"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
|Locheramoe Kuwom from the village of Kaaruko in Lokori, northern Kenya. “I am getting weaker every day. I have not had a proper meal in seven days. I had nothing yesterday except for tea. The day before I had a bit of palm fruit. There is a lot of hunger here. If this situation goes on, most of the people who live here will die.” (Photo: Eoghan Rice / Trocaire)|
Drought and famine threaten millions in the Horn of Africa. Conditions continue to worsen. The drought affects the whole Eastern Africa area.
"The drought, said to be 'the worst in 60 years,' has caused a severe food crisis across Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya that threatens the livelihood of more than 12 million people. A large number of refugees from southern Somalia have fled to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, where crowded, unsanitary conditions together with severe malnutrition have led to a large number of deaths. Other countries in and around the Horn of Africa, including Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan, and parts of Uganda, are also affected by a food crisis.
"On July 20, the United Nations officially declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia, the first time a famine has been declared by the UN in nearly thirty years. Tens of thousands of people are believed to have already died in southern Somalia before the famine was declared. On August 3, the UN declared famine in three other regions of southern Somalia, citing worsening conditions and inadequate humanitarian response. Famine is expected to spread across all regions of the south in the coming four to six weeks. The UN has conducted several airlifts of supplies in addition to on-the-ground assistance, but humanitarian response to the crisis has been hindered by a severe lack of funding for international aid coupled with security issues in the region."
Regarding the refugee crisis,Wikipedia said:
"As of August 3, more than 860,000 refugees from Somalia have fled to neighboring countries, in particular Kenya and Ethiopia. The UNHCR base in Dadaab, Kenya, currently hosts at least 440,000 people in three refugee camps. The maximum capacity of the Dadaab camps is 90,000. More than 1,500 refugees continue to arrive every day from southern Somalia, 80 per cent of them women and children. UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said that many people have died en route. Within the camps, infant mortality has risen threefold in the last few months. The overall mortality rate is 7.4 out of 10,000 per day, which is more than seven times as high as the 'emergency' rate of 1 out of 10,000 per day. There is an upsurge in sexual violence against women and girls, with the number of cases reported increasing by over 4 times. Incidents of sexual violence occur primarily during travel to the refugee camps, with some cases reported in the camps themselves or as new refugees go in search for firewood. This has put them at high risk of HIV/AIDS.
"Dolo Odo, Ethiopia, also hosts at least 110,000 refugees from Somalia, most of whom arrived recently. The three camps at Bokolomanyo, Melkadida, and Kobe have all exceeded their maximum capacity; one more camp is being built while another is planned in the future. Malnutrition rates among children under five have reached as high as 33%. Water shortage is affecting all the refugee camps. In a publicized case the beginning of August, a mother sent back four of her children when it was taking her nine days for her and her family to be registered at Kobe."
The Catholic Church has been involved for years in ministry to the people of the Horn of Africa. It has provided humanitarian aid, both immediate and long-term, through its agencies, both on the local and international levels. Both local bishops and the international Church have appealed for the region. Relief agencies, such as the Caritas organizations, have provided essential assistance in immediate relief and long-range development projects, especially in the areas of water and agriculture.
In his July 31 Angelus message, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the crisis, saying:
"This Sunday's Gospel describes the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves that Jesus worked for a great throng of people who had followed Him to listen to Him and to be healed of various illnesses (cf. Mt 14:14).
"As evening fell the disciples suggested to Jesus that He send the crowds away so that they might take some refreshment. But the Lord had something else in mind: 'You give them something to eat' (Mt 14:16). However they had 'only five loaves . . . and two fish.' Jesus' subsequent action evokes the sacrament of the Eucharist: 'He looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke, and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds' (Mt 14:19).
"The miracle consists in the brotherly sharing of a few loaves which, entrusted to the power of God, not only sufficed for everyone but enough was left over to fill 12 baskets. The Lord asked this of the disciples so that it would be they who distributed the bread to the multitude; in this way He taught and prepared them for their future apostolic mission: in fact, they were to bring to all the nourishment of the Word of life and of the sacraments.
"In this miraculous sign the incarnation of God and the work of redemption are interwoven. Jesus, in fact, 'went ashore' from the boat to meet the men and women (cf. Mt 14:14). St. Maximus the Confessor said that the Word of God made Himself present for our sake, by taking flesh, derived from us and conformed to us in all things save sin, in order to expose us to His teaching with words and examples suitable for us' (Ambigua 33: PG 91, 1285 C).
"Here the Lord offers us an eloquent example of His compassion for people. We are reminded of all our brothers and sisters in the Horn of Africa who in these days are suffering the dramatic consequences of famine, exacerbated by war and by the lack of solid institutions. Christ is attentive to material needs but He wished to give more, because man always 'hungers for more, he needs more' (Jesus of Nazareth, Doubleday, New York 2007, p. 267 (English translation). God's love is present in the bread of Christ; in the encounter with Him 'we feed on the living God Himself, so to speak, we truly eat the "bread from Heaven' " (ibid. p. 268).
"Dear friends, 'in the Eucharist Jesus also makes us witnesses of God's compassion towards all our brothers and sisters. The Eucharistic mystery thus gives rise to a service of charity towards neighbor' (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 88). St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus whom the Church is commemorating today, also bore witness to this. Indeed Ignatius chose to live 'finding God in all things, loving Him in all creatures' (cf. Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, III, 1, 26).
"Let us entrust our prayers to the Virgin Mary, so that she may open our hearts to compassion for our neighbor and to fraternal sharing."
L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper commented:
" 'There is no worse deaf man than he who does not want to listen and no worse blind man than he who does not want to see.''
The words of this ancient proverb return to life given the hesitations of the international community to effectively intervene in resolving the dramatic situation in the countries of the Horn of Africa, denounced by Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio,' President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants in this interview with our newspaper. They are acting too late, he says, and there is no one who gives the impression of 'really wanting to get involved in the situation,' to try to find a solution. 'Even humanitarian aid too often ends up in the internal web of fighting that is creating bloodshed in the country and does not reach the most needy populations. Responsible international mediation is more urgent than ever.'
". . . The Gospel teaching is always linked to the events in society. Yesterday, like today, we Christians must consider all aspects of life and what happens around us in light of the Good News. Indifference is absolutely contrary to the principles of the Gospel, which ask us to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ that invite us to practice justice and to love mercy (cf. Micah 6:8). In the service of others, we will recognize Christ in the smallest of our brothers and sisters (Mt 25:45). In June, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI said at the Angelus: 'The loving attention of Christians to those in difficulty and their commitment to a more supportive society are continually nourished by active and conscious participation in the Eucharist. Anyone nourished with the faith of Christ at the Eucharistic Table assimilates His same style of life, which is the style of service especially attentive to the weakest and most underprivileged persons. In fact, practical charity is a criterion that proves the authenticity of our liturgical celebrations.' "
Ethiopia Food Aid
Beneficiaries at a food distribution receive a monthly ration of lentils, vegetable oil and wheat through the Hararghe Catholic Secretariat (HCS) outside the town of Dira Dawa, Ethiopia.
The short rains failed in this region in 2011, and the long rains have been late, forcing many here to rely solely on food aid.
The Hararghe Catholic Secretariat (HCS) is the local diocesan Caritas in Eastern Ethiopia. HCS is part of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat (Caritas Ethiopia)
It is supported by a number of Caritas members. Credit: David Snyder/CRS
(Editor's note: The following is a press release from Caritas Internationalis.)
Caritas Internationalis humanitarian director Alistair Dutton explains why Caritas has a big focus on harvesting and storing water in drought-hit East Africa.
The simple answer to a drought should be for it to rain lots. The crops would grow, the animals would get fed, and people would know where their next meal and drink would be coming from.
People are desperate for rain in East Africa where up to 13 million people need emergency assistance because of one of the worst droughts in 60 years. But it's not the simple solution it seems.
Alistair Dutton, humanitarian director for Caritas Internationalis, has just returned from a trip to Ethiopia and Kenya. He met with Caritas member organizations working in these countries to discuss the best short- and long-term answers to the devastating hunger crisis caused by the drought.
"We went to a village and scores of people were sitting under trees. They had gathered from a wide area and they were praying for rain," says Alistair. "But if it did rain in many places it would just flow away and strip the top soil after years of environmental degradation."
"At the moment there's a sense of resignation in the drought-hit places I saw on my visit. They are coping with very few resources. People are sitting it out and hoping that the rains come when they should over the next few months," says Alistair.
Undeniably, rain would help return some green to the parched landscape in the drought-affected areas, however, again this doesn't provide the simple solution you'd think.
"After the rains, green shoots appear within a week. But you'll see pastoralists beating their hungry animals away from the crops. In their starved state animals will eat and eat and this itself can kill them when they've been without adequate food for so long," says Alistair.
He goes on to explain that a lot of Caritas' work in drought-hit zones is focused on slowing rivers and streams down so when it rains the water can soak into the ground and can refill boreholes and ponds.
He says that Caritas helps communities have access to water during dry seasons by working with them to build bore holes, micro-dams, ponds, reservoirs and install water points (see pictures for Ethiopia and Kenya ). In addition, Caritas provides resilient breeds of goat and drought-resistant seeds and teaches farmers agricultural techniques which will help them through the dry periods.
"This is the third major drought in this region in the past six years. A lot of the problem is due to chronic under-development and a lack of investment in farming and infrastructure. Until there's a whole program of investment in agriculture and the environment, the rains will just continue to flow away," says Alistair.
Fred H. Summe is Vice President of Northern Kentucky Right to Life, P.O. Box 1202, Covington, Kentucky 41012
For 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has clearly taught that abortion is an intrinsic evil, since each person from the moment of fertilization is a unique and special gift from God, a human person who will live for eternity.
"Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable . . . Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being." Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2270-2274
In his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II reminds us: "The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end."
Have we not all heard the arguments that in some situations, civil law, as well as the Christian moral law, should recognize abortion is morally acceptable: to save the life of the mother, rape, and/or incest.
If one would examine each of these so-called "exceptions," one realizes that not only are the teachings of the Church morally correct, but when these teachings are ignored, more violence, oppression, and suffering result.
Promoters of abortion have long argued that abortion can be morally justified to save the life of the mother. However, are there any real life situations where the mother would die if she would carry her child to term, but would live if she destroyed her child by an abortion?
"Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save, life.
"There is little evidence that pregnancy itself worsens a psychosis, either intensifying it or rendering a prognosis for a full recovery less likely," wrote in 1967, Alan Guttmacher, M.D., past president of Planned Parenthood.
"In my 36 years of pediatric surgery, I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother's life," stated former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D., renowned pediatric surgeon at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
"The situation where the mother's life is at stake were she to continue a pregnancy is no longer a clinical reality. Given the state of modern medicine, we can now manage any pregnant woman with any medical affliction successfully, through the natural conclusion of the pregnancy: the birth of a healthy child," stated Bernard Nathanson, M.D., gynecologist and former abortionist, and co-founder of the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Law.
". . . Anyone who performs a therapeutic abortion is either ignorant of modern medical methods or unwilling to take the time and effort to apply them," teaches Dr. Roy Heffernan, Tufts University's Medical School.
What about an ectopic pregnancy or cancer?
A woman carrying a child is always entitled to receive reasonably necessary medical treatment for a pathological physical condition which imminently threatens her physical life, even if the unintended result is the death of the child.
"An exception is not needed in the law to authorize such operations (cancerous womb or an ectopic pregnancy) which can be justified morally under the principle of the double effect: The justified operation to remove the cancerous womb which imminently threatens the mother's life may have the unintended effect of ending the life of the child. In the law they are not even abortions," teaches Professor Charles E. Rice, University of Notre Dame's College of Law.
In cases where a young woman has been the victim of rape or incest, should not the law allow her to destroy the life growing within, in order that she may lessen the physical and/or psychological trauma she has experienced?
"Abortion in the cases of incest is not the answer of convenience. It hides the crime of incest and it continues to hold the female victim in bondage to the secrecy of molestation. This does not mean that incest will stop," reveals Becky Smith, a victim of incest.
"Abortion for incest victims sounds compassionate, caring, and heroic; but, in actual practice, it is simply another violent and deceptive tool in the hand of the abuser…abortion does absolutely nothing to protect a young girl from continued abuse and, in fact, aids and abets the abuser in his crime," expresses Mary Jean Doe (a pseudonym), a member of Feminists for Life and a victim of incest.
Incest expert R. Bruce Sloan, M.D., writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, points out: "The psychiatric basis for terminating the life of an unborn baby incestuously conceived has absolutely no scientific merit and derives from a blind adherence to a legal formulation espoused by abortion promoters now including organized psychiatry."
"I soon discovered that the aftermath of my abortion continued a long time after the memory of my rape had faded. I felt empty and horrible," recalls Jackie Bakker, a victim of rape.
"Rape and incest victims actually suffer considerably from the abortion. What are some of the symptoms of rape? The woman feels dirty, guilty, sexually violated, down on herself, angry, and fearful or hateful toward men; she may experience sexual dysfunction, or feel she has lost control of her life.
"Now let's look at the symptoms of abortion. The woman feels dirty, guilty, sexually violated, down on herself, angry, and fearful or hateful toward men; she may experience sexual dysfunction or a loss of control of her life – all the same symptoms.
"So instead of curing the problem, we are intensifying the same symptoms by offering abortion. Abortion, then, is a 'cure' that only aggravates the problem," teaches David C. Reardon, Director of Eliot Institute for Social Sciences Research.
When our actions violate the moral teachings of the Creator, regardless of whatever our intentions may be, we bring about more evil, violence, and suffering. Instead of assisting those who suffer, abortion simply exasperates their situation.
"Common in the post-abortion patient are grief and heartache over the procedure and feelings of loss and victimization. Even more important, however, is her inability to process the trauma and its accompanying feelings because of denying and repressing her thoughts and feelings about the event. Because the consequences of abortion can be so threatening, we don't want to exacerbate the problem by doubting or negating the many women who have undergone excruciating pain because of their 'choice,' " explains Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph.D., a psychologist.
When one argues that in some situations abortions should be morally acceptable and legal, what they are really teaching is that there are no moral absolutes. Rationalizing even the killing of just one unborn child undermines the foundational truth by introducing moral relativism, and by teaching that sometimes that which is intrinsically evil may be morally justifiable.
The acceptance of abortion in the case of rape, incest, or the life of the mother promotes the culture of death by proclaiming that the right to life is not after all "inalienable," but rather a right that is very negotiable.
Charles Colson explained: ". . . we are motivated not by a desire to make an impact on society but by obedience to God's Word and a desire to please Him. When our goal becomes success rather than faithfulness, we lose the single-minded focus of obedience and any real power to be successful."
Pope John Paul II explains this further: "Truth has a grace attached to it. Anytime we speak the truth, we conform to what Christ teaches and what is being taught us by the Church. Every time we stand up for the truth, there is an internal grace of God that accompanies the truth. …Error does not have grace accompanying it."
Fr. Tom Forest, a Redemptorist missionary priest, was a speaker at the 25th annual Presentation Ministries' Bible Institute. The missionary has served the poor in the Caribbean and the charismatic renewal. "Forget your excuses," he told his listeners. "You are in trouble with God if you aren't making an effort to bring about the Kingdom. We have been given the Superpower of Jesus' Spirit."
Quoting John 14, Fr. Forest said, "This work is more than walking on water, multiplying loaves and fishes. We have the task of calming the storms of violence in our culture. We have to overcome the forces of evil, the fires of hell, Satan, and his minions."
Fr. Forest makes no excuses. At 84, he has evangelized to Mother Teresa and her sisters over 60 times. He is on Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo, getting comments like "I bet nobody sleeps through his Masses" and "I agree nobody sleeps. He makes you feel so alive and strong." Or "I prayed for you at CBN one evening before you were to talk . . . in winter of '87 or '88. I often think of you. You impacted my life greatly."
The priest has audio tapes not only on evangelization, but on John Paul II, Mother Teresa, "The Virtues of a Happy Home," and "Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus" available at My Catholic Faith.
"Mother Teresa was so small you couldn't have seen her behind this podium," he says. "Such a small woman, but a really powerful soul for God."
Mother Teresa's only request of him was to "please pray for me that I don't do damage to the work of God."
In his presentation, he told of others who prayed and who God worked through, including Moses, Paul, and Monica. Our Mother Mary asks us to pray.
"Pray through Mary's mediation, entrust your causes to her. Pray with confidence. Pray and believe that you have already received it, and it will be granted to you" – faith to move the mountains blocking us, wisdom, freedom from sin, holiness, patience, generosity, kindness, healing a broken heart.
Fr. Forest has written that there are "many people in this world, perhaps countless millions, who live their whole lives in darkness because they are living without the Light Whose name is Jesus."
Evangelism, being light rather than darkness in the world, is "the supreme Christian service of teaching the spiritually blind to cry out like that man in the Gospel, 'Lord! That I might see!' (Mk 10:51).
"Every single one of you," Fr. Forest writes, "should be doing what [Mother Teresa] did, shining with the light of Christ, letting in the light of His holiness, His goodness, love, His dependence upon the Heavenly Father to light the path for others. Be a people of light. Bring your light together and shine together."
The missionary said, "Our call is more important than rescuing a child from a well. It is greater than launching a man to the moon. It's an urgent call to you – not your aunt Josephine – and I'm trying to give you the knowledge of what to do, to let the Holy Spirit do it."
Fr. Forest concluded by complimenting those in attendance: "You know I have been to 110 countries. I have met many people and I have to tell you, you are very special here. You are the best. Your faith is strong. I am very impressed. This is wonderful."
(Editor's note: Mr.Templeman writes from Florida. We welcome contributions from prisoners. We would like to hear from you.)
The archangel, Gabriel, was commissioned
to a forgettable village in Galilee.
There a special girl, Joseph's girl, lived.
When the angel spoke he called her Mary.
In Nazareth of Galilee, a forgettable village,
he found her. Hello, favored one, he said.
The angel spoke. Mary believed
and her flesh became liturgy.
He found this favored one and said, hello.
She thought, is this how angels speak? It scared up
a troubling liturgy in her flesh.
Yes, he said, spouse of God, don't be afraid.
So this is how angels speak. Scary, for sure.
You will conceive, he said, and bear God's son.
Yes, he said, favored one, do not be afraid.
He will be great and rule from the throne.
I will conceive, she thought, and bear God's son.
But, I'm not married, how can this be?
Bear a child who will rule from the throne of power?
She looked inside herself and saw with God's eye.
But, I'm not married, she trembled, how?
Yet, he will be holy, she thought. Let it be.
With God's eye she looked inside herself and saw.
And, so, the angel carried out his mission.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio delivered an opening address on June 16 for the Executive Summit on Ethics for the Business World, sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Excerpts of his talk follows:
"I am pleased to greet the participants in this important Summit that has brought together so many world leaders in the areas of business, the economy and finance.
"I do not intend to enter into the technical or practical aspects of your deliberations in these days, but rather to offer a few reflections on the anthropological, spiritual, and ethical foundations of your activity in the light of the Church's social teaching – and particularly the understanding of business and management set forth in the Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate. It is most fitting that you have chosen to make that document central to your reflections at this conference, which is looking for new ways to ground the ethical dimension of economic and business activity.
“Be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ” (Eph 4:32).
Let me begin with a premise. "The Church has always stressed that commercial activity is essential to the common good. Her social teaching, past and present, insists that commercial activity should be directed to the common good and not merely to the private profit of property holders. At the same time, the various social Encyclicals, especially Centesimus Annus and Caritas in Veritate, have clearly pointed to the inherently social and civilizing character of business and the market. The attainment of a good and prosperous life on the part of great numbers of people – and, at least in theory, by all – would be unimaginable were it not for business leaders who create jobs, wealth, and new products, and for innovations which are constantly expanding human opportunities and freedom.
"As an 'expert in humanity,' the Church is well aware that, like other aspects of human life and perhaps even more so, the sector of economics and labor is prone to the temptations of selfishness and narrow self-interest. At the same time, though, the Church sees the world of economics, labor, and business in a positive light as a significant sphere for creativity and service to society, a positive element in human affairs. Like any other component of the body politic, it can sometimes develop pathologies, yet its functioning is usually sound, civil and humane.
"But what does the Church's social teaching have to say about business leaders?
"First and foremost, as we are reminded by sound economic theory (here I am thinking of Joseph Schumpeter or Luigi Einaudi), the business leader is not a speculator, but essentially an innovator. The speculator makes it his goal to maximize profit; for him, business is merely a means to an end, and that end is profit. For the speculator, building roads and establishing hospitals or schools is not the goal, but merely a means to the goal of maximum profit. It should be immediately clear that the speculator is not the model of business leader that the Church holds up as an agent and builder of the common good.
"The true business leader is very different. As we read in Caritas in Veritate: 'Charity in truth requires that shape and structure be given to those types of economic initiative which, without rejecting profit, aim at a higher goal than the mere logic of the exchange of equivalents, of profit as an end in itself' (No. 38).
"The business leader is first and foremost an innovator who generates and pursues projects: for him, for her, for them, business activity is never merely a means or a tool, but part of the goal itself. Logically, it is not possible to separate the activity from its goal, since business activity has intrinsic value. It has value in itself.
" 'Aiming at a higher goal' – a goal greater than profit – while not 'rejecting profit,' represents the great challenge facing today's business leaders who are seriously concerned to promote the common good and development – business leaders, in other words, who see their activity as a task and a vocation. The exclusive pursuit of profit proves inadequate as the economy and society nowadays have to deal with new challenges, including the environment, 'common goods' and globalization.
"This brings us to the great theme of business and social responsibility. Caritas in Veritate has pointed out that 'business management cannot concern itself only with the interests of the proprietors, but must also assume responsibility for all the other stakeholders who contribute to the life of the business: the workers, the clients, the suppliers of various elements of production, the community of reference' (No. 40).
"Ethical theories concerned with business and social responsibility abound, but not all of them are acceptable in the light of the Christian understanding of man and an authentic Christian humanism. This is especially true of those cases where socially responsible practices are adopted primarily as a marketing device, without any effect on relationships inside and outside the business itself, the destination of its profits, the demands of justice, worker participation, and so forth.
"Nowadays business leaders who want to take the Church's social teaching seriously will need to be more daring, not limiting themselves to socially responsible practices and/or acts of philanthropy (positive and meritorious though these may be), but striking out into new territories. I shall mention just two of these.
"1. Business leaders must use their innovation and creativity to address challenges above and beyond the economy and the market. Specifically, there is a growing demand today for labor on the part of entire countries with great numbers of young people and few jobs: innovation and new initiative are needed if business, the economy, and the market are to include those presently excluded. Today as in the past, the economy and the business sector fulfil their duty to serve the common good when they manage to incorporate broad sectors of the marginalized (one need only think of the factory workers of the last century) and to ensure that these people become, not problems, but resources and opportunities: for themselves, for business, and for society as a whole.
"2. The second challenge has to do with the administration of 'common goods' such as water, energy sources, communities, the social and civic capital of peoples and cities. Business today has to become more and more involved with these common goods, since in a complex global economy it can no longer be left to the state or the public sector to administer them: the talent of the business sector is also needed if they are to be properly managed. Where common goods are concerned, we urgently need business leaders for whom profit is not the exclusive goal. More and more, we need business leaders with a social conscience, leaders whose innovation, creativity, and efficiency are driven by more than profit, leaders who see their work as part of a new social contract with the public and with civil society.
"Economic and commercial activity, when carried out along the lines indicated by the Church's social teaching, is clearly 'ethical' activity, since there cannot be a common good without business leaders that we would describe as 'civil.' As Caritas in Veritate makes clear, there is no such thing as an ethically neutral business leader. Business leaders are either 'civil,' in the sense that their commercial activity serves to build up the common good, the good of all, and of every individual, or else they are the reverse, as when they fail to produce quality products, ignore innovation, fail to create wealth and jobs, and pay no taxes.
"Having said all this, I would like to offer you a word of encouragement. I pray that a new season of creativity and social commitment will emerge from these days of reflection and dialogue. Such commitment and creativity are all the more important and necessary today, not least for the continued development of the Church's social teaching. That teaching draws inspiration from the life of the Christian community, where the Spirit's gifts and charisms open up new paths of human and spiritual excellence in economic and social life. This can be seen in the lives of those business leaders who made their work a place of growth in genuine holiness: people like Blessed Giuseppe Tovini, a businessman and banker from Brescia. I should like to conclude my brief address by quoting a saying of his, uttered more than a century ago but still timely today: 'Without faith, your children will never be rich; with faith they will never be poor.' "
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sharply criticized a new HHS "preventive services" mandate requiring private health plans to cover female surgical sterilization and all drugs and devices approved by the FDA as contraceptives, including drugs which can attack a developing unborn child before and after implantation in the mother's womb.
"Although this new rule gives the agency the discretion to authorize a 'religious' exemption, it is so narrow as to exclude most Catholic social service agencies and healthcare providers," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
"For example, under the new rule our institutions would be free to act in accord with Catholic teaching on life and procreation only if they were to stop hiring and serving non-Catholics," Cardinal DiNardo continued. "Could the federal government possibly intend to pressure Catholic institutions to cease providing health care, education, and charitable services to the general public? Health care reform should expand access to basic health care for all, not undermine that goal."
"The Administration's failure to create a meaningful conscience exemption to the preventive services mandate underscores the need for Congress to approve the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act," the Cardinal said. That bill (H.R. 1179), introduced by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Dan Boren (D-OK), would prevent mandates under the new health reform law from undermining rights of conscience.
Cardinal DiNardo added: "Catholics are not alone in conscientiously objecting to this mandate. The drugs that Americans would be forced to subsidize under the new rule include Ella, which was approved by the FDA as an 'emergency contraceptive' but can act like the abortion drug RU-486. It can abort an established pregnancy weeks after conception. The pro-life majority of Americans – Catholics and others – would be outraged to learn that their premiums must be used for this purpose."
"HHS says the intent of its 'preventive services' mandate is to help 'stop health problems before they start," said Cardinal DiNardo. "But pregnancy is not a disease, and children are not a 'health problem' – they are the next generation of Americans."
"It's now more vital than ever that Congress pass the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act to close the gaps in conscience protection in the new health care reform act, so employers and employees alike will have the freedom to choose health plans in accordance with their deeply held moral and religious beliefs."
In a July 22 letter supporting the bill, Cardinal DiNardo wrote: "Those who sponsor, purchase, and issue health plans should not be forced to violate their deeply held moral and religious convictions in order to take part in the health care system or provide for the needs of their families or their employees. To force such an unacceptable choice would be as much a threat to universal access to health care as it is to freedom of conscience."
The full text of Cardinal DiNardo's letter is available online at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/religious-liberty/upload/respect-for-rights-of-conscience-act-cardinal-dinardo-letter-to-congress-hr1179-07-22-11.pdf. Cardinal DiNardo also addressed the Institute of Medicine's recommendations on preentive services for women in a July 19 statement: www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2011/11-143.shtml.
(Source: USCCB press release)
lima, peru – Fides News Agency reports: "In the context regarding the celebrations of 100 years of presence in Peru (1911-2011) of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, the visit of the relics of St. Therese of Liseaux comes from the initiative of the whole Carmelite family. For the celebrations, this visit will have a title: 'On a mission to Peru,' and will be held from August 30 to November 30.
This initiative, welcomed by the Rector of the Teresian Basilica of Lisieux, has had a rapid response with the total availability of sending the urn containing the relics of the holy saint. This is the first time such an event has happened in Peru, a country with a missionary presence and the time for a pilgrimage for most of the Andean country.
The arrival of the urn containing the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux is expected at the Jorge Chavez international airport in the Peruvian capital on Tuesday, August 30, at 6pm and will remain in this country until November 30, after which it will return to France. Upon arrival, it will embark on a great pilgrimage throughout Peru, visiting the communities of the south in September, the center of the country in October, and those in the north in November.
"During the tour it will visit the Carmelite communities, monasteries, the Institutes of Consecrated Life, and parishes in the ecclesiastical courts of Abancay, Arequipa, Ayacucho Callao, Carabayllo, Chiclayo, Chimbote, Chosica, Chuquibamba, Cusco, Huacho, Huancayo, Huancavelica, Ica, Lima, Lurin, Piura, Trujillo, Puno, Tacna, Moquegua and Yauyos.
As stated in the note sent to Fides, 'With her relics, Teresa is present: her person, her spirituality, her love for the Church, her spiritual message. Through this visit we try to get to know and rediscover the living Gospel of her doctrine, founded on love and trust.' "
(Source: Fides News Agency)
Prayer to St. Joseph
O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance in expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations; to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor the gifts I have received from God, to work methodically, peacefully, and in moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from it through weariness or difficulty to work; above all,with purity of intention and unselfishnesss, having unceasingly before my eyes death and the account I have to render of time lost, talents unused, good not done, and vain compliancy in success, so baneful to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all to imitate thee, O Patriarch St. Joseph! This shall be my motto for life and eternity. Amen.
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.
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