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Vatican’s saints office says it did not ask for money for beatification

The statue of St. Peter holding the keys, outside St. Peter's Basilica. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Vatican City, Apr 14, 2021 / 06:10 am (CNA).

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints has denied an accusation that an official asked for money to advance the beatification cause of an Italian statesman murdered in 1978.

“What was said is not true,” Fr. Bogusław Turek, undersecretary of the saints congregation, wrote in an April 9 letter to the journalists of an Italian investigative news program which aired April 12.

In the episode, a postulator, whose work is to guide a diocese through the canonization process in Rome, accused the undersecretary of asking him for a bribe in June 2018 to advance the beatification cause of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.

“I have never been concerned with, nor dealt with, Aldo Moro’s cause because it has not yet been presented in the Dicastery,” Turek said in the letter shared by the Vatican’s press office April 13.

In a separate note, dated April 9, the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints said it had received notice in April 2018 that the promoters of Moro’s cause had revoked the mandate of postulator Nicola Giampaolo, and assigned someone new.

“It should therefore be noted that the alleged financial request could not have been made to Mr. Giampaolo in June 2018, as he asserts, as he was no longer a postulator,” the saints office stated.

The postulator, Giampaolo, made the accusation in an interview on the program “Report,” which airs on the state-owned channel Rai3. Giampaolo is a journalist and author, who has also worked in local politics.

Undersecretary Turek said that he had met with Giampaolo in the offices of the saints congregation for another reason: to explain to him that he had not been approved by the dicastery as postulator of two other beatification causes “due to the lack of the requisites required by the canonical norms.”

Aldo Moro was a prominent Catholic politician and jurist. He was a founding member of Italy’s center-left Christian Democracy party and is said to be one of the most popular leaders in the history of the Italian Republic.

Moro was also one of Italy’s longest-serving prime ministers in the post-war era, holding the office from 1963 to 1968 and again from 1974 to 1976.

He was assassinated by the far-left terrorist group Red Brigades on May 9, 1978, after having been kidnapped and held in captivity for 55 days.

Moro’s cause for beatification was opened by the Diocese of Rome for investigation in September 2012. In 2015, controversies emerged around the statesman, held by some to have been killed in “hatred of the faith.” Moro’s then-postulator, Giampaolo, said the beatification process would possibly be put on hold.

At the time, Moro’s oldest daughter, Senator Maria Fida Moro, called the controversies “completely unjustified,” and described her father as “persecuted in life, in death, and after.”

On “Report,” Giampaolo said “unfortunately the cause was temporarily suspended, because I saw strong pressure from the outside towards the cause and at the same time, the supreme interests of the Church were at risk.”

“There were probably too many interests behind a beatification and canonization process,” he said.

The undersecretary of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Fr. Bogusław Turek, told the journalists of “Report” last week that the Vicariate of Rome had not been authorized by the congregation to open Moro’s beatification cause.

And in its April 9 note, the saints office said Nicola Giampaolo had never been ratified as postulator of Moro’s cause and the congregation does not offer any form of “accreditation of postulators” as Giampaolo claims to have on his curriculum vitae.

Pope Francis: ‘The Church is a great school of prayer’

Pope Francis speaks from the Apostolic Palace during his general audience livestream April 14, 2021. / Vatican Media/CNA

Vatican City, Apr 14, 2021 / 05:00 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said Wednesday that an essential task of the Church today is to teach people how to pray.

“The Church is a great school of prayer,” Pope Francis said in his general audience livestream on April 14.

“And this is an essential task of the Church: to pray and teach how to pray, to transmit from generation to generation the lamp of faith with the oil of prayer,” the pope said.

At his Wednesday audience, Pope Francis encouraged Christians to examine their lives to ensure that personal prayer is a priority. He warned that one of the devil’s tactics to attack the Church is to prevent people from praying.

“Everything in the Church originates in prayer, and everything grows thanks to prayer,” the pope said. “When the Enemy, the Evil One, wants to fight the Church, he does so first of all by trying to drain its sources by preventing it from praying.”

Speaking into the camera from the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, the pope posed a question to everyone watching his weekly broadcast: “Do you pray?” he asked.

“How do you pray? Like a parrot? Or do I pray with my heart? How do I pray? Do I pray as part of the Church and pray with the Church? Or do I pray a little according to my ideas and make my ideas become prayer? This is pagan, not Christian prayer,” he said.

Pope Francis pointed out that the life of every Catholic parish is “marked by times of liturgy and community prayer,” which he called “a great patrimony.”

“After certain passages in life, we realize that without faith, we would not have been able to get through it and that prayer has been our strength. Not only our personal prayer, but also that of our brothers and sisters and of the community that accompanied and supported us, of the people who know us, of the people we ask to pray for us,” he said.

The pope encouraged people to find strength by drawing from the “inexhaustible well of Mother Church,” as each of the saints has done throughout history.

“Holy women and men do not have an easier life than others, on the contrary, they too have their problems to face and, moreover, they are often the object of opposition. But their strength is prayer, through which they always draw from the inexhaustible well of Mother Church,” he said.

“With prayer, they feed the flame of their faith, as was done with oil from lamps. And so they go on walking in faith and hope. The saints, who often count for little in the eyes of the world, are actually those who support it, not with the weapons of money and power, media communications, and so on, but with the weapons of prayer.”

The pope explained that the strength found in prayer together is why “communities and groups dedicated to prayer flourish continuously in the Church.”

“In the Church there are monasteries, convents, hermitages, where people consecrated to God live, and these often become centers of spiritual light,” he said. “They are communities of prayer that radiate spirituality.”

The pope said that these “small oases where intense prayer is shared” are vital cells not only of the Church, but for society itself.

“Let us think, for example, of the role that monasticism played in the birth and growth of European civilization, and also in other cultures. Praying and working in community keeps the world going. It is an engine,” Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis stressed that without prayer, the Church becomes “like an empty shell” in which no effective changes take place and which loses its direction to evangelize.

He said: “In Luke's Gospel, Jesus poses a dramatic question that always makes us reflect: ‘When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?’”

“Or will he find only organizations, such as a group of ‘entrepreneurs of the faith,’ all well organized, who do many things for charity … but will he find faith?” the pope asked.

“Without faith, everything collapses. And without prayer, faith is extinguished. Faith and prayer, together. There is no other way. For this reason, the Church, which is a home and school of communion, is a home and school of faith and prayer,” Pope Francis said.

Blessed Peter Gonzalez

Statue of Saint Telmo (Pedro González Telmo) in Frómista, province of Palencia, Spain
Image: Statue of Saint Telmo (Pedro González Telmo) in Frómista, province of Palencia, Spain | photo by Lucien leGrey

Saint of the Day for April 14

(1190 – April 15, 1246)
Click here to listen

Blessed Peter Gonzalez’s Story

Saint Paul had a conversion experience on the road to Damascus. Many years later, the same proved true for Peter Gonzalez, who triumphantly rode his horse into the Spanish city of Astorga in the 13th century to take up an important post at the cathedral. The animal stumbled and fell, leaving Peter in the mud and onlookers amused.

Humbled, Peter reevaluated his motivations—his bishop-uncle had secured the cathedral post for him—and started down a new path. He became a Dominican priest and proved to be a most effective preacher. He spent much of his time as court chaplain, and attempted to exert positive influence on the behavior of members of the court. After King Ferdinand III and his troops defeated the Moors at Cordoba, Peter was successful in restraining the soldiers from pillaging, and persuaded the king to treat the defeated Moors with compassion.

After retiring from the court, Peter devoted the remainder of his life to preaching in northwest Spain. Having developed a special mission to Spanish and Portuguese seamen, he is considered their patron.

Peter Gonzalez died in 1246 and was beatified in 1741.


Reflection

How often we have heard stories about some misfortune or disaster only to hear later on that it was now seen as a good thing. Not every “disaster” is truly bad in its consequences for the Lord can bring good out of what appears to be a misfortune. Such was the case for Blessed Peter. His being dumped in the mud by a falling horse turned out to be a good thing in his life.


Blessed Peter Gonzalez is the Patron of:

Spanish and Portuguese sailors


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Pope Francis: ‘The Church is a Great School of Prayer’

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Young Woman Dies After Getting Legal Abortion in Argentina

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Abuse Commission of Church in Germany Defends Citing Michel Foucault

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Young woman dies after getting legal abortion in Argentina

Young girl. / Pixabay

ACI Prensa Staff, Apr 13, 2021 / 19:00 pm (CNA).

A young woman in Argentina died April 11 following a legal chemical abortion, the first such recorded death after the passage of a law legalizing abortion in December last year.

María del Valle González López was a 23-year-old student in the town of La Paz in Mendoza Province, Argentina. According to the Argentine newspaper Clarín, the young woman went on April 7, to the Arturo Illia hospital in La Paz for an abortion.

“There she was prescribed a medication - presumably misoprostol - and on Friday she began to feel ill. She was referred to the main healthcare facility in the eastern area of Mendoza, Perrupato Hospital, where they diagnosed a general infection that may have caused her death,”  Clarín reported.

The investigation into the death of María del Valle was started by the Santa Rosa Prosecutor's Office, but due to its complexity it will be sent to the San Martín Prosecutor's Office next week, Clarín said.

The results of the autopsy should be known soon, although it is not clear exactly when they will be released.

Misoprostol is a drug used to induce abortion in early pregnancy or to expedite a miscarriage. Potential side effects of the medication include bleeding and deadly hypovolemic shock.

Generally, a woman who takes misoprostol then has a D&C (dilation and curettage) to remove any of the baby’s remains from the uterus.

If the D&C is done using equipment that is not properly sterilized or is contaminated, it can cause an infection that could lead to septicemia or a generalized infection, which can lead to death.

Dr. Luis Durand, an Argentine surgeon, told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, that abortion “is not a medical act, regardless of whether it’s legal or not.”

He noted that “until a few months ago, [abortion] was a criminal act in Argentine law.”

“A medical act must always seek to improve the situation of whoever undergoes the intervention, although circumstantially it may fail and be unsuccessful, but 'interrupting the life' of any human being in an intentional or premeditated way can never be considered a medical act,” Durand said.

“The baby always dies a violent death. Either substances are injected into the uterus that burn the baby, or it is removed by dismemberment, or it is torn off by extreme uterine contractions and dies from asphyxiation,” he added.

The deceased young woman was studying Social Work at the National University of Cuyo. As soon as her death became known, various activists and pro-life groups in Argentina flooded social media with the hashtags #MurióPorAbortoLegal (she died from legal abortion) and #AbortoLegalMataIgual (legal abortion kills the same way as illegal).

Pro-life leader Guadalupe Batallán tweeted Monday that “María del Valle was 23 years old and had her whole life in front of her. She was a student and had become president of Radical Youth in Mendoza. She had a legal abortion on Wednesday and by the weekend she was already dead. I’m telling you because the feminists remain silent. #MurioPorAbortoLegal.”

“If María had died from a clandestine (illegal at the time) abortion, feminists would be tearing the whole city apart, but since María died from a legal abortion and that doesn’t suit (their cause), it’s scrubbed,” wrote Belén Lombardi, a young mother and pro-life activist.

Pro-life leaders: Allowing mail-order abortion pill will pose 'grave danger' for women

Ivanko80/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Apr 13, 2021 / 18:00 pm (CNA).

Pro-life groups criticized the Biden administration for allowing the distribution of the abortion pill through the mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“With this action, the Biden administration has made it clear that it will prioritize abortion over women's safety,” said March for Life President Jeanne Mancini. “Allowing unsupervised chemical abortions via telemedicine, without requiring timely access to medical care, will put women in grave danger.”

In a Monday letter from the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the FDA announced it would “exercise enforcement discretion” on its regulations of the abortion pill. Acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock said she would allow for the abortion pill regimen to be prescribed remotely and sent to women through the mail or through a mail-order pharmacy.

“Further, to the extent all of the other requirements of the Mifepristone REMS Program are met, CDER intends to exercise enforcement discretion during the COVID19 PHE with respect to the dispensing of mifepristone through the mail either by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber, or through a mail-order pharmacy when such dispensing is done under the supervision of a certified prescriber,” Woodcock wrote. 

Since 2000, the FDA had placed the abortion pill regimen on its REMS list, or “Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy.” The list is reserved for higher-risk drugs and procedures, and under the regimen, the abortion pill could only be prescribed in-person by a certified prescriber in a health clinic setting.

Pro-abortion groups sued the Trump administration over the regulation in 2020, however, claiming that the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic warranted that women be able to obtain the abortion pill remotely.

In July, Judge Theodore Chuang of the Maryland district placed an injunction on the FDA regulations during the pandemic. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled in the Trump administration’s favor by reversing Chuang’s injunction in a 6-3 decision. 

The FDA’s April 12 letter means that women will be able to receive the abortion pill through the mail during the pandemic.  

Mancini said that the FDA’s data from 2018 showed “thousands of adverse events” as a result of the abortion pill, “including 768 hospitalizations and 24 deaths since 2000.”

“Chemical abortions should have more medical oversight not less,” said Mancini.  

Xavier Becerra, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), pushed for the FDA to roll back its regulations of the abortion pill during the pandemic. At his confirmation hearing in February, Becerra said that the regimen should be available remotely.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said the FDA’s decision was “pure politics” and accused pro-abortion activists of “exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic from the beginning, working to eliminate safety precautions in order to expand the proliferation of dangerous chemical abortion drugs.”

Dannenfelser added that the decision to allow telemedicine abortions “prioritizes abortion industry profits over the health and safety of women” and is evidence of the “abortion extremism of the Biden-Harris administration.” 

“This is flagrant and dangerous disregard for the health and safety of American women and girls,” she said. 

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins noted that Woodcock herself had testified in 2006 that “women have died and been injured ingesting these chemicals.” 

“The parsed language of her letter downplays all the reasons for greater medical engagement,” Hawkins stated.

“We know that the chemicals have four times the complications of surgical abortion, can cause dangerous complications later in pregnancy and in ectopic pregnancies, and can harm women’s future fertility if handed out without proper screening and treatment for blood type,” said Hawkins. 

Hawkins noted that the availability of the drugs through the mail poses a risk to women, “if abusers get hold of the drugs to force on women, sometimes without their knowledge or consent.”