9th Circuit won't rehear Calif. park cross case

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A full panel of federal judges has declined to

rehear the case of a war memorial cross in a public park in San

Diego that has been deemed unconstitutional.

A group fighting to preserve the cross announced Monday that the

9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied its request. Five of the

11 judges dissented, stating the cross should stay.

The 29-foot cross was dedicated in 1954 in honor of Korean War

veterans. A three-judge panel in January ruled that it conveys a

message of religion and is unconstitutional.

Attorney Hiram Sasser says Monday's ruling will be appealed to

the U.S. Supreme Court. Sasser is director of litigation for

Liberty Institute, which is representing the Mount Soledad Memorial


The Supreme Court's conservative majority has signaled a greater

willingness to allow religious symbols on public land. The court

last year refused to order the removal of a congressionally

endorsed war memorial cross from its longtime home in California's

Mojave Desert.


Va. chaplain killed in WWI honored

EMPORIA, Va. (AP) - The Virginia National Guard has honored the

memory of a chaplain killed in World War I with the highest

decoration the state can award: the Virginia Distinguished Service


Chaplain Thomas McNeill Bulla's family was presented the medal

on Monday, 93 years after he died from his combat wounds. The

presentation was made at the First Presbyterian Church of Emporia

in southern Virginia, where he was once pastor.

Bulla was helping wounded soldiers in France when he was struck

by enemy fire on Oct. 15, 1918. He died of his wounds two days


Bulla was born in Fayetteville, N.C., but he moved to Emporia

after graduating from Union Theological Seminary.

He was among 23 Army chaplains who died during World War I.


Protesters remain outside St. Paul's Cathedral

LONDON (AP) - The staff at St. Paul's Cathedral in London has

urged hundreds of anti-capitalist protesters not to hinder tourists

who want to visit the historic building.

Around 500 demonstrators gathered outside the cathedral over the

weekend as part of the global Occupy Wall Street protests. About

200 pitched tents around the cathedral, and set up a makeshift

kitchen, toilets and information center.

The protesters, a loosely organized group inspired by the

month-old movement in New York against corporate wrongdoing, seemed

to have settled in for a long stay, but it was unclear how long

they would be allowed to remain.

The ground immediately outside the church is owned by St.

Paul's, which permitted the protest camp on the weekend, while the

local authority also partly owns a stake in the nearby churchyard,

part of London's medieval heart.


Calif. church opts to leave main Presbyterian fold

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A Sacramento church has voted to split

from Presbyterian Church USA over the denomination's decision to

ordain openly gay clergy.

After months of discussion, members of Fremont Presbyterian

Church voted 427 to 164 on Sunday to join the more conservative

Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Scott Anderson became the denomination's first openly gay

minister when he was re-ordained this month in Wisconsin. He served

as a Presbyterian minister in Sacramento for seven years before he

revealed his homosexuality to his congregation and resigned in


The Sacramento Bee reports that Fremont is the seventh

Sacramento-area church to leave the mainline Presbyterian Church in

the past few years.

After Sunday's vote, some church members wept and others said

they were relieved.


US priest who backs women's ordination detained

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Italian police have released a U.S. Catholic

priest who was detained after marching to the Vatican to press the

Holy See to lift its ban on women priests.

The Rev. Roy Bourgeois and about a dozen supporters

had marched Monday down the main boulevard leading to the Vatican

holding a banner saying "Ordain Catholic Women" and chanting

outside St. Peter's Square: "What do we want? Women priests!"

Police prevented the group from entering the piazza and told

them to take down their banners since they didn't have a protest

permit. When police then tried to confiscate the banners, members

of the group resisted, resulting in the detentions of Bourgeois and

two supporters.

They were detained for about two hours at a Rome police station

and released without charges.


Vatican weighs in on cult-like group in Legion

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican has proposed giving hundreds of

women who live like nuns within the Legion of Christ order greater

autonomy after a Holy See investigation found troubling problems in

their communities.

The pope's delegate running the Legion, Cardinal Velasio De

Paolis, said in a letter published Monday that the problems of the

consecrated women were "many and challenging."

The issue is of special concern because the women have no clear

legal status in the church.

In a 2010 Associated Press expose, former consecrated women told

of emotional abuse they suffered and cult-like conditions they

lived in.

They said rules dictated nearly every minute of their day - from

how they ate to what they watched on TV - all in the name of God's



Italian priest shot dead in southern Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Police say an Italian Catholic priest

has been shot dead in his remote parish in the southern


Chief Inspector Benjamin Rioflorido says the Rev. Fausto

Tentorio was about to climb into his car Monday in Arakan township

when a gunman shot him several times inside the church compound.

Tentorio was pronounced dead on arrival in a nearby hospital.

Rioflorido says a witness has said the gunman ran from the scene

and then fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.

Rioflorido, the town's police chief, says investigators have not

yet identified suspects or possible motives. He says Tentorio was a

longtime parish priest of Arakan, spoke the dialect fluently and

had good ties with the people there.


Reproductive care in question in hospital merger

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Critics of a proposed merger between two

Kentucky hospitals and Catholic Health Initiatives are worried that

it could make birth control more expensive for hospital employees.

Birth control is now covered by health plans at Jewish and

University of Louisville hospitals, but workers at Lexington's St.

Joseph Health System don't have such coverage because its parent

company, Catholic Health Initiatives, won't provide a procedure

that violates church teaching. Catholic health directives also

prohibit abortion, sterilization and surrogate motherhood.

There are about 15,000 employees at Jewish and University

hospitals in Louisville.

Officials for the merging Kentucky hospital systems haven't

given any specifics on health insurance, saying they haven't

finalized the health plan for the new company.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-10-18-11 0334EDT