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Catholic Group Warns Rauner: Support for Abortion Funding Will Sink Re-Election

CHICAGO, Feb. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —, a national Catholic advocacy group is warning Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner that support for new legislation forcing taxpayers to directly fund abortion will effectively doom his re-election bid in 2018. President Brian Burch issued the following statement:

“We have been following the developments surrounding H.B. 40, a new spending bill pending before the Illinois General Assembly that, if passed, would authorize the use of state dollars to fund abortion services for qualified Medicaid recipients. Should Governor Rauner sign the bill as it is currently written, pro-life voters will be left with no choice but to oppose his candidacy next year.

“We have been in conversation with pro-life groups around the state.  The overwhelming consensus is that support for any legislation that would coerce Illinois taxpayers into directly funding abortion would disqualify him from receiving their support.

“We understand Governor Rauner has been unfairly blamed for the budget crisis and financial catastrophe created by Democrat political leaders in recent decades. The state owes $10 billion in unpaid bills, with tens of billions more in unfunded liabilities.  Yet now politicians want to spend scarce state resources to pay for abortions.  Rauner’s support of this reckless bill would rip apart the Republican Party and destroy any chance of his re-election.

“Let me be clear.  If Governor Rauner signs the bill as written, we will urge our members along with every pro-life voter in the state to support an alternative candidate — or to abstain from voting for his re-election.  And we won’t be the only group doing so.

“Governor Rauner pledged to remain neutral on social issues.  He repeatedly said he does not have a social agenda yet is already defending himself in a lawsuit for breaking this promise.  If Bruce Rauner signs his name to this abortion spending bill, he cannot be trusted with another term as Governor.”, a national faith-based advocacy group with over 600,000 members and is based in Madison, WI.


On Path to Sainthood, Catholic Priest will Receive Medal of Honor

English: Roman Catholic Chaplain Emil J. Kapau...

English: Roman Catholic Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun, United States Army (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More than 60 years after his death as a POW, Fr. Emil Kapaun to receive nation’s highest award for bravery

ATLANTA, Feb. 27, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — He was a soldier. He was a war hero. He was a priest. His Cause for Canonization is being considered by the Vatican. And now Fr. Emil Kapaun will receive the Medal of Honor from the President of the United States.

Fr. Emil’s heroic story will be told in the soon-to-be-released book “The Miracle of Father Kapaun,” published by Ignatius Press. One of the most remarkable aspects of his story surrounds the atypical movement of support for both his sainthood cause and his Medal of Honor award. The witnesses to both his sanctity and his bravery have come from non-Catholics, men of Jewish faith, Muslim faith and Protestant tradition, who served with Fr. Kapaun in battle or in the brutality of conditions where he drew his last breath — a prisoner of war camp.

Fr. Kapaun died as a prisoner of war, and the Korean War veterans who served with him, who were saved by him, have lobbied the Army for more than 60 years to award Kapaun the Medal of Honor for his acts of bravery. They have also spent years petitioning the Vatican to elevate him to Sainthood because of what they witnessed on the battlefield.

Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying, the authors of “The Miracle of Father Kapaun,” interviewed the dozens of men who survived the POW camp because of the courageous acts of this young priest. “They said he repeatedly ran through machine gun fire, dragging wounded soldiers to safety. In the prison camp, he shaped roofing tin into cooking pots so prisoners could boil water, which prevented dysentery. He picked lice off sick prisoners. He stole food from his captors and shared it with his starving comrades. Most of all, Kapaun rallied all of them, as they starved during subzero temperatures, to stay alive. When their future seemed hopeless, he persuaded them to hope. Hundreds died in the camps, but hundreds more survived,” recounts Wenzl and Heying.

One of the surviving POWs, who will be at the award ceremony in April at the White House, said Fr. Kapaun was murdered by Chinese prison camp guards in 1951 because he openly defied many of the camp rules, including praying the rosary with other prisoners. Mike Dowe, who like dozens of other survivors of the camp has petitioned both Congress and the Vatican for these honors, recalls that by the time Kapaun died, Protestants and men of other beliefs were praying the Catholic rosary and were openly resisting the Chinese torture.

Since opening Kapaun’s Cause for Canonization in 1993, there have already been several allegations of miracles — healings attributed to Fr. Kapaun’s intercession that defy scientific explanation. These cures have been witnessed once again by non-Catholics — doctors, in fact, who can attribute no logical answer to the healing of seriously ill or injured individuals.

The last surviving members of Fr. Kapaun’s immediate family and several of the living POWs who served with him will travel to Washington, D.C., for the Medal of Honor award ceremony on April 11.

Anglican Parish in Orlando to Become Catholic on Sept. 16 140 People to be Received into Catholic Church

Cover of "United States Catholic Catechis...

Cover via Amazon

The clergy and 140 parishioners of the former Anglican Cathedral of the Incarnation will be received into the Catholic Church on Sunday, Sept. 16, during a 10:15 a.m. Mass of Reception at the church, 1515 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, Florida 32804. Orlando Bishop John Noonan will participate.

Incarnation was the home church for the Anglican Pro-Diocese of the Holy Family, under the guidance of former Anglican Bishop Louis Campese. He is among those becoming Catholic on Sept. 16. During the Mass, parishioners will be confirmed or, if previously Catholic, received back into the Catholic Church by Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, the head of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter and a former Episcopal bishop who is based in Houston, Texas.

Incarnation is the first parish community in Florida to become Catholic as part of the Ordinariate. Equivalent to a diocese, though national in scope, the Ordinariate was established by Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year for Anglican groups and clergy seeking to become Catholic as a group, while retaining elements of the Anglican heritage and liturgy. There are only three Ordinariates in the world, in the US/Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Since January, nearly 20 communities and 22 former Anglican or Episcopal priests across the United States and Canada have become Catholic through the Ordinariate. This includes Reverend Nick Marziani, a former Anglican priest in St. Augustine, Florida.

“We rejoice with the people of the Incarnation Church for their faithfulness. We pray for them on this holy day that they may live steadfast to the Lord’s covenant,” Bishop Noonan noted.

“We offer a very special ‘thank you’ to the Holy Father for making this day possible for our community to be part of the Catholic Church and to guide us so that we are able to obey our Lord, in his prayer to the Father, as in John 17,” Louis Campese said.

In preparation for their reception into the Church, the members of Incarnation participated in Catholic religious education classes, studying the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.

• U.S. Ordinariate: and
• Church of the Incarnation:

Goodness Reigns Launches Its First ‘Mini Contest’ on Natural Family Planning

Jesus Christ - detail from Deesis mosaic, Hagi...

Jesus Christ – detail from Deesis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Effort Seeks to Increase Awareness of the NFP Lifestyle and Its Benefits for Couples, Society.

LOUISVILLE, May 18, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — It’s green. It’s scientific. It’s holistic and builds strong marriages. Explore these and other reasons for Natural Family Planning — a pivotal teaching and lifestyle choice — while making a short video. Goodness Reigns shows you how, offers incentives for doing it and will provide an online platform for your work.

Building on its mission to engage young adults and media makers to explore important faith-related issues through media and art, Goodness Reigns is launching its first Mini Contest, a short video competition entitled “Natural Family Planning: The Better Way.”

Prizes include a Panasonic GH2 camera, a Manfroto monopod or the choice of a $1,000 gift card to B&H Photo.

Anyone may enter the contest by submitting a video under 5 minutes that either explains or explores Natural Family Planning. Submissions will be accepted from May 25 to June 25 through the Goodness Reigns website,

Winners will be announced July 16, at which time the public will be invited to participate in a People’s Choice voting period until July 22. The People’s Choice winner will be announced on July 23.

Never made a video? Participants may find helpful tips by visiting the online Goodness Reigns Film School found at From using simple equipment to getting great sound, filmmaker Gabriel Castillo explains how to create better videos for those interested in using media production as a tool in their ministry. Baptized Catholic but “raised a pagan,” Gabriel’s pursuit of a college degree brought him home to his faith and has enkindled in him a passion for sharing it through media. His short videos on video production will instruct, entertain and inspire those interested in using technology to share with our culture the way to complete joy through Jesus Christ.

Approaches to presenting material in the Mini Contest may be diverse. Whether choosing to make a documentary, a commercial-style short, an animated cartoon, a news story with interviews or some other approach, all are welcomed.

The Mini Contest is a new offering from Goodness Reigns, which orchestrated an international video contest that brought together many young amateur filmmakers from the United States, India and Mexico for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain. There, they presented their videos to other WYD pilgrims and developed friendships and future contacts for collaboration. A similar contest will be launched in July 2012 leading up to WYD 2013 in Brazil.

All contest films, including those from the Mini Contest, will become part of an online media archive accessible to catechists, teachers and anyone interested in learning more about the Catholic faith and lifestyle.

For more information about the Mini Contest or Goodness Reigns, or to schedule an interview with Goodness Reigns filmmaker Gabriel Castillo or Suzanne Haugh, the executive director of Goodness Reigns, please contact Kevin Wandra at 678-990-9032 or

Relics of Six Knights of Columbus Martyrs from Mexico Launched US Tour in Houston This Weekend

Members of the Knights of Columbus salute duri...

Members of the Knights of Columbus salute during the welcoming ceremony for Pope Benedict XVI, Wednesday, April 16, 2008, on the South Lawn of the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HOUSTON, April 28, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Relics of six Knights of Columbus canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000 have launched a tour of several American cities this weekend in Houston. The Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston  hosted the relics beginning with a special Mass Friday evening for the Knights of Columbus Texas State Convention. The relics will remain in the church for veneration during the regularly scheduled weekend Masses Saturday evening and all day Sunday.
The six priests — Fathers Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero, Miguel de la Mora de la Mora, Jose Maria Robles Hurtado, Luis Batiz Sainz, Rodrigo Aguilar Aleman, and Mateo Correa Magallanes — were all martyred for their faith by the Mexican government during the religious persecution in Mexico in the early 20th century.
Following Houston, the relics will visit Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles, and San Antonio.
Thousands of the faithful turned out in 2005 for a previous pilgrimage of these relics in cities around the United States — from Dallas to Philadelphia to Los Angeles and members of the Media are welcome of cover the visit of the relics.
“For many years, this period of history has been all but forgotten on both sides of the border,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “This year, with the release of both a major motion picture and a book on this subject, the story of the struggle for religious freedom in Mexico will begin to be told. It is our hope that the pilgrimage of these relics will remind us all of the sacrifices made on behalf of religious liberty on this continent less than 100 years ago. It is a timely reminder that — from Ancient Rome to 1920s Mexico to today — persecution does not stifle the faith, but emboldens it.”
For Greater Glory — a film being released June 1– takes the history of this period to the big screen with an all-star cast including Andy Garcia, Peter O’Toole and Eva Longoria.
During the persecution of Catholics in Mexico by President Plutarco Elas Calles, the Knights of Columbus stood in solidarity with Catholics in Mexico raising funds for humanitarian relief of those displaced and for the education of the American public regarding the horrific facts of the persecution. A delegation of the Knights of Columbus met with President Calvin Coolidge in 1926 to discuss ways in which the U.S. government could influence the Mexican government to end the persecution.
Despite the support of the Calles regime and its anti-Catholic policies by the a number of American groups — including the Ku Klux Klan — the pressure brought by the Knights of Columbus and others had an effect and, in 1929, the U.S. government helped broker an agreement between the Mexican government and the Catholic Church, ending the worst of the persecution.
Relics have long been a part of Catholic devotional practice. Since the days of the Apostles, Christians have preserved and honored the physical remains of men and women recognized as saints.
The Knights of Columbus is active throughout the United States and Mexico — as well worldwide in Asia, Europe, and throughout North America Knights number more than 1.8 million members worldwide.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson to Address 8th Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

This year’s breakfast to focus on ‘Religious Liberty: Threatened at Home and Abroad’

Contact: Andrew Walther, Knights of Columbus, 203-752-4253, 203-824-5412 (cellular),

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Addressing a burning issue for Catholics nationwide — religious liberty — Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight

The emblem of the Knights of Columbus

The emblem of the Knights of Columbus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

will serve as guest speaker at this year’s Eighth Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

Also speaking will be Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio to the United Nations, who will deliver the keynote address.

“Seldom has religious liberty been threatened in so many places in the world, and never before in this country’s history have people of faith faced such widespread threats to their religious freedom as they face today here in the United States,” said Supreme Knight Anderson. “For Catholics, and all people of faith, this is a critical moment.”

America’s Catholic bishops — and organizations such as the Knights of Columbus — have been strong and vocal in their defense of the First Amendment’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion. This has come in the face of a series of government actions designed to curb religious liberty — such as in the Hosanna Tabor case in which the limits to religious liberty sought by the federal government were rejected 9-0 by the Supreme Court, and more recently with the HHS mandate, which forces employers to cover sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraception at no cost to employees.

More than 800 people will attend the breakfast at the Marriott Wardman Park at 7:15 AM on Thursday, April 19.

Carl Anderson leads the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic organization and one of the nation’s most active charitable groups. Previously, he served as acting director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, and for a decade on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller A Civilization of Love: what every Catholic can do to transform the world. He holds several appointments to Vatican committees and to committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Last year, under his leadership, the Knights of Columbus donated nearly $155 million and 70 million hours to charitable causes.

Media are welcome and media seating at the breakfast has been arranged. Please RSVP to

Medical Professionals Can Practice Their Faith While Practicing Medicine

HHS Mandate is a Battle, the War is Rights of Conscience, Says Life Legal Defense Foundation

SAN FRANCISCO, March 28, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — The war over Obamacare has spilled onto the streets and is being waged in the Supreme Court. Citizens are fighting for their rights — and the right of conscience is center stage. This weekend, the battle moves to San Francisco where a unique gathering, “Make Straight the Pathway,” tackles the right of conscience head-on.

“This is about having the freedom to act in accordance with what one believes is right. We recognize conscientious objectors in war — the Obama healthcare mandates are just as deadly,” explained Dana Cody, Executive Director of the

San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge at night

San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge at night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(LLDF), which is hosting the conference.

Since 1989 LLDF has defended the civil rights of pro-life advocates and has advised them on rights of conscience. However, in 2011, LLDF received exponentially more legal counsel calls from medical professionals who had conscientious objections to dispensing drugs harmful to human life. Of primary concern were contraceptives.

Make Straight the Pathway presents an integrated and unified solution for Catholic healthcare reform and has drawn the attention of religious and healthcare leaders from across the country. Attendance at the symposium will include healthcare administrators, medical practitioners, pastors, lay leaders, hospital workers, and concerned citizens from across the faith, health, and political arenas.

Ms. Cody, one of the presenters at the event, will address how to:

  • Advocate for state and federal public policy that actively protects and promotes religious liberty and individual right of conscience in healthcare, and allows all Americans to select qualified health plans that do not violate their religious liberty.
  • Develop Culture of Life Primary Care Medical Centers.
  • Establish a National Catholic Health Plan that is Christ-centered and consistent with the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) of Catholic Healthcare.

San Francisco’s harmonious Hotel Kabuki provides the setting for the three-day conference, March 29 through March 31. The seminar’s focus is on equipping attendees for right of conscience advocacy. “The goal is to collectively push for state and federal policy that actively protects and promotes religious liberty and individual right of conscience in healthcare,” said Cody, “because each American should have the freedom to select qualified health plans that do not violate their religious liberty.”

Bishop Robert E. Vasa of the Diocese of Santa Rosa will speak on “Giving Poisoned Water to the Thirsty.” Vasa has been outspoken on life issues and healthcare and is a noted advocate for making Catholic-based healthcare more intentionally Catholic. As the March 20, 2010 letter from the U.S. Bishops to Congress stated, “Healthcare reform that protects the life and dignity of all, especially the poor and vulnerable, is a moral imperative and an urgent national priority.”

About the conference: Make Straight the Pathway: An Integrated and Unified Solution for Catholic Healthcare Reform, March 29 – March 31, 2012, Hotel Kabuki and St. Mary’s Cathedral event center, San Francisco, CA. Presented by the Life Legal Defense Foundation and Christus Medicus Foundation. More information is available at the LLDF website 

About the Life Legal Defense Foundation
Life Legal Defense Foundation is a non-profit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens, committed to giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms of our nation. For more information, go to

A Breakthrough in Jewish-Catholic Relations

Woodcut carved by Johann von Armssheim (1483)....

Image via Wikipedia

NEW YORK, March 1, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — A dream was actualized this week as a delegation of young Catholic Priests from Latin American, along with their local Jewish clergy counterparts, completed a Jewish-Christian educational mission in Israel.

While in Israel the delegation discovered commonalities between their faiths, studied their joint histories, and established important groundwork including practical models to advance Jewish-Catholic relations back in their respective communities.

Participants joined from Brazil, Argentina and Colombia thanks to three partnering organizations who worked in tandem to make this opportunity a reality – the World Jewish Diplomatic Corps (WJDC), the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) and the Latin American Jewish Congress (LAJC). Priests were selected in cooperation with the Archbishops of São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Bogota.

“Since the Second Vatican Council, many Catholic and Jewish theologians have paved the way for our moment together in Israel,” said CJCUC’s Founder and Chancellor Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. He added “Unfortunately, both the Jewish and Christian communities are still unaware of these advancements. The purpose of this mission was to equip and empower these young priests to bring knowledge and understanding to their communities.”

Rabbis and Jewish educators also participated to aid and facilitate future, follow-up programming at the local levels. “There is no question an experience in Israel can transform a person; however, once that individual goes home, it is easy to return back to the responsibilities of everyday life,” said Claudio Epelman, Executive Director of the LAJC. “It is important we provide a network of local support and resources to help these leaders build upon what they learned in the Holy Land.”

Half of the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world live in the Americas. “Pockets of cooperation exist between the Jewish and Catholic communities in Latin America, but a deeper acquaintance and cooperation is needed in this important continent,” remarked Adam Koffler, Chairman of the WJDC. Koffler added, “We are living in a new era in Jewish-Catholic relations where both faith communities can play a significant role in solving global issues together.”

In addition to high-profile meetings with Bishop William Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop and Patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem at the Latin Patriarchate, and Israeli Ambassador (ret.) Oded Eran the delegation visited both Jewish and Christian holy sites throughout the country and had opportunities to learn from experienced theologians working to advance Jewish-Catholic relations for decades.

Commenting on the importance to visit Israel and learn about the advancements of Jewish-Catholic relations, Father Pedro Pereira of Brazil said, “here [in Brazil] we see the Jewish nation as a living covenantal faith community and not a relic in the past.” He added, “It also gave us insight in understanding Jewish identity and how that it is intertwined in a collective responsibility for all communities around the world.”

Statement by the Ordinary: Fr. Jeffrey Steenson

January 2, 2012

On behalf of so many pilgrims of Catholic unity who have looked forward to this day, I wish to thank His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, for this priceless gift, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under the patronage of Our Lady of Walsingham. I pray that we who will come into full communion through this Ordinariate will bring the Holy Father much joy through our love and faithful service to the Catholic Church. To His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl and His Excellencies Kevin Vann of Fort Worth and Robert McManus of Worcester: thank you for laying this good foundation for the Ordinariate. To His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo-thank you for your generous hospitality in providing for our principal church and a place in the University of St. Thomas and St. Mary’s Seminary for the formation of our future clergy. And, personally, to His Excellency, Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe, who brought me into the Church and ordained me: my wife and I love you dearly. You all represent so many people who have worked so hard to bring the Holy Father’s vision to reality!

I ask for your prayers for me and for those who will become members of the Ordinariate. There is so much to learn, and it is a steep learning curve. Be patient with us as we embark on this journey. Pray that we may strive to learn the faith, laws, and culture of the Catholic Church with humility and good cheer. But pray too that we do not forget who we are and where we have come from, for we have been formed in the beautiful and noble Anglican tradition. The Holy Father has asked us to bring this patrimony with us: “to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared” [Anglicanorum coetibus 3]. Here is one thing I earnestly desire to share with you from the outset: Anglican spirituality has always emphasized the need to be gentlemanly in all of our relationships. May you see in us always the virtue of courtesy!

The parishes and communities of the Ordinariate have been called, not to live in relative isolation, but to be fully engaged in the life of the local diocese; not to be assimilated, but to be integrated into the rich life of the Catholic Church. This Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter must be, above all else, an effective instrument for evangelization. But Jesus taught us that the unity of Christian people is the essential condition for evangelization (John 17:21). So this must be our hallmark:to build bridges, to be an instrument of peace and reconciliation, to be a sign of what Christian unity might look like. And gaudete in Domino semper (Philippians 4:4) to be joyful and happy Catholics!

The establishment of the Personal Ordinariate is an historic moment in the history of the Church. For perhaps the first time since the Reformation in the 16th century, a corporate structure has been given to assist those who in conscience seek to return to the fold of St. Peter and his successors. But I would like to go back a little further, to the end of the 6th century, to see that this is not such a new thing. Pope Gregory the Great writes to St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, recently arrived from Rome, to urge him always to be a gracious and patient pastor in the way he gathers his flock. Anglicans love to read these letters, preserved in the Venerable Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, for they are a great witness to how the Church gathers her people from many different cultures and lands. The decree which this day establishes the Ordinariate begins with these words: “The supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls. As such, throughout its history, the Church has always found the pastoral and juridical means to care for the good of the people.” In what Pope Benedict has given us today, I hear the voice of Pope Gregory the Great: “For things are not to be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things” (1.27). What a beautiful testimony to all that Catholic Christianity is!

Fr. Jeffrey Steenson
Houston, Texas