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placeholder January 7, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA

Jan. 10: 10 a.m., Bishop's Advisory Council meeting

Jan. 12: Visit the Holy Names Sisters at East Bay Mission Center

Jan. 13: 10 a.m., Stational Mass, Cathedral of Christ the Light

Jan. 17: 10 a.m., Bishop's Advisory Council meeting

Jan. 20: 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Mass at St. Columba Parish, Oakland

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Boost for military diocese
Father Carl Subler, a U.S. Army chaplain, celebrates Mass for soldiers at a forward operating base in Zabul province, Afghanistan, in this Dec. 12, 2009, photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense. The head of the Archdiocese for the Military Services is expecting greater financial stability and less pressure on the delivery of ministries and services once funds from a new national collection hit the books in 2013. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio said the collection, approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during the fall general assembly, is projected to raise at least $10 million when it is taken every three years in participating dioceses. The collection is likely to be taken near Veterans Day in November, beginning in 2013.
CNS/courtesy of U.S. Department of Defense


Focus on gun control

WASHINGTON — As momentum builds to implement new limits on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, the Catholic bishops of the United States remain focused on seeking "reasonable restrictions" on gun ownership without infringing upon Second Amendment rights. "The bishops continue to support measures that control the sale and use of firearms and continue to call for sensible regulations on handguns," Kathy Saile, the bishops' director of domestic social development, said. "In addition to that, we need to make a serious commitment to address the pervasive role that addiction and mental illness have in crime," she said in the wake of the horrendous events of Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children, six educators and the heavily armed gunman who attacked the school dead. Police identified the shooter as Adam Lanza, 20, who killed himself as first responders arrived on the scene. Before he arrived at the school, he shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza. If gun control measures are introduced in the new Congress, the bishops will discuss whether a public statement is appropriate and how active to become involved in the legislative process, Saile added. In a Dec. 21 statement on the shooting, the chairmen of three U.S. bishops' committees — domestic policy, communications, and marriage and family life — reiterated points from the bishops' 2000 statement on crime and criminal justice. In it they called for "measures that control the sale and use of firearms ... that make guns safer" and for "sensible regulations of handguns."

Shield charity deductions

WASHINGTON — Deductions for charitable giving, tax credits for working families and vital programs that serve poor and vulnerable people in the United States and abroad must be protected in any budget deal that reduces the country's $16 trillion deficit, the chairmen of two U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops committees told Congress. In a letter sent Dec. 14 to each member of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the bishops also called for a "circle of protection" around programs such as poverty-focused international assistance, affordable housing and community development, education, workforce development and emergency unemployment compensation.

Negotiate with Iran

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace called on the White House's national security adviser to pursue negotiations with Iran on its nuclear research to head off the possibility of war. Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, called for "bold steps" to be considered "to counter this unfortunate and continually rising ride of aggressive posturing between our own nation and Iran" in a letter dated Dec. 18 to Thomas E. Donilon.

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Vatican cleaning
Worker Emanuele Roncaccia rappels from above the baldacchino in St. Peter's Basilica in order to clean parts of the altar canopy Dec. 18 at the Vatican. The baldacchino is cleaned by Vatican workmen twice a year, typically before Christmas and Easter, using a mix of ancient and modern techniques. The workers are known as "sanpietrinos." Separately, in an effort to protect Michelangelo's famed frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums will be installing a new ventilation system to suck out the dust, dirt and humidity.
Paul Haring/CNS

Pope visits butler

VATICAN CITY — During a 15-minute meeting in the Vatican police barracks, Pope Benedict XVI visited with his former butler, Paolo Gabriele, and told him he was forgiven and was being pardoned. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said the pope had wanted "to confirm his forgiveness and to inform him personally of his acceptance of Mr. Gabriele's request for pardon."

Abuse investigator named

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has named a canon lawyer from the Archdiocese of Boston to be the new promoter of justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position that includes monitoring and investigating cases of priests accused of sex abuse. The Vatican announced the appointment Dec. 22 of Father Robert W. Oliver, an assistant to the moderator for canonical affairs of the Boston Archdiocese and a visiting professor of canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

Rules improve stewardship

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican's new internal financial oversight procedures recognize that human beings can make mistakes, but that the Catholic Church as a whole has an obligation to handle the money it receives with honesty and great care, said the head of the Vatican budget office, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, head of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

Pope Benedict XVI
Make room for God

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI urged people to think seriously about their faith at Christmas, and he urged them to recognize the connection between believing in God and helping others through acts of charity and by praying and working for peace. The birth of Jesus is a source of hope for the world, "a hope in which we can trust, even at the most difficult times and in the most difficult situations," the pope said Dec. 25 before giving his solemn blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world).

Trust God

VATICAN CITY — Mary's role in the birth and life of Jesus shows all Christians that the strength of faith lies in trusting God, even when his will is mysterious and life seems dark, Pope Benedict XVI said. "The power of God, in our lives as well, works with the often silent power of truth and love," the pope said Dec. 19 at his weekly general audience. Preparing for Christmas and continuing his Year of Faith series of audience talks, the pope focused on what Christians can learn about faith from Mary.

Iraqi cardinal retires

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of 85-year-old Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad and has called for a late January meeting of the Chaldean synod of bishops to elect a new patriarch for the Chaldean Catholic Church.

Spend wisely

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican obviously needs money to pay its personnel and coordinate worship, education, health care and charity around the world, but it also has a serious obligation to ensure it is using the donations it receives carefully and for the Lord's work, said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The cardinal, who as Vatican secretary of state is the pope's top aide, met Dec. 18 with the heads of Vatican congregations, councils and offices at the beginning of a workshop designed to familiarize them with new regulations of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

Pope Benedict XVI
Paul Paul VI

Pope Benedict XVI advanced the sainthood cause of Pope Paul VI, Giovanni Battista Montini, by recognizing the Italian pope as having lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way. He also recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of an Italian martyr who, with an estimated 800 other people, died at the hands of Ottoman invaders in the 15th century, and he recognized a miracle attributed to the first blessed to be born, live and die in Colombia, Blessed Mother Laura Montoya. They now can be declared saints. The pope also formally recognized the martyrdom of 33 victims of the Spanish Civil War and advanced the causes of 18 other men and women.

Pope expresses grief

VATICAN CITY — After 20 children and six adults were shot dead in Connecticut, Pope Benedict XVI offered his condolences and prayers, urging all to dedicate themselves to acts of peace in the face of such "senseless violence." After reciting the Angelus Dec. 17, the pope, speaking in English, said he was "deeply saddened" by the Dec. 14 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

— Catholic News Service

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