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Catholic Voice

September 23, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Los Angeles procession
People walk with a statue of Mary from La Placita Church to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles Sept. 14 during the third annual Marian procession marking the birthday of the city of Los Angeles. In the fall of 1781, a group of about four dozen settlers from Sonora and Sinaloa set up a pueblo near a river they called Rio de Porcincula. They named the settlement El Pueblo de la Reina de los Angeles.
Victor Aleman, Vida Nueva/cns

Renovated cathedral
in Florida

Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, rejoices at the conclusion of the dedication of the newly renovated Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg Sept. 12. The cathedral, which serves a burgeoning five-county diocese in west central Florida, was originally constructed as a parish church in 1963. Major renovations to the building — at a cost of nearly $9 million — included increased space for seating and ambulatory areas as well as new climate control, fire sprinklers, furnishings and fixtures, lighting and audio-visual systems.
Ed Foster Jr./cns

Beatification ceremony
Members of the clergy stand below a large portrait during the beatification ceremony Sept. 14 for Father Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero in the village of Cura Brochero, Argentina, which was named after him. Father Brochero, who was known as the "cowboy priest," lived from 1840 to 1914, and became the eighth Argentine to be beatified by the Catholic Church. He was well known for his aid to the sick and dying, particularly in the cholera epidemic of 1867 that devastated the city of Cordoba.
Ed Foster Jr./cns

Bankruptcy considered

WASHINGTON — In his role with U.S. bishops' committees over the years, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton has frequently urged members of Congress not to cut programs that help the poor. Now, the bishop, who has led the Diocese of Stockton since 1999, is speaking closer to home about how his diocese — while facing financial burdens — must continue its ministries and its outreach to the local poor.

Likewise, when Bishop James S. Wall became the bishop of the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, in 2009, he knew there were festering issues regarding allegations of priest sex abuse, but not to the extent that has brought the sprawling southwestern diocese to the doors of U.S. Bankruptcy Court. At Masses throughout the diocese Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, shocked parishioners were pre-emptively read a letter from Bishop Wall that in the face of insurmountable lawsuits the diocese intends to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Bishop Wall set no date for the court filing in his letter.

Bishop Blaire, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, detailed the financial situation of the diocese in two recent letters to Catholics in the diocese that were read during weekend Masses at 35 parishes and 14 mission churches. The most recent letter, read during the Sept. 7-8 weekend Masses, announced the diocese's plans to consider filing for bankruptcy. The diocese has been paying for multiple clergy sexual abuse lawsuit payments and is running out of funds for future settlements. By 2010, it had settled 22 sex abuse lawsuits at a cost of $18.7 million. Currently, the diocese is making payments on three sexual abuse lawsuits and has one suit pending.

Seven other U.S. dioceses have filed for bankruptcy protection in the aftermath of sexual abuse lawsuits. "While some of the claims relate to times when the diocese had some insurance, many relate to times when the diocese does not appear to have had insurance or the insurance is limited and not likely to cover the damages for which the diocese might be found liable," Bishop Wall wrote. "Given the financial circumstances of the diocese, I have come to the conclusion that the only fair, equitable and merciful way to balance these obligations is by filing a Chapter 11 reorganization."



Leaders ask for prayers

WASHINGTON — Religious leaders and public officials offered prayers for the victims and their families after the Sept. 16 shootings at the Washington Navy Yard that left at least 12 dead. Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl and Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who heads the Washington-based Archdiocese for the Military Services, both issued statements offering prayers for the victims and their families.



Pastor sentenced

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Kansas City pastor was sentenced Sept. 12 to 50 years in federal prison on child pornography charges. In August 2012, Father Shawn Ratigan pleaded guilty to five counts of producing or attempting to produce child pornography. He received 10 years for each count and will serve his time in the Clay County Detention Center. After the priest entered his guilty plea last year, the diocese filed a petition with the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he be laicized.



Prayers for flood victims

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As much of the rest of Colorado scrambled to stay out of the path of raging floodwaters, residents of beleaguered Manitou Springs and other small mountain towns along the Highway 24 corridor gave thanks that, for now anyway, they were out of harm's way. Heavy rains fell across much of Colorado's Front Range for several days, and more rain — from 6 to 10 inches— was expected.



Dangerous words

WASHINGTON — In the United States, hearing the words "it's a girl," is a cause for enormous joy and celebration for most, said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. "Today, the three most dangerous words in China and India are: It's a girl," Smith told a congressional hearing Sept. 10. Smith, the father of two boys and two girls, addressed the issues of sex-selective abortion, lopsided gender ratios, and malnutrition among young females in India during a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Heath, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.



Candidate remembered

WASHINGTON — As the sainthood cause for a Vietnam War chaplain gathers momentum, the priest was remembered at a Sept. 4 memorial Mass as a man "completely dedicated to the spiritual care of his Marines." Father Vincent Capodanno, who died in Vietnam Sept. 4, 1967, was one of the "great priest chaplains," said Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services in his homily at the Mass, celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.



St. Patrick's restoration

NEW YORK — Tall metal scaffolding not only fills but surrounds New York's famed St. Patrick's Cathedral. What looks to the uninitiated like a zealous cleaning job is actually a painstaking $177 million restoration. If all goes according to plan, worshippers should appreciate how magnificent the iconic church looks when the work is finished without identifying anything that is truly different or out of place. "By and large, we're fixing things that most people won't notice," said Jeffrey Murphy, a partner in Murphy Burnham and Buttrick Architects, the firm in charge of the restoration.



Letter on immigration

WASHINGTON — After a gut-wrenching visit with young children in the El Paso, Texas, area who are in immigration detention, the bishops of the border region of Texas and Mexico have decided to write a joint pastoral letter on how families are harmed by the current immigration system.



Protect religious minorities

WASHINGTON — The world's Islamic leaders must hear stories about the persecution of religious minorities in majority Muslim countries so that such incidents are not overlooked as people "bury their own heads in the sand," said the president of the Islamic Society of North America. Speaking Sept. 1 at a session during the society's 50th annual convention, Mohamed Magid said the rights of members of religious minorities must be protected around the world, much like the rights of Muslims are protected in Western nations.



Dominican investigation

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — The Dominican Republic's top prosecutor said Sept. 4 that he plans to investigate claims of sexual abuse allegedly committed by the apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic, just a day after the Vatican confirmed its own investigation into the allegations. Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, appointed as nuncio in 2008, was removed from the post Aug. 21. A Dominican bishop confirmed in early September that the dismissal was due to the sexual abuse scandal unfolding in the Caribbean country.



Priest injured

ZANZIBAR, Tanzania — A priest was hospitalized on the island of Zanzibar after acid was thrown at him, police said. The Sept. 13 attack left Father Joseph Mwaganbwa with injuries to his face, chest, thighs and legs, the Associate Press reported. The attack occurred in a crowded part of Stone Town after Father Mwaganbwa left an Internet cafe, police said. It is the fifth such incident since November.



German 'transparency'

OXFORD, England — Germany's Limburg Diocese pledged "dialogue and transparency" after a former Vatican nuncio was sent to defuse complaints of extravagance against Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo continued meeting with Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, cathedral staff, local clergy and religious order representatives Sept. 13. A diocesan spokesman, Stephan Schnelle, acknowledged that media reports about the prelate's first-class flights and his luxuriously appointed new residence "has led to difficulties among priests and people here. The bishop is aware of their concerns and wants to be in dialogue.

— Catholic News Service

 

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