Page 5, 2nd May 2003

2nd May 2003
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Page 5, 2nd May 2003 — Americas

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Pro-lifers toast another victory

PRO-LIFE GROUPS in America have claimed victory after legislation was passed giving women in Minnesota the "right to know" the risks of abortion

Once the Woman's Right to Know Act takes effect this summer, it will require that women in that state be given information and wait 24 hours before having an abortion, The law requires also that a woman be informed about the risks and alternatives to abortion, as well as the probable gestational age of the unborn child and the medical and financial assistance that may be available to the mother.

Marice Rosenberg, vicepresident of the Minnesota pro-life group, said: "This is a good, solid bill with better provisions to empower women than any other informed consent law in the

nation. Women have been denied information about abortion and fetal pain and about the beautiful world of a developing unborn child for far too long. This bill will now give every woman in Minnesota the opportunity to see the various stages of foetal development and learn about abortion's complications and alternatives,"

Meat allowed on Good Friday

A BRAZILIAN bishop authorised the eating of red meat and poultry on Good Friday after a chemical spill contaminated fish in a major river.

Bishop Roberto Gomes Guimareas of Campos said city residents could choose meat or chicken for their meals on Good Friday, because of a ban on fishing in the heavily polluted Paraiba do Sul River, However, most Catholics stayed with tradition. The city's barbecue restaurants remained closed or served salads and sandwiches. In the fish markets, customers searched for fish that came from waters other than the Paraiba do Sol.

The late-March spill occurred after a reservoir used to store chemical residues from a nowdefunct paper company burst, dumping large amounts of caustic soda into the two rivers in Minas Gerais state in south-eastern Brazil,

America 'risks moral isolation'

A LEADING Vatican cardinal has warned that the United States runs the risk of "moral isolationism" in its conduct of foreign policy.

Cardinal Achille Silvestrini said it was necessary to restore the role of the United Nations, especially in initiating a real disarmament policy around the world.

In an interview given to the Rome newspaper, La

Repubblica, Cardinal Silvestrini said that the Pope's opposition to the war in Iraq proved to be prophetic and brought Christians together like never before on a global issue.

He added that the world recognised the great moral and historic values shown by the United States, especially in the defence of democracy, but in view of the events in Iraq "we must hope that the United States does not turn to isolationist solutions".

As the fighting died down in Iraq, Cardinal Silvestrini said the United Nations was "more necessary than ever".

Scientists hail stem cell find

RESEARCHERS in the United States have found that baby teeth may be a rich source of stem cells.

Dr Songtao Shi and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland found that stem cells in baby (milk) teeth, which fall out at about the age of six, were of a high quality compared to stem cells found elsewhere in the body, including in adult teeth and bone marrow, and the researchers have already succeeded in coaxing them to convert into nerve cells, fat cells and cells producing dentin in mice.

The use of ethically derived stem cells is a promising alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells and to so-called therapeutic cloning.

Actor laments cinema 'poison'

EMMY AWARD-winning actor Frank Runyeon said Hollywood's myths are corrupting the minds of America's youth.

During a Lenten programme at St Philip the Apostle Church in Clifton, New Jersey, Mr

Runyeon said that "the media culture keeps tugging our children in the other direction, toward an alien culture" that doesn't share Christian values. Moreover, Hollywood is "poisoning the minds of American youth by promoting three false `myths' that it claims will produce selffulfilment: buying things, looking and feeling sexy, and being number one at everything you do".

An actor for 25 years, Mr Runyeon has starred opposite Meg Ryan in As the World Turns, won two Emmys playing a priest on Santa Barbara and has had guest appearances on dramas such as Falcon Crest.

He added that shopping malls have taken over from churches as the focus of community.

Editor writes song for GIs

THE EDITOR of an American Catholic newspaper has written a song to inspire prayer for deployed troops in Iraq.

Tom Dermody, editor-inchief of The Catholic Post, freshened up "I'll Pray You Home", which was written originally as a homage to his mother, Ruth, a long-time church organist at St Mary Parish in Trenton, in the Diocese of Belleville. She died in 2001.

Following a suggestion from a niece, Mr Dermody added a new third verse: "In a country half a world away with bombs exploding near, the soldiers who risk all today are sons and daughters dear," adding that, as his mother had, a million people would be lighting candles and praying for their safe return.

The record has sold 800 copies in less than three weeks since it was first played on April 4 on a Peoria radio station in central Illinois. Such has been the success of the CD it has been included in "care packages" being shipped to Iraq.

Cardinal gets death threats

A VENEZUELAN cardinal has braved a new wave of death threats aimed at silencing his criticism of the drift toward communism of his country's regime.

Ignacio Maria Cardinal Velasco Garcia of Caracas kept up his attacks on President Hugo Chavez's government despite death threats over Holy Week, reports Aid to the Church in Need. In the past two months the prelate has been threatened twice, with one attack on his residence.

Cardinal Velasco said: "Last Wednesday we received an anonymous phone call telling me that if I went to the St Therese Cathedral for Holy Thursday, I would not come out alive."

Yet he went ahead with the Holy Thursday service in the cathedral in Caracas, the capi tal, as planned. As he celebrated Easter Sunday Mass at the parish of San Jose in Chacao, the Cardinal warned against the danger of "the country falling under communism".

"Even if communism is imposed, the Church will carry out her mission, even if she has to go down to the catacombs," he said.

Rebels murder worshippers

THREE Colombian civilians, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed on Good Friday, when suspected Marxist rebels opened fire on a re-enactment of the Way of the Cross.

The shooting occurred in the town of El Dolores, about 190 km south-east of the capital, Bogota. An eyewitness told reporters: "The procession was just starting at the park when we heard the gunfire. Everybody started running and the boy ... was killed."

A soldier was also killed and three people were wounded. The gunmen were dressed in civilian clothes and appeared to be targeting police and soldiers protecting the procession.

Government sources blamed the left-wing terrorist group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC).

Democrat chief angers bishop

A CATHOLIC bishop has asked one of the most vocal promoters of abortion in the United States Senate to remove wording in his campaign material and congressional biography in which he identifies himself as a Catholic.

According to a local newspaper Senator Tom Daschle, the Democrat minority leader in the Senate who represents South Dakota, continues to identify himself as a Catholic, in spite of an instruction from Bishop Robert Carlson of Sioux Falls to stop.

Neither party has denied the report, but. a press release issued by Bishop Carlson's office noted only that Senator Daschle had been asked "to reconsider his position with regard to abortion"

`Gay rights' vote deferred

THE UNITED Nations Human Rights Commission has deferred a vote on whether "gay rights" should be introduced into international human rights law until next year.

Catholic and Islamic states played a major role in blocking a vote on the controversial resolution.

Frederico Duque Estrada Meyer, of the Brazilian delegation that proposed the vote called the decision to consider the issue at next year's commission a "a great victory".

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