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 March 8, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Christians march in Iraq
Nuns hold olive branches during a march in Mosul, Iraq, calling for peace and security in Mosul, Iraq. Right, more than 1,000 Iraqi Christians take part in the march to condemn violence against their community and places of worship. The Feb. 28 demonstration was organized after seven Christians were murdered in Mosul in a 10-day period.
Burying the dead in Haiti
A priest helps carry a body at a mass grave in Titanyen, outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 25.Tens of thousands of people who died in the Jan. 12 earthquake have already been buried there and every day dozens of bodies found under rubble are buried at the site, along with those who have died at the general hospital.

Kenyan president says abortion to remain illegal
NAKURU, Kenya (CNS) — Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki assured the Catholic Church that abortion will remain illegal despite contrary statements by members of the country’s parliament drafting a new constitution.

Addressing the congregation in Christ the King Cathedral Feb. 26 during the installation of Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba of Nakuru, the president said he opposed efforts to legalize abortion and would not support any draft of the constitution that included language legalizing the procedure.

The proposed constitution will be subject to a nationwide referendum in June.

Bishops in Japan seek end of nuclear weapons

TOKYO (CNS) — Bishops from Hiroshima and Nagasaki called on world leaders to work toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons. In an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama and the Japanese government Feb. 26, the bishops said it was time to take the “courageous step.”

“We . . . demand that the president of the United States, the Japanese government and the leaders of other countries make utmost efforts to abolish nuclear weapons,” they said. The bishops described it as “sad and foolish to abuse the progress that humanity has made in the fields of science and technology, in order to destroy lives as massively and swiftly as possible, and to earn more profit by producing weapons.”

Bishops apologize for clergy sex abuse

OXFORD, England (CNS) — Germany’s Catholic bishops have asked forgiveness from victims of sexual abuse at church-run schools and promised to “learn lessons” from secular institutions dealing with child molestation.

“We are assuming responsibility. We condemn the offenses committed by monks, priests and their colleagues in our dioceses, and we ask pardon, in shame and shock, from all those who fell victim to these appalling acts,” the bishops’ said in a February 25 statement. “As bishops, we are concerned about cases of sex abuse by clergy and their collaborators. We want an honest clarification, free of incorrect considerations, whenever such occurrences are reported to us,” the bishops said.

Apology by Legionaries for actions of founder

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — The general secretary of the Legionaries of Christ asked for forgiveness from the people who were harmed by the “immoral actions” of the order’s founder, Father Marcial Maciel. “We ask forgiveness because we are sincerely sorry for what the church and people have suffered,” Father Evaristo Sada told an audience during the Youth and Family Encounter in the Mexican capital Feb. 20.

The comments were the most recent in an effort by the order to overcome allegations of sexual abuse of young seminarians by Father Maciel and the subsequent revelation that the Mexican priest fathered at least one child. Father Maciel died Jan. 30, 2008, at the age of 87.

In May 2006 after its own investigation, the Vatican decided against conducting a canonical trial, but ordered the then-frail Father Maciel to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance. The Vatican has since ordered an apostolic visitation of the Legionaries.

New trial in murder of Sister Dorothy Stang

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) — Five years after the murder of U.S.-born Sister Dorothy Stang, a man accused of ordering her killing will face his third trial. Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura will begin a new trial March 31. He remains in jail following a court order that he return to prison because of the power he wields in the region where the crime occurred.

Initially, de Moura was found guilty of ordering the murder of Sister Dorothy, a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. His lawyers are seeking his release from prison. Another man accused of ordering the murder, Regivaldo Pereira Galvao, is also awaiting trial.

Agency ends adoption, foster services in D.C.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington closed its 80-year-old foster care and public adoption program in the District of Columbia so the agency would not have to violate Church teaching by licensing same-sex couples as foster or adoptive parents. The program — which covered 43 children and their biological families, 35 foster families and seven staff members — was transferred to the National Center for Children and Families Feb. 1.

Under a new law allowing same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia, Catholic Charities would have been required to place children with same-sex parents for foster care and adoption, which would violate Church teaching that marriage is a permanent union between one man and one woman.

Couples sought for study of natural family planning

MILWAUKEE (CNS) — Researchers at Marquette University’s Institute for Natural Family Planning are recruiting couples interested in preventing pregnancy naturally for a study involving two Web-based methods of natural family planning.

The study, funded by a $595,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will compare two methods of natural family planning. The “high-tech” Marquette Model of natural family planning uses the ClearBlue Easy fertility monitor to estimate the beginning and end of the time of fertility in a woman’s menstrual cycle, while the “low-tech” method monitors cervical mucus as the sole biological indicator of fertility.

For more information about the study, go to www.marquette.edu/nursing/FederalResearchStudy.shtml.

Abuse victims unhappy with Dublin archbishop

DUBLIN, Ireland (CNS) — Victims of clerical child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin said they are close to despair because the Church will not take full responsibility for covering up the abuse. Clergy abuse survivors met with Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin Feb. 19 to discuss the outcome of the meeting of Irish bishops with Pope Benedict XVI and senior officials from the Roman Curia.

The Feb. 15-16 Vatican meeting reviewed a November report by an independent commission that investigated how the Dublin Archdiocese handled complaints of clerical child sexual abuse between 1975 and 2004.

The commission, headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, “found that the church deliberately covered up allegations of child abuse, but the only senior person who seems to accept that is Archbishop Martin,” Maeve Lewis, director of the One in Four abuse survivors’ group, said.


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