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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Oct-18-2012

By Catholic News Service


Mexican cardinal urges priests to promote vocations among US Hispanics

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CNS) -- Mexican Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez said he sees "many possibilities here in the United States for vocations from the Spanish-speaking people," and urged priests and other church leaders to work for vocations among Hispanic Catholics. "Go to the children, speak to the children" to cultivate new vocations, he said in an interview with The Record, newspaper of the Louisville Archdiocese. He also had a message for Hispanic Catholics in the United States. "Don't lose your faith in Christ. Maintain yourselves inside the church," he said. Cardinal Sandoval, retired archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico, was one of the keynote speakers at the annual conference of the Asociacion Nacional de Sacerdotes Hispanos (National Association of Hispanic Priests). Held Oct. 8-11 in downtown Louisville, it drew nearly 100 Hispanic priests from around the nation. The conference focused on the new evangelization to coincide with the theme of the world Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, which opened Oct. 7 and closes Oct. 28. Speakers included Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M., who talked about the church's new evangelization efforts. Father John Guthrie, associate director of the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke about vocations among Hispanic Catholics. The conference included two public Masses, the one at St. Joseph Church in Butchertown and one at the Cathedral of the Assumption. Cardinal Sandoval was the main celebrant of the Mass at St. Joseph Church. Speaking in Spanish, he told the congregation to live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to work for an increase in religious vocations.

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Half of Hispanics favor legalizing same-sex marriage, study finds

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- More than 50 percent of Hispanics now favor legalizing same-sex marriage, marking nearly a statistical flip-flop in the six years since the Pew Hispanic Center first began asking that question. However, majorities of those who attend religious services most regularly continue to oppose such marriages. In a report released Oct. 18, Pew's Hispanic Center and its Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 52 percent of Hispanics support same-sex marriage and 34 percent oppose it. Among them, 54 percent of Hispanic Catholics say it should be legal and 31 percent oppose it. Among all Americans, 48 percent favor same-sex marriage, as do 53 percent of all Catholics. In 2006, when the organization first asked Hispanics that question, 31 percent favored legalizing same-sex marriage and 56 percent opposed it. A large majority of evangelical Hispanics remain opposed to same-sex marriage, with 25 percent saying they support it and 66 percent opposed. Among white evangelicals, 19 percent support legalizing such marriages and 76 percent are opposed. In the religion breakouts done by Pew, white evangelicals are the group most likely to oppose same-sex marriage. Support for same-sex marriage was weaker among Latinos who regularly attend religious services, the report said. Among all Hispanics, 40 percent of those who attend services at least weekly support such marriages, and 47 percent oppose them. Forty-six percent of Latino Catholics who go to church at least weekly said they support same-sex marriage, while 37 percent oppose it. The Catholic Church opposes legalizing same-sex marriage, saying that marriage should remain a union between one man and one woman.

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Rising charter school enrollment seen as challenge for Catholic schools

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- For the first time, more children are enrolled in charter schools than in Catholic schools, reported the Lexington Institute, a think tank in Arlington, Va., that focuses on the role of federal government in education reform, tax reform and national security. "Our clients are going elsewhere; we have to do something different or we're going to close down," said Joseph Womac, executive director of the Fulcrum Foundation, an organization providing financial help to promote and support the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Seattle. Womac was part of a panel discussion Oct. 16 at The Catholic University of America in Washington on "Building 21st Century Catholic Learning Communities," which is the title of a new study by the institute. The event included a dozen speakers representing Catholic education, Catholic organizations, inner-city schools and charter schools. According to the National Catholic Educational Association, 1,942 Catholic schools, or 23.8 percent, have closed in the past decade. Secondary schools are doing better than elementary schools. Sean Kennedy, visiting fellow at the Lexington Institute, said current tuition rates have caused much of the enrollment decline. Between 1998 and 2010, the average Catholic school tuition more than doubled, from $4,300 to $8,800, which is a "huge financial burden for even upper-middle-class families with multiple children to send to school," Kennedy said. "This has led to people choosing charter schools over Catholic schools." According to the latest available data, Catholic school enrollment stood at 2,031,000 students for 2011-2012 and 2,056,000 for public charter schools in the United States, Kennedy told Catholic News Service later. He said the figures were based on data from NCEA, the U.S Department of Education and other sources. Preserving Catholic schools "does not mean keeping things the same," Womac said. "If we keep things the same, we will get the same results, and they haven't been good."

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Native Americans feel 'pulled up' by Blessed Kateri becoming a saint

LA CROSSE, Wis. (CNS) -- Since 1997, Eleanor St. John has lived for the day when one of her greatest heroes would be recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church -- Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. That year St. John attended her first Tekakwitha Conference, named for the young maiden known as the "Lily of the Mohawks." Blessed Kateri, the daughter of a Christian Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father in upstate New York, will be canonized Oct. 21 at the Vatican by Pope Benedict XVI, along with several others. She will become the first Native American saint. "Immediately after the announcement last December that she would be canonized," St. John said, "Mass was being celebrated all over the country in celebration. People were crying in gratitude and joy. It makes me a little teary-eyed." A parishioner at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral in La Crosse, St. John is a member of the Winnebago tribe of Nebraska. She and other pilgrims from the diocese were heading to Rome for the canonization. "I know she's the patroness of the environment and ecology, but I call her the saint of Native Americans," she told The Catholic Times, La Crosse's diocesan newspaper, in an interview before her departure. "We love her and are so happy she is put up in this different realm because of her sainthood. We feel pulled up with it because there's so much emotion in the history of the different tribes throughout the United States that they've had to suffer and go through as the U.S. developed." In her own life, St. John said, that Blessed Kateri has inspired a greater love for Jesus and his sacrifice for the world. "I am definitely encouraged by the faith that she had and her aspiration to be with Jesus and working for him," she said. "She had a strong devotion to the cross and the suffering Christ made on the cross. I also encourage my daughters to think of her as a role model to help them stay pure and focused on the cross."

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Australian bishop warns: Don't cut medical costs by targeting elderly

MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Western nations must resist the pressure to "scapegoat, abandon, even kill, the elderly as a cost-cutting measure," an Australian bishop said in a major bioethics lecture. Bishop Anthony Fisher of Parramatta, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said health economists and utilitarian philosophers were placing the elderly at risk by treating them as a "swarm of voracious but unworthy consumers of a resource which doctors must guard from them." Delivering the 2012 Anscombe Memorial Lecture at St John's College, Oxford University, he accused health economists who focused disproportionately on costs of "showing us how to get most efficiently to the wrong place. In the process we may be led to compromise basic moral principles against killing, harming and abandoning, and favoring respect for the dignity and equality of all, promotion of health, reverence for the elderly and support for the disadvantaged," Bishop Fisher said in his Oct. 15 lecture. "We should resist that pressure now by a strong insistence that age will not be a criterion of health care distribution," he said. Bishop Fisher concluded that priority of access to care and resources should be granted on the basis of needs, irrespective of age, with more important needs overriding less-important demands. "The elderly are not a problem, a market, a budget: They are real individuals, our own people, our ancestors, in due course -- ourselves," he said.

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Pope names US archbishop serving at Vatican to Indianapolis Archdiocese

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, to be archbishop of Indianapolis. The appointment was announced Oct. 18 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States. Archbishop Tobin, 60, succeeds Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein, who resigned in September 2011 at age 73 for health reasons. He had headed the archdiocese for 19 years. A native of Detroit, Archbishop Tobin is a member of the Redemptorist religious congregation. He has been secretary of the Vatican congregation since October 2010. He will be installed as archbishop of Indianapolis during a special Mass Dec. 3 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral. The date is the feast day of St. Francis Xavier, patron saint of the archdiocese. Auxiliary Bishop Christopher J. Coyne has been serving as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese and will continue in that role until Archbishop Tobin's installation. Bishop Coyne introduced Indianapolis' new shepherd at a news conference, but first paid tribute to Archbishop Buechlein, who was in attendance. The retired prelate, who is a Benedictine monk, lives at St. Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana. "The archdiocese is a thriving and healthy Catholic community that serves not only our people but so many of the greater community of central and southern Indiana," he said, which is "due in no small part to the vision and leadership of Archbishop Buechlein."

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Archbishop Onaiyekan named 2012 Pax Christi Peace Laureate

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, is the 2012 Pax Christi International Peace Laureate. He is being honored for promoting understanding among people of different faiths through dialogue in Africa, particularly in his homeland of Nigeria. Most notably, he has worked to bridge relations between Christians and Muslims. Pax Christi International officials will present the award Oct. 31 in Brussels. Marie Dennis, co-president of the global organization, commended the archbishop for his "faithful witness to the Gospel of peace and reconciliation," particularly "in an era when extremists from different religious traditions regularly claim media attention. Archbishop Onaiyekan has been a consistent advocate for positive and respectful Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria and around the world," Dennis wrote in an email Oct. 18 from Pax Christi International's Brussels headquarters to Catholic News Service. Archbishop Onaiyekan serves as co-chairman of the African Council of Religious Leaders-Religions for Peace and formerly served as co-chairman of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council. Pax Christi International has presented its Peace Laureate award since 1988, honoring contemporary men and women who work for peace, justice and nonviolence in countries around the world.


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