Last Updated: Thursday - 09/30/2010
September 27, 2010
World News in Brief
'Leave Afghanistan,' urges L.A. bishop
The American bishop who serves as president of Pax Christi USA has called for the end of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.
Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala of Los Angeles told a gathering of about 70 Pax Christi members and supporters Sept. 16 that the military path chosen by the United States has led to greater violence and less security for Afghan people.
"Despite all the claims by U.S. officials and the media, the situation in Afghanistan after nearly nine years of U.S.-led liberation is horrendous," Zavala said.
He cited recent reports by the U.S. government, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations that pointed to rising violence, increased rates of civilian casualties and slowed development in Afghanistan since the surge at the end of 2009.
"The war must be brought to an end," Zavala said to applause.
"Nine years into this war, a clear and achievable objective has still not been identified," he said. "The increase in troop levels has increased the number of casualties. The militarization of humanitarian and development aid has turned critical civilian projects into military targets.
"The strategy of using aid as a weapon has failed to win hearts and minds and is instead fueling further violence."
Belgian bishops pledge to learn from mistakesBelgium's Catholic bishops said they would learn from their errors after an independent report highlighted hundreds of cases of sexual abuse by clergy. The bishops said the Church would work with Belgium's Justice and Interior ministries to devise ways of preventing abuse and bringing past cases to light. They said Church officials would honour victims' demands to be personally involved in new "healing initiatives." They pledged to set up a "centre for recognition, healing and reconciliation," staffed by four experts who would work with Church and state institutions and draw up plans for financial compensation. They also pledged to establish guidelines for all Church personnel working with children and young people. A commission recounted sexual abuse in most Catholic dioceses and all church-run boarding schools and religious orders. The commission said 475 cases of abuse had been reported to it between January and June. Two-thirds of victims had been male, the report said, while 13 had killed themselves and six more attempted suicide.
Delaware allows pro-life licence platesDelawareans now may show their pro-life sentiment when they drive their cars, as the first batch of "Choose Life" specialty license plates has been delivered. "When I saw that plate - it's hard to describe that feeling," Choose Life organizer Jim Cordie of Dover said about the arrival of his licence plate in the mail in late August. "It was some type of relief. There had been uncertainty." To date, 230 applications have been accepted and forwarded to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Delaware becomes the 23rd state to have Choose Life plates since the effort began in Florida in 2000.
Prelate: Numbers racket funds Church in PhilippinesChurch leaders in the Philippines are refusing to comment directly on allegations made by retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz that at least eight Catholic bishops received money from operators of an illegal numbers racket called jueteng. Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi of Caceres said: "It's not good to hear." He said the Church should not benefit from gambling. "Gambling will not buy off sin," he told Church-run Radio Veritas. On Sept. 14, Cruz, retired archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, said, "There are about 12 dioceses we are looking at, but we are certain about eight." He refused to name the dioceses, saying he is no longer an active member of the bishops' conference. "That is their command and responsibility. . . . They know who they are," he said. Legaspi said jueteng operators "want to save their own souls, so they are willing to pay for it. That is buying salvation."
Aussie bishops criticize increasing violenceAustralia's bishops criticized "an increasingly violent Australian society" that often sees Aborigines, the homeless and migrants as victims of assault. They said the Australian media has contributed to demonizing people who come to the country seeking asylum from war and injustice. "We know that indigenous Australians are the victims of physical or threatened violence at much higher levels than their non-indigenous counterparts," the bishops said in a statement. The statement noted that assault, which constitutes the bulk of violent crime in Australia, increased more than 50 per cent between 1997 and 2007. The bishops said research shows homeless people are particularly exposed to violence, which in Australia includes a significant proportion of Aborigines. The media's "campaign of dehumanization can turn reality upside-down and make the powerful feel they are the victims of the powerless," the bishops said.
Exhibit links Jewish poet, Catholic religious orderWhen the travelling Women & Spirit exhibit on Catholic women religious opens in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty Sept. 24, it will recall the connection between two 19th-century women - one Jewish, one Catholic. The final illness of Emma Lazarus, the Jewish poet best known for the words that appear at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty, led Rose Hawthorne Lathrop to found the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne for the care of incurable cancer patients. Lazarus' poem The New Colossus, reads in part: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore." Mercy Sister Camille D'Arienzo, a former president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said: "Few who can quote this famous excerpt know that this Jewish woman poet-activist inspired her friend, Rose Hawthorne . . . to start a religious order."
Hamilton auxiliary now bishop in St. Catherines
St. Catharines has a new bishop. Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Paul Bergie, 51, slides over from his post as Hamilton's vicar general to take over in St. Catharines, five months after Bishop James Wingle suddenly resigned April 7 citing health reasons.
Wingle's whereabouts remain a mystery.
Bergie has been a bishop in Hamilton since the summer of 2005. While in Hamilton, Bergie has taken a prominent role in dealing with the media and has championed the addition of permanent deacons. Bergie becomes the fifth bishop of St. Catharines since the diocese was carved out of the Hamilton Diocese in 1958.
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