Current Articles of Interest

Friday, January 16, 2009

Vatican: US Seminaries Sign of Hope for Nation

Report on Apostolic Visitation Released

WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 15, 2009 ( Diocesan seminaries in the United States are generally healthy, concluded a letter from the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education after an apostolic visitation to review centers of priestly formation.

The letter was released this week by the U.S. bishops' conference. It was directed to cardinals, bishops, major superiors, and all those responsible for diocesan seminaries and religious houses of priestly formation in the United States. (continued...)

The Coming Anti-Life Onslaught: Obama's Abortion Agenda at Home and Abroad

Exclusive Commentary by Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer

Human Life International

January 15, 2009 ( - President-elect Barack Obama’s Web site,, contains a link titled, “Open Government: Your Seat at the Table.” Follow this link and you will find hundreds of papers submitted to the Obama-Biden Transition Project by various interest groups.

One other such paper, entitled, “Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration: The First 100 Days,” is endorsed by over 50 pro-choice organizations ranging from the ACLU to one called Women Thrive Worldwide. Most of the demands contained in the paper are disturbing though not surprising: a massive increase in funding to Title X (which funds Planned Parenthood), an end to abstinence-only education, assuring that anyone, anywhere can have an abortion at taxpayers’ expense, passing the ironically-named Freedom of Choice Act, and making sure that only pro-choice ideologues are appointed to the federal judiciary, and so on. (continued...)

The international ambitions of this anti-life coalition, however, are the most fearsome aspect of their agenda and US taxpayer funding is the new plum to be plucked. In post-Roe America, it is hard to find ways to make abortion more ubiquitous than it already is, but significant sectors of the developing world still maintain firm prohibitions against the destruction of innocent life, and these groups want to change all that. What they are advocating may be “change that America can live with,” but it certainly isn’t change that the developing world can live with.

Former “Card-Carrying Member of NARAL” to March for Life in January West Coast Walk for Life

This article is a reminder that our prayers for conversion are being being heard.

SAN FRANCISCO, January 12, 2009 ( -- A former "card-carrying member of NARAL" will be among the more than 25,000 people expected to peacefully walk along San Francisco's waterfront on Saturday, January 24, in the 5th Annual Walk for Life West Coast.

The Walk began in 2005 when a handful of San Franciscans decided they wanted a San Francisco-style walk with an outreach to women, particularly women who have experienced abortion or who are struggling with an unwanted pregnancy.

"That's what it is about," said Walk co-chair Dolores Meehan, a fourth-generation San Franciscan. "My grandmother was left on a doorstep as an infant at the beginning of the 20th century. In the 21st century, we want to make having a baby a choice that all of us support. And, we want to make sure that women who have had abortions know we are there for them in sympathy and support."

"Women deserve better than abortion," said Feminists for Life speaker Karen Shablin. Shablin, a former member of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and a former acting Medicaid agency director, had an abortion in her 20s. "I can't undo my mistakes over the years - having an abortion, advocating abortion, but I can help others to learn from my mistakes. Every life counts," Shablin said.

"Abortion hurts women and families," said Frank Lee, a community leader and coordinator of Asian Americans Against Abortion. "We have allowed abortion to decimate our future for too long by killing our children before they are born. Americans, regardless of ethnic background, need to stand up and ensure that every life is cherished."

Lee and Shablin are among a stellar line-up of speakers at the Walk that includes Black Genocide founder Rev. Clenard Childress and singer Diana Nagy, whose crisis pregnancy at 15 ended in adoption.

For more information about the Walk events, go to

Bishop Vasa: Those who profess to love God, but back abortion, are liars

By Bishop Robert Vasa
Catholic Sentinel (

BEND, OR (Catholic Sentinel) — The Mass readings for the week between Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord are taken from the First Letter of St. John. These readings are not always used for it often happens, depending upon the day on which Christmas falls, that the season of ordinary time begins immediately after the celebration of Epiphany. This year, however, the occurrence of Christmas allowed for a full week between these two post-Christmas celebrations and thus the readings from St. John’s first letter. As often happens, the daily Mass readings are both appealing and challenging. The reading of Thursday from I John 4:19ff is particularly appropriate in this year when the life issues are very much on the minds of pro-life persons. (continued...)

A Message from Fr. Corapi

I am sure many of you are fans of Fr. Corapi and I would like to share this from his recent newsletter.

News Flash: WE WIN!

As we prepare to enter a new era in politics and perhaps society in general, keep something in mind: WE WIN! No matter what political party is in power at a given point in time, in the end those that remain faithful to Jesus Christ win the war. We may have to fight many battles outnumbered and even despised and looked upon as criminals and outcasts by a society that is unraveling and degenerating into something no one could have imagined.

What matters is that we run the race to the finish line and fight the good fight. Don’t “go with the flow,” for as the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen reminds us, “Dead bodies float downstream.” More than ever we shall have to be strong in the faith. Regular and worthy reception of the sacraments, constant prayer, and rigorous study of the faith is now essential, not merely a luxury.

The front line and primary battle is going to be the fight for life: the dignity of every human life from the moment of conception to the last moment of natural life. If we lose that one, every other battle space will be compromised. If the government succeeds in establishing abortion as an inalienable “right”, then the elderly and sick will be next. It will then be a short and slippery step to the government deciding who lives and dies regardless of their inherent human dignity.

If you don’t already pray the Rosary every day, please start at once. The prayer of the holy Rosary is the prayer of the holy Gospel, and that means it is the prayer of the Good News Who is Jesus Christ, the LIFE of the world. Many saints will be forged in the crucible of the coming years. Make sure you are among them.

God bless you,

Fr. John Corapi

Setting an inaccurate headline right

This will be a large post. I felt it necessary to publish both articles in full, especially if you have read the inaccurate article..

‘Vatican reveals sins only Pope can forgive’ (CWN)

The inaccurate headline in a leading Canadian newspaper today shows that the learning curve faced by the secular media in reporting on the Church can be very steep. An even more sensational headline in a British newspaper conveyed the impression that the Church would actually disclose sins confessed in secrecy. In reality, the two-day conference sponsored by the Apostolic Penitentiary involved discussion of those sins for which the canonical penalties can be lifted only by the authority of the Holy See. The sins, of course, are never made public; the conference merely discussed which sins can incur those penalties and how they can be removed.

Lost in the sensational coverage was the fundamental purpose of the Vatican conference: a bid to encourage more regular use of the sacrament of Penance.

Over a quarter century before the publication of the National Post story, Canons 1364-1399 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law discussed offenses merit latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See. Those whose offenses merit such a penalty include “one who throws away the consecrated species or, for a sacrilegious purpose, takes them away or keeps them”; “a person who uses physical force against the Roman Pontiff”; “both the bishop who, without a pontifical mandate, consecrates a person a bishop, and the one who receives the consecration from him”; “a confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal”; and a confessor who absolves “an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue.”

In addition, canon law provides that “a person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication,” as does “an apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic,” but the lifting of these penalties, according to Canon 1356, is reserved to the Ordinary.

For 830 years, Apostolic Penitentiary has focused on forgiveness
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The crimes the Catholic Church considers to be most serious are investigated and punished by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but the Vatican also has a specific office for helping the guilty find forgiveness and reconcile with God and the church.

In matters related to the conscience of individual Catholics, the work of the Apostolic Penitentiary, headed by U.S. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, is probably the most secret of any Vatican office.

Even the tribunals dealing with delicate situations involving requests for the annulment of marriages publish annual reports giving the number of cases opened and resolved during the year.

But the Apostolic Penitentiary does not release that kind of information because its work is covered under the sacramental seal of confession.

The low profile of the office combined with the seriousness of the sins brought to its attention probably explains why members of the media flocked to a Jan. 13-14 symposium on the history of the Apostolic Penitentiary and of the sacrament of penance.

Cardinal Stafford told reporters Jan. 13 that the penitentiary deals with five specific cases: a man who directly participated in an abortion and later wants to enter the priesthood; priests who have broken the seal of confession; priests who have offered sacramental absolution to their own sexual partner; desecrating the Eucharist; and making an attempt on the life of the pope.

The "very serious sin" of clerical sexual abuse is not one of the sins over which the penitentiary has competence, the cardinal said; those cases are handled by the doctrinal congregation.

Forgiveness of the five sins listed by Cardinal Stafford is what the church describes as "reserved" to the Holy See, so in order to receive absolution for them, it is not enough to go to one's local priest for confession, said Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

A detailed account of the case is sent to the penitentiary, which studies it to ensure the true repentance of the sinner and which recommends "an appropriate, proportionate penance," Bishop Girotti said.

The penitentiary also has other responsibilities, including choosing, training and coordinating the work of the priests who hear confessions in the major basilicas of Rome; promoting appreciation of the sacrament of penance; coordinating the offering of indulgences; and offering an annual course for priests and seminarians on administering the sacrament of penance.

Cardinal Stafford told reporters Jan. 13 that he organized the symposium to increase public awareness of the penitentiary's work over the past 830 years.

"Today we talk a lot about God's forgiveness, which is a motive for joy and happiness. But I am a bit worried about the lack of awareness of the connection between this joy and the forgiveness of sins," he said.

"We all know the burden of sin in our personal lives, which is why the sacrament of penance really is the sacrament of reconciliation given by Christ to his church. It is a sacrament full of the mercy, charity and love of God," he said.

Federal Judge Tosses out Newdow’s Challenge of Inaugural Prayers, ‘So Help Me God’

Friday, January 16, 2009
By Pete Winn, Senior Writer/Editor &

Atheist physician / attorney Michael Newdow (AP photo)Washington ( - Atheist Michael Newdow and 30 other "nontheistic" plaintiffs say they will decide Friday whether to appeal Thursday's decision by a federal judge dismissing their demand that President-elect Barack Obama be barred from saying “So help me God” when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20. (continued...)

Catholic Leaders Urge Barack Obama to Not Promote Abortion as President

Washington, DC ( -- The nation's Catholic bishops have again warned incoming president Barack Obama to not aggressively promote abortion. In a new letter to him, they call on him to respect the sanctity of human life and to not promote abortion in any universal health care plan. The letter, provided to and which outlined "an agenda for dialogue and action," was signed by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. He called on Obama to work with the Catholic bishops to "protect the lives of the most vulnerable and voiceless members of the human family, especially unborn children and those who are disabled or terminally ill." "We will consistently defend the fundamental right to life from conception to natural death," the letter told Obama. "We will encourage one and all to seek common ground that will reduce the number of abortions in morally sound ways that affirm the dignity of pregnant women and their unborn children." The bishops also provided their second warning to Obama on the Freedom of Choice Act, issuing their first last year after their November national meeting at which they worried Catholic hospitals would be forced to shut down as a result of the bill's far-reaching effects. Full story at

President Bush Declares Sunday National Pro-Life Day, Last Before Obama

Washington, DC ( -- President Bush today declared Sunday a national pro-life day to foster respect for human life and his declaration may be the last one with pro-abortion incoming president Barack Obama taking over the White House next week. Bush has declared an annual pro-life day every year during his tenure. In one of his final actions as president, Bush declared January 18 to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day.All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection," the presidential proclamation read. "On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our country recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world, the president added. We also underscore our dedication to heeding this message of conscience by speaking up for the weak and voiceless among us." "On this day and throughout the year, we aspire to build a society in which every child is welcome in life and protected in law," the president continued. Full story at