The Church Around the World

The Church Around the World

Chicago's Cardinal speaks out on moral issues

Abortion and contraception linked

Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, said he was surprised at the reaction of local media after his participation in a peaceful prayer service before an abortion clinic held a few weeks ago.

"The Church always accompanies the dying with prayer," he said, writing in the archdiocesan newspaper The New World. In his article, Cardinal George explained that such a service was a "normal pastoral response," adding that "people die in an abortion clinic, and it is good to pray for them and for the living they leave behind."

The Cardinal also pointed out the error of those who believe that contraception is a solution for abortion. In the United States, he said, "contraception and abortion go hand in hand."

He continued: "In a culture that believes unwanted children should not be conceived in the first place, and have no right to life if they are conceived, abortion is necessary as a back-up when contraception fails, as it inevitably does at some time ... I was there because it must be said again and again that our society cannot indefinitely sustain the playing off of a mother's freedom against the death of her child."

UN committee opposes motherhood promotion

Calls for revision of religious texts

A UN committee focussing on women's rights has pressured governments to stop promoting motherhood and called on religions to change the interpretation of their sacred texts as part of a campaign to promote radical feminism, according to a Catholic pro-family group last July.

The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute said the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women had used the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to put pressure on the 163 countries that have ratified it to implement their vision of feminism. The committee recently directed the government of Libya to reinterpret the Koran, the sacred text of Islam, "in light of the provisions of the Convention."

Although not mentioned in CEDAW, the committee has claimed abortion as a fundamental human right and has directed a number of governments to change their restrictive laws. The committee complained to Mexico about "the lack of access for women" to easy and swift abortion. The committee criticised Italy for allowing doctors to claim "conscientious objection" in performing abortions.

The committee also criticised Croatia for allowing "Church-related organisations to adversely influence" women's rights. It told the Dominican Republic that an "intermingling of the secular and religious spheres" was a "serious impediment to implementing the Convention."

Catholic World News

Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist guidelines

US bishop says "pendulum has swung too far"

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Youngstown, Ohio, has revised his diocese's policy on extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist (often incorrectly referred as "special ministers") to stress the "extraordinary" nature of that role. A set of guidelines dated 6 June and prepared with the help of the diocesan Office of Worship, the Diocesan Liturgical Commission and the Priests' Council update the manner in which extraordinary ministers are to be nominated at the parish level, strengthen the bishop's role in their selection and highlight the qualities needed to serve in that ministry and procedures for the distribution of Communion, the purifying of sacred vessels and for bringing Communion to the sick.

Bishop Tobin pointed out that the ordinary minister of the Eucharist is someone who has received the sacrament of holy orders - a bishop, a priest or a deacon. "Lay persons may help in this important service when there is a particular need that has been identified - as when there are so many persons present at a Mass and not enough ordained ministers to distribute Communion." While other liturgical ministries such as lectoring, serving at Mass, providing music or being an usher belonged properly to the laity, "Eucharistic ministry properly belongs to the sacrament of holy orders." That distinction had been somewhat lost since the Church allowed this ministry to develop in the early 1970s.

"Many people do not see it as a function of the ordained; they view it as merely one more kind of liturgical ministry. The distinction has been lost and it is important to reaffirm it. I think the pendulum has swung too far in regard to this particular ministry." This was evident, he said, at Masses when a number of priests concelebrated, yet extraordinary ministers distributed Communion while the priests present sat down.

From now on, Bishop Tobin will personally receive the applications and sign the certificates for new extraordinary ministers.

Catholic News Service

South Korea's Catholic President

Publicly professes his religious faith

South Korean President, Kim Dae Jung, recalled several periods of his life as he received the Philadelphia Liberty Medal during 4 July ceremonies at Independence Hall, and emphasised the fundamental role of his faith in Jesus during his life.

"I have had a lifelong pilgrimage toward freedom," said President Kim, a Catholic. "Along the journey certain forces have sustained me. The first is the Christ I believe in. He gave his life upon the holy cross. He taught us how to be free in spirit. The cross was my training toward freedom." During the ceremony, also attended by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, as well as by state and government representatives, President Kim received $100,000, which he said will be donated to a charitable foundation.

President Kim was persecuted over many years and imprisoned by the former government of his country. He recalled that after becoming president he forgave all the past rulers who had prosecuted him. He also achieved "reconciliation with Japan, a neighbor who for 100 years caused Koreans great suffering and anguish."

Clarification of canons on the care of the Eucharist

Key role of tabernacle noted

Made public on 8 July was a note from the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, signed by Council president, Archbishop Julian Herranz, regarding the authentic interpretation of canons dealing with the care of the Eucharist.

In his note, Archbishop Herranz recalled that the Eucharist is the centre and root of the life of the Church and referred to instances "not only of deplorable disciplinary abuses, but even of acts of contempt and profanation by individuals who, almost diabolically inspired, presume to thus oppose that which is most sacred for the Church and the faithful, and what they most protect, adore and love."

The Archbishop indicated that "in certain cases these acts of sacrilege constitute genuine and authentic crimes, according to the canons of ecclesiastical legislation." He cited Canon 1367 of the Code of Canon Law: "A person who throws away the consecrated species or who takes them or retains them for a sacrilegious purpose incurs an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; if a cleric, he can be punished with another penalty including dismissal from the clerical state."

In regard to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Archbishop said that the tabernacle should be "placed on an altar or in a part of the church that is clearly visible, truly noble and duly adorned, so that it is a centre of attraction for every heart in love with Christ."

L'Osservatore Romano

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