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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Apr-30-2010

By Catholic News Service


Catholic Communication Campaign collection set for May 15-16

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The annual collection for the Catholic Communication Campaign will be taken up in most U.S. dioceses the weekend of May 15-16. "Help Us Connect the World with God's Word!" is the theme of this year's collection. The CCC supports the use of new media, including the Internet and efforts in digital and social media, but also radio, television and print initiatives. Recent CCC grants included the creation of an adult catechism video/DVD; a documentary called "Interrupted Lives," distributed to ABC affiliates; on the oppression of women religious under communism in Central and Eastern Europe; and the production and broadcast of a Christmas Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception celebrated by Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington. Half of the funds collected each year goes to the national CCC office to support Catholic media projects, including Catholic newspapers, radio and television programming and public service announcements, as well as Web resources such as the daily liturgical and Scripture readings, podcasts and videos on YouTube. The other half remains in the diocese to support local Catholic communication projects.

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Attorney resigns from Catholic foundation over health reform

COLUMBIA, S.C. (CNS) -- A Columbia attorney has resigned from the board of directors of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina because he disagrees with the Cleveland-based Sisters of Charity Health System's stand on health care legislation. Kevin Hall, a member of St. Joseph Church in Columbia, served on the board for seven years, including two years as president. The Sisters of Charity Health System is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, and oversees Providence Hospital and Providence Hospital Northeast in Columbia. The foundation works to address the needs of the poor in South Carolina through a variety of programs and grants. Hall said he objected to the fact that the Sisters of Charity agreed with the Catholic Health Association in supporting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama March 23. He also objected to a March 22 statement released by Sister Judith Ann Karam, the chief executive and president of the health system, which said passage of the legislation was an important step toward improving access to health care.

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Parents say media frenzy shouldn't lead to fear of oversea adoptions

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) -- In the wake of the international media frenzy surrounding the story of a Tennessee woman who recently sent her 7-year-old adopted son back to Russia unaccompanied, Carrie Krenson of Nashville's Cathedral of the Incarnation is eager to share her "boring old story" of adopting two children from Russia. "I really feel sorry for everyone involved in that case," Krenson said. "Ninety-nine percent of the time, things work out so differently," she said. The Krensons, who adopted daughter Dasha, 10, and son Evan, 8, from Russia, have a large network of friends who have built their families through successful international adoptions. To those considering adopting from Russia or another country, she advises, "Don't let the big stories scare you away." Krenson said she and her husband, Cathedral of the Incarnation Deacon John Krenson, "were fully attached from day one" to their children, whom they adopted at separate times from a government-run orphanage in Russia.

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Questions about National Day of Prayer stir weeks of national debate

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the weeks since a Wisconsin federal judge ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, one thing has been certain: People have strong feelings both for and against prayer. Although the day's events will continue as planned May 6, its future is uncertain. In her April 15 ruling, District Judge Barbara B. Crabb in Madison, Wis., said the day of prayer violated the First Amendment, but she postponed enforcement of the decision until all appeals were exhausted. The Justice Department announced April 26 that it will challenge Crabb's decision in the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. The day has a long history. It has been an annual event since 1953 and has been celebrated on the first Thursday in May since 1988. Attempting to do away with a tradition -- and a faith one at that -- is certain to cause a reaction. Charles Haynes, senior scholar of the First Amendment Center in Washington, said politicians might even show up in greater numbers at the prayer-day events this year because not doing so, he told Religious News Service, would be akin to "being against apple pie and motherhood."

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Vatican confirms new version of missal; no implementation date yet

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced April 30 that the Vatican has given its "recognitio," or confirmation, of the new English translation of the Roman Missal, but said the exact date for its implementation in U.S. parishes remains to be determined. The approval came in a letter dated March 25 from Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect for the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, although the missal is still undergoing final editing by Vatican officials, the USCCB announcement said. The Vatican also approved a series of adaptations and proper texts for use in the United States. Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, USCCB president, received the decrees personally while he was in Rome for meetings of the Vox Clara Committee, an international group of bishops who advise the divine worship congregation about English liturgical translations. Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship, expressed gratitude for the approval. "I am happy that after years of study and review, the congregation for divine worship has concluded its work and provided us with a text that will enable the ongoing renewal of the celebration of the sacred liturgy in our parishes," he said.

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Two longtime Dallas priests ordained as auxiliaries of diocese

DALLAS (CNS) -- With Catholic Church dignitaries, friends and family watching in a packed Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, two longtime Dallas priests were ordained bishops April 27. Bishops J. Douglas Deshotel and Mark J. Seitz became auxiliary bishops of Dallas and will assist Bishop Kevin J. Farrell in ministering to a growing diocese that exceeds more than 1 million people and stretches across nine counties of North Texas. Because of the limited seating at the cathedral, the ordination was broadcast via TexasCatholicTV.com and simulcast to the parish communities of St. Monica and St. Rita, where hundreds of people, including schoolchildren, watched the Mass. Eighteen bishops, about 150 priests, dozens of deacons and more than 50 seminarians attended the ordination Mass. Bishop Farrell thanked them and also thanked the families of the two men, including Janet Seitz, mother of Bishop Seitz. "The mother of a priest is a very special person, so I want to thank you for being here," he said.

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Pope says Congo's mineral wealth must be used to help whole population

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To bring lasting peace to Congo, earnings from the country's rich mineral deposits must be shared with the entire population, particularly through state funding of education and health care, Pope Benedict XVI told Congo's new ambassador to the Vatican. "If the earnings were shared justly, the important natural riches that God has given to your land -- and which, unfortunately, have become sources of greed and disproportionate profits for many inside and outside your country -- would go a long way toward helping the population out of poverty," the pope said April 29. "Congolese families and education for young people would be the first beneficiaries," the pope told Ambassador Jean-Pierre Hamuli Mupenda. The pope said that lasting peace and prosperity would remain only a dream for most Congolese unless the government increased its subsidies to the nation's schools, because most parents cannot afford to pay tuition. Increasing school enrollment is especially important for the young who have been "deprived of education and trained to kill" as child soldiers in the regions of Congo where violence continues to erupt, he said.

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Economic crisis shows market needs morality, regulation, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The ongoing global economic crisis has demonstrated that the free market is not capable of regulating itself in a way that promotes the common good, Pope Benedict XVI said. The assumption that the economy can go along happily without government intervention and moral standards "is based on an impoverished notion of economic life as a sort of self-calibrating mechanism," the pope told members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The pope addressed academy members April 30 at the beginning of their four-day plenary session, which was devoted to the theme, "Crisis in a Global Economy: Re-planning the Journey." Led by Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard professor and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, the academy said the economists, lawyers, theologians and other social scientists at the meeting would look at how the current economic crisis came about, its impact on individuals and nations, the relationship between ethics and economics, and ideas for promoting economic recovery and preventing a similar financial meltdown in the future. "The worldwide financial breakdown has, as we know, demonstrated the fragility of the present economic system and the institutions linked to it," the pope said. "It has also shown the error of the assumption that the market is capable of regulating itself apart from public intervention and the support of internalized moral standards."

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Self-examination: Catholic communicators look to address scandal

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With workshops such as "Benedict XVI, sexual abuse and The New York Times" on the program, it wasn't surprising that a conference of Catholic communicators in Rome provoked more interest than usual this year. But those expecting a round of media-bashing were disappointed. Most of the April 26-28 discussion focused on how the church itself should be more transparent, more proactive in communicating and more journalist-friendly if it wants to get its message out on clerical sex abuse. Sponsored by the Opus Dei-run Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, the conference over the years has become a regular networking event for hundreds of church communications personnel, including diocesan spokespersons. The new round of disclosures on priestly sex abuse, which has taken the Vatican by storm, has also impacted these local Catholic media professionals, most of whom are laypeople.

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Irish bishop says saint's relic could make priests more aware of sin

KNOCK, Ireland (CNS) -- Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe told priests the relic of the heart of St. John Vianney could make them "more keenly aware of the horror of sin." The life of St. John Vianney, known as the Cure of Ars, can "inspire us priests to give ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, who called us to be faithful to our duties in the confessional, at the altar and with the sick and afflicted; in a word, to the work of saving souls," the bishop said April 28 at the Marian shrine in Knock. The Year for Priests had "given rise to much prayer to God for the faithfulness, interior renewal and holiness of priests," said Bishop Boyce. "Yet this year has been marked with the revelation of the scandalous sins and crimes of those whose hands were anointed for a sacred service but who betrayed the trust placed in them by innocent children. Instead of leading them to God, they led them astray and ruined their lives. "May the Cure of Ars, your patron, inspire you with new energy. The waves of stormy criticism may lash against us, but the Lord of history is with his church, as he was in Peter's boat," he said, referring to Ireland's clergy sex abuse crisis. "We need not be afraid or lose heart."

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Catholics in western India baffled by priest's murder

NEW DELHI (CNS) -- Catholics in a western Indian diocese say they are baffled by the murder of a 74-year-old priest. Some associates of Father Peter Bombaci found his body in a pool of blood April 29 at his residence, near Vasai diocesan headquarters. Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai, who visited the scene, told the Vatican's missionary news service, Fides, that the body had a rope around his neck and a pair of scissors stuck in his throat. "It was a gruesome scene," he said. Father Bombaci was operating a detox center for alcoholics. He came from the local community and "was well liked and respected by everyone," the archbishop said. Diocesan officials such as Father John Furgose said they have "absolutely no idea" as to why the priest was murdered. "We do not suspect anyone; we do not know who did it," he told the Asian church news agency UCA News April 30.

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Jesuit who taught Fidel Castro in Cuba dies in Miami at 91

MIAMI (CNS) -- He taught Fidel Castro. And then his former student forced him to leave Cuba. But Jesuit Father Amando Llorente -- who at one point conceived of creating a religious order of sheepherders -- gathered his sheep once more in exile, re-establishing the Agrupacion Catolica Universitaria in Miami. He spent the rest of his priestly ministry "forming Catholics for the church," as he put it, in a paraphrase of Cuban patriot Jose Marti's line that "whoever would build a homeland must build up men." Father Llorente, 91, died in his sleep April 28 in his home overlooking Biscayne Bay -- the John Paul II Retreat House where Agrupacion members meet, a place where people are welcomed by a statue of St. Peter the fisherman casting his nets. His funeral Mass was scheduled for May 3 at Miami's Gesu Church. The Agrupacion, or ACU as it is known, is a Christian life community for men who are university graduates and professionals. Its spirituality is based on Jesuit formational principles and Marian consecration. Its goal is to help members attain a Christian balance of professional work, prayer, family life, social life and apostolic service. "We knew that Father Llorente was not eternal, but how sad was the news!" said Clarita Baloyra of Miami. "And what joy for him, to return to the Father the way St. Ignatius did, just as he wanted."

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Cardinal Mayer, liturgist, dies just before 99th birthday

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- German Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer, the oldest member of the College of Cardinals, died April 30, less than a month before his 99th birthday. The tall, thin cardinal was a Benedictine liturgist who worked at the Vatican from 1971 until his retirement in 1991. In a telegram of condolence to the abbot primate of the Benedictine order, Pope Benedict XVI said Cardinal Mayer was hardworking, meek, a dedicated Benedictine monk and "a pastor full of zeal for the Gospel." The pope praised the late cardinal's work as a liturgist, a professor and "especially his appreciated service to the Holy See, first on the preparatory commission for the Second Vatican Council, then in different dicasteries of the Roman Curia." Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, was scheduled to preside over Cardinal Mayer's funeral May 3 in St. Peter's Basilica. Pope Benedict was to give the homily and preside over the rights of final commendation.

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Pope transfers Archbishop Smith from Wales to London, south of Thames

LONDON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff, Wales, as the new archbishop to the diocese covering London, south of the Thames River. Archbishop Smith will be installed June 10, succeeding Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark, who resigned last year on grounds of ill health. Archbishop Smith, 66, was born and raised in the Southwark Archdiocese and was ordained priest there in 1972. Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop of East Anglia in 1995 and in 2001 promoted him to Cardiff after a succession of clerical child abuse scandals there. Archbishop Smith is the chairman of the Department for Citizenship and Christian Responsibility of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, a role that has made him the most senior spokesman on life issues for a decade. In an April 30 statement, Archbishop Smith said he was "very sad" to be leaving Wales after eight years but added, "It is good to be returning home."


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