aid worker killed
U.S. humanitarian aid worker Marla Ruzicka (right) of Lakeport,
CA poses with an Iraqi family that her organization, the Campaign
for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), ecently helped. Ruzicka,
28, was killed by a suicide car bombing explosion which targeted
a nearby foreign security convoy on the airport road in Baghdad
on April 16. The funeral service was held at St. Mary Church in
Lakeport on April 23.
RNS PHOTO/REUTERS/Scott Nelson/World Picture
Mourning John Paul
Children stand next to the tomb of late Pope
John Paul II after the grotto at St. Peter’s Basilica was
opened to the public, April 14.
RNS PHOTO/REUTERS/Osservatore Romano
John Paul’s message praises
VATICAN CITY (RNS) – In a posthumous message issued by the Vatican
on April 15, Pope John Paul II praised missionaries who were martyred
for their faith and said he hoped their example would encourage young
people to “tread the path of heroic fidelity to Christ.”
The Vatican said that the pontiff, who died April 2, signed his message
for World Mission Sunday on Feb. 22. The day will not be observed until
the fourth Sunday of October.
Oregon Supreme Court nixes same-sex
SALEM, OR (RNS) – The Oregon Supreme Court on April 14 invalidated
the marriages of 3,000 same-sex couples and refused to decide whether
gays and lesbians should have the same rights and benefits as married
“The people have preserved marriage, and the court has recognized
that the licenses issued contrary to state law are invalid,” said
Jordan Lorence, senior counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund, which had
lawyers arguing that side of the case. Basic Rights Oregon, a leading
gay-rights organization, lamented the ruling but pledged to continue to
fight politically and legally.
500 attend memorial Mass for
SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. (AP) – Two weeks after the death of Terri Schiavo,
friends and relatives gathered for a memorial Mass on April 15 at the
suburban Philadelphia church that she attended as a child and in which
she was married in 1984.
Schiavo’s parents, brother and sister took part in the service at
Our Lady of Good Counsel Church attended by about 500 people, including
uniformed students of Archbishop Wood Catholic High School, from which
Schiavo died March 31 at a hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., 13 days after
her feeding tube was removed by court order – ending a bitter legal
battle between her husband, Michael, and her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler.
Archdiocese to monitor priests
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee accused
of sexual misconduct can be subject to unannounced searches of their homes
or computers under a monitoring policy considered a first for the Catholic
The archdiocese mailed guidelines within the last two weeks to about 400
priests and 150 deacons in an annual update of its clergy manual. Archbishop
Timothy Dolan said the policy was a work in progress and that questions
would be addressed at a closed meeting April 21.
Archbishop Dolan acknowledged potential concerns about violating priests’
individual rights, but said he was obligated “to do everything in
my power to support clergy who have struggled or faltered in their lives,
especially when behavior results in a violation of moral or civil law.”
Lutheran Church council proposes
CHICAGO (RNS) – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s
Church Council has forwarded a proposal giving bishops power to let congregations
ordain non-celibate gay and lesbian clergy.
Carlos Pena, ELCA vice president and chair of the council, said the council
wrestled with the contradiction of keeping a rule against ordaining gays
and lesbians in relationships while at the same time permitting churches
to break it. “The council realized that it (gay relationships) is
a reality and, for the sake of outreach and ministry, we need to create
some opportunity for candidates who are living in a committed relationship
to be ordained,” Pena said.
U.S. Jews support Israeli disengagement
NEW YORK (RNS) – Nearly two-thirds of American Jews support Israel’s
plan to leave Gaza and some settlements in the West Bank, a new poll reported
Forty-one percent believe both that Israel should be willing to withdraw
from most Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and that Israel should
allow a token number of Palestinian refugees to return to parts of Israel
that they had left.
Ariz. governor vetoes ‘conscience
PHOENIX (AP) – Gov. Janet Napolitano has vetoed a bill to let pharmacists
refuse to provide abortion-related medications if doing so conflicts with
the pharmacists’ moral or religious beliefs.
“Pharmacies and other health care services have no right to interfere
with the lawful personal medical decisions made by patients and their
doctors,” Napolitano said in her veto letter to lawmakers. Groups
representing pharmacists, hospitals and nurses opposed the bill, she noted.
Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, expressed
disappointment with the veto. It is “indeed troubling that religious
discrimination is becoming an acceptable practice,” he said. “This
bill would have helped.”
Archbishop calls for end of Mugabe
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) –Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo
has called for a peaceful uprising against the government of Robert Mugabe
after recent elections continue to be dogged by violence and corruption.
Archbishop Ncube said that he hoped that growing disillusionment would
move the people to conduct a “non-violent popular mass uprising”
to “chase Mugabe away” since elections had failed to end his
The archbishop leads critics who accuse the government of using access
to food as a means of intimidating voters.
He had also received death threats for demanding that the government address
the mounting shortages of food in parts of Zimbabwe and calling for an
end to a campaign of torture and rape by pro-government groups against
those who criticize the government.
Diocese shows properties slated
to be auctioned
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – The Diocese of Tucson is conducting three open
houses for prospective bidders on the 85 properties it plans to sell to
settle financial claims by people who reported being sexually abused by
The first open house was held is April 14 and subsequent ones will be
held on May 4 and 20.
Most of the property is land, but a three-bedroom Tucson home will also
Abuse victims target fugitive
priests in Rome
VATICAN CITY (AP) – American victims of sex abuse involving clergymen
urged church officials April 13 to help extradite accused priests who
fled to their religious orders in Rome or to foreign countries to escape
Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,
said religious leaders had a moral obligation to help prosecutors in these
cases so that children are not put at risk.
Priests share concerns about
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Recruiting more priests to halt the national
decline in their ranks is among the toughest challenges the Catholic Church
will face in the 21st century, church leaders say.
T he effort has to begin with the parents of boys and young men who increasingly
influence their sons to train for other professions rather than a life
of service to the Church, said Father Bob Silva, president of the National
Federation of Priests Councils. “Parents must be convinced the priesthood
is a powerful life force with purpose, meaning and influence,” he
Senators urged not to use a pro-abortion
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is co-sponsoring
a campaign inviting Catholics to tell their senators that support for
Roe v. Wade should not be used as a litmus test for judicial nominees.
“Roe v. Wade is bad law, bad medicine, and bad social policy,”
said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, director of planning and information for the
USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. The campaign, co-sponsored
by the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment, invited Catholics
to send postcards voicing these sentiments to their senators.