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Excerpts from select publications
BY Jim Cosgrove
Priests Extol Humanae Vitae to Parishioners
WASHINGTON TIMES, Aug. 2—Priests across the country surprised parishioners — and newspapers — by vigorously defending Humanae Vitae from the pulpit on the 30th anniversary of the document's promulgation by Pope Paul VI.
In a feature that usually excerpts Sunday's sermons the following morning, one Washington, D.C., daily had to seek out and belatedly print a homily Father William Saunders delivered to his Alexandria, Va., parish about the Catholic faith's opposition to contraception.
Said Father Saunders: “Thirty years later, the Church still upholds the same truths. Today, as we mark the anniversary of Humanae Vitae, I ask you to open your hearts and listen.…”
“The most beautiful expression of marital love is the conjugal, physical love of husband and wife.… Their love in union with God may overflow and they may also conceive a child, a unique precious individual.”
“Think of it! While God himself creates and infuses each person's soul, a couple in union with God may bring life in this world.… Because of this teaching, St. Paul denounced lust, fornication, and perversion as serious sins in the eyes of God. Because of this teaching, contraception is a serious sin in the eyes of God.”
“Humanae Vitae affirmed that marital love must always respect both its love-uniting and life-giving dimensions, and therefore, must be open to the possible transmission of human life. To deny either dimension violates the sanctity of the marital act as designed by God. Contraception purposefully suppresses and denies the love-uniting dimension.”
Church to Receive Gunman Who Shot Youth During Mass
MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, Aug. 4—Father Larry Dulek from St. Anthony's Parish in Milwaukee was not expecting to meet one of the killers who had shocked his parish when he visited a local prison July 23.
His church had been the scene of an ugly murder, when Israel Rodriguez, 15, was shot to death on the church steps March 22 during an evening Mass. Father Dulek had come outside to give last rites to the victim of a gang dispute. He was probably shot by Bobby Moore, 18, who was killed in April in apparent retaliation, and Frederick Huffman, who is in prison after pleading guilty to second degree reckless homicide and felony possession of a firearm.
Shaken by the crime, Father Dulek had taken to visiting prisoners as a result, said the report. On July 23, Huffman was playing cards in the jail when a fellow inmate pointed out the priest.
Says Huffman, “I walked over to him, and I asked for forgiveness for what happened. He looked shocked. He didn't believe me at first.”
The priest has begun teaching the Catholic faith to Huffman in jail at his request with the intention of baptizing him and receiving him into the Church, said the report.
Governors Have Pro-Life Powers
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, July 28—Pro-family voters worry about the president, Congress, and the Supreme Court — and well they should. But, as San Francisco's morning newspaper points out, they would do well to pay attention to their own state capitol as well. It listed the powers California's — and any state's — governor has to curtail abortion and slow the contraceptive culture.
• The governor has power to shape the state budget, and to prevent it being used to force tax-payers to pay for contraceptives, abortifacients, abortion-related services, anti-abstinence sex education, abortion clinic's business-seeking drives and actual abortions, it said.
• The governor often has decisive legislative influence in controversial fights over laws that strip parents of their consent rights in their teenage children's abortions and laws that allow doctors to end the lives of babies about to be born by using late-term abortion procedures.
• The governor directly oversees the California Department of Health, and its Office of Family Planning and Office of Women's Health, which promotes contraceptive, abortifacient, and abortion-related services to 600,000 women with taxpayer money.
• The governor makes thousands of appointments to state posts and commissions, many of which deal with many contraceptive, abortifacient, and abortion-related issues and services, and decides to what extent the state will promote such services to minors.
• The governor appoints judges, from state Supreme Court justices to court of appeals and trial judges, whose decisions have made contraception, abortion, and anti-abstinence programs prevalent despite the opposition of voters.
BY Jim Cosgrove
Catholics Booby-Trap Chapel to Save It
After “a series of spectacular multi-alarm fires” destroyed Eden Hall Academy in 1969, all that remains of the historic Catholic girls’ school is its chapel, according to the Dec. 2 Philadelphia Daily News.
The chapel has become popular with two groups, for very different reasons.
“For neighborhood vandals, it's like a huge, challenging jungle gym. They have shimmied up the walls, climbed the rain spouts, knocked down the doors, broken locks, and destroyed rare stained-glass windows,” according to the article. “Since the chapel can't be seen from the street, it is ideal for beer-drinking and pot-smoking.”
But local Catholics have come to the rescue, and convinced the city it is a treasure worth spending $850,000 to restore. A group called Friends of Fluehr Park has “trimmed rain spouts” and “greased a couple of walls to discourage intrepid climbers,” according to the article. Next, they hope to hire a security caretaker to watch it at night.
The chapel has a rich history.
“The school for girls from wealthy Catholic families was operated by the French Madames of the Sacred Heart, and the wealthy Drexel and Bouvier families were closely associated with Eden Hall.… The Drexels built a family crypt in the chapel, which is now empty, and Blessed Mother Katharine Drexel … frequently visited the school,” according to the article.
“The 28 stained glass windows were created by top 19th-century artists from England, France, and Germany.”
Catholic Opposes Politicized Union Dues
Business Week magazine, in its Dec. 8 issue, profiles Pat Rooney, chairman emeritus of Golden Rule Financial Corp, “the top seller of individual and small-group health policies,” and argues that the Catholic businessman and activist bucks stereotypes.
“House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) failed to pass federal legislation that would have made it more difficult for unions to contribute members’ money to political campaigns. But he hasn't given up, and he has an able assistant on the case: J. Patrick Rooney, an Indianapolis insurance magnate who has proven himself an effective salesman for hot-button issues such as school choice and medical savings accounts.”
The article continues, “Rooney, a devout Catholic who studied for the priesthood in his youth, seems to relish the fracas. ‘I'm a crusader,’ he says. The courtly patriarch of his family's privately held company, Rooney, 69, can afford to take political risks most CEOs duck.
“Although Rooney has solid conservative credentials, he does not fit any stereotype. A vegetarian and former member of the American Civil Liberties Union, he has worshipped for 17 years at Holy Angels, a black Catholic church in downtown Indianapolis. ‘White people accept integration when they're in charge. I wanted to go and worship with black people in their church,’ he says.”
According to the article Rooney is concerned about the misuse of labor union dues as an issue of justice. “This is a fairness issue,” he is quoted saying. “People who work hard for their money ought to be able to authorize it before it gets used for political purposes.”
BY Jim Cosgrove
Street-Side Dialogue in Hollywood
A group of North Hollywood Catholics didn't like the idea of a conference called “Ex-Catholics for Christ,” held at the local Grace Community Church—so they went to the Church to protest.
The protest became a heated debate, according to an L.A. Times article printed in the Sunday, Nov. 9 paper. [T]he rhetoric between the opposing Christian groups was anything but mild as Bible-carrying adherents squared off in curbside theological debates.
“You just totally messed up the Bible,” Harout Kouyoumdjian, 19,… [a] Protestant, told Michael Murphy, 26, a Catholic from Huntington Beach who was trying to explain Communion rites.
'‘Catholics do not believe in the Bible. Catholicism is not bringing people to truth,’ said Kouyoumdjian, a Grace Community Church member and conference participant.
“That's not true,” Murphy replied. “We just have a teaching authority.”
"The purpose of the ex-Catholics conference is to encourage Roman Catholics to renounce their Church and to lead them into the Protestant fold, according to attendees.…
“We're here to witness for our Church,” said protest organizer Jim Graves, 32, of Irvine. “They are inaccurately representing our creed. This is a mild protest of the inaccurate information they are offering about the Catholic Church.”
Washington Unites Northern Irish
The Sunday, Nov. 9 Washington Post told the story of a group of Protestant and Catholic men from Northern Ireland who have found unlikely common ground: a crime-ridden DC neighborhood.
“If Eugene Branagan and Ivan McCready crossed paths in Northern Ireland, they would eye each other warily, check [for] … tell-tale signs of [religion] and be ready to bolt at the first hint of trouble.
“Instead, there they were last week at a construction site in Anacostia, hoisting bags of cement together … teasing each other and roughhousing with half a dozen other Irish trainees—some Protestant, some Catholic who are in this country to help build homes for the poor.
“Before, I never would have [kidded] someone like Ivan for fear of offending him, but here we can slag each other about being Protestant or Catholic without expecting the other person to get mad,' said Branagan, 18, a Catholic potato farmer and a participant in Tearing Down Walls, a 10-week program sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and two other non-profit groups.”
The program is meant to help jobless Catholic and Protestant men from Northern Ireland to acquire skills—while becoming more accepting of one another. The program has one unintended effect: its participants long for the safety of Northern Ireland.
“Other than political crime, there is very little crime in Ireland,' Branagan said. ‘People keep asking us if its dangerous back there, but unless you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, I think you have a far greater chance of getting killed in Washington or New York.”