"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
Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, representing the Vatican, spoke to a meeting of the World Health Organization on May 21 in Geneva, Switzerland.
His remarks follow:
"To begin with, I wish to share with this august assembly the joy of the Catholic faithful and all people of good will, for the recent beatification of Pope John Paul II, who among others was an intrepid defender of life and showed great love for the sick and suffering.
"1. The World Health Report 2010 emphasizes health system financing as the conduit to the much desired universal coverage in health service provision. It also notes with concern that despite the progress made in some countries, on the whole, we are still a long way from universal coverage. We are stalled in the status quo, where the rich people have higher levels of coverage, while most of the poor people miss out, and those who do have access often incur high, sometimes catastrophic costs in paying for services and medicine.
"Pope Benedict XVI, in his message to the International Conference on 'Equitable and Human Health Care,' expressed his concern for the millions of people who have no access to health care services. He called for 'greater commitment at all levels to ensure that the right to health care is rendered effective by furthering access to basic health care.'
"It is true that to ensure universal health coverage, countries can and need to raise sufficient funds, reduce reliance on direct payments for services and improve efficiency and equity, thus removing the financial barriers to access, especially for poor and less advantaged people. On the other hand, it is also true that very few of the low-income countries have any chance of generating from domestic resources alone, the funds required to achieve universal access by 2015. This sad fact highlights the need for a true global solidarity, in which high income countries do not only promise, but effectively meet their commitments on development assistance.
"America needs much prayer, lest it lose its soul."
— Blessed John Paul II
"Mr. Chairman, as Blessed John Paul II repeatedly observed, the need for solidarity between rich and poor nations in order to ensure universal access to medical care cannot be over-emphasized. My delegation therefore, wishes to reiterate the appeal of Pope Benedict XVI, for the co-operation of the human family. He stresses that 'more economically developed nations should do all they can to allocate larger portions of their gross domestic product to development aid, thus respecting the obligations that the international community has undertaken in this regard.'
"Such development aid, he says, ought to 'be distributed with the involvement not only of the governments of receiving countries, but also local economic agents and the bearers of culture within civil society, including local Churches. Aid programs must increasingly acquire the characteristics of participation and completion from the grass roots.'
"2. Secondly, with regard to the Draft WHO HIV Strategy 2011-2015, the Holy See appreciates the emphasis laid on eliminating new HIV infections in children and expanding and optimizing HIV treatment and care for them, which up to date has been lagging behind the progress made in treating adults.
". . . My delegation would like to stress the importance of education to behavior change and responsible living, as key elements of the prevention campaign. In this regard, I wish to express the Holy See's reservations concerning the choice of harm reduction and opioid substitution as a preventive measure among injecting drug users, which though may delay new infections, does not really take care of, treat, or cure the sick person, in order to restore their dignity and encourage social insertion.
"3. Third, Mr. Chairman, my delegation welcomes the attention given to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and lifestyles, in order to reduce premature mortality and improve the quality of life. In this effort, while realizing the importance of strengthening health systems in order to respond promptly and effectively to the health needs of affected persons, the Holy See would like to underline the need to increase the political commitment and the involvement of NGOs and civil society, working together with the private sector especially in the promotion of prevention initiatives, above all the encouragement of healthy lifestyles. As some member states have observed, these non-communicable diseases end up being communicable because of the transmission of the underlying behavior. This underscores the importance of education to healthy lifestyles as a component of education to health and addressing the social determinants of health.
"4. Finally, my delegation fully shares the concerns expressed in the adopted resolution on child injury prevention EB128.R15. In view of these serious concerns for the health and safety of children, the Holy See would like to appeal to the international community to support transfer of knowledge on measures and instruments for the prevention of child injury to low- and middle income countries, where 95% of the child injury deaths occur, and also help to improve emergency-care and rehabilitation services for non-fatal injuries in these settings, where, among others, long civil wars drastically increase the incidences of child injuries and the victims end up in centers that often lack the means and resources to take care of them . . ."
On May 16, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace promoted a meeting in Vatican City to mark the 50th anniversary of Blessed John XXIII's encyclical, Mater et Magistra. Pope Benedict XVI referred to this document as "still very timely even in this globalized world."
In an address to the meeting the Holy Father said: "In Mater et Magistra Pope Roncalli, with his vision of a Church placed at the service of the human family especially through her specific mission of evangelization, conceived of social doctrine — anticipating Bl. John Paul II — as an essential element of this mission, because it is 'an integral part of the Christian conception of life' (n. 222). John XXIII is at the origin of the affirmations of his Successors even when he pointed out in the Church the communitarian and plural subject of social doctrine.
The Christifideles laity, in particular, cannot be solely passive beneficiaries but are the protagonists of the Church's social doctrine at the vital moment of its implementation. They are also valuable collaborators of the pastors in its formulation, thanks to the experience they have acquired in the field and to their own specific skills. For Bl. John XXIII this was particularly true of the Church's social doctrine, of which Truth is its light, Justice its objective, and Love its driving force (n. 226).
"I took up his vision of social doctrine in the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, as a testimony of that continuity which keeps together the whole corpus of the social Encyclicals. Truth, love, and justice, indicated in Mater et Magistra, along with the principle of the universal destination of resources as the fundamental criteria for overcoming social and cultural imbalances, continue to be the pillars on which to base the interpretation and also the search for a solution to the internal imbalances of today's globalization.
"We believe that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God."
Harry S. Truman, Inaugural Addres
"In the face of these imbalances it is necessary to re-establish an integral reason that regenerates thinking and ethics. Without moral thought capable of overcoming the structure of secular ethics, such as the neo-utilarian and neo-contractual, that are based mainly on skepticism and on a prevalently immanentistic view of history, access to knowledge of the true human good becomes difficult for contemporary man.
"It is necessary to develop humanistic cultural syntheses open to the Transcendent through a new evangelization — rooted in the new law of the Gospel, the law of the Spirit — towards which Bl. John Paul ii frequently urged us.
"Only in personal communion with the New Adam, Jesus Christ, is human reason healed and empowered and it becomes possible to gain a broader vision of development, of the economy, and of politics, in accordance with their anthropological dimension and the new historical conditions.
"It is thanks to reason, whose speculative and practical capacity has been restored, that it is possible to avail oneself of the basic criteria in order to overcome global imbalances in the light of the common good. In fact, without knowledge of the true human good, charity lapses into sentimentalism (cf. n. 3); justice loses its fundamental 'measure,' the principle of the universal destination of resources is delegitimized.
"Disparity, the gap between the rich and the poor and inequalities are nourished by the various global imbalances that characterize our epoch. They create problems of justice and hamper the fair distribution of resources and opportunities, especially with regard to the poorest.
"However, no less worrying are the phenomenon linked to a financial system which, after the most acute phase of the crisis, has returned to the frenzied practice of drawing up credit contracts that often allow unlimited speculation. The phenomena of harmful speculation occur also in regard to staple foodstuffs, water, and land, ultimately further impoverishing those already living in borderline situations.
"Likewise, the increase in the prices of basic energy resources, with the consequent search for alternative forms of energy prompted, on occasion, by exclusively short-term financial interests, which can result in a negative impact on the environment, as well as on man himself.
"The social question today is without a doubt one of world social justice as, moreover, Mater et Magistra already mentioned 50 years ago, although with reference to a different context. Furthermore, it is a question of the just distribution of material and non-material resources, of the globalization of substantive social and participatory democracy. For this reason, in a context in which a gradual unification of humanity is taking place, it is indispensable that the new evangelization of society highlight the implications of a justice that should be achieved at a universal level.
"With reference to the foundation of this justice it should be emphasized that it is impossible to achieve it through social consensus alone, without recognizing that, to be permanent, it must be rooted in the universal good of humanity. With regard to the plan of realization, social justice should be practiced in civil society, in the market economy (cf. Caritas in Veritate, n. 35), but also by a proportionately honest and transparent political authority, also at the international level (cf. ibid., n. 67).
"With regard to the great challenges of our day, while the Church trusts primarily in the Lord Jesus and in his Spirit, who lead her through the events of the world, for the spread of the social doctrine she also relies on the activity of her cultural institutions, her programs for religious instruction and social catechesis in the parishes, on the mass media, and on the proclamation and witness of the Christifideles laici (cf. Mater et Magistra, nn. 207-208).
"The latter must be spiritually, professionally, and ethically prepared. Mater et Magistra insisted not only on formation but also on the education that forms a Christian conscience and introduces the person to concrete action in accordance with wisely guided discernment.
Bl. John XXIII said that 'Christian education . . . must . . . aim at . . . fostering among the faithful . . . their duty to carry on the economic and social activities in a Christian manner (n. 228). Consequently, to be successful, formal instruction must be supplemental by . . . active cooperation in their own training' (n. 231) put into practice.
"Still valid, too, in addition, are the instructions that Pope Roncalli offered on a legitimate pluralism among Catholics in the implementation of the social doctrine. He wrote, in fact, that in this context 'differences of opinion in the application of principles can sometimes arise even among sincere Catholics. When this happens, they should be careful not to lose their respect and esteem for each other. Instead, they should strive to find points of agreement for effective and quick action, and not wear themselves out in interminable arguments, and, under pretext of the better or the best, omit to do the good that is possible and therefore obligatory' (n. 238).
"Important institutions at the service of the new evangelization of the social fabric, besides volunteer organizations and Christian non-governmental organizations or those inspired by Christian ideals, are the Commissions 'Justice and Peace,' the Offices for Social and Labor Problems, the Centers and Institutes of social doctrine, many of which do not confine themselves to its study and spread, but also accompany various initiatives that experiment with the content of the social Magisterium, as is the case with social cooperatives for development, experiences of micro-credit and an economy inspired by the logic of communion and fraternity.
"In Mater et Magistra Bl. John XXIII recalled that one can better understand the basic demands of justice when one 'walks a "child of the light'" (cf. 257). Therefore, my wish for you is that the Risen Lord may warm your hearts and help you to spread the fruit of redemption through a new evangelization of the social sphere and the witness of a righteous life according to the Gospel. May this evangelization be supported by a proper social apostolate, systematically put into effect in the various particular Churches. In a world that is frequently self-centered, without hope, the Church expects you to be leaven, tireless sowers of genuine and responsible thought and generous social planning, sustained by a total love of the truth that abides in Jesus Christ, the Word of God made man. In thanking you for your work, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing."
Fred H. Summe is Vice President of Northern Kentucky Right to Life, P.O. Box 1202, Covington, Kentucky 41012
Planned Parenthood will continue to be receiving its annual welfare check from the federal government for about $3.5 million.
The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed the amendment of Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), removing from the current budget taxpayers' funds being transferred to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America.
However, when confronted with the pro-abortion Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate and with President Obama, both saying that they would not vote for or support a budget that did not include taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, a majority of the House Republicans, under the leadership of John Boehner (R-OH), voted to continue subsidizing the killing of innocent unborn children.
While the majority of House Republicans caved in, Republicans in states where they have made historic gains in the legislatures and governors' mansions last fall took up the fight against funding abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
Even though many Catholic colleges and universities have pro-abortion politicians as commencement speakers, such as the University of Notre Dame inviting President Obama, the most pro-abortion president in the history of the country, and then presenting him with an honorary degree, most Catholics would be shocked to know that Planned Parenthood also finds much support from Catholic institutions.
Efforts continue to get Catholic institutions, especially colleges and universities, to stop supporting and promoting not only pro-abortion politicians, but also Planned Parenthood.
Currently, many of the students at the Catholic Jesuit-run Seattle University are protesting student internships at Planned Parenthood. The university website provides a list of 29 such organizations with whom public affairs students can intern, among them Planned Parenthood of Western Washington, reports lifesitenews.com.
"If you want equal justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life!"
— Blessed John Paul II
Other organizations include: Feminist Majority Foundation, Legal Momentum, National Organization for Women (NOW), and National Organization for Women, Seattle Chapter.
Lifesitenews.com reports that the Cardinal Newman Society and the Students for Life of America spearheaded a letter to the president of Seattle University, Fr. Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., urging him to end the University's promotion of Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations. The letter was co-signed by Priests for Life, Human Life International, Susan B. Anthony List, Concerned Women for America, Live Action, Human Life Alliance, Catholics United for the Faith, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, and Culture of Life Foundation. Wouldn't it be exciting if it was also co-signed by a Church-directed organization, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops?
Even locally, how many times have you seen Catholic churches and institutions advertise, promote, sponsor, or donate to the Susan G. Komen Society to find a cure for cancer, all the while knowing that it is a major contributor to Planned Parenthood? "From 2004-2009, Komen affiliates contributed about $3.3 million to Planned Parenthood," reports The Wanderer.
On April 11, the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) issued its report, "A Scandalous Relationship: Catholic Colleges and Planned Parenthood," documenting more than 150 current and past connections between the two. "The report discovered referrals to Planned Parenthood for health services, as well as Planned Parenthood internships, fellowships, employee backgrounds, and other types of ties," reports lifesitenews.com.
"What is publicized on the Internet often indicates more extensive concerns hidden from public view, so while the information contained in this report is shocking and scandalous, it is only based on a rudimentary search of college web sites and likely does not capture all ties to Planned Parenthood at Catholic colleges and universities," states Patrick Reilly, President of the Cardinal Newman Society.
"Finally, the brazen manner in which Catholic colleges and universities are publicly disclosing – even proudly touting – their ties or the ties of their employees, students, and alumni to Planned Parenthood is shocking. There appears to be a pervasive attitude toward Planned Parenthood which regards the abortion and contraceptive agency as benign. This attitude is simply inconsistent with a genuine Catholic sensibility," stated CNS.
"If one considers – from a faithfully Catholic perspective – the fact that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the United States and a leading contributor to what Pope John Paul II labeled a 'culture of death,' any relationship to Planned Parenthood or those who have worked for such an organization is simply unacceptable," writes the Cardinal Newman Society.
"In no way can the work of Planned Parenthood be considered compatible with the mission of Catholic higher education or the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.
"Planned Parenthood is a serious danger to the health, lives, and souls of innocent students. There is no place for Planned Parenthood on a Catholic campus."
So the battle continues, not only in Washington and in capitals in all 50 states, but also in the churches. Even though defunding Planned Parenthood of federal and state tax money would result in only denying them a small percentage of their overall income, it would be a significant step toward saving our nation from self-destruction.
If Catholic institutions would cease supporting and funding Planned Parenthood and/or those who do support it, it would be a significant step toward promoting the "culture of life."
For the unborn child, let us "Stand Up For Life," as commanded by Pope John Paul II.
The First Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization met in May in Vatican City. The text of Pope Benedict XVI's May 30 address to the group follows:
"When, on June 28 of last year, at the First Vespers of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, I announced that I wished to institute a Dicastery for the promotion of the New Evangelization. I opened the way for a reflection to begin on a subject I had pondered over for a long time: the need to offer a specific response to a moment of crisis in Christian life which is occurring in many countries, especially those of ancient Christian tradition. Today, with this meeting, I note with pleasure that the new Pontifical Council has become a reality . . .
"Divine charity is the most precious gift of the Heart of Christ and of His Spirit: It is this which imparted to the Apostles and martyrs that fortitude, by the strength of which they fought their battles like heroes till death in order to preach the truth of the Gospel and bear witness to it by the shedding of their blood."
Pope Pius XII, Haurietis Aquas
"The term, 'new evangelization,' recalls the need for a renewed manner of proclamation, especially for those who live in a context, like the one today, in which the development of secularization has had a heavy impact, even in traditionally Christian countries. The Gospel is the ever new proclamation of the salvation worked by Christ which makes humanity participate in the mystery of God and in his life of love and opens it to a future of strong, sure hope. Highlighting that at this moment in history, the Church is called to carry out a new evangelization, means intensifying her missionary action so that it fully corresponds to the Lord's mandate. The Second Vatican Council recalled that 'The groups among whom the Church operates are utterly changed so that an entirely new situation arises' (Decree Ad Gentes, n. 6). The farsighted Fathers of the Council saw the cultural changes that were on the horizon and which today are easily verifiable. It is precisely these changes which have created unexpected conditions for believers and require special attention in proclaiming the Gospel, for giving an account of our faith in situations which are different from the past. The current crisis brings with it traces of the exclusion of God from people's lives, from a generalized indifference towards the Christian faith to an attempt to marginalize it from public life. In the past decades, it was still possible to find a general Christian sensibility which unified the common experience of entire generations raised in the shadow of the faith which had shaped culture. Today, unfortunately, we are witnessing a drama of fragmentation which no longer acknowledges a unifying reference point; moreover, it often occurs that people wish to belong to the Church, but they are strongly shaped by a vision of life which is in contrast with the faith.
"Proclaiming Jesus Christ the only Savior of the World, today is more complex than in the past; but our task remains identical to that at the dawn of our history. The mission has not changed, just as the enthusiasm and courage that moved the Apostles and first disciples must not change. The Holy Spirit which prompted them to open the doors and made evangelizers of them (cf. Acts 2:1-4) is the same Spirit which today moves the Church to a renewed proclamation of hope for the people of our time. St. Augustine affirms that we must not think that the grace of evangelization was extended only to the Apostles and with them that fount of grace was exhausted, but 'this fount is revealed when it flows, not when it ceases to pour out. And it was in this way that the grace, through the Apostles, reached others too, who were invited to proclaim the Gospel . . . in deed, it has continued to be a call right up to these days for the entire body of his Only Begotten Son, that is, his Church spread throughout the earth' (cf. Sermon, 239, 1). The grace of the mission continually needs new evangelizers capable of receiving it so that the salvific news of the Word of God never fails to be proclaimed in the changing conditions of history.
"There is a dynamic continuity between the proclamation of the first disciples and ours. Throughout the centuries, the Church has never ceased to proclaim the salvific mystery of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but today that same message needs renewed vigor to convince contemporary man, who is often distracted and insensitive. For this reason, the new evangelization must try to find ways of making the proclamation of salvation more effective; a proclamation without which personal existence remains contradictory and deprived of what is essential. Even for those who remain tied to their Christian roots, but who live the difficult relationship with modernity, it is important to realize that being Christian is not a type of clothing to wear in private or on special occasions, but is something living and all-encompassing, able to contain all that is good in modern life. I hope that in your work during this Assembly, you will be able to draw up a plan capable of helping the whole Church and the different particular Churches in the commitment to the new evangelization; a project where the urgency of a renewed proclamation involves formation, especially for the new generations, and is combined with a proposal of concrete signs able to make evident the response which the Church intends to offer in this particular moment. If, on the one hand, the entire community is called to reinvigorate its missionary spirit to proclaim the Good News that the people of our time are waiting for, we cannot forget that the lifestyle of believers needs to be genuinely credible and all the more convincing for the dramatic conditions in which those who need to hear it live. For this reason, we want to make the words of the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI, our own, when he said with regard to evangelization, 'It is therefore primarily by her conduct and by her life that the Church will evangelize the world, in other words, by her living witness of fidelity to the Lord Jesus — the witness of poverty and detachment, of freedom in the face of the powers of this world, in short, the witness of sanctity' (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 41).
"Dear friends, invoking the intercession of Mary, Star of Evangelization, that she accompany those who bring the Gospel and open the hearts of those who hear it, I assure you of my prayers for your ecclesial service and impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing."
During his June visit to Croatia, Pope Benedict XVI recognized the heroic witness of Croatian martyr, Cardinal Stepinac. In a celebration of Vespers at the Cardinal's tomb on June 5, the Pope indicated:
". . . This evening we gather for a devoted and prayerful remembrance of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, a fearless Pastor and an example of apostolic zeal and Christian fortitude, whose heroic life continues today to illuminate the faithful of the Dioceses of Croatia, sustaining the faith and life of the Church in this land. The merits of this unforgettable Bishop are derived essentially from his faith: in his life, he always had his gaze fixed on Jesus, to whom he was always conformed, to the point of becoming a living image of Christ, and of Christ suffering. Precisely because of his strong Christian conscience, he knew how to resist every form of totalitarianism, becoming, in a time of Nazi and Fascist dictatorship, a defender of the Jews, the Orthodox, and of all the persecuted, and then, in the age of communism, an advocate for his own faithful, especially for the many persecuted and murdered priests. Yes, he became an advocate for God on this earth, since he tenaciously defended the truth and man's right to live with God.
" 'For by a single offering [Christ] has perfected for all time those who are sanctified' (Heb 10:14). This phrase from the Letter to the Hebrews which we have just heard, invites us to consider the figure of Blessed Cardinal Stepinac according to the 'form' of Christ and his sacrifice. Christian martyrdom is in fact the highest measure of holiness, but it is so always and only thanks to Christ, by his gift, as a response to his oblation which we receive in the Eucharist. Blessed Alojzije Stepinac responded with his priesthood, with the episcopate, with the sacrifice of his life: a unique 'yes' united to that of Christ. His martyrdom signals the culmination of the violence perpetrated against the Church during the terrible period of communist persecution. Croatian Catholics, and in particular the clergy, were objects of oppression and systematic abuse, aimed at destroying the Catholic Church, beginning with its highest Authority in this place. That particularly difficult period was characterized by a generation of Bishops, priests, and Religious who were ready to die rather than to betray Christ, the Church, and the Pope. The people saw that the priests never lost faith, hope, and charity, and thus they remained always united. This unity explains what is humanly inexplicable: that such a hardened regime could not make the Church bow down.
"Today too, the Church in Croatia is called to be united, to meet the challenges of a changed social context, identifying with missionary fervor new ways of evangelization, especially in the service of younger generations. My dear Brother Bishops, I would like to encourage you above all in the fulfillment of your mission. The more you work in fruitful cooperation among yourselves and in communion with the Successor of Peter, the more you will be able to confront the difficulties of our age. It also important for Bishops above all and for priests to strive for reconciliation among separated Christians and between Christians and Muslims, following the footsteps of Christ who is our peace. Regarding your priests, do not neglect to offer them clear spiritual, doctrinal, and pastoral directions. While the Christian community admits legitimate diversity within itself, it cannot render faithful witness to the Lord except in the communion of its members. This requires of you the service of vigilance, offered in dialogue and with great love, but also with clarity and firmness. Dear Brothers, adhering to Christ means 'keeping his word' (cf. Jn 14:23).
"To this end, Blessed Cardinal Stepinac expressed himself in this way: 'One of the greatest evils of our time is mediocrity in the questions of faith. Let us not deceive ourselves . . . Either we are Catholic or we are not. If we are, this must be seen in every area of our life' (Homily on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29, 1943). The Church's moral teaching, often misunderstood today, cannot be detached from the Gospel. It falls particularly to the Bishops to propose it authoritatively to the faithful, in order to assist them in evaluating their personal responsibilities and in harmonizing their moral choices with the demands of the faith. In this way, your society will make progress towards that 'cultural shift' necessary for promoting a culture of life and a society worthy of man . . ."
Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com