The Church Around the World

The Church Around the World


Bishop of Sacramento's directive

Pro-abortion California Governor told not to receive Communion

The Bishop of California's capital city has announced that the State's pro-abortion Catholic Governor should renounce his pro-abortion views before presenting himself for Communion again.

Bishop William Weigand made the announcement at a Mass on 22 January, the 30th anniversary of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision that allowed abortion on demand throughout the US. He said that Governor Gray Davis should refrain from receiving the Eucharist while he continues to hold pro-abortion views.

"As your bishop, I have to say clearly that anyone - politician or otherwise - who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the Church," Bishop Weigand said. "Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and choose of his own volition to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has a change of heart."

A spokesman for Davis said the Bishop's pronouncement was "sad" and added that the Governor is "proud of the legislation he has signed giving women the right to choose." He also criticised the bishop for "telling the faithful how to practise their faith."

Bishop Weigand said he was inspired by a confrontation before Christmas between Davis and a priest who runs a home for disadvantaged children who told the Governor that he wasn't welcome. The Bishop said he was also motivated by the recent note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that enumerated the responsibilities of Catholics involved in politics.

Catholic World News

Scottish Archbishop on evil of IVF

First step in downward spiral to cloning

Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow wrote a letter published in the Sunday Herald last January identifying the creation of test-tube babies through in vitro fertilisation as the first step in the downward spiral to cloning. He called the current situation regarding experimentation on embryonic humans a "bioethical house of horrors".

"The first step on this nightmarish journey was the British Government's acceptance of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), namely the production of human beings in a petri dish. It is often forgotten that for every child brought to birth using these techniques, several embryos will have died, been frozen, or destroyed in the process," wrote the Archbishop.

"An even more ominous step," he said, "was taken when the same government allowed for destructive experimentation on human embryos. The next step was the removal of stem cells from what have been appallingly referred to as 'superfluous embryos' destroying them in the process. Such procedures in turn paved the way for so-called 'therapeutic cloning' - the creation of human embryos for a maximum period of 14 days, during which time their stem cells are removed, killing them."

While sentiment may argue on the side of allowing such research, the Archbishop warned that "it was sentiment - or rather the lack of it - which enabled the Nazi regime to decide on and carry through the horrific policy of liquidation of the Jewish people."

Catholic World News

Pope John Paul II on liturgical fidelity

Bishops need to show "discernment"

Pope John Paul II, during an ad limina visit by bishops from Brazil's Southern Region I, spoke about popular devotions, the Eucharist, authentic liturgy and inculturation in Brazil's multi-ethnic society.

"To give its full efficacy to the Eucharistic sacrifice," he said, there must always be a "worthy and genuine celebration of the mystery, according to the doctrine and directives of the Church, as I have recalled on diverse occasions."

As far as the proclamation of the Word, prayers, rites and all ecclesial symbolism of liturgy were concerned, "any manipulation of these elements negatively affects the pedagogy of faith", whereas a correct and authentic liturgy "builds the faith and life of the faithful."

Liturgy, he stressed, "must be disciplined only by competent authorities, demanding of everyone a great and respectful fidelity to the authentic rites and texts. An erroneous application of the value of creativity and spontaneity in the celebrations, even if typical of the many manifestations of life of your people, must never alter rites and texts and, above all, the feeling of the mystery being celebrated in the liturgy."

Focussing on the Afro-Brazilian culture, the Pope said this raised "the delicate question of inculturation, especially in liturgical rites, terminology and in the musical and bodily expressions typical of the Afro-Brazilian culture."

Whether inculturation involved vestments, songs, language, ceremonies or liturgical objects, there must be "a rigorous application of a serious and profound discernment about its compatibility with the truth revealed by Jesus Christ."

Authentic Catholic liturgy must not be transformed by or confused with "the pantheon of spirit and divinities of African cults ... The Church views these cults with interest but considers harmful the concrete relativism of a common practice of both (rites) or of a mixture between them as if they had the same value, and (sees it) a danger to the identity of the Catholic faith."

Vatican Information Service

Indonesia's religious leaders unite

Opposition to government plans to legalise abortion

Indonesia's religious leaders united in January against government plans to legalise abortion.

Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and other religious leaders released a joint statement denouncing plans to amend the Health Law and called on the public to "preserve life from conception."

While extremist Muslim groups have clashed with Christians and other minorities in Indonesia, mainstream Muslim leaders joined with their counterparts in the unusual joint statement.

"Under no circumstances is abortion condoned by any religion. It is prohibited by all religions, as it can be categorised as murder," Muslim leader Umar Syihab was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying. Umar said abortion is morally unjustifiable unless it is to save the life of the mother.

The proposed bill would allow a woman to have an abortion without the consent of the father and if she can give a reason why carrying the child to birth would endanger her life, rather than requiring a doctor's certification of a dangerous medical condition. If approved, the law can be used as legal grounds for more abortions, especially among teenagers.

Catholic World News

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