National Catholic Register


News In Brief

BY John Lilly

June 25-July 1, 2006 Issue | Posted 6/26/06 at 11:00 AM


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 priests.

“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.