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Catholic Voice

 May 19, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 10   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

New Swiss Guards
The 33 new recruits of the Vatican’s elite Swiss Guard march at the end of their swearing-in ceremony at the Vatican. New recruits are sworn in every year on May 6, commemorating the date in 1527 when 147 Swiss soldiers died defending the pope during an attack on Rome.

CNS PHOTO/MAX ROSSI/REUTERS

World Youth Day cross
Surfers welcome the World Youth Day cross and icon on Bell’s Beach near Melbourne, Australia, May 8. The cross and icon have been carried thousands of miles through Australia in advance of World Youth Day in July.

CNS PHOTO/FIONA BASILE/REUTERS

‘Governor should stop receiving Communion’
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., said Gov. Kathleen Sebelius should stop receiving Communion until she publicly repudiates her support of abortion and makes a “worthy sacramental confession” related to her stance. He said the Catholic governor of Kansas has had a long record of supporting and advocating for legalized abortion and that her public stances have “grave spiritual and moral consequences.”

Archbishop Naumann sent a letter last August to the governor requesting that she refrain from receiving Communion because of her actions in support of abortion. He learned recently that she has since received Communion in a Kansas parish. He had previously met with Sebelius and discussed his concerns about her position on abortion and her vetoes of legislation to limit abortion in the state. Sebelius is planning to send a written response to the archbishop, said her spokeswoman.

Canonization sought for couple killed by Nazis

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — The Catholic Church in Poland is seeking the canonization of a peasant couple shot with their six small children for hiding Jews in their farmhouse during the Holocaust.
Jozef and Wiktoria Ulm are among 122 Polish World War II martyrs whose sainthood causes are being coordinated by the Pelplin Diocese. The Ulms, who ran a fruit orchard, were shot March 24, 1944, for sheltering eight Jews.

Poland’s National Remembrance Institute said it believed local Poles had tipped off the Nazis after Wiktoria Ulm, who was nine months pregnant at her death, bought unusual amounts of food at the village shop.
“This was a poor family, but a resourceful and hardworking one,” said Archbishop Jozef Michalik of Przemysl, president of the Polish bishops’ conference. “They knew sheltering Jews carried a death sentence and that several neighbors had already been executed for it. Despite this, they offered themselves — not even the children were afraid.”

Pope defends teaching on artificial birth control

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI defended the Church’s teaching against artificial birth control and said its wisdom has become clearer in light of new scientific discoveries and social trends. The pope made his comments as the Church prepared to mark the 40th anniversary of the encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” issued by Pope Paul VI July 25, 1968, affirming the Church’s teaching on married love and saying the use of artificial contraception was morally wrong.

Christians urged to stay in Israel as force for peace

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Welcoming Israel’s new ambassador to the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI urged Israel to help its Christian citizens remain in the country where they could be a force for peace and understanding. Mordechay Lewy, the new ambassador. said, “We shall do our utmost to help strengthen the Christian communities in Israel as their essential presence in the Holy Land is deeply rooted and historically self-understood.”

The ambassador also asked the Catholic Church to continue working with Israel and Jewish groups in combating anti-Semitism, and he warned about increasing instability in the region, apparently in reference to Iran’s nuclear program.

Weekday Communion services ended by bishop

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., has ordered an end to weekday Communion services outside the context of Mass by July 1. Citing guidelines for the distribution of Communion in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, Bishop Murphy said his decision would bring the diocese “into conformity with the liturgical norms of the Church.” The order applies to parishes, schools and social and charitable organizations which had adopted the practice of offering “celebrations of the word” with the distribution of Communion when no daily Mass was scheduled.

The distribution of Communion to the sick outside of Mass is permitted as long as the proper ritual is followed, he added.

Latin-language texts now available online

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Latin is online at the Vatican. Without fanfare, the Vatican’s www.vatican.va site has made hundreds of papal and other documents available in a new Latin-language section. The Latin area went live May 9. Visitors clicking on “Sancta Sedes” (Latin for “Holy See”) are taken to a menu of documents arranged by pontificate or Roman Curia office. Also posted is the complete neo-Vulgate Latin version of the Bible and Latin editions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Code of Canon Law and the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

Lebanese archbishop calls for reconciliation

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNS) — After several days of violence, a Lebanese archbishop called on sectarian groups to reconcile peacefully and urged the Vatican to help. “The Lebanese do not at all want war. We are insisting that the Christian political leaders be wise and avoid participation in this armed conflict,” said Maronite Catholic Archbishop Bechara Rai of Jbeil. “We are calling on them to do everything to reconcile peacefully the two groups. We should do whatever necessary to interrupt this armed conflict.”

Court acquits rancher of ordering nun’s murder

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) — A Brazilian jury acquitted one of the ranchers accused of ordering the assassination of U.S. Sister Dorothy Stang in 2005. Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura was acquitted May 6. Last year de Moura was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the crime, but according to Brazilian law every defendant sentenced to serve more than 20 years has the right to appeal the decision and demand a new trial.

Part of the reason for the acquittal was that Rayfran das Neves Sales, Sister Dorothy’s confessed killer, said during his retrial that he alone was responsible for the killing. Sales said he felt threatened by the missionary and mistook her Bible for a gun. In earlier depositions, Sales had accused de Moura of ordering Sister Dorothy’s killing. The jury increased Sales’ prison time from 27 to 28 years.

Schools were collateral in abuse settlement

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Seven high schools owned and operated by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles were used as collateral to secure loans to help the archdiocese pay its share of the $720 million settlements with victims of clergy sexual abuse. The properties helped secure $175 million in loans late in 2007 to pay most of the diocese’s portion of the settlements.

The diocese agreed to pay $292 million following negotiated settlements involving 553 claims from sexual abuse victims in 2006 and 2007, according to the archdiocese’s most recent financial report covering the year ending last June 30. The school properties were chosen because they could be assessed and appraised within the time frame for paying victims set in the court-negotiated agreements.

Vatican paper: God made pre-humans into people

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While apes evolved naturally into pre-human creatures, it was the will and desire of God that turned them into humans, an article in the Vatican newspaper said. “The formation of human beings necessitated a particular contribution by God, though it remains that their emergence was brought about by natural causes” of evolution, it said.

The article, published in the May 5-6 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, was written by Italian evolutionary biologist Fiorenzo Facchini. The article said that, “when the biological conditions necessary for supporting a being capable of reflective thought were attained, the will of God, the creator, freely desired it, and man came to be.”

 

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