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Young man healed by Padre Pio recounts story of miraculous cure

Madrid, Spain, Nov 19, 2018 / 07:46 pm (ACI Prensa).- Matteo Pio Colella was just 7 years old when he contracted a deadly disease. Doctors believed there was no hope for the boy, but he made a full recovery. His cure was the miracle that paved the way for the canonization of St. Padre Pio by Pope John Paul II in June 2002.

Colella, now 27, gave an exclusive interview to ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language sister agency, on the occasion of the pre-release of the film “El Misterio del Padre Pío” (The Mystery of Padre Pio) in Madrid.

The documentary is directed by writer and filmmaker José María Zavala and includes Colella's testimony.

“I wasn't feeling well,” he recalled. “I told my mother that I didn't want to go to school, but she made me go because at that time I didn't like school. That same night, when my mother came to say goodnight, I didn't recognize her, and so they immediately took me to the hospital.”

On Jan. 20, 2000, Colella was diagnosed with acute fulminant meningitis, caused by bacteria. The disease had affected his kidneys, his respiratory system and blood clotting. He was immediately admitted to the hospital founded by Padre Pio, the “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” (Home for the Relief of Suffering), located in San Giovanni Rotondo where the saint's monastery is.

The following day, Colella went into a coma. His health deteriorated drastically, and doctors considered him a lost cause, thinking he would die within a few hours.

While Colella was in this critical condition, his mother Maria Lucia went to pray over the tomb of Padre Pio to ask for her son's healing.

“During the coma,” Colella recounted, “I saw Padre Pio in a dream on my right and three angels on the left. One with golden wings and a white tunic and the two others with white wings and a red tunic. Padre Pio, on my right, told me not to worry because I would soon be cured. In fact, my cure was like the resurrection of Lazarus.”

And that's exactly what happened. The doctors considered Colella to be clinically dead, but he came back to life.

The young man is grateful to Padre Pio for his intercession. He said he considers the saint to be like a grandfather in whom he can confide.

“I have always thought that I have received an enormous grace for which I must be thankful. When I talk to someone who doesn't believe, I tell him 'I'm here. For science it's inexplicable, but there is another explanation that we can't understand'.”

 

 

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

 

Australian senator announces gender swap so he can speak on abortion issues

Canberra, Australia, Nov 19, 2018 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- After being slammed for his religion and told he would never understand abortion because it is a women’s issue, Australian senator Barry O’Sullivan declared himself a woman before parliament last week so that he could speak about abortion issues.

“I’m going to declare my gender today, as I can, to be a woman, and then you’ll no longer be able to attack me,” O’Sullivan told fellow representatives at parliament Nov. 14.

The declaration was part of longer and heated remarks given by the senator, who said he was tired of the “vomit” and “vitriol” he received from far-right colleagues whenever he tried to raise “issues around strong values.”

Earlier that week, O’Sullivan, a Catholic, had motioned for pro-choice protesters to be banned from the annual pro-life Day of the Unborn Child events. This prompted Larissa Waters of the Australian Greens party to say that O’Sullivan would never understand abortion as a women’s issue.

"Senator O'Sullivan needs to get his hands and his rosaries off my ovaries and those of the 10,000 Queensland women who have an abortion each year," Waters said, according to the Australian Associated Press.

She later complied with a request to withdraw her comment on the grounds that it attacked O’Sullivan’s religion.

“You cannot say the word abortion without being attacked..” O’Sullivan said in his remarks Nov. 14.

“These people come and attack me for my religion...using words like ‘rosary beads’, because I had the audacity to raise issues around late-term abortions, where babies who are only minutes away from getting a smack on the ass and a name, are being aborted under the policies of the Australian Greens,” he said.

“So I will not stand silent, I will not stand mute while these people try to continue to marginalize policies and ideas that we want to continue to discuss for this nation,” he continued.

O’Sullivan said that he believes many of the “values” issues he raises, including pro-life positions, reflect the values of an “ever-increasingly silent majority” of Australians, who are afraid to speak up for fear of being attacked for their beliefs.

“I’ve moved sensible motions here, reflecting the views of many people in our society, only to have formality denied,” he said, just before declaring his gender to be a woman.

“It is dispicable the behaviour of these people, for them to come in here with the freedom that they do, and that vomit, that vitriol that comes out of their mouths, it needs to be called out,” he added.

The senator’s gender-swap declaration sparked comments mostly of ridicule and disdain on social media. It also launched an extensive debate on Wikipedia about whether to change the pronouns on O’Sullivan's page from “he/him” to “she/her.”

Kenya bans Marie Stopes from performing, advertising abortions

Nairobi, Kenya, Nov 19, 2018 / 04:07 pm (CNA).- Kenyan authorities have banned the international abortion group Marie Stopes from offering any form of abortions in the country. This comes after a government agency investigated complaints that the group was promoting abortion through its advertisements.

Marie Stopes is a UK-based organization that claims to be the “world's largest provider of contraception and safe abortion services” and operates in 37 countries, according to its website.

Abortion is not permitted under the Constitution of Kenya, unless “there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger,” or if otherwise permitted by law. The exceptions were added to the Constitution in 2010.  

The Medical Practitioners Board of Kenya sent a letter to Marie Stopes last week, saying the board was acting on complaints from, among others, the campaign manager at a campaign group called CitizenGo Africa. The pro-life organization had been campaigning for an investigation of Marie Stopes’ advertising practices since last year.  

“Marie Stopes Kenya is hereby directed to immediately cease and desist offering any form of abortion services in all its facilities within the republic,” a Nov. 14 letter from the Kenyan Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board read.

The letter also ordered Maries Stopes Kenya to submit weekly reports for the next 60 days of “all services rendered within all its facilities.”

Ezekiel Mutua, head of the Kenyan government agency in charge of approving advertisements, welcomed the ban, saying in a statement that the Kenya Film Classification Board had banned abortion advertisements by Marie Stopes Kenya in September, but “the organization defied our ban and continued to run unrated and illegal adverts.”

He said the board had also ordered Marie Stopes to “pull down all misleading information on their abortion services from all media platforms.”  

Marie Stopes had been operating in Kenya since 1985, BBC reports. The Kenyan Ministry of Health reported in May that the country had spent 533 million Kenyan shillings ($5.29 million) treating complications from back-alley abortions.

 

New Mexico legislators want to repeal state's abortion ban

Santa Fe, N.M., Nov 19, 2018 / 03:29 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A group of New Mexican legislators seeks to overturn a state law that would make abortion illegal if Roe v. Wade were overturned, part of a developing trend among the handful of states with laws that criminalize abortion.

Currently, New Mexico law states it is a felony for an abortionist to perform an abortion, with exceptions for rape, birth defects, and to preserve the health of the mother. This law, which dates to the 1960s, has not been enforced since 1973, when the Supreme Court found a right to an abortion throughout a woman’s pregnancy.

Rep. Joanne Ferrary (D-Las Cruces) intends to introduce a bill in the next legislative session that would remove this law from the books. This proposed bill is supported by the state’s governor-elect, Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), as well as the state’s House Speaker and Senate majority leader. The legislative leaders have tabbed the bill as a “high priority” for the upcoming session of the legislature.

Lujan Grisham said that she believes the law criminalizing abortion to be “antiquated” and one that would “punish women.” She has pledged to sign the bill if it were passed through the legislature.

Similar efforts to repeal this law, under outgoing Gov. Susana Martinez (R), failed.

As of now, nine states, including New Mexico, have laws that would ban abortion. Four additional states – Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota – have what are known as “trigger laws” that would ban abortion if the Roe decision were overturned.

With the recent confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, expectations that the decision might be overturned have been heightened. Those who are in favor of abortion rights are moving to change various laws that would be enforced if abortion were once again left to the states to decide.

Until July, Massachusetts had a 19th-century law on the books that made the act of “procuring a miscarriage” illegal. Similar to New Mexico’s law, this has not been enforced since 1973. That law was repealed with the passage of the “Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women Act,” which was commonly known as the “NASTY Women Act.”

On the other end of the abortion law spectrum, the Ohio House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would make abortion illegal after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. The fetal heartbeat can be detected at around six weeks gestation, before some women even are aware they are pregnant.

Previously, this bill has been vetoed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), although Kasich has signed many more abortion restrictions into law.

A request to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe for comment on the bill was not responded to in time for publication.

NJ dioceses to form compensation program for child victims of clerical abuse

Newark, N.J., Nov 19, 2018 / 03:16 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archdiocese of Newark announced Monday that New Jersey’s five dioceses will together form a Victim Compensation and Counseling Program in the coming year, and will release the names of all priests in the state who have been accused of sexual misconduct against minors.

Although the precise details of this program have not yet been finalized, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark said in a statement published on the archdiocese’s webpage Nov. 19, they will be soon and information will be released at that time.

This program will assist dioceses with resources in order to provide compensation for those who were victimized as children by clergy or employees of Catholic dioceses in New Jersey, who are unable to file civil suits due to the state’s statute of limitations.

“This will give victims a formal voice and allow them to be heard by an independent panel,” said the statement. Cardinal Tobin added, “the Program also will assure that victims who have not received any financial compensation will be paid, regardless of whether their claims meet the time requirements of the statute of limitations.”

The Catholic Church in New Jersey has already paid out more than $50 million in financial settlements to those who were sexually abused as children by members of the clergy or diocesan employees in the state.

In addition to financial compensation, this new program will establish “permanent funding” for counseling for abuse survivors. This counseling “so often is needed to help in the healing of those who have been harmed.”

This past September, New Jersey’s Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the creation of a task force in the state to investigate the allegations of sexual abuse and cover up.

“No person is above the law and no institution is immune from accountability,” said Grewal in September.

“We will devote whatever resources are necessary to uncover the truth and bring justice to victims.”

Ahead of the release of this report, and in coordination with the task force, Cardinal Tobin said that New Jersey’s dioceses will “undertake a complete review of their files” and release the names of all priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. This list is expected to be released in early 2019.

“It is hoped that these steps will aid in the process of healing for victims, who are deserving of our support and prayers,” said the statement.

Notably, the statement did not include any information about compensation or counseling for adults who were victimized by members of the clergy in New Jersey, instead focusing on those who were abused as minors.

In the early 2000s, the Archdiocese of Newark and the Dioceses of Trenton and Metuchen paid settlements to men who allege they were abused by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick when they were adults studying in seminary. These settlements were not public knowledge until the summer of 2018, after two men came forward to say that they had been molested by McCarrick as minors.

Shortly after McCarrick’s second survivor came forward, McCarrick stepped down from the College of Cardinals. McCarrick has since been sentenced to a life of prayer and penance until a canonical trial can be conducted. He is currently residing at a friary in Kansas.