2. Mr. Muehlenberg with some new figures on euthanasia in the Low Countries
3. More from Russia
From an article entitled "Obama faces Republican resistance over nuclear deal as Russia warns of new arms race" by one Giles Whittell and which appeared on page seventeen in the "WORLD" section of The Weekend Australian last Saturday and which is apparently not available on-line:
AFTER years of negotiations with Russia and months of lobbying congress, the White House has until Monday to persuade a single Republican senator to back a new nuclear arms treaty. Failure could start a new arms race, Moscow has warned.
Mr Obama has made the START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) treaty, which would slash the Russian and US long-range nuclear arsenals by a third, his foreign policy priority for this session of congress.
It has the support of the Krem-lin, the Pentagon, seven former commanders of the US's nuclear forces and five secretaries of state to Republican presidents.
[...] Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told CNN on Wednesday that if ratification stalled in Washington, Moscow "will have to react somehow".
"Russia will simply be obligated to ensure its security with different means, including the deployment of new nuclear missiles," he added. [...]
4. H.H. The Pope on, among other things, marriage, the natural law, and Church-State relations
Excerpts from items from a couple of recent Vatican Information Service daily e-mail bulletins:
COSTA RICA: CONTINUE TO BE A BEACON FOR PEACE
VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received the Letters of Credence of Fernando F. Sanchez Campos, the new ambassador of Costa Rica to the Holy See, to whom he expressed his contentment at the Jubilee Year the nation is currently celebrating to mark the 375th anniversary of the discovery of the image of Our Lady of the Angels, the national patroness.
[...] "In this context", the Pope continued, "the public authorities must be the first to seek out what is of benefit to everyone, working principally as a moral force that augments each individual's freedom and sense of responsibility. This must not undermine the fundamental values which support the inviolable dignity of the person, beginning with the unswerving protection of human life. In this context I am pleased to recall that it was in your country that the Pact of San Jose was signed, which expressly recognises the value of human life from conception. Thus it is to be hoped that Costa Rica does not violate the rights of the unborn with laws that legitimise in vitro fertilisation or abortion".
The Holy Father then turned his attention to a new legal agreement which will, he said, "reaffirm the long history of mutual collaboration, healthy independence and mutual respect between the Holy See and Costa Rica", helping to guarantee "their traditional and fruitful understanding - more stably and more in keeping with current historical circumstances - with a view to the greater good of the country's religious and civil life".
[...] "A great contribution in this direction will be made if one of society's fundamental and irreplaceable pillars is strengthened: the stability and union of the family. This institution is suffering, perhaps like no other, the effects of the broad and rapid transformations of society and culture; nonetheless, it must not lose its true identity. ... Thus, no measure will be in vain if it favours, safeguards and supports marriage between a man and a woman". [...] CD/ VIS 20101203 (680)
HUNGARY: MEDIATOR BETWEEN EAST AND WEST
VATICAN CITY, 2 DEC 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Gabor Gyorivanyi, the new Hungarian ambassador to the Holy See.
[...] "Without doubt the Catholic faith is one of the fundamental pillars of Hungarian history", the Holy Father added. "When, long ago in the year 1000, the young Hungarian Prince Stephen received the regal crown sent to him by Pope Sylvester II, this gift included the mandate to give faith in Jesus Christ a space and a home in that land. ... Of course we do not expect the State to impose a particular religion; rather, it should guarantee the freedom to confess and practice the faith. Nonetheless, politics and Christian faith do meet. ... This does nor mean imposing norms or codes of behaviour upon people who do not share the faith. It means, quite simply, purifying reason with the aim of helping to ensure that what is good and just may be recognised and put into practice, here and now".
The Pope then went on to refer to the important role played by Hungary following the fall of the Iron Curtain, to its entry into the European Union six years ago, and to its forthcoming presidency of the Council of Europe. "Hungary", he said, "is particularly called to act as mediator between East and West. The Holy Crown, the legacy of King Stephen, by uniting the circular 'corona graeca' with the arched 'corona latina', ... shows how East and West must support and enrich one another on the basis of their spiritual and cultural heritage, and on the living profession of faith".
Speaking them of the project for a new Hungarian constitution, the Pope expressed the hope "that it will be inspired by Christian values, especially as concerns the position of marriage and the family within society, and the protection of life".
He went on: "Marriage and the family constitute an essential foundation for the healthy development of civil society, of countries and of peoples. ... Europe would not be Europe if this basic social building block disappeared or was substantially transformed. ... The Church cannot approve legislative initiatives which involve the acceptance of alternative models of marriage and family life, as these would contribute to weakening the principles of natural law and thus to relativising legislation and society's understanding of values".
Finally Benedict XVI highlighted how the Catholic Church, "like other religious communities, plays a significant role in Hungarian society ... through her institutions in the field of education, culture, and social assistance, in this way she makes a useful contribution to the moral edification of your country. ... May the collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in this field grow in the future and bring benefit to everyone".
CD/ VIS 20101202 (560)
Feast of St. Nicholas, Bishop, Confessor, A.D. 2010