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 November 8, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 19   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Hundreds pray for
peace in Mexico

Hundreds of people prayed for peace in Mexico during a Mass at the Macroplaza in downtown Monterrey Oct. 23. In the nearly four years since Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched an unprecedented attack on Mexico’s drug kingpins, nearly 30,000 people have been killed.
CNS photo/Tomas Bravo, Reuters

ABOVE: Synod for Middle East
Archbishop Allen Vigneron, bishop of Oakland from 2003-2009, prays during the closing Mass of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East in Rome, Oct. 24. Synod members, the majority representing Eastern Catholics, adopted 44 propositions for Pope Benedict to consider.
CNS photo/Paul Haring
LEFT: Demonstration in Rome
Sex abuse survivors and their supporters demonstrate near Castel Sant’Angelo, down the street from St. Peter’s Basilica, in Rome Oct. 31. About 100 victims and supporters from several countries gathered to call attention to the needs of survivors and ask for reform in the Catholic Church.
CNS photo/Paul Haring

Internal matters to dominate bishops’ agenda

WASHINGTON (CNS) — When the U.S. bishops gather in Baltimore for their 2010 fall general assembly, there will be no blockbuster topics on their public agenda, unlike in past years when clergy sex abuse or the issue of Catholic politicians who support abortion took much of their attention. Instead, the Nov. 15-18 meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will be devoted primarily to internal matters — the election of new conference leaders, discussion of how their own statements should be produced, budgetary and structural questions and information about how they can better integrate new media into diocesan structures.

Priest’s exorcist training being made into movie

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Rare is the priest in the United States who holds the title of diocesan exorcist. Rarer still is the priest who is the focus of a book on his training as an exorcist, not to mention that the book has inspired the making of a feature film called “The Rite” — starring Anthony Hopkins, no less. But that’s all become part of the life of Father Gary Thomas, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Saratoga.

Personnel file material released in Calif. cases

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — After a California court Oct. 22 ordered the release of documents from the Dioceses of San Diego and San Bernardino related to past cases of improper sexual conduct of four dozen priests, more than 10,000 pages of material was made public. Among the information released, much of which was posted on the website bishopaccountability.org were thousands of pages of routine personnel material as well as letters and other information detailing complaints about priests and the responses of their dioceses at the time claims were made against them.

Pope defends ‘right to emigrate’ in message

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI said the world has a responsibility to help refugees find places to live and work in safety, as part of its vocation to form “one family.” Welcoming refugees is an “imperative gesture of human solidarity,” the pope said in a message released at the Vatican Oct. 26. The pope made the comments in his message for the 2011 World Day for Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated Jan. 16 in most countries.

Vatican says it hopes Iraq does not execute Aziz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican hopes the death penalty will not be carried out against former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, 74, said the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, on Oct. 26, the day the Iraqi high court sentenced Aziz to death by hanging. The court sentenced Aziz, a Catholic who also served as foreign minister for then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, for persecution of Shiite religious parties. Aziz is currently in prison and in poor health. He has 30 days to appeal.

Woman who freed brother still helps prisoners

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Catholic woman whose efforts to free her wrongly imprisoned brother became the inspiration for the new motion picture “Conviction” still advocates for the cause of prisoners whenever she gets a chance. Betty Anne Waters, who runs a bar in Bristol, R.I., got her high school diploma, a college degree and a law degree so she could represent her brother Kenny in the successful appeal of his murder conviction.

Vietnamese cardinal sainthood cause opened

ROME (CNS) — The Diocese of Rome formally opened the sainthood process for Vietnamese Cardinal Francois Nguyen Van Thuan, who spent 13 years in prison in communist Vietnam — nine of them in solitary confinement. He was freed by authorities in 1988, and died in Rome in 2002. In his 2007 encyclical on Christian hope, Pope Benedict XVI called Cardinal Van Thuan an exemplary model of maintaining hope through prayer, even in a “situation of seemingly utter hopelessness.”

Charities fight disease after Pakistani floods

BANGALORE, India (CNS) — Church charities have joined the Pakistani government and other charity workers to fight growing health care problems that have gripped the victims of the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history.

More than 20 million people were affected and more than 1,600 people died in floods that began in July with incessant rains in Pakistan’s mountainous north and inundated the length and breadth of the nation within a month.

Due to lack of clean drinking water and breading of mosquitoes in stagnant waters, diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dengue and malaria have spread rapidly among the flood victims. Nearly 480 people have died of snake bites because the habitats of the snakes were disturbed by the flooding.

Raped nun identifies attacker in Indian court

CUTTACK, India (CNS) — A nun who was raped during the anti-Christian violence in Orissa in 2008 identified her attackers in court Nov. 3.

She was deposed before the District and Sessions judge in Cuttack, Orissa state’s legal capital, for more than 90 minutes. When the court asked her whether she could identify her offenders, she pointed to Santosh Patnaik as her rapist. She also identified five people, including the one who stood on her hand as the crime was being committed.

Earlier, the Orissa High Court rejected the nun’s plea to keep her from being deposed in the trial court.
In addition to the 90 people killed during the 2008 riots, 50,000 people, mostly Christians, were displaced. The mobs also destroyed churches and convents and burned Christian homes.

Michigan nuns to buy John Paul II Center

WASHINGTON (CNS) — A Michigan religious order experiencing rapid growth since its formation in 1997 is planning to buy the 10-year-old Pope John Paul II Cultural Center across the street from The Catholic University of America.

The Ann Arbor-based Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist signed a purchase agreement with the Archdiocese of Detroit to buy the 100,000-square-foot center in Washington and use it as a house of study for its members.

No purchase price for the 12-acre property was disclosed. The property was valued at $37.3 million for the 2011 tax year during the most recent real estate appraisal.


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