Archive of July 6, 2004

Pope appoints a US Bishop to a Jamaican diocese

Vatican City, Jul 6, 2004 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II has appointed Bishop Gordon Dunlap Bennett, S.J., Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, U.S.A., as Bishop of Mandeville, in Jamaica.

Bishop Dunlap Bennett was born on October 21, 1946 in Denver, CO, and was ordained a priest for the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) on June 14, 1975. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore  on December 23, 1997.

The new Bishop will succeed Bishop Paul Michael Boyle, C.P, whose resignation was accepted upon having reached the age limit.

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Two sexual abuse cases likely to be heard in Portland today

, Jul 6, 2004 (CNA) - Barring an out-of-court settlement, two cases on the alleged sexual abuse of children by a Portland priest are scheduled to go to trial today. The second case is a back-up if the first one is settled. This is only the eighth such trial in the United States in the last 20 years, reported the Oregonian.

Both suits involve Fr. Maurice Grammond of the Archdiocese of Portland, who has been accused of molesting more than 50 boys.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Ronald E. Cinniger is expected to hear the cases. However, both cases could settle at the last minute, or even after the trial has begun.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Portland said it is “committed to reasonable settlements with anyone injured by employees.”

The archdiocese and its insurers have paid more than $53 million to settle more than 130 claims by people who say they were abused by priests. More than 25 other claims are pending. The two suits slated for trial today seek a total of more than $160 million.

However, Archbishop John G. Vlazny told the Oregonian that there is a limit to how much the Church can pay, and he has not ruled out bankruptcy.

Both cases involve anonymous plaintiffs. The plaintiff in the first case claims Grammond fondled him in 1984 and 1985 when he was 8 and 10. The second plaintiff claims he was molested by Grammond in 1963 or 1965.

In both cases, according to the Oregonian, the key issue in deciding the verdict will be how much Church officials knew about Grammond and what they did about it.

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Pope appoints special envoy for the 50th Anniversary of the Basilica of Lisieux, home of the "Little Flower"

Vatican City, Jul 6, 2004 (CNA) - Made public today was a Letter by the Pope, written in Latin and dated June 11, in which he appointed Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, as his special envoy to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the Basilica of Lisieux on July 11.

John Paul II recalls in the letter that on October 19, 1997 he proclaimed St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897), also known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Little Flower, as a doctor of the Church. The Discalced Carmelite was the third woman to be proclaimed a doctor of the Church after St. Catherine of Siena and St. Teresa of Avila.

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Teens urged to join 'Catholic revolution' at Steubenville

Steubenville, Ohio, Jul 6, 2004 (CNA) - More than 2,100 teens from 13 states and Canada were encouraged to "rise up and join a Catholic revolution" at a Franciscan University of Steubenville youth conference held that past weekend, reported The Steubenville Herald-Star.

Youth minister and conference host Bob Lesnefsky told the youth that “Pope John Paul II won't stop talking about how the Catholic Church is about to experience a revolution…see an outpouring by God on young people.

“We are here to be part of this amazing revolution – and the key to the revolution is you," he said, according to the Herald-Star.

The event is one of 13 Franciscan University youth conferences to be held across the United States this summer, with the theme, "Rise Up in Splendor!" (Isaiah 60:1). They are expected to draw more than 30,000 teens.

The teens participated in praise and worship and in small group discussions on a range of topics, including premarital sex, drugs and prejudice. They also stood in line to receive the sacrament of reconciliation from priests, stationed under a large tent, and participated in a Eucharistic procession and Holy Hour. There was also entertainment and comedy that taught moral lessons.

Youth minister Tammy Evevard of Boulder, Colorado, reportedly encouraged the teens to see how God loves them because "too many of us are blind and convinced we are not loveable. We are blinded by insecurities and difficulties."

Youth minister Ralph Poyo of Raleigh, North Carolina, described to the teens how he once felt that he was not worthy of God's love.

"Our faith is about our personal relationship with Jesus, about a faith that is living," he told the youth. "Move into the world and change it."

For information on other youth conferences this summer, go to:

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Jesuits' world leader to visit Alabama

Mobile, Ala., Jul 6, 2004 (CNA) - The Jesuits’ congregational leader will visit Alabama this fall to help mark the 175th anniversary of Spring Hill College and its 50th anniversary of racial integration, reported The Associated Press.

Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, known as “the black pope”, will celebrate the college's annual Mass of the Holy Spirit Oct. 4 in the college’s St. Joseph's Chapel, where a $3-million renovation is expected to be finished by the end of this month. The 75-year-old Dutch-born priest, who lives in Rome, is also expected to meet with local Jesuits and Catholic leaders.

Kolvenbach was elected 29th superior general in 1983. In 2000, he called for Jesuit colleges and universities worldwide to work to end social injustice, reported the AP.

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Catholic Charity calls for day of prayer for the "silent Church"

Lisbon, Portugal, Jul 6, 2004 (CNA) - The "Fundacao Ajuda à Igreja que Sofre", Portuguese branch of the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), has called upon all Bishops and heads of religious institutions in Portugal to observe a day of prayer on July 13 in communion with persecuted Christians all over the world.

"The date of July 13 has great significance for all of us," Father Jacinto Farias, Ecclesiastical Assistant of ACN Portugal, writes in a letter addressed to all Bishops residing in Portugal, to the Rector of the Sanctuary of Fatima, to the heads of the Fatima-based monasteries and all contemplative monasteries in Portugal.

It was precisely the message of Our Lady of Fatima to the shepherd children, on July 13, 1917, that inspired Father Werenfried (1913 - 2003) to found ACN in 1947. In 1967, ACN was consecrated to Our Lady for the first time, a consecration which has been renewed several times since then. ACN staff at the charity's international headquarters in Königstein, Germany, will join the Portuguese branch in praying especially for the needs of the silent Church, wherever Christians are being persecuted or oppressed.

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Special rosary prayed for release of Cuban political prisoners

Havana, Cuba, Jul 6, 2004 (CNA) - Representatives of various opposition movements gathered together in Old Havana this weekend to pray a special rosary for the release of Cuban political prisoners.

During the event which was promoted by the Rev. Reynaldo Gonte Hidalgo, a Cuban flag was on display as well as pictures of political prisoner Martha Beatriz Roque y de Pelletier.

“Most Holy Mother of God, we pray for comfort for all those who suffer imprisonment, that you protect them and free them,” prayed Rev. Hidalgo.

The rosary was prayed at the independent library “Jesus Yanes Pelletier,” and included the participation of members of various opposition groups in Cuba.

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Archbishop of Toledo calls on Catholic politicians to reject homosexual “marriage”

Madrid, Spain, Jul 6, 2004 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain, Antonio Cañizares, reminded “Catholic lawmakers” this week of their “serious responsibility” to oppose the legalization of homosexual marriage.

During Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of Toledo, Archbishop Cañizares underscored that “the union of persons of the same sex is in no way similar or equal to marriage.”

He said a proposal for homosexual marriage that is currently under debate in the Spanish congress is “a deception that contradicts the very essence of marriage and is another type of union that is completely distinct from marriage and goes against a proper anthropology, and its legalization as marriage is a grave injustice against true marriage and society.”

“I cannot nor should not remain silent in the wake of approval this week by a majority in the House of Representatives of an unlawful proposal that calls for the government to submit to Parliament a bill that would approve and regulate so-called ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex, including the possibility of the adoption of children,” the archbishop said.

He said he respected, understood and cared for homosexuals, but that “it is not even valid to call these homosexual unions marriages…because they disfigure in their very essence what this word means and has meant in all regions of the world and in all times.”

“Such legislation, if it is approved, as the highest levels of the government of Spain have promised, does not constitute a social conquest, but rather a regression,” he added.

The archbishop pointed out that “in an age in which the protection of the institution of the family should be first among the concerns of governments in developed countries, which are trapped in the onset of a demographic winter and in growing crime rates among young people from broken homes and redefined families, the proposal of homosexual marriage and the fact that governments accept it demonstrates a grave disorder in the dominant culture’s mentality.”

Archbishop Cañizares said this type of legislation is “evil” because it is an attack on the common good and the truth about man, and therefore he reminded lawmakers, especially those that are Catholic, of their “grave responsibility to oppose” with their vote this type of legislation.

“They should not try to intimidate us by threatening to hit us in the pocketbook; the Church knows how to live in poverty; what she does not nor should not know how to do is to live without announcing Jesus Christ and the sole Lordship of God, or to sell herself for money,” he warned.

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Worry over possible lack of control of subsidized Islam classes in Spain

Madrid, Spain, Jul 6, 2004 (CNA) - The Chair of Arabic Literature at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Serafin Fanjul, is expressing his fear that the Spanish government is not taking the necessary measures to control the content of classes on Islam, after the minister of Justice announced the possibility of subsidizing Islamic classes for Muslims at public schools.

Speaking on the Cope radio network, Fanjul recalled that in France this type of funding has already occurred and has brought accusations of “reverse discrimination” in favor of Muslims.

Fanjul said he was worried not because of the subsidies for teaching Islam but rather because of “what is going to be taught in their classes, who will be the teachers and who will hire them.”  “I suspect the proper measures are not going be taken to control this,” he said.

Regarding Islamic commercials aired on State-run media, Fanjul said he didn’t think they would touch upon “the heart of the question,” which is the “ideological and organizational nature of Islam.”

He added he did not think accurate information on such issues as the treatment of women, discrimination and polygamy would be found in Islamic propaganda.

Fanjul also said this would create a situation of inequality regarding the treatment of foreigners in Muslim countries, where there is a “lack of reciprocity.”  He emphasized that the country does not have say “Amen” to every multiculturalism proposal and that it should be recalled that immigrants who have just arrived in Spain “need to adapt themselves to our legal norms and our customs.”

On the other hand, Fanjul said that “those on the left” have begun to promote and support Islam because they have adopted this religion as “the substitute in the struggle against imperialism and capitalism” and they think that it is a “liberation theology that will enable the proletariat in the world to rise up.”  

“Since the proletariat is no more, they are trying to resurrect it in immigrants or make it the counterweight in an ideological clash with Western capitalism.  It is an ignorant strategy that is not going to lead to what they are hoping,” he noted.

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President of Nicaragua denies trying to control the Church

Managua, Nicaragua, Jul 6, 2004 (CNA) - President Enrique Bolaños of Nicaragua is denying reports that his government is attempting “to control” the Catholic Church in the country, saying the government is in full conformity with the accords signed by the Vatican and Nicaragua in 1861.

Bolaños denies having sent a list of names to the Vatican of bishops that could replace Cardinal Miguel Obando Bravo as Archbishop of Managua.

“I have never thought of doing such a thing, and whoever says I have is lying and will be condemned to eternal punishment for lying,” the president said, visibly upset.

Balaños said the proposal to revisit the concordat with the Vatican is not an attempt by the government to influence the appointment of bishops, but rather to determine whether or not revisions to out-dated sections of the accords need to be made.

“When I named Armando Luna as ambassador to the Vatican, we knew there was a Concordat from 1861, which is still in force, legally it is still in force, so that if the Vatican wanted it could say: We want you to do X, because it says we are obliged to do it, or Nicaragua could say no.  So I told Luna to speak with the Vatican to see what possibilities there are to amend it and bring the Concordat up to date, or if we should mutually throw it out,” said President Balaños.

He said that since the Concordat is an agreement between the two parties, Nicaragua cannot unilaterally decide to reject or modify it, therefore he told Luna to investigate the matter.

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