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Catholic Voice

 November 3, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 20   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

At home in the cemetery
Residents take a bath inside a cemetery in Manila, Philippines, Oct. 21. Many poor urban dwellers make their homes in public cemeteries, converting abandoned tombs and mausoleums into houses. The local government planned to move out the hundreds of people who live in the cemeteries before the feast of All Souls, Nov. 2, when Catholics visit the graves of their relatives.

New Havana cathedral
A worker paints on the roof of a newly built Russian Orthodox cathedral in Havana, Oct. 15. Cuban President Raul Castro attended the Oct. 18 dedication of the cathedral.

Logic of market called immoral
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Although many nations may be tempted to cut development aid in the midst of the international financial crisis, the crisis itself shows that an economic system focused only on making money for financial investors is bound to fail, said Cardinal Renato Martino.

The cardinal, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, invited a dozen economics and development experts to the Vatican Oct. 23 to discuss how the financial crisis will affect development. The discussion was led by Oscar de Rojas, director of the Financing for Development Office in the U.N.
Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Parish in China buys ‘come and see’ ads
TIANJIN, China (CNS) — St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Tianjin has been placing advertisements in newspapers, inviting people to “come and see” the Catholic Church. Since the ads were placed in four dailies in mid-August, the cathedral has received about 20 phone calls every day inquiring about the Catholic Church or catechism classes. The ad read “An encounter with Xikai,” without mentioning religion or the Catholic Church. Church sources said Catholic leaders had been advised to avoid using words like “Catholic” or “catechism” during the Beijing Olympic Games.

British lawmakers pass embryology bill

LONDON (CNS) — The British House of Commons has passed a controversial bill that would allow scientists to create human-animal hybrid embryos for experimentation. However, the government refused to allow time for debate on amendments that would have liberalized abortion laws — including extending the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland — so the amendments were not attached to the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill.

The bill, which passed in the House of Commons 355-129 on Oct. 22, includes a provision to legalize so-called “savior siblings” who provide perfectly matched tissue to help to cure sick children, and it abolishes the legal requirement to consider a child’s need for a father during in vitro fertilization treatment. It allows human-animal hybrids to be created as long as they are destroyed within two weeks.

The proposals have been opposed vigorously by Catholic leaders in Britain.

Scholars seek to delay Pius XII’s sainthood cause

WASHINGTON (CNS) — A group of Christian and Jewish scholars is calling for the sainthood cause of Pope Pius XII to be put on hold. The American, Canadian and European scholars said they believe more extensive study is still needed to look into claims that Pope Pius did not do enough during World War II to protect Jews from the Holocaust.

“The Vatican will not achieve credibility on the question of Pius XII’s wartime record by relying solely on the work of defenders of Pius XII,” the statement said. “We therefore respectfully urge Catholic authorities to continue a hold on a consideration of Pius XII’s beatification/canonization until all relevant archival material is made available and scrutinized.”

Polish archbishop denies being communist informer

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — A prominent Polish archbishop has denied claims he acted as an informer for the communist-era Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa, or secret police. Archbishop Henryk Muszynski of Gniezno said he never signed any secret police documents and felt “painfully shocked” when recently he was shown documents by the Church’s historical commission listing him as a secret collaborator since 1984.

Archbishop Muszynski told Poland’s Catholic information agency, KAI, that he had been required to meet with communist regime agents as a condition for obtaining a passport to travel abroad in the 1970s and had later faced pressure from the secret police. “I was placed under surveillance, interrogated and induced to collaborate, but I never agreed — instead, I encountered various forms of repression,” he said. “I wish to declare with total resolution that I never consented to any form of SB cooperation, whether verbal or written. Nor did I agree to any meeting voluntarily or at my own initiative. They were all either necessary or forced on me.”

Publisher to release book of pope’s works

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Over the next eight years, the German publishing giant Herder and the Pope Benedict XVI Institute of Regensburg, Germany, will offer the public “The Complete Works of Joseph Ratzinger.” The works, almost all of which were completed before his election in 2005, reflect the pope’s personal theological thought and not the magisterial teaching of the Church.

Salesian Father Giuseppe Costa, director of the Vatican Publishing House, which controls the copyright of all the written work of the pope, said discussions already are under way with the U.S.-based Ignatius Press to publish English translations of the volumes.

Lay ministers, deacons show Church vibrancy

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CNS) — James Davidson, a Catholic sociologist of religion from Purdue University in Indiana, believes it’s inaccurate to interpret the shrinking number of priests and a decrease in the number of men and women joining religious communities as a general decline in the Catholic Church. Instead, he said, rising numbers of deacons and lay ecclesial ministers point to a Catholic Church that is vibrant, though perhaps one that will be led in a different way in the future.

Davidson presented a range of data and offered his conclusions during a recent workshop at the National Religious Vocation Conference convocation in Louisville. “The strength and vitality of the Catholic Church is in its laity,” he said.

Pax Christi honors bishop for efforts to save river

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) — Brazilian Bishop Luiz Cappio of Barra, who has led hunger strikes to protest a project to divert the Sao Francisco River, was this year’s winner of the Pax Christi International Peace Award. Bishop Cappio said he would share the award with those who have worked to “defend the river.”
Bishop Cappio has been working for more than 30 years with the villages located along the Sao Francisco River. In 1993-94 he walked from the river’s source to its mouth, bringing to light its precarious state and rallying communities that use the river to fight for the body of water.

Protected status urged for Haitian refugees in U.S
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Though President George W. Bush may not be able to officially act on a request by the U.S. Catholic bishops that he grant Haitians temporary protected status for the next 18 months for humanitarian reasons, a Department of Homeland Security official said federal efforts have been implemented to provide nationals from that Caribbean country with tools to remain in the U.S. for the moment.

The bishops sent a letter to Bush Oct. 9 asking that he grant Haitians currently in the U.S. temporary protected status, or TPS, which permits nationals of a designated nation who are living in the U.S. to reside in this country legally and to qualify for work authorization.

Vatican decision against teachers’ union upheld

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton, Pa., did not violate civil or Church law when he refused to recognize the diocesan teachers’ union, a Vatican congregation has ruled. The Scranton Diocese Association of Cath olic Teachers appealed to the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education seeking recourse against the bishop for stating in January that he would no longer recognize the group as a collective bargaining unit.

At the time, the bishop said the diocese was replacing the 30-year-old union with an employee relations program designed for teachers and support staff including aides, administrators, office staff, cafeteria staff and maintenance personnel. The Vatican decree states that “canon law does not prohibit the bishop’s action” and that fair labor policy and wages can be guaranteed by means other than a labor union.


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