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 May 10, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 9   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Seeking political asylum
Ruben Garcia, director of Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas, speaks April 24 on the subject of asylum for those fleeing the violence directly across the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The couple, heads covered, had four family members murdered in Ciudad Juarez and fled to El Paso, where they are seeking asylum.

Last defendant found guilty in nun’s murder
SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) — The last defendant charged in connection with the 2005 murder of U.S.-born Sister Dorothy Stang was found guilty in a Brazilian court and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Rancher Regivaldo Galvao was convicted May 1 of ordering the killing of the 73-year-old Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, who was known for her fight against large landowners in the Amazon region.

Sister Dorothy was killed on a deserted dirt road near Anapu, Brazil, in February 2005. She had lived in the Amazon region for nearly four decades, working closely with the Catholic Church’s Pastoral Land Commission.

Three other people have also been convicted of her murder.

Reform for Legionaries in wake of abuse scandal

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI will name a personal delegate with authority over the Legionaries of Christ and a commission to study its constitutions, the first steps toward a profound reform of the order, the Vatican said.

The Vatican indicated that the Legionaries would need to undergo very deep changes, including a redefinition of the order’s religious charism and a revision of the way authority is exercised among its members.

The Vatican castigated the Legionaries’ founder, the late Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, who fathered children and sexually abused seminarians. His “most grave and objectively immoral conduct” calls for “a path of profound revision” in the order, said the Vatican..

The Vatican also said the pope wanted to assure the Legionaries and members of the order’s lay movement, Regnum Christi, that “they will not be left on their own” and that the Church will “accompany them and help them on the path of purification that awaits them.”

Part of that path, it said, is a reaching out to those inside and outside the order who were “victims of the sexual abuse and of the system of power put in place by the founder.”

Document on Philippine candidate is fake

QUEZON CITY, Philippines (CNS) — A Jesuit university says a new “psychiatric report” on the mental condition of presidential candidate Benigno Aquino III is fake. “We strongly condemn these repeated attempts to use the Ateneo Psychology Department for black propaganda,” said an April 27 statement from the department at Ateneo de Manila University.

The report, which said Aquino suffered from depression and melancholia while studying at the university, allegedly included the signature of Jesuit Father Jaime Bulatao, founder of the psychology department at the university. However, in a statement, the 89-year-old priest denied he conducted the evaluation or issued the report. His signature on his statement did not match the one on the alleged report.

Pennsylvania bishop withdraws CCHD support

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Citing con-cerns that some groups funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development fail to follow church teaching, Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg, Pa., has withdrawn support for the U.S. bishops’ nationwide anti-poverty program.

Instead, the Greensburg Diocese will establish a separate fund to support basic services such as food, shelter and utility assistance for people in need. Bishop Brandt’s decision brings to eight the number of dioceses that have either temporarily or permanently stopped supporting CCHD since 2009.

Cross in national park might be preserved

WASHINGTON (CNS) — With a tangled set of six opinions, the Supreme Court ruled April 28 that it could be constitutional for the federal government to permit a large cross to stay within the boundaries of a national preserve in the California desert. But it also sent the case involving the transfer of ownership of a small plot of federal land back to lower courts for further consideration.

With a main opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and several separate opinions that agreed on this aspect, a 5-4 majority said lower courts went too far in refusing to allow the transfer of the piece of land where the cross stands to a nongovernmental entity, which would keep it standing and maintain it.

The cross was placed as a war memorial in 1934 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars on a rocky hillside in an isolated section of the 1.6 million-acre Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino County.

Vatican supports adult stem-cell project

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican is strongly supporting a new international project for adult stem-cell research but is not directly involved and has made no financial contribution to the initiative. The project, led by the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, established a consortium of researchers from several Italian health institutes, including the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome.

Sacramento Diocese to close newspaper

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) — Officials of the Diocese of Sacramento have announced that because of rising costs, they will stop publishing The Catholic Herald in its present form with the June 19 issue. The 102-year-old diocesan newspaper will be replaced by a new bimonthly Catholic Herald magazine, which will debut with a September-October issue. The diocese will also expand its online presence, and its Web site at www.diocese-sacramento.org will be the source for current news and information.

In June, the diocese also will withdraw from El Heraldo Catolico, the Spanish-language newspaper founded in 1979 and currently published by the dioceses of Sacramento and Oakland and the Archdiocese of San Francisco

Survivors ask victims to meet at St. Peter’s Square

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Two survivors of clergy sexual abuse who met with Pope Benedict XVI during his 2008 visit to Washington are planning to take their pleas for greater recognition of the spiritual, pastoral and mental health needs of abuse victims to the doorstep of the Vatican Oct. 31. Olan Horne of Westfield, Mass. and Bernie McDaid of Peabody, Mass. are planning a gathering that they hope will bring thousands of abuse victims to St. Peter’s Square for a “Reformation Day.”

Both men said the effort stems from a building frustration in dealing with church officials on the needs of abuse victims. The date is significant because, they said, the day is observed as a day of reformation in some cultures. The men said they are contacting priestly abuse victims worldwide to encourage them to travel to the Vatican.

Philippine military promises election support

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — The Philippines armed forces chief, Gen. Delfin Bangit, assured the bishops’ permanent council that the military was working for peaceful general elections May 10.

Bangit told the bishops that the military is “on top of the situation” and will always follow the rule of law, whatever happens after the election.

Some reports have suggested the military plans to grab power after failed elections.

Front-runner Benigno Aquino III and others have warned that frustrating the people’s will through electoral fraud could draw another people-power uprising, similar to the one that deposed President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

Bangit said that even in the “worst-case scenario” of a popular uprising ensuing, the military would always be prepared to perform its duties.

S.F. Archdiocese sues over transfer tax ruling

SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) — The Arch-diocese of San Francisco has filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court challenging the Office of the Assessor-Recorder’s determination that it must pay property transfer taxes for moving church properties from one nonprofit entity to another.

Last November in a unanimous ruling, San Francisco’s Transfer Tax Appeals Board upheld an effort by Phil Ting, who heads the assessor-recorder’s office, to collect $14.4 million in taxes from the archdiocese. According to the lawsuit, Ting claims the archdiocese owes a total of $21.7 million, including penalties and interest.

The San Francisco Archdiocese argues that imposing the transfer tax “on a purely intra-denominational reorganization is outside the San Francisco ordinance.”

Belgian bishop resigns after abuse admission

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of a Belgian bishop who admitted to sexually abusing a young man. Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Brugge, Belgium, said that he abused the man while a priest and “at the beginning of my episcopacy.” Bishop Vangheluwe had led the Diocese of Brugge for more than 25 years.

“I am deeply sorry for what I did and I offer my sincerest apologies to the victim, to his family, to the whole Catholic community and society in general,” he said.


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