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My People

Vol. 21, Issue 8, August 2008

"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


(Photo by Lyon Photography)

Millions Face Hunger Daily

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi addressed a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. The May 22 meeting focused on the right to food.

Archbishop Tomasi said:

". . . The primary tasks before the global community are to develop a coherent response within the context of the multiple initiatives underway and to 'mainstream' this crisis within the framework of human rights. We are faced with the overwhelming challenge to adequately feed the world's population at a time when there has been a surge in global food prices that threatens the stability of many developing countries. This calls for urgent concerted international action. This crisis shines a 'red light' of alarm on the negative consequences affecting the long-neglected agriculture sector when more than half of the world's population struggle to make their livelihood through such work. It calls attention to the dysfunction of the global trade system when four million people annually join the ranks of the 854 million plagued by chronic hunger. Hopefully, this session will open the eyes of public opinion on the worldwide cost of hunger, which so often results in lack of health and education, conflicts, uncontrolled migrations, degradation of the environment, epidemics, and even terrorism.

"The international community long has recognized a right to food in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 (art. 25) and in the International Covenant on economic, social, and cultural rights of 1966 (art. 25), just to mention some juridical instruments that proclaim the fundamental right to freedom from hunger and malnutrition. Conferences and Declarations of intergovernmental agencies rightfully have concluded that hunger is not due to lack of food but rather is caused by the lack of access, both physical and financial, to agricultural resources. The first Millennium Development Goal aims to reduce by one-half the number of the people living in extreme poverty and hunger by the year 2015. Society must confront the hard fact that stated goals very often are not matched by consistent policies. As a result, many millions of men, women, and children face hunger everyday. Higher prices may cause some inconvenience to families in developed countries since they find it necessary to spend 20% of their income on food. However, such prices are life threatening for the one billion people living in poor countries since they are forced to spend nearly all their daily income of $1 per day in search of food. The grave task before us is to design and implement effective policies, strategies, and actions that will result in food sufficiency for all.

"The problem of adequate food production is more than a temporary emergency. It is structural in nature and should be addressed in the context of economic growth that is just and sustainable. It requires measures dealing not only with agriculture and rural development but also with health, education, good governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. The impact of international trade on the right to food and the liberalization of trade in agricultural products tend to favor multinational enterprises and, therefore, to harm production by the small local farms, which represent the base of the food security in developing countries. A renewed commitment to agriculture, especially in Africa, appears necessary. To this end, investments in agriculture and rural development are important. Moreover, the duty of solidarity toward the most vulnerable members of society must be recognized. When seen through this ethical perspective, hoarding and price speculation are unacceptable and individual property rights, including those of women, must be recognized. The priority in food production should be to benefit people. Unfair subsidies in agriculture need to be eliminated. To remedy the limitations faced by small farms, cooperative structures can be organized. The utilization of land for food production and for the production for other resources eventually has to be balanced, not by the market, but by mechanisms that respond to the common good . . .

"In this complex and urgent debate on the right to food, a new mentality is required. It should place the human person at the center and not focus simply on economic profit. Due to lack of food, too many poor die each day, while immense resources are allocated for arms. The international community must be galvanized into action. The right to food regards the future of the human family as well as peace in the global community."

Pope Opens Pauline Year

Pope Benedict XVI opened the Pauline Year on June 28 at First Vespers for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. The year in honor of St. Paul runs from June 28, 2008, to June 29, 2009. The Holy Father's homily at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls follows:

"We have gathered near the tomb of St. Paul, who was born 2,000 years ago at Tarsus in Cilicia, in present-day Turkey. Who was St. Paul? In the temple of Jerusalem, faced with the frenzied crowd that wanted to kill him, he presented himself with these words: 'I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city [Jerusalem] at the feet of Gamaliel, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God . . .' (Acts 22: 3). At the end of his journey he was to say of himself: 'For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle... a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth' (1 Tm 2:7; cf. 2 Tm 1:11). A teacher of the Gentiles, an apostle and a herald of Jesus Christ, this is how he described himself, looking back over the path of his life. But this glance does not look only to the past. 'A teacher of the Gentiles' these words open to the future, to all peoples and all generations. For us Paul is not a figure of the past whom we remember with veneration. He is also our teacher, an Apostle and herald of Jesus Christ for us too.

"Thus we are not gathered to reflect on past history, irrevocably behind us. Paul wants to speak to us - today. That is why I chose to establish this special 'Pauline Year': in order to listen to him and learn today from him, as our teacher, 'the faith and the truth' in which the reasons for unity among Christ's disciples are rooted. In this perspective, for this 2000th anniversary of the Apostle's birth I wished to light a special 'Pauline Flame' that will remain lit throughout the year in a special brazier placed in the Basilica's four-sided portico. To solemnize this event I have also inaugurated the so-called 'Pauline Door,' through which I entered the Basilica, accompanied by the Patriarch of Constantinople, by the Cardinal Archpriest, and by other religious Authorities. It is a cause of deep joy to me that the opening of the Pauline Year has acquired a special ecumenical character through the presence of numerous delegates and representatives of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, whom I welcome with an open heart . . .

"Thus, we are gathered here to question ourselves on the great Apostle to the Gentiles. Let us not ask ourselves only: who was Paul? Let us ask ourselves above all: who is Paul? What does he say to me? At this moment, at the beginning of the 'Pauline Year' that we are inaugurating, I would like to choose from the rich testimony of the New Testament, three texts in which his inner features, his specific character appear. In the Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul gives a very personal profession of faith in which he opens his heart to readers of all times and reveals what was the most intimate drive of his life. 'I live by faith in the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me' (Gal 2:20). All Paul's actions begin from this center. His faith is the experience of being loved by Jesus Christ in a very personal way. It is awareness of the fact that Christ did not face death for something anonymous but rather for love of him - of Paul - and that, as the Risen One, He still loves him; in other words, Christ gave Himself for him. Paul's faith is being struck by the love of Jesus Christ, a love that overwhelms him to his depths and transforms him. His faith is not a theory, an opinion about God and the world. His faith is the impact of God's love in his heart. Thus, this same faith was love for Jesus Christ.

"Paul is presented by many as a pugnacious man who was well able to wield the sword of his words. Indeed, there was no lack of disputes on his journey as an Apostle. He did not seek a superficial harmony. In the First of his Letters, addressed to the Thessalonians, he himself says: 'We had courage . . . to proclaim to you the Gospel of God in the face of great opposition . . . In fact, we never spoke words of adulation, as you know' (1 Thes 2:2, 5). The truth was too great for him to be willing to sacrifice it with a view to external success. For him, the truth that he experienced in his encounter with the Risen One was well worth the fight, persecution, and suffering. But what most deeply motivated him was being loved by Jesus Christ and the desire to communicate this love to others. Paul was a man capable of loving and all of his actions and suffering can only be explained on the basis of this core sentiment. It is only on this basis that we can understand the concepts on which his proclamation was founded. Let us take another key word of his: freedom. The experience of being loved to the very end by Christ had opened his eyes to the truth and to the way of human existence. It was an experience that embraced everything. Paul was free as a man loved by God, who, by virtue of God, was able to love together with Him. This love then became the 'law' of his life and in this very way, the freedom of his life. He speaks and acts motivated by the responsibility of love. Here freedom and responsibility are indivisibly united. Since Paul lives in the responsibility of love, he is free; since he is one who loves, he lives his life totally in the responsibility of this love and does not take freedom as a pretext to act arbitrarily and egoistically. In the same spirit Augustine formulated the phrase that later became famous: Dilige et quod vis fac (Tract. in 1 Jo 7, 7-8) - love and do what you please. The one who loves Christ as Paul loved Him can truly do as he pleases because his love is united to Christ's will and thus with God's will; because his will is anchored to the truth and because his will is no longer merely his own, arbitrary to the autonomous self, but is integrated into God's freedom from which he receives the path to take.

"In the search for the inner features of St. Paul I would like, secondly, to recall the words that the Risen Christ addressed to him on the road to Damascus. First the Lord asked him: 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?' To the question: 'Who are You, Lord?' Saul is given the answer: 'I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting' (Acts 9: 4f.). In persecuting the Church, Paul was persecuting Jesus Himself. 'You persecute Me.' Jesus identifies with the Church in a single subject. This exclamation of the Risen One, which transformed Saul's life, in summary already contains the entire doctrine on the Church as the Body of Christ. Christ did not withdraw Himself into Heaven, leaving ranks of followers to carry out 'His cause' on earth. The Church is not an association that desires to promote a specific cause. In her there is no question of a cause. In her it is a matter of the person of Jesus Christ, Who, also as the Risen One, remained 'flesh.' He has 'flesh and bones' (Lk 24:39), the Risen One says, in Luke's Gospel, to the disciples who thought He was a ghost. He has a Body. He is personally present in His Church, 'Head and Body' form one being, Augustine would come to say. 'Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?' Paul wrote to the Corinthians (1 Cor 6:15). And he added: just as, according to the book of Genesis, man and woman become one flesh, thus Christ and His followers become one spirit, that is, one in the new world of the Resurrection (cf. 1 Cor 6: 16ff.). In all of this the Eucharistic mystery appears, in which Christ continually gives His Body and makes of us His Body: 'The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread' (1 Cor 10:16f). With these words, at this moment, not only Paul addresses us but also the Lord Himself: how could you pierce My body? Before the Face of Christ, these words become at the same time an urgent plea: Bring us together from all our divisions. Grant that this may once again become reality today: there is one bread, therefore we, although we are many, are one body. For Paul, the words about the Church as the body of Christ are not just any comparison. They go far beyond a comparison. 'Why do you persecute Me?' Christ ceaselessly draws us into His body, building His Body from the Eucharistic center that for Paul is the center of Christian existence by virtue of which everyone, as also every individual, can experience in a totally personal way: He has loved me and given Himself for me.

"I would like to conclude with words St. Paul spoke near the end of his life. It is an exhortation to Timothy from prison while he was facing death, 'with the strength that comes from God bear your share of hardship which the Gospel entails,' the Apostle said to his disciple (2 Tm 1: 8). These words, which mark the end of the Apostle's life as a testament, refer back to the beginning of his mission. When, after his encounter with the Risen One, while Paul lay blind in his dwelling at Damascus, Ananias was charged to visit the feared persecutor and to lay his hands upon him so that he might regain his sight. Ananias' objection that this Saul was a dangerous persecutor of Christians, was met with the response: this man must carry My name before the Gentiles and kings: 'I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name' (Acts 9:15f.). The task of proclamation and the call to suffer for Christ's sake are inseparable. The call to become the teacher of the Gentiles is, at the same time and intrinsically, a call to suffering in communion with Christ Who redeemed us through His Passion. In a world in which falsehood is powerful, the truth is paid for with suffering. The one who desires to avoid suffering, to keep it at bay, keeps life itself and its greatness at bay; he cannot be a servant of truth and thus a servant of faith. There is no love without suffering - without the suffering of renouncing oneself, of the transformation and purification of self for true freedom. Where there is nothing worth suffering for, even life loses its value. The Eucharist - the center of our Christian being - is founded on Jesus' sacrifice for us; it is born from the suffering of love which culminated in the Cross. We live by this love that gives itself. It gives us the courage and strength to suffer with Christ and for Him in this world, knowing that in this very way our life becomes great and mature and true. In the light of all St. Paul's Letters, we see how the prophecy made to Ananias at the time of Paul's call came true in the process of teaching the Gentiles: 'I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name.' His suffering made him credible as a teacher of truth who did not seek his own advantage, his own glory, or his personal satisfaction but applied himself for the sake of the One Who loved us and has given Himself for us all.

"Let us now thank the Lord for having called Paul, making him the light to the Gentiles and the teacher of us all, and let us pray to him: 'Give us even today witnesses of the Resurrection, struck by the impact of your love and able to bring the light of the Gospel in our time. St. Paul, pray for us!"

Jesus Is The Answer In A Confusing World

In a message to Australians and to pilgrims going to World Youth Day, Pope Benedict XVI stressed the need for the Holy Spirit to direct people to Jesus. The message was dated July 4.

Pope Benedict XVI stated:

". . .'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you will be My witnesses' (Acts 1:8). This is the theme of the Twenty-Third World Youth Day. How much our world needs a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit! There are still many who have not heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, while many others, for whatever reason, have not recognized in this Good News the saving truth that alone can satisfy the deepest longings of their hearts. The Psalmist prays: 'when You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth' (Ps 104:30). It is my firm belief that young people are called to be instruments of that renewal, communicating to their peers the joy they have experienced through knowing and following Christ, and sharing with others the love that the Spirit pours into their hearts, so that they too will be filled with hope and with thanksgiving for all the good things they have received from God our heavenly Father.

"Many young people today lack hope. They are perplexed by the questions that present themselves ever more urgently in a confusing world, and they are often uncertain which way to turn for answers. They see poverty and injustice and they long to find solutions. They are challenged by the arguments of those who deny the existence of God and they wonder how to respond. They see great damage done to the natural environment through human greed and they struggle to find ways to live in greater harmony with nature and with one another.

"Where can we look for answers? The Spirit points us towards the way that leads to life, to love, and to truth. The Spirit points us towards Jesus Christ. There is a saying attributed to Saint Augustine: 'If you wish to remain young, seek Christ.' In Him we find the answers that we are seeking, we find the goals that are truly worth living for, we find the strength to pursue the path that will bring about a better world. Our hearts find no rest until they rest in the Lord, as Saint Augustine says at the beginning of the Confessions, the famous account of his own youth. My prayer is that the hearts of the young people who gather in Sydney for the celebration of World Youth Day will truly find rest in the Lord, and that they will be filled with joy and fervor for spreading the Good News among their friends, their families, and all whom they meet . . ."

Pope Urges United Effort For Development

Pope Benedict XVI sent a message to a United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) meeting in Rome from June 3-5. The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone spoke at the opening session on June 3.

The Pope's message read in part:

" . . . I should like to renew the wish that I expressed during my recent visit to the UN Headquarters: it is urgent to overcome the 'paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few' (Address to United Nations' General Assembly, April 18, 2008). Furthermore, may I invite you to cooperate in an ever more transparent manner with the organizations of civil society committed to filling the growing gap between wealth and poverty. Again I exhort you to continue with those structural reforms that, on a national level, are indispensable to successfully confront the problems of underdevelopment, of which hunger and malnutrition are direct consequences. I know how arduous and complex it all is!

"Yet, how can one remain insensitive to the appeals of those who, on the various continents, are not able to feed themselves enough to live? Poverty and malnutrition are not a mere fatality caused by adverse environmental circumstances or by disastrous natural calamities. On the other hand, considerations of an exclusively technical or economic character must not prevail over the rights of justice toward those who suffer from hunger. 'The right to nutrition responds principally to an ethical motivation: "give the hungry to eat" (cf. Mt 25: 35), that prompts a sharing of material goods as a sign of the love which we all need . . . This primary right to nutrition is intrinsically linked to the safeguarding and to the defense of human life, the solid and inviolable rock upon which the whole edifice of human rights is founded' (Address to the new Ambassador of Guatemala, May 31, 2008). Each person has the right to life: therefore it is necessary to promote the effective actualization of such rights and the populations that suffer from lack of food must be helped to gradually become capable of satisfying their own needs for sufficient and healthy nutrition.

"At this particular moment, in which food security is threatened by the rise in price of agricultural products, new strategies need to be worked out in the fight against poverty and the promotion of rural development. This must also happen through structural reform processes, that would enable the challenges of the same security and of climactic changes to be faced. Furthermore, it is necessary to increase the food available by promoting industrious small farmers and guaranteeing them access to the market. The global increase in the production of agricultural products, however, can be effective only if production is accompanied by effective distribution and if it is primarily destined to satisfy essential needs. It certainly is not easy, but it would allow, among other things, to rediscover the value of the rural family: it would not be limited to preserving the transmission, from parents to children, of the cultivation methods, of conserving and distributing foodstuffs, but above all it would preserve a model of life, of education, of culture, and of religiosity. Moreover, from the economic profile, it ensures an effective and loving attention to the weakest and, by virtue of the principle of subsidiarity, it could assume a direct role in the distribution chain and the trading of agricultural food products reducing the costs of intermediaries and favoring small scale production . . .

"Today's difficulties show how modern technology by itself, is not sufficient to provide for the lack of food, neither are statistical calculations nor, in emergency situations, the sending of food supplies. All this certainly has a great impact, yet it must be completed and oriented to a political action that, inspired by those principles of the natural law which are written on the human heart, protect the dignity of the person. In this way, also the order of Creation is respected and one has 'the good of all as a constant guiding criterion' (Message for the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2008, n. 7). Hence, only by protecting the person is it possible to overcome the main causes of hunger, such as being closed to one's neighbor which dissolves solidarity, justifies models of consumeristic life and unravels the social fabric, preserving, if not actually deepening the furrows of unjust balances and neglecting the most profound demands of good (cf. Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est, n. 28). If, therefore, respect for human dignity were given its worth on the negotiation table, in making decisions and accomplishing them, it would be possible to rise above otherwise insurmountable obstacles and it would eliminate, or at least diminish, the disinterest in the good of others. Consequently, it would be possible to adopt courageous measures that would not stop before hunger and malnutrition, as if they were simply considered unsolvable, endemic phenomena. It could help if, in the defense of human dignity, international action - even emergency action - were to estimate the superfluous in the perspective of the needs of others and to administer the fruit of Creation according to justice, placing it at the disposition of all generations.

"In the light of these principles, I hope that the Delegations present at this meeting will take on new commitments and be resolved to accomplish them with great determination. The Catholic Church, for her part, desires to join in these efforts! In a spirit of collaboration, drawing on ancient wisdom, inspired by the Gospel, she makes a firm and heartfelt appeal that is very relevant for those participating in the Summit: 'Give to eat to the one who is starving of hunger, because, if you do not give to him to eat, you will kill him' (cf. Decretum Gratiani, c. 21, d. LXXXVI). I assure you that, along this path, you can count on the support of the Holy See. Although it differentiates itself from States, it is united to their most noble objectives to seal a commitment that, by her nature, involves the entire international community: to encourage every People to share the needs of other Peoples, placing in common the goods of the earth that the Creator has destined for the entire human family. With these sentiments, I express my most fervent wishes for the success of your work and invoke the Blessing of the Most High upon you and upon those who are committed to the authentic progress of the person and of society."

Food Crisis Has Many Costs

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, spoke at the 16th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development of the United Nation's Economic and Social Council in New York on May 16. His address follows:

"At the outset my delegation joins previous speakers in expressing its condolences and solidarity to those affected by the recent tragedies in Myanmar and China. These disasters and their impact on human lives and sustainable development remind us of our important responsibility as governmental leaders to point the way forward to addressing the many issues of sustainable development and to find the means for building a better future.

"The world is currently facing a challenge of meeting this very goal in the form of a global food crisis. This crisis reveals the delicate and interlinking nature of agriculture, rural development, land reform, drought, and desertification and presents a daunting yet important and urgent task to policy makers and civil society.

"Many question the real causes, the consequences in the medium and long term of the food crisis and its fundamental tendencies. The UN, in all its components and in particular this Commission on Sustainable Development, has a precise responsibility and also an interest of credibility in providing appropriate responses in view of effective solutions, because at stake is the ability of humanity to provide food.

"Indeed, this food crisis should not be measured merely by the rise in costs throughout the international food markets, but also by the physical, mental, and spiritual cost of those who are unable to provide for themselves and their families.

"Investing in long-term and sustainable agriculture programs at the local and international levels remains central to the development prospects of so many. This investment must be done in a way that addresses the prices of food commodities as well as the distribution and production of food around the world, in particular in Africa. Programs that allow farmers to produce food commodities at the local levels should continue to be supported and greater efforts must be made to mitigate the negative aspects of changing environmental and financial realities.

"Agriculture policies need to rediscover the path of reason and reality in order to balance the need for food production with the need to be good stewards of the earth. Care must be taken in order to meet the fundamental needs of persons and to avoid reducing the dialogue to self-interested and ideologically driven economic and environmental extremes.

"Seventy percent of the world's poor live in the same rural areas where widespread chronic malnourishment continues to persist. Clearly, this illustrates that in addressing sustainable development we must continue to focus not merely upon those who consume food commodities but also upon those who produce it. Greater investment in small-holder farmers which enables them to increase production in a sustainable manner would provide an important element to addressing the continued presence of chronic hunger and malnourishment in certain regions.

"While the current food crisis presents an immediate threat to development, society must continue to address persisting and imminent challenges such as climate change, harmful agricultural subsidies, fair trade, environmental degradation, and land reform. Through greater international solidarity and increased concern for the most vulnerable within our societies, we can address the immediate challenges while still working to ensure that the progress of today becomes the cornerstone for a more just and secure tomorrow . . ."

Light to the Nations: A Christian Perspective on World News

Word of god is life-giving

vatican city Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter, dated June 12, to the Most Reverend Vincenzio Paglia, President of the Catholic Biblical Federation. The group was meeting June 24 - July 3 in Dar-es-Salaam. The meeting's theme was "Word of God Source of Reconciliation, Justice, and Peace."

The Pope indicated:

"The fact that your meeting is being held in Dar-es-Salaam is an important gesture of solidarity with the Church in Africa, more so in view of next year's special Synod for Africa. 'The Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel' (Gaudium et Spes, 4). The message you bring to Dar-es-Salaam is clearly a message of love of the Bible and love of Africa. The theme of your General Assembly draws attention to how God's word can restore humanity in reconciliation, justice, and peace. This is the word of life that the Church has to offer to a broken world. 'So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making His appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God' (2 Cor 5:19-20). May the African Continent set the context for the lectio divina which will assist you in these days and may your efforts help the Church in Africa to 'pursue its evangelizing mission, in order to bring the peoples of the Continent to the Lord, teaching them to observe all that He has commanded [cf. Mt 28:20]' (cf. Ecclesia in Africa, 6).

"Christianity is the Religion of the Word of God, 'not a written and mute word, but incarnate and living' (Saint Bernard, S. Missus est 4, 11 PL 183, 86). It is only Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, Who through the Holy Spirit, can open our minds to understand the Scriptures (cf. Lk 24:15, Catechism, 108). I warmly encourage you therefore not only to continue to make known the profound relevance of the Scriptures to the contemporary experience of Catholics and particularly to the younger generations, but also to lead them to interpret them from the central perspective of Christ and His Paschal mystery. The community of believers can be the leaven of reconciliation, but only if 'she remains docile to the Spirit and bears witness to the Gospel, only if she carries the Cross like Jesus and with Jesus' (Homily, Solemnity of Pentecost, May 11, 2008). In this regard, I wish to make my own a reflection from the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, who observed: 'How indeed can we proclaim the Gospel of reconciliation without at the same time being committed to working for reconciliation between Christians?' (Ut Unum Sint, 98). Let this observation also find its way into your undertakings these days. May your hearts be guided always by the Holy Spirit in the unifying power of the word of God.

"All Christians are called to imitate the openness of Mary who received the Word of God 'in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world' (Lumen Gentium, 53). May the peoples of Africa receive this Word as the life-giving source of reconciliation and justice, and especially of the true peace that comes only from the Risen Lord . . ."


Fighting poverty is key to peace

vatican city The Vatican press office announced on July 1 that the theme of the 42nd World Day of Prayer for Peace on January 1, 2009, will be "Fighting Poverty, Building Peace."

The press release said Pope Benedict XVI picked this theme "to stress the urgent need for a response from the human family to the serious matter of poverty, understood as a material problem but especially as a moral and spiritual issue."

The press release quoted the Pope's June 2, 2008, message to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, "How can one remain insensitive to the appeals of those who, on various continents, are not able to feed themselves enough to live? Poverty and malnutrition are not a mere fatality caused by adverse environmental circumstances or by disastrous natural calamities . . . considerations of an exclusively technical or economic character must not prevail over the rights of justice toward those who suffer from hunger."

The Vatican release pointed out that the scandal of poverty in the world shows the inadequacy of current systems and points out the need to consider the deep roots of material poverty and the spiritual cost of man's indifference to his neighbors suffering. Ultimately, this is a call for repentance and conversion.

(Source: L'Osservatore Romano, English edition)

In Defense of Life: Celebration For Life

Fred H. Summe

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

by Fred H. Summe

"Legal abortion will decrease the number of unwanted children, child abuse cases, and possibly subsequent delinquency, drug addiction, and a host of social ills believed to be associated with neglectful parenthood," National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) promised in 1974 would be the rewards of legalized abortion.

None of us needs to review statistics to know that in the United States today, what were social ills have now become epidemics: child abuse and spouse abuse, children born to unwed mothers, increase in the number of divorces, juvenile delinquency and psychological problems experienced by so many children, drug and alcohol addiction even among teenagers and young adults, sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS, teenage suicide, etc.

"A few prophetic people, like Father Paul Marx, the founder of Human Life International, realized that the pro-abortionists were lying. But even Father Marx could not have seen just how bad things would really get after abortion was legalized," explains Brian Clowes, Ph.D., who has served as Director of Research and Training for Human Life International for the past 11 years.

Sunday, October 12

Northern Kentucky Right to Life is indeed proud to invite Dr. Brian Clowes to address the 35th Annual Celebration of Life scheduled for Sunday, October 12, 2008, at London Hall, Drawbridge Estates in Fort 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 babysitting is provided.)

Tickets ($10.00) and additional information can be obtained from Stan Barczak, Northern Kentucky Right to Life, 1822 Madison Avenue, Covington. (859-431-6380). (Tickets can be obtained in advance or at the door.)

Brian Clowes, Ph.D.

Brain Clowes, Ph.D.

A 1974 graduate of West Point, Dr. Clowes is a registered engineer and holds a Ph.D. in Systems Science, and has traveled more than a million kilometers to 35 countries, training and organizing Pro-Life groups and giving talks.

Following a previous career as a systems analyst for the federal government and before that as a team leader in the United States Army Special Forces ("Green Berets"), Dr. Clowes joined Human Life International. He and his wife, Kathy, have seven children. As an author of several books, including The Facts of Life, he has written for a wide variety of publications, including Homiletic and Pastoral Review, The Wanderer, The Yale Journal of Ethics, and Jewish Spectator.

Human Life International is one of the premiere orthodox and uncompromising Pro-Life organizations in the nation, having been founded more than 35 years ago by Fr. Paul Marx, O.S.B., who was called "the Apostle of Life" by Pope Paul VI, and was told by Pope John Paul II, "You are doing the most important work on earth." HLI is blessed to be served now for several years by its current President, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, an outstanding, courageous, and uncompromising Pro-Life spokesman.

Dr. Clowes explains how legalized abortion in our country and throughout the world has brought about other great evils.

Bitter Fruits of Abortion

In addition to the over 1.5 million unborn children destroyed each year in the United States by legalized abortion, "Hundreds of women have died of so-called 'safe and legal' abortion in the United States," explains Dr. Clowes. "Most of these deaths were avoidable, since the worst doctors in the profession seem to become abortionists because they cannot get work anywhere else in the medical field. In one case, abortionist Alicia Hanna Ruiz killed a mother of four, then tried to stuff her dead body in the trunk of her car right in front of two of her children. In another case, abortionist David Benjamin punctured the uterus of a mother of four and then just walked away, allowing her to bleed to death. Both abortionists were convicted of murder.

"More than four out of five abortions in the United States are performed on single women. Abortion has become a fast and easy 'eraser of mistakes' for women who have sex before marriage. But they are often victims, as well as their unborn babies, because their boyfriends now expect them to abort if they get pregnant, and get violent with them if they do not. At Human Life International, we have documented more than 50 cases of boyfriends murdering their girlfriends because they would not get abortions.

"Abortion has destroyed millions of marriages and engagements in the United States. a great majority of marriages and pre-marital friendships break up within two months after an abortion.

"The psychological impact on women is huge. It has to be when one commits such a profoundly unnatural act. Many women have disclosed with bitter regrets their abortions from 10, 20, 30, even fifty years previously. My mother Pamela died in July 1991. On the last day of her life, she confessed to my wife Kathy that she had had an abortion forty years earlier."

Demographic Fruits

"This 'anti-life mentality' does not only affect individuals and families; it has terrible effects on ethnic groups, on nations, and even on entire continents," continues Dr. Clowes.

"Europe is the only continent whose total population is now declining. Historically, this has only happened during famine, epidemic, or war. This is the first time in the history of the world that an entire continent's population is declining due to people simply not having any more babies, for no more pressing reason than they do not want them any more.

"In Europe, the Culture of Death has successfully undermined its two great enemies: Faith and family."

As the Wall Street Journal observes: "Fewer Europeans are practicing Catholics than ever and the size of nominally Christian families in Europe has been shrinking for decades. By contrast, many Muslim immigrants are enthusiastic practitioners of their faith and often have more children than the European average."

"We all know that the future belongs to the young; and this does not just refer to our children, it refers to entire nations and continents as well," explains this pro-life advocate.

"History shows us that once the people of a nation are conditioned to believe they should live for themselves and that children are a burden, it is virtually impossible to persuade them otherwise."

Love of Children

"The answer is for pro-life activists to convert the hearts and minds of the people one by one. This will take as long to do as the population controllers took to destroy the love of children. We are talking about a process that will take at least a generation. The conversion of hearts is our greatest mission. If the current generation refuses to have children, and if nothing changes their minds, then we must evangelize their children.

"Finally, and most importantly, we were made to fight - to fight for Faith, for life, for family, for country - to fight for the values that dignify humanity, that care for the least and most helpless among us, that lead to true liberty and freedom. There can be no higher calling. We should be sincerely grateful to God for this matchless opportunity to serve Him! Our Lord told us to 'Go forth and make disciples of all nations' [Matthew 28:19], and there is no better way to achieve this than by saving lives and souls in the pro-life movement."

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 20 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.

Edge To Edge

by Michael Halm

Edge to Edge Cartoon

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 we would have the mind and heart of Christ in responding to issues such as poverty, hunger, and violence and especially to our neighbors in need.
  • We pray for the will of God to be done in the November elections in America.
  • We pray for pro-lifers to continue their work defending human life.
  • We pray that the Pauline Year will be a time of special grace.
  • We pray for wisdom for world leaders in addressing issues of poverty and development.


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Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378,



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