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 April 26 , 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Funeral procession
Polish soldiers carry the coffins containing the bodies of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Maria, during a funeral procession in Krakow, Poland, April 18. They were buried in the historic cathedral crypt at Wawel Royal Castle.

Mourning in Poland
Clergymen and a Polish military band lead a funeral procession for Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, Maria, in Krakow, Poland, April 18. Poland’s president, his wife and other government officials were among the 96 people killed in a plane crash near Smolensk, Russia, April 10. U.S. President Barack Obama and several other world leaders were unable to attend the funeral because ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland had shut down airports throughout Europe.

First lady refers to Bible during meet with students
MEXICO CITY (CNS) — U.S. first lady Michelle Obama referred to the Bible when addressing Mexican high school and university students, April 14, at Jesuit-run Iberoamerican University. She also spoke to the more than 3,000 students gathered in the main courtyard about self-improvement, perseverance and her desire to engage young people around the world. Obama told students of the importance of offering service to others.Young people make up nearly 50 percent of Mexico’s population.

St. Peter’s Basilica offers absolution in 14 languages

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Confessors in St. Peter’s Basilica can offer absolution in 14 languages, including Chinese. There are 14 Conventual Franciscans from 10 different nations who live in the Vatican and hear confessions full time in the basilica, said the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Each Franciscan hears confession for up to five hours a day, but for no longer than three hours at a time, for a total of 24 hours a week. The priests can offer confession in Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Romanian, Polish, Croatian, Slovenian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Maltese, and Chinese.

Bill would lift statute of limitations on abuse suits

HARTFORD, Conn. (CNS) — Connecticut’s Catholic bishops are urging Catholics and others to speak out against a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits in cases of sexual abuse. Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford, Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport and Bishop Michael R. Cote of Norwich sent notices to all pastors April 8, requesting their help in mounting a campaign opposing a measure in the House that would make Connecticut the only state without a statute of limitations for the filing of sexual abuse claims concerning minors.

“The passage of this legislation could potentially have a devastating financial effect on the Catholic dioceses of Connecticut, including parish assets and those of other Catholic service organizations,” said the letter to pastors. “We all realize the serious nature of these crimes,” it said. “However, the passage of this law could result in claims that are 50, 60 or 70 years old, which are impossible to adequately defend in court.”

Notre Dame reaffirms life commitment

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (CNS) — The University of Notre Dame has issued an institutional statement affirming its commitment to the defense of human life at all its stages and adopted new principles governing the university’s charitable activity.

“The statement articulates what always has been the case: that Notre Dame fully embraces Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life,” said Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president. The institutional statement and the principles on charitable activity were among recommendations made in January to Father Jenkins by the university’s Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life and designed to “broaden and deepen the pro-life culture” at the university.

Brazilian jury: 30 years for ordering nun’s murder

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) — A man accused of ordering the killing of Sister Dorothy Stang in a remote region of the Amazon forest in 2005 was sentenced to 30 years in jail after a jury in Belem deliberated for 15 hours April 12.

Rancher Vitalmiro “Bida” Bastos de Moura was found guilty of ordering the killing of Sister Dorothy, 73, a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur known for her fight against large landowners in the Amazon region. De Moura had been tried for the same crime twice before; he was found guilty the first time and innocent the second. The second trial, however, was annulled after evidence surfaced that he had paid off witnesses.

Slovak Church takes on U.S. casino tycoons

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) - Slovakia’s Catholic Church said it expects plans for Europe’s largest mega-casino complex to be called off after campaigning by Catholic groups. “We’re afraid of the moral harm this project will inflict on many people,” explained Father Jozef Kovacik, spokesman for the Bratislava-based Slovakian bishops’ conference.

The priest was speaking as a final decision neared on plans by the Nevada-based Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. for a 74-acre Las Vegas-style complex at Petrzalka, near the Austrian border. The project was expected to be completed by 2015 with backing from Slovak Premier Robert Fico. A final decision on the project was not expected until after Slovakia’s June 12 parliamentary elections.

Pro-life movement grows in Cuba

HAVANA (CNS) — Clinical physician Conchita Morales watched the crowd of 200 people slowly filing out of historic St. Francis of Assisi Church in a neighborhood of Old Havana and felt a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. After 15 years, Pro-Vida Cuba (Pro-Life Cuba) had concluded its first-ever public prayer service. Filled with prayer and inspirational talks, the event moved Morales and her husband, Hector Gonzalez, a radiologist.

As director of Cuba’s only national pro-life organization, Morales has long called attention to the dangers of abortion in Cuban society. While the organization has not been prohibited from meeting, it has done so largely in private.

U.S. bishops support START treaty

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed the signing of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and Russia and promised to urge the U.S. Senate to ratify the pact in a letter to President Barack Obama.

“Based on a moral imperative to rid the world of nuclear weapons, the conference of bishops will be a steadfast supporter of strong and bipartisan action on the new treaty as an important and essential step toward a nuclear-free future,” Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago wrote April 8 to the White House.

Citing the church’s teaching on just war and its long-standing opposition to nuclear weapons, Cardinal George said the road to a world free of such weapons will be difficult, but that the pact between the world’s primary nuclear powers is another step toward greater global security.

Hitler may have wanted to steal Turin Shroud

ROME (CNS) — The Shroud of Turin was hidden in an Italian Benedictine abbey during World War II in part because Church authorities feared Adolf Hitler might want to steal it, according to an official at the monastery.
The shroud, which many believe to have been the burial cloth of Christ, was transferred secretly from the Turin cathedral in 1939 to the abbey of Montevergine in southern Italy, and returned to Turin in 1946, after the war had ended.

Officially, the reason later given for the transfer was fear that the cloth could have been damaged if the city of Turin were bombed. But Benedictine Father Andrea Cardin, director of the Montevergine library that holds the relevant documents, said Church officials also seemed to fear that the Nazis wanted to take possession of the Shroud.

Hitler was thought by some to have been obsessed about certain objects related to the life of Christ, including the Holy Grail and the Holy Lance of Longinus.


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