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Archive of August 13, 2012

Latino Catholic runner makes history at Olympic games

Austin, Texas, Aug 13, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Forty-four years since the last victory by an American, Leonel “Leo” Manzano won an Olympic silver medal for the U.S. in the 1500-meter race, to the delight of his fellow parishioners at St. Ignatius the Martyr in Austin, Texas.

Born in Mexico and raised in the U.S., at five feet tall, Manzano caught the attention of the media first for his height and also for his habit of blessing himself and praying before competing.

During the 1500 meter race on Aug. 7 at London's Olympic stadium, he stayed in second-to-last place for the majority of the event. But in the last 200 meters, Manzano sprinted past the entire group to claim the silver in the race's fastest time ever for an American athlete.

Manzano told ESPN that after crossing the finish line he fell down on the track to pray and thank God for the fruits of all his sacrifices and the long hours spent in training and competitions away from his home in Austin.

When he is in Austin, Manzano attends Mass at St. Ignatius the Martyr Parish, where he gave a motivational talk to children at the local Catholic school last April.

Father Bill Wack, the pastor of St. Ignatius, told CNA that the local Catholic community “is proud of Leo – not only because he won a medal but also because he talks about his Faith and gives credit to God for his achievements.

“We are anxious to welcome him back home.”

Manzano told USA Today that during the race he “felt like I was 10th or 11th.”

“I knew I was in the back. I just kept praying, saying, 'Heavenly Father, help me. Push me. Give me the strength to keep going.”

“My kick has always been there,” he added. “Ever since I was maybe 12 years old, I've had this major gift from God. I guess sometimes it's just been kind of overlooked.”

Manzano also spoke about his Mexican heritage and his love for America. “The U.S. is my home, and I wouldn't change it for anything,” he said. “But my roots are still in Mexico. I love both countries. They both have a piece of my heart.”

Fr. Wack told CNA that he kept in touch with Manzano via Twitter during his participation in the Olympics.

“During all of this I kept the congregation informed of our communications, and people in the parish were really pleased to know that he has worshipped here,” the priest said.

“The schoolchildren were thrilled to watch his progress, and one of our third graders said, 'I am so glad I got his autograph when he was here. I know someone who has won an Olympic medal!'”

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Pope's butler will stand trial for alleged document leaks

Vatican City, Aug 13, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI's personal assistant Paolo Gabriele has been charged with theft amid suspicion that he leaked confidential papal documents to the press with the help of an accomplice.

Examining judge Piero Bonnet announced Aug. 13 that the papal aide would be tried in a Vatican City State court on charges of “aggravated theft,” Vatican Radio reported. If found guilty, he could face six years in jail.

Claudio Sciarpelleti, a computer technician at the Vatican Secretariat of State, faces a lesser charge of “aiding and abetting” Gabriele.

In a 35-page report released Monday, Judge Bonnet said Gabriele initially denied involvement in the “Vatileaks” scandal, in which secret documents from the Pope and top Vatican officials have been provided to the media.

According to the judge, however, Gabriele later acknowledged providing confidential papers to an Italian journalist. Gabriele purportedly claimed inspiration from God, seeing a “media shock” as a way to put the Church “back onto the right track.”

The papal assistant reportedly denied accepting money for the information, saying instead that he was trying to help Pope Benedict understand problems with corruption in the Church.

Currently under house arrest, Gabriele will not be tried until after Sept. 20 when the Vatican's Supreme Tribunal reconvenes. His alleged accomplice Sciarpelleti has been suspended from his position, but remains an employee at the Secretariat of State.

A three-judge panel will try the defendants jointly, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters Aug. 13.

Meanwhile, Bonnet's report stressed that Vatican authorities will continue to investigate the document leaks.

During Monday's press conference, Fr. Lombardi reaffirmed the Pope's trust in the magistrates and the legal process. Pope Benedict has authority to intervene in the proceedings, and could choose to pardon the two defendants if they are convicted.

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Over 100 pro-life organizations to march in Spain

Madrid, Spain, Aug 13, 2012 (CNA/Europa Press) - More than 100 organizations from Spain and around the world are set to participate in the International March for Life that will take place in the country next month.

In Madrid and 60 other Spanish cities, the groups will convene on Oct. 7 to urge the government of Spain to repeal the country's law allowing abortion and to pass a “zero abortions” law.

Organizers have titled the march, “For the Right to Life, Zero Abortions,” which will coincide with the International Day Against the Death Penalty. It will begin at 12 noon in cities across Spain and at Spanish embassies and consulates around the world.  

The list of organizations participating in the march include the Population Research Institute, the U.S.-based Focus on the Family and Crossroads, Australia's Endeavour Forum, Real Women of Canada, Alive to the World UK, Russia's Demographic Research Institute, the Novae Terrae Foundation, World Congress of Families and the Pro Europa Christiana Federation.

Spanish group Right to Life announced that when the reform of the law comes up for debate and vote in the Spanish Congress this fall, it would also present a petition signed by one million voters supporting “Zero Abortions,” as well as a new law that protects the right to life and supports mothers.

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Philadelphia archdiocese to sell major properties

Philadelphia, Pa., Aug 13, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced it will sell some of its large real estate holdings, including the archbishop’s residence, to reduce operating costs in the face of a multi-million dollar deficit.

“The decision to sell these properties was not made lightly, but rather after prayer and careful consideration,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia said Aug. 13. “Selling these assets will help us as we work to ensure the long-term financial stability and position the archdiocese for future growth. It will also allow us to remain committed to the services and support we provide to the faithful as well as the broader community.”

The archbishop compared the “hard decisions” to what families have to do when their expenses exceed their income.

The archdiocese expects to sell the archbishop’s residence in a private transaction. It will also sell its Villa Saint Joseph by the Sea property in Ventnor, N.J.

The villa was built in 1905. It has been a summer vacation home for the archdiocese’s retired priests since 1963. The 9,800-square-foot mansion is on a half-acre property with 17 feet of beach. It has 11 bedrooms, each with its own private bath.

The Villa Saint Joseph by the Sea, which is minutes from Atlantic City, will be sold at auction by the Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co.

Also up for sale will be The Holy Family Center and the northern portion of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center’s parking lot at 17th Street and Vine Street in Philadelphia. The 20,000 square foot former convent presently serves as office space for various Catholic Social Services agencies, which will be relocated without a reduction in workforce, the archdiocese says.

The archdiocese plans to sell the Mary Immaculate Center in Northampton, Penn. The 452 acre property was built in 1939 as a seminary for the Congregation of Missions of Saint Vincent de Paul. From 1991 to 2005 it housed the Spirituality Year Program for the seminarians of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. Since 2005, it has served as a retreat center.

The archdiocese said that if internal approvals, including approvals from the Vatican, are required to sell the property they will be obtained prior to the closure of a sale.

The archdiocese faces an operating deficit of at least $6 million for the fiscal year beginning in July 2012, not including any extraordinary costs.

“We just can't afford to maintain and hold assets like Villa Saint Joseph by the Sea and my residence,” Archbishop Chaput said. “Holding on to these properties at this time would be inconsistent with the mission of our Church.”

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