US survey shows increasing pro-life trend
The results of a new US survey released in January show that most Americans believe killing the unborn is morally wrong. The survey was conducted by the Knights of Columbus along with The Marist Institute for Public Opinion.
It found that 56 percent of Americans consider abortion to be 'morally wrong.' Of the 'baby boomer' generation, aged 45-64, 51 percent agreed with this statement, while 62 percent of those 65 and over answered similarly.
On the other hand, 19 percent said that abortion was 'morally acceptable' while 25 percent said it was 'not a moral issue.'
The press release noted that these surveys, also held in October 2008 and July 2009, have been 'tracking an increasing trend toward the pro-life position - a trend confirmed by Gallup and Pew surveys.'
The Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson, noted that 'younger people in even greater numbers than their parents see abortion as something morally wrong.' This was due in part to 'advances in technology' which 'show ever more clearly that an unborn child is completely a human being.' Moreover, 'the majority of Americans now understand that abortion has consequences, and that those consequences are not good.'
Zenit News Agency
Benedict XVI: Anglicans a 'blessing' for Church
On 1 February Benedict XVI welcomed bishops from England and Wales in audience as they completed their 'ad limina' visit.
During his address, Benedict asked the bishops 'to be generous in implementing the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, so as to assist those groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. 'I am convinced that, if given a warm and open-hearted welcome, such groups will be a blessing for the entire Church.'
Archbishop Vincent G. Nichols of Westminster, speaking earlier on behalf of the UK bishops, had said the Anglican situation was of 'particular delicacy for us.'
He attributed the 'years of close cooperation and deepening friendship and communion with our brothers and sisters in the Church of England' as 'saving the relationship between the two [Churches] in the face of various interpretations of and reactions to Anglicanorum Coetibus. '
The Apostolic Constitution was published in November 2009 and introduced a canonical structure that provides Anglicans who have a desire to re-enter into full communion with the Catholic Church a way to do so via the creation of Personal Ordinariates. The ordinariate model allows those seeking full communion to preserve 'elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.'
Archbishop Nichols added that the commitment of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) to a third round of discussions 'has reinforced this relationship' and that the bishops of England and Wales 'remain ready to explore with those Anglicans in England and Wales who wish to take up your generous and paternal response to their requests the ways forward towards full communion.'
Catholic News Agency
Pius XII defended in Israeli newspaper
American writer Dimitri Cavalli has recently had an article defending Pope Pius XII published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Cavalli is currently writing a book on Pius XII.
In his Haaretz article, Cavalli says the 'campaign against Pope Pius XII is doomed to failure [as] his detractors cannot sustain their main charges against him - that he was silent, pro-Nazi, and did little or nothing to help the Jews - with evidence'.
Cavalli argues that available evidence shows the contrary to be true.
For example, in 1933, when Cardinal Pacelli (the future Pius XII) was still Secretary of State, he 'instructed the papal nuncio in Germany to see what he could do to oppose the Nazis' anti-Semitic policies.'
Pope Pius XI's 1937 encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, which was drafted by Cardinal Pacelli, was considered by the Germans as a 'security threat.'
When Cardinal Pacelli was elected Pope on 2 March 1939, 'On 4 March, Joseph Goebbels, the German propaganda minister, wrote in his diary: 'Midday with the Fuehrer. He is considering whether we should abrogate the concordat with Rome in light of Pacelli's election as Pope'.'
Moreover, Cavalli continued, 'During the war, the Pope was far from silent.' And, 'unlike many of the Pope's latter-day detractors, the Nazis understood him very well.
'After studying Pius XII's 1942 Christmas message, the Reich Central Security Office concluded, 'In a manner never known before the Pope has repudiated the National Socialist New European Order. ... Here he is virtually accusing the German people of injustice toward the Jews and makes himself the mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals'.'
During the War, representatives of the Pope 'frequently ordered the Vatican's diplomatic representatives in many Nazi-occupied and Axis countries to intervene on behalf of endangered Jews.'
Until Pius XII's death in 1958, says Cavalli, 'many Jewish organisations, newspapers and leaders lauded his efforts.' He cited in this regard a 1944 letter to the papal nuncio in Romania, from Alexander Shafran, chief rabbi of Bucharest.
Cavalli concludes: 'Perhaps only in a backward world such as ours would the one man who did more than any other wartime leader to help Jews and other Nazi victims receive the greatest condemnation.'
Zenit News Agency
Breast cancer risks of abortion: US cover-up
Citing 'confusing and conflicting messages' about the breast cancer risks of abortion and oral contraceptives, an American Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer (CABC) sent a letter on 20 January to President Obama and Congressional leaders calling for an investigation of the US National Cancer Institute and the cessation of federal funding for abortion. The letter was signed by several doctors and pro-life organisations.
The CABC letter cited the work of National Cancer Institute (NCI) researcher Dr Louise Brinton. Brinton, the NCI's Chief of the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch, was a co-author of a 2009 study which reported a statistically significant 40 percent breast cancer risk increase for women who have had abortions.
The authors of the 2009 study said their findings were 'consistent with the effects observed in previous studies on younger women [showing] induced abortion and oral contraceptive use were associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.'
However these findings were not included on the NCI website.
The Coalition called on Congress to 'exercise its proper oversight authority and investigate the role of the NCI in communicating information about breast cancer risks to the American public.'
Karen Malec, CABC president, charged that the NCI 'puts politics ahead of women's lives. That's why we're putting both parties on notice of the NCI's misconduct. If they decide to watch women die, instead of cleaning house when we have prima facie evidence of a cover-up, then both parties will have to answer to angry women.'
Catholic News Agency
Avoid 'false charity' with annulments says Pope
Noting the large number of people in 'irregular marriage situations,' Benedict XVI cautioned members of the Church's highest marriage tribunal to consider marriages valid until proven the contrary.
The Pope also warned the members against a false charity during his annual address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. Truth 'cannot be contrary to charity.'
He continued: 'Some believe that pastoral charity might justify any step toward declaring null the marital bond, to meet persons who are in an irregular marital situation ... The problem is posed when the very essence of marriage is more or less obscured'.
Otherwise, Benedict observed, 'one runs the grave risk of remaining without an objective point of reference for pronouncements on annulment, transforming every conjugal difficulty into a symptom of non- realisation of a union whose essential nucleus of justice - the indissoluble bond - is negated in fact.'
He cautioned the magistrates to be wary of what might seem 'to be the easiest way to follow, in as much as it implies granting the desires and expectations of the parties, or also [conforming] to the conditioning of the social environment.' They should likewise avoid 'the backing of causes that, according to their conscience, are not objectively sustainable.'
Justice based on truth does not go against charity, Benedict explained, rather, 'charity without justice is not charity, but only a falsification, because charity itself requires that objectivity typical of justice ... Without truth, charity ends up in sentimentalism. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled arbitrarily. It is the fatal risk of love in a culture without truth.'
Zenit News Agency
More anti-Christian violence in India
Three Catholic churches have been attacked in India, with media and Christian leaders attributing the violence to Hindu extremists exacting 'reprisals' for alleged racial crime against Indian students in Australia.
In January, a group of extremists tried to destroy a cross near Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Mundalli, Karwar Diocese. They were impeded by parishioners.
Later, the Lourdes Grotto of St Anthony's Church in Taranmakki, Karwar Diocese, was damaged, and the statue of Our Lady at the Church of the Holy Family in Inkal, Mysore Diocese, was also smashed.
The extremists have claimed that 'Christians in India form an active part of the conspiracy that affects Hindu Indians of Australia.'
However as the Christian population in India continues to recover from the wave of attacks that began in 2008, particularly in Orissa, one Christian leader contended that the real issue is a failure by authorities to stop the violence.
'Attacks against religious minorities are up,' said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians. 'We are very concerned about the continued attacks against Christian communities in Karnataka. The greatest tragedy caused by such attacks against innocent Christians is the lack of justice. This happens in Orissa, Karnataka and other Indian states.'
Zenit News Agency
Religious freedom safeguarded by defeat of UK equality bill
Religious freedom provisions safeguarding the rights of British churches and other religious employers to require that employees live according to their sexual ethics have been passed in the House of Lords despite repeated opposition from the Labour Government.
Before the amendment, critics of the proposed Equality Bill said it treated the rights of religious believers as secondary and could have forced churches to hire youth ministers who do not support Christian ethics.
The Government claimed its plans would 'clarify' the law, but churches said they narrowed important safeguards.
Lady O'Cathain had proposed the amendment in the House of Lords to keep unchanged the current law, which allows churches and other faith-based employers to require that staff live consistently with their teachings on sexual behaviour. Her amendment passed 216 to 178 in an initial vote. It is not known whether the Government will try to overturn its defeat.
'We are delighted that the House of Lords has voted to protect freedom of association for churches,' commented Mike Judge of the Christian Institute. 'It is a shame that the Government didn't listen to churches earlier. It's almost as if they don't care.'
The Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff, Peter Smith expressed regret that the Government had refused to meet earlier with religious groups and 'work out an amendment with the right wording.' He said the amendment was a 'prudent course' to address concern that a court might construe the law's wording 'too narrowly'.
Catholic News Agency