Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
June 7, 2010
World News in Brief
Librarian oversees rare collection of Bibles
Liana Lupas stands out in New York, even by the standards of a city that seems to have world-class specialists in every conceivable discipline. She calls herself "the only librarian in the world who takes care of one book."
Of course, that book is "the" Book, the Bible. And in two decades with the American Bible Society and the Museum of Biblical Art, Lupas has been responsible for a collection that includes more than 45,000 books of Scripture printed in more than 2,000 languages during six centuries.
"Each and every one is important to me, whether it was a pamphlet printed last month or a first edition printed before 1500. They are part of the same story and should be treated with respect," she said.
Lupas trained as a classicist in her native Romania, where she earned her doctorate in Greek and Latin. She worked at the University of Bucharest for 21 years before joining her husband in New York in 1984.
Raised Greek Orthodox, Lupas said she fulfilled a long-held dream to become a Catholic after she settled in New York.
Lupas said if she could own any one of the rare volumes she curates, it would be the Complutensian Polyglot, a Spanish Bible printed in 1514 in Hebrew, Latin, Greek and Aramaic.
"It's an extraordinary book, the pinnacle of Catholic biblical scholarship," Lupas said. She called it the first great polyglot Bible, or Bible printed in more than one language.
N.S. diocese to sell 400 properties for legal costs
The Diocese of Antigonish will put up about 400 properties for sale in an effort to raise the money necessary to cover legal settlement and sexual abuse lawsuit costs. Father Paul Abbass, diocesan spokesman, told parishioners in a series of talks that the diocese has raised about one-third of the money necessary to cover the legal costs. "We have commitments of close to $6 million," he said. "That pretty much taps out what we can expect from that particular exercise of the pooling of liquid assets." Parishes in the diocese were asked to contribute all but essential money to the legal settlement fund, which meant larger parishes donated much more than others, Abbass said. "The remaining $12.5 million must come from the sale of all "non-core assets," which include all property except occupied churches and Church houses, Abbass said. A financial study said the diocese would be able to meet the fiscal responsibilities if all properties were sold, he added.
Nun excommunicated over decision on abortion
A nun who concurred in an ethics committee's decision to abort the child of a gravely ill woman at a Phoenix hospital was "automatically excommunicated by that action," according to Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. Mercy Sister Margaret Mary McBride also was reassigned from her position as vice president of mission integration at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix after news surfaced about the abortion that took place late last year. The patient was 11 weeks pregnant and suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a condition that the hospital said carried a near-certain risk of death for the mother if the pregnancy continued. "If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it. We are convinced there was not," said a letter to Olmsted from top officials at Catholic Healthcare West, the health system to which St. Joseph's belongs. But the bishop said in a statement that "the direct killing of an unborn child is always immoral, no matter the circumstances, and it cannot be permitted in any institution that claims to be authentically Catholic," Olmsted said. "The unborn child's life is just as sacred as the mother's life, and neither life can be preferred over the other."
Priest-composer recovers from paralyzing illness
One duty of a priest is to minister to the sick and suffering. But when Guillain-Barre syndrome paralyzed Father Jan Michael Joncas and brought him close to death in 2003, the well-known liturgical music composer suddenly found himself on the receiving end of a ministry he knew well. Joncas, composer of the well-known hymn On Eagle's Wings, spent months in the hospital recovering the use of his arms and legs. During that time, he said he gained insight into suffering and dependence on God and others. "I learned that you don't solve the problem of suffering," Joncas said. "You enter into the mystery of suffering. And it does change you, and it changes your world." Joncas said he still lives with nerve pain in his hands and feet. He can no longer play the guitar, and when he's tired he sometimes stumbles. He also occasionally experiences unpredictable waves of fatigue. But, he said, he is 95 per cent back to normal and busier than ever. Since his recovery, Joncas said he has had an "explosion" of musical creativity. In the past two years, he has recorded three collections of liturgical music.
Liturgical music composers sell songs through website
Even the Beatles couldn't get a deal with the first record label that auditioned them. Consider the situation of liturgical music composers who have only three U.S. publishers to go to with their compositions and hopes of launching a career. Now they have another option. A Milwaukee Catholic composer has helped establish a website, www.holymeasures.com, that allows composers to sell their own works directly to Church musicians. The website opened for business to the public last fall. A half-year into the site, Holy Measures has more than 100 composers from Catholic and other Christian faiths, and about 175 songs available for purchase or download. Matt Wessel, a part-time liturgical musician, said the site is a more systematic way to collect songs for curious musicians interested in new music.
Abuse scandal must inspire purification, justice - pope
The scandal of clerical abuse of minors must inspire bishops and priests to rediscover the need for penitence, purification, forgiveness and justice, Pope Benedict told Italian bishops. The Church's desire to engage in a new evangelization of the world "does not hide the wounds scarring the Church community, (wounds) caused by the weakness and sin of some of its members," he said in an audience with members of the Italian bishops' conference May 27. While the pope did not specifically mention the crisis of sex abuse in the Church, he briefly referred to it in his 20-minute speech to the bishops. The pope said the Year for Priests has served as a reminder for the need for deep spiritual renewal within the priesthood. The "humble and painful admission" of the sins of some of the Church's members should not obscure the good and saintliness of so many others, including lay faithful and priests, he said.
BP gives $1m to Church for oil spill relief
As millions of gallons of oil from an offshore rig explosion fouled hundreds of square miles in the Gulf of Mexico and advanced toward the Louisiana coastline, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond thanked BP for $1 million in emergency relief funds. The grant will allow local Church relief agencies to provide emergency food, financial and counseling assistance to needy fishing families. BP, which operated the oil platform that exploded April 20 and killed 11 workers, earmarked $750,000 to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans for direct assistance such as gift cards to local grocery stores, case management and counseling, and $250,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana for emergency food boxes. The $1 million grant will help fund outreach services for three months, and the program is likely to be extended if the impact of the oil spill grows.
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