Pope asks Christians to rediscover ‘beauty’ of baptism

Vatican City (CNA) – Pope Benedict baptized several infants at the Vatican, marking the Baptism of Christ on Jan. 14 following his Angelus Address.

“I especially invite everyone to remember your baptism, that spiritual rebirth that has opened the way to eternal life,” he said.

The Pope said being a Christian means having a life begun with rebirth from God by grace.

He reflected on Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist, calling it his “first public act.”

“That gesture, which marks the beginning of Jesus’ public life, takes the same line of the Incarnation, of God’s descent from high heaven,” said the Pope. Christ’s baptism is a “downward movement” that has love at its root.

“This Jesus is the new man who wants to live as a son of God and who, in the face of evil in the world, chooses the path of humility and responsibility,” said the Pope.

New York auxiliary bishop picked to shepherd Camden, NJ

Camden, N.J. (CNA) – Pope Benedict has appointed auxiliary bishop Dennis Sullivan of New York to lead the Diocese of Camden, N.J.

Bishop Sullivan will succeed Bishop Joseph Galante, whose resignation was accepted as the new appointment was made on Jan. 8.

Cardinal Dolan of New York praised Bishop Sullivan, calling him “one of the finest bishops I know” and describing him as “an invaluable help.”

He added that Bishop Sullivan has always treated “every situation with the heart and mind of a pastor, always asking how we can do more for the people.”

Bishop Sullivan was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York in 1971, and was made an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese in 2004.

He will be installed as ordinary of Camden on Feb. 12.

Bishop Galante is one year short of submitting his mandatory resignation at age 75, and requested early retirement due to health problems.

Planned Parenthood abortion numbers rise, other services fall

By Adelaide Darling

Washington D.C.,(CNA/EWTN News) – A Planned Parenthood report showing an increase in abortions and decrease in other health services is leading to questions over the federal funding that the organization receives.

“While government subsidies to Planned Parenthood have reached an all time high,” Marjoirie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List said in a Jan. 7 statement, “so too has the number of lives ended by this profit-driven abortion business.”

“Destroying nearly one million children in three years is not health care and does not reflect a concern for vulnerable women and girls,” she added. “As Planned Parenthood’s funding goes up, abortions increase and real health services for women go down.”

The largest provider of abortions in the U.S., Planned Parenthood faced staunch opposition in 2012, with several states working to limit its funding and numerous lawsuits launched across the country on charges of fraud, extortion and failure to report malpractice.

The organization recently released its 2011-2012 annual report, which showed a rise in the number of abortions performed for the first time in two decades, as well as a record amount of government funding.

The report indicated that Planned Parenthood performed a record-high 333,964 abortions during 2011.

An analysis by the Susan B. Anthony List, which works to support pro-life lawmakers, asserts that, based on this report, up to 92 percent of Planned Parenthood’s pregnant clients received abortions.

In contrast, the analysis observed, prenatal care patients accounted for only seven percent, and adoption referrals were less than one percent.

“For every adoption referral, Planned Parenthood performed 145 abortions,” it said.