CARDINAL DOLAN STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR CUOMO

CARDINAL DOLAN STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR CUOMO

Hiding Behind Labels

Today, with a home field advantage in the New York Times, Governor Cuomo linked me with the “religious right.”

This is something new from the governor. He did not consider me part of the “religious right” when seeking my help with the minimum wage increase, prison reform, protection of migrant workers, a welcome of immigrants and refugees, and advocacy for college programs for the state’s inmate population, which we were happy to partner with him on, because they were our causes too. I guess I was part of the “religious left” in those cases.

The civil rights of the helpless, innocent, baby in the womb, as liberal Democrat Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey once remarked is not about “right versus left, but right versus wrong.”

The governor also continues his attempt to reduce the advocacy for the human rights of the pre-born infant to a “Catholic issue,” an insult to our allies of so many religions, or none at all. Governor Casey again: “I didn’t get my pro-life belief from my religion class in a Catholic school, but from my biology and U.S. Constitution classes.”

Yes, religion is personal; it’s hardly private, as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and struggle for civil rights so eloquently showed. Governor Cuomo’s professed faith teaches discrimination against immigrants is immoral, too. Does that mean he cannot let that moral principle guide his public policy? Clearly not.

Debate abortion on what it is. Don’t hide behind labels like “right wing” and “Catholic.”

(Dolan statement dated February 7: http://cardinaldolan.org/index.php/hiding-behind-labels/)

Advertisements

THE CODE OF CANON LAW AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON EXCOMMUNICATION

Today, I want to provide some information for those of you – hundreds, probably many thousands – who wrote on your own Facebook page or commented on the pages of others about the law enacted two days ago in New York that now allows abortion up to and through the ninth month of pregnancy, literally the last hours of pregnancy.

The word “excommunication” came up many times in postings, most referring to Gov. Cuomo of New York who says he is a Catholic. There were other Catholic legislators in New York who helped pass this horrendous, inhuman legislation.

What does the Catholic Church teach about excommunication? Might a bishop or priest refuse communion to an excommunicated Catholic?

The following information is from or about the Church’s Code of Canon Law. I studied Canon Law for a while at the Dominican University here in Rome known as the Angelicum. I signed up for this course many years ago when I began to work at the Vatican, doing so not to get a degree but to increase my knowledge in this field. I truly hope this helps.

By the way, if you want to post something on this topic, please make it clear that either you have some background in Canon Law or what you write is merely your opinion. That helps all of us.

It would be enormously helpful to many people if you would share this! That helps in evangelization. Thanks!

THE CODE OF CANON LAW AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON EXCOMMUNICATION

Some definitions:

Latae sententiae from the Latin meaning “sentence (already) passed”, used in Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church. A latae sententiae penalty is one that follows ipso facto or automatically, by force of the law itself, when a law is contravened. (simply put a personally automatically excommunicates himself or herself by committing a specific crime or delict.)

Ferendae sententiae, also from Latin, is a penalty that binds a guilty party only after it has been imposed on the person (simply put, excommunication is imposed on an individual by a proper authority who committed a specific crime or delict)

Excommunications

Unless the excusing circumstances outlined in canons 1321–1330 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P4W.HTM) exist, the Code of Canon Law imposes latae sententiae excommunication on the following:

· an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic;
· a person who throws away the consecrated Eucharistic species or takes and retains them for a sacrilegious purpose;
· a person who uses physical force against the Pope;
· a priest who absolves his accomplice in a sin against the commandment against adultery;
· a bishop who ordains someone a bishop without a papal mandate, and the person who receives the ordination from him;
· a confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal of confession;
· a person who procures a completed abortion;
· accomplices without whose assistance a violation of a law prescribing latae sententiae excommunication would not have been committed.

Can the proper ecclesial authority refuse the sacraments to a Catholic he knows to be excommunicated, be it through latae sententiae or ferendae sententiae?

– According to Canon 1331 of the Code of Canon Law:
Can. 1331 §1. An excommunicated person is forbidden:
1/ to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the sacrifice of the Eucharist or any other ceremonies of worship whatsoever;
2/ to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals and to receive the sacraments;
§2. If the excommunication has been imposed or declared, the offender:
1/ who wishes to act against the prescript of §1, n. 1 must be prevented from doing so, or the liturgical action must be stopped unless a grave cause precludes this;
2/ invalidly places acts of governance which are illicit according to the norm of §1, n. 3;
3/ is forbidden to benefit from privileges previously granted;

‘THIS IS PROGRESSIVE?’ NEW YORK BISHOPS REACT TO NEW ABORTION LAW

This has to be the saddest, most unimaginable story possible about U.S. legislators! I have a few comments at the end.

‘THIS IS PROGRESSIVE?’ NEW YORK BISHOPS REACT TO NEW ABORTION LAW

ALBANY, N.Y., JAN 23, 2019 / 03:27 PM (EWTN NEWS/CNA)

Catholic leaders in New York have spoken out against the passage of an expansive new abortion law in the state. The Reproductive Health Act was passed on Tuesday, the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade.

In a statement from the New York State Catholic Conference, the state’s bishops called the passage of the law a new “sad chapter” on a date that already carried tragic associations for supporters of life.

The New York State Senate voted 38 to 24 to bring the act into law after a 12-year legislative battle.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), a Catholic, said earlier this month that he would sign the legislation if it were to be passed, and that he hopes to add abortion rights to the state’s constitution. This process could begin next year.

The bill was passed on the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that found a woman had a legal right to receive abortion in the United States.

“Our beloved state has become a more dangerous one for women and their unborn babies,” read a statement from the NYSCC.

The act codified into law the finding of Roe v. Wade, meaning that abortion would remain legal in New York even if the case were to be overturned by the Supreme Court.

While the law officially limits abortion to the first 24 weeks gestation, abortion is permitted at a later gestational age for reasons related to the well-being of the mother. Additionally, the bill removes act of abortion from the criminal code, and instead places it in the public-health code, and strips most safeguards and regulations on the procedure. Non-doctors will now be permitted to perform abortions.

TO CONTINUE READING: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=18751

About the last Paragraph above: “While the law officially limits abortion to the first 24 weeks gestation, abortion is permitted at a later gestational age for reasons related to the well-being of the mother. Additionally, the bill removes act of abortion from the criminal code, and instead places it in the public-health code, and strips most safeguards and regulations on the procedure. Non-doctors will now be permitted to perform abortions.”

Whew! So abortion is now part of public health care!

Here are some definitions of the word ‘Care’:

NOUN: CARE

1. the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something: “the care of the elderly”
SYNONYMS: safe keeping, supervision, custody, charge, protection, keeping, keep, control, management, ministration, guidance, superintendence, tutelage, aegis, responsibility;

2. serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk: “he planned his departure with great care”
SYNONYMS: caution, carefulness, wariness, awareness, heedfulness, heed, attention, attentiveness, alertness, watchfulness, vigilance, circumspection, prudence, guardedness, observance

VERB: CARE

1. feel concern or interest; attach importance to something: “they don’t care about human life”
SYNONYMS:  be concerned, worry (oneself), trouble oneself, bother, mind;

2. look after and provide for the needs of: “he has numerous animals to care for”
SYNONYMS:  look after, take care of, tend, attend to, mind, minister to, take charge of, nurse, provide for, foster, protect, watch, guard;

Whew again! “Non-doctors will now be able to perform abortions.” I don’t even know what to say about this!!

I just don’t get it. Killing a human being in the womb is perfectly legal but if someone shot the governor, another human being, that would be murder and they’d go to jail.

The article says Cuomo is a Catholic but that is obviously up for debate. Or does he think the Fifth Commandment is not a commandment but a suggestion?

I’d hate to have to meet my Maker with that on my conscience!

700 POLES IN ROME TO MARK 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF JOHN PAUL’S ELECTION – ABORTION IS “LIKE HIRING A HITMAN TO SOLVE A PROBLEM” – SYNOD FINAL DOCUMENT: FOLLOWING THE FRANCIS LINE?

700 POLES IN ROME TO MARK 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF JOHN PAUL’S ELECTION

Pope Francis on Wednesday met some 700 Polish pilgrims from Krakow, who are in Rome to mark the 40th anniversary of the election of St. Pope John Paul II on Oct. 16. He greeted them in the Paul VI Hall before going to St. Peter’s Square for the weekly general audience.
By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

St. Pope John Paul II served as the Archbishop of Krakow from 1964 until his election as pope on 16 October, 1978.

Greeting the pilgrims from Krakow who are in Rome to mark the 40th anniversary of the election of John Paul II, Pope Francis expressed admiration for his predecessor’s great abundance of gifts, which he largely inherited from the treasure of faith and holiness of Poland and its Church.

Richness of Polish faith
Mentioning saints from Krakow such as Stanislaus and Queen Hedwig, Albert and Faustina, Pope Francis said Pope John Paul learned from them about the boundless dedication to Christ and the great sensitivity for every man, which, he said, were manifested in his priestly, episcopal and papal ministry.

John Paul II also knew how to read the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel, to make it bear fruit for the benefit of his compatriots who through various painful events of their history never lost their faith in God and were faithful to their culture rooted in the Christian spirit.

Human rights, dignity
Pope Francis said that in his fidelity to his culture and Christian faith, John Paul II sought to “ensure that the Church stood up as the guardian of the inalienable rights of man, of the family and of peoples, in order to be a sign of peace, justice and integral development for the whole human family.”

But at the same time, the Polish pope always underscored the priority of grace and obedience to God’s will, before any human calculation.

This rich heritage of John Paul II, Pope Francis said, is for Christians, especially his compatriots, a challenge to be faithful to Christ and to respond with joyful dedication to God’s call to holiness in the daily specific personal, family and social situation of everyday life.

ABORTION IS “LIKE HIRING A HITMAN TO SOLVE A PROBLEM”

Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Commandments during Wednesday’s general audience saying that welcoming life as God’s gift corrects a vision of life interpreted as a problem to be eliminated.

Francis reflected on the Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill. When life is welcomed as a gift from God, he said, the vision of interpreting life through the lens of eliminating problems can be corrected.

He reaffirmed that the Fifth Commandment is concise and to the point. It is “a defending wall for the foundational value in human relations: the value of life”, he said.

A Gift of God is not a problem

Pope Francis then noted a contradictory approach to life: the suppression of “human life in the mother’s womb in order to safeguard other values”: It is not right to ‘take out’ a human being, no matter how little, to resolve a problem. That is like hiring a hitman to resolve a problem.

Fear is the culprit

Fear leads to violence and rejection, the Pope continued. Welcoming life as a gift of God leads to accepting life in all of its expressions. He noted that parents are in need of true support should they discover that the baby they are expecting will be disabled, saying: “A sick child, …just as an elderly person, needs assistance…. He or she who is presented as a problem is in reality God’s gift who can draw me out of my self-centeredness to make me grow in love.”

God’s love is the measure for life

The world’s idols prompt people to reject life, the Pope said. Pope Francis listed these idols: money, power, and success. He called them “mistaken parameters by which to evaluate life”. Whereas “the only authentic measure for life is love, the love that God has for it!”

ENGLISH SUMMARY:
Dear brothers and sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Ten Commandments, we now consider the injunction against killing. We could say that every evil is caused by a disregard for life. Assaults upon life occur in many situations, from war and exploitation to the suppression of the vulnerable, elderly and unborn. Ultimately it is fear that gives rise to the rejection of life. To welcome the other, however, challenges such fear. We see the attitude that welcomes rather than rejects life in the heart-rending concern of parents for a sick child. Their desire to protect and save is a sign of life’s precious value, seen above all in those who suffer, who are in fact God’s gift, and who help us to grow in his love. God’s love is the only authentic measure of life, whose secret is revealed by Jesus, who embraced the rejected, weak, poor and sick throughout his life and upon the cross. In the midst of our weaknesses, Christ seeks our hearts in order to reveal to us the joy of love. As the Gospel reminds us, “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

SYNOD FINAL DOCUMENT: FOLLOWING THE FRANCIS LINE?

For weeks here in Rome we have been hearing that the synod’s final document is already “a done deal,” that is, officials in the Roman Curia close to the Pope and Francis himself already knew the direction they wanted the synod to take and have been quietly putting talking points together behind the scenes.

The Instrumentum laboris or working document that came out months ago would be a guideline for synod participants but in reality contained the main points the Pope et al wanted to see in the final synod document submitted by participants that would be sent to the Pope so he could write his exhortation.

In other words, why hold the synod if things were already decided?

The Vatican today released the names of the 12 members of the Commission for the Preparation of the Final Document. They include the Relator General of the 2018 synod, the head of the Synod of Bishops, 2 special secretaries, 3 members named by the Pope and 5 elected by continent.

When I was working at the Vatican I learned that, for the Vatican, there are only 5 continents. I was always taught – and today believe – there are 7 continents: North America, South America Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antarctic.

In the list of 5 continental commission members, there is Vatican City (Cardinal Turkson is from Africa), Mexico, India, Italy and Australia. Only one has English as his mother tongue, Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne.

Here’s an interesting take on this issue, given the release today of the names of the members of the Commission

https://cruxnow.com/synod-of-bishops-on-youth/2018/10/10/papal-allies-and-friends-tapped-to-shape-synods-conclusions/

CARDINAL NICHOLS ON ABORTION VOTE IN IRELAND

CARDINAL NICHOLS ON ABORTION VOTE IN IRELAND

Cardinal Nichols, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales, said:

“Today I offer my prayerful support to the Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, Eamon Martin and Diarmuid Martin, and their statements following the Referendum in Ireland on changes to its Constitution.

“Our commitment to mothers and their unborn children remains unchanged. We must do all we can to ensure that the deliberate taking of an unborn human life is not an option that anyone would choose. The denial of life to another human being, a brother or sister, is an wrong that harms our fragile humanity. We work and pray for the day when this truth is widely accepted and laws permitting abortion are seen for what they are.

“Our pro-life convictions have to be consistently expressed in action, in support of women who are trapped in difficult and painful circumstances and in support of the children they are carrying.

“May God bless Ireland and its generous hearted people. May that love, in every family, be a protection for the unborn, whatever the law may now permit.”

 

VATICAN DOCUMENT: MONEY MUST SERVE, NOT RULE – CHURCH LEADERS ASK PRAYERS FOR IRISH REFERENDUM ON ABORTION

Following is a brief and very good summary of a somewhat complex document presented today in the Holy See Press Office by Vaticannews.va and Vatican Radio’s Susy Hodges. Hopefully our leaders in Congress and banking institutions and other financial and economic bodies will see this document and read it attentively. That really sounds like wishful thinking, doesn’t it!

The second story comes from Ireland via a CNA/EWTN colleague.

VATICAN DOCUMENT: MONEY MUST SERVE, NOT RULE

Entitled ‘Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones: Considerations for an Ethical Discernment regarding Some Aspects of the Present Economic-Financial System’ the new document has been prepared by two major offices of the Holy See.
By Susy Hodges

The 15-page page document, jointly prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, was unveiled on Thursday at a news conference in the Holy See Press Office.

Love for integral good: the key to authentic development

The document begins by stressing the Church’s concern for the integral development of every person, saying “Love for the integral good, inseparable from love for the truth, is the key to authentic development.”

Turning to the state of the world’s economy, the document calls for more regulation of markets and financial systems, saying economic crises show they are not able to govern themselves and need a strong injection of morality and ethics. It also urges universities and business schools to educate the next generation of business leaders about ethics and not just profits.

The document goes on to say that profit for the sake of profit and not for the greater good is “illegitimate” and condemns what it called a “reckless and amoral culture of waste” that has marginalized “great masses of the world’s population, deprived them of decent labour and left them without any means of escape.”

Obsolete criteria continue to govern the world

The document also expresses regret over what it calls a failed opportunity to correct the failings within the world’s economic-financial systems.

“The recent financial crisis could have been the occasion to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and a new regulation of financial activities that would neutralize the predatory and speculative tendencies and acknowledge the value of the actual economy.”

While acknowledging “many positive efforts at various levels,” the document speaks of its regret that “there does not seem to be any inclination to rethink the obsolete criteria that continue to govern the world.”

On the contrary, it writes, “the response seems at times like a return to the heights of myopic egoism” that excludes any consideration of the common good or a concern “to spread wealth” and eliminate “the inequality so pronounced today.”

Money must serve, not rule!

What is at stake, said the document, is the authentic well-being of a majority of the men and women of our planet who are at risk of being “excluded and marginalized” from development while “a minority exploits and reserves for itself substantial resources and wealth.”

Warning that “selfishness makes everyone pay a high price,” the document says that if we want “the real well-being of humanity, money must serve, not rule!”

CHURCH LEADERS ASK PRAYERS FOR IRISH REFERENDUM ON ABORTION

Dublin, Ireland, May 17, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- With a referendum vote that could legalize abortion in Ireland just days away, the country’s clergy and Church leaders are asking the world for prayers.

In a video message posted to YouTube, Irish priest Father Marius O’Reilly appeals to Catholics and Christians around the world to pray for the country of Ireland ahead of the vote, particularly through praying the rosary and offering Masses.

O’Reilly noted that while other countries have legalized abortion through legislation or court decisions, “Ireland would be the first country in the world where the people would legalize abortion,” he said.

“We can’t allow that to happen. And so I’m making an appeal to you today – please come to our assistance. Pray the rosary for Ireland. Please have Masses offered for Ireland,” he said.

On May 25, Irish citizens will vote whether they want to repeal the country’s eighth amendment, which recognizes the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child. Under current law, the practice of abortion in Ireland is illegal, unless the mother’s health is deemed to be endangered. Pro-life Irish citizens are encouraging a “no” vote on the referendum.

The eighth amendment was passed in Ireland in 1983, with upwards of 67 percent voter-approval. It reads, in part: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

Despite the high percentage of the population – 78 percent – that identifies as Catholic, polling has predicted that the vote will be close.

Two months ago, EWTN Ireland started a 54-day rosary novena campaign for the “affirmation of the inestimable value of every human life.”

The campaign’s website urges “all people of good will to join together in prayer in defence of unborn babies and their mothers. All those professing faith, and those professing secular values, are invited to join as one voice on behalf of the unborn babies and their mothers: to affirm the life of the most vulnerable who may be classed as terminally ill, disabled or ‘unwanted’.”

A Christian prayer and a secular affirmation were also included on the campaign’s site.

EWTN Ireland as well as many clergy are particularly urging Catholics to pray a nine-day rosary novena leading up to the vote, starting on Thursday, May 17 and ending on Friday, May 25, the day of the referendum.

The novena website Pray More Novenas, which sends out daily reminders for various prayers, has also begun a novena through the intercession of the Irish Our Lady of Knock specifically for the abortion referendum.

There is also a prayer and fasting initiative, inspired by Sr. Briege McKenna (O.S.C.) that calls for Masses and days of prayer and “medically safe” fasting to be offered for the “Reparation, Conversions of hearts and Protection of the 8th amendment.”

Pro-life group Human Life International has asked for the offering of 1,000 Masses for the referendum, and has a form on their website where the Masses offered for this intention may be added to the calendar.

In his video, Fr. O’Reilly recalled Pope John Paul II’s 1979 visit to the country, during which he urged Irish citizens to defend life.

“He said to the Irish people ‘you must protect life;’ he knew what was coming down the road. And so the Irish people took this very, very seriously and rosary crusades began all around the country,” O’Reilly said.

This also led to the proposal of the constitutional amendment that is currently in place, which gave equal protection to mother and child “so that Ireland would be a country that in the constitution would say that the unborn child has a right to life.”

“This was an incredible gift from God for our country because it meant that the politicians couldn’t just bring in abortion when they wanted. They would have to put it to the people,” he added. “And so we fought it for years and years and now in 2018 we’re being asked to vote on abortion.”

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, a Catholic Irish-American men’s fraternity, has asked its members to set aside May 18 as a day of prayer in solidarity with the Save the 8th Campaign.

“Every prayer for a ‘No’ vote is a compassionate plea to spare Ireland the pain America has suffered for 45 years,” Ancient Order of Hibernians National President James F. McKay said, alluding to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that mandated legal abortion across the country.

He encouraged prayers invoking the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Fatima to “save Ireland’s mothers and unborn from the evils of abortion.”

He also encouraged immediate social media outreach as well as discussions with family and friends about “the importance of protecting the unborn.”

Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Neb. used his May 18 column in the Southern Nebraska Register to ask readers to join him in prayer that the people of Ireland will choose life.

“I pray that the people of Ireland will see that the legalization of abortion in countries around the world has not made women free. That abortion has only caused more violence, more ruin, and more despair,” Bishop Conley said.

The bishop said the Catholic faith “has long given the Irish people an acute and attentive sense of human dignity, human rights, and justice,” but Ireland has secularized in part due to “Church leaders who failed to give authentic and faithful witness to the Gospel.”

Conley, who spent a semester in Ireland as a 20-year-old recent Catholic convert, said “my introduction to the day-to-day practice of my newfound Catholic faith was in Ireland.”

“It has now been over 40 years since I spent those four delightful months in Ireland, but I still remember vividly the strong faith of the Irish people and how Catholicism ran deep in the Irish soil and soul. I owe so much to the Irish people for nurturing me in my Catholic faith. And we, as a country, owe so much to the Catholic Church in Ireland for bringing that same faith to these shores.”

VATICAN INSIDER: VICKI THORN AND PROJECT RACHEL – POPE ORDERS BROTHERS OF CHARITY TO STOP OFFERING EUTHANASIA – KOREAN CATHOLICS TO PRAY ROSARY FOR PEACE ON AUGUST 15

Today’s papal tweet: When something makes us suffer, let us listen to the voice of Jesus in our hearts: “Do not fear! Go ahead! I am with you!”

VATICAN INSIDER: VICKI THORN AND PROJECT RACHEL

My guest this week on Vatican Insider is Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel and the Executive Director of the National office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing in Milwaukee. Since we taped this in Rome, I have also learned that Vicki has been named as a corresponding member of the Pontifical academy for Life. She was a member in the academy previously but its strategies, membership and statutes have been reformed under Pope Francis…another topic for another time.

In the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. Outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00am (ET). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK YOUR TIME ZONE. Here’s a link to download VI to your iTunes library: http://www.ewtn.com/se/pg/DatService.svc/feed/~LE.xml   For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

POPE ORDERS BROTHERS OF CHARITY TO STOP OFFERING EUTHANASIA

(A follow up to my FB post of yesterday)

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has ordered the Belgian arm of the Brothers of Charity religious order to stop offering euthanasia in its psychiatric hospitals.

The Holy See Press Office confirmed that the Pope gave his personal approval to a Vatican letter sent at the beginning of August, which gives the Catholic charity until the end of August to stop the practice at all of its 15 centers in Belgium.

Euthanasia is legal in the country, and in May the Brothers of Charity Group which administers the Belgian hospitals announced it would allow doctors to perform euthanasia on psychiatric patients.

The charity said in a statement it would be performed only if there were “no reasonable treatment alternatives”.

Joint letter affirming magisterium

Pope Francis also ordered Brothers of Charity who serve on the group’s board to sign a joint letter to their Superior General declaring that they “fully support the vision of the magisterium of the Catholic Church, which has always confirmed that human life must be respected and protected in absolute terms, from the moment of conception till its natural end.”

Brothers who refuse to sign the joint letter renouncing the practice of euthanasia will face sanctions under canon law, while the Catholic charity group can expect to face legal action and even expulsion from the Church if it fails to change its policy.

Brothers of Charity statement

Bro. René Stockman, General Superior of the Brothers of Charity, released a statement in response to the position of his Belgian brothers.

“The central point and the foundation within Christian ethics is that life is absolute, which cannot be touched. Life is a gift from God and entails an assignment. And because life is absolute, it is a state worthy of protection,” he wrote.

Mattias De Vriendt, a spokesman for the Belgium charity, said it had received the Vatican’s request but had not yet responded.

He confirmed the charity’s hospitals had received requests from patients seeking euthanasia recently but could not say whether any procedures had been performed.

KOREAN CATHOLICS TO PRAY ROSARY FOR PEACE ON AUGUST 15

Expressing great concern over mounting tension in the Korean peninsula and beyond over North Korea’s missile and nuclear bravado, South Korean bishops are seeking spiritual aid to diffuse the situation.  The bishops are urging their faithful to seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for peace in their land, in view of the upcoming solemn feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Aug. 15.

In a message, Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul asked Catholics to pray the rosary in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparition in Fatima.  “The Virgin Mary urged us to pray the rosary for the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world,” said Cardinal Yeom. “The rosary is our spiritual weapon to defeat evil effectively and it will help us overcome challenges in our faith and transfigure us to become workers for world peace,” he said.

The August 15 feast of the Assumption is profoundly linked with Korean history.  The National Liberation Day of Korea‎ is marked in commemoration of that day in 1945 when Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule.  The Catholic Church in South Korea is also dedicated to the Blessed Mother and it considers its liberation as a “gift from Mary.”

“For the safety and the future of all Koreans, North Korea should come to the discussion table and abandon their nuclear weapons,” said Cardinal Yeom expressing grave concern over North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile programmes. (Vatican Radio)