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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Mar-7-2013

By Catholic News Service


Catholic church in 'heart of a new Brooklyn' named co-cathedral

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CNS) -- In one of his final acts as pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI designated St. Joseph Church in Prospect Heights as a co-cathedral for the Diocese of Brooklyn. "Since my arrival here as bishop of Brooklyn almost 10 years ago, it was evident that St. Joseph's, located in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn, is at the heart of a new Brooklyn," Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said in a written statement. "St. Joseph's is in a location anticipated to be the most densely populated area in New York City, and it should be a prominent fixture in the redevelopment at this exciting time in our borough," he said. St. Joseph's parishioners applauded when the new designation was announced during the Spanish and English Masses at the church March 3. Msgr. Kieran Harrington, administrator, celebrated the English-language Mass, assisted by Deacon Dwayne Davis, a four-year theology student. "This year will be a special year, one like none other," Deacon Davis told the congregation, "because our Holy Father has designated St. Joseph's to be a co-cathedral."

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Philadelphia seminary plans to compress campus, close college buildings

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput announced March 7 that the archdiocese will consolidate some facilities and close some buildings on the campus of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood. The archbishop announced the changes in his weekly column posted on CatholicPhilly.com, the news website of the archdiocese. "St. Charles Borromeo Seminary is the heart of our church in Philadelphia, and we remain dedicated to not only maintaining its presence in our community, but strengthening it for many generations to come," Archbishop Chaput said in a statement. "Our commitment to providing the best possible program of priestly formation for the benefit of our seminarians and the people they will one day serve is unwavering," he said. "The plan being announced today will ensure the future viability and sustainability of our seminary now and in the future." The huge building that houses the college division, known as the lower side, will be closed and the seminary consolidated into what is now the theology division, or upper side. The seminary will seek to lease or sell underutilized buildings and property, but at the same time implement new spiritual and academic programs for seminarians and lay adult theology students.

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Bishops say they could not support rewritten Violence Against Women Act

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Five bishops who lead committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a joint statement they could not support the rewritten reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law March 7. The stumbling blocks for the bishops were the references to "sexual orientation" and "gender identity. These two classifications are unnecessary to establish the just protections due to all persons. They undermine the meaning and importance of sexual difference," the five bishops said in their March 6 statement, calling the language "problematic." "They are unjustly exploited for purposes of marriage redefinition, and marriage is the only institution that unites a man and a woman with each other and with any children born from their union." The bishops said the USCCB had supported past versions of the Violence Against Women Act, noting that in its pastoral statement "When I Call for Help," the U.S. bishops had written, "Violence in any form -- 'physical, sexual, psychological or verbal' -- is sinful." The five bishops who issued the statement and the committees they chair are: Archbishops Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, Committee on Migration; and William E. Lori of Baltimore, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishops Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; and Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

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Ring of retired Pope Benedict no longer can be used as seal

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Pope Benedict XVI officially stepped down from office Feb. 28, his wardrobe changed -- right down to the ring on his finger. He simply stopped wearing the familiar red shoes and the traditional white cassock with a white cape on his shoulder. He also stopped wearing the fisherman's ring, one of the main symbols of the papal office, and went back to wearing an episcopal ring he wore as a cardinal. But it was not enough to simply leave the papal ring behind. According to the rules governing the interregnum and election of a pope, the College of Cardinals must "arrange for the destruction of the fisherman's ring and of the lead seal with which apostolic letters are dispatched." On March 6, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters that this "destruction" had been completed, although he explained that the ring is not smashed or destroyed completely; rather, two deep cuts are made in its face so that it can no longer be used as a seal. Retired Pope Benedict received the ring at his inauguration Mass along with his pallium, the woolen stole symbolizing a bishop's authority. Both were based on ancient designs.

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Cardinals need time to talk before conclave, spokesman says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When 115 cardinal electors gather in the Sistine Chapel for the conclave to elect a new pope, they will be praying and voting four times a day. The conclave schedule leaves little time for discussing the needs of the church the new pope will have to face, which is why the entire College of Cardinals met March 4-7 without even discussing a possible date to begin the conclave, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman. At the March 7 morning session of the meetings known as general congregations, 16 cardinals addressed the college, Father Lombardi said. They included three cardinals required by church law to inform the cardinals of the Vatican's financial situation: Cardinals Domenico Calcagno, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See; Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See; and Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission governing Vatican City State. Father Lombardi said he was not authorized to give details of their reports; the Vatican traditionally publishes its annual consolidated budget figures in July. Among the topics discussed by the 13 other cardinals were the ecumenical relations of the Catholic Church and the church's charitable work and assistance to the poor, Father Lombardi said. Those talks were in addition to comments that continue to be made in the broader areas of the new evangelization; the situation of the church in the world; the working of the Roman Curia and curial offices' relations with bishops; and the qualities and characteristics a new pope will need to address those concerns.

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Turkey's Muslims differ on interfaith dialogue, next Catholic pope

ISTANBUL (CNS) -- Huseyin Etyemez's carpet shop sits around the corner from Istanbul's grandiose Sultan Ahmet Mosque, or the Blue Mosque, as tourists often call it for the turquoise ceramic tiles that adorn the 400-year-old structure's interior. The mosque was only one of the places former Pope Benedict XVI visited while in Turkey nearly seven years ago, but it is the stop that many practicing Muslims remember most, said Etyemez, who was living and studying in Los Angeles at the time. He said the pope's open interest and concern for Islam were considered positive signs of respect for Muslims in Turkey and beyond, something he said he thought contributed to peaceful coexistence in a world often fraught with ethnic and religious tensions. "Because of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Muslims were thinking there were problems between Muslims and Christians. So it was very positive ... a good sign when Benedict visited the mosque," said Etyemez, now 35 and newly married. "Different religious leaders can visit sites" revered by other faiths as a way of furthering ties between different religious groups, Etyemez told Catholic News Service from the mosque's spacious courtyard. "These activities help and are good things," he said.

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Today's cardinal electors slightly older than group in 2005 conclave

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The group of cardinals preparing to enter a conclave to elect a new pope is slightly older -- by three months -- than the group that elected 78-year-old Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2005. Pope Benedict XVI, now 85, said his age and diminishing energy prompted him to resign for the good of the church, so some cardinals and many commentators expect attention to turn to younger members of the College of Cardinals. Only cardinals under the age of 80 when the papacy became vacant can enter the conclave in the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope. The cardinal electors do not have to choose one of their own, but they usually do. With 115 electors, 77 votes -- just over two-thirds -- would be needed to elect a pope. As of March 7, the average age of the 115 cardinal electors planning to enter the conclave was 71 years, 10 months. In 2005, there also were 115 cardinal electors in the conclave, and their average age was 71 years, seven months. The cardinals who elected 58-year-old Cardinal Karol Wojtyla -- Blessed John Paul II -- in 1978 had an average age of 67. Of the cardinal electors present in Rome to elect a successor to Pope Benedict, only five were in their 50s. Thirty-eight cardinals were in their 60s; 71 were in their 70s.

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As Vatican diplomat, Indian archbishop helped Chavez during 2002 coup

NEW DELHI (CNS) -- Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, a former Vatican diplomat, said "timely intervention" from the Catholic Church saved the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez from generals who had threatened to kill him following an attempted coup in 2002. The intervention led to Chavez's return as president after three days in detention when the takeover failed and public expressions of gratefulness for the church's action from the briefly exiled Venezuelan leader, said the archbishop, who heads the recently erected Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Faridabad, outside of New Delhi. Archbishop Bharanikulangara, a priest serving as a Vatican diplomat in Venezuela at the time, spoke to Catholic News Service March 7, two days after Chavez died of complications from cancer. The archbishop said the nuncio to Venezuela was away as events unfolded rapidly the night of April 11, 2002. "I was watching the dramatic developments on the TV in the night when one (army) general came on (the) line and told me that the captured president wanted to talk to me," the archbishop told CNS. Surrounded by gun-toting soldiers, Chavez pleaded with the priest, saying: "My life is danger. Please save me and my family."

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Cardinals face issue of Catholics embracing faith, but not the church

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A major issue facing today's U.S. Catholic Church is that many people express "absolutely no problem with faith, but they do have a problem with religion," said New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan. He said this is an issue facing many religions, but noted that for Catholics it is "a particularly pointed challenge because Catholics believe Jesus and his church are one; it's a package deal. To recover that intimacy of a relationship with Jesus and his church is a major pastoral challenge," he told Catholic News Service several days before the cardinals agreed to a media blackout March 6. Cardinal Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was asked about issues the cardinals would likely consider in their general congregation sessions before the conclave when they discuss a variety of needs facing the universal church. He said he had some ideas on these challenges, just based on what he has seen in U.S. dioceses from recent reports submitted to him by U.S. bishops in preparation for the next synod of bishops. As these reports have been coming in, he said he is "seeing a clear pattern."

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Jesus put church in hands of erring humans, not angels, says cardinal

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- If Jesus had wanted a church free of scandal or problems, he would have put it in the hands of angels, not a humanity he loved, said Nigeria's newest cardinal elector. "If you say the church needs to reform and improve, it would be the first to admit it, because the church has never reached the end of its journey; the church is always under reform," Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, told Catholic News Service. Even successful changes or improvements don't signal the job of conversion "is done and finished once and for all, because every generation has to go through its own reforms," he said on the sidelines of pre-conclave meetings March 6. Elevated to the College of Cardinals less than three months ago, Cardinal Onaiyekan, 69, downplayed the media's focus on some cardinals reportedly being concerned about the findings of an internal investigation of charges of corruption and financial mismanagement within the Vatican. Retired Pope Benedict XVI said the dossier compiled by a three-cardinal commission should be seen only by the next pope. Cardinal Onaiyekan said, "I do believe that very often there's a tendency to exaggerate the gravity and even the moment (importance) of the problems we have in our house today. Anyone who has read church history knows that there is nothing new on that."

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Gretchen Crowe named editor of OSV Newsweekly

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (CNS) -- Gretchen Crowe has been named the new editor of OSV Newsweekly, the nation's largest national Catholic weekly newspaper. Greg Erlandson, president and publisher of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, announced the appointment. He called Crowe "a bright light in Catholic journalism" who is perfectly suited to the challenges of Catholic publishing in the 21st century. "Gretchen has the kind of background we value so much," Erlandson said in a Feb. 28 statement. "She has been trained in the craft of journalism at one of the top journalism schools in the country. She has grass-roots experience in evangelization and ministry, has worked at one of the best diocesan newspapers in the country, and has a passion for social media and the web. She appreciates the big picture and the local details," he added. Crowe was most recently senior staff writer and photographer at the Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington, Va., where she served for almost nine years. She has won numerous awards for writing and photography, including a first-place award from the Catholic Press Association last year for her reporting on World Youth Day.


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