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 August 6, 2007 • VOL. 45, NO. 14 • Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Slain in Afghanistan
Hospital workers carry a coffin containing the body of the Rev. Bae Hyung-kyu at a hospital in Anyang, South Korea, July 30. The South Korean Christian pastor was shot and killed by Taliban insurgents who kidnapped him and 22 other Christian volunteers in Afghanistan. The Taliban killed a second hostage on July 31.


Freed from captivity
Italian missionary Father Giancarlo Bossi speaks to the media at police headquarters in Zamboanga City, in the southern Philippines, July 20, the day after he was released by kidnappers who held him for 39 days. He returned to his parish in Payao on July 25.


Pope says war is ‘useless slaughter’

LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to the “useless slaughter” of war and asked that “the rule of law” replace the recourse to weapons.

When people succumb “to the temptations of evil” and launch violent conflicts and wars, “this stupendous garden that is the world” is opened up to hell, he said. The pope made his appeal for peace July 22 before reciting the noonday Angelus prayer with thousands of pilgrims gathered in the main square of this northeastern Italian town nestled in the Dolomite Alps, where the pope spent his July 9-27 vacation.

Bishops to meet with Congress on Iraq war

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops have agreed to meet with a group of Catholic House Democrats to discuss how to pursue the goal of a “responsible transition” to end the war in Iraq. They also reiterated their call for members of Congress and the Bush administration to break the political stalemate in Washington and “forge bipartisan policies on ways to bring about a responsible transition and an end to the war.”

“The current situation in Iraq is unacceptable and unsustainable,” wrote Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Policy, in a July 17 letter to Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.

Wenski’s letter was a response to a June 28 letter Ryan wrote to Bishop Wenski and Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., USCCB president. Ryan’s letter, sent on behalf of himself and 13 other Catholic House Democrats, urged the bishops to increase their involvement in efforts to end the war in Iraq.

Stem-cell research still a hot topic in Congress

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As the U.S. Senate considers whether to try to override the presidential veto of a bill permitting federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research, a new bill in the House of Representatives would promote stem-cell research and clinical trials that do not involve the destruction of human embryos.

The Patients First Act, introduced by Republican Rep. J. Randy Forbes of Virginia and Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois, is supported by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to Richard M. Doerflinger, deputy director of the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, because “it will promote stem-cell research that is helping patients now in clinical trials, or showing real benefits in animal trials.

“The hype and public debate over embryonic stem cells has unfortunately diverted attention away from medical research that is already working, using stem cells that pose no moral problem,” he added.

Hebrew Catholics assoc.moves to St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- The designation Hebrew Catholic may seem incongruous. But not to David Moss, president of the Association of Hebrew Catholics. Moss, 65, and his wife, Kathleen, 62, recently moved the organization’s U.S. headquarters to St. Louis and the association has planned a number of programs to better explain its message.

“Hebrew is the ethnicity. Our religious observance is Catholic,” said Moss. “There are tens of thousands of Jews in the Catholic Church. ... (The association was formed because) it is time once again for the Jews who entered the Church to come together and live out their eternal calling, their vocation to give collective witness to the truths that God has revealed -- first in the Old Covenant, written in the Old Testament, and then the truth of the New Covenant, the New Testament,” he said.

The Association of Hebrew Catholics was begun in 1979 in Israel by two Hebrew Catholics -- Father Elias Friedman, a Discalced Carmelite friar, and Andrew Scholl, a Holocaust survivor.

Charities hires priest to work on racial equality

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Precious Blood Father Clarence Williams has been chosen as Catholic Charities USA’s new director of racial equality and diversity initiatives. He has been director of black Catholic ministries in the Archdiocese of Detroit for the last 12 years.

Father Williams is the author of the new book, “Racial Sobriety: Becoming the Change You Want to See,” as well as “Racial Sobriety: A Journey From Hurts to Healing” and “Recovery From Everyday Racisms.” A Cleveland native, he was the first African-American from that diocese to be ordained.

Catholic universities chosen for Fulbright

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Jesuit-run Xavier University in Cincinnati and Vincentian-run DePaul University in Chicago have been selected to participate this fall in a new exchange program aimed at promoting interfaith cooperation and community action among diverse groups.

The two Catholic universities are among only 10 universities chosen nationwide to take part in the Fulbright Interfaith Community Action Program, created by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program will provide a multinational group of religious leaders, scholars and community leaders from diverse backgrounds with a semester-long U.S. exchange period.

Tribunal clears priest who confessed to abuse

BOGOTA, Colombia (CNS) -- A Colombian Catholic Church tribunal has cleared a priest who confessed to sexually abusing seminarians -- including some in the United States -- decades ago.
The Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Bogota ruled July 23 that both the Church’s and the civil court’s statutes of limitations had expired, “totally exempting” Father Efrain Rozo Rincon from prosecution. The tribunal also found that Father Rozo deserved a “presumption of innocence.”

The tribunal praised Father Rozo for “promoting for almost 50 years a modern and active apostolate with students and youths through sports” and pointed out that “there have not been formal accusations of incorrect behavior in this court.”

Last October, Father Rozo confessed on tape to U.S. lawyers representing his nephew, Ernesto Rozo, who sued the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where some of the alleged abuses occurred. Father Rozo was assigned to Los Angeles and worked at Loyola Marymount University, 1967-69. Father Rozo admitted to abusing a seminary student and his nephew 40 years ago. In the U.S. civil case, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to compensate Ernesto Rozo.


Alabama Catholic school to be in exchange

SPANISH FORT, Ala. (CNS) -- St. Benedict Catholic School in Elberta has been selected to host a native Chinese teacher for the 2007-08 academic year as part of a new effort to bring the Mandarin language and Chinese culture to young Americans. The teacher, Wang Zhenghai, is expected to arrive Aug. 12.

The school is the first Catholic elementary school in the nation and the only school in Alabama to be selected by the College Board for the exchange.

Conference investigates elected bishop of Beijing

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The government-sanctioned Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church of China has begun its investigation of the elected bishop candidate for the Beijing Diocese. Beijing-born Father Joseph Li Shan, 42, received the most votes in the July 16 diocesan election for a candidate to succeed the late Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan of Beijing.

Father Paul Sun Shang’en, who has been in charge of diocesan affairs since Bishop Fu died April 20, told the Asian church news agency UCA News July 19 that the diocese has reported the election result to the bishops’ conference for its approval. When asked if the diocese would also apply to the Holy See, he responded that this would be difficult, because China and the Vatican have no official diplomatic relations.


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