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Challenges made to gay adoption law

Michael Sean Winters In Washington DC

CATHOLIC CHARITIESin three Illinois dio- ceses this week asked a District Court to issue a restraining order against the state of Illinois, preventing the state from enforcing a new

■A RETIRED Detroit priest, Fr Robert Wurm, last week defied an order from the Archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, and celebrated Mass for a group of reform-minded Catholics who gathered to inaugurate the


Bishop appeals over copper-mine strike

THE CHURCHhas called for a peaceful reso - lution to a violent strike at one of the world’s largest copper mines, writes Jon Stibbs. The El Teniente mine has been operating under capacity since 25 May when 10,000 workers withdrew their labour. In a message for both sides of the conflict, Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic, of nearby Rancagua, urged for “the social conflict to be resolved in frank and sincere dialogue”. Police have arrested some pickets, who had been throwing stones at buses being used to bring in workers. Demonstrations have been broken up with tear gas and water cannons. The bishop urged: “Violence resolves nothing.”

law that prohibits discrimination against same-sex couples in the provision of adoption services. The three dioceses, Joliet, Peoria and Rockford, had previously announced their intention to withdraw from providing adop- tion services when the law took effect on 1 June. The lawsuit asks the court to find that the new statute unconstitutionally coerces the Churches in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. The dioceses contend that their right to

free exercise of religion supercedes the new state anti-discrimination law. The lawsuit was filed by the Thomas More Society, a Catholic legal action group, on behalf of Catholic Charities, the agency that provides

American Catholic Council, writes Michael Sean Winters. Before the Mass, Archbishop Vigneron said that any priest or deacon participating in the Mass could be defrocked. The weekend-long gathering

AUSTRALIA Fragmented families ‘weaken the faith’

THE INCREASING incidence of fragmented family life is a massive obstacle to the safe transfer of the faith, despite the best efforts of Catholic schools and parishes, Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth warned in what is likely to be his final Pentecost pastoral letter before retirement, writes Mark Brolly. Archbishop Hickey also warned that the religious freedom Australians enjoyed was threatened by secular and anti-religious forces. The 75-year-old archbishop, who has led

Perth’s 380,000 Catholics since 1991, announced the formation of a faith centre for evangelisation in the Western Australian cap- ital. The B.J. Hickey Foundation for Biblical Studies and Scholarships will be housed within the centre. “We have traditionally relied on family, church and school to pass the faith from one generation to another,” Dr Hickey wrote in the letter, entitled “Today’s Missionary Challenge”. “We have also relied on the support of a free society to help this take place. Regrettably, the world has changed. “No longer is it easy for parents to hand on the faith safely to their children [who are]

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■PERU: Following Peru’s divisive presidential election, the Church has congratulated president-elect Ollanta Humala on his success and called for national unity, writes Jon Stibbs. The left-wing politician won the 5 June vote, after a bitter campaign against right-wing Keiko Fujimori. In sharp contrast to the

enticed in other often harmful directions. Fragmented family life, [so] common today, is a massive obstacle to safe transfer of faith.” In a separate address to the University of

Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, on 7 June as part of its “Bishops Speaking Out” lecture series, Archbishop Hickey said the world that Vatican II’s pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes addressed had changed radically. “We still believe we are called to be the joy and the hope of the world, but we cannot be so naive as to think the world is listening any more. The Gospel is as counter-cultural as it has ever been. We are not to allow the scandals in the Church nor the deafness of the world to the Church’s message to stop us. If the Church seems powerless now, this powerless- ness makes space for the power of the Holy Spirit to change the face of the earth.” ■Archbishop Denis Hart has opened a new Catholic Leadership Centre in Melbourne, initially for leaders in the education system but later to form leaders in other ministries. (For Archbishop Hickey’s full letter visit

free-market policies of the incumbent, President Alan Garcia, Mr Humala was elected on a platform of wealth redistribution, which unnerved the financial markets. Archbishop Pedro Barreto Jimeno, head of the bishops’ social action commission, welcomed the change in direction. “Democracy has

allowed the cry of the poorest Peruvians to be heard,” he told Catholic News Service. Some commentators had

portrayed Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of Lima as vehemently anti-Humala, but the cardinal congratulated the president-elect on his success and called for an end to national divisions.

adoption services. Peter Breen, director of the Thomas More Society, argued that the lawsuit only asked that the dioceses be per- mitted to “operate in the same way that they’ve been operating for decades”. A spokesperson for the Illinois attorney

general expressed regret at the legal action. “It’s the role of the attorney general’s office to ensure that all organisations in the state follow the law, including the civil rights laws,” said Robyn Zeigler. “Organisations that receive taxpayer funding to provide public services must comply with the law. Unfortunately, instead of working with the state to ensure compliance with child protection and civil rights laws, the dioceses have opted to go to court.”

of 1,500 mostly older Catholics watched a videotaped speech by the German theologian Hans Küng who urged the group to promote a “peaceful revolution” against “Roman absolutism”. Another speaker

was Anthony Padovano, a former priest who helped found the group Corpus in 1974 to advocate allowing married men to become priests. He said that “Baptism unites the Church, not ordination”.

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