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 June 19, 2006 • VOL. 44, NO. 12 • Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Memorial in Santa Monica
Father Eugene Buhr, a retired priest at St. Joseph Parish in Hawthorne, and Ana Alvarez walk through the Arlington West Memorial Project on the beach in Santa Monica. A total of 2,464 crosses were laid on the beach, with each cross representing an American soldier who has died in Iraq.


Defiant ‘Requiem’
Students from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. join other musicians in performing “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin” at the former concentration camp in the Czech Republic last month. Sixty-three years ago, Jewish prisoner and conductor Rafael Schachter gathered 150 fellow Jews in a basement at the camp to perform Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem” for the Nazis in Latin. Throughout the piece was a plea for liberation. The prisoners felt safe singing it because the Nazis did not get the meaning the Jewish people put behind it.

CNS PHOTO/Courtesy of Catholic University of America

Bishop Skylstad cleared of sex abuse charge
SPOKANE, Wash. (CNS) -- Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad has said that an investigation he ordered produced no evidence to support an unnamed woman’s allegation that he sexually abused her 40 years ago when she was a minor.

“The bishop could not have been and was not involved with this girl,” Thomas Frey, the bishop’s personal lawyer, told Catholic News Service June 9. “The diocese will not pay any claim to her,” said Frey, who hired the private investigator who looked into the woman’s allegations.

Vatican not immune from abuse lawsuit
PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- A federal judge in Portland ruled June 7 that the Holy See is not entitled to sovereign immunity from a clergy sex abuse lawsuit that named it as a defendant. The next day the Vatican appealed the ruling by U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mosman had denied the Vatican motion to be removed as a defendant in the case, saying that the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act does not entitle the Holy See to immunity in this case because “without warning parishioners of a known danger (the Holy See) placed a priest it knew to be a child molester in a position in which, for the third time, he would have access to minors.”

He said there was enough of a connection between the Vatican and the priest accused of the molestation for the priest to be considered a Vatican employee under Oregon law.

Polish Salesians are financial scapegoats
OXFORD, England (CNS) -- A lawyer for Polish Salesians said 10 priests charged with helping to embezzle $135 million in unsecured bank loans were being used as scapegoats.
“We’re not saying priests weren’t involved,” said lawyer Krzysztof Wyrwa. “But these loans would never have been taken out without consent from the bank’s senior managers. So why has their role been ignored in the charge sheet?”

Wyrwa said that Kredyt Bank managers had been “well aware” that the loans were unsecured, but had agreed to them in order to gain commission and interest charges from the Salesians.
On May 16, 10 Salesian priests were charged with obtaining $135 million from the Kredyt Bank by using fake documents.

Rep. Henry Hyde given high papal honor
ADDISON, Ill. (CNS) -- With little fanfare June 1, Bishop Joseph L. Imesch gave U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., the documents by which Pope Benedict XVI declared him a Knight of St. Gregory for his “staunch defense of life through some very, very difficult times.”

“This is not the environment to speak up for pro-life,” said Bishop Imesch.. “But you have been a consistent, steady voice for life and the Church owes you a great deal for that.” Hyde, who is retiring from Congress, is a member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bensenville.

John Paul II High gets late pope’s ski jacket
HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville has acquired the black ski jacket the late pope wore during visits to the mountains. Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of Buffalo, N.Y., who headed the Nashville Diocese when the school opened in 2002, delivered the jacket. “I hope it gives a little human connection to the pope,” the bishop said.

Since the school was built, Bishop Kmiec had made several attempts to acquire a personal item of Pope John Paul for the school. After he became bishop of Buffalo in October 2004, he approached a priest in the Buffalo Diocese who knows Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, who was the late pope’s personal secretary and a constant presence at his side.

Cardinal Dziwisz provided the ski jacket, along with documentation that the pope had worn it.

Vatican criticizes promotion of prostitution
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Vatican official has joined a chorus of criticism against the promotion of prostitution during the World Cup in Germany, June 9-July 9. Prostitution is legal in Germany, and experts say an estimated 40,000 additional women will be engaged in prostitution during the soccer tournament. “Many of them are forced into this activity. They are doing it against their will, they are trafficked. This is a fundamental human rights violation,” said Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

Pope’s first trip to Spain to include nighttime vigil
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI’s first trip to Spain will include a festive, nighttime vigil and morning Mass with families from all over the world as well as meetings with Spain’s bishops, the Spanish royal family and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. The pope will visit the Mediterranean port city of Valencia July 8-9 to help close the Fifth World Meeting of Families. More than 1.5 million people are expected to be in Valencia for the families meeting.

Knights petition for overturn of pledge ruling
SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) -- The Knights of Columbus filed a brief asking a federal appeals court in San Francisco to reject the latest effort by a California atheist and several other parents to have the Pledge of Allegiance declared unconstitutional because it contains the words “under God.”

In a friend-of-the-court, or amicus, brief filed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in early June, the Knights asked the court to reverse a lower court that said it is unconstitutional to include “under God” in a pledge that minor students are required to recite in school.

Vatican says women bishops block unity
LONDON (CNS) -- A Vatican cardinal has warned the Church of England that a move to ordain women as bishops would destroy any chance of full unity with the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that if the Church of England adopted such a resolution the “shared partaking of the one Lord’s table, which we long for so earnestly, would disappear into the far and ultimately unreachable distance.”

Although three of the world’s Anglican provinces have already agreed to consecrate women as bishops, Cardinal Kasper said decisions made by the Church of England had a “particular importance” because they gave a “strong indication of the direction in which the communion as a whole was heading.”

Cardinal, Catholics mark Tiananmen date
HONG KONG (CNS) -- Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun joined about 100 Catholics praying for religious freedom and democracy in China while commemorating 17 years since the Tiananmen Square incident. Cardinal Zen said people cannot forget the 1989 tragedy and should demand that Chinese authorities give a clear explanation, especially in accounting for the hundreds allegedly killed.

The call for democracy and sacrifice had motivated him to spend six months each year in China educating new religious leaders, he said, referring to the time he spent teaching in major seminaries on the mainland from 1989 until 1996.


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