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 October 4, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Aid in Afghanistan
U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Miguel Reyes from Delta Company, part of Task Force 1-66, holds a sick Afghan girl before an Army medic conducts a medical check during a patrol in the village of Gul Kalacheh in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province Sept. 19. Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, president of Pax Christi USA, has called for the end of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.
Stopping murder of
priests in Mexico

Father Wilfrido Mayren Pelaez, director of the peace and reconciliation ministry in the Mexican Archdiocese of Antequera-Oaxaca, is hoping that a change of government in Oaxaca will allow for a thorough investigation into attacks against priests. He said at least three priests have either been murdered or viciously attacked this year.

More oppose federally funded stem-cell research

WASHINGTON (CNS) — A new public opinion poll released Sept. 16 shows that 47 percent of Americans oppose federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research, while 38 percent support such funding. The poll, conducted by International Communications Research in Media, Pa., was commissioned by the U.S. bishops’ pro-life secretariat.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they favor funding only the research avenues that do not harm the donor, while only 21 percent favored funding all stem-cell research, including research that involves killing embryos.

Catholic Worker groups part of faulty FBI probe

WASHINGTON (CNS) — A handful of Catholic Worker groups across the country were among the anti-war activists, environmentalists and animal-rights groups wrongly investigated by the FBI, according to a lengthy report released Sept. 20 by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General.

According to Inspector General Glenn Fine, there was “little or no basis” for the investigations. The groups included the anti-war Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the Catholic Worker, Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and an individual Quaker peace activist.

Guide for Anglicans who join U.S. Catholic Church

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has named Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington to guide the incorporation of Anglican groups into the Catholic Church in the United States. In this position, he will assist the Vatican congregation in implementing the apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus” (“Groups of Anglicans”), which provides for creating personal ordinariates for Anglicans who want to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

A personal ordinariate is a canonical structure similar to a diocese that covers the area of a bishops’ conference. It allows Anglicans to join the Church while retaining their distinctive patrimony and liturgical practices. The constitution was issued by Pope Benedict XVI last November. No ordinariates have been established anywhere yet, according to Vatican officials.

ND names coordinator for life initiatives

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNS) — Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, has named Mary K. Daly to the newly created position of coordinator for university life initiatives. Daly, a 2010 Notre Dame graduate, was president of Notre Dame Right to Life as a student.

Father Jenkins created the post in response to a recommendation from the Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life, which said structures must be created to implement previous recommendations and continue the work of the group.

The group called for undergraduate “witness to life” research opportunities in various academic disciplines; adoption of a policy statement on the university’s “support for Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death”; and guidelines on how to “avoid formal or immediate material complicity in evils such as abortion and torture” in charitable gifts and investments.

Schools told not to raise funds through gambling

EDMONTON, Alberta (CNS) — Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton has banned “harmful gambling activities” by Catholic schools to raise funds, but he admitted it is likely to be years for the new policy to take effect. The archbishop planned to meet with school officials to set a date to implement the ban, which is among a large number of archdiocesan policies developed in an overall policy review.

Archbishop Smith said he recognizes that schools have become reliant on gambling revenue and “will need some time to transition away from this.” The new policy bans parishes, Catholic institutions and Catholic organizations from fundraising through “harmful gambling activities” including casino gaming, video lottery terminals and high-stakes bingo.

Group: 2008 book errs in views on moral issues

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In their 2008 book, “The Sexual Person,” theologians Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler “reach a whole range of conclusions that are contrary to Catholic teaching,” the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine said in a 24-page critique.

The document said the theologians’ methodology “marks a radical departure from Catholic theological tradition” and their conclusions “cannot provide a true norm for moral action and in fact are harmful to one’s moral and spiritual life.” The committee specifically cited errors in the book’s conclusions that homosexual acts, premarital sex, contraception and artificial insemination can be morally acceptable, in contrast to Church teachings.

Salzman chairs the theology department at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and Lawler, who retired in 2005, is a professor emeritus there. The doctrine committee, chaired by Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, said the critique was prompted by “the pastoral danger that readers of the book could be confused or misled, especially since the book proposes ways of living a Christian life that do not accord with the teaching of the Church and the Christian tradition.”

HHS urged not to mandate contraception coverage

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Two officials of the U.S. bishops’ Office of General Counsel have told the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that it should not mandate that group and individual health plans include coverage of contraception or sterilization as part of what the federal agency considers preventive care for women.

“These drugs, devices and procedures prevent not a disease condition, but the healthy condition known as fertility,” said Anthony Picarello and Michael Moses, who are general counsel and associate general counsel, respectively, at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. They said contraception and sterilization “pose significant risks of their own to women’s life and health; and a federal program to mandate their inclusion would pose an unprecedented threat to rights of conscience.”

Bishop criticizes policy on illegal migrants

PERTH, Australia (CNS) — The chairman of the Australian bishops’ social justice council criticized as cowardly the government’s policy of locking up people who arrive illegally via people smugglers. Bishop Christopher Saunders of Broome said politicians on both major parties are playing on people’s fears by spreading the lie that Australia is being “flooded” with illegal immigrants.

“It’s the old question of ‘what would Christ have done,’” Bishop Saunders said Sept. 17, three days after the 95th illegal boat was intercepted and arrived at Christmas Island. The number of people in detention there awaiting processing reached 4,900.

“To think that just because they came through (in) some dangerous manner — God only knows how many hundreds have drowned on the way — instead of arriving in a Qantas jet, that we have to lock them up, is an inappropriate response to people in need,” the bishop said.

Group for Irish priests draws more members

DUBLIN (CNS) — The inaugural meeting of a new association to represent the views of Irish priests drew six times more participants than organizers expected. More than 300 priests attended the first meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests in Port Laoise

Father Brendan Hoban, an association founder, said the group “hopes to speak to the members of the Vatican’s apostolic visitation to Ireland to voice our opposition to the new English-language translation of the Mass. We believe the new translation . . . is over-complicated and over-Latinized. There has been very little consultation about it, but nobody seems to want it — it’s another example of the Church trying to fix things that don’t need to be fixed and not fixing the things that need fixing.”

The association said it would work for “full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council,” particularly the primacy of individual conscience, the status and active participation of all baptized people and establishing a Church where all believers will be treated as equal; restructuring the Church’s governing system to encourage consultation and transparency, particularly in the appointment of Church leaders.


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