Stories for the Left Column of the WCR This Week Page
Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who will be beatified in San Salvador May 23, has become a symbol of Latin American Church leaders' efforts to protect their flocks from the abuses of military dictatorships. However, his life and the 35 years it took the Vatican to recognize him as a martyr also reflect decades of theological and pastoral discussion over the line dividing pastoral action from political activism under repressive regimes.
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The deliberate attempt of European settlers to break down aboriginal communities lies at the root of the addictions, violence and incarceration that is the life of many indigenous women today, says a native studies professor. Europeans brought an end to the way aboriginal people passed on their culture from elders to their grandchildren by imposing an industrial school system, said Dr. Winona Wheeler. "It was a systematic, destructive, pre-conceived breakdown of our communities," Wheeler asserted.
The Church hierarchy in El Salvador has shown little interest in the relics of Archbishop Oscar Romero in the 35 years since his death, says the sister who is director of the hospital where Romero was murdered in 1980. "Now that the pope has recognized his martyrdom, everyone is interested in Romero, including those who disagreed with his message," said Sister Maria Julia Garcia, Carmelite superior and director of the Divine Providence Hospital in San Salvador.
The dark and bloody opus of the zombie death metal that scores the wildly popular and violent video game Call of Duty series would not be a likely creation from the mind of a young Catholic. A zombie-themed conference featuring a choir clad in blood-smeared gowns would not be a likely event on a Christian school campus, either. Kevin Sherwood, senior sound designer and composer for software developer Treyarch, the company behind the Call of Duty Nazi Zombies game mode, was the keynote speaker at Concordia University of Edmonton's Religion and Pop Culture conference on May 1.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon and some climate scientists are banking on Pope Francis to be a unifying moral force to get the world onboard in the fight against global warming. Even though previous popes have spoken strongly against harming the earth and its inhabitants, one world-renowned atmospheric scientist said it is going to be Pope Francis "to save the day." Pope Benedict XVI, who has been lauded as the "green pope" for his attention to taking care of creation, "made some amazingly helpful statements on the environment" during his eight-year pontificate, said scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan.
The so-called "secrets" of Our Lady of Fatima tell of today's Christian persecution, in addition to the martyrdom of the past century, said Cardinal Angelo Amato. The prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes opened a conference May 7 on The Message of Fatima between Charism and Prophecy. The text of his talk was published May 8 on the website of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.