Nation and World News

Rapid City Diocese gets grant to promote better preaching

Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City has announced that the diocese has been awarded $100,000 in grant funding to promote excellence in preaching in his diocese.

National Black Catholic Congress meets July 12-17

During the last National Black Catholic Congress five years ago, in Chicago, black Catholic leaders from throughout the United States identified eight challenges to their communities.

Book details Hitler plot to kidnap pope

An SS general close to Adolf Hitler foiled a plot to kidnap Pope Pius XII during World War II and to put the Vatican and its treasures under Nazi control, according to a new book.

World and National News Briefs

Fire damages historic Indiana church

ST. ANTHONY, Ind. (CNS) — An early morning fire on June 5 caused extensive damage to St. Anthony Church in St. Anthony. There was no immediate determination as to the cause of the blaze.

Father Tim Tenbarge, pastor of the Dubois County parish, received a call about 3:30 a.m. from someone who happened to be passing by the church. Flames were 15 to 20 feet high on the ridge of the church’s roof, he said, and fire was coming out about 3 to 4 feet on the sides of the roof.

The parish is in the middle of a $1.7 million church restoration project, with plans calling for a new narthex, updating the heating and air conditioning systems and adding new lighting and sound systems.

Church’s efforts to halt AIDS recognized

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church’s contribution to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and offering care of those hit by the pandemic is slowly being recognized on the world stage, said Caritas Internationalis’ special adviser on HIV/AIDS.

Father Robert Vitillo told Catholic News Service June 6 that there is, however, still a widespread perception in some circles that the Church "is somehow an obstacle to HIV/AIDS education and care." He noted the sometimes the Church is "too humble in talking about the services we sponsor, and I think that’s why for many," especially within the media, "they think the Church only says ‘no’ to condoms" and does nothing constructive in the fight against HIV.

Father Vitillo was at the Vatican attending the June 3-9 Caritas Internationalis general assembly, where he delivered a report outlining the work Caritas organizations have carried out the past five years in HIV/AIDS prevention, education and care. Based in Geneva, Father Vitillo works closely with U.N. organizations like the World Health Organization and UNAIDS, the U.N. agency that coordinates the global campaign against AIDS.

Lawmakers abandon assisted-suicide bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) — A coalition that includes the California Catholic Conference and other Catholic groups welcomed the news last week that the issue of physician-assisted suicide is dead in the state legislature this year.

Facing a June 8 deadline for action on bills by legislators and reportedly lacking sufficient support, sponsors decided not to bring AB 374 to a vote on the Assembly floor June 7. The bill, similar to an Oregon assisted-suicide law, would have allowed patients with less than three months to live to request and ingest medication to kill themselves, after meeting certain conditions.

Members of Californians Against Assisted Suicide — a coalition of disability rights groups, medical professionals, civil rights organizations, bioethicists and others — praised the decision to shelve the bill. "I think legislators understand the devastating impact assisted suicide would have on the disability community in California," said Marilyn Golden of the Disability Rights, Education and Defense Fund. Carol Hogan, communications director for the California Catholic Conference, said the coalition owes "a huge debt of gratitude to the grass-roots volunteers, many of them Catholic parishioners" for defeat of the bill.

Backers say immigration bill just stalled

WASHINGTON (CNS) — With the June 7 failure of a procedural vote intended to bring the bill to a vote, the Senate’s attempt to pass comprehensive immigration reform went back behind the scenes, though the bill’s backers in both parties vowed to bring it to the floor again.

After the failure of a second cloture vote to cut off debate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he would take the bill off the floor to allow other legislation to move along, though he did so without closing the door to reviving its consideration. By the June 9-10 weekend, Reid and Republican leaders were saying the bill was not dead and debate would reopen, possibly before the Independence Day recess that begins July 2. Analysts have said that if immigration reform legislation does not pass before the end of 2007 it is unlikely to until after the 2008 general election.

Immigrant advocates including Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony quickly took the Senate to task for not moving the bill forward.

"Congress must not abdicate its responsibility now," said Father Snyder in a prepared statement. Cardinal Mahony’s statement said the country has a moral obligation to create an immigration system built on principles of fairness, opportunity and compassion.

Papal Message

During his homily at the June 3 canonization Mass of Father George Preca, Father Szymon of Lipnica, Father Charles of St. Andrew and Mother Marie-Eug

Diocesan spokesman: Kevorkian still a killer

An official of the Detroit Archdiocese denounced the media

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