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 November 9, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 19   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Seeking answers
A woman carries an image of the late Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero during a march in San Salvador Oct. 29. Catholic organizations are demanding that the Salvadoran government begin a judicial inquiry into his 1980 assassination.

Berlin Wall at Fatima
Pilgrims rest in front of a section of the former Berlin Wall on exhibit at the Catholic shrine of Fatima in Portugal Oct. 28. The wall that separated communist-ruled East Berlin from West Berlin was torn down Nov. 9, 1989.

Court won’t hear appeal on abuse texts
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CNS) — The Bridgeport Diocese said it was disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear its petition asking the court to overturn a ruling by the Connecticut Supreme Court requiring the diocese to release documents from long-settled abuse cases.

“We continue to believe that the constitutional issues presented, including the First Amendment rights of religious organizations and the privacy rights of all citizens, are significant and important for the court to consider,” said a Nov. 2 diocesan statement.

The statement also said the diocese is now working with the Connecticut courts to assure the materials are “appropriately unsealed.”

Legionaries barred in Miami Archdiocese

MIAMI (CNS) — Miami Archbishop John C. Favalora has barred the Legionaries of Christ from exercising any ministry in the archdiocese, effective immediately. Msgr. Michael Souckar, archdiocesan chancellor, said the decision was made because the order had not adhered to the condition set by the archdiocese that they minister only to their own members.

Msgr. Souckar also said that Regnum Christi, the Legionaries’ lay association, was recently discovered “to be involved in several schools without archdiocesan approval.” “Regnum Christi is not nor has it ever been approved to work in any parish, school or other archdiocesan entity,” he said.

Security burdens Catholic schools in Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (CNS) — Catholic education administrators in Pakistan’s Punjab province say their schools face huge additional security costs as the security situation in the country deteriorates. Under provincial government guidelines in the wake of recent terror attacks, schools must provide eight-foot boundary walls, surveillance cameras, metal detectors and scanners, a barbed wire perimeter, and at least two armed guards.

“The government is providing security arrangements for its own schools. The private and church-run schools have to bear these additional expenses,” said Dominican Sister Parveen Rahmat, principal of Sacred Heart Cathedral High School in Lahore. Police are reviewing security measures in educational institutions in Punjab province and shutting down any school or college that does not meet the guidelines.

Kennedy and bishop to meet on health care

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CNS) — Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., has accepted an invitation from Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence to engage in a discussion about the issue of health care reform. The invitation followed the legislator’s sharp criticism about the U.S. Catholic bishops’ role in the debate.

Bishop Tobin told Kennedy in an Oct. 27 letter that, as Congress “nears agreement on a final bill, I believe it is important that you are provided with specific facts about the Catholic Church’s position on this critical issue.” The bishop sent his letter in response to Kennedy’s Oct. 22 interview with Cybercast News Service in which the congressman said the bishops were fanning “the flames of dissent and discord” by insisting that health reform not include abortion funding.

Catholic teachers OK contract and end strike

CAMDEN, N.J. (CNS) — Catholic high school teachers from four schools voted to ratify their contract with the Camden Diocese, ending a strike at three of the schools in late October. The four-year contract provides salary increases averaging about 3 percent per year and a comprehensive benefits package for the teachers. The 167 teachers involved in the contract negotiations were represented by the Catholic Teachers Union and serve more than 3,000 students.

The teachers’ union initially sought a 9 percent salary increase over the next two years, which would have brought the average teacher salary from $43,500 to $47,415. Diocesan officials argued that such an increase would have required a significant tuition increase for parents.

Explosion at cathedral; cemetery Mass cancelled

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — The bishop of Jolo has canceled the All Saints’ Day Mass at a cemetery following an explosion at the diocesan cathedral in the southern Philippines. Bishop Angelito Lampon said it was a “precautionary measure.” A grenade exploded midmorning at the rear of the cathedral near the bishops’ cemetery in Jolo, the capital of the predominantly Muslim Sulu province. There were no reported casualties and no group has claimed responsibility for the incident.

Bishop seeks initiation ritual for girls in Africa

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In condemning the practice of female genital mutilation, the Catholic Church must offer alternative rituals for helping girls mark the passage to womanhood, Bishop Michael Mabuga Msonganzila of Musoma,Tanzania told the Synod of Bishops for Africa. A condemnation of female genital mutilation was included in the 57 propositions the synod presented to Pope Benedict XVI Oct. 24.

Bishop Msonganzila had told the synod that the practice of female genital mutilation is widespread in his diocese. The values of the family and clan are explained to the girls, they are prepared to take on greater responsibility and they are educated regarding their future roles as wives and mothers, he said. “This is good. However, should that process be done through the butchering of the most sensitive part of one’s body?” he asked.

Drug dealers use Rio church as lookout

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) — A church and important tourist attraction in Rio de Janeiro, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Penha, is being used by drug traffickers to monitor police actions in the region, said Archbishop Orani Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro. Drug traffickers also invaded several church towers to use them as lookouts, he said.

The church sits high up on a cliff (“penha” in Portuguese) that overlooks the northern part of the city. The view is one reason it becomes part of many tourists’ agendas. In the week before the archbishop’s remarks, violence between rival drug gangs and police left more than 45 people dead and hundreds injured.

Former bishop of Santa Rosa dies at 68

TUCSON, Ariz. (CNS) — Bishop G. Patrick Ziemann, who resigned as head of the Diocese of Santa Rosa in July 1999 after admitting a homosexual relationship with one of his priests, died Oct. 22 at age 68. He died at Holy Trinity Benedictine Monastery in St. David, Ariz., near Tucson where he had gone to live after his resignation. He had pancreatic cancer, which had spread to his liver.

He may never be forgiven by people, said Benedictine Father Henri Capdeville, the monastery’s superior, but “he made reparation by giving nine years to our community and the Lord. . . . It deepened his spirituality.”

President of Notre Dame elected to second term

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (CNS) — Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, was elected to a second five-year term Oct. 16 by the university’s board of trustees.

Father Jenkins said with the support of the trustees he will continue to pursue the goals he cited at his presidential inauguration in 2005: “offering an unsurpassed undergraduate education, becoming even more pre-eminent as a research university, and ensuring that our Catholic character informs all that we do.”

Earlier this year Father Jenkins came under heavy criticism for his decision to invite President Barack Obama to deliver the commencement speech at the May graduation and to present him with an honorary law degree.

Security barrier raises human rights concerns

WASHINGTON (CNS) — While Israel has a right to protect its citizens, the security barrier separating Israel from the Palestinian territories and checkpoints along the barrier raise human rights concerns, said a U.S. cardinal.

“The most tragic thing I have seen is the miles-long wall that separates Jerusalem from Bethlehem and separates families and keeps farmers from the land that has been in their families for generations. It is humiliating and distressing,” said Cardinal John P. Foley, now in Rome.


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