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Volume 3, Issue 214

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  • John N. Lupia
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 11, 2003

      Volume 3, Issue 214

      WEDNESDAY 12 November 2003

      * * *


      * * *

      • Pope Urges Solidarity Union to Defend Workers Again
      • Human Lives Must Not Be Saved by Destroying Other Lives, Pope Warns
      • Soccer Players Pay a Visit to Pope
      • Summit on World's Immigrants Is Planned
      • Holy See Reminds U.N. of Conditions for Military Intervention
      • Uganda's Religious Leaders Beg for U.N. Aid
      • China Shuts 400 Temples and Churches in Zhejiang Province
      • Cardinal López Trujillo on Ineffectiveness of Condoms to Curb AIDS

      * * *

      Pope Urges Solidarity Union to Defend Workers Again

      Laments Politicization of Union That Changed Poland's History

      VATICAN CITY, NOV. 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II urged Solidarity, the labor union that played a key role in communism's downfall in Poland, to come out in defense of workers again. He also lamented the union's politicization.

      "All workers, regardless of who is in power in the country, depend on your help in defending their lawful rights," the Pope said today when he met with representatives of the historic organization, among whom was former Polish President Lech Walesa.

      During the meeting in Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father reminded his audience of the 1980s when Solidarity confronted "the programmed suppression of man's freedom, the humiliation of his dignity, and the negation of his fundamental rights."

      The union's action was decisive in bringing about "peaceful changes" which in 1989 "prevailed over hatred and the desire for vengeance and became the seed for building a democratic state," the Pope said.

      However, those events "seem to be forgotten with time," especially among young people, he lamented.

      Yet, the "urgency to guarantee the dignity and efficacy of human work has not lost its importance," John Paul II continued. He mentioned the current labor problems in Poland, including unemployment, temporary work and layoffs "without any concern for the plight of employees and their families."

      "It is necessary that your union openly defends workers who are denied the right to speak out, or to express opposition to the phenomena that violate the fundamental rights of the worker," the Pope said. In particular, he pointed to the default in the payment of salaries, "a grave sin that cries out for vengeance from heaven."

      Speaking in Polish, the Pontiff said that the politicization of the union, probably due to historical necessity, "has led to its weakening."

      He concluded: "If Solidarity really wants to serve the nation, it must return to its roots."

      * * *

      Human Lives Must Not Be Saved by Destroying Other Lives, Pope Warns

      VATICAN CITY, NOV. 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II pointed out the moral contradiction that is implied in saving human lives from diseases by destroying other human lives in early phases of their existence for the sake of research.

      The Pope reaffirmed the Church's position on the issue of experimentation with embryonic stem cells when he received members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in audience on Monday. The academy is celebrating its 400th anniversary.

      The scientists are meeting here to analyze the scientific and bioethical implications of stem cell technology and other therapies.

      In his English-language address, John Paul II said: "Research in this field has understandably grown in importance in recent years because of the hope it offers for the cure of ills affecting many people."

      "I have on other occasions stated that stem cells for purposes of experimentation or treatment cannot come from human embryo tissue," he said. "I have instead encouraged research on adult human tissue or tissue superfluous to normal fetal development."

      The Holy Father stressed: "Any treatment which claims to save human lives, yet is based upon the destruction of human life in its embryonic state, is logically and morally contradictory, as is any production of human embryos for the direct or indirect purpose of experimentation or eventual destruction."

      * * *

      Soccer Players Pay a Visit to Pope

      VATICAN CITY, NOV. 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II received the players of the Italian soccer team and a delegation of the Polish team, who came to congratulate him for his 25 years of pontificate.

      Fabio Cannavaro, captain of the Italian team, gave the Holy Father as a gift the Italian players' commitment to fund long-distance adoptions of needy children.

      Today's meeting with Italy's and Poland's players took place on the eve of a friendly match between the two soccer teams, planned for Wednesday in Warsaw.

      For their part, the Polish players gave the Pope the white soccer shirt of their national team, signed by all the players.

      The players were accompanied by Italian trainer Giovanni Trapattoni, Polish team captain Jacek Zielinski and Polish goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek.

      "I thank you for this kind initiative and, while I assure each one of my remembrance in prayer, I give you all my heartfelt blessing," the Pope said.

      The Italian Soccer Federation requested the special audience, for the silver anniversary of the pontificate.

      * * *

      Summit on World's Immigrants Is Planned

      Called by Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers

      VATICAN CITY, NOV. 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See has called a summit of Catholic representatives in an effort to give adequate pastoral care to the world's 175 million immigrants and, in particular, to 16 million refugees.

      Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, presented plans for the 5th World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, to be held in Rome from Nov. 17-22.

      The theme of the meeting, at the Augustinianum Patristic Institute, is "To Start Afresh from Christ -- For the Renewed Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees." It will gather experts and Church representatives from around the world, as well as officials from religious congregations, ecclesial movements and lay associations.

      Fraternal delegates representing the Anglican Communion, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the World Lutheran Federation, and the World Council of Churches, are also expected to attend.

      At a press conference today, Cardinal Hamao said that his council hopes to "formulate some adequate answers to the challenges before us."

      Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, council secretary, translated these challenges into numbers.

      According to the International Organization for Migration, "immigrants" -- a tough term to define precisely -- total about 175 million in the world.

      The archbishop added that, according to this source, there are between 700,000 and 2 million women and children who are the object of traffic every year across international borders.

      "Moreover, it is estimated that every year some 500,000 people enter illegally into the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, while in the European Union, the figure oscillates between 120,000 and 500,000 a year," Archbishop Marchetto added.

      The illicit "trade" in immigrants generates billions of dollars, he lamented.

      Father Michael Blume, undersecretary of the pontifical council, said that there "are 12 million refugees under the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and another 4 million under the United Nations Relief and Aid Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East."

      "If the pastoral care of refugees can assume different forms, according to the circumstances, its starting point should always be the comprehension of a situation in all its dimensions -- personal, social, economic, political -- in the light of the Word of God and the social doctrine of the Church," the priest said.

      * * *

      Holy See Reminds U.N. of Conditions for Military Intervention

      Addresses the General Assembly on "Culture of Peace"

      NEW YORK, NOV. 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See reminded the United Nations that any recourse to military intervention must comply with strict moral conditions so as not to cause more harm that it is intended to avoid.

      Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, told the General Assembly that "war and the proliferation of weapons must be considered the major enemies of the development of peoples."

      In addressing the topic the "Culture of Peace," Archbishop Migliore added "the reasons that are given to justify conflicts must be duly addressed, before, during and after they occur."

      "The necessity to impose an armed defense to dissuade the other party from becoming an enemy should be prudently and carefully weighed against an equal necessity to reach out to the other party, beyond any presumed or alleged enmity, leaving always the door open for all possible peaceful solutions," the archbishop said in his address Monday.

      "Consequently," he added, "when those who bear the responsibility and the obligation to defend peace and order are called upon to decide whether or not to take up legitimate defense, their decision must be subject to the rigorous conditions given within the moral order because such actions can be justified only when all peaceful means of resolving the crisis have been proven to be impractical, ineffective or impossible."

      Regarding the use of force, the Catechism of the Catholic Church in No. 2309 notes that the power of modern armaments weighs heavily in determining if the use of force produces more evils and disorders than the evil to be eliminated. It also condemns the indiscriminate use of force and the validity of the moral law during a conflict.

      "If development is the new name for peace, then war and the proliferation of weapons must be considered the major enemies of the development of peoples," Archbishop Migliore emphasized.

      "By putting an end to the arms race a true disarmament process can begin, with agreements based on authentic and workable safeguards," he said.

      He added: "The reallocation of economic and other resources from arms race to humanitarian needs such as basic health care, education for all and strengthening of the family, will indeed promote and strengthen a culture of peace."

      * * *

      Uganda's Religious Leaders Beg for U.N. Aid

      Situation "Worse Than in Iraq," Says Official

      GULU, Uganda, NOV. 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Northern Uganda needs help from the United Nations -- desperately.

      That is the message of the leaders of Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative -- an interreligious organization that looks to help the northern villages inhabited by the Acholi ethnic group -- sent to Jan Egeland, U.N. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs.

      "The humanitarian situation in northern Uganda is worse than in Iraq or anywhere else in the world," Egeland said.

      At the end of a visit last weekend to the war-racked region, the U.N. official pledged to "more than triple" humanitarian assistance to the troubled districts, which he described as "one of the world's worst humanitarian crises."

      The United Nations estimates that thousands of civilians have been killed and some 1.2 million people have been displaced by LRA activity in the north -- activity which includes attacking and looting villages, abducting scores of children to carry loot and forcibly recruit into their ranks, ambushing vehicles, and destroying trading centers.

      Speaking to IRIN, the U.N. press agency for Africa, while on his two-day tour of the region, Egeland promised he would do everything in his power to get northern Uganda onto the international agenda.

      "It is a moral outrage" that the world is doing so little for the victims of the war, especially children, he said.

      Rebels routinely abduct children to serve as sex slaves and fighters. Thousands of children leave their houses in northern Uganda to sleep rough in the major towns, where they feel safer from the threat of abduction by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

      On Sunday in Gulu, main city in the north of the country, Egeland met with religious leaders of the Acholi religious leaders group, or ARLPI.

      Earlier, ARLPI leaders from the area urged the United Nations to intervene in the conflict, affirming that the "people in northern Uganda have the feeling that they have been abandoned and betrayed by the international community. The U.N. in particular is not doing enough to put an end to this war," a document published by Missionary Service News Agency stated.

      The crisis in northern Uganda worsened considerably around July 2002, when the Ugandan government, following an agreement with the government of Sudan, launched Operation Iron Fist to destroy LRA bases in southern Sudan. The rebels were forced to abandon their bases and flooded back into Uganda.

      Humanitarian organizations say that the rebels have abducted about 20,000 children over the last five years and taken many to LRA bases in southern Sudan.

      * * *

      China Shuts 400 Temples and Churches in Zhejiang Province

      HONG KONG, NOV. 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Chinese authorities have closed down more than 400 Buddhist temples and Christian churches in a renewed attempt to stamp out underground religious activity.

      Human rights groups say the crackdown had been carried out by public security officials in Zhejiang province, in eastern China, against those who do not belong to government-approved groups, such as the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

      The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said that 392 Buddhist temples and Christian churches were "closed" as part of a campaign against "key members of illegal religious groups."

      The rights group said four churches and 24 temples had been destroyed outright while 92 temples had been confiscated for use as "entertainment centers."

      The center also reported that Liu Fenggan, a Christian, who traveled to the province to look into the situation, had been detained by the police.

      China maintains that it defends religious liberty, but in fact it only recognizes those churches directly controlled by the government. It broke off relations with the Vatican a half-century ago.

      The Vatican estimates that China has some 8 million Catholics loyal to the Holy See, compared with 5 million Catholics in the state-backed "patriotic" Church.

      * * *

      Cardinal López Trujillo on Ineffectiveness of Condoms to Curb AIDS

      Interview With President of Pontifical Council for the Family

      VATICAN CITY, NOV. 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In this interview on Vatican Radio, Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, emphasized the ineffectiveness of the condom as a contraceptive and in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. The interview was first broadcast Oct. 11.

      * * *

      Q: Could you please state your exact position as you explained it to the BBC concerning the ineffectiveness of using condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS?

      Cardinal López Trujillo: On my statements on a recent interview with the BBC Television Network program "Panorama," regarding the use of contraception to prevent the spread of AIDS, I would like to state the following.

      I imagined that the subject was better known. Instead, I am surprised with some of the reactions. This is even more curious because the program has not yet been transmitted.

      The subject of safe sex has been treated in various scientific studies. Among my concerns was my intention not to mislead people, especially the youth, by making them think that there is "safety," where in fact safety is not even proven!

      How many youths have taken the way toward promiscuity, pushed by false hypotheses, and have fallen victims of this pandemic? It is a serious responsibility!

      In the one-hour interview I gave to BBC on different questions regarding family and life, one question was dedicated to the theme of "safe sex." I affirmed the following:

      One cannot really speak of "safe sex," leading people to believe that the use of condoms is the formula to avoid the risk of HIV and thus to overcome the AIDS pandemic. Nor should people be led to believe that condoms provide absolute safety. They do not mention that there is a percentage of grave risk, not only of AIDS, but also of the different sexually transmitted diseases, and that the rate of failure is quite high.

      Q: What scientific research did you use to make the statement?

      Cardinal López Trujillo: There are many published studies that give rise to well-founded doubts regarding the "safety" of condom use. Jacques Suaudeau, who is a medical doctor and who has followed closely the AIDS debate and problem in Africa, has an important article in our Lexicon, replete with bibliographical entries on the topic.

      We also received news of a study report of groups representing 10,000 doctors accusing the Centers for Disease Control in the United States for covering up the government's own research which showed the "ineffectiveness of condoms to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases."

      This report by the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute [a group in New York monitoring U.N. matters related with family and life] furthermore states that the CDC's refusal to acknowledge this fact had "contributed to the massive STD epidemic."

      Q: What is your comment on the World Health Organization's response?

      Cardinal López Trujillo: I have not seen any response from the WHO, and this does not seem strange, also because the program has not yet been transmitted. At any rate, the WHO is meritorious in their work in the cure of many diseases.

      But with regards to the condom, they should undertake serious scientific studies, and take a more effective path, rather than take risks. For example, the distribution of condoms to children and adolescents in their well-known campaigns is a grave irresponsibility.

      I simply wished to remind the public, seconding the opinion of a good number of experts, that when the condom is employed as a contraceptive, it is not totally dependable, and that the cases of pregnancy is not rare.

      In the case of the AIDS virus, which is around 450 times smaller than the sperm cell, the condom's latex material obviously gives much less security. Some studies reveal permeability of condoms in 15% or even up to 20% of cases.

      Thus, to talk of condom as "safe sex" is a form of Russian roulette! And this is even without considering other possible reasons for condom failure, such as degradation of latex due to exposure to sunlight and heat, rupture and breakdown.

      Q: What then does the Catholic Church advise in the fight against AIDS?

      Cardinal López Trujillo: The Church understands the difficulties and anguish of the people. But she cannot keep quiet. Even just the moral values of mutual fidelity of spouses and chastity already provide true protection, and are fitting of the human being, of sex that is responsible and not banal.

      The Church is very close to the drama that so many families and persons suffer. Today the Church has so many centers for the sick. There are also many research centers. There are many houses generously taking care of the sick, especially in the terminal phase. I think that there is no country wherein the Church has no such service.

      Very importantly, we remember the many orphans whose parents have died due to AIDS. Where there is conjugal fidelity, promiscuity, which is the main cause of the spread of the disease, is conquered. Where there is an adequate orientation in sexuality, an understanding of chastity, the risks could be overcome with certainty.

      Thus the Church invites all to a formation in the values, especially of the youth, and the respect of the duties of the family, which are the only true solutions to the problem. Some say this is not realistic. But I think the most serious challenge is to educate in love.

      All this requires a holistic vision of man and woman, of fidelity in marriage and of sex education, by which the moral aspect of the problem is taken into account. Institutions distributing condoms to children and in public schools are gravely irresponsible. Parents should react, exercising their right to defend their children, so that they are not attacked by this violent type of interference in their world of innocence.

      Even seeing the problem only from the perspective of hygiene, and not even the totality of the moral problem, I propose that the Ministries of Health require the inclusion in condom packages and advertisements, and in the apparatus or shelves where they are displayed, a warning, that the condom is not safe. This has been done since some time ago with cigarettes, saying that the filter does not guarantee protection.

      * * *


      Chapter Five (continued)

      Love of learning produced the spiritual exegete, that is, the devout monk who learned to read the spiritual insights, lessons, values and principles from sacred scripture in order to improve themselves and others to grow closer to God and attain salvation for ever with Him in Heaven. These spiritual exegetes composed spiritual treatises on scripture that became manuals for monasteries and for guiding souls. "Two of the most characteristic are by Peter of Celle [d. 1183] and William Firmat. In treating of Holy Scripture and the way to read it, they make use of almost all the themes which, since Origen and St. Gregory, had been animating spiritual literature and fostering desire for heaven. Since they were not among the greatest, such authors afford us the opportunity to learn about the biblical experience of the average monk." (99).

      It is from this sort of spiritual teaching based on sacred scripture that those engaged in lectio divina can speak of their biblical experience in the spiritual life.

      Jean Leclercq, O.S.B., The Love of Learning and the Desire For God. A
      Study of Monastic Culture. (NY: Fordham University Press, 1961, 1974)
      ISBN 0-8232-0406-5

      * * *


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      3. Today's Lectionary Readings Text

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      Monks of Adoration:

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      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans

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      Our Father Movie

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      Color Photograph of Mama Gili, Biography and Prayers

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 1)

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 2)

      Need a Miracle?

      Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili (1892-1985)


      The Mama Gili Guild was established several years ago to gather,
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      Call or write today regarding favors granted through the intercession
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      10. Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ. English Trans. Online

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      * * *


      When the Eucharistic host is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
      I offer you the crucified Body of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus
      Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for
      the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

      When the Eucharistic chalice is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
      I offer you the precious Blood of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus
      Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for
      the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

      * * *


      "during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium
      approaches unity among all Christians of the various confessions will
      increase until they reach full communion." John Paul II, Tertio
      Millennio Adveniente, 16

      "Keep close to the Mother of God as if you were the child Jesus
      clinging to her robes while walking down a dusty and busy crowded
      street and you'll always be safe."

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