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June 24, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Cardinal Tagle in Rome
"We've been waiting a long time," Capuchin Father Gianfranco Palmisani told Philippine Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, who showed up a few minutes late to officially take possession of his "titular" church on the Eastern outskirts of Rome. But Father Palmisani, the pastor of St. Felice da Cantalice, was not talking about the brief traffic-related delay in beginning Mass June 15, but to the fact that it took almost seven months for the Philippine cardinal to seal his bond with the parish. Cardinal Tagle received his red hat and honorary assignment to St. Felice in November, but the ceremony of taking possession of his titular church was delayed by the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the conclave and the election of Pope Francis. The Manila cardinal, who will be 56 June 21, is the second youngest member of the College of Cardinals and doesn't look his age.
Massimiliano Migliorato/
cns Catholic Press

Mother Dolores Hart
Benedictine Mother Dolores Hart left, pictured in one of her early publicity photos, at right, was a young starlet whose acting career was gaining momentum when she left it all behind at age 25 to join the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn., where today she serves as its prioress. She appeared in films alongside Elvis Presley, Stephen Boyd, Montgomery Clift and others between 1957 and 1963. Her autobiography, "The Ear of the Heart: An Actress' Journey From Hollywood to Holy Vows," co-written with Richard DeNeut, was released in May.
Nancy Phelan Wiechec/cns
Courtesy of
Ignatius Press/cns

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Fernando Isern as head of the Diocese of Pueblo, Colo., citing the canon law provision for ill health or another serious reason. In a June 13 statement, the bishop said he has had health concerns for some time "that have made it increasingly difficult" for him to remain in office. "Out of love for the church and for the people I have served here, I have discerned it is best for me to step down."

Gov. Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci, 65, who served as ambassador to Canada during 9/11, a Catholic, died June 8 after a five-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease. A Republican, Cellucci was the last native of Massachusetts to serve as governor of the state. He held the distinction of never having lost an election in more than three decades in public office in the overwhelmingly Democratic state.

Bishop Sullivan
Retired Auxiliary Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan of Brooklyn, N.Y., whose work on behalf of the poor for Catholic Charities in Brooklyn and Queens earned him national recognition, died June 7 as a result of injuries he suffered in a May 30 car accident. He was 83. A native of Brooklyn, Bishop Sullivan lived, studied and worked his entire life in and nearby his hometown, serving in many positions that allowed him to use his training in social work and his commitment to Catholic health care.

Online-safety website
WASHINGTON — Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox in the United States have collaborated on a new website to instruct Web users, primarily parents, on how youths can navigate the online world, taking advantage of its promise while steering away from its pitfalls. The site, www.faithandsafety.org, was activated in the middle of June, which is Internet Safety Month.

Tactics hurting CCHD
WASHINGTON — The Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the U.S. bishops' domestic anti-poverty arm, should "resist efforts" that isolate Catholic-funded organizations from effective coalitions that are improving the lives of low-income citizens," according to a new report examining threats to CCHD's funding. The report also assailed what were called, in the words of the head of one CCHD-funded group that had its grant pulled, the "witch hunt" tactics by CCHD's opponents. The report accuses such groups as the American Life League and the Reform CCHD Now Coalition of "creating a culture of fear around community organizing."

Serra suit dismissed
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Chicago circuit judge has dismissed a lawsuit by Serra International against Serra's USA Council to pave the way for bishops to help settle the dispute. But the more than two years of internal strife in the vocations organization has caused at least one former U.S. Serra Club to strike out on its own. The lawsuit was filed in 2011, after Serra International's board of trustees voted to dissolve the USA Council, citing the need to cut costs, and the latter refused to comply. After nearly two years of legal wrangling, the USA Council was on the verge of breaking off from Serra International and forming an independent vocations organization. In an effort to end the stalemate, Serra International president Tomi Asenuga visited U.S. Serra leaders last September. With the encouragement of Serra's episcopal advisers — Bishop Peter F. Christensen of Superior, Wis., for the U.S. council and Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago for the international group — the two sides agreed to work on coming to an agreement out of court.

Administration drops fight
WASHINGTON — U.S. Catholic officials expressed disappointment with the June 10 announcement that the federal government will comply with a judge's ruling to allow girls of any age to buy the morning-after pill without a prescription. The decision reversed a recent course of action by the federal government. On May 1, the Justice Department announced that it would appeal a ruling by a federal judge in early April that said the Food and Drug Administration must make emergency contraceptives available to all ages by May 6.

Religious liberty concerns
CINCINNATI — A Cincinnati archdiocesan official called it an "exciting breakthrough" that mainline Protestant churches in Ohio have joined with the Catholic Church in objecting to the federal contraceptive mandate based on religious freedom concerns. The Ohio Council of Churches, which represents 18 denominations, adopted a statement May 29 saying that with the mandate of the Affordable Care Act, the government is defining what constitutes a religious belief and who has a right to that belief.

Opposition urged
OXFORD, England — A French Catholic campaigner urged church leaders not to give up opposition to same-sex marriage, despite the spread of laws allowing the practice across Europe. "The message from France is the campaign isn't over — these laws rely on a big lie, and no lie can survive," said Antoine Renard, president of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe.

Teach all 'who Christ is'
CHICAGO — The Chicago Archdiocese's new "To Teach Who Christ Is" campaign is "well named" because it describes exactly the mission of the Catholic Church, said Cardinal Francis E. George. It's "what we do — we teach the world who Christ is," he said. The three-year campaign will raise $350 million for Catholic education and faith formation. The funds will support archdiocesan Catholic schools, religious education for children and teens, adult faith formation and capital needs for parishes and schools.

Generation lost to war
WASHINGTON — Congo is losing a generation to war over diamonds and other minerals in the country's eastern regions, said the president of the nation's bishops' conference. "We are losing a generation. That's true," Bishop Nicolas Djomo Lola of Tshumbe, Congo, told Catholic News Service June 4.

Philly parishes merge
PHILADELPHIA — Twenty-four parishes will merge into 10 as a result of the latest wave of parish consolidations in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's parish planning initiative. The mergers, in which the parishes will form new, consolidated parishes with some of the churches becoming worship sites, follows an earlier wave of mergers, involving two parishes that will become one and one of those churches becomes a worship site. A total of 29 parishes in the archdiocese have been affected by consolidations.

Migrant advocate flees
MEXICO CITY — An advocate for undocumented migrants has left a Catholic-run shelter in southern Mexico after receiving death threats, a statement from a coalition of nine Catholic and human rights organizations said. Staff at the shelter, La 72, in Tabasco state reported receiving death threats June 8 in a call advising an activist, Ruben Figueroa of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, to stop impeding the activities of organized criminal groups.

Leader meets pope
ROME — Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury said his private conversation with Pope Francis was "very personal," with the new leaders of the Catholic Church and of the Anglican Communion discussing how their positions have influenced their prayer lives. The new spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion traveled to Rome June 14 for his first meeting with the new pope; they both were installed in March.

—Catholic News Service


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