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 November 23, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 20   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

In memory of
deceased migrants

Clemente Vargas, 25, helps place white wooden crosses on the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Tijuana, Mexico. Last month, volunteers put up 5,100 crosses in memory of undocumented migrants who have died since 1995 crossing into the U.S. Vargas, a Mexican citizen , said he had hopes to go to the U.S. in search of work.

Speaking at Food Security Summit
Pope Benedict XVI shakes hands with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the U.N. World Summit on Food Security Nov. 16 in Rome. Opulence and waste are unacceptable when hunger — the cruelest form of poverty — continues to rise, Pope Benedict XVI told world leaders at a summit.

Kidnapped priest freed
Irish Columban Father Michael Sinnott, 78, weeps while speaking to reporters in Zamboanga, Philippines, after his Nov. 12 release from kidnappers who stormed his missionary house in Pagadian City, Oct. 11, and took him away at gunpoint. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo met him at an air base in Manila following his release.

Vatican denounces loss of crucifixes in Italy’s schools
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican said it experienced “surprise and sorrow” when a European court ruled that the crucifixes hanging in Italian public schools violate religious freedom. The European Court of Human Rights ruled Nov. 3 that the crucifixes hanging in every public classroom in Italy were “a violation of the freedom of parents to educate their children according to their own convictions and of the religious freedom of the students.”

Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, reacted to the decision saying, “The crucifix has always been a sign of God’s offer of love and a sign of union and welcome for all humanity. It is sad that it is being considered a sign of division, exclusion or limitation of freedom. That is not what it is and that is not the common feeling of our people.”

Campaign renews call to close Guantanamo

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Religious leaders have renewed their call to Congress seeking the immediate closure of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The prison “is the symbol of our country’s violation of our deepest values” and must be closed immediately, the group of more than 40 religious leaders said in a Nov 12 letter sent by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to the Democratic and Republican leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Closing the prison now rather than later will allow the country to begin to heal spiritually and “put an end to this dark and errant chapter in our history,” the leaders wrote.

Bishops rebuke cartels for murder, corruption

CUAUTITLAN IZCALLI, Mexico (CNS) — The Mexican bishops’ conference rebuked narcotics-trafficking cartels for their murderous ways and demanded that Mexico’s politicians crack down on the corruption and impunity that permits the illicit drug industry to flourish.

The bishops’ Nov. 12 letter — a long-anticipated response to the issue of violence in Mexico — also called on all Mexicans, including senior Catholic leaders, to take responsibility for abating the drug- and crime-related violence that has claimed more than 13,000 lives over the past three years.

Vatican hopes U.S. will lift Cuba embargo

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican consistently has criticized the U.S. embargo against Cuba and hopes the Obama administration will lift the restrictions, recognizing the fact that they cause untold suffering for the Cuban people, said Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. The embargo “undeniably has a negative influence on the life of the people,” Archbishop Celli told Vatican Radio Nov. 13 following a visit to Cuba.

Rabbi says Pope Pius not a Nazi collaborator

NEW ORLEANS (CNS) — The “historically false and malicious view” in a recent best-selling book of Pope Pius XII as a collaborator with Adolf Hitler in the extermination of millions of Jews during the Holocaust is refuted by the facts, said a rabbi who is a professor at Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla.

Rabbi David Dalin, author of “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis,” said British author John Cornwell’s characterization of Pope Pius “as the most dangerous churchman in modern history, without whom Hitler might never have been able to press forward with the Holocaust,” belies the facts. “In fact, nothing could be further from the truth,” Rabbi Dalin said in a lecture at Tulane University.

Calls for justice after principal beheaded

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Bishop Martin Jumoad of Isabela in the violence-torn southern Philippines called for justice for a school principal beheaded by kidnappers and said a long-term solution to the region’s problems must be found. The bishop ruled out negotiations with those responsible for the principal’s death.

“If we dialogue with them, then it is as if we are saying it’s partly OK to do what you did,” he said over church-run Radio Veritas 846. Criminals must be “arrested right away,” Bishop Jumoad insisted.

Gabriel Canizares, an elementary school principal in Patikul, Sulu, was kidnapped Oct. 19. His severed head was found in a truck at a gas station Nov. 9. Members of Abu Sayyaf, a militant Muslim group seeking a separate state for the minority Muslim population in the southern Philippines, are believed responsible.

Salvadorans mourn 130 killed in flooding

SAN SALVADOR (CNS) — Salvadorans observed three days of national mourning for the 130 people who died in floods and landslides caused by Hurricane Ida, Nov. 6-8 More than 13,000 Salvadorans who lost their homes were in shelters Nov. 10. In Nicaragua, at least 8,000 people were displaced by the storm.

Suspect charged for murder of N.M. nun

GALLUP, N.M. (CNS) — Authorities have charged an 18-year-old man in connection with the death of Blessed Sacrament Sister Marguerite Bartz, who was found dead in her Navajo, N.M., home Nov. 1. Reehahlio Carroll was charged with the “unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.” He was charged in accordance with federal laws governing Native American nations.

The suspect was arrested by authorities of the Navajo Nation when he was discovered driving the vehicle Sister Marguerite had used. She had served St. Berard Parish in the Navajo Nation since 1999.

Provision for Anglicans not seen anti-ecumenical

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The establishment of special structures for Anglicans who want to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church absolutely is not a signal of the end of ecumenical dialogue with the Anglican Communion, said the Vatican’s chief ecumenist.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said the establishment of the “personal ordinariates” — structures similar to dioceses — was a response to repeated requests from Anglican individuals and groups, who saw their hopes for full Anglican-Roman Catholic unity blocked by the acceptance of women priests and bishops, the ordination of openly gay bishops and the blessing of homosexual unions in some provinces of the Anglican Communion.

In an interview published in the Nov. 15 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Cardinal Kasper said that the papal provision is not anti-ecumenical.

“To think, as some commentators have said, that the pope made this decision just to ‘expand his empire’ is ridiculous,” the cardinal said.


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