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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Jan-8-2013

By Catholic News Service


Boston's new auxiliary bishop seeks prayers, support from faithful

BOSTON (CNS) -- Thanking God for the blessings he has received throughout life and for being called to the priesthood, the newly ordained auxiliary bishop of the Boston Archdiocese asked for prayers and support as he began his new role. Speaking near the end of his ordination Mass Jan. 4, Auxiliary Bishop Robert P. Deeley told the congregation gathered in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross that he welcomed the opportunity to continue serving the church of Boston in his new capacity. "I offer thanks to almighty God, who has blessed me in life with abundant gifts and called me by faith to baptism and to the sacred priesthood -- an honor and grace I have treasured for these 40 years (as a priest)," said Bishop Deeley, who will continue serving the archdiocese as vicar general and moderator of the curia. In his call for prayer, Bishop Deeley, 66, described a card he received from a young Catholic school student, who said "we are praying for you, please pray for us. What you and I must do in addition to praying for each other is to share that pleasure which we see as the joy we find in Jesus Christ. Pray then for me, as I will for you, that we might be counted among those living the truth in love, helping others through our lives to come to know Jesus, whose coming among us as a sign of God's love we celebrate in these days of Christmas," the new bishop said.

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Calling Jews 'enemies' is 'unacceptable,' Vatican spokesman says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Catholic Church remains committed to deepening its relations with Jews and finds it "absolutely unacceptable" to consider the Jewish people as enemies, the Vatican spokesman said. "It is absolutely unacceptable, impossible, to define the Jews as enemies of the church," Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said. In an audio recording posted on YouTube Dec. 30, the head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X called the Jewish people "enemies of the church," saying Jewish leaders' support of the Second Vatican Council "shows that Vatican II is their thing, not the church's." Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the society, said those most opposed to the church granting canonical recognition to the traditionalist society have been "the enemies of the church: the Jews, the Masons, the modernists." The remarks were made during a nearly two-hour talk Dec. 28 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy in New Hamburg, Ontario. While the society's Swiss headquarters did not respond to a Catholic News Service email request Jan. 4 for comment, the society's U.S. district published a press release on its website Jan. 5. "The word 'enemies' used here by Bishop Fellay is of course a religious concept and refers to any group or religious sect which opposes the mission of the Catholic Church and her efforts to fulfill it: the salvation of souls," it said.

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Pope completes 'ad limina' visits with world's bishops -- almost

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican announced that after more than seven years in office, Pope Benedict XVI had hosted the formal visits of bishops from every country in the world and would begin the cycle all over again by meeting the heads of Italy's 227 dioceses in 2013. The only problem is the Vatican overlooked the bishops of the Netherlands who made their last visits "ad limina apostolorum" ("to the threshold of the apostles") with Blessed John Paul II in 2004. Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary of the Congregation for Bishops, which coordinates the visits, said his office was informed by the Prefecture of the Papal Household, which schedules audiences with the pope, that when the last group of French bishops met Pope Benedict in November "the cycle was complete. But now it seems that with the Netherlands, something happened," the archbishop told Catholic News Service Jan. 8. A spokesman for the Dutch bishops said Jan. 8 that the heads of the seven dioceses of the Netherlands expect to make their visits either late this year or early in 2014. Also missing from the list of Pope Benedict "ad limina" visits are the bishops of communist-controlled mainland China, but that is because government restrictions prevent them from making the visits. However, the bishops of Hong Kong and Macau had their meetings with Pope Benedict in 2008. The Code of Canon Law calls for the heads of every diocese in the world to make their "ad limina" visits every five years, but there are now almost 2,900 dioceses in the world and the 85-year-old pope also has other obligations as well.

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Be like good Samaritan, help those in need, pope says in message

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In a message for the 2013 World Day of the Sick, Pope Benedict XVI called on everyone to be a good Samaritan and concretely help those in need. Thanking those who care for the sick and elderly, the pope underlined the church's fundamental role in "lovingly and generously accepting every human being, especially those who are weak and sick." The World Day of the Sick is celebrated annually Feb. 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Vatican released the text of the papal message Jan. 8. Pope Benedict expressed his affection for all those "undergoing a time of trial due to illness and suffering," and he prayed that they remember they are not alone, marginalized, forgotten or useless. "You have been called by Christ and are his living and transparent image," he said, quoting from a message delivered by the fathers of the Second Vatican Council in 1965 "To the Poor, the Sick and the Suffering." The Gospel parable of the Good Samaritan is just one of many accounts that show how Jesus expected his disciples to behave toward others, especially those in need, the pope said. Through prayer, people can draw strength from God's infinite love in order to "live day by day with concrete concern, like that of the Good Samaritan, for those suffering in body and spirit who ask for our help, whether or not we know them and however poor they may be," Pope Benedict wrote.

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Mexico has changed, but maybe not for better, says bishop

SALTILLO, Mexico (CNS) -- Although church-state relations have thawed in the past 25 years, Saltillo Bishop Raul Vera Lopez said he remains dissatisfied with government restrictions on religion. "The Religious Associations Law continues leaving us being as controlled as we were previously," Bishop Vera told Catholic News Service in early January, as he celebrated 25 years of being a bishop. "We have to report where our priests are to the Interior Ministry," he said. "A soccer player can come on and off the field. ... If I change priest's parish, I have to report that." The gradual warming of church-state relations is one of the many changes Bishop Vera has witnessed during his quarter-century of being a bishop in Mexico, serving dioceses stretching from Chiapas on the southern border to Saltillo in the North. He has witnessed some of the biggest events to have marked Mexico over that time: the 1990s indigenous uprising in Chiapas, the end of one-party rule on the federal level in 2000 and the worst of the country's crime and drug-cartel violence, which has hit the areas covered by the Diocese of Saltillo especially hard. Even with the country now carrying out competitive elections, having moved from a closed economy to signing free-trade agreements, with church officials now in a position to criticize the current social and political situation, Bishop Vera struck a sour note on how the modern-day Mexico has unfolded. "Things have deteriorated over the past 25 years," Bishop Vera said.

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Bishops hopeful for Ghana's development as president is inaugurated

ACCRA, Ghana (CNS) -- Despite a legal challenge to the election of President John Dramani Mahama, two Ghanaian bishops expressed hope that the country would move forward in peace so that new development can occur and raise standards of living for everyone in the country. The Jan. 7 inauguration of Mahama is a sign that Ghana is poised to maintain peace and stability, said Archbishop Gabriel Yaw Anokye of Obuasi, who attended the ceremony with hundreds of foreign dignitaries and heads of state. The high turnout for the ceremony should indicate to the world that Ghanaian democracy has "matured," he said. Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu of Konongo-Mampong, president of the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference, expressed support for Mahama and said the ceremony shows how far Ghana's democracy has come. While the bishops were backing the 54-year-old president, Ghana continued to face a challenge to Mahama's election. Mahama, a former vice president, became president in July after President John Atta Mills died in office. Mahama subsequently was elected to a full term with 51.7 percent of the vote over Nana Akufo-Addo, the New Patriotic Party candidate who garnered 47.7 of votes cast. International observers called the vote fair and free. However, the New Patriotic Party accused Mahama's National Democratic Congress of vote fraud and petitioned the country's supreme court to review the outcome. New Patriotic Party leaders have pledged to adhere to the court's decision.

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New York auxiliary bishop vows to lead Diocese of Camden as a pastor

CAMDEN, N.J. (CNS) -- Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan vowed to lead as a pastor, pledged that the church will never abandon the city of Camden and offered a greeting to Hispanics in fluent Spanish during his visit to the diocese after his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI. His comments came as he was introduced Jan. 8 as the eighth bishop of Camden at a news conference in the Camden Diocesan Center soon after the appointment was announced in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, papal nuncio to the U.S. Bishop Sullivan, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of New York since 2004, succeeds Bishop Joseph A. Galante, 74, whose resignation was accepted by the pope six months before he turned 75, the age bishops are required by canon law to submit their resignation to the pope. Bishop Galante resigned for reasons of ill health. He has been undergoing dialysis since being diagnosed with kidney disease in 2011. "I joyfully welcome you to the wonderful people of God of this diocese," Bishop Galante said in presenting Bishop Sullivan. "I trust you will come to love them as I do." Bishop Sullivan, 67, said he recently visited Rome, where he had made of point of visiting Contarelli Chapel in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi to see Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio's painting "The Calling of St. Matthew." The work, an image of contrasting shadows and light completed in 1600, depicts the moment at which Jesus calls Matthew to follow him. Meeting Jesus and pointing to his own chest, Matthew, a tax collector, has a look of astonishment on his face.

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Retired Ottawa Archbishop Plourde, 97, dies

OTTAWA, Ontario (CNS) -- Retired Ottawa Archbishop Joseph-Aurele Plourde, instrumental in setting up the Canadian bishops' international development agency, died Jan. 5 at the age of 97. Archbishop Plourde attended the Second Vatican Council and played a key role in the restructuring of the Canadian Catholic Conference, which was renamed the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1977. Among the many highlights of his ministry, in 1966-67 he chaired a committee that established the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. He served as president of the bishops' conference, 1969-1971. Archbishop Plourde was vice president and founding member of the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, now the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario. Archbishop Terrence Prendergast will celebrate his predecessor's funeral Jan. 11 at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. Immediately afterward, Archbishop Plourde's remains will be entombed in the archbishop's chapel at the cathedral. Born in New Brunswick's Madawaska County in 1915, the eighth of 11 children, Joseph-Aurele Plourde was ordained to the priesthood in 1944. He pursued a university degree in Moncton and entered Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax before his ordination; afterward he did graduate studies in social sciences in Paris and Ottawa.


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