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
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.
BRITAIN-WALL STREET PROTESTS
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.
PRESBYTERIAN GAY MINISTER
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
They were detained for about two hours at a Rome police station
and released without charges.
VATICAN-LEGION OF CHRIST
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
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
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.
HOSPITAL MERGER-REPRODUCTIVE ISSUES
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.)