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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Jun-10-2013

By Catholic News Service


Bishops warn against changes in immigration bill that could kill it

SAN DIEGO (CNS) -- Three bishops weighed in on the ongoing congressional debate on immigration reform legislation June 10, warning against amending a Senate bill in ways that would block the path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. At a news conference in San Diego, held as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opened its annual spring meeting, the chairmen of three committees reiterated the bishops' support for comprehensive immigration reform that protects families and workers. "Each day in our parishes, social service programs, hospitals and schools, we witness the human consequences of a broken immigration system," said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Migration. "Families are separated, migrant workers are exploited, and our fellow human beings die in the desert." He called the status quo morally unacceptable, adding, "This suffering must end."

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Church has led way in addressing abuse of minors, says board chairman

WORCESTER, Mass. (CNS) -- The Catholic Church has led the way in addressing the sexual abuse of minors, said the new chairman of the National Review Board. Francesco C. Cesareo, president of Assumption College in Worcester and a member of the review board for one year, succeeded Al Notzon III as board chairman June 9 at the conclusion of the board's June meeting. Since the board meets four times a year, the first meeting Cesareo will oversee as chairman will be in September. His appointment by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, raises the visibility of the college and the Worcester Diocese, he said, and he expressed hope that it would be a positive reflection on both. His three-year term as chairman is a contribution the college is making to the life of the Catholic Church, he said. His plans are to do what the review board was set up to do. It advises the bishops' Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection and was established by the "Charter for Protection of Children and Young People," which the bishops adopted in 2002. The board does this by making sure that the bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" is being implemented, he said. Cesareo said he was very active in his year on the board, contributing ideas and suggestions and engaging in debates. He said he has an understanding of how church institutions work, and a sensitivity to the delicate balance between what the National Review Board can recommend and the way the hierarchy and the church operate.

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Religious freedom gets more lip service than guarantees, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Religious freedom is talked about more than it is protected, Pope Francis said. "The serious violations inflicted on this basic right are causes of serious concern," and the world's nations must act together to uphold "the intangible dignity of the human person against every attack," he said. The pope made his comments during an audience with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano at the Vatican June 8. The pope said the cooperation that exists between church and state in Italy is built on the daily interaction and rapport between government officials and Catholics, whose main aim is always the promotion of "the interests of the people and society." He noted that 2013 marked the 1,700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan. This proclamation of tolerance of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire is seen by many, he said, "as a symbol of the first affirmation of the principle of religious freedom."

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Lay members meet to contribute to Regnum Christi's transformation

ROME (CNS) -- Members of Regnum Christi, the lay movement associated with the Legionaries of Christ, said they don't feel they are on a salvage mission, but rather are part of a transformation. They have been shocked and disillusioned by revelations that their movement's founder -- the late Father Marcial Maciel Degollado -- fathered children and sexually abused seminarians, and they recognize that many more have been hurt by Father Maciel's actions. Yet they are frustrated by widespread doubts about the validity of the movement, which they still strongly believe can improve their own lives and the life of the church. Brenner LeCompte, 28, entered the Legionaries' "apostolic school," a kind of minor seminary, when he was 15, and spent eight years with the Legionaries before deciding he was not called to the priesthood. LeCompte, who lives in Connecticut, told Catholic News Service he has checked out other movements, but "I haven't connected with anything else." Now married with a new baby, he said he believes his involvement with Regnum Christi "is a vocation. I don't feel at home anywhere else."

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Reform of Regnum Christi confirms consecrated member's decision to stay

ROME (CNS) -- For Mary Patt Pirie, the revision of the statutes of Regnum Christi and the increased autonomy of its branches for consecrated women and men confirm her sense that God is calling her to stay and help reform the movement founded by the late Father Marcial Maciel Degollado. "I've stayed because in the depths of my heart I know this is where God wants me to be," Pirie told Catholic News Service June 7, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which she and others associated with the movement marked as a special day of prayer and atonement. Pirie, who is from Akron, Ohio, and has been a consecrated member of Regnum Christi since 1994, was appointed to the general council of the consecrated women's branch in 2012. Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, whom Pope Benedict had appointed in 2010 to oversee the reform of the Legionaries and Regnum Christi, named Pirie and the other leaders to guide the process of writing a constitution for the women's branch, which would allow the women to define and regulate their lives and give them greater autonomy from the Legionaries of Christ. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal De Paolis and ordered the reform of the Legion and the branches of Regnum Christi after it was confirmed that Father Maciel had sexually abused seminarians, had fathered children and had managed to live a double life for decades.

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Irish missionary says women can foster peace in Nigeria's conflict

DUBLIN (CNS) -- Women can play an important role in bringing peace and stability to violence-wracked northern Nigeria if some of the country's discriminatory social rituals ended, an Irish missionary sister working in the West African nation said. Sister Kathleen McGarvey, 45, a member of the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles and a lecturer at Good Shepherd Seminary in Kaduna, Nigeria, told Catholic News Service that women can bring new perspectives based on their experience and knowledge to the peace effort. She likened the untapped potential of Nigerian women to their sidelining in the long-practiced Igbo tribal ritual of the breaking of the kola nut, a fruit of the tropical rainforest in much of Africa. The nut is broken at weddings, church gatherings and major social events as a symbol of acceptance and welcoming of visitors. "At any church gathering, after the opening prayer, the kola nut is blessed by the priest and if there is no priest, one of the men will pray over it; then it is broken. It is like a sacred ritual and has its basis in the Igbo culture but has become Christianized," Sister Kathleen explained. "For the ritual to become more inclusive and allow women to break the nut would be a very significant step forward," she said.

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Retired Bishop Sullivan, health care advocate, dies after car crash

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CNS) -- Just five days after his 57th anniversary as a priest, retired Auxiliary Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan of Brooklyn died June 7 of injuries he suffered in a car accident a week earlier on the Long Island Expressway in Syosset. He was 83. Funeral home visitation and a wake for Bishop Sullivan were to be held June 10 and 11 at McLaughlin & Sons Funeral Home in Brooklyn. A vigil Mass was to be celebrated June 11 at Our Lady of Hope Church in Middle Village and a funeral Mass scheduled for June 12 at his childhood parish church, St. Ephrem in Brooklyn. Burial was to follow at St. John's Cemetery in Middle Village. A native of Brooklyn, Bishop Sullivan lived, studied and worked his entire life in and nearby his hometown, serving in many positions that allowed him to use his training in social work and his commitment to Catholic health care. He retired in 2005 but continued to serve on boards for Catholic hospitals and other health institutions, said Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. "He epitomized the best of our church's teaching and the fundamental option for the poor," Bishop DiMarzio said in a statement. "He was an outstanding priest."

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For Mother Dolores Hart, it's time for her close-up -- again

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Don't look now, but Dolores Hart is about to become a star again, 50 years after her last movie. Hart -- that's Mother Dolores, the prioress of a Benedictine women's monastery in Bethlehem, Conn. -- has just had her memoir published a year after a documentary featuring her life in as a cloistered nun picked up an Oscar nomination for best documentary short subject. She is crisscrossing the country this summer to promote the book, "The Ear of the Heart: An Actress' Journey From Hollywood to Holy Vows." The latest rush of celebrity is "amazing," Mother Dolores told Catholic News Service June 6 in Washington, where she was scheduled for a raft of interviews and a personal appearance. "It makes me realize that time is the illusion. We do things in our life, and we constantly do them. It's only separated by time," said the 74-year-old nun. Mother Dolores, in her Hollywood days, made only 10 movies, but she made them count. She was cast twice opposite Elvis Presley, in 1957's "Loving You" and 1958's "King Creole." She starred in the first film celebrating the annual ritual of spring break in 1960's "Where the Boys Are." She even did a star turn as St. Clare in the 1961 religious biopic "Francis of Assisi." But she's most proud of playing the title character in the 1962 drama "Lisa," as a Jewish girl who survived the Nazis' Auschwitz death camp only to be pursued by traitors after World War II intending to force her into prostitution.


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