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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Nov-19-2012

By Catholic News Service


Maryknoller dismissed from priesthood for supporting women's ordination

WASHINGTON (CNS) - The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the priesthood because of his participation in the invalid ordination of a woman and "a simulated Mass," the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers announced Nov. 19. The order said in a statement the canonical dismissal came Oct. 4. Citing Bourgeois' participation in the invalid ordination in Lexington, Ky., Aug. 9, 2008, the Maryknoll statement said, "With patience, the Holy See and the Maryknoll Society have encouraged his reconciliation with the Catholic Church." Bourgeois could not be immediately reached for comment. "Instead, Mr. Bourgeois chose to campaign against the teachings of the Catholic Church in secular and non-Catholic venues," the statement said. "This was done without the permission of the local U.S. Catholic bishops and while ignoring the sensitivities of the faithful across the country. Disobedience and preaching against the teaching of the Catholic Church about women's ordination led to his excommunication, dismissal and laicization." The church holds that it has no authority to ordain women. The Maryknoll statement said, "Mr. Bourgeois freely chose his views and actions, and all the members of the Maryknoll Society are saddened at the failure of reconciliation. With this parting, the Maryknoll Society warmly thanks Roy Bourgeois for his service to mission and all members wish him well in his personal life."

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New Jersey Catholics come together to transcend historic storm's impact

TRENTON, N.J. (CNS) -- In the weeks since Hurricane Sandy waged her relentless 48-hour assault along the mid-Atlantic shoreline, carving a swath of devastation throughout and beyond the four-county Diocese of Trenton, the Catholic community has answered back in faith and solidarity. "Priests and parishioners, first responders and volunteers, community leaders and ordinary citizens, old and young alike have reached deep into their hearts and souls to care about and for one another," Trenton Bishop David M. O'Connell said in a reflection published in The Monitor, the diocesan newspaper. "I believe it is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ alive and at work in our diocese," he said about response to the need created by Sandy. The Trenton Diocese's two shore counties -- Ocean and Monmouth -- suffered some of the worst devastation, mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people into relief work on behalf of the victims and bring them together to proclaim their unwavering belief that there is always hope with God. Even as their own power was gone, communications crippled and staffs suffering staggering personal losses of homes and property, dozens of shore parishes opened their doors to serve as shelters from the storm, to share food and warmth where it could be found, and to partner with groups like the Red Cross and local fire departments to collect desperately needed items for local residents. On Nov. 15, the diocese's Department of Pastoral Care announced it would host a "day of consolation" Dec. 8 for those in bereavement ministry and for those affected by hurricane Sandy.

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Boston 'parish collaboratives' seen as best use for limited resources

BRAINTREE, Mass. (CNS) -- A pastoral plan approved by Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley calls for the Boston Archdiocese to organize its 288 parishes into approximately 135 groups called "parish collaboratives." Led by one pastor, a group of priests, deacons and lay ecclesial ministers, called a pastoral team, would provide pastoral services to parishes in the collaborative. Under the plan, each parish in the collaborative group will maintain its separate identity and retain control of its own property and assets. Cardinal O'Malley said the new pastoral plan comes in response to current challenges faced by the Catholic Church in Boston, and could change if those realities improve. He approved the plan Nov. 15. Called "Disciples in Mission," the plan identified parishes' main challenges: declining Mass attendance, shrinking numbers of priests and trained laity, and an increasing number of parishes unable to sustain themselves financially.

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Catholic high school band relishes chance to perform in Macy's parade

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) -- Ever since Kenley Cadena picked up a flute to perform in the band at her Catholic grade school in Nashville, she knew what she wanted to do. "I wanted to be at the top," she said. "Ever since then it's been a passion, and I love it so much." On Nov. 22, Cadena and fellow members of the Father Ryan High School Marching Band will be at the very top, performing the highest profile gig of their lives -- at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The band will perform in the holiday kickoff tradition, in front of an estimated 3 million live spectators, for the first time in school history. Father Ryan was one of only 11 marching bands selected to participate out of more than 150 applicants from around the country. Interviewed before their New York trip, Cadena and her band mates were laser-focused on perfecting their 1-minute, 15-second Macy's routine, which will be taped live and broadcast into millions of homes on Thanksgiving morning. In addition to the choreographed routine performed for the television cameras, the Father Ryan band will be entertaining the crowds as they march through the streets of Manhattan.

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Protecting marriage, human life part of serving common good, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Catholics are called to serve the common good of society, including by protecting traditional marriage and defending human life, Pope Benedict XVI told bishops from France. Being Catholic means being faithful "to the moral teaching of the church" and having "the courage to demonstrate their Christian convictions -- without arrogance, but with respect -- in the various spheres in which they work," the pope said Nov. 17 as he welcomed a group of bishops making their periodic "ad limina" visits to the Vatican. "With the bishops, they must pay attention to proposals for civil laws that can undermine: the safeguarding of marriage between a man and a woman, the protection of human life from conception to death, and the correct orientation of bioethics in faithfulness to the documents of the magisterium," the pope said. In several French cities Nov. 17-18, thousands of Catholics took to the streets to protest government plans to legalize same-sex marriage. President Francois Hollande said he wanted to legalize gay unions by mid-2013. Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris told the Vatican newspaper Nov. 17 that the church has been expressing its opposition to the proposed law and "we have warned about the dangers" such a change can bring. In the interview with L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican paper, he said the law, which would include allowing gay couples to adopt, "risks producing devastating effects," particularly for children who would grow up not having both a male and female parent.

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Croatian church hails freeing of generals from war crimes sentences

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- Croatia's Catholic Church welcomed the release of two Croatian generals from war crimes sentences amid nationwide rejoicing in the Balkan country. "Truth is the only guarantee of peace and the truth is that the Croatian nation and society were subjected to terrible aggression, destruction and annihilation in the name of hateful ideologies aimed at destroying our right to a free country," Cardinal Josip Bozanic of Zagreb said in a Nov. 16 statement. "The Croatian nation had a right to defend itself, and did so at the cost of enormous sacrifices, which are still felt today. This verdict has restored dignity to these sacrifices and the wounds of victims," he said. The cardinal's statement came after the International Criminal Court in The Hague acquitted Ante Gotovina and Mladek Markac, who were jailed in April 2011 for killing ethnic Serb civilians. The ruling overturned a 2011 verdict that the men had deliberately targeted civilians with artillery as part of "a joint criminal enterprise." The president of the Croatian bishops' conference also welcomed the ruling, telling a Nov. 17 press conference the generals had made an "indispensable contribution to freedom." Archbishop Zelimir Puljic of Zadar said their release would end "long years of suffering" in the country, where more than 80 percent of the 4.4 million inhabitants are Catholic. He added that the acquittal had come as a surprise, suggesting it was "God's work."

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Hit by upheaval, people need stability, hope of God's word, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In a world hit by natural disasters, wars and violence, people need the stability and hope found only in God's word, Pope Benedict XVI said. Instead of being obsessed with predictions and forecasts of the end of the world, people of faith need to take responsibility for their lives and personal behavior and look to God for guidance, he said. "In the midst of the upheavals of the world," Jesus "remains the solid and steady anchor," he said Nov. 18, commenting on the day's Gospel reading during his midday Angelus address. Speaking to pilgrims gathered below his apartment window in St. Peter's Square, the pope commented on the apocalyptic imagery Jesus used when he told his disciples "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken."

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Health is universal good to be defended, not commoditized, says pope

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Good health is a benefit that needs to be defended and guaranteed for all people, not just for those who can afford it, Pope Benedict XVI told hundreds of health care workers. The new evangelization is needed in the health field, especially during the current economic crisis "that is cutting resources for safeguarding health," he said Nov. 17, addressing participants at a conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry. Hospitals and other facilities "must rethink their particular role in order to avoid having health become a simple 'commodity,' subordinate to the laws of the market, and, therefore, a good reserved to a few, rather than a universal good to be guaranteed and defended," he said. Nearly 600 people who work in the field of health care attended the council's Nov. 15-17 international conference, which focused on the theme: "The Hospital, Setting for Evangelization: A Human and Spiritual Mission."

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Value of human life is logical, accessible truth, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The universal, natural human reaction to the death of a loved one should show believers and non-believers alike that human life has value, Pope Benedict XVI said. "The awareness of the sacredness of the life entrusted to us -- not as something we can dispose of freely, but as a gift to safeguard faithfully -- belongs to the moral heredity of humanity," the pope wrote in a message to a dialogue between Catholics and non-believers, meeting in Portugal. The gathering Nov. 16-17 in Guimaraes was organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture as part of its "Courtyard of the Gentiles" project, bringing thinkers together to discuss topics of concern to society. The pope said the Portugal meeting was designed to bring together "believers and non-believers around the common aspiration of affirming the value of human life amid the growing wave of the culture of death." Pope Benedict said that while the value of life can be affirmed by anyone who thinks the matter through logically, for those who believe in God the value of life is even clearer.

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Missionary spirit of India's Syro-Malabar Church hailed on jubilee

NEW DELHI (CNS) -- The missionary zest and vibrancy of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church was lauded at a celebration of the church's first missionary venture. "The Syro-Malabar church has contributed to not only the evangelization of India but outside," said Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal, at a public meeting Nov 18 following a solemn Mass marking the 50th anniversary of the church's missionary efforts. The Syro-Malabar Church is one of two Eastern churches that, along with the Latin Church, make up the Catholic Church in India. The other Eastern church is Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. "Thousands of your missionaries are in the service of the needy ... sharing the wonderful legacy that started from St. Thomas," Archbishop Pennacchio told more than 6,000 Syro-Malabar Catholics representing 30 dioceses from across India who flocked to New Delhi. "May the intercession of St. Thomas help you in your journey of faith here and abroad." The jubilee marked the establishment in 1962 of the Chanda Diocese, then a mission diocese under the self-governing Syro-Malabar Church. The church traces its history to St. Thomas the Apostle, who arrived on the shores of southern Kerala state in A.D. 52.

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Naming of Maronite patriarch as a cardinal buoys Lebanese Catholics

BEIRUT (CNS) -- Catholics in Lebanon said Pope Benedict XVI's naming of Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai as a cardinal reinforces the church's support for Christians in the Middle East. The appointment is "a sign of support and affirmation for the Christians of the Middle East and a support for the Christian presence in the region," Archbishop Paul Sayah, vicar general of the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerke, told Catholic News Service. "It is a sign of support and affirmation for Lebanon in the present situation the country is going through," Archbishop Sayah said. "Last but not least, the elevation of Patriarch Rai to the rank of cardinal is a sign of the confidence the Holy See has in the person of His Beatitude and the clear support for his vision and the style of ministry he has been exercising." The patriarch is one of six new cardinals who will be elevated in a consistory at the Vatican Nov. 24. Maronite Father Camille Mubarak, president of Sagesse University in Beirut, said Cardinal-designate Rai's elevation "is good for the peace for all the people of the Middle East -- Muslims and Christians." He, too, emphasized that the appointment confirmed that the plight of Christians in the Middle East "that was ignored is now included in the political geography of the world."

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Canadian priest appointed Holy See's head of protocol

OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Msgr. Jose Bettencourt, a native of Portugal who grew up in Ottawa, as the Holy See's head of protocol. Msgr. Bettencourt is only the second non-Italian to hold the position. The post had been held by Msgr. Fortunatus Nwachukwa, a Nigerian diplomat, who was named Nov. 12 as apostolic nuncio to Nicaragua. "We are very proud of him and the honor the Holy Father has conferred on him in calling him to this charge," Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa said. "He values his ties with his local church of Ottawa though his duties only permit a short stay at Christmas and a longer break over the summer months," the archbishop said. "He is invariably pleased to receive Canadians when I refer people to him and is kind to a fault." In his position Msgr. Bettencourt is in charge of the protocol involving the Holy See's relationships with other states, from welcoming visiting heads of state at the airport to dealings with diplomats and ambassadors accredited to the Vatican. His role includes overseeing how heads of state and others participate in ceremonies such as canonizations and consistories and ensuring that visitors to the Vatican are welcomed and relaxed.


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This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
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