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 October 20, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 18   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Honors at Cuban home
A statue of Brother Jose Olallo Valdes stands in the courtyard of an assisted living home in Camaguey, Cuba. The facility is named after the 19th-century member of the order of St. John of God. Brother Olallo, known for his work with the poor and the sick, will be beatified in a Nov. 29 ceremony in Camaguey.

New Jesuit bishop
Bishop Cosme Hoang Van Dat waves during his episcopal ordination ceremony in Bac Ninh, Vietnam, Oct. 7. He became the first Jesuit bishop in Vietnam more than 400 years after Portuguese Jesuit missionaries set foot in the country. Vietnam has 8 million Catholics, the second largest community in Asia after the Philippines.

Refuge from anti-Christian violence
Sister Nirmala Joshi, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, visits a camp for displaced people operated by her community in Janla in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. Anti-Christian violence in the state has resulted in more than 52 deaths and more than 20,000 mainly poor villagers taking refuge in camps and shelters.

Catholic academics: econ crisis a good lesson
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The current economic crisis has been a hot topic in leading business schools at Catholic universities across the United States. Heads of master’s programs in business at a number of Catholic universities see the market meltdown as a valuable occasion to teach their students the consequences of imprudent business decisions.

Christopher Puto, dean of the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business in Minneapolis, said, “There are powerful lessons here on the issues of greed, selfishness and the need for sound moral judgment that offer great insight for young people at the start of their careers.

“We may be able to use this to guide the development of a new class of business leaders who genuinely understand that profit and the common good are not mutually exclusive ends,” he said.

Pope canonizes four new saints at St. Peter’s

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI canonized four new saints, including the first native-born saint from India, where Christians recently have come under attack from Hindu gangs.

During the Oct. 12 ceremony in St. Peter’s Square, the pope declared sainthood for: Alphonsa Muttathupandathu, a nun from southwestern India who was known for her holiness during a lifetime of suffering; Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran, a 19th-century Ecuadorian known for her deep prayer and penitence; Gaetano Errico, an Italian priest who founded the Congregation of Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the 19th century; and Maria Bernarda Butler, a Swiss nun who founded the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary, Help of Sinners.

With these canonizations, Pope Benedict has created 18 new saints in his pontificate of three and a half years. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, presided over the canonization of more than 450 new saints.

Creativity key to needs of Hispanic Catholics

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Creative approaches that don’t fit into the Church’s usual way of operating must be the key to meeting the pastoral needs of Hispanics, the Church’s fastest growing segment, according to the keynote speaker at a symposium at Georgetown University.

Training of the Church’s lay and ordained leaders needs to be rethought, said Jesuit Father Allan Figueroa Deck, director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. An American Church steeped in European traditions needs to be open to ways of operating that may seem unfamiliar to its current leaders but that resonate better with people whose roots are in Mexico, Central or South America, he said.

Greensburg Diocese closes 14 parishes

GREENSBURG, Pa. (CNS) — Fourteen parishes will close and two others will merge into one new parish by Oct. 30 under a plan announced by Greensburg Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt. In addition, 26 parishes will begin a new or modified partnership arrangement in which one priest provides pastoral care and administration for two or more parishes. Citing the aging and declining numbers of priests and parishioners, the bishop explained the diocese faced moving from a “historical model” to a “pastoral care model” with both diocesan and religious-order clergy serving the diocese.

Parishioners in the affected parishes were told of the decisions at Masses Oct. 4-5. Bishop Brandt said the changes will allow the diocese to better position priests in parishes where the populations are growing.

Quake response shows growth in Chinese Church

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (CNS) — The Chinese Catholic Church’s response after the May earthquake in Sichuan province helps show the growth of the Church and offers possibilities for how Catholics can grow in their faith. Within days of the earthquake, Church social service centers as well as diocesan staff and priests traveled to the area to help assess the damage, and they collected donations and delivered relief.

That could not have happened in the 1980s, when the church began emerging from decades of suppression, said Father John Ren Dahai, a Chinese priest who has spent several years doing postgraduate work and independent research in the U.S.

Catholic schools collect funds for storm victims

WASHINGTON (CNS) —The National Catholic Educational Association has pledged to help Catholic schools and parishes as they recover from the effects of Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Gustav through a fundraising program called “Child to Child Two: A Catholic Campaign to Aid Education.”

The fundraising echoes a similar program conducted after Hurricane Katrina when Catholic school students collected $1 million for hurricane victims. The current campaign, like the previous one, asks students in Catholic schools and parish religious education programs to donate $1 to the recovery efforts. Donations will be used to purchase supplies or support other educational needs.

In the Diocese of Lake Charles, La., several Catholic churches finally rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina were severely damaged. In the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas, Catholic schools opened Sept. 25 after weeks of cleaning up and drying out classrooms and common areas. In the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Galveston Catholic School, projected to be without power for another three to four months, remains closed.

Britain proposes end to Catholic monarchs ban

LONDON (CNS) — British Catholics have cautiously welcomed government proposals to abolish a law that has banned Catholics from the throne for more than three centuries. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has ordered a review of the British Constitution that would involve scrapping the anti-Catholic provisions of the Act of Settlement of 1701.

The law prevents a monarch, the constitutional head of state, from either becoming or marrying a Catholic, and those who do must either abdicate or renounce their claim on the throne. The prohibitions apply exclusively to Catholics.

Lord Alton of Liverpool, a Catholic member of the House of Lords, said the proposal to abolish the act was “a welcome decision that puts right a long-standing anomaly in the law.”

Vatican officials: greed feuled financial crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The global financial crisis has been caused in part by greed and is likely to have grave repercussions on the world’s poor, said two Vatican officials. The Vatican’s representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, told refugee experts Oct. 7 that the crashing markets could result in greater displacement of people and a greater uncertainty about richer countries’ ability to protect and assist them.

“The spotlight of public opinion currently is placed on the crisis of financial markets . . . and on the irresponsibility and greed of some managers that led to it,” Archbishop Tomasi told the executive committee of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva.

At a Vatican news conference Oct. 8, Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of two Vatican departments that deal with migration and social justice issues, said this crisis — like every economic crisis — hits the poor the hardest because they have little or no margin to absorb its effects.

Court declines to hear abortion-related cases

WASHINGTON (CNS) — On the opening day of its fall term Oct. 6, the Supreme Court declined to hear four cases dealing with abortion or abortion-related protest efforts. It let stand lower court rulings that: require Arizona to issue “choose life” license plates to those who request them; uphold a multimillion-dollar verdict against anti-abortion activists who used “wanted” posters that identified four abortion doctors in Oregon; reverse a Missouri Department of Corrections policy that said prisoners could not be transported by prison authorities to have abortions, which are paid for by the prisoners themselves; leave intact the New Jersey Supreme Court’s ruling that an abortion doctor had no legal obligation to advise a patient that the 6- to 8-week-old fetus she sought to abort was “a complete, separate, unique and irreplaceable human being.”


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