Today (07.23.07)

Heart of Mercy Prayer Group, Christ the King Retreat Center, San Angelo

Necrology

22nd — Bishop Thomas J. Drury (1992)

Today’s Readings

Exodus 14:5-18
Exodus 15:1-6
Matthew 12:38-42

Today’s Headlines from Catholic News Service

U.S.

IRS issues guidelines to help nonprofits avoid campaign complications

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The calendar might say that the next national elections are more than 15 months away but the Internal Revenue Service thinks it’s never too early for nonprofit organizations to start worrying about how political activity might affect their tax-exempt status. A recent 13-page “revised ruling” outlines 21 situations where election-related activity by 501(c)(3) organizations — as nonprofits are designated by the section of the tax code applying to them — could be seen as a violation of the code’s ban on participation or intervention in “any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” But the answers are far from clear-cut, according to guidance offered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of General Counsel on the USCCB Web site. “General guidance cannot anticipate every conceivable fact pattern,” said the office that provides legal advice to the USCCB and its committees. “Application of the political campaign intervention prohibition is inherently fact-specific and frequently presents close questions.”

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Document on nature of church aimed at Catholics, U.S. cardinal says

SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) — The recent Vatican document emphasizing that only the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of the means for salvation was created primarily as an instructional tool for Catholics and should not be read as a diminishing of other faith communities, according to the churchman who signed it. On the contrary, said Cardinal William J. Levada, who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which issued the document July 10, the narrative itself points out that “outside the Catholic Church elements of holiness and truth do exist and that the Holy Spirit is working in those other communities and churches as well.” During a July 17 interview while visiting San Francisco, Cardinal Levada commented on his congregation’s work, Pope Benedict XVI’s recent instruction on the Tridentine Mass, emerging themes of the papacy and challenges facing the universal church today. The former archbishop of San Francisco described as “purely coincidental” the fact that his congregation’s document on the nature of the church was made public only three days after the pope’s announcement of his decision to allow broader use of the Tridentine rite. The Tridentine Mass is the Latin-language liturgy that predates the Second Vatican Council; it was last revised in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal.

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Sedona chapel chosen top Arizona ‘wonder’ in online poll

SEDONA, Ariz. (CNS) — Built on the red rocks near Sedona, the Chapel of the Holy Cross draws between 30 and 60 people for Taize prayer every Monday night. The chapel, which St. John Vianney Parish administers, is a popular stop in Arizona’s second most popular city for tourists and it was just named the top “Wonder of Arizona” in a statewide vote. When a reporter visited the chapel July 9, two days after the vote, there were more than 50 people — including visitors from Illinois, Maryland and even Canada — on hand for the prayer service. “People who come aren’t all Catholic,” said Betty McGinnis, who leads the music during the service and is parish administrator at St. John Vianney. Visitors to azcentral.com, the Web site of the Arizona Republic daily newspaper, voted on the “7 Wonders of Arizona” over the last few months. Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a devout Catholic woman, designed the small chapel and believed in finding God through the arts. Her original plans were for a cathedral, but after moving to Sedona with her husband in 1941, she modified the design. Construction on the Chapel of the Holy Cross began in 1955.

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Self-centeredness root cause of injustice, South African priest says

MARYKNOLL, N.Y. (CNS) — Egotistical self-centeredness is the deepest problem of our day and Jesus’ own spirituality is the remedy. In fact, Jesus’ spirituality is more relevant today than it was in his time. This was the message of Dominican Father Albert Nolan, a South African theologian and author, who addressed 225 people at Maryknoll July 18 on the topic of “Jesus Yesterday and Today.” Father Nolan said, “If we do not do something about self-centeredness, new forms of social injustice will keep cropping up as fast as we try to eliminate older forms of social injustice because we have not eliminated their root causes. In South Africa today, our hard-won freedoms are often undermined by greed, corruption, crime, hypocrisy and power-mongering,” he said. “In the struggle for justice and liberation during the second half of the 20th century, we neglected the needs of the individual to love, to forgive, to affirm and to overcome personal selfishness.”

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Catholic culture gives Washington neighborhood ‘Little Rome’ identity

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholics don’t have to go to Italy to visit Rome. Tucked away in a little section of Washington, the Brookland neighborhood around The Catholic University of America is known as “Little Rome” and “Little Vatican,” according to local legend and District of Columbia guidebooks. Just as the center of the Vatican is St. Peter’s, the center of Little Rome is Catholic University, founded by the U.S. bishops in 1887 to be the national Catholic university. Many other Catholic institutions later moved into the area around the university, creating a distinctively Catholic culture in which it’s not uncommon to see a colorful variety of religious habits in a single day. About 20 religious communities for men and women, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are all located near the university. Father George McLean, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, has lived in the Brookland neighborhood since 1956 and remembers when the area had an even higher concentration of Catholic culture and communities. In the 1950s, the area had at least 50 men’s and women’s religious communities, about a dozen schools of theology for particular men’s religious orders and 70 houses for graduate students of the various orders, he said.

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WORLD

Chinese bishops’ conference investigates elected bishop of Beijing

HONG KONG (CNS) — The government-sanctioned Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church of China has begun its investigation of the elected bishop candidate for the Beijing Diocese. Beijing-born Father Joseph Li Shan, 42, received the most votes in the July 16 diocesan election for a candidate to succeed the late Bishop Michael Fu Tieshan of Beijing. Father Paul Sun Shang’en, who has been in charge of diocesan affairs since Bishop Fu died April 20, told the Asian church news agency UCA News July 19 that the diocese has reported the election result to the bishops’ conference for its approval. When asked if the diocese would also apply to the Holy See, he responded that this would be difficult, because China and the Vatican have no official diplomatic relations. “That should be a matter for the bishops’ conference,” the priest said.

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In Mexico, Mother Teresa’s nuns join church effort against HIV/AIDS

PUEBLA, Mexico (CNS) — Blessed Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity — known for helping the poorest of the poor — are working with Mexicans with HIV/AIDS. In the bustling industrial city of Puebla, a Peruvian sister and three others from India care for people dying of AIDS — most of them from other areas in Mexico. Mother Maria Nieves said that when people with HIV/AIDS are sent to the nuns “they are desperate.” She said, “Many are in the last phase of their illness and have given up all hope. They don’t want to eat; they don’t want to take their medication. They only want to die. Many come from a nonreligious background and therefore need a lot of convincing regarding the ministries of the church,” she said. “We talk to them and pray with them. We help them regain their self-esteem. Some get better; some don’t. It all depends on the person. While we have had people who died, we have also had patients whose condition stabilized.”

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Colombian leaders reject claims that archbishop helped paramilitaries

BOGOTA, Colombia (CNS) — A right-wing paramilitary leader’s declaration that an assassinated Colombian archbishop secretly helped lead the outlawed paramilitary organization has triggered objections from church and political leaders. Diego Fernando Murillo, a feared paramilitary leader known as “Don Berna,” testified in court July 17 that another paramilitary leader had told him the late Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino of Cali was one of six secret leaders of the paramilitaries blamed for many of the worst massacres committed during Colombia’s four-decade civil war. Murillo said that Carlos Castano, who was for years the right-wing organization’s most powerful leader, ordered a search for the archbishop’s killers. One man was convicted for killing the archbishop in 2002, but who ordered it is still a mystery. Castano was later killed by rival paramilitary leaders. Retired Bishop Fabian Marulanda Lopez of Florencia, secretary-general of the Colombian bishops’ conference, called the idea that Archbishop Duarte had belonged to the paramilitaries impossible. Bishop Marulanda said he’d “always understood that (Archbishop Duarte) had a strong opposition to all of the outlaw groups.”

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Catholic leaders discuss church’s role in Africa’s conflicts

BOGOTA, Colombia (CNS) — African Catholic leaders discussed the church’s different roles in some of the world’s most intractable and violent conflicts during a recent Catholic peace conference in Colombia. Across Africa, where Catholics and Christians are minorities in most nations, the Catholic Church’s role is different and difficult, said some of the leaders. “In Nigeria, we are only 20 percent Catholic, so what the bishop says doesn’t carry as much weight” as in countries where Catholics are a majority of the population, said Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria. “We have learned to speak a language that can be heard by everybody,” he said. “Although we still hold our Christian position, we speak a language that can address everyone.” Archbishop Onaiyekan said Nigeria suffers from tensions between Christians and Muslims, and poverty produced by corruption. Dialogue with the country’s Muslims is central to the church’s efforts, said the archbishop, who heads the Christian Association of Nigeria.

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PEOPLE

Italian priest released after 39 days of captivity in Philippines

ROME (CNS) — Italian missionary Father Giancarlo Bossi, held by kidnappers in the southern Philippines, was released July 19 after 39 days of captivity. The 57-year-old priest, a member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, was unharmed but quite thin. “I am well,” he told AsiaNews, a Rome-based news agency sponsored by his order. “I’m happy because I just spoke to my family. Before returning to Italy, I would like to go and greet my parishioners in Payao,” the town where he was seized June 10. Father Bossi spoke to AsiaNews from Zamboanga City before being taken to a military hospital for a quick checkup. At a news conference, Father Bossi said his captors claimed they had kidnapped him on behalf of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, which is believed to have ties to al-Qaida. The priest said he was told that the kidnappers were hoping for a large ransom.

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Father Funk honored with Festschrift of essays on music in liturgy

INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — OCP, a Portland, Ore.-based publisher of liturgical music and worship resources, honored Father Virgil C. Funk with the presentation of a Festschrift during the July 9-13 convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians in Indianapolis. Also honored at the convention were composers Father J. Michael Joncas and Marty Haugen. The musicians association gave Father Joncas its 2007 “Jubilate Deo” Award, and it named Haugen pastoral musician of the year. Father Funk is president emeritus of the association, which he founded in 1976. The Festschrift, a volume of writing put together for a celebration, is titled “The Song of the Assembly: Pastoral Music in Practice.” Presented to him July 11, its release coincided with the priest’s 70th birthday. “The Song of the Assembly,” available through the OCP’s newly revamped Web site http://www.ocp.org, is a collection of 23 new essays on music in the liturgy. Each essay takes as its starting point a particular church document on music and liturgy published in the last 100 years.

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Army officer killed in Iraq remembered for his bravery, selflessness

ST. LOUIS (CNS) — Dan Riordan was brave and selfless. He took risks in reaching out to classmates who weren’t included by others. He stopped to rescue a woman being beaten by a man outside a bar. His bravery and selflessness extended to his desire to serve his country. He was a first lieutenant in the 1st Calvary Division’s 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, from Fort Hood, Texas, when he and three other soldiers were killed June 23 by a roadside bomb in Taji, Iraq, about 20 miles north of Baghdad. Riordan was unafraid to show his Catholic faith. “It’s one of the things that made him cool. He was a real man and a man of faith,” said his mother, Jeanine Rainey. “As tough as Dan was physically, he had a gentle heart. He befriended people who were left out. He volunteered at an animal shelter. He visited and befriended those who were elderly, disabled, disenfranchised. He was compassionate,” she told the St. Louis Review, newspaper of the St. Louis Archdiocese. Rainey wanted to tell her son’s story to show support for and inspire other young people, urging them to stay connected with and live out their faith.

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