Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 22, 2014 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia announced Sunday that St. John Paul II and St. Gianna Beretta Molla will be patron saints of the 2015 World Meeting of Families, being held in his cathedral city.

“Saint John Paul II and Saint Gianna have been chosen as the two worthy Patron Saints to guide all in preparation and participation of this international event as they fully embody the history, mission and theme of the World Meeting of Families 2015,” Archbishop Chaput  stated July 20 during Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

“Saints John Paul II and Gianna had a deep and abiding commitment to strengthening the family and sustaining it with love. This historic event will give thousands from around the globe the opportunity to share in the same commitment of our Patron Saints.”

During the Mass, Archbishop Chaput also unveiled and blessed a relic of St. John Paul II's blood for the veneration of the faithful.

The 2015 World Meeting of Families will be held Sept. 22-27 under the theme, “Love is our mission: the family fully alive.” Tens of thousands from across the world are anticipated to attend the event.

The World Meeting of Families began in 1994 by the Pontifical Council for the Family under St. John Paul II. Its mission is to strengthen families across the globe, encouraging them to live their faith with joy and sincerity.

St. John Paul II has a special link to Philadelphia, as he was the first Pope to visit the city, in 1979. The late pope was declared “pope of the family” during his canonization.
 
St. Gianna, mother of four, died while giving birth to her last child. Beatified in 1994, St. John Paul II canonized her in 2004. She is strongly associated with the mission of the family, and has been declared the patron of mothers, physicians, and unborn children.
 

Washington D.C., Jul 21, 2014 / 04:47 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Leading U.S. bishops voiced strong criticism of an “unprecedented and extreme” new executive order, saying that it adds to discrimination problems rather than finding real solutions to them.

“In the name of forbidding discrimination, this order implements discrimination,” warned Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo.

“With the stroke of a pen, it lends the economic power of the federal government to a deeply flawed understanding of human sexuality, to which faithful Catholics and many other people of faith will not assent,” they said in a July 21 statement.

“As a result, the order will exclude federal contractors precisely on the basis of their religious beliefs.”  

Archbishop Lori is the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Malone chairs the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

The bishops responded to President Barack Obama signing a July 21 executive order prohibiting what was described as discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” The president signed the order after efforts to pass a similar bill – the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – in Congress had repeatedly failed.

Despite petitions from a wide variety of religious figures, the executive order did not include any religious exemption.

Concerns had been voiced by vague terms included in the proposed legislation, which did not define the phrases “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” As a result, religious groups are worried that they may be disqualified from federal contracts unless they affirm same-sex partnerships as marriages against the teachings of their faith and pay for employees’ transgender “transitions.”

The U.S. bishops are among those who have opposed the executive order, particularly due to its lack of a religious exemption. They have emphasized the important role of religious freedom in allowing faith communities to contribute to the good of society.

In their July 21 statement, Archbishop Lori and Bishop Malone emphasized that “the Church strongly opposes…unjust discrimination against those who experience a homosexual inclination.”

However, they continued, the Church distinguishes between attraction and behavior. Catholic teaching opposes “sexual conduct outside of marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman.”

The bishops cautioned that the “executive order, as it regards federal government contractors, ignores the inclination/conduct distinction in the undefined term ‘sexual orientation.’” This could result in exclusion from federal contracts for those employers whose policies include “moral objections to extramarital sexual conduct.”

Furthermore, the federally unprecedented “gender identity” clause is based upon a false idea that “gender” is merely a social or psychological construct totally separated from notions of biological sex, they said.

In practice, this could result in problems of privacy and association, they added. “For example, a biological male employee may be allowed to use the women’s restroom or locker room provided by the employer because the male employee identifies as a female.”  

Archbishop Lori and Bishop Malone pointed out that most states which have passed their own “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” statutes have included protections for religious employers, as did the U.S. Senate in its version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

“Indeed, all prior versions of ENDA had at least some religious liberty protections,” they said. “But the executive order is an anomaly in this regard, containing no religious liberty protections.”

“In this way, the order, which is fundamentally flawed in itself, also needlessly prefers conflict and exclusion over coexistence and cooperation,” they lamented.

Lincoln, Neb., Jul 21, 2014 / 12:07 pm (CNA).- In an upcoming issue of The Linacre Quarterly, the official journal of the Catholic Medical Association, an article entitled, “The Breast Cancer Epidemic: 10 Facts,” will explore the scientific evidence that connects artificial contraception to breast cancer.

Father Christopher Kubat, executive director of Catholic Social Services of southern Nebraska and a medical physician, is one of the co-authors. He was asked to contribute a small portion of the article by two of the main authors, A. Patrick Schneider II, M.D., M.P.H., and Christine Zainer, M.D.

Father Kubat became acquainted with Dr. Zainer when he was still practicing medicine in Milwaukee, before he entered the seminary. Drs. Schneider and Zainer also received contributions from Nancy K. Mullen, M.D. and Amberly K. Windisch, M.D.

“It was a collaborative effort that took considerable time,” Father Kubat said. “It’s very lengthy, and there are tons of references.”

With one in eight U.S. woman diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives, the article is addressing a crucial topic. Multiple medical studies have shown that women who use oral contraception experience an increased risk for developing breast cancer.

“The epidemiological data in the article is, for the most part, unknown to the general public,” Father Kubat said. “That evidence has largely been suppressed and ignored. This article is an attempt to overcome this and bring it to light.”

He added, “If one looks hard enough, they can find evidence in the medical literature between using chemical contraceptive drugs and having an abortion with breast cancer.”

Father Kubat said that even in the recent news about Hobby Lobby’s appeal to the Supreme Court to refrain from paying for four specific contraception options that cause abortion, there is a great deal of misunderstanding.

“The narrative suggests that some contraceptive drugs are not abortifacients and others are,” he said. “Make no mistake; all contraceptive drugs have as one of their mechanisms of action the abortive dimension – all of them.”

This article in The Linacre Quarterly also carefully provides the worldwide evidence for this link between an induced abortion and breast cancer.

“The recent increase in breast cancer began more than 40 years ago and was abrupt,” he pointed out. “This is no accident.”

Father Kubat said the article also will make it clear that “many of the cases of breast cancer in the world are preventable.”

It frustrates Father Kubat that in society, physicians remain ignorant of the facts and contraception has become the “sacred cow that must not be sacrificed.” He laments the heavy price that is being paid by the women who use it.

“This is the real war against women,” he maintained.

Father Kubat said he hopes that people will read the article and learn the truth. In the meantime, he is available to talk to parishes, women’s groups and anywhere else he is invited to discuss the medical evidence regarding contraception and female health. He can be reached at the Catholic Social Services office, (402) 474-1600.

Continuously published since 1934, The Linacre Quarterly is the oldest journal in existence dedicated to medical ethics. The Linacre Quarterly provides a forum in which faith and reason can be brought to bear on analyzing and resolving ethical issues in health care, with a particular focus on issues in clinical practice and research.


This article was originally published in the Lincoln, Neb., diocesan paper, the Southern Nebraska Register. Reprinted here with permission.