April 27, 2007


Welcome, new Catholics


That simple, warm greeting demonstrates hospitality like no other word.

Now in the third week of Easter, we continue to repeat that phrase to the nearly 1,100 neophytes and new Catholics who were initiated or received into the full communion of the Catholic Church during the celebration of the Easter mysteries at churches in the archdiocese.

Catechumens—people not yet baptized—were baptized, confirmed and received their first Communion at the Easter Vigil. Candidates, who were already baptized Christians, entered the full communion of the Church by making a profession of faith, being confirmed and receiving their first Communion. We are very happy to welcome them all to our family of faith.

As you’ll read in this week’s issue of The Criterion, faith and family are very important to many of our newest Church members. In fact, some of the archdiocese’s newest Catholics recognized God’s invitation to come into the full communion of the Church through loved ones.

Now, as disciples of Christ, they join each of us who are called to proclaim and live the joyful Easter message.

As we walk together on life’s pilgrimage to the Father’s house, we encourage all people of faith to reflect on the words that Pope Benedict XVI delivered at his weekly audience on April 11, the first Wednesday after Easter.

“We, too, like Mary Magdalene and St. Thomas and other Apostles, are called to be witnesses of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ,” he said. “We can’t keep this great news to ourselves. We need to announce it to the whole world.”

Alleluia! Christ is risen. Indeed, he is risen. Alleluia!

— Mike Krokos

Building a culture of life

The Supreme Court has spoken.

As people of faith who have been voices for the voiceless for the past 34 years, we can offer prayers of thanks that, finally, one nationwide restriction on abortion has cleared all its political and judicial hurdles.

On April 18, the nation’s highest court voted 5-4 to uphold the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. The five justices who voted in favor of upholding the ban were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Voting in the minority were Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens.

While we will no doubt hear some groups argue why this decision—in their opinion—is a travesty of justice, let’s remind them what this heinous procedure is:

In what the law calls partial-birth abortion, also referred to as an “intact dilation and extraction,” a live fetus is partially delivered and an incision is made at the base of the skull, through which the brain is removed, and then the unborn child’s dead body is delivered the rest of the way.

Do opponents of the partial-birth abortion ban not comprehend how wrong this is?

As Catholics and Christians, we know life begins at conception. And our faith teaches us how it is paramount to protect all human life from conception to natural death.

While we may be critical of President George W. Bush’s policies in other arenas, we applaud him for sticking to his principles where this issue is concerned. The president, who signed the ban into law in 2003, called

partial-birth abortion an “abhorrent procedure” in an April 18 statement from the White House.

While praising the decision, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, head of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said, “The court’s decision does not affect the legal status of the great majority of abortions, and does not reverse past decisions claiming to find a right to abortion in the Constitution.

“However, it provides reasons for renewed hope and renewed effort on the part of pro-life Americans,” he said.

Though we can rejoice in this victory, the fight to protect the unborn continues.

May we indeed continue down this road of building a culture of life.

— Mike Krokos

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