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 June 21, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Grief in Ciudad Juarez
Family members mourn at the casket of Sergio Hernandez in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, June 9. A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot and killed the 15-year-old June 7 after a group trying to illegally enter the U.S. threw rocks at the agents at an international bridge near downtown El Paso, Texas.

Remembering martyred priest
Young women carry a relic of Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko through the streets of Warsaw, Poland, June 6. Blessed Popieluszko, who was murdered by communist police agents in 1984, moved a step closer to sainthood during a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. More than 3,000 priests and 95 bishops were among those who attended the ceremony.

U.S. included in rankings for human trafficking

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The United States is included in the State Department’s annual report on human trafficking for the first time in the report’s 10-year history.

“We have an involuntary servitude problem now just as we always have throughout history,” said Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

He told journalists June 14 that putting the United States in the report was common sense, “as we work toward a lead-by-example diplomacy.”

“The United States is a source, transit and destination country,” for trafficked men, women and children, the report stated.

Archbishop to Congress: Keep ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services has urged Congress not to repeal the policy banning gays from openly serving in the military. “Sacrificing the moral beliefs of individuals” in response to “merely political considerations is neither just nor prudent especially for the armed forces at a time of war,” he said in a statement posted June 1 on the archdiocese’s website.

He said Catholic military chaplains have expressed concern about the possible repeal of the 1993 legislation widely known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” and have requested guidance about what to do if it is lifted. The archbishop said the effect “has the potential of being enormous and overwhelming” and stressed that “nothing should be changed until there is certainty that morale will not suffer.”

Haitian peasants challenge Monsanto’s seed donation

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Advocates for Haitian peasants said a U.S.-based company’s donation of up to 475 tons of hybrid vegetable seeds to aid Haitian farmers will harm the island-nation’s agriculture. The advocates contend the donation is being made in an effort to shift farmer dependence from local seed to more expensive hybrid varieties shipped from overseas.

Haitian farmers and small growers traditionally save seed from season to season or buy the seed they desire from traditional seed markets. However, an official from the St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. told Catholic News Service that the seed is simply a donation to the Haitian government. The first two shipments — 135 tons — of hybrid varieties of corn, cabbage, carrot, eggplant, melon, onion, spinach, tomato and watermelon arrived in Haiti during the first two weeks of May.

Hispanics better represented among deacons than priests

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Hispanics are better represented among the nation’s permanent deacons than in the U.S. priesthood, although neither group is as diverse as the U.S. Catholic population, according to a new survey by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington.

Commissioned by the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, the survey found that 14 percent of deacons are Hispanic or Latino, compared with 3 percent of U.S. priests and about 26 percent of the U.S. Catholic population over 35, the minimum age for ordination to the diaconate. In other racial and ethnic categories, however, portraits of the U.S. diaconate and priesthood were similar, according to the CARA report.

Kerala bishops seek shift in Church feasts

COCHIN, India (CNS) — The Catholic bishops in Kerala state — the heartland of Christianity in India — have called for austere and more spiritual celebration of Church feasts. “The feasts are becoming less spiritual and more pompous and commercial. We need to take corrective steps,” Syro-Malabar Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, secretary-general of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council, said. “The spiritual dimension of the feast is often lost in the eagerness to make the feasts colorful,” added the Trichur archbishop.

The bishops urged the nearly 5 million Catholics in Kerala to be conscious of environmental pollution caused by fireworks, traffic jams and huge processions and arcades. Over the years, feast celebrations have become more colorful and competitive in Kerala — where Christian account for 19 percent of the state’s 35 million people — with parishes trying to outdo each other with colorful lighting, fireworks, live bands and processions. The feasts also become an occasion for heavy drinking.

Concerns expressed on World Cup gambling

HONG KONG (CNS) — A 65-year-old Jesuit soccer fan has warned people against getting caught up in betting on the World Cup, which began June 11 in South Africa. “Gambling is no good in itself,” said Father Robert Ng Chi-fun, who teaches moral theology at Holy Spirit Seminary College. Gambling on soccer matches could also lead to cheating, he said.

The Asian church news agency UCA News also reported staff at a Caritas counseling center is worried about betting during the tournament. It is often “a catalyst for gambling,” said Joe Tang, director of the Caritas Addicted Gamblers Counseling Center. The center saw a 20 percent rise in counseling cases during the 2006 World Cup, he said.

Bishops to back Aquino’s anti-corruption pledge

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — Philip-pine bishops say they will back the anti-corruption campaign of newly elected President Benigno Aquino III, but they also warned him to keep his election promises. The Philippine Congress proclaimed Aquino as the country’s 15th president and Jejomar Binay as vice president June 9, almost a month after the first nationwide automated elections.

Throughout his campaign, the 50-year-old Aquino pledged to improve human rights, reduce corruption and enforce stricter policies on taxes and duties. Aquino is the son of assassinated Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. and the late President Corazon Aquino.

Fund honoring slain nun gives to Navajo school

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Navajo Nation’s oldest operating K-12 school is the first recipient of the Sister Marguerite Bartz Fund, which honors a nun who was found dead Nov. 1, 2009, after an alleged burglary at her home on the Navajo reservation.

St. Michael Indian School in Window Rock, Ariz. received a $41,451 grant from the fund, founded by The Catholic Church Extension Societyl to honor the late Sister Bartz and to support the work of women religious and their ministries in the poorest and most isolated regions of the country.

Chinese authorities raze city’s only Catholic church

HONG KONG (CNS) — The only Catholic church in Ordos, in China’s autonomous region of Inner Mongolia, was destroyed the night of June 7, and the priest and lay leader were detained by police. The demolition is believed to have been carried out pursuant to a court order, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News.

The agency reported that when parishioners arrived for morning Mass June 8, they found a pile of rubble littered with pieces of the altar and discovered a 16-foot cross in another pile of rubble. On June 9, parishioners set up camp near the ruins to try to prevent new construction on the site. The 170-square-yard Dongsheng Church, which served a community of about 1,000 Catholics, was legally registered with the government in May 2009. However, the local government recently demanded the demolition of the church to make way for a new road.

Mother Teresa sainthood cause awaits new miracle

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CNS) — Father Brian Kolodiejchuk of the Missionaries of Charity, postulator for the sainthood cause of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, said her cause is “still waiting for one more miracle” for her to be declared a saint. “So far, there hasn’t been one case that is strong enough to pass the medical board” of the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes, he said. “But we’re still hoping and praying.”


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