Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
July 19, 2010
World News in Brief
Chavez turns vitriol on Venezuelan cardinal
The Vatican newspaper weighed in on the increasingly hostile war-of-words being waged by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez against Caracas Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino.
L'Osservatore Romano reported July 8 that Urosa has been the target of "unspeakable verbal aggression" by Chavez.
The president has recently "thrown fuel on the fire concerning Church-state relations" - most notably with remarks he made during a televised event celebrating the beginning of the country's bicentennial anniversary of independence July 5, said the newspaper.
Local media reported that Chavez called the cardinal a pig and said the cardinal "talks like a troglodyte and he tries to scare people about communism."
The Vatican newspaper said the insults came after the cardinal recently denounced the government shutdown of many media outlets critical of Chavez and urged the government to respect the democratic rights guaranteed in the country's constitution.
Let Maria Goretti inspire you, says Benedict
Pope Benedict urged young people to be inspired by St. Maria Goretti's courage and strength and to always choose the good no matter what it costs. This young virgin and martyr was "a girl who, despite being very young, knew how to show strength and courage against evil," the pope said at the end of his weekly general audience July 7. The 11-year-old girl was repeatedly stabbed by a young neighbour after she refused his sexual advances. She died in the hospital the next day, July 6, 1902, after forgiving her attacker. The day after the Church celebrated her feast day, the pope called on young people to pray to St. Maria to help them "always choose the good, even when it comes with a price."
Life of hermit pope shows silence is golden
The life of a 13th-century monk who became pope should be an inspiration for contemporary people living in a society of materialistic excess and false values, Pope Benedict said. The pope honoured the birth 800 years ago of St. Celestine V in his hometown of Sulmona, Italy, in a Mass and meetings with local residents July 4. St. Celestine, who lived 1209-1296, is best known for being the last pope known to have given up the throne of Peter. He is known as a holy man who rejected the political machinations of the medieval papacy. Pope Benedict chose not to emphasize St. Celestine's short tenure as pontiff, but rather the importance of both the inner and outward silence that allowed him to listen to the voice of God. "We live today in a society in which every space, every moment must be 'filled' with initiatives, activities and sound," so that there is no time for listening and dialogue, the pope said.
Pope first in line to register for WYD 2011
Pope Benedict became the first person to register for the international World Youth Day gathering in Spain next year. The pope kicked off the registration process at a meeting July 2 with Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela of Madrid and other event organizers. The pope told the group that WYD offers young people a great opportunity to know Jesus Christ and learn to trust his guidance in their lives. World Youth Day is to be held in the Spanish capital Aug. 16-21, 2011.
New norms cover sex abuse, women's 'ordination'
The Vatican is preparing to update the 2001 norms that deal with priestly sex abuse of minors, in effect codifying practices that have been in place for several years. At the same time, it will include the "attempted ordination of women" among the list of most serious crimes against Church law, or delicta graviora, sources said. Sexual abuse of a minor by a priest was added to the classification of delicta graviora in 2001. At that time the Vatican established norms to govern the handling of such cases. While the revisions of those norms are not "earthshaking," they will strengthen the Church's efforts to identify and discipline priests who abuse minors, the sources said.
Claver helped trigger People Power Revolution
Bishop Francisco Claver, a vocal defender of civil rights in the martial law era of the 1980s in the Philippines, died in Manila July 1 from a blood clot in the lung. He was 81. Claver drafted the 1986 statement by the Philippine bishops that is believed to have triggered the People Power Revolution that eventually unseated President Ferdinand Marcos and paved the way for Corazon Aquino's installation as the nation's leader. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines described Claver as "one of the strongest defenders of civil rights among the bishops at the height of strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos' martial law." Claver visited Edmonton in 1980 and 1983 to speak about injustice in the Philippines
'Emergency contraceptive' causes 'grave concern'
The head of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities expressed "grave concern" about a drug labeled as an emergency contraceptive and the Food and Drug Administration's process for approving it. He said it was misleading to call it a contraceptive, as it is also known to cause abortions. In a June 17 letter to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA commissioner, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston criticized the advisory panel's hearing that day on the drug. He said the hearing - held without broad public input or a full record on the drug's safety "for women or their unborn children" - demonstrated a failure to understand the "new medical and moral issues" the drug presents. The drug, ulipristal, is being marketed under the brand name ellaOne or ella. The drug is said to prevent pregnancy five days after sex - two days longer than the morning-after pill known as Plan B, which is sold over-the-counter. DiNardo raised concerns that the new drug is similar to the drug RU-486 - which can cause abortions several weeks into pregnancy - than it is to other emergency contraceptives.
Power for women key to development, nuncio says
Women's economic empowerment is essential for the economic development of families and society, Archbishop Celestino Migliore said July 1. "Tragically, violence against women, especially in the home and workplace, and discrimination in the professional field, even on the pay and pension scale, are growing concerns," the Vatican's UN nuncio told leaders of the world body. Women and girls must be guaranteed their full enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights including equal access to education and health." The empowerment of women can be measured by how governments provide "family-friendly working arrangements, shared family care leave and redistribution of the burden of unpaid work," Migliore said.
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