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 May 22, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 10Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Pop radio priest
Father Ricardo Bailey makes some final preparations before going on the air during an edition of “The Bert Show” on Q100.5 FM in Atlanta. The priest brings humor, contemporary commentary and the Gospel message to the pop radio station’s morning airwaves.

CNS Photo/Michael Alexander, Georgia Bulletin

Vatican oks revised norms on sex abuse
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- With Vatican approval, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the revised special norms adopted by the U.S. bishops to deal with clergy sexual abuse of minors. Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., USCCB president, decreed that the revised “Essential Norms” were to take effect May 15.

The norms, which have the force of law in all U.S. dioceses, require each diocese to have written policies on clerical sexual abuse of minors, an assistance coordinator for victims and a review board that advises the bishop on individual cases and on policy.

They also spell out detailed procedures for handling any allegation of abuse, for removing clerics who sexually abuse a minor from ministry and for applying other penalties, including laicization.
The revisions, adopted by the bishops at their June 2005 general meeting in Chicago, are few and limited in scope. Several simply reflected more precision in legal terminology, such as inserting “canonical” before “due process” or changing the term “dispensation” from the church’s statute of limitations to a more canonically precise term.

Opus Dei says ‘Da Vinci Code’ exploited them
ROME (CNS) -- The head of Opus Dei said “The Da Vinci Code” had exploited his organization and launched “grotesque” accusations against the Catholic Church. Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez said the novel’s author, Dan Brown, had joined a long line of critics who attack Opus Dei in order to make points against the faith.

In the novel, Opus Dei, a personal prelature, is portrayed as a power-hungry and sinister organization whose members are willing to murder in order to obtain ancient secrets about the church.

Calif. Congressman seeks better video-game ratings
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic congressman, Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., is calling on the video-game industry to improve its ratings systems and give parents “clear, accurate information that they can understand” so they know what video games are appropriate for their children.

Results of a new study released by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Kids Risk Project found that 81 percent of video games rated “M” for mature, contained sex, profanity, violence or other objectionable content not labeled on the game box.

Domino founder’s plan for town sparks debate
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNS) -- A Catholic philanthropist’s plans to develop a town around the new site of a Catholic university in Florida has raised concerns from critics both within and outside church circles. But Tom Monaghan remains firm in his commitment to the project and its prospects for success.

Monaghan, who made his fortune as founder of the Domino’s Pizza chain, broke ground in mid-February for Ave Maria town, a 5,000-acre, 11,000-home community to be built around Ave Maria University, which he established as an interim campus in 2003.

He founded Ave Maria College near Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1998, but later elected to move the institution to Florida, prompting a mix of praise and criticism even from his own faculty and administration.

More recently, he has faced a media backlash over his stated desire to create a family-friendly atmosphere in Ave Maria, one free of morally problematic elements such as pornography, contraceptives and abortion.

AIA honors nuns for ‘green’ motherhouse
MONROE, Mich. (CNS) -- The American Institute of Architects has given the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary one of its top 10 green projects awards for their motherhouse in Monroe. The 376,000-square-foot motherhouse, completed in 2003, was honored for its integration of architecture, technology and natural systems.

Among the motherhouse’s features are a geothermal heating and cooling system, natural light throughout the building, reused doors and windows, and marble bathroom partitions.

Masses suspended until town apologizes to priest
MADRID, Spain (CNS) -- The archbishop of Valencia has suspended the celebration of all Masses in the town of Sinarcas following a series of incidents culminating in what he says was the attempted beating of the town’s parish priest.

Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco Vicente said he will not permit Mass to be celebrated in Sinarcas until the town council “publicly asks forgiveness for what has happened and expresses its full support of the pastor,” Father Javier Abad Chismol. Father Abad has been threatened and pressured since speaking out last summer in a homily against the town’s decision to let young people parody the church and make fun of the sacrament of the Eucharist during the town’s annual fiestas.

During a May 7 Mass, Father Abad criticized what is known in Spain as a “botellon,” a large gathering of young people who meet to consume alcohol in the street. Afterward, 60-70 people demonstrated outside the church, banging on pans and booing the priest.

Ohio priest convicted in 1980 murder of nun
TOLEDO, Ohio (CNS) -- Father Gerald Robinson, a retired priest of the Diocese of Toledo, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison May 11 for the murder more than 26 years earlier of Mercy Sister Margaret Ann Pahl. Father Robinson, 68, could be eligible for parole in 15 years. The jury deliberated for six hours and 25 minutes before handing down the verdict.

“This is a sad day for the Diocese of Toledo,” Bishop Leonard P. Blair said in a statement.

Boston College faculty protest honor to Rice
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Boston College’s decision to award an honorary degree to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at its May 22 commencement has caused sharp division among faculty at the Jesuit-run institution.

Some faculty members see the decision, which includes having her give the commencement speech, as the college’s support for the Bush administration’s Iraq War, which Pope John Paul II and the U.S. bishops opposed on ethical grounds.

Opposition to honoring Rice is also a sign that Catholic institutions should not single out abortion when it comes to taking a stand on public policy issues, said Jesuit Father David Hollenbach, theology professor.

College officials and other professors said that Rice’s career makes her worthy of an honorary degree and that honoring her does not automatically mean the college supports U.S. policy on Iraq.

Mass attendance steady despite sex abuse crisis
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The clergy sex abuse crisis has produced little change among Catholics in Mass attendance and monetary contributions to parishes, said a study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. However, contributions to annual diocesan fundraising campaigns have suffered significantly, it said.

An overwhelming majority of Catholics also said that the crisis has hurt the church’s credibility on political and social issues, the study said. CARA is the Catholic research organization based at Georgetown University in Washington.

Britain urged to support asylum for prostitutes
LONDON (CNS) -- The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has urged the British government to sign an international convention that would allow foreign prostitutes to claim asylum in the United Kingdom. At present, foreign prostitutes are allowed to stay in the United Kingdom only if they assist in the prosecution of human traffickers and members of the criminal gangs who run the sex trade.

The bishops said they believe many of the women are victims of crime and should therefore be granted the opportunity, under the terms of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, to stay in the country indefinitely.

Nuns issue protest leaflets for World Cup
WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- Polish nuns, anticipating an increase in human trafficking and prostitution during the World Cup in Germany, have issued anti-prostitution leaflets in multiple languages for circulation during the competition in 12 German cities June 9-July 9.

“We’re deeply concerned at reports that men’s lives are to be made nicer by importing 100,000 young women from Europe’s poorest countries,” said Ursuline Sister Jolanta Olech, president of Poland’s Conference of Superiors of Female Religious Orders.

CRS gives $100,000 to expand fair trade
BALTIMORE – Catholic Relief Services surpassed $1 million in fair trade sales last year and has given more than $100,000 in grants to help expand the fair trade market. Its most recent grant will help artisan groups in Madagascar bring their fair trade products into the U.S.
The CRS fair trade program promotes fair trade products including coffee from Nicaragua, chocolate from Ghana and handcrafts from a dozen countries.

 

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