Homeland Security Drops Opposition to Son of Hamas Political Asylum Request

June 30, 2010

SAN DIEGO (MetroCatholic) — Today in a hearing in United States immigration court in San Diego, prosecutors for Homeland Security chose not to oppose Mosab Hassan Yousef’s application for political asylum in the United States. Yousef is the author of the “New York Times” bestselling book, “Son of Hamas,” which details his life as a spy for the Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency.

This change in heart by Homeland Security comes after Yousef recently gained support from prominent members of Congress, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Israeli Knesset, and a number of other prominent supporters.

The following is a statement from Mr. Yousef about the results of the hearing:

    “I came to the United States because I believe in liberty. The liberty that makes men great. The liberty that makes men free. America is great because of its commitment to the idea that all men are created equal and that freedom is his inalienable right. I wrote the book, Son of Hamas — which the prosecution used to try to deport me today — so that people in my country might be encouraged to think freely, and rise above their fear.

    “It was hard for me that statements made in the book might be used to take away my hope of freedom here in the United States, a country that inspires people around the world to pursue freedom.

    “But today, my faith in America is restored. I am very grateful to the Department of Homeland Security for carefully reviewing my case and choosing to withdraw it’s opposition to granting me asylum. Thank you for recognizing that my actions in associating with terrorists in Hamas was purely to bring them to justice and save lives in my role as an operative for the Shin Bet.

    “I’m first of all thankful to God, to Jesus Christ, whose teachings changed my heart from hating my enemies, to loving my enemies, and whose ultimate sacrifice for my sake inspired me to risk everything.

    “And I’m so grateful for the many friends I’ve gained here who have, and continue to, show their faith in me and my desire to work for peace in the Middle East. You’ve prayed for me, you’ve stood up for me, and you’ve supported me through this journey. I could not continue on without you. Thank you Sarah Stern and Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) for your efforts on my behalf. And thank you to my attorney, and to the congressmen and senators who spoke out on my behalf.

    “And I’m especially grateful for my friend, and former Shin Bet handler, Gonen Ben-Itzhak, who revealed his true identity, and traveled here at the risk of his own freedom and safety, to testify on my behalf. Thank you Gonen, my brother.

    “Whatever happens from here, I will continue to fight — for freedom for my beloved Palestinian brothers and sisters in Palestine, and for peace in the Middle East. Thank you.”

Yoest to Testify Tomorrow in Kagan Hearings: Americans Do Not Want Agenda-Driven Judges

June 30, 2010

WASHINGTON, (MetroCatholic) — Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest will add her voice to the distinguished panel of experts testifying on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, calling on the Senate to reject another agenda-driven justice. When she testifies on July 1st, it will be the second time since 2009 that Dr. Yoest has been invited to illustrate concerns with a nominee to the nation’s high court.

What:
Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President and CEO of Americans United for Life, to give testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.

When:
July 1st — afternoon - exact time to be determined.

Where:
Hart Senate Office Building, Hearing Room 216

To read Dr. Yoest’s written testimony as submitted to the Committee, click here. For analysis of Kagan’s political and legal record, go to www.aul.org. And contact the AUL media office for interviews and analysis of the impact of this highly political nominee.

Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971.

AUL’s legal team has been involved in every pro-life case before the U.S. Supreme Court including the successful defense of the Hyde Amendment. AUL also publishes Defending Life, the most comprehensive state-by-state legal guide of its kind, which is distributed annually to legislators across the nation.

Recently, Americans United for Life detailed the facts on taxpayer-funding of abortion during the debate over federal health care legislation, provided legal assistance to states working to opt out of abortion provisions created by federal health care law, and has played a major role in educating policymakers on the record of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

Will Presbyterians Redefine Marriage

June 30, 2010

WASHINGTON, (MetroCatholic) — Presbyterians gathering next week will choose between two divergent paths. The first seeks to change the church’s definition of marriage to a relationship between any “two people,” while the second seeks to preserve the church’s teachings that marriage is between a man and a woman.

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will take up a series of items, among them proposed constitutional amendments to change the definition of marriage in the PCUSA Book of Order. The effect would be to allow churches to host and ministers to officiate at same-sex marriages. Other proposals would interpret the PCUSA constitution as allowing any state-recognized same-sex marriage to be celebrated as a Christian marriage.

The Final Report of the Special Committee on Civil Union and Christian Marriage asserts that “members of the PC(USA) cannot agree” on “the place of covenanted same-gender partnerships in the Christian community” and must therefore show “mutual forbearance.” Traditionalists have instead encouraged the adoption of a minority report that upholds “the church’s biblical, historic, and confessional position that, among all varieties of sexual relationships, only marriage between a man and a woman is ordained by God and blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Alan Wisdom, IRD’s Vice President for Research and Programs and Director of its Presbyterian Action committee, commented:

    “The Scriptures and all parts of the PCUSA constitution consistently teach that marriage is instituted by God as a gift to all humankind, and that we are to honor that gift.

    “If the PCUSA embraces sexual revisionism, it would deliberately sideline itself. It would exalt western liberal notions of individual moral autonomy above shared understandings of the Bible. It would follow the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church on the road to theological marginalization, internal division, accelerating membership loss, and cultural irrelevance.

    “Shall we assert the right to redefine marriage to suit our own contemporary notions of justice? Shall we treat marriage as if it were no different from other sexual relationships? Or shall we reaffirm the biblical vision of an exclusive, lifelong, one-flesh union of the two complementary sexes created by God?”

Alan Wisdom’s paper “Is Marriage Worth Defending?” and articles on the PCUSA Special Committee on Civil Union and Christian Marriage are viewable on the IRD website. Wisdom will be on site in Minneapolis available for media interviews.

www.TheIRD.org

In Response to the Dallas Morning News Article about Father Robert Crisp

June 30, 2010

Dallas, TX (RCDOD) - The allegations reported on in the newspaper article date back to the mid-1970’s and 80’s and there were never any reports of sexual misconduct with minors or any criminal behavior of any sort by Father Robert Crisp on record with the diocese. Therefore, when Bishop Kevin Farrell arrived three years ago, and during his tenure in the Diocese of Dallas, there was nothing that would have set off a warning about concerns of criminal behavior.

The complaint of misconduct with a minor reported in the Dallas Morning News had not been reported to the diocese and the Dallas Morning News’ source confirmed that in the story.

When the complaints at Sacred Heart in Rowlett were reported as more than boundary violations, Bishop Farrell immediately removed Father Crisp from ministry.

Father Crisp remains removed from ministry and there are no plans to reassign him.

http://www.cathdal.org

Bishops Urge Senate to Remove Abortion Amendment from Defense Bill

June 30, 2010

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - A Senate committee amendment that would authorize the performance of elective abortions at military hospitals in this country and around the world is “misguided” and should be removed from the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3454), said the Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. In a June 29 letter, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston urged Senators to remove this amendment on the grounds that it breaks with longstanding federal and military policies on government promotion of abortion.
           
Cardinal DiNardo said it was disingenuous to suggest, as the amendment’s proponents have, that the amendment is “moderate” in requiring patients at military facilities to pay for their abortions. “Which is a more direct governmental involvement in abortion: That the government reimburses someone else for having done an abortion, or that the government performs the abortion itself and accepts payment for doing so?” the Cardinal wrote. He cited a 1989 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court saying that “the State need not commit any resources to facilitating abortions, even if it can turn a profit by doing so.”
           
Cardinal DiNardo also noted the longstanding nature of the current policy against providing abortions at military health facilities, which has been in place for 22 years with the exception of 1993-1995.
           
“During the brief period when these facilities were told to make abortions available, scarcely any military physician could be found in overseas facilities who was willing to perform abortions,” the Cardinal added.
           
Cardinal DiNardo also said that the current military policy is in keeping with federal policy in general, noting: “Other federal health facilities also may not be used for elective abortions, and many states have their own laws against use of public facilities for such abortions.”
           
Calling on the Senate not to approve the bill unless it maintains current law, as the bill approved by the House of Representatives already does, Cardinal DiNardo concluded that “this amendment presents Congress with the very straightforward question whether it is the task of our federal government to directly promote and facilitate elective abortions.  During the recent health care reform debate, the President and congressional leadership assured us that they agree it is not.”
           
Archbishop Broglio of the Archdiocese of Military Services had written an earlier letter to the Senate against the proposed policy change.  Cardinal DiNardo endorsed his letter as well, noting that it urges Congress “not to impose this tremendous burden on the consciences of Catholic and other health care personnel who joined our armed services to save and protect innocent life, not to destroy it.”
           
Full text of the letter can be found online at: www.usccb.org/prolife/DiNardo-Ltr-Military-Abortions-6-29-2010.pdf

Bishops’ Committee Launches New Initiative, Marriage: Unique for a Reason

June 30, 2010

DVD Resource on Sexual Difference Set for Release
First of Five Videos in New Initiative
Effort Crucial to New Evangelization, says Archbishop Kurtz

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage has launched a new initiative for the protection of marriage, entitled Marriage: Unique for a Reason. The initiative is to help catechize and educate Catholics on the meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
           
The launch comes with the release of the first of five videos. The first video is called Made for Each Other and includes a Viewer’s Guide and Resource Booklet. It explores sexual difference and the complementarity between man and woman as husband and wife in marriage. Later videos will treat the good of children, the good of society and what constitutes discrimination, religious liberty, and issues particular to a Latino/a audience.
           
“The Committee’s efforts are grounded in the recognition that marriage, as the union of one man and one woman, is at the heart of a flourishing society and culture,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, chairman of the Committee. “The truth of marriage lies at the very core of a true concern for justice and the common good. Promoting marriage is crucial to the New Evangelization. These initial materials seek to provide a key starting point, a compass, for assisting Catholics and all people of good will in understanding why marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman.”
           
The DVD, guide, and booklet are intended for use by priests, deacons, catechists, teachers and other leaders. Potential uses include instruction for young adult groups, adult faith formation, and seminary and diaconate education. Materials are online at http://www.marriageuniqueforareason.org/ and are available for purchase through http://www.usccbpublishing.org/.

Does Natural Family Planning Hinder Spontenaity?

June 30, 2010

GLENVIEW, IL (MetroCatholic) - The following articles are from the Jan.-Feb. 2010 issue of “Family Foundations,” the publication of the Couple to Couple League International (CCL).

>>Does NFP prevent spontaneity by restricting intimacy?<<

They Say: Isn’t it unnatural to confine intimacy to certain phase of a woman’s cycle? Doesn’t using Natural Family Planning (NFP) to avoid a pregnancy prevent couples from freely expressing their love for each other?

CCL Says: This could be true if a couple only expressed love through sexual intercourse. But times of abstinence can teach couples to show love in other ways. A long conversation or a romantic date night develops emotional intimacy – which, in turn, enhances physical intimacy.

Times of abstinence also unite a couple in a shared goal. Galatians 5:21-23 lists both patience and self-control as fruits of the Spirit. When a couple must abstain during fertile times, they foster these virtues together. And many find that periodic abstinence actually increases their appreciation of physical intimacy.

There will be times in all marriages when physical intimacy is impossible: postpartum, during an illness, business travels, recovering from an injury. A solid relationship needs love expressed in multiple forms.

>>Does NFP fail to connect with modern couples?<<

They Say: My grandmother practiced the rhythm method. My peers contracept. How is NFP relevant to a modern couple?

CCL Says: NFP is fertility awareness and connects with the people in the pews today. CCL has risen to this challenge by revising its curriculum and teaching materials. As part of an inductive approach, teaching couples share personal testimonies with student couples, putting a face to the practice. We recognize the difference between a 2010 audience and a 1970 audience, and we are striving to help modern couples apply the consistent teaching of the Church.

Finding creative ways to relate NFP to contemporary desires does result in more effective communication with the culture. For example, the diocese of Madison’s “Go Organic” campaign successfully connected NFP with the organic food movement. One blogger wrote that NFP is “by far the most natural and green choice.” This is only one of many secular voices acknowledging the physical and environmental benefits of NFP. Repackaging the message can help achieve common ground with couples who are fed up with the alternatives.

At the same time, we look for new ways to communicate, the content of the message remains the same. NFP is the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church for valuable spiritual and physical reasons. It is timeless because God’s plan for marriage and sexuality is timeless. We simply seek out new ways to present these ancient truths.

* * *

Sign up for a membership at Couple to Couple League International at www.ccli.org, and receive “Family Foundations.”

>>Natural Family Planning Classes Taught<<

Classes in Natural Family Planning are taught in 17 locations in the Chicago metro area, including southeast Wisconsin and northeast Indiana. The next series of classes will begin Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm at Holy Trinity Church in Westmont, taught by Chris & Debbie Lillig.

To register, and for a list of classes throughout the U.S., go to CCL International at www.ccli.org , (800) 745-8252. Chicago area NFP information is at www.naturalfamilyplanningchicago.com .

CatholicTV Asks Catholics to Help Spread CatholicTVeverywhere

June 30, 2010

WATERTOWN, MA (MetroCatholic) - CatholicTV Asks Catholics to Help Spread CatholicTVeverywhere

CatholicTV recently launched an effort calling on Catholics to help spread CatholicTV across the nation.

Catholicism is the largest religious denomination in the United States. Close to a quarter of the US population identifies themselves as Catholic. 52% of Pennsylvania residents are Catholic, 44% in Massachusetts, 37% in California, and 36% in New York (Source: Wikipedia).

Despite these large numbers, many Catholics have only one or at most two Catholic television channels to choose from in their local areas. CatholicTV is available to carriers free-of-charge.

CatholicTV is asking people to visit http://www.CatholicTVeverywhere.com  and join its list of supporters. Names of supporters are used in a similar fashion as a petition, which will show cable and satellite providers the amount of support and demand for Catholic television programming. This in turn, should help CatholicTV to spread its programming to more cities.

CatholicTV recently started broadcasting on Charter in Massachusetts, in addition to Chattanooga (TN) on fiTV, and other areas as well. CatholicTV’s addition to Charter’s cable lineup was largely influenced by letters written by ordinary Catholics asking that CatholicTV be added to their local cable lineup.

CatholicTV has found these simple, grassroots efforts effective in the past. CatholicTV began broadcasting as the world’s first diocesan television station in January of 1955. Since then, it has relied on its viewers for funding and support.

CatholicTV is a nationally-broadcasted television network streaming a live feed 24 hours a day at CatholicTV.com. Heeding Pope Benedict XVI’s call to greater utilize the power of television and new media, the CatholicTV Network features its cable TV station, Catholic web site, mobile apps and widget. Celebrate Mass online; pray The Rosary; enjoy programs on prayer, the saints, the Scriptures and the Catholic Church on America’s Catholic Television Network.

Police raid on Belgian archdiocese triggered by former abuse commissioner

June 30, 2010

Brussels, Belgium, (CNA).- Following unannounced police raids in the Archdiocese of Belgium last week, a former head of an internal Church commission on sexual abuse cases has revealed that she contacted local police after an anonymous caller advised her to “watch out” and to secure all the documents she held during her time in office.

On June 24, Belgian authorities in search of information associated with cases of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels entered the archbishop’s offices unannounced. Elements of the search, which included drilling holes into tombs in the crypt of the cathedral, were denounced by the Vatican and Pope Benedict the next day.

Godelieve Halsberghe, president of an internal Church commission on sex abuse cases from 2000 to 2008, told the Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwesblad on Monday that “I recently received an unpleasant phone call about these files (dossiers on sexual abuse cases).”

Halsberghe, a former magistrate who headed a panel set up by the Church to oversee sex abuse cases, reportedly resigned in 2008 due to her belief that the bishops involved were being uncooperative.

She told the Het Nieuwesblad that the caller was a man who spoke to her in French and did not identify himself.

“He asked if I have dealt with these files. I answered affirmatively. He then told me that I had better watch out; not only in the interest of the files, but also for myself,”  Halsberghe added.

The paper also asked if Halsberghe influenced the police’s decision to drill into the tombs of the deceased cardinals in the crypt at the Mechelen Cathedral. “Did they (the police) ever hear about secret places in the crypt where sensitive files were hidden?” it asked. 

“I have heard about something in the past, but don’t ask where exactly. I do not know if the crypt was specifically mentioned,” she answered.

Searching for dossiers on cases of pedophilia last week, the Belgian police went so far as to drill holes into the tombs of Cardinals Jozef-Ernest Van Roey and Leon-Josephy Suenens with pneumatic hammers.

The Belgian police also prevented bishops and others in a meeting at the archdiocesan offices from leaving the meeting room for nine hours.

Several Vatican officials have decried the police actions, with Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone saying on June 26 that the raids had “no precedents even in communist regimes.”

The police raid also caused Dr. Peter Adriaenssens, the current sexual abuse commissioner, to resign from his post, accusing the police of “using us as bait” and undermining the commission’s credibility by confiscating testimony that was given confidentially.

Kagan’s Abortion Activism Makes Her Unfit for Supreme Court

June 29, 2010

WASHINGTON, (MetroCatholic) — American Life League President Judie Brown issued the following statement after Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan confirmed her advocacy of abortion on demand this morning. In responding to questions from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kagan stated that “Roe (v. Wade) and Doe (v. Bolton) require” that any state “regulation” of abortion protect the “health” of women seeking abortion.

    “Elena Kagan has revealed herself as the pro-abortion activist she is. The ‘health of the mother’ exception has long been code for abortion on demand for any reason under the sun - including financial ‘health.’

    “Kagan’s position is clearly opposed by the majority of Americans who self-identify as pro-life. While we are not shocked that an Obama nominee would be anything but rabidly pro-death, we are compelled to demand representation from our elected leaders: this pro-abortion ideologue is not fit to serve on the Supreme Court.

    “At a time when the Court is already befuddled with the disconnect between recognizing the rights of one human being, the mother, while denying the most basic human right of personhood to another — the preborn child, Elena Kagan clearly does not grasp the constitutional principles that are paramount for a Supreme Court justice.

    “Now is the time for a strong, organized effort across the land demanding human rights for each and every preborn baby. We do not need the Court’s permission; we need action. Human personhood now.”

American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to natural death. For more information or press inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

* OC Register: Feinstein Grills Kagan on guns, abortion (29 June 2010) www.ocregister.com/news/strong-255527-nominee-kagan.ht

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