On the Readings for Sunday, August 20, 2017 [...]
Nairobi, Kenya, Aug 19, 2017 / 04:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- With violent protests and several deaths in the wake of Kenya's Aug. 8 presidential election, the nation's bishops have lamented the violence and called for respect for the democratic process.
The re-election of Uhuru Kenyatta was announced Aug. 11, and international observers called the vote free and fair. Kenyatta's challenger, Raila Odinga, claims the election was rigged.
At least 24 persons have been killed during violent protests in the wake of the vote, according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. Anti-riot police shot protesters, and some children are reported to have been struck and killed by stray bullets.
“Dear Kenyans, to lose even one life because of elections is abominable,” the Kenyan bishops wrote in their Aug. 17 statement signed by Bishop Philip Anyolo of Homa Bay, chairman of the bishops' conference.
“To injure and maim anybody is unacceptable. This must never be allowed in any civilized society like Kenya.”
The bishops castigated the riot police who confronted protesters, saying their actions resulted in “painful loss of life, the barricading of roads and the destruction of property.”
They said the violence was a reminder “of the post-election violence of 2007/2008 that we, as a Nation, had vowed never again to experience.”
Kenya’s 2007 elections resulted in nationwide ethnic violence that killed 1,300 people and displaced as many as 700,000. Odinga was also the challenger in that election.
Odinga has called for peaceful protest and strikes, and has said he will mount a legal challenge to the results in the courts. He claims computer fraud had given extra votes to Kenyatta.
The choice was welcomed by Kenya's bishops, who said, “All the aggrieved parties should use the legal means as provided in the Constitution to seek redress. It is only by respecting and having recourse to the established Constitutional institutions that we, as Kenyans, are able to enhance and strengthen the rule of law and the democratic process in our country.”
“As we await the determination of the disputed Presidential elections by the Supreme Court, we call upon our Government leaders, beginning with the President to take the lead in uniting the country.”
They urged “all Kenyans to avoid anything that incites others to violent protests.”
At a press conference presenting the bishops' message, Bishop John Oballa Owaa of Ngong stressed the need for the courts not to rubber stamp automatically the election outcome, saying: “We call upon the judiciary and other constitutional institutions to jealously protect their independence and discharge their mandate justly, in a fair and impartial manner, to act without any favour and not to give in to any form of coercion or intimidation.”
This, he said, “is the only way these institutions will earn the trust and confidence of all Kenyans.”
Bishop Anyola added that the “ugly divisions that we witness every election year, the tribal voting pattern that emerges, the hatred that is triggered by the winners and losers syndrome, and the win-it-all mentality that characterizes Kenyan politics are pointers to an electoral system that needs to be reviewed.”
The bishops' statement commended citizens' participation in the election, saying it reflected a “sense of patriotism and love for our nation.”
“We commend this country to prayer for peace, justice and prosperity,” they concluded.
A key check against papal freedom turning into license, albeit a check harder to pin down than are neatly drafted canons, is “Tradition”. [...]
Little Rock, Ark., Aug 19, 2017 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Arkansas may block tens of thousands of dollars in Medicaid funding from going to Planned Parenthood, a panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has said.
“All patients should have access to ethical, quality and responsible health care, and should never be beholden to a company that is only seeking to protect its profits,” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in response to the decision, the Associated Press reports.
According to Rutledge, the Aug. 16 ruling found that Planned Parenthood and the three patients could not contest the state's determination “that a medical provider has engaged in misconduct that merits disqualification from the Medicaid program.”
The 2-1 panel ruling comes two years after the state ended its contract with the organization over videos filmed by undercover investigators that appeared to show involvement in the illegal sale of fetal tissue for profit.
While federal law bars federal funding for most abortions, and Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the U.S., the organization receives federal money for other services.
In Arkansas, in the fiscal year before the contract was terminated, Planned Parenthood had received $51,000 in Medicaid funds. The organization runs health centers in Fayetteville and Little Rock.
The ruling said that the unnamed patients who filed the legal challenge to the defunding decision did not have the right to file a challenge. It did not directly address the state’s reasoning for terminating the contract. The ruling vacated a U.S. district judge’s order that continued payments to Planned Parenthood patients.
Judge Michael Melloy authored a dissenting opinion in the ruling, noting that several federal courts have blocked other states’ efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. He said the patients have a right to challenge the contract termination.
The case could go to the Supreme Court. Planned Parenthood said it is evaluating its options to challenge the ruling, which will take effect in one to two weeks.
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson had ended the contract on the grounds he believed there was evidence of wrongful conduct.
He called Wednesday’s decision “a substantial legal victory for the right of the state to determine whether Medicaid providers are acting in accordance with best practices.” The ruling also affirmed the state’s prerogative to make judgments on the Medicaid program, he added.
Videos from the Center for Medical Progress appeared to show Planned Parenthood and other leaders in the abortion industry involved in the procurement of fetal tissue and unborn babies’ bodies for sale, which is illegal under federal law.
The videos energized abortion foes' push to defund Planned Parenthood. For its part, the abortion provider and its allies dedicated millions of dollars in a campaign to counter the videos' impact and charged that the videos had been heavily edited.
Douglas Murray's The Strange Death of Europe provides a brave and important, if not complete, assessment of the West's dire situation. [...]
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Aug 18, 2017 / 03:14 pm (CNA).- Sports fans in the U.S. and beyond may be disappointed to learn that reports of baseball Hall-of-Famer Roberto Clemente being recently beatified by Pope Francis are nothing more than fake news.
Vatican officials confirmed to the Washington Post that rumors of Pope Francis beatifying the Pittsburgh Pirates star are false.
The rumors appear to have originated with a Christian News Wire post late last month, and were slowly picked up by other media outlets and social media accounts.
The Christian News Wire article quotes Richard Rossi, who has been pushing for Clemente’s canonization after directing a film about the baseball star’s life, entitled “Baseball’s Last Hero.”
At the center of the claims is former Olympian high jumper Jamie Nieto, who played Clemente in the film. Nieto broke his neck in a back flip accident in 2016, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. After months of rehab, he was able to walk about 130 steps down the aisle with his bride on his wedding day.
According to the article, Rossi claimed that he had foreseen the healing in a vision, and had written to Pope Francis about it, and that the Pope agreed to beatify Clemente if the healing were to take place. Normally, one Vatican-approved miracle is necessary for beatification, and a second miracle is necessary for canonization, when the Church officially recognizes someone as a saint.
But while enthusiastic fans may be willing to take Rossi’s alleged claims at face value, the Vatican follows a very specific, formal process in determining the validity of an alleged miracle, with a commission of theologians and scientific experts examining the facts of the case.
When it comes to medical miracles, the Vatican must determine that the healing could not possibly have had any therapeutic or natural explanation, in order to ensure that the healing could only be attributed to divine intervention.
In Nieto’s case, however, doctors said there was a small possibility that he would be able to walk again, and he then spent months in rehab, working toward that goal.
The Vatican also must confirm that the healed person prayed exclusively to the potential saint in question, thereby determining that it was that individual’s intercession before God that resulted in the miraculous healing.
However, in the AP story detailing Nieto’s steps down the aisle for his wedding, the former Olympian does not mention praying to Clemente at all, instead saying, “I’ve worked really hard to get to this point.”
This is not the first time that false rumors have circulated regarding Clemente’s sainthood status. In early 2015, Catholic News Wire claimed that his canonization cause had received a “papal message of support.”
The article included a photo of a letter that it claimed was a show of support from Pope Francis for Clemente’s canonization cause.
However, the letter was in fact from an official at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and did not convey a papal message of support, but rather instructed Rossi that the local bishop, not the Pope, is the correct person to contact about potentially opening a canonization cause.
Translated into English, it reads:
“Distinguished Mr. Rossi, Recently you addressed a letter to Pope Francis calling attention to the figure of Roberto Clemente. Given the specific competence of this congregation, this letter was sent to this dicastery. In this regard, I wish to inform you that the competent authority to introduce a cause of beatification is the bishop where the person has died. Hence you would have to address your request to the Bishop of San Juan in Puerto Rico. Wishing you God's blessing, Fr. Boguslaw Turek.”
Clemente, a devout Catholic, was known for both his immense talent on the ballfield and his extensive charitable efforts. He died in a 1972 plane crash on his way to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was 38 years old at the time of his death.
With a legacy marked by his Catholic faith and humanitarian work, it is possible that the legendary right fielder could have his canonization cause opened. But the process would be lengthy, and each official step would be announced through authorized Church channels.
A beatification of the baseball star would undoubtedly be a highly anticipated event, especially on the largely Catholic island of Puerto Rico, where Clemente grew up. Sports fans can rest assured that should such a high-profile beatification occur, an official announcement would be made with enough notice for them to follow along, or even attend the historic event.
Richmond, Va., Aug 18, 2017 / 10:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo of Richmond has passed away at the age of 75.
“Please pray for the repose of the soul of Bishop DiLorenzo, for his family and friends, and for the people of... [...]
Denver, Colo., Aug 18, 2017 / 06:23 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) has announced that it will expand to 15 new campuses for the 2017-2018 school year.
This brings the total number of campuses with a FOCUS p... [...]
Toronto, Canada, Aug 18, 2017 / 02:54 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Conscience protections for Catholic hospitals and other organizations could soon come under fire in the Canadian province of Ontario, with one assisted suicide group saying they may challenge this legislation in court.
Deacon Larry Worthen, executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, warned that it becomes very difficult to defend objections to assisted suicide once it becomes legal.
“Of course our position would be that there should be no requirement for faith-based institutions to be involved in assisted suicide or euthanasia,” the deacon said. “It’s appropriate that not only the institution, but the individuals should be protected as well.”
“I think that conscientious objection in Canada, unfortunately, hangs by a thread,” he told CNA Aug. 17. “There are many of us fighting for this right, but the concern is that in a society where killing a patient is seen to be a compassionate and merciful act, then those who refuse to do it are by definition uncompassionate and uncharitable.”
“When you legalize euthanasia, and killing becomes moral, then that quickly becomes the norm, and those who deviate from that are seen to be outliers and unprofessional in their approach,” he added.
More than 630 people have killed themselves in Ontario under legal assisted suicide, but not at Catholic hospitals, CBC News reports. In Ontario, the law requires hospitals, hospices and long-term care centers that will not take part in assisted suicide to transfer the patient to a facility that will.
But Shanaaz Gokool, CEO of pro-assisted suicide group Dying With Dignity Canada, claims that the current Ontario law “gave an opt-out to basic and essential health care to hospitals that don't want to provide for the dying.” She said transferring patients may not be easy for people nearing the end of life, the older, the frail, and those already in pain.
Gokool’s group presently says individual doctors or nurses should be able to choose not to take part in assisted suicide, but organizations should not be able to do so.
For Deacon Worthen, however, the rights of individuals and of facilities are linked “very closely together.”
“Doctors, nurses, and other health professionals spend their whole lives being at the beds of the sick, with the point of view of helping them, supporting, them, helping them with their pain. To ask the same individuals then to participate in the deaths of those patients strikes me as being totalitarian and inhumane,” he said.
“No individual should be forced to go against their conscience, especially in something as personal and emotional as the taking of human life.”
Similarly, Deacon Worthen backed the right of faith groups to have facilities to provide health care according to their faith, culture and tradition.
“In order for that facility to have that ethos or mission, it needs to be able to be free to follow the tenets of its faith without any coercion from the state,” he said. “A diverse society would require that.”
Deacon Worthen added that there are good inherent reasons to oppose assisted suicide, dating back to the ancient physician Hippocrates.
When people find themselves wanting to end their lives, he said, “the doctor should be there to provide the support that that person needs, so that they can feel that life is worth living, as opposed to agreeing with them, and participating in ending their lives.”
Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins said he is confident there is sufficient access to assisted suicide.
“We're obviously monitoring it very, very closely and currently don't have those concerns in terms of access,” he said, noting that many assisted suicides take place outside an institutional setting. Hoskins said “about half of medical assistance in dying happens at home.”
Dying With Dignity Canada is also challenging rules against freedom-of-information officers releasing the names of facilities that do or do not assist in suicides. The present policy differs from the Alberta province, which requires public health institutions that do not assist in suicides to publish data each week showing how many patients are transferred for medically assisted suicide.
Deacon Worthen also warned of cases where physicians pressured patients into ending their lives, where they had not already made the decision to do so.
“We’ve heard stories where health care practitioners are already suggesting assisted suicide to patients, and even encouraging that, and discouraging family members from aiding the person continuing their lives,” the deacon said.
At least one Canadian medical school has incorporated the issue of conscientious objection to assisted suicide into its admission process. One applicant was asked by an actor to help them commit suicide. When the student recoiled from this, the actor continued to press until finally the student assented.
Some are reportedly advocating that conscientious objectors to assisted suicide should not be allowed in medical school.
Kampala, Uganda, Aug 18, 2017 / 12:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The tally of South Sudanese refugees entering Uganda for shelter and safety marked 1 million this week, in what is now the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.
“Families are esc... [...]
Bro. Ronald Tinao
Bro. Erick Landicho
Bro. Albert Meguizo
Bro. Rey Reyes
Bro. John Langroma
Bro. Marc Vincent Riparip
Sis Carmella Balanag
About Four years ago, a group of certain individuals called “Payer Partners” met in the Holy Rosary Church Parish-Doha, Qatar in the office of the then Filipino Assistant Parish Priest Father Zacarias “Zakki” Parra. The group spearheaded by overall coordinator Bro Ronald Tinao, Bro Erick Landicho and Sis Carmela Balanag, (which later on became the first council) Learn More