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 January 11, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

New U.S. stamp
This stamp with an image of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be among the subjects depicted on U.S. stamps debuting in 2010. The portrait of Mother Teresa, painted by Thomas Blackshear II of Colorado Springs, Colo., will go on sale on what would have been her 100th birthday, Aug. 26.

At least 37 Church workers killed in 2009
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has published a list of 37 pastoral workers who died violently in 2009.

It includes two priests and one nun from the United States: Oblate Father Lawrence Rosebaugh, a 74-year-old U.S. priest, killed in a highway robbery in Guatemala in May; Father Edward Hinds stabbed 32 times in a brutal murder in the rectory of St. Patrick Church, in Chatham, N.J., in October; and Blessed Sacrament Sister Marguerite Bartz, found dead in her Navajo, N.M., home in November.

Fides also highlighted the case of a Mexican priest and two seminarians who were shot dead by gunmen in the southern state of Guerrero as they were traveling to a religious retreat.

Suit seeking Vatican restitution dismissed

WASHINGTON (CNS) — A California appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit against the Vatican bank. The suit sought restitution for Holocaust survivors who said the bank stored and laundered millions of dollars worth of assets looted by a Nazi-backed regime in Croatia.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Dec. 29 upheld a federal District Court ruling that as an agency of a sovereign state, the Vatican bank is immune from such lawsuits.

The lawsuit sought an accounting from the Vatican of assets the plaintiffs allege were stored and laundered by the Church under the Nazi-backed Ustasha government in Croatia. It also asked for restitution and damages.

Still remaining is a similar lawsuit against the Franciscan order, which also was dismissed by the Northern California District Court and is on appeal to the 9th Circuit.

Two Kenyans charged in murder of Irish priest

KERICHO, Kenya (CNS) — Kenyan authorities have charged two men with the Dec. 11 mid-December murder of an Irish priest, Father Jeremiah Roche. The two men denied the charges and were remanded into custody. Court officials heard that the two men and others who did not appear in court robbed Father Roche of a laptop, two cell phones, a digital camera and a CD player. The two were charged with later killing Father Roche, who was alone in his home at St. Patrick Keongo Parish. Father Roche, 68, had served in Kenya for 41 years.

Irish bishops resign in sex abuse scandal

DUBLIN, Ireland (CNS) — Four Irish bishops have announced their resignations as a result of a recent report on how the Dublin Archdiocese covered up clerical sex abuse allegations and put children at risk of further abuse. On Christmas Eve, Dublin Auxiliary Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field announced they were offering their resignations to Pope Benedict XVI.

The previous day, Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin announced his resignation, saying that he should have challenged the prevailing culture in Dublin’s archdiocesan administration. Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick announced his resignation Dec. 17.

The only other serving bishop named in the report, Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway, said he does not believe the report finds him at fault and does not believe he should resign.

In 2002, Bishop Brendan Comiskey resigned as head of the Ferns Diocese after a television documentary showed that he had covered up child abuse allegations there.

Gaza Catholics denied travel for Christmas

JERUSALEM (CNS) — Members of Holy Family Parish in the Gaza Strip received only 10 of the 300 travel permits Israel issued to Gaza residents over the Christmas period, said the parish priest, Father Jorge Hernandez. Those who did not receive permits were anguished about not being able to travel, he said.

Among them were several cancer patients hoping to receive scheduled follow-up treatments in Israeli hospitals, he said.

The majority of the travel permits, limited to those over age 35, were given to members of the Greek Orthodox Church, Father Hernandez said. The travel permits are for the Dec. 25 celebration of Christmas as well as the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Christmas celebrations, marked Jan. 6 and 18, respectively.

Vatican reviews case of attack on pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican will decide how to proceed with the young woman responsible for knocking down Pope Benedict XVI during Christmas Eve Mass only after it reviews medical and Vatican security reports. Critical to the prosecutor’s decision will be the doctors’ evaluation concerning the woman’s mental state and eyewitness accounts.

When the Vatican prosecutor has all the information, including a medical evaluation, he can recommend acquitting her of any crime, handing her over to Italian or Swiss authorities, or handing down a sentence.

Susanna Maiolo, 25, jumped a security barrier at the start of the Dec. 24 liturgy as Pope Benedict processed into St. Peter’s Basilica. As Vatican security guards tackled her to the ground, she was able to pull on the pope’s vestments, causing him to lose his balance and tumble to the marble floor.

Father Schillebeeckx, noted theologian, dies

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Dominican Father Edward Schillebeeckx, a theologian whose work had a huge impact on the Dutch Church, died Dec. 23 at the age of 95 in Nijmegen, Netherlands, where he lived since 1957. The Dominican taught in the department of dogmatic and historical theology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, from 1957 until his retirement in 1983.

He served as theological adviser to the Dutch bishops during the Second Vatican Council and was seen as the main inspiration behind the Dutch catechism for adults, published in 1966 after approval by the country’s bishops, who wanted the text to reflect the council’s new approach to questions of faith.

But the Vatican criticized the text, ordered a study of it and in 1972 insisted on its withdrawal from use in Catholic schools.

Union wins at Catholic hospital in Santa Rosa

SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) — A union seeking to represent service and technical workers at Catholic-run Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in northern California won a plurality in a hard-fought election. In three-way balloting Dec 17 and 18, the National Union of Healthcare Workers received 283 votes versus 263 votes against forming a union.

A second union on the ballot, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, received 13 votes. The outcome will not be final until it is certified by the National Labor Relations Board.

The election, culminating a six-year unionization campaign, was closely watched nationally as a test of labor-management relations in the Catholic health care industry. Santa Rosa Memorial is one of 14 hospitals in the St. Joseph Health System.

Churches in Kirkuk cancel Christmas Masses

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Kirkuk, Iraq, canceled Christmas Masses because of insecurity and attacks against Christians, the Washington Post reported Dec. 23. “This is the first time we have had to cancel our celebrations,” the Post quoted Kirkuk Archbishop Louis Sako as saying.

The Post also reported that a sign on the Kirkuk cathedral read, in part: “We apologize to all the brothers for not conducting celebrations or accepting greetings or guests, but we pray for peace and security in Iraq. We cannot celebrate because of our grief over the victims of the bombings in Mosul and Baghdad.”

Sainthood advances for John Paul II, Pius XII

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI advanced the sainthood causes of Pope John Paul II and Pope Pius XII, declaring that both had lived lives of “heroic virtues.” In signing the decrees Dec. 19, the pope confirmed the recommendations of Vatican officials who have studied the causes for several years. Both popes can be beatified once a miracle is attributed to their intercession.

Vatican to increase its coin circulation

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Visitors to Rome, especially those who buy something at the Vatican, may actually have a chance in 2010 to get their hands on a Vatican euro coin. Representatives of the Vatican and the European Union have signed a new agreement allowing the Vatican to more than double the monetary value of the coins it issues, but also requiring the Vatican to put a large chunk of its coins into circulation.

For eight years, the vast majority of Vatican euro coins were sold as sets to collectors for 30 euros each (about $43), although some Vatican employees had an opportunity to buy rolls of the coins at face value. The annual release of the Vatican coins was marked by long lines of collectors waiting to buy them and by disappointed customers who found the stocks exhausted in just a few days.

Priesthood dismissal for Archbishop Milingo

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Three years after excommunicating Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the Vatican has imposed the additional penalty of dismissal from the priesthood. The Vatican said it was forced to take the step after Archbishop Milingo continued to commit “new crimes against the unity of the holy Church,” specifically by ordaining bishops against papal orders.

It said the archbishop had also caused “serious upset and scandal among the faithful” by heading groups that call for the abolition of priestly celibacy in the Church. The archbishop in 2001 married Korean acupuncturist Maria Sung in a mass ceremony arranged by the Rev. Sun Ming Moon, founder of the Unification Church, which is now called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

He subsequently separated from Sung at the personal urging of Pope John Paul II, but then reunited with her and founded the U.S.-based Married Priests Now! movement, which advocates that the Catholic Church allow married priests in active ministry.


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