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My People

Vol. 19, Issue 11, November 2006

"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


"New Barbarism" Threatens World Peace
Pope to Stem Cell Congress: "No One Can Dispose of Human Life"
"Spirit of Assisi" Testifies to Power of Prayer For Peace
Family Theater Lives
Life: Only For The Perfect
Pope Meets With Muslims To Build Solidarity
A Thanksgiving Proclamation
Pray The News


"New Barbarism" Threatens World Peace

In an address to the 61st session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on September 27, Monsignor Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican representative, referred to threats to world peace posed by a "new barbarism." Because of the importance of this issue, My People is carrying his address which follows. At press time, North Korea has reportedly become the 9th nation to possess nuclear weapons.

"Not so long ago it appeared that our world was growing, at a pace beyond our control, into a single global village. Today's reality, by contrast, appears more and more fractured. The world is divided by culture, faith, wealth, and levels of material advancement, and even more by attitudes towards power, authority, and cooperation. Our efforts to overcome divisions and to harmonize differences have been hesitant, at times even half-hearted. Attempts to strengthen the United Nations structures and procedures for the new millennium seem thwarted by our own shortcomings. As the recent struggle between Israel and Hezbollah has tragically demonstrated, it is not so much the want of peacemaking and peacekeeping experience and resources which leaves vulnerable non-combatants to suffer and die; prior to this there exists the difficulty of moulding a consistent political will on the part of the international community.

"In the story of the Tower of Babel, the ancient world has left us an image of our current divided state. The confusion of tongues at Babel is the symbol of the divisions, misunderstandings, and hostilities spawned not by nature, but by human pride. Human pride hampers the acknowledgment of one's neighbor and the recognition of his or her needs and even more makes people distrusting. Today, that same negative fundamental attitude has given rise to a new barbarism that threatens world peace. Terrorists, and their various organizations, are the contemporary version of it, rejecting the best achievements of our civilization. Even in an order of quite a different nature it cannot be denied that also superpowers, regional powers, aspiring powers, and oppressed peoples sometimes yield to the temptation to believe, despite the evidence of history, that only force can bring about a just ordering of affairs among peoples and nations. The ideology of power scorns any restraint placed upon the use of force. It can go so far as to regard the possession of nuclear weapons as an element of national pride, and it does not exclude the outrageous possibility of employing nuclear weapons against its adversaries. Currently eight countries – and there may be others tempted to join their ranks – possess nuclear weapons comprising approximately 27,000 nuclear warheads – enough to destroy our planet many times over. Meanwhile, the implementation of the Treaty of Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons appears to be stalled and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty still needs to be ratified by some countries to enter into force. How can we stand still?

Old and new challenges

"This Organization was founded on a very different understanding of human affairs: peace can only be achieved by shared labors aimed at securing a decent and dignified life for all. Due to the East-West struggle, the United Nations was able to achieve only an impoverished sort of peace. After the end of the Cold War, however, and the experience of innovative responses to the conflicts of the 1990s, some of which intertwined with fights for ethnic and religious identity, the birth of a new millennium offered new opportunities for realizing humanity's hopes for a just and peaceful world in which all people might live in dignity. Recently the Secretary-General's proposals set this Organization on the path of reform; its lofty goals, however, will be reached only by overcoming the narrow confines imposed by the dominance of national interests so that we may open ourselves to the vision of a world both reconciled and based on solidarity.

"In this spirit, the Holy See continues to be an advocate of the United Nations and favors its ongoing reform in the fields of peacebuilding, development, and human rights. In the same spirit, the Holy See commends the decision to create the Peacebuilding Commission. The fundamental responsibility of political authority is to promote, defend, and safeguard the human rights of its people. Too often international bodies act, if at all, only after war is under way or when innocent populations have long been under assault. When the rights of whole groups of people are violated - grievous examples could be mentioned in Europe, Asia, and Africa - or when they go unprotected by their own Governments, it is entirely right and just that this Organization intervene in a timely manner by suitable means to restore justice. The need to improve the system for effective humanitarian interventions in catastrophes brought on by war, civil conflict, and ethnic strife will be an important test of the UN reform agenda.

"Strengthening the capacity of this Organization to foresee a conflict or to resolve conflicts through negotiation and transform them nonviolently before there is resort to force is therefore a goal of primary importance in the renewal of the Organization. In this regard, I regret to say that the Security Council's Resolution 1701 of August 11, 2006, could have been adopted with the same wording one month previously. If the repeated pleas for an immediate cessation to the violence, made by many, including Pope Benedict XVI, had been acted upon, the killing of thousands of civilians and numerous young soldiers, the flight of peoples, and the enormous indiscriminate devastation need not have occurred; meanwhile none of the outcomes that some governments put forward as a reason for the continuation of hostilities in Lebanon has in fact been achieved.

"As history has shown, for lack of sufficient capacity of intervention and common will, millions have died in needless conflicts: 'inutili stragi,' that is, 'pointless massacres,' to repeat a famous phrase of Benedict XV, Pope during the First World War. The late Pope Paul VI's appeal, uttered in this Hall on October 4, 1965 – 'Jamais plus la guerre,' 'Never again war' – today rings like an accusation in the heart of the collective conscience of humanity.

Development and peace

"The surest way to prevent war is to address its causes. It must not be forgotten that at the root of war there are usually real and serious grievances: injustices suffered; a lack of development, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law; legitimate aspirations frustrated, and the exploitation of multitudes of desperate people who see no real possibility of improving their lot by peaceful means. How can we not be disturbed by the images of countless exiles and refugees living in camps and enduring subhuman conditions, or by those desperate groups who, intent upon seeking a less wretched future for themselves and their children, are driven to face the risks of illegal emigration? And what of the millions of people oppressed by misery and hunger, and exposed to lethal epidemics, who continue to cry out to our sense of humanity? These too are challenges to our desire for peace.

"The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the repeated promises of world leaders to support them have offered the prospect of alleviating such intolerable conditions, but implementation has been lacking. Not all goals will be achieved, just as other important agreements have not always been implemented. Likewise, the expectations that the Doha Round of world trade negotiations would establish a floor of basic equity in world markets have been frustrated. These failures to correct fundamental inequalities in the world economic system are fast becoming lost opportunities to advance a moral alternative to war. But the failures, though painful and distressing, cannot weaken our common will to pursue the high road to peace. We are all aware of this: the present lack of progress in the fields of development aid and trade reform threatens everyone's security and well-being. By contrast, fulfillment of the MDGs and the resumption of the latest WTO trade round promise economic progress, the alleviation of poverty, a reduction in terrorism, and increased social harmony. Building peace for tomorrow requires doing justice today.

Human rights: pillars of peace

"Like development, the protection of human rights is an essential pillar in the edifice of world peace, for peace consists in people's unimpeded enjoyment of their God-given rights. The Holy See regards the promotion of human rights as one of the United Nations' primary forms of service to the world. It hopes the newly formed Human Rights Council will enhance the enjoyment of those rights on the part of every people and the citizens of every nation. The diversity among cultures allows for differences in emphasis and implementation of human rights, but the human nature which is their foundation and is common to the whole of human society, permits no basic human right to be eclipsed or subordinated for the sake of other rights. Every Government must clearly understand: violation of the fundamental rights of the person cannot be removed from the attention of the international community under the pretext of the inviolability of a State's internal affairs.

"Among fundamental human rights, I would like to draw attention to three primary rights:

"a) the right to life: the increasing recognition of the sacredness of life, witnessed also by the growing rejection of the death penalty, needs to be matched by a thorough protection of human life precisely when it is at its weakest, that is, at its very beginning and at its natural end;

"b) the right to religious freedom: the respect for religious freedom is the respect for the intimate relationship of the believing person with God – both in its individual and social aspects – of which there is nothing more sacred;

"c) the right to freedom of thought and expression, including freedom to hold opinions without interference and to exchange ideas and information and the consequent freedom of the press: the observance of this right is necessary for the fulfillment of each person, for the respect of cultures, and for the progress of science.

"We must acknowledge, however, that not all fundamental rights – and in particular the three which I have mentioned – are adequately protected in every nation, and, in not a few, they are openly denied, even among States sitting on the Human Rights Council.

Dialogue among religions and peace

"Although in some cases religion continues to be cynically exploited for political ends, it is my delegation's firm belief that, at its best, truest and most authentic, religion is a vital force for good, for harmony, and for peace among peoples. It appeals to the noblest in people's nature. It feeds the hungry and clothes the naked. It binds up the wounds of war, both physical and psychological. It provides sanctuary to refugees and hospitality to migrants. It cultivates peace in hearts that in turn bring harmony to human society. It weaves bonds of solidarity that overcome every form of mistrust, and through forgiveness it lends stability to once divided societies.

"Twenty years ago, the late Pope John Paul II brought together the leaders of the world's religions to pray and to bear witness to peace. That collective witness was renewed in 1993 during the Bosnian war and in 2002 following the barbarous September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. More recently, on the 23rd of July of this year, faced with the spreading war in Lebanon, Pope Benedict XVI invited Christians and all believers to join him in a day of prayer and penitence, imploring God for the gift of peace for the Holy Land and the Middle East.

"In this last generation, the world's religions, their leaders, and their adherents have shown themselves time and again to be willing to dialogue and to promote harmony among peoples. Together, religions have offered the world the example and the service of dialogue. A sincere dialogue necessarily entails self-critical analysis of the relationship of our traditions to those social, political, and economic structures prone to become agents of violence and injustice.

Benedict XVI and dialogue

"On. . .September 20. . . Pope Benedict XVI repeated his unequivocal support for interreligious and intercultural dialogue, and expressed the hope that what he had said at the University of Regensburg might 'be a boost and an encouragement for positive and even self-critical dialogue, both between religions and between modern reason and the faith of Christians.' The Pope – as is known – expressed sadness that some passages in his academic address could have lent themselves to misinterpretation. His real intention was to explain that 'not religion and violence, but religion and reason go together,' in the context of a critical vision of a society which seeks to exclude God from public life. Two days ago, while receiving the Ambassadors of OIC countries accredited to the Holy See, he added: 'The lessons of the past must. . . help us to seek paths of reconciliation, in order to live with respect for the identity and freedom of each individual, with a view to fruitful cooperation in the service of all humanity. . .respect and dialogue require reciprocity in all spheres, especially in that which concerns basic freedoms, more particularly religious freedom.'

"If, on the one hand, religious motivation for violence, whatever its source, must be clearly and radically rejected, on the other, it must be emphasized that in political life one cannot disregard the contribution of the religious vision of the world and of humanity. In fact – as the Pope affirmed – were reason to turn a deaf ear to the divine and relegate religion to the ambit of subcultures, it would automatically provoke violent reactions: and violent reactions are always a falsification of true religion. The Holy Father, in defending the openness of political and cultural activity to the Transcendent, did not wish to do anything other than make a decisive contribution to the dialogue between cultures, by helping to open western thought to the riches of the patrimony of all religions.

"It falls to all interested parties – to civil society as well as to States - to promote religious freedom and a sane, social tolerance that will disarm extremists even before they can begin to corrupt others with their hatred of life and liberty. This will be a significant contribution to peace among peoples, because peace can be born only from the hearts of human beings. . ."


Pope to Stem Cell Congress: "No One Can Dispose of Human Life"

Pope Benedict XVI met with participants in the Congress on Stem Cells, organized by the Pontifical Council for Life, on September 16, at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. The Pope reiterated the Church's teachings and referred to the hope resulting from therapies using adult stem cells. A portion of his address follows:

". . .When science is applied to the alleviation of suffering and when it discovers on its way new resources, it shows two faces rich in humanity: through the sustained ingenuity invested in research, and through the benefit announced to all who are afflicted by sickness.

"Those who provide financial means and encourage the necessary structures for study share in the merit of this progress on the path of civilization.

"On this occasion, I would like to repeat what I said at a recent Audience: 'Progress becomes true progress only if it serves the human person and if the human person grows: not only in terms of his or her technical power, but also in his or her moral awareness' (cf. General Audience, 'August 16, 2006).

"In this light, somatic stem-cell research also deserves approval and encouragement when it felicitously combines scientific knowledge, the most advanced technology in the biological field and ethics that postulate respect for the human being at every stage of his or her existence.

"The prospects opened by this new chapter in research are fascinating in themselves, for they give a glimpse of the possible cure of degenerative tissue diseases that subsequently threaten those affected with disability and death.

"How is it possible not to feel the duty to praise all those who apply themselves to this research and all who support the organization and cover its expenses?

"I would like in particular to urge scientific structures that draw their inspiration and organization from the Catholic Church to increase this type of research and to establish the closest possible contact with one another and with those who seek to relieve human suffering in the proper ways.

"May I also point out, in the face of the frequently unjust accusations of insensitivity addressed to the Church, her constant support for research dedicated to the cure of diseases and to the good of humanity throughout her 2,000-year-old history.

"If there has been resistance - and if there still is - it was and is to those forms of research that provide for the planned suppression of human beings who already exist, even if they have not yet been born. Research, in such cases, irrespective of efficacious therapeutic results is not truly at the service of humanity.

"In fact, this research advances through the suppression of human lives that are equal in dignity to the lives of other human individuals and the lives of the researchers themselves.

"History itself has condemned such a science in the past and will condemn it in the future, not only because it lacks the light of God but also because it lacks humanity.

"I would like to repeat here what I already wrote some time ago: Here there is a problem that we cannot get around; no one can dispose of human life. An insurmountable limit to our possibilities of doing and of experimenting must be established. The human being is not a disposable object, but every single individual represents God's presence in the world (cf. J. Ratzinger, God and the World, Ignatius Press, 2002).

"In the face of the actual suppression of the human being there can be no compromises or prevarications. One cannot think that a society can effectively combat crime when society itself legalizes crime in the area of conceived life.

"On the occasion of recent Congresses of the Pontifical Academy for Life, I have had the opportunity to reassert the teaching of the Church, addressed to all people of good will, on the human value of the newly conceived child, also when considered prior to implantation in the uterus.

"The fact that you at this Congress have expressed your commitment and hope to achieve new therapeutic results from the use of cells of the adult body without recourse to the suppression of newly conceived human beings, and the fact that your work is being rewarded by results, are confirmation of the validity of the Church's constant invitation to full respect for the human being from conception. The good of human beings should not only be sought in universally valid goals, but also in the methods used to achieve them.

"A good result can never justify intrinsically unlawful means. It is not only a matter of a healthy criterion for the use of limited financial resources, but also, and above all, of respect for the fundamental human rights in the area of scientific research itself.

"I hope that God will grant your efforts – which are certainly sustained by God Who acts in every person of good will and for the good of all – the joy of discovering the truth, wisdom in consideration and respect for every human being, and success in the search for effective remedies to human suffering. . ."


"Spirit of Assisi" Testifies to Power of Prayer For Peace

This year marks both the 20th anniversary of the Interreligious Meeting of Prayer for Peace and the 800th anniversary of the conversion of St. Francis of Assisi. In a prophetic action, Pope John Paul II convened the first such prayer meeting on October 27, 1986 in Assisi, Italy, the home of the great St. Francis.

In a message to Bishop Domenico Sorreno of Assisi- Nocero Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, Pope Benedict XVI said:

"It is well known that he did not only invite Christians of various denominations to this Meeting but also the exponents of different religions. The initiative made an important impact on public opinion. It constituted a vibrant message furthering peace and an event that left its mark on the history of our time."

The Pope referred to a number of initiatives to celebrate the anniversary including meetings of "dialogue, prayer, and peace training" for Catholic youths and those from other religious backgrounds, a convention organized by the Theological Institute of Assisi, and a eucharistic celebration in the Basilica of St. Francis.

The Holy Father stated: "These initiatives, each with its own specific style, highlight the value of John Paul II's insight and demonstrate its timeliness in light of what has happened in the past 20 years and of humanity's situation today."

The Pope continued: "There is no doubt that the most significant event in this period was the fall of the Communist-inspired regimes in Eastern Europe. This brought an end to the Cold War that had given rise to a sort of division of the world into an axis of opposing influence that spawned the storing of terrifying arsenals and armies in preparation for a full-scale war.

"This was a moment when the widespread hope for peace induced many people to dream of a different world, where relations between peoples would develop, safe from the nightmare of war, and where the 'globalization' process would unfold under the banner of a peaceful encounter of peoples and cultures in the context of a common international law inspired by respect for the needs of truth, justice, and solidarity.

"Unfortunately, this dream of peace never came true. On the contrary, the third millennium opened with scenes of terrorism and violence that show no sign of abating. Then, the fact that armed conflicts are taking place today against a background of the geographical and political tensions that exist in many regions may give the impression that not only cultural diversity but also religious differences are causes of instability or threats to the prospect of peace.

"It is under this profile that the initiative John Paul II promoted 20 years ago has acquired the features of an accurate prophecy. His invitation to the world's religious leaders to bear a unanimous witness to peace serves to explain with no possibility of confusion that religion must be a herald of peace.

"As the Second Vatican Council taught in the Declaration Nostra Aetate on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions: 'We cannot truly pray to God the Father of all if we treat any people in other than brotherly fashion, for all men are created in God's image' (n. 5).

"Despite the differences that mark the various religious itineraries, recognition of God's existence, which human beings can only arrive at by starting from the experience of creation (cf. Rom 1:20), must dispose believers to view other human beings as brothers and sisters. It is not legitimate, therefore, for anyone to espouse religious difference as a presupposition or pretext for an aggressive attitude towards other human beings.

"It could be objected that history has experienced the regrettable phenomenon of religious wars. We know, however, that such demonstrations of violence cannot be attributed to religion as such but to the cultural limitations with which it is lived and develops in time.

"Yet, when the religious sense reaches maturity it gives rise to a perception in the believer that faith in God, Creator of the universe and Father of all, must encourage relations of universal brotherhood among human beings.

"In fact, attestations of the close bond that exists between the relationship with God and the ethics of love are recorded in all great religious traditions. We Christians feel strengthened in this and further enlightened by the Word of God. The Old Testament already expresses God's love for all peoples which, in the covenant that He established with Noah, He gathered in one great embrace, symbolized by the 'bow in the clouds' (Gn 9:13, 14, 16), and which, according to the Prophets' words, He intended to gather once and for all into a single universal family (cf. Is 2:2ff.; 42:6; 66:18-21; Jer 4:2; Ps 47[46]).

"In the New Testament the revelation of this universal plan of love culminates in the Paschal Mystery, in which the Son of God Incarnate, in an overwhelming act of saving solidarity, offers Himself as a sacrifice on the Cross for the whole of humanity. Thus, God demonstrates that His nature is Love. This is what I meant to emphasize in my first Encyclical, which begins precisely with the words 'Deus caritas est' (Jn 4:7).

"Scripture's assertion not only casts light on God's mystery but also illumines relations between human beings who are called to abide by the commandment of love.

"The gathering that the Servant of God John Paul II organized in Assisi appropriately puts the emphasis on the value of prayer in building peace. Indeed, we are aware of how difficult and, at times, how humanly desperate this process can be. Peace is a value in which so many elements converge. To build it, the paths of cultural, political, and economic order are, of course, important, but first of all peace must be built in hearts. It is here, in fact, that sentiments develop that can nurture it or, on the contrary, threaten, weaken, and stifle it.

"Moreover, the human heart is the place where God intervenes. In this regard, in addition to the 'horizontal' dimension of relations with other human beings, the 'vertical' dimension of each person's relationship with God, the foundation of all things, is proving to be of fundamental importance. This was exactly what Pope John Paul II intended to recall to the world with the 1986 event.

"He asked for genuine prayer which involves the whole of life. Thus, he desired it to be accompanied by fasting and expressed in pilgrimage, a symbol of the journey towards the encounter with God. And he explained, 'Prayer entails conversion of heart on our part' (Inauguration of the World Day of Prayer for Peace, Assisi, October 27, 1986, n. 4; L'Osservatore Romano English edition, November 3, p. 1).

"Among the features of the 1986 Meeting, it should be stressed that this value of prayer in building peace was testified to by the representatives of different religious traditions, and this did not happen at a distance but in the context of a meeting. Consequently, the people of diverse religions who were praying could show through the language of witness that prayer does not divide but unites and is a decisive element for an effective pedagogy of peace, hinged on friendship, reciprocal acceptance, and dialogue between people of different cultures and religions.

"We are in greater need of this dialogue than ever, especially if we look at the new generations. Sentiments of hatred and vengeance have been inculcated in numerous young people in those parts of the world marked by conflicts, in ideological contexts where the seeds of ancient resentment are cultivated and their souls prepared for future violence. These barriers must be torn down and encounter must be encouraged.

"I am glad, therefore, that the initiatives planned in Assisi this year are along these lines and, in particular, that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has had the idea of applying them in a special way for young people.

"In order not to misinterpret the meaning of what John Paul II wanted to achieve in 1986 and what, to use his own words, he habitually called the 'spirit of Assisi,' it is important not to forget the attention paid on that occasion to ensuring that the interreligious Prayer Meeting did not lend itself to syncretist interpretations founded on a relativistic concept.

"For this very reason, John Paul II declared at the outset: 'The fact that we have come here does not imply any intention of seeking a religious consensus among ourselves or of negotiating our faith convictions. Neither does it mean that religions can be reconciled at the level of a common commitment in an earthly project which would surpass them all. Nor is it a concession to relativism in religious beliefs' (ibid., n. 2).

"I would like to reaffirm this principle which constitutes the premise for the interreligious dialogue that the Second Vatican Council was hoping for, as is expressed in the Declaration on the Relations of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (cf. Nostra Aetate, n. 2).

"I gladly take this opportunity to greet the representatives of other religions who are taking part in one or other of the Assisi commemorations. Like us Christians, they know that in prayer it is possible to have a special experience of God and to draw from it effective incentives for dedication to the cause of peace.

"However, here too, it is only right to avoid an inappropriate confusion. Therefore, even when we are gathered together to pray for peace, the prayer must follow the different uses proper to the various religions. This was the decision in 1986 and it continues to be valid also today. The convergence of differences must not convey an impression of surrendering to that relativism which denies the meaning of truth itself and the possibility of attaining it.

"For his daring and prophetic initiative John Paul II desired to choose the evocative setting of this town of Assisi, known across the world on account of St. Francis.

"In fact, the 'Poverello' embodied in an exemplary way the Beatitude proclaimed by Jesus in the Gospel: 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God' (Mt 5:9). The witness Francis bore in his time makes him a natural reference point today for people who are fostering the ideal of peace, respect for nature, and dialogue between people, religions, and cultures. It is important, however, to recall, if one does not want to betray his message, that it was Christ's radical decision that provided him with a key to understanding the brotherhood to which all people are called, and in which inanimate creatures – from 'brother sun' to 'sister moon' – also in a certain way participate.

I would therefore like to recall that the eighth centenary of the conversion of St. Francis coincides with this 20th anniversary of John Paul II's Prayer Meeting for Peace. The two commemorations shed light upon each other. In the words addressed to him by the Crucifix of St. Damian: 'Francis, go, repair my house'; in his choice of radical poverty, in the kiss of the leper that expresses his new capacity to see and love Christ in His suffering brethren, began that human and Christian adventure which continues to fascinate so many people in our day and to make this town the destination of countless pilgrims.

"I entrust to you, Venerable Brother, Pastor of this Church of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, the task of making these reflections known to the participants in the various celebrations planned to commemorate the 20th anniversary of that historic event, the Interreligious Meeting of October 27, 1986. Also kindly impart to everyone my affectionate greeting and my Blessing, which I accompany with the greeting and prayer of the 'Poverello' of Assisi: 'May the Lord grant you peace!'."


Family Theater Lives

by Michael Joseph Halm

After 60 years the ministry that Father Peyton started on the Mutual Broadcasting Company network with a free half-hour program has changed a bit but continues to pray for and support families. It began Mother's Day, May 13, 1945, which had been declared a national day of prayer by President Eisenhower. The first show had a talk by Bing Crosby and a decade of the rosary by the parents and sister of the famous five brothers who died on the same ship during World War II.

Over the years the show broadcast radio – and television – dramas offering "inspiring insights into how to build unity within your family." It now offers videos, DVDs, and CDs as well at

Volume 1 contains "A Daddy for Christmas," (hosted by Shirley Temple and starring Pat O'Brien and Bobby Driscoll), and "God and a Red Scooter," (hosted by Gregory Peck, starring Robert Mitchum). Volume 2 has "Robert of Sicily" (hosted by Irene Dunne, starring Raymond Burr) and "Ozzie and Harriet" (hosted by Barry Fitzgerald, starring Ozzie and Harriet Nelson).

The other volumes feature "Footsteps in the Night," (hosted by Kate Smith); "Journey Home"; "The Windbag," (hosted by Bing Crosby); "The Prayer That Won the West," (hosted by Henry Fonda); "Mother's Halo Was Too Tight," (hosted by Gene Kelly), "Life's a Circus" (hosted by Fred Allen, starring Margaret O'Brien and Pat O'Brien); "The Bishop's Candlesticks"; and "Hound of Heaven" (hosted by Jack Benny).

Audio tapes offered are "Mystical Rose Music and Meditation," including "Ave Maria," "Gentle Mother," "O Holy Mary," "Holy is His Name" or "Pray the Rosary with Father Patrick Peyton, CSC" available on CD or Playaway self-playing digital audio player. "The Apostle of the Rosary: Servant of God Patrick Peyton, CSC" CD tells the story of "the rosary priest."

The site also offers "15 Mysteries of the Rosary" on DVD as well as others, such as, "A Dedicated Man," a tour of his homeland of County Mayo, Ireland; "A Most Unusual Man," featuring Bob Newhart, Ann Blyth, and Macdonald Carey; and "A World at Prayer," which examines the effect this one man had – and still has – by promoting the rosary.

"The Face: Jesus in Art" did win an Emmy. It examines 2,000 years of artistic renderings of Jesus Christ by tracing the dramatically different ways in which Jesus has been represented in art throughout history from ancient Rome to 20th century America, from Europe to the Middle East.

The Family Theater Classic Television series has "A Star Shall Rise," telling of the journey of the Three Wise Men; "Hill Number One," a modern day war story, related to Christ's crucifixion; "Hound of Heaven," a pictorial presentation of the classic poem by Francis Thompson; "Joyful Hour," the Christmas story; "Our Lady of Fatima"; "That I May See," a story of Bartimeus; "Trial at Tara," St. Patrick's story; "Triumphant Hour," the Easter story to the coronation of Mary; and her own story in "World's Greatest Mother."

Other videos show the lives of other inspiring priests. "Glidepath to Recovery" tells the story of Fr. Peter Young, who spent more than 35 years with men and women struggling to free themselves from addictions. "God, Country, Notre Dame" tells of Fr. Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C," and "Henri Nouwen's Passion & Spirituality" of Fr. Henri Nouwen.

The Manifest Mysteries series is available in both English and Spanish, all contemporary stories based on the mysteries of the rosary. "Haunted Heart" is, for example, inspired by the Crowning with Thorns, "Taylor's Well" by the Ascension, "The Eggplant Lady" by the Agony in the Garden, and "The Hero" by the Crucifixion.

"The Journey" is a modern retelling of the Christmas story. "The Search" interweaves a runaway's story with the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. "The Secret of the Horse" relates martial arts to the sacrificial love of the Scourging. "The Visit" deals with AIDS and the Visitation.

The Mysteries of Life series comes with downloadable study and discussion guides. "Grieving to Grace" tells of a California lawyer's Way of the Cross. "Journey to Joy" and "Shadows to Sunlight" dramatize the Joyful and Glorious Mysteries.

Then there's "Pray the Rosary with Father Peyton and the Stars!"; "The Fifth Gospel: The Land and Sea of Galilee," based on the book by Benedictine priest-archaeologist Bargil Pixner; and "A Journey with Mary: The Rosary Wake Service."

There are also many publications on Fr. Peyton and the rosary available, such as All For Her by Fr. Peyton; American Apostle of the Family Rosary by Fr. Richard Gribble, CSC; Fr. Peyton's Rosary Prayer Book, which has been updated to include the Mysteries of Light; Learning the Rosary, Minute Meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary by Fr. Thomas Feeley; Praying the Rosary with prayers and testimonies; The History and Devotion of the Rosary by Richard Gribble, CSC; and Your Own Mysteries by Br. Philip Armstrong, CSC.



Life: Only For The Perfect

Fred H. Summe
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
by Fred H. Summe

For the first time ever in the United States, a judge granted a hospital permission to withdraw a ventilator from a living baby. Five-month-old Sun Hudson, who had been diagnosed with a fatal form of dwarfism, died at Texas Children's Hospital after the ventilator was removed.

Not only was this against his mother's wishes, but she opposed the hospital's petition requesting the court's permission to deny her baby this medical procedure.

This is another example of how the so-called "right to die" has become an obligation. Those whose medical conditions have little prospects for a "normal quality of life," and which will be a burden on our medical resources, are denied that medical care.

Over 30 years ago when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion on demand (for any reason or for no reason at all) there were predictions that someday it would be compulsory for those whom others deem as having a life unworthy to be lived, to die.


"No virtue is more misunderstood than compassion. The truly compassionate person loves so selflessly that he willingly takes on the pain of the sufferer. The person who confuses compassion with pity is repulsed by suffering and distances himself, emotionally and physically, from the sufferer. Today people kill in the name of 'compassion,' as the only remedy they can think of is to put the sufferer out of his misery. 'Compassionate killing' belongs to the 'culture of death.' True compassion belongs to the 'culture of life,'" teaches Donald DeMarco, professor of philosophy at the University of St. Jerome's College in Waterloo, Ontario.


According to The Catholic World Report, hospital statistics suggest that 90 percent of those prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Also aborted at high rates are unborn children prenatally diagnosed as having cystic fibrosis, Tay Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, spina bifida and other neural tube defects. With each passing year the conditions cited to justify therapeutic abortion grow more superficial. Unborn children with club feet, cleft palates, webbed toes, and extra fingers are among the aborted.

"Abortion has become a bargain in a society which sees people with disabilities as costing the rest of us too much money," states Melinda Tankard Reist, author of Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics.

From a distorted view of "true compassion," aborting children who may have disabilities, or who may be less than perfect, is viewed as "preventive medicine," which will save Americans over $2 billion a year, according to the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

In an article published by the American Medical Association, Adrienne Asch, professor of bioethics at Yeshiva University, who describes herself as "pro-choice," wrote: "A policy of prevention-by-screening appears to reflect the judgment that lives with disabilities are so burdensome to the disabled child, his family, and society that their avoidance is a health care priority."

On the other hand, associate professor of law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, Elizabeth R. Schiltz, despite being told that her daughter would have Down syndrome, gave birth to her third child: "We really are a society that is reaching a consensus that it is socially acceptable to abort a child with a disability," says Schiltz, as reported in The Catholic World Report.

Prenatal Testing

Is prenatal testing morally acceptable?

According to the 1987 The Gift of Life, issued by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, prenatal testing is morally acceptable if it is done for the benefit of the child. On the other hand, if its purpose is to encourage abortion when a diagnosis indicates a disability, then prenatal testing is morally unacceptable.

"You might want to do testing to see if a child will be affected with a disease to prepare yourself as a couple," said Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D., director of education for the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. Rev. Pacholczyk told Catholic World Report: "That would be legitimate if the couple is unbending in their orientation not to go down the path of abortion. What actually happens in the real world, when there is a defect – a couple who had previously espoused a pro-life position may sometimes buckle and go forward with an abortion. This testing opens the door to certain temptations that are at times better avoided."

A Gift From God

It is not surprising to see how our nation, which has legalized the killing of an unborn child because it is supposedly "unwanted," would soon accept the mentality that children who may have a disability must be aborted.

Children are no longer seen as a gift from God, a unique and precious individual with the same right to life as everyone else. Our selfish society now fears the child, especially one whom is viewed as a financial burden on our medical resources.

The more material wealth Americans have, the more they worry about the material wealth that they have. Fearing that we might not be able to enjoy all of the good things of life, Americans somehow think they now have the right to choose who should live and who should die.

So afraid that our "quality of life" may be diminished by the needs of others, maybe Americans no longer know what gives life quality.

As Professor Schiltz stated: "What about the quality of life of the rest of us if we don't have people with disabilities in our world anymore? What a horrible world we would have!"

Do these children, when adults, look back and wish they had never been born? C. Everett Koop, M.D., world-renowned pediatric surgeon in Philadelphia and former U.S. Surgeon General, concluded:

"Studies on handicapped children have indicated their frustrations are no greater than those experienced by perfectly normal children…In the thousands of such circumstances in which I have participated, I have never had a parent ask me why I tried so hard to save the life of their handicapped child. Now that I am seeing children I operated upon years ago bring me their children for care, I have never had an old patient ask me why I worked so hard to save his or her life. Nor has a parent ever expressed to me the wish that his child had not been saved."


Pope Meets With Muslims To Build Solidarity

In the wake of the furor caused in some Muslim circles by Pope Benedict XVI's Regensburg address, the Pope met with ambassadors of countries with a Muslim majority and representatives of Italy's Muslim community on September 25 in Vatican City. He said he wanted to have the meeting "to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the Holy See and Muslim communities throughout the world."

The Pope said: ". . .The circumstances which have given rise to our gathering are well known. I have already had occasion to dwell upon them in the course of the past week. In this particular context, I should like to reiterate today all the esteem and the profound respect that I have for Muslim believers, calling to mind the words of the Second Vatican Council which for the Catholic Church are the Magna Carta of Muslim-Christian dialogue: 'The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to humanity and to Whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves wholeheartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God, (Declaration Nostra Aetate, 3). Placing myself firmly within this perspective, I have had occasion, since the very beginning of my pontificate, to express my wish to continue establishing bridges of friendship with the adherents of all religions, showing particular appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians (cf. Address to the Delegates of Other Churches and Ecclesial Communities and of Other Religious Traditions, April 25, 2005). As I underlined at Cologne last year, 'Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is, in fact, a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends' (Meeting with Representatives of Some Muslim Communities, Cologne, August 20, 2005). In a world marked by relativism and too often excluding the transcendence and universality of reason, we are in great need of an authentic dialogue between religions and between cultures, capable of assisting us, in a spirit of fruitful cooperation, to overcome all the tensions together. Continuing, then, the work undertaken by my predecessor, Pope John Paul II, I sincerely pray that the relations of trust which have developed between Christians and Muslims over several years, will not only continue, but will develop further in a spirit of sincere and respectful dialogue, based on ever more authentic reciprocal knowledge which, with joy, recognizes the religious values that we have in common and, with loyalty, respects the differences.

"Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is a necessity for building together this world of peace and fraternity ardently desired by all people of good will. In this area, our contemporaries expect from us an eloquent witness to show all people the value of the religious dimension of life. Likewise, faithful to the teachings of their own religious traditions, Christians and Muslims must learn to work together, as indeed they already do in many common undertakings, in order to guard against all forms of intolerance and to oppose all manifestations of violence; as for us, religious authorities and political leaders, we must guide and encourage them in this direction. Indeed, 'although considerable dissensions and enmities between Christians and Muslims may have arisen in the course of the centuries, the Council urges all parties that, forgetting past things, they train themselves towards sincere mutual understanding and together maintain and promote social justice and moral values as well as peace and freedom for all people' (Declaration, Nostra Aetate, 3). The lessons of the past must therefore help us to seek paths of reconciliation, in order to live with respect for the identity and freedom of each individual, with a view to fruitful cooperation in the service of all humanity. As Pope John Paul II said in his memorable speech to young people at Casablanca in Morocco, 'Respect and dialogue require reciprocity in all spheres, especially in that which concerns basic freedoms, more particularly religious freedom. They favor peace and agreement between peoples' (no. 5).

"Dear friends, I am profoundly convinced that in the current world situation it is imperative that Christians and Muslims engage with one another in order to address the numerous challenges that present themselves to humanity, especially those concerning the defense and promotion of the dignity of the human person and of the rights ensuing from that dignity. When threats mount up against people and against peace, by recognizing the central character of the human person and by working with perseverance to see that human life is always respected, Christians and Muslims manifest their obedience to the Creator, Who wishes all people to live in the dignity that He has bestowed upon them.

"Dear friends, I pray with my whole heart that the merciful God will guide our steps along the paths of an ever more authentic mutual understanding. At this time when for Muslims the spiritual journey of the month of Ramadan is beginning, I address to all of them my cordial good wishes, praying that the Almighty may grant them serene and peaceful lives. May the God of peace fill you with the abundance of His Blessings, together with the communities that you represent!"


A Thanksgiving Proclamation

"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, Who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father Who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and Union." – President Abraham Lincoln 1863


Pray The News

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.

  • We pray that God's will be done in the November elections in the United States.
  • We pray for committed Christians to be actively involved in politics.
  • We pray for a deep respect for human life in all areas of our society.
  • We pray that we will be peacemakers and will pray and work with others for peace.
  • We pray for all elected and appointed leaders to turn to God as they fulfill their responsibilities.
  • We pray for a spirit of thanksgiving.


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