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 April 25, 2005 VOL. 43, NO. 8Oakland, CA
News in Brief

California 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 News

Mourning John Paul II
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 mission martyrs
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 marriages
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 couples.

“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 Terri Schiavo
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 graduated.

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 over misconduct
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 Church.

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 gay ministers
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 April 11.

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 clause’
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 government
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 25-year rule.

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 priests.

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 be sold.

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 punishment.

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 Church future
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 said.

Senators urged not to use a pro-abortion litmus test
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.


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