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March 6, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
News in Brief

Marcos anniversary
Filipino nuns wearing hats with messages against human rights violations join a Feb. 25 demonstration to mark the 31st anniversary of the People Power revolution in Manila. The nonviolent revolution led to the toppling of President Ferdinand Marcos and the restoration of the country's democracy.
EPA, cns

LA youth congress
Demonstrators march during a Feb. 25 rally organized by Catholics Against the Death Penalty-Southern California during the four-day 2017 Religious Education Congress in Anaheim.

Lent begins
Samba dancers parade during Carnival celebrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Feb. 25. The annual celebration preceded Lent, which began on March 1.
EPA, cns

'Deeply offensive' veto
RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has again "demonstrated his unwavering commitment to the nation's largest abortion provider" by vetoing a bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood, said the state's Catholic conference. They said his action comes at the "expense of comprehensive health care for women" because the defunding measure would have redirected state dollars to community health centers that provide primary care to women and their families.

Loyola honors Sister
CHICAGO — Religious and clergy alike do their part to help the Ramblers' men's basketball team at Loyola University Chicago. The team's chaplain since 1994 has been Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is 97. She also is the newest member of Loyola's sports hall of fame. She was inducted Jan. 21. Sister Jean has become a fixture on campus, even getting her own bobblehead day before a game in appreciation for her service.

Execution barred
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court's Feb. 22 decision to block the execution of an African-American inmate on death row in Texas over racially biased testimony in his sentencing hearing is "another stride toward greater justice in our legal system," said a Catholic anti-death penalty leader. "This decision reflects the extent to which the death penalty is racially biased and a broken policy," said Karen Clifton, executive director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Death Penalty.

Book's Lenten inspiration
ALLOUEZ, Wis. — Every year, Catholics look for ways to observe the 40 days of Lent. Finding inspiration for prayer — one of the three Lenten faith traditions, along with fasting and almsgiving — is a top priority and one favorite source for many is the Little Black Book. Now in its 17th year of publication, the Little Black Book has its origins in the Diocese of Saginaw and was the idea of Saginaw's bishop, the late Bishop Kenneth E. Untener. A gifted homilist and writer, Bishop Untener died in 2004.

Noted theologian dies
WASHINGTON — Michael Novak, a Catholic philosopher, theologian and author who was highly regarded for his religious scholarship and intellectual independence, died Feb. 17 at his home in Washington. He was 83. His daughter Jana Novak told The Washington Post the cause of death was complications from colon cancer.

Foundation money
WASHINGTON — More U.S. dioceses are turning to foundations to help meet their financial and fundraising priorities. And foundation executives in the diocesan realm believe they've only begun to tap into the potential for these gifts. Dan McKune, executive director of Catholic Community Foundation of Mid-Michigan, which covers the Diocese of Saginaw, said Catholic donors are used to giving to an annual diocesan appeal or a school fund. "They are getting used to it, but we still are not where we want to be," he said. "Our donor base is about 1,000 people and they've been very, very good givers," but he thinks the foundation could attract and retain 2,500 donors — and possibly twice that.

Roe plaintiff dies
KATY, Texas — Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff "Jane Roe" in the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion virtually on demand, died Feb. 18 at an assisted-living facility in Katy. She was 69. The New York Times said a New York journalist named Joshua Prager, who interviewed her many times for a book he is writing about the Roe decision, confirmed that she had died. The cause of death was heart failure. McCorvey became a pro-life supporter in 1995 after spending years as a proponent of legal abortion. She also became a born-again Christian. A couple of years later, she said she felt called to join the Catholic Church of her youth.

Cardinal leaves Guam
AGANA, Guam — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, accompanied by an official from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and three canon lawyers, spent two days in Guam interviewing witnesses and alleged victims in a clerical sexual abuse case against Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana. The Archdiocese of Agana, in a Feb. 18 statement, said the cardinal and officials had left the island that morning after hearing testimony Feb. 16-17 "as part of the canonical penal trial" involving accusations against the archbishop.

Positive feelings
WASHINGTON — Americans are feeling more positive toward various religious groups than they did less than three years ago. While Americans still feel less positive about Muslims and atheists when compared with people of other religions, those participating in a Pew Research Center survey in January viewed people in those two religious groups more positively than in June 2014. The survey overall, part of Pew's American Trends Panel series of studies, found that warmer feelings toward various religions were expressed by people in all of the participating major religious groups.

Charismatic Renewal 50th
NEW ORLEANS — For the past 50 years, Patti Gallagher Mansfield has kept the Champion Wiremaster stenographer's notebook, 5-by-8 inches, safely tucked away among her most cherished, sacred items in her dresser drawer. The notebook has 80 ruled pages. It cost 25 cents. One was given to each of the 25 students from Duquesne University and La Roche College who attended a weekend retreat in February 1967 at The Ark and The Dove Retreat House just outside of Pittsburgh. Between the slightly faded, tan covers are page after page of Mansfield's handwritten reflections in blue ballpoint pen of the mysterious things that happened on that three-day retreat, a weekend that ultimately changed the course of the Catholic Church worldwide. The weekend — now called the "Duquesne Weekend" — is acknowledged as the birth of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement in the United States, which has spread throughout the world.

Action against abusers
LIMA, Peru — A Peru-based Catholic movement has acknowledged that its founder sexually, physically and psychologically abused minors, teen and young adult members. An internal investigation of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae found that Luis Fernando Figari, who founded the organization in 1971 and headed it until 2010, and three other high-ranking former members abused 19 minors and 10 adults. The report, which Sodalitium posted on the internet Feb. 14, summarizes an investigation that included interviews with 245 victims and witnesses and with 17 current or former members accused of abuse. The authors, who have been involved in investigations of sexual abuse of minors by priests in other countries, including Ireland and the United States, said they considered the accounts of abuse credible, but the report was not meant to be a formal finding under criminal or canon law.

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