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BY Jim Cosgrove
Celine Dion's Baby Baptized
CANADIAN PRESS, July 25 — Celine Dion's infant son made quite a fuss during his baptism Wednesday in front of about 250 family members and guests in Montreal, the news service reported.
“I think that little Rene-Charles wasn't cut out for a big ceremony like that because he cried quite a bit,” said Michel Jasmin, a Quebec television host and family friend.
The 40-minute ceremony took place at a chapel adjoining Notre-Dame Basilica, six months to the day after the baby's birth.
Rene-Charles was baptized as a Greek Melkite Catholic, the same as his father, Rene Angelil.
Ignoring the Marriage Amendment
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE, July 19 — When the drive for a federal marriage amendment to designate marriage as a union of one man with one woman was announced, several big media outlets passed up the story, the online magazine reported.
The Alliance for Marriage press conference was covered by the two major wire services, two of the three major networks, CNN and FOX News, every national radio network, and many local newspapers and television stations. But the Washington Post, the New York Times, ABC World News, and the Boston Globe declined to report on it.
A reporter and an editor at the Los Angeles Times, which ran a lengthy story on the push for a marriage amendment, said that newspapers shouldn't wait until a movement is successful before they cover it — a reason cited by media outlets that declined to report on the Alliance for Marriage press conference. The Los Angeles Times staffers added that the marriage amendment was newsworthy because of its religiously and racially diverse coalition of supporters, and because of its relevance to the controversial issue of homosexual unions.
Pittsburgh Expecting 2,000 for Catholic Rally
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, July 24 — At least 2,000 participants are expected for a Pittsburgh FIRE rally Sep. 15, the Pittsburgh daily reported.
FIRE — Faith, Intercession, Repentance and Evangelism — features speakers and Masses to reawaken or strengthen Catholics’ faith. The first rally in 1983 drew over 13,000 people, and the rallies have reached 400,000 participants.
The Pittsburgh rally will host speakers Ralph Martin, Sister Ann Shields, Father Michael Scanlan and Father Dave Pivonka. Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh will celebrate the closing Mass. When they first began, FIRE rallies were perceived as strictly Catholic charismatic events, but in recent years the focus has broadened.
Fox News Has Psychic Seek Missing Intern
OPINIONJOURNAL.COM, July 23 — The Fox News Channel offered viewers the insights of “criminal profilers, attorneys and a psychic” regarding the disappearance of congressional intern Chandra Levy, the online magazine reported.
The “psychic,” James Van Praagh, appeared on the Fox show “Judith Regan Tonight.”
OpinionJournal.com said, “By providing a forum for such occult claptrap, Fox manages to insult anyone who believes in God, science or both. And this is hardly an isolated incident. Fox has put at least three other ‘psychics’ on the air in the past two weeks alone.”
Catholic League Organizes Showtime Boycott
CATALYST, July 2000 — The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has organized a boycott of the Showtime subscription cable TV channel because of the company's production of the movie, “Sister Mary Explains It All,” the Catholic League's monthly magazine reported.
The boycott was organized after the Catholic League ran an ad in Variety magazine asking Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone to join in condemning Showtime for producing “Sister Mary Explains It All,” which the Catholic League said was anti-Catholic. Showtime is owned by Viacom. Redstone did not comply with the request.
Among the groups supporting the Catholic League's call for a boycott of Showtime are the American Catholic Lawyers Association, the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, the Institute for Religion and Public Policy, Jews for Morality, the Parents Television Council and the Polish American Congress.
BY Jim Cosgrove
Vatican Clarifies Pope's Words to Bush
ASSOCIATED PRESS, July 25 — After several commentators suggested that Pope John Paul II's words to President George W. Bush did not condemn all forms of embryo stem-cell research, the Vatican issued a statement saying the Pope found all forms of such research immoral, the wire service reported.
Some commentators had speculated that the Pope's references to “the creation for research purposes of human embryos” might allow research — which destroys the embryo — on “leftover” embryos produced in fertility clinics. The Vatican's statement firmly denied this possibility, quoting the encyclical The Gospel of Life: “This moral condemnation also regards procedures that exploit living human embryos and fetuses — sometimes ‘produced’ for this purpose by in vitro fertilization. … The killing of innocent human creatures, even if carried out to help others, constitutes an absolutely unacceptable act.”
‘Pied Piper of Rome’ Dies
THE IRISH TIMES, July 21 — Monsignor Patrick Carroll-Abbing, who gained renown for his work with Italian street children, died July 9 aged 88, the Irish daily reported.
The Dublin-born monsignor started a boys’ home known as the “Shoeshine Hotel” during World War II, sheltering homeless children and war orphans.
He went on to found nine more “Boys’ Towns,” a “Girls’ Town,” and many day-care centers, ultimately housing or educating over 7,000 Italian children and winning the nickname “The Pied Piper of Rome.”
Although many of his charges were street-hardened, used to begging and stealing, he won their trust. Monsignor Carroll-Abbing did not confine his compassion to children. He served as chaplain of Rome's Knights of Malta Military Hospital during the war, and in February 1944 created Medical Aid for the Battle Areas, which set up hospitals, provided food and supplies, and aided evacuations. After the war he continued founding clinics and distributing food.
On the day that Rome was liberated, he was awarded the Silver Medal for Valor on the Field of Battle.
New Financial Charges Against Naples Cardinal
ITALY DAILY, July 17 — Italian prosecutors have called for a trial of Cardinal Michele Giordano, archbishop of Naples, on charges of fraud and tax evasion.
The charges are related to the 1995 purchase of three barns by the Naples branch of the Vatican bank, Istituto per le Opere di Religione.
Prosecutors contend that the official price of the sale hides almost a half million dollars channeled illegally to a real estate agency. Cardinal Giordano was acquitted last year of usury charges in a separate case.