November 4, 2013 • VOL. 51, NO. 19 • Oakland, CA
Repeal death penalty
Tom Foley dies
Former House Speaker Tom Foley, a retired Democratic congressman from Washington state who served in Congress for 30 years, died Oct. 18 of complications from a stroke at age 84.
Foley had been in hospice care at home much of the year after suffering a stroke last December followed by pneumonia in May. He served as House speaker from 1989 until early 1995. He was the first sitting speaker since the Civil War to lose a re-election bid, which he did in November 1994 amid the "Republican revolution." Foley, a Catholic, had differed with American church leaders on some issues, most notably abortion.
Missal in Spanish
WASHINGTON — Anyone who's familiar with the arduous, years-long process of getting English-language liturgical texts into use might be a bit surprised to learn that there is no comparable system for single-source Spanish translations of missals and other liturgical books. In the United States, priests celebrating daily or weekly Mass, a wedding or other liturgy in Spanish have a choice of using texts of the second edition Misal Romano approved for use by any national bishops' conference. Unlike the system for English liturgical texts, no multinational entity oversees the translations from Latin — it's just between the individual nations' bishops' conferences and the Vatican. In the U.S., which has never adopted an official Spanish translation, it's a matter of the priest's — or perhaps the local bishop's — preference whether to use the Misal Romano of Mexico, Argentina, Spain or any other Vatican-authorized translation. That could change as soon as next fall, if the U.S. bishops accept recommended changes on the agenda of their Nov. 11-14 meeting in Baltimore.
Vet's faith deepened
DUNDALK, Md. — U.S. Army Air Force Cpl. Leo Wojciechowski had just unloaded bombs targeting the Blechhammer synthetic oil refinery on the Nazi-occupied Czech-Polish border when he felt his B-24 shudder. Anti-aircraft fire had struck the nose gunner's plane during the Aug. 7, 1944, mission, causing it to lose speed and altitude as gasoline flooded the rear of the compromised aircraft. Wojciechowski and the nine other crew members had only one option: jump. It was a fateful step that would ultimately lead to more than a year of harrowing experiences inside prisoner of war camps for Wojciechowski — and, ultimately, a deepening of his Catholic faith.
PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia archdiocesan task force appointed last March to analyze the viability of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary's college division has unanimously recommended that the division remain open, the seminary announced Oct. 22. The panel also called for a strategic plan to be implemented over the next three to five years to provide a vibrant, sustainable house of formation and education for future generations of seminary students.
Ethiopian Catholic Archbishop Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of Addis Ababa is pictured during his visit to Washington Oct. 24. The archbishop spoke to Catholic News Service about ongoing plans to finance and construct the first Catholic university in Ethiopia. The developing university currently offers social work and technology degrees in classrooms on rental property. The government has donated land for a campus in the capital city.
Christie won't fight
TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey's governor withdrew his appeal of a state judge's ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry, saying through a spokesman that he "strongly disagrees" with the court "substituting its judgment for the constitutional process ... or a vote of the people," but acknowledged such marriages are now "the law." Republican Gov. Chris Christie's Oct. 21 decision came hours after same-sex couples across New Jersey exchanged vows at midnight.
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The fact that Spanish-speaking and Latino Catholics are fast becoming a major segment — already about one-third — of the Catholic population in the U.S. wasn't lost on a range of Catholic Hispanic leadership gathered Oct. 17-20 for a regional encounter. "This growth is a blessing, but also it comes with a lot of challenges: We need to find a way to integrate the Hispanic community in fullness into the life of the church in the United States," said Gustavo Valdez, a director of Hispanic ministry for the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., which encompasses the entire state of South Carolina. "We see the problem that the Hispanic community is growing in its own way and the Anglo community is trying to maintain parishes in the U.S., but we may not have that communion of communities, and sometimes we are trying to assimilate each other," Valdez said. Valdez was among more than 150 leaders in Hispanic ministry who met in St. Augustine to share their pastoral and communications strategies — including many social media and Internet-based tools — and to take up the challenge to help step up the pace and effectiveness of Hispanic church leadership across the country.
MANCHESTER, England — The persecution of Christians around the world has intensified over the last 2½-years, according to a review of religious freedom in 30 countries. Not only are Christians in the Middle East and Africa suffering increasingly from Islamist terror attacks, but they continue to endure severe persecution and hardship in Communist, Marxist or post-Communist states, said a 192-page report by the United Kingdom branch of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
No out for mayors
OXFORD, England — French Catholics criticized a Constitutional Court judgment denying local officials the right to opt out of conducting same-sex marriages. Antoine Renard, president of France's National Federation of Catholic Family Associations, charged that the court was operating under political pressure in issuing its decision. "This ruling could have dramatic consequences for religious freedom both here and abroad," he said.
Missionaries in Mongolia
PERTH, Australia — When Bishop Wenceslao Padilla arrived in Mongolia with two other missionary priests in 1992, there were no Catholics in the Central Asian country. His mission was much like that of the early apostles: to take Catholicism to a land that had not yet encountered it. Twenty-one years later, there are more than 900 Catholics in Mongolia, 71 religious priests and sisters from 12 congregations, four Catholic parishes and a 600-seat cathedral in the capital, Ulan Bator.
— Catholic News Service
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