Monday, March 30, 2009

Il Cantico delle Creature

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

(The Canticle of the Creatures)
St. Francis of Assisi

La preghiera di San Francesco di Assisi

Altissimu, onnipotente bon Signore,

Tue so' le laude, la gloria e l'honore et onne benedictione.

Ad Te solo, Altissimo, se konfano,
et nullu homo ène dignu te mentovare.

Laudato sie, mi' Signore cum tucte le Tue creature,
spetialmente messor lo frate Sole,
lo qual è iorno, et allumini noi per lui.
Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore:
de Te, Altissimo, porta significatione.

Laudato si', mi Signore, per sora Luna e le stelle:
in celu l'ài formate clarite et pretiose et belle.

Laudato si', mi' Signore, per frate Vento
et per aere et nubilo et sereno et onne tempo,
per lo quale, a le Tue creature dài sustentamento.

Laudato si', mi Signore, per sor'Acqua.
la quale è multo utile et humile et pretiosa et casta.

Laudato si', mi Signore, per frate Focu,
per lo quale ennallumini la nocte:
ed ello è bello et iocundo et robustoso et forte.

Laudato si', mi Signore, per sora nostra matre Terra,
la quale ne sustenta et governa,
et produce diversi fructi con coloriti fior et herba.

Laudato si', mi Signore, per quelli che perdonano per lo Tuo amore
et sostengono infrmitate et tribulatione.

Beati quelli ke 'l sosterranno in pace,
ka da Te, Altissimo, sirano incoronati.

Laudato s' mi Signore, per sora nostra Morte corporale,
da la quale nullu homo vivente pò skappare:
guai a quelli ke morrano ne le peccata mortali;
beati quelli ke trovarà ne le Tue sanctissime voluntati,
ka la morte secunda no 'l farrà male.

Laudate et benedicete mi Signore et rengratiate
e serviateli cum grande humilitate.


Il Cantico delle Creature

Angelo Branduardi

CLICK TO PLAY:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYdepwbwbeY&feature=email


Pace Et Bene, everyone!
(It doesn't get any more Pro-Life than this!
)



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"Sound Bite" Reporting Missed Pope’s Africa Message, Says Knights of Columbus Head

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


New Haven, Conn. (CNA).- The poor reporting which inflamed controversy over Pope Benedict XVI’s comments on condom use in African HIV prevention missed his “larger message,” Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus Carl Anderson has charged. He claimed the media have created a sound bite “gotcha” game in which reporters and commentators uncritically accepted the opinions of papal critics.

The controversy also reflects a “fundamental difference” in philosophies, Anderson added. While the Pope believes that people are capable of doing the right thing, Anderson argues his critics do not.

Writing in his recent column “AIDS, Africa and Pope Benedict,” Anderson defended the accuracy of the Pope’s comments that reliance on condoms to combat the spread of AIDS risks “worsening the crisis.”

He cited a recent UNAIDS study which said “there are no definite examples yet of generalized epidemics that have been turned back by prevention programs based primarily on condom promotion.”

Anderson also cited a 2004 study of AIDS trends in Africa conducted by the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, which is headed by Dr. Edward C. Green. The study reported that behavior change is necessary to decrease HIV infection rates, but there has been “relatively little” promotion of behavior change relative to promotion of condom use.

“What the researchers mean by ‘primary behavior change’ is both abstinence and being faithful to one’s partner,” Anderson wrote.

In a recent interview with National Review Online, however, Dr. Green noted that the Pope’s comments presented monogamy as the best answer to AIDS, rather than abstinence.

In Green’s interview, cited by Anderson, the researcher also said that HIV rates tend to go up where condoms are readily available, possibly because condom users take more risks than they might otherwise.

Turning to critics of the Pope, Anderson argued many of them assume that “people cannot help themselves when it comes to having sex, and that advocating for better and more moral behavior is futile.”

“Many Africans who I know personally think otherwise,” he said.

Again citing the 2004 Harvard report, Anderson said that the HIV rate in the Karamoja region of northeast Uganda had fallen to less than 2 percent compared with the rate of 30 percent in other regions.

“Interestingly,” Anderson wrote, “it is the area of Uganda where people have one of the lowest levels of condom use (about 3%), but also the lowest level of men and women reporting multiple sexual partners (less than 2%).”

Anderson then criticized the use of “isolated sound bites” in media reports on Pope Benedict.

“First at Regensberg, again at La Sapienza University in Rome, then in the controversy over Bishop Williamson, and now in Africa, the pope’s actual message was ignored as critics took his words out of context – or ignored their clear meaning,” he said.

He then repeated Pope Benedict’s actual comments on HIV/AIDS in Africa:

“If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem. The solution can only come through a two-fold commitment: firstly, the humanization of sexuality… and secondly, true friendship, above all with those who are suffering… And these are the factors that bring visible progress.”

Anderson then commented that the pope’s “larger message” about the need for building a “true ‘civilization of love’” in Africa was “nearly ignored altogether.”

“Critics and commentators who professed shock at the Pope’s remarks could have called Dr. Green. They could have read the UN and Harvard studies. But instead, they assumed that Benedict was wrong. The Pope and all of us deserve better.”

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Vatican newspaper says experience supports pope's comments on condoms

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican's newspaper said experience supports Pope Benedict XVI's comment that the distribution of condoms does not solve the problem of AIDS.

The newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, ran a front-page commentary that defended the pope against the storm of criticism that followed his remarks in mid-March as he prepared to visit Africa.

The idea that condom distribution can arrest the spread of the virus in Africa is an "ideological falsehood," said the commentary. Published March 22, it was written by Lucetta Scaraffia, a journalist and history professor who is a member of the Italian National Bioethics Committee.

Scaraffia said World Health Organization studies show that the most effective anti-AIDS campaigns in Africa have been based on efforts to promote abstinence and fidelity in sexual relations.

She said this fact has been quietly accepted in the scientific community, but that the "legend" continues about condoms saving Africa from AIDS.

Part of the reason is economic, she said. Another factor, she said, is that Western culture does not want to give up what is considered an important advance: "purely hedonistic and recreational sex."

"The condom is exalted beyond its real capability to stop AIDS because it allows modern society to continue to believe in itself and its principles, and because it seems to re-establish control of the situation without changing anything," she wrote.

The false sense of security condoms give can itself become a risk factor in the spread of AIDS, she said. She noted that when allowing for the "typical" use of condoms their effective protection against AIDS drops to 87 percent.

A related article in the newspaper detailed the experience in Uganda, which has adopted an anti-AIDS program called "ABC" -- "abstain, be faithful or use a condom." The Ugandan program has been so successful, the article said, because it relies first on promoting responsible sexual behavior and sees condom use as a last resort.

The article quoted Brother Daniele Giusti, a Comboni missionary who has worked as a doctor in Uganda for 30 years, as saying the condom has proven somewhat effective among particular groups like prostitutes, homosexuals and drug addicts, but not in the wider population.

"To say that the condom is the winning strategy in a full-blown epidemic that has spread among the general population is misleading," he said.

The rate of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has dropped in Uganda from about 15 percent to about 5 percent of the population over the last 15 years. For that reason, Uganda is often held up as a model for other African countries.

"Whoever says these results were obtained by using condoms is telling a lie. Experience in the field shows the opposite," Brother Giusti said.

"The main factor of this success (in Uganda) is education and a change in behavior," he said. He said Ugandan young people are engaging in initial sexual activity at a later age, and the number of sexual partners reported by men and women has been reduced.

Even international agencies are now recognizing the effectiveness of campaigns based on sexual responsibility, and are changing strategies, he said.

The pope was asked about condoms in AIDS prevention by reporters aboard his flight to Cameroon March 17. After highlighting the church's efforts to help AIDS victims, the pope said: "One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem."

"The solution can only be a double one: first, a humanization of sexuality, that is, a spiritual human renewal that brings with it a new way of behaving with one another; second, a true friendship especially with those who suffer, and a willingness to make personal sacrifices and to be with the suffering. And these are factors that help and that result in real and visible progress," he said.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

U.S. Bishops: Reiki Is Dangerous, Superstitious

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

- In a document released March 25, the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops blasted Reiki, a practice developed in Japan in the late nineteenth century that has gained acceptance in some Catholic retreat centers and other institutions.

After distinguishing between natural medicine and supernatural healing effected by Christ, the bishops conclude:

Reiki therapy finds no support either in the findings of natural science or in Christian belief. For a Catholic to believe in Reiki therapy presents insoluble problems. In terms of caring for one's physical health or the physical health of others, to employ a technique that has no scientific support (or even plausibility) is generally not prudent.

In terms of caring for one's spiritual health, there are important dangers. To use Reiki one would have to accept at least in an implicit way central elements of the worldview that undergirds Reiki theory, elements that belong neither to Christian faith nor to natural science.

Without justification either from Christian faith or natural science, however, a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no-man's-land that is neither faith nor science. Superstition corrupts one's worship of God by turning one's religious feeling and practice in a false direction. While sometimes people fall into superstition through ignorance, it is the responsibility of all who teach in the name of the Church to eliminate such ignorance as much as possible.

Since Reiki therapy is not compatible with either Christian teaching or scientific evidence, it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions, such as Catholic health care facilities and retreat centers, or persons representing the Church, such as Catholic chaplains, to promote or to provide support for Reiki therapy. The bishops add, “Some forms of Reiki teach of a need to appeal for the assistance of angelic beings or ‘Reiki spirit guides.’ This introduces the further danger of exposure to malevolent forces or powers.”

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Obama’s First Judicial Nominee Blocked Informed Consent Law

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Washington D.C., (CNA).- President Barack Obama’s first judicial nominee’s record includes judicial decisions which obstructed the enforcement of Indiana’s informed consent law requiring women to be told the risks of abortion.

President Obama on March 17 nominated Judge David Hamilton to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal. He is presently U.S. District Chief Judge for the Southern District of Indiana.

Over his seven years as a district judge, Judge Hamilton ruled against the Indiana informed consent law which required abortionists to inform women about the risks of abortion. The Indiana law was identical to a Pennsylvania statute upheld by the Supreme Court.

Judge Hamilton claimed the law imposed an “undue burden” on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal reversed Judge Hamilton’s decision on appeal, and strongly criticized his decision as an “abuse of discretion.”

Critics have also reported that in 2005 Judge Hamilton ordered the Speaker of the Indiana House to stop the delivery of “sectarian prayers” at the opening of the legislation. The judge ordered that the prayers “should refrain from using Christ’s name or title.”

Concerned Women for America (CWA) President Wendy Wright, who was critical of the nomination, remarked that even the “liberal” American Bar Association had rated Judge Hamilton as “not qualified” for his post.

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Facebook group attacks the Vatican with condom campaign

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

A campaign on Facebook has recruited tens of thousands of supporters to bombard the Vatican with condoms to protest against the Pope's controversial remarks about the spread of HIV.

Facebook group attacks the Vatican with condom campaign
Benedict XVI was deluged with criticism after stating that condoms "aggravate" the spread of AIDS Photo: AFP/GETTY

Organisers have claimed that 60,000 have pledged to send prophylactics to the Pontiff as a result of the call on the social networking site. The Italians behind the initiative hope they will be joined by Facebook groups around the world, including from Britain and the United States: "The campaign is spreading across Europe, with thousands of supporters in France, England, Germany, Austria and Bulgaria."

Benedict XVI was deluged with criticism after stating that condoms "aggravate" the spread of the disease. The Lancet, Britain's leading medical journal, used an editorial to accuse Benedict of having distorted scientific evidence in order to promote the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The Vatican maintains that the use of condoms promotes promiscuity and that fidelity to one partner or total abstinence from sex are the best ways of combating the disease.

The Pope made the remarks last week to journalists on board his official plane as he flew to Cameroon on the first leg of a week-long Africa trip – the first of his papacy – which also took him to Angola.

Senior Catholics rallied to the Pope's defence this week, with the head of the Italian Bishops Conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, saying the depth of opprobrium directed towards the pontiff had "been prolonged beyond good reason."

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Bishop: Abortion TV Ads "Deeply Damaging"

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Decries Proposal of UK Advertising Authority


LANCASTER, England, (Zenit.org).- A proposal by the Advertising Standards Authority to consider allowing the abortion industry to advertise on TV and the radio is "deeply damaging," according to the bishop of Lancaster.

Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue explained in a statement released today that the proposal originated from the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV, and "therefore comes from the heart of the abortion industry -- threatening yet another hammer-blow to the sanctity of human life in this country."

"I am appalled that this proposal will result in the deaths of many more preborn children and cause untold harm to women," he continued. "As a society, we need to wake up and stop treating abortion as a quick-fix solution to pregnancy and offer compassionate and practical support to women facing crisis pregnancies."

Bishop O'Donoghue mentioned the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative in Scotland that works to aid "pregnant women who find themselves isolated and frightened, offering emotional support and practical help such as liaising with families and providing financial assistance to women in need."

"The killing of the innocent can never be a genuine solution to a problem," the prelate concluded. "I urge all those who care about the sanctity of human life to voice their opposition to this proposal with one voice.

"At the same time, please consider lending your support to our pro-life organizations that care about mothers and their preborn children."

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Report: Obama aid to put pressure on Vatican over Archbishop Burke

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

A scoop from Austin Ruse at the Catholic Thing:
A reliable source tells me that someone representing the Obama administration is about to put pressure on the papal nuncio to the United States to get Archbishop Raymond Burke to be quiet. The Obama complaint is that Archbishop Burke, who is now head of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, has supported another bishop in his chastisement of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for her support of abortion.

The pressure won't work, of course. Burke is just too smart, and tough. But Obama and his representatives are coming dangerously close to interfering in internal Church matters. More than anything else, the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution was intended precisely to protect religious bodies from meddling by the state, even covert meddling by the White House like this. Obama and his pet Catholics should back off – and fast.
This action was evidently planned even before Abp. Burke's Randall Terry interview on Communion.


American Papist:
http://www.americanpapist.com

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Cardinal Says New Feminism Must Include God

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Underlines Creator's Plan for Human Nature


VATICAN CITY, (Zenit.org).- Christian women must lead in the discovery and promotion of a new feminism that underlines God's plan for human persons, said the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace president.

Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino noted this in his conclusions from the 1st International Conference on Woman and Human Rights.

The conference, which focused on the theme of "Life, Family, Development: The Role of Women in the Promotion of Human Rights," was held last Friday and Saturday in Rome. It was organized by the council in collaboration with the World Women's Alliance for Life and Family, and the World Union of Catholic Women's Organization.

The cardinal described the outline of a new feminism that brings together the best intuitions from the process of woman's emancipation, while denying that which is contrary to the true dignity of a person.

He affirmed: "There will be no new feminism without God, especially if God is not discovered as Love.

"The old feminism was based on egocentric individualism, often egotistical. The new feminism must be interlaced with love for life, for the family, for others; a feminism regulated by charity, the queen of the virtues."

Discern goodness

Cardinal Martino explained that it must promote a "yes feminism," that encompasses a "yes" to God, Father of the whole of humanity and Creator of man and woman in his image and likeness, a "yes" to life, to all life and to everyone's life, always, a "yes" to the family founded on marriage, a unitive and fruitful love between a man and a woman, and a "yes" to women and to their genius.

Referring to the debate that took place during the working sessions of the congress, the cardinal emphasized that feminine emancipation has been and is an historical event, marked by ambivalent and contrasting meanings, on which constant, patient, intelligent and wise Christian discernment must be exercised, to extract the good, combat the evil, and guide what is uncertain.

This discernment, he added, must be "inspired and guided by integral humanism with solidarity, firmly directed to advancing the civilization of love."

The first challenge this feminism must address refers to the relationship between nature and culture, he noted, "where the essential question lies: what is the human person, sexual difference [and] the identity of marriage and of the family."

He continued: "To deny nature, that is, to deny that the human person is above all a project loved and accomplished by God the Creator, which it is not good to subvert arbitrarily, is the focal point that must be made very clear. When nature is denied, the human person is no longer a project, but becomes inexorably a product either of culture or of technology."

Education

The cardinal asserted that Christian women must promote "a feminism inspired by a concept of the person, understood as a project of God.

"When what is at stake are the principles of the natural moral law or the very dignity of a human creature, there can be no compromise," he affirmed.

The cardinal noted the challenge of education in these concepts: "It is necessary to free oneself courageously from all the cultural dead weight, typical of underdevelopment and overdevelopment, which mortifies the integral dignity of woman and her fundamental rights as person.

"The dead weight, which must be denounced as structures of sin, is still great, too great, and denies God's project. The key way to free ourselves from it is to invest abundantly in women, through education and formation."

Cardinal Martino referred to the need to respond to the "unacceptable scandal of poverty" that affects, above all, women and children today.

A new feminism must be proposed, he concluded, which has as its objective a world of more justice and solidarity."

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Cardinal Says Moral Education Needed To Fight AIDS

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Notes Contributions of Religions in Senegal


DAKAR, Senegal, (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Dakar is emphasizing that in order to combat AIDS in Africa, education in values is the most important necessity.

Cardinal Théodore-Adrien Sarr explained Tuesday to Vatican Radio that since 1995, at the request of former President Abdou Diouf, Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in the struggle against AIDS.

He noted: "We said we could preach and exhort in favor of abstinence and fidelity, and we have done so, both Christians as well as Muslims. And if today the rate of AIDS infection in Senegal is still low, I believe it is thanks to the religious communities, which have emphasized morality and moral behavior."

"Given that I don't think that condoms can eradicate AIDS," he affirmed, "I believe our appeal for abstinence and fidelity, in other words, for moral values and the observance of sexual customs, continues to be truly valid."

The cardinal acknowledged that there could be difficulties in some countries of the continent "because there are different customs." However, he stated "that it is necessary to know that Africa is very varied and that there are African societies that know the concept of abstinence and fidelity very well and cultivate it" and that it "is necessary to help them to continue to cultivate it."

Speaking about Senegal's situation, he expressed the fear that "if they start to distribute condoms massively to our young people, this will not help them and it will be very much more difficult for them to control themselves and to remain faithful until marriage."

"I think that to help people through education to make the effort to control themselves continues to be a valid contribution for the prevention of AIDS," he noted.

Papal visit

Cardinal Sarr observed, "It is a pity that instead of reflecting on how the Pope was received and especially all that he experienced with the peoples of Cameroon and Angola, some of the media put the accent almost exclusively on the question of condoms and abortion."

"There were beautiful things on this trip that must be transmitted," he continued. "Instead some found nothing better to do than fuel controversies which, moreover, were magnified, excessive as regards the rest of the content" of the Papal visit.

The cardinal asserted that "it is increasingly necessary that the West and Westerners stop thinking that they alone are the depositories of truth, that only what they conceive as the way of seeing and behaving is valid."

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Pregnancy Centers, Not Abortion Clinics, Best Solution to Financial Crisis, Pro-life Leaders Say

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Washington D.C., (CNA).- Responding to reports that more financially troubled women are seeking abortions, pro-life leaders have criticized the "pseudo-compassion" which presents abortion as an answer to personal economic turmoil. Emphasizing that abortion signals that women’s needs are not being met, they called for more help for pregnant mothers, pregnancy centers and fathers.

Recent press coverage has reported that women may be seeking abortions because of the economic crisis, while affected men may be seeking more vasectomies.

According to Planned Parenthood of Illinois CEO Steve Trombley, the state’s abortion clinics performed a record number of abortions in January. Trombley, speaking to the Associated Press, declined to give exact numbers but claimed many abortion-seeking women were motivated by economic worries.

Stephani Poggi of the National Network of Abortion Funds, which helps poor women pay for abortions, claimed calls to the network’s national help line have nearly quadrupled from their rate a year ago.

Brooke Holycross, 25, of Port Orange, Florida was offered financial assistance for an abortion but changed her mind after seeing a sonogram of her 15-week-old unborn child. She already has three daughters and her common-law husband was laid off.

"We're in a spot where we're scared," she told the Associated Press. "Babies are expensive... I'm just praying to God I did the right thing."

On Tuesday several pro-life leaders discussed how to reduce the number of abortions in a meeting with Josh Dubois, former evangelical pastor and current executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Attending the meeting were representatives from Care Net, a U.S. network of 1,160 pregnancy centers which help women find alternatives to abortion. Kristen Hansen, spokeswoman for Care Net, told CNSNews.com that nine out of ten women who go to the pregnancy centers decide to carry their pregnancy to term.

She reported that the network’s centers altogether have 30,000 volunteers and help provide pregnancy tests, baby clothes, maternity clothes, diapers and tests for diseases. They show women how to obtain health care and also teach paternity classes, childbirth classes and classes on saving money.

Concerned Women for America (CWA) President Wendy Wright also attended the meeting.

"So far, I think this administration has really only been hearing from groups like Planned Parenthood, which profits from a higher number of abortions," Wright said before the meeting. "So, of course, the kinds of policies and programs they’re going to promote would be ones that would not reduce the number of abortions. They just don’t have an incentive for reducing abortion."

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mystic Monk Coffee: Order Through Portiuncula And Donate To Birthright (a loving alternative to Abortion)

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

The Carmelite Monks of Wyoming

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.


The Monk Master Roaster

Br. Java is the master roaster who meticoulosly roasts beans in small batches. His philosophy is that each roast must be not only the labor of his hands, but a master roast of the highest quality. Br. Java is passionate about obtaining the perfect roasts for you. He carefully roasts only the finest gourmet beans under conditions that will make each roast consistent and smooth with a taste that will make your taste buds tingle. With experience and perfection, Mystic Monk Coffee is a coffee to savor and enjoy – with or without cream.


The Legend of the First Mystic Monk

Coffee is a product perfected and loved by monks from its beginning. When a monk of old heard the anguished tale of a shepherd who had sleepless goats, he himself discovered growing on shrubs the berries, which had such a wonderful affect. Delighted at his find, the ingenious monk boiled the beans in water and drank the resulting coffee. He found in his discovery a hot drink that could keep his eyes awake even amidst the midnight vigils and unceasing prayers of the monastic life.


The secret of coffee continues to keep monks ever alert and vigilant for their prayers, but now Mystic Monk Coffee shares the hidden, master roasts of monks with all who seek a delightful cup of coffee.


Monks are passionate Perfectionists

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.


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.)

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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Petition against Obama's Notre Dame Honor Skyrockets Past 103,000 Signatures in Four Days

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

By Kathleen Gilbert

MANASSAS, Virginia, March 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As of Tuesday night, over 103,000 signatures have poured into an online petition launched this past Friday by the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS). The petition opposes Notre Dame's honoring President Obama with an invitation to offer the commencement address and receive an honorary law degree on May 17.

CNS introduced the petition on a new website dedicated to the scandal, http://www.notredamescandal.com, almost immediately after the White House and Notre Dame's website simultaneously broke the news on Friday afternoon that Obama had accepted the invitation. Since then, the petition has gathered signatures at lightning speed, averaging 1,000 new signatures every 15 minutes.

"People are outraged, and the alumni of Notre Dame in particular are communicating to each other," CNS president Patrick J. Reilly said in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com today. Reilly noted that he recently spoke with a Notre Dame alumnus who said he "barely slept because all day yesterday, and much of the night, he was on email and on the phone with other alumni."

"It's amazing the outrage that we're seeing," he added.

Reilly said he did not expect such a large response. "We see outrages all the time, and I think this for many people was the last straw," he said. "The president has been waging a campaign of human destruction with his policies, and abortion, and stem-cell research, and now trying to eliminate conscience protections for healthcare workers.

"And in the meantime, Catholic institutions - in particular Catholic universities - have been very quick to abandon their Catholic mission for the sake of prestige. And this is probably the most prominent Catholic University hosting the most prominent leader of the Culture of Death."

Responding to Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkin's statement that the invitation would stand, and was intended to recognize Obama's "accomplishments and leadership," Reilly referred to Notre Dame Bishop John D'Arcy's condemnation of the invite, which invoked a 2004 directive by U.S. bishops not to honor pro-abortion politicians. (To see the bishop's full statement, go to: http://www.diocesefwsb.org/COMMUNICATIONS/statements.htm)

"Fr. Jenkins' bishop has made it clear that this is a violation of the bishops' policy against honoring pro-abortion politicians," said Reilly.

Jenkins had argued that he was following the bishops' directive not to give pro-abortion politicians honors, "which would suggest support for their actions," because Obama's specific position on life issues is "not what we're honoring."

"So Fr. Jenkins needs to rethink his argument," concluded Reilly. "And one would hope that now that the bishop has made it clear that Fr. Jenkins' thinking is wrong, that perhaps there will be a reconsideration of this."

Reilly, who recently met with Church officials in Rome, said he thought the scandal would "absolutely" receive attention in the Vatican, as he had been "pleasantly surprised by how well-aware" Vatican officials were of recent scandals in American Catholic universities.

To contact Notre Dame:
Phone: (574) 631-5000
email form: http://president.nd.edu/contact-us

Notre Dame Fellows:
The Fellows are the "successors and associates in office" of the original founders of the University

Rev. E. William Beauchamp, C.S.C., President, U. of Portland
(503) 943-7101

Patrick F. McCartan, Senior partner, Jones Day
(216) 586-7272
Email: pmccartan@jonesday.com

William M. Goodyear, CEO, Navigant Consulting
main: (312) 583-5700

list of all Notre Dame Fellows: http://www.nd.edu/leadership/fellows/

To contact the Notre Dame Alumni Association Board Members
https://secure.alumni.nd.edu/site/c.luIZLdMOJpE/b.2660531/k....

To contact the USCCB:

Cardinal Francis George, President
Archdiocese of Chicago
phone: 312-751- 8200
email: mfox@archchicago.org

Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Chairman, Committee on Education
Diocese of Worcester
phone: 508-791-7171
committee email: catholiceducation@usccb.org

To contact Notre Dame's bishop:
Bishop John D'Arcy, Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese
Fort Wayne Chancery
phone: (260) 422-4611


See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Notre Dame Faces Groundswell of Outrage after Announcing Plan to Honor Obama
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032312.html

Notre Dame President: School "Honored" by Obama's Acceptance to Speak and Receive Honorary Degree
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032306.html

Catholic Notre Dame University to Give Obama Honorary Degree on May 17, Against USCCB Policy
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032005.html

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cardinal : Criticisms of Pope Have Gone Too Far

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Archbishop of Genoa Laments Recent Accusations

ROME, (Zenit.org).- Attacks directed toward Benedict XVI have gone too far, and Catholics won't go along with it, says the president of Italy's episcopal conference.


Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the archbishop of Genoa, said this Monday at the inaugural session of the conference's permanent episcopal council, under way in Rome.

Referring to the recent controversies regarding the lifting of the excommunication of four bishops of the St. Pius X Society, and comments the Pontiff made about condoms on his trip to Africa, the cardinal said "the harshest criticisms to our beloved Pope -- from Italy and above all from abroad -- have gone beyond good sense."

Not wanting to dedicate too much time on the "clumsy accusations," Cardinal Bagnasco directed his comments toward the letter Benedict XVI sent earlier this month to the bishops of the world, in which he explained the reasons for lifting the excommunication of the four Lefebvrite prelates, who had been unlawfully ordained in 1988 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

The letter "immediately attracted wide consensus," the cardinal noted. He described it as an appeal to the whole Church for genuine reconciliation.

Nevertheless, the cardinal expressed a "severe judgment" regarding the "postures and words that led to a situation which should never have come about, fueling systematic alarmist interpretations and conduct that is mistrustful toward the hierarchy."

Distraction

Regarding Benedict XVI's trip to Cameroon and Angola last week, Cardinal Bagnasco noted that "from the beginning, [it] was diverted from Westerners' attention by a controversy -- on condoms -- which, frankly, was unwarranted."

"It is no accident that Africa's own media showed no interest in the subject, were it not for the damaging insistence of international agencies, and for the statements of some European political leaders and supranational organizations," affirmed the cardinal.

The archbishop of Genoa lamented that the media, governments and international institutions did not "limit themselves to dissent freely, but reached an ostracism that goes beyond secular canons themselves. In any case, derision and vulgarity will never be part of civilized language, and fatally fall on those who practice it."

Furthermore, the cardinal said the Holy Father's comments on the issue have been confirmed by those who work in the fields of health and education in Africa.

Africa needs to focus more on promoting greater access to education and medical care, as well as the "effective promotion of women," Cardinal Bagnasco continued.

He appealed to governments "to keep their commitments," to go beyond "demagogy and the neo-colonial logic of control."

The cardinal also noted that bishops and the faithful will not accept that the Pope is laughed at or insulted, as "the best tradition of our Catholicism is to be with the Pope always and unconditionally."

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Bishop D'Arcy to Skip Notre Dame Graduation

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Bishop D'Arcy to Skip Notre Dame Graduation


Sites University's Preference for Prestige Over Truth


SOUTH BEND, Indiana, (Zenit.org).- For the first time in 25 years, the bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend will not attend the University of Notre Dame's graduation ceremony.

In a statement released today on the diocese's Web site, Bishop John D'Arcy revealed his decision to not attend this year's commencement, at which President Barack Obama will speak and receive an honorary degree.

He said his move isn't an attack on anyone, but rather a gesture done in defense of the truth of human life.

Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, informed the bishop Friday that Obama had accepted an invitation to speak at the university's spring commencement. Bishop D'Arcy noted that this was the first he had heard that such an invitation had been extended.

"President Obama," he said, "has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life."

Bishop D'Arcy noted that he made his decision "after much prayer," and that he wishes "no disrespect to our president."

"I have always revered the office of the presidency," he said. "But a bishop must teach the Catholic faith 'in season and out of season,' and he teaches not only by his words -- but by his actions."

"My decision is not an attack on anyone, but is in defense of the truth about human life," he added.

Quoting a 2004 statement of the U.S. bishops, Bishop D'Arcy said, "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

"Indeed, the measure of any Catholic institution is not only what it stands for, but also what it will not stand for," the bishop noted.

Honor for Glendon

Bishop D'Arcy noted that Notre Dame will also honor Mary Ann Glendon, former U.S. ambassador to the Holy, at this year's graduation ceremony. She will be presented with the university's Laetare Medal.

The medal has been awarded annually since 1883 to a Catholic "whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity."

The bishop said he has spoken with Glendon, and he encouraged her to accept the award, "and take the opportunity such an award gives her to teach."

"Even as I continue to ponder in prayer these events, which many have found shocking, so must Notre Dame," concluded Bishop D'Arcy. "Indeed, as a Catholic university, Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth.

"Tomorrow, we celebrate as Catholics the moment when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, became a child in the womb of his most holy mother. Let us ask Our Lady to intercede for the university named in her honor, that it may recommit itself to the primacy of truth over prestige."

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Top Catholic Analysts Weigh-in on Notre Dame's Obama Invite

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Notre Shame University

Washington D.C., Mar 23, 2009 (CNA).- Under the title “A Moral Exemplar? Should the University of Notre Dame honor our most anti-life president?” National Review Online has gathered some of nation’s most prominent Catholics to weigh-in on the university’s decision to invite President Barack Obama to be the principal speaker and the recipient of an honorary doctor of law degree at its commencement on Sunday, May 17.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, Editor of National Review Online, explained to CNA that the announcement from the University of Notre Dame that it will be having Obama speak at their commencement “is an important news event.”

“It’s significant for this administration, which has put itself at odds with Catholic teachings (on embryo-destroying stem-cell research, among others) and promises more (the Freedom of Choice Act, among others). This decision by Notre Dame – along with the pro-choice Catholics Obama has surrounded himself with – provides the White House a certain amount of cover,” Lopez also told CNA.

“It is important for Catholic higher education, as the administration at ND made a choice that calls into question why they consider themselves any different than any other good school with a football team. This is an issue of political and cultural significance; NRO exists to highlight and advance and debate such things,” she added.

The NRO symposium opens with a comment from George Weigel, the biographer of Pope John Paul II and Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

“Notre Dame’s decision to make President Obama its 2009 commencement speaker is a very bad thing,” he says.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Holy See Warns Against Religious Intolerance

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Expresses Concern at Growing Secularist Policies

GENEVA, Switzerland,(Zenit.org).- The Holy See's representative to the United Nations is expressing concern at increased intolerance against Christians, not only in countries where the religion is a minority, but also a majority.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's permanent observer at the U.N. offices in Geneva, said this in an address March 16 before the ordinary session of the Human Rights Council.

He noted that in many parts of the world, "religious minorities, including Christian minorities, still face daily discrimination and prejudices."

"The Holy See expresses its concern," said the representative, "on the increasing situations of religious intolerance and calls upon States to take all the necessary measures -- educational, legal and judicial -- intended to guarantee the respect of the right to freedom of religion and to protect religious minorities from discrimination."

He referred to a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe at the beginning of March in Vienna, Austria, on the topic of "Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians."

The emphasis of this meeting, he said, was that "the denial of the rights of Christian communities is not only an issue where they form a minority, but that discrimination and intolerance may also exist where Christians are a majority in society."

The archbishop noted that many States are "increasingly siding with a new secularist policy that aims at reducing the role of religion in public life."

He stated that "the Holy See calls upon these States to be inclusive and to recognize the important role religions can play within society."

"Religions," the prelate added, "in fact, contribute to the promotion of moral and social values, which go beyond an individualistic concept of society and development, seeking the common good as well as the protection and the respect of human dignity."

He affirmed that the freedom of expression can best be protected by "the implementation of the universal principle of freedom of religion."

He asked that each state "look into its own national legislation" and "consider how it can encourage a frank but respectful discussion between members of the same religion, between representatives of different religions and persons who have no religious belief."

Archbishop Tomasi continued: "One should, however, at all times keep in mind that the right to religious freedom is intrinsically related to the right to freedom of expression.

"Where followers of religions have no right to express their opinion freely, the freedom of religion is not guaranteed."

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Catholic "Complacency" Shares Blame for Country’s Failures, Says Archbishop Chaput

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Detroit, Mich.,(CNA).- Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput delivered a speech on Saturday reflecting on the significance of the November 2008 election. Warning that media “narratives” should not obscure truth, he blamed the indifference and complacency of many U.S. Catholics for the country’s failures on abortion, poverty and immigration issues.

He also advised Catholics to “master the language of popular culture” and to refuse to be afraid, saying “fear is the disease of our age.”

The archbishop’s comments were delivered in his keynote address at the Hands-On Conference Celebrating the Year of St. Paul, which was hosted at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

Having been asked to examine what November 2008 and its aftermath can teach Catholics about American culture, the state of American Catholicism and the kind of Pauline discipleship necessary today, Archbishop Chaput said:

“November showed us that 40 years of American Catholic complacency and poor formation are bearing exactly the fruit we should have expected. Or to put it more discreetly, the November elections confirmed a trend, rather than created a new moment, in American culture.”

Noting that there was no question about President Barack Obama’s views on abortion “rights,” embryonic stem cell research and other “problematic issues,” he commented:

“Some Catholics in both political parties are deeply troubled by these issues. But too many Catholics just don’t really care. That’s the truth of it. If they cared, our political environment would be different. If 65 million Catholics really cared about their faith and cared about what it teaches, neither political party could ignore what we believe about justice for the poor, or the homeless, or immigrants, or the unborn child. If 65 million American Catholics really understood their faith, we wouldn’t need to waste each other’s time arguing about whether the legalized killing of an unborn child is somehow ‘balanced out’ or excused by three other good social policies.”

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Harvard scientist: Those mocking pontiff's stand are wrong

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

FAITH UNDER FIRE

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Pope Benedict XVI visiting Cameroon

A senior Harvard research scientist confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI, who endured heavy criticism for declaring that condom distribution programs worsen the AIDS epidemic in Africa, was actually correct.

Dr. Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, told National Review Online last week that despite AIDS activists and media outlets pounding the pope for downplaying the effectiveness of condoms, the science actually supports the Catholic leader's claim.

"The pope is correct," Green told NRO, "or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope's comments."

"There is," Green added, "a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys,' between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction 'technology' such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by 'compensating' or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology."

Aboard a plane traveling to Yaounde, Cameroon, last week, a French reporter told Benedict that the Catholic approach to combating AIDS – encouraging monogamy within marriage and abstinence before – was often considered unrealistic and ineffective.

According to transcripts released by the Vatican, Benedict responded, "This problem of AIDS cannot be overcome merely with money, necessary though it is. If there is no human dimension, if Africans do not help [by responsible behavior], the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics: on the contrary, they increase it."

Benedict immediately came under fire in the international press for proclaiming just what Green says the studies support: Encouraging fidelity in sexual relations decreases the spread of AIDS, and condom distribution programs increase it.

Rebecca Hodes, head of policy, communications and research for the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa, blasted the pope for not advocating wide access to condoms as a means of combating AIDS.

"His opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans," Hodes told the Associated Press.

Learn how Americans have been sold the idea that what earlier generations condemned now is good, in the best-selling "The Marketing of Evil"

"We call on the Pope to revisit the teachings on condoms with a view to lifting the ban at the earliest possible moment," said Jon O'Brien, president of Catholics for Choice. "In his review, we want him to include experts who are unequivocal that condoms do in fact help prevent the spread of HIV."

Syndicated columnist Roland Martin writes on CNN.com that the pope's position demonstrated "ignorance of reality."

"For the church," Martin writes, "to continue to ignore the definitive research that condoms play a huge role in decreasing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases is mind-boggling."

Even the Vatican, according to a report in the London Times, backtracked slightly on the pope's remarks, adding a word to Benedict's remarks, stating he said distribution of condoms merely "risked" increasing the spread of AIDS.

According to Green, however, the pope's critics have bought into a common myth about condoms and AIDS.

"We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates," said Green, "which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working."

Instead, Green noted, the pope's encouragement of Africans toward monogamous sexual relationships has proven to be a much more effective strategy:

"The best and latest empirical evidence indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual partners is the most important single behavior change associated with reduction in HIV-infection rates," Green said.

In Uganda, according to a report in Science magazine, teaching about AIDS and promoting monogamy has led to a dramatic turnaround in the country's AIDS epidemic.

"Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is preventable if populations are mobilized to avoid risk," states the report's summary. "Despite limited resources, Uganda has shown a 70 percent decline in HIV prevalence since the early 1990s, linked to a 60 percent reduction in casual sex. The response in Uganda appears to be distinctively associated with communication about [AIDS] through social networks. Despite substantial condom use and promotion of biomedical approaches, other African countries have shown neither similar behavioral responses nor HIV prevalence declines of the same scale. The Ugandan success is equivalent to a vaccine of 80 percent effectiveness."

Green further told NRO, "More and more AIDS experts are coming to accept the above. The two countries with the worst HIV epidemics, Swaziland and Botswana, have both launched campaigns to discourage multiple and concurrent partners, and to encourage fidelity."

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Pope Highlights Women's Mission to Defend Humanity

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


Underlines Family's Need for Both Parents, Couple's Need for Church



LUANDA, Angola,(Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is affirming the role of women in the Church and society, and is appealing to them to defend the family and to protect cultural and religious values.

The Pope said this today to representatives of Catholic movements at a meeting in Santo António Parish of Luanda on the topic of the promotion of women.

He underlined Mary's role in the Gospel story of the wedding at Cana, noting that "her maternal mediation thus made possible the 'good wine,' prefiguring a new covenant between divine omnipotence and the poor but receptive human heart."

The Pontiff extended a special greeting to all women, "to whom God has entrusted the wellsprings of life," saying, "I invite you to live and to put your trust in life, because the living God has put his trust in you!"

He called on his listeners to be aware of the "adverse conditions to which many women have been -- and continue to be -- subjected, paying particular attention to ways in which the behavior and attitudes of men, who at times show a lack of sensitivity and responsibility, may be to blame."

He added, "This forms no part of God's plan."

God's plan, he noted, in creating woman, was to fashion "for the man the helper he still lacked," and to endow "this helper in a privileged way by incorporating the order of love, which had seemed under-represented in creation."

The Holy Father explained, "In fact, gazing upon the captivating charm that radiates from woman due to the inner grace God has given her, the heart of man is enlightened and he sees himself reflected in her."

Complementary

He exhorted his audience to "recognize, affirm and defend the equal dignity of man and woman" because "they are both persons, utterly unique among all the living beings found in the world."

Benedict XVI affirmed: "Man and woman are both called to live in profound communion through a reciprocal recognition of one another and the mutual gift of themselves, working together for the common good through the complementary aspects of masculinity and femininity.

"Who today can fail to recognize the need to make more room for the 'reasons of the heart?'

"In a world like ours, dominated by technology, we feel the need for this feminine complementarity, so that the human race can live in the world without completely losing its humanity."

Drawing on the examples of two women, Teresa Gomes and Maria Bonino, he observed that in harsh and difficult situations, "it is almost always women who manage to preserve human dignity, to defend the family and to protect cultural and religious values."

Mothers and fathers

The Pope emphasized that "the presence of a mother within the family is so important for the stability and growth of this fundamental cell of society, that it should be recognized, commended and supported in every possible way." He added, "For the same reason, society must hold husbands and fathers accountable for their responsibilities towards their families."

He pointed out, however, "that no human couple, alone and on its own strength, can adequately offer children love and a genuine understanding of life."

There needs to be a higher and more trustworthy authority than parents alone can offer, he affirmed, "which God, through his Son Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, has established within human history, namely the Church."

The Pontiff continued: "We find at work here the eternal and indestructible love which guarantees to each of us that our life will always have meaning, even if we do not know what the future will bring.

"For this reason, the building up of every Christian family takes place within the larger family, the Church, which sustains the domestic family and holds it close to her heart, giving it the assurance that it is protected, now and in the future, by the 'yes' of the Creator."

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Media Reports on Condoms Seen as Superficial

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"



BARCELONA, Spain,(Zenit.org).- The president of the World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations is asserting that the media got it wrong when reporting on Benedict XVI's latest statement about condoms.

Dr. José María Simón Castellví observed that many recent newspaper articles are portraying the Church as saying that, if a person is to have relations with a prostitute, he must not use a condom.

He noted the superficiality with which some media sources have reported Benedict XVI's press conference Tuesday on the plane en route to Cameroon, when the Pope said that condoms are not the solution for AIDS.

"The Church defends faithfulness, abstinence and monogamy as the best weapons," the president told ZENIT.

However, he said, the media and even some political representatives have accused the Church of promoting AIDS in Africa. Obviously, the Church is not saying that one can have all sorts of promiscuous sexual relations, as long as one does not use a condom, he clarified.

Love without barriers

The doctor explained that, to understand what the Church says about condoms, it is necessary to understand what love is. He noted that the Pope himself explained this to journalists, although that passage of his conversation was censured by most of the media.

Simón added: "A condom is a barrier, but a barrier with limits that many times is crossed. It can be counterproductive, especially in the case of young people, from the point of view of viral transmission.

"We, Catholic doctors, are in favor of scientific knowledge. We do not say things only because of ideological obligations.

"In the same way that we say that adultery in one's thoughts does not transmit a virus but is something evil, we must say that condoms have their dangers, limited barriers."

He illustrated the Church's position by recalling a historical case that was reported by the media.

In 1993 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, he said, the 7th International AIDS Meeting was held with expert doctors and health agents. It was a meeting that brought together some 300 participants. At the end, a questionnaire was handed out asking the participants if, during the three days of the meeting, they had sexual relations outside of a stable relationship.

Of those questioned, 28% answered yes, and of these, one third said that they had not taken any "precaution" to avoid contamination, the doctor reported.

He asked, "If this happens among people who are 'aware,' what must be the case among ordinary people?"

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Vatican Explains Church's Fight Against AIDS, Clarifies Media's Misrepresentation of Papal Words on Condoms

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"


YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon,(Zenit.org).- The Vatican spokesman commented on Benedict XVI's words regarding the fight against AIDS, clarifying that the Church's priority is education, research and human and spiritual assistance, not condom distribution.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, clarified this in a communiqué published Wednesday from Yaoundé. He responded to interpretations by the media and by government representatives, of the Pope's words to journalists during his flight from Rome to Cameroon.

A front-page editorial by Giovanni Maria Vian, director of L'Osservatore Romano, stated that some of the media reduced the Pontiff's message on AIDS "to just one aspect -- moreover, taken out of context and in a controversial vein -- namely, that of the methods to confront the spread of AIDS."

He noted that, based on a partial version of the Pope's words in his reference to AIDS and condoms reported by the media on Tuesday, government representatives and institutions responded with harsh criticism.

For example, Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is quoted on French radio and other sources as expressing his "profound indignation" and asking the Pope to retract his statements, considering them "unacceptable," as they represent "a denial of the epidemic."

Representatives of the governments of Spain, France and Belgium also attacked the Holy Father.

Church's position

Father Lombardi stated that the Pontiff, in his address, "confirmed the positions of the Catholic Church and the essential lines of her commitment to combat the terrible scourge of AIDS."

The first step, he explained, is "education in the responsibility of persons in the use of sexuality and with the reaffirmation of the essential role of marriage and the family."

Second, the spokesman said, the epidemic must be fought "with research and the implementation of effective treatments for AIDS, making them available to the greatest number of patients through many health initiatives and institutions."

Thirdly, he noted, the response must include "human and spiritual assistance to AIDS patients, as well as to all those who suffer, who have always been in the heart of the Church."

Father Lombardi underlined the Church's commitment to fight AIDS in these ways, noting that "to seek essentially a greater diffusion of condoms, is not in reality the best way, the broadest view or the most effective way to address the scourge of AIDS and to safeguard human life."

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Portiuncula Chapel At Franciscan University of Steubenville Designated By Vatican

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

STEUBENVILLE - The tiny Portiuncula Chapel at Franciscan University of Steubenville has been designated by the Vatican as a place where the faithful can receive a plenary indulgence - an elimination of the temporal punishment due to sin.

The special designation comes in the form of a decree recently issued by the Vatican office of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

The Rev. Terence Henry, T.O.R., university president, called the announcement "an extraordinarily gracious act by the Holy See that will provide an abundant outpouring of God's mercy on the thousands of people who visit the Portiuncula Chapel every year."

The decree holds special significance because of its reference to the pro-life movement and because it is not limited to a single day in the year, as is the case with many plenary indulgences.

According to the decree, the indulgence may be obtained at any of five times during the year: Aug. 2, the feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula; Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi; Jan. 22, the dedication of the Tomb of the Unborn Child located next to the Portiuncula; and on any day during the year of a person's choosing or while completing a "holy pilgrimage" to the Portiuncula with a group.

The plenary indulgence decree was issued by the Office of the Apostolic Penitentiary, which is under the direction of James Francis Cardinal Stafford, the former archbishop of Denver. The request for the decree came through the office of Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of the Diocese of Steubenville in recognition of the Portiuncula's history as a beloved place of prayer and eucharistic adoration.

Completed in 1987, the Portiuncula, or "Port" as it is called by students, is a replica of one of the first churches near Assisi that St. Francis repaired after Jesus commissioned him to "Go, rebuild my Church." During academic semesters, many students go to the Portiuncula for eucharistic adoration, which is offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Vatican decree went into effect on Feb. 11 and will remain in effect for seven years.

Conlon officially will promulgate the decree April 24 at the Portiuncula Chapel.

"We are excited that residents in the Ohio Valley can receive this indulgence without traveling far," said Henry.

"We know our students, faculty, staff, the thousands of visitors who come here each summer for retreats and conferences, our graduates who return for alumni events, parents and prospective students and many others will take part in the special graces now available to them here," said Henry.

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Media "Witch Hunt" Against The Pope

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Have you read anything positive about the Pope's visit to Africa yet? The secular press is full of doom and distortion. It's all bias, bias and more bias. Meanwhile, back at the Catholic ranch, we're reading news reports that tell a completely different story - like this one from National Review Online.

Here's some of what the National Review Online has to say: We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates, which, 25years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working. 1D So notes Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, in response to papal press comments en route to Africa this week.

The pope is correct, or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope comments. He stresses that condoms have been proven to not be effective at the level of population.

There is, Green adds, consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded Demographic Health Surveys, between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates.... Green added: also noticed that the pope said monogamy was the best single answer to African AIDS, rather than abstinence. The best and latest empirical evidence indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual partners is the most important single behavior change associated with reduction in HIV-infection rates (the other major factor is male circumcision).

And while, as Travis Kavulla writes from Kenya today, the international media will ignore all sorts of fascinating new stories about church and civilizational growth in favor of a sexier, albeit way-too-familiar storyline, Green has some encouraging news: The pope is not alone. More and more AIDS experts are coming to accept the above. The two countries with the worst HIV epidemics, Swaziland and Botswana, have both launched campaigns to discourage multiple and concurrent partners, and to encourage fidelity.

Two French deputies have noted that the Holy Father's words were "deformed" and "exaggerated" by the media. Jacques Remiller stated that the Holy Father's words had been manipulated, especially by "the French political class," which has carried out a veritable "witch hunt" against the Pontiff. Read the full story on Zenit here:
http://www.zenit.org/article-25424?l=englis

Here's a review by Sally Hall (Human Life International) of "The Change is On" documentary. (You can view it free on YouTube here:
http://www.catholicportal.co.za/AIDS/The_Change_Is_On.htm)

"AIDS, you have no mercy...who's going to stay in this world?" ask South African Primary school children in a rural village in Limpopo province. Death is a looming spectre for these 13 year olds. Graves are being opened 5 or 6 at a time. The murderer is HIV/AIDS. Information about HIV/AIDS abounds, even in the isolated and rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. The question people want answered however is: How can we stop this? How can we stop people from dying before our eyes? We need to give them an honest answer, an answer that will help them. Right now controversy is raging following comments made by Pope Benedict XVI on the role of condoms in that answer.

The reality is that it is not possible to stop the HIV/AIDS pandemic unless people
change their behaviour.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Vatican Insiders (Dare I say "Liberal Whacko's") declare the Pope a 'disaster'

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

I love this headline that reads, "Vatican Insiders." Who does this guy think he's fooling? It's all in the plans of the Liberal Media to discredit this Pope and to advance their Liberal Agenda!



Vatican insiders declare the Pope a 'disaster'

Pope Benedict's repeated gaffes and the Vatican's inability to manage his message in the internet era are threatening to undermine his papacy, Vatican insiders have said.

By Nick Squires in Rome
Last Updated: 8:20PM GMT 19 Mar 2009

Pope Benedict
The Holy See is struggling to contain international anger over the Pope's claim on his first official visit to Africa that Aids "cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems".

The Pope's remarks about condoms, and a recent furore over his lifting of the 20-year excommunication of a British bishop who has questioned the Holocaust, has left him looking isolated and out of touch, prompting calls for a radical shake-up of the way the Holy See delivers its message.


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Anger as Pope Benedict XVI says condoms make Aids worse
Why the Pope is right about condomsThe Pope is isolated and fails to adequately consult his advisers, said a Vatican source with 20 years' knowledge of the Holy See.

Another Vatican insider described Pope Benedict's four-year-old papacy as "a disaster", recalling the pontiff's previous inflammatory remarks on Islam and homosexuality.

"He's out of touch with the real world," the Italian insider said. "On the condom issue, for example, there are priests and bishops in Africa who accept that condoms are a key part of the fight against Aids, and yet the pope adheres to this very conservative line that they encourage promiscuity. The Vatican is far removed from the reality on the ground."

The Vatican's traditional culture of secrecy has made it ill-equipped to communicate its message in the internet age.

The Holy See claimed that the Pope had no idea that British bishop Richard Williamson had denied the extent of the Holocaust, but critics have pointed out that a simple Google search would have uncovered the maverick's anti-Semitic views.

"Until recently the Vatican was secretive and their way of controlling the message of the Church was to release information slowly and highly selectively through carefully worded documents," said Francis X Rocca, Vatican correspondent for Religion News Service.

"The problem now is that the internet and the blogosphere won't wait for the Vatican, so its message gets swamped."

The pope's spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, also wears two other hats – he is also the head of Vatican radio and of its television service. Observers question whether he can effectively handle such an onerous workload.

"He's got too many jobs. There's talk that he is going to go," said a third Vatican source. "You have people around the pope who seem to be out of their depth. There needs to be a major re-think of the operation, not the structure necessarily but the people."

The Vatican's press office works to a timetable from a gentler era, closing each day at 3pm, and familiarity with the internet appears barely to have penetrated the Vatican's cloistered confines.

The pontiff's message is further confused by disagreement within the ranks. Cardinals and archbishops within the Curia, the Holy See's administration, often appear to be at odds with each other, most recently over the excommunication in Brazil of doctors who performed an abortion on a nine-year-old girl who had fallen pregnant after being raped by her stepfather.

A senior Vatican figure, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, spoke out in favour of the Brazilian archbishop who announced the excommunication, only to be contradicted a few days later by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who heads the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life.

"I think there's a good story to be told about this pope but it just doesn't get out because of the colossal ineptitude of the Vatican in terms of communications," said John Allen, a veteran Vatican analyst with National Catholic Reporter who is travelling with the pope in Africa.

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Liberal Media Attacks and Marginalizes Pope Over Condoms

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Media Reports on Condoms Seen as Superficial

President of Catholic Medical Federation Offers Clarification

BARCELONA, Spain,(Zenit.org).- The president of the World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations is asserting that the media got it wrong when reporting on Benedict XVI's latest statement about condoms.

Dr. José María Simón Castellví observed that many recent newspaper articles are portraying the Church as saying that, if a person is to have relations with a prostitute, he must not use a condom.

He noted the superficiality with which some media sources have reported Benedict XVI's press conference Tuesday on the plane en route to Cameroon, when the Pope said that condoms are not the solution for AIDS.

"The Church defends faithfulness, abstinence and monogamy as the best weapons," the president told ZENIT.

However, he said, the media and even some political representatives have accused the Church of promoting AIDS in Africa. Obviously, the Church is not saying that one can have all sorts of promiscuous sexual relations, as long as one does not use a condom, he clarified.

Love without barriers

The doctor explained that, to understand what the Church says about condoms, it is necessary to understand what love is. He noted that the Pope himself explained this to journalists, although that passage of his conversation was censured by most of the media.

Simón added: "A condom is a barrier, but a barrier with limits that many times is crossed. It can be counterproductive, especially in the case of young people, from the point of view of viral transmission.

"We, Catholic doctors, are in favor of scientific knowledge. We do not say things only because of ideological obligations.

"In the same way that we say that adultery in one's thoughts does not transmit a virus but is something evil, we must say that condoms have their dangers, limited barriers."

He illustrated the Church's position by recalling a historical case that was reported by the media.

In 1993 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, he said, the 7th International AIDS Meeting was held with expert doctors and health agents. It was a meeting that brought together some 300 participants. At the end, a questionnaire was handed out asking the participants if, during the three days of the meeting, they had sexual relations outside of a stable relationship.

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Wednesday, March 18, 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 Right Side of this Page:

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pope: Condoms Not The Answer To Fight Aids (Keeping It In Your Pants Is!)

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

Pope: Condoms 'Increase' AIDS Epidemic in Africa

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — Pope Benedict XVI said Tuesday that the distribution of condoms is not the answer in the fight against AIDS in Africa.

Benedict has never before spoken explicitly on condom use although he has stressed that the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against AIDS. The Vatican encourages sexual abstinence to fight the spread of the disease.

"You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms," the pope told reporters aboard the Alitalia plane headed to Yaounde, Cameroon. "On the contrary, it increases the problem."

Some priests and nuns working with victims of the AIDS pandemic ravaging Africa question the church's opposition to condoms.

The pope also said that he intends to make an appeal for "international solidarity" for Africa in the face of the global economic downturn.

He said that while the church does not propose specific economic solutions, it can give "spiritual and moral" suggestions.

Describing the current crisis as the consequence of "a deficit of ethics in economic structures," the pope said, "It is here that the church can make a contribution."

Related Stories Pope Arrives in Cameroon for First Africa Visit
Benedict's seven-day pilgrimage will take him to Cameroon and Angola.

Africa is the fastest-growing region for the Roman Catholic Church.

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Hussein Obama Pimps America's Wounded Soldiers!!

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

WASHINGTON, March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The leader of the nation's
largest veterans organization says he is "deeply disappointed and
concerned" after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a
proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of
military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and
injuries. The Obama administration recently revealed a plan to require
private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) in such cases.


"It became apparent during our discussion today that the President intends
to move forward with this unreasonable plan," said Commander David K.
Rehbein of The American Legion. "He says he is looking to generate
$540-million by this method, but refused to hear arguments about the moral
and government-avowed obligations that would be compromised by it."


The Commander, clearly angered as he emerged from the session said, "This
reimbursement plan would be inconsistent with the mandate ' to care for
him who shall have borne the battle' given that the United States
government sent members of the armed forces into harm's way, and not
private insurance companies. I say again that The American Legion does not
and will not support any plan that seeks to bill a veteran for treatment
of a service connected disability at the very agency that was created to
treat the unique need of America's veterans!"


Commander Rehbein was among a group of senior officials from veterans
service organizations joining the President, White House Chief of Staff
Rahm Emmanuel, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Steven
Kosiak, the overseer of defense spending at the Office of Management and
Budget (OMB). The group's early afternoon conversation at The White House
was precipitated by a letter of protest presented to the President earlier
this month. The letter, co-signed by Commander Rehbein and the heads of
ten colleague organizations, read, in part, " There is simply no logical
explanation for billing a veteran's personal insurance for care that the
VA has a responsibility to provide. While we understand the fiscal
difficulties this country faces right now, placing the burden of those
fiscal problems on the men and women who have already sacrificed a great
deal for this country is unconscionable."


Commander Rehbein reiterated points made last week in testimony to both
House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees. It was stated then that The
American Legion believes that the reimbursement plan would be inconsistent
with the mandate that VA treat service-connected injuries and disabilities
given that the United States government sends members of the armed forces
into harm's way, and not private insurance companies. The proposed
requirement for these companies to reimburse the VA would not only be
unfair, says the Legion, but would have an adverse impact on
service-connected disabled veterans and their families. The Legion argues
that, depending on the severity of the medical conditions involved,
maximum insurance coverage limits could be reached through treatment of
the veteran's condition alone. That would leave the rest of the family
without health care benefits. The Legion also points out that many health
insurance companies require deductibles to be paid before any benefits are
covered. Additionally, the Legion is concerned that private insurance
premiums would be elevated to cover service-connected disabled veterans
and their families, especially if the veterans are self-employed or
employed in small businesses unable to negotiate more favorable
across-the-board insurance policy pricing. The American Legion also
believes that some employers, especially small businesses, would be
reluctant to hire veterans with service-connected disabilities due to the
negative impact their employment might have on obtaining and financing
company health care benefits.


"I got the distinct impression that the only hope of this plan not being
enacted," said Commander Rehbein, "is for an alternative plan to be
developed that would generate the desired $540-million in revenue. The
American Legion has long advocated for Medicare reimbursement to VA for
the treatment of veterans. This, we believe, would more easily meet the
President's financial goal. We will present that idea in an anticipated
conference call with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel in the near
future.


"I only hope the administration will really listen to us then. This matter
has far more serious ramifications than the President is imagining,"
concluded the Commander.


SOURCE The American Legion

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Monday, March 16, 2009

President Clinton's "Confused" Embryo Remarks Raise Credibility Questions

"RENEWING THE AMERICAN DREAM"

(I personally prefer to refer to Ex-President Bill as "Monica Leweinski's Ex-Lover")

Washington D.C., (CNA).- Former President Bill Clinton’s recent comments about embryo fertilization and stem cell research have been “confused” and call into question his credibility on the issue, two bioethicists say. The president has made interview remarks incorrectly implying that embryos are not fertilized.

Critics also wondered why Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the medical commentator and former Surgeon General nominee who interviewed Clinton, did not correct the former president in their discussion of human embryonic stem cell research.

Pro-life advocates around the country have been rallying against President Barack Obama’s March 9 decision to allow more government funding for controversial human embryonic stem cell research. The research destroys human embryos for their stem cells, which are believed to have the potential for major therapeutic cures.

Clinton has defended allowing government funding of embryonic stem cell research, calling it “a pro-life decision” to use fertility clinics’ frozen embryos for medical research. However, he has consistently remarked that human embryos are not fertilized.

In fact, mammalian fertilization takes place when sperm and egg fuse to form a new embryonic organism.

Speaking at a February Virginia Democratic fundraiser, the former president had declared, "We have won the great culture war that has divided America for 40 years. But before we celebrate too much, we have to realize that people hired us to lead."

A week after the Virginia fundraiser, Clinton appeared on Larry King Live to talk about President Obama’s plans to fund human embryonic stem cell research. On the program Clinton told Larry King:

“...if [embryos] are never going to be used to be fertilized, to bring a life into being, then I think making them available for medical research is the pro-life position and I honestly don't understand -- I would understand it if we were going and raiding stem cell banks, where these stem cells were going to be used to actually fertilize eggs and have babies.”

On March 9, Obama signed an executive order allowing government funding for research that could destroy up to 400,000 embryos “left over” from in-vitro fertilization procedures.

Clinton again appeared on Larry King Live on Wednesday to discuss his support for Obama’s embryonic stem cell research decision. Speaking with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Clinton incorrectly referred to embryos as “unfertilized” a total of six times.

Dr. Gupta opened the interview by asking “Is this going to be the abortion of the next generation? Or are people going to come around?”

Clinton responded:

“We’ll work it through. If—particularly if it’s done right. If it’s obvious that we’re not taking embryos that can under any conceivable scenario would be used for a process that would allow them to be fertilized and become little babies…then I think the American people will support this.”

Dr. Gupta did not comment on the president’s error.

Clinton further tried to justify his position, saying the research should proceed “because [these embryos] are not going to be fertilized.”

He then tried to characterize Obama’s decision as a pro-life policy, adding:

“I believe the American people believe it’s a pro-life decision to use an embryo that’s frozen and never going to be fertilized for embryonic stem cell research…”

Later in the interview, President Clinton advised President Obama and his scientific committees “to be really careful to make sure if they don't want a big storm to be stirred up here, that any of the embryos that are used clearly have been placed beyond the pale of being fertilized before their use.”

Clinton’s use of words could be explained if he meant to say “implanted” instead of “fertilized.” Many pro-life bloggers have raised concerns that Clinton’s confusion of the words “fertilized” and “implanted” is a tactical political move, which attempts to alter the meaning of embryo to confuse an already misguided public.

Concluding the interview, Clinton expressed appreciation that President Obama is sending a signal to the scientific community that this issue is going to be less politicized in the future.

Jennifer Miller, a bioethicist who specializes in beginning of life ethics and serves as Executive Director of Bioethics International, discussed Clinton’s comments with CNA.

Clarifying that there is no debate in the scientific community about what an embryo is, Miller explained an embryo as “an egg that has been fertilized with sperm.” The only way for an embryo to become unfertilized is “if you kill it,” she said.

Miller, whose organization educates on medical ethics issues, said she was confused by Clinton’s “misguided” comments and suggested that the former President may just be “confused.”

“When I work with the general public, I find that they do not understand the difference between embryonic and adult stem cells and that’s very problematic,” she explained.

Father Thomas Berg, L.C., Executive Director for the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, CNA columnist, and frequent contributor to The New York Times, National Review Online, and National Catholic Register also commented on Clinton’s comments, telling CNA:

“I’m not sure what to think. I think that it is appalling that Dr. Gupta did not correct him. That’s an egregious oversight to let that slip. It does raise very serious questions about the credibility of both of these individuals. It’s just nonsense; an embryo is a product of fertilization, whether naturally or through in vitro. At the very least it leaves me scratching my head.”

When questioned about Clinton’s word choice of “we’ll work it through,” Fr. Berg expressed concern, but not surprise.

“Maybe it was unfortunate word choice again,” he told CNA, said the phrase “work it through” means embryonic stem cell research advocates will work through “the American media and into the American mindset and rely on the media and on the liberal political pundits and massage it into the American mindset. I can definitely see that happening.”

Responding to Clinton’s characterization of human embryonic stem cell research as “pro-life,” Berg said:

“I want to assume this is a terrible gaffe on his part. The only way to describe that as pro-life is to believe that the discarded embryos are not persons, are not living human beings. If you’re intellectually honest, you have to admit that what you favor is the sacrificing of certain human organisms for the sake of other organisms. There’s nothing pro-life about that.”

Miller also disagreed with Clinton’s charge that this decision was a “pro-life” decision, and expressed concern that Clinton did not recognize that there have been “a lot of breakthroughs in improving the quality of life with adult stem cells and not one breakthrough, not one breakthrough with embryonic stem cell research.”

Berg described this ideological mindset as “part and parcel with the ideological push, whether it is coming from scientists or from President Clinton, to convince Americans that the idea of leftover embryos are somehow different, they don’t have moral value because they haven’t been implanted in the womb, and now this idea that they haven’t been fertilized.”

Unsure if Clinton’s comments were merely a “slip of tongue” or an attempt to water down the pro-life movement, Berg said “it’s part and parcel with this move to coax and cajole Americans into getting comfortable with the idea to sacrificing embryos, as their argument goes ‘are going to die anyway’.”

Berg further warned of a growing tolerance for using human beings as raw materials for scientific research, “This is certainly setting the stage for the ever more aggressive and scientifically daring use of human embryos and even early fetuses, primarily for growing organs and other useful tissues. There’s no doubt in my mind, even though it’s hush-hush, the scientific community will be ever more aggressive in using human embryos for research purposes.”

Arguments advocating unlimited scientific inquiry, Berg warned, “evoke memories of America and Germany in the late 1930s, the fascination with eugenics, and the idea that if you leave science to itself we can improve the human race. If we’re faithful to history, we’ll find that often takes us to a place where we would rather not go.”

Both Berg and Miller noted that Obama actually signed two executive orders: one allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and another ending mandated funding for alternatives to embryonic stem cell research.

Berg described the action as “an extremely bold move, which in his own jocular, nonchalant way, [Obama] continued to pursue a very aggressive contra-life agenda.

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