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 September 18, 2006VOL. 44, NO. 16Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Immigration rally
During an immigration rights rally at the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix Sept. 4,Tito Aguirre carries crosses representing those who have died so far in 2006 while attempting to cross the Sonoran Desert. The rally was one of many around the country calling for comprehensive changes in U.S. immigration law.

Letters to St. Rose
People write their intentions in letters to be thrown inside the well of wishes at St. Rose Church in Lima, Peru, during celebrations on the anniversary of the saint’s death. St. Rose of Lima, patroness of South America and the Philippines, was the first saint canonized for the Americas.

Eucharistic Congress

Julian Kiganda participates in a liturgical dance at a Mass during the first African National Eucharistic Congress at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, Sept. 2. Bishop Augustine Shao of Zanzibar, Tanzania, was the celebrant.

Cardinal says Church is not 'patriarchal society'
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The Church’s prohibition against women priests is not culturally conditioned by the “patriarchal society” in which Jesus lived and taught, said Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali. “Jesus treated women in a manner highly unusual for his culture,” he said, noting that Christ “forgave the woman caught in adultery.”

The cardinal described as an “unfortunate incident” the July 31 riverboat ceremony near Pittsburgh at which eight women said they were ordained to the Catholic priesthood. But the event provides an opportunity to discuss Catholic teaching, he said.

Church in Childe criticizes contraceptive give-away
SANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) -- Chilean Catholic Church leaders have criticized government guidelines authorizing public health centers to distribute free contraceptives, including the morning-after pill, to minors older than 14 without parental consent. The guidelines make the morning-after pill Postinor-2 available for free, but require a prescription after counseling in primary health centers.

Vatican seeks moratorium on use of cluster bombs
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican has called for a moratorium on the use of cluster bombs, saying past and future victims of conflicts “cannot wait for years of negotiations and discussions.” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican representative to Geneva-based U.N. agencies, told governmental experts Sept. 1 that the maiming and death of tens of thousands of people as a result of the bombs’ submunitions necessitate immediate, concrete action.

Cluster bombs eject multiple submunitions or bomblets, and their use during the recent war in Lebanon, Archbishop Tomasi said, “tragically demonstrates to us evidence of a humanitarian tragedy unfolding before our eyes.”

Bishop urges civil debate in abortion vote
RAPID CITY, S.D. (CNS) -- Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City has called for civil, reasoned public debate as South Dakota voters face a Nov. 7 referendum on legislation that would outlaw most abortions. “The coming referendum presents an opportunity for South Dakota to model for the nation the manner in which substantial public debate regarding this volatile moral issue can be carried on with respect, honesty and conviction,” Bishop Cupich wrote in the Sept. 11 issue of America, a national Catholic magazine.

Supporters of legalized abortion initiated the referendum after the South Dakota Legislature adopted a law that would ban all abortions except those necessary to save a mother’s life. Gov. Mike Rounds signed the legislation in March. In mid-June, less than two weeks before the law was to take effect, it was suspended because enough voters had signed petitions to force a popular referendum on it.

Polish priest-informants urged 'to confess'
WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish bishops’ conference has urged priests who acted as informants under communism to confess and warned against “condemnation and revenge.” “The truth about sin should lead every Christian to a personal admission of guilt, penance and confession, including public confession if necessary,” the bishops’ conference said in a report on the Church’s secret police infiltration during communism.

In the 3,000-word report published in late August, the bishops said the “decisive majority” of Catholic priests had proved “worthy servants of Christ” under communist rule and in some cases paid with their lives. However, they added, there could be no justification for priests who acted as informants for the communists.

Priest-offenders put in supervised residences
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Following the lead of U.S. religious communities, some dioceses are putting priests involved in child sex abuse cases in supervised residences. The idea is to professionally monitor their activities as a way of curbing any further abuses. Monica Applewhite, a specialist in setting up child sex abuse prevention programs for church groups, told CNS that she has helped at least five dioceses and 100 religious communities in the U.S. set up monitored living programs.

Archdiocese to send soup to hungry in Mozambique
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (CNS) -- The Archdiocese of Buenos Aires has launched a campaign to feed thousands of people in Mozambique with a soup developed by a local university. The soup is made from liquidized Argentine beef, fresh vegetables and fat. Each tin of soup costs about $2.60 and can feed 17 people. The Church hopes to raise $24,000 to send a container-load of soup. Transport costs are low because the soup does not need refrigeration.

Vatican awards prize to filmmaker Zhang Yuan
VENICE, Italy (CNS) -- The Vatican awarded its annual cinema prize to Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yuan, saying his movies have depicted people’s search for spiritual meaning. U.S. Archbishop John P. Foley, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications said Zhang was chosen because his films showed great sensitivity to “the difficult course that every person must face in the search for the spiritual sense of existence.” He said Zhang’s work expressed realism and hope.

The archbishop praised Zhang’s 1999 film, “Seventeen Years,” which told the story of a parole visit home by a woman convicted of killing her stepsister and showed the crime’s emotional effects on the protagonist and her family.

Religious leaders gather in Assisi for peace prayers
ASSISI, Italy (CNS) -- Muslims knelt on prayer rugs in the Assisi town hall, Shintoists performed rituals in the garden of a Franciscan convent, and Buddhists meditated in a room full of Renaissance frescoes. Christians filled the town’s cathedral to pray until the tolling of the church bells called members of all faiths to an evening procession for peace through the streets of the medieval city. The 70 minutes of prayer marked the central moment of the 20th annual Interreligious Prayer Meeting for Peace Sept. 4-5, attended by more than 150 religious leaders from around the world.

Like the original encounter in 1986, this one took place in Assisi, the Italian hill town where St. Francis lived and preached. Sponsored by the Sant’Egidio Community, it featured numerous round-table discussions, separate prayer rituals and a joint appeal for peace delivered in front of the Basilica of St. Francis. “War is not unavoidable. Religions never justify hatred and violence. Those using the name of God to destroy others move away from true religion,” the appeal said.

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