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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Jan-31-2013

By Catholic News Service


Archdiocese of Milwaukee seeks court relief to avoid financial woes

MILWAUKEE (CNS) -- Nearly 25 months into the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee continues to seek an answer to the question it has asked throughout the process: Who is eligible to make a claim? "How else are you going to satisfy them if you don't know who has a claim?" Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, said Jan. 25 to the Catholic Herald, a publication serving the Catholic community in southeastern Wisconsin. The questions are again being asked as the archdiocese filed a motion Jan. 24 asking U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Susan V. Kelley to allow it to suspend payments to attorneys and consultants for the creditors' committee. The archdiocese would continue to pay its own attorneys with money from its insurance carriers. The motion was filed because the archdiocese is running out of money. The cost of the Chapter 11 proceedings, in which the archdiocese must pay for its own attorneys and the creditors' committee attorneys and the services of personnel enlisted by them, has totaled more than $9 million. "The monies for the Chapter 11 come from accumulated savings and cash reserves; we had money that was budgeted for litigation that we were in before the Chapter 11 petition was filed," Topczewski said. "We had some investment earnings. Those are the monies we've been using to date to pay the bills. Those are gone." An exhibit filed with the court shows operating cash projections, including professional fee payments from January through June. At the end of January, the cash balance was projected at $626,948. By the end of April, it is expected to be $488,352.

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Mass celebrates convergence of faith, intellect at US Catholic schools

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Every year at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, a group of peer ministers selected from the student body selects two important aspects of scholarship to talk about at prayer time during National Catholic Schools Week. This year they celebrated the "importance of intellect" and its relationship to a strong faith life, said Divine Word Father George Kintiba, a campus minister who accompanied students to a special Mass Jan. 29 in the Crypt Church at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. When faith and intellect do not "oppose each other," but rather are brought together, they can help all "to come to know God better," he told Catholic News Service. The Mass, broadcast live by the Eternal Word Television Network, was sponsored by The Catholic University of America, the Dominican House of Studies and the National Catholic Educational Association for this year's Catholic Schools Week, observed Jan. 27-Feb. 2. The Mass of St. Thomas Aquinas, which is traditionally celebrated annually by the Catholic University community, happened to fall during National Catholic Schools Week this year, said university spokeswoman Catherine Lee. The special week is an "opportunity to celebrate Catholic schools," said Christian Brother Robert Bimonte, NCEA's executive vice president.

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Legal and medical experts, activists address effects of 40 years of Roe

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- To Gerard Bradley, leading constitutional scholar and professor at the University of Notre Dame's law school, "abortion is the greatest civil rights issue of our time." Bradley was one of several speakers from the legal and medical fields who joined activists at the National Press Club in Washington for a conference on "The Future of Roe: Women, Health and Law in the Obama Era," sponsored by Americans United for Life. Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, called the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 the "Dred Scott of our age," referring to the 19th-century Supreme Court decision that declared blacks to be noncitizens and made slavery legal in all territories. The Jan. 24 event at the press club was one of several events held in Washington to mark the 40th anniversary of legalized abortion. With its Roe decision, and its decision in the companion case Doe v. Bolton, the court legalized abortion virtually on demand. In that era, the pro-life movement that had developed alongside the movement supporting legalized abortion was completely caught off guard by the "immediate escalation of abortions" that followed the court decision, explained Laura Garcia, a philosophy professor at Jesuit-run Boston College and a veteran in the prolife movement. The rate "more than doubled in six years," she said.

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Assaults on Armenian women in Istanbul unsettle Christians, Muslims

ISTANBUL (CNS) -- As a light snow fell, Bahija Geyimli exited Immaculate Conception Armenian Catholic Church after Mass in the Samatya neighborhood, the heart of Istanbul's Armenian community. If recent attacks in the area had scared her, she wasn't showing it. Wrapping a wool scarf around her head, Geyimli, 71, descended the church's ancient stone steps. "There are robberies," she acknowledged Jan. 27 in response to a question about a series of assaults that have targeted Armenian women like her. Geyimli said she thought the women had been attacked because "Armenians are known for keeping money and other valuables. It's for money. ... It's not because they were Christian," she told Catholic News Service. She walked through the church courtyard and headed for an empty Samatya side street, alone, carrying a big black purse. Four attacks have occurred since December in Samatya, a once-flourishing Christian Armenian and Greek neighborhood bordering the Marmara Sea. The area today mostly is inhabited by Muslims who make up the vast majority of Turkey's population of 75 million. Turkish media reported that all of the victims -- at least three of whom were in their 80s -- were Armenian Christians; three were assaulted in their homes while one was stabbed to death. One woman was assaulted on her way to church by three men who tried to kidnap her before they were chased away by passersby, according to the reports. Valuables were stolen in at least three of the incidents.

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Media blitz can help youths find Gospel in digital deluge, speaker says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The best way the church can be heard and seen amid the deluge of the information age is to launch a media blitz of simple answers to life's deepest questions, a young Catholic journalist told a Vatican news conference. "People always say it should be quality over quantity; perhaps this was true once upon a time, but today quantity is necessary," said Alessio Antonielli, who works for the Conventual Franciscan-run San Francesco Review magazine in Assisi. "The church is full of quality" with its rich 2,000-year history of writings and teachings, but "the problem is no one reads them; and today if you aren't present in certain channels, it's like you don't even exist," he said Jan. 31, the feast of St. John Bosco, father and teacher of young people. Antonielli was one of a number of speakers presenting details about the Pontifical Council for Culture's plenary assembly Feb. 6-9. He and Farasoa Mihaja Bemahazaka, a university student from Madagascar, were invited to attend the assembly to help the council's members and advisers explore this year's topic of emerging youth cultures and how the church can better respond pastorally. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the council's president, said often it seems young people are disconnected from the real world around them, with eyes glued to smartphones and ears muffled by headphones. "In a certain sense they have put up a shield of self-exclusion" not only against "the unbearable social, political and religious difficulties we adults have created," but also because "we have excluded them with our corruption and hypocrisy, precarious employment, unemployment and alienation," he said.

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Why not women priests? The papal theologian explains

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In October, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the priesthood because of his participation in the invalid ordination of a woman. Since then, a Jesuit in Wisconsin has had his priestly faculties suspended after he celebrated a liturgy with a woman purporting to be a Catholic priest; and the Redemptorist order has confirmed that one of its members is under Vatican investigation for alleged ambiguities "regarding fundamental areas of Catholic doctrine," apparently including the question of women's ordination. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that only men can receive holy orders because Jesus chose men as his apostles and the "apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry." Blessed John Paul II wrote in 1994 that this teaching is definitive and not open to debate among Catholics. Yet some Catholics persist in asking why, as traditional distinctions between the sexes break down in many areas of society, the Catholic clergy must remain an exclusively male vocation, and what this suggests about the church's understanding of women's worth and dignity. Few are as well qualified to answer such questions as Dominican Father Wojciech Giertych. As the theologian of the papal household, Father Giertych has the task of reviewing all speeches and texts submitted to Pope Benedict XVI to ensure they are free of doctrinal error. Though his office was not founded until the 13th century, the Dominican claims St. Paul the Apostle, who corrected St. Peter on important questions of church teaching, as his original forerunner. (A copy of Rembrandt's portrait of St. Paul in prison hangs on a wall in Father Giertych's apartment in the Apostolic Palace.) "In theology, we base ourselves not on human expectations, but we base ourselves on the revealed word of God," the theologian told Catholic News Service. "We are not free to invent the priesthood according to our own customs, according to our own expectations."

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New cardinals get their assignments to Roman Curia

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Two months after receiving their red hats, the six newest members of the College of Cardinals have received their assignments as members of Vatican congregations, councils and offices -- one of the clearest ways they help Pope Benedict XVI govern the universal church. While keeping their main jobs, the new assignments allow the cardinals to bring their experience and perspective to bear on the discussions and decisions of the central church offices that assist the pope. Creating the new cardinals Nov. 24, Pope Benedict had told them: "Particularly through the work you do for the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, you will be my valued co-workers, first and foremost in my apostolic ministry for the fullness of catholicity, as pastor of the whole flock of Christ and prime guarantor of its doctrine, discipline and morals." The assignments announced by the Vatican Jan. 31 included: For U.S. Cardinal James M. Harvey, archpriest of Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, membership on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and on the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, which oversees Vatican property and investments; Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, head of the Maronite Catholic Church, was named a member of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

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Ravens player says his Catholic faith plays 'huge role' in life, career

ROCKFORD, Ill. (CNS) -- Sean Considine, a safety for the Baltimore Ravens, is the first to point out that he belongs to some important families -- God's family, the family his parents began, his hometown community, the family he shares with his wife and four children, and the NFL. "My Catholic faith has played a huge role in my family and career. I thank God every day for a beautiful wife and kids, for the game of football that helps make that possible and that I am part of a game that brings enjoyment to others," Considine said in a phone interview from Baltimore, where he was preparing for the Feb. 3 Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. He spoke to The Observer, newspaper of the Rockford Diocese. He and his family live in Byron, Ill., where he has been a member of St. Mary Parish since he was in the fourth grade. Considine is quick to talk about his faith and how important it is to his career, to the kind of man he aspires to be off the field and how it guides him as a husband and father. "I've always had great examples. I idolize and respect my father. I was taught to think of others before yourself," he said. He tries to bring that philosophy to his game of football and his life off the field. "My faith has always been important and I am so blessed to have a woman that wanted to share that with me," Considine said. His wife, Nicole, was baptized a Catholic but raised in the Baptist Church.


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