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 September 19, 2005 VOL. 43, NO. 16Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Chief Justice buried
The casket containing U.S. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist is brought into St Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington D.C., for his Sept. 7 funeral. Rehnquist, the 16th Chief Justice of the United States, died on Sept. 3 at the age of 80. He was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but his funeral was held in the Catholic cathedral because of its size.
RNS PHOTO/REUTERS/Jason Reed

Prayers in Havana
Nuns from the Missionaries of Charity stand as a Cuban woman chants during the annual procession of Our Lady of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba, in downtown Havana, Sept. 8. Cuba’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega expressed the Catholic Church’s and the Cuban people’s solidarity with the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
RNS PHOTO/REUTERS/Claudia Daut

Roberts: abortion ruling ‘settled as a precedent’
WASHINGTON (AP) – Supreme Court nominee John Roberts said Sept. 13 that the landmark 1973 ruling legalizing abortion was “settled as a precedent.” He declined to answer specific questions about abortion and voting rights, citing cases he could face on the high court.
The heart of the abortion ruling is “settled as a precedent of the court, entitled to respect under principles of ‘stare decisis’,” the concept that long-established rulings should be given extra weight, Roberts told the Senate Judiciary Committee on the second day of his confirmation hearings.

Roberts, who is President Bush’s choice to succeed the late William H. Rehnquist as chief justice, focused on a 1992 Supreme Court ruling in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, referring to that as a precedent-setting case in addition to the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

In the Pennsylvania case, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the core holdings of Roe v. Wade and ban states from outlawing most abortions. The court said states could impose restrictions on the procedure that do not impose an “undue burden” on women.
“It reaffirmed the central holding in Roe v. Wade,” Roberts said.

Trial set in murder of Kenyan bishop
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Kenya’s High Court has set the trial of six suspects in the murder of an Italian-born Roman Catholic bishop for Dec. 5.

The six suspects, including a Catholic priest, are accused of killing 76-year-old Bishop Luigi Locati in a plot to gain control of church funds. The men have pleaded innocent. Bishop Locati was gunned down July 14 in Isiolo, an impoverished area in central Kenya where he had worked for decades.

Pope says unity with Orthodox is urgent
VATICAN CITY (AP) – Unifying all Christians and healing the 1,000-year rift between Catholics and the Orthodox is particularly urgent nowadays, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message released Sept. 5.

The pope called for intensified prayers and dialogue to help heal the rift. The Catholic and Orthodox churches split in 1054 over several questions, including the issue of the primacy of the pope. Relations between the two sides have been made tense recently by Orthodox charges of aggressive Catholic missionary work in Eastern Europe and by property disputes.
Theological dialogue was interrupted four years ago, but in June both sides announced that talks would resume.

Rwanda arrests Belgian missionary
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) – The Belgian government has called on Rwanda to explain the arrest of a Belgian missionary on charges of crimes against humanity.
Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht expressed “astonishment” over the arrest of Guy Theunis, who worked in Rwanda from 1970 until 1994, when over half a million people were killed in a genocide led by extremists of the Hutu ethnic group against the Tutsi minority. Since then, Theunis has been based in South Africa. The Belgian government statement said he was detained while in transit through Rwanda.

In 2001, a Brussels court convicted four Rwandans, including two Catholic nuns, for their roles in the atrocities of 1994. They received prison sentences of 12 to 20 years. Two more Rwandans were convicted and sentenced to at least 10 years in June.

Jordan-born archbishop named to Jerusalem
VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI has appointed an archbishop in Tunisia as the eventual successor to the Catholic patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Michel Sabbah, a key supporter of Palestinian and Christian rights in the Holy Land.

Jordanian-born Archbishop Fouad Twal, 64, the new coadjutor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, would take over if Patriarch Sabbah, 72, retires or is transferred elsewhere. Archbishop Twal, who was ordained a priest in 1966, served in the Vatican diplomatic corps before his nomination in Tunisia in 1992. He had served in Vatican missions in Honduras, Germany and Peru.

Patriarch Sabbah, the first Arab to hold the post, has been patriarch for Latin rite Catholics since 1988. The Latin rite patriarchate was established by the Crusaders in 1099 but fell into disuse in the 13th century after Islamic forces recaptured Jerusalem. Pope Pius IX restored the patriarchate in 1847 to minister to Latin-rite Catholics in the Holy Land, most of whom were then of foreign background.

Two groups of nuns call for end of Iraq war
ANAHEIM, CA (RNS) – Two groups of Catholic nuns have condemned the war in Iraq, with one group calling for a withdrawal of U.S. troops and the other urging Catholic military personnel and chaplains to refuse to fight.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), meeting here, and the National Coalition of American Nuns, meeting in Elm Grove, Wis., each denounced the war in separate statements.

The LCWR, an umbrella group for the leaders of some 75,000 U.S. Catholic Sisters, said the war has resulted in the “alienation and diminishment of the moral and political leadership of the United States” and called for troops to be withdrawn.

The smaller National Coalition of American Nuns, which represents some 1,200 nuns in the United States, said in their statement, that bishops need to tell Catholics that “killing in an unjust war is murder.”

Christian schools accuse UC of discrimination
LOS ANGELES (RNS) – Christian schools have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the University of California, accusing the public institution of refusing to accept courses from private schools with a conservative Christian perspective.

Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta and the Association of Christian Schools International charged UC officials with refusing to certify courses that teach creationism and other beliefs. The University of California system requires private school students to meet certain high-school course requirements before they are eligible to apply to one of the nine undergraduate UC campuses.

Lavalas names jailed priest for presidency
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – The party of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has named a jailed Catholic priest as its candidate for Haiti’s president in elections this fall.

Aristide’s Lavalas Family party said it would register Father Gerard Jean-Juste as its standard bearer, apparently ending a heated internal feud over whether to participate in elections – the first since the bloody February 2004 uprising that helped topple Aristide.

Father Jean-Juste was arrested in July on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping and slaying of prominent Haitian journalist Jacques Roche. Father Jean-Juste, who was in Miami when Roche was killed, has denied involvement.

Parishes to become independent corporations
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – The Diocese of Tucson plans a series of meetings this month for parishioners and parish leaders that will pave the way for separately incorporating parishes. The move to form 74 independent nonprofit corporations by April would be nearly certain to protect them from being sold off to pay diocesan debt.

At least seven other U.S. dioceses have already made their parishes separate, corporate entities: the archdioceses of New York and Milwaukee, and the dioceses of Rhode Island; Davenport, Iowa; Stockton, Calif.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Baker, Ore.

The Tucson diocese filed for bankruptcy reorganization last year in the face of potentially expensive lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children by priests.

The diocese’s bankruptcy plan considers parishes separate financial entities from the diocese, even though the diocese is listed as the property owner of parishes on county records.

Papal apartment to be refurbished for Benedict
VATICAN CITY (RNS) – For the first time in 30 years, the Vatican’s papal apartment is getting a major facelift.

It includes an expansion of the study and the addition of a jet-black grand piano to replace the worn instrument then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is said to have used for late-night renditions of the works of Mozart and Beethoven. The apartment was last refurbished in 1975. Pope John Paul II is said to have been unparticular about the state of his living quarters.

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