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NEWS BRIEFS Oct-17-2007

By Catholic News Service


Pro-life official critical of study urging legalization of abortion

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Across the globe abortion rates are similar whether the procedure is legal or not, said a new study, and its researchers stress that illegal abortions are a threat to "women's health and survival." Deirdre McQuade, director of planning and information in the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, was critical of the study's emphasis on the safety of legal abortion and said its "methodology was flawed." Published in the Oct. 13 issue of a British medical journal, The Lancet, the study was conducted by researchers at the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group based in New York, and the World Health Organization in Geneva. According to McQuade, the researchers defined "safe abortions as those that meet legal requirements in countries with permissive laws." She said in an Oct. 12 statement, "But by this unusual definition, legal abortions are safe even if they kill women as well as their unborn children."

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Pastor: Reaction to archbishop giving Communion to 'nuns' overblown

SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) -- Reaction to San Francisco Archbishop George H. Niederauer giving Communion to two men in mock nuns' garb during an Oct. 7 Mass has been overblown, said the pastor of the church where the Mass was celebrated. "It is most unfortunate this incident has clouded the fact the archbishop came to meet with his people and celebrate a beautiful and reverent Mass together -- and that is what really happened," said Father Stephen Meriwether, pastor of Most Holy Redeemer Parish. "This incident has been blown way out of proportion," he told Catholic San Francisco, the archdiocesan newspaper. Reaction has run the gamut from some who insist the "sisters" had set out to embarrass the church and the archbishop to others who felt the unannounced visitors who videotaped the Mass were more of an intrusion than the costumed men.

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Site offers hope to parents whose unborn child has medical problems

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (CNS) -- When she was pregnant, doctors told Monica Rafie and her husband, Darian, that their unborn child "had heart defects that were incompatible with life." The couple relied on their faith and opted to have the child. As an infant, Celine, now 6 years old, required surgeries for her cardiac abnormalities as well as intensive neonatal care. "We wanted to give Celine as much of a chance as we could," said Rafie. The parents remained at little Celine's bedside as the newborn recovered. And, their extended family provided support while they remained at the hospital. Rafie, a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Lombard, realized later that the love and compassion of her family gave her and her husband the strength necessary to continue to brave the ordeal. So she launched a Web site in 2002 -- www.benotafraid.net -- to show parents the same kindness during traumatic times in their own lives. The site, which she operates from her home, "offers hope from a Catholic perspective," Rafie told the Catholic Explorer, newspaper of the Joliet Diocese.

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Kentucky bishops write pastoral letter on 'work and justice'

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CNS) -- Kentucky's bishops said in a new pastoral letter that a worker's labor needs to be honored, and that the state should ensure that more people can escape poverty. "We honor employers who provide an opportunity for meaningful work and who provide safe, humane working conditions, just wages and benefits, including retirements benefits, health insurance and liability insurance," the bishops said in "Just Work: A Pastoral Letter About Work and Justice." The pastoral, dated September 2007, was released Sept. 20. "The pursuit of justice where 'each person receives what is his or her due' is a demand of the Gospel," the bishops said. Quoting Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est" ("God Is Love"), they added that the state has a fundamental obligation to pursue "a just social order" that ensures "each person his share of the community's goods." The pastoral was signed by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville and Bishops Roger J. Foys of Covington, John J. McRaith of Owensboro and Ronald W. Gainer of Lexington.

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Laity called to pray, fast in support of world's Catholic priests

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (CNS) -- Organizers of an Oct. 20 day of prayer and fasting at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro to show support for Catholic priests urged those unable to attend in person to sign up online to participate in their own hometowns. Information on the daylong observance was available on the shrine's Web site, www.lasalette-shrine.org, under the link for "Calendar of Events." Without priests, "without the gift of their persons, of their lives, we, the laity, would no longer have the gift of our Savior daily in (the) Eucharist and we would be deeply spiritually wounded," said Anna Rae-Kelly of ARK Ministries, who helped organize the "Lay Day of Fast to Support Our Priests." Participants were being asked to fast from food, television and radio, the Internet and/or simply from unnecessary talking from dawn until 3 p.m. Oct. 20. At the shrine, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the rosary and a closing Benediction were scheduled.

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Pope names 23 cardinals, including two from U.S.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI named 23 new cardinals, including U.S. Archbishop John P. Foley, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, and U.S. Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the first cardinal from a Texas diocese. The pope announced the names at the end of his weekly general audience Oct. 17 and said he would formally install the cardinals during a special consistory at the Vatican Nov. 24. Cardinal-designate Foley was in St. Peter's Square when the announcement was made; he told Catholic News Service he had gone into the square, wading into the midst of the crowd, after going to a doctor's appointment. While rumors were running strong that the pope would name cardinals at the end of the audience and his nomination was almost a given, Cardinal-designate Foley said he was shocked to be the second name announced by the pope. The order in which the cardinals are announced determines their seniority in the College of Cardinals, which has little practical effect except in liturgical processions.

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Pope calls for greater effort to reduce poverty

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The extreme poverty in which millions of the world's people live is an offense to their human dignity, Pope Benedict XVI said at his weekly general audience. The pope marked the U.N.'s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty Oct. 17, just moments before he announced the names of the 23 churchmen he would induct into the College of Cardinals Nov. 24. Focusing on the problem of poverty, the pope said, "The disparity between rich and poor is becoming more evident and disturbing, even within the most economically advanced nations." According to the United Nations, 980 million people live in "extreme poverty," struggling to survive on less than $1 per day. "This worrying situation calls on the conscience of humanity because the condition in which a great number of people live offends the dignity of the human person and consequently compromises the authentic and harmonious progress of the world community," Pope Benedict told the estimated 30,000 people at his general audience.

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Ignoring quotas, pope confirms his priorities with new cardinals

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With his latest batch of cardinal appointments, Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed some important directions and priorities of his pontificate. First, the pope's picks have once again boosted the European and U.S. presence among voting-age members of the College of Cardinals. The list of 23 new cardinals, announced Oct. 17, included 18 under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. Two are Americans, which will leave the United States with 13 under-80 cardinals, matching a historically high number. The pope's choice of Cardinal-designate Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was particularly significant because it went outside the group of U.S. dioceses traditionally headed by cardinals, instead looking to the South, where the Catholic Church has grown most rapidly in recent years. Cardinal-designate DiNardo, 58, will be the first head of a Texas archdiocese to wear the red hat, and he comes with a bonus feature that could enhance his influence -- several years of experience as an official of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops.

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Pope acknowledges Iraq's beleaguered Catholic by naming cardinal

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Iraq's beleaguered Catholic minority received major recognition when Pope Benedict XVI named the head of the Chaldean patriarchate a cardinal. Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad was designated to receive a red hat when the pope named 23 new cardinals Oct. 17; they were to be elevated at a consistory Nov. 24. The cardinal-designate has stood out as the voice of the ongoing suffering of all Iraqis, not just the Christian minority. At 80, Cardinal-designate Delly will not be eligible to vote in a conclave. He was elected patriarch by the synod of bishops of the Chaldean church in December 2003, just nine months after a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq. The violence soon escalated as fighting among Iraq's Shiite and Sunni Muslims and other factions erupted and worsened. As Christians became increasingly targeted, he repeatedly stressed that the Christian minority always has considered itself to be Iraqi and recalled how members of different faiths had once coexisted in peace.

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Amid the crowd in St. Peter's Square, new cardinal hears his name

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- U.S. Cardinal-designate John P. Foley, a Philadelphia native, was standing in the middle of St. Peter's Square among a sea of 30,000 pilgrims when Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal. Though he knew the previous day he was going to be one of 23 people to receive a red hat, the Oct. 17 announcement was going to fall on the same morning he had a follow-up visit with his eye doctor. "I didn't get back in time to be there at the beginning of the audience and I didn't have my glad rags on," meaning his formal clerical dress, so he said he just snuck inconspicuously into the middle of the crowd. He told Catholic News Service he never expected to be the second new cardinal listed after the senior Vatican prefect, Cardinal-designate Leonardo Sandri. When the pope "started the list there I was No. 2 on the list and that was a surprise," Cardinal-designate Foley said. He said a pilgrim standing next to him asked him if he knew any of the men the pope had just named to be cardinal. "I said 'Yes, I know quite a few of them.' And I said 'I am one of them,' Well, I don't think he believed me," he said laughing.

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After consistory, U.S. will have 17 of world's 202 cardinals

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- After the Nov. 24 consistory for the creation of new cardinals, 17 of the 202 members of the College of Cardinals will be from the United States. Pope Benedict XVI expanded the U.S. contingent in the college Oct. 17 when he announced he would give the red hat to Archbishop John P. Foley, pro-grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, and Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. Of the 17 U.S. cardinals, 13 will be under age 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope. The U.S. cardinals under age 80 will be: Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston; Edward M. Egan of New York; John P. Foley, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher; Francis E. George of Chicago; William H. Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore; Bernard F. Law, archpriest of Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major and retired archbishop of Boston; William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles; Adam J. Maida of Detroit; Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington; Sean P. O'Malley of Boston; Justin Rigali of Philadelphia; and J. Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary and former archbishop of Denver.

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Venezuelan cardinal, Chavez critic and retired Vatican official, dies

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Venezuelan Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara, a retired Vatican official and outspoken critic of his country's leftist president, died Oct. 16 at the age of 85. Cardinal Castillo Lara had been suffering from an unspecified illness and died after being hospitalized for several weeks in Caracas, Venezuela. Pope Benedict XVI praised the late cardinal for his many years of hard work and generous service. His long career working both in Venezuela and at the Vatican was a sign of his dedication to living the Gospel and his "deep love for the church," the pope said in a telegram sent to Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas. Cardinal Castillo Lara served for many years at the Vatican, most notably as president of the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of Canon Law, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See and president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State. But after his retirement and return to Venezuela, he stood out among church leaders in Venezuela denouncing President Hugo Chavez's government for becoming increasingly authoritarian.

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Elevation of Cardinal-designate DiNardo no surprise to his friends

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- That the first cardinal named to a Texas diocese would be Galveston-Houston Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo, 58, is no surprise to his friends in Pittsburgh, where he grew up and served in various capacities for 14 years. "We've been predicting this, but we didn't think it would happen for maybe another five years," said Father Louis Vallone, pastor of St. John of God Parish in McKees Rocks, Pa., who has been friends with Cardinal-designate DiNardo since 1963, when they entered Bishop's Latin School in Pittsburgh. Cardinal-designate DiNardo, one of 23 cardinals named Oct. 17 by Pope Benedict XVI, will receive his red hat in a Nov. 24 consistory at the Vatican. He becomes the first head of a Texas diocese to be named a cardinal. A native of Steubenville, Ohio, born May 23, 1949, and raised just across the state line in Pittsburgh, Cardinal-designate DiNardo was ordained for the Pittsburgh Diocese in 1977.


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