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 August 4, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief


Veneration in Kiev
Orthodox believers scramble to venerate an icon at the Caves Monastery in Kiev, Ukraine, July 26. The Caves Monastery is considered to be the cradle of Orthodoxy in the Slavic world. Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II was taking part in celebrations marking the 1,020th anniversary of the embrace of Orthodox Christianity in the region.


Freed hostage gives thanks
Freed French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt, center, her mother, Yolanda Pulecio, and son Lorenzo light candles in the grotto at the Sanctuaries of Our Lady of Lourdes in Lourdes, France, July 12. The Catholic politician was abducted in 2002 while she was running for president of Colombia. On July 2, the Colombian army staged a bloodless military operation and liberated Betancourt and 14 others.

Prayers for terror victims
A child lights oil lamps during a July 27 prayer meeting in Bhopal, India, for the victims of serial bomb blasts. India’s major cities were put on high alert with fears of more attacks after dozens of people were killed in two days of bombings in Ahmedabad and Bangalore.

Pope apologizes for ‘betrayal’ to Australians
SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI said he was “deeply sorry for the pain and suffering” endured by Australian victims of clerical sexual abuse. Describing the abuse as “so grave a betrayal of trust,” he said it deserves “unequivocal condemnation.”

Pope Benedict offered the apology July 19 during a Mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral with Australia’s bishops and representatives of the country’s priests, religious, seminarians and novices.

Italian groups launch JPII sports foundation
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Five Italian organizations and businesses involved with promoting sports and good sportsmanship have launched the John Paul II Foundation for Sports to strengthen parish-based sports programs, to further study about teaching values and good citizenship through sports and to sponsor international celebrations highlighting good, sweaty fun.

Edio Costantini, president of the foundation, said it was named after Pope John Paul because the late pope spoke so often about sports as a way to bring people together in peace and as a way to learn teamwork, self-control and respect for rules.

The first big event on the foundation’s calendar is an April 24-June 21, 2009, series of marathons “in the footsteps of St. Paul.” The marathons will begin by joining with the 5-year-old Bethlehem-to-Jerusalem John Paul II marathon for peace. Successive stages of the run will take place in Caesarea, Israel; Rabat, Malta, where St. Paul was shipwrecked; and then up the Italian coast to Rome.

In his Second Letter to Timothy, for example, St. Paul wrote: “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”

Platform based on Catholic social teachings
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — At a July conference on faith, politics and the quest for the common good, 800 Catholics from around the nation ratified a platform based on Catholic social teaching and aimed at capturing the attention of both political parties this election season.

The “Platform for the Common Good” outlines an approach to national elections based on Catholic social teachings that emphasize love of neighbor and caring for others. It was finalized by delegates to the July 11-13 Convention for the Common Good, described as the first grass-roots effort of its kind.

The platform urges candidates and elected officials to put the common good before narrow partisan agendas. The conference and the platform were organized by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good Network, a national Catholic social justice lobby; and another dozen sponsors.

Politicians oppose abortion in N. Ireland
LONDON (CNS) — Politicians and lobbyists who oppose abortion in Northern Ireland have said they will resist attempts to extend Britain’s abortion laws to the country. “This attempt to impose abortion on Northern Ireland is extremist, anti-democratic and arrogant,” said Betty Gibson, chairwoman of the Northern Ireland branch of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where the 1967 Abortion Act, which made abortion legal in Britain, does not apply because elected representatives of the Catholic and Protestant communities always have insisted that they do not want the practice legalized.

But on July 22, English politicians proposed an amendment to the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill to extend the act to Northern Ireland. The amendment would give women in the province the right to free abortions on demand with funding from the National Health Service within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Indian Catholics denounce legalization of euthanasia
BANGALORE, India (CNS) — Catholic officials in Kerala state have denounced the federal Law Commission’s decision to endorse the legalization of euthanasia. In a statement released July 24, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council urged the commission, part of India’s Ministry of Law and Justice, to withdraw its recommendation.

In early July, the Law Commission recommended that if a person “is unable to take normal care of his body or has lost all the senses and if his real desire is to quit the world, he cannot be compelled to continue with torture and a painful life.”

Pro soccer player enters seminary
PEORIA, Ill. (CNS) — Professional soccer player Chase Hilgenbrinck has announced his retirement from Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution team to become a seminarian of the Diocese of Peoria. He will study at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.

“More than anything, I am excited to administer the sacraments, and to be with people at the most important times of their lives, like baptism, marriage and death,” Hilgenbrinck, 26, told The Catholic Post, Peoria’s diocesan newspaper.

Report blames biofuel, agribusiness for crisis
OTTAWA (CNS) — The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has released a booklet examining the roots of the food crisis, “Food System in Crisis: Hunger and the Pursuit of Profit,” that calls for a return of decision-making power to the people who grow and consume food. The report predicts 100 million hungry people will soon join the 860 million worldwide who do not have enough to eat.

It cites practices — such as the use of hybrid seeds and the growth of agribusiness that depends on fossil-fuel fertilizers — that have undermined traditional agricultural practices and claims that as food production gets concentrated in the hands of transnational businesses, peasant farmers are being forced off the land and shareholders’ concerns are trumping local needs. The booklet is available at www.devp.org.

New Orleans Archdiocese to close 18 parishes
NEW ORLEANS (CNS) — Confirming decisions he had announced in April in a post-Katrina realignment plan for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes signed letters July 3 closing 18 parishes and either merging them with others or changing their status to mission churches. Those closings will take effect in the near future upon the reassignment of pastors.

Archbishop Hughes said his decisions were necessitated by post-Katrina realities such as the diminishing number of diocesan priests, population shifts and financial strains.

Anglican bishop expects members to join Catholics
LONDON (CNS) — A traditionalist Anglican bishop has called on the Catholic Church to accommodate a potential new wave of converts following the decision by the Church of England to allow the ordination of women bishops.

“What we must humbly ask for now is for magnanimous gestures from our Catholic friends, especially from the Holy Father, who well understands our longing for unity, and from the hierarchy of England and Wales,” wrote Anglican Bishop Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet, England, in the July 11 edition of The Catholic Herald, a London-based weekly newspaper. “Most of all we ask for ways that allow us to bring our folk with us,” he said.


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