“I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.
“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.
“However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
“For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
“Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
The reintroduction of this legislation in the 113th Congress made technical corrections to Congressman Mike Pence’s H.R. 217 which was introduced in the 112th Congress. Rep. Blackburn is Vice-Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee which oversees Title X of the 1970 Public Health Service Act. She hopes to build on the support her former colleague and good friend, Congressman Mike Pence, garnered in previous Congresses including successful efforts to attach the language as an amendment to pending legislation. In 2010, a GAO report showed that America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, received over $340 million from the Title X family planning program.
Senator David Vitter (R, LA) has introduced the companion legislation S. 135 in the U.S. Senate.
Today, Catholic Advocate joined with other leading grassroots organizations 60 Plus Association and American Majority Action to address the impending crisis of an on-line gambling explosion set to begin in 2013 as a result of a 2011 Obama Administration Department of Justice ruling that opens the door to all forms of on-line gambling.
The letter [text below and original copy here] was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi urging them to act to restrict on-line gambling during the “Lame Duck” session of Congress.
The groups have also joined together to educate Capitol Hill and others about the seriousness of the issue with a special website located at http://restrictonlinegambling.org/.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 Letter to Congressional Leadership
A year ago December 23, the Department of Justice issued a weight of law ruling against the Wire Act of 1961 opening the floodgates for states and other entities to pursue unregulated on-line gambling. This unilateral Executive Branch decision by Attorney General Holder violates the clear intent of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed by Congress in 2006 and historical bi-partisan interpretation of the Wire Act.
We recognize Congress did not create this problem. Congress, though, does have the power to protect our seniors, our children, and give law enforcement the tools they need to protect the vulnerable from illegal predatory gambling interests. We urge congressional action before the end of this year to restrict the imminent expansion of on-line gambling throughout states, lotteries, and off-shore operators as early as this coming January.
Several states have either passed on-line gambling statutes or are in the process of passing them quickly when many return to work in capitals across the country to take advantage of the Department of Justice ruling. Often, Congress is put in situations where issues that are already problems require solutions. Here is an opportunity to address an impending matter before it becomes a crisis.
Federal restriction of on-line gambling is vital, urgent, and consistent with recent congressional intent. The legislation proposed by Senator Kyl and Senator Reid is a sensible solution and with the divided Congress, it is the only legislative solution that could pass both chambers. It will restore the Wire Act and on-line gambling in the U.S. will be substantially reduced from what is going on today and the race by states to expand internet gambling will be stopped. We hope a bi-partisan group of Members can join together before the end of this year to pass this legislation that addresses our concerns.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement today clarifying points made by Vice President Biden during last night’s debate. The USCCB should be commended for setting the record straight. Statement follows:
October 12, 2012
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement, October 12. Full text follows:
Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:
“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.
HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.
USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.
We’d like to share this special prayer with you today with the hopes that you’ll bring it to mass with you this weekend and share it with your friends, family and fellow parishioners. Please follow this link to print copies today.
AN ELECTION YEAR PRAYER FOR THE FAITHFUL WITNESS OF CATHOLICS IN THE UNITED STATES
By His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke,
Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
O Lord Jesus Christ,
You alone are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
In Your Church You show us the Way,
You teach us the Truth, and You give us Your Life.
Grant, we humbly beg You,
that, always and in all things, we may
be faithful to You in Your Holy Church,
and to Your Vicar on Earth, the Supreme Pontiff,
Pope Benedict XVI.
Grant also, we beg You,
that, in these times of decision,
all who profess to be Catholic
and who are entrusted with the sacred duty
to participate in public life,
may, by the strength of Your grace,
unwaveringly follow Your Way and
faithfully adhere to Your Truth,
living in You with all their mind and heart,
for Your greater glory, the salvation of souls,
and the good of our nation. Amen.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America,
Pray for us.
Saint Thomas More, Patron of Religious Freedom,
Pray for us.
Many have expressed concern about Cardinal Dolan closing the Democratic National Committee Convention in prayer. The Diocese of Charlotte has posted the C-SPAN footage of his closing benediction. Watch as one of the first things he does is pray for the unborn and then he transitions to our most cherished liberties.
The full text of the prayer appears below [certain sections highlighted in bold]:
With a “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” let us close this convention by praying for this land that we so cherish and love:
Let us Pray.
Almighty God, father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, revealed to us so powerfully in your Son, Jesus Christ, we thank you for showering your blessings upon this our beloved nation. Bless all here present, and all across this great land, who work hard for the day when a greater portion of your justice, and a more ample measure of your care for the poor and suffering, may prevail in these United States. Help us to see that a society’s greatness is found above all in the respect it shows for the weakest and neediest among us.
We beseech you, almighty God to shed your grace on this noble experiment in ordered liberty, which began with the confident assertion of inalienable rights bestowed upon us by you: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Thus do we praise you for the gift of life. Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure. We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected. Strengthen our sick and our elders waiting to see your holy face at life’s end, that they may be accompanied by true compassion and cherished with the dignity due those who are infirm and fragile.
We praise and thank you for the gift of liberty. May this land of the free never lack those brave enough to defend our basic freedoms. Renew in all our people a profound respect for religious liberty: the first, most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our Founding. May our liberty be in harmony with truth; freedom ordered in goodness and justice. Help us live our freedom in faith, hope, and love. Make us ever-grateful for those who, for over two centuries, have given their lives in freedom’s defense; we commend their noble souls to your eternal care, as even now we beg the protection of your mighty arm upon our men and women in uniform.
We praise and thank you for granting us the life and the liberty by which we can pursue happiness. Show us anew that happiness is found only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God. Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community. May we welcome those who yearn to breathe free and to pursue happiness in this land of freedom, adding their gifts to those whose families have lived here for centuries.
We praise and thank you for the American genius of government of the people, by the people and for the people. Oh God of wisdom, justice, and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern us: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Congress, the Supreme Court, and all those, including Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office. Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country. Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself. With your grace, may all Americans choose wisely as we consider the future course of public policy.
And finally Lord, we beseech your benediction on all of us who depart from here this evening, and on all those, in every land, who yearn to conduct their lives in freedom and justice. We beg you to remember, as we pledge to remember, those who are not free; those who suffer for freedom’s cause; those who are poor, out of work, needy, sick, or alone; those who are persecuted for their religious convictions, those still ravaged by war.
And most of all, God Almighty, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country.
For we are indeed “one nation under God,” and “in God we trust.”
So dear God, bless America. You who live and reign forever and ever.
Last night at the Democratic National Convention, activist Sandra Fluke was given a prime time, network slot to continue her campaign to rewrite history. In case you have forgotten, Ms. Fluke gained fame when pro-abortion supporters in Congress attempted to have her testify at a hearing about the Obama administration’s infringements on our religious liberties. Plain and simple, Ms. Fluke is an abortion activist – period. But that is not the worst part…
In her speech last night, Ms. Fluke looked straight into the camera and called people who believe in the Sanctity of Life “extreme” and “bigoted voices”.
This convention could be renamed the Abortion Convention, and I don’t think a single participant would blink an eye! The platform that was ratified at the beginning of the week reads, “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.” And last night alone we heard from Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood who praised the president for all he has done for the abortion movement, and get this—the ring leader of the George Soros funded “Nuns on the Bus” who insists that the laws protecting the unborn are “beyond my paygrade.” Didn’t we hear that once before from a certain candidate?
Don’t be fooled by the president’s posturing to return “God” to the faith section of the platform after backlash from Catholic Advocate and numerous other groups. This very moment, the Department of Health and Human Services is working to finalize the rules for implementing tax-payer funded abortions under Obamacare.Weren’t we told the Executive Order prevented the abortion funding?
The new Introductory Note to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility reads, “The moral and human challenges outlined in the second half of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship remain pressing national issues. In particular, our Conference is focused on several current and fundamental problems, some involving opposition to intrinsic evils and others raising serious moral questions: Continuing destruction of unborn children through abortion and other threats to the lives and dignity of others who are vulnerable, sick, or unwanted;”
It is a sad and disappointing day when one of our political parties so aggressively embraces a culture of death.
We need to remember—life comes first. To care about life is to care about everything.
At the conclusion of the Prayer Vigil for the Unborn held on November 27, 2010. Pope Benedict XVI composed a prayer asking God to bless families and to inspire society to embrace each and every life. Please join us today and take a moment to say this prayer.
You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.
Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you.
Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.
Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
render fruitful their love.
Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.
Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.
Give creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realize and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children.
Console the married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.
Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Charity,
the consolation of your divine Heart.
Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Savior,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity.
Here is the transcript of Cardinal Dolan’s closing benediction at the RNC Convention Thursday, August 30, 2012:
Almighty God, father of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus, we beg your continued blessings on this sanctuary of freedom, and on all those who proudly call America home. We ask your benediction upon those yet to be born, and on those who are about to see you at the end of this life. Bless those families whose ancestors arrived on these shores generations ago, as well as those families that have come recently, to build a better future, while weaving their lives into the rich tapestry of America.
We lift up to your loving care those afflicted by the recent storms and drought and fire. We ask for the grace to stand in solidarity with all those who suffered. May we strive to include your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free in the production and prosperity of a people so richly blessed.
Oh God of wisdom, justice, and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern us, and on those who would govern us: the president, vice-president, the Congress, the Supreme Court, and on all those who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office, especially Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan. Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country. Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself.
Almighty God, who gives us the sacred and inalienable gift of life, we thank you as well for the singular gift of liberty. Renew in all of our people a respect for religious freedom in full, that first, most cherished freedom. Make us truly free by tethering freedom to truth and ordering freedom to goodness. Help us live our freedom in faith, hope and love, prudently and with justice, courageously and in a spirit of moderation, and kindle in our hearts a new sense of responsibility for freedom’s cause and make us ever grateful for all those for who for more than two centuries have given their lives in freedom’s defense. We commend their noble souls to your eternal care as even now we beg your mighty hand upon our beloved men and women in uniform.
May we know the truth of your creation, respecting the laws of nature and nature’s God, and not seek to replace it with idols of our own making. Give us the good sense not to cast aside the boundaries of righteous living you first inscribed on our hearts even before inscribing them on tablets of stone. May you mend our every flaw, confirming our soul in self-control, our liberty in law.
We pray for all those who seek honest labor, as we thank you for the sprit of generosity to those in need with which you so richly bless this nation. We beseech your blessing on all who depart from here this evening, and on all those in every land who seek to conduct their lives in freedom.
Most of all almighty God, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country, for we are indeed one nation under God and in God we trust. Dear God, bless America, you who live and reign forever and ever.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, has accepted an invitation to deliver the closing prayer at next week’s Republican National Convention.
Although it is usual church protocol to invite the local bishop to offer such a prayer, convention organizers asked the Cardinal if he would consider doing so. After contacting Bishop Robert Lynch, the Bishop of the Diocese of Saint Petersburg, Florida, who gave the Cardinal his approval, the Cardinal accepted. It was made clear to the convention organizers, however, that the Cardinal was coming only to pray not to endorse, and that he would be willing to accept a similar offer from the Democratic Party as well. That same sentiment was conveyed to the Democratic National Committee.