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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Aug-30-2013

By Catholic News Service


Military archbishop opposes death penalty for Fort Hood shooter

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Archbishop Timothy M. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services said he opposes capital punishment for Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was sentenced to death Aug. 28 following his conviction of the shootings in the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Texas. "The church teaches that unjustified killing is wrong in all circumstances. That includes the death penalty," Archbishop Broglio said in an Aug. 29 statement. "Maj. Hasan and his victims are all entitled to justice," the archbishop added. "Maj. Hasan, at least, now has recourse to a scrupulous appeals process. Would that his victims have received as much fairness." The jury at a military court-martial convicted Hasan of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in connection with the massacre, which a U.S. Senate report later called "the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001." Hasan was himself wounded in a gun battle with Army civilian police when he followed a wounded victim outside. Hasan was shot in the spine and has had to use a wheelchair ever since.

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Western church leaders warn against intervention in Syria

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As speculation mounted about Western air strikes on Syria, a committee of U.S. bishops called for a political solution, and Catholic leaders in Europe warned military intervention could lead to an escalation of hostilities. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the chairman of the bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace reiterated what Pope Francis and Jordan's King Abdullah II said Aug. 29, that "the path of dialogue and negotiation between all components of Syrian society, with the support of the international community, is the only option" to end the conflict in Syria. The committee reiterated its long-standing position that "the Syrian people urgently need a political solution that ends the fighting and creates a future ... that respects religious rights and religious freedom." The letter, signed by the committee chairman, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, called on the U.S. to work with other governments to pursue negotiations and a cease-fire. In a column in Austria's Heute daily, Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schonborn said that "taking up arms can only be a last resort."

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Pope tells Jesuits that Cardinal Martini was 'prophetic, man of peace'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- On the eve of the first anniversary of the death of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, Pope Francis called the late-fellow Jesuit and biblical scholar, a "prophetic" figure and a "man of discernment and peace." The late cardinal, who died Aug. 31, 2012, at the age of 85, was "a father for the whole church," and remembering one's fathers "is an act of justice," the pope said during a meeting with a group of Italian Jesuits. Representatives of the Italian Jesuit province met with the pope Aug. 30 to present the creation of the Carlo Maria Martini Foundation -- a nonprofit initiative aimed at promoting the late-cardinal's writings and the study of his life and works. The foundation will work in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Milan, where Cardinal Martini served as archbishop from 1979 to 2002. During the brief meeting, the pope told the group that the late-cardinal played an important role during the general congregation of the Society of Jesus in 1974 in discussions about the relationship between faith and justice.

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Zambian cardinal dies at 81; pope remembers his commitment to poor

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Zambian Cardinal Medardo Mazombwe, retired archbishop of Lusaka and a longtime campaigner for foreign-debt reduction, died Aug. 29. He was 81. In a telegram to the people of the Archdiocese of Lusaka, Pope Francis praised the late cardinal's "unfailing commitment to the spread of the Gospel in Africa and his tireless efforts on behalf of the poor." A statement from the archdiocese said, "Cardinal Mazombwe's optimism and courage in the face of cancer inspired many that visited him in the last 12 months. Even as he grew weak, Cardinal Mazombwe never gave up his passion for the affairs of the church and the nation." Pope Benedict XVI had named him to the College of Cardinals in 2010, four years after the archbishop retired as head of the archdiocese. The Zambian prelate rose to international prominence in the late 1990s as a vocal advocate for the world's poor countries, particularly those unable to provide for their citizens because they were making massive payments on debt to First World banks.

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Pope names Legionary priest to No. 2 spot at Vatican governing office

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Legionary priest who led a major overhaul of the Vatican's telecommunications infrastructure and set up public email addresses for two popes has been named the new secretary-general of the office governing Vatican City. Spanish-born Legionaries of Christ Father Fernando Vergez, 68, fills a vacancy recently left by Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, whom the pope named Aug. 24 to the Vatican's supreme tribunal as adjunct secretary under U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke. Father Vergez, who is director of the Vatican's telecommunications department, will continue to hold his old post while serving in his new capacity at the governor's office. His appointment is seen as part of the pope's efforts to reorganize how the Vatican operates. The secretary-general's post is critical because he coordinates and manages the daily operations of Vatican City State and is in charge of making all "fundamental working decisions," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. The governing office, which manages the business and financial affairs of the 108-acre state, was a key target in the 2012 "VatiLeaks" scandal.

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N.Y. Catholic hip-hop artist 'unafraid' of sending a message of faith

ALBANY, N.Y. (CNS) -- A 20-year-old Schenectady, N.Y., Catholic is making a name for himself in the hip-hop and contemporary Christian music worlds. But he doesn't care about his Facebook followers or fan mail. In fact, being idolized is "the worst feeling," said Cory Larmour, whose stage name is Cory Matthews. But the attention "lets me know there are more people out there hearing God," he said. "I don't care if it's through me. It's all about love." Larmour is a parishioner of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Schenectady and a senior at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio, majoring in theology and catechetics. Inspired by a DJing father and a rapping cousin, Larmour has been recording, mixing and playing music since middle school and even had local success in rock and punk bands in his teens. "Unafraid," his first hip-hop album, was set for release in September. The songs all have a Christian perspective, but he shies away from calling himself a "Christian hip-hop artist. A lot of people try to label music," he said. But "you don't really separate other music based on content."


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