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Catholic Voice

 October 18, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 18   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Mid-East Synod begins
Participants pray during the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 10. The Synod will examine the varied challenges and composition of Catholic communities in countries from Egypt to Iraq and from Turkey to Yemen.
Gift from trapped miners
Jaime Coiro Castro, communications director for the Chilean bishops’ conference, presents Pope Benedict XVI with a Chilean flag, Oct. 7, signed by each of the 33 miners who had been trapped underground for two months in a copper and gold mine near Copiapo, Chile. Rescue of the miners began Oct. 13 after a half-mile deep escape hole was drilled and a rescue capsule lowered to bring them out one at a time.
CNS photo
Two new saints
LEFT: Blessed Mother Mary MacKillop, founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, became Australia’s first saint when Pope Benedict XVI canonized her, Oct. 17. During her life she was briefly excommunicated and her religious community temporarily disbanded because local Church officials were angry that members of the order had reported a suspected child-abusing priest. The priest was sent back to Ireland but a fellow priest took vengeance on the Sisters and urged the bishop to break up the community. A few months later the bishop lifted his censure. Blessed MacKillop died in 1909. RIGHT: Blessed Juana Cipitria Barriola, a champion of education for girls and young women and founder the Daughters of Jesus in Salamanca, Spain, with five other young women, was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI, Oct. 17. Although her own education was limited and she lacked financial resources, she believed she was called by God to help the young improve their lives through education. She even ran a special school on Sundays for girls who were employed as domestics, because Sunday was their only day off. Her order now runs schools in 16 countries. She died in 1912.
New show
on Broadway

Dan Lauria stars in the Broadway production of “Lombardi,” which opened last week at the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York. The actor brings to the stage the deep faith of Vince Lombardi, famed coach of the Green Bay Packers. Lombardi studied for the priesthood before playing football at Fordham University. In Green Bay, he attended Mass every morning before going to practice at Lambeau Field.

Proposed Israeli ‘Jewish state’ oath draws concern

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Asking Christians, Muslims and others who want to become Israeli citizens to pledge loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” does not demonstrate democratic respect for full religious freedom, said Coptic Patriarch Antonios Naguib of Alexandria, Egypt, and Maronite Bishop Bechara Rai of Jbeil, Lebanon.

The majority of members of the Israeli Cabinet voted Oct. 10 to require the loyalty oath from new, non-Jewish citizens. The Israeli parliament still has to vote on the oath.

S.F. Archdiocese plans help for struggling schools

SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) — Two to four Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco are likely to close at the end of this school year, but a new strategic plan is being implemented to help another dozen schools that are struggling, according to school superintendent Maureen Huntington.

The archdiocese has 53 elementary schools — more than it needs, as the demographics of the area have changed from the population boom of the 1960s, said Huntington. The latest enrollment figures show a decline of more than 2 percent from last year. By county, there are 250 fewer students in San Francisco, 25 fewer in Marin and 125 fewer in San Mateo. High school enrollment throughout the archdiocese is down by about 100 students, the schools department said.

Vatican Radio offers Synod news in Hebrew

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In an effort to keep Israelis informed about the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, Vatican Radio has invited an expert in Jewish-Christian relations to translate synod news and texts into Hebrew. Hana Bendcowsky, a Jewish expert on early Church history and program director of the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations, said only a person who fully understands both the Christian and Jewish histories and points of view can properly translate not just the words, but the real, intended meanings behind the texts.

The Church has often faced extremely negative fallout in the Israeli press after a controversial or sensitive Church decision was blown out of proportion or manipulated by the media, Bendcowsky said.

Hong Kong Catholics: release Nobel winner

HONG KONG (CNS) — The Hong Kong Catholic Justice and Peace Commission was among human rights groups that campaigned for the release of Liu Xiaobo, winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Members protested outside the Hong Kong office of China’s Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Oct. 8 as the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s name was announced in Norway.

Liu was awarded the peace prize for his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. Liu was a strike leader during the 1989 pro-democracy rallies in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. In December, he was sentenced to 11 years in jail for writing Charter 08, which called for free speech and multi-party elections.

Investigation to focus on abuse victims in Ireland

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The apostolic visitation of the Catholic Church in Ireland will pay special attention to victims of clerical sex abuse as part of its overall goal of helping the local Church respond adequately to past cases of abuse and to perfect preventative measures, according to the Vatican.

“The visitators will give particular attention to victims of abuse and their families, but will also meet with and listen to a variety of people, including ecclesiastical authorities, lay faithful and those involved with the crucial work of safeguarding children,” said a statement released by the Vatican press office Oct. 6.

Iran president asks pope to help stop intolerance

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Pope Benedict XVI that he would like to work more closely with the Vatican in an effort to stop religious intolerance and the breakup of families. The president also appealed to world religions to cooperate in the fight against secularism and materialism, Iranian news agencies reported.

The appeals came in a letter that was handed to the pope by Iranian Vice President for Parliamentary Affairs Sayyed Mohammad-Reza Mir-Tajeddini, during a brief meeting Oct. 6 at the Vatican.

Jesuit universities get millions from alumni

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Two Jesuit-run Catholic universities have received the largest philanthropic gifts in their history, while a third has been given $8 million by the owners of the New Orleans Saints football franchise.

Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. received an $87 million endowment to support medical research at its medical center, while businessman and Fordham University alumnus Mario J. Gabelli donated $25 million to the New York school to expand student scholarships and faculty chairs and to create a new Center of Global Investment Analysis.

The $8 million gift to Loyola University New Orleans from the Gayle & Tom Benson Charitable Foundation, run by the Saints owners, will be used to renovate a former library building to house the Tom Benson Jesuit Center and a chapel.

L.A. Archdiocese starts sustainability ministry

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Parishioners and students in the Los Angeles Archdiocese will soon begin hearing more frequently about the importance of their involvement and commitment to keeping a clean environment, in alignment with Catholic social teaching. “We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan; it is a requirement of our faith,” it states on the website of the U.S. bishops’ environmental justice program, “Caring for God’s Creation.”

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has urged parishioners not to remain indifferent to “environmental issues and their profound impact on humanity.”

Catholic agency appeals pro-gay adoption decision

LONDON (CNS) — The last remaining Catholic adoption agency in England has filed an appeal against a decision by the Charity Commission for England and Wales forbidding it to turn away same-sex couples as potential adopters and foster parents.

Catholic Care lodged the appeal with the charity tribunal against a ruling by the commission rejecting its application to change its constitution so it could comply with Church teaching prohibiting gay adoption and civil laws stopping it from discriminating against same-sex couples.

The agency, which serves dioceses in northern England, had sought to continue its policy of assessing married heterosexuals and single people as potential adopters, but not gay couples.


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