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June 23, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Unaccompanied migrant children file out of room at U.S. government facility in south Texas.
cns photo
Scramble to care for migrants

WASHINGTON — As the federal government struggles to care for a huge influx of children caught trying to cross the border without a parent or guardian, dioceses and social service agencies where the minors are passing through are trying to provide assistance. A surge in such children being detained at the border — more than 48,000 since October, double the number apprehended in all of the 2012 fiscal year and up from only 6,000 in 2011 — has caught governmental and private agencies short of the resources needed to care for the children, explained participants in a June 10 teleconference. The vast majority of the unaccompanied children are from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, where crime and threats by drug cartels and gangs are rampant. The flood of youngsters has led to them being shipped across several states to temporary shelters set up in warehouses or other settings while the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for their care through its Office of Refugee Resettlement, makes longer-term arrangements. That can include turning the children over to the custody of parents or other relatives in the United States while the government pursues deportation.

CCHD leadership award
Bethany Welch poses for a photo at the St. Thomas Aquinas Center's community garden in Philadelphia June 6. Welch is this year's recipient of the Cardinal Joseph Bernardin New Leadership Award given by the U.S. bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Welch became a Catholic in 2005, but long before, she demonstrated a commitment to serving others and living out the Gospel.. Donec sed nunc in diam lacinia.
Sarah Webb, CatholicPhilly.com/cns

Baby Jesus dressed for World Cup
A Holy Child of Miracles statue in St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish in Mexico City is dressed in the national team colors for the World Cup. Parishioners ask for miracles and that Mexico advance deep into the soccer tournament.
David Agren/cns

Police arrest suspect in attack
PHOENIX — Police in Phoenix have arrested a suspect in the violent assault on a downtown church that took the life of one priest and left a second priest critically injured. According to an AP story, a man identified as Gary Michael Moran, 54, was being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, burglary and armed robbery, among others charges, police said June 16. The attack the night of June 11 left Father Kenneth Walker, 28, dead and Father Joseph Terra, 56, critically injured. Father Walker died of a gunshot wound at the hospital. AP said Father Terra was taken out of intensive care June 14 and is expected to make a full recovery. The attack stunned and saddened the Phoenix Diocese, parishioners and the community at large.

Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, center, is seen with Fathers Kenneth Walker, left, and Joseph Terra, right, in a recent photo.
courtesy of PhoenixLatinMass.com/cns

Any abuse offensive

ST. LOUIS — Archbishop Robert J. Carlson said June 13 he wanted to "set the record straight" and "respond to certain misconceptions" about a deposition he gave in a lawsuit involving alleged abuse by a Minnesota priest some 35 years ago. "Abuse of any kind is a serious moral offense and a crime," he said in a statement. Media outlets gave extensive coverage to a video clip of his deposition after the plaintiff's lawyer highlighted it at a June 9 news conference. Archdiocesan officials said the clip distorted Archbishop Carlson's testimony by taking his response to a question out of context, suggesting he "did not know that it was a criminal offense for an adult to molest a child. Nothing could be further from the truth."

False ads challenged

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court June 16 said the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life political advocacy group, can sue the state of Ohio over a law that bars false statements about candidates during election campaigns. The same day, the court declined to take up the challenge of a federal court ruling that said a public high school in Wisconsin should not be holding graduation ceremonies in a church. The actions came as the court's 2013 term comes to a close, likely by the end of June. Still pending was a ruling in a pair of cases brought by for-profit companies citing religious objections to provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require employers to provide coverage for contraceptives in employee health care plans.

Priests criticize official

SEATTLE — The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, in a letter to Pope Francis, criticized the head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for his recent comments chastising the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The Seattle-based association, which claims 1,000 U.S. priests as members, focused its letter to the pope on comments made by the congregation's prefect, German Cardinal Gerhard Muller, in an April 30 welcoming address to LCWR leadership. LCWR is 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.

3 auxiliaries named

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed three priests of the Archdiocese of New York to be auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese. They are Msgr. John Jenik, 70, pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Parish in the Bronx and vicar for Northwest Bronx; Father John O'Hara, 68, vicar for planning; and Father Peter Byrne, 62, pastor of St. Elizabeth Church in New York City.

Ecumenists find hope

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Supporters of a new method for promoting Christian unity hailed the election of Pope Francis as presenting new opportunities for the Catholic Church to do what they believe all Christians must do: honestly face their internal problems, grow in fidelity to Christ and ask what their ecumenical partners can teach them. The third International Receptive Ecumenism conference drew about 150 church leaders, ministers and theologians June 9-12 at Fairfield University.

First basilica in Kansas

VICTORIA, Kan. — The naming of St. Fidelis Church as a minor basilica links it to Rome's four historic churches and helps the faithful come in contact with the divine, Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger of Salina told nearly 900 worshippers at a Mass celebrating the church's new status. Having a minor basilica, the first in Kansas, demonstrates "how badly our world today needs such places that we might once again come into contact with our God," he said during the June 7 liturgy.

Some fees eliminated

WASHINGTON — Couples seeking a marriage annulment in the Diocese of Cleveland no longer have to pay a fee for the service. Under a plan announced by Bishop Richard G. Lennon June 4, all fees in annulment cases were eliminated. Cases already filed as well as marriage dispensations and marriage permissions also are covered by the policy change. Bishop Lennon said in a press release that he hoped the change will encourage men and women in irregular marriages, especially those who have been divorced and remarried, to undertake greater participation in the life of the church.

OK some married priests

WASHINGTON — The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation voted in early June to encourage the "lifting of the restrictions regarding the ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic Churches of North America." A consultation statement released June 6 said the action would "affirm the ancient and legitimate Eastern Christian tradition and would assure the Orthodox that, in the event of the restoration of full communion between the two churches, the traditions of the Orthodox Church would not be questioned."

Euthanasia law opposed

OTTAWA, Ontario — A Catholic leader joined several organizations opposed to euthanasia in condemning Quebec's "dying with dignity" law that brings Belgian-style euthanasia to the province. The new law, Bill 52, passed June 5 by a 94-22 vote. It outlines the conditions under which terminally ill Quebeckers can request medical aid in dying. It treats euthanasia as health care, which falls under provincial jurisdiction, while the Criminal Code, which lists the practice as culpable homicide, is under federal jurisdiction.

Church's future a concern

DETROIT — Parishioners generally like their parish and their pastor, and for the most part think the Archdiocese of Detroit is fulfilling its mission, but could be doing more in a few key areas, according to the results of a widely distributed survey. A report containing the results from the "Perceptions of the Faithful" survey taken by the Archdiocese of Detroit in November 2013 was officially released May 28. The survey, which was answered by 41,178 people from Nov. 2 to 13, had been advertised via direct email invitations, social media, bulletin announcements, the Detroit Free Press and the archdiocese's website.

Masses in many languages

SAO PAULO — Catholic churches in cities hosting the World Cup have scheduled Masses in different languages to better welcome international fans and players. Church officials asked priests who speak English, French, German, Italian and Spanish to celebrate Masses in these languages when the foreign teams are in their cities.

Catholic News Service


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