Bishops Call for a Longterm Strategy in Haiti That Focuses on Poverty Reduction

January 29, 2010

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - The U.S. needs “a long-term coherent strategy for recovery, development and poverty reduction in Haiti,” helping Haiti rebuild and get back to the path of long-term sustainable development, said the chair of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace in a January 26 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk.

Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, said such a strategy for rebuilding Haiti in the wake of this month’s devastating earthquake needs to coordinate “different U.S. government agencies in a comprehensive approach, engaging other groups with expertise and experience with Haiti.” Bishop Hubbard recommended that the strategy include: debt relief, trade preferences, extension of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians living in the United States as needed, and sustained reconstruction and development assistance to Haiti.

Bishop Hubbard expressed gratitude for President Obama’s response to the earthquake in Haiti and added, “When the international community and Haitians move beyond the most urgent aspects of the emergency, we urge a substantial and sustained commitment by the U.S. Government to provide long-term funding for reconstruction and poverty reduction.” Highlighting the importance of working with Haitians, Bishop Hubbard wrote, “At the same time, our nation should work to support and strengthen the role of the Haitian Government and institutions in the reconstruction and long-term development of their nation.”  

The letter from Bishop Hubbard can be found online at: www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/2010-01-26-let-clinton-napolitano-geithner-kirk-haiti.pdf

Women Hurt by Abortion Support Tebow and His Mom in Super Bowl Ad

January 29, 2010

SAN ANTONIO, TX (MetroCatholic) - The women of Operation Outcry support Tim Tebow and his mother Pam as they share their story in an ad sponsored by Focus on the Family during Super Bowl XLIV.  Tebow’s mother, Pam, had a difficult pregnancy and was advised to abort her son by her physician, but she obviously chose life for him rather than abortion. 

Women of Operation Outcry are also courageously speaking out, sharing their personal stories, so that our nation will know the truth, “Abortion Hurts Women.”

“As a representative of thousands of women who have been hurt by abortion, like myself, I can say we are proud to support Pam Tebow and her son, Tim, for courageously sharing the beauty of her decision for life during the Super Bowl TV ad. Like so many women, we all wish that someone had been there for us in our time of difficulty to tell us the truth about abortion and to encourage us to choose life.  Instead, the aftermath of abortion haunts us for a lifetime.” says Lisa Dudley, National Director, Operation Outcry. 

“As a woman who has experienced the pain and heartache of abortion, I am thankful for Pam and Tim Tebow’s courageous message.  I’ve spoken with many women from Louisiana and across the nation that have suffered with the life long pain and heartache caused by abortion. Pam Tebow does not have to live with an empty heart or the pain of an abortion. Instead she lives with the hugs of her son, Tim, and with a message of healing, hope and victory”, stated Cindy Collins, Louisiana, Co-Host of Faces of Abortion Television Program and International Director for Operation Outcry. 

Operation Outcry is an international ministry of The Justice Foundation that is touching hearts through the testimony of those who have been hurt by abortion: changing lives by helping those hurt find hope and healing; for those considering making that tragic choice, finding safe alternatives to abortion; and restoring justice by the collection of Declarations for use in courts and legislatures throughout the world.  Operation Outcry continues to collect these Declarations and has collected over 4,600 testimonies from those hurt by abortion. 

Catholic Families for America Starts Petition in Favor of Tebow Pro-Life Ad

January 29, 2010

CFA Executive Director: “With the pro-abortion, so-called ‘women’s rights groups’ using their typical tactics to pressure CBS into not airing the pro-life ad by Tim Tebow during the Super Bowl, it is time for pro-family, pro-life, and free speech groups to stand up against them. We are excited to sponsor this nationwide petition drive to support CBS’ decision to air the ad.”

WASHINGTON, DC (MetroCatholic) - Dr. Kevin Roberts, executive director of the Catholic grassroots advocacy group, Catholic Families for America (CFA), announced his organization’s sponsorship of a nationwide petition drive in support of CBS’ decision to air the pro-life advertisement featuring Tim Tebow during the Super Bowl.

“It doesn’t take long for the pro-abortion crowd to mobilize their members,” Roberts said, “so those of us on the pro-life, pro-family side need to be sure we do the same.” Roberts continued by describing how his organization would rally its members and those of similar groups to attract several thousand signatories.

The petition can be accessed at www.ipetitions.com/petition/prolifead.

Catholic Families for America is a nationwide grassroots organization run by lay Catholics, with offices in Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

Catholic Health Association Comments on State of the Union and Need for Health Care Reform

January 29, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC (MetroCatholic) -  The following statement is being released by Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, president and chief executive office of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA):

The Catholic Health Association has long championed health care reform for the same reasons President Obama expressed in his State of the Union - because of the continuing tragedy of “Americans with pre-existing conditions whose lives depend on getting coverage; patients who’ve been denied coverage; and families - even those with insurance - who are just one illness away from financial ruin.”

The President was right to say to Congress: “Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people.”

We commend Congress for all its efforts over the past year on behalf of those who suffer under the current system, and urge lawmakers to bring those efforts to fruition as quickly as possible. And we urge Congress to continue its work toward the goal of health reform that protects life at all stages while expanding coverage to the greatest possible number of people in our country.

We understand the political realities and concerns with passage of such important and far-reaching legislation. But we firmly believe that now is not the time to let those concerns derail what may be the last opportunity of our lifetime to address the continuing shame of allowing so many individuals and families in our nation to go without access to affordable health care. For all who have worked so hard to make health reform a reality, we have come too close to that goal to give up on it now.

The Catholic health ministry remains committed to the goal of health reform as set out in our “Vision for U.S. Health Care,” and confident that our nation is capable of reaching that goal. In a letter our association sent today to Congress, we urged the members of both chambers “to put the needs of our nation’s people above political interests and partisan concerns, and continue to work for comprehensive health reform this year. As Congress considers the options for moving forward, we also reaffirm this urgent priority among our health ministry and pledge to work alongside those who will continue in good faith to achieve this goal.”

The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), founded in 1915, supports the Catholic health ministry’s commitment to improve the health status of communities and create quality and compassionate health care that works for everyone. The Catholic health ministry is the nation’s largest group of not-for-profit health systems and facilities that, along with their sponsoring organizations, employ more than 750,000 women and men who deliver services combining advanced technology with the Catholic caring tradition. For more information, visit the CHA website at www.chausa.org.

Source: Catholic Health Association of the United States

Join Catholic Distance University for a Pligrimage to the Shroud of Turin

January 29, 2010

HAMILTON, VA (MetroCatholic) - Father Bevil Bramwell, undergraduate dean at CDU, and Catholic Distance University invite you for a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Italy to see the Shroud of Turin, April 21 – 29, 2010. This nine-day journey includes:

MILAN with a visit to Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece ‘The Last Supper’ and the famed Cathedral of Milan, bristling with 135 pinnacles and 2245 white marble statues

TURIN for a once in a lifetime opportunity to view the Shroud of Turin at St. John the Baptist Cathedral, authorized by our Holy Father to be on display for a brief period in 2010.

FLORENCE to experience the city known as the jewel of the Renaissance with a visit to the Duomo, tour the tombs of Galileo, Macchiaveli, and Michelangelo, and a visit to the famous statue of “David” by Michelangelo at the Academia Gallery
ASSISI where the group will celebrate Mass in the Portiuncula and tour the hilltop village of Assisi, the home of St. Francis.

ROME to celebrate Mass beneath St. Peters, visit the Vatican Museum, tour four major Basilicas in Rome including St. Peter’s Basilica, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major and St. Paul Outside the Walls, and a Papal Audience at the Vatican if the Holy Father is in Rome at the time of the visit.

For a brochure and reservations, contact Barbara Ellis at [email protected]  or 888.254.4238 ext. 703.

Papal Audiences

January 29, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 28 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Seven prelates from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, on their “ad limina” visit:

- Bishop Edwin Regan of Wrexham.

- Archbishop Patrick Altham Kelly of Liverpool, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Anthony Williams, and by Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Vincent Malone.

- Bishop John Anthony Rawsthorne of Hallam.

- Bishop Seamus Cunningham of Hexham and Newcastle.

- Bishop Michael Gregory Campbell O.S.A. of Lancaster.

- Appointed Fr. Zdzislaw Jozef Kijas O.F.M. Conv., president of the “St. Bonaventure” Pontifical Theological Faculty in Rome, as a relator of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Fr. Frank Pavone Comments on Attempts to Block Tebow Ad

January 28, 2010

STATEN ISLAND, NY (MetroCatholic) -  Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, commented today on the efforts of pro-abortion groups to keep CBS from broadcasting a Focus on the Family ad featuring quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother during the Super Bowl.

“Why should it bother people who call themselves pro-choice if women watch Pam Tebow and her son Tim on Super Bowl Sunday and freely decide to choose life?  Would fewer abortions be a bad thing?” asks Fr. Pavone.  “As for the argument that the ad should not be shown because it is divisive, since when do we broadcast only things on which the American people all agree? In that case, the Super Bowl itself could not be broadcast.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

Contest for Priests

January 28, 2010

priest-2Vatican City (MetroCatholic) - In order to promote the beauty of the Catholic priesthood, the website Catholic.net (http://www.catholic.net) has launched a contest of priestly stories during the Year for Priests in which priests narrate the most inspiring moment of their priestly ministry. The prize for the best story will be a trip to Rome at the closing of the priestly year in June of 2010. Should the winner be residing in Rome, the prize will consist of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

According to the organizers, there is a two-fold objective to the competition. On one hand, it is a gift to priests as they celebrate their year, as reflection upon the extraordinary presence of God’s Providence in one’s own life and ministry is a great means of renewal and hope. Secondly, it is a gift from priests to the Church, as the best testimonies will be compiled into a book at the end of the contest for the enrichment of Catholics everywhere.

According to the rules of the contest, the maximum length of the story is 700 words, and only priests may participate, at no charge.

Entries for the contest will be received up until March 19, 2010. Look for more information in: http://www.catholic.net/competition-for-priests

Catholic.net has previously organized a context in which the lay faithful narrated experiences that illustrated the priestly testimony that most enriched their lives. The winner went on a pilgrimage to Ars, France.

VITALITY OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMIES

January 28, 2010

VATICAN CITY, 28 JAN 2010 (VIS) - This morning, Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, Benedict XVI received the 300 people who yesterday participated in the annual public session of the pontifical academies.

The event was attended by representatives from the following institutions: the Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Theological Academy, the Academy of Mary Immaculate, the International Marian Academy, the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature “dei Virtuosi al Pantheon”, the Roman Academy of Archaeology and the “Cultorum Martyrum” Academy.

Having praised the “glorious past” of these institutions, the Pope noted how at the present time “contemporary culture, and even more so believers themselves, continually petition the Church to concentrate her reflections and actions in those fields in which new problems emerge. These”, he told his listeners, “are also sectors in which you operate”.

“You are called”, the Holy Father went on, “to make your qualified, competent and enthusiastic contribution to ensure that all the Church, and particularly the Holy See, is able to exploit the appropriate opportunities, languages and means necessary to enter into dialogue with modern cultures, and provide an effective answer to the questions and challenges which face her in the various areas of human knowledge and experience.

“As I have said before”, he added, “modern culture is deeply marked, both by relativism and subjectivism, and by methods and approaches that are sometimes superficial, even banal. These harm the seriousness of research and reflection and, as a consequence, also of dialogue, exchange and interpersonal communication. It is, then, urgently necessary to recreate the conditions essential for … deeper study and research, so as to make dialogue and exchange on the various problems more reasonable and effective, with a view to shared growth and a formation that promotes man in his entirety and completeness”.

“This task is particularly urgent in the field of forming candidates for Holy Orders, as prescribed by the Year for Priests and confirmed by the happy decision to dedicate your annual public session to” the formation of the clergy.

“The philosophy and witness of St. Thomas Aquinas encourage us to dedicate careful study to emerging problems, in order to find appropriate and creative answers. Trusting in the possibilities of ‘human reason’, and with complete fidelity to the immutable ‘depositum fidei’, we must … always draw from the richness of Tradition in a constant search for the ‘truth of things’. To this end it is important that pontifical academies, today more than ever, become living and vivacious institutions, capable of acute perception, both as regards the demands of society and culture, and the needs and expectations of the Church. They must do so in order to offer an appropriate and valid contribution and so promote, with all the energies and means at their disposal, an authentic Christian humanism”.

Bishops Urge Congress to Resume Work on Health Care with Access for All, Protection of Life, Conscience Rights

January 27, 2010

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - The U.S. bishops called on Congress to continue to work on health care reform to provide access for everyone, protection of life at all stages and conscience rights.
           
The call came in a January 26 letter signed by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston- Houston, chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; and Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the Committee on Migration.
           
The entire letter can be found at http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/HC-Letter-to-Congress-012610.pdf
           
The bishops said that the need for reform remains despite a new political climate.
           
“Although political contexts have changed, the moral and policy failure that leaves tens of millions of our sisters and brothers without access to health care still remains,” they said. “We encourage Congress to begin working in a bipartisan manner providing political courage, vision and leadership. We must all continue to work towards a solution that protects everyone’s lives and respects their dignity.”
           
The bishops asked for changes in proposed bills in the House of Representatives and Senate. The current bills, they said, “leave between 18 and 23 million people in our nation without health insurance.”
           
They criticized the Senate bill saying it does not meet the church’s criteria on life and conscience since it does not reflect the current U.S. policy as outlined in the Hyde Amendment passed in 1976.
           
“The bill’s provision against abortion funding should have the same substantive policy as the Hyde Amendment and parallel provisions in current law, should cover every program in the legislation and should be as permanent as the funding provided by the bill. The House-passed language meets these criteria,” they said.
           
Both bills are a step backwards in conscience protection, the bishops said.
           
“The freedom that insurers, purchasers, and sponsors currently enjoy under federal law to offer or purchase health plans that are not morally or religiously objectionable to them would be lost,” they said.
           
“It is critical that the final bill retain the freedom of conscience that insurers, purchasers, plan sponsors, and health care providers currently have under federal law,” they added.
           
The bishops urged that undocumented persons be able to purchase insurance in the new health care exchange with their own money. They also called for removal of the five-year ban on legal immigrants accessing health care plans such as Medicaid.

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