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 September 22, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Benedict XVI at Lourdes
Pope Benedict XVI prays at the Grotto of the Apparitions at the Marian sanctuaries of Lourdes, France, Sept. 13, as part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Mary’s appearances to St. Bernadette Soubirous.

Bishops seek end to ICE raids;
reveal “failure of flawed system”

WASHINGTON (CNS) — If federal immigration officials cannot create more “humane” conditions when making enforcement raids against undocumented immigrants, then “these enforcement raids should be abandoned,” said Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration.

The raids, conducted by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security, “reveal, sadly, the failure of a seriously flawed immigration system,” Bishop Wester said at a Sept. 10 press conference. “The humanitarian costs of these raids are immeasurable and unacceptable in a civilized society,” he added. “Our current policies do little to solve the problem of illegal immigration to this country — they simply appear to do so, often at the cost of family integrity and human dignity.”

U.S. bishops urge Pres. Bush
to allow money, travel to Cuba

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. bishops have urged President George W. Bush to suspend — even temporarily — the U.S. government’s ban on remittances and travel to Cuba “in light of the devastation and humanitarian disaster caused by recent hurricanes in Cuba.” In a Sept. 10 letter to Bush, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that removing the restrictions is “a necessary step which I urge you to take without delay.”

The U.S. has had a trade embargo in place against Cuba for 47 years.

Church joins interfaith effort
to change immigration law

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Catholic Church has joined an interfaith effort to change U.S. immigration law. To prepare for that effort in the next Congress, it is also joining the Tour of the Faithful, an educational effort during September and October to convince people of faith to support changes in U.S. immigration policy.

“We’re in a dark period,” said Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration. “Our current national immigration policy . . . consists of work-site enforcement raids” that result in, among other things, “the dislocation of U.S. citizen children from their parents,” he added. “As a nation — a nation of immigrants, I might add — we cannot accept the labor of immigrants while undermining their basic human dignity.”

Indian bishops seek action against nuns’ attackers

NEW DELHI (CNS) — The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India is demanding police officials take action against people who attacked Missionaries of Charity nuns in central India. On Sept. 5, about 300 Hindu fundamentalists barged into a train coach and took four infants from two Missionaries of Charity nuns and two helpers. The nuns were taking the babies, all younger than two months, to an orphanage their congregation operates with a government license about 500 miles south of New Delhi.

Disability group urges continuing life support

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The National Catholic Partnership on Disability is calling on health care providers to continue life support as long as necessary for people who cannot determine for themselves that such support is needed, unless death is “inevitable and imminent.” The Washington-based partnership said life support can be withdrawn only when death is imminent “to ensure that the terminal condition, not the withholding or withdrawal of treatment, is the cause of death.”

Most women ever named to world Synod of Bishops
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Choosing men and women from every part of the world and from a wide variety of professional spheres, Pope Benedict XVI nominated 32 voting members, 41 experts and 37 observers for the upcoming world Synod of Bishops. The nomination of six female scholars as experts and of 19 women as observers will give the Oct. 5-26 Synod of Bishops on the Bible the largest bloc of women ever participating in a Catholic synod.

The 32 clerics Pope Benedict named as full members of the synod will join about 180 bishops who were elected by their national bishops’ conferences, 10 priests elected by the Union of Superiors General and about two dozen cardinals and archbishops, heads of Vatican congregations and councils, who automatically are members of the synod.

Pope e-mails participants who were at World Youth Day

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI sent a brief e-mail to more than 30,000 young people who attended World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, or have expressed interest in knowing more about the experience. The message was sent through www.Xt3.com, a social networking Web site established to help World Youth Day participants keep in touch, converse with one another online and meet others who were in Sydney.


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