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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Nov-15-2011

By Catholic News Service


Bishops discuss religious liberty, marriage, finances at annual meeting

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- During their annual three-day fall assembly in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops' discussed threats to religious liberty, efforts to support traditional marriage and the need to keep a close eye on health care issues. On the first day of the Nov. 14-16 meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops they voted to establish a permanent Subcommittee on Health Care Issues under the jurisdiction of their Committee on Doctrine. Prior to the 214-15 vote, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford, Conn., said he was "strongly in favor" of the new subcommittee because health care is part of "the Gospel mission of the church" and involves "billions and billions of dollars in funding. We run the risk of losing a major ministry of the church if we don't keep a close eye on health care issues," he said. The new subcommittee will address such issues as guidance in implementing the bishops' "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services," non-Catholic hospitals in Catholic health systems, for-profit Catholic health care, canonical status of Catholic health facilities, conscience protection and health care reform. In votes cast during the first two days of the meeting, the bishops approved a $217.4 million budget for 2012 and a 3 percent increase in diocesan assessments for 2013. They also overwhelmingly approved a five-year extension of the resolution that calls bishops to adhere to sound financial reporting within their dioceses and voted to approved priorities and plans for 2012 for the USCCB with a 219-6 vote. They elected Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle as USCCB secretary-elect and Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, as chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace. The bishops approved Oct. 22 as an optional memorial for Blessed John Paul II in the proper of saints calendar for the United States. They also approved an optional memorial for Blessed Marianne Cope, with the date to be determined. Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl announced Nov. 15 that a new ordinariate -- functionally similar to a diocese -- will be created Jan. 1 to bring Anglicans into the Catholic Church.

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Bishops vote to establish new Subcommittee on Health Care Issues

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops voted Nov. 14 to establish a permanent Subcommittee on Health Care Issues under the jurisdiction of their Committee on Doctrine. The 214-15 vote followed a debate that offered the only hint of controversy in an otherwise quiet first day of the Nov. 14-16 fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. At least one bishop expressed concern that the addition of the third subcommittee was working against the intention of the bishops when they streamlined the committee structure with the USCCB reorganization in 2008. "If we keep adding more and more committees, we will end up back where we started from," with a need for more funding and more staff, said Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Joliet, Ill. But Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Priorities and Plans, and Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, said the new subcommittee would be funded and staffed using existing resources. Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford, Conn., said he was "strongly in favor" of the new subcommittee because health care is part of "the Gospel mission of the church" and involves "billions and billions of dollars in funding. We run the risk of losing a major ministry of the church if we don't keep a close eye on health care issues," he said.

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Bishops approve memorials for late pope, Mother Marianne Cope

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops, gathered in Baltimore for their fall general assembly, voted Nov. 14 to add Oct. 22 as an optional memorial for Blessed John Paul II in the proper of saints calendar for the United States. The next day, the bishops voted to add an optional memorial for Blessed Marianne Cope, who ministered in Hawaii to people with Hansen's disease. Oct. 22 was recommended as the memorial for Pope John Paul by the bishops' Committee on Divine Worship when it met in June. The date is the late pope's feast day and the anniversary of his installation as pope in 1978. He was beatified May 1. "The only thing we don't know about the (Mother Marianne) memorial is the date," Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, committee chairman, said Nov. 15 after the votes were cast authorizing a memorial for the New York-born nun and a Spanish-language Mass text for the memorial. "We are in conversation with the Holy See" as to which date shall be chosen, he added. Jan. 23 had been suggested as the memorial for Mother Marianne by the Vatican following her beatification in 2005, according to a Nov. 14 presentation on the memorials. Archbishop Aymond, speaking on the first day of the bishops' three-day meeting in Baltimore, said the date for such memorials are typically set for the date of the person's death, which in Mother Marianne's case was Aug. 9, 1918. However, that date is the feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), who died Aug. 9, 1942. Jan. 23 is the optional memorial in the United States for St. Vincent the deacon and martyr. That date was transferred from Jan. 22 so that the U.S. church can observe the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children -- which itself shifts to Jan. 23 when Jan. 22 falls on a Sunday.

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Bishop reports on success of ads aimed at strengthening marriage

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- A series of advertisements for the U.S. bishops' campaign to strengthen marriage have been successful in the numbers of people they have reached and the awards they have garnered from professional advertising organizations, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., said Nov. 14. The bishop, who is chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, made the comments on the opening day of the bishops' fall general assembly in Baltimore. In a presentation on the work of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Bishop Rhoades said the public service announcements with messages about marriage had been measured as having 1.3 billion "audience impressions" since they began several years ago. He said the campaign "which won a national public relations award in 2009, has been the most successful of its kind ever sponsored by the USCCB." A series of public service announcements with the theme of "a good marriage goes a long way," was released in September to 1,600 television stations and 7,000 radio stations, he said. Bishop Rhoades reported that a series of ads for the "For Your Marriage" campaign that began in July 2007 had nearly a quarter of a million broadcasts.

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Bishops approve 2012 budget, 3 percent assessment increase for 2013

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 14 approved a budget of $217.4 million for 2012 and a 3 percent increase in diocesan assessments for 2013. The vote was 223-6, with one abstention, on the budget, which represents just a 3.1 percent increase over the 2011 budget. The assessment vote was 147-30, with six abstentions. Both votes required a two-thirds majority of diocesan bishops; a minimum of 131 votes was necessary for approval. The votes came on the first day of the bishops' three-day fall general assembly in Baltimore. Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va., USCCB treasurer, said it was "providential" for the USCCB to have undergone a reorganization in 2008, before the onset of the U.S. economic downturn. "By the time the financial disaster hit, this conference was already downsizing and reorganizing," he said. "A year later, the entire world was being told to." Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis took note that investment income for 2011 was projected to be $2.8 million, but that the 2012 budget called for $4.4 million in investment income. Joyce Jones, the USCCB's chief financial officer, replied that the level of investment income would be monitored throughout the year. Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pa., asked whether sales of the new Roman Missal would provide a boost in income to reduce the need for an assessment hike. Bishop Bransfield jokingly told him no, "although we could double-charge." Besides, he added, the bulk of the sales took place during the current fiscal year, which ends Dec. 31. The new missal will be used in English-language liturgies in the United States with the first Sunday in Advent, which is Nov. 27. Bishop Bransfield commented that "when people come up with new ideas (for programs), that they also search out new funding."

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Cardinals throw clout behind strengthened post-abortion healing program

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Signaling the importance they gave to the topic, three U.S. cardinals offered a briefing Nov. 14 on efforts to expand and strengthen the church's post-abortion healing ministry, Project Rachel. Cardinals Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Sean P. O'Malley of Boston and Donald W. Wuerl of Washington reported on the work of Project Rachel during the first day of the Nov. 14-16 fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. Women who have had abortions, as well as the men and parents who might have encouraged it, "need to know that God forgives them and that all is not lost," said Cardinal O'Malley, who described Project Rachel as "one of our best pastoral initiatives." Cardinal DiNardo said the "death toll" since abortion was legalized in 1973 is 53 million in the U.S. alone, with an estimated 35 million women having undergone abortions since that time. He said about 10 million of those women were Catholic, as were an unknown number of the fathers and grandparents of those lost children. Those abortions have left "awful wounds," he added, with many people despairing "of being ever forgiven by God." But he called such a view false and even dangerous, "because it discourages women and men in need of God's forgiveness from seeking the pastoral care" that is available to them.

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Bishops approve USCCB priorities and plans for upcoming year

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops overwhelmingly approved priorities and plans for 2012 for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' committees and departments in a vote Nov. 14, the first day of their three-day fall general assembly in Baltimore. The vote was 219-6 with three abstentions. Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, chair of the USCCB's Committee on Priorities and Plans, said the committee considered five criteria when determining whether a planned activity or program of committees and staff offices fell within the mission of the U.S. bishops. First among them was the acronym SMART. The "S" stands for "specific and motivating," followed by "measurable," "attainable," "relevant" and "trackable." The committee also considered whether the planned activity or program in accord with the mandate of the USCCB committee or workgroup to which it is assigned. Also examined was whether the planned activity or program belonged appropriately to the domain of USCCB work -- "significant and national in scope where the bishops wish to exercise leadership," Bishop Murry said -- as opposed to the purview of dioceses, parishes or other Catholic organizations. Bishop Murry said the committee also looked at whether the planned activity or program was redundant or duplicative of activities of other USCCB committees and offices, and whether it involved the collaboration of other committees and offices.

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US Supreme Court to hear challenges to federal health care reform law

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Supreme Court Nov. 14 agreed to take three separate cases challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, granting an unusually lengthy time period for oral arguments. The court Nov. 14 agreed to hear three cases out of Florida, each raising questions about different aspects of the national health care program signed into law in March 2010. It set aside five and a half hours for oral arguments, likely to occur in March. Among the issues the court will review will be the constitutionality of the law's mandate that every American buy health insurance by 2014; whether parts of the law or all of it "must fail" if the mandate is struck down; and the constitutionality of expanding the Medicaid program for the poor and disabled. Several federal courts have upheld key provisions of the law, while at least one has found parts of it unconstitutional. Earlier this year, on Jan. 10, the House voted to repeal the health reform law, but the Senate voted 51-47 Feb. 2 against a Republican-led repeal effort. For the U.S. Catholic bishops, it has never been a question of whether to repeal or not repeal the law. "Basic health care for all is a moral imperative, not yet completely achieved," said the chairmen of three committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in a January letter to members of Congress. "Rather than joining efforts to support or oppose the repeal of the recently enacted health care law, we will continue to devote our efforts to correcting serious moral problems in the current law, so health care reform can truly be life-affirming for all," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles in the letter.

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Illinois Catholic Charities foster care programs end

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CNS) -- Catholic bishops in Illinois announced Nov. 14 that they were dropping their lawsuit against the state for requiring Catholic Charities agencies to provide their services to same-sex couples. The agencies also will end their adoption and foster care programs, which have been in place for 50 years. In a joint statement Nov. 14, the bishops of Joliet, Springfield and Belleville dioceses said the decision was reached "with great reluctance." The bishops said the decision not to pursue further appeals was a necessary one since the state law made it "financially impossible for our agencies to continue to provide these services" and the courts also refused to grant a stay allowing the adoptions and foster care programs to continue while appeals were pending." Catholic Charities in the Joliet, Peoria and Springfield dioceses, as well as Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois in Belleville, have been involved in legal proceedings with the state since Illinois recognized civil unions June 1. The Peoria Diocese had withdrawn from the litigation in October. At issue was the agencies' long-standing practice of referring prospective adoptive and foster parents who are cohabiting -- regardless of sexual orientation -- to other agencies or the Department of Children and Family Services. The state interpreted the policy as discriminatory to same-sex couples under the new Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, and a Sangamon County Circuit Court judge ruled Sept. 26 the state could begin canceling its foster care and adoption contracts with Catholic Charities.

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Bishops, back from Iraq, suggest ways Catholics, Americans can help

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The nation and American Catholics both can help keep Iraq from sliding into chaos once U.S. troops leave the country at the end of the year, said two U.S. bishops who visited Iraq for four days in October. "The U.S. withdrawal of combat troops does not reduce the obligation to help," principally to protect Iraqis and provide assistance), said Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services, during a Nov. 15 press briefing during the U.S. bishops' fall general meeting in Baltimore. "It would be extremely important for our government to participate in an orderly transition. ... The great fear right now is if the troops leave, the violence will intensify," Bishop Kicanas said, adding the United States must "make sure people's lives are protected and violence doesn't erupt." The American public needs to be sold on the necessity of providing sufficient aid to Iraqis in a time of budget crunches, said Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, who accompanied Bishop Kicanas to Iraq. "It becomes a matter of not putting Iraq out of our minds" once the soldiers have returned, Bishop Murry said. "Along with the pain that we went through and the number of men and women who have lost their lives, we talked about going into Iraq to liberate Iraq from years of oppression. "That liberation is not just the physical removal of Saddam Hussein, but we have to give them the opportunity to live their lives with dignity, with freedom and with hope."

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Firefighters battle blaze at retreat center visited by John Paul II

DENVER (CNS) -- Firefighters battled flames and smoke seen billowing from the historic St. Malo Retreat Center in Allenspark early Nov. 14, according to an official with the Allenspark Fire Protection District. St. Malo, a Catholic retreat, conference and spiritual center, was visited by Blessed Pope John Paul II during his World Youth Day trip to Denver in 1993. "We are extremely grateful the firefighters were able to control the fire before it spread to other parts of the property, said Jeanette De Melo, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Denver. "St. Malo has been a beautiful oasis for many people. It's sad to see any damage to it." News agencies reported an estimated $1 million in damage to the building. The cause of the fire had not been determined by midday Nov. 15. The Allenspark fire department requested assistance from other area fire districts that brought three aerial tankers to help fight the flames seen coming from the north wing of the 49-room lodge. "We have resources as far away as Lafayette down here," said an Allenspark fire department spokeswoman, who asked not to be named. Initial reports of a fire came a little after 8 a.m. Nov. 14 at St. Malo, located just outside Rocky Mountain State Park near Estes Park. No injuries were reported at the retreat center, where guests were sent home Nov. 13 because of a power outage, and staff was evacuated at the first signs of the fire. "We don't know of anybody being hurt," said the spokeswoman. "The church so far is fine and doesn't appear to be hurt in any way."

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Cardinal says US ordinariate for former Anglicans to be created Jan. 1

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- A new ordinariate -- functionally similar to a diocese -- will be created Jan. 1 to bring Anglicans into the U.S. Catholic Church, announced Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl during the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 15. Cardinal Wuerl also said 67 Anglican priests have submitted their dossiers seeking ordination in the Catholic Church, and 35 of those have received initial approval from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. That means they can move to the second stage of approval, which includes a criminal background check, psychological evaluation and recommendations from the Catholic bishop where he lives and from his Anglican ecclesiastical authority, he said. The actions followed the November 2009 issuance by Pope Benedict XVI of an apostolic constitution, "Anglicanorum coetibus" authorizing the creation of an ordinariate to bring in Anglicans, or Episcopalians as they are known in the United States, who seek to leave their tradition and join the Catholic Church but retain certain elements of the Anglican faith. The announcement in the final hour of the public portion of the annual meeting in Baltimore brought immediate logistical questions, such as the relationship between the ordinariate -- which will cover the entire U.S. -- and the dioceses in which the former Anglican priests will live. The physical location of its offices has not been announced.

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Bishops OK 5-year extension of financial reporting resolution

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops overwhelmingly approved a five-year extension of the resolution that calls bishops to adhere to sound financial reporting within their dioceses. The vote, taken Nov. 15 during the bishops' fall general assembly in Baltimore, was 230-2 with one abstention. A simple majority of the bishops present and voting was needed for approval. Confidence in diocesan finances is "essential to the health of the church," said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., chairman of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance. No bishops at the meeting rose to address the issue Nov. 15 prior to the vote. The resolution approved Nov. 15 was first enacted in 2000, and renewed in 2004 and 2006. The 2006 renewal was for five years, running through November 2011. This latest renewal extends the resolution for another five years, through November 2016. While it was possible for bishops to submit amendments to the resolution, the bishops' Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance preferred they would renew the 2006 resolution "without ... taking on something more," Bishop Paprocki said Nov. 14 when introducing the item to the bishops. "At this point our committee didn't want to be adding to the original resolution," he said. The only amendment submitted was to fix a redundancy in the resolution's text, and was approved by the committee prior to the vote.

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Phoenix bishop issues new norms on distribution, reception of Communion

PHOENIX (CNS) -- Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted has issued new norms for the distribution of Communion in the Diocese of Phoenix that entrust to pastors the decision to make available Communion under both kinds in their parishes. Promulgated Nov. 7, the new norms for the Diocese of Phoenix are intended to promote greater reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. They are based on three church documents that provide guidance for celebrating Mass: the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, "Redemptionis Sacramentum" and the Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America. Previously, The Catholic Sun, Phoenix diocesan newspaper, had reported that the norms, which were incomplete at the time, would restrict the availability of the precious blood to a limited number of occasions, such as certain feast days, retreats or special celebrations. What the norms state is that the distribution of Communion under both kinds will be based on eight conditions. Evaluating whether these conditions are met -- and whether Communion under both kinds may be offered at Mass -- is at the discretion of the parish pastor or a priest chaplain to whom a community has been entrusted. "The question was whether the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal was restricting when the chalice was offered, or whether it was expansive," said Father Kieran Kleczewski, executive director of the diocesan Office of Worship.

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Rape in Congo destroys women, but also society, says church official

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The high incidence of rape in Congo is not just destroying women, but is destroying the nation's society, said the general secretary of the church's national justice and peace commission. In Africa, the woman is "the central and most important guardian of values in society," said the general secretary, Sister Marie-Bernard Alima, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Kalemie. Rape is "not just rape," Sister Marie-Bernard told Catholic News Service in a recent visit to Washington. "It is rape to destroy a person's dignity" and to "degrade women and to degrade society. The trauma that they are subjected to cripples them in all their activities," she said. Sister Marie-Bernard and others admit that the situation is complex. The United Nations has called Congo the center of rape as a weapon of war, and the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health estimated Congolese women are raped at the rate of nearly one each minute. That same study showed that nearly a quarter of those surveyed had been raped by their spouses or partners. Sister Marie-Bernard said the rapes started when the war began in 1998, but they continue today, although the war has ended, because smaller, local militias saw that the tactics by soldiers worked. The approach to stopping the rapes "has to be comprehensive," she said, because the rapes are tied to a web of issues involving power and control.

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Vatican official calls humanitarian laws essential for civilian safety

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To protect innocent civilians from the harmful effects of weapons of war, "international humanitarian law remains an essential safety measure not to be weakened," a Vatican official said. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva, focused on the responsibility to protect civilian populations from harmful weapons in an address Nov. 14 to a conference reviewing the international Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. "The responsibility of the CCW to protect civilian populations rests on its ability to comply with the provisions of international humanitarian law and even in strengthening them," he said. "The CCW has an important place and role in the international system that seeks to reduce the impact of indiscriminate weapons on civilian populations, on the development and implementation of the conditions that allow an exit from war situations," he said. Archbishop Tomasi specifically expressed concern over the lack of consensus on protocols addressing on certain types of mines and on cluster munitions, which are being used in several conflicts. The work of the Vatican and several nations to formulate the separate Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008 was an important step toward protecting civilians since it was "no longer acceptable to see the number of victims increase" after a war and to see land "polluted" by the weapons unable to be used after a conflict had ended, he said.

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Vancouver archbishop urges Canadians to guard their religious freedoms

OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) -- Although Canada has traditionally had a healthy relationship between church and state, Catholics need to remain alert to protect religious freedom, said Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver, British Columbia. A secularist agenda "basically wants to privatize religion and leave it restricted to the private sphere," Archbishop Miller said in a mid-November interview from Vancouver. Pressures to compress religious freedom into private belief and private worship are not what is intended in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or universal human rights documents, he said. The archbishop described a number of circumstances in Canada that require vigilance: The encroachment of various human rights commissions on religious institutions or on the rights of their leaders to publicly profess Christian doctrine; The imposition of mandatory school programs that are contrary to Catholic teaching; The forcing of marriage commissioners in some provinces to conduct same-sex ceremonies against their religious convictions; The forcing of health care professionals to participate in or refer patients for abortion; And the ordering of pharmacists to dispense morning-after pills against their consciences.

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Archbishop Sartain of Seattle to become USCCB secretary in 2012

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops chose Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle as its new secretary-elect and Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, as chairman of its Committee on International Justice and Peace. The USCCB elections were among several held Nov. 14, the first day of the USCCB fall general assembly in Baltimore. Archbishop Sartain, who will become USCCB secretary in November 2012 and serve for three years, was elected on a 136-102 vote over Bishop Robert J. Cunningham of Syracuse, N.Y. As secretary, he also will chair the USCCB Committee on Priorities and Plans. Bishop Pates was selected over Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., by a vote of 122-114. The election was needed because Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien was recently appointed pro-grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, a Rome-based position, and is now apostolic administrator of the Baltimore Archdiocese. He is no longer eligible to succeed Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., as chairman of the international policy committee, as he was elected to do in November 2010.

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San Diego law student's advocacy for immigrants gains CCHD recognition

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- When Rosibel Mancillas Lopez meets undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of mainstream U.S. culture, she goes into action. She tells them they have basic rights under the law, despite their lack of citizenship. She explains Catholic teaching and its promotion of human dignity. She points them to avenues where they can advocate for changes in U.S. immigration law. Enrolled in the University of San Diego law school, Mancillas, 24, has taken a similar message to students on campus, where she organizes monthly trips to Tijuana, Mexico, in an effort to breach the cultural chasm. Mancillas was honored for her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants Nov. 14 by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which presented her with the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award during the U.S. bishops' fall meeting. The award honors a young adult for leadership in fighting poverty and injustice. As Mancillas sees it, her efforts follow her desire to live the Gospel. The fact that Mancillas and her family -- mother Rosa, father Porfirio, and two brothers, Porfirio Jr., and David -- lived in the shadows for eight years in the 1990s before they became U.S. citizens also has a lot to do with what she finds has become her life's calling. "Something that has had a strong impact on me is Catholic social teaching, in particular the teaching on human dignity and the right of everyone to have labor and work," said Mancillas, who plans to become an immigration attorney. "Related to this is immigration in the sense that immigrants are stripped of their human dignity just because they were born in a different part of the world. We tend to forget their humanness once we start judging them based on their language, based on the culture, based on the customs," she added. "What faith does for me is bring back all of this into perspective, that yes, we're all human, that we're all God's children, that we're all meant to pursue happiness."


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