"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
Italian Alpine Peak Honors John Paul II
Tourism Offers Christians Opportunity For Evangelization
In Defense of Life: Celebration For Life
Harry Potter Rejects Love
Light to the Nations: A Christian Perspective on World News
Pray the News
On May 18th, which would have been the 85th birthday of Pope John Paul II, an Italian Alpine peak of the Abruzzi Mountains was named after the late Pope. Cardinal Jose Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints, was the main celebrant at the Mass held in the Church of San Pietro della Jenca in L'Aquila, the capital of the Abruzzi region.
The Cardinal's homily follows: "'Levavi oculos ad montes... I lift up my eyes to the mountains: from where shall come my help? My help shall come from the Lord Who made heaven and earth' (Ps 122 :1-2).
"The inspired words of the Psalm, rich in poetry and spirituality, seem to me the most fitting to express the close connection between the mountains and the search of human beings of all epochs for something greater, something that surpasses them, something transcendent.
"At the same time, the Psalmist's words also suggest to us an interpretation and an understanding of the strong, evocative fascination that mountain peaks never failed to exercise on John Paul II.
"If we could juxtapose, as if on a topographic map, all the well-known names of mountains in Holy Scripture and link them accordingly to all their spiritual 'patrons,' that is, to those biblical figures who are in some way connected with their summits, we would be able to make an unusual and especially significant pilgrimage through the various phases of salvation history. And among them all, Jesus of Nazareth would dominate; indeed, the Gospels often say of Him that 'He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray,'
"Although we cannot do this, the mere thought of it enables us to see how this 'map' turns out to be not only 'physical' but also spiritual, theological, and even eschatological: ready to flash before us a glimpse of distant peaks, towering for ever in the skies of eternity and the infinite.
"Let us attempt, therefore, only as the crow flies, to visualize the scenery of the map mentioned above.
"We will find Abraham, accompanied by his son Isaac on his dramatic pilgrimage to Mount Moriah; Noah, on Mount Ararat where the Ark came to rest; Moses on Sinai; Aaron, who died on the peak of Mount Hor; and many others, not forgetting the mountains of the beloved in the Song of Songs.
"We also know well that Jesus lived much of His life against a backdrop of mountains. The Gospels frequently speak of Jesus 'going out to the mountain.'
"Before choosing the Twelve, He spent the night alone on the mountain (Lk 6: 12-13). And after the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus dismissed the crowd and 'went up on the mountain by Himself to pray, remaining there alone as evening drew on' (Mt 14:23-24).
"Jesus even gave one discourse, perhaps His most famous, conventionally known as 'the Sermon on the Mount' (Mt 5-7), precisely on the mountain of the Beatitudes. François Mauriac, commenting on this Magna Carta of Christianity, said: 'Those who have never read the Sermon on the Mount cannot grasp what Christianity is all about.'
"At the same time, we must mention Mount Tabor, the mountain of the Transfiguration (cf. Lk 9:28-29), and the mountain that was featured in the last week of Christ's earthly life, most of which He lived against the background of mountain scenery: the Mount of Olives.
"Lastly, there is one other mountain among the many others that we are unable to list, a paschal mountain: the mountain in Galilee whose name is not given in the Gospels; it was there that the last solemn apparition of the Risen and Glorified Christ occurred. Indeed, at the end of his Gospel, Matthew recalls that 'the eleven disciples made their way to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had summoned them' (Mt. 28:16), and it was there, on that mountain, that the epilogue of the earthly life of the Risen One was played out.
"So far, the Biblical and Gospel references (cf. G. Ravasi, I monti di Dio, ed. Ancora) have helped us to focus our reflection clearly on the event that is taking place today.
"However, before entering into the lofty and memorable significance of this day, I would like first to mention one other point: the presence of the mountain in the iconography of all times.
"It suffices, to give just one example, to mention Leonardo da Vinci's Virgin of the Rocks. John Ruskin, the art critic, observes in his vast work on modern painting that 'there has always been an idea of holiness' in art, 'connected with rocky solitude, for it was on mountain peaks that the divinity would speak most intimately to human beings, and it was always to the mountains that the saints withdrew for meditation and special communion with God.'
"Moreover, there is no need to teach this to you who know it well, given the history of St. Celestine V and the important role he played in his unusual spiritual journey in your fascinating Abruzzi Mountains.
"So it is that the mountain, even before any consideration of its physical height, is a spiritual symbol.
"I would like to interpret in this dimension the naming of this beautiful peak of yours – and the path that leads to it – after John Paul II.
"A distinguished ecclesiastical personage, today a Bishop (Alberto Careggio, Bishop of Ventimiglia-San Remo), who for many years had the good fortune to accompany John Paul II on his hikes and climbs in the mountains as his Alpine guide, coined a beautiful, original definition of John Paul II when he described him as 'the theologian of the mountain' (cf. Sui monti con Giovanni Paolo II, G. Galazka, Libreria Ed. Vaticana, 2002, p. 15).
"Like Elijah, who encountered God in the gentle, refreshing breeze on Mount Horeb, and Moses, who prayed on the mountain to encourage his people in their struggle to breach their way to freedom, so also Karol Wojtyla had a very special relationship with mountains.
"It dates back to the years of his youth when, as a newly-ordained priest, he would accompany university students to Tatra, the beloved mountain range in his homeland. Even when everything seemed to prevent it - in the first place his health - this relationship never ceased.
"We know practically everything there is to know about John Paul II's journeys: the number of his speeches (3,288 in Italy and abroad), the number of kilometers he travelled (247,613 in 104 international journeys and 146 in Italy); this would amount to spending about three years outside the Vatican.
"If, however, we try to ask how often the Pope went to the mountains, how many times, so to speak, he secretly left the Apostolic Palaces or the Pontifical Villa at Castel Gandolfo, we are given a vague answer: 'several times' (ibid.). It is right that this should be so.
"Someone, for example, has endeavored to count all the excursions John Paul II is supposed to have made to the Abruzzi Mountains and their number is impressive; the newspapers have published it in the past few days, precisely in reference to today's event. Although the Pope carried this secret with him to heaven, there is certainly 'someone' who would be able to tell us one day, having faithfully accompanied him for the more than 26 years of his Pontificate in these most intimate and private moments.
"What interests us is the contemplative gaze of Pope Wojtyla, who among other things sang of the mountains in sublimely poetic tones, seeking in them beauty and power, deep silence and voices of mystery.
"In one of his addresses there is a passage that I find striking: 'Looking at the mountaintops one has the impression that the earth is pointing upwards, almost as if it were straining to touch heaven: men and women feel in a certain way that their yearning for the transcendent and the infinite is expressed in this reaching upwards.'
"And further: 'The contemporary man or woman who seems at times to be addressing only earthly things with a materialistic vision of life, must once again be able to look upwards, to the peaks of grace and glory, for which he or she was created and to which the goodness and greatness of God is beckoning' (Address at the Glacier of Brenva, Mont Blanc, September 8, 1986).
"It seems to me that John Paul II's words contain the important message that the Great Polish Pope has desired to bequeath to us through his boundless love for the mountains, closely related to love for 'his Master,' of Whom he also spoke to us in his Testament.
"Just as a mountain peak always impels us to raise our eyes, to reach up towards the heights of heaven, the life and teaching of John Paul II likewise continue to be for us, as it were, a sign pointing to heaven, a reference to the infinite majesty and divine transcendence of Christ, as opposed to the flat and mediocre horizons by which we are all too often surrounded.
"What John Paul II said and did through his presence in these mountains he will continue to do also with this peak, which from today is named after him, 'Cima Giovanni Paolo II' (John Paul II Peak), and will lift him far beyond its altitude of 2,424 meters in this splendid massif of the Gran Sasso. It will do so thanks to the love of these magnificent Abruzzi people and to their understandable pride at having received and perceived Pope Wojtyla as 'their own.' This is why you planned this day, in view of his 85th birthday.
"I end with the very words that John Paul II spoke on Campo Imperatore, right underneath the Gran Sasso, certain that this peak will point out 'the way of contemplation, not only as an excellent way to experience the Mystery, but also as a condition for humanizing our life and mutual relations.' "
The 26th World Day of Tourism will be celebrated September 25. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, wrote a message in Pope Benedict XVI's name for this day. The message, dated July 16, was sent to Cardinal Stephen Hamao, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. Cardinal Sodano's message follows:
"The celebration of the World Day of Tourism this September 27 offers the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI an opportunity to extend a cordial thought to all those involved in the vast world of tourism and to highlight the Church's pastoral concern for them. The World Tourism Organization has chosen a most interesting theme for the event: Travel and transportation: from the imaginary world of Jules Verne to the reality of the 21st century.
"Jules Verne was a man of letters, a traveller and a writer with a lively imagination. In his writings he intelligently combined fantasy and the scientific knowledge of his time. His voyages, whether real or imaginary, were in fact an invitation to consult the new atlas and a challenge to face responsibly and humanly limits that could no longer be dissembled.
"At the end of the 19th century, in his incredible journey, Jules Verne crossed the limits imposed by the dominant culture of his time and its vision of the European West as the be-all and end-all.
"Today, too, there are obstacles to be surmounted if one desires the benefits of tourism, travelling, and transportation to be extended to everyone. New and unheard of possibilities for travel with ever more modern and faster means of transport can make tourism a providential opportunity to share the goods of the earth and of culture.
"A century after the death of Jules Verne, much of what he imagined has become accessible and has taken a concrete form. The dream of a tourism without borders that could contribute to creating a better future for humanity is coming true.
"The tourist industry, however, must always take into account the ethical requirements bound to tourism. It is important that those with responsibility in this sphere - politicians and legislators, people in government or in finance - should promote a peaceful encounter between peoples, guaranteeing security and good communications.
"The promoters, organizers, and all who work in the tourist sector are called to create structures that make tourism healthy, popular, and economically sustainable, always keeping clearly in mind that in every activity, hence, also in tourism, the ultimate goal must always be respect for the human person, in the interests of the common good.
"Tourists must be motivated by the desire to meet others, respecting their personal, cultural, and religious differences; they must be ready for and open to dialogue and understanding, and their behavior must be respectful, supportive, and peace-loving.
"Christian communities have a role of considerable importance: in welcoming tourists, they must feel committed to offering them the possibility of discovering the riches of Christ incarnate, not only through monuments and religious art works but also in the daily life of a living Church. Moreover, since the beginning of Christianity, journeys have made possible and facilitated the dissemination of the Good News in every corner of the world.
"In the hope that the upcoming World Day of Tourism will bear the fruits desired, His Holiness Benedict XVI assures you of his remembrance in prayer and very gladly imparts his Apostolic Blessing to all. . ."
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
"Sometimes women are made to feel helpless and hopeless when it comes to their risk of developing breast cancer. After all, they cannot change the fact that they are women, are getting older, and have already inherited a certain set of genes from their parents. These are well-established risks for breast cancer. However, there are factors you can control to minimize your risk, including the amount of estrogen to which you are exposed and your reproductive history," reassures Angela Lanfranchi, M.D., whose private practice is devoted exclusively to breast cancer surgery.
"The more estrogen your breasts are exposed to over your lifetime, the higher the risk of breast cancer," explains Dr. Lanfranchi.
"Estrogen stimulates your breast tissue to increase cell divisions (mitoses). This sometimes results in cancers due to errors in cell division (mutations). Other substances (carcinogens) or exposures (e.g., high dose radiation) can also result in cancer."
Northern Kentucky Right to Life is indeed proud to invite Angela Lanfranchi, M.D., to address the 32nd Annual Celebration for Life. This pro-life event, co-chaired by Rev. Mike Albertson, Pastor of New Hope United Methodist Church in Southgate, Kentucky, and Fr. Michael Cordier, Pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Milford, Ohio, is scheduled for Sunday, September 25, at London Hall, Drawbridge Estates in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky (I-75, Exit 186).
The doors will open at 1:15 p.m., followed by the showing of a pro-life film at 1:30 p.m. Refreshments and exhibits will be available at 2:00 p.m. with the program commencing at 2:30 p.m. (Free baby-sitting is provided.)
Tickets ($5.00) and additional information can be obtained from Joan Arnsparger, Northern Kentucky Right to Life, 1822 Madison Avenue, Covington. (859-431-6380).
Angela Lanfranchi, M.D.
Dr. Lanfranchi, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, is an expert in breast cancer, having published extensively in the field. Through the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, she and Joel Brind, Ph.D., a biochemist and Professor of Human Biology and Endocrinology at Baruch College in New York, co-authored the booklet, Breast Cancer: Risks and Prevention. They have documented the clear connection between abortion and breast cancer and between hormonal birth control and breast cancer.
Although 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancer cases are genetic, resulting from a breast cancer gene, there are other factors which substantially increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
When the cells, which make up the milk glands (lobules), mature from type 1 lobules to type 4 lobules, there is an effect on the risk of breast cancer.
"If a woman does not have a full-term pregnancy (meaning she is childless or nulliparous), she has increased risk for breast cancer, since she never develops type 3 and 4 lobules," states Dr. Lanfranchi.
"If she has children later in life (after age 30), she has increased risk, because for most of her menstrual life, her estrogen has been stimulating immature type 1 and 2 breast lobules. If she has children as a teenager, she has decreased risk of breast cancer, since her breast tissue matures very early in her menstrual life to type 3 and 4 lobules.
"If a woman breast-feeds, she often has low estrogen cycles or misses menstrual cycles altogether. She has decreased risk due to two factors: less exposure to estrogen and breast tissue maturity to type 4 lobules. Risk decreases more with longer duration of breastfeeding."
"A large majority of studies show increased breast cancer risk in women who take birth control medications, especially if they are taken before a full-term pregnancy, when their breast cells are still immature. Birth control pills are very commonly used by young women. For example, in one study women who took birth control pills before the age of 20 had more than a ten-fold increase in the risk of breast cancer. The longer they took the pill, the higher their risk.
"The risk factors of estrogen exposure and breast maturity can also act in concert with one another, causing greater risk. For example, if a teenager who has not had a full-term pregnancy (she is nulliparous), takes birth control pills, her risk for breast cancer is much higher than a woman who has had several children and then takes birth control pills."
Dr. Lanfranchi continues: "A woman who has taken hormone replacement for years, especially if she had not had a full-term pregnancy and had taken birth control pills most of her life, will have significantly increased breast cancer risk."
"Sometimes, a woman will miscarry during the first trimester. These miscarriages (spontaneous abortions) do not increase breast cancer risk, since they are associated with low estrogen levels that do not cause breast growth. Miscarriages in the second trimester can increase risk.
"A first trimester miscarriage is quite a different situation from induced abortion of a normal pregnancy in its effect on the woman's breasts. The longer a woman is pregnant before an induced abortion, the higher her risk of breast cancer. This is because high estrogen levels of the first and second trimesters cause breast growth of type 1 & 2 lobules. When her pregnancy is terminated before the breast cells reach full maturity, she is left with more immature type 1 & 2 breast lobules than before her pregnancy started, and therefore is at increased risk. . . This risk is especially high for teenagers who have an abortion in the late first or second trimester and for those women who have never had a child, since their breasts never matured.
"A teenager, who has an abortion between 9 and 24 weeks, has a 30% chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. If that same teenager also has a family history of breast cancer, the risk increases so much that one study showed all such women developed breast cancer by the age of 45."
According to the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, breastfeeding has lowered the risk of breast cancer.
On the other hand, regular drinking of alcohol lessens the ability of the liver to make inactive the estrogen. An occasional consumption of alcohol does not increase the risk.
Bring a Friend
Considering the priority of the abortion issue, please make the personal commitment to hear this pro-life advocate and encourage your family and friends to join you. Take this opportunity to also come and meet the over 30 exhibitors, who can show you how you can also participate in the pro-life movement, giving witness in a variety of ways, to the sanctity of all human life.
by Michael Halm
The worst thing to happen in the latest Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is that although clearly advised to use love as the weapon against the forces of evil, the death-eaters, Harry abandons Ginny Weasley because he's "got to do things alone now." That seems as selfish and foolish as his enemies.
David Kiper of the San Francisco Chronicle asks, "When the seventh and final Potter novel finally arrives, would it be too much to hope that the hero prevails, not because he can manfully sacrifice his capacity for love, but because he can't?"
The extraordinary hype for the penultimate Harry Potter book did generate more record-breaking sales. Barnes and Noble, for example, averaged 105 sales per second in the first hour, the witching hour, midnight to one a.m. Professional and even fan reviews are mixed. This book, like each one before it, is being called the darkest yet. Some others call it "simple and clunky" or "repetitive."
Terry Pratchett, best-selling author of the Discworld series, has made the case that publishers' overemphasis on Rowling has hurt the whole genre. The 63th World Science Fiction Convention or WorldCon in Scotland featured Jane Yolen, author of Sleeping Ugly and Young Merlin and other twice-told tales, defending the proposition "Harry Potter has put children's fantasy back fifty years."
That the book is just a filler to complete the gap between the first five and the last in the seven-book series seems confirmed by the extra spacing in the book itself. One fan estimated that the extra space between lines of text inflated the book from 471 to 650 pages. Australian John Mullan wrote in The Guardian that though it had no satisfying plot, it did have "a gloom not to be dispelled."
Cindy wrote it "didn't have a lot of excitement until toward the end (hmm, now that I think of it, they are all kinda like that, but I thought this one was particularly slow in parts." John wrote, "As usual more questions are left unanswered than answered at the story's end."
The sixth book deals primarily with Harry's use of a spell and potion book by the mysterious "Half-Blood Prince." He later learns that this is the son of witch Eileen Prince and the bewitched muggle Tobias Snape, that is, none other than Severus Snape. Snape had been teaching how to fight sorcery with sorcery (sic) at Hogwart's. Harry lies to him about having it and uses its spells to leave Draco Malfoy severely injured. Harry apparently plans to continue to use such methods not just to injure physically but to try to destroy Lord Voldemort's soul!
This would be just a story if it were not for the links on some of the book's many websites to real spell-casting books and witchcraft. They may not be new to adults, but these are being promoted to children and teens. "Get Love, Money, Health, Power and more with Powerful Magic Spells" and "Spells Cast, Live." Search engines would yield thousands more.
Hogwart-themed summer camps have been springing up from Washington to Connecticut, with not just re-enactments of scenes from the books, but spell-casting and potion-making lessons.
This book also contains more references to us muggles, not only Lord Voldemort's murdered muggle father, Tom Riddle, and his murdered muggle grandparents, but Great Britain's Prime Minister's pitifully inept attempts to fight evil.
There is more violence among the main characters too. Bill Weasley, Fleur Delacour's fiancee, is attacked by a werewolf and Dumbledore is killed. Emily Green wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "I haven't cried so hard since Charlotte the spider died."
David Haber, webmaster of dumbledoreisnotdead.com, says, "Think of this website as Half-Blood Prince therapy." He created it to promote the idea that all is not as it seems to be, because he was himself completely taken by surprise by the ending of the book. "It ruined my whole day. I felt very bad about what had happened; I felt like the world of Harry Potter was no longer a fun place to be."
Haber points out the many references to the not quite correctly done curse, Dumbledore's pet phoenix, his missing wand, the covered body (?) at the funeral. He notes the passages in the American but not the British version of Dumbledore to Draco, such as, "He cannot kill you if you are already dead" or "never give up on him."
Whether Dumbledore has merely faked his death or actually comes back from the dead glorified like Gandalf the White or disembodied like Obi Wan or something even more Christ-like, what we all long for, including Rowling and Harry, whether we know it or not, is that Love Who is stronger than death.
Pope to Terrorists: "Stop in God's Name!"
vatican city — After the Sunday
Angelus on July 10, Pope Benedict XVI made the following comments about the
recent terrorist attack in London: "We all feel a deep sorrow for the
atrocious terrorist attacks in London last Thursday. Let us pray for the
people killed, for the injured, and for their loved ones. But let us also
pray for the attackers: may the Lord move their hearts. To all who
nurture sentiments of hatred and to all who carry out such repugnant terrorist
acts I say: God loves life, which He created, and not death. Stop,
in God's name!"
(Source: L'Osservatore Romano weekly edition in English)
Kenyan Bishop Murdered
vatican city — Bishop Luigi Locati, a native of Italy and missionary in Kenya, was shot to death after spending an evening with his clergy on July 14. Two telegrams, one to the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya and one to the Archbishop of Vercelli, Italy, the archdiocese in which Bishop Locati was born, were released on July 16. The telegrams were sent by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. Cardinal Sodano said:
"The Holy Father was deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Bishop Luigi Locati, and he extends hearfelt condolences and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the clergy, religious, and faithful of the Apostolic Vicariate of Isiolo. Commending the late Bishop's noble soul to the infinite mercy of God our Father, His Holiness gives thanks for the selfless witness to the Gospel and the advancement of human dignity which characterized his priestly and episcopal ministry. He likewise prays that Bishop Locati's death may hasten the dawn of that peace and reconciliation to which he devoted himself to the last. To all assembled for the solemn Mass of Christian Burial, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in our Lord Jesus Christ."
He wrote to the Italian
Archdiocese: "Deeply saddened by the barbaric assassination of Bishop
Luigi Locati, a native of this Archdiocese [Vercelli] and Vicar Apostolic of
Isiolo, the Supreme Pontiff expresses to the diocesan community and to the
relatives of this heroic missionary his spiritual participation in their sudden
bereavement. Recalling with heartfelt gratitude to the Lord the generous
episcopal ministry that this praiseworthy prelate carried out among the Kenyan
people, the Holy Father raises fervent prayers for the repose of his soul.
As he invokes from divine goodness the eternal reward which the deceased pastor
deserves, in the light of the supreme certainties of the faith he imparts a
special Apostolic Blessing for the comfort of all."
(Source: L'Osservatore Romano weekly edition in English)
Pray for Conversion of Terrorists
les combes, italy — After the Sunday
Angelus in this Italian Alpine village, Pope Benedict XVI commented on recent
terrorist attacks. He said: "Even these days of tranquillity and
rest have been disturbed by the tragic news of the despicable terrorist attacks
that have caused death, destruction, and suffering in various countries, such as
Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, and Great Britain. As we entrust to divine goodness
the deceased, the injured, and their loved ones, victims of these acts that
offend God and man, let us invoke the Almighty so that He may stop the murderous
hand of those motivated by fanaticism and hatred who have committed them, and
convert their hearts to thoughts of reconciliation and peace."
(Source: L'Osservatore Romano weekly edition in English)
Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com