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WFF's "Breaking News" features mportant and timely news stories on issues involving Catholic women and their families. Links to the source news stories will be provided, when available.
Note: Items on this page change frequently. Click Archive to read past "Breaking News" stories, May 2003 - December 2005.
CATHOLICS AND POLITICAL RESPONSIBILITY documents and bishops' statements. Check for recent updates!
ABOUT MEDICINE and MORALITY- WFF's online journal on bioethics and health care issues features current news with links and comments and Church documents on health care and medical ethics
NEW! Stem Cell Research Section
Posted March 23, 2011
For Immediate Release
March 23, 2011
Pro-Life Leaders Call on Jesuit Seattle University to Sever Planned Parenthood Ties
Manassas, Va. A group of 16 national pro-life leaders, led by The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) and Students for Life of America (SFLA), sent a letter <http://www.scribd.com/doc/51378398> to the President of Seattle University calling on him to put an end to the institution’s numerous connections to Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion rights organizations. The Catholic Church’s unequivocal condemnation of abortion renders a Catholic university’s association with any pro-abortion rights organization grossly inappropriate.
“Seattle University, as a Catholic and Jesuit institution, has a God-given responsibility to live up to its religious identity,” said Patrick J. Reilly, CNS President. “Such an identity certainly precludes involvement with those organizations facilitating the slaughter of the innocents. May Seattle University today turn a corner and resolve to sever these scandalous connections."
Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America noted, “Promoting and glorifying Planned Parenthood and other abortion organizations on any campus is unacceptable, most especially on a Catholic campus. Planned Parenthood is the nation's abortion Goliath and has repeatedly been found to protect rapists, racists, and sex traffickers of minors. Time and time again, Planned Parenthood has proved its business is abortion, plain and simple. Seattle University must remove Planned Parenthood from campus and sever all ties with the abortion industry.”
Instances of Seattle University’s cooperation with Planned Parenthood, as found on the University website, include: referring students to Planned Parenthood for “sexual health” services; allowing and promoting student internships with Planned Parenthood; hiring employees with past experience with Planned Parenthood and highlighting that experience on the University’s website; and honoring students for their past work with Planned Parenthood.
Among the groups that signed on were Priests for Life, Human Life International, Susan B. Anthony List, Concerned Women for America, Live Action, Human Life Alliance, Catholics United for the Faith, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, Culture of Life Foundation, Women for Faith & Family, and many others.
Other pro-abortion rights organizations with connections to Seattle University, also uncovered on the University’s website, include the Feminist Majority Foundation, Legal Momentum, and the National Organization for Women. Read the summary of the University’s pro-abortion rights connections here <http://www.scribd.com/doc/51378398> .
You can read the letter sent to Seattle University President Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J., here <http://www.scribd.com/doc/51378398> .
To schedule an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society, contact Adam Wilson at [email protected] or 703-367-0333, ext. 102
To schedule an interview with Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America, email [email protected] or call 703-351-6280.
This news release is also available here <http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/Home/tabid/36/ctl/Details/mid/435/ItemID/856/Default.aspx> .
Adam Wilson, Director of Communications
The Cardinal Newman Society <http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/>
Address: 9415 West Street, Manassas, VA 20110
Phone: 703-367-0333, ext. 102 / Fax: 703-396-8668
Read our blog Campus Notes <http://blog.cardinalnewmansociety.org/> / Follow us on Twitter <http://twitter.com/newman_society> / Like us on Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Cardinal-Newman-Society/51352838885>
Posted January 18, 2011
USCCB News Release
February 23, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
USCCB Decries Refusal to Support Defense of Marriage Act
WASHINGTON (February 23, 2011) The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issues the following from its Office of General Counsel:
“Marriage has been understood for millennia and across cultures as the union of one man and one woman. Today, the President has instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law reiterating that definition of marriage, passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Democratic President just fifteen years ago. The principal basis for today’s decision is that the President considers the law a form of impermissible sexual orientation discrimination.
“This decision represents an abdication of the responsibility of the Executive Branch to carry out its constitutional obligation to ensure that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed. It is also a grave affront to the millions of Americans who both reject unjust discrimination and affirm the unique and inestimable value of marriage as between one man and one woman. Support for actual marriage is not bigotry, but instead an eminently reasonable, common judgment affirming the foundational institution of civil society. Any suggestion by the government that such a judgment represents “discrimination” is a serious threat to the religious liberty of marriage supporters nationwide.”
February 23, 2011
Anthony R. Picarello, Jr.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Posted January 18, 2011
USCCB News Release
January 14, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bishops See Their Work Supported In World Marriage Day and National Marriage Week USA
WASHINGTON (January 14, 2011)Two separate marriage initiatives in February affirm the priority of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to support and strengthen marriage, said Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, who oversees the bishop’s efforts in this area.
In a January 13 letter to all Catholic bishops of the United States, Bishop Rhoades, the new chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, highlighted World Marriage Day, National Marriage Week USA and numerous resources offered by the USCCB, saying, “I encourage you to share this information with the clergy and lay leaders of your diocese so that together we might strive to become ‘marriage building’ communities of faith and action.”
World Marriage Day, which is promoted by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, is being sponsored Sunday, February 13, in U.S. dioceses and parishes. Its theme is “Love One Another.”
“World Marriage Day received the Apostolic Blessing of John Paul II in 1993,” noted Bishop Rhoades. “It has continued to grow and spread among many countries and faith expressions ever since.”
Resources for celebrating World Marriage Day can be found at http://wmd.wwme.org.
Bishop Rhoades also highlighted National Marriage Week USA, which will be observed February 7-14 with the theme “Let’s Strengthen Marriage.”
“This projectnow in its second yearis a collaborative effort to influence the culture by faith communities, business, media, education, and non-profit groups,” said Bishop Rhoades, one that is working to “focus national attention on the need to strengthen marriage,” launching “new efforts for marriage education and crisis intervention,” and promoting “a message about the benefits of marriage.”
Bishop Rhoades noted that National Marriage Week USA also recognizes that children are best served when raised in the context of a marriage with a father and a mother.
Bishop Rhoades also recommended numerous online resources of the USCCB, including www.foryourmarriage.org and its Spanish counterpart www.portumatrimonio.org; the pastoral letter on marriage, Love and Life in the Divine Plan, www.usccb.org/loveandlife; advocacy resources on why marriage should be promoted as the union of a man and a woman, www.marriageuniqueforareason.org; a collection of briefing papers entitled “Making A Case for Marriage, ” www.usccb.org/npim; a collection of essays, teaching materials, and resources for prayer and celebration developed for Catechetical Sunday 2010, the theme of which was “Matrimony: Sacrament of Enduring Love,” www.usccb.org/catecheticalsunday; and cards with a “Prayer for Married Couples” in English and Spanish, available in packages of 100 from USCCB Publications (www.usccbpublishing.org).
Posted May 3, 2010
USCCB News Release
April 30, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vatican Approves New Version of Roman Missal, Bishops to Decide When to Implement in Dioceses, Parishes
Date for implementation still to be set
Educational preparation vital for priests, parishioners
First major change to Mass in decades
WASHINGTONThe Vatican has given its “recognitio,” or statement of acceptance, of the proposed U.S. version of the new edition of the Roman Missal. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) now must decide when to authorize its use in dioceses and parishes in the United States.
In a letter from Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, dated March 25, 2010, (Protocol Number 269/10L) the text of the English translation of the Roman Missal, third edition, has been approved with the required recognitio.
In addition,a series of adaptations and proper texts for the Dioceses of the United States also has been approved. Cardinal Francis George, OMI of Chicago, USCCB President, was in Rome to attend meetings of the Vox Clara Committee, of which he is a member, and received the decrees personally. The complete text of the Roman Missal is still undergoing final editing by Vatican officials. It is expected to be forwarded to Conferences of Bishops later this spring, at which time it will be prepared for publication.
Bishop Arthur Serratelli, Chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, voiced gratitude for the approval.
“I am happy that after years of study and review, the Congregation for Divine Worship has concluded its work and provided us with a text that will enable the ongoing renewal of the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in our parishes,” he said.
In the coming weeks, the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship will offer to Cardinal George its recommendation regarding the date of the implementation of the new translation. Once the final decision is made, Cardinal George will announce the date to the bishops. It is also expected that a suggested implementation timeline and process will be offered to the bishops for implementation within their dioceses.
The receipt of the recognitio marks the beginning of the proximate preparation for the implementation of the Roman Missal. During the time leading up to actual first Sunday of use of the new text, pastors are encouraged to make use of the wide variety of resources available to prepare parishioners for the reception of the new text. Some of these resources have been made available already in the remote preparation, while others are being released now, including the Parish Guide for the Implementation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, from USCCB Publishing. In addition, the Office of Divine Worship has launched Website to provide up-to-date information about the Missal: www.USCCB.org/romanmissal.
Msgr. Anthony Sherman, Director of the USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship, said work already is in progress so that priests and congregations will be prepared for the first substantial changes in the Mass in decades.
“A great effort to produce the new Roman Missal for the United States of America is underway now among the publishers of liturgical books, along with the other necessary resources by publishers of liturgical music and catechetical resources,” he said. “Even as that work is underway a fullscale implementation of catechesis for the new Missal should be taking place in the parishes, so that when the time comes, everyone will be ready.”
Currently the Office of Divine Worship is leading a series of workshops for clergy and diocesan leaders as a first step in preparation for the changes.
Posted April 21, 2010
Address of Senator John F. Kennedy to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, Rice Hotel, Houston, Texas, September 12, 1960
Archbishop Chaput & James Hitchcock Responses - RE: The JFK Houston speech.
Posted April 16, 2010
The Vatican web site has a new section - responses to sex abuse crises, with
links to pertinent docs from Holy See.
ABUSE OF MINORS.THE CHURCH'S RESPONSE
Posted October 9, 2009
USCCB News Release
October 8, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bishops’ concerns include abortion, conscience, immigrants, affordability
Reaffirm commitment to work for reform that respects life and dignity of all
U.S. Bishops: Current Health Care Bills Violate Essential Principles; Will Seek Changes Or Have To Oppose
WASHINGTONThree chairmen of the bishops’ committees working on health care reform urged the U.S. Congress to improve current health care reform legislation, expressing their “disappointment that progress has not been made on the three priority criteria for health care reform” cited in their previous letters.
The October 8 letter from Bishop William Murphy, Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop John Wester reiterated the bishops’ main concerns: that no one should be forced to pay for or participate in an abortion, that health care should be affordable and available to the poor and vulnerable, and that the needs of legal immigrants are met.
Bishop Murphy, Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Wester chair the U.S. bishops’ committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pro-Life Activities and Immigration, respectively.
The bishops reaffirmed their commitment to working with Congress and the Administration toward genuine health care reform, but stated, “If final legislation does not meet our principles, we will have no choice but to oppose the bill.”
“We sincerely hope that the legislation will not fall short of our criteria,” wrote the bishops. “However, we remain apprehensive when amendments protecting freedom of conscience and ensuring no taxpayer money for abortion are defeated in committee votes.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has advocated for health care reform for decades. The bishops wrote that “Catholic moral tradition teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential to protecting human life and dignity. Much-needed reform of our health care system must be pursued in ways that serve the life and dignity of all, never in ways that undermine or violate these fundamental values. We will work tirelessly to remedy these central problems and help pass real reform that clearly protects the life, dignity and health of all.”
The full text of the letter can be found online at: www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/2009-10-08-healthcare-letter-congress.pdf
Posted September 30, 2009
USCCB News Release
September 30, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
USCCB Pro-Life Committee Chairman Releases Statement For Respect Life Sunday
WASHINGTONIn a statement to mark Respect Life Sunday, October 4, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia called attention to those who are most vulnerable in recent debates on health care reform the unborn, the poor, the elderly and the immigrant and called upon Catholics to “examine how well we, as a nation and individually, are living up to our obligation to protect the rights of those who, due to age, dependency, poverty or other circumstances, are at risk of their very lives."
Cardinal Rigali chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Cardinal Rigali noted that the lives of the unborn are those most at risk in America and “despite the opposition of 67% of Americans to taxpayer-funded abortion, all current health care proposals being considered by Congress would allow or mandate abortion funding, either through premiums paid into government programs or out of federal revenues."
Noting that the unborn are not alone in being under attack in current proposals, Cardinal Rigali called for health care that recognizes the humanity of the immigrant. “How can a just society deny basic health care to those living and working among us who need medical attention? It cannot and must not," he said.
Cardinal Rigali also addressed a dangerous and false cultural attitude that some persons are not worth protecting because of their perceived “low quality of life." He stated that “death is not a solution to life’s problems. Only those who are blind to the transcendent reality and meaning of human life could support killing human beings to mitigate economic, social or environmental problems."
“The antidote to such myopia is to recover an appreciation for the sanctity and dignity of each unique human being," he said.
Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program stresses the value and dignity of human life. It is observed in the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States. This year's theme is "Every Child Brings Us God’s Smile." The full statement follows and may be found online at www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp/09rigali-stmt.pdf.
STATEMENT FOR RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY
Cardinal Justin F. Rigali
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Pro-life Activities
September 29, 2009
Respect Life Sunday, this year celebrated on October 4th is a day set aside for Catholics in the United States to reflect with gratitude on God’s priceless gift of human life. It is also an occasion to examine how well we, as a nation and individually, are living up to our obligation to protect the rights of those who, due to age, dependency, poverty or other circumstances, are at risk of their very lives.
In the current debate over health care reform, it has become evident that a number of Americans believe that the lives and health of only some people are worth safeguarding, while other classes of people are viewed as not deserving the same protection. Such an attitude is deplorable, all the more so in the context of health care. Sanctioning discrimination in the quality of care given to different groups of people has no place in medicine, and directly contravenes the ethical norms under which Catholic hospitals and health care providers operate.
Unborn children remain the persons whose lives are most at risk in America: Over one million children each year die in abortion facilities. The Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 rendered states powerless to halt this killing. Thankfully Congress and most states acted to prevent public funding of abortions (with narrowly defined exceptions). Yet despite the opposition of 67% of Americans to taxpayer-funded abortion, all current health care proposals being considered by Congress would allow or mandate abortion funding, either through premiums paid into government programs or out of federal revenues.
It bears repeating: Abortion the direct, intentional killing of an unborn girl or boy is not health care. Abortion robs an innocent child of his or her life, and robs mothers of their peace and happiness. For 25 years, the Project Rachel post-abortion ministry of the Catholic Church has helped women move beyond their grief and remorse after abortion, helping them find peace by accepting God’s forgiveness and by forgiving themselves and others involved in the abortion decision. Abortion funding can only increase the number of dead and grieving.
Unborn children are not the only human beings disfavored under current proposals. Many people insist that undocumented persons living and working in the United States should not be allowed in any new system to purchase health-care coverage, and that poor legal immigrants be denied coverage for the first five years they are in the United States. Do immigrants forfeit their humanity at the border? How can a just society deny basic health care to those living and working among us who need medical attention? It cannot and must not.
While most Americans agree that those who cannot afford health insurance should have access to health care, some commentators have gone so far as to suggest offsetting the cost of expanded coverage by curtailing the level of care now given to elderly Americans. Other pundits have suggested that treatment decisions should be based not on the needs of the elderly patient, but on the patient’s allegedly low “quality of life" or the cost-effectiveness of treatment calculated over the patient’s projected lifespan. Such calculations can ignore the inherent dignity of the person needing care, and undermine the therapeutic relationship between health professionals and their patients.
It should not be surprising that the neglect, and even the death, of some people are offered as a solution to rising health care costs. Population control advocates have long espoused aborting children in the developing world as a misguided means for reducing poverty.
Some environmentalists now claim that the most efficient way to curb global climate change is to make “family planning" more widely available in the developing world. They report that an average of 2.3 pounds per day of exhaled carbon dioxide can be eliminated from the atmosphere by eliminating one human being. As used by population control advocates, the innocuous term “family planning" includes abortifacient contraceptives, sterilization, and manual vacuum aspiration abortions.
Oregon, where health care for low-income patients is rationed by the state, has denied several patients the costly prescription drugs needed to prolong their lives, while reminding them that the assisted suicide option is conveniently offered under Oregon’s health plan.
Many scientists justify the manipulation and killing of embryonic human beings in stem cell research, based on unsubstantiated hopes of finding new cures. Yet the facts increasingly show this approach to pose risks to patients, and to women who may be exploited to provide eggs for the research.
Death is not a solution to life’s problems. Only those who are blind to the transcendent reality and meaning of human life could support killing human beings to mitigate economic, social or environmental problems.
The antidote to such myopia is to recover an appreciation for the sanctity and dignity of each unique human being. One could begin by spending a day with a young child. The average child is a wellspring of joy and giggles, capable of daring leaps of imagination, probing curiosity, and even reasoned (though sometimes self-centered) appeals for justice. Children delight in God’s creation and love their family unconditionally. God gave every human being these marvelous aptitudes, and children can help us recover and appreciate them anew.
Since the advent of widespread contraception and abortion, a cultural hostility to children has grown. They are often depicted as costly encumbrances who interfere with a carefree adult life. No fewer than six recent books are dedicated to defending the childless-by-choice lifestyle for selfish reasons, or to counter "overpopulation," a thoroughly discredited myth. In fact, if married couples were to have more children, Medicare and Social Security would not be hurtling toward bankruptcy. Since 1955, because of fewer children and longer life spans, the number of workers has declined relative to the number of beneficiaries, from 8.6 to only 3.1 workers paying benefits to support each beneficiary. Without substantially more young people to enter the work force as young adults, in 25 years, there will be only 2.1 workers supporting each beneficiary. Eliminating our young does not solve problems even on pragmatic grounds. It adds to them.
Children, and those who are dependent on us due to disability or age, offer us the opportunity to grow in patience, kindness, and love. They teach us that life is a shared gift, not an encumbrance. At the end of life, we will be judged on love alone. Meanwhile, in the midst of so many challenges to life, we look to "Christ Jesus our hope" (1 Timothy 1:1), who offers to all the world a share in his victory over death.
Posted July 18, 2009
News Release on the WFF Day of Recollection with Bishop Robert Hermann, July 18, 2009
Posted April 27, 2009
Declining Notre Dame: A Letter from Mary Ann Glendon
By Mary Ann Glendon
Monday, April 27, 2009, 9:32 AM
April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame
Dear Father Jenkins,
When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.
Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.
First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.
Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:
• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”
• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decisionin disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishopsto honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.
It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.
In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.
Yours Very Truly,
Mary Ann Glendon
Mary Ann Glendon is Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A member of the editorial and advisory board of First Things, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 2007 to 2009.
Posted April 22, 2009
USCCB News Release
April 21, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For first time, federal tax dollars will be used to encourage destruction of living embryonic human beings "Suffering patients and their families deserve better," says Cardinal Rigali
CARDINAL RIGALI CRITICIZES DRAFT NIH GUIDELINES FOR DESTRUCTIVE STEM CELL RESEARCH
WASHINGTONCardinal Justin Rigali, Chairman of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, reacted today to new draft guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research issued late last week by the National Institutes of Health. The text of his statement follows:
New draft guidelines for federally funded stem cell research involving the destruction of human embryos, released Friday by the National Institutes of Health, mark a new chapter in divorcing biomedical research from its necessary ethical foundation. Without unconditional respect for the life of each and every member of the human race, research involving human subjects does not represent true progress. It becomes another way for some human beings to use and mistreat others for their own goals. Suffering patients and their families deserve better, through increased support for promising and ethically sound stem cell research and treatments that harm no one.
In most respects these draft guidelines reflect the policy approved but never implemented by the Clinton administration in 2000. However, the Clinton policy was limited to embryos that had been frozen, to ensure that parents had time to consider the decision to donate them for research; the new guidelines are broader in allowing destruction of newly created embryos that were never frozen, increasing the prospects for a rushed and biased consent process.
Despite supporters’ constant claim that this agenda involves only embryos that "would otherwise be discarded," the guidelines provide that the option of donating embryonic children for destructive research will be offered to parents alongside all other options, including those allowing the embryos to live. For the first time, federal tax dollars will be used to encourage destruction of living embryonic human beings for stem cell research including human beings who otherwise would have survived and been born.
It is noteworthy that, despite calls for an even broader policy by some in Congress and the research community, the draft guidelines do not allow federally funded stem cell research using embryos specially created for research purposes by in vitro fertilization or cloning. We can hope that the NIH and Congress will continue to respect this ethical norm, and will realize that the alleged "need" for violating it is more implausible than ever due to advances in reprogramming adult cells to act like embryonic stem cells. However, congressional supporters of destructive human embryo research have already said they will pursue a more extreme policy. The Catholic bishops of the United States will be writing to Congress and the Administration about the need to restore and maintain barriers against the mistreatment of human life in the name of science, and we urge other concerned citizens to do the same.
Posted November 14, 2008
NOTE FROM Americans United for Life:
I'm writing to let you know about a terrible piece of legislation called "The Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA).
FOCA would establish the right to abortion as a fundamental right (like the right to free speech) and wipe away every restriction on abortion nationwide.
It will eradicate state and federal abortion laws that the majority of Americans support and prevent states from enacting similar protective measures in the future.
Please read the expert analysis by Americans United for Life (AUL) and sign the Fight FOCA petition at: http://www.FightFOCA.com
Posted October 21, 2008
USCCB News Release
October 15, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bishop Holley Calls on Black Community to Overcome Abortion
WASHINGTONBishop Martin D. Holley, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, issued a statement responding to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood's research branch, showing that black women have abortions at five times the rate of white women.
"As an African American, I am saddened by evidence that Black women continue to be targeted by the abortion industry. The loss of any child from abortion is a tragedy, but we must ask: Why are minority children being aborted at such disproportionate rates?" Bishop Holley said.
"Our legitimate commitment to other social concerns must not push the primary moral issue of abortion onto the back burner. It clearly must be at the heart and center of our discussion of the survival of African American people," Bishop Holley said.
Bishop Holley serves as Chair of the Sub-Committee on African American Affairs and is a member of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Bishop Holley called for the federal defunding of the abortion industry. "Every year the federal government gives over $300 million to Planned Parenthood. Last year for the first time, Planned Parenthood took in over one billion dollars and reported a profit of $51 million," he said of the non-profit organization.
The Bishop called upon African Americans to "defend our community by rededicating ourselves to family life and marriage, promoting the gift of chastity and marital fidelity, committing ourselves to prayer and service to others and defending the life and dignity of each human person. We can welcome every child as a gift and we can overcome abortion."
The full text of Bishop Holley's statement follows:
As an African American, I am saddened by evidence that Black women continue to be targeted by the abortion industry. The loss of any child from abortion is a tragedy, but we must ask: Why are minority children being aborted at such disproportionate rates?
Many African Americans are not aware that since the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion throughout all 9 months of pregnancy, the number one cause of death in the African American community has been abortion. We have lost over 13 million lives. To put that in perspective, it is one third of our present Black population. Since 1973, twice as many Black Americans have died from abortion than from AIDS, accidents, violent crimes, cancer, and heart disease combined.
As I noted in my recent Respect Life Program article, "A Reflection on the African American Family and the Culture of Life" (www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp/holley.pdf), our legitimate commitment to other social concerns must not push the primary moral issue of abortion onto the back burner. It clearly must be at the heart and center of our discussion of the survival of African American people.
The Guttmacher Institute called on policy makers to "redouble their efforts to improve access to subsidized contraceptive services for these women." Yet studies have shown that increased access to contraceptives, especially among teens, does not reduce unintended pregnancy and abortion. On the contrary, several studies link increased access to contraceptives to an increase in STDs, with no decrease in abortion rates.
As the research arm of Planned Parenthood, the Guttmacher Institute is shamelessly trying to build a case for receiving more of our taxpayer dollars. Every year the federal government gives over $300 million to Planned Parenthood. Last year for the first time, Planned Parenthood took in over one billion dollars and reported a profit of $51 million. I join my voice with others in the Black community who have called for the defunding of the abortion industry.
We must demand an end to the victimizing of African American children, women, families and communities by Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry. Over 80 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are located in minority neighborhoods. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, began the "Negro Project" to reduce the Black population. We should be shocked and heartbroken by the findings of a recent phone investigation, that recorded a fundraiser at an Iowa Planned Parenthood clinic saying she was "very excited" about a donation specifically for aborting Black babies.
My brothers and sisters, we can overcome abortion in our nation. Let us defend our community by rededicating ourselves to family life and marriage, promoting the gift of chastity and marital fidelity, committing ourselves to prayer and service to others and defending the life and dignity of each human person. We can welcome every child as a gift and we can overcome abortion.
Posted October 1, 2008
Bishop Soto speaks out in support of marriage and Proposition 8
Presentation to National Association of Diocesan Gay and Lesbian Ministries in Long Beach, CA, September 18, 2008
Click title for complete talk on the Diocese of Sacramento website.
Posted October 1, 2008
USCCB News Release
September 30, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cardinal Rigali Urges Respect for Human Life, Opposition to 'Freedom of Choice' Act
WASHINGTON-In a statement to mark Respect Life Sunday, October 5, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia urged Catholics "to help build a culture in which every human life without exception is respected and defended."
"Let us rededicate ourselves to defending the basic rights of those who are weakest and most marginalized: the poor, the homeless, the innocent unborn, and the frail and elderly who need our respect and our assistance," he said.
Cardinal Rigali chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Cardinal Rigali cited encouraging trends that "most Americans favor banning all abortion or permitting it only in very rare cases," and that the U.S. abortion rate declined 26 percent between 1989 and 2004, with a 58 percent decline among girls under 18. He also addressed the threat posed by "FOCA," a federal "Freedom of Choice Act" which, he said, "if enacted, would obliterate virtually all the gains of the past 35 years and cause the abortion rate to skyrocket."
"We cannot allow this to happen. We cannot tolerate an even greater loss of innocent human lives. We cannot subject more women and men to the post-abortion grief and suffering that our counselors and priests encounter daily in Project Rachel programs across America," Cardinal Rigali said.
He hailed therapeutic successes using adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood.
"The Catholic Church strongly supports promising and ethically sound stem cell research - and strongly opposes killing week-old human embryos, or human beings at any stage, to extract their stem cells," he said.
Cardinal Rigali also noted the continuing need to protect vulnerable patients at the end of life. Legalizing physician-assisted suicide, as proposed in a Washington State ballot initiative this November, would "betray the ideal of America as a compassionate society honoring the inherent worth of every human being."
The Respect Life program, begun in 1972, stresses the value and dignity of human life. It is observed in the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States. This year's theme is "Hope and Trust in Life!" The full statement follows.
STATEMENT FOR RESPECT LIFE SUNDAY
Cardinal Justin F. Rigali
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Pro-life Activities
September 30, 2008
On October 5, 2008, Catholics across the United States will again celebrate Respect Life Sunday. Throughout the month of October, Catholic parishes and organizations will sponsor hundreds of educational conferences, prayer services, and opportunities for public witness, as well as events to raise funds for programs assisting those in need. Such initiatives are integral to the Church's ongoing effort to help build a culture in which every human life without exception is respected and defended.
Education and advocacy during Respect Life Month address a broad range of moral and public policy issues. Among these, the care of persons with disabilities and those nearing the end of life is an enduring concern. Some medical ethicists wrongly promote ending the lives of patients with serious physical and mental disabilities by withdrawing their food and water, even though - or in some cases precisely because - they are not imminently dying. This November, the citizens of Washington State will vote on a ballot initiative to legalize doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. In neighboring Oregon, where assisted suicide is already legal, the state has refused to cover the cost of life-sustaining treatments for some patients facing terminal illness, while callously informing them that Oregon will pay for suicide pills. Such policies betray the ideal of America as a compassionate society honoring the inherent worth of every human being.
Embryonic stem cell research also presents grave ethical concerns. The Catholic Church strongly supports promising and ethically sound stem cell research - and strongly opposes killing week-old human embryos, or human beings at any stage, to extract their stem cells. We applaud the remarkable therapeutic successes that have been achieved using stem cells from cord blood and adult tissues. We vigorously oppose initiatives, like the one confronting Michigan voters in November, that would endorse the deliberate destruction of developing human beings for embryonic stem cell research.
Turning to abortion, we note that most Americans favor banning all abortion or permitting it only in very rare cases (danger to the mother's life or cases of rape or incest). Also encouraging is the finding of a recent Guttmacher Institute study that the U.S. abortion rate declined 26% between 1989 and 2004. The decline was steepest, 58%, among girls under 18. An important factor in this trend is that teens increasingly are choosing to remain abstinent until their late teens or early 20s. Regrettably, when they do become sexually active prior to marrying, many become pregnant and choose abortion - the abortion rate increased among women aged 20 and older between 1974 and 2004, although the rate is now gradually declining.
Today, however, we face the threat of a federal bill that, if enacted, would obliterate virtually all the gains of the past 35 years and cause the abortion rate to skyrocket. The "Freedom of Choice Act" ("FOCA") has many Congressional sponsors, some of whom have pledged to act swiftly to help enact this proposed legislation when Congress reconvenes in January.
FOCA establishes abortion as a "fundamental right" throughout the nine months of pregnancy, and forbids any law or policy that could "interfere" with that right or "discriminate" against it in public funding and programs. If FOCA became law, hundreds of reasonable, widely supported, and constitutionally sound abortion regulations now in place would be invalidated. Gone would be laws providing for informed consent, and parental consent or notification in the case of minors. Laws protecting women from unsafe abortion clinics and from abortion practitioners who are not physicians would be overridden. Restrictions on partial-birth and other late-term abortions would be eliminated. FOCA would knock down laws protecting the conscience rights of nurses, doctors, and hospitals with moral objections to abortion, and force taxpayers to fund abortions throughout the United States.
We cannot allow this to happen. We cannot tolerate an even greater loss of innocent human lives. We cannot subject more women and men to the post-abortion grief and suffering that our counselors and priests encounter daily in Project Rachel programs across America.
For twenty-four years, the Catholic Church has provided free, confidential counseling to individuals seeking emotional and spiritual healing after an abortion, whether their own or a loved one's. We look forward to the day when these counseling services are no longer needed, when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law. If FOCA is enacted, however, that day may recede into the very distant future.
In this Respect Life Month, let us rededicate ourselves to defending the basic rights of those who are weakest and most marginalized: the poor, the homeless, the innocent unborn, and the frail and elderly who need our respect and our assistance. In this and in so many ways we will truly build a culture of life.
Posted September 24, 2008
USCCB News Release
September 22, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pro-Life Chair To Congress: “We Can’t Reduce Abortions By Promoting Abortion”
WASHINGTONWriting to all members of Congress on September 19, Cardinal Justin Rigali warned against enactment of the proposed “Freedom of Choice Act” or “FOCA” (S. 1173, H.R. 1964).
“Despite its deceptive title,” he wrote, “FOCA would deprive the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. And FOCA would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government to reduce abortions in our country.”
Cardinal Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, wrote that under FOCA “abortion on demand would be a national entitlement that government must condone and promote in all public programs affecting pregnant women.” While some have said the bill would simply codify the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, he added, supporters of FOCA say it “would sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies” that are now in effect because they do not conflict with Roe. These include bans on public funding of abortions as well as “modest and widely supported state laws” protecting women’s safety, informed consent and parental rights.
With his letter, Cardinal Rigali enclosed a legal analysis by the bishops’ Office of General Counsel documenting the extreme legal impact of FOCA.
“Members of both parties have sought to reach a consensus on ways to reduce abortions in our society,” wrote Cardinal Rigali. He cited laws restricting and regulating abortion, and “bipartisan legislation providing practical support to help women carry their pregnancies to term, such as the Pregnant Women Support Act (S. 2407, H.R. 3192),” while noting evidence that programs promoting access to contraception do not generally reduce abortions.
“However,” wrote Cardinal Rigali, “there is one thing absolutely everyone should be able to agree on: We can’t reduce abortions by promoting abortion…. No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions.”
Cardinal Rigali urged all members of Congress “to pledge their opposition to FOCA and other legislation designed to promote abortion,” so that “we can begin a serious and sincere discussion on how to reduce the tragic incidence of abortion in our society.”
The full text of his letter can be found at www.usccb.org/prolife/FOCArigaliltr.pdf. The legal analysis of FOCA by the USCCB Office of General Counsel is at www.usccb.org/prolife/FOCAanalysis.pdf.
Posted August 26, 2008
DATE: August 26, 2008
FROM: Sr. Mary Ann Walsh
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BISHOPS RESPOND TO HOUSE SPEAKER PELOSI’S MISREPRESENTATION OF CHURCH TEACHING AGAINST ABORTION
WASHINGTON--Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, have issued the following statement:
In the course of a “Meet the Press” interview on abortion and other public issues on August 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion.
In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law." (No. 2271)
In the Middle Ages, uninformed and inadequate theories about embryology led some theologians to speculate that specifically human life capable of receiving an immortal soul may not exist until a few weeks into pregnancy. While in canon law these theories led to a distinction in penalties between very early and later abortions, the Church’s moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of development.
These mistaken biological theories became obsolete over 150 years ago when scientists discovered that a new human individual comes into being from the union of sperm and egg at fertilization. In keeping with this modern understanding, the Church teaches that from the time of conception (fertilization), each member of the human species must be given the full respect due to a human person, beginning with respect for the fundamental right to life.
More information on the Church's teaching on this issue can be found in our brochure "The Catholic Church is a Pro-Life Church". www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/abortion/index.shtml
# # # # #
Related: Catholics and Politics
Posted October 11, 2007
Statement from Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, S.T.D.
Regarding Teen Pregnancy Conference at the College of the Holy Cross
Click Title for complete statement.
"A controversy has arisen at the College of the Holy Cross that has resulted from the College’s renting space for a conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy. The conference involves workshops presented by members of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. Both organizations promote positions on artificial contraception and abortion that are contrary to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. ...
"Both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice are notorious for their policies and practices that directly reject the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception and abortion. The College of the Holy Cross should recognize that any association with these groups can create the situation of offering scandal understood in its proper theological sense, i.e., an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. Certainly it is understandable how people of good will could interpret the college’s allowing presentations to be made by such groups as truly scandalous.
"I strongly contend that the confusion and upset to the Catholic faithful and others that flow from the perception that the administration of the College of the Holy Cross supports positions contrary to the fundamental moral teaching of the Church must be avoided. To deny Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice a forum in which to present their morally unacceptable positions is not an infringement of the exercise of academic freedom but a defensible attempt to make unambiguously clear the Catholic identity and mission of the College of the Holy Cross.
Posted August 22, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Curt Mercadante
August 22, 2007 (314) 825-4478
Missourians Launch Campaign to Prohibit Human Cloning
Initiative Would Protect Proven Cures and Treatments
JEFFERSON CITY, MO A coalition of concerned Missouri citizens, doctors, and academics today launched the “Cures Without Cloning” (CWC) initiative to prohibit human cloning in Missouri. Dr. Lori Buffa, of St. Peters, Missouri, filed proposed ballot language with the Secretary of State’s office this morning.
“The Missouri Constitution currently allows for human cloning. It allows for the same cloning method that created Dolly the Sheep,” said Dr. Buffa, who serves as chair of CWC. “This initiative will ensure this dangerous, unproven, unnecessary practice is prohibited, and allow us to focus on safe research that leads to lifesaving cures and treatments.”
The initiative would amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit the practice of human cloning, and would prohibit taxpayer funding of human cloning experiments. Specifically, the coalition is seeking to place the following language in the Missouri constitution:
Section 38(e) 1. It shall be unlawful to clone or attempt to clone a human being. Researchers may conduct stem cell research to discover cures for disease and develop stem cell therapies and cures, provided that the research complies with the limitations of this section and, in addition, the limitations of Section 38(d).
2. For all purposes within this constitution:
(1) “Clone or attempt to clone a human being” includes the creation of or the attempt to create, by means other than fertilization of a human egg with human sperm, a new human organism that is virtually identical genetically to an existing or previously existing human organism or human orgnisms.
(2) “Human organism” means human life in any stage. Human life begins with an initial stage, when a single human egg cell receives a complete set of forty-six chromosomes, and continues through any subsequent stages of embryonic, fetal, postnatal, and later development.
3. No taxpayer dollars shall be expended:
(1) to clone or attempt to clone a human being; or
(2) to research or experiment using a human organism, or any part of a human organism, derived from cloning or attempting to clone a human being.
“As a doctor, I have grave concerns about experimentation with human cloning. It is unproven, dangerous, and outside the mainstream of society,” said Dr. Buffa. “We should continue to search for cures and treatments using stem cell research. And we should embrace the exciting promise of cures and treatments that proven, safe research can bring - and we should do so by resoundingly rejecting the practice of human cloning.”
Cures without Cloning (CWC) is leading a broad-based, statewide coalition of grassroots organizations committed to prohibiting the cloning of human beings in Missouri. Interested citizens are invited to visit www.MOcureswithoutcloning.com for more information.
Posted April 30, 2007
The Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis reports the Komen Foundation for breast cancer supports Planned Parenthood; suggests
St. Louis Archdiocese - Respect Life Committee statement -http://stlprolife.org/KomenfortheCure.html
Position Statement on Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Issued 7 June 2006; revised 29 March 2007
The Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis acknowledges the beneficial work of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, formerly known as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, in the area of breast cancer detection, prevention, research and treatment. Due to its policy allowing affiliates to offer financial support to abortion providing facilities and its endorsement of embryonic stem cell research, the Respect Life Apostolate neither supports nor encourages participation in activities that benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
This position is based on the following facts:
1. Public records indicate that Susan G. Komen for the Cure ("Komen") affiliates in at least 22 states (Missouri is not among them) have provided sizable grants to local Planned Parenthood chapters for breast health care services.1
• Despite Komen donations for breast health care services, Planned Parenthood (the largest single abortion provider in the country) stated in its 2004-2005 annual report that 9,900 more abortions were performed and 26,000 fewer breast exams were provided in 2004 than in 2003. 2
• Donors cannot control how an organization designates its funds. Therefore, money donated for a specific service, i.e. breast health care, directly frees up funds to support other areas of an organization’s agenda, i.e. contraception services, “safe” sex education and abortion services.
2. The Komen website dismisses the link between procured abortion and increased risk of breast cancer.3 However, the research of Joel Brind, Ph.D., a professor of Endocrinology and founder of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, and the work of Dr. Janet Daling,4 a leading cancer epidemiologist and pro-choice advocate, invalidate a dismissal of the link. Daling said, “I would have loved to have found no association between breast cancer and abortion, but our research is rock solid, and our data is accurate. It’s not a matter of believing, it’s a matter of what is.”5
3. Komen endorses embryonic stem cell research that requires the destruction of embryonic human life, stating that “embryonic stem cells…have the most potential” for cancer stem cell research.6 The destruction of human life at any stage of development is never morally acceptable. Embryonic stem cell research is also unnecessary since adult stem cell research has a proven record of cures and treatments.
Based on these documented facts, the Respect Life Apostolate (RLA) does not endorse Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The RLA encourages you to contact Susan G. Komen for the Cure (5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250 ? Dallas, TX 75244) and call for an end to all associations between Komen affiliates and Planned Parenthood, recognition of the link between breast cancer and abortion, and a refusal to support research that leads to the destruction of any human life. Our hope is that the Komen Foundation will focus all funds on research to find causes and cures for breast cancer and refuse to give financial or other support to any abortion provider or organization that promotes the destruction of human life.
Rather than supporting any Komen fundraising, the Respect Life Apostolate encourages you to direct your donations to the following local hospitals that provide breast cancer services and patient support groups:
St. John’s Mercy Medical Center
Mail to: SJMMC Donations
12800 Corporate Hill Drive
St. Louis, MO 63131
Check: David C. Pratt Cancer Center
Memo: Breast Cancer Development
St. Mary’s Health Center
Mail to: St. Mary’s Health Center Foundation
6420 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63117
Check: St. Mary’s Health Center Foundation
Memo: Empower and Engage Breast Cancer Program (patient support)
DePaul Health Center
Mail to: DePaul Foundation
12303 DePaul Drive
Bridgeton, MO 63044
Check: DePaul Health Center
Memo: Breast Cancer Programs
SSM St. Joseph Health Center
Mail to: St. Joseph Health Center
300 First Capitol Drive
St. Charles, MO 63301
Check: St. Joseph Health Center Foundation
Memo: Breast Cancer Programs
St. Anthony’s Medical Center
Mail to: St. Anthony’s Medical Center Cancer Center
10010 Kennerly Road
St. Louis, MO 63128
Check: St. Anthony’s Cancer Center
Memo: designate for breast cancer research or patient support services
1 Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation & Planned Parenthood: The Visible
Link. Right to Life of Indianapolis, August 2005.
2 Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. (2007). 2004-2005 Annual
Report. Retrieved March 27, 2007 from
3 see "Factors That Do Not Increase Risk of Breast Cancer." Susan G. Komen
for the Cure. 27 March 2007.
4 see Daling JR, Malone KE, Voigt LF, White E, Weiss NS, Risk of breast
cancer among young women: relationship to induced abortion., Journal of the
National Cancer Institute 86: 21, 1584-92, Nov 2, 1994.
5 "The Cover Up." Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer. 27 March 2007.
6 “Cancer Stem Cell Research Shows Promise.” Frontline: The Susan G. Komen
Breast Cancer Foundation’s Newsletter. (Fall 2006). 29 March 2007
Posted April 26, 2007
Link below to Archdiocese of St Louis web site April 25 - Archbishop Raymond Burke's video statement, press release and Q & A on objections to a pro-abortion advocate, Sheryl Crow, performing at a benefit for Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. He also resigned as chairman Of Board of Governors for the hospital foundation.
Posted April 19, 2007
DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS
U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS
DATE: April 18, 2007
FROM: William Ryan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CARDINAL WELCOMES SUPREME COURT DECISION UPHOLDING FEDERAL PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION BAN
Washington, DCCardinal Justin Rigali welcomed the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 in Gonzales v. Carhart.
Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, is Chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The full text of his statement follows:
“Today, after a decade of struggle in legislatures and courts, the U.S. Supreme Court finally upheld a federal law prohibiting the brutal and inhumane partial-birth abortion procedure. This is the first time in 34 years that the Court has upheld a ban of any type of abortion.
“The Court’s decision does not affect the legal status of the great majority of abortions, and does not reverse past decisions claiming to find a right to abortion in the Constitution. However, it provides reasons for renewed hope and renewed effort on the part of pro-life Americans. The Court is taking a clearer and more unobstructed look at the tragic reality of abortion, and speaking about that reality more candidly, than it has in many years.
“Especially welcome is the Court’s explicit recognition of certain key facts: that abortion is the taking of a human life, and that government has a legitimate interest in protecting and preserving this life at every stage; that 'respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child'; that abortion may also cause grief and sorrow for women, which is only made worse when the reality of the procedure has been withheld from them until it is too late; and that the ethical integrity of the medical profession, as well as the fabric of our society, is threatened by the acceptance of practices that are difficult to distinguish from infanticide.
“The Court also acknowledges that in some past decisions, the usual rules for constitutional review were distorted by an unwarranted hostility to legislative efforts to respect unborn human life. We hope today’s decision marks the beginning of a new dialogue on abortion, in which fair-minded consideration will be given to the genuine interests of unborn children and their mothers, to the need for an ethically sound medical profession, and to society’s desperate need for a foundation of respect for all human life.”
Posted April 18, 2007
Quotes from the Supreme Court 5-4 decision April 18, 2007, which upheld the
2003 Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act:
Complete decision: < http://laws.findlaw.com/us/000/05-380.html >
Judge Anthony Kennedy presented the majority decision on the "Partial Birth Abortion" Act:
"The Act does not regulate the most common abortion procedures used in the first trimester of pregnancy, when the vast majority of abortions take place. In the usual second-trimester procedure, "dilation and evacuation" (D&E), the doctor dilates the cervix and then inserts surgical instruments into the uterus and maneuvers them to grab the fetus and pull it back through the cervix and vagina. The fetus is usually ripped apart as it is removed, and the doctor may take 10 to 15 passes to remove it in its entirety. The procedure that prompted the federal Act and various state statutes, including Nebraska's, is a variation of the standard D&E, and is herein referred to as "intact D&E." The main difference between the two procedures is that in intact D&E a doctor extracts the fetus intact or largely intact with only a few passes, pulling out its entire body instead of ripping it apart. In order to allow the head to pass through the cervix, the doctor typically pierces or crushes the skull. [...]
"Respondents have not demonstrated that the Act, as a facial matter, is void for vagueness, or that it imposes an undue burden on a woman's right to abortion based on its overbreadth or lack of a health exception. For these reasons the judgments of the Courts of Appeals for the Eighth and Ninth Circuits are reversed.
"It is so ordered."
Justice Thomas, with whom Justice Scalia joins, concurring.
"I join the Court's opinion because it accurately applies current jurisprudence, including Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833 (1992). I write separately to reiterate my view that the Court's abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), has no basis in the Constitution. See Casey, supra, at 979 (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part); Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U. S. 914, 980-983 (2000) (Thomas, J., dissenting). I also note that whether the Act constitutes a permissible exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause is not before the Court. The parties did not raise or brief that issue; it is outside the question presented; and the lower courts did not address it. See Cutter v. Wilkinson, 544 U. S. 709, 727, n. 2 (2005) (Thomas, J., concurring).
Justice Ginsburg, with whom Justice Stevens, Justice Souter, and Justice Breyer join, dissenting, wrote, in part:
"Today's decision is alarming. It refuses to take Casey and Stenberg seriously. It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). It blurs the line, firmly drawn in Casey, between previability and postviability abortions. And, for the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman's health.
"I dissent from the Court's disposition. Retreating from prior rulings that abortion restrictions cannot be imposed absent an exception safeguarding a woman's health, the Court upholds an Act that surely would not survive under the close scrutiny that previously attended state-decreed limitations on a woman's reproductive choices. […]
"The Court offers flimsy and transparent justifications for upholding a nationwide ban on intact D&E sans any exception to safeguard a women's health. Today's ruling, the Court declares, advances "a premise central to [Casey's] conclusion"--i.e., the Government's "legitimate and substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life." Ante, at 14. See also ante, at 15 ("[W]e must determine whether the Act furthers the legitimate interest of the Government in protecting the life of the fetus that may become a child."). But the Act scarcely furthers that interest: The law saves not a single fetus from destruction, for it targets only a method of performing abortion. […]
" In sum, the notion that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act furthers any legitimate governmental interest is, quite simply, irrational. The Court's defense of the statute provides no saving explanation. In candor, the Act, and the Court's defense of it, cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court--and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives. ...
"For the reasons stated, I dissent from the Court's disposition and would affirm the judgments before us for review."
See complete decision:
Posted April 18, 2007
InForum Blog by Sheila Liaugminas
The news is spreading about today’s ruling and its significance.
The Supreme Court changed course on abortion today, upholding a national ban on a disputed midterm abortion procedure and ruling that the government has “a legitimate and substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life.”
The 5-4 decision marks the first time the court has upheld a ban on an abortion procedure. A similar ban was struck down seven years ago, but the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and President Bush’s choice of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. tipped the balance in favor of the ban on “partial-birth abortions.”
Today’s ruling does not directly challenge the basic right to abortion set in Roe vs. Wade, but it gives states and the federal government more leeway to impose “reasonable regulations” on abortion doctors.
Go to Sheila's Blog for 4/18/2007 for the complete story.
Posted January 30, 2007
The Cardinal Newman Society
Contact: Marc Perrington <mailto:[email protected]>
(703) 367-0333, ext. 103
Sexually Explicit Play to Be Performed
on 22 Catholic Campuses in 2007
Canceled at Four Colleges; Cardinal Newman Society Protests 22 Others <http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/cns/projects/monologues>
MANASSAS, VA (January 29, 2007) For the sixth consecutive year, the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) has launched its nationwide protest of Catholic campus performances of The Vagina Monologues, a sexually explicit and offensive play that favorably describes lesbian rape, group masturbation, and the reduction of sexuality to selfish pleasure.
In addition to the annual protest, CNS is urging Catholic college students to sponsor competing programs <http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/cns/projects/alternatives> , including lectures, prayer events, movies and other activities with Saint Valentine’s Day themes that support women’s dignity, chastity and true romance. Students have been offered advice and financial support for such programs. For instance, CNS is proud to financially support the Edith Stein Project (www.edithsteinproject.org) at the University of Notre Dame, a two-day conference on February 23-24 addressing themes of women’s dignity consistent with Catholic teaching.
V-Day (www.vday.org <http://www.vday.org/contents/vcampaigns/college> ) the national organization promoting the play has announced performances at 26 Catholic colleges and universities during February and March, but already officials of three of those colleges have assured CNS that the play will not occur. One other Catholic college has been removed from the V-Day list without explanation.
That leaves 22 Catholic colleges and universities expected to host the play this year. In previous years the CNS protest yielded a significant decline in Monologues performances: from 32 in 2003 to 22 last year. But faculty and student supporters of the play have dug in their heels at colleges including the University of Notre Dame, which has earned an annual public scolding from Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort-Wayne-South Bend for hosting a play that is “offensive to women” and “antithetical to Catholic teaching.”
Last year Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., rallied alumni and faithful Catholics worldwide to his side when he announced his opposition to the Monologueswhich he decried for its “graphic descriptions of homosexual, extramarital heterosexual and autoerotic experiences”but later alienated the same Catholics by bowing to activists’ pressure and allowing the play to be performed.
“You must know that in taking this decision you have brought most joy to those who care least about Notre Dame’s Catholic mission,” wrote fellow Holy Cross Father Bill Miscamble in an open letter to Jenkins. “…By your decision you move us further along the dangerous path where we ape our secular peers and take all our signals from them.”
CNS has contacted the president of each college by mail with a plea to prevent the Monologues performances. Each president and their local bishop were also provided copies of the play, statements opposing the play from Bishop D’Arcy and Providence College president Rev. Brian Shanley, O.P., and citations from various official Catholic sources <http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/cns/projects/teaching> .
Officials at the College of St. Catherine in Minnesota, St John’s University in New York, and Providence College in Rhode Island thanked CNS for informing them of V-Day’s announced plans for 2007 and assured CNS that the play would not be performed. Several bishops also have pledged to contact the colleges in their dioceses.
CNS is calling on its more than 20,000 members and other Catholics to convey their concerns about the Monologues to college presidents. In past years, some colleges reported being flooded with e-mails and other communications protesting the play.
“This play describes the adult seduction of a minor to be the victim’s ‘salvation’ that lifts her into ‘a kind of heaven,’ said CNS President Patrick J. Reilly. “There is an obvious parallel to the clergy sex-abuse scandal here, and it is shocking that any Catholic educators are sanctioning its performance.”
The Cardinal Newman Society is a national organization working to renew and strengthen Catholic identity at Catholic colleges and universities. For more information on CNS or the Monologues, including updates and cancellations, see http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/cns/projects/monologues.
Executive Vice President
Cardinal Newman Society
9167 Key Commons Court
Manassas, VA 20110
703-367-0333 ext. 101
Posted August 1, 2006
STATEMENT ON THE PLANNED JULY 31ST 2006 CEREMONY, June 15, 2006, -- Diocese of Pittsburgh response to the July 31, 2006 invalid ritual of Roman Catholic Womenpriests.
PITTSBURGH According to an organization called “Roman Catholic Womenpriests” a ceremony will take place on the rivers of Pittsburgh on July 31, 2006 that is represented to be an “ordination” to the priesthood. The following is issued out of concern for those who present themselves for such an invalid ritual, those who conduct it, and those who participate as witnesses since their actions will place them outside the Church. Click title for complete statement. ,Brochure, Bulletin Insert and Questions and Answers for Priests and Parish Leaders were also issued.
Posted June 7, 2006
Constitutional Amendment on Marriage fails in the Senate.
Information on the Bill:S.J.RES.1 Title: A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage.
The Vote: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 109th Congress - 2nd Session -- Question: On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to the Consideration of S. J. Res. 1 )
Posted June 6, 2006
DOCUMENT ON THE FAMILY AND HUMAN PROCREATION
VATICAN CITY, JUN 6, 2006 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for the Family, founded 25 years ago by John Paul II with the Motu Proprio "Familia a Deo Instituta," and presided by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, today published a document entitled: "Family and Human Procreation."
The text, according to an explanatory note written by Fr. Abelardo Lobato O.P., consultor of the pontifical council, "is destined to be an object of study, both for its doctrine and in its pastoral application." The document opens with "an introduction to the theme of the relationship between ... the family and procreation."
This theme is then developed over four chapters covering "procreation; why the family is the only appropriate place for it; what is meant by integral procreation within the family; and what social, juridical, political, economic and cultural aspects does service to the family entail" The fifth chapter presents the theme "from two complementary perspectives: the theological, in that the family is an image of the Trinity; and the pastoral, because the family lies at the foundation of the Church and is a place of evangelization."
"The document," the explanatory note continues, "makes reference above all to Vatican Council II, to Pope John Paul II who dedicated great attention to these matters, and to the recent 'Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.' All this means that the document aims not only to find a doctrinal approach to the problem, but also to open doors to future research on the questions that are the object of discussion today."
The introduction evokes the words of John Paul II in Puebla, Mexico, in 1979, where "he affirmed that the Church possesses the truth about man and at the same time seeks the truth entire. Man is not just a 'rational animal,' he is also familial. The family is connatural to man and was instituted by God. But today man has become a great enigma to himself and lives through the most acute crisis of his history in its family dimension: the family is subject to attack as never before; the new models of the family destroy it; procreation techniques jettison human love; the politics of birth control lead to the current 'demographic winter.' ... Along these paths ... we deviate towards a 'post-human' world. It is necessary to save man."
An understanding of human procreation, the text goes on, may be attained from various perspectives: "the historical," reaffirming the value historically attached to having descendants, "the anthropological, ... and the religious, which places man before God the Creator, Who infuses a soul into each individual and relies on man's cooperation to achieve the fullness of human existence."
The explanatory note continues: "Procreation is the means of transmitting life by the loving union of man and woman," and it "must be truly human." This means that it must be the "fruit of the actions of man," and the "fruit of a human act, free, rational, and responsible for the transmission of life. ... The unitive act of man and woman cannot be separated from its connatural dimension, which is that of procreation and which makes responsible paternity and maternity possible. Only on this personal basis can conjugal morality be understood.
"The Church's doctrinal documents, such as the Encyclical 'Humanae vitae,' and the Apostolic Exhortation 'Familiaris consortio,' refer to the fundamental principle of the dignity of human beings and their ethical dimension." The condemnation of abortion, the inseparable nature of the two dimensions - the unitive and the procreative - and the view of sexuality as a procreative function, "have their foundation in individual beings and their dignity."
"This is the key to the solution: an integral understanding of what is human. Without a 'meta-anthropology' which touches the being, the substance, the spirit, there can be no integral understanding of what is human, because the concepts of person and being are emptied of content. Morals and religion, which are fundamental and decisive values, are reduced to a 'private matter.' The return of metaphysics is vital in order to regain a sense of what is human in man.
"The human being is a familial being," Fr. Lobato's note adds, "and for this reason has the characteristics of a social, political, economic, cultural, juridical and religious being. The family is involved with each of these aspects, which are essential to it. The family requires services, help, protection and constant promotion; and the document indicates how each of these elements should develop. It emphasizes the juridical dimension and recalls that in 1983 the Holy See published the first 'Charter of the Rights of the Family,' which is a solid defense of that institution."
"The doctrine concerning integral human procreation," the note concludes, "is corroborated by the theology of creation and by the mystery of salvation revealed in Jesus Christ and put into effect in the new evangelization. The Creator wished human beings to be two-in-one; the Redeemer assumed the familial condition in Nazareth reminding everyone of the nature of the family since the beginning of the divine plan: two in a single flesh."
CON-F/PROCREATION:FAMILY/LOBATO VIS 060606 (860)
Vatican Information Service
Also see related story on CNS Vatican criticizes couples in marriages 'willingly made sterile'
Posted February 13, 2006
From: Missouri Catholic Conference <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 15:40:42 -0800
To: Undisclosed Recipients <[email protected]>
Subject: Contact Senator Talent Today
Senator Talent withdraws his opposition to human cloning
On February 10, 2006, Senator Jim Talent (R-Missouri) withdrew his name as a cosponsor of the Human Cloning Prohibition Act, SB 658. Sen. Talent based his change of position on his desire that a human cloning ban not impede newly emerging technologies.
Sen. Talent admitted that somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), the same process used to create Dolly the sheep, creates cloned human embryos when used with human cells. He further claimed that banning human cloning through SCNT might impede research on a newly proposed procedure called altered nuclear transfer (ANT). In altered nuclear transfer a cloned human embryo is created but is genetically modified to prevent growth beyond a certain stage.
Senator Talent has come under fire in recent months for his support of a ban on human cloning from cloning proponents.
Deacon Larry Weber, Executive Director of the Missouri Catholic Conference stated. “Senator Talent was elected on the basis that he supported a ban on human cloning. Today Senator Talent completely changed his position.”
“Senator Talent needs to reconsider his position and go back to supporting the bill to ban human cloning before the elections in November,” continued Deacon Weber. “Pro-life Missourians expect that Senator Talent will not succumb to false statements and promises of cloning advocates, and will hold fast to his position in support of the cloning ban.”
Contact Senator Talent and let him know that he needs to reconsider his position and go back to supporting SB 658.
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