Bishop Aquila led the prayers of the rosary at North Dakota’s only abortion facility

Fargo, North Dakota, Sep 30, 2007 / 09:34 am (CNA).- Facing the busy street in front of the state of North Dakota’s only abortion facility this morning, Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, led the prayers of the rosary. The dozen or so men and women who joined him drew close to hear his words above the sounds of the traffic and occasional nearby trains. The bishop had scheduled an hour of prayer at the abortion facility as part of the 40 Days for Life North Dakota campaign which began Wednesday, Sept. 26. The campaign includes prayer and fasting, community outreach and a 40-day, 24-hours-a-day prayer vigil in front of the Red River Women’s Clinic. 40 Days for Life is a nationwide, ecumenical effort to increase awareness about abortion, save the lives of unborn children and bring healing to those who have had abortions, those who have encouraged abortions, and those who perform and assist with abortions. The campaign is being undertaken simultaneously Sept. 26 through Nov. 4 in 89 cities in 33 states. In an Aug. 28 letter to priests of the Diocese of Fargo, Bishop Aquila asked the priests to schedule an hour of prayer in front of the abortion facility sometime during the 40 days and to encourage their parishioners to do the same. Forty days of round-the-clock prayer equals 960 hour-long prayer slots to fill. Today, on only the third day of the campaign, less than 250 of those hours remain open. One or more people are already scheduled to pray during the other 710 hours. People of many faith backgrounds are responding to the call to prayer. And dozens who have not officially signed up to pray are dropping by to join in prayer. One woman who prayed on Sept. 27 wrote of her experience of a man who stopped by. “He told me how he had been involved in an abortion decision many years ago, and how he had never prayed outside a clinic before. He stayed for over an hour.” Abortions typically take place one day a week at the Fargo facility, with the number of children killed through abortion at the facility in 2006 totaling more than 1,200. At least 25 women entered the facility on Sept. 26. The following day, one of those women told a 40 Days participant that she had entered, but then changed her mind. The campaign web site notes, “She entered, but, while inside, decided to allow her baby to continue to live. The young mother left the abortion facility with her baby still cradled within her womb.”

Catholics, others protest approval of same-sex marriage in San Diego

On Tuesday, Sept. 25, nearly 70 people attended a noon Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary parish in San Diego, followed by a rosary procession in reparation for the city council’s and mayor’s endorsement of same-sex marriage the previous week. Behind a large missionary image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and a large banner that read, “We are praying to protect marriage,” people of all ages, including several families who brought very young children, joined in the procession from the church to the city administration complex on C Street downtown. There they prayed all of the mysteries of the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and sang hymns for approximately an hour. “It was a very moving and powerful prayer experience for us all -- giving public witness of our faith while praying for reparation and conversion,” said Sue Lopez, who organized the event. “One beautiful thing about giving public witness is that those who see us may be inspired to do the same some day. After witnessing so many miracles at abortion mills through public rosaries, I am convinced that this is a most powerful weapon in healing our culture. Some problems are too far gone for human solutions and Mary will solve them through the praying of the Rosary. We plan to do this on at least a monthly basis in the hopes that she will intercede bringing a heavenly solution to this one.” Chris Morales of the Goretti Group (, a group “established to foster pure and healthy lifestyles through education and support networks,” remarked, “We pray that the initiative to raise same-sex unions to the social equivalent of marriage fails in the judiciary in the state of California. Same-sex unions do not promote the common good. We gave public witness today in downtown San Diego to the sanctity of marriage and prayed in an area that is dedicated to culture, industry and good government. We have to ask the question 'What kind of culture are we creating?' Is it a culture of life? Is industry served when our tax dollars will go to supporting same-sex unions? Is it good government when the will of the majority and reason is ignored? Pray that the challenge to marriage, defined as between one man and one woman, along with its right, duties, and benefits are kept safe in the state of California. We ask our Lord Jesus to protect the institution he created so that we can all continue to contemplate the image and reality of the Bridegroom and his Bride the Church mirrored in human love.” “Betrayal of trust” While the rosary group was praying at the city administration complex, San Diego city attorney Michael Aguirre walked by. On Sept. 4, Aguirre, a self-described Catholic, had spoken before the city council to declare his support for the same-sex marriage resolution. Allyson Smith, one of the rosary procession participants, approached Aguirre and asked him how he could support same-sex marriage. “I wasn’t nice about it,” said Smith. “I told him flat-out that he has brought a great evil upon the city of San Diego by supporting this resolution. He got right back in my face and told me that I wasn’t acting like Jesus and that I should not speak to an elected official that way. I then asked him how as a Catholic he could justify supporting the amicus brief. He told me not to question his Catholicism. He said he had to go to an office to drop off some papers and would come back to speak to our group, but by the time we finished praying about 20 minutes later, he still hadn’t re-appeared.” The same day as the rosary procession downtown, approximately 25 elected officials and community leaders from the eastern part of San Diego County gathered in front of the El Cajon courthouse to express their disagreement with San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders’ decision to sign a resolution supporting same-sex marriage. Sanders, who had said earlier that he would veto the resolution, changed his mind last week in a tearful speech in which he revealed that his own daughter suffers from same-sex attraction, using his family situation as an excuse to renege on his promise. Led by Sylvia Sullivan, president of the East County chapter of the California Republican Assembly, the press conference included California state assembly member Joel Anderson; Santee city council member Brian Jones; Alpine school board member Mark Price; Grossmont Union High School board member Jim Kelly; El Cajon city councilmember Bob McClellan; and La Mesa-Spring Valley school board member Bill Baber. Representing pro-traditional family concerns were James Lee Lambert of the American Family Association; attorney Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation; Theresa Ellis, San Diego facilitator for Parents and Friends of Ex-gays and Gays (PFOX); Allyson Smith of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality (AFTAH); D.R. Clark, county chairman of the American Independent Party; and Margaret Hunter representing the Duncan D. Hunter for Congress campaign. Other elected officials who could not attend but gave their support for traditional marriage and Proposition 22 were California state senator Dennis Hollingsworth; El Cajon mayor Mark Lewis and city council member Gary Kendrick; Grossmont Union High School board member Larry Urdahl; and La Mesa-Spring Valley school board member Rick Winet. Sullivan opened the press conference saying, “We have all felt the betrayal of trust by the San Diego city council and mayor in their support of same-sex marriage, completely disregarding the vote of the people as expressed overwhelmingly in the vote of Prop. 22, which defined marriage only as one man and one woman. We are here to make it loud and clear that they do not speak for us. We will not allow them to invalidate the meaning of marriage, our votes, or our foundational family principles. The powerful, radical gay and lesbian special interest groups are very good in framing the issues by twisting the language. It is not about civil rights. It is about the welfare of society, families and especially our children. One does not have the civil right to every whim or passing fancy, any more than a super model does not have the civil right to demand to be an NFL linebacker.” Jones, who is also a District 52 congressional candidate, announced he is forming a new political action committee, Californians for Judicial Integrity, to serve as a watchdog for Proposition 22 and track activist judges and legislators. “If we get folks in the legislature and the judiciary who are going to overturn [Proposition 22], we will put together an action committee to overturn those people and remove them from office, whether they be judges that are up for confirmation or elected officials that are re-running for re-election,” he told reporters.

Vatican greets Muslims, asks cooperation for peace

Vatican, Sep. 28, 2007 ( - As the Islamic observance of Ramadan comes to an end, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue has sent a message to the world's Muslims stressing the duty of all believers to bear witness to the Almighty. In his message, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran says that all believers, regardless of their faith, should share in "work in favor of peace, by showing respect for the convictions of individuals and communities everywhere through freedom of religious practice. " Enlarging on that theme, he calls for "doing everything one can to reject, denounce and refuse every recourse to violence which can never be motivated by religion, since it wounds the very image of God in man." Cardinal Tauran's message makes a special point of condemning terrorism, "which strikes blindly and claims countless innocent victims, is incapable of resolving conflicts and leads only to a deadly chain of destructive hatred, to the detriment of mankind and of societies." The French cardinal argues that dialogue between Christians and Muslims is "the tool which can help us to escape from the endless spiral of conflict and multiple tensions which mark our societies." Cardinal Tauran, who had served for years under Pope John Paul II (bio - news) as the Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States-- the rought equivalent of a Vatican foreign minister-- was appointed in June to head the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue. His appointment appeared to reverse an earlier papal decision, announced in March 2006, to combine that Council with the Pontifical Council for Culture, with a single prelate heading both offices. Informed sources said that tensions with Muslims-- especially in the aftermath of a lecture by Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) in Regensburg-- convinced Vatican officials that the office responsible for inter-religious talks should not be downgraded.

Episcopal bishops vow not to bless same-sex unions; interfaith questions remain

WASHINGTON (CNS) - In a decision with implications for Catholic-Anglican relations, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church vowed not to authorize any public blessings of same-sex unions or to elect another openly gay bishop while consultations continue throughout the Anglican Communion on "the pastoral needs of gay and lesbian persons" and other matters. Advertisement The pledge came in a document called "response to questions and concerns raised by our Anglican Communion partners," approved Sept. 25 at the close of the six-day House of Bishops' meeting in New Orleans. Father James Massa, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, welcomed the Episcopal statement from both "a Catholic moral and an ecumenical standpoint" but said it remained unclear "how effective this new instruction will be." "What happens when a local bishop authorizes the blessing of same-sex unions in his or her own diocese?" he asked. "Would the national episcopal body impose sanctions on the local bishop?" In their statement, the Episcopal bishops used strong language to condemn outside interference in their dioceses and expressed support for a plan by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to send episcopal visitors to U.S. parishes and dioceses when consultations are needed. "We call for an immediate end to diocesan incursions by uninvited bishops," the document said. "Such incursions imperil common prayer and long-established ecclesial principles of our communion," including "respect for local jurisdiction and recognition of the geographical boundaries of dioceses and provinces." Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, England, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, attended the first two days of the Sept. 20-25 meeting. He said at a news conference in New Orleans that the Sept. 30 deadline set by the primates of the Anglican Communion for the U.S. church to renounce unequivocally the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of bishops involved in homosexual relationships was not an ultimatum but a call for compromise. If the Anglican Communion resolves its differences enough to avoid schism, Archbishop Williams said Sept. 21, "it will have done something for the entire Christian community." Father Massa said the debate in the Episcopal Church also is affected by questions of governance and authority within the Anglican Communion. Noting that the role of the archbishop of Canterbury is "largely one of persuasion and symbolism," he said the "ultimate recourse" if the Episcopal Church were to defy decisions made by the communion as a whole would be the severing of ties between the U.S. church and the Anglican Communion. "This would mean a suspension of eucharistic sharing and of recognizing one another's ministries," he said. "The emergence of two distinct Anglican networks (would create) an ecumenical problem for the Catholic Church, as for other ecumenical partners: With whom do we have dialogue?" Father Massa also described the Anglican Communion as "a church that does not have nor want to have a magisterium, that is, a pastoral leadership structure that can definitively settle a doctrinal debate." "Without any final arbiter in these struggles, including Scripture or a magisterium, the unraveling of the bonds of communion seems almost inevitable," he added. "And that is tragic from the standpoint of Catholic ecumenical partners who love and care about our Anglican sisters and brothers." Tensions have been high in the Anglican Communion - and Catholic-Anglican relations have been strained - since Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who is in a monogamous homosexual relationship, was consecrated the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Archbishop Williams has announced that Bishop Robinson will not be invited to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference next July. The gathering, held every 10 years, brings together bishops from throughout the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion for worship, study and discussion.

6 Nuns Excommunicated in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas, SEPT. 27, 2007 ( Six women religious were excommunicated in Arkansas for their involvement in the schismatic association Army of Mary, based in Quebec. The diocesan newspaper The Arkansas Catholic said that it is believed to be the first time anyone in the Diocese of Little Rock has been formally excommunicated. "It is a painfully historic moment in this Church," Monsignor Gaston Hebert, the diocesan administrator, said Wednesday at a press conference in Little Rock. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith issued a declaration of excommunication Sept. 12 for those associated with the Community of the Lady of All Nations. The association's founder, Marie-Paul Giguere, says she believes that she is the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary. The Vatican's doctrinal congregation said in the statement that the group's "particular teachings are false and its activities are not able to be frequented nor supported by Catholics." Of the 10 religious sisters of the Monastery of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge in Hot Springs, eight are members of the Army of Mary. After receiving the Vatican's declaration regarding the Army of Mary, Monsignor Hebert invited the women religious to reconsider their membership in the organization. He returned to the monastery Wednesday and accepted the decision of six of them to leave full communion with the Church. The monsignor said two of the eight members are living in a nursing home and could not "knowingly and deliberately" choose to remain with the Army of Mary. The remaining two sisters, who had never been associated with the schismatic group, will be moving to another convent, the diocesan administrator said. He added that the women religious, who own their convent, will remain on the premises, although it will no longer be recognized by the diocese, nor should it receive the financial support of the laity. Church officials removed the Eucharist from the monastery Tuesday night. "They will no longer have any sacraments," Monsignor Hebert said. Although those excommunicated cannot receive Communion, they are encouraged to attend Mass, he said. The order of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge began in France in 1641. Its convent in Hot Springs was founded in 1908 by five French-Canadian sisters.

pope appearances in st. peter basilica last aug. 28, 2006

Cardinal Arinze Webcasting the Faith

BLOOMINGDALE, Ohio, SEPT. 26, 2007 ( One cardinal is using every avenue of technology available to tell all the world just what the Catholic Church is really about. Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, has his own webcast available on the Internet. The Cardinal Arinze Webcast aims to clarify Church teaching. It is produced by the Ohio-based Apostolate for Family Consecration, founded by Jerome Coniker and his wife, Gwen. Gwen's cause for beatification is now being considered. The site explains: "Just when you'd think the confusion surrounding religion, God or truth is at its highest, we are helped by technology to plug directly into the Vatican where, in a webcast, Cardinal Arinze will tell you just what the Catholic Church really is about and what her true message is on living a joyful and fulfilling life." Using both podcasting, which is audible, and webcasting, which includes video footage, the 74-year-old cardinal discusses such topics as theology of the body, Benedict XVI's encyclical "Deus Caritas Est," the Second Vatican Council, family, and the liturgy. Lectures and homilies given by the Nigerian cardinal over the last several years are also available.

No More Fatima Secrets, Says Cardinal

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 24, 2007 ( There is no fourth secret of Fatima and the third secret in its entirety has already been revealed, says Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. This was confirmed Friday at the official presentation of Cardinal Bertone's book, "L'Ultima Veggente di Fatima," (The Last Fatima Visionary). The Pope's secretary of state wrote the book, released in Italian last May, with the collaboration of journalist Guiseppe De Carli. Benedict XVI wrote the volume's introduction, saying, "Through the experience of this humble nun one can see the role of the Virgin Mary who accompanies the Christian with a maternal hand." During the presentation, Archbishop Loris Capovilla, Pope John XXIII's private secretary, said that there is no fourth secret. He is the only living witness who was present when John XXIII opened and read the third secret in 1959 at Castel Gandolfo. The 91-year-old prelate said: "It never even entered my mind that there could be a fourth secret. No one ever said such a thing to me nor did I ever claim any such thing." History The third secret is the part of the Virgin Mary's message given on July 13, 1917, to Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The first and second parts of the messages given to Lucia by the Blessed Virgin were written down in 1941. In 1944, the third part was written down. In 1957, it was given to the Holy See for the Pope to read at his discretion. In 2000, Pope John Paul II, who read the third secret for the first time after his assassination attempt in 1981, decided to publish its contents to end growing speculation. Cardinal Bertone, now secretary of state, was John Paul II's envoy to Sister Lucia, and at that Pope's request, he collected the definitive testimony of the Carmelite nun. Published Cardinal Bertone and Sister Lucia met three times from 2000 to 2003. The nun died two years later, Feb. 13, 2005, at age 97. Their conversations -- the subject of the book -- deal with the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, the prophecies of war and the future of Russia, the enigma of the third secret, and theories about an alleged fourth secret about the end of the world and supposed guilt in the Vatican. In the book, the chronological reconstruction of the events is accompanied by a rigorous examination of the documents, including the handwritten pages of Sister Lucia, the integral text of the three parts of the message, and the theological interpretation of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Monsignor Ambrogio Spreafico, who accompanied Cardinal Bertone to Fatima for one of his meetings with Sister Lucia, spoke at the presentation of the book. "On April 27, 2000," he said, "I personally accompanied him to the Carmelite convent in Coimbra and he gave Sister Lucia the four handwritten pages regarding the third secret. She attentively verified them, recognizing the pages written in her own hand 56 years earlier, and she recognized the paper as well." Mariology During the presentation of his book, Cardinal Bertone reflected on the role of Mariology and the caution used by the Church in analyzing reportedly supernatural occurrences. "The criterion for discernment of the truth of private revelation is its orientation to Christ and the Gospel,” he explained. He added that once this has been established, one can then look to other important elements such as popular piety and religious practice. Cardinal Bertone noted that sometimes there is a notable "spreading of supposedly supernatural messages," often with apocalyptic undertones. "We need to avoid the danger of a 'Church of apparitions,' distrustful of the Church’s hierarchy," he said. Speaking about the message of Fatima, the Pope's secretary of state said: "The profitable meeting of charisma and institution, of the Trinitarian mystery and the Christological mystery, is realized in the message. Mary, sign of God’s mercy, does not leave Christians alone. "She gives us indications like a road sign to fight the battle between good and evil. Mary is the icon of God’s tenderness for us. "It is something that taps into and impregnates contemporary history like no other Marian apparition, and the density of its message touches the hearts of mankind, inviting to conversion and the shared responsibility for the salvation of the world." "The Last Fatima Visionary" is being translated into six languages and will soon be released in Spanish, Portuguese and English.

Oklahoma priest may be canonized

Oklahoma City, Sep 24, 2007 / 10:51 am (CNA).- The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City will officially begin next month to gather information toward the cause for canonization of a local priest. If the archdiocese succeeds in its efforts, Fr. Stanley Rother would become the first Oklahoman to be canonized. Guerrillas fatally shot the 46-year-old priest in July 1981, while he was serving as pastor of the Santiago Atitlan parish in Guatemala. Bishop Eusebius Beltran said the process for Fr. Rother would formally begin Oct. 5 with the commissioning of a canonization committee, according to the Associated Press. The committee members will interview people who knew the priest and record possible miracles attributed to Fr. Rother’s intercession. According to the paper for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the Sooner Catholic, Fr. Rother began serving in Guatemala in 1968. Among his many accomplishments was the translation of the New Testament in the local Tzutuhil language. Seven months before his death, Fr. Rother was accosted on the street in Guatemala City. He was told he was on the death list and should leave the country immediately. He did leave but returned shortly after because he believed he had to serve his people. Prior to his assassination, more than 20 of the parishioners of Santiago Atitlan had been abducted and murdered or were missing. Furthermore, the Guatemalan bishops in a statement had recently denounced “a carefully studied plan to intimidate the Church and silence its prophetic voice.” The statement was read in 330 Guatemalan parishes. The bishops stated that the government had done nothing to investigate or prosecute the murders of nine priests and hundreds of catechists.

first appearance of pope benedict the 16th

Death on Demand

by Wesley J. Smith Really Enjoyable, Useful Commentary. Sign up for Catholic Culture Insights today! Should laws against assisted suicide be rescinded as "paternalistic?" Should assisted suicide be transformed from what is now a crime (in most places) into a sacred "right to die"? Should assisted suicide be redefined from a form of homicide into a legitimate "medical treatment" readily available to all persistently suffering people, including to the mentally ill? According to Brown University professor Jacob M. Appel, the answer to all three of these questions is an unequivocal yes. Writing in the May-June 2007 Hastings Center Report ("A Suicide Right for the Mentally Ill?"), Appel argues in that assisted suicide should not only be available to the terminally ill, but also to people with "purely psychological disease" such as victims "of repeated bouts of severe depression," if the suicidal person "rationally might prefer dignified death over future suffering." Given the emphasis assisted suicide advocates and the media normally give to the role of terminal illness in the assisted suicide debate, it might be tempting to dismiss Appel as a fringe rider. But he most definitely is not. Over the last several years, advocacy for what is sometimes called "rational suicide" has been growing increasingly mainstream, discussed among the bioethical and academic elite in mental health publications, academic symposia, and books. Indeed, it is worth noting that Appel's essay appeared in the world's most prestigious bioethics journal. As disturbing as Appel's proposal is—it is essentially a call for death-on-demand—it is refreshing that Appel has written so candidly. After years of focus group-tested blather from the political wing of the euthanasia movement claiming that legalizing assisted suicide would be strictly limited to the terminally ill, we finally have a clearer picture of where the right-to-die crowd wishes to take America. Moreover, unlike a restricted right to assisted suicide, Appel's call for near death-on-demand is logically consistent. There are two weight-bearing intellectual pillars that support euthanasia and assisted suicide advocacy: (1) a commitment to a radical individualism that includes the right to choose "the time, manner, and method of death" (often called "the ultimate civil right" by assisted suicide aficionados); and (2) the fundamental assumption that killing is an acceptable answer to the problems of human suffering. Appel describes these conjoined beliefs succinctly as the "twin goals of maximizing individual autonomy and minimizing human suffering" by avoiding "unwanted distress, both physical and psychological" through creation of a legal right "to control . . . when to end their own lives." Hoping to whistle past the graveyard, some might dismiss all of this as mere theoretical posturing. Were it so. Assisted suicides for the mentally ill are already taking place in euthanasia-friendly locales. Indeed, nearly every jurisdiction that has legalized assisted suicide for the seriously ill—as well as those that have refused to meaningfully enforce anti-assisted suicide laws—has either formally expanded the legal right to die to those suffering existentially, or shrugged in the face of illegal assisted suicides of the depressed. To wit: Switzerland: In February, the Swiss Supreme Court ruled that the mentally ill have a constitutional right to assisted suicide, because, as reported in the International Herald Tribune, "It must be recognized that an incurable, permanent, serious mental disorder can cause similar suffering as a physical (disorder), making life appear unbearable to the patient in the long term." The Netherlands: The Dutch Supreme Court issued a similar ruling back in 1993 when it approved a psychiatrist assisting the suicide of his chronically depressed patient who wanted to die due to unremitting grief caused by the deaths of her adult children—even though the doctor never attempted to treat the woman. The basis for the ruling followed the above described logic of euthanasia: Suffering is suffering and it doesn't matter whether the cause is physical or emotional, meaning that Dutch mercy killing need not be limited to the sick and disabled. The United States: We saw a similar phenomenon in America's reaction to the decade-long assisted suicide campaign of Jack Kevorkian. Not only were the majority of Kevorkian's "patients" not terminally ill (most were disabled)—but several were not even sick. For example, Marjorie Wantz, Kevorkian's second assisted suicide who died on October 23, 1991, complained about severe pelvic pain. Her autopsy revealed that nothing was wrong physically. It turned out that she had been hospitalized previously for mental problems. In 1996 Rebecca Badger went to Kevorkian complaining of having multiple sclerosis. Her autopsy proved that she was disease free. It was later reported that she had been depressed and addicted to pain pills. Despite these and other such cases of his assisting the depressed to kill themselves, Kevorkian remained publicly popular until he was finally jailed in 1999 after he videotaped himself murdering Lou Gehrig's patient Thomas Youk by lethal injection. Oregon : Advocates for legalizing assisted suicide frequently tout Oregon's law as proving that assisted suicide can be restricted to the terminally ill. In actuality, little is known about what is happening in the state because it gets information about these practices almost exclusively through self-reporting by participating doctors. Even so, the curtain was pulled back briefly when a peer-reviewed article in the June 2005 American Journal of Psychiatry appeared describing a potential assisted suicide of a psychotic man that was disturbingly similar to what is happening in the Netherlands and Switzerland. After cancer patient Michael J. Freeland received a lethal prescription, he had to be hospitalized for mental illness. Despite being delusional, his psychiatrist permitted him to keep the fatal overdose, in the doctor's words, "safely at home"—even though this same doctor advised a court that Freeland would "remain vulnerable to periods of delirium" and would "be susceptible to periods of confusion and impaired judgment." (Freeland died naturally nearly two years after receiving his lethal prescription—meaning he was also not terminally ill as defined by Oregon's law when he was prescribed the lethal overdose in the first place.) Needless to say, nothing was done to remedy this apparent breach of law. The natural trajectory of assisted suicide advocacy leads to such ever-widening expansions of killable categories: from the terminally ill, to the disabled and chronically ill, to the "tired of life" elderly, and eventually to the mentally ill. Appel understands this and approves. He writes: Contemporary psychiatry aims to prevent suicide, yet the principles favoring legal assisted suicide lead logically to the extension of these rights to some mentally ill patients. But now that several Western nations and one U.S. state have liberalized their laws, it seems reasonable to question the policies that universally deny such basic opportunities to the mentally ill. With the truth now clearly in view, the time has come to have real debate about the so-called right to die. This debate should not pretend that the practice will be limited and rare and it should fully address the societal implications of transforming assisted suicide into a mere medical treatment. So, let's argue openly and frankly about the wisdom of permitting near death-on-demand as a method of ending serious and persistent suffering. Let's discuss whether "choice" and "individual autonomy" requires that we permit licensed and regulated euthanasia clinics to serve anyone who has made an irrevocable decision to die. Indeed, let's argue whether or not society owes a duty of prevention to the self-destructive who are not acting on mere impulse. But finally, let's stop pretending that assisted suicide legalization would be just a tiny alteration in public policy restricted only to the terminally ill. That clearly isn't true.

Holy Father urges conversion in our use of material goods

Vatican City, Sep 23, 2007 / 01:29 pm (CNA).- From Castelgandolfo today, the Holy Father encouraged Christians to look out for the needy and homeless, to use worldly goods wisely, and to guard against an improper use of money that leads to a “blind selfishness”.

“Dear brothers and sisters!” the Holy Father began, “this morning I visited the diocese of Velletri…during the Eucharistic Celebration I had the chance to reflect on the correct use of worldly goods, which Luke the Evanglist has proposed for us.”

“It is Christ who teaches us the right use of money and worldly riches”, the Pope affirmed, “and that is to share them with the poor, thus obtaining their friendship, in sight of the Kingdom of heaven.”
Benedict was careful to point out that money is not dishonest in itself, “but more than anything else it is capable of closing man in a blind selfishness.”

Thus, the Holy Father noted that we need a kind of conversion with respect to money: “We must effect a type of ‘conversion’ of economic goods: instead of using them solely for our own interest, we must think also of the needs of the poor, imitating Christ himself.”

Christ’s gift of himself to man is a paradox: “as St. Paul writes—‘rich though he was, he became poor to enrich us with his poverty’(2 Cor 8:9).  It seems a paradox: Christ has not enriched us with his richness, but with his poverty, that is with his love that has impelled him to give himself completely to us.”

Benedict affirmed that in the world we find two economic mentalities: “the logic of profit and that of the just distribution of goods, which are not in contradiction with one another, as long as there relationship is ordered correctly.”

This correct relationship consists in giving priority to the equitable distribution of goods: “The Catholic social doctrine has always sustained that the equitable distribution of goods has priority.  Profit is naturally legitimate, and, in the right measure, necessary for economic development.”

Benedict cited his predecessor John Paul II’s Encyclical Centesimus annus: “the emergency of famine and the ecological emergency denounce, with growing evidence, that the logic of profit, if it prevails, increases the disproportion between rich and poor in a a ruinous misuse of the planet.  When, instead, the logic of sharing and of solidarity prevails, it is possible to correct our course and orient it towards an equitable and sustainable development.”

Lastly the Holy Father invoked the help of Most Holy Mary, “who in the Magnificat proclaims: the Lord “has filled the hungry with good things  and has sent the rich away empty-handed”(Lk 1:53).

“May she help Christians to use with evangelic wisdom, that is with generous solidarity, their worldly goods, and inspire leaders and economists with far-seeing strategies that favor the authentic progress of all peoples.”

Hundreds witness miracle of St. Januarius in Naples

Naples, Sep 20, 2007 / 10:39 am (CNA).- As has occurred every year for the last 400 years, the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius took place in the city of Naples on the martyr’s feast day of September 19. 

Upon witnessing the miracle, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Archbishop of Naples, called it “a prodigious sign that manifests the closeness and fondness of the Lord for our beloved and suffering land which, blessed by God, strives to move forward amidst many difficulties in order to show her pure and transparent faith in Jesus Christ.”

Cardinal Sepe, who presided at the ceremony in the Cathedral of Naples, also mentioned the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI on October 21.  “This will be a providential occasion to give new encouragement to a land John Paul II put at the center of his unforgettable pilgrimage.”

“From one Pope to the next, Naples is called to take the lead role again in a future of justice, peace and freedom.  There is no hurt that is incurable: Naples is ready to take its history and its future by the hand.  The only thing that is incurable in this city is its capacity to love,” the cardinal stated.

First ‘Rosary Bowl’ in New Orleans attracts 400

NEW ORLEANS, La. (The Clarion Herald) - A committed crowd of approximately 400 turned out in the heat to pray for four hours Sept. 8 at the first Greater New Orleans Rosary Bowl held in Audubon Park.

FLOWERS OF THE RAREST - The Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, above, opens the way for children bringing flowers to the dais at the first Greater New Orleans Rosary Bowl. (Clarion Herald/Frank Methe)
FLOWERS OF THE RAREST - The Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, above, opens the way for children bringing flowers to the dais at the first Greater New Orleans Rosary Bowl. (Clarion Herald/Frank Methe)

“We are a city living in darkness; that’s why we are praying here for the conversion (of the city),” Josephite Father Joseph Doyle said. “It’s for all of us to see the light of Christ and pray for our conversion.”

The event began with a procession of organizations carrying symbols of the saints who, throughout New Orleans’ history, have protected the city from fire, war and disease. Represented were Joan of Arc, the city’s patron Our Lady of Prompt Succor, St. Louis King of France, Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos and St. Katharine Drexel.

Priests and seminarians participated in each of the mysteries of the rosary. Father Joseph Cazenavette moved the event along as spiritual director, and Kitty Cleveland provided musical interludes.

Highlighting the morning was an animated talk by guest speaker Father James Kelleher, director of mission development for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and leader of the Russian Mission Team. He implored children and adults alike to be prayer warriors who build a spiritual army.

“You came for more than a suntan,” Kelleher told attendees. “You came because you believe. The city of New Orleans will not be same after today. You believe that a son of a carpenter can rebuild New Orleans. He’s going to do it, he is doing it, and you’re doing it.”

Kelleher revealed how he answered God’s call to further Christianity in Russia and establish eucharistic family crusades in 2003 in Rome at the beatification of Mother Teresa. He has since worked tirelessly to make a difference by promoting the rosary.

“The building block of the army is the American family,” Kelleher said. “The Virgin Mary is going to save America, and she’s going to do it with prayer of the daily rosary as a family.”

He sees praying the rosary as a solution to many of today’s problems.

“If you pray every day, prayer becomes deep in the spirit,” Kelleher said. “In the rosary, we contemplate the face of Jesus through the eyes of Mary.”

He lauded New Orleanian Nancy Albert for having the fortitude to launch the local rosary event because it fulfills Our Lady of Fatima’s request to pray the daily rosary for world peace. He encouraged families to pray the rosary together daily and challenged New Orleanians to organize a rosary bowl in the Superdome for 80,000 by 2009.

Unless the Lord rebuilds…

Kelleher left the groundwork to achieve this by assigning homework to seminarians and nuns who are “spiritual dynamos” to form rosary prayer partners. He mentioned how prayer teams solicit participation by going door-to-door encouraging prayer and distributing miraculous medals. He invited everyone to see a global rosary of 40,000 in action in Kansas City in May 2008.

“Unless the Lord rebuilds the house, it will not be rebuilt,” Kelleher said, referring to the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina. He encouraged praying for each other and to not wait for the government to do everything.

“Who can do it? You can,” he said. “Let the Lord rebuild the house. Let the Lord rebuild New Orleans and do it under the mantel of the Blessed Virgin.”

The New Orleans event, modeled after a successful rally in May 2007 that drew 40,000 to California, was the result of the determination of Albert and the St. Joan of Arc Prayer Warriors that meet monthly at St. Patrick Church in New Orleans. She planned it specifically on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, Sept. 8.

“I decided it needed to be done in New Orleans, for the rebuilding of New Orleans according to God’s moral and holy laws,” Albert said. “We had been praying (St. Joan of Arc Prayer Warriors) for New Orleans for the past 15 or 16 years. We no longer wanted to be known as sin city, and we thought to bring the people together and let the people pray. Our Lady says the rosary is the way to salvation. It could be a way to save our city and save our soul. If they could have a rosary bowl in California, we could have a rosary bowl here. Public prayer is so important especially now (after Katrina). We want people to come out and pray.”

Kenner residents JoAnn Malter and Denise and Michael Kearney were among those who braved the heat to attend the rally. They were glad they did.

“It was beautiful,” Malter said, adding that she was glad to see this first effort so well attended. “I loved the priest (Father Kelleher’s) sermon mentioning the pope.”