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 September 7, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

ABOVE: New ambassador to Vatican
Catholic theologian Miguel Diaz is sworn in as ambassador to the Vatican in the Ben-ja-min Franklin room at the State Department in Washington, Aug. 21. Assistant Secretary of State Phil Gordon administered the standard governmental oath of office.

RIGHT: Change in Tulsa Diocese
Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Okla., faces the crucifix on the altar as he celebrates Mass in early June at Holy Family Cathedral. The bishop said he restored the liturgical practice called “ad orientem” for Masses at the cathedral to recover a more authentic Catholic worship. The practice has been largely abandoned since the 1960s.

Vatican official dismisses talk of Vatican II rollback
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has dismissed fears that Pope Benedict XVI plans to roll back major ecclesial changes introduced by the Second Vatican Council. On the contrary, the German pontiff has demonstrated his commitment to the council during his more than four years as pope, Cardinal Bertone told the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

In the wake of recent reports about a planned move to reverse liturgical changes made since Vatican II, Cardinal Bertone said reporters and observers should stick to the actual actions undertaken by the pope since his election.

Cardinal Bertone pointed to several areas in which he said Pope Benedict had promoted the teaching of Vatican II “with intelligence and depth of thought,” including relations with Eastern and Orthodox churches and dialogue with Judaism and Islam.

Episcopal nuns, priest join Catholic Church

BALTIMORE (CNS) — After seven years of prayer and discernment, a community of Episcopal Sisters and their chaplain were to be received into the Catholic Church during a Sept. 3 Mass celebrated by Baltimore Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien. The archbishop was to welcome 10 members of the Society of All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor when he administers the sacrament of Confirmation and the Sisters renew their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

The Rev. Warren Tanghe, an Episcopal priest, also was to be received into the Church and is discerning the possibility of becoming a Catholic priest. Two Episcopal nuns who have decided not to become Catholic will continue to live and minister alongside their soon-to-be Catholic Sisters. Members of the community range in age from 59 to 94.

Excommunicated for views on women’s ordination

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois has confirmed his excommunication from the Catholic Church but said he has not changed his view that women who are called to priesthood should be ordained. He urged the Church to turn away from what he called the sin of sexism.

Father Bourgeois said he was excommunicated Nov. 24, 2008, “latae sententiae” — automatically — for not recanting his public statements supporting the ordination of women, which is against Church teaching. The 70-year-old former missionary said his beliefs are based on his understanding of justice and equality as expressed in the Gospel.

Church lacks funds for priests’medical bills

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — Saying that falling Sunday collections have left the Archdiocese of Leon, Mexico, unable to pay the medical bills of its infirm priests, Archbishop Jose Martin Rabago has called on Catholics to continue supporting the Church financially in spite of the current economic crisis.

Archbishop Martin said smaller Sunday collections and fewer donations have left parishes and dioceses across Mexico unable to cover expenses such as payroll, building upkeep and even benefits for prelates.

Court says diocese must release sealed records

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CNS) — Officials from the Diocese of Bridgeport said they were disappointed with an Aug. 25 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court saying documents from settled abuse cases should not remain sealed. After the ruling, made by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the diocese said it intends to “ask the full U.S. Supreme Court to review the important constitutional issues that this case presents.”

The diocese wants to keep sealed more than 12,000 pages of depositions, exhibits and legal arguments in 23 lawsuits involving six priests from the Bridgeport Diocese. Most of the lawsuits were filed in the mid-1990s and settled in 2001.

Centennial of Mother Teresa’s birth marked

CALCUTTA, India (CNS) — The Missionaries of Charity have launched a year of programs celebrating the 2010 centennial of the birth of Blessed Mother Teresa, the religious order’s founder who dedicated her life to serving some of India’s poorest people.

Sister Mary Prema, the congregation’s superior general, said the celebrations would conclude Aug. 26, 2010. Mother Teresa was born Aug. 26, 1910, into an ethnic Albanian family in Skopje, in present-day Macedonia. She died in 1997 and was beatified in 2003.

Man sentenced for 2008 murder of Jesuit

MOSCOW (CNS) — A Moscow court has sentenced Mikhail Orekhov to 14 years in prison for the 2008 murder of Jesuit Father Victor Betancourt, whose body was found Oct. 28. The jury ruled Orekhov was not guilty of the murder of Jesuit Father Otto Messmer, also found dead at the same time. Orekhov had been charged with both murders. Fathers Messmer, 47, and Betancourt, 42, were found dead with severe head wounds in their apartment in a Jesuit-owned building in downtown Moscow, not far from where they worked at the Church of St. Louis of France.

The Jesuit headquarters in Rome expressed deep disappointment over the verdict because the court failed to resolve the case of Father Messmer’s killer. The Jesuits in Russia are considering further legal moves to clear up the lingering questions.

Brother barred from post as regional superior

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Disappointed about being barred by the Vatican from becoming regional superior for the United States of his religious order because he is not a priest, Maryknoll Brother Wayne Fitzpatrick said the decision raised concerns about the role of nonordained people in Church leadership positions.

Maryknoll priests and Brothers elected Brother Fitzpatrick to the position in May. The Vatican’s disapproval of his nomination, sent to the Maryknoll superior general means the order must conduct a second election to determine who will be its next U.S. superior.

South Korean president recalled: model Christian

SEOUL, South Korea (CNS) — Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung will be remembered as a model Christian, Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk of Seoul said during his funeral Mass at Myongdong Cathedral, Aug. 22.

Cardinal Cheong praised the first Korean Nobel laureate, who won the peace prize in 2000 for his efforts to reach out to communist North Korea. He called Kim a champion of human rights, democratization and peace on the Korean peninsula.

Majority have no opinion on use of Tridentine Mass

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Nearly two-thirds of U.S. Catholics surveyed said they have no opinion on the increased availability of the Tridentine Mass since Pope Benedict XVI made it easier for parishes to offer the traditional liturgy two years ago. Overall, 63 percent of Catholics held a neutral opinion about the availability of the Tridentine Mass, according to findings released Aug. 24 by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a research center based at Georgetown University in Washington.

Of the survey’s 1,007 Catholic respondents, those who favor having the traditional Mass offered more widely outnumbered those who oppose the increased availability of the Tridentine rite by more than a 2-1 ratio, or 25 percent to 12 percent.

Catholic college accused: health plan discrimination

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sided with claims from eight employees at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., that the institution’s 2007 decision not to offer employees coverage of prescription contraceptives discriminates against women. The July 30 letter from the EEOC effectively reverses an earlier ruling in March, when the commission issued a “Dismissal and Notice of Rights” determination letter stating it was closing its file on the discrimination charge.

The new letter said that “by denying prescription contraceptive drugs,” the Catholic college “is discriminating based on gender because only females take oral prescription contraceptives. By denying coverage, men are not affected, only women.”

N.J. bishops campaign against gay marriage

TRENTON, N.J. (CNS) — In New Jersey, where a vote on same-sex marriage is anticipated soon after the November elections, the state’s Catholic bishops are urging local Catholics to help uphold the sanctity of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. The bishops outlined the Church’s teaching on marriage and the importance of maintaining the legal definition of a married couple as a husband and wife in their Aug. 23 pastoral letter, “The Call to Marriage Is Woven Deeply Into the Human Spirit.”

The letter was the official kickoff to the New Jersey Statewide Initiative for Marriage Protection, a joint project of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, the dioceses of New Jersey and the Knights of Columbus. New Jersey already recognizes civil unions for same-sex couples.

Two Catholic colleges open pharmacy schools

WASHINGTON (CNS) — With a projected national shortage of pharmacists, two U.S. Catholic colleges have opened pharmacy schools to help fill the gap in meeting the country’s pharmaceutical needs. The College of Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore and Jesuit-run Regis University in Denver are two of four new U.S. pharmacy schools to open this fall semester. By 2020 the country is expected to be short about 157,000 pharmacists to meet society’s needs, according to Anne Lin, dean of the new pharmacy school at the College of Notre Dame, which is sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

Dossier shows high rate of infant mortality

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Efforts to reduce infant mortality around the world are showing positive results, but maternal death rates remain very high in many developing nations, according to a report by the Vatican news agency Fides. Infant mortality, defined as child deaths before they reach the age of 5, claimed an estimated 9.2 million lives in 2007, the dossier said. In 1990 death claimed some 13 million children under 5. The hardest-hit areas remain sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, while the greatest improvement came in Southeast Asia and North Africa.

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