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 May 19, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 10   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Pope Francis mural
A woman takes a picture of a mural by French street artist Christian Guemy, also known as C215, which depicts Pope Francis giving the thumbs-up sign in a subway station in downtown Rome on May 9.
Max Rossi/
Reuters, cns

Compact books
for military

U.S. military chaplains around the world are receiving 100,000 copies of the new "Armed with the Faith" prayer books for Catholics in the armed forces. The pocket-sized booklets are described by the Archdiocese for the Military Services as "virtually indestructible, waterproof, flip-top prayer books, designed for use in the most rugged conditions, including hard battle." The book has more than 70 prayers, including some for specific occasions such as time of war, or for one's family.
Courtesy of the Archdiocese for the Military Services/cns

Students protest abductions
Students join a May 12 protest in Lagos, Nigeria, demanding the release of hundreds of abducted secondary schoolgirls in the remote village of Chibok in April. In a May 9 letter, Bishop Richard E. Pates, of Des Moines, Iowa, who chairs the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, urged U.S. assistance in promoting national security and social development in Nigeria.
Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters, cns

LCWR responds

WASHINGTON — The recent rebuke of the officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious by the head of the Vatican's doctrinal office should be viewed as one part of his entire remarks and one aspect of the group's visits and ongoing dialogue with Vatican officials, according to a statement by LCWR officers. In his April 30 meeting with LCWR officials, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, voiced "increasing concern" about the LCWR's promotion of the "concept of conscious evolution" in various publications and "directional statements" of some member congregations. He also criticized the group's plan to honor a Catholic theologian, St. Joseph Sister Elizabeth Johnson, whose work he said has been judged "seriously inadequate." The cardinal made the remarks in an address to the presidency of the LCWR, a Maryland-based umbrella group that claims about 1,500 leaders of U.S. women's communities as members, representing about 80 percent of the country's 57,000 women religious. The group is currently undergoing a major reform ordered by the Vatican in 2012.

Advice on closing churches

BALTIMORE — When considering the suppression of parishes or the closing of church buildings, bishops should hew closely to canon law not simply because it's a legal requirement of the church, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said, but because it helps foster unity. In a May 7 interview with the Catholic Review, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, the Vatican's highest court, said following proper procedures helps ensure legitimate decisions.

New board members

WASHINGTON — Three new members of the U.S. bishops' National Review Board, which monitors dioceses' performance in dealing with sexually abusive priests and creating a safe environment for children throughout the church, were appointed May 1 by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the bishops' conference. The new members are Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald J. Schmid of Granger, Indiana; Judge Mary K. Huffman of Centerville, Ohio; and Nelle Moriarty, a marriage and family therapist in Rochester, Minnesota. Their terms start in June.

Needs for Latino ministry

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Training of pastoral leaders and provision of most other resources for Hispanic ministry aren't keeping up with the fast-approaching time when Hispanics will make up the majority of Catholics in the United States, according to a new report. "Hispanic Catholics have reached critical mass in the church," said Hosffman Ospino, lead author of the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry. He said 55 percent of all U.S. Catholics under the age of 30 are Hispanic and Hispanics account for 71 percent of the growth in the U.S. Catholic population since 1960. Hispanics currently account for about 40 percent of all U.S. Catholics and their share of the population is continuing to increase. Nationwide, 4,358 parishes — almost one-quarter of the U.S. total — were identified as having some sort of organized ministry to Hispanics. The study cited many signs of vitality in parish Hispanic ministry — including youth, a strong permanent diaconate system and thriving apostolic movements. But other areas require urgent attention, it said.

Prayers OK at meetings

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled May 5 that prayers said before town council meetings in Greece, N.Y., do not violate the Constitution. In their 5-4 decision, the judges noted a historical precedent to opening local legislative meetings with a prayer and stressed that the predominantly Christian nature of the prayers in the New York town were not coercive to those in attendance.

Archbishop bans guns

ATLANTA — Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta pledged to restrict the presence of guns in Catholic institutions in response to a new Georgia law that would allow licensed gun owners to carry arms into schools, churches and other locales. Set to take effect July 1, the law was opposed by the Georgia Catholic Conference.

Crackdown on vandalism

JERUSALEM — The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem called a continuing wave of vandalism against Christian, Muslim and Druze properties a "blight on Israeli democracy" and urged authorities to step up prosecution against the perpetrators. Patriarch Fouad Twal said during a May 11 news conference in the northern city of Haifa that the attacks, which involve scrawling and spray painting racist and anti-Christian and anti-Muslim messages on buildings and holy sites, was particularly troublesome in light of Pope Francis' planned visit to the Holy Land May 24-26.

Deny Communion

ROME — Catholic politicians and judges who support laws in conflict with church teaching on abortion, euthanasia, marriage and related issues commit "sacrilege" and cause "grave scandal" if they receive Communion, said the U.S. cardinal who heads the Vatican's highest court. "The church's discipline, from the time of St. Paul, has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion," Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature and a former archbishop of St. Louis, said May 3.

Catholic News Service


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