Current Articles of Interest

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A shake-up coming at the Vatican?

by Margaret Cabaniss   

I haven't seen this report substantiated anywhere else yet, so take it for what it's worth. Still, if true, it could mean big changes ahead at the Vatican:
Pope Benedict XVI is expected to approve a number of administrative changes at the Vatican over the next few weeks after months of internal mismanagement and avoidable controversies have left many Church officials saddened and perplexed.

Newsmax has learned that the personnel changes will affect the “second rung” of officials within the Secretariat of State – essentially the executive branch of the Vatican. Further changes among the top ranks of the Roman Curia are also likely over the next few months, sources said.  Full story at

IMAGE: Is this the last photograph of Abraham Lincoln?

from Inside Catholic

You never know what you'll find in the family photo album. That's doubly true if you happen to be the great-great-grandson of Ulysses S. Grant.
Ulysses S. Grant VI, had seen the picture before, but didn't examine it closely until late January. A tall figure in the distance caught his eye, although the man's facial features are obscured....

Grant carefully removed it and was shocked to see the handwritten inscription on the back: "Lincoln in front of the White House." Grant believes his great-grandfather, Jesse Grant, the general's youngest son, wrote the inscription.

Also included was the date 1865, the seal of photographer Henry F. Warren, and a government tax stamp that was issued for such photos to help the Civil War effort between 1864 and 1866.

[Photography expert Keya] Morgan recalled the well-documented story of Warren's trip to Washington to photograph Lincoln after his second inauguration in March 1865. Lincoln was killed in April, so the photo could be the last one taken of him.
Morgan is so convinced that the photo is authentic, that he purchased it from Grant for $50,000. It may not have been a unwise sale:
Will Stapp, who was the founding curator of the National Portrait Gallery's photographs department and who now appraises fine art and photographs, said he's usually cynical about such claims. But he said he was "very satisfied that it's Lincoln" in the picture.

"It looks to me like Lincoln's physique," he said. "I can see his hairline. I can see the shadow of his beard."

President Obama Names Abortion Backer to New Foreign Women's Issues Post

by Steven Ertelt Editor

Washington, DC ( -- Most of the attention on President Barack Obama recently has focused on his moves to make taxpayers fund embryonic stem cell research, rescind protections for pro-life doctors, and put in an abortion advocate as Health Secretary. Yet, the president has undertaken a second decision to promote abortion abroad.
The Obama administration recently announced the creation of a new foreign policy position to focus on women's issues.
Melanne Verveer, an abortion advocate who served as chief of staff to former First Lady Hillary Clinton, will occupy the new post.

(Full story at

Study reports ‘stunning’ U.S. Catholic population shift alongside growing secularization

.- A new study on American religion finds that Catholicism is facing a “stunning” decline in the northeast United States as the population center of U.S. Catholics shifts towards the southwest. Secularism continues to grow in all regions, while mainline Protestant denominations face the most significant population decline.

The study, titled the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), was conducted by the Program on Public Values at Trinity College.

According to the ARIS report, Catholic numbers and percentages rose in many states in the South and West mainly due to immigration.

“Catholics increased their share in California and Texas to about one-third of the adult population and in Florida to over one-fourth. In terms of numbers they gained about 8 million adherents in these three states in the past two decades,” the report says.  (Full story at CNA)

Vatican angered by US stem cells decision

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A top Vatican official for bioethics on Tuesday criticized U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to fund broader research into stem cells.

Monsignor Rino Fisichella said Obama's executive order was a "victory of politics over ethics" and suggested the U.S. administration was looking out for the interests of drug companies.

Fisichella, who heads the Pontifical Academy for Life, was quoted by Italy's ANSA news agency as saying that "probably some drug companies, or some economic interests" influenced the decision to reverse the restrictions on funding imposed by the Bush administration.

Scientists hope to use embryonic stem cells to regenerate diseased cells in those suffering a variety of fatal or debilitating diseases. Former President George W. Bush had limited the use of taxpayer money allowed for the research, saying it required the destruction of embryos and is therefore morally wrong.

On Monday, Obama said he was ending what he believed was "a false choice between sound science and moral values," adding that the research shows great potential and that "with proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided."

The US Bishops' Conference has also criticized the move and the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper ran an article on Tuesday reiterating the Catholic Church's position, which holds that embryos must be considered human beings.
The article did not directly mention Obama's decision but said that protecting embryos should be "the basis of a real democracy, capable of recognizing the equality of all men and of avoiding any unjust discrimination based on their development or health."

Pope laicizes priest at renegade St. Louis parish


Bishop James V. Johnston of the Missouri Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau announced yesterday that Pope Benedict has laicized Marek Bozek, the Polish-born priest incardinated in the diocese who has ministered without authorization at the suppressed St. Stanislaus Church in St. Louis since 2005. “His actions have caused great harm, scandal and sadness within the Church," Bishop Johnston said. "While Marek Bozek no longer has the status of a priest, I continue to hope for his reconciliation with the Catholic Church, and am committed to working with him so that he might be return to full communion with the Church."

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Man Driving to Abortion Clinic Runs Over Pro-Lifer, then Persuaded by Victim's Wife Not to Abort

By Kathleen Gilbert
CHERRY HILL, New Jersey, March 7, 2009 ( - A lone sidewalk counselor at a Cherry Hill abortion center is suffering from serious injuries after a young man driving his pregnant wife to the abortion facility reportedly struck the counselor and ran him over.  But the victim's wife says that the event probably saved a life, as she believes she was able to persuade the man afterwards not to have his unborn child killed.

The incident took place Saturday morning at the South Jersey Women's Center on Haddonfield Road.  George Krail was walking toward the clinic's driveway to offer literature as a car approached, when the driver ran into and over Krail, crushing and twisting his leg.  The initial impact was so severe it may have broken several of Krail's ribs.  (Full story at

Guest Opinion: Calling our Shepherds… Are You There?

By Jennifer Hartline

I would rather be part of the Church our Holy Father has envisioned – smaller in number, but more faithful.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - I hear this cry from so many other faithful souls, growing louder and more urgent with each passing day, and it is time to be heard. I am simply a laywoman, a cradle Catholic now raising her own family in the Church, watching the truths of the faith I love being diluted into unrecognizable, ineffective, politically expedient pep talks, in order that confused or errant Catholics might feel better about their “choices” and still be accepted as loyal members of the Church.

To the Bishops, Priests and Deacons of the United States I respectfully say:

“Gentlemen, please LOOK UP! Your flock is being scattered and devoured by the wolf! We need you to rise up, raise your voice, and start teaching the orthodox truth of the Catholic faith, and to instruct your parishioners that these truths are not optional nor are they negotiable! You are our Shepherds and we are in dire need of strong leadership. I am tired of seeing so-called Catholic politicians and public figures flaunting their Catholic heritage while at the same time supporting and lobbying for the destruction of preborn children, the government sanctioned “right” to kill the child in the womb, or the disabled, the elderly and the sick.  (Full story at Catholic Online)

Democrat to Introduce Freedom of Choice Act ‘Sooner Rather Than Later’


( – A spokesman for Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said that while re-introducing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) during the 111th Congress isn’t on his “immediate agenda,” the congressman does plan to do so “sooner rather than later.”

“It’s not going to be (re-introduced) years down the road,” Ilan Kayatsky told

He said the bill has not been drafted yet, but it most likely would resemble the original bill that Nadler introduced in the 108th and 110th Congresses. “(The bill) could be altered in very minor ways,” Kayatsky said. “But overall it would be the same bill.”

FOCA, which was sponsored twice in the Senate by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), would eliminate state and federal restrictions on abortion, including waiting periods, parental consent, and the ban on partial-birth abortion.

President Barack Obama, in a campaign speech to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said signing the bill into law would be “the first thing I’d do as president.”

A struggling economy, increasing unemployment and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq apparently have prevented Obama from acting on his campaign promise to Planned Parenthood so far, but pro-life advocates are bracing themselves for the fight to keep FOCA from becoming law.

“The abortion industry already handsomely rewards its supporters in Congress with millions of dollars in campaign donations,” Tom McClusky, vice president of governmental affairs with the Family Research Council, wrote about FOCA on the FRC’s Web site.

“In return, enactment of the Freedom of Choice Act by a pro-abortion Congress (which we currently have) and a pro-abortion President would lead to the biggest payoff in history for those who profit from abortions.”

McClusky called it ironic that the bill would “remove any concept of ‘choice’” in the abortion debate: Federal and state governments would lose “the power to decide which legislative path they wish to pursue -- one of promoting abortion or promoting life,” McClusky said.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched both a postcard campaign and an email campaign, urging members of Congress to maintain pro-life policies and to oppose the federal funding and promotion of abortion.

The e-mails specifically urge senators and representative to "please oppose FOCA or any similar measure" and "retain existing laws against funding and promotion of abortion."

It's Time for a Tea Party!

Posted by Bobby Eberle
March 9, 2009 at 6:31 am 

When the colonists threw boxes of tea into Boston Harbor, their message was clear: no taxation without representation. The frustration had built to the boiling point and action needed to be taken.

A similar movement is building across America. President Obama is moving his socialist agenda through Congress and into American life, and it needs to be stopped. Faster than any president in American history, Obama has just spent over a trillion dollars that America does not have, and now he wants to pay for it by raising taxes. Enough is enough!

Obama has only been in office less than two months and has already signed on for over a trillion dollars in spending. There is the "stimulus" bill, the mortgage bill, and on and on. Every time there is a problem in this country, the Obama administration calls for more spending. Do he and his fellow liberals have so little faith in the American people? Given more of our own money in our pockets, I'm sure the American people could figure out how to get the economy going. We don't need government telling us how our money will be spent, what charities are "worthy," and what projects are more important.

(Full story at GOPUSA)

Obama signs bill to fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research -

Pro-Life Groups Blast Obama for Funding Research Destroying Human Life

Washington, DC ( -- Responding to President Barack Obama's decision to force taxpayers to fund research destroying human lives, pro-life groups unanimously condemned his move. They said Obama ignored the ethical considerations as well as adult stem cells and other alternatives that are actually helping patients.

President Barack Obama Makes Taxpayers Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Washington, DC ( -- In the latest move against the pro-life movement and its desire to protect human life before birth, President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday forcing taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Snowflake Babies, Pro-Life Congressmen Upset by Obama's Stem Cell Decision

Washington, DC ( -- Several pro-life members of Congress held a press conference on Monday afternoon with "snowflake babies." These are the children who were formerly stored human embryos at fertility clinics who could have been destroyed for scientific research but have since been adopted.

President Barack Obama Deceives Media, Public on Opposition to Human Cloning

Washington, DC ( -- While most media reports were focused on President Barack Obama's decision to roll back protections limiting taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research, little attention was paid to Obama's ingenuous method of supposedly opposing human cloning.

Obama Takes Next Step to Scrap Protections for Pro-Life Doctors on Abortion

Washington, DC ( -- President Barack Obama has taken the next step to remove the new protections the Bush administration put in place to protect pro-life medical centers and staff who do not want to do abortions. The protections provided better enforcement for existing conscience laws for medical professionals.
The Bush administration put the protections in place after learning that medical centers and staff were facing increasing pressure to be involved in abortions despite three federal laws prohibiting such discrimination.

Obama officials had told media outlets that the president wanted to merely clarify the existing rules, but, today, the administration published in the Federal Register a proposal to rescind the pro-life protections entirely.

"The Department is proposing to rescind in its entirety the final rule," Obama HHS officials wrote in the proposal.

The Obama administration appears to be relying on the objections pro-abortion groups posed to the abortion conscience clause and it refers to those objections from groups like Planned Parenthood in its proposal.