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August 19, 1994     The Message
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August 19, 1994

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kolVll E S SAGE _or a wea '-  ides disagree (CNS) -- !agreements over a draft document on population development have become of semantics. sides of the issue are each other of focusing the issue of population con- instead of development judging at the draft Pro- of Action for.the Sept. 5- rnational Conference on and Development Egypt. Pope John Paul II has the U.N. document for to improve the role of the Vatican still has ntal differences with government, which is spearheading the docu- support. Vatican maintains that draft Program of Action ambiguous language that be used to promote abor- Timothy Wirth, U.S. un- of state for global said misunderstand- between the States the Vatican arose from some critical parts of officials have dr- that the draft document's aition of "reproductive ilth" includes the phrase termination." So, h the document says abortion "in no case be promoted as a of family planning," of references to "re- health" for women abortion, a Vatican said. officials also say lan- in the draft advocates Sexual activity and homo- marriages. s in North and South Europe and Asia also objected to the Cairo Laity, too, were speaking full-page ad in the Aug. of The New York 48 prominent U.S. academics, corpo- and religious leaders d President Clinton to emphasis at the Cairo from a "narrow pre- with population to a focus on "popula- L." They said current draft of the would "press nations to promote programs !aay be intrusive, unnec- and even dangerous." those signing the ad Pennsylvania Gov. P. Cagey; Templeton Winner Michael Novak; Shriver, former Peace director; and Philip F. former editor of The on UN population document Pilot, the Boston archdiocesan newspaper. Catholic were not the only ones concerned with the draft document's language. A presti- gious Islamic university in Cairo said the document con- dones abortion and under- mines parental authority. The Islamic Studies Center at A1 Azhar spoke of "ambigu- ous expressions, abstract terms and innovative jargon which abound" in the draft Program of Action. The center said parts of the document need changed to conform with Islamic principles. It recom- mended Muslim countries ex- press their reservations about the document at the confer- ence. Some groups have tried to characterize the Vatican's posi- tion against the document as anti-women. For instance, Frances Kissling, president of the U.S. group Catholics for a Free Choice, .said the "Vatican wants to invalidate the pro- gram (of action) because of iis recommendations on the em- powerment of women." But in an address Aug. 14, Pope John Paul praised the document's focus on improving the condition of the world's women, calling it in line with church teaching against anti- female discrimination. He in- sisted, however, that increas- ing access to abortion would not serve women's real needs. The answer, he said, is con- crete action to help pregnant women carry their children to term and raise them. Six active U.S. cardinals and the head of the U.S. bishops' conference wrote Clinton in May, noting that "however cleverly the current Cairo doc- ument may be crafted, in fact it continues to advocate abor- tion as a way of controlling population growth and )romis- cuity." But in his response, Wirth, who will head the U.S. delega- tion at the Cairo conference, said he would continue to work to convince them that the world meeting is not "about abortion, but goes far beyond this single issue to a resound- ing commitment to the goal of sustainable development, qual- ity of life and all the closely re- lated concerns on which we agree." Wirth, who urged continuing discussions between church and government on the issue, said there had been a shift in focus -- away from just num- bers -- from previous U.N. conferences. Many of the is- sues addressed in the draft program of action =appear to parallel Pope John Paul II's teaching of 'integral develop- ment,"' Wirth said in his letter, dated July 28. He said the document "reaf- firms respect for human dig- nity and rights, including, as roted in the letter of the Amer- ican cardinals to President Clinton, 'the rights of couples to make responsible and moral family-planning decisions."' The ll3-page draft docu- ment was formulated by dele- gates to an April preparatory meeting for the Cairo confer- ence. The United Nations works toward consensus, so phrasing within the document that was not agreed to by all countries was placed in paren- thesis. Diocesan Pastoral Council Completing their first meeting and orientation weekend for the new Diocesan Pastoral Council are, from left, first row, Helen Boettcher, Providence Sister Mary Mundy, Daughter of Charity Sister Sharon Richardt, second row, James Schmitt, James Bateman, A. Charles Gillie, Michael Beshears, Joseph Crowdus, th/rd row, Patricia Koch, Charles Froehle, Benedictine Sister Geraldine Hedinger, Deacon Dave Franklin, Holy Names Sister Louise Bond, fourth row, Msgr. Kenneth R. Knapp, Father John Davidson, Margaret Wallace, Sarah Burke, fifth row, Dr. Bernard Kemker Sr., Sylvia Rose, Mike McConnell, Bishop Gerald A. Gettelflnger, James Krodel, Daniel Harpenau, Father Francis Schroering. Council members spent Aug. 12-14 at the Catholic Center and Sarto Retreat House. -- Message photo by Paul R. Leingang I I I I I Pope offers prayers for '93, '95 World Youth Day CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II of- fered prayers of thanksgiving for World Youth Day 1993, cel- ebrated a year ago in Denver, and asked young people to pre- pare for the 1995 gathering in the Philippines. Believers can see the promise of new life in Christ, which was the focus of the Denver gathering last August, fulfilled in the Assumption of Mary, the pope said during his Aug. 15 Angelus address. In his feast day talk to visi- tors at his summer residence south of Rome, the pope said Mary "comforts the people of God in the daily struggle" against the devil, who tries to discourage "respect for the original and extraordinary di- vine gift -- human life." Christians, following the ex- ample of Mary, are filled with hope and encouraged to con- tinue their journey in fidelity to the Lord, he said. "With hearts grateful to God," he said, "our thoughts return to the world meeting of youth, held a year ago in Den- ver." As the young people heard and welcomed, "Christ renews each day his call for us to be messengers of that divine life which alone can satisfy the hunger of the human heart,  the pope said. Pope John Paul prayed that the next world gathering of young people, scheduled for January in the Philippines, would be prepared for =with fervent prayer and apostolic enthusiasm."