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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Jan-3-2013

By Catholic News Service


Migration Week brings revived interest in letter, push for legislation

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Catholic Church's observance of National Migration Week Jan. 6-12 this year comes at a time when the outlook seems promising for improving migrants' legal situations in the United States. The annual observance of Migration Week this year focuses on encouraging Congress to approve comprehensive immigration reform and marking the 10th anniversary of a joint pastoral letter by U.S. and Mexican bishops: "Strangers No Longer: Together on a Journey of Hope." The January 2003 letter said migration policies had created a new underclass in the United States, and called for changes in law and policy in the U.S. and Mexico. The bishops promised to do more themselves to educate Catholics and political leaders about the social justice issues involved in migration and to do more to address migrants' needs. The 50-page letter said the governments of both countries must change policies, including making it easier to legally immigrate to the United States, better protecting the civil rights of migrants in both countries and addressing the root causes of migration -- poverty and lack of employment options in Mexico and Central America. It discussed the theological roots of the church's support for immigrants and laid out steps to be taken by church and public authorities. It notes that "misperceptions and xenophobic and racist attitudes in both the United States and Mexico contribute to an atmosphere in which undocumented (people) are discriminated against and abused." The letter urged both governments to "abandon the type of (law enforcement) strategies that give rise to smuggling operations and migrant deaths" and to restore due process rights.

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Budget deal defined as much by what's left undone as by what it does

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 -- and 2013, considering when the House of Representatives passed it -- will be known as much by what it doesn't include as what it does include. The legislation, among other things, puts off until March 1 all of the elements that could have been part of a "grand bargain" on budget and deficit issues to avert the so-called fiscal cliff but were cast aside in the interest of nailing down a last-minute deal. "We're glad they were able to come together and we didn't go over the cliff, but we're still at the edge of the cliff," said Kathy Saile, the U.S. bishops' director of domestic social development. The call, she added, is for "Congress and the (Obama) administration and both parties -- particularly leadership -- but both parties to work together with the White House." As for the March 1 deadline, "we'll have to wait and see," Saile said before quickly correcting herself: "Not wait and see, because we're going to be active in that." It does remain to be seen, she added, whether the next deadline brings forth a comprehensive accord or "just another temporary extension." The bishops' interests in the upcoming round of budget negotiations? We're worried that the only thing left are the cuts, and they're being pitted up against the debt limit," Saile told Catholic News Service Jan. 3. "We have to be sure we have a circle of protection that helps poor and hungry people at home and around the world." The March 1 deadline has implications, she added. "Once you get into March and April, you're into the budget season for fiscal 2014 and you head into appropriations. So at this point, the budget's like a year-round activity," Saile said, chuckling.

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Vatican official thanks mothers of priests, asks for their prayers

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The mothers of priests and seminarians deserve the thanks of the whole church for raising their sons in the faith and supporting them in their vocations, said Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. Writing on the Jan. 1 feast of Mary, Mother of God, the cardinal said having a priest-son requires a new form of motherhood, one that involves a "discreet, but very effective and invaluably precious accompaniment in prayer." Cardinal Piacenza's letter was posted, in Italian, on the website of the clergy congregation. When a man becomes a priest, he said, everyone in his family is touched and is called to a deeper conversion, but "unique and special are the spiritual consolations that come from having carried in your womb one who becomes a priest in Christ." Obviously, he said, seminary studies and priestly ministry often take a man further from home and from regular family life, but the physical separation is replaced by a closer spiritual bond, he said. "The experience of the church teaches that the mother 'receives' her priest-son in a completely new and unexpected way, so much so that by the will of God she is called to recognize in the fruit of her womb a 'father,' who is called to generate a multitude of brothers and sisters and accompany them to eternal life," the cardinal wrote.

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French bishops back plans for rally against same-sex marriage bill

PARIS (CNS) -- France's Catholic bishops are backing plans for a national demonstration against same-sex marriage legislation, which is expected to be approved by lawmakers later in January. "I won't be participating -- not because I don't agree with the demonstration, but because I don't think I need to march when I have to make something known to the government and president," Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, president of the bishops' conference, told France's Le Figaro daily. "But I've invited Catholics and everyone else with something to say on this matter to demonstrate," he added. "We're not under a dictatorship." A coalition of 30 French family groups, "Manif Pour Tous" (Demo For All), plans a Jan. 13 Paris rally against a bill allowing same-sex marriage, introduced Nov. 7 by the Socialist government of President Francois Hollande under the slogan, "Marriage for All." In a Jan. 2 report, the Catholic La Croix daily said 4.5 million leaflets had been printed for the Jan. 13 rally, converging on the capital's Champ de Mars, and special trains would be provided by organizers. The Paris archdiocesan website said a "prayer vigil for marriage and the family" would be held at the city's St. Nicholas Church before the event, during which Catholic groups would be providing help.

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Illegals who occupied Paris embassy ask church backing for cause

PARIS (CNS) -- Illegal immigrants who occupied the Vatican's embassy in Paris have called on the Catholic Church to support their struggle for better treatment. "We've asked moral and spiritual authorities, firstly the Vatican, to call the French government to greater humanity," the Collective Sans-Papiers, or "Illegals' Collective," said in a Jan. 2 statement. Between 40 and 70 mostly African illegal immigrants took over the embassy Dec. 31, unfurling a banner from the window with the slogan, "Jesus defended the stranger." They were supporting a 60-day hunger-strike by illegals outside the Catholic cathedral in Lille. The statement said the nuncio, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, had agreed to pass on the protesters' demand for a meeting with French Interior Minister Manuel Valls. However, it added that police had stormed the building after the government minister rejected the demand. On Nov. 28, a new Interior Ministry directive said immigrants must submit pay stubs as a condition for regularizing their status. In its statement, Collective Sans-Papiers said the November directive had imposed an "impossible condition" for most illegals and "condemned them to a desperate situation."

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Atlanta pastor named auxiliary bishop of archdiocese

ATLANTA (CNS) -- A former Southern Baptist who became a Catholic at the age of 24 and has served at various archdiocesan parishes, Msgr. David P. Talley, 62, who has been named by Pope Benedict XVI as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. At a news conference in Atlanta, Archbishop Wilton T. Gregory called the bishop-designate, "one of our finest priests." Bishop-designate Talley said he will "hope to give my whole heart" in his new ministry. He said he will "assist in shepherding the people" with Atlanta Auxiliary Bishop Luis R. Zarama and the archbishop. "One more worker," the new bishop-designate said. "It's all new. What an understatement," said Bishop-designate Talley, who wore a pin of Our Lady of Guadalupe on his lapel. He learned Dec. 18 of the appointment at his office at St. Brigid Church, Johns Creek, Ga., in a phone call from the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano. Bishop-designate Talley said the nuncio "encouraged me to trust in the Lord." Archbishop Vigano formally announced the appointment Jan. 3 because it is the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, the bishop-designate said. He thanked the archbishop, saying that he looked forward to his appointment in this "special Year of Faith." He ended his formal remarks at the news conference with a simple, "Pray for me."

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Caracas cardinal asks Venezuelans to pray for ailing president

CARACAS, Venezuela (CNS) -- Caracas Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino asked Venezuelans to pray for President Hugo Chavez as he battles cancer. "In the first place, we all are going to pray for the health of President Chavez, who, as the vice president has said, is in a delicate condition," Cardinal Urosa told news channel Globovision Jan. 1. "We are going to ask God that he strengthens him in these moments and, on the other hand, that the uncertainly is going to dissipate Jan. 10." Chavez is battling complications after operations in Cuba to treat cancer, and Venezuela confronts a possible constitutional crisis over who will lead the South American country should the president not return in time for his Jan. 10 inauguration. Chavez won re-election Oct. 7, but the cancer he had been battling before the election returned, forcing him to seek treatment again in Cuba. Vice President Nicolas Maduro told Venezuelans in a Dec. 30 message that Chavez had suffered complications from a respiratory infection after his fourth surgery.

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Retired Auxiliary Bishop Moses B. Anderson of Detroit dies at 84

LIVONIA, Mich. (CNS) -- A funeral Mass was scheduled for Jan. 7 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit for retired Auxiliary Bishop Moses B. Anderson, who died Jan. 1 in the Detroit suburb of Livonia, where he had been living in his retirement. He was 84. A Jan. 2 statement from the Archdiocese of Detroit said Bishop Anderson died of cardiac arrest. Born in Selma, Ala., in 1928, he was ordained an Edmundite priest in 1958. During his 25-year anniversary as a priest, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop of Detroit, a post he held for 20 years before retiring from active ministry in 2003. At the time of his ordination, he was one of seven African-American bishops in the United States. At the time of his retirement, he was the senior active black bishop in the country. The week after his retirement, Bishop Anderson flew to Ghana, where he traces his ancestry, to deliver a previously scheduled series of lectures on inculturation. In 1990, during a trip to Ghana, he was given a new title and "enstooled," so called because of the stool on which such dignitaries sit, as Kwasi, Aduanahene of Antoa -- which means Sunday, tribal chief of the Aduana, his ancestral clan, of the village of Antoa. The honor was given in appreciation of his work in Detroit to send development supplies to the village. At the time, Bishop Anderson told Catholic News Service that the honor, bestowed with elaborate ceremonies, was "a cultural thing that has no political power attached."


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