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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Jan-10-2013

By Catholic News Service


Cardinal urges governor to rethink support for 'radical' abortion bill

NEW YORK (CNS) -- A New York measure that would prevent state regulations on abortion is a "radical" bill in a state where the abortion rate is already "double the national average," New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan told Gov. Andrew Cuomo Jan. 9. The cardinal made the comments in a letter to the governor after Cuomo delivered his annual State of the State address, which opens the legislative session. He congratulated the governor on his remarks, saying: "There is much to cheer in your report, and my brother bishops and I look forward to working with you to advance much of this agenda." He noted Cuomo's references to recent gun violence in the nation and said the Catholic leaders share his "absolute horror" over such incidents, including the "unspeakable massacre" in Newtown, Conn., that claimed 26 innocent lives Dec. 14. In his speech, Cuomo outlined an agenda for the coming session that includes reforming gun laws, improving the state's health care system, bettering care for the mentally ill, working for safer schools and raising the minimum wage. He also backed a number of measures on women's issues, including the proposed Reproductive Health Act to codify abortion in state law. Cardinal Dolan told him that while there was much to praise in the address, "I would be remiss if I did not renew my great disappointment regarding your continued support for the radical Reproductive Health Act." New York Right to Life is among other opponents of the measure, first introduced in the Legislature two years ago.

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Ethics part of all courses in Catholic University's new business school

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Catholic University of America in Washington is spinning off its current economics and business curriculum from its School of Arts and Sciences and fashioning a new business school with the idea of infusing ethics into all course offerings. In 2014, graduates will receive their degrees from the new School of Business and Economics, the university's 13th school. This year's business and economics graduates will still receive degrees from the School of Arts and Sciences. The action to create a new school was taken in a December vote by the university's board of trustees, following three years of evaluating and planning. The new school's creation took effect Jan. 1, and it was announced Jan. 8. Enrollment in business courses has jumped from 300 to 450 since 2008, according to Andrew V. Abela, an associate professor of marketing who is currently chair of the university's Department of Business and Economics and will slide over to the new business school. "We have very small classes, and we want to keep it that way," Abela, a native of Malta, told Catholic News Service in a Jan. 8 interview at Catholic University. "There's something about the program that the students find appealing," Abela said. He believes it is the correlation of societal institutions with the economy and the application of natural law within the curriculum.

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In 'Ex Corde' review, bishops, college leaders cite good collaboration

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- During the past decade, U.S. Catholic college presidents and local bishops have experienced greater collaboration, according to a review of the Vatican document that clarified the relationship between these leaders. The bishops and college leaders gave a 10-year review of "The Application of 'Ex Corde Ecclesiae' for the United States," a document that went into effect in 2001 and outlines how U.S. Catholic colleges and universities should implement the 1990 Vatican document on Catholic higher education called "Ex Corde Ecclesiae" ("From the Heart of the Church"). The 10-year review, called for in the application document, began in January 2011 when bishops were asked to conduct conversations with college and university presidents in their dioceses. More than 100 bishops reported on their conversations at regional meetings during the November 2011 General Assembly and, the report said, "the prevailing tone was positive and the news was good." Bishop Joseph P. McFadden of Harrisburg, Pa., chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a one-page report summarizing the review completed in June 2012. The report was released Jan. 10 by the USCCB. "Bishops reported that they believe our institutions of Catholic higher education have made definite progress in advancing Catholic identity," the report said. "The relationship between bishops and presidents on the local level can be characterized as positive and engaged, demonstrating progress on courtesy and cooperation in the last 10 years."

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Pope names Lebanon trip coordinator to head Canada's Maronite Catholics

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI named the priest in charge of coordinating his papal visit to Lebanon to head the Maronite Catholic community in Canada. Bishop-designate Marwan Tabet replaces Maronite Bishop Joseph Khoury, 76, who stepped down for reasons of age, the Vatican announced Jan. 10. The 51-year-old new bishop-designate will head the Diocese of Saint-Maron of Montreal as bishop for the Maronite Catholics of Canada. He coordinated the pope's three-day visit to Lebanon in 2012, helping organize the papal itinerary together with Vatican officials. Born in Lebanon, he entered the Congregation of the Lebanese Maronite Missionaries in 1980 and was ordained a priest six years later. He studied and served parishes during the late 1980s through the mid-1990s in Boston and Lawrence, Mass., and in Dallas and San Antonio. He helped found the Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite parish church near Dallas. Bishop-designate Tabet has degrees in educational administration from the University of Massachusetts and the University of South Africa, a degree in political philosophy from the University of Dallas, as well as degrees in theology and philosophy.

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Visiting bishops note strain recent events placed on Mideast countries

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- Bishops who traveled to the Holy Land to assess the local church's needs noted the "profound anxiety" that the "dark and dramatic events" of the past year have caused in the region. The civil war in Syria has resulted in an increasingly large number of refugees pouring into other countries, putting an enormous strain on national and government resources, they said. The situation within Israel and Palestine has also become increasingly polarized, they added. "We shall work hard to persuade our respective governments to recognize the root causes of suffering in this land and to step up their efforts for a just peace," they said in the Jan. 10 statement. Each year bishops from the U.S., Canada and Europe travel to the Mideast for the Holy Land Coordination, designed to show support for the churches there. This year's focus was on the "suffering and vulnerable people in the Holy Land." A Jerusalem news conference in which the bishops' statement was to have been presented to journalists was canceled due to a rare winter snow storm, which left the bishops stuck in Bethlehem, West Bank, to enjoy the unusual sight of the city covered in snow. In their statement, the bishops encouraged people to take steps toward practical support for the most vulnerable in the Holy Land, including African refugees who are victims of trafficking, migrant workers and Christian prisoners.

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Bishop of Las Cruces retires; San Antonio auxiliary named successor

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M., and named as his successor Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantu of San Antonio. The changes were announced in Washington Jan. 10 by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Las Cruces was established in 1982 and Bishop Ramirez, now 76, was named its first bishop. Canon law requires bishops to submit their resignations when they turn 75. Bishop Cantu, 46, has been an auxiliary bishop in San Antonio since 2008. The man he succeeds in Las Cruces had likewise been a San Antonio auxiliary bishop in his first episcopal assignment before being appointed to head the Las Cruces Diocese. The date for his installation has not been determined. "I am humbled that the Holy Father would appoint me to lead a beautiful diocese in a state that I am not terribly familiar with," Bishop Cantu said in a statement. "There is a deep sense of 'being sent' -- sent, as the apostles were by Christ, to announce the good news of the Gospel to the four corners of the earth." "To be following a great man in the person" of Bishop Ramirez was also humbling, he added.


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