Daily Catholic News Roundup

June 30, 2009

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Obama’s new budget for D.C. allows taxpayer funding for abortions

June 30, 2009

.- President Obama has issued a budget recommendation for the 2010 fiscal year that would ease the restrictions on taxpayer funds for abortions in Washington D.C., a change that has drawn criticism from pro-life organizations across the nation.

Unlike other U.S. states and territories, the budget for the District of Columbia is reviewed and modified by Congress and the President before it is approved.

In its submission for the fiscal year 2010, the Obama administration has reversed the “Dornan Amendment,” introduced in 1988 to prevent both federal and local tax dollars from funding abortions in the District of Columbia, except in cases of rape or “where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.”

Under the Obama administration’s alterations, the prohibition will only apply to federal tax money, and the exemptions would be expanded to include any case “where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness,” including those physical conditions that endanger the life of the mother.

The recommended change has raised strong concerns among pro-life groups. 

“The Dornan Amendment is commonsense policy that should be retained by Congress,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, a network dedicated to supporting pro-life women in the political process.  

Dannenfelser joined the House Pro-Life Women’s Caucus in speaking out against the change at a news conference last week.  “Women facing unplanned pregnancies deserve woman-centered solutions to help both mother and child, not abortion on-demand, which pits mother against child in the most tragic of circumstances,” she said.

“We won’t find reductions in abortion as long as we continue to subsidize and promote it at taxpayers’ expense,” she continued.  “The Obama administration’s promise to find ways to reduce abortion numbers rings hollow in such an environment.”

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the nation’s largest pro-life organization, issued a statement calling the move a “political scam.”

“President Obama is pursuing a step-by-step strategy to expand access to abortion, and today’s step is to urge Congress to authorize the funding of abortion on demand in the nation’s capital, with funds appropriated by Congress,” said Doug Johnson, legislative director for the NRLC.

“If Congress goes along with the Obama proposal, the predictable result will be tax funding of several thousand elective abortions annually, including roughly 1,000 abortions annually that would not otherwise occur,” Johnson explained, pointing to studies showing that policies barring tax-funded abortions actually prevent at least one-third of the abortions that would otherwise occur among given populations.

CNA attempted to obtain comment from the Archdiocese of Washington but did not receive a response.

Although Obama has spoken of looking for “common ground” on the issue of abortion, pro-life groups are concerned that adding a broader non-life-threatening “health” exception to provide more funding for abortion may provide a slippery slope in the opposite direction.

In past abortion cases, exceptions for the “health” of the mother have been interpreted by the Supreme Court to include “physical, emotional, psychological [and] familial” factors.

Test ‘seems to confirm’ bone fragments are St. Paul’s, Pope Benedict says

June 30, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI

Rome, Italy, Jun 29, 2009 / 05:42 pm (CNA)

.- Speaking at a service to mark the end of the Pauline year, Pope Benedict has announced that scientific tests apparently confirm a sarcophagus long believed to be the tomb of St. Paul contains remains dating from the first or second century.

Archaeologists recently unearthed and opened a white marble sarcophagus located under the Basilica of St. Paul’s outside the Walls in Rome. The faithful have believed the sarcophagus to be the tomb of the Apostle Paul.

When Pope Benedict brought the Pauline Year to a close yesterday,  he said that carbon dating tests on bone fragments show them to date from the first or second century.

“This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul,” he said.

Tradition holds that St. Paul was beheaded in Rome in the 1st century during a persecution of early Christians by Roman emperors. Bone fragments from St. Paul’s head are believed to be in St. John Lateran, another Rome basilica, while his other remains are believed to be in the sarcophagus.

Archaeologists who opened the sarcophagus discovered the bone fragments alongside some grains of incense, a “precious” piece of purple linen with gold sequins and a blue fabric with linen filaments, Pope Benedict said.

In 2002 Vatican archaeologists began excavating the 8-foot-long tomb of St. Paul, which dates from at least the year 390 A.D.

The top of the coffin has small openings which were covered with mortar. In ancient times, Christians would insert offerings or try to touch the remains through the openings.

A related discovery was announced on Saturday in L’Osservatore Romano. Inside the catacombs of St. Tecla in Rome, a fresco which depicts St. Paul was discovered on June 19. The round fresco is edged in gold and features the emaciated face of St. Paul.

It is described as the oldest known icon of the Apostle, according to the Vatican daily.

Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Vatican’s culture department, said the discovery was an “extraordinary event” and an “eloquent testimony” to the Christianity of the first centuries.

Natural Family Planning Taken Seriously When Understood

June 30, 2009

GLENVIEW, IL (MetroCatholic) - A subject that might draw snickers at a cocktail party is now likely to be taken seriously when it is explained more fully, according to the results of a recent survey.

Seventy-two percent of Catholic engaged couples who took part in an online marriage preparation program agreed to use Natural Family Planning (NFP), an astounding percentage considering that 80% of Catholic couples typically use contraception, according to statistics.

“It’s a pleasant surprise, but when Catholic teaching is clearly presented, couples come to appreciate the beauty of maintaining a respect for one another’s fertility and sexuality,” says Monica Cassidy, of the Chicago chapter of the Couple to Couple League, which teaches NFP. “An understanding of the reasons behind the natural methods is key to a couple’s motivation here. People come to realize that the Church’s teaching on birth control is much more than just a set of do’s and don’t’s.”

The survey was a part of an online NFP course and was reported by LifeSite News. Over the years, NFP has grown in acceptance by many Catholic diocesan and parish-level marriage preparation programs.

Theology of the Body

CCL teaches the Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP, which can be used to both achieve and to avoid or postpone pregnancy. CCL teaches NFP within the moral constructs of the Catholic Church, with an emphasis on the teachings of Pope John Paul II and the Theology of the Body. Couples learn of God’s vision and plan for marriage and the family, and how to live out their sexuality while upholding and respecting the dignity of each other and their union.

Classes in the Sympto-Thermal Method of Natural Family Planning are offered in 15 locations in the Chicago Archdiocese and in southeast Wisconsin and northwest Indiana. The next class will begin Sun., Aug. 9, at Holy Trinity Church in Westmont. Email Chris & Debbie Lillig, or call 630-428-3046. Go to Classes by Location. Or go to www.nfpchicago.com.

Pro-Life Youth to Picket Office of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

June 30, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA (MetroCatholic) - Youth activists will demand that not penny of taxpayer funds be used to pay for abortions while teachers and community services are being cut in California due to budget concerns.
 
The demonstration will take place on Tuesday, June 30 at 11:00 A.M.
 
The location will be at 300 South Spring St., Los Angeles
 
The 65 youth activists will be carrying large signs and banners.
 
This event kicks off a national campaign by Survivors called “Teachers not Abortions.”
 
Sarah Massell, a member of Survivors, states, “The pro-abortion movement is always telling us that we cannot force our morality on them. If abortion is a moral issue, why are taxpayers being forced to pay for abortions rather than fund education?
 
“Public funds that should be going to ensure our teachers are properly compensated are now going to fund unlimited and unrestricted abortions. The more we cut resources to our educational system the more it will have a negative impact on future generations.”
 
Timmerie Millington adds, “We have become a society that kills its own children with unlimited public funds.   Yet, firefighters and police officers who have laid down their lives to protect our nation are losing their jobs because our tax dollars are being spent on the killing of America’s children.”
 
Survivors is one of the leading pro-life youth activist organizations in the nation and they are sponsoring their annual 10 day leadership training and camp in Southern California.

AFTAH Warns of Obama’s Radical Homosexual Agenda as President Meets Today with Gay Activists

June 30, 2009

Naperville, IL (MetroCatholic) -  Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) warns that President Obama will likely renew his radical promises to homosexual activists today at a White House “Pride Month” reception –– promises that, if fulfilled, will undermine the freedoms of the majority of Americans who affirm marriage and healthy, time-tested Judeo-Christian sexual values in their daily lives.
This afternoon, President Obama will meet with homosexual and transsexual activists at a “Reception for LGBT Pride Month.” AFTAH President Peter LaBarbera reminds voters that Obama has no mandate for his comprehensive “gay” agenda, since these agenda items were barely discussed in the general election campaign:
·         Obama’s commitment to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act –– which could force pro-traditional-marriage states to recognize out-of-state homosexual “marriages”;
·         Obama’s plans to homosexualize the U.S. military despite the plea of 1,100 high-ranking retired military officers not to overturn current law declaring homosexuality incompatible with military service;
·         Obama’s plans to create federal workplace “rights” based on transsexuality;
·         Obama’s Faith Advisory appointment of Harry Knox, who called the pope a “discredited leader” and homosexuality a “gift from God,” thus mocking holy Scripture;
·         Obama’s appointment of Kevin Jennings to head up “Safe Schools” at the Department of Education. As founder of Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Jennings presided over a scandal in which a GLSEN-sponsored workshop exposed underage children to graphic discussions by homosexual adults on how to perform dangerous and bizarre gay perversions; Jennings also said “[****] ‘em” and “Drop dead” to religious conservatives in a 2000 speech;
·         Obama’s appointment of John Berry as Office of Personnel Management Director, strategically placed to advance homosexual activism throughout the federal government;
·         Obama’s agenda of federalizing pro-homosexual “hate crimes” and employment law –– which would undermine Americans’ freedoms and vastly increase the power of the state to punish moral-minded citizens by promoting homosexuality and gender confusion as official government policy;
·         Obama’s goal to homosexualize immigration laws, thus further undermining marriage and incentivizing the immigration of homosexuals — adding new stress to an already burdened system;
·         The White House’s honoring of “gay pride” and radical, anti-Christian bigots like homosexual icon Frank Kameny — who smears religious conservatives as “Christianofascists” — and who cynically proclaims, despite being an atheist, that “gay is godly.”

Supreme Court Confirms: Sotomayor was Wrong

June 30, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC (MetroCatholic) - The United States Supreme Court reversed Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor in the now-famous New Haven firefighters case. Although Judge Sotomayor and two of her colleagues did not even think the case worthy of a published opinion, the Supreme Court said the case presented “two provisions of Title VII to be interpreted and reconciled, with few, if any, precedents in the courts of appeals discussing the issue.” 
 
Concerned Women for America (CWA) President Wendy Wright said, “This decision sends a disturbing message that Sonia Sotomayor, as a judge, sanctioned discrimination against people because of the color of their skin. This validates concerns that Judge Sotomayor’s judicial philosophy reflects her personal bias, as expressed in speeches and the controversial groups to which she has belonged, that people should be discriminated against based on their ethnicity or sex. No one in a burning building cares if their fire chief is a minority. A firefighter’s qualifications can determine if innocent people will live or die. Yet Judge Sotomayor denied qualified firefighters a promotion in order to advance her ethnic politics. Judge Sotomayor’s decision in the Ricci case proves that questions about her fitness to serve at the Supreme Court are legitimate. Her decisions suggest such an enormous bias in her philosophy that we could not fault anyone in her courtroom for questioning her impartiality.”
 
“In choosing a Supreme Court nominee, President Obama said ‘I will seek someone who understands that justice … is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives, whether they can make a living, and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes, and welcome in their own nation. I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with peoples hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.’ Judge Sotomayor’s unjust decision in the Ricci case shows that she does not fit that description. She denied firefighters the well-deserved promotions and, by doing so, was willing to make people unsafe in their homes.”
 
Mario Diaz, Esq., CWA’s Policy Director for Legal Issues, said the Ricci case “exposes not only bias, but arrogance on the part of a judge at the brink of getting a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land. How she thought this case did not even deserve a published opinion is beyond comprehension. It seems ethnicity and gender not only ‘play a role’ in her judgment as she has said, but they actually control her judgment to the point where she can no longer look at the facts of a case impartially. Looking at her record, it seems her passion for minorities is such that she would need to recuse herself from any case involving a minority party in litigation.
 
“Unless she renounces her own statements and has some strong explanation for her actions in cases like Ricci at her hearings, I don’t see how any Senator, or even the President himself, can feel confident about her fitness to serve at the Supreme Court.”
 
Concerned Women for America is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.

June 30, 2009 - Daily Mass Readings

June 30, 2009

Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1
Gn 19:15-29

And when it was morning, the angels pressed him, saying: Arise, take thy wife, and the two daughters that thou hast: lest thou also perish in the wickedness of the city. And as he lingered, they took his hand, and the hand of his wife, and of his two daughters, because the Lord spared him. And they brought him forth, and set him without the city: and there they spoke to him, saying: Save thy life: look not back, neither stay thou in all the country about: but save thy self in the mountain, lest thou be also consumed. And Lot said to them: I beseech thee, my Lord, Because thy servant hath found grace before thee, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewn to me, in saving my life, and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil seize me, and I die. There is this city here at hand, to which I may flee, it is a little one, and I shall be saved in it: is it not a little one, and my soul shall live? And he said to him: Behold also in this, I have heard thy prayers, not to destroy the city for which thou hast spoken. Make haste, and be saved there: because I cannot do any thing till thou go in thither. Therefore the name of that city was called Segor.

The sun was risen upon the earth, and Lot entered into Segor. And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he destroyed these cities, and all the country about, all the inhabitants of the cities, and all things that spring from the earth. And his wife looking behind her, was turned into a statue of salt.

And Abraham got up early in the morning, and in the place where he had stood before with the Lord: He looked towards Sodom and Gomorrha, and the whole land of that country: and he saw the ashes rise up from the earth as the smoke of a furnace.

Now when God destroyed the cities of that country, remembering Abraham, he delivered Lot out of the destruction of the cities wherein he had dwelt.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 26:2-3, 9-10, 11-12

R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
burn my reins and my heart.
For thy mercy is before my eyes;
and I am well pleased with thy truth.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
Take not away my soul, O God, with the wicked:
nor my life with bloody men:
In whose hands are iniquities:
their right hand is filled with gifts.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.
But as for me, I have walked in my innocence:
redeem me, and have mercy on me.
My foot hath stood in the direct way:
in the churches I will bless thee, O Lord.
R. O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes.

Gospel
Mt 8:23-27

And when he entered into the boat, his disciples followed him: And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep. And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish. And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up, he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying: What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey him?

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The readings on this site are not official for the Mass of Roman Rite of the Catholic Church in the USA, but are from The Challoner Douay Rheims version of the Sacred Bible, a source free from copyright and entirely in the public domain.

The Challoner Douay Rheims version was prepared by Bishop Richard Challoner, about A.D. 1749-1752, by revising the original Douay Rheims version and by comparing it to the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible.

Official Readings of the Liturgy at – http://www.usccb.org/nab/today.

June Message From Medjugorje

June 29, 2009

Apparition Hill

Message of June 25, 2009

“Dear children! Rejoice with me, convert in joy and give thanks to God for the gift of my presence among you. Pray that, in your hearts, God may be in the center of your life and with your life witness, little children, so that every creature may feel God’s love. Be my extended hands for every creature, so that it may draw closer to the God of love. I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.” 06/2009

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On the 25th of each month, Our Lady appears to the Medjugorje visionary Marija to give us her message to the world.

Orthodox-Catholic Consultation Studies Nature of Communion, Authority

June 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC (MetroCatholic) - The seventy-sixth meeting of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation took place at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York, June 1 to 3.  The session, hosted by the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), was co-chaired by Metropolitan Maximos of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh and Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. 

At the meeting the Consultation continued its study of the 2007 agreed statement of the international Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, “Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church. Ecclesial Communion, Conciliarity and Authority.” The members heard analyses of the text, also known as “The Ravenna Document,” from a Catholic perspective prepared by Leavenworth Sister of Charity Susan Wood and Father John Galvin, and from an Orthodox perspective by Father Nicholas Apostola.  These presentations will form the basis of a draft common response to the international document that will be considered at the next meeting.

The Consultation also heard two presentations of points of convergence that have emerged in its ongoing study of primacies and conciliarity in the Church.  One text was prepared by Jesuit Father Brian Daley and Vito Nicastro, Ph.D., and a second one, from an Orthodox perspective, by Father James Dutko.  The authors of these two studies will prepare a draft agreed statement on this theme for consideration at the fall 2009 meeting.  In addition, Father Joseph Komonchak offered reflections on a presentation given in 2003 by Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, at a Catholic-Orthodox symposium in the Vatican on Petrine Ministry, “Introduction to the Theme and Catholic Hermeneutics of the Dogmas of the First Vatican Council.” 

During the meeting, members of the Consultation informed one another about major events in the lives of their churches.  These included the death of Patriarch Aleksy II of Moscow and the election of Patriarch Kirill, the international Oriental Orthodox-Roman Catholic Dialogue, the Vatican delegation at the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the Feast of St. Andrew, the Commencement address of President Obama at the University of Notre Dame, recent events in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, the lifting of the excommunications of the bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X, recent events in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Holy Land, “The Leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and  the Significance of Canon 28 of Chalcedon: a Statement by the Faculty Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology,” the relationship between the two Romanian Orthodox jurisdictions in North America, the meeting in the Vatican of a group of Catholic Bishops and aboriginal leaders from Canada with Pope Benedict XVI, the situation of the Orthodox Church in America and the election of Metropolitan Jonah, and the establishment of the Archbishop Demetrios Chair at Fordham University. 

Members gathered for a memorial service (Panachida) presided over by Metropolitan Maximos to commemorate the death forty days earlier of Rev. Protopresbyter Stephen Dutko, the father of Rev. James Dutko, an Orthodox member of the Consultation.

Archbishop Pilarczyk shared with the members of the Consultation that, with his imminent retirement, he intends to resign as Co-Chairman of the dialogue.  Metropolitan Maximos expressed gratitude to the Archbishop for his seven years of service. The Consultation presented Archbishop Pilarczyk with a copy of the book, “The Rublev Trinity,” by Gabriel Bunge.  Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the Chairman of the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, intends to name a new Catholic Co-Chairman of the Consultation in due course.

The seventy-seventh meeting of the Consultation is due to take place from October 22-24, at Saint Paul’s College in Washington. 

In addition to the co-chairs, the Consultation include Orthodox representatives Father Thomas FitzGerald (Secretary), Father Nicholas Apostola, Father John Erickson, Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Ph.D., Father James Dutko, Paul Meyendorff, Ph.D., Father Alexander Golitzin, Robert Haddad, Ph.D., Father Robert Stephanopoulos, Father Theodore Pulcini, and Father Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA (staff).

Additional Catholic members are Jesuit Father Brian Daley (Secretary), Thomas Bird, Ph.D., Sylvain Destrempes, Ph.D., Father Peter Galadza, Chorbishop John D. Faris, Father John Galvin, Father Sidney Griffith, Father Joseph Komonchak, Father Paul McPartlan, Father David Petras, Sister Susan K. Wood, Vito Nicastro, Ph.D., and Paulist Father Ronald Roberson, who serves as staff.

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation is sponsored jointly by the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since its establishment in 1965, the Consultation has issued 22 agreed statements on various topics. All these texts are now available on the USCCB Website at http://www.usccb.org/seia/orthodox_index.shtml  and the SCOBA website at http://www.scoba.us/resources/orthodox-catholic.html

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