian prelate added that the new technologies also make long-distance relationships possible, whether they be personal relationships with distant family members, or work relationships with colleges on other continents.

"We really are in a new world," he said, "that is explored not so much by opening our eyes wide to see the new conquests, but by opening the heart to the hope of the great possibilities that can be seen for the common good."

Archbishop Celli said this aspect "stands out even more if we think that the message also warns, with realism, of the dangers linked not only to the distorted use of the media, but to the imbalance of its possible use."

He spoke of the "digital divide" that many say will lead to a greater wealth gap, given that "the new technologies are primary resources for the development and promotion of the human being."

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Friday, January 23, 2009

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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"Terrible Conflict" Will Endanger U.S. Catholics’ Religious Freedom

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Jurist Predicts "Terrible Conflict" Will Endanger U.S. Catholics’ Religious Freedom


Washington DC,(CNA).- Former Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork has predicted that upcoming legal battles will have significant ramifications for religious freedom. He names as issues of major concern the continued freedom of Catholic hospitals to refuse to perform abortions and the likely “terrible conflict” resulting from the advancement of homosexual rights.

Speaking in an interview published Tuesday by Cybercast News Service, Judge Bork discussed the contentious nature of modern politics.

“Everything is up for debate these days. I can’t think of anything that isn’t,” he said.

“You are going to get Catholic hospitals that are going to be required as a matter of law to perform abortions,” he claimed.

“We are going to see in the near future a terrible conflict between claimed rights of homosexuals and religious freedom… You are going to get Catholic or other groups’ relief services that are going to be required to allow adoption of a child by homosexual couples. We are going to have a real conflict that goes right to the heart of the society.”

Asked whether there was a freedom of conscience clause anywhere in the Constitution that might prohibit the U.S. government from compelling a religious hospital to perform abortions, he replied:

“Well, the free exercise of religion clause might fulfill that role.”

He agreed with the CNS interviewer, Editor in Chief Terry Jeffrey, that such coercion forces someone to act against their religion and could be construed as a violation of the right to free exercise of religion.

However, Judge Bork was unsure about whether the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold such a right. He predicted the decision would rest with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in some cases sides with liberals and at other times with “originalists,” those who profess to hold a more tradition-minded interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

“It depends upon Anthony Kennedy,” Judge Bork told CNS. “Now, it’s a funny situation in which the moral life of a nation is in effect decided by one judge, because you have four solid liberal votes, four solid originalist votes, and one vote you can’t predict too accurately in advance.”

Though Justice Kennedy is a Catholic, he sided with the majority who upheld the pro-abortion rights Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Judge Bork said that a decision involving the freedom of Catholic hospitals to refuse to perform abortions would split by a 5-4 vote.

“But I don’t know which way,” he added.

The Cybercast News interview with the jurist also touched upon the place of religion in public life.

“I don’t think the disputants talk much about God anymore,” Judge Bork commented. “That’s one of the things that I think is regrettable--and I know liberals have said the same thing, it is not a conservative position particularly--but it is regrettable that religion has dropped out of our public discourse. I think it impoverishes it and makes it more violent.”

He explained that he believed this violence was not armed conflict, but rather “violent language and propaganda.”

Judge Bork said he also thought that America is “now going down a path towards kind of a happy-go-lucky nihilism.”

“A lot of people are nihilists,” he continued. “They don’t think about religion. They don’t think about ultimate questions. They go along. They worry about consumer goods, comfort, and so forth.

“As a matter of fact, the abortion question is largely a question about convenience. If you look at the polls about why people have abortions, 90 percent of it has nothing to do with medical conditions. It’s convenience. And that’s I think an example of the secularization of an issue that ought to have a religious dimension.”

When asked whether a nihilistic society can remain “happy-go-lucky” for long, Judge Bork replied:

“I don’t know. I guess we are going to find out.”

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Prelate Urges US Catholics to United Voice

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"



Notes Jan. 22 Abortion Anniversary and New Administration



DENVER, (Zenit.org).- Archbishop Charles Chaput exhorted Catholics across the United States to "let your voice supporting life be heard," in the ear of the new political administration.

The archbishop of Denver asserted this in an article published Wednesday in the Denver Catholic Register.

He began by affirming the obligation of Christians to "love their country, build on its greatest qualities and serve its best ideals."

The prelate spoke about the duty to pray for our leaders and obey the law, "insofar as the law does not violate human dignity in some systematic, gravely evil way."

He added, "When bad laws and court decisions cripple the soul of a society, Christians must work to change them as a matter both of justice and charity. Otherwise we risk colluding in the evil of their outcome.

"Obviously with families to raise, jobs to pursue and lives to live, not all Christians can be engaged in the many important issues facing our country. But we can always at least serve the truth by not lying to ourselves and to each other."

Obama

Archbishop Chaput referred to the inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday, noting that "he was elected on a message of national renewal, unity and hope."

He continued: "These are worthy goals, and we should wholeheartedly support his administration in all these things. His inauguration marks a tremendous victory for racial justice in our country [...].

"Barack Obama's rise to the presidency reminds us that among the family of nations, the United States remains very unusual: It is still a place where people can succeed on their ability; where politics can actually matter; and where evil structures and laws can be changed by sustained, peaceful witness."

36 years ago

The archbishop turned his focus to today's anniversary of "one of the most destructive Supreme Court decisions in American history, Roe vs. Wade."

"By legalizing permissive abortion and drastically limiting voters' ability to restrict it in any way," he explained, "Roe set the foundations for an abortion industry that has wounded countless women and resulted in the killing of more than 40 million unborn children."

The prelate pointed out that "President Obama's past record of support for abortion 'rights,' embryonic stem cell research and other violations of human dignity is deeply troubling, and also deeply ironic, given his sensitivity to other human rights."

He underlined the fact that "before and during the recent election, then-Senator Obama pledged his support for a Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) that would strike down all state restrictions on abortion and sweep away the many modest but important gains made by the pro-life movement over the past three decades."

The archbishop acknowledged that the president's Catholic supporters "claim that a pro-FOCA effort is unlikely in the coming congressional session, and that the Obama administration may take a go-slow approach to the abortion issue."

He asserted: "We can hope this is true. But of course, the form and timing of FOCA-like efforts are irrelevant.

"It's the political intent behind them that matters. We have to work with what we know to be true by the president's own words.

"The Obama administration was elected on the economy, but along with President Obama's economic mandate comes his forcefully abortion 'rights' public record and party platform. Nothing in the president's words or actions has suggested a change in his fundamental goals."

Speaking up

Archbishop Chaput explained that Catholics in the United States, including those in the Archdiocese of Denver, will have the chance "to sign a petition to our elected officials opposing FOCA and asking them to respect the dignity of unborn human life."

He underlined that: "Whether FOCA actually materializes in the coming session of Congress is not finally important; the message we send is.

"In fact, with the current Congress and administration, the abortion lobby could accomplish its destructive agenda quite easily by incremental legislative and executive steps that would have a much lower profile than a 'Freedom of Choice Act,' but the same bloody effect."

"We're in a new moment for our country," said the prelate, "a moment that offers great promise, but also requires great vigilance and sustained action to defend the dignity of human life at its earliest and most vulnerable stage."

He exhorted his readers: "When you're asked to sign the U.S. bishops' petition opposing FOCA in your parish, please sign it enthusiastically and encourage others to do the same.

"This is an issue -- protecting unborn human life -- that transcends party affiliation and needs all of us as believers to speak clearly with one voice."

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US bishops to Obama: Don’t roll back pro-life policies

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Cardinal Francis George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has written a second letter to President Barack Obama to urge him not to roll back three pro-life policies. Although both letters were dated January 16, the second letter was posted only yesterday on the US bishops’ web site. “I am writing today,” Cardinal George says in his second letter, “on a matter that could introduce significant negative and divisive factors into our national life, at a time when we need to come together to address the serious challenges facing our people. I expect that some want you to take executive action soon to reverse current policies against government-sponsored destruction of unborn human life. I urge you to consider that this could be a terrible mistake-- morally, politically, and in terms of advancing the solidarity and well-being of our nation's people.” Cardinal George noted that “on one occasion, when asked at what point a baby has human rights, you answered in effect that you do not have a definite answer. And you spoke often about a need to reduce abortions … Uncertainty as to when human rights begin provides no basis for compelling others to violate their conviction that these rights exist from the beginning. After all, those people may be right. And if the goal is to reduce abortions, that will not be achieved by involving the government in expanding and promoting abortions.” Urging President Obama to retain the “regulation to protect conscience rights in health care issued last month by the Bush administration,” Cardinal George said that “suggestions that government involvement in health care will be aimed at denying conscience, or excluding Catholic and other health care providers from participation in serving the public good, could threaten much-needed health care reform at the outset.” Asking the president not to rescind the Mexico City Policy, which keeps the “clear line between family planning and abortion” distinct, Cardinal George said that “a shift toward promoting abortion in developing nations would also increase distrust of the United States in these nations, whose values and culture often reject abortion, at a time when we need their trust and respect.” Commenting on the prospect of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, Cardinal George noted that such research is already taking place with private funds and that former President Bush’s policy, which “has at times been criticized from both ends of the pro-life debate,” nonetheless sought “to ensure that Americans are not forced to use their tax dollars to encourage expanded destruction of embryonic human beings for their stem cells … Diverting scarce funds away from these promising avenues for research and treatment [such as adult stem cell research] toward the avenue that is most morally controversial as well as most medically speculative would be a sad victory of politics over science.”

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

CONGRESSMAN MIKE PENCE INTRODUCES TITLE X ABORTION PROVIDER PROHIBITION ACT

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2009

CONTACT: Daniel Son
(202) 226-4379 (press office)



PENCE INTRODUCES TITLE X ABORTION PROVIDER PROHIBITION ACT

Congressman Pence to speak at 36th Annual March for Life



**Watch the speech HERE **



WASHINGTON, DC-U.S. Congressman Mike Pence gave the following speech
from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives today, on the
anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Congressman Pence also will speak to
thousands of pro-life Americans at the March for Life later today.



"Today millions of Americans-from the National Mall to prayer services
in small town churches-will mark the sad 36th anniversary of Roe v.
Wade, the worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott.



"As most Americans know, it is simply morally wrong to end an unborn
human life by abortion. But it is also morally wrong to take the
taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to
promote abortion at home or abroad.



"Many Americans fail to recognize the largest abortion provider in
America is also the largest recipient of federal taxpayer dollars
through Title X-this should not be.



"Yesterday, with more than 60 cosponsors, I re-introduced the 'Title X
Abortion Provider Prohibition Act,' a bill that would deny any federal
funding to Planned Parenthood of America.



"On this dark anniversary, let us rededicate ourselves to protecting the
unborn and to protecting taxpayers on matters of conscience."

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Protest at Syracuse chancery office over closing of parish known for activism

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

In 2007, Bishop James Moynihan of the Diocese of Syracuse announced that he would close over 40 of the 172 parishes in the upstate New York diocese in the next few years. The closing of one of the parishes this Sunday prompted a protest outside the diocesan chancery office. The former parish was noted for its activism, including its outreach to the gay and lesbian community. The parish priest, who had concurrently served as pastor of two parishes, had told the bishop he was happy to continue the parish cluster arrangement.

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Obama administration could ration access to medical treatment

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

By SCOTT GOTTLIEB

In Britain, a government agency evaluates new medical products for their "cost effectiveness" before citizens can get access to them. The agency has concluded that $45,000 is the most worth paying for products that extend a person's life by one "quality-adjusted" year. (By their calculus, a year combating cancer is worth less than a year in perfect health.)

Here in the U.S., President-elect Barack Obama and House Democrats embrace the creation of a similar "comparative effectiveness" entity that will do research on drugs and medical devices. They claim that they don't want this to morph into a British-style agency that restricts access to medical products based on narrow cost criteria, but provisions tucked into the fiscal stimulus bill betray their real intentions.

The centerpiece of their plan is $1.1 billion of the $825 billion stimulus package for studies to compare different drugs and devices to "save money and lives." Report language accompanying the House stimulus bill says that "more expensive" medical products "will no longer be prescribed." The House bill also suggests that the new research should be used to create "guidelines" to direct doctors' treatment of difficult, high-cost medical problems.

The bill gives incoming Health Secretary Tom Daschle wide discretion to set priorities, and he's long advocated a U.S. approach modeled on the British agency, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Mr. Daschle argues that the only way to reduce spending is by allocating medical products based on "cost effectiveness." He's also called for a "federal health board" modeled on the Federal Reserve to rate medical products and create central controls on access.

Such calculations can't account for all the variation in disease and patient preference that drive medical decisions. So it's no surprise that in Britain there's vocal dissent against NICE constraints, especially among cancer patients who are denied many effective new drugs that, for now, are widely prescribed in the U.S. The rich, of course, are able to opt out of the British controls. But the rest of the country has to appeal to politicians -- rather than their doctors -- to gain access to restricted medicines.

The biggest flaws in the House Democratic plan aren't just political, they're scientific. Key comparative medical questions usually hinge on when doctors should escalate care to include more invasive measures -- not on bare comparisons between otherwise similar technologies, which is the focus of the House proposal.

Conducting worthwhile comparative research is also more expensive than this bill accounts for, since big trials are necessary in order to look for differences between two "active" treatments that work, one perhaps a little better than the other.

Entire article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123241385775896265.html

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pope says Christians need to promote life, traditional families

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Today more than ever, Christian families need to pay witness to and promote the irreplaceable value of life and the family based on marriage between a man and a woman, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"The best service that we Christians can offer today's society," the pope said, is being "people who are free and rich with human and Gospel values and who are on a journey toward holiness."

The traditional family is "an indispensable foundation of society and peoples as well as an irreplaceable good for children who deserve to come into the world as a fruit of love and the total and generous giving of the parents," he said at the end of the Sixth World Meeting of Families which took place Jan. 14-18 in Mexico City.

The pope made his comments via satellite from the Vatican Jan. 18 after a closing Mass at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Mass was celebrated by the pope's envoy, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

"Today more than ever, there is a need for the witness and public commitment of all Christians to reaffirm the dignity and the unique and irreplaceable value of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman," he said.

Christians also need to show that they are open to life at all its stages, he said.

Every Christian must help promote "legislative and administrative measures" that support the traditional family and their "inalienable rights," he said.

The pope said the family, "founded on indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, is the expression of this relational, filial and communal aspect of life. It is the setting where men and women are enabled to be born with dignity, and to grow and develop in an integral manner."

But families' efforts to be a true school of humanity and perennial values are being hindered by "a deceptive concept of freedom," the pope said.

This false sense of freedom, he said, glorifies whims and individual impulses "to the point of leaving everyone locked up in the prison of his or her own 'I.'"

"True human freedom comes from having been created in the image and likeness of God and, therefore, should be exercised with responsibility, always opting for the true good so that it becomes love, the gift of self," the pope said.

Real love and closeness among family members are needed more than ideals or theories, he added.

It is through one's concrete experience in the home "that one learns to truly live and value life and health, freedom and peace, justice and truth, work, harmony and respect," he said.

Pope Benedict also said his prayers were with families who are facing the trials of poverty, illness, isolation and separation because of migration, as well as those families being persecuted for their Christian faith.

He encouraged large families who are oftentimes criticized or not understood by others yet are giving "an example of generosity and faith in God."

He urged families to pray together, especially the rosary, and to build their faith on listening to the word of God and working to incorporate Gospel values concretely in their lives.

At the end of his speech, the pope announced the next World Meeting of Families would be held in Milan, Italy, in 2012 on the theme "The Family: Work and Play."

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Pope to Obama: Rediscover US Spiritual Heritage

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Sends Telegram to New President



VATICAN CITY, (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI sent a telegram to the new president of the United States, Barack Obama, expressing wishes for the nation to rediscover its heritage of spiritual values and ethical principles.

The Pope sent good wishes to the 44th U.S. president on the occasion of Obama's inauguration today, with an "assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities."
The English text of the telegram, personally signed by the Holy Father, was released by the Vatican today.

He wrote: "Under your leadership may the American people continue to find in their impressive religious and political heritage the spiritual values and ethical principles needed to cooperate in the building of a truly just and free society, marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice."

The Pontiff expressed the hope that "[a]t a time when so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence, I pray that you will be confirmed in your resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God wills to set for the whole human family."

He concluded by invoking blessings of "joy and peace" upon the president's family and the American people.

The full text of the telegram is as follows:

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
Washington, D.C.

On the occasion of your inauguration as the Forty-fourth president of the United States of America I offer cordial good wishes, together with the assurance of my prayers that the Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities.

Under your leadership may the American people continue to find in their impressive religious and political heritage the spiritual values and ethical principles needed to cooperate in the building of a truly just and free society, marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice.

At a time when so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence, I pray that you will be confirmed in your resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God wills to set for the whole human family (cf. Isaiah 25:6-7). Upon you and your family, and upon all the American people, I willingly invoke the Lord's blessings of joy and peace.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

There's No Place Like Home, Says Benedict XVI

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Notes Educative Role of Family Is Irreplaceable



VATICAN CITY,(Zenit.org).- There's no place like home when it comes to learning life lessons such as peace, work, concord and respect, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this Sunday in a talk he gave via video link to crowds gathered at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The group had just concluded the closing Mass of the 6th World Meeting of Families, which began in the Mexican capital last Wednesday.

The Pontiff sent as legate to the event his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who presided over the closing Mass.

Benedict XVI assured the group that he had participated actively in the Family Meeting, particularly through his prayer, but also though guidelines and follow up of the preparations.

In his message Sunday, he encouraged families to stay close to God in prayer.

"How beautiful it is," the Pope said, "to gather as a family to allow God to speak to the hearts of the members through his living and effective Word. In prayer, especially with the praying of the rosary, as was done yesterday, the family contemplates the mysteries of the life of Jesus, interiorizes the values that it meditates and feels called to incarnate them in their lives."

The Holy Father called the family an "indispensable base for society and for peoples, as well as an irreplaceable good for children, worthy of coming into life as a fruit of love, of the parents' total and generous surrender."

Jesus' teaching

He said it was Jesus himself who revealed the importance of families, in "honoring the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph."

The family, the Pontiff continued, which "occupies a primary place in the education of the person [...] is a true school of humanity and perennial values. No one has given being to himself. We have received life from others, which is developed and matured with the truths and values that we learn in relation and communion with the rest. In this sense, the family founded on the indissoluble matrimony between a man and a woman expresses this relational, filial and communitarian dimension, and is the realm where man can be born with dignity, grow and develop in an integral way."

The Bishop of Rome said that the family's educative task is made difficult today by a "deceptive concept" of freedom, which exalts whims and impulses "to the point of leaving each one locked within the prison of his own 'I.'"

"The true liberty of the human being comes from having been created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore should be exercised with responsibility, always opting for the true good so that it becomes love, gift of self," he said.

And it is here that the family has such a big role to play, Benedict XVI explained.

"For this," he said, "more than theories, the intimacy and love characteristic of the familial community are needed. It is in the home where one learns to truly live, to value life and health, liberty and peace, justice and truth, work, concord and respect."

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Obama Is Subject of Pro-life Ad

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Obama Is Subject of Pro-life Ad


CatholicVote to Air it During Inauguration



CHICAGO, (Zenit.org).- Every life has potential is the message of an ad to be aired repeatedly on Black Entertainment Television in Chicago during Tuesday's coverage of Barack Obama's presidential inauguration.

The 30-second spot, produced by CatholicVote.org, begins with ultrasound image of an unborn baby.

"This child's future is a broken home," the overlying text states, with music playing in the background. "He will be abandoned by his father. His single mother will struggle to raise him."

"Despite the hardships he will endure," the text continues, as the music gets louder and is mixed with sounds of a cheering crowd, "this child ... will become ... the first African American president."

Then showing a picture of Barack Obama, the text says: "Life: Imagine the potential."

The ad is the first in a series to be released this year as part of a new educational campaign, titled precisely "Life: Imagine the Potential."

Brian Burch, executive director of CatholicVote.org, commented on the ad in a press statement: "Our message is simple: Abortion is the enemy of hope. The purpose of our new ad is to spread a message of hope about the potential of every human life, including the life of President-elect Obama."

"Each human life has dignity and worth," he added.

“Given the political climate, we acknowledge that the fight to protect human life faces an uphill climb," continued Burch. "For this reason, we developed an ad that we hope can transcend the political obstacles ahead, and provoke the consciences of our leaders and fellow Americans."

CatholicVote.org is a project of the Fidelis Center for Law and Policy.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Head of "Catholics for Kerry" Arrested For Running Prostitution Ring

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Remember Catholics for Kerry?
By Donald R. McClarey


Hattip to Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia and The Catholic Report. Eric McFadden was the founder of Catholics for Kerry, a group which proudly proclaimed that Catholics should support John Kerry notwithstanding his support for abortion.


After the election McFadden went on to bigger and better things when he was appointed by Ted Strickland, pro-abort Democrat governor of Ohio, in February 2007 to head the Ohio Office of Faith Based Initiatives.

McFadden resigned from that position in October of 2007.

McFadden also served as head of Catholic outreach for the Clinton campaign in 2008. And here we have him making the first comment in this thread, carrying water for pro-abort Obama.

Then we have McFadden writing a public letter attacking Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus for reminding Catholics that Obama and Biden hold views on abortion diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church.

Yesterday he was arrested and charged with running a prostitution ring for 6 years in Columbus, Ohio.

You know, try as I might I am having a hard time being shocked by this story. After continually attempting to rally support for pro-aborts running for the highest office in the land, and doing so under the banner of a Church that views abortion as an abomination, being involved in prostitution during the same time period doesn’t seem like that big of a step to me.

Update 1: Cue the “It’s a small world after all” theme. McFadden did an interview with Doug Kmiec last year.

Update 2: Disturbing allegations regarding McFadden from blogger Carol McKinley.

Update 3: Hattip again to the ever eagle-eyed Jay Anderson of Pro-Ecclesia:

“Geniuses at The Huffington Post see the words “faith-based” and assume McFadden is a Republican. The original post said “Ohio GOPer Arrested for Running Hooker-Review Site”. Upon learning of their mistake, however, the title was changed to “Ohio Pol Arrested for Running Hooker-Review Site”. Got that? NOT “Ohio Dem”, but “Ohio Pol”.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cardinal: Laws Reflect Confusion About Man, Woman

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

MEXICO CITY, (Zenit.org).- The family crisis is not just a problem of morals; it goes much deeper and is rooted in misunderstandings about the very nature of men and women, says the archbishop of Quebec.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet affirmed this today at the 6th World Meeting of Families, underway in Mexico City.

He spoke of the disorder in values, saying it explains certain nations adopting laws that recognize homosexual couples as marriages, and even permit them to adopt children.

This "cultural battle," the prelate said, involves a "vision of the world without God that tries to replace the Judeo-Christian heritage," with grave consequences at the "human, social and religious level."

The result, Cardinal Ouellet lamented, is that added to the "growing fragility of couples are the education problems linked to the loss of models and the influence of currents of thought that reject the very bases of the family institution."

This anthropological crisis, he said, "particularly widespread in the West," has been promoted by the gender theory, which adulterates "the reality of matrimony and the family, re-proposing the notion of the human couple starting from the subjective desires of the individual, making the sexual difference practically insignificant, to the point of trying to equate heterosexual union and homosexual relations."

The cardinal noted that "according to this theory, the sexual difference inscribed in the biological reality of the man and the woman does not have significant influence in the sexual identity of the individuals because it is the result of a subjective orientation and a social construction."

"Under the influence of these sometimes openly anti-Christian ideologies, certain states move to legislation that reconsiders the meaning of marriage, procreation, affiliation and the family, without taking into account the fundamental anthropological realities that give structure to human relationships," he lamented. "Various international organizations participate in this movement for the destruction of matrimony and family for the benefit of certain well-organized pressure groups that pursue their own interests in detriment to the common good.

"The Catholic Church strongly criticizes these cultural currents, which too easily obtain the support of the modern press."

Faced with this panorama, the cardinal proposed a rediscovery of Pope John Paul II's "Familiaris Consortio," which defines marriage "as a personal union in which the spouses reciprocally give and receive."

It aims to reach "the very roots of reality," the cardinal said, affirming the link between the personal love of the spouses and the transmission of life.

In this way, he said, the three values of marriage -- procreation, faithful love and indissolubility -- find their "axis" in fruitful conjugal love.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Father Robert Mazzola "Abortion Not An Important Issue!"

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Mark well the hour of this posting!

Matthew 18:6

Therefore I beseech the Holy Spirit:

Luke 1:20

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Generation Gap Is Not Inevitable

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"
Parents Urged to Take Charge of Educating Children



MEXICO CITY,(Zenit.org).- Parents must take hope that it is possible to pass on Christian values to their children, and take action to claim the right to educate their families, says an expert.

Michael Waldstein, professor of theology, affirmed this today at the World Meeting of Families, in his presentation titled "The Family: Forming Human and Christian Values: Overview of USA and Canada."

Referencing the ideal for the Christian family that Benedict XVI laid out in his letter for the family congress in Valencia, Waldstein asked whether this ideal is found in the United States and Canada.

Starting with the positive side, he affirmed that "Many families do follow their mission with admirable strength and devotion."

However, he pointed out that many families fall short of this, because they have "traditionally delegated much of their responsibility as educators to [...] schools and they are still delegating it."

He added, "The schools, however, have changed. [...] They have become increasingly secularized [...]."

Children spend so much time at school that it is difficult to build a shared life with their parents, and they "often do not know what to do with each other during vacations," the professor reflected.

Youth culture

Waldstein highlighted another force that takes education out of the hands of the family: "global youth culture." In this culture, he said, the two most formative forces are the "sexual revolution" and the music engineered for an adolescent audience.

He explained the effect of the first force: "In the formation of the teenager, the piercing sexual passions of adolescent children were suddenly released into destructive premature relationships.

"Instead of being introduced into a culture of love, children were and are abandoned to a culture of the use of each other for pleasure."

Regarding the second formative force, Waldstein explained that it is "a music tailor-made for the absence of deeper personal formation of sexual passion by authentic love" that preys on "the most intense and most immature passions of adolescents, above all on erotic passion and on anger."

He noted the feelings of helplessness that parents experience, when they see a widening "generation gap," by which children are taken out of their hands and "formed by another culture."

He asserted, "History as a whole shows that the generation gap is not a normal developmental phase. [...].

"We parents must wake up and take action!

"We must recall that it is our inalienable duty and therefore also our inalienable right to educate our children."

Waldstein encouraged parents to "defend this right as indeed inalienable," to spend time with children so as to transmit values, and "become involved in the education of our children."

He concluded by sharing his experience of home-schooling his own children, which led him to see "that the global youth culture is not an irresistible force."

He added: "It is possible to pass on our own Christian culture. The generation gap is not inevitable."

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More than 700 from FUS to March for Life

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

STEUBENVILLE, OH — On the eve of the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, all are encouraged to attend a Holy Hour for Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville on January 21, 2009. The holy hour is from 10:00 to 11:00 p.m. in Christ the King Chapel and is sponsored by Students for Life.
The holy hour commences the overnight departure of 350 students on 7 buses for the March for Life in Washington, D.C. An estimated 400 additional students, alumni, and friends of the University are expected to join them on January 22, under the Franciscan University banner. Every year this Franciscan contingent is one of the largest at the March for Life.

Before the march, students will participate in Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“Franciscan University is very pro-life and since the mission of the school is education, our main focus on campus is educating students about the pro-life movement and how they can be pro-life,” says Students for Life Vice President Emily Espinola. “Yet we’re not just about staying here, but carrying the prolife movement outside of campus, where our role is evangelization.”

The group’s ongoing activities include prayer ministry outside abortion clinics four days a week, training sidewalk counselors, hosting prominent speakers and educational talks on campus, and connecting with students from other universities and colleges to train them as pro-life leaders in their communities. Once a year, the Students for Life Coffeehouse raises over $1,000 to donate to AIM Women’s Center, a Steubenville pregnancy help center.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Dissenters from Catholic Teaching Not Being Fired Often Enough from Seminary Posts: Vatican Report

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


By Hilary White

ROME, January 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Vatican report on the moral and intellectual life of US seminaries, begun in 2005, has said that the main problems lie with professors who overtly or subtly dissent from Catholic moral teaching. Such professors, the report said, are not frequently enough fired from their positions.

“Quite often,” the report said, “the Visitation discovered one or more faculty members who, although not speaking openly against Church teaching, let the students understand - through hints, off-the-cuff remarks, etc. - their disapproval of some articles of Magisterial teaching.” The report next says that although procedures exist to fire such dissenting faculty, these “are not invoked as often as they should be.”

The Vatican report, signed by Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, Prefect Congregation for Catholic Education, is the result of a Vatican-led investigation of American seminaries following the explosion of the clergy sex-abuse scandals in 2001. Although written in carefully diplomatic language typical of high level Vatican offices, the report uses unusually blunt terms, especially in its criticisms of seminaries run by religious orders, such as the Jesuits or Dominicans.

What the report calls a “lack of harmony” in the formation of priests “is almost always” due to educators “being less than faithful to the Magisterium of the Church.”

While most media, including Catholic News Service, a body of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, has reported that the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education has found the US seminaries to be in “overall good health,” the document notes that in “centres of formation for religious,” “ambiguities still exist” in the problem of acceptance of homosexual activity or inclinations. The report urges seminary educators and evaluators to continue to watch candidates for signs of homosexual tendencies and “underscores” the importance of the Vatican instruction that prohibits accepting as candidates men who suffer from long-term and deeply ingrained homosexual inclinations.

In the wake of the US clergy abuse scandals that broke into the public eye in 2001, the prevalence of homosexuals in the US priesthood was widely downplayed as a cause. Despite the publication of a report that found that over 80 per cent of the perpetrators were homosexuals and their victims adolescent males, not young children, Church officials and media alike continue to insist that the crisis is purely one of “priestly paedophilia.”

In its section on intellectual formation, the report noted, “In a few seminaries, and particularly in some schools of theology run by religious [orders], dissent is widespread” especially in the area of moral theology, which includes the Church’s teaching on sexual morality. “It is not rare in religious institutes to find basic tenets of Catholic moral doctrine being called into question.”

The report agrees in the main with many faithful Catholic writers and commentators such as George Weigel, a Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who maintained that in addition to new policies that allowed homosexuals to be accepted as seminarians, it was more general infidelity to orthodox Catholic teaching, the “culture of dissent,” that was responsible for the sex abuse scandals.

Many Catholic commentators observed that the spike in abuse cases occurred at the time when seminaries, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council and the sexual and social revolutions of the 1960s and ‘70s, ceased screening candidates according to standards based on the traditional moral teachings of Catholicism.

The report also makes mention of the acquiescence in some seminaries, again particularly those run by religious orders, to pressure to accept the concept of women’s ordination. In its critique, the report said that seminaries are hampered by “mistaken” fears of offending those “who judge the reservation of the Sacrament of Holy Orders [priesthood] to men alone as discriminatory.”

The report indicates also the decline in many seminaries, widely reported anecdotally by priests and seminarians, of the traditional Catholic devotional life. The report called it “profoundly regrettable” that many seminaries do not include such practices as the Rosary as a normal part of the day to day life of students. “Some institutes even have an atmosphere that discourages traditional acts of Catholic piety - which begs the question as to whether the faculty's ideas of spirituality are consonant with Church teaching and tradition.”

“Unless a great many seminaries introduce regular recitation of the Rosary, novenas, litanies, Stations of the Cross, and so on, the seminarians will lack an education in the sacramentals and will be unprepared for ministry in the Church, which greatly treasures these practices.”

The report, on the other hand, praised the seminarians themselves, saying, “Almost without exception, the seminarians show authentic apostolic zeal and possess a ‘Catholic’ vision of Church life.”

To read the full text of the document:
http://www.usccb.org/cclv/final_report.pdf

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St. Teresa's Treasures Now Offering Mystic Monk Coffee Through The Portiuncula Hermitage

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

The Richmond Catholic Community is now offering Mystic Monk Coffee Through The Portiuncula at St. Teresa's Treasures (Holy Family Parish.)

Please remember that when you buy Mystic Monk Coffee through the Portiuncula Hermitage, ten percent of all their commission sales is 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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Vatican 'tribunal of conscience' opens up to help combat decline in number going to confession

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Thursday, January 15, 2009
By NICOLE WINFIELD
The Associated Press

ROME — One of the Vatican's most secrecy shrouded tribunals, which handles confessions of sins so grave only the pope can grant absolution, is giving the faithful a peek into its workings for the first time in its 830-year history.

The Vatican has long lamented that fewer Catholics are going to confession, the sacrament in which the faithful can receive forgiveness if they sincerely confess their sins to a priest.

To combat the decline, the so-called "tribunal of conscience" invited the public into the frescoed halls of its imposing 16th-century pa­lazzo for a two-day conference that ended Wednesday.

The aim was to explain what the Apostolic Penitentiary actually does, and thereby encourage more of the faithful to go to confession, said Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, the tribunal's No. 2 official.

"Even though it's the oldest department of the Holy See, it's very little known — specifically because by its nature it deals with secret things," he said. "We want to relaunch the sacrament of penance."

By lifting the veil of secrecy surrounding the tribunal's work, the Vatican hopes to emphasize the fundamental role the sacrament plays in saving souls, the Vatican's No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said in a paper delivered at the conference.

"Today it seems as though the sense of sin has been forgotten," he said.

Confessions of even the most heinous of crimes and sins — such as genocide or mass murder — are handled at the local level by priests and their bishops and are not heard by the tribunal.

Its work involves those sins that are reserved for the pope — considered so serious that a local priest or bishop is not qualified to grant absolution, said Cardinal James Francis Stafford, an American who heads the Apostolic Penitentiary.

These include defiling the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the body and blood of Christ.

Others include a priest breaking the seal of the confessional by revealing the nature of the sin and the person who sought penance, or a priest who has sex with someone and then offered forgiveness for the act.

These sins bring automatic excommunication from the church. Once absolution is granted, the excommunication is lifted, Stafford said.

A fourth type of case that comes to the tribunal involves a man who directly caused an abortion — such as by paying for it — who then seeks to become a priest or deacon, Stafford said.

"That is an irregularity and it means he should not receive the ordination without a dispensation from the pope," he said.

Vatican officials frequently point to a study carried out by Italy's Sacred Heart University that found that 47 percent of people in Italy — a majority Roman Catholic country — never went to confession or did so a long time ago.

"We cannot hide that the sacrament of penance is threatened in this time of secularization," Girotti said. But he stressed that it remained "fundamental for salvation and the sanctification of souls."

For the most part, clerical sex abuse cases are handled by another Vatican office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with more public issues of discipline and orthodoxy.

What makes the Apostolic Penitentiary unusual by Vatican standards is the speed with which it dispenses decisions, Girotti said — very often within 24 hours, or two to three days maximum.

The palazzo where it operates, in the heart of Rome's historic center, also houses two of the Vatican's other main tribunals, the Roman Rota, which decides marriage annulments, and the Apostolic Segnatura, the Holy See's highest court.

Taking up nearly an entire city block, it is just steps away from one of Rome's most profane piazzas — Campo dei Fiori, filled with bars catering to tourists and college-age Americans studying abroad.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

State Representative Jackie Walorski: Warrior for the Family

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

This just in from Micah Clark, Director, American Family Association:


Today, I would like to ask you to take a moment to encourage a real leader in the Indiana General Assembly. She is one who takes a lot a grief from the intolerant left and even from within her own party sometimes, for continuously standing up for what is
right, regardless of the cost.

State Representative Jackie Walorski is a legislator from Elkhart and St.
Joseph Counties who is a real bulldog for the family. (I say this as a
compliment to the attractive legislator. Winston Churchill once said that the
bulldog was his favorite animal because it was one of only a few creatures that
could bite down on something and continue to breath without letting go!)

Jackie was recently accused of an ethics violation for allegedly violating
campaign finance laws. The allegation comes from the chairman of the Indiana
Democratic Party. The issue all stems from Jackie's fight to uncover what is
going on inside Indiana abortion clinics that are run by Planned Parenthood, a
well-funded, liberal, political player in Hoosier politics. Two undercover
videos show abortion clinic workers in Bloomington and Indianapolis skirting
abortion and "sexual misconduct with a minor" statutes.

I am convinced that there is nothing to the charge since the guidelines for
fundraising are clear and Jackie's request for support falls within the
allowable timeline. It is an effort to discredit Jackie and to distract from
the real issue of taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and their shoddy
adherence to abortion and rape laws.

I know Jackie well enough to say that she will not back away from her
principles, no matter how many liberals smear her. However, I would encourage
you to take a moment to send a short e-mail of encouragement to Representative
Walorski. She could use your prayers during this legislative session. You can
contact Rep. Walorski at this e-mail: h21@in.gov

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kmiec The Abortionist Continues To Cause A Big Stink (Himself)

By Kathleen Gilbert

January 14, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catholic bloggers have responded after Doug Kmiec, the Catholic law professor who sent shockwaves through the pro-life community by vocally supporting pro-abortion Barack Obama in his bid for the presidency, issued a scathing indictment of the Catholic blogosphere, which had responded negatively to his position.

Kmiec claims the blogs unfairly vilified him and imperiled relations between the Obama administration and the Holy See with outlandish condemnations of the President-elect.

In an article entitled "A Tangled Web," to be published in Commonweal magazine January 16, the Pepperdine University law professor lambasted the Catholic blogosphere as "my online tormentors," "the smallest dollop of substance in a big steaming stew of personal contempt," "a thinly disguised political front for the GOP," "hate-filled," "venomous," and "Machiavellian."

"My online tormentors like to claim that their beef with me is my alleged abandonment of the prolife cause or willful misstatement of church teaching," wrote Kmiec, who said he was in fact "unabashedly prolife" and had "never consciously misstated the doctrine of the church." "Were the Holy Father to tell me I had contradicted the magisterium on any given page of my Obama book, I would tear out that page," he wrote.

The blogosphere's response to his Obama endorsement, said Kmeic, "feeds a politics of odium, misleading people of faith and good will, diminishing and at times obliterating our ability to know one another."

Kmiec also complained that the Catholic outrage was secretly rooted in partisan politics. "Right-wing Catholic bloggers, acting as a thinly disguised political front for the GOP, remain fixated on the goal of precipitating an unnecessary war between the Holy See and America’s next administration," wrote Kmiec. "Unless the sore losers of November 4 manage to poison the well, the Holy See and the Obama administration should be working more closely together in service to others than any administration in modern memory."

"The scurrilous remarks of conservative bloggers missed the point, which was that I and millions of others who voted for Obama did so not despite our Catholic faith but because of it," said Kmiec.

The law professor also criticized Denver Archbishop Chaput for disallowing the pro-abortion "Catholic" VP-elect Joseph Biden to receive communion, saying such a move was "using communion as a weapon."

In response, Thomas Peters of the popular American Papist blog issued an open letter to Kmiec challenging him on the wholesale condemnation of Catholic bloggers, which he said was "in dire need of a reality check."

"Hyperbolic fluff has always been part of the background noise of the blogosphere, but to equate that with the excellent Catholic journalism represented in many blogs is the worst sort of overgeneralizing," wrote Peters. "It is like complaining that 'the press' is persecuting you, and then proceeding to quote exclusively from the National Enquirer gossip pages."

Peters said that Kmiec's invective was not rightly aimed at major Catholic bloggers, but comment boxes and less popular blogs.

"Kmiec is asking that we shut down (or criticize heavily) an open room of vocal Catholics because of a few hecklers," he continued. "Kmiec’s choice to only call out the hecklers has allowed him to avoid other legitimate, constructive criticisms of his position."

Peters suggested Kmiec "perfected the art of misdirection" in issuing an article that focused on his "personal hurt."

"For someone who 'never thought it was mainly about [him]', Kmiec spends most of the time talking about himself, long after he apparently gave up pursuing an open debate in a public forum (or any even playing field). Instead he has chosen to portray himself as some sort of martyr in his Catholic support for Obama."

The blogger also questioned Kmiec's appeal to papal loyalty, stating that while the Pope is not responsible to correct Kmiec, "It is, however, the responsibility of local bishops to speak out when they think clarification is needed, and yet every time a bishop has done so, Kmiec has either disagreed with them or ignored them.

"Indeed, dozens of bishops have called into question Kmiec’s distinctive arguments for how a Catholic can support Obama, but unless such admonitions bear the papal seal, Kmiec evidently feels free to disregard it.

"Kmiec tries to portray episcopal disagreement with his positions as always a case of misunderstanding or prejudice .... In fact, one of Kmiec’s detractors with the highest visibility (as well as the author of a New York Times’ bestselling book on the subject of faithful citizenship), Archbishop Charles Chaput, can hardly be described as ignorant of American political history, reality, or Kmiec’s own position. How does Kmiec respond to this sort of criticism? Again, not with counter-arguments, but with cries of ‘foul!’”

Peters said he would "readily condemn the calumnies" Kmiec has suffered by nameless bloggers. However, he called on Kmiec to apologize "for the overgeneralizing and wild mischaracterization he has perpetrated against the 'right-wing Catholic blogosphere', who, in my estimation, have actually shown an admirable restraint in their dealings with someone that they genuinely believe is endangering unborn lives and setting a dangerous example of Catholic voting in U.S. democratic elections to come."

Popular Catholic writer Mark Shea of the "Catholic and Enjoying it!" blog also commented to the Catholic News Agency (CNA) that Kmiec's criticisms were misdirected, and suggested Kmiec failed to recognize his relative solitude amongst pro-life Catholics in supporting Obama.

“It's not like there was a huge field of one-time pro-life Catholic leaders who suddenly turned about and started making excuses for Obama's pro-abortion zeal,” Shea told CNA. “He was one of the most prominent alleged pro-life Catholic voices out there banging the drum for Obama, a man who has pledged to sign the single most destructive act of pro-abortion legislation in American history. What did he expect?”

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

VENI, VIDI, VICI

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Italy rabbis: pope canceling progress

Jan 13 03:50 PM US/Eastern
By NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press Writer Write a Comment


VATICAN CITY (AP) - Italy's rabbis said Tuesday they were pulling out of the Italian Catholic Church's annual celebration of Judaism, saying recent decisions by Pope Benedict XVI were negating 50 years of interfaith progress.

The chief rabbi of Venice, Elia Enrico Richetti, cited the pope's decision to restore a prayer deemed offensive to Jews in Easter Week services of the old Latin Mass.

In an article published Tuesday in the Italian Jesuit magazine Popoli, Richetti said the Assembly of Italian rabbis felt the prayer, and subsequent comments by Church officials about the controversy, showed a lack of respect that was necessary for dialogue to continue.

"If we add to this the recent positions taken by the pope about dialogue, said to be useless because the superiority of the Christian faith is proven anyway, then it's evident that we're heading toward the cancellation of the last 50 years of Church history," he wrote.

Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, who heads the Italian bishops' commission on interreligious dialogue, said the history of Jewish-Catholic relations cannot just be "canceled," the ANSA news agency reported.

"If there are difficulties, which undoubtedly there are in Italy, they should become an occasion to recast the dialogue even more strongly," ANSA quoted him as saying.

In 2007, Benedict relaxed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass, also known as the Tridentine rite, which was celebrated before the liberalizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s paved the way for the New Mass used widely today in local languages.

In doing so, Benedict restored to prominence a prayer for the conversion of Jews that is recited during Good Friday services of Easter Week. Jewish groups had long criticized the prayer, and they expressed dismay that the pope's decree would allow it to be celebrated more broadly.

In a bid to stem the criticism, the Vatican issued a new prayer last year. But Jewish groups said the changes were equally disappointing since the language still suggested that they needed to convert to Christianity to find salvation.

While Jews have no intention of telling Catholics how to pray, "it's clear that to dialogue means to respect the right of the other to be himself," Richetti wrote in announcing that Italian rabbis wouldn't participate in the Italian Catholic Church's annual celebration of Judaism on Jan. 17.

Benedict, and before him Pope John Paul II, has made improving relations with Jews a priority. But there have been occasional tensions, most recently after a senior Vatican official, Cardinal Renato Martino, said Gaza under the Israeli military offensive resembled a "big concentration camp."

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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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