Archive of July 31, 2006

Cardinal George resting well after second emergency surgery

Chicago, Ill., Jul 31, 2006 (CNA) - Cardinal Francis George was recovering well Saturday at Loyola University Medical Center after undergoing surgery to remove his bladder and a second emergency surgery to stop internal bleeding, said the Archdiocese of Chicago.

According to church officials, the cardinal was well enough Saturday to get out of bed and move about.

"He’s in very good spirits. This morning he prayed the rosary with members of his staff," Dr. Myles Sheehan, a priest and the cardinal's personal physician, told CBS 2.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, the 69-year-old cardinal had five hours of surgery Thursday to remove his cancerous bladder, his prostate gland, part of his right ureter and several lymph nodes.

He had a second, two-hour emergency surgery early Friday to stop internal bleeding that resulted from the initial surgery. According to CBS 2, surgeons found a small blood vessel in the pelvis that was bleeding.

Urological surgeon Dr. Robert Flanigan reportedly told Dr. Sheehan that the two-millimeter artery was likely cut during node exploration deep in the pelvis.

He had a slight fever of 101 degrees on Friday, but Dr. Sheehan said that was to be expected in the days after a major surgery. There are no signs of infection.

As of Saturday morning, there was no sign of further bleeding, his vital signs were stable and he no longer had a fever. Dr. Sheehan said he would like the cardinal to convalesce until Labor Day.

Cardinal George, who has headed the Archdiocese of Chicago since 1997, expressed gratitude for all the prayers that have been offered for him and appreciates continuing prayers on his behalf, the statement said.

Dozens of prayer services have been held around the archdiocese, including a prayer vigil at Holy Name Cathedral overnight when he went in for surgery.

Pathology tests are due this week to further assess the cardinal’s overall health. The archdiocese's website said there would be another update on his condition Monday afternoon.

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Church provides both prophetic and realistic voice for Holy Land, Pope says

Castelgandolfo, Italy, Jul 31, 2006 (CNA) -

During his weekly Angelus address, Pope Benedict XVI lamented the growing tragedy in the Middle East and renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire.

"At these moments," the Holy Father told the hundreds of pilgrims gathered in the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, "I cannot fail to think of the ever more serious and tragic situation of the Middle East: hundreds of dead, many injured, a vast mass of homeless and displaced people, cities and infrastructures destroyed, while hatred and thirst for revenge seem to be growing in the hearts of many.

"These facts clearly demonstrate," the Pontiff said, "that it is not possible to re-establish justice, create a new order and build real peace when there is recourse to ... violence."

"More than ever, we see how much the Church's voice is at once prophetic and realistic when, in the face of war and conflicts of all kinds, she indicates the path of truth, justice, love and freedom. This is the path that humanity today must also follow in order to achieve the desired good of real peace."

"In the name of God," the Pope cried out, "I address all those responsible for this spiral of violence, that all sides immediately lay down their arms! To political leaders and international institutions I ask that no efforts be spared in order to obtain the necessary cessation of hostilities and thus to begin to build, through dialogue, a lasting and stable coexistence of all the people of the Middle East. I ask men and women of good will to continue and to intensify the sending of humanitarian aid to those needy and much tried peoples. But above all, may faithful prayers to the good and merciful God continue to be raised from all hearts, that He may concede His peace to that region and to the world entire.

The Pope also thanked pilgrims gathered and recalled that, apart from a brief apostolic trip to Germany in September, he will stay at Castelgandolfo until the end of the summer. He told them that "with the warmth of their presence (they) help to underline, even in the family atmosphere of my summer residence, the universal ecclesial horizon of this our [regular] appointment with the Marian prayer.

In the context of the Marian prayer of the Angelus, the Pope called again on the prayers of Mary. "I entrust this heartfelt appeal (for peace)," Benedict XVI concluded, "to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Prince of Peace and Queen of Peace, who is so venerated in the countries of the Middle East, where we soon hope to see the reign of that reconciliation for which the Lord Jesus offered His precious Blood."

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Cardinal McCarrick agrees with Weigel: truth of the faith is not on the 50 yard line

Washington D.C., Jul 31, 2006 (CNA) -

Former Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, is attempting to make clear his faithfulness to Catholic doctrine. In a letter published exclusively by Commonweal, McCarrick said that its important to, "set the record straight," in regards to questions George Weigel recently raised about his view of moderation and the faith.

Weigel, the best selling author of several books, including an authorized biography of Pope John Paul II, and one of the country’s leading "Vatican insiders," recently focused his weekly Denver Catholic Register column on comments repeatedly made by McCarrick regarding the importance of "being in the middle," as a priest or bishop.

Weigel quoted McCarrick in a National Public Radio interview as saying, "the job of a priest always forces you to the middle…We’ve got to be in the middle so that we don’t let those on the left or right get lost." The question, Weigel said, is whether "always" includes matters of faith and morals.

McCarrick said in his Commonweal letter that he would typically let such questions go by unaddressed, however he felt it necessary to speak now in order to make clear his, "uncompromising commitment to the doctrine of our Faith."

The cardinal says that Weigel is correct in his assertion that he often calls for "moderation and civility." However, McCarrick continues, "that doesn’t mean compromising our faith and our teachings."

McCarrick, who said that through his column that Weigel is guilty of, "deceptive journalism, if not worse," wrote in his letter to the readers of Commonweal that people should, "avoid name calling and personal attacks and be careful that what we say is always true both in its expression and its implication." "Sometimes…it truly is important to set the record straight in the face of half-truths," McCarrick said.

It seems that the clarification is what Weigel desired, "It’s not easy to know what Cardinal McCarrick means by his oft-repeated admonition to moderation," Weigel wrote in his article.

The question seems to be answered - the cardinal and the layman agree. "That priests and bishops must be able to minister to people across the spectrum of reasonable theological and political opinion goes, or should go, with out saying," Weigel wrote in his article. "That priests and bishops can be true ministers to the Gospel by thinking and acting as if every question were a football field on which truth lies a the fifty-yard line is another matter entirely."

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Alleged abuse victims in Denver take up offer for mediation

Denver, Colo., Jul 31, 2006 (CNA) - Several people who said clergy in the Archdiocese of Denver sexually abused them have agreed to try to work through their legal claims with mediation, the Rocky Mountain News has reported

Judge Richard Dana, a former chief district justice whose legal firm will conduct the mediation process, made the announcement Thursday. However, Dana declined to disclose how many of the alleged victims signed up for mediation.

In May, Archbishop Charles Chaput hired Dana’s firm, Judicial Arbiters Group, to offer independent mediation to the 30 people who have filed lawsuits against the archdiocese and to anyone who claimed abuse by clergy but did not file a suit. The deadline to request mediation is Aug. 25th.

Accusers may bring their lawyers with them to begin the mediation; church officials will not participate in the process. If accusers decide not to proceed with mediation or are not pleased with the results, they may proceed with their lawsuits.

The alleged incidents happened between 27 and 50 years ago. They involve two priests, Leonard Abercrombie, who died in 1994, and Harold Robert White, who is defrocked.

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Catholic University offers to "adopt" unborn child in danger of being aborted

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jul 31, 2006 (CNA) -

The AICA news agency in Argentina reported this weekend that the Catholic University of La Plata has offered to help take care of the unborn child of a handicapped woman whose parents are seeking court approval for an abortion.

In a letter to the Supreme Court of the Buenos Aires province, the university’s rector, Ricardo De la Torre, offered, "to help the young woman in all her needs and to assume responsibility for the child after his birth if the family of the young woman should decide they don’t want him or cannot raise him."

"I also offer her counseling from our Department of Legal Medicine free of charge, as well as free medical care from health professionals at the University which I represent," he added.

"It is also the will of our Institution," the letter continues, "to provide the necessary means for collaborating as well in the adoption of the baby by another family if that be the decision of the young woman’s parents."

The 19 year-old woman became pregnant through rape, and her parents have asked the court to allow her to obtain an abortion. Anti-life feminists and local officials are pressuring the court to grant the family’s request.

In recent days the Corporation of Catholic Lawyers in Argentina issued a public statement expressing "alarm" over the comments made by the country’s Health Minister and by the governor of the Buenos Aires province in support of abortion. The group said it hoped "the justices would know to protect the rights of the child, especially the right to be born and to live, which constitutes the origin and foundation of all other rights."

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Saudi Arabia seeking to acquire private schools in Spain to set up Islamic centers

Madrid, Spain, Jul 31, 2006 (CNA) - The government of Saudi Arabia is working through its embassy in Madrid to acquire numerous private schools in Spain in order to turn them into Islamic formation centers, where the Koran and Islamic law would be taught.

The strategy to purchase schools was revealed by the Spanish daily "ABC", which discovered that Saudi Arabia had unsuccessfully tried to purchase school buildings operated by the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. The Saudi plan was to offer $17 million for a school in Madrid capable of holding 350 students. ABC reported that the offer was rejected "because the religious congregation was opposed to selling the buildings to the Saudis because of their intention to convert them into an Islamic school."

The Saudi embassy is now looking to purchase Our Lady of Mercies Catholic school-which is not affiliated with the religious order-also located in the Spanish capital.

ABC reported that the type of Islam which Saudi Arabia would promote in the schools would not directly encourage "jihad" against the West, but it would discourage integration by teaching that "the West corrupts, which in the long term could result in the breeding of future radicals that could be exported to other countries."

"We could find ourselves in two or three generations with even Spanish citizens who reject the Catholic King and Queen and embrace the reclaiming of Al Andalus-the name Muslims gave to Spain," the article warned.

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"People person" prepares to take the helm of Raleigh Diocese

Raleigh, N.C., Jul 31, 2006 (CNA) - One of the first things on Bishop Michael Burbidge’s "to do" list is learning Spanish. The auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia will be installed this week as the bishop of the growing Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, where the Hispanic population is on the rise and he wants to be able to, "speak to their situation and their needs."

Burbidge’s desire to learn the language of a growing segment of his flock speaks to the great desire he has to make connections with the people he serves, according to story yesterday in the News & Observer.

Raleigh, with only 200,000 registered Catholics, is small compared with the bishop’s native Philadelphia, which numbers 1.4 million Catholics. But it has grown considerably in the last 10 years- by 61 percent-and the Hispanic population is a main factor.

Monsignor Hugh Shields, a friend of Burbidge’s, says that the bishop has a gift of setting aside his many concerns, just to meet people. Of the Bishop’s process of learning Spanish, Shields said that Bishop Burbidge will not be discouraged by mistakes. "Making mistakes isn’t as important to him as making a connection. That desire to connect will be like gasoline to his tanks."

The 49 year-old Burbidge, who will be installed as Bishop of Raleigh on Friday, will succeed Bishop F. Joseph Gossman, who served Raleigh’s Catholics for 31 years.

Many are already pointing out differences between the two. The News & Observer reports that when the two were together for the news conference last month, announcing Burbidge’s appointment, Gossman came in a faded gray clerical shirt. Burbidge, on the other hand, dressed like a bishop, the article says, wearing a pectoral cross and a bishop’s ring.

Bishop Burbidge is known as a people person and a priest's priest, a caring pastor who is fully aligned with the Vatican and faithful to the teachings of the Church.

As a teenager at Cardinal O'Hara High School, he was taught by priests and "saw something special about them," he told the News & Observer. "They shared a bond. I was very impressed by that."

The young Burbidge studied at Philadelphia’s St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, which he later served as rector for five years, from 1999 to 2004. As rector, he established a fitness center in the seminary's basement, reinstituted the yearly musical production, launched a $6-million renovation of the library, and - as his seminarians say - transformed the seminary from an institution to a home.

The seminary, which is known for being fully in line with the Vatican, has produced more bishops and cardinals than any other American seminary, and Bishop Burbidge is proud of this tradition.

Earlier this month Burbidge went back to visit his former seminary to speak with the children at Camp Overbrook, which is held on the seminary grounds each summer. While other officials waited to meet with the bishop, Burbidge took his time to greet the children and camp counselors, talking to them about sports and school.

Such a gift for communicating with people should be put to good use as Burbidge begins his new role.

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Cardinal admonishes bishop who participated in highway blockade in Honduras

Tegucigalpa, Jul 31, 2006 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez, has admonished Bishop Luis Alfonso Santos of Copan for leading a blockade of the country’s highways in protest over a 1998 law which allowed foreigners to own as much as 34% of Honduran mines.

Together with Bishop Santos, several priests, students, agricultural workers, and others took part in the protest that closed three main arteries of the Pan American Highway in Copan for over 12 hours.

Speaking on local radio, Cardinal Rodriguez said, "A nation changes through dialogue and education, not by occupying highways, which belong to everyone." "The course the protestors took was wrong. I think Bishop Santos did not get all of the adequate information because you don’t repeal a law just because somebody is screaming out on the street," he said.

Likewise, he cautioned Bishop Santos "not to repeat that incident, because it appears somebody put a banana peel in his path to make him slip up."

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Cuban exiles launch campaign to support civil resistance in Cuba

Miami, Fla., Jul 31, 2006 (CNA) - Various organizations of Cuban exiles announced the launching of a campaign called "No Cooperation with the Dictatorship" to support the actions of the civil resistance in Cuba, to encourage Cubans not to participate in the suppression of the political opposition and to foster activity in favor of democratic change.

According to El Nuevo Herald, the campaign is being promoted by the organizations Plantados, MAR for Cuba, and the Cuban Democratic Directory.

"We are responding to a call made by political prisoners and representatives of the dissidence on the island, considering the growing segment of the population that rejects cooperation with the regime," said Angel de Fana, director of Plantados.

The campaign consists of the distribution in Cuba of posters and bumper stickers with different slogans, such as "I Will Not Follow," "I Will Not Attend," "I Will Not Cooperate."

Javier de Cespedes, president of the Cuban Democratic Director, said it was crucial that "this campaign has already begun inside Cuba" and that it spread to other parts of the country, "because people are no longer afraid." "The atmosphere that one feels in Cuba is that of a dying regime," said Sylvia Iriondo, president of MAR for Cuba.

The launching of the campaign has taken place amidst warnings from dissidents in Cuba of an increase in government repression on the eve of the Fourteenth Summit of Non-Aligned Countries, which will be held in Havana September 11th-16th.

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