February 4, 2013 • VOL. 51, NO. 3 • Oakland, CA
HHS suits 'premature'
TV exec takes over
Rev. Dario Edoardo Vigano, an expert in cinema and communications, has been named by Pope Benedict XVI to head the Vatican's television production center, CTV. He will replace Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi as director of CTV, while the Jesuit remains general director of Vatican Radio and head of the Vatican press office.
WASHINGTON — An uprising by Africans on a slave ship off the Cuba coast 174 years ago has given inspiration to a new program in the expanding campaign to end human trafficking. Called "The Amistad Movement," the program within the U.S. bishops' Migration and Refugee Services will train immigrant communities in the basics of modern day slavery in the hope that they will be the eyes and ears of their communities in identifying trafficked people. The program is grounded in the Catholic principle of accompaniment with the oppressed, explained Lauren Rymer, education and outreach specialist in the Anti-Trafficking Services Program of MRS within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Model aiding schools
PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett visited a Philadelphia Catholic grade school Jan. 18 and lauded a new educational model for Catholic schools in the city. Independence Mission Schools, a management organization for 16 independent Catholic elementary schools located in mostly poor city neighborhoods, brought together financial support from business leaders plus expertise in school governance and accountability.
NY closing schools
NEW YORK — This June, the New York Archdiocese will close two high schools and 22 out of 26 elementary schools labeled "at risk." Last November, the archdiocese announced that 26 of its Catholic elementary schools might close, but officials have since determined that four of the schools — that submitted proposals with viable long-term plans — will remain open. The archdiocese is postponing decisions about two additional schools on Staten Island so it can evaluate the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the region.
LOS ANGELES — As the Archdiocese of Los Angeles released church records on clergy sexual abuse, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony again apologized to abuse victims, saying he was naive about its impact on their lives. The cardinal, who retired as archbishop of Los Angeles in 2011, also said in a statement Jan. 21 that he prays for victims of abuse by priests daily as he celebrates Mass in his private chapel.
SALT LAKE CITY — To evangelize in today's world, Catholics "need to recover their sense of ardor for Jesus risen from the dead," a Chicago priest told attendees at the national Cathedral Ministry Conference in Salt Lake City. Father Robert Barron, a Chicago archdiocesan priest long involved in media ministry, also told his listeners that Catholics must use new methods to reach out, but he added that "the new evangelization is the same as the old evangelization in many ways, because evangelization is always about declaring the words of Jesus."
Progress toward unity
CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. — Despite disappointing setbacks in ecumenical dialogue, there is incremental progress toward Christian unity, according to Father Timothy MacDonald, vicar general of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. "It's disconcerting in some ways," he said in remarks Jan. 23 at one of the series of events to mark the 2013 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. "We've made progress in some ecumenical areas we've committed ourselves to, but in others, we haven't moved much further ahead. When it comes down to actually knowing one another and praying for one another's congregations, that's harder to come by," he said.
NEW ORLEANS — The numbers are astounding, and at first glance, seem almost incredible. Across the world, there are between 100,000 and 250,000 children who are victims of sex trafficking, said Laura J. Lederer, president and founder of the Washington-based Global Centurion Foundation, which seeks to target trafficking by focusing on demand. But the perception that the practice of selling girls for sex is restricted to Asia, Eastern Europe or Africa belies the overwhelming problem in the United States, which annually is highlighted by the spike in organized sex trafficking at major sporting events such as the Super Bowl, said Lederer.
Education sways decision
WASHINGTON — Catholic education in high school and college is a significant factor for men and women choosing to enter a religious order, according to an annual survey of sisters and brothers who recently professed final vows. The survey also found an increase in the number of Asians, particularly Vietnamese, choosing religious life in the U.S. The report, "New Sisters and Brothers Professing Perpetual Vows in Religious Life" is based on a survey conducted by the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate and commissioned by the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
Family man killed
NEDERLAND, Texas — A former parishioner of a Catholic parish in Nederland, Victor Lovelady, was one of the three American civilians killed at the Ain Amenas gas plant in Algeria during a four-day siege by al-Qaida. At a news conference early Jan. 22, Lovelady's daughter, Erin, described her father as the ultimate family man. She recalled her father spending every weekend supporting her and her brother, Grant, in sports while they were at Nederland High School.
Women's safety sought
THRISSUR, India — In the wake of the national outcry over the gang rape and death of a paramedical student and reports of rapes from across the country, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India has called for "comprehensive laws and effective measures to ensure the security and safety of women."
Vatican II confusion
ROME — A 91-year-old Jesuit who served as an expert at the Second Vatican Council said, "I'm just beginning to understand the depth and breadth of the council" and its teachings. Jesuit Father Ladislas Orsy, a visiting professor at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, told an audience in Rome Jan. 24 that while every ecumenical council in church history led to debate — and sometimes even schism — it always has taken more than 50 years for a council's teachings and reforms to take root in the Christian community.
Priest's actions regrettable
DUBLIN — The head of the Redemptorist fathers in Rome said he deeply regrets the actions of an Irish member of the order who accused the Vatican of subjecting him to "frightening procedures reminiscent of the Inquisition." Redemptorist Father Michael Brehl, the order's superior general, also confirmed in a statement that Father Tony Flannery, 66, is under Vatican investigation for alleged ambiguities "regarding fundamental areas of Catholic doctrine, including the priesthood, the nature of the church and the Eucharist." Father Flannery told a Dublin news conference Jan. 20 that he was "threatened with excommunication from the Catholic Church for suggesting that, in the future, women might become priests and calling for this and other matters to be open for discussion."
Cardinal Glemp dies
Cardinal Jozef Glemp of Warsaw, who served as primate of the Catholic Church in Poland during the final years of communism and during the restoration of democracy, died Jan. 23 at the age of 83. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski praised the cardinal for his later role in "building a free and democratic Poland" and said his own family had benefited from the cardinal's aid committee for imprisoned opposition members.
Procession after fire
SAO PAULO — A Catholic samba group in Rio de Janeiro changed its parade plans after the nightclub fire that killed more than 230 people, most of them students from the local university in Santa Maria. The Catholic samba block group known as Revelry for Christ was scheduled to parade through downtown Rio Jan. 27. Instead, the group turned its parade into a religious procession, with approximately 30,000 would-be party-goers singing Catholic hymns and making their way to Rio's metropolitan cathedral, where Archbishop Orani Tempesta celebrated Mass.
— Catholic News Service
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