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April 30, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Father Frank Browne
"Father Browne's Titanic Album"
This is one of a collection of photographs of the RMS Titanic taken by the late Irish Jesuit Father Frank Browne. "Father Browne's Titanic Album" has been reprinted to mark the centenary of the demise of the massive liner. Father Browne, 1880-1960, who traveled on the Titanic early in its lone voyage from England to France and Ireland, became a prominent documentary photographer and a much-decorated chaplain in the British army in World War I.
CNS photos/courtesy Father Browne S.J. Collection

"Bigger Elvis"
Mother Dolores Hart, prioress of the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn., starred in many movies as a youth, including alongside Elvis Presley in the 1957 movie "Loving You." She is featured in a short HBO documentary titled "God Is the Bigger Elvis," which is about her and the other cloistered nuns at the Bethlehem abbey.

Father Flanagan
Father Edward Flanagan is pictured in a 1917 photo taken when he was 27, after being appointed assistant pastor at St Patrick's Church in Omaha, Neb. The Irish priest founded Boys Town in 1917, devoting his life to the care of troubled and abandoned boys. The Archdiocese of Omaha has begun an investigation into his life, the first phase in the rigorous process toward sainthood.

Under fire
Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Ill., stirred widespread controversy after listing several governments throughout history that "have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches," such as Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin in an April 14 homily calling Catholics to "heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism" in the face of current threats to religious liberty in the United States.

Slave societies tracked
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For years, Jane Landers of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, along with an international team of researchers, has been tracking down fragile and endangered ecclesiastical documents in cathedrals and country churches in Cuba, Brazil and Colombia. According to Landers, baptismal records held by Catholic churches in these countries are some of the longest and most consistent information available for the history of Africans in the Americas. In her research on slave societies and individuals of non-European descent living in the Caribbean, South and Central America, Landers has found the records kept by Catholic churches to be extremely fruitful.

Nuns' group shocked
VATICAN CITY — Citing "serious doctrinal problems which affect many in consecrated life," The Vatican announced a major reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an association of about 80 percent of women's religious congregations in the U.S., about 57,000 women religious that shocked leaders of the group. The move is to ensure their fidelity to Catholic teaching in areas including abortion, euthanasia, women's ordination and homosexuality. Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle will oversee revision of the LCWR's statutes, review of its liturgical practices and the creation of formation programs for the conference's member congregations.

Symposium on missal
BRONX, N.Y. — The language used in the new translation of the Mass has evoked a variety of responses, from highly enthusiastic to deeply distressed, and can be seen as both a gift and a challenge, according to speakers at a symposium April 16 at Jesuit-run Fordham University. The program, "Letting Us Pray: A Symposium on Language in Liturgy," explored the intricacies of the new English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, in use in parishes since last November.

Bishop wants aid to Cuba
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The relaxation of some travel restrictions to Cuba last year has already had positive effects, but the U.S. needs to go all the way and lift its economic embargo, according to the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace. Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the committee, said in an April 17 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the modified policies "have given but a taste of what truly should happen for the sake of the people of both countries.

Santa Rosa "shut down"
SANTA ROSA — If the Diocese of Santa Rosa is required to cooperate with the Obama administration's mandate requiring most religious employers to provide no-cost contraceptive coverage, the diocese won't, said Bishop Robert F. Vasa. "If they shut me down, they shut me down," the bishop said March 30 following a speech on Catholic health care at a three-day conference on Catholic health care reform hosted by Life Legal Defense Foundation and the Christus Medicus Foundation.

Ballot fails in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Anchorage residents rejected a ballot initiative April 3 that sought to add "sexual orientation" and "transgender identity" to the list of protected legal classes in the city code. With nearly 98 percent of votes counted, the measure was failing 58 percent to 42 percent. More than 54,000 residents voted on the April 3 ballot — far more than city officials had expected.

Irish reject bill
DUBLIN — Ireland's parliament rejected legislation that would have allowed a controversial 1992 Supreme Court ruling permitting abortion in limited circumstances to take effect. The Socialist Party motion was defeated 111-20 April 19. Following the 1992 court ruling — known as the X-case — abortion has been legal in circumstances where there is a substantial risk to the life of the mother. However, successive governments have not enacted legislation to give effect to the ruling, and voters have rejected abortion legislation in a national referendum.


If The Vatican authenticates that the 1997 healing of a San Francisco man diagnosed with incurable gastric cancer came through the intercession of Father Franz Stock, a German Army chaplain to Paris prisoners of the Nazis, the Catholic Church will beatify the priest. His sainthood cause was officially opened a few years ago.

Educators meet
Karen Ristau, president of the National Catholic Educational Association, delivers remarks during the opening of the NCEA's annual convention in Boston April 11. The three-day event drew about 10,000 professionals to more than 400 professional development sessions, departmental meetings, liturgies and the special events hosted by the Archdiocese of Boston. Main topic: The challenges to keep schools open, thriving.

Saint effort
Father Felix Varela is depicted in a painting from the Felix Varela Foundation of New York. The Cuban-born priest, known as a promoter of human rights, freedom for slaves and independence for Cuba from Spain, immigrated to the United States in 1823. He founded Transfiguration Church in New York and served as vicar general of the Archdiocese of New York. The Cuban bishops initiated his cause for sainthood in the 1980s.

National Catholic Prayer Breakfast
Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle,
R-N.Y., and Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., join in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during the eighth annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington April 19. Catholics in public office, church officials, religious and members of the Knights of Columbus were among the 800 in attendance at the breakfast. The issue of religious liberty took center stage.
CNS photo/
Nancy Phelan Wiechec


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