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 July 3, 2006 • VOL. 44, NO. 13 • Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Repentance in Boston
Priests of the Boston archdiocese prostrate themselves in the chapel of St. John’s Seminary’s in Brighton, Mass., last month as part a healing pilgrimage and novena sponsored by the archdiocese as a sign of repentance for the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

CNS PHOTO/GEORGE MARTELL/ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON

Death penalty ended
Pope Benedict XVI blesses Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s rosary during a meeting at the Vatican, June 26. Arroyo presented the pope with a copy of a law she signed abolishing the death penalty in the Philippines. “Well done,” he told her of the action to end capital punishment.

CNS PHOTO/MAX ROSSI/REUTERS

Interfaith coalition addresses unfair detention
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- “National security” is not a good enough reason to systematically detain refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, said Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders of the new International Coalition on the Detention of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants. The coalition, which includes human rights and faith-based organizations, was formed to study detention policies, assist detainees and lobby for changes in detention practices.

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the pontifical councils for Justice and Peace and for Migrants and Travelers, said, “There are real concerns about detention becoming a systematic policy to which many countries resort, more as a rule than as an exception, and justify the policy by so-called national security concerns.”

Even Saddam should not be put to death
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- No one should be put to death, not even former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, said Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the pontifical councils for Interreligious Dialogue and for Culture. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church itself and the pope reaffirm that every person is a creature of God and that no one but the creator can claim to be the lord of the life and death of another,” he said.

Canadian diocese pays for abuse, sues insurance
TORONTO (CNS) -- A Newfoundland diocese is on track to pay a $13 million (US$11.6 million) settlement to victims of clergy sexual abuse, although money from its insurance companies has not yet come through, said Bishop Douglas Crosby of St. George’s. The diocese filed a suit with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador June 7, seeking payment from six insurance companies, which have so far refused to provide any part of the compensation other than the legal costs.

Bishop Crosby said regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit with the insurance companies, the diocese is committed to fulfilling all the terms of the settlement.

Court ruling should spur mediation in abuse cases
SPOKANE, Wash. (CNS) -- Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad said a federal judge’s ruling that parishes in the diocese are not owned by the bishop should spur mediation efforts to settle clergy child sex abuse claims. The June 15 decision by U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush overturned U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Patricia Williams’ ruling that the bishop owned parish assets and they could be sold to pay claims against the diocese by people who say they were abused as minors by priests.

Vatican lawyer downplays ruling in child abuse case
PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- A federal judge’s ruling that the Vatican may not have immunity in a clergy child sex abuse lawsuit is far from a major victory for the plaintiff, said the Vatican’s lawyer in the case. The ruling in Portland by U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman is significant but hardly the “titanic victory” some reports have claimed it to be, said Jeffrey Lena, who represents the Vatican. The Vatican has appealed the ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

What Mosman’s ruling means is that the civil suit has not been entirely dismissed during this early stage of the case when even facts of jurisdiction have not been determined, said Lena, based in Berkeley, Calif.

U.S. cautioned to respect human rights of detainees
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The United States must be careful not to adopt the attitude of “the ends justify the means” in its treatment of detainees, warned the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Policy.

“A respect for the dignity of every person, ally or enemy, must serve as the foundation of the pursuit of security, justice and peace,” Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., said in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Bishop Wenski asked Rumsfeld to ensure that the Defense Department upholds the highest ethical standards and U.S. commitments to observe international law.

Polish cardinal supports inquiry of informer priests
WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow has apologized for priests who were informers for the communist secret police and promised to “uncover the whole truth” about clergy collaboration. A Krakow archdiocesan commission has urged local priests to atone publicly if they had been communist informers..

Episcopal Church elects woman bishop to preside
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Episcopal Church elected Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of Nevada, 52, over six other candidates to become the Episcopal Church’s new presiding bishop. She takes office in November, when Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold’s term ends. A former professional marine biologist, Bishop Jefferts Schori has been an Episcopal priest since 1994 and bishop of the Nevada Diocese since 2001.

In her early childhood she was Catholic, but with her parents she joined the Episcopal Church when she was about 9.

Knights of Columbus set new records for donations
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CNS) -- The Knights of Columbus set new records for charitable giving and volunteer service hours in 2005, fueled in part by the massive response to the hurricanes that struck the southern United States. The Connecticut-based international Catholic men’s group set total contributions to charity at all levels at $139,711,619, nearly $4 million more than the previous year.

Arizona gives tax break for private schools
PHOENIX (CNS) -- A new Arizona law will allow corporations to earmark part of their state tax money for funding private school scholarships, providing more students with the opportunity to receive a Catholic education. The Arizona Corporate Tax Credit, set to begin in July, lets corporations claim a dollar-for-dollar income tax credit for contributions made to a student tuition organization.

The corporate tax credit law has a $5 million cap statewide each fiscal year for five years. There is no cap per corporation. There are more than 50 student tuition organizations, known as STOs, vying for a piece of the newly available funds.

Pillars replace barricades in St. Peter’s Square
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Before the hot June sun began beating down on St. Peter’s Square June 20, workers were guiding heavy red granite pillars into place on the border between the Vatican and Italy. The pillars, joining their gray granite ancestors, are part of an “urban decoration” scheme meant to improve the one really ugly element of St. Peter’s Square: a fence composed of flimsy metal barricades.

Cardinal warns against partisan politics threat
LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick sharply warned the U.S. bishops June 15 that “the intense polarization and bitter battles of partisan politics may be seeping into (the) broader ecclesial life of our Catholic people and maybe even of our (bishops’) conference.”
The cardinal said, “We are called to teach the truth, to correct errors and to call one another to greater faithfulness. However, there should be no place in the body of Christ for the brutality of partisan politics, the impugning of motives, or turning differences in pastoral judgment into fundamental disagreements on principle.”

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