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placeholder January 23, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA

Jan. 25-27: Acton Institute Bishop’s conference, San Diego

Jan. 27: (Evening) Culture of Life Family Services Auction Dinner, San Diego

Jan. 28: (Morning) Dominican diaconate ordinations, St. Albert Priory

          (Afternoon) Adult Confirmation, Cathedral

Jan. 29: 10 a.m., Stational Mass, Cathedral

          (Afternoon) Chinese New Year Mass, St. Leo’s

Jan. 30: 4 p.m. radio interview, Catholic Answers Live (1260AM)

Feb. 2: (Morning) Bishop’s Administrative Council, Chancery

          (Afternoon) Cathedral Corporation Board meeting, Chancery

Feb. 3: (Afternoon) Clergy Dialogue Day, Chancery

Feb. 4: (Morning) Diocesan Pastoral Council, Chancery

          (Evening) Mass, Pan De Vida youth retreat, Immaculate Heart of Mary

Feb. 5: 10 a.m. Stational Mass, Cathedral (Mass for World Day of Consecrated Life)

Feb. 8: (Morning) Diocesan Review Board, Chancery

          (Evening) Oakland Police Foundation Board

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There were no diocese items in this issue

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Photo wins award

A photo of the inside of the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland, by Darrell Sano, won a spot in the “2011 American Photo Magazine Images of the Year Contest.” Here’s where to see the winning photo and others: www.popphoto.com/photo-contest/IOTY2011/photos/all/196144

Attention choir members

The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, under the direction of Terrance Kelley, will perform at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland on Feb. 10.
Parish and school choirs are invited to participate in a private workshop led by Kelly. He will teach gospel music to the group and help form a part of a Mass Choir to perform during the February concert. Two rehearsals are scheduled at the Cathedral — Jan. 28 and Feb. 4 — for the workshop and to rehearse the music for the concert. To participate, respond to: Denise Kogler, dkogler@oakdiocese.org or dial 510-271-1935.

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Ruling over teacher’s firing

WASHINGTON — The direction the courts will take with other cases related to religious employment is far from clear, but the Supreme Court’s Jan. 11 ruling opens a whole track of possibilities. The decision in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC held that fired teacher Cheryl Perich could not sue under federal disability discrimination laws, because the Michigan Lutheran school where she worked considered her a “called” minister. Writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice John Roberts said the government cannot require a church to retain an unwanted minister because doing so “intrudes upon more than a mere employment decision. Such action interferes with the internal governance of the church, depriving the church of control over the selection of those who will personify its beliefs.” Two cases involving Catholic dioceses that are pending before the Supreme Court ask related questions.

Letter on same-sex unions

WASHINGTON — A letter signed by more than three dozen U.S. religious leaders objects to the specter of religious groups being forced to treat same-sex unions “as if they were marriage. Altering the civil definition of ‘marriage’ does not change one law, but hundreds, even thousands, at once,” said the letter, “Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together,” released Jan. 12. “By a single stroke, every law where rights depend on marital status — such as employment discrimination, employment benefits, adoption, education, health care, elder care, housing, property and taxation — will change so that same-sex sexual relationships must be treated as if they were marriage,” it said. Four Catholic bishops were among the 39 religious leaders signing the letter: Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland; Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn.; and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind.

Avoiding damage for poor

WASHINGTON (CNS) — With election-year politics pretty much guaranteed to clog up the process of passing legislation this year even more than partisan posturing did in 2011, Washington wish lists for policy and legislation are brief and heavy on defensive thinking. Retaining funding for crucial international aid programs; preventing drastic cuts to the domestic poverty safety net, extending the availability of unemployment insurance and fostering a measured approach to international hot spots including Iran, Syria and North Korea are as ambitious as it gets for the legislative and policy agenda of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and some other advocacy organizations.

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Pope baptizes 16 infants
Pope Benedict XVI baptizes one of 16 infants during a Mass in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Jan. 8.
CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters

Vatican encourages recovery of ‘apologetics’

VATICAN CITY — In the Catholic Church, it’s true that everything old can be new again, and the Vatican wants one of those things to be the art of “apologetics” — dusted off and updated to respond to new challenges, including those posed by militant atheists. The term “apologetics” literally means “to answer, account for or defend,” and through the 1950s even Catholic high school students were given specific training in responding to questions about Catholicism and challenges to church teaching. At least in Northern Europe and North America, the effort mainly was a response to Protestantism. Today, while sects and fundamentalist groups challenge Catholics in many parts of the world, almost all Catholics face objections to the idea of belief in general, said Legionary of Christ Father Thomas D. Williams, a professor at Rome’s Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University. Father Williams is author of “Greater Than You Think: A Theologian Answers the Atheists About God,” written in response to the late Christopher Hitchens’ book, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” and similar works. Over the past 50 years, apologetics lost its general appeal because “it was considered proselytism,” an aggressive attempt to win converts that was replaced by ecumenical dialogue, he said.

— Catholic News Service

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