National Media Watch

Mississippi Diocese Receives Donation to Rebuild

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Oct. 8 — Philanthropist Joseph Canizaro and Catholic Charities USA teamed up to provide $4 million to help the Diocese of Biloxi rebuild the churches and schools that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, said the Associated Press.

Canizaro, a New Orleans commercial real estate developer, donated $1 million along with a $3 million grant from Catholic Charities to rebuild 30 churches and schools that were damaged. The chairman of First Bank & Trust of Mississippi & Louisiana and the founder of the Donum Dei Foundation, Canizaro also promised 10% of his profits from the first phase of a master-planned community.

“These are dark days but there are a lot of lights shining brightly,” said Biloxi Bishop Thomas Rodi.

In addition to his work in Mississippi, Canizaro has been active in the New Orleans recovery effort, spearheading rebuilding of area businesses.

Family Sues Abortion Drug Company

MONTEREY HERALD, Oct. 8 — The family of Hoa Thuy Tran, who died after taking the abortion drug RU-486, is suing the drug's U.S. marketer, Danco Laboratories, alleging that the company did not sufficiently warn women of the drug's risks.

Tran, 21, from Fountain Valley, Calif., took Mifeprex on Dec. 23, 2003 at a Planned Parenthood business in Costa Mesa. She was sent home with instructions to take Misoprostol a day or two later. She died on Dec. 29.

“She was not given any warnings of any risk of death,” said attorney Mark Crawford, who is representing Tran's family.

Tran is one of four U.S. women who have died after taking the medication. The cases are under investigation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Los Angeles Archdiocese Releases Abuse Files

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Oct. 12 — The Archdiocese of Los Angeles released confidential personnel files of 126 clergymen chronicling 75 years of abuse, reported The New York Times.

The files, some which date back to the 1930s, were released as part of civil suit settlement talks with lawyers for 560 accusers. The archdiocese provided the documents to The Times prior to their public release.

“Unfortunately, these files do not contain the full story of the participation by the Church in the manipulation and movement of these priests,” said Raymond Boucher, lead attorney in the civil lawsuit. Boucher characterized the documents’ release as a public relations move.

Spokane Diocese Plans to Sell Chancery

KVEW, Oct. 10 — In order to settle claims by those who allege that they were sexually abused by priests, the Diocese of Spokane plans to sell its headquarters and Bishop William Skylstad's home, reported television station KVEW.

The Spokane Diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last December.

The plan to sell diocesan property was included in papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The plan did not include details regarding individual parishes, schools or other Catholic property in the diocese.

Bishop Skylstad released a statement that said that the plan deals justly with the claims of abuse while still allowing the diocese to continue its ministry.