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THE DIOCESE placeholder News briefs from the Oakland Diocese
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U.S. BISHOPS placeholder News briefs from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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placeholder  January 21, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA

Jan. 22: 9 a.m., 2013 Bishop's Appeal Regional Training, St. Philip Neri Parish, Alameda

      2 p.m., 2013 Bishop's Appeal Regional Training, St. Joachim Parish, Hayward

Jan. 23: 9 a.m., 2013 Bishop's Appeal Regional Training, Church of the Good Shepherd Parish, Pittsburg

      2 p.m., 2013 Bishop's Appeal Regional Training at St. Callistus Parish, El Sobrante

Jan. 24: 10 a.m., Bishop's Administrative Council

      2 p.m., 2013 Bishop's Appeal Regional Training at St. Anne Parish, Walnut Creek

Jan. 25: 9:30 a.m., LEMC Convocation, St. Joan of Arc Parish, San Ramon

      1:30 p.m., College of Consultors

Jan. 26: Walk for Life Mass/Rally/Walk in San Francisco

Jan. 27: 10 a.m., Mass, St. Stephen Parish, Walnut Creek

Jan. 31: 8 a.m., Mass, Salesian High School, Richmond

Feb. 1: 7 p.m., Pan de Vida Mass, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Brentwood

Feb. 2: 11 a.m., Adult Confirmation, Cathedral of Christ the Lighte

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Celebration of Scouting

The diocesan Catholic Scout Committee invites all girls and boys and their families in scout programs and scout leaders to the annual Celebration of Scouting on Feb. 2. Scouts are invited to arrive by 2 p.m. to join the procession into the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland. This prayer service honors all scouts and their leaders and includes the presentation of scout religious awards. Scouts and leaders should come dressed in uniform. For more information, www.oakdiocesescouts.org.

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Lux Gloriosa Feb. 6-8

Come and celebrate the fifth anniversary of the dedication of the cathedral at Lux Gloriosa (Glorious Light), during three evenings of prayer, art and music at The Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland.

Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m., Evening Prayer led by Archbishop Alex J. Brunett with the Cathedral Choir and Schola Cantorum. A complimentary reception will follow the event. Admission: free will offering. All liturgical musicians are strongly encouraged to attend and receive a special blessing at this celebration.

Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m., The Cathedral's Christ in Majesty image: Barbara Mitchell, Renaissance art historian, will give a presentation on the Christ in Majesty window. Mitchell has given lectures on religion and art at many parishes in the diocese, and has been a docent at the Cathedral since 2008. A complimentary reception will follow the event. Admission: free will offering.

Feb. 8, 8 p.m., Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Concert, under the leadership of Artistic Director Terrance Kelly, performs traditional and contemporary gospel music and spirituals. Musicians from parishes throughout the diocese will participate in this event. A complimentary reception will follow the concert. Admission: $20 in advance; $25 at door (children under 12 free). Tickets available at www.ctlcathedral.org.

For more information, contact Denise Kogler at 510-271-1935 or dkogler@ctlcathedral.org.

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Worry over contributions

WASHINGTON — As Congress and the White House continue to scramble to find new sources of revenue to go with budget cuts to achieve deficit reductions, one tempting source for creating revenue is a ceiling on tax deductions. Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, predicts that if tax deductions are capped, "there will be a definite decrease in the philanthropy that charities will see." Leaders of charitable organizations flew en masse to Washington Dec. 4-5 to lobby members of Congress and White House staffers to leave charitable contributions alone during the "fiscal cliff" talks, which resulted in tax increases. Now, Congress and the president will go through several more rounds trying to resolve the nation's debt woes, and charitable donations will remain in the cross-hairs. "The majority of the gifts that come to Catholic Charities organizations — and I think last year we had almost $900 million in charitable giving — they are $1,000, $2,000, $5,000 gifts," Father Snyder said. "The notion that foundations are the sole contributors to the public good is just not true. Online is a tremendous enabler of that fact," Mari Kuraishi, co-founder and president of the GlobalGiving Foundation.

Altering tax deductions isn't the only threat to charitable giving. "Reducing personal consumption is going to reduce giving. More than capping (deductions on) giving, raising taxes will also reduce giving," said Robert Grimm, director of the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. Government cuts will also play into the equation: "Government is the biggest funder of nonprofits," Grimm noted, and "the weak economy" has been at work in giving, since "nonprofits are very reliant on earned revenue."

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Pope Benedict XVI baptizes baby
Pope Benedict XVI baptizes a baby during a Mass in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Jan. 13. The pope baptized 20 babies as he celebrated the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The pontiff told parents that baptism would bring their child into a "personal relationship with Jesus" that would give their lives meaning.
L'Osservatore Romano/cns

Italy picking on Vatican

VATICAN CITY — The Swiss finance lawyer hired to monitor the legality and transparency of Vatican financial activity said the Italian central bank's concerns about the Vatican's vulnerability to money laundering are not shared by other European countries or international agencies. Citing a supposed lack of Vatican controls to prevent money laundering, the Bank of Italy denied a request by Deutsche Bank Italia to continue providing credit and debit card services in Vatican City State. Because of the decision, the Vatican Museums, supermarket and other entities have been unable to accept credit- or debit-card payments since Jan. 1. "I'm truly surprised by the measures taken by the Bank of Italy. No other country in the world has adopted similar measures," said Rene Brulhart, the 40-year-old director of the Vatican's Financial Information Authority. "Moneyval" — the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism — issued its evaluation of the Vatican's financial and banking laws in July and said the Vatican met nine of its 16 "key and core" recommendations to prevent finance-related crimes.

Politics bound to fail

ROME — Politicians who want to act as if God did not exist and as if there was no such thing as objective moral truths are bound to fail in their efforts to promote the common good, said the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "The politics we have today in Europe and North America without ethical foundations, without a reference to God, cannot resolve our problems, even those of the market and money," said Archbishop Gerhard L. Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Name-calling 'unacceptable'

VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church remains committed to deepening its relations with Jews and finds it "absolutely unacceptable" to consider the Jewish people as enemies, the Vatican spokesman said. "It is absolutely unacceptable, impossible, to define the Jews as enemies of the church," Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said. In an audio recording posted on YouTube Dec. 30, the head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X called the Jewish people "enemies of the church," saying Jewish leaders' support of the Second Vatican Council "shows that Vatican II is their thing, not the church's."

"Ad limina" visits

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican announced that after more than seven years in office, Pope Benedict XVI had hosted the formal visits of bishops from every country in the world and would begin the cycle all over again by meeting the heads of Italy's 227 dioceses in 2013. The only problem is the Vatican overlooked the bishops of the Netherlands who made their last visits "ad limina apostolorum" ("to the threshold of the apostles") with Blessed John Paul II in 2004. They expect to make their visits either late this year or early in 2014. Also missing from the list are visits of the bishops of communist-controlled mainland China, but that is because government restrictions prevent them from making the visits. The Code of Canon Law calls for the heads of every diocese in the world to make their "ad limina" visits every five years, but there are now almost 2,900 dioceses in the world and the 85-year-old pope also has other obligations as well.

Help those in need

VATICAN CITY — In a message for the 2013 World Day of the Sick, Pope Benedict XVI called on everyone to be a good Samaritan and concretely help those in need. Thanking those who care for the sick and elderly, the pope underlined the church's fundamental role in "lovingly and generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick." The World Day of the Sick is celebrated annually Feb. 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Pope visits diplomats

VATICAN CITY— Deploring war, civil conflict and poverty around the world, Pope Benedict XVI told foreign ambassadors assembled at the Vatican that peace-building requires charity, religious liberty, a proper understanding of human rights and openness to divine love. Pope Benedict made his remarks Jan. 7 in his annual address to members of the Vatican's diplomatic corps, presenting a survey of global troubles including "endless slaughter" in civil war-torn Syria, terrorist attacks on Christians in Nigeria and the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast of the United States. He also warned about the international spread of legalized abortion and growing inequality between rich and poor.

— Catholic News Service

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