National Catholic Register



BY John Lilly

July 1-7, 2007 Issue | Posted 6/26/07 at 9:00 AM

Iraq’s Martyrs

Benedict XVI has shown his deep concern for Iraqi Christians in his numerous pronouncements on their plight, noted a Vatican spokesman.

In an editorial on the most recent broadcast of the show “Octava Dies,” Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, commented on recent remarks of the Pope regarding Iraq.

The Pope said June 21: “The whole Church accompanies with affection and admiration all her sons and daughters and supports them in this hour of authentic martyrdom for the name of Christ.”

Father Lombardi said that “with these intense and firm words, Benedict XVI responded to the cry for help that continues to arise from the Christian communities in the Middle East devastated by war, particularly in Iraq, where the assassination and kidnapping of priests and their helpers have become in the last weeks a terrible manifestation of the situation of suffering that has gone on for some time now.”

He continued: “We should not be surprised that many Christians are trying to migrate to other countries. The historical presence of ancient Christian communities thus is in danger of disappearing.

“All Christians, not only Catholics, must unite themselves to the Pope’s appeals.

“The Pope has said: ‘I knock at the heart of those who have specific responsibilities, to ask that they adhere to the grave duty of guaranteeing peace for all, without distinction, to free them from the mortal sickness of religious, cultural, historical and geographic discrimination.’”

Father Lombardi added, “We cannot forget the martyrdom of these our brothers, defenseless in the face of violence.”             Zenit

Hillary and Mother

The national Catholic-based advocacy group Fidelis announced in June that they were successful in forcing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to remove a photo featuring Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta from a campaign video narrated by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

On May 14, Fidelis President Joseph Cella faxed a letter to Sister Nirmala, the superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, recommending that she look into this matter and requesting that the Clinton campaign cease and desist in its unauthorized use of Mother Teresa’s image.

Fidelis is a Catholic-based organization working with people of faith across the country to defend and promote the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and the right to religious liberty by electing pro-life, pro-family and pro-religious liberty candidates, supporting the confirmation of judges, and promoting and defending laws faithful to the Constitution of the United States.

Cella commented, “Fidelis is very happy that the public campaign we waged against Hillary Clinton’s wholly inappropriate use of Blessed Mother Teresa’s image in a campaign video has succeeded. If we had not alerted the Missionaries of Charity that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was inappropriately using Mother Teresa’s image, they would have never removed it from the video.”

Hillary Clinton is a staunch opponent of the right to life. She even defends partial-birth abortion. That’s the procedure in which a doctor kills a late-term baby by puncturing its skull while it’s being born.

Blessed Mother Teresa opposed Hillary Clinton at the 1995 Beijing Conference when she wrote, “That special power of loving that belongs to a woman is seen most clearly when she becomes a mother. Motherhood is the gift of God to women. … Yet we can destroy this gift of motherhood, especially by the evil of abortion. ... No job, no plans, no possessions, no idea of ‘freedom’ can take the place of love.”

Cella said, “Blessed Mother Teresa is revered in America and across the globe as one of the greatest champions of the dignity of the human person. It is wholly inappropriate, disrespectful and disturbing that Hillary Clinton shamelessly exploited Mother’s image as a political tool.”

Mexico City Policy

An amendment reversing the federal government’s Mexico City policy banning federal aid to groups that promote abortion as a family planning method passed 223-201 in the House June 21, although the bill to which the amendment was attached could face a veto from President George W. Bush.

“I will veto any legislation that weakens current federal policies and laws on abortion, or that encourages the destruction of human life at any stage,” Bush said in a letter to Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress.

The Mexico City policy does not allow federal funds to go to agencies that perform and promote abortion as a family planning method in developing countries. The policy, instituted in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, is so named because it was announced at the U.N. International Conference on Population held that year in Mexico City. It was rescinded by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and reinstated by Bush in 2001 in one of his first acts as president.             CNS

Abuse Bill

A bill that eliminates Delaware’s statute of limitations for civil suits in child sexual abuse cases and opens a two-year window for courts to hear old claims previously barred by the time limit is headed to the governor’s desk after unanimous approval in the state House and Senate.

The Senate bill, SB 29, passed largely as written June 19 and 20 despite attempts by the Diocese of Wilmington to have it amended. The diocese supported the bill’s intent to change the state’s current two-year statute of limitations but argued that the bill should be amended to make it clear “that equal protection is given to all children, not just children in private institutions or private settings,” according to a statement June 7 in The Dialog, the newspaper for the Diocese of Wilmington.

The diocese also objected to the bill’s two-year period for looking back at old claims because it places no time limit on the age of the claims that can be revisited. Institutions that allowed abuse to occur through “gross negligence” can be sued under the legislation. Public schools were exempted. The bill is called the Child Victim’s Act. CNS

Voting Faith

The faith of candidates and of voters may play an important role in the 2008 presidential election, according to two new public opinion surveys.

The Sacred Heart University Polling Institute, based in Fairfield, Conn., found that 60.7% of Americans believe a presidential candidate should be “a religious person,” while 39.3% do not. Asked whether their own religious beliefs influence their vote, respondents were evenly split — 48.4% said their own faith always or sometimes guides their views on politics, while 48.4% said it seldom or never guides their views.

The remaining 3.2% were unsure. A separate survey released in Washington by Gallup Poll News Service found that 66% of Republicans, 57% of Democrats and 48% of independents said religion was “very important” in their own lives.

Only 10% of Republicans, 17% of Democrats and 22% of independents said it was “not very important.” Both the Sacred Heart and Gallup polls were made public June 14.CNS

Atlanta ‘Cathedral’

The Georgia International Convention Center became “the cathedral of Atlanta” June 9 as Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory processed into the cavernous building bearing the Blessed Sacrament in a golden monstrance.

A record of about 30,000 people — 10,000 more than last year — came to the convention center near Atlanta’s airport June 8-9 for the archdiocese’s 12th annual congress.

At an opening healing Eucharistic Mass the evening of June 8, Archbishop Gregory urged the 2,000 participants, “Pray not only for your own needs. ... Pray for one another, pray for this local church, that we may grow strong in our faith.” CNS