"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
The Peace Bell, Newport, Kentucky
We pray that America will be "one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.
Pandemic Victims Need Immediate Help
European Unity Must Be Built On True Values
In Defense of Life: Stem Cells
Prison To Praise: It All Started With A Girl
Interest In Papal Prophecies Increases
Pray the News
The number of victims of disease pandemics has reached staggering proportions. In an intervention at a United Nations commission meeting on March 29, the Holy See called for immediate attention and response to the needs of the victims. The occasion was the 61st meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. Bishop Tomasi, C.S., the permanent observer of the Holy See to the U.N., made the following plea:
"The threats to human life and dignity, to economic and social development, and to global security that are posed by the illness of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, all of which have reached pandemic proportions, require the urgent attention of this Commission and of the entire global community.
"The current estimates related to the dimensions of these diseases are sufficiently alarming to warrant the dedication of more focused and expanded financial, professional, research, and community resources in all parts of the world, but most especially in low-income countries. Denial, stigmatization, discrimination, and complacency cannot be tolerated in the face of some forty million adults and children currently living with HIV and AIDS, of six thousand HIV-related deaths per day, in the face of twelve million orphans who have lost one or both parents to HIV-related illnesses; in the face of some two billion people infected with tuberculosis (TB), of whom, each year, eight million become sick with infectious TB and two million die; and in the face of at least one million, and possibly three million, deaths caused by malaria each year. Future projections concerning the impact of these diseases are even more compelling: the population of countries hard-hit by AIDS is expected to be 14% less than predicted in the absence of this syndrome; lost productivity due to TB may range between 4% and 6% of Gross Domestic Product in many countries; presence of malaria in epidemic proportions blocks progress with development in the world's poorest countries.
"These statistics, however, do not adequately portray the human rights dimensions of these three major epidemics. First and foremost, the Holy See Delegation is concerned with threat posed by HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria to the most fundamental and sacred right — that of human life itself. This exercise of this right to life is most tenuous among populations in the least developed countries of the world, among those ravaged by war, wide-scale conflict, and violence; those oppressed by racial or ethnic discrimination, forced migration; those who are victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. These same persons often find themselves equally vulnerable to infection with or the broader-based family-related, social, and economic impact produced by these three major pandemics.
"These diseases also interfere with the realization of the well-recognized right to development, a right which the Holy See delegation has promoted and defended on many occasions. A concomitant responsibility to this right is that of promoting the common good. Thus the residents of high- and middle-income countries cannot be satisfied with preventing the spread of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria in their own more 'privileged' environments, or at least of benefiting from improvement in the quality of life and decrease of life-threatening effects from these diseases on those already infected, without mobilizing concern and effective action with and for those in low-income countries who currently are deprived of access to such medical and scientific interventions.
"While profit may be an accepted motivation for those developing the medications and diagnostic tools to address these diseases, it cannot be sole factor determining or blocking access for all in need of such technology. Thus the Holy See delegation recalls the words of Pope John Paul II to the Jubilee 2000 Debt Campaign with regard to the existence of 'a "social mortgage" on all private property, a concept which today must also be applied to "intellectual property" and to "knowledge." The law of profit alone cannot be applied to that which is essential for the fight against hunger, disease, and poverty.'
"The Holy See delegation is convinced that the right to health, which is recognized and protected by various international bodies, including this Commission, by national governments, and by faith- and community-based groups, will be more adequately realized only when concern for the protection of intellectual property rights, while legitimate in itself, is seen within the wider perspective of promoting the common good, building global solidarity, and prioritizing the life and dignity of the world's most vulnerable people, many of whom can be counted among those struggling from the illnesses and deep socio-economic impact of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
"While encouraged by recent global efforts to make accessible and 'scale up' provision of affordable medications and diagnostic tools to address these three diseases, much of which will be facilitated in collaboration with health and development services sponsored by faith-based organizations, the Holy See delegation notes with much regret:
"— that only some 7% of people living with HIV and AIDS in developing countries and in need of combination anti-retroviral therapy currently are benefiting from it;
"— that only some five percent of HIV-infected pregnant women have been able to avail themselves of medications to prevent the transmission of the infection to their babies and that far less can benefit from the ongoing anti-retroviral treatment they themselves need in order to keep them alive and capable of caring for their children;
"— that TB is on the rise in many developing countries and in those with transitional economies and that drugs for multi-drug resistant TB remain unaffordable for many;
"— that taxes and tariffs imposed by some countries even on such essential items as donated insect-treated mosquito nets often deprive the most needy populations from protection against malaria.
"In conclusion, the Holy See delegation urges continued attention and effective action, on the part of the Commission and of the entire global community, in order to reach the health and development goals that will address the needs and human suffering produced by the three pandemics of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria."
On May 16, Monsignor Giovanni Lajolo addressed the third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe. He spoke on behalf of the Vatican at the meeting in Warsaw, Poland.
Monsignor Lajolo said: "It is my honor to convey to all present the cordial greetings of the new Pope, Benedict XVI, who in the choice of his name intended to recall one of the great architects of European civilization. In some of his previous talks and publications, he has proposed a number of considerations, both historical and doctrinal, on the subject of European unity and values, which remain relevant and worthy of attention.
"This theme, to which the present session is dedicated, is something particularly important for the Holy See. Pius XII in his Christmas message of 1944 proposed to Europe a 'true democracy founded on freedom and equality' (Acta Apostolicae Sedis 37  14), and on May 9, 1945, he spoke of 'a new Europe. . . founded on respect for human dignity, for the sacred principle of equality of rights for all Peoples, all States, large or small, weak or strong' (ibid, 129-130). Pope Paul VI dedicated keen and increasing attention to the same subject. And all are aware of the incessant, passionate, and active commitment of Pope John Paul II to a Europe corresponding more fully to its geographical and especially to its historical identity. Here in his Polish homeland, I am particularly pleased to recall his great and lovable personality.
"Europe will be loved by its citizens and will serve as an agent of peace and civilization in the world only if it is animated by certain fundamental values: a. the promotion of human dignity and fundamental human rights, among which in the first place freedom of conscience and religion; b. the pursuit of the common good in a spirit of solidarity; and, c. respect for national and cultural identity.
"These values obviously are shared by all, however, if they are to take on a clear focus and not remain generic, they must refer to Europe's own history because this is what constitutes Europe in its spiritual identity. For this reason the Holy See views with satisfaction the commitment expressed in the Preamble of the Declaration, paragraph 6, 'to the universal values and principles which are rooted in Europe's cultural, religious, and humanistic heritage.' The pre-eminent role that Christianity has played in forming and developing this cultural, religious, and humanistic patrimony is well known to all and cannot be ignored.
Challenges facing European societies
"Europe is faced with challenges arising from its own internal dynamism as well as challenges in its encounter with world problems. It cannot address one set of challenges successfully without responding adequately to the other.
"As to the first, the Council of Europe, as a guarantor of democratic security, based on respect for human rights and the rule of law, is confronted with two requirements:
"a. the need to prevent the principle of equality from compromising the protection of legitimate diversity: justice in fact requires equal relationships to be treated equally and diverse relationships to be treated diversely;
"b. the need to prevent the principle of individual freedom from being dislodged from its natural insertion in the totality of social relationships, and therefore from the principle of social responsibility, which in fact constitutes an essential component of its positive value.
"The consequences of this confrontation on the level of international relations, as well as on the social, family, and individual levels are evident.
"On the other hand, many concrete challenges derive from the great worldwide problems handed down from the 20th century: the nuclear threat, which is now in danger of escaping from the exclusive historic responsibility of the great powers, the emergence of forms of political and religious fundamentalism, large-scale migration of peoples and certain situations of dangerous instability at the State level even in the European arena. I am referring here particularly to the situation in Bosnia-Hercegovina and in the Kosovo region, both of which are in need of a reliable solution, which cannot be reached without providing effective guarantees for minorities.
"In a spirit of service the Holy See offers her own support and that of the whole Catholic Church in order to respond adequately to these challenges. She is persuaded that the message of fraternity, proper to the Gospel, the vast charitable action of Catholic organizations, the commitment to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue can be conjoined naturally to the commitment to political, interreligious, and intercultural dialogue, mentioned in the final declaration of this Assembly which the Holy See willingly supports.
The Construction of Europe
"I would like to say a few words about the construction of Europe. The Delegation of the Holy See does not presume to propose technical solutions but would like to offer some simple considerations as a contribution to our common reflection.
"A better coordination of European Organizations is not only an imperative of political and conceptual coherence or financial considerations, but is required by the original creative spirit of the European project. The success of this project in fact does not require just the smooth functioning of each of the principal institutions, but their common balanced synergy which allows the citizens of Europe to see Europe as their 'common home' at the service of the human person and society.
"Given its widely recognized competence, acquired in the juridical area, the experience of the Council of Europe is particularly important because it sketches the outlines of what could become a blueprint for European society. The more than 150 Conventions of the Council of Europe, dealing with education, culture, minorities, refugees, immigration, ecology, the media, etc., cover a notable part of the sectors involved in the social dimension.
"Furthermore the territorial extension acquired by the Council of Europe draws it close to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OCSE, however, is also marked by its transatlantic dimension, something indispensable for maintaining peace in a globalized world and for fulfilling its mandate with regard to conflicts. From the three ways of European construction outlined in the three baskets of the OSCE – concerning respectively security policies, economic and ecological cooperation, and the human dimension – clearly it is this last factor which offers the broadest field of cooperation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE.
"Regarding the European Union, it is in the juridical sector in relation to human rights that one finds further concrete possibilities for closer institutional cooperation. The common commitment to corroborate the human rights and the legal protection of European citizens – reaffirmed by the will of the European Union to adhere to the European Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental liberties – must be given adequate expression in the propositions to be presented by the Coordination Group created in December 2004.
"I would like to conclude by stating clearly that in the construction of the great European project the Holy See will not fail to continue to offer her cooperation."
"I urge that
petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men, especially for kings and those in authority, that we may be able to lead undisturbed and tranquil lives." (1 Tm 2:1-2)
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
Laura Dominguez was paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident in 2001. Adult stem cells, obtained from the inside of her nose, were transplanted into her damaged spinal cord. Several months later, she was able to move her foot and is now able to walk with braces.
Patrizia Durante, six months pregnant, was diagnosed with leukemia and was given only six months to live. Stem cells from her child's umbilical cord were used in a transplant. Several years later, the leukemia is in full remission.
Born with Krabbe's leukodystrophy, a degenerative enzyme disorder of the nervous system, Gina Rugari was treated with chemotherapy and then with stem cells from the blood of an umbilical cord obtained from a closely matched donor. Several years later, she is a thriving young girl.
These three medical breakthroughs are reported by Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, an expert in the field of bioethics and biotechnology, who earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yale University.
Fr. Pacholczyk writes: "Adult stem cells are a 'natural' solution. . . . adult stem cells have already been successfully used in human therapies for many years. . . . New therapies using adult type stem cells . . . are being developed all the time."
As reported by the National Institute of Health in 2004, there are 74 treatable diseases responding to adult stem cells.
On the other hand, the pro-death movement and its cronies in the national news media are demanding federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. Even the Lexington Herald-Leader, which supports this type of funding, admits: "So far, not a single person has been helped by human embryonic stem cells."
What is the difference between stem cells, and why is there a controversy over funding of embryonic stem cells?
Stem cells are cells that have a unique ability to develop into different types of cells. As explained in an article printed in Celebrate Life, published by American Life League (P.O. Box 1350, Stafford, VA 22555), there are currently four known sources of obtaining stem cells:
Cord blood — recovered from the umbilical cord of a living infant and used as a source of allogenic hematopoietic stem cells for bone marrow reconstitution.
Adult stem cells — recovered from mature tissues or cells within the live patient, often, but not exclusively, located in bone marrow, has been used for years in clinical treatment.
Embryonic germ cells (EG cells) — usually obtained from an aborted child, at a stage of development when the child is referred to as a fetus.
Embryonic stem cells (ES cells) — usually requires the chemical destruction of the human embryo during the blastocyst or pluripotent stage of development from an early embryo usually 6-14 days old. This form of stem cell has proposed potential to become any number of cell types.
As to the above two first sources, there is no protest.
Research involving EG cells is morally objectionable if the cells are obtained from fetal tissue derived from elective abortions. If it is obtained from a spontaneous abortion, commonly referred to as a miscarriage, it is morally acceptable to use the embryonic germ cells.
Research using ES cells is always morally objectionable, because a human life is destroyed in order to obtain ES cells.
ES cells come from an embryo. What is an embryo?
An embryo is a human being. The term "embryo" simply designates the stage of development of a human being. The embryo is not some other type of life, which later develops into a human person.
Human life goes through various stages of development, with each stage of development given a name, such as zygote, blastocyst, embryo, fetus, infant, adolescent, adult, or elderly person.
When the egg and sperm are joined, a new human being comes into existence. This single cell (a zygote) undergoes a cell division and is referred to as an embryo.
As a fact of biology, and not a matter of religious belief, the human embryo is a human being. It is not animal life or some type of plant. Each of us was once at the stage of life of an embryo.
Since embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of the embryo, an individual human being, it is always morally unacceptable.
It is sad that in our country, there is no law or regulation even limiting, much less outlawing, the destruction of human embryos for the purpose of research. The issue in Congress is simply whether the federal government should fund embryonic stem cell research. There is no prohibition against the use of private funds.
The problem to the pro-death community is that private capital for embryonic stem cell research is drying up. If embryonic stem cell research really had the potential of developing cures for illnesses, the multi-billion dollar drug industry, realizing the tremendous potential for a profit, would be pumping money into this type of research.
So the pro-death community looks to the government for taxpayer money to support its evil.
Those who support the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion up to the time of birth, for any reason or no reason at all, heavily lobbied Congress to spend such funds on embryonic stem cell research. One can only expect this, for if the parts of an aborted child could be used to obtain a great, desirable result, such as curing a dreadful disease, those favoring legalized abortion would feel justified. Any pains of conscience about killing an unborn child would be soothed by rationalizing that someone else's life would be saved or at least improved.
Even if a use of the bodies of aborted children could bring about a desirable result, the killing of an innocent person is still an evil.
This Frankenstein-like advocacy is the result of a society which, for over 32 years, has accepted as morally okay, abortion on demand. We have lost our moral compass, in favor of the utopian ethic that what makes something right or wrong is not whether the benefits outweigh the disadvantages or whether the "good results" are worth tolerating the "bad effects."
Each individual human life is no longer recognized as an entity in and of itself. A person's life is no longer a great value simply because he or she exists. People are valued in relationship to the wants and desires of others.
If there is no moral absolute established by God that each human life has an equal right to life, and that it is wrong to kill an innocent person, then where does one draw the line as to what is and isn't morally acceptable conduct? If what is right and wrong is simply a matter of weighing "good" against "bad," then any act can be "justified" as morally acceptable.
by Louis Templeman
(Editor's note: Mr. Templeman is a student in Guadalupe Bible College's [part of Presentation Ministries] prison outreach program.)
May is traditionally referred to as Mary's Month. I do not know why. However, I am glad she has a month. I love every reminder of her. No matter how I regard my Christian faith, I am always reminded it all started with a girl.
Mary used to be such a stumbling block for me. And for many other Christians, as well. I have some Christian friends who often make jokes about her, as if they need to dull her image in order to be faithful to God and respectful of the honor due her son, Jesus.
Years ago, long before I was received into the Roman Catholic communion here at Baker C.I., I found myself meditating on the angel's visit to Mary. Somehow, I feel by God's direction, I realized her act of faith was as gigantic and history-making as anything Abraham or any other prophet ever did.
As an act of faith, it is in a class by itself. Unsurpassed. In the annals of faith our most breathtaking example of courage and trust. If Abraham is the father of our faith, then Mary no less deserves the title of Mother of our Faith.
What act made Abraham our father?
"For what does scripture say? 'Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.' " (Romans 4:3)
By an act of faith Abraham had a child of promise deep into old age. Now, Abe had a grand life full of ups and downs, successes and failures. Once, he rescued his nephew by defeating five kings. But it was his act of faith that was significant to God and to history.
Did Mary do less when told by God's angel, that she, a virgin, would bear a child? A child who would rule the world? "Of His kingdom there will be no end." Hardly!
When I was young, many of my friends called my mother "Mom." I liked it. I found it complimentary. They wanted to claim my mother as their own. They saw her value, even as I did. Even though Jesus is fully human, as well as fully God, He is not entirely like us. However, do you feel it would irritate Him if you treated His mom half as well as He did, and as He certainly still does?
Who else followed Him from conception to the cross? Who used her leverage on Him to save a marriage feast and thus inaugurate His miracle ministry? Do you suppose turning water into wine was on His "things to do today" list? According to scripture, it was not. Who alone could say they ever got God to hurry up, as she did?
"Mary set out and traveled to the hill country of Judea in haste . . ." (Luke 2:39)
When have you ever made God move in haste?
I can hear someone protesting, "Yeah, but I don't see this praying to Mary stuff. I know to pray means to ask, but why go through her when I can go straight to Jesus?"
Well, some of you have asked me to pray for you. And, I'm in prison. Yet, you despise asking Mary to pray for you, and she is in heaven. What's up with that?
Look, it's God's desire that we pray God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And, we know from Hebrews 12:1, there is a cloud of witnesses who rejoice to see Christians persevere in the race and carry their cross with honor.
Obviously, this cloud of witnesses is interested in seeing God's will done on earth as it is in heaven. Do you think they are like you? They don't have time to pray? Give it up.
Mary is every Christian's mother by her singular act of faith, her faithful life, and by God's particular grace in the whole of her life. As Bible-believing Christians, it is only appropriate that we give Mary her due. Next time you are talking to Jesus you might want to say, "Lord, You really have a wonderful mother. A real saint, she is."
Mary is the only person in the world who (more than likely) heard someone say, "That's your son there, isn't He? I could tell right off, I can see the resemblance. He has your smile."
It is a beautiful thing to think of her faith as it pertains to our salvation and our grand Christian heritage and realize it all started with a girl.
by Michael Halm
Since the transition from Pope John Paul II to Pope Benedict XVI, there has been an increased interest in the so-called Prophecy of St. Malachi. It is a list found in the 16th century, attributed to the 12th-century saint, with a short description of future popes — the list ends with just one more pope after Benedict XVI.
Some think this means the end of the papacy, others an anti-pope, still others that the hierarchy will be forced into exile and secrecy by persecution. The only sure thing, as Jesus told us, is "only the Father knows."
Some of the list's descriptions, however, do seem to fit. Benedict XV, the pope during the first world war, was described with the phrase, "Religio Depopulata" ("Christendom depopulated"). Pius X was "Fides Intrepida" ("Fearless Faith"); Pius XII, "Pastor Angelicus" ("Angelic Shepherd"); John XXIII was from Venice and launched the Church into aggiornamento with Vatican II, "Pastor et Nauta" ("Shepherd and Sailor"). Paul VI, who completed the council, was "Flos Florum" ("Flower of Flowers"). John Paul I, who was only pope a month, was "De Mediatate Lunae" ("From the Midst of the Moon"). John Paul II, the most prolific and most well-known pope ever, was "De Labore Solis" ("Of the Labor of the Sun").
The new pope is "De Gloria Olivae" ("Of the Glory of the Olive Tree"), which may refer to the olive branch of peace, anointing olive oil, or the agony of the olive garden. The last pope, in the list at least, is "Petrus Romanus" ("Peter of Rome"), commonly called Peter II.
We have many other prophecies yet to be fulfilled — or not, some more recent and with better credentials than that already mentioned. They seem to say it's going to get worse before it gets better, unless the world repents first.
Abbot Joachin Merlin wrote in the 13th century, "After many long sufferings endured by Christians, and after too great an effusion of innocent blood, the Lord shall give peace and happiness to the desolate nations." That certainly sounds like the 20th century.
He, and many others, write of a Great Pope who will reunite the Eastern and Western churches. Louis-Marie de Montfort (18th century) wrote that by the power of Mary the kingdom of her Son will extend to idolaters and Moslems as well. Telesphorus of Cozensa (16th century) said this will be a French pope. An 18th century Capuchin says he will be descended from the Carolingians. Bartholomew Holzhauser calls this the sixth period of the Church, marked by "the greatest of all councils," a peaceful period, which will last until the coming of the anti-christ.
The nursing nun of Bellay (c. 1820) wrote that what she saw of this future was "so wonderful that I am unable to express it."
Before this, however, comes the end of the current, not-so-peaceful period of Church history, marked possibly by an exiled pope. St. Pius X wrote, "I saw one of my successors taking to flight over the bodies of his brethren. He will take refuge in disguise somewhere and after a short retirement will die a cruel death."
Even Michel Nostradamus wrote rather clearly, for him, "For seven days the great star shall be seen, As if two suns in the sky should appear, The big Mastiff shall be howling all night, When the Pontiff shall go into exile."
John of the Cleft Rock (14th century) said this pope will flee to a place he is unknown. Helen Wallraff (19th century) says to Cologne with four trusted cardinals and Premol (5th century) says "to other shores." John of Vatiguerro (13th century) wrote that after the pope's exile of twenty-five months or more, a new pope will be elected from those who survive the persecutions. After, an 18th century Fransican friar says, a German, Italian, and a Greek vie for the papacy. Bl. Anna-Maria Taigi (19th century) wrote that France will then fall into anarchy, according to many prophecies, until the restoration of the monarchy.
Through it all we have Jesus', "The gates of hell shall not prevail against [My Church]."
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