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 August 7, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 14Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Sheltering the victims of war


Father Beshara Suleiman stands in a kindergarten that is also a bomb shelter at St. Maron Catholic Church in Gush Halav, Israel, near the Israeli-Lebanese border. The village, which has a large proportion of Christian residents, was hit by three Hezbollah rockets, July 18.


Sister Marie-Therese, director of St. Vincent Catholic School in Beirut, Lebanon, makes rounds July 23, checking on refugees who have fled the violence in southern Lebanon. The nun opened the school to hundreds of Shiite Muslims seeking shelter from Israeli bombs.


Native American event
An unidentified man leads the procession during a Mass at the 67th annual Tekakwitha Conference in Burien, Wash., July 20. The conference brought together Catholics representing 150 American Indian tribes.


Funding to study umbilical-cord stem cells

CHICAGO (CNS) -- A cancer researcher at an Illinois Catholic medical center is working to grow umbilical-cord stem cells in his laboratory, using $1.4 million in funding from the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute. Dr. Patrick Stiff of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood hopes to use the umbilical-cord stem cells to develop new immune cells, to be implanted first in mice and then, if all goes well, in humans.

Although the Catholic Church is not opposed to stem-cell research using umbilical-cord blood, the Catholic Conference of Illinois opposes the institute, which Gov. Rod Blagojevich created last year with a $10 million line item in the budget after he failed to win legislative approval

Bush’s stem-cell bill veto called ‘eminently worthy’
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Surrounded by children who were once frozen embryos and the families who adopted them, President George W. Bush announced July 19 that he had used the first veto of his five-and-a-half-year administration on a bill that would have expanded federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research

Among the Catholic leaders praising the veto was Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson of the Knights of Columbus, who said the stem-cell bill was “eminently worthy of President Bush’s first veto.”

Conscience rights of Oregon pharmacists
PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- A new policy of the Oregon Board of Pharmacy has prompted objections from pro-life supporters because it requires pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for drugs such as the morning-after pill or medications used in assisted suicides to actively help a patient find a pharmacist who will dispense the drugs even if it violates their consciences. Pharmacists who fail to refer would be guilty of “unprofessional behavior,” the board said in the new policy statement, approved June 7.

Early Christian manuscript discovered in Irish bog
DUBLIN, Ireland (CNS) -- The discovery of an early Christian manuscript in an Irish bog has been called the “Irish equivalent to the Dead Sea Scrolls” by specialists from the National Museum of Ireland. Fragments of an ancient church manuscript were found July 20 when an alert bulldozer driver spotted an unusual object in the earth of Ireland’s southern Midlands. The find appears to be a Psalter dating from the early Middle Ages.

Priest to be extradited to U.S. for abuse charges
ROME (CNS) -- Italy’s high court confirmed an order authorizing the extradition of Salvatorian Father Joseph J. Henn to Arizona to face child molestation charges. The extradition papers were forwarded to the Italian Ministry of Justice, which should order the priest’s transfer to the United States within 45 days. Father Henn was arrested in Rome in July 2005 after a request by the U.S. Justice Department that he be extradited to face charges in Maricopa County, Arizona.

High court upholds law against same-sex marriage
SEATTLE (CNS) -- The Washington Supreme Court July 26 upheld the state’s law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, overturning two lower-court rulings that had called the law an unconstitutional discrimination against same-sex couples. Archbishop Alex J. Brunett of Seattle praised the court’s 5-4 ruling.

Massachusetts is the only state where same-sex marriages are legal. Vermont and Connecticut are the only states that recognize same-sex civil unions, according the partners in such unions the same rights held by spouses in marriage.

Timorese attend Mass for reconciliation
DILI, East Timor (CNS) -- About 1,000 people, including government officials and President Xanana Gusmao, attended a Mass for national reconciliation at the Dili cathedral, July 25, to remember the approximately 20 people killed in recent months of violence that divided the largely Catholic nation. It also marked a formal end to hostilities that had occurred since April.
The absence of army personnel at the Mass led some observers to doubt whether the army was willing to accept responsibility for the chaos. During the service, Australian troops stood guard outside.

Catholic Worker protesters found not guilty in Ireland
DUBLIN, Ireland (CNS) -- Five peace protesters, all members of the Catholic Worker movement, were found not guilty of causing $2.5 million worth of damage to a U.S. Navy plane parked in a hangar at Ireland’s Shannon Airport in February 2003. The Dublin Criminal Circuit Court ruled July 25 that the five -- two Irish, one Scot, one American and one Australian -- were not guilty of causing damage to U.S. government property and the Aer Rianta doors at the airport.

The five admitted in the court that they had forced their way into the hangar and had attacked the plane, but said their actions were legally excusable because they were trying to protect lives and property in Iraq, which the U.S. invaded the following month. After attacking the nose cone and windows of the plane with hammers and paint, the five prayed. They offered no resistance when arrested.

More than 14,500 abuse claims filed in Ireland
DUBLIN, Ireland (CNS) -- Ireland’s Residential Institutions Redress Board has received more than 14,500 claims for compensation from people who say they suffered physical abuse or neglect while residing in industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and other institutions. Most of these institutions were managed by Catholic religious orders, but because they were subject to state regulation and inspection, the Irish government admitted liability and established the board as a means by which survivors of abuse or neglect could seek and gain compensation without having to go to court and undergo cross-examination.

Pope urges protection of Amazon region
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Amazon region is under threat, and protection of the ecological balance of this “magnificent work” of God is urgently needed, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message to experts meeting in Brazil to help safeguard the Amazon River.

Commission to review apparitions at Medjugorje
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, announced a commission would be formed to review the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje and pastoral provisions for the thousands of pilgrims who visit the town each year. He said the primary task of the commission would be to review a 1991 report from the region’s bishops that concluded, “It cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations.”


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