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 February 5, 2007VOL. 45, NO. 3Oakland, CA
News in Brief

World Youth Day cross
Young girls carry the World Youth Day cross upon its arrival in the South African province of Eastern Cape last month. One thousand young people welcomed the cross. After the ceremony bishops sent young people home with their own crosses to take into hospitals and homes where people are dying of AIDS. In South Africa, 18 percent of adults are HIV positive
CNS PHOTO/KOADI MATHIBEDI

Mourning Abbe Pierre
Mourners line the street outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as the coffin of Abbe Pierre is carried during his Jan. 26 funeral. The Catholic priest, a well-known figure in the fight against poverty, died in Paris Jan. 22 at the age of 94. He was the founder of the Emmaus Community in France, which operates homeless shelters in more than three dozen countries.
CNS PHOTO/YVES HERMAN/REUTERS

Santa Rosa Diocese repays parishes for funds lost
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (CNS) -- The Santa Rosa Diocese has finished restoring to its parishes, cemeteries and schools the funds that were lost in the 1999 collapse of the diocesan consolidated fund. The diocese also has repaid emergency loans it received from other dioceses across the country, with the exception of the loans from other dioceses in California, including $500,000 to the Oakland Diocese.

The diocesan capital campaign to recover from the 1999 crisis has raised pledges totaling $18.6 million so far. Its target is $20 million.

Cardinal Mahony urges advocacy for immigrants
ST. PAUL (CNS) -- The Church must supplement its ministerial programs with political advocacy if it is to meet the needs of the growing immigrant population in the United States, said Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony. Some people question the Church’s role in politics or challenge the Church’s position on immigration reform, but the Church’s mission is not limited to people’s spiritual well-being, the cardinal said during a conference at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Jan. 18.

Catholics should form their opinions on immigration by considering the capacity of the United States to accept immigrants and the benefits immigrant workers provide to the nation’s economy, the cardinal said.

Vatican defends wartime actions of Pope Pius XII
ROME (CNS) -- Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, strongly defended Pope Pius XII’s wartime actions and said he had coordinated Church efforts that saved the lives of many Jews. Cardinal Bertone spoke Jan. 24 at the presentation of the Italian translation of the book “The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust,” by Martin Gilbert.

The cardinal said the book illustrated how people of many faiths, including Christians and Muslims, had risked their lives to save Jews from Nazi persecution and death in concentration camps. He said the Catholic Church as an institution played a part in this effort, working under
Pope Pius and following his directives.

Bishop defends phrasing about married deacons
MEXICO CITY (CNS) -- A Mexican bishop is bucking Vatican orders to erase a phrase in his pastoral plan that notes the desire among his indigenous communities that married permanent deacons be ordained priests. The phrase is not fanning the hopes of a married priesthood, but simply reporting the feelings of many indigenous Catholics, said Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de Las Casas in Mexico’s Chiapas state. The phrase remains in the pastoral plan “because the faithful have the right to be heard by their pastors. To listen is not the same as to approve,” he said

U.S. urged to improve relations with Cuba
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. government should emulate the Catholic Church and look for a dramatic way to improve relations with Cuba, said a U.S. lawmaker after returning from a fact-finding trip to the Caribbean island. Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., cited the 1998 trip to Cuba by Pope John Paul II and said it had a “dramatic impact” on improving the Church’s situation in the communist-ruled country. “The pope’s visit opened things up for the Church,” said McGovern. “We should learn by that example.”

Parishes, schools realigned in three East Coast states
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Faced with rising costs and shifting populations, several dioceses in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey have announced reorganization plans that involve closing or merging many of their parishes and schools. In Buffalo, N.Y., 14 Catholic schools in the diocese will close. In the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., Bishop Joseph F. Martino announced reorganization of schools in seven counties.

Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York said 10 parishes will close and 11 will merge with other parishes. Five new parishes will be established and new churches are planned for nine existing parishes. In Camden, N.J., the diocese has started a comprehensive planning initiative on two tracks -- one for parishes and the other for Catholic elementary schools.

Book offers new glimpse of John Paul II’s life
ROME (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II consulted with top aides about possibly resigning in 2000 and set up a “specific procedure” for papal resignation, says a new book by the pope’s former secretary. The pope eventually decided that it was God’s will that he stay in office, despite the illness that left him more and more debilitated, wrote Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Poland, the late pope’s closest aide.

In the book, “A Life With Karol,” Cardinal Dziwisz offers an inside glimpse at key moments of Pope John Paul’s life in Poland and his 26-year pontificate. The book was being published in Polish and Italian in late January.

He reports that the pope made more than 100 clandestine trips to ski or hike in the Italian mountains and was rarely recognized by others on the slopes

Parishes will be urged to improve accounting
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A national advisory Accounting Practices Committee has urged the U.S. bishops to institute tighter internal controls over finances in the nation’s 19,000 parishes. Its recommendations included establishing clear diocesan policies about conflict of interest, protection of whistle-blowers and a fraud policy that would include prosecution in all cases.
It also called for each diocese to require every parish to submit an annual report to the bishop on the names and professional titles of the members of the parish finance council, dates the council met, when it approved the parish budget and what budget information was given to parishioners and when. The report should include a copy of the parish’s published financial statement, it said.

Cardinal upset over same-sex adoption rules
LONDON (CNS) -- The president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said he was “deeply disappointed” about the British government’s refusal to exempt 13 Catholic adoption agencies from gay rights regulations.

“We are, of course, deeply disappointed that no exemption will be granted to our agencies on the grounds of widely held religious conviction and conscience,” said Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, England

The cardinal’s Jan. 29 statement followed an announcement by British Prime Minister Tony Blair that adoption agencies would have until the end of 2008 to comply with the Sexual Orientation Regulations outlawing discrimination against homosexuals in services and facilities. Public funding -- approximately $200 million a year -- will be withdrawn if agencies refuse to place children with same-sex couples.

Father Drinan, five-time U.S. Congressman, dies WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNS) -- Jesuit Father Robert F. Drinan, the first Catholic priest to vote in the U.S. Congress, died Jan. 28 in Washington, D.C. The 86-year-old priest had been suffering from pneumonia and congestive heart failure for 10 days prior to his death. He had celebrated a Mass on Jan. 3 at Trinity University in honor of new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Father Drinan represented Massachusetts’ 3rd District in Congress for five terms, from 1971 to 1981, but his political career effectively ended May 5, 1980, when he announced “with regret and pain” that he would not seek re-election because of an order from his Jesuit superiors. Father Pedro Arrupe, Jesuit superior general, said the order reflected “the express wish” of Pope John Paul II.
At the press conference announcing his withdrawal from the race, Father Drinan said his goal in Congress had been “to work for justice in America and for peace throughout the world.”
He began teaching at Georgetown University in 1981 and the university estimates that he taught some 6,000 students during his 26 years there. At the time of his death he was teaching a class on religion and government and an advanced seminar on legal ethics.

 

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