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 October 23 , 2006VOL. 44, NO. 18Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Cross from Ground Zero
Construction workers remove a 20-foot section of steel beams forming a cross that was recovered from the rubble after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks brought down the World Trade Center in New York. The cross was taken to nearby St. Peter’s Church, where it will be stored as reconstruction on the trade center site continues.

Making history
Ben Stevick, center, a 17-year-old sophomore at Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore, walks with his classmates to their next class last month. Ben is the first student with Down syndrome to enroll in a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.


Mexican bishop, Indiana
nun named as saints

VERACRUZ, Mexico (CNS) -- In an Oct. 15 papal ceremony at the Vatican, Blessed Rafael Guizar Valencia became the first bishop born in the Americas to be declared a saint.
Blessed Mother Theodore Guerin became the latest saint to have ministered in the United States. St. Theodore Guerin (1798-1856) was a French nun who, despite poor health throughout her adult life, journeyed to the American frontier in 1840 to minister in a diocese that covered all of Indiana and one-third of Illinois. She founded the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., and a girls academy that became St. Mary-of-the-Woods College.
As a priest during the anti-clerical era that marked the start of the 20th century in his native Mexico, St. Valencia often disguised himself as a junk dealer to bring the sacraments to both sides fighting the Mexican Revolution which started in 1910.
Born in 1878 to a wealthy family, he dedicated his life to preaching and ministering to the poor, despite government opposition to the Church’s activities. He used his family’s money to establish schools for girls and boys.
He died in 1938 in Mexico City and was beatified in 1995 by Pope John Paul II.

Bishops press Bush to veto border fence bill
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Extending the fence along the U.S.-Mexican border will lead to more deaths and violence, warned the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference in a letter urging President George W. Bush to veto the Secure Fence Act.

The bill, passed by Congress in the waning days of the session before the October campaign break for midterm elections, “could lead to the deaths of migrants attempting to enter the United States and increases smuggling-related violence along our border,” said Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Bishop Skylstad said the 700-mile fence authorized in the bill also “would send the wrong signal to our peaceful neighbor to the south, Mexico, as well as to the international community.”
The Oct. 10 letter said the fence also will not solve the problem of illegal immigration.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s foreign secretary said his nation is considering taking the issue of the fence to the United Nations.

Plans criticized for church at Russian massacre site
OXFORD, England (CNS) -- A Catholic bishop has criticized plans to build a Russian Orthodox church on the site of the 2004 school massacre in Beslan, Russia. Bishop Clemens Pickel of Saratov, Russia, said it was “essential to accept what the parents want -- it’s they, not the churches, who should be given the last word. And it’s clear they don’t want anything more here.”

Davenport Diocese files for bankruptcy
DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNS) -- The Diocese of Davenport is now the fourth Catholic diocese in the United States to file for bankruptcy protection because of sex abuse lawsuits it faces. The action came 22 days after a jury awarded $1.5 million to a Davenport man who claimed he was sexually abused by a diocesan priest nearly five decades ago.

Demands for settlement of that lawsuit and 25 claims that exceeded $7 million prompted the diocese’s decision to go to trial for the first time rather than settle out of court.

The possibility of bankruptcy had been looming large in the diocese since October 2004, when it announced an agreement to settle 37 sexual abuse claims and lawsuits for $9 million.

In the past two years the diocese has reached settlements totaling more than $10.5 million. The jury’s award Sept. 18 left diocesan leaders with no other option, they said.

Court won’t hear case to change abortion ruling
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Supreme Court Oct. 10 declined to hear the appeal of Sandra Cano, the Georgia woman who hoped the court would reverse her 1973 victory in one of two decisions that legalized abortion. Cano was the “Mary Doe” in the court’s Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to the better known Roe v. Wade decision. Roe threw out most state restrictions on abortion, but the Doe decision permitted abortions through all nine months of pregnancy.

Without comment, the court rejected Cano’s appeal of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in January that said federal district and appeals courts lacked authority to overturn the decision in Doe or in Roe.

In petitioning the court, Cano’s attorneys argued that although medical science and technology have advanced, by refusing to reconsider the validity of the Roe and Doe cases, the Supreme Court has “frozen abortion law based on obsolete 1973 assumptions and prevented the normal regulation of the practice of medicine.”

German chaplain jailed after refusing to testify
COLOGNE, Germany (CNS) -- A lay Catholic prison chaplain has been imprisoned for contempt of court after he refused to answer a question put to him by the judge in the trial of three alleged al-Qaida members. The chaplain, who under German media rules remains unnamed, was testifying at a court in Dusseldorf, where three men are accused of membership in a terrorist organization and of trying to raise money through insurance fraud.

Turk, 16, sentenced for murder of Italian priest
TREBIZOND, Turkey (CNS) -- A 16-year-old Turkish youth was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for the February murder of an Italian Catholic priest. The young man, identified in court only by his initials, O.A., was found guilty of premeditated murder, possessing a weapon without a license and endangering public security. Media reports from Turkey said the boy’s family criticized the Oct. 10 sentence as being too harsh, and his lawyer said the sentence would be appealed.
The youth was arrested two days after the Feb. 5 murder of Father Andrea Santoro, a missionary from Rome who had been in Turkey for 10 years. Father Santoro was praying in St. Mary Church, in the Black Sea coastal city of Trebizond, when he was shot twice.

Pope adds explanation to remarks on Islam
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has added an explanatory note to his controversial remarks on Islam, saying the text provoked misinterpretation and “understandable indignation” among Muslims. The explanation appeared Oct. 9 in a footnote in the Vatican’s online version of the speech on faith and reason given by the pope in Regensburg, Germany, in mid-September.


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