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placeholder April 9, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 7   •   Oakland, CA

April 12: (Morning) Bishop's Administrative Council, Chancery

         (Afternoon) Diocesan Consultors and Presbyteral Council meetings, Chancery

April 13-21: Ad Limina visit of Region XI, Rome

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Too late for abuse claims

SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) — In a case that could have implications for dozens of lawsuits pending before California courts, the state Supreme Court ruled March 29 that six brothers who alleged abuse by their parish priest in the 1970s had run out of time to sue the bishop of Oakland as the priest's employer.

The Quarry brothers, now ages 48 to 54, had filed suit in 2007, contending that Father Donald Broderson, then associate pastor of St. Joachim Parish in Hayward, had sexually abused each of them in the 1970s and that then-Bishop Floyd Begin of Oakland had known or should have known that the priest was an abuser when he assigned him to St. Joachim.

Broderson was removed from the priesthood in the 1990s and died in 2010. Bishop Begin died in 1977.

In a 5-2 decision, the California Supreme Court said the Quarry brothers' case did not fit the exceptions allowed by a state law that lifted the statute of limitations on abuse cases for the year 2003. The law says that those who experience abuse as children but do not become aware of the psychological harm caused by it until after age 26 have only one year after the discovery to file suit against their abusers' employers.

As amended in 2002, however, the law says an employer who "knew or had reason to know, or was otherwise on notice, of any unlawful sexual conduct by an employee, volunteer, representative or agent, and failed to take reasonable steps, and to implement reasonable safeguards, to avoid acts of unlawful sexual conduct in the future by that person" could be sued up to three years after the abuse victim discovered the psychological damage.

Mike Brown, director of communication and community relations for the Oakland Diocese, said April 3 that the diocese was "gratified at the justices' conclusion."

He said the justices found "that the Legislature meant what it said when lawmakers enacted a one-year exemption to the statute of limitations in these matters."

"Nothing in the court's ruling, however, changes the fact that the protection of young people and providing pastoral care to victims are our top priorities," Brown added. "The diocese has long-standing programs in place to protect children and young people, to investigate claims of abuse and discover the truth and to provide pastoral care. ... We are succeeding in protecting our children."

With its decision, the California Supreme Court sent the case back to the state Court of Appeal in San Francisco, which had ruled in 2009 that the brothers could proceed in their lawsuit against the bishop of Oakland.


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Pedals, pipes and pizza

Children of all ages are invited to a special concert featuring the 5,298-pipe organ at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 21 in a program, "Pedals, Pipes and Pizzas — A Pipe Organ Concert for Children." Prokofiev's music and narration of the children's story, "Peter and the Wolf," will be followed with pizza on the Cathedral Plaza. The event costs $5 per person, and was organized in partnership with Children's Fairyland. Visit www.ctlcathedral.org.

Organ concert

Robert Huw Morgan, university organist at Stanford University, will play from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 22 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light. Donation: Free-will offering. The cathedral is home to the Létourneau custom-made, world-class pipe organ — the Conroy Memorial Organ — a 92 ranks, four-manual pedal organ with 5,298 pipes.

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Bishops: Proposal 'radically flawed'

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Even with a new federal proposal that third-party administrators pay the costs of contraceptives for religious employers who object to the coverage, the health reform law's contraceptive mandate "remains radically flawed," according to the U.S. bishops. The bishops made the comments in an internal memo March 29. A copy of it was released to Catholic News Service April 2. The memo came in response to a rule proposed by the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services in a 32-page document that was published March 21 in the Federal Register. HHS has proposed new ways for religious organizations that have moral objections to providing free contraceptives to their employees to comply with the requirement. Among the suggestions are having the costs covered by a "third-party administrator" of a health plan or "independent agency" that receive funds from other sources, such as rebates from drug makers.

Government erred

WASHINGTON — Religiously based restrictions on reproductive health services for victims of human trafficking cannot be imposed by the Department of Health and Human Services, a federal judge has ruled. By delegating to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops the decision on which services to offer or not offer to trafficking victims, HHS violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, Judge Richard G. Stearns ruled March 23 in the case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in federal court in Massachusetts.

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Bite the dust
A worker dusts and vacuums a bust in the Vatican Museums. The museums use some high-tech conservation methods, but simple dusting is also key to counteract the effects of nearly 20,000 visitors a day. Current best practices for the preservation of museum pieces entail preventing or hindering problems from developing in the first place, Antonio Paolucci, director of the museums, said. So-called preventative conservation includes high-tech solutions like climate control, protective displays and lighting systems that keep delicate colors and media from damage and deterioration. But the most overlooked — and yet, best — solution is the low-tech practice of dusting, buffing and tiny touch ups.
CNS photo/Vatican Museums

The gift of time

VATICAN CITY — The truly Christian response to Christ's death and resurrection must be the dedication of one's life and one's time to building a relationship with Jesus and being grateful for the gift of salvation, Pope Benedict XVI said. "In this Holy Week, the Lord Jesus will renew the greatest gift we could possibly imagine: he will give us his life, his body and his blood, his love," the pope said April 1, celebrating Palm Sunday in St. Peter's Square.

Vatican focuses on WYD

VATICAN CITY — On the seventh anniversary of the death of Blessed John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI paid homage to one of his predecessor's innovations: World Youth Day. Greeting an estimated 5,000 cheering young people from Spain April 2, Pope Benedict said they were "the protagonists and principal recipients of this pastoral initiative promoted vigorously by my beloved predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, whose passage to heaven we remember today." The next international celebration of World Youth Day will be July 23-28, 2013, in Rio de Janeiro.

Beware of heretic group

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sounded a warning against four excommunicated priests who continue to claim they represent the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the largest of the Eastern churches in full communion with Rome. Despite encouragement and hopes the excommunicated clerics would reconcile with the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Holy See, recent events and their continued slander demonstrate the leaders are only creating "confusion and havoc in the community of the faithful," the congregation said in a written declaration, dated Feb. 22.

Autism support needed

VATICAN CITY — The church needs to address the alienation often surrounding those living with autism, especially children and young people, by coming to the aid of those affected, said Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski. The archbishop, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, said those who draw near to people with autism can help break down the barriers of silence and join in them in solidarity and prayer.

Blessing rite for unborn

WASHINGTON — Just in time for Mother's Day, U.S. Catholics parishes will be able to celebrate the new Rite for the Blessing of a Child in the Womb. The blessing was prepared to support parents awaiting the birth of their child, to encourage parish prayers for and recognition of the gift of the child in the womb, and to foster respect for human life within society. It can be offered within the context of Mass as well as outside of Mass, and for an individual mother, a couple or a group of expectant parents.

Catholic News Service


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