News In Brief

U.S. Chaldean Participation in Iraq Vote Called ‘Anemic’

DETROIT — Participation in the Iraqi elections by Michigan’s large Chaldean Catholic population was “anemic,” the president of the Chaldean National Federation said Jan. 31. 

Fewer than 11,000 Iraqi-Americans — Christian or Muslim — took advantage of the opportunity to vote Jan. 28-30 at the out-of-country polling station set up in suburban Southgate to serve Michigan and neighboring states, said Joseph Kassab of Farmington Hills, also a Detroit suburb. Kassab heads the organization formed to promote the interests of Chaldean Catholics in the new Iraq.

In an interview with The Michigan Catholic, newspaper of the Detroit Archdiocese, he also said his organization received information that some 250,000 members of minority groups — including Christians, members of a Kurdish religious sect and other religious minorities — were prevented from voting in Iraq.


Archdiocese and Lawyers Guild at Odds Over Honor

DENVER — The Archdiocese of Denver will no longer support the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado, including providing a church and celebrant for its annual Red Mass, after the group refused to give Archbishop Charles Chaput veto power over whom the attorneys honor, said the guild’s president, Denver attorney Laura Tighe.

The disagreement with the archbishop developed after guild members chose then-state Attorney General Ken Salazar as the recipient of their St. Thomas More award in November 2003. Salazar, a Catholic, is a Democrat who supports keeping abortion legal. Last year, he was elected Colorado’s junior member of the U.S. Senate.

Sergio Gutierrez, spokesman for Archbishop Chaput, told Catholic News Service that the archbishop’s concerns about vetting the guild’s honorees, and his request that the group take up public advocacy, were reasonable expectations of an organization that calls itself Catholic. Tighe told CNS she considers the guild a refreshing alternative to traditional bar associations, which she said tend to be competitive and political. Members place high value on the Catholic connections it provides, she said.


Father Groeschel Active One Year After Accident

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A crowd of more than 1,000 people packed Blessed Sacrament Church in Alexandria Jan. 21 to be in the presence of the Eucharist and to hear Father Benedict Groeschel, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal and a popular writer and retreat leader.

“Almost a year ago, you were praying for me not to go to purgatory,” said Father Groeschel, who hovered near death after a car hit him Jan. 11, 2004, in Orlando, Fla. He underwent a long recovery and last fall resumed his schedule, but the effects of the car accident could still be seen. The 71-year-old priest was aided as he walked with a cane into the church. Among his weaknesses, Father Groeschel said, is that one of his arms is “permanently broken,” but this did not stop him from taking 90 minutes after his appearance to sign books and talk to people.

In his talk, Father Groeschel said the renewal of the Church will begin when people start giving respect and reverence to the Eucharist.