Saturday, November 15, 2008

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FIDES NEWS
15-11-2008
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on the condition that you quote Fides Service as the source. Thank you
Daily News from Fides
Agenzia Fides

VATICAN - Solemn Commemorative Act: a concert attended by the Holy
Father and presentation of awards by the Saint Matthew Foundation, in
memory of Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, for the 60th
anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

EUROPE/ITALY - Reactions of the Catholic world to the Court of
Cassation's authorization of Eluana Englaro's removal from life
support

AFRICA/SUDAN - Sudanese President announces ceasefire in Darfour,
however rebels do not comply

ASIA/IRAQ - Babel College returns to the Chaldean Church: hope for
suffering Iraqi Catholics

AMERICA/URUGUAY - The nation's President vetoes the clause in the
Reproduction Law that sought to decriminalize abortion

AMERICA/BRAZIL - Historic agreement between the Holy See and the
Brazilian Government, recognizing the juridical status of the Catholic
Church in Brazil

AMERICA/MEXICO - Bishops' Assembly concludes with an appeal to the
laity to "use creativity in developing new, more effective means to
make Christianity present in the world."

News Agenzia Fides

VATICAN - Solemn Commemorative Act: a concert attended by the Holy
Father and presentation of awards by the Saint Matthew Foundation, in
memory of Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, for the 60th
anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - "The Church believes that human rights
express the transcendent dignity of the person, the only creature that
God has willed for himself as an end and never a means, and she
believes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 was a
moment of fundamental importance in the development, of humanity as a
whole, of a moral conscience in conformity with the dignity of the
human person." This was the statement made by Cardinal Renato R.
Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in
presenting the solemn commemorative events which will be taking place
in the Vatican, in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. The Pontifical Council for Justice and
Peace, along with the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, will be
organizing various activities to take place on December 10, which
Cardinal Martino says "are an attempt both to celebrate this famous
document of the United Nations and to highlight its perennial
importance, proposing its educational and instructional value in the
establishment of a world of greater justice and solidarity."
The Compendium of the Church's Social Doctrine affirms in #152: "The
Church's Magisterium has not failed to note the positive value of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations
on 10 December 1948, which Pope John Paul II defined as "a true
milestone on the path of humanity's moral progress."
On December 10, in the Paul VI Audience Hall, a two-part solemn
celebration will be held. The first half, beginning at 4pm, will
consist in a commemorative act for reflection and study, attended by
the heads of the various Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the
Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See. Talks addressing the importance and
current significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
will be given by: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State; Dr.
Juan Somavia, General Director of the International Labor Organization
(ILO); Dr. Jacques Diouf, General Director of the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO). Cardinal Martino will introduce and conclude the
commemorative act.
The second half of the program will be marked by the presence of the
Holy Father Benedict XVI, beginning at 6pm, with a classical music
concert given by the Brandenburrgisches Staatsorchester of Frankfurt,
conducted by composer Inma Shara.
Before the Concert begins, the Saint Matthew Foundation will present
its 2008 awards, given in memory of Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên
Van Thuân, to the following people and organizations: Dr. Cornelio
Sommaruga, former President of the International Red Cross Committee;
Cardinal Van Thuân, Solidarity and Development 2008, to: Father Pedro
Opeka, author of the project AKAMASOA, a project for building houses
for the homeless of Tananarivo (Madagascar); Father José Raúl Matte,
Camilian priest and doctor working with lepers in the Amazon, in the
Hospital "São Camilo y São Luis"; GULUNAP, a School of Medicine in
Gulu, in North Uganda, linked to the University "Federico II" of
Naples (Italy); the Project "Gruppo Ercolini-Villaggio degli
Ercolini," which works towards a social-cultural integration of gypsy
youth, through the improvement of certain sectors of Rome. (SL)
(Agenzia Fides 14/11/2008)

EUROPE/ITALY - Reactions of the Catholic world to the Court of
Cassation's authorization of Eluana Englaro's removal from life
support

Rome (Agenzia Fides) – The Court of Cassation has decided to confirm
the interruption of the life support being received by Eluana Englaro,
who has been in a vegetative state for 16 years. The event has
provoked certain reactions among the Catholic world. The President's
Office of the Italian Catholic Bishops' Conference (CEI) has issued
the following statement: "The life of Eluana Englaro, which has been
lived out intensely by our nation's conscience, is already headed
towards death. While we participate with profound respect and
compassion in her final suffering, we cannot help but make a call on
to the moral responsibility of those who are taking part in placing an
end to her life. The Church has, on various occasions, including
recently, expressed her conviction that artificial nutrition and
hydration does not constitute heroic treatment, and that cannot help
but reaffirm this fact in this tragic moment. In such a context, there
is an urgent need to reflect on the convenience of a law on the end of
life, with clear statements that seek to protect life itself, which
would be drafted with the greatest consent possible from among all men
of good will."
The Community of Pope John XXIII, founded by Fr. Oreste Benzi, which
has been working in defense of human life for decades, especially when
it is in its weakest and most vulnerable stages, has manifest its
profound grief at the news of the Court's decision. The Community's
statement, signed by its General Director, reads: "This death sentence
touches upon all our consciences, as it is not an expression of
official medicine, but a verdict from a Supreme Court. Ethical common
sense rebels and opposes this matter, as it would lead to a serious
precedence, which could in turn lead to the legitimation of
euthanasia. We ask that the President of the Republic, as the person
responsible for guaranteeing the right to life of every citizen, stop
this homicide of the State, which is taking place in the name of a
justice that is both inhumane and intolerable. No one can remain in
silence when we see the slow death of a person who will be taken off
life support and left to die of hunger and thirst."
The National President of Renewal in the Holy Spirit (RnS), Salvador
Martinez, has also made a statement in response to the Court's
declaration: "A defenseless Italian citizen has been condemned to
death. From today onwards, the right to life will be submitted to a
law that touches upon the most sacred of the human person. What a sad
picture is painted of Italy, which before our eyes becomes more and
more firmly established in a culture of death, incapable of
democratically affirming the right to life. And I ask myself: is this
really what Italians want? We cannot call the oppression of the weak
'solidarity,' or call the rejection of the deepest motives of common
life, 'justice,' when it is precisely through sharing in anxieties and
suffering that we truly become worthy to be in the world." (SL)
(Agenzia Fides 14/11/2008)

AFRICA/SUDAN - Sudanese President announces ceasefire in Darfour,
however rebels do not comply

Khartoum (Agenzia Fides) - "I hereby announce our immediate
unconditional ceasefire between the armed forces and the warring
factions, provided that an effective monitoring mechanism is put into
action and observed by all involved parties." This was how, on
November 12, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir announced his
intention to unilaterally detain the armed conflict in Darfour, asking
that the rebels do the same.
The declaration of the Sudanese President was made after the
conference held this past October 16, entitled the "Sudan People's
Initiative," which was attended by representatives from the central
and regional government, South Sudan, and the opposition. Also present
was Eritrea's President Isayas Afeworki, the only foreign Head of
State who accepted the invitation to the Conference.
The rebels, however, rejected the offer made by the Sudanese
President. "It is just a matter of public relations," said a
representative of the JEM (Justice and Equality Movement), one of the
main rebel movements in Darfur.
In spite of the appreciation expressed by UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon, various international observers say that Bashir's
announcement is an attempt to find approval from the international
community, in order to later avoid indictment on genocide charges, war
crimes, and crimes against humanity, which was called for several
months ago by General Prosecutor of the International Crime Court
(ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo (see Fides 15/7/2008). The President of
Sudan is accused of having supported the pro-government militia
"Janjaweed," who are responsible for the atrocities committed against
civilians. The various armed groups that oppose the government in
Khartoum also committed crimes against civilians, say the humanitarian
aid organizations working in the area.
According to the 2008 Population Report issued by the UN Population
Fund (UNFPA), since the beginning of the Darfur conflict, in 2003,
over 200,000 people have been killed and over 2 million forced to flee
their homes. A total of 4 million people are in need of humanitarian
aid and protection, a protection which the UNAMID (the joint
peacekeeping force formed by the UN and the African Union) has not
been successful in guaranteeing, in part because of the fact that
instead of the 26,000 men that were going to be sent in, for now only
10,000 have been able to be deployed. However, even with the UNAMID
forces, the task will not be simple: control an area of 540,000 km sq.
being occupied by the Sudanese army, the pro-government militia, and
at least 15 local guerrilla bands, not to mention the armed groups of
citizens.
The grave humanitarian crises of Darfur and North Kivu (eastern
Congo), were recalled by Benedict XVI in his General Audience, with
these words: " Come, Lord...to the refugee camps, in Darfur and in
North Kivu." (LM) (Agencia Fides 13/10/2008)

ASIA/IRAQ - Babel College returns to the Chaldean Church: hope for
suffering Iraqi Catholics

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) – In the midst of so much suffering, pain,
denied rights, and discrimination, the Catholic Church in Iraq has
good news: on November 6, 2008, the Baghdad headquarters of Babel
College, the only Christian theological faculty in Iraq, was returned
to its owner, the Chaldean Church, by the American army that occupied
them since the end of March 2007.
The activities hosted by the complex -affiliated to the Urbaniana
University of Rome, a dependent of the Congregation for the
Evangelization of Peoples, had been transferred to Ankawa, in the
north of the country, controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government
and where they are still functioning. Along with it, the Chaldean
major seminary of St Peter and the Institute of Religious Sciences for
the preparation of catechists were also transferred, for reasons of
security.
However, the hope of one day returning to Baghdad never vanished, say
the College's directors, all of whom hope that the sector of Dora
(where it is located) will become one of the Christian centers of
Baghdad, as Babel College Rector Monsignor Jacques Isaac told the
information service "Baghdad Hope."
Now, after 19 months, the Babel College is back in the hands of
Chaldean church following the new American policy to leave the control
of the streets to the Iraqi army. "The agreement is that the U.S. Army
will restore the damaged parts and replace what was destroyed: the
equipment of classrooms, for example, and the typography," Msgr. Isaac
said, noting that "the library was not damaged because it has always
been kept closed. Not even the chapel was damaged because, given the
presence of a chaplain, it was used for what it is: a place of
worship."
The Rector hopes that, once the restoration is finalizes, classes can
resume. "We hope that all is in Dora - the faculty, the Institute, the
seminary - could return to operate as before. But this does not mean
that the sections created in Ankawa will be closed. In recent months
we realized their worth in the north and we intend to keep them
working also there."
The security of the complex is now in the hands of the Iraqi army,
that must demonstrate to want to protect it and to know how to do it.
If it will perform its duty it will be a proof of the will of the
government to respect minorities. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 14/11/2008)

AMERICA/URUGUAY - The nation's President vetoes the clause in the
Reproduction Law that sought to decriminalize abortion

Montevideo (Agenzia Fides) – Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez, who
is also a doctor of medicine, yesterday (November 13) vetoed a part of
the Law on Sexual Health and Reproduction, which called for the
decriminalization of abortion. In addition, as they had announced
several days ago, the Public Health Minister, Maria Julia Muñoz, and
the Internal Affairs Minister, Hector Lescano, also signed the veto.
On November 4, the House of Representatives passed the controversial
law in a 49-48 vote. The law on sexual health and reproduction would
also decriminalize abortion in Uruguay. After the vote, it was
expected that the President would fulfill the promise he had made on
various occasions to veto the bill.
The veto applies to chapters 2,3,and 4, leaving only chapter 1.
Chapter 2, Article 8 read: "in the exercise of sexual and reproductive
rights, which this law recognizes and protects, every woman can decide
to terminate her pregnancy during the first twelve weeks of
gestation." According to Article 9, the voluntary termination of a
pregnancy would be possible if a woman were to give the doctor certain
circumstances, such as "lack of economic, social, or family-related
means," situations which in the end, lead to the practice of abortion
for any reason whatsoever. The draft bill only indicated that the
woman should sign an informed consent.
The Bishops of the country had made repeated pleas, asking that the
law not be passed. The last appeal was made this past November 7,
during their Plenary Assembly, in which they mentioned that "the value
of human life is a good for each and every person in society and it is
above all other interests." Thus, "no honest law can justify
eliminating a defenseless human being with the right to live and be
born" (see Fides 10/11/2008). Archbishop Nicholas Cotugno of
Montevideo also recently recalled that according to Canon Law, "all
who vote in favor of or support or promote abortion are automatically
excommunicated. And this excommunication, according to Canon Law,
takes effect immediately" (see Fides 4/11/2008). (RG) (Agenzia Fides
14/11/2008)

AMERICA/BRAZIL - Historic agreement between the Holy See and the
Brazilian Government, recognizing the juridical status of the Catholic
Church in Brazil

Brasilia (Agenzia Fides) - "The agreement signed on November 13 in
Rome, between the Holy See and the Federal Republic of Brazil, is in
response to a demand of a juridical nature of the Church and
establishes, in one singular text, the juridical status of the
Catholic Church in Brazil," says a statement issued by the Brazilian
Bishops' Conference (CNBB) following the signing of the Agreement in
the Vatican. The Agreement was signed, on the part of the Holy See, by
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States,
and on the part of Brazil, by Celso Amorim, Foreign Affairs Minister.
Although "the Catholic Church is recognized in her juridical nature,
by Brazilian law in the Proclamation of the Republic," with this
accord, the situation already established is solidified and
formalized.
"The specific identity of the Church consists in preaching the
Gospel," the statement said. However, in her activity in society, she
needs a juridical structure and that is precisely the objective of the
Agreement. The statement also explains that the agreement does not
"concede privileges to the Catholic Church, nor does it discriminate
other religious groups. Each one of its articles respects the
juridical status established in the Federal Constitution and Brazilian
law," and guarantees equal treatment of all entities.
Archbishop Gerardo Lyrio Rocha of Mariana, President of the CNBB, in a
press conference on the subject commented that "the great importance
of the agreement is the recognition of the juridical status of the
Catholic Church in Brazil." It also includes "the recognition of
academic titles, religious studies in public schools, canonical
marriage..."
Some of the aspects mentioned by Archbishop Lyrio were: the
collaboration with the State in the cultural area; religious
assistance for citizens in health care centers or in jail; equal
treatment in schools and other Catholic academic institutions;
Catholic instruction in addition to that of other religious groups in
public schools; recognition of civil effects of marriage and
ecclesiastical decisions in matrimonial matters.
The Agreement, which is considered an historic landmark, was the
brain-child of former CNBB President, Bishop Ivo Lorscheider, who
passed away last year and since the 90s had been proposing the idea of
a formal petition to the Holy See for an agreement between the Church
and the Brazilian Government that would be more perfect and complete.
(RG) (Agenzia Fides 14/11/2008)

Links:
Complete text of the CNBB Statement
http://www.fides.org/por/documents/Acordo_Brasil_e_Santa_Sel.doc

AMERICA/MEXICO - Bishops' Assembly concludes with an appeal to the
laity to "use creativity in developing new, more effective means to
make Christianity present in the world."

Mexico City (Agenzia Fides) - "The present Assembly can be qualified
as being of historical precedence for its topics of discussion, its
methodology, and its participants. Together, Bishops and laity, we
have been able to reflect on the nature and importance of the most
relevant challenges that call for the attention of the Christian
conscience in the area of politics, the economy, culture, and mass
media, in this dramatic hour of national life." This is what is found
in the Message from the Bishops of Mexico at the close of their 86th
Plenary Assembly. In addition to the Bishops in attendance, there were
also 118 lay men and women from 67 dioceses and several national
organizations, all dedicated to the transformation of the world.
Together, they reflected on the need to "give life to a new and
courageous lay dynamism."
In their Message, the Bishops observe that right now, "we are living
in an authentic change of era, which implies serious crises in various
dimensions of personal and social life, and great opportunities for
building the Kingdom of God." Thus, for example, they recall the
problems of drug trafficking, violence, and delinquency, making an
appeal to the Federal and State Governments, and Political Parties, to
make "a pact of unity to fight delinquency, to eradicate corruption
from the country, on all levels," as "a political accord is more than
ever a necessity, as what is at stake must count on the universal
solidarity of all people."
They also express their grief at the sight of "a Mexico that is
wounded and disillusioned by problems of insecurity, kidnappings,
overpopulation of jails, general corruption, starvation and
marginalization, the breakup of the family, educational poverty,
inefficiency in the quest for and application of justice, drug
trafficking, human rights violations, and organized crime, which all
shed light on the a lack of personal and social awareness in
recognizing the inalienable dignity of the human person in every
moment of his life." Here, they also consider the decriminalization of
abortion in several federal entities, which they describe as "the
moment in which, in a more explicit manner, the foundation of the
authentic legally constituted state breaks down and there is a lack of
respect for the dignity of the most vulnerable and defenseless human
beings." There are also the deficiencies of the national education
system, which have led many young people and children to be exposed to
"a cultural plan with serious ethical, anthropological, and civil
deformities." With all these problems, there is also the global
financial crisis, which "places Mexico in a difficult situation." The
concern of the Bishops and laity for this situation, "leads us all, as
the Church, to a more convinced and coherent living out of our
Christian identity" and a greater awareness of the need to evangelize,
which always implies "to civilize, that is, to promote the authentic
progress of man and all peoples."
"We are convinced that the lay faithful are not only members of the
Church in the fullest sense of the word, but that they are also a true
sacramental expression of the Church's service in the world," the text
reads. Thus, the Bishops make a call to all the laity to "use
creativity in developing new, more effective means to make
Christianity present in the world." The Bishops then remind the
faithful of all the various activities that they can perform, where
their commitment is most needed, for example: in promotion and defense
of life, and the dignity and vocation of women; the strengthening of
the family based on marriage; the promotion of an educational system
that builds strong characters in both the faith and in terms of human
development; the commitment to solidarity with all people; formation
in the Church's Social Doctrine; positive reestablishment of the
relationship between faith and reason, Christianity and culture;
promotion and defense of human rights; formation of a new citizenship,
one that is more responsible, participative, and capable of actively
working for the common good.
As for the missionary need and its renewed launching, the Bishops say
that they will "do all that we can to recognize and promote a new
dynamism among the lay faithful in the Church and society, especially
in terms of participation in politics and civil life."
The Bishops conclude with a call to overcome all forms of mistrust
that "have sometimes marked the relationship between the hierarchy and
the laity, and starting anew from Christ, make new steps on the path
towards a society that is more just, unified, and reconciled, through
the restrengthening of the social fabric, in which the contribution of
all Mexicans to the Christian mission may be seen." (RG) (Agenzia
Fides 14/11/2008)

Links:
Complete text of the Message
http://www.fides.org/spa/documents/Mensaje_Final_Obispos_Mexico.doc

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