Today: 11.27.06

Today’s Calendar

No appearances, events in diocese 

Today’s Readings

First Reading: Revelation 14:1-3, 4-5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Gospel: Luke 21:1-4

Today’s Catholic News Service Headlines

Human, civil rights connected in fight for equality, archbishop says

MISSION, Texas (CNS) — Human and civil rights continue to be interconnected in today’s struggle for equality although they have different foundations, Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez of San Juan, Puerto Rico, told an NAACP dinner Nov. 17 in Mission. “Civil rights are granted by civil authorities; human rights are engraved in our humanity as such,” the archbishop said at the annual Freedom Fund dinner of the Rio Grande Valley chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “The difference between these two was a reality recognized by most leaders and participants in the civil rights struggle of African-Americans,” he added. Archbishop Gonzalez recalled spending his high school and college years in the 1960s in the midst of the civil rights movement in the United States, and seeing the changes it brought about. “Although that stage of the quest for freedom was successful, the struggle goes on,” he said. “It goes on around the world in countries and areas where the existence of such civil rights is not recognized.”

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Sixteen arrested in annual Fort Benning protest

FORT BENNING, Ga. (CNS) — At least 15,000 people demonstrated and 16 were arrested trespassing at the 17th annual School of the Americas protest Nov. 17-19 outside the U.S. Army’s Fort Benning. Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois, who started the protests in 1990, promised participants a celebratory demonstration next year if the new Democratic majority in Congress ends funding of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning. The institute — whose military acronym is WHINSEC — was formed in 2001 to replace the School of the Americas as a training ground for military, law enforcement and civilian officials from Latin America and the Caribbean. The yearly demonstrations, sponsored by SOA Watch, are held on a weekend in mid-November to commemorate the Nov. 16, 1989, murder of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter by Salvadoran soldiers. In 1990 a congressional task force found that five of the nine soldiers arrested for the killings had received training at the School of the Americas. When it opened it 2001, the institute was mandated by Congress to include at least eight hours of human rights training in all its courses. Lee A. Rials, the institute’s public affairs officer, said that training covers due process, the rule of law, international human rights conventions, the role of the military in society and civilian control of the military. He said the eight-hour minimum applies to two-week courses, but it may rise to as much as 40 hours in yearlong courses. Rials has called it “a ludicrous accusation” that the institute teaches torture methods.

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WORLD

Priest says murder of Catholic leader aimed to kill Lebanese’ hopes

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNS) — The assassination of Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel was “an operation trying to kill the hope of the people,” said Father Joseph Abu Ghazale, parish priest at the Maronite Catholic Church of St Anthony’s, about 50 yards from where Gemayel was gunned down. “Pierre was here in this church six months ago, and he heard me talk about martyrs and how they live on after death. He believed and was ready to sacrifice himself,” said the priest. “He represented the ambitions of all the young people in Lebanon, and that enthusiasm will only increase now.” Gemayel, 34, and his bodyguard were killed Nov. 21 while driving through Beirut’s Christian neighborhood of Jdeideh. His car was rammed by another vehicle. Then, witnesses said, at least three gunmen leaped out of the vehicle and sprayed his car with 20 bullets from automatic weapons equipped with silencers. They fired at near point-blank range through the driver’s window at Gemayel, who was at the wheel, and at his bodyguard seated in the passenger seat. At least 10 bullet holes could be seen around the driver’s window, and the front seats were covered in blood.

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Pope says world will recognize Christ only if church is united

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Through the church, Christ continues to be present in the world, but the world will recognize him only if members of the church are united, Pope Benedict XVI said. At his Nov. 22 weekly general audience, held under a strong downpour in St. Peter’s Square, the pope concluded his series of talks about St. Paul. The pope interrupted his speech briefly to express his hope that God would stop the rain, but it continued to soak the estimated 20,000 people in the square for another 15 minutes. At the end of the audience, he thanked the crowd for its patience despite the rain. In his main audience talk, Pope Benedict said the church was a central concern of St. Paul’s even though the apostle’s first encounters with the Christian community in Jerusalem were “counterproductive” and, in fact, he persecuted the community. But when Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus made it clear that “in persecuting the church, he was persecuting Christ himself,” the pope said. After Paul’s conversion, he realized that “the church is truly the body of Christ, an extension, as it were, of the presence of Christ in the world.”

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Vatican laments failure to restrict cluster bombs

ROME (CNS) — The Vatican lamented the failure of parties to a U.N. treaty to agree on restricting the use of cluster bombs. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva, said, “The failure to achieve such an agreement has left a real disappointment in the expectations of many people who see that it could have provided a good and adequate response to the humanitarian concerns posed by these weapons.” The archbishop spoke Nov. 17 during at the end of a 10-day meeting in Geneva on the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Catholic News Service in Rome obtained a copy of his text. The Vatican has long supported negotiations that would lead to a ban on cluster munitions and, in the meantime, has called for a moratorium on their use. Typically, cluster bombs open in midair and scatter dozens or hundreds of submunitions over a wide area. Some duds do not explode and can remain a threat for many years. The majority of people killed or maimed by cluster munitions are civilians, according to a recent report by the Britain-based Handicap International. Children are especially vulnerable because they are easily attracted to the bomblets’ bright, colorful casings, mistaking the volatile explosives for toys.

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Famed statue helps Vatican Museums celebrate 500th anniversary

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — On a cold January morning in 1506, a spectacular marble statue was unearthed in a hillside vineyard in central Rome. The sculptural group depicted Laocoon, a Trojan high priest, and his two sons being strangled by a sea snake — divine punishment for having warned the city of Troy not to accept the Trojan horse. Artists of Renaissance Rome, including Michelangelo, flocked to the site and immediately recognized the discovery as a famous work by Hellenistic sculptors. According to the ancient Roman historian Pliny, it had once decorated the home of the Emperor Titus. Pope Julius II, an art lover, immediately dispatched an expert to take a look. A month later, the pope bought the work and had it transferred to the Vatican, where it became the centerpiece of a “courtyard of statues.” Eventually, the papal collection grew into the Vatican Museums, which today house about 150,000 works of art. The name is “museums” because the Vatican’s art and artifacts are divided into more than 25 different collections and architectural areas.

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PEOPLE

Father D’Agostino dies; U.S. Jesuit built AIDS orphanage in Kenya

WASHINGTON (CNS) — American Jesuit Father Angelo D’Agostino, who built and directed Kenya’s first orphanage for children with HIV and AIDS, died of a heart attack in Nairobi Nov. 20 following hospitalization and surgery for abdominal pains. He was 80 years old. He was to be buried Nov. 27 at the Jesuit cemetery in Nairobi following a funeral Mass at the Consolata Shrine there. A surgeon and psychiatrist, Father D’Agostino was noted for his efforts to bring affordable AIDS drugs to the poor in Africa as well as for his pioneering work with AIDS orphans. In Nairobi in 1992 he founded Nyumbani, the first home for abandoned and orphaned HIV-positive children in Kenya. “Nyumbani” means “home” in Swahili. It started with three children and currently is home to nearly 100. “We give them a chance to die with dignity,” he said in a 2000 interview, reflecting the children’s lack of access to expensive HIV-fighting drugs.

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Bishop Amos installed to head Davenport Diocese

BETTENDORF, Iowa (CNS) — Bishop Martin J. Amos accepted “the pastoral care of the people of God in the Diocese of Davenport” during his installation as the diocese’s eighth bishop Nov. 20. He comes to a diocese dealing with perhaps its greatest challenge in its 125-year existence. In October it filed for bankruptcy, a decision prompted by settlements of several million dollars in cases of sexual abuse by priests, plus a jury award of $1.5 million to a claimant in October. But the installation of the new bishop generated a sense of reassurance and hope among the more than 900 people gathered at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Bettendorf for the ceremony. His homily, woven with humor, honesty and insight, acknowledged the challenges that he must deal with from the start: “to continue to try to bring healing to those abused, especially those abused by priests, to regain our financial base and move out of bankruptcy” and to “reach out to others, especially those in need.”

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Brother Glodek reappointed head of Marianists’ U.S. province

ST. LOUIS (CNS) — Marianist Brother Stephen Glodek has been reappointed to a second term as provincial of his order’s U.S. province, effective July 1. More than 600 Marianist brothers and priests serve in the U.S. province, which includes Ireland, Puerto Rico, India, East Africa and Mexico. The province’s headquarters are based in St. Louis. In his role as provincial, Brother Glodek serves as chancellor of Chaminade University of Honolulu and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. He is vice president of the board of trustees of the University of Dayton in Ohio. All three universities are run by the order. He served as president of the Marianists’ 2006 general chapter meeting in Rome. Brother Glodek has been in provincial leadership for the Marianists since 1986. He was assistant provincial of the former New York province for seven years and provincial for nine years. In July 2002, when four separate Marianist provinces in the United States were united to create one U.S. province, Brother Glodek was appointed as its provincial.

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Longtime journalist and Providence Visitor board member dies

CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (CNS) — A funeral Mass was celebrated Nov. 17 at St. James Chapel in Charlestown for Joseph M. Ungaro, a lifelong journalist and since 1994 a member of the board of directors of The Providence Visitor, newspaper of the Providence Diocese. He died Nov. 12 at age 76. Ungaro began his journalism career at The Evening Bulletin, first as a copy boy and then as a Providence College correspondent. In 1971, he was appointed director of planning and development at the Journal-Bulletin. Two years later, while attending the annual convention of the Associated Press Managing Editors, he asked then-President Richard M. Nixon questions about whether he had accurately reported his income tax, leading to Nixon’s famous “I am not a crook” reply.

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