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 July 7, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 13   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Prayers for ferry victims
A priest offers a blessing during a Mass near the site of the capsized ferry MV Princess of the Stars at Sibuyan Island in the central Philippines, June 26. Hundreds of corpses are believed trapped in the seven-story ferry, which ran aground and flipped during Typhoon Fengshen, June 21..


Beef protest in South Korea (Above)
Catholic priests lead a protest march in Seoul, South Korea, June 30, demanding a full-scale renegotiation of a U.S. beef import deal and the resignation of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. South Koreans fearful of mad cow disease have participated in major protests since April against a U.S. beef import deal.   CNS PHOTO/LEE GWANG-HO/REUTERS
The Pauline Year (Right)
Pope Benedict XVI walks near a statue of St. Paul as he arrives for an evening prayer service at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls June 28. Joined by other Christian leaders, the pope opened the year of St. Paul, calling the apostle a model for contemporary Christians.


Mugabe supporters assault priests in Zimbabwe
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) — Several Catholic priests have been assaulted by supporters of Zimbabwe’s ruling party and at least one house belonging to the church has been burned down, a Jesuit spokesman said.

St. Anthony’s mission house in Zaka was home to a few priests before it was destroyed in the violence that preceded the country’s June 27 runoff presidential election.

Many priests in rural areas as well as at least one in Harare have been assaulted in the crackdown against the opposition to President Robert Mugabe, said Jesuit Father Wermter in Harare.

“Very serious threats” also have been made against priests and other church workers, he said. Some parishioners have been “put under pressure to attend ruling party rallies instead of Mass on Sundays,” he added.

Vietnamese Catholics urged to integrate in U.S.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As a cardinal from Vietnam began his U.S. tour, he advised Vietnamese Catholics living in North America to integrate with the faithful in their newly adopted country, but remain close to the culture of their homeland and remember its martyrs. “I tell them, ‘You are here, you are not’” refugees anymore, said Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City in English.

Kneeling for Communion to be papal liturgy norm

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Receiving the Eucharist on the tongue while kneeling before the pope will become the norm at papal liturgies, said the Vatican’s liturgist. While current norms allow the faithful to receive the Eucharist in the hand while standing, Pope Benedict XVI has indicated a preference for the more traditional practice, said Msgr. Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies.

Kneeling and receiving Communion on the tongue highlights “the truth of the real presence (of Christ) in the Eucharist, helps the devotion of the faithful and introduces the sense of mystery more easily,” he said in a June 26 interview with the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. He said “it is urgent to highlight and recover” these aspects of the sacredness and mystery of the Eucharist in modern times.

Bush: faith-based efforts triumph of his presidency

WASHINGTON (CNS) — President George W. Bush told a room full of leaders of religious social organizations June 26 that his faith-based and community initiative has been one of the most significant programs to come out of his administration and urged them to continue saving the lives of those in need in the U.S. and abroad. The program gives organizations run by religious groups equal footing with secular groups in eligibility for federal funding for programs they operate to help the poor and needy.

Catholics react to priest carrying Olympic torch

TAIYUAN, China (CNS) — Chinese Catholics expressed mixed feelings about a priest carrying the Olympic torch along its relay route in the Shanxi provincial capital. Father Paul Meng Ningyou, vicar general of the Taiyuan Diocese and pastor of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, was the 122nd of 208 torchbearers when he ran June 26 in Taiyuan, an industrial city less than 250 miles southwest of Beijing. Father Meng, 45, was the only religious worker to carry the torch in Taiyuan, and the only priest known to have done so since the relay began on the mainland May 4.

Bishops join call for Bush to ban torture

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Two Catholic bishops have joined former government officials and retired generals in calling on President George W. Bush to sign an executive order outlawing torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees as tools in the so-called global war on terror. Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., chairman of the international justice and peace committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, are among 200 people who have signed a statement of principles for the president to follow regarding interrogation techniques

Priests run for office despite bishops’ warning

BRASILIA, Brazil (CNS) — Dozens of priests in Brazil are expected to ignore the wishes of their bishops and the Vatican and seek political office in October’s municipal elections. In anticipation of the priests’ action, the Brazilian bishops’ conference has reminded priests of canon law provisions that prohibit clergy from holding political office as well as Church teaching about the incompatibility of political power with their vocations.
However, Brazil’s national association of priests claims there is nothing incompatible with a priest serving his community as a town councilor or mayor.

Traditionalists given date for reconciliation

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican has pressed the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X to accept five conditions, including respect for the pope and his authority, as part of a reconciliation offer. The conditions were communicated by letter to the head of the society, Bishop Bernard Fellay, by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who has conducted an on-again, off-again dialogue with the traditionalists for several years.

One of the conditions set forth in Cardinal Castrillon’s letter was that the society respond favorably by the end of June.

Survey: fewer Catholics are active in parishes

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Less than a third of U.S. Catholics participate regularly in selected pastoral or community activities at their churches, though nearly 80 percent say they pray at least weekly, according to the latest report from the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The survey released June 23 was a wide-ranging compilation of data covering religious affiliations, practices, beliefs and how faith influences people’s political positions and activities.

Tourists urged to have eco-friendly vacations

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In time for the summer holidays, the Vatican urged tourists to pack less luggage, leave the car at home and have a greener vacation. Tourists have to choose whether they are “for or against the planet,” said the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers. They can “contribute toward the preservation of life on our planet and slow down the process of climate change” or they can pursue “a kind of insane narcissism” that selfishly ignores recognizing the earth “is at risk of destruction,” the council said.

Three Catholics awarded Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an award-winning physician and AIDS researcher, was among six recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom June 19 in the East Room of the White House. Fauci and two other Catholics — former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and Gen. Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — were honored along with pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin S. Carson Sr.; Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; and the late Tom Lantos, a Holocaust survivor and Democratic congressman from San Mateo County. Lantos’ widow, Annette, received the medal in his honor.


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