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Archive of September 21, 2011

Dolores Hope remembered for deep Catholic faith

Los Angeles, Calif., Sep 21, 2011 (CNA) - Dolores Hope, the widow of entertainer Bob Hope and a supporter of many Catholic charities, was a Catholic of “deep abiding faith,” Archbishop José H. Gomez said in tribute to her life.

“Both the entertainment world and the Church have lost a woman of profound faith, gifted musical talent, and dedication to the betterment of peoples world-wide. The death of Dolores Hope leaves a huge void in Southern California,” he said.

“May she now enter into that eternal life and light prepared for her by the God whom she loved so fully and deeply.”

Mrs. Hope died Sept. 19 at the age of 102.

She was born Dolores DeFina in New York on May 27, 1909. During the 1930s she sang in nightclubs under the stage name of Dolores Reade. She met her future husband when he attended a New York show, the Washington Post reports. They married in 1934 and soon performed vaudeville together.
 
She raised four adopted children as her husband performed in popular movies and entertained American armed forces during wartime tours with the United Service Organization. Hope appeared in many of her husband’s television specials and sometimes accompanied him on his tours for service members.

Hope returned to singing in 1993. She recorded several albums.

Archbishop Gomez said Hope practiced her faith regularly and transformed her home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Toluca Lake into “a special sacred space.”

He noted that she kept a “beautiful and peaceful” chapel in their home and frequently asked friends to gather for retreat and recollection. She had “a large collection” of books on spiritual topics and encouraged friends to read them.

She was close friends to many priests and religious sisters as well as cardinals, archbishops and bishops.

“Her deep life in Christ was the springboard for her charitable giving to countless ministries, apostolates, and works of mercy across the country and around the world,” Archbishop Gomez said.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles benefited regularly from the Hope family’s generous donations. Dolores and her husband were early supporters of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels building program.

“All of us were gifted through her deep faith and her untiring spirit to help improve the lives of so many people everywhere,” the archbishop said.

Pope John Paul II gave Bob and Dolores Hope the honor of being a Knight and Dame of St. Gregory the Great with Star. She was one of the few women in the world to be presented with the title.

Among her many other honors from Catholic institutions, she received Catholic University of America’s Patronal Medal and the Terence Cardinal Cooke Humanitarian Award from Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center in New York City.

The Bronx native has a street named after her in her home borough.

She is survived by two daughters and a son, four grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

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UW-Madison Catholic student group wins $500,000 in legal costs

Madison, Wis., Sep 21, 2011 (CNA) - The University of Wisconsin at Madison must pay $500,000 in legal costs to the university’s Catholic group after a court ruled that it wrongly denied student funds to the group.

“Universities should recognize the constitutional rights of Christian students and ministries just as they do for all other students and campus groups,” said Jordan Lorence, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed the lawsuit.

“Sadly, the University refused to do so, and instead squandered money by trying to defend the indefensible: blatant, unlawful discrimination against Christian students and ministries.”

In September 2010 the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that university officials violated the First Amendment by funding the events of other student organizations but refusing to fund certain events of Badger Catholic, a registered student group then known as the Catholic Foundation.

In 2007 the university refused to grant the group a portion of student activity fees. The university refused about $35,000 of a $253,000 request. It argued that the funding of an organization which runs evangelistic training camps and spiritual retreats amounted to an illegal endorsement of religion.

Some of the group’s activities, including its retreats, were on hold while the case advanced through the courts.

“The payment is not the issue; I'm just relieved that this has finally come to a close and that this is resolved in a way that really affirmed Badger Catholic's original position,” Nico Fassino, president of Badger Catholic, told the university student newspaper The Daily Cardinal.

He said the ruling will allow religious student organizations across the United States to deepen their level of services to students.

The appeals court’s decision said the university “has created a public forum where the students, not the University, decide what is to be said. And having created a public forum, the University must honor the private choice.”

It said a university “cannot shape Badger Catholic’s message by selectively funding the speech it approves, but not the speech it disapproves. Once it creates a public forum, a university must accept all comers within the forum’s scope.”

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the university’s appeal in March 2011.

Badger Catholic received about $120,000 in student fee funding in 2011. It offers spiritual advising, service projects, lectures and other activities.

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Indianapolis archbishop retires early for health reasons

Indianapolis, Ind., Sep 21, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) - Today Pope Benedict XVI accepted the early resignation of Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein of Indianapolis due to health issues.

“It has been a joy for me to serve as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for the past 20 years. I want to thank all of the clergy, religious, archdiocesan staff and lay people for the support you have given me over the years,” Archbishop Buechlein said in a Sept. 21 statement from the archdiocese.

“You truly have been a blessing to me. With your help and the help of God we have been able to accomplish much.”

The archbishop requested retirement earlier this year. At age 73, he is two years away from the normal retirement age for bishops. However, he has suffered from numerous health problems in recent years, including a mild stroke, a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a shoulder replacement surgery and the removal of a benign stomach tumor. 

Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, has been named by Pope Benedict as Apostolic Administrator until a new archbishop is appointed.
 
Bishop Coyne was ordained to assist Archbishop Buechlein as his auxiliary bishop in March 2011.

Archbishop Buechlein was born on April 20, 1938 in Jasper, Ind. In 1963, he took a solemn vows as a Benedictine monk, and the next year, he was ordained a priest.

In 1987, he was appointed bishop of Memphis, Tenn., and in 1992 he was appointed Archbishop of Indianapolis by Pope John Paul II.

During his time in Indianapolis, he has served in various positions, including as a consultor to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy and co-moderator of the Disciples of Christ-Roman Catholic International Dialogue.

The archbishop’s retirement was announced on September 21 and is effective immediately.

According to the archdiocese, Archbishop Buechlein plans to spend his retirement in southern Indiana at St. Meinrad Archabbey. He intends to return to the community where he made his solemn profession as a Benedictine monk almost 50 years ago.

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Spain's increase in failed marriages due to 'fast-track divorce' law, say experts

Madrid, Spain, Sep 21, 2011 (CNA/Europa Press) - Two family leaders in Spain are arguing that the country's rise in failed marriages has been the result of laws such as the 2005 divorce law, known as “fast-track divorce.”

The president of the Forum on the Family, Benigno Blanco, and the president of the Institute for Family Policy, Eduardo Hertfelder added that the law trivializes marriage.

Blanco told Europa Press on Sept. 19 that such laws, including the one that allows for same-sex unions, have an effect on the collective conscience.  Those in power are increasingly less appreciative of marriage and make it easy for marriages to fail, he said. 

“This is of enormous social transcendence because the family is the source of well-being, stability and solidarity.”
 
A “reasonable” government should support marriage and the family, he continued.
 
Marital breakdowns are among the most difficult situations children must endure and they are “the greatest cause of poverty among women in the EU because usually women are the most vulnerable in such cases from an economic, social and professional point of view,” Blanco said.
 
The president of the Institute for Family Policies, Eduardo Hertfelder, also said he was “troubled” by the increase in divorce, which he said was “a logical consequence of the application of the fast-track divorce law.” 
 
“The worst thing is that when a government creates a law, it should be aimed at reducing or softening the negative effects, not increasing them, and the fast-track divorce law, instead of doing this, increases the breakdown of the family.” 

Marital breakdowns have become “the main problem facing Spanish families,” he stressed.
 
Hertfelder called on the Spanish government to overturn the law and to promote the creation of counseling centers to help families that are in crisis.

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Listen to Pope before passing judgment, says Berlin archbishop

Berlin, Germany, Sep 21, 2011 (CNA/EWTN News) -

Germans should listen to what Pope Benedict XVI has to say to them before passing judgment, says one of the country’s top Catholic bishops. The Pope will begin a four-day visit to his homeland Sept. 22, starting in the capital city of Berlin.
 
“The Holy Father is going to visit a city in which Christians are a minority and some already have announced protests a long time before his arrival,” noted Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki of Berlin, Sept. 21.

“I once again invite everyone to listen first to what the Pope has to say and then to pass judgment.”

The four-day visit will be Pope Benedict’s third to Germany since being elected pontiff in 2005, although it is his first as the Vatican’s head-of-state.

Already over 100 left-wing politicians have threatened to boycott his address to the German parliament, the Bundestag, on Friday. Social Democrat parliamentarian Ulla Burchardt summed up her opposition Sept. 20, saying, “A head of state who disregards labor rights, women's rights and the right to sexual self-determination should not be allowed to address the Bundestag.”

Meanwhile, the German magazine “Der Spiegel” carried several major article in its latest edition criticizing Pope Benedict for upholding traditional Christian values. “Benedict is not leading his church into an open-minded future, but back into a narrow-minded past,” one story complained.

The respected Vatican-watcher Sandro Magister observed, “in Berlin and Erfurt, Benedict XVI enters into the area of Europe farthest from God. He wants to make it a new mission territory.”
 
“The former East Germany, together with Estonia and the Czech Republic, is the area of Europe where atheists are most numerous, and the non-baptized are in the majority,” Magister said, summing up much of Germany as a “desert of faith.”

But Archbishop Woekli is certain that while Pope Benedict is going as a head of state, he is also more than an intellectual match for the Church’s critics.

The Pope “also visits Berlin as a great European, and universal intellectual and example of belief. I am convinced that it is worth it to listen to what he has to say, even as a critical mind, even when not everyone agrees with everything.”
 
As well Berlin, the Pope will also visit Erfurt in eastern Germany - birthplace of the Lutheran Reformation nearly 500 years ago – before visiting Freiburg in the southwest for a prayer vigil with young people. In total, he is scheduled to give 18 sermons and speeches during, this, his 21st foreign trip since becoming Pope.

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SNAP campaign condemned for undermining crimes against humanity

London, England, Sep 21, 2011 (CNA) -

Campaigners demanding that the International Criminal Court prosecute Pope Benedict XVI over clerical sex abuse are being accused of undermining human rights by a leading expert on religion and the law.

“It’s simply a publicity stunt,” said U.K.-based attorney Neil Addison in a Sept. 21 interview with CNA. He added, “what these groups are alleging - even at its very worst - does not fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.”
 
The bid to bring Pope Benedict before the International Criminal Court was launched last week by the American organization Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest (SNAP) and the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights. The groups alleged that the Pope had “direct and superior responsibility for the crimes against humanity of rape and other sexual violence committed around the world.”

On Sept. 20 the campaigners held a press conference in Rome asking for any Vatican employees with evidence against Pope Benedict – and three other senior Vatican officials - to come forward.

“I’d probably get sued if I answered that,” Addison said when he was asked what he thinks of the conduct of such lawyers.
 
But even though he calls the move by SNAP a publicity stunt, Addison maintains it is far from harmless. “I think it damages the idea of crimes against humanities because it demeans it.”
 
Addison 34-year career as an attorney has earned him the reputation of being an expert on all matters regarding religion and the law. He was a Senior Crown Prosecutor for eight of those years. An academic as well as a practicing lawyer, Addison recently published a legal textbook on “Religious Discrimination and Hatred Law.” He also edits the website www.religionlaw.co.uk.

He explained that the International Criminal Court exists to prosecute “crimes against humanity” and for that “you have to have had an attack upon a civilian population. And the Swiss Guard has not invaded anywhere. So it doesn’t fit within the criteria.”

He also noted that the Court only has jurisdiction for actions from 2001 onwards and that, as far as he was aware, SNAP does not identify any particular incidents beyond that date. “All the Irish reports, for example, relate to incidents prior to 2001 – even the recent Cloyne Report,” he pointed out.

“The problem is that they’ve had apologies, they’ve had damages, and I’m now not sure what more they want. I don’t think they do either,” Addison said.
 
Even “the Pope being in a prison cell” would probably fail to satisfy the campaign groups, he suggested.

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