Monday, January 31, 2011

Vatican denies bid to name Pope as defendant in abuse case

CWNews.com

The Vatican has turned down a bid by a high-profile American lawyer to name Pope Benedict and other top Vatican officials as defendants in a sex-abuse lawsuit.

Jeffrey Anderson, a Minnesota attorney who has specialized in suits against the Church, asked Vatican officials to serve legal papers on the Pope, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The Vatican rejected the plea, saying that any such request should be forwarded through proper diplomatic channels.

As a sovereign state, the Vatican is generally immune from lawsuits. Vatican officials have also argued consistently that diocesan bishops bear the responsibility for handling sex-abuse complaints.

Anderson, who has made numerous efforts to list the Pope as a defendant in sex-abuse cases, swept aside those legal arguments, and complained that Vatican officials are trying to hold themselves above the law.

Jeffrey Lena, a lawyer representing the Vatican in US courts, responded that it was Anderson, not the Vatican, that had sought to short-circuit the justice system. Lena pointed out that the ordinary procedure in such a case would be to serve the legal papers through diplomatic channels, as the Holy See requested. The attempt to serve papers directly, he said, “is really just a form of grandstanding by Mr. Anderson for the press and the public."

Today on Kresta - January 31, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Jan. 31


Live From Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, FL

4:00 - Coptic Christians and the Egyptian Uprising
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton warns Egypt’s ancient Coptic Christian minority could become increasingly endangered should the protests against Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak drive him from power. Bolton points out Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which promotes the Islamist ideology employed more violently by Hamas and other terror groups, stands to gain despite being a late comer to the revolt. We talk with Jordan Sekulo, Director of Policy and International Affairs at the American Center for Law & Justice, who has worked closely with Coptic Christians in Egypt.

4:20 – The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It
In a world torn apart by religious extremism on the one side and a strident secularism on the other, no question is more urgent than how we live with our deepest differences—especially our religious and ideological differences. Os Guiness’s 2008 book, The Case for Civility, has taken on a new relevancy with so much talk of political civility in the aftermath of the Tucson shootings. Influential Christian writer and speaker Os Guinness makes a passionate plea to put an end to the polarization of American politics and culture that—rather than creating a public space for real debate—threatens to reverse the very principles our founders set into motion and that have long preserved liberty, diversity, and unity in this country.

5:00 – Egypt, Democracy and the Risk of the Muslim Brotherhood
Thousands of protesters determined to drive Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from power launched a seventh day of noisy speeches, chanting and prayers today. The mostly young protesters and the country's traditional opposition groups, including the Islamic fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, have coalesced around the loose leadership of Nobel Peace Prize winner and former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei, who many say is a potential transitional figure if Mubarak steps down. We talk with Walid Phares of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

5:20 – Philosophy in a Theological Education
A cornerstone of Catholic intellectual life is the teaching that the light of Catholic truth does not dim, let alone extinguish, the God-given light of reason. Faith in Jesus Christ heals, strengthens and elevates the light of reason. Ave Maria University will be hosting a conference in February to explore how the love of wisdom and the intellectual life should inform the education of theologians. Conference organizer Fr. Matthew Lamb is here to discuss Philosophy in a Theological Education.

5:40 – Catholic Schools Week: The State of Catholic Education in AmericaIn this Catholic Schools Week, we take the temperature of Catholic schools in America. Do Catholic schools matter? Do they make a difference? Where do Catholic homeschools fit into the Catholic educational paradigm? We look at all of these questions and more with Dan Guernsey, Headmaster of the Donahue Academy of Ave Maria in Ave Maria, FL and Sister John Dominic, Principal of Spiritus Sanctus Academy in Ann Arbor, MI

Friday, January 28, 2011

Today on Kresta - January 28, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Jan. 28

4:00 - Sports Faith Hall of Fame
The legendary George Halas, the founder of the Chicago Bears and the coach for forty years, referred to God as the Divine Coach. His family described him as a man who didn’t always talk about his faith but lived it very strongly. Today his grandson follows in his traditions and as a board member of the Bears ensures the great traditions of faith and sportsmanship, initiated by George Halas, continues to flourish as part of the very essence of the Bears organization. Pat McCaskey is co-owner of the Bears and Founder & Chairman of Sports Faith International. He is here to tell us about this years’ Sports Faith Hall of Fame inductees and the new Catholic High School Hall of Fame.

4:20 – Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS: What Africa Can Teach the West
In the fight against AIDS, abstinence-based programs that focus on changing behaviors rather than handing out condoms simply work better, says an AIDS expert. Matthew Hanley has been a HIV/AIDS technical adviser at Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for the last seven years and is the co-author of Avoiding Risk, Affirming Life: Science, Love, and AIDS. He is here to look at the programs and principles that have led to dropping rates of HIV prevalence in Africa.

5:00 – The End of the Bernardin Era
Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin died on November 14, 1996, after a moving and profoundly Christian battle with pancreatic cancer that edified Americans across the political and religious spectrums. Bernadin was the first general secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) in 1968. It was Bernardin who, more than anyone else, defined the structure’s bureaucratic ethos, which deferred to “the body’s” authority while establishing a conference “process” that gave its bureaucracy significant power and influence in U.S. Catholic affairs. As the conference’s voice increased, that of individual bishops tended to decrease. But George Weigel argues that with the election of Archbishop Timothy Dolan as President of the USCCB, the Bernardin era is over. George is here to help us understand what that era was about, what that machine embodied, and why we now have a different pattern of Episcopal leadership in the Catholic Church.

5:20 – Catholic Controversies: Understanding Church Teachings and Events in History
A new book entitled Catholic Controversies gives Catholics and others seeking the truth a valuable resource for correcting the most common misunderstandings and myths perpetuated by the media, university professors and the uninformed. It collects the very best articles addressing most of the “hot-button” issues used to undermine both the authority of the Church and the faith of Catholics, especially young people. The topics range from proofs of God’s existence to the Spanish Inquisition to human cloning and stem-cell research. Author Stephen Gabriel joins us.

5:40 – “The Rite”
Inspired by true events, “The Rite” follows skeptical seminary student and Deacon Michael Kodak (Colin O'Donoghue), who reluctantly attends an exorcism seminar at the Vatican. While in Rome, he meets an experienced exorcist, Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), who introduces him to the reality of spiritual warfare in its most extreme form. Nick Thomm has attended the junket for the film and has a review as well as some background from the cast and crew.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Asia Bibi in isolation cell

Asia Bibi, the Christian woman condemned to death accused of blasphemy and imprisoned in Sheikhpura jail for over a year and a half has been moved into an isolation cell. This was reported to Fides by Asia's husband, Ashiq Masih, who has just visited her. After receiving so many threats, and given the danger that Asia may be killed at any moment, the prison authorities in agreement with the government have finally decided to elevate security levels for her protection.


Now Asia is being held in an isolation cell, with two guards in view, while two telecameras are trained on her 24 hours a day. The food given to her is also strictly controlled. To avoid the risk of poisoning, raw food is given to her and she is allowed to cook the food for herself.

Asia, Ashiq tells Fides, “is still sad and worried for her children. I told her to trust in God and that we are doing everything to secure her freedom. I have also told her that all Christians and people of good will in Pakistan will pray for her on the World Day of Peace on 30 January.”

According to the Masihi Foundation, that is providing assistance to Asia'a family, “she is enjoying greater protection, but she will only be safe when she can leave the Country.” The Foundation is trying to organise a family visit for Asia in jail but awaits the necessary authorisation. Nothing new, but it is possible that she will be transferred to another prison. Ashiq refers to today's event for Asia Bibi in Italy, 26 January, as “a good sign and hope, especially for young people, who can learn the values of justice and tolerance.”

Fearing for safety, Pakistani Christians converting to Islam

Motivated by fear and better economic prospects, at least 20 Pakistani Christians are converting to Islam each week. In recent weeks, a leading Muslim politician who called for modifications to the nation’s blasphemy law was gunned down, and thousands marched through the street of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, chanting, “Death to Christians and the friends of Christians.”

“People have no faith in the police or justice system, and the kind of fear that exists now was never there before,” says Peter Jacob, a prominent lay Catholics.

“No one feels safe right now,” adds Nadeem Anthony, a Christian and a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. “People are scared.”

Today on Kresta - January 27, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Jan. 27

4:00 - Direct to My Desk – Give to Street People? Or Not?
Everyone panhandler asking for a handout is an immeasurably precious person made in the image of God whom we are all called to love. But is a quick donation, at best, cheap love? Or should we remember that Jesus ministered to social outcasts and the undeserving on numerous occasions, so why don't we? We look at whether Christians should always give money to street people who ask for it.

5:00 - A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy
Over the past thirty years, as Wesley J. Smith details in his latest book, the concept of animal rights has been seeping into the very bone marrow of Western culture. One reason for this development is that the term “animal rights” is so often used very loosely, to mean simply being nicer to animals. But although animal rights groups do sometimes focus their activism on promoting animal welfare, the larger movement they represent is actually advancing a radical belief system. For some activists, the animal rights ideology amounts to a quasi religion, one whose central doctrine declares a moral equivalency between the value of animal lives and the value of human lives. Animal rights ideologues embrace their beliefs with a fervor that is remarkably intense and sustained, to the point that many dedicate their entire lives to “speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Slideshow of Nick and Al at WMET in Washington, D.C.

Thanks to Guadalupe Radio's Len Oswald, Toya Hall, Doug Pearson, Irene Lagan, and Dennis Kelly for their hospitality at WMET!!!

The Counter Counter-Culture

by Gerard M. Nadal, Ph.D.
Headline Bistro

Yesterday I participated in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. It was a day of solemnity and joy, of sorrowful remembrance and youthful optimism. The number of young people present was staggering, and the pro-choice world shudders at what they are seeing. They have good reason to stay up nights, with visages such as yesterday's.

These young people are militating for an end to abortion, which is quite remarkable considering their age and where they are in their developmental trajectory. Many in my generation saw abortion as the escape hatch from an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. In tandem with the birth control pill, it caused the sexual revolution to become the wildfire that has raged out of control. And here these young people, at least 100,000, were militating for the government to seal their escape hatch shut with them on the inside.

That is what is so remarkable.

The pro-abort slur is that the pro-life movement is predominantly old people, which is code for “people who are beyond the protective benefit of abortion.” This is simply not the case. The beauty here in D.C. is that there is a new generation that has grown up in a world that my Baby Boomer peers and I never knew, and want to reset the social and moral clock to where it was in our childhood.

I grew up in a world where most Catholic families were large, with lots of children; and Catholic schools filled to overflowing with three classes per grade. Most kids waited much longer before having sex; nationally 69% of the class of 1979 were self-reported virgins. HIV/AIDS was unknown, and herpes hadn’t made its national debut. We roamed the streets freely in our neighborhoods without fears of abduction by perverts fueled by a multi-billion dollar per year porn industry that was only in its infancy.

This generation of young people are the post-Roe generation, children who know that they are the result of a deliberate choice by their mothers, who know that one out of every three pregnancies ends in abortion. They know they are the lucky survivors of the holocaust that has claimed 53 million of their peers. What an unbelievable psychological and spiritual reality to carry through one’s life.

These are the children who are growing up in a sex-fueled culture that makes the 1960s and 1970s seem Disney-esque by comparison. They attend schools that are half-filled at best and are witnessing the rampant closures of Catholic schools built around the family sizes of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

Their presence here, in so many ways, is a rebuke of my generation and the rupture that we have made with our past. More than any other generation, the Boomers have benefited from the hard work of their forebears and then struck out on a new moral road. That road has brought unimaginable suffering into the world and changed the landscape our children have been born into.

Now the young are speaking out, a counter counterculture. Unlike the lie of “free love” that so many in their parents’ generation bought into, they are speaking up for authentic love. Unlike the narcissistic roots of “free love,” this authentic love of which Pope John Paul the Great spoke is sacrificial in nature. They may be callow, but they know what they are saying, what they are asking the government to do.

They want an end to abortion, and for marriage to be between one man and one woman.

They want an end to the manufacturing of peers in laboratories rather than being conceived in a conjugal embrace.

They want to be relieved of my generation shoving condoms and pills across the table at them, and they hunger for someone to tell them that they are capable of the self-control that comes with their human dignity.

The girls want to be free to be girls instead of scaled down sex-symbols with the expectation to be “hot.”

I believe that they will get much for which they came and marched. The pro-abort leadership in my generation are the actual anachronisms. When over 100,000 young people march on behalf of authentic love and an authentic bioethic, that’s powerful. If they wish to have their escape hatch sealed shut, perhaps we should give them what they want. It didn’t all work out the way my generation thought it would. “Free love” enslaved us, gave us AIDS, rampant STDs, 53 million abortions, shattered lives and shattered families.

These young ones are wise beyond their years.

Being here and witnessing their joyful spirit and vision of the world as they would have it, I have a refreshing sense of optimism and hope for the future. It will all take time and effort to bring into fruition, but these young people are on the right track and are renewing the face of the nation.

God bless them all.

Dr. Nadal holds a Ph.D. in molecular microbiology. In addition to teaching for 16 years, he's spent seven years working with homeless teens at Covenant House in Times Square, New York. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in theology through Franciscan University of Steubenville and blogs athttp://gerardnadal.com

Britain: 100 conversions to Islam each week

Some 5,200 Britons convert to Islam each year, and 62% are women, according to a survey commissioned by Faith Matters.

The typical British convert became a Muslim at age 27 and, according to the survey, was not motivated to convert by marriage. 55% of converts, however, were married to a born Muslim, and 12% were married to another convert.

The study found that the vast majority of women converts adopted the hijab (headscarf) upon conversion. Books were cited as the primary influence upon converts, followed by Muslim friends and the Internet.

Read the full survey here.

Today on Kresta - January 25, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Jan. 25

Live from the Studios of Guadalupe Radio's WMET in Washington, D.C.

4:00 - Abortion as a Tea Party Issue
Has our financial mess brought us to the brink of getting beyond the culture wars? It’s a question that we might see play out on Capitol Hill in the coming months as the new majority seeks to make the late pro-life congressman Henry Hyde proud, by defunding Planned Parenthood and prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion. Kathryn Jean Lopez says an excellent question for social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and plain old voters is “Why are U.S. taxpayers borrowing money at a record rate to, in part, provide grants to an organization, Planned Parenthood, which raised $388 million more than it spent from 2002 to 2007?” If it’s the very future of the republic you’re worried about, ask yourself: Unless something has to be paid for by the taxpayers in order to protect or defend the Constitution, why not cut it? Kathryn joins us at the studios of WMET in Washington, D.C.

4:20 – Fighting for Faith, Family and Virtue at the UN
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. One of the most important places to defend those principles is at the United Nations. Austin Ruse has been doing it for years, and is here in person to discuss the most pressing issues facing the family at the UN.

4:40 – What to Expect From the State of the Union Address
President Barack Obama will tonight set out ambitious plans for an overall budget freeze as he uses his State of the Union speak to launch his campaign for re-election in 2012. In his annual address to Congress, the President faces the dual task of resuscitating America's flagging economy and reviving his own political fortunes after his party's devastating mid-term election defeat. Against the backdrop of escalating economic gloom, tonight's set-piece speech is likely to provide the toughest test of Mr Obama's presidency. Political scientist Paul Kengor is here to discuss what is predicted to be said and not said.

5:00 – Kresta Comments - Pope sees opportunities, dangers in social networks
Pope Benedict XVI strongly endorsed Christians participation in online social networks, but also strongly cautioned against the dangers of superficial relationships, in his message for the 45th World Day of Social Communications. The Holy Father observed that the new possibilities of electronic communication create extraordinary possibilities for apostolic work. However, the Pope warned users—and especially young people—that social networks suffer from “the limits typical of digital communication: the one-sidedness of the interaction, the tendency to communicate only some parts of one's interior world, the risk of constructing a false image of oneself, which can become a form of self-indulgence.” Al comments on the Pope’s message.

5:20 – The Catholic Martyrs of the Twentieth Century: A Comprehensive World History
Although an abundance of literature devoted to the lives and deaths of historical martyrs exists, scant attention has been paid to Catholic martyrs of the twentieth century. Estimating that approximately one million of the faithful have been martyred over the past 100 years, Robert Royal attempts to validate and document these contemporary victims. Citing the antireligious nature of many modern regimes, he traces both the origins and the results of a relatively recent form of brutal, technologically enhanced religious persecution that has culminated in an unprecedented number of mass murders and individual victims. Robert is with us in studio.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Marching on the Right Side of History

by Jennifer Roback Morse
January 24, 2011

Defenders of marriage should draw hope and courage from the pro-life movement’s success.

As an advocate of conjugal marriage, I am often told that I am on the “wrong side of History.” The justice of “marriage equality” is overwhelming; the younger generation favors it; same sex marriage is inevitable. But this analysis is false. Indeed, there is ample reason to think that the March of History storyline will be proven incorrect. The reason? We were told all these same things about abortion.

“You need to accept Roe v. Wade. The unlimited abortion license is nothing but simple justice for women. Besides, the next generation will completely accept abortion. They will grow up knowing nothing else. They will not have all your hang-ups about sex and your squeamishness about scraping a bit of tissue out of a woman’s body. Reproductive freedom is the wave of the future. You are on the Wrong Side of History.”

A funny thing happened on the way to History: the people did not perform as promised. Last year, I took a group of Ruth Institute students up to the West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco. Official estimates place the attendance at over 35,000. But I wasn’t counting. I was looking at the faces. I saw what anyone can see, if they care to look: the pro-life movement is a youth movement.

The average age of the walkers at the West Coast Walk for Life was probably around late twenties, and even lower if you count babies in strollers. Toward the front of the parade were the Berkeley Students for Life (yes, there is such a thing) and the Stanford pro-life club, (yes, they exist as well), their long-standing cross-Bay rivalry set aside for the day. Busloads of high school students, college students road-tripping in from all over the West Coast, whole church youth groups, families with small children, babies in arms, backpacks and strollers. The next generation is not going along quietly with the Inexorable March of History.

And why should they?

The pro-abortion forces did not correctly predict how the young would react to the Abortion Regime. Simple demographics favor a pro-life next generation: advocates of life have more children on average than their opponents. But beyond that, every person under the age of 38 is in some sense a survivor of the abortion regime. Any of them could have been killed. And some of them realize that.

Many of them have seen friends have abortions to save relationships with boyfriends, only to have the boyfriend end the relationship anyway. Some of them have learned from experience that recreational sex is not as fun as they imagined. The coarsening of sexual relationships, the pressure on women to perform sexually, the easy escape for men from responsibility for their unborn children: some of the Millennials have put two and two together and figured out that the abortion regime enables all this.

Katelyn Sills, President of Berkeley Students for Life, attended the 2011 Walk on Saturday. She reports that the pro-life initiative comes from the young people themselves, not from their parents or other authority figures. When high school students form a pro-life club, it isn’t to pad their resumes: that particular extra-curricular activity won’t impress most college admissions offices. Students form pro-life clubs because they see the injustice of abortion: they identify with the child.

It is the interests of children that the Abortion Regime set aside in order to accommodate the desires of adults. And it is the interests of children that the redefinition of marriage is in the process of setting aside as well. Remember the old pro-abortion slogan, “every child a wanted child?” Who can take that seriously today? “Kids just need two adults who love them” will come to sound every bit as hollow.

Same-sex civil marriage tacitly but surely asserts that kids don’t really need mothers and fathers, and that mothers and fathers are interchangeable. The next generation will grow up with the consequences of institutionalizing this belief throughout society. Same-sex civil marriage is turning the drift toward artificial reproductive technology for infertile married couples into a tidal wave of entitlement for anyone married or single, straight or gay, of any age, to manufacture children for any reason. Redefining marriage will come to mean that there is no particular reason to insist on two parents. Some in the next generation will have three or four parents.

Advocates of redefining marriage assure us that all will be well. Children will do fine, whatever the loving adults in their lives decide to do. IVF children will be so wanted by their legal parents that the lifetime separation from their natural parents will not trouble them. And children of unconventional family structures will have more adults to love them. Divorce, separation, complex custody quarrels, kids shuttling between four households with their sleeping bags and backpacks: that’s just anti-equality hysteria and will never happen.

As time goes on, it will become more obvious that “marriage equality” requires us, men, women and children alike, to ignore biology. Some women who have children with female partners will find that sharing the care of her child with another woman, is not the same as sharing the care of her child with the child’s father. Some men who agree to be sperm donors as “friends” will find that they want more of a relationship with their own children than they had anticipated. And some children are going to have feelings about their absent parents, uncomfortable questions about their origins, and complex emotions about being partially purchased.

Advocates of same sex marriage typically respond, “That’s just biology,” as if biology were nothing. These advocates are asking people to set aside the natural attachment of parents to their own children, the natural difficulties of treating another person’s child as if they were your own, the natural desires of children to know who they are and where they came from. And these advocates are asking the whole of society to ignore sexual differentiation in parenthood: no mothers, no fathers, just generic parents. These enemies of the human body seem to forget that there are no generic people, just men and women.

As acceptance of gender-neutral marriage spreads throughout society, some same sex couples will not be “gay:” they will be forming same sex unions of convenience. And even among the gays and lesbians who marry, not all of them will be the most committed ideologues. Some will just want to live the ordinary lives that advocates of same sex marriage have been promising them. But biology will assert itself.

Children with father-hunger will start to speak up. Young people will start to notice that some of the differences between men and women actually matter. Mothers in same sex unions will start to notice that raising sons without fathers is harder than they had been led to believe. Suppressing all these feelings in all these people will simply not be possible indefinitely. Not everyone will remain silent. Abortion advocates never anticipated the Silent No More campaign, wherein women suffering the after-effects of their abortions began to speak up. As time marches on, the brutality of the marriage “equality” regime will become just as obvious as the brutality of the abortion regime is today.

The children themselves will eventually have something to say about all this. Today, the energy and enthusiasm of the young is on the side of life. And in spite of everything we hear today, the same will be true of natural marriage. Conjugal marriage is the Right Side of History.

Catholic Wedding Must Mean Couple Knows Church Teaching, Pope Says

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2011 (Zenit.org)

The right of a man and woman to marry each other is contingent upon their juridical ability to do so, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this in a reflection on the relationship between law and pastoral care, which he gave upon receiving in audience on Saturday the judges, officials, lawyers and collaborators of the Roman Rota, the Church's central appellate court, at the opening of the judicial year.

Quoting Pope John Paul II's 1990 address to the same tribunal, Benedict affirmed, "It is not true that to be more pastoral the law must make itself less juridical."

"The juridical dimension and the pastoral dimension," he added, continuing to quote his predecessor, "are inseparably united in the pilgrim Church on this earth. First of all, there is their harmony that derives from their common finality: the salvation of souls."

To this end, Benedict XVI embarked on a consideration of the "juridical dimension that is inherent in the pastoral activity of preparation and admission to marriage" in an attempt to "shed light on the connection between such activity and the judicial matrimonial processes."

He noted that the relationship between law and pastoral care "is often the object of misunderstandings, to the detriment of law, but also to the detriment of pastoral work. On the contrary, it is necessary to promote in all sectors, and in a special way in that of marriage and the family, profound harmony between the pastoral and the juridical, which will certainly show itself to be fruitful for those who approach marriage."

Formal obligations

Regarding the place of "canonical questions" in marriage preparation courses, Benedict XVI noted a common misconception that that "in admitting couples to marriage, pastors must proceed with generosity since the natural right of the persons to marry is in play."

The right to marriage, or "ius connubii," the Pontiff explained, "presupposes that one can marry, and one intends to authentically celebrate marriage, that is, to do so in the truth of its essence as it is taught by the Church."

"No one can boast of a right to a nuptial ceremony," he continued. "The 'ius connubii,' in fact, refers to the right to celebrate a real marriage.

"The 'ius connubii,' therefore, is not being denied where it is evident that the premises for its exercise are not present, that is, if the requested capacity to wed is manifestly lacking, or an objective is sought that is contrary to the natural reality of marriage."

Regarding marriage preparation, Benedict XVI affirmed that the the various phases have purposes that "transcend the juridic dimension," but that "we must never forget that the immediate objective of such preparation is that of promoting the free celebration of an authentic marriage, that is, the constituting of a bond of justice and love between the couple, with the characteristics of unity and indissolubility, ordained to the good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children, and which between baptized persons constitutes one of the sacraments of the New Covenant."

Lawful spouses

The Pontiff said that the juridical aspect is not promoting "an extrinsic ideological message," nor is it imposing a "cultural model." Rather, he explained, "the betrothed are made able to discover the truth of a natural inclination and a capacity for commitment that is inscribed in the being of their man-woman relationship. Law as an essential component of the matrimonial relation flows from here; it is rooted in a natural power of the couple that is actualized in consensual self-giving."

In order to assess whether or not an intended marriage, a pre-marriage examination must be conducted, the Pope explained. "This examination has a principally juridical purpose: to judge that nothing is opposed to the valid and licit celebration of the marriage," he stated.

The Holy Father called the interview "a unique pastoral event," which should be "valued for all the seriousness and attention that it demands."

"Through a dialogue full of respect and cordiality," he explained, "the pastor tries to help the person seriously place himself before the truth about himself and his human and Christian vocation to marriage. In this case the dialogue, always conducted with man and woman separately -- without diminishing the importance of other conversations with the couple -- requires a climate full of sincerity in which their must be an emphasis on the fact that those entering into the contract are the ones primarily concerned and primarily obligated in conscience to celebrate a valid matrimony."

Annulments

Benedict XVI asserted that with more careful juridical marriage preparation, the "vicious circle" of "careless admission to marriage" and a declaration of nullity that is "sometimes just as careless," could be broken.

"In light of this," he continued, "it is evidently important that there be a more acute awareness of the responsibility that those charged with the care of souls have in these matters. Canon law in general, and that dealing with marriage and trials in particular, certainly demands a special preparation, but a knowledge of the basic and the immediately practical aspects of Canon Law, relative to our proper functions, constitutes a formative exigency of fundamental relevance for all pastoral workers, in particular for those who are engaged in the pastoral care of families."

The Pontiff also urged all ecclesiastical tribunals to "send an univocal message about what is essential to marriage in harmony with the magisterium and Canon Law, speaking with one voice."

Young people lauded for pro-life efforts at shrine vigil

By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Sitting on the floor in a side chapel in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Lillian Zhao knew that what she was part of was unlike anything she had ever seen in her native China.

Zhao, a sophomore international student from China attending Fordham University in New York, was among thousands of people, most of them Catholic, jammed into the massive church. They, like Zhao, had gathered the evening of Jan. 23 to pray for an end to abortion.

The Mass opening the traditional overnight National Prayer Vigil for Life in the basilica's crypt was minutes away and Zhao was taking mental notes.

She said she expected the next day's March for Life to the Supreme Court to call for an end to legalized abortion would be just as energizing.

"This is my first March for Life," she said. "I'm very pro-life. I'm against abortion.

"I don't think it's a good idea," added the young student who is considering becoming a Catholic. "In China, the abortion situation is getting worse. I want to learn more about what Americans are doing to stop abortion."

Zhao said she found the mix of religion and political activity an interesting combination. It was something she said she hoped to share with friends and family back home, hoping to inspire them to begin to work to end legalized abortion in China.

"We need more brave people (in China)," she said. "If we don't have brave people, you can't make changes."

The actions of young people such as Zhao were held up as an example of the pioneering leadership in the pro-life movement by people in the congregation as well as by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the main celebrant of the Mass.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was among those who were impressed with the turnout of young people. He told Catholic News Service that the vigil Mass was the first he attended even though his wife, Callista, had sung in the basilica choir for the liturgy for 15 years.

"It's remarkable, particularly to see the number of young people," Gingrich said. "They're very energized."

"I just want to let this evening wash over me, if you will," he said.

Cardinal DiNardo, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, praised the young people gathered for the two days of events marking the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision for being "unflagging witnesses to the inestimable worth of each human person."

"The sad anniversary recalled each year on Jan. 22 has become an invitation to you, one that calls for prayer and vigiling, for marching and testifying and for a joyous love for human life that is unable to be defeated," he said during his homily to the young people in attendance.

Returning home after the March for Life ends provides young people the opportunity to continue their pro-life witness to family and friends, both at school and at parishes, Cardinal DiNardo said.

"We are always in need of that conversion, that turning around that the kingdom of heaven invites," he said. "There is always room for us to deepen our respect for the human person. Not only do we need to see each person in the light of the Gospel, but we also need the jolt from Christ Jesus to see every human person as light."

The cardinal also called for a unified Catholic Church in the pro-life effort and urged the huge congregation to unite in the body of Christ in the Eucharist.

"If there is a place where our unity must shine it must be in this realm of laboring for the culture of life," he said. "Anything else will compromise that culture."

Citing Pope John Paul II's 1994 encyclical, "The Gospel of Life," which proclaimed the dignity of the human person, Cardinal DiNardo expressed concern that efforts to expand public funding of abortion continue and the conscience rights of health care workers and pharmacists who do not wish to participate in abortion procedures are eroding.

He also expressed hope that recently introduced legislation in the House of Representatives would become law. In particular, he cited three bills introduced Jan. 20:

-- The Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, which would prevent governmental discrimination from forcing any health care entity to performing or participating in abortions.

-- The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would enact the Hyde amendment which prohibits federal funding of abortion and the Hyde/Weldon amendment on conscience rights for health care workers into law for all federal departments and all avenues of federal funding.

-- The Protect Life Act, which would apply long-standing federal policies on abortion funding and conscience rights on abortion to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"These matters deal with public policy and they are issues in the public square in which you can participate," Cardinal DiNardo told the congregation. "Advocacy on behalf of human life is an important dimension of our pro-life cause."

Pres. Obama Issues Statement for Anniv. of Roe v Wade

President Barack Obama issued a statement on January 22 praising Roe v. Wade, the infamous Supreme Court decision that struck down laws across the nation protecting unborn children. In the 38 years since the decision, 53 million unborn children have been slain in their mothers’ wombs.

The president said:

Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.

I am committed to protecting this constitutional right. I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.

And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

Philadelphia Abortion Horror Victim Speaks

One of the women maimed by the abortionist Kermit Gosnell speaks to CNN


Today on Kresta - January 24, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Jan. 24

MARCH FOR LIFE SPECIAL 3-6 p.m. Eastern

On today’s Kresta in the Afternoon we broadcast from the studios of Guadalupe’s WMET in Washington, D.C. as we report on and analyze the March for Life. We will be airing on all EWTN radio affiliates from 3-6 p.m. Eastern with in-studio interviews, commentary and listener call-ins. Guests include Dr. Jack Wilke, Fr. Frank Pavone, Robert Destro, Os Guinness, Teresa Tomeo, Marissa Gabrysch of Heroic Media and Deirdre McQuade of the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities

Friday, January 21, 2011

Today on Kresta - January 21, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Jan. 21

4:00 - ENDOW and St. Catherine’s Academy
ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women) is a Catholic educational program established in the Archdiocese of Denver. ENDOW brings women together to discover their God-given dignity and to understand their role in humanizing and transforming society. It utilizes small study groups, conferences and retreats to cultivate faith, fellowship and formation. Co-Founder and Executive Director Terry Polakovic is here in MI because whe was just named to the Board of St. Catherine Academy. She joins us in studio to discuss the work of ENDOW and how that ministry is a part of the mission of St. Catherine’s Academy.

4:20 – The Anglican Ordinariate Begins To Take Shape
In Westminster Cathedral, on New Year’s Day, three former Anglican Bishops were quietly received into full communion with the Catholic Church. It was not done with great fanfare, but it marks the start of something important: the Anglican Ordinariate in the Catholic Church. The Ordinariate will face many challenges and problems at first. What churches will be available for Ordinariate use? How many people will actually join this new venture? Will not the lure of old familiar things in the end prove stronger than the longing for unity with Rome and the reality of communion with the worldwide Church? What financial provision can be made for the married clergy and their families? British Catholic journalist Joanna Bogle joins us to answer some of these questions.

4:40 – Willpower is Not Enough. How to Help Yourself and Others Make a Positive Change
Jim Berlucci of the Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership will be offering a one-day intensive seminar on Willpower is Not Enough. How to Help Yourself and Others Make a Positive Change. He is here to give us a preview.


5:00 - A Survey of Exorcism In Movies
The new supernatural horror film The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins, is the latest in a long line of Hollywood films in the subgenre inaugurated by William Friedkin’s 1973 landmark film The Exorcist. Not that exorcism was unknown in movies prior to The Exorcist. But The Exorcist spotlighted the phenomenon of possession and deliverance in an unprecedented way. Catholic film critic Steven Greydanus is here to take us on a survey of exorcism in Hollywood.

5:40 – Reel Love Challenge
College students around the U.S. are invited to test their film making skills in a contest to promote an authentic view of marriage and lasting commitment. The Ruth Institute, a project of the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund, announced on Thursday its first annual “Reel Love Challenge,” which calls on students to submit 30 second videos answering the question “How is lifelong love possible?” Ruth Institute Founder Jennifer Roback Morse is here to discuss the contest.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Congressmen introduce bills to strip abortion funding from federal health care

In the first real attempt to dismantle the nation’s health care law, two Republican congressmen introduced legislation on Thursday prohibiting the federal funding of abortions, calling the procedure “accepted bigotry.”

Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey said he is introducing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would “permanently end any U.S. government financial support of abortion, whether it be direct funding or by tax credits or any other subsidy.”

At the same time, Republican Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania is introducing the Protect Life Act, which would amend the current national health care law to cut any federal funding for abortion. This includes the costs “of any health plan that includes coverage of abortions.”

Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois is a co-sponsor of both bills.

The two separate pieces of legislation take aim at one of the country’s most heated debates. Rep. Pitts said the Protect Life Act is simply an opportunity to reintroduce legislation that became muddled during the original health-care reform debates.

At the time, Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan struck a deal with Democratic leaders, agreeing to vote for the bill if President Obama signed an executive order banning federal funding for abortion.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, along with Rep. Lipinksi whose legislation specifically addresses abortion in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, said there was still “an awful lot of debate” surrounding the executive order.

“We want to make clear, in law, that taxpayer funding for elected abortions is prohibited,” said Boehner, who remarked that there was still “disagreement” about whether or not the executive order stand.

This will solidify that there is none,” said Boehner.

Boehner said Republicans “feels very strongly about the sanctity of life,” and that Protect Life Act would make clear that using tax payer funds for abortions was “not the policy of the government.”

Both bills make exemptions for abortions resulting from rape, or if the pregnancy is or could cause serious health issues for the woman.

Mexican actor pledges to build largest pro-life women's clinic in US

Los Angeles, Calif., Jan 19, 2011 (CNA)

Mexican producer and actor Eduardo Verastegui has announced that his organization, Mantle of Guadalupe, is planning to build the largest pro-life women's clinic in the United States.

Verastegui's announcement came during the first-ever gala held by Mantle of Guadalupe and Catholic Charities of Los Angeles.

The gala took place Jan. 15 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills and brought together 300 noted guests, including Philip Rivers from the San Diego Chargers, Mexican actor Karyme Lozano, actor Sean Astin from “The Lord of the Rings,” violinist Roddy Chong and motivational speaker Nick Vujicic.

Vujicic also received an award for his courageous testimony in defense of human life.

During the gala, Verastegui, who is the founder of Mantle of Guadalupe, reiterated his commitment to defend life and announced that the organization’s new goal is the construction of “the largest women’s clinic in the United States.”

“I will not use my talents except to elevate my Christian, pro-life and Hispanic values,” Verastegui promised the guests.

At the conclusion of his remarks, the Mexican actor introduced several young Hispanic mothers and their babies who were saved thanks to the work of Mantle of Guadalupe. They were greeted with a prolonged standing ovation. “These babies are the fruits of Mantle of Guadalupe, they are the result of your generosity. If only just one of them were here, everything I have done in my life recently since filming 'Bella' would have been worth it,” he said.

Upon receiving his award, Vujicic, a young Australian – born without arms or legs – thanked God for the gift of life. “He can turn a kid without arms or legs into his own arms and legs,” Vujicic said during remarks peppered with loud applause from the guests.

Vujicic spoke about the unique and irreplaceable role of each human being regardless of his or her disabilities. He also announced the launch of the website Iamviable.com, which features inspirational stories.

The gala raised funds for the pro-life medical center Mantle of Guadalupe recently opened in eastern Los Angeles. The clinic provides care for women in need and is located just a few miles from over 10 abortion clinics.

Care is provided free-of-charge, and includes pre-natal care, ultrasounds, natural family planning education and high-risk pregnancy care.

More information can be found at: http://www.mantodeguadalupe.org/

Top Islamic scholars suspend talks with Vatican

CWNews.com

Egypt’s Al Azhar University, the world’s leading center of Sunni Islamic thought, has suspended talks with the Vatican in protest over the “insulting remarks” by Pope Benedict XVI—a reference to the Pope’s statement that Egypt should protect Coptic Christians from mob violence.

The Pope’s protest against a massacre in Alexandria was “unacceptable interference” in Egypt’s affairs, a spokesman for Al Azhar said. At a January 20 meeting, the spokesman said, the scholars of Al Azhar decided to break off all talks with the Vatican “indefinitely.”

The Islamic leader said that his institution is “still waiting for an apology” from the Pontiff for his remarks about the massacre of Copts and for his comments on Islam in his Regensburg address of 2006. He added that in his January 1 message for the World Day of Peace, in which he condemned violence against Christians, the Pope should also have condemned violence against Muslims in Iraq.

The announcement from Cairo apparently caught Vatican officials by surprise. Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said that the Vatican remained open to dialogue with any willing Islamic partners.

The rebuff from Al Azhar is a serious blow to hopes for Catholic-Muslim dialogue. The Egyptian institution had been one of the few Islamic centers willing to engage in discussions with the Holy See, joining with Vatican officials in annual talks that had produced joint statements condemning religious violence. Last year, upon the death of the head of Al Azhar, Sheik Mohammend Sayyed Tantawi, Pope Benedict remembered the deceased Islamic leader as "a valued partner in the dialogue between Muslims and Catholics."

Changing the Mood: Two Inaugurals—JFK and Reagan


PAUL WILL BE ON THE PROGRAM THIS AFTERNOON AT 4:00 EASTERN TIME TO DISCUSS THIS PIECE.

January 18, 2011
Paul G. Kengor

This January 20 marks the anniversary of two unforgettable inaugural addresses from two beloved presidents, Democrat and Republican: John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. For Kennedy’s speech, this is the golden anniversary, 50 years; for Reagan, 30 years.

Both speeches were extraordinary. Kennedy’s lasting line was, of course, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Reagan’s most memorable phrase was probably this one: “We’re not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline…. Let us begin an era of national renewal.” Reagan’s line struck the New York Times, which, the next day, thrust the words “era of national renewal” atop page one.

In both inaugurals, there was no mistaking the message, or the mood that followed. Both initiated a profound, palpable, quite immediate change in the nation’s morale and sense of itself. The shift was dramatic. Of course, it wasn’t just the speeches that made the difference, but the men who made them, with the inaugurals their starting points.

As evidence of the specialness of these two men and their presidencies, consider what happened in between. Between Kennedy and Reagan there was an extended bipartisan disaster, with two Democrats as bookends, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter, and two Republicans in between, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Those four presidencies ended in defeat, despair, debilitation, or even ruin. LBJ was destroyed by Vietnam, and decided not to pursue reelection. Nixon resigned in disgrace and suffered a mental breakdown. Ford, not an inspiring figure, never won an election. Carter lost 44 states to Reagan. Harvard’s renowned presidential scholar, the late Richard Neustadt, remarked that watching Jimmy Carter, one wondered if the presidency was “even possible.”

Amid all this was Vietnam, the counter culture, Watergate, malaise, misery index, unemployment, double-digit inflation, 21-percent interest rates, energy crisis, oil shocks, the Soviets in Afghanistan, hostages in Iran, and on and on. It was a prolonged national nightmare.

Really, Kennedy’s message of hope, so forceful on January 20, 1961, dissipated like dust in the wind.

But then came Reagan, precisely 20 years later, January 20, 1981.

The moment Reagan swore the oath, he committed himself to “national renewal.” Unbeknownst to the press, those two words flowed directly from his personal pen. The theme pervaded the ceremony. On the reverse side of the tickets for the inaugural event was this promise: “America—A Great New Beginning, 1981.”

It is not an exaggeration to say the change in mood began that instant, as the hostages were freed in Tehran—prompting The New York Times to double its top-of-the-fold headline: “Reagan Takes Oath as 40th President; Promises an ‘Era of National Renewal;’ Minutes Later, 52 U.S. Hostages in Iran Fly to Freedom After 444-Day Ordeal.”

Those who experienced the moment, including presidential scholars in that era, agreed that Reagan achieved that renewal. As quick as the end of Reagan’s first term, academic historians and political scientists—most of whom were on the political left—hailed Reagan for his “restoration of morale and trust” to the country and presidency. Specifically, a major 1985 survey by National Journal found scholars commending Reagan for “reviving trust and confidence” in an institution “that in the post-Vietnam era had been perceived as being unworkable.” Harvard’s Neustadt spoke for many of the scholars when he said that Reagan gave Americans a sense that “all was well,” a sea-change from the Carter malaise.

Outside the academy, Time’s dean of presidential correspondents, Hugh Sidey, said flatly: “No one can deny that Ronald Reagan restored morale to a country that needed it.” Edmund Morris, Reagan’s official biographer, and generally a cynic, went so far as to claim that Reagan transformed the national mood “overnight.” The change was so rapid, said Morris, “that it can only be ascribed to him.”

Most telling, similar assessments came even from the enemy’s camp. If Ronald Reagan had read Russian, he would have been blown away by an assessment from the erstwhile Evil Empire. There, the publication, Literaturnaya Gazeta, informed Soviet citizens: “The years of [Reagan’s] presidency have seen an unprecedented surge in America’s self-belief, and quite a marked recovery in the economy…. Reagan restored America’s belief that it is capable of achieving a lot.” The communist publication closed glowingly: “Reagan is giving America what it has been yearning for. Optimism. Self-belief. Heroes.”

Of course, Kennedy, too, gave that to America.

Today, it seems inconceivable that a president from either party would be universally seen as a hero, inspiring so much optimism and self-belief. Yet, in the last half-century, it happened twice, 50 years ago this January 20, with JFK’s inauguration, and 30 years ago this January 20, with Reagan’s inauguration. Those were good times, rare times—worth preserving, maybe even recovering.

Outrageous Statement of the Day

Apparently our resolve to be more civil in political discourse lasted all of two weeks. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), on the floor of the US House yesterday had this to say: "They (Republicans) say its government takeover for health care. A big lie just like Goebbels. You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie and eventually people believe it, like blood libel....The Germans said enough abut the Jews and the people believed it and you had the Holocaust."

This after he wrote in Roll Call just ONE WEEK AGO: "Reckless and hateful speech often has a terrible human cost. If the horrific events in Arizona are not enough to modulate our public discourse, it is likely there will be more violence, more deaths."

Last year Cohen likened the anger of Tea Partiers to the KKK. He tried to justify these remarks by saying the Tea Party and KKK rose to prominence is similar circumstances, unlike how he tried to compare Republican methods in telling “lies” to Goebbels’ strategy in Nazi Germany.

Anderson Cooper last night held his feet to the fire and grilled him on his hypocrisy.

Cartoon of the Day - Roe v Wade 38th Anniversary

This is the work of political cartoonist Gary McCoy from the St. Louis area. Congrats to him for this poignant cartoon that exposes the ugliness of the abortion industry as we approach the anniversary of Roe v Wade. 

Today on Kresta - January 20, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Jan. 20

4:00 - Changing the Mood: Two Inaugurals—JFK and Reagan
Today marks the anniversary of two unforgettable inaugural addresses from two beloved presidents, Democrat and Republican: John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. For Kennedy’s speech, this is the golden anniversary, 50 years; for Reagan, 30 years. In both inaugurals, there was no mistaking the message, or the mood that followed. Both initiated a profound, palpable, quite immediate change in the nation’s morale and sense of itself. The shift was dramatic. Of course, it wasn’t just the speeches that made the difference, but the men who made them, with the inaugurals their starting points. We talk with Paul Kengor about how these two speeches changed the mood in America.

4:20 – The Anglican Ordinariate Begins To Take Shape
In Westminster Cathedral, on New Year’s Day, three former Anglican Bishops were quietly received into full communion with the Catholic Church. It was not done with great fanfare, but it marks the start of something important: the Anglican Ordinariate in the Catholic Church. The Ordinariate will face many challenges and problems at first. What churches will be available for Ordinariate use? How many people will actually join this new venture? Will not the lure of old familiar things in the end prove stronger than the longing for unity with Rome and the reality of communion with the worldwide Church? What financial provision can be made for the married clergy and their families? British Catholic journalist Joanna Bogle joins us to answer some of these questions.

4:40 – Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Christians are called to be instruments of God’s steadfast and reconciling love in a world marked by various kinds of separation and alienation. Baptized in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, and professing faith in the crucified and risen Christ, we are a people who belong to Christ, a people sent forth to be Christ’s body in and for the world. Christ prayed for this for his disciples: may they be one, so that the world may believe. We talk about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity that we are celebrating this week with our Chaplain Fr. Pat Egan.

5:00 - Direct to My Desk – Give to Street People? Or Not?
Everyone panhandler asking for a handout is an immeasurably precious person made in the image of God whom we are all called to love. But is a quick donation, at best, cheap love? Or should we remember that Jesus ministered to social outcasts and the undeserving on numerous occasions, so why don't we? We look at whether Christians should always give money to street people who ask for it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

EWTN Acquires National Catholic Register

EWTN Global Catholic Network has signed a letter of intent to acquire the National Catholic Register, the nation’s leading Catholic newspaper.

“I am very pleased and excited that the Register will now be a part of the EWTN family,” said Michael P. Warsaw, the Network’s president and chief executive officer. “All of us at EWTN have great respect for the Register and the role it has played throughout its history. It’s a tremendous legacy that deserves to not only be preserved, but also to grow and to flourish.”

“I believe that EWTN will be able to provide the stability that the Register needs at this time as well as to give it a platform for its growth in the years ahead. We’re proud to be able to step in and carry on both the Register’s name and its tradition of faithful Catholic reporting on the issues of the day,” noted Warsaw.

Under the terms of the transaction, no cash will be exchanged between the parties. EWTN will take over the ongoing operational expenses of the Register and will assume the paper’s future subscription liabilities.

The acquisition of the Register is the latest in EWTN’s efforts to expand its news presence in the global Catholic digital and multimedia market. At the start of 2010, EWTN entered into a partnership with the Catholic News Agency (CNA), a Denver-based independent Catholic news media outlet with bureaus in North and South America and Europe. Under that agreement, EWTN and CNA are sharing news resources and have created a joint news service found at www.ewtnnews.com. That arrangement was recently expanded to include a new original Spanish-language news service, EWTN Noticias, (www.ewtnnoticias.com) launched in January 2011.

EWTN Global Catholic Network provides multimedia services to more than 140 countries and territories. The Network transmits nine separate television channels in several languages to audiences around the world. It also operates multiple radio services including a network of hundreds of AM and FM stations, a Sirius satellite radio channel, and a global shortwave radio service. EWTN’s main website, www.ewtn.com, draws more than 20 million unique visitors annually.

The National Catholic Register grew out of Denver’s Catholic Register, which began on Aug. 11, 1905. Under the leadership of Msgr. Matthew Smith, the Register System of Newspapers was developed, with the first national edition appearing on Nov. 8, 1927. It was acquired by the Legion of Christ in 1995.

Abortionist Charged With Murdering Patient, Newborns

A Philadelphia physician, Kermit Barron Gosnell, was charged Wednesday with murder and other offenses for allegedly causing the death of one of his female patients and killing seven viable babies in illegal, late-term abortions, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said.

The babies were born alive in the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy, but their spinal cords were allegedly severed with scissors, Williams said in a statement.

Nine other people who worked in the west Philadelphia medical office, including Gosnell's wife and sister-in-law, were also charged, Williams said. The practice, called the Women's Medical Society, served mostly low-income minority women for years, he said.

Williams' statement provided a grisly scenario of the shuttered abortion clinic: A search of the office last year by authorities found bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses scattered throughout the building. Jars contained the severed feet of babies and lined a shelf. Furniture and equipment was blood-stained, dusty and broken.

Gosnell, 69, is not a board-certified obstetrician or gynecologist, Williams said.

Originally, Williams said, the clinic used another doctor as a consultant so it could receive a license to perform abortions in 1979.

Two primary state agencies, the Department of Health and the Department of State, have oversight, Williams said Wednesday at a news conference.

But a grand jury investigation found that health and licensing officials had received repeated reports about Gosnell's dangerous practices for two decades, but no action was ever taken, even after the agencies learned that women had died during routine abortions under Gosnell's care, Williams said in a statement.

"What the [grand] jury found most troubling is that neither of those agencies took the time to investigate, to observe, to view, to go to the clinic itself since 1993," Williams said in comments during the news conference.

"I am aware that abortion is a hot-button topic," Williams said in a statement. "But as District Attorney, my job is to carry out the law. A doctor who knowingly and systematically mistreats female patients, to the point that one of them dies in his so-called care, commits murder under the law.

"A doctor who cuts into the necks severing the spinal cords of living, breathing babies, who would survive with proper medical attention, is committing murder under the law," Williams added.

Gosnell is also accused of reusing unsanitary instruments; performing procedures in filthy rooms, including some having litter boxes and animals present during operations; and allowing unlicensed employees to perform operations and administer anesthesia, including a teenage high school student, Williams said in a statement.

Gosnell's wife, Pearl, 49, of Philadelphia is also facing charges of providing an abortion at 24 or more weeks, conspiracy and other related charges, Williams said in the statement. She has no medical license and is accused of performing illegal abortions at the clinic, Williams said.

Elizabeth Hampton, 51, of Philadelphia, who is Gosnell's sister-in-law, is facing hindering prosecution, perjury, false swearing and obstructing administration of law charges.

Law enforcement officers came upon "the medical abuses" while investigating tips that the doctor had been illegally selling thousands of prescriptions for OxyContin and other narcotics to "patients" that he never examined, Williams' statement said.

The doctor himself was seldom present, Williams' statement charged. In his absence, untrained, unsupervised workers, including the teenage girl, routinely injected sedatives into women undergoing illegal late-term abortions, Williams' statement alleged.

Among numerous charges, Gosnell is accused of third-degree murder in the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, Williams said.

Mongar died on November 20, 2009, when she was overdosed with anesthetics prescribed by Gosnell, Williams said.

Gosnell is also facing seven murder charges in the deaths of infants allegedly killed after being born viable and alive during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy in illegal, late term abortions, Williams said.

Gosnell is also charged with infanticide, conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks of pregnancy, corpse abuse, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses, Williams said in the statement.

Seven other employees at the clinic were also charged, according to the statement:

-- Lynda Williams, 42, of Wilmington, Delaware, is also charged with third-degree murder in Mongar's death. Williams is accused of being an unlicensed worker who routinely performed illegal operations and administered anesthesia. She is also facing murder charges for the death of a viable baby born alive, abortion at 24 or more weeks and other related offenses.

-- Sherry West, 51, of Newark, Delaware, is charged with third-degree murder. She was allegedly an unlicensed worker at the clinic who routinely performed illegal operations and administered anesthesia. She is also facing a charge of providing an abortion at 24 or more weeks and other related offenses.

-- Adrienne Moton, 33, of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, is charged with murder in the death of a viable baby born alive. She was allegedly an unlicensed worker at the clinic who routinely and illegally administered anesthesia to patients.

-- Steven Massof, 48, of Pittsburgh, is facing murder charges for the deaths of two viable babies born alive. Massof, a medical school graduate without a license or any certification, allegedly worked as a doctor at the clinic. He is also facing conspiracy and other related charges.

-- Eileen O'Neill, 54, of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, is a medical school graduate who allegedly worked as a doctor at the clinic without a license or certification. She is facing theft by deception, conspiracy, perjury and false swearing charges.

-- Tina Baldwin, 45, of Philadelphia, is facing racketeering, conspiracy and corruption of a minor charges. She was allegedly an unlicensed worker at the clinic who illegally administered anesthesia to patients and allowed her 15-year-old daughter to administer anesthesia to patients as well.

-- Office manager Maddline Joe, 53, of Philadelphia, is charged with conspiracy.

Today on Kresta - January 19, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Jan. 19

4:00 - Supreme Court lets stand DC gay marriage law
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand a law authorizing homosexual marriage in Washington, DC rejecting a challenge from traditional marriage groups. The top US court without comment turned down a petition from a group of residents seeking to put gay marriage to a city-wide referendum. The high court decision, a blow to traditional marriage, came as another high profile case on the legal status of same-sex marriage in California, churned through the US legal system. We talk with Bill May of Catholics for the Common Good.

4:20 – Scythian
Rousing and raucous, Scythian plays kicked-up Celtic and world music with hints of Gypsy and Klezmer, all infused with a touch of punk-rock sensibility. Take a pair of classically trained dueling fiddlers, toss in a rhythm guitar and the occasional funky accordion, then power it with the driving rhythm of a jazz percussionist, and you've got the ingredients for a show you won't soon forget. Their high-energy, adrenaline-peddling, interactive brand of music has one goal in mind: to get people on their feet and dancing. Their repertoire ranges from traditional and contemporary Celtic and folk music to the alluring and dramatic strains of Gypsy and Eastern European tunes, and then crosses back over the border to pick up some good old-fashioned bluegrass licks. Their latest release is Cake for Dinner, an interactive, educational musical project for children. We talk to band members Alexander and Danylo Fedoryka.

5:00 – EWTN Acquires National Catholic Register
EWTN Global Catholic Network has signed a letter of intent to acquire the National Catholic Register, the nation’s leading Catholic newspaper. “I am very pleased and excited that the Register will now be a part of the EWTN family,” said Michael P. Warsaw, the Network’s president and chief executive officer. “All of us at EWTN have great respect for the Register and the role it has played throughout its history. It’s a tremendous legacy that deserves to not only be preserved, but also to grow and to flourish.” Michael Warsaw will be here to discuss this news.

5:20 - Wise Words from the Bishop of Rome Concerning the Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal
It is the custom of the Pope to offer Christmas greetings to his official family, the bishops and Cardinals who direct the various departments of the Roman Curia. But his words at this occasion last month were much more than mere pleasantries. They constitute, usually, a kind of review of the previous year from the perspective of the Bishop of Rome. The Christmas statement that Benedict XVI made last month to his official entourage were of particular gravity, precisely because it represents one of his most thorough and insightful assessments of the clerical sex abuse scandal. We talk with Fr. Robert Barron.

5:40 – China, the Economy and Human Rights
President Barack Obama issued a finely tuned call for greater respect for human rights on today in his speech to welcome his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao. Hu's four-day state visit to the United States has become a lightning rod for advocates of China's minority Uighurs, Tibetans, imprisoned democracy advocates and other disgruntled groups. Hundreds have converged on Washington to protest. Meanwhile, the issue of the economy and China’s massive holding of US debt continues to be the main topic of conversation. We talk with Philip Levy of the American Enterprise Institute and David Aikman, author and China expert about China, the economy and human rights.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rasmussen: 75 Percent Want Obamacare Changed

Friday, 14 Jan 2011 01:29 Newsmax

Voters overwhelmingly want to see last year’s healthcare law changed, but there is substantial disagreement about how best to do it.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 75 percent of Likely U.S. Voters want to change the law, while only 18 percent want it left alone.

Those figures include 20 percent who want the law repealed and nothing done to replace it, 28 percent who want it repealed and then have its most popular provisions put into a new law and 27 percent who say leave the law in place but get rid of the unpopular provisions.

It is worth noting that a majority (55 percent) take one of the middle ground approaches — repeal and replace or leave it and improve.

Overall, 48 percent take an approach that starts with repeal. That’s lower than support for repeal measured generally in Rasmussen Reports weekly tracking polls on the subject. It is likely that some people who prefer repeal when there are no other options for change are drawn to the idea of leaving the law in place and removing the unpopular provisions.

Just after Election Day in early November, 52 percent of voters said Congress should review the healthcare bill piece by piece and keep the parts it likes. Thirty-nine percent disagreed and said Congress should scrap the whole bill and start all over again.

The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on Jan. 11-12, 2011, by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points.

Most Republicans and unaffiliated voters prefer to start with repeal. Most Democrats prefer to start by leaving the law in place. Republicans are fairly evenly divided between repealing the law and doing nothing or repealing the law and putting its popular provisions into a new law. Democrats are fairly evenly divided between leaving the law alone or starting with the existing law and removing the unpopular provisions.

Not surprisingly, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives favors starting with repeal, while the Democratic-controlled Senate prefers to start by leaving the existing law in place and possibly considering improvements.

Most government workers prefer to start with the existing law in place, while most entrepreneurs prefer to start with repeal. Those who work for others in the private sector are more evenly divided. Most voters under 30 prefer to start with the existing law in place, while most over 50 prefer to start with repeal.

From the beginning, polling has shown that some portions of the law are popular. However, the cost and means of paying for the law are unpopular as is the individual mandate.

The Congressional Budget Office has projected that the law will increase government spending but reduce the deficit. Most voters believe the program will cost more than projected and increase the federal budget deficit.

The majority of voters oppose the requirement in the new law that every American must buy or obtain health insurance.

Voters with insurance are evenly divided on whether the new law will force them to change their own insurance coverage.

Abortion Lobby Dedicates Its Annual Report to DHS Secretary Napolitano

(CNSNews.com)

NARAL Pro-Choice America, a pro-abortion advocacy group, has dedicated its annual report on "the status of reproductive rights in America" to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for "her courage, principled stance, and commitment" to legalized abortion in America. The report was released on Friday.

“Prior to her appointment to this post, Napolitano served for six years as Arizona governor,” says the dedication of the 109-page report Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States. “During that time, she stood almost alone between Arizona women’s reproductive freedom and hostile, unrelenting legislators.”

The dedication credits Napolitano with vetoing "no fewer than eight anti-choice bills," including legislation NARAL said supported “biased counseling” and that required delays for women seeking an abortion.

Napolitano vetoed three bills, according to NARAL, that "would have made Arizona's existing parental-consent law even more burdensome on young women."

NARAL's dedication also criticizes current Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R.), who NARAL said has signed eight “anti-choice” bills since replacing Napolitano.

The dedication cites Kathren Coleman, manager of NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona, in criticizing Gov. Brewer's pro-life actions.

“Arizona’s new anti-choice governor is a willing participant in attacks on women’s privacy--a complete reversal of former Gov. Napolitano’s legacy as a defender of pro-choice values,” Coleman said. “Women are worse off today in Arizona than they were at this time last year, and that is simply unacceptable.”

In a “report card” on "reproductive rights" by state, which is part of the annual report, Arizona was given a “D” by NARAL, the same grade the organization gave to the country as a whole. The state ranked 28th out of 50 for its friendliness to abortion. Next-door California, by contrast, was ranked No. 1 for its friendliness to abortion, and received an A+ from NARAL. North Dakota, which ranked 50th, got an F, as did 19 other states.

Moody's, S&P Warn US on Credit Rating, Spending

(AP) Saturday, 15 Jan 2011 09:06 PM

Moody's is warning the U.S., France, Germany and the United Kingdom that they need to better control the rising costs of pensions and healthcare subsidies.

Moody's Investors Service reiterated its stance that it could downgrade its outlook of U.S. debt, the first step toward downgrading the debt from Moody's highest rating of Aaa, which the United States has held since 1917. But the rating agency's top analyst for U.S. debt emphasized Thursday that no downgrade in the debt is looming.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has also raised concerns about U.S. debt. The Wall Street Journal reported that Carol Sirou, head of S&P France, told a conference in Paris Thursday that a jobless recovery in the United States could threaten the U.S. economy and its debt rating. "No triple-A rating is forever," she said, according to the paper.

Moody's outlook would only be dropped if Washington takes no action at all to trim spending or raise taxes over the long term, said Steven Hess, Moody's lead analyst for the United States debt rating.

"We said the probability we would do it over the next couple of years is increasing. without measures to reduce the deficit and debt trajectory," Hess said Thursday.

Moody's first said it was considering an outlook downgrade in December, after President Obama signed a tax cut and economic stimulus bill. Hess said in a report then that the bill would add more debt than it would generate revenue, unless other measures were taken to offset the effects.

Moody's noted Thursday that the U.S. and Britain have had the steepest increases in government debt. The U.S. launched a $600 billion Treasury-bond buying program recently in an effort to stimulate the economy. Moody's said, however, that all four countries still have balance sheets that are compatible with their triple-A ratings, despite pricey government programs meant to prevent a return to recession.

Looking at the longer term, Moody's said the countries face "dramatic increases" arising from aging-related pension and health care subsidies. "These future costs must be brought under control if these countries are to maintain long-term stability in their debt burden credit metrics," the Moody's report said.

Sirou's comments in Paris were not based on any new information, and simply built on previous Standard & Poor's reports, said spokesman David Wargin.

An S&P report in 2009 said "fiscal risk has noticeably increased," for the United States as it has taken on more debt to stimulate the economy. But Standard and Poor's maintained its AAA rating on U.S. debt with a "stable" outlook because other factors outweigh the risks, the report said.

While U.S. debt is high, the Treasury has a special advantage in paying off loans because the dollar remains the world's global reserve currency, Hess said. That means the United States is in the unique position of being able to print its own dollars to pay off its debt. The chances of the U.S. dollar being replaced by another currency as the global reserve remain slim, Hess said. The troubled Euro is no easy substitute, and China's bond market and infrastructure is so small it couldn't quickly compete with U.S. Treasury's big debt auctions.

"The bottom line for that is that we still don't think there is a very big risk for that. The reason we think that is that there is really no alternative" currency, Hess said.

Thursday's report on the debt is part of Moody's "Aaa Sovereign Monitor," a regular report that focuses on potential outcomes of fiscal policies over the next four years.