Tag Archives: dignity

Day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion

Day of Penance and Prayer to be observed on January 23rd
this year.

In November, 2001, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
approved the adaptation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
Following confirmation by the Holy See in February, 2002, the following became
particular law for the dioceses of the United States of America:

In all the
dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when the
22nd falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for
violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of
abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the
right to life. The Mass “For Peace and Justice” (no. 21 from “Masses for
Various Needs”) should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate
liturgical observance for this day.

On January 22, 2003, a “day of penance for
violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of
abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the
right to life” will be mandatory in the dioceses of the U.S. for the first
time. As an “Optional Memorial,” the Mass celebrated that day may be the Mass
“For Peace and Justice” or follow the normal weekday Mass readings and prayers
for the day found in the Ordo, with or without optional prayers related to St.
Vincent of Saragossa whose Feast Day falls on January 22.

Secretariat for
Pro-Life Activities
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street,
Washington, DC 20017-1194

(202) 541-3070

Pope’s State of the World address, 2011

We have the
state of the school address, the state of the state address, the state of the
nation address, and even have the state of the world. Today, Pope Benedict XVI
delivered his ‘state of the world’ speech to the diplomatic corps accredited to
the Holy See. Depending on how you count, there are between 178 to 181 diplomats
at the Holy See. Please note the Pontiff’s concentration on religious freedom; he is, head and shoulders above all world leaders, the voice for religious freedom as the path to true, lasting peace. The
Pope’s address, the original was delivered in French:

Your Excellencies, Ladies
and Gentlemen,

Pope sits with Vatican Gentluomini in the Sala Clementina Jan 10 2011.jpg

I am pleased to welcome you, the distinguished representatives
of so many countries, to this meeting which each year assembles you around the
Successor of Peter. It is a deeply significant meeting, since it is a sign and
illustration of the place of the Church and of the Holy See in the
international community. I offer my greetings and cordial good wishes to each
of you, and particularly to those who have come for the first time. I am
grateful to you for the commitment and interest with which, in the exercise of
your demanding responsibilities, you follow my activities, those of the Roman
Curia and thus, in some sense, the life of the Catholic Church throughout the
world. Your Dean, Ambassador Alejandro Valladares Lanza, has interpreted your
sentiments and I thank him for the good wishes which he has expressed to me in
the name of all. Knowing how close-knit your community is, I am certain that
today you are also thinking of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the
Netherlands, Baroness van Lynden-Leijten, who several weeks ago returned to the
house of the Father. I prayerfully share your sentiments.

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ENDOW: a new Feminism Catholic style

ENDOW.jpgENDOW (Educating on the Nature & Dignity of Women) is a Catholic educational program bringing women together to discover what it means to be a woman, made in God’s image and likeness holding a God-given dignity known in being a person. ENDOW is a new feminism promoting the beauty of being a woman.

ENDOW is work was begun in the Archdiocese of Denver and because of its importance the archbishop gave ENDOW a moral standing in the Church by making it a private juridic person. ENDOW exists in 87 dioceses in the USA and a few in Canada. Before ENDOW begins its work in a particular (arch)diocese it asks the permission of the diocesan bishop for his approval and blessing.

The Religious Sisters of Mercy (Alma) helped to write the formation materials aimed at cultivating a true sense of what it means to be a woman through faith, friendship and formation. ENDOW is oriented to the various ages of women in the groups. Age differential helps women work with each other based on experience and wisdom. 

What is a woman’s human dignity? Why is it important to have an appreciation for a woman’s human dignity? First, we have to understand and accept that our value comes from God the Father; that the God created us specifically. Second, we need to have understanding that we live in a relationship of love of/with God, self and the other. Love is sacrificial (sometimes we have to give up our plans for the sake of another) and we find ourselves in giving ourselves to another. Only in self-giving love do know who we are as persons. Therefore, our personhood is not determined by the culture at large. John Paul taught us that all people, particularly women as we are speaking of here, can humanize the context of our lives (at work, home, among friends), it is a special gift of being woman. People like John Paul and Benedict, and others, have said that  the whole world change for the better if you can change woman’s heart, form and heal the hurt of women. The culture has radically hurt women over the centuries that need for healing. Learning and living the truth of our personhood in light of what God intends for us to be will have implications for our lives in the areas of relationships, sex, work, having a healthy psychology, physicality, etc.
Find out by reading about a woman’s dignity as developed on Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Women and Mulieris Dignitatem.
This is not a self-help program. It is an educational program in contact with the Lord. God determines who we are as persons, made in His image and likeness. Courses proposed by ENDOW are offered for adults and youth; it’s supposed to be parish based but some study circles may happen at home; groups of 8-12 are generally the norm. Study guides and leader training guides are available. The idea is to function more-or-less like a “book club” but the work done on a text is meant to dig deeply into faith formation of/for women among friends.
I would hope parishes and Catholic chaplaincies at high schools and universities would adopt the ENDOW methodology.

Human dignity leads to a free society: get on board with the World Youth Alliance TODAY

Are you a member of the World Youth Alliance? Do you believe that young people can change our current culture to one that is based on the dignity of the human person and you want to help us share the experience of human dignity and solidarity with more young people?

Visit the WYA website today, and share it with your friends!

It’s about dignity!


WYA Charter


The World Youth Alliance is composed of young men and women from every part of the world. In cooperation with other organs of the international community, primarily the United Nations and the European Union, the World Youth Alliance is committed to building free and just societies through a culture of life. That culture affirms the inalienable dignity of the person, defends the intrinsic right to life, nurtures the family, and fosters a social climate favorable to integral development, solidarity, and mutual respect.


We recognize that the intrinsic dignity of the person is the foundation of every human right. We believe this dignity is independent of any individual condition and that no human community can grant or rescind that dignity.


We are convinced that the intrinsic dignity possessed by every human being from conception to natural death is the foundation of everyone’s right to life. We believe that this inalienable right to life is the basis of a free and just society and we believe that society through law and culture has an obligation to protect the dignity of the person and thus protect the right to life.


We affirm that the fundamental unit of human society is the family, where men and women learn to live in genuine freedom and solidarity, and where individuals are equipped to fulfill their social obligations. We believe that the political community at the local, national and international level is obliged to protect and nurture the family.


We believe that the authentic development of society can occur only in a culture that fosters integral human development – characterized by physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional growth, in a climate of respect for the human person and the family.


We invite all those who share these convictions to join us in affirming them and give them effect in public life at all levels.


Robert George speaks on religion, dignity, Christian History & the Constitution

Robert George.jpgRobert George is the Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, where he teaches Constitutional Law and Political Philosophy. As a leading scholar of Natural Law, we interviewed him about the role of religion and tradition in the so-called United States Constitutional Experiment. His contribution takes a proper place in the current debate about the relationship between state, religion and society.

A. P. : Do you think that religion is meaningful to interpret the US Constitution?

R. G.: Yes. The US is a religious Country. It remains a much more religious Country than most of the Countries of continental Europe. And this is not new. The American Revolution was not like the French Revolution. The American Revolution was not an anti-religious revolution. On the contrary, it appealed to the core ideas of ethical monotheism, which are derived from the witness of the Bible. The language of the Declaration of Independence represents an interpretation of the idea from Genesis that all the men are created in the Image and Likeness of God. This is the foundation of the principle of equality – which, in turn, is the foundation of democracy. Democracy is based on the idea that all men are equal and worth of dignity. And they have right to have their opinion taken into account for the formation of the public policy. This is true if and only if human beings have an equal dignity.

What is the source of that dignity? The Declaration of Independence says it is because of our Creator – that God created us equal. Again, this is the reflection of the Biblical idea that we are created at the image and likeness of God. We have reason, and we have freedom – we have these powers, which are small but meaningful share in God’s own powers. So, the US is truly a religious country, even in the sense that our Constitutional principles are considered the effectuation of the declaration of independence.

As late as 1953 Justice William O. Douglas – which is much recorded from the left wing of American politics and Constitutional interpretation –  could still say in the decision Zorach vs. Clauson: “We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose the Supreme Being.” And this is true. Our institutions presuppose the idea that there is a Supreme Being, a God who is the Source of human dignity and human equality.

A. P.: So you mean that Christianity and Christian history does matter, even in policy, right now?

R. G.: Yes, of course. But not simply Christian history. It is the Biblical witness. The ethical monotheism. Something which is common to Christian and Jews, and perhaps even to Muslims, although I don’t know the Muslim tradition very well. But it is not a specific Christian tradition. US weren’t just founded under the preposition that Christ is the Son of God, or that God is three Persons in the Trinity, but on the proposition that there is a Divine Ruler and Judge of the Universe. According to the Declaration of Independence, for instance, there is a Divine Ruler and Judge of the Universe and that we are His children, and share a profound and equal dignity as a result of our relationship to Him.

So, all the American policies are supposed to be in line with this idea that all men are created equal, that there is a Creator and that all of us share His Image and Likeness so we own dignity and must be respected, via the political institutions and society.

A. P.: Which is the role of tradition in American Constitutional history, in your opinion? Does tradition play some role in interpreting Constitution?

R. G.: In my opinion the question touches the sources of Constitution. These are the text, the logical implications of the provisions of the text, the structure of the document, the provisions within the document and its historical understanding.

It is in this broad sense – the historical understanding of the text – that tradition plays a role. We look at what was the goal of those who were responsible in making the Constitution. These goals are meant to be the effectuation of the values for the sake of which the Constitution was created and the institutions put into place. In our commitment to understand them, for example, we can consider the “equal dignity of the human person”. The Declaration of Independence, which was the founding document of the American regime, says “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. The Constitution, ratified many years later, was meant to give life to these principles.

So our tradition is one of respect to these principles and the role of the Constitution is to give life to them. So our tradition of Constitutional interpretation pays attention of the historical purposes of the Constitution. So this, too, might be understood as a role that tradition plays in the interpretation of our Constitution.

A. P.: So which is your opinion about Justice Scalia’s approach, who pays much attention to the Framers?

R. G.: Scalia is not purported to get into the subjective consciousness of the Framers who ratified the Constitution, but rather to recover what was understood, at the time of the ratification by all those who deliberated and participated in the debate on the particular provisions of the Constitution, should be ratified.

That attempt to recover the understanding is itself something difficult and is a matter of tradition: the historical understanding of the text and the meaning of the text of the Constitution. So I think this is the role for tradition.

We also have a common law tradition, which has an impressive difference from continental European systems. Tradition inside the tradition: this is the idea that the decisions can establish a tradition, which should be respected even if decisions in the first instance are not entirely correct.


Interview with Robert George by Andrea Pin from the Oasis Center

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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