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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Aug-12-2008

By Catholic News Service


Chicago Archdiocese to pay $12.6 million to 16 sex abuse survivors

CHICAGO (CNS) -- The Archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to pay 16 victims of clergy sex abuse more than $12.6 million in a settlement announced Aug. 12. In addition to financial payments, the archdiocese agreed to make public additional information and files related to the cases, including the deposition of Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago. The settlement followed two years of mediation between the archdiocese and attorneys for the victims. "My hope is that these settlements will help the survivors and their families begin to heal and move forward," Cardinal George said in statement. "I apologize again today to the survivors and their families and to the whole Catholic community. We must continue to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of the children in our care." Attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who partnered with lawyer Marc Pearlman of the Chicago law firm of Kerns, Frost & Pearlman in representing the victims, called the settlement "a giant step" toward accountability and transparency on the part of the church. The settlement covers 14 cases of abuse involving 10 priests between 1962 and 1994. The two others relate to Father Daniel McCormack, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to charges related to the abuse of five children. He is serving a five-year prison sentence.

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'40 Days for Life' campaign uses prayer, outreach to end abortion

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the Bible the number 40 is especially significant: Noah was on the ark while it rained for 40 days. Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days. Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days. For a contemporary pro-life effort, that number also has significance: A nationwide ecumenical campaign called "40 Days for Life" aims to end abortion through prayer, fasting, outreach and vigils. From Sept. 24 to Nov. 4, there will be 173 campaigns at abortion clinics in 45 states, two Canadian provinces and Puerto Rico. During Lent this year similar campaigns were held in 59 locations across the country. The first local campaign took place in 2004 in College Station, Texas. In 2007 the effort went nationwide, with campaigns in 89 cities in 33 states. "We are the last hope for the baby and the first offer of forgiveness for the mother," said Shawn Carney, board treasurer of the campaign. Carney, one of the organizers of the original "40 Days for Life" in Texas, said that prayer is a component because ultimately "any injustice ends due to prayer."

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Bishops vote to revise U.S. catechism on Jewish covenant with God

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops have voted to ask the Vatican to approve a small change in the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults to clarify church teaching on God's covenant with the Jewish people. The proposed change -- which would replace one sentence in the catechism -- was discussed by the bishops in executive session at their June meeting in Orlando, Fla., but did not receive the needed two-thirds majority of all members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at that time. After mail balloting, the final vote of 231-14, with one abstention, was announced Aug. 5 in a letter to bishops from Msgr. David Malloy, USCCB general secretary. The change, which must be confirmed by the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, would remove from the catechism a sentence that reads: "Thus the covenant that God made with the Jewish people through Moses remains eternally valid for them." Replacing it would be this sentence: "To the Jewish people, whom God first chose to hear his word, 'belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ'" (Rom 9:4-5; cf. CCC, No. 839).

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No 'Yahweh' in songs, prayers at Catholic Masses, Vatican rules

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the not-too-distant future, songs such as "You Are Near," "I Will Bless Yahweh" and "Rise, O Yahweh" will no longer be part of the Catholic worship experience in the United States. At the very least, the songs will be edited to remove the word "Yahweh" -- a name of God that the Vatican has ruled must not "be used or pronounced" in songs and prayers during Catholic Masses. Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Divine Worship, announced the new Vatican "directives on the use of 'the name of God' in the sacred liturgy" in an Aug. 8 letter to his fellow bishops. He said the directives would not "force any changes to official liturgical texts" or to the bishops' current missal translation project but would likely have "some impact on the use of particular pieces of liturgical music in our country as well as in the composition of variable texts such as the general intercessions for the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments."

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Free Catholic education gives college-bound students a new start

PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- In the relative quiet of summer, Raphiel Lambert can imagine a parallel universe. It's one where he wastes his life on the streets of inner-city Portland. He walks aimlessly and hears people whisper: "He could have been something." But the 18-year-old escaped that fate eight years ago when he enrolled in Portland's St. Andrew Nativity School. In June, he graduated from Jesuit High School, also in Portland. The demanding academics and strong support at the two Jesuit-run institutions helped Lambert make it into college. This fall he will attend Idaho's Boise State University on a full scholarship. Lambert was a member of the first class from St. Andrew, a middle school that opened in 2001 for low-income students. Of the 19 students who finished at St. Andrew Nativity in 2004 and went on to Catholic high schools, 16 graduated this year. Four of them -- Lambert, Tote Capuia, Jakub Forrest and Ramazan Muhammed -- graduated from Jesuit High School.

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Philippine bishop pleads for peace with rebel, government negotiators

PIKIT, Philippines (CNS) -- Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato, Philippines, has urged government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace negotiators to stop the fighting that has displaced thousands of villagers in the southern Philippines. The archbishop sent a text message with the plea to negotiators on both sides Aug. 12, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News. The British news agency Reuters reported that Muslim separatists were pulling out of Catholic farmlands Aug. 12 after a two-day military assault on their positions forced nearly 160,000 people to flee from eight towns on the island of Mindanao. "Our forces on the ground are withdrawing from the conflict areas so we expect fighting to end by tomorrow (Wednesday)," Eid Kabalu, a spokesman for the Islamic front told Reuters. "We expect the situation to normalize." Archbishop Quevedo told UCA News he sent his text messages to both negotiating panels because it was "the fastest way possible."

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US bishop: Church must balance charitable, structural aid to Africa

ROME (CNS) -- The U.S. Catholic Church will continue to provide humanitarian relief to Africa, but it also has pledged to help build up the rapidly growing Catholic Church on the continent. Bishop John H. Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Fla., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for the Church in Africa, visited Sudan and Kenya in early August. He spoke to Catholic News Service in Rome Aug. 12 after he met with Msgr. Pietro Parolin, undersecretary for relations with states at the Vatican Secretariat of State. "The Vatican is very supportive of this fund," which the U.S. bishops launched in 2006, he said. The Vatican has encouraged the U.S. bishops' efforts to provide funding and advice to African bishops for church programs while continuing to provide humanitarian and development aid, he said. "We are not neglecting food or medical care," the bishop said. "We wrestle with the question of whether we should be building structures, but we need to take a systematic approach." Responding to immediate needs and building up local structures "goes hand in hand," Bishop Ricard said.

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Chinese Catholics pray at Mass for success of Olympics

SHAJIANG, China (CNS) -- A Catholic parish not registered with the government celebrated a Mass to pray for the success of the Beijing Olympics, and the celebrant urged parishioners to link their spirituality to their daily lives. Father John Baptist Luo Wen, the parish priest and a self-declared sports fan, told the Asian church news agency UCA News that the Aug. 7 Mass aimed to help his Catholics and non-Catholic neighbors understand that "Chinese Catholics are forever patriotic, which is part of the nature of Catholicism," especially when such a big international event takes place in China. His hope, he added, is that his parishioners would not keep their spiritual life separate from their worldly life. Father Luo and his assistant, Father Joseph Liu Maochun, concelebrated the Mass at Shajiang Church in the Diocese of Mindong. Shajiang is in northeastern Fujian province, 930 miles southeast of Beijing. About 400 laypeople and five nuns attended the Mass, UCA News reported.

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Bishops at Olympics say they did not meet with Catholic officials

HONG KONG (CNS) -- Two Chinese bishops who attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics praised the event but said they did not meet Beijing Catholic officials during their visits. Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng of Macau told the Asian church news agency UCA News he did not visit any Beijing churches or clergy during his visit because of time constraints. Bishop Lai attended as part of a delegation led by Macau chief executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah. Coadjutor Bishop John Tong Hon of Hong Kong told UCA News Aug. 11 that he had expressed a wish to meet Vatican-approved Bishop Joseph Li Shan of Beijing, who was ordained in September 2007, during his visit. He also said he was informed he would be "welcome to stay" at the seminary in Beijing. However, he was later informed both prospects were "inconvenient." "As a priest, I had hoped to stay at a seminary and to pay my first visit to Bishop Li," said Bishop Tong, one of several Hong Kong religious leaders invited to the opening ceremony. "Though we could not meet, I sent Bishop Li my warmest regards in the Lord."


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