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Hundreds at Notre Dame honor memory of Father Hesburgh


Catholic News Service

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Ryan Leahy of Chicago walked up to an employee on the snow-covered campus of the University of Notre Dame March 3 and asked her to take a photo of him and his family members in front of the school’s iconic gold dome.

Though the family reunion of sorts was chronicled with that snapshot, they came together for another well-known Notre Dame pillar.

Students wait in line March 3 outside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of the University of Notre Dame  to pay their respects at a visitation for Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh, former Notre Dame president. Father Hesburgh died Feb. 26 at age 97 in the Holy Cross House adjacent to the university in Indiana. (CNS photo/Barbara Johnston, University of Notre Dame)

Students wait in line March 3 outside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of the University of Notre Dame to pay their respects at a visitation for Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh, former Notre Dame president. Father Hesburgh died Feb. 26 at age 97 in the Holy Cross House adjacent to the university in Indiana. (CNS photo/Barbara Johnston, University of Notre Dame)

They traveled from different regions of the U.S. to attend two days of services honoring the life of their friend, Holy Cross Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, the longest serving president of the university, from 1952 to 1987, who died Feb. 26 at the age of 97.

As Ryan Leahy huddled with his brother Patrick and father James, both of who traveled from Yakima, Washington, they took a moment to discuss with Catholic News Service their family’s connection with Father Ted and his legacy.

“My father, who was Frank Leahy, the athletic director and head football coach here and Father Ted Hesburgh had a very interesting relationship,” said James Leahy, a 1969 graduate of Notre Dame.

When Father Hesburgh arrived at Notre Dame in the 1940s, the Indiana Catholic campus was best known for its football excellence, and when he became president of the school in 1952, he vowed to turn the university into great academic institution, “which of course he did,” James Leahy said.

“He and my father probably had conflict over the importance of football and academics,” James Leahy said, and the two men later concluded that both were important for the success of Notre Dame.

The Leahys were among hundreds of people who arrived at the Indiana campus on the cold and dreary day of March 3 to pay tribute to Father Hesburgh, who is not only credited with transforming Notre Dame into one of the nation’s premier higher-education institutions, he was considered a trailblazer in civil and human rights.

Father Hesburgh’s work with several popes and U.S. presidents was highlighted during an evening wake service March 3 at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus.

When he was appointed to serve on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who created it, the priest “did not have much experience in this great scourge on American rights,” said Holy Cross Father Edward A. Malloy during the wake service. “But, he was a quick learner.”

Father Malloy, who succeeded Father Hesburgh as Notre Dame’s president and served in the post until June 2005, recalled an image of Father Hesburgh linking arms with civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and singing, “We Shall Overcome”; his work on immigration reform; his realized vision to create an institute of peace at Notre Dame; and his tireless work for nuclear disarmament.

Throughout the course of his life, Father Hesburgh played a “providential role in the great events of our time,” Father Malloy told the people who packed the basilica for the wake.

A portrait of the late Notre Dame president was illuminated by flickering candles placed near the altar.

Faculty members, clergy, politicians, peace activists and Notre Dame alumni stepped up to pray in front of Father Hesburgh’s open casket, prompting Father Malloy to say how delighted he was to see such a cross section of society at the service and gathered on the campus.

His vision for great Catholic universities was a lifelong mission, Father Malloy said, and then quoted Father Hesburgh’s line that “a Catholic university is a place where the church does its thinking.”

The wake did not appear to be a sad event, but a celebration of life well lived.

Former President Jimmy Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were scheduled to speak during a March 4 tribute to Father Hesburgh, following a funeral procession from the basilica to the burial site at the Holy Cross Community Cemetery.

Above all, Father Hesburgh loved being a priest, Father Malloy said.

“He was a man of prayer,” he celebrated Mass every day and he would invite people of other religious faiths, atheists, Russian politicos and others to join him, Father Malloy said. “He tried to be a pastor to anyone who came into his presence.”

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A related video has been posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=grKZd0DGIOM.


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California native to lead San Diego diocese


Auxiliary Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Francisco has been named to head the Diocese of San Diego by Pope Francis.

The appointment was announced in Washington March 3 by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop McElroy, 61, is a native of San Francisco who has spent most of his life in the Bay Area. He has been an auxiliary bishop since 2010.

He succeeds Bishop Cirilo B. Flores, who died Sept. 6, 2014.

“Bishop McElroy is exemplary in his outreach to many groups and communities in the archdiocese and we are all grateful for his wise advice and guidance to people and parishes in the archdiocese,” said a statement from San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone.

He said San Diego’s location as a major metropolis on the U.S.-Mexico border across from another major metropolis. Tijuana, “presents distinctive challenges and opportunities.”

Bishop McElroy’s “proven track record of outreach to the poor and marginalized, along with his ability to understand and articulate the complexities involved,” Archbishop Cordileone said, “will serve him well in responding to Catholics of the Diocese of San Diego, as he builds upon the many graces they have received from God and helps Catholics confront their needs with hope and confidence in the Lord.”

When he was named an auxiliary for San Francisco, Bishop McElroy had been pastor of St. Gregory Parish in San Mateo, California, for 14 years. Before that he was vicar general for the San Francisco Archdiocese, from 1995 to 1997. He was named a monsignor in 1996.

He is author of “The Search for an American Public Theology: The Contribution of John Courtney Murray,” Paulist Press, 1989; and “Morality and American Foreign Policy: The Role of Ethics in International Affairs,” Princeton University Press, 1992. He also has been published in journals and America magazine, a weekly Jesuit publication.

Robert Walter McElroy was born Feb. 5, 1954, in San Francisco. He grew up in San Mateo County. His family resided in Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Daly City and Our Lady of Angels Parish in Burlingame.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1975, a master’s degree in American history from Stanford University in 1976, and a master of divinity degree from St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California, in 1979.

He was ordained a priest for San Francisco April 12, 1980, at St. Mary’s Cathedral by Archbishop John R. Quinn.

As a young priest, he was parochial vicar at St. Cecilia Parish in San Francisco and at St. Pius in Redwood City. He was secretary to Archbishop Quinn from 1982 to 1985.

He studied for a licentiate in sacred theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, in 1985; and for a doctorate in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, 1985-1986. He studied for a doctorate in history at Stanford, 1986-1989.

The San Diego diocese covers more than 8,800 square miles in Southern California. Out of a total population of about 3.2 million people, just under 1 million, or 31 percent, are Catholic.


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Franciscan who was national pro-life advocate dies at 55


ST. PAUL, Minn. — Brother Paul O’Donnell, a Franciscan Brother of Peace and a nationally regarded pro-life advocate and speaker, died Feb. 20 at his community’s residence in St. Paul. He was 55.

Brother Paul died in his sleep, and his death was unexpected, said fellow Brother John Mary Kaspari. A funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 27 at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul.

An early member of the St. Paul religious community, Brother Paul will be remembered for “his great love, devotion and humility; his love for each of the brothers and their way of life; and his love and selfless outreach to the most vulnerable, especially in the right-to-life movement, the unborn, aged and disabled,” Brother John Mary said.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Brother Paul professed his vows Oct. 4, 1987, five years after the community was founded. Before entering religious life, he was a seminarian in St. Paul at St. John Vianney College Seminary from 1978 to 1982, and St. Paul Seminary from 1982 to 1984.

His community’s guardian overall for more than 20 years, Brother Paul was a leader in its pro-life outreach, which included fighting for the lives of people needing specialized medical care, such as Terri Schiavo, who died in 2005 after a court ordered her feeding tube removed.

The brothers also offer hospitality to international survivors of torture at their residence, Queen of Peace friary, next to St. Columba Church in St. Paul; run a food shelf and minister to people with disabilities.

Prior to joining the Franciscan Brothers of Peace, Brother Paul and the community’s founder, Brother Michael Gaworski, founded in 1981 Pro-Life Action Ministries, a pro-life apostolate. Brother Paul served as its president.

“Brother Paul was a very profound, strong, outspoken pro-life leader, not just here in the Twin Cities but nationally,” said Brian Gibson, executive director of Pro-Life Action Ministries since 1986, when he replaced Brother Paul in that post. “His concern and care for the vulnerable, the innocent, the defenseless was amazing. He spoke on their behalf consistently and constantly throughout the 34 years I’ve known him.”

Brother Paul also was a founding board member of Human Life Alliance in Minneapolis and chairman of the board of the Pennsylvania-based Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network.



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Father Theodore Hesburgh, Notre Dame icon, national leader, dies — updated


NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Holy Cross Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, who led the University of Notre Dame through a period of dramatic growth during his 35 years as president and held sway with political and civil rights leaders, died Feb. 26 at the age of 97.

Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh, former president of the University of Notre Dame, died Feb. 26 at age 97 in the Holy Cross House adjacent to the university in South Bend, Ind. He is pictured in a 2006 photo. (CNS photo/Matt Cashore, courtesy University of Notre Dame)

Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh, former president of the University of Notre Dame, died Feb. 26 at age 97 in the Holy Cross House adjacent to the university in South Bend, Ind. He is pictured in a 2006 photo. (CNS photo/Matt Cashore, courtesy University of Notre Dame)

As the longest serving president of Notre Dame, from 1952 to 1987, Father Hesburgh built the university from a small college primarily known for its prowess on the football field into one of the nation’s premier higher education institutions.

In announcing the highly regarded priest’s death, the university did not cite a specific cause.


A funeral Mass for Father Hesburgh was to be celebrated the afternoon of March 4 at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus, with the Mass also streamed on the university’s homepage: www.nd.edu. Classes beginning after noon March 4 have been canceled.

Following the funeral a procession was planned from the basilica to the Holy Cross Community Cemetery for his burial. The university also planned to hold a tribute ceremony that evening in Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.


“We mourn today a great man and faithful priest who transformed the University of Notre Dame and touched the lives of many,” Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame’s current president, said in a statement. “With his leadership, charism and vision, he turned a relatively small Catholic college known for football into one of the nation’s great institutions for higher learning.

“In his historic service to the nation, the church and the world, he was a steadfast champion for human rights, the cause of peace and care for the poor,” he said.

Father Hesburgh was born May 25, 1917, in Syracuse, New York, to Anne Murphy Hesburgh and Theodore B. Hesburgh, an executive of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co.

He was educated at Notre Dame and Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1943 in Sacred Heart Church, today the basilica, on the Notre Dame campus. He received a doctorate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America in 1945.

After doctoral studies he joined the university faculty, teaching in the religion department, and served as chaplain to World War II veterans on campus. In 1949 he was appointed executive vice president of Notre Dame. He became the university’s 15th president in 1952.

Under his presidency, the university budget grew from $9.7 million to $176.6 million while the endowment expanded from $9 million to $350 million. Enrollment increased from 4,979 students to 9,600 and the faculty expanded from 389 to 950.

In 1967, he oversaw the transference of governance of the school from the Congregation of the Holy Cross to a two-tiered, mixed board of lay and religious trustees and fellows. The school also admitted women to undergraduate programs beginning in 1972.

Father Hesburgh also played an influential role in national and international affairs both during and after his presidency. He held 16 presidential appointments over the years, tackling major social issues including civil rights, immigration reform, peaceful uses of atomic energy, campus unrest, treatment of Vietnam draft evaders and development in the world’s poorest nations.

He was a charter member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights when it was created in 1957 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He chaired the body from 1969 until 1972 when President Richard Nixon dismissed him over his criticism of the administration’s civil rights record.

The Holy Cross priest also served on President Gerald R. Ford’s Clemency Board, which was responsible for deciding the fate of Vietnam offenders.

His work on the two commissions led to the creation of the Center for Civil & Human Rights at Notre Dame Law School.

During a tribute on Capitol Hill in 2013, congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle honored Father Hesburgh days before his 96th birthday. Vice President Joe Biden said during the gathering that he ran for public office at the age of 29 in 1972 because of Father Hesburgh’s passion for civil rights. “You’re one of the reasons I’ve been so proud to be a Catholic,” Biden told Father Hesburgh.

Other elected officials at the event praised Father Hesburgh as an inspiration for all people in public office.

Father Hesburgh served on the Overseas Development Council, a private organization supporting interests in developing nations, beginning in 1971 and chaired it until 1982. He led efforts to overcome mass starvation in Cambodia in 1979 and 1980. From 1979 to 1981, he chaired the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy, which issued recommendations which became the basis of congressional reform legislation several years later.

During the Cold War in the early 1980s, Father Hesburgh joined a private initiative which sought to unite internationally known scientists and world religious leaders in condemning nuclear weapons. He organized a 1982 meeting at the Vatican of 58 scientists from around the world who called for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Father Hesburgh served four popes, including three as the Vatican’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna from 1956 to 1970. Blessed Paul VI asked him to build the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, which the university continues to operate. Father Hesburgh also served as head of the Vatican delegation attending the 20th anniversary of the United Nations’ human rights declaration in Teheran, Iran, in 1968. He also served as a member of the Holy See’s U.N. contingent in 1974.

In 1983, St. John Paul II appointed the Holy Cross priest to the Pontifical Council for Culture.

He also served as a trustee and chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation. He became ambassador to the 1979 U.N. Conference on Science and Technology for Development, the first time a priest served in a formal diplomatic role for the U.S. government.

In addition, Father Hesburgh served on several commissions and study groups in the field of education. He served as chairman of the International Federation of Catholic Universities from 1963 to 1970, leading a movement to redefine the nature and mission of contemporary Catholic education.

He holds 150 honorary degrees and was the first priest elected to the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, serving for two years, from 1994 to 1995, as president of the board. He also co-chaired the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics in its efforts to reform college sports, from 1990 to 2003.

Father Hesburgh wrote an autobiography, “God, Country and Notre Dame,” published in 1990 and three other books, including “The Human Imperative: A Challenge for the Year 2000,” “The Hesburgh Papers: Higher Values in Higher Education” and “Travels with Ted and Ned.”

He is survived by a brother, James. Three sisters preceded him in death.

The university said it was planning a tribute ceremony in Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center in the near future.


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Catholic charity pledges $2.8 million to help Christians in Syria


Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity helping persecuted Christians around the world, has pledged $2.8 million in emergency aid to help Christians in Syria.

They have “benefited only to a limited extent” from relief provided by the United Nations and secular nongovernmental organizations, the charity said.

“In many cases, Christians are reluctant to register themselves with aid agencies (and) formally identify themselves as Christians for fear of extremist Muslim reprisals who persecute Christians for their faith and their perceived support of the Syrian regime,” it said in announcing the aid.

“Relief efforts have been hampered across the board,” the charity added, “due to continued fighting and the dramatic rise” of the Islamic State, known as ISIS.

Aid to the Church in Need will fund a number of projects to help sizable Christian communities in Aleppo, Homs, Damascus and other Syrian cities and villages hard hit by the war, said Father Andrzej Halemba, the head of the charity’s Middle East section.

Since the outbreak of Syria’s civil war in spring 2011, the death toll has exceeded 200,000, according to several monitoring groups.

Hundreds of Christians have died and tens of thousands have been driven from their homes, the charity said. “Countless families are without a reliable source of income; children and youth are barred from continuing their education: half of all the country’s schools are damaged, destroyed or used as shelter for fighters.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrian Christians have become refugees in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.

Official estimates put the number of people affected by the war in Syria at 12.2 million people.

About 7.8 million have been displaced internally, while 4.8 million Syrians live in barely accessible parts of the country or in active war zones. Some 5.6 million children are directly affected by the war; 3 million students are no longer able to attend school.

Father Halemba, citing concerns of local church leaders, said there is “a new and, unfortunately, justified fear of religious cleansing. The Islamic State openly shows its murderous intentions against anyone who does not bend to its brand of extremism.”

Aside from “confronting the threat of ISIS,” the international community has “drifted into a form of neglect of the Syrian crisis,” the priest said.

With its emergency assistance, Aid to the Church in Need said it will, among other things, provide 4,500 vulnerable families with money funds to pay for oil, gas electricity and cover rent for four months; ensure medical supplies for communities in Aleppo and Hassake for six months; pay for repairs at a half dozen schools; and help repair badly damaged churches, catechetical centers and diocesan offices.


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Four major snowstorms: Boston won winter this year, parishes are digging out

February 24th, 2015 Posted in Featured, National News Tags: , , ,


Catholic News Service

BRAINTREE, Mass. — With record snowfall for this time of year, parishes all over the Archdiocese of Boston face more than just the issue of digging out after each storm.

Pastors interviewed by The Pilot, Boston’s archdiocesan newspaper, explained the impact of snowstorms, this year piled one on top of the other in one week. As of Feb. 24, Massachusetts was still digging out of 8 feet of snow left by four major winter storms.

A man shovels a sidewalk after heavy snowfall in Boston Feb. 10. With record snowfall for this time of year, parishes all over the Archdiocese of Boston face more than just the issue of digging out after each storm. (CNS photo/Brian Snyder, Reuters)

A man shovels a sidewalk after heavy snowfall in Boston Feb. 10. With record snowfall for this time of year, parishes all over the Archdiocese of Boston face more than just the issue of digging out after each storm. (CNS photo/Brian Snyder, Reuters)

With a variety of conditions facing urban, suburban, and somewhat rural parishes, The Pilot contacted pastors for their thoughts on the impact of blizzards and snowstorms in the parishes they serve.

Father Thomas S. Domurat, pastor of Most Holy Redeemer in East Boston, explained that in the tight streets of Boston parking remained limited if available at all, but the parish was facing additional challenges as a result of snowbanks piled high in the street.

“Our parking lot, a third of it is in snowbanks, so that reduces the amount of area for parking. We also had to wait a few days to get the rubbish removed because the removal truck couldn’t get in because of the large snowbanks outside. It couldn’t make the turn, so we had to bring the rubbish out onto the street one day for them to come get it. So, there is all kinds of issues involved, and it’s going to have an impact,” he said.

During the snowstorms themselves, parishes have faced the possibility of having to remain closed or cancel Mass. Father Domurat said as long as he is there, he lives on the premises, no such thing will happen.

“I never cancel. I’m here, so I’m going to say Mass. I go over to the church at 6 o’clock and if somebody comes, they can join me. If not, I would say Mass myself,” he said.

Reduced Mass attendance when parishioners simply cannot get to Mass because of whipping winds or driving snows has a twofold impact on the parish.

“Because people cannot find a place to park, they will not be able to come here for Mass, which means our collection was down over $2,000 last weekend and our plowing bill was over $2,000,” Father Domurat said in an interview after the Feb. 15 snowstorm.

As many parishes and buildings in Massachusetts do, the parish in East Boston also faces issues with ice dams, a buildup of ice near the eaves of a pitched roof that can lead to water damage and leaking.

“If this ice keeps building up in the gutters, we could end up with ice dams and leaks coming in. It’s hard to get some of that off because the roof is so high,” Father Domurat said.

In contrast, Father John E. Sheridan serves what is called the Cranberry Catholic Collaborative, which includes Sacred Heart in Middleborough, Sts. Martha and Mary in Lakeville, and St. Rose of Lima in Rochester.

In collaborative ministry, Father Sheridan could drive about 18 miles, according to Google Maps, on a day with Masses scheduled at all three churches.

“It’s been extraordinary. We have had to change Mass schedules. We have had to encourage people to stay home sometimes. It’s been very difficult to visit people, to get to places. It’s a glorious mess,” he said.

He said his staff has been very understanding as conditions changed with the weather, and schedules had to be adjusted. Father Sheridan said the parishes have chipped in to clear snow.

“The team of our three churches has really come together to make sure that all three churches, including the entire campus of Sacred Heart which has a very big campus, and they have worked their heads off to clear as much as they could,” he said.

Father Sheridan said communication became a key element to facilitate cooperation between the three parish communities. He said the collaborative used its website at cranberrycatholic.org, its Facebook page and a platform called Flocknote — an email and text messaging system developed specifically for churches to keep the three parishes connected.

“It’s been a great blessing of technology,” he said.

On his Facebook page, Father Sheridan regularly posts photos of the sun rising as he begins his day. In recent weeks the foreground has a thick coating of snow over what is normally a lake near where he lives in Lakeville. A photo of snow whipped up by the wind tagged at Sts. Martha and Mary bears the caption “Fiercely beautiful.”

“It is God’s creation. Beautiful as it is, it is also challenging. God presents these unique situations to us, and calls on us to give it our best,” Father Sheridan said.
By Christopher S. Pineo


Pineo is a reporter at The Pilot, newspaper of the Boston archdiocese.


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S.F. archbishop says morality clauses are about upholding mission of church

February 23rd, 2015 Posted in National News


SAN FRANCISCO — Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone told a group of California legislators that he respects their right “to employ or not employ whomever you wish to advance your mission” and expects the same in return.

The San Francisco archbishop’s comments came in a Feb. 19 letter to five state Assembly members and three Senate members after they urged him to remove Catholic sexual morality clauses that have been added to handbooks for teachers in the four archdiocesan high schools.

The lawmakers told Archbishop Cordileone in a letter they feel the clauses would “foment a discriminatory environment” and “send an alarming message to youth.”

But the archbishop told them before making a judgment, they should have as complete information as possible about what the archdiocese is proposing and he directed them to various documents and videos on the archdiocesan website, www.sfarchdiocese.org, to dispel misinformation, “such as the falsehood that the morality clauses apply to the teachers’ private life.”

The Archdiocese of San Francisco also is proposing three new clauses to contracts for teachers in archdiocesan Catholic high schools to further clarify that Catholic schools, as the first clause states, “exist to affirm and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ as held and taught by his Catholic Church.”

The archdiocese is adding detailed statements of Catholic teaching on sexual morality and religious practice, taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, into the faculty and staff handbooks of the four archdiocesan high schools. The handbook additions will take effect in the 2015-16 school year and are not part of the contract.

The statements cover church teaching on abortion, same-sex marriage and artificial contraception, and other tenets of the faith.

The handbook and contract changes reiterate more strongly the responsibility of teachers and staff not to contradict Catholic teaching in school and in their public lives, said Maureen Huntington, archdiocesan Catholic Schools superintendent, when the changes were announced.

The lawmakers told Archbishop Cordileone in a letter they feel the clauses would “foment a discriminatory environment” and “send an alarming message to youth.”

According to Huntington, they do not contain anything essentially new and are intended to clarify existing expectations that Catholic teachers in their professional and public lives uphold Catholic teaching.

In his letter, Archbishop Cordileone asked the lawmakers: “Would you hire a campaign manager who advocates policies contrary to those that you stand for, and who shows disrespect toward you and the Democratic Party in general?”

The main authors of the lawmakers’ letter were Democratic Assemblymen Phil Ting of San Francisco and Kevin Mullin of San Mateo.

“If you knew a brilliant campaign manager who, although a Republican, was willing to work for you and not speak or act in public contrary to you or your party, would you hire such a person?” Archbishop Cordileone continued.

“If your answer to the first question is ‘no,’ and to the second question is ‘yes,’ then we are actually in agreement on the principal point in debate here.”

He asked if that Republican campaign manager they had hired began “speaking critically of your party and favorably of your running opponent,” would they be likely to fire that person?

If so, “would you have done this because you hate all Republicans outright, or because this individual, who happens to be a Republican, violated the trust given to you and acted contrary to your mission? If the latter, then we are again in agreement on this principle.”

“I respect your right to employ or not employ whomever you wish to advance your mission,” he said. “I simply ask the same respect from you.”

Ting, as the former head of San Francisco’s Office of the Assessor-Recorder, led a three-year effort to impose transfer taxes on the San Francisco Archdiocese totaling more than $20 million on over 200 parish and school properties involved in an internal reorganization by the archdiocese.

In early 2012, a Superior Court judge issued a final ruling in favor of the archdiocese, throwing out the multimillion-dollar “delinquent” tax bill that had been imposed on the Archdiocese of San Francisco by Ting’s office.


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La Salle University names its first female president


Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA — La Salle University in Philadelphia has made history by choosing a laywoman as its new president.

Colleen N. Hanycz is the first female president in the school’s 152-year history and also the first lay president, other than interim presidents. Her appointment was announced Feb. 17 and she will begin her tenure in July.

Colleen Hanycz has made history as the first female and first layperson to be appointed president of Philadelphia's La Salle University. (CNS photo/courtesy La Salle University)

Colleen Hanycz has made history as the first female and first layperson to be appointed president of Philadelphia’s La Salle University. (CNS photo/courtesy La Salle University)

La Salle was founded by the Brothers of the Christian Schools and she succeeds Brother Michael J. McGinniss, the most recent in a line of 28 Christian Brothers to lead the school. He stepped down from the presidency after 15 years of service last May. James P. Gallagher is serving as interim president until Hanycz’s term begins.

Currently, Hanycz is head of Brescia University College in London, Ontario, a Catholic college founded by the Ursuline Sisters and the only all-women college in Canada.

La Salle, on the other hand, was an all-male college for its first century, although now women make up almost two-thirds of the student body.

This will not be Hanycz’s first encounter with the Christian Brothers. As a high school student in Toronto, she attended Senator O’Connor College High School, run by the congregation.

“What stands out for me is that Lasallian tradition of building authentic community,” she said in an interview with CatholicPhilly.com, the news website of the Philadelphia archdiocese. “It is something I saw very much as a high school student when we were required to complete a service project in order to graduate.

“That was unheard of then, although it is common now. That same charism runs through the university and that was very instrumental in my coming here,” she said.

“This is a pivotal moment in La Salle’s history,” said William R. Sautter, La Salle’s board chair. “She is an innovative academic leader with an impressive record as an agent of positive change. She is ideally suited to maximize La Salle’s potential while continuing to honor our distinctive mission and values.”

“Dr. Hanycz is passionate about sustaining and enhancing the values and attributes that are essential to the Brothers of the Christian Schools,” said Brother Dennis Molloy, a La Salle trustee and his congregation’s provincial/visitor for the District of Eastern North America. “The Christian Brothers look forward to working collaboratively with Dr. Hanycz and the board of trustees as she takes office.”

Hanycz earned her bachelor of arts degree in history from St. Michael’s College of the University of Toronto, her law degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and she has a postgraduate law degree, known internationally as a master of laws, and a doctorate from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto. Osgoode is considered Canada’s premier law school.

After a period as an employment litigator, she returned to Osgoode, where she was assistant dean and associate professor of law, specializing in dispute resolution. She was there from 2003 to 2008.

Hanycz was the second lay president in the history of Brescia when she was named to the post in July 2008. During her tenure, the school saw an increase in its national profile and a dramatic growth in enrollment and retention of students, faculty and staff.

Brescia is much smaller than La Salle and London is much smaller than Philadelphia.

“I was born and raised in Toronto and I spent most of my life in Toronto,” she said. “It will be wonderful to return to a large urban center as multicultural and diverse as Philadelphia is. Having grown up in another similar city, my family and I look forward to returning to that.”

Hanycz’s family includes her husband, Peter, and three children: Erik, a college student who looks toward a career as a Catholic high school teacher; Emily, a high school sophomore; and Claire, a fourth-grader.


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Pennsylvania governor puts off executions, says system ‘riddled with flaws’


Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA — Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia praised the announcement by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Feb. 13 that he is granting a reprieve for death-row inmate Terrence Williams, who was scheduled to be executed March 4.

In a memo, Wolf said he would extend the reprieve to each of the 186 inmates on the state’s death row as their scheduled executions approach, all pending the outcome of a study of the use of the death penalty in Pennsylvania.

Archbishop Chaput said he was grateful to Wolf “for choosing to take a deeper look into these studies and I pray we can find a better way to punish those who are guilty of these crimes.”

“Turning away from capital punishment does not diminish our support for the families of murder victims. They bear a terrible burden of grief and they rightly demand justice,” said the archbishop. “But killing the guilty does not honor the dead nor does it ennoble the living. When we take a guilty person’s life we only add to the violence in an already violent culture and we demean our own dignity in the process.”

Wolf said there was no question Williams was guilty of the 1984 murder he committed at age 18 and for which he was convicted and sentenced to death in 1986. But the governor said he was granting the reprieve “because the capital punishment system has significant and widely recognized defects.”

The governor cited the “unending cycle of death warrants and appeals,” the cost to the judicial system for the appeals process and the surfacing of painful memories for victims’ families in each step of the process.

He also noted instances of miscarried justice due to flawed convictions and sentencing in several cases.

In the 40 years since Pennsylvania reinstated the death penalty, governors have signed 434 warrants, but only three executions were carried out.

“If the commonwealth of Pennsylvania is going to take the irrevocable step of executing a human being, its capital sentencing system must be infallible,” Wolf said. “Pennsylvania’s system is riddled with flaws, making it error prone, expensive and anything but infallible.”

The reprieves would remain in effect at least until Wolf has reviewed a forthcoming report of the Pennsylvania Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment.

“I take this action only after significant consideration and reflection,” he said. “There is perhaps no more weighty a responsibility assigned to the governor than his or her role as the final check in the capital punishment process.”

In a statement, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference said the state’s Catholic bishops have long advocated for an end to the death penalty “because the modern penal system provides alternatives to taking the lives of the guilty. Punishment should reflect our belief in the inherent human dignity of each person, and taking a life to avenge the death of another does not create a culture of life,” the statement read.

“People convicted of capital offenses must be punished effectively and appropriately for their crimes. Family and friends of victims, and society as a whole, demand this. Just punishment, however, can be attained without resorting to execution. Even the most violent offenders who commit heinous crimes still have a dignity given by God,” said the conference, which is the public policy arm of the state’s bishops.

“Society will not benefit from imposing the death penalty, nor will it be harmed by showing mercy. By turning away from the death penalty, we are embracing hope, not despair,” it continued, adding that Wolf’s announcement “breaks the cycle of violence that so plagues our society. We hope that this spirit of respect for human life is shown throughout all laws and policies of the commonwealth.”

Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik praised Wolf for granting Williams a reprieve and “for effectively establishing a moratorium on the death penalty in Pennsylvania.”

“At the same time the church must remain committed to reaching out to victims of violent crimes and their families,” he said in a statement.

He added that research “has shown that it is not a deterrent to crime and that on occasion innocent people have been wrongly executed.”

“Catholic teaching affirms the dignity of every human person from the moment of conception until the last breath of natural life,” Bishop Zubik said. “No one is excluded, not even criminals who have committed a heinous act. God’s love and mercy is offered to all.”


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Catholic Relief says accusations against sex ed pamphlet it uses are unfounded


BALTIMORE — Allegations that Catholic Relief Services used sex education materials in Rwanda that violated church teaching on human sexuality are unfounded, the agency said.

CRS, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and develop agency, conducted an internal investigation concerning allegations raised by Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute charging that CRS used the publication, “My Changing Body: Puberty and Fertility Awareness for Young People,” which he said promotes abortifacient contraception, masturbation and condom use.

In a Feb. 6 statement, CRS said it examined project documents and interviewed staff in Rwanda who worked for CRS in 2009 and 2010 and were partners with a Georgetown University project that promoted sexual abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage to combat the spread of AIDS and the human immunodeficiency virus. CRS said it found “no evidence that the objectionable passages Lepanto Institute emphasized in the Georgetown document called ‘My Changing Body’ were ever used in conjunction with CRS’ activities in Rwanda.”

Responding to allegations, CRS said it did “not collaborate with Planned Parenthood” nor did it “promote or normalize masturbation for teenagers.” The agency said it also “did not promote or encourage the use of condoms or other forms of birth control” and it did not “‘normalize’ homosexuality.”

Hichborn had cited a 2011 report from Georgetown University’s Institute for Public Health that said CRS, Caritas Rwanda and Family Health International were partners in revising and piloting a sex education program for children 10- to 14-years-old using “My Changing Body.” Funding for the program came through the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The Lepanto Institute describes itself on its website as “a research and education organization dedicated to the defense of the Catholic Church against assaults from without as well as from within.”

Caritas Rwanda and the Georgetown University representatives in Rwanda confirmed that there were collaborative efforts among CRS, Georgetown, diocesan facilitators, and priests to adapt “My Changing Body” to conform to Catholic teaching.

The bishop from Rwanda’s Butare Diocese, where the project was implemented, also confirmed that in 2009 and 2010, parish priests and diocesan facilitators worked in close collaboration with CRS and Georgetown to adapt “My Changing Body” materials to ensure that all activities were consistent with Catholic teaching.

CRS said its own program, “Avoiding Risk, Affirming Life,” spread the message in Rwanda that abstinence and fidelity were the best and only sure methods of stemming the spread of HIV. The program, which ran from 2005 to 2010, was carried out with Caritas Rwanda. CRS conducted research with Georgetown in direct partnership with dioceses to adapt materials to a Catholic context for Rwandans.



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