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Inmates building 250 confessionals for 2019 World Youth Day

November 13, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Panama City, Panama, Nov 14, 2018 / 12:30 am (ACI Prensa).- Inmates from La Joya and Nueva Joya prisons have begun the construction of 250 confessionals to be used in the Sacrament of Reconciliation at World Youth Day in Panama in January 2019.

The confessionals will be set up in Omar Recreation Park in Panama City, which will be called “Forgiveness Park” during the youth event. In total, 35 inmates are working from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, sanding, painting, and assembling the crosses and wooden confessionals.

Interior designer Lilibeth Bennet created different two models for the confessionals, both inspired by the WYD logo and using the same colors.

In an interview conducted by WYD organizers, the prisoners said that the project is not just “simple cabinetry work,” but allows them to contribute to a project aimed at young people who will be able to “take a different path” than they did.

“Even though we won’t be able to be there (at World Youth Day) we still feel that we’re doing something important, and I thank God for the opportunity he has given us as prisoners to contribute to a mission as important as World Youth Day,” explained Luis Dominguez, who is in charge of painting and supervising the sanding of the confessionals.

Jesús Ramos, another one of the inmates constructing the confessionals, said that even though he is an Evangelical, he is sure of the valuable contribution that World Youth Day is making to young people.

“I am grateful that they took me into account because I’ve learned how to use the tools here, to work based on respect and together toward the same goal…I feel included and happy to work for God,” he said.

The project coordinator for the prison system, Alma De León, explained that the work is being done with the support of an instructor from the National Institute for Professional Formation and Training for Human Development of Panama, and it is a way to demonstrate the capabilities of people in prison. 

Sharon Diaz, deputy director general secretary of the prison system, said that the inmates form “a single team, and they know the importance of working on a project as unique as this one, regardless of the faith they profess.”


This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.



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New group formed to oppose abortion in Mexico

November 8, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Mexico City, Mexico, Nov 9, 2018 / 12:42 am (ACI Prensa).- The new umbrella group Suma de Actores Sociales (United Social Actors) is calling citizens to stand up against efforts by president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador to legalize abortion, euthanasia and marijuana.

SUMAS was launched November 6 in Mexico City and unites 700 organizations from throughout the country.

Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister agency, Juan Dabdoub Giacoman, president of the Mexican Council for the Family and a founding member of SUMAS, said the new group seeks “to join together the greatest number of associations possible who are willing to fight to defend life, the family and the freedom of Mexicans.”

Dabdoub Giacoman denounced an “ideological onslaught” by the López Obrador’s transition team and their members in Congress.

Lopez Obrador won the Mexican presidential elections July 1 with 53 percent of the valid votes and will take office December 1.

The Morena party, of which the president is a member, gained the majority in both houses of the federal Congress. The new lawmakers took office September 1. Party members have introduced initiatives to legalize abortion throughout the country. Currently, abortion is illegal on the federal level except in case of rape.

Olga Sánchez Cordero, a Morena senator whom the president has appointed as the next Secretary of the Interior, assured that in the coming months she would promote the legalization of abortion, marijuana, and euthanasia measures.  

Dabdoub Giacoman said SUMAS is urging López Obrador “to make his position clear because until now all these statements have been made by his collaborators or by Morena party members in the legislature, but he has remained silent.”

Members of SUMAS come from all religious backgrounds, he said. “Everyone is welcome as long as they have the same convictions regarding life, the family and the defense of freedom.”

Arturo Segovia Flores, president of the More Life and More Family Council of Veracruz, told ACI Prensa that the organizations that make up the new group are not just advocacy groups, but “the vast majority of them are businesses and industrial corporations, (as well as) NGOs.”

Mexican society “is at war” against the president’s agenda, Segovia Flores said. “We have therefore called for resistance from this moment on, we’re not going to let them succeed.”

Pedro Novo, of the Governing Citizen platform, said that although López Obrador got a majority of votes to secure the presidency, “it is not a blank check.”

Mexico’s laws must be reformed, he said, to “empower the citizen so he can govern his public employees. Otherwise, the public employee is a dictator and we will continue to be subjugated servants.”

“As there are no laws that oblige candidates to fulfill their campaign promises, they get in office and become dictators,” he said.

Abortion has been legal on-demand for up to 12 weeks in Mexico City since 2007. Now is the time to act to prevent a similar fate for the entire country, Novo said.

“If we don’t have the right to life guaranteed, we cannot aspire to any other right.”


This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.



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Thousands march in support of life, family in El Salvador

November 7, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

San Salvador, El Salvador, Nov 7, 2018 / 04:13 pm (ACI Prensa).- Thousands participated Nov. 3 in the “Family is Life” march in San Salvador, calling on authorities to end efforts to legalize abortion and implement gender ideology in schools.

The march, which organizers estimated drew around 5,000 people belonging to 70 organizations, began at the Salvador del Mundo (Savior of the World) Plaza and ended up in downtown San Salvador.

Julia Regina de Cardenal, the president of the Yes to Life Foundation, said that many people in El Salvador are “calling for the right of parents as the first and irreplaceable educators of our children to be respected in face of the threat of gender ideology that is advancing in the programs of this government.”

Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister agency, she said that one of the threats being posed to strong families is the educational document “Comprehensive Sex Education,” since “it encourages children, starting with preschool, to encourage sexual pleasure individually or with another person.”

She further warned that another danger for Salvadoran society “is the National Interagency Strategy for the Prevention of Pregnancy” sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund and the European Union. The program promotes contraception as one of the ‘sexual and reproductive rights’ for girls, without the knowledge of parents, she said.

Regina de Cardenal noted that “on February 3, 2019, we will have presidential elections, and we hope that the candidates see that these issues are important to the people.”

The theme of the Nov. 3 march, she said, “is a message of unity and love, because it is proven that the intact family is key for development, as it provides greater stability, security and opportunities for the children and therefore to society.”

She pointed to the correlation between broken families and gang activity among young people, stressing the value of strong families for the well-being of children.

Sara Larín, of the VIDA SV (Life El Salvador) platform, who also participated in the march, said that the event also sought to “celebrate life, family and values,” as well as “to reclaim the right of parents to educate their own children.”

Gender ideology, she said, “is a violation of the rights of children.”
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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Karadima victims file complaint against Cardinal Errázuriz

November 1, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Santiago, Chile, Nov 1, 2018 / 03:29 pm (ACI Prensa).- Three victims of former Chilean priest Fernando Karadima filed a complaint last week against Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, accusing him of perjury in the civil suit for compensation for damages filed against the Archdiocese of Santiago.

The complaint was filed in a Santiago court Oct. 25 by attorney Juan Pablo Hermosilla, representing Juan Carlos Cruz, José Andrés Murillo, and James Hamilton.

The legal action states that in September 2015 Cardinal Errázuriz, Archbishop Emeritus of Santiago, gave a statement as a witness under oath which “in the light of subsequent facts constitutes the crime of perjury.”

In his statement, the cardinal said that when he was Achbishop of Santiago, “in June 2006, I did not close the process (against Karadima) but put it on hold; the resignation of the priest from the parish is for them to decide.”

However, several weeks ago an e-mail was seized by regional prosecutor Emiliano Arias Madariaga which Cardinal Errázuriz sent Feb. 1, 2009 to the then-Apostolic Nuncio to Chile, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto.

According to La Tercera news Cardenal Errázuriz says in the e-mail: “Out of respect for Fr. Karadima, I did not ask the Promoter (of Justice) to interrogate him; I just asked Bishop Andrés Arteaga his opinion. He considered everything to be absolutely implausible. As it was beyond the statutes of limitations, I closed the investigation. That is how I wanted to protect them, aware that my way of proceeding, if the accusers would one day bring the case to the press, would turn against me.”

Based on this, the complainants are asking the Public Prosecutor’s Office to issue a summons to Cardinal  Errázuriz as the accused, and as witnesses Archbishop Pinto; the minister of the Court of Appeals, Juan Manuel Muñoz; Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of Santiago; and the Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago,  Andrés Arteaga Manieu.

This complaint relates to the lawsuit for “moral damages” against the Archdiocese of Santiago filed in 2015 by Cruz, Murillo, and Hamilton, in which they ask for 450 million pesos (about $640,000)  in compensation, in addition to a public apology from the Church for the alleged cover-up of abuse committed by Karadima.

Regarding the e-mail by Cardinal Errázuriz, according to El Mercurio news, the Court of Appeals “did not accept the request to incorporate the document made ad videndi (in order to be seen) by the plaintiffs’  counsel at the hearing of the case, given that it was not added in a timely or legal manner to the case” and so could not be used as evidence.

The Court of Appeals also denied the request by the Archdiocese of Santiago for the court to to ask the Vatican to provide all the documentation from the canonical investigation surrounding Karadima compiled in the report by Archbishop Charles Scicluna.

Karadima was  found guilty  of sexual abuse by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2011.

On Oct. 26, the Santiago Court of Appeals rejected the appeal by the Karadima victims which sought to cancel a Nov. 20 conciliation hearing the civil courts ordered in the lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Santiago for cover-up.

The appeal filed Oct. 24 argued that the process of conciliation would be very trying for the victims. However, the president of the Ninth Chamber of the Court of Appeals, Miguel Vasquez, explained to the press that this action “is not a way to reject a conciliation.”

That is, the way to proceed is “formally to formulate it at the hearing, or simply not make any presentation.”


This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


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Mexican bishop: God will reward those helping migrant caravan

October 26, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Tapachula, Mexico, Oct 26, 2018 / 02:41 pm (CNA).- Bishop Jaime Calderón Calderón of Tapachula, Mexico praised the generosity of lay people and priests aiding migrants in his diocese.

“I am deeply grateful to my brother priests and all those people from our parishes who have gone far beyond their means to be able to provide for others,” the bishop told Aci Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister agency.

“Know that God will always reward that goodness which you have shown.”

A “migrant caravan” of between five and six thousand of people has arrived in Mexico after leaving San Pedro de Sula in Honduras on October 13. The group’s goal is to reach the United States.

The Trump administration has expressed concern about the migrant caravan, and is said to be finalizing a plan to address the expected arrival of thousands of migrants, many of whom are likely to make a petition for asylum upon reaching the border.

The NY Times reported Oct. 26 that this plan would likely look to close the border to most migrants, and establish new rules regarding eligibility for asylum claims, in addition to the possibility of deploying troops to the border. The president is said to be considering the possibility of giving a speech next week that would classify the migration effort as a national emergency.

The Diocese of Tapalucha, due to its location on Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, has usually been the first diocese to receive the Central American migrants who want to pass through Mexico.

The bishop of Tapachula said that “a few days ago we became aware of the situation that our Honduran brothers have been especially going through.”

“I am specifically referring to the caravan that has been taking shape, with its ranks swelling as it progresses,” he said, noting that Tapachula “is the southern border crossing into our country.”

The bishop said that the situation obliged the Church to get organized “in order to welcome, to care for all those people,” driven to “leave their own land.”

“This has been a huge challenge for us to be able to assist, to be able to be there for them.

“Of course, before the Lord, before our God, I have asked myself how to be able to be there for them, and I have found a profound and heartwarming response from my own priests and the vast majority of the people in our diocese.”

The prelate said that these critical situations which “impel us to perform works of charity with greater effort, also bring out the best in people. It brings out the desire to help, to share, to be there, to give them even what you need to live on yourselves.

“May God be with us, may God care for us, may God sustain us. And we must always be reaching out to the migrant,” he stated.

Bishop Calderón Calderón pointed out that the situations motivating the migrants and pushing them  to leave their own land “ have gradually reached the point of overwhelming the [Central American] countries’ own efforts. An environment of poverty, and environment of injustice, an environment of violence is not a good habitat for a person to find fulfillment, to develop.”

“Now that this situation is getting worse, these very globalized phenomena are appearing and we have to reach out” to these people, he said.

The Honduran Bishops’ Conference lamented last week the “human tragedy” exemplified by the migrant caravan.

“We note with much sadness and serious concern this “human tragedy,” as Pope Francis has called ‘forced migration,’ of the departure in a caravan of thousands of our Honduran brothers and sisters who have left their own land, seeking better  oportunities for their lives, for themselves and for their own families,” the bishops said in a statement published October 20.

“This is an outrageous reality, caused by the current situation going on in our country, forcing a large and determined group to leave what little they have, venturing down the migration route to the United States without any certainty, with the desire to reach the promised land, the ‘American dream,’” they emphasized.

The Mexican bishop appealed to love for the Virgin of Guadalupe, saying it would motivate welcoming “these brothers who need it. She is Our Mother and she is the Mother of all.”

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated, updated, and adapted by CNA.



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Mexican legislators introduce bills to legalize abortion

October 26, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Mexico City, Mexico, Oct 26, 2018 / 10:07 am (CNA).- Two Mexican legislators introduced this week proposals seeking to legalize abortion throughout the country.

Abortion is a crime in Mexico on the federal level, permitted only in cases of rape. In Mexico City, the country’s capital, the procedure was decriminalized in 2007, it can be performed for any reason during the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy.

The legislators are both members of Morena, the political party of the president-elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Congresswoman Lorena Villavicencio introduced a bill October 22 designed to recognize what she called “the right of self-determination of women over their body and their life.”

“We want abortion to be legal, safe, and free,” said the congresswoman.

Villavicencio said that “Mexico must stop criminalizing women who interrupt their pregnancy in the first 12 weeks, just as Mexico City has done.”

The lawmaker also stated that her bill “must not have to pass the moral or religious litmus test,” since “this is an issue of the exercise of freedoms, the decision about whether or not a woman wants to be a mother. And unfortunately, an issue of public health, because these restrictions have harvested the death of many women.”

Villavicencio introduced her bill just two days after nearly one million Mexicans turned out October 20 for demonstrations in more than 100 cities in defense of life, the family and fundamental freedoms.

The day after the her bill was introduced, the Mexican state of Sinaloa announced the final ratification on October 23 of a constitutional amendment establishing that: “Everyone has the right to have their life respected. The state protects the right to life from the moment an individual is conceived, enters under the protection of the law and is considered as born for all legal intents and purposes, until their natural death.”

López Obrador won the Mexican presidency July1 and his party, Morena, gained the majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives.  The legislators elected this year took office  September 1 whereas the president-elect will assume the office December 1

Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, who also is a member of the Morena party and president of the governing board  of the House of Representatives, proposed October 23 an amendment to Mexico’s constitution which would declare a right “to decide in a free, responsible and informed and safe manner whether to have children or not” as well as “to receive services to access the highest level of sexual and reproductive health.”

Muñoz Ledo acknowledged that a proposal directly in favor of abortion could “very easily be thrown out,” and so he was advised “to formulate it in a different way, that would mean the same thing.”

“A betrayal of the people”

For Rodrigo Iván Cortés, president of the National Front for the Family (FNF), which organized the massive October 20 demonstrations, the bills introduced by the Morena party legislators are “a very bad sign.”

Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister agency, “the talks held with the people on Lopez Obrador’s transition team seemed to indicate attention and sensitivity to these issues, however he apparently has not exercised his leadership” with Morena party members in the congress.

For Cortés there is “a stark contradiction, because the vast majority of those that are here (in the newly elected congress) didn’t win their elections on their own but won through the momentum generated by Lopez Obrador. And during the campaign Lopez Obrador never proposed any of these things. Neither abortion, euthanasia, marriage equality, drugs or gag laws.”

“And what we’re seeing is that those partisans  that are in the congress  are heading toward an outright betrayal of the people.”

The FNF president pointed out that “the big question is: Does Lopez Obrador want to honor his word, does he want to fulfill what he said many times during the campaign to not lie, steal from, or betray the people? Because if he fails to keep this (promise)  then we’re going to have to fear the worse for everything else.”

He warned that Lopez Obrador’s legislators  “are not attending to the people, they don’t have ears to hear the people, they don’t have the heart to attend to the real needs of the people. And what they’re bringing on is an agenda of radical ideologies which have nothing to do with the good of the Mexican population.”

“No party ought to promote murder”

Maria Lourdes Varela, the director for 40 Days for Life for Latin America stressed that “abortion goes against the population” and “no party ought to promote the murder of their children.”

“Abortion is not a human right, because there is no right to kill,” she told ACI Prensa.

Regarding the work being done by 40 Days for Life on the international level, Varela explained that “we are aware that this battle is too big” there are many economic resources and also the media, politicians, international organizations that directly promote that a woman is the enemy of her own child, and so she sees the child as a burden, and she comes to think that the solution to any of her problems would be to eliminate her own child.”

“As we recognize that our forces are limited, we are asking God to help us win this battle, that he would transform, that he would move the hearts of those women who are thinking of abortion, that they would see that the solution could be otherwise, that death never is going to put an end to any of her problems,” she said.

They also ask God to transform the hearts of the abortionists and those who promote its legalization.

Varela also encouraged everyone who can to join 40 Days for Life, “because we are all necessary.”

“It’s not a question of one or two people praying, but that the converted Catholic population would ask God’s favor so that He would reign once again and life would be respected.” she said.

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.



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Two pastors reinstated in Chile after abuse investigation

October 23, 2018 CNA Daily News 0

Rancagua, Chile, Oct 23, 2018 / 03:50 pm (ACI Prensa).- The Diocese of Rancagua announced it has restored two priests to ministry who were accused of sexual abuse after the investigations showed that the incidents reported against them “are not credible.”

The two priests are Aquiles Correa Reyes and Gino Bonomo Ugarte, both accused of belonging to a network of 14 priests known as “The Family,” allegedly involved in sexual misconduct and the sexual abuse of minors.

After failing to prove any associated crime, the priests were acquitted by civil courts Sept. 28.

The Apostolic Administrator of Rancagua, Bishop Fernando Ramos reinstated the priests in their position as pastors Oct. 18. Fr. Aquiles Correa returns to the Immaculate Conception Parish of the Company of Jesus in Graneros and Fr. Gino Bonomo rejoins Our Lady of the Rosary in Pumanque.

The preliminary investigations were conducted by Fr. Patricio Cavour Calderón, who remains responsible for investigating the other complaints against priests in the diocese.

“The Family” case became known after a former youth ministry coordinator in Rancagua, Elisa Fernández, told Channel 13 in May that in the last two years she went to see the local bishop Alejandro Goic four times to warn him about this group.

Bishop Goic then removed the 14 priests from ministry May 21. He was the president of the National Council for the Prevention of Abuse and Accompaniment of Victims but his resignation from that position was accepted by the Chilean bishops May 26 in the midst of the scandal. On June 28, Pope Francis accepted Goic’s resignation as Bishop of Rancagua.

Two other priests accused of belonging to “The Family, ” Héctor Fuentes and Freddy Gorigoitia, submitted their resignation from the priesthood July 28.


This article was originally published by our Spanish language sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.