More Americans want abortion restrictions
Four decades after the Supreme Court's controversial decision in Roe v. Wade legalised abortion throughout the United States, a recent Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll showed that 83 percent of Americans surveyed favour significant restrictions.
The poll reveals that support for significant abortion restrictions has increased by four points since 2012 – rising from 79 percent to 83 percent.
Of the 83 percent who support significant restrictions on abortion, 10 percent believe abortion should never be permitted; 12 percent believe abortion should be allowed only to save the life of the mother; 34 percent would restrict abortion only to cases of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother; and 27 percent would limit abortion to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy.
Just 11 percent would allow abortion at any time, while 6 percent would allow it during the first six months of pregnancy.
"After four decades of legalised abortion in this country, Americans have had ample time to understand that abortion has terrible consequences," said Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
"They understand abortion's true legacy – a child loses life, and parents lose a child. And after witnessing the effects of abortion for the past 40 years, Americans are not legally or morally comfortable with that legacy. It is time for our country to chart a new course on this issue – a course that protects both the mother and the child."
The survey also found that nearly 6 in 10 Americans (58 percent) believe abortion is "morally wrong." And 84 percent say laws can protect both mothers and unborn children.
African church leaders reject "gay bishops"
Leading Anglican prelates in Africa have denounced the decision by the Church of England to allow openly homosexual bishops, saying that the move could destroy the unity of the worldwide Anglican communion.
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria said that the decision by the Church of England "could very well shatter whatever hopes we had for healing and reconciliation within our beloved Communion" He joined Anglican prelates from Uganda and Kenya in protesting against the decision, saying that the Church of England had bowed to "the contemporary idols of secularism and moral expediency."
Although the Church of England is the historic centre of the Anglican world, the African dioceses are the most active parts of the Anglican communion. African Anglicans have resisted changes in policy on matters of human sexuality, insisting that their churches must be bound by the moral standards of the Bible and the Christian tradition.
The Church of England announced in January that priests engaged in same-sex partnerships could become bishops, provided that they vowed to remain celibate. Archbishop Okoh dismissed the celibacy pledge as "unworkable and unenforceable."
A Ugandan bishop said he was discouraged to see "that the Church of England, which once brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Uganda, has taken such a significant step away from that very Gospel that brought life, light and hope to us."
The Church of Nigeria has about 17 million members and Uganda another 8 million. As in other African provinces, most members in these two countries are regular churchgoers. The Church of England counts about 26 million baptised members, but says only about a million of them attend services every Sunday.
Catholic World News
Pope meets Vietnamese Communist leader
On 22 January, Pope Benedict XVI met with Nguyen Phu Trong, the secretary-general of Vietnam's ruling Communist Party.
The meeting marked a new stage in negotiations between the Holy See and the Vietnamese leadership. Since 2007, representatives of the Vatican and the Vietnamese government have exchanged visits, as the two sides explored the possibility of re-establishing diplomatic relations. The 22 January meeting was the first ever between a Pope and the head of the Vietnamese Communist Party.
A short statement released by the Vatican after the meeting indicated that the talks had been "cordial," and the Holy See hoped that "some pending situations may be resolved and that the existing fruitful cooperation may be strengthened."
Church leaders in Vietnam have chafed under restrictions set by the government on religious activities. Although negotiations have recently cleared the way for the appointment of some new bishops, the government remains at odds with Vietnamese Catholics over the ownership of parish properties confiscated by the Communist regime.
Nguyen Phu Trong came to the Vatican accompanied by a delegation that included Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the deputy prime minister of Vietnam. The Communist Party leader was accorded a reception ordinarily reserved for heads of state or heads of government.
Catholic World News
Pope's instruction to Catholic charities
Benedict XVI says Catholic agencies must sometimes refuse partnerships that would indirectly support activities opposed to the Christian view of the human person.
"We must exercise a critical vigilance and at times refuse funding and collaborations that, directly or indirectly, favour actions or projects that are at odds with Christian anthropology," the Pope said during an address on 19 January to the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and its president, Cardinal Robert Sarah.
The remarks came only a month after the Pope's surprise release of a Motu Proprio, stipulating that Catholic charitable organisations must fully comply with Catholic teaching.
His address reiterated many of the points he made in the Motu Proprio, which came amidst growing concern from the Vatican over scandals at national agencies in the Church's Caritas network that had been funding partners promoting legal abortion, contraceptives, and the normalisation of homosexual activity.
In the address to Cor Unum, the Pope said Catholic charities must always operate with "God's point of view" even though "our time knows shadows that obscure God's plan."
Christians working at charitable agencies "should be guided by the principles of the faith," he said. "This new view of the world and of humanity that faith offers provides the proper criteria for evaluating charitable expressions in the current situation.
"The Church has always been committed to promoting humanity according to God's plan, in its full dignity, in respect of its both vertical and horizontal dimension. This is also what ecclesial organisations work to develop."
The pope also discussed the problem of Catholic cooperation with international bodies that oppose the Christian view of the person, noting that "the proper collaboration with international bodies in the areas of human development and promotion shouldn't close our eyes to these serious ideologies.
"The pastors of the Church ... have the duty of warning faithful Catholics, as well as every person of good will and right reason, against these tendencies."
A new President for Campion College
At the Fifth Annual Campion College Graduation on 12 December 2012 the President, Dr David Daintree, completed his term of office and handed the baton of college leadership to Dr Ryan Messmore, a US academic and an Executive from the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC.
Aged 40 Dr Messmore is married with a young family. The family converted seven years ago from an evangelical Christian background. Their two children of school age attend Redfield College in Sydney.
Dr Ryan Messmore set out his approach to tertiary education as follows:
"My family and friends often ask me why we gave up a secure job in the US capital to move 'Down Under'. The answer is simple: I believe Campion can revolutionise tertiary education in Australia. What a blessing to participate in that! Most Australian universities view the purpose of education as essentially job training. Too many students look upon a tertiary degree as a meal ticket.
"I think that kind of approach is too narrow. It tends to trap students into a narrow career track. Moreover, Year 12 graduates often don't yet know which career is right for them. As a result, they become unhappy at their large, impersonal university and drop out.
"I'm a parent, so I understand the desire to have my kids find gainful employment; but I want much more for my children than just good jobs. I also want them to become thoughtful, well-rounded adults who enjoy life and thrive in every dimension - spiritual, intellectual, vocational, social. I want them to love learning and to love people. Most of all, I want them to love God ...
"Campion offers a core curriculum that all students study together - a curriculum designed not just to impart information but also to teach students how to think. Theology, philosophy, history, literature, science and math - these are the subjects that equip young people to understand the world and their place in it. These are the subjects that engage students in the questions that matter and enable them to succeed in many of careers.
"At Campion, students pursue such an education in a small, learning Catholic community. The small size allows staff, professors, and even the president, to know every student by name. Moreover, Campion's Catholic identity helps students to live out their faith in all of life. Christian truth, safeguarded by the Church, guides the goals we set, the decisions we make, the way we teach and the rhythms of campus life."
Br Barry Coldrey Report
Ordinariate given historic London parish
The Archdiocese of Westminster has designated the historic Our Lady of the Assumption parish in London to a group of former Anglicans who have joined the Church.
"I hope that the use of this beautiful Church ... will enable Catholics in the ordinariate to prosper and to offer to others the particular gifts of the ordinariate," Archbishop Vincent Nichols announced on 2 January.
Our Lady of the Assumption is a historic building, the sanctuary of which was rebuilt in the 19th century, and is located in the Soho district of London's West End.
"We are very grateful to Archbishop Vincent Nichols for this gesture of goodwill and support for the ordinariate. The church is a beautiful example of ecclesiastical architecture in a very central part of London," said Monsignor Keith Newton, head of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
"We will be challenged to provide a strong Christian witness to those who frequent the surrounding area of Soho."
Our Lady of the Assumption "will also provide a fitting place for the liturgical and spiritual traditions of the Anglican tradition to flourish, in complete union with the Catholic Church," Msgr Newton added.
"These demonstrate our fervent hope for the realisation of the ultimate goal of all ecumenical work, the restoration of full ecclesial communion."
He said the location, which the ordinariate will assume care for during the Lenten season, would allow his clergy to do mission work among the "marginalised" of British society, "faithfully presenting the teaching of the Catholic Church as the means by which the light of Jesus Christ can shine on the dark places of our world."
Now for a Lutheran ordinariate?
The General Secretary of the World Lutheran Federation has expressed serious misgivings about the prospect that the Vatican could establish an ordinariate for Lutherans entering the Catholic Church.
Rev Martin Junge said that the creation of a Lutheran ordinariate - similar to the Anglican ordinariates that are already in place - would have "serious ecumenical repercussions" insofar as it would signal the Vatican's encouragement for Lutherans to leave their Protestant communities. Such a move, Rev Junge said, "would send the wrong signal to Lutheran churches."
Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had raised the possibility of a Lutheran ordinariate in a talk delivered in Rome in January. He said that some Lutherans would be anxious to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, while retaining "the legitimate traditions they have developed."
Catholic World News