Thursday, March 19, 2009
This week I was in New York for the taping of a special concert event that we will broadcast this Friday on the World Over Live (8PM Eastern on EWTN). I was joined by the internationally bestselling trio, The Priests. In honor of St. Patricks Day, this hour of song and conversation is sure to uplift you and yours. So be sure to tune in. The World Over Live airs Fridays at 8PM, Saturday at 1AM, Sunday at 4PM, and Monday at 10 AM and 11PM. All times are Eastern.

Here are some stories that I thought you all might be interested in:

POPE BENEDICT IN AFRICA AND THE CONDOM FLAP: Pope Benedict is in the midst of his weeklong journey to the African countries of Cameroon and Angola. Sadly stealing the headlines of this important visit, the media have fixated on remarks Benedict XVI made aboard the papal plane that the distribution of condoms risks worsening the problem of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Instead of checking the empirical data that backs Benedict XVIs claim, many in the media and European governments attacked the Pope as being ignorant and isolated from the world. Benedict laughed-off the latter suggestion as this myth of my solitude. Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi later affirmed and clarified the Popes statements, noting the Churchs commitment to both the prevention and treatment of HIV/AID. He rejected the notion that condom distribution is the best, most longsighted or effective way to combat the scourge of HIV/AIDS and safeguard human life. (By the way the only place in Africa that has managed to lower the HIV rate from 30% to 5% is Uganda where abstinence education is stressed.)

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT ON THE MEDIA: Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput had some critical thoughts on how the media cover the Catholic Church. Speaking to journalists and others at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington D.C., Archbishop Chaput said that too often the media lack working knowledge of Church traditions and teachings and dont have the basic Catholic vocabulary needed to grasp what were are talking about and why were talking about it. He further warned the press against a marginalization of religion, saying that filling religions place in society would be politicswith the same vestments, but less conscience.

CARDINAL GEORGE AND CONSCIENCE CLAUSES: On Tuesday this week, President Barrack Obama met with Cardinal Francis George, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The 30-minute White House meeting was private. Scant detail came out of the meeting as the White House and the Bishops Conference offered press releases that were more collegial than informative. However a day earlier, Cardinal George posted a two-and-a-half minute message on YouTube, urging Catholics to lobby the Obama administration to keep federal conscience protections for healthcare workers in place. As the cardinal noted, the regulation protects doctors, nurses, and other health workers from involvement in abortion or any procedure that they might find morally unacceptable. Cardinal George further warned that the removal of conscience protections would be a first step toward despotism in the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services is accepting comment on the matter at proposedrescission@hhs.gov.

JPII'S BEATIFICATION: Finally, a quick note out of Poland, the newspaper Dziennik is reporting that Pope John Paul II will be beatified on April 2, 2010. That would mark the fifth anniversary of his death. Earlier this month, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, the former longtime personally secretary to John Paul II, said his beatification process would soon be concluded. Well keep you posted.

Let me know what you think at raymond@raymondarroyo.com

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