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 April 17, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 8Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Excavation reveals
pyramid in Mexico City

Archaeologist Maria de los Angeles Flores looks at excavation work that has exposed part of a 1,500-year-old pyramid below the site where Mexico City Catholics have re-enacted the crucifixion of Christ for more than 150 years.


Catholic in Knesset
Nadia Hilou, a Catholic and an Israeli Arab, won a seat in the Israeli parliament and is being sworn in today (April 17). She is a social activist for early childhood education and women’s rights and national vice president of the Na’amat women’s organization.


Calls for new probe in cardinal’s death
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The 1993 murder of a Mexican cardinal was drug-related, warranting a reopening of the investigation by Mexican authorities, said Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick at a congressional hearing. He also asked the U.S. government, which is holding several Mexican suspects and witnesses in the case, to aid Mexican authorities in the investigation.

Cardinal Juan Posadas Ocampo of Guadalajara, Mexico, was “a martyr in the war against drugs,” said Cardinal McCarrick. The initial Mexican ruling that Cardinal Posadas was accidentally killed in a crossfire between rival drug gangs was “a travesty of justice,” said the U.S. cardinal.

A House subcommittee has been pressuring the U.S. Justice Department to explain why it does not want to allow Mexican authorities to question the Mexican suspects and witnesses it is holding or to turn them over to Mexican authorities.

Nazi brutality helped pope decide on vocation
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In a meeting with young people, Pope Benedict XVI said he decided to become a priest after witnessing the brutality of the Nazi regime in his native Germany. While his vocation came naturally to him, the pope said he had to seriously ask himself about priestly celibacy and had doubts about whether he could be a simple pastor to simple people.

The pope’s reflections, the most personal since his election to the papacy a year ago, came during a question-and-answer session April 6 with some 40,000 Rome youths in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Benedict, fielded questions from young people on topics like science and faith, sexuality and marriage and the development of his own vocation.

Pope drops tradition of Holy Thursday letter
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Dropping a tradition of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI did not issue a letter to the world’s priests on Holy Thursday. No reason was given as to why the pope had decided to discontinue the practice begun by Pope John Paul II in 1979.

Notre Dame to continue ‘The Vagina Monologues’
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (CNS) -- The president of the University of Notre Dame has given permission for continued performances on campus of “The Vagina Monologues,” a controversial play that explicitly discusses women’s sexuality. Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins favored the inclusion of panel discussions after future performances in which Catholic teachings on human sexuality are presented as part of a discussion of the issues in the play.

The permission for future performances drew immediate criticism from Bishop John M. D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend who said he was “deeply saddened by the decision.” He had previously asked that performances be ended.

Father Jenkins announced his decision April 5 statement after a 10-week review of whether the play should continue to be performed annually on campus.

New ecumenical forum is historic first in U.S.
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Christian Churches Together in the USA -- the broadest, most inclusive ecumenical movement in U.S. history -- was officially founded during a March 28-31 gathering near Atlanta. Its founding 34 Christian churches and national organizations represent more than 100 million Americans.

Twenty-two additional churches and organizations are participating as observers or are in the process of deciding about joining, and more than 30 others are in conversation with Christian Churches Together.

Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore will represent the Catholic Church as one of its five co-presidents. Christian Churches Together is intended as a forum of ecumenical dialogue and witness involving the participation of representatives from all five major Christian families of churches in the United States: Catholic, Orthodox, historic Protestant, evangelical/Pentecostal, and historic racial/ethnic.

Tortured refugee wins damage award in Miami
MIAMI (CNS) -- A federal judge in Miami has ordered a former Honduran military officer to pay $19 million in damages to Oscar Reyes, a retired editor, and his wife in a torture case when the couple lived in their native Honduras.

The judge ruled that retired Col. Juan Lopez Grijalba, who headed Honduran military intelligence in 1982 when Oscar and Gloria Reyes were kidnapped from their home by military operatives, was legally responsible for the actions that resulted in the torturing of the couple.

Reyes then was director of the journalism school at the University of Honduras. Several other plaintiffs joined in the lawsuit and Lopez Grijalba was ordered to pay a total of $47 million in damages. Chances of the plaintiffs receiving any of the damages are slim. In 2004, the U.S. government deported Lopez Grijalba to Honduras.

‘Correction’ urged for bishops who refuse audits
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The National Review Board that monitors church efforts to deal with clergy sexual abuse of minors has called for “strong fraternal correction” of the bishops of the two dioceses that declined to participate in last year’s diocesan compliance audits.

Bishop Fabian L. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb. said he did not participate in the audit called for by the U.S. bishops’ charter because the charter is “only an advisory document,” not “a law of the Catholic Church.”

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