Today (07.16.07)

No diocesan-wide events

Today’s Readings

Exodus 1:8-14, 22
Psalm 124:1-8
Matthew 10:3411:1

Today’s Headlines from Catholic News Service

U.S.

Black Catholic congress opens in Buffalo with 2,000 participants

BUFFALO, N.Y. (CNS) — More than 2,000 black Catholics from nearly 100 U.S. dioceses traveled to Buffalo July 12 for the start of the 10th National Black Catholic Congress. The theme of the July 12-15 congress was “Christ Is With Us: Celebrating the Gifts of the Sacraments.” On the agenda were sessions looking at the ways the sacraments are related to the congress’s eight core principles: Africa, Catholic education, HIV/AIDS, parish life, social justice, racism, spirituality, and youths and young adults. “Congress X wishes to reflect on these principles through the prism of the seven sacraments. The principles arise from our baptism and anointing, our birthright in the Roman Catholic Church,” said Auxiliary Bishop Joseph N. Perry of Chicago, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on African-American Catholics, after he officially called the congress to order. The first National Black Catholic Congress was held in 1889, and subsequent congress events were held every two years until 1894. After a hiatus lasting nearly a century, the congresses resumed in 1987, and since then have been held every five years.

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Organization launches campaign to mobilize Catholics against Iraq War

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In light of evidence that shows Catholics consider the Iraq War a top political issue, a social justice organization began a campaign to help Catholic voters voice their opposition to the war. Catholics United, a nonpartisan organization, launched Catholics for an End to the War in Iraq July 12 to encourage Catholics to advocate for diplomacy, redevelopment and a “responsible withdrawal” of U.S. troops from Iraq, according to a release. Participants will ask political leaders to “bring together Iraq’s warring factions in a multiparty conference that involves neighboring countries in the peace process” and to “provide funding and other support for reconstruction to be done by Iraqis in ways that benefit Iraqis,” according to the campaign’s Web site, http://www.catholicsforanend.org. The campaign also seeks the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq and asks the U.S. not to have a long-term presence in the country.

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U.S. cardinal says he hopes U.S. will admit more Iraqi refugees

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The retired archbishop of Washington said he hopes the United States will admit more refugees from Iraq. “The United States is starting to receive” refugees from Iraq, but “I hope they will accept more,” Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick told Catholic News Service July 13 in a telephone interview from Beirut, Lebanon, where he was touring Middle Eastern host countries of Iraqi refugees. He was part a delegation that included Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, N.Y., officials from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the International Catholic Migration Commission and the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Relief Services. Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop DiMarzio are consultants to the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration. The delegation began its tour in Istanbul, Turkey, July 2; Cardinal McCarrick joined the group in Amman, Jordan, July 9. The delegation also visited Syria.

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Students from U.S., Northern Ireland dialogue about peace

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Students from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire and St. Mary’s University College in Northern Ireland came together this summer to discuss a topic that a St. Anselm criminal justice professor said is frequently overlooked amid coverage of war and violence — the art of peacemaking. Professor Elaine Rizzo has long been interested in the process of peacemaking and since last year had discussed holding a seminar on the topic. “We really came to the opinion that there is a lot of talk about war, and a lot of talk about violence, but there is not an equal amount of discourse about peace and reconciliation,” Rizzo said. She attempted to fill that void with the first Colloquium on Peace, Reconciliation, Social Justice and Global Citizenship, a two-week program during July at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Seven students from St. Anselm joined four Catholic students from Belfast, Northern Ireland, to listen to speakers who have been involved with the peace process and talk about how they can work for peace.

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WORLD

Vatican accepts donation to make it first carbon-neutral state

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Calling for “a new culture, new attitudes and new lifestyles that make people aware of their role as custodians” of the earth, Cardinal Paul Poupard accepted a donation designed to make the Vatican “the world’s first carbon-neutral sovereign state.” The U.S.-based Planktos Inc. and its Hungarian partner, KlimaFa, will designate part of a reforestation project in Hungary as the Vatican Climate Forest. Cardinal Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, accepted the gift on behalf of the Vatican in early July. The council and the two companies announced it publicly July 12. In the meantime, Pope Benedict XVI, vacationing in the northern Italian Alps, sent a message to Italian forest rangers celebrating the July 12 feast of St. John Gualberto, their patron saint. “It is an appropriate occasion to express my appreciation and affection for forest rangers, certain that they want their work to be marked by a spirit of service, to be close to the people and to better safeguard natural resources, which are a gift of God for everyone,” said the papal message.

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Vatican, Israeli officials work toward financial, juridical agreement

ROME (CNS) — Representatives of the Vatican and the Israeli government met in Jerusalem July 11 to continue work on an agreement regarding the financial and juridical status of Catholic institutions in Israel. A brief statement released in Rome July 12 by the Israeli embassy to the Holy See said, “The delegations met in a climate of great cordiality, made progress and renewed their common determination to accelerate the work so that an agreement could be reached as soon as possible.” The negotiators will meet again Sept. 3 in Jerusalem, the statement said. In late May the full membership of the Vatican-Israeli permanent working commission met for the first time in five years to discuss contested issues related to church property, taxation and the legal rights of church institutions in Israel. Franciscan Father David Jaeger, who was part of the Vatican delegation at the May meeting, told Vatican Radio July 13 that the negotiations themselves have never run into big problems, but progress had been impeded by the fact that “it was difficult to schedule meetings.”

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U.S. bishop defends bishops’ right to rebuke pro-abortion politicians

MELBOURNE, Australia (CNS) — An American bishop visiting Australia has defended the right of Catholic bishops to publicly rebuke politicians, including Catholics, who support pro-abortion laws. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver said that the abortion issue is one of basic human dignity and not just an issue of concern to Catholic sectarians. “These are not sectarian issues,” he told The Record, the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Perth, Western Australia. “We’re not saying Catholic legislators ought to promote belief in the Trinity. “Abortion is about killing somebody else. It’s about human beings,” he said. “Do you keep quiet if someone’s going to kill someone else, or do you speak up? And if you don’t speak up or you say people have a right to kill someone else, can you honestly say you’re in communion with the church?”

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World Youth Day papal Mass back on track at Sydney racecourse

SYDNEY, Australia (CNS) — Disgruntled horse trainers withdrew a legal threat against the 2008 World Youth Day vigil and papal Mass at Royal Randwick Racecourse and agreed to work with the New South Wales government on a compensation package. In principle, the trainers now have no objection to the events being at the racecourse, local media reported. Jim Hanna, communications director for World Youth Day, said news that the trainers had averted legal action “reflected the advanced nature of the discussions between all of the stakeholders.” He said compensation would probably be much lower than the $50 million (US$43.4 million) figure circulated in the media. In the period leading up to the vigil, Hanna said up to 200 horses could continue training at Randwick “on all but three days” and although it would be necessary to relocate horses to other race venues “no race meetings will be canceled.” The Randwick Trainers Association had said it would explore legal avenues to stop use of the racecourse for 10 weeks next year because of the July 15-20 World Youth Day activities.

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This summer, Vatican tradition brings flurry of decisions, documents

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Before Pope Benedict XVI took off for his summer vacation in the Italian Alps, he engaged in a time-honored Vatican tradition: clearing his desk. That resulted in a flurry of decisions and documents, some long-awaited and some complete surprises. Their common denominator, apparently, was that no one wanted to deal with them again when they returned to their offices in September. Topping the list was the pope’s July 7 apostolic letter on wider use of the Tridentine Mass. The document had been floating around so long that the Latin term “motu proprio,” which refers to the form of the text, actually was making it into mainstream news reports. The pope began consulting on the Tridentine question in late 2005, and in early 2006 he discussed a draft text with members of the Roman Curia and the world’s cardinals. The document then went into hibernation, and some people are still wondering why. After all, very few changes were made in the course of its preparation, according to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, a strong supporter of the pope’s decree.

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PEOPLE

President, Lady Bird Johnson had long association with Catholics

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Lady Bird Johnson, an Episcopalian, died just after a Catholic priest finished reciting the litany of the saints with her family at her bedside in Austin, Texas. This ecumenical interaction July 11 was not unusual for the former first lady or for her husband, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, a member of the Disciples of Christ. Their closest Catholic relationship was with their daughter, Luci Baines Johnson Turpin. It was Turpin who called Paulist Father Robert Scott, a senior minister at St. Austin’s Parish in Austin, Texas, and at the University of Texas Catholic Center, to come to the LBJ Ranch when it became clear her mother was close to death. In an interview with Catholic News Service July 12, Father Scott said he has known Turpin and her family for 25 years. He said Johnson attended every first Communion, confirmation and graduation for her Catholic grandchildren. And when Turpin’s daughter, Nicole Nugent, was preparing for her confirmation, Johnson invited the whole class out to the LBJ Ranch for a retreat.

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Vacationing pope stays mostly within privacy of mountain villa

LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy (CNS) — To the disappointment of the media and local residents, Pope Benedict XVI, who arrived at his mountain vacation lodgings July 9, did not venture beyond the villa’s superprivate property until late July 11. Even then, his destination — the tiny 17th-century chapel of Our Lady of Loreto in nearby Lozzo — was kept secret until after his return. All but one of the people who saw his little motorcade pass had to be content with a glimpse and a drive-by wave. The exception was Sister Maria Basso, who told the newspaper Avvenire, “I was walking when the car slowed down and the pope put his hand out the window.” She said she told Pope Benedict that she works at a nearby home for the elderly and, smiling, he said, “I, too, am elderly.”

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