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 October 5, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Pope visits Czech Republic
Pope Benedict XVI shakes hands with Czech President Vaclav Klaus after the pope celebrated an outdoor Mass in Stara Boleslav, Czech Republic, Sept. 28. Sept. 28, the feast of St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of the country.

Muslims pray at Capitol
Nearly 3,000 Muslims from around the United States gather outside the U.S. Capitol Sept. 25 for “jummah,” a congregational prayer held on Fridays. Christian evangelists both during and after the event chanted slogans and used large banners urging the Muslims to accept Christ as their savior.

Kennedy replacement is grandnephew of cardinal
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Paul Kirk, a longtime confidant of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy who will fill Kennedy’s seat in the Senate until a January special election, is the grandnephew of Boston’s first cardinal, Cardinal William O’Connell. Gov. Deval Patrick Sept. 24 signed fast-tracked legislation that allowed him to fill the post on an interim basis and announced his appointment of Kirk. He was sworn into the Senate the next day by Vice President Joe Biden.

Kirk said he does not intend to run in the January race. He is currently the chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

Viet officials use force on protesting Catholics

HUE, Vietnam (CNS) — Government authorities in central Vietnam are building a wall around a former parish-run catechetical building, and police have used force to prevent hundreds of Catholic protesters from reaching the site. Around 400 parishioners tried to stop the construction around Lang Co elementary school, near Loan Ly church in Thua Thien-Hue province’s Phu Loc district. Police and security officers hit them and dragged them out of the school compound. Police also blocked the road outside the church and other paths leading to the school building.

Father Paul Ngo Thanh Son, pastor of Loan Ly parish, said local Catholics built the three-room school building in 1956. The parish used it for basic education and catechesis of local children. In 1975, when the country was reunified under communist rule, the government confiscated the building and used it as an elementary school on weekdays but allowed the parish to continue teaching catechism there to children on Sundays.

Father Son said that on Sept. 9 and again Sept. 12, local officials asked the parish to stop catechism classes. They prevented children from attending the classes Sept. 13, when the parish started a new catechism course. Rooms were locked and plainclothes police officers videotaped and took photos of students, he said.

K of C leader named to Vatican bank panel

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The head of the Knights of Columbus has been named by Pope Benedict XVI to a five-member council that supervises the activities of the Vatican bank. Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, who heads the 1.7 million-member fraternal organization, was among three new council members announced by the Vatican.

The pope also named a new president of the council, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, an Italian banker and a professor of financial ethics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, and a new vice president, Renaldo Hermann Schmitz, a retired German business manager.

The Vatican bank, known formally as the Institute for the Works of Religion, was established in 1942 and is used by Vatican agencies, church organizations, bishops and religious orders around the world. It offers currency exchange services and interest-bearing accounts and, like all banks, has an investment portfolio.

Bishops urge health reform for all immigrants

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Though Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., concedes there’s no political will in Washington to include undocumented immigrants in health care reform, he believes it’s the country’s moral obligation to ensure that everyone in the nation receives proper medical care.

“I agree that there is a special problem with those who have entered here without the permission of the United States, and that has to be looked at,” said Bishop Murphy, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. “But that’s a problem unto itself.”

Most U.S. bishops who have spoken publicly about health care reform have said that one of the richest countries in the world should find a way to guarantee that everyone within its borders has access to medical care.

Oregon Catholics seek end to death penalty

PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) — The drive to repeal the death penalty in Oregon has gained vigor, with Catholics in key roles. “We need to share our Catholic teaching with courage and clarity,” said a memorandum sent to parishes recently by Mary Jo Tully, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Portland.

Tully has joined other lay Catholics on the board of Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. With statements from the catechism, Pope John Paul II, the U.S. bishops and most recently Portland Archbishop John G. Vlazny, Oregon Catholics are being urged to oppose execution as an affront to the sanctity of life as well as an ineffective and expensive public policy.

Notre Dame leader forms pro-life panel

WASHINGTON (CNS) — With President Barack Obama’s controversial May commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame several months past, the president of the Indiana school has forged ahead with plans for a national discussion on abortion.

Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins has announced the formation of a task force “on supporting the choice for life,” and he has pledged to lead a Mass for life in Washington this coming Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide. This Mass for life would also coincide with the annual March for Life in Washington.

Father Jenkins’ decision to invite Obama to deliver the commencement speech and present him with an honorary law degree set off a firestorm of criticism by at least 70 U.S. bishops, and ignited a national debate on the university’s status as a Catholic institution.

Critics of Obama said his support of legal abortion and embryonic stem-cell research made him an inappropriate choice to be commencement speaker at a Catholic university. Father Jenkins’ supporters countered that Notre Dame was not condoning Obama’s support for legal abortion or embryonic stem-cell research, and that students at the university should be honored to have the first black U.S. president speak during their graduation.

Sudanese bishop seeks help to stop guerrillas

LONDON (CNS) — A Sudanese bishop has appealed for international help to stop roving bands of guerrillas kidnapping and murdering villagers in his diocese. Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala of Tambura-Yambio, Sudan, said his government appeared powerless to prevent attacks by members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerrilla force based in northern Uganda.

In one case guerrillas stormed into a Catholic church in Ezo and desecrated the Eucharist, the altar and the building before abducting 17 people, mostly in their teens and 20s. He said the attack was part of a cycle of violence that could only be broken with international cooperation.

Pius XII honor sought at Yad Vashem memorial

ROME (CNS) — An effort to add the name of Pope Pius XII to the official list of people who helped protect Jews during the Holocaust is gathering steam and is supported by Pope Benedict XVI, the project’s main promoter said.

Gary Krupp, president of the Pave the Way Foundation, a nonsectarian organization that seeks to reduce religious conflict, said he had gathered thousands of documents to support his proposal that the wartime pope be named as Righteous Among the Nations.

The title is conferred by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem after a scholarly exam of the life and actions of non-Jews who risked their lives to hide or in some way rescue Jews from Nazi persecution during World War II.

Krupp, an American Jew, said he did not know if the unusual idea had a chance of succeeding. Pope Pius has long been accused of indifference with regard to the Nazi regime and the plight of European Jews. The Catholic Church has strenuously defended him, saying that he worked quietly behind the scenes and was responsible for saving the lives of many Jews.


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