Today (04.30.07)

No events in diocese

Today’s Readings

Acts 11:1-18
Pss 42:2-3; 43:3-4
John 10:1-10

Today’s Headlines from CNS

U.S.

Catholic Charities leaders, beneficiaries ask Congress to cut poverty

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Leaders of Catholic Charities USA were joined April 26 by two people who have received aid from their local Catholic Charities affiliates to ask Congress to cut poverty in half by the year 2020. Father Larry Snyder, Catholic Charities’ president, said he found it inconsistent in the United States, which has “more color TVs per capita and more Nobel winners per capita,” that “35 million find it hard to give themselves adequate nutrition every day” and 37 million live in poverty. Father Snyder told a Capitol Hill audience largely made up of Catholic Charities diocesan directors that requests for help made to Catholic Charities affiliates last year were up 14 percent over 2005 levels; in 2005, he added, aid was given to 6 million people. “We see the plight of the working family that holds down two or three jobs to make ends meet, but has trouble making ends meet or finding an affordable place to live,” Father Snyder said, adding that persistent poverty too often leads to family discord and divorce.

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Archbishop pulls support for hospital benefit over singer’s stands

ST. LOUIS (CNS) — Saying that it sent a “contradictory message” for a Catholic institution to raise funds by featuring a musician who supports abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis announced April 25 that he had withdrawn his support for an upcoming benefit for SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. Rock musician Sheryl Crow, a native of Kennett, Mo., has been an outspoken supporter of keeping abortion legal. She also supported Amendment 2, a Missouri initiative passed last fall that constitutionally protects human cloning and embryonic stem-cell research. Crow was scheduled to perform at the annual Bob Costas Benefit April 28 at the Fabulous Fox theater in St. Louis. Sportscaster Costas and comedian Billy Crystal also were to participate in the benefit, with tickets ranging in price from $35 to $100. At an April 25 press conference at the archdiocesan offices, Archbishop Burke said Crow’s connection to the benefit event was “an affront to the identity and mission of the medical center, dedicated as it is to the service of life and Christ’s healing mission.”

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Symposium examines identity, role of Catholic higher education

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (CNS) — Archbishop J. Michael Miller, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education, told a symposium on Catholic higher education that he objected to the “bleaching” of Catholic identity and said some Catholic institutions have “ignored, hidden or lost their ecclesial identity.” To change this course, he said schools should adopt ways to measure their Catholicity that include making sure a majority of faculty members are Catholic and that scholarship and research are in accord with Catholic teaching. He made the comments at an April 19-22 symposium at the Franciscan University of Steubenville that drew representatives from Catholic colleges and universities in the United States and other countries to discuss the purpose and identity of Catholic higher education. In delivering the opening address April 19, he also said schools’ theologians should obtain a “mandatum,” or authorization to teach, from their bishop to guarantee they are teaching in conformity with church doctrine.

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Covering uninsured is year-round job at Detroit clinic and elsewhere

WASHINGTON (CNS) — At Cabrini Clinic in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, “every week is Cover the Uninsured Week,” says Mercy Sister Mary Ellen Howard, who has directed the free clinic for more than a dozen years. In a city with some 200,000 uninsured adults, the clinic — formally known as the St. Frances Cabrini Clinic of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church — provides medical care, prescription drug assistance and mental health services to about 150 people a week, completely free of charge. “We’re not billing anybody,” Sister Mary Ellen told Catholic News Service. “If you’ve got Medicaid, you’ve got options” that those without any health coverage do not have, she added. But Sister Mary Ellen would like everyone to have more health care options and so she joined an unlikely coalition of union members, small-business owners, insurers, medical professionals and religious leaders at one of hundreds of events around the country marking the fifth annual Cover the Uninsured Week April 23-29. The week is aimed at raising awareness about the nearly 46 million uninsured Americans and mobilizing a commitment to solve the problem.

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WORLD

Australian company to offer digital services for World Youth Day

SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) — Australia’s largest telecommunications company, Telstra, announced it will provide phone and digital communications services to the 300,000 extra people expected in Sydney for World Youth Day 2008. Solomon Trujillo, an American businessman and Telstra Australia’s chief operating officer, told a conference of Catholic officials in Melbourne in mid-April that his company had reached an agreement with World Youth Day coordinators to offer an array of “real-time” communications services to the event. Trujillo said the deal will enable organizers to “explore innovative ways to use technology to broadcast the event to young people around the world.” Trujillo said, “We intend to make World Youth Day shine by using our world-leading next generation infrastructure.” The coverage will include cell-phone messaging, Web casts and Web logs (blogs) “so that more young people around the world can access and share this very special event,” said Trujillo.

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Synod outline says Bible is source of Christian unity, bond with Jews

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Bible is a source of Christian unity and is evidence of Christianity’s special bond with the Jewish people, said the outline for the next world Synod of Bishops. The theme of the synod, scheduled Oct. 5-26, 2008, will be: “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” While focusing specifically on the Bible, the synod’s outline emphasized Christian belief that Jesus Christ is the fullest expression of the word of God and that the entire Bible can be understood only in reference to Jesus. The “lineamenta,” or outline, of the synod’s theme was released at an April 27 Vatican press conference. The document contains dozens of questions about what Catholics know and understand about the Bible and its relationship to the teaching of the church. Bishops’ conferences and other groups were asked to respond to the questions by November. The responses will form the basis of the synod’s working document.

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Philippine priest says he’s running for governor out of desperation

BETIS, Philippines (CNS) — A diocesan priest said his campaign to become governor of Pampanga province is an act of desperation. Corruption, illegal gambling and abuse of power have brought the government of his northern Philippine province to rock bottom, Father Eddie Panlilio told UCA News, an Asian church news agency. He said the provincial government, based in San Fernando City, is in an “emergency state.” He said the two major gubernatorial candidates in the coming elections are linked to all the problems and there was no alternative to them on the ballot. Father Panlilio, 53, the pastor of St. James the Apostle Church in Betis, is now on the campaign trail. He requested and received a suspension from priestly duties to run for office. Though Archbishop Paciano Aniceto of San Fernando did not openly support the priest’s candidacy, he told UCA News April 22 that Father Panlilio “is a very, very exemplary priest who has served the social action ministry with great dedication and love for the poor.” The priest acknowledged that some of his own confreres oppose his candidacy, mainly because they believe a priest should not run in political elections, as stated in canon law.

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Observers say most Mexican states unlikely to legalize abortion soon

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (CNS) — Though Mexico City legalized abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, most states in Mexico are unlikely to follow suit in the near future, said several political observers. Rodolfo Chavez, University of Guadalajara law professor, said abortion laws are the exclusive jurisdiction of state governments, and he predicted none of the nine states with governments run by the National Action Party would move toward decriminalizing abortion. The conservative National Action Party historically has maintained amicable relations with the Catholic Church. In a recent statement, several National Action Party governors pledged to keep their states’ restrictions on abortion intact. Dan Lund, a pollster with the research firm MUND Americas, said that up to a dozen of Mexico’s 31 states could propose decriminalizing abortion. But Lund said polling in other parts of Mexico suggests support for the decriminalization of abortion lags behind support in the capital, Mexico City.

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Archbishop affirms Zimbabwean bishops’ support of national dialogue

HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNS) — The Zimbabwean bishops’ Easter letter, which strongly criticizes President Robert Mugabe’s government and calls for free elections, does not diminish the bishops’ support for national dialogue, said the president of the bishops’ conference. Mugabe’s government, as a “key stakeholder,” cannot be ignored in the process of seeking change in the country, Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of Harare told a two-day meeting of regional church and civil society leaders in the capital, Harare. But “engaging a stakeholder does not mean that you endorse” its policies, he said in an April 27 statement issued by the bishops’ conference after the meeting. In response to questions on what actions would follow the bishops’ letter, titled “God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed,” Archbishop Ndlovu said people need “to pray, reflect and try to understand” the letter, which urged those responsible for the country’s crisis to “repent and listen to the cry of their citizens.” Zimbabwe is crippled by the highest rate of inflation in the world, unemployment of more than 80 percent, and shortages of foreign currency and fuel.

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Ukrainian cardinal defends decision to support president

KIEV, Ukraine (CNS) — The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church has defended his decision to support President Viktor Yushchenko’s recent dismissal of parliament, which some argue has deepened a constitutional crisis. “Our declaration didn’t back any party — it merely recalled that the church has not forgotten people, nor has God,” said Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Kiev-Halych, in an April 24 interview with Ukraine’s Fokus weekly. “Matters have advanced so far that there’s now a need for urgent consultations with the nation,” he said. “There appears to be no contact at all between the nation and its rulers.” Yushchenko issued a decree dissolving the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, April 2. He claimed political deadlock was preventing reforms agreed upon after Ukraine’s December 2004 Orange Revolution. Supporters of Ukraine’s pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich rejected the president’s decision. Although the Constitutional Court is set to rule on the dispute, its neutrality and effectiveness have been questioned widely. Elections for parliament currently are set for June 24.

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Mirroring wider debate, Vatican seminar on global warming gets heated

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Despite being held in a cool, climate-controlled conference room, some early discussions at a Vatican-sponsored seminar on global warming and climate change got pretty heated. The rifts and tensions still dividing the global debate on the causes of and remedies for drastic climatic shifts were gently simmering in the small microcosm of the two-day Vatican meeting. The seminar, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, gathered some 80 experts representing the scientific, political, economic and spiritual sides of the climate-change debate at the Vatican April 26-27 to discuss “Climate Change and Development.” “I have to commend the planners,” said Lucia Silecchia, a professor of environmental law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, because “nobody can accuse them of bringing in a group of people who will agree with each other.”

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PEOPLE

Jack Valenti, 85, dies; helped foster movie, TV ratings systems

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Jack Valenti, who had overseen the Motion Picture Association of America for almost four decades, was remembered fondly after his April 26 death for his diligence in alerting parents to the content of movies and television programs their children might want to see. Valenti, a Catholic, died in Washington at his home from complications of a stroke he suffered in March. He was 85 years old. No funeral details were immediately released. “Valenti’s triumph in simultaneously broadening the subject matter of American films — some abuses of that new freedom notwithstanding — while also protecting children from this more permissive material was remarkable indeed,” said Harry Forbes, director of the U.S. bishops’ Office for Film & Broadcasting. “He saved the industry by rebuilding audiences for Hollywood product, and ultimately reinforced Hollywood’s primacy in world cinema,” he told Catholic News Service April 27.

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Vatican sources: Papal trip to U.N. headquarters unlikely this year

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI accepted an invitation to visit U.N. headquarters in New York City, but Vatican sources said the trip looked unlikely for this year. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters April 26 that during their recent meeting at the Vatican he asked the pope to come “at a mutually convenient time.” Ban said, “I am very happy that he accepted my invitation to visit.” Attention had focused on a possible papal visit in September for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly. Vatican sources said that date now looked improbable, and that no steps were being taken for a U.N. visit this year.

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New head appointed for Catholic Campus Ministry Association

LEWISBURG, Pa. (CNS) — Father Martin O. Moran III has been chosen as the new executive director of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association. The appointment takes effect June 1. Father Moran has been campus minister at Bucknell University in Lewisburg since 1998. Student membership in Bucknell’s campus ministry has grown 80 percent to 1,100 undergraduates during Father Moran’s tenure. Ordained in 1988 for the Diocese of Harrisburg, Father Moran had served in parishes and high schools throughout central Pennsylvania prior to his Bucknell appointment. The Catholic Campus Ministry Association, founded in 1969, is recognized by the U.S. bishops as the official organization for the advancement of Catholic campus ministry. “I’m excited about this opportunity and the possibilities it brings,” Father Moran said in a statement.

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Beijing bishop given funeral for state leader

BEIJING (CNS) — The Chinese bishop who served in Beijing for more than 25 years was given a funeral for a state leader. A three-part funeral was held April 27 at Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery for Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan, 76, who died of lung cancer April 20. The cemetery is the main burial ground for revolutionary heroes and high government officials. At the time of his death, Bishop Fu was a vice chairman of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, with the rank of a state leader. He also was chairman of the government-approved Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and acting president of the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China. Funeral services were held in three sessions. The first, beginning at 8:30 a.m., was a memorial service only for members of the National People’s Congress, including its chairman, Wu Bangguo. Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other high-ranking state and social organization leaders attended the second session. The third session, a Catholic prayer service led by Bishop Pius Jin Peixian of Liaoning, began at 10:30. Fourteen other bishops from various dioceses, about 150 priests and some 2,000 nuns, seminarians and laypeople attended the liturgy.

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Virginia Tech graduate says school’s closeness will help people heal

SALT LAKE CITY (CNS) — The April 16 shooting rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., was felt by alumni who live far from the university. Daniel O. Adams, a Virginia Tech alumnus who is director of the composite mechanics laboratory at the University of Utah, was shocked by the events that took place at the school where he met and married his wife, Cate. His wife was a campus minister at the time. She currently teaches theology at Judge Memorial Catholic High School in Salt Lake City. The couple met at Virginia Tech in 1988 when Adams, who earned his master’s degree in science at the school in 1983, was studying for his doctorate. Even though they left the campus 16 years ago, they have both kept in touch with friends they made there, something they attribute to the school’s familylike atmosphere. That sense of closeness among students and faculty, according to Daniel Adams, is what guarantees that the school will move forward after the tragedy.

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