"The bishop said, 'Jesus Christ has warned clearly within the Gospel that hell is a reality and that we are free to choose it. Catholics who separate their faith life from their professional and social activities are putting the salvation of their souls in jeopardy. They risk the possibility of hell'"
Cardinal Ratzinger Tells Why Many Misperceive Christianity
Says It Is Not Seen as an Encounter With Christ
ROME, MAY 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Many people perceive Christianity as something institutional -- rather than as an encounter with Christ -- which explains why they don't see it as a source of joy, says Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
"Today, Christianity is seen as an old tradition, weighed down by old Commandments, something we already know which tells us nothing new; a strong institution, one of the great institutions that weigh on our shoulders," said the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
"If we stay with this impression, we do not live the essence of Christianity, which is an ever new encounter, an event thanks to which we can encounter the God who speaks to us, who approaches us, who befriends us," the cardinal said in the latest issue of the Italian Catholic weekly Vita Trentina.
"It is critical to come to this fundamental point of a personal encounter with God, who also today makes himself present, and who is contemporary," he added.
"If one finds this essential center, one also understands all the other things," the cardinal said. "But if this encounter is not realized, which touches the heart, all the rest remains like a weight, almost like something absurd."
Regarding the present situation of the Church, Cardinal Ratzinger said that there is still much to assimilate of the Second Vatican Council. "It seems difficult to me that one generation can really assimilate the legacy of the Council," he said.
"From my point of view, perhaps in the last 10 years, we have taken a step forward to make truly our own the liturgical reformation, which is not something arbitrary nor is it reduced to external gestures, but consists in really engaging in a dialogue of faith," he said.
"Another fundamental element of the Council that we are called to assimilate better affects the need to understand Christianity in a personal way, from the point of view of an encounter with Christ," the cardinal said.
"The central character of Christ was, I would say, the heart of the message of Vatican Council II," he contended. "Unfortunately, we concentrated on many external things so that this central character of Christian personalism remains to be discovered."
"The Council, in fact, wished to show that Christianity is not against reason, against modernity, but that on the contrary it is a help so that reason in its totality can work not only on technical questions, but also on human, moral and religious knowledge," he revealed.
In a world dominated by an economy governed by "materialist principles" and by liberalism, what is excluded is "the heart," namely, "the highest point of human intelligence, that is, the possibility to see God and to introduce also into the world of work, trade and politics, the light of moral responsibility, love and justice," Cardinal Ratzinger said.
He added: "If on one hand it is important that priests proclaim well the essence of the Christian faith, on the other hand there must be persons who in the different realms of the world commit themselves to make present the principles of the Christian faith, which will transform human realities from within."
David Reardon has been researching the harmful effects of abortion for twenty years. His surveys show that most pro-choice women know, deep down, that abortion hurts women. The problem is they don't trust the motives of pro-life politicians. Reardon has a plan to remedy that."
There is still time for pro-lifers to call the White House (202-456-1414) and urge the President to assure the American people that the mega dose "morning after pill" will not be sold "over the counter."
Also contact your U.S. Senator or Representative to urge leadership from Congress that will protect women and babies from this new chemical assault weapon.
Toll free: 1-800-648-3516 or 1-877-762-8762.
The abortion establishment is going all out to urge their followers to
lobby in favor of making this chemical killer available over the counter.
Their mailings include the lie that so-called "emergency contraception"
does not cause abortion and does not work if a women is already pregnant. Over the counter approval of the "morning after pill" will be a public health disaster.
Steven W. Mosher
PRI Weekly Briefing
12 May 2004
Vol. 6 / No. 17
Stop the Morning-After Pill!
Press reports suggest that the FDA is teetering on the brink of approving the so-called morning-after pill. As past PRI Weekly Briefings have made clear, there are terrible risks in making this powerful drug available over-the-counter with no age restrictions or parental involvement.
• The progestin-only hormonal contraceptive in Norplant is the same active ingredient as Plan B. Norplant is no longer available for use in the
United States because it is so dangerous. Known risks include significant
weight gain, ovarian cyst enlargement, gallbladder disease, high blood
pressure and respiratory disorders.
• Among teenagers, some of these common side effects could result in
increased rates of bulimia, anorexia, or clinical depression. Also, an
increased risk of ectopic pregnancy has been associated with use of Plan
B-type emergency contraception.
• Since the drug precludes parental involvement, it is likely that teenage
girls who buy Plan B at the drugstore then experience abdominal pain may not confide in parents so that a physician could diagnose if a
life-threatening ectopic pregnancy had occurred. Over-the-counter approval would mean that young people would be free to purchase and use (abuse) this powerful hormone without supervision or follow up.
• The drug was approved for over-the-counter use on January 1 in
Australia. Already there are reports in the Australian press of
13-year-old girls buying the pill several times a week to the alarm of
local pharmacists who are not able to give proper counseling to these
girls on the many risks involved. The Australian Medical Association is
already questioning the wisdom of making this risky drug so easily
available without restriction. (The West Australian, 4/4/04)
• If over-the-counter availability of this drug is approved, we may also
expect that rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among teens will skyrocket. Adolescents age 15-19 currently represent 46% of all cases of Chlamydia in the U.S. 1 in 4 sexually active teenagers contract an STD at some point. In Washington State and in Sweden, where emergency contraception has been made widely available, rates of STD infection are skyrocketing.
• We can also expect an increase in the rates of sexual violence committed against adolescent girls. The easy availability of this drug
over-the-counter will make it more difficult for teenage girls to resist
pressure to have sex, and will trivialize the act of rape.
• Over-the-counter availability of the morning after pill will lead to an
increase in the pregnancy rate among teenagers. Studies have shown that increased rates of pregnancy occur among teens with increased use of "emergency contraception." Another showed that teenagers whose pregnancies ended in induced abortion were more likely to have used the drug before conception, and that teens who use the drug were more willing to engage in "risk-taking" behavior.
Please take time to call the White House or, better yet, jot a note to
your Senator or Congressman regarding the morning after pill. If it goes
over-the-counter as scheduled on May 21, then anything goes. Lives will be compromised and families further undermined. A sample letter follows:
April 29, 2004
Dear Senator ____________ (or Congressman _____________):
I understand the FDA is set to decide whether or not the
morning-after-pill (MAP) will go over-the-counter on 21 May 2004. I
believe that pressure from you and your colleagues could stop this
dangerous drug from being made available to very young girls without
medical supervision or parental knowledge. Would you please advise the
FDA to cease and desist? If MAP is approved, then it won‚t be long before the FDA makes the birth control pill available over-the-counter. This will further compromise the sanctity of life and the integrity of the
Permission to reprint granted. Redistribute widely. Credit required. _________
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The Population Research Institute is dedicated to ending human rights
abuses committed in the name of "family planning," and to ending
counter-productive social and economic paradigms premised on the myth of "overpopulation."
Even a Crime Doesn't Justify "Morning-After" Pill, Says Cardinal
Health Authorities in Chile Will Distribute It Free in Cases of Rape
SANTIAGO, Chile, MAY 4, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The occurrence of a crime cannot justify the elimination of a life, says an archbishop in the wake of the Health Ministry's decision to distribute free the "morning-after" pill to rape victims.
The pill "is presented as a means to relieve the suffering and repair the injustice of which a dear or innocent person has been a victim, by an aggressor who invaded the victim's intimacy unjustly and violently," Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa said in a letter circulated Sunday in all the churches of the capital.
"The free distribution of a medication whose objective is not to heal, is a more than controversial issue," the cardinal said.
"There is no lack of community authorities that are prepared to hand the pill out freely to those who request it, while others are opposed to it and express conscientious objection," he added.
In his letter, Cardinal Errázuriz reminds the faithful that "the exercise of their freedom has an insurmountable limitation: others' right to life," and notes that the morning-after pill has sparked a "great controversy": "Does it or does it not eliminate a human life?"
"For the approval of a new medication, it is necessary to prove positively that the latter is not a threat to the life of the human being," he writes. "This is why research should prove that the 'morning-after' pill (Levonorgestrel) does not impede the implantation of the fertilized ovule in the maternal womb, namely, that it does not eliminate a human life in the embryonic state."
In fact, "the laboratories that market it already advertise that one of its effects might be to impede the implantation of the fertilized ovule in the maternal womb, thus producing the loss of a human life," the cardinal states.
When "it is a question of human life, it is not licit to carry out an action, without having the certainty that that action does not kill it," he adds.
"The Church cannot be inconsistent in her teaching," he continues. "It is about the defense of the right to life. This is why, with the same energy with which she intervened in favor of the victims of violation of human rights, the Church pointed out some years ago that the time had come to abolish the death penalty, regarding it as unnecessary and inhuman. In the same way, she points out today the need to defend the right to life of all human beings from its very beginning."
In the "shattering case of rape, ... the immense pain of the one who has suffered it is comprehensible," the cardinal acknowledged. But this cannot justify the elimination "of a new and innocent life that wants to be born."
The cardinal believes that a country such as Chile, "which is aware of its history and has been committed to healing the wounds caused by very serious violations of human rights," needs to create "an environment that is propitious to life, in which institutions, communities, laws, customs, and families favor all that accepts, respects, encourages and support life; and all that is an expression of solidarity with it."
Important Stuff: I spent eight years at Boston College and whatever this report says, I can tell you it's worse! —John
NATIONAL STUDY REVEALS PRO-ABORTION, RELATED ACTIVITY AT CATHOLIC COLLEGES SINCE 1999
- 56-Page Report Documents Scandals in Catholic Higher Education -
MANASSAS, VA (April 28, 2004) ˆ Cardinal Newman Society has issued a shocking new report on scandals at U.S. Catholic colleges and universities that is certain to reignite concerns about the colleges‚ religious character.
The 56-page report, "The Culture of Death on Catholic Campuses: A Five-Year Review," documents inroads made by advocates of abortion, contraception, premarital sexual activity, and physician-assisted suicide onto Catholic college campuses since 1999. It is the most extensive evidence of problems in Catholic higher education ever compiled in a single source˜and yet it only scratches the surface, relying primarily on media reports and college websites.
"Pro-choice‚ is no choice for a Catholic institution, which by its Catholic mission must be courageously pro-life," said Erin Butcher, lead researcher and co-author of the report. "Cardinal Newman Society has responded to scandal after scandal on Catholic campuses, but many Catholics still fail to appreciate the scope of the problem."
The report, which can be downloaded free of charge at www.cardinalnewmansociety.org beginning April 28, identifies the problems and suggests solutions to ensure that Catholic colleges uphold their Catholic, pro-life mission. Highlights include:
• Pro-abortion presidential candidates at Catholic colleges. In January, St. Anselm College (N.H.) hosted seven pro-abortion candidates for their final debate before New Hampshire‚s Democratic primary. Other campaign appearances have included John Kerry at Georgetown in January 2003, Dennis Kucinich at Sacred Heart University last June, Howard Dean at St. Anselm last September and at Georgetown last October, Dick Gephardt‚s daughter at Boston College last November, Gephardt and Kerry at Clarke College (Iowa) in January, Wesley Clark at Rivier College (N.H.) in January, and Kerry at
Georgetown again in April.
• Nearly 200 instances of campus speakers and honorees who have been public advocates of abortion or otherwise contributors to the "Culture of Death". These include at least 17 visits and lectures by President Bill Clinton at Georgetown University, researchers engaged in human cloning and embryonic cell research at Assumption College and the College of the Holy Cross, NARAL Pro-Choice America president Kate Michelman at Boston College law school, radical feminist Gloria Steinem at Fairfield University, pornographer Larry Flynt at Georgetown University, and National Organization for Women (NOW) president Kim Gandy at Loyola University of New Orleans.
• "Emergency contraception," an abortifacient, provided to students by the College of Santa Fe and Rockhurst University.
• College officials and faculty with ties to pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia organizations, including a Boston College law professor on the board of directors of the Death With Dignity National Center; a Georgetown University philosophy professor on the board of directors of the Compassion in Dying Federation, and two Georgetown University women's studies professors who are also employees of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
• Pro-abortion politicians serving as college officials and faculty, including Carol Moseley Braun teaching management at DePaul University, Geraldine Ferraro on the Fordham University law school Board of Visitors and teaching public policy at Georgetown University, and Leon Panetta teaching political science and on the Board of Trustees and law school Board of Visitors at Santa Clara University.
• Pro-abortion student clubs including the Reproductive Choice Coalition at Boston College law school, H*yas for Choice at Georgetown University, Georgetown Students for Choice at Georgetown law school, and a NOW chapter at St. Ambrose University.
• Internships and service opportunities offered by Catholic colleges, including service as a Planned Parenthood „clinic escort‰ promoted by Nazareth College‚s campus ministry and internships with Planned Parenthood offered by Villanova University.
• Website referrals to pro-abortion organizations as medical or academic resources including Georgetown University links to local abortion clinics, LaSalle University links to NOW and the Feminist Majority Foundation, Loyola University of Chicago links to Planned Parenthood and the Feminist Majority Foundation, Loyola University of New Orleans links to NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood, and Seton Hall University links to the Feminist Majority Foundation and NOW.
• Student newspapers promoting sex and contraception, including sex advice columns titled "Sex and the University" in The Heights at Boston College and "Sex on the Hilltop" in The Hoya at Georgetown University.
VATICAN CITY, MAY 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says that Catholics' response to the present process of secularization requires consistency to the point of heroism.
"In our times, secularism advances, threatening to lead societies of former evangelization to forms of agnosticism that constitute a real challenge for believers," the Pope states in a message sent to Bishop Salvatore Boccaccio of Frosinone, on the 17th centenary of the death of St. Ambrose, co-patron of the diocese.
"In this context, the testimony of those who, out of fidelity to Christ and to the Gospel, have not hesitated to give their lives, acquires extraordinary eloquence," the Holy Father writes. "With their example, they encourage Christians to a courageous consistency" to the point of "heroism."
"Only those who are capable of following him to the end are able to place themselves without reservations at the service of man, the first and fundamental way of the mission of believers in the world," he explains.
After discussing some of the priorities of apostolic commitment today -- "peace, youth, the family, poverty, immigrants" -- John Paul II invites the faithful to evangelize "giving concrete witness of the love of God for every human being."
"In the face of every person, without distinction of race or culture, and especially in the poorest and most needy of men, Christians recognize the luminous face of Christ," he continues.
"This is possible if we keep ourselves well anchored in prayer, if we nourish ourselves with the Eucharist and with the Word of God, if we renew ourselves constantly in the sacrament of reconciliation," the Pope explains.
"The real priority for the baptized person consists in seeking holiness," the message adds. "Without a profound renewal of faith and holiness and without constant divine support, how could the ecclesial community face the great challenge of the new evangelization?"