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 October 1, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Lumen Christi winners
Felician Sisters Mary Jacqueline Benbenek, Mary Susanne Dziedzic and Mary Johnna Ciezobka pose for a photo in late August. The Kingstree, South Carolina, women religious are the 2012 Lumen Christi ("Light of Christ") Award winners from Catholic Extension. The annual award is given to a priest, religious or layperson who demonstrates how the power of faith can transform lives and communities. The sisters were honored for the ministries they provide alongside a group of dedicated volunteers at the Felician Center, including an after-school program, emergency food pantry, monthly meals for people in need and a clothes closet.
Catholic Extension/cns

Three bishops

Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley of Denver, 57, will succeed Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz, 77, as bishop of Lincoln, Neb. The appointment and resignation were announced Sept. 14 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States. Bishop Conley says his mission is: "to help all people to encounter Jesus Christ, and to become holy, as God in heaven is holy."

Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, 61, was named by Pope Benedict XVI on Sept. 21 to be bishop of Orange and the pope accepted the resignation of Bishop Tod D. Brown, 75. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said Bishop Vann "possesses the pastoral sensitivity and leadership skills to serve the faithful of the diocese ... well into the future."

Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Matthew H. Clark of Rochester, N.Y., 75, and named Bishop Robert J. Cunningham of Syracuse, apostolic administrator of the diocese until the appointment and installation of a new bishop there.

Charter anniversary
Kenneth Roberts leads the congregation in song during a Sept. 15 Mass at Holy Family Church in Chicago to mark the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People."
Karen Ca llaway/cns

Health care among issues

WASHINGTON — There are few issues in the 2012 presidential campaign on which the major candidates have more clearly differentiated opinions than health care. Much of President Barack Obama's stand on health care is built on provisions of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, has said should be repealed. In a survey earlier this year by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 74 percent of registered voters and 72 percent of Catholic voters named health care as an issue that was very important to their voting decision. Both groups placed a higher priority, however, on the economy, jobs and the federal budget deficit as issues influencing their vote.

Voters on marriage

WASHINGTON — This November, voters in a handful of states across the country will decide if state law should uphold traditional marriage or allow same-sex marriage. Four states — Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota — have ballot initiatives on the issue. Supporters are hoping for victory in those states, saying it could be the start of a new momentum for legalizing same-sex marriage — which in previous years has lost more than 30 ballot initiatives. The U.S. Catholic bishops, in their document "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" — which outlines church teaching on contemporary issues for Catholic voters — states that "marriage must be defined, recognized, and protected as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, and as the source of the next generation and the protective haven for children."

Religious limits increase

WASHINGTON — The increase of restrictions on religion are up worldwide — and, for the first time, those restrictions increased markedly in the United States, according to a new Pew report. For the United States, it was the first time in the study's four-year history that both government restrictions and social hostility were up by at least one point on a scale of 0 to 10, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which issued the study Sept. 20. The United States was one of 16 countries with such large measurable increases in both criteria. The increases pushed the United States from a ranking of "low" to "moderate" in terms of restrictions on religion, according to the study, "Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion."

Benefits from pilgrimages

ROME — Prayers for peace and an end to terrorism and corruption in Nigeria filled Rome's Church of St. John the Baptist, as 50 Christian government officials and religious leaders visited the Eternal City in preparation for sending 30,000 Nigerians on pilgrimage. The Nigerian government gives financial aid to Christians visiting the Holy Land and New Testament sites in Greece and Rome, just as it pays for Muslims to make the "haj," or pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

— Catholic News Service

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