NOVEMBER 17, 2003
Official newspaper of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Oakland, California encompassing all of
Alameda &
Contra Costa counties.






Pope, Putin agree on need for dialogue
VATICAN CITY (RNS) – Pope John Paul II and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed at a meeting in the Vatican Nov. 5 on the need to improve relations between the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls described the 30-minute meeting in the pope’s study overlooking St. Peter’s Square as “very cordial.” He said the pope and Putin also exchanged “views on the conflict in the Holy Land and on the Iraqi question.”

The 83-year-old pontiff still hopes to visit Moscow despite his failing health and strained relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Majority of Americans find
gambling ‘acceptable’

VENTURA (RNS) – The majority of American adults consider gambling to be “morally acceptable,” a Barna Research Group poll finds. Pollsters found that 61 percent of adults surveyed said gambling was morally acceptable.
While gambling scored the highest approval among 10 topics in the survey, the use of illicit drugs received the lowest percentage of approval – 17 percent. Forty-five percent said abortion was morally acceptable while 42 percent said adultery is morally OK.

Christian artists create CD
for AIDS crisis projects

NASHVILLE (RNS) – A benefit album inspired by AIDS activist Bono and featuring Christian artists will be released in January.
“The goal of this album is to inform the Christian community about the crisis in Africa,” said Peter York, president of Sparrow Records. “Bono has been a powerful voice in raising awareness with this issue and it’s important for the Christian community to come alongside and help support this cause.”

West Bengal government
boycotts celebration

CALCUTTA, India (AP) – The Marxist-led state government of West Bengal in India boycotted celebrations marking the beatification of Mother Teresa, saying it doesn’t believe she has performed miracles from the afterlife.
Mother Teresa’s admirers in Calcutta launched a four-day film festival and other functions on Nov. 1 in honor of her placement on the road to sainthood by the Catholic Church. The nun, who died in 1997, was beatified on Oct. 19 after Pope John Paul ll recognized claims that she was the inspiration for a miracle – the recovery of an Indian woman allegedly from an incurable tumor.

“There was no miracle involved in the cure of the woman in question. She was cured with medication,” said West Bengal state’s health minister, Surya Kanta Mishra.

A state government inquiry had dismissed the miracle claim last year. Doctors who treated the woman for a tubercular tumor said she’d recovered after taking medication for nine months.

Pope warns ecumenical dialog
‘more problematic’

VATICAN CITY (RNS) – Pope John Paul said that while Christians have taken “significant and important” steps toward unity over the past quarter-century, in some cases dialogue has become more rather than less problematic.

The pope said “new and serious difficulties” involving “essential matters of faith and morals” had arisen in Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue in light of the Episcopal Church’s consecration of an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, on Nov. 2.

There was strong opposition to the consecration within the 77 million-member Anglican Communion. Some Episcopal leaders in the United States, and Anglican church leaders in Africa and elsewhere announced they would break off relations with the Episcopal Church.

St. Paul considers street
after Mother Teresa

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The City Council is considering naming a street near the Cathedral of St. Paul after Mother Teresa, the revered nun who died in 1997 after a lifetime of serving the poor in India.

The proposed name change would give Old Kellogg Boulevard a second name: Mother Teresa of Calcutta Boulevard. The St. Paul chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a Catholic Irish-American fraternal organization, put forward the idea.

Mother Teresa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and the U.S. Medal of Freedom in 1985, was beatified by Pope John Paul II in October.

Naval Academy to have a Jewish chapel

ANNAPOLIS, MD (RNS) – The U.S. Naval Academy broke ground for a Jewish chapel – the Commodore Uriah P. Levy Center and Jewish Chapel – on Nov. 2. The $12.8 million project marks the first Jewish house of worship on the Naval Academy’s campus in Annapolis, Md. Until now, the Academy was the only service academy without a designated facility for Jewish worship.

The 35,000-square-foot structure will house the Navy’s national synagogue and spaces for leadership development as well as education and social events. It will also be home for the academy’s ethics curriculum and have a library and media center. The chapel itself will have 350 seats and feature a Jerusalem stone wall that the designers hope will be reminiscent of Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

Pope seeks religious freedom in Europe
VATICAN CITY (RNS) – Pope John Paul II, addressing European interior ministers on Oct. 31, said laws are needed to guarantee religious freedom in an increasingly multiethnic and multicultural Europe.
The pontiff praised efforts by Christian Europeans to enter into dialogue with the tide of immigrants, many of whom are Muslims, seeking work on the continent, but he said more was needed to insure “unity in diversity.” The pope called for “an adequate recognition, even legislative, of specific religious traditions in which all peoples are rooted and with which they often identify in a particular way.”

Times Square will accept
ad from Methodists

NEW YORK (RNS) – One of the world’s largest media companies said it will change its advertising policies to allow the United Methodist Church to display a glitzy ad in the heart of Times Square.

Reuters CEO Thomas Glocer said he would welcome the Methodists’ ad on his headquarters building at 3 Times Square after several churches denounced a company policy that banned religious advertising on a 22-story electronic billboard. Company officials said they are unclear how long it will take to revise the Reuters policy that prohibits ads that are “pornographic, political, religious, libelous, misleading or deceptive in nature.”

Religious groups included on NRA ‘blacklist’
WASHINGTON (RNS) – Two prominent gun control groups say the National Rifle Association has compiled an extensive “blacklist” of its opponents that includes more than 20 religious groups.

The 19-page roll lists gun control supporters ranging from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to pop star Britney Spears and former President Jimmy Carter. Also on the list are the American Jewish Committee, the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Mennonite Central Committee, the Congress of National Black Churches, the National Council of Churches, and the Unitarian Universalist Association.