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 News Briefs

NEWS BRIEFS Jul-10-2014

By Catholic News Service

U.S.

Utah to appeal ruling on same-sex marriage ban to U.S. Supreme Court

SALT LAKE CITY (CNS) -- Utah's attorney general said July 9 the state will go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of overturning a federal appellate court's ruling that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. On the same day in neighboring Colorado, a judge overturned that state's ban on same-sex marriage. The decision by Colorado District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree "advances a misinterpretation of the institution of marriage in modern society, reducing marriage to a sheer emotional arrangement that can simply be redefined to accommodate the impulses of culture," said a July 10 statement by Colorado's Catholic bishops. "As Catholics, we have a duty to protect and preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman in our laws and policies. We are called to make this stand because redefining marriage will only further erode the family structure of our society," the bishops added. Colorado and Utah were two of six states affected by a 2-1 decision issued June 25 by a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said states could not deprive people of the right to marry because they chose partners of the same sex. The other four states are Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming. It marked the first time a federal appellate court had struck down state same-sex marriage bans. Crabtree's ruling marked the 16th time a state judge had overturned its state's same-sex marriage prohibition. In both cases, the judges put their rulings on hold pending probable appeals.

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Members of media give perspectives on migration issues at conference

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Members of the media offered their perspectives on migration in the modern world during the 2014 National Migration Conference in Washington. Highlighting ways that the Catholic Church serves migrant populations around the world, a panel of journalists encouraged Catholic and other advocates July 9 to continue fighting for immigration reform and increased services for migrants and refugees in the U.S. Francis X. Rocca, the Rome bureau chief of Catholic News Service, described how Pope Francis' experience as the son and grandson of immigrants can inspire religious people worldwide. "It should not be surprising that this pope would have made the issue of migration a priority because of his background and closeness to the immigrant's experience," Rocca said. "He has made this issue his own, whether it's talking about the individuals carrying migrants across the Mediterranean in boats or the coyotes or the human trafficking trade. That's where Francis' real contribution on migration issues has been and will continue to be." Ana Navarro, a political contributor at CNN and CNN en Espanol, explained the perspective that religious groups offer to the global conversation regarding these issues. "I think the Catholic Church and other religious groups have a very unique niche and mantle, which is the moral, the spiritual platform," Navarro said. "You are not an interest group. You are not doing this because it's good for your pockets or because it's good for your bottom line. You're doing this because it's the right thing to do and because it's the thing our religion calls us to do."

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Crowd-funding effort launched for French cathedral window restoration

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The American Friends of Chartres has launched a crowd-funding campaign in the United States to help restore and preserve a 20-foot-high 13th-century stained-glass window in the Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral in France. Once what is known as the Baker's Window is restored and before it is put back in the cathedral, the window will travel to the United States for an exhibition in one of the nation's museums known for their large collection of medieval art. Notre-Dame de Chartres, which was built more than 800 years ago, has the largest collection of 12th- and 13th-century stained-glass windows in the world. "We want to bring the beauty of the Chartres to the American people," said Dominique Lallement, president of American Friends of Chartres, in a phone interview with Catholic News Service. She explained that bringing the stained-glass into the U.S. will be a great opportunity for many people to experience something that they may have not seen before. It will be one of the first times "that stained-glass of the 13th century will travel to the United States," she added. Lallement said American Friends of Chartres is motivated by a the desire to preserve a world heritage that represents a lot to many people across the globe. The organization was established in 2005 to raise funds in the U.S. for the restoration and preservation of Chartres; the window project is just one part of the years-long restoration effort.

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WORLD

Vatican asks prayers, support for seafarers on Sea Sunday

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Catholics around the world are asked to remember in their prayers the 1.2 million seafarers around the world working in risky conditions far from their families to bring them goods they consume each day. The Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, the Apostleship of the Sea and Stella Maris Centers in ports around the globe celebrate Sea Sunday July 13. The life of a seafarer is "certainly not as romantic and adventurous as sometimes is shown in films and novels," Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, council president, said in a message marking Sea Sunday 2014. "The life of seafarers is difficult and dangerous," he said, not only because of storms, but also because of the ongoing risk of piracy and too many instances of crews being abandoned without wages, food or protection in foreign ports. Even in the best weather and with the best working conditions, the cardinal said, long hours and homesickness are a seafarer's constant companions. "A ship is economically viable only when sailing and, therefore, must continually sail from one port to another. The mechanization of cargo-handling operations has reduced the time of berthing and the free time of crew members, while security measures have restricted the opportunities to go ashore," he said.

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Pope planning visit to Pentecostal church in Italy, spokesman says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In late July, Pope Francis will pay a brief, "private visit" to the Italian church of a Pentecostal pastor he knows from Argentina, the Vatican spokesman said. The visit to the Evangelical Church of Reconciliation in Caserta, about 130 miles south of Rome, "is under study and likely would take place July 26," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the spokesman. Father Lombardi said the pope knew the church's pastor, Giovanni Traettino, from Buenos Aires, where the Pentecostal pastor participated in ecumenical events with Catholics, especially Catholics belonging to the charismatic renewal movement. The then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, along with Traettino and Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, headlined a large ecumenical charismatic gathering in Buenos Aires in 2006. Pope Francis mentioned his plan to make a Sunday visit to a Pentecostal church in late June when he met a group of evangelical pastors and televangelists at his Vatican residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Brian Stiller of the World Evangelical Alliance, who was present at the meeting with the pope, wrote about the encounter on his Facebook page and on a blog July 9.

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In Peru's Amazon, children learn to embrace grandparents' language

NAUTA, Peru (CNS) -- On a muddy street in this muggy jungle town, Julia Ipushima Manihuari has turned an overgrown play area into a classroom. "Tsakama," she says, stroking a tree branch as a dozen children repeat the word in unison. "What's this?" she asks, touching a leaf. The kids consult their notebooks. "Tsa," they reply hesitantly, and she makes them repeat the word several times. Pointing to the treetop, she says, "Suzapira." Except that the last vowel is somewhere between and "i" and a "u" -- it is written as an "i" with a crossbar -- and the children, accustomed to the crisp vowel sounds of Spanish, have trouble with it, trying the odd sound over and over. The children are Kukama Indians who are discovering their families' native tongue -- a language they never learned at home -- at the Ikuari School, a pilot program launched by Radio Ucamara, a station operated by the Catholic Church's Apostolic Vicariate of Iquitos. By June, the school had 60 students, ages 5-14, and half a dozen teachers, but it faces a funding crisis and its future is uncertain. The teachers are of the generation of the students' grandparents. As small children, they learned the language at home, but they faced scorn or punishment for using it when they started school. "They punished us for speaking it. They told us, 'That's the language of Indians,'" says Victor Canayo Pacaya, 62, who team teaches with Ipushima. "When we were young, we tried to forget Kukama, but it stayed engraved in our minds."

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After pope's condemnation of mafia, bishop bans processions

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A bishop in Calabria has ordered an end to all religious processions in his diocese after 30 men carrying a large statue of Mary and hundreds of people accompanying the statue paused and bowed in front of the house of a presumed mafia boss. The first reaction of Bishop Francesco Milito of Oppido Mamertina-Palmi, Italy, was to say that those who bowed during the July 2 procession in Tresilico "are clearly far from even a minimum spirit of pure, correct and authentic faith." The bow, he said, was a "gesture of blasphemous devotion that is the opposite of what is due to the mother of God." In protest the local commander of the Carabinieri, the Italian military police, and members of his squad who had been accompanying the procession with the statue of Our Lady of Grace left the procession. Although July and August are the most popular months for the religious processions that remain a key part of annual celebrations in cities, towns and neighborhoods, Bishop Milito announced that, beginning July 10, all processions would be suspended until diocesan leaders could work out rules and procedures for preventing their abuse. Bishop Milito said the decision was a call to "caution and an invitation to reflection and silence," but should not be read as "a gesture of mistrust or judgment of those who contribute with dedication and righteousness to processions."

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Lead by example: Pope offers abuse victims open ear, open heart

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- More than a meeting and homily, Pope Francis laid out a clear road map for the church when he celebrated Mass and welcomed abuse survivors to the Vatican. The morning he dedicated to six men and women who had been abused by clergy was a powerful combination of upholding the importance of having the letter of the law and displaying the proper spirit behind it. Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a German psychologist and psychotherapist who accompanied the two abuse survivors from Germany July 7, said: "This is not only about the letter of the law. This has to come from the heart if this is to really take fruit" and make real, lasting change. The homily-plan of action repeated calls for zero tolerance and accountability for the "despicable" crime of abuse and underlined continued commitment to vigilance in priestly formation and better policies, procedures and training for the implementation norms. But most striking that day, some of the visiting survivors said, were not the pronouncements at Mass, but the heart that went into the patient, one-on-one listening later, in private. While Pope Benedict XVI began the highly symbolic meetings with groups of survivors with his 2008 visit to Washington D.C., Pope Francis took the practice further. He invited survivors to the heart of the church in Rome for a real sit-down conversation -- devoid of aides and officials, for a total of two and a half hours.

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PEOPLE

Retired Bishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln recovering well from heart attack

LINCOLN, Neb. (CNS) -- Retired Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln is expected to make a complete recovery from a heart attack he suffered the morning of June 27 at his residence. Taken by ambulance to Bryan Medical Center and hospitalized for a few days, he continues to recover at home. In a posting on the diocese's Facebook page the day of his heart attack, Bishop James D. Conley, who succeeded Bishop Bruskewitz when he retired in 2012, assured Catholics that their retired bishop was doing well, was comfortable and alert, and grateful for all of their prayers. On July 5, the 78-year-old retired prelate was feeling well enough to meet with a group of students participating in an annual cross-country pro-life walk when they arrived in Lincoln. A diocesan statement said he met the students at the John XXIII Diocesan Center and gave them his blessing before they departed for the next stop on their Crossroads walk. Bishop Bruskewitz has been active in retirement, visiting various churches and convents around the southeastern Nebraska diocese. JD Flynn, diocesan communications director, told the Lincoln Journal Star that many people had noted that Bishop Bruskewitz suffered his heart attack on the feast of the Sacred Heart. "I'm sure the Sacred Heart was merciful to him as he went through this," Flynn told the daily newspaper. "He's a strong guy and everyone is expecting him to be ... at his full 100 percent as soon as possible."

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With friends' help, singer with Parkinson's still able to make music

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Grace Griffith, a vocalist who has had Parkinson's disease since 1996, announced in 2003 that she was making her swan song from the stage. But life goes on, however bumpy the ride for the Catholic singer. Since 2003, she has released three other albums, including her latest, "Passing Through." Now diagnosed with "Parkinson's Plus" -- Parkinson's disease and dementia -- the 58-year-old Griffith would go to a friend's recording studio on Saturdays to complete the vocal tracks, even if it resulted in only two usable lines for one song during the session. "It's kind of a miracle that it was even able to happen," said Marcy Marxer, a friend and fellow musician who produced Griffith's earlier albums. "It sounds beautiful. She's proud of it." Over her career, Griffith has received multiple Wammies from the Washington Area Music Association for her folk and Celtic music and has performed on the global stage. But her condition has deteriorated. She's moved into an assisted living center and her speech is not always intelligible, according to Marxer. "But she sings out strong."

END


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