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 February 7, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

ABOVE: Haitian clinics battle cholera
A young woman helps a girl wash her hands in Bel Air, a poor neighborhood of Port au Prince, Haiti, where numerous cases of cholera have been reported as the country struggles to recover one year after a devastating earthquake. Haiti’s Ministry of Health and Population reported that as of Jan. 24, 209,034 Haitians had contracted the water-borne disease, with 4,030 dying.
CNS photo/Paul Jef frey
RIGHT: Priest blesses bread
Father Mario Cassol blesses some of the 1,650 loaves of bread in honor of Blessed Manfredo Settala in the church of Riva San Vitale, in Ticino, Switzerland. The bread blessing tradition goes back to the 15th century. The bread was distributed to residents after the ceremony.
CNS photo/Fiorenzo Maffi, Reuters

Judge rules against law for centers to post signs
BALTIMORE — U.S. District Court Judge Marvin J. Garbis ruled Jan. 28 in Baltimore that it is unconstitutional to require pro-life pregnancy centers to post signs with language mandated by the government. The ruling was a major victory for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which had challenged a Baltimore City law passed in 2009 requiring the posting of signs at pro-life pregnancy centers stating that they do not provide abortion and birth control.

Muslim-Christian dialogue to continue

VATICAN CITY — The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue will still move forward in its efforts to promote Christian-Muslim dialogue despite the fact that top Muslim academics in Egypt suspended talks with the Vatican. The head of the council, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, said he believed the boycott could be resolved and that he was still scheduled to meet in February with Muslim academics from Cairo. The president of al-Azhar University in Cairo and members of the Islamic Research Academy announced Jan. 20 that they were freezing all dialogue with the Vatican to protest Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks about anti-Christian violence in Egypt and the need to protect religious minorities there.

Shifting landscape: how religion divides, unites

WASHINGTON — The rate at which Latinos are entering U.S. Catholic life is “sudden” and “dramatic,” according to the co-author of a recently published book chronicling trends in U.S. religious life. But, said David Campbell, who co-wrote “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us,” it is just one manifestation of a shifting U.S. religious landscape. “Of those Catholics under 30 who were at Mass last weekend — pick any weekend — but last weekend, 60 percent of them were Latino,” Campbell said.

Survey: Well-educated women in religious life

WASHINGTON — Women entering religious orders today are highly educated and active in parish ministries, according to a new national survey. The results of “The Profession Class of 2010: Survey of Women Religious Professing Perpetual Vows” were released in advance of World Day for Consecrated Life Feb. 2. It was conducted by the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate and commissioned by the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. Eighty-four percent of the major superiors who responded to the survey reported they had no one professing perpetual vows last year. The 2010 class of women religious was more diverse by race and ethnicity than the U.S. population of women religious in general. Six in 10 identified themselves as white; one in five as Asian and one in 10 as Hispanic. Six percent were African-American or African.

Pope: Divided Christians must aid one another

VATICAN CITY — When one Christian community is suffering, other Christians must offer assistance, Pope Benedict XVI told Coptic Orthodox and other Oriental Orthodox church leaders. The pope met Jan. 28 with members of the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox theological dialogue who were holding their annual meeting in Rome; the 2011 meeting came less than a month after a bomb attack on a Coptic Orthodox church in Alexandria, Egypt, left 23 people dead.

Edmonton schools to end gambling as funding

EDMONTON, Alberta — Edmonton Catholic Schools’ trustees have voted to abolish gambling activities as a source of school funding. But board chair Debbie Engel says casino revenues will still be used in Catholic schools while the board looks for alternative and sustainable options for the district, which serves the city of Edmonton with publicly funded Catholic education.

French Senate rejects law allowing euthanasia

PARIS — The French Senate has rejected legislation that would have permitted any adult to request a “quick and painless death.” Under the draft Bioethics Law amendment, French citizens would have been entitled to seek medical help to die when “in a terminal state, or with a serious and incurable illness causing physical or psychological pain.”

New York Archdiocese to close 27 schools

NEW YORK — Twenty-seven Catholic schools in the New York Archdiocese — victims of low enrollment and rising costs — will close at the end of the school year in a move that archdiocesan education officials describe as part of a strategy to ensure long-term success of the overall system. The schools — 26 elementary schools and one parish high school — were among 32 cited in November as “at risk” of losing their archdiocesan subsidies and likely to close.

Episcopal bishop sees areas for collaboration

WASHINGTON — The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church told a mostly Catholic audience Jan. 19 that the two churches have a shared small-C catholic future beyond ecumenical differences, with actions rooted instead in shared beliefs about baptism and lived out in global outreach, political activism and aid to the poor. In the annual Hecker Lecture at St. Paul’s College, hosted by the Paulist Washington community, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop since 2006 of the Episcopal Church, focused on ways that Catholics and Episcopalians can work together.

LA Catholic schools extend school calendar

LOS ANGELES — At a time when California public schools have fewer instructional days, Catholic elementary schools in the Los Angeles Archdiocese will be adding four weeks of instruction to their school year. Kevin Baxter, archdiocesan superintendent of elementary schools, said the plan, announced at a principals’ meeting in mid-January, is for as many schools as possible to adopt a 200-day academic calendar for the 2011-12 school year, increasing instruction by approximately 20 days. All of the archdiocese’s 210 parish elementary schools, which have a total enrollment of 52,000 students, will be operating under the 200-day calendar by the 2012-13 school year.

Religious leaders call for abortion rate change

NEW YORK — New York City has one statistic in particular that it can’t be proud of and needs to change, according to local religious leaders: 41 percent of pregnancies in the city end in abortion, almost double the national rate.

EWTN acquires paper launched in 1927

IRONDALE, Ala. — The Eternal Word Television Network, based in Irondale, has signed a letter of intent to acquire the National Catholic Register, which describes itself as “the nation’s leading Catholic newspaper.” Effective Feb. 1, EWTN will take full control and ownership of the Register, now based in Irondale. Its editorial and business offices had been based in North Haven, Conn., since 1995, when the Legionaries of Christ bought the paper and moved it to New England from California.


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