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 December 17, 2007   •   VOL. 45, NO. 21    •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Prayers for victims in Omaha
At a Dec. 6 prayer service in Omaha, Neb., a young boy carries a candle and the name of a victim of the Dec. 5 shooting at the city’s Westroads Mall. Robert A. Hawkins, 19, of Bellevue, Neb. opened fire at the mall, killing eight people and then himself. Five others were wounded, including Jeff Schaffart, a graduate of Creighton University’s law school. The community service was held at St. John’s Church on the Jesuit-run Creighton campus.

CNS PHOTO/DON DOLL SJ

Rosaries for the unknown
Matthew Hewitt and Joshua Castro, students from St. Gertrude School in Kingsville, Texas, place rosaries on crosses at the graves of unidentified undocumented immigrants who died in south Texas after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

CNS PHOTO/PAULA GOLDAPP/SOUTH TEXAS CATHOLIC

Mural in Bethlehem
A Palestinian boy looks at one of six new images painted by British street artist Banksy as part of a Christmas exhibition in Bethlehem, West Bank.

CNS PHOTO/AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Interfaith campaign to oppose terrorism
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington, led a group of religious leaders Nov. 30 in announcing a national interfaith grass-roots campaign to oppose terrorists and protect Americans from their violence. The campaign is being launched by Cardinal McCarrick; Rabbi Jack A. Luxemburg, chief rabbi of Temple Beth Ami in the Washington suburb of Rockville, Md.; and the Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, dean of the Washington National Cathedral of the Episcopal Church.

Cardinal McCarrick said the campaign is comprised of people from different religious traditions, coming together with mutual respect and understanding, to protect Americans from terrorists and their violence.

Michelangelo sketch of St. Peter’s dome uncovered
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican has discovered a rare sketch of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica drawn by Michelangelo Buonarroti. Some believe the 1563 drawing may be the last surviving example of the Renaissance master’s work before his death in 1564. Dark-red-chalk lines show a sketch of a partial plan of one of the radial columns of the cupola drum of the basilica.The torn sketch was found recently in the archives of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, the office of the Vatican’s chief engineer.

Settlement ends diocese’s bankruptcy
DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNS) — The Davenport Diocese has agreed to a settlement of $37 million and nonmonetary provisions to help bring closure and healing to survivors of sexual abuse. The agreement will allow the diocese to come out of bankruptcy, though it requires approval of the bankruptcy judge to take effect.

Because of sex abuse lawsuits it was facing, the diocese filed for bankruptcy protection last year under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 11 allows an entity to reorganize. The global settlement protects all Catholic entities affiliated with the diocese — parishes and schools included — from liability for past cases of abuse. It also requires giving up the diocese’s headquarters to help pay for it.

Cardinal says assault was over abuse crisis
LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony told archdiocesan priests in October that he was assaulted during the summer by a man who was angry over the Church’s sexual abuse scandal, according to reports from priests who attended the annual meeting. The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and New York Times reported Dec. 5 that Cardinal Mahony talked about the assault during an Oct. 1 priests’ pastoral meeting, as an illustration of the toll the abuse scandal has taken on everyone in the Church.

Liechtenstein to end Church’s official status
WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — Liechtenstein’s government has introduced legislation that would remove the Catholic Church as the country’s official church. “We need to clear things up in areas from tax covenants to church ownership. That’s why we’ve consulted all relevant stakeholders and think we’ve found a satisfactory solution,” said Gerlinde Manz-Christ, spokeswoman for Liechtenstein’s government

Catholic school to add air-traffic control degree
ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (CNS) — Lewis University in the Joliet Diocese is set to add an air-traffic controller degree program to its academic offerings at the start of the fall 2008 semester. The Catholic university, run by the Christian Brothers, is one of just nine colleges and universities across the nation chosen by the Federal Aviation Administration to participate in its new Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative.

Link between crucifixes and sweatshops denied
NEW YORK (CNS) — There is no “conclusive evidence” to back up allegations that crucifixes sold in the gift shop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and other religious goods stores were made in Chinese sweatshops, the Archdiocese of New York said in a Nov. 21 statement. “The gift shop still does not know that these claims are true,” the statement said. “In fact, it would have been virtually impossible to verify the facts,” it said, since Charles Kernaghan, director of the National Labor Committee, called a news conference “without any attempt whatsoever to contact either the gift shop or the company that imports the items ... to raise his concerns and investigate their truthfulness.”

Kernaghan had released a 74-page report alleging that crucifixes sold at the Catholic cathedral, Trinity Episcopal Church in New York and stores belonging to the Association for Christian Retail were produced at the Junxingye Metal and Plastic Products Factory in Dongguan in southern China. The report said workers at Junxingye are paid only 26.5 cents an hour, less than half of China’s minimum wage, and are routinely forced to work 100 hours a week or more.
St. Patrick’s and Trinity removed the crucifixes from their shelves pending an investigation.

Book bound in skin of executed Jesuit auctioned
LONDON (CNS) — A book bound in the skin of an executed Jesuit priest was sold at an auction in England to an unnamed private collector for 5,400 pounds (more than US$11,000). The macabre, 17th-century book tells the story of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot and is covered in the hide of Father Henry Garnet.

The priest, at the time the head of the Jesuits in England, was executed May 3, 1606, outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London for his alleged role in a Catholic plot to detonate 36 barrels of gunpowder beneath the British Parliament, an act that would have killed the Protestant King James I and other government leaders.

Founder of Homeboy Industries is honored
WASHINGTON (CNS) — A priest known to former gang members in East Los Angeles as “G-Dog” was among five adults and six young people honored by the Washington-based Caring Institute as the most caring people in America for 2007. Jesuit Father Gregory Boyle, who founded Homeboy Industries in 1988 to provide “hope, not jail” for former gang members who want to turn their lives around, received one of the 2007 National Caring Awards at a Nov. 16 ceremony in Washington.

 

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