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 March 7, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Pilgrims flock to Medjugorje
Pilgrims look at religious articles in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Feb. 28, where 30 years after the alleged Marian apparitions began, Medjugorje now has more than 10,000 beds for pilgrims and numerous stores selling religious articles. A Vatican-appointed commission is studying the alleged Marian apparitions. Most of the Medjugorje “seers” have said the apparitions have continued every day for years. Three say they still have visions each day, while the other three see Mary only once a year now. All six are now married and have children.
CNS photo/Paul Haring
Mideast unrest
Imams demonstrate in Cairo March 1, demanding the minister of religious affairs maintain an Islamic identity in a post-Mubarak Egypt by making Islam the main source of law. With pro-democracy movements moving across North Africa and the Middle East, the situation in Libya worries the Vatican because of the loss of human lives, “the targeting of civilians and of peaceful protesters, and the indiscriminate use of force,” a Vatican representative told the U.N. Human Rights Council.
CNS photo/Amr Abdallah Dalsh, Reuters

Archbishop installed as Cardinal Mahony retires

LOS ANGELES — More than 6,000 people assembled for two Masses Feb. 27 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to observe a historic — and rare — transition of leadership in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. On the day Cardinal Roger M. Mahony celebrated his 75th birthday — the age at which bishops are canonically required to submit their resignations to the pope — Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, former archbishop of San Antonio, and previously an auxiliary bishop of Denver, was welcomed as the new leader of the Church of Los Angeles.

Harrisburg priest to be an auxiliary bishop

Pope Benedict XVI has named Father William J. Waltersheid, secretary for clergy and consecrated life in the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., as auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh. A native of Ashland, Pa., Bishop-designate Waltersheid, 54, has held his current post in the Harrisburg Diocese since 2006. He also has been a parochial vicar, a pastor and vice rector of the Pontifical North American College, 2000-2003, and before that the college’s director of pastoral formation. His episcopal ordination is scheduled for Easter Monday, April 25, at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh.

Hawaii and Maryland advance same-sex unions

Hawaii Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed same-sex civil unions into law Feb. 23, a week after the bill passed the state Legislature, calling it a “triumph for everyone.” Civil unions will be legal in the 50th state beginning Jan. 1, 2012. The law extends the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities of spouses in marriage to homosexual couples in a civil union. In Maryland, a committee of the House of Delegates opened a hearing about same-sex marriage Feb. 25; a vote by the full House was expected to follow quickly. The state Senate passed the measure Feb. 24, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has promised to sign it into law.

Wisconsin bishops praised for statement

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, gave his support Feb. 24 to views on the rights of workers caught in the midst of Wisconsin’s budget battle earlier articulated by Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki on behalf of the state’s bishops. Large protests have inundated Madison, Wisconsin’s capital city, and its government and legislative offices since a budget-balancing proposal was issued earlier in February by new Gov. Scott Walker. The bill would ask state employees to pay half of their pension costs and 12.6 percent, up from 5 percent, of their health care coverage.

Nun says black Catholics have a strong faith

African-American Catholics have a dynamic history of “uncommon faithfulness” in the Church, but it’s one that has been generally invisible — even to other Catholics, said Dominican Sister Jamie Phelps, director of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of New Orleans. She spoke Feb. 25 at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas of Aquinas in Rome. There are about 3 million African-American Catholics in the United States today, she said. They generally identify closely with the teachings of the Church, on matters from abortion to concern for the poor.

“What resonates with the worldview of African-American Catholics is respect for the dignity of the human person,” she said.

Well-known monk of Gethsemani, dies at 95

TRAPPIST, Ky. — Trappist Father Matthew Kelty, a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani known for his talents of writing and speaking, died Feb. 18 after a brief illness. He was 95 and had been a priest for 64 years.

Former America magazine editor dies at age 74

Jesuit Father George W. Hunt, whose 14-year tenure as editor-in-chief of America made him the longest-serving editor in the magazine’s more than 100-year history, died Feb. 25 of cancer at Fordham University’s Jesuit community in New York. He was 74. Former Major League Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, a friend of Father Hunt’s since the early 1980s, described the priest as “a man of remarkable talents and wide learning.”

Oscar winner: film shows way to defeat racism

SAN DIEGO — Actor Louis Gossett Jr. is doing his part to cure the “cancer” of racism. “Racism is a cancer, and we have to get it out of our systems,” the 74-year-old told The Southern Cross, newspaper of the San Diego Diocese, in a phone interview. Gossett hopes his new film, “The Grace Card,” will provide viewers with an opportunity to look inside themselves and perhaps reevaluate some of their perceptions. The unabashedly Christian film, released in theaters Feb. 25, is the story of two police officers — one white, one black — who overcome a strong mutual dislike and ultimately become friends.

Ariz. debates new bills aimed at immigration

PHOENIX — Arizona’s Legislature will debate bills that question birthright citizenship, make hospitals check legal status of patients and require schools to keep tabs on students who are in the United States illegally.
The Senate Appropriations Committee Feb. 22 passed two Senate bills — S.B. 1308 and S.B.1309 — that sponsors hope will force the Supreme Court to rule on a challenge to the 14th Amendment’s guarantee that all children born in the United States are citizens, sometimes called “birthright citizenship.” The Arizona lawmakers are questioning the clause of the amendment that reads: “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The committee also passed S.B. 1405, which would require hospitals to verify a patient’s legal status before admitting them for non-emergency care.

Couple found joy in sailing, says priest

SANTA MONICA — Jean and Scott Adam, a California couple killed along with another American couple by their Somali pirate captors on the high seas off the coast of East Africa, were remembered at two Masses at their home parish Feb. 22. Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson, pastor of St. Monica Church, told the Los Angeles Times that the Adams “died doing what they wanted to do.” According to news reports, the couple went on many sailing adventures over the years and carried Bibles with them to distribute to people in the communities they visited.

Pope: women persuaded to have abortions

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI said that pregnant women facing difficulties due to their personal circumstances or to health issues of the fetus can be misled by doctors or people close to them into believing that abortion is the best solution. And those who have undergone abortions often find themselves beset by serious psychological and spiritual problems from the “deep wound” that is the consequence of actions that “betray the innate vocation for human good,” the pope said.

Chilean miners visit Holy Land, offer thanks

JERUSALEM — Despite the overwhelming media attention they received and heated debate over the purpose of their visit, 25 Chilean miners who arrived in Israel in late February said theirs was a visit of thanksgiving. “We want to thank God for all that he did for us. Our faith and hope were fundamental for our survival,” said Mario Gomez, the oldest of the 33 miners trapped for more than two months underground.

— Catholic News Service


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