Monday, September 30, 2013

North Dakota: the first state to succesfully ban abortions based on Down Syndrome

Lawsuit against law that bans abortions of disabled children is dismissed
Children with Down Syndrome are more than capable of living healthy and happy lives.

"Abortion performed solely because of genetic abnormalities is discriminatory and devalues the lives of the disabled," said Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest. 

Abortion clinics have reported that they do not perform abortions based on gender or genetic defects. Although positive, the ban does not affect such clinics. Regardless, the number of children with disabilities such as Down Syndrome may be dramatically reduced because of high rates of abortion. Therefore, passing this legislation shows courageous humanity.
With the governor's signature on the ban earlier this year, North Dakota has become the first state to ban abortions based on genetic "defects" like Down Syndrome. When diagnosed before birth, such genetic abnormalities prompt couples to have abortions 90 per cent of the time.   
The state legislature approved the measure and Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed it in March. 

The measure would also ban abortion based on gender selection, an issue on increasing concern in the United States has people from nations like China and India migrate to the United States and bring their cultural preference for boys with them.
For more on this story visit Life News here. 

Forcing abortions ignites national outrage

Major effort to repeal law punishing families for having more than one child
In 2012, Pan Chunyan was abducted and forced to abort her eight month old baby. Photo Credit: Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times.

Here's a story by Edward Wong that talks about China's big revenue source because of their family planning law that collects billions in fines from policy violations.

The country's family planning officials are accused by parents of abducting babies who are considered "extra" children in a household as well as selling them to orphanages sometimes for $3,000 per baby. In result, the family planning regulations are prone to abuse since local officials are often evaluated by their superiors based on how well they control population in their areas.

The National Audit Office published a report on the collection and spending of the "social support fee" after it reviewed nine provinces in China. It found that there were no uniform standards for collecting the fees and that management of the fees was poor.
BEIJING — Nineteen province-level governments in China collected a total of $2.7 billion in fines last year from parents who had violated family planning laws, which usually limit couples to one child, a lawyer who had requested the data said Thursday.

The lawyer, Wu Youshui of Zhejiang Province, sent letters in July to 31 provincial governments asking officials to disclose how much they had collected in 2012 in family planning fines, referred to as “social support fees.” He said he suspected that the fines were a substantial source of revenue for governments in poor parts of China. 

“We want to shed light on how the current family planning policy works,” Mr. Wu said via telephone. “Many are debating reform of the family planning policy. Learning how it works may help with that debate.”
For full story, see The New York Times website.

Science World exhibit receives criticism from some parents

Mother considers 'shocking and provocative display' on human sexuality not family-friendly
This is one of three bus stop advertisements created for Science World's exhibit on human sexuality. The other two were deemed too racy and banned from transit waiting areas. "We're pushing inappropriate material directed at children at a younger and younger age," complained parent and show host Brian Lilley. Paul Schratz / Special to The B.C. Catholic.
Few questions provoke more awkward laughter and a need to change the subject than a child's innocent inquiry where babies come from. In an attempt to aid that conversation, Science World hosted an exhibit May 18 to Sept. 2 showcasing the "Science of Sexuality," but not all parents were happy about the tell-all exhibition. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Other stories recently posted to the site include:

Like Pope Benedict, Pope Francis doesn't want Church of 'moralists'

While Pope Francis's mention of the Church's priorities in a Sept. 19 interview grabbed worldwide attention, few remember that Pope Benedict XVI said substantially the same thing seven years ago in comments to the bishops of Switzerland on Nov. 9, 2006. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

COLF urges character education to combat bullying

The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) urges character formation both at home and in the schools to combat bullying. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Taizé seeks God in spiritual meditation

Experience a distinct contemplative spirituality 
Participants in a Taizé prayer service in France chant with candles and icons. Photo Credit:

Taizé is going to be right here in Vancouver! Brother Emile, a member of the society, is visiting from France.

On Sept. 28, at Christ Church Cathedral, there will be a Young Adult Gathering from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. At this assembly, there will be singing in a Taizé-style service followed by a talk from Brother Emile.

Also, at 7:30 p.m., a regional Taizé prayer service (all ages welcome) will be held at St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church.

Thousands of young adults all over the world participate in Taizé events. Founder Brother Roger described Taizé as "a community where kindness of heart and simplicity would be at the centre of everything."

The Catholic, Anglican, and United Churches are sponsoring the day's events. Anyone interested in coming should email:

For more information, visit Taizé, Vancouver's page posted by Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, here.

New musical remembers beloved Pope

Blessed Pope John Paul II to get his own musical
Getty Image Files / London Daily Telegraph.
Karol Wojtyla: The True Story is due to hit the stage in 2014.

Nick Squires reports for the London Daily Telegraph that the musical covers the part of the Pope's life from Nazi-occupied Poland to his pontificate. 

The musical’s Italian debut is slated for January. Producers hope to move the show to Rome in time for Blessed John Paul’s canonization.

The score was written by Israeli singer Noa, who knew the late Pope and sang for him in St. Peter's Square.

Read the full story.

U.K. honours assassinated Archbishop

Representatives of other Christian denominations participate
Vatican Radio.
Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen reports that on Thursday, Sept. 19, a new cross and reliquary was dedicated to Oscar Romero in Southwark, London, U.K.

A Salvadorian cross was dedicated to Archbishop Romero, containing a skull cap and a fragment of the blood-stained alb he wore on the day of his assassination.

The memorial is significant to the large Latin American community in London and holds special ecumenical importance. As a man of God, Archbishop Romero has inspired people of other faiths.

Representatives of other Christian denominations joined in the services to remember Archbishop Romero's life.

Archbishop Romero, Servant of God, was the former Archbishop of San Salvador. He was shot dead while celebrating Mass on March 24, 1980.

Read the full story at Vatican Radio.

Journalist reflects on papal interview

Kathryn Jean Lopez challenges Catholics
Pope Francis. America magazine.
Kathryn Jean Lopez reflects on the reactions elicited by Pope Francis's exclusive interview with America.

Recalling an Ignatian reflection, Lopez reminds readers that the Pope's message is the same as what the Church has taught for centuries.

Lopez observes that many people have found some of the Pope's words "disturbing" and points out that the Gospels were also unsettling. Catholics must learn to be radical to follow Christ.

Read the full post on Patheos.

Sparkling diamond

Couple married 60 years have seven children
Luke and Mona Sequeira celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary by renewing their wedding vows in front of Father Newton Rodrigues at IC Delta. Grandson Marsten Sequeira, their ring bearer, looks on. Dick Mak / Special to The B.C. Catholic.
Mona and Luke Sequeira celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at Immaculate Conception Parish in Delta on Saturday, July 20. A thanksgiving Mass at 11 a.m. was followed by a reception in the church's gathering area. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Other stories recently posted to the site include:

The world needs Church's witness to unity, Pope teaches

During his Sept. 25 general audience, Pope Francis drew attention to the rich diversity within the universal Church, saying that such differences are in fact a sign of unity. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Archbishops respond to media distortion of Pope's interview

Pope Francis's interview by Jesuit publications needs to be read as a whole and not through media distortions, say two Canadian archbishops. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pope Francis' comments, misunderstood

Pontiff's words meet a wild mix of misconceptions
This is a graphic posted on pro-choice group NARAL's Facebook page
after an interview with Pope Francis was released last week.

A lengthy interview between Pope Francis and Father Antonio Spadaro, SJ, editor of an Italian Jesuit journal, received a mix of bizarre reactions after its release last week.

The Holy Father's quotes which received the most attention were comments on abortion and homosexuality.
"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible... But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time."
American pro-choice group NARAL posted a graphic on their Facebook page thanking Pope Francis for his comments, apparently under the impression that "this is progress."

The group linked to a New York Times article titled "Pope says Church is 'obsessed' with gays, abortion, and birth control."

In Vancouver, a CBC video had more time for a treasurer from a gay Catholic group than philosophy professor and The B.C. Catholic columnist Chris Morrissey.

Secular sources are not the only ones taking Pope Francis' comments out of context. A Christian news network cited a Protestant pastor who accused the Pontiff for not reading his Bible.

What did Pope Francis actually say? Read his comments yourself.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pakistani bishop calls church attack 'shameful act of cowardice'

Christian schools close for three days in mourning and protest
A member of the Pakistani Christian community holds a sign as he shouts slogans during a
protest against the attack on All Saints Church in Peshawar. (Photo: CNS / Mohsin Raza / Reuters)
Every Christian educational institution in Pakistan is closed today after a bomb attack on All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan Sept. 22. Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi named Sept. 23-25 the period of mourning for the schools.
Archbishop Coutts also demanded that the Pakistani government take immediate steps to apprehend those responsible for the attack and to take measures to protect the worship sites of all religious minorities in Pakistan.

"We condemn this act in strongest terms," he said in a Sept. 22 statement.

The death toll in the bombing had reached 85 by early Sept. 23. Authorities expected it to increase because many of the 150 who were injured were in critical condition.

Police said two suicide bombers, each wearing more than 13 pounds of explosives, detonated themselves following a Sunday service as 600 members of the Protestant church gathered on the church lawn for food distribution.
Read more from the Catholic News Service here.

Archbishop's Dinner on for Oct. 30

Fundraiser to support downtown drop-in centre
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, had dinner with 976 people last year as part of a social fundraiser. The money raised, some $130,000, supported the Catholics Come Home project. This year's Archbishop's Dinner will benefit The Door is Open drop-in centre in the Downtown Eastside. BCC file photo.
After a resounding success last year, the annual Archbishop's Dinner is returning. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Other stories recently posted to the site include:

Seminar at UN to push for pro-life, pro-family development efforts

A U.S. religious liberty group and a Mexican development organization are holding a seminar at the United Nations to advocate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in a way that respects human life and the family. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Religious freedom a concern for the CCCB

The bishops have responded to Pope Francis's call to minister to those on the periphery of society at their annual plenary meeting, while making efforts to ensure the Church herself is not marginalized. For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Taizé in Vancouver

An inter-denominational prayer event with a young adult focus
Publicity poster for the Taizé event.

With the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster and the United Church’s B.C. Conference,  the Archdiocese of Vancouver is bringing Taizé events led by Brother Emile of Taizé, France, to Vancouver. 

A learning workshop has already been held. Two upcoming events will be held at two churches, beginning with an all-day young adult Taizé conference at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver.

“It’s exciting we’re targeting young adults,” said Gerard Garcia, Parish Youth and Young Adult Ministry consultant for the Archdiocese of Vancouver. “We need more opportunities in Vancouver to reconnect young adults with their faith.” 

The event will take place this Saturday, Sept.  28, from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, followed by the third event, an all-ages gathering at 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrews-Wesley United Church.

More information is available here.

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