|News from Europe|
|Abortion in Portugal; Holy Father Endorses Authenticity of Famous Relic|
|Press Service "RU" from UNEC|
Portugal Will Keep the Faith and Legalize Abortion? Cardinal Policarpo Dropping the Ball Again!
The country visited by Our Lady of Fatima—Portugal—risks becoming an abortion mill like so many other “Catholic” countries in Europe. On October 19, 2006, the parliament ratified the proposition of the new socialist government of Jose Socrates to introduce a referendum for abortion on demand until the 10th week of pregnancy.
Until now, abortion is tolerated in Portugal only in cases of rape, congenital malformation of the baby, and serious danger for the mother's life. Already in 1998, a similar referendum had been organized, with a very narrow majority (50.07 %) voting against it, and with a record rate of abstention: 68.11%.
This new referendum could be held as early as in January 2007, if the Constitutional Court and the Presidency pronounce themselves in favor of it, which is yet to be determined.
At the same time, the Church is faltering in this fight. The cardinal patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Jose de Cruz Policarpo (responsible for the infamous interfaith meetings at Fatima in 2003), has just recommended abstention (not voting on it) to the undecided voters. The question of abortion should not be, according to him, a religious question, but only one of fundamental ethics. "I don't make any recommendation to voters", declared the Cardinal. According to him, the Church shouldn't lead the campaign for this referendum: "It should be especially the physicians and family fathers who lead the way."
More and more, the victories of abortion proponents in Europe are due to the lack of courage on the part of the shepherds of the Church, who, in general, don't dare defend the life of babies any more, even if some bishops here and there still do. Opposition to abortion has actually become a source of division within the Church when it should be a unifying factor. If the Christians were standing united against the massacre of European babies, there would be no abortion in Europe.
Will Pope Benedict XVI find the courage to remedy this catastrophic situation?
ITALY: For the 5th centenary of the mysterious arrival of the veil of Veronica – or "the Manopello" – to Pescara in the Abruzzi, in the center of Italy, the Holy Father himself made a pilgrimage to the holy place by helicopter on September 1, 2006.
Tradition has it that this is the actual veil which Saint Veronica presented to Christ during his Passion so that He might wipe the blood and sweat from his Holy Face. It was in that precise moment that the image of his Face imprinted itself on the veil, which was "made without the hand of man".
In its measurements and many details, the image looks very much like the one on the Shroud of Turin, except that “The Veronica" presents a living Face. Researchers demonstrated that the two pictures can be super imposed over each other and that both objects date back to the same time period.
Twenty years ago, Rev. Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, SJ, discovered that this silk veil, measuring 24 x 17 cm, is the "Vera Icona" (Veronica), the "Volto Santo" (Holy Face), that apparently disappeared during the Sacco di Roma—the Sack of Rome—(16th century) from the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome where it was very much venerated in the 14th and 15th centuries. This certainly implies, argues Father Pfeiffer, that the "Veronica" which is on display today in Saint Peter's Basilica can by no means be the famous "Veronica".
Fr. Pfeiffer teaches in the Pontifical University Gregorian in Rome and is highly respected. According to a very popular tradition – but not mentioned in the New Testament – Veronica was one of the holy women who accompanied Jesus to Mount Calvary. She offered him a cloth to wipe his Face, and the image of Christ’s Face remained on the cloth. This image, argues Fr. Pfeiffer is on display in Pescara.
During the visit of the Holy Father, he didn't comment on the question of the authenticity of the picture of Manopello, this being in accordance to the Vatican’s custom during ongoing scientific proceedings.
On the other hand, during his historic visit, the Pope did preach to the numerous pilgrims on hand of the benefits of contemplating Jesus' Holy Face, God who became man, in order to arrive at personal intimacy with Him. "On His Holy Face we see who is God, and how He appeared!", he declared. And again: "We must try to know better God's Face in order to find in it the strength of love and peace to show us the path."
These words, combined with the helicopter pilgrimage itself, certainly suggest where the Holy Father stands on the question of the authenticity of this holy relic.
Press Service "RU" from UNEC, BP 114, F-95210 St.-Gratien/France - - O.A.M.D.G. - -