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BY John Lilly
Iraqi Catholics in the U.S. See Continuing Challenges
SAN DIEGO — Appointing members of
rival sectarian factions to key positions in Iraq’s permanent government does
not guarantee religious freedom, security and long-term stability in the
war-ravaged nation, according to U.S. Iraqi Catholics.
Iraq’s Parliament recently approved the appointments of
a Sunni Muslim as defense minister, and of two Shiites as ministers of the
interior and national security departments. Kurds, two Christians and members
of other groups also comprise the 39-member Cabinet. In the December 2005
election, Iraqis elected only three Christians to the nation’s 275-member
Parliament. Christians comprise about 3% of the country’s
estimated 27 million population. Proportional repesentation
would give Christians eight rather than three representatives.
Bishop Sarhad Jammo of St. Peter the Apostle Eparchy, based in El Cajon,
Calif., said some in Parliament favor amending the constitution, which requires
laws to conform to provisions of Islamic law. But fundamentalists in the
legislature want Islam to be the state religion, giving “Muslim clerics the
power to dictate law” and to veto measures.
Retiring Congressman Hyde Receives Papal Honor
ADDISON, Ill. — With little
fanfare June 1, Bishop Joseph Imesch gave U.S. Rep.
Henry Hyde, R-Ill., the documents by which Pope Benedict XVI declared him a
Knight of St. Gregory. “I just want to thank you for your staunch defense of
life through some very, very difficult times,” said the bishop, who recently
retired as head of the Joliet Diocese. “You have been a consistent, steady
voice for life, and the Church owes you a great deal for that.”
Hyde, who is retiring from Congress, met with Bishop Imesch at his Addison
district office, surrounded by stacks of papers, books and mementos from 32
years of service in the U. S. House of Representatives and eight years in the
Illinois Legislature. The papal honor is one of many Hyde, a member of St.
Charles Borromeo Parish in Bensenville,
has received for his longtime fight for life. Dating back to 1976, as a
freshman representative, he introduced and successfully persuaded his
colleagues to pass the Hyde Amendment to the Health and Human Services
Appropriations Act. The amendment restricted the federal government from
funding abortions. He continued to recruit others to protect life on the House
floor and beyond.
Bishop Imesch had submitted
Hyde’s name to Pope Benedict for membership in the Knights of St. Gregory, a
pontifical order of chivalry bestowed by the pope on individuals for their
service to the Church.
Bishop Says Court Ruling Should Spur Mediation
SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Bishop William Skylstad
said a federal judge’s ruling that parishes in the diocese are not owned by the
bishop should spur mediation efforts to settle clergy child sex abuse claims.
The June 15 decision by U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush overturned U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Patricia
Williams’ ruling that the bishop owned parish assets and they could be sold to
pay claims against the diocese by people who say they were abused as minors by
“Today’s decision by Judge Quackenbush
helps foster an atmosphere in which healing and reconciliation can continue to
take place,” said Bishop Skylstad in a June 15
statement. Both Quackenbush and Williams “have now
strongly backed mediation,” the bishop said. “We look forward to the mediation
scheduled for this summer, as the parties come together in a spirit of cooperation,
working toward a speedy resolution,” said Bishop Skylstad,
president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.