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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Jun-17-2011

By Catholic News Service


Two elements ready for Spanish-language Roman Missal for use in US

BELLEVUE, Wash. (CNS) -- A decision on which Spanish-language version of the Roman Missal will be used in the United States is awaiting Vatican approval of the version submitted by the Mexican bishops' conference. But two elements of the U.S. Spanish-language missal are ready to go, after separate votes by the U.S. bishops during their spring general assembly near Seattle. By a vote of 185-1, with three abstentions, June 15, the bishops agreed to include a set of liturgical prayers associated with the principal patronal feast days of 20 different Spanish-speaking countries as an appendix to the new Spanish-language Roman Missal to be used in U.S. dioceses. Also included is the celebration for the feast of St. Rose of Lima, patron saint of Latin America. "As Spanish-speaking Catholic immigrants continue to arrive in the U.S., they wish to celebrate Mass on the patronal feast day of their respective countries," said Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, chairman of the Committee on Divine Worship, who introduced the proposal. But, he said, "in many instances, the approved liturgical text is not readily available to the celebrant, especially if he is not from the country in question."

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Bishops urged to fight war of words to defend traditional marriage

BELLEVUE, Wash. (CNS) -- Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., urged his fellow bishops June 15 to fight back in the war of words over efforts to redefine traditional marriage. The chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage said organizations advocating the legal redefinition of marriage have been using words like "human rights" and "hate" in discussions of same-sex marriage. "Strategies of language are crucial here, and what we see happening in the marriage debate with terms such as 'equality' is similar to the manipulation of language found in the pro-abortion rhetoric of 'choice,'" Bishop Cordileone said. "Many of our young people have now come to see what 'pro-choice' really means, and embrace instead a culture of life," he added. "A similar task lies before us in our efforts to protect marriage." As one weapon in the war of words, he cited the video series "Marriage: Unique for a Reason" that is being produced by the USCCB in English and Spanish. He announced completion of the second video in English, called "Made for Life," which focuses on the indispensable place of both mothers and fathers in the lives of their children. "Our culture is one that often forgets the sacred gift of the child, and in so doing it also fails to recognize the vital importance of a mother and a father together for the life and upbringing of that child," Bishop Cordileone said. "In contemporary debates about the meaning of marriage, the rights and dignity of the child should be at the forefront."

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Based on their experiences, speakers oppose physician-assisted suicide

BELLEVUE, Wash. (CNS) -- Dorothy Coughlin has no doubt that living in a state where physician-assisted suicide is legal can lead to disrespect for those whose lives are affected by disabilities or serious illness. Her younger sister, Barbara, who was born with severe developmental disabilities, recently experienced just that during an emergency room visit to an Oregon hospital, where she encountered a physician who tried repeatedly to discharge her without diagnosing the cause of her severe pain. "Barbara lives a life that is so dynamic," Coughlin told reporters at the briefing on physician-assisted suicide shortly after the U.S. bishops approved their first statement as a body on the topic. "She's a member of the Red Hat Club, her hobby is making beaded jewelry, she loves going to church, she loves to sing and she knows the words of something like 40 songs," Coughlin added. "Her life is far from limited." But the misreading of a CT scan and the physician's dismissive attitude of a patient with disabilities -- he told Coughlin, "In cases like this, I revert to veterinary medicine" -- led to unnecessary pain for Barbara, who was properly diagnosed only when she went to another hospital. Coughlin, director of the Office for People with Disabilities in the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., and a board member of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability, recounted her sister's story to demonstrate the need for the bishops' new statement, "To Live Each Day With Dignity," which passed with overwhelming support at the bishops' spring general assembly near Seattle.

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Catholic Volunteer Network loses more than $5 million in funding

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Volunteers with the Catholic Volunteer Network will lose more than $5 million in education awards because of federal budget cuts. The Corporation for National and Community Service -- the federal agency that oversees national service, innovative nonprofits and engages retired Americans -- in service received $72 million less in the 2011 congressional budget appropriations than the previous year. The agency is responsible for funding the AmeriCorps programs, including the AmeriCorps Education Awards Program run by the Catholic Volunteer Network. AmeriCorps programs across the nation lost $22.5 million. "The loss of this funding is going to have a tremendous negative impact on many people," Jim Lindsay, the network's executive director, said in a statement. "Our organization's mission and outreach initiatives will suffer, but the hardest hit will be the 1,300 volunteers who would have served as AmeriCorps' members at the 900 sites run by our programs in 43 states and the District of Columbia, where volunteers have filled needed roles in schools, soup kitchens and social service agencies." Volunteers that complete the Catholic network's AmeriCorp program for 2011 receive a $5,350 education award for at least 1,700 hours of service or $2,675 for at least 900 hours of service. Lindsay said the money is often used by volunteers to defer their educational loans. "Volunteer service may no longer be an option for many young people," he said.

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Containing federal health care costs is issue that goes back decades

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In December 1971, Msgr. Harrold Murray, who oversaw health care issues for the U.S. bishops, predicted that the federal outlay for health care, which was $26 billion in 1960, would grow to more than $100 billion by 1974. Even so, he said, the desire for all Americans to have quality health care at a reasonable price would be the "most torrid" issue in the1972 elections. That prophecy didn't come to pass. However, Medicare costs have already proven decisive in a special election held in May to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House. The Republican, Jane Corwin, backed "The Path to Prosperity," a budget proposal by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that would, in 2022, change Medicare into a program of vouchers to be used by future beneficiaries to buy private insurance through a federally created exchange. It will not affect seniors already enrolled in the program or those now 55 who will retire in 10 years. The Democrat, Kathy Hochul, hammered away at Corwin's support of the plan, vowed to preserve Medicare and won a seat representing western New York that had been in Democratic hands for only 10 of the past 58 years. Although would-be Medicare reformers have yet to translate Ryan's plan into success at the polls, it has already demonstrated to be, at least for the time being, a third rail in GOP politics. After Republican presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich called the Ryan plan "right-wing social engineering" on a Sunday morning talk show, he had to eat his words in the face of withering criticism by fellow Republicans.

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Bishop asks Illinois Supreme Court to reconsider decision in abuse case

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (CNS) -- Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to reconsider its decision not to hear the appeal of a $5 million civil jury award in a sexual abuse case against a priest from the Belleville Diocese. "We are not doing this to 'hide behind the law' as some might suggest," the bishop said in a letter read at Masses June 11 and 12. "We are doing this in the hope of a clarification of the law and a consistency in applying the law to the Catholic Church. We are also doing it in the hope of conserving resources for responding to other abuse victims and for sustaining the pastoral services of the Diocese of Belleville." A diocesan spokesman confirmed with Catholic News Service that the diocese had filed the request by June 15. The bishop said in 2008 that a jury ruled "in favor of a man who stated he was abused by a priest in 1973.The plaintiff was awarded a substantial financial compensation." The plaintiff, James Wisniewski, now in his 50s, filed a civil suit against the diocese in 2002 for abuse he said took place beginning in 1973, when he was 12, and continued until 1978. He said his abuser was Father Raymond Kownacki, who was removed from ministry in 1995 at the recommendation of a diocesan review board, formed in 1993 to look into allegations of clergy abuse. When Wisniewski was a boy, Father Kownacki was pastor of his family's parish, St. Theresa of Avila in Salem. During the trial, the diocese contended that several statutes, including the statute of limitations, should apply. But the trial judge told the jury that if they determined the diocese fraudulently concealed documents from Wisniewski, the statute of limitations could be set aside and the jury could award damages.

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On world stage and behind closed doors, Vatican works diplomatic levers

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Vatican City is the world's smallest state, but it's still considered a diplomatic nerve center, a place where the universal church meets global politics. Most diplomacy is conducted privately and quietly at the Vatican, but in early June several events underscored the Vatican's range of interests and the way it goes about influencing policy. Pope Benedict XVI met June 9 with six new ambassadors from five continents, giving them a group talk and handing each a more personalized speech. These are not "one size fits all" discourses; what the pope said, for example, about the exploitation of natural resources in Ghana touched a nerve in a country where the recent discovery of oil and gas has led to a national debate over resource management. Addressing the Syrian ambassador, the pope said civil unrest in his country underscored the urgent need for "real reforms" in politics, economics and social life. Those reforms, he added, should be achieved without intolerance and violence. His words could be seen as an indirect reproach to the Syrian government, which has cracked down on opposition demonstrators, leaving thousands dead. Pope Benedict spoke to the ambassadors about what he calls "human ecology," an environmental theme that has become one of the defining issues of his pontificate. One of his points was that technological advances alone cannot solve ecological problems, and indeed sometimes bring their own "social and ecological disasters." He didn't need to specifically mention Japan's nuclear catastrophe -- it was already in the minds of his listeners.

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Women religious in India have valuable, often hidden role, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI singled out Indian women religious to praise them for their positive role in the church in their country. In a speech to Indian bishops at the Vatican for their "ad limina" visits, made every five years, the pope said he wished to express his appreciation "in a particular way" for the women's work in the Indian church. These women religious, he said, "perform innumerable good works" that are often hidden but nevertheless "of great value to the up-building of God's kingdom." They should be encouraged in their dedication, and young women be encouraged to consider a vocation, he said. The pope also told the bishops that they should be supportive of their priests, whom he called "your closest collaborators," and be attentive to their spiritual, intellectual and material well-being. Pope Benedict said that it was the job of each bishop to govern his diocese with prudence and charity and unify "his flock into one family."

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Artists to show works inspired by Pope Benedict's 60th anniversary

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican has invited 60 artists from different disciplines to show an example of their work to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the ordination of Pope Benedict XVI. Painters, sculptors, architects, musicians and poets will participate in an exhibit that will open to the public at the Vatican July 5. Most of the works have been inspired by Pope Benedict and created for the occasion, while some have been chosen from the artists' repertories, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, who heads the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, said in a news conference June 17. The artists as a group will have a private moment with the pope when he comes to view each work or its representation, in the case of architects or filmmakers, and exchange a few words with the creators at the inauguration of the exhibit July 4, said Msgr. Pasquale Iacobone, an official with the council. It will not be the pope's first encounter with an international array of artists. He met with some 300 representatives of the various arts in November 2009 in the Sistine Chapel. Cardinal Ravasi said that the exhibit that celebrates the pope's 60th year in the priesthood was part of an effort on the part of the council for culture to re-establish the relationship the world of art once held with the church. In other initiatives marking the anniversary, the Congregation for Clergy has sent a letter to dioceses around the world asking bishops to involve their priests and religious in a commitment to pray for 60 hours in eucharistic adoration. In this way, said the letter from Archbishop Celso Morga Iruzubieta, the church community worldwide can show the pope "all of our gratitude, our affection and our communion for the service he offers to God and the church."

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Vatican calls on businesses to be ethical, create economic justice

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican and some Catholic thinkers are urging businesses to not only employ ethical policies within their companies, but to become dedicated to bringing economic justice to the wider world. In fact, people should be wary of superficial ethical practices that "are adopted primarily as a marketing device, without any effect on relationships inside and outside the business itself" and without promoting justice and the common good, said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state. Cardinal Bertone was one of a number of speakers invited to the Executive Summit on Ethics for the Business World, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Legionaries of Christ's Fidelis International Institute, which promotes ethics in business. The June 16-17 conference brought high-profile leaders from the manufacturing, industrial, banking and financial sectors including representatives from General Electric and Goldman Sachs, as well as Catholic experts in Catholic social teaching. "Everyone here was 'cherry-picked.' It wasn't an open invitation to everybody," said Father Luis Garza Medina, vicar general of the Legionaries of Christ, who helped in the planning of the event.

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Retired New Orleans archbishop, now 98, moves to elder care facility

NEW ORLEANS (CNS) -- Retired New Orleans Archbishop Philip M. Hannan, 98, moved June 15 from his private residence in Covington to Chateau de Notre Dame, a senior apartment complex and elder care facility he first envisioned and then dedicated in 1977 to provide for seniors in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, the current head of the archdiocese, said he and the Hannan family, which includes Archbishop Hannan's lone remaining sibling, Jerry Hannan, 89, of Bethesda, Md., decided the move would be in "the best interest of Archbishop Hannan as his health declines." Archbishop Hannan, who has become increasingly frail because of a series of strokes and other health problems, celebrated his 98th birthday May 20. He is the third-oldest U.S. bishop, behind Archbishop Peter L. Gerety of Newark, N.J., who will turn 99 July 19, and Auxiliary Bishop Bernard J. McLaughlin of Buffalo, N.Y., who will turn 99 on Nov. 19. In 2010, Archbishop Hannan published his memoirs, "The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots" (OSV Publishing), which documented his colorful career as a seminarian in Rome in the 1930s during the buildup to World War II, his service as a paratroop chaplain for the 82nd Airborne and his confidential relationship with President John F. Kennedy when he was an auxiliary bishop of Washington. Archbishop Hannan and Kennedy were so close that the Kennedy family asked him to deliver the eulogy at the assassinated president's funeral Mass on Nov. 25, 1963, at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington. He served as the 11th archbishop of New Orleans from 1965 to 1988 and was revered for his forceful statements on civil rights and the defense of unborn human life.

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Bible study, prayer group help US midfielder connect with teammates

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- When the No. 1-ranked U.S. women's soccer team goes on the road, members have multiple training sessions, physical therapy, media events and team meetings, but midfielder Heather O'Reilly still finds time for Bible study. O'Reilly participates in a Bible study and prayer group with some of the women on her team and told Catholic News Service, "You find a lot of bonds that way. It lets you connect on a different level because you see how it (faith) affects their everyday life in soccer," O'Reilly told CNS in a telephone interview June 9, days before leaving for the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany. "After games or before games, some of the girls get together and pray. It brings people together. We share such a love of soccer, but also God and Jesus," she said. At only 26, O'Reilly already boasts an impressive record in the women's soccer world. She was part of the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal team, played on the 2004 Olympic team and is one of the fastest players on the national team. With 29 career goals, she is the 14th all-time female goal scorer in U.S. history. In the beginning of 2011, she broke the U.S. Soccer women's record for consecutive games played, at 63. The former altar server at St. Bartholomew Parish in East Brunswick, N.J., will be playing in her second FIFA Women's World Cup when the United States meets North Korea in Dresden, Germany, June 28.


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